CONTENTS / QUICK FIND:
- An Open Letter Concerning The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn. By R.A. Gilbert
- Discernment and The Christian Magician. By Fr. C.R. Sephiroth
- Bad Apples by the Truckload: A Response to One Bad Apple: A Commentary." by GHFr. Pneuma Asteros; Order President.
- AMER Pamphlet, "What is AMER," Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions,St. Louis, MO.
- AMER Pamphlet, "AMER Presents: The Truth About Ritual Sacrifice," Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions, St. Louis, MO.
- AMER Pamphlet, "AMER Presents: The Truth About Ritualized Child Abuse," Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions, St. Louis, MO.
- Christian Magicians on the Internet and The Fiat LVX e-List by ASr. Sophia Helena; Evanston, IL.
- The Christian Kabbalah - Part 1 of 2. By Ms. C. M. Smith; GA.
- Liturgical Calendar (Apr. 1996 - Sep. 1996) With Events.
AN OPEN LETTER CONCERNING RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
IN THE HERMETIC ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DAWN
by R. A. Gilbert
Noted Author & Occult Historian
United Kingdom of Great Brittain.
The following is a letter from Mr. R.A. Gilbert, posted on the Internet in efforts to shed light on the G.D. controversy of recent times and to hopefully assist, in the efforts made, to cease the non-productive current 'wars'. The E-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org was used as the original vehicle for this letter to be made public. E-mail responses and/or posts will be forwarded to the author via the above e-mail address.
[President's Note: The "G.D. Open Letter" which was originally posted on Sat, 04 Nov. 1995 at 15:55:45 (PM) EST and published by The Order of The Astral Star in it's first issue of it's journal, The Crux Mystica on the Vernal Equinox (March) of 1996. On Nov. 19th, 1997, we removed the article for conservation as a courtesy to Mr. David Griffin of The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn Publishing. That action was taken as a result of a letter the Order received from Mr. David Griffin indicating his extreme displeasure concerning a number of statements which he felt were inaccurate and which made some personal attacks which were untrue and not merited by Mr. R. A. Gilbert. The Executive Council reviewed the matter, contacting both Mr. Griffin and Mr. Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert made appologies for making a number of remarks in the last paragraph of the article, and stated he would like it removed. Mr. Gilbert stood firmly on the primary focus of his article however. As an Order, we tended to agree with the main focus of Mr. Gilbert's perspectives on this particular issue, however we wish to state for the record that we hold no animosity towards Mr. Griffin or his Organization, and we wish him all the best, and are grateful for his continued professionalism. Again, we further note that the article is the opinion of the author Mr. R. A. Gilbert. Mr. Griffin was offered the opportunity to write a reply to the original article, however really did not wish to do so - as the article and conflict in question have long been resolved. Hence, this article has been changed from the manner in which it originally was published and appeared on our past websites. - GHFr. Pneuma Asteros; Chief Adept & President, OAS; Mar. 20, 1998.]
[Editor's. Note: The "G.D. Open Letter" was originally posted on Sat, 04 Nov. 1995 at 15:55:45 (PM) EST. The Order of The Astral Star first heard of this matter when one of our Friends in Richmond, VA asked our GHFr. Pneuma if he had read the "G.D. Manifesto" in the Fall 1995 issue of Gnosis. He had not. After obtaining a copy and reading the Manifesto, he shared it with several of us within the OAS. Many of the Members of the OAS had reservations concerning what had been stated in that manifesto. Mr. R. A. Gilbert is one of the finest scholars and true authorities concerning The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn alive today. He is the author of many fine works, including The Golden Dawn Companion, The Magical Mason, The Sorcerer and His Apprentice, and The Golden Dawn: Twilight of The Magicians, and many other important works. It should be noted that Mr. R.A. Gilbert, nor "Salaman" are members of The Order of The Astral Star, nor are they involved with our organization in any way, shape or form. We came across Mr. Gilbert's letter and thought that it was the clearest, most illuminated piece of writing on the subject that we had read, and we then sought and received permission to print it here in The Crux Mystica for those members and interested persons who do not have computer internet access. We gratefully acknowledge and thank Mr. Gilbert for his kind considerations, and wish him every success in his future ventures. - VHSr. Caveat Anima.]
THE G.D. OPEN LETTER
To Whom It May Concern:
It has been brought to my attention that there is currently much controversy over the Golden Dawn being posted on the Internet. From what I have seen of it there is fiction and vitriol in approximately equal amounts, but precious little fact. Does no-one using the Internet possess any real knowledge of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn?
I ought first to post my own credentials. I work with the Kabbalah, but within the Rosicrucian mystical tradition as opposed to the strictly magical tradition, and I am not a practicing magician within the Golden Dawn or any other magical system. That said, I bow to no-one over matters concerning the history of the Order, about which more nonsense has been written by would-be practitioners of the Golden Dawn system than about almost anything else in the hermetic field. It is my privilege to be the librarian for two esoteric societies whose early members were closely linked with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and thus to be the custodian of many of the earliest documents of the Order from the time of its foundation in 1888 by William Wynn Westcott, with W.R. Woodman and S.L. Mathers as his Co-Chiefs.
In addition I have unrestricted access to the 'Private Collection' utilized by the late Ellic Howe in his researches on the Order, and thus to the original Cipher Manuscripts and to the 'Anna Sprengel' letters. I may say that when I comment on any of these documents I speak with an authority that is denied to ANYONE ELSE WHOMSOEVER. But I do not take a proprietary attitude; as a custodian of these archives it is my duty to ensure that they are made available to all true followers of the Western Mystery Tradition. Thus, for the sake of preserving and propagating this tradition, in both its theoretical and its practical and ritual expression, I am happy to provide copies of ANY of the historical and administrative documents relating to the origins and early years of the Golden Dawn to any genuine inquirer.
That these documents are made available is the more necessary given the current farrago of nonsense arising from the absurd claims of Mr. David Griffin, as printed in his 'Manifesto' that appeared in GNOSIS (Fall 1995 issue). If this 'Manifesto' is to be believed Mr. Griffin looks upon himself as the true heir of the Rosicrucians of the 17th century, and sees the titles 'Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn' and 'Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis' as in some sense being trademarks of his own organization. This is utter nonsense.
The original Order ceased to exist in 1903, when it split into several factions, and the only persons even remotely entitled to claim exclusive use of the First and Second Order names would be the legal heirs and assigns of the Chiefs at the time of the split. Not one of the current crop of would-be Chiefs is in that position and their only justification for using the name of the Golden Dawn at all is that they practice a system of initiatory and magical rituals similar to, or derived from, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as it worked between 1888 and 1903. They cannot claim any kind of 'apostolic succession', for if they derive from Regardie then they should bear in mind that he had been a member of the Hermes Temple of the Stella Matutina, but was never a Chief of that Order, while any descent from Felkin's Whare Ra Temple in New Zealand is scarcely less tenuous given the extensive revision of the rituals used.
Mr. Griffin's 'succession' is supposedly from Regardie, which vitiates his claim to possess 'the unpublished Initiation Rituals for each grade of the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis', for Regardie had no rituals beyond those of the Adeptus Minor Grade until he received from me the Adeptus Major ritual of the Independent and Rectified Rite of the Golden Dawn (NOT, as he mistakenly states, of the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross) and published it in The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic.
Whatever authority Regardie had to work the rituals of grades above that of Adeptus Minor, and to advance initiates to such grades, he must necessarily have arrogated to himself for there was no-one then living who was duly qualified to give him such authority. All other would-be Chiefs of putative Temples of latter-day versions of the Golden Dawn are in similar position: they have no other authority save their own.
This, of course, is of little consequence, for the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was merely a human invention, manufactured and ruled by men: men possessed of an unrivaled talent for expressing the essence of the Western Mystery Tradition in symbolic and ritual form, but nonetheless MEN. They were not super-human Secret Chiefs, nor even German lady adepts, for Anna Sprengel (Soror Sapiens Dominabitur Astris) was no more than a figment of Westcott's imagination.
I have labored these points in order to emphasize that any claim to exclusive rights over the name and working of the Hermetic Order of the Golden dawn, or of the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, is a nonsense. It would be impossible to copyright any of the names and titles associated with the Golden Dawn in the United Kingdom as they have all been in the public domain for many years, and if any such action is undertaken in the United States of America, then it ought to be done solely in order to keep them out of partisan hands by granting their general public use.
Nor is there any historical basis for claims of exclusivity, and the only justification for using the name of either Order is that the person or persons concerned should have founded or perpetuated an Order that remains true to the ethos and working of the original Golden Dawn. In this sense both Mr. Zalewski and Mr. Cicero are genuine practitioners of the Golden Dawn system - as can be seen from their published work and from the evidence of their colleagues.
I have stated that I am willing to make historical and administrative documents available to genuine inquirers, but I should add that copies of ritual and expository texts must necessarily be restricted to those who can demonstrate that they have both a moral and spiritual right to access. With which frustrating statement I take my leave.
Sub umbra alarum tuarum, Yeheshua
Robert A. Gilbert,
31 October 1995
DISCERNMENT AND THE CHRISTIAN MAGICIAN
by Fr. C. R. Sephiroth
The world around us is constantly in a state of flux. Science and technology are moving at an ever alarming rate. The moral values and standards that were once unquestioningly accepted are no longer widely embraced. Increasingly the religious methods of Western society, once immovable foundations of culture are often hastily cast aside, questioned, or attacked sometimes because of their antiquity and sometimes merely out of rebellion.
With the explosion in the last few years of esoteric and mystical religious paths into the public arena comes more ready access to information on building an intimate relationship with God and the Universe. However with the prodigious plethora of paths comes a cacophony of conflicting concepts. Exploring the esoteric traditions offers us a powerful method of establishing a unique personal relationship with the Divine Lover. However, moral and spiritual relativism that pervades the New Age Movement threatens to lead us not to that ultimate union but lure us into the side streets of spiritual debauchery.
Even more than the common person, the esotericist must develop a keen sense of discrimination to wade through all the voices not only of today but of ages past. Is there any way to sort through these voices? Is there only the inner gnosis or has God provided us a clear way to know His truth?
Our response as students of esoteric tradition is that the diligent seeker will find Him. Our response as Christian esotericists is that God has indeed provided a clear path to His truth through the Word, The Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. In the Word we read the Jesus is the Way and the Truth (John 14:6). God has also given initiated Christians the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). Through Jesus and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit we gain direct divine inspiration. This is the ultimate gnosis, not just knowing of our own experience but full realization of the Spirit of God within us. Further this Spirit grants us with many gifts including those of wisdom and discernment. These gifts are of paramount importance to the Christian mage as he travels the Path of Return and must as Paul says in 1 Cor. 12:10, "distinguish one spirit from another."
What exactly is discernment? The Random House dictionary defines discernment as "the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding." For discern: "to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect." So, we see that even under ordinary circumstances the word pertains to a higher level of discrimination that just a decision or observation. In the context of the Christian gift of discernment we mean simply that God's Spirit within us gives us the ability to recognize what is from God and what is not from God; what is good and true and what is harmful and untrue.
We turn to the Bible for more indications of Godıs gift of discernment and where it is needed. In 1 John 4:6 we read one area of discernment is to distinguish the truth: "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."
Another aspect of this gift is to know God's will as mentioned in Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
In Ephesians, Paul reinforces both of these uses of the discernment to know Godıs will and live it in Eph. 5:8,10: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord." And again in Eph. 5:17 and Phil. 1:9-10.
OBSTACLES TO DISCERNMENT:
Two big obstacles loom in the path of discernment. The first is that habits of sin and infidelity to God make it more difficult to perceive God's ways and to hear his voice. Their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God (Wisdom 2:21-22).
