In my novel, The Resurrection Murders, I described a magickal order called “AMOCT.” For years I was a member of a similar organization. They were set up to give home lessons, and the lessons were set up into three basic sets. First came the introductory set of lessons that lasted about a year. Then came the basic instructions that lasted about four years. Finally, after you had studied the basic texts, you would move on to the advanced lessons which would continue, theoretically, for life. When I was in the introductory lessons, I was told that the “real” secrets were in the basic lessons. When I reached those basic instructions, I was told the “real” secrets were in the advanced lessons. When I reached the advanced lessons I was told that the “real” secrets were revealed in the introductory lessons, I just didn’t realize it. That runaround was one of the reasons I quit the order. (They kicked me out after I quit, but that’s another story.)
I was looking for the real, advanced secrets of magick. This remains a popular search. One of the most common comments I receive is “Where are the advanced books on magick?” Â In all honesty, I don’t think there are any. But there’s a good reason for that.
There is an underlying set of techniques which are necessary for any form of magick that I described in a previous post. Once you have mastered those techniques everything else is just a variation. Whether you do natural magick, ceremonial magick, Tantric magick, Thelemic magick, chaos magick, Enochian magick, or any other type of magick, you still need the three necessities I described in my previous post.
One of those necessities is the knowledge of what to do with the magickal energy you raise. In this post I’m going to share some of my favorite tools for obtaining and categorizing that knowledge.
The fact is, nobody can know everything. For magick, you need to have listings of correspondences in order to make your rituals specific for your purpose. These can be simpleâ€”associations with the elements, for exampleâ€”or exceedingly precise and complex. Practically all books on magick include limited lists of correspondences. However, there’s no need to cart around such books if all you need is a reference to the correspondences. Luckily, there are some books like that.
The grandaddy of all such lists of correspondences is now published as 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn started lists of correspondences and Crowley received copies of them from his Golden Dawn mentor. He expanded upon them and these eventually made it into this book. My well-worn copy is over 30 years old. Many magicians use this as a “bible,” but even Crowley admitted it was flawed. Many entries are mere guesses. He has “tobacco” as the incense of Mars because it is the smell around working men. Huh? And his associations with the Hindu pantheon are way too simplistic. Still, it was a great start.
David Godwin originally published this book in 1979, but the current edition is much better. It includes one of the most important aspects of the book named above, a book by Crowley named Sepher Sephiroth. I find it much easier to use than Crowley’s bookÂ and it’s far more complete.
This book, by Stephen Skinner, is unbelievable. It has four times the number of tables of correspondences found in 777. It includes the most up-to-date scholarship along with correspondences from a wide variety of sources. When this became available I quickly purchased a copy. If these other books are one-volume encyclopedias, this is the multi-volume Encyclopedia Britannica of magickal correspondences.
This is a new (2010) edition of correspondence tables from Thelemite James A. Eshelman. There are two wonderful advantages to this book. First, its organization makes this one of the easiest of all the correspondence references to use. Its format, about 8.5 x 11 and large size of type makes this clear and fast to use. The second is all the additional information, including how to construct rituals, ten sample rituals, basic magickal techniques and a bunch more. This book is based around Thelmite (Crowlean) principles, so it’s ideal for followers of Crowley or those who can separate the Crowley aspects from rest of the material (as Israel Regardie did in some of his earliest books).
Mr. Eshelman choose to use the points and lines that are used to indicate the vowels around the Hebrew letters, something usually omitted from books of this type. I think this is a good thing. Unfortunately, in several instances the vowels aren’t located properly, making the Hebrew look appear awkward or even incorrect when it is not. Ignore those vowels and it’s fine. Still, I hope this will be corrected in a future edition.
That’s four reference books I’ve named. Some of you are probably asking, “Which one should I get?” Unfortunately, I can’t answer that for you. Each one has advantages and benefits over the others. I guess my answer is that a magickian looking to do advanced magickal workings should have them all. I do.
Well, actually, that’s not an exactly accurate answer. The very best list of correspondences is going to be the one you need, the one that works best for you. That means getting books like these and making up your own correspondence lists, including changes and additions you find accurate as a result of your experience. The ultimate book of advanced magick is the one you make.