Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Visions in Conjurations

First, a disclaimer:

I write blog posts for fun, and at a very high level most of the time these days. Some of the topics, like scrying, could fill an entire book. There are nuances and dependencies and variables that come into play that would turn the post into instant TL/DR on sight. I go into more detail in the course materials. 

Now, the post:

In yesterday's post on Scrying, I focused primarily on hearing voices and learning to discern the voices of the spirits. Joãoc asked in the comments:

I understand what you're saying about the voices of spirits. What about vision, seeing spirits? Does that follow the same kind of principles? Do you have to learn to distinguish between images in your head and those that come from outside?
It's a subject worth a blog post in and of itself.

First, yes, it follows the same kind of principles, you pay attention to "where" in your head it feels like a vision originates when you picture it in your mind's eye while meditating, and you can sort of "feel" the difference when you receive a vision from a spirit.

But it's kind of tricksy. There are a lot of different kinds of visions you get when you're conjuring spirits.

I use and advocate the Modern Angelic Grimoire method of conjuring that includes a crystal. I see images in the crystal, like a bird shape that I just "know" is an eagle, or a crow. I might see a landscape, a blighted tree, or cloud shapes in the occlusions and imperfections of the crystal sphere I like to use.

These images in the crystal prompt a dialogue with the spirit, and set the scene for another kind of vision that unfolds in my third eye, more on the astral side of things than the physical. A bird shape in the crystal becomes a flying crow in my mind's eye, sometimes Thought or Memory returning to the shoulder of Odin, other times joining a flock of Ravens of Dispersion descending on an aspect of a person's life, or raising up leaving a scattered bloody mess.

These visions are like guided visualizations, prompted by the images in the crystal, and guided into appearance by the spirit. As the visions unfold, I ask the spirits questions about what I'm seeing, and they fill in the details, or respond by changing the vision a bit, giving me more details.

These visions unfold through the imagination. Patrick Dunn, in Postmodern Magic, talks about the role of imagination as a bi-directional communication device. It's an important concept to understand. A lot of people think that anything they imagine is completely under their control, completely sourced in their own minds. It's not, entirely.

But where a spirit's voice will "feel" like it's from outside your head, these visions are still taking place inside your head, using the bio-ware we use to see dreams with our eyes closed, and to see imagined vistas. So there's always a "feeling" inside my brain during these visions, like I'm feeling the dance electrons flowing through neurons from my pineal gland to my occipital lobe to my frontal lobe as the vision passes from the unseen into my consciousness on its way to the memory banks.

In response to Joãoc's comment, Jack Faust said:
I speak only for myself, but there is a clear difference between the vision state and internal fantasies. The vision state is closer to lucid dreaming while awake. And the spirits move differently than people or images move in one's mind.
This touches on how to tell when you're "just" imagining, and when you're receiving an actual vision from the spirits. He's right, there is a clear difference in the quality of the image, and it takes experience to understand what that means. It's exactly like lucid dreaming, but that might not help if you've never experienced a lucid dream. It's sort of like that old joke about trying to explain the taste of bald eagle... it's somewhere between a carrier pigeon and a dodo bird. 

Spirit visions tend to be sharper, crisper, cleaner than imagined images I produce on my own. They also take on a life of their own. You can imagine a person move around in your mind, but when they move around on their own, you can definitely feel the difference! Things you imagine on your own can be quickly and easily turned into other images, while images from spirits won't change as easily, or if they change, it's not necessarily what you meant for it to change into.

Often, it's the level of detail and the quality of light in the vision that lets me know the spirits are guiding the vision. If you study the paintings of Bierstadt and Durand, you'll see that they tried to paint the Inner Light of Deity into their images. Spirit visions tend to take on a quality of illumination that is different from your normal imagination.

So far we've talked about mental visions, and that's the "bread and butter" kind of vision I experience. Images in my mind's eye that I can interact with, interpret, and understand. I get these kinds of visions every time I sit down at the Table of Practice with my crystal and conjure the spirits, without fail.

But there's another kind of vision you get in conjurations... visual visions. They don't just appear in your mind's eye, they look, for all intents and purposes, like they're right there in the room with you, hovering above the crystal. They are shadowy shapes outside the Circle. They are visual distortion fields of intense density that feel like they're sucking you in. They are hovering orbs, flashing lights, and people in the room with you that you see out of the corner of your eye.

