Tag Archives: evocation

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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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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Seeking the Natal Genius I–Or, Satyr’s First Evocation

Last night, during the Hour of the Moon, I performed my first spirit evocation using something like the Triangle of the Art.  I have made contact with spirits before, of course, using shamanic techniques and Wiccan invocations and even a bit of mask-work.  But if my experience as a jeweler has taught me nothing else, it is that studying someone else’s techniques is an excellent way to refine your own.  Thus, the Triangle of the Art.

I have by now studied a half-dozen forms of evocation: the Goetia, Donald Michael Kraig, Trimethius, the Stele of Jeu, and others whose names I either don’t know or can’t remember off the top of my head.  Combining techniques developed by various modern magicians and shared at the Queen of Pentacles with my own artistic talents and gnosis, I produced my Triangle.

For my first such evocation, I chose to contact my Natal Genius as described by Agrippa—or, more accurately, as described by Rufus Opus and Frater Acher, augmented by my thus-far-infantile examination of Agrippa and Frater Acher’s generously free-for-download spreadsheet calculator.  It seemed like both a natural starting point for experiments in Triangle evocation—a spirit not just friendly to me, but actively interested in my advancement, and likely to be particularly amiable to such contact—and a natural outgrowth of my work with the Stele of Jeu.  As to the timing, I chose to operate on the Night and Hour of the Moon because I am a witch at heart.  And, as a witch, my first allegiance will always be to the Moon.

I sketched out my Triangle of Art last Thursday evening, when I was struck by sudden inspiration.  I re-calculated the name of my natal genius (I had forgotten to round up the degrees), and developed a seal and a preliminary pronunciation.  Following the lead of my Muse, I elaborated on the utilitarian format of the Triangle until I had something that looked more like a grimoire-based design: my genius’ name written in Hebrew inside the Triangle, my statement of intent spiraling clockwise around it in English, and the names DIONISUS, RHEA, and AGATHOS DAIMON written in Greek along the inner edge of an outer circle.  (I’ll post pictures once I have the chance to scan it and edit out the most intimate details.)

I did some preliminary divination, sought the approval and aid of my patrons and guides, bribed the one who thought it might not be a good idea (the consensus was overwhelming … I’m not sure why my Kouros disapproved), and cast my circle.  Taking up my pens and pencils, I inked and colored the Triangle I had constructed in advance, and finally placed my obsidian sphere within the Triangle as a focus.  I chanted the name of my Natal Genius 76 times using the counting beads I strung at the beginning of spring break.  When I was done, I poured a libation of mead and sat back and waited with my sketchbook in my lap.

There had been a build up of power as I chanted, but at first nothing happened.  After a while I took a hit of absinthe to facilitate the visionary process, and when that didn’t work I started to get worried.  After a while, though, impressions started coming to me: I started by drawing the seal of my Natal Genius on the page, and a rough skeleton of a humanoid figure.  The impressions I got became more and more clear as I worked and started adding copies of the seal around the page.  Soon, the spirit was able to correct me on the pronunciation of its name, and the image grew even more clear.  Finally, it was able to instruct me in the proper construction of its seal, and the image came together along with a list of associations.

The figure that appeared to me was a little on the feminine side of androgyny, with six eyes in an otherwise featureless face, arms that doubled at the elbow, ephemeral wings, and a serpent for a tail.  It told me it’s nature was of the sign of Scorpio, of the planet Saturn, of elemental Earth, and of the number XVII.

Then the Hour of the Moon—the time frame I had built into the statement of intent—was over, and the spirit was gone.

I was too exhausted to perform the Lunar journey I had also intended for the evening.  I was also too wired to get to sleep for several hours afterward.

Despite this success, I think that I need to curtail some of the experiments I had planned for the near future.  I’ve made so many Otherworld contacts in the last six months that I think the best thing to do is to focus on developing those relationships.  I don’t want to loose the momentum I’ve got going, but I also don’t want to miss opportunities for learning and spirit-relationships because I’m moving too quickly.

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