Varieties of Magical Experience


Gnosis & Mediaeval Magics


Gnosis, Qabbalah, & Visionary Ascent



Mediaeval Magic & Sorcery








Gnosis, Qabbalah, & Visionary Ascent



Rise of Gnosticism



Gnostic Cosmologies



The Hermetika



Merkabah Tradition



Mediaeval Qabbalah



Rise of Gnosticism


p. 84 rejections

"Marcion rejected the Old Testament entirely ... .

The Cainites rejected Jesus in favor of Judas ... .

{Perhaps this sect originated with the Ioudas who was born at Gamala in Gaulanitis/Go^lan (Iosephos : Antiquities xviii.1 -- JE"JG").}

Meanwhile, the Ebionites ... rejected the apostle Paul".

JE"JG" = article "Judas the Galilean" in the Jewish Encyclopedia.


Gnostic Cosmologies


p. 85 Basilides

"Basilides ..., who lived and taught in Alexandria ca. 125-40 CE and

wrote 24 commentaries on the gospels,

{Cf. the 24 books in the Tokharian-language gospel used by Manikhaians. Perhaps Basilides wrote to prove that the orthodox gospels had falsified the original 24-book gospel.}

conceived of a universe with 365 heavens. ...

{likely an allusion to the 365 deities worshipped in the Ka<bah at Makkah prior to the ungodly persecution commenced by unbelieving infidel Muh.ammad}

The supreme reality was the "ungenerated" God, or All Father ... .

{The All-Father is also mentioned by Snorri Sturluson, and is derived from Hellenic philosophy.}

This "nonexistent" or nonmaterial God in turn emanated

Mind (nous), Word (logos), Understanding (phronesis), Wisdom (sophia), and Power (dynamis). From Wisdom and Power in turn emerged archons and angels ... . Each heaven gave rise to another, until

there were 365 in all."

{cf. the 365 deities worshipped at Makkah (Mecca) before being forbidden by that impious renegade Muh.ammad}

p. 86 Valentinus

"Born in the Egyptian Delta at Phrebonis, Valentinus claimed to have access to St. Paul's esoteric teachings through

Theudas, one of Paul's followers. {"Zuschlag looks on the Theudas of the Acts as the same person with the Theudion ... to Jos. Ant. xvii.4" (C&OAA, p. 227). "Theudas can quite well be an abbreviation of Theudion" (EB"Th", p. 5050b).}

{A reason why he was reckoned along with Paul, could be that, like unto Paul, "Theudas was decapitated" (JE"Th").} {Moreover, Theudas at "the river Jordan" (I:A 20:5) "is a clear allusion to Joshua 3.14-17" ("MC--Th"); and /Yo^s^uwa</ is an original of the name /Iesous/ (Jesus).}

According to Valentinus, ... The 30th aeon, Sophia (Wisdom), ... produced as her offspring Ialdabaoth -- a deity ... mistaken ... for the creator".

C&OAA = Edward Zeller (transl. by Joseph Dare) : The Contents and Origin of the Acts of the Apostles Critically Investigated. Wlliams & Norgate, London & Edinburgh, 1875.

EB"Th" = article "Theudas" in Encyclopaedia Biblica. London : Adam & Charles Black, 1903.

JE"Th" = article " Theudas" in the Jewish Encyclopedia.

I:A = Iosephos : Antiquities of the Ioudaioi.

"MC--Th" = "Messianic Claimants -- Theudas".

Grant 1961 = Robert McQueen Grant : Gnosticism : an Anthology. London : Collins; NY : Harper & Bro.s Publ.

p. 86 Ptolemaios

(According to Ptolemaios [in Italia, c. 160 Ch.E., infra p. 250, n. 5:2]),

[quoted from Grant 1961, p. 163 :] "Depth {Buthos} ... emitting from himself ... seed, ... deposited this projected emission, as in a womb, in that Silence {Sige} who is with him. Silence received this seed and became pregnant and bore Mind ... . Mind {Noos} ... is called Only-Begotten ... . Along with him, Truth {Aletheia} was emitted".

