I don’t have time for the scholarship that I intended to do to thoroughly bind this topic, but some insights have come to me piecemeal in a forty-year magical career, so let’s just go with it for now. Maybe later there will be the book this topic deserves.
The Cabala uses the term “The Tree of Life” to describe its world. Hermetists working the Cabala are simply told the shape of it, the ten worlds and thirty-two paths corresponding to structures in the Torah, and various names of the Hebrew deity, Archangels, Angels, and other powers and correspondences and told to meditate their way through it. As part of my work of it, I have performed magical eucharists of the ten Divine Names as well as of the Egyptian god Osiris, and have meditated and skried my way entirely through it. This has occupied the better part of two decades for me and continues.
The Chinese taoist system has what constitutes a “Tree of Life” which is based on a glyph system of three long or short lines. It is possible to arrange these three lines in eight different ways. Each of these arrangements is a world: Heaven, Earth, Fire, Water, Mountain, Thunder, Lake, Wind. The movement from one world to another can be arranged sixty-four times constituting the sixty-four gua of the I Ching. This is worked physically in tai chi, and it is through extensive work of this World Tree that one is enabled to enter what is called The Great World. My Norse powers consider tai chi to be “perfect.” Whereas all of the other stuff we are working on, including the Hermetic Cabala, is partial, fragmentary, and full of traps, many of which I have fallen into, leaving me in a real state, the taoist world tree is complete and its physical form, tai chi, is one of war. It is by tai chi that we defend ourselves from destructive energy more than actual enemies, who are thankfully kind of scarce at dawn in the local park.
We are not told explicitly why the Cabala is supposed to be a tree. Why isn’t it just a scheme?
The Norse world has a tree with nine worlds in it called the Yggdrasil which I have just started to explore. On the trunk of this tree are the runes which Odin secured by hanging for nine nights upon the World Tree in great suffering until he finally brought them forth.
I studied a Mayan language in Guatemala and did extensive research of the Mayan culture, which is extant–barely. They also have a World Tree which possesses nine worlds like the Norse. As archaeologists studied Mayan culture, they noticed that every town had a special hill or indentation. When the natives were asked about it, they uniformly replied that this hill is where First Father raised the World Tree. The archeologists had no idea what this meant, only that it was universal. Naturally the rich financed a civil war and the Protestant missionary work that dismantled this culture, for its way of life is a key to breaking the permanent aristocracy of souls that I have talked about earlier.
When the ancient Romans established a town, they made a round disk of stone with a fish on it and installed it in a known location with great fanfare and sacrifice. This was to be understood as the place where the dead entered the underworld. This is why the catacombs where the Christians met had a symbol of the fish–it was identified with the death gods. (It is my experience in Solomonic magic that the sea gods were brought in multiple times to save me and then I ignorantly moved away. This most recent time was a very close call and I am instructed to remain a block from the sea for god’s sake until things get better.) In Christianity, the goddess Mary–from “mar” or sea–is associated with Saturn and death, and her prayer, the Ave Maria, is the principal prayer of the rosary. In Latin it coordinates breath and heartbeat to leave the supplicant in a semi-trance state that is healing and elevating of consciousness. In my experience, the Ave Maria can bind women and the Pater Noster can bind men. Women are bigger in the underworld. A ratio of ten to one was probably wise in binding the destructive energies that interfered with healing and the extremely wonderful practical magic that can be done with the Latin rosary if one is working with the gods of Solomon, for they can arrange it as it was done in the old Church.
Earlier I discussed the fact that my uncle, whose soul entered America as a Japanese soldier who was born to an enemy soldier in the time-honored way of Odin, told me the Tree of Life is an underworld structure and that I must work it. (Lama Bob adores the Thelemite variant because Crowley put so much work into it. Dion Fortune as well. Paul Case was a bit of a cheapskate in this department, and his Cabalistic underworld is correspondingly impoverished. Note to Builders: read the forbidden books. You will be happy you did after you die and your world is not boring.)
It is clear to me, then, that anciently the Tree of Life was a symbolic structure that ALL humans learned and worked, from the Arabian peninsula to China to Norway to Guatemala. Since the more shamanic schemes had nine worlds, it was probably originally nine; the highly civilized Chinese reduced it to eight for the sake of the glyphic structure, and the bookish Jews expanded it to ten because the Torah contains ten Names of G_d. Anciently the shaman tree was tied to a geographical location in your village. When you died, you got up out of your body and walked to the entry to the underworld where you were pulled into a chthonic energy structure that is physical.
