Well, I hardly think it necessary to introduce this man. If you are a practicing magician alive today, chances are, you at least know his name. I know many of you, know his work. In my early days of transition between an armchair mage and a practitioner, there were four blogs that really got me excited.
RO’s Head For The Red was one of those…
Mr. Opus is one of the few mages who have really shaped my own understanding and perspective on the occult in general. As a magician, he was the first magical author whom I purchased content from and while his original eBooks are no longer available, I would certainly suggest looking into his tome, Seven Spheres.
Q: What do you consider your greatest magical achievement?
A: The creation of the “Philosopher’s Stone.” I went through the Hermetic texts, and performed a series of initiatory rites that led me through each of the Elemental kingdoms, each of the Seven Planets, and into the Sphere of the Fixed Stars. In addition, I went through some interesting things with Hermes Chthonios and the Agathosdaimon.
In my opinion, the Philosopher’s Stone is an understanding I reached after doing this level of the Work, in all the spheres, while using that knowledge to change my world. I gained insight, experience, wisdom, and the tools I use to craft my existence as I see fit. The further I went, the greater the compassion I had for others. When I achieved the Stone of the Wise, I found myself ready to submit to doing my Work on the planet, understanding what that is and how to go about making it happen. Things fell into line, and I have had success after success.
But along the way, my definition of “success” has changed. It’s when others of a similar mindset find value in the things I have to share with them that I find myself fulfilled.
Q: Who are your personal hero’s, those who most inspired you on your own journey?
A: Wow, that’s a good one. In my personal Work up to about three or four years ago, my friends and fellow magicians were my primary inspirations. I guess that’s still true. Back in the day, it was Patrick Dunn, mostly, the author of Postmodern Magick, but then it grew to include Logan Hillier, BJ Swayne, Jason Miller, Jack Flash, Craig Slee, Jake Stratton Kent, Aaron Leitch and Zadkiel…
These days, I look up to ancestral heroes. Jane Wolfe, Phyllis Seckler, the mothers of the A.’.A.’. and the O.T.O. since they get most of my attention. Within the Order, I have met some amazing people, and I hope one day to have the even temperament of Sabazius and David Shoemaker, my Bishop, and the courage of Catherine Berry.
But honestly, my heroes have always been, and always will be the people doing the Great Work, making this world better for themselves and everyone else. It doesn’t matter what they’ve written, their degree or affiliation, or anything else. My heroes are the people who make this experience better for themselves and others, in spite of the crap we all have to face in life.
Q: How did you come up with the name Rufus Opus?
A: Well… it was supposed to mean “The Red Work.” My blog was called “Head for the Red” because I was working towards the Red Phase of esoteric Alchemy, in which the Philosopher’s Stone is created.
It turns out, it’s terrible Latin. In real life, it should have been Rufum Oparum.
Mostly, I liked “Rufus” though, because I spent most of my life in small towns in the country growing up in Illinois and Oklahoma, and Texas, and it seemed to be a good fit.
Q: What importance, if any, do you place on full visual manifestation of a spirit during evocation?
A: I love it when I get visual manifestations, but they are the least important part of magical practice. Every single word for “spirit” we have in the English language is directly or indirectly related to the word “breath” or “wind.” Breath and wind are invisible. Spirits are invisible. If a magician is seeing a spirit, they are not seeing it with their eyes, they are seeing it in their own spirit visitation.
Usually we see the results of the spirits’ manifestation rather than the spirits themselves. Patrick Dunn taught me the use of the “imagination” as a bidirectional communication tool, and Logan Hillier helped me understand what that meant when he taught me to conjure Raphael by visualizing the letters of the name of the spirit until they started behaving in ways that I was no longer controlling.
I believe all “visual manifestations” of spirits are only occurring in the eyes and minds of the people seeing them.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t real, it just means it’s not like you can take a photo of the things manifesting the way you can take a picture of your cat in a box.
Q: What was your first “oh fuck, this shit is real” moment in your personal magical practice?
A: Hmmmm. I guess when a Goetic demon showed up in my dream in the form of a walrus and sank its tusks in my arm on the date I told it to report back to me. I was using chaos magick techniques at the time, and I had completely forgotten the ritual, as one does when one is a Chaos Magician from the 1990s. It took me a while to figure that one out.
The next time was less of an “oh fuck” and more of an “oh, cool!” moment, when I started using the Trithemian system of conjuration and saw Gabriel’s face in the scrying stone.
Q: What is one piece of magical tech you could not live without?
A: I think I have a wide enough range of experiences, initiations, and understanding to be able to use just about anything to accomplish my will if I had to. A stick and some sand and some memorized seals work really well to tap into the governors of the Seven Spheres.
That said, I love my table of practice and my talismans.
Q: At what age did you start practicing magic and why?
A: 15, to do a love spell. It took three years to work, and by then I felt terrible about it.
Q: What is your advice to the young aspiring magician just getting started today?
A: Have fun. There’s a lot of crap ahead of you, and most of it is coming from you, but you’ll get through it. Don’t be scared. Do the magick, and deal with the consequences, just like you do in the rest of your life. There is nothing you can call up that you can’t put down. You’re a lot more holy and divine and awesome than you think. Be brave. Don’t be afraid to be stupid, and be ready to admit it when you are. That’s how you get respect.
Above all else, have fun with this stuff. It’s amazing.
Q: What inspired you to write seven spheres?
A: Sef Salem, an O.T.O. member from the U.K., tricked me into starting the Gents for Jupiter with him. It was a cult to Jupiter. I wrote a ritual that merged the Trithemian rite, an Orphic Hymn, some Scotch, a cigar, and a suit. It worked amazingly well, and the result was a similar ritual for each of the remaining six spheres.
I realized quickly that this series of rites was powerful and effective in creating “Kings” of the world, and I turned the Seven Gates into a book.
Q: How do you respond to Christian evangelists knocking on your door at dinner time?
A: I used to go door to door for candy sales in high school, and to sell ‘zines when I was living on a commune in Bastrop, Texas. I also did my share of evangelizing when I was a fundy, but I went to malls and college campuses with a group of fellow “Christians” and targeted lonely looking people.
So I understand it’s not fun for them, and they’re getting over their own nervousness to do this thing, because what they’re doing is important to them. I try to be respectful, polite, and kind. I do not put up with their shit though. I proselytize right back, explaining I’m a Thelemite and a Hermetic Magician, and I invite them to the Gnostic Mass at the local lodge. I have a busy life though, and if they want to debate, I reiterate my invitation, explain I’m busy, and ask them to join me at the lodge if they want to have more conversations.
Q: What effect and focus do you think magic should have upon politics and world events?
A: Not to cop out or anything, but “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” We do what we want. I waffle between being magically politically active, and magically focused on other things. Ultimately, people have real lives that need to be dealt with, bills, relationships, responsibilities, and the basics. No matter who is in power, we have to eat, drink, and be merry. The magical imperative is, in my opinion, to make that happen regardless of who is in charge. Most of politics is a cycle that you can study from Persia to the present, and that’s just how things go.