Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Learning the Magic of my Ancestors - part 2

A few weeks after my first ancestral journey I embarked on the second expedition. Since my return from the city of clay I had been curious to learn more about my ancestor's magic. However, it took a few weeks to integrate all the impulses I had received, to make sense of this new experience and relationship before I felt ready to return and re-engage...

Here is my account of what happened during my second visit. This time I was sitting in the small meditation room up on the first floor of our old house. Incense was raising from the Tibetian skull cup in front of me and filling the room. I had just finished my standard meditation, opened my eyes and looked at the cup of water that I had placed next to the incense... I stared at it for a while, closed my eyes and took its picture with me into the dark. The room and all outside world disappeared as I saw myself standing in the water bowl. Finally I had reached the Void again and enjoyed the quietness, the openness and the vast space stretching out around me in all directions...

It was clear that I had to follow the exact same path again in order to return to my female ancestor. So I cut my hand open and sank backwards into the stream of blood. After some time I emerged from the Void into the burning sun of the desert and allowed the stream to carry me in its current.

Sigil of Immar's spirit gate
as carved on her floor
Before entering on this journey I had drafted somewhat of a strategy on how to better engage with my ancestor. Last time I had taken over her body, not introduced myself and probably violated most unwritten etiquettes of ancestral visits? So this time I needed to do better. My idea was to enter the city in the shape of a fish. That had been the shape I arrived in the fish trap during my first visit and it seemed like a good approach to get through the guarded gates of the city. I would then call on my ancestor and ask her to come to the market and buy me from the fisherman that had brought me there. Once in her home I could take my human form again and we could interact openly and undisturbed from the outside world. 

I was flowing in the bloodstream through the desert, a crazy plan on my mind and no idea of where this would take me... It took much longer than before, yet at some point I found myself caught in a fish trap again. The water was rushing over me and I was stuck in a braided basket. Finally a hand pulled the basket out of the water and emptied it into another, larger basket which was fixed to the back of a man. A lid closed above me and I felt how the man set in motion. I was lying in the shade of the basket in my fish form, waiting for the man to arrive in the city...

After a long travel the lid was opened again. I found myself in a relatively dark room, tamped stairs were leading down into it and all walls as well as the ceiling were made from earth. I had been thrown onto a clay pot full of fish, when suddenly my ancestor was descending over the stairs and picking me up. Without hesitation she wrapped me into a cloth and disappeared again. When I saw the light again we were back in here small hut made from clay.

The loom was still standing to my right. On my left I saw the clay pots on the shelves; in front of me stood a low bed made from straw on which my ancestor was sitting. I am not sure how this happened, but once I looked around in the hut I realized that I had lost my fish form and had taken the shape of a naked young boy. My skin was almost white and I was sitting on a low chair opposite her...
  • Acher: What is your name?
  • Ancestor: (I am not going to share her full name; let's just call her Immar which I consider to be her first name. Her full name consists of six syllables and four words.)
  • Acher: I am the one who comes from far away.
  • Immar: Me too.

I don't recall why anymore, but at this point in our conversation I tried to change my shape. Maybe I started to feel uncomfortable being naked in front of her or maybe just being so much younger? I shifted my shape without intention and immediately turned into an old man.

Suddenly Immar was gone. The entire hut had turned empty from one moment to the next; the loom was gone, only some broken clay pots were left on the shelves... I shifted my shape again and returned to the form of the young boy. Everything was back in the room, Immar still sitting opposite me. A thought struck me... I carefully shifted my age forward, like the dial of a clock. I could see how Immar turned older immediately. For some strange reason the only way for us to communicate with each other at that particular time was in the shapes we had naturally taken: for me as young naked boy and for her as a woman, probably somewhere in her late 30s...
  • Acher: How do you speak to the spirits?
  • Immar: I just stand in their space. A physical space that is. Their power is connected to the earth and can be activated. Like this...
I look on the tamped floor in front of me and see a large sigil carved into the earth. (The closest form my mind could recreate after the expedition is the picture above.) Immar uses this sigil to open the spirit gates; the spirits pass through the earth.
  • Acher: What can you teach me about your magic?
  • Immar: I animate substances.
  • Acher: How do you do that?
  • Immar: I use everything that is ready to share. There are potent substances that can grant life to lifeless forms. I search these substances and I use them on others. Thus life is passed on, shared and I can animate things.
My view is caught by her underarms. Scars grace her dark skin, in the twilight of the room they look like bracelets covering everything from her wrist up to the elbows. I understand that scorpions play an important role in this, but I don't get to understand why and how she uses the poison to create these scars...

