God in my Throat - Monologues and advice from Lilith to Eve  

Posted by Frater R.T.

A good friend of mine and fellow librarian, Colleen Harris, also happens to be an excellent poetess. Not only is she a great writer, but she has also been published - A LOT! Up to this point it has been mostly journals and anthologies, but her first book of prose and poetry will hit the presses very soon. Bellowing Ark Press already has God in my Throat available for pre-purchase on their website.

Ms. Harris always writes with a truly evocative and, at times, musical tone that draws you in and makes you forget that you are reading poetry. The truth and wisdom unveiled in this work belies her age and makes you wonder what fount she has tapped into.

In reading a sample page this morning titled "Lessons for my Daughters", this line struck me as especially beautiful. "Be mournful to create shades of meaning. To create is a joy, and godlike." What is so meaningful to me is that Colleen has written a new chapter in the version of the Lilith mythos first put forth in an anonymous medieval text attributed to Ben Sira, author of Ecclesiasticus, and titled "The Alphabet of Ben-Sira". Ben Sira relates that God made Lilith first:

Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.'

References to Adam having a wife before Eve are also made in "Bereshit Rabba" a classical period midrash, or interpretative study, of the Torah.

The story of Lilith as one of the oldest night demons in Mesopotamian mythology is time honored. Some version of a female demon of the air with a 'Lilit' root name, sexually preying on sleeping men, and killing infants existed in the ethos of ancient Mesopotamia and numerous versions of her story ran throughout the Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian, and Babylonian Empires for millennia. Of course the Hebrews would have assimilated and integrated her attributes into their developing religions as a result of their captivities throughout these empires. In fact, even in some modern Jewish traditions, amulets with the names of three specific angels engraved on them are still hung in maternity rooms or around the necks of mothers and their newborn children to protect them from Lilith.

In some contemporary views, Lilith has been reinterpreted as being originally a Mesopotamian mother goddess of childbirth, children, women, and sexuality who later became demonized due to the rise of patriarchy. Feminists and liberationists have taken Lilith as the first of their movement, the first woman, created before Eve, whose strength of character allowed her to stand up to her husband Adam and refuse to take the submissive role. For this it is believed she was portrayed as a demoness.

It seems a likely theory and one that I hope is true. Regardless of Lilith's true origin, Colleen Harris has taken the most positive aspects of Lilith and channeled them into a well written instructional and inspirational lesson from the very First Ex-wife to Eve. Lilith has reclaimed her status as woman and those energies come through in "God in my Throat". Click on the image to the right and you will find a preview page(complete with the authors thumb on the galley). :)

Hail Lilith - fierce protector of women and children, wrongly accused by petty men. Buy the book. You won't regret it.

The Saga Continues: the Ongoing Flame Wars of the Golden Dawn  

Posted by Frater R.T.

It's nothing new to note that the relationship between the more established Orders of the Golden Dawn tradition is strained at best, and more akin to the Set/Osirus relationship at worst. Each side taking on the role of Osirus and casting the other as the Setian villain. Personally, I think there is enough blame to go around and I'd be dishonest if I said I could not appreciate arguments that both sides make at one time or another.

It has been my experience, having known a great many protestant fundamentalists, that the things one preaches loudest about, are most likely at the root of your own issues. Both sides accuse the other of various wrongs, misdeeds, and improper practices when it seems obvious that those arguments could be applied to themselves as well.

As a member of one of the orders involved, I don't care to delve deeply at this time into my personal issues with what I perceive to be shortcomings of my order, but I DO know what I like about it, and I tend to focus on those aspects when in doubt. There is no organization or person who is without fault, and I have had similar misgivings about my membership in the Masons from time to time, but I am still a member of that order as well.

I did think it would be helpful to give a quick run-down of the current drama and post some links to opinions from both sides. There is also much discussion happening on various lists that I won't point to.

