The Transvocation of Malphas, the 39th Spirit of the Lesser Key of Solomon

Greetings to all who regularly follow my blog.  It’s been some time since I’ve posted here, mostly because my Enochian scrying project has taken up nearly all of my time allotted for magical work.  Still, I know I need to get back to my magical writing here.  So I thought I’d return by briefly mentioning a Goetic transvocation I performed about eight days ago.

My purpose was to find an exceptionally good condo for an exceptionally low price.  Since I was looking for this in a country that really doesn’t speak much English (or German, French, or Spanish—meaning I am mostly out of luck in the communication department); dealing with real estate hustlers and sharp customers who might be looking to part a naive foreigner from a large chunk of change; and operating under a serious time constraint (already employed here and needing a place to live ASAP), I felt some magical work was appropriate.

So I did a divination to make myself aware of whether magic could be of assistance in this and which forms might be the most effective.  My long tarot reading indicated that magic would be a good thing, that I should engage in some spirit work, and that Malpahs, a Goetic President in the Lesser Key, would be the most appropriate.

Frater Rufus “His Nibs” Opus, in A Modern Goetic Grimoire, notes that “Presidents are the active, most mobile spirits of the Goetia. They are quick, with the speed of Mercury, and they are very intelligent and analytical. These spirits are good at providing speedy solutions to problems, usually in the way of serendipitous information or opportunity” (42), and I have also found this to be true.  While I don’t scrupulously use the courtly ranks (and never consider the Zodiac correspondences or “thwarting angels”) for the demons, I do sometimes take into account how I will address them in terms of their relative status in the (incomplete) Lesser Key hierarchy. 

I started to do this after reading Jake Stratton-Kent’s discussion of the same in The True Grimoire.  But  as much as I admire Jake’s scholarship and insights, in the end, like a stubborn magician, I must always do things my way.  So I did approach Malphas with the respect befitting a noble when I transvoked him (or, I should say, transvoked with him—which I will explain shortly), but since I was staying with friends at the time and did not have a formal magical chamber set up, I had to use an unconventional method.

Mathers, in The Lesser Key of Solomon: Goetia, gives a telling description of Malphas: “He appeareth at first like a Crow, but after he will put on Human Shape at the request of the Exorcist, and speak with a hoarse Voice.  He is a Mighty President and Powerful.  He can build Houses and High Towers, and can bring to thy Knowledge Enemies’ Desires and Thoughts, and that which they have done.  He giveth Good Familiars.”  We know the descriptions in the Mathers-Crowley edition are mostly cribbed from Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.  And yet I would much rather rely on the former relatively modern (Victorian) language than on the latter, which in most translations can be tiresome.

So I read Mathers’ description closely and saw that Malphas could find me a good place to live.  If you take nothing else away from this post but the following three points, you will not have wasted your time: first, every ability listed for a spirit is just a starting point—you need to work with them in order to discover the scope of what they can do; second, if a spirit can do a thing, he can usually do the opposite just as well; and three, the abilities of a spirit function poetically, not just in a superficial materialistic way. 

In other words, if a spirit “builds houses and high towers,” his act of “building” might cause a physical place to be constructed or it might bring you to a pre-existing structure or a “high tower of thought” or insinuate you into a royal “house.”  Learning to interpret the spirit descriptions in the grimoires is more like literary analysis than reading an operating manual, even if a “grimoire” is in many (often deceptive ways) a “grammar.”  If you can read them broadly and impressionistically, you will begin to see some of the hidden implications.  Who knew English class would be so useful for summoning demons?  

Having decided on Malphas, I faced the problem of space.  There were not going to be any nine-foot circles, censers, cubic altars, and Triangles of Art being laid down.  And yet, I don’t believe in the efficacy of wholly “astral” evocation work.  In my UPG, there has to be a channel to bring heaven (or hell) to earth.  If it takes place completely in the imagination, it could work, certainly, but at least for me, the magic risks staying in the astral.  And I want to minimize the chance of failure as much as I can.

