Exploring the Traditions of Solomonic Magic with a Practicing Occultist and Grimoiric Traditionalist

My name is Bryan Garner, my magical name or author pseudonym is Frater Ashen Chassan. I am a practicing occultist, author, lecturer, craftsman and grimoire traditionalist that has been involved in Western Ceremonial Magic since 1999.

What an amazing interview with so much information for the lone practitioner and inspiration to lay down your own path. There are so many people out there who have walked their own way and learned through experience, this interview is a great example of this. Real life experience leading the way versus only theoretical study. If you have enjoyed this interview as much as me then please do let us know in the comments. Also, if you would like to follow the work of Frater Ashen Chassan then please do follow the links at the end of the post.


PAA: Please introduce yourself and your journey towards the practice of magic.

Frater Ashen Chassan: My name is Bryan Garner, my magical name or author pseudonym is Frater Ashen Chassan. I am a practicing occultist, author, lecturer, craftsman and grimoire traditionalist that has been involved in Western Ceremonial Magic since 1999. My journey in magic began in my early teens due to numerous paranormal encounters myself and my family and friends experienced as I was growing up. Although I practice several forms of magic, my primary interests focus on reproducing experiments from various Solomonic magical texts or grimoires and exploring their effectiveness. I take a direct and experimental approach to historic forms of magic and spirit communication. I record the results as well as explore the effectiveness of the results.

PAA: How big an influence has the Golden Dawn had upon your approach?

Frater Ashen Chassan: The Golden Dawn was a substantial influence during my earlier developments in ceremonial magic. I never offically joined a lodge but I studied and practiced from books such as the “Self-initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition” by Chic and Tabatha Cicero and “Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts”, by Donald Michael Kraig among others. I became familiar with several of the practices, including the use of Tarot and rituals such as the Middle Pillar, Banishing and invoking rituals of the pentagram and Opening by Watchtower. My involvement in evocation was further inspired by the book, “Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation” by Konstantinos who adopted much from the Golden Dawn as well. I still utilize several methods of the Golden Dawn to this day.

PAA: Can you tell us about your experience with traditional forms of Western ceremonial magic and your approach to experimenting with Solomonic magical texts?

Frater Ashen Chassan: My earliest attempts at spirt summoning were highly modified forms based on the book I mentioned previously by Konstantinos and an abridged version of the Lemegeton’s Goetia I ordered through the mail in 1999. The instructions were rather vague, and I had very little background in classical forms of ceremonial magic at that time. I made a few attempts at evocation combining what I read about goetia and the Golden Dawn methods I had become familiar with. Even during those few amateur attempts, I got what I perceived as spirit presence although it did not last long and I wasn’t able to hear or speak with it. The results were enough to convince me of the validity of spirit conjuration though and I have been fascinated by conjuration ever since. Years later, I came upon the works of Joseph C. Lisiewski, notably his, “Ceremonial Magic & the Power of Evocation” and was captivated by his approach towards classical magic. I became intent on conducting magical rituals historically rather than the more modern approaches which prevailed at the time. I learned how earlier Solomonic texts are/were built on the foundations of highly religious and liturgical structures that were familiar to the clergy of that day. Undoubtedly, the greatest inspiration on my magical path was the work of John King IV and his Imperial Arts Volume I were practicing the Lemegeton’s Goetia was concerned. I followed his example in procuring the traditional implements and vestments and working from the grimoire’s instructions directly.

I’ve learned so much in the ways of implement making and crafting, specifically in jewelry art as well as engraving, carving, sewing and leatherwork. I also decided to become officially ordained in a Catholic Gnostic Church after immersing myself into so much liturgy and clerical (clergy) work. This has definitely paved the way to truly appreciate these arts in ways that I don’t believe highly modified and supplemented methods ever could.

It took some time to reacclimate to the highly Christianized religious practices and contexts of the grimoires having stepped away from such involvements in my late teens. However, deeper studies eventually lead me to appreciate the occult and esoteric virtues of where this system of magic developed from. The roles of the priest and magician are nebulously blended together. My very first attempt at “Traditional Goetia” was unsuccessful however and lead to further research and development of my magical skills. Later, after achieving success in a different magical system known as the Ars Almadel, I returned to goetia and was finally able to achieve the results of conjuring a spirit to visible and audible appearance.