{Because the word for 'certainty, truth' is /qos^et./ (Strong's 7189 "balance ... weighed" [/ 'balance, scales'; /qist./ 'aequity, fair-mindedness' -- A-ED, p. 892b]), and because the word for 'mind' is /leb/ (or lebab), literally 'heart' [/hsin, xin/ being likewise indifferently 'heart' and 'mind' in Chinese], this may possibly refer to the weighing of the heart in a balance in the Kemetic judgement for souls of the dead.}


The Hermetika


pp. 87-9 Hermes Trismegistos

p. 87

"Hermes saw the totality of things. Having seen, he understood, he had the power to reveal and show." (quoted in C. & J. Matthews 1994, p. 216, from W. Scott (transl.) : Hermetica, vol. 1)

"Like the God of Stoicism, the Hermetic God was omnipresent and omniscient through the material cosmos." (quoted from Mercur 1999, p. 82)

p. 88

"In Corpus Hermeticum XIII, Hermes explains to his son Tat ..., "I went out of myself in an immortal body, and ... I have been born in mind." [XIII:3 -- Mercur 1999, p. 85]

p. 89

... Command your soul to travel to India, and it will be there ... .

Command it to cross over the ocean, and again it will quickly be there ... .

Command it even to fly up to heaven ... .

Nothing will hinder it, not the fire of the sun ... nor the bodies of the other stars. ...

You must think ... in this way, as having everything -- the cosmos ... within ... .

Thus, unless you make yourself equal to god, you cannot understand god. [Corpus Hermeticum XI:19-20 -- Mercur 1999, p. 85]

For the Hermetic initiate the ... "imaginal" realm was located in the Eighth celestial region, ... beyond the seven planetary heavens;

however, in due course the initiate had to ascend still further, rising eventually to the Nin[e]th cosmic region and achieving union with the pure Mind of the Creator."

C. & J. Matthews 1994 = Caitlin Matthews & John Matthews The Western Way. London : Arkana.

Mercur 1999 = Dan Mercur : "Stages of Ascension in Hermetic Rebirth". ESOTERICA 1:67-84.


Merkabah Tradition


pp. 90-3 Pirqe^ He^kalo^t {'Sayings of the Palaces'}

p. 90

"Chapter 16 of the [PH] ... makes it clear that the celestial journey is ... an exercise in obtaining gnosis {da<at}, or secret knowledge ... :

[quoted from Grodner 1978, p. 59 :] ... so that I may recite the secrets and mysteries

p. 91

which have been suppressed, ... for all the ends of the earth and the universe ... are bound ... and connected, dependent upon it ... . ...

Nevertheless, ... the mystical ascent could be potentially dangerous, and the Merkabah mystic was obliged to call on a powerful angel {divine spirit-guide (a function well-known in shamanry)},

Surya, to provide protection during the visionary ascent.

{Cf. the name /SURA-padma/ of (AD, p. 17) the peacock-vehicle of Skanda.}

Each of the seven palaces had eight guards -- four on each side of the gate. This meant ... 56 ..., and since the mystic had to both ascend and later descend thorugh the celestial realms, 112 sacred oaths of protection had to be sought from Surya by way of protection.

... the visionary journey was undertaken in ... trance.

[p. 251, n. 5:23 : "As Kaufmann Kohler and Isaac Boyde' note in their entry on "Hekalot Rabbati; Hekalot Zutarti" in The Jewish Encyclopedia ... : "To enter the state of ecstasy in which the Merkabah-ride is taken, one must remain motionless ..., absorbed in contemplation"".]

As Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan observes in his book ... :

[quoted from Kaplan 1982, p. 41 :] ... One creates for himself a spiritual "body" {mental body?} and

with the hands of this "body"

{If the hands (together with their arms) are only part of one's [mental?] body extending into that visionary world, then surely they must be aequivalent to the Kemetic KL (K3), the soul-form restricted to being only a pair of arms.}

he holds the Seals that must be shown to the angels guarding each gate in order to gain admittance. ...

... For the journey through the first five palaces, the mystic had to present two seals at each gate --

a seal from "YHVH ..." family to the guards on the right and

a seal from the "Angel of the Presence" family to the guards on the left.

If these seals proved acceptable, the angel on the left-hand side would allow the initiate to pass through".

[quoted from Grodner 1978, p. 71 :] "When you came and stand before the gate of the sixth palace, show the ... seals of the guards of the sixth palace to

{Qas.pi^>el ('Foam of God')}, the prince, whose sword

{"sickle until the foam got a mind" (Nonnos : Dionusiaka 7:222 sq -- "PO"}

p. 92

is unsheathed in his hand. From it lightning shoots outward".