Like hearing a spirit voice that sounds audible to you, these visions happen a lot less often. Sometimes they can be seen by others, other times they are visions that you alone will receive. The other day, I had a vision of standing in a circle with the Severn Planetary Governors. It didn't last long, just a quick flash, but I was standing shoulder to shoulder with them, with all of us wearing our vestments of office in the appropriate colors. It was really cool.

But this kind of vision is rare, and ultimately beside the point entirely for practical magicians. If you need to see spirits with your eyes to prove to yourself that your magic is effective and working to spec, by all means strive for that experience. But I think it's a weakness, not a strength, an indication that you rely on the evidence of your physical senses too much to function at full strength in the world of the occult, in the realms of the unseen and unmanifest forces of creation.

Spirit visions are only one part of the overall experience when scrying. I get a lot more out of the conversations with the spirits, the communion, but the visions are part of that communion and conversation. There are also other sensory things going on during the rite, sounds you hear, strains of music, or scents. The smell you get when you meet your Holy Guardian Angel, for example, it's delicious. You get other visual effects too, like seeing auras around objects during the rite, or a sharpening of your vision. I'll go outside after a rite and feel like I could count every leaf on the trees, or every blade of grass because they're so crisply defined. You feel things emotionally, the atmosphere thickens or thins, you feel hot, or cold.

Scrying is important, a very important tool in your magician's kit. But it's not the point of magic. The point of any magical act is the outcome, the end result. If you've done a rite to obtain a vision of the Eighth Sphere, and you saw and heard nothing in the rite, but then dreamed of meeting Iophiel and being ushered into a realm of light populated by entities whose silent hymns are the Glorification of God and the manifestation of the World at the same time, your ritual is a success. Rites to get laid and paid are successful when you get laid and paid, not when you see the spirits or hear their voices.

People say it's not the destination that's important, it's the journey, and that's both trite and true at the same time. But while I enjoy the journey, I don't forget that the reason I left the house in the first place was to get where I wanted to be.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On Scrying

One of the things that comes up often with new students is their inability to see and hear spirits. The first thing I ask is if they've been doing their meditation and contemplation exercises. I cover it briefly in the first lesson of the Black Work course, and I wonder sometimes if I've under-emphasized how important the role of meditation and contemplation is when it comes to scrying.

I've said it a number of times over the years on this blog, but it bears repeating. Spirit voices don't sound like an audible voice. Once in a while they do, once in a very great while, but most of the time the voices of spirits sound a lot like your own thoughts. They just come from outside your head. It's easy to ignore the voices of the spirits if you don't know "where" in your own brain your thoughts and images originate. The only way I know of to learn to differentiate between your own thoughts and the thoughts of the spirits is through meditation/contemplation.

The trick isn't shutting down your mind and sitting in completely perfect zazen, attaining no-mindedness, although it's valuable to strive for this state as well. It's not about learning to hold a visualized image in your mind for long periods of time either, though that too is useful.

The trick is observing your thoughts. Where do they come from when they arise? Where do they go to when they fade and your awareness moves to something else? I think the book that helped me understand the art of meditation and contemplation the most was Heartdrops of Dharmakaya. I really can't recommend it enough.

Once you're familiar with your own mind, your own thoughts, and "where" in your head your thoughts originate, you'll be in a better position to recognize the voices of the spirits.

Even with meditation and contemplation exercises, it takes a while to get used to the difference between your own thoughts and the spirits' voices. At first it can be scary, because people have a healthy fear of deluding themselves. That's awesome. I find most of my students with issues scrying are just afraid to trust what they hear as being valid.

The best way to get over that experiential hump is a magical diary. You write down what was said, what was heard, and you check back later to see what the results were, and whether the conversation turned out to be useful. Your own mental chatter during a rite will be apparent when nothing the alleged spirit has said turns out to be useful. At the same time, you quickly learn to "sniff out" the voices of the spirits, and the things they teach and say are meaningful to you in your pursuit of the Work.

The diary gives you a place to exercise your healthy skepticism, and a means of growing in confidence. You have a record to check to see if you're crazy or actually getting anywhere. It's a useful tool.

