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An Ecumenical Theology of Christian Magic

Posted on March 9, 2016 by Agostino

The following is an excerpt from Ritual Magic for Conservative


Christians. To read more, click this link.

“Theology, then, is fundamentally an attempt to make positive and


constructive statements about who God is – and who we are in light
of who God is.”
– Michael Jinkins
If the goal of this book is to bring an orthodox magic to Christians
from as many denominational traditions as possible, then our first
task must be in laying the groundwork for an ecumenical – that is,
“across the board” – theology of magical Christianity.
This is no small task, as differences of almost every stripe exist
across the denominational spectrum, ranging from Catholicism and
Eastern Orthodoxy which are pretty much pre-packaged magical
systems in a state of denial, to the Five-Point Calvinists and
Rationalists who intentionally and methodically divorced every
shred of spirituality from their religion.
On the one hand, our theology must take into account these
denominational differences. On the other hand, our theology must
accept that there are some groups – like the Jehovah’s Witnesses
and Christian Scientists, for example – whose teaching is so far
outside mainstream Christianity that they can’t be reconciled into
even the most ecumenical of systems. This means we must focus on
two points: those teachings that have the most support of history,
and where there is the most common ground.

The Question of God


The point where all Christian theologies agree is the existence of
one God, giving us our starting place. These theologies all agree that
this God – variously called “Jehovah,” or “Yahweh,” or “Adonai,”
or just simply “God” – is benevolent, all-powerful, and responsible
for creating the entire universe.
Where these denominations begin to disagree is on who this God is.
For example, most Christian groups believe God was pre-existing
and pre-eternal, while Mormons believe God was once a human
from a planet named Kolob, who eventually became God.1
Another point of disagreement is God’s number, which divides
Christians into two camps:
Trinitarian – God is three Persons in one God: Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, or
Socinian – only God the Father is truly God; Jesus and the Holy
Ghost are something other than God (Jehovah’s Witnesses identify
Jesus with the Archangel Michael and the Holy Ghost with an
impersonal force, for example.)
Our method is to ground our theology on historical precedent and on
finding the most common ground, which in this case is the belief
that God is pre-existing and pre-eternal, has always been God, and is
composed of a Trinity of Persons with a Unity of Substance. This is
the historical belief of Christianity as professed in her creeds and
confessional formulas, the shared belief of Catholicism, Eastern
Orthodoxy, and every mainstream branch of Protestantism.
Jesus
We now come to the second Person of the Triune God, the person of
Jesus; study of Jesus is technically called christology.
Christology was perhaps the single greatest cause for splits and
arguments during the first five centuries of Christianity’s existence.
Was Jesus God and man? Was Jesus merely a man? Was Jesus only
God who made an appearance in human form. These controversies –
Arianism, Docetism, Monophysitism and Nestorianism – raged
through the Christian community like a storm and pitted brother
against brother, sometimes to the point of violence. They were
definitively settled at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but have
seen a resurgence in modern times.
Examples of this resurgence can be found in the Socinian camp,
where Jehovah’s Witnesses teach Jesus was the Archangel Michael
before being born on earth, or Christian Scientists who teach Jesus
was merely a man able to manifest Truth. This is contrary to the
historic mainstream teaching that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully
man, the second Person of the Triune God, co-equal and co-eternal
with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost.
This last teaching is the one we shall apply in our theology, again
because it’s the most supported by the consistent teaching of history,
and because it’s the unanimous teaching of Catholicism, Orthodoxy,
and all mainstream branches of Protestantism.

The Holy Ghost


The Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) is the subject of pneumatology,
which is less controversial than christology. The mainstream
churches are agreed that the Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the
Triune God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the
source of spiritual gifts and the Comforter.
The general image of the relationship amongst the three Persons and
the world is found in the doctrine of perichoresis or circumincession
(also an agreed teaching), a process of kenosis or self-emptying: the
Holy Ghost is the Father’s Love. The Father empties Love into the
Son, who in turn empties that Love onto the earth. The Love (the
Holy Ghost) encircles and fills the earth, to return to the Father and
again repeat the process. The interaction between God and man can
be seen in terms of that self-emptying.
The one major controversy over the Holy Ghost is between the
Eastern and Western Churches: the Eastern Churches say the Holy
Ghost proceeds from the Father alone, while the Western Churches
say he proceeds from the Father and the Son.
It’s a complicated controversy that doesn’t concern our current
project, and we needn’t take a position. My own thought runs as
follows: the word we say as “proceeds” in the Nicene Creed is the
Latin procedit, which in turn is a mistranslation of the Greek
ekporevomenon which actually means “to originate, to be as from a
source.” For our purposes it suffices to say no mainstream church
teaches the Holy Ghost originates from the Son as well as the
Father.

Human Free Will


The mainstream churches are rather unified when it comes to God as
Trinity, yet they begin to fracture when it comes to the question of
human free will. The question can be framed as: If God is truly
sovereign over the universe, then are human beings really free or
are their choices already made for them?
The answer runs a spectrum. At one end are Catholics and
Arminians (the camp of most modern-day Evangelicals) who
believe human will is completely free because God chose to allow
it, while at the other end are five-point Calvinists who teach double
predestination: i.e. that God chose from the beginning of time who
would be allowed into heaven and who he would throw into hell.
To the Catholic and Arminian, man is free because God’s love
wants a response made from love; to the Calvinist man is not free
because if he were, then God would not be sovereign. In the middle
of this spectrum are the Lutherans, who deny human will is
perfectly free but teach single predestination: that God wills (i.e.
predestines) everybody to get into heaven, yet the person’s choices
can get him kicked out of that destination.
There’s a tendency to portray Calvinist teaching as a thoroughly
pre-scripted universe (hence epithets like “the frozen chosen”), and I
should point out that this is a misrepresentation. Rather, Calvin
recognized two types of will: the will to make purely human
decisions and the will to choose your salvation. His teaching,
accurately represented, is that you’re free to choose your favorite
TV show or your favorite flavor of ice cream, but you’re not free to
choose a relationship with God or what’s ultimately happening to
your soul.
While the mainstream churches are divided on this question, the
historical teaching of Christianity is that human will is basically
free, and the majority of churches tend to act as though the human
will is at least partially free. In fact, the greatest common ground
favors freedom of will, as true five-point Calvinists are in the
minority. Thus our method squarely settles in favor of free will with
the reservation that our choices can influence our salvation but we
can’t decide it as though we had the final say.

Our First Major Conclusion


This brings us to our first theological conclusion: that the Triune
God is all-powerful and the human person is free to enter into a
loving relationship with this sovereign and all-powerful God. This is
absolutely essential for our project because if any of these
conditions is missing – God’s sovereignty, human free will, or the
God-human relationship – then the concept of Christian magical
practice becomes fiction.
Consider that it’s through God’s sovereignty that the universe is
moved, and in free will that humans become participants in that
movement. Through mutual love, God finds himself inclined to hear
and care for the petitions of his human subjects, consequently
moving the universe in the petitioners’ favor.
That relationship between human and God is of special concern to
Christian theology, which sees that relationship perfected in the
Second Person of the Holy Trinity: Jesus Christ. Christian
orthodoxy teaches that Jesus is truly God and truly man, and became
human so that humanity might be healed. While different
denominations have different interpretations of how that healing
actually happens (ransom? example? universal?), all mainstream
Christians are agreed on who Jesus was and what Jesus came to do.

Grace
The word “grace” means favor, and almost all Christian
denominations agree on three things: that grace flows to humanity
by Jesus’ life, teaching, and death on the cross; that humans receive
this grace by the working of the Holy Ghost (remember when we
discussed perichoresis?); that the entire God-human relationship is
based on God’s grace toward man.
Most denominations likewise agree that grace is “God’s
underserved help,” and the distinctions arise when theologians try to
analyze grace. While western theologians describe grace as a “gift,”
eastern theologians describe grace as “God’s uncreated energy.”
These two descriptions are not mutually exclusive, as “energy”
comes from the Greek ενέργεια, meaning “working, operation,
power in action.” Grace is indeed both: God’s gift of underserved
help, and an example of God’s power in action.
Further debate occurs in the distinction between sanctifying grace
and actual grace. The former is the grace that brings us to a state of
salvation (sanctification), while the latter manifests as helps – such
as prayers answered or fortuitous events occurring – the keep us in
the faith and either obtain or maintain sanctification. The simplest
description of the debate is that to a Calvinist, actual grace is an
unnecessary distinction because the soul’s fate is predetermined.
I answer that there is only one grace, one power of God, and that the
division into categories of “sanctifying” and “actual” is a human
attempt to understand the different purposes to which God’s grace is
directed.

Channels of Grace
“We thank thee for the Holy Ghost, the Comforter; for thy holy
Church, for the Means of Grace, for the lives of all faithful and
godly men, and for the hope of the life to come”
– prayer from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal
 We’ve established that grace is divine gift, divine power, and divine
energy. Likewise we’ve suggested in passing that grace, as a
product of God’s love, is distributed to humankind by the workings
of God’s Love (God the Holy Ghost) enfolding, encircling, and
penetrating the universe by way of perichoresis or circumincession.
We can also safely say that actual grace is analogous to what
magicians commonly call “energy.”
As we’re not merely building a systematic theology but instead
discussing a theology of magic, it becomes imperative to determine
how that grace is channeled from the Triune God’s circumincession
through all creation and into our day-to-day lives.

1. Prayer
All denominations are agreed on the effectiveness of prayer. Prayer
is effectively the conscious and deliberate appeal to the God-human
relationship with the purpose of manifesting further grace in the
petitioner’s direction.
Unanimous agreement also holds that prayer can be vocal or mental,
that is with one’s words or with one’s thoughts alone. The basis of
this teaching is that God knows our thoughts as well as our words,
and thus is able to respond accordingly.

2. The Scriptures
Another universally-agreed channel of grace is the Scriptures. While
the Bible itself has no inherent energy or miraculous properties, it’s
considered to be a channel of grace because it contains all the
information required for salvation (i.e. sanctifying grace). Therefore
it can be said to channel a grace of spiritual knowledge.

3. The Sacraments
Distinctions start to show when we move to the next channel of
grace, the sacraments. The consistent teaching of Christian history
and the numerical majority of modern Christians (Catholics, Eastern
Orthodox, Lutherans, and Anglicans) are agreed that a sacrament is
“a visible sign of an invisible grace,” a channel through which
God’s grace is manifest to the faithful. While there is disagreement
on the number of sacraments and what they actually do, the general
agreement is that the sacraments “work” somehow.
The opposite opinion (Reformed and Anabaptist) is founded in
Ulrich Zwingli’s assertion that the sacraments weren’t given as
God’s way to help us, but are merely symbolic ordinances by which
we show our faith to God and to the Christian community. This is a
bitter debate that rages in some quarters even today, yet fortunately
this isn’t a book on sacramental theology. While a Catholic or a
Protestant theology of magic will come to different conclusions on
their own, all agree that God also gives grace outside the
sacraments. Therefore an Ecumenical theology of magic can afford
to be content with encouraging people to gather around their own
conclusions.

 4. The Sacramentals


Sacramentals are a second-cousin to the sacraments, and are
spiritual helps for receiving actual grace in one’s life. Examples of
sacramentals include blessings, exorcisms, medals, scapulars, holy
water, the sign of the cross, and prayer. The term itself is almost
exclusive to Catholic theology, but the concept – any action that
helps manifest actual grace – is more ecumenical in its scope and
appreciation. A theology of magic would categorize magic as a
sacramental.
5. Morally Upright Living
In modern western religious language, the word “morality” has
become synonymous with “sexual repression.” That’s not how I
mean it here.
The word “morals” comes from the Latin mores, which at it root
means “custom” or “prescribed behavior.” In its best form, behavior
that’s “prescribed” – such as don’t lie, don’t kill, don’t steal, and so
on – is prescribed on the basis of being in the best interests of the
individual as well as for society.
Anthropologically, we can see the energy and the charismatic appeal
of a person who deals fairly and honestly with others, not because
it’s expected of him but because that’s who he is. When we do “the
right thing” out of some hope of heaven or fear of hell, when we do
it without our heart really being in it and for the benefit it brings
others as well as ourselves, that’s when being “moral” can become
soul-crushing; we ourselves become weak and crushed.
Theologically there’s unanimous agreement that some connection
between moral conduct and grace exists, yet bitter debate over how
that relationship should be understood. Generally Catholics believe
that grace comes from faith and works (moral actions), while
Protestants believe that works are merely the fruits of a lively faith
and that grace results from faith alone (sola fide); many intermediate
positions exist with that spectrum.
Our theology can be content with the conclusion that a relationship
between actual grace and moral living exists, without quibbling over
the details of how. We can let the theology professors argue that to
their heart’s content while we happily move forward.
Our Second Major Conclusion
Our theology has just gained a grasp for what grace is, where it
comes from, and how we can receive it. In short, grace is the gift of
God’s uncreated energy. It is a product of God’s love and this
energy permeates the universe through the workings of the Holy
Ghost proceeding through creation.
Not only does this grace exist, this grace is available to us through
several channels: prayer, the Scriptures, the Sacraments, the
sacramentals, and upright moral conduct. It is through one of these
channels, prayer, where we are able to call upon and direct this
energy in the form of actual grace manifesting our desires.
Prayer can be mental (thought, meditation, visualization) or vocal
(speech in one’s own words or according to prescribed formulae),
and the energy of actual grace can be used and – as the existence of
“dark” magicians demonstrates – abused. In fact baneful magic can
be considered sinful because it’s the abuse of a God-given gift.
We have already defined magic as applied theology, and as such our
theology considers magic the process of working with and
manifesting this divine energy in our lives.