[chapter 17 of the PH, quoted from Grodner 1978, p. 63 :] "At the gate of the seventh palace,

they stand ... war-like, ... taller than mountains and

{The war-god is Skanda. "The mountain Kraunca asks Skanda's help" (RS4KKhS`P, chapter 11) against Ban.a, a god having (CD, vol. 2, p. 188) a "thousand arms".}

sharper than peaks {pointed-headed?}. Their bows are strung before them. ...

Bolts of lightning flow and issue forth from the balls of their eyes,

{The "hundred-armed" Hekaton-kheires are "lightning-eyed" (CMEL&A, p. 4).} {Helios/NFR-TM : "Then you will see lightning bolts leaping from his eyes" (PGM 4:703 -- "QPH", p. 154).} {cf. /Vidyuta-aks.a/ ('Lightning-Eyed'), name of one of attendants (SD"Vidyut") of Skanda ('leap, spurt out').}

and balls of fire from their nostrils, and torches of fiery coals from their mouths."

"Nevertheless, ... the spiritually virtuous are allowed to proceed, this time accompanied by {Qas.pi^>el} together a prince from the the sixth palace named {Dumi^>el ('Silence of God'} and also the archangel {Gabri^>el} -- the latter acting as a scribe and recording the request of the initiate to stand before the Throne of Glory in the presence of God :

[chapter 22 of the PH, quoted from Grodner 1978, p. 73 :] ... They bring before him all types of music and song, and they make music and a parade before him ... . He sees wonders and powers ... . ...

[chapter 24 of the PH, quoted from Grodner 1978, p. 78 :]

{<anapi^>el ('Branch of God'} the prince opens

{cf. names of /S`akha/ ('Branch') and and of /Vi-s`akha/ ('Forked-Branch'), each originated from (AD, p. 17) a side of the body of levin-stricken Skanda.}

the doors ..., and each and every ... is hollow like the holes in a sieve woven of branches. ...

{Are this "doors" actually wickets (hatches set in a grating)? The word /WICKet/ is apparently cognate with the word /WICKer/, denoting that which is woven of rattan.}

In addition, there are the eyes of the {Krubi^m} of Might and the Wheels of the {S^kinah} ... . This man trembles, shakes, ... and collapses ... . {<anapi^>el}, the prince, and sixty-three watchmen of the seven gates support him".

p. 93

[quoted from Grodner 1978, p. 79 :] "Immediately, they blow a trumpet ... . And the Holy H[.]ayo[^]t cover their faces ... and he stands erect, turns, and presents himself before the Throne of Glory."

Grodner 1978 = L. Grodner : "The Pirkei Heikhalot : Text and Commentary". In :- David R. Blumenthal (ed.) : Understanding Jewish Mysticism. NY : Ktav.

Kaplan 1982 = Aryeh Kaplan : Meditation ... . York Beach (ME) : Weiser.

AD = Nome : Advaita Devatam : God of Nonduality. Soc of Abidance in Truth, Santa Cruz (CA), 2009.

"PO" = "Protogenos Ouranos".

RS4KKhS`P = Rudra Samhita : Section IV – Kumara Khan.d.a of S`iva Puran.a

CD = Alf Hiltebeitel : The Cult of Draupadi, Volume 2: On Hindu Ritual and the Goddess. Univ of Chicago Pr, 1991.

CMEL&A = Charles Mills Gayley : The Classic Myths in English Literature and in Art. new edn. Ginn & Co, Boston, 1911.

PGM = Papyri Graecae Magicae. 2nd edn, Stuttgart, 1973-4.

"QPH" = Reimund Leicht : "Qedushah and Prayer to Helios". JEWISH STUDIES QUARTERLY 6(1999):140-76.

SD"Vidyut" = Sanskrit Dictionary search sub "vidyut".

p. 251, n. 5:23 descent into submarine realm

"The Greater Hekhalot repeatedly refers to the "descent" into the Merkabah, as do the "Hekhalot Fragments," cited by ... Gruenwald ... (... 1980), 188).

