Monday, May 14, 2012

CORE MAGICK: "What is Core Magick?"

featuring David Griffin

In reply to Lesson 1 of Core Magick, "Anonymous" yesterday wrote:
"The technique here is not meditation by any standard usage of the term. On fact, calling such techniques meditation is a hallmark of syncretic new ageism not tradition. It has many flaws, which since I am sure will be rejected will not be mentioned. To suggest that all cultures have the chakras in the same spots is bizarre. The are differences, just look at Tibetan and Indian systems for example. One of many. I suggest Leslie goes back to the books, where she obviously concocted this little process from, not from any actual teachings from adepts or wise folk."

Last night my wife Leslie said to me,  "Sheesh. Core Magick is not even 48 hours out of the starting gate and we already have an anonymous troll throwing eggs!" 

Chivalrous fool that I am, I replied: "Don't worry, Dear, they have been throwing eggs at me now for 20 years. I will catch the eggs for you - with my face!"

So that's how I got here this morning - on my very first appearance on the new Core Magick series - standing here with egg on my face for my wife!

But what the heck is Core Magick to begin with, any way? 

Our anonymous troll friend above makes it poignantly clear that Core Magick is not "traditional." Well, if you are looking for "traditional," you are better off joining the Alpha Omega than learning Core Magick.

Core Magick is something else.

Core Magick is a concept that includes not one, but ALL magickal traditions united under one over-arching umbrella, and attempts to divest them of their culture specific contents, to examine and employ the core concepts and practices that remain.

That is one huge umrella!

And as a result, the Core Magick series here on The Golden Dawn Blog will be bringing you some amazing guests from an entire spectrum of magical traditions. We are working on getting Michael J. Harner here to say a few words about Core Shamanism. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but we have some really cool other guests coming up as well.

Meanwhile my wife, Leslie McQuade Griffin, is our regular science geek, together with her colleageus over at the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, who will also be dropping by here on the series as well.

Core Magick is about the SCIENCE of magick ...

.. so it is quite important to let the science geeks have their say on this series as well.

On the other hand, when it comes to the ART of magick, there are few traditions that can compare with the Golden Dawn. There have been a number of writers and artists that have come through the Golden Dawn, which should surprise no one, since there is so much ART that permeates the Golden Dawn through and through. As a Golden Dawn Imperator, between the outer order Temple, the Vault of the Adepti, and everything that goes with it, I have half a house stuffed full of magical art.

What would happen though, if we were to drop all of the art out of the Golden Dawn? What would happen if we would drop all of the mysticism, God Forms, Divine name, etc?

What would be left of the Golden Dawn without all of the culture specific trappings?

Is there something that remains?

This is the question that Core Magick asks and attempts to answer, not only for the Golden Dawn, but for all magical traditions across the world and spanning time.
"Core Magick is a bold quest to distill the core essence out of all magical traditions and to present what remains as PURE SCIENCE."
Pure science? That's right. Pure science. Core Magick is a SCIENTIFIC approach to magick. 

I can already hear you asking:

"Are you guys nuts?"

Well - Maybe. But then again - Maybe not. It certainly is a bold endeavor!

And I am not promising we are going to succeed either. After all, with Core Magick we are attempting nothing less than to reformulate magick itself, stripped of its cultural trappings - and devoid of all mysticism and religious overtones - according to a purely SCIENTIFIC paradigm!

Science is all about trial and error. We try one experiment after the other and we develop our data into a working model. There are no absolutes in science and we are bound to wind up with egg on our faces over and over. Like I did this morning.

Speaking of which, I asked Leslie about her remark yesterday, when she wrote:

"Most people are familiar with the seven basic chakra points. These points are the same in every culture."

Her answer: "Yep. That was a bone head thing to say. That was a sweeping generalization and an over simplification."