Immar hands me a drink in a dark clay pot. Now I am standing on the sigil on the ground; the drink is sticky and bitter. My body becomes weak. Immar takes back the bowl and hands me a paste of green herbs. I swallow the herbs; they taste dry and even more bitter than the drink. A strange perception is running through my body: I feel how my physical muscles and nerves turn weak and I am close to fainting. At the same time a new force is coming to life in my body, rushing through me, like a spirit in a new house. Something is entering into me.

I have become weak and shiver. I lay down on her bed. Immar approaches the bed and lays down next to me. My body becomes lucid, then transparent. I turn into smoke. I leave her hut through the open clay door into the streets. 

I return to the outer ring of walls that protect the city. The huge gate appears in front of me. It doesn't have any wooden doors, or at least I don't see them? Yet, this time I do see the magic it works even clearer: the inside of the gate is covered by a shiny, glistening web. The web is almost as dense as a lucid yet somewhat milky piece of glass. It protects the city from evil. I am flowing through the web and out into the desert. It's night. I return to the stream I had been caught in as a fish... Then I flow upstream like before, a long time, until I enter back into the Void.

It was only a couple of days after this second expedition that I realized something important. It was a feeling that had followed me, all the way up the river and through the Void. Immar was sad. Something burdensome and heavy was upon her. She hadn't mentioned it - probably because I hadn't asked for it. For a second time now I had come to her with a clear idea of what I wanted to receive - and yet with nothing to give back? 

Sometimes I really do get tired of myself. Mostly that is when I do the same mistakes over and over again. This clearly was one of these cases - going back to my ancestor for the second time and behaving like a small kid. Me, me, me! Well, maybe that was why I had been forced into the shape of a naked young boy?

Pondering about Immar's sadness and the course of our second encounter the strategy for my third visit became clearer: Next time I would return to give something back. 

Monday, 29 August 2011

Learning the Magic of my Ancestors - part 1

So much has been happening - and so little time to wrap things up in writing and share with you. My apologies. But let me try to make up - and share things as they happened, step by step... What we will embark upon together if you like is an expedition into magical workings with my ancestors. More specifically with a female ancestor of mine living in a city built of clay... 

Below is the story of how it all began. Since this first encounter I did three further visits which I will share shortly with you. I have learned a lot since then from the lady at the loom. And I guess what started as curiosity about an exercise in a book is slowly coming to life in a relationship across millennia of time... 

Since reading Josephine's book Magical Knowledge II I have been fascinated by her approach to magic - and most of all by the types of ancestral workings she explains. So after experimenting with using the Void as a gateway to the inner realms, I started out to explore my own bloodline... Here is the account of the first expedition.


Today I undertook my first ancestral journey through the Void according to Josephine's instruction. Unfortunately I had her book borrowed and so I had to recall the flow of the exercise by heart - which might be a good thing considering this is a journey through the time buried in my own blood.

Anyway, currently staying in the hills of wonderful Liguria I found myself a remote place behind a cemetary in the olive groves. I laid out a circle of small stones, sat myself on the bare ground and placed a small kitchen cup on a flat stone in front of me. I sprinkled water into the four directions ofthe sky and pouered therest into the cup. Finally I anointed the front and the back of my head with the water and sank into meditation.

