Meet Wilson Van Dusen

April 30, 2007 by  
Filed under magick

Meet Wilson Van Dusen

Van Dusen was a lucky find for me. He crept up on me unexpectedly as I stumbled across a few copies of the old (and rare, in the days before the internet) Psychedelic Review. Both of the copies I bought that day were well-thumbed and bore a ball-point inscription that read something like, “This belongs to Inner Space-mo-naut Allen Z-Berg. . . The Z!” The fact that it fairly reeked of core materials from the 60’s psychedelic underground didn’t prepare me for the scholarly articles I found within, one of which was titled “Hallucinations as the World of Spirits,” by Wilson Van Dusen. I took it at first glance to be a sort of review of shamanic traditions as they might relate to psychotropic substances, but a few lines into it, that notion was dispelled.

It seems that Van Dusen was a clinical psychologist in a state mental hospital in the ’60s and, out of purely personal interest, he began to catalogue the hallucinations of the inmates there, ultimately deriving a new form of therapy for those so beset. Once obtaining the trust and permission of a given patient, he would create a dialogue between the patient’s hallucination and himself, using the patient to relay the dialogue. Van Dusen was consistently struck by several things, the first of which is that most of these people, at least by their history, didn’t seem especially mad but relatively normal folks thrust into maddening circumstances. He started to question the popular belief that “crazy people see and hear things that aren’t there,” and came to believe instead that these patients began to see and hear things that “weren’t supposed to be there” and were driven mad by having to deal with that. All in all, he found this a more useful model for effecting an ultimate cure, or at least an effective coping mechanism.

He also noticed that, despite the fact that he interviewed several hundred people, he learned very little that was new after the first twenty, which made him feel that he was mapping the sort of cross-class, cross cultural territory common to us all, or perhaps part of a shared unconscious. A consistent finding was that the patients felt they had made contact with beings from another planet, plane of existence, etc. and objected to the term “hallucination” most strenuously. There was so little difference between the hallucinations of schizophrenics, alcoholics, the brain damaged and the senile that Van Dusen felt that he could deal with them in broad and general terms.

Perhaps the most important thing he noticed was that the contents and quality of his patients’ hallucinations were incredibly similar to those of a man whom Van Dusen had been studying for years, a fellow by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg. He was reminded that Swedendorg had suffered a bout of hallucinosis during some spectacularly harrowing passage of his life and had journalized it in detail, eventually finding his way out of that Deep Dark Woods. Because Van Dusen’s name has become so closely associated with Swedenborg and the foundation that exists to popularize and commemorate his ideas, it would be good to step away from our main text long enough to describe who this curious man was, in Van Dusen’s words (and with plenty of ellipsis, as Van Dusen is not brief):

“Emanuel Swedenborg, who lived from 1688 to 1782, was one of the last men to encompass practically all of human knowledge. Just as an example, he was fluent in 9 languages, wrote 150 works in 17 sciences, was expert in at least seven crafts, was a musician, member of parliament and a mining engineer. Among many scientific accomplishments he first propounded the nebular hypothesis, did the first exhaustive works on metallurgy, wrote on algebra and calculus, found the function of several areas of the brain, and ductless glands, suggested the particle structure of magnets, designed a glider and an undersea boat, engineered the world’s largest dry dock, etc. . .

“. . . But having mastered all of the physical sciences he then took on psychology and religion. . . He probably explored the hypnogogic state more than any other man has before or since. In this region he broke through into the spiritual world. . . which he candidly described in one of his 32 religious volumes titled Heaven and Hell. . . He estranged the religious by not supporting any one religion while talking of the root values which underlie all religions. He was tried as a heretic and his works banned in his native Sweden. . . He gradually became relatively unknown except for a small group of followers in many countries who continue to study his works.”

Unfortunately, we can only touch upon the life of this man, due to the sheer volume of his output, a rewarding study in itself. Swedenborg’s output was so large, in fact, that it handily takes quite a number of people of Van Dusen’s insight to even begin to encompass him, so I’ll not embarrass myself by trying.

In his study of the hallucinatory disorders of mental patients, Van Dusen was the phenomenologist’s phenomenologist, offering no opinion on the validity of his patients’ perceptions, but instead chronicled their experiences very carefully. Most patients were beset by bickering, catcalling, and humiliating voices which at times went so far as to claim to be demonic. For convenience, he terms them “lower order” voices and says of them, “Lower order voices are as though one is dealing with drunken bums at a bar who like to tease and torment just for the fun of it. They will suggest lewd acts and then scold the patient for considering them. They will find a weak point of conscience and work on it interminably. . . The most devastating experience of all is to be shouted at constantly by dozens of voices. When this occurred the patient had to be sedated.”

Too, he noted that “the range of ideas of the lower order is limited. . . they never have a personal identity though they accept most names or identities given to them. . . One voice just said “hey” for months while the patient tried to figure out what “hey” or “hay” was meant. . . They seem imprisoned in the lowest level of the patient’s mind, giving no real evidence of a personal world or any higher order thinking or experiencing.”

Contrasting this lower order is a higher order, a completely different modality of consciousness that seemed to flicker like a dim light through the anguish of his patients, an almost angelic presence. Of these voices, Van Dusen remarks, “In quantity, they make up perhaps a fifth or less of the patients’ experience. . . The higher order is much more likely to be symbolic, religious, supportive, genuinely instructive. . . I’ve learned to help the patient approach the higher order because of its great power to broaden the individual’s values. . . It almost looks like Carl Jung’s archetypes, whereas the lower order looks like Freud’s Id. In contrast to the lower order it thinks in something like universal ideas in ways that are richer and more complex than the patient’s own mode of thought.”

The higher order seemed to be aware of the lower order but the reverse was not true. In fact, the higher order stated on several occasions and through several patients that “the usefulness of the lower order is to illustrate and make conscious the patient’s weaknesses and faults.” It is also worthy of note that the lower orders of voices were distinctly anti-religious in tone while the higher orders appeared “strangely gifted, sensitive, wise and religious. They did not conceal identity but rather would have an identity above the human. . .”

If this research doesn’t prick up the ears of every ceremonial magician worth his or her salt (ahem), I don’t know what might! I’ve long touted the notion that ASCs, OOBEs, UFOs and ordinary madness ought to be subjected to the same simple phenomenological filters, and now I can present to your awareness a man who has made this his life’s work. “My love of life is to explore mysticism and explore other mystics and make discoveries and then report them back to others. That is my task and that is what I love doing,” he told Michael Toms in a 2001 interview.

Two books stand out for the ceremonialist, The Presence of Other Worlds and The Natural Depth in Man, both of which seek to explore the seeming depthlessness of human consciousness, mostly through the lens of Emanual Swedenborg’s life, but illuminated by Van Dusen’s patient wit and probing understanding. In The Presence of Other Worlds, he shows us Swedenborg’s insistence upon the nature of correspondences and how all things are echoed throughout man and the universe in a way that presages our current notion of a holographic universe. While he is not aiming his works at a metaphysically informed audience, he demonstrates a solid understanding of occult principles and lore, familiarizing the reader with a modern psychologist’s view of the Tarot and the I Ching, describing them as storehouses of images from the collective unconscious. Van Dusen’s real talent lies in how he is able to do this without insult to the reader, nor injury to the subject — something I wish other scholarly writers could manage.

VanDusen’s contribution to human understanding goes beyond his effusive detailing of the life of Emanuel Swedenborg, fortunately. VanDusen’s own words are a treasure trove of wisdom, synthesized from his own personal experience as a clinical psychiatrist, specializing in schizophrenia, with a special reference to the human potential for the experience of God. He is in many ways, a modern Gnostic. As a writer, we can see his later books focus on a notion of a Universal Spirit, which transcends cultural and doctrinal differences.

The real problem with understanding him in his own right can best be solved by seeking out tapes of his lectures and interviews, where we see a great deal more of Van Dusen and a bit less of Swedenborg.

