CHAPTER IV. A CONSIDERATION OF THE ANCIENT METHODS.
A CONSIDERATION OF THE ANCIENT METHODS
The enquirer, having read thus far, will have realized that behind and beyond all that he may hitherto have considered as the Art of Crystal Gazing, there is a Greater and Wider field of application, making necessary more careful preparations, but leading to correspondingly important results. At this point it will be necessary for him, or her, to decide whether or not they are prepared to carry the practice beyond the preliminary stages already described, and in case they desire to do so, they must be ready to fulfill the necessary requirements.
We should first consider the best of the ancient instructions available, and later, we may be able to find points in which they seem inadequate, and others that can certainly be improved upon.
The Methods of Trithemius of Spanheim - The Friend and Teacher of Cornelius Agrippa - who lived in the Sixteenth Century, as transmitted to us by Francis Barrett, who translated his work from the Latin in the early part of the Nineteenth Century, have been considered the clearest and best of their kind. We find parts of these instructions quoted in practically all the books on the subject that have been published since, sometimes with acknowledgments and sometimes without.
A few fragments of Barrett's Introduction to that work, written by him in the form of a letter to a young friend and fellow Student, may not be out of place here, since the advice then given, holds equally good at this day.
Knowing thee to be a curious searcher after those sciences which are out of the common track of study, (I mean the art of foretelling events, magic, talismans, etc.) I am moved spiritually to give thee my thoughts upon them, and by these ideas here written, to open to thine eye (spiritual) as much information as it seems necessary for thee to know, by which thou mayest be led by the hand into the delectable field of nature; and to give thee such documents as, guided by the supreme wisdom of the Highest, thou mayest refresh thy soul with a delicious draught of knowledge; so that after recreating thy spirit with the use of those good gifts which may please God to bestow upon thee, thou mayest be wrapped up into the contemplation of the immense wisdom of that great munificent Being who created thee.
Now, thou art a man in whose soul the image of Divinity is sealed for eternity, think first what is thy desire in searching after these mysteries? Is it wealth, honour, fame, power, might, aggrandizement, and the like? Perhaps thy heart says, All I all these I would gladly crave! If so, this is my answer, - seek first to know thyself thoroughly, cleanse thy heart from all wicked, vain and rapacious desires.
To know thyself is to know God, for it is the spiritual gift from. God that enables a man to know himself. This gift but very few possess, as may be daily seen.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added unto you.
Farewell, remember my poor counsel, and be happy.
OF THE MAKING OF THE CRYSTAL, AND
THE FORM OF PREPARATION FOR A
Procure of a lapidary good clear pellucid crystal, of the bigness of a small orange i.e. about one inch and a half in diameter; let it be globular or round each way alike; then when you have got this crystal, fair and clear, without any clouds or specks, get a small plate of pure gold to encompass the crystal round one-half; let this be fitted on an ivory or ebony pedestal, as you may see more fully described in the drawing (see Frontispiece). Let there be engraved a circle round the crystal with these characters around inside the circle, next the crystal: A Hexagram, a Pentagram and a Maltese Cross; afterwards the name “Tetragrammaton”. On the other side of the plate let there be engraved “Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael;” which are the four principal angels ruling over the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury; but on the table on which the crystal stands, the following names, characters, etc., must be drawn in order.
First, the names of the seven planets and angels ruling them, with their seals and characters. The names of the four kings of the four corners of the earth. Let them be all written within a double circle, with a triangle on a table; on which plate the crystal on its pedestal: this being done, thy table is complete (as in Frontispiece) and fit for the calling of the spirits; after which thou shalt proceed to experiment thus:
In what time thou wouldest, deal with the spirits by the table and crystal, thou must observe the planetary hour: and whatsoever planet rules that hour, the angel governing the planet thou shalt call in the manner following; but first, say this short prayer.
“Oh God! who art the author of all good things, strengthen, I beseech thee, thy poor servant, that he may stand fast, without fear, through this dealing and work: enlighten, I beseech thee, oh Lord, the dark understanding of thy creature, so that his spiritual eye may be opened to see and know thy angelic spirits descending here in this crystal: (Then lay thy hand on the crystal saying,) and thou, oh inanimate creature of God, be sanctified and consecrated, and blessed to this purpose, that no evil phantasy may appear in thee; or, if they do gain ingress into this creature, they may be constrained to speak intelligibly, and truly, and without the least ambiguity, for Christ's sake. Amen.
“And forasmuch as thy servant here standing before thee, oh Lord! desires neither evil treasure, nor injury to his neighbor, nor hurt to any living creature, grant him the power of descrying those celestial spirits or intelligences, that may appear in this crystal, and whatever good gifts (whether the power of healing infirmities, or of imbibing wisdom, or discovering any evil likely to afflict any person or family, or any other gift) thou mayest be pleased to bestow on me, enable me, by thy wisdom and mercy, to use whatever I may receive to the honour of thy holy name. Grant this for thy son Christ's sake. Amen.”
