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Religious expressions in magic, and in the Quareia course - Answering a question

Someone posed a very relevant and interesting question to me lately, and it did occur to me that I have never really discussed this ‘on the net’, particularly in respect of Quareia training, so I thought it would be a good idea to cover it here.

The foundation and basis of Quareia training is that it covers knowledge, skills and techniques that are not specific to any particular system, but are often found in many different magical systems. It also, unlike a lot of western magic, does not have a specific religious, or spiritual path that overarches it. This is to ensure that any Quareia adept can work within any system or religious structure necessary in order to do what they need to achieve magically.

However, in order to have such a broad reach, the adept must also have a deep working knowledge of the mystical and magical foundations that underpin different systems and religious paths. Simply studying a religious or defined magical system is not enough for an adept to truly know the mechanics of what is going on behind the scenes in any system: they need to have an operating knowledge from within, and yet not get restricted or connected to that system. Complicated indeed.

In order to achieve this, in the training, as the student goes along, they will come to modules where they have to immerse within a system or a religious structure as a part of their magical work. Sometimes it is merely to give examples of how a method works, and other times it is to get them ‘into the heads’ of those who are fully within such streams.  I use the ‘rule of absolutes’ to achieve this: you are placed within a mystical, magical or spiritual mindset and structure, and trained to operate an aspect of magic from within that mindset. Sometimes you are not told why, or how long you will be in that structure, or indeed if you will be pulled back from it. That enables the magician to focus their consciousness fully into the pattern.

When the magician is then pulled out of the pattern and introduced to a different one, they can look back and have a deeper practical working experience of the system they just visited. They will understand better the pitfalls, benefits, beings, issues and patterns of a religion or of a magical system. Why is this important?

When we study magic we tend to think of that magic within our own cultural and social mindset, and that affects how we project that magic outward in work, service and action. However, we live in an ever shrinking world where we are constantly bumping up against different cultures, religions, and systems. We also then have to confront our own biases towards or against a particular religion. In order for an adept to be truly ‘adept’ at what they do, they need to be able to not only understand these different systems, but to also operate briefly and respectfully from within them as and when necessary in order to achieve something. Healing, exorcism, construction, and so forth all have aspects of work that need you to fully understand the religion, magical system or cultural path that is entangled into the problem at hand.

To this end, the Quareia student has to be immersed in different aspects of different religions, different magical systems and so forth, not to become a part of them, but to be fully informed and to fully understand them. That working knowledge makes you useful, and it also, as a by -product, helps you to gain a deeper understanding of how issues arise within a system or religion. It also helps you to spot the many areas of degeneration, imbalance and sometimes just sheer madness that has often developed within a system during a period of history.

So while the mechanics of magic that you learn in Quareia are free of religious and magical systems, you have to dip into them, and sometimes briefly immerse in them to become a knowledgeable well rounded adept. This in turn will also, by the time the student gets to adept level study, lead the magician to question what is divinity, what is religion, what is magic, what does it mean to them, and how do they either develop their own unique interface with these various energetic structures, or how do they tear such concepts apart and find new expressions unique to themselves.

I also put the initiates and adepts in situations where they step over the line from magical work with deities, and into a more religious priesthood role of tending a deity. Approaching a deity as a magician is very different from approaching a deity as a devotee, and yet often people do not realise there is a difference, or why there is a difference. Rather than just explain it, which is how the apprentices are exposed to this, the initiate and then adept crosses that line for a while, and then steps back. By direct experience over a few months, they learn the lessons by direct practical experience. After that, they can choose from a place of gnosis whether they wish to not only be a magician but also a priest or devotee to some aspect of Divinity/deity, and they will know the difference.

 The students are exposed to different magical approaches and structures, different religions, and different sects within a religion. And they are exposed by dunking them directly into the cauldrons, as opposed to passive study – it is much more fun that way….

