The Art of Magick: An Interview with Robert Allen

Robert Allen has been a practicing ceremonial magician for more than half a century; his life in magick began when he was 13 years old. In his late teens, he joined the Ordo Templi Orientis under the direction of Kenneth Grant, which is currently known as the Ordo Typhonis. He is also a senior member of the Temple of the Silver Star (TOTSS), a Golden Dawn patterned Thelemic Order, and an Instructor for the TOTSS academic track. In addition, Robert is an Initiate of the Jane Wolfe lineage of Aleister Crowley’s A.˙. A.˙.

On a more secular note, he holds a degree in fine art, and he is a former dancer, choreographer, physical theater artist, and director, working with significant choreographers and directors in the United States and Europe. His current focus is on teaching and education, having taught at major universities in the US, and he is a published author on performance technique and visionary art practice. Robert is a certified teacher in the Krishnamacharya Yoga tradition, as well as in the Michael Chekhov acting method. More recently, he has been integrating theater technique and magickal practice in a project called Performance Movement Magick. These workshops are ongoing and provide the practical foundation for his writing and pedagogy.

Special thanks to Robert and to his publisher ‘Theion Publishingfor their assistance and for providing an updated biography.


PAA: Welcome Robert, could you please provide a brief introduction.

Robert: I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I moved here about a year ago, so I am still pretty new to the area, but my immediate objective is to establish my teaching and workshops in this community. From art student, to dancer and physical theater artist, to theater director and finally magick teacher; I have grown to appreciate how I have really only done and been passionate about one thing regardless of how I have gone about it. The most recent version of myself understands that ‘artists are facilitators’. This is also a very good definition for a magician. It doesn’t matter anymore who is on stage if I am somehow still necessary to the expression of a creative energy that is busy transforming the world. Teaching just happens to be the most subtle and powerful form of this energy I have found to date.

What do I teach? I teach traditional methods. My innovation is how I combine performance technique with magickal practices. For this reason it makes sense when a student of mine describes the work as ‘what Robert teaches’ or ‘Robert’s classes’. This means that my methodology as a teacher does not fit into any one tradition comfortably. For better or worse, I am an outsider when it comes to what I offer my students. If there is such a thing as the ‘Robert Allen method’ (god forbid!), it has to do with how I integrate the elements and how I provide instruction, which I believe accounts for the enthusiasm of my students. In the end, should I be of any help to you or anyone else in learning magick you should eventually be able to say ‘I practice the <Insert your name here> method’.

PAA: You started early with the Ordo Templi Orientis under the direction of Kenneth Grant. How did this early training influence you?

Robert: Sometime in the 1970s I wrote to Israel Regardie. It was a short correspondence, but profitable. I initially asked him for information about the several magickal orders associated with Aleister Crowley. He sent me the address for the OTO in England under Kenneth Grant. I wrote to the address and received instructions on how to apply. Out of respect for the proprietary rights of magickal orders, I won’t discuss what I received directly from the OTO after joining, but I did come to a fuller appreciation of Grant’s work, and his interpretation of Crowley’s work, mostly because I was buying and devouring his Typhonian Trilogy as they became available.

It was an interesting time. Had I been more connected and aware of my immediate environment I might have been conflicted as to which order to join, Grant’s OTO or the emerging Caliphate under Grady McMurtry and Phillis Sekler.

A major theme in the Trilogy is communing with higher orders of being: secret chiefs, the Holy Guardian Angel, disaffected deities of antique eons, transdimensional aliens… This comes directly from Crowley’s playbook of magickal seances with his various scarlet women. Along these lines I too began to have experiences of a decidedly Typhonian character, but I lacked the larger context in which to make much use of them.

Time passed, and being as old as I am now I have had plenty of time to recontextualize what was happening, and to appreciate why it was important work. Though one of the things I began to suspect at the time was the connection between metaphysics, any metaphysics, and the practices associated with it—every practice maps out a world view and a metaphysical structure that it is attempting to exploit. In my workshops I teach a variety of techniques that I have found promote what is best for obtaining potent and valuable visionary experiences. For what it is worth, these now form my beliefs, which are subject to change even as my methods improve, are revised, and/or are swapped out for something more potent.

