Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No.5. Vol. 1, Autumnal Equinox 2003
by Alex Sumner
A large number of writers on the occult have described the magical path as predominantly a spiritual one, whose main aim is to attain union with God or "the divine". Occult powers may be used to gain more worldly ends (the needs of everyday life), but this should not distract from the magician's prime spiritual duty, the accomplishment of the Great Work.
Thus, although writers such as Crowley, Fortune and Bardon speak of magick as being almost pure theurgy, they also mention using magic to attain, e.g. money. Crowley says:
e.g. if you are making an opus for money, smear the Elixir on a gold coin, or ring;
Fortune, with a lot of glossing over the difficulties involved (as she was writing fiction) wrote:
Like King Solomon, I required men and materials. The necessary money had been placed in my hands, and I could always invoke for more if I wanted it; but that in itself was not enough.
Whilst Bardon wrote, for example,
"Jromoni, (15º Taurus) -, being an excellent initiator, he can inform the magician how to make money easily and quickly, - providing Divine Providence approves of it - by wins, bets, speculations etc. ..."
However, one should also remember that there are very few examples of great magicians who have been able to acquire wealth for themselves by magical means. Those that have are the exception rather than the norm. Both Crowley and Fortune had inherited wealth from their families before they ever started magick. After Crowley lost the last remnants of his wealth in 1918 due to an "insane" treasurer of the OTO - and a corrupt accountant - he was content to slide into poverty and eventually bankruptcy. Other magicians such as Macgregor Mathers and A O Spare lived in poor or humble circumstances all their life.
I have heard of quite a number of magicians who piously expound the view that the only permissible goal of magic is to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of one's Holy Guardian Angel, and that to do otherwise is to practice Black Magic. Thus, all those who come to Magick wanting things like sex, money, power, knowledge, strength, long-life, psychic ability - the very seven things to which the Ancients dedicated their most powerful gods, and Astrologers the seven planets! - are poor deluded fools. Yet this is to ignore the common definition magic prevalent in Renaissance times. Whilst goetia was conversing with evil spirits, and theurgia conversing with divine and angelic beings for the betterment of ones soul, there was in fact a third class of magic called magia - i.e. "Natural Magic" or in other words, making use of the forces of Nature, such as astrological influences, to attain wants from everyday life. Moreover, according to the pre- "Enlightenment" mode of thinking, because Nature was created, controlled and regulated by God, the practical difference between Magia and Theurgia was very fine indeed. Often, both consisted of invoking the same divine and angelic - and Natural - forces, but seeking to apply them to differing ends.
It is my humble opinion that because the goals of Magia are so closely connected to the nature of Astrology, Magia really consists of mankind's desire to bring all its natural unconscious impulses to proper fruition. Magia is not just Natural magic in the sense of making use of the forces of nature, it is Natural because it aims to satisfy Nature - i.e. Man's Nature. Not by separating spirit from matter, and trying to live in the former, but by actually attempting to cause manifestation within matter by the aid of spirit.
Therefore, in order to make a suitable investigation of Magia, I have decided to write an account of a number magickal experiments I have performed over the years, which all concern an important sub-topic within the genre - one that has certainly been important to me! Namely, Money. I wanted to test whether Magic could indeed be used to perform Money Spells, as has been hinted in various grimoires down the ages. Plus of course, having money is useful! I am no rich-boy with inherited wealth to back me up, like the young Crowley was. I have to work for a living, although I have also had to cope with periods of unemployment. I am therefore approaching this subject from the point of view of all those students of the occult who have very little with which to start.
These experiments reflect my changing appreciation of magic over the course of time. I was continually adapting my approach, as I became better at doing ritual: and adapting my preconceptions as to the subject of money spells as well. For this reason, the four operations mentioned here are under the aegises of different qabalistic or magical correspondence - I wanted to see if one was better than the other. They represent respectively the erroneous, the unconventional, the conventional, and the innovative (or what I thought was innovative!).
Throughout the following experiments, I have taken care to observe one main rule when recording my results - i.e. only money which came to me in very unusual circumstances would I even begin to consider as a possible result of my magical spell. During the time I was working these operations, I usually had a little money coming in, either from unemployment benefit or from some kind of very low-paid work (note that in Britain, where I live, those not in work are entitle to state benefit, which currently works out to about £11 (approx. $15 US) per day). Clearly I could not count any money as a result of my spell, if I was always going to get it had I cast the spell or not! For this reason, I tended to only look to the extraordinary: the job which I get in an unconventional manner; activities which I would never normally do, and never normally think of doing; job leads which come from altering my behaviour in a way I would not usually think of doing; etc.Jupiter
I first tried my hand at casting a Money Spell many years ago, when I was very green. I had not read widely on magic, apart from a few titles such as The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune. This however I had absorbed thoroughly, making copious notes and diagrams to aid my understanding.
