Tag Archives: goals

Rebuilding

Re-establishing my magical practice now that I’ve moved back to Kansas City has proven a greater challenge than I had anticipated. I’m managing to keep up my Esbats, but only barely. I have failed to resume making regular offerings to my familiar spirits, and the gods… well, since Aradia also had a Dionysus statue, the idol I’d kept in Indiana was only unpacked tonight. I have still not completed the masks the Witchmother instructed me to make, nor have I made any progress on the ceremonial witchcraft book I had once delusionally believed I would complete over winter break.

Part of the problem, I think, is the degree to which my magical practice has come to differ from Aradia’s. While she has found some use from the Orphic and Picatrix hymns to the planets, the Stele of Jeu is not at all to her taste. Meanwhile, I have (very much to my detriment, mind) fallen out of practicing the sort of visionary work that remains central to her practice, and she has picked up a bit of the Hoodoo that’s going around Kansas City circles these days (a Catholic upbringing and a better grounding in Chaos magic paradigm-shifting make that much easier a leap for her than it is to me). And the people we used to do Sabbats with are … not really practicing with us any more; we seem to be drifting apart.

Further, especially since we’re not practicing together like we used to, I feel really awkward practicing magic in a house where someone is not participating.

Of course, since we’re not doing magic the place isn’t really tuned to magic, and there’s more … resistance when we do do things.

This is all just whining, of course. The solution is clear and simple.

Resume the visionary work, keep at the planets, keep at the moons, and fucking DO MAGIC.

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So … What Is My Personal Practice, Anyway?

Having committed publically to not letting my personal practice slip any further while I work on Project Null, I find myself in a position of needing to define it.  Which is probably good for me, really.  The goals for this sort of work are not going to be as specific as those for Project Null, but it will behoove me to pursue them with at least equal vigor.

Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Develop My Relationship With My Household Spirits.  Three spirits now “live” on my altar: Sue, ZG, and SKM.  One is a longtime friend, and accustomed to my occasional lapses … besides which, she’s got her own shit going on (not that she tells me anything about it).  My relationships with ZG and SKM, my Natal Genius and Demon respectively, are new.  More importantly, as natal spirits, I’m pretty much their primary focus (assuming I have any idea how these things work, anyway), and they are allies I can’t afford to neglect.  The one because I need that inspiration and insight; the other because “idle hands …”, “with friend like that …”, and all that rot.

Resume and Refine My Devotional Practice.  Specifically, I need to step up my game in regards to Dionysus and Rhea.  This will involve both research and visionary work.  I need to come up with appropriate offerings/sacrifices, and a schedule for making them. 

Speaking of Visonary Work.  I keep letting that slide; I shouldn’t.  I wish to continue exploring the planetary and elemental realms, and, more importantly, the hidden corners of my own Inner Temple.

Art.  Above and beyond the fact that I want to do more art for its own sake, it is increasingly a part of my spiritual practices.  I want to do more automatic drawing in conjunction with conjurations.  I want to do more art based on my visionary experiences.  I want to do a whole bunch of arts-and-(witch)craft projects that have been on the back burner for a while, ranging from getting back into mask-making to a protective spell to help a friend with an alcoholic room-mate manage the charge on her space.  There will be a lot of overlap between this and my experiments with sigils and hypersigils.

Homebrew.  My failure to keep up on this has more to do with cashflow stoppage than anything else, but I need to get back on the mead brewing.  Partly because it’s part of my devotional practice in respect to Dionysus, but mostly just because it’s awesome and makes me happy.  And drunk.  I also want to post the recipes I’ve had success with but haven’t gotten around to typing up.

This list is probably going to grow, but it’s a good place to start.

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Project Null

Closing one project makes way to begin another.  The next major project in my cue is a study of Chaos Magick.  At Aradia’s suggestion, I have decided to call these experiments Project Null, and tag related blog posts accordingly.  (The Squirrel has pointed out to me that this is somewhat grandios and rediculous, to which I could only respond, “Yes.  And?”

One of the things I learned during the last experiment was that I needed to set more concrete goals.  Here, then, are lists of the sources and resources I am planning to make use of so far.  The reading list will grow longer, and I can only ask for your help with this dear readers: who/what else should I be reading?  Is Frater U.D. worth my time?  Who else was/is iconic and revolutionary in the Chaos Magick movement that I clearly haven’t heard of and simply shouldn’t ignore?

(RE)SOURCES

Carroll, Peter.  Liber Null & Psychonaut.

–. Liber Chaos.

Hine, Phil.  Condensed Chaos.

Mace, Stephen.  Stealing the Fire From Heaven.

Miller, Jason.  Strategic Sorcery.  Blog.

–.  Sorcerer’s Secrets.

Moore, Alan.  Promethea.

Morrison, Grant.  The Invisibles.

