WESTERN WITCHCRAFT I:
Doctrinal Basis and Theory
Click above link to download pdf
What is the key to happiness?
Eliphas Levi, considered one of the most influential occultists in Western ceremonial magic and witchcraft, asks and then answers that question.
The knowledge of great secrets and the consciousness of power.
Those are my two objectives for you in this course: (1) to confer to you the knowledge of great secrets, and (2) to endow you with the consciousness of your personal power, to show you the heights that your power can achieve.
At every single point of my work in putting this course together, I thought, how do I facilitate development of the most powerful, most knowledgeable, most versatile, wisest, and most formidable occultist there ever was? How do I show you how to be that person?
And that was the inspiration and the ambition behind this course.
Western Witchcraft I focuses on the doctrinal basis and theoretical fundamentals of transcendental magic. This course is an immersive study of the first 12 chapters in Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine, Part I, of the greater collected work Transcendental Magic: Doctrine and Ritual, and structured like a one semester 400-level university elective.
Be prepared for an intense amount of reading. The video lectures only supplement the reading assignments and are not a replacement for them. In addition to the reading assignments, the weekly practicum, ritual, and energy training is also demanding on your time and your efforts.
- Attain familiarity with the doctrinal basis and theoretics of Western ceremonial magic
- Study the first 12 chapters of Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic, Part I: Doctrine (and to supplement, pick up selected key principles from the first 12 chapters of Part II: Ritual)
- Gain essential insights from Levi’s Key to the Great Mysteries, the book he wrote after Doctrine and Ritual
- Craft your first four altar tools and use Levi’s Conjuration of the Four ritual to charge and empower those tools (main focus in this course will be on the wand and the pentacle, per Levi’s assertion that the wand is first and foremost your most important ritual tool and second in importance to the wand is your pentacle)
- Craft a divine lamp for ritual use and work through a prophetic astral vision
- Train yourself to harness the Astral Light, then learn techniques to both strengthen and increase your flexibility with the Light to produce the Magic Chain
- Build a rock solid foundation in the theoretical and magical principles of Western witchcraft and ceremonial magic, which will then be able to support the structure and edifice of any mystery tradition or Path you subsequently pursue
A future course offering, Western Witchcraft II, will advance upon the fundamentals established in this course. Western Witchcraft II will conform to Levi’s Ritual, Part II and delve into spell-crafting, talismans, seals and sigils, spirit conjuring, and the many forms, types, and purposes of ritual in transcendental magic.
By the way, if you’re wondering about my conflation of the terms witchcraft and ceremonial magic, here’s a written newsletter rambling about that: Witchcraft vs. Ceremonial Magic. Read my ramblings on this subject: Click Here
TEXTS YOU’LL BE STUDYING
The Doctrinal Basis of Transcendental Magic is a 363-page textbook/workbook formatted in standard US Letter size (8.5″ x 11″) where the first 13 chapters of Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine, or Part I of a two-part book of collected writings on Transcendental Magic.
I’ve annotated the 13 chapters to ease the reading and study process for you. End sections of each chapter will include practicum, further insights, and exercises from Ritual, Part II of Transcendental Magic, Levi’s Key to the Great Mysteries (1861), working from Aleister Crowley’s 1959 published English translation, Three Books of Occult Philosophy or Magic (1531) by Cornelius Agrippa, The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages (1947) by Paul Foster Case, and Israel Regardie’s Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic (1984).
THE TEXTBOOK/WORKBOOK: The digital file for all texts that assigned reading comes out of will be included in your course materials. However, the physical copy is not included, and yet I am all but requiring that you print out a physical, bound copy of the textbook. Let me tell you something about yourself. =) If you don’t have a physical bound copy of this book in hand where you can put pen and highlighter to paper, then there’s a high probability that you’re not going to make it to completion of this course or get the most you can out of your investment. So then why bother even start, right? You can print the 363-page workbook (print back and front, double-sided) and put it into a three-ring binder yourself if that’s more economical for you. But please set aside funds for printing a copy of the book. You’re going to need it. On Lulu.com, the price is set at $14,99 (plus cost of shipping to wherever you’re located). If you’re savvy and wait for Lulu coupons and discount codes, you can get the book for even cheaper than that.
Curious about the originals I worked from?
And here’s a 1910 edition of Waite’s translation.
Western witchcraft and ceremonial magic is rooted deeply in Solomonic magic and what’s more, Eliphas Levi makes frequent reference to the Key of Solomon throughout Doctrine. Please acquire a copy (digital or physical) of the Key of Solomon prior to commencing the course.