Having mastered (or so I thought) the theoretical side, I was searching for some method of converting theory into practice, i.e. of actually working magic. Unfortunately, what clues Dion left in her writings were too cryptic for me, at my then stage of development, to decipher. Eventually however, I came across a little book called The Witches' Qabalah. For the most part it covered much the same ground as The Mystical Qabalah. The author was writing from the viewpoint of a woman having been born a Christian, was now converted to Wicca of the Gardnerian type - with close references to the Qabalah and Golden Dawn-type magick.
This book did however contain some material which was not just a re-write of Dion's work: including a description of a method that the author and her coven used for spell-working. Aha, I thought, this was what I was looking for!
The technique principally involves a lot of colour visualisation: it is of prime importance to memorise the colours of the Ten Sephiroth, in each of the four Qabalistic worlds (i.e. 40 colours in total). It is also important to memorise the Deity-names and the names of the Archangels of the Sephiroth.
The (putative) Witch carefully chooses the Sephirah which is most appropriate to the operation. Where a spell concerns a given Planet, the Sephirah corresponding to that planet is used. This is in contradistinction to a more Golden Dawn style of approach, where a ritual which is not purely theurgic in nature would rather be referred to the paths on the Tree of Life.
Having selected the Sephirah, the Witch procures a candle of the corresponding Briah-colour - i.e. the one used for the Sephirah in the Minutum Mundum - which will be lit at the culmination of the ritual. The Witch begins by contemplating Kether, filling his/her aura with light, corresponding to the Atziluth-colour (i.e. pure brilliance in this case); followed by changing the visualisation to light of the Briah-, Yetzirah-, and Assiah- colours. The Witch then proceeds to each of the subsequent Sephiroth, in Lightning-Flash order.
On coming to the chosen Sephirah of the working, the Witch vibrates the deity name of the sphere, and contemplates feeling love for this aspect of deity, while visualising the Atziluth-colour. Then visualising the Briah-colour, the Witch calls upon the Archangel, asking its help and articulating the object of the spell. The Witch continues with the colour visualisation in the previous manner.
On reaching Yesod, the Witch, when contemplating the Briah-colour, visualises his/her goal in as much detail as possible. Continuing, the Witch finally lights the candle on reaching Malkuth of Assiah, to signify the transference of the thought-form to reality. The candle is left burning a while, and then extinguished with the idea that it is burning on other planes. The whole ritual may be repeated at least once per day (with the same candle), and even several times a day, as the Witch feels appropriate.
Now at the time I was under the impression that Jupiter was the appropriate Planet when it came to Money Spells. I now realise that this is both right and wrong. In the old Roman religion, Jupiter, as ruler of the gods, was patron deity of the wealthy and powerful - i.e. the upper classes. In modern astrology, Jupiter, the planet of expansiveness, is also known as a planet of wealth. There are some examples of magicians invoking Jupiter to gain money - for example, Aleister Crowley did so during his notorious "Paris Working".
However, it should be noted that Jupiter is one of the slower-moving planets. As such, Jupiter is not really appropriate for getting ready cash - more for long-term investments. Remember, Jupiter was the patron deity of the wealthy and powerful - people not so much interested in getting rich quick, as in preserving the total value of the investments that they and their families already had. Even Crowley marked success with his Jupiter-invocation by noting an increase in the value of consols, i.e. British Government Securities, in which he had invested his fortune.
(A correspondent suggested that, if he was the god of the wealthy and the powerful, Jupiter could be invoked to attract the beneficial attention of such people to someone who is poor. It was an interesting idea, though I have yet to discover whether it is feasible).
Ignorant as I was that perhaps Jupiter was not the most appropriate planet for me at that particular point in my life, I nevertheless attempted to invoke him, by the Wiccan-type method I have described. Therefore I actually invoked Chesed, the Sephirah with which Jupiter is associated.
