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Materia Magic, Catherine Yronwode, etc


Outside of the rituals I need to do for my gradework as a Golden Dawn initiate (the GIRP's and GIRH's), the vast majority of my personal magic involves using Materia. My personal rituals are a combination of Bardonian-style power raising, Ceremonial-style Incantation (stop saying "mantra", westerners! Our word is cooler), Vibration, visualization, and Materia magic (Hoodoo). I create summoning powders, use candles to activate Kamea for planetary works, use anointing and blessing oils...almost all of the work I do uses materia.

 I believe and have experienced the efficacy of materia magic (Hoodoo for me, although there are other traditions available in the West), and have noticed that my evocations and invocations create more powerful connection and manifestation when I burn Summoning powders and utilize their inherent power. There is power intrinsic in certain things that have come down from the Hoodoo tradition, and learning from this tradition would add tremendously to the efficacy of other forms of Western Magic. Just as working with the Energy bodies has been a wondrous contribution within the Western framework by the Golden Dawn (before the Middle Pillar and it's variants, what had the West contributed to energy work in daily practice? Very little, from what I've understand. The grimoires do not address energy work at all.), working with Materia as taught by Hoodoo could add incredible value to the Ceremonial Magic tradition. Now, Hoodoo has been working with Ceremonial Magic for centuries--the Conjurer has no problem with working with the grimoires of our tradition. Our British-born magical tradition has done little to learn about Hoodoo, however, and that's a loss and a shame.

I'm well aware, of course, that Witchcraft blends Materia Magic and Ceremonial magic. I'm sure that the Witches use Materia and use it well......this use has had little effect on the Golden Dawn. I've yet to encounter the Flying Roll that details the use of powerful herbs and oils in Magic. This hole in our work in the GD is, in my opinion, part of the reason we've been almost entirely eclipsed by Witchcraft in popularity within the Western Tradition.

I'm not saying that Witchcraft is superior to the Golden Dawn--modern Witchcraft is arguably a descendant of the GD system (look up Gardner and Crowley if this is a shock to you) and so owes some of it's success to the same British/Masonic roots that we do.

  I'm sure some will argue that we haven't been eclipsed, and if they do they're probably drunk. If we had 1 new Mage for every 30 new Witches made in a year we'd need to unionize.  They have Witches as chaplains within the Military for heaven's sake...I've yet to hear of an official Sorcerer or Magician working for the Government as such. We have a wonderful system for Spiritual Evolution, but very narrow interpretations of what Magic within the Golden Dawn should be. This leaves us without room for growth. It's not necessarily a bad thing, as our tradition within the Golden Dawn is full of Gold. The gap in what the GD offers creates a cultural difference that's profound; whereas someone is a Member of the Golden Dawn a Witch is a Witch. No one is a "member" of Hoodoo, one is a Conjurer. Most of the GD'ers I know are also part of other magical traditions, because the strict lines of our tradition make that necessary for them.

I'm not suggesting that the Golden Dawn itself should be teaching Hoodoo, which is a wonderfully absurd idea. The Golden Dawn is the Golden Dawn. I am saying that Ceremonial magicians, individuals within our tradition, should seek Hoodoo out and learn Materia Magic. If you are an American, it's practically your birthright. There is a gap in your magical education if you do not know anything about using Materia in magic, plain and simple. There's more to it than burning incense.

Catherine Yronwode

I just wanted to mention her, as her Lucky Mojo Curio co has become a giant in occult supply and a curator and propagator of traditional African-American magic that is unparalleled. When I first started out, I used my family's own traditions as far as Hoodoo went, and what I learned was very modest compared to the vast body of knowledge that Catherine Yronwode has acquired. She has a huge body of knowledge readily available, and that's just in her book. Her course in Hoodoo is another treasure. (I believe Frater Balthazar is a graduate. If he is representative of the general quality of her students, than she is a living treasure.) Her store provides me with materia it would be a huge pain to acquire elsewhere or create on my own.....her value to Hoodoo, and therefore the Western Mystery Tradition ( Hoodoo is part of this, folks) is inestimable. If you want to learn Hoodoo, to work with the practical and powerful Materia magic, you could do much worse than to learn from her.