I have seen candle flames leap six inches. I have seen them split in two and the two tongues lick at each other. I am quite certain that this stuff is fairly physical. The Norse sagas describe the dead not staying very dead, and the problems that presented for the living. Not that my family would know anything about this, having seen them as visible sparkles in the air like the rays of a Walt Disney magic wand.
(The Solomonic spirits I work with consider Walt Disney to be the greatest wizard of the twentieth century, by the way. There is much we can learn from the fusion of entheogens and folk tales for children, wildly crazy in his studio’s early work.)
The Tree of Life was meant to be a real way for you to hold together the denser energies of your soul so that you did not split into various energy layers and “disir” into (enter and eat) your clan, consuming their energy and life potential for generations.
As I have worked in absolute loyalty to the chthonic gods, they have secured the illuminated deva of a real tree in the local neighborhood who works with me in the runes and in the Norse work. It makes me quite sick to work with this great being, especially when there is an evocation involved. Bael is very intense in this regard, who also has many energies that are ancient.
I suspect the trees of one’s village were part of the death technology of the area.
At one point, the Amerindian powers who were working with me took advantage of an evening walk through a park to show me the many ghosts stuck to the trees. They were people who had lived in the nearby houses and were kind of elfin in character. I could feel how they were in death. This was a wealthy neighborhood where I temporarily resided, one where much spiritual work of the Hermetic class of people was done, and I was able to read them quite well. I learned of seances and Christianity and the soft, gentle, timeless world of women and children that I find so entrancing. I can read the wealthy whites. I am told the spiritual energy of wealth is part of the apparatus of ceremonial magic, so it tends to draw vision into their worlds. This is also why so many other workers have tried to kill and enslave me; I would evidently be a great money spirit.
I can also read the beautiful underworld of the South, because that is my principal witchcraft. It takes some doing to get into the soul view of a world, and once you are in, they want you to stay. You can learn a lot about the underworld itself by having the magic of Solomon and going places and kvetching with the local underworld. It is something I love to do.
Back to the Hermetic Tree of Life.
We Hermetists work this thing with the instruction that it is to assist in our spiritual development, and it does. But it is mostly an underworld/afterlife civilization, and the worker who DOES the thing for many years constructs an underworld for themselves, clan, lovers, and others. This in and of itself is a great contribution to the world and should not be underestimated, and the magic of Solomon is not for everyone. Throwing away everything you own because it is chthonically stabilized in NORMAL is not what I would expect of most people, nor the extreme risk of imminent death at the hands of ordinary humans who don’t know why they’re killing you, except that you make them uncomfortable. And some are killing you in their sleep.
But this blog is about the nuts and bolts of Solomonic magic, so let’s have it.
Arranging one’s life to be able to work the magic of Solomon enables the underworld one has built to extend into the chthonic functionality while one is still alive. This is probably the best way to do it, in that the gods do not “mate” with dead wizards in the same way they do the living. It’s who you know. There are also gods within the body itself who make things possible for the living that are not possible for the dead. Note to self: not so much YouTube. Power work of the living is dozens of times more powerful than that of the dead. The dead lament of how “dim” their world is when all they get to do is “make” and how vibrantly HIGH everything is when they get to relax and eat the children. I have a big fight with many of my Protestant Anglo ancestors. It is the Mexican ancestors who know how to make and function in this way, and it has been a devil of a struggle to get past the blockade to enable them to function. I am going to insist on the Virgin of Guadalupe, folk altars and spells, and traditional Catholicism in Latin for anyone who wants to practice Solomonic magic. It so much easier with ghosts who know what the devil is going on.
Solomonic magic will involve the operator in a significant amount of isolation from other humans and a very strange way of life wherein you are always with the gods, but if you can use the magic of Solomon to discover the ancient gods of your Deep Self–or godforms who can be used as such–and work them within the Cabalistic Tree of Life and Solomonic magic, they can bring the underworld into the chthonic energy type that will enable the operator to perform real healing of the living and even healing of the dead.
The Tree of Life is worth doing. Its continuation is the Greco-Egyptian magic of Solomon, not the magic of Enoch, which has a completely different underworld construct, beautiful and entrancing, but probably never a worldwide system like the ancient shaman tree that left nearly universal traces in world mythology and is still extant in the Cabala, some Mayan communities, and Chinese Taoist practices like kung fu, tai chi, Traditional Chinese Medicine, etc.