This interview was conducted in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on June 10 1996, prior to Mrs. Ashcroft-Nowicki’s Philadelphia lecture, by Mark Stavish of The Philosophers of Nature. SOL would like to thank both Mark and PON for permission to publish the transcript of the interview on our website. Mark Stavish is the Director of Research for the Philosophers of Nature ORA Project (Occult Research & Application). Mark also serves the PON as a Regional Director for the Northeastern United States.
Copyright 1997, Mark Stavish. All rights reserved. Published by The Philosophers of Nature.
M.S.: What is magic?
DAN: That is a widely asked question. Magic as far as I’m concerned is a combination of art and science. It’s an art because of the traditional parts of things, the graceful gestures, the sonorous invocations, the use of color, sight, sound, all of these things make it very much an art form. Yet it is also a science as well because we expect something to come of what we do. Although I have no scientific training as such, I’m coming around very, very rapidly, to a logical connection with physics. So if I have to define magic, we can go back to Dion Fortune saying it’s the art of altering one’s consciousness at will. That in a sense still holds. It is a diverse science that holds within itself both constructive, positive elements of a scientific nature and these beautiful artistic imaginings. Using and creating these almost dreamlike inner landscapes in which we can live, move, and have our being.
M.S.: How then, does magic differ from the psychotherapeutic techniques of creative imagination or visualisation, such as you would do in Psychosynthesis or a similar school?
DAN: You know there’s not a lot of difference. There is a very thin, thin line. I continue to say that I wish we had another word other than magic. It’s too hackneyed. It no longer means what we are doing or we are attempting to do. We have to find another terminology, this NLP stuff is beginning to sort of offer new ways of explaining things, offering new terms, but so is quantum physics. Magic is first and foremost a way of belief. In magic, I say, I believe I can control certain elements of my environment, I believe I can control certain aspects of my endocrine system, through imagination, visualisation, breathing techniques, which in a sense come into the scientific aspects. So magic is a combination, it’s a soup, a delightful combination of art, imagination, visualisation, fantasy, with a healthy dose of solid basis, because it is a science. The thing is, we’ve lost the keys.
M.S.: What are the keys?
DAN: The keys are, or were, the training methods used by the ancient mystery schools. I mean when you think about it, at seven, in the ancient Egyptian world, everybody presented their child to the priest at the temple. They were tested over three days, those who showed any form of talent in the occult sense, were taken into the temple for training. Now this was a great for the parents in the sense they no longer had to clothe, feed, or hopefully educate those children. It was great for the children in that they got a chance that was not given to a lot of others. It was great for the temples, they had an ongoing inflow of talent. But how did they train them? We’ve got hints and tips, we’ve got little bits on the papyri, we’ve got little bits of ideas that came down to us through folklore, through myth, and any and every way possible. But we don’t have, in our hands, a complete curriculum of the ways in which they trained these youngsters. The way in which they induced altered states of consciousness and the projection of the mind.
M.S.: You have said your friends see you as compulsive about writing things down. I’ve seen in my experience with most magicians that they are notoriously poor at transmitting their science.
DAN: They never used to be. I had it pounded into my head, that if you were doing meditations, you wrote down what came. It didn’t matter if it was sloppy, fragmentary, or if it seemed to have very little going for it. You wrote it down because three or four days later, you might just get the key. I’m in the middle of an unfoldment within myself — mentally, spiritually, and even sort of in my basic understanding of something’s. It’s been going on now for about eighteen months. Every now and then, somebody will say something to me, and I’ll think, “Oh! That fits in!” and I hurriedly make a little note. I’m with a few people, whom I’ve sort of taken into this little paradigm I’m working on. People say, “Have you read such and such a things?” There is a sentence in there, or a paragraph, or this person is talking about something. And it all fits in. Or there is a dream, a lucid dream. And I’m finding that I’m not the only one working on this. It’s like the “Hundredth Monkey”. I’ll have people writing into me saying, “I’ve had a very interesting realisation. It’s this,” and I say “join the club,” and write back saying “here, have this.”
M.S.: It is like you’re all baking a cake, but have different pieces of the recipe.
DAN: Yes, yes. You see here we are going into another thing I’m compulsive about. What I don’t like is the way lots of people sit on what they have and will not put it out. Now I’m aware that there are some things that you cannot put out until you have most of the puzzle. Otherwise your New Agers, with two pounds of incense, a new robe and three books of Aleister Crowley’s thinking they’re an Ipsissimus, can send themselves three different ways to Hell. So you have to have a responsible attitude toward this. Once it’s there, once you’ve got it you can say to people, “Hey try this.” I think the way people hang on, “We can’t give you that. That belongs to our Third Degree.” And I think, “This is what they said to Crowley.”
M.S.: Recently, several new organisations have been started, in particular the Philosophers of Nature because they found that many alchemists were starting from the beginning, reinventing the wheel, because the transmission of the knowledge was not happening. So much of in magic, Kabbalah, and the hermetic tradition has become secrecy bound. In SOL’s Website, you recommend Regardie, and make no mention of Crowley.
DAN: No, but when people say to me ‘What do you think of Crowley?’ I have an answer. I have great respect for the man. I have a great sympathy for the terrible upbringing that he had, I also think he was his own worst enemy. His cynicism was his downfall. But I notice that the people who are his greatest denigrators go into a lodge and work his kind of magic. It’s not that we don’t acknowledge him. It’s that I regard his self as dangerous for newcomers. But, when you reach a point, where I think, you’re going to make a good supervisor, or possibly head a working lodge. Then I will say to them go a head and read Crowley, and know where he is deviating, because of his own weird sense of humour. The guy did have a lot of problems, but he also did get quite a bit right.
M.S.: You’ve said that the Western Traditions were in danger. Are they also like Crowley, their own worst enemy?
DAN: Oh yes.
M.S.: What are they in danger of or from?
DAN: It is in danger of falling down under the weight of its own crassness. Nobody really wants to work anymore. Nobody has the dedication to say, “It’s going to take me ten years to get through this thing.”
M.S.: That is related to what I am so often reminded of, that we have no Masters in the Western traditions, as opposed to the Eastern Traditions, or at least purported to be, and many have commented to me, that their is no discipline in the Western Traditions, compared to the Eastern traditions. How do we bring discipline to the Western Mystery Traditions? And, where are its Masters?
DAN: Discipline. You see, I was trained in the Society of the Inner Light. Now that requires that you spend a certain amount of time in meditation, it also requires that you spend this time in early morning, because they say you’re closer to the sleep state at that point. You’re more likely at that point to almost, but not quite drop off, which brings about a lucid interlude. You’re required to write this down within ten lines. Not five pages for every entry. If you have to use ten pages, you’re not listening to what is being told to you in your meditation. Also, they like you to be able to condense what you’ve realised into something short, sharp, and explanatory. They expect you to have at your fingertips, a comprehensive knowledge of two traditions or pantheons, whichever you like to call them. You’re expected to study, to read, and they give you a book list. Now we follow something similar to this in the SOL. We are a little bit more forgiving, we allow you fourteen lines, instead of ten. And I say to people, more than fourteen lines and it’s going to get crossed through. So if your best realisation part is there, it’s not going to be read. We know that there are people who work split shifts, so we don’t say that you’ve got to do it at this time, but we do say we want a minimum of fifteen minutes. In the sense that if you’re not going to get anything after fifteen minutes, you’re not really going to get it after twelve more minutes, or sort of an hour. I don’t believe in hours and hours of meditation. The mind is tired and starts to fold in on itself. We do have a reading list, it is fairly comprehensive, it includes fictional works as well on non-fictional. We say to people, if you’re going to be a magician, you’re going to have to have geology, paleontology, archeology, art, history, as many languages as you think you can cope with, music, a sense of color, mathematics. There are maybe twenty-three-ologies, that you can use, because magic so comprehensive a subject. I think that the Western Masters, however, are mostly withdrawn. They tend to work through what we term the mind touch, overshadowing, or more rarely, the Indweller.
M.S.: You have to be a Renaissance person.
