Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Magical Panacea

Friends! Have I got something for you. If you're like me, and I know you are, you are in a world that is not entirely fun, aren't you? That's because life on Earth, in the flesh like this, well... it sucks sometimes. Usually when we're not paying attention to things we were supposed to be tending, but at other times too. It's like there's something inherent in incarnation that requires that sometimes things just aren't friggin' awesome.

But we don't have to stay there for long, thank god. We have the technology, we have exactly and specifically the cure for that which ails you, brothers and sisters. 
Try New and Improved Red Stone!

It's a magical wonder, a panacea that brings healing, peace, and wholeness to us... wherever we may be. It extends life, it restores youth, it calms passions and cleanses apathy! 

Don't just take my word for it, listen to this:
  • Got a Sickness?
    • The world's greatest diseases... escaped! 
  • Sadness?
    • Driven Away!
  • Distress?
    • Driven Away!
  • Evil and hurtful things?
    • Also Driven Away!
But wait, that's not all!
  • Feeling lost in the Dark?
    • The Red Stone leads to the Light!
  • Feeling set about on all sides in a desert wilderness?
    • The Red Stone leads to a Secure Habitation!
  • Plain old fashioned Poverty got you down?
    • The Red Stone brings a free and ample fortune!
Not bad, eh? Who wouldn't want one? This was the sales pitch for the Philisopher's Stone* from the Golden Tractate of Hermes Trismegistus. I totally would have gone for it. 

And I did. Hook line and sinker, I took the bait and got dragged from my dark and cold wet depths into a bright and scary world where I could barely breathe. 

Fortunately, you don't need air up there.

I made a study of the Alchemical phases, and examined what exactly happened in these experiments. I looked at what happens in the Hermetic path to reclaiming divinity, and saw that it could easily be mapped to the alchemical phases.

I got to work testing my theory with the easiest model of the spheres and the process of ascending through the heavens and descending in power I could find. I started with the Primum Materia, that is, me, and I set that shit on fire, let the smoke rise up as an offering of prayers, to be a sweet smell in the heavens as I watched the things inside me burn.

And seven years later... I did it. I completed the Work, I created the Stone, and I ground it into a tincture, and I have used it to heal the world. It's still got sickness, but in the lives of those I touch, I spread healing, reminding people who they are and what they are capable of achieving with a little intent, planning, and right action. 

The Philosopher's Stone, what it is, what it does, this is an important thing to understand, in my humble opinion. The making of it is supposed to turn you into a really super wise person, and it does, but it doesn't perfect you. No one claimed that it does. You aren't any more a manifest Buddha than you were before you started the Work (nor any less). You don't automagically become a Secret Chief.

But over the years, you learn what makes you tick. You learned who you are, how your damage creates more damage in your self, and you found ways to work through your shit. You kept dissolving your issues layer by layer until you found out what they really were underneath (I'm lonely) and behind all the false masks (I'm scared) and odd disassociative emotional spans (I miss You). You found the answers, visited the interior of the earth, and went even deeper, deep enough to dream in brilliant colors you have never seen, deep enough to join a million people for a wedding feast, deep enough to reach out and touch the face of the one who made you...

And you see it in everyone else around you too, the same core issues, and you can help. You see the darkness you labored in, you know how to turn on the lights, the everburning lights. You have the words to help the ones who need to hear them, if you choose to speak them. 

You learn the value of health and how to foster it in a way that creates opportunities for miraculous wondrous cures. You learn to eat right and exercise because it gives you magical power and authority over your life**. You learn to phrase your healing rites in a way that focus on the desired outcome instead of the steps that you think should lead to the desired outcome. You learn when to Work with Raphael, the Healing of God, and when to Work with Michael, Who Is Like God. 

And you learn to get rid of sadness. You learn that the people who let you down are just ... well, they're just like you. You get compassion. Not forgiveness, necessarily, because just like you, they could have learned to treat you better, but at least you understand, and you're released from taking it personally. As well as protected from letting it happen again. You've learned that the things that eliminating situations that make you sad make room for happiness, and that makes the times when you do see the sad stuff ever so much bearable.  And even revelatory regarding the nature of sorrow and joy.