Then taking your ring and pentacle, put the ring on the little finger of your right hand; hang the pentacle round thy neck; (Note, the pentacle may be either written on clean virgin parchment, or engraven on a square plate of silver and suspended from thy neck to the breast), then take your black ebony wand with the gilt characters on it and trace the circle, saying, “In the name of the blessed Trinity, I consecrate this piece of ground for our defense; so that no evil spirit may have power to break these bonds prescribed here, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.
Then place the vessel for the perfumes between thy circle and the holy table on which the crystal stands, and, having fire therein, cast in thy perfumes, saying.
“I conjure thee, oh thou creature of fire! by him who created all things both in heaven and earth, and in the sea, and in every other place whatever, that forthwith thou cast away every phantasm from thee, that no hurt whatsoever shall be done in anything. Bless, oh Lord, this creature of fire, and sanctify it that it may be blessed, and that they may fill up the power and virtue of their odours; so neither the enemy, nor any false imagination may enter into them; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Now, this being done in the order prescribed, take thy little book, which must be made about seven inches long, of pure white virgin vellum or paper, likewise pen and ink must be ready to write down the name, character, and office, likewise the seal or image of whatever spirit may appear (for this I must tell you that it does not happen that the same spirit you call will always appear, for you must try the spirit to know whether he be a pure or impure being, and this thou shalt easily know by a firm and undoubted faith in God).
Now the most pure and simple way of calling the spirits or spirit is by a short oration to the spirit himself, which is more effectual and easy to perform than composing a table of letters; for all celestial operations, the more pure and unmixed they are, the more they are agreeable to the celestial spirits: therefore, after the circle is drawn, the book, perfumes, rod, etc., in readiness, proceed as follows:
(After noticing the exact hour of the day, and what angel rules that hour, thou shalt say.)
“In the name of the blessed and holy Trinity, I do desire thee, thou strong and mighty angel Michael (or any other angel or spirit), that if it be the divine will of him who is called Tetragrammaton, etc., the Holy God, the Father, that thou take upon thee some shape as best beseemeth thy celestial nature, and appear to us visibly here in this crystal, and answer our demands in as far as we shall not transgress the bounds of the divine mercy and goodness, by requesting unlawful knowledge; but that thou will graciously shew us what things are most profitable for us to know and do, to the glory and honour of his divine Majesty, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
“Lord, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven: -make clean our hearts within us, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us.
“0 Lord, by thy name, we have called him, suffer him to administer unto us. And that all things may work together for thy honour and glory, to whom with thee, the Son, and blessed Spirit be ascribed all might, majesty and dominion. Amen.”
Note, In these dealings, two should always be present; for often a spirit is manifest to one in the crystal when the other cannot perceive him; therefore if any spirit appear, as there most likely will, to one or both say,
“Oh Lord! we return thee our hearty and sincere thanks for the hearing of our prayer, and we thank thee for having permitted thy spirit to appear unto us which we, by thy mercy, will interrogate to our further instruction, through Christ. Amen.
Interrog. 1. In the name of the holy and undefiled Spirit, the Father, the begotten Son, and Holy Ghost, proceeding from both, what is thy true name?
If the spirit answers, Michael, then proceed.
Question 2. What is thy office? 3. What is thy true sign or character? 4. When are the times most agreeable to thy nature to hold conference with us?
Wilt thou swear by the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou art truly Michael?
(Let him swear, then write down his seal or character in thy book, and against it, his office and times to be called, through God's name; also write down anything he may teach thee, or any responses he may make to thy questions or interrogations, concerning life or death, arts or sciences, or any other thing) ; and then thou shalt say,
“Thou great and mighty spirit, inasmuch as thou camest in peace and in the name of the ever blessed and righteous Trinity, so in this name thou mayest depart, and return to us when we call thee in his name to whom every knee doth bow down. Fare thee well, Michael; peace be between us, through our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Then will the spirit depart; then say, “To God the Father, eternal Spirit, fountain of Light, the Son, and Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
I shall here set down the Table of the names of Spirits and Planets governing the Hours; so thou shalt easily know by inspection, what Spirit and Planet governs every Hour of the Day and night in the Week.
Note, the day is divided into twelve equal parts, called planetary hours, reckoning from sun-rise to sun-set and, again, from the setting to the rising; and to find the planetary hour, you need but to divide the natural hours by twelve, and the quotient gives the length of the planetary hours and odd minutes, which shows you how long a spirit bears rule in that day; as Michael governs the first and the eighth hour on Sunday, as does the Sun. After you have the length, of the first hour, you have only to look in the table, as if it be the fourth hour, on Sunday, you see in the Table that the Moon and Gabriel rules; and so for the rest it being so plain and easy you cannot err.”
This concludes the Ancient Instruction.
Although at first reading the above instructions may appear comparatively simple, as in fact they are, the student will soon find that a great deal of further information is desirable, and necessary in order to obtain a thorough practical grasp of the matter. The more astute will discover that a much wider knowledge of Magick and Occultism is implied, than is possessed by the average reader. Herein lies the difficulty of the present author, who, while desirous of being really helpful to earnest Students, knows clearly the obstacles to the practical application of this method of working.
