Hermetic Tablet: Journal of Western Ritual Magic has just completed it’s second print cycle. The journal is a bi-annual publication available in hardback and paperback. Many have posed the question whether the modern occult world needs yet another publication – to them I would counter that Hermetic Tablet isn’t like other publications with consistently good material from seasoned magicians from a variety of traditions and experiences it can boast of being one of the few good ones. Unlike many New-Age self-help magazines this is a journal which is worth procuring as you can always return to articles.
Volume 2: Winter Solstice 2015 has been printed with contributions from Jake Stratton-Kent, Mike Magee, Chic & Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Aaron Leitch, Nick Farrell, Jayne Gibson, João Pedro Feliciano, Tony Toneatto, David Nez, Tony Fuller, Ina Cüsters Van Bergen, Morgan Drake Eckstein, Christine Zalewski, Wynn Westcott and Cynthia Caton.
The Winter Solstice 2015 edition has so much to offer and while it may be tempting to limit this journal aimed just toward Hermetically inclined magicians as always this publication offers both historical and practical information to seasoned and beginner students of modern occultism.
Some of the highlights include: “Following the Dawn: The Magical Life of Christine Zalewski” by Nick Farrell which examines the unique path to the Golden Dawn and the need for an experiential pursuit of magic. Christine Zalewski offers “Jack Taylor: The Colourful Magus”, which is a wonderful insight into Zalewski’s time training with Jack Taylor, who himself trained in the ‘Whare Ra’ Temple in Havelock North, New Zealand. Indeed, upon reading both of these articles one really begins to understand that the question for magical orders in the twenty-first century really is: What next?
The answer to that question lies somewhere in the works of the other writers. In her article, “Spiritual Development of Paranormal Talents”, Ina Cüsters Van Bergen ponders on the nature of psychicism and extrasensory perception in magic. At what point can we trust in the visions of our magical work? Van Bergen suggests that what the modern magician needs is to heed the words above the Temple door, “Know Thyself”. This may sound like she is recommending flights of fantasy but in truth fantasy is the doorway, the poet and playwright, W. B. Yeats knew this through his visionary work on A Vision (A & B) with his wife George Yeats. One has to be pragmatic about what happens as Van Bergen points out any spirit guide/contact will be content to offer earthly context for the communication.
Almost as though creating a dialogue between the various contributors, two more articles offer a discussion on spirits; “House Gods” by Mike Magee and “Familiar Spirits” by David Nez. What Hermetic magicians are doing with House Gods and familiar spirits may seem like a bit of an oddity as most readers tend to associate those discussions with Traditional Wicca or Witchcraft. However, making snap decisions would be rather unfortunate as Magee discusses the Hindu concept of Gods subduing the chaotic forces to form a safe space for the hearth and home. Magee clearly places the House-Gods in connection with the Sphere of Sensation and the celestial forces which are reflected therein.
Nez’s article, “Familiar Spirits”, looks more comprehensively at the re-emergence in working with familiar-spirits and the often complicated relationships between the shaman, witch or magician. As a piece in Hermetic Tablet, Nez’s article offers an interesting counter-perspective to the more mystical or subjective interpretation of Magee’s House-Gods, here we see an evolving relationship to the Spirit World or Astral World. Between these two views stands Van Bergen’s counsel “Know Thyself” or to check in with oneself on the nature of the experience.
Cynthia Caton’s piece, “Death is for the Living”, explores the very personal relationship to the fantasy of death and the means by which we as magicians tend to encounter death. What becomes interesting from reading Caton’s piece is the power in knowing the stories of the past and the ability to build memories of the past as she describes connecting the matrilineal links to the hearth and home despite many of these dwellings being supported by patrilineal figures. It stands that our links to loved ones become something a little more than just the connection to that one individual.
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