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Ceremonial magic and psychology
01-29-2009, 12:59 AM,
#1
Ceremonial magic and psychology
Hello. Long time member, but had totally forgotten about this forum. What a great place, eh?

I am due to write an essay on the relationship between ceremonial magic and psychology for part of an MA course in Western Esoteric Philosophy (http://huss.exeter.ac.uk/research/exeseso/ma.php). I will be covering mainly characters like Eliphas Levi, Dion Fortune, Macgregor Mathers, Crowley etc.; para-Masonic movements and organisations like the OTO, Golden Dawn, Fraternity of Inner Light etc.; and these organisations activities in magic ritual and ceremony, the Tarot, Kabbalah, symbolism etc.

I have a fairly good list of primary texts from the people at the heart of these movements, but am looking for any names of books or authors commentating on these movements; or indeed on the psychological relationships between occult and ritualistic activity and the mind in general. Also, any decent information regarding the Tarot and its connection to the psyche would be most appreciated.

Any form of information is fine, i.e. web links, book names and/or authors, journals, lectures. I am happy to do the leg/mind work and research, just need some pointing in the right direction.

I am also more than happy to participate in any debate and give out info from my end if anyone is interested.

Cheers and Peace.
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01-29-2009, 01:20 AM,
#2
Ceremonial magic and psychology
I don't have anything specific for you, but make sure to look on the tracker for many books and lectures covering those topics. http://tracker.conspiracycentral.net/index.php

Good luck with your research!
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after
equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. ” -Nikola Tesla

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix
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01-29-2009, 07:37 AM,
#3
Ceremonial magic and psychology
http://www.hermetics.org/ebooks.html
check that site out. Welcome back!
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02-01-2009, 01:02 AM,
#4
Ceremonial magic and psychology
You might want to look at this site -

http://www.newkabbalah.com/
&Ants are as much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labor, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.&
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02-03-2009, 04:11 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-03-2009, 04:16 AM by symbolicsorcery.)
#5
Ceremonial magic and psychology
For Tarot and psychology, you MUST MUST MUST read
+ Paul Foster Case - "The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages"

If you want an example of why I say that, here's a quote from "The Tarot" on key 20 "Judgement":
Quote:The child's back is toward us, because he represents return to the Source of all. This card shows the sixth stage of spiritual unfoldment, in which personal consciousness is on the verge of blending with the universal. At this stage, the adept realizes that his personal existence is nothing but the manifestation of the relationship between self-consciousness and subconsciousness. He sees, too, that self-consciousness and subconsciousness are not themselves personal, but are really modes of universal consciousness. Thus he knows that his personality has no separate existence. At this stage his intellectual conviction is confirmed by fourth-dimensional experiences which finally blot out the delusion of separateness forever.

See also:
+ Rachel Pollack - "78 Degrees of Wisdom"

For ceremonial magic and psychology, see Israel Regardie, in particular:
+ Israel Regardie - "The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic"

Also, the first few chapters of this will help:
+ Donald Michael Kraig - "Modern Magic"

For the very deepest treatment of occultism and consciousness:
+ Paul Foster Case - "Occult Fundamentals and Spiritual Unfoldment"

For commentaries on the modern occult revival, check out
+ Arthur Versluis - "Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism"
+ Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke - "The Western Esoteric Traditions"
+ David V. Barrett - "A Brief History of Secret Societies"
+ Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero - "The Essential Golden Dawn: An Introduction to High Magic"

Since you didn't mention him, Paul Foster Case should be near the top of your list. He was one of the clearest writers on occultism and esoteric psychology. His organization The Builders of the Adytum (BOTA) were a Golden Dawn offshoot that put much more emphasis on Tarot than ceremony. There's some good information on their website http://www.bota.org. You can also find good information about Case on the website for The Fraternity of the Hidden Light (Fraternitas LVX Occulta) http://www.lvx.org.

Some other folks worth looking into are Lon Milo Duquette, Poke Runyon, Patrick Dunn, and Mark Stavish.

- symbolicsorcery
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02-10-2009, 05:23 PM,
#6
Ceremonial magic and psychology
Thanks people, there is some useful information there.

@symbolicsorcery:

those are some really good references you given. Thank you. I will certainly look into the Paul Foster Case book, as it seems to address exactly what I am looking for.

It is interesting, and amusing, that you put Nicholas Goodrich-Clarke's latest book down as well. He is the tutor/professor for the course im on at the moment! He really knows his stuff about all matters occult/esoteric (he was telling me he has over 8000 books in his library, as his wife is also an specialist researcher into alchemy and other esoteric subjects).

Just out of interest, and also for the benefit of others reading this post, what is it exactly within the tarot, kabbalah, ceremonial magic etc, that affects the mind? From what ive read so far, it seems to me that the specific elements of the ceremony (tarot cards, symbols, phrases and incantations etc.) seem to enable the practitioner to access parts of his/her mind that are not normally accessible under "standard" waking consciouness.

The spirits or demons summoned in a Goetic ritual for example, are located WITHIN the magician subconscious self, not necessarily as completely separate entities, but rather amalgams of latent, hidden forces within, and elemental forces without.

Is this on the right track? If you dont know with regards to magic, any similar information with regards to the tarot will be appreciated, as from what ive read, the same principles apply across the board. Prisca sapientia, and all that...
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02-10-2009, 10:44 PM,
#7
Ceremonial magic and psychology
If you go deep enough back to the origins of them all, they are all first used as tools to access the various characteristics of the human psyche. They were all used originally in a divination or sometimes shamanic way to aid in problem solving or wisdom seeking. It's not really my area of study, but that is what I have come to think about the fields and tools.
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after
equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. ” -Nikola Tesla

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix
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02-11-2009, 03:50 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-11-2009, 03:53 AM by symbolicsorcery.)
#8
Ceremonial magic and psychology
Quote:Just out of interest, and also for the benefit of others reading this post, what is it exactly within the tarot, kabbalah, ceremonial magic etc, that affects the mind? From what ive read so far, it seems to me that the specific elements of the ceremony (tarot cards, symbols, phrases and incantations etc.) seem to enable the practitioner to access parts of his/her mind that are not normally accessible under "standard" waking consciouness.