–. The Disinformation Speech.

White, Gordon.  Rune Soup.  Blog.

ROADMAP AND GOALS

1) Liber Null.  I’ve gotta start somewhere, and given the contents of my library and Aradia’s, this seems like the best place.  With a little bit of dedication, I should qualify for initiation into the IOT by the time I’m done.

1.1) Liber MMM.  Particularly the meditation and the sigils.  These experiments will continue throughout the project and hopefully beyond.  The first weeks of Project Null will be devoted exclusively to developing a meditation practice—something I’ve never done—and reestablishing my daily banishing practice.

1.1.1) Mind Control.  I will begin by setting aside 5 minutes a day for these mindfulness exercises.  By the end of the year, I want to be capable of minutes of visualization and/or object concentration for 15 or 20 at a stretch three times a week.  This may seem like a low bar.  If it turns out to be, I’ll raise it.

1.1.2) Magic: Banishing and Sigils.  In terms of banishing, I will continue experimenting with daily banishing rituals until I perfect one for my own purposes.  As for sigils, I will begin by firing off at least one shoal of 3-5 sigils every week.  I’m a greedy bastard: there’s at least that much I want in the world. (And if I run out of things I want, I can always start working for others.)

1.1.3) Dreaming.  This art has eluded me for years.  As such I will simply set pursuing it as a goal.  In addition to Carroll, I intend to make use of Frater Acher’s recommendations on the subject.

1.2) Liber Lux, Liber Nox.  Oh, yeah: y’all know I go both ways.  The second and third books of Liber Null are as much theory as practice, and not all of the practice is relevant to me, but I will commit to studying each section and writing about them, and explaining my decisions for those exercises which I choose not to work through.  I intend to have completed my first run through Liber Lux and Liber Nox by the end of October.

1.3) Liber AOM.  This shit is just whak, and much of it irrelevant as someone working reasonably hard to not die any time in the near future.  Still, I’ll spend some time in October and November (assuming I’m on track) exploring these concepts.

2) Psychonaut.  As I work my way through Liber Null, it is my intention to simultaneously work through Psychonaut.  I have already performed the Mass of Chaos, adapting it to dedicate my Chaos altar.  I hope to incorporate the suggestions and contexts provided by Psychonaut to the work of Liber Null.  As such, I intend to post musings on the subjects contained therein, as well as develop my own experiments based on them.  I aim to complete this stage of the work by the end of November.  As with Libri Lux, Nox, and AOM, I will discuss each section, weather it offers me a particular exercise or not.

3. Servitor Creation. The creation and maintenance of servitors is one of the most visible and iconic portions of Chaos Magick. I cannot claim to study the field without at least one experiment in that area. I intend to start with creating a protector-spirit to accompany my house-wards, and to have it “up and running” by the end of November.

4. Analysis and Check-In.  By the end of November, I hope to have made it at least halfway through the above reading list, and added at least as many more to the cue.  From that position of (relatively) greater knowledge, I intend to have a better idea of how to progress specifically.

5. Lovecraftian Magic.  I’ve told you all before about how the first occult book I ever purchased was the “Simon” Necronomicon.  For years I’ve been hearing about Chaos magicians performing invocations of Lovecraftian horrors … hell, once upon a time, it was one of the things that kept me from away from Chaos Magick.  So … now I want to try it.  I don’t know if I’m going to use the Simon or the Donald Tyson version, or play with some weird shit I dig up on the internet.  But there will be Eldrich Horrors.  And I plan to sick them on some senators.

6. Feminism as Chaos Magick.  I first mentioned this project over on G+ and Tumblr.  I want the initiatory essay completed by the end of the semester, and have the project in motion by the beginning of the next semester.

CAVEAT

I’m excited about this project.  I’ve been looking forward to it since the idea first occurred to me.  But I try to be vigilant, and to be wary of my own motivations.  And after a certain amount of soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that while the ceremonial magic project was good for me, it also gave me a rock-solid excuse to let my personal spiritual practice slide.

When was the last time I encountered Dionysus or his messengers in my journeys?  I have seen Rhea once in the last year.  Even Tsu and ZG don’t show up as often as I’d like.  I’ve thought a lot about the potential implications of conjuring my Natal Genius and Demon, but I haven’t done any magic or divination to explore it.

Project Null has the potential to be the same.  So to help keep myself honest, I’m going to try to post at least once about my personal practice for every two posts about Project Null, not including posts serving double duty.

INVITATION

Aradia and I intend to work through this project together, scheduling our reports to post simultaneously so as to avoid cross-contamination of our experiments.  We cordially invite any interested parties to join in with the Project Null experiment.  If any such parties have blogs of your own, we would love to share the #ProjectNull tag with you.

I can be reached through the comments section of this blog, the ask box at my Tumblr, or even my G+ account.  Aradia can be reached through her blog.

