Category Archives: Magick

Magick is…

draco

“The function of magic is to ritualize man’s optimism, to enhance his faith in the victory of hope over fear. Magic expresses the greater value for man of confidence over doubt, of steadfastness over vacillation, of optimism over pessimism.”

~ Bronisław Kasper Malinowski. 1884-1942. Anthropologist.

Magicians

076c2-bird-aryan

From Lev Grossman, the author of “The Magicians” that spawned the show on SYFY (I love that show):

“A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it.Most people carry that pain around inside them their whole lives, until they kill the pain by other means, or until it kills them. But you, my friends, you found another way: a way to use the pain. To burn it as fuel, for light and warmth. You have learned to break the world that has tried to break you.”

This is a wonderful statement. A magician is (hopefully) someone who looks at their pain and tries to feel it and understand it. The challenges we’ve been through in our past is part of what shapes our Will (the reason we are here) in the world. We’re not running away from hard times but validating them as lessons and as a way to know and love ourselves! Are you a magician?

“Magic is the highest, most absolute, and most divine knowledge of natural philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true agents being applied to proper patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.”
– The Goetia of the Lemegeton of King Solomon

 

Origins of Magicians

old guy

Well here’s a fascinating article by Robert Sepehr.

Article

“The Medes were people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portions of present-day Iran. By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes has established an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves their descendants.

Apart from a few personal names, the original Aryan language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown, but it was most likely similar to the Avesta and Scythian languages (photo-Indo-European/Iranian). Herodotus mentions that” “The Medes had exactly the same equipment as the Persians; and indeed the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median”.

Eventually, the older tribes of Aryan Iran lost their district character and amalgamated into one people, the Iranians. In Arabic texts, as in the Greco-Roman tradition, Zoroaster is the “founder” of the Magicians, Arabic ‘Majusya’. There are many views on the timeline for Zoroaster’s life. The traditional Zoroastrian date for Zarathustra’s birth and ministry is around 600 BC Green sources placed him as early as 6000 BC. Zoroaster spoke of duality and ceasing balance at the end of time; his goal, was to show humans their connection to one source of light and consciousness. According to the Zend Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster was born in Azerbaijan, in northern Persia.

A Magus was a Zoroastrian astrologer-priest from ancient Persia, and was also referred to as a sorcerer or wizard. The terms magic and magician derive from the word “magus”. The English term may also refer to a shaman. The Greek word is attested from the 5th century B.C., as a direct loan from the Old Persian “magus”.

Professor of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania, Victor H. Mair, provides archaeological and linguistic evidence suggesting that the Chinese “wu” (shaman; witch, wizard; magician) was also loanword from Old Persian magus “magician; magi”:

The recent discovery at an early Chou site of two figurines with unmistakably Caucasoid or Europoid features is startling prima facie evidence of East- West interaction during the first half of the first millennium Before Current Era. It is especially investing that one of the figurines bears on the top of his head the clearly incised graph (cross with potents) which identifies him as a “wu” (shaman; witch, wizard; magician).

The Aryan, or Indo-European, root appears to have expressed power or ability. This meaning continued, e.g. in Greek “mekhos” (see mechanics) and in Germanic magan (English may), magts (English might, the expression “might and magic”). The original significance of the name for Median priests, thus, seems to have been “the powerful”. The modern Persian “Mobed” derived from an Old Persian compound magu-pati “lord priest”.

The plural “Magi” entered the English language ca. 1200, referring to the Magi mentioned in Matthew 2:1. The singular following only considerably later, in late 14th century, when it was borrowed from Old French in the meaning magician together with magic.

In Farsi, Magi is ‘meguceen’, which meaning “Fire Worshipper”, and it is the origin of the word “magician”. While, in Herodotus, “Magos” refers to either an ethnically Aryan member of one of the tribes/peoples (ethnous) of the Medes, or to one of the Persian priest  who could interpret dreams, it could also be used for any enchanter wizard.

In Hellenism, “Magos” started to be used as an adjective, meaning “magical”, as in magas techne “ars magica” (e.g. used by Philostratus). Sources from before the Hellenistic period include Xenophon, who had first-hand experience  at the Persian Achaemenid court. In his early 4th century BC Cyropaedia, Xenophon depicts the Magicians as authorities for all religious matters, and imagines the Magicians were responsible for the education of the emperor-to-be.

According to to Robert Charles Zaehner, author of the book, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism:

We hear the Magi not only in Persia, Parthia, Bactria, Chorasmia, Aria, Media, and among the Sakas, but also in non-Iranian lands like Samaria and Egypt. Their influence was also widespread throughout Asia Minor. It is, therefore, quite likely that the sacerdotal caste of the Magi was distinct from the Median tribe of the same name.”

