Monthly Archives: July 2013

Spirits of Spirits: Conjuring Cannabis

Last week, Aradia and I conjured the spirit of Cannabis Sativa.  No that is not a euphemism for smoking weed.  Y’all should know by now that I only use euphemisms when they’re more entertaining and obscene than what I’m actually trying to say.  We literally conjured the spirit who rules over marijuana.

The idea came to me somewhat at random: a way of similtaneously linking my study of ceremonial magic with my study of Chaos Magick and with the process of getting back to the witchcraft that has kept me sane.  Building on my experiments with Triangles of the Art, I scribed a triangle just for the task:

cannabis triangle

Such an endeavor could not, of course, be complete without an invocation.  A little bit of creativity, a couple rough drafts, and finally a bit of trial and error produced this:

We call upon you, oh spirit: You who preside over the sacred plant cannabis sativa.  Oh spirit – Mercurial, Jovian, Saturnal, and Venusian by turns – We call uponyou to appear before us.

We call upon you by your various names: marijuana, ganja, grass, mota, reefer, endo.  You are the diggity dank!  You are the beloved mary jane!

We call upon you, oh spirit: we offer you fumigation of frankinsence and libation of blood-red wine.  I evoke you, oh spirit, to appear before us in our circle that we may converse in friendship and that you may instruct us in your nature.

Aradia and I performed the conjurations jointly, first Wednesday night and then Friday.  Aradia performed the incantation for the first conjuration because I was having difficulty articulating what, precisely, I had planned for the rite, itself.  (The problem with listening to your Genius instead of writing out the plan.)  The cats went ballistic as we cast the circle.  Smoke from the fumigation curled thickly in front of the mirror.  I could feel the spirit appear and caught glimpses of it moving around the room, but otherwise I experienced none of the sensations that I expected from my planetary evocations.  The more magical of my two cats flopped down behind us.   I retrospect, I think that my sense of time must have been distorted: I can usually sit and wait for quite a while for a spirit to answer, but that night it only took a few minutes (possibly only a few moments) before I started getting impatient.  I felt that the ritual had been a failure, and dismissed the spirit (prematurely, as it turns out).

Aradia started acting very strangely almost immediately: grinning strangely, playing with the cat. Somehow I failed to imagine that her strange behavior might have been the effect of the spirit.  I’ll leave her to tell her half of the story in her won time, but she gleaned a great deal of useful information, most notably that the spirit is not particularly impressed by frankincense.

We speculated that the mixed results may have been in part because the original invocation, which Aradia read, employed first person singular verbs.  For the second round, we changed the number to plural and substituted patchouli for frankincense, thinking that the spirit might like it better.  Also based on Aradia’s reports, we shared the libation we offered.

One or all of those changes worked wonders.  Conjuring her—which we did stone sober—had a physical effect much like smoking some high-quality creeper.  I never saw the spirit, or heard her the way Aradia had the previous evening, but her presence was powerfully felt.  We shared the libations again, thanked and dismissed her, and went to bed.

By my reckoning, the experiment is a mixed success.  I never really saw her, and never received a seal or sigil with which to summon her again.  On the other hand, I strongly suspect that such formalities are a little bit funny to her.  Aradia described her as a trickster spirit.  She certainly has a sense of humor, and a strong interest in being in the presence of humans.  We amuse her immensely, and I think there’s a relationship to be developed here.

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Milestones

In the last month, despite my relative inactivity, I’ve reached two milestones in blogging: 11,000+ all-time pageviews and 50 “official” (that is, wordpress users who pressed the button) followers.  Combined with those who follow by email and via Tumblr, that’s 120 followers altogether.

I just want to say, “Thank you all.”

I know that it’s been quiet around here lately.  School ate my life for a while, then the summer job.  To say nothing of a little bit of that “real life” drama that we alternately mock and wish we had more of, as it’s proof positive that one has a “real” life.

To commemorate this grand occasion, I will now share with you some interesting but semi-random statistics about this blog:

* Not counting the home page/archives, the most viewed single post on this blog is the Conjuration of Baphoment, viewed 417 times as of this posting.

* The two blogs which have forwarded the most traffic to me are Polyphanes’ Digital Ambler (112 referrals) and Gordon White’s Rune Soup (94).  Thanks guys!  I love you!

* Of the various search terms with have brought people to this blog, the most common are “liber mmm” (21; too bad I didn’t have more to say about that), “stele of jeu” (20, which really just goes to show how few people are talking about that rite), and “dweller on the threshold” (14).

* Of the various search terms which have brought people to this blog, the most entertaining have been, “picatrix sex” (5 times!), “dionysus statues white pagan wiccan stores” (3), “sexsigil” (2), “anime couples sleeping together” (2!?!), “my uncomfortable journey”, and “why is my life a giant clusterfuck”.

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Tables and Triangles

The  sacred geometry of conjuring circles has proven one of the most surprising difficulties in my study of ceremonial magic.  Even as someone who can draw well, there’s something about concentric circles brings out more of the OCD than the artiste.  So I started playing around with my computer.

