Saturday, October 20, 2018

Review: Coalescence Esoteric and Philosophical Musings

Esoteric and Philosophical Musings of a Gyrovague

By Tau Palamas 
Coalescence is the amalgamation of a set of recondite and metaphysical teachings and artworks of ‡PALAMAS XVI° which comprise the fundamentals of a precise instrument of the Voudon+Gnostic OTOA-LCN called the Ordo Gyrovagus. Grounded in a humanistic, mystical, and living philosophy–and exploring the very heart and soul of esotericism–Coalescence picks up where Syzygy left off: developing the inner life and practice of the gyrovague; opening a clear path of personal Masonic integration; exploring the nature of aesthetic mysticism; and providing a set of initiatory rituals as vehicles for expansion.

Duly and truly prepared, with a sharpened intelligence which can link scenes, colors, shapes, and forms immediately to a world of correspondences (which suggest the underlying fundamental unity of being), the initiate makes meaning of the phantasmagoria—which, in turn, causes changes to the fluidic and malleable substance of the dreamscape itself. Then, with the audacity and authority of an ancient magus, the initiate wields the true sword of every student of the mysteries: the sovereign will. Suddenly, within what was once a surrealistic landscape with chaotic portents and confusing bits of data strewn about in a gravity- less atmosphere, there appears a dimension worthy of exploration, a state of being with secrets, information, and lessons to be learned, and beings to interact and travel further with. Such is the lifting of the veil…

Espiritismo Cruzado: Cuban Spiritism

In Cuba there are multiple espiritismos, schools or denominations of espiritismo, if you will. Though all of them may bear some similarities to Kardecism, and most likely have derived certain aspects of their traditions, doctrines, or practices from Kardecist sources, most often, their dissimilarities to Kardecist practices outweigh their similarities. Though these differences may bother Kardecists, they don't seem to bother those who practice these other espiritismos.

So what are these other espiritismos and how do they differ from one another? The following is meant to give a brief overview, a synopsis, of the forms found in Cuba.

Kardecist Espiritismo is known in Cuba as Espiritismo Científico or Espiritismo de Mesa. Heavily grounded upon the writings of Kardec, there is no appreciable difference between these and Kardecism practiced elsewhere in the world.

We will note, without real description, Bembe de Sao, which has been identified by José Millet, but for which little information is available.

Espiritismo de Cordón, also sometimes referred to by the term Oríle, for a word often appearing in Cordonista songs, is quite distinct from Kardecism in several ways. Cordón maintains certain elements from Kardecism, notably a belief in reincarnation, the search for goodness, and the purification of souls. It also has acquired multiple elements from popular Catholicism, and African influences above all related to its efforts to combat negative magic sometimes found in African practices.

Cordón practices magic through extatic methods, and is enriched through syncretization. This is not a uniform or consistent process as Cordón has no centralized authority. For these reasons, we may characterize Cordón as a form of popular Espiritismo, somewhat organic and not consistantly institutional in practice or structure.

Another, and not wide spread Espiritismo is that called Espiritismo de Caridád. This form of Espiritismo differs little from Cordón, and its differences are structural and ritualisic. Most notably, while Cordón requires an assortment of assistants - mediums, other participants as well as the director of the acción, Cardidad requires at its minimum, two people - the medium and the person seeking "la caridad." Espiritistas de Caridad function independently, mostly out of their own homes, some Cordoneros work in a similar way, so boundaries between Cordón and Caridad may be viewed as porous.

Espiritismo Cruzado or "Cruza'o" is more idiosyncratic than these others. It may or may not evince the same elements from Kardecist dogma that we find in Cordón, and while misas are common, there are many Espiritistas Cruzados who work through solo consultation as do the Espiristas de Caridad. The only element in Cruzado that is universal, is their involvement in African derived initiatic traditions, and their use of Espiritismo in relation to those traditions.

All of these Espiritismos except for the strict Kardecist form share a loosely structured set of spirit pantheons. These pantheons are less uniform than that of Oricha traditions or even than the more flexible pantheons encounted in Palo.

In the context of the work I do within Esperitismo, I do readings which in part examine situation, uncover which commissions are actively available to aid the inquirer, and offer guidance on how to move forward to develop ones own solutions and practice. If that is something an individual wants to pursue, they can contact me privately.