The only complaint I could raise would have to do with his reluctance to provide conclusions or at least show some possible models for the phenomena under study. His work often reads more like poetry, asking “what if?”, but that’s understandable, I suppose, in a man who has earned a good part of his reputation in conservative academia.

Over his lifetime, Van Dusen began to realize that the natural and normal depth of human experience wasn’t being described, and was perhaps even being proscribed by our culture and at our peril. His books address this in a variety of ways, most of which stem from his work with the Swedenborg foundation, and all of which are of vital interest to folks who would walk the sorts of paths we do. And, since he’s very much on the fringes of nearly all contemporary thought, he’s kind of hard to track down. Many of his books are in and out of print randomly and he is (if still living) very old and doing very few interviews. In the long glance of History, I can almost see this guy going the way of Dr.Timothy Leary, whose brilliant early work at the Kaiser institute is utterly over-shadowed by his later career as America’s 1st LSD guru/standup philosopher. But then, to be overshadowed by the study of a man of such stature as Swedenborg is not too bad a thing.

The following bibliography and collection of links should give you a grasp of what’s to be had from this fascinating fellow’s career.


  • Van Dusen was a radio interview guest on the New Dimensions show and a copy/transcript of that can be had cheaply from their website.
  • “Hallucinations and the World of Spirits,” Psychedelic Review Number 11, 1971 is online at the Psychedelic Review Archives which you can acquire there as a pdf.
  • While I couldn’t find a complete bibliography of Van Dusen’s works, the following list represents the bulk of the non-editorial work still available:
  • The Natural Depth in Man. Swedenborg Foundation (June 1972) ISBN-10: 0877851654
  • God/man Communication: Modern Findings on Swedenborg’s Correspondences. Swedenborg Foundation (1982) ASIN: B00073AGHM
  • Uses: A Way of Personal and Spiritual Growth. Swedenborg Foundation, Inc (1983) ASIN: B00072P8YO
  • The Country of Spirit: Selected Writings. J. Appleseed & Co (1992) ISBN-10: 0962679526
  • Testimony to the Invisible: Essays on Swedenborg. Chrysalis Books (October 1995) ISBN-10: 0877851492
  • Returning to the Source: The Way to the Experience of God. Real People Press (June 1996) ISBN-10: 0911226370
  • Beauty, Wonder, and the Mystical Mind. Chrysalis Books (September 1999) ISBN-10: 0877853886
  • The Design of Existence: Emanation from Source to Creation Chrysalis Books (May 1, 2001) ISBN-10: 0877853940
  • Just Beyond the Physical World. Authorhouse (August 2002) ISBN-10: 075969866X
  • The Presence of Other Worlds: The Psychological/Spiritual Findings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Chrysalis Books; 2nd edition (July 30, 2004) ISBN-10: 0877853126
  • A page of Swedenborg resources (including the work Heaven and Hell, mentioned above) can be found at
  • A collection of lectures recorded 1968-69 at Esalen and elsewhere are sold big Big Sur Tapes.
  • ©2007 Frater Auxilior Arti. Edited by Sheta Kaey.

    Frater Auxilior Arti (nee Fr. Adsum Iterum) is an initiate of the Astrum Sophia, co-founder of the Companions of the Glyph and author of the Book of the Glyph and PRAXIS: The 2nd Book of the Glyph. A life-long student of the paranormal, he brings a scientific/Fortean viewpoint to the subject, a thing he feels is sadly neglected. You can find his Facebook page here.

The Inner Storyteller: Experiments in Active Imagination

The Inner Storyteller: Experiments in Active Imagination

I intend to describe in this article a fundamental technique of Hermetic Theurgy that I have developed over the last 20 years, and with any luck the reader will find in my words something of value for themselves. It’s probably best to describe it as “active imagination” as Carl Jung coined the term. Jung noticed that he could find revealing and non-self-gratifying imagery just below the surface of the mind, by making a suggestion to himself and then sitting quietly to see what might develop in his thinking. He found that if he did not steer his thoughts in any particular direction, merely sat as a passive viewer of what his mind might show him, many wondrous things would arise, including solutions to troublesome problems, intuitions, insights into his own nature (and those of others), often with a wash of curiosities that would set him to further pondering. Stillness, of course, is they key. While I have not meditated as often as I probably should, I have heard stories from others using Transcendental Meditation and related techniques about this very thing. Of course, most meditation practices of an Eastern flavor tend to warn against following these story lines and vistas too far, as they are a hindrance to the stillness of mind the meditator desires. I propose that these stories and vistas of imagination can be a key to unlocking the inner area of the deep mind and a conduit for conversation with one’s Holy Guardian Angel (HGA).

I do not say this lightly. About 22 years ago I had a long and intense conversation with the being who is very much in charge of my destiny, and I took the time to write down what I can remember of it in my book Biting Through. What was then a very direct conversation with what seemed like another, infinitely wiser intelligence is now little more than a memory that from time to time provides me with the most startling of insights and memories, typically when I need them the most. It stands to reason that other folks can access this part of their consciousness too, and so long as one doesn’t take it as gospel truth (the revelations are often highly symbolic), one shouldn’t get into much trouble. The caveat here is to keep an open mind and try not to decide that a certain experience means this or that thing. One should merely observe, keep an open mind, and look for the full depth of any possible truths as they might arise later.

We’ve lightly brushed on the key of it here — the suspension of judgement. I once read a book called Applied Imagination, which recommended a nonjudgmental approach to creative problem solving, as it seems that instant judgement of a thought or an idea is enough to derail it from its true course. This book told of a group of problem solvers in a highly productive think tank atmosphere and noted that these people wrote down all ideas that occurred to them, regardless of how silly or inappropriate they might have initially seemed. By this method, they were rewarded with a greater number of creative solutions that might have gone unnoticed had they been squelched promptly. It was as if the free-ranging creative process needed impropriety, silliness and whimsy to operate correctly and to arrive by whatever crooked path at useful solutions. It is much the same way with active imagination — one doesn’t discard the odd bits of imagery or data that float by the mind’s eye; one merely accepts it and remembers it long enough to write it down later. There will be both signal and noise, to be certain, and often layers of meaning that are not initially apparent and that will require the passage of time to understand in greater depth. Much of it will resemble poetry, with unusually linked ideas or foreshortened concepts that seem important pieces of an incomplete picture. When it’s really happening in a big way, and one has the ability to surrender to it and simply write or speak what comes, as it comes, one is directly in the groove, as they say.

This technique has direct application for magical practice, especially with the meditations that happen in connection with the Star Rites or with the Contact of the Power Deeps in the matter of Planetary Magick. The ritual serves to formalize the business of being on the receiving end of a transmission from the deep mind, just as the invocation serves to focus its content. It’s a simple formula really — magically clear the space by casting a circle or setting the wards, tune your mind to the frequency of the matter by invocations and orisons, then still your mind to the degree that somewhere between the chatterings of the “monkey mind,” other data emerge. With time and practice and patient retrospection at a later date, story lines can emerge. While entertaining, these story lines say a whole lot about what is happening inside of one’s head, and in a way not normally encountered by ordinary rational thinking.

Speaking of ordinary thinking, it is good to know that sometimes this data comes in large packets . . . It is difficult to describe exactly, but I’ll say what I can about it. “Normal” creative problem solving (at least as it happens in my mind) typically proceeds from one concept to the next in more or less straight lines, each idea depending in some way upon the one before it. Occasionally, one has a Eureka! moment where some intuition allows one to assemble observations and facts in a very different and productive way, not unlike the story of Archimedes at his bath. For those that do not know the story, it is sufficiently illustrative to retell here.

