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Old 01-10-2013, 02:29 AM   #23
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default The Shadow Court and Enochian Magic

Originally Posted by Edman View Post
Sounds like you have it covered - there's also several Internet pages that are interesting, like esoteric archives.
Don't be shy, my boy, link, link! ;)

Originally Posted by Edman View Post
What's your stance on Enochian magic? Considering next to no one speaks it outside of magicky stuff, it'd seem like a good choice to go for, especially since you need to be a scholar to have even the remote chance of pronouncing it right.
The foundation of the most popular magic system used by the Shadow Court comes from such people as Dee on language, spirits and scrying, Bacon on a wide variety of subjects and Newton on alchemy. After starting there, proccess was made through intergrating that with newer traditions of syncretic Western Hermetic stuff up to the 19th century.* What resulted is functionally mostly the Western Hermetic system, with astrological decans, correspondances and suchlike, presented in GURPS Cabal and later GURPS Thaumatology.

On the other hand, even while magic still functioned to some extent in the world of the 19th century, it was still unreliable and difficult to access. Consequently, most well known traditions which formed after the Industrial Revolution are to some extent wrong and their rituals seldom, if ever, work as advertised, even in areas with tolerable conditions for magic use. Thus, even if the principles may have been to some extent right, all traditions with Early Modern origins or later may require some modifications to their rituals before characters can spend points on Ritual Magic (Western Hermetic) and Paths and rituals that default from it.

The most effective rituals have turned out to be those that are preserved unchanged from periods when magic was much stronger, during the medieval era and even before that. Despite claims of ancient survival of arcane knowledge being nearly a sine qua non of any self-respecting occult and esoteric tradition, however, actual preserved rituals are very rare. The Shadow Court found that two sources of functioning rituals were more useful than others.**

One is communication with spirits who apparently have memories from a time when effacious magical rituals were practised. This is, however, very risky as it opens up the possibility that malicious spirits could attempt to deceive the would-be student, causing him frustration and embarrassment at best and serious harm at worst. It also sometimes opens ambitious spiritualists up to possession or haunting by powerful spirits. It is also not available to those without inborn talents to see, converse with and ideally control spirits.

The other source of effective rituals are genuine grimoires of mages from a time before magic was lost. If such rituals are hand-written on period parchment or skins, having never been printed and widely dissemnated, this appears to make them even more effective than otherwise.

In setting, the Royal Archives and the Royal Collection contained many items and books of power, dormant and useless while magic was not functional. Early in the history of the Shadow Court, several members carefully catalogued both and excluded certain items before the the public was given access to the rest. Counting the books of which the curators did not reveal the existence and the easy access of many Shadow Courtiers to the libraries of the oldest universities in Great Britain, the conspiracy has been able to get there hands on many valuable tomes from more magical times. Among them are original spellbooks, research notes on the paranormal, occult theorising or alchemical treatises by such luminaries as the FitzGerald Earls of Kildare, Sir Thomas Browne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Roger and Francis Bacon, John and Arthur Dee, John Lambe, Robert Fludd, Henry Percy, Sir Philip Sidney, the Earl of Oxford, Newton, Spenser, Walsingham, Marlowe and several of the Cecils of Salisbury. The Warburg Institute of the University of London was a very rich source of usable esoteric knowledge, a particularly rich source being the collections of writings and notes by two academics associated with it; Dame Frances Yates and D.P. Walker.

As Shadow Court consequently have unparelled access to Kelley's and Dee's notes on the language, inc. never published ones, it should therefore come as no surprise that Enochian is the language used by the most powerful magicians in the Shadow Court, those who have had the leisure to dedicate themselves nearly exclusively to its mysteries and magical study in general (and thus have little footprint in the mundane world). The most accomplished among them now is probably the Hon. Margaret Rhodes, but the Queen Mother was also very powerful before her death.

*Inc. the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, probably the most famous one in the UK.
**There are other sources open to different power groups, such as oral transmission of rituals within religous traditions with direct transmission from a time where their chants, mantras, spells or other rituals were effective. As that demands the preservation of such rituals unchanged for more than a century, this is not as frequent as one might assume. There are, however, some traditions where the supernatural is acknowleded as a force in the world and where the rituals surrounding it have been unchanged for many centuries. Most of them, as noted earlier, now form their own power groups in the world after having discovered their religious rituals suddenly manifesting observable effects where they had hitherto accepted their effaciousness on pure faith.

Originally Posted by Edman View Post
I'd also recommend Dion Fortune's stuff. The Secrets of Doctor Taverner is really awesome when it comes to generating a feel for the occult, especially in Britain.
I'll take a look.
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 01-13-2013 at 08:05 PM.
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