In the spirit of this post and of giving, I thought I'd share one of my own formulae for Materia Magic-my "Come Here Angel" Summoning Powder. It's nothing that anyone couldn't have created themselves, but it works very well in Evocation and Invocation.

I use it to summon the Angels who assist in my Circle of Protection--I'll post that ritual up later if anyone's interested.

Come Here Angel Powder

to use, add to burning coals within censor before invoking/evoking Angelic entity.


Angelica Root (powdered)
Dried Rose Petals
Black Pepper
Dried Jicama (powdered)
Sea Salt
Magnetic Dust

Combine equal as possible measure of the ingredients into Mortar and Pestle on a Sunday during the hour of the Sun, and grind into as fine a powder as possible. It will be gritty; this is fine. It has a...distinctive....aroma. That's just part of it's charm...

Intone Psalm 91:11-91:13 over the mixture to consecrate, and it will bring Angels to you as you require. Psalm is as follows:

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.




  1. While I think this is a well written, well thought out post, I'm pretty sure you know the reason that there are no Magician/Wizards working in the same capacity as the Wiccan Chaplains in our military-the GD is not a religion and Wicca is. (even if there are times when certain GD practitioners behave as if it were a religion!)

  2. Ave Frater AIT,

    I am lucky to come from a mixed Welsh family, and we have been in the hills of Wales for some time.
    There are definitely traditional 'practitioners' of materia magic very close in kind to Hoodoo in Britain (Cunning men in England, Gwyddon or Dewin in Wales, etc.). But we have a questionable tendency to both secrecy and congenital embarrassment! Oppression hangover, most likely. So much is still concealed, even today.

    But in my family (and I am not the only example I know), people who ostensibly tow the social line by going to Church and Chapel (the only traditional social outlet besides pubs, clubs and houses for many native Celts) will, at the drop of a hat given the right circumstance, demonstrate the most amazing roots knowledge and insight, all traditional, to a depth much deeper than the burning of Sage and tossing of salt.

    People sometimes think Yeats was a bit over-romantic when he described Celtic Ireland. But both Ireland and Britain have much to reveal beyond the newer religion of Wicca, in my humble experience. I've found that it's worth a look.

    Either way, Hoodoo sounds both interesting and familiar.

    In LVX,

    Frater LIL

  3. PS.

    I suspect that, in the case of Britain at least, Class and education have a lot to do with the apparent divide between 'low' and 'high' in the magical revival of the mid to late 1800s...

    In LVX,

    Frater LIL

  4. @ Lavanah

    .....errr.....nope, didn't even think about that. How stupid of me. I think perhaps it's because I don't associate Witches necessarily with Wicca in my head. One can be one without being the other; it's obviously the religion bit that makes the difference. Thank you!!

  5. Care Fra LIL,

    I've heard great things about the wisdom of the Cunning Men and Women, thanks for mentioning them! Definitely a strong Materia Magic tradition, there. I think that the divide between High and Low--White and Black--magic rooted in class still lingers. There's plenty of sneering about low magicians and Sorcerers in some circles....and plenty of defensive reverse-sneering at the Ceremonialists. Silly, the lot.

    In LVX,


  6. Care H. Fr AIT,

    Thank you for this terribly interesting post. With respect I disagree with some of the things you say here.

    Concerning ‘energy bodies’: I think you are mistaken when you assume the western traditions had few contributions prior to the Middle Pillar exercise. Though not labelled in the same manner, the traditional Christian, Orthodox Heychastic, internal alchemical and many Rosicrucian practices developed the inner ‘bodies’ as much as eastern practices. We cannot judge the western tradition from medieval grimories, which are largely the skank end of the tradition.

    Ceremonial magic, at least as I was taught, uses material – herbs and oils, incense and water, fire, braziers, chrism, cords, ropes, plant, leaves, proxies, poppets, dew soaked clovers, etc – as much as Hoodoo. This is all part of the tradition as far as I am aware. Of course we are all prisoners in one way to our own experience, and my teacher was himself taught by someone he described as an ‘earth adept’, so maybe my experience is different to other GD folk you know. Chris Zaleswki, ex-wife of Pat, wrote a book on herbs in magic and alchemy.

