The vast majority of my writing on The Digital Ambler consists of once-off essays, wherein I’ll talk about some topic for a few hundred (or thousand) words. However, on occasion, I’ll engage in writing a series of posts about a similar topic, either because a particular topic is too multifaceted to neatly fit within a single post, or because there’s just so much to write about than what could comfortably fit within a single post meant for a single serving of at-ease occult reading. After all, even I have my own limits to attention spans, and I don’t want to overburden my readers, either! To keep things organized, what follows is a more-or-less chronological index of all the proper blog post series I’ve written over the years, a summary about each series, and links to each of the individual posts.
New Year, New You (December 2011 — January 2012) This was something I took on the fly as a means to help solidify my blogging presence and efforts as my first proper series of posts, based on the New Year, New You blogosphere effort pioneered by Deborah Castellano of Charmed, I’m Sure back when she had her old Dropout Dilettante blog on Blogspot. Though I don’t think I kept up with all the weekly writing prompts, it did help to clarify some of the things I was thinking about, and helped orient myself for some future work.
How to Learn a New System (December 2012) A short accidental two-part series that talks about not just what to learn, but how to learn. “The occult”, after all, is not some monolithic field, and there are plenty of different approaches to take to learning the various rituals, theologies, cosmologies, systems, and methodologies that we can use individually or at different times. Learning how to learn itself is something nuanced and difficult, and these two posts go into how we can set aside our preconceived notions of something to better learn what something is both on its own terms and in the context of other things.
49 Days of Definitions (November — December 2013) Though I consider myself a Hermeticist, I also consider myself a Hermetist at least as much. The difference between Hermeticism and Hermetism is a subtle one, with Hermeticism (with the ‘c’) being the Renaissance development of classical spiritual knowledge and philosophy based on the writings of Hermes Trismegistus especially after the translation of the Corpus Hermeticum by Marsilio Ficino, and with Hermetism being the actual classical origin of such knowledge and philosophy in the time period in which it began. As part of my studies in the Red Work Course by Fr. Rufus Opus of Head for the Red, one of the classical Hermetic texts I studied was the Definitions from Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, a series of 49 maxims or axioms of Hermetic cosmology and theology that helped to illuminate my own Hermetic practice. I set my mind to writing a separate blog post fleshing out each maxim in late 2013, culminating on the very last day of the year.
- Part I: one, two, three, four, five
- Part II: one, two, three, four, five, six
- Part III: one, two, three, four
- Part IV: one, two
- Part V: one, two, three
- Part VI: one, two, three
- Part VII: one, two, three, four, five
- Part VIII: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven
- Part IX: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven
- Part X: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven
De Geomanteia (November 2012 — April 2013) I claim that teaching is a crucial part of research; after all, being able to teach a topic to someone else is a hallmark of having a good grasp on the topic yourself. As part of my own geomantic studies, I decided to undertake a 20-week series of posts, one post per week starting in late 2012, where I would talk about the sixteen figures of geomancy at length and in-depth based on the mathematical, elemental, planetary, zodiacal, and other information attributed to them in geomantic literature as well as sharing my own insights and meditations on the futures. In addition to the figures, I also wrote four posts about some of the more intermediate-to-advanced techniques in Western geomantic divination. This series of posts has become a sort of de-facto textbook or primer that has helped to spread geomancy across the internet, and has been (and hopefully will continue to be) immensely helpful to countless students of this divinatory art.
- On the Geomantic Figures
- On Geomantic Techniques
Getting Burnt by the Stars (January 2013) In a fit of enthused determination, I wrote a few posts as a sort of exhortative screed emphasizing that magic, the occult, and spiritual development and ascension is no joke. Yes, there is such beauty, healing, and strength in the work we do as magicians, but it comes at a high price, and quite reasonably so. Yet, despite the price, it is one that we should all gladly pay, because what we get out of it is far more than worth the cost of comfort and complacency we have in our world. Magic is hard; magic burns; magic is Work. However, I didn’t want to just up and tell people to suck it up, so I also gave a run-down of approaches we can take to handle the burn and keep it burning at a consistent level, spurring us on higher instead of burning us up entirely.
- Get In or Get Out
- Stop Worrying and Love the Burn
- Causes, Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Gnosis
- Why, Daddy, Why?