PAA: You are currently a senior member of the ‘Temple of the Silver Star’. What can you share about your training and membership? From looking at the website I really like the clarity of the education they offer. Clearly defining initiatory and educational tracts.

Robert: To paraphrase one of my magickal mentors when I was researching the Temple of the Silver Star back in the day: these people are adults. Beyond that there is not a whole lot I can share. The best introductory resource is their website. Dr. David Shoemaker is the visible head of the order and is generally approachable should anyone have concerns or questions beyond what I can say here and what is posted on the website.

But I will risk a little redundancy and say that it’s a teaching order that is patterned on the original Golden Dawn. As an organization it is well managed and responsive to sincere seekers, taking the mandate to educate very seriously. I would also like to point out that while Crowley was primarily associated with two Orders—the OTO and his A.˙. A.˙.—a lot of what he was about came from his tenure in the Golden Dawn. Ergo, without this key much of his teaching can remain obscure. This was my initial draw to joining; that, and Initiation, and the highly structured and enlightened system of training they are known for.

PAA: How does your work with the Ordo Templi Orientis and the Temple of the Silver Star inform your understanding of the Western esoteric tradition?

Robert: Currently I am not a member of the OTO. Kenneth Grant’s version of the order changed its name, as well as clarifying its own specific mission at the time, to avoid conflicts of interest with other groups claiming to be the real OTO.

If you replace ‘esoteric’ with ‘magickal’ in your question above you will get a better idea of how I view these two organizations: as exemplars ‘of the western magickal tradition’.

PAA: You are also a Yoga teacher in the Krishnamacharya lineage, does this practice bring any additional benefits to your magical work or is it treated as a separate vehicle?

Robert: Krishnamacharya was a Yogi and teacher who is credited with the creation of what is almost universally understood today as modern yoga (i.e. hatha yoga), the type you will find in any major city in the world—in health spas, gyms, and in the ubiquitous yoga studio. His three protégés, Desikachar, B. K. S. Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois, exemplify the three principal approaches to teaching hatha yoga: attention to posture, flow, and the dynamics of the individual practice.

There are many reasons and motivations for pursuing hatha yoga, and almost all of them involve a quasi-religious justification for physical embodiment—why do we even have a body(?). These discourses either elevate the physical vehicle as a symbol of all that is important in this life, or their focus is on realizing Moksha—liberation from the body. My interest in this type of yoga is more aligned with the former, with a fuller appreciation of the potential of the individual while they are in the world, and in a position to make the most of it.

As a young man in high school I had a very bad relationship with my body. I had an extremely bad diet and made no effort at anything that might improve my health, like sports. As a result I experienced chronic back pain and regular cold sweats because my metabolism was so messed up. This changed when my girlfriend at the time persuaded me to begin regular kundalini yoga classes. Our teacher was a convert to the Sikh religion, Pritam Kaur. Pritam’s take on her yoga was principally devotional, and seemed to fall somewhere between the ‘body as miracle’ on the one hand, and spiritual realization on the other. Nevertheless, my experience was more of the former. There were any number of evenings walking home after her class when I was spaced out of my gourd, but what made a lasting imprint on my life was that I found I had real talent for the physical aspects of the practice—strength and flexibility; it changed my body and life, setting me up for what would eventually become a much more physically demanding career as a dancer and theater artist.

When I retired from performing I needed something that would take up the slack because it is common for dancers who perform at my level to become deeply depressed when they stop training. This is when I started hatha yoga in earnest. At this time I was also teaching theater, where I saw in my acting students many of the same problems I had experienced in high school. So it made sense that I would begin to explore the value of yoga for their sake. But even before making this innovation, my approach to actor training was mostly physical; it dovetailed with what I saw as the main thing I provided my students, a training that made the most of their physicality for greater expressive power and stage presence. So my yoga had nothing to do with a spiritual perspective, or so I thought at the time. In an essay for a recent anthology of essays on ‘movement for actors’ I wrote that yoga for actors should be about how to be a better actor, not about how to be a yogi.

