Although I’ve had an interest in magic, spirituality, and the occult since I was a young child, I only formally started my actual magical practice in 2011. I had several options for coursework and teachers, but after thinking things though (and after a bit of divination), I settled on the Red Work Course (RWC), written and designed by Fr. Rufus Opus. This was a series of online courses, delivered through PDFs and combined with an active online discussion group of students with Fr. RO himself, that began back in June 2010, and consisted of three phases arranged after the traditional division of processes in Hermetic alchemy:
- Black Work: This phase of the RWC, corresponding to the alchemical Nigredo, forms the foundation of the entire RWC. This is the beginner’s 101 to practical Hermetic magic, going over Hermetic cosmology, philosophy, and doctrine as well as the basics of the four classical elements, working with spirits formally and informally, and introduces simple magical methods. The main technology introduced in the Black Work is that of the Trithemian conjuration ritual, introduced in Johann Trithemius’ Art of Drawing Spirits Into Crystals, which will be the foundation of all conjuration done in the RWC, and introduces the notion of induction (formal spirit-guided self-initiation) under the angels of the four elements and their accompanying spirits.
- White Work: This phase of the RWC, corresponding to the alchemical Albedo, builds on the Black Work and focuses on the refinement of the soul and spirit so as to attain contact with the Supernatural Assistant, the RWC version of the Holy Guardian Angel. In addition to providing the tools and methods based on both Renaissance and classical Hermetic approaches, the White Work will also introduce more information regarding one’s relationship to purely divine entities as well as chthonic and goetic ones.
- Green Work: This phase of the RWC, corresponding to the alchemical Citrinitas, continues the process of elevation and exploration, introducing the planets of the seven heavens in detail so as to establish relationships with each of the seven planetary angels, intelligences, spirits, and other powers. With further inductions into each sphere, the Green Work will help the student begin to integrate these powers into their sphere regularly and cyclically, in addition to working with the various entities of those spheres, how they can affect the material realm of the Earth, how we can live in harmony with these forces in our day-to-day lives.
Originally, Fr. RO had wanted there to be a fourth phase of the RWC, the Red Work itself corresponding to the alchemical Rubedo, which was intended to reach into the eighth sphere of the fixed stars themselves, but such a thing never came to pass. However, based on the material in the Black, White, and Green Work course texts, the student will have enough information and means to access information to continue the Red Work on their own at this point. As I see it, there are three main goals of the RWC:
- Obtain inductions to the four elements and the seven planets under their appropriate angelic governors.
- Establish contact with the Supernatural Assistant/HGA/Agathodaimon.
- Obtain induction into the eighth sphere of the fixed stars.
After the publication of his 2014 book Seven Spheres, Fr. RO no longer provides access to his RWC files or his other classes as of 2016, having seen that his purpose was fulfilled and superseded by his introduction to the A∴A∴. However, Fr. RO made an arrangement with his RWC students: he would make a test for his old students and, if he approved, he would certify and license them to use the old material he put out for RWC as they see fit. As one of his graduates who undertook the test, Fr. RO has given me the permission and license to carry on the RWC in my own way.
If you would like to obtain a copy of the RWC files from me, please contact me by email to inquire further. We’ll work out the terms of access over email; in order to access the files, you must provide proof (picture with timestamp, online receipt, etc.) that you own Fr. RO’s book Seven Spheres; if you do not yet own it, you can purchase a copy off Amazon here.
However, I am not the only one who offers the RWC. There are also two other teachers of the RWC who have taken over for Fr. RO:
- James Wood a.k.a. Spanish Moss, over at The Red Crown of Stars (who also heads up the Thicket of a Witch blog)
- Mal Strangefellow over at The Society of Royal Philosophers (who also heads up the Ordo Sancti Cypriani and the Church of Light and Shadow). In an effort to encourage and reward people to choose legit sources and teachers, Mal is offering 20% his enrollment fees for his version of the Red Work Courses to all my wonderful readers! Just use the coupon-code POLYPHANES when checking out.
Both of these teachers are also people whom I trust, and offer a more traditional RWC experience in a more active class-based format with discussion groups and forums, plus their own materials they add to their courses. I only provide the RWC files for the student to use at their own pace and self-direction, and my own teaching methods (available by request as consultations, not included as part of access to the RWC) differ from theirs significantly.
While there may be others who are licensed to share the RWC files that Fr. RO might have forgotten, it is only me and the two other people mentioned above who are the only ones that Fr. RO has himself confirmed to me to be licensed to publicly use his old RWC files as they see fit. If you hear or see of any others sharing his coursework, please consider letting him or me know to confirm whether they are also licensed before getting anything from them out of respect for Fr. RO’s work. As I mentioned on my blog in September 2019, if you yourself have been licensed and you’re not mentioned above, contact me and let me know when and how Fr. RO licensed you (email, Facebook post, etc.) to clear up any potential confusion.