Monday, April 23, 2007

Familiar Spirits vs. Servitors

I received an interesting comment on the Fetching a Fetch post yesterday:

What actually are the difference between a servitor and a familiar? I think that a familiar can be, but not necessary a servitor.

Regarding the differences between a familiar and a servitor, the primary difference is this:

A familiar is a real spirit either conjured by the magician from the dead or granted to the magician by the spirit's "boss" in the hierarchy. They may function as a servant, and that's fine.

Servitors, on the other hand, are usually just figments of a Chaos Magician's wishful thinking.

Servitors are a construct of the Chaos Magick movement. Chaos magicians generally believe in a blend of the energy and psychological models, that everything is made up of energy, and whatever we experience spiritually is the result of our own perceptions and beliefs, and that if it affects reality, there's probably a rational, scientific explanation that has no need for actual objective spirits to exist. They believe energy is manipulated by belief, and that a servitor can be created entirely from the magician's own expectations, energy manipulations, and the power of their belief.

How they can hold this philosophy is completely beyond me. If belief were the sole source of experiential reality, insane people really would be whatever they thought they were. I've experienced enough mentally ill people to know that no matter how true their faith in their delusions might be, their delusions are not real. Not one of the Napolean Bonapartes in Belleview lived in Elba. The homeless Viet-nam vet on crutches muttering about how he's the son of David, the last Sun King, really believes what he's saying, but that belief doesn't make him the brother of Solomon, nor does it transport him mystically and magickally to the streets of Jerusalem. Even though he REALLY believes that's where he lives. (This is a real guy, he lived in Denver when I was a teenager, and tried to convince me I was also a Sun King at a coffee shop one day after some punks had beaten him up and taken his vodka and spare change.)

That doesn't mean I don't believe some servitors are actual spirits. Take Fotamecus, for instance. This time-manipulation servitor allegedly became an egregore after being exposed to the energies of a rock concert (or something like that). As time went by, Fotamecus grew in power and was gunning for Chronos. Magicians across the world experienced Fotamecus.

However, the primary "creator" of Fotamecus has recently begun to understand that the spirit existed long before he was "inspired" to create the Fotamecus sigil and go through the operations he's experienced.

Similarly, studies of the different grimoires indicate that there are nephesh, shades of the dead that can be conjured and used as servants. When a Chaos magician creates a servitor and has results with it, I believe it's because some wandering shade has inhabited the form of the servitor and is causing the effects. Again, it's a real spirit; it's just taking advantage of the thought-form of the magician. This is evidenced by the experiences people who have useful servitors and tulpas have recorded.

Tulpas are familiar spirits from the Tibetan magickal systems that are allegedly created by the magician. The magician imagines the form of their spirit, and over time practices extensive visualization of the thing, empowering it, treating ti as if it were real, making offerings, and so forth. After a couple of months of consistent effort, the tulpa is as real as any familiar.

However, after a while, the Tulpa inevitably begins to change. It changes its form and function. The spirit that has inhabited the visualized form of the magician takes over the construct, and it begins to look and act the way its nature demands. It's not long before the spirit is obviously not what the magician imagined it to be, and the magician is then forced to eradicate the tulpa, a process that can take six months.

Now I know there are lots of people who think they have created tulpas, and who theorize about them based on the writings of charlatans and frauds, and they write a bunch of untested bullshit that doesn't work and publish it to the web. Google will provide hundreds of sources that will disagree with me, I promise.

Check into the experiences of people like Alexandra David-Neel, who spent some fourteen years in Tibet and actually created a tulpa. Compare their experiences and records with the theories and claims of the popular servitor/tulpa movement, and you'll quickly recognize the difference in tone. Truth strikes a chord that BS just can't. She and others who actually perform the ritual creation of a tulpa record the same end: the spirit changes, revealing its true (and usually disturbing, vampiric) form and the magician is forced to banish it from their lives.

Before anyone gets too upset, I'll close with the caveat that your mileage may vary.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fetching a Fetch

Lately I've become enamored of the idea of having a "Fetch. A Fetch is another name for a familiar spirit, the kind usually given by the demons of the Abramelin rituals, or conjured from a graveyard at night in some other grimoires, like the Sefer ha Razim.

