Tag Archives: beltaine

Continuing Experiments: Sigils, Talismans, and the Stele of Jeu

While I haven’t had much time to write clever blog posts since finals week started gearing up (then ended, with all the unanticipated post-semester and graduation-related madness), I have managed to make time to actually do the magic.  I have performed the Stele of Jeu twice, fired off a shoal of sexy sigils, and made two new talismans based on what I learned of talisman-making from the Jupiter Election.

the Stele of Jeu

The Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist  is becoming an increasingly integral part of my practice.  Interestingly, though, the more often I perform it the more subtle the effects seem to be.  I performed the rite at the last Dark Moon, on the Day and Hour of the Sun, and as a part of my Beltane celebrations in the woods behind my school.

In the first case—as seems to often happen—I was struck by the sense that something was watching me as I performed my rite.  That sensation faded, though, as I performed the ritual.  By half way through, actually, it had faded to the point where I decided to try out something I’d read somewhere and repeated the central portion of the ritual until I got the feeling of rising power:

Holy Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him, / ῥουρβριαω μαρι ὠδαμ βααβναβαωθ ασς ἀδωναι ἀφνιαω ἰθωληθ ἀβρασαξ ἀηωωυ / mighty Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him. / μαβαρραιω ἰοηλ κοθα ἀθορηβαλω ἀβραωθ / deliver him, NN ἀωθ ἀβραωθ βασυμ ἰσακ σαβαωθ ιαω

That definitely had an effect, though I would be hard pressed to actually describe what it was.  I sat in the salt circle and meditated for a while, basking in the magical afterglow.

I performed the ritual again at Beltane, under the nearly-full moon.  My outdoor festivities with Sannafrid were actually a couple days late, on account of the rain on the 1st and 2nd.  Being in the woods, I skipped the salt circle—salting the earth is not my idea of a good time.  On the one hand, the effects were much less profound than I had hoped/feared/anticipated; on the other hand, they were very interesting.  The woods suddenly felt more alive.  Sannafrid and I could sense spirits everywhere—not like I had conjured them, but more as if I had suddenly tuned in to the layer of reality where they already lived.

I think they were just the spirits of the wood, and while they may or may not have been aware of our presence, I honestly don’t think they could have cared less.  It was a very powerful experience, if just a little surreal.  I think that’s an important lesson for all magicians, but for witches and nature-worshipers in particular: to keep in mind that most of the spirit world, like most of the natural world, doesn’t care one way or the other about humans.  We’re doing our thing; they’re doing theirs.

a Sigil Shoal for More and Better Sex

The way I count the Moons, the third day of the Dark Moon is also the first day of the waxing phase.  After performing the stele of Jeu, once the hour had passed from Sun to Venus, I fired off a shoal of sigils for more and better sex.  The effects of this shoal were even more awesome—and, importantly, longer lasting—than the first one.  The shoal included five sigils (the specific phrasing of which is apparently in the stack of notes that didn’t make it back to Kansas City with me), all aimed at improving my sex life.  The majority of the sigils were aimed helping my body keep up with my libido—and, more importantly, with Sannafrid’s.

The results were fucking spectacular.  (Yeah, I went there.  How could I resist?)  At risk of crossing into the realm of Way Too Much Information: not only was I able to manage 2-3 times in a day (a little difficult at 31 on a mediocre diet), I was able to keep that up almost every day for a ten day stretch of the two-and-a-half weeks between when I fired the sigils and when they faded about a week ago.