You won’t be working directly out of the Key of Solomon in Witchcraft I. The content in Key is “for your information only” throughout this foundations-level course. Your primary text will be the Doctrinal Basis workbook.
THIS IS NOT A TRADITION
This course is not teaching any particular tradition of ceremonial magic or witchcraft. It will be more of an academic philosophical study of these arts, through the specific and narrow framework of Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine from Transcendental Magic.
We are studying occult philosophy in a clinical manner, and then working through practical exercises to apply the principles we’re learning, with the hope that practical application will support comprehension of the philosophical principles.
Levi asserts that the occult is a science, and that is the premise we are working from in this course. We are probing underneath the accouterments of magical traditions because figuring out the particular accouterments of your craft should be your own independent quest anyway. This course is about understanding the foundations of Western occult philosophy.
Modules 0 and I (video lecture, lecture notes, workbook reading) are free to the public. Click on the chapter heading for the module landing page where you can download the corresponding chapter from the Doctrine workbook and access the video lecture. You can also download free pdfs for Modules II and III for an extended preview of the workbook. Additional free previews and public access are given below. Check out every link with the designation “FREE PUBLIC ACCESS.“
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
This module is free to the public. Click on the hyperlinked title to access the video and free pdf downloads.
What is the concealed doctrine shared unanimously by:
The answer: occult science and philosophy.
Why study occult science and philosophy? What powers and privileges are granted to the one who “holds in his right hand the Clavicles of Solomon [Key of Solomon] and in his left the branch of the blossoming almond”?
Science is the basis of magic, Levi asserts, then subsequently devotes the entirety of Doctrine to make his case.
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
This module is free to the public. Click on the hyperlinked title to access the video and free pdf download.
Who can be a candidate for initiation into the sacred mysteries?
“To attain the Sanctum Regnum, in other words, the knowledge and power of the Magi, there are four indispensable conditions—an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken, and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. To know, to dare, to will, to keep silence—such are the four words of the Magus.”
FURTHER STUDY: The Monad – The Four Powers of the Magus – The Candidate’s Pledge of Honor – The Candidate’s Pledge of Aspirations – An Altar Cloth
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
Click on the chapter title for a free pdf download of the annotated chapter.
The monad supported by the duad.
“The duad is unity multiplying itself in order to create…unity is the yang and the duad is the yin… Boaz and Jakin are the names of the two symbolic Pillars… The monad can manifest only by the duad.”
FURTHER STUDY: Setting Up Your Altar – Equal and Opposite Forces – Your Active Hand and Your Passive Hand
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
Click on the chapter title for a free pdf download of the annotated chapter.
Magical doctrine of the trinity.
“The magical dogma is also one in three and three in one. . . . The triad is the universal dogma. In Magic—principle, realization, adaptation; in alchemy—azoth, incorporation, transmutation; in theology—God, incarnation, redemption; in the human soul—thought, love and action…”
FURTHER STUDY: Evocation & Conjuration – The Triangle of Solomon – Moon Phases – The Holy Triad – Cultivating Wisdom – Focused Meditations for the Magus
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
You’ll find all guided elemental meditation videos in this above hyperlinked playlist. There are two per element, for a total of eight videos. For each element, the recitation in second person (you, your) and the recitation in first person (I, my) are provided. Start by working with the second person guided videos, then when you feel ready, move on to the first person guided videos.
4. The Tetragram
Magical doctrine of the quaternary, the four elements—Fire, the Lion; Water, the Man; Air, the Eagle; and Earth, the Bull.
“The Great Magical Agent manifests by four kinds of phenomena, and has been subjected to the experiments of profane science under four names—caloric, light, electricity, magnetism. … The incommunicable axiom is enclosed kabalistically in the four letters of the Tetragram.”
FURTHER STUDY: Moon Phases Revisited – Elemental Studies – Your Four Altar Tools – The Conjuration of the Four – The Progress of Your Altar – Quadrivium and Transcendental Magic (Sacred Geometry, Musica Universalis, Astrology, Numerology)
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
If You Are Closeted…
Audio quality of this video recording is the worst. I apologize. I was trying out a new web cam and mic that James bought me. Rest assured it’s being returned for a refund. So if it really bothers you, don’t watch the video; just rely on the lecture notes PDF.
5. The Pentagram
This is the empire of will over the Astral Light—this is the Sign of the Pentagram
“The Pentagram signifies the domination of the mind over the elements, and the demons of air, the spirits of fire, the phantoms of water and ghosts of earth are enchained by this sign.”