Plus, they're a lot of fun to go back and read years later.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Golden Dawn Saga: Episode 4.1 (Fanfic)

In the previous episode, we saw the daring leather-duster-bedecked hero narrowly escape a daring attempt on his life. Speculation on the true nature of this Phantom Menace's identity were tantalizingly dropped, hints given to open tiny windows into the tiny brain of the protagonist's inner paranoid delusions.

Could it have been an inside job? Was Fr. SR making a play for complete leadership of the HOGD? Or was it Nick Farrell, who suddenly discovered the ability to conjure his way out of a wet paper bag? Could it have been the Lovecraftian feline emissaries of Morgan "Machiavelli" Eckstein? Slideshow Blob, casting curses from whatever cheap hotel he's hiding from the authorities in? One of the nameless Silent Majority, sick to death of the bullshit and finally realizing they only swore to do no evil, and this might not count?

Or maybe... just maybe... it was a previously unknown character, casting evil, dangerous black magick from such terrible forbidden tomes as...  the PICATRIX!!!

I must admit, I was hanging on the edge of my seat in fear for David's very life! Would he make it? Would he survive!?!? Would he learn to spell Miracle right!?!?!?!?? The suspense was killing me.

Fortunately, he lived. And boy, was I relieved. Let me tell you.

Well, by Christ, I wasn't going to let it slide, no way. If something happened to David, someone might blame me! Wouldn't want those dangerous GD magicians all cursing me and shit in their misguided defense of their thorny thorny rose.*

So the intrepid RO that I am, I searched high and low, releasing my hordes of astral Eyes and Ears to sniff out and report the dastardly perpetrator of this heinous event.

And at last I have found him!

Bitch, you're making my coat look stupid.
It was Neo the whole time!

Apparently he didn't take kindly to DG's appropriation of his iconic leather duster.

But don't worry, concerned citizens, I talked to him about the whole thing, and after he heard what I had to say he said:

And I was like, nah man, there are some really cool GD folks out there getting a lot out of the system. They aren't all douches or gullible fools easily led around by the nose, susceptible to ludicrous stories of made up persecutions to unite them against an imaginary common foe.

Some of them are really cool. With advanced senses of humor.

* Note to the stupid GD people who already are "cursing" me:

1) Sending the spirits of the Lemegeton's Goetia against me, especially those with whom I have an established working relationship, is hilarious. They're all, "Hey RO, guess who's mad at you? Want me to take 'em out for you?" And I'm all, "LOL, yeah."

2) I will lift countermeasures for the low, low price of $175.. no, for you it's $275. I didn't tell 'em to kill ya, oh no, nothing like that, you don't get off that easy. They're just going to take your money, your vehicles, your health, and for at least one of you, those you hold dear (bitch, you came after my family, for reals? That was stupid. I'm shocked that you would be so ignorant... oh wait, no I'm not.) Send me a grovelling apologetic email, make me really believe you're sorry, and I'll tell you where to send the money.

Friday, April 13, 2012

More on Talismans

In the comments on yesterday's post, Elle said this subject:

"gives the perfect opportunity to discuss what the difference is between an astrological talisman and a planetary talisman is. Is there actually a distinct difference?"
As I was writing the post, a similar thought occurred to me. 

Before we jump right into the discussion, let's talk about talismans in general. I find the best way to understand the role of a talisman is to think of it as the body of the spirit it represents. It's like a Golem, but it doesn't (necessarily) move, or terrorize Prague. You're creating a physical form in your material reality through which the spirits, intelligences, or forces you're working with can manifest.

Next let's talk about astrological influences. We look at the positions of the stars and planets relative to our birth time and location to get an insight into the forces and fates that will influence our experiences throughout our lives. The natal chart in the hands of a trained astrologer can be a scary thing, as a complete stranger sits there telling you what kinds of things have happened to you for the last thirty years, and what to expect going forward.

When we create talismans based on astrological influences, we're looking for the best possible "natal chart" for our created entity, one that harmonizes with our desired intent. If you think of a talisman as a living entity, it's easier to understand. We're picking out its Natal Chart, and we want it to be powerful and successful in specific areas.

