The Best of “Philosophy Angel” on Wicca, Paganism, Occultism etc.
Q. How do you become a wiccan? I’ve done some research on it, and on their spells, and the difference between a witch and a wiccan, but how do I start?
A. You dedicate yourself to the Goddess and then either practice as a solitary or find yourself a coven that will let you join the outer circle. After you participate in the outer circle for about 6 months to a year (depending on the coven), you may be allowed to be initiated into the inner circle and take formal training. Like other religions, there are now very many variants of Wicca: some very eclectic and neopagan, some very traditional (Gardnerian), some feminist or only goddess-centered (Dianic).
Q. Should I become a wiccan? Is it wrong for me to become a wiccan? Am I playing with fire if I become a wiccan? Does being a wiccan involves contacting the spirit world?
A. Becoming Wiccan is your own choice. You decide whether it is "good" or "bad." Wicca is a new religion that tries to reconnect with preChristian European agrarian folkways, beliefs, and religious/spiritual ideas. It commemorates several times of the year related to the changing of the seasons and agrarian life. It also celebrates the full moons in honor of the Goddess in keeping with ancient mystical rites that actually exclusively involved women honoring goddesses such as Hecate and Diana. The principle deities of Wicca are the Goddess who represents Nature and the God who represents the life cycle and the seasonal changes. Eclectic Wiccans also honor other pagan deities and there is a mergence of Wiccan ideas and pagan concepts in general.
Wicca originally was developed by a guy named Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. It is a blend of elements from Thelema (the ceremonial magick of Aleister Crowely), Freemasonry and co-masonry, inspiration from the work of Charles Leland (on Italian witchcraft--and isn't considered to be wholly accurate), and romantic ideas and fashions about Celtic and British witchcraft, paganism, and sorcery. It has evolved the decades and is now the 3rd fastest growing religion in America. It is much more eclectic in America than in England.
Wicca is a religion. "Witchcraft" and magick are practices. Practicing witchcraft is NOT necessarily part of Wicca. Magical practices were ingrained in pagan life (and early Judaism and Christianity as well)--so many people who turn to Wicca and neopaganism embrace magick. Some like to call it "witchcraft" and identify as witches.
Q. Wiccans/Pagans/etc: Do you ever meet people who are excited to tell you about your faith, but get things wrong?
A. Most of the pagans and Wiccans--and nearly everyone else who I know short of the senior Hindu monastics who I am acquainted with --know very little about their belief systems, and what they do know is often full of bias and technical and historical inaccuracies. Furthermore, a huge amount of literature out there for the Wiccan and pagan community is full of inaccuracies and fabrication. I sometimes casually correct people, but I usually just smile politely and nod my head. People only listen to you when you are the person wearing the big, funny hat.
Q. Wiccans, I have a question about this? When praying to the God and Goddess do you pray in a pentagram? If so what do you put in each of the 5 points? And what way does each point face?
A. No formalities or rituals are needed to pray or meditate on the God/dess. For some Wiccans and neopagans, the gods are "real entities," for others they are personifications of ideas.
Formal ritual or magical work is done in a circle (not a pentagram, which is a 5-pointed star), although you can think of the 4 directions as the points of the pentagram with the fifth point being in you--your spiritual heart and essence--in the center of the circle. It stands for the pure essence of things. The four points relate to the elements that form life and nature: earth (form), air (thought), fire (action), water (feeling), the fifth point represents spirit or the quintessence of life. The circle represents time and space, the seasons, the stations of the day, the phases of the moon, and all things that represent the passage of time and cycles of life. After reflecting on what the circle and directions in it mean, then you can pray, meditate, or do magic in the circle.
Books by Janet and Stewart Farrar will outline how to cast a circle and "call the quarters." Many traditional Wiccan rituals are variations of rituals from ceremonial magick. A version used in Hermetic ceremonial magick is called the lower rite of the banishing pentagram and probably can be found online. Although Wiccans call the "guardians of the watchtowers" and have a vague idea that the guardians are spiritual beings related to the elements, the guardians of the watchtowers originally (in Medieval ceremonial magick) referred to archangels and grigori (fallen angels) that were stationed at the 4 corners of space.
