Demons

The Lemegeton, also known as the Lesser Key of Solomon, has been the most popular book on goetic magick for a few centuries now. It gives specific instructions on how to summon demons, sometimes translated daemons, and bend them to your will. It claims to be the ritual used by King Solomon, though no historical evidence can be found of the book before the 16th century.

On the list of seventy-demons are: Bael, obviously the Cannite deity Baal, who gave ancient Isrealites much consternation. Astaroth, believed to be taken from the goddess Astarte. The Phenex, sometimes translated Phoenix, yes the mythical bird, not the town in Arizona.

It would seem in their rush to portray the old pagan competition as the enemy, many entities that others would consider gods made the list. Hence the term, to demonize. So when a magician works with the entities in the Ars Goetia, what are they summoning? If you ask me, it’s all about point of view.

It’s obvious that the writer or writers of the Lemegeton meant to portray them as evil, nasty, infernal beings. Some wonder why churchmen, who were the ones who disseminated and used the book, would summon their enemies. The idea was, if you could put them to work for you, you could make them do God’s work.

Many modern magicians work with the goetia. Some are iconoclasts looking for a thrill. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good for people to be breaking down the cultural barriers in their minds, letting go of what they believe is possible and impossible. But more serious magicians work with it too, and they make no bones about it, what they are summoning are demons.

What is a demon? For me, a demon is an entity that appeals to the base side of my nature. They encourage me to be slothful, to rage when I should be calm, to pontificate when I should keep silent. They can be useful if done in moderation, but can easily take over your life and distract you from doing the things you should be doing. In the psychological model of magick, they are your shadow, a primitive ego monster, but also the drive for all creativity. Sounds pretty useful, aye?

There’s, of course, a reason why such magick is labeled handle with care. One of these creatures running amok in your life can cause serious damage. Oh yeah, it has happened to me. Some magicians say you should successfully perform the Abramelin operation, the quest to gain your Holy Guardian Angel, before you even think about using goetia. I’m not so cautious, but knowing what these things could do, wouldn’t it be wise to develop some self-defense? I recommend knowing and practicing a solid banishing ritual. You can read mine by signing up for the mailing list. But I’m not going to give you a big list of preparation you MUST do before summoning. I’m leaving that up to you.

I’m not going to tell you how to treat these enteties. I have had success treating them with a respectful firmness. But you can follow the Lemegeton, and act like they’re your bitch if you want.

You’re a big-person now. You can handle it.

Or maybe you can’t. One thing I have found most useful about goetia is that it’s going to teach you exactly how far you have come as a magician. In my experience, you will get some great results, or you will fuck-up spectacularly, or both. I have yet to see someone using it fall somewhere in between. In some ways, goetia is a magician’s license to make mistakes. The only way we learn.

Peter Grey, author of The Red Goddess says, “Real magick has no safety net.” So go ahead, step out on the wire. Falling is just like flying, at least for a couple of seconds.

Paganus

Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus, meaning country dweller or rustic. It was meant to be a slur. To call someone a pagan approximates to calling them a redneck. I’m all for embracing the things that cause you pain. As Tyrion says, “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” That being said, I ain’t country folk.

I’ve lived in the country. Rode an hour on a bus to get to the nearest school. I like the country. Enjoy being there, and the people that live in the country. But it’s just not me. I’m a city dweller. My greatest lament in being a pagan is that it seems every large event requires camping. I do not camp. Why can’t they hold those things in nice hotels?

I was recently asked, what religion do I follow? My answer was a mix of neo-paganism and Thelema. But even my paganism is a different shade than most. The gods I revere, Thoth, and Babalon, are not nature gods. They are city gods. One is an intellectual deity, the other, a prostitute. While sex for money came along well before cities, institutionalized prostitution came with the throwing together of the masses.

A look at the ancient near east deities, of which I include Babalon as a modern incarnation of Inanna, shows a group of gods much different in character than the Celtic and northern European pantheons favored by most neo-pagans. They come from cultures that were creating civilizations based on the city. It makes them no better or worse than gods coming from cultures without major settlements or written language, but it does make them, in my opinion, better suited to modern life.