Turning to planetary vs. astrological talismans, I hesitate to make a distinction between the two. If you're making a general "Jupiter Talisman" to capture and radiate the forces of Jupiter based on his astrological position in the sky, it's an astrological talisman. You're aiming to capture the forces of the moment. The stuff you put together becomes a body, and the consecration ensouls it, the same way God ensouled Adam with his breath. That entity will continue to work on your behalf as long as it has a body.

However, if you're making a Tzadkiel Talisman, or a Jove talisman, or a Jupiter-the-Roman-God talisman, it's not exactly the same thing. These are spirit talismans, primarily. There's an active, pre-existing spirit that will be working through this particular body. Jupiter-the-God is an intelligent, self-aware, proactive being who has access to a wide range of spirits and forces that he can direct on your behalf (or against you if you piss him off). A talisman of Jupiter-the-God is not simply a snapshot of the forces of the planet at the time it was made.

But you have to remember that everything manifest in the material world is still influenced by the astrological factors at the time it was created. If your natal chart leaves you with a predisposition to be lazy, you can still work hard, you just have to overcome that tendency. Likewise, a spirit talisman created at an inauspicious time creates a certain inertia that will have to be overcome every time it is used to manifest the forces of the Spirit it represents.

This is why Agrippa says you can't ignore the astrological conditions of any magical activity. Again, I like the weather analogy. Suppose you want to have a snowball fight. You want to do it right now, because it's an awesome idea, right? But you're living in Texas, and it's the middle of July. There's no snow. You REALLY want that snowball fight, so you get some water, freeze it, shave it, blow the snow into the protected air conditioned closed environment, and invite your friends in, and you have the snow ball fight for as long as possible.

It's not the same as having a snow ball fight in January in Canada, but it's still a snowball fight.

So yeah, astrological influences can be overcome if you try hard enough. There are two ways to empower a talisman, as Christopher Warnock said in a comment on a post of mine a while back, you can do it when the astrological timing is right, or you can consecrate the fuck out of it. Most of my spirit talismans are made during the appropriate planetary hour of the appropriate planetary day, preferably at dawn when the Sun's rays can be used to boost the forces at hand. These spirit talismans rely primarily on the Spirit's power and innovation to overcome any negative astrological influences, and it works well enough for most of my Hermetic Work.

But it's like giving the spirit a crippled body to work through if you don't take into account the astrological forces. Yes, people in wheelchairs can overcome handicaps to achieve great things, but why put them in that position in the first place?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jupiter Talisman Election: April 19th

Christopher Warnock of Renaissance Astrology fame has announced a really good Jupiter election for next Thursday, April 18th.

He's also offering a Jupiter Image and a brief consecration rite to members of the Spiritus Mundi yahoo group. If you're not a member, joining up is easy. The image is beautiful, and the consecration rite is straight out of the Picatrix. I read through my copy today, and it's as beautiful as the image.

For those new to astrological magic, Elections are windows of opportunity during which you can make a more powerful talisman. The stars and planets are aligned right, and a talisman made during this time captures the beneficial (or malignant) forces. Like a photo captures images that you can look at later. These forces are then radiated out into the sphere of the magician through the talisman, and can be tapped when you need the forces represented, but the stars are aligned against you.

Chris has generated the appropriate election times for various locations. He's encouraged me to post them so more people can start doing astrologically accurate talisman creation.

This is an ideal time to perform the Gate of Jupiter rite. Gather up the materials for the herbal talisman now, and then in the appropriate hour perform the conjuration, put the talisman together, and perform the consecration.

It doesn't have to be the Gate of Jupiter, of course, but it will be particularly effective then, and it's structured to fit nicely in the time available for the rite. I'd leave out the alcohol bits, maybe substitute some good tea or something delicious, unless you're ok with getting a bit faced in the afternoon.

You can also sign up to the Yahoo group linked above, find the message with the subject "Special Jupiter PDF Talisman Giveaway!" and send him a request at the email address he lists.

