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|RESOURCES FOR THE BEGINNING STUDENT
I am a total newcomer to this who is just beginning to dip into the VAST resources out there and would like your advice/guidance on where to get started. I am drawn to the Golden Dawn system and what little of what (I have) read on Hermeticism but am also fascinated by Enochian magick. Any advice?
David Allen Hulse answered:
That you are attracted to the Enochian system as a novice in magick is a very common occurrence, somewhat like a moth's attraction to a bright candle flame. It happened to me as well in the beginnings of my own study. With little knowledge of the basics, I plunged into the fourth volume of Regardie's Golden Dawn and immersed myself in the cryptic letters that make up the 646 squares of the Enochian watchtowers. I got so confused, so perplexed, and a little obsessed that I had to retire from my magical studies for a good 6 months before I could regain my bearings again.
The pursuit of Enochian magick should be the curriculum you pursue as a magician after you master the basics. You will be tempted to jump right in, and that is your choice. Nevertheless, let me direct you to a few basic books that will help you immensely in your studies:
Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn, A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic (Llewellyn, 1994). For this work, get the 6th edition onward. David Godwin has included a marvelous index for the 6th edition. Work with this book as much as possible. It is the core teachings of the Golden Dawn, and will repay your efforts of hard study. I still turn to this work after studying it for 32 years. Source material on the Enochian system can be found in the fourth volume.
Paul Foster Case, The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages (Macoy Publishing Company, 1947). This is the best possible book on the basic Qabalistic attributes for the Tarot, based on the Golden Dawn tradition. Memorize all the Qabalistic attributes Case lists for each card.
Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism (Weiser, 1978 ). This is the best discussion of the 32 paths of the Tree of Life, and a wonderful reference when you have a question over the symbolism of the Tree of Life. Use this to memorize the attributes of each of the 32 paths of the Tree of Life.
Meric Causaubon, A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years between John Dee and Some Spirits (Askin, 1974). This is a transcript of Dee's diaries concerning the Enochian skrying sessions. This is the real material, rather than someone's second hand working. It is very difficult, but since you are so attracted to Enochian, it will give you much authentic material to work with. Take this book in small doses at first, or it will overwhelm you.
Aleister Crowley, The Equinox (11 volumes), (Weiser, 1998). Various editions of this set of books has been published by Weiser. It is essential reading for your understanding of the Golden Dawn's impact on Crowley's own Thelemic Magick. I bought my set in the late 1970s and would never part with it. Still a source of information and wonder for me. Source material for Enochian can be found in the seventh and eighth volumes.
Madame Helena Blavatsky, The Collected Writings (14 volumes),(Theosophical Publishing House, 1977). This delightful set of books contains even more information than Crowley's eleven volume Equinox series, though it is ignored by most practicing magicians. This series represents the beginning integration of Eastern Wisdom with Western Magick. My own Eastern Mysteries and Western Mysteries is really a continuation of what Blavatsky started in 1875 with the founding of the Theosophical Society, for my work bridges the East and the West. Though both her ponderous works Isis Unveiled and Secret Doctrine are pretty inaccessible to the beginning student, this series of her collected writings has so many gems. The 12th volume alone is worth the whole set, since it contains the instructions for her secret magical order The Esoteric Section. Much of what Blavatsky had discovered was used by Mathers and Westcott in developing the magical curriculum for the Golden Dawn. Crowley viewed Blavatsky as a Magister Templi, which would put her on the Tree of Life at the sephirah Binah (one step higher than Mathers ever obtained himself).
Francis King, The Rites of Modern Occult Magic (McMillan, 1970). After 30 years this is still the best overview of the modern magical movement that emanated from the Golden Dawn. King has such a lively sense of humor, and is not attached to any one tradition. I loved this book so much when it first came out, and I still respect all that it has documented.
You should also pick up my 3 works, The Eastern Mysteries (Llewellyn, 2000), The Western Mysteries (Llewellyn,2000), and New Dimensions for the Cube of Space (Weiser, 2000).
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