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The Magical Alphabet

Mer-Amun MerAmun

Beginning its Study and Assimilation


 What is the Magical Alphabet?

As the title of this paper suggests, we are here concerned with beginning the study of the Magical Alphabet.
  the magical alphabet
It is called an alphabet because, like letters, it is a system of component symbols that are used to formulate and communicate ideas.
It is called magical because, the alphabet itself, as well as the ideas it formulates and expresses are definitely of a magical or esoteric nature, and do not directly apply themselves to the specific, mundane events and things we normally speak and write of.  The language of the Magical Alphabet is more concerned with recognising, and dealing with, or expressing the infinite implications and phenomena, of the central Truth behind all things:  The True Nature of the Mind.  This is the true meaning and significance of the words magic or magical, which comes from the Persian word Magia, meaning wisdom.
This central truth (about which the Magical Alphabet is totally concerned), the true nature of the mind, is expressed in an infinite number of ways:  languages, religions, philosophies, events and phenomena.  The Magical Alphabet is a clearly defined and delineated system for coming to an intimate, deliberate, continuous awareness of these many ways in which this central truth manifests.  It allows one to see this central truth in every event, in every phenomenon, and this is the seeing of the Magi.  It accomplishes this end, by providing us with a total frame-of-reference composed of triggers that constantly remind us what we’re really seeing and doing, of who and what we really are. When the Magical Alphabet is assimilated into one’s perspective, the associations between everything we’re aware of, and these triggers of Remembrance, provides a foundation for never leaving the perspective of who and what we really are.  It allows us to both explore and understand the *meaning* of who and what we really are, and also provides a framework in which to learn to *act* like who and what we really are.   what the magical alphabet shows us


The True Nature of the Mind

By continuously seeing the true nature of the mind in everything that presents itself to one’s awareness, there is an unbroken communion with our own true nature.  That central truth (with which the Magical Alphabet is totally concerned) could be put in this way:
  the true nature of the mind
  • Every single thing in the universe is aware, in a sense, and thus has a mind.
  • The universe itself is one gigantic mind, and every single mind in the universe is of that very same mind.
  • Every thought in every mind is a being that shares the same mind and the same awareness.
  as above, so below (chaldean oracles)
  • Therefore, all things are of the nature of thoughts:
    • 1. All are EMPTY, like dreams, completely void of separate self-existence.
    • 2. All are AWARE, like you are, for we share the same awareness just as all thoughts in a mind share the same awareness.
    • 3. All are helplessly RESPONSIVE and luminous, continuously radiating experience.
  ayin ayin soph ayin soph aur 
Thus, when one studies the nature of the Mind, one simultaneously studies the nature of all things.  When one understands the EMPTY nature of the Mind, one understands the empty nature of all things.  When one knows the AWARENESS of the Mind, one knows the awareness of all things.  When one is in conscious intimate communion with the RESPONSIVE nature of the mind, one is in conscious intimate communion with the responsive nature of all things.  These are the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of the Magi.  It is from the conscious intimate communion with all things, arising from understanding the basic nature of the mind that all the powers of the Magi arise.   man, know thyself! (chaldean oracles)


Why Study A System?

Knowing these simple facts about the basic nature of the mind is one thing.  Using these things as a basis for our thinking and acting is another matter.  We may know that we are “all immortal, without beginning, and without end, for the soul of the Universe is our soul”, but how many of us act like it, or think like it?
  we may know, but do we act like it?
Everything we perceive and act upon is done by comparison to a frame-of-reference.  We know what is “normal” and what is not, by comparing with the majority of our experiences.  We determine good or bad events and things by comparison to a standard or goal or a norm.  For example, we determine a good price for something by comparison to the market, and we judge our own personalities by comparing our behaviour with others.
  frame of reference is the key to how we act
This frame-of-reference, a collection of measuring sticks painstakingly gathered through the experience of a life, is exceedingly important, for regardless of what we may “know”, it will always be our frame-of-reference that determines, in the end, what we will do, and what we will think.
  measuring sticks: rulers that rule
It follows then, if we are to think and act like the Empty, Aware, and Responsive flowering of the total Universe that we are, then we will have to adopt a suitable frame-of-reference for our thinking and our acting.  No matter what we may “know”, or what we may have experienced, it will not have the slightest effect on us or our lives unless the knowledge or experience is incorporated into our basic frame-of-reference.
Obviously, if we are to build frames-of-reference based on reality, and not man-made sociological “norms”, or even our instinctively automatic biological conditions, then we are going to have to adopt a new “frame-of-reference.   our frames of reference must be transformed