So if you are studying the course and get to one of these sections, and think…wtf? Step back and think about it…. Look at where I am taking you, and why….  There is always a logic to it.

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Wresting the Arbatel – and the case of the missing stars

Well, what fun it has been working on the Arbatel lessons….. a text that drove me and Michael the editor totally nuts with its antics. So much so that it deserves a blog post, plus missing star information…. You will figure out why soon enough.

 It all started when I realised just how powerful the magic in the Arbatel was, magic that was hidden below a surface layer of planetary spirits and evocations. The more I dug, the more I found, and the more I tore it apart for analysis and brought hidden magic to the surface, the heavier the energy became, until I triggered the guardian that is magically patterned into the text.

 That was the first ‘ouch’. I got sideswiped by the guardian, a magical construct designed to stop magicians going too far with the book. So I stripped a load of things out of the lessons, but still left enough for adepts to learn how to analyze such texts, and also for them to be able to follow the many hidden trails in the book that lead to various learning situations. So far so good.

 But then it came to editing. By this time it had already taken about three months months for the manuscript to go back and forth between Michael and I, as we both took hits and subsequently stripped portions of the lessons out…. sometimes even a single word had opened the door a bit too far. But now, after much thought and divination, it was safe to go forward and properly edit and format it into the lessons, the paperback book and the Ebook. Or so we thought.

 Now I am used to magical books, real structured and patterned magical books, playing up and being naughty. But the Arbatel takes the gold medal for being awkward and for misbehaving. Edits appeared and then vanished. Files would not open. Files would vanish and then re appear somewhere else. Short of gluing them into files, keeping them from running around a laptop became quite a chore. But finally, Michael wrestled it into PDF lessons for uploading to the website. Phew. It left him with a sore throat and a fever. Always a bit of a dodgy sign.

 But then introducing files that contained the Arbatel to Squarespace proved to be a second session of ‘magical bucking broncos’. First the site just folded up and said ‘goodbye’, and kept logging me off in the middle of something.  The pdf’s would load but the cover title art for each lesson would not. Then it would load but vanish. Once I had gotten all the images up on the website, then the PDF files started to vanish. But I hung on in there, and kept re doing it until it all finally stuck – by that time I had a fever.

 Then it came to doing the paper backs. It would not load up to the publishing site. It was just not having it. No. Won’t. Can’t make me. So Michael tried to do it from his end. Again, it was just not having it. Finally, hours and hours later, it gave in and got in the box.  Once it was uploaded, Michael discovered that in the formatting, a small section of text from one of the lessons had vanished. It shouldn’t do that, text does not simply vanish. But gone it was.

He offered to re do it all again, but in light of the fun we were having, and the cost/hassle/struggle of getting the bloody thing back into upload mode, while fighting the fever that came to us both every time we worked on it, I decided, fuck it, it can stay like that. It is not vital text; it is just the expansion of star names and meanings…. I have stuck them at the bottom of this blog – they are in the Ebook and the on line lessons, so if you buy the paperback…. Well… the missing star names are here at the bottom, and are in the website lessons. By this time, I had just about had enough of the Arbatel. So we thought that was the end of it.  Hahahahahaha   not.

 When I came to upload the ebook, ready for amazon… well… bucking bronco part III started. The last lesson of the Arbatel module would not be listed in the Ebook contents. It was just not having it. Now Michael is a bit of a computer and software wiz… he is not a tech moron like me. He knows his way around his software in ways I cannot even begin to grasp. But this had him totally stumped. He called me. “It can’t do that” he said…. But it was doing that. No lesson eight in the contents listing. It was just not going to happen. Lesson eight is a series of images of all the pages from the original Arbatel book 1575. It did not want to be listed -  it was not a lesson, it was the Arbatel!!  I think it was a bit insulted to be honest.