The regent d´jour of Archimedes’ time was having a royal crown made and he did not trust the maker completely, so he beseeched Archimedes to find a way to learn whether or not the maker had made the crown from the all of the gold supplied to him for the task and had not transferred some of it into his pocket. Of course, weighing the initial gold and the resulting crown would seem a ready test, but it’s quite possible that, say, lead could be used, then gilded such that it would not be noticed without sawing into the crown and looking for it. Puzzling over how this might be accomplished, Archimedes slipped into a hot bath to soak for a while, and noticed that the water rose a bit more than it once did, doubtless due to the dreaded middle-age spread. So far, so good — he had all the data he started out with for this equation, but he suddenly saw it in a different way. He realized that the initial gold displaced a certain amount of water and would do so whether it was formed into a brick or a crown. If lead was introduced (and gold subtracted from the crown) it would displace a different amount of water, even though care may be taken to make it weigh the same. It was at this point that the cry of “Eureka!” sprang from his lips and he ran naked into the street to shout about it, the story goes.

This eureka moment may happen from time to time in creative visualization, but I’d like to introduce the reader to a slightly more bizarre concept, the story-all-at-once phenomenon. The only other time I’ve even heard of the notion was from the late Ben Rowe’s (Josh Norton) web site accounts of his scrying into the Enochian Aethers. He wrote that sometimes he would receive discrete packages of information of which reception he was aware, that would unfold over time and present entire catalogs of information to him, seemingly all at once. The analogy I like to make to describe this thought process is this: Imagine you have a large collection of small, symbolically interrelated objects in a simple, starchy sort of handkerchief, corners held together as a loose bundle. You drop it on a table and it lays open all at once, exposing the objects. Imagine too that you instantly apprehend not just the meanings of the individual objects, but also perceive how they are interrelated with each other and even what sort of relationship they have with each other in Time. Clear as mud?

History Trips

In terms of the active imagination this articles tries to describe, it’s a bit like drinking out of a firehose. Imagine that, for a moment, you can be behind someone else’s eyes, experience the observations of their senses, reach into the their memories and the swirl of emotions that lurk just beneath thought, the hopes and fears . . . This information from the active imagination can sometimes take that shape, just as certain rich and deeply integral dreams can. The following is an excerpt from Passage D´aur (annotated), a book of writings that describes one such instance.

For ever so few moments, I felt as if I were in the mind of a court minstrel, called to a place to play a sort of role-playing game which was instituted by the Comte of that Court, and which was resounding in a social way throughout the land. Parties were held, ranging from summer picnics to gala balls and it amounted to us poor lads from the neighboring villages and shires, who were sufficiently schooled in the arte musicale to make this calling, going there as a seeming wooing of the ladies that were presented to us. This was no Pagan feast of flesh, I assure you!

This game had rules and had a framework in which these rules might be bent with a perfect cover to a real expression of the game, happening in it’s midst, as it were. While we were most of all boys and young men of no greater fortune than our poor academies can produce, some were young men of foreign courts (or so ’tis said) who come to gaze upon their prospective.

There is a dimension of this game that is just beginning to dawn on me. I was told but I did not understand at first. They say that a man’s soul is female and that is why Botticelli and others paint in the obscure symbols they seem to prefer. They further indicate that praise of the Soul is praise of God and so we are acting in a kind of mummery with song and dance to praise our very Souls, as played by the young ladies of the court and whatever Great Aunt’s Handmaiden might gift her way in. It not only made men of us, but made men of others, by hearing our songs, borne of the praise of the most ancient of Beauties, ever expressing itself in the flower of the present, and filling in those short spans of time between songs sung of War, daring-do and the generally mad howling of apes that otherwise constitutes the music of our streets.

Annotation: It was very real and very personal but nothing like the contents of my ordinary life. I felt as if I were in another’s mind for the space of a few moments and that I had access to everything they knew about the world around them and the moment they were soon to face. Of course, as a bit of a minstrel myself and with an interest in the courtly traditions, I’ve read about some of this, but the depth of what was there to see and feel was breathtaking. Of course, it is an extension of a discussion I’d had with [someone] about being in touch with my anima which I had countered with an illumination about the feminine nature of the soul, as viewed by Dante and his ilk.

Ultimately, these words are but an impoverished sketch of what took place in my mind for those very few moments, for I could hear, taste, see and feel my surroundings and I could think back to my not-so-happy home in a village an unknown distance away. I could almost hang names on dozens of faces of people I’ve certainly never met in this life. Have I touched upon a past life, I wonder? Or is my deep mind wrapping up an answer in fairy-tale clothing with an astonishing depth of scenery? I still don’t know, but am open to any possibility, including attempting to dig out some corroborating evidence of an equally dodgy nature via past life regression hypnosis. Of course, this proves nothing but can add dimension to the study of a given story, by which one might unravel the reason it was presented in the first place.

Another time I beheld a story the setting of which seems close the A.S. current, even if only for its perceived ancient Florentine location:

I enter a chamber at a friend’s or relative’s house and I observe a chessboard. I know that the arrangement of the chessboard is not a game in progress as such, but it represents the deliberate arrangement of pieces in such a way as to describe a situation that he has called me there of which to learn. It is likely that he has guests of some sort and his are the sort of guests that do not need to hear of our news as they are far too central to its power and promise.

Our Uncle is the Duke, and his wife the Duchess, so I expect to see them as the King and Queen of the color opposite the doorway into this room. Their adviser is the Abess of (. . .) who came to this court from the Duchess’s family, so she is the Queen’s Bishop of course. I see that both knights are on the King’s side of the board and that they oppose the other side’s King’s bishop and by that I learn that Charles and Rodney are at odds with the Bishop of (. . .), but I also see that the opposite Queen holds the King in check, and that was what I was there to see. There is a curious pattern of [rooks] that suggests they are moving to cover their Lords, but I cannot discern more without some clues. Ignoring guests, I select a pawn and move it one step to the lateral edge of the game to show that I understood most of what was being presented to me, then I repositioned the knights in such a way as it seemed a whole lot more natural than the result of the tour upon which they had been supposed to ride. It is a game to fight the spies.

I don’t really know who I was in this story, only that my uncle was a powerful and rich man and that my loose lips might sink their ship which necessitated that my cousin (whom I was visiting) and I played a code-game upon the chess set that resided in the drawing room of this mansion. The pieces represented different members of our extended family and showed their current political relationships. My movement of the pieces indicated that I understood the message. I felt as if my cousin could enter the room at any moment and we might play a few turns to provide cover for our communications.

Nikito and Eshabirodja

These scenes are but deep moments in a reverie, but the storytelling function can take on a large scale, offering key moments in the history of a whole life, it would seem. Such is the tale of Nikito and Eshabirodja. Fair warning: this story is terribly personal and rather sad. It has features I’ve never encountered before in my active imagination and they are well worth pointing out. Like much of Passage d’Aur, this story came in direct response to my seeking a greater depth of information in my real life, for I had come to hold a deep and unexpected attraction for someone I have known for many years and was aware over the entire course of time (in which we came to deal with it productively) that there was a pronounced spiritual or karmic dimension to it. Naturally, I wanted to explore that and I felt that my exercises in active imagination might open up some new vistas. I was not disappointed. Bits and pieces of this story came to me over many months.

This place was black almost all the time, else black on gray with some fitful snow. We kept a hearth going on every hour of every day and the aroma of our scat fuel permeated everything and seemed to do so for generations into our past. There was a gentle slope to the river and our living was made from that river, but I can only guess how . . . fish maybe . . . and there may have been beaver or other furs . . .

I think it was a summer camp, an ancestral place where we stayed in that season. It was the only time we had alone. At our other home we lived in the lodge with all the others. On our bitter cold journeys by the river, I came to know you as I know you now. You were called Eshabirodja, for the delight you brought to our repast.

We kept to that way as we grew very old and were venerated, then taken for granted, then ignored. We did what we said we would do and spent ourselves to our last days giving the Salmon to the Family.