In Romans 1:21 Paul warns against this same obstacle. Also, In Ephesians 4:17-19 and John 3:19 we are warned about this obstacle to our discernment, our ability to ³see² Godıs will and what is true is blocked by living and thinking like those in sin around us. In each case in scripture this lack of discernment is likened to a kind of blindness or darkness.
The second obstacle, which is met even by those who have consciously turned away from habits of sin, is the complexity of our human nature. As Jeremiah recognized long ago: "More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)
There are the hidden motives, the ways we rationalize things, the ways we have of making God want what we want. And so God must remind us: "I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart. (Jer. 17:10)
OVERCOMING THE OBSTACLES:
How can we overcome such obstacles that have clouded and blinded men over centuries and avail ourselves of this gift of discernment? To overcome the first obstacle of sin we must throw off a self-centered life and make our lives Christ-centered. To surrender completely to the Lordship of Jesus in every aspect of our lives is difficult enough for everyday Christians. For those treading the path of mysticism and the esoteric, this kind of solid foundation is a must.
The world today offers many, many temptations for sin and praises the notion of total self sufficiency. Moreso for those who tread in the more dangerous spiritual waters of the occult. In each step we must be clear in our desire to be lead by the Holy Spirit and to have a healthy mistrust of our own judgments.
There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death. (Prov 14:12) We must express as does the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Ps. 139:23-24)
It is also important as we've seen in the scripture quotes above to surround ourselves with others of the same Spirit. In this kind of Christian community we can be free to live out the humble life we are called to in Christ (Proverbs 3:5-8). Such a community of Christian faith and amicability with esoteric pursuits is a rare find but a necessity in which one can effectively walk the narrow path. It doesn't have to be a large congregation. A wise spiritual director can be of important benefit here. The key is to be comfortable with the loving correction that others can provide as hints to our own blind spots." (Prov 12:1)
This is, of course, a special challenge to the Christian Magician. The magical community is fraught with anti-Christian sentiments and the majority of Christian communities are wary if not down right violently opposed to mystical or, heaven forbid, occult activities. I would suggest that it doesn't take too much discernment to determine that a group which is negative towards the Christian faith or practice thereof is not one in which God's truth is readily available.
Maintaining this humility and conversion of life to Jesus is ever so much more difficult for the Christian magician. He must not only deal with the everyday temptations and distractions of the mundane world but also those of esoteric. The key to this and to developing the gift of discernment is prayer. As St. Paul tells us at the end of 1 Cor. 2, conversion and commitment to prayer allows us to "know the mind of Christ". Daily prayer builds that relationship with Christ. As with any other relationship, the more time you spend communicating the closer you become and the better you know the mind of the other. Further, we know that in this close relationship we are promised these desirable gifts of wisdom and discernment by the words of Christ in Mat 7:7-8: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
CRITERIA OF DISCERNMENT:
Though the gift of discernment is primarily the inner working of the Holy Spirit guiding us, a key component is stilling the voices of the world and our own rationalizations enough for us to hear clearly. God has wisely given us many criteria to help us know when we are in tune with His will. We see throughout the Bible expressions like 'this is how we know' and admonitions to "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God." (1 Jn. 4:1) Such sections give us some very concrete guidelines for discernment. The first letter of John provides a good list of examples in a relatively straightforward manner. It is important for us to check such signposts in Scripture to determine if our course is true. Godıs Spirit and His Word always go together. If we are out of line with one, we are out of line with the other. Here are several landmarks to navigate by:
1. Fruits of the Spirit
In Mt. 7:20, Jesus gives us a key principle of discernment; you can judge a tree by its fruits. For a concrete application of this principle it is helpful to review Gal. 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
As with living in humility in a Christian community who will lovingly show us the negative areas to which we are blind, so too can a good spiritual friend point out our good fruits. When contemplating some action, we must look at our motivation. Can I truly say my motivation comes from the Spirit or from my own selfishness. Am I expressing Jesusı kind of love or seeking my own selfish interests. Do I feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and joy or rather a comfortable rationalization or even sad or depressed. Am I becoming more patient or find myself snapping at those who cross me? Is my spirit uneasy? Am I enduring with faithfulness or rushing for an easy answer?
2. Outward Signs of Holiness
In 1 John 1 we see how the kind of life we lead is an outward expression of how much we are or are not lead by the Spirit. It is expressed by walking in the light (1:6-7), keeping the commandments (2:3) and obeying God's word (2:5), and living as Jesus did (2:6). In the ancient Jewish Kabbalah schools, living the righteous life was a basic assumption. The same must be said for the Christian mystic who is called to go beyond the ordinary call of faith not around it.
3. Loving One Another
In 1 John 2:9-11 and 3:11-20 John reinforces this aspect of outward appearance. It is not enough to keep the outward signs of righteousness as did the Pharisees nor even to internally keep the proper spirit of motivation bearing goods fruits. That which is of the Spirit practices love "in deed and in truth". The Spirit which flows through must not only bear good fruit in our own life but in the lives of those around us. (Rom. 15:1-2).
This love must be put into action for all humanity or it is all for nothing as we see in the well known passage from 1 Cor. 13. It is also at the core of studying the Western Mystery Tradition, to "seek so that I may serve".
4. Opposition to the "World"
In 1 John 2:15-16 we see John reminding us to be in the world but not of it. Today more than ever it seems that what ever is popular may not be in line with God's will. Jesus tells us in Mt. 7:13-14 that the way is narrow. If you find the way wide, easy, and well traveled watch out! Again such warnings for Christians are to be heeded doubly so by those who would tread the even more narrow and treacherous path of mystic enlightenment. So much of the New Age reminds me of a carnival side show. Recently I was discussing with a group about giving a public lecture and what topic to choose. The purpose of the lecture was to introduce serious student to the work. We came up with several topics quickly that would draw a large audience but almost forgot the point. It was not to draw a large crowd but to connect with the right people.
The way of the cross is hard and not popular. Even the apostles had occasional difficulty yielding their rationalization to God's will (see Mt. 16:23, Jn 15:19, and Gal. 6:14). Many occult books offer fast and easy shortcuts to spirituality and "enlightenment". The Bible is full of many tales of the people taking spiritual shortcuts with devastating effects on the nation.
5. The Will of God
Continuing on in 1 John 2:17 we see the importance of doing God's will as the goal of the true discerning individual. Perhaps the best example of this is found in Luke 22:42 with Jesus' difficult discernment in the Garden of Gethsemane. When we are going through our own darkest of times, can we refuse to take the easy way out, surrender and say "Father, not my will but yours be done"?
Along the Path of Return, the Christian magician knows he will one day face the Dark Night of the Soul which he must overcome to successfully complete the Journey. What the experienced aspirant knows is that there are many veils to break through along the way as well. In meeting these challenges, the spiritual gifts of faith and discernment are important resources to draw upon. This may even be the decisive edge the Christian aspirant has in overcoming these formidable obstacles on the Journey.
6. Unity with the Body, the Church
1 John 2:19 mentions that dissension and factions are not of the Spirit. Paul makes this abundantly clear in his letters (see Gal. 5:20, 1 Cor. 3:34, and Eph. 4:4). There is ³one body and one Spirit' as Paul says. When we no longer listen to or care what the Spirit is saying through and to the Churches we open ourselves to deception. In fact, in Rev. 2:7 we are further promised that by listening to what the Spirit has to say to the Churches we will be permitted to eat from the Tree of Life. This promise alone should suffice for the esotericist to not so quickly eschew the Church in favor of his more mystical pursuits.
Later in verse 24 and in chapter 4 verse 6, John urges his disciples to remain faithful to what they has heard from the beginning. Jesus' commissioning of the Church and Gift of the Holy Spirit confers onto this Body a special authority as the New Testament bears witness. It is important that our esoteric journey does not leave behind our Christian faith and principles but is journey deeper into these teachings. If we walk within this divine authority we are promised by Jesus to be guided to all truth in the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).
This area is one which requires a very delicate balance. Being in unity with the Church does not always mean that I depend on others for my discernment. Throughout the Bible those of the mystical and prophetic persuasion were usually appreciated long after their death (which was provided by the very people to which they ministered). To separate ourselves from the Church is to separate ourselves from the Body of Christ and in such a divorce we find ourselves estranged from the One Spirit. Jesus referred to the Church as his Bride. If we are not one with the Bride then we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of being an interloper at best in this Divine marriage. In many ways the Church is like our extended family. We may not always go along with all the family views and may even occasionally be embarrassed by the actions of some members, but we are still family.
A key role of the Christian mystic is to remain solidly within the Body of Christ to help renew from within however painful this may be personally. We must be the channel of the Divine Ruach blowing gently but firmly on the coals to awaken the Fire of the Church. Much could be said on this but that is a whole other article!
7. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
In 1 John 2 verses 20 and 27 and again in chapter 4 verse 13 we see the Christian magicianıs idea of the proper gnosis for discernment. Much is made in esoteric circles of this inner knowledge that comes from Initiation. Our gnosis is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. The mature aspirant though remembers that the Ego is a clever trickster. We must be sure there is harmony between this inner subjective voice and the objective criteria outlined here. John reminds us that the Lord is consistent and changeless. The voice of the inner anointing must always correspond with the apostolic teaching.
8. Faith in Jesus
Finally in 1 John 4 we read of the importance of our faith in Jesus. Just as the Ego is adept at rationalizing away the guilt of sin, it is also quite good at minimizing the profundities of our Christian faith. Denying the humanity of Jesus makes way for the easy condemnation of the material and incarnate world. This is the famed heresy of the Gnostics. We still hear the echoes today by those who believe that it is far too beneath God to take human form. Yet, Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth in Kether after another fashion as the Kabbalists say.
Confessing that Jesus indeed came in the flesh leads us to a spirituality of acceptance of the material world, integration and eventually transformation of our material world. This is especially important when it comes to our attitudes toward our bodies, our sexuality, our emotions, our social life, our political involvements and all that is authentically human. In short, we accept ourselves and our world as good even as we recognize its need for healing and liberation from sin. (see 1 Tim. 4:1-5 and Rom. 8:19-21.)
Confessing Jesus' divinity is the other half of this coin. Possibly the single most disturbing bedazzlement of the New Age and esoteric work is the cafeteria style theology proposed. We do not need to shop around various ancient or modern or eastern or exotic religions and gurus to assemble a whole picture of God. What John tells us in 1 John 4: 15-16 (and in 5:10, 20) is that it is ALL in Jesus: "God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them."
In my own esoteric work, I do not always have the luxury of dealing with committed Christians. It should be no surprise that the majority of Christians I know and work with would have harsh words and grave concerns about mystical studies and practices. Likewise, the majority of those who are involved in "the occult" are often vehemently anti-Christian. You may resonate with my own feelings sometimes that the Christian esotericist is caught in the middle of these two opposing camps and accepted by neither. However, I have found that hidden within the Church and it's history there is a place and a need for the mystic and his work. I firmly believe that the Christian path of mysticism and even magic is the least fraught with danger and its gates well lit by the Light of Christ. Sometimes finding that gateway to mystical enlightenment has come to me originally through review of essentially non-Christian works. It is evidence that the fullness of God finds the true seeker. Through the gift of discernment can we sift through the outer man-made shells of form to the kernel of Light within. Not only do we proceed on the Journey we are called to undertake but doing so as Christian aspirants we lift up the entire Body with us.
Proper discernment is no easy task. This brief outline hints at the various signposts by which we can objectively determine the trueness of our course. The journey of the aspirant is fraught with numerous difficulties and alluring side trails which keep us from the true path. As we pray for the gift of wisdom and discernment, we follow the guidelines laid out by our Heavenly Father and can trust that His hand will guide us safely to him.
BAD APPLES BY THE TRUCKLOAD:
...An Editorial Response To "One Bad Apple: A Commentary,"
By Graey of Lexington Kentucky's RoseMoon Guild In The Trellis.