Q. How can anyone consider Pagans and Witches "New Age"? Pagans and witchcraft were here long before the church. I dont get it!
A. I haven't heard of pagans or witches being referred to as New Age. In fact, many of my mainstream friends are "into" New Age thinking (the law of attraction, energy healing, angels, chakras, pseudo-eastern spirituality, fortune tellers, channellers, ETs, etc.). They do not put themselves in the same category as pagans and witches and do not think they are dabbling in magical or occult practices (but they essentially are). They cover themselves in a glossy white spiritual veneer but many of their practices and beliefs are indeed derived from pagan and magical concepts. When these friends learned that I was involved in magick and Wicca/neopaganism, the first Qs they asked me were whether I was doing something "evil" and whether I had "gone to the dark side." Ridiculous. I'm essentially doing many of the same things their doing without the fluffernutter spread. Modern pagans and witches are MODERN pagans and witches. They draw inspiration from what is known and what is legend about folkways and norms from the past. Modern paganism and witchcraft are reconstructive and reinterpretive efforts--and should be. Life moves forward, not backward. As for New Agers, they have been around for a very long time, too, under different names. At the turn of the 20th century, their scene was called "New Thought." And we've always have had eclectic esotericists, occultists, and mystics among us. Sometimes, they are called mystics or alchemists or Hermeticists --or New Agers--and sometimes they are called magicians, sorcerers, or witches.
Wicca is a religion that is a quasi reconstruction of European folk religion that honors a moon goddess and a nature god that represent the life cycle. Ritual is more based on celebration of life than on spellwork although spellwork and divination is involved in some forms of Wicca in as much as this sort of thing is integral to folk religion in general. Many Wiccans consider themselves to be witches but not all witches consider themselves to be Wiccans.
Q. Why is Wicca a bad religion? Wiccans use pentagrams? Did they derive some of their beliefs from Christianity or Catholicism?
A. Wicca is a new religion that tries to be like an old religion. It originally was developed from bits and pieces of Freemasonry, Comasonry, Thelema (ie, Aleister Crowley's stuff), and romanticism about what British/Celtic folk magic and preChristian paganism was about. It has nothing do with Christianity and borrowed nothing from it. Traditionalists follow the Gardnerian paradigm. Eclectic Wiccans--in the US mostly--have developed many different styles of what still goes by the name of Wicca but perhaps might better called post-modern paganism. It’s no better or worse than any other practice or belief system, and it is a growing trend.
The pentagram is a very ancient symbol that among other things, once referred to the wounds of Christ and has long been a symbol associated with man, Earth, and the 5 elements in various cultures, philosophies, and religions--including Wicca.
Q. When does the Pagan New Year occur?
A. Neopagans, who mostly base their path on Celtic/Druidic folkways, regard Samhain as the New Year. It is now traditionally observed on the Oct 31 or November 1 but it was probably originally observed on the full moon at the end of Oct/beginning of November. It wasn't the "New Year" back then but it marked the end of the harvest season when animals are slaughtered for food for the winter. It also was considered a time when the "door between worlds" was open and communication with the dead and spirit world--and threats from the spirit world--were most apparent. The same was the case for the beginning of the pastoral season, celebrated as Beltaine. It is traditionally celebrated as May 1, but also may have been celebrated during the first full moon in May (or the first full moon in the sign of Taurus). It also was considered a time when the doors between worlds were open and the spirits of the dead mingled with the living.
Q. What is the difference between Spirit Guides, Voodoo, witchcraft, Satanist worship, and Wiccan worship? From a Christian's standpoint they are all driven by the same force, so what is the difference between them in your opinion? Do wiccans believe in voodoo? Do they call it voodoo? Do Satanists believe in gods/goddesses, etc?
