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Greg Jenkins on 'The Theban Oracle'

The Theban Oracle
RWW

Brought to you by Red Wheel Weiser publications.

1. What was your prime motivation and inspiration for creating your new book, "The Theban Oracle Discovering The Magic Of The Ancient Alphabet That Changes Lives"?

My primary motivation was simply a love for all things of a mysterious nature, specifically arcane wisdom from the ancient mystery schools. Medieval Metaphysics has always fascinated me, especially the secret orders that had risen out of the madness of the church, which had killed at least 80, 000 people during the Burning Times, and their need to encode and hide the works from being destroyed. Secondly, though my book states ‘oracle,’ it should be understood that it’s not meant as a literal oracle that will predict the future or resolve issues by way of magick…No, this refers to the magick that already exists within each of us, and the power to resolve our own problems and to answer our own questions by way of reason. The Theban Oracle is represented by notable sage and magi through the ages, both by their wisdom and by their downfalls. Finally, because I have always enjoyed these types of ‘games,’ such as the popular Rune Stone kits and such, I wanted to add to the body of literature with something unique, yet simple to grasp for everyone. Overall, it’s meant to be a tool for self-inspection, self-reflection and self-repair-where-need-be.

The ‘spell casting’ section follows this original statement; where again we create our magick no matter how we represent it. Instead of literal Harry Potter-like examples of what spell work is, I refer to it from the foundation of Sir James Frazer, the English anthropologist and author of the great book: The Golden Bough, who explains how sympathy, homeopathic and contact/contagious aspects of the human condition can cause change and affect outcome by way of the ritual and similar odes to gods and goddesses, and what have you. Again, we create the magick, the blessings and curses and such by our belief…In this manner; we can heal or kill with such understandings.

2. How would you recommend getting a set of stones? Do you have to make them yourself?

You can buy these stone made in various minerals online, but I would suggest making them yourself. It’s far easier than you think, and can be done as simple as painting the symbols on small stones or purchasing an engraving tool and simply etch them on. Or, you can purchase all natural clay and make them that way, then glaze if you wish and have them fired in a kiln much like the market stones are. This way is good too, so long as the material is non-synthetic. I have always believed that what comes from the earth is best, as plastics and plastic-coated papers simply do not connect betwixt the human spirit and the spirit of Gaia naturally. Moreover, using wood shards, bones and sea shells all work well, so long as they are all around the same size. Remember, we are of the earth, so having such tools that are of the earth will always be preferred.

3. Could you share some history with us regarding The Theban Oracle from the perspective of other cultures they have been used in?

