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This being known, find a place fit and proper for his evocation, according to the nature of the planet and the quality of the offices of the same spirit. For example, if his power be over the sea, rivers or floods, then choose a place on the shore. In like manner, choose a convenient time, both for the quality of the air, which should be serene, clear, quiet and fitting for the spirits to assume bodies, and for the quality and nature of the planet, day or night. These things being considered, let there be a magic circle framed at the place elected, as well for the defense of the master as for the confirmation of the spirit. In the circle itself there are to be written the general divine names, and those things which do yield defense unto us; the divine names which do rule the said planet, with the offices of the spirit himself; the names, finally, of the good spirits which bear rule and are able to bind and constrain that spirit which you intend to call. If you would further fortify your circle, you may add characters and pentacles agreeing to the work. So also, and within or without the circle, you may frame the seal of the spirit. Moreover, the operator is to be provided with lights, perfumes, unguents and medicines compounded according to the nature of the planet and spirit, which do agree with the spirit. The operator can also be furnished with holy and consecrated things for the defense of the master and his fellows. Such are holy papers, laments, pictures, pentacles, swords, scepter and garments. When all these are provided, the master and his fellows being in the magic circle, and all those things which he uses, let him say the conjuration with a loud voice and a convenient gesture and countenance. Let him then rest a little, looking about him to see if any spirit do appear, which if he delay, let him repeat his conjuration as before, until he has done it three times. If the Spirit be still pertinacious and will not appear, let him begin to conjure him with divine power, but in such a way that all the conjurations and commemorations do agree with the nature and offices of the spirit himself. Reiterate the same three times, from stronger to stronger, using objurgations, contumelies, cursing and punishments. after all the courses are finished, again cease a little, and if any spirit shall appear, let the master turn towards him, receive him courteously, and, earnestly entreating him, let him require his name. Then proceeding further, let him ask whatsoever he will. But if in anything the spirit shall shew himself obstinate or lying, let him be bound by convenient conjurations, and if you still doubt of any lie, make outside the circle, with the consecrated sword, the figure of a triangle or pentacle, and compel the Spirit to enter it. If you would have any promise confirmed upon oath, stretch the sword out of the circle, and swear the Spirit by laying his hand upon the sword. Then having obtained of the Spirit that which you desire, or being otherwise contented, license him to depart with courteous words, giving command unto him that he do no hurt. If he will not depart, compel him by powerful conjurations, and, if need require, expel him by exorcism and by making contrary fumigation. When he is departed, go not out of the circle, but stay, making prayer for your defense and conservation. All these things being orderly performed, you may depart.But if your hopes are frustrated, and no spirit will appear, yet for this do not despair, but, leaving the circle, return again at other times, doing as before. And if you shall judge that you have erred in anything, then you shall amend by adding or diminishing, for the constancy of reiteration does often increase your authority and power, and strikes terror into the spirits, humbling them to obedience.
Over the course of time, Man has called this Force by many names, and it has been reviled by those whose very nature causes them to be separate from this fountainhead of existence. They live in obsessive envy of we who exist by flowing naturally with the dread Prince of Darkness. It is for this reason that individuals who resonate with Satan have always been an alien elite, often outsiders in cultures whose masses pursue solace in an external deity. We magicians are our own gods, and we are the explorers of the Left-Hand Path. We do not bow down before the myths and fictions of the desiccated spiritual followers of the Right-Hand Path. Today, we continue to uphold our legacy by building on the solid foundation created by The Lord Shanga, and set forth in his writings, recordings, and videos. Since we were the first organization dedicated to him, we have had extensive media coverage and been referred to by several names over the course of over four decades:
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MAGIC: UNLOCKING OUR ANCESTRAL POWER There’s something so mesmerizing about the idea of being able to say an incantation that can get someone to tell the truth or to see into the future. Can you imagine? Well, it turns out that Black folks come from a rich history of tapping into the supernatural, but there’s never really been much attention given to this idea in the Black mainstream. Think about it. If you’re a millennial like us, you grew up with Charmed, The Craft, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and reruns of Bewitched and I Dream of Genie in constant syndication. These were shows with no shortage of white women who could access other-worldly forces. So, why the lack of Black magic? Not the evil kind, but the lack of Black people at play in the realm of the supernatural. With Halloween right around the corner and anti-Black sentiment in the air, it was important to add some resistance to the status quo, and discover a bit more about Black people’s gloriously magical past.