 So we decided to go ahead anyway, with the listing missing in the contents… people would have been primed in the previous lesson anyway to know it was there. Ok…. So… I stuck the finished Ebook into an Ebook reading program. No Arbatel images. Then one appeared, finally, like a teenager staggering out of bed first thing in the morning. So back the file went to Michael for fixing. This has never ever happened before. Michael always gets it spot on, first time around.

 He was flummoxed… ‘wtf is going on’ was the gist of the conversation we hurriedly had, as we both fought with this bloody Ebook. One again he was fevered and so was I. Sweat was dripping off the end of my nose as I moved the files about. Anyhow, he figured a way to fix it, and also left a note at the end of the previous lesson, just to warn people it might behave oddly. Ok…. so now there is nothing else let to go wrong.

 Hahahahaha…… again…..

 Wrong ISBN listed. Again, Michael thinks like a machine… every duck is in a row, always. But this time, wrong ISBN on the ebook. He had stared at it, checked it, checked it again….. but the books power had somehow glamoured him…… but at least it was spotted, and was eventually fixed. And the file was sent back to me, again, ready for upload. That was an hour ago…. It uploaded, finally….. and unless it totally crashes Lightening Source, or Amazon… all should be ok. We were both left dripping in sweat again, just from working on a simple book. Crazy.

 That book has some very fancy protections around it, and some pretty fierce guardians. Nothing seems to trigger if you stick with the surface presentations of it… the planetary spirits and sigils…but once you find the gems hidden in its belly…oh boy….  So when you get to your adept training, and you come to study the book, or if you are going to dive in straight away and read it….. have some aspirin to hand, do it in short sessions, and try not to blow anything up as you read it!!

 Here are the missing star names for the constellation of Auriga, from lesson three of adept module four that would not go into the paperback. They are in the lesson PDF, and also in the Ebook, but not the paperback. And why are these important? Well, you will have to read the lessons to find out!

Josephine McCarthy - Aug 2016

 

The seven main stars of Auriga

 

1- Alpha Aurigae The brightest star of Auriga is known as ‘Capella’, a Roman name meaning ‘she-goat.’ The Greeks called it ‘Aix’, which has the same meaning. It is also known as Alpha Aurigae. It is traditionally thought of as the left shoulder, and later it became the goat that the charioteer carried. Think about this regarding the brightest star appearing at the left shoulder. Also remember one of the names of Jupiter to do with "holding the goat."

2- Beta Aurigae ‘Menkalinan’ - Al Mankib dhi'l 'Inan, the (other) Shoulder of the Rein-holder.

3- Zeta Aurigae  ‘Sadatoni’, from the Arabic for "the second arm"---Al Said al Thani. Note that as a charioteer, the right arm is the first arm, and the left arm is the second: the right arm holds the reins.

4-  Eta Aurigae ‘Mahasim’- al-micşam - meaning the wrist.

5-  Theta Aurigae  also known as ‘Mahasim’ - the other wrist!

6- Iota Aurigae‘Al Kab’, short for ‘Kabdhilinan’ - Al Kab dhil inan---meaning heel of the reinholder.

7-  Gamma Aurigae  also known as ‘Beta Tau’. This star is the foot of the charioteer in Auriga, and one of the horns of Taurus. In later astronomy it was dropped from Aurigae. Its Arab name is ‘Al Nath’ - Al Natih - meaning "butting" or "that which butts/gores," i.e. the bull's horns.

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How to approach stillness in meditation

Throughout the Quareia course you will find references to meditating in stillness and silence. Such a thing sounds simple but it very hard and takes a lot of practice. In the first apprentice module you will find various techniques that teach you how to focus upon one thing and to stop your mind from wandering.

As you progress in your meditation exercises, learning to focus upon one thing, be it a shape, a word, or a sentence, teaches your mind to settle, still itself and focus upon the task at hand. Once you have become used to working with the basic meditation techniques, and can focus, the magician can then progress onto using a sentence or word like a mantra, and also like self hypnosis: repeating the phrase ‘stillness and silence’ in your mind, while focusing upon a shape like a triangle, slowly starts to put you into a place of stillness.