It works by symbolic association. Symbols are the language of the subconscious. When we get the self-conscious speaking the same language as the subconscious, then "magic" occurs.

The Tarot has enough symbolism to cover the most important archetypal modes of consciousness. You could invent a system of symbols instead of using the Tarot. But if there aren't enough archetypes to cover all the important areas, it won't be of much value. That's why the Tarot is a universally accepted tool for this task.

The Qabalah is another way of looking at the Tarot, and the Tarot is another way of looking at the Qabalah. Together they can interpret all systems of mysticism, including alchemy and astrology, as well as ancient mythology. It's not that they're special, it's just that they contain enough archetypal symbols to cover the most important areas of consciousness.

Ceremonial magic is a way of implanting intentions from the self-conscious into the subconscious. By combining action, visualization, sound, scent, or whatever else, we build patterns into the subconscious. It's like impregnation. After a gestation period, the fruits of these intentions come back to the self-conscious. By incorporating various God-names and angelic powers into the ritual, the fruits will eventually contain the power of superconsciousness, thereby leading to enlightenment.

This process is symbolized in the Tarot. So not only does Tarot contain a system of symbols to help speak with the subconscious, but it also contains an esoteric occult theory on how magic works. I don't think I could understand it the way I do by just reading about it. I'm confident that studying the cards has made me realize this. That is why I hold the Tarot in such high regard.

There's also a new book by Case (well, not new. It was first copyrighted in 1932, but I'm not sure if it was ever published. It's recently been printed by Ishtar Publishing) called "Tarot Mastery: Tarot Fundamentals" which will be coming in four volumes. In the introduction, Case writes:

Quote:This course on Tarot Fundamentals will show you how to use the Tarot Keys for the purpose of evoking thought, thus bringing to the surface of consciousness, where you can see and understand them, those fundamental principles of practical occultism that lie hidden in the hearts of all mankind. Its rich symbolism and ingenious construction make Tarot the best of all instruments for true occult education: that is, drawing out the wisdom hidden within you.
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02-11-2009, 04:48 AM,
#9
Ceremonial magic and psychology
Quote:Hello. Long time member, but had totally forgotten about this forum. What a great place, eh?

Welcome Back and thanks for starting this interesting topic of thread
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02-13-2009, 07:44 PM,
#10
Ceremonial magic and psychology
Quote:It works by symbolic association. Symbols are the language of the subconscious. When we get the self-conscious speaking the same language as the subconscious, then "magic" occurs...

Ceremonial magic is a way of implanting intentions from the self-conscious into the subconscious. By combining action, visualization, sound, scent, or whatever else, we build patterns into the subconscious...

This process is symbolized in the Tarot. So not only does Tarot contain a system of symbols to help speak with the subconscious...

yeah, this is exactly the sort of thing im looking for. cheers! "The Middle Pillar", as you mentioned, contains a lot of useful information regarding this, and has proved useful. It is very interesting how these arcane techniques have mapped out the mind in such numerous and active ways - 72 tarot cards and "Paths" in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, if im correct.

As it is such a vast field, I have noticed that it is necessary to really be clued up on ones psychology, especially Jungian. What i find really incredible is how these systems were able to map out the human psyche hundreds of years before modern analytic psychology, but also took that analysis FAR deeper into the human character than the modern methods.

just out of interest, ive started reading "The Magical Ritual of Sanctum Regnum" by Eliphas Levi, which details the relation between Kabbalah and Tarot systems. looks very useful for understanding the link.

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02-14-2009, 07:22 PM,
#11
Ceremonial magic and psychology
Quote:yeah, this is exactly the sort of thing im looking for. cheers! "The Middle Pillar", as you mentioned, contains a lot of useful information regarding this, and has proved useful. It is very interesting how these arcane techniques have mapped out the mind in such numerous and active ways - 72 tarot cards and "Paths" in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, if im correct.
...

I'd be cautious about Levi. He intentionally misattributed the Hebrew letters to the Tarot trumps, to confuse the uninitiated.

The Qabalah speaks of "32 Paths of Wisdom", but the Tree of Life has only 22 paths. The 10 other "paths" are the sephiroth themselves, again another blind for the uninitiated. The 22 Hebrew letters are also the 22 major trumps and the 22 paths on the Tree of Life.

The Tarot has 78 cards. See Case on the Qabalistic analysis of the number 78. It's basically 22 major trumps + 16 court cards + 4 aces + 36 spot cards. 22 Hebrew letters, 4 letters in the sacred name IHVH (yod-heh-vav-heh) which are the four Qabalistic worlds (archetypal, creative, formative, material), 4 personality types in the four worlds = 16, and 36 decans in the zodiac.

The number 72 comes from the Shemahamphorash, or 72-fold name of God. Also there are 72 spirits of the Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon.

I agree with you that these systems represent a COMPLETE understanding of human consciousness, acquired long before modern psychology. It's crazy that there's all these scientists running around trying to find a science of consciousness. Roger Penrose even wrote a book "The Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness". It keeps harking back to the positivist materialist dogma, and the only reasonable hypothesis he can offer is that consciousness operates by some quantum-mechanical cellular function of the brain, but ultimately concedes that this is not enough.

Little do they know that there is a hidden science of consciousness, as old as civilization itself. They can't find it because they're looking in the wrong place.
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