“Every ritual is to help you connect to the ancestors — like vodou, activating your ancestral memory. Yoruba — you are working with ancestors all the the time to have them guide you through life. This allows us to move forward.” – Dalian Adofo
Dalian Adofo is a documentary film-maker and co-founder of Ancestral voice, a UK-based educational organization that “provides a range of educational resources that covers the gamut of African spiritual cosmologies, philosophies and practices.” He’s spent seven years talking to traditional healers, spiritual workers and academic scholars throughout Africa and the Black Atlantic diaspora. Adolfo says the aim of Ancestral Voices is “to dispel the falsehoods propagated against these systems via colonial imposition, whose legacy still impacts it today.” Adofo believes that colonial propaganda has laid a foundation of resentment towards African spirituality, “shrouding it in mystique, fear and negativity, rather than presenting its ideologies in an accurate and objective light.”
The European imperialist agenda, and the birth of Christianity, powered the deconstruction of traditional African practices. What better way to control people than to disconnect them from their source of power? Adofo points to the Haitian Revolution as a display of ancestral power: “No one is entirely powerless. Africans found themselves in the middle of the worst treatment in Haiti. Using Vodou and physics, they were able to fight.” It’s all about having access to the systems. In fact, Adolfo believes that some of the world’s highest seats of authority have access to our ancestral knowledge and power and preach a new religion (Christianity) to control the people. There is a heavy sense of irony that often escapes people of African heritage raised on Christianity, who were taught to “turn the other cheek” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” in the face of the most extreme anti-humane systems of oppression this world has ever known. To this day, the powerful people that use the Bible to set their agendas, continuously contradict the “good” book’s principles. Separation from home, family, and language are all an effort to strip power. Replacing the original, now-erased systems of tradition with pseudo-religion is a reprogramming that attacks the Black psyche with images of a white savior. Anything good in Western society has been offered up in white-face. Webster’s dictionary defines “white” as free from moral impurity, not intended to cause harm, and innocent. “Black” is defined as thoroughly sinister or evil, indicative of condemnation or discredit and characterized by hostility or angry discontent. With the Bible offered up as the world’s most popular book of magic, the greatest example of acceptable power comes from a man portrayed as Caucasian and blue-eyed. Additionally, much of America’s legal and cultural history has seen pro-white propaganda matched by anti-African sentiment. Black people in the US have been overexposed to the sad, solemn images of Africa. Anything associated with the continent has been discredited and vilified, including our ancient practices. “People believe what you tell them without doing research,” says Lamar James who practices Ifa, Santeria, and Christianity. Like many people of African descent, James has found comfort in remixing his spiritual foundation by taking aspects of various faith systems and using what works for him. The Ifa spiritual system is derived from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Santeria also has its roots in Yoruba culture. For many Afro-Cubans, there exists a duality in which they practice Catholicism publicly, and Santeria privately. At the heart of Ifa and Santeria are the Orishas, the deities of the religion whom are revered and known for their specific characteristics. Thanks to Beyonce, many of us now know a little something about Yoruba deities like Osun.
“We used ancestors to progress in life. When we went away from that…look at us globally. Look at where we are. You lose your power. We’ve been indoctrinated into believing that talking to our ancestors is evil. You can’t tell me talking to my deceased father is evil. I talk to my dad everyday. I cook for my ancestors. I give them food, drink.” – Keka Araujo, a Lucumi and Palo Mayombe practitioner
A huge part of many African traditional religions is the remembrance, celebration and guidance of ancestors. Keka Araujo has been initiated in both Lucumi and Palo Mayombe, and says that in order to practice Palo Mayombe, one must have lineage to the Congo. “Palo Mayombe is not a religion you find. It finds you.”
Araujo states that once she was initiated into the faith, she did a DNA test, and discovered 43% of her ancestry was from the Congo. Like many African religions, Palo Mayombe is nature-based, with deities found in nature, and given human attributes to make them more relatable and understandable. Just like Abrahamic religions, Palo Mayombe follows a code and set of rules, with one of its most important aspects the need to remember and respect one’s ancestors. Araujo believes by forgetting the ancient practice of speaking to ancestors, Black people have essentially lost our way. “We used our ancestors to progress in life. When we went away from that…look at us globally. Look at where we are. You lose your power. We’ve been indoctrinated into believing that talking to our ancestors is evil. You can’t tell me talking to my deceased father is evil. I talk to my dad everyday. I cook for my ancestors. I give them food, drink. Your ancestors only die when you stop speaking their name. They’re never dead. Black people globally, if we only knew the power we have through our ancestors…” Araujo also believes there are dark forces and evil spirits, stating simply that there are people who use dark forces to gain a result and that she doesn’t deal with them.
