home   |   -   |   A-Z   |  


The human brain evidently operates on some variation of the famous principle enunciated in The Hunting of the Snark: "What I tell you three times is true."


The most important idea in the Book of Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage is the simple-looking formula "Invoke often."

The most successful form of treatment for so-called mental disorders, the Behavior Therapy of Pavlov, Skinner, Wolpe, et al., could well be summarized in two similar words: "Reinforce often." ("Reinforcement," for all practical purposes, means the same as the layman's term "reward." The essence of Behavior Therapy is rewarding desired behavior; the behavior "as if by magic" begins to occur more and more often as the rewards continue.)

Advertising, as everybody knows, is based on the axiom "Repeat often."

Those who think they are "materialists" and think that "materialism" requires them to deny all facts which do not square with their definition of "matter" are loath to admit the well-documented and extensive list of individuals who have been cured of serious maladies by that very vulgar and absurd form of magick known as Christian Science. Nonetheless, the reader who wants to understand this classic work of immortal literature will have to analyze its deepest meanings, guided by an awareness that there is no essential difference between magick, Behavior Therapy, advertising, and Christian Science. All of them can be condensed into Abra-Melin's simple "Invoke often."

Reality, as Simon Moon says, is thermoplastic, not thermosetting. It is not quite Silly-Putty, as Mr. Paul Krassner once claimed, but is much closer to Silly-Putty than we generally realize. If you are told often enough that "Budweiser is the king of beers," Budweiser will eventually taste somewhat better- perhaps a great deal better- than it tasted before this magick spell was cast. If a behavior therapist in the pay of the communists rewards you every time you repeat a communist slogan, you will repeat it more often, and begin to slide imperceptibly toward the same kind of belief that Christian Scientists have for their mantras. And if a Christian Scientist tells himself every day that his ulcer is going away, the ulcer will disappear more rapidly than it would have had he not subjected himself to this homemade advertising campaign. Finally, if a magician invokes the Great God Pan often enough, the Great God Pan will appear just as certainly as heterosexual behavior appears in homosexuals who are being handled (or manhandled) by Behavior Therapy.

The opposite and reciprocal of "Invoke often" is "Banish often."

The magician wishing for a manifestation of Pan will not only invoke Pan directly and verbally, create Panlike conditions in his temple, reinforce Pan associations in every gesture and every article of furniture, use the colors and perfumes associated with Pan, etc.; he will also banish other gods verbally, banish them by removing their associated furnitures and colors and perfumes, and banish them in every other way. The Behavior Therapist calls this "negative reinforcement," and in treating a patient who is afraid of elevators he will not only reinforce (reward) every instance in which the patient rides an elevator without terror, but will also negatively reinforce (punish) each indication of terror shown by the patient. The Christian Scientist, of course, uses a mantra or spell which both reinforces health and negatively reinforces (banishes) illness.* Similarly, a commercial not only motivates the listener toward the sponsor's product but discourages interest in all "false gods"- by subsuming them under the rubric of the despised and contemptible Brand X.

* The basic Christian Science mantra, known as "The Scientific Statement of Being," no less, is as follows: "There is no life, truth, intelligence nor substance in matter. All is infinite mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is all in all, Spirit is immortal truth: matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material, he is spiritual." The fact that these statements are, in terms of the scientific criteria, "meaningless," "non-operational," and "footless" is actually totally irrelevant. They work. Try them and see. As Aleister Crowley, no friend of Mrs. Eddy's, wrote, "Enough of Because! May he be damned for a dog!"

Hypnotism, debate, and countless other games have the same mechanism: Invoke often and Banish often.

The reader who seeks a deeper understanding of this argument can obtain it by putting these principles to the test. If you are afraid that you might, in this Christian environment, fall into taking the Christian Science mantra too seriously, try instead the following simple experiment. For forty days and forty nights, begin each day by invoking and praising the world in itself as an expression of the Egyptian deities. Recite at dawn:

I bless Ra, the fierce sun burning bright, I bless Isis-Luna in the night, I bless the air, the Horus-hawk, I bless the earth on which I walk.

Repeat at moonrise. Continue for the full forty days and forty nights. We say without any reservations that, at a minimum, you will feel happier and more at home in this part of the galaxy (and will also understand better Uncle John Feather's attitude toward our planet); at maximum, you may find rewards beyond your expectations, and will be converted to using this mantra for the rest of your life. (If the results are exceptionally good, you just might start believing in ancient Egyptian gods.)

