An essay-review of Lyam Thomas Christopher's Kabbalah, Magic and The Great Work of Self Transformation by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
Advancing to higher levels of ritual magic with purpose and power requires an exaltation of consciousness—a spiritual transformation that becomes an antidote to the seeming banality of modern life.
Based on Kabbalistic techniques, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and a Hermetic tradition spanning nearly two thousand years, this innovative new work introduces the history of the Golden Dawn and its mythology, the Tree of Life, Deities, demons, rules for practicing magic, and components of effective ritual. It is essentially a comprehensive course of self-initiation, guiding you through the levels of the Golden Dawn system of ritual magic. Knowledgeable and true to tradition, it presents a well-grounded and modern step-by-step program toward spiritual attainment, providing a lucid gateway toward a more awakened state.
Finalist for the Coalition of Visionary Resources Award for Best Magick/Shamanism Book
*"New Worlds" is a way seeing that places the reader/user at the center of understanding and application of the subjects we study while incorporating the perspective of contemporary science, language, and world-view to make a difference in the life we live. The "New Worlds" perspective is both practical and transformative in contrast to the more objective academic or "popular" approaches. The "New Worlds" attitude is forward-looking, just like the New Worlds of the Americas where people came from the Old World to make new discoveries, to be free of old prejudices and limitations, and to make a truly new world for humankind.
Ancient though the Kabbalah is, the practice of Magic is even older. And the goal of both is as ancient as the first spark of human consciousness: that a person should become greater than he is and thus fulfill his destiny and purpose, ultimately to become One. This is the Great Work of Self-Transformation – To Become more than Human!
Obviously, "self-transformation" means to grow and change, to become different and better. To become more than "human." And it means you have to do it yourself; no one can really do it for you. Others may help with information and guidance, by providing favorable circumstance and environment, but this becoming super-human is your own life purpose.
No, we are not talking about a fantasy super-race. It's not a matter of genetics, breeding, or even education. Education can help by providing a solid foundation that makes study and practice easier. Good "breeding," in the old sense of childhood training and parental example, helps provide the discipline and visionary capacity so valuable to the journey.
Just as all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, so—in reality—is all transformation self-transformation. In either case, help can be provided by others—whether the voice of a hypnotist or the setting of a Golden Dawn ceremony. "Initiation" is another word for self-transformation. In a magical lodge, a stage setting can be provided, and a priest can transmit vision and energy, but if the student isn't ready, even the best teacher will fail. It's the properly prepared student who is necessary, not the priest nor the setting. Humans are born to discover their own purpose in life—not to have a synthesized "approved" version programmed into them that more likely serves an institution in which the person is submerged.
The education of a magician requires much more than the education of an engineer or medical physician because it really is the education of a human being readied for self-transformation beyond ordinary humanity into priesthood of men and women who are self-motivated, self-empowered, and—ultimately—self-transformed. Humans are born to become magicians.
A magician is a human being who has used special techniques to uncover his true nature. He is someone on the path of self-discovery, becoming more empowered every day—more himself.
Lyam Thomas Christopher
The transformation of self requires knowledge of self—hence self-knowledge and self-understanding are necessary stepping-stones. Everything is available in this book to enable this, proceeding from a complete analysis of the components of the human psyche to a full description of the process of initiation and the descent of light to transform the neophyte, and guidance to all the steps to make it so.
This book is a powerful self-study curriculum that is efficiently employed—without the grandiose fictions of ego, the fantasies of 19th Century London, or the heritage of Masonry. It is neither more nor less than what is needed to set free the imprisoned faculties of the soul, using the science of empowerment, word, image, and gesture, guided by Kabbalah and Hermetic Art.
Magic is the art of transformation, of altering consciousness and experiencing the life changes that result. It is a science of empowerment, of using word, image, and gesture to reach into the darkness and set free the imprisoned faculties of the soul.
Within each person there is a divine force, and there are proven methods to call it forth. This, however, is the "road less traveled," because it involves work and a personal discipline that insulates the student from the societal, bureaucratic, tribal, familial, and economic institutions that attempt to sell him substitutes for the truth. The required decision is to lead your own life and not to be a cog in the machine. It takes work, but it is rightly called "The Great Work," for it leads to freedom and enlightenment.
The Great Work requires that one become an "observer of self" so that the personality can undergo restructuring, a self-directed and reverent "re-programming" of the parts into a whole new person with power able to channel the Higher Self. It requires honesty in self-observation, and persistence and determination to conquer the limitations of the old but familiar self. It truly means to be "born anew"—not in service to an external deity or hierarchy, but to be reborn as a new person incarnating your own true Self, expressing your own True Will. Not mine or thine, but MINE in unity with the Divine. It is the ultimate realization of man created in the image of the Creator. Realization, and Fulfillment for it requires more than belief and faith. It is Work!
The very first chapter of this book provides a very good argument for the need for self-transformation and the search for spiritual enlightenment. The author shows that even with our advanced technologies, scientific advancement, longer life-span, and modern comforts there is much more suffering and misery in our world and we are even more confused about our purpose and place within the Universe. The author proposes that the reason for this unhappiness is that we have built our world around the survivalist mentality where men and women buy prosperity. We have shunned away our spiritual birthright where imagination flourishes where we, as mortal men, can achieve realization of our immortality in exchange for the material comforts of the modern world, which are all too often fleeting and temporary.
