Our older works are largely concerned with magick, although our use of the term then included theurgy, which is usually separate and distinct as the ‘practice of God’; whereas magick is really concerned with the manipulation of phenomena through the application of the law of correspondences, ‘As above and so below’. There is a difference between natural correspondences and syncretic or systematised knowledge, involving tables and lists of more or less arbitrary assignments, though the latter can doubtless achieve some of the effects desired by the practitioner, something that owes more to auto-hypnotic suggestion than anything else.[1]

This abridged article is from the book Thunder Perfect Gnosis.

Magick: The Spell (detail)The limitation, more or less severe, placed on the possibilities for real spiritual realisation by the systematic approach means we had to revise our approach to the subject quite drastically. Since computers became the dominant force in the world for shaping the minds of men, the urge towards classification and tabulation has by now been taken to the extreme where systems analysts produce popular books about magick. Those who produce these—and there are very many of them—usually have university degrees they are proud of but no real knowledge whatsoever. Most of them are even atheists and among these, a degree in psychology is considered a ‘qualification’, whereas in fact that kind of mentality automatically disqualifies a person from any real initiation or spiritual realisation. These always emphasise a kind of artificial ‘psychism’, where visualisation techniques are used along with the ubiquitous auto-hypnotism. As a consequence we now have book-learned ‘adepts’ claiming high degrees of initiation and whose knowledge extends no further than the ordinary man in the street, though that does not it seems prevent them from pretending to teach and even initiate others, sometimes through the convenient means of internet video links and even social media—which is a kind of oxymoron as anything ‘social’ automatically discounts esotericism.

Magick and its Governance

For all this mania for selling delusion to the masses—who already accept the most fantastic lies from governments, corporations and ‘official’ science—we now place much greater emphasis on theoretical knowledge, by which is meant traditional cosmology and ontology, and the practice of yoga, than at any time before. According to René Guénon,

Of all preliminary means, theoretical knowledge alone is absolutely indispensible, and that later, when one passes to actual realisation, it is concentration that matters most and that leads to it in the most immediate way, for it is directly bound up with knowledge.[2]

We have always, right from the veriest beginning, insisted that one works from the highest principle. While that is no certain guarantee that heedless fools will not come unstuck, the Hermetic axiom ‘As above and so below’ has far greater import than is afforded it by today’s postmodern ‘experts’.[3] Magick, if not torn wholly asunder from its governing principles in the natural and supernatural order, can be very efficacious as a support to the path of true knowledge, and in the times we now live we need all the assistance we can get.

It is seldom realised that many rituals in our older works are fully adaptable to different needs, and that their use can sometimes go much further than the necessarily brief descriptions afforded by such a book.[4] The ‘Ritual for Psychic Self Defence’ provides an example of a ritual where the practical operations can go further than as is implied by the titles and brief description given in the textbook.[5] Cases of actual psychic attack, where the antagonist intentionally takes their malice to the Hermetic level, are rare. While there might be many persons in the world today who would indeed use magical means to harm others, given the availability of the rituals and methods in the public domain, few would be prepared to go to the painstaking lengths necessary. It is well indeed that few persons now have the expertise and knowledge necessary, even if that kind of knowledge is relatively ordinary. Anyone that had real knowledge would never consider such a thing. It is more likely that such an attack would be unintentional, arising from anger or some other affliction.

It must also be said that whatever the real source of  a psychic attack, there must be a sympathetic response from the victim, who is more alike the attacker than they care to admit in so far as they have retained harmful mental impressions that lead to what are called kléshas in Sanskrit, ‘harmful afflictions’.[6] Thus, in understanding the ritual of Psychic Self Defence, it becomes apparent that whether a cause is seen as external or internal, there is a need to loosen the bonds of attachment to harmful sense impressions that, when retained (through the faculties such as memory), amount to serious obstructions to the goal of yoga. The Ritual of Psychic Self Defence can be taken further than that, as we have indicated, but to explain that we need first to refer to the way the ritual is constructed:

The ritual begins as do most rituals with a general opening of the temple that orders the sphere of the practitioner as according to cosmological principles. Every Zelator has a ritually consecrated dagger to symbolise the whole realm of Air, and this is then used to perform a thorough purification of that realm in the name of its various hierarchical names and powers, making the appropriate pentagrams and so forth around the place of work.