I'll try to be as impartial as possible. Basically, David Griffin (link is to the Bio on his own website), Chief of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Not to be confused with the HOGD of the Cicero's), has issued a call for Golden Dawn Harmony in the long standing feud with Robert Zink (link to personal bio), Chief of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn. An Adept of the EOGD responded with an unfortunately titled post via the EOGD's official blog and stated that it seems disingenuous to think that David could expect everyone to forgive and forget so quickly after he wrote posts like this one. It should be noted that R. Zink had issued a similar call for peace in 2005 which was not accepted by Griffin at that time.

Others in the Golden Dawn Community have chimed in and are sharing their opinions.

M.D. Eckstein at Gleamings From the Dawn gives a fairly impartial appraisal where he has said that he wonders if peace is even possible at this point given that there is no basis for trust.

The Hermetic Student gives a good synopsis of the 'back-and-forth' here, but is obviously very much in Griffin's corner.

The Golden Dawn Insider writes a much more 'pro-Zink' synopsis of the situation in this post from March.

It's a flame war. It's been ugly. Both sides have done things that they can take no pride in. There are kernels of truth, buried in much hyperbole and many lies, in the arguments each side uses. If I had to pick a side, obviously I'm backing the EOGD, but that's part of what makes this so distasteful. All the skeletons have been drug out of the closets, all the grievances have been aired, and all the mud has been flung - where does it leave us? Everybody loses. Especially the members of the orders involved.

These disagreements cause both sides to question their Order, to doubt the veracity of their Chiefs, and to question their involvement in the whole thing. The magical battles that take place along with the cyber component do just as much damage.

It is not befitting for Seekers of the Light to act in this manner. It reveals significant problems with ego and personality. Just like the feuds of the Appalachians, it has gone on to the point where the fighting continues just because it has been that way for so long.

I don't have the answer. I'm not sure these wounds will ever be healed, but I do know it is unseeming for Adepts dedicated to Love and Light to act in this manner. That doesn't mean we go all Christ-like and turn the other cheek, because that's not how life and magic works, but at some point someone has to stop slapping. It would be nice if a cease-fire could be arranged. But like Mr. Eckstein said, I'm not sure if there is enough trust for that to happen.

I've always thought that there is something about the energies that occult orders work with that unbalances them so that these sorts of conflicts are almost unavoidable. Like every Christian denomination in the world, there will be disagreements and schisms, and dominant personalities will arise and exert their Will.

It is Man who is at fault, not the currents within which we are carried. Once again institutions concerned with the highest of goals are tarnished by the fallibilities and failings of its members. It happens in every religion and organization whose ideals are lofty. I have often commented that "The Ideal is much different from the Real." While our ideals are pure, and even archetypal like Plato's Forms, the reality is that ego, pride, and personality corrupt the ideal. This what happens when Atziluth is acted upon from Asiah. Much is lost in translation.

Love and Light to us all.

Frater R.T.

Interview with Nineveh Shadrach on the Magical traditions of the Middle East  

Posted by Frater R.T.

I have been following the latest skirmishes in the Golden Dawn flame wars with some interest lately. One of the latest disagreements relates to a Syriac translation of The Emerald Tablet by Nineveh Shadrach, a scholar, translator of arcane Middle Eastern texts, and practitioner of Rouhaniat. Ninevah has a lot of books and translations of various texts popping up in the market and I hope to read more of his work as time allows.

Anyway, I found this interview with him very enlightening. He makes some very interesting points and his assessment of the LBRP seems to hold water in my opinion. I have excerpted that part, but I would recommend that you read the entire interview.

M: It's been said by some of your detractors that you have said that the Lesser Banishment Rite of the Pentagram is ineffectual against Djinni; why is that?

NS: We use specific rituals for banishing the Jinn in our art that serves no other purpose. What I said was that the LBRP wasn't an effective ritual for banishing the Jinn or for keeping them away from you. This is true based on experience of having done thousands of LBRP's in my life time and on ritual analysis. I am honestly surprised that this statement has generated too much discussion. Maybe it's time to go underneath the hood on this one:

Let me start first with a quote from Israel Regardie's own book The Golden Dawn'. He says on page 281 of the 6th edition: "This Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is only of use in general and unimportant invokations. Its use is permitted to the Outer that Neophytes may have protection against opposing force, and also that they may form some idea of how to attract and come into communication with spiritual and invisible things."

