Didn’t really do any sort of formal ritual yesterday. I still think naval gazing counts as magical ritual – as magicians we shouldn’t be required to have a room and a circle and two knives, a wand, a deck of cards, a cup, etc for reflective work. Main line backed up yesterday again and they snaked all our pipes again. The guy thinks it’s a the garbage disposal not really grinding anything up anymore and that’s causing obstructions. I’m on call this week for work (Wednesday to Wednesday) and in typical IT fashion, you get one last bender in before having to sober up for the week.
This was the same day one of my buddies posted about using Dionysus for Goetic work. This is a really interesting idea – the traditional Goetia would have you call up the demons, and then bind them to your will. This would give you command over them (which is really service to the ego), but it also means it frees you from temptation. If you read the Lesser Key, it’s really got two levels to it. There’s this bizarre practical magic portion of it, and there’s the more subtle bind-temptation level of it. While it might be cool to call up a spirit to talk to cats, there’s several spirits in there which “cause men and women to show themselves naked”. While maybe the first one is the temptation to practice natural magic in otherwise Catholic Europe, the second one is clearly the sin of Lust. So why Dionysus? If the magician wants to tamp down on the temptation at social events to imbibe too much, it’s a great idea. Bring up Dionysus in the Lesser Key sort of ritual, bind the spirit to a seal in a book or talisman, and then go out and party.
The can of worms here is you can’t really bind Gods, and it probably would be more effective to call up Dionysus and instead of binding them, invoke Dionysus and bind yourself. Even better, in my opinion, is to take a chapter from Modern Magic, and actually bind drunkenness in the authority of Dionysus. I asked the person who posted for an expansion of their idea. I personally have really re-tooled everything from the Goetia (spirits are good at one thing) into more of a Hermetic view of spirits with offices or authorities. If a magician accepts Dionysus as being the Lord of the Party, then Dionysus should be able to Party Up, but also Party Down. Dionysus can make the parts a frantic fun time, or tone it down.
Foreign Gods in Ritual?! This brings us to Ian Corrigan, who has a magical past even more eclectic than my own. He recently appeared on Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole, discussing the Court of Brigid. I really don’t like the hosts – they rarely pay attention to the guest and the background is filled with mouseclicks and farmville noises. Nothing says “I don’t take this topic seriously” like not interviewing. Anyway, Ian holds his own and he’s part of the ADF. The ADF have re-tooled ritual magic ideas into Druidic practice and he does a wonderful job of it. He’s in the same camp I am where he believes that all heavy lifting in magic is done by spirits, so his goal was to come up with a way to evoke the spirits of the Court of Brigid. He has quite a depth of knowledge and while he doesn’t interview the best, I almost want to buy the books when I get the scratch. His approach is similar to Solomonic workings or the Arbatel where the magician calls on a spirit of authority, and then receives the name of a spirit dispatched to act as a medium between him and the spiritual authority. The HGA thing gets touched on here too.
The HGA thing has it’s roots in Classical Greek, and then I think expanded to include intermediary spirits in the Artabel, the Solomonic magic, and even Dee was instructed to construct a book of 49 leaves to make a custom set of spirits for himself. It’s sort of come full circle where people in the magic community have gone “Well if those guys do it with spiritual Kings, why not do it with God Himself?” While it works, it’s a bit of a hack, and would put the spirit on the same plane at the Angels, hence the name. I think what Ian is doing is appropriate for his particular pantheon and I think his work is what Wicca should have been. I briefly looked at the ADF and went the Asatru route instead because at the time I felt the ADF was a cheap Wicca clone, and it’s really done a great job of doing more. Maybe I just missed it the first time around, but I find it interesting this time.
Keep seeing magicy folk posting about the latest spell or working they’ve done – often with snazzy photos of altars etc. Has everyone forgotten the mythic fourth power – SILENCE? And hey, even if it’s baloney and yabbering about the magic won’t spoil it, I can’t imagine telling any non-intimate about my magic. It’d be like blabbing about my sex life on Facebook. It just isn’t DONE, is it? Too English? 🙂
It’s not too English per se, but I think the original prohibition was about the ego. If you can write the words “magical failure” on your blog with a straight face, you probably don’t have an ego problem. I think the benefit of talking about magic in a limited audience is a good thing. I wouldn’t post this blogs content to my personal blog with my actual name on it – people would think I’m nutters. On the other hand, I strongly value the opinions of people who know me (and are accepting of me) on both sides of the fence. And I learn things through discussion with people who only know me here. One of the gentlemen who was a member of the OTA left a comment a month ago – I thought the OTA was honestly gone. If we discuss our magics, we can help each other with techniques and such. I think the Llewelyn guys understood this and started out to have open discussions about this sort of stuff. Sure there’s going to be someone who says you have too many little moons on your shelf or their grimoire is older than yours or they found that lionskin belt and whale foreskin robe as prescribed by the Secret Chiefs. On the other hand if we didn’t talk about this stuff, we might be missing things like Frater Acher’s My Occult Circle, and that stuff is a neat mix of German (pre-WW2) grimoire magic and his own European take on ceremonial stuff. While the Golden Dawn staples are now global, there’s still new stuff to discover.
We did end up making an offering of milk to Bast and lighting a candle in front of the statue.