A. "Spirit Guide" is a New Agey term for shamanic and magical (and Judeo-Christian ) belief that unseen guiding forces exist and can be interacted with. When you are a child and you interact with this unseen guide, other people call it an "imaginary friend." When adults do it, it is call a spirit guide, a familiar, and angel, ascended master, or whatever the popular trend is. These entities really are projections of one's own consciousness although they can ultimately become something like real entities.
Voodoo (or Voudoun) is an Afro-Caribbean shamanic polytheistic religion. Its adherents believe in and interact with deities. Traditional shamanic spirituality includes trance states in which the practitioner enters an altered state of consciousness and interacts with a spirit world. This was also common in pre and protoChristian Europe. Certain forms of Christianity also involve trance states.
Witchcraft is a modern term for magical folk practices that people followed in Europe and that sometimes drew on remnants of pagan belief and culture and sometimes drew on folk understanding related to Christian belief and culture. It was often all mixed up. People who practiced folk magic or European shamanism generally did not call themselves witches until about the early 20th century when the idea of witchcraft was reinvented. Much of European "witchcraft" either had to with folk healing and protection against forces that people then would call demonic or witchcraft-like or had to do with shamanic-type women's spiritual cults and mysteries that were throw back to earlier days of paganism and goddess worship.
Wicca and witchcraft are not the same thing. Wicca is a modern, earth-based religion that is inspired by European folk belief and paganism. Witchcraft if the practice of healing and magical spellcraft.
Wiccans don't practice Voodoo unless they, as individuals, have a special interest in Voodoo.
Some Satanists are atheists and follow a life philosophy that they call Satanism. Some Satanists are theistic Satanists in which they believe in a deity such as the Egyptian deity Set, the Sumerian deity Enki, or the made-up deity that people think the Knights of Templar worshipped: Baphomet. (Baphomet was probably originally a term related to Islamic Gnostic mysticism (Mahomet --ie, Mohammed that the Templars took an interest in that had nothing to do with the worship of the head of goat--as claimed in the Inquisition transcripts.)
Q. Do you cast a circle and why?
A. Yes. I often cast a circle before I do Work or even meditate. Although circle casting is actually not an element of traditional witchcraft of pagan magic; it is an element of ceremonial magic that was incorporated into modern Wicca and perhaps by extension, eclectic neopaganism. A variation of circle casting exists in certain forms of Hindu and Buddhist ritual in which the self, space, tools, and offerings must be ritually purified and a "mandala"-- or sacred space--must be created before the actual ritual or devotion takes place.
Why do I cast a circle? Mainly as a meditation on creating a sacred space.
Q. Why do people identify themselves as Pagans when it's really a term coined by early Christians that means "country bumpkin" or "hick" because the last people to convert to Christianity were the country folk?
A. No group has called themselves pagans or witches before the 20th century. Words and word meanings change over time. That's why people today identify themselves as pagans--because NOW it means a person who either follows a modern-earth-based type of spirituality or else follows a reconstructed form of a preChristian religion.
Q. A Wiccan question of the philosophical kind? “And it harm none do what ye will." For what reason should I accept such a restraint upon my Will?
A. Wicca is a religion, and religions generally tend to have moral codes. Many religions, philosophically speaking, hold the idea that harming others has retroactive effects because all things are connected in the circle of life. One's actions have a domino effect and those dominoes are lined up in circles and spirals that fall in on themselves. Therefore, mindfulness in one's actions is promoted. But beyond this idea of "behaving" oneself to avoid consequences, spiritually advanced practitioners of any system (including cut and dried post-modern magic/sorcery) cannot help but act from a higher (albeit often unconventional) moral ground because they must be at one with the source of their being --their True Self/True Will --to be who they are. This tends to be an embracing and expansive but unsentimental thing, not a tiny, misery, self-serving thing.
Every event, and especially successful magical operations, have effects and consequences. If it is your "Will" to harm another, first, I say that you do not know what Will is. Second, regardless, you must be prepared to accept the outcome, including effects, both conspicuous and subtle, that may arise that may directly affect you.
