Pentangled Practicum – A Tolkien Tribute

A few months back, nearly a year back at this point,  I was looking through John Michael Greer’s book The Celtic Golden Dawn and felt terrible for leaving it sit on the shelf, ignored.  Even though I couldn’t get my head around using it ‘as is’, I thought that there must be something I could do with it. So,very sincerely, I began plugging Tolkien’s Legendarium into it and came up with a personal system I was calling Calaquendi.

I wouldn’t say that this is a dead practice for me, but at this point it has been several months since I practiced it in any legitimate manner.  I merely wanted to post it here and give others a foundation with which to start experimenting with this magic(k)al expression. What I present here is just the first slice of what I had developed.  Perhaps I will begin sharing the many pages of notes I had compiled if interest grows; those regarding altar structure, kabbalistic assignments, and much more…Much of what follows is not explained, but those familiar with Tolkien symbolism will understand why the Awen and the Pentangle are used, or can be used to some effect in a Legendarium based practice.

So, here are some of those original notes —- Any questions or criticisms are always welcome.

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It is a magic(K)al current utilizing the Legendarium of Tolkien. It is highly influenced by the Golden Dawn practicum, but far less rigid and less preoccupied with the toys usually associated with such endeavors.  The impetus with this practice is not worship of the archetypes of the Legendarium but of the building of a bridge between the working area of the magician/practitioner with the liminal world of Tolkien’s mythos.

My foundation for the practice is the book The Celtic Golden Dawn by John Michael Greer.  Because this book attempts to place the Golden Dawn material into a more naturalistic sensibility the modifications needed to make this work are minor.

It’s important to note that Calaquendi is not a Religious quest, it is a magic(K)al one.  By magic(K)al I do not mean hocus pocus and the limited selfishness of material need.  Gareth Knight states in his book The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend “Magic…is the technique of the control of images and imagination…”(1983). Magic in this sense is then a tool of personal Gnosis and not merely meant to be a path toward the inflation of self for the sole purpose of ego enrichment.  Magic(K) here, and within Calaquendi, is meant to stretch awareness and perspective toward a mythos that grows self in a positive manner and brings the richness of the Legendarium closer to the everyday reality of those practicing such techniques.

Things changed

The core changes have to do with the names and titles of many of the practices from a Druid Revivalist pseudo welsh to Quenya (or an honest attempt to do so) such as those related to practices of the LBRP, Rite of the Rays, and Kabbalah associations. Along these lines, associations found within Greer’s material and the original Golden Dawn material are being modified to suit the mythology of Arda – incorporation of the Two Trees, Silmarils, the Rings, Istari, Vala, etc.

Initial Steps

A preview of  Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn can be found here – In order to view the references in the following examples.

One of the first practices within any Golden Dawn derived system is the Magician’s implementation of the Cabbalistic Cross and the Lesser Banishing/Summoning Ritual of the Pentagram. Greer rewrites the Cabbalistic Cross to be the Rite of the Rays within the Celtic Golden Dawn (CGD) which makes use of the modern Druid symbol of Awen:BW-Awen-smallIn the Calaquendi version we will use the Awen symbol as well, but will rewrite some of the terms to work with the Legendarium.

Rite of the Rays (p.31)Calaquendi version performed just as listed in book, but the with changes to the vocalizations;

First Vocalization = Menel (the heavens, firmament, sky)

Second Vocalization = Rainë (peace, good will)

Third Vocalization = Laurë (light)

Fourth Vocalization = Vérë (bond, troth,honor)

Fifth Vocalization = Mi Silmë Maruvan (In starlight I will abide)

Final Vocalization = Eä (pronounced [ˈe.a]) (the world)

 

Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (p.32) – Calaquendi version performed just as listed in book, but with changes to the vocalization; Normally a godform is intoned at each direction following the tracing of the Pentagram, instead we are intoning the name of a Vala or Valie.  Once each direction has been signed with a Pentagram and a Vala/Valie vocalized the next process is to vocalize the Element and a Maiar (more immediate beings of earthly interaction) that coincide with both the Element and Vala/Valie.  In the Calaquendi system these Maiar are the Istari, the Wizards that walk among man/elf/dwarf and effect the lands of Arda/Middle Earth directly.  Again this is done exactly as in the CGD – Tracing of Pentagram with Valar vocalized in each direction – then facing the east and the vocalization of the Element and naming the Maiar associated with the Vala the direction and element.

