Tuesday, February 21, 2012

P-Con & Arising Issues

At the same time that Z. Budapest was running her ritual (and the subsequent protest was happening), the CAYA Grove of Artemis and Living Temple of Diana were running "The Rite of the Bear Mother":

" All are welcome to this unprecedented pan-Dianic rite celebrating the spirit of the Bear: fierce, protective, nurturing, and wise. Ritual leaders Yeshe Rabbit, High Priestess of the Amazon Priestess Tribe, and Devin Hunter, Head Priest of the Living Temple of Diana, have collaborated in a ritual especially designed to create loving community and balance for all of those who revere Goddess as whole and complete unto herself. Members of both groups will co-facilitate this singing, dancing, shamanic ritual with focus on healing the wounds we all carry, women and men alike, as the result of patriarchy and unhealthy gender dynamics."

Rather than gripe about the bad - which I did not see, as I did not attend P-con this year - I would prefer to applaud those two groups.

I call that good work. I can only hope that such examples continue in the years to come.

Jack.

P.s. I will add links when I'm not updating via my phone.

Monday, February 20, 2012

C.G. Jung and Alchemy

There is nothing wrong with citing Jung on alchemy, nor in even using his texts as a foundation for understanding spiritual alchemy. Most discussions of late, when not coming from Fr. AIT and his lot, center on spiritual alchemy. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I become dismayed, however, when the Alchemical Stages (e.g. Nigredo, etc.) are used to validate the subject of Gnosis. This conflates the spiritual technology of the Gnostic sects (such as displayed in the texts belonging to the Nag Hammadi library) with the literature of the alchemy, which is actually older in some situations. There may be similarities between the two subjects, but suggesting they are one and the same is just... unthinkable to me.

Gnosis - divine knowledge - is exactly what it sounds like. Some aspects of it may well depend on a contingent state of the soul, but some are simply available to everyone, from the moment they set out on a spiritual quest to free themselves of the Archons. Or whatever.

Seriously, though, we could also have some folks stop endlessly conflating Lab Alchemy with Spiritual Alchemy. The former requires decidedly more resources, and seems to have some crazy perks to it. Whenever I end up with the money to seriously pursue it, I intend to. And yes, I know that Bartlett explains how to perform a number of alchemical operations cheaply. I still want a damn spagyry set before I set out to bring forth the virtue in plant matter and evolve it.

Perpetual Intoxication

Five or six years ago – I had just turned 21 or 22, I'm not sure – I went out to lunch with my mother. We've always gotten along well, but she wanted to treat me to a decent meal, converse, and just generally have a good time together on this occasion. My mother is far more... Protestant... than I am.

Even by that point in my life, there were very marked differences between us. Which is to be expected, of course. Amongst the many differences we have is this: I enjoy drinking alcohol, and engage in the activity whenever I choose. This is not as often as one might imagine; I actually prefer other “intoxicants,” but generally speaking, I like booze. My mother's relationship with the drug is a bit more ambivalent. She will drink on occasion, but these occasions are rare. She also treats the substance as far more dangerous than I do.

On this occasion, she invited me to order alcohol along with my meal. So I ordered a Jack and Coke.

I did not anticipate this choice would prompt a lengthy discussion on my preferred methods of acquiring the buzzed or lightly drunken state (which I greatly prefer to the full-on state of “drunk”), and was prompted into explaining that for some reason, the Jack and Coke had been both the second alcoholic beverage I'd ever consumed legally (the first was an Irish Carbomb), and had remained a constant companion in my forays into bars and such.

She turned bright red. I asked her why. She told me, “I was drinking that on the night you were concieved.”

Suddenly, my life made complete sense. I quite simply would not exist today if it were not for a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a 2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola.

***


We can speak of chemical compounds which are psychoactive in many ways; we can call them “drugs,” though this word often obscures many faces of the subject. Or we can refer to the chemical structures themselves, by the chemical name (e.g. N,N-Dimethyltryptamine). We can similarly refer to the chemical compounds as “alkaloids.”* Each of these, unfortunately, has specific drawbacks. The word “drug” often creates the illusion that we are talking about a highly specific category of chemicals (e.g. “the War on Drugs,” or “Just Say No to Drugs”) which are somehow especially separate other chemicals. For example, alcohol and caffeine are both “drugs,” but we may purchase each of them quite easily, and possession does not necessitate the Police State bearing down upon one's person. Meanwhile, not all drugs are alkaloids (I will not get into this rather complex discussion), and the term alkaloid itself is somewhat vague for reasons that Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin discusses in TiHKAL**. Generally speaking, when we are discussing the chemical native to the plant, we are discussing an alkaloid; when we are discussing a synthetic deritative taken from the plant, we are discussing a “drug.” However, even this distinction could be argued as wrong by some individuals.

The topic of drugs and magick is not an easy one to address. One major factor in this is that one has to decide if they are going to assault the topic from a personal angle (which can easily backfire); another is that a great many people freak out if the topic is brought up at all. The reasons for these freak-outs are mostly cultural, due to the fact that we've never actually learned how to properly address the subject, and many discussions can become... Illegal, if certain topics are brought up. For example, I cannot tell you how to make certain chemical compounds (“drugs”) on this blog, because those compounds are illegal. Doing so would have a great many terrible ramifications, even if it makes free speech about the subject a rather interesting dilemma. I will avoid doing so for that reason, specifically.

I will, however, talk a bit about the ways in which drugs affect you. I plan to focus on two presently “illegal” drugs (LSD, and DMT), to keep from writing something like a 40 page discussion on the War on Drugs, and how utterly ignorant our culture insists on being. This would be tiresome unless you enjoy reading about such things.

***
Stolen from Wikipedia.

On November 16th, 1938 Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD-25 from Ergot (Claviceps Purpurea). Historian Carlo Ginzburg describes ergot in his Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath*** as: “a mushroom which, favouring rainy springs and summers, establishes itself on grains, in particular rye, covering them with blackish outgrowths called sclerotium. The ingestion of flour thus contaminated provokes real epidemics of ergotism (from ergot, the word that designates the mushroom in English and in French). Two varieties of this morbid condition are known. The first, recorded mainly in Western Europe, causes very serious gangrene; in the Middle Ages it was known as 'St. Anthony's Fire.' The second, chiefly spread in Central and Northern Europe, provoked convulsions, extremely violent cramps, states similar to epilepsy, with a loss of consciousness lasting six to eight hours. Both forms, the gangrenous and convulsive, were very frequent due to the diffusion on the European continent of a grain-like rye, which is much hardier than wheat. In the course of the seventeenth century they often had lethal consequences, especially before their cause was discovered to be the claviceps purpurea.”

On April 19th, 1943. By 1947, Sandoz – the company that employed Hofmann (who would later write a book on LSD entitled “My Problem Child” which discusses the first technical Acid Trip had) – released LSD for Psychiatric Study and use in Psyciatric treatment. These two events are typically seen as the first historical stages of acid. But, insofar as ergot is concerned as a psychoative, the history stretches back a bit further.

In addition to the above, Ginzburg also discusses some of the medicinal uses of ergot (such as for abortions), and the names that it bore in Germanic folklore. He writes: “Rye had been cultivated since ancient times in the Alps and in the greater part of central Europe; in other areas, for example in Greece, there grew other species of claviceps which contain alkaloids that could be used as substitutes. But evidently the material accessibility of a potentially hallucinogenic substance does not prove that it was being consciously utilized. More indicative are a number of terms popularly used to designate claviceps purpurea, such as the French seigle ivre (drunken rye) and the German Tollkorn (mad wheat), which seem to point to an ancient awareness of the potency of the plant. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, children in the German countryside were told about frightful beings such as the 'rye wolf' or 'rye dog' (Roggenwolf, Roggenhund). They were most likely mythical transfigurations of ergot, 'the rye mother' (Roggenmutter), also called 'wolf' (Wolf) or, because of its elongated form, 'Wolf's tooth' (Wolfzhan). In the stories told in certain regions the blackish excrescences of claviceps purpurea became iron beasts which the rye mother gave the children to suck so that they would die. Between the rye wolf (Roggenwolf) and the werewolf (werwolf) there was a profound affinity. 'The werewolf sits amid the grain,' the people said.

The hypothesis that ergot was used to obtain states of loss or alteration of consciousness is rendered plausible by this wealth of mythical associations. It would be definitively confirmed were it possible to say that there existed a connection between a word of such obscure etymology as ergot and the German word warg (outlaw, but also werewolf): unfortunately, this is not demonstrable.”

During the 1950s, the major belief about this chemical compound (LSD-25, specifically, but hallucinogens generally) was that it was “Psychotomimetic,” or “psychosis inducing.” This is a largely one-sided view of the compound, and of hallucinogens in general. Nonetheless, this view of the drug lead to the CIA employing researchers and tests on the American populace of LSD-25, hoping to weaponize the substance. Despite this factor, one of the things that LSD-25 does after being ingested is activate the DARPP-32 pathways, which are (they apparently under-perform****) active in schizophrenic individuals. Nonetheless, we cannot reasonably claim that perceptions while on LSD-25 are the “same” as the perceptions of those who have undergone a psychotic break with reality.

LSD-25 was without a doubt one of the first, and foremost, psychadelic drugs to cross into the perception of the world at large. It's history is best documented (at least from the massive amount of reading I have done on it over the years) in Acid Dreams: A Complete Social History of LSD.*****

***

Similarly Stolen.

Alexander Shulgin's TiHKAL contains within it (at least in some versions of the book) the fifteenth chapter, entitled “DMT is Everywhere.”

And that is, precisely, where DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is. Every. Fucking. Where. It is in your brain. It is in the bodies of frogs and toads; in fungi, in trees and grasses, and in various shrubbery. It is present in trace amounts in some species of the coffee plant. It can even found found, in different forms, in sponges.

Presently DMT is legally classified as a “Class 1 Substance,” meaning it has no known medicinal use, and is subject to criminal litigation if a certain amount is found on certain individuals. There is currently at least one religious institution which can use it as a sacramental drug, however, to everyone else it remains illegal.

It may well be the catalyst for some (if not many) numinous experiences native to human individuals. This is the view taken by Dr. Richard Straussman in his DMT: The Spirit Molecule. The book has spawned a documentary, of the same name, which can currently be streamed over on Netflix and is interesting, to say the least, to watch.

Obviously, individuals that take DMT trip balls (to put it mildly). The question, of course, is why we aren't having mind-bending visions all the time from ingesting the substance due to not realizing all the places it is present. Which is an interesting topic. DMT is orally inactive, because it is native to the body. As such, the body has various mechanisms (MAOs) which keep it from crossing the blood-brain barrier. When taken with an MAOI, however, DMT becomes orally active. This is the method by which more than a few South American cultures make use of the substance as an Entheogen. Typically, the name for this substance is either “Ayahuasca” (Vine of the Spirit[s], Vine of the Soul), or “Yage.” Currently, some of the individuals who practice the art of making this entheogen are in very real danger in certain areas of Peru.

In addition to all of this, DMT is related (as a tryptamine) to the drug Ibogaine, which can be used to easily treat conditions such as Heroin Addiction, with (reportedly) far fewer problems than the currently-in-vogue Methadone. Despite the anti-addictive properties, Drug Laws have kept full-scale treatment and tests of Ibogaine from occurring – for what may best be termed as, “no-goddamn-good-reason.”

Would it be unreasonable to ask how it is even possible to declare that DMT and Ibogaine have “no medicinal value”? If law-makers made the same claims about Serotonin, or Dopamine, and attempts were made to class them as some tryptamines are being treated by law, the scientific and psychiatric communities would have a field day. However, due to the very nature of the “War on Drugs,” such things tend to go unnoticed.

***

I had planned to get into “what these substances do to your brain,” but there just isn't time or space to do so today. Despite that, I will agree with William S. Burroughs: “Anything you can do with drugs, you can do without.”

You can seriously trip balls, and possibly even trigger DMT release in your brain, without ever ingesting any of these substances. The difference, however, is in duration – and the active guidance of the substance as a type of consciousness in its own right. Additionally, there is normally a whole-lot of horse-shit that gets tossed around on the subject of intoxicants that revolves around non-drug activities being “healthy,” whereas the taking of the drugs themselves is “dangerous.”

This is not to say that taking these compounds or chemicals or alkaloids is not dangerous. It can be, and often is. But this makes it no less dangerous than a great many occult rituals, or even driving your car (which unlike some drugs, at least, can kill you if you are unwise).

These compounds are not new. They have a designed function. They serve a purpose, and can even help us. While the set of the community that wants to “mainstream” Polytheism and neo-Paganism keeps insisting on discarding the knowledge of entheogens, their history, and their potential (and present) use, it is unfortunately a type of ignorance that can and will continue to bite us all in the ass.

At present, we do not even know how many (and it's possible that some are) Spagyric compounds (such as the salts) and elixirs are psychoactive. Should psychoactive compounds be revealed to be present in such things, it would quite literally change the way a great many see the subject of alchemy. (Which, at present, is unfortunately over-loaded with “psychologically valid” conjectures due to CG. Jung never actually practicing lab alchemy – as far as I know – before he wrote about the subject.)

In a world where just performing a ritual can straight-up get you stoned (and if that fails, try music!), isn't about the time we started investigating the mechanisms that nature has put in place and which cause alterations in our consciousness? Our history – whether some individuals realize it or not – coincides with the history of “altered states,” and that includes using entheogens and alkaloids to trigger such states!

I should like to take a moment to link to both Ryan Valentine, and Gordon's, discussions on the subject. It wasn't for individuals like those two, I would probably be unable to write about the subject at all and chalk it up to wasting my time entirely...

You can probably expect me to write a whole lot more on it in the next few years. And nothing as basic as the above. Consider this a semi-failed blog-entry, which I apologize for.


* From Latin “Alkali” and the Arabic “al-qalwī,” the ashes of plants. If this suggests Spagyric Alchemy to you, then I believe you are totally on the right track. Cross-reference with Alkahest.
** See page 249-250.
*** See page 303-304
**** Initially, I wrote that I recalled the DARP-32 pathways were over-active in Schizophrenics; this is apparently not the case, and so I've edited my comment to reflect that. Edited: 9/18/12
**** Final note: Ergot may have been the psychoative ingredient in Kykeon. If ample evidence of this theory is found, it may be rediscovered that the psychonauts of today are little different from the “holy men” of yesterday...

Monday, February 13, 2012

And Now for Some Love



The above image is by Mr. Nox, at Harlequinade Art. I asked him about what it was payment for, and he explained that it's a kind've lubrication – a sign of goodwill. Hearing this delighted me to no end.

And now, a quote:
“Of the various classes of divine being that existed for the Greeks, heroes are an interesting further option. Gods are gods (let us take what this means for granted!), and demigods are often born of a god and one mortal parent, though very few are recognized as such in cultus. Dionysos, for example, is never called a demigod, though Semele (his “final” mother) was mortal (though eventually made immortal as well). However, Herakles and Perseus are both sons of Zeus, and the latter is never considered a god and is only a hero, whereas the former hero was eventually deified and underwent apotheosis. The Dioskouroi seem like they ought to be heroes, but in fact they are considered gods more often than not. However, many heroes seem to have started out as strictly mortal. Whatever the cultic or theological reality may be in each individual case, perhaps the main distinction is that most gods have a timeless and eternal quality about them, whereas heroes have a beginning and end in death, but a very productive afterlife...

In the modern world, we should do all we can to cultivate the knowledge of the heroes and enact cultus for them, not only amongst our attested heroes from antique history and mythology, but also from our own beloved dead and ancestors, local and national figures, from George Washington to Ivar Haglund; and slain warriors and innocent causalties of war and terrorism as well. The various Sancti of the Ekklesia Antinoou are commemorated in an effort to open and continue the list of heroic people of the past. There are living heroes among us of various types, from emergency service personnel to returning veterans of past and present military service (both during wartime and not), from great teachers and influential thinkers to philanthropists and everyday virtuous people. The idea of hero cultus and her worship should not be something suppressed, but instead should be expanded, because exemplary action in many individuals inspires others to exemplary action. If realizing one's own divinity and virtue and heroism can occur because another heroic individual showed the way towards such a style of life, then it should be encouraged and promoted, rather than diminished by just saying these are “ordinary people” or that “they were just doing their jobs.” Heroes are different and special for not only doing extraordinary things, but for doing the ordinary things in an extraordinary way, and we all have the potential to become heroes, therefore, by doing our best at all times. Virtue requires no less.”

Mr. Virius Lupus is a fellow who I have prominently linked on this blog, and whose work I find myself reading quite often. He is a founding member of the aforementioned Ekklesia Antinoou, a revival of the Cult of Antinous. I have read both his Phillupic Hymns and (well, most of) the book I've quoted from above. Both are excellent, and I may seriously apply myself to reviewing the latter at some point when slaying dragons in a video-game isn't something I'm wasting my time with. Until then, I feel like saying this:

The book has a number of great topics, and Mr. Virius Lupus has a number of startlingly enjoyable insights on topics ranging from “syncretism in antiquity” to the hero cults, flower heroes, and even relations between Antinous and the Agathos Daimon are given in one chapter.

Read the man's blog. Buy his books, if you find yourself interested in any of the above. They're worth every penny that you'll pay. And in the event you can catch a panel with him involved at P-con, tell him that he's awesome.

 To everyone else: spend tomorrow lavishing affection on those you love, and have an enjoyable weekend.

Witches and Grimoires

Kolossos from Delos. See link.

Or How to Avoid being Pwned by the Weight of History

Let's talk about Theban. Today, it is employed in widespread – if not occulted – use, though few magicians and witches ever realize just how widespread it actually is. A number of traditions from along the lines of British Traditional Wicca employ it for what can be best described as cryptographic reasons. Some have injunctions, for example, against writing or saying the Godnames that are used in that tradition amongst individuals who have not been initiated. To avoid being so ambiguous as to leave it unknown as to whether the God or Goddess is being referenced, however, the Godname can be written in Theban. There may even be examples of the entire contents of a BoS being in Theban, though I am unaware of this for obvious reasons. This is just one example of such a thing; there are many, many more. It may be seen used – and beautifully, I might add – on the cover of Robin Artisson's The Horn of Eventide.

It has been used by Ceremonial Magicians since Trithmius popularized it in 1518*. It gained renewed popularity after being represented in Paul Huson's Mastering Witchcraft (1970), which remains a staple book recommended to new-comers to the subject of the witches' craft. At least by some of us, anyway. If you're starting to guess that “everyone uses it,” then you're quite correct. And after all – it is beautiful, and actually works... Unless, of course, you're in the room with someone that can read the cipher. In which case, you may well be standing with a “Brother” or “Sister” in the truest sense of the word, regardless of how they choose to employ the Runes or Alphabet/Cipher.

Why do I bring this up? Occasionally, a Ceremonial Magician hears about some witch or another employing technology – or even wholesale use! – of a Grimoire and begins grumbling about “those witches, stealing from our tradition!”

I won't point fingers or be anymore of an ass than acknowledge the grumbling. Occult technology is occulted. The point is that you do not notice it. A great deal of technology from the Grimoires is evident in both the subject of Wicca** and witchcraft. It slips past the notice of both a great many practitioners of both Ceremonial Magick and Witchcraft because few people like admitting that in many ways, we all draw from the same cultural wells. We do this because what we draw from them is nourishing, and allows for us to use our technology precisely as we do. This is not new.***

We can trace, as another example, evidence of poppet magick by magicians (and later “witches,” depending on how they may or may not have seen themselves) all the way back to the Graeco-Roman period. They were known as Kolossoi. While today they are regarded as a “folk” or “witches” remedy for problems, they have almost always been used by a wide range of magical practitioners – from nefarious sorcerers at the Trivium to average folks with problems or desires.

Tech is tech. The clever employ it to get shit done.

If you think you “own” the tech, then I hate to let you in on this... But the joke is on you. Anyone can read the books, and plenty have.

Welcome to the 21st Century: Nothing Exists in a Vacuum. Nothing social, anyway. And spirituality? About as social as you get, friend.

If I've been a complete ass, feel free to tell me. But, I think I may have actually made my point in under 12 pages of citations and bias...



** See: Wicca: Magical Beginnings by David Rankine and Sorita D'este.
*** See: Popular Magic by Owen Davies. It may seriously break your brain. Some Cunning Folk used methods that I refer to as “Brute Force Sympathetic Magic.”

Sunday, February 5, 2012

God-Slaves, and Apologies

Earlier today, I read two blog entries which made me start thinking about sex. And magick. And my occasional poor response to the various potential iterations thereof. And, you know, god-slaves.

First the links:
Untangling the Gordian Knot by Charlie Glickman. (Re-relinking may be redundant...)

For the most part, I agree with the sentiments in both pieces. Intellectually, emotionally, etc. I found them both to express, on a certain level, my discontent with discussions about sex, porn, men, and the culture we live in. I continue to want to know where the distinction between pornography and erotic art – or art in general lies, and how we can specifically point it out. After all, one person's art is another person's wank material, and vice versa and sometimes both together. And while modern pornography – in the sense of Gonzo Porn, at least – certainly crosses those lines... But until we start finding a way to make distinctions, I continue to remain ambivalent about the subject as it's often discussed. I also remain ambivalent and unhappy about many discussions on sex – including “Sacred Sex,” which I'm honestly not sure what people mean when they discuss. Is it sacredly charged sex? Ritualistic sex? A way of living in tune with one's sexuality that is also in tune with one's spirituality? Depending on the author, it could go any which way. And where is the distinction between sacred sex, and sex magick?

I see a lot of people trumpet about these things, but I rarely feel I understand precisely what they are saying.

But that isn't what I really want to talk about, yet, I guess. What I want to say – and keep trying to say – is that not very long ago, I posted some responses to an essay on Godslavery. Given what I've been thinking about today, I come to feel that I attacked the statements and ideas as I saw them presented because I felt threatened. Perhaps threatened is not the precise word, but it gets as close as I can explain the feeling. Since that post, and I may dig through my archives and link it later, I've had a few people privately call me on it. One particular fellow asked me: “So, if some beautiful vision of a spirit or goddess descended on you and demanded weird bondage and hot sex out of you, and you felt completed by it later – but unnerved at first – would you be saying the same things?”

The answer, clearly, is no. I am not sure I would go about recommending the practice, either. But I should be less judgmental overall, and open to seeing the points in which people might fill in aspects of their lives with their spirituality. As the topic seems to keep reoccurring around me, I should probably just take my lumps and admit that for some reason, my squichishness got the best of me. In the event that I made someone feel their practices were invalidated, or I insulted them, or they felt attacked... Then I'm sorry. Your practices – even if you publicly publish them – are your business, and it is not my place and should not be to assault them as long as you are not leading others into a potentially highly dangerous situation.* The latter is very possible, but so are a great many other things. I do not run around warning people not to just trust every coven or neo-Pagan they meet; unless, of course, they ask me. I should not busy myself with attacking someone else's fetish or practice as long as it is on some level consensual and they feel bettered by it. I feel I crossed the line between even a blunt critique and attack, and so... Yeah, I'm sorry. If you want to be Odin's, or Thor's, or Loki's slave – that is your business. I recognize that now.

It would have been enough to simply say, “not for me.” Especially without expressing any contempt or any form of moral judgment. My bad, and in the future when I find myself responding as such, I will try to take note of it and sort out why before I post it in this blog.

* Which is unfortunately always different, depending on who you ask.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Asklepios, Incubatio.*

Asklepios. Golden bust photo stolen from some pharmacy or another.
 “(I dreamed) that I should proceed in the following way: first, mounting the chariot, I should go to the river which flows through the city and then, when I reached the spot where it leaves the city, I should perform the ἱερἀ ἐπιβόθρια [i.e., sacrifices in the ritual pits]; for thus he [s.c. Asclepius] named these rites. Having dug the pits, then, I should perform the sacred rites over them to whomever of the gods it is most fitting. Next, turning back and taking up small coins, I should cross the river and throw them away. And I believe he gave me some other instructions in addition to these. Afterwards, I should go to the holy shrine and offer perfect sacrificial animals to Asclepius and set up holy craters and distribute holy portions to all the fellow-pilgrims. And (he indicated) that it was also imperative to cut off part of the body itself in behalf of the safety of the whole. This, however, would be too great a demand, and from it he would exempt me. Instead, I should take off the ring which I was wearing and offer it to Telesphorus. For this would do the same as if I offered the finger itself. Furthermore, I should inscribe on the band of the ring “Son of Cronus.” After this there would be salvation.”
- Aristides, Oratio XLVIII, 27. (Taken from Asclepius: Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies, by Emma Edelstein and Ludwig Edelstein. Johns Hopskins University Press, 1998. P. 287.)

Many years ago, when I was still a noob (if I can be said to be something else, now, anyway. LOL), I discovered that Incubatio was used extensively by the cult of Asklepios. As I had immense interest in gaining the ability to incubate dreams, I dug up a picture of a bust of Asklepios, inscribed it with custom (and crappy) sigils on the back and slept with it under my pillow for like, three weeks.

At the end of that three week period, I had an intensely lucid dream involving the deity – bearded and robed and fairly kindly. I received specific instructions on how to incubate dreams for three different tasks:
  • Contacting deities, and their lesser spirits.
  • Placing sigils (he never indicated the word specifically, but said 'marks that designate spirits'. My memory may be in error) in specific locations, at specific times, to act as triggers for the incubations.
  • Speaking with those who I love if I find myself constrained.

The latter technique, frankly, has occasionally backfired. I have popped into the dreams of people I did not intend to contact, or simply found myself in some strange astral realm I know nothing about. The first two bits have one thing in common: the thing in the dream (if it was the Dead Hero God, anyway), indicated that the planetary hours of Mercury were of particular help, and that if I should burn specific incenses, I would find they aided me in different ways. During the sequence of images that appeared in the dream representing Mercury, one was the planetary symbol, but it was glowing blue (other such symbols did not glow). The spans of time around Mercury, and what it was, was described to me as something like a great connector. If I wanted to make initial contact, I was told, then that hour and the governors of it would always be helpful toward me, and almost always work. This is all my UPG, mind you, and you may make of my memory what you will. Nonetheless, the experience actually did serve me quite well. And I continue to use the techniques - now almost exactly as - they were given to me.

At the time, I very much ignored the “Hour of Mercury” advice, and today I find myself chuckling at that habit. Nonetheless, I should say this: I required, at the time, neither healing nor salvation. A ring, nor finger, was requested of me. All the spirit seemed to want was three portions of Frankincense, on three separate occasions.

The above is quoted primarily because reading it in the Edelstein's tome made me recall just how insanely lucid my first, and predominant (we don't get together too often, honestly) experience of the figure was. I definitely see no reason not to recommend others try and seek Asklepios if they want to learn either healing (which he predominantly presides over), or as I desired to learn, incubatic dreaming. In addition, there are several sets of Incubatic "dream oracle" rituals in the PGM, which I can dig up upon request. Some of them are quite specific, however. (Such as inspiring a future lover to dream of you, etc.) Stuff that many object to. Others are simply dream oracles, often powered by lamps (if my memory serves me correctly).

*NOTE TO SELF: This entry was initially inspired on the Day of Jupiter, in the (post-sundown) Hour of the Sun.

Two Things

1. In response to my post on the Orphic hymns and prayers, Anon wrote:

“Pretty sure "Argus" in the Hermes hymn refers to the thousand-eyed giant Hera set to guard Io to keep Zeus from boning her. Hermes was sent to free her, and he told Argus an insanely lame story and literally bored him to death. It's another reference to Hermes' skill with words--he could straight up kill you just by talking to you.”
 Anon, I think you're right. Thanks for the correction!

2. In my post on the Stele of Jeu, I mentioned the Sternophthalmoi, simply because they're “headless”. I did not mean to mention them in complete seriousness, and if this factor eluded others then I apologize. The Stele clearly states that the Headless Daimon has “sight in his feet”. The Blemmyes have sight in their chest. Therefore, there is no real way that they could be related. However, it provided an easy jump to the subject of Akephalos, and provided for me an excuse to use an image from a medieval bestiary. In the event I threw you for a loop, sorry. You may hate on me as necessary for being shady, as necessary.