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From "Aarab Zereq" to "Zos Kia Cultus," this is the most up-to-date, comprehensive guide to the history, philosophies, and personalities of Western occultism.
Written by an occult scholar and practitioner with the assistance of hundreds of experts in the field, this volume presents the latest in scholarly research and points out errors in previous writings-revealing truths much more interesting and dramatic than the fictional histories that ...
From "Aarab Zereq" to "Zos Kia Cultus," this is the most up-to-date, comprehensive guide to the history, philosophies, and personalities of Western occultism.
Written by an occult scholar and practitioner with the assistance of hundreds of experts in the field, this volume presents the latest in scholarly research and points out errors in previous writings-revealing truths much more interesting and dramatic than the fictional histories that obscured them.
The New Encyclopedia of the Occult is an invaluable reference guide to magic, alchemy, astrology, divination, Tarot, palmistry, and geomancy; magical orders such as the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucians; important occultists; and religions and spiritual traditions associated with occultism such as Wicca, Thelema, Theosophy, and the modern Pagan movement.
"This is an important source for libraries to have in their collections to assist anyone seeking information about the many aspects of occult traditions." —Booklist
"Greer delivers a well researched, informative, and unbiased encyclopedia... Highly recommended for all public libraries and where interest merits." —Library Journal
COVR Award Winner
A... A... SEE ARGENTEUM ASTRUM.
Aarab Tzereq. (Hebrew AaRB ZRQ,“ravens of dispersion”)
In Cabalistic teaching, the Qlippoth or demonic powers corresponding to Netzach, the seventh Sephirah of the Tree of Life. Their traditional form is that of demon-headed ravens emerging from an erupting volcano,
the latter itself a demonic power named Getzphiel.
Their cortex or realm in the Kingdom of Shells is
Theumiel, and their archdemon is Baal Chanan. SEE
Aatik Yomin. (Hebrew AaThIK IVMIN) “Ancient of
Days,” a title of Kether. SEE KETHER.
Ab. (Hebrew AaB,“darkness, obscurity”) In the Cabala,
the secret name of the world of Atziluth. The numerical values of its letters add up to seventy-two, which is also the sum of IVD HIH VIV HIH, the spelling of the
Tetragrammaton in Atziluth. SEE ATZILUTH; TETRAGRAMMATON.
Abaris. According to legends recounted in ancient
Greek sources, a Scythian magician who possessed a magical arrow that he could ride through the air. He was said to have lived in the time of Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and mystic, and visited the latter at his school in Crotona, Italy. Writers from the eighteenth century onward converted Abaris into a Druid, as part of a claim that Pythagoras had studied with the Druids (or vice versa). SEE DRUIDS; PYTHAGORAS.
Abba. (Hebrew,“father”) In Cabalistic symbolism, a title of the Sephirah Chokmah, and also of the first letter of the Tetragrammaton. SEE CHOKMAH; TETRAGRAMMATON.
Abbadon. (Hebrew ABDVN,“destruction”) The name of a demon, whose attributes have been variously described,
or of a part or level of hell, defined with equal variability. In Cabalistic lore, Abbadon is the name of the sixth hell, which corresponds to the Sephirah Chesed.
SEE HELLS, SEVEN.
Abel. The second son of Adam, according to the Book of Genesis, slain by his brother Cain. In Gnostic thought, Abel became the original of the “psychic” class of humanity, those who had the potential to achieve gnosis but did not have gnosis innately. SEE GNOSTICISM.
Abracadabra. A traditional word of power, used by
Western magicians from classical times to the present.
Written in the following way, it was used in talismans to cure fevers and asthma:
In recent times, Abracadabra has mostly been used by stage magicians. English mage Aleister Crowley (1875
1947) altered the spelling to make it fit his new magical religion of Thelema, and in this new form the word has been much used in the Thelemite community; SEE
ABRAHADABRA. SEE ALSO BARBAROUS NAMES.
