Mead of Sacrament

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The new wordpress UI sucks and ate one of my posts.

So the long and short of it is we’re going to be doing more arts and crafts, which has been part of the two week plus quiet period on the blog. I joined the OTA, and while it’s not 100% a fit for me and I have no idea how I’m going to get to Georgia to get promoted (or worse, California), they’re still a decent good folk. Poke is one of the few people who have made changes to the Gnostic Mass or the grimoires and I feel like they’re reasonably well done. Case in point, he substitutes wine, which he says is the symbol of death, with honey, which he says is a symbol of life. I tend to agree, and I really like the symbolism of the beehive (for masonry). Also been a long time fan of the hermetic hour. We’ll see how much tread the OTA has on it. This isn’t to say it’s not worth studying the crap out of the grimoires. It’s entirely worth it, and it’s entirely rewarding to understand the cabalistic symbolism in, say, the circle of solomon. I will probably continue doing traditional work along those lines by putting tape on the floor. To that end, I wanted to throw together some mead that wasn’t just honey mixed with Bicardi 151. That’s gross, don’t make that.

We have a few options. In the Eddas, and I recently bought Northern Planet Lore, we have the mead of poetry, the mead of inspiration, the mead of song, and so on. I could make this mead according to the guide in the book and come up with something similar to the Black Arts Foundry, but I strongly object to the use of drugs among the people who don’t expect to be intoxicated in that way. One of the local wicca groups here adulterates their wine, and one of the longrunning facebook lols has been a few folk who think that being a druggie makes someone a sage. Nope. While it could be done by making a mugwort tea, that might be for inner circle, fully informed and consenting adult stuff later. While making a mead of song might be appropriate later, I’m trying to keep it mainstream enough folks will willingly drink it.

So what I really need to make is a melomel. There’s about 20 types of mead and all of them are house blends, but if you pick up a homebrew book, you’re going to run into Braggots (Honey + Beer), Mead (Honey, or Honey+Water), Cyser (Honey + Apples), and Melomels (Honey + Fruit, but sometimes called cyser anyway). I actually don’t like cyser, every one I’ve run into in homebrew circles has been a result from someone trying to ferment cheap honey and boosting it with cane sugar. Cane sugar actually makes really good cider which tastes exactly like Woodchuck when force carbonated, which I suppose says a lot about Woodchuck. Cysers like this usually come from honey-bear mead, which is mead made with the ubiquitous North American Honey Bear.

I make shit mead, don’t use me.

That stuff is usually honey flavoring and water and sugar, with no actual honey. What sort of magickal stuff will this produce? Nothing at best, and it won’t taste very good to boot.

What do you really need to make sacramental honey beverages?

It’s food safe.

For starters (lol brewing joke) you need a fermentation vessel that’s food safe. I got this years ago for making giant batches of wine, it’s a 15 gallon trash can, but what’s neat about it is I wrote “food safe” on the side, so it’s food safe. No actually it’s #4 plastic. If it just has the recycling symbol on it, avoid it, but if it has the recycling symbol on it and a number from 1-6 inside of it, then it’s food safe-ish. #4 just means it’s more prone to taking on odor than I would like but given sufficient time to air out, it’ll be OK. What’s that gross looking pint? That’s Wyeast 1272, out of an IPA I just made.  If there’s one thing you want to splurge on for this, it’s the yeast. Trust me. Buy one packet of Wyeast 1272 either mail order or from your homebrew store, buy a big spoon from the homebrew store (top right) and a packet of champaign yeast (or bread yeast).

Hm, what else do we need?

Fruit! Honey!

OK I know I just admonished everyone for using honey bears, but read the label, sometimes you find a deal. In this case, the honey on the left is actually legit honey, 3 lbs per bottle. The label says “Ingredients: Honey” and nothing else. It also had the crystal stuff on the bottom (I didn’t take a picture of) which means it’s legit and a pain to work with. Going left to right, you’ll see name-brand juices. This is important, as name-brand juices tend to have a lot more juice. If I wanted to go all out, I could have bought frozen fruit and mashed it up, but that’s expensive and time consuming and usually promotes mold. Don’t do it until you understand the brewing process.

Wash and clean the fermenter (trashcan), throw the yeast in first, and get pouring.

It’s a lovely color. Look at how I’m pouring it, this adds oxygen. Your yeast are going to need as much as they can get in this particular situation. I’m not above using an aquarium pump and stone to add oxygen, but since we’re making fairly well rounded, slightly watered down stuff, it’s probably OK to just pour aggressively. We’ll stir it up in a minute.

Alright so now you’ve got all the juice in there, the yeast you want to use, but we need the honey. Add it now. When you’re done with a bottle, put a pint glass of water in the microwave for a minute or so to make it warm but not hot, and add it to the bottle of honey. Put the cap on and shake it up. You’re getting the honey into suspension and adding oxygen. Pour those into the mix.

Yike, what’s this? Yup, it’s a mix of the yeast on the bottom, the honey, and the juice on top. You can see that the juice looks like a blush wine at this point, but we need to get that honey up. Use the big spoon to aggressively stir. This is going to be a theme of the week, the secret to making decent mead is to keep stirring it the first week. Once a day, open the top of the fermenter, and stir the crap out of it so it doesn’t look like this. If you see a colored band on the bottom, open it and stir it.

This will be ready in one month, so October is going to have a nice fall mead to drink.

Finally, taste it. If you like how it turned out, run with it. It should be (depending on the yeast) about 5% ABV. If you think it’s too sweet, or syrupy, add the champaign yeast and stir the crap out of it again. This will cause it to foam, but this will also dry it out in about a week. This will also double the alcohol. Bread yeast will add appley flavors to it, champaign yeast tends to be pretty neutral stuff.

Occult considerations:

I blessed the mead when I finished it as a new child would be baptized.

The mead was brewed up on Monday during the hour of Sol. If that doesn’t get the juices flowing for pagan sorts of stuff, I don’t know what will.

The lunar day is 8. Per Globa:

Symbol – phoenix. The day of penance, absolution, purification by fire, alchemy. One can fast, purge one’s stomach and intestine. It is good to prepare remedies for all illnesses. One should not be dissolute or egoistic.

The moon is currently in Sagittarius:

Generosity, openness, optimism and the desire to give advice and share experience are all increased. There is a heightened interest in travel and foreign countries, and any activities and recreations taking place in the open air. You may, however, be over-confident and may not have a good grasp of practicalities. It is a suitable time for large-scale plans but not for any occupations which require attention to detail.

In the body, Saggitarius rules hips and thighs.

Because mead, especially sack mead, makes you fat.

The lunar mansion is 20, which is ruled by Venus, so this is an excellent time to make a sweet drink for this. The aspect of God is the “Life Giver”, which I particularly read as a fortunate time to take on this project.

We also have fairly nicely balanced occult ingredients here. We have clover honey, which in three leaves is the scale of the trinity, and with four leaves is the elements themselves. We have the apples, which traditionally represent life and sustenance. We have grapefruit, which isn’t winey, but it is citrusy, which represents the sun itself. Finally we have cranberries, which I was trying to avoid wine while still having something tannic. I think I’ve managed to make a decent compromise between winey (death) and blood (the carrier of life) without getting too close to the death side.

Choronzon Coffee Club #2

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What have I been up to? Hosting coffee clubs, real life discussions, etc. To enjoy this, I humbly suggest reading the notes.

Standard disclaimer applies – these are less formal, bite sized pieces of internet lore where we try to add to the general magical knowledge of the community, make fun of various people near and dear to our hearts, and generally hang out and have a good time. It is not formal instruction.

This Actually Makes Me A Bit Sad…

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A long time ago, in a galaxy… Oh to hell with it, it was last year, the Grey School linked to my blog.

Thus began a particularly interesting exchange. I’m going to paraphrase, because I don’t have a copy of the mail, and it was before the contact page was really up. I have a love-hate relationship with my contact page, but I generally think it’s a positive thing. People rarely comment on the blog, because I make it easy to get ahold of me. What is particularly enriching about that is that people who normally wouldn’t dare say they practice magic along with people who don’t want to consult a magician (in public) generally write me really heartfelt messages.

I hope people are familiar with the blog at this point, for the new subscribers, I post things which I think are OK for public consumption. Oftentimes I post about once a week to summarize things. I practice more than I write in public form, and those posts are only visible to me. The log here is when I’m speaking to a small set of people who stumbled into this, and sometimes I post videos of hangouts. I’m not really braggy, but I do solicit feedback from people who ask me to do things.

The point is – it’s free. I recognize a need on the internet to help people, and I recognize the need on the internet for what amounts to a free religious sounding board. I don’t charge money, but that also means I’m free to tell people “nope”. I don’t link to any blogs or sell any products. I am my own island, I like it, and oftentimes I neglect posting anything to the public.

Last year, the Grey School linked me. In fact, they linked to a post about the Goetia, which I’ve really come around to the idea that the OTA does it correctly where the spirits themselves bend a knee to the angels. I’m not going to fill it up with philosophical flowers tonight but the bottom line was that the particular post in question made me a bit nervous because out of context from the narrative arc, it could be read as straight up magical warmongering. This was before I had figured out the nuance required to apply the enochian heptarchy correctly and to good effect.

Being able to read only the first post, the effect was “This guy hasn’t had any problems with the goetia, why such a bad reputation?”

OK I could write entire essays on the perception of the goetia versus the operation of the goetia versus why I think it works the way it works and why I believe spirits have objective realities and existences. Starting with the fact that if we truly believe that other magicians have worked with them to no ill effect, why do they seem to generate ill effects when used in certain ways?

They’re all valid questions, but I really felt like I should have a discussion with this guy, and I felt like I should actually make myself available to give some context to the entire discussion. Linking to small snippets on the blog is as annoying as people who quote scripture out of context. I wrote the school a letter saying, “Hey, I saw you linked to me, and I saw the person had some questions, I would love to sit in on the discussion and discuss why I think it went the way it did and how to improve things”.

A few days went by (at the time I was unemployed and doing computer consulting work to make ends meet) and I got an email back. The person didn’t sign it and it was from a generic “info” mail address. They wrote:

“If you would like to join our forums, you can join the GREY WIZARDING SCHOOL by sending a check or money order to…”

Best of luck buddy. I would have done it for free.

Recharged

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Thanks to everyone who wrote me “thanks” and offered to do healings in their own way. I recently had a chance to spend some time with my family and a good amount of time just wandering around the woods and my soul is soothed and my constitution restored from the experience.

Stuff that didn’t work: Too many requests. I felt obligated to help everyone, and that’s a trap. While it’s noble to try to heal the world, there’s only so much your average working class magician can accomplish. The big problem with that is, aside of me burning out, the magic starts to feel generic. It’s like people praying as children, “Jesus please help Ron, Bill, Mark, Rick, John, Frank, Don, Richard, the other Richard, Bill who goes by William, and Chad with their herpes…” OK it’s great that they’re getting mentioned, but really, how much magic is actually going to those people? Maybe it’s just me, but when I go to the Doctor’s office, I expect the Doctor’s individual time. The whole thing sort of wandered into cheap territory. I did make a few pit stops for people who I felt had it particularly bad or had some illness I felt hit close to home, but overall, I felt like I could have done better.

Stuff that did work: A select few people actually took time to write me back, and out of those, a few of them (two) wrote me to say they actually could chart their improvements. That’s really encouraging. I kept sparse notes on who I was doing what for and anything which stood out to me in particular, but feedback is a serious help for divination and working in general. I really do appreciate feedback.

 

I am beat

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I am beat from doing so many healings.

I refuse to accept money for magic. Period.

I am now no longer accepting healing requests.

The last one I did was trying to save some kids from Lyme Disease. It hit close to home because like many people, I’ve got it too.

I love you all, but please stop.

Kenneth Grant – Key to the Pyramid

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Submitted for your viewing pleasure, Kenneth Grant – Key to the Pyramid (or Key to Pyramid on scribd). I sometimes write on the dichotomy between ceremonial magic and wicca, I think this takes that model quite a bit further. It’s recommended reading. Hattip to KD for pointing this out to me.

I had previously written Grant off as “batshit crazy” because when Crowley calls someone batshit crazy, it probably means they’re too crazy for Crowley. That takes quite a bit of doing. The split between Grant and Crowley was over things like LAM. LAM is Crowleys butt-baby, but Grant rotated it 180 degrees and called it a space alien and the rest is history. Crowley writes a wonderful ritual, but his artwork is lost on me and has been since I encountered it.

I have been tempted to, that next time scientologists show up on my doorstep, I should invite them in and tell them I am their Secret Chief and have a sit down.

KD wanted to put together a Book 4 book club, I may take him up on that. I think the path is fairly clear between reading the Golden Dawn (pick any sourcebook or Regardi’s), then Book 4, then branch out from there. It will fairly quickly weed the Christians from the Pagans and that takes people right to the doorstep of the good stuff. Why start with the Golden Dawn? The pentagram ritual doesn’t make much sense outside of the context with which it was delivered. There is quite a leap between “health” and elemental associations. I can see how the elemental associations work and I’m fairly convinced the “health” pentagram is an outer-order thing for pythagorean orders, but everything else sandwiches somewhere between the Greeks and the Victorians. (The old rebuttal – “But… RECORDED HISTORY”).

Before I end up mired in political contests, lets take a step back. The discussion came up in my favorite enochian group about the ethereal software. I haven’t conversed with the guy, but fundamentally what he (or anyone) is doing is making a model to fit their philosophy. Philosophy is well and good by itself, but really doesn’t actually do anything until there’s a “come to Jesus” moment and people have to choose how to apply it. There’s plenty, and plenty, of Pagans, Jews, Chrisitans, Muhamadians, and so on who go to their place of worship on their days of worship and might experience some small bit of rapture, but when they come home they don’t think about applying it. When that hard decision comes up at the office, they don’t say, “What would Christ/Abraham/Moses/Mohamad/LAM do?” I do think the Protestant Christians have a leg up on the Roman Christians – WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) is more encouraging to me that people are using their brains than attending the Mass, but I think the Mass as a ritual to inspire samadhi is absolutely wonderful. Similarly attending Islamic services is just as powerful (if not moreso) because of the barbarous names. I hardly speak Arabic – I can only read a little.

To interpret these things – WWJD or Adhan – requires putting them through a cultural lens. Mohamad didn’t have loudspeakers, Jesus didn’t have the internet. Is it appropriate to worship in the style of the day the message was delivered? Similarly Crowley and Grant see things through the lens of pop-Egyptology and repressed Victorian sexual mores (seriously, it’s not always a penis) and the dawning of the information age. Of course Crowley realizes that to make space aliens into Gods it deprives him of his sun-worship and a good chunk of looking at the local solar neighborhood. Grant has no problems saying that our microcosm is the solar system. As someone who lives in a first world country where dying of rickets is unheard of, I’m sympathetic to Grants model because I frankly don’t spend much time thinking about my humors.

But, to take people through ceremonial magic, I think my preferred format of initiation would be to take them through each frame of reference for each period. If they practice or not is on them.

Speaking of, we are at the information age portion of the post. I am writing this on my computer and it is being stored on the internet, but also because I just wrote about Grant. Is someone doing an actual, legitimate interpretation of modern occult melange and leveraging older myths?

I would be shocked to hear Varg had no interest in the occult. He really outdoes the dynamic duo of neo-occultism (Crowley and Gardner) by combining the Book of the Dead with obviously pagan overtones. In the video he studies, he relates to his ancestors, he dies (figuratively) in the barn as his soul tries to escape out the netted window, he proceeds through the tunnel, he is reborn as one of the children, his ancestors guide him, he is pressed into the trial of the cave where his Gods die (the bear), and then they are restored and reborn. The film is long in tooth and definitely needs an editor but I thought it was fantastic.

Aside

Letters to Phergoph: Why Dawn?

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(No-one commented on the Enochian stuff? Am I just that much of a geek?)

Why did the angel expect you to cut the plant at dawn?

A few things come to mind. For one, the plant is still dormant before dawn, so it’s not like the juices are flowing. Dawn is literally the quickening to life of that plant, and the touch of God. The second idea is that I haven’t had time to sin yet that day if I do something a few seconds into the day. If I cut the plant at dawn over a prayer and can refrain from masturbating for 10 minutes while holding oozing plants and a ritual knife, I can put the poultice into the bag and that’s taken care of. The third reason is simply precedence. Magic rods are usually cut from nut bearing trees, straight branches, and at dawn in a single stroke. It simply works.

Healing AAR and some John Dee

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The day I was going to actually use the plants I was instructed to – I went outside and found my wife had done some weeding. Of course one person’s weed is another persons blessed folk remedy, and it only dawned on me much later that the woods orchid looks a lot like a golden ball blazing with fire… I’m now going to save as many seed pods as possible since she pulled them out by the root. The angels also look a lot like a Seraph. I am currently wandering around the woods chopping down all the wild grape and looking for another patch of the stuff but the knotweed is just terrible this year. Knotweed by itself isn’t absolutely bad since the blue berries taste like… blueberries when they get really dark but it chokes the crap out of everything and nothing eats it.

Where do influences come from? That’s been a topic I’ve been rolling around in my head. I can sit here and make cabalistic connections all day in retrospect and they personally lend truth to the experience for me. Why pick an image that’s appropriate to both the angel, the cure, and the flower? I didn’t make that connection immediately. And, in the case of John Dee, sometimes people don’t make the connections for hundreds of years, including himself. Going back to Aaron Leitch’s thread, I initially dismissed it as a co-incidence. Specifically the manuscripts weren’t listed in the Giant List of Things Dee Owned, so I couldn’t place it directly into Dee’s hands. However Aaron brought up two excellent points: Dee may have made the work look like the work of an already venerated monk (attribution is fairly common practice in grimoires to avoid punishment/add legitimacy for money or fame) or Dee may have simply encountered the thing in his travels. Kelley was also well traveled, which may be how the thing ended up in his head too. And if we want to ascribe purely supernatural ideas to this phenomenon of artwork, it may be that the spiritual forces involved were paving the road for Dee’s work and Mauri simply picked up on the current or was part of that paving.

There’s those six winged angels again…

Rabanus’s complete works aren’t digitized but some folks managed to find some of the scans from various sources and upload them. They are:

Rabanus Maurus and the Liber de Laudibus Sanctae Crucis

Rabanus Maurus and the Liber de Laudibus Sanctae Crucis 2, BibNat, Latin 2422

Liber de Laudibus Sanctae Crucis – Bib Espana

Tablet Precedence

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Aaron Leitch, all around neat person and author, recently posted a link to the Enochian Facebook Group asking if anyone knew what it was. Being an internet detective (read: “being marginally better at winning at google”) I put it into google image search and poked around. One of the frustrating things about facebook is that it doesn’t preserve original links, so a normal ‘view source’ doesn’t produce anything useful.

The document looked right in the low resolution facebook version, I could imagine it being a draft copy of The Great Table or similar. The caption the user attached to it read that it was part of the “Enochian Library of the Vatican” (unlikely) but it did have a Vatican library stamp in the corner of the reproduction. If it was a document delivered by Angels themselves, I’m thinking that the Vatican wouldn’t have stamped it let alone reproduced it for general perusal.

Anyway, turns out that there was a monk named Raban Maur and he lived in the 9th century. The whole story is less than interesting at first brush because of how neat the art is… WAIT HE FED 300 PEOPLE PER DAY? Where did all that food come from?

Well it turns out that’s a lot less magical and a lot more “run of the mill”. This guy apparently handed out meals to the poor and sick as a service, but a ‘starting’ monastery could service up to 3000 people. I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t represent incredible effort – it absolutely does – but I do mean to say that my first thought that this Monk had somehow run into the precursor of Enochian magic was incorrect. I did learn a lot about monasteries and enjoyed the reading.

While the translation through google uses the word “encryption” the manuscripts the monk produced don’t seem to be particularly enciphered except for the neat poems themselves. Is it a cipher? Not in the traditional sense that people accuse John Dee of, but the work is beautiful on it’s own.

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