Tag Archives: magic

Ritual Timing and the Risk of Preemptive Defeat

An act of magic does not begin only upon the release of the cone of power, the empowerment of the sigil, the charging of the talisman or spirit-aid.  An act of magic does not begin with the casting of the circle.  It does not even begin with the purifying bath before the ritual begins.  An act of magic begins the moment you set your will to an end, and echoes, still, after you achieve your result.

This is a thing that, I think, we all know, but which we all forget.

This is why, if you plan your rituals thoroughly or even just a few days in advance, you begin to see results before you have charged your sigils or talismans, or even finished arranging your correspondences.  I find that this is particularly common with multi-stage rituals, or when you’re doing magic for other people: frequently, Aradia’s mother will ask her to enchant for something, and then receive it while the offering candles are still burning.

Sometimes, you don’t even need to follow through with the ritual.  I think this is what a lot of people are talking about when they say they “manifested” something, but then get dodgy when you ask about their technique.  This is, interestingly, one the phenomena I have seen scare people away from magic in their earliest experiments.  (When my sister gave me back the magic books I had lent and bought her, she told me with wide-eyed terror about how, when she wanted things, “they just happened!”)

Conversely, when you are attempting something particularly difficult – an exorcism was the example that came up Gordon’s recent podcast interview with Jenny McCarthy – you can begin to encounter resistance as soon as you declare your intent.  Personally, I find this phenomenon most pervasive with my social justice magic: the apathy and depression which beset me when I begin to contemplate how best to undermine the structures of Archonic power; the mind-numbing blank, so much worse than normal writers block, which I struggle against when I attempt to work on my hypersigil novels; the reflexive planning-stage push-back I get from people who were down for the cause until the moment I announced I would actually take action.

I know a great number of magical people who rely too heavily on the first two of these three phenomena.  They are accustomed to the path opening for them effortlessly.  They mistake effective magic for destiny and, as a result, take every obstacle they do encounter as a cosmic DO NOT ENTER sign.  These are the same people who spend their lives wondering, “what am I supposed to do?” and flinch at the question, “what do I want?”

Linear time and causality are the meat and bread of historians, but they are illusions of mortal consciousness.  We are witches and sorcerers and magicians and priest/esses.  We are subject to illness and doomed to die, but in all other regards we disdain the limits of mortality.  The past pushes.  The future pulls.  Things outside of time – ourselves included – stir the pot.

Sometimes, of course, we do encounter DO NOT ENTER signs.  And sometimes we should even heed them.

But we are witches.  We are sorcerers.  We are wizards.  We are priests and priestesses and healers and mystics.  We are crossers of the hedge, climbers of the World Tree, explorers of the astral realms.  We are dabblers in forces forbidden to mortals.  We are possessors of knowledge others fear to face.

If we have any ambition at all, the obstacles we face become challenges which must be surmounted or circumnavigated.  We must set banquet tables for strange gods, even if we must then strangle them in their sleep.  We must slay or subdue or even seduce the dragons.

When you set out on a quest, the resistance you face is pro often of that you are going in the right direction.  Take solace in the stretches of easy, open road, and rest when you can.  And don’t take every challenge personally.  But remember that some of the obstacles arose in opposition to your intention; crush them and use the rubble as stepping stones.

And when you see a DO NOT ENTER sign on a side path, consider that it might be a challenge to be accepted.

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Gandalf Style?

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Dramatic lighting is my friend.

Last week’s Sexy Pagan Friday offering is as good a place as ever to start off a little rambling about what has probably been my most significant magical practice since returning to KCMO.

Most of my effort, magical and otherwise, has been devoted toward settling in: to establishing my space, and to being in the right place at the right time.  Notice all the green in that photo: my hat, my scarf, my pocket handkerchief, the shirt you really can’t see because I got super dramatic with the lighting, and even my fucking socks are green.  Zip back through my last few spf posts, and you’ll find a shit ton of green in them, too.

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Saturdays I dress in black. The purple tie is usually for Mondays, but I was just feeling extra fabulous last week.