Abrahadabra. Aleister Crowley’s reformulation of the older magical name Abracadabra, rewritten to place the name Had—the shorter form of Hadith, the second person of the Thelemite trinity—at its center. SEE CROWLEY,
Abramelin the Mage,The Sacred Magic of. A grimoire preserved in a single eighteenth-century copy in the Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal in Paris. Written in French, it claims to be a translation of a Hebrew original dating from 1458, although scholars have cast doubt on this claim.
According to the long preface, it represents the teachings of a Jewish magician named Abramelin, passed on by him to his student Abraham, and by the latter to his son
Lamech. These teachings, which Abraham describes as the only valid magical system in the world, require the student to devote six months of prayer, repentance, and ritual to obtain the “Knowledge and Conversation of the
Holy Guardian Angel.” After this accomplishment, the student gains the power to command evil spirits through talismans composed of letter combinations.
The Sacred Magic was rediscovered in the late 1890s by
Golden Dawn founder Samuel Mathers (18541918), and
Mathers’ English translation was published in 1898. It has had a major impact on magical thinking ever since, especially through its influence on Aleister Crowley (1875
1947), who used it as the template for much of his own understanding of magic.To this day the idea that magic is or should be directed toward the knowledge and contemplation of one’s Holy Guardian Angel—a concept not found outside this work in older sources—is commonplace in magical writings.
The book itself, however, developed a sinister reputation among occultists in the early part of this century.
Dire accidents and mental imbalance were held to have befallen many of those who owned a copy of the original printing, or who tried to use the talismans contained in it. SEE ALSO HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL. FURTHER READING:
Abrasax. SEE ABRAXAS.
Abraxas. A popular magical deity in the ancient world,
Abraxas (also called Abrasax) was depicted on classical amulet gems as a humanlike figure with a rooster’s head and serpents for feet, wielding a charioteer’s whip. The letters of his name in Greek add up to 365, the number of days in a year, which marked him as a solar deity and a lord of time. SEE GEMATRIA.
In modern times Abraxas has achieved a new popularity by way of the writings of the psychologist Carl Jung,
who gave him a central place in his Gnostic work The
Seven Sermons to the Dead and elsewhere in his writings.
SEE JUNG, CARL GUSTAV.
Abred. In Druidry, one of the Three Worlds; the realm of plant and animal life through which souls journey in the course of their spiritual evolution. Each soul begins its incarnations in the simplest form of single-celled organism,
and progress step by step, learning the lessons of every kind of plant and animal life, until they reach the human level, on the border between Abred and the higher life of Gwynfydd. SEE DRUIDRY; THREE WORLDS.
Abulafia, Abraham. Jewish Cabalist, 1240after 1292.
Born in Saragossa in Spain, he studied the Jewish scriptures and Talmud with his father until the latter’s death in
1258. In 1260 he left Spain for the Holy Land, arriving in the city of Acre, but the outbreak of war between
Christian Crusaders and Arabs forced him to leave. After a short stay in Greece, he went to Capua, Italy, where he encountered a distinguished rabbi, Hillel, who taught him philosophy, particularly the writings of Moses Maimonides.
His travels took him to Rome and then back to
Spain, and it was in Barcelona, in 1271, that “God awakened me from my sleep, and I learned the Sepher Yetzirah and its commentaries,” as he noted in his autobiography.
This occurred under the guidance of Baruch
Togarmi, a Cabalist about whom almost nothing is known. Abulafia’s spiritual awakening ushered in a period of intense mystical experience, during which he wrote several books on the mysteries of the Cabala,
teaching a highly idiosyncratic system of meditation on combinations of Hebrew letters. After this period he claimed prophetic powers, a claim that did not endear him to more orthodox Jews.
In 1279, convinced that God had commanded him to convert Pope Nicholas III to Judaism, he traveled to
Rome, and then to Saronno, where the pope was staying at that time.Word of his mission preceded him, and the pope ordered that he should be seized and burned at the stake if he presented himself for an audience. Abulafia was informed of this, and showed up anyway—to find that the pope had died during the night. He was imprisoned by the Franciscans for a month and then released.