But this way of talking about different ‘objectives’ for doing yoga is all wrong; it’s dualistic and assumes life, and the fullness of life are not integral to spirituality. The philosopher Henri Bergson defined the body as a ‘center of action’. This idea is supported by practice, which would suggest that both the yoga for health and physical beauty practiced by most people, and the yoga for expressive prowess that I taught are both possibilities that can only happen if you have a body. How this is approached by the individual is a matter, not just of aptitude and interest, but also of age and physical limitation due to injury and genetics. Iyengar infamously slammed his hands down on a waist-high table and kicked up into a perfect hand stand at his 90th birthday party. Still, he too got old and died. The end of his life was as much a part of his yoga as his youthful mastery because the body wants to struggle for the handstand, or the equivalent effort specific to each individual, to push against resistance with the objective of overcoming whatever presents itself as a limitation; and it also wants to grow old and to live through the experiences of inevitable loss of function and vitality that comes sooner or later. It was designed with all these experiences programmed into itself.

What Magickal practitioners come to understand, hopefully, is that all of this body-telos is a symbolic enactment for anyone discovering and executing their True Will; even as it is also the dynamic informing Initiation, which is made possible because we have a body that changes, that suffers a constant stream of little deaths ultimately culminating in its final disappearance at the end of its days.

As a teacher, my body extends into those of my students. My experiences and expertise with yoga are part of my teaching today even though I rarely instruct anyone in the proper way to assume a Warrior Two asana anymore. If the histories of my peers in dance are anything to go by I too will be getting the inevitable hip and knee replacements. It’s a truism in most contemporary yoga practice that it only gets “real” after the student injures themselves. It is at this point they will either go deeper into the practice, achieving the true, subtle relationship with their physicality that hatha yoga is ultimately concerned with, or quit. This is because yoga, like everything else, is an instance of something larger. What I am trying to articulate is how it could be dance, or yoga, or rock climbing, but insofar as we are talking about the great opportunity of having a body and being in the world, all of these things are just individual solutions to how the body is instrumental in expressing the true essence of the embodied soul. This is the time of the body, this is the time when action can happen in truth, when a magickal gesture changes the universe!

I haven’t taught yoga in a very long time, but the teacher training I did still informs how I work with the individuals who turn up in my classes and workshops. This is because there is a profound physical dimension to proper magickal technique. The insight from being a professional body for so many years changed me in fundamental ways: I know when a person is not integrated in their performance, magickal or theatrical; and I know how even the simplest, seemingly non-athletic, non-physical gesture can sometimes be a true and powerful expression of the soul. I experience this failure or success of my students in my body as a kinesthetic reality; subtle expression is still physical no matter how ethereal we imagine it to be.

I will end with another quote from the previously mentioned article on movement for actors:

“A number of other fairly common physical trainings for actors that I am aware of were born of dysfunction, as an attempt to overcome an idiosyncratic set of identified problems. This is a troubling legacy because the logic of such systems is ultimately burdened by reductive goals—the necessity of removing undesirable characteristic X or lessening characteristic Y—and these come dangerously close to asking less of the actor. By contrast, yoga has benefitted from its origins as a spiritual discipline that asserts as its goal a kind of perfection that, while ultimately unachievable, nevertheless encourages actors to see their craft as always asking something more of them.”

It’s a sentiment I feel is equally applicable for anyone interested in pursuing, or who is already a part of, a magickal practice/tradition.

Book

PAA: Now let us look at your new book, what inspired you to write this groundbreaking work, Imago, and how did your background in the aforementioned magical traditions influence your writing?

