Depending on how people take this, this post may be the beginning of my most controversial and egotistical post set, but I’ll start with the simplest, which is really a transition into the issues regarding the next post on this.
So last week I was at a Halloween party (because that’s what you do in June when you have awesome friends) and I was complaining to a friend that “My Angel woke me up at 0430 yesterday.”
“Now when you say angel you mean…?”
“My Holy Guardian Angel.”
“Now when you say Holy Guardian Angel you mean…?”
“Knowledge and Conversation.”
“Via the Abramelin working.”
“Why didn’t you try an easier or quicker route?”
“Cause then I couldn’t be sure I got the right result.”
A trend in magickal/religious practices for ever, but I’d say more so now with more communication and ideological liberalism, is syncretizing concepts. It’s how we bring peace to different systems and get them to work together, it’s how we justify borrow the nifty things from other traditions. Sometimes the syncretisation is really superficial and useless, other times it is profound. Then oddly sometimes we don’t syncretize things because we get hung up on language (usually of our own tradition), so despite the fact that most definitions of god would apply to Bodhisattvas or Orishas, a lot of people fight the idea of considering them gods. Sure there are some nuanced differences, but for the role they play and the like I’d argue that in general parlance they could share the categorization of “god” but understand that in more cultural specific practices they might not be interchangeable.
So sometimes we combine things under the same label, or the same category/process when they shouldn’t be, and sometimes we don’t when we should. Either way it can murky the water.
In the last week I’ve seen this happen in regards to Fae, Elves, and Tuatha, and I’ve seen it regarding Spirit Guides, Fetches, and Totems. What I want to focus on though is the Holy Guardian Angel. In Western occultism that generally refers to the spirit you come into contact with through the Abramelin ritual. Yet more and more I see people using it refer to other spirits that they have contacted in other ways. Sometimes spirits from other traditions are labeled as the HGA cause they seem similar: The eudaemon from the Greeks, or the Supernatural Assistant from the Greek Magickal Papyri, your guardian angel (as opposed to Holy Guardian Angel), the Fravashi, the Yidam, Godself, your Orisha, the higher self, and so on.
Are all of these the same things? I don’t think so, but I also can’t say for sure. Some of them seem pretty close, others are so distinct I wonder why people are making the connection. What I can say for sure is the only way to know that the spirit is the Holy Guardian Angel as described in the Abramelin and derivative texts, and not something similar, is to perform the Abramelin. It seems like a quibbling point, but it is true. This isn’t to say filing these things under HGA is wrong, but it could be, and is something I think people have to be more open to.
I don’t talk about it much, but that’s the reason I did the full Abramelin ritual; it is the only way I could be sure that the spirit I came into contact with is my HGA and not something similar. It’s a trite analogy, but think about getting directions to a beautiful spot on the beach to watch the sunset. If you follow those instructions you’ll find the spot, and see beautiful sunsets. If you look at the instructions and figure out your own route (or worse, just listen to the description of the destination and try to find it that way) then you might end up in the same place, but you could also end up a kilometre, or tens or hundreds of kilometres away, and while you might get a nice view, or even a beautiful view, it’s not the one you were going for.
So when people ask why I went the path of praying five hours daily, retreating from the world, confessions, sackcloth, ash, rituals, and all that instead of performing Crowley’s Samekh, or doing the Bornless One, or creating my own ritual to achieve Knowledge and Conversation, that is why. Anything else, I wouldn’t be able to say for sure got me the result I was looking for. Similar, or comparable, yes, but not necessarily the same.
Maybe my HGA is the same Supernatural Assistant I’d get from following the PMG route, or performing Samekh, but maybe not. This also doesn’t mean that everyone who performs the Abramelin achieves Knowledge and Conversation, and that’s not to mean it can’t happen other ways. I know people on both ends of that spectrum, but they tend to be exceptions, not rules.
My issue is not just about the spirit that is contacted, but the process of purification and unification that comes with it. It’s not just that the HGA as explained and contacted through the Abramelin might be a very specific spirit different from what is contacted via other routes, but the type of contact and what that means can also be very different, that communication/contact might be different than Knowledge and Conversation, but that, as they say, is a story-rant for another time.