It should be mentioned that the ‘realm of Air’ corresponds in this Hermetic schema particularly to Yesod, the ninth sephira called the Foundation in Qabalah. However, the etherial designation is really inclusive of the whole domain of the individual ruach or mind-intelligence.

There then follows a general purification (by holy water) and consecration (by incense perfume) of the person and the place, in all four quarters. Following purification, the element is re-invoked and an Egyptian deity is called in to assist in linking the elemental sphere with higher and divine forces, as well as to place a seal upon the sphere of the practitioner to strengthen it against all malefic influences. Even this very brief overview should be enough to show that the ritual is far more than being about ‘getting rid of’ things, or even of nullifying some external aggression. The deity Anubis is heard to say here,

I stand between the invisible and the visible.

But more than that, as Guardian of the Threshold he crosses the bridge from the unmanifest to the manifest and so is able to return the way he came:

My mother is darkness and my father the night: thus do I come forth, bearing the Ineffable Light!

Anyone that has passed through the Neophyte ritual will recollect from this that Anubis guards the temple outside with a sword and also appears within the circle, as the bearer of the Lamp of Light by which the Candidate is conducted around the new world in which they have entered.[7]

Such a ritual as has here been described also corresponds to traditional magick lore, involving a ‘moving of the air’, or ‘changing of the winds’. We think that enough has been said here regarding the adaptability of rituals.


1. See ‘Systems of Knowledge’, Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Flower of Mind.
2. ‘Conclusions’, Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines.
3. Indeed, one of the latter went so far as to reverse the axiom to imply that the higher could be magically forced to change in accordance with the low and very ordinary intentions of the magician. That is a typically ‘satanic’ inversion of the natural order and while it could certainly effect results in the sphere of the practitioner, such results, owing to the inversion, could only increase ignorance and delusion still further.
4. For example Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake.
5. Ritual Magick [ibid].
6. See Part Two of Thunder Perect Gnosis, which includes a study of the Vedantic science of the mind. In particular, ‘Yoga of the Mind’.
7. See The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation.

Abridged from the book Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Flower of Mind.

The illustration is from the painting The Spell, by William Fettes Douglas (1822–1891), which is held at the National Galleries, Scotland. The full painting can be viewed here.

© Oliver St. John 2023
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All books and tarots listed below are by Oliver St. John. Click on the images to view the cover art of the books at full size. All full colour and some hardbound books are now only available from Lulu, our distributor. We recommend that our students and subscribers buy our books direct by the links on this page. Thank you for supporting Ordo Astri.

Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Flower of Mind

Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Fower of MindWe here follow up points of special interest on Gnostic and other texts, including the remarkable Thunder Perfect Mind. Yoga and a science of the mind is implicit in all of them. Our interest is in metaphysical and universal symbolism; we are not overly concerned with factual references, names, dates and places. The surviving fragments of these ancient texts, as with the Yoga-Sutras, have their true origins in times that were already ancient when the Christian Gospels were being composed. The evidence for a yoga practice and science of the mind in those texts will become clear from studying this book. The second part of the book comprises a careful, practical study of the Yoga Sutras attributed to Patanjali and Vyasa. There is no simplification or dilution of the yoga method; yet that method is clearly explained. The goal of yoga remains the same: union with God, immortality and even final liberation for those rare individuals that will renounce the world.

The book is hardbound, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 216 pages in all on white papers and is illustrated throughout.

View/order the book from the author’s website here.

Read an article from this book here.