DAN: Yes, exactly. And using that term, One of the things I have been trying to get into my students’ heads, is that we have to begin to think in a new way. The old way of thinking is straight ahead. We must learn to do what the Greeks did in Thaleus, when Myles, started to think around corners. With abstract thought. There is Cerphalies, there is Anixaimander, Anaximedes, in that little tight community in Miletus, and they all started in that, new weird way. Which has been quite well put by Julian James in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, I don’t agree with everything, but certainly, it is a book that everybody should read. And we are at another kind of Renaissance now. And if we don’t start to think in new ways, quantum physics is a new way, were beginning to think at right angles. Edward DeBonno some years ago started the idea of lateral thinking. With the magician, it’s not just the idea of thinking around a corner, not just a question of coming up to this idea and going on, going at right angles. It’s a question sort of like a star burst, it goes in every direction.
M.S.: So it is three dimensions and even a fourth dimension.
DAN: Exactly! Because there is a point at which the three dimensions are not enough. It’s like an empathic link with the universe as a whole. Now we can have empathy between people. Between us and the animals around us, some people have an empathy between them and the plant world. My husband can plant a wooden pencil and I’ll swear it will come up and bud! But there is something more. To have an empathic link with the wholeness of everything is to suddenly come alive. And to use a ‘Gurdjieffism’, to ‘wake up’. The trick is to keep awake.
M.S.: Where do you see this new direction in magic and thinking going, and why do we need it now?
DAN: Science, pure science, is leading us in a sense astray. With the development of certain types of uses for nuclear devices. Leading us astray with the idea that everybody has got to have everything that they want even if it means polluting the entire environment. It is a case of lets just keep one or two canisters of the smallpox virus because we’ll never know when we might need it. Science is becoming very much a Dark Power, in many ways.
M.S.: That is almost an Anthroposophic view.
DAN: And I’m not too gun on Steiner, there is lot of his stuff that I don’t go for. He’s a bit prissy. But magic you know, and this quantum physics stuff, are getting closer and closer together. One of these days, the quantum physicist is going to wake up and find he’s a Magister Templi (Master of the Temple), and the Magister Templi is going to wake up and find he or she is a quantum physicist. They are getting so, so close, and it is worrying the hell out of pure physicist who are thinking we are getting close to this weird stuff now. But on the other hand they can’t deny what they are finding. Whereas a lot of forward thinking magicians are saying this stuff is great. This stuff is explaining what the Egyptians have been telling us for ages, you know. The trouble is people look back at what they perceive as a Golden Age of Magic. It wasn’t all that golden. They had as many problems as we have, different ones, but they certainly had them. Then everything went to hell in a basket when Rome fell, and the Dark Ages, with little pockets of Light here and there, and all of a sudden this wonderful Renaissance. It was like being given a second chance, everything began to surge forward.
M.S.: What we don’t hear about is that many of these artists and their sponsors were esotericists and were involved in the promotion of occult ideas.
DAN: And they were all wealthy people who had the time to do these things. We don’t. I mean I have to go out, I don’t take anything, not even a penny. None of the supervisors, not even my husband who is the other Director of the SOL. We take nothing. I go out and I lecture and I write. That is how I earn a living. I can’t afford to sit at home, and do what I would really like to do. Which is sit down and research and write. Nobody can these days. The last time they did this was in the Golden Dawn. They were people mostly who were wealthy.
M.S.: And the Golden Dawn never had more than several hundred members at its height.
DAN: It wasn’t that big, and those who were in it didn’t have to go out and do a nine-to-five. Florence Farr was a pretty mediocre actress she relied a lot more on other talents than her thespian ones. That isn’t say that she wasn’t a damn good magician at that time, she was.
M.S.: There seem to be reactionary tendencies toward magic, at least in America. The Golden Dawn styles of magic are what most people are familiar with. With that comes Crowley and his reaction to Victorian social and sexual values, and we have that here today as well. A lot of people studying magic find that their old values no longer hold, others use magic as an excuse to disregard any values they may have held or been brought up with.
DAN: They certainly do. But one of my big beefs about the New Age, but let me say, not all of the New Age is as bad as it seems. When it is good it is good, when it is bad, oh is it bad.
M.S.: Not unlike modern magical groups.
DAN: Oh boy, yes indeed! There is not a lot in the middle road in the Western Mystery Tradition. But yes, there always comes a point, where morals and ethics loom large. Now you can’t have two outlooks on this. People say either, ‘I’m this great magician and nothing applies to me,’ or people sort of stick to the ethics and morals within their areas, that they have grown up with. I’m a kind of in between point, because I was trained by (W. E.) Butler who was trained by Dion Fortune who was of the old school. My mind is always forward looking, and I am of myself in my own particular work looking toward that time ahead of my own, but I am stuck in the middle. Which is why the SOL has always been described as a bridge builder. We are not a cult, we don’t teach a belief. We teach a method of training your occult talents. We don’t say to you ‘You’ve got to be Christian’ like the Inner Light does now. We don’t care if you’re a Muslim, a Sikh, a Roman Catholic. We don’t care what the hell you are. If you want to be trained in this kind of stuff we will train you. What we will tell you is that it will give you a better understanding of your own belief system. All we offer is a training.
M.S.: Many esoteric groups say that, but when push comes to shove, many of the individuals take on the belief the new system becomes their religion. That is they take on the philosophy and ideas, they become so ingrained through their experiences and practises, that it becomes their religion. That is why when somebody asks me ‘What are you?’ It is a difficult question to answer in a single word. I know many esotericists in the some position.
DAN: Well, again we are coming up against terminology. There should be a word that you can say ‘Yes, I am a…’.
M.S.: I know some who simply say ‘I’m a hermeticist.’
DAN: Well, that covers a multitude of good and bad. We are at a point Mark where its white water, and it comes at the end of every hundred years, and more so at the end of an Age, where we are approaching or within.
M.S.: The New Age movement is fundamentally built on a vision of doom. It is contradictory, but on one hand you have the belief in “Think and Grow Rich” and on the other hand, the belief that world will end in the year 2000. But even within the Hermetic tradition, going back to French esotericism and Fulcanelli, there is a sense of a historical as well as initiatic understanding of the Apocalypse, and that is something I don’t see Western esotericism addressing. Is hermeticism essentially apocalyptic?
DAN: I think that there is something in the human psyche, that when it approaches a big mark up point it tends to get doom laden. In the year 1000 people were giving away everything they owned including large castles to beggars at the gate. You know, and preparing to be taken up into the New Kingdom. When it didn’t happen they came along and swiped it all back. I think that this is something that is deep in the human psyche, that come hell or high water you’re going to have this sort of doom and gloom aspect. I’m a confirmed optimist. I think that the Apocalypse is going to be in this new way of thinking. Somewhere between now and 2020, there has got to be a break though. Not just in science, we’ve done that, but a breakthrough in the human mind. We are going to be able to grasp a concept, a way of thinking. We are going to be able to make a realisation, that encompasses our species. I think that is what it is. The feelings of doom, of hopelessness comes from that part of the combined human group mind that says ‘I’m not going to make it. I won’t be able to change,’ and if you don’t change, you’re going to go under.
M.S.: Will this translate into a change in physical reality we know?
DAN: I think, perhaps, there will be concern with the way we are able to use our brains. Let me put myself out on a limb here and say, something that I said yesterday, I think it won’t be long before we see the first of the mutants. And I’m not saying that in a sort of Hollywood occult movie sense, but mutants in the way, people who already border on P. K., empathy, telepathy, there is great emphasis on empathy coming into the people, even at my age. I’m what is known as a psychic sensitive, I’m not an objective clairvoyant. If there is anything around, I can tell you what it like, where it is going to go, and what it is doing, but I also have a gift of empathy. I can take a group, any number of people, give me an hour, and I will bind them into group mind that you will be able to taste when you come into the room. People that I am close to, I can pick up on, and it doesn’t matter what parts of the world. If they are in great pain, great mental distress, I will pick up on it. And more often than not, pick up a phone and say, ‘Yes John.., Yes Elizabeth…’ and this little voice comes, ‘I wish you wouldn’t do that!’. Empathy the is easiest of the magical talents to develop. Because we all have it to some degree. We just don’t recognizee it as a magical talent.
M.S.: I know several people who began their occult work with a sense of empathy, or even developed psychic abilities. However, after a period of time, they begin to lose those abilities. This is somewhat of a problem with the kabbalistic students I’ve met, because they read books, such as Dion Fortune’s Mystical Qabalah, and it is so compartmentalised, that it actually reinforces interior barriers rather than diminishing them.