A great question and one that has baffled scholars for centuries. Culturally, the majesty and wonder of the Theban enigma and its significance to the realms of ancient magick has found its place primarily in Western societies, though not directly. That is to say that to my knowledge I am the first to adhere the Theban script to a divination game/self-help/oracle system…At least having published such a system. Gerald Gardner is said to have been fascinated with the artistic script, as well as Francis Barrett before him. Yet, as far as other cultures, some scholars suspect that the Theban script may have its origins in the Middle East, bastardized from certain groups there, though no proof can be found. Nonetheless, it continues to be of great inspiration for modern scholars. Past the initial formulation and construction of this codex and oracle system devised centuries ago, right on through its modern applications, I found an incredible ease associated in recognizing and indeed, comprehending its seemingly mystical placement beyond the typical understanding since its origin.
Whether engaged in the task of scholarly research, or while in the practice and testing of this codex system as a tool for oracle-like practices, I discovered a systematic and remarkable flow of wisdom appearing to me in an auspicious comportment. Indeed, I have no doubt that the beholder of this system, whether used as a game with friends and family, or as an oracle that has survived the centuries, you will also find a singular magick, which emanates from this unique means of divination, serving you well throughout the years to come.
Although at first glance the contents of this book may appear to be highly intense in comprehension, requiring many skills within the area of both low and high magick, it is designed specifically for those who possess both an average understanding of the magi arts, and those who already embrace a higher awareness in such preternatural realms. In either case, I am sure you will find a particular feeling of enlightenment and a sense of the sacred within the worlds of medieval metaphysics and the Theban oracle, both as a game of wisdom and as a method for personal transformation. I feel it important to explain that this oracle’s primary functions are to aid the user in the gentle art of living through one’s own spiritual intuitions. As you hold these stones, or other articles that bare the mysterious icons of this alphabet system, such will absorb, assess and spiritually relate what is already within you. Your spirit and the incredibly intense and interlaced patterns of your psyche shall pass on to these stones. In essence, they will convey your personal and scared vibrations via a form of psychic-osmosis. The answers you receive, though seemingly esoteric at times, shall resonate that which is already within you…for you are the one holding the force of the universe in your hands.
The process of the Theban oracle was designed to enhance the deeply rooted psychic awareness we all possess within us. While for some the process of psychic catharsis will come naturally, there will be those, however, who will need to delve deeper into their soul before a true understanding can take place. Have the patience and tenacity to keep practicing, and an awareness of the divine shall become more pronounced for you as it has for me. In the end, you will find clarity to even the most arcane aspects of your life and find the solutions for many of the problems you face each and every day. Since many of us who are involved in the scared arts of magick and divination understand that these natural gifts of divine presence and heavenly assistance are ever present within us as individual beings, as well as surrounding us as a whole family; therefore, it is vital that we take the next soulful steps in improving our state of mind, emotions and spirit. Because we understand that the love and compassion within each of us at times may falter and wane from the stresses we encounter daily, I implore all who take part in this experience to find your sacred place beyond the oftentimes soulfully-sick world in which we live.

Here’s a brief, but important timeline for the history of Magick in Medieval and Renaissance times
325 – The Council of Nice is called by Holy Roman Emperor Constantine.
455 – Rome is besieged by vandals, and the medieval period begins.
589 – The Third Council of Toledo inserts “filioque” into the Nicene Creed, separating Eastern and Western Churches.
638 - Islamic armies invade and conquer of the Holy Land.
1054 – The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches excommunicate each other, and separate into two distinct entities.
1095 – The Byzantine Emperor pleads with Pope Urban II for assistance in fighting Islamic Turks in the Holy Land. The Crusades officially begin.
1118 – The Knights Templar is officially established in Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
1128 – The Knights Templar is confirmed by Pope Honorius II at Council of Troyes.
1215 – England’s King John forced to sign the Magna Carta by land barons.
1231 - Pope Gregory IX declares life imprisonment for repentant heretics, and death for those who refuse to confess. The Burning Times begin.
Late 1200s - Moses de Leon publishes the Sepher ha-Zohar, the principal book of the Kabbalah.”
1291 – The Holy Land is lost to the Turks, marking the official end of the Crusades. The Templar Knights establish new headquarters at Temple Monastery in France.
1300s – The Bubonic plague spreads from China, and continues until the late 1600s. The Key of Solomon the King appears during this century, though likely much older. The oldest known copies of the Ars Notoria also appear during this time.
1312 - Pope Clemet V, at the insistence of French King Phillipe le Bel, issues orders to suppress the Templar Knights.
1314 – The Templar Grand Master Jaques de Molay, and others, burned at the stake for heresy.
1318 - Pope John XXII has the bishop of Frejus investigate several clerics and laymen on charges of necromancy and ceremonial magick.
Early 1400s - Suggested origin of the Sworn Book of Honorius, though this was most likely accomplished earlier.
1406 – Clerics are accused of practicing magick against the King of France and Pope Benedict XIII.
1409 - Pope Benedict XIII is himself accused of working necromancy and employing necromancers.
1450 – The Renaissance period begins.
1462 - Johannes Trithemius is born.
1468 - The Malleus Maleficarum or Witches’ Hammer is written by Dominican Monks.
1492 – The Queen of Spain outlines the forthcoming Spanish Inquisition. Columbus begins his journey.
Early 1500s - Martin Luther instigates the rift of the Roman Church into Catholic and Protestant sects. King Henry VIII creates the Anglican Church of England.
1509-10 – Cornelius Agrippa writes the Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy mysteriously appears after his death, though it is rejected as a forgery by one of Agrippa’s students named Wierus.
1527 - John Dee born in England.
1558 – The daughter of King Henry VIII becomes successor to the throne, and Queen Elizabeth I, officially establishes her father’s Church.
1575 - Latin copy of the Arbatel of Magic appears, and is investigated by Dr. John Dee.
1581 - 1583 – Dr. John Dee writes the Five Books of the Mysteries.
1600s - Early copies of Lemegeton are discovered, but are belived to be older by close to a century.
1610 - 1640 - The Grimoire of Armadel is well received in France around this time.
1614 - 1615 - The “Rosicrucian Manifestos” Fama and Confessio are published in Germany, begining the Rosicrucian movement in Europe.
1655 - Robert Turner includes a translation of the Heptameron in his collection of works.
1659 - Meric Casaubon publishes A True and Faithful Relation.
Late 1600s to Early 1700s - The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage appears (though it claims to have been written between 1368 - 1437).
Mid 1700s - The likely origin of the Grimoirium Verum, and the so-called Grand Grimoire. 1801 - Francis Barrett publishes The Magus.
Early 1800s – Supposed period a Book of Shadows was penned by a woman named “Bethany” in New England, United States, which was discovered in 1995.
1940 – 50s - Gerald Gardner applies Theban alphabet and other magickal letterings and secret cipher systems to his Wiccan rites.
1960s to Present – The use of Theban Alphabet (Honorian), Malachim, Passing the River and other codex systems are being used in pagan communities as part of initiation and in common practice. Paganus communities accept these cipher systems into their orders.
2008 – Medieval Metaphysics and the Theban Oracle is conceived and arranged in order to the accent the many accepted concepts used by ancient magi to modern ideals and concepts in divination-type formats.
2014 -- The Theban Oracle is published 1 May, 2014 by Red Wheel/Weiser Publishers.