{The Me-rkabah ('Chariot') was pulled by "horses" -- which may have been intended as replications of the mythic submarine "mare" who is confined to the "ocean" (S`P 2:3:20:1-23; MBhP 22-23; KP 44:124-136 -- SCWAAE, p. 99).}

... in the Re>uyot Yehezkel {R>uyo^t Yh.ezq>el}, ... Ezekiel {Yh.ezq>el} is ... "standing on the River Chebar looking down at the water and the seven heavens were opened {underwater!} to him ... (cited by Gruenwald ..., 135)."

{This river Kbar (Strong's 3531 /kbarah/ 'sieve'; Strong's 3523 /kbir/ 'pillow') is aequivalent to the river Sarasvati, for (according to the SP 7:1:32-33 -- "SMMS`", p. 23) river-goddess "Sarasvati carried the fire" (which is "a halo of flames" according to MP 175 and Hari-vams`a 1:45 -- "SMMS`", loc.cit.). This igneous aura is named /aurva/ (from /uru/ 'thigh', because "born from his mother's left thigh" according to MBh 1:169 -- "SMMS`", p. 22) : cf. Eri-khthonios begotten when Hephaistos "made violent love to" Aphro-dite so that he "ejaculated [his semen] against her thigh" (GM 25.b).}

Gruenwald 1980 = Ithamar Gruenwald : Apocalyptic and Merkavah Mysticism. Leiden : Brill.

S`P = S`iva Upa-puran.a

MBhP = Maha-bhagavata Upa-puran.a

KP = Kalika Upa-puran.a

SCWAAE = Kimberley Christine Patton : The Sea Can Wash Away All Evils. Columbia Univ Pr, NY, 2007.

SP = Skanda Maha-puran.a

"SMMS`" = Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty : "The Submarine Mare in the Mythology of Śiva". J OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND 1 (1971), pp. 9-27

MP = Matsya Maha-puran.a

HV = Hari-vams`a Itihasa

MBh = Maha-bharata Itihasa

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

{In the SP, "Aurva ... is replaced by Pippalada" ("SMMS`", pp. 23-4). Pippala-ada ('Fig-Eater') is so-named because (according to BP 110 -- "SMMS`", p. 24) pippala-trees told him that his mother was a mare, and on account of his having been told that, the mare "began to eat him", until she was restrained by being placed into "a golden pot" (BP 110 -- "SMMS`", loc.cit.), which "golden pot" belonged (according to PP 5:18 -- "SMMS`", p. 23) to the r.s.i Uttanka. Though he when thirsty in a dry desert refused to drink urine proffered by (MBh 14:55 -- "As`vamedha Parvan", transl. by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, p. 98) "a naked hunter" (so that a cloud was substituted for the urine -- ibid., p. 99), yet nevertheless Utanka [single /-t-/ being the spelling in the MBh], when requaested by a "big man" riding a ox [cf. ox-riding in the Zen "Ox-Herding" card-scenes], comested, in A-ghorin fashion, "both the excretion and the urine of the ox" (MBh "Adi Parvan" cap. 3 -- PE, s.v. "Uttanka", p. 815a) : reminiscent of the ox-faeces in the cattle-yard of (GM 127.a) Augeias, who was informed concerning this by (GM 127.d) Kopreus ('dung-man', GM 127.1) -- where the Aztec theme of the faeces of deities being composed of gold (cf. the pot of god at the end of the rainbow?) is perhaps relevant, likely in relation to gold-leaf-embossment god Xipe Totec. Because Augeias afterwards appointed as his generals (GM 138.a) the bodily-conjoined (Siamese-twin) sons of Moline (the daughter of Molos), therefore this Molos the headless [cf. raks.asa Ka-bandha "vast as a mountain, without head or neck" (EEAI"K")] rapist (DCM, s.v. "Molus") may indicate the adulterer (DCM, s.v. "Hyettus" [hUeTTo- : perhaps cognate with Skt /UTTanka/?]) Molouros (Molo-or[w]os, 'Molos the Mountain') as aequivalent to the personified mountain who, when demanding marriage of the goddess, "threatened to abduct her by force" (SP 7:1:32-33 -- "SMMS`", p. 23). When in the praevious lifetime of Ka-bandha as gandharva Vis`va-vasu, his limbs "were squeezed into his body" (HHM, s.v. "Kabandha", p. 166) by means of the "vajrayudha", this would be paralleled by how the personified "Vajrayudha" "cut a tunnel-like route to Patala ... through the cave" (MBh 1:3 -- PE, "Uttanka", p. 815b). And when "Upon Vis`vavasu's pleading, Indra gave him two long arms" (HHM, s.v. "Kabandha", p. 166), these adscitious arms are evidently aequivalent to the "spiritual" arms acquired in the Qabbalistic trance-vision (supra p. 91). Having resumed the divine body of Vis`va-vasu, Kabandha directed "Rama and ... toward Mount R.s.ya-muka by way of Matanga's hermitage, where they find S`abari" (RA 3:70 -- "AP2SE", p. 189). [/R.s.ya-muka/ 'Whitefooted-antelope Mute' : cf. "LWh-FS", derived from "LT"; and cf. In the island that is in the midst of the loch is Eillid Chaisfhion—the white-footed hind, of the slenderest legs, and the swiftest step, and though she should be caught, there would spring a hoodie {hooded crow = Corvus cornix, grey with black head, throat, wings, and tail} out of her, and though the hoodie should be caught, there would spring a trout out of her, but there is an egg in the mouth of the trout, and the soul of the beast is in the egg, and if the egg breaks, the beast is dead.” ("ESF-T") Is this egg possibly one of the "unfertilized ... trophic eggs" laid by ("Wh-FA--FH") worker "white-footed" emmets?] [/Matanga/ is (S-ED) name of the 24th astrological yoga, and also the name of a servant of the 24th Jaina arahan : cf. the last of the "24 elders" who hold "golden bowls" [cf. "golden pot" in BP and in PP] and play harp-music in heaven (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 5:8).]}