Building a New Frame of Reference

Clearly, the most fundamental truths about the nature of the mind should be at the root of our frame-of-reference.  We should hopefully be able to compare any given event or phenomena with the fact that it is Mind, and that it is directly exhibiting the Empty, Aware, and Responsive qualities of that Mind.  This type of comparison, this type of frame-of-reference will necessarily throw everything into a much more open, free, and sane perspective than a comparison with an artificial “norm” or a biologically arbitrary list of “possibilities”.
  a new frame of reference based on reality
Alas, our minds are habitually more complex than this simple but profound description of reality, and when dealing with our lives, we are not satisfied with such a simple observation.  The instinctual and social frames-of-reference we are faced with transforming are considerably more extensive.  We like to make more and more comparisons, building our perspective to countless degrees through countless different angles (some people more than others).  We must then, begin to build this new frame-of-reference to pacify this habit, and replace the constant comparison and labelling of phenomena as “good” or “bad”, “desirable” or “undesirable” etc.  We must learn to stop “interpreting” and “labelling” and “judging”, and perceive reality naked, without these kinds of interference.  We must learn to make our comparisons and labels based on naked demonstrable reality, on the true nature of the mind instead.  The new carefully designed frame of reference should eventually collapse upon itself or self-destruct so that we perceive and act out of pure and direct interaction, directly with naked reality itself. Then we will surely see what is True, that all things are indeed One Organism, One Being, and we will cease our “pushing and pulling”, our discrimination, our projections, and our games, and truly think and act knowingly like what we really are, and live up to our full potential as such.   a whole sturucture of values and associations to be revised
Our practical tasks then are two-fold: to continually practice the awareness of who and what we are, of who and what the Mind really is; and to learn as much as we can about the mind, its workings, its frames-of-reference and its associations, so we can adjust them according to our Experience of Reality, rather than our narrow programming.    we must meditatewe must study the nature of our values & associations: the workings of the mind
We should explore as much of our minds as possible, searching out those basic truths behind each association, each component in our frames-of-reference.  By exposing the Empty, Aware, and Responsive nature of the Mind behind each and every one, we can transform and supplement our present lives into something far beyond our wildest dreams.
  we must expose the basic sanity underlying all of it
Since all phenomena are of the nature of the mind, then one could equally study any particular phenomena and thereby ascertain the nature of the mind.  But if one does not have the ability to “see” the nature of all things in every phenomenon, then one must have help.     help is necessary


The problem is that this experience of the true nature of the mind is so intimate, and so simple, and so common to all beings, that we take it for granted.  It is so automatic that we are not normally aware of it, like the functioning of your liver, which you are not normally aware of.  Help is required, to cut through the complexities of perception and conceptualization, and actually look for yourself at naked reality.
  basic sanity is so automatic we rarely know of it
This help must necessarily come in two forms.  First, because the true nature of your mind is an EXPERIENCE, and not a fact, it cannot be written down and learned from a book, nor a tape recorded speech, nor a video demonstration.  This act of “pointing directly to the nature of the mind” can only be done in person, by someone who is truly a “Seer”, with whom one has built an intimate relationship capable of sharing such an intimate experience.  This is the true, and only Initiation.  Without this Initiation, it is impossible to fully know and appreciate the true nature of the mind.  Without it, it is impossible to attain to constant, conscious, intimate communion with all things.  So the true powers of the Magi are unattainable without true Initiation, no matter what books are read, no matter what practices are done.
  pointing directly to the nature of the mind
When this true Insight into the nature of the mind is acquired, most people require investigation and practice in applying the Insight before they are able to truly “see” it in all phenomena, before they are fully aware of its implications and manifestations, and before they can make practical use of the Knowledge.  Or in other words, before they can revise their frames-of-reference accordingly.  Otherwise, the real Experience and Insight provided by Initiation is forgotten and degenerates into a mere intellectual view at best, and a narrow one at that.  For this kind of person, exploring the entire spectrum of events and phenomena, applying the Insight and investigation to each one would seem an insurmountable task.  A second form of help is needed.
  practice & investigation are necessary
What is needed is a well-organized system for mapping out, classifying, and identifying all the different manifestations of Mind, and its properties.  Such a system should be able to point out the significance of, and put into a proper perspective, each perceived manifestation as: Mind.  It should also provide a carefully structured frame-of-reference to which all can relate, and this structure must be based on the mind itself and its properties.  Then, being in constant communion with all things as we always are, through such a frame-of-reference we might be more and more aware of who and what we really are, and learn to appreciate what that means, and learn to act like it who and what we really are.   the need for conscious appreciation of the mind and its properties


Why the Western Magical Alphabet as a Frame-of-Reference?

