Esoteric Interviews #1: A. D. Mercer (Author of Liber Coronzom)
A. D. Mercer is a psychologist, a practicing ritual magickian, and an author of the fine book "Liber Coronzom", an excellent Grimoire on Enochian Magick released through Aeon Sophia Press. Check out our in-depth interview with him where we cover his Jungian influence on his work, the complex task of cross referencing the Enochian material required to write his book, his personal inspirations, his favorite magickal authors, and so much more. You have a background in Jungian Psychology, this of being of primary interest regarding your outlook and presentation of your book Liber Coronozom. What came first in your studies, the magick or the psychology? And how did you eventually go about bridging the gap between the two? My Interest in Jungian Psychology and Magick basically ran, and runs, side-by-side. I honestly couldn’t say which came first for me (Chicken and egg analogy comes to mind here) I encountered both in my teens and each seemed to ‘inform’ the other, particularly looking at Jung’s concepts of the Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, both of which predate Jung as ideas, but really came together, as coherent theories of the mind, through Jung’s work. I should stress that while both concepts interconnect, they are district. In other words, the Collective Unconscious and the concept of the archetypes do not depend upon each other i.e. the ides of Archetypes is related to the structure of consciousness. While the collective unconscious is notion that consciouess, at its deepest level, is transpersonal. These concepts are important as the give magick a framework within which it may very well be operating. Now, this does not mean at all that we’re talking about the ‘psychological’ model for the explanation for how magick works. The the notion that it’s ‘all in the mind’ which some occultist reject out of hand and I understand why they do. But I agree with Lon Milo Ducette when he said “it’s all in your mind, you just have no idea how big your mind is!” – indeed, whether Lon meant it or not, this certainly alludes the kind of ideas Jung adhered to (that the mind is way beyond that lump of putty in your head), which I very much agree with. So, needless to say, for me the entities you encounter in Enochian Magic are hitherto unknown Archetypes. Jung himself said that, although he’s identified quite a few, there is most certainly 100 of not 1000’s of them.
When composing your book, you had to cross reference a large amount of Enochian material. What was this process like, and was it difficult coming to an end conclusion when dealing with potential inconsistencies or omissions in between texts? One of the main motivations for getting the book published was to offer a version of Enochian magick that was as true to Dee’s original experiments as possible, and removed all material that had been added later, chiefly the additions made of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley, both of whom had basically re-written Dee’s experiments into something that fitted into their own systems. There is of course nothing wrong with adapting and reworking systems and I have the utmost respect for the work of the Original Golden Dawn, but what they offer, however there are differences compared to what the ‘angels’ communicated to Dee. (including the spelling of ‘Coronzon’ which the Golden Dawn took from Casaubon’s ‘True and Faithful Relation’ and not Dee’s actual diaries which spell it Coronzom) To do this I had to get back to Dee’s actual diaries, which are held in the British Library, these are the hand written by Dee himself (writing down what Kelley was seeing.) Of all the material, the two areas which interested me the most were the Sigilim dea Ameth and what has become known as the ‘Enochain Calls’. These seemed to be the most practical areas, ‘stuff’ that you could actually use! As I already knew the published version of Dee’s diaries, the aforementioned ‘True and Faithful Relation’ I knew what it was I was looking for in the handwritten material, that said, it was quite an ‘adventure’ trying to find the entries I was looking for. But, to address your question more directly, it also meant that I didn’t intend to look at all the other texts that had been published by later writers as most were influenced by the changes made by the Golden Dawn, and I wanted the original material. That doesn’t mean I don’t own copies of pretty much everything ever written on Enochain magick, because I do, and there’s some excellent work out there, it’s just that it was not relevant for what I was working on.
What attracted you to Enochian magick out of all of the various schools and disciples of magickal study the most? Are there any other fields of magickal study that you have / are exploring? I like focusing on details and I like to get to original material where possible. I love working with the classic Grimoires, but the original author’s identity is lost the mists of time (unless you really do believe that ‘King Solomon’ was a prolific writer of a whole host of esoteric texts while he ruled ancient Israel!) But with Enochian Magic you had access to the original source material, ‘first hand’ notes on the scrying experiments that lead to Enochain magick. I also feel a kind of affinity with Dr. Dee himself, can’t really explaining it and I’m not going to claim any kind of psychic connection or reincarnation but I do feel a connection that I can’t fully explain.