DAN: Kabbalists all over the place are compartmentalised. They think in little boxes. This is what I meant in a sense by thinking around corners and thinking in different ways. They have to climb out of the box. Strangely enough, with the Kabbalah, once (Pico) Mirandola had started the ball rolling, everybody climbed on the kabbalistic bandwagon for a couple of hundred years, and then all of a sudden they stopped. People began to take the Jewish idea that what was written mustn’t be changed. Everything’s got to change. If it doesn’t change it dies. First thing, we’ve got to do, is say, ‘Yeah, I’ll change this. I’ll change that.’ Dion Fortune started it, but she didn’t go far enough when she said it’s the Yoga of the West. She began to Westernise it, and let’s face it, the Kabbalah is basically a Middle Eastern sort of concept, and she began to expand it into the Western way. But she didn’t go far enough, and she died before she could really do anything about it. However, she was slowing down. She was in a sense, coming to the end of her flowering. I doubt if she would have taken it much farther. Charles Seymoure went right afterwards. Christine Hartly retired, a wonderful lady, superb seer, she didn’t do anything once she lost Seymoure and Dion Fortune.
M.S.: Seymoure was her magical partner and Dion Fortune was her magical tutor.
DAN: Yes, yes. Then Ernest Butler comes along. But Ernest was compartmentalised in the sense that he was an ordained Christian priest in the Liberal Catholic Church. Although it came out of Theosophy it was still bound with conventions. So he tried, and passed on to me, seed ideas. He said to me quite out of the blue one day. Take what I can give you, but change it before you use it. I didn’t understand what he said until three or four years later.
M.S.: Some of the criticisms of Kabbalah is that it is too difficult, complex, and overly symbolic. Some students even seem to get locked in the symbolic matrix, as an endpoint in itself, not progressing to the truth behind the symbol.
DAN: You see symbols were made to be doorways. You don’t stop at a symbol and say, here, this is an equal armed cross with a circle around it. You’re supposed to go through that symbol and find out what’s behind it. I find this mind boggling, I really do. You see, I had an advantage. I was born into an occult minded family. Nothing was hidden, anything that they knew I knew. I was encouraged to sit at the table and talk with grownups. O.K. I was an only child, this was reasonably easy. My Father has encouraged me every step of the way. I was brought up with the idea, that if you didn’t know, you stuck at it until you found a thread somewhere, and you followed that thread and found out. So for me, a symbol is just a beginning. To what is behind the symbol. It is not just a pretty decorative pattern. You take it and you chew it.
M.S.: How do you chew it?
DAN: You take it apart. You look at it, and can use any one of a dozen ways. I teach my people to use what we call association hooks. Look at it, wait and see if another symbol comes up, add that to the first one. Wait and see if another one comes up. When you’ve finished all that lot, kind of sit and look at the symbol. Use the Jewish or Indo-Tibetan idea that every letter of the alphabet is a living being. You do that with a symbol, and you make a friend of your symbol. And you give it a name. ‘Hi Fred! How are you doing?’ And the symbol sits there and says, ‘I’m doing O.K. What would you like to know today?’ ‘Well listen Fred, I’ve been thinking. You know, you’re always drawn in this way, can you give me an aspect of yourself that was before this? ‘Well, let me think.’ says Fred, ‘I used to be drawn like this…’.
M.S.: So then, do you actually dialogue with the symbols?
DAN: Oh, yes. The crazier a thing is, the more it’s going to work.
M.S.: Is that like in the Sufi and Tibetan traditions where they have what’s called “Crazy Wisdom” or the belief that the more bizarre a things is, the more it will breakdown our conventional barriers?
DAN: Exactly! Exactly! I again, go back to my family. We’ve got a nutty sense of humour. It is one of the whole things about the family. Ernest used to say to me, and it is one of the ways in which he broke his own mold, he never used the term subconscious or lower self, he used to say that is the Power Self, that is the Foundation, that is your Yesodic (Hebrew: Foundation, or autonomic nervous system) thing, the machinery of your personal universe. This is where all the power is, unfortunately it is as dyslexic as hell and can’t read! So you have to feed it images. I was brought up, believing that all magic is the basis of fantasy, imagination, visualisation, and desire. Those are four, nice solid, little foundations, and you build on those. Now “George” the Power Self, is immensely powerful, and is linked not only to your consciousness, if you allow it, but also to your Higher Consciousness. …The Power Self, or Yesod, touches everything. Yet, we’re sitting here on this immense knowledge, and nobody’s taken notice of it, because everybody says, ‘Subconscious, the Lower Self, poohoo.’
M.S.: That is the major problem that occurred in the last century with the Theosophical Society, and the reason for the formation of magical societies such as the Brotherhood of Luxor, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the reason for much of the cross-organisational membership. The Theosophical Society wasn’t teaching anything practical, and it brought with it the Victorian/Indian prohibitions about sexuality. Since the subconscious and Lower Self are intimately related to sexuality, they felt something was ‘wrong’ with it.
DAN: Oh, you know about that!!
M.S.: How did you get the idea of writing a book on sex magic (The Tree of Ecstasy), since that is an idea so often related to the Eastern teachings of tantra?
DAN: Well, I’ll tell you. First of all, I was brought up with the whole idea that sex was a real good thing. Nobody ever told me that it was dirty, or it was wrong, or ‘no dear, please don’t touch yourself there.’
M.S.: So, then, your parents were hippies, before there were hippies.
DAN: My parents definitely were not hippies, they were very straightly brought up. But, if I asked a question, I was given an answer. I’ve had two marriages, and between my two marriages six, or maybe you could call it seven lovers. Also, apart from, and besides my kabbalistic and hermetic training, I have a deep and abiding love for the Craft (traditional English witchcraft). In my training, I was made privy to some very, very ancient and traditional Craft. In order to protect this, it was needed that I give blood oath to protect these things. But the blood oath was also mixed on a sexual level, the fertility of the land, the people, and the cattle. I worked with that particular group of people for four and a half years. I had copied all their stuff down by hand, because it was beginning to split up, and it was essential, fertility was a part of it, and the tradition was over one-thousand years old. I also went through Gerald Gardnerian stuff, not because I either thought a great deal of Gerald Gardner’s stuff, it was mostly Doreen Valiente. Gerald Gardner mostly went around and collected it. He missed half of it, they saw him coming, believe me Mark, they gave him what they thought he’d like. I have got, in my possession, more chants, and old songs, and old ways than Gerald Gardner ever thought possible. He was into this sort of ‘starclad,’ ‘skyclad’ stuff, and believe me, in England, anytime of the year, it’s too bloody cold to go skyclad. It was an excuse to take their clothes off. I’ve never been one to deny what it is after all a God given gift, if we are going to use the G word. Because, very early, I understood the Yesodic center, is that around which all creation, and all magic flows. It is the be all and end all of magic. Magic is sexual because it is creative. But you try telling that to people and they go nuts. Then you get people like Yvonne and Gavin Frost writing about tantra, when they haven’t a clue what tantra is. I was sent their book on tantra for review, and I sent it back to the publisher and said, ‘Look at this tripe!’ I mean they’re saying, you know, sort of come in and be a tantrist. Grab a partner and you know, either or, and sort of just find a hole basically and use it! This is not tantra. You go to the East and a Tantra guru will say to you, now you sit down and work for five years, and you don’t even look at a member of the opposite sex.
M.S.: One school of tantra suggests that sexual imagery is to be used only symbolically. It is used for arousal, but was never meant to be taken seriously, as ritual intercourse. The old stories told about the Medieval Rosicrucians is that they took ‘water spirits’ for wives, and such, but that actual sexual acts were not part of the training. They wanted all the benefits of sexual imagery, without the actual practice of ritual intercourse. One Wiccan authority comments on homosexual covens as being a uniquely American contribution, and Gareth Knight has strong feelings about homosexuality in a magical context. What are your views of homosexuality, particularly in the magical context?