He returned to Barcelona, but in 1280 Rabbi Shlomo ben Adret (12351310), a distinguished legalist and scholar who was also a Cabalist, became chief rabbi of
Barcelona’s Jewish community. Rabbi Shlomo had no time whatsoever for Abulafia’s prophetic claims and denounced him as a fraud and a lunatic. Abulafia moved to
Sicily, living first in Palermo and then in Messina, and gained a number of followers, but here, too, opposition from more orthodox rabbis mounted, and he was forced to move to the little island of Comino, near Malta, where he spent the rest of his life. The date of his death is not known.
Abulafia’s prophetic and messianic claims were too much for most Jews (and even most Cabalists) to swallow during his lifetime, but his writings on the Derek ha-Shemoth
or “Way of the Names,” his methods of contemplation using combinations of the Hebrew letters, were gradually adopted in Cabalistic circles in the century after his death. SEE ALSO CABALA; HEBREW ALPHABET. FURTHER
READING: IDEL 1988, A. KAPLAN 1982, SCHOLEM
Ac. (Old English, “oak”) The twenty-fifth rune of the
Anglo-Saxon futhorc, described in the Old English runepoem as “fodder for pigs and timber for ships on spearsharp seas.” It represents the sound ai. SEE ALSO ANGLOSAXON
Achad, Frater. ( Jones, Charles Stansfield) Canadian occultist,
18861950. Born in London, the son of an engineer,
he ran a tobacco shop as a young man while studying accounting. In 1906, he started investigating spiritualism with an eye to debunking it, but in the process developed an interest in the occult. This led him to Aleister
Crowley’s magical order, the Argenteum Astrum (A...A...),
which he joined as a Probationer in 1909. Moving to
Canada in 1910, he continued his studies with Crowley’s associate J. F. C. Fuller. He was initiated into Crowley’s other magical order, the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO),
in 1911, and proceeded to found the first OTO lodge in
North America, Agape Lodge, in 1914. SEE ORDO TEMPLI
Their correspondence, and Crowley’s visit to Vancouver in 1915, greatly impressed Crowley with Jones’ mastery of Cabala. The younger man’s interpretation of a cryptic passage in the Book of the Law led Crowley to acclaim the younger man as his “magical son.”
Under Crowley’s tutelage, Jones progressed to the grade of Magister Templi in the A...A..., and his work was serialized in Crowley’s periodical The Equinox under the title “A Master of the Temple.” In 1921, he became head of the Ordo Templi Orientis for North America,
receiving a charter from OTO head Theodor Reuss, and for a time was involved in the Byzantine politics of that order. Like nearly all of Crowley’s disciples, though, Jones found it impossible to put up with the Beast for long, and his approach to the Cabala also moved in directions incompatible with Crowley’s own opinions.
As a result of his Cabalistic studies, Jones devised an entirely new set of attributions of the tarot trumps to the Tree of Life, and thus a distinctive Cabala, which is still used by some magicians today. His attributions are as follows:
The Fool. Path: 11. Letter: Aleph.
The Magician. Path: 12. Letter: Beth.
The High Priestess. Path: 13. Letter: Gimel.
The Empress. Path: 14. Letter: Daleth.
The Emperor. Path: 15. Letter: Heh.
Achad, Frater 3
The Hierophant. Path: 16. Letter: Vau.
The Lovers. Path: 17. Letter: Zayin.
The Chariot. Path: 18. Letter: Cheth.
Strength. Path: 19. Letter: Teth.
The Hermit. Path: 20. Letter: Yod.
Wheel of Fortune. Path: 21. Letter: Kaph.
Justice. Path: 22. Letter: Lamed.
The Hanged Man. Path: 23. Letter: Mem.
Death. Path: 24. Letter: Nun.
Temperance. Path: 25. Letter: Samech.
The Devil. Path: 26. Letter: Ayin.
The Tower. Path: 27. Letter: Peh.
The Star. Path: 28. Letter: Tzaddi.
The Moon. Path: 29. Letter: Qoph.
The Sun. Path: 30. Letter: Resh.
Judgement. Path: 31. Letter: Shin.
The Universe. Path: 32. Letter: Tau.
After his attainment of the Magister Templi grade,
Jones returned briefly to England and joined the Roman
Catholic Church in an attempt to convince Catholics to accept Crowley’s Law of Thelema. This had predictably little effect, and he returned to Vancouver, where he wandered about the streets for a time dressed only in a raincoat,
which he threw off in public, proclaiming that he had cast aside all the veils of illusion. This led to a brief stay in a mental institution.
