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Monday, November 28, 2005

Picatrix Ghayat Al Hakim The Goal Of The Wise Vol Ii

Picatrix Ghayat Al Hakim The Goal Of The Wise Vol Ii Cover

Book: Picatrix Ghayat Al Hakim The Goal Of The Wise Vol Ii by William Kiesel

Picatrix Volume Two contains the 3rd and 4th books of Ghayat Al-Hakim and will complete the English translation. It is a larger book than volume one and contains much in the way of the practical working of astral and talismanic magic. Planetary and Zodiacal magic and full instructions for invoking the related spirits are provided along with all the requisite materials needed; stones, plants, inks, colors, incenses, talismans and the invocations.

In addition to this are many anecdotes relating to Arabic and pre-Islamic magical lore, including the writings of Ibn Wahshija, the Nabataeans, Sabians, Chaldeans and Assyrians. Of particular note is the magical plant and mineral lore from the Nabataean Agriculture, which portray ancient practices of pagan Iraq.

The influence of the Picatrix can be seen in several texts of well-known Authors of the western esoteric tradition, including Ficino, Mirandola, Abano and Agrippa, whose works have played a major role of forming contemporary manifestations of the esoteric tradition today.

This work is undoubtedly a milestone – one of the most renowned books of magic in Western civilization finally translated into English. Nonetheless, I have to say that I have some qualms about the book. I’m reluctant to speak out on this, largely because I don’t want to hold anyone accountable for ambiguities or uncertainties in the Arabic text, as I don’t know that language. Still, I have some reason for concern.

One is the frequent mistakes in the book. I know first-hand how nasty typos are to eradicate, and I’m willing to grant substantial leeway for small presses in that regard. Still, we have a number of non-spellcheck errors that occur throughout the manuscript. Among the more notable are “kneed” appearing for “knead”, “rap” appearing for “wrap”, and “veins” often being spelled “vanes.” One of the curious ingredients of a few recipes is “black anesthetic seeds.:” These are the more notable examples, and the sort that would be easily picked up with a reading of the manuscript.

I will also add that a number of the passages are impossible to decipher. Of course, texts of these period require some effort to understand, especially when of a theoretical nature, but I found myself baffled on many occasions by passages like this:

"This kind get to envy a lot for every good thing they see, that is why we should bless every thing and be proud to do that as that comes from the first position commancing in astronomy and it could be inherited from mood commencement."
"That does not stop some males from having mental reactions like females and some females have mental reactions like males and that is how we differentiate between males and females."

Contextually, it is often possible to figure out the approximate meaning of a passage via context, but one has to wonder just how accurate that understanding really is.

This is a shame, because there’s a great deal in this book with regard to talismans, spirit summoning, and other topics that could be of use to scholars and practitioners alike. Still, concerns about accuracy come foremost for me, and I’m not sure that’s what readers are getting.

The first chapter exhorts the would-be astrological magician to learn the classical Pythagorean sciences before approaching magic: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The author means the esoteric aspects of these disciplines, rather than assuming that one’s mastery of 1+1=2 qualifies one as a classical arithmetician.

Then, we get two chapters devoted to basic astrological concepts, such as the nature of the Moon, and some electional precepts. This section presents the basics of electional astrology in a practical, succinct manner, and it would be useful to all astrologers interested in this field, not just magicians.

The following few chapters expand on the “why and how” of astrological magic and the universe, including the relative strength of the planets and the fixed stars, the relationship of the four elements and similar topics.

There follows a short chapter with some talismanic glyphs, evidently based on magic squares (the ones where the numbers are arranged to add up to the same number horizontally, vertically, and diagonally). The next chapter lists the planetary affinities of stones and metals, and the talismanic images associated with the planets and their seals. For instance, one image of Mars “is the form of a crowned man with an inscribed sword in his right hand.”

The last two chapters discuss the images associated with the astrological decans, and the kinds of talismans best for each. So, if you wish to increase the milk given by your goats, make a talisman in the second face of Capricorn. These recipes are nothing if not down-to-earth.

Buy William Kiesel's book: Picatrix Ghayat Al Hakim The Goal Of The Wise Vol Ii

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William Kiesel - Picatrix Ghayat Al Hakim The Goal Of The Wise Vol Ii

Friday, November 25, 2005

P2 Lodge

P2 Lodge Cover Originally a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy, their warrant was revoked and a number of their members expelled for unmasonic conduct.
The P2 Incident was a by-product of three related factors; the vagaries of Italian masonic history, the joint effects of past repressions and social patronage on the Italian Craft, and certain defects in their Constitution.