This first image was designed with a Trithemian table of practice in mind, but I haven’t quite mastered circular text in either the GIMP or Inkscape, the two image programs I can afford.   In my studies of ceremonial magic, freely available electronic templates were of immense use to me, so I offer this one here in the public domain for use by anyone for anything.  It’s not perfect, but it’s better than anything I could find royalty-free.  Enjoy

Triangle in double circle

This second is the first stage of a prototype based on the Trithemian table, using the Agrippan planetary characters rather than the names of the archangels.  My thought is that I, or anyone else, might substitute the elemental or directional powers with whom they are most intimate for the four angels Trithemius prescribes.  I share it here for private use, and I would be delighted to hear about any experiments performed with it.

triangle of art with characters

This third and final table that I’m going to share today is the one revealed to me by the powers of Saturn during the Seven Spheres in Seven Days challenge.  I share this, too, for personal experimentation only.

saturnian triangle of conjuration with notes

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The Dweller at the Threshold … Again

At the beginning of the summer, I took on two projects that have given me much more trouble than I anticipated.  To my frustration, the trouble has not been that the work, itself, is beyond me, but rather the emotional crisis that it has precipitated.

Skylights

With the conclusion of the 2012-13 academic year, I have been studying and experimenting with ceremonial magic for two years.  I have conjured my Natal Genius and Daemon.  I have journeyed to each of the seven Spheres via both neo-shamanic visionary techniques and by conjuring archangels to lead the way.  I have employed electional astrology to create talismans of great power, and conjured the powers of the planets to influence the shape of politics.

I recognize that this is a pittance, and that I have barely scratched the surface of the subject matter.  I have dabbled in the Golden Dawn and Agrippa the Picatrix and the Arbatel, mostly via Christopher Penczak, Rufus Opus, Christopher Warnock, and a few other modern authors.  Although I await Aaron Leitch’s new book eagerly, I have not yet even made the most cursory study of Enochian magic.  Although I have read Crowley/Mather’s Goetia, I have never conjured any of those demons.  There are countless grimoires of which I know precisely nothing.

With that said, however, I think that the products of my experiments—my insights and my struggles—may be useful to others.  There are core concepts in ceremonial magic that are simply alien to anyone coming from a witchcraft background like my own, and straightforward presentation of the core techniques are few and far between.  As such, I think that I might be able to shed some light on the path, at least the first few steps, and have committed myself to writing a chapbook on the subject by the end of the summer.

The plan is to publish the results of my experiments so that others may build upon them.  As I said on tumblr, I would like a few beta-readers who have more experience with conjuration than I have so that they can tell me how far off the mark I am, and a few beta-readers with no experience in conjuration to try to see if my UPG works for others.  I have one volunteer for the former and two for the latter, but would like one or two more of each.  (Hint.  Hint.)

Translating the Stele of Jeu

I began performing the Stele of Jeu as a part of my Esbat rites at the end of 2011.  Although I no longer perform the ritual quite so regularly, I still find it to be an exceptionally useful part of my practice.  Because of the difficulties that one of my friends is having right now, I believe that the ritual would benefit her a great deal.  Unfortunately, however, she is not of a mindset which will permit her to simply perform the ritual: it’s too alien.  So I have taken it upon myself to annotate and, where possible, rephrase the ritual for her benefit, and the benefit of other witches who find the peculiar language of Greek-translated-for-scholars to be incomprehensible bordering on intimidating.

In my magical fantasy world, this project will culminate in my writing a version of the Stele for witches of an eclectic Wiccan background what Crowley did for his own students and peers in writing Liber Samekh.  Unfortunately this has been hampered by my inability to locate any scholarship on the subject, forcing me to rely in unseemly fashion on my personal experiments and UPG, and on the research of Mr. Jack Faust.

The Crisis

The crisis these projects has engendered is twofold, but the components are embarrassingly straightforward.

Firstly, I am plagued by the question, “Who am I to pose as an expert of any kind?”  The fact of the matter is that I know how little I know.  For all that I’ve been practicing magic for upward of fifteen years, my neuroses and social circles have somewhat limited my avenues of research.  Attending college in Indiana has also been surprisingly limiting to my options for interlibrary loan.

The fact that I am explicitly positioning myself as a fellow Seeker, not an expert or teacher does not seem to assuage this fear at all.  The fact of the matter is that I want to be a community leader somewhere down the road, have said so before, and only a fool could fail to put two and two together: Yes, I am hoping that some day, when I have something more substantial to offer, people will remember that I had clever things to say before.

Secondly, somewhat in light of the above, I find myself asking the question, “Is this where I want to focus my efforts?”  I am just old enough, at 32, that I am beginning to really feel my own mortality.  There are so many things I want to study, so many experiments that I want to do, so many books that I want to write.  Every time I choose to focus on one of them, I am potentially closing off others simply by virtue of the limited time available to me.

Is planetary witchcraft the thing I want to focus on?  What about the visionary work?  What about the alchemy?  What about the elemental powers I have touched, or the Chaos Magic I’ve dabbled in, my experiments in art as magic?  And where does that leave time for my novels?  Or my formal, public scholarship?

And, oh, yes, that whole thing where I want to seek out my gods but am deathly terrified to do so.

So I find myself stalling.  Sure, I needed to take advantage of this long weekend to actually relax and get some things done around the house.  Yes, I need to work my job to pay my rent and save up in hopes of being able to study in Greece at the end of the coming school year.  Damn right I need to actually get caught up on my sleep.  But I don’t need to do any of these things to the exclusion of the Work.

ETA: Edited to provide link and correct the spelling of Mr. Leitch’s name.  My apologies, sir.

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