I told her not to worry, that I would clear the matter up today and she can edit her meditation lesson later. I actually have written about this before, albeit in regard to sexuality rather than meditation, over on The Great Rite website here. Here is, more or less, what Leslie meant to say:
The sexual energy awakened with techniques of The Great Rite is the same energy known as Kundalini in India and the Chinese identify with "Chi." In the West, The Great Rite symbolizes the human energy system with the caduceus of Mercury with its two serpents entwined around the central staff. In Qabala, these serpents are transformed into the three pillars of the Tree of Life: one central pillar and two side pillars. The function of this Tree of Life is reminiscent of the balancing arms of a spiritual scale with which to achieve an internal dynamic equilibrium.  
In China, these pillars are seen as located in front of and behind the spine. These are called the meridian of Conception and the Regulating meridian. The first meridian acts on Yin energy that emerges from the sexual organs, the second meridian acts on Yang eneergy, flowing "along the spine, as though it were a pillar. Yin and Yang are the two spiritual principles that united together form the Tao, the Way of the balance of complementary opposites. "The vital energy of the universe, is distributed through secondary channels "that intersect with the top two and can be stimulated using other systems like acupuncture or acupressure.
In India, these two meridians are known as Ida and Pingala, the two channels on the sides and around the median channel of the spine, Sushumna, ie the path along which the "Snake" (Kundalini) rises and falls. The specific points along which the Serpents, the paths, the meridians and channels intersect, nodes correspond to energy in India are called chakras and in the Qabalah, the Sephiroth.
"All nations recognize, therefore, the existence of an energy flow that concentrates, spreads, blocks, unblocks, traveling along the spinal column and distributing itself along the pathways and centers of the nervous and endocrine systems in a system of continuous recirculation and exchange."
In conclusion, contrary to eggs thrown by our Anonymous Troll friend, Leslie does actually have a background as an initiate of traditional Hindu meditation. Leslie's adventures in India, however, are a story for her to tell, not me.

Our anonymous troll friend missed the boat on that one, but was still right about one thing. What Leslie is presenting as Core Magick is not a "traditional" form of meditation. Of course not. It is a Core Magick presentation of meditation! In other words, it was a preliminary attempt at a scientific distillation of traditional meditation techniques, stripped of their culture specific elements. 

But then again, to all of the other anonymous trolls out there:

"Please DO keep throwing eggs.
This is how science progresses!"


  1. "Culture is not your friend."

    - Terence McKenna

  2. That anonymous troll contributes absolutely nothing to our discussion. His politically motivated “talking points” creates more questions than they gives answers. He says that Leslie’s presentation isn’t meditation. I wonder what he defines as meditation? Transcendental Meditation? Raja Yoga? Magic cannot simply be reduced to sitting with closed eyes and humming a mantra. Meditation isn’t per definition simply a mental exercise. Meditation may of course be such a formula of mental concentration, but it doesn’t need to be to be properly referred to as meditation. That limited concept of meditation is a modern invention.

    What Leslie has presented is in fact based on age-old techniques, some that I immediately recognized from my own practice of the Western Alchemical Tradition. That by itself proves the “Core Magic” concept. Long before the relatively “modern” approaches to meditation as represented by the TM of Maharishi, and even the Raja Yoga of Patanjali (which actually was popularised 20th Century)*, you had the alchemical paths of Tantra and Hatha Yoga, which was a more direct approach using the energetic body and the chakras. So our anonymous troll figures that Kundalini Yoga isn’t proper meditation? I hope he realize how stupid he looks when stating that.

    Concerning the chakras, notice that Lesie said the MAJOR chakras, which we today refer to as being seven. Tradition says that there are thousands of chakras distributed over the body. As an example, we have a pair of chakras in our hands. But these in not any major chakras. The ones that Leslie is addressing are the ones we find along the spine and the head. Also here we have lots more chakras than seven. This accounts for the differences between the Tibetan, Daoist and Indian tantric systems of the chakras; the number of chakras that are considered as major or emphasised. Notice that you will find the locations of the seven Hindu Tantric chakras also in the Tibetan system.

