Spiritualism in the Golden Dawn

Of Will Power, Theurgy, and the Gulf Between

Passive Will, Channelling, and Trance Meduimship.


Frater Yeheshua Mihi Omnia

Trevor Walker 

As once was said “There are as many ways to God as the breaths of the sons of Men,” and too true it is that “the lips of wisdom are truly closed except to the ears of the understanding.” The Golden Dawn system of Magic is one such breath, that requires and promotes the active stimulation, fortification, and cultivation of will power to rigorously strengthen and apply its operation and dominion throughout the practitioners operations in the magic of light. Ritual magic employs precise and prescribed Theurgic formulas, wherewith the magician partakes in the magic of the highest, most absolute, Divine Knowledge of natural philosophy. Whereby the diligent, profound, and dedicated magician, because of such training and knowledge has gained a supremacy and mastery thereof, which implies an understanding of the forces of nature. Furthermore, this understanding most equally implies an awakening, strengthening, and purification of such forces of nature in one’s Sphere of Sensation, aura, or interior energetic constitution. Because of such skill and discovery, the magician then has the requisite knowledge to excite certain forces of nature and anticipate their effect, which to vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.

Through awakening and actualising the latent aspects within the sphere of sensation; the Microcosm, in endeavouring to apprehend the archetype of the shadow and integrate the darker “shadow self,” in seeking self-realisation. One then aligns that aspect within with that which is without in the Macrocosm. As the sphere of sensation which surrounds the whole physical body is called "The Magical Mirror of the Universe." Therein the Microcosm are represented and mirrored all the occult forces of the universe, and therefore its inherent organisation is the copy of the greater world, the Macrocosm.

It is seeking the completeness and oneness through the union of the contents of the consciousness mind with the contents of the unconsciousness mind, or that is without, with the corresponding aspect within. Thus, it is out of this union that gives rise to what Carl Jung called: “The transcendent function of the psyche.” This is by which man can achieve his highest goal of the full realisation of the potential of his individual self. Hence, when this is conformed to the greater glory of God and the Divine, to render forth manifest and arouse these aspects of the cosmic man and one’s redeemer within, which liveth forever, such as in the 5=6 Adetptus Minor initiation ceremony of the Ordo R.R. et A.C. through sacrifice and humility. Or in fact any other ritual, ceremony, etcetera, that gives strength on journey to its attainment and the internal resurrection in accordance to the higher and Divine genius; the Holy Guardian Angel in the Sephira of Tipareth, the mediating consciousness.


This principal is no clearer seen than in dramatic ceremonial initiation. Magical ceremony and ritual can be viewed as the projections of psychic events, which exert a counter influence on the soul to enrich and arouse the corresponding internal aspects; indeed, personifications of abstract psychological principals inherent as cultural and natural symbols, which, constitute “Symbols of Transcendence”. Through the depiction and portrayal, via an ascetic appeal to the imagination depicting in a dramatic form the current of major events in the life history of a particular God, especially that of the resurrected and redeemer Gods. The candidate is immersed and absorbs the drama of the ceremony, it is through sympathy acting upon the imagination and consciousness of the candidate, that the candidate then is able to identify himself with the exemplary consciousness of the Gods history being rehearsed before him.

Thus, certain symbols and myths that the candidate is exposed to are impressed on the psychic atmosphere of the candidate during such a dramatic ceremony. The aspect corresponding within the candidate’s consciousness, such as for example the cosmic man and the redeemer aspect of the birth, death, and rebirth cycle that is sought to be internally aroused. However, there is a “blotting” out effect upon the unconscious and subliminal contents of the psyche. The unconscious and subliminal state retains contents and images, (Such as natural & cultural symbols) at a much higher state of tension or frequency than in the mundane consciousness of the candidate. This is why in the Golden Dawn system of Magic; the aspirant is exposed to energies in a systematic and graded sense to elevate the consciousness of the candidate gradually to uncover one‘s spiritual nature. In the unconscious or subliminal condition such contents can remain dormant, or they can loose clarity or definition. The correspondence and relationship between such contents can be less consequential, vaguely analogous; substantially less rational and thus can appear incomprehensible.

During ritual and ceremony, the corresponding aspects of the unconscious are endowed and charged significantly with the energy thereof, and this in effect projects the ritual energy, force, or tension to saturate these symbols and contents of the unconscious. Hence, these contents, symbols, etc, become less subliminal and are brought closer to the to the threshold of consciousness, rendering them more comprehensible and sharply defined and thus greater and more significant are the results and realisations. There is a oneness of connecting the powerful contents and symbols of the unconscious to consciousness, to attain realisations and spiritual growth in endeavouring the Great Work; to realise the oneness of all things.

