A quick note about Fr. RO’s old Red Work Courses and who’s licensed to share them

Another quick note in the midst of my own writing projects amidst my yearly hell season of too much going on…

As many people might be aware, Fr. Rufus Opus used to offer a series of ebooks and online classes about his take on Hermeticism, Hermetic practices, and angelic/planetary magic that he collectively titled the “Red Work Course” (RWC) that he wrote back in 2010 and 2011.  Much of this material was collected, condensed, and distilled into what eventually became his Seven Spheres book he put out in 2014.  However, back in 2016, he announced and clarified that he no longer sells access to those files and courses anymore (and, in the case of his old Planetary Gates ebooks, this was announced back in 2014 with the publication of Seven Spheres late that year).  Instead, in an email to his students from around the same time in 2016, he made an arrangement that 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.  His logic was that, at the time of him joining the A∴A∴, he wasn’t allowed to charge for teaching what they know, so Fr. RO stopped selling his old courses, but didn’t want to be unfair to his old students who paid for the stuff, so if his old students could show the ability to fully understand what he wrote, they could take charge and sell it or give it away as they chose.

Although a good number of the students from his old RWC mailing lists seemed to be all about the idea, I’m not sure what became of it for most people; it could be that many of his old students took the test, got Fr. RO’s blessing and approval privately and quietly, and kept it quiet since most of them aren’t much for teaching, or they never actually took the test.  However, there is a small handful of three people that Fr. RO has publicly gone on the record to announce as those that he has licensed to share his old RWC files:

  1. James Wood a.k.a. Spanish Moss, over at The Red Crown of Stars (who also heads up the Thicket of a Witch blog)
  2. Mal Strangefellow over at The Society of Royal Philosophers (who also heads up the Ordo Sancti Cypriani and the Church of Light and Shadow)
  3. Myself right here

If, after all these years (especially given how much I referred to it in my recent Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration posts), you’re interested in the RWC files and lessons, please contact one of the three people above at their respective websites.  We all have different teaching styles and requirements, so consider that as well.  James and Mal use a more active class structure or a group/forum structure closer to what the original RWC courses used with Yahoo! groups and mailing lists, while I tend to take a more hands-off approach with separate mentorship sessions as needed/desired by students.  James and Mal have roughly similar price points to what Fr. RO had for the RWC files, but I use a different method entirely; if you’re interested in getting the files from me, contact me about it and we can discuss from there.

While there may be others who are licensed that Fr. RO might have forgotten, the three people above are the only people 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.  If you yourself have been licensed and you’re not part of the list above, contact me and let me know when and how Fr. RO licensed you (email, Facebook post, etc.) to clear up any potential confusion.

P.S.: Mal Strangefellow, in an effort to encourage and reward people to choose legit sources and teachers, 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.

An upcoming geomancy course by the splendid Dr Al Cummins!

What with all the recent influx of traffic from my hilarious geomantic chat with the wonderful Gordon White yesterday on Rune Soup, I figured that this is as good a time as any to mention that there’s a series of online geomancy courses coming up in October this year by Dr Al Cummins hosted by those dastardly handsome purveyors of materia and magic Wolf & Goat.  I name-dropped Al in the podcast yesterday, but let me say a bit more about him in case you’re woefully unfamiliar.

Dr Al, as you might know, is one of the most excellent academic-minded magicians of our time; he literally has a PhD in English magic, necromancy, and history, and has quite a bit more than a fancy bit of paper to back himself up with.  Amongst many other things, he’s also one of the foremost geomancers I can think of, and I can say without hesitation that he’s one of the few to legitimately give me a hard run for my money.  In addition to co-hosting Radio Free Golgotha, he’s also the author and publisher of several modern works on various topics in the occult, ranging from astrology to Cypriana and everything in-between.  If I am, as Gordon says, “luminously bright”, then Al is brilliantly stellar.  Plus, he has that luxuriously dulcet Commonwealth accent which just makes you feel like you’re being cherished and educated at a proper university; there’s nothing bad about any of this.

If you’re interested in signing up for the good doctor’s geomancy courses, time is running out!  You can either choose the two-part Sunday classes (three hours each on October 1 and 8) or the four-part Tuesday classes (1.5 hours each on October 3, 10, 17, and 24); either way, the cost is the same (US$80) and the same information will be given in both; this course will also pave the way for future, more advanced courses on deeper geomantic technique and sorcery.  Spots are limited, so if you’re interested, hop on soon!  For more information, go to the Wolf & Goat page on the class, and just follow the instructions.  Personally speaking, I’ve signed up for the Sunday classes already, and I’m excited to hear the good doctor speak on all these topics geomantical.