    However, the use of such material in the west is problematic as the traditional use of herbs and planets etc was undertaken in alliance with the spirit of the plant. This was achieved traditionally by growing or finding the plant oneself, cultivating it, respecting it etc. It is the connection with the plant at this deep level that ensures the use of its material form works on the higher levels, not just the etheric and astral. Since magicians and Witches today buy imported, processed and packaged herbs from who knows where, this is much harder to do and is one reason why western witch spells fall far below par when compared to indigenous and Hoodoo equivalents. Chris’ book referred to above goes some way to providing techniques and a framework for the GD magician to correct this lack. However, as my teacher would say in his very English manner, the “magicians really just need to get out of the drawing room!”

    I am not sure that the perceived lack of use of material forms is a reason why modern pagan Witchcraft is more ‘popular’ than the GD. I think there are lots more pressing reasons such as its other-than Christian or subtle anti-Christian basis, its focus on sex, the Goddess, practical magic, religious aspects and the fact that it is simpler.

    Comparing modern Witchcraft and the Golden Dawn is actually not an easy thing to do, as the first is a religion and the second is an esoteric tradition. The aims are different. Those who consider modern witchcraft a mystery religion will argue a similarity. However, the simple fact is that modern witchcraft, as you say is an offshoot of the Masonic/magical tradition and for my mysteries I prefer to go back to a source not an offshoot.

    I am an initiate of a few traditions of witchcraft, co-creator of one and was blessed to catalogue and index one of the best witchcraft libraries in the southern hemisphere. From my experience, the use of materia in pagan witchcraft is by and large hindered by the considerations of limited connection to the inner aspects mentioned previously. It is quite different to Hoodoo work. The western tradition that relates most to Hoodoo is that of the cunning men and women. However, as Professor Ronald Hutton aptly declares in his ‘Triumph of the Moon’, the cunning man tradition has virtually no connections to modern witchcraft.

    As you say Frater, “we have a wonderful system for Spiritual Evolution, but very narrow interpretations of what Magic within the Golden Dawn should be.” I for one am very happy that narrow definition should remain focused on the stated aims of the Orders: love expressed to God, humanity and the Universe and the transformation of the magician to someone more than what we regularly understand as human. This compassion and divinization of the self are traditional marks of most esoteric traditions. However, we have discussed this a bit before so won’t go there :) Thanks again for the post.

  7. Hey Frater! Thanks for the kind words, much obliged! I'm thrilled that you are talking to people about rootwork as way to inform and empower ceremonial practices. Very cool.

    Nice formula! You might want to add some solomon seal root and some tobacco which are both excellent for making spirit contact. If you want to really draw them angels near you could swop out the salt for sugar which releases a very sweet and friendly vibration when burnt, which I think would be most appropriate for angelic contact. I would lose the black pepper entirely - which in hoodoo formulas tends to harm, and also has darker spirit associations and is sometimes included in Dark Arts formulas, so would have a more goetic flavour than an angelic one.

    Other than that rocking formula indeed! The angelica especially is very useful for calling on angelic agencies and other higher vibratory entities.

  8. @ Fra Balthazar,

    thank you kindly for the suggestions! the black pepper i used is friendly to the nature of the fiery angels that i work with; this is one of those instances where my personal experience doesn't jive perfectly with tradition. i will switch the sugar out for salt...both are crystalline in nature, but sweet smelling makes more sense. thank you again, Frater!

  9. My pleasure frater! RE: Black pepper - sure that does make sense. If you want some heat in the formula with more benign quality consider trying a tiny bit of red pepper, or ginger - ginger being my preferred method. Ginger has the added magical quality of 'speeding', which is to say hastening the magical effect. Red pepper however has a celebrated quality of of 'heating' the spirits and of course is associated with spirits that display a 'fiery' or 'hot' nature.