So … waxing Moon, day of the Sun, hour of Venus is damn good astrological timing for sex magic.  I would have thought the Full Moon, day and hour of Venus would have been as good … but it was also the 3rd day of the Full, so technically a waning Moon, which may have had an impact.  Further confounding factors here include the sigils themselves, the way they were phrased, single versus shoal, and the fact that I was still tingling from the Stele of Jeu.

a Talisman of Venus

IMG_5237

Anticipating Venus’ recent retrograde movement, I made a talisman of Venus based on the Jupiter Talisman I made at the recent election.  I used Christopher Warnock’s Venus image on one side (I really need to buy his Picatrix translation and star producing my own images based on the descriptions); the Agrippan characters of Venus, my Glyph of the Moon, and a pair of sigils (empowering myself with the Favor of Kings) on the other.  I performed the rite at the Day and Hour of Venus, using a slightly altered version of the Orphic Hymn to Venus—I added a line at the end asking to be endowed with the Favor of Kings—burning incense of my own making, and anointing the talisman with Abramelin oil—and using the various Venusian symbols I keep on my altar rather than a formal Triangle of Art.  For a more general Venusian boost, I also took a bit of my Venusian incense and started an infusion like I do for my essential oil production.  I left both projects on my altar to marinade essentially until I packed everything up for the trip.

My understanding is that, so close to the retrograde, even the otherwise auspicious arrangement of planetary forces on that Day and Hour of Venus with a waxing Moon was less than ideal.  Still, I felt that it would be a good idea to shore up Venusian in my sphere given the complexity of my love life at the moment (that’s a post in and of itself, and one which is particularly delicate since all parties involved read the blog.  I’m glad that I did: the talisman and the infusion-in-the-making are both radiating good, clean, Venusian power.

Safe-Travel Talismans

My final magical project in the Sunrise Temple, before leaving for the summer, was to produce safe-travel talismans for Sannafrid and myself.  She is spending the month in China as part of an ethnography program through our school—a sort of “victory lap”, as they call it here.  I was going to be making a drive across three states with a number of the things most dear to me in my back seat.

Using essentially the same methodology as I did for my Jupiter and Venus talismans, I made a pair of Mercury talismans for Sannafrid and myself.  The most interesting differences between the rites was that these were made at the day and hour of Mercury, outside in the woods during our Beltane celebrations, and that I used a lock of her hair mixed in with the Mercury blend between the two sheets of cardstock and had her write her own Names to create the link to her, where I used my Glyph of the Moon for my own talisman.

The results were again spectacular.  If I do say so, myself, I’m getting pretty good at making paper talismans.  I’m looking forward to teaching myself some metal-etching skills so that I can use similar techniques in more permanent mediums.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under art, hedonism, witchcraft

Let’s Get to Work

I think many of you know that Beltane is also International Workers Day.

Here are a few links for your perusal with that in mind:

Gordon: Occupy as a Phased Enchantment … Too bad I wasn’t ready for this shit then.

Cut-out 3-D Occupy Mask

Cut-out 2-D Occupy Mask

Planetary forces aren’t the only streams out there: More Occupy Wall Street Art for May Day Talisman Action

Two months ago I planned to have a whole fancy post with sigils and glyphs so we could work together on this a little more closely.  That didn’t happen.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, scholarship, witchcraft

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.

IMG_5207

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.

IMG_5209

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.]

1 Comment

Filed under witchcraft

A Darker Shade of Beltane

This past weekend was Beltane.  Aradia and I celebrated out at Camp Gaea with all the madness that usually entails, and a little bit extra besides.  Last year, Beltane (along with Heartland Pagan Festival, 28 days later) coincided with a Full Moon.  This year the Moon was Dark, and the differences were … interesting.

Beyond the sacred/ritual nature of the entire weekend,Aradia and I participated in four distinct rituals:  the public ritual, a ritual toast, an underworld journey, and our ultimate ritual with Pasiphae and Aidan.  Each was stylistically and thematically distinct.  Half of them were purgative.  By the end of the weekend, each of us – myself, Aradia, Pasiphae, and Aidan – had injured ourselves in some way.

The first ritual was the public one on Saturday night.  More than two dozen people gathered in the Old Way ritual space – several entire families were present, and at least a half-dozen children.  Aradia and I were there early, of course, and volunteered to light the torches.  In the process, we also cast the first layer of the circle.  (We’ve gotten very good at that.)  The ritual itself was done in two parts.  In the first part, the children raised energy by running in circles, then channeled that energy into a chalice full of seeds to be planted on a newly rebuilt berm and led out of the circle to do so.  The second part of the ritual was for the grownups.  We talked a little about our passions and art, then raised energy by singing tones.  I wish I’d brought my drum.  Then, without a closing of any kind, we were sent out in the world to “do something” with that energy – the ritual leader warned us, though, that she wouldn’t be held responsible for any consequences of that action. 

