Tag Archives: altars

Working Jupiter I

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Aradia and I built our Jupiter altar just short of a week ago.  Since then, we have done relatively little Jupiterian magic — a couple Orphic Hymns, participating in the Magical Working Against the False Kings, a bit of dream incubation — but the changes in our lives have already been remarkable.

The very minute we established the altar, the feel of the whole house changed.  The … wan malaise that had permeated everything was replaced with a vigorous readiness.  We rose at dawn the next day to perform our rites at the Dawn hour of Jupiter, something we had not done since the very beginning of the Solar work.

Since then, we have both been filled with ambition — and, more importantly, motivation.  I can’t even begin to get into how much we’ve gotten done in the last week.  It has been so, so easy to find the time and energy to do things.  I’m not falling asleep on my commute any more.

Even better, for the first time since I came back to Kansas City from the Sunrise Temple, I have felt that old magician’s charisma again.  The way people have been responding to me … again, it is beyond words.

Jupiter and witchcraft, it seems, go together far better than I would ever have imagined.

Things are going to get exciting as we start escalating.

 

 

 

 

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Imbolc Musings

Aradia and I actually put up our Imbolc altar almost three weeks ago, as a part of the ritual of “putting Christmas away.”

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We kept it simple: white candles, red cloth, and the images of our household gods and spirits.

And then we wondered … what does Imbolc mean, really?

The internet is a strange journal, but at times an effective one.  Looking back over my Imbolc posts here on the blog and the “memories” offered up to me by the Book of Faces, it becomes clear that deep depression in January has been a part of my life for at least as long as I was in school.  Every year, when I have written anything at all, I have written about the dream of returning warmth, of waiting for Beltane, and the struggle to maintain my practice and relationships despite my internal Abyss.

The weather grows stranger every year and, here in Kansas City, this year’s Imbolc marks a (brief) return to cold, rather than a desperate hope for warmer weather.  I have to specify Kansas City, though, because last night Aradia and I watched the weatherman describe the movement of the blizzard currently threatening Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa, but Missouri as if brushed away by the hand of some local god, leaving KC all but untouched and pounding St. Louis with yet another round of torrential rain.  (To whatever KC witch, wizard, magician, or sorcerer is responsible for the repeated deflection of major storms: mad props to you, Mx., and if you’ll agree to meet me in person and talk tech, I’ll buy you dinner and drinks and swear on the River Styx to never reveal your identity.)

This year’s depression, by contrast, has been much, much stronger.  It is the warmth of joy that I pray for this Imbolc, not just the warmth of the Sun.

But… still … what does Imbolc mean?

More than any other Sabbat, I see this question asked and tentatively answered around the Pagan circles of the Book of Faces.  I particularly like Shauna Aura Knight’s answers about creativity and work (article the first, article the second), which is why I have spent the last two days working on blog posts and this coming HPF’s rituals with particular fervor, and updating my photography portfolio (shameless plug).  I intend to spend this afternoon updating this very blog, cleaning up links to dead blogs and making things prettier.

As I light the fires on the altar, I strive to re-light the fires within.

 

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Yule Altar 2015

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My first seasonal altar in an embarrassing amount of time.  Happy Yule, everybody. Continue reading

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Young Gods

Howling Earth

Howling Earth

Horned One

Horned One

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a View of the Sunrise Temple

I rebuilt my altar at the Full Moon.  It actually took the whole weekend before I was completely satisfied with the setup.

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Behold: the magical engine of the Sunrise Temple.  The main altar is on the left, which you have seen several incarnations of before now.  To the immediate right of it are my jugs of mead, happily fermenting by the heater.  Beside that is a shelf of candles, stones, incense, and other supplies that don’t live in the kitchen cabinets.  Behind and above the shelves and mead are the maps which represent either my actual area of influence—that is, the places I have lived and where I still have friends and family—and the world I wish to influence with my political enchantments.  And finally, furthest right, is my newly erected seasonal altar; that table housed my chaos altar before it was pointed out to me that an altar dedicated to Chaos Magick is … almost oxymoronic.

IMG_5568Having taken down the Chaos altar, the Baphomet mask now lives atop my altar with Dionysus, Hephaestus, Rhea, and Athena.  ZG and SKM now share an alcove, and Sue—the spirit I work with more than any other—has one to herself.  The cubes on the side have been rearranged so that my money-drawing spell—which will soon be upgraded to a Jupiter cahsbox, a la Strategic Sorcery(1)—can have it’s own space.  The cube across from it is being converted into a home for all my sexual enchantments—the vast majority of which are targeted at staying child- and STI-free.  Below the financial altar are the ever-evolving house wards, and below the sex are my Tarot cards, visionary mask and pipe, and my black mirror.  My various planetary talismans have been relocated to the center base, with my God and Goddess figures elevated above them, along with my World Tree.  The flat workbench area is largely unaltered.