Taking a cue from Aradia, who did this diligently before she quit her office job back in June, I’ve been incorporating planetary colors into my clothing as much as possible.  (Wednesday is a fucking challenge: I look absurd in orange, which basically leaves me shit out of luck.)  It’s a simple, mindful thing, rather than an act of overt magic, but it’s something.  (Mondays are my favorite because purple.)

This also goes back to something I’ve touched on before: crafting a new image for myself as I become too old–and too committed to “professional” life–to let my freak flag fly full time.  Since then I’ve learned that I receive very different from both the mallgoers who patronize my jewelry store and the coworkers who’ve known me for six fucking years now when I wear a tie and nice shoes.  Simply put, they take me more seriously.   (This, of course, should come as a surprise to no one.)

And, I will say, it sure helps that men’s fashion has gone in some pretty awesome directions since I made this decision.  Vests are seriously back in style.  Colors and patterns are vibrant and fun.  And pocket squares!

It’s difficult to gauge the efficacy of general prosperity magic–yeah, I’m doing pretty alright, but I’m also busting my ass–but judging by the ways in which I do seem, increasingly, to be in the right place at the right time, I believe that I can call the experiment, at worst, a moderate success.  The things I want to buy are on sale and in my size, I sit down at the right table to meet close friends of the hosts of open events, people respond to my messages on OKC, the art store has a shipment of the strange craft supplies I’m after in the deep discount corner of the basement.

I want to escalate this shit.  I bet I can make a talisman out of a tie or a pocket square.  Can you enchant a suit?  I’ll fucking find out!  (And you can’t tell me no one has never tried.  The question is, did they blog about it?)

John Fucking Constantine

Solid character. Not a role model.

But it kinda fucks with my head.  I mean, yes, these are magical successes, in a sense, and I am having a good time with it.  But it’s all so fucking butch.  I no longer fit my own image of a witch, or even a wizard or a sorcerer.  I mean, there’s some precedent for a magician playing the straight man… but being a magician did some fucked up shit to my head: Aradia was preparing to stage an intervention.

The realistic solution is probably to get better at code switching: taking off the work costumes as soon as I get home and putting on clothes that are more in line with my self-image; finding times and places where those clothes are more appropriate.

And keep doing magic.

Always do more magic.

 

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Taking Pain

Taking a break from all the Very Serious Posts which I should be writing, let’s have a little bit of story time.

Aradia and I are hosting some of my college friends right now, so we took them to our favorite bar in Kansas City, which also happens to be the best gay bar in town.  It was also our first trip there since I got back from the summer, and we were delighted to find our favorite bartender working.  He greeted us warmly, made our friends feel welcome, and made us the best drinks ever.  It was glorious.

But he was also holding his left arm at a funny angle, and it was clearly paining him.  I asked what was wrong, and he made a lot of inarticulate noises and hand gestures (which I originally translated as, “I was drunk at the time and I feel stupid”) before finally explaining that he had taken the pain from the lovely lesbian with the broken arm sitting next to us.

“Give it to me,” I said.  “I’m a professional.”  (Perhaps a slight exaggeration.)

“No,” he said.  “I took it.  It’s my responsibility.”

I respected that, so I let it go.  My friends were like, “what?” and I explained the principles to them.

“Oh,” my one friend says, very  much to my surprise..  “I did that once.”  He goes on to tell me about how this one time he took half of his friend’s migraine so that they could both study before a test.  “If I hadn’t done it myself,” he said, “I wouldn’t believe it was possible.”

The evening progresses, and I come back to the bar to order the next round of drinks.  My bartender is in so much pain that he actually shorts me my change.

“Why do we do this, again?” he asks me.

“Because we can,” I say.

As I work down on my third bourbon, though, the whole thing starts to weigh on me.  He’s nourishing the pain, taking it on as some sort of martyrdom, and it’s making it so he can’t work.  I’m reluctant to push the issue, but Aradia argues that it’s just as idiotically macho to let him suffer as it is for him to insist on suffering, and that if I won’t take the pain off of him, she’ll do it.

We all finish our drinks, and its time to go.  Aradia and one of my friends go to the ladies’ room, while my other friend and I go in search of the bartender to say goodbye and (again) offer to take the woman’s pain from him, and to tip him a little more before we leave.  He refuses both my offer and the tip, but then he gets all weird about it, twisting my friend’s arm rather than taking the tip, and patting me on the heart with the wounded arm.