Here are the election times Chris provided, and some important and useful advice he gave at the end as well:
Karachi, Pakistan, April 19, 2012 1:40-2:20 pm (+5 GMT)

Mexico City, Mexico, April 19, 2012 2:39-3:23 pm CDTSydney Australia, April 19, 2012 12:50-1:46 pm AEST

Berlin, Germany 2:16-2:56 pm CEDT
London, UK April 19, 2012 2:10-2:50 pm BST

Roanoke, VA April 19, 2012 2:26-3:06 pm EDT
Washington, DC April 19, 2012  2:15-3pm EDT
NYC, NY April 19, 2012 2:02-2:43 pm EDT
Miami, FL April 19, 2012 2:25-3:10 pm EDT
Cleveland OH, April 19, 2012  2:33-3:13 pm EDT
Chicago, IL April 19, 2012  1:57-2:37 pm CDT
Minneapolis, MN April 19, 2012 2:20-3pm CDT
Dallas TX April 19, 2012 2:32-3:16 pm CDT
Boulder CO April 19, 2012 2:07-2:38 pm MDT
Phoenix, AZ April 19, 2012 1:33-2:13 pm MST
San Francisco, CA April 19, 2012 2:15-2:55 pm PDT

You want to physically inscribe, engrave, or actually create the image
during the window given above.  It works well to print out a paper
talisman during this time and I like to write my name or the name of
the person to be affected on it and add the goal.   Making a talisman
without timing its creation and then trying to consecrate it later
loses much of the power of the election.  However, if you have a
talisman that was properly timed in its making you can reconsecrate
and recharge using this election.

Make the talisman and then at least start your consecration ritual
during the window.  If you have to continue the ritual after the
window closes, that's ok!*

*Note from RO: I like to do the conjuration rite first, then put the talisman together under the auspice of the Spirit, and then finish the consecration, but putting the talisman together, then consecrating it works too. This election window is wide enough that you should be able to finish everything in the time allotted.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Talisman Construction

I've read a couple really good blog posts in the last couple days about talisman creation.

The first is from The Crossroads Companion, written by a student in the Red Work series of courses. He's made the seven planetary talismans using a technique inspired by Chris Warnock. I learned a couple things I didn't know that will make my own future talismans much higher in quality.

The second is from Practical Solomonic Magic, written by my long-time colleague, Asterion Mage. He's come up with a brilliant way to make gold talismans out of beeswax. I'm looking forward to experimenting with the rosin and shellac he recommends.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Value of the Corpus Hermeticum to Hermetic Magicianss

With the GD posts, I've expanded my audience a bit. I got a message on facebook from someone who liked the post encouraging magicians to do magic (I'm being nice about what I actually said), and during the course of the conversation, I was reminded how little about actual Hermetic Magic the Golden Dawn teaches.

Don't get me wrong, you learn a lot of magic in the GD. All kinds of rites and rituals with cool anagrams, and they're all fundamentally founded on Hermetic principles. But you're not encouraged to actually read the source material for these basic principles, and you can't understand what you're doing without that key piece of info.

All the rites and rituals you learn in the Golden Dawn are based on some very old Hermetic tenets, practices designed to accomplish the Hermetic Great Work, taking you from the Black Phase of alchemy all the way through to the Projection Phase, where you're using the Philosopher's Stone to accomplish miracles and make the world a better place. The basic process is laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes (yep, Hermes), and the Corpus Hermeticum.

But the core material gives you the fundamental framework you need to really understand what you're up to.

And really, you should understand the basics of Neo-Platonism to really grok the Corpus Hermeticum, but start with the Corpus, then go back to the NeoPlatonic basics.

I've actually written a handy guide to the Neoplatonic Basics, and I explain how the Corpus Hermeticum makes sense from there. You should read the posts, or you can read the eBook. The posts are on my blog, but you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the first post, then work your way up. The eBook is easier. It's all free.

If you read through the entire Corpus Hermeticum, you'll be reading the oldest documents your Order can claim. There's frequent kerfuffle about documents in your Orders, so I would think these would be pretty important to not only read, but actually understand. They were written sometime between the first and third centuries after Christ, long before the Kircher model of the Tree of Life was made, long before the Tarot card images were formed, reduced to the number of letters of the alephbeit and pasted to the paths of that Kircher model of the Tree. If you actually read through them, you'll know more about the Hermetic path to ascension and becoming a living, breathing god than most of the Outer Heads of the various GD and GD-based Orders available today.

But we only have fragments of most of the Corpus Hermeticum. The most complete chapter, and coincidentally the most important and useful for beginners, is the Divine Pymander. Read it. Read it today. Don't put it off, it's got every Secret of the Golden Dawn magical system laid out pure and simple for anyone to understand, and it's really beautiful.