Since that initial success I’ve experimented with several Solomonic texts and grimoires for spirit conjuration, many of which have yielded satisfying results. For several years now, I have conducted evocations on the behalf of clients to assist them with a number of issues in order to test the results and usefulness of my workings and assist those in need of such services.n

PAA: Can you discuss your understanding and use of Tattwas in your practice? Coming from a Franz Bardon perspective this is a huge part of our foundation so I am interested to see your approach.

Frater Ashen Chassan: My first experiments with the Tattwas occurred while I was living alone and developing my spiritual sight (scrying). Again I must credit the books “Modern Magick and “Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation” for my initial practice and exposure to the Tattwas. I also had the main works of Franz Bardon that furthered my appreciation and exploration with this system. I experimented with the Tatwas utilizing my training as a Hypnotherapist in conjunction with scrying the cards to immerse myself into some very gratifying experiments. I scryed the main elemental Tattwa cards the same way I gazed at my black mirror or crystal while intoning divine and angelic names associated with the element. My involvement with the Tattws progressed further due to the excellent book, “Magical Tattwa Cards: A Complete System of Self-Development” by Dr. Jonn Mumford. His exercises and experiences highly advanced my appreciation for the cards, which lead to the experiments in my book, “Gateways Through Light and Shadow.” I’ve been able to guide others through experiencing the astral realms utilizing the methods I learned combined with hypnotic induction.

PAA: Can you describe your understanding of the relationship between magical ritual and spirit communication?

Frater Ashen Chassan: My assessment of the relationship between magical ritual and spirit communication is primarily through the aspects of correspondences, energetic resonance and an established paradigm. What I mean by these three categories are that each plays a role in enabling a spirit to successfully interact through communication and alternatively, though alteration, directly with the magician. These three aspects are what I feel have directed magic since time immemorial.

By the concept of correspondences or what is often referred to as “sympathy”, magicians have been able to associate a wide range of symbols, images, archetypes, colors, shapes and feelings to beings that, in actuality, have no true form, or substance. In modern linguistics we might appropriate this to a computer program that is developed to present various images and texts so that they can be manipulated to function in specific fashions. Although we use machines to translate the programs into images and symbols we can observe, understand and manipulate, the programs themselves have no inherent substance. Establishing various forms and symbols to a being and observing that such actions work harmoniously, allows for a meaningful connection to “reach out” to a specific power that would otherwise be indistinguishable from all others.

Energetic resonance is a sympathetic attunement of such actions such as magical ritual, to have a meaningful impact upon the energetic make up of one’s environment as well as what could considered the “astral” or spiritual planes of existence that transpose, permeate, and extend beyond the physical senses. A successful magical ritual must “resonate” with the intention of the magician and expected results to be considered viable in any way. Even if the process is not consciously understood, the action must achieve observable results in some fashion.

Finally, the intellectual, social, spiritual, cultural, if not religious paradigm of the magician must be taken into account as a template or blueprint of how the universal is thought to behave. A spirit may only appear in a form that the human being has at least some frame of reference for in order for the mind to be able to conceive of what the spirt being is actually about. “Angel”, “Demon”, Jinn” “Fairy”, “ghost” are simply concepts that have some level of social and cultural appreciation. It is unlikely that such terms adequately describe the entirety of the nature of the spiritual entity in consideration, but it gives a framework for which a person may have some indication of how to relate to the nonphysical being.

Magical rituals intended to speak with spiritual beings each contain elements of correspondences, resonance and some sense of an established paradigm. The ritual can only be effective if there is enough harmony between each of these points and the nature of the spirit in question. The magician must have enough integral knowledge of various correspondences to appreciate the appearance of the spirit and what they perceive as forms of communication. A language and communication which both parties acknowledge and can respond to is essential.

PAA: Can you talk about your experience with evocations and theurgic practices? Does the practice of Theurgy enhance the evocations?

Frater Ashen Chassan: In discussing classical western magic, the practice of spirit evocation was ever assumed to be accomplished through the assumption of the divine and/or divine authority anyway. The semblance of Theurgy was the medium through which classical magicians evoked spirits, whether angel or demon, to begin with. The grimoire texts themselves are primarily formatted to Catholic liturgy, use implements and dress of Catholic clergy and are often referred to as an exorcist – a position of at least minor holy orders. Beyond the official dress and ordination of the typical magician would be the actual practice of which prayer, discipline and intense focus was essential.