DAN: As I said, I was trained in the Inner Light, which regards any form of homosexuality as, not only perverse, but an actual disease and they’ve come under a lot of criticism for this. I stuck my neck out fifteen, sixteen years ago, and said I thought this was wrong, that if anybody came into the SOL and was homosexual, as long as their intentions were right we would train them as far as they wanted or were able to go. Which we say of anybody — we will train you as far as you are able to go. Not everybody can make it through to an Adeptus Minor, and attain realisation of their Higher Self. People are going to want to stay at a certain level, they are content, it is their first incarnation if you like working in the mysteries. They don’t want to go farther. Others come into it, progress to where they left off last time, and are raring to go. I got vilified, and hauled over the coals, and slung out, well requested to resign from the Inner Light, because they felt there was a conflict between my working with the SOL and the Inner Light at the same time. So, yes, in a way I got kind of removed, and this was basically one of the reasons. Because I said, I don’t care what your sexual proclivities are, what I do want is dedication, application, and loyalty.
M.S.: Some esotericists have told me that they have trouble working with homosexuals in magical work, but not in mystical work. The reason offered was that magical rites required a polarity that wasn’t as obvious in mystical undertakings, and that there might be on an unconscious level some form of reaction either magnetically, sexually, unconsciously, or all of them. Gareth Knight, in A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, has some very strong positions on this subject.
DAN: Yes, he really has a great problem with this. So do most of the people who come out of the Inner Light, it is so ingrained. If I was pushed up against a wall and threatened, I would have to say, that magic does require polarity, particularly when working in a lodge format with a magic ritual. I get over that, by saying to people when training them, if you have a homosexual of either sex, try to put them opposite one of their own kind who is their polarity.
M.S.: You are referring to the ritual circle and the stations of the officers?
DAN: Yes, so that we are still getting in a sense, a male/female polarity. I would, for instance, put a dominant male in the East and for lack of a better word, a subordinate male in the West. Then I would say you’ve still got a polarity. It may not be as good or as forceful as a true male/female, but it will work to a degree. You know, you’ve got to accept the fact that nothing is ever going to be as good as the real thing. But you can use what you’ve have, providing you do it as best as you can.
M.S.: The reason I bring this up is because it is a real technical problem, and good partners, particularly magical partners are hard to find. People have a preconceived view that we must be open to everything, and that there are no boarders or boundaries but that this a technical problem that can affect magical groups, and even friendships.
DAN: The ideal is two male, two female working together, but why cut off your nose to spite your face if you’ve got somebody either a male or female who is lesbian or homosexual, who is perhaps a very good psychic, or clairvoyant, or upholder, who doesn’t have anything particular to say, but who is very good at pouring power in. One obvious way is not to put them into situations where they must not have polarity. Put them either as the Seer or the Seeress. Put them in as the Guardian. Give them an androgynous male female symbol. After all, people who go on about this, if you’re into Kabbalah, look toward the heavenly androgyny. You do have a precedent there don’t you? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water sort of thing. What I do have a problem with, I don’t like all female or all male groups. That does not work. It does work, in what shall we sort of say, male or female rites of passage type things. That’s O.K. That’s not High Ceremonial Magic. It doesn’t need polarity, you can get away with it. That’s why the Old Craft people, the Old Religion sort of do a lot of this kind of thing, but in High Ceremonial Magic you do have to find ways in which people who are of one sexual proclivity or another can work, and can offer service, and any power or talents that are within them. You just can’t say to people, I don’t like the way you’re mad and sling them out. There are people that are within those areas, who are capable, dedicated, and do powerful work. Those talents have to be used, you don’t let talent go to waste, wherever it comes from. In talking about this, as I’ve said before, I’ve been working with something the last eighteen months that is based on this idea that area, that point within the human being, this Yesodic Center, is far more powerful than we have ever thought. It is the point of creation.
M.S.: The alchemists acknowledge the gradient transition of creation from one phase to another. Within Kabbalah, this is stated, but there seems to be an almost built in dualism, in the idea that the material universe is so far separate from the origin point, that we need to go through all these different levels to get back. This is particularly strong in the Golden Dawn material.
DAN: Yes, but if you fold it the Tree at Tiphareth, the center point of harmony, Malkooth, the material universe, and Kether, the origin point of creation, are the same. But then so are Yesod, our sexual-unconscious/Power Self and Daath, Awakened Knowledge.
M.S.: I was thinking earlier when you talked about thinking at right angles, that Daath is often said to be ‘a right angle’ from being into non-being, and non-being into being.
DAN: It is Knowledge, Daath is Knowledge. It is the apple on the Tree, and the Lightning Flash of creation is the snake. Ernest said to me that you can have all the knowledge in the world, unless you understand it, it won’t become wisdom.
M.S.: Why are there so many warnings about rituals that involve crossing the Abyss of Knowledge, or even meditations on Daath? In planetary work, we can’t work on Saturn unless we bring it down to Daath, or cross it on some level.
DAN: I’ll tell you something about that. All this hoo-hah about the Abyss. Humanity has been building bridges over large chasms as far back as it could put two bricks together. If you can’t cross the Abyss in your imagination, then get out of the ball game. It is one of the biggest myths, and it is there as a psychological barrier, and if you have anything in you, you will head up and over that, without any trouble. However did that Indiana Jones, what Spielberg. I’m convinced this man knows his Kabbalah. In the Holy Grail, when you’ve got Indiana Jones trying to get up the courage to put one foot out, and I thought, if that is not the art of going into Kether, nothing is. (The Abyss) is to protect those who do not have the courage. That’s not to denigrate. There are some people who say, I can’t do this but I’m going to try. There is in some people, such a desire for knowledge, such a desire for understanding, that they will go into a state of non-being to look for it. You do, you get whirled into this point, where the point is you, and you are also everything outside the point. That brings on an enormous sorrow, because you’re everything and you’re nothing. You want to get back, and yet you don’t want to leave, and you go into a state of total acceptance. You give up yourself. Then you move into Hockmah.
M.S.: This seems to be the contradiction of magic?
DAN: Magic is full of paradoxes. Magic is a paradox.
M.S.: In the East you give up you will, and you take the teachings of the guru unquestionably, or you work toward renunciation. In the West, it is more like Roberto Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis, where you must build something before you can give it up. We build up our will, talents, abilities, ego, and then at some point we surrender them. However, we spend so much time building it up, that often we don’t want to give it away.
DAN: You know, the Golden Dawn has levels of initiations, the SOL has three. When we take people into initiation, they’ve reached a point of responsibility. You are now responsible for everything that you think, that you are, that you do, and by accepting responsibility for all of this, you lift that responsibility from the Saviour of the Age. If we put it in a Christian context people grasp it. It is almost like saying, to the Christ, I’ll lift you up so that the pressure is not on the nails.
M.S.: That is a Sign of the Station of the Cross. We carry the Cross of Christ with us.
DAN: Exactly. But, there is a point where that no longer becomes enough. We start to get proud of the responsibility, I can do this because I’m willing to take responsibility. There comes a point where that Still Small Voice Within says, it’s time to take the next step. The next step is, give the responsibility back to me. Now at first that seems like an easy thing to do. But now, when you’re giving it back, you’re giving it back consciously. Before you had that first initiation. If things went wrong, the Saviour of the Age accepted it for you, and took the burden. Then you took on the responsibility and got very proud of it. Now you’re giving it back, and everything that you say, or do, or become, or whatever, you say to yourself, ‘Am I going to be hanging on this guys feet again?’ Am I going to be putting more nails in again, I have to sit down and think about this.
M.S.: When I interviewed Jean Dubuis the founder of PON (Philosophers of Nature), he said, that we have to be very careful about giving demonstrations of psychic and esoteric truths, because it can put a burden on people that they are not ready to bear. It becomes a form of psychic rape, in that at death a person could always say, ‘Father I didn’t know!’ and now they are responsible.