A selection of magick techniques which will offend the reason of no materialist can be found in Laura Archera Huxley's You Are Not the Target (a powerful mantra, the title!), in Gestalt Therapy, by Peris, Heferline, and Goodman, and in Mind Games, by Masters and Houston.

All this, of course, is programming your own trip by manipulating appropriate clusters of word, sound, image, and emotional (prajna) energy. The aspect of magick which puzzles, perplexes, and provokes the modern mentality is that in which the operator programs somebody else's trip, acting at a distance. It is incredible and insulting, to this type of person, if one asserts that our Mr. Nkrumah Fubar could program a headache for the President of the United States. He might grant that such manipulating of energy is possible if the President was told about Mr. Fubar's spells, but he will not accept that it works just as well when the subject has no conscious knowledge of the curse.

The magical theory that 5 = 6 has no conviction for such a skeptic, and magicians have not yet proposed a better theory. The materialist then asserts that all cases where magic did appear to work under this handicap are illusions, delusions, hallucinations, "coincidences,"* misapprehensions, "luck," accident, or downright hoax.

* Look up the etymology of that word some time and see if it means anything.

He does not seem to realize that asserting this is equivalent to asserting that reality is, after all, thermoplastic- for he is admitting that many people live in a different reality than his own. Rather than leave him to grapple as best he can with this self-contradiction, we suggest that he consult Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, by Ostrander and Schroder-especially Chapter 11, "From Animals to Cybernetics: The Search for a Theory of Psi." He might realize that when "matter" is fully understood, there is nothing a materialist need reject in magick action at a distance, which has been well explored by scientists committed to the rigid Marxist form of dialectical materialism.

Those who have kept alive the ancient traditions of magick, such as the Ordo Templi Orientalis, will realize that the essential secret is sexual (as Saul tries to explain in the Sixth Trip) and that more light can be found in the writings of Wilhelm Reich, M. D., than in the current Soviet research. But Dr. Reich was jailed as a quack by the U.S. Government, and we would not ask our readers to consider the possibility that the U.S. Government could ever be Wrong about anything.

Any psychoanalyst will guess at once the most probable symbolic meanings of the Rose and the Cross; but no psychologist engaged in psi research has applied this key to the deciphering of traditional magic texts. The earliest reference to freemasonry in English occurs in Andersen's "Muses Threnody," 1638:

For we be brethren of the Rosey Cross

We have the Mason Word and second sight

but no parapsychologist has followed up the obvious clue contained in this conjunction of the vaginal rose, the phallic cross, the word of invocation, and the phenomenon of thought projection. That the taboos against sexuality are still latent in our culture explains part of this blindness; fear of opening the door to the most insidious and subtle forms of paranoia is another part. (Ifthe magick can work at a distance, the repressed thought goes, which of its is safe?) A close and objective study of the anti-LSD hysteria in America will shed further light on the mechanisms of avoidance here discussed.

Of course, there are further offenses and affronts to the rationalist in the deeper study of magick. We all know, for instance, that words are only arbitrary conventions with no intrinsic connection to the things they symbolize, yet magick involves the use of words in a manner that seems to imply that some such connection, or even identity, actually exists. The reader might analyze some powerful bits of language not generally considered magical, and he will find something of the key. For instance, the 2 + 3 pattern in "Hail Eris'/'All hail Discordia" is not unlike the 2 + 3 in "Holy Mary, Mother of God," or that in the "L.S./M.F.T." which once sold many cartons of cigarettes to our parents; and the 2 + 3 in Crowley's "Io Pan! Io Pan Pan!" is a relative of these. Thus, when a magician says that you must shout "Abrahadabra," and no other word, at the most intensely emotional moment in an invocation, he exaggerates; you may substitute other words; but you will abort the result if you depart too far from the five-beat pattern of "Abrahadabra."*

* A glance at the end of Appendix Beth will save the reader from misunderstanding the true tenor of these remarks.

But this brings us to the magical theory of reality.

Mahatma Guru Sri Paramahansa Shivaji* writes in Yoga for Yahoos:

* Aleister Crowley again, under another pen-name.

