Originally published on Jan 10, 2013, in the video author and publisher James Wasserman shares his experience in the development of the modern Thelemic movement, some observations on the contemporary scene, and his continued enthusiasm for the spiritual teachings of Aleister Crowley.
Wasserman, you may recall, was a guest on Masonic Central in 2009 discussing his work The Mystery Traditions and other more esoteric topics.
This video was recorded at Swirling Star Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis in Pompano Beach, Florida.
It includes numerous photos of influential figures in the development of Thelema as well as the early years of TAHUTI Lodge in New York City.
The video offers some interesting insights into the one time Masonic organization Ordo Templi Orientis, better known as the OTO.
He is one of the most important but least known magicians and spiritual teachers of the Twentieth Century. He published a complete path of spiritual and magical development that is completely based off the four elements and stands beyond any tradition. Known only through the four books he wrote which were published in the 1950’s and through the writing of his students. Many have borrowed his techniques and terminology without giving him proper credit, indeed no matter what tradition you follow the chances are you are practicing at least one exercise from Franz Bardon’s first book “Initiation Into Hermetics.”
Who was Franz Bardon?
Unlike most “Magus” of the time, Bardon seemed far more interested in producing something of value than he did in trying to create a legend about himself. Indeed unlike a few other authors that could be mentioned he hardly ever mentions himself in any of his works. To find more about Franz Bardon we need to read the accounts of his life left by others. Our two main sources are Frabato the Magican an occult novel/biography or Franz Bardon written by his secretary Otti Votavova and Memories of Franz Bardon by his son Lumir and his student Dr M.K. Though the two accounts do have some contradictions they all agree on the following.
Franz Bardon was the oldest of 13 children, and the only son of a very devout Christian mystic, Viktor Bardon. Viktor felt that he was unable to obtain his spiritual goals and prayed that he receive this blessing. The story is that a sudden change came over his son. His parents and teachers become amazed by the sudden change as the boy developed a calm and wise temperament over night. An advanced soul entered the body of his son Franz to become Viktor’s spiritual teacher.
We are told nothing more about Bardon until he is an adult when he makes a living as stage magician with a twist! Under the stage name Frabato (Franz Bardon- Troppau-Opava) we are given accounts of his performance in which he demonstrated genuine magical abilities where most stage magicians use tricks. The reading of minds, healing, astral projection,Mind control, levitation and much more. A little research assured me that Bardon did indeed gain some fame in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s under the stage name “Frabato”
A Life of Persecution
As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party gained power in the 1930’s occultists and spiritual groups were banned. Gipsies and Freemasons were taken to the concentration camps along with the Jews. In occupied country followers of the old ways were hunted down.
Otti Votavova states that Hitler belonged to the legendary “FOCG” or “99 Lodge” of black magicians, described in Frabato The Magician. In both accounts we hear of the attempts of this organisation to bring Franz Bardon into their fold and the eventual magical battle that ensures. Bardon however is eventually arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned in late 1941 along with one of his students. While the prisoners were being whipped, the disciple lost his control and uttered a kabbalistic formula to immobilize the torturers. However, the effects of the formula eventually wore off and the disciple was shot in revenge. When he refused to help them, the Nazis cruelly tortured Bardon. Among other things, they performed operations without anesthesia, and forged iron rings around his ankles and fixed heavy iron balls to them.
After regaining his freedom, Bardon recommenced his occult work and healing. This type of thing was strongly discouraged in the very repressive political climate of post war Czechoslovakia and indeed it turns out that the new Russian Communist ideologies persecuted free-thinkers, Gypsies, Jews, and anyone interested in the occult or esoteric subjects as efficiently as the former Nazi Rulers. In 1958 Bardon was arrested by the communist government for his occult practices and died the same year under mysterious circumstances.