This is the first time I ever really felt I got more than mental pictures from this exercise. This time I heard the wind blow, smelled the smoke from turd-fires, and heard her laughter and someone call her name as she came down the lane towards me. It sounded Russian and I thought the caller said something that sounded like “Siberia.” I listen carefully and the name was repeated with different stresses, but still sounded oddly familiar. When I wrote down the name the way it must be spelled and puzzled over why it might be so, I quickly discovered that an actual person’s name was buried amongst it, the letters appearing in exactly the same order as they do in my love’s real name, and that this was the person I was asking about. Typical stuff from the puzzle-maker of my unconscious mind, come to think of it. Thinking about it later, I sorted this out into 2 boxes, one being labeled “past life, mine or someone else’s,” and one being labeled “symbolic story from the unconscious.” I still have no good tools to figure out which words to put in which box. In no event do I believe that the puzzle of the name is anything but my deep mind telling me that this story is about her after some fashion and I’d better pay it some attention. I didn’t know how far it would go. I kept drilling away at it, trying to get some sense of my own name or the name of this place or of my tribe or time but all I got was a collection of letters that could’ve meant anything: N . . . k . . . i? Nicholas? Nikita? It took awhile, but I think I came close.

We sat at the edge of the river and dropped our stakes. I thought about how you are and how you look and that made me think about how I see. Uncle Shadow-vision told me something a long time ago about how he sees, part in color and part in black and white, and I wondered if something like that could make people see different faces on others or maybe not be able to tell anyone apart? I told him that I once mistook someone else for him and called him by that name, but he just said, “I ain’t yer ‘Uncle Scatter-vision.’ Scram!

After awhile, I get up to pee, and I see that it is I that has put your line out for you, even if you are not here to tend it. When I got back, I rolled up a bomber and sat smoking it while the bats started to come out of the trees that hugged the wide bend in the river. The tops of them were touched with the same pink fire that licked across the ragged horizon.

Nikito is back on the river with Eshabirodja here, but it changes to a memory of my own, seen through the eyes of another. The bomber seems like an invasive thought, or just my word for Nikito was doing.

The moon wasn’t up yet, but when it did come up, I knew I would be reminded of a certain thing. I once actually talked to someone who knew what I was talking about — the sight of the moon passing from cloud to cloud and drawing a silver veil over the things you see so that they seem to change. I remember the night I had my first woman, I held her on the couch where the window was, so we could both feel the restless wind that breathed there in the hot summer, the only cool place just then. She had blond hair and blue eyes but she didn’t look bad at all for a White woman. I did not look at her for very long just then, but even as I did for just a short time, I saw that her face looked a lot like another girl I knew when I was in The School at Madras and again like someone else, a teacher I had. For a minute or two it seemed like she could be just anybody . . . anybody. What a blessing, I thought.

It’s worth pointing out, as I have done in the annotation above, that there is indeed signal and noise and one cannot often tell which is which. If I have no word for what someone is doing or what sort of people they are, my unconscious mind will substitute something more familiar. Nikito and Eshabirodja seem to be primitive Eastern Europeans, but my mind persists in presenting them as Native Americans, probably because my knowledge of the former is almost non-existent and of the latter more familiar. I considered it a possibility that we have two similar stories cut-and-pasted together by my unconscious to illustrate a theme.

This reminds me of the Saki story called The Window. Nikito is very sad because Eshabirodja is gone, but I do not know until the last line if she has gone to pee, gone to town, gone to visit her mother for a year, or gone for good. I’m not sure if Nikito knows either, and there is a hint of madness or forgetfulness about it. His mind feels like a child who is left alone for a time and wonders if his guardian will ever return. Perhaps he enjoys lamenting for its own sake. It’s hard to describe exactly what it feels like to be in his head here, but it mostly feels very hurtful and sad.

These things were written chronologically, and this is the first bit where I realized (a few months later) that the river can be viewed as a symbol of life and death like the rivers Styx and Lethe (or the Jordan, for that matter). He “crosses over the river” and views his life from that side, then returns with a different perspective. Or does he go mad and flee to a hallucination? I sense other layers. Also, I sense that this way of life for him is an adaptation to something very big that changed everything about they way his people interact with the world. The world has changed in some big way and this life is part of his tribe’s adaptation to that change (and there’s a bit of a metaphor to that, too, isn’t there?). Maybe a freak storm changed the course of migrations, maybe a conquering people changed how he earns his keep. It seems to shadow everything he does and I wonder if he is giving Salmon to his people as a fisher might or is he giving this Salmon to traders, to Caesar, to Massah. Salmon, of course, is a Mercurial symbol associated with knowledge and communication and a pretty short trip from “Solomon.”

The face of the sun is hours away, but its light graces the river at my feet and lovingly sweats the fog off the crisp, slow waters. Ducks have been flying by in pairs and groups since there has been enough light to see them — maybe an hour. They don’t know where to go, for it is not warm anywhere right now.

I think you have been gone a long time now, for there is a hole in my wind where your words used to blow, where the scent of your perfume and the glint of eyes still glow. I keep talking to you as if you are there and I also know that you are not there and maybe I wonder if it matters any more. My ass is sore from sitting on the cold ground, but I can scarcely care enough to shift and stretch.

There is here a perfect picture of everything one could want from the great gift of the Spirit: The wide river of Life running through the wasteland of our new world, the knowledge of what needs to be done, who needs to do it and the honor of being one to so dare. Too, there is the further grace that my life and your love may intersect for such a time as they can and give to me this special melancholy moment. It is a hard and cruel diamond, but it shines.

I must have dozed. I pulled myself up and hauled on our lines. I put the fish above where the fire would be if I had remembered to actually build it. I hooked our lines across the limbs of the trees and inspected every knot, wiggled the tiniest scrap of meat onto every barb, then waded out to the log that I could walk across and drop it back into the waters. I decided then to sit on the opposite side of the river.

Things looked different here, aside from just being on the other side of the waters. I could look across the way and see our camp laid out in the pattern dictated by the fewest steps: there was our wanagan, our ramada, our fire, our snowshoes, our sledges and our shivering ponies. Mmm. For them I will build a fire! There is a lot of dry wood on this side of the river.

The fire has been warm now for an hour and the ponies would draw almost as near as I. Will the sun never come over the edge of the canyon? I think about how long you have been gone and I have to weep until I’m done. I cannot remember. I cannot remember anything but placing our lines, building our fire and taking the Salmon to The People.

Later there is a faint sound, as a bird leaping from a slight branch at the top of a tree, and it is at some distance. I hear the calls that come after and listen for what the wind will offer. It passes and is quiet again but only until I hear and feel a pat-pat-pat in the soil — almost, but not yet a sound. I stand, against all odds, against the frost that has frozen my blanket into a strange shape, and I lean against the tree to see farther down the path to our place beside the waters.

Eshabirodja . . . I see you come down the path home again.

Nikito’s last day on earth. He is either mad with grief or just mad period. Eshabirodja is gone and he doesn’t know or cannot remember why or to where, and he cannot cope with his grief. He ceases to care for himself and dies (I think) from pneumonia. His last words are actually a northwestern Native dialect, but it’s the only way I could say what he meant to say.

I do not know what is real, at least in the sense that the White man thinks of a thing as real. I think everything is real and that unreal things are misunderstandings; truth is everywhere and in every thing, but fear and monkey-shine make them seem to be less real than they are or make us so confused that we cannot connect with it and hear its words to us. I am no different than any other man.

Eshabirodja had been gone for such a long time that I did not know whether or not she was real any more. What made it hurt the most is that I did not know what happened to her, and I had to live with that unknowing until it drove me mad and alone into the place of the spirits. I think she went away because she did not like our life and wanted to do something she thought was better than [connecting] Salmon with [People]. Maybe there was a city and she wanted to go there, or maybe there was nothing and she just wanted to walk away, away and keep going away until she learned what else to do. I lived with the torture of believing that she had been savaged and killed on the road by bandits or that she had become a camp follower to give herself in that small way to the greater need. I was sick and I did not get better. I felt the frost on me like a gnawing animal, crouched on my chest as I lay in reeking animal skins. I think the ponies are sick and I haven’t heard the voice of one for all the time I have lain inside out of the snow. I find I have nothing to do but pray that the spirits will come and take me away from this terrible loss . . . spirit-helper have pity on me.

