Today, one of my Facebook friends was rather annoyed that someone called her a lazy magician because she was using substitutions. From the sounds of it, the person saying this either did not understand the system in question, or they never worked a spell in their entire life. My money is on both options. My friend is a working magician actually doing the work.
I wonder what their accuser would say about the substitution that I use all the time: Magical (Mystic) East.
For those who do not work lodge, which is probably most people, Magical East is used when you are using a meeting room that is just not oriented right for ritual purposes. Like for instance, the current ritual space that the Golden Dawn lodge I belong to uses. It is shorter on the east/west axis than it is on the north/south axis. The east/west axis of the room is so short that I cannot imagine doing a Zelator (1=10) initiation in the room without using Magical East.
(Pop quiz: Did you notice when I spelled the directions with lower case letters as opposed to upper case?)
Most people in Golden Dawn know the concept of Magical East (if they know it at all) from the works of Pat Zalewski. In particular, one of his Z-5 books. From that one could argue that it is not traditionally Golden Dawn, but rather something that came out of Whare Ra.
That conclusion would be so wrong. One of the things I discovered from doing research in lodgekit, Freemasonry, and the various other Orders around the turn of the twentieth century is that the concept of Magical East (or Mystical East as it is generally called outside of Golden Dawn) is that it was part of standard lodgekit among the various Orders.
For most Orders, Mystic East is merely a symbolic thing. In Golden Dawn, it is something more.
According to Pat Zalewski, at the start of a lodge meeting where Magical East is being used, the Hierophant says the following prayer:
Creator of the Universe, Lord of the Visible World, who hast by Thy Supreme Will set limits to its magnitude and conferred special attributes on its boundaries, we invoke Thee to grant that whatever hidden and mystic virtue resides in the radiant East---dayspring of Light---the orgin of Life---may in answer to this our prayer be this day conferred upon the Throne of the Hierophant of this Temple, who is the emblem of the Dawning of that Golden light which shall illuminate the Path of the Unknown and shall guide us at length to the attainment of the Quintessance, the Stone of the Wise, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.
There is a disadvantage to using Magical East for years and years; after awhile, that direction is the direction that you point to first when someone asks what direction east is in...if you treat East as a secret, you will actually not open your mouth until you actually figure out where you are, allowing you to point in the right direction.
There is also an advantage to using Magical East for years and years; when people start talking about certain rituals being elemental and directional in nature, you can spot the flaw in their logic---after all, your rituals work just fine and you are not doing it perfectly by the book. This insight carries over to allowing you to question some of the other requirements that some people claim spells and rituals need. It also allows you to see that maps do not automatically have north at the top of the page.
And if you feel like accusing me of the heresy of being lazy, you know where the comment section is.