Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Advanced Planetary Magic by Jason Miller

Mr. Miller's new Lunar Seal. Gorgeous, no?
[Day of the Moon + Hour of Jupiter]

Both receiving, and then finding the time to read, for this tiny book occurred at a rather amusing time for me, which resulted in my reviewing it a little later than I'd wanted. The super-moon had arrived for a weekend of Solstice Glory, and so my family promptly went insane.

Nonetheless, as soon as I cracked the book open I was immediately into it. It is a tiny chapbook; a total of 64 pages altogether, with both Jason's new techniques and thoughts and some of the basics for those who haven't played with a lot of Planetary magick.

The biggest thing to get out right away is that it comes with the complete set of Jason's new planetary seals. Jason writes:
“Henry Cornelius Agrippa developed seals of the planets, their intelligences, and their spirits by using the Kameas as a sort of mystical tracing board. By using gematria he extracted the numerical equivalent of the letters in each name, and reduced them until they were all numbers that appeared on the kamea of the appropriate planet. He then traced a line from number to number to arrive at a sigil for the intelligences and spirits...” (P. 10)
Thus, later he writes:
“In the summer of 2007 I embarked on a project with my friend and long time parter in crime Matthew Brownlee to generate a new group of planetary seals that would be able to access the sorcerous powers of the planets in a very direct and powerful manner. We wanted these seals not only to channel the forces of the powers invoked, but we wanted them to be able to overcome retrogrades, eclipses, and other unfortunate planetary alignments. In addition to this, we did not want them to be connected to any specific angels or deities, but to represent the planet in such a direct way that they could function well along side of Sumerian Dieties, Coptic Archangels, Olympian Gods, or simply on their own.” (P. 16)
The end result is seven new seals, along with new techniques that Mr. Miller has come up with for working with the planetary bodies. All of the seals are beautiful, but my favorite are Luna (Moon, seen above), Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. Having worked with his Jupiter seal during a Jupiterian meal last October, I can also honestly say that they are amazing for working with the planets.

In the opening sections of his book, Jason's quick covering of the basics or where to find more information is fairly straight-forward. I was only somewhat disappointed with one section of the book, honestly:

Under the section of 'Other Planetary Attributes (P. 8 – 9),' Jason explains the basic planetary associations between the different bodies. Of particularly interest is his breakdown of the metals and the colors. There is something enormously important to address here, which reveals both the easiest way to remember the planets, metals, and colors.

While differing systems have different colors associated with the planets, the primarily accepted colors for the planets derive from medieval and Renaissance alchemy! A few years ago, I leveled a series of complaints to DeusExMachina (a fellow Chaos Magician, who also practices the Golden Dawn system of magick) about my inability to remember the 'proper' colors associated with the planets. He laughed and explained the links between the colors of the planets and their metals: the colors, in many cases, are produced by introducing the planetary metals to oxidization and corrosion. As the metals corrode, they often produce the planetary color:
  • Copper for Venus, for example, turns a lovely green-ish color as it begins to corrode.
  • Iron, the planetary metal of Mars, produces a lovely reddish rust.

And so on. The only two bodies exempt from this schema are the Luminaries which both have 'Noble Metals' applied to them that do not corrode and show one of the places in which the Luminaries (Luna, Sol) differ from the other bodies.

The other note that I would make is that Jason's references to the 'Chaldean Order' (P. 3) was already known to me and used as the Ptolemaic Order, and can be found in Ptolemey's Tetrabiblios. I have found it immensely useful in my own personal work. I wouldn't be surprised if this order actually had its basis in Chaldean astrological magic and practices, however, but wanted to make a note as to where I first encountered it.

Jason's second chapter, however, is where the book really takes off. His breakdown of the potential uses for the Greek planetary vowels (Alpha, Epsilon, Eta, etc.) is fantastic as he gives several different arrangements that he has tried out and considered based on tone, an ascending order which appears in Manly P. Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages, Agrippa's descending order, etc. It is very, very good. I also recommend that the individual utilizing this book consider trying each potential order out to see the different results that can be produced. The effects the differing orders have on the subtle body is... fascinating. I noticed different areas of my subtle body take differing on 'planetary charges' based on the differing order that I'm still not sure about. I could tell it was working on me, and linking aspects of my microcosm to the larger planetary macrocosms, but how, and why will take a lot longer for me to work out.