East Vocalizations = Manwë – Air – Olórion

South Vocalizations = Aulë – Fire – Curunír

West Vocalizations = Ulmo – Water – Uinen or Ossë (As Ossë has been tainted by Melkor and is somewhat aggressive due to this I would recommend using Uinen, his consort.)

North Vocalizations = Yavanna Kementári (Q, pron. N [jaˈvanːa ˌkemenˈtaːri] – Earth – Aiwendil

~elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo~

 

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36 elements

This blog has never been about defining what Paganism is or what MagicK is, it’s always been about what I’m doing in terms of practice.  To put it bluntly both MagicK and Paganism and all Religion for that matter are about doing not just about how smart your reading and research is.  The two R’s certainly have a place in any practice and philosophical lifestyle, but when it comes down to it if you consider yourself a Magician, an Occultist, or a Pagan and you don’t DO anything, you’re not any of those things.  MagicK is Yoga for your head, it stretches your perception, it changes your perspective and that only happens through DOing.

For many years I’ve been using the Tarot as a Mandala for MagicKal work, again by MagicK I mean merely the awakening of perception toward different modes of awareness.  This work began with my reading of Donald Tyson’s Portable Magic and became quit quickly a launch point toward a more mystical look at the Tarot and how it is a road map of how the Western Occult tradition has been crafted. For those willing to see the Tarot in this way, both from an esoteric and exoteric standpoint, the Tarot adopts a staggering amount of symbolism that goes beyond the normal prescribed dictates of the ‘this card means that’ profanity.   I mention also the term Mandala here  as I perceive the formation of the Tarot circle akin to the Mandalas found in Tibetan Buddhism, a form that lends itself to powerful contemplation during it’s construction, in it’s finished state, and in it’s destruction.

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Tarot Mandala

With that brief introduction out of the way…I’m beginning what may be a year long working with the Tarot and this form of Mandalic MagicK (that’s a fancy term I just made up).  This working entails the summoning or evoking of the 36 Elementals of the Tarot as symbolized and conceptualized through the Minor Arcana.   This practice will have several beneficial repercussions:

  • Disciplined MagicKal practice
  • Deepening of Tarot knowledge
  • Contemplation of Elemental Correspondences
  • Strengthening of Meditative/Visualization skills

The one negative is that this practice does not sit with my Religious practice. This would be wholly a MagicKal practice and not so much a Religious one.  Certainly it’s effects will not be static and only mental, they will bleed into the spiritual as well.  As this Mandalic MagicK uses Golden Dawn symbolism and therefore stems (primarily) from Kabbalistic wisdom.  I’ve convinced myself not to dwell on this too much and make every attempt to view the Tarot in the ways I’ve already described.  It wasn’t only the Golden Dawn (and it’s Kabbalistic leanings) that saw things in Elemental standards, and this knowledge predates Jewish mysticism having begun first among the Babylonians as discussed in the Enuma Elish and later developed by the Greeks.  So the elemental standard is old and therefore has merit outside of it’s later, and limited, Modern Occult – Golden Dawn – Kabbalah definitions.  The division of the internal and outer worlds into Fours and with the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water is very Pagan, as old as society itself, and essential to the human understanding of the world in which we live.

My Evocation Schedule
My Evocation Schedule

I don’t plan to document every aspect of my evocations here, but may update this blog on occasion with tidbits gathered from the work.