Franz Bardon’s Teachings
Bardon’s works are most notable for their simplicity, their relatively small theoretical sections, and heavy emphasis on practice. Franz Bardon is of the old school of occult thought. To him we are dealing with real spiritual forces that you can learn with practice to draw into yourself and control, direct and condense. In his books you will find instruction on all magical exercises Talismans, astral projection, mediation, control of the elements, concentration, mind reading, self hypnosis, spirit summoning, magical words and gestures, healing, clairvoyance meditation/mental control, refining and balancing of the spirit, control of the elemental powers, conversation with unseen beings, astral projection, scrying, invocation of higher forces, invisibility, construction of talismans, fluid condensers, creation of elemental beings, magical pictures, loading and protecting a room/space and much much more. The whole course is completely based on the Four elements and directed towards physically tangible results. One thing that makes an enduring impression is Bardon’s evident sincerity. He insists frequently that he is doing as much as possible to transmit a system of occult development to the serious student who is either unable to find a teacher or work in a group. .His stated purpose was to give the serious student of magic the most complete and best possible magickal instruction obtainable outside of an occult lodge and without the benefit of a personal teacher.
Did he succeed? The only way to judge is by trying his curriculum yourself.
The 2008 film Chemical Wedding is a fictional story about the resurrection of the 20th century occultist Aleister Crowley. Written by Bruce Dickinson–yes, THE Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden–and Julian Doyle, it is best described as a low budget horror flick. It fulfills every expectation that that description creates: the story line is kind of cheesy, the effects are mediocre, and it features numerous sexual situations.
The story of the film is fairly straight forward. A professor of theology at Cambridge University is involved in a virtual reality experiment which goes horribly wrong and becomes the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley. Crowley comes to rebuild the temple in three days and perform a virgin birth. Crowley’s objectives during the movie rely heavily on adaptations of Crowley’s interpretations of the Christian Gospels and the story of Osiris. He regards the impregnation of Isis by a reed as the greatest form of sex magick and seeks to recreate the event through a chemical wedding with a red-headed woman.
The Freemasons play an important role in this movie. It is apparently assumed by the writers that the Freemasons had a great effect on Crowley, when the truth is that Crowley really wanted to have a great effect on the Freemasons. Nevertheless, the movie even features a fairly lengthy scene portraying a Masonic lodge meeting. The Freemason will notice the absence of factual information in this lodge meeting and that the movie is obviously portraying the fraternity in a negatively light.
The movie also spends a lot of time showing explicit scenes of Crowley’s sex magick rituals. The squeamish viewer should be warned, watching this movie requires a fair amount of fortitude. In the end, the sex magick is portrayed as being the whole of Crowley’s interest and he is portrayed as a man addicted to the most depraved of sex acts. It is necessary to note that if the inaccuracy of the movie’s portrayal of the Freemasons is an indicator, the portrayal of Crowley and his teachings is probably also a bit far out.
To be honest, the only truly redeeming quality of the movie is its soundtrack. Thankfully, Bruce Dickinson is a shameless self promoter and features the music of his band Iron Maiden. I have long believed that Maiden is the king of metal as they bring everything to the table: wide-ranging vocals, deep lyrics, searing guitar riffs, and rock solid rhythm. My favorite scene of the movie features a man sitting in an alley who says to Crowley “Your time will come,” which Dickinson uses as an opportunity to fade into the chorus of “Wicker Man.”
I would recommend this movie to a person that likes very edgy entertainment, is intrigued by the occult, and cannot be offended or upset by graphic sex and violence scenes. If you get upset about seeing Freemasons being portrayed as the “bad guys” or think that Crowley was more than just a sex addicted madman, then you probably don’t want to see the movie.
I’d give Crowley 4 out of 5 stars as it is for select audiences only.
Magick has been equated with the act of being sinful, evil, sinister and ungodly even, however, nothing could be further from the Truth. Many are not aware that we use magick in some form or fashion during our daily lives. Prayer, itself, is even a form of magick. Anytime one calls for his surroundings, context or environment to change and to conform with a will and desire and invokes this change by means of a greater power… that, of itself, is a form of magick. [Reference – 1st definition] One will find this basic definition within countless esoteric literature. I did not construct this particular post to offend or to disrespect any one’s particular creed, doctrine or religion; I wrote this post for the exploration of awareness.