An Online Introductory Course on Geomancy

Many of my readers come to my blog for geomancy and related information.  This post isn’t really going to give them much on that, but there’s something I can proffer to sate you all the same.  I would like to bring your attention to an online class, Geomancy for Astrologers by Dr. Alexander Cummins:

Considered a “daughter” to astrology, the system of divination known as geomancy was an incredibly popular and well-regarded form of divination in early modern Europe. It applied what occult philosopher Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa called the “use and rules of astrology” (which is to say, the symbolism but none of the astronomy of astrology) to create answers using a process both apparently simple and deceptively subtle.

Geomancy as a system consists of only sixteen figures, each attributed an astrological identity. These figures are combined in specific charts (known as shields) to render very particular answers, often using versions of the Houses of the Heavens. These shields are set by various means of generating random numbers and developing them using mathematical operations.

Dr. Alexander Cummins – a historian of magic and a practicing geomancer – will introduce the history, practice and magic of this art. Whether you are a professional astrologer, a seasoned card-reader, or a newcomer to divination tools and techniques, this class will offer you further useful skills and resources for your own practice and understanding.

I’ve personally met Dr. Cummins, and have deep respect for his research and work in the history of British and Western occultism, as well as his work in geomancy, which he’s finally getting around to sharing through online classes and informative videos.  I’m planning on sitting in on the class, myself, because no matter how much you might know, you always stand to gain from another person teaching.  Besides, if I were to trust anyone to put the obnoxiously sesquipedalian and floridly overwrought language of John Heydon into something intelligible and palatable, it’d be Al (who, for some reason, adores Heydon), so I’m excited for that alone.

The class is US$29 per seat, and is held this Saturday, June 18 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.  You can register online through Kepler College through this link, which I highly suggest you do so.  If you’re on the Facebook, you could do worse than participate in the event page for the same thing, where there’s a bit of discussion and resource sharing already going on.  Hurry up and get your tickets today!

Upcoming Classes at Sticks and Stones!

Yes, despite my constant activity and increasing workload, I am still teaching classes at the metaphysical shop near me in Fairfax, VA, known as Sticks and Stones.  It’s been a while since I taught anything there, and now that I’m only going there to do readings every other weekend (ish) instead of every weekend, some of you guys might miss the chance to see me.  But fear not, I’m not abandoning the place!  This is a list of the three classes I’m teaching at the local store through May 2014.  If you’re attending, feel free to let me know in the comments or select attending on the Sticks and Stones event pages in the links!

Geomancy I and II ($50), Sunday 3/2 and Sunday 3/9, 2pm ~ 4pm both days
Tired of Tarot?  Pained by pendulums?  Weary of runes?  Want something new and fun, or just a system of divination that makes sense?  Learn geomancy!  This ancient art was second only to astrology for centuries, and known across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for its ease and accuracy of getting answers.  Join a seasoned geomancer, yours truly, as he introduces geomancy back into the occult scene once more.  Learn about its history from desert sands of the Sahara to its modern revival across the world, the sixteen geomantic figures and their meanings, and how to answer any kind of question with geomancy using basic and advanced techniques.  Note that this class is not about feng shui, the I Ching, ley lines, or sacred geography, all of which may be called “geomancy” in other contexts.  Due to the amount of material, this class is broken up into two sessions; attending the first is a requirement for attending the second!  A basic knowledge of astrology and mathematics is suggested but not required.

Greek Alphabet Divination ($30), Sunday 4/6, 2pm ~ 4:30pm
Alphabets and letters have always been held as magical tools and powers in their own right, and have been used as a form of divination in countless cultures.  Much like the Nordic runes, the ancient Greeks had their own method of letter-based divination or “grammatomancy”, where each letter has a particular oracular meaning.  When combined with the other astrological and magical meanings that the Greek alphabet has gained over the centuries, this can become a powerful divination and magical tool indeed!  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of the Greek alphabet for easy-to-use divination and magic.  A copy of his first 60pp publication, “De Grammatomanteia”, is included with the course for reference and study.  No prior knowledge is necessary, though a familiarity with the basics of divination and magical ideas would be helpful.

Thinking With Planets ($15), Sunday 11/10, 2pm ~ 3:30pm
A lot of modern magical traditions focus on using the four elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, occasionally with the fifth element of Spirit, as the primary or only forces of their work.  However, even a few hundred years ago, magicians of all kinds used another set of forces: the planets!  With the powers of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, magicians were able to accomplish a lot more a lot faster, including directly affecting the elements themselves.  Join yours truly to learn how to introduce the use of the planets into your own work, basic magical timing, and how to connect the planets to the elements and vice versa.  No prior knowledge is necessary.

Upcoming Classes at Sticks and Stones!

So Gwen and I were sitting down at Sticks and Stones, the store I do readings and classes at, and talked about our schedules for the first half of 2013, through the end of June.  Once we figured out what I wanted to blab endlessly about, we settled on the following set of courses from now until the end of June.  After all, being one of the few ceremonial magicians and geomancers on the East Coast, I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge under my belt (though by no means enough) to share around with folks willing enough to hear me out and pay a small-but-reasonable fee, about $30 per class.  With that in mind, here’s my teaching schedule for the first half of 2013.  All the classes will be on Sunday afternoons.