Hermes Conference Recaps (March 2013) In March 2013, the Department of Classics of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA hosted a multi-day conference called Tracking Hermes/Mercury, with 21 different presentations talking about the role of the Greek god Hermēs and the Roman god Mercurius, as well as their syncretic forms across the classical Mediterranean world, in drama, religion, travel, and everyday life of the ancients. I took the chance to visit my alma mater for this wonderful event, and sat in on the conference as an alumnus and invested-interested layperson to the event. I took notes for all the presentations, highlighting some of the more interesting points brought up by the researchers in their cutting-edge work on this wonderful god who loves to be a friend to mankind.
Crying of Calls 49 (July — August 2013) Back in 2013, I got a copy of Advanced Planetary Magic, a short ebook by the renowned Jason Miller of Strategic Sorcery fame. Although most approaches to planetary magic focuses on harnessing, invoking, or channeling the powers of a single planet, Miller took an innovative approach and created a series of 49 short prayers for each pair of the planets, each to be used during a specific planetary day and hour combination, each with a particularly recommended use. As a means to get the word out, Miller started a small group to get the party started, where members would use one of these pairwise planetary prayers per day, leading to 49 consecutive days of different planetary works. These posts are my summaries of my experiences working with such prayers.
- Calls of the Moon
- Calls of Mercury
- Calls of Venus
- Calls of the Sun
- Calls of Mars
- Calls of Jupiter
- Calls of Saturn
Towards a Greek Kabbalah (July 2014) After I started to really get into grammatomancy, the divination method of the Greek alphabet oracle, I decided to lean more into the system of the Greek alphabet and wanted to see if I could ply it for more than just a simple mnemonic for particular oracular outcomes. After all, if Jewish kabbalah had a whole system of mysticism built up around its writing system, why couldn’t Greek? I decided to consider what a “Greek kabbalah” would look like, using the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet and their mystical and symbolic associations instead of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and worked towards setting up a sort of Neopythagorean, Neoplatonic framework for working such a system. This series of posts provided me with the foundation for what would later become my system of Mathēsis, a comprehensive approach to working Hellenic religious and theurgical processes.
- First Swirlings
- Why the Alexandrian Tree Isn’t Really a Thing
- Mythology of the Greek Letters
- Meditating on the Greek Letters
- Symbolism of the Greek Letters
- Tetractys as Cosmic Framework
- Emanations of Creation on the Tetractys
- Plotting Paths on the Tetractys
- The Divine Name IAŌ on the Tetractys
- Letters on the Paths of the Tetractys
Greek Onomancy (November 2014) And, of course, the mysteries of the Greek alphabet wouldn’t just stop with coming up with a “Greek kabbalah”! After all, the letters of the Greek alphabet were used for numerals as well as phonemes, and their use in numerology (or, as the Greeks would have called it, isopsepheia) gave a rich tradition of divination using the numerical associations of words and especially names. Though there’s plenty more that could be said about this topic, I wrote a few posts about some of the more interesting or well-known approaches to using numerological divination of names using the Greek alphabet: onomancy (or onomatomancy).
- The Sphere of Democritus and the Circle of Petosiris
- Determining a Winner with Pythmenes
- Linking Isopsephy with Stoicheia
Practical Arbatel (November 2014—September 2018) Though not a true post series in its own right, I’ve had a fascination with the famous German “white magic” text the Arbatel: De Magia Veterum. This is a series of disconnected posts that largely fold into the same “series” about this short, terse, and mysterious little book on how to take the information and teachings it gives us and apply it to our own practices.
- On the Arbatel
- Names and Seals of the Olympic Spirits
- The Arbatel’s Seal of Secrets
- Conjuration of the Olympic Spirit
- Conjuration of the Olympic Spirit (Again, but Longer)
- The Arbatel’s Principles of Magic
Broke but Not Cheap (February 2015) It is absolutely true that many forms of Western occult practices are considered complex, flashy, glamorous, even gaudy at times; many Hermetic and ceremonial magicians have a reputation for having whole storerooms of temple furniture and ritual tools, all meticulously and expensively made. However, magic doesn’t have to be expensive in order to be effective! Sure, it might be nice to have 24k wands made of gold and 100% natural purely clear quartz crystal balls atop stands of gaboon ebony and silver filigree, but let’s be honest: for however nice it might be to have these things, it’s not necessary. When you have to, and only when you have to, adaptations and adjustments must be made so that you can still do the magic you need or want to do. This short series of posts talks about how to effectively get your magic done, even if you’re broke.
