Saturday, August 25, 2012

Even Moar Stele of Jeu [Corrections]

Melitta, being awesome, recently posted about the Agathos-Daimon vs. the HGA. The post is pretty cool, all things told.

Unfortunately, she also quoted me. And when I read the words that I had written, I wanted to find my previous self and punch him repeatedly in the face for relying on intellectual twaddle... Despite the fact that this blog is mostly composed of intellectual twaddle and, like, sigils. But what-the-fuck-ever, right?

So, grabbing what she'd selected:
Above the daemon level of reality was the Agathos-Daemon, or Good Daemon.”
What I meant to say is that the Headless Daimon is cosmic, and not a tortured earth-bound Daimon or anything of the like. The ritual also deals with those daimons*, and I'll come back to them in a moment for a few reasons.

It is this mythological being that is the basis of the Holy Guardian Angel insofar as most modern practitioners of magick might be concerned.”

That is incorrect on many levels. First, given the cult titles attributed to other deities and their reference as its name (“You are Osoronnophris...” “I am the messenger of Pharoah Osoronnophris; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the Prophet of Israel...”) should make this assertion's sheer wrongness clear in the context of the ritual. We could argue that the Headless Daimon has the attributes of Iapos and Iabas and Osoronnophris, but that isn't what the ritual states in the least.

Smith's commentary that I quoted earlier from the Demons of Magic also makes this clear: “So this earth god is Bes and he [is] also agathos daimon. Bes and [the] agathos daimon and the headless god are very closely intertwined. That was easier to do because as you all know agathos daimon is serpentine. Agathos daimon is a well recognized god, who has well recognized cults in Egypt also elsewhere in southern Italy and the like.”

So, it's a God in it's own right, just as the ritual goes on to state in lines 120 on:
I call upon you awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit,” (VM) “Holy Headless one, deliver him, NN, from the Daimon which restrains him...” “He is the lord of the Gods...”**

My assertion was only partially correct***, and while I've been trying to correct that for a while... I kinda needed to make it clear that I've realized, several times over, just how wrong it was.

Back to the other daimons, quoting the Preliminary Speech to be said before beginning the ritual:
Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly, or aerial, or earthly, or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God.”

Note the lack of fiery spirits being in the list. Of all the daimons brought up in the context of the ritual, only the Headless One is given fiery attributes. (“I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal Fire...” “I am the one whose mouth burns completely.”) This lack actually is a distinguishing feature, and one I puzzled over for a while until it dawned on me that this was fairly decent evidence that the ritual is not influenced a great deal by Neo-Platonism. The daimons do not correspond to the four roots/four elements, but rather to their locales. Furthermore, I continue to be interested in the “top down” progression, followed by the more immediate and possibly localized daimons (depending on whether the magician was near the Ocean or a Sea or not). My brain keeps insisting that this is the very essence of magic using the vision of our world as two interlocking domes with us in the middle, but I'm still not sure. I wish I could find proof, but I suppose that in the end, it doesn't matter.

* Potentially, at least. The function of exorcism pretty much precludes that a good reason to be beseeching the Headless God, aside from a desire for power, is having a pissed off spirit harassing you. Or one that's just annoying. Or malign. Etc. You don't typically ask to restrain Daimons that help you out.
** Were we to take every ritual that states this literally, at least within the substance of the PGM/PDM, we'd end up with a pretty huge list of Lord(s) of the Gods. LOL.
*** [EDIT]: It is an amalgamation possibly including: the Agathos-Daimon, Bes (in the other rituals where the Headless Daimon shows up, at least), Osiris, Seth-Typhon (I still don't trust Stephen Flowers), and maybe whatever else the magicians of that era felt comfortable applying to the entity for reasons of flattery or just because it was that awesome to deal with. All in all? It's your friend. And it can command daimons should the need arise. And being in its presence alters your subtle body, too, if my abarrant experiences are to be trusted.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Demons of Magic by Morton Smith

I've been re-reading Morton Smith's The Demons of Magic, which I do every six months or so. I actually tend to re-read everything by him in my library every six months or so, because I often finding myself forgetting points he made, or becoming confused again.

But there were some choice bits in it I wanted to sample:
The papyri give you the fullest description of the daimones and their place in the world. They refer to them fairly often, as a class of beings who are intermediate, apparently, between gods and men. They are supernatural beings, in the sense that they haven't got human physical location and limitations, but they are subordinate to the gods. They are found in the air, on the earth, in the waters, and on the sea, and also in the underworld. An especially important class of them are the demons of the underworld, particularly the demons of the dead who become daimones after death--apparently all the dead do, and whenever you have a dead man you have a decidaimon who can be called up if you have some remains of the body, the proper spells, and so on. The decidaimon will be particularly effective if the dead man was killed violently, especially if was executed for a crime, but also if he died young, particularly if he died before marriage. Those who did not reach their time of flourishing, and those who died as infants, especially, provide lots of demonic service for the magicians. All of these daimones for the most part are what you might call the help, the labor, of the magical world. They are called in to provide various services for the magician. For example, “Go to a such and such house and stand next to somebody and take the appearance of the god or demon that he or she particularly reveres and tell the target person as follows.” Then you give the message you want conveyed. Or “take control of them,” usually used in attempts to get women. “Make her jump out of bed and come to me right away and pound on the door.” “Inflame her with passion. Make her burn.” And so forth and so on. You can also change the gender, but women, on the whole, are easier. The magical world is predominantly straight, so charms of this sort are usually for men trying to get women. You can also send out demons to commit murder, or for all sorts of other purposes, such as to get information. I suppose that if magic were still going there would be spells like, “Go to my competitor's computer and read what he has on the following keys.” So these, what I might call lower class help, the helper class of demons, frequently appear in lists, especially when you are talking about the Great Name. “I have the Great Name at which the gods prostrate themselves, the demons are terrified, the wild animals take flight, rivers flow backwards...” and so forth and so on. You can go right on down. You normally start with the gods, then the demons, then the men or wild animals, and then other physical phenomenon, such as the seas will calm, and so forth....
Besides this, however, there is a very interesting class of exceptional passages which occur much more rarely but deserve, I think, much more attention. These are the ones that carry on the old tradition of identifying the gods as daimones, so that you get a list of names for example: lord god of gods, king daimon, followed by magical voces. Further on down in 460 in PGM 4, Helios Horus is addressed as “ruler of the world” or “lord of the world,” “daimon of sleepless fire.”
You get into PGM 7 and 8 and you find an interesting spell which occurs several times: “Spell for demanding a dream from Bes.” “I call on you the headless god who has sight in his feet. You who lightning and thunder . . .” etcetera. Besides being headless, he is cosmic. “Arise, daimon. You are not a daimon but theblood of the two hawks on the coffin of Osiris . . .” etcetera. You go on to what the two hawks are up to and come back. “I conjure you daimon by your two names: Anouth-anouth. You are the headless god.” and so forth, “Answer me.” It's quite clear that the terms “daimon” and “god” are fluctuating back and forth here as practically equivalent terms.* And that the creature we have in mind, a headless being with eyes on his feet is much like, or like what would ordinarily be considered a good daimon, then what would ordinarily be considered a high god. But he is the high god and I think he is the high god because he is the earth which hasn't got a head, which has a great stretch of flat land. The shoulders with the neck cut off which wears around itself the seed as a great serpent out of which the gods and men and other things grow. As gods, plants and men and the like are shown growing from this headless being wearing the great serpent around his middle as a loincloth. I'm describing a lapis lazuli gem in the British museum that shows this very clearly; it is reasonably well inscribed so you can see these details. There are a number of other gems showing this headless demon and we also find him in statues. There are a couple of lead statues from Syracuse showing him with his eyes (in this case) not on the feet but in the tummy. You have a headless torso with a face on the navel and there is another to prove that this was not just a Syracusen peculiarity. You have another statue of the same sort from the neighborhood of Constantinople. So this earth god is Bes and he also agathos daimon. Bes and agathos daimon and the headless god are very closely intertwined. That was easier to do because as you all know agathos daimon is serpentine. Agathos daimon is a well recognized god, who has well recognized cults in Egypt also elsewhere in southern Italy and the like.

*Italix mine.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Black Dog Days

Some time ago,VI threw this awesome Eddie Lenihan piece on Fairies and the Black Dog, and I enjoyed it immensely. Given that we're nearing the end of the Dog Days of summer, I wanted to repost it.

In the event you woke up to a malefic maelstrom of emotions today, relax, the T-Square will only last for three days. In the meantime, watch an Irish guy talk about fairies and huge dogs!