After casting my spell, I went into town, and decided to try it out by buying a lottery scratch-card. And "scratch" was all I won! Disappointed, I wandered into my local job-centre, when a strange thing occurred. I had made absolutely no move to look at any of the job vacancies on offer, when a lady who worked there and who was a complete stranger to me called me over to her, and asked me if I would like a couple of days work in a local factory. Just a few days, but she thought that as there was a public holiday coming up, I would appreciate the cash. What I guess happened is that this factory had that moment phoned up asking the job centre to send them someone, and instead of going through the rigmarole of advertising the job in the centre in the normal fashion, the lady just decided to accost the first person she saw - i.e. me.
I agreed to go. It was not particularly highly paid work, nor was it a salubrious factory, but I was struck by the coincidence of it all - the fact of my attempted money-spell, and the fact of my getting a job in a highly unusual manner. "Hmm," I thought, "Perhaps this money-spell worked after all!"
I received approximately £40 net in total for the one and a half days I was at the factory. Which I promptly spent on a copy of Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn, which has been the foundation for my magical career ever since.Chaos Magick
Some time later, I was stuck in a low-paid and boring job. It was far from difficult work, and it had the advantage of being a nicer working environment than the factory I mentioned above. But it was work for which I was hopelessly over-qualified, and worse, there were no promotion prospects. I had only taken the job because it seemed there were a lack of vacancies for the type of work I really wanted to do: and the pay was slightly better - but not much - than being unemployed (i.e. on state benefit, which at the time was approximately £50 per week).
My thoughts turned to money spells. The work I was doing was so untaxing that I had time to doodle, and one day I had a go at creating a Sigil for the purpose. I essayed to empower the Sigil by concentrating on it having first induced what Pete Carroll called a state of "indifferent vacuity" - the sheer ennui of my then job aiding me much in this respect.
The only result to speak of, from using this method, was that I received the equivalent of a day's pay, i.e. I was given the day off through lack of work, but I was still paid for it. However, there were unfortunate long-term consequences. My manager immediately saw that she had too little work to give me in relation to what she was paying me, so she took the earliest opportunity possible to cut-back my hours. I was eventually made redundant from this job for the same reason.
One wonders whether if instead of using Chaos Magick to charge an A O Spare-sigil, I had used an A O Spare-method to charge an A O Spare-sigil, I would have done any better.The Sun
My next attempt at a money spell was some time after the above effort, when I was unemployed after being made redundant from that job. This time I adopted a more conventional Hermetic approach, and decided to work a Golden Dawn-style ritual.
"The Power of Acquisition of Wealth" is attributed, in 777, to the Sun, which in turn is associated with the 30th path of the Sepher Yetzirah, and the letter (Resh). This is because in alchemy Gold is attributed to the same path - and gold from ancient times has been the prime expression of riches. It seems that Dion Fortune well knew this, judging from what she wrote regarding Tiphereth (which is associated with the Sun).
Therefore, I decided to perform a ritual based on the Sun: this intention eventually crystallised specifically as an evocation of the Intelligence of the Sun, Nakhiel. Nakhiel is essentially an Angelic-being, unlike the Spirit of the Sun, Sorath, who is a "blind" spirit i.e. goetic. I chose to evoke Nakhiel in preference to Sorath, because, I reasoned, what is the point of attempting to incorporate "demonic" spirits into ones personality, before one has incorporated Angelic ones?
For the evocation I adopted a similar modus operandi to that which I had used to evoke Raagiosl, the King of the Enochian Water Tablet, but varied to suit the particular nature of Nakhiel. Imagining the circumference of the magic circle to be the Ecliptic of my Sphere of Sensation, I positioned the Triangle of Art where the Sun occurs on my birth-chart. To invoke Nakhiel I used the unadorned Supreme Invoking Hexagram of Sol ritual, and burned a stick of Cinnamon for incense. I also used the following conjuration, which apparently King Hammurabai once used in regard to the Babylonian Sun-god Shamash:
I who am a perfect king
Come the evocation itself, everything went according to plan. Clairvoyantly I appeared to see the telesmatic image of Nakhiel appearing in the Triangle of Art: I asked her for money within 6 days (i.e. 6 being the Pythagorean number associated with the Sun).
Over the next week, I noted what money came to me from what source - there was nothing which could be construed as a "result" until the evening of the sixth day. That evening, I happened to go to a pub to which I had never been before, and on a whim, I played a quiz machine which I had never played before. I won the jackpot! The actual amount of money was £20, or the equivalent of what an unemployed person in the UK gets in two days. Reflecting on the evening, I realised that the manner of my winning this money was very much to do with the nature of the Sun-sign on my birth-chart, Libra, which being an Air sign is most connected with intelligence and the intellect.