I do not subscribe to any religion or creed or particular “God” or theology and I hold no religion greater than the other; however, I do hold in authority the intention(s) of one’s heart; which is my empiricism. I have found that organized religions and their respective Volumes of Sacred Laws can only tell you about the Truth (God – whatever one will like to call it), but Truth must be directly experienced for oneself through ones own Soul. For me, personally, only then can true faith be established; One does that by learning how to go within oneself and connecting with your Higher Nature; in which ever exists in Oneness with Everything. In’lakech. I study the teachings of all faith traditions and utilize their Wisdom to further refine my character, essence, and nature as I continue to spiral upward in degrees towards perfection.
So, with this particular post, that I had originally drafted and sent to my lodge in 2007, it was inspired by a conversation that my lodge Brethren were having in regards to the occult topic of “black magick.” What does magick have to do with Freemasonry? Well, this is just a discovery, among others, that I have come along during my personal journey. Enjoy…
“G-d appeared to Solomon that night in a dream and said, ‘Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.’
LORD G-d, you were always loyal to my father David, and now you have made me king of Israel. I am supposed to rule these people, but there are as many of them as there are specks of dust on the ground. So keep the promise you made to my father and make me wise. Give me the knowledge I’ll need to be the king of this great nation of yours.
Solomon, you could have asked me to make you rich or famous or to let you live a long time. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom and knowledge to rule my people. So I will make you wise and intelligent. But I will also make you richer and more famous than any king before or after you.”
~ V.S.L. ~ I Kings 3:7-12
Solomon was the son of a shepherd, and a former Prince himself, who eventually became a King. But how many are aware that the stifled voice of history would also tell you that he was also a magician, or a sorcerer, better yet… an adept of the arts of black magick? Indeed, just like another by the name of Moses who was still practicing Kemetian magick while leading the Israelites out of Kemet (Egypt) under the direction of YHWH. There is a Volume of Sacred Law that possesses a particular book called “Numbers,” and within Chapter 21 one will find a description of the Nehushtan that Moses used to heal the Israelites who were bitten by snakes.
This is what a Nehushtan or Nehustan, also known as the Staff of Asclepius at left.
Now it can be seen as a symbol better known as the “Star of Life” for the medical services.
Some will say that they have also seen two entwined serpents, on a single staff, as a symbol for the medical profession (below).
This particular symbol that you may have seen is known as the Caduceus; which was the staff that belonged to Hermes. This traditional mistake has been carried on for centuries. The true and proper symbol would be the Staff of Asclepius, whose single staff and single serpent was and is the true and original sign of the medical profession. I do not want to engage in severe tangents. One may begin their research regarding these points and the history of why the Staff of Asclepius is the appropriate symbol for the medical profession ——> (HERE).
Returning to the topic at hand, some would imagine that after Solomon conversed with YHWH that he awoke with all knowledge and wisdom the very next day or maybe it was over the course of the next few days, months or years. We’re not certain as to how long it may have taken Solomon to achieve this level of intelligence, but an idea that we may all agree upon is that Solomon has been considered one of, if not, the wisest of men that had ever lived.
A question surrounding the enigma of Solomon’s mind: “How did Solomon gain this knowledge and wisdom?”
We know that he became full of wisdom, but what was the process or by what means or method did he achieve this state of being? It would appear that Solomon did leave the world a clue attesting as to how he gained his wisdom, but this clue was written in an encrypted fashion. This one small fragment of a clue can be found within the Testament of Solomon. [Reference] Before we start, I’d like to draw your attention and point out that as one begins to read this testament, you will see the term, that may be unfamiliar to most, ‘pseudepigraphic‘ within the introduction.
This particular term, which originates from the word ‘pseudepigrapha,‘ basically means that although the text states a particular individual as the author of the text, we cannot ascertain or prove 100% that the author (i.e. Solomon) really wrote the particular text; more than likely because we were not there physically to witness the alleged author (i.e. Solomon) scribe the account. Well if this be the case, then every Volume of Sacred Law should, can and will be considered as pseudepigraphic because no one “physically,” from this current day and age, has been able to witness any of the accounts scribed within the plethora of Volumes of Sacred Laws; unless, of course, you have accessed the Akashic Records (What’s the Akasha you might ask? More info – Akasha Records) which case I’ll have no disputes.
Personally, I thought it necessary to put the argument of the term ‘pseudepigraphic’ to rest before we begin this journey.