DAN: That is why with our second initiation, the first is offered, but with the second they have to come and say ‘I am ready.’ It happened to me. Ernest used to say, an initiation comes either spiritually and out of the body, or physically, but one always carries the promise of the other. My husband said to me some years ago, and I said out of the blue, “I’d like to go to Chartres.” Now I am not particularly Christian, yet I say that as an ordained priest in the Liberal Catholic Church. For some unknown reason, that was where I had to be at that particular time. I went to Chartres for three days, and was totally lost in this magnificent place, with all this wonderful stained glass. But it wasn’t the Christian concept that was drawing me there, it was something else. I was there when they opened the damn thing in the morning, they had to throw me out at night, they had to throw me out at night. I lived in the place. The last morning I went there and had seen just about everything, I thought, what do I want to repeat, and there was a Mass going on in the little side chapel Our Lady of the. Now my French is very rusty, but I went in and knelt down with all the old ladies in black and got up when they got up and knelt down when they knelt down. I always managed to cross myself in the wrong way. Halfway though, something hit me and I had the most intense physical pain I think I’ve ever had. Childbirth is a doddle compared to what I was going though, and the sweat literally poured off me, it was dripping off my face and it was icy cold. I thought I don’t know what is happening to me, maybe I’m having a heart attack. But it is in the wrong place, it was all hitting me in the solar plexus. Right in the middle of all this, somebody is saying to me, “Now give the responsibility back to me.” I caught on right away, and said, “No, I’m happy where I am thanks.” And it went on, and went on, and it went on until in the end I said, “All right, I’ll give it to you.” This immediate release, and it was like being cushioned, cocooned in a light that was both light and dark. For the first time I had a concept of black light. Which had nothing whatsoever to do with Satanic of evil, it was still light.
M.S.: What some call the Primordial darkness.
DAN: Yes, it was quite incredible. I went back, and I couldn’t explain it, or talk about it for the better part of ten days. Mike kept asking, what happened at Chartres? And I kept saying, I can’t tell you. I don’t know what happened at Chartres. But at that point, everything in my life, both everyday and magical, this is going to sound daft, it got edged with light. It opened up areas, both in my physical brain, and in my mind, that I hadn’t been using before. A few days later, the contact behind the school said to me, now you are ready, now I can indwell, but only if you allow it. And there was absolutely no hesitation, that was it. It did change a lot of things.
M.S.: You call the SOL a fully contacted school. What does that mean?
DAN: Ernest, who was a very good medium and trance subject, was in the Inner Light, and came to Dion Fortune and, ‘I have been told to leave, there is work for me to do.’ She said, by whom, and he said, by this particular entity, and there is work for me to do. Dion said, give me twenty-four hours. She then came back to him and said, go with my blessing, there is work for you to do. The contact will be with you know for the rest of you life. Ernest went away, and together with Gareth Knight and John Hall set up what was then the Helios Course. When Gareth, wrote the first six lessons and decided to do something else. Ernest said, all right, I will finish the rest of the lessons, and the contact came and said, ‘Right, now hear this…,’ and Ernest sat down and he wrote all these lessons. That contact more or less said to him, what I’m giving you is the core of a school that has been in existence before, but when its time in that ERA was finished, the core was lifted away and stored, now its time for it to come back for the next time. Here it is. So the whole school has grown up around this contact. We’ve now reached a point, were good though Ernest’s course was, and I never thought, when I was younger I would say this, it is now getting to the point where it has to be replaced. And it is scaring the hell out of me that I’m going to have to be the one to replace it. I still have this little bit of hero worship toward Ernest that thinks anything he did can’t be surpassed. What the other half of me says not surpassed, but upgraded, uplifted, and updated. The contact was passed to me, he overshadowed Ernest for many years, and now I’m landed with it. But it has this disconcerting habit of waking me up at three thirty in the morning, and I wake up and write things down, switch my computer on, and this that and the other. He says, ‘you take this and you do that, and this is how you do that, and this is how you work up the Tree.’ And I say, this is how Ernest did it, and he says, ‘No, no. This is how you are going to do it.’ So I’m now in the process, of remaking, rebuilding, and re-energising, the lessons. Ernest’s work is still good. And basically, it is a mild form of tantra because what it is doing is bring in up the energy from the Yesodic, or sexual, center to the thousand petal lotus, if we are going to use an Eastern term, to make it realised. People don’t usually catch on to this until about lesson forty-four when they say, ‘Oh’ and the light dawns. He uses tarot card, ritual, Pathworking, or guided meditation, and other methods to bring this about.
M.S.: I sort of sensed that, in that Ernest was trained in the India in his early days, and while he tells us not to do pranayama, he hasn’t completely washed his hands of Indian yoga.
DAN: Oh no. He didn’t mind people doing hatha yoga, but the breathing things contradicted, and sort of negated the breathing stuff that we do. So this is what he was saying, don’t try to put too many eggs into one basket. But, the course as he wrote it, is getting in a sense too loose. Like knicker elastic, it’s been in the wash too many times, and your underclothes are beginning to slide down over your hips! When the Helios Course was written there was nothing else like it. This was in the early sixties. It was like manna from heaven for a lot of people. They didn’t realise that this stuff was available. But now, you’ve only got to look at the plethora of occult book shops. The world and his wife are writing books! It needs to be updated, because so many people are coming into SOL with enough knowledge to take them through the first year. The only thing that is different about Ernest, is that he wrote trip up lessons. The infamous, lesson five for instance. People hit that ant their lives go berserk. I’ve gotten into the habit now and tell people, that hit lesson number five, or if your lucky number six, and your entire life is going to go to hell in a basket. You’re going to change everything from your politics to your socks. What is happening, is that the inner level pressure, is saying, ‘That is an interesting mind, well we don’t need this and we don’t need that, and by the way, your wife’s not going to be too much good to you, so she can go as well…’, and people are sort of getting divorced, and moving to other counties, and giving up fifty thousand pound a year jobs and going into a twelve and a half thousand pound job because it feels better.
M.S.: That seems to go against the promise of the New Age movement though. Magic and mysticism are offered as panaceas to our ills, yet the reality is, that once we start down this path, the cracks in our personality and life aren’t filled in, instead they are dug up and we are forced to rebuild from scratch. This causes many of them to throw up their hands, and give up their studies altogether.
DAN: Our people come back. We just had one, who left twelve years ago. It’s wonderful! That says to me that the school is good, that the contact is good, and that it is still there, that the work has validity. Because they’ve been able to carry it, the seed with them, they’ve nearly always said, “I kept on doing the Noon Salute or I kept on doing the evening review.” And I think, well all right then. That is what we mean by the word ‘contact’. If there is no contact, if there isn’t that link, that arch thread, then they don’t come back, because there is nothing to come back to. It’s like the idea in Scientology, that if you link once with somebody, either mentally, or very deeply socially or sexually, the link is there between you. Now we sort of use that in a different sense to Scientology. Where the teacher behind the course says, yes, I’ll have you. Bang. You’re branded. And then, whether you go, or whether you stay, you are his. And at some point, he will reel you back in, and will say, ‘Now do you understand?’ and you will say, ‘Yes, I am ready to go on.’
M.S.: Like the biblical story of the prodigal son.
M.S.: You spoke earlier about magic having the basis of its belief, the idea that we can in some way become masters of our lives, our destinies. Yet, so often, people who study magic are materially worse off than their neighbours, and their esoteric studies are criticised as having a negative impact on their standard of living, and quality of life.
DAN: Ernest Butler was a priest and felt that poverty and spirituality went hand-in-hand. Israel Francis Regardie, dear Francis, read me the riot act and said, what the bloody hell is this guy teaching you if you’ve got to worry about the electricity bill you can’t be spiritual. Go out and earn yourself some money girl! So I kind of fell between two stools. So I spend my time working very hard. I spend my days, doing sixteen, seventeen hour days most days. It is quite a holiday to come over here really. I don’t take holidays, because I come over here and I have whole days when I get to just sit and talk to people or I even get to go to bed early, or watch television. I went to the pictures the other night, and the movies as you would say over here. I saw “Mission Impossible” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t often get time to do things like this. I’m in the office by nine o’clock, and I come out of it about ten or eleven. It is easier now that my husband Mike is retired. That’s what’s nice about this work, you don’t have to retire.
M.S.: This seems to be a reoccurring theme with many magicians, particularly neo-pagans. There is a very good book written called, Never Again the Burning Times, by Loretta Orion, which examines the neo-pagan community in the U.S., and how many of them earn a living. Most of those surveyed make less than the average wage. This contradiction between philosophy and material reality, causes many to ask them the questions: if you can control you destiny, why don’t you have a better quality of life?
DAN: There are different sorts of ways of looking at quality. I don’t have a big house. The biggest room in my house is not as big as this one. I have an outside l’eau, not as well as, instead of. However, I have put two children through university, and I travel the world. I don’t drive, I prefer to look at scenery and let other people drive.