By GHFr. Pneuma Asteros
Chief Adept & President, OAS;
National Advisory Board Member, AMER
Georgetown, KY; USA.
In the early Fall of 1995, I came across a request for information concerning what was then called, "Satanic Infiltration within the Pagan community." The request came across the computer On Line service, AOL (America On Line) by a member of Lexington Kentucky's Rosemoon Guild called, "Graey". The information was being requested with the intention of being used for an essay on the subject for an issue in that organization's publication, The Trellis.
For those who are not aware of who and what that organization is about, it can be said that the Rosemoon Guild is the oldest of the Central Kentucky quote, "Pagan Organizations." According to their own literature, the Rosemoon Guild is not a Coven. They were originally designed to be a networking organization for pagans of many different "occult" traditions and to be a general support group for their own membership. The Guild is composed mainly of solitary practitioners and it has a very strong academic background.
The Rosemoon Guild was also formed hoping to be a source of accurate information concerning modern day Paganism, Wicca, and other Earth-Centered religious traditions here in Central Kentucky. The Rosemoon Guild was selected to be a C.U.U.P's (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) chapter based on the Guild's principles, ideals, and goals.
So far, so good. The Almighty One knows that we needed just such a group here in the greater Lexington area for a very, very long time. Unfortunately, things almost never turn out the way that they are planned. Alas, it has not gone smoothly for the Rosemoon Guild of Lexington.
It is no secret that relations have not been particularly good between our two respective organizations in the past. They know it. We know it. Just about everyone in the magickal community who lives and works in Central Kentucky (and most of the South Eastern United States for that matter) all know it too - and the reasons and history behind the events that led to these past ill feelings. We do not care to go into all of that here at this time, nor is it my intention to create further animosity between The Rosemoon Guild and The Order of The Astral Star within these respective pages.
For the record, Graey did write an essay on the subject matter of Satanic infiltration within the Pagan community. The article appeared as, "One Bad Apple: A Commentary," within the Rosemoon Guild's publication, The Trellis, Volume VII, Issue Number 2, Autumn, 1995 C.E., pages 14 through 15. Graey got a couple of good responses to his inquires on line. I followed the dialogue with interest, as I always read The Trellis whenever I can find it. However, he got far more negative criticism concerning his subject matter than perhaps he should have. In some respects, that is a shame, for in my opinion the man asks some valid questions and makes some good observations in his article with regards to the relationship between the modern day Pagan community-at-large and those who practice what they call Satanism.
Graey states in his article that his, "...main goal was to attempt to understand WHY Satanists and the like were entering into the Neo-pagan community." As his research progressed he heard many, many pagans just blow off the idea of Satanists being involved with them as necessarily a bad thing. This attitude of many fellow quote, "pagans" came to concern Graey far more than the initial question he had asked himself.
Graey is coming from a religious, philosophical and theological perspective in his article. It is obvious that he deeply believes that Satanism is wrong, even evil in nature. The very idea of a person being involved in "Satanism" disturbs Graey deeply. Graey explains one of his many concerns in his article like this. "Since the beginning of the Neo-pagan movement, some 50 years ago, there has been a continual denial and disassociation from Satanism and things satanic." He states that for all practical purposes, all of the better writers on Wicca and other Earth-centered religions include a general statement that there is no link between Satanism and modern day paganism. He points out that we are all judged by the company we keep.
With regards to my personal, deeply held religious, and esoteric beliefs I find myself in complete agreement with the author on the main thrust of the issues he has brought forward to this point. It should not surprise the reader that a Christian Mystic and trained High Ceremonial Magician like myself would accept this perspective in religious or esoterical terms. I have real problems with "Satanism" as a whole. As a Christian Knight, I have no problem dealing harshly with real evil where ever I may find it - regardless of the label it is wearing. So, you may be thinking if I agree with the author, why write a rebuttal to his article. What is my beef?
Here is the other shoe waiting to be dropped. My problem does not stem from a religious or esoteric concern, but from a social and legal perspective. In his article, "One Bad Apple: A Commentary," Graey makes reference to some of the writings of AMER, (The Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions), which most everyone knows that the Order of The Astral Star is formally affiliated with. I can say with no uncertainty, that the man mis-represents AMER's material and the context in which it was written. I do not believe that Graey has done so with any intention of malice, though I know he does disagree with AMER's perspectives. The correction of these points as stated in his article is the real reason and focus for my writing of this article.
Regarding AMER, Graey writes, "One of the most disturbing things which I can remember reading was a flier from AMER (Alliance of Magical and Earth Religions) [sic] when they were first formed. There was a discourse on Satanism, which was oddly enough, granted membership in the organization. In the description was a mention of the number of people who are reported each year and how the actual numbers who wound up as victims of ritual sacrifice were insignificant." Graey continues with giving a theoretical number of how many innocent victims sacrificed in Satanic rituals does it take before the numbers become, quote, "significant"?
Graey should have started off by calling AMER by it's proper name, The Alliance FOR Magical and Earth Religions, not The Alliance OF Magical and Earth Religions. This may seem like mere semantics, but I remind the reader that words have specific connotations. As we say in numerous our our own rituals, "By names and images are all powers awakened and re-awakened."
AMER was formed as a CIVIL RIGHTS organization, not a religious or social organization. AMER is kind of like a specialized ACLU that deals with issues of an American citizen's rights to practice their religious beliefs in accordance with that citizen's own conscious and deeply held beliefs. All of this being done to maintain the constitutional guarantees of the American Citizen within the legal framework of the Laws of the Land.
For those who have not heard of AMER I should probably tell you something of that fine organization. AMER's basic statement of purpose is as follows: 1. AMER will defend the right of every American to practice his or her own religion, insofar as that religion's practices do not directly harm anyone. In particular, AMER will actively campaign for tolerance for magical and Earth-Centered religions. 2. AMER will work to promote a positive image for magical and Earth-centered religions, and to counter negative propaganda about such groups. 3. AMER will promote co-operation among the various magical and Earth-centered religious groups. 4. AMER will serve as a source of accurate information on magical and Earth-centered religions and practices.
AMER defines Magical Religion: to be any religious belief or practices which includes, as an aspect of its faith or an element in its ritual, the practice of what they call magic or the use of psychic powers. AMER further defines Earth Religion: as any religious belief or practice which holds as a tenet a reverence for the Earth.
The Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions has taken a great deal of heat because of it's insistence that pagans, witches, druids, magicians, and other "occultists" determined to stand up for their own religious civil liberties not do so at the expense of the liberties of another. The founders of AMER envisioned a greater magickal community that would not be guilty of hypocrisy itself in these important matters. That is why AMER defends the rights of all Americans to practice their religious beliefs, even (or especially) those we do not personally like or with whom we strongly disagree. This includes those persons that call themselves Satanists.
From where we sit at AMER, the rights of the American people to the freedom of worship as we deem within our own personal experiences and deeply held beliefs to be true must be maintained for everyone, or they will in the end be maintained for no one. This is America after all, is it not? It is my opinion that in light of this concept many members of the quote, "Pagan Community" should re-think their positions. Consider your beliefs in light of the Constitution of the United States first with regards to your actions and high volumed statements to the folks at large: "Don't be angry at us, look over there and be angry at those evil Satanists! They are the real evil ones in the fields of the occult faiths!". AMER is on the moral high ground on this one gang. It has nothing to do with what you think of someone's religion, or what you believe in accordance with your own religious experience in determination of the civil rights of others.
As I stated earlier, I can agree with Graey's acting on his personal religious beliefs with regards to his spiritual faith by not associating in religious worship or esoteric working with Satanists. I don't. Our Society refuses to admit as a candidate any person who is either an Atheist or a Satanist, as we feel that the spiritual currents in question are at least not compatible with who and what we are. At most we believe that Satanism is evil, and outright wrong. As American Citizens, we support the Constitution of the United States. Even Satanists have the right to worship as they deem fit - within the frame work of the laws of the land, of course. Everyone's rights ends where another's begins. In America, we have the God given right to be wrong, we just don't have the right to do wrong.
The second point that Graey discusses is what he thought of one of AMER's pamphlets. If memory serves me correctly, AMER published two pamphlets in the late 1980's on specific hot issues at the time of that organization's founding. These publications were: 1) AMER Presents The Truth about Human Sacrifice; and 2) AMER Presents The Truth about Ritual Child Abuse. It is my belief that Graey has somehow merged these two pamphlets together in his mind, and has made some inaccurate statements concerning the real issues that AMER was attempting to address in American society. The first pamphlet quoted the number of alleged human sacrifices in the United States every year. Graey states, "In the description was a mention of the number of people who are reported each year and how the actual numbers who wound up as victims of ritual sacrifice were insignificant." If you read the article, I believe that the reader will come to the conclusion that Graey is committing an informal fallacy of logic called, "missing the point at issue." What was actually said by AMER in the pamphlet, "The Truth About Human Sacrifice?" The copy reads: "One self-proclaimed expert goes so far as to allege that Satanists kill as many as 60,000 people each year in the United States alone. Others tell of children and teenagers who have been compelled or persuaded to kill for Satan's sake." The pamphlet continues to discuss the real problems with the above statement of the alleged "experts" using cases of that time period, and ends as follows: "Some of the claims of the "occult investigators" would be funny if there weren't people who believed them. For example, many "occult investigators" repeat Dr. Al Carlisle's claim that each year two to three times more more (sic) [delete the second "more"] Americans are sacrificed to Satan than were killed in the entire Vietnam war. When Dr. Carlisle was asked where he got his numbers, he admitted that he made them up, and that he knows of no actual human sacrifices. For religions (sic) [religious] reasons, the "occult-crime experts" are trying to focus police attention on less than sixty of one million violent crimes committed in the last ten years. [Italics mine.] Law enforcement agencies should track down murderers and the courts should deal with them harshly -regardless of their religion." Where does one get the idea that AMER feels that even one human sacrifice is not significant from the information cited?
The second AMER pamphlet, "The Truth about Ritual Child Abuse," attempted to deal with the then hot issues of reconstructed memories of children by some psychiatrists who claimed several of their child patients had been ritually molested by an occult group. This pamphlet also discussed the ideas and fallacies of what was being billed as women "breeders," women who were used to breed children for sacrifice to Satan. The main crux of this work was as follows: "The ritualized child abuse scare diverts attention away from the realities of child sexual abuse. The Center for the Scientific Evaluation of Religion reported that even if all of the allegations of ritualized abuse were true-and as we've seen, they aren't-American children are 20 times more likely to fall into an uncovered swimming pool and drown than they are of ever being ritually molested. Each year there are approximately three or four cases of ritualized abuse - and approximately 113,000 documented cases of children being sexually abused by relatives and "close family friends." And the more time we as a nation spend searching for scapegoats, the more children will be sexually and physically and mentally abused. We will not end this crisis until we are ready to face the real facts about child abuse."
In both cases, the pamphlets that AMER had produced were addressing very serious issues of the day. In fact, the main thrusts of those two works are timely in our present day as well. However, in the late 1980's there was a very real possibility of a new nation wide "witch hunt." Anyone that practiced any form of occultism or even unorthodox religious practices could have been scrutinized. In fact, I personally know several good people of "unique" religious convictions that actually were.
If the reader has any smarts, they will wonder if I am defending AMER and re-wording the publications so as to put AMER in a strictly positive light. For this reason, The Society of The Astral Star obtained permission from Vice President Chris Carlisle of AMER to re-print the three early AMER pamphlets used as my sources in their entirety. If they were written today, I have no doubt that they would focus on more current cases, and would be edited to bring the quoted statistics up to date. Read them for yourself in their entirety and see if Graey really had a reason to consider their material, in his words, and again I quote, "One of the most disturbing things which I can remember reading." If the reader reads with an open mind, and without preconceived notions and prejudices, I can safely respond with all due respect to Graey, "I don't think so."
