BEHIND the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvellous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed.
With roots in ancient Egypt, Hermetic magick continues to flourish today. I will begin by looking at the power of magick down the ages, with a particular emphasis on the French writer and magician Eliphas Levi, whose book, Transcendental Magic was a huge influence on the magical revival from the 19th century through to present times. If time permits, I will read one or two examples of his inspired purple prose.
Along the way I will attempt to answer questions such as, “What is Hermetic Magick?” “Is there really such a thing as white and black magick?” I will take a brief look at the claim that material science has fulfilled the aspirations of the alchemists, and will also mention a few modern shibboleths such as the neccessity (or not) of “belief”, New Age ideas on reincarnation and other areas of fact and fiction such as the Witches Sabbath of medieval times. Moving from Alexandria to the Renaissance and then the present day, there will be references to such luminaries as John Dee, R A Schwaller de Lubicz, and of course, Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune, who will scarcely require an introduction to those that have an interest in this subject. The importance of visionary work in the Hermetic and Gnostic traditions will also be explored.
Corpus Hermeticum: G R S Mead, Thrice Greatest Hermes (Kessinger Books)
Cornelius Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy
The Diaries of John Dee, edited by Edward Fenton
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Zanoni
Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic
R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz: The Egyptian Miracle, Sacred Science
Dion Fortune: Mystical Qabalah, Aspects of Occultism, The Sea Priestess, Moon Magick, The Goatfoot God (the last three are novels)
Aleister Crowley’s wartime activities and relationship with Dion Fortune: Alan Richardson, The Logos of the Aeon and the Shakti of the Age
Aleister Crowley: Magick and Little Essays Towards Truth, also Magick Without Tears for insight into the practical approach and method of Scientific Illuminism delivered through Crowley’s personal correspondence courses
Visit Tantrika Books
Visit Ordo Astri: College of the Hermetic Light