Why, yes, I did go promptly drop that lust-bomb on the unsuspecting Cauldron.  Did you even have to ask?   Dionysos and Pan are very good friends, and it is for very good reason I have been more than once accused of serving the latter. I also charged my thyrsos with it and saved a lot of it for later use.

The second ritual was the ritual toast – a blot (trigger warning for rugged masculinity and associated memes) – performed at the behest of an Asatru gentleman we met while unpacking Friday night.  The rite was simple and straightforward: each participant makes an offering to the sky and to the earth, then makes a toast; the others repeat the toast, then each offers their own toast (shared by the others) in turn. 

The Asatru gentleman offered his toast to his mother, who had recently passed, and later returned to our camp with a bewildered look on his face.  “I think that blot was the whole reason I needed to come out here,” he told us.  He had fallen off his practice and his gods were calling him back.  Though I did not particularly like him – he was the sort of person you might expect a self-identified redneck, knife-dealing, kinkster to be – I was honored to have served him in that fashion.  If I am to serve the neo-Pagan community in the ways I envision – helping with rites, putting on traditions as masks for solitaries and disconnected traditionalists, among other things – I must be prepared to answer to individuals and traditions that make me uncomfortable, so long as they do not outright violate my ethics.

The underworld journey was semi-spontaneous.  I had planned on doing one over the weekend, but when I felt called while watching the post-ritual fire and dancing in the Old Way, I also invited the nearby folks from the KU Cauldron to join me.

To my surprise, six of us wandered down to Thoth’s Grove (after nearly getting lost in Key Pass).  We started by casting the circle in near-silence, hand-to-hand.  “Visualize East,” I told them.  There was a struggle, briefly, as everyone tried to find the “same” east, but once we chose it, all the other points were synchronized.  The circle cast, I opened a portal to the underworld and introducing them all to the World Tree.  My own journey was … fruitful, but I did not find what I was looking for.  Most of the Cauldron didn’t speak of what they saw, but I was later told that they had all found the experience to be meaningful.

The fourth and final ritual was performed with our regular ritual partners, Pasiphae and Aidan, who were only able to make it out for that one night.  We had two major ritual goals we wanted to accomplish: I wanted to dedicate my Kouros figure, the male half of the goddess/god duo I have been experimenting with; and to purge ourselves of our accumulating troubles, symbolized by the too-old  and unlabled herbs from our magical pantry.  The first went well:  I felt Him awake with a sort of quiet humor.  The second went even better, evolving spontaneously into a shouted litany of “Fuck you!”s as we pounded an ounce or so of whole cloves into dust in Pasiphae’s iron cauldron/mortar.  Each of us ended up taking a second turn, and a new Beltane tradition was born.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the Dark Moon Beltane was of a somewhat different character than the Full Moon.  Besides the purgative rituals and underworld journeys, everyone in my intimate circle ended up giving flesh to Gaea.  I was bitten by a blackthorn branch I never managed to find, and reinjured my shin while hobbling about camp.  Despite her best efforts, Aradia got a vicious sunburn, numerous bugbites, and reinjured the foot she wounded while traipsing about Nashville and Chicago with me last month.  Pasiphae and Aidan were both attacked by the fire – he burned his hand, and an ember landed right under her eye.

Finally, though it didn’t play as significant a role in this years rituals as it did last year, I cannot leave out the mead.  I bottled last years a week or so ago, as you may recall.  We drank most of it over the holiday.  It was awesome.  I started another gallon for next year.  It, too, will be awesome.

Despite the unintended blood-sacrifices, I declare the festivities a resounding success.