The last issues to be addressed by myself that Graey wrote in his article discusses one "satanic" organization in particular - The Temple of Set. Graey makes comments about this organization, most of which I can not respond too, as I myself am not qualified to do so. Michael and Lilith Aquino of the Temple of Set will have to respond to Graey's article for themselves if they so choose. It is my oppinion, from what I know of them, that they probably do not care what Graey or the Rosemoon Guild thinks about them and/or their organization. In fact, they probably would not care what any of us think of them or their Temple.
Graey states, "the part of that organization's (The Temple of Set) literature stating that other religions are 'erroneous in principle and therefore unworthy of peer status,' and, where association with other religions are concerned they feel no need '...to maintain any sort of diplomatic relations with them [as in a council of churches...]'" Graey continues, "And yet, they are a part of AMER, a 'council of churches' of a sort, and affiliated with the Neo-Pagan and Pagan communities. Odd, eh?"
As I have already addressed the issue of AMER being quote, "a council of churches of a sort," namely that AMER is no such thing, I can proceed to the issue at hand. The part quoted stating that all other religions are quote, "erroneous in principle and therefore unworthy of peer status," has to make me laugh a little bit. From the way I read it, this is an attempt to make the reader say to themselves, "How arrogant - Temple of Set!" The ironic thing is that that attitude is really not that far off the mark for any of us regardless of our religious beliefs and practices, is it? Think about it for a moment gang, if you came to the understanding that part of your religion was incorrect about something, and really came to believe that, what would you do? You would probably adopt the perceived "correct" view, right? We all think that we are the ones who have it all right with regards to spiritual reality! Who knows, maybe we are all just a little bit right, and all a little bit wrong. That is hard for some of us to swallow. I know many pagans that fall into a Neo-Pagani-Fundamentalism. It seems that all religious faiths become what they initially fought against for so long.
Let me tell you my understanding concerning The Aquinos and the Temple of Set itself within AMER. My opinions are based on actual experience with members of AMER, and all of the literature of that organization, including, "AMER and The Temple of Set." It is my understanding that the Temple of Set is not, repeat is NOT, nor has it ever been, formally affiliated as an organization with the Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions. It is true, that Lilith Aquino was at one time a member of AMER's Board of Directors. She served for about a year or so if memory serves me correctly. She is no longer on the Board of Directors of AMER, and has not been for about three years or so. She is, to my understanding a Member of the National Advisory Board of AMER. Then again, so am I. So, you have one Magick using Satanist on the Advisory Board, and one Magick using Christian on the Advisory Board. AMER is a diverse organization made up of American citizens from many, many, divergent esoterical and religious backgrounds.
Although I have never personally met either Michael or Lilith Aquino, I have come to respect them as fine, moral, upstanding people. The members of The Temple of Set that I have met personally are very sound individuals. They know what they are talking about when they speak. I know for a fact that the rights of many Wiccans and Pagans are more secure today due to the Aquino's own public and false persecutions in the media and courts. Both Michael and Lilith were cleared of any hint of any alleged wrong doing. I also know for a personal fact that because of their tireless work for the causes of the rights for religious freedom in this country, Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, and other occultists have it much easier today than before they contributed their own efforts to the cause.
Graey himself said in his article, "Now I am sure that Satanists and Satanist off-shoot groups have individuals who are decent people. Many, indeed most, are probably law-abiding citizens who would not kick a stray dog or cat just for the fun of it. Nor would they indulge in ritual murder, rape, mutilation, or kidnapping." I ask Graey, and all of the Pagans in our general community-at-large, what about the religious rights of these people? Do we kick them to the curb and allow them to defend themselves? That is in my opinion a coward's way out. It is also very dangerous. Setians have defended the rights of pagans, very loudly and deliberately, and for this, I am personally very grateful.
I should also point out that there have been mainstream Christian Groups that have come to the defense of such notable covens as Iron Oak in Florida with regards to their legal battles. I am quite certain that the Christians that do so do not defend them out of a genuine understanding, acceptance, love, or appreciation of the Goddess. They do so because they know that if Wiccans loose their religious rights, then another group will, and then eventually they just might loose their own rights as well. How does the pagan community-at-large feel about these and other Christians assisting them in their own struggles? Do they want us to just let you all defend yourselves? I mean after all, you all are just a bunch of pagans for goodness sakes, right? Again, I say that attitude would be cowaradly, and down right un-American.
Of Graey's comments concerning the fact that "statistics are there which prove that these crimes have occurred, and were done in the name of Satanic Worship," I would like to see and analyze some of these statistics for myself. Many people know that I have been a police officer for over seven years, and there are many ways to make statistics and evidence say any number of things. Perceived truth is not always reality. With regards to some people's actions, it has been my experience that people claim anything - and usually do. If a person claims to be a witch and sacrifices some cat to "the Goddess," does that make that person a witch or Wiccan? In the mainstream, do we consider the atrocities committed by The Rev. Jim Jones or some of the alleged criminal actions of David Koresh in Wacco Texas to be Christian crimes? What about all of those suicides/ritual slayings in Canada, Switzerland, and France of the Christian Magical Order called The Temple Solar? Were they Christian Occult crimes? Are there such things as religious crimes, or are there just crimes? I think the reader can guess where I'm coming from. It also happens to be the viewpoint of such notable investigators as FBI Special Agent Kenneth V. Lanning, who wrote two reports for the FBI on these controversial but important topics. They are well worth reading.
Graey ends by saying, "So, where does this leave the Neo-pagan community? I know that it would be nice, in the minds of some, to offer the hand of friendship in the name of non-Christian Solidarity, but at what cost? If we are, as we have all been taught, judged by the company we keep, what does unqualified acceptance of these people mean for Paganism and Neo-Paganism? Just remember the old saying that one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch. Those of us who've kept an apple barrel know better."
In conclusion I would like to say I agree with Graey with regards to religious and esoteric issues and Satanism in general. However defending the religious rights of Satanists has nothing to do with "offering the hand of friendship in the name of non-Christian Solidarity." I am a Christian. The whole of the Society of The Astral Star is primarily Christian. Again, our civil liberties have nothing to do with our religion, period. And Graey, I'll tell you and all of the pagani out there the cost of this kind of thinking. While you and yours are so worried about sorting out the "good" apples in one barrel, and the "bad" apples in another, some fundamentalist bone head in the mainstream will be busy loading up all of the barrels (all of us that is) onto the same, truck reserved for all occultists. They would ship every last one of us off together straight to hell if they could get away with it. In their minds, we are all the same anyway. Red apples, yellow apples, green apples - to them, we are all just apples - and evil. The cost my friends is our civil liberty to do what we do in our own religious faiths. In the end, the cost is our freedom.
[Editor's Note: On Feb. 15th, 1996 three members of our Order's Executive Council attended a small gathering at the UU Church in Lexington, Kentucky to meet with, and hear members of the Rosemoon Guild, and discuss some of our past differences, and Graey's article. We can safely say that the Rosemoon Guild of four years ago or so is not the same group today. The Order of the Astral Star and the Rosemoon Guild have basically chosen to make a fresh, new beginning. We may not always agree with each other, but we are open to meeting with their members socially, and discussing our differences. Who knows? We may even both learn something! We wish them every success in their future ventures. It is believed that this point of view is shared by most of the members of the Guild. We can honestly recommend their newsletter, The Trellis without any reservations what-so-ever. Rowan has done a superb job in it's editing and assembly. We look forward to seeing them again in the near future. - VHSr. Caveat Anima]
AMER: ALLIANCE FOR MAGICAL & EARTH RELIGIONS.
The Alliance for Magical & Earth Religions
St. Louis, MO; USA.
[President's Note: The original purpose of including reprints of AMER's publications cited by both Graey and myself over a decade ago was to provide the reader with access to the actual AMER texts complete and unedited so the reader could read it for themselves. As AMER is defunct and no longer active; and as The Rosemoon Guild of Lexington KY is in Abeyance (having merged into CUUPs at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lexington KY), the matter is a mute point. However in the interest of accuracy, completeness, and fairness, we have placed all of AMER's past publications online in a modified form to indicate that AMER is now defunct. The publications AMER printed remain some of the best work ever printed and produced in defense of cival rights and religious freedom for practitioners of esoteric, occult, and magickal faiths. Hence, this article has been changed from the manner in which it originally was published and appeared in our Journal and on our past websites. - GHFr. Pneuma Asteros; Chief Adept & President, OAS; SEP. 20, 2006.]
The following are re-prints of original AMER pamphlets.
WHAT WAS AMER?
AMER PRESENTS: THE TRUTH ABOUT RITUAL SACRIFICE.
AMER PRESENTS: THE TRUTH ABOUT RITUALIZED CHILD ABUSE.
MAGICKAL CHRISTIANITY ON THE INTERNET
[Web Master's. Note: A Semi-Regular feature which appears in The Crux Mystica is entitled, "Web Links" and includes a list of links for websites, e-lists , and e-boards for and/of interest to Christian Magicians. Due to the fact that web links and web sites change so often in real time, we strongly encourage individuals to check out our Web Links feature on our own home page for the most accurate information and updated links we have available. It is located at: http://weblinks.astralstar.org/. - OAS Web Master, Wed. 20, Sep. 2006.]
PART 1: MAGICKAL CHRISTIANITY ON THE INTERNET
By ASr. Sophia Helena, OAS
Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; USA.
In late summer of 1994 a group of about 40 magicians and occultists, all friends from the Internet, descended upon Chicago for a gathering which has come to be known as "Nutmeg", a corruption of the term "Net Mage". I was new to this group, but I nevertheless jumped right in and helped to organize this grand event. I greatly enjoyed meeting others with similar interests, yet I felt out of place. While the majority of magicians at this event were oriented towards qabalistic magick, I was the only magician there who openly identified as a Christian.
Yet, I knew that there had to be other Christian magicians out there, and I wanted to find out if these people would be interested in networking in some way. Soon after Nutmeg was over, I sent a message out to several news groups (open discussion groups on various topics) indicating that I was interested in networking with other Christian magicians. I didn't have to wait long to find out that there were many more Christian magicians than I had ever imagined!
Within about ten minutes of posting my concerns, my mailbox began to flood with messages from magickal Christians from all over the world. Within a few days we had established a mailing list on the Internet, and as they say, "the rest is history". We named our list "FiatLVX", and we have steadily increased our list membership to over one hundred subscribers. Not everyone on our list identifies as a Christian, but most do, and it never fails to amaze me how many of "us" there are! The list itself is host to many interesting discussions, particularly since we have a rather well educated and spiritually mature list-membership. Our discussions have ranged from ethical and practical issues (is divination acceptable for Christians?, what is a good Tarot deck for Christians?), to historical questions concerning Gnosticism and the development of Christian Cabalism. We also are a good networking source for people who are looking for specific books, tools, and fellowship. We encourage list members to send their prayer requests to the list, and have also encouraged Christian magicians to develop friendships with each other.
FiatLVX welcomes new members to our list. To subscribe, simply send an e-mail message to: email@example.com. In the body of your message, type: subscribe fiatlvx
We hope to meet you online soon!
PART 2: THE FIAT LVX DISCUSSION LIST GUIDELINES:
(Ver. 1.1) Jan. 04, 1996
Compiled by FotO C. Ward
Plano, TX; USA
Fiat L.V.X. - A Discussion Group for Magical Christians
To Subscribe: send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the line: subscribe fiatlvx email@address (Real Name).
For help send the word "help" to the address above or contact the moderators.
"Fiat L.V.X." is Latin for "Let there be Light". L.V.X. (Lux) refers to the Light of God resident in all things, the Spirit of the Divine as well as a number of esoteric meanings.
