Mike Crowson

The Path of Ritual High Magic

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The Path of Magic

Whether you regard all occult things as evil or whether you are plunging headlong down this route, following your own will and passions you should read the following quote:

"When the student moves beyond the superficial areas in which the popular absurdities of 'black magic' and the 'occult' may be found festering, he soon finds that powerful magic is based upon very firm ethical foundations. ...we cannot do evil through magic without damaging ourselves; while it is possible to hide the awareness of such damage through egotistical delusion, it is not possible to avoid it. Conversely,magical ritual based upon compassion flows forth to benefit many, potentially the whole world; this includes the magician.

This realisation is paradoxical, and many initiates struggle with it for years before growing beyond the paradox; you may not work a ritual based on compassion which has an ultimate end of self-benefit. You only fool yourself if you try work of this sort. Yet if you work a ritual successfully based on compassion, you assuredly benefit from it."


Just as ordinary sunlight can start a fire when focussed through a magnifying glass, so human will and intention can be focussed to achieve objectives,. Quantunm Physicas has proved this beyond doubt , but it can be done in an endless variety of ways ... Ritual High Magic is just one of those ways - but a very demanding one.

The way of High Magic is not an easy one and occult knowledge and the power of Being demands sacrifice - your time and priorities at the very least and sometimes much more. I read recently a blog posting from someone who offered techniques for the rapid development of skills in Tarot reading, claiming you could learn it in a day or two and belittling the need to learn any sort of understanding. Certainly all that would be needed to do a Tarot reading is to learn by heart the meanings of all the cards. No doubt any person of average psi skills would be able to do readings and with practice such readings would be convicing and probably quite perceptive too, for the cards evoke ideas from our subconcious, where the psi skills lie. Understanding the cards and why they work; their enochian, quabbalistic and elemental correspondences, or using them for 'tree working' or ritual magic is a different matter ... the techniques offered would not extend to any of those.

Remember - there are no short cuts if you seek initiation onto the path of magic

I was first drawn into the concept of ritual magic by reading David Conway's "Occult Primer" around 1970. It's a very good book in some ways, introducing the basic concepts at a very straightforward level and ending with 2 full rituals. I quite quickly progressed onto Israel Regardie's "Rituals of the Golden Dawn". What neither of these books tell the reader (though I should have understood it as implicit in the Regardie book) is that the degree and extent of the preliminary work demanded by high magic is not made clear. Several people have said that the curriculum of the outer order of the Golden Dawn is like a bachelors degree in magic and when you gaduate to the inner order you are only graduating to a PhD programme in practical Magic - fortunately the admission requirements are not predominantly academic!.

I think I should make it clear again here - even though I say it clearly enough elsewhere on this site - that every path back to the Divine Source is valid. As Khalil Giban says:

"Do not say I travel the path of the spirit, say rather I have found the spirit travelling my path."

or as the candidate is told in the G.'. D.'. Neophyte ritual:

"Remember that you hold all Religions in reverence, for there is none but contains a Ray from the Ineffable Light that you are seeking."

This page is about the path of High Magic, which is a path to follow back to the divine source. It is no more and no less valid than any other. You may learn (eventually) how to "deal" with evil entities (because they do exist and you may come across them) - "deal" with them in sense of getting rid of them: if you want to "deal" with them in sense of making a deal, remember Dr Faustus and go and look elsewhere. True magic seeks the Divine source!

At my own first initiation I entered blindfolded into a darkened hall... it was as dark as if there had never been light in the world and I seemed to be surrounded by a vast crowd of presences. The blindfold was a symbol of the darkness that surrounds us and its removal represents the dawning of the light of wisdom. I promised that I would never use my knowledge in the practice of evil magic, under any temptation or for any reason ... if you launch out on this path, whether you are an initiate into a group or you work alone, you must make a similar promise to your own higher self - and mean it!

On the 'starting points' page of this web site there are ways of contacting various groups to start out. I will repeat a couple of the ones referring to high magic here - one for if you want to work alone and need a resource: something to belong to. A second and third - the two main groups of the Golden Dawn: The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a reconstruction of the original Order from the 1880s, the London Temple or the UK branch of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

  Contact the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn


  Contact the HOGD London Temple
  Contact the Sanctuary of Ma'at
  HOGD in Britain

Of course, if you live within travelling distance of London, UK, you could just contact me!