FURTHER STUDY: The Blazing Pentagram – Abracadabra – Temporal Authority and Spiritual Authority: Interrogatories – Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – Conjuration of the Four and the LBRP – Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram – Your Ecumenical Exorcism Incantation
Salt, Water, and Oil for Ritual
6. Magical Equilibrium
This is the doctrine of analogies
“Every utterance and every movement are for or against equilibrium. . . . Magical equilibrium explains the great and primeval mystery of the existence and relative necessity of evil.”
FURTHER STUDY: Channeling Astral Light with Your Wand – Healing Pain with Astral Light – A Simple Pentacle of Venus Talisman – Armor of Astral Light – Mid-Point Divinatory Check-In – Witchcraft vs. The Abrahamic Faiths – Angels and Demons
7. The Fiery Sword (The Septenary)
The fundamentals of the sacred seven
“The septenary is the sacred number in all theogonies and in all symbols, because it is composed of the triad and the tetrad.”
FURTHER STUDY: The Sacred Seven and Planetary Timing – Planetary Seal for Personal and Career Success – Table of Planetary Hours – Ceremonial Magic Squares for Invocations per Planetary Days
What you put out will come back to you
“Causes manifests by effect, and effects are proportioned to causes. . . . Human fecundity proves divine fecundity.”
FURTHER STUDY: Moon Phases Revisited – The Importance of Health (Magical Tablets for Healing) – The Initiate’s Working Altar
What are the elements of initiation? What are the charges imposed upon the initiate?
“Initiation is a preservative against the false lights of mysticism . . . to dare is to be able . . . He knows, he dares and is silent.”
FURTHER STUDY: Moon Phases Revisited – A Prophetic Astral Vision – 40 Days & 40 Nights – Revisiting the Candidate’s Pledge of Honor – Revisiting the Candidate’s Pledge of Aspirations – To Be the Initiate
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
Additional Practicum (click for free preview):
Download Major Arcana Card Meanings:
10. The Kabbalah
The ten primary notions, the ten Sephiroth is the groundwork of all religions and all sciences—a triple triangle and a circle.
“The Kabbalah is the ciphered formula of the Divine hypothesis. Mysteries are the theorems of its algebra. . . . We have now to concern ourselves with the Tarot from the kabbalistic point of view…”
FURTHER STUDY: The Pentacles of Ezekiel and Pythagoras – Studies of Postel’s Key – The Tetragram of the Zohar (72 Angels and Their Powers) – Invoking a Higher Angel for Divination
11. The Magic Chain
Understanding the Great Magical Agent, or the Astral Light
“To make the Magic Chain is to establish a magnetic current which becomes stronger in proportion to the extent of the chain. . . . The law of magnetic currents is that of the movement of the Astral Light itself.”
FURTHER STUDY: Harnessing the Magic Chain
FREE PUBLIC ACCESS
Lecture Notes for the Additional Lecture:
12. The Great Work
Understanding the dual state of the Great Work, the two Hermetic operations, one spiritual and the other material, mutually dependent.
“The Great Work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will . . . in other words, full power over the Universal Magical Agent.”
FURTHER STUDY: The Four Truths (Degrees) to Be Discovered by the Initiate – Healing the Physical Body with Zodiacal Astral Light – The Hanged Man and the Great Work – Exi Ut Introeas: Depart From Here So That You May Enter and be Onward Bound – Designing Your Key – Final Divinatory Check-In
- The Doctrinal Basis of Transcendental Magic, a 363-page textbook and workbook in one with the first 12 chapters of Levi’s Doctrine annotated [digital file only, with link for the optional, additional purchase of a spiral-bound US Letter size hard copy by paying Lulu $14.99]
- Unlisted links to 18 video lectures with a total run time of 9 hours and 16 minutes (longest video lecture for a given module is 1 hour 6 minutes; shortest one for a module is 22 minutes)
- Typed notes taken by your peers summarizing each of the video lectures (for those who prefer reading text over watching the videos, for the Deaf and H/H, and for those whose native tongue isn’t English and may have difficulty understanding the videos)
- Guided focused meditation videos, 8 in total, to help the beginner establish a meditation practice and habit), all closed-captioned, and a guided prophetic astral vision (based on Levi’s astral vision narrative)
- Zip file folder containing 222 image files in JPG format found in your Doctrinal Basis workbook (including image files and templates for the pentagram, pentacle, magic squares, planetary squares, sigils, etc.)