A few good online sources for this work:

Portable Magic by Donald Tyson

http://supertarot.co.uk/timing-events/astrological-attributions/

https://marygreer.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/the-golden-dawn-minor-arcana/

Portable Rune Magic(K): Sitting within Yggdrasil

Follow up post in the spirit of another : Cosmological Contrivances and Magickal Mechanisms

After having given a quick workshop on the magic(K)al work discussed in my Cosmological Contrivances and Magickal Mechanisms post, I was asked by an attendee for a possible Rune working that accomplished the same goals; that being magic(K) on the fly without any tools but Runes (and a more Pagan rather than Hermetic working).

I’d been working on something like this for some time and had yet to finalize my notes into a coherent system that could be easily worked and understood.  The difference between the Tarot and Runes is a fairly stark one.  Modern Tarot is greatly influenced by Hermeticism and correspondences developed by the Golden Dawn that reflect a judeo-christian/Kabbalistic sensibility.  Runes are a more tribal wisdom, and a more pagan/indo-european tool and esoteric paradigm.  It’s important to be aware of these differences when trying to use either in the way we want to with this practice, as they each require a different approach and outlook.

Donald Tyson puts forward in his book Portable Magic a fast and quick system of magic(K) that utilizes only Tarot as it’s tool.  Tarot is used to create the ceremonial area, to represent all the tools of the magician, and to enable complex workings to be simplified.  The crux of the system is in the Tarot representing the universe by means of the astrological symbolism found within the Major Arcana.  The Major Arcana become the Magicians circle, the Minor Arcana the things the Mage wants to bring into his life, the Aces the altar upon which the Mage works.  Another key component of Tyson’s portable magic(K) is not only the physical working of the cards and their setup, but the Magician is also asked to create a life size Astral ritual area that correlates directly with the physical working so that both are working together.

 

Portable Rune Magic(K)

The ritual area:  The circle is fundamental to Tyson’s system, but not necessarily so to the more Pagan version of his working that I wanted to recreate.  To get an idea of the circle take a look at the picture provided.  We are not trying to recreate the cosmos as Tyson does in his Ceremonial/Hermetic system but instead recreating the Multiverse and it’s many worlds as per Teutonic wisdom.  The Magician sits within his circle, but also within the mandala of Yggdrasil and among the nine worlds.  The horizontal access is represented by Niflheim in the north, Muspellheim in the south, Jotunheim in the east, and Vanaheim in the west.  Asgard, Lossalfheim, Svartalfheim, and Hel should be thought of as vertical.

Midgard is within the circle where the Mage stands.  Jera and Eiwhaz represent Midgard, Jera the turning of seasons and Eiwhaz the Axis upon which the world moves.  Othal is the Magician herself standing upon Midgard in the center of the Worlds.  The Altar is built using the Runes that embody the Aetts and their wisdom; Fehu, Hagal, and Tyr.

 

runealtar12
Working Area – Yggdrasil

Example of a working

A working begins by laying out your Runes in the pattern described.  Before beginning take a few breaths to reach a calm state of mind.  Realize that you sit before a circle of stones, place the card that is meant to represent yourself upon Jera and Eiwhaz, you are now within that circle, upon Midgard.

Touch each card vocalizing or singing the Rune (exclude the Altar Runes for now), in your minds eye see it rise in light upon the stone.  Once finished pause and reflect on the power of the Rune and their presence around you.  Again touch the cards but this time name the world it represents.  See the circle becoming a living presence, it may take on the resemblance of Yggrdasil – the living tree and holder of all worlds…or each world may take the place of the stones, or the stones may remain – however you mentally or astrally see this just be sure that you realize that the worlds are here and now and you stand among them and before them.  If you are using the Rune Mandala for meditation or contemplation you can stay at this point, if you’re using this practice for magic(K)al reasons you can move on.