With this in mind, I chose transvocation instead of traditional evocation.  Transvocation is a hybrid method of communing with spirits with origins in the ATRs, the Latin American Cyprianic tradition(s), and the post-masonic lodge magic of groups like the Golden Dawn.  Simply put, instead of calling a spirit to visible appearance in a magical chamber, the practitioner astrally projects into the spirit’s presence where it happens to be

Obviously, this is not without difficulty or danger.  If you believe (as I do) that physical, objective, measurable results can come from spirit work, that it’s not all masturbatory self-delusion, then you believe entering the presence of a spirit on its own plane means approaching it in its place of power.  It’s a hybrid technique because you have to take precautions in the physical before you make the attempt.

I  banished my space, used an amulet I have that anchors my soul, burned a stick of inexpensive frankincense, and began the Hu chant, a mantra I learned in Eckankar that enormously raises the “vibration” (for lack of a better term) inside the individual and in his immediate location.  If you think “Om” works, try Hu and you will never go back.  After everything was resonating intensely with magical energy, I began to focus on his seal (which I’d drawn out longhand on a piece of paper in black ink) and chant the spirit’s name.  I only had to do it for a few minutes before I found myself in his presence. 

I was (indescribably) in my physical body and elsewhere at the same time, a potent kind of bilocation—my astral form in a featureless dark space, just me and the demon.   Malphas was unmistakable.  He appeared as a man in a white linen robe with the head of a bird, both crow-like and also hawk-like.  The feathers went from black to vivid dark blue, sometimes transitioning to white at their tips.  His eyes were featureless black, unblinking.  A sense of unnatural stillness surrounded him and he did not move at all, as if he were some kind of mirage or projected image (which, in a sense, he was).  He just looked at me and waited for me to speak. 

Wordlessly, I knew he knew what I was going to said before I said it.   An emotional sense of dourness emanated from him, but there was no visual representation of this.  I asked him to help with finding me a place to live quickly and at a very good price.  After a short exchange, in which we determined certain specifics and details, he agreed.  Malphas departed suddenly, flying upwards into nothingness in the form of a great purple-blue bird.  As he departed, I did too, the binding of the transvocation having ended.  As if a giant rubber band were attached to my spirit, I snapped right back into my body.

On the sixth day after this working, I found exactly what I’d asked to find.  Coincidence?  I’ve learned otherwise.  The moral of the story is simple: not all spirit work must be done one way.  And the demons of the Goetia, at least, enjoy the work.  Even though I have been dealing with spirits for decades, I always feel a sense of wonder when the magic works.

                     Malphas as depicted in DuQuette’s Illustrated Goetia

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Just so you know.

Friends,

Due to the long-term commitments I have to my current clients and to my Enochian Scrying Project, I will not be taking on new public sorcery or new divination requests for the foreseeable future.  When this changes, I will let you know here on the blog.  For now, my Proton Mail address will be unresponsive.

Some of you have been waiting over a month to work with me.  For that, I thank you and I wish you well in your search.

Best,

S+A

Scrying the 27th Enochian Aethyr, ZAA

This time, I saw the door into the Aethyr as being of the same gray stone, but the letters were inscribed with “ZAA” in brilliant blue light, which then became white light as I pushed through.  After a moment of disorientation, I found myself on a plane of endless light.  There was nothing but my body and light.  And so there was nowhere to go because every “place” was indivisible from every other place.  It was a world of homogeneity. 

My “body” was the only dark thing, a hollow shell that also contained the same light of ZAA.  And I got the impression that my physical shell (which had blackened as if it were burned) was a kind of falsehood, that it, too, was made out of light but in a way that allowed me to believe I was distinct and separate.  And I understood that this was true and false at the same time, depending on my point of view.

As soon as I had this thought, I saw another blackened shell (much like an empty corpse) of an old man hovering before me.  It’s eyes and mouth were full of the same light.  A voice came through the open mouth without the features moving.  It said, “These are fields of light.  There is nothing but light.  The light shines on itself and the darkness is illuminated.” 