Another area that has interested me is the Runes and in particular the Armanen Runes of Guido von List. Not least because they are probably the least understood and most abused set of runes in existence. They have been linked erroneously to the Nazi’s and dismissed as a modern invention. However, even if they do not date any further back the Von List’s discovery of them in 1909, they are the only set (or Futhark) that was specifically devised for esoteric purposes, which I think makes them significant and important for study (and were the topic of my second book from Aeon Sophia Press – ‘Runen: The Wisdom of the Runes.’)
I am also very interested in the ‘Dark side’ of the Kabbalah, but I’m not going to say too much about that now…
You have published your book through the independent book publisher Aeon Sophia Press. How did you get involved with them, and how has your experiences with them been like? I actually ‘sat on’ Liber Coronzom for years before trying to get it published. Initially I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I had one possible deal sorted out a few years ago, but it came to mothing in the end. I did offer it to another publisher first and they said that, although they liked it, it was not really within the publishing remit. (let’s just say it was not ‘satanic’ enough) However they suggested Aeon Sophia Press, and it was accepted. I am pleased to say I’d now count Johan, the owner of ASP as a personal friend.
What other authors in the currently active magickal community have you found to be releasing interesting content?
As I’m something of a book collector myself there are a number of writers I look out for, and indeed, particular publisher’s whose titles I nearly always end up buying. two/three who immediately come to mind are Troy Books and Xoanon/Three Hand Press. Although Enochian Magick is a world away from it, I am interested in ‘Traditional Witchcraft’ especially as I hail from the county of Essex in the UK where a particularly important modern occult writer originally hailed from. Although Best known for his ‘Cultus Sabbatai’ works; Andrew Chumbely was certainly interested in Enochian Magic as I had a chance to talk to him about it, albeit very briefly, years ago. I also keep an eye out for new books on Grimoires as they, of course, link into what Dee himself mainly researched and studied. Particular writers who come to mind are Dr. Stephen Skinner (who was good enough to answer a few questions on Dee when I was writing LC) Jake Stratton-Kant, Joseph Peterson and, more recently, Humberto Maggi whose book “Sepher Ha-Maggid’ was recently published by ASP. (I believe you’re familiar with it?)
Do you have plans to release any further books? Do you have anything else in the works? I actually have a new book which is due out very soon through Three Hands Press. It focuses on examples of real spells, charms and incantations from Rural Britain of the 18th and 19th centuries, entitled ‘The Wicked Shall Decay’. Something of a departure from Enochian Magic you might think, but there’s actually a very surprising link to Coronzom!
I am also working on a new title, which is still very much in the ‘note taking’ phase at the moment, although I do know exactly what is going to cover. It is a departure from what I’ve previously written about but, having said that there are links to the kind of material that John Dee would have been familiar with. It will be coming out via Aeon Sophia again as it’s more in line with ASP’s remit.
Esotericism and magick has been commonly referenced in a lot of mythology, literature, and media through ages. For most people this is merely a fiction used to help create interesting stories. And mostly in the way it's literally presented, this is true. However, beyond the fiction, as we both know there is a deeper truth to the mystery. Getting an authentic interest in the occult is not something that has always been an easy path. How did you find yourself interested in this complex and unique pathway which has so guided your life? To be completely honest I can’t actually remember how it all started originally. I did spend a lot of time in the local library in the school summer holidays. I wasn’t one for playing sports when I was a kid, unfortunately most of my friends were, so while they played football in the park I was often at a loose end and would wonder off into the literary world that the library offered. I most probably came across a book or two that intrigued me and I remember seeing sign and sigils etc. and thinking how strange and interesting they looked, but don’t remember anything specific. I do remember having an interested back in those days, but I died away as I got a bit older (discovering Girls getting a job going out on the town etc. took priority) I do however remember how it was reignited in my very late teens. I was working in London at the time and had had some odd dreams of a ‘spheres and shining paths linking those spheres’. (it’s pretty obvious to me now that I was dreaming of the Kabbalah) I remember looking in the esoteric section of a bookshop while at lunch and found Dion Fortunes ‘Mystical Qabalah’, the book’s cover even looked like the dreams I was having! This relaunched my interested, which has remained with me for more than 30 years.