All magical systems, philosophies, sciences, religions and arts are ultimately attempts at building such a frame-of-reference, at building an appreciation for the mind and its properties.  We are choosing the Western Magical Alphabet here for several reasons.
First, and foremost, is the fact that the system itself is designed and based on the properties of the mind itself, unlike other systems.  Science, for example, is based on the repeatable observations possible in, and only in, a “controlled environment”, and thus, has the limitations defined in the descriptions of “repeatable”, and “controlled environment”.  The Magical Alphabet, however, being based on the mind itself, has only the limitations of the mind, making it a perfect system for studying the properties, and limitations of the mind.
  The Magical Alphabet is based on the mind itself
Secondly, because the mind naturally learns, remembers, and applies itself by “association”, the Magical Alphabet itself is also a system of associations.  This makes it very easy to use and learn, and has the added bonus that when learning the system, one is already using it.  That is to say, that the act of learning the system is itself a mind-revealing process, teaching us to appreciate the associative-thinking that we all use.  This makes us ever more aware of the way our minds work, demonstrating further and further the EMPTY, AWARE, and RESPONSIVE qualities of all things, including our own minds.
  associative thinking is the secret key to the magical alphabet
Thirdly, because no particular thing or event has any real inherent self-nature, being EMPTY like a dream, our minds seldom deal directly with any particular thing or event.  Instead, our minds tend to focus on the RESPONSIVE nature of the phenomenon instead, and for these different RESPONSES to attention (awareness), the mind invariably uses symbols designed by associative thinking.  Now, the Magical Alphabet, being based on the mind itself, has the very same properties as the mind.  It is a system of symbols designed for and by associative thinking.  By studying the symbols and the associations between the symbols, we not only learn to consciously see the way our minds perceive and produce things as well as the way our minds associate things, we also practice seeing our minds “in the act” as well.  This forces us to be continuously conscious of our minds and what they are doing, how they work and why.  This again constantly demonstrates, and “triggers” us to Recollection of  the EMPTY, AWARE, and RESPONSIVE qualities of all things.
  an alphabet of directly associated symbols
Finally, since our view of the world around us tends to closely reflect the way we think, and the way we view ourselves, it is only a matter of time before the student begins to see the same symbols and associations in the world around him, in the Universal Mind, finding an almost automatic, intimate (as though it were his own mind) understanding and SYMPATHY with everyone and everything around him.  Immediately visible become some normally hidden (occult) qualities and relationships between people and things, and these objective observations are seen with the same clarity and intimacy as if it were the observer himself involved (objectivity is ultimately obliterated).  To others this knowledge of the associations between things in the universe, and the abilities implied by such knowledge seem like magic.  But to the Magician, there is only the Mind, and the constant demonstration, enactment, manifestation, or play of the mind.  All the while, he sees everything being obviously EMPTY like a dream, sharing the same AWARENESS, and being amazingly RESPONSIVE in an ever-surprisingly infinite variety of experiences.     symbols & associations applying: as above, so below


How to Build the Magical Alphabet

Since the system works, like the mind itself, with associations, and symbols, the main thing to be done is to begin building a library of associated symbols and exploring the qualities of the associations and symbols themselves.  The results of this effort are cumulative, that is to say, the more one learns, the easier it is to learn more.  Associations become easier, and of wider consequence.  This makes the next associations even easier, and of even wider consequence.
  two things to be done: build library of symbols, explore them
(Incidentally, there is literally no end to the scope these associations can take.  A single trigger is all that is needed to recall an entire language, or world, or encyclopaedia that may usually be completely unknown to the magician.  Thinking of yourself as the Awareness, completely Empty, like the stuff that dreams are made of, and powerfully Responsive, all you need to do to travel through time, or space, or experience, is to shift your attention.  Associations are literally like roads and highways by which your awareness can travel effortlessly through space and time and experience, at the speed of thought.) (Incidentally, space = 3 dimensions, time = the 4th dimension, experience = infinitely more simultaneous and co-existent dimensions.  We are multi-dimensional beings, experiencing more than one thing at the same place and time.)
So far, in this paper we have been able to stick to the mind itself, and its properties, but here is where we meet the limitations imposed by our individual embodiments and their characteristics.  No two individuals think alike… that is to say, no two individuals have the same background of experiences and associations to work with.  Each individual has his own haphazardly built library of symbols, and his own randomly defined system of associations.  These are built by our own individual experiences, conditioning, and habits (or karma).  These symbols, and associations will not necessarily be based on the mind itself (and therefore, not on the true nature of the universe) but only on the small experience of this one single speck of dust lost somewhere in an infinite universe of similar specks of dust.  This means, if we are to expand our consciousness beyond our own personal existences and onward to include other “realities” and beings, and worlds… the whole universe, then we must begin to supplement and reclassify our libraries of symbols and associations.  In simpler words, we have to train ourselves to think differently, to think along the lines of the universe and its properties, not merely along the lines of one individual and his past.
  we already have a library, based on one ego it must be expanded and improved to include much more
Like the mind itself, the Magical Alphabet, once it has been mastered, incorporates all possible symbols, and all possible associations.  But mastering it is the main problem the student faces.  It is necessary that someone guide the student through its systematic learning and its use until it is mastered.  Because of the above described limitations involved with personal libraries of symbols and associations, the student is forced to learn another system of symbols and associations.  The student must try his best to think with the new symbols, ideas, and associations instead.
  learning to think differently


