88 Temples

One of my all time favorite occult texts is Epistle 52 of the Brethren of Purity, titled simply ‘On Magic.’ It emerges from the same backdrop of Arabic occultism expressed in the Picatrix, perhaps predating and laying the basis for it. These texts not only get us out of the narrow corridor of ‘Western esotericism’ but provide us with a glimpse into ideas and practices that could have diffused along the length and breadth of the Arabic world. That is pretty crazy when you think about it–Arabic influence extended all over the Old World, from Africa to Europe, from the Middle East well into Asia and the Southeast Asian islands.

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Paranoia & Discernment

I know one of the things that can make the gnostic turn uncomfortable for people is that they fear it turning paranoid, or, perhaps, fear themselves turning paranoid. Once you start noticing that all the lines don’t quite converge like you expect them and that some may converge in ways that are disillusioning, it’s easy to start expecting more and more of the same. It’s easy to start expecting more and more of the same defensively, too, so you don’t have to undergo the hard reality of disillusionment again, just your favored simulacrum of it. But we don’t have to get stuck in that, we don’t have to go down that road. We can hold to awareness and in doing so discover that it isn’t just disillusionment all the way down.

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“The Mind of the Worker”

Note this prayer may be altered to the mind of the worker, for it is here set for [to serve as] an Example &c c c. (from the Ars Paulina of the Lemegeton)

This strikes me as an unusual quote in the context of grimoires. The Lemegeton is, like many of its contemporaries, full of careful strictures regarding the manufacture of ritual items and the proper way to present them to spirits in order to accomplish magical goals. Yet here is a prayer that may be modified to the temper of the magician. I want to poke at it a little, see what turns up.

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