Howlings from the Pit

Howlings from the PitA Practical Handbook of Medieval Magic, Goetia & Theurgy

introduction and commentary by Mark Stavish
afterword by David Rankine
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Pages:288 pages


Howlings from the Pit may be Dr. Lisiewski's finest work to date. For both the beginning and advanced students of occultism, it lays bare what practical magic is all about. A veritable modern magical "grammar," Howlings takes the reader step-by-step through the mental, psychological and physical preparations required by the "Fathers of the Grimoires", the authors of the classical books on ceremonial magic which include The Heptameron, The Lesser and Greater Keys of Solomon, The Sword of Moses and others. Lisiewski clarifies dozens of technical points critical to successful magical operations, including the most feared and desired one: evoking a spirit to physical manifestation. Alchemy, mysticism and even modern Science of Mind and New Thought are all examined in their relationship to Medieval magic.

In addition, Mark Stavish's editing and extensive commentary on the original text, places the material in the context of the magical and philosophical traditions of both East and West, thereby adding valuable insight into the nature of magic as a living tradition.

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Table of Contents

How To Use This Book
Introduction by Mark Stavish
Chapter 1An Overview of Western Magic
Chapter 2Preparations for Old System Magic Part I
Chapter 3Preparations for Old System Magic Part II
Chapter 4Efficacy: Its Mechanics and Role in Old System Magic
Chapter 5The Theory of Magic
Chapter 6The Practice of Magic
Chapter 7The Effects of Magic
Chapter 8Magic, Mysticism & Alchemy
Chapter 9Questions & Answers Afterword by David Rankine

Preparation for Old System Magic

Introductory — and Necessary — Remarks

"Preparations for Old System Magic? Me? I already prepared myself with umpteen years of Golden Dawn practice, or Yoga practice, or Wicca rites, not to mention this study and that discipline. Now there's more? Is he kidding?"

Nothing, and I mean nothing of what you have done in the past--ritually speaking--will be of any use to you here. Not in this Work. Not in Old System Magic. And if you think that all of that "visualization" and "astral projection" you engaged in; all of those Tarot spreads you cast and sets of cards you personally fashioned for yourself; all of that "scrying in Spirit Vision" and psychometry work you did; all of that crystal gazing and 'pendulum' swinging you busied yourself with throughout the years; all of those Lesser Banishing Rituals of the Pentagram and Banishing Rituals of the Hexagram you performed so religiously two or three times a day for months or years; all of those Middle Pillar Rituals you performed throughout the past ten years, and all of those paper 'talismans' you made and 'charged' by this New Age technique or that New Age expediency; all of those 'Evocations' you did in your miniature circle taped off with masking tape on the floor of your apartment or basement, and all of that gift shop Indian-compounded incense you burned for a spirit you never saw and the results you never got: if you think any or all of that has prepared you for this ancient Art and Science, guess again. Because if they prepared you in any way for your entrance and Work in Old System Magic, you would not be sitting where you are now reading this which should be making no small number of you angry enough to spit bullets, and irritating the hell out of an equal number, if not more, of you. But before you go off into some self-justifying, self-aggrandizing episode in an attempt to make yourself feel all those years of struggle and practice were worth at least 'something,' ask yourself: "WHERE ARE THE RESULTS?" Ask honestly, "Did I get--even ONCE--all or everything I wanted? And if I did (or didn't), what price from the Slingshot Effect did I receive from those actions as well?" Ask yourself also, "Besides feeling warm and cozy inside from all my reading and practicing, what do I have to show for it? I mean really? If not in those material objects I desired, then what do I have to show for all that work in terms of my at least being a better, more spiritual human being as a result of them?"

