I am a terrible Chaos magician.
I mean, I make really, really pretty sigils. (That whole “life dedicated to art” thing.) And I think I get better-than-average results from them — as much as one can say so without comparing notes on a level that very few of us are able to keep, let alone willing to show them off. My one and only servitor has been … odd, but effective, and has been protecting my home for nearly three years running.
But I am terrible at code-switching. When I dig into a paradigm, I can’t help but let it get under my skin. As I do more and more of the magic, it sinks into my bones. I can’t put it back down just like that.
Before I went away to college and my little hermitage in the Sunrise Temple, Aradia and I had spent three years rebuilding our separate magical and religious practices from scratch. Together, we became the best witches we had ever been. We even almost got a coven off the ground.
Then I went away. And I was not idle while I was gone. And neither was she.
I’ve complained about this before, and I will complain about it again: my ceremonial experiments and Project Null were fun and fascinating and fruitful, but they also fucked me up. And, more relevant to today’s conversation, they took my magical practice to some pretty esoteric places. Places I can’t just come back from. Places where my partner, Aradia, has not been particularly interested in following. Since I got back, getting our practices back together has been very, very challenging.
It hasn’t been all bad, of course. Together we joined the Heartland Spiritual Alliance, helped write the rite the rituals for Heartland Pagan Festival 2015, then actually got to lead those rituals. We got ourselves elected to chair the Sacred Experience and Public Relations committees and are in the process of becoming actual public personages in our local community. Magically speaking, we’ve kept our irons in the fire, if not our shoulders to the wheel, going through Rufus Opus’ Seven Spheres rites twice and sharing his techniques and teachings with people in our community.
But it ain’t what it once was. Our practices are still separate, and not particularly regular. She’s a witch with a bit of background in Chaos Magick and visionary work and, more recently, Hoodoo. I’m still the misplaced ceremonialist with a weird thing for Hellenistic magic and a background in witchcraft … which is not what I want to be.
So we’ve put ourselves together a project for the coming year. We’re going to bridge the gap. At the end, we’ll have a lot of great stories, and hopefully a book.
The project goes like this: we have both been fascinated by the results of the very different flavors of planetary work that we’ve done, but there is still a lot to be explored on the way toward something concrete enough to share with others. So we’re going to dig in deeper, fly higher toward the stars, and re-grounding ourselves in witchcraft at every stage. We’ve loosely (very loosely) associated each the seven planets with one of the eight Witches’ Sabbats (there’s a small problem right there already, clearly visible to anyone better at math than I am). Starting at the Sabbat, we are going to spend five weeks delving as deep into the planet as we can, trying to attune ourselves to it, and explore it’s associations and correspondences, confirming and discovering the ways the planets’ power manifests in the material world.
We will approach the planets in the following order:
Winter Solstice – the Sun
Imbolc – Jupiter
Ostara – Mercury
Beltane – Venus
Midsummer – Mars
Lammas – the Moon
Mabon – Saturn
Samhain – the Earth
The six week plan looks like this:
Week 1 – Using traditional (read: extant) invocations and conjurations to tap into the planetary current – the Orphic and Homeric hymns; Picatrix invocations; RO’s Seven Spheres rite; other rituals as we find them.
Week 2 – Gods and Spirits – going beyond the elemental force of the planets, we will research, conjure, and seek out gods and spirits associated with the planets and their characteristics. You will see an embarrassing amount of old-school Outer Circle Wiccan synchretism here.
Week 3 – Visionary Work – going outside the traditional Western model of spirit conjuration, we will seek out the gods and spirits of the planets on the spiritual planes using various visionary techniques.
Weeks 4 and 5 – Testing Drafts – using the things we have learned over the previous weeks, we will draft and test new hymns, invocations, and rites — rooted in the ceremonial tradition, but accessible to modern neo-Pagan witches in ways that the old school rites are often not.
Week 6 – Rest and Research – After our five week stretch of intense magical work, we will rest, relax, meditate, and ground … while doing research to set up for the next five weeks.
While we work, we will attempt to maintain an intense blogging schedule and the sort of magical journalling that every book advises but almost no one actually pulls off. There will be many pretty pictures of altars. Lots of great hymns and invocations from various and sundry sources. New hymns, invocations, and sigils for each of the planets and as many associated powers as deign to speak to us. New / confirmed correspondences. Art. Ultimately, we are looking to produce a code-switching guide for conjuration: a new ritual framework for conjuring planetary powers, ideally in book form.