The Spiritual Hierarchies


Theological investigation also finds another point of agreement
among Christians: that God is attended by a host of spirits who
assist man from time to time; the Bible calls these spirits “Sons of
God” or “Angels,” and hints that these Angels exist in hierarchies;
extra-biblical texts show that this was indeed the belief of Old
Testament-era Judaism. Thus in addition to God’s power and love
for humanity, he has created legions of spirits who assist us.
So far there’s no disagreement. The disagreement comes, as in all
issues, regarding the manner of that assistance. For example, can we
call upon an angel to help us, or is it something God commands with
no consideration or input from his human subjects?
The denominations are hotly contested over this question, with
Catholics and Eastern Orthodox firmly on the side that we can call
the Angels (and the Saints) as spiritual helpers, with the Reformed
claiming such a thing is idolatry and superstition. In the middle we
have the Lutheran position which concedes the Angels and Saints
intercede for us constantly but that “invocation, though harmless, is
unnecessary.”
The consistent teaching throughout Christianity’s history is that we
can call upon the Angels for help and numerically this is the
majority position; hence it will be the position taken by our
theology. As to the matter of prayer to the Saints, we may advocate
for it but are content to leave it an open question.

The Final Product


“I can write no more. All that I have written seems like straw.”
– St. Thomas Aquinas
This is the theological foundation on which we can build an
ecumenical Christian magical paradigm: God’s power, human free
will, the possibility for a loving relationship between God and us,
the ability to channel God’s power, and the spiritual helpers God has
assigned to us.
This theology is incomplete in areas that don’t directly affect
magical practice: soteriology, eschatology, sacramentology, and
moral theology, to name a few. Yet it does not need to be complete;
we seek only to establish a theological system of magic that can cut
across and be viewed kindly by the largest number of people from
the largest number of denominations, and in this I pray we’ve
succeeded.
Let’s move in from this section, then, as we continue the next steps
on our magical journey!

Notes for Chapter One


1. This teaching is taken from Joseph Smith’s King Follett
Discourse, 1844.
2.
Morality and the Magician
Posted on February 27, 2017 by Agostino

With the season of Lent fast approaching, there’ll be talk of


“penance” and “sin.” The flip side of this coin is talk of “morality.”
What does morality mean to a practicing magician?

Sex? Really?
When many people hear the word “morality,” they automatically
hear “sexual repression.” This is reflected in people’s figures of
speech, such as the term “loose morals” being a euphemism for
sexual promiscuity. Be that as it may, the idea of “morals=sex” is
grounded in flawed thinking, rooted in a socio-economic change that
took place in Ireland around the time of the Potato Famine.
Yet we find plenty of pre-1970 occultists speaking out on this too.
Gareth Knight tells us occultism “is much on the side of ‘old-
fashioned’ morality” (A Practical Guide, p. 156), and none other
than Gerald Gardner, when talking about the Templars, subtly hints
that “the witches” equate homosexual behavior with sin (Witchcraft
Today, p. 69). While most modern-day occultists would dispute this,
the fact remains these authors’ words are in print for the entire
world to see.

Two Types of Morality


How do we unpack this? I’d say we begin by ignoring everything up
to this point and get to the meaning of morality.
The word “morality” originally comes from the Latin mos, moris,
meaning “behavior,” “custom,” or “code of conduct.” As used in
modern-day English, the word generally speaks to right and wrong
behavior, effectively codes of conduct that may or may not have the
force of social or religious custom.
There are many different moral systems, and Moral Theology
traditionally classifies them into one of two categories: a.
teleological or goal-oriented, or b. deontological or duty-oriented.
The distinction can be found by asking “why is a thing considered
wrong?”
If a thing is “wrong” because it’s bad for you and can bring
unwanted pain or drama into your life, then the morality against that
thing is teleological. If a thing is “wrong” simply because some (real
or imagined) authority figure said so and you have to obey them,
then the morality in question is deontological.
Sometimes these two paradigms can overlap, such as in many
secular laws where a best practice (safe driving, for example)
becomes codified into a society’s laws. The overlap between
morality and law can be a complicated one, and rests on whether
one’s conception of law depends on Natural Law or Legal
Positivism. That’s a question we’re not pursuing here.

Multiple non-religious moral theories exist as well. In the 18th


century Kant told us the arbiter of morality is the conscience. In the
19th century Nietzsche distinguished between “master
morality” (based on a thing’s usefulness) and “slave
morality” (based on “herd instinct” and declaring a thing as
universally good or evil).

Comparison of Nietzsche’s Master and Slave Moralities

In the 20th century we find Lawrence Kohlberg constructing six


stages for the individual’s moral progression based on whether a
person’s ethical compass is founded on abstract principles, social
conventions, or self-interest.

Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development


The theories multiply on and on, as ethicists, philosophers, social
scientists and so forth attempt to construct a moral theory of
everything.

Crafting a Magician’s Morality


So where does this bring us? For most readers, I’m sure it brings
them to rolling their eyes. Morality isn’t an interesting subject even
in the best of times and most people already instinctively understand
the broad strokes. Moral Theology was my least favorite subject,
too, so I totally get it; but understanding this stuff can be a useful
tool for expanding our spiritual and magical lives.
First and foremost, the magician’s morality must be teleological.
That is, your personal code of conduct – and there exists no serious
magical path that doesn’t insist on a strong ethical code – your
conduct should always be with a desired goal in mind, and the
overall pattern of your conduct should always be in context of your
desired overall life’s goal.
A beginning on this track is to examine our values and submit them
all to the question of “why?” For example, when earlier generations
of occultists sided with old-fashioned sexual morality, they didn’t
do so for fear of offending God but because of the connection they
perceived between sex and energy work.
When we say “Thou shalt not kill,” we are upholding not only our
neighbor’s freedom to live unmolested but also our own.
When we say “Thou shalt not covet,” we are looking into the envies
and jealousies that have fueled conflicts between individuals,
families, and even nations throughout human history and seeking to
avoid falling into that trap. On the same vein the ancients also held
that jealousy (and in some cases compliments) can put “the evil eye”
on people.
The same can be seen in the Old Testament prohibitions on eating
pigs and shellfish. In a deontological light, we see only “God
doesn’t like it and we must obey him.” In a teleological light, we
come to questions of health and sanitation as grappled with
thousands of years before modern science or medicine.
In such an inquiry, we can’t reject a teaching just because it’s
“established and old-fashioned,” nor can we accept something for
the same reasons. Every idea must pass or fail based on its own
merit, and a lot of moral rules are really the result of perennial
wisdom that ultimately gained religious or legal sanction. As we
accept ideas on their own merits, we come a little closer to finding
our true selves as reflected in what we accept. As we reject ideas
rooted in obedience for the sake of obedience, we each realize in
ourselves how subconsciously locked we were in authoritarian
concepts, thus each rejection can help our subconscious become a
little more free.

How Occultism Saved Me from Atheism


Posted on June 29, 2016 by Agostino

Freedom! Oh, Sweet Freedom!


I haven’t posted in awhile, largely because my mom broke her hip a
month ago and I’ve been preoccupied. She’s healing nicely and I
thank everyone “in the know” for their prayers, thoughts, and
energy. And as I add a new post to the blog, I’d like to share a
personal story about “faith gained and lost,” or more importantly,
how returning to esotericism ended this priest’s gradual slide into
Atheism.

Should be “lack of faith.” But what difference, on the internet, does


it make?
I came into my faith quite gradually, and strangely a major stepping-
stone was a breakup with a girlfriend in the 90’s. Of course to me
faith was an exercise of intellect: none of that sappy “heart” or
“feeling” or “emotional” crap that so many people babble on about.
Theology classically defines Faith as “the assent of
intellect” (Summa Theologiae, 2nd 2nd, Q 2), and the closest I came
to anything emotional would be a certain intellectual rigidity when
dealing with divergent viewpoints . . . unless the divergent
viewpoint was presented in a logical, well thought-out, intellectually
rigorous manner. Then I could come to accept it as valid even if I
didn’t agree with it. I was concerned only with theology, spirituality,
personal advancement, and manifesting results; belief without proof
is a sin of imprudence (Coppens, A Systematic Study of the Catholic
Religion, n. 3), and results are the proof one’s belief is not
misplaced.
During this time results were plentiful: I ran a leatherwork business
in the process of taking off, I was the guy who could have any
woman I wanted (and did), and even have a movie credit to my
name.
I saw (and continue to see) the Church as the sole legitimate heir to
both the Western Mystery Tradition and last remaining institution of
the Western Roman Empire, an institution whose leaders and
teachers have pretty much forgotten knowledge of the spiritual
power under their oversight. Since I’ve written about this
extensively in my books, (especially The Magic of Catholicism), I
won’t describe this in detail here.
I wasn’t too interested in large chunks of the moral or social
teaching, especially the deterministic emphasis placed on the
sexuality or the over-emphasis on institutional loyalty even when
the institution was wrong. I saw those items as enforcing a herd
mentality and unworthy of any believer growing in individual self-
determination. This last part was confirmed by 13 years in ministry,
revealing how desperately most people would rather avoid thinking
for themselves and pawn all responsibility off on prophet, priest, or
Deity.
The herd mentality. The slave morality. It disgusts me and always
has. As do all who say ‘tis better to serve others than to rule one’s
own life.
Which brings us to how Faith is lost.
It was during the course of ministry. July of 2011 to be exact. I was
standing in the church building about to turn the A/C on before
services, and that’s when it hit me.
I didn’t believe this stuff anymore. More specifically I didn’t believe
the party line. In spite of all my theological knowledge I spent the
following year wrestling with the “God hypothesis” question,
finding weaknesses in Aquinas’ “Five Ways” (they indeed point to
something, but far from demonstrate an all-knowing, all-loving, all-
powerful deity such as Adonai) and dismissing Augustine’s “interior
proofs” out-of-hand as being too based on subjectivity and emotion.
I then studied contemporary theology textbooks – both Catholic
(McBrien) and Lutheran (Braaten/Jenson) – and found them based
on even more loss of faith than anything I was experiencing: most
telling was its dismissal of Aquinas or Melancthon in favor of Marx
(can’t make this stuff up) and the implication there’s no legitimate
spirituality outside working for social justice. Unlike the Manualist
Tradition where I was trained, these textbooks didn’t give clear
answers to direct questions but instead beat around the bush;
ultimately the student wasn’t given the proper tools to find the
answers on his own. It was like building houses on a foundation of
sand. They were a useful glimpse into what makes so-called
“Vatican II priests” tick, but a Catholic looking to restore his faith
would find these as terrible places to look.

Our Lady Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces Chapel.


Columbus, OH
Ultimately I came to the conclusion the God hypothesis was neither
verifiable nor falsifiable, and continued going through the motions
of ministry: house church, the nursing home, the chapel in the
unfinished house on Siebert Street. Parishioners would still say they
felt “power” or “energy” whenever I said Mass, but I didn’t feel it
anymore.
Perhaps even the worst rub was that I allowed myself to fall into the
expectations of other people. I fell into the same “slave morality”
and “living for others” trap that I actively scorned, and let myself be
poor and broke for fear my best financial options (involving subjects
considered “taboo” to average pewsitters) would be “occasion for
scandal.” I even ended up yelling at my roommate (the female
roommate no one knew I had), snapping over minor happenings.
Yeah I admit that was some weak-ass bullshit, and it’s the one thing
you should never do. Nietzsche was right about what he called
“vanity” and its relation to the slave mentality: you should never let
yourself be ruled by others’ thoughts and expectations.
For the record, I don’t believe poverty is spiritual. Nor do I believe
going hungry gets us any closer to God. And the whole thing about
“offering it up” is just a way of telling people to accept their sate in
life and not bother working to make it better. Even if their theology
is off (and it’s way off), at least Prosperity preachers are smart
enough to see through that lie.
Eventually, and I especially thank two friends for this – they worked
on me for months independently and unaware of each other – I
ultimately said “Fuck the dumb shit” and got off my ass. I broke ties
with the church were I was then affiliated, revised and re-released
my book on the magical dynamics of Catholicism after shelving it
for over a decade, and got on with my life. Up to and including
being more open with my sense of humor, my opinions on various
issues, and everything else in between.
And guess what? My faith returned.
No, I no longer believe the exact party line and in fact I don’t even
care much for institutionalized religion. It doesn’t matter, and the
secret is that it never has mattered. What matters is that concerns for
“ideological purity” and “occasion for scandal” are the key
hallmarks of slave morality, the key weapons we use against
ourselves to prevent reaching our fullest potential.
The moment I threw off the shackles of caring for other people’s
perceptions, that was the moment I shook off all doubt and no
longer went through the motions like an empty vessel.
It’s an upward climb. December especially had some serious
setbacks and I’m still working to put my life back together. But I’m
in a position where it’s possible and no option is outside my grasp.
Others’ opinions matter when they write your paycheck or you’re
trying (too hard) to sell them something. But ultimately life is too
short to worry or care what others think about you in the long term.
Life is too short to let anyone’s opinion bind you from being who
you really are, and your faith – whether that faith be in God, the
“Universe,” or in the capacity of our fellow human beings – your
faith can only be bolstered when you break off those shackles and
charge boldly into the light of day.

