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The Way of the Mysteries

Correspondence Course






m t. harris 2002

Our Qaballistic studies now come to Malkuth, the sephira at the base of the Tree of Life, which represents the "end result" of the emanation of spirit.. We are starting therefore from the world we know (or think we know). Qabalah sees that emanation of spirit proceeding through and being manifest in four modes in each of the sephiroth. Thus The Mystical Qabalah lists the symbolism of each sephira, not least Malkuth, in the "four worlds" of Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah Whilst there is a tendency in popular books on Qabalah to give short shrift to The Four Worlds, it is essential that this concept is understood from the start, not least to make sense of the correspondances given for each of the sephiroth. Indeed we cannot understand Malkuth as the "world we know" without this.  The origins of this �four worlds" concept may be glimpsed in earlier ancient Egyptian religious magic and the adoption of this concept is further betrayed in the later writings of the Celtic Taliesin bards. Magic worthy of the name must address the problem of "Being" and the related Qaballistic doctrines of The Four Worlds and Tsimtsum do this very well! .


TSIMTSUM�the three within the one.






Qabalah in bricks and mortar.

Many of the early precepts of Qabalah were based upon the Jerusalem temple mythology coupled with the messianic / priest king ideas that it had it embodied since the first temple of Solomon. "The world is the Lord�s and all that therein His" wrote the (patriarchal) psalmist. The temple, � the house of the Lord" represented the world or more correctly the universe.and the temple was at the centre of the universe . Its most holy area was the Debir, analogous to the abode of the archangel Michael the patron archangel of Israel who is �like unto God" .

The Hekal was the next "holiest" area which may be equated to the angelic realm of Yetzirah, within which stood the seven branched candlestick, the menorah, representing the "seven places� of the seven sephiroth below the veil of Daath..

The outer porch, the Ulam was analogous to the Qaballistic world of Assiah.

If, as Qabalah suggests, the purpose of creation is for the Divine to find self expression, then we and the world we live in are as important to that expression as "angels, archangels and all the company of heaven". This is something which tends to be forgotten in much "inner� spirituality, which tends to the theosophical view of higher orders of being occupying the executive floor of some great cosmic office block, with human beings huddled in the basement, gratefully grasping the occasional crumbs that the great and the good on the top floor consent to throw to them. It is attitudes such as this which cause ongoing communication problems between ourselves and other orders of being. Mutual respect, not obsequiousness, is the hallmark of heaven., and every man and woman in the street carries such a hallmark. As Wordsworth, steeped in nature and the natural world put it �Not in forgetfulness or in utter nakedness, but in flaming clouds of glory do we come from God who is our home� He may have added "even if it doesn�t seem that way on a rainy Monday morning"! But the point is made ..human beings in Malkuth are of angelic lineage and, contrary to appearances, still carry the angelic spark within them and are vital to the furtherance of cosmic evolution. The Mysteries provide ONE way of shouldering that responsibility in the good earth, NOT , as if often supposed, a spiritual �Get out of jail free" card. To understand this is to understand Malkuth. .




The Way of  the Mysteries

Correspondence Course



2 Magic

m.t.harris,  2003


The Patterns of the Dance

Since the beginning of time human beings have lived their lives through patterns. They have described those patterns in dance, word and song, in art and architecture. In the Dance of Being - through birth, life and death - the ancients set their dance patterns to the rounds of the stars, to the changing seasons, to land and mood. They differentiated the special measure of each in their structuring of belief and sacred places and custom to express belief. All these were and are patterns, dances that part and join and part again through the cycles of being like endless, interwoven Celtic knot work.

Magic teaches us how to utilise those patterns.

Mysticism in its many forms teaches us how to reach and form a personal relationship with their source.

In the patterns of time, space and events we perceive and interpret our place and purpose in creation and our relationship to the creator.

Avalon is a convergence of patterns in mythology, history and inner and outer geography which lead to a source through which we can find our place and purpose in being human. It is not of course the only set of patterns to provide this, but it is one which has particular relevance to the folk-soul of the Isles of Britain and Ireland and all who are hereditarily associated with these lands whether resident there or not.

About Patterns

Ancient peoples structured their mythologies upon the observable patterns of environment, human behaviour and the interaction between them. To find their place in the inner and outer worlds, they projected the vagaries of human nature onto the patterns of all Nature. They used Nature as a mirror of themselves, and themselves as a mirror of Nature, instinctively realising the first injunction of the Mysteries "Man know thyself". In this gradual "knowing" the broad patterns of mythology began to fall into place. In the projection of human behaviour onto Nature, they assumed that male gods tended to provide life force which female goddesses fashioned into patterns of life form. The god was the creative impulse, the goddess embodied subsequent creation. Even the later "revealed�, patriarchal religions (Judeo, Christian and Islamic) in which the originating male god appeared to "reveal" himself in creation, can look to their origins and find a goddess who is mistress of the patterns which the male god utilised for his revelation. That mistress of the patterns is traditionally three fold, for whilst, as we shall soon see, human consciousness has four modes of operation, it processes the patterns of the goddess in three ways.

