Stephen Flowers explores the history, the theory, practice rituals, and initiations of the Mazdan magical system practiced by the Magi of ancient Persia, who were so skilled and famed for their effectiveness that their name came to mean what we today call "magic." The prestige and reputation of the Magian priests of Mazda is perhaps most iconically recorded in the Christian story of the Three Wise Men who visited newborn Jesus.
The author explains how the religious branch of the Mazdan magical system, founded by the Prophet Zarathustra, is known in the West under the name Zoroastrianism. He reveals how the Zoroastrian religion, which acts as a matrix for the symbols and formulas of the original form of magic, has existed for almost four thousand years with roots going back even deeper into the Indo-European past. The author reveals how all other known systems of magic have borrowed from this tradition, providing the clues that enabled him to reformulate the original Mazdan system. He reviews what the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Christians, and Chinese said about the Iranian-Persian tradition of the Mazdans and their invention of a magical technology. He explains how the ultimate aim of the original form of magic was not only individual wisdom, self-development, and empowerment, but also the overall betterment of the world.
Outlining the theoretical principles of this method, which can be applied in practical ways to deepen the effectiveness of these magical operations, the author details a complete curriculum of magical study and initiation based on a series of graded exercises keyed to the sacred Zoroastrian calendar. he then offers a series of more fire rituals and divine invocations. Providing a manual for the original magical system used by the members of the Great Fellowship, this book guides you toward the comprehensive practice of the Mazdan philosophy, the ultimate outcome of which is ushta: happiness.
Stephen E. Flowers, PH.D., received his doctorate in Germanic languages and medieval studies from the University of Texas at Austin and studied the history of occultism at the University of Gottingen, Germany. The author of more than 24 books, including Lords of the left-hand Path and Icelandic magic, he lives near Smithville, Texas.
The word magic ultimately derives from the Indo-European root underlying the Iranian term magu, which denoted a priestly class of men schooled in (and initiated into) the arts and sciences of forging a salutary link between the supernal realm and the terrestrial world of events and phenomena. They were so skilled and famed for their effectiveness that the practices they engaged in came to mean what we today call "magic." Unfortunately, much of their wisdom, for which they were also renowned, was lost along the way, at least as far as Western practitioners of magic were concerned. The original form of magic was aimed at individual self-development (initiation) and the application of the art and science of their particular craft toward the overall betterment of the world and of other individuals in the world. The ultimate aim of magic was individual and collective happiness (Av. ushta). In the hands of the unwise, magic quickly devolves into sorcery—the unsystematic application of similar techniques for the alleviation of temporary emergency situations. Mazdans, both ancient and modern, both Eastern and Western, deplore sorcery yet practice the most exalted form of magic. As I have noted, the very word magic is derived from their tradition.
For the ancient Iranians, who belonged to the Indo-European family of cultures, there was little distinction between magic and religion. Theirs was a magical religion, and it remains so today. These ancient traditions are still very much kept alive among modern-day Zoroastrians. Once the world's single most influential religious community, orthodox Zoroastrians now number fewer than 300,000 people scattered all over the world. There are, however, signs that the religion is making a comeback throughout the world. But this is not a book about the religion of Zoroastrianism. It is a book of magic and magical initiation to be used by individuals of various backgrounds. Readers who are interested in an outline of the religious system of the Mazdan way tailored for Westerners should consult my book The Good Religion (Lodestar, 2014).
Knowledge of the history and cultural values of the original magicians enhances the student's understanding of the workings of the art and science of magic. It is for this reason that the study of this ancient culture and mythology is highly recommended. It is my personal hope that those who undertake this system of magical work will be so impressed with the effectiveness of the system that they will expand their interests to the larger Mazdan way. In any event, by making use of this system all individuals will be made better and brought closer to the moment when genuine happiness will be theirs.
Ancient writers and modern scholars all agree that the word magic comes from the Iranian class of practitioners of operative theurgy known as the Magians or Magi, yet current works written about practical magic ignore them almost entirely. An examination of contemporary books on practical magic and a survey of the catalogs of publishers, which issue these types of books, both reveal a virtual blackout regarding the original school of magic. In the past there may have been an esoteric reason for this blackout, but the time has now come to lift the veil and reveal what has been hidden. This book presents for the first time an applied study of operative theology based exclusively on the Iranian tradition of the Magians or Mazdans. This school was originally founded by the prophet Zarathustra. The system he founded is better known in the West under the name Zoroastrianism.
The Zoroastrian religion, which acts as a matrix for the symbols and formulas of original magic, has existed for almost four thousand years. Its deeper roots extend back several millennia further into the Indo-European past. A vast ocean of practices and beliefs has been produced by this matrix, but almost none of it is familiar to most students in the West in any direct way. The full introduction of Mazdan magic to the West will require the growth of a whole school of magicians to research and develop a wide variety of systems involving cosmology, astrology, psychology, meditation, herbology, and ritual technology. Much of this has been articulated within the Eastern world of the Zoroastrians stemming from Iran and the Parsi community in India. But the presentation of these ideas for Western students will require much work by many minds, hearts, and hands. I assume that the present book is not the last word on the subject but instead represents the beginning of a cur-rent in which many other works will be written in the future by wiser and more powerful minds than my own. It is my deepest hope that this book will help open the gateway to this development, as well as build a bridge between the West and the East.