Let us consider a piece of cheese. We say that this has certain qualities, shape, structure, color, solidity, weight, taste, smell, consistency and the rest; but investigation has shown that this is all illusory. Where are these qualities? Not in the cheese, for different observers give quite different accounts of it. Not in ourselves, for we do not perceive them in the absence of the cheese

What then are these qualities of which we are so sure? They would not exist without our brains; they would not exist without the cheese. They are the results of the union, that is of the Yoga, of the seer and seen, of subject and object

There is nothing here with which a modern physicist could quarrel; and this is the magical theory of the universe. The magician assumes that sensed reality- the panorama of impressions monitored by the senses and collated by the brain- is radically different from so-called objective reality.* About the latter "reality" we can only form speculations or theories which, if we are very careful and subtle, will not contradict either logic or the reports of the senses. This lack of contradiction is rare; some conflicts between theory and logic, or between theory and sense-data, are not discovered for centuries (for example, the wandering of Mercury away from the Newtonian calculation of its orbit). And even when achieved, lack of contradiction is proof only that the theory is not totally false. It is never, in any ease, proof that the theory is totally true-for an indefinite number of such theories can be constructed from the known data at any time. For instance, the geometries of Euclid, of Gauss and Reimann, of Lobachevski, and of Fuller all work well enough on the surface of the earth, and it not yet clear whether the Gauss-Reimann or the Fuller system works better in interstellar space.

*See the anthology Perception, edited by Robert Blake, Ph.D., and especially the chapter by psychologist Carl Rogers, which demonstrates that people's perceptions change while they are in psychotherapy. As William Blake noted, "The fool sees not the same tree that the wise man sees."

If we have this much freedom in choosing our theories about "objective reality," we have even more liberty in deciphering the "given" or transactional sensed reality. The ordinary person senses as he or she has been taught to sense -that is, as they have been programmed by their society. The magician is a self-programmer. Using invocation and evocation- which are functionally identical with self-conditioning, auto-suggestion, and hypnosis, as shown above- he or she edits or orchestrates sensed reality like an artist.*

* Everybody, of course, does this unconsciously; see the paragraph about the cheese. The magician, doing it consciously, controls it.

This book, being part of the only serious conspiracy it describes- that is, part of Operation Mindfuck- has programmed the reader in ways that he or she will not understand for a period of months (or perhaps years). When that understanding is achieved, the real import of this appendix (and of the equation 5 = 6) will be clearer. Officials at Harvard thought Dr. Timothy Leary was joking when he warned that students should not be allowed to indiscriminately remove dangerous, habit-forming books from the library unless each student proves a definite need for each volume. (For instance, you have lost track of Joe Malik's mysterious dogs by now.) It is strange that one can make the clearest possible statements and yet be understood by many to have said the opposite.

The Rite of Shiva, as performed by Joe Malik during the SSS Black Mass, contains the central secret of all magick, very explicitly, yet most people can reread that section a dozen, or a hundred times, and never understand what the secret is. For instance, Miss Portinari was a typical Catholic girl in every way- except for an unusual tendency to take Catholicism seriously- until she began menstruating and performing spiritual meditations every day.* One morning, during her meditation period, she visualized the Sacred Heart of Jesus with unusual clarity; immediately another image, distinctly shocking to her, came to mind with equal vividness. She recounted this experience to her confessor the next Saturday, and he warned her, gravely, that meditation was not healthy for a young girl, unless she intended to take the oath of seclusion and enter a convent. She had no intention of doing that, but rebelliously (and guiltily) continued her meditations anyway. The disturbing second image persisted whenever she thought of the Sacred Heart; she began to suspect that this was sent by the Devil to distract her from meditation.

* These two signs of growth often appear at the same time, being DNA-triggered openings of the fourth neural circuit.

One weekend, when she was home from convent school on vacation, her parents decided she was the right age to be introduced to Roman society. (Actually, they, like most well-off Italian families, had already chosen which daughter would be given to the church- and it wasn't her. Hence, this early introduction to la dolce vita.) One of the outstanding ornaments of Rome at that time was the "eccentric international businessman" Mr. Hagbard Celine, and he was at the party to which Miss Portinari was taken that evening.

It was around eleven, and she had consumed perhaps a little too much Piper Heidseck, when she happened to find herself standing near a small group who were listening rapt-ly to a story the strange Celine was telling. Miss Portinari wondered what this creature might be saying-he was reputedly even more cynical and materialistic than other international money-grubbers, and Miss Portinari was, at that time, the kind of conservative Catholic idealist who finds capitalists even more dreadful than socialists. She idly tuned in on his words; he was talking English, but she understood that language adequately.

" 'Son, son,'" Hagbbard recited, " 'with two beautiful women throwing themselves at you, why are you sitting alone in your room jacking off?'"

Miss Portinari blushed furiously and drank some more champagne to conceal it. She hated the man already, knowing that she would surrender her virginity to him at the earliest opportunity; of such complexities are intellectual Catholic adolescents capable.