I had the insight that the darkness is illuminated meant that it was (can be seen as) another form of the same light, just as I had sensed this relative to my own distinctness.  I then saw a vision of a ray of light coming through a window and impossibly bending back so that it formed a kind of endless loop into itself.  The entire Aethyr seemed, for a brief moment, like a giant crystal prism reflecting itself to itself.

At that point, I felt there was nothing left for me to learn in the session.  So I returned.  Back in my physical body, I was sweating.  I could feel heat waves coming off of me as if I’d been sitting out in direct sunlight.

Notes:

Discussing ZAA, Schueler offers a quote from Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine: “Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition.”  This is interesting in the sense that I experienced the homogeneity of light in ZAA as a kind of universal noumenon.

However, I again experienced the Aethyrs in my own way.  Instead of experiencing loneliness and separation, I saw how separation can veil a deeper oneness.  Maya is often referred to as a “veil” that obscures the deeper connected nature of things.  So I did experience my individuality, but I also had an insight into its falseness as well.  On one level, I am separate.  On another, I am not.

Interestingly, I did have a dream last night about the Egyptian Neter, Nekhbet, who represents both Isis and Nepthys (among other protective goddesses).  Of this, Schueler writes,

[Y]ou may see Isis and her sister Nephthys in ZAA. Isis is warm, loving, and motherly while Nephthys is cold, stern, and impersonal. The forms that these two lunar qualities (i.e., the waxing and the waning Moon) take for you may vary, but you are certain to encounter the qualities themselves in some form or another.

The fact that I had this dream on the night before I intended to scry the relevant Aethyr may be an interesting form of retro-causality.

This is further interesting because Nekhbet is, in a very direct sense, the unification of those two deities as the protective Neter of the pharaoh and of Ra as he travels across the heavens.  This has personal significance for me but it also suggests the unification of opposites—unity underlying apparent diversity. 

Schueler goes on to suggest that “Your main lesson to learn in ZAA is to accept individuality, but not loneliness. The terrible sense of loneliness in ZAA is a result of distorted thinking. The truth is that you are never alone. The entire universe is always a part of yourself. Realizing this is an initiatory preparation for the higher Aethyrs.”

Crowley, in ZAA, has a vision of the lunar goddess, Hekate.  But I saw neither moons nor goddesses (unless we count Nekhbet the night before).  Nevertheless, Schueler calls this “the Aethyr of Solitude” and I did experience a sense of being alone—that feeling of being ultimately inseparable from everything else and therefore alone because there is nothing and no one else.  This did not make me afraid.  It was more like an “illumination” of a legitimate perspective on reality.

A thought from GD Neo-Enochiana . . .

“Astral projections can draw on and clear emotional blockages and give tremendous energy to those who use it correctly. It helps us to develop control, and to gain access to the deeper parts of our nature by making us more aware of them. Astral projection with Enochian work, however, seems to draw from an external force that can flow through and aid us in exploration. It does this not only within us but also within the external universe by ultimately controlling it. It teaches us to merge with these currents of energy and ride with them rather than swim against them. In addition, it opens up a whole new door to our conception of ourselves and of the universe we live in.”

— Pat Zalewski, Golden Dawn Enochian Magic

 

Additional Thoughts on Scrying the 28th Aethyr, BAG

Since performing this scrying operation, I’ve had thoughts and experiences that seem relevant to the work.  First, “BAG” is supposed to be the Aethyr of guilt, self-doubt, and uncertainty.  I did not experience this directly during the working, apart from a sense of temporarily losing the reinforcing boundaries that define my “self.”  However, in the 24 hours that followed, I came down with a case of anxiety, depression, and crippling self-doubt that I cannot easily describe. 

This strengthens my theory that scrying the Aethyrs is as much shamanic journeying as it is ceremonial magic (if there is a difference as far as visionary work is concerned).  An effective shamanic journey doesn’t end in the “Otherworld.”  Rather, the shaman brings those experiences back with him in order to heal the community, the land,  and / or himself in some way.

