Saturday, January 27, 2007

HGA Media Store

Here are some essential and wondrous sources on the Holy Guardian Angel. Few of them follow the Crowleyan model, but they all seem to be talking about the same thing: access to an immensely powerful, seemingly omniscient interior personality that guides one along lines of spiritual evolution. Some of these sources will seem dry as dust to some of you... some are entertaining as hell... all point towards divine dimensions of ourselves and the universe one seldom hears about in church, on TV, or even (coherently) in most "spiritual" or "New Age" or "occult" literature.

Those of a romantic inclination personify their HGAs, but this isn't necessary. The HGA tends to appear in a form highly attractive (not necessarily sexually attractive) to the individual, and I think this happens because spiritual energy that is poured into us tends to take the shape of the vessel. There is some discussion about whether the HGA "is" God or "is" an intermediary; I can make an analogy based on the World Wide Web.

Practically speaking, the Web is infinite. There are billions of Web pages and even if you started now and read a page a second for the rest of your life you couldn't view them all. But if you chose a couple of good Web directories and followed their several hundred links to pages you were interested in, you'd not only learn something useful, you'd have a good time, too. The HGA is God's way of boiling down Her unimaginable and overwhelming energy and Intelligence into something we can (barely) handle and that will help us evolve so we can be closer to Her.

The important thing to remember is, you already have at least some measure of contact with the HGA. Every time that little voice inside you has said something worth listening to, that's been your HGA. Every time you've created something beautiful or said something eloquent or looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, "Not bad," that's been your Angel.

  • Walt Whitman, Song of Myself (The Book of Union with the All--is what a magician would have called it. Our Guardian Angel comes to guide us to this Union, and it's useful to see examples of Souls who have already attained it. Whitman was certainly one.)

  • Another example of someone who was There is Ramakrishna; see The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, or Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, about a devotee who so completely saw Kali in all things that he laid consecrated temple offerings on the ground for a cat to eat--he thought the cat was God. Ramakrishna also, very much counter to his socialization as a Brahmin, saw the Divine in prostitutes...kind of like Christ, come to think of it. Ramakrishna also had interesting HGA-like experiences.

  • Gustav Davidson, Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels (Considerate of him to include the fallen angels, wasn't it? :) ...the idea of angels and of a personal guardian angel can be traced back to Sumer. Angels figure prominently in Islam and in Hinduism [where they are called, somewhat confusingly, devata; this word also means "gods."] You wouldn't learn much about any of this from Davidson's book, for it focuses on the Judeo-Christian tradition. That's not a bad thing at all, for Judeo-Christian angelology is vastly elaborated and Davidson has compiled a Manhattan-white-pages listing of nearly all of it.)

  • Peter Lamborn Wilson, Angels (This Sufi mystic is better known as Hakim Bey, and his public-domain works of intellectual provocation make essential reading. Wilson does an excellent job connecting the more familiar angelic realms with Islam and with parallels in other traditions: ancient Greek and Egyptian myth, shamanism, and the Sophia archetype, to name a few. He also collects a ton of beautiful and rarely-seen angel art.)

  • Gabrielle Bossis, He and I (Her HGA was Christ--pretty good if you ask me. This is probably my single favorite spiritual book: an intimate, moment-by-moment record of one woman's interior dialogue with the Divine. Unlike "the Divine" in certain other such books, this one really sounds like, as Crowley would put it, a "praeterhuman intelligence.")

  • Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials (The most compelling fantasy read for me since Lord of the Rings, a moving and even profound work. Relevance to our quest: not just the concept of the very HGA-like "daimon" but the way in which Lyra learns to read the aleithiometer--very suggestive of how one learns to talk with one's Angel. Plus, the title comes from one of the western world's great angelologists, John Milton.)

  • Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger (vol. 1) (Need I say more? [Please don't! the audience howls...] Classic spiritual autobiography by someone who wasn't sure he wanted to be, or could be, "spiritual." This was my own literary rabbit hole when I was a pup.)

  • Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Encyclopedia of Angels (Guiley also wrote one of the best books on the Tarot. This book duplicates some of Davidson's biblical/kabbalistic lore, but is much more focused on the historical and cultural aspects of angels, so it's quite valuable. Her material ranges from Kushner's Angels in America to World War I angel sightings to one of the best overviews available of Hindu angelology.)

