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Further Experiments With The Stele of Jeu

beneficial moon

Third night of the full moon, 15 Apr 2014. Neither my most nor least successful attempt to photograph the moon.

Excepting the Valentines’ Day Full Moon, when I was laid low with the literal flu and a fever of 104, I have performed the Stele of Jeu the Heiroglyphist (or one of my experimental variants) at least twice at every Full and Dark Moon Esbat this semester.  It has, to my own surprise, become the centerpiece of my magical practice over the last few years.  The results of the ritual, however, have been in no way consistent.

I have written about the ritual before–perhaps more than anyone on the internet except Mr. Jack Faust, who introduced me to the ritual–and I don’t want to re-tread too much ground, but there have been some interesting changes, particularly lately.  In my two years of research, now, I have found about a double handful of people who mention or advocate the ritual.  Only two have talked about the effects of the rite, or their personal experiences with it, and they have spoken to me mostly in private.  I don’t know if this in any way resembles the experiences that others have had with the ritual.

When I first began performing the ritual, I could feel it sending shockwaves throughout my world.  My web of power trembled.  Cracks emerged in the foundations of my reality.  I got so high on power that sometimes I could barely walk to bed at the end of the ritual.

As I became fore familiar with the ritual, the effects seemed to diminish.  The earthquakes were fewer, further between, and came mostly when I was either performing the ritual at a place of power or making the most radical changes to the structure and performance.  It became a sort of touchstone, a powerup, and I had to push the power out into my web.  I began to use the power to help the people in my web transform their lives.  Then I hit a breaking point.

In the last months, I’ve been keeping the power of the ritual to myself again.  And, rather than being disruptive–rather than earthquakes and cracks–the power of the Headless One has been regenerative.  The cracks in me, the cracks in my life, have been filling with that golden-white power, and they’ve been starting to close.

 

 

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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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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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Circles of Salt: Still Experimenting With The Stele of Jeu

I first performed the Stele of Jeu ritual in late January of this year, and for the last eight months it has been a regular part of my Dark and Full moon Esbats.  At the beginning, I was advised to do the ritual outdoors, ideally at a trivium crossroads or in a vineyard, and that if I must—as my circumstances realistically dictate—perform the ritual within my temple, that I ought to do so within a circle of salt, as a Wiccan circle would not be adequate to keep out the wandering dead that would be drawn by the spell.  Given that there is a graveyard next to the school I attend and live next door to, and given that Sunrise, IN is old Quaker territory, and they only started marking their graveyards when sectioning off the dead was legislated as a public health concern … well, let’s just say I took that advice to heart.

From January until May, it was my habit to move my rug out of the way and pour a circle of salt right out on my linoleum-over-concrete floor.  The results ranged from spectacular to blasé, depending, I think, largely on just how much I heart I had to put into the ritual at the time.

In May, at the Heartland Pagan Festival, I had my first opportunities to perform the ritual outdoors.  Just as the semester was ending, I performed the ritual on a creek bank in he woods behind campus as a part of my Full Moon ritual.  The results were very different, but it ways that I find it difficult to articulate.  The spirit world did not really become more aware of me, so much as I became more aware of it: it was both comforting and disconcerting to have a visceral feel for how vast the spirit world is, and for just how few shits it gives that humans even exist.  Then again at the Heartland Pagan Festival, to incredible results that I have already detailed.

Things were a little different in Kansas City.  Aradia’s apartment has old wooden floors that would be damaged by the salt, and hard to clean afterward.  So I took a risk and performed the ritual without the salt: the results were unspectactuar.  A Wiccan circle may be inadequate, but the years of circles and wards that Aradia and I put up around that apartment, to say nothing of the work done with Pasiphae and Aidan and the rest of the proto-coven, were more than adequate.  I say “more than” advisedly, because the Stele of Jeu rituals I performed there were … limp.  I actually wondered if I were performing the ritual too often, if maybe it was loosing its efficacy.

I moved back to Indiana just in time for the Dark Moon.  I performed the Stele of Jeu as usual, but I had just acquired a new, heavier carpet which is too large to move readily, so, based on my experiences in Kansas City, I went without the circle of salt.  And … things went off the rails, just a little bit.