It has been said that the single main definition of the object of all magical ritual. Is the uniting of the Microcosm and Macrocosm and the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, its supreme invocation; to transmute and purge the soul from the gross nature of the prima materia. That is to achieve the perfect balance and perfect alignment of the Microcosm and Macrocosm vertically and horizontally, otherwise the images will not coincide. Too true, in fact the initial initiation ceremonies of the Outer Court of the Golden Dawn, which is but one part of a three order structure, in fact prepares the candidate by initially in the 0=0 by establishing the four pillars found natural in the Sphere of Sensation; establishling the link and connection with one’s Holy Guardian Angel; polarising, strengthening, and aligning the sphere of sensation to the threshold of immeasurable and ineffable greatness. The four consecrations serving to purify the strong and strengthen the weak, rendering the Sphere of Sensation completely manifest, having had such symbols impressed on the candidate’s energetic atmosphere. It is then when the candidate crosses the threshold in the 1=10 grade, that the middle pillar, to which the four pillars have their resolve is firmly implanted and established; after the four periphery pillars having first established the integrity of the Sphere of Sensation.

The book of concealed mystery opens with the lines “The Book of Concealed Mystery is the book of the equilibrium of balance.” Equilibrium is the state and harmony which results from analogy of contraries, it is the absolute centre, whereby the opposing and contending forces as represented by the pillars of Mercy and Severity as analogy is being equal in strength and juxtaposition. It is through the psychological expansion of awareness that the Theurgist rises the planes and seeks the spiritual, through the gate so speak. In ritual magic, this expansion could indeed collapse in a heap of chaos, completely out of control, and duly lead to inflated delusion, is supremely marked and rendered totally effective by equilibrium. To be free from the “Pair of Opposites” as stated in the Bhagavad-Gita.

Thus, powered by the will, proceeded by exaltation and expansion; controlled by equilibrium, the Theurgist maintained by the active power of will can rise the planes of sensitivity and spiritual experience skillfully testing and in complete control of every aspect; thus, the jungle of delusion one is thrown headlong into via passive will exercises is avoided. It is by the power of will that fuels exaltation and expansion and provides a clear transition from the mundane state of daily consciousness, to the exalted state of mind required in serious magical work. Hence, the magician is then able to receive the rushing forth of light through this mystical elevation, consonant to bringing forth the light of the redeemer leading to illumination and enlightenment to receive the benediction of that light and to undergo the mystical experience thereof. Exaltation and expansion, to encompass the Alpha et Omega, to bring the practitioner to the threshold to an inner frontier of the God like and immeasurable power lying dormant, but which at length, these constituent parts will be actualised, purified, equilibrated and strengthened; trained and inclined towards the higher to become “More than Human.”

The strengthening of the will as remarked by Dr. Wescott is essential for one to obtain magical power, although, again as he remarks; to strengthen the will, one must achieve purity of body, mind, intellect and of emotion before one could hope of magical power. The will is the guide to the Theurgist, where as the medium is a negative instrument.

Those who can comprehend the forces in their interior nature, shall indeed sympathise with them. This is to achieve absolute harmony, correspondence and perfect communion, with the desired force to be called upon. One may understand the true nature of charity, whereby the magician can then attract, and borrow a ray in correspondence with the desired end. Draw from the multitude of rich tapestry of universal light and forces of nature, the thread that strikes most correspondence with the operator's spiritual desire. One could truly proclaim in such an instance: “Confitebor Tibi Domine, in toto corde meo, I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, with mine whole heart." It is by the inner comprehension of the forces of nature within the sphere of sensation, that one can attract a ray of any potency, and use it in accordance, conjunction, and within the laws of nature and in the scheme of universe; to the desired spiritual end. One that has achieved this significant level of self-realisation can repeat the saying of the Adept, with the fullest of verity: "I am he who is clothed in the body of flesh, but in whom doth shine the Spirit of the Gods."

Through sacrifice and humility, as it is he that is humble who is indeed exalted; that can at length cry to dei intacta gloria, to the unsullied glory of god and Yeheshua mihi omnia, Yesheshua is all things to me. The classical alchemical maxim “Neither torches nor glasses will help those without eyes to see” is rather appropriate. Indeed, be it arrogance or ignorance that will blind one, to be without eyes or sight; true vision; one would be but bound to doom. He that is humble is exalted; to have humility; to be humble; to learn; eventually to knoweth much; will learn of his own ignorance and at length gain his own sight and illumination.

For it is the Theurgic redemption from the darkness of nature and the strife of contending forces, blindness, and from chaos; from the encapsulation and embodiment of knowledge that leads to the “raising of vibrations” to separate the “subtle from the gross, gently, and with great ingenuity”; that will at length, liberate those with eyes to see (The humble).