From feedback I have been getting, it would seem that many people are struggling to silence their mind or focus it for any length of time, which is no wonder in the crazy world we live in. So I will prepare some audio recordings that help the apprentice achieve a sense of stillness while training their minds with key words that will shift them into a more focused place.

These recordings will not be replacements for meditation, but will be tools to help the magician in the early phases of training. There may be recordings from others who are trained hypnotists: we are constantly looking for ways to facilitate the apprentice without short circuiting the necessary process of development.

Josephine McCarthy

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Quareia questions and answers

I have finally got to the last module in the Initiate section and by now, January 2016, there are people all over the world studying the course. While the first section of the course is complete self study, I have had some questions repeatedly asked of me, and so I thought it would be a good idea to put them in a blog post, and thus save me having to answer them repeatedly.

 The process of writing the course while people have started studying the first sections of it have also helped me to question some of my approaches and modify them where appropriate, and this process has been helped by various students offering feedback and asking questions. So here are some of the most common questions/answers, and at the end I will do a summary of how the course is evolving.

 

 Questions and answers

 1-      Meditation -  A large amount of questions I have had are in relation to the meditation exercises and practice. Here are the most common questions on meditation:

i-    I already do meditation but I do it differently, do I still have to do the apprentice meditation exercises?

Answer: the short answer is yes. The exercises in the early apprentice section are there for two reasons. The first and most obvious is to get people used to regular use of meditation, to learn to sit down, shut up and focus on stillness. The second and most pertinent answer to the question is that the specific meditations pave the way for other things to come. They are like Kindergarten exercises that prepare for work not directly linked to meditation: they are fore runner exercises that prepare the mind in order to work with power.

ii- I am having trouble meditating for a long time because of my work and life commitments. And yet I want to progress through the course, what can I do?

 Answer:  This can be a tough one for many people as today we often live in a hamster wheel society where we work long hours and then come home to more work with children and family. In an ideal situation, you would have thirty to forty five minutes a day to meditate. We do not always live in that ideal situation, so you have to adjust. There are key things to think about in how you adjust your meditation time to fit with your life. The first key thing is avoidance: we often subconsciously rebel against meditation because of the changes it brings – it is a regular discipline and all discipline is something we will fight against in some way or another. If you are actually just trying to fool yourself that you do not have the time, then spot that, and make time, regardless of how much part of you wants to not do it.

If you really do not have a situation where you can dedicate a good slice of time each day, the break it up across the day. I did this when my children were little: fifteen minutes in the morning, ten minutes when they laid down for a nap, five minutes while sitting on the bus ride to work; you do not have to be always sat before a candle in a quiet room, so long as there is at least one session a day that is before the flame. I used every opportunity I could to meditate, whether it was a waiting room, a street corner on a bench, or in a magical space. Use your common sense and do not fool yourself. The aim is to be able to sit in stillness and silence for around thirty minutes: if you can do that then how you maintain that is up to you. This is your training, you decide upon your own success or failure.

iii-   Do I have to use a candle flame, it is distracting.

 Answer: yes you do. Working with fire and the flame is a major element of magic, and being able to be still before a flame is a key basic skill that you will need. If it distracts you, get over it: you are an adult, so act like one. If you are so easily distracted, how on earth are you going to cope with the focused holding of inner being contact? As an adept you will need to be able to going into stillness and then vision in a busy street, while walking or talking to someone. This exercise is the very first practice of focus. Everything is in the course for a reason, you cannot cherry pick aspects of serious training.

iv-                    Do I have to meditate every day.