Other magicians have written at length about how the boundaries between subjective and objective states seem to become flexible during Enochian work.  And I am beginning to see how that may function: the inner meaning and overwhelming (yet still subjective) force of this scrying has an “aftershock” in one’s life. 

This is why I think it might be wise to let, at minimum, one or two days pass between scrying sessions—not just to recover from the intensity, but to let the meaning of the recently scried Aethyr unfold in one’s mundane life.  Overdo this and I can appreciate how there would be so much unfolding at once that it could drive a person nuts.  As a wise friend said when I told him I’d begun this project, “Tie a rope around your ass in case we have to pull you out.”  Indeed.

Another interesting observation I can make at this point is that of corroborating images.  Granted, symbols of pyramids, scorpions, blood, fire, the moon, and gemstones are relatively ubiquitous in western esotericism.  Nevertheless, I have noticed that pyramids in four other accounts of BAG, scorpions in two, and an “Abyss” experience in three.  I encourage the reader to do internet searches on the Aethyrs in order to examine different visionary sessions, understanding that everyone will experience the Aethyrs (as with anything else) in his or her unique idiosyncratic way.  But still, it’s interesting to note the similarities.  I am keeping an open mind, above all else.

I am still recovering from the post-scrying fallout of BAG.  The next scrying session is scheduled for tomorrow.  I may or may not keep to that, depending on whether I feel up to it.  Slow and easy is nearly always preferable to half-cocked and irresponsible in inner work like this.

Scrying the 28th Enochian Aethyr, BAG

I moved through a door with “BAG” inscribed on it in the same boiling blood as in the previous sessions.  But my experience, once through, was of total and complete darkness.  This persisted for some time until a blinding white sphere, which could have been a white sun or a perfectly white moon, rose over a dark forest and I realized I was standing in a meadow similar to the previous session.  I got the impression that the sphere was a cold eye regarding me. 

Then total darkness fell again.  I moved through the clearing towards the dense woods and soon my eyesight adjusted a bit.  I could see a path through the forest ahead of me.  However, I also became aware of enormous rattlesnakes, spiders, and scorpions in the trees on either side.  I got mental images of them—part human, part insect, demonic.  I crouched low to the ground and continued forward, taking care to keep my head down because Tolkienesque spiders were hanging down above the path and would only climb back into the trees when I got very close.  The smell of fresh blood was heavy in the air.  And I realized that my physical body (not my visionary body but my body back in my magical chamber) had stopped breathing.  I had to pause and send a command back to it to breathe, at which point my breathing continued. 

I followed the path to another enormous clearing that seemed jungle-like with vines and a weed-choked Mayan-looking step pyramid.  I rested my palm on it and the stone felt chill, even though the air was humid and still smelled like blood.  When I entered the dark passage in the bottom face of the pyramid, I had an overpowering sense that I was walking into the vagina of an enormous, fierce demoness or goddess.  I then became insubstantial, only a point of awareness, and I rose up through the point of the step pyramid, shooting into space until the universe was merely a point of light behind me like a tiny star. 

There was nothing but blackness again.  This continued for some time with me having a sense of forward motion but not of having a body or any reference point to provide a perception of space or contrast.  It is a hard sensation to describe and I think it could only happen in a scrying session like this.  In any case, a small moon made entirely of gray ash suddenly loomed out of the dark, like a corpse, and I went right through it, leaving it as an ash cloud hanging in space.  Then I found myself opening my eyes back in my body.*

Notes:

As is my custom, I did not research the Aethyr before scrying it.  Only afterward did I learn that the Presiding Angel of this Aethyr is LDCIPSP, who Crowley describes as having a black face with white pupilless eyes—very similar to the enormous white eye I saw regarding me from a black sky.  I have not been calling on or contending with the Governors of the Aethyrs.  I see it as an option for advanced work, but these scrying sessions are intended more for passive observation and illustration, not for active engagement with the denizens of these places.  In any case, I believe that the voices I have heard speaking to me in TEX and RII were those of the Governors of those places.  This is the first time I have encountered one directly.