Q. Is it difficult to reconcile being a Christian with also being a Witch?
A. Although people are under the impression that a person can't be a "witch" and Christian, if they truly knew anything about European culture and the history of "witchcraft" before the 20th century when "witchcraft" became legitimized, they would know that this is far from true. Most people who practiced spellcraft were Christians: everyone's little old great grandmother, including my own, with her magical talisman, her tarot cards, and her rosary beads side by side. Magick has always been an integral part of folk culture, and Christian and pagan customs have long been conflated in European culture. Magick was ingrained in Judaic and early Christian culture. In these cultures magick in fact was often used as protection against the "mythical witch"--the bogey-man/old hag on a broomstick. People who practiced magic and spellcraft did NOT call themselves "witches" until the early 20th century and they did not think they were practicing "witchcraft." They thought that people to be suspicious of from other cultures were practicing witchcraft--and this is what the passage from Deuteronomy really implies. Furthermore, the local governments and social paranoia, not the Church, were mostly responsible for the torture and execution of witches--the large majority of which were not "witches" but Christians that their fellow Christians wanted to dispose of for one reason or another.
Wicca, I will add, is not an age-old witch cult. It is a new religion based on Thelema (the ceremonial magic of Aleister Crowley), Freemasonry, the questionable anthropological work of Charles Leland, and fashionable concepts about Celtic and British paganism. Credible essays by Wiccans and occultists who are historians have been written on these points.
Michael D. Bailey. Magic and Superstition in Europe A Concise History From Antiquity to the Present. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2007
Jenny Gibbons. Recent Developments in the Study of the Great European Witch Hunt
Tau Allen Greenfield. The Secret History of Modern Witchcraft in: Richard Metzger ed. Book of Lies The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. St. Paul: The Disinformation Company. 2003
Catherine Noble Beyer. The Burning Times or the More Persecuted than Thou Syndrome
Sabina Magliocco. Spells, Saints, and Streghe: Witchcraft, Folk Magic, and Healing in Italy. The Pomegranate: The Journal of Pagan Studies. 2000.
Sabina Magliocco Who Was Aradia? The History and Development of a Legend.
The Pomegranate: The Journal of Pagan Studies. Issue 18, Feb. 2002.
Q. What is ChristoPaganism? Do you think it's a valid spiritual path?
Christopaganism is what European folk culture was for centuries: a mix between pagan folk beliefs and folk people's understanding of Christianity. This happened in Europe, in Latin America, and other places where natives were missionized by the Church. Much of European folk craft (ie, "witchcraft") was a mix of paganism and Christianity. This is still the case today in Italy, Greece, and Ireland, at least. It wasn't until the late 19th/early 20th century that a witchcraft and occultist revival took place in which the elements of Christianity were stripped out of new ideas about paganism and Hermetic occultism.
More ancient ChristoPaganism includes Gnosticism, which had Christian, pagan, and Islamic variants at the turn of the 1st millennium of the common era. Some argue that the dying and resurrecting god motif of Christianity is a pagan influence in the development of that religion.
Q. Was it God that finally put a stop to killing witches & those judged to be witches? Who intervened in this barbaric practice of killing witches? Was it because they found out the term "witch" was a mistranslation for "one who poisons" in the Bible?
A. The witch hunts started in Europe because the Church decided that it wanted to play hardball against people who they felt were clinging to superstitious folk beliefs instead of Church doctrine or were challenging Church doctrine and also because when the plague and natural disaster struck, ordinary people thought that it had something to do with evil magic. The witch hunts stopped in Europe 1) because the Age of Reason came about when people became more intelligent and secular and saw witchhunts as barbaric and ridiculous practices and 2) because it was no longer profitable to arrest, torture, and kill people (who were the workers and consumers of society) and confiscate their property (which an economic downturn robbed them of anyway) on an accusation of witchcraft.
In Biblical times, people from other cultures whose practices were suspected of being "magical" were thought to be suspect. Anyone who practiced "magic" or superstition that was different from the magic and superstition (ie, the religion) of the culture was considered antisocial and a problem. There are texts (within Judaism) that suggest that Jesus was a magician and some historians have said that the pagan Romans thought the early Christians were magicians who practiced dark magic.
The term “witch” generally had negative connotations until the early 20th century with the revival and re-invention of paganism as alternative spirituality. Folk cultures had other names for people they considered to be magic practitioners. Even in these cultures, "witch" meant something evil that the magical folk practitioner did magic to protect against. They didn't consider themselves to be "witches."
Q. Help with Wiccan Mythology anybody? I'm writing a piece on Mabon, and I'm trying to get my head around the various myths/stories of the God at this time of year. At Lammas, he sacrifices his strength for the harvest and at Samhain he is Lord of the Underworld, so is he just hanging around at Mabon? Caught between the two worlds?
A. There are several Sabbats in the fall related to Celtic mythology and the harvest. Lammas (Lughnasa) revolves around the grain harvest and is related to a myth of a Lugh who is a hero of a kind of Celtic civil war and bringer of better and more prosperous society. Although Lugh is celebrated, with myths of personal sacrifice (with Osirian dying/resurrecting god motif worked in) , Lammas may have originally commemorated Lugh's stepmother, Tailtui (who represents the Earth Mother) who worked the fields exhaustively so that people wouldn't die of hunger and then herself died from her efforts. It also originally may have been celebrated during the full moon in the equivalent month of August in ancient times and not August 1.
Mabon is a minor deity related to Apollo in Welsh paganism and the day relates to the neopagan kind of Thanksgiving (it is probably a neopagan, recon, Wiccan invention and not necessarily a holiday of older tradition). It is the "second harvest" (coming after Lammas) and commemorates the harvest of fruits and vegetables from the fields. It is also a time for personal review about what one has metaphorically harvested--spiritually speaking--throughout the year and how this will prepare or limit one for going forward into the new cycle. It's the autumnal equinox and thus, it's date, is related to the sun (and Mabon is a sun deity, related to Apollo, as mentioned, and is related to the triumph of the sun despite the coming of the dark season).
Samhain is the equivalent of New Years. Among other things, it commemorated the processing (slaughter) of livestock before the winter (ie, it was the livestock harvest). It was the cusp of the year when darkness ruled but would soon revert to light so there was the idea that this was the time of the year when one was between worlds. There was meditation on the life/death process, on the ancestors, and on preparing for coming fertility. Although we celebrate it on Oct 31, some say the official day is Nov. 1. Because such ancient holidays went by a lunar cycle calendar, Samhain may have originally been commemoratged on the day of the full moon in October.
Q. Does the word "magick" still means magic in relation to Aleister Crowley and Thelema?
A. The word magic comes from the word magi or magoi, which originally referred to Zoroastrian priests who would foretell the future, chart events according to astronomy and astrology, communicate and command spirits, and perform rites that we now regard as "magic," but were more like "religion" in ancient times. Eventually groups of people practicing these kinds of things spread all over Europe and the Near East. Some say that Jesus even might have been a mage (he performed miraculous healings, didn't he? This is one of the things that magi did at that time.)
At some point the words mage and magi turned into the words magic and magician. Aleister Crowley, who called his philosophy Thelema, decided that it was cooler to spell magic as magick. Some people still like to spell it that way to distinguish real magick from stage magic.
Q. “Do What Thou Wilt Shall be the Whole of the Law." What are your thoughts on this?
A. Crowley was somewhat influenced by Raja Yoga and other Eastern concepts. In my opinion, this adage (which Crowley borrowed from some French philosopher) means that a person needs to realize and act from his "true self"--which is the person who is there when all conditioning and artificial concepts and restrictions have been stripped away. Then one is a true self and acts accordingly, spontaneously and appropriately to the situation and without excuses, apologies, or regrets (ie, according to True Will).
Q. Wicca, magic, spells help? I’ve tried magic, but i doesnt seem to work. What spells work and how do you do them?
A. 1) Understand what is meant by Wicca. It is a modern religion that tries to recapture the spirit of European pagan folkways and shamanism. Magical thinking and spellcasting were a part of European folkways and ancient religion in general but Wicca and magic are not synonymous.
2) Understand what is meant by magick: "producing change in conformity with will." In this, you also have to understand what "will" means and whether you really have it or not.
There is a strong psychological and transpersonal aspect to magic. If you understand these things and understand how to apply them in magical techniques, then you can perform magic with results. It requires self-development or at least strong belief--sometimes involving the suspension of rational thinking.
Magic is not following a spell in a book as if you were using a recipe to bake a cake. It is a mindset that is developed and applied to technique.
Q. Are Ouija boards and automatic writings dangerous?
A. A Ouija board is a game from Parker Bros. Is it dangerous? Only if you think so and spook yourself thinking that you are dabbling in the occult. Is automatic writing dangerous. Only if you think so, etc. Both essentially are tools to open up parts of the mind (not other dimensions in some "outside" spiritual world) that most people are unaccustomed--and oftentimes not prepared--to experience. When you use these things, you are only communicating with yourself.
Q. Astral projection/travelling. Real or imagined?
A. Astral projection (out-of-body experiences--OBEs) are "real experiences" but people do not "pop out" of their bodies when it happens. It occurs in about 10% of the normal population and can be learned, and it frequently occurs in persons with epilepsy and schizophrenia. It is caused by a paroxysm in certain parts of the brain--usually the parietal lobes. It causes a confusion or dissassociation about sense of self and location in relation to one's body. The person can go on a "trip." It is a form of trance and is commonly used in shamanism, neoshamanism, occultism, and witchcraft --and has become popular among the New Age set.
I've known people who can astral travel. I have not although I've had periods in which I've had lucid dreams that were similar to astral travel.
Astral journeying is not always defined as an OBE. Shamanic meditation in which a person enters into a mental environment and allows for free association of imagery is another form of astral journeying.
Q. How is Stregheria different from Wicca?
A. Wicca is a neopagan quasi-reconstruction of the "Old Religion" of Anglo-Saxon Europe that was developed during the mid 20th century. Stregheria is a neopagan quasi-reconstruction of a supposed old Italian or pre-Roman folk religion although enthnographers have taken issue with the ideas and claims of the founder of Stregheria (Raven Grimassi), who said that he is relating his family's witch lineage.
Wicca draws content from The Gospel of Aradia. The ritual about cakes and wine, parts of the Charge of the Goddess, and the idea that witches practiced their art naked come from this text. The authenticity of the text, which in part, is material that Charles Leland acquired from an Italian witch, is questionable, although it probably points to hints about fringe peasant Italian diabolic---or at least anti-cleric/anti-Catholic--and shamanic witchcraft that evolved from more ancient women’s pagan mystery cults, such as those of Diana and Hecate.
Although Aradia is presented as a legendary 18th century witch, "Aradia" is probably a corruption of the name "Herodias." Herodias was the wife of Herod, but pagan Italians were not referring to Herod's wife when using this name; they were referring to his daughter, Salome. Legend tell us that she went crazy and killed herself after arranging the death of John the Baptist and became a spirit of the air. She then somehow became associated with Diana and Hecate and shamanic women's mysteries that were villianized, diabolized, and by the early medieval period, referred to as "witchcraft" by the Church. See: Sabina Magliocco. Who was Aradia. The History and Development of a Legend. The Pomegranate The Journal of Pagan Studies. Issue 18, February 2002.
The authentic word for Italian sorcery is Stregonaria. Until recently, the word strega--which means something like "screech owl" and basically translates as "witch" was not used to define a person who practiced sorcery or cunning ways, etc. The word strega 1. referred to the mythic witch (the bogeyman ) 2. referred to the neighbor who you hated and were paranoid of and insisted was giving you the evil eye. So basically Stregheria is a post-modern neopagan path that is similar to Wicca but draws on alleged elements of Italian provincial paganism (not Roman religion, theology, or mysticism--or magic for that matter) instead of the Celtic or British preChristian religious conventions and forms that Wicca allegedly draws on.
