Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grimoire Assumptions

In Software Project Management, we develop software applications or database schemas based on requirements. Requirements are identified by business needs. Say Management needs to be able to see how well one product has sold for the past twenty-five years to decide whether to continue pushing it during the recession. They describe the report they want to see to the person that manages the data. When you begin to plan the development project, you start with your business case, establishing why it's necessary to have whatever you're developing. You detail the scope (it'll go back 25 years, not 50, or it will include only these products, not those), and you use your scope and your business case to build out your "requirements." Requirements become Design Specifications, and the Design Specifications become the software code that extracts specific data from the database and sends it to the report tool that shows the Management guys what they need to see. The quality assurance team develops Test Plans from the Requirements, to make sure the finished product does what it is supposed to and fulfills the business need.

So Requirements are important things to identify. You can't develop something efficiently without knowing what it's supposed to do.

But there's another piece that must be included: ASSUMPTIONS. Assumptions list the things that the developers and project managers don't know, but have to be true for the Requirements to be valid, and the code to do what it's supposed to. Like, in the example above, we would assume the Management knows how to read the report, or that the report tool is already there and that we know how to load the data into the report tool already and we won't get to the load stage and run into a brick wall because by the way, management wants you to use Crystal Reports to generate an Adobe PDF to present the data, not an Excel spreadsheet. Didn't we mention that? Documenting the assumptions provides a means to say, look, this is what we're assuming is true before we begin, so if it ain't right, you'd better tell us now in the early stages of the project before we hit that wall.

The Grimoires don't have an assumption list. They have the requirements listed fairly well (on the ninth hour of the night, you can conjure spirit X using sigil Y and God Name Z). They have the Specs detailed (9 foot circle, gold talismans for solar work, silver for moon, etc). They have the scope (this spirit gets you that result, not the other).

But they don't have the assumptions listed. They don't tell you that, oh, for instance, that you'd better have received a baptism of the Spirit before you try to step foot in a circle and try to tell a Goet what to do.

I posted a picture a while back of a dude parachuting into a pool in a jungle surrounded by crocodiles and labeled it a magician without K&CHGA working Goetia. It was somewhat tongue in cheek. However, there is a spiritual transformation that has to take place in a person before they are ready to be playing with the spirits of the Goetia and getting the kinds of results I and many others receive. You need something like K&CHGA. You need the empowerment of the ten angels of the spheres listed in the Circle of the Goetia. You need all that, but you need a rebirth.

You were born into a world of blood and sweat and tears. You excrete and exfoliate. You drip and drop bits of your flesh wherever you go. That body you walk around in is literally falling apart. And you think that's you. When my kids are bickering, one will touch the other to annoy them, and they'll say, "Quit touching me!" They don't know that their bodies aren't them. They don't get that they're eternal spirits in a temnporary flesh suit. Bill Cosby says they're brain damaged, but I think it's something more than that.

We identify from birth with our body. Keeps us alive. That's a good thing. But it doesn't get us ready to conjure spirits. What that takes is a vision of the Universe that reveals Who we are and What we are, and what our place in everything is.

Plotinus calls it reclaiming our Race and Value. He recommends contemplation of our Source to remember that we are eternal. It takes an understanding of what you need to contemplate of course, your source being prety far removed from your flesh. I suggest reading Iamblichus to understand how bodies and spirits and gods and daimons all interact together. I think meditating on what a Hero is in Iamblichus is awesome for people to get towards the spiritual rebirth.

But there's more to it. You need to get the shit knocked out of you. You need to see it, see eternity laid out in front and behind you, see the hierarchies of spirits in all their glory, each working on their assigned tasks. The HGA can do that for you. Baptism in the Holy Spirit can do that for you. The empowerments of the tantrickas seem to have done it well for Jason.

If you haven't, then leave the Goetia alone. You're going to run into a wall. You won't get the results you're looking for, you'll think magic is bunk, or worse, you'll end up stirring up crap and starting a new chain of stupid horror stories about the Goets that aren't true for anyone with the balls to look for the unlisted assumptions.

Stick to the Angels, they'll get you where you need to be, and they can do most of what the Goetia spirits can do, eventually. Remember, the Emerald Tablet has you rise first, and then return to the Earth in Power. Too many people want to just have power on Earth without rising through the spheres. It doesn't work that way.


  1. The opposite is also a danger: people who believe that they're pure spirit and the body is just nonsense and garbage. They tend to be floaty annoying people with a penchant for cryptic nonsense. When they work the Goetia, they start learning about all the wonderful missions and sacred duties they've been saddled with. Of course, all lies and deception.

  2. Jason calls 'em "pixelated," as in the pixies, not the little colors on a monitor screen. Similar, I think, to the changelings.

    Dude, I pulled my fucking fingernail back cleaning a godammed ferret cage, and I've got to type a lot today. It hurts!


    Anyway, yeah. Pixies.

  3. The Black Raven says that when Faust first started magic, he called Astarot` right off the bat. He said that his "circle was imperfect" and that he only survived and got cooperation out of him/her by making a pact, which is something he always regretted. So while there are alternatives to the HGA, they always have a price. If that price is just some booze or a donation, I don't think its any big deal, but when more immaterial things start getting bartered, it gets scary and sad.

    Oh, and comment guys, don't mock the otherkin/changelings. They've had it a lot worse than you realize, and they are playing an important role in bringing magic back into the world. Check your own eyes for beams of wood first before you go criticizing them.

  4. To be fair, there are safe alternatives. Note that most Grimoires were written to be used by Priests. The actual passing of apostolic current (as the RCC, Orthdox, and Episcopagans understand it) confers a type of spiritual authority that I would not condider on par with attaining the K&C or a spiritual awakening, yet is plenty to draw upon to safely envoke the demons. I personally feel that for many Grimoires, possession of this ordination is one the assumptions and acts much the same way that Tantric Abhisheka does for Tantric practices.

    The other alternative is the "fake it till you make it" play. You basically pretend to be someone else for a bit. This is what The Headless rite was originally about : exorcising demons in the as either the Headless on or as Moses (cuz he was a law giver). The same is done in Tibetan Buddhism when we generate ourselves as Hayagriva or another wrathful yidam in order to safely work with the Dharmapalas.

    In both cases, I wouldnt really call it a spiritual awakening or baptism, but they do get the job done.

  5. Ok, Jason, but I'd argue that repeated "borrowing" of authority will result in a spiritual transformation. That's why the Headless works. You keep putting yourself with Moses, and eventually you'll descend from the Mount with your face glowing, freaking out the rest of the tribe.

  6. Quite true.

    Thats why its "fake it till you make it."


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.