Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The New Hermetics, and Tradition

A repost from the Esoteric Freemasons Forum (

Broken Triangle: But, can you successfully mix all those currents? [OTO, Freemasonry, Hermetics, Golden Dawn, etc.]

Bro:. Scott: In my opinion, yes. I've tried to read Bardon's Introduction to Hermetics and a couple of Golden Dawn texts. The terminology, restrictions, and simple age of the language make it difficult for me, as a modern reader, to decipher what the frak they're talking about.

TNH strips out the terminology, and brings it down to the bare-bones psychological aspects of the rituals and exercises. I find it very useful, and feel I'm making progress at a much faster rate because I can grasp the concept in a framework I can understand, without having to understand the author's framework first, and then the meaning underneath. Hermetics is a sycretic philosophy anyway, taking what is useful, reconciling the opposite, and rejecting the rest as dross. I see no problem with taking these traditional methods, stripping them to their essence, and then adding elements that make it personally fullfilling.

Besides, we have MUCH more access to knowledge and information than our forbearers did even 90 years ago. Theosophy took off with a mix of East and West. Hermetics came out of Greek, Egyptian, and Iranian influences. The mixing is GOOD! Why should we not take advantage of Hypnosis, Neuro-linguistic programming, Leary's 8 step biocircuit model of conciousness, as well as the tree of life, the Tetragrammaton, and the Tarot?

And anyway, I was mixing those currents before, just with more difficulty. The "focus on a theme" route does not work for me, as the focus I seem to be pursuing is self-improvement, and the themes get in the way. Much of my magickal work is utilitarian, getting myself to change my inner world so I can change the outer. (Of course, to totally negate what I was saying, I seem to be pursuing a Christian theme in my inner work: Angels, Demons, 7 virtues and vices, etc. A little Dee, a little Crowley, a little Aquinas, a little Newcomb...)

I have no problem with others using the traditional route. It weirds me out to do so, partly due to my upbringing, partly because of my approach. But that is my personal preference. I do find GD fascinating, and see the value in the Freemasonic approach to traditional ritual. It's just that in my personal praxis, I prefer a more modern approach.

Does that mean I won't read the 'classics' like the Kybalion, the Emerald Tablet, Corpus Hermeticum, Liber Astra, etc.? No. I see the value in those books. But for a guide to practice, a magister in absentia, I'll stick with TNH.


Joe Chip said...

I started the New Hermetics program about a week and a half ago. I'm still trying to perfect the "Altered State" technique because I think it will help to become proficient at it before I move on much farther. I've had success with it, much more so than Zen meditation (my back always started to hurt, not used to sitting without a back rest). I'm excited about seeing where following TNH will take me. Anyway, nice to see someone else is working with the same book.

Scott Rassbach said...

I have had a great deal of success with it so far, just from a personal point of view.

Right now, I've got too much going on to really sit and work with it. I'm hoping that after the 21st (wherein I am going to recieve an inititation into the Ordo Sacrae Flamme) I'll have a better idea on how to proceed.