In the 1920s Jones lived in Detroit and New York,
and wrote several books expounding his system of Cabalistic mysticism, including Q. B. L., or the Bride’s Reception
(1923); Chalice of Ecstasy (1923), a study of the mystical dimensions of Wagner’s opera Parsifal; and The Anatomy of the Body of God (1925), a study of the geometries of the
Tree of Life. He was back in British Columbia by 1930,
and gradually became convinced that Crowley had failed to proclaim the Word of the Aeon of Horus, and that he himself was destined to proclaim a different aeon, that of
Maat or Ma-Ion. A series of mystical experiences in the
1930s and 1940s convinced him of this mission, and in
April 1948, Jones formally announced that the New
Aeon had arrived. He started a magical order called the
Fellowship of Ma-Ion, devoted to the coming “Ma-Ion era of truth and justice,” which survived his death and still has lodges in North America. SEE ALSO CROWLEY,
Acquisitio. (Latin,“gain”) A geomantic figure governed by Jupiter. Acquisitio signifies good fortune, especially in practical matters. SEE GEOMANCY.
Geomantic figure Acquisitio
Adam. (Hebrew ADM, “red”) In the Book of Genesis and later Jewish and Christian tradition, the first human being, created by God on the sixth day of Creation. The orthodox account holds that he was created out of the dust of the earth. In the accounts of Gnosticism, the Cabala,
and many other occult traditions, by contrast, Adam at his making was a luminous spiritual being possessed of nearly divine qualities.
A legend much repeated in the Middle Ages held that
Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, returned to the gate of the Garden of Eden and received from the angelic guardians three seeds from the Tree of Life. When Adam died, Seth placed these three seeds in the mouth of the corpse before its burial. From the seeds grew a tree
which, after many other adventures, provided the wood for the cross on which Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.
In later Cabalistic writing, Adam is often interpreted as humanity as a whole, sometimes as a collection of souls, sometimes as a single entity—the so-called Adam
Qadmon or “Primordial Adam”—of whom each human soul is a miniscule part. SEE ALSO EVE; FALL, THE.
Adamah. (Hebrew ADMH, “red clay”) The second of the seven earths of Cabalistic lore, corresponding to
Chesed. SEE EARTHS, SEVEN.
adept. (from Latin adeptus, “skillful”) In most systems of
Western occult thought, a title or grade used for (and by)
advanced students of magic, alchemy, and other occult subjects. In alchemical tradition, only those capable of making the Philosopher’s Stone were considered adepts.
SEE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE. In modern ceremonial magic, similarly, the title is usually reserved for those who have penetrated the Veil of the Sanctuary and entered into contact with their Higher Genius or Holy Guardian
Angel. SEE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL.
Some confusion has been caused over the years by the use of “adept” in occult lodges as a grade of initiation,
since those who have passed through a given grade ritual may or may not have attained the spiritual experience that grade represents. As a result, the term has passed out of use in many parts of the magical community, except as a label for these grades. SEE ALSO MASTERS.
Adeptus Exemptus. The ninth grade in the Golden
Dawn system of initiation, corresponding with the
Sephirah Chesed. SEE CHESED; GOLDEN DAWN, HERMETIC
ORDER OF THE.
Adeptus Major. The eighth grade in the Golden Dawn system of initiation, corresponding to the Sephirah
Geburah. SEE GEBURAH; GOLDEN DAWN, HERMETIC
ORDER OF THE.
Adeptus Minor. The seventh grade in the Golden Dawn system of initiation, corresponding to the Sephirah
Tiphareth. This was the highest grade generally worked in Golden Dawn temples, and its initiation ritual—which takes place in a reconstruction of the Vault of Christian
Rosencreutz—is considered by many to be the best of the Golden Dawn grade ceremonies. SEE GOLDEN DAWN,
HERMETIC ORDER OF THE; TIPHARETH.
ADF. SEE AR NDRAIOCHT FEIN.