For those that know nothing about magick what would you say to get them allured or interested in the concept beyond the fictions presented to us through our media? Get reading! Read some of the classics of magic, like Dion Fortune, the Golden Dawn texts, etc. If you’re looking for specific texts then I’d recommend David Conway’s ‘Magic: An Occult Primer’ Donald Michael Kraig’s “Modern Magick’ and Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft. These along with Fortune and “The Complete Works of the Golden Dawn’ are the books that started me off.
If you could have only one or two core distilled ideas of your works to be solidified into human history, what would they be? That I managed to the correct spelling of Coronzom ‘out there’ (It’s not Coronzon or Choronzon!)
How frequently do you engage in full evocative/invocative ritual in a month on average? OK, I have to confess I’ve become a little lazy as I’ve not engaged in anything on a regular basis for a while now. I do meditate on whatever I’m working with or exploring and often find that that produces some pretty profound insights into whatever I’m working on, and as there are no existing invocations or evocations in what I’m currently working on, I’m limited in what I can currently do….
Many people divide the magickal community into two pathways, the right hand path (typically considered white magick), and the left hand path (typically considered black magick). Do you subscribe to either of these labels? What are your thoughts on this sort of distinction? Interesting question because they are not exactly fixed terms. The Left/Right division came into the Western esoteric world via Tantra and Hindu mysticism and was more about theory v’s practise in that particular field of magical experience. Today of course the ‘division’ has acquired a somewhat different interpretation. These days it’s more ‘Light (and fluffy) v’s Dark (and sinister) but to me it needs to be balanced and therefore needs both.
What are your thoughts regarding the spiritual model vs psychological model debate? Aha, I think I covered that at the start. I don’t see it as a ‘verses’ argument and that neither fully explain the phenomena we encounter in magick.
Politics and magick are things that can be separate, but as we have seen throughout magicians intertwined relationships with politicians and royalty throughout history (or nowadays, as you’ll see on many a magician’s facebook feed rants) they often go hand in hand. Do you have any strong political, or social worldviews, and if so do you use your magick, or believe magick could be used, to influence these sort of things on any meaningful scale? What about if people in covens of magickal groups actively worked together using magickal ritual in combined with group action to promote goals, do you think there would be a greater influence?
I try to keep magick and politics as far apart as possible! To me magick is a personal thing and doesn’t mix well with the day to day nastiness that modern politics has become.’. We’ve seen examples in the past where an interest in magick, the esoteric and the occult has been used for political purposes with one ‘far right’ party in particular manipulating interest in the occult and using that interest as a way of gaining support. I am of course talking about the Nazi’s, whose only real interest in the occult was whether or not that interest was exploitable to gain support, which unfortunately it was.
I certainly believe that we can cause change through the exercise of our will (in accordance with the quote from ‘you know who’) but whether that influence should be welded in the political arena is another question entirely.
What sort of other past times do you have, or engage in, other than the magickal craft.
My other strong interest is in the paranormal. I am particularly interested in the ghost phenomena and used to engage in actual investigations at supposedly haunted locations on a regular basis (go ‘ghost hunting’) but not so much these days. However, that interest has lead me into the world of Internet Radio and ‘talk shows’ on the paranormal.
I’m actually involved in two different networks, co owning one and ‘producer’ with my own show, on the other. My own monthly show is called ‘Radio Hermetica’ and is indeed all about the occult/witchcraft/ the esoteric etc.
I also compose ‘dark ambient’ electronic music which I find is also helpful for putting oneself in the right mind set for writing about magic.
You can find a second edition reprint of the book for sale at Aeon Sophia Press' website (limited to 200 copies, get'em while you can!): https://www.aeonsophiapress.com/Liber_Coronzom_-_An_Enochian_Grimoire_PRE-ORDER/p1293621_17774421.aspx
You can find our review we did for the book at the following link:
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