Extracts from the book Occult Secrets of Vril (chapter 7: Magicians)

About the author:

Robert Sepehr is an author, producer and anthropologist living in Los Angeles, CA.

He specializes in linguistics, paleogenetics and archeology.

Also read:

Carl Jung: Tarot Cards Provide Doorways to the Unconscious

Rider-Waite-1

Interesting article on a lecture by Jung regarding the use of the tarot. I wholeheartedly agree with most of what I read here. I’ve been using tarot cards for guidance for years, and they’ve been the cornerstone of my business since I started 10 years ago. They absolutely transport a person into a different level of consciousness – one that reveals the inner workings of our minds and the mysteries of our life path.

Read on…

“…As Mary K. Greer explains, in a 1933 lecture Jung went on at length about his views on the Tarot, noting the late Medieval cards are “really the origin of our pack of cards, in which the red and the black symbolize the opposites, and the division of the four—clubs, spades, diamonds, and hearts—also belongs to the individual symbolism.

They are psychological images, symbols with which one plays, as the unconscious seems to play with its contents.” The cards, said Jung, “combine in certain ways, and the different combinations correspond to the playful development of mankind.” This, too, is how Tarot works—with the added dimension of “symbols, or pictures of symbolical situations.” The images—the hanged man, the tower, the sun—“are sort of archetypal ideas, of a differentiated nature.”

Thus far, Jung hasn’t said anything many orthodox Jungian psychologists would find disagreeable, but he goes even further and claims that, indeed, “we can predict the future, when we know how the present moment evolved from the past.” He called for “an intuitive method that has the purpose of understanding the flow of life, possibly even predicting future events, at all events lending itself to the reading of the conditions of the present moment.” He compared this process to the Chinese I Ching, and other such practices. As analyst Marie-Louise von Franz recounts in her book Psyche and Matter:

Jung suggested… having people engage in a divinatory procedure: throwing the I Ching, laying the Tarot cards, consulting the Mexican divination calendar, having a transit horoscope or a geometric reading done.

Content seemed to matter much less than form. Invoking the Swedenborgian doctrine of correspondences, Jung notes in his lecture, “man always felt the need of finding an access through the unconscious to the meaning of an actual condition, because there is a sort of correspondence or a likeness between the prevailing condition and the condition of the collective unconscious.”

What he aimed at through the use of divination was to accelerate the process of “individuation,” the move toward wholeness and integrity, by means of playful combinations of archetypes. As another mystical psychologist, Alejandro Jodorowsky, puts it, “the Tarot will teach you how to create a soul.” Jung perceived the Tarot, notes the blog Faena Aleph, “as an alchemical game,” which in his words, attempts “the union of opposites.” Like the I Ching, it “presents a rhythm of negative and positive, loss and gain, dark and light.”

Full Article: http://www.openculture.com/2017/08/carl-jung-tarot-cards-provide-doorways-to-the-unconscious-and-even-a-way-to-predict-the-future.html

 

 

Alejandro Jodorowsky Explains How Tarot Cards Can Give You Creative Inspiration

 

Excellent article and video on the tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

“The practice of cartomancy, or divination with cards, dates back several hundred years to at least 14th century Europe, perhaps by way of Turkey. But the specific form we know of, the tarot, likely emerged in the 17th century, and the deck we’re all most familiar with—the Rider-Waite Tarot—didn’t appear until 1909. Popular mainly with occultists like Aleister Crowley and Madame Blavatsky in the early 20th century, the tarot exploded into popular culture in the new age 70s with books like Stuart Kaplan’s Tarot Cards for Fun and Fortune Telling, and by way of cult filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky.

jodoCARDS

Since its relatively recent popularization, “fun” and “fortune telling” have more or less defined most people’s attitude to the tarot, whether they approve or disapprove of either one. But for artists and poets like William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and surrealist director Jodorowsky—whose film narration is perhaps the most poetic in modern cinema—the tarot has always meant something much more mysterious and inspiring. “The tarot,” says Jodorowsky in the short film above, “will teach you how to create a soul.”

After studying the Major and Minor Arcana and the suits, and puzzling over the symbols on each card, Jodorowsky discovered that “all 78 cards could be joined in a mandala, in just one image.” Learning to see the deck thus, “You must not talk about the future. The future is a con. The tarot is a language that talks about the present. If you use it to see the future, you become a conman.” Like other mystical poets, Jodorowsky’s study of the tarot did not lead him to the supernatural but to the creative act.

