Monday, 13 August 2012

The Christian occult, yes such a thing exists.

So this all started when I was about 5. I was obsessed with Monkey magic, and magic of any kind. I was convinced it was real, and not the James Randi as I termed it Parlour kind of magic.
I began at first looking into the power of words, I literally made huge lists of combinations of non-existent but good sounding words and systematically went through them. This really didn't work. So I figured there must be more to it, we had a huge collection of books at home and a few were on gardening, specifically growing your own Herbs and what each of them was good for... ah hah I thought this was where the power lay. I started collating all of this information, hoarding it in notebooks that I had hand made. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I thought it would make me powerful. One day when I was about 9 my Mum saw me feverishly transcribing something from one of our annuls of gardening when she asked me what I was doing I, excitedly said I had found out about this wonder herb that could cure all sorts of malaise... Comfrey I said triumphantly. Her face went white. She said that causes cancer, she must have seen the pain I was in, I had just transcribed about 20 notebook pages from various sources about this plant and even with my messy writing managed to make a decent drawing of a leaf should I happen to find one somewhere. I raced through the book crossing out every page and in any space on those pages I could find writing in red ink "COMFREY CAUSES CANCER"

My Occult leanings settled for a little while. Till I got into high school, a Catholic high school no-less that had a section on the occult. I began to relate to them, especially the stories about Celtic Wizards and Bards. I began compiling again into my little hand made notebooks. I learned of a book that supposedly had all the answers, it went into the my notebook underlined several times. The three books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa.

A few years later while still in high school, a friend introduced me to the early Internet at his sisters uni, it was phenomenal. Eventually I started looking at the occult on there, and I found different types of occult, including Allister Crowley, I got one of his books from the University library and began reading... But I was still a devout Catholic at this time, I straight away rejected his sex magic as disgusting. I put the book back and decided if I was going to practise magick (OFSM I used to type it with a K too....) it was only going to be in glory of God in an attempt to commune with his Angels and use the power he granted.
 I found at this time a website on the Internet that sold books, it was 1994 the year Amazon started, but Amazon didn't have the Occult Philosophy that I so desperately wanted. I looked on Usenets alt.magick (yep with a K as well) and I asked if anyone knew where I could get it. A few days later someone had replied, pentagram books in the UK should have it they said, I tracked them down, (now defunct), and found that the three books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa had been re-translated from German to English and republished as a single very expensive book. I got an advance on my pocket money and ordered it, thinking ultimate power would be at my letter box any day now.
The book arrived, finally. I devoured it, reading it cover to cover in the space of a couple months. The main thing that slowed me was the 15th century English, I kept pronouncing "divers" in my head as divers (as in the aquatic variety) not diverse as was meant. I took notes, though upon finishing I realised my notes where very thin on the ground in relation to spells. However this book pointed me in the direction I had already entertained while reading the bible, but more on that later.

First a little on the tome that is the three books of occult philosophy, it is an enormous tome, over 800 pages including the appendix, with things repeated and chapters being sometimes only a few paragraphs.Originally printed together as all three books in 1533, written by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, a Theologian, astrologer, and occultist. Who managed to be spared the inquisitions of the time due to his connections in the church and aristocracy.
One of my favourite sections was on the spell called the dead mans knock (pg120) , this is actually the notes that the author has added after a chapter on bindings of body and spirit. The spell goes that you remove the hand of a criminal that had been hung at the gallows then bind it into a fist with the rope used to execute the criminal, press the hand to draw out the fat and make a candle out of the fat, mount the candle between hand the fingers of the fist and when you wish to rob someone if you light the candle you will gain easy access and be unseen.... of course this is gruesome and has so many outs like all magic, "oh well your criminal must have been an innocent man", the people you are trying to rob had a counter charm engaged. One as easy as pouring boiling water over the threshold was said to do it.
Interestingly I found this same spell outlined in other books, it became one of my stories to freak people out. Though I knew in my stomach I would never do it.
I read further into pyromancy (pg178) and with my teenage obsession with fire was determined I wanted to learn as much as I could about that.
I also read of divination, and how Agrippa had performed it with a Scyring stone, or a shallow bowl of water. I attempted it several times with Glass, after several hours one time convincing myself in the reflection that I was seeing something. Of course if you stare at glass for hours at a time you will swear you saw something eventually.
Agrippa like other magicians of the time, believed in the power of words, and true names and of a persons property. He recounts a story of a man bewitched after a witch stole some of his hair, wrapping it around some cheese and burning it on an fire under the stars. As the cheese and hair burns the witch would chant the persons full true name, having learnt it or divined it in some fashion. Then the person would be bewitched, not stopping for rest till he was by the witches side. Supposedly if the same type of cheese was fed to the man he could be transformed into a docile and strong bullock to pull the heaviest of carts, and the bull would change back upon eating some more of this cheese to do with what the witch would. I as a pubescent teen had thoughts of getting girls hair I liked and performing this witchcraft.... of course I didn't as it was not of God....

