Inner Work (or why I wrote a book)

When I was a teenager and first approaching the highly charged area of ‘the occult’ I was fortunate to acquire a modest collection of books from a Witch who was undergoing a sideways move into Buddhism. The collection included a copy of the 2nd edition of Regardie’s The Golden Dawn and other rarities. In the weeks that followed I discovered a very sobering reality; while many of the books described the rituals, what to say, how to wave our arms around, none one them actually showed how to do the rituals. By this I mean the inner workings, the required visualisation, movements of energy, focus, breath and dynamics that that empower the ritual on the inner levels.

I naively thought these would be available elsewhere and was therefore excited when the assistant at the Theosophical Society bookstore recommended another Regardie book, Ceremonial Magic. Subtitled ‘a guide to the mechanisms of ritual’ it seemed exactly what I was looking for. After an expensive special order I excitedly took it home to garner its secrets. I am not ashamed to admit I almost cried. Not only was it useless it was my first experience of the type of magical work that repeats information and fills out the pages until a respectable book size is reached. Sadly certain authors and publishers still do this. 😦

By then I had entered a ‘lodge training school’, an outer court for a GD Order that existed only in the minds of the couple of dodgy Wiccans running it. About the only thing I learnt here was how not to run a training school. However, months later I was initiated into a well-oiled group whose Imperator stemmed from the same Order as Ithell Colquhoun. Here, I thought I would get taught the inner work that made a ritual magical, rather than dramatic (by then I had seen enough dramatics).

My first lodge attendance following my initiation was a training night on the Lesser Pentagram ritual. I had taught this to myself a while back to the extent it could stave off inadvertent Enochian effects (or mutant rats). Now, I was looking forward to the real magic. My first clue that something was amiss was when the Hierophant and instructor for the night declared he too ‘would take the opportunity’ to practice the ritual this evening. Surely, I thought, he does this all the time, twice a day? But no, he did not. Naturally, no inner workings and secrets were transmitted to me on that, or subsequent nights.

Months later the Order folded and the benevolent Cancellaria and another senior initiate presented me with complete copies of all the Order outer and inner papers. Even here though, there was no mention of what I was looking for, and upon discussion with the Cancellaria it was clear it was never part of the Order’s teaching. Over the years it has become clear to me that most Golden Dawn Orders, even those with ‘lineage’ function in the same way, and any inner work conducted is done so in a haphazard way, if at all.

This lack of inner work, amongst other things, has led to the GD becoming, to quote Nick Farrell, “a bit of a joke in the land of its birth”. Nick’s comments come from his expanded review of By Names and Images: bringing the Golden Dawn to Life. In his review Nick kindly concludes:

Peregrin’s book is the harbinger of what the Golden Dawn will become. It is an introduction to the idea of a magical Golden Dawn which is firmly rooted within the Inner. It might even be a Golden Dawn which appears new to many, certainly it is a Golden Dawn which many will want to suppress because it requires expertise that many “high graders” lack. Nevertheless for the next generation of Golden Dawn student “By Names and Images” is a vital part of any collection.

Out of all the very kind and lovely comments and reviews of my book, this one touches me the most as it goes straight to the heart of why I wrote it. I never want there to be another young magician buying books like Ceremonial Magic in a vein pursuit of magic. The inner dimensions to magic are crucial and are what, in my opinion, makes ceremonial magic one of the most transformative tools available for modern westerners. Done correctly, on all levels, magic has the ability to unfold our beings in ways purely inward paths like meditation cannot. However, as I say in the book, the outer performance of spiritual truth is a dicey thing, and without constant and correct inner focus becomes simply emotive drama.

If the efforts of my teacher (who showed me the magic), Skylight Press and all who helped with the book leads to more discussion and publication of inner workings, and a refusal to accept works that give the outer forms alone, then I will be one very, very happy bunny 🙂 Thanks.

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14 comments

  1. Donna · April 12, 2012

    I was lucky enough to have you as my first teacher so I simply thought that everyone practicing had this knowledge. It didn’t take me long to realise that this was not the case. Now wherever I experience ritual be it a Catholic mass or other I often find myself thinking I wonder what inner work they are doing? Sometimes you can feel it happening but most times I think they have no inner workings and they are simply doing the dramatics :)….It’s so wonderful to see your book out there finally.

  2. asariah · April 12, 2012

    Just excellent brother!!!