IMG_5567The first stirrings of my Samhain altar are very simple.  My death mask and sickle/knife, a picture of my dead grandmother and tokens of lost friends and loved ones.  I want to add gourds and pomegranates, but first I need to take care of my fruit fly problem.  Also poverty.

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My Chaos Altar and Alchemy Lab

Coming back to the Sunrise Temple with some new plans, I’ve done a bit of rennovation.  Specifically I’ve rebuilt and organized my secondary altars.  It’s a little silly but I’m kinda proud of them.

THE CHAOS ALTAR

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Featuring my mask dedicated to Baphomet.  To the left is a paper skull representing Thatatos, and to the right a glass vial for Eros, to be filled with Venus oil once I’ve perfected a blend.  And, of course, my first Chaosphere: hand drawn with a pencil, compass, and ruler, then inked with a variety of pens.  It’s got a nice kick already.

THE ALCHEMY LAB

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Yes, it’s a glorified spice cabinet.  It’s even right over my stove.  The bottom shelf are the things that might actually go into food.  The next are teas and things that may be brewed as tea.  The third shelf are things that can’t, shouldn’t, or (for whatever reason) won’t be ingested, and the high shelf if full of empty bottles waiting to be filled with fun things.

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Sunrise Temple Altar Rebuilt

Rebuilding the altar wasn’t quite the first thing I did upon returning to Sunrise, Indiana, but it was close.  I have been tinkering with it a little every day, but I think I am mostly done.

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The uppermost portions are little changed.  The left side contains my idols of Dionysus and Hephaestus; the right side has my shrines to Rhea and Athena.  The center is currently a collection of my personal talismans and artifacts of power, waiting to be remade into a seasonal altar.  Behind it all sits a mirror, in which reflect my library, textbooks, and an image of Dionysus which I cannot fit on the altar itself.  The reflections were unplanned, but work beautifully: my books are every bit as much a part of my life as my gods.

The level below has been changed significantly.  While Sue and my vision mask still reside there, the have both been moved, and now share space with images of and offering bowls for my Natal Genius and Demon.  Those shelves also bear representations of the planetary powers: the “masculine” of the left; the “feminine” on the right.

The two double bookshelves on either side of the table contain various magical experiments.  Going counter clockwise from the upper left: my various active talismans and sigils; my house wards; my safe travel spell, money-for-Greece spell, and anti-fertility charms; and a collection of talismans of people and places close to me.  In the middle are my “God” and “Goddess” statues beneath a miniature cosmology.

The flat surface of the table is, finally, pure workbench.  My Triangle of the Art holds the place of honor at the center of my elemental symbols.  To the right sit my ritual knife, my talisman of the Beneficial Sign, my brazier, and the coffee I just offered to all my household spirits.  To the left are my copper ring and bracelet that I use when channeling forces, my “bolean” and my cauldron.

Misclaneous tools and projects hide below.  My wands are visible in the corner on the left.

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Beltane Altar 2012

It’s officially Beltane.  My altar isn’t very fancy this season—I don’t really have any appropriate gewgaws or money with which to acquire them, and I sort of have this pervasive fear that if I go too far out with Beltane I’ll wind up with an unexpectedly pregnant partner—but it’s actually been up for a couple weeks.

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Having given up on the Golden Dawn flavored ceremonialism of Penczak’s High Temple altogether, I’ve also rearranged my altar surface just a little.  One more it reflects my utter disinterest in maintaining the traditional elemental quarters over working with the space I actually have.  The offering bowl is a new addition, reflecting how integral a part of my practice that’s becoming; to the left you can see my box-of-active-sigils, and catch a peak of the Jupiter talisman on the shelf above it.

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For the first time in my academic career, Beltane falls after my finals rather than before or in the midst of, so I will actually be celebrating on Tuesday night.  For those who will be doing the “weekend before” celebration, however, I wanted to share a tradition Aradia and I started last year and which I will be continuing with this year: “Fuck You Beltane”.

I have traditionally used Samhain/my birthday to mark my personal “New Year”, but as a full-time student … well, post-finals celebrations of Beltane is really much more of a stopping point.  And while I’m not hip-deep in shit like I was this time last year, but there’s still a lot of lingering angst and madness that I’d like to be rid of before I start the next cycle of my magical year.

