Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spirit Pots

Ok, I'm having a total shit day here at work. I'm totally feeling Martial and want to kick some ass, but it's just not an option. I haven't had time to answer emails or blog or anything lately. Kingdom management is a pain in the ass. I need a break.

So fuck that presentation for a bit. I'm blogging.

Today, Dhr. Balthazar wrote a post about working with the dead, and he mentioned the following:
my warning was mainly directed to those wishing to create spirit pots, spirit dolls, bundles and so forth for the dead. This is a somewhat more nuanced form of muerto work, during which things can in fact go wrong. Trickster spirits love containers. I mean they LOVE, containers. 
That got me thinking about my experience with Spirit Pots, and how the techniques I learned help mitigate that kind of thing, so you get a post about how to work with Spirit Pots safely and effectively, because I can bang it out quick and I need to think about something relaxing, peaceful, and centering, and nothing's better for that than some good old applied hermetics.

Spirit Pot Overview

A spirit pot is basically a high-end talisman. It is a physical object you've dedicated to a spirit that becomes its physical manifestation point in your world. It is a portal through which the spirit sends the forces it uses to influence your world. It is a communication point that you use to send your requests and offerings into its realm, wherever that may be.

By giving a spirit a physical manifestation point in your life, you're granting it your authority to change your manifest reality. You're giving it more power too, because now it has a foothold in your world. It's a really potent way to bring a spirit's influence into your life, and it guarantees that you will experience the forces the spirit represents first hand.

The spirit pot also functions as a mini-altar. You can put whatever items into the pot that relate to the spirit. This seems to give the spirit more power to affect your life, more influence over events that transpire. Anything you put into the pot will affect the way the spirit manifests in your life. Things in harmony with its essence help it function better in your world. Soil from areas you want it to influence extend its power to those areas.

The spirit pot is, in many ways, the body of the spirit you're working with. You feed it, clean it, and take care of it the way you take care of your own body. You can put it wherever you want it to have more influence, or you can put it on your altar to grant it influence over all things that manifest in your life.

The Spirit Pot Itself

Spirit pots can be made out of any container. I like brass vessels because they have a mercurial nature by virtue of being a blended metal, and Mercury/Hermes plays a big role in my Hermetic pursuits (as you can imagine). They can be glass boxes, craft boxes, cigar boxes, clay pots, tea kettles, decorative metal bowls, silver, or organic woven baskets, or even old oil lamps like Ali Baba found. They can be any kind of vessel or container.

The closer you can get the container materials to the essence of the spirit, the better. Iron pots for Martial spirits would be acceptable, but they're no good for ancestor spirits, or most terrestrial genius loci spirits.

The form should be suited to the purpose too. Old brass lamps make sense because they are designed to turn fuel into emanated light. They project what's contained within in a useful way into the world outside the lamp. Very excellent metaphor.

Boxes are used for storage, so if you've got a box you're using, make sure you leave the lid open when you want the spirit active. Round bowls or pots can be used, but circles can confuse and trap a spirit.

And that brings up another interesting point, geometric shapes have spiritual properties. Circles and squares mean something to spirits. Agrippa has a chapter on it, but I don't have time to look it up at the moment. It's important to consider though. Square boxes make sense to me because there are four elements, and if I make a spirit pot, it's to get the spirit access to my material realm. Circles also make sense because they provide a continuous contact point with the rest of the world, projecting in all directions at once. You can get hexagonal and octagonal decorative vessels that might have some numerological correspondence to the spirits of the system you're working as well.

As you can see, the type of vessel you pick is going to depend a lot on the spirit you're working with, so before you even begin picking out the type of pot, it's a really good idea to to get to know the spirit you're making a pot for.

The Spirit

You should have an established relationship already, and have worked with it more than a couple of times before you start moving towards a dedicated talismanic object that you're going to give that kind of footprint in your life.* 

When you've worked with a spirit a few times, you pick up its preferences and its resonance. You'll know what types of things to include, and if you're not sure, you can ask them directly. Be warned though, there's not much that you'll offer a spirit for their pot that they'll turn down. They can use anything, as long as it isn't totally opposed to their nature, and they can even use some of that too.

Also, when you get to know a spirit first, you'll be drastically reducing the chances of getting a trickster spirit. You'll know right away if the spirit that takes up residence in the pot isn't the same one you've worked with before. There are other mitigating techniques to include, but this is the best defense against getting the wrong spirit I've found.

Listen to the spirit when you're picking out the vessel and the things to include. I go to the goodwill, flea markets, garage sales, and this one antique shop where this guy buys stuff from estate sales to pick out my spirit pot, and I take a second to picture the spirit's seal, call it by name, and ask its opinion on the pot I'm picking out for it. It only takes a second, and again, you'll have an established relationship with the spirit that grants you this kind of access to it before you start picking out pots. Can't stress that enough.