My bloodline - some stuff I did with clay
and cherries fallen from a tree after my
first ancestral journey... 
After a while I found myself in the Void. I relaxed and enjoyed the darkness and space around me, void of any borders or objects restraining the flow of quiet consciousness. My right hand appeared out of darkness in front of me; I took a knife and made a deep cut into it... Blood immediately poured out, started to cover the ground below me and formed a current that dragged me backwards. I briefly thought that this makes perfect sense as my plan was to flow backwards in time. Then I let go and allowed the stream to carry me with it in its current... After a while I emerged out of the Void in a stream that led through a rough, desert-like scenery. The riverbed was carved deep into the sandstone and the shadows of the cliffs protected it slightly from the piercing sun. 

At some point I felt the urge to get out of the water. I climbed out of the stream and walked through the desert. Behind some dunes I discovered a tribe of shepherds who sat around a fire that had burned down to a pillar of smoke raising into the sky. I sat next to them and allowed their voices to adjust to my ear. I asked them what my relation was with them. They looked surprised and answered I was just one of them; a shepherd in their tribe. I asked for their priest and they told me to enter a black tent behind them. So I did. Inside I found the contours of a big person wearing a wooden mask and sitting in the back of the dark tent, half covered in cold sand. I asked something I forgot - and got a vision of his mask coming to life and bending towards me in a scream as a reply. I left the tent, walked back to the stream of blood and jumped into it again. Immidiately it carried me further backwards in time....

At one point I got caught in a fish trap. Somone took me out of the water and stabbed me into the stomach with a black, triangular knife. Then he put some pounded herbs into my mouth. Both the wound in my stomach and the herbs disappeared at the same time. The men was wearing his hair and beard in the knotted style of the Chaldeans or Assyrians. Through the desert he took me to a town build from clay. We entered the city through a huge portal. Under the arc of the portal on my right I could perceived the ghost of the guardian spirit of the portal. He remained calm and only chattered his teeth... 

On entering the inner city I immediately realized the huge ziggurat forming the center of the town. It raised high above the other buildings and most streets seemed to lead directly towards it. So did the one we walked on. The fisherman took me to a small house on one of the main streets. Inside of it was a wooden loom. On entering the house my own shape had changed; I now was a woman whose age seemed to constantly shift between young and beautilful and old and exhausted... I remember me thinking that maybe I had lived for a long time in this house, thus my changing shape might reflect all the years spent living here? 

I sat down in front of the loom and started to work. Immediately a feeling of deep meaning and satisfaction filled me: I could see the colored strands of wool weave together and hear the sound my hands on the wooden loom. To my surprise I realized that weaving on this loom was a purely magical act - my lips were reciting incantations as I created a specific pattern from the strands of wool... 

On turning around I saw the back wall of the clay hut covered with hollow-ware of all sorts. Some of them contained herbs and incenses, others parts of animals and liquids. I walked to the back, took one of the clay pots and went back to the loom. From inside the pot I smeared a dark-red liquid on my fingers and started to rub it onto the wool on the loom. Again, I knew this was a magical act for a specific purpose. Maybe to bring the patterns in the wool to live? Yet my body did all movements automatically and I didn't have any specific understanding of it. It felt as if I was a guest in this body, silently observing and lost in the deep yet foreign meaning of its actions...

Finally I got up from the loom and stood in the main door of the clay hut. Night had fallen upon the city and I saw lights burning high up on the ziggurat. Above me, pure and bright I saw the stars in all their constellations. Only then I realized that the eyes in this body were different from my eyes today: Everything looked as if shining from within through them, as if these eyes didn't try to distinguish between living and dead substances. Through these eyes every living and dead body seemed to be clothed in a silverfish spirit body, veiled softly and shimmering around it. Even from the stars I saw living lights streaming down into the streets of the town....

I think it was at this point that the Void started to return. It surrounded myself organically, like mist that raises from the fields... It washed away the lights and colors with darkness. My body had disappeared and I was back flowing in the limitless darkness ofthe Void. I allowed for the cup of water to come forth from the Void and the natural world around me to re-emerge from the water. Then I opened my eyes and drank the water from the white cup.


