I have just completed three consecutive weeks of daily planetary conjurations, two of those weeks overlapping with the two phases of Rufus Opus’ Seven Sphere in Seven Days challenge. The results included several visions of the Planetary realms and a ridiculous boost in personal power, and culminated in the ability evoke planetary forces at will … and my first magic-induced migraine since I recovered from my blown a gasket eight years ago. Ultimately, it seems to have served as an initiatory culmination of last year’s ceremonial study.
When Rufus Opus made his challenge, I was already on my third day of planetary rituals prompted by my spirit-allies. Although that first Jupiter conjuration was relativity weak, things escalated quickly. I could see the group current flowing across the sky as I did my work, and I bathed in it. I caught glimpses of the Planetary Realms of the Sun, Mars and Mercury—powers I had not touched so successfully or so formally, if at all. I received ritual instructions from Saturn, and built on my relationship with the powers of the Moon.
The group took a break between Phases I and II of the work, but I continued in between: making my first foray into the Planetary realm of Venus and receiving further instructions on how to perform my conjurations even better—most significantly an upgrade for my Circle of Art and Triangle of Conjuration.
When Phase II began, I was rewarded with a powerful Solar initiatory experience—less than apotheosis, but more than dismemberment. Then the tone changed radically. Although I was able to make contact with each of the Planetary powers in turn, the effects felt anticlimactic after the visionary drama of the week before. I could certainly still feel each planet’s influence—in fact, I could feel it continuing to build throughout the day, particularly as the First Hour of Day passed from the Eastern time zone into Centeral, and as the Third Hour of Night came around. It was at this point that I found the discussion group on facebook to be particularly helpful, as others were able to point out technical differences between Phase I and II that I had not been able to perceive, and to confirm that I was not alone in this particular manifestation of effects They also reminded me that, within the Hermetic frame, the planetary powers are not so much places or forces (as I usually concieve them) but refracted lights emanating from God. RO, in particular, suggested that I take some time to look inward at the changes going on within my sphere; doing so revealed that, by Thursday evening, I had tapped into far more planetary power than I had realized.
Saturday, though, I went over the cliff. My final ritual left me filled with black light and white light. I bumped up against the edge of something, the limit of Saturn, and when I came back to my body full of that bi-colored light, I saw a six-winged figure looming over the current. Things have been quiet on the board and in those corners of the blogosphere since the project finished, and I think that whatever I caught a glimpse of (Iophiel?) might have borked some brains that got a better look.
As usual, I had performed my rites at the First Hour. Within a few hours, my head started to hurt. I thought it was psychic feedback from lunch on campus: things were a little strange over the weekend in the wake of a tragic accident involving several students. Come the Eighth Hour, though, the pain had escalated to the point where I could no longer function well enough to run the errands necessary for my birthday party. Fortunately, Aradia—in town for the party—was driving and able to get me home, where I promptly collapsed into bed with a full-blown migraine headache.
Ninety minutes later, I felt up to taking some painkillers, and was finally coherent enough to put two and two together: the psychic weather—no matter how nasty a college campus can be—was not enough to lay me out like that. It was Saturn that had pushed me over the edge from “magicially manic” to “magical migraine”. Looking to my aura, I concluded that it was too densely packed: I separated out the planetary power—not wanting to ground it altogether—and pushed it out to the edges. That felt better, so I pushed the edges out further. The further I pushed, the better I felt. When my aura was bigger than campus and the surrounding college-owned student ghetto, the pain was finally manageable. It finally disappeared about the time I pushed out to the city limits. That sort of “coverage” is unsustainable, of course, but the pain did not return as my aura deflated over the course of the evening.
The final Saturn ritual brought with it a sense of finality. Whatever it is that my spirit friends wanted me to get out of daily planetary rites … I’ve gotten. I can now channel planetary power at will, just as I can elemental power, though I’m still struggling with the personal consequences of hot-and-cold-running-Venus (just as a for instance), and half a week later, I’m still struggling to maintain my aura at a reasonable level. There have been no new migraines, but my energy level has been up and down like an EKG and requires too-frequent “maintenance”.
Clearly I had some unfinished business with the planetary powers that I began working with during the ceremonial experiment. That’s been fixed: I have now received my first initiation in the seven Planetary Powers, complete with dissolution, crippling agony, and even some ἱερῳ ἀναμιγνομενος. And I’ve also just been handed a brutal reminder of what happens when I let my magical practice get too high-octane.
So I’m taking a short hiatus from magic: doing just enough to keep from setting off the cold-turkey migraine. My Dark Moon rites have so far been minimal. I’m going to get back into more “pure” Chaos Magic pretty soon here, but I am definitely not fucking around with any more Hermetics until Mercury goes direct again.
But, before I fall further down the NaNoWriMo rabbit hole for a few days, I want to thank Rufus Opus and everyone in the Seven Spheres In Seven Days working group for the opportunity and the camaraderie. It was a mad ride, y’all, and I’m glad I didn’t do it alone. I know that I would have gotten even more out of it if I could afford RO’s Gates Rites (and I am not for a moment questioning that the years of practice that went into developing those rituals is worth $12 a pop: I just don’t have the scratch), or if I were capable of believing in the Ptolmaic/Hermetic cosmology as the Truth, not just aTruth. In the end, though, I got enough: initiated into Hermetics with a Solar immolation and Saturnian icepick to the brainpan.
Τιερεσιας Σατυρος ὁ Μαγος