Knowledge of the patterns

Understanding of how patterns relate to other patterns

Wisdom to interpret patterns in the light of experience.

The qualities of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding may be seen to typify most aspects of a "triple Goddess" whose patterns human beings must learn to live by and, less obviously, of a three-fold god who inseminates creation with the life principle. Three is the essential number of the construction and perception of patterns. It describes the cause of a form or state through movement, light and sound, the dynamic forces which our ancestors called "gods" and the "shape" of that form or state in point, line and circle, From these basic patterns of ideas, of thoughts and thought forms our ancestors arrived at a plethora of patterns to map out their place in the scheme of things. These have evolved into many scientific and spiritual disciplines but a few might include:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




2) The mythology and sacred geometry of the Isles of Britain set upon the Tree of Life and other magical patterns. This will draw upon the knowledge and wisdom of the megalith builders, the later Celtic peoples and even some modern day poets, mystics and magicians.

3) The psychological patterns of human personality.

4) The employment and integration of such patterns in white magic in the service of creation and the betterment of ourselves (these being two sides of the same coin!).

As we learn to dance these patterns one thing should be constantly born in mind. Dancing is emblematic of human health, happiness and the joyful expression of being in our environment and with those whom we share it. Spirituality in general and magic in particular involves hard work, but the reason that they DO work is belief. If you can believe that human beings are meant to live happy, harmonious and fulfilling lives, and if you can dedicate yourself and your work accordingly, you will find it easier to do white magic that WORKS.





If we exchange the ball floating in the sea of human consciousness for the earth�s sphere turning through the Sea of Space, we may see a similar, if more predictable sequence of moods or modes.

The Western Mystery Tradition relates these seasonal modes to what it considers to be the four basic elements of environment and being

They may also be related to the four modes of consciousness highlighted by Jung.

Thinking to Air

Intuition to Fire

Feeling to Water

Sensation to Earth

Magic then combines and elaborates these patterns of mood and function in human nature with the moods and function of all nature to arrive at a "Magic Circle", a pattern for functioning through the three worlds shown in our original diagram. It is in the geometric elaboration of constructs like this that the Qaballistic Tree of Life also takes its form. The exacting geometry of everything from stone circles of the British Bronze Age (above right) to Egyptian temples to Gothic cathedrals to Celtic jewellery (right) are all geometric patterns which express this interaction of human psychology and human belief with environment, not least inner environment. Such constructs, actually or as "thought forms", (patterns deliberately built in consciousness) can give both the mystic and the magician his or her starting point.


Lower right : Underlying geometry of a Celtic brooch pattern

Geometry of Alanwater stone circle


Jung identified such patterns as magic circles in his studies of eastern esotericism and consequently called them mandalas. Whilst however there is a certain "universality" to esoteric ideas, there are specific and important differences between the psychic and cultural conditions of the Far East and the west and they cannot normally be successfully mixed. Dion Fortune�s view that Qaballah should be treated as the "Yoga of the West" is a view which the Western Tradition has generally endorsed. But for the setting of magical ritual we tend to use a less complex pattern.


A Magic Circle can include a number of "correspondences". Typically these might be:

1) The seasons and cycles of nature shown in the Solstices and Equinoxes.

2) The directions of environment, the points of the compass, which we elaborate later in so called "sacred space".

3) The elements, which are related to the seasons and their character which also align to facets of human consciousness as we have shown above.

4) Four traditional talismanic objects are used in the western tradition and are called "magical weapons" or "hallows". They are frequently to be found in Celtic and Arthurian mythology - the sword, the spear or wand, the cup or cauldron, and the disk or shield.

 Because practical magic seeks to build bridges between inner states and the mundane world in which we live, rituals employ "talismanic" links. Talismans, or magical artefacts, are employed with ritual words and actions to trigger such links through their symbolism to the mundane senses. These are the "magical weapons" shown above and used in various ritual operations and meditations appropriate to each respective quarter.

Whilst the Tree of Life can be drawn in circular form (see the accompanying Paper 3 of this lesson on Qaballah) the traditional four fold circle is a more natural and easily operable pattern (both physically and psychologically) for practical magical work, not least as a construct within which to perform magical ritual.