4. What would you like to share with us about Dr. John Dee? I have been wanting to learn more about him as of late and profess I do not know a lot.

Dr. John Dee, occult scholar, mathematician and all around man-of-letters. He devised Enochian Magick (Eeno-kee-Ann), also called the "Angelical Language," "Celestial Speech" and “The Language of Angels." He thought of it as the First Language of God-Christ, and as a "Adamical" language able to be spoken aloud and to cause change in the heavens….Like Uber Prayer. In effect, when spoken in a certain tone and pitch, various “gates” in heaven would open, as well as portals to various levels of hell (bad idea) and cause change from there. Basically his assertion was that his codex system came from the Biblical Patriarch Enoch had been the last man to know the language. Dee was also reputed to be a spy for Queen Elizabeth I, and even held a secret number – 007 between him and his colleagues. No kidding, he was the first James Bond!

At any rate, John Dee must have known about the majority of cipher codex systems like Theban and others because you can see a similar relation between Enochian letters. Also, because both his writing system and Theban are considered “Angelic” in nature, the source material might be the same, simply lost over time. Remember, by the time Dee and Edward Kelley had parted, the reign of Elizabeth was almost over, and James I was coming in…Dee was out of favor and died practically penniless. To make ends meat he actually had to sell his books and such as butcher’s paper. Talk about a fall from grace. He was the quintessential absent-minded professor, able to out think all of us, but unable to balance his check book, so to speak. In the end, likely some of the greatest occult information was lost forever just so the poor man could have a bowl of gruel. Regardless of his lacking in financial matters, he was a great and honest man to be reckoned with, and respected -- One of my models. If you want to read more on Dr. Dee, follow these links: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/enoch/ http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/enoch1.txt and http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/cienciareal/cienciareal06.htm

5. Are these stones similar to the Norse ruins and could you give an example of what some of the stones mean?

The Norse Stones, or more appropriately “Germanic-Scandinavian Runes” are not quite as ancient as we think, in regards to its usage in divination. In fact, it is found as early as early as the 1740s, though we can see a pictogram-like relation for the ancient Vikings and Germanic peoples. They had meanings, such as “Manaz,” for instance, which has a meaning of The Self, or “Algiz” for Protection and “Ehwaz” for Change, and others. There are several different types of runes, such as: Elder Futhark, Old English Futhorc, Younger Futhark and others. The Theban stones follow the Latin system, in that it uses the letters that are common in both the Theban context and in basic Latin, whereas the letters I and J count as one, as well as the letters U,V and W, giving it 24 letters in all. In ancient Latin, the letters Y and Z did not appear until the 1st century BCE. Therefore the Theban alphabet we see today had to have been created after the time of the Roman Empire, as it clearly has the Y and Z added.