Mary, Matriarch of Christian Magic


Posted on July 6, 2017 by Agostino
“Mother of the Eucharist,” by Tommy Canning
In both exoteric and esoteric Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary
plays a major role. Rank-and-file parishioners seek out her
intercession in trials and tribulations, mystics sometimes describe
experience of meeting her, and magicians high and low invoke her
to get things done. What are we getting ourselves into?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. A Crash Course on Mariology
Catholic Mariology: Starting Points
Orthodox Mariology: Starting Points
Protestant Mariology: Starting Points
2. Who Mary is Not
Misconception 1: Mary as “Goddess”
Polemics Versus Catechetics
Back to “Mary as Goddess”
Mary as Herself
Mary as Practices
Religious Illiteracy
Misconception 2: Mary as “Divine Feminine”
Misconception 3: The Authority of Apparitions
Final Remarks about Misconceptions
3. Who was Mary? Specific Teachings
The Four (or Five) Marian Doctrines
Immaculate Conception
Mary as “Mother of God”
Mary as Perpetual Virgin
Mary’s Assumption into Heaven
Mary as Co-Redemptrix
Quick Summary
4. Mary in Magical Practice
Why We Invoke Mary
a. Queen of Heaven
b. Mediatrix of All Graces
c. Special Relationship with Jesus
How We Invoke Mary
Specific Methods
a. The Angelical Salutation (the Hail Mary)
b. The Memorare
c. The Salve Regina
Hymns
Concluding Thoughts

Mary Grotto, Sacred Heart Church, Dayton, Ohio.

1. A Crash Course on Mariology


Before we can talk about Mary in an occult or magical context, it
might help if we first talk about mariology, or the study and
understanding of Mary. As mainstream Christianity comes in three
branches – Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant – we’re actually
discussing three mariologies.
Catholic Mariology: Starting Points
We’ll start off with Catholic mariology, since this is the church
Jesus originally founded. First and foremost, Catholic mariology
sees Mary as an integral part of salvation history for three reasons:
1. she said “Yes” to giving birth to Jesus, 2. she raised Jesus from
childhood, and 3. as Jesus’ Mother she occupies a special place in
heaven.
This first point – saying “Yes” – has to be considered in light that
Catholicism teaches the human will is absolutely free. Yes, the
human will is free to accept or reject God’s grace, and the fact God
sent St. Gabriel to ask her consent beforehand tells us two things: 1.
God is not a rapist, and 2. Mary had the choice to say “No,” which
would likely have been the easier choice, and that decision would’ve
been honored.
That Mary raised Jesus from childhood doesn’t need much
explanation; the Bible is abundantly clear that Jesus wasn’t sold to
strangers or raised by a pack of wolves. She raised him, she loved
him, she tended his boo-boos, probably worried for him when he
may or may not have gone on a child-killing spree, and all the other
things mothers do for their children. That means she walked closely
with God Incarnate, not to mention the nine months she carried him
in her body. The third point, that Mary occupies a special place in
heaven, is equally self-explanatory since it’s a logical consequence
of her consent to becoming pregnant and her mother-son
relationship with Jesus.
Orthodox Mariology: Starting Points
While Catholic Mariology starts with Mary’s consent, the central
focus of Orthodox mariology is her divine motherhood of Jesus,
placing Jesus and Mary at the center of the universe and the goal of
human history. In fact Orthodox mariology agrees on many points
with its Catholic counterpart, the major difference being that
Orthodoxy rejects the Immaculate Conception (we’ll talk about that
later).
Unlike Catholic mariology, the Orthodox understanding of Mary
isn’t articulated through a central teaching office (called “the
magisterium”), but through the Church’s Divine Liturgy. This opens
up a discussion on “Liturgy as Catechism,” ritual as teaching the
faith, something both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Liturgy of
St. John Chrysostom do extremely well.
Protestant Mariology: Starting Points
At the other extreme we find Protestant mariology, which can swing
from benign neglect to intensely antagonism toward the Catholic
and Orthodox schools.
When we first explore Protestant mariology, the first thing we notice
is that the Reformers themselves were not anti-Marian. In fact
Luther actually encouraged praying the Hail Mary, leaving out the
“Holy Mary, Mother of God” part (not yet part of the prayer in
Luther’s time). Calvin saw Mary’s submission to God as an example
all Christians should emulate. Zwingli said we should honor Mary
by honoring Christ. All three agreed with Catholics and Orthodox
about Mary’s perpetual virginity.
When we read the Reformers’ views on Mary, it’s apparent their
primary concern wasn’t removing her from the picture, but that they
wanted to curb what they perceived as excesses in the way
Catholicism viewed her. They still held that she was to be honored,
just not as an intercessor and certainly not as anything other than
Jesus’ mother.
The antagonism against Mary was a project for later generations of
Protestants, who, following the iconoclastic mindset of their
forebears, came to see Mary as little other than a character in a
storybook or nothing more than, as one Protestant pastor once told
me, “the bus that dropped Jesus off here.” She’s seen more or less as
mattering only for those nine months of carrying Jesus in the womb,
and after that God more or less threw her away after he no longer
had a use for her; why else would her son just call her “woman” in
the Gospels? What started as a project to check perceived excesses
turned, over time, into a project of revulsion for any attention given
to the woman who brought forth the Savior.

2. Who Mary is Not


Since this blog talks about occultism and most occultists aren’t
known for being theology majors, it might help if we address some
common misconceptions before proceeding.
Misconception 1: Mary as “Goddess”
This is a common misconception in occult literature, especially any
writings involving Neopaganism or authors raised in Protestant
households. The general trend is that when pagan peoples were
converted to Christianity (regardless of whether by free will or at
sword-point), they generally saw their female deities represented in
Mary. Therefore, according to this logic, our pre-Christian
ancestors’ prayers to their Goddesses (Juno, Isis, etc.) are alive and
well in the practice of invoking Mary’s intercession.
As I’ve stated elsewhere, originally this “Mary as Goddess” line
originated amongst Protestant polemicists as a way of attacking
Catholicism, most notably as a way of attacking the Catholic
practice of invoking Mary by claiming any prayer to her was an act
of idolatry. The groundwork for this attack is found in John Calvin’s
Institutes, while it becomes fleshed out amongst English-speaking
Protestant authors; in the eighteenth century Middleton claimed
veneration of Mary is a continuation of Isis-worship (A Letter from
Rome, 1729), Poynder likened Marian pilgrimages to pilgrimages in
honor of the Hindu goddess Durga (Popery in Alliance with
Heathenism, 1835). In the twentieth century, no less a theologian
than Herman Sasse reminds us Catholic devotion to Mary is
“Christianized paganism” (Response to the Doctrine of the
Assumption, 1950):
“The Marian cult is Christianized paganism, a paganism which
lives, closely bound up in a form of symbiosis with the Christian
faith, and from which it draws ever-new power. It is as though the
super-human powers which stand behind the pagan religions, after
the collapse of the pagan cults and myths, had taken refuge in the
Christian religion.”
[NOTE: I read Dr. Sasse’s Response several years ago but can no
longer find the entire text online, but a commentary with many
relevant quotes can be found here.]
This idea, along with many others about Mary in particular and the
Saints in general, transferred from Protestantism to English-
speaking Occultism in part because the major “movers and shakers”
in the Occult Revival were raised Protestant and saw no reason to
question what they’d been taught about Catholicism. Hence we see
Crowley refer to Mary as an “adaptation and conglomeration of
Isis, Semele, Astarte, Cybele, Freya, and so many
others” (Confessions, 1969), while the Farrars’ A Witches’ Bible
(original edition 1981) effectively gives us a catechism of Neopagan
views on the subject, devoting no less than two-and-a-half pages (I,
138-140) to telling us “Mary at Bethlehem is again the Goddess as
Life-and-Death,” that “in order for Christianity to remain a viable
religion, the Queen of Heaven had to be re-admitted to something
like her true status,” that “Significantly, [Mary’s virtual deification]
coincided closely with the determined suppression of Isis-worship,”
and finally that:
“[The Church] managed to create . . . an official synthesis of the
Queen of Heaven, by which they achieved the remarkable feat of
desexualizing the Goddess and dehumanizing Mary. But they could
not muffle her power; it is to her that the ordinary worshipper
(knowing and caring nothing about the distinction between
hyperdulia and latria) turns, ‘now and at the hour of our death.’”
Later in the book (II, 154), we’re told that other goddesses and “the
Catholic’s Virgin Mary are all essentially man-conceived Goddess-
forms relating to, and drawing their power from, the same
Archetype,” a concept most occultists would understand as an
egregore. Later still (II, 176), the authors state that “we have found
that many ordinary Catholics (including quite a few priests and
nuns of our acquaintance) agree with us in private that in their
approach to the Virgin Mary they are acknowledging the female
aspect of divinity – i.e. the Goddess.”
I mention this last because of a recent conversation with a friend
who identifies as Catholic, who insisted that Mary must be a
goddess because Jesus was God, and she then told me “only a
Goddess can give birth to a God.” Observant readers may recognize
this as Docetism at least after a fashion, but it’s important to bear in
mind what people “in the pews” actually believe often bears little
resemblance to the actual contents of the religion with which they
claim to identify (especially in this age where the average practicing
Catholic is taught next to nothing about their religion).
Polemics Versus Catechetics
I just spent a lot of time quoting the Farrars, my main purpose
having to do with their intent in writing the words just quoted.
While the other authors were polemical – i.e. seeking to attack
someone else’s beliefs – the Farrars’ purpose was primarily
catechetical, meaning they sought not to attack (in fact they strike
me as taking great pains to be respectful and even-handed as
possible) but to explain what they believe and why.
When somebody takes the time to give a detailed and reasoned
explanation for their beliefs instead of just attacking someone else’s,
I prefer to give that somebody more consideration because a)
they’re giving us a window into how their universe works, and b) it
takes much more effort to articulate your own paradigm intelligently
than it does to swipe mindlessly at the paradigms of others.
Back to “Mary as Goddess”
What we’ve seen so far on the “Mary as Goddess” issue is actually
two questions: 1. Mary as herself, and 2. Mary in terms of the
practices that have grown up around her. We could perhaps make a
distinction between “Mary of history” and “Mary of faith,” parallel
to the distinction made in contemporary Jesus studies.
I will endeavor to comment on these questions from the standpoint
of orthodox Christianity. For the sake of clarity, I’ll state here that a
non-Christian (or heterodox Christian) reader isn’t expected to
conform to anything I say whether in part or in whole; the orthodox
Christian reader who wishes to retain his or her orthodoxy, however,
doesn’t have the same liberty for reasons that will be demonstrated
below.
Mary as Herself
When we discuss “Mary as herself,” people make a mistake when
turning this into a theological question. This isn’t a question of
theology, but a question of history: did a woman named Maryam
Bas-Yoakhim actually live some 2,000 years ago, and did she (or
did she not) actually give birth to a child named Yeshua Bar-
Maryam?
If the answer to this question is “yes,” then Mary is at root a human
being, a 2,000-year old dead Jewish woman and nothing more. If the
answer is “no,” then the mythicists are right, Jesus never existed,
could therefore have never come back from the dead, and therefore
the entire Christian religion is in vain. This ultimately means that in
the objective order, Mary is either a human being or she never
existed at all; there is absolutely no room for her to be or ever to
have been a deity or anything else.
Secondary to the question of Mary as herself comes the question of
Mary as representation of something else; this is a question that
wouldn’t have been raised had Protestantism not seen this as ammo
in its never-ending quest to justify its continued existence. This
statement is more objective truth than polemic – and educated
Protestants will themselves admit this – since Protestantism’s
existence is predicated on the assertion that Catholicism must be
somehow “wrong.” In fact it’s the entire reason Protestantism split
from Catholicism in the first place; therefore, if Catholicism can’t be
proven as “wrong,” and “other,” then the Protestant religion no
longer has reason to exist and the intellectually-honest Protestant
has no choice but to become re-absorbed into Catholicism. The life
of John Henry Cardinal Newman provides an archetypal example of
this, but at this point I’m digressing.

Newman: “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.”


Back to the subject, Mary as herself cannot objectively be a
representation of anything other than the human being Maryam Bas-
Yoakhim. While subjectively it’s possible for an individual or group
to see her as a representative of something she isn’t, at the end of the
day the reality remains unchanged: Mary is still Mary and that other
thing is still that other thing.
We can find a parallel example of this in Rastafarianism. The entire
religion is based on the claim that a man – Haile Selassie – as God
Incarnate, whether as the Second Coming of Jesus or God in some
other form. Selassie himself was a human being and nothing more,
and even denied the Rastafari claims to his divinity when asked
about it. What we have here is a group of devotees subjectively
interpreting a human being as being either a deity or representative
of a deity, when the objective reality remains the same: Haile
Selassie was Haile Selassie and not Jesus, while Jesus is Jesus and
not Haile Selassie. There’s no way to sugar-coat the fact that anyone
attempting to equate the two is just plain wrong, and no amount of
subjectivity or “feelings” is going to stop it from being just plain
wrong.
Mary as Practices
We move from the question of Mary as herself to the question of
practices that have grown up around her. Just as a symbol is not to
be identified with the thing it represents, so too the person
reverenced cannot be identified with the practiced used during the
reverencing. Pre-Vatican II Catholicism openly admits having
incorporated practices from pre-Christian religions provided the
practice wasn’t strictly forbidden by the moral doctrine; the logic is
that if another religion has a practice that is objectively “good,” then
it must have come from God somehow. Let’s face it, May
Crownings carry a fairly pagan “look and feel” . . . and seriously,
have you ever actually listened to “Bring Flowers of the Rarest?”

Transposed from the original because I can’t sing that high.