I didn’t get any of the poltergeist effects during the ritual, which I had been warned was a possibility, but after is another matter. One the one hand, I’m fairly sure that that a lot of the weird-ass noises I was hearing that night were just the no-longer-familiar sounds of the Sunrise Temple.  On the other hand, though …. I never did identify all of those noises, and they all stopped when I did some serious banishing work a couple days later.  Also: the nightmares.  That shit was out of control, and that’s all I’m going to say about that, except that those also chilled out when I did the banishing work.

Why did the Stele of Jeu have such strange and unfortunate side effects without the circle of salt in Sunrise, but not in Kansas City?  Years of house-wards built up around the latter is my best explanation.  But “why” is beside the point.  The question is “what to do about it”.  While the most obvious solution is to get rid of the rug that’s preventing me from pouring salt all over the floor …. The rug stays.  It’s not actually mine, I’m just caring for it while the owner is doing a year abroad in China.  So the solution, it seemed to me, was to come up with a way to have both the rug and the circle of salt.

When the full moon came, what I did was take three bowls and arrange them about equidistant from each other in a triangle around where I intended to sit while I did the ritual.  I have a rock salt candle holder that lives on my altar, and I put that in the front bowl.  After performing the first half of the evening’s rituals, I poured salt in each of the three bowls, going around the circle three times in order to do so, and lit a candle in the rock.

That worked beautifully.  The ritual went fabulously:  I did my banishings afterward, and slept … well, I’d say slept like the dead, but there are a couple necromancers who read this blog sometimes, and I know they’ll call me out on that.  I slept soundly, dreamed as peacefully as I ever do, and went on to do another two nights of successful Esbat rites.

I count this as a successful experiment.  If one needs a circle of salt, but can’t (for whatever reason) pour it directly on the ground, a simple solution is available.  At least in this instance, the salt circle need not be contiguous; one may fill an appropriate number of vessels with salt and place them in a circle and achieve the protective effect.

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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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HPF 2012: Rites of Magic

Not counting the public rituals, which are a disaster I will get to soon, I did three major rituals at Heartland Pagan Festival this year.  The last, I have already described.  The first was the creation of a Moon Talisman, taking advantage of the Lunar Election; the second was my most effective performance of the rite of the Stele of Jeu to date.

Friday morning there was a window of opportunity to create a lunar talisman.  Due to a variety of factors (idiocy on my own part chief among them) I was not able to print out a copy of Christopher Warnock’s lunar talisman to assemble and charge at the appropriate hour.  Instead, having the pdf on my phone, I transcribed the invocation into my sketch book and reproduced a crude sketch of the general figure and the characters above him.  When the hour came, I expanded upon my crude sketch from memory, using my nice fountain and brush pens.

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The invocation was potent, and I felt the familiar Lunar power flow through me as I incanted.  I had to leave my ritual jewelry sitting on the talisman when I was done, because it was tingling too much for me to continue wearing it (as is my wont at ritual occasion such as the festival.

I think it turned out nicely.  One of these next days, I’m going to produce a nicer version, as well as Lunar images from the other sources Warnock quotes above.

Saturday night, after the main-ritual-gone-awry, Alopex and I went back to Camp WTF to decompress.  The sun was setting, Alopex went for a walk, and I’d been wanting to perform the Stele of Jeu since I arrived, but hadn’t quite found the right moment.  That seemed to be the right moment: Memorial Grove, Camp Gaea’s small graveyard was near the encampment, there was a trivium crossroad on the way, and the sun was setting.  I made the walk and found a stone slab of an altar in the middle of the grove.  Beside it was a fist-sized rock, ideally shaped for me to paint the Beneficial Sign upon it.

I opened with my Pentagram Rite, and made my offerings of pomegranate mead.  The wind, which had stilled for a while, rose as I incanted and just kept rising.  I really don’t know how to describe the effect of the ritual except to say that I was high, and that I stayed high for hours.  I was going to leave the stone, except that it insisted I take it with me.

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The next night, while Aradia and Aurora combed my aura and I tried to let go of all the accumulated pain and bullshit I hadn’t quite managed to deal with and/or banish over the semester, shortly before I performed my overzealous blessing, I was struck by my first real insight into the Stele.