M.S.: But you also live on a small island.
DAN: Yes, I also live on an island. I’ve travelled the world. I don’t go hungry. I am not young enough, or have the figure for Christian Dior clothing, so long as it hides all the faults in my rapidly aging body, that’s all it really needs. I can afford to by books, and to go out once or twice every two or three months to dinner. I don’t need any more. If I could have once luxury it would be to travel business class. I’m fed up with going in the cattle truck! But, on the other hand, the people whom I come over to speak to pay what they can afford to hear me, or take whatever teaching I can, but they can’t afford to send me backwards and forwards business class. But that is a small part, I really do get around. South America is really the only place that I haven’t been to. I’ve had riches! To have a penthouse in New York, and apartment in Montmarte, and a flat in London, I can’t live anymore at once. On the other hand, Mark, if I want, I have a place in Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Hong Kong, Bali. These are people who have said to me ‘Dolores, anytime you want to come, this is your home.’ I have homes with families. I don’t need anything else.
M.S.: Let’s talk about angels.
DAN: What are they not? They are not the fluffy, Victorian, Armani-dressed, curly-headed, beings of somewhat doubtful sexuality that Victorians loved so much! We really get most of our ideas about angels from people like Michelangelo, and Raphael, and of course, the Victorians. But, they’re aliens. Lumps of energy floating around that have been ensouled for one particular thing. You don’t get an angel, apart from the archangels, that seem to think and correlate thoughts, and feel in the same way, or near enough to the same way that human beings do. Most of them, are sort of small bundles of energy, they pop up, sing hallelujah, praise the Lord, or some other thing, and then disappear again. The cherubim are the angelic hosts of Yesod, the Almighty Strong Ones, who are imagined by cabalist to go around stark naked, bulging with muscles, like Arnold Swartzenegger without the loin cloth.
M.S.: Like when he beamed-in in ‘Terminator’?
DAN: Yes. Each one, you’ve got the Chasmalim, or Brilliant Ones; the Seraphim, or Fiery Serpents, as opposed to the Cherubim, the Ashim, the souls of Fire, the Eralim, Fiery Circles with wings, Thrones, princes, dominions, all these things that have got, this means that there is a concept of form that is different for each one of these. We are not talking about the archangels here, but about the angelic hosts. Durer, when he was depicting some of the archangels took things literally. He gave them a body that was sort of like a star burst, and actual Doric columns for legs, because they were described as having legs like columns. Then again a vague a cloud with two eyes because the features could not be perceived. This is closer to what an angel is, or might be seen as. I was taught to perceive them, and to use them symbolically, as geometric shapes, because, those are basic forms.
M.S.: This is one of the criticism of Kabbalah, is that it is too anthropomorphic, and that the constant visualisation of divine beings in human form is in itself a kind of astral trap. To really understand them, we need to understand them as abstract energies. This is where geometric meditations, meditations on the names, spelled in Hebrew, or some other form, of meditations come in. Instead of making look like glowing humans with wings, robes, and great hair.
DAN: Once I get students past a certain level, where their minds are loose enough to start putting new concepts in. I tell them to look at angelics, and even their concept of a creator, as an energy pattern. Now, in a sense, the Tree of Life is an energy pattern. You’ve only got to look at that, and that’s almost like looking at the pattern of an atom. It looks something different with the tail at the end. But an energy pattern. And again, we are coming back to quantum physics here. Quantum physics is getting to the point where it is saying we are all made up of particles. If you look a this in a cosmic sense, we are physical bodies, with a series of cosmoi, with huge spaces between them. This is enough to starting turning a new students’ mind brown around the edges. It starts to smolder a little. But if you start them by saying, anything with regard to an angelic host in Binah, the Sphere of Understanding, think of it as a triangle. Because that is the geometric shape of Binah. With Hockmah, the Sphere of Wisdom, a strait line, and if you must slap wings on something, slap it on that. A winged staff, you’ve got a caduceus. You’ve got to get into their heads, and then you’ve got a wedge in, a foot in the door, you can start to open up their imagination. Dion Fortune put her finger right on it when she said, the Masters as we know them are all imagination. You have to take that sentence apart and look at it syllable by syllable almost, to get what she’s all about. I remember, saying to my contact once, “Well, at the moment you’re a disembodied voice, what do you look like?” And the response was, “What do you want me to look like?”. Of course, I with my sense of humour said, something tall, dark, handsome, and well muscled. Which immediately got projected into my mind. And I said, that’ll do, do you drive a car as well? But, again what I have is a symbiotic relationship with something that is not and never has been and never will be human. I don’t attempt to explain it more than that. I don’t care if the people I say it to think I’m a nut, I know what I’ve got, and how I’ve interacted with it for the better part of a quarter of a century, so it doesn’t really worry me what other people think. But, I’ve said to this companion of mine, how does this work, why is it so important that you are part of my actual particle makeup, and what I got back was something totally amazing. Have you ever come across the concept of the fairy wife or fairy husband? The fairies do not have souls, as tradition says, but if they can become one with a human being, they share a soul. What I got something, almost, this is where the whole thing began, there are those who are able to accept the symbiotic relationship when it does happen, it gives the entity, who is so old, that it is capable of being a teacher because it has all the knowledge. It is not human, it lived in a cosmos beyond, maybe three or four, nights of Brahman away, and it has opted to serve, and therefore is held in the dream of the Brahma when it sleeps.
M.S.: These are the Cosmic Masters who are so often referred to?
M.S.: There seems to be some contradiction in one sense. There are those who say that Masters do exist, and to some degree do become incarnate.
DAN: You’re talking about the Lords of Humanity. I’m talking about the Lords of Mind. Lords of Flame, Lords of Form, Lords of Mind, Lords of Humanity.
M.S.: What are their differences?
DAN: Lords of Flame are the entities that come out of the Dream of Brahma at the beginning of a cosmos, and who take upon themselves the building of the laws that will direct that cosmos. And we’re talking about things like gravity, centrifuge, force, all of the things that must be in place, before things can actually begin to happen. After this has been worked out, and the framework of the cosmos has been put together. Things begin to take form, then, out of those Laws come the suns, the stars, the planetary systems. When those are in place, this is the works of the Lords of Form, they must be, if it is possible, life must be encouraged to form. And of course it doesn’t have to be oxygen breathing, two legged, and what have you. That is their work. When one of those life forms, starts to look up, and say, “I wonder what they are. I wonder what I am?” That’s when the Lords of Mind come in, The Lords of Mind are the teachers, at least as we in the occult world speak of teachers. Eventually, human beings begin to, or part of a life species, begins to go beyond a rest of the species, and they become what the old Egyptians called, Just Men Made Perfect , the Justified Ones, that is when they, begin to take on the responsibility of teaching their own species. And for a while, you get the Lords of Mind and the Lords of Humanity working together. Menaleck, the son of Solomon and Balckis, is considered to be the Ethiopian Master, Hypatia was one of the justified one, all the way through history you get human being who have evolved to the point where they can start to teach their own kind. And who free themselves from the need to incarnate, although they can incarnate, and can say “I have been human. I have walked the Earth.” The Lords of Mind cannot say that.
M.S.: Is this part of the mutation you mentioned earlier, these Just Men Made Perfect?
DAN: This is the beginning of it. My contact said to me that this, the Aquarian Age, is the last Age when we will provide a saviour. After this it is up to you. That is a terrifying thought, to provide you own saviour of the age. This means with the Age of Capricorn, we are going to be lumped with the Lord of Humanity as the Saviour. What the Lords of Mind are saying, is we won’t Indwell, or Overshadow, another saviour after this one, we will help you one more time. Then you’ve got to do it yourself, you’re grown up, you’ve come of age.
M.S.: The idea of the Avatar, the avatar is that point in the Ganges or other rivers where you can descend and enter into the water. That is the root of the word, and the descent, or Overshadowing as it is called, is part of the avatar’s incarnation process. It was pointed out to me that an avatar only appears when and where it is needed most. And while so many take joy in this idea of a Saviour, what they forget is that it has got to get really bad before one generally appears. Darkness is the cause, and the Cosmos is saying “we’re going to give you a shot of B12 here to get you going.” Jump start the engine.
