Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A New Book by R.A. Gilbert

The following review is from Imagier Publishing:

Today I received from the printer the long awaited delivery of Dr. Robert A. Gilbert’s book, Gnosticism and Gnosis. It is a cracking read and I commend it to anyone with an interest in this subject. It is not a difficult book to engage with; the language is simple and to the point, yet it could so easily have been written in the highly specialised language known only to those scholars of ancient stuff who have forgotten what a politically-free English language looks like.  In short it is not written in mumbo-jumbo or psycho-babble. Also, at £9.50 it is not expensive.

I've studied this area of ancient history for much of my adult life, and like other people I have been amazed at the extraordinary inferences expressed as 'real history' by many writers who ought to know better. It has grown, unnecessarily in my view, into being a politically complex subject.

Nevertheless, the author, who is well known for his accurate research, introduces the subject of Gnosticism in a way that leads the reader to the heart of the matter without the reader needing a religious experience to understand it. This comes as no surprise to me because the author and his many books are well-known to me. He has studied this area of ancient history for very many years and in this book, Gnosticism and Gnosis he provides a clear, concise and objective overview of the phenomenon of Gnosticism, tracing its origins in Egypt and the Middle East; setting out the variety of its forms and beliefs from surviving gnostic scriptures; and surveying the complex history of the early gnostic schools during the Roman era and beyond, down to the pervasive presence of gnostic ideas at the present day.
"The author explains how ‘Gnosticism’ is the label which binds together a broad spectrum of strange, quasi-Christian belief systems that arose within and around the early Christian Church and challenged both its orthodoxy and its very existence. The creators of this alternative spirituality were dualists who believed in the absolute distinction of matter and spirit, and taught that the only way in which humanity can be drawn back into the being of the one, true God, is through the revelation of a special saving knowledge: the Gnosis. But their challenge to the Christian faith failed and the Gnostics faded away. Or did they?

 Dr. Robert A. Gilbert is a writer and retired antiquarian bookseller. He has written and lectured widely on Western esotericism and Christian spirituality, and is currently the editor of The Christian Parapsychologist. Among his many books are Elements of Mysticism (1991) and The Treasure of Montsegur (1987, with Walter N. Birks). He is also the editor of Knowledge of the Heart: Gnostic Movements and Secret Tradition: Transactions of the Eighth International Canonbury Conference (2008). Dr. Gilbert was born and educated in Bristol, and read Philosophy & Psychology at the University of Bristol.  Now retired, he lives with his family in North Somerset.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Philosopher's Stone

Israel Regardie wrote The Philosopher's Stone in 1936-37 while he was confined to bed with a severe bout of bronchitis. During this time he was determined to comprehend Mary Anne Atwood's Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery. Written in 1918, Atwood's text documented the enormous impact that hermetic philosophy has had on human spirituality. Her tome presented readers with alchemical treatises such as The Golden Tractate of Hermes and The Six Keys of Eudoxus—texts infused with riddles and symbolic codes used to secretly communicate to fellow alchemists the true purpose of the Hermetic Art and the Great Work. In studying this enigmatic text, Regardie states "Suddenly, and to my utter amazement, the whole enigma became crystal clear and alive." Over the course of the next two weeks, Regardie wrote the bulk of The Philosopher's Stone.

In this text Regardie analyzes three important alchemical treatises, explaining how the operations they describe are in reality psychoanalytical processes of self-realization and spiritual attainment. He approaches the documents symbolically, using the symbol systems of magic,  psychology and Qabalah. A this point in his development, Regardie was convinced that alchemy was a thinly veiled psycho-spiritual process—the operations in laboratory alchemy that professed to work on metals, minerals and plant matter were in reality focused solely at man's mind, soul, and spirit. After working with acclaimed alchemist Frater Albertus in his later life, Regardie changed his opinion about the validity and goals of laboratory alchemy. Although Regardie mentions this in his Introduction to the Second Edition, where he candidly admits his earlier mistake, he also explains how he wished to leave his original conclusions in the book intact because he felt it could still be of immense value to students. As a result The Philosopher's Stone remains a classic text and a masterpiece on spiritual alchemy.

This new edition of The Philosopher's Stone contains Regardie’s masterpiece in its entirety, fully annotated. The second half of the book contains new material from prominent authors and Golden Dawn Magicians, including essays which further explore the connections between alchemy (laboratory and spiritual), psychology, and magic, as well as practical rituals written in accordance with the Golden Dawn's Z2 Formula of the Magic of Light (Heh Final), dealing with Alchemy. The text is rounded out with further resources, Including a glossary, biographical dictionary, bibliography, and suggested reading list.

Coming soon from Llewellyn Publications

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thank you Isis Temple!