De Regnis (May — June 2018) Although most of my writing is visible and accessible through my blog and ebooks, there are a bunch of writing projects that I don’t necessarily intend for public release. At the behest of a friend, I went through my old documents folder on my computer and found a mouldering writing project gathering dust that I had once intended to be a compendium of Hermetic and Neoplatonic knowledge, guidance, and advice, something to serve as a textbook of practice unto itself. This project, De Regnis or “On Kingdoms”, got pretty far along before it got abandoned, though parts of it served as seeds or were outright cannibalized for some of my other works. Though I have no plans to continue that particular project, I decided to share some of the sections from it that could be useful introductions to some of the practices of Hermetic magic in a modern context.
- Breathing, Intonation, and Prayer
- Visualization, Meditation, Contemplation
- Divination and Notekeeping
- Approaching Spirits, Offerings and Sacrifices, Identification and Authentication
- On Spiritual Conditions and Prohibitions
- Altars and Sacred Spaces
- Supplies and Objects
- On Principles of Practice and Regular Practices
Pole Lords and Northern Stars (October 2018) The Greek Magical Papyri, or PGM for short, is an amazing corpus of rituals, prayers, recipes, and other magical miscellany that survives to us from Greco-Roman Egypt, circa 100 bce to 400 ce. Although many parts of the text are quite readily usable and understandable, even to us modern magicians who still follow in their footsteps, there are at least as many mysteries about the various texts in the PGM and how some of them relate to each other. PGM XIII.1—343 and PGM XIII.646—734 brought up an interesting thing, a method of determining which of the seven planets rules the celestial pole according to the “Seven-Zoned” method, and I wasn’t at all sure why this was a thing. I decided to dig into this, and it ended up touching upon quite a few other PGM texts, yielding more divine names and correspondences not just for the Aiōnic “ruler of the pole”, but the very names and spiritual functions of the stars of Ursa Maior and Ursa Minor themselves.
- The Ruler of the Pole and the Charms of the Bear
- The Seven Pairs of Divinities from the Mithras Liturgy
- The Names and Roles of the Planets, Pole Lords, and Fates of Heaven
When God Says No (May 2019) I started hanging out on Curious Cat in 2019, a fun little online platform where people can just ask you questions anonymously and you answer them. Ranging from the ridiculous to the somber and the sincere to the silly, a good number of questions (predictably enough) focus largely on magic, spirituality, religion, and the occult—the very topics for which I’m known to discuss on my own even without being prompted. However, a rapid succession of questions that all touched on the same related topics soon came about: where do angels come from, what are angels, if angels have no free will then why do we make requests of them, what if God is unwilling to help us, and so on and so forth. This all brought up a really good point: what happens when God says “no” to what we ask, and what can we do about it, if anything? I decided to expound on this topic a bit longer on my blog, since a limit of 3000 characters on Curious Cat isn’t exactly great for long, reasoned discussions.
The Two Sons of `Iyān (April 2019) One of the longest mysteries that plagued me in my geomantic studies was an obscure chant detailed by the excellent Dr. Stephen Skinner in his treatise on geomancy, Geomancy in Theory & Practice (older edition published as Terrestrial Astrology: Divination by Geomancy). This chant, “Ye two sons of ‘Iyan hasten with the explanation!”, was something that struck me as important somehow, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. After about ten years of mulling it over, I finally took the plunge and seriously looked into the origin of this phrase and who (or what) this mysterious “‘Iyan” was. As it turns out, I uncovered quite a bit more in the process, and it reshuffled my own thoughts about the very origins of the art of geomantic itself and how it might be plied for a more spiritual purpose.
Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration (May — July 2019) It can easily be argued that the Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals, often abbreviated DSIC and attributed to the Christian abbot Johann Trithemius of Spanheim, is one of the most approachable texts to the conjuration of spirits, and is certainly among the most popular of modern Western occult practice. Originally popularized by Fr. Rufus Opus through his Red Work Courses and, later, through his book Seven Spheres along with the book Gateways through Stone and Circle by Fr. Ashen Chassan, this text has produced quite a bit of debate in how different people approach it, adapt it, and apply it, sometimes using the more freewheeling streamlined process of Fr. Rufus Opus, sometimes using the more by-the-book to-the-letter approach of Fr. Ashen Chassan. I decided to take my own in-depth look at this ritual, and broke every single aspect and part of it down to better understand how the whole ritual was developed from earlier grimoiric origins and how it all comes together.
