Now that we’ve had huge discussions on Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and Monism, I’d like to remind everyone that’s there’s actually really nice pagan practices there and they don’t conflict with ceremonial magic. I suppose there’s some magicians out there who would say that ceremonial magic is Christianity, but rather I see it the opposite way. Magic isn’t particularly Christian, because Christianity is the observation of nature, with politics bolted on and out-and-out condemns all magic (unless you’re Jesus). So is the Koran, so is the Torah, except they don’t condemn sorcery out of hand, but rather the ends to which sorcery is used. In fact, I would argue that Christianity is the least likely bedfellow of ceremonial magic, because there’s “magical practices” in both Judaism and Islam, but they hardly think of them as magical. Ceremonial magic is most comfortable with Judiasm, because the tanakh clearly separates what is social custom, law, and divine, but works with any of the Big Three because they all follow the format in some form. Once we recognize the separation in the blueprints in each one, we can more easily read the divine inspiration and ignore the spurious social custom. This actually is what shot down my Islamic Gnosticism project – Islam is (in some circles) firmly gnostic already. I had plans to compare it to Dogma and Ritual (Levi) whereby the chapters would correspond to the tarot, and therefor map to an “Islamic tree of life” and… learned that a really good portion of the Koran is simply “correcting” the Bible and Torah on social customs and the events driving the people mentioned. There’s other good stuff in there too – there’s wonderful bits of roundabout reasoning the sort of which I publish under “philosophy” and there’s some extremely illuminating texts on Angels in there. Angels in the Koran are similar to the Angels in the Old Testament which are fundamentally pagan and made up of mineral or animal influences (cross-reference). And, similar to religious operations back through the dawn of man, there’s a lot in the Abrahamic Family which is just out-and-out magic to affect the weather, enchant materials, and so on. Things which we normally think of today as “Harry Potter” sorts of stuff happen in the Abrahamic Faiths. Moses parts the red sea. He has a face-off with the Pharaoh’s magicians and turns staves into snakes. Jonah rides around in a fish. Jesus improves people’s fishing hauls. Mohamed makes rain. We know then, that not only would so-called “pagan” ends to faith be within the realm of doing, not only can people command the elements, but we know that (to steal a term from Judaism) such actions are lawful.
When Gabriel (Jibrial) appears to Mohamed in his “true form” he is a “ball which fills the sky with 600 wings”. The sky is covered “with a green carpet” to welcome him. What Mohamed sees of course is the moon rise through a desert hail storm. However anyone can look at that and see that the Kabalistic correspondences are there, and they are correct. (Also curious, a lot of the color references in the Koran are Empress Scale [Assiah] colors, but those implications are another post). The Bible has smatterings of references all lying around – most of which are bound together in the book of Revelation or Dee’s journals. The older books have an even better storehouse of organization – Aaron’s robe is described in Exodus 28 in the same style the Egyptians used to wear. The implications are that the Hebrews picked up their magic and their views of God from the Egyptians. This isn’t to say if everyone is doing it, that it is right. However it does say “These things have been holy to God since time immemorial”. By Agrippa and such, they are virtuous unto themselves, and if we remember the last post on hermeticism, they can’t somehow be unwholesome.
I went through a phase after reading Secrets of Magickal Grimoires (SPOILER ALERT: CALAMUS IS WEED) where I was like “WHY ARE WE CONSECRATING EVERYTHING?” I even consecrated some ink and bought pens from China to use it with. (You want to have one magical pen consecrated? This is it. It’s like it was designed by magicians, for magicians). If we have items and they posses virtues, how do they become unvirtued? Then I realized – becoming unvirtued isn’t the problem. The problem is that because they posses some spiritual qualities, then simply they can be imbued with spiritual qualities. This goes back to the whole ‘precision of language’ thing Crowley harps on all the time. Per the Artabel, spirits become addicted when they become familiars. It gives us the formula to cause addiction. (Leave out offerings). Objects with spiritual virtues can be impressed with more spiritual virtues. Objects which have inherent virtue always have that virtue in addition to more virtues we can impress upon them. Furthermore, the salt admonishes the water for not being blood (the carrier of life). The salt is pure, the water is pure. Why are we admonishing? Because the sea is not blood, and salt being separated from water should be embarrassed at not being a carrier for life. Go exorcise things and make those rocks feel bad! But also remember to exorcise before touching someone’s rocks, you don’t know where they’ve been.
This works in a variety of ways – we don’t have to particularly look in the Abrahamic texts for prompts, we can look in a variety of other sources also. Given that I also am a closet viking, Asatru and Saxon pagan stuff provides wonderfully fertile ground. Aside of being the house divination method, there are piles of wyrdworking to be had for people who want to read the eddas.
A snake came crawling, it bit a man.
Then Woden took nine glory-twigs,
Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts.
There apple brought this pass against poison.
That she nevermore would enter her house.
What are the 9 herbs? Mugwort, betony, lamb cress, grass plantain, chamomile, crab apple, nettle, thyme, and fennel. Aside of making an OK tea and having medicinal properties, these herbs are also assigned by Agrippa to constellations. And, herein is a great secret – to work with them we want to invoke Odin. Face the constellation, stab yourself in the eye (OK not really, but the pain will help) and invoke. Now the inherent virtues of the herbs will be potentiated by the godform they are sacred to. Think of it like a dynometer to a mechanic. You might be able to get interesting stuff out of it, but if you were a mechanic, it would be super useful. If you were Odin… You get the idea. Invoke, and it’ll make the “low magic” stuff work a lot better.
Per Agrippa (yes the table is a mess, there’s room to argue, and there’s no a 1:1 mapping):
|Mugwort||Algol – the brightest star in Perseus|
|Betony||Capella – the brightest star in Auriga|
|Lamb Cress||Alphecca – brightest star in the North Crown|
|Grass Plantain||Arcturus – the brightest star in the Oxman|
|Chamomile||Antares – the brightest star in Scorpius|
|Crab Apple||Regulus – the brightest star in Leo|
|Nettle||Alphecca – brightest star in the North Crown|
|Thyme||Vega – the brightest star in Lyra|
|Fennel||Pleiades – the cluster in Taurus|
This post accidentally was published because I don’t know how to wordpress on a phone. I intended to flesh it out and here’s the new version. Oftentimes posts get written and rewritten before I push them.
Just a quick list of syncs – these are important to document because it gives me insight into the proper addressing of the Angel or spirit.
Massive Attacks “Angel” was followed by Tools “Laturalus” on my Pandora shuffle. A Perfect Circle’s “Magdalina” was up next followed by a down tempo remix of NIN’s “Zero sum”. Then Pandora crashed.
I got the weird “feathers on the skin” feeling I typically identify with strong spiritual presences.
A quick Google suggests Uriel is related to mars. All of this good stuff went down in the hour and day of mars.
The symbol I wrote down for the angel looks like a V inside an exaggerated U. Either its the seal or its painfully obvious the spirit was telling me I missed something.
People were walking weirdly close to me in an otherwise low traffic area of the train station. Not sure what this means in anything.
Why music? I think it’s important to pay attention to otherwise random events after doing one of these. Regardi would suggest that what’s happened is we’ve changed our own filters and now perceive things differently, and I think Crowley’s writings suggest this also. A sort of Psychic Spasm occurs and things settle anew. On the other hand, I also think when events fully cross over the line of disbelief, they become significant. Oftentimes I wonder if I should even blog things because they’re relevant only to me. I should hope people learn through example instead of Crowleys own “here’s the system, make of it what you will”. Anyway, the music introduces a random element in the life of the magician and thus gives spirits something to communicate through. All the ghost boxes and radio tuning mediums rely on this element. In fact, the ghost hunters (cool guys) got such excellent results with the rain stick they bought one for Q&A sessions with spirits. Tarot Cards, Dice, etc are also nice but music is really a rich tapestry for which spirits to operate on. Plus Pandora tends to try to mix it up when you “add variety” to a station, so I have reasonable assurance that the application is presenting me with reasonably random tracks. What station did I pick? TOOL. While early TOOL rocks out, later TOOL is clearly a religious work.
Lets step through the message.
The title of the song is Angel. Don’t knock the delicious, low hanging occult fruit – sometimes stuff is handed to the magician (and it’ll take me two weeks of magical hiatus to see it). However in the video, this guy is walking through what looks like a train station or public garage and the people are all walking (and eventually running) way too close to him…
TOOL’s Laturalus is pretty much The Ceremonial Magic song having piles of kabalistic correspondences built into it. Enjoy!
A Perfect Circle’s Magdalina isn’t Maynards best work and I’m sort of happy to hear there’s no more APC on the way. I vastly prefer Puscifer and TOOL. However, the song is about the desire to experience union with the divine. I could leave it there but it seemed largely an unsatisfying explanation for the choice of song. Nitpicking the lyrics, there’s a reference to the Black Madonna. This is interesting because it’s almost uniquely a Catholic thing, and because going back to Laturalus, there’s a connection to Saturn in there. My Saturn hangs out somewhere between the traditional figure of Death and the Virgin. I will make a mental note to revisit Saturn and ask about appearances, but the Catholic angle is important (and probably a hat tip to paging through the Roman Missal I’ve been doing). Surfing around Google, I see Uriel on Wikipedia is usually depicted wearing a dark colored robe. Reading further, the section on Uriel in Enoch jumps out where we learn that Uriel stood in the presence of God to vouch for humanity after the Gregori (watchers, fallen angels) had taken wives of Man and produced the Nephilim. The root of the story is of course not sexual union but spiritual union. Was this not the desired result of the HGA operation?
Suddenly, I think I’ve missed something. Old habits die hard and I’ve been conducting each of these experiments as evocations rather than invocations. The HGA operation fell into this category. While I’m busy derping around with evoking planetary powers to great effect, the falcon/cloak thing has been stalking me around. Why is it a falcon/cloak? Because the HGA (me) has to go somewhere when I’m not in invocational mode. I’ve been doing the HGA operation (and other magic) and not realizing I needed to accept and wear the cloak.
Smooth move, Phergoph.
Well, we can just let the lyrics speak for themselves.
And I guess I just wanted to mention, as the heavens will fall,
We will be together soon if we will be anything at all.
Last night was a magical rumination day – with my daughter teething she’s doing the kid thing where her diaper area gets raw and she won’t sleep for more than a few hours. This morning in the shower I was thinking I got maybe six hours of sleep if I was lucky, and trying to figure out what to do today. I swear, magic will get you if you don’t get magic. While I’m having this thought I have this sensation out of nowhere of something moving down my back. It really did feel like feathers. Assuming this is the HGA, this is the first spirit I’ve had a relationship with where contact outside the ritual circle was done tastefully and respectfully.
I was thinking about how to get ‘over the hump’ into seeing. I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now. I’m pretty open about the fact that I learned to do it with postage stamps and bicycles. In fact, I used the whole experience for the longest time to say “Well this is why I’m an atheist, because I can take LSD in my buddies basement in highschool and have a pseudo religious experience outside the realm of consensual reality based on my perceptions being affected”. Drugs were lulzy for awhile but functioning in a college environment wasn’t going to happen watching the walls melt so that fell out of vogue. Much later I figured out I had missed something in the experience. By laying back and letting things happen, the experience did neat things, but the important part is that I wasn’t in control of the experience anymore.
Ready to observe?
What did you see? Did you see a giant black form? Did you see heat, fire, flames? Sorrow? A school? Confusion? A small box?
We put on our psychologist hat and we think “well of course we saw these things, we’ve been soaking in them and they’ve made a serious impression on us due to their graphic nature”.
But, put on your magician hat and staple it to your head, what would happen if you weren’t reading the blog? Would you be willing to let your imagination run wild? Therein lies a great secret. Kids can play for hours talking to their toys because they don’t have that governor in their heads we seem to get as adults. We can pry it out with chemicals, or we can play mind games and philosophy and get rid of it slowly. Or we can just do like I did work it a little of both. That being said, this is the value of Dramatic Ritual. Not only have we provided our imaginations some fertile ground by memorizing the tree of life or astrological symbols, but if we were raised in some sort of magical order, we might even have a common set to work from with other people.
The difference between magic and imagination then is application. While we could let our imagination run wild after watching star wars, it probably wouldn’t be particularly effective since your reality isn’t filled with giant starships and hutts. Even NASA doesn’t subscribe to that universe. On the other hand, works like Agrippa are important because it attempts to assign internal forces to the manifest world and those forces are things we can work with given the proper magical training.
When it comes to the difference between art magic and high magic (really “history magic”) I tend to hang out on the history magic side. Some people can whip out a painting and while it might be art magic because it contains all the symbols they use to relate to the world (think: Kenneth Anger again), it might not affect the people as intended because they don’t use the same symbol set. While I believe we can make magic work in a very effective but extremely limited way by using pop culture iconography, I also think that there has to be a happy medium.
Our culture, assuming the reader is American, mostly hinges on Roman and Greek iconography combined with the occasional Egyptian sphinx or obelisk. There’s a huge Christian thread here, which is to say the Christian zeitgeist would apply to the local culture but more importantly even people who haven’t “accepted Christ” consciously would be subject to it. One political party is, ironically, the Bible thumpers. The other political party is, ironically, claiming moral high ground under the banner of tyranny as permissiveness and can’t imagine any other way of living. Realizing this I think turns a lot of people off from Christianity, the fact that the American political situation reflects the Bible so nicely I think would compel people to be more independently minded. I would hope.
So where does this leave us in terms of practical application? When can I light candles with my mind?
Well for simple stuff like enchanting your car, your car is basically cool and dry, so the general element is earth, but if you were flogging the thing for a road trip, it would be hot and dry, or fiery. But what if you were worried about your engine? That’s hot and wet on the inside, so that would be governed by air. This leads to some very interesting occult ideas about engines, since air is the one resource required for running an engine that the car doesn’t actually carry any quantity of. Magic could be for the status quo, but I think it’s good to falsify things too. When your tires transition from air to earth (tires actually heat up in use and flow), they’re blown. Banish earth, invoke air for tire protection. How about something like WordPress (this blogs software platform)? We could say it’s cool and wet – the colors are white and blue and the UI tends to flow around, so if we wanted WordPress to perform well we could bless it with water. However WordPress does a very important function, it enables communication and creativity. It’s really the planet Mercury. If you’re a Pisces, cancer, or Scorpio, there’s fortuitous times to start blogging. If we were looking to have some magical timing for an operation to enchant our WordPress blogs, that’s a good time for that too. Finally take something like money. In the US, our money has a pyramid on it. I would hazard that Egyptian sorts of imagery would prevail, and since every bill has a President on it, fortunate times could be found using their birthdays to call their bills into our lives. Why not a ritual involving Osiris to symbolically resurrect them… into your wallet?
When I’m doing dramatic invocation, now that I’ve taken a stop in the mundane, it’s important that all the elements reflect what’s going on in the world. If I do a ritual right now, it’s going to happen in the hour of the sun. I might have Michael (sun) show up holding a sword (mars day), and if my mood is poor his mood is going to be poor (sol in 1 deg Pisces). Weird aside, I think this blog post is rambling, and mercury is the detriment to Pisces work. Anyway I generally suck at astrology, but I’m smart enough to read a chart to plan decent magical action. Given where everything is – this would be a fortunate hour to negotiate a truce. Therefor in Michael’s other hand, we might see a dove or a laurel leaf.Everything is connected to everything, and if I map all this stuff out, it’s easier for me personally to let my imagination run wild.
Since I’m now doing daily adorations of the planet for whatever instance of planet is the day – Today I decided to talk to Venus. I have a pet theory that evoking the planet in a form lends an expectation to the spirit, this was absolutely intentional and seems to be working. If I called Hagith, I would expect an olympic spirit. Venus I expected The Venus.
Opened with KC, LIRP, LIRH, Sign of Water, KC. Went for a really simple altar since I didn’t know what to expect, so just one candle in a green jar, a thurible with coal, incense of rose and benzoin. I really like the benzoin.
Did the Rite of Approach and Rite of Contact from Planetary Magick. Meditated. The contact took a bit longer I think because my crown chakra took awhile to open but I got the “bump”. The crystal ball at this point had a green womans face in it, strong features, long hair, made from the reflections in the room. I meditated.
The following notes are abridged. It’s Venus. My dick could bust concrete right now.
Show me you: A woman, wearing something like a vest and a skirt. Topless, but tasteful. Long hair, strong face, sort of rounded. Somehow a motherly figure but also sexy at the same time. She could bear children, or seduce someone. Nice curves. This is equal parts sexy and artistic, sort of like “I could be a mother, but I also could be really fun in bed”.
At this point I tried a trick I learned from someone else – I tried to force a form on the spirit. The spirit looked amused, and went back to themselves after I released my will. I believe I am dealing with the authentic Venus. A deceptive spirit would assume the form. My own will would assume the form.
Show me the realm: The floor was made of pillows or something similar soft. When I say “the floor” I mean “the vast expanse of wherever we were”. Theres not enough pillows in Morocco to intimate this concept. The pillows were weirdly distinct, with a cord around each one, a button in the middle, and tassels hanging from the side even though they tessellated together into infinite pillows.
The “walls” of the space were equally curvy, each one a green banner. There was something like a breeze with no sensation of breeze to keep them undulating slowly. We went up, up and up and up forever, it felt like a hand on the back of my head lifting me gently. The space was shaped like a triquetra.
The spirit queried me Why are you here? I explained I wanted to make contact. Welcome, visitor. (Long conversation edited for content – I’m sure you can imagine).
I decided to stretch my astral legs and try to look around. The sky was filled with stars, and was a deep deep violet. Black clouds swirled around. They would blot out the stars, then new stars would appear from behind them. The clouds and sky undulated like the churning of a storm. I got the impression it was raining outside of pillowland, and pillowland itself was surrounded by water.
Will you let me receive your blessing and empowerment? The vision changed, I was now in a golden current. The current came from a light on the horizon, flowed strongly but slowly through me, then went into a depth like a well, but the column of water went into it. The effect was like a bath in warm honey, filling and flowing. The well was like, well, a column of something thick being pushed slowly through the column.
What should be on your altar? A vision of gold chains like coins draped across the altar, tablecloth of green, the magician should sit on a pillow. There should have been a single red rose in a white bowl filled with water and perfumes. A sense of more perfumey smells than my crappy dried out roses would give.
My wife wants to offer pomegranates: Pomegranates are fine, sugared pomegranates are better.
Thanks, and a single knock to close my end. The spirit was welcomed to stay in the room. My wife wanted to use the rest of the hour and candle to attempt meditation. She entered the room after I left to attempt to talk to Venus. I will update with her results. (Note my wife isn’t cabalistically trained).
My wife’s perception of the spirit: I saw the planet venus, I saw three dots which are Earth, Venus, Mercury, as though the solar system. I saw a fiery bird (a dove). Roses, flowers. Warm glow, a sense of humor. I could not perceive the spirit, I saw a face without hair, like a bust. She seemed fun a bubbly. Shes interested in our marriage. I asked the spirit to be on standby for my [wiccan ritual] so she will be available when I draw down the moon. The spirit consented. The spirit seriously wanted pomegranates. She likes strawberries, and she prefers her offerings in pinks and reds, with sugar. Red roses were a theme. She smelled cinnamon. She likes fire and candles, music, sweets, perfumes, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). My wife emphasized the “warm glow feeling”. My wife put a statue of her on the altar and said the spirit responded positively.
I actually sort of object to the vision received in this particular rite. Venus is sort of stereotypical here and I’m not sure if it’s my own natural biases or what. The whole theme of the vision was sexual movements, it was like watching a belly dance if the landscape itself were belly dancing. Also it occurred to me after the vision the pillows were supposed to be shaped like a midriff. The sexual imagery was fairly obvious.
My wife really wanted to invoke a spirit. Riding high from the Mercury rite from the lodge I figured why the heck not. She wanted to pick a spirit relevant to the storms, and who’s got a stormy face but Tzadkiel?
Tzadkiel is the angel who held the dagger of Abraham. He’s the planet Jupiter. He’s got a giant raging storm on his face the size of America. He also is good for business (but in my personal system business is all who you know, so that would be Mercury). We figured he could regulate the storm and I could also ask him for business help for a friend who’s publishing a book. I grabbed my usual copy of the Modern Angelic Grimoire. While it doesn’t produce earth-shattering evocations, the seals in it are nice. I wish more periphery information was included. With planetary stuff, the more toys you have, the better. In this case I knew his number was 4, I had the kamea, and I drew out the seal. I was going to use silver sharpie (tin) but it was dried. I paged through the old standby of 777 to get the rest of the numbers and correspondences and felt good about it.
One of the more interesting things which is fun about invocations versus evocations is that the old books are almost always written for evocation. The whole invocation thing came much much later. Also I’ve found that (especially with things like the rite of mercury) that the planetary angels are subtle. Really subtle. I thought it was just the Modern Angelic Grimoire but even in the rite of mercury I doubt I would have gotten so into it without all the theater. That being said, we did the circle and the prayers and I substituted “my seer” for things like “inanimate object”. The other rub is I like to stick to tradition, which means “thou” and “thyne” and my wife really wants to contact greek spirits in their original format as a pagan thing. I felt it was interesting to see if we could contact planetary sprits in the wiccan format.
When the spirit came, I wasn’t getting my normal warm and fuzzies I expect from Gods. I didn’t immediately shut it down because I figured with the storm raging, any spirit even loosely attached would be uppity. I queried the spirits name, she said tzedkiel. OK. I asked the spirits color, she said “Green or yellow”. I asked the spirits number, she said “14”.
For those of you playing along at home, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t immediately banish. The bottom line is I was unprepared and my nook’s battery was dead so I didn’t bring the associations into the circle. I decided to roll with it. Further questioning about the storms revealed the spirit had knowledge of the storm to the north but had no knowledge or control over the storm at sea. This is where I figured out something was very, very wrong. Either the spirit (especially a planetary spirit or anything else high up the food chain) has control over this stuff, or it doesn’t. Getting mixed mode messages is a bad thing.
I announced my intentions to banish the spirit and my wife was going “wait, wait”, at this point I was pretty sure the spirit was just talking for the sake of talking. After a few “wait wait”s I just decided we were done here, and gave it a stern license to depart (skipping the flowery, thankful stuff and making it clear I actually would get out the chain curse this time) and grabbed the paper lamen and kamea off my wifes clothes. I took these outside and burned them. The cat spent a decent amount of time looking at the door.
Turns out after we did this, my wife later said “Well, the spirit was asking for a bird”. The planetary spirits don’t ask for sacrifices in my experience but I know other bloggers (damned if I can’t find the link at the moment) have other experiences. Since we didn’t actually ask anything of this spirit, I found the request odd and a bit disturbing.
Now, even with the whole pissing contest about switching jupiter and saturn in ceremonial magic, “green” isn’t an option, neither is “14” for the number. If the spirit doesn’t respond properly to the normal queries about it’s number and place on the tree of life, it’s probably not a good idea to continue. It’s a spirit who is pretending to be another spirit, and all queries to it will not be truthful.
What particularly bothers me is “how does this happen”? I’m guessing the problem is the circle. I should have done the LBRP as the nu-sphere with the Egyptian godnames since those guys are planetary deities, instead I used Rufus’s own process which, standard to magic practice in general, works for him but not for me. An acceptable and frankly better alternative would have been to banish using the hexagram since that was fresh in my mind from the Rite and frankly I broke the axoim of “go with what you know”.
That being said, we successfully banished the spirit and that was the end of that. I’m really curious as to what other people think of this whole thing, especially the folks who do it regularly like The Digital Ambler.