The Light Invisible

A Blog for the Church Magical

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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

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

I can’t recall the number of times I have sat at my computer with a stack of books by my side in the middle of the night, say at 2:45 AM or maybe 4, bursting (silently) with excitement over some intellectual epiphany, some sudden realization or Eureka! moment in which I feel like I have finally cracked open the secrets of the universe. All the questions I have struggled with for years—answered. An entire treatise of occult knowledge and mystical revelation unfolding before my third eye. When you spend most of your time immersed in theological and religious questions, great conversion moments are almost guaranteed to happen with an unsettling regularity, unsurprisingly proportionate to the number of books you read that purport to share some hidden knowledge.

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