    There of course exist minor discrepancies as to the exact locations of the seven major chakras, but I can confirm that there exist an almost identical set also in the Western Hermetic and Alchemical Tradition (and I am not referring to the Qabalistic Middle Pillar here). You will find them on approximately the same physical locations as with the ones of the Tantric Tradition. Paul Foster Case understood this but misattributed them entirely. Our understanding of them may differ between the Eastern and Western Traditions, and also some of the practical approaches, but there is much which is congruent to confirm the concept of a universal (or “core”) concept of Magic and especially Alchemy.

    Also, David, I beg to differ with your Tradition vs. Science approach. I understand where you are coming from with this. However, using the definition of the word “tradition” by René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon of the Traditionalist School – i.e. the concept of the Primordial Tradition – there is no real dichotomy between “science” and “tradition”. What you are addressing here David is the cultural or temporal traditions, who are in contradistinction with the Primordial Tradition. While we may argue what Guénon and Schuon actually meant with “Primordial” I easily may see that Leslie’s definition of “Core Magic” fits this concept nicely. Take away all the temporal and cultural coats from any tradition (the peeling of an onion) and you will see the true and underlaying (i.e. primordial) tradition or core emerging.

    The Traditionalist School stresses the perennial perspective on tradition and religion – something our guest anon troll shivers at and calling “syncretism” – and that is why Lesie’s contribution to our investigation is so important, and in fact very much in line with the Traditionalist perspective. So in my humble opinion “Core magic”, “universalism” and the “primordial tradition” are all synonyms concepts.


  3. As long as I deal with trolls and keep an eye on their behavior, I have come to a conclusion:

    Many of these people try to obtain what they don't have; and since they can't give anything valuable in exchange, they just insist on talking points and it doesn't matter how hard they receive back, they won't get it.

    I am the kind of person who doesn't allow bullshit to pass my boundaries but these guys are really funny. At first, they are the bullies, and when we stand up on then, they don't have nothing else to bring to the table but just talking points.

    They don't even try to hide their own ignorance.


    Here in sthe Alpha Omega we have been actually enjoying an unusual couple of weeks of peace and quiet after having handed the McGoldenDawn Team Inquisition their asses over the last two months every single time they attacked our order with their ridiculous Witch Hunt against our order. We should have known that peace and quiet in the Golden Dawn community would not last very long.

    Surely enough, racist SRIA operative and McGD Chief Inquisitor Peregrin Wildoak today fired the first salvo of the renewal of the McGoldenDawn Witch Hunt against the AO when he wrote:

    "Though I am likely to invoke the wrath of a few anti-Christian nutters out there, it is quite clear that the sources for modern western magic developed within the Christian milieu."

    Granted, the article he wrote this in is not that bad and this is the only veiled attack. The article reads like he fully intended just to write a good article, but the devil on his shoulder got the best of him at the last minute. He just couldn't resist the temptation to throw a disguised little Witch Hunt jab in there. Witn McFarrell style deniability as well, of course.

    First off, let me point out the absurdity of the above statement. Although it is true that the Golden Dawn is indeed a reformulation of ancient Egyptian mysteries using a preponderance of Christian symbols, Kabbalah certainly did not evolve in a Christian milieu, nor did the ancient Egyptian mysteries themselves. Peregrin also ignores that there is a Papal Bull forbidding Magic.

    More insidious than all of this, however, is Peregrin's statement that he is likely to invoke "the wrath of a few anti-Christian nutters."

    Like Nick Farrell (3rd Grand Ancient of the anti-Semitic "Order of the Rose and Cross), racist SRIA member, Peregrin, uses vague statements for propaganda.

    In this case, Peregrin is trying to dismiss all of the recent revelations proving that both Peregrin's SRIA and Farrell's OR+C are rabidly racist and anti-Semitic organisations trying to control the Golden Dawn redefine modern Rosicrucianism as a "Christians only" affair.

    Of course, anyone who opposes this racist nonsense, in McGD Team Inquisition's Coach Peregrin's playbook is merely an "anti-Christian nutter."

    Actually, it is Peregrin's religiously bigoted SRIA and Farrell's racist OR+C that are the "anti-Semitic and anti-Pagan nutters."