In the minds of many Westernized Black people, there’s no fighting back, with or against the supernatural. We lack a curiosity of things that are outside the scope of what we understand God to be. Historically, Black folks have had a hard time embracing power, having been without it for so long. It’s no wonder many of us avoid Halloween and “dark magic”. In fact, many Black millennials have never been allowed to celebrate Halloween, and instead participated in Church festivities like “Hallelujah Night,” on October 31st. Whether they were African American, Caribbean or African, the stories they were told of Halloween was that it is Evil, Satanic and demonic, with no real explanation offered, just an overall sentiment that a nefarious darkness surrounds the holiday. That same fear of Halloween has been extended by Black people to any spiritual theology that is not Christianity, including the African traditional religions. In Lamar’s experience, Black people are scared when he tells them about his faith, even though it’s from the Motherland. “We have built our culture around the oppressor’s culture,” he says. However, there is, perhaps, hope. Although many are scared, there is a percentage of Black people whose natural sense of curiosity is piqued when Lamar discusses Ifa and Santeria.
“The moon affects the ocean. It creates tides. Human beings are made up of 70 percent water. What makes us think the moon won’t affect us? When we bury a dead body, if you go back to the body over some time you will find that the body has become one with the earth. That tells us that we are nature. The body disappears, but the energy doesn’t go anywhere. When people die, the energy is released into the ethos. And so is the same for the spirit of our ancestors. There is no heaven or hell.”- Dalian Adofo
African spirituality is about liberation according to Adofo. It’s purpose is to connect with the ancestors’ energy for guidance. Christianity, on the other hand, was used as a measure of control. In fact, Adolfo goes on to say that in African practices, there is no such thing as “The Devil,” a far cry from Christianity’s teachings.
“There is duality. Within you is a spark, a spirit. The physical body, plus the spiritual body equals YOU,” Adolfo says. “Each [of us] have a role to play which explains why we are in the physical realm.” He believes that the meaning of life is to essentially discover our purpose in a physical world that is like an “energy plant”, where we can have access to any energy at any time, if we know how. In Western cultures, accessing these supernatural energies is categorized as evil. Adofo believes that the same process can have two different outcomes. Using slavery as an example — one side believes that they are in the right, while the other obviously rejects the practice, though both sides rely on God for perseverance. Pretty **bleep**ed up, right? This supports the premise that the practice cannot be categorically evil, but that intent is the determining factor. It’s thus important to note that Black magic has been marketed as evil — just like us. Black people’s current disposition towards the magic within and for us, is a result of the systemic separation from anything that would safeguard us. This includes natural resources, education, tradition, language and spiritual practices.
We’ve been taught that no matter where we are globally — even on the African continent — we have no rights to anything. Only recently have we felt comfortable enough to rediscover our magic via hashtags and economic upward mobility. Ancestral Voices believes that creating educational resources which explore African concepts are useful for Black folks in the 21st century and paramount to regaining our power. It’s quite possible that the key to a better future is in the notes of our past. As we continue our quest to unveil our #blackboyjoy or harness our #blackgirlmagic, we would do well to remember that we come from a long line of folks that have accomplished the “impossible”. What we might look at as otherworldly or magical, is really a history so rich that it’s embedded in our blood. We may just need some assistance in connecting to it.
Araujo brought up a fascinating point when she asked us to watch someone catching the Holy Spirit in church, and to then to watch a video of someone experiencing deity possession in an African traditional religious ceremony. With the sound off, both look exactly the same. Similarly to how many African cultures pour libations for the deceased, we do the same in the states when we pour out liquor “for the homies who ain’t here.” We are connected and no matter how far off-course we may find ourselves, the truth is, the magic is within us.
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HOW TO ATTAIN KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS
In every man there are latent faculties by means of which he can acquire for himself knowledge of the higher worlds. The mystic, theosophist, or gnostic speaks of a soul-world and a spirit-world, which are, for him, just as real as the world which we see with our physical eyes, or touch with our physical hands. At every moment his listener may say to himself: What he speaks about I too can learn, when I have developed within myself certain powers which today lie slumbering within me. There remains only the question as to how one has to commence in order to develop within oneself such faculties. For this only those can give advice who have already developed such powers within themselves. As: long as the human race has existed, there have always been schools in which those who possessed these higher faculties gave instruction to those who were in search of them. Such are called the occult schools, and the instruction which is imparted therein is called esoteric science, or occult teaching. Such a designation naturally awakens misunderstanding. He who hears it may be very easily misled into the belief that those who work in these, schools desire to represent a special, privileged class, which arbitrarily withholds its knowledge from its fellow-creatures. Indeed, he may even think that perhaps there is nothing really important behind such knowledge. For he is tempted to think that, if it were a true knowledge, there would then be no need to make a secret about it: one might then communicate it publicly and open up its advantages to all men.