Yet the thing is that even with the open admission of any practices
incorporated from paganism (and “pagan” is a much bigger word
than most people realize), even if it happened at the time when Isis-
worship or any other form of goddess-worship was decreasing for
whatever reason, the proper response is still “So what?” A substance
is not changed by its accidents no matter what they may be, and
simili modo none of this makes Mary into a goddess or anything
other than human.
Now let’s look at the argument that “goddess worship was
transferred to Mary” alongside the claim that re-incorporating the
“divine feminine” was necessary “in order for Christianity to
survive as a religion.” The entire argument is based on the
assumption that Christianity after St. Paul was a hyper-chauvinistic
religion that exalted the male to the exclusion of the female; Paul’s
misogyny had turned the religion into a monstrosity too sexist to
survive.
The problem with the argument is that it views concepts like
“sexism” through modern-day Northern European eyes, without
taking into account the place and time in which the Bible was
written or Peter, Paul, and the others operated. For a religion to be
too chauvinistic to survive, it would have to be much more sexist
than the culture in which it arose and began attracting followers. We
see nothing of the sort in Early Christianity, and in fact Paul’s
“sexist” dicta are more or less consistent with gender attitudes
prevalent in the first-century Mediterranean. Be it for good or for ill,
there’s nothing in his writings indicating a religion more
chauvinistic than the surrounding culture and therefore incapable of
surviving.
Another part of this argument is the assumption Christianity insisted
on a God exclusively male to the point that a “divine feminine” had
to be restored for the sake of the religion’s survival. We find this
neither in the Scriptures – Genesis 1:27 implies God’s likeness is
both male and female, the original Hebrew for Job 38:8 describes
God as having a womb (many English versions mistranslate the
Hebrew), Isaiah is replete with God as having motherlike attributes
– nor do we find the mindset of “God as exclusively male” in the
Early Fathers.
We don’t find God’s gender discussed much in the Fathers, and
when they do it’s handled as a “taken for granted” kind of thing. In
his Commentary on Isaiah, for example, St. Jerome mentions the
apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews describing God as “my mother.”
Now this man’s favorite pastime was ripping heretics a new one,
yet he merely pauses to tell us matter-of-factly that “in the Godhead,
there is no gender (in divinitate enim nullus est sexus).”
We find a similar attitude in St. Gregory Nazianzus’s Oration 31,
where he points out the mistake of confusing grammatical gender
for real gender:
“Do you take it, by the same token, that our God is a male, because
of the masculine nouns ‘God’ and ‘Father’? Is the Godhead a
female, because in Greek the word is feminine? Is the word ‘Spirit’
neuter in Greek, because the Spirit is sterile?”
We even find a clue in Augustine’s silence. While he was the man
curious about everything, God’s gender (or lack thereof) was so
taken for granted that it didn’t bother piquing his curiosity. This
leaves us with the conclusion that the argument Christianity “made
Mary the divine feminine” because it was otherwise “too male-
centered and patriarchal for its own survival” is unsupported by the
historical circumstances and literary evidence, and therefore we can
only regard it as false and based on a lack of sufficient information.
To me it seems more likely that the theological core of devotion to
Mary has its roots in the reverence given to the Saints (which was
established early on with both males and females venerated), with
Mary elevated to the position of Queen of the Saints because she
carried Jesus in her physical body. What practices attached
themselves to Marian devotion would logically have been imported
from whatever cultural practices were prevalent in the nations where
Marian devotion established itself. And yes, the more ignorant
amongst the populace were likely worshiping Mary the same way
they’d worshiped other deities pre-conversion; the operating
principle here is that their abuse doesn’t take away the right use, or
as the ancient maxim says abusus non tollit usum. No religion forms
in a vacuum and all are bound to have fits and starts in their early
histories, and devotional practices are no exception.
What is possible according to occult theory, however, is that these
practices – if performed by enough people with specific intent and
belief – could over time create a “Mary Goddess” egregore. This
would have traits associated with Mary and maybe even act like
Mary, but would be an artificial being and therefore not the real
Mary. How such a thing would work out in the celestial order would
remain to be seen, and after almost 300 years of the assertion being
made and 100 years of occultists operating on these assumptions, I’d
be surprised if such an egregore doesn’t exist already, even if only
in a nascent form.
Religious Illiteracy
A third point I’d like to bring up in this connection is both the
Farrars’ statement about many Catholics privately agreeing with
them, and my friend’s quasi-Docetic statement about “only a
Goddess can give birth to a God.” The Farrars claim “quite a few
priests and nuns” were part of this group, and I see no reason to
doubt their claim. Yet I’d have to interview these priests and nuns
before going further with this, seeing the book was first published in
1981, during the heyday of the Modernist Takeover after Vatican II,
when seminaries were teaching “speculative theology” such as Mary
as Representation of Goddess, Jesus was in a homosexual
relationship with St. John (or alternately married to Mary
Magdalen), and a whole host of other ideas for the sake of it not
being what Catholicism traditionally teaches (this was part of a
wider trend later identified as “the hermeneutic of rupture”). Hence I
have no skepticism of the authors’ claim in this regard, but too much
knowledge of the system where these priests and nuns would’ve
been trained.
When we move to lay Catholics, though, we move to the fact the
average lay Catholic is poorly catechized and has no interest in
learning their faith in any level of detail, that most people’s faith (in
any religion) is emotional rather than intellectual to begin with, and
that it’s easy for a proposition such as Mary-as-Goddess to “feel
right” to them. Especially if a person grew up in an environment
where God’s maleness was over-emphasized, it makes sense that a
person (I see this most often with women, but won’t claim my
experience as normative) would want to reach out for a feminizing
influence or some kind of “divine woman” watching over them.
The key to this begins with education on God’s reality as
transcending gender, and there really is nothing wrong with saying
“God the Mother” in place of “God the Father,” the necessity of
Mary’s humanity to the Christian message, the reality that a symbol
is not the thing it’s considered to represent, and teaching to
emphasize objectivity over subjectivity. There’s an emotional aspect
to this that may need to be addressed also, again because most
people’s faith is emotional and not intellectual. Me, I’ve never been
one of the “Feelie McFeels” crowd, so will leave that for the
psychologist and licensed therapist to handle.
Misconception 2: Mary as “Divine Feminine”
This is a variation on “Mary as Goddess,” the difference being that
instead of confusing Mary for a goddess, this misconception
confuses Mary for the female aspect of God.
A lot of what we discussed in the foregoing misconception also
applies here. Mary either was born a human and gave birth to a son,
or she wasn’t born at all meaning Jesus didn’t exist and Christianity
is all make-believe. People may claim Mary is a symbol for the
“feminine side” of God but that doesn’t make it so in the objective
order.
This is no different from when people claim the Holy Ghost is
female, in an effort to bring “balance” or a “feminine presence” to
the Godhead. Of course this also suffers from the same problems
because God has all gender and no gender, a fact that applies
equally to all three Persons.
In Judaeo-Christian theology, the closest thing to a “Divine
Feminine” would be Shekhinah, which isn’t a divine Person proper
– and therefore cannot be the Holy Ghost as some try to say – but
rather a personification of God’s presence throughout creation. It’s
more theologically sound (within orthodox Christianity) to think of
the Shekhinah as an artifact of the Holy Ghost processing and
infusing grace throughout creation, with the name “Shekhinah” used
as something of a symbolic identifier.
Misconception 3: The Authority of Apparitions
This one doesn’t come from Protestant or Neopagan polemics, but is
rooted  in the lamentable fact many Catholics don’t understand their
faith. The occasional Protestant may mention this as part of a
conversation (sometimes as a polemic and most times as a sincere
question), but this is mostly an “in-house” problem.
Namely, this misconception involves the question of Marian
apparitions – i.e. Mary’s appearances at Guadalupe, Lourdes,
Fatima, and elsewhere – and assumes that not only are Catholics
required to believe the apparitions happened, but also every word
that was said must be obeyed to the letter.
The short answer is that the idea these apparitions must be believed
and obeyed is hogwash, and leads to a heresy Traditional Catholics
correctly identify as Fatimism, defined as:
“An erroneous belief, or vice of excess, which arose in the 20th
century and finds a new basis of faith in private revelations, latter-
day prophecies, visions, and ‘signs and wonders.’  The term does
not refer to balanced private devotion, but is a catch-all term for
extremist, off-balance, devotions of all kinds, such as those that
would elevate Fatima to the level of a dogma or subordinate
Catholic and Apostolic teaching to Fatima or make a virtual
goddess out of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
In essence, what Fatimism does is assume Apparitions carry the
same binding authority as divine command or at least divine truth,
because it was “Mary” who appeared and said it, and that’s it’s
especially binding if the Church approved of its occurrence.
The problem with this misconception is that it completely ignores
the distinction between public and private revelation, and assumes
too much authority on the part of the Church’s hierarchy.
In short, public revelation is confined to Scripture and Tradition, and
was closed with the death of the last apostle. These are the only
sources of revelation that Christians are bound to believe.
Everything else classifies as “private” revelation, meaning it was
revealed to that person for that person’s benefit only.
A small-scale example of this could be a bizarre dream that I had in
1999, where I went to the Blessed Mother’s house (in the dream this
was the church building where my father preached after converting
to Protestantism), and the walls were filled with worms. There was a
message in this that I prefer not to share, and ultimately I don’t
know if it was Mary talking to me or if it was just my subconscious.
Yet even if it checked out as 100% true and authentic, then it
would still be nothing more than private revelation and you
have no obligation to believe it. Anymore than I’d be obliged to
believe any supernatural experience you relate to me.
On the larger scale, this principle also applies even to public
occurrences like Fatima. This took place after the death of the last
apostle and therefore cannot be public revelation; it can therefore
only be private revelation and you’ve no obligation to believe that
Russia needs to be consecrated or that the “miracle of the sun” ever
happened.
The Church herself recognizes this when approving a given
apparition, saying only that it’s “worthy of belief.” This is not a
command to believe an apparition or other occurrence, but only says
you have the option to believe it if you want to. You don’t have to
believe it and can think it’s total BS if you choose, while realizing
you’ve no right to force others to agree with your opinion one way
or the other.
Final Remarks about Misconceptions
As we close this section on misconceptions, I think it’s important to
make a distinction. When we’ve looked over misconceptions about
Mary, you’ll notice I’ve pointed out two things: that objectivity is
superior to subjectivity (this is a premise of theological study in the
pre-Vatican II years), and most importantly (for the believing
Christian) that our view of Mary has real ramifications for our view
of Jesus.
This latter point will be expanded as we discuss the Marian
doctrines, because the intent behind the Church’s teaching on Mary
had nothing to do with “constructing a careful synthesis” or
“desexualizing the Goddess and dehumanizing Mary,” but the
purpose of these doctrines is essentially christological – that is, they
tell us who Jesus is through her. All traditional Mariology has been
laid out from the bottom up with the effect that to believe in a
different Mary is to believe in a different Jesus or no Jesus at all.
This is why, while the non-Christian (or heterodox Christian) is free
to accept, reject, or ignore anything I’ve said thus far at leisure, the
orthodox Christian (who insists on remaining orthodox) does not
share such liberty. To insist on retaining the belief Jesus was
physically born, suffered, died, and resurrected requires belief in a
physical human Mary who brought him into the world so that he
could do so.

“Our Lady of the Rosary.” I can’t find the artist’s name.