What I know now on reflection is that the woman on the loom wasn't an earlier incarnation of myself but one of my ancestors. Only now do I understand how important this differentiation is! This explains perfectly why I didn't had any control over her movements and didn't know what she was doing when being inside her body. She simply had allowed me to enter her body. To her I was an ancestral spirit (from the future) visiting her and she willingly had shared her body for a short while with me. When she stepped out of the hut and looked up at the stars, the Void re-appeard - because she had pulled me out of her body...

Next time I return to the city of the ziggurat I need to be much more respectful of her own individuality and being! And I need to find myself a different body so we can talk face to face. 

I am curious to learn about her magical loom and the type of magic she does with it. And maybe I can be of good service to her? I guess it should all start by introducing myself to her, just like any civilized person would do in any ancient or modern times - rather than taking possession of your body out of nowhere? I guess rudnesses like this only are accepted among ancestors...?


Stay with me. A few weeks later I returned to the city of clay. I'll be back posting the second visit shortly... That time my female ancestor told me her name and more about the specific type of magic she is working on.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Magician as a Hero - or allowing the wilderness to be wild

Here is an interesting idea to make magic a little less chauvinistic. But watch out - if you are a somewhat like me it might result in a spark of disillusionment initially... 

In a newspaper I recently stumbled across an article reflecting on the nature of heroes. The idea and fixed story pattern of a hero obviously is one of the most famous Topos in all cultures. However, the author's reflection on these basic pattern of any classical hero story struck me as quite new and compelling. Here is my English translation:

“From Odysseus to John Wayne the hero has always been the one without a home - or the one who found his way back through a long journey only. His adventures always took place beyond the borders, in the open wild not yet subjugated to any law or civilization. However, open spaces like these have almost completely disappeared in modern times. All seas have been mapped, all mountains have been conquered and all wilderness has been explored before. The classical hero, the one who brought law and order to places that still used to be in a state of raw natural wilderness slowly but surely has become unemployed.”

Now, let’s replace the word ‘hero’ with the word 'magician' and make another few adjustments to the quote. And then read it again: 

“From Odysseus to Aleister Crowley the magician has always been the one without a home - or the one who found his way back home through a long journey only. His adventures always took place beyond the borders, in the open wild not yet subjugated to any law or civilization. However, open spaces like these have almost completely disappeared in modern times. All inner realms have been mapped, all demons have been conquered and all magical wilderness has been explored before. The classical magician, the one who discovered keys to places that still used to be in a state of raw natural wilderness slowly but surely has become unemployed.”

Pause for a second and watch your emotional reaction... How does this feel? No spiritual wilderness left to be explored, no new tribes of demons or spirits to be discovered, all magical paths mapped in neatly pocket-sized glossy books for us?

Well, I can tell you how it feels for me. It's a total nightmare! And I immidiaterly have to admit: I really hadn’t been aware about this. But a big part of my fascination for magic seems to be exactly that: the adventures of the hero passing through the unknown (inner) wilderness.... 

Let’s think about it: despite the deep sea maybe the inner realms are the last open space left in our sphere of existence? Maybe the worlds we travel and explore as magicians, the relationships we create and the things we bring back home from our quests - maybe that is the closest thing we have left these days to the journeys of Odysseus or Marc O'Polo?

And another thought struck me immidiately: Let's stop trying to bring the 'law' to places that have been beautiful for millennia without us. I guess that's the attitude that started all the trouble we are in today: trying to civilize the wilderness, rather than accepting it for what it is  and embracing its mesmerizing ambiguity.

But what will it take from us? How does the story of a hero need to change? What type of heroism will it take to traverse the wilderness without trying to change it? Without trying to impose our way of being and fulfillment of our desires, our needs and wishes on the world around us?

Well, I guess the one quality heroes never really stood for is humility. And that's exactly what it will take. If we want the last spots of wilderness to remain wild, if we want to expand rather than erase the last open spaces on this planet our journey needs to stop revolving around ourselves and our greedy egos... We need to stop trying to write history. 