The establishment of magical orders in recent history, made “higher consciousness in the understanding of God’s relationship to individual consciousness” a more prominent focus. Thus, magical Theurgic practices took on a different meaning from which they may have originally been considered. I don’t think I could claim that contemporary practices considered “Theurgy” would inherently give someone the ability to evoke spirits successfully, but it could definitely assist, and yes, enhance the experience overall.

PAA: How do you prepare for and conduct a magical ritual for the purpose of spirit communication?n

Frater Ashen Chassan: When working from a classical grimoire, I will typically prepare for the evocation as the text suggests, especially when it’s an unfamiliar text/process or the spirit is unknown to me. Timing is a consideration where evocation is concerned along with knowing the direction the spirit is said to arrive from. I will consider which components, such as what incense might be most agreeable to the spirit and make sure to mix and consecrate a measure of the suffumigation beforehand. Quite often preparation involves the practices of abstinence, fasting and prayer and sometimes confession. Most classical texts of magic stress the absolute need for purity and cleanliness both inwardly and outwardly.n

Fasting is important, not just for clarity but for bodily functioning and not being distracted by the process of digestion or needing to use the restroom, etc. Alternatively, certain odors seem to have a powerful effect on entities. Dr. Stephen Skinner mentions how spirits seem to have a sensitive sense of smell. There is much textual evidence for this even if it is not properly understood in the way that human beings understand “smell”. Beyond our typical appreciation for this sense, I believe certain scents have more to do with what is being emitted off a person. As various foods and drinks are consumed and digested, they undergo an energetic process of decay, a release, as microscopic molecules fill the air issued from our mouths, skin and other areas. After a lecture from a spirt about how food offerings are received, I believe this process interacts with the aerial natures of spirits and can have a agreeable or non-agreeable effect on them. The same can be said for the use of incense or any other substances around us during an evocation.

Beyond the need for fasting and cleanliness, the psychological effects from retreat and discipline alter the mental status of the practitioner. Eliminating distractions and focusing intently upon a task is a powerful magical act in and of itself. I do believe there is much required of the magician to control their internal mental dialog and conscious wanderings in order to effectively establish meaningful contact and communication with spirts.

Beyond personal preparation and retreats, all items are consecrated and cleaned beforehand and arranged prior to the evocation time. The invocations are memorized and reviewed if possible. The purpose of the ritual is reviewed along with any information on the spirit that may be useful in determining its nature.

PAA: Can you discuss any challenges you have faced in establishing successful communication with spirits through magical ritual? What are the requirements within your tradition to allow clear and productive communication?n

Frater Ashen Chassan: I met several challenges in the early stages of developing my practices of evocation. First were my expectations and imaginings of what I thought was supposed to occur and how it would occur and also in what time frame. These rarely if ever matched up. I found my thoughts would often drift to doubts or distractions when nothing appeared to be happening after a few recitations of the conjurations. There was always the fear of conducting something wrong, pronouncing a name incorrectly or that one of my implements was made incorrectly or errors in my gestures. There is a level of focus and “engagement” required in evocation which is challenging during the times the mind is convinced that there is nothing else there. There is a paradoxical juggle of suspending doubt while ardently focusing on the power of the ritual to succeed and passively allowing the spirit to arrive via its own method. I found there was no substitute for experience/practice in this practice and no level of perfectionism would yield the results I initially imagined.n

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PAA: How do you determine the appropriate ritual and tools to use for specific spirits or purposes? Can you discuss your experience with different forms of spirit evocation and invocation? How do you maintain a healthy and respectful relationship with the spirits you communicate with through ritual?

Frater Ashen Chassan: I haven’t spent much time mixing and matching various systems, attire and spirits and tend to work with beings and implements in the grimoires they are found. This isn’t the case in every instance however, as I used the Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals (DSIC) to conjure the seven Olympic Spirits of the Arbatel with success. The ritual tools I use are commonly the ones listed in the grimoires I am working from. The use and importance of each tool or invocation does not become readily apparent until several experiments are made. Although I have not had much need of the magical sword in actual evocation, I believe it is wise to have one handy in the case of more dangerous evocations.

Through interaction, conversation, often with offerings and signs, motions of respect, positive relationships can be established with spirits. Several of the spirits, angelic and otherwise, seem to appreciate ritualistic diplomacy and formality (respect) I strive to embody when conducting evocations. I am sincere and firm in my approach but never insulting or demanding. From there, a relationship can only be strengthened through familiarity, and regular interaction. To harness any spiritual being’s true benefits, a continual working relationship is an absolute must.

