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Sunday, November 18, 2012

RITUAL MAGIC 101: Invocation and the Middle Pillar

NEW Series!

Discussion 1:
Invocation and the Middle Pillar

by Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin

There has recently been an interesting discussion on the Golden Dawn Yahoo Forum regarding the correct order of parts of ritual when using Golden Dawn magic. For example, I was asked about whether one should banish before or after the Rite of the Middle Pillar. You can read my answer here.

Today a Golden Dawn Forum reader emailed me an answer to a similar question written by Donald Michael Kraig. I found Don's answer fascinating and thought provoking as it underscores some of the different methods used by the Alpha Omega and other Golden Dawn orders.

"Catanzarocritters" asked:
"Should the middle pillar be done before or after an invocation?" - Catanzarocritters
Donald Michael Kraig replied on the Magical Working Group in message 19138:
"If you were alive 100 years ago and nobody who could answer that question was around, what would you do? 
Many people just gave up. Other did what, IMO, is at the foundation of magick and alchemy: they experimented. 
Try doing the MP before your invocation. Keep accurate records of the situation going in, how you felt about the ritual, and the results.  
Do this repeatedly for a minimum of a week and perhaps as long as six weeks or more. 
Then try doing the MP after your invocation. Again, keep accurate records of the situation going in, how you felt about the ritual, and the results. Do this repeatedly for a minimum of a week and perhaps as long as six weeks or more. 
Finally, compare your results. Which worked the best for you? 
I would suggest that magick evolves and improves when we're all scientific explorers, not when we only follow what is written in a book as if it had been chiseled in stone. 
That being said, for me, doing the MP before an invocation works better." - Donald Michael Kraig
I agree 100% with Don Kraig that there is no "right" and "wrong" way of doing things when it comes to Ritual Magic. Don is right on the money with this one.

First off, let's be clear that I am not saying the Alpha Omega is "right" - or that we are somehow "better" than other Golden Dawn orders - but we DO use different training methods.

The methods the Alpha Omega uses are specifically designed to facilitate our mission of making Magicians. These methods can accelerate your spiritual and energetic growth and make YOU a magician as well - faster and easier.

The advice in the above post typifies the "experimental method" recommended by most Golden Dawn orders - even for beginners:
"Try it one way and then the other and find out what works." 
This is great advice for advanced Magicians, like Adepts in the A.O.'s Second Order (master's level training).

Experimentation and innovation are indeed essential aspects of Magical practice for advanced, highly experienced Magicians. The “science” of magic is important - but should be done only after one has reached the doctoral stage of the Art.

I am all for using the scientific method to analyze ritual practice. However, I would not advocate that an undergraduate (Outer Order Student) attempt this form of ritual study. They are not in a position to interpret “what works.”

What does “works” even mean? How would I know it works? It feels good? Demons appear? I win the lottery? The bigger question is what is the intent? How would I even begin to know that my magic “works?” That is the real question. Once that is known, troubleshooting and creating ritual is easier.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega is the bachelor’s degree of Magic. Its primary purpose is to educate the aspiring magician in the required vocabulary, symbolism, and practices which are already established and proven to be effective.

The Master’s degree (Second Order level in the A.O.) is an applied approach to the science and/or art under consideration and prepares the student to do secondary research in one specific area of knowledge. The “master” is one who can take existing knowledge and apply it to new situations. Finally, the doctoral degree (Third Order level in the A.O.) is to learn the methods of primary research and obtain the skills to create new knowledge.

The Outer Order beginning student is at the bachelor stage. Undergraduates are not ready to do comparative research of sources. They don’t know enough, or have the skills required, to make informed choices.

This is why the work of a university (or Order) is required. It’s not that the undergraduate information isn’t already available and easy to find. It’s a progressive learning experience that removes the requirement of comparative research skills. 

The Order offers a controlled environment to gain this knowledge and learn these skills. An Order allows the student to focus on what to learn, when to learn it, and to have an expert proclaim “you have learned it!”

Experienced magicians do a disservice to beginning Magicians by encouraging everyone to start at the doctoral level of personal research. Any professor that tells a student to simply buy a bunch of books, compare what they have learned, and stick with what works, is doing no favors.

Magicians who take this approach are only delaying their growth. There are reasons universities require classically trained Ph.D’s to teach. There are reasons all religions have a school for training clergy.

Before anyone can write poetry, they first must not only learn their ABCs but even the rules of grammar, consonance and alliteration, etc. Rote memorization is not as much fun as writing poetry, but it is nonetheless essential preparation for future poets.

The same holds true for future Magicians. Where the methods of the Alpha Omega differ most drastically from other Golden Dawn orders is the thoroughness of our method teaching the fundamentals of Ritual Magic from day one in the H.O.G.D. (Outer Order, undergraduate level).

Astonishingly, the Alpha Omega is the only Golden Dawn order that teaches Ritual Magic to beginners from day one.

This makes no sense at all. Why make Golden Dawn students wait four or five years before giving them any training or supervision in Ritual Magic?