"And the boy replied," Hagbard went on, " 'I guess you just answered your own question, Ma.' "

There was a shocked silence.

"The case is quite typical," Hagbard added blandly, obviously finished. "Professor Freud recounts even more startling family dramas."

"I don't see" a celebrated French auto racer began, frowning. Then he smiled. "Oh," he said, "was the boy an American?"

Miss Portinari left the group perhaps a bit too hurriedly (she felt a few eyes following her) and quickly refilled her champagne glass.

A half-hour later she was standing on the veranda, trying to clear her head in the night air, when a shadow moved near her and Celine appeared amid a cloud of cigar smoke.

"The moon has a fat jaw tonight," he said in Italian. "Looks like somebody punched her in the mouth."

"Are you a poet in addition to your other accomplishments?" she asked coolly. "That sounds as if it might be American verse."

He laughed- a clear peal, like a stallion whinnying. "Quite so," he said. "I just came from Rapallo, where I was talking to America's major poet of this century. How old are you?" he asked suddenly.

"Almost sixteen," she said fumbling the words.

"Almost fifteen," he corrected ungallantly.

"If it's any affair of yours-"

"It might be," he replied easily. "I need a girl your age for something I have in mind."

"I can imagine. Something foul."

He stepped further out of the shadows and closer. "Child," he said, "are you religious?"

"I suppose you regard that as old-fashioned," she replied, imagining his mouth on her breast and thinking of paintings of Mary nursing the Infant.

"At this point in history," he said simply, "it's the only thing that isn't old-fashioned. What was your birthdate? Never mind- you must be a Virgo."

"I am," she said. (His teeth would bite her nipple, but very gently. He would know enough to do that.) "But that is superstition, not religion."

"I wish I could draw a precise line between religion, superstition, and science." He smiled. "I find that they keep running together. You are Catholic, of course?" His persistence was maddening.

"I am too proud to believe an absurdity, and therefore I am not a Protestant," she replied- immediately fearing that he would recognize the plagiarism.

"What symbol means the most to you?" he asked, with the blandness of a prosecuting attorney setting a trap.

"The cross," she said quickly. She didn't want him to know the truth.

"No." He again corrected her ungallantly. "The Sacred Heart."

Then she knew he was of Satan's party.

"I must go," she said.

"Meditate further on the Sacred Heart," he said, his eyes blazing like a hypnotist's (a cornball gimmick, he was thinking privately, but it might work). "Meditate on it deeply, child. You will find in it the essential of Catholicism - and the essential of all other religion."

"I think you are mad," she responded, leaving the veranda with undignified haste.

But two weeks later, during her morning meditation, she suddenly understood the Sacred Heart. At lunchtime she disappeared-leaving behind a note to the Mother Superior of the convent school and another note for her parents- and went in search of Hagbard. She had even more potential than he realized, and (as elsewhere recorded) within two years he abdicated in her favor. They never became lovers.*

*They were quite good friends, though, and he did fuck her occasionally.

The importance of symbols- images- as the link between word and primordial energy demonstrates the unity between magick and yoga. Both magick and yoga- we reiterate-are methods of self-programming employing synchronistically connected chains of word, image, and bio-energy.

Thus, rationalists, who are all puritans, have never considered the fact that disbelief in magick is found only in puritanical societies. The reason for this is simple: Puritans are incapable of guessing what magick is essentially all about. It can even be surely ventured that only those who have experienced true love, in the classic Albigensian or troubadour sense of that expression, are equipped to understand even the most clear-cut exposition of the mysteries.*

The eye in the triangle; for instance, is not primarily a symbol of the Christian Trinity, as the gullible assume- except insofar as the Christian Trinity is itself a visual (or verbal) elaboration on a much older meaning. Nor is this symbol representative of the Eye of Osiris or even of the Eye of Horus, as some have ventured; it is venerated, for instance, among the Cao Dai sect in Vietnam, who never heard of Osiris or Horus. The eye's meaning can be found quite simply by meditating on Tarot Trump XV, the Devil, which corresponds, on the Tree of Life, to the Hebrew letter ayin, the eye. The reader who realizes that "The Devil" is only a late rendering of the Great God Pan has already solved the mystery of the eye, and the triangle has its usual meaning. The two together are the union of Yod, the father, with He, the Mother, as in Yod-He-Vau-He, the holy unspeakable name of God. Vau, the Holy Ghost, is the result of their union, and final He is the divine ecstasy which follows. One might even venture that one who contemplates this key to the identities of Pan, the Devil, the Great Father, and the Great Mother will eventually come to a new, more complete understanding of the Christian Trinity itself, and especially of its most mysterious member, Vau, the elusive Holy Ghost.**

* This book has stated it as clearly as possible in a number of places, but some readers are still wondering what we are holding back.