  10. Care VH Fra Peregrin,

    Thank you for the detailed and interesting comment; we are, once more, going to have a friendly disagreement, which has become a tradition of ours, haha. =)

    I think you are incorrect to equate "material" with Materia. The herbs, roots, and animal curios have an intrinsic power that is part of their God-given nature. The material items you listed may be holy and powerful, but they are so because of consecration and use. Materia magic uses the power already inherent in the materia my understanding, anyway.

    I agree with you as far as working with the spirit of the plant in Spagery--I'm not sure about the Inner Order, but in the Golden Dawn very few people actually practice it. Chris Zalewski's book may be an excellent treatise, but it doesn't appear to be part of any of the curricula I've seen for various Orders. The Golden Dawn simply does not use Materia in the vast majority of it's Magic.

    The skilled Earth-Mage who taught your initiator is definitely not the norm in the Golden Dawn, although I kind of wish he was! Your teacher is right on about the drawing-rooms.

    We will have to disagree that Witchcraft=religion as well. While certainly there are those who approach it as such, the Witches that I know approach it as a system of Magic, and Paganism is their religion. The two are not synonymous.

    I, however, am not a Witch. You are (Warlock?), and the difference in your understanding and that of the Witches I know is another interesting view into the variety available for aspiring Witches.

    I disagree that the Materia component isn't a major factor; our extremely lengthy and complicated processes for consecrating Telesmata for accomplishing practical things discourages people. It works, and it works well, but it is abstract and difficult to do effectively for beginners. I would say it takes a couple of years before it is done with the proper awareness and grace. Traditionally, Thaumaturgy isn't actually even taught in the Golden Dawn! The difference in practicality we see between traditions because of our lack of Materia magic does have a considerable effect, I think.

    While Christianity does play a role, there is very little Christian symbolism in the Outer. Mostly Egyptian; even with that, I think that Christianity isn't as loathed and reviled by magic-aware persons as you feel. What you said about personal experience is right on; the folks I know who are Witches didn't choose between the GD and Witchcraft because of Christianity at all. They picked Witchcraft for the most part because it is accessible, and the Materia magic is a huge part of that. Spells, potions, candle-work....if you want to accomplish some practical magic, you can just do it in Witchcraft. It doesn't take an hour and a half to finish, either.

    I don't think that the Materia Magic of Witchcraft is the same as Hoodoo at all, but it Is Materia Magic nevertheless. I am, of course, partial to Hoodoo if a comparison of efficacy need be made, but that is because of my personal experience in Conjure.

    I would also argue about the aims being different; there are covens with Theurgical aims. I think the approach is different to reach the aim, but the goal for them is the same. Not all covens and traditions, of course, but plenty of them.

    I can always count on you for stimulating discussion, Frater!

    In LVX,


  11. @ Fra Balthazar,

    Ginger, what an excellent idea--That's a far better choice, without the compromise inherent in using the Black Pepper. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with me, Frater. I'm going to edit my formula to include the Solomon's Seal, and exchange the Salt and Black Pepper for Sugar and Ginger. I'll make a new batch on Sunday, looking forward to putting it to work!

  12. Ave Frater AIT,

    Just for the information, most modern Witches are called Witch in both genders, as the term Warlock (Anglo-Saxon waerloga = traitor/scoundrel, from - 'waer' = covenant, plus 'lock' = to lie/deny) has negative connotations in both modern Wicca/Paganism and in traditional British lore too.

    Which texts would you recommend for those interested in further investigation?

    And how is your Peace Campaign progressing?

    In LVX,

    Frater LIL

  13. Care Fra LIL,

    Thank you-I wasn't sure whether that was still in use.

    I would recommend Hoodoo herb and Root Magic, by Catherine Yronwolde, The Conjure Cookbook by Talia Felix, and some of that ole' country Blues, haha. The above mentioned books--especially Catherine's--are full of great info.

    The Peace thing is working out thus least, no one's flamed me all to hell yet. Let's hope it holds!

    In LVX,


  14. Care H. Fr AIT,

    Thank you for your response and very astute rebuttals to my views. They have made me think a fair bit.

