Medieval Magic In The Netherlands
by Andy Cooper
Over the past twenty or so years of my magical training, I have occasionally had the opportunity to attend workshops that have been intense, enlightening, fun and, sometimes, life-changing. This past weekend (3-5 May 2013) I attended a retreat run by The Hermetic Order Of The Temple Of Starlight at a beautiful retreat centre in The Netherlands. It was certainly intense, fun and enlightening and as for life changing, I’ll have to reserve judgement on that until the effects of the work that we did last weekend can start to manifest!
The workshop was entitled "The Magistery Of Heaven" and was written and presented by the head of the Temple of Starlight and a great friend of mine, Ina Cüsters-van Bergen. The workshop was an introduction to Medieval magic, a hugely complex subject encompassing a vast range of techniques from Solomonic Magic to Enochian and Planetary Magic.
In this workshop Ina focused on Planetary Magic and the core of the workshop was the invocation of the planetary energies through traditional rituals derived from the famous grimoires of the period to empower and consecrate a magical book of spells and conjurations that each member of the temple created during the rituals throughout the weekend. The rituals were both beautifully written and powerfully executed, and the atmosphere in the temple was palpable as the energies were invoked and the presence of otherworldly beings was easily detectable by anyone remotely psychic or with reasonable magical experience and training.
The teaching was through the rituals themselves, and students made and consecrated their own magical mirror and learnt how to invoke a specific spirit who has the power to bring visions to those using the mirror. This was powerful and heady stuff. I came away from the weekend with a real interest in medieval magic and a desire to continue with the work I started over the weekend in creating and consecrating my own magical grimoire.
Ina did an excellent job of demystifying the entire subject and inspiring all of us to look further and deeper into this fascinating and powerful strand of Western Magic. Ina’s school (The Temple of Starlight) runs a retreat twice a year in a former monastery near Ossendrecht (although the accommodation is rather better than the monks would have had to endure!) and if you have the opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend the experience. The next one, coming up in November, is an Egyptian Magical Retreat and details can be found at the Temple of Starlight’s website (www.templeofstarlight.eu).
Thanks Ina, for a weekend that kindled my interest in medieval magic and enabled me to experience techniques and processes that would have been hard and time-consuming for me to construct from reading dusty old grimoires. Ina did that hard work for all of us and the workshop is a testament to her hard work, vast knowledge of the subject and great teaching skills. As a fellow head of a school (and by the way, Ina and I trained together for many years) I know how much hard work goes into putting on these workshops, and it is a Herculean effort, so many thanks to Ina and her students for creating a great experience that all of us who attended can grow and learn from.
by Dr. J. Meyer
As a historian I have done research in the field of Medieval studies for over 12 years now, and so I was very curious about Ina Cüsters-Van Bergen's weekend workshop retreat „The Magistery of Heaven“.
One of the things that I was really curious about was how Ina Cüsters-van Bergen would deal with the immensely difficult bulk of Medieval literary texts and magical treatises that are necessary to get the information on which a serious approach to Medieval magic should be based. Medieval texts are a challenge, they tend to give the reader a hard time because they seem alien and unapproachable to the modern mind. It usually takes years to develop the kind of understanding and the background knowledge necessary to handle these texts in an appropriate manner.
Thus I was absolutely flabbergasted in the course of the weekend that Ina Cüsters-van Bergen had not only managed to extract the essential „feel“ of the historical Middle Ages from the texts without turning the material into some kind of Renaissance fair artefact, but kept it historically adequate, highly reflective and could moreover integrate certain approaches and concepts into the rituals which gave me a whole new understanding of things I have been busy with for years. These approaches seem to me, historically speaking, well founded and quite legitimate.
So I found myself in a position where I, to my entire amazement, could watch a teacher from a spiritual tradition grasp within a time as short as maybe three quarters of a year the essence of a difficult and historical subject and make them available to modern minds in a fashion which of course is alien to the academia, but nevertheless a valuable way of creating experiences. I can only congratulate Mrs Cüsters-van Bergen on this achievement!
It was like a dream that is too nice to be truth
The Magistery of the Heavens is an intensive Inner Temple Retreat in Medieval magic and High Magic ritual. It was one of the most intensive experiences that I had. It was full of action and practical techniques as usual for this type of Inner Temple Retreat, prepared for the Hermetic Order of the Temple of Starlight by Ina Cüsters van Bergen.
The teaching sessions were embedded in the ongoing rituals. It was highly magical experience. Ina incorporated all the knowledge - necessary for a real seeker that want to know more than the surface of things - in the rituals. All the information given, uncovered hard working and thorough research through medieval grimoires. The materials were put into ingenious practice during the workshop.
The creation of a personal grimoire during the ceremonies of the entire workshop was a nice idea in order for participants to be able to take with them something solid, to use as often as necessary for them in personal environment.
As usual the workshop started with opening ceremony of the inner temple and was followed by the invitation of a succession of deities who came to bless, clean or bring different spiritual gifts to the participants for personal use.
All the work culminated with an almost midnight ritual in nature to meet the Faery Queen, the ancient Shining Ones and local spirits. A procession that in itself pulled you out of time and space into the spiritual realms of gods themselves. I had impression I was are part of a huge event, even though I did not fully realize this until it had passed. It was like a dream that is too nice to be truth, and you have to pinch yourself to be conscious that you are living the moment, that you are not gone and dream with your eyes open.
All passed too fast and a couple of days after the event I ask myself if it had been real or just imagination or just my wishes. The materials that I brought back from the time of working during the retreat help me to anchor myself and be sure that was real and not just something from my mind.
Caught with the work necessary for the Hermetic Institute, I put the materials from the workshop on my desktop to be sure that I am going to pass through it again at the first moment possible.
Many other thinks can be said but no words can completely express the experience. If you want magic, if you want to really experience it: then being part of an Inner Temple Retreat is the best possible way to experience this at first hand.
I am looking forward to seeing my friends of the Hermetic Order of the Temple of the Starlight at the next reunion at 8-10 November 2013
Till then be magic, be strong, be light and be divine!
President of Hermetic Institute from Romania.