Friday, May 24, 2013

ISIS RISING: Pagan Magick, Anthropology, and Christian Mysticism

by Anthropologist-Initiate
HPS Leslie McQuade Griffin

The difference between magick and mysticism is clear, as they have two completely different methodologies to achieve the same goal. 

Mysticism involves emptying one’s self and asking for a hand up.  Magick pulls one up by one’s own bootstraps, transforming through hard work.  Now how would YOU like to say you entered the next life? 

This is not a matter of pride,  but rather a matter of inclination.  Some people are naturally inclined towards a mystical path and others toward the Magical one.  You see successful vegetarians just as often as you see successful non-vegetarians.  I am most certainly NOT saying that one is better than the other.  These are simply two among several ways of achieving immortality.

Christianity has taken the Egyptian symbols and attempted to claim them for their own.  How peculiar.  When studying geology, I was taught that what comes first in time is oldest.  It is so simple and true that the same ideas are transferred to archaeology and to history.  It forms the basis of modern patent law.  If something came first, it is older than what comes after.  Why, if there is the imago of a goddess breastfeeding a child on her lap, do the Christians call Mary a Holy Mother, but call Isis, who is older and shown in the same manner, a Pagan idol?  This is the Christian attempt to coopt Egyptian symbols and claim for their own.  How can it be more clear?

And the Egyptians did not have a monopoly of the use of this image. Women have been breastfeeding infants since before we were human. One look at a mother gorilla or chimpanzee should sufficiently evidence that.  Divine motherhood is a human archetype, and not the exclusive providence of ANY faith, but most certainly a Pagan symbol long before a Christian one.  Those that claim otherwise can only be described as Historical Revisionists.

Already, in the 1533 translation of The Golden Ass, we find a confusion between Magick and Mysticism.

In the middle of the second paragraph of the third chapter we read:
“Verily shee is a Magitian, which hath power to rule the heavens, to bringe downe the sky, to beare up the earth, to turne the waters into hills and the hills into running waters, to lift up the terrestrial spirits into the aire, and to pull the gods out of the heavens, to extinguish the planets, and to lighten the deepe darknesse of hell. Then sayd I unto Socrates, Leave off this high and mysticall kinde of talke, and tell the matter in a more plaine and simple fashion. “
She is clearly described as a Magitian (sic.), and yet rather than say “Leave off this hight and magickal kinde of talke”, the respondent conflates magic and mysticism by calling  it “mysticall kinde of talke”.  To make the matter more clear, it is as if one person is telling the story of a baseball player, but the person listening to the story says he isn’t interested in hearing a story about cricket!

This exact type of conflation has been going on between adherents of the different schools of immortality for millennia. I find it amazing that in this modern age of science, no anthropologist before me who has been willing to set vainglory aside and swear myself to secrecy for the chance to learn from actual initiates who have carried the initiatic tradition from the Pagan past to our digital present. 

As someone trained in the participant observer method of ethnography, and the experimental method in archaeology, I understand how critical personal experience is in the understanding of certain concepts within social science. 

It is no accident that 100% of the world’s cultures have concepts such as God, Goddess, afterlife, soul, and transcendence.  What is interesting is the number of otherwise good anthropologists who are unwilling to make the conceptual leap from the position of an outside observer to a full participant in the esoteric milieu of the culture being studied.

Many times, those who do are relegated to the derogatory status of  “gone native” or “true believer”.  Granted this has not always been the case.  It only seems to be the case when people are studying Magick and Witchcraft. 

Anthropological journals are teeming with stories about the mystical traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, et cetera.  The people who go native into these mystical traditions are lauded.  Go native into a Magickal tradition, which are most usually Pagan and pre-Christian, and the response is completely different.

This is because of the alleged lack of reliable, repeatable, verifiable data.  This argument quickly devolves into a chest-bumping contest between who has the oldest or most documents. 

In fact, much of the documentation the detractors of Pagan continuance demand is incredibly hypocritical. Do Christians not remember the burning of the library of Alexandria?

The great library of Alexandria contained the best works of Pagan science, Magick, literature, medicine, music and the like.  How can we produce documents, which the people who are demanding we produce them know perfectly well that they themselves burned them?

Moreover, the Christian Emperor Jovian, in 364, ordered the entire Library of Antioch to be burned because it had been stocked with the aid of his non-Christian predecessor, Emperor Julian.

Are they not laughing in our faces, O dear Pagan brothers and sisters!