Thirty-two paths of Wisdom
Key to the Hermetic Qabalah: Commentary on the Shining Paths of the Sepher Yetzirah and the Paths of Evil.

Thirty-two paths of Wisdom front cover artThe first section of this book serves as an introduction to the Qabalah inclusive of the Hebraic tradition, from which the latter was developed, as well as the modern Hermetic tradition. There follows a new commentary on the Thirty-two paths of Wisdom from the most important Qabalistic source work, The Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation. ‘The Paths of Evil’ concerns the traditional Qliphoth of the first ten paths and those corresponding to the Zodiac. The last section, ‘The Tunnels of Set’, is a critical reappraisal of Kenneth Grant’s Nightside of Eden Part Two, revealing how Aleister Crowley and then Grant and others worked to invert symbolism, effectively removing all spiritual possibilities for those that would follow them. By placing this in the context of the neo-spiritualist and postmodern occult movement it is shown how the decline and intellectual collapse of an entire civilisation towards the final dissolution of our world is being supernaturally accelerated.

The book is hardbound, linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 128 pages in all on white papers.

View/order the book from the author’s website here.

Books: The Way of Knowledge in the Reign of Antichrist

Books: The Way of Knowledge front coverThis book includes five chapters on the Holy Guardian Angel and five chapters on yoga, as well as some unique observations on the True Self and other matters of vital concern to the practitioner. Here we pass beyond the syncretism of occultism to the synthesis of the metaphysical gnosis. The sequel to Nu Hermetica continues the story where the latter left off, but there is greater focus on practicality, as indicated by the title. The metaphysical gnosis is necessarily the view from the ‘centre’, something that may be shown geometrically, for example the three-dimensional cross or Cube of Space. This is also symbolised in various traditions by the ‘holy city’, the summit of a mountain or its centre. In the Age of Kali Yuga there was effected a withdrawal or hiding of knowledge and initiatic rites were thus placed in caves or labyrinths, either symbolically or literally. All true initiatic paths lead to the same goal and only differ from the point of view of the outsider who only sees the appearance. The outward differences of paths owe merely to cultural or other modifications, as necessary, and none of that is of any consequence to initiation at all.

As was stated in bold terms in Nu Hermetica, we must deal with the conditions of the world that we now find ourselves in. While we will not avoid the subject, as is clear by the full title of The Way of Knowledge, it is necessary to point out that the book is not a comment on social conditions or the more or less extraordinary phenomena that is all part of the ‘signs of the times’.

The book is hardbound, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 196 pages in all on white papers and is fully illustrated.

View/order book from the author’s website.

Books: Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality

Books: The Way of Knowledge front coverThe voices of the Egyptian neteru are as loud and clear today as they were in ancient history for those who are still able to hear them amidst the noise and tumult of a civilisation that has lost all heart. Nu Hermetica addresses the difficulty of initiation in the twenty-first century—for the Way has not changed but the conditions we work under certainly have. Laws, news, facts and even history are updated, deleted, replaced and rewritten on a daily basis. So-called alternative movements, some of which even claim to be ‘spiritual’, only serve to reinforce profane, anti-spiritual notions. There is a need to pass on real knowledge to those few that are willing and able to receive it.

The book is hardbound, with blue linen boards, endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 236 pages in all on white papers and is fully illustrated.

View/order book from the author’s website.

Read an artice from this book here.

Ordo Astri Books: Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs
Second Edition (2023 Revised)

Books: Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs Cover ArtSecond Edition Revised (8th April 2023): Here is the definitive work on Thelema, magick and the key role of the Shakti. ‘Lapis Philosophorum’ redefines Thelema, liberating it from the accretions of modern and postmodernist obfuscation.