Though this simple fact does not explain the belief that this alphabet and similar ones predate the Romans by centuries, the possibility surely adds to the already mystical quality of the Theban alphabet, as we still cannot fathom what the original text must have looked, or how Honorius of Thebes came to discover it, if in fact he did. In what appears to be a simple cipher-like code; and having no bearing in any known language, nor able to form the necessary elements to create wordage as we might understand it, the alphabet has no other purpose other than to code common words. However, in the Hebrew alphabet, we can see a similar correlation, where certain letters will count as two, or sometimes three. Although sentence structure for all flowing languages use various systems in constructing consonants and vowels in order to make it comprehensible, the Theban example was used independently. It merely suffices as a method to deliberately confuse the reader from finding its intended meaning…Hope that helps.

5. I have had some bad luck with the opposite sex as of late in affairs of the heart. How would I use the magick of the Theban oracle to make some positive changes?

You had to ask me that…
Seriously though, I would have to say that if you do not believe, then you must abandon it all together. Remember the concept of Sir James Frazer, the English anthropologist. He taught us that without belief in a thing, it must be powerless over us, and that “like-attracts-like.” Think of your question along these lines: I am thinking about love, and how much I want love in my life, and to hold a woman again, and so on and so forth…(This is from my memory). Now, I imagine what she might be like, and the things we would do together; going places together and enjoying the same things together, and so forth. I might burn incense made for attracting love, which you can buy in most occult/new age and botanical stores. I might light a red and white candle in order to focus on my desires and even meditate and pray on my desire actively. I might do this every night at a certain time, follow astrological charts to best align my situation and things like that, but in truth, all you need is faith. Now, I would never use a photo of a girl I had a crush on in my “spell,” as this is actually an attack on that person…You never want to force feelings on another, as it always turns bad in the end. Following the aforementioned aspects of my “spell,” I am thus putting this out to the universe, and that it will wither occur or not occur at the time I want it.

If this is the case, then we should move on. Otherwise, the idea that you want it should come to you eventually; the spell work is a focusing tool for the mind and soul of the person using it. Understand that wand or the athamé is simply a tool for focusing what is already inside you…You’re the magick, not the tool. So, concentrate and make it so in your mind and heart, and if the universe so wills it, or God, should you follow the traditional faiths, then it will happen for you. If it does not, then you should consider other things, as the true plan for us may never be reveled until much later in life, as it was for me.

Here’s a Theban spell:

This first spell is reasonably simple, as it requires only a few materials. Firstly, you will need some articles representative of love. These things can represent many separate and distinct items, but for this spell, I have added only the most potent.

For this spell, you will need:

1.) Several white roses or any other flowers that are most closely aligned to romance and affection for you, the spell crafter. Flowers such as Jasmine, Gardenia and Orris root works well.
2.) An article from your body, such as a few strands of hair, fingernail clippings or a scrap of your old clothing.
3.) A small piece of parchment paper and red ink, specifically Dove’s Blood Ink, a Quill, or writing stylus. Both can be purchased at most new age stores.
4.) Dragon’s Blood incense, either in power or resin form, which may also be purchased at most new age stores.
5.) A foot or so of deep-red ribbon, cut to one angle at both ends.
6.) A metal, ceramic or glass bowl.
7.) Ignitable charcoal for burning powered and resin incenses.
8.) An incense censor for burning resin or powered incenses.

