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.


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.

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.*


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.