Monday, April 15, 2013

Working with a Seer: Tech Basics

In terms of technology, while the conjuration is basically the same, it's completely different when you’re working with a seer.

For many years, I've had to conjure the spirits alone, relying on my own spiritual senses to discern the presence of the spirits, to hear their messages, and to see the visions they presented in the crystal. I've talked a lot about what all goes on when I do the rites over the years, and anyone who's read the Modern Angelic Grimoire or the Gates Rites understands the basic process I go through to conjure the spirits, pretty much, in terms of tech.

But to review, it goes like this:
  • Planning
    • Identify the spirit(s) I need to work with
    • Schedule the rite
  • Preparatio
    • Sprinkle Holy Water about ze room
    • Sprinkle me with some Holy Water too
    • Aspergus Meum - Anoint myself with Abramelin Oil
  • Conjuration
    • Consecration of space for my Defense
    • Blessing of the First Father on the Work and lighting of a candle to symbolize his light
    • Conjuration/consecration of the scrying medium
    • Conjuration/consecration of the incense
    • Conjuration of the Spirit
  • Communication
    • Explain the purpose for conjuring the spirit
    • Ask if it can help with what I want
      • If Affirmative, continue
      • If Negative, get info on why it's negative, advice in restructuring/rephrasing, find out how to make it work, or what I should be doing instead
    • Ask if there's anything else I need to know related to its sphere/purview
    • Charge to the Spirit
  • Gratis Ago
    • Thank the Spirit for coming
    • As you came in peace, so go forth now as agreed in power to accomplish (restate intent)
That’s the basic technology, the basic process. It changes from time to time, but the core stuff is there.

When working with a Seer, the process is very similar. We work together on the planning, we decide which spirits to conjure, and work out the best hour for both of our schedules to come together. There's a lot of coordination involved, and that is a reflection of the relationship of the conjuror and the seer. That's worth a post on its own though, maybe the next one.

We prepare the temple space together, and then she goes and prepares herself to see the spirits. Harper will be discussing her preparations in more detail in her posts, but while she's off preparing herself, I'm going over the notes for the conjuration, making sure I have all the tools and implements ready for the rite, arranged properly on the altar, and within easy reach when I'm doing the conjuration.

When we are prepared, we anoint one another with consecrated oils, and we perform an excerpt of the Headless rite before starting the rite. She settles into the seer's chair, and I run through the Conjuration step outlined above.

When the spirit(s) are present, I begin to ask the questions we agreed to ask of the spirit, and she tells me what she sees, hears, and experiences. When I'm on my A game, I write down what they say. If it's more of a devotional rite or a rite for specific effects, I'm more likely to skip writing things down. I take more notes when it's a spirit or system we are exploring for the first time than I do for practical magic.

During the rite, I take responsibility for being protective of the seer. There are times when I sense the spirits trying to push into the seer, to take more control. With her history of aspecting deities, Harper is familiar with being a vessel for the spirits, and while that's a huge benefit for many things, there are some spirits we work with that I don't want in her sphere. So I make sure they stay where they belong, in the crystal in the triangle. Harper's capable of doing this herself, but by taking responsibility for her safety during the rite, she is free to focus on the communication of the spirit.

I also am responsible for keeping things focused. When working alone, that's been the hardest part, honestly. When the spirit appears, all bets are off when it's just me and them. When an archangel appears in the room, its wing tips brushing the cheap drywall, its holy scent filling the room, you can't help it, tears flow from your eyes, and you are reduced to uttering exclamations of "Holy, Holy, Holy," and variations thereof. If you're doing a Gates Rite, you get half way through the Orphic Hymn, and the deity of the sphere steps into the room with you, and you're reduced to a puddle of tears, or laughter, or some such.

Not every time, but often enough. And it's beautiful. It's awesome, and it's why I do this, frankly. It feels great when the spirit is in the room with you and you can't help but step into its current and get swept away. The images it shows, the paths it walks you down, it's great.

But... you see everything there under the Communication bullet? That stuff, it doesn't exactly follow the script when the spirits show up and you get all lost in the feels. And that's fine, most of the time, but there's a reason we call on these guys, there’s a plan, a purpose to the rite that needs to be accomplished. By separating out the Seer role and the Conjuror role, we're able to keep things moving towards a single goal, and I think that's been one of the biggest benefits in working together.

When we've finished our scripted questions and answers, or charged the spirit with the task at hand, we release it to go in peace as it came in power, and to accomplish the things requested. And then we do some grounding stuff, however it's needed.

Later we have our own Communication section. We compare notes and experiences, and talk about what we saw. When I ask the questions during the rite, I write up her responses and also any confirming or conflicting imagery I'm seeing in the crystal myself. In later discussion, it helps jog her memory or bring out other aspects of what the spirit was saying that we might not have caught at first.

We also determine what parts of the rite felt really cool, and what parts felt like it was stuff we were making up. That's something that we are really careful about, because we don't want to end up reaffirming our thoughts going into the rite instead of actually getting objective, predictive facts.

When we write up the results, we note which parts felt self-sourced, and then watch the results. In my experience with Harper, she is more often concerned that the things she is saying are coming from herself than she needs to be. The results have consistently (and often miraculously) indicated that she was in fact saying the things that were going on behind the scenes that were revealed to be the actual truths. So if it was coming from her and not the spirits, she is at least psychic.

I would much rather work with an honest skeptic than someone operating under the false assumption that everything we think we hear from the spirits is divine revelation. After all, it's not just our selves that project things onto the spirits, the spirits themselves can be tricksy. The magic we do is Hermetic Magic, and the first thing Hermes did was steal some cattle. All this stuff we do, as awesome as the results are, we need to be consistently checking results against expectation and intent. And never lose sight of the fact that we are practicing the magic of a trickster deity. :)

While the tech has similarities and differences that are pretty easy to discuss, there are aspects to working with a seer that I've only touched on here that need their own posts. The relationship between the conjuror and the seer, the protective role of the conjuror, the receptive role of the seer,
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