 Answer: in the beginning, yes. Through your apprentice training, a regime of meditation in a schedule that works with your life is very necessary. When things shift in the Initiate section, the method of meditation changes in order to teach you another level of focus. After the apprentice section, how you manage your meditation routine is up to you, but it is highly recommended that you continue some form of daily meditation in order to keep inner and outer balance. When such a discipline is kept up to, if you miss a few days, you will really feel the difference. But to get to that stage, you have to have laid a strong foundation of mediation that in turn brings about subtle but major shifts in how you handle power. Over the years I had approached it in different ways according to what is happening in my life. Again, use your common sense, and don’t fool yourself.

v-                    The course is so long I feel like I will be ninety before I finish!

 This is a common reaction from someone who has never undertaken any form of classical training in something. It is not a quick study course over a year and then you get a fancy badge, it is indeed a long and at times arduous training that will slowly form you in to a solid magical adept. Many of the modules in the apprentice section have exercises or projects that can last a month or more. And this is for good reason: repetition builds ‘muscle’ and accuracy, and also ensures the knowledge becomes ingrained within you. As you move into the Initiate section, you will stand upon that rock of experience and will have more lessons that introduce to you something in a one off exercise. It is your choice at that stage if you wish to practice them regularly or not. Sometimes I advise it, and sometimes I leave you to come to your own conclusions: you get out of this course what you put into it in terms of focus and work. You truly become in charge of your own learning, and also of what level you wish to learn at. Not everyone wants to be a ‘super duper adept’, but they may still wish to study, at a pace they can cope with.

    Tarot Questions

 I get a lot of tarot questions in relation to the course, some pertinent and serious questions and some that are, well, dumb or thoughtless, like, would I please talk them through each of their readings personally: oh sure, let me just use the precious little down time I have after a 14 hour day to hold your hand and let you play your useless ‘I need my mammy’ game. I am no-ones’ personal trainer, in this course you have to make your own decisions and learn from them. But there were also questions that people simply needed clarification on and here are some:

i-   Do I have to use the Rider Waite deck, as I don’t like it.

 Answer: yes you do. And if you don’t like it, suck it up snowflake, it is part of the training. Before you move on to using other decks and the Quareia Magicians deck, you need to first learn the common language of tarot, which is the Rider Waite.

You do not need to study it in depth, or read the volumes of personal psychology tarot books that now proliferate. But you do need to be familiar with the images and the basic meanings as they crop up in the weirdest places in magic. It is also not an easy deck to read with which is good – it will force your inner senses to work a bit harder.

 

ii-  Do I still have to do the tarot lessons as I am already a tarot reader.

 Answer: sort of. A tarot reader will have the skills of divination but may not be familiar with the layouts and methods that I use to apply divination in magic. So if you are a tarot reader, read through the lessons, do the layout exercises so that you are familiar with them, and do any of the practical work that is unfamiliar to you, or is something you do not have a strong grasp of. The patterns that appear in the tarot lessons emerge later in the course as magical patterns and understandings of power, so you will need to know them and be able to work with them. For some, this part of the work will add to the skills of a reader rather than replace them

 

iii- I don’t believe in divination, so can I skip that part of the course.

 Answer: and you are doing the course because?

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Questions

 

i- I have done occult or magical studies before, can I just skip the course or just do bits and still get recognition?

 Answer: No, not if you want proper recognition of your achievement from Quareia, and to be recognised as a Quareia adept. Most magical courses are not as in depth as the Quareia course, nor do they cover such diverse areas of study. Also, most magical schools work from within a specific system, and not with the root techniques themselves. If all you are looking for is recognition, then this is not the course for you. It is akin to doing a university course, and you cannot dip in and out of it and expect to get your recognition at the end. Of course, you are free to do what you wish with the lessons, it is totally up to you, but if you want full recognition, and to be included in the Quareia Fellowship, then you must have successfully completed the whole course.

ii-   Do I have to have mentoring to do the Initiate and Adept sections

 Answer: no. You can study the whole course on your own if you wish, that is up to you. However, the mentoring ensures you have fully understood the training and you will be tested/challenged by an adept to ensure you have all the correct knowledge and skills. That enables you to be accepted as a Quareia Magician, recognized as such, and to join the Quareia Fellowship.

iii-  How much does mentoring cost and what if I cannot afford it

Telemachus_and_Mentor1.JPG

 Answer: Mentoring is done on a donation basis, however if you cannot afford any form of donation it will be offered to you for free. The donations are not to charge you, but to help keep Quareia going. It is voluntary donations, and we leave it up to you to decide if you wish to give back.