From Wikipedia:

In early modern English witchcraft or Superstition, a familiar spirit, commonly called familiar (from Middle English familiar, related to family) or imp is a spirit who obeys a witch, conjurer, or other users of the supernatural, and serves and helps that person. Although they may not be as intelligent as their masters, they are often as intelligent as the average human. Familiars often perform domestic duties and help in farming, but also aid the person in bewitching people. If they look like ordinary animals, they can be used to spy on their masters' enemies. These spirits are also said to be able to inspire artists and writers (compare with muses). The familiars of some practicers of black magic also defined the characteristics of their owners. Some reclusive wizards rely on familiars as their closest friends. In demonology, it is said that many demons have the ability to grant to a conjurer a familiar to aid them.

(More at:
I've loved the idea of having a fetch ever since I read a story by Lovecraft that involved the main witch character having a white cat-like thing as a fetch. Unfortunately, I've never had any reason to have one. Most of the things they are used for in stories and legends I can do for myself. I don't farm, hexing people is generally bad form, in my opinion, and I've already got Bune to help with inspiration for my writing. Burning a tea lite candle is enough to get me motivated for a project, it seems.

In spite of not having any reason for having one, I've got a method I'm itching to try out from the Sefer ha Razim. It involves heading to a graveyard at night, reciting the names of the angels, and performing the appropriate oration. Pretty simple stuff, and there's as pillar of smoke involved.

But I just can't justify it. Doing magick for its own sake isn't worth it to me. I've found that there are all kinds of unexpected side effects for every ritual, and without a pressing need, there's no point in linking myself to the dead that I can think of. Rather disappointing, I must say.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

3.2 - Using the Glyph in Practice

Once the Altar was laid out appropriately, methods of using the Glyph in practice came naturally.

The binding of the Demonic Kings immediately cut off a great deal of mischief in my life. People at work that were obstacles to accomplishing my work suddenly became too distracted doing their work to give me grief, and began giving me the information I needed to do my job quickly to get rid of me. The kids behaved better. My spouse and I understood one another better. I quit running over curbs. (This is a big deal. For some reason, I've been running over curbs a lot in the last few years. It twisted the frame of one van, and popped the tire of another.)

The placement of the elemental Kings in their appropriate locations (that is, not the traditional GD quadrants) brought me into harmony with the tiny parts that go into the moments I experience. The first few days, I had supra-luminescent vision, that transcendentalist-painting-vision, where the underlying divinity of all things is bursting through the edges of the forms they're wearing to manifest in. I performed (successfully) workings within the elemental kingdoms for the first time in my magical career since leaving behind the 21 Lessons of Merlin. (Don't read it.)

My elemental weapons have gained a "shine" to them that wasn't there previously. I don't feel at all silly using the wand or dagger like I used to. They've become a natural extension of my Work. The Elemental realms themselves appear at the edges of my Altar space in the astral temple I use. My favorite is Raphael standing on the windswept mountains of the West. Reminds me of Colorado.

The Planetary Talismans... Well, let's just say things are going as well there as they are everywhere else in my Work. I've been doing a lot more Work with Michael in the Sun for others as part of the Solar Attunements included with the Genius rites I have performed for people, and it's been... wonderful. I can't recommend highly enough the importance of having a talisman for each planet on your altar arranged in the right place. Wonderful.

Enough of the Bliss. It's good, trust me. But the practical benefits are awesome too. Having the Talismans in their appropriate place in the physical representation of my magickal sphere has resulted in the effects of those planets integrating in ways I didn't expect. I can be fifty miles away from home at work, and feel a planetary influence, conjure the archangel or one of their legions, and receive something I need right then and there. The communications are bi-directional, and the results are cumulative.

3.1 - Putting it all Together: The Altar Layout Revisited

The first thing I did, being the pragmatic Tech-writing Taurus that I am, was to draw up the Glyph on my computer. It's easier to do concentric circles and save them as images in Visio. What I ended up with is this:

As you can see, there aren't seven circles for the spheres of the planets, or four for the elements as you might expect. I drew out all the spheres in earlier drawings, but they're just too big. This suffices, and it has a circle for each of the primary items one works with as an incarnate magician.

The inner three circles represent the sphere of the incarnate magician. They are divided into four quadrants, one for each of the cardinal points. In the innermost circle are the four Demonic Kings of the corners of the world. The brackets here represent their influence upon the magician being bound. Surrounding them are the Four Angelic Kings of the four corners of the World. These angels bind the influence of the Demonic Kings from the sphere of the magician. In the circle around the angles, I placed the elements as presented in Agrippa's Scale of the Number Four.