This list exists for the purpose of discussion and networking among Christians who have an interest in the Western Esoteric Tradition, which may include that which is also known as mysticism, "magic(k)" and "the occult".
Beginners as well as initiates are welcome, flames and preaching are not.
While there is no standard denomination for the group (and no dogma), the basic forum is for discussion of esoteric issues and their relation to Christianity.
A positive atmosphere is desired. You may take issue with certain concepts or models but flames, ad hominem attacks, etc. are not allowed. The list is moderated for your protection.
Before posting consider the subject matter and the group. Will your post add to the group discussion or would it be better in another mailing list or news group like alt.pagan, alt.magick or handled in email? Check out Usenet's excellent document on Netiquette for details on proper style and format.
This is a Christian list. Attacking Christianity or any of the various Christian paths (i.e. Fundamentalism, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc.) is not appropriate here. Please respect this, and understand that Christianity is not only considered a valid spiritual path on this list but perhaps the preferred one.
The esoteric realm is difficult enough of a subject to deal with given the limits of language and few definitions give complete understanding to the concepts unless experienced firsthand. Still the following definitions are provided as the default for group discussion unless otherwise noted by the author.
Christian - Webster defines this term as: "1) the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies; 2) conformity to the Christian religion." For purposes of this list (definitions only), the Apostles' Creed is used as a concise statement of Christian belief. Conformity to this creed is what we assume is meant by the above definition. A copy of the Apostle's Creed may be found in the files area.
Exoteric - that which is publicly taught, known and practiced.
Esoteric - that which is privately or secretly taught, known or practiced. Can also refer to knowledge or meaning hidden within something exoteric.Hermeticism - relating to the teachings of Hermes Trimegistus. For a quick overview of the basic thrust of the Seven Points see the file hermeticism.txt in the file area.
Kabbalah - the esoteric system of Jewish mysticism and basis for much of the Western Esoteric Tradition.
Magic - there are many definitions. The dictionary includes stage magic (i.e. magic tricks) and uses more skeptical language in its definition but that is not the context here. Here are the opinions of some experts:
"the art of causing changes in consciousness at will."
"the art of determining the forms and shapes which shall be taken in the outer world by the veil of Reality"
"the art of producing desired effects, initiated by changes in consciousness, by directing or aligning with the secret forces of the Cosmos"
"Magic is by no means, as most outsiders imagine, the negation of science. Quite the contrary, Magic is Science, but Science with syntheses, almost integral Science, its horizons being the absolute, the Infinite in Unity. ...In truth Magic is the knowledge of the action and combination of the forces of the Universe, the study of their conduct, their involution, their evolution..."
Magick - an alternate spelling of magic used by some people to differentiate "true magic" from stage magic or inferior forms.
-Aleister Crowley, Magick (Book Four):
"Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."
- Symonds and Grant, in their introduction to Magick:
"The Anglo-Saxon *k* in Magick, like most of Crowley's conceits, is a means of indicating the kind of magic which he performed. K is the eleventh letter of several alphabets, and eleven is the principal number of magick, because it is he number attributed to the Qliphoth - the underworld of demonic and chaotic forces that have to be conquered before magick can be performed. K has other magical implications: it corresponds to the power or *shakti* aspect of creative energy, for k is the ancient Egyptian *khu*, *the* magical power. Specifically, it stands for *kteis*(vagina), the complement to the wand (or phallus) which is used by the Magician in certain aspects of the Great Work."
Occult - literally "hidden", typically of or pertaining to hidden or secret knowledge or lore In many Christian circles this also implies forbidden, even sinful, knowledge or work but not necessarily here.
Qabalah - an esoteric "Christian" variant of Jewish mysticism including elements of Hermeticism.
IV. Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is the purpose of this discussion list? This forum exists for the purpose of discussion and networking among Christians who have an interest in the esoteric, which may include that which is also known as "magic(k)" and the "occult".
2. Is this list for Christians only? No. Non-Christians are welcome to read and participate in the discussions. However, this is a list for and managed by Christians. Christianity is assumed to be a valid path in this list, and thus, debate as to the validity of Christianity is not appropriate; neither are attacks against the faith.
3. How does this list define "Christian"? Each individual on this list that self-identifies as a Christian will have a different answer to this question. Generally though, a "Christian" will draw their primary spiritual guidance/inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. See the definitions above for specifics.
4. I don't like your definition of "Christian" but I still claim to be a Christian. We all know there as many (or more) definitions of "Christian" as there are Christians. We could devote a whole list just to this subject and get no farther on the subject than folks have in the last 2,000 years. The point is that while we don't want to get so detailed as to get bogged down in dogma, we need a fairly concise definition for clear communications. So, we are not attempting to label you or anyone else. However, for clear communication in this forum you may need to qualify your references to Christianity with one or more descriptive adjectives if your definition is more liberal or conservative than the "official" one.
5. Is this a theology list? No, and theology that is not related to the study of magic(k) or esotericism is not appropriate. Discussions about abortion, homosexuality, the virgin birth, and the religious right are not appropriate, and should be taken to e-mail.
6. Are any topics off limits? It is difficult to declare a topic off limits before discussion begins. All topics should seek to address the issues of magic(k) and Christianity, but this can get fairly broad. The moderators will determine how far the boundaries can be pushed. At times a particular issue of theology and/or ethics with regards to magic(k) will surface, and a discussion of these important issues may seem to get off topic. The moderators will work to make sure the topic is brought back to the issue at hand in a timely fashion.
7. Are there moderators? Yes, there are three moderators. For questions, concerns, or complaints regarding the list, direct your email: email@example.com. Please note that for convenience we moderate the membership not the actual posts. See the moderators section below for more details.
8. Somebody posted something very offensive to me and now I'm going to really flame them! Hold on! First, this isn't a question but I'll answer it anyway. We've all seen flame wars in other lists and news groups. It's not pretty. It's occasionally amusing but for the most part counterproductive to the group. It will not be tolerated here. If you feel you are injured by an offending post, then we must insist that as a Christian list we follow the Christian method for resolution. First, contact the offender privately by email and attempt to resolve your differences. If it can not be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, then bring in a third neutral party. If there is still no mutual agreement, then contact the moderators. Their decision will be binding.
9. Is a digest mode available? Yes. To subscribe to the daily digest of messages send the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org: subscribe fiatlvx-digest email@ address (real name). Each day at around midnight (EST), the digester will send out a collection of each day's postings in a single message (with a nice Table of Contents at the top). This digest is also archived in the Fiat LVX files area. At the end of each month, the digest archives are collected into a single file (named by month) and stored in compressed format in the files area.
10. How do I get back issues and files in the "files area"? To get a list of files in the Fiat LVX files area, send the following message to email@example.com. com: list. To get a specific file, say the Guidelines, send the following message: get Guidelines. For more information on the list, get, and other server commands, send the word "help" to firstname.lastname@example.org. Commands sent to the list or moderators will get you slow or no response so be sure to check the address. Remember also that the commands must be in the body of the message and not the subject. Subject text is ignored by the command interpreter.
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The Rev. Mtr. (& FotO) L.P. was the person who started this whole thing, She was raised Protestant, but is currently considering a conversion to a liturgical/ sacramental church. FotO L.P. is a seminary graduate and an ordained minister. She is no longer involved in Fiat LVX, but has helped to start Silver Chalice E-List. She is mostly involved in independent esoteric and magickal study at the moment.
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We hope that you enjoy this list, and thank you for your participation!
[Editor's Note: Many members of The Order of The Astral Star who have computers and access to the Internet participate in this electronic discussion e-list. This is in our oppinion, one of the best discussion e-list for Christian Magicians available to date. Between Fiat LVX and Arcana (featured in the next issue of The Crux Mystica), a Christian Magician can learn a great deal, and meet some very unique, educated, and experienced practitioners. We wish to thank Lainie Petersen for her contribution to our publication. Chris Ward wrote a very detailed Guidelines for the Fiat LVX list, and we modified it just slightly as to form for publication within this issue of The Crux Mystica. The content remains the same. We continue to wish the members of Fiat LVX every success in their future ventures! It is our pleasure to offer to all Fiat LVX members a free e-subscription to our electronic version of The Crux Mystica. Until we hear from them, we remain most sincerely, Theirs in The Light (of Christ), - VHSr. Cavaet Anima]
THE CHRISTIAN CABALA: AN ESSAY - PART 1 OF 2
By Cynthia M. Smith
Atlanta, GA; USA
"Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died, young and fair;
Lord have mercy upon us." --- Thomas Nashe
The errors made by the early Christian Cabalists almost drove me to despair. I'm not sure how to write this essay. Should I expound upon Pico's understanding of the Cabala, for example, or should I point out his numerous errors? Should I then give, based on my own knowledge of Cabala, a better interpretation? I will begin an examination and interpretation of Christian Cabalistic texts with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. First, however, a little history of the development of Kabbalah is in order.
HISTORY/CAST OF CHARACTERS:
The earliest Christian apologetic on Kabbalah was made by Moshe Sefardi, or Pedro Alfonso (baptized 1106). The work was called "Dialogus" and gave a proof of the Trinity based on the Tetragrammaton. Ramon Martin authored a work called "Pugio fidei" (1280) in which he discusses the Tetragrammaton christologically, discusses how name science and sefirotic science support the notion of the Trinity, and calls the Messiah by the Hebrew letter Yod. His disciple Arnaldo Vilanova wrote "Allocution super Tetragrammaton" in which he uses gematria in a manner indicating the possible influence of Abraham Abulafia. Abner de Burgos (1270-1348) was influenced by the Pugio and produced similar proofs based on the Tetragrammaton and his own personal dreams. Abner possessed a great desire to use this system to convert Jews. Under the name Alfonso de Valladolid he wrote "More Zedeq" (Mostrador de justicia). Other noteworthy figures in the time period were Solomon Halevi (c. 1351-1435), also known as Pablo de Santa Maria, who used Jewish beliefs about Elijah's coming and the end of the world to promote Christian Kabbalistic beliefs; and Joshua Halorki who, as Jeronimo de la Santa Fe, provided the Christian view at the Dispute of Tortosa (1413-1414). Ramon Lull used Kabbalistic appeals to the same end. Lull used Latin, rather than Hebrew, letters in his proofs.
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola regarded himself as the first Christian ever to explore and attempt to explain the Kabbalah from a Christian perspective. This is not true, but this is what he believed. He appeared to be completely unfamiliar with the above writers and learned Kabbalah directly from Jewish sources -- an approach which had its advantages. Pico studied Hebrew for the sole purpose of studying Kabbalah. However, he relied of necessity on translations which often contained erroneous material, and the actual Kabbalistic texts, including portions of the Zohar, which did come into hispossession were few and limited in scope. Nevertheless, he wrote the Heptaplus, which I look at in this essay, nine hundred theses called the Conclusiones, of which we'll examine a few, and his "Oration on the Dignity of Man." Pico's primary translator was a converso who inserted much extraneous pro-Christian material into his translations not found the original Hebrew -- much to the excitement of Pico. This converso translator was Samuel ben Nissim Abulfaraj, or Raymond Moncada, or Flavius Mithridates.
Johannes Reuchlin, Pico's disciple, wrote "De Verbo Mirifico," a early work, and "De Arte Cabalistica," a later work when he was much more knowledgable of Kabbalah. His primary contribution to the study of Kabbalah was his application of divine name science to the name of the Christian deity, Jesus. He argued that early in history, God revealed himself to the Jews by the three-letter (in Hebrew) name "Shaddai." In the time of the Torah, God revealed himself to Moses by the Tetragrammaton, comprised of four letters. In the days of the Messiah, God revealed himself by the Pentagrammaton, comprised of five letters. How he did this will be described later in the essay. By doing so, he combined Jewish belief in three world ages, that is, Chaos, Torah, and Messiah, and developed a system comprised of the reign of the Father, the reign of the Son, and the reign of the Holy Spirit.