    For now, just to clarify – my auto spellchecker keeps changing materia to material :) What I was trying to say is that western ceremonial magic does use certain materia because of their, as you put it “God-given nature” not because of consecration. The items I list, herbs and leaves, clover and plants collected while dew is still on them etc, shows this. This is part of the western tradition and very clearly mentioned even in the Grimories.

    I was taught very clearly that there are several type of consecration – one type consecrates an inert object, like the telesmata you mention, often simply a coloured piece of card. Another type really only awakens, honours and provides a pathway to the inherent power of the materia – herbs, leaves, stones, crystals etc. This I maintain is part of western ceremonial magic.

    I agree that few GD Orders practice this way; but it is there if we want it.

    Now of course, from my perspective the GD “extremely lengthy and complicated processes for consecrating Telesmata for accomplishing practical things” which “discourages people” is a good thing. :) This is for two reasons: (1) my feeling that practical magic is not to be encouraged, for various reasons that you and I disagree on. (2) the GD complicated processes when correctly performed actually change ourselves as much as the practical events they are trying to influence – theurgy is within the thaumaturgy.

    As for our different experiences of Witchcraft, I have long suspected the Perth community is very different to the rest of the world and I travel so little. I defer to your wider experience of these matters. Thank you for the expanded insight. :)

  15. @ H Frater A. I. T.

    No flaming, H Frater AIT?

    I thought that was what 4=7 Grade of Philosophus was all about... lol ;0D

    Glad it's going well.

    In LVX,

    Frater LIL

  16. Very nice post Frater AIT!

    We'll have to talk sometime. I had no idea you were into Hoodoo.

    Great Blog!... and very nice looking family!


  17. @ Frater A.M.,

    Thanks Olen! You're too kind, and we definitely should talk. I'll tell the wife what you said about the family, she will be pleased. =)

    In LVX,


  18. Frater,

    I would say that I do not quite agree with you on this :D
    The hermetic tradition is full of the idea to use materia, and if you read some of the personal rituals of the GD adepts you'll see fun stuff like a snake preserevd in alcohol used in a hellbroth during a mercurial taphtartarat evocation.

    remember that 777 was stolen by crowley, not created by him.

    The use of agrippan material, grimoires and "correct" stones plants and stuff was widespread. using a lodestone in the firewand for example....

    Now of course GD/AO style ritual magick works from top down, instead of bottom up, using jasons and agrippas 3 worlds model, but I am of the opinion that it is onlye the post ww2 britt ritual magick that has removed the materia need. with the advent of pop-psychology-occultism this has even grown.

    If ppl like you work to bring the materia and the high ceremonial into a happy mix where it belongs then we are ona good ay to regenerate the real western traditions >_0

  19. Fra Argent,

    I don't think we're in disagreement at all. =) I fully agree that the Western tradition is loaded with Materia magic....Hoodoo is under that same Western umbrella, so I'd lose that fight before I started!

    It's the Golden Dawn that lacks in instruction and use of Materia in magic, in my opinion. We need to make deeper connection with our Hermetic roots in a public, curricular way. I used to think I was the exception, in the way my personal Practice is rooted in my Golden Dawn Training, but my actual rituals and energy work are tuned and involve other elements from the Western Hermetic Tradition. The Golden Dawn is the base and foundation of my understanding of Magic, but not the entire Tower. I now think that most of us are this way, or at least come to be this way after a certain number of years of practice. We just need to publicize that a bit. The Founders themselves performed magics (as you referenced, and thanks!) that were informed by the Training they received, but they weren't limited to only doing that to remain Golden Dawn. How we've come to be seen as sort of staid and stuffy traditionalists is beyond me. The Golden Dawn is a school and tradition for training Magicians; our methods for teaching aren't the entirety of Magic, and students need to understand that.

  20. Care VH Fra Peregrin,

    Thank you, Frater! You did mention the herbs and gemstones; I didn't make a clear distinction between Western Ceremonial Magic and Modern Golden Dawn Magic earlier. Clearly, the GD tradition is not the entirety of Western is a big, bright light there, however. Thanks for highlighting that, and for the great discussion.



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