3. Who was Mary? Specific Teachings


If  we ask “Who was Mary,” we could begin by saying Mary of
Nazareth was a woman born in Judea 2,000 years ago to the Tribe of
Judah, the daughter of St. Joachim and St. Anna. Christians
unanimously tell us she was the Mother of Jesus, and the Bible
traces her descent from King David. She had a cousin named
Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist), whose husband was a
temple priest named Zachariah.
The exact relationship between Mary and Elizabeth is not known,
only that they are called “cousins” in Luke 1:36, and Elizabeth is
described as being “advanced in years” (1:7) while Mary is implied
to be very young, as being engaged to Joseph. Mary’s youth is also
implied by the association of her with Isaiah 7:14 (see Matthew
1:23), where the Hebrew word “alma” in Isaiah and the Greek word
“parthenos” used to translate it in the Septuagint (also describe
Mary in the New Testament) could mean either “woman who’d
never had sex” or simply “young woman.” In fact the Latin “virgo”
has similar meanings, which led to the phrase “virgo intacta” (lit.
“intact virgin”) to distinguish between the two senses.
The Four (or Five) Marian Doctrines
Western Mariology is often discussed in terms of the four official
“Marian Doctrines” defined by the Catholic Church. In order of
Mary’s life story, these doctrines are: 1. the Immaculate Conception,
2. the Motherhood of God, 3. her Perpetual Virginity, and 4. her
Assumption into Heaven after her death. There has been at least one
attempt to have the Church define a fifth doctrine, that of Mary as
either “Mother of Humanity” or as “Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix
of All Graces.” This is where we take up the discussion.
Immaculate Conception
Since we’re starting at Mary’s birth, let’s talk about these teachings
in the order of her life story. That leads us to begin at her
conception.
While by no means “official” until 1854, a belief that Mary was
conceived without sin can be traced to the Early Church, finding an
expression in some New Testament apocrypha. An example of this
would be the “Gospel of the Birth of Mary,” which can be dated
anytime between 200 and 600 AD.
This Gospel is also called “The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew,” and is
substantially a retelling of an earlier, second century text titled the
“Protoevangelion of James,” while adding more details. While the
text was condemned by the Church in the Decretum Gelasianum of
the late fifth century and Aquinas condemned it as “apocryphal
ravings” in the thirteenth (Summa, III, 35, 6), the book’s details
retained an influence on the Church’s mariology. Among these
details would be an early mention of the Immaculate Conception,
where the angel says to St. Joachim:
Accordingly your wife Anna will bring forth a daughter to you, and
you shall call her name Mary: she shall be, as you have vowed,
consecrated to the Lord from her infancy, and she shall be filled
with the Holy Spirit, even from her mother’s womb. (Chapter 3;
some well-known translations place this in chapter 2).
The text contradicts itself in the next chapter, where the angel tells
Anna that Mary would be full of God’s favor “even from her birth,”
rather than “from the womb” as the angel is reported to have told
Joachim. I leave the reader to their own conclusions, while to me
this says there was still fluidity in Christian thinking on how Mary
was to be considered “full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Luke
1:28; Protestant translations prefer the word “favored”), while
general agreement existed on the belief that Mary was full of grace.
This is where the term “Immaculate Conception” comes in. The
doctrine teaches that Mary was conceived by the sexual act between
Joachim and Anna, and that, at the moment their respective gametes
met,
“the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a
singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the
merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved
immaculate from all stain of original sin” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus,
1854).
The Christological purpose of the doctrine of the Immaculate
Conception is that by declaring Mary was, indeed “full of grace”
throughout her entire lifetime (this corresponds to the Church’s
teaching that life begins at conception), we are shown the saving
power of Jesus to be so powerful that it can cleanse a person even in
their womb; this tells us Christ is omnipotent. This doctrine also
witnesses to Jesus’ purity by showing us the Pure God and Pure
Man was to be born – and in fact arranged to be born – of a pure
vessel.
Of the Marian doctrines, the Immaculate Conception is probably the
most controversial, with Catholicism alone endorsing it. Orthodox
and Protestants reject this doctrine, while most Old Catholics
consider it something individual believers may accept or reject as
they see fit.
Mary as “Mother of God”
If the Immaculate Conception is the most controversial of the
Marian Doctrines, then the teaching that Mary is the “Theotokos” or
“Mother of God” would be the least controversial. It’s accepted by
Catholics, Orthodox, Old Catholics, and was unanimously upheld by
the “magisterial” Protestant Reformers (Luther, Zwingli, Cranmer,
and Calvin).
The title of “Mother of God” isn’t accepted because it ascribes any
divinity to Mary, but because it points to Jesus as God the Son, the
Word existing before creation and co-eternal with the Father and the
Holy Ghost.
The idea that Mary is the “Mother of God” simply refers to her
spending nine months carrying around God Himself in her womb;
we can readily see this teaching points not to Mary but look through
her, as through a window, to Christ. To claim Mary was not the
“Mother of God” in this sense – that she did not bear God in her
womb – is to deny either the divinity of Christ or his eternity. Such a
denial is, in fact, to take sides with Arius rather than Peter.
Mary as Perpetual Virgin
Prior to the Protestant Revolt, the idea that Mary was a perpetual
virgin was far from controversial; it’s a point where Catholics and
Orthodox are agreed, and also the “magisterial” Reformers. In fact,
the only controversy surrounding it comes through the Reformers’
descendants pointing to a passage in Mark that mentions Jesus
having “brothers.”
Ironically, it was John Calvin who wrote the best rebuttal to
Protestant claims by pointing out the obvious: in the culture of
ancient Palestine, the word for “brother” was also used to refer to
cousins; furthermore every person named as a “brother” in Mark is
mentioned as having a different parent elsewhere in the Gospels.
While we can’t say this proves Mary was perpetually a virgin, this
tells us with certainty that these people aren’t her biological
children.
To me, I see it as a sort of historical speculation on the nature of
someone’s sex life, because it is ultimately a historical question of
whether this woman went to her grave never having had sex with a
man. We can speculate all we want about human nature, whether
Joseph ever had “needs,” and so forth, but ultimately we’ve no
choice but to accept or reject it as an article of faith – an article
consistently held since the early days – since there’s no way of
inventing a time machine and finding out for sure (and learning
ancient Aramaic, and hoping not to get slapped across the face for
asking such a personal question!).
What’s important about the doctrine of perpetual virginity, of
course, is not what it tells us about Mary but what it tells us about
Christ. Here we are shown the power of Christ to preserve an
individual in a state that’s completely against the dictates and urges
of human nature. While the Immaculate Conception testifies to
Christ’s ability to grant sanctifying grace, so Mary’s perpetual
virginity testifies to Christ’s ability to grant actual grace into every
aspect and area of our lives.
Mary’s Assumption into Heaven
The fourth Marian dogma and the one most recently defined, is that
of Mary’s assumption into heaven after she died. The teaching is
that when Mary died, Jesus refused to let her body remain in the
ground but took her up (“assumed” her) into heaven, body and soul.
While Mary’s Assumption was generally believed in the West,
amply demonstrated by the fact that the Missale included a feastday
of the Assumption (August 15) and the Rituale a blessing of herbs
on that feastday (App. De Benedictionibus, 11) long before Pius XII
defined the dogma; this doctrine is about as controversial as the
Immaculate Conception. The Orthodox Churches don’t celebrate
Mary’s Assumption but instead her Dormition (“falling asleep”),
while most Protestants vehemently reject it. Most Old Catholics
teach that the individual believer is free to accept or reject this
teaching.
As with all the other doctrines, the Assumption is important because
of what it tells us about Christ. If the Immaculate Conception
confirms Christ’s power over sin and redemption, the title Mother of
God confirms Jesus’ as God, and the Perpetual Virginity confirms
Jesus’ power over human nature – then the Assumption confirms
Jesus’ power over the natural processes of the physical universe.
Jesus has power over death and decay, power to pull a body out of
the earth instead of allowing it to decompose into the ground.
When’s the last time you or your friends managed to do that?
In effect, what we’ve just seen in the Four Marian doctrines is the
power Christ possesses and presents to those calling upon his name.
Mary literally spells out the power to which the Christian occultist
has access, and we need only look through her as through a
magnifying glass to get a clearer view. In fact it’s by looking
through Mary that we get the clearest view of who her Son is and
what he can do.
Mary as Co-Redemptrix
Having talked of the Four Marian Dogmas, we move to a potential
candidate for a “Fifth Dogma,” Mary as Co-Redemptrix. It’s likely
never to be defined as a dogma, and remain in that class of
theological ideas known as an opinio tolerata, or “tolerated
opinion.”
The idea of Mary as Co-Redemptrix affirms (in accordance with
Catholic teaching) that Mary’s role was subordinate with Christ’s
role, but that she participated in the work of Redemption by
agreeing to the Incarnation in the first place. We find this in St.
Irenaeus’ Against the Heresies (III, 22, 4) when he calls Mary the
“cause of salvation” on account of her saying “yes” to God’s
proposal:
“Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, ‘Behold the handmaid
of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.’ . . . so also did
Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a
virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to
herself and the whole human race.”
Two centuries later, Jerome tells us that “by a woman the whole
world was saved.” (Tractate on Psalm 96)
In more recent times, we find this idea – I prefer the word “idea”
rather than doctrine when we’re not talking about official Church
teaching – discussed by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical Ad Diem
Illum Laetissimum:
n. 12: “Moreover it was not only the prerogative of the Most Holy
Mother to have furnished the material of His flesh to the Only Son of
God, Who was to be born with human members (S. Bede Ven. L. Iv.
in Luc. xl.), of which material should be prepared the Victim for the
salvation of men; but hers was also the office of tending and
nourishing that Victim, and at the appointed time presenting Him
for the sacrifice. Hence that uninterrupted community of life and
labors of the Son and the Mother, so that of both might have been
uttered the words of the Psalmist ‘My life is consumed in sorrow
and my years in groans’ (Ps xxx., 11). When the supreme hour of the
Son came, beside the Cross of Jesus there stood Mary His Mother,
not merely occupied in contemplating the cruel spectacle, but
rejoicing that her Only Son was offered for the salvation of
mankind, and so entirely participating in His Passion, that if it had
been possible she would have gladly borne all the torments that her
Son bore (S. Bonav. 1. Sent d. 48, ad Litt. dub. 4). And from this
community of will and suffering between Christ and Mary she
merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world
(Eadmeri Mon. De Excellentia Virg. Mariae, c. 9) and Dispensatrix
of all the gifts that Our Savior purchased for us by His Death and by
His Blood.”
Our word “Co-Redemptrix” corresponds to Pope Pius’ word
“Reparatrix” in the above quote. Two paragraphs later, he explains
the limiting principle on referring to Mary by either of these terms.
n. 14: “We are then, it will be seen, very far from attributing to the
Mother of God a productive power of grace – a power which
belongs to God alone. Yet, since Mary carries it over all in holiness
and union with Jesus Christ, and has been associated by Jesus
Christ in the work of redemption, she merits for us ‘de congruo,’ in
the language of theologians, what Jesus Christ merits for us ‘de
condigno,’ and she is the supreme Minister of the distribution of
graces. Jesus ‘sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on
high’ (Hebrews i. b.). Mary sitteth at the right hand of her Son – a
refuge so secure and a help so trusty against all dangers that we
have nothing to fear or to despair of under her guidance, her
patronage, her protection. (Pius IX. in Bull Ineffabilis).”
For clarification, the theological terms de congruo and de condigno
have specific meanings: the former refers to a fitting reward not
binding upon God, while the latter (de condigno) involves God
binding himself to the reward. This distinction is crucial to
understanding the idea of Mary as Co-Redemptrix, else we risk
falling back into the false conception of “Mary as Goddess” and
Protestant accusations of “Idolatry.”
The essential characteristic in calling Mary “Co-Redemptrix” is that
her role is in no way equal to Christ’s role. Ludwig Ott explains this
in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (III, 3, 7):
“The title Corredemptrix=Coredemptress, which has been current
since the fifteenth century, and which also appears in some official
Church documents under Pius X (cf. D 1978a), must not be
conceived in the sense of an equation of the efficacy of Mary with
the redemptive activity of Christ, the sole Redeemer of humanity (I
Tim. 2, 5). . . . Her co-operation in the objective redemption is an
indirect, remote co-operation, and derives from this that she
voluntarily devoted her whole life to the service of the Redeemer,
and, under the Cross, suffered and sacrificed with Him. . . . Christ
alone truly offered the sacrifice of atonement on the Cross; Mary
merely gave Him moral support in this action . . . He alone acquired
the grace of Redemption for the whole human race, including
Mary.”
While I personally agree with the idea of Mary as Co-Redemptrix,
there is one aspect in which  can agree with this never being codified
as official dogma. It’s not the ecumenical ramifications, seeing at
heart I’m a Mortalium Animos kind of guy, but more that the term is
too easily misunderstood by laity, who may easily assume the prefix
“co-” means equality.
I’m not alone in this concern, as in a 2000 interview then-Cardinal
Ratzinger referred to the title as “A correct intention being
expressed in the wrong way.” (God and the World: A Conversation
with Peter Seewald)
A longer treatment is given in Salvatore Perrella’s Mary’s
Cooperation in the Work of Redemption: Present State of the
Question published in L’Osservatore Romano’s edition of July 2,
1997. Now I have a number of problems with what Perrella says,
not least of all his complaints about the pre-Vatican II manuals (a
collective term for preconciliar theology textbooks) and “a certain
‘under-appreciation’ of the Council’s teaching.” But he’s right when
he mentions the problem with the wording:
“The semantic weight of this expression would require a good many
other qualifications and clarifications, especially in the case under
examination, where she who is wished to be proclaimed coredeemer
is, in the first place, one who is redeemed, albeit in a singular
manner, and who participates in Redemption primarily as
something she herself receives. Thus we see the inadequacy of the
above-mentioned term for expressing a doctrine which requires,
even from the lexical standpoint, the proper nuances and
distinctions of levels.”
This makes sense, especially from a pastoral viewpoint. The
religious-literate reader can easily enough understand the
distinctions at play here, but what about the average person in the
pews? For example, in my books I spell out the theological concepts
very clearly, yet I’ve seen the concepts misunderstood in posts I’ve
seen on FB (from people who’ve read the books) and even a review
on Amazon that didn’t quite get the distinction between ex opere
operato and ex opere operantis. I discussed it with them privately
afterward, but the fact is these posts came from intelligent people.
Now let’s take a moment to imagine how the average person in the
pews with little to no comprehension of their faith would interpret a
term like co-redemptrix.
Yet if we put that aside, what can we learn from the image of Mary
as Co-Redemptrix? In the first place, we learn that God is neither a
rapist nor a deadbeat dad. He sent his messenger to get Mary’s
consent before doing the deed, and remained with the Holy Family
during Jesus’ childhood (the angel warning Joseph of Herod’s
planned massacre, for example). Thus the idea of the Co-
Redemptrix enshrines both the un-coerced love of God alongside the
sacredness and absolute reality of human Free Will.
The idea of Co-Redemptrix also teaches us of the bond between
mother and child, a bond that transfers from the relationship
between Mary and Jesus to the relationship between Church and
Believer. It’s no accident that the Church is referred to as “She” and
as “Holy Mother.”
The idea of Co-Redemptrix also gives us a glimpse into Mary’s own
humanity as she consented to the incarnation and walked with Jesus
through his joys, sorrows, and glories. This is the woman who raised
him to become the man he became, thus we gain a glimpse of the
proverbial apple by looking upon the tree from which it fell.
In all, this is why I support the idea of Mary as Co-Redemptrix even
if I don’t support its official definition as dogma. The same for the
idea of Mediatrix which is closely connected, because it gives us
more than just a picture of a woman wearing blue and keeping to
herself; it gives us an image into the joys and struggles of an actual
flesh-and-blood human being who voluntarily took on the yoke of
bearing and raising God himself amidst this Vale of Tears alongside
the immensity of the reward to be gained after such a struggle was
won.
Quick Summary
As we leave this section on the Marian Dogmas, we can summarize
all of them in terms of what they teach us about Christ and his
power: Christ’s power over sin, Christ’s divinity, Christ’s power
over human nature, and Christ’s power over the laws of nature.
When we look into the prospective fifth dogma, we learn of God as
relational, respecting human Free Will as sacrosanct and that God’s
participation in the relationship between mother and child is
reflected in the relationship between Church and believer.
The doctrines aren’t there to prop the Blessed Mother up on a
pedestal, but are there to teach us about her Son. Mary, properly
understood, is the lens through which we view Christ, and Mary,
properly understood, is the human window through which we gain
access to our Divine Savior – salve radix, salve porta, ex qua mundo
lux est orta!

