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I’m Still Not Certain Enough of What Happened To Come Up With Pithy Header

Way back at the beginning of the semester, I wrote of having picked up some sort of psychic parasites which absurdly difficult to get rid of.  On the advice of Veriditas Dreams, I put off my servitor experiment for another two weeks while I focused on getting my astral body patched up.  I’m glad I did, because things only got more interesting.

The first night of the Full Moon, I started with wine divination.  Interestingly, it pointed to a combination of internal and external factors: internally, matters of balance and power; externally, one Prince of Disks.  I prepared and cast my circle using my newest Circle-casting variant which anchors an Witch’s elemental Circle to the circle of salt I have been using for a bit, now.  Then I performed the Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist[1] and burned the little black worms from my astral body and my temple space with the brilliant and (in my experience) unique power of the Heart Encircled By A Serpent.  It is, I am almost certain, the first time that I have actually managed to use up every drop of power raised by that ancient and magnificent rite.

The second night of the Full Moon I performed the Stele of Jeu a second time.  I went for just a little more elaboration and experimentation.  I started with a simple banishing and suffumigation.  Then I tore space, as described in the Sorcerer’s Secrets[2], performed by Titan’s Cross and Pentagram Rite, and finally the Stele, itself.  Where the first night’s rite had burned away the infection, this one went a long way to healing the wound, separating the psychic “scab” from my physical back and helping restore the energy lost to the ordeal.

The third night of the Full Moon, as I prepared to begin my rites, I changed tactics.  Drawing a crude image of myself and writing my legal and magical names on the “poppet”, I drew a clean, healthy, and healed aura around myself and charged the image with power.  I literally have no words to describe the sensation of feedback that I experienced while working with that magical self-portrait.

With those rites completed, I went about my life for a little while [3].  The itching and pulling sensations of the “scab” or “scar” on my astral body were … very, very strange.  Sometimes I wasn’t certain if I was healing, or getting re-infected.  Despite the fall-off in my practice between then and now, however, one of those strategies, or some combination thereof, seems to have done the trick.  I can still feel a bit of psychic “scar tissue”, sometimes: it stretches and pulls, particularly when I do small magics, but it is no longer an uncomfortable or unwell sensation.  At times it even seems to respond to the places where the Veil has been often parted (like, say, my Temple), much like worn joints responding to changes in barometric pressure.

These things being the way they are, I’ll never be quite certain where the infection came from.  To the best of my ability to determine, however, it was not so much a direct attack as … symptomatic of a certain point of chaos in my life back in Kansas City. 

I’ve spoken of my Web before: of the lines that connect the people and places in my life.  Over Winter Break, Aradia and I did some Work to try to help her neighbor out with her magical practice: she was (is) experiencing a sort of demonic possession[4], either causing or caused by a serious illness and by her abandoned magical practice.  I believe that this possession/infection spread into the house wards and, from them, along the lines of power to the Sunrise Temple and my astral body.

I never did manage to repair the damage done to the Temple Wards; they were supposed to be self-regenerating, but apparently that didn’t work the way it was supposed to.  With my familiar spirits in house, and having established that I was not, in fact, (also, because I lost my shit this semester) under attack, it never seemed a priority. 

Besides which, it was about time I replaced them, anyway.  Whish is pretty much the most interesting thing I’ve done all semester.


1 – Jack Faust has a handy copy up for reference.  He is also the first and only person I’ve seen provide any theory as to which “six names” (PGM V. 159) are meant and what “the formula” (PGM V.160) might be, and this was my first performance of the rite incorporating those additions.

2 – Jason Miller.  Sorcerer’s Secrets. p.42

3 – And then everything went to shit: I stopped writing, stopped my magical practice and barely maintained my devotionals, never made time to try the exercises which the magnificent Melitta Benu was kind enough to share in response to another old post, and have barely kept up with my fucking homework.  Which may or may not have been related to anything besides the amount of stress I’m under and the amount of sex I’m not having.

4 – For lack of a better word.  Unfortunately, the details are not mine to discuss in depth.