The Altar is utlized to realize the Magicians will.  From the remaining Runes choose one (or more for compounding or clarifying the focus) that symbolizes your need or desire, you can also create your desire from paper or draw a picture, or use your imagination.  Before placing the focus of your will (and the reason for the rite) upon the Rune altar touch each Rune of the altar and vocalize it’s name.  In your minds eye ignite the stone altar to life, the Runes alight upon or within it as you sing or say them.

Once the altar is activated your object, card, or imagining will be placed on the altar.  Your focus will be on that item alone, your will should be pushed toward the item with all the clarity you can muster.  It’s important to note that the Magician’s power is not due to the circle or the power of the worlds; the power for this is generated from the knowledge gained by standing within the Multiverse, she is not a slave to their powers but an awakened participant in the Multiverse and it’s creative and pulsing existence.  This is the power of the Runester.

Once you feel that you’ve saturated your desire with your will, cut your tie with the Altar and setp mentally back from the altar and what you’ve worked.  Sit for a moment and gather your thoughts, come back fully into the present moment and where you sit.  After a minute or two gather up the Runes in whatever way suits you.  You should shuffle or toss the Runes together in order to diffuse the energy of the working and to further distance yourself from what you’ve worked as not to drain further energy.

 

 

Cosmological Contrivances & Magic(K)al Mechanisms

-This post is a spiritual successor to another post found here Tarot Trove

Cosmology,  and the perception of it, is crucial to a Magicians success.  The popularity of  ‘lifehacking’ within the circles of Chaos Magic(K) ( and now gaining momentum in pop culture) is testament to the power that comes from understanding the rules of ones reality and being able to manipulate one’s place within the understood reality reference.

Heavens wheel

Magic(K) for me has become less about pushing my Will toward a goal than about understanding the keys found in the cosmology and agreed upon morals of a society or belief system.  Will is of course very important, and is, for me, at this point in my life on par with the knowledge of  Cosmological presence.

Using Tyson’s Portable Magic as a basis for much of my present magi(K)al work has led to this realization and even a greater understanding of this perception.  The core of Tyson’s book is about understanding the Tarot as a representation of the heavens (astronomically speaking), elemental correspondences (thus magic(k)al altar), and a summoners crucible of manifestation.  It is a work that took not only my understanding of Tarot to a deeper level but how I saw Golden Dawn style magic(K) and Western Occultism.  Now the book doesn’t delve to0 deeply into these topics, but it is a good launchpad for such wisdom and research.

Working this system can be challenging at first, but once the visualizations and use of the cards is better worked toward and with a personal understanding it works very well.  The biggest use of the cards comes when creating the circle.  This is done by using the trump cards associated with the Zodiac to represent the magicians place within the universe.  I’m not much for circles and boundaries, but in this type of magic(K) which is very ceremonially inspired it is an important component.

As a Runester I am thinking of ways to move this system into a more Pagan ethos and Teutonic style of work.   And, being that I work within a Chaos magic(K) matrix thoughts of working this system into subjective areas and less reality based mythologies is interesting.

Framework of power

In any magic(K)al operation it is important for the Magician to work within a framework of power.  This framework of power comes from mythology, stories, material and immaterial components of the culture, society, and/or mythic artifacts.

Mantles & Self Images

Working magic(K) becomes an act of assimilating the power associated with these memes and then using them to fuel the purpose of the act.  The mind, will, and body of the Magician become a focus and wear then absorb what I call the Magicians mantle.  I see this as literally clothing myself in the cosmological contrivances of whatever persona or cultural archetype befits my magic(K)al operation.  So this mantle changes per the Magicians need.

Once again

To bring this back to the initial crux of this post what the Tarot cards are doing, for me, is functioning as a bridge between the Mage and the reality or realities he is attempting to work within.  Tarot cards even more specifically are the link ( in this style of magic(K)) between the Magician, this world, and in my mind a very Western oriented occult paradigm.  In order to change that paradigm the Magicians tools should mirror said reality – whether this is a consensus reality, a fact based one, or a fictional one.