The Testament of Solomon – a book voted against at the Council of Nicea – deals with the construction of the Temple by Solomon and his workmen. It has been noted by archaeologists and theologians, at The Temple Institute, that the description of Solomon’s Temple was not of ordinary construction by any means. The work and dimensions of the Temple were extraordinary and according to the words of Solomon himself, all of the workmen that contributed to the extraordinary design were not ordinary men either — half of the workforce were demons summoned by our Order’s first legendary Grandmaster Solomon. These demons were controlled by a signet-ring that Solomon wore that bore a certain symbol. I’ll get to that particular symbol in a moment.
Over the summer months of 2007, I had a conversation with a Past Master and he had mentioned to me that he had read a book I believe to be entitled The Craft and It’s Symbols by Allen E. Roberts; but don’t quote me on that book. However, he stated that there were two plates (pictures) located in the back and that one of the plates looked malevolent in nature, and that the other plate was of an older gentleman with long hair and beard blowing in the wind. I then mentioned that in alchemy an older gentleman is normally equated with Father Time; even within our very own Craft, there can be found an older gentleman, or “Father Time,” playing in the hair of a Weeping Virgin.
The Brother stated that he was aware of this correlation, but these plates seemed to be “out of place” because the book did not expound on the plates at all and the sole topic of the book was in reference to King Solomon’s Temple. I began to wonder and I remember stating to the Brother that “…there has to be a correlation between the Temple and Time.”
A few weeks later, the same Past Master had given me a copy of a lecture and within this lecture can be found the following statements near the conclusion:
…even the word ‘temple’ meant time. King Solomon’s Temple was emblematic of one year or the time it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun is 365 and 1/4 day or 1 Earth year.
What is interesting to note is that a few scholars and religious historians, such as H. Van Dyke Parunak and Glen Taylor, have stated that the Temple of King Sol-Om-On was actually “constructed as a Sun Temple and was in harmony with the universe and solar calendar.” [Reference] According to a particular Volume of Sacred Law, we are told that Moses was instructed by YHWH to build a tabernacle and Moses was repeatedly warned to make sure he followed instructions precisely because the tabernacle represented heavenly realities.
Quick note: Interestingly, any quick search will show that the name of Solomon may be divided into three syllables:
Sol – Sun (Latin)
Om – Sun (Hindu)
On – Sun (Arguments between Persian / Egyptian)
Some theologians have likened the tabernacle to a solar calendar because it was perfectly accurate, perfectly usable, and perfectly meaningful as it charted time by hour, day, month, and year. Many theologians would also agree that Solomon’s temple was a permanent and larger scale version of the portable tabernacle that Moses was instructed to build. So it would be safe to presume that Solomon’s temple was emblematic of a solar calendar, or of “time” itself; being that it was a larger version of the tabernacle of Moses. [Reference – pg 120]
I do not want to go to far into this tangent… so I’ll get back on course.
Within this particular Masonic book, that I had mentioned earlier, we have the topic discussion of King Solomon’s Temple, an alleged picture of Father Time and a picture of a malevolent entity. Now where could one possibly find demons, temples and the art of construction all wrapped up within the same content of material? You guessed it…
Demons + Temple (Time) = Testament of Solomon.
Now I’m sure that someone is assured that I’m reaching. Really? Well, if so, then explain this:
Gematria, as many may be aware, is the numerical value of letters. A = 1, B = 2, and C = 3 etc. If we were to gather a basic value of the terms we would have the summation of 141.
Demons = 70
Temple = 71
70 + 71 = 141
The number 141 really isn’t a number. When we look at it closely 141 we will notice that the number 4 is between two parallel lines.
As you and I both know, parallel is a term in Freemasonry, geometry and in everyday life that refers to a property in Euclidean Space of two or more lines or planes. We should also realize that between the parallel lines isn’t really the number 4 at all… it is actually the planetary symbol for Jupiter.