What Goes in the Pot

When you're gathering the stuff that goes inside, get the spirit's opinion as you pick the stuff out. I like to shop at the local occult supply shoppe, and they have a wide assortment of crystals. When I pick out Jupiter stuff, I have a wide selection of blue stones available, for example, and I'll ask the spirit I'm working with which one they prefer. The Lapis Lazuli I used in the Jupiter talismans was Lapis and not Azurite because that's what they preferred at the time. Go shopping or gathering with your spirit, and make the spirit pot a cooperative venture from the very beginning.

I like to put together a wide variety of things for my spirit pots. I believe it needs soil from whatever grounds you want it to cover. Money pots should have dirt or stones from your local branch of your bank. Domination pots should have dirt from wherever you want to dominate, like your office, or the local Moose lodge or whatever. You can add dirt to the pot at any time after you make it, so don't stress too much about getting something for any situation that might arise later before you begin. At the very least, you should add some soil from your own home if you want it to affect your daily life.

I like to include a stone that is holy to the entity in some way as well. Lapis, axurite, rose quartz, amethyst, whatever stones are appropriate to the spirit. I always toss in a herkimer diamond because I think they're just funky. I've used orgone generators too, but these days not so much. I think some form of clear quartz is essential, because they are like crystallized light.

I also include incense that's appropriate, usually in resin form. Powders work well too, and you can crumble up a stick incense if you like. Scent is important to spirits. It's invisible, but you can sense it, and that's a very spiritual quality. There are whole tables of perfumes and aromas that are pleasing to spirits in the grimoires for good reason.

Plants are also important to include. Flowers of the appropriate color, sweet smelling grasses, fragrant saps, and tobacco are always good. Herbs, leaves, vines, and seeds are all good to include. Dried fruit is seldom turned down, but you've got to remember to change it out once in a while.

As you go along with your pot, you'll be adding and removing things to suit your current needs. When I needed Bune to work more actively, I put cayenne pepper in the pot to heat things up. For dream communications with the spirit, you can put in a small vial of lunar-consecrated water in it. This can be used to send specific visions to others as well, if you're into that kind of thing. Just remember, whatever you do to others, they'll do to you sooner or later.

Animal products are also things you can put in a pot. Alligator claws, eagle talons, bear teeth, small skulls, or whatever else you think is appropriate that fits in the pot can be used. Just remember, it's like giving your spirit a familiar of its own to work with and through. Toss in a bear tooth, and don't be surprised if your spirit starts sending you the spirit of the bear as a messenger, or manifesting through bear imagery in your daily life or dreams. Do you want your spirit to have a rattlesnake familiar? Think about that shit before you toss that neat rattle you got in Arizona as a kid in the pot.

Consecrating the Pot and its Ingredients

Ok, so you've gathered the stuff and you're ready to put it all together. This is a big deal, and should not be treated lightly. Consider it the moment of conception, when you create a physical body for the spirit to inhabit. You're putting the guts together inside the skin and breathing life into it, sort of. It's very golemish, in a way, and you shouldn't be surprised if your spirit pot grows legs and travels around. I never saw my Bune pot move, but it was often in places I didn't recall putting it, and when I was ready to decommission it, it was stolen.

The first thing you'll want to do is pick a good time for it. You'll need a half hour or so set aside with no interruptions. I work mostly with planetary spirits, so I use planetary hours and days to pick my timing. For your pot, pick an auspicious time that resonates with the entity you're calling.

Begin by consecrating the vessel to the spirit. What right do you have to consecrate the pot? Is it because you're a human being made in the image of God and you are accepting your role as co-creator and therefore the pot will be consecrated because you say so? That's how I do it, so I start with a prayer to the First Father, thanking him for the opportunity to create the world and the authority to do so. Then I conjure my HGA, and get him to help in the process, asking him to make sure the right spirit appears, and that the vessel is prepared according to its requirements. Then I conjure the spirit who is actually going into the pot, and make sure they're present for the duration of the rite.

Then I cleanse the pot.

When you do the conjuration of the spirits using the Modern Angelic Grimoire, there's a part where you command the crystal to only allow the spirits you're calling in. You do something similar when you consecrate the pot. Talk to the pot itself, address the spirit of the object, and tell it that it has been consecrated to the spirit, tell it not to let any other spirit in, and seal it to the spirit itself. I do this by basically sprinkling it with Holy Water while saying, "In the name of the father + Son + and Holy Spirit + I cleanse you and consecrate you to be the physical embodiment of [Spirit Name]. Let no other spirit enter, and serve the spirit well as its embodiment within my world."

Next you mark up the vessel. I engrave the seal of the spirit and any related god-names on the outside of the pot using dremel tools for metal pots, or I use a paint pen. I like silver paint pens, and the spirits don't complain. I know one guy who got decent results with a sharpie. Your mileage may vary.

You know, honestly, the best thing you can do for spirit work is to get all the right ingredients and time it all correctly, and make sure it's all correct by whatever system you're using, but if you can't hit the center of the target, I've repeatedly found the spirits don't give a shit. As long as you're close, or in harmony, they are usually pretty ok with whatever you've got. that doesn't mean you don't try hard to make it as accurate as possible, and it doesn't mean you'll get the same quality of results if you cheat, but it's better to have a paper origami box you made by hand written on with ball point pens than nothing at all.**

Next you consecrate the items. I anoint them with holy water (and usually abramelin oil too) and tell them they're consecrated for the purposes of creating a harmonious vessel for the spirit.

Then you assemble the pot. Put all the stuff in the pot, and formally request that the spirit you've conjured enters into its vessel. Make a show of it, don't be afraid to breathe life into the pot. It's called exsufflation, breathing a spirit into a pot. "As I breathe into this pot, enter now this vessel and take up residence, and through it gain authority within my realm" blah blah blah. You know, make some shit up that sounds nice and embodies the intent.

Working with the Spirit Pot

Ok, so you've got the pot, it's got a spirit in it, and it's time to tap that spirit's influence to get something you want. Go to the pot and conjure up the spirit and tell it what you want. Ask it if it needs anything added to the pot to help it out. Sometimes it will tell you how many candles to light nearby so the light falls on the pot, other times it will tell you what foods to leave on a plate near the pot.

Whenever you need its help, talk to it. Don't be embarrassed, it's there all the time and ready to hear you. Talk to it out loud, because you've given it a body. Thinking at it doesn't change anything any more than thinking at a person in the room changes them. The more you learn to treat it as if it were the spirit, the more you'll be able to do with it.

And don't worry about those people who will think you're crazy for talking to inanimate objects. I mean, you already qualify as insane in their eyes because you really believe you're a magician with the power and destiny to change the world as you see fit. Fuck them and their sanity.

Ok, back to work. Have fun all!

* Remember, creating a spirit pot is granting a spiritual entity a physical form with the expectation that it will have more influence over your material realm. Think carefully about who you want to have access to your life, and don't be surprised when they start using the influence you've granted them.

** Except when it's not. Sometimes you fuck yourself royally taking short cuts or making substitutions in ignorance. Do your best, really, because it matters.


  1. oooh! I just KNEW you were going to post about this..and I'm glad you did. Awesome as ever my friend..hope your summer is turning out to be a beautiful one.

  2. One of your best posts, thanks, frater

  3. So, I have a question. What level of spirit do you usually make spirit pots for? What I mean is, I'd feel a bit silly asking someone as high on the spiritual food chain as Cassiel or another archangel to inhabit a spirit pot. Am I just being slow, or would you aim for something on the level of a familiar spirit like the kind the planetary archangels can give?

    Also, my apologies if my English is a bit off.

  4. @ Anon, I prefer talismans for the Archangels, don't particularly know why though.

    The Archangels of the planets are your brothers and sisters, in a very real way. There's nothing wrong with having a spirit pot for them. Of course you wouldn't be trapping them. They would still be everywhere all at once in the way they are before the spirit pot is made. You would simply have a stronger link to them in your personal world.

  5. Great post. Guess what topic of my upcomming text is ;-)

  6. Dude! Your Bune pot got stolen? Did you mention that on the blog before and it escaped my notice? That is industrial-strength weird! And an appropriately poetic ending to that whole story. I'm almost inspired to write a short story about the poor slob who stole it. Yikes! Can you even imagine?

    Another killer posting; deceptively rich in information and leavened by you unique rogue-ish humor. A little polish and it'll make a fine chapter in your first published p-book.

  7. And THIS is the reason I love this blog. I first found Head For The Red when you were working on the Bune pot and it was my all time favorite series of yours, except of course for the Neo-Platonic Basics. The essay I just wrote for Hadean's Conjure Codex has a section on a spirit pot I made for Semjaza.

  8. "By giving a spirit a physical manifestation point in your life, you're granting it your authority to change your manifest reality. You're giving it more power too, because now it has a foothold in your world. It's a really potent way to bring a spirit's influence into your life, and it guarantees that you will experience the forces the spirit represents first hand."

    I love you, RO. love, love, love you. Succinct brilliance.

  9. I've recently been reading about painting [orthodox] icons, and it seemed to have some resonance with what you've posted here. The importance of getting in touch with the saint or angel being painted so that it's truly a window, and not just a painting; the fact that it's a link to the spiritual world, etc.
    Do you have any thoughts?

  10. @Michael S.:

    I think that sounds awesome, it makes perfect sense. When I make a talisman of any kind, I want it to be a gate, a portal to the spirit, an access point to this realm, an interface.


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.