Response to an Intro to Magic: Magic(k) in the Grove

Read Ian Corrigan’s post here: Introduction to Magic

As a practicing ADFer, or Druid as they (not necessarily I) label it, this article by Corrigan really hit the nail on the head.  It explains alot of things that go on in an ADF/Druidic style rite that many probably don’t necessarily understand.

ADF rites do not seek magic(k) as the reason for ritual gatherings.  Our actions, within our liturgical design, do not have as their sole purpose the working of Thaumaturgy or magic(k) for magic(k)’s sake.  The role of Druids within ADF and those who celebrate with us is to exist with the gods, ancestors, and wights for a time.  This is made possible by the offering of gifts to such beings and in return accepting their gifts in return.

This way of conducting ritual does not necessarily preclude magic(k)al operations most “Pagans” would recognize it merely negates the redundancy of it’s use.  As Druids we are communing with the gods/ancestors/wights, or simply the Kindred, in order to establish links between the folk and their gods and to also reinvigorate the fabric of the cosmos.

Magic(k) then becomes a personal tool used outside the scope of established ADF ritual gatherings.  This is not a bad thing in my opinion.  Magic(k) while a powerful tool for transformation and arguably very powerful in group situations, is also an Art worked well in the solitary sphere.

In fact I would say that the role of the Druid/Gothi/Priest of the ancestors was to work his/her Will through private Thaumaturgy, building a report with the Kindred while learning to navigate the subtle worlds of the mental/spiritual/physical mysteries in order to better serve the village/community when gathered together as a whole to worship and enliven the cosmos about them.

To the Gathering

Tarot trove

Been working with the Tarot lately.

Firstly I’ve been working with the Tarot as a magic(k)al system via the Golden Dawn way of working.   It’s a fairly easy way of working ritual, beneficial to anyone interested in a Western Hermetic form of magic(k).  At the heart of using the Tarot for magic(k) is the manipulation of

Magician

Elemental and Astrological symbolism built within the Tarot trumps.  Like most ritual magic(k) these energies are called upon and raised via visualization, and through a syncrhronization between Mage and object(in this system that being the Tarot)  this results in the focused direction of Will.

Because of the Elemental nature of Golden Dawn based magic(k)the Mage is asked to work within the confines of quadratic magic(k)al operation.  That means that an altar is constructed utilizing the Aces of every suit each representing the fundamental framework of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  Upon this altar the Magician places the object (A Tarot card) that is the goal of the rite and around the Magician circle the 12 Astrological signs of the Zodiac embodied within the Greater Arcana of

the Tarot.   So as in all Magic(k)al operations the Magician becomes the focus of the entire universe in that moment – The heavens above symbolized by the Zodiac and that which is below and within via the Elemental altar and the Magician him/herself.

I decided to take up this Tarot form of working after having put down Enochian.  I had been wanting to experiment with a Western Occult form of magic(k) and learning.  Enochian was far to complicated/christianized/hierachical/expensive for me to play with…so using the Tarot and delving into its symbology along with learning a bit more about Golden Dawn symbolism fit the bill.

Secondly, I’ve been becoming more familiar with the Tarot in general.  The Tarot embodies a story and I’m using decks that draw on the idea that that story is mythic and universal.  My main deck is the LOTR deck primarily because of its mythological relevance; it tells a story, and each card represents a stage of that universal life story.  Also I’ve been constructing and using regular playing card decks that hold the ideals of myth and story that I like to explore with Tarot.

When doing readings for others I feel the cards should not only have meaning for me, but should be identifiable by the Querent.  If I’m using a Rider-Waite deck will the Querent understand the five of wands…probably not.  But if I’m using a deck that carries symbolism that our culture readily understands through our shared mythos of movies, TV characters, or children’s fables perhaps the Querent will be able to add to what I bring as a reader.