Paolo Ricci or Paulus Israelita (d. 1541) wrote "De coelesti agricultura" in 1540. This work influenced Reuchlin and Guy Le Fevre le la Boderie. Ricci noted a relationship between the ten sefirot to the ten spheres and the ten orders of angels (usually nine in Christian thinking). He discussed name science, the Tetragrammaton, and included a translation of Gikatilla's "Sha'arei-Orah" (Gates of Light), which he called "Portae lucis." Ricci's book was placed on the Index in 1570. Ricci's book was Orthodox and non-magical, delved into neither notariakon nor gematria. Instead, he discussed the Fall of Man, the rule of law, and the role of prayer. He followed a typical Christian pattern in attempting to link the Old Law with Christ, but issued forth a new argument that both Jews and Christians were subject to the same eternal laws, linking Thomism and Kabbalah. In his scheme, personal contact with the divine in mystical union was more important than the salvation of all Israel. Significantly, his brother, Agostino Ricci, wrote "De motu" in which he identified the upper three sefirot with the Trinity and the lower seven sefirot as the seven divine ideas. This work must have influenced Saint Theresa, whose divine scheme is very similar. It appears to be dissimilar to the typical idea that all the sefirot are collectively God.
In 1531, Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim wrote "De Occulta Philosophia," which was largely responsible for the mistaken association of Kabbalah with magic and witchcraft down to the present day. In the 16th Century, Christian Kabbalists made a valiant effort to truly study the texts, in Latin and Hebrew, to attempt to discover common ground between Judaism and Christianity. Unlike the earlier schools of Christian Kabbalistic thought, these were genuine attempts to develop religious and philosophical ideas pertaining to the Christian Faith for their own sake or the benefit of Christian spirituality, and not a vain attempt to convert Jews to Christianity. Some of these people were:
Egidio Cardinal da Viterbo
(1465-1532) -- Scechina
(ed. F. Secret, 1959)
"On Hebrew Letters"
This book was influenced by the Zohar and the Sefer ha-Temunah and:
Francesco Giorgia of Venice, OFM
-- De Harmonia Mundi (1525)
-- Problemata (1556)
In this work, Kabbalah was central and the Zohar extensively quoted for the first time in a Christian publication.
Archangelo de Burgonovo
-- plagiarism of above author
-- Translation of Zohar into Latin
-- Translation of Sefer Yezirah into Latin
This is truly an outstanding figure in Christian Kabbalah. Unfortunately, I have not been able to obtain any of his works in English, not even in Latin. I will continue my search. A Frenchman, he was also an outstanding Rennaissance figure. His translations were extensively annotated with his own theosophic ideas. In 1548, Postel also published a noted work in which he discussed the significance of the Menorah in mystical terms.
Saint Theresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross were good friends who were both influenced by the Kabbalah. Probably, the Kabbalah that influenced both of them was folk Kabbalah. Theresa, who was largely uneducated and only became literate late in life, was unaquainted with written sources from the Zohar or other mystical writings. Saint John of the Cross, it is probable, did have such access, but limited in scope. In the vast majority of works I have read on Kabbalah, neither Saint Theresa nor Saint John of the Cross are mentioned in connection with Kabbalah. Seldom is Luis de Leon mentioned in connection with Kabbalah either, although his work "De los nombres de Cristo" is a significant Kabbalistic work using name science to describe the various meanings of the names of Jesus Christ. He was perhaps influenced by Alonso de Orozco's "De nueve nombres de Cristo," Reuchlin, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Ramon Lull.
As the years wore on, Christian Kabbalah became more and more disassociated from its Jewish origins, much as Christian theology in general in the early years became more and more disassociated from its Jewish origins. In the 17th Century, Jacob Boehme and Knorr von Rosenroth's began to push the Kabbalah once again. In von Rosenroth's "Kabbala Denudata (1677-84), sizable chunks of the Zohar as well as Lurianic Kabbalah were directly quoted. It was Athanasius Kircher, however, who for the first time drew a direct connection between Adam Kadmon and Jesus. I have not read this work and learned of its existence only after I wrote the piece near the end of this essay on the Passion of En-Sof. When I find this work, I'll be interested to discover how many of his ideas coincide with my own.
Other authors include:
--Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae (1609)
--Traite du Feu (1617)
Abraham von Frankenbert (1593-1652)
Robert Fludd (1574-1637)
Thomas Vaughan (1622-1666)
Georg von Welling
--Opus Mago-Cabbalisticum (1735)
Martinez de Pasqually
--Traite de la reintegration des etres (1727-1774)
Franz Josef Molitor
--Philosophie der Geschichte oder Ueber die Tradition (1779-1861)
What is the question addressed in this essay? This: Who is Christ? Who is God? How can the Kabbalah be used as an aid to development of the Christian understanding of God? The Christian Kabbalists sometimes made errors, sometimes used and abused the Zoharic and other texts to prove their pet points, but all desired to deepen their understanding of who God is, and de facto who Christ is, by an application of Kabbalah. The texts examined in this essay attempt to understand who the authors felt God (Christ) to be; I attempt to examine the texts to determine who Christ is from my own Zoharic knowledge. I attempt to explain what the authors may have meant by their arguments if they had been able to use Kabbalistic terminology either not available to them or which they could not use for fear of the Inquisition. I have not yet had time to examine the original texts of Saint Theresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, but they are next on my list of things to do in my research into Kabbalah.
I should like to explain the first expression of the work, which by the Hebrews is read 'Bereshit' and by us 'In the beginning,' to see if I also, using the rules of the ancients, could draw out into the light thence something worthy to know. And beyond my hope, beyond my conjecture, I found what not even I, finding it, could believe, nor what others could easily believe -- the whole arrangement of the creation of the world and of all things revealed and explained in that one expression.
I do say a marvelous, unheard of, and unbelievable thing. But if you will pay attention, you will believe it at once, and the very thing will prove me right. That expression by the Hebrews is written in this manner: , that is, Berescith. From this if we unite the third letter to the first, it becomes , that is, AB. If to the first one doubled, we add the second one, it becomes , that is, BEBAR. If we read all of them except the first, it becomes, , that is RESIT. If we unite the fourth and the first and the last, it becomes , that is, SCIABAT. If we put the first three in the order in which they are, it becomes , that is BAR. If with the first omitted, we put down the three following ones, it becomes , that is, ROSC. If leaving out the first and the second ones, we put the two following ones, we have , that is, ES. If we leave off the first three ones, we put together the fourth and the last one, we have , that is, SETH. Again if we unite the second to the first one, we have , that is, RAB; if we put after the third, the fourth and the the fifth ones, we have HISC; if we unite the first two with the last two, we have , that is, REBITH. If we unite the last to the first, we obtain the twelfth and the last word, , that is, THOB, turning the (Tau) into the letter (Teth), which is a very common proceeding in Hebrew.
Let us see what these words mean in Latin, then what may be revealed about the mystery of the whole nature to those not in ignorance of philosphy. AB means the father; BEBAR means in the son and through the son (in fact, the prefix BETH means both); RESIT indicates the beginning; SABATH the rest and the end; BAR, created; ROSC, head; ES fire; SETH, foundation; RAB, of the great; HISC, of the man; BERIT, with an agreement; THOB, with goodness.
If, following this order, we rebuild the expression, it will be like this: "The Father, in the Son and through the Son, the beginning and end, or rest, created the head, the fire, and the foundation of the great man with a good agreement."
This entire discourse results from the taking apart and the putting together of that first expression. It cannot be clear to all how deep and full of all meaning this teaching is. But, if not all, at least some of the ideas are signified to us by these words that are clear to all. By all Christians it is known what is meant by the saying "the Father created in the Son and through the Son," and likewise what is meant by "The Son is the beginning and the end of all things." In fact, He is the Alpha and Omega (as John writes), and He called Himself the Beginning, and we have shown that He is the End of all things in which they may be brought back to their beginning. The rest is a little more osbscure: namely, what do the head, the fire, and the foundation of the great man mean, and what is the "agreement," and why is it called "good"? In fact, not everyone can see present here every law of the four worlds of which I spoke, the whole plan, their relationship, and, likewise, their happiness, about which I explained at the end. First then, we must remember that the world was called by Moses, "great man." In fact, if man is a small world, necessarily the world is a great man. Hence with the opportunity seized, he pictures, very appropriately, the three worlds, the intellectual, the heavenly, and the corruptible ones, through the three parts of man, not only showing with this figure that in man are contained all the worlds, but also explaining briefly which part of man corresponds to each world.
Let us consider then the three parts of man: the higher is the head; then that which from the neck stretches to the navel; the third, that which extends from the navel to the feet. And these parts in the figure of man are also well defined and separated with a certain variety. But it is astonishing how beautifully and how perfectly they correspond by a very precise plan, by anlogy, to the three parts of the world.
The brain, source of knowledge, is in the head; the heart, source of movement, life, and heat, is in the chest; the genital organs, the beginning of reproduction, are located in the lowest part. By the same token, in the world the highest part, which is the angelic or intellectual world, is the source of knowledge because such is nature is made for the understanding; the middle part, that is the sky, is the beginning of life, of movement, heat, and is controlled by the sun as the heart in the chest. It is known to all that below the moon is the beginning of creation and corruption. See how appropriately all these parts of the world and of man correspond reciprocally. Indeed, he designated the first one with its appropriate name, the head; he called the second one fire, because by this name the heavens are valued by man, and because in us this part is the principle of heat. He called the third one foundation because by it (as is known by all) is founded and sustained the whole body of man. He added finally that God created them with a good agreement because between them, through the law of divine wisdom, an agreement of peace and friendship was decreed on the kinship and on the mutual agreement of their natures. This agreement is good because it is thus arranged and set in order toward God, Who is goodness itself, so that, just as the whole world is one in the totality of its parts, so also like this, at the end, it is one with its Maker.
Let us also imitate the holy agreement of the world, so that we may be one together in mutual love, and that simultaneously through the true love of God, we may all happily ascend as one with Him.
Pico appears to be referring to the Adam Kadmon, dividing the parts of the body into three, that is, the upper three sefirot, the middle three, and the lower three, with the bottom, Malkhut, comprising all of the above. He begins with the head, Keter, describing it as the source of Hokhmah. This is followed by the heart (Tiferet) and the genital organs (Yesod). The other sefirot are attached to these three. He then says that Keter is the source of Hokhma because such nature is made for Bina. Tiferet is the beginning of life, and Yesod founded and sustained the whole body of man (the sefirotic system). Finally, from Binah an agreement of peace and friendship was decreed on the kinship and on the mutual agreement of their natures. This agreement is good because it is thus arranged in order toward En-Sof, Who is goodness itself, so that just as the entire sefirotic system is one in the totality of its parts, so also like this, at then end, it is one with En-Sof.
Pico is trying to combine the Zoharic divine emanation theory with Adam Kadmon. He begins with a bizarre rendition of the word Bereshith as proof of the Trinity. Since Keter is the Father, Hokhma the Son, and Bina the Holy Spirit, we may reread his statement thus: Keter, in Hokhma and through Hokhma, the En-Sof and En-Sof, or Shabbat (Malkhut), created (probably means emanated here) Keter, Tiferet, and Yesod, the bases or trunks of the whole sefirotic tree, in mutual cooperation. Did the sefirot exist inside En-Sof before their emanation from En-Sof, or did the sefirot come into existence only after their emanation from En-Sof?
Pico quotes John the Divine, noting that the Son is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. This means that Christ is the manifestation of En-Sof in visible form. In the days of the Messiah, according to the Zohar, all the sefirot will roll back up into En-Sof. Since we live in the days of the Messiah, we can conclude that this event has indeed taken place, and that En-Sof has given birth once again to the sefirot, making the whole creation new.