- Digital files for a 30-card Major Arcana, Archangels, and Aces SKT tarot deck to use for divination work; home-printable files are provided for DIY printing [digital files only, with link for the optional, additional purchase of the 30-card deck by paying MPC $24.99]
- PDF and DOCX files of the Book of Voices, a notebook or journal template for your listening practice (ongoing practicum that begins with Module III, Cultivating Wisdom); the Book of Voices document also includes card meanings for the 30-card SKT deck, since “listening” includes tarot readings where you train your clairaudience [includes a link for the optional, additional purchase of the 137-page blank, lined notebook by paying Lulu $6.77]
- Access to a closed Q & A Google Groups forum to interact with classmates, colleagues, and myself (though I can’t guarantee my availability), subject to revocation if the rules are violated (and the rules are very, very simple, boiling down to “be kind and considerate”)
Commit to completing one module (chapter reading + chapter video lecture and/or review of the lecture notes + practicum assignments for that module) per week to complete an intense one-semester university-level course. It works out to be about 13 weeks in total of a full mind, body, spirit immersion in occult philosophy and witchcraft fundamentals.
When you receive the course materials. decide on a day of the week and hour of that day that you will dedicate to watching the video lecture. Figure out for yourself whether you prefer to read the assigned pages of the text first, then watch the video, or watch the video first, then read the assigned pages. Wait until after having watched the video lecture to work through the practicum, however.
Visit the Q & A Google Groups forum regularly to check in with others who are going through the course work, read posted questions and answers, or post your own questions and/or answers.
How to Order
Compare: Avg. $250 – $350 per unit for a college elective
- Send the tuition cost noted above via PayPal to the e-mail address email@example.com. Yes, it’s going to say “James Zhang from Castro Valley.” That’s the Hubby. Also, this is the preferred method of payment. (~or~)
- Pay with your credit card by following this link: https://www.paypal.me/benebell. (~or~)
- Only if (1) and (2) are impracticable for you, pay by ordering me an Amazon Gift Card, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct link to Amazon gift card orders here.
- When you send payment, please include:
- Your name or a name identifier for me to reference you by,
- The course name you are ordering, (~and~)
- Your e-mail address, so I know where to send your ordered course materials to.
But if any of that sounds confusing or you just don’t know, no worries. Email me at email@example.com to let me know you want to place an order. We’ll take it from there together.
Once I receive your payment as the purchase order, your course materials will be delivered to the e-mail address you specified within 2 business days.
If you don’t receive the course materials in the e-mail inbox specified within the two business days, then something went wrong. Doh! Please email me at the below address asap.
DELIVERY NOTE: So far I’ve been good about getting the course materials to you in less than 48 hours from when I receive the PayPal payment, so if that time has gone by and you haven’t received anything from me, first check your Spam folder. Second, check to see the e-mail address associated with your PayPal account. I may have sent it to that account if no e-mail was provided in the notes section of the transfer. If still nothing, then something went wrong somewhere, so contact me at the above e-mail addy ASAP so we can get things squared away.
Free for University Students
I remember what it was like to be a poor college kid. So if you’re still in school and are interested in taking this course, I’m happy to share it without charge.
Email a photo of your student ID card from your university or college issued e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting free access to this course.
Western Witchcraft I is the first of a two-part course series on Western Witchcraft presented through the framework of Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic. In the first part, you learned how to craft your Key. Witchcraft II will be about unlocking the Gates with your Key.
Forthcoming in 2021 will be the second part:
WESTERN WITCHCRAFT II:
Advancing the Path
After you’ve completed Witchcraft I and should you choose to continue on to Witchcraft II, the coursework in Cunning Witchcraft will be as follows:
|XV||Black Magic||XV||Sabbath of the Sorcerers|
|XVI||Bewitchments||XVI||Witchcraft & Spells|
|XVII||Astrology||XVII||Writing of the Stars|
|XVIII||Charms & Philtres||XVIII||Philtres & Magnetism|
|XIX||Stone of the Philosophers||XIX||Mastery of the Sun|
|XX||Universal Medicine||XX||The Thaumaturge|
|XXI||Divination||XXI||Science of the Prophets|
|XXII||Key of the Four Secret Sciences||XXII||Book of Hermes|
The study of theory and doctrine continues in Witchcraft II, though the advancing coursework will focus more heavily on ritual and practice than Witchcraft I.
Unlike Witchcraft I, all ritual work in Witchcraft II will be optional (and I will explain how and why). In Witchcraft I, I all but push you to try every ritual outlined in your text.
You can approach the course work of Witchcraft II as arming yourself with knowledge “in case of,” or you can approach it as a guided immersion into greater occult depths.