‘Babalon Unveiled’ is the title piece of this collection and is one of seven related studies on the mystery of the Goddess in her various names and forms, including that of the Scarlet Woman. Each shows an aspect of her oracular voice as it has been heard and recorded down the ages. ‘Angels of Sacred Dance, Love and Whoredom’ examines how the divine feminine of pre-religious antiquity was demonised, resulting in the host of ‘fallen angels’ whose identity is yet preserved in traditional texts. The book is dedicated to the memory of Rose Edith Kelly, otherwise known as Rose Crowley or Ouarda the Seer. Rose was the medium for the transmission activated through the Stele of Revealing in the Cairo museum in 1904.

Format: 6 x 9 hardcover, dustjacket; blue linen boards; gold foil stamp lettering on spine; white end papers, 168 pages in all.

View / order book from the author’s website.
Read an article from the Second Edition here.

Forthcoming Books and Tarot: Egyptian Tarot

Egyptian Tarot Book FrontA new publication of this book is expected early 2025. The re-titled Egyptian Tarot will be available in a boxed set with the revised and re-published Egyptian Tarot book early in 2025. An agreement has been signed with Crossed Crow Books (Chicago) for world wide distribution (Red Wheel Weiser). More details will follow as this is now a work in progress.

In every true act of divination, in every true act of magick, something of the soul is born into the world. This book focuses on the structure of the Tarot and the Qabalistic correspondences that transform it from a card game or fortune telling device into a vehicle of the highest order. The major arcana cards each have a chapter to describe them; a complete method of divination is provided. In creating the Egyptian Tarot (see below for the Tarot deck), we have made full use of Ithell Colquhoun’s ingenius interpretation of the Golden Dawn colour correspondences.

Colquhoun, when explaining her Tarot, or TARO, eschewed the notion of divination. Her abstract Surrealist Tarot was designed purely as a yantra for meditation. As ours is a figurative and symbolic Tarot, it lends itself to meditation, ritual or divination.

“The well-known occult association between the Tarot cards and ancient Egypt is by now commonly dismissed. This is because we live in a time where materialism now dominates the minds of the majority to such an extent that they no longer even think of themselves as materialists. All such arguments, based on ‘evidence’ and ‘fact’, miss the mark. It is irrelevant as to whether or not the ancient Egyptians might have used anything like playing cards or Tarot, whether for amusement, fortune telling or divination. The key to the knowledge is in the symbolism, which, even in the first deck printed from woodcuts, the Tarot of Marseille (late 15th or 16th century), is astonishing. Once it is known that Egypt was the source of all learning and civilisation, there is no longer any need to speculate on the origins of the Tarot. We are not speaking here of artefacts, we are speaking of symbolism that points to a timeless wisdom. This owes to a source far older than that even of the 1st Dynasty of Egypt.”

Egyptian Tarot (Tarot Deck)

Egyptian Tarot The Aeon XXThe Egyptian Tarot is suitable for use in ritual, meditation and divination. In every true act of divination, in every true act of magick, something of the soul is born into the world. The Qabalistic correspondences transform the Tarot from a card game or fortune telling device into a spiritual, intellectual and magical vehicle of the highest order.

Unique to this Tarot is the use of British surrealist artist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun’s interpretation of the Hermetic correspondences. This enabled us to produce the first figurative Tarot that is fully colour-integrated as according to the Golden Dawn schema. The intuitive possibilities afforded by this mean that study and interpretation are taken to a new level. This is especially the case with divination, where colour plays a new and vital rôle in the every-changing dynamic interactions of the cards. To further assist interpretation, the symbols for all the zodiacal, planetary and elemental correspondences are placed on the cards, including the constellational court card assignments.

Our legacy archival works are listed here.

About the Author

All books on this page other than Egyptian Tarot and book can be ordered direct from the author’s website at Lulu by following the links given here. Proceeds of the sales of our books help to fund Ordo Astri.

Subscribe to our monthly Journal, Metamorphosis here. The Journal is free of charge and is delivered by email. Books in preparation are often previewed and sometimes complete articles from our books are published there.

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