The effects of initiation and personal magical discipline by the magician, do develop formidable skills in the area of practical magic, although, this is not the aim of magic (Theurgy). To make change occur in conformity with the power of will, to change your external surroundings. From the casting from one's self. A focused and tempered ray toa desired end through an appropriate receptacle. For the pleasurable gratification, which is in harmony with the operation, at the operator's choice for mundane a desire or need. Although such ability and skills to bring about this, these skills are mere by-products of initiation and personal magic work and not the primary aim of magical Theurgy and initiation.

A prime example of passive will employed in a mediumistic environment, is the Ouiji board. The Ouiji board, one such perversion of Spiritualism, which is a simple board comprising letters, numbers, and a planchette, used to point to characters spelling out words and messages, has its roots in modern spiritualism. This so-called "talking board" was a popular parlour game at the height of the spiritualist movement in the late 1800's. The motion of the planchette is obviously paramount and the integral component to facilitate this system, and for it to be efficacious to its purpose. This is where the controversy and the rather "unknown" starts to prevail. Is it moved fraudulently, to the conscious awareness of the operator; unconsciously; by a Sprit, Demon or Ghost; by a manipulative player, or group, seeking the guise of confederacy to trick or manipulate the other operators? There is of course the Ideomotor effect, coined by William Carpenter, which refers to involuntary and unconscious behaviour. This was based on the premise that muscular movement can be initiated by the mind independently of volition or emotions. Although one may not be aware of it, by circumstances, environment, observations, and others, suggestions can be made to the mind, which can lead to the movement of the planchette via unconscious muscular movement. There are indeed, many variables and no conclusive truth in the movement of the planchette.

Although I feel that an operator could stimulate the unconscious, or that entities could work through the operators present, I would be concerned with the objectivity, veracity, and validity of such a communication via a Ouija board. The sincere medium could in fact utilize magical technique. However, herein we see the fallacy stricken, credulous, and often spiritually dangerous attitudes of adherents of the "New age" mentality and of "channelling," or so- called "passive" states of will.

The "New Ager" mentality, consonant with such practices as "channelling" and "guided fantasy" can lead one headlong into self-induced fantasy or delusion, as one is placed in a passive state of will, as in such spiritualist style endeavours as the Oiuji board. The operators, in which case, are rather at the mercy of the imagination and thus rendered at the threshold of a vast number of fantastically fictitious variables. (Although, one can recognise the possibility of a genuine so-called communication). Will listen and earnestly focus their attention to a spontaneous message or communication from an unknown source, as revealed to the operators on the board. This is commonly labelled "channelling" and such "messages" or information attained simply because it was channelled, no matter the passive, dubious, and receptive nature of this communication, they will accept this as the absolute truth. It is simply due to a passive state of will, that the will of the operators are infiltrated or obsessed by such a dubious communication, without knowing the true source or subjecting it to question, as they’re passive and receptive to it; and thus all too ready to believe anything it presents them with. The veracity of such a communication to the true Occultist or Magician, and true objective value if placed in such a position however, is tested, examined, and explored for the truth; not merely accepted as such upon its reception.

Although it is easy to assume there is a possible connection and relationship with Magic, (Theurgy) and the phenomena of spiritualism, there is of course, none whatsoever. In fact there is huge gulf between them. There is perhaps, one word that separates one from the other, in which marks the distinction: Will.

All spiritualistic phenomena of trance, so called "channelling" and what's known as vulgar "materialisation;" so-called spirit or ghost as materialised as a hallucination or vision without conscious control, regardless of whether it represents an iconic representation or not. These are beyond the conscious control of the operator or medium, and represent passive will, as in the Ouiji board instance; and are simply an automatic result of the imaginative faculties and by-product of passive will. The vulgarities of result and illusion in such methods are exceptionally dubious at the very best, and can present a real psychological danger.

In such a working of Evocation, compared to the "materialisation" of the spiritualist. The magician controls the apparition of a spirit, whereas the spiritualist is rather at the mercy and control thereof. The spirit to be commanded to visible appearance is chosen specifically by the Magician, at the time the Magician chooses, and caused to appear unto him through a specific and prescribed ritual or conjuration, through a deliberately constructed medium or portal; such as a triangle of art, black mirror, or incense smoke and even a combination thereof. A spirit is caused to appear in a designated area, using the proper and appropriate degree of force, with the appropriate implements, at the appropriate time, with appropriate correspondences and with a prescribed ritual with sufficient conjurations to limit and control the spirits activities within this designated area. All of which is performed through and under the complete governance and control of the will. Additionally, the magician renders complete power of controlling the spirit and of subjecting it to questions and enquiry, intelligently and coherently, whilst skilfully testing the vision throughout and exploring the experience for truth. When the presence of the spirit is no longer required, it is banished, and likewise, when it is required it is evoked by the will and the under the conditions of the Magician.

