One of my favorite personal rewards from launching the Witchcraft Fundamentals course is the Google Group, where all of us are exchanging insights, asking tough questions, trying to answer tough questions, and getting to know each other. To give you a sampling of what that e-mail list-serv group is like, I’m sharing something I wrote on there in one of the threads started by a practitioner of both Eastern and Western metaphysics.
The question presented is, in short, how do you reconcile Eastern elemental-directional correspondences with Western elemental-directional correspondences?
By the way, scroll all the way down for the PDF downloads of this post, which you can then print out and tuck into whatever reference manual for your metaphysical studies you have going on.
IN THIS WESTERN WITCHCRAFT COURSE, you’ll learn fairly soon that there are different systems of elemental-directional correspondences even within the umbrella of Western occult philosophy, and we cover three of them in this course:
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.
I made a Tinkering Bell practicum video on crafting Holy Anointing Oil, as it had been instructed in the Book of Exodus, and also the derivatives found in later occult texts, such as the Book of Abramelin, a medieval grimoire on Kabbalistic magic, and Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law.
Today, the day of the posting, January 15, we see the sun and moon in Capricorn already (quite the stellium going on in Capricorn right now actually). Tomorrow January 16 is the new moon in Capricorn and at 6:00 pm Pacific Time (you’ll need to do a time zone conversion accordingly), both the sun and moon will be at exactly 26 degrees. I’m sharing this practicum one day before the new moon so you have some time to make preparations as needed, should you want to try crafting the oil for yourself.
This accompanying blog post is an addendum to the video, where I reflect on my personal impressions. What I’m sharing here are based on the journal entries I logged while crafting this oil.
Watch the video first before reading any of the below, as everything onward will presume you’ve already seen the video.
I don’t have educational degrees that would qualify me to write about any of this, so please understand that I am writing my observations within that non-expert context. Lately I’ve been fascinated with pagan and neopagan belief systems, mostly for how strikingly similar paganism is to Chinese Taoist-based folk religion.
Here’s how I understand paganism in context: Back in the day across Europe, Abrahamic religions rose to dominance, became institutionalized, and began setting up centralized bodies of authority that often started in the cities and spread its influence from there. At the fringes of the countryside, however, pagan faiths endured among the minority. These pagan faiths were polytheistic, though pantheist, strongly nature-based, and because they believed that everything was connected, it was thought that certain herbs, incantations of words, ritualistic conduct, and representations of elements could be harnessed to manifest intentions–in other words, magic exists.
Replace a few specifics from the previous paragraph and you could apply it to the relationship between Confucianism (and to a great extent Buddhism) and Chinese folk religions. These folk religions were looked upon in the same way pagan faiths were looked upon by the Christians. Those who practice pagan/neo-pagan religions (like Wicca, Druidism, Heathenry, or some form of pagan reconstructionism) tend to keep their faiths concealed or strictly private. That’s less of an issue among those who practice Chinese folk religions, and so you’ll see altars set up in Chinese businesses that still pay homage to the faiths of their [often agricultural] ancestors. However, like what pagans experience, those who still practice Chinese folk religions are considered fringe.