And like many a poet before him, Jodorowsky explored the journey of the Fool in his 1973 film The Holy Mountain, a “dazzling, rambling, often incoherent satire,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz, that “unfurls like a hallucinogenic daydream.” Jodorowsky’s cinematic dream logic comes not only from his work as a “shamanic psychotherapist.” He also credits the tarot for his psychomagical realism. “For me,” says Jodorowsky in the video at the top, “the tarot was something more serious. It was a deep psychological search.” The result of that search—Jodorowsky’s singular and totally unforgettable body of work—speaks to us of the value of such an undertaking, whatever means one uses to get there.

Or as Jodorowsky says in one of his mystical pronouncements, “If you set your spirit to something, that phenomenon will happen.” If that sounds like magical thinking, that’s exactly what it is. Jodorowsky shows us how to read the tarot as he does, for psychological insight and creative inspiration, in the video above, addressed to a fan named John Bishop. Spanish speakers will have no trouble understanding his presentation, as he quickly slides almost fully into his native language through lack of confidence in his facility with English. (The video belongs to a series on Jodorowsky’s YouTube channel, most of them fully in Spanish without subtitles.) Selecting a translation on YouTube yields rather garbled results.”

Read more: Article

The Art of Secret Societies

Did anyone see this exhibition in NYC last year?? Here’s an excellent article by on Hyperallergenic.com:
Mystery and Benevolence
“Installation view of ‘Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection’ at the American Folk Art Museum (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic unless noted)

A strange visual language developed from the 18th to the 20th century behind the closed doors of American secret societies. It’s a languae made up of all-seeing eyes, ominous skulls, hourglasses, arrows, axes, and curious hands holding hearts. Each of these icons was deeply symbolic for the thousands of people — mostly men — who participated in rituals of borrowed meaning, where ancient Egypt, biblical Christianity, and some homegrown amusements like wooden goats on wheels met the rise of American folk art. The American Folk Art Museum’s (AFAM) Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection examines this often hidden history through its arcane artifacts.

Unidentified Man in Independent Order of Odd Fellows Regalia, Artist unidentified (United States, 1840–1860), quarter-plate daguerreotype, 4 3/4 x 3 3/4 inches (courtesy American Folk Art Museum)
Unidentified Man in Independent Order of Odd Fellows Regalia, Artist unidentified (United States, 1840–60), quarter-plate daguerreotype, 4 3/4 x 3 3/4 in (courtesy American Folk Art Museum) (click to enlarge)

Mystery and Benevolence was curated by Stacy C. Hollander, chief curator and director of exhibitions at AFAM, and Aimee E. Newell, director of collections at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library. It features over 200 objects recently donated to the museum by Kendra and Allan Daniel, who spent three decades buying up the once-secretive art. Installed in the museum, the objects are an exuberant display of the “golden age” of Masonic and Odd Fellows objects, when American decorative and folk art merged with the need for a sense of belonging in the new country.

“After becoming an independent nation in the 1780s, America was seeking to establish its own cultural identity; Freemasonry offered a source of images that resonated with the new nation’s values of equality and liberty,” Newell writes in the accompanying catalogue. “Freemasonry’s visual language and American style began to intersect almost as soon as victory over the British was declared, and continued to adapt as the nation grew and the fraternity evolved. ”

Much of the exhibition contextualizes this long-hidden art in the history of the societies, such as their charity work. The Odd Fellows, formed in 18th-century London, were organized as a benevolent group to support the sick, orphans, and those who died without money for a funeral. One of their mission statements is proclaimed in red and gold on a large wooden sign: “Bury the Dead.” There are also axes indicating how the Odd Fellows saw themselves as “pioneers in the pathway of life”; staffs topped with a heart in the hand were a reminder to be open to others.

Similarly, even the more ghoulish imagery had some meaning connected to charity, and selflessness. The skulls, hourglasses, and skeletons holding shields painted with the word “fidelity” were all reminders of mortality, and how one’s brief time on earth could be better dedicated to others. Reverend Aaron B. Grosh wrote in 1853’s The Odd Fellow’s Manual: “Only the good or evil of our lives will survive us on earth, to draw down on our memories the blessings of those we have aided, or the contempt and reproach of those we have injured.”

Installation view of 'Mystery and Benevolence'
Installation view of ‘Mystery and Benevolence,’ including items related to funerary traditions
Mystery and Benevolence
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Archway for Ensenore Lodge No. 438, signed “W. C. Baptist” (Auburn, New York, 1919), paint and gold leaf on wood with metal
Mystery and Benevolence
Installation view of ‘Mystery and Benevolence’

“The outward form of each symbol offers a different point of access, but in its context within the lexicon of the fraternity, deeper meanings are revealed to those for whom the symbols are signified,” Hollander writes in the catalogue. “In this, the art of fellowship is not dissimilar to the art of alchemy, its secret knowledge also protected by its practitioners.”