And your stress just goes away. I think it's great that the Golden Tractate was concerned about stress, don't you? They knew even then that it was a killer. They knew it comes from not knowing how things are going, that basic, "I'm scared" that hasn't been defined or mitigated. The Work shows you who you are, reveals the things you worry about and why, and it gives you the answers you need to keep that stress from coming back. 

And it brings a sense of security. In the Gates rites, I walk people through the rites to build up a Kingdom by performing the planetary magics of initiation and manifestation that I learned about on the way. Work through them, and in a year people are talking about how their lives have changed, their incomes increased, bad relationships dissolved, great relationships found, and prosperity and health the hallmarks across the spectrum of results. 

Cash, yo. Money. The stuff you need to get by, and have a little left over for just in case. 

These things all come to those who pursue and create the Stone. They are the holy Side Effects of the Great Work. We get to have a lot of money and health and enjoyment, and we can help our friends when they are unhappy. When shit happens to us, we are equipped to appreciate the value and get rid of the useless parts of it more quickly than others. Shit happens to us less because we tend to be more proactive in getting what we want, and we understand the work necessary, and we enjoy doing it because it is fun to build reality, like it's fun to work out and grow muscles and shape your flesh as you will.

The true treasure though, the real reason we do it isn't listed at all in the sales pitch. The real reason we do it is something even better, something beyond words. It's pointed to in the word JOY, it's indicated... but there's something higher found in the frictive sweaty work of manifestation. Something higher and hotter and more amazing, a gnosis that feels like the release of the floodgates that you only feel consciously in rare sphincter-relaxing moments in life.

Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you!

* This, O Son, is the concealed stone of many colours, which is born and brought forth in one colour; know this and conceal it. By this, the Almighty favouring, the greatest diseases are escaped, and every sorrow, distress, and evil and hurtful thing is made to depart; for it leads from darkness into light, from this desert wilderness to a secure habitation, and from poverty and straits to a free and ample fortune. - The Golden Tractate of Hermes Trismegistus
** want a whole post on that? bet it would be fun to write.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Demonic Agendas

In his Archonology post, Gordon recently presented the following sidebar:
Sidebar: it does, however, fascinate me that contemporary western occultism can display such a sad, trainspotty obsession with the lineage of grimoiric demons and stress over the most precise ways in which we ‘should’ contact ‘them’… but little thought is actually given to what these things do when they’re not appearing in your living room. Beings that apparently command vast ghost armies and give nightmares to kings are just… what? Sitting patiently in the metaphoric drive-thru window just waiting to help you get that 5% payrise? Or are they skinriding the brutal oligarchs bringing destruction and penury upon the world just for the lulz? Are you sure you’re even interesting enough to warrant a demon prince’s attention?
Hee hee! I love Gordon.

He's right, of course, there's not enough understanding of the framework of the spirits of the "demonic" grimoires among the traditionalist and fundamentalist movements in the practical occult. I classify all the grimoires of the Renaissance as being, pretty much, Hermetic in fundamental nature. They are founded on the principles of the Hermetic cosmology.

Hermetics has a rich landscape of spirits. There are the Celestial spirits of the heavens, the Terrestrial spirits of Nature, Elemental spirits, and Infernal spirits from the underworld. We are related to all of them, via our parents, First Father and the Spiritus Mundi. We are kith and kin to them all.

In the grimoires, the spirits that get classified as "demons" most often (i.e. when I think about them) are the spirits of the Lemegeton's Goetia, maybe the Theurgia Goetia, the spirits of the True Grimoire, the spirits of the Testament of Solomon, and some of the spirits you run into in the Clavicles, maybe. Oh, and the demons of the Abramelin rite, which was entirely about conjuring demons for money and happiness and not at all interested in happy illumination or enlightenment. Money. Power. Influence. Happiness. That's what the Abramelin rite is about, and it's demons that get it for you.