Italian masonic history has been influenced by the political and ethnic history of that country and the P2 Incident needs to be placed in that context. Irregular lodges (not recognized by mainstream Freemasonry), both in France and Italy, had become quite political during revolutionary periods in their national histories, and operated as true secret societies. Italy has only been a united country since 1870 and regional, ethnic and traditional differences are still felt in contemporary Italian society. Italian society, then and now, has been said to largely run on patronage and favouritism. Few other Grand Lodges had recognized Italian masonry as regular until 1972.

Several Grand Lodges have been formed in Italy, the first in 1750, but all were proscribed or suppressed and, with the exception of the short period during the Napoleonic Occupation, Freemasonry was not revived until about 1860 when two Grand masonic bodies emerged. The first, the "Supreme Council Grand Orient of Italy" opened in Turin; later moving to Rome.
Although politics and religion were officially banned from discussion in lodges, in practice the Italian temperament views discussion of state affairs as a duty. In 1908 a schism resulted when the Grand Orient expelled a number of members for their political stance and the National Grand Lodge was formed. It continues to this day as an irregular body.
Masonry was again prohibited in Italy from 1926 to 1945. At this time several competing groups sprung up, out of which the Grand Orient of Italy and the National Grand Lodge resumed their leading positions. This Grand Orient was considered regular by many American Grand Lodges and extended recognition. It was recognized as regular by the English, Irish and Scottish Grand Lodges in 1972 and shortly thereafter by a number of other Grand Lodges who tend to take their direction from the United Grand Lodge of England. The following year, the majority of Lodges under the National Grand Lodge seceded and joined the Grand Orient, leaving the National Grand Lodge as a weak and splintered dissident group. Although the National Grand Lodge is not relevant to this article, this history of suppression, irregularity, political infighting, and class consciousness is.

In 1877 the Grand Orient granted a warrant to a lodge in Rome called "Propaganda Massonica". This lodge was frequented by politicians and government officials from across Italy who were unable to attend their own lodges. Although its potential for masonic mischief was recognized, there is no evidence that any was forthcoming. The lodge was not on the Grand Orient’s registers but operated as the Grand Master’s own private Lodge, allowing for the initiation of members whose names would not therefore appear on the Grand Orient’s rolls. If any apology is needed, it should be noted that "an organization which had a long experience of great opposition to it, of political and religious damnation, and of being often forced to close up, is likely to view every influential friend it can get as important."

When the Grand Orient was revived after the Second World War it was decided to number the lodges by drawing lots; Lodge Propaganda drew number two, thus it became P2. It rarely held meetings and was almost inactive.

In 1967, Brother Licio Gelli, who had been initiated into a lodge in Rome in 1965, was placed in virtual control of P2 by the Grand Master of the day. He was considered to be a shrewd and successful businessman with a great gift for recruiting. In 1970 he was made secretary of P2 and subsequently a substantial number of well-placed men were initiated. In most recognized Grand Lodge jurisdictions, these practices would not be countenanced. An argument could be made that by Italian standards, nothing was amiss.
Gelli’s growing influence became a concern of the then Grand Master who, in late 1974, proposed that P2 be erased. At the Grand Orient Communication in December 1974, of the 406 lodges represented, 400 voted for its erasure. In March 1975 Gelli accused the Grand Master of gross financial irregularities, withdrawing the accusations only after the Grand Master issued a warrant for a new P2 Lodge — despite the fact that the Grand Orient had erased it only four months earlier. P2 was considered regular; its membership was no longer secret and Gelli was its master. In 1976, Gelli requested that P2 be suspended but not erased. This nuance of jurisprudence meant that he could continue to preserve some semblance of regularity for his private club without being answerable to the Grand Orient.

By 1978, suspect financial arrangements involving the Grand Master prompted many other Grand Lodges to threaten to withdraw recognition, and the Grand Master resigned before his term expired. Gelli promptly financed the election campaign of the Immediate Past Grand Master, but the Grand Orient elected another candidate as their new leader.
In 1980, Gelli told a press interview that Freemasonry was a puppet show in which he pulled the strings. Italian Masonry was outraged by this, struck a masonic tribunal which in 1981 expelled him, and decided that P2 had been erased as a Lodge in 1974 and therefore any contrary action by a Grand Master had been illegal.
The same year the police investigated Gelli for a range of fraudulent activities and, in searching his house, found a P2 register of 950 names — mostly prominent people. Several government ministers resigned and the Italian Government fell. Gelli managed to get out of the country. A Special Parliamentary Commission found Gelli to have an obscure and opportunistic past and to count among his friends many such as the fraudulent banker Roberto Calvi (1920? - 1982/06/19), chairman of Banco Ambrosiano in Milan who was later found dead under London’s Blackfriars Bridge, and the banker Sindona who was later jailed in the USA for fraud and suspected murder. The nature and aims of Gelli’s alleged political intrigues have never been explained. From his South American hideaway, he has sent out obscure messages and has offered to give himself up to Italian police if certain conditions were met. The authorities have issued no public statement.
The President of the Parliamentary Commission of Investigation, while openly hostile to Freemasonry at the outset, eventually declared that Freemasonry itself had been Gelli’s first and principal victim. While three successive Grand Masters (two now deceased and one expelled from Freemasonry) had manipulated secret funds, secret members, secret decisions and secret lodges, the body of Italian Freemasonry was neither guilty nor culpable in the P2 Affair.