“Our Lady of the Cosmos,” by Hannah M. G. Shapero

4. Mary in Magical Practice


Having moved on from the dogma and the theological speculation,
we now finally arrive at the “meat” of this writing, namely the
schema for invoking Mary into your magical practice.
We’re going to start by laying out some general principles, and then
move into specific practices.
Why We Invoke Mary
This is probably the most obvious question, since it’s imprudent and
pointless calling upon someone without sufficient reason to do so.
Queen of Heaven
We invoke Mary because of the special favor God has given her, the
privilege of bearing the Second Person of the Trinity in her womb
and of participating – albeit indirectly – in the Economy of
Salvation. This is why she has the title “Queen of Heaven,” because
her special relationship with God resulted in her being elevated to
the status of “Queen of Everything.”
Yeah, I know. A Protestant might automatically see that title
“Queen of Heaven” and feel a need to mention some Babylonian
goddess or something else out of a Chick Tract. I don’t see a reason
to care because “Queen of Heaven” is merely a title and doesn’t
imply transference. It’s the same as when mythicists talking about
“Serapis Christ” or “Horus Christ” in the attempt to “debunk”
Christianity. The word “christ” was a generic title meaning
“anointed one,” and commonly enough used that there’s no reason
to assume direct transference from one person holding that title to
another.
Mediatrix of All Graces
Since we talked of Mary as Queen of Heaven, this title coincides
with the not-as-yet defined doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix of All
Graces. Without going into the long series of theological quotes
from the last section, I’ll just quote Ott’s Fundamentals (III, 3, 7, 2):
“Since her assumption into Heaven, Mary co-operates in the
application of the grace of Redemption to man. She participates in
the distribution of grace by her maternal intercession which is far
inferior in efficacy to that of the intercessory prayer of Christ, the
High Priest, but surpasses far the intercessory prayer of all the
other saints.”
And Pope Leo XII in Octobri Mense (n. 4), who says:
“The Eternal Son of God, about to take upon Him our nature for the
saving and ennobling of man, and about to consummate thus a
mystical union between Himself and all mankind, did not
accomplish His design without adding there the free consent of the
elect Mother, who represented in some sort all human kind,
according to the illustrious and just opinion of St. Thomas, who says
that the Annunciation was effected with the consent of the Virgin
standing in the place of humanity.[Summa, III, 30, 1] With equal
truth may it be also affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is the
intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense
treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were
created by Jesus Christ.[John 1:17] Thus as no man goeth to the
Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His
Mother.”
There’s no shortage of quotations on this point, going as far back as
the Patristic period and generally founded on a mystical
interpretation of John 19:26-27 – “Woman, behold thy son . . . son,
behold thy mother” – seeing John as representative of the entire
human race and entrusting all of humanity to Mary.
Special Relationship with Jesus
There’s an old saying in the legal profession that “A lawyer who
represents himself has a fool for a client.” When we present our
petitions before God’s court, we have to remember he’s the Just
Judge as well as the Loving Father. If you’re going to see the judge,
then it makes sense to get the best representation you possibly can.
Some would answer “Get Jesus,” and that’s just fine. All of the
prayers in the Missale and Rituale take this approach and there’s
nothing wrong with doing this in your life too (in fact all my
personal work outside the Rosary operates in this fashion). Just
remember that Jesus is God, meaning Jesus is the Judge. So why not
get a lawyer who not only knows the way heaven works, but had the
added benefit of spanking the Judge when he was a bad boy too?
In this connection, we also have another influence Mary has on
Jesus that we don’t: the Fourth Commandment. In Jesus the Son of
Mary, or, the Doctrine of the Catholic Church upon the Incarnation
of God the Son in Its Bearings upon the Reverence Shewn by
Catholics to the Blessed Mother (II, 1, 5), John Brande Morris tells
us:
“[Jesus] was conscious from the first, and so capable of obeying his
Mother’s wishes. As a dutiful son, he would be bound to obey them,
and not to avail himself of that ignorance of his capacities, which
for argument’s sake we suppose her to have labored under, in order
to elude obeying her.”
This is a logical conclusion from Scripture’s teaching 1) disobeying
your parents is sinful, and 2) Jesus was without sin, then we can
only conclude that 3) Jesus was obedient to Mary.
Now does this mean Jesus has no choice but to obey his mother now
that he’s grown-up and ascended upstairs? No, it doesn’t. Grown
children don’t have to obey their parents but do have to honor them,
meaning they listen and evaluate, and then act based on the best and
highest good. However – assuming the child had a good relationship
with their parents – the fact that person is the parent means they will
always have a special claim to the child’s ears, mind, and heart.
That’s something Mary has that we don’t, and neither do any of the
other Saints.
In short, this is why we call on Mary. She is the “Queen of
Everything” through whom our faith teaches us all God’s good
things flow. While it isn’t necessary to call on her and go Solus
Christus if you so desire (in fact most prayers in the Missale and
Rituale do exactly this), it costs nothing and never hurts to call on
someone who lived that close of a life with the Person you’re asking
to manifest results for you.
How We Invoke Mary
Having discussed the why of invoking Mary, it becomes important
for us to discuss the how.
The short version is that we call on Mary lovingly and in a spirit of
filial piety. She is not a psychological force, or a “feeling” or
“intuition,” or some spirit we can force into a triangle and boss
around. She is in substance a dead human, yes, but a dead human
with a great deal of influence and thus cannot be commanded. If you
think you can constrain her into a triangle or otherwise command
her, then you may as well resign yourself to disappointment here
and now.
While an actual person, the Blessed Mother is also a personification
of Love and Patience taken to the level of near-perfection, if not
perfection itself. We see this not only in her patience with Catholics
who lapse time and again, but also in that we can find several
examples of her interceding on behalf of Protestants, Neopagans,
and I even know one example of a man raised Jehovah’s Witness
who asked and obtained her intercession.
She is very free with dispensing graces to those who come to her.
This is one of many messages I received from the dream of the
“house full of worms” I described earlier: Mary continues to love
and show patience for us no matter how often we betray her or
outright stab her in the back.
She is filled with love, and how we approach her must likewise be in
a spirit of love and patience. This is no New Age sappiness or
sentimentality, but a spiritual analogy to the chemical principle of
“like attracts like.” Hatred and anger only attract more hatred and
anger. To attract one who is positive, it’s for us to become positive
no matter how difficult that may be at the time.
Another part of the how is to recognize that the Blessed Mother
tends to work in her own way and on her own terms. I’ve learned
from experience that the worst thing we can do is try to “script” or
otherwise direct her actions; this flows from the principle that she
can’t be commanded, that she loves us but will not kowtow to us.
We see in her, in fact, the perfect synthesis of my previous
Facebook post about Love, Power, and Vision.
Lastly, we need to discuss how the Blessed Mother responds to our
invocations. Most times we hear or see nothing, only the results (or
lack of results) that we ask for – though an apparent “lack” of results
in the short-term may mean the prayer being answered a different
way in the long term; I learned this first-hand in the years between
1998 and 2001.
[NOTE: I discuss prayers not being answered in Chapter 10 of How
to Pray the Rosary and Get Results.]
She may also contact us by way of dreams or hearing voices. There
are times when I’d be praying the Rosary with something on my
mind, and would hear a woman’s voice – outside my head – saying
something to what I was thinking. This happens infrequently (the
last time was 11 years ago), and fits under “private revelation” so
you don’t have to believe me one way or another; for myself I keep
an open mind as to whether it’s legitimately Mary talking or my
subconscious just has an active imagination, and I encourage
everyone to view their own experiences with both an open mind and
a healthy level of skepticism.
Dreams are more difficult to describe, and can vary greatly from
person to person. In a dream she could visit you directly, or she
could show you how prayers will manifest in the future or the path
you need to take in the process. For example, one of my friends on
Facebook told me the following (posted here with permission):
“IN MY EXPERIENCE I SMELL FLOWERY SCENTS AND THE
ROOM GETS BRIGHTER AND BRIGHTER. i love Mother Mary
so much. in dreams however not so . often angels appear in my
dreams but not Mary. if she appears only as statue not a living
being.”
Another example from my own life would be a series of dreams that
I’d describe as “two brunettes with a redhead in between,” where I
met each of the women and they looked exactly as I saw them in the
dreams, and met them exactly how the dreams said I would. The
two brunettes were teachers from whom I’d learn life lessons, while
the redhead reinforced the lessons learned. Again, this is private
revelation and you’ve no obligation to believe any of it, just as I
retain an open mind about where the dream came from while
admitting every aspect of those dreams came true in real-time.
Specific Methods
We now have all our preliminaries in order, and find ourselves at the
point of discussing specific methods. Since the primary method for
invoking the Blessed Mother is prayer, we’ll take the time to discuss
some of the better-known prayers and how they can fit into
devotional and ritual work.

Luther: “Whoever possesses a firm faith, says the Hail Mary without
danger.”
a. The Angelical Salutation (the Hail Mary)
The Hail Mary is one of several prayers Catholics are taught from
childhood, and one of the most likely to be committed to memory
(by older Catholics) even if they leave their faith later on. What’s
not commonly known, though, is that Orthodox and Lutherans have
their own versions of this Salutation:
ORTHODOX: Mother of God and Virgin, rejoice, Mary full of
grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the
Savior of our souls.
LUTHERAN: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy
womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now
and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The words Ave, gratia plena! were originally spoken as a greeting,
and we too may say the Hail Mary at the opening of an invocation to
the Blessed Mother, or use this prayer as the entire invocation itself
while concentrating on the reason we’re invoking her.
Another use for the Angelical Salutation is as a series of repetitions.
The most famous example of this is the Rosary, where we say the
Ave 10 times while meditating on each Mystery, and the Hail Mary
is repeated three times in the Leonine Prayers said after Low
Masses. Another example of this repetition is something I’ve heard
from Traditionalist exorcists, who say the Ave over and over in their
head as a way to keep the opposing entity from reading their
thoughts. The prayer’s short, easy to say in one’s head quickly, and
in my own experience it becomes a kind of “autopilot” that can be
done without losing concentration on the work at hand.
The Salutation likewise lends itself to ritual use, where it can be
used as a greeting or a refrain during the different parts of the rite. A
good example of this is the Angelus, where a text is read
responsorially and the Hail Mary said in unison. This can lend itself
to quarter calls and similar operations.
In all things when you say the Hail Mary, remember that this is a
direct quote from an angel. Say these words, therefore, not in a spirit
of begging and desperation, but with energy in your voice and
power in your heart, in a firm faith knowing she will hear and
answer you.
b. The Memorare
The Memorare is part of a much longer prayer titled Ad Sanctitatis
Tuae Pedes, Dulcissima Virgo Maria, dating to the 15th century
though often misattributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th. In
its currently-used form, it reads:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought
thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly
unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before
thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Amen.
The wording of the prayer implies “dire straits” and an attitude of “I
really need this to happen.” It can be used at the end of a prayer
session or ritual working to invoke a great deal of power into the
world for accomplishing one’s purpose. At all times, though, one
must be careful not to confuse the attitude of the prayer’s wording
with one’s own mental attitude, as prayer or magical work done in
desperation (i.e. when the clock’s run out) is not consistently known
for manifesting the best kind of results.
c. The Salve Regina
Another well-known prayer, the Salve Regina or “Hail, Holy
Queen” lends itself well both to devotional and magical use. The
wording is not as dire as the Memorare, though with phrases like
“vale of tears” and “turn then, most gracious Advocate,” it’s clearly
intended for something stronger than just the basic Ave. In fact
while we can find the Salutation used as an opening, it’s not
uncommon to see the Salve Regina at the closing; we see this take
place in the Rosary, in the Leonine Prayers, and in the pre-Vatican
II Office for Compline (effectively a ritual for protection throughout
the night).
When used in this way, the Salve is always followed by a versicle
and response, and then a Collect addressing the intention behind the
devotion or ritual at hand. Outside of the Rosary, the versicles
always take the form of:
Versicle: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
Response: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
After this the operator says “Let us pray” followed by the Collect
concluding the devotion or ritual at hand. I won’t belabor this since
I’ve linked to examples of this versicle-collect combination for you
to examine, and it’ll be easy enough to follow if you grew up in a
liturgical church and paid a modicum of attention to what was going
on.
Hymns
No discussion of Marian invocation would be complete without
hymns, because Marian hymns play a significant part of any pre-
Vatican II hymnal, and can be sung at the beginning or closing of
any Marian devotional or ritual exercise.
While my personal favorite will always be O Sanctissima, the
ultimate Marian hymn can only be considered the Magnificat
because it’s a direct quotation from Scripture. There are many
renditions, but the way I learned it was the simple melody of Psalm
Tone VIII; this means it’s easy to memorize and easy to sing,
though Gregorian Chant rhythms might feel a little unfamiliar if
you’re used to hymn tunes or praise choruses.
Some hymns are appropriate for certain times of year, for example
we’ve already mentioned Bring Flowers of the Rarest which is used
for May Crownings, while Quem Terra, Pontus, Aethera (The God
Whom Earth and Sea and Sky) is appropriate for the Feast of the
Annunciation. The best way to figure this out is by diving in head-
first: get your hands on some hymnals and poke around to find what
you like and what you don’t. The Saint Gregory Hymnal was widely
used before Vatican II, while for something more contemporary you
might look to Gather Comprehensive or whatever OCP’s publishing
these days. There are a lot of options out there and I refuse to let you
limit yourself.
I won’t get into the question of “traditional versus contemporary,”
because I believe it’s a false argument and an unnecessarily bitter
one. While at this point the Traditional Catholic would be right to
bring up Tra le Sollecitudini, the fact is that I’m writing this for a
diverse audience, and have been around the block long enough to
see there’s good and bad in both genres. My personal preferences
need not be yours.
When selecting music, the primary objective criterion is whatever
theology the song’s expressing. Beyond that, the criterion of beauty
(to your or your group’s ears) is more or less a subjective one.
Concluding Thoughts
This blog post is by far the longest I’ve ever written, having taken
almost a month of my time to research, source, and edit, and filling
up 23 pages in Word (not counting images). I could’ve gone longer,
especially on the theology – seems that’s where my biggest strength
is – but wanted to keep the material accessible.
We’ve covered the starting points of Mariology in Catholic,
Orthodox, and Protestant thought; misconceptions of Mary as found
both within and without Catholicism; a discussion on Marian
doctrine, what it says about who she is, and what the doctrines tell
us about her son; and finally we’ve come to the place of discussing
why, how, and what methods we may use when invoking her.
My hope is that from these outlines any magician can work a proper
invocation to the Blessed Mother into their ritual work, provided
they’re familiar enough with their craft or at least the ebb-and-flow
of Catholic ritual and the occult principles bound up therein.
I’m going to take a week off after posting this, and then will start
working on my next book, and the LATIN LESSONS FOR
OCCULTISTS series I proposed over a month ago.
Be well, brothers and sisters, and may the Blessed Mother
perpetually intercede on your behalf before her Son’s throne!