After you've finished that, move on to The Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Remember what Pymander says the path to returning to the Source is, and read it as if it's an instruction manual, and a description of what you're supposed to be doing as a magician.

Read through this stuff, and note the lack of QBL involved. Despite what you've been taught, early Hermeticists had little to do with KBL. The integration of the systems came much later, around the time of DeLeon. Back in the Hermeticist's day, the KBL available anywhere outside the kibbutz was at BEST the Sefer Yetzirah. Hermeticists used Hebrew names of God, but it tended to look like it was copy-pasted in without any real regard to the source. Sort of like the worst of the early 90's Neo-Pagan descriptions of the "Celtic" gods and goddesses.

Once you've read through that stuff, and it really doesn't take that long, you should move on to Agrippa. REally read the stuff he has to say about magic, and the practice thereof. Keeping in mind the Hermetic Cosmology, study the Scales of the Numbers, especially the Number Ten. By the time Agrippa was writing, QBL and Hermetic magic had been pretty firmly wed together, so you'll recognize a lot of the stuff in there. Book 3 will seem most familiar to you, as it deals directly with Ceremonial Magic, but the first two books explain the framework a lot better.

Pace yourself, no one reads Agrippa through in a day. It's good bathroom reading material.

Once you start wading through the source material, a lot of what you're doing in the GD will begin to make a lot more sense. You may also find that a lot of what you're doing does not make sense in a Hermetic context at all.

If you find yourself wondering why the heck you're going through all the stuff of the GD, when the Hermetic Texts make the GD system look like a Rube Goldberg device with 100 extra steps just to make toast, you may find my courses in Hermetic Magic right up your alley. It's a straight shot through to whatever Grade in the GD establishes you as a living, breathing god, without all the drama. It's self-led, but there are forums for discussion available.

Please note, the courses are still in progress, years after I started them. There's a LOT of information to write up. Currently, about 90% of the Black Work course is complete, 95% of the White Work course is complete, and the Green Work... Well, it's in process, but it comes with all seven of the Gates Rites, which will let you get to work on the Green phase of the alchemical process.

I'm not trying to get you out of the Golden Dawn with any of this. The GD makes a lot of people happy, and provides them with the tools they need. Reading the Corpus Hermeticum and the Emerald Tablet will only add to your overall understanding of Great Work.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Battening Down the Hatches: Next Mercury Retro, I'll be Ready

So apparently I've bored one of my favorite audience participants with all the GD stuff. I understand, believe me. He reminded me to get back to the regularly programming.

Sigh. Regularly scheduled programming.

In the last month and a half, I've written twenty-five posts that didn't get published. Twenty-five. They're mostly Post Titles with an opening paragraph or two. Topics running the gamut from Black Magic and the Kings of Hell to health rites and Hermetic interpretations of chakra meditations. Quite a few were inspired by the Whisky Rants.

I just never got around to finishing them. I lost the inspiration, or got distracted. Mostly I haven't had time when I had the mental capacity, or the mental capacity when I had the time. At least part of that was influenced by Mercury Retrograde.

Before the comments come flooding in about Warnock and LaFonde's excellent efforts at reeducation, let me just say I know, I know, Mercury Retrograde isn't as bad as a lot of modern astrologers make it out to be, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have any negative effect at all on the things it rules. It's not teh end of teh worldz! every time we go through one of the Mercury Retros, but they do seem to impact me and my Work a lot if I don't do some kind of preparations ahead of time.

See, I see astrological influences on my life and magical practices the same way I see weather conditions and their effects on my daily activities in the mundane world. When it's rainy, you don't just stay in bed (most of the time), you take an umbrella and a coat, and you run through the worst of it on your way someplace dry.

Mercury Retrogrades are like hurricane season here in Maryland. Usually you get heavy winds and a fair amount of rain off and on throughout the season, and then every once in a while there's a really bad storm that comes blowing through with varying degrees of impact on your life. The degree of the impact of any given hurricane during the season depends on where you live.

The closer you live to the ocean, the more work you do at the start of hurricane season to prepare your homestead for the coming storms. You have to make sure your sump pump works and your drainage is set up right. You clear out dead tree limbs, and make sure your roof isn't going to blow away. You make sure you've got water, toilet paper, milk, bread, eggs, and lots of ice packs and a cooler handy to keep the cool stuff cool until the power comes back on.