Firstly, take the roses or other flowers and tie them with a small piece of the red ribbon then hang these, tied upside so that they will dry naturally. Do this on a Sunday evening at 5 o’ clock and remove at 6 o’clock the following Sunday evening.
Take your flowers, still tied in the ribbon and lay on your alter. If you do not have an assigned alter, simply lay the flowers on a window sill, or table that faces north. In a small metal, ceramic or glass bowl, place a handful amount of the flower petals within it.
On the parchment paper, write a brief statement of what you’re looking for in a true love, remembering that you must only ask for the most honorable of attributes. After this is done, write the Theban symbols for Love, Honor and Respect below your description. Now, you will kiss the parchment with good intent then roll it up tightly, wrapping it with more of the red ribbon around the scroll, tying it in a knot. This will never again be opened. Now place this love scroll in front of the flower petals.
Once done, take the incense charcoal and light it. Once the charcoal is lit and glowing, place a small amount of the Dragon’s Blood incense on top of it and let it smolder. As the smoke rises and the room is filled with the exotic and delightful scent, envision the man, or woman of your dreams as complete as you can. Do this until the incense has burned away. Now, take a little more of the incense and place it on the charcoal. This time, envision the qualities you desire of your dream love as complete as you can. Once done, give thanks to the heavens and say “Now it is done, let what may be - be.”
You may revisit this magical method as often as you wish, but I give ample warning: Such spell craft must never be done with ill-intent, or if you’re simply not ready for love in your life. This spell has a powerful reputation for working quite efficiently, so be prepared to seeing the fruition of your desires here. Also, I must remind you that under no circumstance should you direct any “specifically known” person to this spell. By doing so, you may inevitably draw someone to you that should not be with you. And by doing so, you will be employing negative magick, and as the consequences are usually not pleasant, it is best to ask the wisdom of the heavens to that of lust, greed or malice.

6. I burn a lot of incense and white sage. I see you speak of Theban incense what do you mean by that?

The incense you use is really up to you, but I give an associated herb and/or oil that works best for certain “spells” though any traditional incense for a specific purpose will work equally well. I prefer resins and powder that burn on a lit charcoal to processed brands in stick or cone. Oils are very good as well, especially when placed above a tea candle.

