Friday, April 20, 2012

So, I was reading something...

To appeal to consumers, the 'Caliphate' has produced a range of products that resemble a McDonaldized 'illumination through sex-magic'; a McGnosis transported through the iconic figure of Crowley as Ronald McDonald. It is hidden behind a confusing veil of euphemisms, and is preferably practiced on Sundays by means of consuming a 'host' made of sexual secretions and/or blood obtained from the butcher shop (i.e. animal blood) for the public masses and those looking for titillation and codified rebellion.
- P.R. Koenig, A Halo of Flies

And I thought to myself, where on earth have I seen this before? :)

Don't mention Koenig to some Thelemites. Seriously. The response can be... Intense...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The third herb is cannabis...

“The third herbe is Canabus [cannabis] & it is long in shafte & clothes be made of it. The vertue of the Juse [juice] of it is to anoynt thee with it & with the iuce of arthemesy & ordyne thee before a mirrour of stele [steel] & clepe thou spiritts & thou shallt see them & thou shalt haue might of binding & of loosing deuills & other things.”

I've been quietly passing this around to a few friends ever since it was brought to my awareness by someone awesome. The sheer amount of psychoactive plants in the artemisia family is also tantalizing... I seem to recall some comments from R.O. regarding a well known Grimoire Magician and his use of pot... Some day I may talk about why I use it. Heh. But, I'm still leery given some of the hilarity that tends to ensue with the subject. I always love when people ask me, so, what's your medical reason? It's called migraines, ass. I began having them at 18 months old, and at their worst I was getting three a week. You try working with three migraines a week. Seriously. Let me know how that goes. And over the years, I've been given muscle relaxers, and all manner of other bullshit. Not a single fucking drug currently on the market works as well to stop a developing migraine as a hit of hashish, in my experience. How sad is that? Actually. I guess I just did explain it all. Heh.

Happy 4/20 (well, tomorrow, anyway), to you heinous stoners out there. 

Heh. In other news, I came down with flu-symptoms around 9 PM last night (go-go birthday flu!), and so I'm taking it as yet another joke from Saturnus. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches and laugh as your plans for fun come to an end.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PGM IV. 2967-3006

Among the Egyptians herbs are always obtained like this: the herbalist first purifies his own body, then sprinkles with natron and / fumigates the herb with resin from a pine tree after carrying it around the place 3 times. Then, after burning kyphi and pouring the libation of milk as he prays, he pulls up the plant while invoking by name the daimon to whom the herb / is being dedicated and calling upon him to be more effective for the use for which it is being acquired.

The invocation for him, which he speaks over any herb, generally at the moment of picking, is as follows:
“You were sown by Kronos, you were conceived by Hera, / you were maintained by Ammon, you were given birth by Isis, you were nourished by Zeus the god of rain, you were given growth by Helios and dew. You [are] the dew of all the gods, you [are] the heart of Hermes, you are the seed of the primordial gods, you are the eye / of Helios, You are the light of Selene, you are the zeal of Osiris, you are the beauty and the glory of Ouranos, you are the soul of Osiris' daimon which revels in every place, you are the spirit of Ammon. As you have exalted Osiris, so / exalt yourself and rise just as Helios rises each day. Your size is equal to the zenith of Helios, your roots come from the depths, but your powers are in the heart of Hermes, your fibers are the bones of Mnevis, and your / flowers are the eye of Horus, your seed is Pan's seed. I am washing you in resin as I also wash the gods even [as I do this] for my own health. You also be cleaned by prayer and give us power as Ares and Athena do. I am Hermes. I am acquiring you with Good / Fortune and Good Daimon both at a propitious hour and on a propitious day that is effective for all things.”

After saying this, he rolls the harvested stalk in a pure linen cloth (but into the place of its roots they threw seven seeds of wheat and an equal number of barley, after mixing them with honey), / and after pouring in the ground which has been dug up, he departs.

*Tr: E.N. O'Neil. From Betz's The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, page 95.

Still working on other things, so you get this brief update and useful little bit for fun instead.  

Be seeing you.

EDIT: I have gotten a few questions about what natron and Kyphi are. So, for the sake of clarity, I'll briefly explain. Natron is a naturally occurring form of sodium, originally procured at dry lake beds in Egypt. When blended with oil, it forms an early type of soap and was used for a large number of hygiene related issues, as well as for purification purposes. The closest available approximation that's easy to get here in the U.S. is baking soda. However, you can easily make it by blending baking soda with table salt.

Kyphi would be much more taxing to make. Thankfully, Harold Roth totally sells it. And for an absurdly cheap price if he's taking the time to make it correctly. That means that this ritual, if you know a daimon and of a ritual that calls for natural (e.g. plant) ingredients, is easily useable.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cochrane's Craft

Over the last year or so I've had a lot of private email queries asking about the few things that Robert Cochrane (Roy Bowers) wrote, and where more information on his thoughts on witchcraft can be found.

So I felt it was time to sit down, and take a moment to pick five books I quite liked, and felt were somewhat reliable, and put them down in a blog entry for easy reference (especially if the subject should come up again). I want to make it absolutely clear that I am NOT a member of the Clan of Tubal-Cain and my perspective is entirely my own. Furthermore, some of the books I am about to reference may be a pain to find. One hopes that they are not, but certain materials tend to head out of print and then vanish at different times.

So here are five books I think will help any new-comer that thinks Cochrane's ideas are worth looking into.

  1. The Robert Cochrane Letters by Cochrane and Evan John Jones, edited by Michael Howard.
    A version of them appears online here. (Although I have seen some claim that online versions of the letters have been “edited.” If such is the case, I'm unaware of the specifics.)
  2. The Roebuck in the Thicket by Cochrane and Evan John Jones (again edited by Michael Howard).
  3. Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed by Doreen Valiente and Evan John Jones.
    Only SOME of the rituals are covered by this book, but it has so many goodies that I couldn't possible babble enough about it.
  4. The Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente
    This book is essential for understanding a great many things involved in the rebirth of Modern Witchery, including why elements of Crowley show up in Wicca, to her comments on her time with the Clan of Tubal-Cian.
  5. Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton
    His chapter on Cochrane is entitled “The Man in Black,” and is very much worth reading.

Finally, the very cool folks over at the Clan of Tubal-Cain have a website up that last I checked had essays worth reading. Although, some appear to have disappeared as of December 2011, which is a real pity.

I have not read Michael Howard's Children of Cain, and thus have no opinion on it at all.

I do have an opinion on Ann Finnan's The Forge of Tubal Cain, but it isn't worth repeating as that opinion is somewhat low. The materials in the book are great. However their solution for the 1734 “equation” is not to my liking. (There is an essay in Abraxas #1 by another 1734 practitioner, but I forget his name and the title. If you own the volume, look for it.) I would not recommend the book to anyone who is not about to try and join their group, unless they wanted the material at the end of the book. This is not my passing judgment on their coven, group, or thoughts, however. They are clearly selective and clearly only looking for certain types of witches, which is their right, and one they have earned by being active as long as they have.

EDIT: If any of this interests you, then you'll also want to pick up a copy of The White Goddess by Graves, but if I tell you why... That will spoil the surprise of Cochrane doing it for me in his letters.

Omens vs. Black Magick

Although it is unfitting for someone like me to say this, in dying it is my hope not to become a Buddha. Rather, my will is permeated with the resolution to help manage the affairs of the province, though I be reborn as a Nabeshima samurai seven times.One needs neither vitality nor talent. In a word, it is a matter of having the will to shoulder the clan by oneself.
(Reader beware: some Edo period Samurai, such as Yamamoto, were homophobic.)

Let us imagine that you are a powerful magician or sorcerer on the 'net. Just, you understand, for the sake of speculation itself. And let us imagine that one day, while traveling, you notice something flying towards you... And that this thing headed your way, as you wander on foot or perhaps in a named vehicle, is definitely a projectile and that it will intersect with your current trajectory if you do not stop or alter your course. So you do, and the problem is solved.

But let us imagine that previously you helped spark a fuckoff huge flame-war, and that there are people incredibly pissed off at you. This is not so hard to imagine; magicians love arguing on the internet. Why, it's our favorite pastime! And let us imagine that you wonder if it is, in fact, the manifestation of a curse.

So you divine on the matter, but nothing pops up. Your wards are tight; your ways are shielded, your allies remain all beside you with no claims that you are under assault. Thus, arguably, the probability of a black magician is decreased. What then, though, might the intrepid magician make of this situation?

He might, at least if he were myself (and I hardly have all the answers), wonder if it were an Omen. And if it was, what might this omen – this message flying through the sky and towards one's person previously at speeds that would be bad to encounter – what would it mean? Might it not mean that sometimes, events just transpire and while they can look like they are bad for us, that is not necessarily the reason they have occurred.

Indeed, our magician has recently been in a flamewar, and this omen could be a direct result of that occurance: a warning that not all conflicts have to met head-on. And that meeting them headon, like some form of courageous badass, is in fact not the path to take. Sometimes the best thing to do is move to the side and let the projectile – perceived as dangerous – pass by.

For were we to consult Sun Tzu's The Art of War, we will find a great many things that would in fact prevent hostilities and allow us to overcome them. For example, he tells us that:
The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”
... If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
And much more besides, such as describing the extreme needs of espionage during a time of war, and in many cases some flamewars would not even occur if these needs were met. For were spies dispatched to monitor the enemy, to discover if an attack has been prepared and launched, and then the discovery was made that no such event had occurred, there would be no such flamewar. For the spies would carry back a message a message that no such attack had occurred, and a misunderstanding was at the heart of the matter. And the General would be forced to concede that he did not understand the full details involved in the battle he was prepared to make.
Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation. Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men.
Welcome to the real world. If you plan to make war, then you must get your hands dirty. If you are unwilling to get your hands dirty, then you have no business making war – on ideas or your enemies. If you have no foreknowledge of the circumstances that have led to the conflict, then you have no right to lead troops. And if you cannot accept this, then you must put war aside and learn to live a life of peace. Or be annihilated by the sheer forces that you cannot possibly comprehend which will bear down upon you.

We do not need less war. We need less wasteful war, both in terms of ideas and actions. A great many occultists think they need not make these considerations, that these principles do not apply to their activities. They are wrong.

On the other hand, if our hypothetical situation was caused by black magic? The time to dispatch the spies has come.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Green Lantern Corps

There's a storm coming, brother, and the galaxy will need everyone of strong and true heart to survive. - Saint Walker, Green Lantern: The Animated Series.

Since other magicians already have claims to being occult representations of Star Fleet, the Jedi Knights, the rebels from the Matrix and whatever side the humans of BSG are on, I feel we need to balance things out.

Clearly the only way to do this is to suffuse the universe with the Light of Will and take our orders from Immortal Smurfs (obviously, they will be our Secret Chiefs), etc.

I'm sure someone else can form the Sinestro Corps, Red Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, etc, etc. Hell, R.O. could probably pass for this guy:

This absolutely must be done - is possibly the most pressing concern of the month - lest all Heroic Fiction and Good Guy roles by stolen by other Gonzo Magicians.

Now. To get back to writing and reading crap that actually matters.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Genius Loci & Those Doing Similar Research

I'll try to make another post this weekend detailing how to find areas in any city or town with enough age to find the Genius Loci. However, I have a proposal for those working on their own cities that I'd like to discuss with folks. It'd be a long-term, slow moving project. But if you drop me a line at dionysianatavism (at) gmail  (dot) com, I'll chat you up if I know you. U.S./North American sorcerers only to start, but if it works... Well. I'll keep that to myself.

Be seeing you,

Genius Loci Field Report #3 (Or is it up to #4 now?)

Here There Be Dragons.
Many months ago I dropped my second field report from working towards gaining an understanding of my city on a spiritual level, and it ended with me being pretty dismal about the subject. Since then multiple people have mentioned that they loved what I was writing about it and at least two – Doug Nox and Lance Foster – have posted comments or chatted with me privately about doing their own work along those lines.

This cheered me up greatly.

Following the second field report, I stopped talking as much about that work because I'd finally noticed some issues I had been poignantly ignoring before that time. One of what being that certain “inhabited” locations seemed to dislike my presence.

A few months after this I took a short “vacation” to house-sit for a friend. One day while taking a walk near a pond that bordered his housing area, I noticed something. And it was this: there was certainly “something” living in the pond, and then it came to me like a flash – the natural features, the bodies of water, the houses that are inhabited, are as reflective of the spirit and how it is manifesting as the areas around them.

So I went back and rechecked my research. At least 75% (43 total sites mapped so far, with about 15-17 hostile) of the areas I designated as hostile in my notes were linked to an area of town with rampant poverty, houses degrading, and especially sprawling industrial filth, etc. I began to see the spirits inhabiting the place, the state of the structure or landmark, and how people think about it (e.g. when I describe Sacramento's “Alkalai Flats” as “The Burned Out District”) were linked together with the feedback I was getting. The places that were the most destitute or broken down or falling apart were the ones that seemed to have entities that didn't want me near them at all.

Gazing at the pond, I started to realize that if you wanted to undermine the spirit of the place, the only thing you had to do was poison and ruin the pond. The foothold that the spirit was manifesting under was being broken down, and thus if it noticed you prying about it basically shouted “Go Away, Noob Magician!”

And suddenly the huge chunk of hostile locations made sense. I've been going over ideas of what to do: seedbomb, leave incense, empower other spirits to help out (which may not be such a great idea, all things considered).

But for just as many spots, being noticed as I tried to find the spirits was very odd. To this day I still occasionally have ecstatic, wandering encounters with what I call “The Agents of Space.” I'll settle down and focus on the place, trying to “see” and “feel” it and meditating within it before I try and automatically draw a sigil – and there will occasionally be an instantaneous response: someone will come up, and they will immediately begin narrating bits and pieces of the history of the space I'm in. It's always very curious and odd. Sometimes they'll add, “you know! Someone needs to preserve these places before we lose them all!” (That phrase was uttered to me at what was at least two parks.)

I've begun viewing this as a legitimate way of knowing if the spirit inhabiting the space I'm in actually wants to communicate with me, rather than random prying with what few “psychic powers” I probably do not have, and it's almost becoming a guiding principle before trying to continue magical work in those spaces: before one even has a sigil on hand, some form of contact (and it's really hard to mistake it when it happens) will occur.

Then again, I've yet to hear many people state that they've had such experiences, and so proposing it as a benchmark is not something I want to do.

I have stepped up the work, however. In the last three weeks to a month I've been going over archived maps of Sacramento side by side with personal Google maps, trying to figure out where some of the old Trivium and Quadrivium roads from around 1860-1890 are still preserved. It's been a lot of fun, and I've been quite pleased to discover that most maps from 1890 are available to the public at the downtown library. In the event you want to find some of the hidden “old edges” of your town and work them around midnight, your city library may have similar reference materials to look at for free!


Ps. I've also pretty consistently run across a Roman class of ghost that lived at the Quadrivium beyond civilization that were referred to specifically as Genius Loci, but I've been unable to figure out what they were supposed to do and how they were petitioned. Was it the same as the inscriptions thanking some G.L. for survival that we've found at stopping points on trade routes, etc? Were they considered to be separate? How different were they supposed to be from elementals? I have absolutely no idea. But I would surely love to find out.

Pps. You did not get a sigils from me for the park with Sac Occupyers because they left before I could cement the relationship with the requests made by the spirit I met. Which was very elemental. Water of earth, I think. Presently the Occupy movement has been using a park closer to where I live, where I have already made friends. Sometimes you just gotta wait, I guess. And with the Sac rainy season, few want to Occupy a park. Hopefully summer will revive the Occupying. But who knows?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

From: A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari

Excerpts from 1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible (Memories of a Sorcerer II & III):

(Memories of a Sorcerer II) 
The contradiction between two themes, contagion through the animal as pack, and pact with the anomalous as exceptional being, is progressively fading... Alliance or the pact is the form of expression for an infection or epidemic constituting the form of content. In sorcery, blood is of the order of contagion and alliance. It can be said that becoming-animal is an affair of sorcery because (1) it implies an initial relation of alliance with a demon; (2) the demon functions as the borderline of an animal pack, into which the human being passes or in which his or her becoming takes place, by contagion; (3) this becoming implies a second alliance, with another human group; (4) tis new borderline between the two groups guides the contagion of animal and human being within the pack. There is an entire politics of becomings-animal, as well as a politics of sorcery, which is elaborated in assemblages that are neither those of the family or of religion nor of the State. Instead, they express minoritarian groups, or groups that are oppressed, prohibited, in revolt, or always on the fringe of recognized institutions, groups all the more secret for being extrinsic, in other words, anomic. If becoming-animal takes the formof a Temptation, and of monsters aroused in the imagination by the demon, it is because it is accompanied, at is origin as in its undertaking, by a rupture with the central institutions that have established themselves or seek to becoming established.
Let us cite pell-mell, not as mixes to be made, but as different cases to be studied: becomings-animal in the war machine, wildmen of all kinds (the war machine indeed comes from without, it is extrinsic to the State, which treats the warrior as an anomalous power); becomings-animal in crime societies, leapard men, crocadile-men (when the State prohibits tribal and local wars); becomings-animal in riot groups (which the Church and State are faced with peasant movements containing a sorcery component, which they repress by setting up a whole trial and legal system designed to expose pacts with the Devil)...

The politics of becomings-animal remains, of course, extremely ambiguous. For societies, even primitive societies, have always appropriated these becomings in order to break them, reduce them to relations of totemic or symbolic correspondence. The Church has always burned sorcerers, or reintegrated anchorites into the toned-down image of a series of saints whose only remaining relation to animals is strangely familiar, domestic. Families have always warded off the demonic Alliance gnawing at them, in order to regulated alliances among themselves as they see fit. We have seen sorcerers serve as leaders, rally to the cause of despotism, create the counter-sorcery of exorcism, pass over to the side of the family and descent. But this spells the death of the sorcerer, and also the death of becoming...
(Memories of a Sorcerer III) 
Exclusive importance should not be attached to becomings-animal. Rather, they are segments occupying a median region. On the near side, we encounter becomings-woman, becomings-child (becoming-woman, more than any other becoming, possesses a special introductory power; it is not so much that women are witches, but that sorcery proceeds by way of this becoming-woman). On the far side we find becomings-elementary, -cellular, -molecular, and even becoming-imperceptible... The properly musical content of music is plied by becomings-woman, becomings-child, becomings-animal; however, it tends, under all sorts of infleunces, having to do also with the instruments, to become progressively more molecular in a kind of cosmic lapping through which the inaudible makes itself heard and the imperceptible appears as such: no longer the songbird, but the sound molecule.
If the experimentation with drugs has left its mark on everyone, even nonusers, it is because it changed the perceptive coordinates of space-time and introduced us to a universe of microperceptions in which becomings-molecular take over where becomings-animal leave off... A man totters from one door to the next and disappears into thin air: “All I can tell you is that we are fluid, luminous beings made of fibers.” All so-called initiatory journeys include these thresholds and doors where becoming itself becomes, where one changes becoming depending on the “hour” of the world, the circles of hell, or the stages of a journey that sets scales, forms and cries in variation. From the howling of animals to the wailing of elements and particles.

Thus packs, or multiplicities, continually transform themselves into each other, cross over into each other. Werewolves become vampires when they die. This is not surprising, since becoming and multiplicity are the same thing. A multiplicity is not defined by its elements, nor by a center of unification or comprehension. It is defined by the number of dimensions it has; it is not divisible, it cannot lose or gain a dimension without changing its nature. Since its variations and dimensions are immanent to it, it amounts to the same thing to say that each multiplicity is already composed of heterogeneous terms in symbiosis, and that each multiplicity is continually transforming into a string of other multiplicities, according to its threshold and doors. For example, the Wolf-Man's pack of wolves also becomes a swarm of bees... If we imagined the position of a fascinated Self, it was because the multiplicity toward which it leans, stretching to the breaking point, is the continuation of another multiplicity that works it and strains it from the inside. In fact, the self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities. Each multiplicity is defined by a borderline functioning as Anomalous, but there is a string of borderlines, a continuous line of borderlines (fiber) following which the multiplicity emerges. At each threshold or door, a new pact? A fiber stretches from a human to an animal, from a human or an animal to molecules, from molecules to particles, and so on to the imperceptible. Every fiber is a Universe fiber. A fiber strung across borderlines that constitutes a line of flight or of deterritorialization. It is evident that the Anomalous, the Outsider, has several functions: not only does it border each multiplicity, of which it determines temporary or local stability (with the highest number of dimensions possible under the circumstances), not only is it the precondition for the alliance necessary to becoming, but it also carries the transformations of becoming or crossing of multiplicities always farther down the line of flight...

The error we must guard against is to believe that there is a kind of logical order to this string. (Italix mine.)
- A Thousand Plateaus, 241-251


“What is the ultimate goal of your magick?” They asked us.
To which we replied, with wit and perhaps too much humor, “to walk through walls!”
“You didn't mention merging with the Godhead!” They cried, in alarm.
We are already a part of the universe. That is only one possible becoming in an endless chain of things-to-come.” We said, trying to be patient.
“But...” They trailed off, and then cried again: “But! But! But! That goal is absurd!”
“Linear time is a type of wall, a bordering...” We trailed off. “And we wish to walk forward with eyes peering from the back of our head into what came before.”
“I don't understand,” they sighed.
“That's okay.” We replied, politely and with a smile.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hand of Sabazios

Hekas Hekas!
Hekas Hekas!
Hekas Hekas, Este Babeloi!

Hear me, illustrious father, dæmon fam'd.
Great Saturn's [Kronos'] offspring, and Sabasius [Zabazios] nam'd;
Inserting Bacchus, bearer of the vine, and founding God, within thy thigh divine,
That when mature, the Dionysian God might burst the bands of his conceal'd abode,
And come to sacred Tmolus, his delight, where Ippa dwells, all beautiful and bright.
Come blessed Phrygian God, the king of all, and aid thy mystics, when on thee they call.
- Orphic Hymn to Sabazios

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Underworld/Our World, the Dead, and the Good.

Stolen from Here.

What we need is MORE LIGHT.”

“It is not evil to work with the underworld, the ancestors, the night, the moon, death, and bones. It is dark, but there is goodness in it. We fear the unknown and the unseen. Modern witches call the above and the gods, but they often ignore the underworld and the spirits of the dead in their circle castings and magics. The chthonic deities and ancestors are great allies with their vast store of ancient wisdom and knowledge of the other worlds… but if neglected and ignored they become as the uninvited fairy from Sleeping Beauty and we all know how well that worked out. Ignore the darkness within yourself and expect the same results.”
I agree, almost completely. But I have to add a few caveats.

It's wrong to characterize Cthonic spirits, or the dead, as Evil. In the same respect, it's also wrong to characterize someone who performs an act of evil as Evil. It is not wrong, however, to say that some, if not many, are dangerous.

If you own a copy of Betz's tome, take a gander through the rituals that call upon the dead. Betz describes this treatment as “unscrupulous” and he is quite right. The individual practitioner may never need, or even desire, to perform any of these rituals. Denying that they exist, and were probably used exactly as they state their purpose is, would be wrong.

In the case of the dead there remain two tricky categories, neither good nor bad: the Restless Dead, and the Heroic Dead. It is tempting for me to treat the Restless Dead as “evil” because of some of the rather humorous events that happened to me surrounding my attempts to use CLM 849 long before I had any idea what I was doing. I did, indeed, gain complete astral sight for the duration of one particular ritual. It was hardly a blessing. I did something to piss something off, and it brought a dozen or more friends to hammer on my circle. I was completely and utterly terrified. I had to resort to exorcisms and hoping that I wasn't completely fucked. I consider myself to have lucked out, as eventually just about all of the angry dead departed. I left the Grimoire, with all it's glorious Latin scripts, prayers, and scrying instructions alone after that. I now have a few copies of it, and still reflect on it every now and again. But I refuse to pick up the book and try to use it again until I know precisely what is happening, and why.

Heroic spirits aren't specifically good in the human sense of the word, either. Piss one off – ancestral or otherwise – and expect to get feedback unlike anything you've ever felt before. Burnt earth and lime pits and maybe a few Restless Friends again screaming at you. And, despite what you might think, it's not so hard to piss them off. Especially if you have obligations to one of them.

In both cases you may end up in a good relationship, but you could also have trouble.

The same could be said of any magical attempts, really. The issue is that the dead appear to be playing – as some Necromancer's have insisted – by very different rules than the average elemental, Angelic, and otherwise spirits. They seem to have very different functions, and very different roles. And all manner of unspeakable, no-good can be gotten up to with them – especially if you're ecstatic and not thinking (I have made that mistake many times) about the ramifications of your actions. And some of them will helpfully suggest it.

Additionally there are those that don't want you prying, and don't want you bothering them. The ghost of a murdered woman does not necessarily want you leading her into the light. She might very well just want revenge. And, unbeknownst to you, she may be entitled to it. Are you going to help her lay waste to her murderer? Are you going to be able to understand what her request is, or be balanced enough to consider helping it out?

These are tricky, individual questions. While there is plenty of fear to be had from not knowing the subject, it seems to me that there's plenty of room for error and miscalculation if you really aren't prepared to act as such a functionary.

While there is plenty of good to be found – especially in some of the Heroic spirits – there is also plenty of room to get fucked up by them.

Finally, on that last issue, when I wrote on Persephone, Mnemosyne, and Orphica, some folks seem to have decided I was talking about the Qliphot.

Let me assert this once, clearly, and without slipping up now that Mercury is not retrograde (well, just about to stop being retrograde): I have some serious qualms about this theoretical structure.

Yes, comparisons could be made. And some insight into the subject could be gleaned from such considerations... However, Persephone is the “Pure, Pure Queen of Down Below.” This does not match, in any form or function, that of a shell. She is further treated by some of the Orphic cults as Praxidike: the Exacter of Justice. And elementally... water. Which I did not realize (Jack = n00b) until Melitta recently mentioned it on a blog post. I probably should have recognized that before. I was too lovestruck in “gazing” at Mnemosyne, I think. Not, uh, very shell-like. Seriously.

I keep focusing on the balance between the elements of water and earth (not to mention fire) in the Orphic scripts. There's something pestering me about it. But I can't put my finger on it.

Regardless, I would be very careful about even considering such spirits or gods as “purified” shells. I don't think that's what they are, at all. I'm also not sure it's smart to try and extend categories of spirits from Judaic mysticism, which only a few people actually understand beyond the basics, to the Graeco-Roman-Egyptian mythos. While similarities and parallels can certainly be found, there is a tendency to create a black and white picture of “good and evil” that doesn't exist. There's also a certain ambiguity about the category of spirit, and Ogden in Greek and Roman Necromancy has a number of stories in which Heroic spirits become enraged at insults cast at them and then blight the populace they were hanging out with, with lice and such.

Even if you walk with a balanced mind, remember that you aren't the only factor involved in witchery that takes place After Dark.

The Sky Above You

These are the present astrological conditions as of April 3rd, 2012.

Mercury has finally stationed (or will later tonight); Mars is still retrograde until April 13th (five days before my twenty-eighth birthday), Saturn is still Retrograde.

As of today, something even more interesting has occurred. To quote Austin:
Almost immediately upon entering Gemini, Venus enters a strange Grand Cross involving Mars, Neptune and the Nodes, which complicates both this week and the next.  Though not terribly destructive, this configuration  highlights romantic relationships and potential confusion surrounding different types of love, changing relationship dynamics and what direction to take things.
 This will keep up until April 10th, as I understand it.

Between April 13th and the end of the month, we'll get some breathing room. I advise you not to punch anyone until after to the Mars retrograde ends. You may end up with a pesky, quarrel-some legal bill... Or another flame war.

Ps. Austin also has a 2012 Almanac that I recommend to everyone. Along with an Astrological hour calculator for your android and rituals, it may very well save a few folks some headaches in the year of Weird Shit.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trust and Oxytocin

This is worth watching and sharing. Oxytocin and the feelings of empathy and trust.