Moloch(M): How did you get involved with metaphysics and more specifically Arabic Magic?
Nineveh Shadrach (NS): My metaphysical journey began as a child with an experience that opened me up to the realm of the unseen. This happened to me as I was starting to attend 1st grade in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is the most conservative Islamic city in one of the most conservative Islamic countries.
Growing up, I experienced telepathy and prophetic visions, or I would see things that others didn't see. This continued till I was in my early teens. I never once thought anything of it until I began to talk about it. I realized that I was different in a way that my community didn't approve.
One of the things that also happened is that I began to have an intense calling to magic. I had no means of exploring any of this of course, since it was literally a capital crime and anyone caught with materials on the subject would be punished. I did try, though. The police began to threaten my family for trying to smuggle illegal books on the occult. I also had a guy in my high school chase me with a sword for practicing magic. He wanted to kill me to fulfill an Islamic obligation.
I was willing to live with the threats, but it was impossible for me to get the materials or have the necessary space. I decided that, when I was of age, I was going to leave that country and go where I could practice and live my art without interruptions. That is pretty much how I started and, as you see, I did end up doing just that.
I learned early on that when the Spirit wants to open us to what is beyond the veil, it will do so without regard to age, culture, religion or geography. Our art is a universal art. Also, if I wanted to do magic and be a magician in our day and age, I couldn't worry about what people around me thought or let that stop me. I would have to be true to myself. Magic isn't a hobby, or a quick fix, or a Sunday thing. It has to be a way of life and you must be willing to give it everything you have.
I hope you don't mind that I don't refer to what I do as Arabic magic or Islamic magic. It wouldn't be sensible to call the Western Mysteries English magic or Christian magic. Rouhaniat is the term that I use for what I do. It is derived from the root Rouh in Arabic or Ruach in Hebrew - spirit oriented magic that is similar to Theurgy. We probably call what you do Sihr because it stems from the word ‘enchant' and is more closely associated with ‘sorcery'.
My first formal steps in the study of Rouhaniat began in Syria. I was searching for those forbidden tomes and a bookseller pulled out a book that he had hidden behind the counter and offered it to me. It was the Sun of Knowledge by al-Buni, which has the reputation of being the longest banned or suppressed tome of all Arabic books in history. In our branch of magic, it is the equivalent of Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy.
I took it home and was spending at least 8 hours a day studying it. Finally, my grandma, who had unfortunate physical encounters with the jinn at one point in her life, sold the book without my knowing and told me it was lost. She wanted me to stop this scary business I was into. Interestingly enough, my mom bought me a copy of this book years later from a seller in Beirut and it was my own copy, with my handwritten notes still there.
M: What was your first Rhouhani operation and was it a success?
NS: My first spells and practices in magic were innate. They were more root memory versus book learning and yes, they had tangible physical results that convinced me I wasn't just being a dreamer to believe in magic.
How about I instead share with you an operation that I did that I think you will appreciate as a practical occultist? I am sure you've read about how the spirits in those grimoires can bring you physical objects like food and so on. Honestly, how many magicians in the West, in our day and age, do you think take it seriously? I don't know about you, but my guess is very few would even consider it to be real. Guess what - it isn't medieval fantasy.
Here is my story:
I had ordered an expensive box of supplies from Indonesia. It contained a whole slew of magical items and talismans. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. Six months later, the box still hadn't arrived. It was a lot of money for me back then, but more importantly, I really wanted those supplies.
Everyone had made up their minds that the box was pretty much gone and it was a lost cause. There was no tracking associated with the package and the post office declared it a lost shipment.
Having exhausted all physical means, I turned to magic. I only turn to magic for material ends in times of emergency and when I am at my wits end. I summoned a celestial jinni from one of al-Buni's grimoires and asked for this box to be manifested in my house. Hours after the operation was finished, there was a sign of his agreement. A dangling pendulum like object in my office began to suddenly spin all on its own, without physical action or air causing it, and I could feel the jinni presence there near it. I thanked him and let the matter drop. Within a day or two after that, the box appeared in the entrance hall in our house. It wasn't delivered by a post man and there was no knock on the door. It was just inside the house. It was falling apart at the seams and lacked any postmarks except those of Indonesia. Yes, it was just there.
This isn't the only time this happened. One of my apprentices in the UK was sending me a letter with some money in it. He forgot to attach any stamps to the letter before dropping it in the letter box. He did some work for it like I told him to. Within a couple of days, it was there in my mailbox in Canada. It was just an envelope with my name on it and a letter inside addressed to me and some money.
Did I tell you how much I love magic?
M: How fundamentally different do you find Rhouhaniat when contrasted with Western Esoteric Ceremonial Magic?
NS: I really don't see the magic itself as different. I see the attitude of the magicians themselves as different. Most magic practiced today in the Middle East is based primarily on texts hundreds of years old. The old way still lives in the spirit and methods that shaped the writing. I would say that inherently those philosophies would be familiar to European medieval magicians as well. I even hear comments from some of my students that our practices are similar to Tibetan occultism. Truthfully, I think all the ancient magic of the world had a lot in common and the differences were a matter of language and the infusion of particular cultural or religious paradigms.
Modern Western magicians seem more inclined to see things within a psychological prism and rely heavily on heady complex symbolism. They also seem to shy away from magic that helps them in this world, which is strange to me. Magicians of old, in my world view, were community leaders like the Native Indian Shamans were to their tribes. They helped heal the sick, assisted people in need, and protected the village from its enemies.
To me, world view and philosophy are the differences that most Western Ceremonial Magicians have the hardest time with. I would say that the motto of Western Esoteric Ceremonial magic tends to be more ‘my mind has no limitations and magic is the ultimate expression of my will'. Old style Rouhani magic would be more ‘Spirit has no limitations and I am a vessel for Divine manifestation'.
How magic is experienced and practiced is all about the world view difference and how that changes. Western magic puts more emphasis on symbols in rituals and proper performance of ceremonies. Rouhani magic is more about inflaming oneself with prayers, watching for proper astrological timing, and immersing oneself in a space with little distractions – either in the wild or in a dark room with no furnishings.
From a technical perspective, I would say that there is a lot more in common than most people first think between the two traditions. After all, Western magic owes a great deal to the developments in the 12th century in the Middle East and our tradition owes a great deal to the ancient Greeks and the Hermetics of old. Both traditions also owe a lot to the magical practices of the Chaldeans and the Babylonians, even though often they don't get enough credit.
If you are looking to compare methodologies, you will find that the magical squares are in common, the use of Hebrew divine names is in common, and the influence of neo-platonic elements is in common. Obviously, WMT has the Enochian system that is unique to it, while Arabic magic has the extensive lore of Jinn magic.
M: Please tell us about the Djinns - how are they different (or alike) from the Spirits listed in the various Medieval & Renaissance books of magic?
NS: In my humble opinion, it isn't the beings that are different as much as the mental conception of the magicians and the use of different methods that seem to lead to different experiences.
The names of Spirits in those grimoires are at times corruptions of Arabic names of jinni. Let's take the Jinn King Maymon and add the letter A in front of his name and you get Amaymon from the Goetia.
Jinn are a race of beings that exists all over the world and each culture catalogued them in their own way. The reason people today would consider them different is because their encounters with them using modern methods has shown that they are dealing with intangible forces that can't physically affect them. Someone doing an evocation to a spirit from the Lesser Key using a modern Western formula wouldn't dream of asking that spirit to physically lift a dish and bring it to him.
Arab magicians would, because their methods lead them to results that compel them to believe it is possible. A magician from Najaf, Iraq, was working with a number of jinni. Because they weren't always visible, he had put different dishes on the table. Each dish had the name of one of them. He would call each one and ask it to lift its dish as proof. Sure enough, the dish would levitate and, when all the dishes were up in the air, he would continue.
M: What are a Djinn's weak and strong points?
NS: Their strong point is their ability to emit strong radiation and dominate your mind. They can literally wipe your memory at will and establish psychic dominance within seconds. They are also able to scare the hell out of you. It is almost automatic - like the mythical fear aura of dragons.
Iron is supposed to be their weak point, but I am not sure if it is. Magicians of old in the Middle East would create seven circles around themselves with iron bars for protection. The space inside the circle was made wide enough to ensure that you could faint safely, without any part of your body being outside the circle. They would also wear caps because the jinn could come at them from above.
M: Fascinating! So what role does the mythology of Iblis & Shaitan play in the working of Djinns?
Iblis is an immortal Jinn King and I believe he is the only one like that. His seven children became the names of the Planetary Jinn Kings. Many of his descendants appear in various grimoires without identification. You need to have a teacher or you will end up summoning one of his associates by error. Keep in mind though, that just because a Jinni is his descendent doesn't automatically make him similar in nature. Each Jinni is an individual and as an individual will have his or her own personality and views.
M: Do you make offerings to Djinns or reward them for work well done?
NS: Jinn don't really work for me, they work with me. Most evocation based relationships and encounters with the Jinn occur as a result of one or two things.
The first way, which is most common, is to blackmail them. You continue to evoke and evoke and evoke until the Jinn finally decide the only way to shut you up is to make you sign a terms of service. Let me explain a bit more; many of the early magical methods were taught by the Jinn or were the result of human magicians contacting them. Keep in mind that in history those Jinn may have had different names or labels. After a period of many records of amazing wonders, you have a period of less wonders and as time progresses people became more convinced that magic is just childish fantasy. I think the Jinn themselves may be partially to blame.
Jinn go out of their way to observe humans, but really dislike being noticed. When a magician applies the methods and tries to contact the Jinn, they do their best to get him to stop. They can do that by not answering him for a long time, thus convincing him he has failed, or by making him sense energies or see apparitions that lead him to believe he has succeeded, so he is satisfied by the images and doesn't go further, or they can fiddle with his mind so he just decides to get up and do something else out of sudden fear.
When all these methods fail, they finally appear and make offers. Their offers are often traps that can lead to harm. It is recommended you don't accept those offers and instead demand that one of them gets assigned to be your servant and assistant. Generally at that point, the jinn will counter with an offer of their own. Regardless of the terms, they always ask that you tell no one about them or share their knowledge with anyone.
Effectively, the magic you learn is for no one's ears or eyes but yours. It is why often the masters would share their knowledge on their death bed. They were about to die, so the contract had expired. If they died suddenly or before they were able to do so, then that knowledge was lost. Of course this limited the ability of successful methods to be passed along, but didn't limit wrong, false, or incomplete information from being passed along. You get the drift of the impact of this.
You may be wondering: ‘How physical are those final encounters?' You are supposed to write the binding oath on a green branch from a palm tree. You should keep it near you so that both you and the Jinn present can hold it and shake it at the same time. Why not just touch them directly and go for a full hand shake? Their radiation is too much for us, warned our old masters, and they recommended that you be a few feet away from them at all times.
M: How heavily do the Koran & Islamic religious beliefs play into your Rhouhaniat workings?
NS: They play as much of a role as the Old Testament does in Jewish magic or the Christian beliefs in medieval European grimoires. Since prayers and devotions are inherent in the conjurations, Islamic elements are part and parcel of it.
I know where you are coming at from this question. I'll put it bluntly: you don't have to be a Muslim to practice this craft, but if you want to study these particular teachings and methods you can't be an Islamophobe.
I should point out that most Muslims would consider those same materials worthy of nothing short of burning. So, it is unfair to associate these teachings with their religion, because they would object to it.
You will find though, since early writers and practitioners were Muslims, that their teachings do carry expressions of their faith or have been applied to their faith in a similar way that European Christians or Jewish Mekubalim (Qabalist) magicians applied their philosophy to their faith.
However, you can change those parts to suit your own religion. The Jaljalutia conjuration is renowned for being part of the Islamic heritage of Rouhaniat. It was used in the conjuration of the seven jinn kings. I have a manuscript from Egypt belonging to a Christian Coptic magician. He modified parts of it to change the devotional elements from Islamic to Christian.
End result, you can't expect it to be Islam-free and obviously Islamic beliefs do have an influence. However, it originates from the pre-Islamic magical practices of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the surrounding region and has strong Neo-Platonic, Chaldean, Hermetic, Persian, and Indian influences. This means you can adapt it to your own beliefs, because it itself was adapted from other beliefs.
M: In the African Traditional Religions, esteeming one's Ancestors is a regular, daily occurrence and usually a shrine is erected in their honor with regular gifts & offerings made to them. What role do one's Ancestors play in the Rhouhaniat system?
NS: I do know some Sufis and Shia'a like to visit the graves of dead saints and pray there for blessings, but nothing jumps out at me as being part of the magical system itself.
M: In your book, Magic That Works, you give a prayer that is to be recited 7 times in the morning, 7 times in the evening, each day for a total of 49 weeks. Long repetition seems to be a staple of Rhouhaniat. What is the reason for this?