Although one source gave the rite explicitly as an exorcism, the other people I’ve talked to about it insist that there’s more to it.  And there is.  The first two thirds seem to be an exorcism or banishing of sorts—“Mighty Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him”—but the final portion suddenly identifies the magician with the Headless One he has been calling upon:

“I am the headless daimon with my sight in my feet; [I am] the mighty one [who possesses] the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds arc done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll;/ I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated; I am the one whose mouth bums completely; I am the one who begets and destroys; / I am the Favor of the Aion; my name is a heart encircled by a serpent; come forth and follow.”

Suddenly, after months of practice, this seems to be a ritual which first hollows out the magician—blasting him free of “negative” influences and forcing his aura into the shape of a vessel—in order to make room for the Headless One to fill him.  In a very loose sense, the Stele of Jeu may be the badass great-great-great-grandparent of Drawing Down the Moon.  It is an exorcism, and simultaneously a literal invocation.  Or seems to be, anyway, at this stage in my practice.  Would anyone who has experimented with this more care to comment?

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Thoughts on the Stele of Jeu

As I mentioned in my previous post, the more I perform the Stele of Jeu rite, the more subtle the effects seem to be.  Given some of the more extravagant warnings I’ve heard regarding this ritual, this interests me a great deal, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the last couple days.

Image May Be Unrelated -- Stone carving of Nike and a warrior offering an egg to a snake.

Image May Be Unrelated (From Wikimedia Commons)

One of the first sources to warn me about the Stele of Jeu was, of all things, Crowley’s Goetia[1], which refers to the rite as the London Papyrus.  According to the editor, the rite (before Crowley made his changes that ultimately produced Liber Semekh) was passed around in Golden Dawn circles as a last-ditch banishing/exorcism rite, to be performed with utmost caution and formality lest one permanently haunt the place where it was performed.  The next was from the gentleman who was kind enough to work me up to my first experiment with the ritual.  His warning, in addition to the above should one go through with a clearly botched performance, related the possibility of one’s life getting broken apart in order to be put back together in a better shape.

My own experience with the ritual, while powerful and transformative, has never quite lived up to the earth-shattering hype.  A commenter on my early experiments reported even less dramatic results.

After some rumination, I’ve come up with a theory.  You see, I’ve actually heard very similar stories about other rituals: the Abramelin Operation, for example; most other methods of contacting one’s HGA/Supernal Assistant; the use of moldavite for the first time.  The common theme in many (though not all) of these stories is that when people whose lives are already fucked do major-fix-magic, their lives get more fucked before they get better.

The GD source who provided the initial warning—with no disrespect intended to modern initiates of those orders—was clearly terrified of dealing with the spirit world in any situation where they did not have absolute control of the circumstances and proceedings.  The source of the second warning tells stories about the Stele of Jeu in ways that sound a lot like it was a part of his formative experiences with magic—which is to say, probably before he got his life in order.

Meanwhile, my commenter complaining of insignificant results has (to the best of my ability to determine from the stories he tells; he may feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken) had his shit together for quite a while.  College done, good job, college loans in order, sophisticated magical practice, already talks with his HGA so often that he complains about not having much to talk about.  There’s nothing there for the Stele of Jeu to fix, let alone break.

When I first performed the Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist, my life was already largely in order.  I’ve already been through my Saturn Return.  I’ve already left the job I’d come to hate for higher education in order to pursue a new calling.  I have a regular magical practice that was pretty much at the top if its game.  My biggest problem is the psychic scars left over from all the shit I fucked up when I was a wee faun of a mage.  And, boy howdy, has it ever fixed that shit—but that deserves a post all on its own.

Now, all this evidence is anecdotal.  I’ve only been performing this ritual regularly for about four months now.  I’ve also been having a really hard time doing more than a preliminary study of its history, interpretations, and various effects.  I know that the Order of the Hollow Ones, Jason Miller, and probably countless other groups each have their own variations on the rite (to say nothing of Crowley’s, obviously).  But Jack Faust is one of the very few people I’ve seen talk about the ritual and its effects publically at all; one of the few others can be found at practicaltheurgy.com, but s/he appears to be defunct[2].  The silence of the scholastic community is even more deafening: I’ve only found one or two books which even refer to the rite, outside the PGM itself, and I have not had the opportunity to read them.

Thoughts?


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 – Discounting, for my purposes, allusions to the ritual solely as it relates to the Bornless Rite and attainment of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, which is clearly not what the PGM ritual is about.

