The Genius & The Great Work

“The magician’s most important invocation is that of his Genius, Daemon, True Will, or Augoeides” writes Peter Carroll in Liber Null. “This operation is traditionally known as attaining the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. It is sometimes known as the Magnum Opus or Great Work.”

In this episode, we explore magic and the Genius.

Looking back over the history of esotericism and occultism, there can be no denying that many of its better-known practitioners attempted to uncompromisingly embody their Genius or True Will. Many were widely traveled and most were accomplished, creative individuals (writers, poets, actors, and so on). And their legacy, though not well-known, has influenced creators over the centuries and decades.

  • Founded in New York City by Russian emigre Mme. Helena Blavatsky, Theosophy (an esoteric movement of the late 19th century, now largely forgotten) was an influential force in anti-colonial politics in India and Sri Lanka.
  • Probably the world’s most notorious and publicity-seeking occultist Aleister Crowley was also a poet, novelist, painter, mountaineer, and boxer.
  • Austin Osman Spare, the inventor of modern-day sigil magic, was also, of course, a highly accomplished artist, who was exhibited by the Royal Academy at the age of 15, and who later worked as a war artist in World War I.
  • A self-described “witch,” influenced by Jung, Kabbalah, and witchdraft, Rosaleen Norton was a visionary artist.
  • Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposphy, was also the founder of the Waldorf school system, the creator of biodynamic farming, an artist, and an architect.
  • And, of course, the membership of the early Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn included poet laureate W. B. Yeats, actress Florence Farr, and theater producer Annie Horniman.

Today, occultism can be studied at university (under the more respectable sounding title of “Western esotericism”). And, no longer the purview of a few dozen eccentrics in England, Wicca has been featured in women’s magazines and teenage movies.

Contemporary, popular occultism is a form of ersatz religion — a prepackaged identity that allows for just enough individuality for the individual to feel that they are dangerous, even though, generally, they are not.

“Society insists on conformity and is therefore the greatest enemy of the genius,” notes Kyler James. The craven desire for acceptance by society kills the genius within us.

As such, it is easy to forget that as a creative force, occultism or magic is fundamentally about the daemon or the genius. Hence, in the most literal sense, Crowley receiving the revelation of Liber Al vel Legis from his holy guardian angel Aiwass (if you believe Crowley’s account), Spare evoking the atavisms that lay deep in his unconscious, the visions of Rosaleen Norton, or the paintings and poetry of other occultists, misunderstood, misrepresented, and hated by the media in their day. We might add, too, that the emphasis on entering “gnosis” by the early Illuminates of Thanateros was, again, an attempt to contact one’s Genius.

Angel Millar is the author of The Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality and Path of The Warrior-Mystic: Being A Man In An Age of Chaos. He is also a mentor and consulting hypnotist, working with individuals to develop themselves and achieve their goals in life. You can learn more about his work at

The War in Heaven and The Mysterium of the Soul: Approaching David Beth’s Kosmic Gnosis

The Kosmos is alive and our Souls know it. But the Soul as well as this knowledge of a Kosmos in which every phenomenal body[1] is en-souled has been starved in most people. Resurrecting our Souls is a necessary step if we want to ever re-enchant the Kosmos and find intrinsic meaning in life and death.

In the following paragraphs, I want to point towards a unique Gnostic vision and pathway, the pandaemonic ‘Kosmic’ esotericism of David Beth. Although it is mainly taught from Master to chela in personal transmission and thus has remained privy to a selected circle of initiates, spores of its Gnosis have seeped into the outer world through various channels and have enthused esoteric visionaries and dreamers alike.[2] To me, this pathway is not only a choice of a particular occult or Gnostic practice and philosophy but an affirmation of my experience of Life, my affirmation of the Mysterium of the Soul. As interest in this ‘Gnosis of the Other’ continues to rise outside our circles, I hope that this humble contribution may be of some aid to any sincere seeker. Continue reading “The War in Heaven and The Mysterium of the Soul: Approaching David Beth’s Kosmic Gnosis”

Freemasonry, Esotericism, and Spiritual Development: An Interview With Piers Vaughan

Angel Millar: You’re a well-known lecturer on Masonic and esoteric subjects in the USA, and you’re involved with many Masonic Rites as well as many Western esoteric Orders outside of Freemasonry. Most recently, you published the book Renaissance Man and Mason. Before we talk about Western esotericism more broadly I want to ask what made you join the Masonic fraternity?

Piers Vaughan: It was something I had dreamed of doing from a young age. My grandfather had been a very enthusiastic member, to the extent that he would take his pony and trap and travel the 20-mile journey from his farm in Upper Beeding to Brighton, in England, to attend meetings. Sadly, his enthusiasm did not pass on to his son — my father — but by the age of 16, I was already devouring Pick and Knight’s Pocket History of Freemasonry. In my teens, while maintaining my Christian beliefs — attending a local Anglo-Catholic Church, composing music, playing the organ, singing in choir (which I had done since the age of 7) — I was drawn to explore comparative religious paths, visiting a mosque, synagogue, other Christian places of worship, a Spiritualist church, and even reading and experimenting with Wicca and Rosicrucianism. Continue reading “Freemasonry, Esotericism, and Spiritual Development: An Interview With Piers Vaughan”