Golden Dawn students are practicing Ritual Magic anyway. Why on Earth should students be left hanging for years without any Magical training or support - while developing bad Magical habits that will have to be unlearned with great effort later? What is even the point of an Order then?

The training methods of the Alpha Omega are as different as night and day from this. In the Alpha Omega, we make Magicians - and we certainly do not expect beginners to try to figure stuff out on their own.

On the contrary, the A.O.'s First Order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, today offers the most thorough and demanding training in Ritual Magic anywhere in the world.

I have seen the disastrous results of the "experiment for yourself" approach for aspiring Magicians over and over. Every day, students come to the Alpha Omega with bad habits so ingrained in their Magical practice, it will take months, if not years, to correct. This is why we provide thorough training, guidance, coaching and support in Ritual Magic from day one.

In the A.O., we do not advise beginners to "experiment for themselves" as though they were already advanced Magicians. In the Alpha Omega, we teach Ritual Magic with the proven teaching methods used at Universities. 

We expect our H.O.G.D. Undergraduate students to study and master the fundamentals of Magical practice precisely the way we teach them, as is the norm for Undergraduate education.


Throughout the academic world, udergraduates are required to master course curriculum in the manner each Professor requires it. This does not mean that there are not other methods or that experimentation has no value. Experimention and innovation certainly do have their places, especially when writing a doctoral thesis. These things do not belong in the beginner's level though, as undergraduates are not properly trained in comparative research methods.

At the undergraduate level, what really counts is that the Professor has a method that works, and effectively transmits to students the fundamental abilities they will need for more advanced studies. This can not be done properly by expecting students to use post-graduate methods at an undergraduate level.

Judging from the magical advice given in the post that prompted this exploration, it appears there is an even more fundamental difference between methods used by the Alpha Omega and other G.D. orders. This should not be surprising, since different Golden Dawn orders have different goals for their students.

In the Alpha Omega, we are clear that our mission is to make Magicians. We therefore use teaching methods that help us make Magicians faster and more effectively.

In the Alpha Omega, our goal in making Magicians is for our students to eventually complete the Opus Magnum, or Great Work. This we understand according to its classic meaning in the Hermetic tradition - the cultivation of a Solar Body of Light, with its attendent higher consciousness through energetic evolution. In short, the Alpha Omega teaches how to "grow Soul" using Ritual Magic and Alchemy.


Thus, according to the mission of the Alpha Omega and our spiritual goals for our students, when it comes to the question:

"Should the Middle Pillar be done before or after an invocation?" ...

We teach beginning students that the Rite of the Middle Pillar should be used AFTER an invocation. The reason we do this has to do with both the function of the Rite of the Middle Pillar and of Invocation for spiritual development seen as energetic "Soul" growth.

In the Hermetic tradition, "Soul" is not some abstract concept. It is our energetic essence that survives death, which lies dormant and undeveloped in the vast majority of human beings.


The method to accomplish this energetic awakening lies hidden in the initiation rituals of the Elemental Grades of the Golden Dawn's outer order, which are still consistently used all across the Golden Dawn community.


Using these initiations, the Magical Forces of elemental Earth, Air, Water, and Fire are awakened in the Initiate's "Sphere of Sensation" (energetic body, or "Soul") one at a time, then balanced and equilibrated with the element of Spirit in the Golden Dawn's Portal Grade.

The Golden Dawn's system of Ritual Magic does not stop there, however, and neither does beginner's training in the Alpha Omega.

Golden Dawn Ritual Magic systematically awakens in the energetic "Soul" body, not only the Magical Forces of the Elements, but also of the Planets, the Zodiacal signs, and of the Sephiroth.


In the Alpha Omega, we use this system of Astrological Magic as the primary tool for energetic "Soul" growth for beginning Magicians in our First Order (undergradute level).

In this system, the Rite of the Middle Pillar serves to strengthen the energetic "Soul" by charging it with LVX energy (called chi, kundalini, etc. in the East).


The purpose of systematic and repeated invocation of Magical Forces (Elements, Planets, etc.) in Ritual Magic, is to awaken and balance all the celestial Forces in the energetic "Soul" of the Golden Dawn Magician.

Therefore, the Alpha Omega teaches the Rite of the Middle Pillar should be used following invocation, in order to effectively strengthen the invoked (awakened) Magical Force in the energetic "Soul" of the candidate.

The systematic awakening of the celestial Forces in the energetic "Soul" of the Magician is symbolized by the Rose of Spirit (the energetic "Soul") blossoming upon the Cross of Matter (the physical body).


This is the true, occult meaning of the word Rosicrucian. Thus, the Alpha Omega is seen as a true Rosicrucian order in the most traditional sense of the word. Our Magical and Alchemical methods for spiritual, energetic "Soul" growth are authentic, traditional methods used by the historical Rosicrucian tradition since the beginning.

In conclusion, I am not saying there are no other ways of working with Golden Dawn Magic. There is a difference in the methods used, however, from one Golden Dawn order to the other, as well as in our respective training goals.