Robert: The book finally becoming a reality at this point in time is hard to separate from the limitations around physical contact imposed by the pandemic. I am not a professional writer in the sense that I am constantly writing books and articles; instead I give in-person workshops, which were not possible for several years. This allowed me to spend more time making the book a reality. But the book was nonetheless a serious project for me even before the advent of Covid-19. As important as the workshop or classroom format is to what I offer, a book presents a number of special opportunities specific to the genius of that medium. In essence, it is an extension of my larger preoccupation with teaching, and it allows me to teach in ways that are not so easy in a studio setting.

The actual ‘try this at home’ techniques I provide only take up about a fifth of the overall book itself. The rest is concerned with questions, discussions, and examples of what the method might actually entail, as well as speculations about the deeper reasons for why the reader might consider experimenting with it. For this reason the book is divided up into discrete sections that make a whole when taken together but are also meant to stand alone. The more immediate inspiration for this approach was the collected essays of the art critic Susan Sontag, who is not a figure we commonly associate with magickal practice. The individualized sections were meant to be invitations to participate in a speculative process designed to prepare the mind for serious work, a sharing of my process without insisting on any definitive belief about the nature of the work. I felt this was the best way to give shape to the fact that magick is first and foremost experiential and performative, not dogmatic. The exception to this approach was the chapter on practices, but even there the first and simplest of the techniques is presented as more or less the whole technique. The creative and resourceful adventurer might need little or nothing more than this simple description of how to activate the memory body (my term for the astral body).

PAA: You state that image should be at the heart of the western tradition – could you expand on this point?

Robert: Actually I believe you are quoting an insightful appraisal about the book that was made by the publisher. I never stated it this way, though I don’t disagree with it. And I am assuming you are also asking specifically about the magickal tradition? Adding ‘magickal’ to the equation, I will go on to assert that this tradition should also include the history of art. It’s what makes the west uniquely western in my opinion. And there, as simple as that was, I have placed image front and center to the discussion.

Of course, there was a time when the arts, the sciences, writing, and magick were all the same thing. Considering them as separate disciplines, it is possible to lay them out as so many circles to see where they overlap. The first and most important thing to notice is that magick is not its own circle, but can only be found where the other three domains intersect. But we are playing here with visual metaphors, so let’s try another arrangement where we give magick its own circle, which we can do because we are now past the historical point of western fracture, when all of these disciplines became effectively separate domains. What we have now are only two players that still betray any significance toward each other, magick and art; and they overlap almost completely, the very thin slivers where they don’t being practically nonexistent.

Iamblichus will affirm that the highest magick, called theurgy (divine action), is the transformation of chaos into cosmos. And this strikes me as a pretty good definition for art practice as well. Appropriately, the important acting teacher and theorist Michael Chekhov advised his students to study architecture, to visit the great European cathedrals, monuments, and palaces that were also great works of art. The idea was to internalize as intensely as possible the symmetries and eternal ratios of place. In this way the body of the actor was improved, brought into better focus as an image and elevated in terms of its outward expression by exposure to something higher, which in turn translated into more impactful performance. It is also very good advice for anyone who might be attempting a similar enhancement of their magickal body. Art does this if you study it, and even more so if you begin to make art yourself.

Well actually, this kind of internalization is already happening all the time because this is how we create our reality in the moment-to-moment. But for most of us it happens in that subliminal dimension where autonomic processes are largely maintained. As with breathing, we can take conscious control, but for the most part we don’t have to think about it since the habit is firmly established, and so breathing just happens. The problem with this is that as long as this integration of the environment remains an autonomic activity, the image we are building is haphazard, even defective—we are not internalizing great art. What is created as a result of this subliminal activity is the image that is our soul, a common thing of no great distinction. Taking charge of this process, which happens with art, is where we make positive improvements to the body of light. The perfected magickal body (memory body, astral double, body of light) is sometimes referred as the diamond body. Magickal ritual acts directly on the refining and hardening of this image. This is also happening when art happens. There are some mystical traditions that attempt a wholesale rejection of images, but they are rare, and it tends not to turn out well for those involved. In the west, the image was originally central to all magickal ambition. To the extent that it isn’t the case now is a serious problem.

