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WHAT IS GNOSTIC KABBALAH MAGIC?

Though this title is somewhat ungainly, all 3 of these words have significance and meaning in my classes.  However since these terms mean different things to different people I will briefly explain what I mean.

GNOSTIC: from the Greek word gnosis, "knowledge" especially  an intuitive knowing of direct perception or experience, as opposed to beliefs acquired by instruction or memorization: book learning.

It also refers to a set of understandings about the world such as its imperfect nature and even the imperfect nature of the forces responsible for the worlds creation and maintenance.

On the other hand there is a recognition that the human being has within (sometimes quite deeply) a spark of the original divine flame, the essence of the very highest.

Another important element is the belief that spiritual agencies and beings are sent from the highest aeons to aid and rescue the sparks of the divine which have become lost and trapped in a world of ignorance, and especially ignorance of their own origin and nature.

For Christian Gnostics this redeemer figure is the Christ though there were others such as the Sethians who viewed Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve) as such a figure.

There is also much less emphasis on the sinfulness of humankind. Redemption is accomplished through gnosis (an awakening to a higher understanding of reality) as opposed to the substitute sacrifice of God's son.

Actually the Gnosis has a great deal in common with Buddhism and especially Mahayana Buddhism.  There is even some evidence of cross fertilization between the two and not just one way.

So I am using Gnostic in reference to this tradition of the awakening of consciousness and liberation of the individual.

KABBALAH: the word itself is a Hebrew word meaning "received tradition" and one that expounds upon divine things.  In particular Kabbalah refers to a series of texts and teachings published during the middle-ages, though based on a much older oral traditions.

There is debate about Kabbalah's earliest origins and similarity to Gnostic ideas.  Some think the Kabbalists took these ideas from the Gnostics and some think the Gnostics took their ideas from early Kabbalism.  However it now appears (read Margaret Barker's The Great Angel) that basic ideas found in Kabbalah, Gnosticism and even Christianity are not examples of outside influence but stem from a much earlier tradition of First Temple Judaism, before the reforms we find in Deuteronomy.  These include a kind of trinity of a high God, Jehovah and Jehovah's wife, the Queen of Heaven, also called Chokmah, Wisdom or Sophia in Greek. All three of these were found in the original Temple's Holy of Holies.

The trinitarian nature of Kabbalah's Tree of Life is so striking that medieval scholars upon discovering Kabbalah, thought they could use it to convert Jews to Christianity.  While this motive may not have yielded their expected results, Kabbalah did become and remains an important element in Western thought.  So much so that there developed a tradition of Christian Cabala as well as a version often called Hermetic Qabalah which became influential in the magical revival of the 19th and early 20th centuries and continues to to this day.

It is the Hermetic tradition of Kabbalah and the Tree of Life, that figures so prominently in orders such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in England, founded in 1888.  This order used Kabbalah's Tree of Life as a diagram of the external and internal universe and furthermore used it as a doorway to develop, enlarge and uplift one's consciousness until one was united with ones own divine origin, while still in the body.

And that is also how we are using Kabbalah today  in our practice of Gnostic Kabbalah Magic.

My apologies to learned Jewish Kabbalists who might experience discomfort at their incredible tradition being usurped and distorted by people of many other traditions. But you can't expect to keep such good ideas to yourself, especially if you publish them.

MAGIC: the redoubtable Aleister Crowley defined magic (which he spelled magick) as "The science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will".  Dion Fortune extended Crowley's definition further as being "The art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with will".

This ability to make changes in consciousness is where I find magic excels.  Many people assume that ritual with candles and incense and liturgy is meant to appease some god or spirit and thus gain its favor or avert its ire, and is superstitious foolishness at best.  Of course this may be the case for many, but my experience, as well as the testimony of mystics in many traditions, is that these same activities can be used to deliberately and effectively move one into an awareness and experience of whatever forces are invoked. Thus by calling upon the divine names, by burning candles of a particular color and inhaling the fragrance of the appropriate incense of a particular aspect of the Tree of Life, we can bring ourselves into balance and alignment with those specific forces, as well as stimulate and awaken them within us.

Thus magic is a series of techniques we use to enlarge, expand and raise our awareness of ourselves and our world.  And in particular we can thereby investigate and experience on our own the nature and even those higher or deeper realities both inner and outer, we call divine.

CONCLUSION:  While this does not require belief in a particular religion nor is barred from those with none, there is a measure of devotion and a recognition of what has traditionally been called the sacred. 

 

The difference between this and many other religious practices is that first: this sacredness is not considered completely separate from but rather an integral part of the individual. 

