So I had some thoughts I just wanted to get on paper about the Abramelin Working and its role in the WMT, its efficacy for practical use, and so on.
another way of stating the above is I have come to raise hell and rustle jimmies and I’m all out of hell
Anyway, I tend to be of the opinion, which I will probably elaborate at length in numerous blog posts (made ya think! 3spoopy5u! &c) that a lot of what we call the Western Mystery Tradition is just stuff Crowley and the Golden Dawn did, with a hint of chaos magick and edgy aesthetic thrown in. We don’t really know why we do it, we do it because it is the thing we do. Moreso in the internet wizard age. It’s Quicksand.
Believe it or not, the Abramelin Working is one of these things.
I SAW THAT COMING YOU’RE SO ORIGINAL
Nah, hear me out. First, let’s look at what it actually does. So you have the six month retreat (yes, there’s an eighteen month version, it’s better, don’t comment unless you’ve done it yourself) in white, plain clothes and with abstinence from sex and also from even more perverse, worldly concerns like grocery shopping and bill paying and leaving the house.
See? You’re already vibing with me here. Then you slowly ramp up prayer and devotion, which are all you do all day long, because you stocked up on toilet paper and healthy food at the beginning and your dutiful wife prepares all your own meals. You uh…did do that, didn’t you? She cooks for you because you’re a twelfth century Jewish guy, right?
GET OUT REEEEEEEEE
Right. That’s the next step. You achieve tfw gf with your tulpa waifu and…wait a minute…anyway the goal is Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, followed by the summoning and binding of the four demon kings, at which point you’ve become a supermage and can use all the cool invisibility sigils in a mere six months. Theoretically.
The only problem is, Crowley tried this. You can read about it in John St John. Long story short, we remember that he did it, but we often don’t remember that it failed spectacularly. Well, he probably didn’t kill as many people as he says he did, but it at least didn’t work. He had at least some results, but he did it several times, all without one guaranteed success…and you begin to see the fnords here. It doesn’t do what it says it does, at least not if you’re not some Jewish guy with a really long-suffering wife…who lives in the 1200s…maybe not even then. We understand from the Goetic scholarship people like Jake Stratton-Kent are doing that the grimoire tradition is really not confined to the books. There was a whole living tradition that is required to understand the books, a lot of which we don’t have, but which can be carefully reconstructed. So it undoubtedly is for Abramelin. And my suspicion, as a Mormon, is that it actually jives with some kind of early Reformation attempt to restore the Priesthood and Temple Worship…maybe a distantly related sect to the Hussites. That’s totally uninformed, but basically Abramelin does not assume the working conditions or operant frame of the grimoire tradition. A lot more spare time to blow, a lot more leisure. A lot less hell and a lot less bills — but ain’t those the same?
So part of the reason it doesn’t work is because we lost the keys. Another is because it doesn’t wash, practically speaking. Another reason is because it doesn’t match the conditions we’re initiating to. I think a lot of people intuitively recognize this, people who have no use for Judeo-Christianity or attempts to reconstruct the grimoire tradition proper…but they try to hack it to fit, because Aleister Crowley did it and it is therefore one of the Accepted Things We Do In These Situations. So you write your blog, you engage in Facebook livestreams, basically, of your working where you retreat from worldly cares. And also at five sharp you go to hang out with friends and buy yourself some groceries, maybe a new TV. Because it’s got to be done. You’re right, it really does. But I hear about it and I just facepalm because like…come on.
People don’t realize that the Abramelin deal is the same formula every initiatory path takes, and it’s also much more shamanic than it looks. You make the point, you sharpen it until it’s a star. You spin it until it’s a circle. That circle and point spin until they look from the outside like a unicursal hexagram. So the point is you. You are not a Christian. You have a job. It’s insane to section off half your house for work, half for toilet paper and canned goods, and never leave for six months. This is nuts. Even if it wasn’t, somehow, you still have to initiate to function in that world, buy canned goods mindfully, cook mindfully, interact with people mindfully, maybe get a date with that hot clerk at Wal-Mart that’s been catching your eye, and come back and Netflix and Chill. You have real concerns here. These are your circle. And your path is to sit inside until you rot, feeling holy and pious and make the mountain come to you…except not really because real life doesn’t work that way? Come on.
Which is all a very long and more detailed way of saying that you can accomplish what people usually accomplish with the Abramelin Working in eight hours with a sensory deprivation tank and a tab of LSD. Or with a decade of the Path of the Householder. Or with some period of daily, dedicated spiritual work. It’s like combining the most ineffectual parts of being a Demon Summoning Wizard with the most useful parts of being a Franciscan Oblate. And you ruin both. You’re still making rock and roll worse. stahp
Crowley realized he was going to be doing it his whole life anyway. And a lot of us have periods where we’ve bummed around the house for six months, or where we’ve felt like God and the Devil fought for our soul. Sometimes both are the same, which we call depression or something similar. Purging periods happen. And the inspiration for this post, believe it or not, is a friend who saw a purging period coming and stepped up to meet the ball. He’s knocked it out of the park. But that kind of self-awareness is so hard to come by…it’s best to skip it entirely and do the work the long way ’round. Avoids crazy things happening.
Now, I’ve never had anything but success with crazy shit. But you slowly learn to find the most efficient path. And when I compare my success bumming around the house, shitposting on Facebook, mindfully washing dishes, recentering and connecting, praying…just rocking my 24/7 routine…to people doing Internet Abramelin But Not Really for the same six month period…well, I think my methods work better. There’s no structure. But I’m happier, healthier, less demons in the same six month period. Kicking more ass.
I’m not saying I’m right here, but I think I’m onto something. Instead of using tools because you have to, understand the context they fit in, recognize the tool is not going to achieve the goal in a mere six months, and even be willing to throw out the book on “best practice”. Crowley and Parsons did. Anyone who’s ever really done magick — lived it — has. And yes, this is what everyone does. So why are you doing something you call Abramelin that bears zero resemblance to the book? Because you feel like you have to?
That’s how you get stuck. The illusion of success is the first step to finding the problem, but you don’t want to risk the illusion making new problems.
If I could give my younger self this advice about initiation in general, I would. Maybe I’m just too undisciplined for the Abramelin Working, because I’ve always kinda felt this exact way about it lol. But a lot of the practical stuff here has been gained from years of using tools I am a better fit for. I hope it helps someone.
But you don’t have to take my Will for it.