While his hand is resting on my heart something goes off in the back of my brain, and I just breathe the pain into my lungs, and exhale it as fire into the air above us.

He looks at me in shock and says, “You took it.”

“I did.”

“But you know we have to give it back.”

“No, we don’t.”

Aradia shows up and we finish our goodbyes with a little more drama and groping than usual, then leave the bar.

My friend can no longer contain his enthusiasm: “You breathed it out as smoke.  I saw you take the pain.  I was watching really close because I wanted to see how you did it, and I saw you breathe it out as smoke!”

There is nothing like third party confirmation to make an evening perfect.

I feel a little bad about it, now.  He took the burden so seriously.  But the whole martyr angle just grated on me, and the way he touched me with the wounded hand … it just seemed to be the thing to do a the time.

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Project Null: Settling Into the Groove

projectnullI have just completed the third week of my Project Null experiment.  Some things have been settling down, others have been rearing their heads.

I’ve been escalating my daily banishing ritual a little bit, and doing better about my meditation, which has had a positive effect on the paranoia.  Perfecting my sleeping tea and being ruthless about bedtime (“ruthless”, because my homework is suffering) have helped with the insomnia and the nightmares.

My patience with various frustrations is at a distinct low point.  A class that I had hoped would be a fun challenge has, so far, turned out to be neither fun nor challenging, and another that should have been a coast-through is giving me trouble because the teacher seems to be suffering from part-timer syndrome.  These are legitimate frustrations.  My desire to set something on fire over them are just a little bit out of proportion.  With that said: I’ve suffered from rage issues for my whole life, so this is nothing new to me.  Stress makes me angry.  This is probably related to the Chaos experiment only insomuch as my meditation practice is making it impossible to deny or sublimate the rage.

Over the course of the week, I pushed a little further in Stephen Mace, restarted reading Hine’s Condensed Chaos, read Carol’s Liber KKK, and re-read Gordon’s Sigils Reboot.

Meditation

For most of the week, my meditation practice was the best it had ever been.  I was making five minutes or more at least once a day.  I wasn’t necessarily having great insights—really, just the Abrasax thing—but my mind was getting less and less unruly.  Then, Thursday, I fell off the horse for no reason.  No meditation Thursday or Friday.

This morning and yesterday, it’s distraction city all over again.  With the noted addition of a distinct buzz at the end of every meditation session, which is interesting and might be good or bad.

Magic

At the beginning of this experiment, I took a bit of a hiatus from active magical practice. I have begun re-incorporating magic into my practice, and the results have been decidedly mixed.  I dove back in to magic head-first Monday, with the Mercury Cazimi election just before dawn followed by the Mass of Chaos B that afternoon to fire off some sigils.  The first was a success; the second, not so much.

I made use of the Mercury election to recharge all my various Mercury talismans and to create a new language-learning talisman.  Although the raw power of that election made it very easy for me to feel the dissonance between my retrograde natal Mercury and the planetary power, the enchantments went well.  I have felt a distinct improvement in my ability to communicate with other humans (except over electronic media, which seems to be suffering an increased confusion, but there are a LOT of confounding factors making that correlation pretty blurry), and my comprehension of Greek and Latin does seem to be improving at a slightly swifter rate.

The Mass of Chaos B sigil launch was a qualified disaster.  I had three desires: to have a lost set of keys returned to me by Thursday, to have an Amazon package that has been waiting in the dock for (I though) no good reason shipped that day, and to find money on the ground.  The keys have still not been returned to me; Amazon has finally deigned to tell me that the reason my package didn’t ship is that The Sorcerer’s Secrets is currently out of stock; and I found a grand total of $0.06 on the ground this week.

So … I think I’m going to back up with my sigils.  Try launch techniques which are a little more traditional.  And hopefully aim my intentions a little better.

Meanwhile, the changes to my morning banishing rites have definitely left me feeling much more powerful.  I’ve yet to see that improved sense of power translate into actual results, though.

Dreaming

The tea I’ve been using to help regulate my sleep schedule has really fucked my dream journaling.  While on the one hand, my dreams have been vivid and interesting, on the other hand, I have been consistently woken up by the alarm which drives whatever I’ve been dreaming out of my head pretty much every time.

Have I mentioned before that dreamwork is not a native talent of mine?

Hopefully, the next batch of dream tea will cause me fewer problems: 2 tbs valerian; 1 tbs each white willow, chamomile; 2 tsp mugwort; 1 tsp spearmint.  I will be brewing does of 1 tbs in 2 cups filtered water.

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Dissonance and Resonance

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I have been practicing magic for just shy of sixteen years.  I’ve seen some whack-ass shit—some of it way back in the day, some of it a little more recently.  I even burned out the circuitry in my own brain on one occasion, a psychic injury from which I have only fully recovered in the last two years.  Fuck: I spent the first five or eight years of my magical practice with no other goal than to get some sort of hold on what currently passes for my sanity.  So when Peter Carroll tells me that Chaos Magick can lead to paranoia and obsession and outright madness, my first reaction is, “Been there.  Done that.”

Oops.  Stultus sum.

I have spent the last week struggling with depression and paranoia far out of line with my circumstances.  Also, a round of insomnia which has driven me to work on perfecting my sleeping tea and which has rendered me almost incapable of focusing on my studies.  Small noises in and outside my apartment have sent me into fits, searching for the source.  I have heard things scratching at the doors and walls.  In the moments between sleep and waking, I am haunted by delusions that someone or something is trying to break into the apartment.  My dreams have been haunted by fear, death, and betrayal.

Yes, I have things to be depressed about.  I have abandoned one lover, for a second time, in a far-away city; I have stayed in place as another moves on to bigger and better things.  That these things are inevitable, and the only path to each of us furthering our ambitions, is little consolation: I miss them.  Beyond that, finances are tight.  I didn’t make enough money over the summer, leaving with debt at the beginning and my costs have risen.  I’ve secured a TA position, which will provide me more hours than my post office position last year, but it’s still minimum-wage work-study.

There’s also stress.  I’m studying two dead languages at once, which is a kind of mind fuck.  I’m learning to weave, which is relatively straightforward on the one hand, but hugely time consuming.  And I’m taking an upper-level class outside my field: Gender Studies, as a point of fact, which while somewhat familiar territory as a queer feminist, is rightly known as a field  of particularly difficult-to-read theory.

But these very real factors are not sufficient to account for the degree of madness I’ve been struggling against, or the perfect (if short-lived) efficacy of banishing and/or meditation as a method of managing it.

All this, and I haven’t even performed my initiation in to the Chaos Current, yet, or the Mass of Chaos B for a second time?

Fuck.  Me.  Running.

I just hope that if I do go off the deep end, there’ll be someone left in my life to send in a rescue party.

Meditation

My meditation has been going fabulously.  I have missed only one day this week—Monday—and I have meditated in excess of 30 minutes on two occasions: almost exactly half an hour Tuesday night, before sleep; and a somewhat harder to quantify amount Friday afternoon at the loom, made up of uncounted three to eight minute intervals as I lost myself in the rhythm of the shuttle and reed.

Which is fucking good, because, as I said above, it’s been the front line of defense against the hordes of my internal demons.

Magic

I have been banishing and refining my Q-Cross every day, but done little other active magic this week.  What I have done is dwell upon Chaos Magick, its paradigms, and Project Null.  Having produced the first half-dozen glyphs of my Sacred Alphabet, I must now begin to conceive of how it will grow.  I have also been preparing for Monday morning’s Mercury Cazimi election.

And, of course, as is my custom, I spend Friday night cleaning and smudging my apartment.  I also performed a couple banishings..

The most concrete product of these musings and meditations can be seen in the image at the top: a syncretic chaosphere for Aradia, myself, and anyone else who chooses to join in with Project Null.  An image, a sigil if you will, to help unite and power our efforts. Our own little runoff stream of the Chaos current.

Dream

Although my dreams have been consistently violent, they have only been clear enough to record after waking about every other day.  I’m always vague in the mornings; it’s twice as bad when I actually wake up with the alarm, rather than before, and that is always the case when I have to dose myself in order to sleep.