In the Alpha Omega, our training methods are geared for our goal to make Magicians and for our students to fully cultivate their immortal Solar bodies. This why, unlike other Golden Dawn orders, the A.O. teaches students Ritual Magic from day one. It is also why our entire Magical and Alchemical Curriculum is finely honed for the fastest and easiest energetic "Soul growth" possible.

I am not saying the Alpha Omega is superior to other Golden Dawn or Rosicrucian orders. We merely have different goals - and as a consequence - we use different training methods.

Click HERE to explore our Ritual Magic training program for beginners, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Alpha Omega
We don't just hand out grades ...
We make Magicians!

11 comments:

  1. G.H. Frater LeS,

    This is an excellent explanation on why students must go under a systematic system of grades.

    Some people specially solitary magicians and outsiders ask "what's the big deal of the grades?" I have been tempted to write something like this but your extensive lecture is more than good.

    One thing I have noticed in many outsiders, even solitary practitioners of the GD, is that they don't belong to Orders because ego is a hug obstacle in the acceptance of a structured hierarchy of an Organization; and therefore they believe they are experts in whatever they do.

    The grades have their place in any field of training that humans get involved; or, would someone send his/her child to High School when they even haven't finished Elementary? just that simple example, is good enough to make someone understand the "big deal of the grades".

    Great explanation, thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Superb explanation. Coming at this from an Oriental Alchemy perspective:

    Clean your utensils before making a meal -
    Banish;

    First put the food into the Cauldron - INvocation;

    Then feed the Fire and cook the food (the Cauldron will also need Water adding) -
    e.g. Middle Pillar...

    The subtle oils and aromas from the cooking food attract both Higher and Lower creatures -
    Banish!

    [Experimentalism still needs logic to guide it, however advanced we may think we are.]

    LVX

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I felt that this was a very good topic. It was a point that expressed some very good details.I loved the topic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In the Alpha Omega, our goal in making Magicians is for our students to eventually complete the Opus Magnum, or Great Work. This we understand according to its classic meaning in the Hermetic tradition - the cultivation of a Solar Body of Light, with its attendent higher consciousness through energetic evolution. In short, the Alpha Omega teaches how to "grow Soul" using Ritual Magic and Alchemy. In the Hermetic tradition, "Soul" is not some abstract concept. It is our energetic essence that survives death, which lies dormant and undeveloped in the vast majority of human beings.

    Indeed it looks like the same goal of Christianity, albeit using different methods (development of Will and balancing of spiritual forces as I understand it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The method to accomplish this energetic awakening lies hidden in the initiation rituals of the Elemental Grades of the Golden Dawn's outer order, which are still consistently used all across the Golden Dawn community. Using these initiations, the Magical Forces of elemental Earth, Air, Water, and Fire are awakened in the Initiate's "Sphere of Sensation" (energetic body, or "Soul") one at a time, then balanced and equilibrated with the element of Spirit in the Golden Dawn's Portal Grade. The Golden Dawn's system of Ritual Magic does not stop there, however, and neither does beginner's training in the Alpha Omega. Golden Dawn Ritual Magic systematically awakens in the energetic "Soul" body, not only the Magical Forces of the Elements, but also of the Planets, the Zodiacal signs, and of the Sephiroth. In the Alpha Omega, we use this system of Astrological Magic as the primary tool for energetic "Soul" growth for beginning Magicians in our First Order (undergradute level).

    I wonder: why did we lose balance in the first place, if we all proceed from the same Essence or Heavenly Father? Are we actually the "fallen angels"? What are we doing here on the material level? Why were we born here? Why is there evil, suffering, death, wars, natural disasters, etc.? Alright, too many questions I concede. It would be interesting if you might do a comparative discussion of these from the points of view of Christianity and the Hermetic tradition.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In this system, the Rite of the Middle Pillar serves to strengthen the energetic "Soul" by charging it with LVX energy (called chi, kundalini, etc. in the East). The purpose of systematic and repeated invocation of Magical Forces (Elements, Planets, etc.) in Ritual Magic, is to awaken and balance all the celestial Forces in the energetic "Soul" of the Golden Dawn Magician. Therefore, the Alpha Omega teaches the Rite of the Middle Pillar should be used following invocation, in order to effectively strengthen the invoked (awakened) Magical Force in the energetic "Soul" of the candidate. The systematic awakening of the celestial Forces in the energetic "Soul" of the Magician is symbolized by the Rose of Spirit (the energetic "Soul") blossoming upon the Cross of Matter (the physical body).

    Interesting. I wonder what is the correlation with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is very informative and educative as well.but, how could someone who is in some part of west Africa (Nigeria) join the GOLDEN DAWN?

    ReplyDelete
  9. in regards to initiation how could someone in Nigeria join the G D?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have a great love to Join the brotherhood of the GD but am curious
    of how i will be receiving my study materials and how i can be
    initiated into the brotherhood of the GD.
    I also want to ask if it will be possible for the brotherhood to open
    a temple here in Nigeria, because a lot of people are interested in
    joining the Order but unable to as result of it not being here in
    Nigeria.
    It will be my greatest joy if the temple comes to Nigeria.

    May the Cosmic illuminate your parth the more.
    So Mote It!

    ReplyDelete

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