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Icepick Initiation into Hermetics

The Ptolemaic geocentric model of the Universe...

The Ptolemaic geocentric model of the Universe according to the Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have just completed three consecutive weeks of daily planetary conjurations, two of those weeks overlapping with the two phases of Rufus Opus’ Seven Sphere in Seven Days challenge. The results included several visions of the Planetary realms and a ridiculous boost in personal power, and culminated in the ability evoke planetary forces at will … and my first magic-induced migraine since I recovered from my blown a gasket eight years ago. Ultimately, it seems to have served as an initiatory culmination of last year’s ceremonial study.

When Rufus Opus made his challenge, I was already on my third day of planetary rituals prompted by my spirit-allies. Although that first Jupiter conjuration was relativity weak, things escalated quickly. I could see the group current flowing across the sky as I did my work, and I bathed in it. I caught glimpses of the Planetary Realms of the Sun, Mars and Mercury—powers I had not touched so successfully or so formally, if at all. I received ritual instructions from Saturn, and built on my relationship with the powers of the Moon.

The group took a break between Phases I and II of the work, but I continued in between: making my first foray into the Planetary realm of Venus and receiving further instructions on how to perform my conjurations even better—most significantly an upgrade for my Circle of Art and Triangle of Conjuration.

When Phase II began, I was rewarded with a powerful Solar initiatory experience—less than apotheosis, but more than dismemberment. Then the tone changed radically. Although I was able to make contact with each of the Planetary powers in turn, the effects felt anticlimactic after the visionary drama of the week before. I could certainly still feel each planet’s influence—in fact, I could feel it continuing to build throughout the day, particularly as the First Hour of Day passed from the Eastern time zone into Centeral, and as the Third Hour of Night came around. It was at this point that I found the discussion group on facebook to be particularly helpful, as others were able to point out technical differences between Phase I and II that I had not been able to perceive, and to confirm that I was not alone in this particular manifestation of effects They also reminded me that, within the Hermetic frame, the planetary powers are not so much places or forces (as I usually concieve them) but refracted lights emanating from God. RO, in particular, suggested that I take some time to look inward at the changes going on within my sphere; doing so revealed that, by Thursday evening, I had tapped into far more planetary power than I had realized.

Saturday, though, I went over the cliff. My final ritual left me filled with black light and white light. I bumped up against the edge of something, the limit of Saturn, and when I came back to my body full of that bi-colored light, I saw a six-winged figure looming over the current. Things have been quiet on the board and in those corners of the blogosphere since the project finished, and I think that whatever I caught a glimpse of (Iophiel?) might have borked some brains that got a better look.

As usual, I had performed my rites at the First Hour. Within a few hours, my head started to hurt. I thought it was psychic feedback from lunch on campus: things were a little strange over the weekend in the wake of a tragic accident involving several students. Come the Eighth Hour, though, the pain had escalated to the point where I could no longer function well enough to run the errands necessary for my birthday party. Fortunately, Aradia—in town for the party—was driving and able to get me home, where I promptly collapsed into bed with a full-blown migraine headache.

Ninety minutes later, I felt up to taking some painkillers, and was finally coherent enough to put two and two together: the psychic weather—no matter how nasty a college campus can be—was not enough to lay me out like that. It was Saturn that had pushed me over the edge from “magicially manic” to “magical migraine”. Looking to my aura, I concluded that it was too densely packed: I separated out the planetary power—not wanting to ground it altogether—and pushed it out to the edges. That felt better, so I pushed the edges out further. The further I pushed, the better I felt. When my aura was bigger than campus and the surrounding college-owned student ghetto, the pain was finally manageable. It finally disappeared about the time I pushed out to the city limits. That sort of “coverage” is unsustainable, of course, but the pain did not return as my aura deflated over the course of the evening.

The final Saturn ritual brought with it a sense of finality. Whatever it is that my spirit friends wanted me to get out of daily planetary rites … I’ve gotten. I can now channel planetary power at will, just as I can elemental power, though I’m still struggling with the personal consequences of hot-and-cold-running-Venus (just as a for instance), and half a week later, I’m still struggling to maintain my aura at a reasonable level. There have been no new migraines, but my energy level has been up and down like an EKG and requires too-frequent “maintenance”.