So here’s a ritual suggestion for those of you who, like me, are in need of a bit of a purge.  Get yourself some whole cloves and a mortar and pestle.  Build a bonfire.  Pound the clove to powder, chanting the names of those people/things you wished to be purged of, and throw the dust into the fire yelling “Fuck you (whoever/whatever)!”  Simple, but cathartic and effective.

Then drink.  And dance.  And celebrate the other kind of fucking, if that’s your speed.  (Y’all know it’s mine.)

[Edited for idiot typos.]

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Hod Altar—or, Seething on the Bench

I disassembled my Yesod Altar last night and built up an altar representing the powers of Mercury in Hod.  This, of course, is a part of my ongoing studies in Western Ceremonialism.

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I chose last night to do it, in part, because I wanted to upgrade the talisman I’ve been using to help with my studies in Ancient Greek.

Then I remembered (again) that Mercury is still retrograde, and that not only is any magic a bad idea, but that Mercurial magic specifically directed at communication was an exceptionally bad idea.

The results from my last experiment were less than ideal.   To say I haven’t slept right since would be an exaggeration, and imply a causal connection that is probably better attributed to a combination of  school-stress and the manic side of SAD exacerbated by unseasonable weather.  In this wake of this, a friend pointed out that perhaps Mercury Retrograde and the Vernal Equinox (the former in general and the combination in particular) were not the best time to be fucking with shit if I didn’t want to break my brain (again).  I decided he was right, and have pretty much set aside all my experiments in favor of some basic aura maintenance and Yoga.  This is probably the best decision I could make, because I really do feel a lot better after another rest.

But I’m starting to get antsy.  That’s, again, at least party the unseasonable weather and the inevitable energy burst of spring.  But I’m hot to get back into the magic.  This isn’t βούλομαι—a rational wish or desire.  This is ἐπιθυμεω (longing desire) bordering on ἐραω (love+lust).

I have always been drawn to magic; the more I do it, the more I lust after it.

I cant wait for Mercury to turn direct so I can get back to work.

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Ostara Altar

It’s sad, but this is the first seasonal altar I’ve done since I took down Yule.  It’s also atypically early for me.  (“What,” you ask, “a whole four days before the Equinox is early?”  Yeah.  I suck.)  IMG_5099

The basil is left over from Yule, but it’s pretty.  The flowers are from trees around campus and the neighborhood.  The purple egg is from an Ostara celebration with the proto-coven, the blue is a rattle from HPF 2011, and the condom is “protection from the rabbit spirit” from HPF 2009 so that no body gets the wrong impression.  The basalt with the Yin-Yang has been with me since I was 16, as has the boline.  The Japanese perfume jar with the nut-“ivory” dragon on top are an old spell of mine—a receptacle for ill-timed lust, which seemed appropriate given the way this spring has gone so far—that I mostly keep around for sentimental reasons, as I haven’t used it in years *.

I’ve talked before about my slightly uncomfortable relationship with the Wiccan “Celtic” Wheel of the Year.  It’s pretty well known at this point that the scholarship that went into its construction was, if not spurious, at least largely debunked in the year since.  It also bears little resemblance to the actual seasonal cycle of the part of the world in which I live.  Imbolc is not the last frost in the Midwest of the US—it’s usually the fucking coldest part of winter.  Ostara is not generally the first bloom—as often as not, there’s still snow on the ground.  Beltane, while often warm enough (if just barely) to celebrate propperly by fucking like monkeys out in the woods, is often hindered by cold rains and usually gets cold enough at night that there’s frost instead of dew in the morning.  The Summer Solstice is the beginning of summer, not the middle.

This strange year, it is the first bloom.  I really do feel like spring is in the air.  (Both in a romantic, positive way, and in the sense of holy fuck my goddamn allergies are going crazy … although, at least with my immune system in overdrive, the headcold has been overthrown.)  I full anticipate that, although I probably won’t be able to celebrate Beltane with the vigor it deserves on the First of May**, it will definitely be warm enough to celebrate propperly, and Lake Onessa will be beautifully warm by Heartland.  We’ll see how the rest of the Wheel goes.

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I also took a day of cleaning as an opportunity to redo the altar as a whole, and to add a mirror I found in the school’s Free Box.  (People keep throwing away things I need where I can find them.  I fucking love it.)  Most of the tools have been moved off the altar itself to make room for icons and active spellwork.

 

* Of course, I’ve also had a full-time partner for the last four years running, so that hasn’t been the issue it once was.

** For several reasons including but not limited to FINALS WEEK, but which will get a post all their own one of these days.

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