Now Jake Stratton-Kent has gone over it in awesomely better detail in Geosophia and True Grimoire, so I'll refer you there for more information about these next bits if you have questions. I'm summarizing and possibly paraphrasing, and probably changing some stuff to make it fit. But the gist of it is that the Demons are Elemental Spirits, for the most part. The four demonic kings are the kings of the elemental Kingdoms, and everyone else is a servant of them.

That's it, folks. Most of the "demons" you hear so much about are Elementals. Bet you didn't know every time you did an Elemental Kingdom rite you were conjuring demons, eh? Well you were! You're a Goetic Magician now, man, it's all over for you. You might as well be calling up the spirits of the dead, you damned necromancers!

So anyway, not a big deal, really. Demons are elemental spirits. That's the Terrestrial realm, mostly. So why the evil reputations? Let's not blame the Christians entirely, though they can carry a great deal of the blame. If you look at elemental spirits in many cultures, it's not long before you see that they are often up to no good. Faeries and sprites, leprechauns and dragons, the interactions between the two rarely end well. They have a reputation for mischief, the painful kind, disease-spreading, and strife-causing.

Now nature spirits are worker bees, just like the planetary governors of the allegedly celestial spheres. They are the Intelligences of the forces that oversee. They create reality, like blue-collar workers. They can be crass, opinionated, and bitter. They can also be the intelligences of disease, overseeing the manifestation of the common cold, or cancer. They are the spirits responsible for creating the things that come from nature that we don't like as much as the things that we do like.

So when they aren't in the circle or triangle, they are off overseeing the things over which they rule. They have legions of helpers because think about how many forces are interacting at once to maintain this universe. Legions and legions. And we can tap their forces if we want, but it's not guaranteed to be any entity who likes you, and you can't expect not to be impacted by what they are also lords over. Like if you conjure a apirit known to be a liar, don't be surprised if you, even though you've bound the spirit to tell the truth, become a liar yourself for a bit after working with him. They rub off on us.

It's no big deal, they aren't "bad." They just manifest things we don't like. You have to be really careful to understand the nature of the spirit you're working with when you do material magic so you can understand how it will manifest your results.

But on the other hand, these spirits are wicked smart when it comes to learning how to manifest things ourselves. They can teach us the nature of things, the correspondences of different elements, and how to combine them in neat ways to create specific results in our magical activities. We can get serious skills in mastering the manifestation game from them, if we ask for learning, teaching, education, information, skill, and talent in the spheres they rule. They can teach us how to "phrase" things when we speak them into existence.

And when they're done with us, they go back to their business, manifesting whatever needs manifesting wherever it's necessary. They aren't planning anything evil (except the one who are supposed to, and still... "evil"), they aren't riding politicos (except the ones who do) or running multi-generational experiments on human genetics (except ... well... it's a secret...).

So no need to worry about those demons and whatever they might be up to when they aren't around.

Everything's just fine.

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,

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

On Working with a Seer

For the last few months, I've had the good fortune to Work with a Seer in my conjurations of the spirits. It has been a very different kind of experience, and I've enjoyed it immensely. I feel all John Dee going into the temple.

The seer I am working with is Harper Feist, author of the Adyton of Pythia blog, and my partner in crime. We have found that we work as well together as magical partners in the temple as we do practically in the rest of the home, which has been great. We were talking one afternoon, and thought it would be fun to do a series of blog posts about what it's like to Work together as a seer and a conjuror. One of the most frequent questions students of the Red Work series of courses ask about is seeing the spirits in the crystal, and in talking to Harper about this, I saw where I leave a lot out when I discuss the subject that she can put into words really well.

As we go along, I'll be talking about the preparations and conjurations we go through from my perspective, and she'll be going through the same from her perspective, and between the two of us, you'll have a glimpse into what it's like to Work together with the spirits. We'll be talking about our experiences and background leading up to working together, and how that changes when we combine our forces in the temple. She'll be talking more about the techniques she has developed and identified as being necessary in her role as Seer, and I'll be focusing more on the role of the conjuror when the spirits appear. We'll be discussing our experiences with gods, angels, archangels, and some of the more terrestrial spirits we've conjured over the last few months.

We haven't talked about a schedule for these things, but look for the label Seership on the posts to keep them all together.