Those who have been initiated into the nature of the occult knowledge are not in the least surprised that the uninitiated should so think. Only he who has to a certain degree experienced this initiation into the higher secrets of being can understand the secret of that initiation. But it may be asked: How, then, shall the uninitiated, considering the circumstances, develop any interest at all in this so-called occult knowledge? How and why ought they to search for something of whose nature they can form no idea? But such a question is based upon an entirely erroneous conception of the real nature of occult knowledge. There is, in truth, no difference between occult knowledge and all the rest of man’s knowledge and capacity. This occult knowledge is no more of a secret for the average man than writing is a secret to him who has never learned to read. And just as everyone who chooses the correct method may learn to write, so too can everyone who searches after the right way become a disciple, and even a teacher. In only one respect are the conditions here different from those that apply to external thought activities. The possibility of acquiring the art of writing may be withheld from someone through poverty, or through the state of civilisation into which he has been born; but for the attainment of knowledge in the higher worlds there is no obstacle for him who sincerely reaches for it.
Many believe that one has to find, here or there, the Masters of the higher knowledge, in order to receive enlightenment from them. In the first place, he who strives earnestly after the higher knowledge need not be afraid of any difficulty or obstacle in his search for an Initiate who shall be able to lead him into the profounder secrets of the world. Everyone, on the contrary, may be certain that an Initiate will find him out, under any circumstances, if there is in him an earnest and worthy endeavor to attain this knowledge. For it is a strict law amongst all Initiates to withhold from no man the knowledge that is due to him. But there is an equally strict law which insists that no one shall receive any occult knowledge until he is worthy. And the more strictly he observes these two laws, the more perfect is an Initiate. The order which embraces all Initiates is surrounded, as it were, by a wall, and the two laws here mentioned form two strong principles by which the constituents of this wall are held together. You may live in close friendship with an Initiate, yet this wall will separate him from you just as long as you have not become an Initiate yourself. You may enjoy in the fullest sense the heart, the love of an Initiate, yet he will only impart to you his secret when you yourself are ready for it. You may flatter him; you may torture him; nothing will induce him to divulge to you anything which he knows ought not to be disclosed, inasmuch as you, at the present stage of your evolution, do not understand how rightly to receive the secret into your soul.
The ways which prepare a man for the reception of a secret are clearly prescribed. They are indicated by the unfading, everlasting letters within the temples where the Initiates guard the hi4her secrets. In ancient times, anterior to “history,” these temples were outwardly visible; today, because our lives have become so unspiritual, they are mostly quite invisible to external sight. Yet they are present everywhere, and all who seek may find them.
Only within his soul may a man discover the means which will open for him the lips of the Initiate. To a certain high degree he must develop within himself special faculties, and then the greatest treasures of the Spirit become his own.
He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of the soul: the student of Occultism calls it the Path of Devotion, of Veneration. Only he who maintains this attitude can, in Occultism, become a disciple. And he who has experience in these things is able to perceive even in the child the signs of approaching discipleship. There are children who look up with religious awe to those they venerate. For such people they have a respect which forbids them to admit even in the innermost sanctuary of the heart any thought of criticism or opposition. Such children grow up into young men and maidens who feel happy when they are able to look up to anything venerable. From the ranks of such children are recruited many disciples.
Have you ever paused outside the door of some venerated man, and have you, on this your first visit, felt a religious awe as you pressed the handle, in order to enter the room which for you is a holy place? Then there has been manifested in you an emotion which may be the germ of your future discipleship. It is a blessing for every developing person to have such emotions upon which to build. Only it must not be thought that such qualities are the germ of submissiveness and slavery. Experience teaches us that those can best hold their heads erect who have learnt to venerate where veneration is due. And veneration is always in its place when it rises from the depths of the heart.
If we do not develop within ourselves this deeply-rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find enough strength to evolve to something higher. The Initiate has only acquired the power of lifting his intellect to the heights of knowledge by guiding his heart into the depths of veneration and devotion. The heights of the Spirit can only be reached by passing through the portals of humility. You can only acquire right knowledge when you have learnt to esteem it. Man has certainly the right to gaze upon the Reality, but he must first acquire this right. There are laws in the spiritual life, as in the physical life. Rub a glass rod with an appropriate material and it will become electric, that is to say, it will receive the power of attracting small bodies. This exemplifies natural law. And if one has learnt even a little of physics, one knows this. Similarly, if one is acquainted with the first principles of Occultism, one knows that every feeling of true devotion which opens out in the soul, develops a power which may, sooner or later, lead to the Path of Knowledge.