Let's look at this statement from Regardie. He himself says it is for general and unimportant invokations use only. I wouldn't place Jinn in this category. It was given to neophytes and I don't believe this part of our art should be undertaken by a magician with neophyte skills. He refers to an opposing force, but that is vague. A mugger coming at you with a gun would count as an opposing force. However, I doubt you would rely on the LBRP as your means of primary defense against a mugger with a gun. Jinn can be as dangerous physically to you as an armed person. They have individuality; they have free will; they have consciousness and can think; and they are able to affect your reality physically. They are not a blind force. They are just like people and just like with any other dangerous individual you need to rely on appropriate measures. The LBRP or SBRP for that matter wouldn't be an appropriate measure in my books against a person or Jinn individual trying to physically harm me, but your mileage may differ.

It would be fair to ask me at this point: ‘Are you saying a physical magical circle is appropriate?' My answer to that would be the ancient magicians believed them to be. They were drawn in the wild to protect against assassins, raiders, thieves, and wild beasts like wolves and pumas. They were designed to provide physical protection, but the details of that is another topic.

Let's go back to the LBRP ritual itself. The next thing to point out is that it lacks any specific charge directly related to the Jinn or any spirit for that matter. The verbal component of the ritual consists of adoration to God, followed by chanting the names of God in four directions, declaring the angels to be present around you in only four directions, declaring the presence of pentagram before you and the hexagram behind you, and then finally the same adoration. You probably noticed that we are declaring the angels to be there and not really inviting them through evocational means. This makes sense because you are not expecting the angels to be physically there. Why else would so many ceremonialists rely on imagination and visualization when it comes to angels? They are symbolically there and not physically. This is a psychically positive exercise. When done with a devotional and spiritual inclination, it can open your mind to higher vibrations. On page 54, Regardie talks about its use in getting rid of obsessive or negative thoughts. However, you are not taking the necessary steps to invite the angels to be there to protect you from harm physically. It is passive: "Before me is Raphael [period]" versus active "O Raphael come before me here in so and so by the power of so and so names and do so and so." This lack of charge is present throughout the whole ritual. You may be opening yourself to energies, but you are not giving them a specific purpose to go with. Like Regardie said, this ritual was for beginners and general working and for that purpose it is a good ritual.

Finally, let me make what counts as a controversial statement in modern circles. Regardie says the ritual is designed to aid the neophyte in attracting and communicating with spiritual and invisible beings. Wait a minute! Let me repeat that with bolding: "ATTRACTING and communicating with spiritual and invisible beings!" What is the difference between the banishing and invoking rituals of the pentagram? The only unique difference is the way you DRAW the pentagram. That means the pentagram symbol itself serves dual purposes. You can talk about intent and will, but for all general purposes you don't physically do that much different except that. I don't personally believe a symbol both inherently attracts and repel the same beings at the same time. My position is that the pentagram is a protective sacred symbol like a cross, a hexagram, or a few others, but magically it works to open doorways and attract spiritual forces only. I remember in the Golden Dawn we only gave the neophyte the LBRP. They didn't get the invocation part till Zelator. Still, many of the neophytes who did the LBRP regularly began to experience visitations. Our counter argument was that doing the rituals ‘lit them in the astral' and we gave them the Rose Cross to use to seal and protect themselves. Every time they did the LBRP, they basically opened the door and attracted things to them blindly and without control. This point wasn't missed by Regardie who states on page 308 concerning the Rose Cross: "It encloses the aura with a protection against outside influences. It is like a veil. The pentagrams protect, but they also light up the astral and make entities aware of you. They are more positive for magical working. When much distracted, use the Pentagrams to banish and the Rose-Cross to maintain peace." Effectively, he is saying when your psychically diffused go ahead and do the LBRP to clean your psychic mind of its clutter, but then do the Rose Cross or all those uninvited spirits will be attracted to you and bring chaos to your life. Based on this I would say, go ahead and use the LBRP to ‘attract' the Jinn to you, but don't rely on it for peace before or afterward.