This quiz machine was based on a famous television programme. I wondered if this were a sign from Nakhiel that my destiny lay in competing for the much larger jackpot as a contestant on this programme: alas, it was not to be. I called the contestant hotline but I never received the summons to the TV studios.
I later conducted a second evocation ritual, to thank Nakhiel for what she had done.Mercury
Reading around the subject of the ancient Roman religion, I discovered the fact that Mercury was the god of Trade and tradesmen - indeed, his influence lives on to this day through the words merchant, mercantile, etc. This gave me an idea: perhaps I could invoke Mercury to give me business acumen? Initial indications from a Horary figure I drew up suggested that overall it was not a bad idea, subject to one particular caveat: at the time I drew up the Horary figure, Saturn was in opposition to the Sun. Saturn in its positive sense is the planet of wisdom, but negatively it is the planet of limitation. The Sun, as discussed above, is the planet of money. I interpreted this as meaning that the figure suggested that although I might succeed, the amount of money I would actually receive would be limited. Alternatively, I might gain much wisdom from my experience, but it would be at the expense of gaining money. However, I was feeling particularly hard-up at the time, so I thought that even if wisdom was all I could settle for, I had no choice: I would go through with the Mercury Ritual.
As equivocal as this divination was, yet it encouraged me to press on. I was departing from 777 in doing this, as there the magical powers associated with Mercury are only the Miracle of Healing, the Gift of Tongues, and the Knowledge of Sciences.
This time, I concentrated on Tiriel, the Intelligence of Mercury. However, instead of attempting to evoke him, I decided to consecrate a Talisman to him instead (see illustration). The design of the talisman was based closely on the principles of the Golden Dawn: Yellow, the colour of the 12th Path; the sigil which, incidentally, is taken from Agrippa; the octogram; and the Hebrew names - (Elohim Tzebaoth), (Raphael), (Kokab), and (Tiriel) itself. The fifth name used, ("Matzpatz") is the divine name associated with the Heaven of Hod (Mercury) in Briah.
On the day of the ritual itself, I found myself without access to my usual ritual tools: I therefore took the bold decision of going through the ritual, but attempting to replace each physical component with its psychic equivalent. For example, where normally I would consecrate with Water and Purify with Fire, I strongly visualised and concentrated on a large Pillar of Cloud and one of Fire standing either side of the talisman. I had done much work meditating on the elements many years ago, so this turned out to be quite straightforward.
At the point where I was supposed to project my Will upon the Talisman, I meditated for a very long time, visualising Tiriel himself appearing and infusing the talisman with his power. This meditation took the following form: it consisted of four parts, corresponding to the four Qabalistic worlds and the four letters of the Tetragrammaton, , which is the prime Qabalistic formula of creation.
For (Atziluth), I contemplated the aspect of the Divine which watched over the operation - i.e. Elohim Tzebaoth .
For (Briah, the Tarot suit of Cups, the Mental Plane, etc.) I contemplated the proper Emotions I should feel on the operations successful conclusion, in this case a sense of extreme gratitude and wonder at the divine.
For (Yetzirah, the Astral plane etc.) I visualised the Telesmatic image of Tiriel himself, appearing before me and projecting a ray of his power into the Talisman.
For (Assiah, manifestation, etc.), I contemplated the effects of the operation manifesting within my own consciousness, aiding myself in this respect by repeating the name "Tiriel" as a sort of mantra.
Finally, I attempted to combine these four meditations into One. Why go to all this trouble? I had for some time, around the period I performed the operation, been studying Bardon's Key to the True Quabbalah, and was wondering if it was at all possible to take Bardon's methodology and use it with more GD-type attributions. The -structure of the meditation may be compared to Bardon's method (although his method of attributing the Tetragrammaton to the four elements is different to that of the Golden Dawn).
I specified that the Talisman was to show some sign that it was working within 8 working days - this being the Pythagorean number associated with Mercury. As it happened, I was right in the middle of the holidays when I did the ceremony, so "8 working days" was really closer to two weeks.
At length, I finished the ceremony, and wrapping the Talisman in a silk handkerchief, I stowed it away safely. Over the next few days, I made a note of any particularly magical occurrences which might be an indication that the Talisman was working. Although some ideas came to me, there were none that occurred in a particularly paranormal way. So it came to the evening before the last day by which I had specified the Talisman to work. At a loss of what to do, I took the Talisman from its place of safe-keeping, and went to bed having set it up on my night-stand. I intended to incubate a lucid dream about it, to see if that would provide any fresh inspiration. I therefore drifted off to sleep with Tiriel's sigil before my mind's eye...