In case one doesn’t know the correlation between Solomon and Jupiter… it would be Solomon’s Pentacles of Jupiter. I’ve placed an image of each pentacle of Jupiter below with the descriptions that follow after the images (Figures 18 – 21). In Figure 18, notice the symbol of a seemingly Square and Compass, the geometric echoes of the two triangles at the top of the wheel, and the ancient symbol for a female womb. All of these symbols can be found within the layout of the Lodge; even the exterior design of the Pyramid of Khufu can be found within the layout as well, but that is another topic.
When you scroll down and view the Pentacles below, also take notice at the bottom of the wheel the three (3) parallel lines on the right side of the wheel. Here is a side note, remember when I stated that Solomon’s ring bore certain symbols?
Well, I would like to mention that it only takes two (2) parallel lines to form the Star of David on your Masonic ring and three (3) lines, which are polar opposite to a similar square and compass design, to form a pentalpha on your ring.
The importance of a pentalpha? Well it’s the symbol, according to the Testament, that was on the ring of Solomon to summon and control the various entities to build the Temple. Some state that he also used the Star of David, or Jewish Star, as a signet on a second ring to summon and control lesser demons to construct the Temple. However, below are the images for Solomon’s Pentacles of Jupiter:
Figure 18 — A Solomon Seal for acquiring treasure, improving, growing and succeeding in life. This Solomon Seal is composed of mystical characters of Jupiter. Around it are the names of the angels: Netoniel, Devecia, Tzedeqiah, and Parasiel, written in Hebrew.
The prominent angel on the seal is Parasiel considered the lord and master of treasures and lost secrets. Other angels included, Netoniel the angel of glory, fame and notoriety. Devecia who provides balance, tranquility, peace and quiet. The angel Tzedeqiah, who brings honor, fame, riches, glory. The first pentacle of Jupiter serves to invoke the spirits of Jupiter, and especially those whose names are written around the pentacle, among whom Parasiel who is considered the lord and master of treasures, and teaches how to become possessor of places.
Figure 19 — The Second Pentacle of Jupiter — This is proper for acquiring glory, honors, dignities, riches, and all kinds of good, together with great tranquility of mind; also to discover Treasures and chase away the Spirits who preside over them. It should be written upon virgin paper or parchment, with the pen of the swallow and the blood of the screech-owl.
Editor’s Note — In the center of the Hexagram are the letters of the Name AHIH, Eheieh; in the upper and lower angles of the same, those of the Name AB, the Father; in the remaining angles those of the Name IHVH. I believe the letters outside the Hexagram in the re-entering angles to be intended for those of the first two words of the versicle, which is taken from Psalm cxii. 3:–‘Wealth and Riches are in his house, and his righteousness endureth for ever. ‘
Figure 20 — The Third Pentacle of Jupiter — This defends and protects those who invoke and cause the Spirits to come. When they appear show unto them this Pentacle, and immediately they will obey.
Editor’s Note — In the upper left corner is the Magical Seal of Jupiter with the letters of the Name IHVH. In the others are the Seal of the Intelligence of Jupiter, and the Names Adonai and IHVH.–Around it is the versicle from Psalm cxxv. 1:–‘A Song of degrees. They that trust in IHVH shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.’
Figure 21 — The Fourth Pentacle of Jupiter — It serves to acquire riches and honor, and to possess much wealth. Its Angel is Bariel. It should be engraved upon silver in the day and hour of Jupiter when he is in the Sign Cancer.
Editor’s Note — Above the Magical Sigil is the Name IH, Iah. Below it are the Names of the Angels Adoniel and Bariel, the letters of the latter being arranged about a square of four compartments. Around is the versicle from Psalm cxii. 3:–‘Wealth and Riches are in his house, and his righteousness endureth for ever.’
During the opening and closing of the lodge, the Worshipful Master, who can be seen as a symbolic version of King Solomon, states, within some jurisdictions such as Georgia, that: “The First shall be Last and the Last shall be First.”
During the workings of an Entered Apprentice degree, we should take notice that the WM places a cornerstone in the Northeast corner to further add onto the Temple…
It should be interesting to note that the current brethren of the Lodge would make
up the symbolic stones of the unfinished Temple; however, normally, within Operative Freemasonry, the first stone ever to be laid is the cornerstone and then all other stones become apart of the project, but Speculative Freemasonry appears to do just the complete opposite…. we already have the stones (Brethren) that make up the Temple, whereas we continue to addcornerstones to our Temple. Operative is physical in nature, while the Speculative is spiritual (As Above So Below); the two are mirroring opposites of each other.