Pinball Themed Tarot

So, I’m working on obtaining and constructing decks that remove the mystical from the Tarot and allow Querents to better understand the message of the Tarot through the common mythology of modern stories.  Tarot, and any form of divination, does not need to be weighted down with esoteric gobbledygook, its merely a tool that helps people understand the present and how that present shifts into the future – it’s not inherently magic(k)al, special, or spiritual –  it certainly can be given those connotations, but it doesn’t need them in order to be functional.

A Magicians Equilibrium

Where to start with this…

Recently I met up with another Magician, a Magician who I know shares many common interests; Sigil work, Lovecraft Mythos, Crowley, the Enochian work of Dr. Dee, Kenneth Grant, chaos Magic(k)…on and on.

I won’t go over what we discussed, because its not the content that’s important but instead what it seemed to trip within me.

A Magician holds onto two worlds; One is the world of reality – the social constructs that modern man has decided are the normal existing limitations of flesh, bone, and mind.  I’m not at all concerned with labeling such a construct as  “Reality” or as “Perception” or “Awareness” – all three being buzzwords in the magic(k)al world that really mean nothing to the un-initiated.  I’m not one to think that these realities are spiritually maintained or created by any act of subtle intelligence, in other words I do not use the word “Perception” to mean anything other than the most mundane of definitions.  We have all chosen to participate in cultural and social norms, and because of our participation and our socialization reality continues and seems  concrete/permanent. And that’s all there is to it.

The second world a Magician holds onto is the one in which he is empowered to make decisions that effect his world in marked and profound ways.  This world is one that is only understood by the Magician, its not part of the larger social pattern.  For a short while the Magician sequesters him or herself into a world of her creation.  Of course there are maps available to her that will help, such as Mythology or the writings of other Magicians, even fiction.  These tools are meant to suspend the “us” that has been tormented by the rational and scientific modern age, to re-manifest and reconstitute the part of ourselves that was enchanted with the world before science taught us  equations meant to explain every miracle.

So, discussing magic(k) and mystery is probably one of my favorite things to do.  But I’m a rational Magician, I don’t get caught up in fantastical imaginings of spirit manifestations and similar stories.  I consider magic(k)al practice a mental workout, its effects mainly for personal betterment, a way to transform the self through ritual. In fact I separate my religious practice from my Magic(k)al one…Religious practice verifies and confirms my world whereas Magic(k)al practice reminds me that sometimes we need to step out of one world into another, not literally, but mentally.

My equilibrium was challenged during my recent magic(k) meeting.  I was asked, very innocently, about the possibility of bridging the gap between the Magicians world that usually stays calmly and safely within my ritual room behind its closed door, and the world full of constructed and agreed upon norms.

In that instant I couldn’t even verbalize to my ‘colleague in chaos’ how he had shaken me.  On his couch I sat going through the Rolodex of possibilities in my mind, each mental note-card containing tidbits of lore from my twenty years of being involved in magic(k), trying to find a solution to the query he had posed.   I was stunned, and I understood the role of the Magician as no other time in my life.  Like the Tarot card Magician, one hand up with wand pointed skyward, the other pointed down, I felt trapped in the middle between two opposing currents.  The One that says look to the solidity of the ground beneath you for the stable and the assured, the Second which is ethereal and enchanting and found with forethought and difficulty.

The mystery of that moment on the couch is that for once I had nothing to say.  I was the Magician caught in the middle of the two worlds that, like the card image, will probably, one day, be forced to reconcile.

I realized then that I was two people living in two very different worlds.  I am a rational person, choosing to involve myself in irrationality.   The Fool is card 0, the Magician card 1.  Is it because the Fool has no realization of the worlds he inhabits, and the first step, the step of knowledge begins with the effort to understand that the self is the nexus of the stable and the ethereal(?) and the one who defines how they unite and what he will do with that knowledge along the way.

Just something on my mind lately…