This does leave me with me with some sticky problems. Kind of like how Thelema takes everything and smashes it into Kabbalah, neo-paganism takes a pantheon and then smashes it into the Wheel of the Year. It doesn’t always fit. Why would someone who worships the Kemetic deities use holidays based on a European agricultural cycle? Wouldn’t they celebrate the flooding of the Nile? And how does the flooding of the Nile matter to them now?

One answer could be that no matter what, those cycles do affect us, living in country or city. Also, those cycles exist in the microcosm, reflected in the life-cycle of human beings. But that only goes so far. I personally celebrate the Festival of Thoth on August 6th. But the rising of the Dog Star doesn’t mean much me either, not being an astronomer.

How do we adapt our practices to the life we’re living today? Do we throw a party when they switch over from the summer to the winter mix of gasoline and the prices go down? That’s a shitty idea. But I do think it’s important to reflect on the passing phases. It gives us mindfulness and perspective.
For now I guess, the Wheel of the Year will have to do. I believe living in cities is important. Despite the pollution they create, they really are the way for masses of people to live with a minimal footprint. A city built right is the natural environment for humans. Or at least some of us. Who can deny how the mix of cultures in our urban areas have created art and innovation? We can do better though. Just like morality, environmentalism doesn’t have to be a part of your religion in order to practice it.

Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to get more Scroll of Thoth in your inbox, including my own banishing ritual. Also, help out the blog by checking out our Amazon recommendations  and using the Amazon search window whenever you make a purchase.

Updates

If you visit on a regular basis, you may have noticed some changes. My recent spate of unemployment has left me more time to tweak the site.

I know I owe you a post on my own personal banishing ritual, but I’m going to do it a little differently. Everyone who signs up for our mailing list will get the banishing ritual in their inbox. Not that I think it’s the most awesome banishing ever. Not that I think it will get rid of all the demons on your block and clear up your case of herpes. But I do believe it is a good example of taking the basic form of the modern hermetic banishing ritual, and how to change it to meet personal needs. I don’t expect anyone to replicate it, but I think it is something to get ideas from. Making it yourself is always best, right? So sign up for Hieroglyphs and get some extras in your email.

I will be posting a regular update tomorrow, and a new Roll of Thoth on Friday.

You may also have noticed that I’ve monetized the site. If you purchase something off our Amazon suggestions, or use our Amazon search box to find stuff you want, we get a small cut. I do this with a heavy heart. I don’t believe in performing magick for money, but I also believe we provide some interesting content. I’m one step away from adding a paypal button so I can do some begging. Let me know if you think it detracts from the site. I truly value your opinion.

To contact us, you can always send email to james (a) scrollofthoth.com. We also have a new phone number for you to leave comments and questions: 317-296-3247. We may even play your message on the air.
Thank you for visiting. Don’t forget to leave reviews for the podcast on iTunes and other podcast sites. It helps us bring you even more.

Episode 2: Magical Training in the OTO

In this episode we talk with Jay Lee, otherwise known as Kikhos-Ba-Midhbar, Bodymaster of the Anabasis Encampment of the Ordo Templi Orientis in Indianapolis, Indiana. James and Colleen talk with him about magical training within the OTO, and the goals of their magical system. Plus, some words about Babalon.

You can listen by clicking the link below, download by right-clicking, subscribe to our RSS feed View RSS XML  in your favorite pod-catcher, or find us on iTunes.

People and things mentioned in the show:

You can find Anabasis Encampment at their website or on Facebook. Make sure to check out their magick section for the articles on Manus et Sagittae and others. Also, they have a Youtube channel with examples of many of the major rituals from Magick In Theory and Practice.

If you’re near Indianapolis, check out their Meetup group and find out about all the events they host.

You can read Liber O, the book the training is based on, in its entirety online.

Signal Boost!: Refereed to an interview with Lon Milo DuQuette about his book Low Magick on the Occult of Personality podcast.

We mentioned the book, Initiation in the Aeon of the Child, by J. Daniel Gunther.