BP = Brahman Maha-puran.a

PP = Padma Maha-puran.a

MBh 14:55

PE = Vettam Mani : Puran.ic Encyclopaedia.

EEAI"K" = Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India, s.v. "Kabandha".

HHM = George M. Williams : Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Santa Barbara (CA) : ABC-Clio, 2003. (reprinted 2008 Oxford Univ Pr)

RA = Rama-ayana Itihasa

"AP2SE" = Alf Hiltebeitel : "Authorial Paths through the Two Sanskrit Epics". In :- Robert P. Goldman & Muneo Tokunaga (edd.) : Epic Undertakings. PAPERS OF THE 12TH WORLD SANSKRIT CONFERENCE. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 2009. vol. 2, pp. 169-214.

"LWh-FS" = "Lancelot and the Whitefooted Stag".

"LT" = "Lay of Tyolet".

"ESF-T" = "The External Soul in Folk-Tales" (chapter 66 of James George Frazer [1854–1941] : The Golden Bough. 1922.)

"Wh-FA--FH" = "White-Footed Ants -- Feeding Habits". Habits

Apokalupsis of Ioannes 5:8


Mediaeval Qabbalah


pp. 95-6 [quoted from Scholem 1961, pp. 218-9] cosmogony according to the Zohar

p. 95

"In the Beginning, ... the King ... engraved signs into the divine aura. A dark flame sprang forth from the innermost recess of the mystery of the Infinite {>en-So^p}, ... enclosed in the ring of this aura, ... and of no color whatever. But ... in the innermost centre of the flame a well sprang forth from which flames poured upon everything below ... . The well broke through ... the ethereal aura which surrounded it. It was entirely unrecognizable until under the impact of its breakthrough a hidden supernal point shone forth."

p. 96

"The "Primordial Point" was thought of by the majority of {Qabbalists} not as {Keter}, the crown ...[,] but as ... {H.akmah} or Wisdom, which is the second {spirah}."

"The final emanation ..., {/Malkut/, a word usually translated 'kingdom' or 'kingship'}, "The World," is ... the ...{S^kinah}, who is in turn a reflection of {Binah}."

{In Gnostic terms, the reflection of Pistis-Sophia (in the primordial waters) originated the world.}

Scholem 1961 = Gershom G. Scholem : Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. NY : Schocken.

p. 98 groupings of spiro^t into "worlds" (Bonner 1995, pp. 23-5)


its nature

quantity of its spiro^t

names of its spiro^t


"the hidden of the hidden"



of Creation

"male and female principles"


H.akmah & Binah

of Formation


H.esed &c.




Bonner 1995 = John Bonner : Qabalah a Primer. London : Skoob.


Lynne Hume & Nevill Drury : The Varieties of Magical Experience : Indigenous, Medieval, and Modern Magic. Praeger (an imprint of ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara (CA), 2013.