First, let me disagree with you on that being a long repetition. In my experience, even during my time in the Golden Dawn, that should be bare minimum by any standard. Yes, you can get some results without it. Heck, I was once reading a conjuration silently and planning to do it three months down the road, when the Jinn decided to visit and make itself known physically. Does that mean it is enough to just read a conjuration silently with strong intent? Yes, but you shouldn't make a habit of it.
To answer your question: There are three reasons within the tradition itself as to why it was done:
1) It was spiritual exercise designed for personal and spiritual development. You ran the current through your body long enough and you stored it there. They firmly believed in storing magical energy in your body, especially your body's water and blood. Since many actually started right away with evocations, repetitions and meditations were considered an important part of their magical training and skill advancement.
2) The Jinn generally avoided responding for as long as possible – even when threats were included- so the longer you did the conjuration, the more chance you had to force their hand to a physical manifestation.
3) The belief that by repeating a name or a conjuration multiple times you are effectively bringing it into manifestation through the worlds. The more you bring a name through manifestation, the more power you give to the Rouhaniah or spiritual emanation connected with it. As a result, it would turn around and reward you by infusing you with some of its own attributes and power, thus increasing your own power. Our system of magic revolves strongly around the power of words and names and their chanting both externally and internally.
Of course, each person will have to come to their own conclusion and I have no false belief that this is a popular view point here in the West. I realize people are too busy and are used to a click away for results life-style, but my own experiments and practice show that these reasons hold water. I teach what I believe is needed for this system to produce results, even if it means less popularity among the masses.
M: Please tell us about your forthcoming book, Deadly Names
. It is a translation of a handwritten manuscript about the story of King Solomon's encounter with the 72 most vile and evil of the Jinn elders. It gave their descriptions, locations, and the injury that they like to inflict on humans. It was followed by a mini-exorcism and treatment.
I had strange experiences with this manuscript and everyone who was involved directly with the project had some physical experience or another. You will have to read more about that in the book, if you are curious.
This book was an interesting juggling act. On one hand, I wanted it to be a resource for scholars. This is why I put a copy of each page of the manuscript on the right side and its exact translation on the left. On the other hand, I wanted it to still have the feel of a grimoire. To that effect, the book contains 72 full page illustrations of each of those Jinn. The book is beautiful to look at and an excellent resource. I am really happy with how it turned out.
M: It's been said by some of your detractors that you have said that the Lesser Banishment Rite of the Pentagram is ineffectual against Djinni; why is that?
NS: We use specific rituals for banishing the Jinn in our art that serves no other purpose. What I said was that the LBRP wasn't an effective ritual for banishing the Jinn or for keeping them away from you. This is true based on experience of having done thousands of LBRP's in my life time and on ritual analysis. I am honestly surprised that this statement has generated too much discussion. Maybe it's time to go underneath the hood on this one:
Let me start first with a quote from Israel Regardie's own book The Golden Dawn'. He says on page 281 of the 6th edition: "This Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is only of use in general and unimportant invokations. Its use is permitted to the Outer that Neophytes may have protection against opposing force, and also that they may form some idea of how to attract and come into communication with spiritual and invisible things."
Let's look at this statement from Regardie. He himself says it is for general and unimportant invokations use only. I wouldn't place Jinn in this category. It was given to neophytes and I don't believe this part of our art should be undertaken by a magician with neophyte skills. He refers to an opposing force, but that is vague. A mugger coming at you with a gun would count as an opposing force. However, I doubt you would rely on the LBRP as your means of primary defense against a mugger with a gun. Jinn can be as dangerous physically to you as an armed person. They have individuality; they have free will; they have consciousness and can think; and they are able to affect your reality physically. They are not a blind force. They are just like people and just like with any other dangerous individual you need to rely on appropriate measures. The LBRP or SBRP for that matter wouldn't be an appropriate measure in my books against a person or Jinn individual trying to physically harm me, but your mileage may differ.
It would be fair to ask me at this point: ‘Are you saying a physical magical circle is appropriate?' My answer to that would be the ancient magicians believed them to be. They were drawn in the wild to protect against assassins, raiders, thieves, and wild beasts like wolves and pumas. They were designed to provide physical protection, but the details of that is another topic.
Let's go back to the LBRP ritual itself. The next thing to point out is that it lacks any specific charge directly related to the Jinn or any spirit for that matter. The verbal component of the ritual consists of adoration to God, followed by chanting the names of God in four directions, declaring the angels to be present around you in only four directions, declaring the presence of pentagram before you and the hexagram behind you, and then finally the same adoration. You probably noticed that we are declaring the angels to be there and not really inviting them through evocational means. This makes sense because you are not expecting the angels to be physically there. Why else would so many ceremonialists rely on imagination and visualization when it comes to angels? They are symbolically there and not physically. This is a psychically positive exercise. When done with a devotional and spiritual inclination, it can open your mind to higher vibrations. On page 54, Regardie talks about its use in getting rid of obsessive or negative thoughts. However, you are not taking the necessary steps to invite the angels to be there to protect you from harm physically. It is passive: "Before me is Raphael [period]" versus active "O Raphael come before me here in so and so by the power of so and so names and do so and so." This lack of charge is present throughout the whole ritual. You may be opening yourself to energies, but you are not giving them a specific purpose to go with. Like Regardie said, this ritual was for beginners and general working and for that purpose it is a good ritual.
Finally, let me make what counts as a controversial statement in modern circles. Regardie says the ritual is designed to aid the neophyte in attracting and communicating with spiritual and invisible beings. Wait a minute! Let me repeat that with bolding: "ATTRACTING and communicating with spiritual and invisible beings!" What is the difference between the banishing and invoking rituals of the pentagram? The only unique difference is the way you DRAW the pentagram. That means the pentagram symbol itself serves dual purposes. You can talk about intent and will, but for all general purposes you don't physically do that much different except that. I don't personally believe a symbol both inherently attracts and repel the same beings at the same time. My position is that the pentagram is a protective sacred symbol like a cross, a hexagram, or a few others, but magically it works to open doorways and attract spiritual forces only. I remember in the Golden Dawn we only gave the neophyte the LBRP. They didn't get the invocation part till Zelator. Still, many of the neophytes who did the LBRP regularly began to experience visitations. Our counter argument was that doing the rituals ‘lit them in the astral' and we gave them the Rose Cross to use to seal and protect themselves. Every time they did the LBRP, they basically opened the door and attracted things to them blindly and without control. This point wasn't missed by Regardie who states on page 308 concerning the Rose Cross: "It encloses the aura with a protection against outside influences. It is like a veil. The pentagrams protect, but they also light up the astral and make entities aware of you. They are more positive for magical working. When much distracted, use the Pentagrams to banish and the Rose-Cross to maintain peace." Effectively, he is saying when your psychically diffused go ahead and do the LBRP to clean your psychic mind of its clutter, but then do the Rose Cross or all those uninvited spirits will be attracted to you and bring chaos to your life. Based on this I would say, go ahead and use the LBRP to ‘attract' the Jinn to you, but don't rely on it for peace before or afterward.
I can say with confidence that the LBRP is a beautifully well designed ritual with specific intent that doesn't include the Jinn. My feeling on this is that it has over time taken a larger-than-life purpose. It became the defining ritual of a magician and the expectations for it may be more than the ritual was meant to do originally. In the end, it isn't my opinion and Regardie's that really matter; it is the results you get and that should be your guide here.
M: What other projects are you currently working on that you can tell us about?
NS: We have a translation of the Egyptian Sorcerer al Tukhi's Harut and Marut and the Red Magic all done and ready to go in the next few weeks. There is also the translation of Ajnas, a grimoire attributed to King Solomon's advisor. There is also my book on Jinn magic, which includes a whole collection of translated evocations as a reference to advanced magicians. I keep pushing this one back to work on other projects, but I expect it will be out very soon. Finally, I am putting out a divination book that combines numerology and psychic abilities. This was a fun project that was a result of another translation of an Arabic occult book on the art of Ziraja – an advanced system of divination. These are the ones I am willing to talk about now. There are other projects that are in the final phases of production that will come as a total surprise. I expect the publishing company will announce them privately to members of its book club. It is free, so if you are interested in keeping tabs, you may want to sign up.
Thank you Nineveh for taking time from your busy schedule to answer these questions. My readers are advised to check out Nineveh's publisher, Ishtar Publishing, for upcoming details on his new releases at:
To contact Ninevah Shadrach, you can reach him at Xnineveh@shaw.caX
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