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Aug 8 2010

Exorcising The Tree of Evil

Willaim G. Gray’s contribution to the Arts is often overlooked but can be felt by anyone who has practiced any sort of Western occult tradition, which some followers of Gray sometimes refer to as “Westorcism” as an ode to Gray’s overall theory of a Western Mystery Tradition which I think is best articulated in his An Outlook on Our Inner Western Way.

Gray is a controversial figure, largely because he was an actual Magician and not an occult celebrity like the many “experts” today. He advocates what people used to call “High Magic” which was more concerned with the inner development of the Magician, the Mystical experience of Divinity though the practice of Ceremonial or Ritual magic. His works are foundational in nature, helping the practitioner develop through a deeper understanding of the whys of magic rather than the hows.

In Exorcising the Tree of Evil Gray’s expertise in Qabalistic symbolism is put to good use as he presents readers with a theory on big “E” Evil, where it comes from, how to (metaphysically) combat it in ourselves and the world and how to achieve the balance between good and evil that Magicians seek. Some familiarity with the Occultist’s conception of the Qabalah will be helpful but is not strictly necessary for the reader to gain some insight by what is essentially a book on the mysticism and philosophy of High magic. Gray’s books on the Qabalah are excellent if you are interested in that path, but for those of us who are interested in the basics just as a reference Gareth Knight’s A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism and Dion Fortune’s Mystical Qabalah will suffice.

Of course I recommend that you buy Gray’s book, but many a fellow traveler finds themselves short of funds as the path we walk is hardly lined with gold except in the most abstract sense. So here’s a preview of the book that was uploaded on Google books. It’s a 209 page preview so you should be able to get a good handle on what he’s saying:

Aug 7 2010

The Star Ruby Ritual

Aleister Crowley’s Star Ruby Ritual is one Thelemic Rite many non-Thelemites are curious about, sensing perhaps that it is something they can work into their repertoire of magical practice. For we non-Thelemites there are actually two slightly different versions, the first appearing in The Book of Lies and a later modification appearing in Magic in Theory and Practice. Simply put, the Star Ruby is a replacement for the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram that many occultists will be familiar with. Both are banishments meant to sanctify an area for the magician, though many use them by themselves for cleansing areas.

Many Pagans mistakenly believe the Star Ruby is a “Pagan” alternative to the Lesser Banishing because Crowley removed the Hebrew phrases and Judeo-Christian trappings of much of the ritual, but this is wrong. I am not an expert on Thelema (though I have known some Thelemites over the years) but I find that Crowley’s Star Ruby doesn’t “fit” into any ceremonies that are explicitly Pagan. Ceremonial Magicians may have an easier time blending the Star Ruby into their rituals, but since they wouldn’t be bothered by the Judeo-Christian trappings of the Lesser Banishing there wouldn’t be much point. I think that the Star Ruby is best used by people following in Crowley’s magical footsteps, which usually leads to Thelema, although I have known a couple of Magicians who utilized Crowley but never fully embraced his philosophy.

For non-Thelemites I don’t think the Star Ruby is a good replacement for the Lesser Banishing.

But your experience may be different from mine so I present to you the Star Ruby. In magic there is indeed a right way and a wrong way to do things. There are, however, always slight differences in ritual performance from person to person so I am going to embed a couple of different videos so you can get a feel for the what’s important and what is more a matter of style. The Magickal Review has a  transcription complete with mp3s so you can hear the correct pronunciations. Here’s a republication of an analysis of the rite that should give you more insight into its construction and whether or not it fits into your practice.

This first video is from Wade Laszlo (of The Unholy) and is the shortest for you Witches on the go: Continue reading