Just remember that the course work and mentoring work takes up a great deal of time, so that time cannot be used for earning money. But we also understand that for some, even the smallest donation is a major struggle, and we give freely and willingly to ensure that magicians from anywhere in the world, regardless of circumstances, can study and achieve.

We also use some of the donations to purchase books or necessary tools for students who live in countries with very low incomes, or who do not have access to such things.

 

 

iv-                    What exactly is the mentoring, do I get a teacher

 Answer: a mentor tracks your progress, challenges you when you are not understanding something, and occasionally offers advice when it is really needed. The main job of a mentor is to ensure you have done everything you are supposed to do. There is no individual teaching, as you should be able to complete the work on your own. But occasionally we all need a bit of guidance, and that is also offered, but to the minimum.

I hope some of these question/answers are useful, and as more questions crop up from students, I will add them to the blog.

 I am now coming to the end of the Initiate section and the last module in that section will be various tasks and magical actions that prepare the initiate for the transition to adept training. Originally Initiate Module Ten was listed as being, ‘Understanding the Act of Creation’, but as I got close to writing this module, I realised there was no need for yet more theory – the work necessary had already been covered in previous lessons. Instead, it has been retitled ‘Preparation for Adepthood’.

            Some of the work that touches upon the act of creation are woven into the module, but in more practical applications, as it is the deep currents of creation that flow through the adept preparation. It is also a point in the course where it needs to be work that is for the most part practical instead of theory. So the course has been adjusted accordingly. It has taken on a life of its own as it forms, and I am learning to adjust and let it evolve as it is written.

            It has been an interesting year, writing the Initiate section, as I go through a re training as I write: I see the work from a different perceptive and learn different layers to the work as I pick it apart and reconstruct it. A valuable if at times frustrating and confounding process: I am right there on the path with the initiates, slogging it out as they too push their shoulder against the boulder.

 

I have also realised along the way, that books I have recommended for study by other authors have either gone out of print or have become wildly expensive, which is very sad. For the most part they are necessary reference books, and so once I have finished writing the course, I will put together a couple of reference books where the information is specific to magicians, so that the references are made available at a sensible and reasonable price. For those who still cannot buy them, any mentored student who cannot afford them will be given one.

When I started the course, I thought I was agreeing to two years of intensive work, after which I could go on my merry way, and get back into regular life and all the benefits that come with normal living, like a social life, a basic wage, and some down time on my hands. It quickly became clear that eighteen months to two years to complete the course was naive at best. It has been twenty months so far, and I have about another year to go. It feels like I have been writing forever.

What is wonderful that has happened so far is that people from all over the world are engaging with the course, and also finding each other, forging friendships and swapping resources. It is changing how people think about magic, how they approach training both for themselves and others, and it has also triggered debates about how magical knowledge should be imparted. That alone has made it all worth it.

So now I continue on the Path of Hercules, working with Saturn to forge forward with determination and get the adept training in shape. And once that is finished, I think it would be nice to organise a gathering in Britain over a few days, to bring as many students as possible together to celebrate, debate, listen, talk, eat, play and make friends.

I will do a non Quareia blog soon, just to raise my chin above that water and see if the world is still there…. but for now, thanks for reading my blog, and I hope you all have a wonderful new year.

2016 is going to be the year of the fire Monkey, so I will get my mop and bucket ready for the little accidents that may happen.

Josephine McCarthy

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