Seven Keys to Better Results with Prayer.


Number 6 Is the One They Never Told You.
Posted on April 27, 2016 by Agostino

Many people turn to prayer only to find themselves disappointed.


Often they’re told it’s because they “lack faith,” but that’s nonsense.
If they didn’t have faith, then why would they try praying in the first
place?

1. Love God
A lot of people say prayer starts with belief. I say effective prayer
starts with the mutual love between God and humankind.
Why? Because you can hate a God you believe in (they’re called
misotheists and masquerade as militant atheists), but how can you
love a God you don’t believe in?
Love of God is rooted in the Bible’s teaching we are created in
God’s image, that God created us out of Love. Our love for God is
Love returned to its Source, forming a bond that’s unstoppable.
These Keys and others are explained in detail in The Magic of
Effective Prayer.

2. Love Yourself
A lot of people forget this part, and a lot of other people
misunderstand it. In fact the Bible says “To get wisdom is to love
yourself.” (Proverbs 19:8)
Loving yourself isn’t the same as being prideful, selfish, narcissistic,
or greedy. Those are imbalanced emotions based more on insecurity
than love. A balanced love for yourself is rooted in a balanced love
for God, recognizing that you were created in God’s image and
being grateful for the way He made you. To love God is to love
yourself.
Society and especially the churches can do a lot of damage to our
self-image n that regard, whether by telling us we’re “evil” or
“totally sinful,” or that we don’t live up to an idealized body type or
level of success. Some of us may have imbibed those messages
more than others and may need some deprogramming, and once you
break free of those messages and learn to love yourself for who
you are, it becomes totally worth it in the end.

3. Love Your Neighbor


You love God because you love yourself as made in the image of
God, and when you love you’re neighbor you’re loving someone
God made in His image also.
Loving your neighbor can take a LOT of work. But you have to
remember that God’s Love, though meant for you, isn’t meant for
you alone. God’s Love is meant to be shared, and when you share
that Love you’re casting out a net of positivity into the universe.
Do you know what happens when you cast a net of positivity or
hang around positive people? You and your life become more
positive too! Prayer done right is not a selfish endeavor, it’s a rising
tide that lifts up all boats.

4. An Attitude of Gratitude
Prayer can be seen as tapping into God’s Love as it encircles the
entire universe, and becoming a full participant in it as well. A part
of participating in that love is the attitude of gratitude.
Showing gratitude is part of returning Love to the source, by
showing our respect and appreciation for all that we’ve received. In
fact, you might want to take a look around and notice something: the
happiest people tend to be the most grateful people and constantly
have good things coming to them, while the most miserable people
are not grateful and constantly have things taken away.
After Jesus healed the ten lepers (Luke 17), only one came back to
say “Thank you.” After a little rant showing his displeasure, Jesus
said to the one, “Get up and go on your way, your faith has made
you whole.”
If you get nothing else from this post, internalize the fact that God’s
Love applies to EVERYBODY, and just like the leper who was
healed, each and every last one of us can benefit from being grateful
for that Love.
5. Visualize to Actualize
Prayer is not just mumbling a few words and expecting some result
to beam down Star Trek-style. Prayer is an exercise of the entire
mind and the entire heart.
As you pray, picture your desire in your mind as though you’ve
already accomplished it. In fact, begin each prayer session by
writing down your goals clearly, briefly, and honestly. Writing it
down helps you to phrase what you’re asking for and figure out
whether you even want it in the first place, and forcing yourself to
use as few words as possible trains the mind to zero in on exactly
what you want and see through any potential subconscious spin-
doctoring.
You don’t have to tell anyone about this, but you do have to be
honest with God and yourself.

6. Your Sphere of Availability


Books and blog posts talk about the limitlessness of prayer, but not
about the pray-er’s potential limitations. If I don’t talk about about
your potential limitations, I’m setting you up for failure.
God is limitless and can do anything, but we as humans are limited
by our Sphere of Availability. This refers to the truth we can only
attract into our lives as much as we’ve set up channels to attract. As
we work on our lives and the areas where we want more goodness to
manifest, our prayer will attract more good into our lives as we
move forward.
For example, you’re praying to find an ideal mate. But what if
you’re a socially awkward person with very few friends? Having
neither the charisma nor the social network to attract someone
automatically puts this prayer outside your sphere of availability.
This affects how your prayer would be answered.
At first, it might be answered by a chance meeting with someone
who can help you work on your social skills, or maybe a copy of a
social-skills book like Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and
Influence People will fall in your lap. These skills can be read from
a book but take practice before you can actually learn them. Yet by
trying them out you eventually learn than and end up making more
friends. This expands your Sphere of Availability. Eventually as
your skills improve and your circle of friends grows, your continued
prayer can lead you to that ideal person of your dreams.

7. Ain’t Nothing to It but to Do It!


St. Ignatius supposedly said “We must pray like is depends on God
but work like it depends on us!”
Nobody knows if he actually said that, but the words are 100% true.
Just as the physical world has a Law of Inertia, the spiritual worlds
have such a law as well. The Law of Spiritual Inertia is that any
action is better than inaction. You can pray all you want, but you’re
not gonna get anywhere unless you do something.
Consider the socially-awkward loner we just talked about. He or she
prayed but didn’t have the Sphere of Availability to make it happen.
Their prayer brought them opportunities to move closer to their
goal, but they did the work to make it happen!
When you pray but don’t do anything about you’re situation, you’re
not really praying but complaining, and when God sends
opportunities to move toward your goal and you don’t act on them,
you’re showing a lack of gratitude. And you remember what we said
about ungrateful people, right?
So act on the opportunity, and even if you don’t see a clear line
toward getting your prayer answered, do anything. Even a Google
search for more information. Anything. It’s not that hard.

How to Do Basic Rosary Magic


Posted on January 31, 2016 by Agostino

When properly done, the Rosary is an exercise both in visualization


and repetitive prayer. Because of this, it’s also an excellent weapon
for magical working.
To do this, you pray the Rosary as usual, visualizing your goal
accomplished by the power of Jesus, through the Blessed Mother’s
intercession. During the prayers, you insert your intentions in the
middle of each Hail Mary, like this:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy
womb, Jesus.
(Here name your intentions.)
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the
hour of our death. Amen.
Remember that you name your intention after the word “Jesus,” so
you can say it in a way that Jesus already did this for you in the past
tense. For example, “Who healed me of whatever ails me.” Keep
your intention short and sweet, and know in faith that your prayer is
being answered.
After you’ve finished the entire Rosary or just the five Mysteries for
that day, conclude with this prayer:
“O most Sorrowful and Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God and Mother of men,
thou who wast found worthy to carry God himself in thy womb,
and thou who has crushed him who is at once the enemy
of God and man in common under thy heel.
Humbly do I, N., approach thee,
through these Joyful (or Sorrowful. or Glorious) Mysteries
of this thy Most Holy Rosary,
asking that this offering may be acceptable to thee,
and that thou wilt earnestly intercede
on behalf of my petitions before the Father,
namely that (here name your petitions).
Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son,
who with the Father liveth and reigneth
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
forever and ever. Amen.”
Do this daily until your intention is manifested, pray in the past
tense as though your intention has already been manifested, and
keep your eyes peeled for opportunities that can lead to exactly that.

Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram:


Thoughts and Theology
Posted on March 28, 2016 by Agostino
Circulus Pentagrammatum et Stella Radiorum Sex
For ritual magicians of practically any stripe, it’s common practice
that the first rite they learn is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the
Pentagram, often abbreviated as LBRP. If not the first thing, then
very close to it.
But what is the LBRP? Where does it come from?
It’s common knowledge that the LBRP is used for purifying,
warding, and practice with ritual and visualization, so I won’t
discuss what it does. What I will discuss is where it comes from and
the issues I have with some of its components.

Where It Comes From


The LBRP as we know it originated in the Hermetic Order of the
Golden Dawn, where it was the first ritual exercise given to new
initiates in the Neophyte grade. It’s effectively a weird composite
made from three parts with their own long histories: the Sign of the
Cross, the Caim Prayer, and a Jewish Nighttime prayer.
The Sign of the Cross
The Sign of the Cross needs little explanation, as it dates back to the
earliest days of Christianity. Christians used the sign of the Cross to
bless and to invoke blessing, and the Sign is still in use today. The
version used in the LBRP follows the Eastern Orthodox practice,
where the horizontal bar is made by touching the right shoulder first,
and then the left.
The LBRP likewise has the operator make the Sign while saying a
Hebrew formula reminiscent of the so-called “Protestant ending” to
the Lord’s Prayer. Modern occultists call this the Kabbalistic Cross:
Forehead: ‫תה‬ ‫א ׇּ‬ַ (Atah, “Thou art”)
Breast: ‫לּכּות‬
ְ ‫מ‬ ַ (Malkus, “Kingdom”)
Right Shoulder: ‫רה‬ ‫( ַוְּגבּו ׇ‬Va-Gevurah, “and Power”)
Left Shoulder: ‫לה‬ ‫( ַוְּגֻד ׇ‬Va-Gedulah, “and Glory”)
Clasp Hands: ‫מן‬ ֵ ‫א‬
‫לע ֺוׇלם ׇ‬ ְ (Le-Olam. Amen. “forever. Amen.”)
Praying the Caim
Next follows the Caim Prayer. Also called “praying a caim,” this is
a protective prayer going back to ancient Celtic Christianity and still
used in Celtic churches and Celtic-oriented ISM jurisdictions (i.e.
denominations in the Independent Sacramental Movement).
The central concept of the Caim prayer is the “caim,” or the
protective circle one makes around himself while praying. One
example of such a prayer starts by pointing in front of you and
towards the ground, then turning clockwise (making a circle with
your finger).

At each cardinal point – or the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions on


the circle – you voice your prayer:
12 position, “Circle me Lord, Keep protection near, And danger
afar.”
3 position, “Circle me Lord, Keep light near, And darkness afar.”
6 position, “Circle me Lord, Keep peace within, Keep evil out.”
9 position, “Circle me Lord, Keep hope within, Keep doubt
without.”
Back at the 12 position can finish your prayers with:
May you be a bright flame before me
May you be a guiding star above me,
May you be a smooth path below me,
And a loving Guide behind me,
Today, tonight, and forever.
In the classic LBRP, the caim is made either by pointing straight in
front of you with your finger or while holding a dagger. You
visualize the circle in blue flame (like a gas stove) while tracing it.
At each quarter-point you pause to trace a “banishing earth”
pentagram in the air in front of you, then point to the center and say
a Divine Name or “Word of Power.”
East: ‫( י ה ו ה‬Yod Heh Vav Heh, the four letters of God’s name).
South: ‫אֹדָני‬ֲ (Adonai, Hebrew for “Lord”)
West: ‫הֶיה‬ ְ ‫א‬ֶ (Eheieh, Hebrew for “I Am” [see Exodus 3:14])
North: ‫לא‬ ָ ‫אָג‬ָ (AGLA, a Hebrew acronym for “Thou Art Mighty
Forever, O Lord”)
[NOTE: I first heard ‫לא‬ָ ‫אָג‬
ָ pronounced as “Ah-Gah-Lah,” hence
the vowel-points given here. Others pronounce it ‫לא‬
ָ ‫אְג‬
ָ or “Ag-
lah.” The choice is yours.]
After tracing the last Pentagram and saying the last Name, you
would return to the East, completing the circle. You would now be
surrounded by a blue flaming circle, with each of the four directions
marked by a flaming pentagram. This completes the Caim.