What Pico himself specifically means by his text, we'd have to ask Pico to explain. However, based upon my own knowledge of the Zohar, this appears to be what he's trying to say. At any rate, this is my interpretation of his interpretation.
In order to determine precisely who Pico believes Jesus to be, we must turn to his seventh Kabbalistic thesis "secundum opinionem propriate." Pico says:
Conclusio xiv: Per litteram id est scin quae mediat in nomine Iesu significatur nobis cabalistice quod tum perfecte quieut tanquam in sua perfectione mundus cum Iod coniunctus est cum Vau, quod factum est in Christ qui fuit uerus dei filius et homo.
Conclusio xv: Per nomen Iod he uau he, quod est nomen ineffabile, quod dicunt Cabalistae futurum esse nomen Messiae, euidenter cognoscitur futurum eum Deum Dei filium per spiritum sanctum hominem factum, et post eum ad perfectionem humani generis super homines parclytum descensurum.
The name of the Messiah is Yahweh (YHVH), while the name of Jesus is Yesu (YSW). The importance of the letter shin becomes even more important with Pico's disciple, Johannes Reuchlin, who created from the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) the Pentagrammaton (YHSVH). Reuchlin was familiar with the Jewish belief that the letter shin was missing from a proper understanding of the Torah; the coming of shin, Reuchlin argued, made the unpronounceable name Yahweh pronounceable and salvation came to eretz Yisrael. Reuchlin wrote, "When the Tetragrammaton shall become audible, that is effable...it will be called by the consonant which is called shin, so that it might become YHSVH, which will be above you, your head and your master." He also noticed that the letter shin is shaped like a lamp, giving off divine light and fire. All the sefirot are rivers of fire and the shin is the lamp connecting all the sefirot to one another.
John the Baptist says, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire." This also coincides with the common New Testament image that Jesus is the Light of the World who gives his light, like one candle to another, to his disciples, who then become a light to their fellow Jews as well as the Gentiles. The Sefer Yetzirah says that shin represents fire. En-Sof is fire and the source of light. Jesus is the source of light. The shin, therefore, symbolizes the Incarnation.
A scribe asked Jesus what was the greatest of all the Commandments. Jesus replied, "Shema Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad" (Mark 12:29). The first word, shema, is spelled shin, mem, ayin. The shin and mem, according to the Sefer Yetzirah, are among the three "mother letters." Shin is fire, mem is water. The Shema, from ancient times, therefore presages baptism by fire and water. Shin is chaos, mem is harmony; this is being baptized by En-Sof and Malkhut -- En-Sof the source of emanation, Malkhut the mouth of the rivers of light. In baptism, therefore, we are touched and drenched by fire and water -- the living Presence of God. The ayin, according to the Zohar, has a numerical value of seventy. Thus did Jesus send out seventy apostles to preach the Kingdom of God (Luke 10:1). In the fire are the colors white, yellow, red, black, and sky-blue. These are colors of sefirot; sky-blue is the color of Malkhut. Is it any wonder that the color most often associated with the Virgin Mary is blue? When the womb of Malkhut touched the womb of Mary, Mary became blue. She burned with the fires of the sefirot. Hokhma and Bina engaged in sexual intercourse and gave birth to Tiferet inside Malkhut-Mary, who then gave birth to the Messiah En-Sof.
Conclusion lxvii: Per dictum Cabalistarum, quod coeli sunt ex igne et aqua, simul et ueritatem theologicam de ipsis Sephirot nobis manifestat, et philosophicam ueritatem, quot elementa in coelo sint tantum secundum actiuam uirtutem.
Shamayim (Heaven) consists of fire and water. Fire (Gevurah) and water (Chesed) are united in Heaven (Tiferet). A father brought his son to Jesus (Matthew 9:17). The father explained that a mute spirit frequently threw his son into gevurah and chesed, back and forth, to kill him (9:22). Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the boy. In doing so, gevurah and chesed flowed naturally into tiferet. The forces of sitra achra were attempting to upset the balance of the sefirotic system. Jesus, the Balance, Tiferet Himself, set things aright. Jesus then explained to his talmidim that mute spirits of this kind can only be driven out through prayer with proper kavvanah.
The Liber de Radicibus seu Terminis Cabalae, fol. 261r says:
shamayim sine he idest celi indicat Tiphereth cum he vero quandoque indicat Intelligentiam, quandoque ipsam Tiphereth et significat hassamaim ly celi.
Tiferet is YHWH. Pico says in secundum secretam doctrinam sapientam Hebraeorum Cabalistarum:
Quamuis nomen ineffabile sit proprietas clementiae, negandum tamen non est quin contineat proprietatem iudicii.
Judgment and Mercy, therefore, dwell within Jesus who is Heaven. In Mark 12:26, Jesus quotes the bush passage in the Torah, "I am the God of Chesed, the God of Gevurah, and the God of Tiferet." God is not God of sitra achra, but God of the sefirot. In Matthew 10:8, "Tiferet's Malkhut is here." This means that Heaven has arrived on earth and the Kingdom is with him (i.e., Tiferet has arrived on Earth and Shekhinah is with him). In Matthew 12:25, Jesus notes that the sefirot cannot be divided or Malkhut will not continue to be. But, Jesus notes, if he drives out the forces of sitra achra by Bina (the World to Come, the River that waters Eden), then "Malkhut has come to dwell among you." Intimating that Malkhut has no light of her own, but is only illumined by the other sefirot, Jesus said in reply to the Pharisees in Luke 17:20-21: "The coming of Malkhut cannot be observed, and no one will announce, 'Look, here she is,' or 'There she is.' For behold, Malkhut is in your midst." Malkhut and all the sefirot are mirrors of light that cannot be seen without the divine light of all the sefirot.
In his twenty-first Conclusion, Pico asserts:
Qui coniunxerit dictum Cabalistarum, dicentium quod illa numeratio quae dicitur iustus et redemptor dicitur etiam Ze, cum dicto Thalmutistarum, dicen-tium quod Isaac ibat sicut ze portans Crucem suam, uidebit quod illud quod fuit in Isaac praefiguratum fuit adimpletum in Christo, qui fuit verus Deus uenditus argento.
Christian Cabalists interpreted the ze as referring to the ninth sefirah (Iustus or Fundamentum). They simultaneously interpreted the ze mystically as prefiguring Christ. In Gicatilla's Portae Iustitiae, he attempts to guide people to God through the sefirot. Jacob, he argued, knew which gate to enter, and with this essential knowledge revealed that man must enter the Gate Ze in order to begin his ascent to God. Symbolically, this means that for man to ascend to God, he must enter through Christ to Christ. According to Flavius Mithridates, Pico's translator, in his Sermo de Passione Domini, Ze was both the ninth sefirah and Jesus of Nazareth.
Pico got into the most trouble when he said that "nulla est scientia quae nos magis certificet de divinitate Christi quam magia et cabala." The reason this statement was condemned is clearly because magic and cabala are placed above the Gospels and the Tradition of the Church in importance and claims to be a source of divine inspiration in its own right. Divine inspiration belongs to the Tradition of the Church alone, and not to any tradition outside the Church. It's basically the same reason Anne Hutchinson was condemned by a Protestant council in the early Americas. It is claiming an authority that is seen as an attempt to wrest authority from the established authority, the Church. Pico, I think, meant by his statement, like Hutchinson centuries after him, that his personal experience with the divine light guided him toward knowledge of God that confirmed his previous experiences with Christ.
It is important to note at this point that Pico made a discovery in the course of his studies that I have only recently made in the course of my studies as well -- that is, that there are two types of Kabbalah whose sources were available to him and these were the science of names and the science of sefirot. In the first quoted passage above, Pico is dealing with name science, whereas later he deals with sefirotic science. Most of the primary texts Pico had in his possession dealt with sefirotic science, although name science, used magically and theurgically, was far older than the Zohar. Abraham Abulafia was keenly interested in the distinction between the two sciences. It is not clear, however, that Pico was at first aware of the distinction. In Pico's second thesis, he combines merkavah and the art of combining letters. In his thirty-seventh thesis, he says:
Qui intellexerit in dextrali coordinatione subordinationem pietatis ad sapientiam, perfecte intelliget per uiam Cabalae quomodo Abraam in die suo per rectam lineam uidit diem Christi et gauisus est.
For Pico, pietas is Chesed and is below Hokhma. His tree in Latin:
Pico associated, rightly, the fourth sefirah with Abraham (Chesed) and is Abraham's Day. The Day of the Mashiach (yomo shel mashiah) comes from an interpretation of John 8:56, "Abraham your father rejoiced to see my Day; he saw it and was glad." For Pico, the organization of the sefirotic system is triadic. Hence, Piety is below Wisdom as one goes down the right side of the tree. Thus, Abraham looked up the tree in a direct line and saw the Day of Christ, which is Hokhma.
Hokhma emanated from Keter; Chesed came from Hokhma and Bina. This is the meaning of the succeeding text in which Jesus says to the Jews, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM (YHVH)" (John 8:58). The tetragrammaton is associated with Tiferet, yet Chesed (Abraham) looks up and sees that Hokhma came before. In this way, Pico confirms that Hokhma is Tiferet. This is a little like Carroll's conclusion that "the boojum was a beejum, you see."
In "De Arte Cabalistica," Johanne Reuchlin associates Adam Kadmon with Tiferet: "[the Kabbalists] thought that the Beauty of the physical world should be placed in the middle of the tree by which the ten sephiroth are numbered, being that great Adam who is like the tree of life in the midst of an ideal paradise, or as they say, like the straight line, the median" (Reuchlin, 47). Reuchlin says man is given the qualities of Netzah and Hod to remind him that he is both part of the emanations and of this worldly kingdom.
In translation, this means that, though the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the Kingdom (Malkhut) of Tiferet was still in the Upper World. "But through the fear of God, and the hallowing of him, by the fear [pahad/gevura/din] and loving-kindness [Chesed] spread out over him, man can apprehend God in His simplicity through these three methods: Crown [Keter], Wisdom [Hokhma], and Understanding [Bina]. That is to say, we can know God in His simplicity through knowing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christ is the Form World Adam become flesh. All other human beings before Christ were imperfect reflections of Adam Kadmon. Christ, on the other hand, is an exact and perfect reflection, indeed, Christ is Adam Kadmon, come down from the Upper World.
It is important to note that Simon the Jew is speaking in this conversational treatise by Reuchlin. It is obvious that Simon the Jew is the mouthpiece for Reuchlin himself, spouting forth Christian interpretations of Kabbalah, while Simon scratches his head and confesses that none of it makes sense to him yet -- but it makes perfect sense to the knowledgeable Christian reader!
Simon the Jew says that sense, judgement, and intellect correspond to the three fathers of Kabbalah in Merkavah: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet). "The two intervals between the three regions, sense and judgment, are doubled accordingly as they are higher or lower, and each can be reduced to two end points. There remain to be found the ten rungs of the ladder on which we climb to know all truth, be it of the senses or of knowledge, or of faith; from bottom to top we climb" (Reuchlin, 51). Clearly, he is saying we must climb the sefirot to reach En-Sof.
He also appears to referring to Christ as Jacob's Ladder, as in John 1:51, where Jesus says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." Reuchlin then goes on to explain the nature of the ten sephirot, their relationships, and how the mind of man is the Crown and is alone divine. He then has Simon make a veiled reference to Christ: "Just as God wears a Crown in the kingdom of the world, so is the mind of man chief among the ten sephiroth..." Jesus, who is God, wears the Crown of Thorns (Keter) in this world, and the mind of Christ is chief among the sephirot.
