"Findings from a Gallup Poll published in Time magazine in December of 1993 revealed that 69% of Americans believe in angels, and 46% believe they have their very own guardian angels. In fact, 32% of Americans believe they've had actual contact with an angel."
Kennard, Mary, A Visit from an Angel, in: The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 98, No. 3, 1998)
Well, I guess there isn't any topic out there that could be more interesting or relevant for practitioners of the Yoga of the West? Yet, unfortunately the most interesting topics generally also tend to the ones where we find biggest disagreement of opinions and - especially in light of this very topic - conclusions, facts and findings...
Look around the web and blogosphere and you'll find dozens of opinions out there on what this entity actually is. You'll find even more opinions on how it should or shouldn't be contacted, which prerequirements are mandatory and which pathways to approach it ritually or in vision should be chosen. Working your ways through all these informed and often uninformed opinions makes for a very long read and research... which unfortunately will leave you with relatively reliable data and a mountain of highly diverse personal opinions.
My own tipping point happened in summer 2011. Rufus Opus mentioned on his blog that he had successfully banned the evil daimon of a client in a specifically created daimon trap. As you can see from the comment section of the post we exchanged opinions about this practice and wether it would be beneficial for the client in the long run... In the end it became a discussion around the actual nature of the entity labeled as 'evil daimon'. Now, in science they created a pretty helpful habit: before they engage in any discussion about what they actually strive to find out they nail down a catalogue of definitions for the terms and abstractions they will be referring to. Maybe in magic we should strive to do the same more often? At least that's the thought that stuck with me after the discussion with RO. At the end of the day both of our perspectives made perfect sense - because apparently we were using the term 'evil daimon' to refer to different things?
That's when I set out to research on the topic of the 'holy genius and evil daimon' to help clarifying this lack of precise terminology. And that's also where I started to get myself into trouble. After a solid week of reading, note taking and drafting of thoughts I had come to the conclusion that such a terminology never had been defined. To a certain extend that made complete sense: after all magic is an 'inner discipline', i.e. a field of research that can only be explored and brought to life through our own subjective inner perceptions. It doesn't really matter what other people write about the stuff you are experiencing firsthand, does it? That's why practitioners like Josephine McCarthy are so incredibly refreshing, integer and insightful: she always puts personal experience first, then more personal experience, then discussion with other practitioners and only then books and literature research. And that's exactly the way practical magic should be approached in my humble opinion. Except... except for when a topic is so arcane or occult to you that you just cannot gain access through personal experience. Because if you haven't made contact with your HGA yet and if you aren't part of an ancient lineage - you kind of have to read about the topic to get started anywhere?
Thus in summer 2011 I set out to help addressing this gap of terminology around the concept of the Holy Guardian Angel. What are we exactly referring to with this term? What did our ancestors mean with it? What do we learn about it from earlier occult traditions? Which commonalities and which differences do we find across time and cultures?
As purportedly this concept is supposed to be ancient and spread across many different cultures I started my journey right at the beginning, at the oldest magical tradition of the West I could find literature on. It turned out to be the Magi of ancient Chaldea. It also turned out to be an incredibly long line of traditions to follow and make mention of similar concepts. But then - there is no rush and after all I am free to set my own pace and standards? It took me about 6 months to get the first chapter on the Chaldeans down on paper and published. And in the process I collated quite a bunch of further notes and quotes referring to the Zoroastrian, Arabic, Greek and Hermetic Traditions. Everything that is needed now is patience and one small step at a time. Since putting up the link to the first two chapters earlier this morning the first step is done for now.
Call for feedback:
Before finishing this post, however, let me make one loud call for feedback. As we all know this topic is vast... and it feels a little like being out on the ocean with nothing but long breath and a rubber duck. So if you know of additional qualified resources that I should include, if you realize errors in logic or conclusions drawn from the material I worked with or if you see adjacent traditions and strands of occult lore related - please let me know right away. (The easiest way will be to send me a message via the Contact section.) As always in life, we are so much better together.