Chic and I would like to express our heart-felt appreciation to the Order Chiefs and members of Temple Isis Mighty Mother for inviting us to speak at Power Week 2012. We had a fantastic time and met lots of good, dedicated people.  The temple space itself is stunning and lovingly cared-for. Your generosity and hospitality is to be commended.  From the moment we arrived to the time of our departure we were well taken of. Our lectures were all well attended and the closing ceremony was very impressive. 

Although we are not members of the same Order, we are members of the same Spiritual Path and the fact that we are able to work together in civility, mutual respect, and fellowship for our common goals of spreading more Light in the greater Golden Dawn Community, speaks volumes. We value your friendship and look forward to further workshops with you and with other Golden Dawn Orders and Temples in the future.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Battery of Knocks

A Personal Insight by Chic Cicero

The Battery of Knocks is a sequence of knocks employed for symbolic purposes in a ceremony. Various numbers of knocks given in a particular pattern are common in all types of fraternal and magical lodge work. In magical lodges they are often used to symbolize a specific grade being worked, or the energies being invoked. In the Neophyte Hall of the Golden Dawn, the Battery of Knocks are given by the Middle Pillar Officers in an alternating fashion. 

The Battery of Knocks in the Neophyte Hall is based on the Saturn Square, one of the planetary Squares or Qameoth, which are grids of numbers associated with the planets and considered as magical images. Now imagine the Saturn Square in this way—Place the Hiereus at the top row of the square, the Hegemon at the middle row, and the Hierophant on the bottom row.

Now follow the Battery of Knocks in the Neophyte Ceremony, using the numbers in the Saturn Square. Proceed following the formula I’ve just explained with the Officers ruling certain rows in the Square. Start with the Hierophant as Number 1.

1. Hierophant “Khabs”

2. Hiereus “Am”

3. Hegemon “Pekht”

4. Hiereus “Konx”

5. Hegemon “Om”

6. Hierophant “Pax”

7. Hegemon “Light”

8. Hierophant “In”

9 Hiereus “Extension”

My conclusion is that the Knocks allow the Light from the Supernals (often symbolized by Saturn) to circulate through the Middle Pillar Officers and into the Neophyte Hall, using the protection of the Saturn Square to stabilize the circumambulations of the Light.

Copyright © 2002-2012 by Chic Cicero


An Apology and a Thank You

My apologies for being an intermittent blogger. I've been away from the computer for awhile due to various writing projects and magical workings. What can I say? Will try to do better!

I'd also like to thank everyone who sent me birthday wishes at the beginning of the month. I was completely overwhelmed by everyone's kind words and positivity. I am indeed lucky to have so many friends and well-wishers in the greater esoteric community.

In the meantime, I thought I would repost an insight that Chic had regarding the Battery of Knocks in the Neophyte Hall for your reading pleasure. So, enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Colors are Forces

An Excerpt from
The Path of the Chameleon: Golden Dawn Color Studies
Copyright (C) 2012 by Sandra Tabatha Cicero, to be published in the Upcoming Edition of Hermetic Virtues magazine, Spring 2012.

"Colors are Forces, the Signatures of the Forces; and the Child of the Children of the Forces art thou. And therefore about the Throne of the Mighty One is a Rainbow of Glory, and at His Feet is the Crystal Sea."

Color has always been a primary component of magic symbolism, but the founders of the Golden Dawn took scattered bits of grimoiric color lore and expanded it into an elaborate system of color magic in its own right. The Four Color Scales of the Golden Dawn were ingeniously created to describe the ten Sephiroth and the 22 Paths of Wisdom on the Tree of Life in each of the Four Qabalistic Worlds (Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiah). The Four Worlds have numerous associations, including the YHVH Formula of the Tetragrammaton, the Four Elements, and the Four Tarot suits, just to name a few. These are the among the most basic archetypal forces in the universe.

The Golden Dawn places a huge emphasis on the color correspondences of magical forces. Colors, like names of Power, attract certain energies that are affiliated with them. They are yet another tool used to affect magical change and transformation. Colors are also excellent portals; by meditating on them the magician is able to explore the hidden mechanics of the universe, whether Elemental, Sephirotic, Planetary, or Zodiacal.

However, the focus of this brief article is not on the Four Color Scales. I have already covered these in a previous issue of Hermetic Virtues magazine (see "The Chameleon's Coat," Autumn 2007, Edition 2, Vol. 1) and more recently in my new book, The Book of the Concourse of the Watchtowers: An Exploration of Westcott's Enochian Tablets.