There are many other groups and you could possiby seek out and thus find one near you. The fact that I mention one and not another is merely that I write about what I know ... I do not send you to any known fraudulent sites (and there some) nor ones that charge for 'astral' initiation, nor ones dangerous to your soul (and there are certainly some of those too), but the vast majority of the sites I do not mention are ommitted simply because I do not know about them (or do not know enough about them to comment.)

And here is a little warning: much of this site is devoted to helping those in occult or psychic difficulties ... learn to climb with, and rope yourself to, experienced mountaineers before you attempt a real climb - leave Mount Everest until you have the experience to tackle it! Real skill as a mountaineer is learned over a good many years. You don't learn to climb mountains by accident or by dabbling around. Take note and remember - YOU DON'T LEARN PSYCHIC OR ESOTERIC SKILLS THAT WAY EITHER.

Another little warning:as I hinted above, there are those who will charge large amounts for 'knowledge', 'psychic skills' and 'secret learning' or 'remote viewing'. In this day and age a teacher sometimes has to charge enough to cover venue hire, travel, printing or postages - even the hosting of a web site like mine costs me money - but knowledge itself is free and you must beware of those charging large sums. It's up to you, of course, and nothing is 'free' ... but the cost of occult or esoteric knowledge is the making effort and sacrifice, of studying when you don't feel like it, of practicing and meditating when you would rather be doing somthing else. It isn't a hobby that costs, it's a path through life - the path of high magic.

Self Initiation and Astral Initiation

There is a question of whether either is a legitimate route to follow. In one sense a physical initiation prepares the candidate for, and then exposes her/him to, the astral forces, but in that sense all initiation is self initiation. As Dion Fortune wrote:

"We cannot remind our readers too often that the Great Initiator comes in the Silence to the higher consciousness, and is never a human being, however supernatural and secluded. All that can be be done by the Servants of the Masters on the physical plane is the prepartion of the candidate."

Dion Fortune - The Training and Work of an Initiate

The Neophyte ritual of the Golden Dawn speaks of "the Lord of the Universe, who works in silence and whom naught but silence can express" - Israel Regardie is said to have agreed with Dion Fortune that the Lord of the Universe initiates in silence when the candidate is ready. For this reason, any group that charges for an astral initiation must be suspect. An initiation, particularly an astral one, costs nothing but time, and time costs nothing but what value the adept places upon it ... how much it costs reflects in large part the adept's own opinion of his/her importance. The question is not your money but the effort, self-discipline, and sacrifice you make.


In Paul Foster Case's "The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order" he says:

"... True Rosicrucians know each other ... Their means of recognition cannot be counterfeited nor betrayed, for those tokens are more subtle than the signs and passwords of ordinary secret societies ... To say this is, of course, to repudiate any and all pretension of societies claiming to be direct historical successors to the authors of the original Rosicrucian manifestoes."

Paul Case (the founder of BOTA and at one time a member of the New York temple of the Golden Dawn) goes on to say that Rosicrucianism is not a society but a body of knowledge. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was founded in 1888 in London, England. It has spawned a number of "spin offs". Israel Regardie was an adept of the original and initiated those in the US who re-built the Hermetic Orer of the Golden Dawn ... but the Greatly Honoured Chiefs of the 2nd order regard it as a direct link rather than a lineage. The modern Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn claims that there is a body of knowledge and ritual and that anyone or group truly following the curriculum and ritual is entitled to regard themselves as a part of the GD movement (though not necessarily part of the HOGD without proof of their knowledge!).

The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia sprang from their Scottish counterpart in 1868, but there is no proof of direct descent of any group from the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross mentioned in the Fama Fraternitatis in 1614. That in turn was derived from the simultaneous arrival in Italy of Hermetic writings from Ptolomaic Egypt, brought from Byzantium by Pico della Mirandela, and Latin translations of Jewish Kabbalistic writings and of Greek writings that became available when Jews were expelled from Spain. Rosicrucianism and the Western Mysteries are a body of knowledge from a variety of ancient sources, compiled in medieval Italy. Claims of other lineage are fraudulently unprovable.

First Steps on the Path

I will do nothing to persuade you to take one path or another and I certainly don't want to advise you to start out on a path which will demand deternmination and sacrifice. Don't come to me and say " ... shall I?" because will just say, in a roundabout way possibly "It's up to you." However, if the time is right and you could say "I have decided to ...will you help me?" then I will if I can, for it is a path I have trodden.