PAA: Can you talk about any significant experiences or insights gained from your communication with spirits through ritual?

Frater Ashen Chassan: The knowledge and insights I’ve gained through conversations with spirits are too numerous to mention here. Such gems go well beyond the 674 pages of my last book that relates findings. One I will share are perspectives that have altered my perceptions of what I believe “angels” and “demons” were. According to the responses I received from an Archangel, there is no “war” and conflict” among spiritual beings as there is among mankind. There is no hatred or fear, or loathing among the angels. Our spiritual schools of thought and lore allow glimpses of a widely diverse and intertwined spiritual world that is not fully understood or apprehended by any religion, race or culture.

PAA: How do you approach protection and safety in your spirit communication rituals? Have you had anything unexpected occur?

Frater Ashen Chassan: I approach spirit evocation very seriously and cautiously. I try to take nothing for granted and assume as little as possible. I still utilize the vestments, implements and magical furniture such as the magical circle when evoking powerful spirits I am unfamiliar with. Even many of those I am familiar with I continue to use the same implements and ceremonial formalities. Even at times where this may be “unneeded”, I often follow traditional proceedings out of respect for the spirit’s power and influence. My involvement with various spirits have caused several situations to occur that could not have bene predicted. From dreams, and visions, to seemingly mundane events that change the course of someone’s life, much was unexpected.

PAA: Can you discuss the role of symbolism and intention in your magical rituals for spirit communication?

Frater Ashen Chassan: Symbolism plays an important part in magic and spirt communication since we are dealing with usually “invisible” and intangible entities. A symbol is only as potent as the corresponding connectiveness to the force or concept it represents along with the magician’s ability to utilize it. All magic works in some fashion via sympathy of a concept and resonance to the aspect to that which is being represented. Intention is the establishment of the magical purpose and focus of the intended result but often doesn’t control the aspects of how the results are achieved. Especially in the case of spirit communication, there is often many nuances that were not imagined or predicted.

PAA: How has your understanding and approach to spirit communication through ritual evolved over time?

Frater Ashen Chassan:: At this point the number of successful evocation of spirits I’ve performed is nearing triple digits. In every case, the working never occurred quite like I imagined in my mind. I’ve come to rely on my senses to inform me when the evocation is progressing as should or if something is amiss. There are certain signs I’ve become familiar to when a spirit is about to arrive. I’ve come to really appreciate how various spirits have distinct “feelings”, smells and sounds that accompany their arrival and presence that can linger after the rite is complete. For beings I’ve contacted a number of times, I believe I can more identify them by “feeling” rather than by their appearance or communication. This “feeling” is nearly impossible to put into words” but is something I’ve come to rely upon in magical evocation.

My approach to spirit communication is far less fundamental as it began originally and much more familiar, like a skill I’ve practiced for several years. Although I maintain my sense of formality and respect to the magical art I am practicing, the eeriness and “otherness” of the process has long since faded. I continue to have some difficulty stepping from an intense evocation back into the “normal world” as if the experience and my consciousness disallows the two to full elucidate.

PAA: How does your background in martial arts and Ninjutsu inform your approach to magic? Do you integrate the use of Kuji Kuri hand gestures and have the spirits had any specific guidance for your martial arts?

Frater Ashen Chassan: Martial arts has definitely played a large part in my practice of and approach to ceremonial magic. Ninjutsu in particular has influenced my understanding of how magic functions in its most direct way through focus and physical gestures of the practitioner, especially where other people are concerned. Through the removal of doubt or distractions and any barriers of thought, intention and action the miraculous can be achieved. I use the practice of the Kuji in and Kuji kiri in various practical ways as needed. It is an excellent method to enact change at a moments notice without further need of implementation or ceremonial trappings. I’ve integrated this practice with other mudras and mantras I’ve combined to be used as such spontaneous needs arise. I’ve gained much insight and support from Martian spirits and angels that have undoubtedly improved my performance in the martial arts.

PAA: Where can people find you if they would like to follow your work?

nFrater Ashen Chassan: People can find me on Facebook or Instagram. I have profiles for Facebook under “Frater Ashen Chassan” where most find me or order implements or talismans from me directly. I also have four online courses or Masterclasses on Ceremonial Magic Skills, Goetia, Almadel, and Drawing Springs into Crystals.


 

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