Instead, this paper will explore other avenues of color mixing, specifically the "interchanging energies" that are contained within the Sub-Elements, the Sub-Planets, the Sub-Signs, and the Sub-Sephiroth.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New SRIA Blog

Although I've had a blog set up for the Societas Rosicruciana in America for over a year now, I didn't have a chance to work on it until now. So, check out our sister blog at:

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Introductory Notes to the GD's 6=5 Ritual

"I am of the opinion that Westcott’s Four Color Scale Enochian Tablets were intended for use in the higher grades, particularly the 6=5 grade of Adeptus Major. This grade corresponds to the Sephirah of Geburah on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and to the paths of Lamed and Mem, attributed to the Tarot trumps of Justice and the Hanged Man.

"The folios that follow contain the Golden Dawn’s ceremony of initiation into the Adeptus Major Grade. It is titled “Ritual of the 6=5 Grade of Geburah being the Book of the Conference of Signs in the Grade of Adeptus Major,” copy number 4. This copy of the ritual, from the private archives of the HOGD, is the only known copy in existence. It was typed by Carnegie-Dickson, who provided a two-page preface (dated November 2nd, 1945) stating that he copied it from two copies by Brodie-Innes. He also notes that his source copies were used by Sub Spe (Brodie-Innes) and G. H. Frater D.D.C.F. (Mathers). A typeset transcript of the document follows the folios.

"This document is interesting in that it provides new insights into various Grade Signs and Mystical Titles. However, I feel that, as a ritual, it is dry and lacking in magic. It certainly does not rise to the potency of either the Stella Matutina’s 6=5 Ritual or the Adeptus Major Ceremony of Waite’s Independent and Rectified Rite."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Carnegie-Dickson's Introductory Notes on the GD's 6=5 Ritual

Ritual of the 6=5 Grade of Geburah being the Book of the Conference of Signs in the Grade of Adeptus Major

Notes by F.F.J. I have typed this “Book of the Signs” from two copies made by the late G.H. Frater Sub Spe, the one typed, and the other in his own hand-writing. They give the details of the Signs of the 22nd and 23rd Paths and of the Grade of Adeptus Major as used by himself and Frater D.D.C.F. in the early days of the Orders of the G.D. and R.R. et A.C., and are of importance to those of our Fratres and Sorores who value our “Apostolic Succession” from and through these sources.

An interesting point which calls for comment is that most of these Titles and phrases connected with the Paths and Grades are composed of one Greek and one Latin word, just as,in the original G.D. Rituals, “Hodos Chameleonis” was used, though later altered to “`odoj camaileontoj”, Hodos Chamaeleontos or Chamaileontos.

The strict conditions upon which I myself received these GD Grades when I was appointed G.H. Frater Sub Spe's successor as "Chief Adept in Charge of the Adept College of the Two Sister Rosicrucian Orders in Britannia" was that I should personally pass them on to any Fratres or Sorores deemed fit by the Adept College to receive them, and that all pledges in these Grades should be made to me as Chief Adept in Charge for the time being of the College.

Of the Senate of that College, then appointed in 1923, just before the death of Frater Sub Spe on Saturday 8th December 1923, the GH Soror Dominus Illuminatio Mea and I (Fortes Fortuna Juvat) are now the only surviving members (the others then appointed having been Frater Sub Spe (Chief Adept in Charge), Soror Sub Hoc and Signe Vinces (Deputy Chief Adept); and in order of seniority, Frater Fortes Fortuna Juvat (Warden), Soror Dominus Illuminatio Mea; Frater Per Laborem Aspiro (the late James Barclay); Soror Via Crucis Via Lucis (the late Mary Barclay); and Frater Ecce Venio (the late Very Reverend R.O.P. Taylor), Chaplain of the College.

We, Frater Fortes Fortuna Juvat and Soror Dominus Illuminatio Mea, as the only two surviving members of the Senate of the College of Adepts, hereby declare our intention of coopting as Members of the Senatus, our Soror Spiritus in Rebus, already eligible by the rules of the College; and, when they have attained to the required Grades in both Sister Orders, the following in order of seniority: namely Soror Spes of Hermes Temple: Frater Vive ut Vivas*: Soror Sic Itur ad Astra, Soror Vincit Qui Se Vincit *: (*now deceased) and Frater Spiritus Intus Alit. Should she ever wish to resume her place in both Orders, Soror Lumen Meum Deus Est* (Mrs. Birch)(*now deceased) would come immediately after Soror D.I.M. in seniority. I have not included our Frater Puritas et Veritas and Soror Lux Tua Me Dirigit (Mr. and Mrs. Stewart) in this list, as it is unlikely that they would be able to accept office; but, should they see their way to accepting, we would welcome them as members, already entitled, as they are, to hold office.

Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Dominus Illuminatio Mea
All Souls’ Day, 2nd November 1945.