For the curious: the tea I’ve been drinking has been valerian, mugwort, and white willow at at 2:1:1 ratio.  Last night I added 1/2 part mint and reduced the dose from 4 tsp to 3, which has produced the best results so far.  Mugwort tea gave me nightmares as a teen, too, but almost never since.

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Reining In and Cutting Loose: My Unruly Mind vs. Project Null

Project Null officially kicked off a week ago today.  This is the first of what I hope to be weakly updates on my progress through the project.  This week has been more theory than practice, but both aspects have been solid.

Despite classes, my reading has been progressing swiftly.  I have finished Carroll’s Liber Null and Psychonaut.  I have re-read the Simon Necronomicon.  I have read most of Frater U.D.’s Practical Sigil Magic, and the first half of Stephen Mace’s Stealing the Fire from Heaven.  The last two are particularly exciting, because between U.D. and Mace, I have what I feel is an adequate grasp of A.O. Spare’s sigil methods.  I’m waiting on Amazon to get around to shipping Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets, and I’m really looking forward to reading that, too, though I don’t yet know if it’s “Chaos” enough to qualify for this project.

Mind Control

Outside of my constant struggle to recall and master my dreams, I have never encountered the Psychic Censor in quite the way Peter Carroll describes it.  Perhaps I struggled against the very perception of the supernatural when I was younger—I did, after all, begin practicing magic at the age of sixteen—but I cannot now recall.

For me, much of my struggle is against what I have often described as my “unruly mind”.  Owing to my overwhelming (and largely irrational) fear of medicine in general and psychiatry in particular, I have never been diagnosed with anything.  But when people complain of their struggles with ADD/ADHD … well, the Rotten Card above is a familiar experience to me.  Outside of my magical practice, I rarely work on only one thing at a time: music or television plays in the background while I study or do housework; rather than see either task to completion before moving on to the other, I will often do laundry and another cyclical chore, such as the dishes, in tandem to create a natural flow of breaks.

Beyond that, I often struggle against the vestigial remains of the protestant work ethic which was instilled in me as a child: the idea that one must, at all times, be productive, and that even in moments of leisure (earned only by suffering) one must still be doing something.  Working on my art does not rouse this nagging voice; even smoking weed and watching television—the most useless and slothful activity in which I engage—does not bring the restless, almost painful feeling that comes from inactivity.  But meditation?  Simply sitting in the quiet of my own presence and listening to my breathing?  That drives my inner Puritan into a mad frenzy.

Since beginning the meditative practice called for in Liber MMM approximately ten days ago, I have rarely managed to perform my meditations two days in a row.  When I have, it was over the weekend.  Around half of each meditation session—which has averaged five minutes, went as far as six once, and as little as three—is spent thinking about journaling or blogging about the experience.  During the first several sessions, my mind was awash with a riot of images.  Counting my breathing has helped with that, but not eradicated it completely.  Regardless of the position I sit in—and I have tried several—my body almost always grows restless, and on two occasions this actually manifested as physical pain.

On the plus side, there have been several days where I was able to carve out small blocks of time to sit and trance, without a timer, in the sun around campus.  Those sessions were actually more fruitful, in some ways, than my planned meditation sessions.

One interesting thing that’s come up while I’ve been doing these meditations is the relization that my aura is loosing its differentiation again: without doing chakra-specific meditations, I’ve dropped down from the “usual” seven to four: a crown above my head which somehow includes my third eye, a point at my heart, one at my loins, and one below my feet.  Also of interest is that, though it’s better now than it was a week ago, my crown feels tightly congested.  (And that was before hayfever season kicked in to high gear three days ago.)

Magic

I have not actually launched any sigils, yet, though I have done a bit of work recharging sigils I have previously fired.  There’s not actually anything new that I want right now.

What I have been doing is daily banishing.  I’ve actually only fucked that up twice, and was on one of those occasions able to go home, do my banishing and card-of-the-day, and put things right.  I’ve been keeping it simple with a banishing pentagram and the Qabalistic Cross, but that seems to be doing me a fair bit of good.