You and I both know the answers to these so very uncomfortable questions: all of those practices have brought you nothing. That is, nothing of any consequence upon which you can hang your hat. If you did get this or that every so often, you can't be sure it was the Effect that followed from your magical Cause: not unless it manifested so clearly, completely, and quickly after the rite. And you know it didn't. For if those activities did work and were repeatable, then surely, you would be happy, content, have what you desire, and be so well-balanced in so many ways, that people would seek you out simply to bask in the glow of your personality--and I'm not being facetious here. But they don't, do they? So it's time to enter a deep period of Self-Analysis, and by this I mean a period of deep self-scrutinization; a period of examination that follows directly upon a period of ruthless self-honesty such as you (may) have never known before. It's time to till the soil. Time to turn over the psychological dirt covering the gold beneath, and start removing and doing what you must if you are to have the life you desire. It's as simple as that.

Oh, and before I forget any of you "Theoretical Magicians" who have read, and read, and re-read 'all the great books of Magic of the twentieth century'; all of the great writings of William Butler to Franz Bardon and Aleister Crowley to John Dee; all who have discussed these matters with your fellow magicians, and Order Heads and other occult leaders, I have a surprise for you: you're in the same boat as your hard-working, practicing colleagues. Forget all of those books and their dialogues, for you have not translated them into practice: that special action which brings about Experiential Knowledge, and which leads to a state of Apprehension whereby that knowledge is made a part of your living being, and upon which you draw--through your Subjective Synthesis--to produce--through the Magic--the ends you want.

Editorial Reviews

Howlings from the Pit is a tour de force, demonstrating Dr. Lisiewski's exceptional knowledge and experience of the 'old school' magic of the grimoires which blends practice and philosophy in an accessible and precise style, thoroughly illuminating the material. This is further enhanced by the excellent commentary and wide-ranging editorial notes from Mark Stavish, which set Dr. Lisiewski's essays into their relevant context and provide further valuable insights on magical practice, creating a syncretic whole that unites the expertise of two of the best magical authors writing today. This unique work provides the most lucid and workable guide I have seen for working effectively with the grimoires. It is challenging, uncompromising and inspired, as magic should be!

David Rankine author of The Goetia of Dr. Rudd, The Book of Gold and The Veritable Key of Solomon

Howlings from the Pit is less a breath of fresh air than a good strong gale. Authored by one of the most consistently original occultists of our time, Dr. Joseph Lisiewski, it offers new insights into the magic of the medieval grimoires on nearly every page. Like it or loathe it — and there are certain to be plenty of people in both categories — this is a book to reckon with, and a valuable resource for any student of magic.

John Michael Greer author of The New Encyclopedia of the Occult and The Art and Practice of Geomancy

A masterful look at the complex world of traditional and modern magical practices. The domain of angelic and demonic rituals were once a straightforward matter, and now they are wrapped in a complex cloth of psychological and modernistic interpretations. Lisiewski rends this artificial and destructive veil and shows what Medieval magic, goetia and theurgy were all about, and how they can be practiced with spiritual and cultural efficacy once again.

Christopher Bilardi author of The Red Church or The Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei

A no-holds-barred user's guide to magic and the mind. Lisiewski is insightful, controversial and direct in his approach to looking at magic as it was practiced by the 'Fathers of the Grimoires' rather than how we in the modern world would like to practice it — and why, all to often, modern magicians fail to get the results they are seeking in the first place. He is the last of his kind: an uncompromising genius who offers a taste of what is possible, and perhaps even what is deemed impossible, made real. This is a must read for any serious student of western spiritual practices.

Paul Bowersox author of Seeing in the Dark: Claim Your Own Shamanic Power Now and in the Coming Age

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About the Author

Joseph C. Lisiewski, Ph.D.

Joseph C. Lisiewski, Ph.D. is a noted physicist involved in the study of the Relativistic SpaceTime Continuum, and the new physics that is exploring possibility of physical time travel. A personal friend and student of both Israel Regardie and the famous Alchemist, Frater Albertus for many years, his numerous published papers on both of their teachings, and on his own forty years of practice in both Magic and Alchemy, has helped many along their own Paths.