Reuchlin then goes on to describe the Fall of Man and the promised salvation to come by describing a "future" man who would be righteous enough to eat of the Tree of Life and restore man's relationship with God. Obviously, Reuchlin's mouthpiece Simon is making veiled references to Jesus, whom he describes as "that heavenly Adam coeternal with God" (73).
So the angel Raziel was sent to Adam as he lay grief-stricken, to console him, and the angel said:
Don't lie shuddering, burdened with grief, thinking of your responsibility for bringing the race of man to perdition. The primal sin will be purged in this way: from your seed will be born a just man, a man of peace, a hero whose name will in pity contain these four letters -- YHWH -- and through his upright trustfulness and peaceable sacrifice will put out his hand, and take from the Tree of Life, and the fruit of that Tree will be salvation to all who hope for it.
The name Yeshua, which does mean "Yah[weh] is our Salvation" or "Saving Justice," is interpreted as having a power that will enable him to eat from Shekhinah, the Tree of Life, in whom is contained all the sefirot, and the fruit (sefirot) of that Tree will be salvation for all people. Reuchlin here seems to assume that Jews have an understanding of original sin that is actually not a Jewish belief. At any rate, when Christians consume the Body and Blood of Jesus, they are consuming the Fruit (sefirot) of the Tree of Life (Malkhut). Adam is then thankful for the sefirah Tiferet (Mercy). This notion of salvation, Simon says on the same page, "encapsulates all the principles of Kabbalah, all the traditions concerning the divine, knowledge of heaven, visions of the prophets, and meditations of the blessed." One gets the impression here that, if only someone would explain basic Christian doctrine to Simon, everything would make sense to him, but alas! he just does not know the truth.
This type of rhetoric may have been common but I would rather see it (or hear it, rather) on the lips of an actual Christian than on the lips of a Jewish man. He sees Jewish beliefs only through Christian eyes, not bothering to look at Jewish beliefs through Jewish eyes. I find this irritating and it makes me wish to disbelieve much that I actually agree with in this book. I have a similar reaction towards Archie Bunker, who says many things I agree with, but who is presented as such a jerk that you're not supposed to agree with him. It makes me angry to hear conservative beliefs presented in such skewed fashion that you want to disagree with it. Frankly, I think Archie Bunker did more harm than good to the liberal cause by generating beliefs in people that were not good in conjunction with the good conservative beliefs (as least good as I see them) because no other point of view was present in the show but the liberal one. I could delve into the psychology of this, but that's another essay. My point is that Simon is a Jew, someone good Christians are supposed to disagree with. The way he presents certain ideas, however, we're supposed to agree with him up to a point. We're supposed to embrace the Christian, and reject the Jewish, parts of his beliefs, as if the Jewish parts of his beliefs are not worth considering. We know that no amount of explaining will convert Archie to the liberal cause, and no amount of explaining will convert Simon to the Christian cause, but every once in a while we are granted a glimpse of what Archie would be like if only he'd become good (i.e., liberal), just as every once in a while, Simon praises Christian beliefs and we are given a peek at what Simon would be like if only he'd embrace Christ. I think the conservative revolution in this country was partly a violent reaction against the overly-liberal media. Conservatives embraced more extreme beliefs in reaction to the extreme liberalism presented on television -- in frustration, more than anything. It's possible that many Jewish groups have embraced more extreme Judaism in reaction to the extreme Christianity around them, especially the "December Threat" -- in frustration, more than anything. At any rate, Reuchlin's rhetorical style rubs me the wrong way and almost makes me sorry I've taken such an interest in Christian Kabbalah.
Part 1 of 2:
[Editor's Note: This essay will be concluded in the next issue of The Crux Mystica, Volume #1, Issue #2, due out at the Autmnal Equinox, Sept. 1996 A.D. In this first Part, Ms. Smith asked the questions, "Who is Christ?" and "Who is God?" and attempts to explain the answers to these questions in light of what has been labeled, The Christian Cabala, and her own research into the Zohar. Ms. Smith discussed the works of Agrippa, Pico dell Mirandola, and other sources. She will continue her investigations with some interesting observations - beginning with the works of Reuchlin and continuing with Lull and others. We know you will enjoy it! - VHSr. Caveat Anima]
Blau, Joseph Leon. The Christian Interpretation of the Cabala in the Renaissance. Columbia University Press, 1944.
Franck, Adolph. The Kabbalah: The Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews. University Books, Inc., 1967.
Ginsburg, Christian D. The Kabbalah: Its Doctrines, Development, and Literature. Second Impression. George Routledge & Sons Limited, 1920.
Halevi, Z'ev ben Shimon. Adam and the Kabbalistic Tree. Samuel Weiser, Inc., United States, 1974.
Halevi, Z'ev ben Shimon. School of Kabbalah. Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Me., 1985.
Pick, Bernard. The Cabala: Its Influence on Judaism and Christianity. The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, London, 1913.
_____ Pico della Mirandola's Encounter with Jewish Mysticism.
Reuchlin, Johannes. De Verbo Mirifico. (1494)
_____ De Arte Cabalistica. (1517).
_____ Faksimile-Neudruck in einem Band. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, 1964.
Reuchlin, Johannes. De Arte Cabalistica (On the Art of Kabbalah). Translation by Martin and Sarah Goodman. Abaris Books, New York, 1983.
Scholem, Gershom. Kabbalah. Copyright 1974 by Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd. Published by the Penguin Group.
Secret, Francois. De Cabbalisticis Inventis Libri Duo. Nieuwkoop, B. de Graaf, Paris, 1978.
Swietlicki, Catherine. Spanish Christian Cabala. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1986.
GOTO Part II of The Christian Cabala: An Essay By Cynthia Smith.
A LITURGICAL CALENDAR FOR CHRISTIAN MAGICIANS
With Noted Festivals and Special Events
April 1996 - September 1996.
Date Event/Note APRIL Note: In the Liturgical Season of Lent - High Altar Cloths in purple. 04/01/96 April Fool's Day 04/03/96 Moon = Full; Moon = Lunar Eclipse 04/04/96 Passover Begins @ Sunset 04/05/96 Good Friday; High Altar cloths to Red 04/06/96 Easter Even; High Altar cloths to Black 04/07/96 EASTER SUN.; High Altar cloths to White 04/10/96 Moon = Last 1/4 04/14/96 1st Sun. after Easter 04/17/96 Moon = New; Sun = Solar Eclipse 04/19/96 Sun Enters Taurus 04/21/96 2nd Sun. after Easter 04/25/96 St. Mark, Evangelist; Moon = 1st 1/4 04/26-28/96 AVALON ISLE PRESENTS: The Lesser Eleusian Mysteries at Avalon Isle near Gatlinburg-Crosby, TN., Fri. Apr. 26th through Sun. Apr. 28th. Contact Avalon Isle at (706)-369-6813 for more information. This is a primitive camping event in the Great Smoky Mountains. 04/27-28/96 NEW EARTH Psychic Festivals. Lexington, KY - Ramada Hotel, Newtown Pk. Exit (off I-75) Sat. Apr. 27th (10AM-8PM) through Sun. Apr. 28th (12PM-7PM). For more Information call (606)-259-1311. 04/28/96 3rd Sun. after Easter 04/30/96 Walpurgis Even MAY 05/01/96 Beltane 05/03/96 St. James & St. Philip, Apostles; Moon = Full 05/05/96 4th Sun. after Easter 05/10/96 Moon = Last 1/4 05/12/96 5th Sun. after Easter; MOTHER'S DAY 05/14/96 St. Matthias, Apostle 05/17/96 Moon = New 05/19/96 Ascension Day 05/20/96 Sun enters Gemini 05/24/96 Shavout 05/25/96 Moon = 1st 1/4 05/26/96 Whit Sunday; PENTECOST High Altar cloths to Green 05/27/96 MEMORIAL DAY JUNE 06/01/96 Moon = Full 06/02/96 Trinity Sunday 06/08/96 Moon = Last 1/4 06/09/96 1st Sun. after Trinity 06/11/96 St. Barnabas, Apostle 06/14/96 FLAG DAY 06/15/96 Corpus Christi; Moon = New 06/16/96 2nd Sun. after Trinity; FATHER'S DAY 06/19/96 Coming of Summer Solstice; High Altar cloths to Yellow; Rose on High Altar = Red 06/20/96 Sun enters Cancer; Summer Solstice @ 10:24 PM EDT High Altar cloths remains Yellow; Rose on High Altar = Red; S.T. Polaris Adept Ritual @ 6:00 PM EDT 06/21/96 Summer Solstice complete High Altar cloth to Green 06/23/96 3rd Sun. after Trinity 06/24/96 Birth of St. John the Baptist; High Altar cloth to Red; Moon = 1st 1/4 06/25/96 Continue Liturgical Season of Pentecost; High Altar cloth to Green 06/29/96 St. Peter, Apostle; High Altar cloth to Red 06/30/96 4th Sun. after Trinity; Moon = Full; 1st Martyrs of The Church of Rome; High Altar cloth remains Red JULY 07/01/96 Continue Liturgical Season of Pentecost; High Altar cloth to Green 07/03/96 St. Thomas, Apostle 07/04/96 U.S. DAY OF INDEPENDENCE 07/07/96 5th Sun. after Trinity; Moon = Last 1/4 07/11/96 St. Benedict 05/13-14/96 NEW EARTH Psychic Festivals. Lexington, KY - Ramada Hotel, Newtown Pk. Exit (off I-75) Sat. May. 13th (10AM-8PM) through Sun. May. 14th (12PM-7PM). For more nformation call (606)-259-1311. 07/14/96 6th Sun. after Trinity 07/15/96 Moon = New 07/16/96 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel 07/21/96 7th Sun. after Trinity 07/22/96 Sun enters Leo 07/23/96 Moon = 1st 1/4 07/25/96 St. James, Apostle 07/27/96 PAGANIC - A festival of Pagans & other Magical People in St. Louis, MO - In 1995 there were about 500 participants. For information contact C.A.S.T. @ (314)-428-2475. 07/28/96 8th Sun. after Trinity 07/30/96 Moon = Full AUGUST 08/01/96 Lammas, Lugnasadh 08/04/96 9th Sun. after Trinity 08/06/96 Moon = Last 1/4 08/11/96 10th Sun. after Trinity 08/14/96 The Assumption of St. Mary, Mother of Christ; Moon = New 08/18/96 11th Sun. after Trinity 08/21/96 Moon = 1st 1/4 08/22/96 Sun enters Virgo 08/24/96 St. Bartholomew, Apostle 08/25/96 12th Sun. after Trinity 08/26/96 Women's Equality Day 08/28/96 St. Augustine; Moon = Full SEPTEMBER 09/01/96 13th Sun. after Trinity 09/02/96 LABOR DAY 09/04/96 Moon = Last 1/4 09/08/96 14th Sun. after Trinity; Grandparent's Day 09/12/96 Moon = New 09/14/96 Rosh Hashana begins @ sunset 09/15/96 15th Sun. after Trinity; Our Lady of Sorrows 09/20/96 Moon = 1st 1/4 09/21/96 St. Mathew, Apostle; Coming of Autumnal Equinox; High Altar cloth to Yellow; Rose on High Altar = Yellow 09/22/96 16th Sun. after Trinity; Sun enters Libra; OAS Executive Council Meeting @ S.T. Polaris - Georgetown, KY @10:00 AM EDT; Autumnal Equinox @ 2:00 PM EDT OAS Ritual @ 2:00 PM EDT 09/23/96 Yom Kippur begins at sunset; Autumnal Equinox is complete; High Altar cloth to Green 09/26/96 Moon = Full; Harvest Moon/Lunar Eclipse 09/27/96 American Indian Day 09/28/96 Sukkoth 09/29/96 Sts. Michael/Gabriel/Auriel/ Raphael & All Angels; 18th Sun. after Trinity 09/30/96 The Crux Mystica, Volume #1, Issue #2 publication date
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