Stregonaria (which everybody's Italian great grandma from some god-forsaken rural village in Italy practiced) was a mix of Christian and folkloric/superstitious magical beliefs and practices that mostly focused an apotropaic magic--that is protecting oneself from negative energy (ie, the evil eye)--some of this goes back to magic of Roman times. Like all other cultures, emphasis also is put on divination (making predictions and reading omens) as well. They were called stregone, magos or magas (mages,) or fattuchieros (fixers) or did not have labels; they were just ordinary folks.
Q. What is the difference between Shamanic magic and Chaos magic?
A. Chaos magick asserts that belief is provisional (not absolutely true but used as a working model for the sake of function and order) and is a tool used to create an effect. It's theory is highly psychological not mystical or metaphysical or theistic although mysticism and theistic constructs can be utilized in Chaos magic workings. It is like this: Belief and desire drive action and manifestation. If you can modify your belief or perception on a very visceral, subliminal (ie, subconscious) level, you may be able to change your own perception and behavior and thus change circumstance. It's get a little more complicated. But this is where techniques of shamanism come in. Because to reprogram the subconscious--which is what a chaos mage intentionally does in his or her workings--you often have to do something strangely symbolic that gets you into an alternate and even traumatized state of consciousness. It is not like The Secret (visualize happy-happy and it will come to you like made-to-order cake.) You have to bypass the conscious mind to intentionally modify the subconscious--which is the part of your consciousness that really drives your actions and reactions and their consequences. There also are aspects of Chaos magic that are Tantric-- and I mean that in the authentic sense of the word --not New Agey or New Age sex technique stuff kind of way. In yoga Tantra the esoteric techniques are meant to purge the subconscious so that you can be "enlightened"-- free, not bound by habits and conditioning and mental noise. In Chaos magic, you are acknowleding that you are driven by subconscious content--instead of trying to get rid of stuff that's in the deeper consciousness, you use yogic and shamanic techniques to drive intentions into it. Then you explore and observe--and live with the consequences--of the results.
Q. What is a Christian Kabbalah?
A. In the middle ages, certain mystics, occultists, and philosophers took an interest in Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) and adapted it to esoteric Christian ideas. Alchemists and ceremonial magicians (many of whom belonged to the Christian clergy--so yes, they believed all the stuff that traditional Christians believed about Jesus and more) took an interest in Kabbalah, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism. Christian ties and reinterpretations of Kabbalah have mostly been forgotten. What was once Christian Kabbalah is now only preserved by people involved in certain forms of ceremonial magick such as Servants of Light (a Dion Fortune lineage of Hermetic Magical Christianity), Enochian Magic (of John Dee dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth) and Golden Dawn and Thelemic magic. It is magical Kabbalah, which is different from authentic Jewish Kabbala which is mystical and philosophical.
Q. What are Angels? Where do they come from and what do they do?
A. The idea of angels -- or "heavenly hosts" were introduced into Judaism from the Jews exposure to the Babylonians and Babylonian religion during the age of the so-called Jewish exile in Babylon. Angel lore sometimes appears in the Jewish and Christian scriptures but most of it is part of tradition and apocryphal (not in the official scriptures). A book that used to part of the Christian Bible but was removed is the Book of Enoch, which goes into detail about angel lore and the war in heaven (from where we get the story of the fall of Lucifer, which was actually a veiled story about the overthrow of King Nebuchadnezzar). Christians took up angelology and developed it in its own way such that early medieval Christian theologians were creating doctrine about the choirs of angels, which were like planes of existence above the earth plane. Angels figure very prominently in regular Christian religion and esoteric and magical Christianity in the middle ages. Now angels are mostly something that New Age folks and maybe a few Christians still talk about.
Different angels do different things and at least according to the medieval view, were tasked with keeping certain cosmic energies in order--not too much different from how gods in some polythestic religions are supposed to keep certain mechanisms in the cosmos working properly.
Q. What would I have to do to make sure I would go to heaven and make sure I don't go to hell?
A. Hell Laws of Discordianism:
1. Hell only exists for those who believe Hell exists.
2. The worst part of Hell is reserved for those who believe in Hell because they think they will go there if they don't.