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The Magician's Dictionary


    Preface    A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L

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Possibly of Bedouin origin or an archetype of the Lapis. Cognate of cube. The Kaaba (Kabah) is the four-square temple of Mecca. The "blackstone" (hajarel aswad or hajarel fehm -- stone of wisdom), which is a meteorite stolen from an Egyptian pyramid, is set in a corner and is the Kaaba Stone (Masonic "Cornerstone"). This is also the stone of the Coalmen (Fehm, "Perceivers") and the secret Italian Society "Carbonari" -- also Scotland's "Scottish Rite."


(Heb. "Received doctrine.") Jewish mystical tradition teaching Godhood to Man. (See SEPHIROTH.) Foundation of most post-Egyptian, Western magical systems. Since the Qabalah is based on the Hebrew language, the degree of one's knowledge of that language is the degree to which one can understand the Qabalah. Qabalah is also known, in Hebrew, as the Chokmah Nistara, or "Hidden Wisdom."


Lit. "shells" (singular: qliphah). Shades of the dead whose names appear in the books of Dyzan or Thoth, or the Book of the Law (AL). They may contain formulae of magical powers. RAW calls them "souls of those who died insane... the tulpas of Tibet... avatars of Coyote, the American Indian prankster-god." RAW also identifies them with the Celtic "little people" or faeries. Some of the twenty-two qliphotic entities of the Black Tarot, as envisioned by Grant, are defined herein under separate entries, although strictly speaking, the qlippoth are the names of the guardians of the tunnels, not the tunnels themselves.

To understand the qliphothic atus fully and to do them justice can be more deleterious to the artist or researcher than one might suspect. Conceivably, such complete understanding could result in the destruction of the ego without restoration in the Oversoul and therefore lead to actual madness. Dealing with the Qliphoth is the psychic equivalent of working with toxic wastes, dangerous animals or high voltage wires.

To invoke any force is to invoke automatically its opposite as well. In the more conventional sense, qliphoth are negative cosmic energies equating with the ten positive Sephiroth (e.g., Lilith is the evil counterpart of Malkuth). All positive aspects of divinity have their "excremental" sides, or demons: Beelzebub, Satanas, etc. The difference between metamorphosis and excretion is thinner than you might guess. From the universal lexicon:










scale, shell












husk, shell

a peeled head



the "shell" of the brain


to peel off

In the waning years of Alchemy, occultists were fond of saying that the Philosopher's Stone was "that which all men despise" -- and this in turn led the puffers to experiment with various types of excrement in order to see if that substance, perchance, could possibly yield the Secret of the Ages, since nothing so far had succeeded in doing so. And of course all such experiments accomplished was to mark the nadir of human folly.

What is this word "excrement", after all? It's from Latin, excernere, "to separate." It is a separation, a peeling away, as when we peel away a scab or a blister, making it no longer a part of ourselves. German scheiden/schieden (divide, separate, divorce) is simply another form of the word Scheisse (Fr. chier, Engl. shit) or its Greek equivalent schizo, "to split."

Latin cutis (skin), we should notice, first of all, is a cognate of Greek skatos (dung). Like the snake, what we throw away begins with the "skin" -- a word which probably represents a form of one of the universal roots. Compare Peruvian kina (the bark, or tree peeling, whence we get quinine) and Malay sisek (fish scales). Perhaps even the Austrian Kakadu word, k�ngir meaning "skin" is distantly related. At any rate, k�ngir is almost certainly the origin of "kangaroo," particularly since the Australian Warramunga word, nguru, meant "foreskin." These two are clearly connected and the marsupial associations are plain enough.

The puffers didn't understand that excrement isn't exactly what all men despise. Or to be more precise, what matters isn't so much what is discarded and thrown away, but the value we place on the kept, as opposed to the trash. That faulty decision itself is where the problem lies. In fact, the Finnish proverb: Kulta kultainen v�lkkya roskatta, "gold glitters in what is thrown away", is a sentiment well understood by shamans, witches and other marginal people, who are drawn to the rubbish heaps and middens, much as the money-vultures circle the stock market.

What all men despise is "that out there," that is to say, the world. And they try incessantly to dissociate themselves from it. Yet, obviously, if we really were one with the world, then we'd have in hand "the universal solvent," we'd have immortality because the world is immortal. In the world's all-powerful Nature is the very secret of turning lead into gold. Instead man tries desperately to throw out everything that is not self.

Part of the problem is that the verb "to be" has two meanings (as in Spanish): one is an expression of permanent identity or equivalence to something else and the other an expression of a changing, on-going process. When we accept the error that we are not gods, we cease all self-examination, self-disciplines and self-improvement. We define god as an embodiment of "pefection" (or completion) instead of as the avenue of evolution and becoming. Only idols are perfect. Not even Odin ever thought of himself as perfect: he had to make many sacrifices in order to gain wisdom. Ditto Osiris, who was so far from being "together" that he was chopped up into little pieces. Granted, Jehovah is perfect, or thinks He is, but He is also a difficult God to respect, for that same reason. When you say we are not gods, you mean we are not idols. But an idol is precisely what modern man has made of himself. He worships himself, even though gods never worship themselves. Obviously, they don't have to. Only man worships himself, though not really as a god or potential god. He worships himself just as he is: as a fatted, golden pig wearing Gucci shoes.

The reason people push gods "outside" is the same reason they shove everything else outside, separating everything and calling it evil because it is unwanted. Anything which is not self, including the planet earth, is felt to be of no real value. In fact, matter is simply unwanted "dirt." Most of the self is thrown away, at least that part of the self which demands the most work or struggle. All that may remain is the momentary gratification of physical need: food, drink, sex, rest, entertainment. To put a god into that strait-jacket, even a minor one, is to disrupt the routine, to interfere with the direct line of ice cream to mouth. Besides, the puffing up of an imaginary personal ego is a thousand times easier than the expression of difficult, real Divinity. Standing far enough away from the world empowers objectivity to serve as the perfect defense of the ego. Here ego cannot be challenged and "Science" and "Reason" become the last refuges of Subjective Solipsism.

In the Qabalah this peeling away of the self, this separation or "excrement" is called a Qlipha (pl. qlipphoth). The qliphoth are the negative personifications. All the expressions of Divinity have their "qlipphoth": Samael, Beelzebub, Satanas, etc., as we've said. And, in truth, these are what people actually bow down to: these idols that are made up out of excrement. Divinity that lies outside of self is not divinity.

In contemporary Occidental man's desperate struggle to separate himself we would do well to remember Alan Watts' comparison of the self to an onion. You can peel and peel until there is nothing left.


The sacred "fourness," which is the magical obsession. There are four very powerful things that all entities can do. They can:

    1. Come into existence.
    2. Know existence.
    3. Change the nature of existence.
    4. Cease to exist.

The secret of magic is nothing more nor less than the absolute understanding of the meaning of the four elements. The sorcerer calls them "Ritual, Invocation, Chaos and Contagion," the alchemist calls them Sulfur, Salt, Mercury and Azoth, the physicist calls them Time, Space, Matter and Energy. But whatever we call the terms, every reality is divided into the same four parts.


The guardian of the 29th path of the reverse Tree, corresponding to The Moon. It is called the path of the leapers (hence the connection to Universe B). The magic, says Grant, is "casting illusions and bewitchments generally."


("Shark.") The name of Mohammed's tribe, of the clan of Hashim.

    Preface    A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L

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