Tag Archives: dark moon

Dark Moon Navel-Gazing: the Status of My Practice

There are a wide assortment of reasons that my magical practice (and, with it, my blogging) has been, at best, sporadic for the last year or so.  Some of them are magical dilemmas (how to incorporate the experiments and lessons of the previous two years into my personal practice), some of them are spiritual failings (see previous, also: devotional work is hard and scary), and some work and school related (overtime in the mall!  senior thesis!  trying to catch a date!).  But I think the biggest reason is that I’m lonely, and that I just don’t enjoy working or worshiping solo.

A good number of my most exciting magical and spiritual experience have been in group contexts: my first elemental energy work, my past-life explorations, the spirit-hunts, and the aura-games with my friends in and just after high school; the WPA/KU Cauldron before and after my failed life in St.Louis; discovering partner-magic with Aradia, and later with Sannafrid; the trials and tribulations of the proto-coven.  Even most of my best solitary experiences took place at times in my life when I had physical access to other practitioners to plan, brag about,and/or commiserate over my experiments and experiences.

Every time I go back to Kansas City for breaks, doing magical work with Aradia, Sthenno, Pasiphae, and Aidan are among the highlights of the trip.  When Aradia and I went on a cross-country road trip, we made a point of doing magic in each of the two parks we visited, and those moments were definitely among highlights of the vacation.

Since Sannafrid graduated, though, and since things got weird between myself and some of the local pagan group … I’ve had no one to practice with.  My current lover is, against my own rules, not a practitioner.  And our schedules don’t line up particularly well, leaving me struggling with another of the various unintended consequences of having taken the name Satyr Magician: too horny to think is also too horny to do magic, and there’s only so much I can do to take the edge off all by myself.

Now, I don’t mean to give the impression that anything’s hopeless: despite the flu that took me out for the entirety of the Full Moon, my practice is the best it’s been in a while.  With the help of my familiar spirits, I’ve been repairing the damage to my Inner Temple–escalating rites followed by a whole lot of nothing was pretty hard on the place.  I’ve been working hard (again) on getting my shields back to a level where they keep out what they need to without blinding me to the world.  (This seems to be one of those never-really-quite-work-it-out problems.)  My Sight has definitely been improving, though my mind-reading/empathy is still not back to what my crazy Scorpio ass expects it to be.

But it’s just not as much fun to tell Aradia about my latest adventures over the phone, or Sannafrid over chat.  I need a physically present community.  I need mentors and students and peers to keep me honest and innovative.  And I need it to be fun.  As hard or as frightening as an individual experiment or experience might be, my practice as a whole has to be pleasurable.  I am, after all, a hedonist witch.

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February Dark Moon Tarot

February Dark Moon Tarot

There’s a little bit of love goin’ on in the Current Position and the Querrant cards, but … dag, I ain’t feeling it right now. Very intrigued by the parallel sevens in the “inner influences” positions, and the parallel knights in the final outcomes.

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5 February, 2014 · 8:44 pm

Libra Dark Moon Reading

I did a reading last month.  I didn’t even look at it a second time after laying the cards down, let alone actually try to suss out any nuance.  Pretty much the same story the month before.

This month’s reading, then, is exceptionally lacking in temporal context.  As usual, I’ve used the Twelve Houses spread with my custom addition of the central portion of the Celtic Cross to the center.

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Dark Moon Reading 25 deg. Cancer

I failed to do a reading for the last month.  I’m irritated at myself for that, of course.  At the same time I’m not sure how the cards could have prepared me for the past month’s main challenge: sheer exhaustion brought on by twelve-hour days in that psychic cesspool known as a shopping mall.

The forecast for the coming lunar month is largely positive, but there are a few points of interest both high and low.  There are also a lot of oddities.  Apparent disharmonies between the cards and their placements have driven me, at last, to consult the Book of Thoth, itself.  To my delight, I have apparently acquired a sufficient grasp of Qabalah (if not I Ching) to follow the text, if not to master it.

As is my custom, I framed my question as “Dark Moon to Dark Moon, what awaits me in the coming month?”

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An Alchemical Experiment in Fiery Protection

Despite my good intentions, I didn’t do much for the Solstice this year.  My planned trip out to Gaea the weekend before, with Aradia, Pasiphae, and Aidan, was cancelled due to a conflicting event[1].  The Solstice proper was mostly consumed by Sannafrid’s arrival, insomnia, and napping.  Hell, I didn’t even manage to do my usual monthly reading.

I did, however, manage to start my own batch of Fiery Wall of Protection Oil.  I used Polyphanes’ recipe, but my process ended up being a bit different.  I didn’t have all of the ingredients I needed on hand, but I really wanted to take advantage of the astrological conditions: it was the Summer Solstice, the third day of the Dark Moon, and the first day of the Lunar Month and the waxing moon.  So I ultimately split the construction and consecration of the oil over three separate occasions.

IMG_5400Wednesday, at the Hour of the Sun, about two hours after the peak of the Solstice, I put together about half the ingredients[2] in solution with the olive oil.  The charge the oil took was very Solar, with a a Fiery heart.  IMG_5399

Friday, at the Hour of Mars, I put together the remaining ingredients and added the castor oil[3].  The oil took on a much more frantic, fiery character.  In between sessions and after, I left the bottle to rest on Aradia’s altar.[4]

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Gemini Dark Moon Reading

I’ve done readings at the last two dark moons.  I’ve even analyzied them, to a point.  But I never posted about them.  So I’m taking a page from Aradia’s book and I’m going to decipher it before your very eyes.

Interestingly, this is the second time I’ve managed to do my reading on the first degree of the new sign.


ANNUAL CARD(S)

When I did my annual reading at Samhain, the card I drew for for Gemini was the 5 of Cups, which I was to fix with the 10 of Pentacles (Robin Wood).  I’m not sure if the decision I’m going to regret is one I’ve already made or one I’m going to make over the course of the month.

DARK MOON READING

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1st – Self, Viewpoint – Princess of Disks

I am, apparently, laden with potential this month.  Elsewhere in the reading, this card would make me very nervous[1].  Here, it’s a hint of things to come, and the first hint of the amount of magic I’m going to need to do.

2nd – Finances, Income – VII Adjustment

I’m working again.  That’s a bit of an adjustment.  I’ve worked three twelve hour shifts in the last eight days.  I am nowhere near adjusted to this shit.

And, after months of living on pennies, I’m going to get a four hundred dollar check.  Two weeks from now I’ll get one for twice that.  Most of which, granted, is going to go paying my rent and utilities back in Indiana.  That’s not just going to take some Adjustment, that’s going to take discipline.  See the 6th and 10th Houses.

3rd – Daily Experiences – 8 Wands “Swiftness”

I’m going to be energetic!  Full of spunk and verve!

Who am I kidding? I’m going to be running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Working open-to-close shifts in the mall, attending Heartland Pagan Festival, trying to catch up with all my friends in Kansas City … it’s going to be a zoo.

4th – Home-place – XV the Devil

Uh, what?

5th – Fun / Pleasure – XI Lust

So, I see there’s going to be some sex, drugs, and rock&roll in my sex, drugs, and rock&roll.  I can live with that.

6th – Work – 2 Disks “Change”

Again, the meaning here appears straightforward and clear, given my transition from full-time student to part-time goon.

I think it may also be an admonition not to sink back into the employment ruts that were forming when I left Kansas City.

7th – Partnership – 7 Wands “Valor”

Aradia was sitting next to me as I laid out this spread.  When I turned over the 7th House she said, “please don’t set me on fire.”

This is a fighting card in a place where I don’t really see that kind of difficulty.  The most optimistic interpretation here is “Stay on top of shit.  Do not let anything fester.”

8th – Taboo / Crisis– X the Heirophant

Of course I have issues with Tradition and Authority.  What’s new?

Oh, wait.  I’ve been studying at the feet of Tradition lately.  That’s only going to make things more complicated.

9th – Higher Perception– VII the Chariot

Looks like I’m going places.  The question is “where”?  Crowley’s Chariot is a lot less about Will than the Chariot in other decks and a lot more about Destiny.  Perhaps I should ask ZG about this one.

10th – Recognition– 5 Disks “Worry”

I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.[2]

11th – Friendships – 5 Swords “Defeat”

This is worrisome.  I need to stay on top of things.