I also read a lot in this book of Angels and how to beg them to do your bidding or relay your message to God. This was noted down and I will talk more on it later.
In the same book I read of rings and the power that some of them held. I read with interest as it relayed the story of King Solomon of the bible, slightly edited to add more magic, but of how Solomon was granted a ring by God, a ring that gave him the power to commune with animals and angels alike. From this his famous wisdom sprang, supposedly communing with angels who taught him how to summon them. I had my next quest.

The book was called "The Key of Solomon the King", I was determined to find it, I eventually found another seller of fine books in Canada, that supposedly had this ancient tome. Boy was I disappointed when a rather new looking book turned up. But it at least looked the part. It took me deeper into the ritual of magic and summoning. I started to try my hand at it, never getting all that much real success, except for the occasion forced delusion, after talking to a group in a forum where one person actually told me to imagine the beings I am trying to summon and they will eventually be there just as you imagined them....
The book of Solomon even had a list of tools that where needed, something that I had read earlier in the books my high school held. I got a ceremonial knife, sword, cup and candles. But still my rituals where a bit of a failure. Of course Solomon himself didn't write this book, I later found out that this book probably dated to the 14th Century.
Taken from wikipedia entry on the book "As in most medieval grimoires, all magical operations are ostensibly performed through the power of God, to whom all the invocations are addressed. Before any of these operations (termed "experiments") are performed, the operator must confess his sins and purge himself of evil, invoking the protection of God."

I read around this time of the suggested method of documenting this, it was described by the author as a science that is yet to unknown, and everything must be documented so that successes can be repeated. This appealed incredibly to my scientific side. Unfortunately these journals have been discarded but there was never any success measured, beyond self induced hallucination or boredom.

It was around this time that I began talking to other people on alt.magick, I was learning the way a ritual was supposed to progress. Then one Sunday in church I noticed the priest performing the standard closing of the circle at the start of the mass, then the adoration to the four corners of the earth, then the various calling down of blessings and other smaller rituals then finally the opening of the circle to end the mass. This didn't sway my faith any, it in fact enforced it. Making me think what I was doing was bound to work... as much as a mass does.

On alt.magick I met another Australian who told me of Adyar bookshop in Sydney, at the time they where on Clarence street, my best friend thought all of this was pretty stupid, so I travelled to the City on my own to investigate. The shop was enormous, I was a little uncomfortable with the new-agey crap but I browsed it for hours, eventually leaving with two books and some incense sticks. Yep I was suckered right in.I had bought some books on angelic magic, I thought surely this must be it. The answer to cracking it.

These titles all deal with a form of Magick, called Enochian magic. Enochian was supposedly handed down to John Dee a mathematician in the court of Queen Elizabeth, via Edward Kelley a charlatan, gambler, con-artist and famous Scryer. Someone who could look into a crystal ball or similar to channel spirits. He managed to channel Angels. This was after John Dee had been attempting to channel them for years.
The angels of course taught Dee and Kelly their language, supposedly a sung language that the angels in heaven supposedly spoke. This language could be used to commune more efficiently with the angels for them to plead your case to God. This work made Dee and Kelly rich and famous for a while. But things started to sour, especially after according to Dee's journal the angels told Kelly that Dee and Kelly should swap wives... Even though according to Dee's journal he was shocked at this, he eventually complied. Some people have speculated Kelly made this up (as opposed to the rest of it?) to break ties with Dee and strike out on his own as his talent for Scrying were coming into high demand in royal courts.

The books focus on the practises and pronunciation of the supposed holy words. I never got very far through it though as I was starting to come to my senses at this stage, and real life fortunately started intruding with work and relationships. But not before I had bought the very fake Necronomicon, of HP Lovecraft fame (I didn't know of Lovecraft at the time), and spending several hours in Theosophical society meetings.

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