In the outermost circle are the planets. The order is very specific. If you look at the table in Agrippa's Book 2, Chapter vii, you'll see why they are placed where they are placed.

The order of the planetary spheres as the spirit descends into matter is Saturn-Jupiter-Mars-Sun-Venus-Mercury-Moon. However, we're already incarnated, and when we look up at the spheres from the world of manifestation, we'll see them from the perspective of the material realm.

Placing the planets in their respective quadrants as seen from below represents understanding the place of the incarnated magician in the cosmos. We are spirits, sparks of the Logos, of the Race of Gods. Our origin is from beyond the stars and the planets they influence. Yet our home, our sphere of influence is the material realm. We transcend through the realms of the planets to return to God, yet we retain our places in the manifest world, anchors, as it were, for the power of God to return with us to this realm.

Not to get all loopy or anything. There's only so much theory and metaphysics I can personally stand. It doesn't mean anything if it doesn't affect anything, in my opinion, and it was vitally important to get the harmony represented in the Glyph grounded in my sphere.

Where is the magician's sphere represented physically? Their altar, of course. It holds their elemental tools, the symbols of their authority over the essences that Plato taught combined to form all things. It's also the Table of Practice, the key to working with the spirits of each realm. It represents the access point for the Magician. It's the pivotal point between the realms Above and the realms Below. It represents everything spiritual in the magicians manifest realm.

So I took the Key to Everything represented in the Glyph and put it in place on my altar. The first thing I did was bind the Demonic Kings in miniature Spirit Pots. Then I created miniature talismans of the Angels of the four corners of the Earth using the Kings of the elements in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Beside each of these cards on the Altar, I placed the Elemental weapons associated with the Corner. That was great for the physical sphere.

For the planets, I placed the seven talismans in the layout in the outermost circle of the glyph. Outside the circle of the planets, I placed my Lamp, to represent the Source of all, the True Father, the Speaker of the Word who dwells in perfect darkness within the source of the radiating Light.

Immediately I began to see the effects of cleaning up my altar space on my Work. The Spirits of the planets come more quickly, and every aspect of my life has been drawn into an increasing harmony. My credit has cleared up, my job has become more secure, communications that were blocked are open now. Questions I have are resolved quickly and "miraculously."

Everything isn't perfect, of course. We're still in the manifest realm. But I do have an insight and a position of stability and authority from which to oversee the sources and interactions of the forces behind the scenes in my life.

Life is truly Good.

3.0 - The Glyph

Long ago, and far away, I began this series on the Neo-Platonic system. It began because I wanted to share the background that had lead up to the satori experience I had while studying Agrippa's table on the Scale of the Number 4 (Book 2, Chapter 7 ). Everything I had been studying all came together in that moment, and the result was a compelling urge to map out what I was seeing on paper. Working into the wee hours of the morning with a compass and some folded paper to serve as a straight edge (the kids had broken my ruler), I ended up with a Glyph. This Glyph embodies the Great Work of the Magician, the realms of the spirits we work with in the material realm, the spirits of the seven planetary realms, and the role of the magician balanced in between the Above and the Below.

Pretty neat, in my opinion. Not long after receiving it, I posted the information everywhere I could. I thought that just looking at the Glyph would bring instant Illumination to everyone who saw it. When people looked at it and said, yeah, ok, neat, and went on with their lives and Work, I thought they just didn't have the background to see the awesome impact this Glyph can have on Ceremonial Magicians. Taking what it represents, taking the keys that are summarized in its concentric circles and the perspective of the layout, and putting it into practical use results in complete and total control of all things material and spiritual, from an enlightened and beneficent place of authority in the cosmos.

So I labored on the different sections of this work with the goal of bringing everyone this power, illumination, and understanding of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Since the time that I got this Glyph, I've been using it to great effect in my Work. It really does do everything I thought it would do. But I've realized that it's not going to be for everyone.

Understanding now that this is a personal revelation, I've been putting off wrapping up the series. I intended it to be a climactic culmination that brought everything else together and sparked a mass enlightenment experience that spread like wildfire through my audience that has grown to a global scale. I no longer expect that to happen, but nevertheless, I hope this serves to at least inspire some of you on to your own Glyphs, your own empowerment, and your own harmony.