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Continuing Experiments: Sigils, Talismans, and the Stele of Jeu

While I haven’t had much time to write clever blog posts since finals week started gearing up (then ended, with all the unanticipated post-semester and graduation-related madness), I have managed to make time to actually do the magic.  I have performed the Stele of Jeu twice, fired off a shoal of sexy sigils, and made two new talismans based on what I learned of talisman-making from the Jupiter Election.

the Stele of Jeu

The Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist  is becoming an increasingly integral part of my practice.  Interestingly, though, the more often I perform it the more subtle the effects seem to be.  I performed the rite at the last Dark Moon, on the Day and Hour of the Sun, and as a part of my Beltane celebrations in the woods behind my school.

In the first case—as seems to often happen—I was struck by the sense that something was watching me as I performed my rite.  That sensation faded, though, as I performed the ritual.  By half way through, actually, it had faded to the point where I decided to try out something I’d read somewhere and repeated the central portion of the ritual until I got the feeling of rising power:

Holy Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him, / ῥουρβριαω μαρι ὠδαμ βααβναβαωθ ασς ἀδωναι ἀφνιαω ἰθωληθ ἀβρασαξ ἀηωωυ / mighty Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him. / μαβαρραιω ἰοηλ κοθα ἀθορηβαλω ἀβραωθ / deliver him, NN ἀωθ ἀβραωθ βασυμ ἰσακ σαβαωθ ιαω

That definitely had an effect, though I would be hard pressed to actually describe what it was.  I sat in the salt circle and meditated for a while, basking in the magical afterglow.

I performed the ritual again at Beltane, under the nearly-full moon.  My outdoor festivities with Sannafrid were actually a couple days late, on account of the rain on the 1st and 2nd.  Being in the woods, I skipped the salt circle—salting the earth is not my idea of a good time.  On the one hand, the effects were much less profound than I had hoped/feared/anticipated; on the other hand, they were very interesting.  The woods suddenly felt more alive.  Sannafrid and I could sense spirits everywhere—not like I had conjured them, but more as if I had suddenly tuned in to the layer of reality where they already lived.

I think they were just the spirits of the wood, and while they may or may not have been aware of our presence, I honestly don’t think they could have cared less.  It was a very powerful experience, if just a little surreal.  I think that’s an important lesson for all magicians, but for witches and nature-worshipers in particular: to keep in mind that most of the spirit world, like most of the natural world, doesn’t care one way or the other about humans.  We’re doing our thing; they’re doing theirs.

a Sigil Shoal for More and Better Sex

The way I count the Moons, the third day of the Dark Moon is also the first day of the waxing phase.  After performing the stele of Jeu, once the hour had passed from Sun to Venus, I fired off a shoal of sigils for more and better sex.  The effects of this shoal were even more awesome—and, importantly, longer lasting—than the first one.  The shoal included five sigils (the specific phrasing of which is apparently in the stack of notes that didn’t make it back to Kansas City with me), all aimed at improving my sex life.  The majority of the sigils were aimed helping my body keep up with my libido—and, more importantly, with Sannafrid’s.

The results were fucking spectacular.  (Yeah, I went there.  How could I resist?)  At risk of crossing into the realm of Way Too Much Information: not only was I able to manage 2-3 times in a day (a little difficult at 31 on a mediocre diet), I was able to keep that up almost every day for a ten day stretch of the two-and-a-half weeks between when I fired the sigils and when they faded about a week ago.

So … waxing Moon, day of the Sun, hour of Venus is damn good astrological timing for sex magic.  I would have thought the Full Moon, day and hour of Venus would have been as good … but it was also the 3rd day of the Full, so technically a waning Moon, which may have had an impact.  Further confounding factors here include the sigils themselves, the way they were phrased, single versus shoal, and the fact that I was still tingling from the Stele of Jeu.

a Talisman of Venus

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Anticipating Venus’ recent retrograde movement, I made a talisman of Venus based on the Jupiter Talisman I made at the recent election.  I used Christopher Warnock’s Venus image on one side (I really need to buy his Picatrix translation and star producing my own images based on the descriptions); the Agrippan characters of Venus, my Glyph of the Moon, and a pair of sigils (empowering myself with the Favor of Kings) on the other.  I performed the rite at the Day and Hour of Venus, using a slightly altered version of the Orphic Hymn to Venus—I added a line at the end asking to be endowed with the Favor of Kings—burning incense of my own making, and anointing the talisman with Abramelin oil—and using the various Venusian symbols I keep on my altar rather than a formal Triangle of Art.  For a more general Venusian boost, I also took a bit of my Venusian incense and started an infusion like I do for my essential oil production.  I left both projects on my altar to marinade essentially until I packed everything up for the trip.