Thursday night, for the full moon, I busted out with the full Pentagram Rite for the Stele of Jeu.  It was fucking incredible, and deserves a post ahttps://i2.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6tl5sNn7A1qe9nxqo1_500.jpgll its own.

More interesting than any of that, though, are my experiments with creating my own Alphabet of Desire.  Which also deserves a post of its own, but will have to wait until I’ve made it a little further along that road.  For now, suffice to say that I’ve had some interesting and positive results with producing personal sigils by automatic drawing, but because of the nature of some of the work, I am uncertain of what about half of the characters mean.

Dreaming

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...

I have been doing better at recording my dreams on waking than I have done with my daily meditations, but there have still been a number of days where, for one reason or another, I didn’t write down my dreams.  In one instance, it was because the nightmares were so terrible that I was afraid attempting to record them would draw me back down into them.  In at least one other, it was just that I’m a fucking idiot first thing in the morning, and have no idea what’s going on (why, yes, that was one of they days I didn’t do my morning banishing).

So far, though, nothing interesting or significant to report in the dream arena.

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Conjuring the Natal Demon

I almost didn’t perform the conjuration yesterday: a series of coincidences and a side of bad planning ended with me not having the apartment to myself at any Hour of the Sun.  So once I’d worked on my scholarship application until my brain was running out my ears, I decided to have a number and work on other projects in front of the boob tube.

With the Fifth Hour of Night, though, the urge to Work fell over me like a weight: I reached for my sketchbook and finished inking the Circle of Art I had designed for the conjuration of my Natal Demon, whose name I had calculated according to Agrippa (using Frater Acher’s lovely spreadsheet) and whose sigil I had drawn using that name and the Rosy Cross.  I was already high, but it was the magic that really clouded my mind:  despite the presence of Aradia’s atheist room mate, which barred me from employing more formal ritual, I could feel the daimon coming on even before I completed the Circle.

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The names on the Circle (for those who can’t read Greek) are Helios, Phoibos, and Agathos Daimon.  The glyphs are the planetary symbol and Grand Seal of the Sun, and the Seal of Och.  I first conjured my Natal Genius under the auspices of the Moon, so it seemed appropriate to conjure my Natal Demon under the auspices of the Sun.  My Demon’s sigil and name have, of course, been edited out, but they were drawn in the innermost circle.

When the circle was done and empowered to the best of my ability under the circumstances, I pulled the page from my sketchbook and laid it on my lapdesk.  Almost immediately, the sigil appeared to me to become an eye.  Grabbing my sketchbook, I drew that eye on the page and from there the image of my Natal Demon began to flow.  Perhaps it was the amount of time I spent contemplating this ritual; perhaps the stars were just in better alignment; maybe I’ve actually learned something since my first conjuration experiment.  Whatever: the connection was much stronger than it was when I made my first attempt to contact my Natal Genius, ZG.

During that Hour of the Sun, my Natal Demon was able to instruct me somewhat in its nature and image.  It appeared to me as a narrow-faced humanoid, with an attentive expression.  Its body was slender and tall, and from its back sprung two pairs of wings.  Something rose from its head: I thought it a third pair of wings, but it may also have been horns or a helmet.  It informed me that its nature was that of Jupiter, and of the Sun in Scorpio, and the Moon in Virgo.  Perhaps most interestingly, the name of my Natal Genius was echoing through my head for most of the time I was performing the automatic drawing, leaving me uncertain whether the Genius and Demon are, in fact, separate entities or different faces of the same spirit.

When the vision began to fade, I put the Circle on the altar and made an offering of incense and a votive candle, thanking it and bidding it license to depart.  In all, I would call the experiment a qualified success.  I wish I had been able to stick with my original plan, but at the same time: sometimes the magic arranges to be performed the way it wants to be.

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Talisman Bearing the Beneficial Sign

Even if my time with ceremonial magic were up now instead of a month from now, there are still some projects that I would need to see through.  One of those is my latest experiment with the Stele of Jeu: talismans inscribed with the beneficial sign.

The first one I made at Heartland Pagan Festival.

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The second I inscribed at the jewelry store I’ve been working at over the summer.