12th – Secrets & Fears – 3 Disks “Work”

Between working for money, working on my novels, and the Great Work … there is a LOT that I want to get done this summer.  I know I won’t be able to do it all.  I’m afraid I won’t manage to do any of it.

+1/6 – Current Position – 5 Cups “Disappointment”

I feel like this isn’t really the 5C in particular so much as it’s a generic swamp.  It’s my change of circumstances and Venus Retrograde.  It’s my indecision and my conflicting goals.

+2/6 Current Influences – XVII the Moon

If 5C is a morass, the Moon tells me I have to cross it in order to continue my journey.  Face the fear.  Walk the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Descend to the Underworld.

+3/6 What Crowns It – Hexagram

And here, at last, we get to the point: whatever it is, fucking do magic about it.

+4/6 The Root of It – I the Magus

I am a magician.  I do magic.  See above.  Sometimes divination is anvilicious.

To pass from the Magus to the Hexagram, I must cross the 5 of Cups via the Moon.

+5/6 Going Out – Queen of Swords

I’ve done an awful lot of thinking, talking, writing, and intellectualizing about my magic.  That’s going to have to wane for a while in order for me to get back to really doingthe magic.

+6/6 Coming In – XX the Aeon

I’ve set myself on a path of transformation.  If I pursue it diligently over the next lunar month, I’m going to undergo some serious changes.


1 – childfree for life!

2 – Snoop Dogg.  Yeah.  I went there.

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Monthly Tarot: Pisces

Last month was so crazy that I haven’t even begun to process it.  Hopefully, this month will be a little more manageable—though this last week tells me it probably won’t be by much.  Interestingly, this lunar month began precisely as the sun moved from Aquarius into Pisces.

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My Name Is A Heart Encircled By A Serpent

I have now performed the rite of the Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist three times as a part of my lunar rites.  It has been, without question, one of the most powerful magical operations I have ever performed.

The first time, at the last Dark Moon, the sheer power of it got me so high that I forgot to take down my circle; I had strange visions and nightmares that night, and when I did to Yoga the next day, I walked out feeling like a god.

The second time, at the Full Moon, was less dramatic; I was high, but not disorientingly so, and I could feel the magic moving out into my Web of Influence.  Although there may have been other factors—stress from too heavy a course-load, conflicts with a professor, and a sorting out some issues with my lover, among other things—I hardly got one good night of rest out of three for the next two weeks.  My patience with any sort of bullshit vanished altogether, and my temper was entirely out of control.  These symptoms faded over the early-semester break, but did not disappear entirely until the next Dark Moon, when I performed the ritual again.

The third time, again at the Dark of the Moon, was less dramatic still.  I think I need to linger more over the voces magicae and Barbarous Words.  My patience has returned, some, and my temper faded; more importantly, though, my will to act has been charged.

Though I feel that the results so far have been extremely positive—excepting the insomnia, which may or may not be related—I am still struggling to understand the precise affects of the ritual.  Jack Faust argues—and convincingly—that it is somehow related to the ἀγαθός δαίμων (agathos daimon).  Crowley’s Liber Semekh was derived from a less complete version of this ritual, known as the London Papyrus 46(1), thus linking it to the tradition of modern Western Ceremonial Magic and the pursuit of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

The ritual, which reads as an exorcism of sorts—“…deliver him, ____, from the daimon which restrains him…”(2)—is thick with interesting syncretism.  The magician identifies himself as Moses, and with the line of the prophets of Israel.  He also identifies himself a the “Messenger of the Pharaoh Osoronnophris (a cult-name for Osiris).  Osoronnophris and IAO (a Graeco-Egyptian name for YHVH) are both evoked (or perhaps invoked), and the ritual culminates with a particularly interesting and graphic image and imperative: “My name is a heart encircled by a serpent, come forth and follow.”(3)

Now, bear with me a moment as I seem to change subjects:

Over the last several weeks, I have also been using a variation of DuQuette’s Ganesha banishing/invocation to start my day and to open my rites.  Not feeling sufficient personal resonance with Ganesha, however, I have substituted a deity that I can subsume myself in utterly: Eros the Elder.  When I perform this banishing/invocation, it gets me high.  Really, really high, actually.  And the sensation is interestingly similar to what I’ve felt while performing the rite of the Stele of Jeu.  And, if you didn’t follow that link I just gave you, you missed this image:

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A heart encircled by a serpent, perhaps?