At the Grand Orient Meeting of March 1982, no incumbent Grand Officer was re-elected.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Are Freemasons Antiatheists

Are Freemasons Antiatheists Cover No.

Regular freemasons are, by definition of membership requirement, non-atheists, but this does not mean that they are anti-atheists.
On the other hand, Freemasonry has on occasion been accused of being atheistic simply because the accusers have defined any belief other than their own as such. In fact, regular Freemasonry has always restricted its membership to men who express a belief in Deity. But does this make Freemasonry anti-atheistic?

Dr. James Anderson, in The Charges of a Freemason, wrote in 1723: "A Mason is obliged by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine." This phrasing was carried forward unchanged for Many Years although at this time, in many jurisdictions, the term "stupid" has been dropped as gratuitous and insulting. While individual freemasons may consider atheists to be stupid, or ignorant, or unfortunate, many other freemasons will simply consider atheists as individuals who hold a differing belief.

Can an atheist become a regular freemason? No; not unless he lies when asked to express a belief in a Supreme Being. There are several irregular jurisdictions that will initiate atheists but they are not recognized by regular Freemasonry.

Freemasonry as a body is not supposed to involve itself in questions of religion or politics, although it could be argued that by restricting its membership to those who believe in God Freemasonry has involved itself in the debate. In the USA, the masonic concordant body, the Scottish Rite, has actively promoted the separation of church and state, raising the accusation that it is anti-religion or anti-Catholic, and sympathetic to, if not promoting, atheism.

Freemasonry does not solicit members, nor does it promote its teachings to the public at large, other than through example. While Freemasonry extends membership only to those believing in God, the secular humanist community only considers as members those who do not. For atheists to accuse freemasons of being anti-atheists would make as much sense as freemasons accusing atheists of being anti-masons. It is logical nonsense. This does not mean that there are not individual freemasons who are anti-atheists or that there are not atheists who are anti-masons. But individual belief does not imply or prove group belief. Where both groups do appear to meet is in the promotion of self-Development, personal responsibility and freedom of individual belief.

Freemasonry does not tell anybody that they have to believe in God, only that, if they do, they meet one of the qualifications for being a freemason. The teachings expressed in the initiatory rituals and lectures of Freemasonry refer to a higher purpose and destiny in a fashion that assumes a belief in God on the part of the candidate. But nowhere is atheism condemned or belittled.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005

What Is A Masonic Monitor

What Is A Masonic Monitor Cover The Monitor, or Manual, published by most Grand Lodges in some form, is usually a pocket size volume which contains the Esoteric or written work, as distinct from the esoteric, or secret, or "mouth to ear" work or ritual. It is curious and interesting that what is Esoteric in one Grand Lodge is sometimes Esoteric in another, but no Monitor discloses any secrets to any reader. Monitors are of more use to officers and others who take parts in the exemplification of degrees than to lodge members who do not. Some Monitors contain also explanations of various parts of Free masonry and a few are comprehensive in their coverage of the subject.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Karl Germer

Karl Germer Cover When World War II broke out in 1939, international communications became increasingly disrupted and civilian travel was limited. Crowley became very dependent on foreign representatives, being unable to travel himself. Karl Germer, Crowley's German representative, was arrested by the Gestapo and confined in a Nazi concentration camp for "seeking students for the foreign resident, high-grade Freemason, Crowley." Released early in the War through the efforts of the American Consul, Germer traveled ultimately to the United States, where, as Grand Treasurer General and Crowley's second in command, he conducted much of the business of O.T.O. On March 14, 1942, Crowley wrote to Germer: "I shall appoint you my successor as O.H.O. ... A complete change in the structure of the Order, and in its methods is necessary. The secret is the basis, and you must select the proper people." The other European branches of O.T.O. were largely destroyed or driven underground during the War. The Latin American branches of Krumm-Heller's F.R.A. maintained a light contact with Germer until the early 1960s.

By the end of the Second World War in 1945, only Agape Lodge in Pasadena, California was still functioning. There were isolated O.T.O. initiates in various parts of the world. Although Crowley received visits from O.T.O. members in England, no Lodge work had been conducted there since the police raid of 1917. Initiations were very rare outside of California. Krumm-Heller in Mexico performed no O.T.O. initiations, but sent a candidate, Dr. Gabriel Montenegro (Frater Zopiron or Theophilos), to California for initiation.

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