The times of the magician as a hero are over. Our times, however, as keepers of the threshold between confined and open spaces might just about to begin...? Let's read another quote and change it again slightly. Here is what Wikipedia tells us about the term dragoman:

A dragoman was an interpreter, translator and official guide between Turkish, Arabic, and Persian-speaking countries and polities of the Middle East and European embassies, consulates, vice-consulates and trading posts. A dragoman had to have a knowledge of Arabic, Turkish, and European languages.

And here is what it could mean for us as magicians:

A dragoman was an interpreter, translator and official guide between the outer and inner realms, between the spheres of humans, angels and demons keeping various interests in  fine balance. A dragoman had to have a knowledge of human, angelic and demonic languages.

Maybe when our journey stops being about us, about our achievements, our fears and wishes, we can restart allover again and achieve something really meaningful. 


Did I ever mention that the wonderful Virignia Satir held the opinion that all conflicts arise from a lack of self-worth? Maybe that does the trick? Once we don't feel challenged by the wilderness in our own self-worth anymore, we can stop trying to change it into something similar to ourselves...  

What I have, what I have
Is nothing that you want
What I lack, what I lack
Nothing but your love
(It's easy)

Don't try, don't try so hard
My love is easy
Don't be the afterglow
These drugs won't leave me

All we have, all we have
Is nothing but our love
(It's easy)

It's easy, your love is easy
And I get more than I deserve
I get more than I deserve
Baby everyone some worth
And we get more than we deserve

Don't try, don't try so hard
My love is easy
Don't be the afterglow
These drugs don't leave me

Don't try so hard
My love is easy
Don't be the afterglow
Your drugs don't leave me
And I get more than I deserve.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Less Creation, more Integration!

Currently I am working on two articles. One of them is related to the history of the concept of the Holy Genius and the Evil Daimon; it seem's I opened a can of worms here and it will certainly take some time until it is ready to be published... Meanwhile I am also writing a new article on a model that I have come to use to consciously integrate the impact subsequent to any magical rites. An aspect of magic that strikes me as heavily underestimated...

So it's this latter paper that has received most of my time these days - and led me to the rant below. I am not quite sure where my strong opinion on the subject came from, but unfortunately I have to admit that this is how I see things... So let me share a few thoughts on why I think creativity is heavily overrated these days - especially in magic. And why what we really need is more integration.

(...) Compared to any previous age of magic our current period is radically different.  Information has become instantly accessible all over our planet. The secret keys are not so secret any longer and there are more grimoires out there on the internet than any magician can ever perform in a lifetime... For centuries our ancestors were starving from information shortage. All they wanted to know were the ‘What and How’ of magic. In stark contrast today we live in an abundance of information. For us the burning question has changed from ‘What do I have to do in order to...’ to ‘And what’s next?’ 

Once the doors are opened, once contact is established to the inner realms - where do you go from here? What’s next? Or in other words: now that I have evoked the spirits of the Arbatel or Almadel or Picatrix - why isn’t my life more complete? We are living in a time of consumption and we started to consume magic like most other things in our lives. Yet the aftertaste is flat and for some reason we don’t feel satisfaction kicking in?  

Any good answer is simple; so here are my 2 cents: We don’t get satisfied, we move from one project to the next, because we don’t allow ourselves to rest, to look back - and to connect the dots. We are so obsessed with individuality and creativity, with achievement and output that we forget how to integrate all the living pieces back together again. We are writing a book, a chapter a day, and wonder why all of our stories are so short? We are opening ten new circles a day and have almost lost the knowledge on how to close anyone of them again...  

The word Grimoire stems from the root of the old French word grammaire. I guess this really makes my point: We have arrived at a time where the grammar of magic is openly available to everyone. Now it is time to say something meaningful. 

It's time to say something meaningful in the language of magic - not to other people, but to ourselves first and foremost. It’s not good enough anymore to create a mess of our lives in the name of exploration, of recreation of ancient magical systems or occult science. It’s time to take responsibility - for ourselves and for the people around us that matter. It’s time to apply magic and to give back through our practice. 