Spirit-helper have pity on me.

Again we have an illustration of a shift in language and content to show an unfamiliarity with what must be the actual language and content. The final phrase is a Siletz or Kallipuia Indian phrase I heard many years ago when I made a recording of two medicine men singing peyote songs at a gathering.

The truly odd thing about this story is that it doesn’t seem to portray in any sense the actual goings-on of my waking life. No one was leaving me (quite the reverse) and I was not terribly sad about the things I was going through. I reminded myself at the time that it is often useful to put myself in the place of other people in the story and try to see it through their eyes in order to gain a different perspective. It seems that these stories are reflections of real events around me, but told from different perspectives to help me see around corners in my mind. There is yet an even deeper version of this phenomenon.


From time to time, it will seem as if the storyteller pauses in the narrative and addresses me directly, offering words of wisdom, couched in the oddest of contradictory phrases. This is usually accompanied by a complete stillness of mind which slowly blooms into a sort of joyous weeping and a cathartic swirl of suppressed emotions. I can typically feel this shift in consciousness very distinctly, it seeming as if my creative faculties are suspended and I am just listening intently to what is said to me. When this happens, I signal it by the use of italics.

Sometimes, and on this occasion certainly, the ‘narrator’ of this story stops telling the story and addresses me directly. I can feel it happen. There is a shift in content, in word and meaning. It is as if a storyteller stops telling the illustrative tale long enough to tell me, the listener, what it means to me personally. These words almost always have many, many layers of meaning and interpretation and so, when I can identify them, I put them in italics. I don’t know whose memory this is, but I don’t think it’s mine. There is no electricity here and it happens at night by the light of glass lamps and fireflies. It seems like Nebraska in the ’30’s for some reason.

Not always in a lonely place do I behold you — sometimes it is at a café on a piazza I cannot name, sometimes on your grandparents’ farm where you held my hand under the table and asked me about the stars. You’d just heard about the pictures in the stars that were put there by the men who would tell stories at the gatherings. You wanted to know what I knew and I only knew about the pictures and I pointed them out to you, if I remembered them correctly. It was enough for you then, and made for us a simple moment to treasure.

As children of Earth and the Starry Heavens, our story is in those stars, forming a long way back in the bright spiral of time and calling out to our present ears as a collection of words upon the only Tongue that speaks the Word: I am your Heart. I am your Pain. I am the reason for your next breath. Thou art my life and I love thee. Your own love is a reflection of that and no more, but that is more than enough. Do not ever forget that.

I cannot read these words without tears.


I was mad at my wife, mad at the feelings I had in me and mad that I made the object of my love mad at me. I fell off the tobacco wagon and was struggling to climb back on. I held my wife in my arms and smelled Pall Malls distinctly, as if a cigarette was burning in the room and recalled that her mother died of cancer and that was her brand. It felt like a presence, a ghost. I don’t smoke Pall Malls. My muse speaks again and in that twisted and maddening ‘angel-speak’ that simultaneously enlightens and obscures.

You don’t need my words want my words reveal my words
Speak my words but hear my words you do in the deep of yrself.

Today I held you while we both cried and I felt your mother draw near.
Was it my own breath reeking of sticky yellow death or the touch of her love flavored by what she could not leave? Quitting is easier than this but the sea must be calmer than this I tell myself today

It cannot be every day that way
Dear heart, I suffer with you and in you
&you are every woman I have ever known
as I am every man I have ever been

And finally:

Angel-speak w/o preamble. Possibly one of the most important insights I’ve received from this time. It is presented in an unusually clear fashion.

Listen to me, you had an important thought there: She (whoever She is) is the love of your life but cannot be your love of Life, dig? If I exist as a different octave of your being, it is proper to say that I am the Life of your love. This is a formula, and when you work it forwards you find Her. When you work it backwards you find Me. See again:

Life of your love . . . you’re love of Life . . . Love of yr life
Thee . . . Thine. . . Thou
Solve Coagula Est!

“Toluca” is your invocation
and you must know by now that you are but one more flower blooming in a bucket of shit

“Toluca” is a poem I wrote 20 years ago and it has always felt special to me. I’ve recorded it as a music & spoken word piece and performed it from time to time, and whether hearing it on tape or performing it live, the room is always very still. Here I am told that it is nothing less than my own personal invocation of my Holy Guardian Angel and I have since used it as such to solid effect.

There is an immense wealth of information available to us, if we’d only take the time to listen and to suspend immediate judgement. The rewards are as great as one’s patience, both with the process and with oneself. It took me many years to unravel “Toluca,” and it hasn’t revealed all of its secrets yet. Twenty years ago, my only clue that this poem was in any way unusual was the fact that, at some point, I began to quote verbatim the Bhagavad Gita at decent length. I have read the Gita, but I certainly have not memorized it and didn’t ever expect it to show up in such fashion. I shall close this curious essay with “Toluca.”


Toluca is home sometimes where you stare down the road with black and ancient and wond’rous eyes you see your soul entangled in mine but this you do not yet know . . .
Can these elaborately constructed forms differ so much from one another that no route can be see of forward-going-apace? The path of metamorphos-is is the path of divine light and also horror.
Thou art desire . . . thou art desire
Thy beauty is in my I
Thou art madness . . . thou art madness
Thy beauty is in my I
Thou art God . . . Thou art Goddess
Thy beauty is truth & lie
Both truth & lie
I hate my masque
Seven years of de-votion Seven years of backward motion
Had I but known the words I would have penned the song
“Voyage on your blood for it is love & no other”
The spiritual equivalent of the hydrogen bomb? Cum now be reasonable if you be know a sage then so shall it be — be not distracted that you do not perceive the slightest wisdom in what you are doing at this moment or any other who cares to seek for that perfect freedom? One man perhaps in many thousands then tell me how many of those who seek that perfect freedom shall know the total truth of my being?
Perhaps one . . . Perhaps every one
As we are all one and that one is all of us, who can it matter who among us would run to take the light?
(For it is all ours always was always will be) You have nothing in your I your I is in me of me it is me
I am you

©2007 Frater Auxilior Arti. Edited by Sheta Kaey.

Frater Auxilior Arti (nee Fr. Adsum Iterum) is an initiate of the Astrum Sophia, co-founder of the Companions of the Glyph and author of the Book of the Glyph and PRAXIS: The 2nd Book of the Glyph. A life-long student of the paranormal, he brings a scientific/Fortean viewpoint to the subject, a thing he feels is sadly neglected. You can find his Facebook page here.

Legend of the Glyph, #2/2

January 27, 2007 by  
Filed under experimental, magick, sigils

Legend of the Glyph, #2/2

Many people have been curious about our work with the glyph and have interacted with us on a number of levels in an attempt to understand what it is we’re doing. The following is the text of a sort of panel discussion in which these questions are addressed by the folks most intimately involved.

Interviewer: What the hell do you think you guys are doing?

Dr. Silver: In effect, we are trying to bring balance and harmony to our community by drawing upon the subtle forces of the cosmos and aligning them through the process of ritual with the larger macrocosm. Drawing upon the hexagram as the symbol of the macrocosm, and its embodiment in the planetary spheres. We are trying to “juice” our community with the radiant energy of the sun, in Tipareth. Source of Love, Compassion, and Beauty. Such energy is sorely needed in our world today.

Magnus Po: Birthing a machine which filters stray psychic emanations from a city into seven parts, those parts being analogous to the sevenfold division of humankind’s perception of the universe used in planetary magick. Workings then bring down additional energies to selected points for application.