DAN: I think all the way along, these saviours seem to have come from special blood lines. I know there are a lot of people screaming about genetic engineering and that, but, if you like the bodies are genetically engineered, so that they produce, from what I understand, is a very loose etheric body that can be shoved over to one side. This allows something else takes its place, which acts and reacts with its surroundings, and chooses a group around it that it can teach, and therefore, provide a nucleus to go on and out. It is like a miniature explosion. You sort of get an atom, that atom then becomes a sense a double, because it has got an Indweller, or Overshadowing, and then the explosion moves out affecting all the other particles who then become little nuclei themselves. But this destroys the center one, and it will always be destroyed. As Osiris was destroyed, as Orpheus was destroyed as the Nazarene was destroyed, they don’t last long. For one thing, the enormous amount of energy that is needed just burns them up. The endocrine system just goes haywire.
M.S.: How does this fit into the two theories that say, either the Christ force will return in the form of a single person, such as another Jesus, or instead, will be a general descent of consciousness on all of humanity?
DAN: Of an understanding. An ability to use more of the physical brain than we’re using at the moment. Colin Wilson is very hot on this. We’ve had many a discussion on this idea, he’s got this into his head, and I quite agree with him. We are capable of doing, understanding, creating, of expanding so much more than we are doing. We’re just afraid. We’re looking at Indiana Jones hesitating on the edge of that abyss again. I mean now we’re looking at our entire species. It’s sort of got one foot out, waving around, and thinking, “Do I dare put this foot down?” Can I trust? And we are not trusting ourselves. How many times, Mark, have you had a thought in your head, and it’s come up trumps, and you’ve sort of thought to yourself, “Christ, if I’ve only put the money on that horse!” Or “If only I bought that lottery ticket.” I was watching the Pennsylvania Lottery a few days ago and amusing myself by forecasting the numbers. The only one I didn’t get right was the last one. But of course I hadn’t bought a ticket! I have one of the most totally useless pieces of prognostic talent you could ever wish to have. I will sometimes say to my husband, “Do you remember such and such? I would love to see that again.” Then, within ten days, it will be on the television. I can smell it coming, and it rings a bell in my head. The last time I was over here, April or May, I was laying in bed the night before I left Philadelphia, and thinking, what I really want at this moment, is to get to Boston, find I’m the 10 millionth passenger, and that they are going to give me a free ride first class, with a bottle of champagne, and a bunch of flowers. I turned over and went to sleep. I got to Boston. The girl said, “I’m sorry Mrs. Ashcroft, we’re full back there.” I thought, ‘Oh, they’re going to bump me!’ Instead, they decided to upgrade me. I get on, and went home first class, plus champagne. The only thing I didn’t get was flowers. And Mark, you really can’t carp with two out of three.
M.S.: That is reminds me of the old saying, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. Specially when we take on this role of being our own saviour, and we become responsible not only for our actions, but thoughts as well. Along this line, I’ve found that many ceremonial magicians are excellent at visualising complex symbolic imagery, but when it comes to a straight forward visualisation of, as you’ve said, “I want an upgrade on my flight, or a better job,” or something similar but very tangible and concrete, in their lives, they often fail.
DAN: It’s because they don’t believe. They don’t let go of the thought form they’ve created, and allow it to do its thing.
M.S.: We were talking about angels, I was wondering if we could go back to that for a little bit. Are Guardian Angels just our Higher Selves, or is it a distant relative watching over me as some have claimed?
DAN: I think occasionally, a relative that’s gone over may hang around for a while to see a much loved grandchild or child, through a difficult period. I don’t regard that as a Guardian Angel. I often tell a story in my workshops of a picture my late mother-in-law gave my daughter when she was five years old, called, “The Guardian Angel”. This was of two small children playing near the edge of a ravine, chasing butterflies. They are over the edge, they gone, they have not a hope in hell, they are on their way down. And there is this benign stupid looking thing with wings going….. He’s not doing his job! These kids are gone. They’re dead already.
M.S.: The Guardian Angel is not to escort us to the afterlife, but to protect us from getting there prematurely.
DAN: Exactly! It’s not doing its job. I really do think, in a sense, that we are our own Guardian Angels. But we don’t listen to ourselves. What we don’t listen to, is what I am continually telling people in which nobody really, to get down to the nitty gritty believes, is that there is a piece of Divinity in us. And nobody believes that. They say, Yes, yes, we know that…
M.S.: Isn’t that why we invoke the gods?
DAN: Yes, because we can’t believe. It’s got to be out there. If it’s not out there, then it isn’t real. Yet, this, I really cannot go along with. This is where it is (pointing to chest). In a sense we are our own Saviour, our own Guardian Angel. If we think of God as “Our Father which art in Heaven..” we are shoving it out there again. This is a real cop out. That way we can blame. If it is in here, we have to accept it. We make our own universe, we make our own lives, we make our own environment, when we, our species can be totally individualised, and recognizee ourselves as Malkooth (the Kingdom) joined with Kether (the Crown, or origin point). Khala the Bride on the Throne and Crowned by Kether. Then, in a sense, Osiris comes together, all of the bits have been put together, including the all important phallus, the important creative point. Around which everything seems to evolve, but everybody is pussy-footing around it. ‘We really mustn’t talk about this, it isn’t nice….’. Some occultists are more prudes than you can shake a stick at.
M.S.: One of the things I remembered most about angelic forces, When you call on an archangel, some people think that they are calling on some guy named Michael, instead of looking at what that means in Hebrew, “Who is like God.” So when we call on Archangels, we are really calling on these qualities, or ideals, not individuals.
DAN: When you call them, you are invoking them from within yourself. I mean you can do this another way. You can take the spelling of the name in Hebrew. Here is Mem, here is Heh, here is Lamed, and you can say to yourself, these are symbols, and get a power out of these as well. I make my lot, take the letters themselves apart, and make up little vignettes of the little hieroglyphics. Make a pathworking out of this. Some amazing stuff comes out of that.
M.S.: This reminds me of some of the old medieval schools of Kabbalah, in which the Tree of Life is dispensed with, and only the Hebrew letters, and Divine Names, or mantras are used for meditation. The letters are then seen as energetic patters, and if linked together, to form a Name, they would then be imaged like a sine wave on an oscilloscope or similar energy reading device.
DAN: Yes, exactly!
M.S.: It is suggested that when we drawn the sigilium, or those funny little lines, of the various names over magical squares or talismans, we are really drawing the literal energetic pattern of the forces invoked.
DAN: I think it is, I really do. This comes back to what I was saying, that, these particles of which we are made, of which anything is made, including those energy patterns we would call angels, are vortexes. If you take a particle down, past neutrinos, you get vortexes, little whirlpools of energy. This is amazing, because what it really means, is everything is the same. Everything is one of those, in various combinations. And if that is what everything is, that is also what the space in between everything is. And therefore, nothing is separate. Which, again we are going into quantum physics her. I can say ‘the cup and I are one,’ and as I touch it, there is nothing between me and the cup. The edges are blurred, the energy of the cup, and the energy of my fingers are interacting, that is why I can say, I can feel it. If I could alter my perception, I could put my finger straight though it, because basically, if I expanded the universe of that finger, it would be particles, miles and hundreds of thousands of light years between each one. So, theoretically, I should be able to move through it, it is a fourth dimension.
M.S.: Do you then believe that physical time travel is possible? I noticed that it is the topic of your upcoming London workshop with J. H. Brennan.
DAN: I think it is. I really do. We have an exercise, called points of focus. A point of focus, is a point in time, in which you want to be, or want to zero in on. We use it mostly, in a watching aspect. But I teach them to be very specific. I want a date, and I want a time line. That then limits you, because you can’t know what you are going to see or where you’re going to be at that moment. I’ve had people get a little wary of this, because they tend to have their mind materialise half in and half out of something, and then they have to come back and readjust and go on. I think that it is possible. Let’s take old Ezekiel and his vision. It occurred to me more than once, one of our lot landing, or possibly someone from further ahead than us, sitting down and scaring the life out of this little guy. Who probably left a vast wet trail behind him. You know, then we’ve got Elijah, who actually left, he lifted off!
M.S.: This leads into an area not well discussed in the Western traditions, but is well explained, complete with techniques, in the Eastern traditions of Manchurian, Tibetan, and Chinese yoga, the idea of the ‘Rainbow Body’. Where at the end of their life, the adept literally takes the physical body with them. You have Jesus doing it, Mary, even Mohammed, complete with his horse is said to have ascended bodily into Heaven.