It’s time that this place and we ourselves become a little better - because of magic.


Ah, but what am I saying? Let's not allow the state of business to get us down. There is help! And it has the wonderful golden shape of a sax.... listen to this!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

FREE - A Course in Dream Magic - in three parts

I once heard someone saying: 'Consciousness is the key to magic.' I guess that's pretty true but also pretty general. If we try to be a bit more concise we will need to admit: Consciousness is not the key but a heavy bunch of keys - just as large as the old prison guard would carry it in an aged black and white movie. And magic isn't a single door either, but a realm as vast and deep as the dark prison the old guard is warding with its hundreds of doors all quietly waiting locked behind thick steel.

Our consciousness can take hundreds of shapes. And each state of consciousness presents a key to one of these doors. Turning it around, opening the cold, old door something is waiting for us on the other side... A magical encounter, a spirit, a demon, an archangel, a being from another realm. And all these realms are normally inaccessible for our consciousness - unless it changes its shape and turns into the key we need...

The ability to induce a specific state of consciousness that matches the door and lock in front of us - that is the key to magic. What this requires is a simple yet often overlooked competency: The ability to observe and actively change our state of consciousness.



Dion Fortune's definition of magic is "the art of changing consciousness at will". I can not think of any better practice for this skill than using it in our dreams. 

Over the last decade I have worked intesely with dreams - my own ones and the ones of clients. Despite all the interesting adventures it taught me and took me through, there are way more experienced practitioner of this art out there. People who can induce lucid dreams instantly by will or who perform full conscious ritual circles while sleeping at night. I am clearly not one of them - and maybe should work harder to get there or at least regret it more than I do? But the type of magic I have learned to perform in and in partnership with my dreams is completely sufficient for my needs. It does the job.

The 'job' of all my magic is to lead a happy life. Now, I realized it's most easy to lead a happy life when my consciousness is flexible - to adopt, to change, to emerge and grow - and not stagnant or overly dependent on inner subconscious limitations or urges. Thus freeing my consciousness from limitations in order to resonate and echo livelily, in order to co-create and co-experience my own being and the world around me is the path of my magick.

For everyone interested in this type of co-creation and conscious flexibility I have shared the essential techniques of dream magic in a free Course on Dream Magic. Starting out as a personal working document almost ten years ago, then merging into a series of talks in my former study group and ultimately evolving into an online course in dream magic - the three parts on MyOccultCircle.com bring together all you need to know about working with your dreams successfully. At least for your first decade.

Here is an overview on the content of the Course. And a quick note: just in case you are already familiar with dream magic, take a look at chapter VI) Feeding Aggressive Dream Beings; there is some new stuff in there that might surprise...



Well, there is certainly a lot to read out there and it would be impolite not to recommend at least one good tune appropriate for this ride to the night side of our lives... So let's switch on the magic jukebox again, push the button, watch as the silver arm pulls out the disc, the sound descends... and you can close your eyes for the wonderful Alexander Ebert - TRUTH

The truth is that I never shook my shadow
Every day it's trying to trick me into doing battle
Calling out 'faker' only get me rattled
Wanna pull me back behind the fence with the cattle
Building your lenses
Digging your trenches
Put me on the front line
Leave me with a dumb mind
With no defenses
But your defense is
If you can't stand to feel the pain then you are senseless

Since this,
I've grown up some
Different kinda figther
And when the darkness come, let it inside you
Your darkness is shining
My darkness is shining
Have faith in myself

I've seen a million numbered doors on the horizon
Now which is the future you choosen before you gone dying
I'll tell you about a secret I've been undermining
Every little lie in this world comes from dividing
Say you're my lover
say you're my homie
Tilt my chin back, slit my troath
Take a bath in my blood, get to know me
All out of my secrets
All my enemies are turning into my teachers

Light's blinding
No way dividing
What's yours or mine when everything's shining
Your darkness is shining
My darkness is shining
Have faith in ourselves