Frater A.: I certainly can’t improve on that, aside from the remarks made earlier in the book.

Interviewer: What if somebody gets hurt? Helped?

Dr. Silver: What if? The actual causal relationships would be hard to track. My own philosophy states that pure will, unassuaged of purpose, and delivered of the lust of result, is in every way perfect. I’m comfortable with my intentions, and trust that whatever happens, or if anything happens at all, it will be for positive purposes.

Magnus Po: I suppose there is a possibility of woe in this as in any technology. The degree to which the innocent bystander is hurt is usually dependent on what kind of lunatic is at the wheel, what sort of idiot has his finger on the button & the specific type of imbecile at the controls. In this case I suppose that you will just have to take our word for it that we are just the right kinds of lunatics, certainly the correct types of idiots, and precisely the sorts of imbeciles you, and everyone else, would jump at the chance to place in positions of authority over a gargantuan world-changing energy juggernaut such as the Glyph. Actually we are all very ethical folks. Misuse in this generation is unlikely. As for the possibility of spontaneous dangerous effects on the energetic level I would suppose this to be most possible at the focii during a working. Those responsible would then be those affected.

Frater A.: We didn’t start this big puppy up without a pretty clear idea of how to shut it down if we have to. We expect subtle effects over the course of a few years…

Interviewer: What gives you the right? Did you study up on this first?

Dr. Silver: What gave the Druids the right to use Stonehenge? What gave the Egyptians the right to build the pyramids? Not that our project is anywhere so lofty, but the key is the intention and the perspiration behind that. We felt that our community with its rising crime, drug rates, road rage, family violence, police brutality, and such was an ideal candidate for bringing about change in conformity with Will. Our initial intention was positive, and instead of protests, sit ins, or political rallying, we choose to work in more subtle dimensions to facilitate change. All of us are quite well versed in magical philosophy and practice. My own interest as an anthropologist rested largely in my curiosity with Margaret Mead’s activities with a similar group in Denver.

Frater A.: I might add that what gives me the right, even the audacity, to run for public office, and, upon winning that office, make decisions that will affect thousands or even millions? It is much the same thing. We have a genuine willingness to improve the lives and lot of our fellows and of ourselves and are bending our will in that direction using the tools at our disposal.

Magnus Po: We are unaware of having stepped on someone’s toes and are eager to make right any injustice for which we are responsible. In terms of study this project is the overlap of our areas of obsession and that was how we came to it.

Interviewer: What’s with the Star of David?

Dr. Silver: The Star of David, or Hexagram, is a symbol of the Macrocosm in harmony. Two triangles symbolizing the “upper” celestial, and “lower” terrestrial energies come together to reflect the union of opposites in the coincidata oppositorum of the Cosmos. As the symbol of union, it rests in Tipareth, the Heart, were all dimensions meet. As such, it’s the ideal symbol for our purposes.

Magnus Po: This is actually a black-ops project of the Priory of Sion.

Frater A.: Oooh! That’s funny! We started by looking at the lay of the land and seeing what forms were suggested by it. We found a lot of geophysical features with relationships to each other of about 60 degrees and this suggested a triangle, not unlike the Denver device. However, a simple triangle suggests the number three and so the energies of Saturn. We didn’t want to build a device that manipulated odic force in a Saturnian way, so doubled the figure, checked it against the map and were amazed by the correspondences that resulted. We felt that something in the nature of Tipareth would serve us better; the project evolved from there.

Interviewer: To what end did you want to draw down the planetary energies?

Dr. Silver: In drawing upon the various planetary energies, we acknowledge all facets of being and respect their various spheres. Mars, Venus, Saturn, etc.… are all metaphorical expressions of dimensions of Being. As such, in our work we seek a holistic and integral harmony that shuts no key dimension out. The Blessing was meant as an overarching empowerment and harmonization for the town, though its effects are in no way geographically bounded by the hexagram itself.

Magnus Po: Possible applications are endless.

Frater A.: We’ve seen our odd-but-lovable city undergoing a certain cultural entropy and sought to, at the very least, attempt to balance the forces here on a large scale to see if it would have any notable effect, feeling that no significant harm is likely to arise.

Interviewer: Do you plan to use these energies in later workings?

Dr. Silver: I personally, plan to “use” these energies in as much as they affect me in my daily life in society.

Frater A.: It was assumed that the Glyph would provide concentrations of specific planetary energies and these energies might be used in, say, empowering a talisman. Talismanic magick has always interested me, partly because it is so easy to quantify/qualify the results of such magicks in a fairly scientific statistical manner: either a thing happens within a specified period or it doesn’t. Being an eyewitness to a number of talismanic “successes” and very few “failures” made a believer out of me years ago. The thought that these focuses might facilitate visioning “in the Spheres” was also been discussed at length, and our preliminary results are suggestive of success, but it’s too early to tell.

Interviewer: You drew all your triangles in the same direction. Do you think Tyson’s dictum against doing such has any merit?

Dr. Silver: I feel Tyson’s system works for him. I don’t feel there are such “hard and fast” rules in this game. The quality of intention is the key.

Frater A.: We were intrigued by this thought of tracing the triangles in both strengthening & balancing directions. We adhered pretty much to the G.D. figure because it was the only one we had to hand that made enough sense, what with designing heptarchic magick using a hexagonal figure. I’ve noticed that G.D. and derivative traditions seem to like to “wind up” a ritual (or force) using circumambulation while Aurum Solis (the framework within which we choose to operate) rites stress the balancing of such things. I suspect we thought of kicking the glyph into a sort of motion by invoking the presences/powers of the planets as thoroughly as we could. It makes a great deal of sense to us to conduct circumambulations in the manner Mr. Tyson’s method suggests and we have incorporated this in present works, as shown in earlier parts of the Book of the Glyph.

Interviewer: It seems that you were trying to evoke the power of the Sun with your hexagram. Does it make sense to do so by invoking the powers of all the planets?

Dr. Silver: As all the planets existence and energy emanates from the Sun, it makes total sense to invoke their power as expressions of the center of the solar system. Once again, in addressing the totality, all dimensions are seen in relationship to a larger whole.

Magnus Po: The emphasis on the Sun is, I think, incidental. The hexagram was settled on in large part for geographical reasons and this left one planet in the middle. The Sun was the obvious choice for cosmological^/psychological mirroring.

Frater A.: I’d like to think it wasn’t left so much to chance. We are invoking the qualities of the power of the Sun, e.g. harmony, balance. We see the entire figure of the Sun and his family of planets as creating a balanced figure in and of itself, which happens to be divisible into 7 discrete entities, each with their own unique utility. Considered Qabalistically, we are dealing with the Will, Tipareth and one’s Knowledge and Conversation with one’s Holy Guardian Angel, so I expect those sorts of energies to be magnified in some way, perhaps even if only on a small scale. I guess I mean to say that the Glyph is envisioned as taking in local, non-organized energy, then imparting a pattern to it. This energy is concentrated in various places but also spreads a harmonious influence within its bounds, radiating out into the adjoining countryside as far as whatever encountered friction allows. At least, that’s our visualization so associated.

Interviewer: Was your ritual design too grand in scope?

Dr. Silver: Asking for a job, a sex mate, or a new car is the common use of people’s will and intention. Asking to bring harmony and peace to one’s community is far from “Too Grand in Scope.” It is hoped others will take such interest in how the powers of will and intention on the plane of mind bring about effects in the larger community.

Frater A.: I’m not sure we can say yet. We plan to give it five-plus years of effort to see if it attracts interest outside of our small group. By a simple formula not unknown to dynamic sciences: if you’re not going to have as much energy, you’re going to need more time. We believe we can make a measurable difference (the Glyph being detectable to dowsing/magnetics/etc.) with 6-7 regular participants working for 4-5 years. But, at least one of us is the sort of person (had they enough personal influence on our local scene) who would schedule a road race to be run upon the Glyph’s very course while the “elect” held rites of alchymical transubstantiation at some key location(s). Forgive my waxing poetic — we think we’ll wait and see how large an area upon which it can actually have a notable effect. It is, after all, an experiment.