During the night, I had an incredibly vivid lucid dream. I dreamt I was ascending from the sphere of the Earth (Malkuth), through the sphere of the Moon (Yesod), and into the sphere of Mercury (Hod). As I entered each sphere, I somehow felt the "vibratory level" of my astral body increasing. I do not know what this means, it was the idea which occurred to me at the time - I felt it had something to do with the level of energy within me. When I reached the sphere of Mercury, I stayed there some time and meditated...
I awoke in the morning with an incredible sense of energy, which remained with me the whole day. It totally banished all traces of lethargy which might have thwarted my attempts to sort out my financial affairs. Logging onto the internet that day, a whim - or so it seemed - took hold of me, and I found a website which I had never looked at before. On this website were links to a number of Recruitment agencies with whom I had never dealt before - I emailed them my CV. It so happened that one of the agencies I discovered that day invited me to come for an interview. They seemed to react positively to me. I did not get any work from them straightaway, although I did get a couple of days work within a month or so - which paid more than I had got from my other attempts at money spells, although it was still not enough to live on. However this changed some six months after first signing up with this recruitment agency, when they were able to find me a temping placement which lasted for five weeks, netting me about £1500 in take-home pay.Conclusion
Thus, not only does it seem that the Mercury talisman seems to have been the most successful of my attempts at a money spell so far, it has the added advantage that there still remains the prospect that it will lead onto better things, in the form of more or better work.
However, it should also be noted that this example of a successful money spell also coincided with my achieving a new level of maturity in my magical working, i.e. I was able to combine my skills in accessing the astral plane through lucid dreaming, with my use of Ritual work. It is also a continuation of the ideas I developed previously regarding Sigils, namely that one of the most excellent ways of impressing a Sigil into the unconscious is through the use of Golden Dawn-style Z2 ritual. Indeed, if this had been a competition, it would appear that my results suggest not only a "victory" for the forces of Mercury in particular, but also for Hermetic ritual generally.
The main lesson that this has taught me is that by far the most important part of any magical spell is to come into actual psychic contact with the forces which that spell purports to invoke. This "psychic contact" is by no means something theoretical or imperceptible - it is a very real phenomenon. It is capable of being felt physically, and experienced as visual and / or auditory phenomena (through the "astral light"). Most importantly, it manifests physically, mostly through the medium of the magician's own body or mind (or both). It may also manifest through the body or mind of a person with whom the magician comes into contact, even if only briefly - possibly by subtly altering the unconscious cue signals which the magician gives out, and the other person picks up.
Unfortunately, I have no evidence that money spells work in ways which are non-local to the magician, e.g. telekinesis. I have not yet discovered how to make Lottery balls fall as I Will - or to predict them.
Bardon, Franz: The Practice of Magical Evocation, 1956.
Bardon, Franz: The Key to the True Quabbalah, 1956
Cannon-Reed, Ellen: The Witches Qabalah, (Revised Edition) 1997, Weiser.
Crowley, Aleister: 777, http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/liber777.pdf
Crowley, Aleister: The Paris Working, http://www.hermetic.com/lib415.htm
Crowley, Aleister: IXº Emblems and Mode of Use.
Ericson, Eric: Master of the Temple, 1983, New English Library.
Eshelman, James A: Hebrew Hierarchical Names in Briah, The Magical Pantheons, 1998, Llewellyn.
Fortune, Dion: The Mystical Qabalah, 1935.
Fortune, Dion: Moon Magic, 1956.
Ophiel: The Art and Practice of Creative Visualisation, 1967, Weiser.
Regardie, Israel: The Golden Dawn, (6th edition) 1989, Llewellyn.
Sumner, Alex: The Raagiosl Working, http://www.geocities.com/alex_sumner/ceremony.htm
Sumner, Alex: "Can A O Spare Sigils be used in Golden Dawn Magick?", Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, http://www.jwmt.org/v1n2/spare.html
Zalewski, Patrick: Kabbalah of the Golden Dawn, 1993, Castle.
cf Regardie, The Golden Dawn, "The Tree of Life as Projected in a Solid Sphere", p594 et seq. The Ascendant of ones astrological birth-chart is assumed to point due East, and the positions of the Planets can then be worked out relative to this.