** This being has more in common with the ordinary nocturnal visitor, sometimes called a "ghost," than is immediately evident to the uninitiated. Cf. the well-documented association of poltergeist disturbances with adolescents.


???? Left-hand PentagramRight-hand Pentagram

???? (two horns exalted)(one horn exalted)

The pentagram comes in two forms but always represents the fullest extension of the human psyche- the male human psyche in particular. The pentagram with one horn exalted is, quite naturally, associated with the right-hand path; and the two-horned pentagram with the left-hand path. (The Knights Templar, very appropriately, inscribed the head of Baphomet, the goat-headed deity who was their equivalent of Pan or the Devil, within the left-handed pentagram in such wise that each "horn" contained one of Baphomet's horns.) It is to be observed that the traditionally sinister* left-hand pentagram contains an internal pentagon with one point upward, whereas the right-hand pentagram contains an internal pentagon with one point downward; this nicely illustrates the Law of Opposites.** The pentagon in the Sacred Chao is tilted from the perpendicular so that it cannot be said to have any points directly upward or directly downward-or perhaps can be said to have 1 ? points up and 1 ? points down***- thereby illustrating the Reconciliation of Opposites. All that can be said against the method of the left-hand pentagram, without prejudice, is that this form of the sacrament is always destructive of the Holy Spirit, in a certain sense. It should be remembered that the right-hand pentagram method is also destructive in most cases, especially by those practitioners so roundly condemned in Chapter 14 of Joyce's Ulysses-and this group is certainly the majority these days. In view of the ecological crisis, it might even be wise to encourage the left-hand method and discourage the right-hand method at this time, to balance the Sacred Numbers.

* This association, attributing diabolism to the left-hand path, is oversimplified, prejudiced, and superstitious. In general, it can be said that the left-hand pentagram is suitable for both invocations and evocations, whereas the right-hand pentagram is suitable only for evocations, and mat is the only important difference. (It is assumed that the reader understands the pentagram as an exclusively male symbol.)

** Cf. the Tarot trumps II and III-the Magus, holding one arm upward and one downward, and the High Priestess, sitting between the pillars of Day and Night. (The Priestess is also associated with the Hebrew letter gimmel, the camel, and part of the meaning of this symbolism is contained in the shapes of the camel's back and the Hebrew letter.)

*** This makes it quite useless for summoning werewolves. The Sacred Chao, however, is intended to teach a philosophical lesson, not to attract individuals with dubious pastimes.

Very few readers of the Golden Bough have pierced Sir Prof. Dr. Frazer's veil of euphemism and surmised the exact method used by Isis in restoring life to Osiris, although this is shown quite clearly in extant Egyptian frescoes. Those who are acquainted with this simple technique of resurrecting the dead (which is at least partially successful in all cases and totally successful in most) will have no trouble in skrying the esoteric connotations of the Sacred Chao- or of the Taoist yin-yang or the astrological sign of cancer. The method almost completely reverses that of the pentagrams, right or left, and it can even be said that in a certain sense it was not Osiris himself but his brother, Set, symbolically understood, who was the object of Isis's magical workings. In every case, without exception, a magical or mystical symbol always refers to one of the very few* variations of the same, very special variety of human sacrifice: the "one eye opening" or the "one hand clapping"; and this sacrifice cannot be partial- it must culminate in death if it is to be efficacious. The literal-mindedness of the Saures, in the novel, caused them to become a menace to life on earth; the reader should bear this in mind. The sacrifice is not simple. It is a species of cowardice, epidemic in Anglo-Saxon nations for more than three centuries, which causes most who seek success in this field to stop short before the death of the victim. Anything less than death-that is, complete oblivion-simply will not work.** (One will find more clarity on this crucial point in the poetry of John Donne than in most treatises alleging to explain the secrets of magick.)

* Fewer than seventy, according to a classical enumeration.

** The magician must always identify fully with the victim, and share every agonized contortion to the utmost. Any attitude of standing aside and watching, as in a theatrical performance, or any intellectualization during the moments when the sword is doing its brutal but necessary work, or any squeamishness or guilt or revulsion, creates the two-mindedness against which Hagbard so vehemently warns in Never Whistle While You're Pissing. In a sense, only the mind dies.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy