Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Chief Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as re-established by Israel Regardie and authors of a vast number of books, including The Essential Golden Dawn, Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, and Tarot Talismans.
Any Ceremonial Magician who has watched the news lately cannot help but be dismayed at the unfortunate co-opting of some of our most revered names and phrases, often by those who are oblivious to their spiritual importance. About a year ago the name “Golden Dawn” was making the cable news and it had nothing to do with magic and everything to do with Greek right-wing extremists. At the time some authors suggested that various Golden Dawn magical groups should drop any reference to the name “Golden Dawn” so as not to be tainted by confusion with Greek extremists. However, many of us felt that running away from the name of our beloved magical tradition was not the answer. Besides, if someone changed the name of their magical group from “Golden Dawn” to “Silver Sunset” it would still be possible for some unrelated extremist group to co-opt that name as well! Educating the public seemed a more fitting solution (blog posts dedicated to spreading the word can be found here and here.
Even more distressing is hearing the name of ISIS in the news lately. We sincerely doubt that Neopagans, Wiccans, and Ceremonial Magicians will be changing the name of our beloved and ancient Egyptian Goddess anytime soon, due to current events.
It’s not the first time that someone suggested changing a name in magical practice. Aleister Crowley advocated changing the name of magic itself to magick with a “k” to differentiate the ancient theurgical practice from theatrical stage-craft. However, most Golden Dawn magicians have refused to surrender the honored name of magic to stage magicians and card tricks.
Magical theory posits that there is great significance in the names of Gods, Angels, and Spirits. One of the most powerful statements made by the Hierophant in the Neophyte Ceremony expresses in no uncertain terms just how important Divine Names and Words of Power are in the practice of magic: “By Names and Images are all Powers Awakened and reawakened.” This is because spiritual entities are etherically linked to their names and symbolism—in some sense they are said to partly reside in these attributes. Therefore, the active vibration or intonation of a deity name rouses these forces to come to the aid of the magician’s work.
The magical power of words is a timeless concept. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or, more correctly, The Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, the deceased had to know numerous Words of Power to secure eternal life in the Underworld—not only the names and attributes of the 42 Assessor gods who judged his actions on earth in the well-known story of the Weighing of the Heart, but also the names of every single part of the boat which ferried him across the great river flowing to the underworld:
“Tell me my name,” saith the Rudder. “Leg of Hapiu is thy name.” “Tell me my name,” saith the Rope. “Hair, with which Anubis finisheth the work of my embalmment, is thy name.” “Tell us our names,” say the Oar-rests. “Pillars of the underworld is your name.”
As shown in the story of Isis gaining mastery over Rê, the Egyptians believed that knowing the secret name of a Deity conferred great power to the magician who knew it. This idea would later manifest in the Græco-Egyptian “barbarous names” of magic. In the Practicus Ritual of the Golden Dawn, the candidate is told, “Change not the barbarous Names of Evocation, for they are Names Divine, having in the Sacred Rites a Power ineffable.”
The Power of the Word is expressed in the Greek concept of the Logos (“word”), a Gnostic term for Deity manifest in the universe. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) It is also expressed in the Masonic quest for the recovery of the “Lost Word,” a word that “causes the heavens to tremble and the world below to quake.”
Echoes of this can be found in the Golden Dawn’s Portal Ritual, which also references Thoth, the Egyptian god of language and magic: “Then breathed forth Tho-oth out of the Unutterable Abyss the Word! Then stood Tho-oth in the Sign of the Enterer, on the Threshold of the Hall of Time, as Time was born of the Eternal. So stood Tho-oth in the Power of the Word, giving forth Light, while the Aeons that were unbegotten unfolded before him.”
Language is power. The magical properties of speech are a frequently recurring theme in the literature and scripture of the world. In magic, names and words have real force. Let’s not be quick to surrender these talismanic tools.
Our thanks to Chic & Tabatha for their guest post! Chic and Tabatha are Chief Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as re-established by Israel Regardie (www.hermeticgoldendawn.org). The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of which Chic is the Imperator and Tabatha is the Cancellaria, is an international Order with temples in several countries. Tabatha is also the Imperatrix of the Societas Rosicruciana in America (www.sria.org).
Chic and Tabatha share an enthusiasm for Ceremonial Magic and the Hermetic arts. Their books, which are published by Llewellyn, include The Golden Dawn Magical Tarot kit, Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple, The Essential Golden Dawn, Tarot Talismans, The Babylonian Tarot, and Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition. They have also edited and annotated new editions of Israel Regardie’s classics The Middle Pillar, The Tree of Life, A Garden of Pomegranates, and The Philosopher’s Stone.
Visit their author page for more information, including articles and books.