Now, before anyone jumps me: I’m not drawing any conclusions.  Maybe I just don’t have enough experience invoking transcendent powers to tell them apart in the heat of the moment.  (The temptation to make a sexual analogy here is almost overwhelming.)  But it’s interesting, and I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone else who’s tried either ritual.

Regardless, things in my life are already starting to move around.  I can’t see the effects, yet, but I can feel them.  Temper, patience, and will to act as noted above.  More people going out of their way to get my attention—both people I already knew and people I’ve never even seen, let alone spoken to.  And some really, really strange and interesting things are starting to happen to my aura, which deserve a post all their own.

Further details as they come.


1—As described by Hymanaeus Beta in his foreword and footnotes to the Illustrated Second Edition of The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King. Weiser: York Beach Main (1995).

2—Betz, Hans Dieter.  The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1986) PGM V.124-5.

3—Ibid. 155-6

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Dark Moon 3/3: Tarot and Splat

I did three tarot readings over the course of the Dark Moon: one preceding each of my rituals, and one to give me an idea of what I need to look forward to over the next month.

The first reading, concerning my performance of Lon Milo DuQuette’s banishing/invocation, was reasonably clear and positive.

1/2 – Present position and current influence – 3 Disks “Works” / 2 Wands “Dominion” – Taking concrete steps, translating ideas into reality.  Crossed by willpower and a willingness to take risks.

3 – That which crowns it – Ace of Wands – New beginnings, willpower, decisiveness, opportunity for self-development.

4 – It rests upon this – 10 Disks “Wealth” – Becoming aware of one’s circumstances.  Awareness of one’s inner and outer wealth.

5 – That which is going out – 10 Swords “Ruin” –  Chaos, confusion, pain.  Mental implosions and collapse.  Who doesn’t love to see this on the outs?

6 – That which is coming in – 9 Cups “Happiness” – Meaningful experience, quiet happiness, joy that lets the heart overflow.

7 – The Querrant – VIII Adjustment – Objectivity, balance, karma, sober perception.

8 – Inner Influences – II the Priestess – Inner guidance, deep spiritual experiences.

9 – Outer Influences – VI the Lovers – The Chemical Wedding, duality and union of opposites, division and decisions.

10 – Conclusion – 6 Swords “Science” + XV the Devil – Perception, progress, openness, insight, thirst for power and encountering the Shadow.

The second reading I did concerned my performance of the Rite of Jeu.  The reading was less clear, but I chose to interpret it as a green flag nevertheless.  Looking back at the reading more closely, after the experience itself, I definitely feel like I made the right call.

1 / 2 – Current position and influences – XIX the Sun / XIV  Art – Bliss, joy, new birth, success, and self-development.  Crossed by the balance of powers, finding the right proportion, harmony, and healing.

3 – That which Crowns it – I the Magus – Activity, resolution, willpower, vital force, having the highest perceptions.

4 – It rests upon this – Knight of Swords – Discernment, flexibility, intelligence, striving toward new goals.

5 – That which is going out – 10 Swords “Ruin” – An intriguing repetition, and one which I could only view as auspicious.

6 – That which is coming in – 6 Disks “Success” – increase, favorable interplay of forces,

7 – The Querrant – III the Empress – Growth, creative potential, intuitive power, renewal, insight into the internal cycle.

8 – Inner Influences – XXI the Universe – Joy of living, being in the right place at the right time, resting in one’s center, being one in the beginning and the end.

9 – Outer Influences – 2 Disks “Change” – Change, mutual fructification, insight into the vital rhythm of growth and regression.  In a sea of big-mover cards, this one seemed a little strange.

10 – 9 Swords “Cruelty” + XX the Aeon – Worries, panic, nightmares, primitive fantasies of violence.  Transformation, new beginnings, spiritual development, being captured by the spirit of the new age.