Colleen asked everyone to get involved with the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, either locally, or in Indianapolis. And invited everyone to join Novices of the Old Ways for their Beltane celebration at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis on April 27th, at 1:00 PM.

James is shilling his books again. Matchmaker, a sci-fi short story is now available on Amazon Kindle. Go to his writer’s site jameslwilber.com for more information.

 

 

Putz

This week, I started a new organization, the Consilium of Tumblr Magicians, and declared myself Grand High Pooh-Bah. I did it on a lark, it’s not to be taken too seriously, but I did have my reasons. One, just because I love tumblr and the magicians I follow. The endless scroll of mind-altering images has become a major source of gnosis for me. Second, because one of the rules of the Consilium is that you have to actually get off your ass and practice magick.

I have a confession to make. For the past six months, I’ve been a shitty magus. Wrapped up in writing my new book, my day-to-day magical operations have gone by the wayside. I am a putz, a terrible example, a lousy magician. Or am I….?

I have believed for some time that Uncle Al’s greatest accomplishment as a magician was that he created a religion and got people to follow it. In essence, the Book of the Law became real for a whole bunch of people. He changed reality on a massive scale. I’m not saying it was all nefarious, although his ego did get in the way a lot. I do believe that Crowley thought the world would be a better place if we all followed the law of Thelema. Maybe it would be. What greater task is there for a magus than to change the world for the better?

This in mind, and having an ego of my own, I wanted to do something similar. Why not model at least a part of the world in my own image? The first problem I ran into was that no one would accept a new holy book. We are simply too jaded as a culture to accept new revelations whole-clothe. I don’t want to run a cult. I have no desire to be a guru. So I needed a way to disseminate my paradigm outside of my direct teaching.

I thought about writing a book on magick, but really, what are my qualifications? I’ve never been initiated in a magical order. I have done very little teaching. In comparison to others, Lon Milo DuQuette, Peter J. Carroll, Phil Hine, Rodney Orpheus, Peter Grey, I’ve done jack and shit.

But while we don’t produce holy books anymore, we do produce stories. That I can do. In many ways, stories are better than holy books. They’re subtler, and are not seen as unalterable commandments. The meaning of a story can change much easier over time than a holy book can.

So I wrote My Babylon, which in some respects can be seen as a Thelemic fairy tale. I don’t push any specific morality or way of living in the book. The characters are human, and flawed, and should not be emulated. But I do present a way of looking at the world which may change your mind.

So for me, writing is a magical act. There are times, when I’m really into it, that I reach of state of gnosis at the keyboard. The words fly from my fingers without thought. Writing is also an act of devotion for me. With every letter I make I praise Thoth, god of magick and writing. The book I am writing now is also a devotion to my sweet goddess Babalon.

So there you go, that’s what I’ve been doing on the magical front. The book is winding down now, however, in a few days the first draft will be complete. I have begun cleaning out my temple, which I have let fall into complete shambles. When the book is done, I will go there, thank the gods, and get back to ritual and meditation. Until the next book takes over my life.

Roll of Thoth – Goetia

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

Good information on goetia can be hard to come by. Much of what’s out there is young folks, stumbling in the dark, attracted to the “evil” of demon summoning.

I don’t think this is all a bad thing. Perhaps they sense the need to get rid of all the baggage they’ve accumulated, so they can get on with their adult life. It does, however, making finding good information a hassle. Here’s some Scroll approved resources.

Esoteric Archives: Ars Goetia – http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/goetia.htm   Why not start with the source material? A good presentation of the Lesser Key of Solomon can be found here.

The Shadows of Goetia – http://hermetic.com/goetia/   Once you’re done with the basics, delve deeper into the other grimoires

Occult of Personality Podcast – http://occultofpersonality.net/   Occult of Personality is an incredible resources, and I recommend all of it. Of particular interest for the study of goetia, interviews with two leading experts: Lon Milo DuQuette and Jake Stratton Kent.

The Lion’s Den – http://thelionsdens.blogspot.com/   The website of Michael Cecchetelli, author of Crossed Keys published by Scarlet Imprint.

Demons of the Ars Goetia – http://ars-goetia.tumblr.com/   A tumblr blog for entertainment and inspiration.

