Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“Like Bringing a Wand to a Raygun Fight...”

Only one thing is certain...

Buzz Kraken, by V.V.F.
...In the 25th Century, Harry Potterites will Rule the Day!”

HAN: Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
LUKE: You don't believe in the Force, do you?
HAN: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny.
- Star Wars: A New Hope.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet Phanes!

Meet Phanes.

Some folks syncretically wed him with Eros the Elder, and some Orphic sects saw him as the “ancestral force” (if you will) behind (Zagreus/) Dionysos. At least, if I understand what they're saying, anyway.

As noted in the Theoi article: “His name means bring to light or make appear from the Greek verbs phanaô and phainô.” One would compare this to the idea of Dionysos as “the God who comes,” or “the Lord of Epiphany.”

Orphic Hymn #5 is dedicated to him, as the Protogonus. Like Dionysos, he also seems to have a tendency to hang out with cosmic snakes.

Sometimes, when I use the title “Lucifer” (Light Bringer) I'm being an asshole and referring to Phanes, Iakkhos, or Prometheus. (Although I tend to refer to Prometheus as such.) My reasons for Iakkhos are entirely UPG (I experienced him as “joyous torchlight at midnight,” but hardly expect that to makes any sense to most folks).

I primarily do this to freak out people I don't want to deal with. It's done a pretty good job of keeping me from being overly annoyed in terms of those who I speak with, honestly. They mistake me for a Satanist, and I get to roflcopter along most of the time.

I lampoon the idea of the Black Brotherhood, on an unrelated note, for reasons of satire.

“My RoftlCopter Just Got Taken Out By Ninjas on Lollerblades.”

I'll admit it. I laughed when I read Star Foster's recent blog entry entitled, “Is Wicca a Christian Heresy?

The commentary ranks right up there with some of the comments I saw Esoteric Christians make about Wicca last night on R.O.'s facebook feed. We might call some of this bullshit an astounding level of ignorance, broadcast publicly for everyone to see.

To Star:
1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.
2. Roman Catholic Church . a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.
3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.

1. a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.
2. of or characterized by apostasy.

mid-14c., from O.Fr. eretique (14c., Mod.Fr. hérétique), from Church L. haereticus, from Gk. hairetikos "able to choose," the verbal adjective of hairein...

"An opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church" [Johnson], c.1200, from O.Fr. heresie (12c.), from L. hæresis, "school of thought, philosophical sect," used by Christian writers for "unorthodox sect or doctrine," from Gk. hairesis "a taking or choosing, a choice," from haireisthai "take, seize," middle voice of hairein "to choose," of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE *ser- "to seize" (cf. Hittite šaru "booty," Welsh herw "booty").

The Greek word was used in N.T. in reference to the Sadducees, Pharisees, and even the Christians, as sects of Judaism, but in English bibles it usually is translated sect. Meaning "religious belief opposed to the orthodox doctrines of the Church" evolved in Late Latin in the Dark Ages. Transferred (non-religious) use from late 14c.

mid-14c., "one who forsakes his religion or faith," from O.Fr. apostate (Mod.Fr. apostat) and directly from L.L. apostata, from Gk. apostasia "defection, desertion, rebellion," from apostenai "to defect," lit. "to stand off," from apo- "away from" (see apo-) + stenai "to stand." Used in non-religious situations (politics, etc.) from mid-14c. As an adjective from late 14c.

Late 14c., "renunciation, abandonment or neglect of established religion," from L. apostasia, from later Gk. apostasia, from apostasis "revolt, defection," lit. "a standing off" (see apostate). General (non-religious) sense is attested from 1570s.

Words, you see, mean things. When you use them, make sure you're using them correctly. Or we'll throw popcorn at you and jeer.

I'll end this with my “favorite” Robert Cochrane quote to drop into these conversations, in regards to witchcraft in general (rather than Wicca specifically):

“I really think it is time that a distinction was made between witchcraft and paganism. One can be an ardant [sic] Christian, and practice witchcraft. One can be a raving pagan and never touch the stone or cord. The real trouble lies in Victorian interpretation of the Mysteries and the philosophers who have foolishly accepted such writing as being the last development of thought upon paganism.”
- Roy Bowers (Robert Cochrane), The 1734 Letters.

Now, if you want to be a “pure Pagan” and give up all elements of Abrahamic Religion? That's fine. That's a decision to be made entirely by you.. But don't spout ignorant nonsense to support your personal choice. Furthermore, don't act as if “salvation philosophies” are a strictly Christian category (they aren't), or that Dying and Reborn Gods are a strictly Christian category, because they most assuredly aren't. Now, I realize that Wikipedia isn't the greatest source on earth, but it seems like these brief overviews might be helpful to you. Am I being a condescending ass? Yes. Am I totally doing it on purpose? Yes. Some of the rather questionable debates going on right now have reached a level of stupidity that they never should have.

If you “really” want to research the subject, you might look at some rituals from 2000 years ago. You'll soon discover that “Abrahamic” godnames are included by Pagan magicians! OMGWTF!

I have trolled on this subject enough for one day. Now, to work on things I'm expected to finish.

EDIT: My hostility to this subject was raised yesterday, when the aforementioned moron on Facebook began "explaining" that Wicca "really" only involved thoughtforms and egregores. I subsequently realized that said individual did not seem to really understand what an egregore was. He followed up his justifications with a commentary about Archetypes and how Wicca was lacking in them.

And my brain just fucking broke. Jung did not develop the theory of the Collective unconscious to validate or invalidate religious thought: he developed it to help explore dimensions of religious and mystical thought in a way that might be useful to psychologists. Furthermore, saying that Wicca doesn't involve naturally occuring Archetypes is way, way off. You may say many things about Wicca; that is not one of them.

You can imagine my complete lack of surprise to read Star's blog entry, which while it diverges in the specific thoughts, still carries with it the same problematic tendencies: an inappropriate use of words (heresy, for example), a lack of knowledge regarding the topic brought up.

I have noted in the past, on the topic of the Stele of Jeu, that I prefer it to the Bornless One ritual that Crowley developed based on it. This is personal bias on my part; I would never, however, accuse Crowley of being a heretic of the Greaco-Roman magical school because of his adaptation.

The hostility of certain neo-Pagans towards anything remotely resembling Christian thought (even if it is not, in fact, actually a type of Judeo-Christian thought) is as absurd as the hostility of certain Esoteric Christians towards neo-Pagans that can't just learn to love and accept Jesus.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Revising Errors

I must admit, however, that aside from his attempt to link Apollo (who he claims has an occulted underworld aspect – something I'm unaware of) with the post-Christian name of Azael, I enjoyed his discourse on the names of the Gods and Goddesses that appear in witchery and their links to the underworld. Indeed: my only beef is with Apollo in that context. The closest I'm aware of in that context is the possible cultus of Apollon Lykeios and its links to a chthonic, wolf-form...”
I have since been made aware that I was truly ignorant. While reading Daniel Ogden's Greek and Roman Necromancy I came across references that he made to a form of Cthonic Apollo. He noted that these characteristics were subsumed into Hermes Kthonios and his functions. Or maybe it was Zeus-Kthonios/Hades. Ugh. Unfortunately, I was not paying attention like I ought to have been (I was on the train, headed to my former hometown at the time) and did not make a note and citation in my notebook, as I often do. So I'll have to hunt through the first hundred pages of the book to find the direct reference later. I felt compelled to state this, however, as I was completely incorrect. I'll find the citation later this week and add it to this entry, or one of it's own.

EDIT: I have also reconsidered my stance on VM, and his work. It isn't necessary, but it can be helpful for beginners.

At some point, I'd also like to learn the source of his Red Meal.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

There's Always More to Write...

It also came from the 4Chan
I largely write to cement information in my brain, along with sources, that I have previously read. I have not given up on the Hecate material - some of which was supposed to appear in Sutra v.5 - but have slowed down to make sure the next section of what I write is both coherent and densely packed with useful details.

Nonetheless, when I finish I'm tempted to look deeper into the early American antinomian inclination and discuss fellows like Thomas Morton a bit more.

Editing this entry with my phone is a pain.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Laughing Heart

Via the Hermetic Library: Tom Waits reciting The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski.

You can ignore Bono's follow-up if he annoys you, of course.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"One or Two Books."

As Found by VVF on "The 4Chan".

Look, if you're between the ages of 25 - 50 and in the course of a discussion, you try to suggest I have only read one or two books on some subject or another, I'm going to verbally abuse you. I have tried to be patient with certain folks and that patience has been exhausted.

If I have only read one or two books on a subject, I will tell you. If you want to know my source material or where the basis of my thoughts spring, again: ask me and I will tell you.

If you, on the other hand, pull some "you're under 30 years of age and therefore utterly ignorant" bullshit with me, I will turn you into verbal mincemeat for fun and then maybe point 12 pissed off kids in your direction, so they can troll you until you never engage in that behavior again. It isn't just disrespectful: it's obnoxious. Believe me, I can easily cite you to death if I know you're wrong. And I really will joyously do it. I prefer not to, however.

Caveat lector: if you've only actually read one or two books, there is no harm in admitting it. Helpful individuals will point you in the direction of work or works that may be beneficial to you.

(Why did I add that image to this entry? Largely because later tonight I might use the picture VVF found of Bruce Lee as a Green Lantern, in a bit of commentary.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For Norman Rift

There I was, reading that later tonight BBC4 was going to air a documentary on the Pendle Witches, recently brought up on this blog. And I thought, I'd really like to watch that.

Thanks to Archive.Org, why not watch it a bit early? Heheh.

EDIT: This is totally not that documentary. It just looks as if it could be, if the documentary airing tonight was beaten with a baseball bat and then forced through sound-glitch Hell. If you were duped, I am sorry.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Before I House-Sit

Original link.

Is Mercury still flamingly Retrograde? Yes. Is that argument you want to pick ill-advised? Probably.

I've been going back to this chart all week to keep from raving here and there. I think I'll keep it up.


Err, well, it's the Witching Hour here in California for another 15 minutes or so.

However: I was planning to get my discussion on Hecate, Hermes/Hermes Kthonios, and the Crossroads out today. But such is not the case, and so I'm adding an update that I intend to have it ready for Monday (as is, frankly, fitting).

As a humorous aside: my initial opening to my weekly Jovian ritual was, today, interrupted by a trio of meowing (it lasted for about three minutes) cats. They subsequently went quiet and let me restart my ritual, but it was extremely amusing.

I wonder if there are any lunar rituals in which I can make use of a chorus of three meowing cats...

Be seeing you,
Kind've a flake. But, you know, a nice one.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“My Name is a Heart Encircled By a Serpent.” (P.1)

Further Comments on the Stele of Jeu, the Crossroads, Vineyards, & Protections for Non-Beginners.

My first exposure to the Stele of Jeu came on the now-defunct chaosmagick.com forums, as I recall it being both reproduced and given a commentary (like the one presented in Sutra of the Poison Buddha, Vol. III p.36-42, and it is one of my favorite pieces in the Sutras) by Iaxar, I believe. (Please correct me if I am wrong. I believe this was in 2006.) Initially, for it's performance, I only had those two texts printed out. I couldn't get my hands on any Papyrus, or to be more specific, did not know where to buy some... (You can buy it online or, as one fellow I know does, make it yourself.) So I made use of some high quality Vellum paper as a substitute for the preliminary operation in which the paper or papyrus is inscribed. After the performance of the ritual, but while in the presence of the “empty spirit,” the piece can be “charged” with a laying on of hands. Thereafter, it can be treated as a talisman and (if the spirit has been met and the operation performed successfully) displayed to certain spirits or during conjurations in a manner similar to other such talismans as a sign of authority. I should note that you actually need that authority for any such spirit to bother to heed that display.

If I had thought that my first operation of the Stele was enough, then I was soon to discover myself grossly mistaken. Subsequently, I swore to make the damn ritual work and promptly went about using it in foolish ways; such as performing it twice a day, every day, for six straight weeks. All manner of weirdness entered my life and I hadn't the faintest.

Eventually, I started to combine various techniques into ritualized combinations, and use them for more than just wandering to a location and performing the ritual. (I also ignored any astrological significance, for the record, in the ritual: I mean, who wants to bother with all that tedium?) Over the course of that time, some of these techniques appeared to allow me to get access to information that was denied to me. It began as a trickle, but eventually has become something of a standard practice of mine. Neither have I forgotten where that first exposure came from: individuals who gladly shared information and ritual techniques and tips, and who were willing to at least do some research. There were plenty of blunders on my end, with plenty of folks, and with things like speaking too soon or allowing people to assume I was an authority when I was not, and still am not. (This in addition to toxic rituals, over-reactions, & etc.)

Over time my library has gotten better; I've discovered techniques and tricks, along with other elements I've felt lacking, that I am either working on adding to my arsenal, or who are already becoming standard practices. I present these here to those who might want to make use of the Stele in ways similar to my own, and with techniques similar to my own. Best of all: none of this material is “secret.”

There will be a hardline “witch” stance from myself, because that is prototypical of many of my operations these days. All sources will be listed, and at least briefly discussed. In certain cases, I do not have original sources and may make requests for information that others might have.

Some of these topics I have discussed before, here and elsewhere, and some of this material others may never have seen. Many of these are things I wish I had had, or books or information I had had, when I was beginning myself and trying to arduously educate myself on the ins and outs of magick, sorcery, and later witchery.

I should like to thank some of those who helped me develop and become who I am today, who frequented the various forums and other online locales, engaged me in conversations, and pointed me towards some of my earliest reference materials. There are too many to list by name, but I suspect most will know who they are. After all, they were around, too.

Additional Potential Protection of the Hearth and Home

Prior to heading out to the crossroads or other locations for the performance of magick, it is perhaps best to suggest consecrating one's home. Many, if not most, magicians and witches already have ward systems and charms up to keep various types of trouble makers in use. These charms, taken from Elizabeth Hole's 1957 Mirror of Witchcraft, are offered (along with a few other suggestions for using them) in addition to the typical safeguards, and are taken from the chapter entitled “Charms and Counter-Charms,” which is only one of the many interesting subjects she addresses in the book. Some of the charms (such as one taken from the Trial of James Device in 1612, to be discussed later) are quite old. Others, I am unsure of to be quite honest. I will relist the sources she gives.

On the subject of charms, she writes (p.234):
Many of these ancient charms were frankly pagan, with perhaps a Christian benediction added at the end to make them safe for Christian users, and perhaps not even that. One Lincolnshire cure for argue combined the names of the Trinity and those of Wodan and Loki in a single short invocation; in another, for a sprain, Christ's name was substituted for that of Baldur, which appeared in an older version, but otherwise there was no essential change. A written charm found over the door of a Lancashire house appealed to the sun, moon, and stars for protection against evil spirits, thieves, and disorders of all kinds. Written charms or prayers were frequently worn upon the person, either for general safety from witches and demons or as antidotes to particular ills. Many spoken charms became so garbled in the course of centuries that they ended up as mere gibberish, a hotchpotch of mispronounced Greek or Latin words (the latter often taken from parts of the Mass), and archaic phrases from which all meaning had long since vanished. They were used, nevertheless, because they had always been used, and now their very incomprehensibility lent them the extra force of the foreign and the strange. Of the more elaborate rites, many were based upon the ancient conceptions of 'loke to like', and the last power of a contact, and others were clear relics of heathen sacrifice, like the horrible remedy for horse- and cattle-diseases so calmly noted by Roger Willbraham in his journal for 1605, and the calf-slaying in 1866 recorded by R.M. Heanley...”

Salt and rowan-wood figured in numerous spell-breaking charms, and so did garlic, vervain, St. John's wort, and various other herbs. Silver was also considered a powerful antidoate, particularly in the form of bullets from shooting a witch-hare. When a cart was magically stopped on the highway, it could be freed by thrashing the wheels with a whip or branch of rowan...” (p.235)

For some of these operations, it may be helpful to include sympathetic elements relating to the subject material. For example, dropping a circle of exorcised and purified salt while reciting some of the the charms, in a circle around the house, can help bolster the efficiency. Likewise with planetary herbs and the charms using the planets.

XVI. A House-Protecting Charm from Lancashire
Harland & Wilkinson

The following is a correct copy of one of these documents which was found over the door of a house in the neighborhood of Burnley. Its occupier had experienced 'ill luck'. And he thus sought protection from all evil-doers:—
Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Trine, Sextile, Dragon's Head, Dragon's Tail, I charge you all to gard this hause from all evil spirits whatever, and gard it from all Desorders, and from aney thing being taken wrangasly, and give this famaly good Ealth and Welth.” (p.243)

The above is the aforementioned charm calling on the planets. It has been reproduced as garbled as it apparently was, but one can still make out the particulars. In the case of making this operational, I would suggest writing the italicized charm on the front of a sheet of fine vellum paper or Papyrus, or turn a sheet of vellum into an envelope. For the latter, I would include some dried bits of plants for each of the associated planets. On the back, I would put the symbols for the Trine (obviously a triangle) and Sextile conjunctions, and perhaps the Geomantic forms of Caput Draconis and Cauda Draconis. Following this, I would charge the packet at the planetary day and hour of the first specified seven planets, while focusing/meditating on the protective aspects that each of them might embody and how they relate to each other. At the end of the week, I would then slip the paper or packet beneath the threshold of one of my house's doors, or into a crack near a door or window. Finally, the end line: “and give this famaly good Ealth and Welth” is reminiscent of at least two of the requests that end in the Orphic Hymns, particularly the Orphic Hymn to Jupiter (Hymn #14) which has amongst other things, requests for “give blameless health, with peace divine, and necessary wealth.” An interesting question, of course, arises as to what, exactly, “necessary wealth” actually means?

XIV. A Charm To Protect A House From Thieves.
East Anglican Handbook.

A Spell against thieves, to be said three times while walking round the premises:
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
This house I bequeath round about,
And all my goods within and without,
In this yard or enclosed piece of land,
Unto Jesus Christ, that died on a tree,
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all Three,
Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!
By virtue of the Blessed Trinity.” (p.242)

Given the economic status of the west, I also offer the above Charm (which is one of my favorites, honestly) and which is intended to be used as a spoken charm. You can test it out walking either widdershins, or deosil – there aren't any directions for how to circle, so choose for yourself. Dropping previously purified salt to form a circle as you do so really can't hurt, honestly. If you can't get your own holy salt, you can probably substitute with Kosher salt, by it's very nature. I am sure someone is going to bring up also using Four Thieves vinegar with the charm, and I don't see a reason why that couldn't be included. It would be cooler if it was a bottle of “Three Thieves” vinegar, however.

As an aside, I would love to see a copy of the East Anglican Handbook that it comes from, as well as know the date that it came into being around. If you should know of a book it's reproduced in, or of a place where it can be perused online, I would very much like that information. At least one more charm from it will be reproduced later.

XXI. James Device's Charm, 1612.

“And the other Prayer, the said James Device affirmed, would cure one bewitched... as followeth:
Upon Good-Friday, I will fast while I may
Until I heare them knell,
Our Lords owne Bell,
Lord in his messe
With his twelue Apostles good,
What hath he in his hand
Light in leath wand:
What hath he in his other hand?
Heauens doore key.
Open, open, Heauen doore keyes,
Steck, steck, hell doore.
Let Crizum child
Goe with Mother mild,
What is yonder that casts a light so farradly,
Mine owen deare Sonne that's naild to the Tree.
He is naild sore by the heart and hand,
And holy barne Panne,
Well is that man
That Fryday spell can,
Hise Childe to learne;
A Crosse of Blew, and another of Red,
As good Lord was to the Roode.
Gabriel laid him downe to sleepe
Upon the ground of weepe:
Good Lord came walking by,
Sleep'st thou, wak'st thou GABRIEL,
No Lord I am sted with sticke and stake,
That I can neither sleepe nor weake:
Rise up GABRIEL and goe with me,
The stick nor the stake shall neuer deere thee.
Sweet Iesus our Lord. Amen.
James Device. (p. 145-146)

James Device was one of the Pendle Witches, tried for witchcraft in 1612. Given the date, I assume that the original source that Hole lists (Potts) took the charm from the records of his trial. I assume that this particular charm is meant to be made use of around Good Friday, given when it begins, and therefore suggest that that is the best time to make use of it. If you are forced into recourse to such a thing prior, I would simply make sure to repeat this procedure on the Good Friday that follows, along with consider making use of Psalms of praise for the help that was given (if it should work). I have never made use of it, but felt that it was intriguing enough to include in the “Protection” section.

[ETA: In 9 days it will be the 399th anniversary of the trial of James Device.]
For more information on the individuals and type of magick that was practiced amongst the lower class during this era (1400-1900, or so), see Owen Davies absolutely amazing Popular Magic: Cunning-Folk in English History. He also has a book on Grimoires, and another interesting bit of history in Murder, Magic, Madness which I do not wish to ruin for the individual new to his works.

Commentary on the Orphic Hymns.

While many of made use of Taylor's 1792 translation of the Mystical Hymns of Orpheus for the purpose of planetary magick, the primarily used hymns that have been ascribed to correspond (in one way or another) to the planetary bodies are but a very small portion of the overall Hymns. There are a total of 86 hymns, which Taylor seems to indicate they were possibly (and I'm not sure if this is true) used in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Their attribution to Orpheus and the religion that bore his name allows for some speculation as to what they do. Orpheus was held to be able to charm all things – including animals, rocks, and plants (not to mention spirits) with his songs, which were sang along with his perfected Lyre playing. In this respect, the Hymns appear to be appeasements to different divinities and pantheons of spirits which the magician or witch might encounter on their sojourns into the unknown. Each comes with an associated Fumigation, or plant/scent that is or can be burned alongside their use. I have not really figured out whether these Fumigations (some, if not many, of which reoccur) are meant to sympathetically pacify spirits, or whether they simply 'are' the baseline sympathy of the spirit, god, or pantheon. I suspect I will not know for sure until I have used them much, much more.

For some of the procedures that follow, I will discuss the hymns particularly useful and possibilities for mobile fumigation procedures. If I have not extensively tested something, as per usual, you will be warned.

Preparing for the Road: Calling on Janus

Prior to any and all ventures to the Crossroads, which will be covered fully in part two of this entry series (expect it tomorrow), the magician or witch is encouraged to first take a cleansing bath or shower. This can include any of the following:
  • Bardonian water cleansing (Initiation into Hermetics p. 77-79)
  • Hyssop Soup (ala Grimoire magicians and some Traditional Witches). See Psalm 51:7.
  • Rosemary, which is associated with both the sun and the Muses, can also be used. I have used it in conjunction with Sandalwood soap and can attest that along with some of Bardon's techniques, they work quite well.
  • See your local Botanica or New Age Store for other potential, associated cleansing elements. Take what you hear at a New Age store with a grain of salt, maybe. Depends on who is helping you, or not.

Following this, either intoxicate yourself (remember laws against public intoxication in the event that you can't handle such a thing) or meditate until you enter a decent state of trance. Then perform an invocation/prayer to Janus. Initially, I was going to supply one of my own... However, as I prepared to write this section I consulted P. Sufenas Virius Lupus' The Phillupic Hymns and immediately decided that I was going to henceforth use his Hymn to Janus. If it hits the right spot for you, I recommend picking up his book. While I will sample this hymn, those referenced hereafter will only be with page numbers and hymn number references.

Ianus (p. 66, Hymn #23)
“May Ianus Patulcius open the door for me
as I open this prayer, may all doors be opened;
May Ianus Pater watch over and protect me
as he watchedover Saturn in his exile;
May Ianus Bifrons keep guard before and behind me
as age is ahead of and youth is afar from me;
May Ianus Quadrifrons protect me on all sides
as ways converge in me and as paths branch out of me;
May Ianus Geminus' temple doors ever open for our aid,
and may his doors ever close for our peace;
May Ianus Clusivus close the door for me,
as I close this prayer, and may there be a close to all troubles.”

During the prayer/invocation (as, his prayer is better than my invocation) I tend to visualize the two-headed bust of Janus sitting stately between two equally facing (and I either open or close them based on what I am doing) doors in my upstairs. If you don't have a set of doors that face one another, you can either visualize them and the bust, or just focus on the bust. Following this, I make a statement as to my intent to either pass through, or close one of the “doors” for a specific purpose (such as traveling to the crossroads, or a vineyard, or to acquire certain information). And then I leave toward my goal.

Note: I will be ending this discussion at this point today, and continue writing tomorrow with further information and details tomorrow, including using the Crossroads, associated Greaco-Roman divinities, potential problems, the Stele performed in the Vineyards, and maybe even incubatic (Incubatio) dreaming if I haven't exceeded six pages by that time.

ETA x2: I realize, now, it can be contextualized that I taught myself witchery, which is patently not true. For me, the transition into an alien system, and its implications, along with learning (and whining about the process, at times) has been infinitely helpful to me. It is my hope that those who might consider such a thing look into it. This is obviously not necessary to the process of witchery, but can be helpful. If not? Your biz, wo/man. Not mine, obviously.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

With Regards to K&C of the HGA, Daemon Attraction, & Etc.

Source: http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/detail.aspx?id=12519
  1. The author makes no claims to his relative state of enlightenment, nor that he has successfully accomplished the Abramelin Ordeal, or performed Aleister Crowley's Liber Samekh.
  2. The author makes no claims that in your attempt to gain the assistance of a Good Genius, the HGA, or attract a Daemon, you will be successful. Many have tried. Many have succeeded. Plenty of others have gone insane, gotten lost in the darkness, or fell prey to the illusions of their ego. There is no certain test. Everything is always precarious. The trial is an adventure. It is ultimately your choice on whether or not to attempt such a thing.
  3. Nothing is ever easy.
I have a hard time taking you seriously.”
Let's take a moment and assume that “living traditions” do exist. Let's assume this magick stuff actually works, to some degree or another, and that part of the success ratio is the talent of the operator, and part of the success ratio is “something else.” We might call this good advice from proper superiors, dumb luck, a “something” that is looking out for us – whatever, right?

So it works, and the Work somehow finds a way – almost virally – to continue itself in perpetuity. This despite laws, changing outlooks, differing systems, evolving systems, & etc. Despite the fact that there has been a decline in the West in the practice of magick over the years, it's hardly stopped. The fact that you are reading this blog – even if you are insane (which can be good thing, see: The Greeks on this subject) – is part of that.

And generally speaking, most systems (atheists can exempt themselves if they wish from this part of the discourse) suppose that you will turn to an authority of some sort – an authority that supercedes your own, spiritually or otherwise – and that this portion of the work is integral to the continuance of the practice of magick. The reasons for this vary from system to system, and the “end-game” plan of the magician (which s/he always plays out by living) tends to also vary.

Some see themselves as preparing for immortality. Some see themselves as being in a process of self-deification, and on the road to True Sovereignty. Some just want to heal themselves, or feel called to something greater and have no plans whatsoever.

In this game, it helps to have a friend. And that friend has a variety of names, causes, variations, convergences and divergences. Which makes sense, because “living traditions” tend to adapt themselves to changes in culture, methodology, and in any number of particulars.

To the best of my knowledge, the “One True Way” to enlightenment has not been found (much like the Grand Theory of Everything which eludes scientists to this day). Or maybe it has, but the fellow who's decided to open his mouth annoys me so much that I'm going to ignore him and his claims for good. Whatever, right?

The point, though, is that there are actually a number of rituals, “which have survived because they work,” as one blogger recently put it. They are to be found in any number of places, and slews of practitioners can and often will attest that they work – despite being from varying backgrounds, and despite having varying practices and thoughts on any one subject. This entry will list more than a few, as well as quote some comments by Mr. Jake Stratton-Kent in his excellent Geosophia. It is my hope that the individuals who find themselves interested in his comments take a look at his works, as they are well deserving of attention.

The Stele of Motherfucking Jeu the Motherfucking Hieroglyphicist.”
If we consult Morton Smith's Jesus the Magician, which we ought when discussing the Stele, we will discover some interesting facets to what appears to be a simple exorcism (at least at first). On the subject of magicians and supernatural assistants Smith writes that: 
“Nevertheless, the friends of a higher class practitioner would be apt to claim that he was not a magus, but rather, a “divine man.” The “divine man” was a god or demon in disguise, moving about the world in an apparently human body. He could do all the beneficient things a magus could, and he could also curse effectively – though of course he would curse only the wicked. He did his miracles by his indwelling divine power and therefore did not need rituals or spells. This was the critical test by which a divine man could be distinguished from a magician – so at least his adherents would argue. The magical papyri describe a number of rites by which one can obtain a spirit as a constant companion. A magician who has such a spirit at his service can also dispense with rites and spells, he need only give his orders and they will be obeyed. Moreover, there were some magical rites that were supposed to deify the magician, either by joining him with some god in a permanent and perfect union (as Paul claimed to by joined with Jesus), or by changing the form, nature, or power of his soul so as to make it divine. A magician who had been so deified would thereafter be a divine man and would perform miracles by his own power, not by a spirit's. While the theoretical differences between a magus and divine man were thus blurred, there remained important practical differences. The term “divine man” carried none of the unpleasant connotations attached to “magus” - nothing of membership in a secret society, incest, worship of evil demons, human and other repulsive sacrifices, cannibalism, or barbarism. Consequently – and best of all – it did not make the man who bore it a criminal.” (p.74-75)
While it might be easy to laugh off this discussion, it would perhaps be better to suggest that we are seeing a transition. While it took magicians (Goetes, in these case, rather than Magi) to operate the Papyri, one of the reasons that this task was presumably undertaken was to become a “divine man,” or representative of just such a power. As noted, there are several spells and rituals in the PGM which are geared toward just such this task, two of which deserve our attention, in fact Betz's compendium on them begins with one:
PGM I.1-42 (p. 3 in Betz):
A daimon comes as an assistant who will reveal everything to you clearly and will be your companion and will eat and sleep with you...”

The ritual goes on to list some insane demands, such as deifying a Circaean falcon in the milk of a black cow, and therefore I have never performed it. However, it states quite clearly it's function and what it takes to get the job done.

On page 103 of Betz, there is, however a ritual that I can personally attest which works (again, I do not claim to have divine status in the typical sense of such a statement): The Stele of Jeu of the Hieroglyphicist. The ritual is an exorcism, an evocation, and an invocation (in other words: direct possession is the goal of the ritual, even if it does not occur during the first performance) of what I presume to be the Agathos-Daemon. You may correct me if you believe to be flat wrong.

The Stele thus expels astral nasties in the atmosphere around the magician, conjures the presence of the cosmic or supracosmic entity known as the Agathos-Daemon, and then assumes it's identity in a state of possession. In response, the Agathos-Daemon ties the magician either to another spirit, a god, or itself, and the result is divinity!


Perhaps some more quotes from Smith might be helpful?

This leads us to consider the extant accounts of how magicians got spirits as constant companions and servants whom they could order about at will so as to perform miracles without elaborate rites or spells. These accounds derive not only from the abnormal experiences of the magicians, but also from their neighbors' expriences of the extraordinary powers of suggestion that certain individuals possess and use to heal or cause sickness, excite love or hatred, instill convictions, or even produce hallucinations and dispel them. Such powers were thought magical, but the “magicians” were known to exercise them without any magical rites. This was “explained” mythologically by analogy from slavery: such magicians “had” spirits as slaves, always on call. Hence grew a thicket of stories about was to get spirits as servants.

These stories can be classified by the sorts of servants promised. One familiar form is that in which a ghost, “the demon of a dead man,” is evoked as Jesus was thought to have evoked the Baptist.” (p.97-98)
At this point I should like to state that the analogy of the spiritual servants to slavery is somewhat one-sided. Classically, many Necromantic spirits would be promised either salvation or some type of spiritually uplifting experience, so that their lot in the afterlife and upon returning to life would be significantly improved. Mr. Stratton-Kent covers these matters in the Geosophia vol 1. on page 90, when he introduces a very interesting ritual taken from Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft. Despite the Christian flavor of the ritual, the promise remains the same: that the individual magician will aid or bolster the spirit so that at a specific point (either Judgment Day or reincarnation, depending on the time period we're discussing for the ritual) will be able to move on. These promises also have their place in classical (not Grimoire-based) Goetia, when the Goete would make an arrangement with the spirit for their mutual benefit. There appears to be some correspondence with this idea, and Orphism, but I am not sure how deep those associations go. (Yet.)

Back to Smith:
Most often such demons were employed for single assignments, usually to harm enemies or to bring women to would-be lovers, but the opinion reported by the gospels and the example of Paul indicate that they were also thought to be available as constant attendants and to do miracles like those of Jesus, mainly exorcisms. This indication is confirmed by the Papyri. The “Magical Papyrus of Paris” (PGM IV. 1930-2005) prescribes a prayer to the sun god, Give me the authority over this spirit of a murdered man, a part of whose body I possess … so that I may have him with me as a helper and defender for any affairs in which I need him. The following section (lines 2006FF.) gives more elaborate rituals for calling up such a spirit when one is desired, but concludes: However, most magicians take the equipment (objects inscribed with spells, etc.) home, put it away, use the spirit as a servant (always in attendance), and so accomplish whatever they want with all possible speed. For this method effects its purposes immediately, with complete convenience and without any wordiness” (that is to say, spells). After this come two short recipes and then a long rite including the conjuration of a dead man's spirit to be the servant of an amulet, one of whose many powers will be to drive out demons. Directions of the same sort are given in SHRI.5 and some early Christians said that the Samaritan magician, Simon Magus, did his miracles by such control of the spirit of a murdered boy.

Thus the notion that Jesus “had” the Baptist was not, by ancient standards, an impossible explanation of his powers...” (p.97-98)
The Magical papyri contain several such rites to get spirits as assistants and belief in this sort of relationship was widespread—for instance, St. Irenaeus, in about 180, explained the miracles of the heretic Marcus by supposing he had “some demon as an assistant.” But all these stories, this type of theory, fall short of the gospel myth in one respect: In them the spirit is merely acquired as an assistant, in the gospels its descent is followed by a voice from Heaven declaring Jesus “my beloved son.” The story strongly suggests that sonship is a result of the descent of the spirit. But what is sonship?

Many would say, the messiahship. Mark equated “Messiah” (= “Christ”) with “Son of God” and “Son of Man”. From then on the equation has been customary. But “Son of God” was not, in Judaism, a customary messianic title, nor a common way of referring to the Messiah. Instead it almost always appears with miracles. As “Son of God” Jesus casts out demons (Mk.3:11;5-7p.; Lk. 4.41), walks on the sea, and knows the Father (Mt. II:27p; 14:33). Because he claims to be “Son of God” the devil demands miracles from him (Mt. 4:3,6p.) and the Jews mock him when he is unable to perform them (Mt.27:40,43). Because he was “a son of god” miracles attended his death (Mk. 15:38f.p.)... This trait probably reflects historical fact, but why did this fact result in Jesus being called “Son of God”? The existence of a title implies a conceptual type – in this case, to judge the usage, a supernatural being in human form who performs miracles by his own power...”

And finally: “In Hebrew and Aramaic “son of” is commonly used to mean “member of a class f”; hence, “the sons of god” is a regular way of saying “the gods” just as “the sons of men” (commonly translated “the children of men”) is a regular way of saying “men.” Thus in Genesis 6:2—“the sons of god saw the daughters of men” means “the gods saw women.” … Thus “son of god” is explicable; it means “god.”...” (p. 100-101)
Obviously not really an easy subject to discuss, now is it? I suppose there is some point to insisting you've found the One True Way: it saves you the trouble of sorting through the multiple categories and thoughts of differing magicians, and trying to sort it all.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...”
On page 187 of Volume One of the Geosophia, Mr. Stratton Kent cites Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft again with a ritual titled: “How to obtain the familiarity of the Genius or Good Angel, and cause him to appear.

It is worth taking a look at given some of the comments made by various members of the Blogosphere, but I found his concluding remarks to be a bit more important, which I shall quote in brief:
The concept here differs from that of Agrippa and some modern commentators – for example in taking the Good Angel and Genius as Celestial, rather than Supercelestial. In my opinion the Good Angel of the Gnostics is an astrological force, and indeed has a House specifically allocated to it in the astrology used by the Gnostics and Hellenistic Greeks generally. This is not to say I consider either source or interpretation to be right or wrong, merely that they are finite opinions, whereas the experience (of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel) is innate to us all as human beings, who are prone to interpretation things their own way either before or after the event.

In the past I've written that they HGA is everything we are not – that is, not the sum of our natal chart, but outside our archonic limitations, completing us by complementing every elemental of the natal chart with it's opposite...

There are massive imponderables involved here: for example – aside from personal preference – in reality it is impossible to distinguish results with Abramelin from results with Liber Samekh. We may be inclided to do so, merely because the interpretation or theology differs along with our personal preferences, but that is at the outset, later it becomes irrelevant. Our Angel will freeus from reliance on either Crowley or Abramelin.” (p. 189-190)

I had always thought that was the goal for most, and couldn't agree more.

It's best to end on a high note, I think, rather than continue this discussion into further tedium. The rituals that have survived? Some, if not most, work. Whether some guy on the internet says they work, or not. (For the record, the Magicians who worked the PGM didn't always seem to know what they were doing, either. See Betz.) Work them long enough – and something tends to happen, in the long run. But this means commitment until the omens, events, visions, burgeoning understanding – all commence.

Be seeing you,

Monday, August 1, 2011

I hear you're deeply spiritual!

But: what does that even mean?

Do you practice theurgy? Do you work with spirits? Are you in touch with God, on the secret Big Red Phone like the Comissioner and Batman? Does Jesus, like, love you man? Are you integrating spiritual lessons in your life to accomplish a more fulfilling task? Is what you're discussing a specific type of Theurgy, with specific requirements for practice?

Is it all of these? None of these? Some of these?

When you drop lines about who is or is not deeply spiritual, these types of clarifications are helpful. Otherwise, you're just pretty much saying that you or someone you hold in esteem is better than someone else because of a subjective judgment call that you, personally, have made.

Which is pretty lame.

ETA: Some time ago, I was talking about the weird dichotomy of Theurgy and Thaumaturgy, and a Theurgist I largely respect noted that he had felt that I might not consider him a "real magician" because he focuses on devotional theurgical rituals.

Nothing could be further from my thoughts: I consider magickal practices part of a world-wide continuum, which is perpetually rearranging itself and re-arraying itself in new and fascinating forms. One of the aspects that helps fuel this is devotional magick. (Thaumaturgy also fuels it, but in other ways. Everyone has the same needs, and there are plenty of folks in this world that have discovered their needs were not being met despite their best efforts. Thus: one of the things thaumaturgy can potentially teach you is that everyone has something they feel is missing.)

I practice devotional work at specific times, and for many different reasons. Some I do because I have oaths to uphold. Some I do to try and gain a better understanding of the world. And sometimes, I do it just because I have something that needs to be addressed, and types of theurgy have the potential of addressing that.

I respect those that feel drawn to only theurgical work, and only devotional work. It's something very necessary in this world, to varying degrees, and which can enmesh someone in a far bigger world than they initially believed even existed. I do not respect those that made grandoise claims about their own enlightenment, and proceed to explain why this form of practice or that form of practice is evil, due to their own bias. That is a type of self-induced ignorance, and one I find particularly offensive.

If you do nothing but theurgical work? Good on you. Keep doing it. If you do nothing but theurgical work and then try to lead a personal crusade against something you admittedly know little about, based on your bias? You're probably doing the culture at large more harm than good, because you've devoted yourself to spreading ignorance in the name of enlightenment. You are the enemy. And that sometimes, or has at times, included myself.