    Just because one opposed anti-Semitism, as well as racism against Pagans and Muslims does not make one an "anti-Christian nutter" no matter what kind of twisted spin Coach Peregrin weaves.

    1. McWildoak has been showing his obsessive need to attack us in many of his recent articles. There is often a short paragraph of sniping. On occasion he has even written an entire article just to score some imaginary point against us without actually naming us. Ha ha. Poor Slime Troll must have a bad headache...

      I imagine his SRIA controllers are pulling his strings so hard he has difficulty concentrating.

      There is nothing anti-Christian about AO. It is just unfortunate that it happens to be Trinitarian Christians who are attempting to become a "Third Order" and rewrite esoteric history with a Christian gloss.

      We would oppose ANY such attempt from ANY organisation. In this instance we happen to be resisting a "Christians only" spin.

      So in the la la land of McWildoak that is nutty? He may be surprised to find out just how many DO oppose this Religious takeover bid - this isn't just an AO concern any longer...

    2. Peregrin Wildoak wrote today: “ is quite clear that the sources for modern western magic developed within the Christian milieu. The background and backbone of many modern traditions, Rosicrucianism was started by heterodox Christians and is replete with Christian imagery and mysteries. This is a different thing to saying modern western magic is Christian.”

      I wonder, does Mr. Wildoak believe that it was Christians who invented Magic (Theurgy) and Alchemy? And that it later developed into a non-Christian or pagan tradition? At least that is how I read that sentence.

      Actually the reverse is true to what Mr. Wildoak is saying; the Christian tradition emerged from the pagan. Both alchemy and magic stems from the Chaldean and Egyptian pagan traditions, later distilled through the Greek and subsequently Hellenistic pagan traditions into the Hermetic, Neo-Platonic and Gnostic schools of late antiquity and early medieval era.

      In time the monotheistic religions absorbed parts of these streams, which later emerged as the Hebrew Qabalah, Esoteric or Gnostic Christianity, and the Islamic Sufi traditions. Thus the esoteric undercurrents of these three monotheistic religions developed more “pagan” traits compared to their exoteric cousins.

      Christianity originally emerged as a mainly Gnostic and Esoteric tradition, or mystery religion, being under a heavy influence of the Alexandrian schools of thought that was current during the first Century AD, thus having many similarities with the contemporary Neo-Platonic, as well as proto-Qabalistic groups of the Middle East. With time more exoteric forms of devotion and theology emerged in the Christian community, and after the Church council of Nicaea in AD 325 the original Esoteric Christian current finally was suppressed and forced to go underground.

      Compared to the Jewish faith, the Christian sects originally nurtured many ideas that were leaning towards paganism, such as the use of iconography, the concept of hypostases, the belief in a redeeming man-god, etc. Thus in the Christian tradition you will find many pagan concepts. This is why it was so easily appropriated by the Hermetic Adepts, who used its imagery to veil their basically pagan magical and alchemical traditions.

      To be continued...

    3. (Continued.)

      It is true that Rosicrucianism was founded by Christians. And yes, they were church-goers (which for all practical concerns were mandatory). And although some of them were pious and devout as seen by the Church, most were only as nominally exoteric Christians. In their small circles they professed a faith that was nothing as the one taught by the Church. Thus here I agree with Mr. Wildoak that they were “heterodox”. But I dare to propose that they were even more than this; that they were antinomian and would had been considered to be heretical by the Church if overheard by the clerics. Some of them were burned at the stake for their beliefs when being to outspoken, such as Giordano Bruno. Many others were imprisoned, such as Tommaso Campanella. Even our own hero John Dee was incarcerated because of his occult practices.

      The Rosicrucians were certainly not “trinitarian Christian” as that term is normally defined, even if they did believe in the hypostases (remember that the concept of Father, Son and the Holy Ghost were a Gnostic concept originally). But the theology or theosophy cannot be compared to the official approved teachings of the Church. They rather belonged to the undercurrent of the Esoteric Christian tradition, and Gnostic even, that had survided since AD 325.

