Thursday, July 29, 2010

Studying the Classical Western Magical Cosmology

To work magic, we must first see the world in the eyes of the magician. That's why the first entries in my books of shadows are all about cosmology. In the classical Western magical view, Earth and Man are at the center of the universe, as illustrated in the diagram below. I designed this diagram to more clearly explain why the planetary spheres are assigned a particular number and color. Knowing this would be useful later on in working with Western systems of magic. 

Aleister Crowley defined magick as an art, so I don't see why I should settle for boring correspondence tables:

Latin text copied from St. Isidore's "Origines" (circa 560 C.E.), discussing the assignment of names by the Romans to the days of the week based on the seven ancient planets. For decorative purposes only.

This is simply a more elaborate version of the Heaven-Earth cosmological model which can be found in many beliefs - the Langit-Lupa of the Tagalogs, Shiva-Shakti of Tantra, Asgard-Midgard of the Norse,  the Above and Below of classical magic. In this diagram, heaven is divided into many parts, and each part is governed by one of the planetary spheres, the zodiacal sphere, or the divine sphere (the highest).

The magician stands on Earth, which is the 10th and last sphere, in the center of the Universe (also called Axis Mundi). Above and around him moves the seven classical planets. On the background are the fixed stars also known as the zodiac. And beyond the infinite number of stars is "Primum Mobile", sphere number 1, the first mover, the primal cause of everything, whose nickname is "God".

If life is a theater: the magician is the audience, the planets are the actors moving around him, the fixed stars are the backdrop, and "God" is the director sitting behind the stage. The magician's aim is to be able to tell "God" what kind of show to put on.

The planets are ordered from the fastest moving (luna) to the slowest moving heavenly body. Note that Sol is at the center of the order.

The Primum Mobile should be colored White, as a symbol of its purity and perfection. The fixed stars are colored grey, since in this model they are depicted as the 'neutral' background of the moving planets. Saturn, being the outermost border of the planets, is colored black (also because of its association with death).

Jupiter, Mars and Sol - the "high" planets - are assigned the primary colors Blue, Red and Yellow.

Venus, Mercury and Luna - the "lower" planets - are assigned the secondary colors Green, Orange and Violet. Since these colors are derived from the combination of primary colors, this is symbolic of their emanation from the higher planets.

Gaia (whose symbol is a circle divided into four parts) is assigned the tertiary colors[1] symbolic of the culmination and manifestation of the planetary energies on Earth, and also black as a symbol of materiality (as opposed to primum mobile's white). 

My hermetic pentacle, a symbol for the sphere of Earth, whose design is based on specifications for the Zelator grade of the Golden Dawn. It is divided into four sections colored in all the tertiary 
colors (citrine, olive, russet) and black - representing the culmination and manifestation of etheric heavenly energies into the material plane.

Basbasan Nawa!

[1]  olive, russet and citrine


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