The system of magic taught in this book can be used and adapted by magicians of all traditions, as it was in antiquity and has been through-out history. However, this presentation also makes it possible for the modern practitioner to reconnect with the original, unadulterated elements of the ancient Magian methods in the hope that this personal and individual connection will draw the practitioner closer to the pure Mazdan way. Historically the Mazmaga, or "Great Fellowship," founded by Zarathustra almost four thousand years ago, was both an independent system as well as a mode of transmission for esoteric ideas from the heart of Central Asia to the rest of the world. The intention of this book is to reveal the original forms—unfiltered through other cultural idioms and allow the student to have a new experience drawn from a place closer to the source. The Mazmaga influenced and affected many religions and esoteric schools all over the world. One notable example of this is the semi-legendary Sarmoung Brotherhood reported by G. I. Gurdjieff.
This book is divided into four major parts: history, theory, initiation, and practice. Because many aspects of this ancient system and much of its terminology will be unfamiliar to readers, it is necessary to provide a good deal of historical context and points of orientation for the practical teachings that make up the core of this book. This historical context offers a great deal that is of practical importance, because the heart, soul, and mind of the would-be magician must be engaged in the material so that it can come alive from within. Actually, the historical and philosophical context needs to be expanded through the works absorbed during the initiatory curriculum.
In the second part of the book the reader is introduced to the basic theories underlying Mazdan magic. Here we must clarify the questions regarding the nature of the gods, humanity, and the cosmos and deter-mine what the purpose of original magic is. In other words, we must study the basic theory of operative theology as represented by these traditional and age-old teachings.
The concept of initiation is fundamental to success in magic. Initiation concerns the development of the individual on all levels: spiritual, psychological, ethical, and intellectual. For magic to become possible, initiatory development must occur within the framework of a symbolic and mythic context, which gives access to the realm of causation. In this part of the book, a Twelve-Month Curriculum of initiation is presented. It contains a course of daily progressive exercises and rituals. In the process of doing these exercises, certain mysteries (razaha) will be conveyed to the mind and soul of the student. At the end of the course of work—if it is carried out as instructed—the individual will have become an initiate in the Mazdan tradition and thus a true magic, or magician. The last major part of the book presents major rites in which the fruits of the initiatory work can be put to use on a regular basis, or when needed.
Because the Mazdan tradition of magic involves certain philosophical and historical concepts that must be defined precisely for the ideas to be properly absorbed, there are a number of preliminary terms that must be discussed.
Magic: We use this term in its original sense of the arts and sciences of the Magians, or magavans, of ancient Iran. These arts and sciences give the practitioner access to the realm of causation and form a bridge between menog (the celestial world) and getig (terrestrial existence). For the individual, the ultimate aim of magic is happiness (Av. ushta). But on a greater level, magic should contribute to the hastening of the Frashokereti, or "Making Wonderful"—this is the time when all created things will fulfill their ultimate purpose and attain a state of permanent happy order.
Sorcery: This word denotes a partial interest in magic but one that aims solely at bringing about changes in the environment so as to make existence more convenient for the sorcerer. The sorcerer has little interest in self-development and is only concerned with gaining temporal power and pleasure.
Religion: This term is used to translate the Avestan word daena (Phl. den, MP din), which originally meant "insight." One who gains insight of this kind will inevitably do the right things and will follow an effective path in life as a matter of course, and hence be "religious."
Indo-European: This is an academic term that denotes the languages spoken by a group of peoples in Central Asia. Most modern European languages have their origins in the Indo-European group. The peoples speaking Indo-European languages also shared many cultural, mythic, and religious traits. A more "romantic" synonym for Indo-European, but one that is also a self-designation, is the term Aryan. The ancient stem of this word, *ar-, is seen in the terms Ir-an and Ire-land, showing that the designation was once a general one spanning the entire geographical scope of the Indo-European culture.* In Persian the term Eranshahr meant the whole of what we would call the Aryan or Indo-European world, as distinguished from the non-Aryan realm, often called Turan.
Iranian: This term has two meanings-(1) it designates the country of modern Iran, which is generally referred to as Persia before 1935, and (2) it is a designation for the greater cultural and linguistic sphere that includes all peoples and languages belonging to the Iranian group. This encompasses the modern states of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, and the speakers of the Persian (Farsi), Dari, Tajiki, Ossetian, Kurdish, Pashto, Baluchi, and Sogdian languages. In ancient times the Iranian peoples included not only the Persians, Medes, Sogdians, and Bactrians but also the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans.
Persian: The designation of Persia originally referred to the region of Pars in what is now southwestern Iran. It is the region out of which emerged the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great. Over time, as the empire expanded, this term came to be used for the whole of the southern part of the Iranian world. Persia and Persian can be used as terms to refer informally to the whole of the Iranian world.
For many other technical terms, the glossary at the back of this book should be utilized.
First and foremost, this is a practical book. It must be studied and its curriculum followed. It is a book that is meant to be applied. In fact, the experiences gained from working with this book can be beneficial to practitioners of just about any spiritual or self-developmental path. Students are urged to devote themselves exclusively to this curriculum for at least six months to gain the best benefit from the program. In any case the contents of the experiments will strengthen the individual regardless of the path he or she follows—Pagan, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim—or even Atheistic. Here we have a beginner's manual for the solitary practice of the original magical system used by the members of the Great Fellowship for almost four thousand years. The whole course of work leads toward the comprehensive practice of the Mazdan philosophy, the ultimate outcome of which is ushta: happiness.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Original Tantric Texts (27)
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