Espiritismo Cruzado, a product of Afro-Cuban culture's adoption and adaptation of the Kardecist Spiritism which became popular in the 1850s and 1860s is a uniquely Cuban phenomenon and distinct from forms of spiritism found elsewhere such as in Puerto Rico and Brazil.

While a lot of attention is focused on Afro Cuban initiatic traditions, far less is given to the different variants of Espiritismo. Yet Espiritismo, especially the form referred to as Cruzado, often is the entry point for involvement with all of these traditions. What is more, being non-initiatic, it is accessable to all. A basic awareness of those spirits who walk with an individual and how to mount and work with a boveda or altar, allows the person begin to develop the spiritual life.

Espiritismo Cruzado does retain typical elements of European and North American spiritism, but also nurtures significant aspects of all the African spiritual practices brought to Cuba, and that combination is found nowhere else in the new world, because even in Brazil, there is no Abakua. Cruzado however, has made itself, literally the glue that connects all Afro-Cuban religions, in part because it contains elements of the spiritual pantheons of all Cuban faiths, but also because it is non-initiatory and openly welcomes all people. It also tends to be for those reasons, where most develop their spiritual gifts first.

If you are interested in investigating which spirits make up your spiritual court in Afro-Cuban Cruzado, and want a reading as I was taught a quarter century ago in Cuba, Contact me by email at or on messenger: Eoghan Craig Ballard for details.

Review: Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges

Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges
Esoteric Secrets of the Art of Memory

By Charles B. Jameux

Originally entitled  L'art de la mémoire et la formation du symbolisme maçonnique. This book is being listed in pre-release status as of October 20, 2018 by Inner Traditions. The information in this post comes from the publisher's site. I think the subject and content of this translation warrants what small advance publicity I can provide through this blog.

This booh reveals how the art of memory is the origin of the Masonic method

• Explains the classical techniques of the art of memory, how they were reworked by hermetic thinkers during the Renaissance, and how they contributed to the transformation of operative Freemasonry into speculative Freemasonry

• Traces the creation of speculative Freemasonry to 1637, one hundred years earlier than previously thought

• Explores how the “memory palaces” created with the art of memory enabled access to universal knowledge as well as represented the Masonic temple in its imaginary state

In Antiquity, the art of memory was a mnemonic device that allowed an orator, such as Cicero, to recall all the points he wished to make by associating each of them with an image or architectural element in the site he was speaking. When this art was rediscovered in the Renaissance, hermetic thinkers like Giordano Bruno reworked it into a method that allowed them to acquire knowledge with the creation of “memory palaces.” The elements of these memory palaces were not intended to trigger the memory but would actually transform into talismanic objects with knowledge entirely new to the seeker.

In this book, Charles B. Jameux shows that this hermetic reworking of the classical art of memory was no mystery to operative Masons, who grafted it onto their own rituals, catalyzing the transformation of operative Masonry into speculative Masonry. He shows how the hieroglyphic writing used during the Renaissance in the art of memory provided the groundwork for one of the most esoteric elements of masonic practice: the grasp of the realm of image by the letter, where symbols were “buried” within words. 

Using archival evidence from 17th-century Scotland and earlier, combined with the research of modern scholars such as Frances Yates and David Stevenson, Jameux argues that the creation of speculative Freemasonry can be traced back 100 years earlier than conventional history records--to 1637, when the first recorded use of the Mason’s Word appeared and with it, the first known appearance of the symbolic Temple of Solomon. He follows Giordano Bruno’s visit to the British Isles in the late 16th century and the subsequent activities of the men he met there, showing that Masonic symbolism owes much of its current form to early memory palaces, which represented the Masonic lodge and temple in their fully imaginary states.

Revealing the pivotal role of the memory palace and hermetic traditions in early Masonic symbolism, Jameux sheds new light on the Masonic questions asked of each initiate and the spiritual importance of the Temple of Jerusalem to Freemasonry

Visit the publisher at:

Charles B. Jameux was Grand Chancellor of Foreign Relations of the Grand Lodge of France and the chief editor of the Masonic Journal of the Grand Lodge of France, Initiatory Perspectives, from 1998 to 2001. He is currently the director of the Living Stone collection for the French publisher Dervy (Tredaniel Group). He lives in France

With thanks to Jedediah French.