My understanding is that, so close to the retrograde, even the otherwise auspicious arrangement of planetary forces on that Day and Hour of Venus with a waxing Moon was less than ideal.  Still, I felt that it would be a good idea to shore up Venusian in my sphere given the complexity of my love life at the moment (that’s a post in and of itself, and one which is particularly delicate since all parties involved read the blog.  I’m glad that I did: the talisman and the infusion-in-the-making are both radiating good, clean, Venusian power.

Safe-Travel Talismans

My final magical project in the Sunrise Temple, before leaving for the summer, was to produce safe-travel talismans for Sannafrid and myself.  She is spending the month in China as part of an ethnography program through our school—a sort of “victory lap”, as they call it here.  I was going to be making a drive across three states with a number of the things most dear to me in my back seat.

Using essentially the same methodology as I did for my Jupiter and Venus talismans, I made a pair of Mercury talismans for Sannafrid and myself.  The most interesting differences between the rites was that these were made at the day and hour of Mercury, outside in the woods during our Beltane celebrations, and that I used a lock of her hair mixed in with the Mercury blend between the two sheets of cardstock and had her write her own Names to create the link to her, where I used my Glyph of the Moon for my own talisman.

The results were again spectacular.  If I do say so, myself, I’m getting pretty good at making paper talismans.  I’m looking forward to teaching myself some metal-etching skills so that I can use similar techniques in more permanent mediums.

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I Think I’ve Found the “Reset” Button On My Aura

Fair Warning: In this post I’m going to talk about some of the “woo” that a lot of serious magicians don’t seem to like to talk about, but which I’m pretty sure they all practice on account of… well… their magic works.  Some of this sounds hokey, I know: if someone’s got better language to describe these things, I’d love to hear it.

Like many of you, I imagine, my earliest training in magic revolved around various chakra meditations.  I imagined that I was discovering these features of my energetic body, exercising them like mortal muscles.  I worked diligently to strengthen them, all on the assumption that the Eastern traditions from which they were “adopted” had knowledge of the subtle bodies that Western traditions had just somehow missed.  Now I’m not so sure.

“Forget everything you were told about chakras.”  Was it Peter Carroll or Phil Hine who told me that?  I don’t have those sources at hand to look it up.

The last public Beltane ritual I attended featured a number of children (before they were sent off to finish their own ritual while we grown ups poured some wine and finished our own).  The ritual leader pointed to them, and their as-yet-undifferentiated auras, and her belief that it was because, as children, they had not yet learned to compartmentalize their lives: that they did everything with the whole of their beings.  The auras I could see … the explanation, however, seemed unlikely.

I have already mentioned that my ceremonial experiments have been moving things around: a Malkuth node below my feet, my Crown (Kether) chakra rising a little further above my head, Geburah and Binah nodes forming at my shoulders, and my lowest three chakras fading almost to nothing.  I have been working to counteract these trends—or, at the very least, the untenable side effects.  Since beginning my work with the Stele of Jeu, all of my chakras—except for my Crown and Heart, which have been maintained by my Yoga practice—have been fading,  leaving my aura largely undifferentiated except for a dense corona at the edge.  Interestingly, this is having none of the undesirable consequences of some of my previous experiments—unless the insomnia, which seems to have passed, was related.  All this leads me to conclude that much of what I have taken for granted about my aura—seven chakras, various layers, and what have you—are not natural features but molds we train ourselves to fit within.  The magic we practice shapes our “energetic bodies”, much as our experiences physically altar our brains… except more so.

What does this mean in practical terms?  I don’t know yet, other than the obvious: I’ve lost another round of Everything You Know Is Wrong (I actually kind of love loosing that game; it means the universe it still interesting, and also that my experiments aren’t suffering from confirmation bias.).  It certainly means that, if I continue this path and my familiar energy nodes are replaced by something new and different, certain exercises I have used for years will be less efficacious.  As long as the benefits of jamming this Reset Button continue to be more positive than negative (and so long as none of the side effects are things I’m just not willing to deal with, “objective” measurements be damned), I’ll keep the course and see how things turn out.

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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:

image

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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