PAA: Following the previous question, how does your book Imago explore the relationship between this image, vision, and understanding in magickal practice?

Robert: It concerns what is commonly called astral projection. This is an unfortunate designation because so many readers will already have some idea of what that means. In my opinion almost everything ever written on the subject, except for a few limited instances, is mired in unhelpful assumptions, gnostic metaphysics (dualism), and logical fallacy. For those of my readers who are “burdened” with a healthy skepticism, these defective writings form a barrier to taking first steps in the practice. And for those who are not overly concerned about its inherited metaphysics, or its genuine value as a practice, these individuals will eventually find themselves in a philosophical dead end that threatens the veracity of magick itself.

But everything is rooted in image(s). And I mean everything… These images are not necessarily visual; they can also be built up from any of the five senses; the visual sense just happens to be dominant for most people, and is what occurs to them when they think of an image. It is also how memory works, by serving up images; and by extension it is how perception works, by decoding the flow of information provided by the sensorium via memory, thereby resolving this information into recognizable images.

We think we actually see something outside of ourselves when we are looking at something outside of ourselves; we are only a little bit less confused when we imagine something in the subjective darkness behind our closed eyes. It’s all imagination, the image-making faculty. This does not mean whatever we happen to be experiencing as an external phenomenon isn’t real. Rather, it extends what we understand as real about common, sense-based perception to things we previously only imagined were imagined! Understanding comes when we can finally parse how every image can be both a revelation and an illusion.

PAA: Could you provide more information on how your work with early Neoplatonism and its use of images as magical symbols of transformation has influenced your magickal practice?

Robert: Neoplatonism is what we call a historical period of philosophical discourse characterized by a revival of interest in the foundational works of Plato. The movers and shakers of the movement did not see themselves as ‘neo’; as far as they were concerned, they were Platonists. Looking back, I feel it is important to respect the differences between the individuals who made up the movement, because they never stopped being philosophers, and would sometimes disagree with each other; in other words, Plato’s writings were not a sacrosanct body of literature where all the important philosophical problems of human existence had already been worked out. They were a place to start from and refer back to when needed. The thing that united these philosophers was the centrality of the human soul, which was identified with the images of what they would have called the sublunar world. A more in-depth reading of the important players will show significant differences in attitudes toward the soul, specifically between what might be termed early Neoplatonism and late. Starting with Iamblichus the movement turned into something more than a philosophers’ club, it now involved ritualized magickal practices designed to reconnect the soul to its divine source. This was characterized as religious practice; a major concept at the time was that of the ‘cosmic soul’, which was identified with the Greek goddess Hekate.

I doubt that it is now possible to work with Neoplatonism because we don’t know exactly what theurgical practice looked like. Also, I am not a pagan despite my love for Hekate; the Neoplatonists were pagans, but I relate to her more as a metaphysical reality, the Anima Mundi, than as a patron goddess who helps me in life. What we have today instead of old school Neoplatonists are people who, because of their obsession with the imagination and the power of images, express in their work a deep sympathy for the core philosophical and magickal precepts of late Neoplatonism. I am one of these people.

The Wikipedia site on Neoplatonism used to include a list of contemporary Neoplatonists. A bit presumptuous perhaps, which may explain why it has been removed, but it nonetheless identified major trends by contemporary thinkers that are in fact Neoplatonic in spirit. The names on the list included the psychologists Carl Jung and James Hillman, the Islamic scholar Henry Corbin, as well as the philosopher Henri Bergson. I could extend the list quite a bit, and do so in my book by including many artists. In the book I go on to contrast Neoplatonism with that of dualistic Gnosticism, a pernicious religious philosophy still very much a part of the western mindscape. In that tradition images are evil, which is why, because of their fearlessness in working with these allegedly toxic materials, all artists are by definition Neoplatonists, some more self-consciously so than others.