Although I have already begun working with Liber MMM—banishings, motionlessness, and breathing concentration–the official kickoff for the project is Sunday.

Obviously, there must be some uniformity in order for it to really count as a group project: for this first section, that’s working through Liber Null and Psychonaut.  Your own personal goals and interests within that sphere, however, will vary.  Maybe you want to shoot for an hour a day of motionless, thoughtless meditation.  Aradia has no personal interest in Lovecraftian magic.  Some of you (though it breaks my heart to know this) will not care about the Feminism as Chaos Magick project.  As we approach the end of November, we can plot our course for the second “half” of the project together.

This is short notice.  Whatever.  Anyone can joint the project at any time.  If you can’t keep up with the pace we set, or if you think everyone else is moving too slow: go at your own speed.

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My “Year” of Ceremonial Study: The View From Month 11 of 12

It occurred to me this evening that the year I set aside to study the Western Ceremonial Tradition will come to an end in fewer than thirty days.  I wrote the first post on my experiments a year ago yesterday.

Holy fuck.

It’s been a wild ride.  What started as a vague (almost childish) intention to study “ceremonial magic” has wandered across Chaos Magick, the grimoire traditions, traditional astrology, the qabalah, the Golden Dawn, and quite a few things I don’t even know the proper names of.  I’ve experimented with the Qabalistic Cross and the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.  I’ve conjured my Natal Genius, and am planning to conjure my Natal Demon, as well.  Although I have struggled with my maintaining my visionary practice, I’ve gone on visionary quests to the Temples of Malkuth and Yesod, striven and failed to reach Hod, and visited the Elemental Realms of Earth, Fire, and Water.  I have made Planetary talismans of Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and Mercury.  I have discovered the Greek Magical Papyri and incorporated the Stele of Jeu into my Lunar devotions at both the Dark and Full moons.  I have discovered the magical value of the Orphic Hymns.  I As my studies progressed, they focused increasingly on Hermeticism and astrological magic, with a bit of grimoire magic on the side.

Shit has been intense.  The rituals have been elaborate, effective, and exhausting.  Although I’ve been fighting it, I’ve been falling into the trap of armchair magicianhood because, as much as I’ve enjoyed a lot of it, there are parts of my nature that I have to fight to do this sort of Work.  And because I’ve been having so much fun getting caught up in the theory that I’ve been loosing track of the practice.  Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not done with the Western Ceremonial Tradition by any stretch of the imagination.  But I think that, when my year is up, I’m going to switch streams.

This coming year is going to be dedicated to Chaos Magick. Stephen Mace and AO Spare. Phil Hine and Peter Carrol. Gordon White and Jason Miller. And probably lots of authors and bloggers that I haven’t even heard of yet. Hopefully some of them ladies.

Lots of things have been pointing me toward Chaos Magick over the last year, anyway.  I mean: y’all have noticed that Gordon White is just too damn cool to ignore, right?  There’s been this whole post-Chaos thing that Jason Miller’s been talking about, though I think Gordon and Skyllaros have the right of that in a lot of ways.  And, even if Chaos Magic really isn’t what he seems to be doing anymore, I’ve picked up a serious torch for Phil Hine.  So … I’ll come back to Agrippa, the Picatrix, and the Corpus Hermeticum sooner rather than later.  Hell, I’m probably going to keep working on planetary talismans and my illustrations of the Picatrix images of the planets even as I change trajectories, because they’re pretty and they make me happy.

Any recommendations?

 

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Synthesizing Planetary Magic Into My Personal Practice

Some readers may wonder, looking at my bio, how it is that I can be so ignorant of Chaos and ceremonial magics if I’ve been practicing for as long as I say I have.  The short, easy answer is: freestyle circles and energy work, augmented by ecclectic/New Age Wiccan ritual and (in the last few years) visionary work.

When I was 18 or so, I came to the conclusion (in absence of any evidence, but … I was 18) that Cetlic knotwork was a two-dimensional representation of ways to shape energy.  That, in combination with the stripped-out version of the LBRP that I had found on the internet and a keen interest in elemental energy, became the basis of my magical practice.

Like (I imagine) most magicians, I can conjure elemental energies essentially at will: drawing energy from the world around me, filtering it through my body and aura, and transmuting it by will into Fire, Air, Earth, or Water to suit my needs … just as one conjures and focuses intent for, say, some forms of candle magic or sigils.  Unlike some witches and magicians, however, I also do this with Solar and Lunar energy.

One of the things I’m looking to do with my experiments in planetary magic is to come to understand those energies well enough that, in absence of convenient astrological timing—say we’re rolling retrograde when I need to do some mad Mercury, or right now with Saturn in the long retro, or it’s the Hour of Jupiter and I need some Venusian mojo right the fuck nowthat I can conjure them in similar fashion.  This sort of understanding of planetary forces would also facilitate my desire to, for example, make a talisman invoking the “baleful” aspects of Venus and Mars for a “No Babies Conceived Here Ever” talisman to hang above my bed.