7. What would like to share with the book from us with our readers that they might find interesting?

The Theban Oracle serves as a process for self-wisdom and deep contemplation, where in the traditional method; ancient soothsayers may have painted arcane symbols on stones, or carved them on shards of wood and animal bones to express such foretelling. The Theban example employs such a method, and also pays homage to history’s most notable men and women who made a place for themselves in the realms of magick, alchemy and the esoteric disciplines. This book, in every sense and concept is designed to offer the reader; whether acolyte or scholar, a manner from which to spiritually grow and eventually pass on to their peers or pupils. It is designed to foster wisdom that already exists within you, though not to substitute your faith or to pass judgment on the barer. In short, this process is not designed to represent any kind of magick in of itself, but rather offer the player a chance to work out their issues and problems by way of the ancient sage and magi.
Unlike the popular conception of what a divinatory apparatus truly is; that it will predict or alter one’s future, is simply not true. The true oracle process and similar tools, such as runes stones or tarot cards are not designed for the purposes of “fortune telling.” Rather, such objects are designed firstly to assist the user in meditating on their meanings, and secondly, to assist in developing an insight around a situation at hand. The Theban oracle and similar divinatory devices will aid the player in formulating his or her own ideas by proposing the ancient symbols and they’re meanings as a process, which may assist them in making better choices and becoming more productive. It is not intended to instruct or coerce the player.
Religious notations: Certainly, if we are to look at the biblical idea regarding divination as a tool to control one’s life, or to replace the faith in the Almighty with articles of magick or divination, we will find a rather staunch response: Leviticus, Chapter 19, Verse 26 tells us — “Ye shall not eat any-thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times” (King James Version, Cambridge Ed). This basically translates that we are not to eat of the entrails of a beast or man, nor use the entrails for the purpose of divination or soothsaying. It refers to an ancient behavior known as “Haruspication,” which is divination by means of sifting through animal entrails to read the future, or its more sinister equivalent, known as “Anthropomancy,” where one will use human entrails for seeing the future, we can surely see the problems with such actions. Indeed, in ancient times such people were often put to death upon discovery of doing so. Perhaps this chapter of the Bible appears harsh, but we must remember that in ancient times, the folkloric concept for divination and magick was not an idle sport for the timid — It was often deadly and almost always risky.
In retrospect; The Theban Oracle should be viewed as a game for testing one’s own wisdom and for figuring out one’s own destiny from a historical perspective, much like the magi of old would have done. It is designed for the player to purpose detailed questions and then to search through the answers for ‘personal’ meanings that are uniquely relevant to the player. It is formulated to foster ideas to that of giving direction to one’s life — This is the oracle that already exists within you! With that said, it is important to remember the words of the 19th century occult scholar C. G. Leland: “Questions asked without faith, are not questions at all…As without a true question, one cannot obtain true faith.” What does this mean? Simply that the questions you ask must be of a heartfelt nature, with the sincerity of a deeply thought-out inquiry. Questions that will lead to logical answers are formulated from within the one using this divinatory game system. She or he will ultimately find the answer they are seeking, so long as they ask with soulful tenacity. Asking questions without a defined purpose, however, will only delay in the insight you are truly searching for. Therefore, you must be true to yourself in order to find true success.
Historically, each item within divinatory processes; such as the tarot cards or rune stones, each will have a profound symbol and meaning attached to it, where each card or stone will represent a symbol with a significant representation from within a spiritual context. The Theban alphabet or codex system also has such a symbol designated to represent human luminaries and angelic personas that best correspond to the subject matter represented. Each associated symbol is designed to give the player an insightful and meaningful reflection of their innermost personal queries, and will offer various aspects of advice and wisdom that only the one engaged in the process could truly understand. With such a designation that operates as equally and precisely as other oracle-like processes, the mannerism and philosophy of the Theban oracle will prove precise and spiritually enlightening. Remember, though in essence a game, this process will open new pathways to personal realities and spiritual endeavors for you, so long as you’re emotionally still, and remain open to the answers received.

8. I noticed you said in the book our emotions can affect the outcome of the stones. Like anger for instance. Why is this?

Think of this and all types of magick like The Force, from Star Wars…You can have a certain understanding or power; able to use a Jedi mind trick, or shoot lightning from your fingers, but how that Jedi uses his/her powers is up to the individual. Likewise, if that person focuses on evil, then that Jedi becomes evil and thus all his/her powers become altered. This is true in magick, whether done to help a loved one, or to curse someone, or what have you. If you go into something with baggage in tow, then everything you touch (spiritually speaking), will reflect your mindset and emotions. Pretty much like anything else in life. If you’re angry and vengeful when using the stones, those energies will reflect the same in the stones in kind, and give you a one-sided view to your questions. Besides, when you’re in a dark place, it’s hard to see the right answer anyway…Not enough light, right?

10. What are you up to next book wise and any links you'd like to share? Thank you for this interview.

My next book, Renaissance Cooking in Today’s Kitchen – Magical Feasts of the Paganus Folk (Tentative title) is a collection of authentic recipes from Roman age to high renaissance period, specifically those foods and libations enjoyed by non-royalty folk known as the Paganus peoples. It will highlight the customs and mannerisms used by these people, the many pagan holidays and the particular backgrounds and much more. This will be published by Schiffer Books this year. I’m working on other projects too, including a book on Expressive Arts Therapy and techniques, which will highlight my profession, as well as a collection of art therapy related work. Also, a scholarly treatise on psychical research regarding the survival hypothesis with McFarland Press, and a book on the thinking processes and behaviors of sex offenders and treatment proposals. This will include a collection of case studies and art examples from offenders and predators form all age groups; work I have collected over the years from working with these populations in the mental health field. Beyond these projects, I have other things brewing in my mind…
In case you don’t know already, I have other books out now, specifically Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore volumes 1-3 and Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida from Pineapple Press, and Haunted Inns, Pubs and Eateries of St. Augustine by History Press. So if you like ghost stories, check them out!

Thanks for having me!