He who possesses within himself this feeling of devotion, or who is fortunate enough to receive it from his education, brings a great deal along with him, when, later in life, he seeks an entrance to the higher knowledge. But he who brings no such preparation will find himself confronted with difficulties even upon the first step of the Path of Knowledge, unless he undertakes, by rigorous self-education, to create the devotional mood within himself. In our time it is especially important that full attention be given to this point. Our civilization tends much more towards criticism, the giving of judgments, and so forth, than toward devotion, and a selfless veneration. Our children already criticise far more than they worship. But every judgment, every carping criticism, frustrates the powers of the soul for the attainment of the higher knowledge, in the same measure that all heartfelt devotion develops them. In this we do not wish to say anything against our civilization. It is in no way a question of passing a criticism upon it. It is just to this critical faculty, this self-conscious human judgment, this “prove all things and hold fast the good,” that we owe the greatness of our civilisation. We could never have attained to the science, the commerce, the industry, the law of our time, had we not exercised our critical faculty everywhere, had we not everywhere applied the standard of our judgment. But what we have thereby gained in external culture we have had to pay for with a corresponding loss of the higher knowledge, of the spiritual life.
Now the one thing that everyone must clearly understand is that for him who is right in the center of the objective civilization of our time, it is very difficult to advance to the knowledge of the higher worlds. He can only do so if he works energetically within himself. At a time when the conditions of outward life were simpler, spiritual exaltation was easier of attainment. That which ought to be venerated, that which ought to be kept holy, stood out in better relief from the ordinary things of the world. In a period of criticism these ideals are lowered; other emotions take the place of veneration, respect, prayer, and wonder. Our own age continually pushes these emotions further and further back, so that in the daily life of the people they play but a very small part. He who seeks for, higher knowledge must create it within himself; he must himself instil it into his soul. It cannot be done by study: it can only be done through life. He who wishes to become a disciple must therefore assiduously cultivate the devotional mood. Everywhere in his environment he must look for that which demands of him admiration and homage. Whenever his duties or circumstances permit, he should try to renounce entirely all criticism or judgment. If I meet a man and blame him for his weakness, I rob myself of power to win the higher knowledge; but if I try to enter lovingly into his merits, I then gather such power. The disciple must continually try to follow out this advice. Experienced occultists are aware how much they owe to the continual searching for the good in all things, and the withholding of all carping criticism. This must not remain only as an external rule of life; rather must it take possession of the innermost part of our souls. We have it in our power to perfect ourselves, and by and by to transform ourselves completely. But this transformation must take place in the innermost self, in the mental life. It is not enough that I show respect only in my outward bearing toward a person; I must have this respect in my thought. The disciple must begin by drawing this devotion into his thought-life, He must altogether banish from his consciousness all thoughts of disrespect, of criticism, and he must endeavor straightway to cultivate thoughts of devotion.
Every moment in which we set ourselves to banish from our consciousness whatever remains in it of disparaging, suspicious judgment of our fellow-men, every such moment brings us nearer to the knowledge of higher things. And we rise rapidly when, in such moments, we fill our consciousness only with thoughts that evoke in us admiration, respect, and veneration for men and things. He who has experience in these matters will know that in every such moment powers are awakened in man which otherwise remain dormant. In this way the spiritual eyes of a man are opened. He begins to see things around him which hitherto he was unable to see. He begins to understand that hitherto he had only seen a part of the world around him. The man with whom he comes in contact now shows him quite a different aspect from what he showed before. Of course, he will not yet, through this rule of life alone, be able to see what has elsewhere been described as the human aura, because, for that, a still higher training is necessary. But he can rise to this higher training if he has previously gone through a thorough training in devotion. [In the last chapter of the book entitled Theosophie (Berlin, C. A. Schwetschke und Sohn), Dr. Rudolf Steiner fully describes this “Path of Knowledge;” here it is only intended to give some practical details.]
Noiseless and unnoticed by the outer world is the treading of the “Path of Discipleship.” It is not necessary that anyone should notice a change in the disciple. He does his duties as hitherto; he attends to his business as before. The transformation goes on only in the inner part of the soul, hidden from outward sight. At first the entire soul-life of a man is flooded by this fundamental mood of devotion for everything which is truly venerable. His entire soul-life finds in this fundamental mood its pivot. Just as the sun, through its rays, will vivify everything living, so in the life of the disciple this reverence vivifies all the perceptions of the soul.