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.


teslaquoyle said...

A question and an observation.

The House-Protecting Charm from Lancashire: I've moved into a new apartment, and scour and prise as I might I can find no cracks near door nor window nor any beneath the threshold. In your opinion, how would calligraphied, framed and hung next to the door work? A talisman, in other words. I know I can just do it and find out, and probably will, but for some (good) reason I value your opinion highly, especially on more practical matters like that.

Re the Orphic Hymns. I've used these quite a lot. IMHO I think the fumigations and the hymns themselves get hold of a particular aspect of the deity in question, the Orphic aspect, call it. For example Saturnus-Kronos: you don't want a malefic face of him. The fumigation and prayer, with an additional cunningly (or at least not stupidly) composed prayer calling upon him in terms from the hymn has proved to be very strong prayer-magic. He has gotten me out of one serious bind (I included a mea culpa in my composed prayer) and has also powerfully consecrated an object for me.

Also, in my use of them, the Orphic Hymns give access to these deities' powers that I might not be able to attain otherwise due to troubles such as illness or, yes, toxic spells that have messed me up. Finally, just maybe, the combination of the hymn and prayer get around undesirable astrological configurations, good for working at any time with those deities with an associated planet. Not so sure about this one, but it seems to be true so far. Cordially ---


Jack Faust said...

@Tesla: The charm was originally used like a talisman, so nailing it above your door in some form or fashion makes perfect sense. I am a big fan of disguising or obfuscating my openly seen talismans, so I feel compelled to note that there is no reason to avoid sigilizing the contents or hiding them with a bit of art.

As for the Orphic hymns, I agree. Let me think a bit more about the subject, and then give a detailed response. I don't want to mangled my thoughts in my present state of Jovial intoxication. Lol.

teslaquoyle said...

@Jack --- I look forward to your response. I'm also keenly looking forward to Part 2, and to your Hekate and Hermes Chthonios entry (though perhaps I misremember and they're to be one and the same post).

"Jovial intoxication" on Thursday the 22nd ... hmm, sounds like a plan for, oh I don't know, the 29th, I think...