Laughing in our faces that they have convinced us to distrust the spoken word in favor of documents that have systematically been destroyed for centuries.

During the time when we did still have access to people trained in the spoken word, they began a campaign of destruction and torture to shut our mouths forever.  Do you realize just how many inquisitions there were?

And how in the world have we come to a time when even respected academics set aside historical fact for political expediency by denying their reality?  Lucky the Jews are still with us today with proof of the depraved ends to which some will go to suppress the truths of others.  Even today, there are those who actively deny the truth of the Holocaust, or worse still, seek to minimize and downplay the underlying horror such an event represents.

Jews are our closest brothers and sisters as many of the Egyptian initiatic mysteries were translated into their tongue and preserved through the centuries, albeit filtered through their own cultural matrix. 

Initiates also hid themselves within Christianity itself, transmuting the ancient Egyptian symbols into versions easily hidden in the symbols and tenants of the new, aggressive faith for re-emergence when the time was both safe and right.

As has been demonstrated by my Italian Pagan informant, Dianus del Bosco Sacro, in his article, “The Great Rite, Hermeticism and the Shamanic-Pagan Tradition of the Sacred Forest of Nemi,” these same initiatic mysteries can be found preserved encoded in divergent symbol systems across centuries, from the frescoes of the Villa of the Mysteries of ancient Pompeii to the symbols of Hermetic alchemy, only to reappear in Leland’s “Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches.” [Fenris Wolf V: Journal for Magical Anthropology, Stockholm 2013]

Today, with the opening of the Alpha Omega’s “Egyptian College of Isis,” the initiatic mysteries of Egypt divest themselves of disguises needed to survive two millennia of Christianity.

Today, the mysteries of the Great Mother Goddess, Isis, step forward from dark places, so shine forth again with long forgotten brilliance.

Today, Isis, Lady of Magick and Goddess of 10,000 names, reclaims her rightful throne as Queen of Heaven.

High Priestess Leslie McQuade Griffin
Egyptian College of Isis
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega

Click HERE to explore our Outer Order, undergraduate level Magical training program, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn!


  1. This is very interested. Petition Request Letter Of Recommendation.

  2. Good writing! and very impressive...

  3. It is interesting that you bring up the lack of verifiable and repeatable data regarding paganism, it's practices and symbolism. Even though we don't have any current library burnings going, a modern version of library destruction is going on. Last week in the Wild Hunt Blog an ongoing discussion about the deletion of articles on a popular information website, about pagan leaders, in particular, was highlighted. The cited reason for the removal of articles about a few modern, pagan leaders, was that they were deleted because of the lack of verifiable and accepted sources of information. It also appears that one of the editors is involved in deleting the articles for discriminatory reasons too. History is important, preserving it is important. By preserving our pagan history we don't allow the "victors" to re-write, delete or discount our history. That being said, that goes for any spiritual, religious or magical tradition.So much has been lost because one religion seeks to eradicate all others. There is no victory for any group when they must eradicate other voices. The destruction of another culture, or religion doesn't prove the rightness of the victors, only their military might and the weakness of their position; the fear that the "other" may be able to prove them wrong. Reclaiming our history and standing up for it is not saying, your religion is wrong, it is saying only, this is "US" our history, we will not be ignored, belittled or written out of history.

  4. We are fortunate to be alive at a time when these Mysteries can once again be broadcast. This is an event of great importance - far more so than we may yet realize.

  5. The difference between magick and mysticism is clear, as they have two completely different methodologies to achieve the same goal. Mysticism involves emptying one’s self and asking for a hand up. Magick pulls one up by one’s own bootstraps, transforming through hard work. Now how would YOU like to say you entered the next life? This is not a matter of pride, but rather a matter of inclination. Some people are naturally inclined towards a mystical path and others toward the Magical one. You see successful vegetarians just as often as you see successful non-vegetarians. I am most certainly NOT saying that one is better than the other. These are simply two among several ways of achieving immortality.

    Shouldn't both methods be complementary to each other? Or instead, are they mutually exclusive? If so, why? As I see it, in the mystical path, asking for a hand up is concurrent with the belief in God the Father, i.e., an intimate relationship with a Heavenly Father. I often wonder: magicians reject a Heavenly Father? Where do they draw their "energy" from? What is Kether or Ayn Soph, other than the Heavenly Father of Jews or Christians? Do I get it wrong? Thanks.