The Basis of Magick

Also notable, is the beginning of numbers expressing a world order. There is a legend that depicts Pythagoras having traveled to Babylon. In Babylon, he is taught the mysteries of numbers, their magical significance and their power. The seven steps, mentioned in the story of the Tower of Babel, often appear in other instances in magical philosophy, theory and thought.

The Seven Steps

The commonly accepted seven steps are: stone, fire, plants, animals, man, the starry heavens and the angels. Starting with the study of stones, the man of wisdom will attain higher and higher degrees of knowledge, until he will be able to apprehend the sublime, and the eternal. Through ascending these steps, a man would attain the knowledge of God, whose name is at the eighth degree, the threshold of God's heavenly dwelling.

The Square of Seven

The square was also a "mystical" symbol in these times, and though it was divided into seven, was still respected as a correlation of the old tradition of a fourfold world being reconciled with the seven heavens of later times. Many accept this as the start of numerology, but for this to develop to the point where the square represented the fourfold world, it would have had to develop before this.

Rulers of the World

In direct opposition to the Mesopotamians and Egyptians, who believed that everything occurred with either the favor or lack of favor of the Gods, the Chaldean star religion believed that luck and disaster were not chance events at all. The Chaldeans believed that events were controlled by the planets and stars, which seemed to send good and bad according to mathematical laws and therefore represented a more orderly fashion. The Chaldeans held that man was incapable of fighting the will of the planet and star deities and yet continued to incorporate "one's will" into one's fate.

Good and Evil

Around the 7th Century B.C., Zoroastre was preaching the doctrines that evil could be avoided and defeated and introduced to his followers the principles of good and evil spirits. First and foremost in this belief structure were Ormazd (Ahura-Mazda), king of light and his twin brother Ahriman (Anro-Mainyu), prince of darkness. Zoroastre also introduced the "divine battle" between good and evil. He believed and taught that archangels controlled by Ormazd (the spirits of Divine Wisdom, Righteousness, Dominion, Devotion, Totality, and Salvation) and the demons controlled by Ahriman (the spirits of Anarchy, Apostasy, Presumption, Destruction, Decay, and Fury) were constantly at battle with one another. Zoroastre believed that in the end, Ormazd and his angels would prevail.

The last of the demons (the Demon of Fury) was incorporated into the Hebrew and Christian belief structure. The name of the Demon of Fury is Aeshma Daeva, known to the Hebrews as Ashmadai and to Christians as Asmodeus.

Asmodeus was the "chief of the fourth hierarchy of evil demons," called "the avengers of wickedness, crimes and misdeeds" and was not to be feared. It is common belief that Asmodeus is a teacher of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and mechanics and that when questioned will always answer truthfully.

Other demons, specifically Paromaiti - Arrogance, Mitox - The Falsely Spoken Word, Zaurvan - Decrepitude, Akatasa - Meddlesomeness, Vereno - Lust were believed to tempt people away from the true worship of Ormazd.

Much of the current day Christian beliefs were taken from the teachings of Zoroastre.

The Sphinx

In Egyptian and Greek art and legend, the Sphinx was an important image. The Sphinx was a mythological creature with a lion's body and a human head. The word sphinx was derived from the Greek verb sphingein (to bind or squeeze), but the etymology is not related to the legend and is dubious.

The earliest and most famous example in art is the colossal Sphinx at Giza, Egypt. It dates from the reign of King Khafre (4th king of 4th dynasty; c. 2550 BC)

The Sphinx did not appear in Mesopotamia until around 1500 BC when it was imported from the Levant. In appearance, the Asian sphinx differed from the Egyptian primarily in the addition of wings to the lion's body, which continued through its history in both the Asian and Greek worlds.

While the Sphinx began as a male, another interesting version was that of the female. The female Sphinx appeared around the 15th century BC on seals, ivories and various engravings. It was usually portrayed in the sitting position with one paw raised and were frequently accompanied by a lion, griffin or another Sphinx. Its appearance on temples and other important buildings eventually lead to an interpretation of the sphinx as a protective and philosophical symbol.

The Sphinx rests at the foot of the three pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkure and watches over the City Of The Dead and guards its secrets.

Plutarch (A.D. 45-126) in his book on Isis and Osiris, proposes the Sphinx symbolizes the secrets of occult wisdom and that the magic of the Sphinx lies within the thousands of hands that chiseled it from rock and that the magickal thought, conjurations and rites of those countless generations have imbued in it a mighty, protective spirit that still exists.

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