The Light Invisible

A Blog for the Church Magical

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God Declares Trump Good; or, Why I Won’t “Bind” a Cosmic Power

The movement of witches and magic-users to “bind Donald Trump” took on viral momentum recently, with in-person performances of the spell at local magic shops (Catland in Brooklyn, in my case), mainstream media reports, evangelical Christian pushback, and the opposition of a pro-Trump cult of Pepe the Frog “worshippers” centered around 4Chan, who believe that the Pepe meme is now a hypersigil related to the ancient Egyptian chaos god, Kek. Even one of my favorite musicians and queen of Coney Island, Lana del Rey, got involved (on the side of the angels, of course). In other words, the situation is both getting very weird, and very alarming.

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The Threefold Path in the First Triad of the Tree of Life

Mapping the Great Circle – My Threefold Way of Western Esotericism

In the work of Dion Fortune (and her excellent commentator and fellow Christian esotericist, Gareth Knight), one encounters a meta-structure for the Western Mystery Tradition, which classifies the three major strands of the tradition according to the three paths of the Tree of Life that depart from Malkuth, using the color symbolism of the Sephiroth in the Queen Scale of colors: “the Green of Netzach at the base of the Pillar of Energy, the Orange of Hod at the base of the Pillar of Form, and the Purple of Yesod on the Middle Pillar of Aspiration.”

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Fin de siecle London at night.

“Follow the custom of the country…”: Reflections of a Nightwalking Occultist

The first time I left my Golden Dawn temple to take the train back to New York City, I had just been initiated into the Neophyte Grade of the Order. It was a powerful spiritual experience. Though the details of the ceremony are easily available in this day and age, only a few Google searches away, the thought of writing openly about what happened still fills me with trepidation. I think this speaks highly of the physical effect of the ceremony – not to mention what occurred on planes much more subtle than the physical.

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Open Bible

Slaves to the Elements: Notes on Galatians 4

For many orthodox Christians, the Bible is, of course, the largest hurdle to the idea of accepting occult practices and esoteric theories. I spent a long time reconciling my interest in the occult with my understanding of the Bible, only coming to a holistic view of Scripture and occultism in recent years. In this short post, I want to share a reflection I wrote a few years ago on a passage in St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which is often cited by traditional Christians to outlaw the notion of working with elemental spirits or powers. A closer reading of the passage, however, complicates such a simple interpretation.

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Gustave Doré's illustration of the Rosa Celeste for Dante's Paradiso.

The Light Invisible – Towards a Manifesto of the Church Magical

The Light Invisible is a blog that will touch on diverse traditions of Christian Esotericism — traditional Rosicrucianism, Christian mysticism, Christian Hermeticism and Cabala, European alchemy, Renaissance magic, the Golden Dawn tradition, the legends of the Holy Grail, and folk magical traditions. The lens through which I will reflect on these esoteric traditions is primarily orthodox — in other words, I affirm the traditional theology of orthodox Christianity, specifically the creedal, liturgical, apostolic Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church, Anglo-Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy (I myself am a practicing Catholic who spent a long time in the Anglican church before confirmation as a Roman Catholic, my family’s tradition).

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St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Rome.

On the Papal World-Tree, or, An Esoteric Meditation on the Papacy

Originally posted as a part of my column, The Blooming Staff, on the Agora, the group blog of the Patheos Pagan Channel.

Next Sunday, a new show premieres on HBO — “The Young Pope.” The show stars Jude Law as an ultraconservative Archbishop of New York who is elected to the Papacy, and who embarks on a traditionalist mission reminiscent of Pope Benedict XVI’s, if Benedict had been a narcissistic New York chain-smoker with visionary dreams and an American nun played by Diane Keaton as his close advisor. Jude Law’s Pope is essentially the polar opposite of Pope Francis, and has more in common with the fictional Pope Hadrian VII, the main character of Frederick Rolfe’s 1904 decadent novel Hadrian the Seventh.

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Tommaso Campanella's City of the Sun.

Prisca Theologia, Pansophy, and Integral Truth – Some Notes on Universal Reformation

Originally posted as a part of my column, The Blooming Staff, on the Agora, the group blog of the Patheos Pagan Channel.

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In 1947, Protestant theologian Karl Barth introduced the phrase Ecclesia semper reformanda est — “the church is always to be reformed.” Barth used the phrase to express the Reformed conviction that the Christian Church must constantly examine itself and continue to evolve and reform; a teaching that thinks of the Reformation as a permanent state rather than an historic event. Since the Second Vatican Council, certain radical Catholic theologians like Hans Küng have also used the saying to express their desire for a Church that remains open to the world and to the spirit of the times. Pope Francis has in many ways resumed this spirit of dialogue and openness within the Church, especially when it comes to issues like poverty and climate change.

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Last Judgement, Fra Angelico, panel painting, 1387 or 1395

Eschatology – The Marker of Christian Occultism

Originally posted as a part of my column, The Blooming Staff, on the Agora, the group blog of the Patheos Pagan Channel.

As I continue my research into post-Crowley forms of Thelema, Christian theology, and other occult traditions (especially the teachings of the Universal Brotherhood, which Frater Achad led as Mahaguru starting in the early 1930s), one major point of difference has emerged for me between Christian forms of occultism and non-Christian traditions like Thelema: eschatology.

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New Jerusalem

The Curious Conversion of Frater Achad

[Note: Originally published as a part of my column for the Patheos Pagan Channel, The Blooming Staff.]

This column explores the intersections between Catholic theology and the Thelemic current, so it was only a matter of time before Frater Achad—mundane name Charles Stansfeld Jones—came up. Prior to the late nineteenth century, most occult and esoteric movements were Christian, many heterodox Catholic—the Elus Cohen of Martinez de Pasqually, the Martinists, the Rosicrucians of the Parisian occult revival, and many members of the Golden Dawn. In the twentieth century, A.E. Waite, Dion Fortune, and many other figures continued the esoteric Christian current. But Thelema appears to have a built-in bias against Christianity, stemming directly from its founder and from his Aeonic schema, which suggests that the formula of the dying and rising God (the Aeon of Osiris) is now outmoded in favor of the formula of the crowned and conquering child (the Aeon of Horus).

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