Nineveh Shadrach is an Adept of the Arabian Magical tradition but has also in the past been involved with the Golden Dawn and the more mainstream version of the Western Mystery Tradition. This blend of the Arabic and Western magical traditions in one and the same person makes one very interesting author, which becomes quite clear in reading this interview with Mr. Shadrach. Although I haven’t yet read any of his previous publications, such as Love, Healing, Prosperity Through Occult Powers of the Alphabet, and the co-authored Secrets of Ancient Magic: Path of the Goddess, Magic That Works: Practical Training for the Children of Light, and Magick Manuscript Collection Volume One, reading the abovementioned text I’m sure that they all bring out new revelations which may enrich the Western Tradition substantially and raise the scholarly level of all its students.
Nineveh Shadrach has also translated such texts as the Book of Deadly Names As Revealed to King Solomon, and as of lately the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, using the original Arabian text of Book of Causes by Apollonius of Tayana. This latest translation is a great gift to the western occult community, such as the Golden Dawn. What becomes quite clear, in reading Magic Squares and Tree of Life is that there is no real distinction, besides language barriers, between the European and Arabic traditions; they are both part of the “Hermetic” Western Mystery Tradition.
There even are proponents of the idea that the Rosicrucian tradition, the blossomed flower of the Western Tradition, has clear Arabic roots. This is of course substantiated by the original Rosicrucian manifesto Fama Fraternitatis, which depicts the pilgrimage of Christian Rosenkreutz, the mythical founder of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, in Arabia and North-Africa. He, according to the Rosicrucian legenda, was initiated by the Sages of Damasco (or “Damcar”). Even if it constitutes a mythical depiction of the origins of the Rosicrucian tradition, myths and legends oftentimes has a real foundation in facts. Reading books like Nineveh Shadrach’s Magic Squares and Tree of Life makes me more convinced of the clear connection between the Middle East and Europe. We probably wouldn’t have had any Western Occult Tradition at all in Europe, if it wasn’t for the Arabic Nation and its scholars of high learning.
Hadn’t it been for these Arabian scholars and Sages the original Hermetic and Platonic traditions of Hellenic Alexandria probably would have been lost through Christian inquisitions. Most of the Alchemical tradition in Europe stems from renaissance translations of Arabic texts. What authors like Nineveh Shadrach reminds us all of is that most of the Hermetic Magical tradition unfortunately still remains veiled to the Western mind through confusion of tongues. The richness of Arabic magical and mystical lore still awaits to be disclosed for students of the Western Mystery Tradition. In this respect Mr. Shadrach makes the occult community a great service in translating these obscure Arabic texts into plain English. This alone raises Mr. Shadrach’s books high above the mediocrity of modern and common occult lore.
Each book by this author is to be awaited with great anticipation, as this Adept is one of the very few that even bothers to translate this ancient material, being of Arabic descent and an initiate of the Western Mystery Tradition. He is therefore the only one to my knowledge being in the unique position to be able to deliver. It is therefore a great honour for me personally to be the very first to review this seminal and highly important piece of work, and furthermore feeling gratitude towards Mr. Shadrach for being so kind in providing this service to my readers.
Magic Squares and Tree of Life deals with the subject of “magical squares”, and is to be regarded as a companion to the upcoming series of books by Mr. Shadrach entitled The Occult Encyclopedia of Magic Squares. Each volume in this latter series will comprise around 700 pages. The next volume will continue with other traditional correspondences found in the Golden Dawn and other facets of the Western Mystery Tradition. The volumes to follow will pull from rare and currently untranslated Hebrew encyclopedia of Divine names and angels. This is then followed by Divine names used in Arabic occult lore as well as names of djinn and angels used in that facet of the tradition, plus lunar mansions and stars. This voluminous Encyclopedia will span over several thousands of pages jam-packed with magic squares and numerical keys to angels and djinn associated with each.
This Encyclopedia will be followed by a book tentatively entitled: How to Unleash the Power of Magic of Squares or Complete Guide to Occult Secrets of Magic Squares. This volume will, according to the author, provide an in-depth analysis of the various magic squares in the Encyclopedia, their methods of construction, applications in magic, and what to do with those numbers and so on. It will basically give the Adept all the needed information to use The Occult Encyclopedia of Magic Squares and Magic Squares and Tree of Life in practical magic and general Theurgy.
The complete set spanning all those various volumes will fill a much needed gap in current English corpus. I have seen a sample volume of The Occult Encyclopedia of Magic Squares presenting the Magic Squares for all the correspondences of the Zodiac listed in Godwin's Cabalistic Encyclopedia, and all I can say is that it looks highly intriguing; the “must have” factor is raised to a maximum. How about a book which consists of individual magical squares for each spirit which is to be found in the Decans and Quinances of the Zodiac, cross referencing them with the Planets and the Elements!
Now, as to the Magic Squares and Tree of Life it definitely cannot be regarded just as an appetizer for the much larger work The Occult Encyclopedia of Magic Squares, as the former book deals with the “Magical Square of Magical Squares”, i.e. a Grand Square of a sorts consisting of a pattern of 100 x 100, i.e. 10.000 individual squares. This of course is a very important revelation as this Hekatontad Magical Square is supposed to contain, according to Arabic tradition, all Magical Squares and also the secret name of God! The original Arabic text, which is also the main source of Mr. Shadrach’s book, promises anyone wearing it the protection of God, which would make him imperishable, imperious and invincible. In short, it is supposed to be the very “Holy Grail” or “Stone of the Wise” of Hermetic Magic.
In the well written and much substantial introduction the author also makes interesting cross references between the traditions of Ismaili, Hermetic Alchemy, Qabalah, Agrippa and the Pythagorean School. Mr. Shadrach makes a very scholarly and initiated exposition of the esoteric philosophy of numbers, tracing them back to the mystery schools of Chaldea and Greece. An interesting comparison is made between the Golden Dawn sequence of the Elements according to the Qabalistic attribution to the Tetragrammaton, i.e. that of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, and the Hermetic one according to the Alchemical view of subtlety, i.e. that of Fire, Air, Water and Earth.
Regarding the Hekatontad Magical Square it is based upon the perfect number 10 of the Pythagoreans, which attributed it to the holy Tetractys, which, according to the author, is based upon the monad and recurring cycle, which manifests again as the number 100. This number through numerology is related to the Arabic letter Qaf, which is the exact equivalent of the Hebrew Qoph. Mr. Shadrach goes into quite some detail in describing the mysteries of this letter, a fascinating account in it self. It reveals a great erudition on the author’s part.
Then Mr. Shadrach goes into the detailed description of the simple method of how to construct such a 100 x 100 Magic Square. It is based upon the Magical Square of 5 x 5, i.e. the equivalent of the Mars Square. But it soon turns out that it is not the Mars Square at all, as the numbers are arranged in a different way as compared to Agrippa’s system, even though each line adds up to 65. The only thing that can be said in critique against this book is that Mr. Shadrach never gives any explanation of how this 5 x 5 square is created. This would be appropriate and also interesting to know.
The rest of the book deals with the 10 different variations of the 100 x 100 Square, attributed to each Sephirah upon the Tree of Life. The key to the construction of these Sephirothic Magical Squares is the numerical value of the sentence created from the name of each Sephirah and the Divine name attributed to it.
In conclusion this latest and brand new book by Nineveh Shadrach is a very well researched piece of work that will complement beautifully the existent tradition in the West of Magical Squares. It has a definitive place in the bookshelf of every serious Golden Dawn Adept who has an interest in delving into the mysteries of the Magical Squares and their construction. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series, The Occult Encyclopedia of Magic Squares, to be released soon through Ishtar Publishing. Considering the high quality of Magic Squares and Tree of Life, this indeed sounds like a very promising book.