Some will ask, “If it’s possible, why didn’t the ancients do it that way?” The easy answer is, of course, that’s not the way they thought about magic. Except, of course, in the East where we get a lot of these ideas from in the first place. Chi, anyone?*  Again: I can already do this with Solar and Lunar energy.

Now, I realize that this will not shelter me from astrological “weather” altogether.  It may never work the way I imagine it will (what does?).  But think: if I can generate my own planetary energies as needed, how much more awesome could my sigils and talismans be when used in conjunction with astrological timing?  And if I know how to move that energy, I could, for example, take advantage of the next Jupiter election to endow the shit of of some Jupiter water or store that energy in a crystal battery for another occasion.


*A gross oversimpification, I know.

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Further Explorations in Planetary Magicks: a Prelude

Though I only posted about it yesterday, I actually finished out my Abramelin Oil last Wednesday.  After doing so, I finally sat back down to re-evaluate the High Witchcraft system I had been working with when I started it.  The experience was kind of interesting: Penczak’s system looks even more like a watered-down version of the Golden Dawn than it did when I first realized how little of the Western Ceremonial Tradition the GD actually represented; past Yesod (where Penczak introduces the Circulation of the Body of Light and Abramelin Oil), the exercises become increasingly useless outside the GD framework; and, of course, Penczak mentions the existence of the Goetia but cautions against actually using it, and never delves into spirit evocation—a practice which, from where I sit at least, seems fundamental to the Western Ceremonial Tradition as a whole.  Finally, the book culminates with the Bornless Ritual: the Crowley/GD version of the Stele of Jeu rite I have already begun performing with some success.

The more experienced magicians and ceremonialists who read this blog are laughing right now: “Of course I’m going to be disappointed by Christopher Penczak’s overview of High Magick: he makes his living writing 100-level fluffy-bunny bullshit by the ton.”  To which I can only reply, yes, but the tech in the last three books was solid once you ran it through the fluffy bullshit filter.  And I had to start somewhere, or I wouldn’t have even known what questions to ask to get me as far as I have. 

And, despite all my bitching, there are still aspects to the book which will remain useful to me: the altar constructions and the visionary journeys to the sephiroth/planitary realms.

As you all can tell from the tag—or, as you would be able to tell, if I had finished to re-tagging all my posts when I moved from blogger—I like building and rebuilding my altar.  I find myself wishing that I’d thought to photojournal my altar pace from my earliest practice.  I’ve had some good ones over the years.  And maintaining a separate, second altar for individual magical operations and experiments has made it much easier to keep my primary, increasingly devotional, altar from getting too cluttered.

The visionary journeys fit my style.  I am, after all, a shamanic witch—these ceremonial studies are doing wonders for my toolkit, and have introduced me to all sorts of fascinating areas of study and badass awesome people, but they’ll never be my primary focus.  And I’ll be much more comfortable conjuring spirits after I’ve gone and visited their places of power.  And following the Sephiroth up the Qabalistic/GD Tree of Life gives me an order of operations.

I have already completed (in terms of this project) my study of Malkuth/Earth.  As of last night I have begun my journeywork related to Yesod/the Moon.  If that goes as smoothly as it has begun, in the next week or two I’ll move on to Hod/Mercury.  And so on.

In the mean time, I will continue to escalate my practical magic practice.  Currently on the drawing board are that appeal to justice I mentioned, improving my Mercurial talisman that’s been helping me with my Greek, a Lunar talisman to help me maintain a regular sleep schedule and remember my dreams, and a Saturn talisman to help me manage my time better.

And somewhere along the line, I’m going to get over my strange idea that it’s somehow cheating, win the Favor of Kings and learn to fight dirty.

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Coming out of Hibernation

Solstice approaches and the daylight wanes almost to nothing.  Here in Kansas City we’ve just had our first snow and our first night below 0F.  The semester is over, with only one final exam left between me and (hopefully) sounder sleep.  It seems as good a time as any to reacquaint myself with the world.

At 14,000 words my NaNoWriMo novel is neither a failure nor a success: in fewer than 20 days I doubled my fiction word count for the school year.  I’ve written one major and one minor paper in the last two weeks, the first of which I may share here. 

I’m working on my recipe for my Yule mead.  While searching for inspiration, I found a fantastic beginner’s recipe: http://www.moremead.com/mead_logs/Ancient_OCC.html

And while I’m sharing links, I found this while catching up on Chas Clifton’s blog: http://mysterytheater.blogspot.com/2010/10/free-classic-weird-fiction.html

Happy day, all.

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