 

And second: the focus and intention is ultimately to strengthen and liberate the individual, to discover their own gnosis, their own understanding of themselves and their world by a deeper (and I dare say more entertaining and interesting) exploration of their own.

There is a kind of faith in deeper things that people have from the authorities that taught them, which become their beliefs. But then there is the faith that comes from ones own experience and that is not just belief.  That is Gnosis.

So please feel free to join us at any time for one or many events.  There is nothing to join and no obligation, save that which is called for by your own soul.

WHO IS REV. JACK GOELZ?

While the above isn't that easy for me to answer, I can give a few relevant details.

I was baptized Catholic as an infant.  From there I was raised alternately Fundamentalist (of the world is shortly coming to an end and both God and the Devil are going to get you type) and a very socially conscious Humanism.

Fortunately around the age of 20 after I was reintroduced to the younger brother of a high school friend who became my first teacher.  This was a certain Aaron Greer (with deep regrets he has long since passed) who showed me you could know things directly.  He taught me to use my intuitive perception to know details about people and things without thinking and reasoning but just by awareness.  This helped me to move away from the twisted logic and reasoning of my Fundamentalist upbringing.

Soon after (age 21) I was introduced to a rather talented young magician who was a friend of my brother.  This fellow was known to have magically caused some rather astonishing physical events .  He wasn't taking students but told me to study Kabbalah, Golden Dawn, Crowley, Israel Regardie etc.

What so exited me about this path was that it offered a way of discovering reality for myself.  Again, instead of relying on the dubious insights of Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong, the fearless leaders of my Fundamentalist nightmare.

I then set upon studying these things, which included Tarot the making of talismans and various rituals including the well known Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, which I proceeded to do twice a day, morning and evening for a year.

Shortly after I finished this year of work, while moving into a new building, I noticed that my next door neighbor had his door open, revealing many books including some of the very ones I had been studying.

He turned out to belong to an actual magical order which I then joined and happily worked with.  After at least a year I discovered that this same group was practicing some sort of Gnostic Christian mass.  This surprised me as they seemed to hip, irreverent, and fun for such a thing.

I had to see what they were up to so I took a random Sunday and went to see for myself.  It just so happened to be that a priest was being ordained that day, which was not a common occurrence.  I sat there mesmerized and for the first time in my life I knew without doubt something about my future.  I knew that I was watching a priest be ordained that day because I was going to be ordained a priest.

This was about 1973 or 74 and I never doubted that message even when moving away for about 3 years to do some growing up in a calmer environment than Los Angeles.  Finally on Palm Sunday of 1985, I was finally ordained to the priesthood and I then served in that capacity under the direction of my bishop Stephan Hoeller until 2020,

I began teaching classes in Gnosticism, Magic and Kabbalah around the time of my ordination and taught for some years. Eventually I stopped as I didn't think I had anything else to say and also I was beset with a physical lack of energy (probably sleep related), But people  kept asking me to give classes.

 

Eventually I listened pushed myself into again giving my experiential classes.

It is my belief and has been my experience that very normal people can safely explore and integrate deeper levels of their psyche with ritual techniques.  Thus the benefits of internal exploration and transformation aren't limited to mystics in monasteries.  Nor must one abandon the cultural and mythical heritage of the West, assuming that all spiritual things come from the East.

 

Class begins with a lecture, a short break and then a magical invocation of whatever was being discussed during the lecture, and then a meditation in this charged environment.  This allows the individual to have their own experience and benefit more than intellectually.  This has proven to be very effective for many people over the years and I must confess that I get at least as much from the experience as anyone else.

Classes are now being filmed and will shortly be available.

Having made some liberating changes in 2020, we are now the Chapel of Holy Wisdom, housed in the beautiful and historic Church of Truth in Pasadena CA, 690 E Orange Grove Blvd 91104.  Classes in sacred magic, Kabbalah and Tarot are given on Tuesday evenings 7-9. Sundays at 4 PM the Gnostic Eucharist or mass is given to the public and all are welcome, without regard to affiliation of belief system. This is the ancient sacrament of divine magic with bread and wine and communion with the Highest Light and Love. Yes I am still very much a Gnostic priest.  Not to be confused with the OTO or the Samael Aun Weor Gnostic groups.

 

So there you have it, minus a vast amount of detail such as my ongoing connection to Tibetan Buddhism and my teacher Wangchen Rinpoche.  But if you get to know me you can find out more.

 

More information on Gnosticism and its sacramental forms is available at gnosis.org.

Rev. Jack Goelz

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info@magicschoolhouse.org