The seasons are of course governed by the celestial phenomena of the Summer and Winter Solstices and the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, which occur as the Earth, tilted on its axis, makes its annual progress, with the rest of the planets, around the Sun. Our Celtic ancestors didn�t however gauge their year by the beginnings and ends of seasons but by mid seasons from the centre of each Solstice and Equinoctial tide. Their seasons also related to regular but vital occurrences in the cycles of their lives. For example the Irish name for the midpoint between the winter Solstice and the spring Equinox was Imbolc, which means "milk time", the time in February when the ewes came into milk, ready to feed their spring born lambs. They were well aware of the Solstices and Equinoxes and celebrated them, but their essential celebrations were these "cross quarters", which are still celebrated, particularly by neo pagans, today. We may overlay our magic circle with these Celtic Festivals or "cross quarters" whilst using the same four colours we have been using to define the seasonal and elemental quarters in our previous diagrams. (Yellow for East/Air, Red for South/ Fire, Blue for West /Water and Green for North / Earth) These are the traditional quarters used in the Western tradition.


The Solstices, Equinoxes and the Celtic Fire festivals.

The names given are those generally used in the Western Tradition and/or among neo pagan groups.

They are actually a hybrid of the traditional Irish and old English names, but are presented in the common currency of the many and varied groups in the British Isles and elsewhere who observe them.






The ideas that we have been considering of a three fold power that has a four fold mode of expression are easily reconciled if we think of our four fold magic circle as a two dimensional plan of three interlocking circles. In other words, a magic circle is a sphere of three rings "laid flat".

We may go on to think of those qualities of "Triple" Gods and Goddesses �Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding�as being manifested by the Triple Goddess in the phenomenal world through Time, Space and Events.




It is this elaboration of the magic circle of four fold consciousness into three dimensions of environment which gives us the magical concept of Sacred Space. Sacred Space places the magician with his or her four fold facilities of consciousness at the centre of a personal universe in the here and now. From this centre of the microcosmic personal universe the macrocosm of the greater universe may be talismanically set to rights. Needless to say there are weighty ethical issues here, and we shall consider these in due course. Meanwhile, with the concept of Sacred Space, our sacred geometry moves through expression of the three fold and four fold factors of being to seven fold expression. This is a concept which we shall come across time and again in magical cosmology and in the mythologies which express it. It is also a basic premise of the pattern used in Qaballah of "The Three within the One" (the so called Supernal Sephiroth) being manifested by the Seven (the so called Lower Sephiroth), through Four Worlds.


If we now return to our first diagram of the three worlds of Archetypes we may see Sacred Space "appear" in the central "world" of magical archetypes.



This is the magician�s working space. It is his or her inner temple in that strange yet fascinating inner place between heaven and earth.


Although that "place" exists in the inner worlds very much on its own independent merits, the individual must flesh out his or her own magic circle and temple using the building blocks of their own psyche.



Students of yoga will note that the seven facets of this inner temple relate easily to the seven Chakras, a point which we shall pursue in our next lesson. Those who have some knowledge of Celtic mythology will see the seven Caers of the Welsh Celtic underworld of Annwn and again we shall be pursuing this later. Those familiar with ancient Egyptian mythology and magic will recognise the same division of the innerworld Duat into seven arrets.






The practical inner work for this lesson is to begin to build an inner temple in meditation. We shall do this mystically, magically and psychologically, in that our "central circle" is at the centre of three worlds and three modes of being, all of which must be addressed.

1) Find a quiet place in which you can conduct daily meditation without disturbance. All inner work is conducted, as we have seen, through patterns. This includes the personal adoption of patterns which may best be described as "magical habits�. If (as pointed out in paper 1) you meditate at the same time each day in the same place, it sets up an inner rhythm at a physical location. The place that you use (especially if used for no other purpose and undisturbed by others) will begin to attain "an atmosphere". ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------










From MYTHOLOGY (paper five of lesson three)

 The British Celts saw the heavens stemming from the goddess Arianrhod whose name means �silver wheel�, and it seems likely that in the original myth, Arianrhod masturbated her brother and lover Gwydion to ejaculate the Milky Way (called the Caer Gwydion in welsh)) so that she could then weave the mucous threads of his sperm into the order of the archetypal stars. In this the original cauldron was Arianrhod herself ,  and the spilling of that cauldron was initiated by Gwydion�s desire for her. For the heavens are a leaking cauldron, the same cauldron that was cleaved open in both the Taliesin story and in the Bran myth. When our ancestors looked to the night sky they saw the blackened base of the cauldron heavens that had been bathed in the fire of the daytime sun. The result of this perpetual heating was that the cauldron began to leak and the essence of light within it, the Awen, shone through the holes as the evocative archetypal patterns of the stellar constellations. The patterns of the stars were the glimpses that heaven gave them. Yet to truly know the light the cauldron had to be cleaved open.  This represents in effect , the rending of the Goddess�s virginity, so that �being� may ensue. Qabalah had a tradition that heaven burst open to spill the light that it contained, and thus spill out the archetypal stellar patterns, the tsdeq which flowed down in the pattern of the Tree of Life








                                   FROM  LESSON  EIGHT


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