Strategic Sorcery – http://www.inominandum.com/blog/be-nice-an-approach-to-goetia/    A different perspective on goetic summoning.

Enochian.org – This is the second time I’ve posted this link. Keep in mind, this is not a recommendation  I have never purchased from this retailer. On the other hand, I have never seen such a variety of the hard to find items used in goetia.

 

 

Game

A few weeks ago,The Snows of Summer, by Paizo Publishing came out. It contains what will probably be the last piece work I’ll do for the RPG industry for quite a while. It makes me sad, but I need to concentrate on my novels. Writing without direction, doing what you really want to do, is the only path to true satisfaction for a writer.

This post, once again, comes from a tumblr ask. A follower asked me, “What has been the most useful book in your magical learning? What has been the most useful book in your life?”

I’m going to surprise you a little here. To find my answer about a useful magical book, you’ll have to follow my tumbr. I’m going to answer the other question here. It requires a lot more explanation.

Laugh if you want, the most useful book in my life has been, The Player’s Handbook by Gary Gygax . For you uninitiated, that’s the first rule book for the game Dungeons & Dragons.

Through the game, I’ve met the most important people in my life. I’ve met my closest friends through the game. Those who I met outside the game, I taught the game and made them better friends. The game is always the excuse to gather, laugh, tell stories. It brings us together in ways modern media fails. We aren’t just passive spectators. We do it together, for each other. We create.

My wife, my entire marriage, the greatest thing that I have ever done. I owe it to the game.

People who play RPGs can be defensive, for good reason. They are often maligned as a starter drug for magick, devil worship, and other unsavory practices. Most players try to distance themselves from such claims, and for most of them, it’s true. They don’t feel a need to explore alternative spiritual paths.

But if you say there’s no connection, you’re a liar. Mr. Gygax presents a wealth of information on mythology, correspondences, and magical practices, wrapped up in the game. It’s not the point of the game. It certainly wasn’t his intention to turn players into pagans. But it’s there for any who want to see. I didn’t learn magick from Dungeon’s & Dragons, but I learned a lot about what’s in magick.

It’s fair to say, I learned some skills for magick from the game. Math, note taking, construction of dramatic storytelling, things that serve a magician well. When you’re doing it right, you seem to channel the personas that you’re portraying.

Of course, it’s in how you approach it. If you come to a gaming table looking to roll dice and add levels, game the system, that’s what you’ll get out of it. I think, however, like many things in life, you only discover the true value when start asking why? Why do I play this game? What do I enjoy about it? Why does it change how I feel about myself and others? Where does the background information in the game come from? When you look deeper, you find the connections, to magick, to the Great Work, to everything. The microcosm of the game, can reflect the macrocosm of your psyche. As above, so below.

I’m not ashamed to be a gamer geek. In fact, I have a podcast about that too. I’m not ashamed to say it influences my magick, even though my magick is not a game.

 

Roll of Thoth – Blogs

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

Technical difficulties with the podcast have kept me occupied, so once again, no long form blog this week. Instead, how about a list of other great blogs you can read instead?

The Blog of Baphomet –  http://theblogofbaphomet.com/   From the people who brought you the Book of Baphomet. Serious chaos magicians.

About.com Paganism & Wicca – http://paganwiccan.about.com/   I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned to this blog as a resources. There’s a lot of great material here.

Rune Soup – http://runesoup.com/   A great mix of technology, esotericism, and opinion from a chaos magick perspective.

Occult Sentinel – http://occultsentinel.com/blog/    Reviews and opinions on new occult related media and news

Technoccult – http://technoccult.net/#archive    Psyco-social commentary for culture jammers.

The Wild Hunt – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/    The best source for current events that involve paganism.

IAO131 – http://iao131.com/    A blog on all things Thelema. Io Pan!

Goddess

Who is Babalon? That’s the most common question I get on Tumblr. (You’re not following my Tumblr? You really should.) Wikipedia covers the basics, so if you’re just curious about a deity you’ve never heard of, head over there. But I think the real question people are asking is, “Why are you obsessed with her? What is she to you?” In the end, all gods are personal gods. The gods influence everyone differently, that’s why the best gods are complex in their symbolism. Like Babalon.