1 Comment

Filed under hedonism, witchcraft

Beltane Mead

This morning I bottled last years Beltane mead, that it might have at least a little time to rest in the bottle before consumption.  This is my first mead to make it a year (or nearly) from start to bottle, and also my first done explicitly as a religious and magical rite.  It is, for the record, glorious.  A simple honey mead (3 lb : 1 gal), but I can no longer recall the yeast I used.  I think it was the Lavlin 1118, but I’m not certain.  Of course I can’t bottle without tasting, and it is delicious.  I have also used it to anoint a pair of idols that I am working with (slowly, cautiously … I’m still new to that).

Pasiphae, Aidan, Chirotus, and D were all there with Aradia and I at the creation.  I don’t know how many of them will be making it back out for the consumption.

The label, which I drew myself, is hidden behind the fold to avoid problems those few who might be viewing this post from work.  It’s an image of the horned god, folks, he’s generally NSFW.

 

2010 Horned God's Blessing

Leave a comment

Filed under art, hedonism, witchcraft

Struggling for Practice

My actual ability to maintain a regular practice is better than my ability to maintain this blog … but not by much.  Since staring the new semester, my life has been a mess of work, school, not-quite-enough sleep, and a few other troubles that I’ll actually get into in posts of their own.

I’ve pretty much lost track of the moons.  I didn’t even do a Full Moon reading in February, and I haven’t ever gotten around to decoding the one I did in March.  I haven’t checked back with my annual reading since January.  I haven’t done a Dark Moon journey in longer than I care to contemplate, and Aradia and I didn’t get our Yule altar down until Ostara.  I missed the last Dark Moon by a matter of days, even as I was slowly drafted this post. 

Of course, there’s no chance that all of this is related to how stressed out I’ve been lately, is there?  No, perish the thought!

Things are finally looking up.  I did (finally) start my Imbolc mead with a little help from a late snowstorm and our Brid candles.  I’m researching recipes for a similarly belated Ostara mead, but the internet is being less than helpful.  I have done public Tarot readings on the last two First Fridays.  I have gotten back to doing weekly and daily readings – three- and one-card respectively.

You can’t change the past.  All I can do is strive to do better. 

I’m getting ready to bottle my Beltane mead – I finally have artwork for the bottle.  Sadly, it looks like Aradia and I will be celebrating that sabbat by ourselves – Pasiphae and Aidan are otherwise occupied, as are others we’ve worked with in the past.  Which will make things interesting, as duo Beltane rituals run an above average risk of ending in pregnancy.  Some creativity may be required.

We will be out at Gaea, though.  So perhaps we will be able to join a public rite, or be invited to a smaller one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beltane Mead

I just racked and sampled my Beltane mead the other day, so I thought I’d share the recipe. This was my first attempt at incorporating meadmaking into a sabbat ceremony, and I think it’s gone pretty well. Our Beltane celebration took place out at Camp Gaea, which made the operation just a little tricky: packing and prepping everything I could possibly need. Since it was, of course, a bonfire ritual I did all the prep work in the morning – measuring and mixing everything into the honey and water in the jug I used as a primary fermentation vessel- and, because it was a bit chilly this year, kept it near the fire. We did our ritual, and shortly before the culmination (my first cone of power ever), passed the jug around and had everybody dance with it as we danced around the fire, raising power.

I could still feel that power as I racked and sampled (making the appropriate offering to Dionysus, of course) the product, to make sure it was progressing as planned. (Ho, boy could I feel that power. Zing!) Also, very tasty.

Beltane Mead
A recipe refined from experiments with Jug Mead, designed to be made during the sabbat ritual and drunk when the wheel of the year has completed another rotation.

Materials
1 empty 4L jug
1 air lock
3 lbs raw honey honey
1 pkt Lavlin brand EC-1118 wine yeast
yeast nutrient
pectic enzyme
acid blend
tannen
water

Process
sanitize jug & airlock as described in manuals
fill jug with water, honey, nutrients. shake well
add yeast, shake again
insert air lock
incorporate bottle-shaking into beltane ritual dance
rack after 2 weeks
rack again after 1 month, topping off as necessary
rack again after 6 weeks, topping off as necessary
takes about three months to clear from first fermentation
bottle at 6 months
drink at beltane, year after year.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, hedonism, witchcraft