Adocentyn. In the Picatrix, an Arabic manual of Hermetic magic much used in medieval and Renaissance
Europe, a walled city said to have been built by Hermes
Trismegistus in the east of Egypt, its four gates guarded by talking magical statues, its citadel topped with a lighthouse tower that illuminated the city with one of the seven planetary colors, and its walls engraved with magical images that kept the inhabitants virtuous and safe from harm. The city of Adocentyn seems to have inspired many of the Hermetic Utopian schemes of the later Renaissance, such as Campanella’s City of the Sun
and J. V. Andreae’s Christianopolis. SEE ALSO HERMETICISM;
PICATRIX. FURTHER READING: YATES 1964.
Adonai. (Hebrew ADNI,“Lord”) One of the traditional
Hebrew names of God, usually assigned to the tenth
Sephirah of the Tree of Life, Malkuth. In reading the
Bible aloud in Jewish religious services, this name is used whenever the text gives YHVH, the Tetragrammaton,
which is considered too sacred to vocalize. SEE TETRAGRAMMATON.
Adonai was among the first of the Jewish divine names to be taken up by non-Jewish magicians, and appears frequently in classical magical texts such as the
Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri. SEE GRAECO-EGYPTIAN
MAGICAL PAPYRI. The relation of this name to the God of the Old Testament was sometimes remembered and sometimes completely forgotten; in some sources, Adonai or Adonaios is an angel, in others an independent divine being, and in still others an archon—that is, a power of ignorance or evil. SEE ALSO CABALA.
Adonai ha-Aretz. (Hebrew,“Lord of Earth”) In Cabala,
one of two divine names attributed to the Sephirah
Malkuth; the other is Adonai Malak. SEE MALKUTH.
Adonai Malak. (Hebrew,“Lord King”) In Cabala, one of two divine names attributed to the Sephirah Malkuth;
the other is Adonai ha-Aretz. SEE MALKUTH.
Adonai Malak 5
Adoptive Masonry. Any of several quasi-Masonic lodge systems for women, usually organized and run by male
Freemasons. Many such systems came into existence in the eighteenth century, spurred by the success of the
Mopses and other orders open to both genders. The
Grand Orient of France in 1774 organized these into a rite of three degrees called the Rite of Adoption.
In the United States, the Order of the Eastern Star is the most popular adoptive rite, although there are several others. None of these rites seems to have included much in the way of occult content, but adoptive lodges once played an important role in training women in initiatory ritual and lodge management—skills that were sometimes put to use in more explicitly magical contexts. SEE
ALSO EASTERN STAR, ORDER OF THE; FREEMASONRY;
MOPSES, ORDER OF.
adytum. In ancient Greek and Roman religion, a shrine built into the basement level of a temple and used for ceremonies not open to the general public. The term has been used in several occult organizations, either as a synonym for “temple” or in a more metaphorical sense. SEE
BUILDERS OF THE ADYTUM (BOTA).
aeon. (Greek aion,“age,world”) A word with several different meanings in the occult traditions of the West. In
Gnosticism and related traditions, the aeons were the powers of the transcendent spiritual realms of being,
often equated with the stars or constellations of the zodiac.
The aeons were distinct from and opposed to the archons, the diabolical and ignorant planetary powers of the corrupt created world in which human souls are now imprisoned. SEE GNOSTICISM.
In some sources, including the Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri, Aeon or Aion is a god, the ruler of eternity,
and may be a Greek version of the Zoroastrian supreme god Zurvan Ahankara, lord of time.
In Thelema, the religious and magical system devised by Aleister Crowley, an aeon is a period of some two thousand years governed by a particular divine force. According to Crowley, the revelation of the Book of the Law
in 1904 marked the end of the Aeon of Osiris and the coming of the Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering
Child. SEE THELEMA.
On Crowley’s death in 1947, Crowley’s student and erstwhile “magical son” Charles Stansfield Jones announced that since Crowley had failed to properly proclaim the Word of the Aeon, the Aeon of Horus was cancelled; Jones then proclaimed a different new aeon,
that of Maat, Goddess of Justice. SEE ACHAD, FRATER.
Posted April 6, 2009
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