The final reading I did over the dark moon was my usual monthly—switched to the Dark Moon for the various reasons discussed previously.  I might have done the reading at the depth of the moon, but I though I’d give the Stele of Jeu rite at least 24 hours to ripple out before looking to the future.

I had actually considered performing the rite again on Monday, but ultimately concluded that I was too exhausted to pull it off.  In fact, I didn’t actually give the monthly reading more than a cursory glance the night I laid them out.  Instead, I proceeded to promptly fall over.

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1st House – Self, Viewpoint, the Mask – Queen of Swords – Wealth of ideas, presence of mind, independence, and quick-wittedness.

2nd House – Finances, Communication – IV the Emperor – Willingness to take responsibility, initiative, pragmatism.  Clear structures, consolidation, realizing plans, perfectionism.

3rd House – Daily Experiences & Immediate Influences – XIV Art – Finding the right proportions, balance of powers, harmony, overcoming differences.  Resolving conflicts, joyful and productive work,

4th House – Home-place, Family, Land & Roots – Knight of Disks – Firmness, sobriety, perseverance.  Responsible position.  Enjoying what has been achieved.

5th House – Pleasure, Hobbies, & Lovers– 4 Swords “Truce” – Sham peace, temporary retreat, calm before the storm, isolation, building up one’s strength.

6th House – Work, Illness, Duty, & Routine – Prince of Swords – Good ol’ P of S is fighting himself.  He’s working too hard.  Unlike the other knights and the other princes, his chariot is drawn by no noble steed: rather, it is drawn by miniature versions of himself.  He is at odds with himself, unable to choose a direction, unable to focus.  He is the proverbial chicken running around with his head cut off.  He needs to focus.

As I write this, I am skipping class in favor of nursing a cold.  I have been putting off homework in favor of other homework.  I’m fighting the urge to play social dominance games with one of my professors, and not quite sure that I’m keeping up on the long-term projects I should be working on.

Not good.  Need to turn this shit around.

7th House – Partnership – Queen of Wands – Healthy sense of self-assurance, initiative, impulsiveness, independence.  Equality, mature relationship, the Tantra of love, heartfelt warmth.

8th House – Taboo, Crisis, Sex, Death & Taxes – 2 Swords “Peace” – State of balance, relaxation, serenity, compromise.  I’m really not sure how to read this except as “no worries”.

9th House – Higher Perception, Journeys, & Movement – Knight of Swords – Versatility, discernment, flexibility, intelligence.  Steering toward new goals while inspired by ideas.

10th House – Recognition, Career, Ambition, & Status – 8 Wands “Swiftness” – “Ahah” experience, sudden resolution to problems.  Innovation, electrifying ideas, favorable developments, foreign business deals, advanced education, taking quick action.

11th House – Friendships, Groups, & Social Activities – 5 Disks “Worry” – Helplessness, fear of loss, frustration at nothing working out.  Having a negative influence on each-other.

12th House – Secrets, Hopes, & Fears – XIII Death – Parting, natural end.  Confronting transience.  Beginning of a fundamental change.

+2 – XXI the Universe / 0 the Fool – Completion, joy of living, being in the right place at the right time, resting in one’s center.  Crossed by original potential, creative chaos, new beginnings, starting off into the unknown.

So … that’s five Major Arcana, five court cards, and four minor arcana.  Four swords, three disks, two wands, no cups.  (Seriously?  No cups for my doulble-Scorpio ass?)

The World and the Fool at the heart of things tell me that although it may not look like there’s much going on at first, there’s some big shit afoot.  This impression is reinforced by the Death card (even if it is in the 12th House).

I feel confident that XIII, XXI, and 0 must be related to my resumed and escalated magical practice.  In particular, these are all things that are supposed to happen when you invoke the agathos daimon.  And I’m going to keep doing it: I want to die and be reborn: I want another initiatory experience.

The overwhelming presence of the court cards tells me that people are going to be very significant this month. Not terribly surprising, given the nature of academia.

The only “bad” card I see is 5D in the 11th House, though the Prince of Swords isn’t one of my favorites.  I’m a little concerned about that 5D, actually.  I’m always nervous about things going awry in my very small circle of friends: I don’t’ have any to loose.