Crowley further describes LDCIPSP in The Vision and the Voice: “[H]e has the shining belly of a fish, and enormous wings of black and white feathers, and innumerable little legs and claws like a centipede, and a long tail like a scorpion. The breasts are human, but they are all scored with blood.”  Note again that I did not read Crowley’s entry on BAG (or any other description of it) before performing this scrying session.  The similarities are powerful and a bit unnerving, since moving through this Aethyr was not pleasant.

The Angel says to Crowley, “Verily the light is hidden, therefore he who hideth himself is like unto the light; but thou openest thyself; thou art like unto the darkness that bindeth the belly of the great goddess.”  Compare this to my entering the womb of a great goddess and being transported into a place without any light.  Moreover, Crowley’s experience in BAG ends with the darkness swallowing everything.  

There are several differences, though, between his experience and mine.  I was not given keys or instructions.  I did not see jewels this time or sigils of power or have to contend with the Angel in his capacity as Warden of the Aethyr.  I was much more of a tourist here; though, the feeling of the entire experience was leaden, oppressive, and dangerous.

But I think there was a conflict on a deeper level.  I had to deal with very palpable fear, an experience so intense that my physical body actually stopped breathing for a few moments.  I suppose the fact that I am writing this now means I prevailed.  Other writers have mentioned that LDCIPSP forces the practitioner to confront his inherent guilt and self-doubt.  I did not feel this.  Rather, I felt afraid of the total darkness and emptiness, floating in an abyss without any landmarks or anything else against which to reinforce my identity.**  But I was not defeated by this.  As soon as I willed myself to continue forward through the emptiness, I shot through the “moon of gray ash” and the vision ended.

 

* Thelemites will no doubt think of the interplay of Nuit and Hadit, which only occurs to me now, after the fact.

** Perhaps this is a form of “self-doubt” in the sense that having no point of reference makes you down the formal integrity of your identity / Self.

Visionary Experiences, Scrying the Enochian Aethyrs, and UPG

Those who follow this blog will notice that I have begun an Enochian Aethyr scrying project.  I should say a bit about what this is (and isn’t) and what led up to it because there have already been some questions.   

I have a background not only in hoodoo and folk magic but also in ceremonial magic, reiki, other sorts of operative magical systems, and various forms of mysticism.  This includes the Golden Dawn’s neo-Enochian system and, more recently, the spirit work of the Mystical Heptarchy. 

I don’t write about this much on my blog because, while I do consider myself competent at goetic and angelic grimoire magic, I know I am only a “practitioner” when it comes to the work of Dr. Dee and the systems derived from his explorations with Edward Kelley.  And my blog is mostly dedicated to my thoughts on things connected to my practice of public sorcery and conjure.

Being a “practitioner” of Enochian magic means that I generally know what I’m doing; I understand the history and context of the work; I have performed successful magical operations using this material; and I feel comfortable with it.  However, it does not mean I am an expert.  Nor does it mean that I have satisfactorily settled most of my questions about it. 

The bottom line is: even though to be a magician is to be a perpetual student, some students are more experienced than others in a given area.  And, while I have a need to be continuously learning new things, I am also very careful about the difference between what I know well enough to do professionally and what I am merely studying, exploring, and practicing.

In the west, one of the “highest forms” of magic—if it’s even possible to make a claim like that—is Enochian.  It could be considered both magic and mysticism, depending on which part of the field we emphasize in our work.  We could call it a, “system,” but one of the things that often frustrates magicians when they start studying Enochiana is that it is not a complete system in any sense of the term.  Rather, it is a collection of related workings and processes, multiple spirit catalogues, and a unique cosmology that relates to the parts of the world as the Elizabethan magus, Dr. Dee, saw it.  Enochian may also function as an alchemical language and a cypher system for passing military and political information.