Independent Order of Odd Fellows Banner, Artist unidentified (United States, 1900–1920), paint on canvas, with wood and metal, 88 1/2 x 71 inches (courtesy American Folk Art Museum)
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Banner, Artist unidentified (United States, 1900–20), paint on canvas, with wood and metal, 88 1/2 x 71 in (courtesy American Folk Art Museum) (click to enlarge)

In As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850–1930, recently published by the University of Texas Press, it’s noted that from 1890 to 1915, an “estimated one in five men belonged to at least one society.” Fraternal societies still exist, although their numbers have greatly dwindled. According to the Masonic Service Association of North America, there were 1,211,183 members in 2014.

The Masons are the country’s oldest established fraternal order, with numerous lodges founded in the 18th century across the US. In one painting on view at AFAM, their most famous member, George Washington, stands proudly at a Masonic altar. The Odd Fellows soon followed and quickly gained an important membership of their own, as did other societies like the Knights Templar, Shriners, and Junior Order of United American Mechanics. All were mostly white, male, and protestant, albeit from across different economic classes.

The objects in Mystery and Benevolence are seductive with their strangeness and feel somehow accessible through the ordinariness of the materials. I remember visiting the Masonic Hall on 23rd Street in Manhattan, and the tour guide (a Mason) pointing out that all the grand architectural flourishes were fancy fakery. The Corinthian columns, the Renaissance murals, and the Gothic arches that adorned different meeting rooms were all plaster — beautifully painted, but mimicry of the exotic and ancient all the same.

Likewise, the objects in this exhibition are visually stunning, from a late 19th-century staff wrapped with a snake to a towering column topped with a globe. There are some truly masterful pieces, like an intricate marquetry table by James J. Crozier, yet for the most part, the artists remain unidentified and the closest an object gets to a precious material is in the application of some gold leaf on the edges.

These are rare artifacts of an occult culture, each a labor of love for their ritual purpose, not originally intended as art, but as a tool of connection through shared rites. The value of these pieces goes beyond their folk art status. They represent a clandestine history embedded within the story of the United States, where for decades a large percentage of its men would amble over to the local lodge after dark, have a drink (or several), don a scarlet robe, then ponder a skeletal memento mori — or take a ride on a wooden goat around the lodge room.

Mystery and Benevolence
Hand staffs in ‘Mystery and Benevolence’
Mystery and Benevolence
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Axe for Newtown Lodge No. 4440 (United States, 1850–75); Independent Order of Odd Fellows skull and crossbones plaque (United States, 1875–1900), paint and gold leaf on wood
Washington as a Freemason, Publisher unidentified (United States, late-19th century), oleograph on linen, 28 1/2 x 22 3/8 x 1 3/8 inches (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Washington as a Freemason, Publisher unidentified (United States, late 19th century), oleograph on linen, 28 1/2 x 22 3/8 x 1 3/8 in (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Mystery and Benevolence
Pair of Cherubim, artist unidentified (United States, 1900–25), metal with traces of gold leaf. They likely were once on a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
Mystery and Benevolence
Installation view of ‘Mystery and Benevolence’
Mystery and Benevolence
Odd Fellows axes in ‘Mystery and Benevolence’
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Staff with Serpent, Artist unidentified (United States, 1875–1900), paint on wood, 53 x 5 x 4 3/4 inches (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Staff with Serpent, Artist unidentified (United States, 1875–1900), paint on wood, 53 x 5 x 4 3/4 in (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Mystery and Benevolence
Painting of a church and cemetery in ‘Mystery and Benevolence’
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Carpet, Artist unidentified (United States,1875–1925), wool, 61 x 35 1/2 inches (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Carpet, Artist unidentified (United States,1875–1925), wool, 61 x 35 1/2 in (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Mystery and Benevolence
Installation view of ‘Mystery and Benevolence’
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Tracing Board, Artist unidentified (United States, 1850–1900), oil on canvas, 33 1/4 x 39 1/2 x 2 1/8 inches (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Tracing Board, Artist unidentified (United States, 1850–1900), oil on canvas, 33 1/4 x 39 1/2 x 2 1/8 in (courtesy American Folk Art Museum, photo by José Andrés Ramírez)”
Mystery and Benevolence
Installation view of ‘Mystery and Benevolence’

Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collectioncontinues at the American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Square, Upper West Side, Manhattan) through May 8.

 

http://hyperallergic.com/271755/folk-art-relics-from-the-golden-age-of-americas-secret-societies/

and…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/08/arts/design/the-art-of-secret-societies-filled-with-codes-and-glyphs.html?_r=4