In the Microcosm Man lecture, we are told that the Nephesch constitutes the material body, however, only through the action of the Ruach, which by the aid of the Nephesch forms the material body. Regardie says that the after physical death, and upon the disintegration of the trinity of principals of the real man. The Nephech, which is the vehicle of the passions, emotions, and instinctual processes, is then severed from the constitution on the astral. Of course, it slowly and steadily, just like the physical body decays and disintegrates until resolved to dust of the earth; the Nephech, as Dr. I. Regardie points out, is resolved to the elements of the astral plane.

Through passive will, negative trance, or "channelling" the higher principals are forced to withdraw and this leads to a perilous state of unprotection for the operator. Once in a state of passivity the operator is open to influence whether self induced or from entities in the astral vicinity, as once the astral door has been left ajar haphazardly as it where, the operator is open to obsession. As the Theurgist exalts himself beyond any such Nepheshic matter as nothing of any spiritual value can be found there, and does not partake in experiences or visions thereof. Thus, the passive and negative spiritualist trance, or simply "channelling" facilitating a Ouija board, are evermore susceptible to come into contact with simply grosser elementals, the decaying shells or Nepheshic matter, and the filth and averse ever ready to deceive and mar one with falsehoods and misinformation. And of course, with such a passive state of will, one is in a state all too ready to believe just about anything.

The Magician, however, endeavours to train the mind and cultivate formidable will power, and to exert this will as dominion over his operations; to ensure that nothing takes place in his operations of the Magic of Light without its use or under its control. Whatever operation of Magic is performed, the Magician does so consciously, deliberately, with full intent and total governance and sovereignty over the operation at hand, skilfully, and wilfully controlling every aspect. The only conceivable exception, perhaps, is when the will has been cultivated and transmuted into a vast and mighty thaumaturgic muscle, that the Magician becomes completely identified with that will, and with its extension all Magical phenomena and consciousness automatically occur more readily. This however, is of that stage of Adetpship when the elements are recombined and equilibrated, and the Portal and Adeptus Minor ceremonies have concentrated and refined Spirit. Therefore, the activation of the will under a Magical operation is then served and vastly strengthened by the inherent value of one's now awakened, strengthened, and equilibrated constitution; the Magician then wholly enters into his operations in complete identification with the will, with all his faculties mobilised and operative to his higher pursuits. Nevertheless, this is not through a passive occurrence, it is by the active force and endeavour of the will, and accomplished by the will.

Dr. Israel Regardie expressed his contempt and abhorred such a passive form of meduimship, and based on the distinctions between spiritualism, of which category the Ouija board falls under, and magic; one can clearly see why. If one really has to dabble with such paraphernalia, of obvious disvalue to the aspirant of the Western Mysteries in the Great Work, of course, the Lesser Banishing ritual of the Pentagram and Hexagram would most wisely be applied. Perhaps a suitable invocation of a force to the question in mind may be of assistance; although, like the opening key of the tarot paper, one would have to ensure one had a symbolic representation of the other elements were present, so not to over accentuate one force over the rest. Although, let's not sully spiritual divination with the play of a "talking board." One could easily suffer badly from using such a method, paranoia, self-delusion/obsession, ego inflation, the downsides and obvious follies far outweigh the benefits of dabbling with a Ouija board or any such attachment of spiritualism . As it is written:

“Since ever dragging down the Soul and leading it from Sacred things, from the confines of matter, arise the terrible dog-faced Demons, never showing a true image unto mortal gaze.”

Thus, we can comprehensively conclude, that spiritualism, hysterical trance, meduimship, passive will and channelling have no proper place whatsoever in the teachings of the Golden Dawn and R.R. et A.C. tradition. Or for that matter anybody seeking truth, light, wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. The Golden Dawn and R.R. et A.C. being dedicated to the active, magical and Theurgic redemption from darkness and obscurity to the Divine self and the knowledge and conversation of one’s Holy Guardian Angel. This is an endeavour of complete will and fortification thereby its rigorous action, applied upon and in every single magical act of the Magician.

It is unfortunate that many books produced on the Golden Dawn on today's market contain utter nonsense, such as channelling or inordinate amounts of useless path workings that are simply passive will exercises, that merely stimulate the imagination. Such books that are advocates of "new age" mentality and the promoters of passive will can be to the detriment of the true and serious seeker. I would recommend to anyone that is interested in the development of the will, to cultivate it to the higher and magic of light. To seek training in ritual magic and Hermetic alchemy, which give one the tools whereby to achieve self-realisation. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, is dedicated to the preservation, purity, and integrity of physical initiation and the Hermetic tradition and provide such tools and scholastic erudition. I would therefore, strongly recommend the official website of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and their public Yahoo forum to all true seekers:



Fraternally In L.V.X.,
Frater Y.M.O.

“Ex Deo Nascimur

In Yeheshua Morimmur

Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus”