Thursday, May 9, 2013

“My Name is a Heart Encircled By a Serpent.” (P. 2)

Mobility & Magick
It was forever ago that I put down what's in the first part of this commentary. But I wanted to finish out what I started forever ago, and some of the things I wanted to be done for the second commentary have already been shoved into the depths of the blog...

This was further encouraged by some of my recent entries, regarding elementals, and the responses of Fr. Acher and others. My general amusement was about his contrast between working outside, in the world, versus within “the Temple,” or the personal sphere of practice favored by a great many magicians. I'm a poor bastard, and when I was younger I couldn't afford a personal temple... I also lived in a house with a Southern Baptist mother, and she preferred I do nothing at home. Thus, aside from the occasional LBRP, I never did anything at home if it could be avoided.

Thus traveling – particularly on foot – to perform my different rituals has always been one of my primary means of accomplishing various magical pursuits. It also ended up changing my approach to ritual, because when you're utilizing mobility and practicing magick in the middle of the night you want to avoid the attention of police officers, not to mention the occasional  3 AM drunk. As such, I don't dress up in robes. I have never taken my sword with me, and I've certainly never dropped it on my foot while trespassing in a graveyard. Obviously, few do. But someone occasionally reads about this subject and decides they should run around looking like a Hogwarts reject and then gives us all a bad name by mutilating themselves. For such performances, lean and mean is the way to go. All you need is some incense, a piece of charcoal, a lighter (preferable wind-proof), a folding knife that you've enchanted to work with, and a backpack or an outfit that doesn't stand out much and has enough pockets to carry anything you need with you. A protective charm, such as one that protects your house but has retrofitted for personal use, or an all-purpose charm is also useful.

Finally, one can also always consider performing a spell for astral invisibility is also particularly useful. These spells tend to mask your aura, or at the very least make you less perceptible while you practice to both spirits – and as is sometimes the case – and people. Obviously, drawing attention to yourself defeats the purpose of such things. Lunar glamors can also be used to heighten such effects, with the obvious caveat that a strong solar charge will blast them apart and leaving you again quite noticeable.

Exploiting the Crossways

Once one has finished initial work and made their way out into the world – the initial work including locating either a trivium (three-way crossroads) or a quadrivium (four-way crossroads) – one need only travel to that. Upon reaching the crossroads we can set ourselves up two different ways which reach the same goals:

- We can eschew physical protections, leaving fewer traces that we were ever there, and simply perform a means of cleansing space closer to what we see in the PGM. To quote Tony Mierzwicki's Graeco-Egyptian Magic:
There is no evidence of the Graeco-Egyptian magickians working within a circle. They confronted spiritual energies directly, much as many shamans still do. The Graeco-Egyptian magickians were only interested in facing each of the four cardinal directions and not tracing a 360* circle… Each ritual begins with a short invocation to Aion, the ultimate god, whose protection is sought. With his protection, no harm will befall the ritual participant.”
In this case we want to use either Mr. Mierzwicki's version of the Calling of the Sevenths (beginning on page 17) and introductory rituals found in his excellent book, or if you prefer, the same rituals as Michael Cecchetelli has them in The Book of Abraxas (p. 15 – 23). This first part merely brings 'equilibrium' to forces of the planets upon the practitioner and helps secure a location for work.
- We can add a layer of physical protection, particularly if we find that a lot of the restless dead are slumming the crossroad (as they do, and seem to gather in greater number in deep winter and summer, at least in my experience) and we're afraid that they might become a problem. The best solution for this is a circle of salt, as salt is both a purificatory element and will keep the dead out. This obviously isn't a very good idea if you plan to attempt to work with them, as it can harm them. It does not appear to harm the Cthonic Divinities, who are themselves pure, and thus doesn't typically hinder the ability to work with them. At least in my experience.

A number of years ago, I asked another, more experienced witch: “why is salt protective, and how is it supposed to work?”

His response was that prior to the discovery of microbes, it was assumed that physical decay (particularly in meats) was caused by “demons” or malign spirits, and since salt preserves meat, it was seen as keeping them at bay. While the above certainly isn't scientifically valid, the tactic still works to hold spirits at bay – which is, I suspect, the primary reason some of us use it today. You can either use granulated salt, or salt rock. The key is distinguishing between which to take with you; gravel roads aren't all that great for tracing salt along, but paved roads are perfect for it. Obviously, you could even take some blessed chalk and use one of the magical circles from the Grimoires – but good luck making the damn thing in the dark. I find that a circle of salt may not be elegant, but it is simple and works. In my experience, sometimes pragmatism simply trumps elegance.

Next we want to bless the incense and fumigate our secured zone, which is also a means of protection. I rather like the first hymn in the Orphic Hymns for this, and as a bonus you get to call on Hekate. You can either perform the full hymn (#0, To Musaeus) or limit to what I've selected:
And to my holy sacrifice invite, the pow'r who reigns in deepest hell and night;
I call Einodian Hecate, lovely dame, of earthly, wat'ry, and celestial frame,
Sepulchral, in a saffron veil array'd, leas'd with dark ghosts that wander thro' the shade;
Persian, unconquerable huntress hail! The world's key-bearer never doom'd to fail
On the rough rock to wander thee delights, leader and nurse be present to our rites
Propitious grant our just desires success, accept our homage, and the incense bless.”

This is where we either put our folding knife, or a pair of tongs (helpful on a windy day – but sometimes just as obnoxious!), to a use that isn't your standard protection fare. Place the incense for your given working (frankincense, or Three Kings Incense which includes it, work great for general purpose rituals) on a single charcoal and fumigate the area while walking widdershins three times and reciting the above. Afterwards, it can be set aside on a rock or the ground and left burning and tended to as needed.

For protection, we can call on Aion – the Alexanrian God of Eternity – or Ogdoas as Mr. Mierzwicki suggests, or we can make use of the traditional divinities. When using the trivium, Hekate works best. When using the Quadrivium, Hermes Kthonios works best. Lacking a hymn to Hekate herself, I'll be stealing a section from a PGM spell. If you have something you perfer? Feel free to use it.

Hymn to Hermes Kthonios, Or the Terrestrial Hermes (Fumigation from Storax):
“Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell
O Bacchic [Bakkheios] Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius [Dionysos], parent of the vine,
And of celestial Venus [Aphrodite] Paphian queen, dark eye-lash'd Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand'rest thro' the sacred feats
where hell's dread empress, Proserpine [Persephone], retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of thc way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb'rous rest the weary eye;
For Proserpine [Persephone's] thro' Tart'rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow'r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.”

As noted above, the following comes from PGM IV. 2785 – 2890. (Betz, P. 90 – 92) I have taken out a few lines and shortened it, so consult the spell for more details. Furthermore, the spell is calling upon a lunar Daimon that is heavily syncretized to multiple lunar goddesses. Thus, there is a fair bit of mish-mash when it comes who is being called upon. Feel free to edit it, if you feel up to it, so that it focuses solely on Hekate. Given that Hekate ended up often being syncretized with other lunar and Cthonic goddesses, the multiplicity of the spell doesn't bother me and I quite like it. Obviously, we're changing the reason for our praises and going to ask for protection versus an amulet to acquire any spell at the end, and thus no need for procuring the blood of one who has died a violent death.*

Come to me, O Beloved Mistress, Three-faced
Selene, kindly hear my sacred chants;
Night's ornament, young, bringing light to mortals...
Three-headed, you're Persephone, Megaira,
Allekto, many-formed, murky lamps, who shake your locks
Of fearful serpents on your brow, who sound
The roar of bulls out from your mouths, whose womb
Is decked with the scales of creeping things,
With poisonous rows of serpents down the back,
Bound down your backs with horrifying chains
Night crier, bull-faced, loving solitude,
Bull-headed, you have eyes of bulls, the voice
Of Dogs; you hide your forms in the shanks of lions,
Your ankle is wolf-shaped, fierce dogs are dear
To you, wherefore they call you Hekate,
Many-named Mene, cleaving air just like
Dart-shooter Artemis, Persephone,
Shooter of deer, night shining, triple-sounding,
Triple-headed, triple-voiced Selene.
Triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked,
And goddess of the triple ways, who hold
Untiring flaming fire in triple baskets,
And you who oft frequent the triple way
And rule the triple decades, unto me,
Who'm calling you be gracious and with kindness
Give heed, you who protect the spacious world
At night, before whom daimons quake in fear
and gods immortal temple, goddess who
Exalt men, you of many names...!
Hail, goddess, and attend your epithets,
I burn for you this spice, O child of Zeus,
Dart-shooer, heavenly one, goddess of harbors,
Who roam the mountains, goddess of crossroads,
O nether and nocturnal, and infernal,
Goddess of dark, quiet and frightful one,
O you who have your meal amidst the graves,
Night, Darkness, broad Chaos: Necessity
Hard to escape are you; you're Moira and
Erinyes, torment, Justice, and Destroyer,
And you keep Kerberos in chains, with scales
Of serpents are you dark, O you with hair
Of serpents, serpent-girded, who drink blood.
Who bring death and destruction, and who feast
On hearts, flesh eater, who devour those dead
Untimely, and you who make grief resound
And spread madness, come to my sacrifices,
And lend me protection and guidance!”**
The spell states that for work in which one wishes good, to use storax, frankincense, and other such purification related elements. I totally recommend it. You're on your own for turning around and fucking someone's world up, though. Worry not! Jason Miller's Protection and Reversal Magic has you covered for counter-hexes and such using Hekate and such things could be applied following the above quite easily.

Down to Business
At this point, what you do is up to you. When I began writing these two pieces, I imagined it would help with performing the Stele of Jeu. I imagined that something like the above would allow for a fully fleshed out night of ritual, culminating in meeting a proper Daimon. As such, I suggest it. And I suggest the Stele of Jeu being performed before you do any crazy work, or in the event that you run into trouble. It has been my experience that the Headless God (or Headless Daimon) can sort problems very, very rapidly. That said, with the above you can probably follow it up with whatever you want – including dedicating a supper to Hekate herself.

Incidentally, you can also simply call on either deity at the crossroads and then proceed to a vineyard for the Stele's Performance, simply setting up space there instead (you can always call on the divinities again, but they'll respond from the crossroad, period). It has been my experience that the Stele, when performed in a vineyard, will strengthen the syncretic elements of the Agathos-Daimon and lead to a slightly different, far more serpentine and potent, manifestation of the Headless God. This is because one is increasing sympathy with the Agathos-Daimon by entreating a deity it's syncretized to, and then being possessed by that Daimon, while in a location that is sympathetic to the A.D. itself. The manifestation and communion was so potent for me that for a long time I insisted that the Headless God was just the Agathos-Daimon.

I was wrong. But I've at least come to understand how I made that mistake.

Anyway, I hope this rambling entry is of use to someone who wants to take their rituals out on the town.

To close, make sure to re-walk your circular area deosil if you began with a widdershins movement, and remember to give your license to depart. ;)

Be seeing you,

* I'm working on circumventing that altogether for the spell itself, but have no results yet. Maybe I'll write another entry about that at a later date!
** That last line is 100% from me. Instead, the spell asks for one's wish.

1 comment:

Brother Christopher said...

and here I am today thinking I need to go down to the trivium and do some offerings to Hecate, and you go throwing out all these great things for me to do it with. NEAT!