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High/Ritual/Ceremonial Magic(k)

High Magic is the quest for spiritual growth.  The name ‘High’ is used in the same way that the Anglicans refer to ‘High’ Church.  It is often referred to as the ‘Great Work’; or gaining the Knowledge & Conversation of one’s Holy Guardian Angel; know as the HGA for short.

Aleister Crowley in Ceremonial robes.

Aleister Crowley in Ceremonial Robes.

The name probably came from Eliphas Levi whose 19th century seminal work Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie [The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic]……has influenced all ceremonial magic since.  Largely because most authors since Levi’s time have simply copied everything Levi wrote, or everything that Barrett who copied Levi originally, but in English (including faithfully copying the errors too).

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD) was certainly High Magic, as is the Hermetic Order of the Red Dragon (HORD) (which essentially sprang from the loins of the GD), the OTO and the massive volume of work of Aleister Crowley (from where we get Magic having the ‘k’ added to make ‘magick’.  However most of the people spelling magic with a ‘k’ would probably be quite horrified and shocked if they found out why Crowley spelt it with a ‘k’.

High Magic is essentially about a spiritual journey by calling of certain spirits for conversation and/or help.  The ‘Great Work’ of High Magic was described by the Golden Dawn as ‘Becoming more than human.’  Crowley described it as gaining ‘The Knowledge & Conversation of your Holy Guardian Angel.’, which actually comes from ‘The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage’ a massive magical working taking at least six months of daily ritual.  Just about every Ceremonial Magician aims to do the Abramelin ritual … few actually do.  Crowley wrote a workable alternative in Liber Samekh.  Phil Hine, a Chaos Magician, devised a powerful alternative version.

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