I'm a Hermetic Magician. Hermetic means based on Hermes, specifically Hermes Trismegistus, but let's not forget Hermes is also Mercury.

So in other words, my sphere is beach front property when it comes to Mercury Retrogrades. A squall coming in that does little or no damage to the folks further inland can cause major flooding and power outages for extended periods of time in my sphere.

There are things I like to do in advance to get ready. While he's still Direct and hasn't started slowing down, I perform a reconsecration of my Mercury Talisman. It's the metal seal I use to conjure Raphael on my Magic Conjuration Box.

I perform the reconsecration ritual I outline in the Talisman Maintenance and Operations Manual, and ask Raphael to get my sphere ready to make it through the retro season with minimal damages, and to respond quickly and readily to my calls. I anoint the talisman during the rite with Aurora's Mojo Hand Feeding Oil, Abramelin Oil, and some Fast Luck Oil I picked up at the Turning Wheel.

I'm usually also cycling through the Gates Rites. I haven't been keeping up with it lately, and I can sure tell the difference. I feel uninspired, and powerless when I'm not doing regular maintenance magic on my sphere. It sucks. But running through the Gate of Mercury would have been a good idea.

The ideal result of this is that you strengthen your personal harmonic with the Direct forces of Mercury, and then when things start going haywire, you've got a pool of normal Mercury resources to draw from. It's like stocking up on milk and eggs a couple days before the storm is scheduled to hit.

This last retro period, I did none of these things. I could feel the difference, too. I'll be ready come next retro, though. I've got it scheduled in my google calendar, with a reminder set to go off the week before the night of the rite so I'll have time to check my supplies and make sure I'm ready to go.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Secret Chiefs

Ok, so the last GD post was, admittedly, a little ... aggressive. The animosity comes entirely from my understanding of the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn.

See, I read The Secret Doctrine, and I thought the Chiefs that were being debunked by Nick and company, and the Secret Chiefs that David and company claim to have met were the Secret Chiefs who are supposed to be the Shepherds and Stewards of the spiritual evolution of the entire Western Civilization.

Turns out I was totally wrong-o.

So, if the GD is NOT, in fact, claiming they are the best of the best, the ideal Rosicrucians, and the outer face of the Secret Chiefs who are supposed to be overseeing and shepherding us all from a place of omniscient omnipotence, then they can have their Magician Cards back.

If they're willing to admit they're a bunch of Hermetic philosophers with some neat magical tech Working on becoming the best godmen they can be, and not the Gatekeepers of the True Mysteries of the ENTIRE Western Occult Tradition, then good on 'em. There's a big difference between "We have SOME awesome Western Hermetic Magic(k) going on over here" and "We have the ONLY TRUE awesome Western Hermetic Magic(k) ever."

The way I see it now, both sides are presenting realistic versions of what the Secret Chiefs are really all about based on their own understanding. They've got a lot more in common than I thought, and they could probably hash out all their differences over a beer or twelve, if they wanted to.

And for the rest of the Occult Community, please note that the Secret Chiefs are not omniscient omnipotent awesome advanced spiritual adepts with wisdom and power galore. They are just people, in the flesh, with a magical tradition going back to the first through third centuries, just like anyone else with an internet connection. They've got tech that's unpublished, but it's not completely different than anything you can find with careful applied studies of the publicly available source material (the stuff from the first through third centuries, not the GD stuff that's publicly available). They've got an initiatory structure, they're a Secret Society, ok, but they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.

I'd still like to see Nick and David face off with wands drawn at high noon, last magician standing wins. I'd stand proud next to the winner. But neither side is interested in nuking anyone to prove a point to me. Except Fr. VL, who is a real magician.

In other news...

In other news, today's the last day for the Strategic Sorcery charity drive. If you haven't donated, you should. There's no better form of prosperity magic than charity.

An Open Letter to the Golden Dawn

Clean your fucking house, you fucking morons. You're supposed to be the fucking MASTERS of the Western Occult Tradition, and you can't even handle your fucking shit.


Wait, did I say Magicians? Fuck that. Your magician card is fucking revoked.