DAN: And you’ve got disappearances. We’ve got guys who walk into the middle of a field and disappear. We’ve got a small boy who goes out to feed the horse in the barn, yells twice, “Dad come and get me,” and he’s gone. There is a phenomenology going on, and some of the things, we do not, at the moment, have a handle on. But, I for one, am not prepared to say, this is impossible. Because I don’t know.
M.S.: How can we know for certain?
DAN: Nothing is certain, the universe is a whole pattern of uncertainty. Brahma can wake up inside his dream. He can have a lucid moment, and where the hell are we then? Which brings us to the aborigine dream time. I once asked an aborigine when did the dream time happen, and he looked at me as if I was totally nuts, and said, it hasn’t stopped! It always has been, it always will be. And there are quite a few aborigines who disappear.
M.S.: In First Steps in Ritual you give a rite called the ‘Defender of the Land’. Yet in the United States, occultists tend to keep to themselves, and often fall into what is called counter-culture. Historically however, they have always been the ones that have pushed us forward, whether it be Francis Bacon, Thomas Jefferson, or the people they knew and we’ve never heard of. Yet, in this country we are almost handing over our culture to those who would be its worst defenders, the fundamentalist Christians, or left wing, who would have everything fall apart and not value any of the struggles that have gone on. Why have esotericists surrendered their role of being at the forefront of defining cultural norms?
DAN: I think you will find this idea of the defender very much alive, for instance, one of my lodges, Lodge Merlin, has somebody is on watch on the shores. I think for the moment, what your talking about is happening here in this country. In a sense it is all apart of your adolescence You are after all only two-hundred years old, and just moving into your rebellious teen stage. Years and years ago, Llewellyn put out Gnostica, and I wrote an article in which I said I thought, the American race would become very much the prime esoteric race. I based this on the fact, that I thought the Red Man, the American Indian would vanish, and he would vanish into the blood line of the Americans, and be the binding substance, the mechanism by which all were drawn together, because he was the first, and in a sense would be the last. While you still have areas where there are all Jews, Italian, Hispanics, until that goes, until somebody decides to stir the soup, you can’t be one. When the red man, in a sense, becomes the binding agent, then America will recover its spirituality. He will be the link, and his will be the power, and he will reclaim the land he had to give up. He won’t do it as the American Indian, but as the Higher Self, if you will, the spirituality of this race. I am firmly convinced that America has an enormous future. It is going to have to fight quite hard for it. I think that it’s got to gown down into the dark before it rise out. But then all adolescents go down into the dark, before they rise up and become human beings!
M.S.: That goes back to the role of the avatar. We only have the opportunity to see the light when things are really unpleasant. I noticed that there is no mention of Enochian magic in the material you have on your website. Why all the warnings about Enochian, and its purported dangers?
DAN: Enochian is very tonal. I was trained as an actress and singer many years ago. Sound has a very strange effect on me. I can go straight into a trance where it is concerned, without any hesitation. One of our supervisors, left many years ago, in order to take up Enochian. He’s a very, very competent occultist, a very good ritualist. Quite a down to earth person. And two years later, he was a nervous wreck. He’d set aside one room in his house as a temple, furnished it, and for two years, almost every day had spent some time in there, either practising a call, or doing longer Enochian rituals. It started with him going in one day, and finding all of the furniture piled in one end of the room. He put it back again, and said to himself, ‘this did not happen.’ It happened again, and again, and finally one day he found his altar upside down. He de-consecrated the entire place and shut it out, and said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Whatever it was thought “well maybe he doesn’t want to do it anymore,” but it did. He began to find things around the house, all bundled in a corner, standing on top of one another. He came in one day, and found two of his books, one flat, one on edge, and a glass of water standing on top. He tried everything, he blessed the house, cleansed the house, and called in a priest and had it exorcised. One of the things people don’t know about exorcism, is that you can’t really use exorcism on things that are older than Christianity. In the end he gave up all forms of the occult, sold all of his books, but not before he damn hear came to the edge of a nervous breakdown.
M.S.: Jean Dubuis (founder of The Philosophers of Nature) said to me that the 18th century French rite of the Elus Cohen is similar to Enochian in that it shakes up the system so dramatically, that when the pieces rearrange themselves, you pay a heavy price. Why is Enochian so hard hitting?
DAN: It’s sonics. Sound is the basis vibration of the universe All those little vortices may get sent going the other way. Sound is really very powerful. We haven’t gotten quite to grips with that now. I know for fact that there are defence systems based on sonics. I say I don’t do any (Enochian), but I was persuaded by Herbie Brennan, a couple of years ago, at a Masters Class, to join in an Enochian ceremony, which was for invisibility. Now you’re talking about forty odd people here. Granted, all of them are fit to be in a Masters class, some five or six years and some a lot longer. We are half way through this, and I’m sitting there, and I look down. Now I have trouble with heights, and what I’m looking at is total space. I’m thinking, ‘I didn’t see that.’ Afterwards we come out of that, I say, “Didn’t you see that? There was nothing there!” He says, “I didn’t see anything.” This was a Saturday night. My daughter was driving up from Yorkshire, the following morning. Now where we held this is in a place called Wellington Park, and it is up on a hill. From the top of the hill you can see six counties. Tammy was driving up. We were saying isn’t this a beautiful day, you can see Worcester, and Silvershire, and Lincolnshire, and Tammy was going round and round, because she couldn’t find the place. When she finally got there, two and a half hours late, she said, the fog was incredible. We said what fog, She said, what have you two been doing, making yourselves invisible? She didn’t even know we were doing this particular ritual. We always have to kind of knock ourselves out. We have to get out of… We have to accept that we can do these things.
M.S.: What advice can you give to aspiring esotericists?
DAN: Record everything, no matter how small, because you’re going to be able to refer back to it. If you record things, you’re going to find, patterns of things, and patterns are important, because you can then see the patterns form before it happens. You can prepare for them, and go into the experience. You are not afraid of the experience, and record it as it happens. The only way to do that is to record it. It is no use saying, “Oh, I’ve got a good memory, I’ll remember that.” I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing. You’ve awaken in the middle of the night and thought, “that’s a brilliant idea, I’ll remember that,” and in the morning, zilch. So no, I do not go to bed unless I have either a tape recorder, or a pad and a pen. I put it down. People don’t realise, just imagine if people like Dion Fortune had a tape recorder. We would have her voice, we would have had her thoughts, we would have a blow by blow account of her development. Even Ernest, who pounded these things into my head, did not make his own recordings. For some reason, we don’t want to make things permanent, to put things down. We are afraid that when we go to read it, it is going to sound too daft. To make a record, means that we can leave something behind. It is a map into a country that we are exploring.
M.S.: How did Shakespeare put it, “The undiscovered country”?
DAN: “…the bourne from which no traveller returns.” I said to Pat coming over here, I wish that at the last moment of breath, we could slam one of these things (a tape recorder) into some body’s brain. Not to long ago I said to somebody, that nothing in the universe has the reality that we grant to it. It is only because we have organs of sight, and organs of hearing that we can actually hear and see things. What we are actually perceiving are waves, and we translate them into objects. There is a point at which you can actually reverse that, and pass into a nothingness, which is pretty much as what was down there (during the Enochian ritual).
M.S.: Is that the use of the symbol then? To take the concrete and trail the line backwards, through the abstract, to the infinite?
DAN: Yes. It’s like going back to the Ain Soph, the Primordial Nothingness from which all creation came.
M.S.: Some people say that there is a limit to how far we can go while incarnate. That we can’t really experience some of these higher levels on the Tree. Is that an absolute statement, or ones that’s relative?
DAN: I think it’s relative. To be quite honest, I think that human beings can go as far as they want to go. The only thing that stops them is fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. Yeah, there are things that I’m scared of, but God, my curiosity is bigger than my fear. My Gemini mind hates to think that there is anything there that it doesn’t know about, and I’ll press on. My Scorpio ascendant is saying “don’t do that, let’s sit here” and thinks about it, what’s around the corner, and my Leo mid-heaven is saying, “can we make money out of this?”
Oh God, I love life! I really do!!