I am part of this tradition, which came alive for me when I was able to express what the essential Neoplatonic teaching was about in my own work; if this doesn’t happen for you, then you can assume you have understood nothing of the tradition. To do this for myself I had to trace the historical antecedents of the tradition as far back as possible, without recourse to mythology or wishful speculation. In terms of magickal literature, pseudo-authors like Solomon and Hermes Trismegistus are all little more than literary devices dating back to the first few centuries of the common era. Significantly, from more or less the same historical period, there were individuals who signed their civil names to their writings on the subject. And these just happened to be Neoplatonists. The foremost was Iamblichus, who I consider the first magician in my tradition. Not much has really changed since his time. The discussion around high versus low magick is still happening; the value of magick ritual is still being justified on its benefits to the soul; and progress is still defined as commerce with superior orders of intelligence, like the Holy Guardian Angel.

The image-base of the tradition, while heavily implied in the works of Plato (especially the Parmenides), was the soul of historical Neoplatonism, foregrounded in Iamblichus’ justification for Theurgy, aka magick, On the Mysteries. This same magick survived into the Renaissance as the astral magicks of Ficino, Pico de Mirandola, and Giordano Bruno. This woefully incomplete list also includes the seership of Edward Kelly and the Universal Magical Agent of Eliphas Levi, which are all further examples of the current that finally made its way into the Golden Dawn, itself a summing up and a rehabilitation of the various threads of the western magickal tradition.

In terms of the tradition, image has always been the medium and the catalyst for every type of magick, especially the kind I practice, the magick of Initiation. This is also what we find in western theater, which was my ‘day job’ for most of my adult life. Both magick and theater require a respect for technique, and reverence for the power of expression, and both are equally concerned with many of the same aspirations for the transformation and enlightenment of the soul. In my teaching I make the most of the technical innovations from the artistic and theatrical worlds I moved in during that part of my life. The masthead on the Performance Movement Magick website advertises ‘Ritual Magick for Performers and Performance for Magicians’.

In the initiation rituals of the Golden Dawn, one of the very first things an initiate ever heard was “And the voice of my higher soul said unto me ‘let me enter the path of darkness; peradventure, thus shall I obtain the light’.” Pure image, pure theatricality!

PAA: In what ways does your book Imago provide a practical step-by-step guide to vision magick as a foundation for all esoteric practice? Does the reader require some background? Or ability to clearly visualize?

Robert: If you can recall what you had for dinner yesterday, you already have enough skill to begin this work. Nevertheless, it is assumed your powers of visualization and concentration will improve as you practice the methods outlined in the book, even as you may want to begin additional practices that will enhance these powers of mind because, simply put, more is more. Hopefully I adequately address what are often unhelpful expectations of the reader, enough to get them over that initial hump of just making a start.

For what it is worth, everything in the book is something we can all do, even if it can be done better after a little experience and practice under one’s belt; I call it a ‘practice’ for this very reason. Everything is presented in a step-by-step fashion to avoid confusion, and to make it absolutely clear that this is not beyond anyone’s ability. It just happens to be in the nature of the work that the first, simplest exercise contains the whole of the technique; if you can animate the memory body (my term for the astral body), there is no limit to where you can take it. Let’s not forget that most historical magicians had little more than some very basic indications outlined in a book to go on. Still, after presenting a simple, easy way to access the technique, I go on to elaborate how it can be developed, providing some tools from the performance studio, my workshops and private workings, and from more traditional occult sources.

In my workshops I try to be as nondenominational as possible. This is not always possible since some of the best techniques are identified with clearly established traditions. When this is the case I will stress the underlying principles informing specific gestures. These principles are almost always revealed as stock powers of the body-mind complex. This complex is innately visionary, fulfilling its highest potential when visionary seeing is happening. From the divinatory revelations of the astrologer or tarot reader, to the final projection of the alchemist, to the Enochian or Goetic magician’s interrogation of the angels and spirits, to the ecstasis when someone is possessed by a god, it’s all visionary seeing. Getting out and exploring the astral plane is only the beginning; in the end the very physical world around you should become theophanic. Eyes open or closed, it is the same thing that is happening; eyes closed just makes the envisioned process easier at first because we tend to imagine the imagination has more agency when the eyes are closed.