      Thus, contrary to what Mr. Wildoak wants you to believe, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® is not “anti-Christian” at all. On the contrary, it encourages an Esoteric Christian magical pursuit for its Christian oriented members. To be an Esoteric Christian implies studying the Christian symbolism also in the context of its pagan and Hermetic roots. An Esoteric Christian doesn’t believe Christianity to be the only and true religion, nor does he consider himself to be chosen by God in virtue of his Christian faith. On the contrary, he believes the Christian religion, its symbolism and mythology, to the latest version of the mystery of the dying god. An Esoteric Christian can invoke the god-form of Osiris as easily as he invokes the name of Jesus.

      Thus true Rosicrucianism has nothing to do with concepts as expressed on the web page of the S.R.I.A. schismatic Order of the Rose and Cross back in 2007.

      A true Rosicrucian would never interpret the teachings of the New Testament in this literal and exoteric fashion. As his Gnostic ancestors he interprets the Book of Revelation as a analogy, as a metaphor for spiritual and primarily internal processes.

      Contrary to what what Mr. Wildoak believes, Rosicrucianism isn’t primarily a Christian tradition; it definitely isn’t a Trinitarian Christian tradition. It is a Hermetic tradition steeped in Christian symbolism. It presents the alchemical tradition using Christian mythology, as well as Greek. In short it uses the current cultural context to explain its ancient teachings.


  5. You're flailing Dave

  6. @ Anonymous

    Every time that an anonymous SRIA troll like you tries to reduce our order to an order with only one member, you insult every single member of our order.

    Nice try, John Paternoster! But we all know that it is YOU the only member of the SRIA, and not the other way around ;-)

  7. Wildoak writes in his blog article:

    "Though I am likely to invoke the wrath of a few anti-Christian nutters out there, it is quite clear that the sources for modern western magic developed within the Christian milieu."

    Wildoak's statement that the sources for modern western magic developed within the Christian Milieu cannot stand uncontested, because it is incorrect.

    The "sources" for modern western magic depend from much more ancient sources than that of the "Christian milieu." Because, however, of the reality defining hegemony that exoteric Christianity attempted by the use sword and fire, much "western magic" was protectively clothed in Christian symbolism so as to not appear from other than a Christian source.

    At least that is my understanding.

    Exoteric Christianity has invaded cultures and then subsumed those cultures' myths and spiritual practices to make it appear as if the literalized Christian myth preceeded all else.

    And that is what Wildoak does here.

    It does not take an "anti-Christian nutter" to see this.

  8. @ SV

    Peregrin is just continuing the SRIA program of "ethnic clensing" of all Jews, Muslims, and Pagans from the Rosicrucian tradition.

    Take a stand against this Christian Identity interpretation of the Rosicrucian mysteries, and the SRIA trolls label you an "anti-Christian nutter."

    Quite insidious, really.

    Sorry, Peregrin, but SRIA racism and the OR+C anti-Semitism of Nick Farrell and other McGoldenDawn leaders will not stand.

    The Alpha Omega has defeated this "Christians only" nonsense and will always protect the Rosicrucian tradition for participation by Jews, Pagans, and Muslims as well as Christians as well as for those of minority races, sexual or political orientations.

    The Golden Dawn will never fall to the SRIA's evil "Christians only" brand of Rosicrucianism!

  9. It surprises me that such nonsense is even being written. I do expect better of Team Inquisition. Have they really never heard of the Emerald Tablet? Do they think that derives from a Christian milieu?

    Of course the anti-Christian slur is more typical from their ilk. They seem to be obsessed with inserting their Religion into other people's Hermeticism.

    When we say that Hermeticism is open to ALL as it is not a Religion, they seem to lose their cool and set off on some rant or other.

    We have Christians of various persuasions inside our Order - but that shouldn't be relevant to anyone.

    McWildoak has ruined what could have stood as a decent article. Sad.

  10. I understand that the trolls questions and accusations merely challenge us to forge forward allowing ourselves the priviledge of being different and at the same time by being challenged it reveals the possible weaknesses that can be strengthened.