All of this can make the work very daunting.  And I agree with many seasoned magicians that Enochian is definitely not for beginners.  I’m not interested in occultnik scare tactics, but I do think the power of Enochian magic to alter the perceptions of the practitioner should not be underestimated.  More than any other western esotericism, Enochian work seems to break down (or at least weaken / make highly permeable) the barriers between subjective and objective space.  As Jonathan Back writes in Spirits Walk with Me: an Enochian Odyssey, which I highly recommend:

By the time I reached MAZ, the 6th Aethyr, I was becoming emotionally ragged. I didn’t realise this at the time, so immersed was I in this other world I had discovered, but in hindsight this was definitely the case. By the time I reached the 4th Aethyr, PAZ, my waking consciousness started to overlap with the realm of the Aethyrs. Whilst talking to someone I would often suddenly see the face of a character I had met during my scrying sessions, transposed onto their face.

Such experiences (as well as the classic poltergeist phenomena Back also references in the book) are par for the course when one is metabolizing the Enochian energies.  I say “metabolizing” because I believe this kind of magic changes the way prana (chi, bio-spiritual energy) moves within and informs the practitioner.  This is one reason to take it slowly and carefully, especially when scrying the Aethyrs.  But there are other equally good reasons.

Developing an out-of-control “UPG” might be even more of an issue.  Here and on Studio Arcanis you will see me inveigh against misapplied UPG all the time.  The acronym stands for “Unverified Personal Gnosis”—essentially experiencing (or believing) something subjective about reality which is meaningful to you but which should not be applied to anyone else.  It’s “unverified” in the sense that it is a personal truth or an idiosyncratic experience.  And inappropriately applying one’s UPG is such a problem in the occult, especially with those who still need to develop critical thinking skills, that it can void any possibility of communicating meaningfully with others. 

In short, if you hold your invisible friends and pet beliefs to be universally significant and true, you are treading on the invisible friendships and pet beliefs of others, which, for all we know, might be just as true (for them).  Now consider what happens when you scry in the spirit vision, especially in the immensely powerful context of the Enochian Aethyrs.  People can lose their sanity by merely projecting too deeply and too frequently into the tarot cards or into the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life.  Doing so with the Aethyrs is so much more engrossing and overwhelming than those things.  It is the central reason why this is not for beginners. 

Working with Enochiana means not only altering one’s energetic system but also one’s perceptions to such an extent that it may be very difficult to “find the way back” to a sense of normal consensus reality.  Also, we should not underestimate the horrendous ego inflation that tends to come along with such perceptual distortion.  Many a gifted magician has been laid low by egomania derived from powerful visionary experiences.  If you don’t believe me, look at Crowley’s The Vision and the Voice, which can be read both as a beautiful poetic description of his Aethyr scrying experiences and a portrait of enormous self-justifying egotism.

So why do it if it’s so risky?  The reason is relatively straightforward.  In magic, as in anything else, what you put in is what you get out.  You need to have a strong motivation to learn more about yourself if you commit to scrying all 30 Aethyrs.  It may take years.  But what this work offers is the opportunity to explore your inner subjective universe using some of the most powerful metaphors and symbols known in western esotericism.  This is why I have begun the project.

I also believe that it’s not “all in my head.”  I see myself as a microcosm of the macrocosm, containing all aspects of the greater universe around me.  Therefore, by exploring my inner world, I’m exploring those things in the world beyond me (by means of a “magical link” that I will write about another time).  This is my working definition of mysticism—simultaneous inner and outer spiritual exploration.

In any case, I want to note these things because I am explicitly not claiming that my visionary experiences apply to or have any purchase on the experiences of others.  I make them publicly available only to inspire others to find their own “vision and voice.”  My way is not your way and could never be.  But I can share my observations on the magical life with you and, in the process, provide a model that you can make your own.  If I am able to do that in my writing and in my magic, I can accomplish something very ambitious.

Magic is an art.  No two artworks (i.e. UPGs) are the same.  But techniques can be taught and adapted.  That’s part of the joy of being a practitioner and a good reason to apply oneself to this area of study.