Remember, although she is a Thelemic deity, and I steal much from Uncle Al here, I am not a Thelemite, and my views are not necessarily the views of the OTO.

Foremost to me she is the goddess of the Eschaton. She brings sweeping change as she comes forth, astride the beast, Holy Grail in hand. She is the opposing force to The Host, the army of angelic automatons that demand obedience. I see a distinct difference between Eschaton—a universal change in consciousness, bound to cause upheaval, but inherently peaceful in nature—and Apocalypse—a battle to take people’s will by force. She is the embodiment of the Love Revolution, but she recognizes that love is not always pretty and pure. It can be carnal and overwhelming.

For me, Babalon is Ishtar reincarnate for the New Age. Reborn, she strips away the trappings of state and the lays down her sword. She’s a lover, not a fighter, but no less dangerous. She still goes forth with war banners, but she’s smart enough to fuck her way to victory. She is the Divine Whore, and the Earth Mother, all in one. Her priestesses and priests wait outside the temple for anyone with coin. The act a sacrament to her, for both john and prostitute.

The tarot card associated with Babalon, Strength, tells us she does not do this as a servant, but as she desires. She’s a whore, and opens her legs for all comers, but where and when she wants. She is not weak Christianized feminism that denies the power of womanhood. She revels in it, and equals any man in power and lust.

I was also recently asked a slightly different question, “What do people get out of worshiping Babalon?” Fair enough, if you’re pagan, you look to each divinity for something unique. Babalon delivers.

She inspires you to change, and be the instrument of change. If the Goddess of Chaos is on your side, you quickly lose your fear of what’s to come.

She helps you to love all people. She understands that unless people accept change on their own terms, it’s not real. You can’t force people to believe the way you believe, nor should you want to. I need her to smack me down on this point every damn day.

She helps you understand that you are both a spiritual and physical being, and that those aspects cannot be separated. You need your body, and you should fucking enjoy it, and enjoy having it fucked. If sexual energy inspires you, she will be your muse. You might even write a book about her.

She is a goddess of passion. Whoa be to you who fall under her spell. While I love Babalon, I am not a devotee for several reasons. One, because I’m married, and I don’t think I could give Her and my wife proper attention at the same time. Two, because she will consume you if you let her, and you’ll love her while she does. So while I may stick my hand in the fire and get burned, I will run back to the protection of Thoth and his books before I jump in.

Morality

More and more I realize that belief in magick is not just the correct way to view the universe, but the moral way as well. By any ethical standard you are responsible for acting the way you wish others would act. By explication, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you believe we should pool our resources to make sure everyone has enough to take care of their basic needs, you need to fight for economic justice. If you want to be treated with respect, without consideration of skin color, place of origin, sexuality, gender, or lack thereof, you need to fight for social justice.

All to often, the excuse people give is that it’s just “human nature.” That this is the way it has always been. People will fight, and people will hoard, and some will have plenty and others none. Even Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” Well, fuck you Jesus, that’s a ball of shit.

The wealth of just the top 100 richest people in the world could end global poverty. If you would have asked Jesus, or anyone else in his time, if slavery would ever be abolished, they would say no. Yet, across most of the planet, chattel slavery is almost universally despised. At last count, there are a dozen small countries, some of them extremely wealthy, that have no military. But they have not been overrun by hostile forces.

If you believe, truly believe, that “Nothing is true, Everything is permitted,” then there is no such thing as human nature. All of our preconceived notions about even the basics, like greed, love, and anger, cannot hold us back. Imagine a world of peace, and you can have peace. Imagine a world of love without restraint by gender or creed, and you can have it. People have created the concepts of money, and government, and sacred. People can change them, or destroy them if they choose.

As a magus, you understand better than anyone that everything can change. Now, as always, we have been responsible for the way people see the universe. From the shaman, to the priest, to the storyteller. When we imagine, we remake the world.

Looking for a place to start? Check out PJC’s Knights of Chaos.