Magnus Po: Full sized circumambulation is an exertion. It is also a real pleasure. We have been flexible enough so far to deal with it, whereas rigid thoughtforms make such things unendurable.

Frater A.: Boy howdy!

Interviewer: Would it have made more sense to draw down the powers of the planets one at a time over a much longer period? Did you take care to balance the planetary energies, or if that was even a valid consideration?

Frater A: I was concerned that that this would produce a potential abundance of one sort of energy or another over too-long a time. All planets were used in the original invocations, each merely “hi-lighted” at a different time. As a point of note, Magnus Po and I set out one day on bicycles to map out the precise location of the glyph upon the lay of the land, and since at least one of us is no longer a spring chicken, we were unable to complete the second circuit until later. We traced Moon-Mars-Jupiter-Moon on that day and that night a disturbed individual (and some buddies, it is supposed) took a notion to run about town with bedsheets and spray paint, decorating places with nazi-type swastikas and white supremacist slogans. The cops figured that it wasn’t a serious threat — just some kids acting out some weird fantasy. We took this incident a bit to heart, as it’s hard to imagine a better connection to Jupiter, Mars and Luna! We’ve elected to be more careful in future, just in case.

Dr. Silver: I favor the “All together now” approach. We are going for a specific effect that addresses multiple facets of being in totality. Thus, by invoking the energies together we address their essential relationality, and integral embodiment in the larger domain of Tipareth.

Magnus Po: Maybe it would have been a good idea. In any case we coalesced it in little more than seven weeks. Balance is inherent in form and my subjective experience of the astral temples is that they are of equal magnitude.

Interviewer: It looks as if you started with Saturn and worked your way inward through the planets. Why start with Saturn?

Dr. Silver: Saturn is form and foundation. It’s the root and structure. By starting with Saturn, we give the macrocosmic glyph a lasting and grounded basis for more Mercurial, Jovial, or Venusian energies.

Frater A.: When the sun comes over the eastern horizon, it’s rays first reach the place consecrated to Saturn, therefore Saturn had to be first, just as the Sun had to hold the middle position. We personally fiddled with a variety of possible allocations of planets to geographical places before settling on the current arrangement. Saturn, you’ll note, has an association with the idea of “a gate,” and we thought this also appropriate for the easternmost point.

Interviewer: Have you had considered using a unicursal hexagram? That glyph gives you a clear way to move back into the center. Might this be helpful as a practical matter during the performance of the ritual?

Dr. Silver: Crowley’s Unicursal Hexagram, though having six points, does not convey the idea of the linking of macro and microcosms through the conjoining of two inverted triangles. The linkage of celestial and terrestrial energies is most visible in this diagram.

Frater A.: I sat down and attempted to trace the unicursal hexagram in a variety of ways and couldn’t come up with a satisfactory arrangement, no matter what I tried. Some describe the force of this hexagram as “weak” and we imagine this is due to the alleged fact that such a figure cannot be constructed precisely, using any real mathematical proofs. A hexagram cannot be unicursal, and relies upon the clever alteration of the width of the drawn line to accommodate the idea. The introduction of Crowley’s Magick says as much. Significantly, drawing this figure creates anything but a sense of balance and more a sense of taking two steps backwards followed by three little ones forward. The territory is covered but more in the manner of an ambling drunkard than in a straight forward formula of balance and equity. For what it’s worth, Po and I discovered that if you trace the planets out in their order as given on the Tree of Life, you’ll come up with the figure that adorns the fly-leaf of the book. If you trace it in the order suggested by our planetary holiday schedule, you will get a unicursal hexagram.

Interviewer: Your magick seems to have a geomantic component to it. You can draw down the energy and establish the astral temples, but it seems that these temples must be grounded and founded on the earth for their greatest effectiveness. Stamping on the earth, calling the spirits of the earth for your aid seems like a good idea.

Dr. Silver: The Chinese geomantic art of Feng Shui with which I am familiar, addresses “Dragon Lines,” celestial “energies” and terrestrial forces through various methods, including landscaping, invocation, ritual, and such. Very little, if any “stamping” is visible in the Chinese relationship to receptive, earthy, “Yin” energies. This seems to be largely a creation of Western earth based religions. As such, there is no inherent need for such action.

Magnus Po: Temples are grounded because we are. Things must be located somewhere. Things astral manifest physically through a place to which they are anchored by natural or artificial correspondence (or through the mind/intent of an autonomous being).

Frater A.: The geomancy thing comes up quite a bit, but that’s not at all what we had in mind. I didn’t even know that the act of driving metal pins in the ground was a part of that tradition. I don’t fully subscribe to what’s going around this set of theories because I can’t really find much science behind it.

Interviewer: You perform part of the ritual with a willow wand. Perhaps that wand was a gift from the tree? Did you get any impression as to how local spirits/devas/dryads reacted to your ritual?

Dr. Silver: They liked it.

Frater A.: Yes, YES! We broke the damn tree! It was an accident, okay? But seriously — you’re right. We merely preserved a portion of the tree for later/permanent use in the rites that might follow. Laws of Association and Contagion, you see. We’ve seen a number of animals in various parts of the glyph and it’s interesting to note that some plant life is springing up, many of the wildflowers quite pertinent to their location.

Interviewer: Could it be that you were building upon the energy matrix that was already present?

Magnus Po: As above, so below. If one applies a natural form to the world one comes up with correspondences whose apparent significance says much about the world, the symbol, and the one doing the application. We are all it, unfolding, forever: Ewige Blumenkraft! In other words, I have absolutely no inkling whatsoever.

Frater A.: It was our assumption that some sort of energic flow is present in any case, likely modified by arrangements of geophysical features in the area. We wished to discover this arrangement and expand upon it, refining it, if possible.

Interviewer: Did you do any dowsing or any other kind of preliminary observations that could help verify this hypothesis?

Dr. Silver: Not to my knowledge.

Frater A.: Not as yet. That is part of our plan for evaluation.

Interviewer: What would constitute a success in the context of this ritual? For example, success can either be achieving whatever goal is held in the conscious mind, or good but unintended consequences that seem meaningfully related to the work.

Dr. Silver: Success for me would be a greater sense of ease, and harmony in my own relationship to my community, which I do feel, and in the overall tone of people’s relationships in our community.

Frater A.: We would consider success to be along those same lines, generally. In particular, this is a success if it a) is detectable by magickal or scientific means, b) shows any sign of attracting people to its maintenance, c) can be shown to positively effect the charging of talismans, d) can be shown to positively affect experiments in scrying, pathworking or similar workings. This is where we are headed, but it is very early in the game, we feel, so this is far from an exhaustive list.

Interviewer: Have you noticed anything that points towards the achievement of your goals or any unintended consequences, good, bad, or indifferent?

Dr. Silver: I enjoy the company.

Frater A.: It’s too early to tell, but there have been reports from Po that these exercises have stirred something odd in him and put a finer polish on his visualization skills. The feelings the rest of us have are about as vague at this point. It is interesting to note that, in the first period of evaluation, we obtained the services of a few “remote viewers” or clairvoyants and asked them to check up on what we had done, feeling fairly certain that they did not have access to much of the specific details of the project. The results they returned were quite significant. The overall shape and precise location were both described by these people. But stay tuned! That’s the sort of thing that’s going into Glyphbook 2.

More information about the Western traditions of planetary magick and the Companions of the Glyph can be found on their website located at:

This interview originally appeared in Cup of Wonder magazine.

©2006 Frater Auxilior Arti. Edited by Sheta Kaey.