Frater OMNI, Temple of Thoth, New Jersey
Kabbalah is a way of organizing our perception of the universe. While evolving out of ancient Jewish mysticism, it stands today as a metaphysical system applicable to any spiritual quest. Through its system of correspondences, one can put into practice any faith, spiritual practice, or map of the soul one chooses in order to achieve a definite, tangible result. Kabbalah is a method for testing spiritual theories and applying them to reality.
Kabbalah is the method of the Golden Dawn, using the myths and symbols familiar to the European and American mindset. This is the Western Esoteric Tradition. The task before you is to establish the intellectual framework and system of correspondences by which you will navigate the recesses of your soul and "come home" to your fundamental self.
The recommended practical work provided in this book allows the student to learn and become consciously aware about the inner workings of the human psyche. This allows the student to develop an intimate relationship with his/her lower and animalistic nature, not to destroy or banish it, but to make it subject under the authority of the Higher and Immortal self (so one can achieve happiness—not in the afterlife, but in the here and now within ourselves, the true Heaven on Earth).The author puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of developing a new kind of existence that rises above the survivalist mindset bent on the prestige and comfort of gaining status in our miserable and confused society. The book offers a new perspective and approach in spiritual development within the Western Mystery Tradition.
Frater OMNI, Temple of Thoth, New Jersey
This is a program for the modern student, often working on his own. With this book, there is no need for group initiation ceremonies in a temple or lodge. This is not about inducing fleeting altered states of consciousness. The Kabbalistic exercises will produce a gradual and thorough transformation. The method is safe, efficient, and constructive. The procedures are presented one step at a time and require no exotic equipment beyond a few notebooks. Reasons are given for each step of personal discipline. Proper pronunciations of words are given, gestures and magical images are described and illustrated, rituals are explained, and the role of drama affirmed. Appendices include physical exercises appropriate to each grade level. Imagination Exercises have been added that stimulate the level of the soul corresponding to your current Grade.
The book is a course of self-initiation into the Golden Dawn system of ritual magic. It begins with the Neophyte Grade and concludes with an examination of the Adeptus Minor Grade. The purpose of the author is to provide a way of initiation for those working alone, who do not belong to a modern branch of the Golden Dawn.
Using the four Tree of Life images, the step-by-step techniques enclosed within this book will more than adequately awaken the latent Trees within, helping you recover your lost knowledge. Each Tree corresponds to one level of your evolution through matter. These four divergent Trees, these four images of God, will eventually unite under the rulership of one transcendent entity, your divine aspect transcending the four-fold nature of matter.
The goal of the Great Work is not to know the Divine, but to become It. The adept is someone beyond human, so much so that his physical body begins to show signs of his attainment. His transformed mind/body is capable of slowing its own aging processes, of sensing levels of reality that exist beyond the physical, of projecting its astral body, and of becoming the "co-creator" of its environment through the manipulation of the astral plane.
There are many symbols used in Magick, and in every day life. Symbols are an inner kind of language conveying much more than simple words—much as scientific formulae convey much more than numbers. The symbols used in Magick, and indeed in Meditation and Prayer, are rich in meaning and easily accessed after brief explanations. They are like addresses that open files and files of information. But unlike mere information files, they are also keys to building new inner structures going beyond the past to open new vistas of experience and knowledge.
You will learn many symbols and formulae, and how their manipulation changes reality. And you will learn the ways of magical manipulation. Undertaken as a solitary study, there is no limitation other than your own imposed upon Magickal Attainment, the liberating of the Divine Spark within. Step-by-step exercises prod your mind to awaken from the "fatalistic, automated laws of matter."
Indeed, the true study of Magick is the ultimate course in self-improvement. Your life will be richer, fuller, but your success will be measured in your own terms, not those imposed from without. This work enriches any other esoteric study or spiritual practice.
Many people come to Wicca looking for a way to transform themselves. Mr. Christopher wrote Kabbalah Magic to be a complete guide to the Golden Dawn system of self-transformation. The book is a do-it-yourself manual for anyone wanting to improve his or her life. Mr. Christopher gives complete instructions for daily rituals and studies, including suggested readings that will, if followed, bring the transformation about. If you are interested in the Golden Dawn Tradition, this book is a do-it-yourself course and self-initiation.
Lorriedel Davis, WiccaNet Assistant Site Manager
What this book does is to make the entire Western Mystery Tradition accessible and its goals attainable. While it can be used within a Golden Dawn or other lodge setting, it can be said that self-working by the solitary student is superior to that of group-working when truly undertaken. As a solitary, the work is not linear and fragmented, requiring later integration, but is instead a comprehensive, "as you go," basic program. Yes, the Great Work is demanding and requires discipline, but no discipline is superior to self-discipline while your own work is less demanding of time and energy than that of group working, nor is the solitary program complicated by the complexes of other people.
Yes, an effective group has value and power, and its members are mutually supporting. What Lyam Christopher has done is to create a productive textbook for either group or solitary work, and as a curriculum for self-study he has opened a gateway previously not practical. As a solitary you are on your own, but you have access to the greatest Teacher there is—your own Higher Self who is awaiting your call.
Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-Transformation: A Complete Course. 384 pages, 7 _ x 9 1/8, 56 illustrations, US $17.95. EAN 9780738708935.