    Olen

  3. PombagirasPolly · April 12, 2012

    yes, in a word yes.. this is the problem with much of the books written on witchcraft and wicca, they have lots of ritual scripts, stand here say this raise your arms in a clockwise direction blar blar, but nohitng about as you put it, what you are doing on an inner level. these books create a church of england pagansims with people just reading scripts or as you said emotive drama.

    i am trying to remeber where I learn’t the inner stuff as i am selftaught for the most part, and i think it was a combination of a disussion wtih a shaman friend, and a fantasy novel. being self taught i often read things in such books and gave it a go.. sometimes it worked and sometimes it failed with a spectacular kick, but there you go..

    umm.. also hi, I’m Polly we havn’t meet but i have been following your blog for a few weeks now, i discovered it as i was doing some researh into Modern Paganism and Wicca in New Zealand.. and your blog came up. err yeah..

    *smiles*
    Polly

  4. PombagirasPolly · April 12, 2012

    oh looks like the link to my blog was the wrong link.. sorry..

    here this is the correct one.. http://pombagiraspolly.wordpress.com/

    *ack* technology, sometimes not so good..

    *smiles*

  5. Baphomet's left nad · April 12, 2012

    Polly’s point above on books about Wicca is spot on. I learnt the inner workings of ritual because I joined a working coven. The “why” and the “how” were always very important. I’m looking forward to reading by Names and Images to see how my experience compares and what I can glean from how ceremonial magic folks do their thing.

  6. Tabatha · April 12, 2012

    Students who come to the Golden Dawn teachings today are really lucky in that they have a number of recently published books like “By Names and Images” to help them fill in the gaps. When I started back in the early 1980s there were the Regardie books and precious little else. (We didn’t even have the Doorstop edition back then.) You have done the community a great service. Kudos!

  7. Deanna · April 12, 2012

    I look forward to reading and working through this book. This is thy type of book we need more of. Thanks.

  8. Mike · April 12, 2012

    Thanks Peregrin. Still reading and wanted to say that of the many good things about the book that the work on the subtle bodies really stood out. Sometimes you can piece things together from other sources but it’s great to have it clearly explained in one place.

  9. Peregrin · April 13, 2012

    Thanks folks 🙂

    @Donna – yes, I do the same in church services, also cheekily adding my own inner work 🙂 Glad you are happy the book is out there 🙂

    @ Olen – thanks; and THANK YOU for your RR et AC posts recently

    @ Polly – thanks 🙂 You have a very interesting blog. Have you seen the MOTO post on the Seasons/Sabbats – https://magicoftheordinary.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/short-and-sweet-why-most-australian-pagan-traditions-fall-down/

    @ … do you prefer Baphomet, leftie or ‘the nad’ ? 🙂 – Yes, i reckon you’ll find the book very interesting. I have a document written years back on the inner work of the Wiccan rituals and initiations. One day maybe it’ll be expanded into a book – if you’re interested I’d love your thoughts on it. Ta 🙂

    @ Tabatha – ah, yes indeed. It is strange to arrive at time in life where I can say, “now when I was lad….” 🙂 But it is true. I imagine Australian mid 80s were similarly as poor esoteric wise as US early 80s… it was an interesting time. Nick mentioned something about this on his blog a while back and I chipped in. back then we took what we could find and looked deeply, travelling etc. These days i sometimes think esoteric students get it too easy, and do not appreciate the blessings and wonders they can get arriving at their door or on their screens 🙂 Your latest work is wonderful, BTW 🙂

    @ Deanna – thanks… enjoy the reading.

    @ Mike – thanks, yes that chapter is proving to be a number of people’s favourites. Once people really get what is in there, which is simply traditional material, I take no credit, it makes a few things go ‘click’. 🙂

    OK – have fun 🙂

  10. Madueke ugochukwu victor +2348038355136 08038355136 · April 22, 2012

    Am a member of the Resocrucian order,AMORC.I joined the order in quest of wealth and power to understand and control my world bt i couldnt find it.NO MATTER THE SACRIFICE INVOLVED,am ever ready for my pursuit.i look forward for your help

  11. Madueke ugochukwu victor +2348038355136 08038355136 · April 22, 2012

    Am a member of the Resocrucian order.I joined it in quest of wealth and power to understand and control my world bt i couldnt find it.

  12. Madueke ugochukwu victor +2348038355136 08038355136 · April 22, 2012

    Am a member of the Resocrucian order.I joined it in quest of wealth and power to understand and control my world bt i couldnt find it

  13. Mitzy Gaynor · April 24, 2012

    Nad’s fine, Pippin. I’m going to change back to Mitzy because it’s (marginally) less confusing 😀 Yes! Inner workings of Wicca would be of major interest to Wiccans like myself. As I said, we were very much concerned with inner workings of ritual. It’s unlikely to change how I work ritual, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a good read.

    @Madueke wtf? If you’re on a quest for wealth and power then join the local branch of whatever conservative party you have in your area. That or the Satanists

  14. Peregrin · April 24, 2012

    Hi Mitzy, el Nad 🙂

    I am taking Madueke’s post as spam or a weird trap of sorts. I do get them occasionally 🙂

    With Facebook doc to you – thanks 🙂

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