Dance

PAA How do you integrate theater technique and magickal practice in your project called Performance Movement Magick?

Robert: The artist and the magician are interested in the developing the very same powers of mind, and they subscribe to the very same measures for determining success, whether they know it or not. This is not an argument or a belief system; it is simply a practical concern for what works, and then for what works best. As such, the techniques I reference flow back and forth between both worlds: magickal practices are taught to the artist/performer, and practices from the art studio and theater world are shared with the magician.

Let me give an example that I think will illustrate what I mean. The playwright Maria Irene Fornes, once considered the most important living American playwright, is famous not just for her plays but also for a writers lab where she developed exercises for writers experiencing writers block. I had the opportunity to learn these exercise when I was studying playwriting with a protégé of hers at Columbia University.

These exercises are shamanistic in form and execution, using ‘death’ imagery to bring the writer to the border crossing between the conscious mind and the unconscious; from this place the practitioner opens themselves to voices from the other side. Success in this exercise manifests as encounters with willful entities, where the playwright becomes more of a medium than a creative artist. I have successfully adapted these exercises for my workshops that deal with spirit communication, and I have found them to be effective and powerful, near fool-proof for establishing contacts on the inner planes.

PAA: How does your work with radical avant-garde theater artists like August Strindberg and Heiner Müller relate to your exploration of the magickal imagination?

Robert: Since my audience is principally made up of magickal folk I find it useful to point out how much the arts have to say to this community. If I were writing a book for artists I would probably have reversed the equation and referenced magickal personalities with the aim of mining their wisdom for the benefit of my artistic readers. Strindberg and Müller are masters of image. Their insight, their degree of initiation if you will, is embedded in the works I have chosen to feature in Imago. They form the basis for a deeper discussion on the nature of image, as well as images as agents of transformation.


Additional Information

Roberts website: Performance Movement Magick

Roberts book: Imago

Roberts Publisher, a treasure trove of fine edition books: Theion Publishing


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Philip Harris-Smith
Philip Harris-Smith
1 year ago

I pose the following oversimplified, reductionist question:
GD stuff is death and rebirth formula a.k.a. Aeon of Osiris
Thelemic stuff is Aeon of Horus
Grants stuff is Aeon of Set
Then there is also the Aeon of Maat and probably others.

Q: do you apply a general or universalistic Magickal formula to your work? If so which one. If you don’t …any reason.

To be open and fair my general view is Aeon of Horus though i accept the view that nothing is unclean.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen
1 year ago

To be clear, there is a profound difference with how you define ‘Formula’ and how I use related terms like Practice, Technique, and Method.

I am thinking about somewhere in Crowley’s Book IV where he writes (I paraphrase): ‘let us describe the method of magical identification’. He is talking about the assumption of god forms, a fairly universal magickal technique regardless of your alignment with a magickal philosophy.

I will teach this in my workshops. Familiarity with his Liber Israfel will show how he incorporated this technique into a formal invocation of Thoth. What is clear to me is how, what Crowley describes as the various ‘steps’ in the process, are in fact the skills required in classical acting technique. The actor is actually trained in this method. I have studied acting and trained actors, so it can be assumed I can help others with this practice.

This has nothing to do with the magickal formula of any specific Aeon, even as it will be something every magician, regardless of their alignment, will probably make use of in their own work. My concern is that a metaphysical system should not be a limiting factor for what is ultimately possible.

So I advise people to put practice before theory: ‘theory and practice’ needs to become ‘practice and theory’ imho. In the same spirit I will council my actors to hold lightly onto their ideas about how to play a character so it can change into something truer based on their experiences. It’s an ongoing process and allows practitioners like myself to avoid worrisome concerns about what I believe or teach.

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