For instance, we have been supplied with details whereby we may appear to stand a fair chance of invoking the Angel Michael (always provided our intentions are pure, and we are of that simple Religious turn of mind, prepared be believe implicitly in the instructions and the Powers Invoked, without questioning the reason why things are thus and so and not otherwise), but Michael is but one of the seven Angels mentioned in the table of Planets and Rulers, and his services are only at our disposal at intervals.
In order to be in a position to invoke the Angels of the other hours and Planets, we must be in possession of their Names in Hebrew, together with their Sigils or Characters, and these must be Written on the Circle and Table in place of those given in the Plate. Also, in place of the Symbol of The Sun, on the rim of the Circle, must be placed the proper Planetary Symbol corresponding to the Angel Invoked; and so on.
Nor do our difficulties end here, for we may ask why the Sigil (that peculiar figure placed under the name Michael within the Hexagon on the Table, and on the upper left hand side of the Circle) should be that of Michael, and no other. In order to answer this, the methods of drawing the Sigils of Angels, Intelligences, and Spirits, from their Magic Squares, or by other means, would need explanation.
Magick is in truth the Science of Life itself, and all things in True Magick have a perfectly clear and lucid explanation, each step has a definite connection with the one before and the one following. But that is where the practical difficulty comes in; we want to learn Crystal Gazing, and we find that before we can do anything with the matter properly, we must have learned many other things, in order to be in position even to carry out such a simple Ceremony as above described. On the other hand, if things are (apparently) made too easy for us, we fail to understand the underlying principles involved, and through failure to obtain a proper grasp of the matter, we are led into a condition where, instead of us having the proper Power and Authority over the spirit invoked, IT has power over us, and since we have no means of TESTING its true NATURE, we may easily be deceived, led into further error, and finally lost.
Every Divine Name, for instance, on the Circle or Holy Table shown in the Plate, has a very definite meaning, and is placed just where it is for a very definite reason. To the Magician, who understands every detail, these form the best and only true PROTECTION, since he USES these things as his instruments and relies on his power to use them rightly. To the novice or uninitiate, they mean little or nothing, and how can he USE things he understands nothing about. Of course the fact that he must procure even these few simple materials, and fashion them properly, gives him a certain knowledge of the matter, but a very superficial one. And these articles are not so easily procured as one might imagine.
Take for instance “The Black Ebony Wand” shown in the illustration, which we are told to engrave with certain Names and Figures. If made, what will this wand mean to us?
It may mean a stick of wood, without life, and little more than a walking-stick (if as much), or it may represent our Highest and Most Divine Possession.
The True Wand is the Divine Will in Man, and one who is thus able to exercise the Divine Will, may certainly be in a position to use it to Consecrate a Circle. The Wand here described is a Symbol of that Will and to prepare it we must have gone through a Ceremony very like the one described in the First Chapter of this Book, in regard to the Crystal, but much more powerful, since we are dealing with our chief Magical Weapon. Why is the Wand Black? To represent perfect Understanding on the part of the Instrument, and perfect absorption of the Will of the Operator, which in turn is God's Will. It thus forms a veritable “Hollow Tube to bring down fire from Heaven”. Again its substance is rigid and unbending ebony to represent the Power of Unconquered Will. Engraved upon it are the Words of Power AGLA-ON-TETRAGRAMMATON, and on the reverse side EGO ALPHA ET OMEGA. What is the meaning of this to one who realizes the nature of the Wand? AGLA is a Word of Power, the Initials of which form the sentence “Ateh Geburah le-Olahm Adonai” which means “Unto Thee be the Power 0 My Lord Adonai” thus asserting the Power of Adonai, The Higher Self of Man (and of Humanity) as Lord of All. The next Word, ON, is the Name of the SUN in the old Egyptian Language, and the Sun again represents The Power on High giving Life to all beings on this planet; again it has a correspondence in ourselves, as, the Human Will situated in the Heart, etc.
TETRAGRAMMATON, means the Four Lettered Name, the Ineffable Name IHVH, having Power over all the Elements, and representing the complete FORMULA of the MAGICK SYSTEM here used. The words on the reverse side “EGO ALPHA ET OMEGA” mean “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the first and the Last” thus asserting the Wand or True Will to be supreme, and also containing the Greek formula of IAO, which is similar to that of Tetragrammaton.
This will give the Student some idea of what is involved in even such an apparently simple set of Magical Instruments as is here depicted. Is he prepared to assert his Will as the Will of God and the Universe? If not, he is not ready to acquire and use the Wand. So it is with the other instruments, about which a long treatise might be written, most useful and interesting to the few earnest Students, but quite beyond the comprehension of the ordinary reader.
It would give the Author great pleasure to write such a treatise around the simple ceremony above described, but the limits of this little book will not permit. Should a real demand arise, it will no doubt become possible for the real student to obtain the information necessary. For it is written “When the Pupil is ready the Master appears.”