Frater Auxilior Arti (nee Fr. Adsum Iterum) is an initiate of the Astrum Sophia, co-founder of the Companions of the Glyph and author of the Book of the Glyph and PRAXIS: The 2nd Book of the Glyph. A life-long student of the paranormal, he brings a scientific/Fortean viewpoint to the subject, a thing he feels is sadly neglected. You can find his Facebook page here.

Legend of the Glyph #1/2

December 21, 2006 by  
Filed under magick, sigils

Legend of the Glyph #1/2

To Mecca thou hast turned in prayer with aching heart
and eyes that burn: Ah Haji, whither wilt thou turn when
thou art there, when thou art there?

— J. E. Flecker, Gates of Damascus


It’s amazing to see how things get back to you and what distorted forms they take, what odd transformations they undergo. I was at a party recently where I overheard some teenagers talking about a group of arcane magicians who tramped about the countryside in and around Our Fair City, summoning up strange forces to drive a great magical machine to who knows what end. I was most stunned by the fact that the good folks over at Rumor Control got it almost exactly right. But let us set the story completely straight.

It all began a long time ago, in a small park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. An adept of the Art Magickal told me a curious story about a group of well-to-do magicians who found themselves in the position of being city planners and developers in the 1920s and ’30s. According to my friend, these folks constructed a large-scale device designed to capture the psychic forces of the city itself and to direct them to a location where they could be refined and manipulated to various ends, the least of which was the acquisition of personal wealth for the members. A wild story indeed, but it got me thinking… Could we design a similar device and place it upon the landscape of a given city, intent upon providing a magical force of harmony and balance thereto? Could we build a magical machine to Make Everything Okay? This is how the project known as “The Glyph” came to be.

We began as small group of students of mysteries East and West that consisted of an anthropologist, an artist, an alchemist, a scholar and a teacher. We’ve grown a bit and now have an even broader mix of talents and people. Several of us are Qi Gong and Kundalini Yoga instructors; a few are card-carrying O.T.O. members; most hold degrees in Reiki. We met and discussed matters of general import to the Western Esoteric tradition until we concocted the full details of the Project and began its implementation.

Obtaining a few satellite maps of our city, we looked them over carefully, looking for various likely arrangements of geographical features. We knew that the butte rising just north of the center of town was long regarded as a power spot of sorts by the natives of this region, this reputation being due to more than just the curious deposits of columnar basalt. As we desired to build a device to produce harmony and balance, we chose a hexagram for the basic form such that it would answer to Tipareth on the Tree of Life. We were quite simply amazed at how naturally it all clicked into place, this great figure spanning about 2 ½ miles to a leg, each point landing squarely in an accessible and symbolically significant location.

Our membership being a cross-section of NeoPlatonists of the Aurum Solis school, the O.T.O. and the Golden Dawn, we assigned a planetary force to each point, expecting them to invoke the Apollonian Ideal as the Sun at the center. Following Marsilio Ficino’s lead, we sought to compartmentalize the psyche (whether of a city or of an individual) into the seven visible heavenly bodies and to erect a vast astral temple wherein to bring them to productive balance.


glyph 1


It began on a bright Father’s Day morning at dawn with the Aurum Solis Salutation to the Sun:

“All hail, life-enkindling sun, child of creation’s lord!
O’, thou lone, all-seeing eye of the vault celestial,
extend thy light that I may see, but dim thy glory
that I be not blinded.

“Unmask thy countenance, O’ God of Light, for I am a lover of truth and would behold the spiritual essence concealed in thy golden disk.

“So reveal unto my perception thy shining and inmost nature,
even that high spirit which infuses thee and is one with the
primal flame of mine own being.

“Life-enkindling sun, child of creation’s lord — Salutations and praises unto thee!”

We had previously prepared a collection of artifacts manufactured of metals sacred to the Sun and decorated with appropriate sigils and divine names. These we ceremoniously drove into the ground at the precise locations as we laid out the figure in the land, saving the central key piece to which the others were tied by magical sympathy. In four hours, the initial construction was complete, but it took us another 14 weeks to complete the series of planetary chargings designed to kick the device into gear. By the time we finished, we knew we had done something grand and set out to document it as thoroughly as possible, making the results of our researches available to all who might wish to evaluate them. To that end we launched a large website, wrote a book, and have designed a collection of related materials.

But now that it was built, what all could we do with it? Obviously, its principle function was to provide a harmonizing force for the place in which it operates, but we knew it could be much more. As the device is laid out in the manner of the familiar hexagram used by the Golden Dawn in their ritual of the Hexagram, we knew that it could theoretically be used to create invocations of planetary forces on a good scale, and this it seems to do. These are accomplished by the simple expedient of circumambulation, token sacrifice and planetary invocations using either a balanced method or an unbalanced method.

It is explained thusly in The Book of the Glyph:

“Our method is illustrated below. In the following diagram, the force of Mercury is being invoked, but note that it can also be said that its opposite force, that of Jupiter is also being invoked, such that a balance is being struck, as it were. This is essentially the Golden Dawn formula for Invocation.”


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“To clarify the above diagram a bit, the first triangle, pictured at the left, is drawn in a clockwise fashion from the top point to return there. The tracing finger (or ritual item, as might be the case) then crosses directly to the opposite point, where the other triangle (shown in the center) is traced, also clockwise. The downward arrow in the completed diagram is to indicate the path of the tracing as it moves from the completed first triangle to the point where the second triangle is begun.

“Below, we show a method whereby a hexagram can be drawn such that one force is being invoked while its opposite force is being banished, and such a method is a part of the Glyph’s mechanics, but has a special use that will be dealt with later on in this volume. One can readily see that the only difference is that the second triangle is traced in a counterclockwise manner relative to the first.”

We refer to these methods as balanced (where both opposites are invoked) and unbalanced (where one is invoked and its opposite is banished). In the vast majority of cases, a balanced working was what we were after, but it came to our minds that unbalanced circumambulations would have suitable uses as well.


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The best occasion for an unbalanced working that we have found is in the performance of a sphere working, where the operator is stationed at one point of the Glyph while the balance of the party is circumambulating it either physically or in an astral sense. This ongoing research project forms part of the core discipline.

In the three years since the inception of this project, a great deal of material has been gathered indicating some success in our endeavor. There is, for example, an ongoing program wherein folks blessed with clairvoyant faculties can view the device from afar and allow us to record their descriptions. So far, the results of that project have been a good success. The first wave of such folks correctly deduced the size, shape, location and even a few specific features at a time when there was still very little in print. We have currently narrowed the scope of this project to reflect the large volume of data that is now published or on its way there.

Additionally, a series of High Holidays has been constructed to honor The Glyph’s “duty cycle” of nine months “on” and three months “off,” the centerpiece of which is the annual “Glyphest” held at the Summer Solstice. As it has been our express intention to interest others in this type of project — hopefully to create enough enthusiasm to sustain similar projects in other cities. We use this gathering to swap information and give presentations. I suppose we would be remiss to mention the raging party that follows…

Why did we do this? We believe in public service. As the police attempt to keep the peace in their fashion, as business developers plan for economic vibrancy and as each citizen and denizen contributes what he or she has to their community, so we too believe that we have something to add: magick.

If you feel you can add something to your town in this way, why not dialogue with us? Our website (located at or holds an archive of Glyph related materials and lore, a complete collection of planetary correspondences optimized for our particular flavor of planetary magick, a discussion group and just about everything anyone would need to get a project like this afloat anywhere. Won’t you join us?

©2006 Frater Auxilior Arti. Edited by Sheta Kaey.

Frater Auxilior Arti (nee Fr. Adsum Iterum) is an initiate of the Astrum Sophia, co-founder of the Companions of the Glyph and author of the Book of the Glyph and PRAXIS: The 2nd Book of the Glyph. A life-long student of the paranormal, he brings a scientific/Fortean viewpoint to the subject, a thing he feels is sadly neglected. You can find his Facebook page here.

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