Borrowing from Jewish Prayer


The next section of the LBRP is taken from Jewish prayer practice,
and it’s been written elsewhere that Jewish people may be offended
by countering it. I have no firsthand experience of this, thus am
sharing this information without comment.
The original form of this prayer is found in A First Step: A
Devotional Guide by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, published in
1973, and reads as follows:
In the name of YHVH the God of Israel:
At my right hand Michael
At my left Gabriel
Ahead of me Oriel
Behind me Raphel
Above my head the Sheckinah of God!
[NOTE: The Shekhinah or Sheckinah (Hebrew, ‫כיָנה‬ ִ ‫ׁש‬
ְ ) is God’s
divine presence throughout all creation. Many occultists confuse the
Shekinah with the Holy Spirit, yet such is not the case: theologically
the Shekhinah is best understood as an artifact of perichoresis
(described in my post on magical theology), while the Holy Spirit is
the one doing the perichoresis. But then, most occultists aren’t
trained in Systematic Theology.]
In the LBRP, this prayer is revised to fit the Golden Dawn’s
conception of the four Directions, the four Elements, and the four
Archangels governing them: Raphael (Air, the East), Michael (Fire,
the South), Gabriel (Water, the West), and Uriel (Earth, the North).
Meaning that in the LBRP you face East once completing the circle,
raise your arms to your sides, palms upwards (so your body
resembles the shape of a cross), and say:
Before me is Raphael!
Behind me is Gabriel!
At my left hand is Michael!
And at my right hand is Auriel!
About me flame the Pentagrams and behind me shines the Six-
Rayed Star!
You then complete the ritual by again making the Sign of the Cross.
As you say the names, you visualize the Archangels standing just
outside the circle, facing outwards and guarding from intrusion or
attack.
In later versions, the last line is changed from “behind me shines” to
“in the column shines the Six-Rayed Star,” with some versions
encouraging you to visualize a golden six-rayed star shining from
within your heart. My understanding is that this is a reference to the
Kabbalistic Sefira of Tifares (“Beauty,” the sixth Sefira on the Tree
of Life), which relates to the Sun and harmonizing the energies of
the Tree, and which Christian Kabbalists – The LBRP was
originally written by Protestant Christians – classically associated
with Jesus as the Redeemer of the universe and point of contact
between God and man. In modern times non-Christian magicians
may say the same words but presumably without any of the “Jesus
symbolism.”

Theological Issues
Thus far we’ve discussed the LBRP in its original form and where it
comes from. Now I’d like to discuss theological issues before
moving on to the revised version that I use and teach.
My main issue has to do with the words of the so-called
“Kabbalistic Cross.” On the one hand, the Hebrew is grammatically
sloppy and sounds ugly. It reads like some dude tried translating the
Protestant Ending into Hebrew and used Hebrew words combined
with the lack of articles found in Classical Latin grammar.
On a deeper level, the formula as-written betrays a teaching of
pantheism, the belief that God is indistinguishable from his creation,
that God is immanent but not transcendent (classical theology
teaches that God is both immanent and transcendent). Now readers
can debate about whose theology, and I’ve no intention to knock
anyone’s path here. Yet this blog is geared toward Christian
magicians and therefore makes its points through the lens of
mainstream Christian theology. All are invited to see how this
project unfolds.
Back to the formula. By saying “Thou art Kingdom,” this has a
definite meaning in the Kabbalistic paradigm in which the Golden
Dawn composed this ritual. Here, “Kingdom” is the Sefira of
Malkus, which represents the physical plane and the entire created
universe. Hence “Thou art Kingdom” is theologically a confusion of
Creator and creature, effectively saying “Thou art thy creation.”
Immanence and Transcendence
The classical theological position affirms that God is immanent,
meaning that “God is everywhere present in created space” (Ott,
Fundamentals, Bk. I, P. I, S. III, Ch. 1, §19). This root of this
teaching is found in several Scriptural passages, such as Psalm
139:7-10:
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
Also Jeremiah 23:24:
24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the
Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord.
And Acts 17:27b-28:
27b indeed [God] is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we
live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets
have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’
God’s immanence is affirmed time and again by the Christian
writers from every era, from the Early Fathers down to the present
time. And not just by Catholics: Luther, in his Sacrament of the
Body and Blood of Christ – Against the Fanatics, admits that
“[God] is present in all creatures, and I might find him in stone, in
fire, in water, or even in rope, for certainly he is there” (Luther’s
Works, 36:342).
We can safely say that God’s immanence is the unanimous opinion
(or at least near-unanimous opinion) within mainstream Christian
theology.
Yet mainstream Christian theology also affirms God’s
transcendence over and above the created universe. Scripturally
God’s transcendence is shown by pointing out that he created the
universe in the first place in Genesis 1:1:
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.
We also see that that God is exalted above the earth and above all
gods in Psalm 97: 9:
9 For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
God’s thoughts and ways are described as higher than human
thoughts and ways in Isaiah 55:8-9:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
And finally, St. Paul clearly describes both God’s immanence and
transcendence in Ephesians 4:6. He tells us there is:
one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in
all.
What we have, therefore, is a picture of God who is present
throughout creation while at the same time distinct from it, above it,
and having power over it.
Solution 1: Fixing the Cross
This is the “long version” of why I take theological issue with the
line “Thou art Kingdom.” While an immanentist or a pantheist can
say it with no problem, the denial of God’s transcendence has no
place either in Judaism or Christianity. This is why it’s better to
return to the original wording of the Protestant Ending, “For thine
is,” which in Hebrew would be ָ‫ל‬ ְ ‫ּכי‬
ִ (Ki Lekha).
The remainder of the Cross needs only minor correction, namely
placing the Hebrew definite article ‫( ה‬Ha-, meaning “the”) in front
of the words and placing the Sign of the Cross in the Latin style,
where the horizontal bar is made from left to right.
I have no way of knowing for sure, but I suspect the Golden Dawn
founders prescribed the Orthodox (also called the “Greek” or
“Oriental”) version of the Sign of the Cross because of their claims
to being part of the Rosicrucian tradition; the Rosicrucian founding
documents (the Fama and Confessio Fraternitatis) are vehemently
anti-Catholic and claim to acknowledge the Patriarch of
Constantinople as “our Christian head.” However, from a practical
standpoint this betrays the symbolism as in Kabbalah Gevurah
(Severity, Power) and Chesed or Gedulah (Mercy, Glory)
correspond to the left and right shoulders, respectively.
Fortunately, this is an easy fix for anyone who doesn’t have an
overly emotional investment in Golden Dawn “purism,” or in a
sense of ritualism that confuses validity of effect with adiaphora of
practice. Here’s what we’re looking at as a “corrected” version of
the Cross, which I call the “Doxological Cross” in
acknowledgement that its words are doxological:
Forehead: ָ‫ל‬ ְ ‫ּכי‬
ִ (Ki Lekha, “For Thine is”)
Breast: ‫לּכּות‬
ְ ‫מ‬ַ ‫ה‬ַ (Ha’Malkus, “the Kingdom”)
Left Shoulder: ‫רה‬ ‫הְּגבּו ׇ‬ַ ‫( ַו‬Va-Ha’Gevurah, “and the Power”)
Right Shoulder: ‫לה‬ ‫הְּגֻד ׇ‬ַ ‫( ַו‬Va-Ha’Gedulah, “and the Glory”)
Clasp Hands: ‫מן‬ ֵ ‫א‬
ָ ‫מים‬ ִ ‫ל‬ ָ ‫מי עֹו‬
ֵ ‫ל‬
ְ ‫לעֹו‬
ְ (Le-Olamei Olamim. Amen.
“forever and ever. Amen.”)
For those of you who wish to recite the Cross in Latin or Greek,
both versions follow:
Latin: Quia tuum est – regnum – et potéstas – et glória – in
sáecula. Amen.
Greek: ῞Οτι σοῦ ἐστιν – ἡ βασιλεία – καὶ ἡ δύναμις – καὶ ἡ
δόξα – εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ᾽Αμήν.
The Latin version is taken verbatim from the Roman Catholic
Church’s “Novus Ordo” version of the Mass (I dislike the terms
“ordinary” and “extraordinary form”), and the Greek version is
adapted from the Orthodox Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which
uses a somewhat longer version:
Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα, τοῦ
Πατρός καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος, νῦν, καὶ ἀεί,
καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. ᾽Αμήν.
For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to
the ages of ages. Amen.
The reason is that our magical practice is a reflection of our private
spiritual life, and there’s much to be gained from maintaining every
possible connection between our private spiritual lives and the
spiritual current flowing from the liturgy of the Church.
Other Theological Issues
The remainder of the LBRP has very few theological issues from an
orthodox Christian standpoint. Three of the names used while
praying the Caim are names of God as found in the Hebrew Bible,
and the fourth is an acronym (technically called a “notarikon”)
expressing a theologically orthodox statement and whose words –
‫לם אֲֹדָני‬
ֺ ‫לע ֺו‬
ְ ‫ּתה ִגּב ֺור‬
ָ ‫ – א‬come from the Jewish daily prayer of
Tefilas Amidah (Hebrew English).
The use of the Pentagrams is in no way a problem for Christian
magicians, as explained thoroughly in my blog post from a week
and a half ago. Feel free to peruse that post if you have any
questions. There’s no issue with the Sign of the Pentagram being
used to invoke or to banish, as the Sign of the Cross is likewise used
to invoke and to banish; theologically I see this question as
adiaphora or “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
The only remaining potential issue is the curious phrase “Behind me
shines the Six-Rayed Star.” Gareth Knight claims this phrase is “an
aspiration one, for it applies in fact only to the Adept beyond the
Tiphareth grade” (A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, Vol.
I, Ch. XXII, n. 19). His reference to the “Tiphareth grade” refers to
the Golden Dawn’s system of “grades,” which were mapped to the
Sefiros of the Tree of Life and the grade “Adeptus Minor” – the
practicing magician – was linked to Tifares.
While the Golden Dawn grade system doesn’t apply to our
discussion, we can apply the reference to Tifares – whose magical
images are The Child, The King, and The Sacrificed God – to a
symbol for Christ as we’ve already discussed above. Likewise the
symbol of the Six-Rayed Star applies to Jesus as well, the “Lion of
the Tribe of Judah.”
In this sense we can retain the wording without problem, with
“Behind me shines” representing that “Christ has got my back,” and
those who choose the later version of “In the column shines” can
understand it as “Christ is working through me.” Both
understanding are valid, and those with questions are recommended
to meditate on Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.

Conclusion: The Revised Ritual


If you’ve survived my rambling thus far, I’d like to present the
version of the ritual as I actually use and teach it. I’ve already
presented it in The Magic of Catholicism and its ecumenical
counterpart Ritual Magic for Conservative Christians, so some of
you may already be familiar:
1. Stand in the center of the room, facing east. Begin by making the
sign of the Cross. As you touch each point, say or vibrate the
doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or English:
Forehead: ָ‫ל‬ ְ ‫ּכי‬
ִ (Ki Lekha, “For Thine is”)
Breast: ‫לּכּות‬
ְ ‫מ‬ַ ‫ה‬ַ (Ha’Malkus, “the Kingdom”)
Left Shoulder: ‫רה‬ ‫הְּגבּו ׇ‬ַ ‫( ַו‬Va-Ha’Gevurah, “and the Power”)
Right Shoulder: ‫לה‬ ‫הְּגֻד ׇ‬ַ ‫( ַו‬Va-Ha’Gedulah, “and the Glory”)
Clasp Hands: ‫מן‬ ֵ ‫א‬
ָ ‫מים‬ ִ ‫ל‬ ָ ‫מי עֹו‬
ֵ ‫ל‬
ְ ‫לעֹו‬
ְ (Le-Olemei Olamim. Amen.
“forever and ever. Amen.”)
2. Go to the east wall of the room. Hold out your right hand and
draw a banishing pentagram, visualizing it in blue flame.
[NOTE: If it’s easier for you, you may also visualize it as a beam of
light, similar to the blade of a lightsaber.]
Once the pentagram is drawn, point your hand at the center and
declare or vibrate: Yod Heh Vav Heh.
3. Holding your arm out, walk in a circle toward the south. As you
walk, visualize an arc of blue flame being created.
4. At the south wall, draw the pentagram again, this time saying:
Adonai.
5. Repeat the process moving toward the west. Eheieh.
6. Repeat the process toward the north. AGLA.
7. Return to the East with your arm outstretched, completing the arc
of blue flame. What you should now have visualized is a circle of
blue flame studded with a blazing pentagram at each of the cardinal
points.
8. Return to the center of the circle, facing east, and stretch your
arms out to your sides with palms upward, such that your body is in
the shape of a cross.
9. Visualize the Archangel Raphael forming outside the circle at the
east, and declare or vibrate: Ante me stat Ráphaël. (Before me is
Raphael.)
10. Visualize the Archangel Gabriel forming outside the circle at the
west, and declare or vibrate: Post me stat Gábriel. (Behind me is
Gabriel.)
11. Visualize the Archangel Michael forming outside the circle at
the south, and declare or vibrate: Ad déxteram meam stat
Míchaël. (At my right hand is Michael.)
12. Visualize the Archangel Uriel forming outside the circle at the
north, and declare or vibrate: Atque ad sínistram meam stat Uriel.
(And at my left hand is Uriel.)
13. Lastly, visualize all this around you, and a brilliant gold-white
six-rayed star at your back. Say:
Circumscríbor cum pentagrammátibus flammántibus, et post
me stella radiórum sex lucet! (About me flame the pentagrams,
and behind me shines the six-rayed star!)
[NOTE: For those who wish to say “In the column shines,” the
Latin would be: “… et in colúmna stella radiróum sex lucet!”]
14. Close the ritual with the Sign of the Cross, as given in step 1.
OPTIONAL: In place of the invocations in steps 9-13, you may
substitute the following formula adapted from The Magic of
Effective Prayer. Say it slowly and with forceful intention,
visualizing each Archangel as you mention their names.
Almighty Living God, in a spirit of thanks I come to you. And I ask
that you place your holy angels to guard and protect me:
Raphael before me,
Gabriel behind me,
Michael at my right hand,
And Uriel at my left.
May your love and protection surround me as a circle of flaming
stars, and above me and below me, within me and without me, may
the power of your Son envelop and increase me as I seek to live
each day in your name. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

So there you have it. My thoughts on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of


the Pentagram, its origins and theological concerns described in
detail, and a revised form (in fact only slightly revised) putting those
theological concerns to bed.