Written 2000 years ago in Egypt, the powerful ritual known as the Headless Rite has been used for exorcism by mages in the Mediterranean, knowledge and conversation of the higher Self by Samuel MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, and empowerment over harmful forces by countless other magicians.  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of this ritual as he shows participants how and where to use the ritual to get the most out of it, both in the physical and the astral.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for ultimate cosmic power would be appreciated.

  • Geomancy I and II (March 3 and 10, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., $50)

Tired of Tarot?  Pained by pendulums?  Weary of runes?  Want something new and fun, or just a system of divination that makes sense?  Learn geomancy!  This ancient art was second only to astrology for centuries, and known across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for its ease and accuracy of getting answers.  Join a seasoned geomancer, yours truly, as he introduces geomancy back into the occult scene once more.  Learn about its history from desert sands of the Sahara to its modern revival across the world, the sixteen geomantic figures and their meanings, and how to answer any kind of question with geomancy using basic and advanced techniques.

Note that this class is not about feng shui, the I Ching, ley lines, or sacred geography, all of which may be called “geomancy” in other contexts.  Due to the amount of material, this class is broken up into two sessions; attending the first is a requirement for attending the second!  A basic knowledge of astrology and mathematics is suggested but not required.

Ancient Alexandria during the Roman Empire was a melting pot of Greek, Hebrew, Egyptian, Roman, and other influences as far west as Morocco and as far east as India and China.  With those cultures came their gods and goddesses, spiritual beliefs, and magic rituals.  Many of these were preserved in the Greek Magical Papyri, considered to be occult’s version of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Join yours truly as he goes over Hermetic beliefs, practices, and rituals used by magicians from the early Roman Empire in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  No previous experience necessary; come on by and learn these ready-to-use rituals!

The Western Mystery Tradition is often seen as dry and boring, barren of the vibrant multitude of spirits, fey, and familiars that many forms of paganism and rural religion have.  Not true!  In fact, this system of occult philosophy is teeming with huge numbers of spirits, many of whom are more than happy to lend a hand.  Join yours truly in learning about the two major kinds of spirits worked with and called upon in the Hermetic tradition, who’s who in the seven planetary families and the four elemental families, how to call upon them, and what they can do for you in your own practice and life.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for getting chatty with the spirit world would be appreciated.

When you hear about “conjuration”, do you think of pompous magicians in ruined castles wielding swords and hurling imperious threats at misunderstood spirits bound in arcane circles?  Then stop by with yours truly and learn the truth about ceremonial magic’s most famous type of ritual!  Yours truly will go over how conjuration really works, its history and roots in shamanic practices, proper conjuration etiquette, and a complete and easy introduction to conjuring and chatting with angels.  With little more than a circle and a glass of water, you too can start a magical practice with some of the most powerful and easily accessible forces in the cosmos!  Some knowledge of spirits in the Western Mystery Tradition would be appreciated.

Creating magical items of arcane power have always been a high art in magical traditions, ranging from hoodoo-style mojo bags enchanted with oils and herbs to silver discs inscribed with astrological symbols to pull power from the stars.  Although different traditions have different concepts of creating, maintaining, and decommissioning magical items, also called talismans, the process in creating them is often the same.  Join Sam Block as he describes different styles of talismans, how to use them, how to make them, and how to maintain them.  No prior knowledge or experience necessary, though a familiarity with astrology, geomancy, or elemental forces might come in use.

Besides the above, are there any other classes you might want to see me teach?  After all, dear readers, you probably know specific things you’d like to see me blog about more, and helping to teach others helps teach myself as well.  Possibly a class on Hermetic cosmology, magical timing, or similar, but what might you like to see for the latter half of 2013 and years beyond?

Geomancy Class Outline

I’m getting ready to teach a few classes at Sticks and Stones, the local new age and earth spirituality book store I do readings at, for the rest of this year.  Later this month, on September 23 and 30, I’m teaching a two-part course on geomancy, since apparently I know things and can teach them.  I dunno why people trust me to do this for them without, like, burning down the state of Virginia in the process.  Either way, it’s an awesome opportunity for me, the local occulture, and the art of geomancy as well, since this really is an art that deserves more love than it gets after being neglected for a few centuries.

Well, as usual, I’m pretty much winging it, and don’t really have a structure yet for the course.  Regardless if they go well, I’d like to keep teaching about geomancy, perhaps offering the course several times a year or offering special workshops on detailed topics within geomancy.  If the courses go well, fantastic!  If not, I hope to tweak the courses around and figure out what went wrong, what went well, and what can be improved upon.  To that end and to help me prepare, I’d like to ask the occult blogosphere and you, dear reader, to help me out.

