The Emerald Path to Ceremonial Operation
by Frasier L.
“True without falsehood, certain and most true. That which is above is as that which is below….” These words taken from an ancient Hermetic tablet embody the theoretical and practical idea of ceremonial operation, and the effective action/reaction created through magick. For this verse, as simple as it is, once grasped and understood, identifies the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm, man and the universe, one with all. By nature it is lawfully true that as it is in the heavens, so it is on the Earth. For the heavens contain stars and planetary systems but are quite simply just as the Earth – that is, matter gathered, integrated, and governed by the electro-light energy.
So, all things are materialized and solidified through the All Power (life energy), and the sun being a concentrated center of the All Power (life energy) radiates light (life energy). From that energy (light), there is reaction and influence on matter, and so there is life. And like the sun that begat them, all things integrated repeat the cycle of essence. Simple things reflect this; for example, the landscape you perceive is integrated matter reflecting light from it. So does the life force generate all things, and matter absorbs light and generates heat.
True to form, all living things operate through and display the life energy. Just as the celestial bodies and orbs of the heavens, all living things shine, radiate, display magnetism, and change state: from liquid to solid, from stable to volatile. In man, these energy displays are identified as mood, emotion, and personality. In man, the All Power also takes on new identification, through consciousness. This is the self, the spirit, the soul, conscious energy. Regardless of how one would describe his or her realization of being, this is the universal energy that embodies and empowers all things. The sun, the stars, the planets, and man: This energy never ceases to exist and is not bound to time.
It is then the task of the aspirant to know and understand the principles of operation of matter and energy, the interplay of which the aspirant is a part. To know this absolutely enables one to exercise or manipulate the energy and matter in one’s field of influence. And as all things are from one, it follows each influences the other. Those who aspire will know this.
Ceremonial magick, whether it be operations of theory or practice, is not bound to or composed of any one religion. The process of unfoldment of the self through exercise of unconscious energies manifests a deeper respect for all religions, for they are all exercises of the Oriflammi. This is exactly why many a great master, from Abra-Melin to Eliphas Levi-Zahed, warns against the change or surrendering of one’s religion. Even the Master Therion addressed the need for synthesis of all religion and science in magickal operation. For spiritual strength, usually achieved through exercise of religious experience, is the anchor of the self, needed when the consciousness begins to run and return through the aethyrs of the psyche’s experience of operation. This truth might explain why in some circles, persons at a total loss of equilibrium of the self (that is, fallen into madness) are said to be “losing their religion.”
In an attempt to further understanding, allow me to give an example: One would not surrender a leg to lighten the load in a foot race. Well, the same consideration is applied in approaching ceremonial magick. All experience that has caused or created action or reaction, within or without, internally or externally for you is vital energy necessary in your sphere of influence. If something makes or helps you shine, don’t let it go. Reinitiate your ideas and understanding to encompass the energy of the experience, for this energy is important to you in magickal operation.
And thou shalt separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross…. There will come a point for all true aspirants when — armed with the truths aforementioned — they will embark on a learning path. Magickal operation involves more than rituals and ceremony. An operation merely brings one to a point of focus and concentration so as to raise or banish certain energies to be integrated or disintegrated from one’s field of influence, or to apply or extract energy to influence matter within that field.
So, to raise the level of focus, to expand one’s influence, entails broadening one’s understanding of the powers that be. Now, to exercise understanding one must first gain knowledge, through exposure to wisdom.
Enter the Kabbalah, a system that has been the foundation of magickal interpretation and operation for centuries. The Kabbalah system centers around the “Tree of Life,” otherwise known as the Ten Sephiroth. All pure thought and idea of the Self can be sorted and classified in the ten spheres of wisdom and influence. Now I know, a zealous aspirant might wonder what all this has to do with magick. In working with the Sephiroth, through the study, interpretation, and meditational exercises of the Kabbalistic texts, the Sepher Yetsira and the Zohar, one will build a solid foundation of knowledge. To even consider the idea of mastering the “Pillar System” of the Kabbalah would be a life’s work, and the rewards tenfold.
Another important magickal tool is the Tarot. Locked within this 78-card pack are esoteric and exoteric principles, all captured in images. Through the exercise of the pack on a regular basis, the imagery of the cards causes a reaction of the subtle energies of the unconscious self (that is, the mind).
The pack is also divided into five sets or suits. These suits correspond to the alchemical elements, and to the states of matter. Wands represent fire or volatility. Cups represent water or fluidity. Swords represent air or stability. Pentacles represent earth or solidity. The “trumps,” or major arcana, represent the spirit, and the course of will.
Every suit has cards numbered 1 through 10 as well as four “court cards,” or face cards. Numbers relate to time, whereas the alchemical elements relate to the cycles of the physical being. The working concept is this, it is physical law that matter acts or reacts in time. So numbers are used to reference points of observation or mark a moment of incidence in time. The suits and their number sets correspond to elemental states of the physical self. Court cards, depending on position, identify persons involved in the moment. They also can represent a coming or going of a new energy cycle (or situation). The keys of the major arcana, or “trumps,” represent the state of mind, conscious state, or condition of the spiritual self.
So, through exercising the Tarot regularly, your energy passes into and influences it. It can be used to identify conditions or events pre-term. Or — exercised with the pure knowledge of an open mind — it can help identify negativity and ill effect of your own self. With this knowing, one can set the will to right.
At this point, there might be those who are thinking, there’s got to be more than this. Why is there no information or procedures of certain rites or ceremonies here? Allow me to state the reason. Certain operations of order or circle are kept secret by bond of silence. Do understand, this is done not to impose control, but as an operation of concentration and restriction. For, you see, all manifestation and experience is attained by concentration and restriction of the will (that is, life energy) on matter. This is the art of making. So do understand, one is not at liberty to include such information in this writ. If you truly seek, you will find the guidance to your goal, absolutely.
Do know this, magick is a practice of life, performed daily — it is not just the occasional ceremonial procession. It truly works when you take all that you have attained and introduce and exercise it in all aspects of your living experience.
Keep in mind, you are a reflection of and influenced by your environment and surroundings. If magick is what you wish to attain, surround yourself with items, art, clothing, anything that activates your “magickal” self. Knowledge is power. So make yourself knowledgeable of ideas of magickal content. There are many paths.
In order to gain the most from the operations or exercises requires commitment to study and understanding of the exoteric and esoteric principles of one’s path work. Also of the utmost importance is a disciplined practice and exercise of these principles and the understanding gained. This exercise will build focus and concentration, for once again, magick is the art of making, and it is only what you make of it.
Keep in mind, just as exercise builds, strengthens, and solidifies the physical body, with knowledge and exercise one can also build, strengthen, and solidify the ability to influence and manipulate the energies that are always and eternally present.
In closing, I say to you, “Let the will be done, and shine on!”