I would have you to take notice to the 118th verse of the Testament of Solomon that speaks of such a stone being added as the cornerstone to complete the Temple:
“…and the Temple was being completed. And there was a stone, the end stone of the corner lying there, great, chosen out, on which I desired lay in the head of the corner of the completion of the Temple. And all the workmen, and all the demons helping them came to the same place to bring up the stone and lay it on the pinnacle of the holy temple, and were not strong enough to stir it, and lay it upon the corner allotted to it. For that stone was exceedingly great and useful for the corner of the Temple. …. And I Solomon, beholding the stone raised aloft and placed on a foundation, said: ‘Truly the Scripture is fulfilled, which says: ‘The stone which the builders rejected on trial, that same is become the head of the corner.”
According to the pentacles above, it would appear that Solomon obtained his knowledge, riches, honor, and wisdom via magik. Through this magik, he was able to construct the world’s most enigmatic Temple (known to mankind) with the assistance of demonic principalities and humans working together in unison underneath the power of his signet ring with the blessings of YHWH. Imagine… this all began with a simple prayer or invocation within a dream. Within the mind good and evil actually came together in unison for one common cause.
Our speculative (personal and collective) Temple of Freemasonry appears to be constructed by men who have been considered to be “evil from the days of their youth,” according to a Volume of Sacred Law that houses a book called Genesis (8:21). And with a bit of thought, this statement could allow us to perceive that this imperfect or “evil” nature within Man, along with his good, is constructing his inner Temple underneath the signet of a masonic ring, with the blessings of Deity, in which “no man should ever enter upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the blessing of Deity .”
The seal of a masonic ring subdues, circumscribes and subjects his spirit; squares his thoughts; controls and tames his inner-self all for the construction of a Temple of Conscience which will benefit the external world that comes into his immediate contact — just as the Temple of Solomon benefited all of mankind that came into its immediate contact. Truly your temple, as with Solomon’s, is a temple that is being constructed with neither an ax, hammer, or any tool of iron or metal that is capable of being heard by the physical senses. [Reference – bottom of pg 182]
Now, if you’re thinking that this is a mere twist of interpretation and coincidence that our Order could be intertwined into the “Craft” (magik), lastly, but certainly not least, the Tyler states that his duties are: “…to keep off all Cowans and Eavesdroppers…;” the definition of a cowan is as follows:
One who is a stonemason working without mortar courses.
A non-Witch or non-pagan.
An outsider, someone who is not a follower of the Old Religion
Not long ago… I was conversing with one of the Brothers at the lodge and I asked: “Why would the Tyler state that he is keeping off someone who is a stonemason (cowan), when masons are emulating stonemasons?” The Brother then replied: “Freemasonry is speculative.” After hearing his reply… I agreed nonetheless. So I therefore disregarded the first definition and payed attention to the latter two. My question which currently stands:
Why would the Tyler state that he is keeping off someone who is a non-Witch, or non-pagan, and/or an outsider that is not a follower of the Old Religion?
Do a search on the terms “Old Religion” and see what comes back.
I did an image search for a depiction of King Solomon and the picture at right is one of the first results, among many, that came back in my results. His left hand looks a bit unnatural… don’t you think? Finally my Brethren, I’ll close with the words of King Solomon himself:
“… though I marveled at the apology of the demons, I did not credit it until it came true. And I did not believe their words; but when they were realized, then I understood, and at my death I wrote this Testament to the children of Israel, and gave it to them, so that they may know the powers of the demons and their shapes, and the names of their angels, by which these angels are frustrated. ….. Wherefore I wrote out this Testament, that ye who get possession of it may pity, and attend to the last things, and not to the first. So that ye may find grace for ever and ever. Amen.”
~ Grandmaster Sulayman
Keep the mind attuned to a positive frequency!
Brother Isaiah 11 Tones :: Ahau W.C. Thomas 112 MWPHGL of Georgia former owner of the blog: Kingdom of Conscience ~ Osiris