He also drops a bit of a bomb and that made me grin:
“If you arrange the planets in a magic circle, according to the Chaldean Order, and trace lines between them according to the perfect fifths arrangement, you get a perfect Septagram.” (P. 14)
He goes on to explain how to produce a planetary arrangement based on harmonic frequencies based on the vowels. It is absolutely amazing to try out, and I recommend that everyone who picks up the book do so! While reading on it, I kept thinking back to the 'musical notes' that Paschal Beverly Randolph produces in Sexual Magic and the alchemical goal to produce 'perfect music' that could, according to legend, potentially enlighten both the alchemist playing the music and his audience. Whether or not Jason's thoughts complete this ancient goal (which inspired the Chaos Magician and musician Genesis P-Orridge), I think there is much more to be done with this selection of thoughts that Mr. Miller has produced. And I want to thank him earnestly for thinking about it, at all.

Jason's third chapter continues this upbeat retreat into the depths of the planet, unveiling the entire set of planetary seals and giving extra background information that I've sampled above. His students will undoubtedly recognize some of the seals from the Strategic Sorcery course that Mr. Miller offers and as a former student I also recommend.* Other seals, as he explains, also appeared in his work on Financial Sorcery (the Jupiter Seal), and The Sorcerer's Secrets (Venus, Mars, Saturn).

In this book, however, non-students of his courses can finally see all seven of his seals along with segments on how to use the planetary bodies for different purposes. There is a lot to love in this chapter, with tips on love magic, magical warfare, etc., slithering across each of the planets. I would honestly sample a few sections just to show folks on the fence how awesome it is, but I honestly feel that such a thing would detract from one of the major selling points of the book.

Of particular interest is the chant that he produces for using each of the seals along the body. I'm going to sample a small bit of it to encourage you to buy the awesome book... But remember that this is just a few lines from something that should be done in full:
“One interesting experiment that I performed recently was to astrally "tattoo" them into my head at the points suggested by Al-Biruni. To do this I visualize the seal translucent and glowing at the appropriate place, bringing its blessing. When I do, I chant the following:

May the powers of Luna bless my left eye.
May the powers of the Sun bless my right.
That I may see true and clear all that is before me.
May the powers of Venus bless my left nostril
May the powers of Mars bless my right
That my breath may be balanced and the body be cleansed...” (P. 31)
This is reeeeeally, really cool. I loved trying out the chant, and I especially liked focusing the seals in my right/left eye, etc., before going out and doing things. I'll probably add this to my 28-day house cleansing cycle that leads up to Hekate's Suppers, since being endowed with the seals of the planets before I set out can only help.

Honestly, at this point I feel like I've sampled more text than other reviewers, so I'm going to end my review shortly. This book is excellent and has something in it for almost everyone, regardless of the tradition or system they're working with. While I am not going to get into using the Heptasphere that follows the third chapter, I may blog about using it in the future... As I am very keenly aware of its origins and wish to use it even more. There's a lot to love in his 49 Calls as well.

Really: if you are even remotely interested in practicing planetary magick, I recommend picking up this book. You won't be disappointed.

For interested readers, see Jason's blog entry here. At the bottom of the entry, you will find the Paypal 'buy now' link to purchase the book. The purchase gets you both a PDF of the book, as well as MP3s of his 49 Calls. The price might look a bit higher than one would expect, but I honestly believe that the content of the book is worth the price. And I rarely say anything along those lines. Get it while its hot!

Be seeing you,

* All too often, I find such courses come with the expectation that I will do “homework” and “communicate with other students,” two elements I've hated doing since I was a teenager. I was rather happy that Mr. Miller allowed me to keep to myself and didn't expect me to show up on his forums asking questions that would probably be resolved by actually doing the work. The fact that I enjoyed 90% of the lessons, combined with the above, has made his courses my favorite available on the internet at present.


Rex said...

This review like all reviews left me utterly speechless brother! Don't think i've ever read a review before that made me want to go sell myself on the street corner to buy the thing! Just kidding....but you get the point.

Very curious though about one of the things he said. You maybe able to enlighten me on the matter. How are we able to magickally prevent planetary retrogrades, eclipses, and the like from happening?

Jason Miller, said...

You can't prevent them from happening. You can lessen or negate their impact upon you.