I’m also concerned about 8 Wands in the 10th House.  That could be really good.  Or it could be “shit goes crazy”.  Not that these things are in any way mutually exclusive.  One wonders how it relates to IV in the 2nd House.  I hope this means that I’ll manage to get my hustle started up.

2 Swords in the 8th House confuses me, of course.  I don’t really have taboos.  But how can “peace” be a crisis?  Or does my more optimistic interpretation above actually float: that there4 is no crisis this month?

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Dark Moon 2/2: the Stele of Jeu

Sunday night I tried something that would have terrified younger versions of myself.  The rite in question, of course, is the Stele of Jeu, from which Aleister Crowley derived the Preliminary Invocation of the Goetia and, later, Liber Semekh.

I had been thinking about doing the ritual for a while.  It had been suggested to me that the astrology for starting this sort of project was ideal (although, re-reading that post this morning, it seems much more immediate and less “the astrological current of the coming weeks”.  Oh, well.  It got me going.), it was just a question of which of the various versions of such a rite.  Finally, the Stele came across my field of vision one too many times to ignore.  A colleague whom I admire was willing to hook me up with a copy of Hans Dieter Betz’s beautiful tome, as well as to give me a bit of preliminary advice.

The evening was set aside for nothing but this: I had done my house-cleansing the night before; I would do my monthly tarot the following night.  I broke out all the stops… including that oft-advocated practice which I have historically disdained: the preliminary divination.IMG_5026The 9S there at the end made me nervous, but the Aeon more than made up for it.  It was go time.

Proceeding with the ritual, I opened with my Pentagram Rite.  I cast a full, formal circle, and made offerings to all my gods and allies.  I drew a circle in salt, and cast another circle within it.  I read through the ritual a final time once I had sealed myself within the salt circle, and felt a presence watching and waiting.  I almost got the impression it was waiting to see if I would fuck up.

Lacking the formula and the six names to which the Stele referred (PGM V.156-60), I omitted them, but I still began with the preliminary invocation which appears at the end of the letter (165-70).  Beginning the ritual, the sensation of something watching over my shoulder grew stronger.  Not trusting myself to memorize so many voces magicae and barbarous words, I read the rite directly from my printout[1].

I had been warned to stop if any poltergeist phenomena occurred, and there were a few moments when the Indiana wind gave me a scare, but the ritual went off without a hitch.  The watching presence disappeared somewhere through the middle of the ritual, and nothing seemed to happen at first.

Then the first wave of power hit me.

The only thing I can compare the experience to is the sort of top-notch, sticky-green, creeper weed that I haven’t had since I left Larryville.  It was slow at first: a sort of spiritual bliss, a sense of fullness and euphoria.  I just basked in it for a while before I decided to clean up after the ritual.  Which was when it started to become apparent just how potent the ritual had been.

I ended up closing/cleaning up in three separate stages, because I kept forgetting what all needed to be done.  There was a particularly interesting surge of power when I broke the salt circle.  I could barely operate my phone to text my friends and let them know that, no, I hadn’t botched the ritual and that a rescue party would not be needed.  (What, you don’t take such precautions when trying something that new?)

The waves of euphoria kept getting stronger, and after a while I could barely walk.  I tried to journal about it, but it was all so surreal that (as you can see) words couldn’t quite convey it.  I remember thinking “nothing has moved my insides around this much since my initiation”.

When I laid down, though, the mood shifted.  I was confronted with violent images I can only call visions.  A close friend being run over by bus then getting up and boarding the bus.  A man in a business suit whose head exploded into a snarling wolf’s maw.  There were others—countless others—but only those first two were with me when I woke, after a night of strange and similarly violent dreams.  Despite that, I was still high on the ritual.

In fact, I was high until noon the next day.  I still feel like my aura’s been “inflated”, and I don’t think that the godhood I felt coming out of yoga yesterday morning was, well, just the yoga.  People who never had a spare glance for me last semester suddenly remember my name.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Up next: Dark Moon 3/3: Tarot and Splat


[1] I’m a very post-modern magician in my own way.  Besides, better to loose a little power by reading the text from a page than to mangle the incantation, or to accidentally summon or anger someone by practicing it aloud outside the Circle.

Betz, Hans Dieter. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation Including the Demotic Spells. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

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