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November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: first matter


First Matter: The original, unpurified material that is transformed in an alchemical operation. In physical alchemy, the first matter is lead; in spiritual alchemy, the unenlightened human.
source: The Thoth Companion, by Michael Osiris Snuffin

First Matter: A mixture of the Serpent and the Menstrum. Used in alchemy and sex magick.
source: Modern Magick, by Donald Michael Kraig

First Matter:

Together, the effluvia of the Lion and the Eagle, is the "First Matter," the original Creation. This First Matter is to be transmuted by the magickal imagination, by aspiration and inspiration and by the "Fire" which is the ecstasy. Ecstasy is, as it were, the magickal fire for transforming all into inspiration and aspiration.


Carl Llewellyn Weschcke


An Introduction to Electional Astrology
Electional astrology is utilized in choosing the most appropriate time to begin something. The intent is to achieve a successful outcome, and the rules applied are very specifically set toward that end. Many of the rules have their foundation in ...
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Astrological Houses
Your astrological chart is divided into twelve sections called houses. They are numbered from the left side counterclockwise around the chart. The chart represents the planets against a background of the signs of the zodiac, and these signs rise in ...
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The Structure of the Golden Dawn
Any discussion of the Golden Dawn tradition must include a description of the various grades or levels of initiation. The Order is entirely based upon a hierarchical system in which certain information and knowledge is retained for students who have ...
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Principles of Ceremonial
Magical ceremonial can be built up and elaborated to forms of great subtlety and complexity, but the initial principles which cause its creation are simple in the extreme. In the first place, ceremonial is a different thing from meditation, and it ...
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The History of the Golden Dawn
The story of the Golden Dawn, like that of any human organization, is replete with high points and low points—with human achievements and human failings. There is no need for us to try to whitewash or sugarcoat the faults of some of the individuals ...
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Review of the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
Summary: A brilliant deck that is ideal for practitioners of ceremonial magick and for those following the system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Will also interest those researching the link between earlier traditional Tarot decks and the ...
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Signs of the Zodiac
The signs of the zodiac are the most widely known part of the astrological system. As mentioned earlier, almost everyone knows your Sun sign. The daily horoscopes in the newspaper are based on the position of the Sun in the zodiac. The zodiac is ...
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Kamasutra Tarot Review
Kamasutra Tarot Review Summary: While catching the flavor of 17th and 18th century Indian art, this deck seems to force the explicit sexual images into fitting the Tarot model. Still, a collection of such art is rare and valuable, making this a ...
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Vodou - An African Shamanic Tradition
At first sight, shamanism and Vodou - what Hollywood has introduced into the popular imagination as "voodoo" - seem to have little in common. The former seems based on peaceful co-existence with nature and the elements, while the latter, in so far ...
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Review of Dame Fortune\'s Wheel Tarot
Summary: Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot is an elegant marriage of historical research and practicality. It celebrates the Tarot’s introduction as a divinatory tool, stripping it of modern esoteric burdens. The result is a deck that is eminently easy to ...
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The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
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