Clearly I had some unfinished business with the planetary powers that I began working with during the ceremonial experiment. That’s been fixed: I have now received my first initiation in the seven Planetary Powers, complete with dissolution, crippling agony, and even some ἱερῳ ἀναμιγνομενος. And I’ve also just been handed a brutal reminder of what happens when I let my magical practice get too high-octane.

So I’m taking a short hiatus from magic: doing just enough to keep from setting off the cold-turkey migraine. My Dark Moon rites have so far been minimal. I’m going to get back into more “pure” Chaos Magic pretty soon here, but I am definitely not fucking around with any more Hermetics until Mercury goes direct again.

But, before I fall further down the NaNoWriMo rabbit hole for a few days, I want to thank Rufus Opus and everyone in the Seven Spheres In Seven Days working group for the opportunity and the camaraderie. It was a mad ride, y’all, and I’m glad I didn’t do it alone. I know that I would have gotten even more out of it if I could afford RO’s Gates Rites (and I am not for a moment questioning that the years of practice that went into developing those rituals is worth $12 a pop: I just don’t have the scratch), or if I were capable of believing in the Ptolmaic/Hermetic cosmology as the Truth, not just aTruth. In the end, though, I got enough: initiated into Hermetics with a Solar immolation and Saturnian icepick to the brainpan.

SEMPER LVX

φως ἀθανατος

Τιερεσιας Σατυρος ὁ Μαγος

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Failed Enchantment: No Scholarship for Satyr Magos

I don’t often enchant for concrete outcomes.  The fact is that I have most of what I want and need.  My web of influence (and social privilege) and mundane efforts keep things flowing pretty well.  Most of my enchantments are aimed at bolstering that web: my planetary talismans, my safe-travel spells, and my circles of protection.  Every once in a while, though, I do need something specific badly enough that I enchant for it: generally it works; this time it didn’t.

At the end of July I was invited to apply for a “scholarship” (actually a service-based work-study) program offered by my school.  I cut things pretty close last year, and part of the problem was that I couldn’t get all my work-study hours, which the program would guarantee me.  In addition to about a thousand extra dollars to live on each semester, it also offered a stipend for summer work.  I wanted it badly.

As one is supposed to, I did a Tarot spread about the application.  On the one hand the message was clear: yes, I should apply.  On the other hand, the actual outcome was more ambiguous.

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I put in the work on both ends. I was given two weeks from the time I received the invitation to the due date. I busted ass on application, itself, and turned it in on time.   It was a damn good application essay, if I do say so myself.

Aradia and I charged a sigil and fired it off with a seven-day candle.  I then sent that sigil to a few, select, close friends so that they could help charge it, too.

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Then I waited.  I was supposed to hear back about my application by the 6th of August.  No word came.  I got caught up in the process of packing, and basically let it go.

I got to Sunrise on the 14th of August.  Still no word had come.  So I walked up to the office and asked.  The email had been sent, they told me.  But, no: I had not been selected for the program.  The application and the spell had failed.

There are a lot of variables here.  Perhaps my application was invalidated for some technical reason I can’t know.  Perhaps the sigils I designed were flawed in some way.  Aradia and I raised energy for the sigils by laughter; perhaps that was not the way to go.  Perhaps passing them off for a boost was a bad idea.  Perhaps they somehow conflicted with other enchantments I have in place to assure my financial solvency.  Perhaps my mistake was as simple as failing to encode a time frame: perhaps I will be selected for the program next year, on the basis of the same application.

A brief consultation with the Tarot—“Why did my spell to receive the scholarship fail?”—produced what you see below….

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…. which basically comes across as pure static.  Obviously, one could interpret this as “you didn’t put the work in”, but …. to the best of my ability to determine, I did.  And the optimist in me wants to try to spit in as, “because something better is in the pipeline.” 

Thoughts or suggestions would be very welcome.

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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]

IMG_5401 Continue reading

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