Each session is two hours long, and there are two sessions.  I’ve decided to break the material up into the first session:

  • What geomancy is and is not
  • History of geomancy: Sahara, Middle East, Africa, Europe
  • Basic figure meanings
  • Figure groupings: stable vs. mobile, odd vs. even
  • Geomancy and astrology: planets, signs, elements
  • Making the figures: traditional sand-and-stick method, pen-and-paper, coins, dice, cards
  • Pairwise interpretation: two parents and a child

…and the second session:

  • Practice of divination: ethics, state of mind and conditions, query vs. querent vs. quesited
  • Generating the Mothers, the Shield Chart, and the House Chart
  • Interpreting the Shield Chart: the four groups of figures, via puncti, sum of the chart, figure triads
  • Interpreting the House Chart: the houses, perfection, aspects, favorability, company

Attending the first session is a requirement for attending the second, which makes sense to me.  I want the first session to give a solid foundation for geomancy and its symbols while giving them a taste of what they can do, with the full art and technique being explored in the second session.  I’m also planning on giving a set of handouts for the course, so people can take something home with them, have some premade notes, and some references to guide them as they start working with geomancy:

  • Basic terms, symbols, definitions
  • Figures, meanings, correspondences
  • Shield Chart template
  • House Chart template
  • Perfection and examples

Knowing the above, what do you, dear reader, think?  Is the course inclusive enough to get a basic but firm grip on geomancy?  Is there anything I missed you’d like to see included?  Is there anything you think doesn’t need to be gone over?

Upcoming classes at Sticks and Stones!

Now that I’m doing weekly divination readings at the local bookstore, Sticks and Stones in Fairfax, Virginia, I’ve been willingly corralled into offering workshops and classes for the public.  Being one of the few ceremonial magicians and geomancers on the East Coast, I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge under my belt (though by no means enough) to share around with folks willing enough to hear me out and pay a small-but-reasonable fee, about $30 per class.  With that in mind, here’s my teaching schedule for the rest of 2012.  All the classes will be on Sunday afternoons.

Tired of Tarot?  Pained by pendulums?  Weary of runes?  Want something new and fun, or just a system of divination that makes sense?  Learn geomancy!  This ancient art was second only to astrology for centuries, and known across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for its ease and accuracy of getting answers.  Join a seasoned geomancer, yours truly, as he introduces geomancy back into the occult scene once more.  Learn about its history from desert sands of the Sahara to its modern revival across the world, the sixteen geomantic figures and their meanings, and how to answer any kind of question with geomancy using basic and advanced techniques.

Note that this class is not about feng shui, the I Ching, ley lines, or sacred geography, all of which may be called “geomancy” in other contexts.  Due to the amount of material, this class is broken up into two sessions; attending the first is a requirement for attending the second!  A basic knowledge of astrology and mathematics is suggested but not required.

Written 2000 years ago in Egypt, the powerful ritual known as the Headless Rite has been used for exorcism by mages in the Mediterranean, knowledge and conversation of the higher Self by Samuel MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, and empowerment over harmful forces by countless other magicians.  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of this ritual as he shows participants how and where to use the ritual to get the most out of it, both in the physical and the astral.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for ultimate cosmic power would be appreciated.

The Western Mystery Tradition is often seen as dry and boring, barren of the vibrant multitude of spirits, fey, and familiars that many forms of paganism and rural religion have.  Not true!  In fact, this system of occult philosophy is teeming with huge numbers of spirits, many of whom are more than happy to lend a hand.  Join yours truly in learning about the two major kinds of spirits worked with and called upon in the Hermetic tradition, who’s who in the seven planetary families and the four elemental families, how to call upon them, and what they can do for you in your own practice and life.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for getting chatty with the spirit world would be appreciated.

When you hear about “conjuration”, do you think of pompous magicians in ruined castles wielding swords and hurling imperious threats at misunderstood spirits bound in arcane circles?  Then stop by with yours truly and learn the truth about ceremonial magic’s most famous type of ritual!  Yours truly will go over how conjuration really works, its history and roots in shamanic practices, proper conjuration etiquette, and a complete and easy introduction to conjuring and chatting with angels.  With little more than a circle and a glass of water, you too can start a magical practice with some of the most powerful and easily accessible forces in the cosmos!  Some knowledge of spirits in the Western Mystery Tradition would be appreciated.

I’ve already got some ideas lined up for some classes in 2013, so stay tuned, both on my blog and the Sticks and Stones site for more details! I’m thinking about going over sections of the PGM, various topics on geomantic technique, Hermetic cosmology, Greek gematria and stoichiometry, magic circle design, ceremonial magic timing, and more. If you have any suggestions for classes, feel free to let me know in the comments!