I can say with confidence that the LBRP is a beautifully well designed ritual with specific intent that doesn't include the Jinn. My feeling on this is that it has over time taken a larger-than-life purpose. It became the defining ritual of a magician and the expectations for it may be more than the ritual was meant to do originally. In the end, it isn't my opinion and Regardie's that really matter; it is the results you get and that should be your guide here.

R.A. Gilbert speaking on Rosicrucianism  

Posted by Frater R.T.

English Author, Antiquarian, Freemason & expert on Waite, FRC, HOGD, SRIA and Victorian art and writing spoke at the October 4th, 2008 conference of the Rose Circle Research Foundation where he was awarded the status of FELLOW in the Society.

W.B. Yeats' Golden Dawn journal  

Posted by Frater R.T. in , ,

A friend of mine who writes at Herbis Orbis visited Dublin last year, and went to a W.B. Yeats exhibit at the National Library and shared these pictures she took of his Golden Dawn Journal.

She told me that "In addition to original manuscripts of his poems, plays and other writings, they had much of his Golden Dawn collection -- notebooks, hand-made tools, tarot, sketches, etc. Near the entrance was a facsimile of one of his earlier G.D. notebooks."

The detail is wonderful if you look at the full resolution images(click "All sizes: above the individual images). View the entire set

The detail and pure aesthetic of the journal warms my librarian's heart. I am so glad this has been preserved and was made available in this manner.

For more reading about Yeat's magical pursuits I recommend "Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses" which is a very well written book by Mary K. Greer, whose Tarot blog is linked to in my blogroll to your right. Another book, which I have not yet read, but appears worthwhile, is "Yeats's Ghosts" by Brenda Maddox. The grammarian in me wishes she had used the less cumbersome Yeats' in her title.

Ancient Semitic Snake Spells Deciphered in Egyptian Pyramid  

Posted by Frater R.T. in , ,

This is old news from 2007, but it is likely that you missed it. I think it is interesting to note that the Egyptian magicians drew on the Canaanite magicians' expertise to perfect their funerary protection spells. But, we all knew that there were shared elements in the Mysteries at that time.

Ancient Semitic Snake Spells Deciphered in Egyptian Pyramid: "The ancient Egyptians believed themselves superior to their neighboring nations in almost every aspect.

But newly interpreted symbols—the oldest Semitic passages ever deciphered—reveal that the Egyptians turned to outside help for magic.

The passages, inscribed on the subterranean walls of the pyramid of King Unas at Saqqara, reveal that the Egyptians enlisted the magical assistance of Semitic Canaanites from the ancient city of Byblos, located in what is now Lebanon."


Posted by Frater R.T. in

"Ex Orient Lux" - I do see the irony in having a blog named "The Light from the East" that covers the Western Mystery tradition. In the WMT we understand that, in the literal and mystical sense, our light and understanding is tied to the rising sun, the Golden Dawn of realization and initiation. It just so happens that the path I choose for approaching that Light from the East is through the esoteric methods and philosophies that have come to be known as the Western Mystery Tradition.

I have been long in need of an outlet for my speculation on the esoteric life, and have been sad to find that so few Golden Dawn magicians are writing about their journey. I understand that it is inherent in our obligations to remain silent on matters concerning our orders, but feel that there needs to be authoritative and critical sources of personal information shared about the path of the initiate. The web is flooded with Thelemites and Chaos magicians muddying the waters, and I fear that the Right-hand Path has little illumination when it comes to personal content being shared online.

This is not to say that it is not there, but only that I believe there is less of it than there should be. Our detractors and critics are quick to point to 'Crowleyainity' as the standard for the occult. Not that they would recognize a Golden Dawn initiate in any less of a negative manner, but we have an obligation uphold the standard for those seekers who stumble onto the path via the internet.

I should point out that the content of this blog will not reflect the views of my Order or Temple, but are merely the result of my own studies and the connections and conclusions I draw.

With that being said, let us salute the Gate of the East and begin this journey.

Frater R.T.