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For this one, I used the variation on the Beneficial Sign favored by the Order of the Hollow Ones, as I thought it would make a more attractive piece of jewelry The inscription, which is difficult to read because I’m still learning to use the engraving machine, are the first and last lines from the final passage of the Stele in the original Greek:

ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἀκέφαλος δαίμων ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν ἔχων τὴν ὅρασιν …  ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ Χάρις τοῦ Αἰῶνος, ὄνομά μοι καρδία περιεζωσμένη ὄφιν. ἔξελθε καὶ ἀκολούθησον.

I am the headless spirit[1] with sight in my feet[2] … my name is a heart encircled by a serpent.  Come forth and follow.

During my lunar rites last night, I dedicated the second talisman by laying it across the first as I performed most of the rite, donning it as I incanted the final passage.

Boy, howdy, does it tingle.  I look forward to carrying it as a talisman of power and protection, and as the most obscure way for fellow magicians to identify me EVAR[3].


1 – As I’m sure you all know, the Greek noun “daimon”, which it currently seems fashionable to leave untranslated, can be understood as spirit, demon, god, or even soul.  Interestingly, my studies thus far seem to indicate that it overlaps pretty thoroughly with the Latin “genius”.  More experienced students of Greek and Latin may win my undying love by sharing their thoughts on this matter.

2 – The verb here is “echo”, which conveys an interesting sense of “I am the headless spirit who holds his sight in his feet”.

3 – This is kinda like if you see me at the bar on toga night and say, “Hey!  That’s a peplos not a toga!”

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Musing on My Natal Mercury and the Upcoming Retrograde

On the Spiritus Mundi mailing list, Christopher Warnock often complains of the way in which Mercury retrograde seems to have been chosen as a New Age scapegoat: along with Luna Void-of-Course, it seems to have absorbed all the “negativity” and malific influence that was (traditionally) ascribed to numerous planetary aspects and interactions.  Although I have only a little more interaction with the New Age community than I have with traditional astrologers, I can definitely see this dynamic at work.  Rufus Opus has talked about the magical “storms” associated with bad astrological “weather” like Mercury retrograde in the context of his Hermetic practice.

For myself, I have an interesting relationship with Mercury in general and the retrograde period in particular.  You see, while I’ve seen everyone else scrambling around me trying to deal with unanticipated communication, computer, and travel related disasters, I’ve never personally experienced any difference.  I’ve never noticed periods of my magic backfiring, only to later discover that Mercury was running backwards.  I kind of thought it might just be that New Age hooey.  Specifically, I thought that people were just more self-conscious about the sorts of disasters they were already living with every day—you know, just like I was.

Then I discovered that I was born under Mercury retrograde.

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Mercury Talismans For the Retrograde

Although I don’t have hard data to compare to, and I’m still dealing with the fallout in a lot of ways, I do feel that the Venus talisman and tincture I made in preparation for that retrograde period helped me get through relatively unscathed.  So, in anticipation of the upcoming Mercury retrograde, Aradia and I decided to put together some talismans along similar lines.

Now, in a magical fantasy world where we’re planning further than two weeks ahead, we’d have done that a week or so ago, before the “pre-retrograde period” I keep reading about.  In that same magical fantasy world, though, sticking to one’s daily practice would be fun and easy, not real effort, and I would already have fixed everything that’s wrong with my brain years ago.

I like to work during the Hours of Night.  Unfortunately, this is the wrong time of year for that.  We printed out the templates and started casting our circle just as the Hour of Mercury came this past Tuesday—taking advantage of the waxing, near-full Moon, rather than waiting on the Day of Mercury—and were barely able to suffumigate the charms, incant the Orphic Hymn to Hermes, and light the offering candles before the Hour had ended.  As with the Venus retrograde, we made a planetary incense blend to suffumigate, and then used the excess to make a tincture as a backup/battery for the talismans.  We also recharged the safe-travel talisman I made with Sannafrid shortly before making the road trip from Sunrise to KC.

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I look forward to seeing how well they help.  We should probably have made a separate talisman for Aradia’s workplace; we should definitely do so before the retrograde gets much closer.

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