  • Martha Beck, Expecting Adam (One of the HGA books par excellence; Crowley would have added this to the syllabus of the Argenteum Astrum. Especially recommended for eggheads, nerds, and geeks. "And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you"--Beck portrays the deepest dark and the sweetest light.)

  • Fight Club (Both the novel by Chuck Palahniuk and the film--the film is absolute gold and seems more attuned to the HGA tradition.)

  • Aleister Crowley, Liber Samekh (Probably the most important part is "Point III: Scholion on Sections G and Gg." The actual invocation is very powerful and many have employed it with good results. AC provides one way to invoke the HGA, along with the Abra-Melin operation, but both are (and I don't mean to be dismissive) ancient. Most 21st-century people need 21st-century grimoires written from a 21st-century point of view...and so I give you:)

  • Jason Augustus Newcomb, 21st Century Mage (The best explanation of the HGA available [at least along the lines of magick]. This is an incredibly wise book and everyone should read it. There's a public-domain chaos magick grimoire called Liber KKK that also attempts to provide a modern-day equivalent of the Abra-Melin operation; it's worth reading but Newcomb has the Philosopher's Stone IMHO. What must be kept in mind is that any method will work if it is suited to your personality and pursued with enough dedication. I am not a robes-and- incense person and thus wouldn't go near the Abra-Melin operation; I'm also too ADD. But in some of the workings I've done I've seen the very same phenomena old Abraham said I'd see. My personal method really wasn't a method at all, and I tend to think the best results come to people who aren't looking for them. Maybe I'll blog about it later. One thing old Crow said about angels should be remembered by those who feel inadequate or overwhelmed in the face of all this magick stuff: "When you're ready, they come for you." He also said, shoutingly in all caps, for this is the most important thing: "INVOKE OFTEN." In other words, whatever you fill your head and your heart with will become your reality.)

  • Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung's HGA, Philemon, appeared to him as an intelligence with origins in Hellenistic Greece, from the time the Corpus Hermeticum was being written down, as well as the original Greek text that became Liber Samekh, as well as the so-called Chaldean Oracles and the works of Iamblichus, who theorized the HGA as the augoeides or "shining vehicle of the soul"...strange.... Quote: "Philemon...brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.")

  • Pierre Jovanovic, An Inquiry into the Existence of Guardian Angels (Guy is driving down the highway. An unseen force shoves him sideways in the driver's seat. A second later a bullet comes through the windshield right where he was sitting. Guy freaks out and gets interested in angels. Library Journal: "His work is an investigative study written in an analytical style, which may put off some readers of more popularly written angel books." Exactly.)

  • Patrick Harpur, Daimonic Reality (A brilliant if occasionally credulous attempt to synthesize all manner of unusual phenomena into one generalized theory: Harpur addresses angels, aliens, cryptozoology, crop circles, ghosts, fairies, poltergeists, and the Men in Black and somehow makes it all hang together. A very suggestive work and one that might challenge your basic assumptions. This book will make it easier to sleep at night if you live in a haunted house.)

  • David Connolly, In Search of Angels (Goth-kids and witchie-poos, dont' let the rather Judeo-Christian surface scare you off. This guy really knows what he's talking about, and I admire his analytical bent.)



3 comments:

  1. grigorss11:55 AM

    I will, at the very least, pick up the Newcomb book -- it seems like he's speaking pretty plainly regards these phenomena and practices -- as opposed to, let's say, Crowley, who seemingly can't write three sentences without his impulse for obfuscation kicking in. The other reason I'll pick up this book is that it, of all the books you list, has cover art most like a comic book (red and gold; IronMan!), and I'm attracted to pretty colors (I think this is like your album art hypothesis). P.S. -- I apologize that this post is not more 'stupid'...

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  2. I, too, thought the Newcomb cover art was an admirable step out on a limb--it reminds me of a 1960s detergent box.

    Laura said once that "Crowley is fine, but what an example of 'lesser minds have reached the same conclusions with far less effort.'"

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  3. A great post! Thank you so much for taking the time to share and explain the literary choices. As a bibliophile I am constantly looking for new reading and research material, especially as it pertains to esoterica. I will be subscribing.

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