Since those interested in taking to heart this article are interested in the Western systems of the Occult, we will be primarily concerned with symbols of ancient Qabalistic style and origin, for they have more greatly influenced Western Occultism through the centuries than any other single style.  Remember though, that the choice of any particular style has no bearing on what is being learned.  Remember, it is not the symbol nor the association itself you are really concerned with, but the ACT of using symbols, and the ACT of using associations that demonstrates for you the true nature of the mind.  Using the ancient Qabalistic style has many particular advantages, among which is the fact that it can offer immediate familiarity with more western occult systems than can any other style.  Thus, the benefits from building the Magical Alphabet with this particular style offer a greater chance to deal with any other particular western system you may be interested in or to transcend all cultures, and deal directly with the mind itself.  
  qabalistic style is used for background in western systems
So much for the theory.  Now for the real work that must be done.  Since the Magical Alphabet is a system of associations, we should theoretically not have to do any straight memorizing.  We should be able to just build associations (much easier than memorizing lists of symbols).  But, all associations are relationships, and involve a comparison.  This means, to build associations, we have to start with something to associate things with or to.  We have to have some basic framework or frame-of-reference upon which to build associations.   
  a framework for associations is necessary
Since this Magical Alphabet is based on the mind, though, no ordinary framework for building associations will do.  It too has to be based on the mind itself, or it will not be complete enough to hold the whole alphabet.  What I am getting at, is that you are going to have to do some nitty-gritty list memorizing for the first while, until you have built, by memorizing, a large enough structure on which to build your associations.   
  memorization is necessary
To help with this problem we traditionally start building the Magical Alphabet with symbols and associations that are widely known, or afford a very wide base upon which to build.  In other words, we start with ones that offer the widest base in return for the amount of memorization needed.  (The best symbols for your money?)  The two most widely known western occult systems, and happily, two systems that offer very wide basis for associations are the tarot and astrology.  
  tarot and astrology are easiest to start with
You will see, having learned one system, how little work it takes to learn the other.  This is because you can start using association instead of memorization right away.  But of the two, (Tarot and Astrology) the Tarot offers better understanding with less memorizing.  With the Tarot, a few facts are memorized, and you know the system well.  To know astrology as well, would require a tremendous amount of reading and experience, all of which can be side-stepped by using your associations to the Tarot.  So if you are already experienced with Astrology, then good, you are ahead of the game, but if you are not, you will be sooner than you think.  Either way, you will benefit tremendously from this study of the Tarot, and learning to associate it with Astrology.   
  of the two, tarot offers the best speed for your money.astrology however, offers deeper human understanding
After learning these two systems, and building and exploring their symbols and associations, you should have ample experience to begin immediately incorporating the rest of the western Magical Alphabet with little effort.    the rest of the magical alphabet


The Tarot [and indeed the whole Magical Alphabet] should be learnt as early in life as possible; a fulcrum for memory and a schema for mind.  It should be studied constantly, a daily exercise; for it is universally elastic, and grows in proportion to the use intelligently made of it.  Thus it becomes a most ingenious and excellent method of appreciating the whole of Existence.

Aleister Crowley
Book of Thoth

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Tags: Occult, occult training, Western Mysticism, Kabbalah, tree of life, Qabalah, Magical Alphabet, Magical training, esoteric, esoteric training, mind training, associative thinking, associations, archetypes, symbols, associations, Mer-amun, Mer Amun
4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "The Magical Alphabet"

#1 Comment By Julia On September 13, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

Assuming that ‘Book T’ is that which appears in Regardie’s – The Golden Dawn? A reference note here may be in order?
Cheers, Julia

#2 Comment By Mer-Amun On September 14, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

As this was written in 1983, I no longer have the book from which the quote came, and it appears to be no longer in print. However, I will look to see if the same material is part of the Golden Dawn.

#3 Comment By Julia On September 15, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

Would be interested to know if the material is the same (when and if you have time). It looks similar to me but we both know similar and same can be very different!

#4 Comment By Judith On June 23, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever read a clearer, cleaner or more conclusive response to the question, “Why do we hafta learn Qabala?”