- Plenty to Say, so Let’s Start with the Crystal
- The Pedestal in all its Churchy and Grimoiric Flavors
- Four Kings or Four Angels?
- The Planetary Stuff on the Table
- Putting the Table Together
- Agrippa’s Lamen Design and the Divine Names
- The Planetary/Spirit Stuff and Shape of the Lamen
- The Wand and the Ring
- The Candles and the Brazier
- “Thy Little Book” and Oaths of Spirits
- The Magic Circle and its Heptameron Origins
- On Constructions and Consecrations
- Making What we Need
- Attire and Purificatory Preparations
- Setting Up the Temple
- Orientation, Setting, Timing, and Lamen vs. Pentacle
- The Actual Ritual Itself
- What To Do Now That the Spirit Is Here
- What To Do for Non-Angelic Spirits
- What To Do When Things Go Wrong
- Dechristianizing DSIC
- Recap, Summary, Variations
- A Postscript from Francis Barrett Himself
On the Perfect Nature of the Picatrix (March 2020) There’s a particularly interesting bit of the Ġāyat al-Ḥakīm, the “Goal of the Wise”, sometimes just known as the Ġayah, but definitely better known in the West as the Picatrix, most likely written in Arabic sometime in the middle of the 11th century CE. The text is famous for its wide inventory of talismans of stellar images, bizarre magical concoctions and confections, its lengthy invocations to the planetary spirits, and a general preservation of older pagan practices. It is not, however, a particularly theurgical text on the whole, even though it contains a wealth of information on philosophy, spiritual and cosmic frameworks, and the like in how and why magic works the way that it does. Yet, in book III, chapter 6, we encounter an interesting section on the “Perfect Nature”, a sort of guiding spirit or genius, originally encountered by Hermēs Trismegistus himself. I took an in-depth look at this chapter and did what I could to clarify the role and function of this spirit, as well as filling out the ritual approach to honoring it.
- The Spiritual Nature(s) of Perfect Nature
- Analyzing the Vignette and the Names
- Ritual Prep and Setting the Altar
- Associations of the Four Powers
- The Ritual Itself, and Why Do It Anyway
The Geomancer’s Cross (April 2020) The Qabbalistic Cross is a well-known piece of ritual tech made popular by the Golden Dawn, and is an excellent simple approach for integrating some simple energy work into one’s own spiritual practice and ritual routine. However, it is still a Golden Dawn-specific piece of tech, which may not be appropriate for all people. To that end, I considered making my own equivalent, the Geomancer’s Cross, a simple energy work and centering , and explored the subtle body framework behind such a ritual that uses the energy centers associated with the different parts of the body, themselves associated to the sixteen geomantic figures. This short series explores such a ritual and how it might be extended with other practices or modified according to one’s needs.
On the Third Book of the Corpus Hermeticum (May and June 2020) One of my favorite texts from the classical canon of philosophical Hermetic literature is that of the Third Book of the Corpus Hermeticum (CH III), titled the Ἑρμοῦ Λόγος Ἱερός, or “The Sacred Sermon of Hermēs Trismegistus”. It’s a short text, certainly obscure and corrupt at parts whether by degeneration of the medium or by the degeneration of the language of the original author, and nobody seems particularly sure of its actual origins, but the meaning of is is fairly clear and straightforward: this is a guide of how to live life properly in a Hermetic sense, perhaps even proto-Hermetic when allowing for its Jewish and Stoic influences heavier here than in other parts of Hermetic literature. Not content with existing translations of it, I decided to translate it myself from the original Greek (my first major translation work for the language!) and dig in deep into what it’s actually saying.
- Introduction to CH III (an unofficial prologue and anticipation of this current series)
- Translation of the text from Greek along with my own notes and commentary
- Contextualization and similarities with other Hermetic texts
- Interpretation on the first section of CH III
- Interpretation on the second section of CH III
- Interpretation on the third section of CH III
- Interpretation on the fourth section of CH III
- Summary and recap
On Gender in Hermeticism (March 2021) Everyone knows I have no love for the Kybalion, and one of its most awkward “principles” is that of gender. There’s much in a lot of New Age and occult models and cosmology that insists on a gendered view of the cosmos or which insist on using gendered language and metaphors to describe occult and spiritual practices, and this lands us in a whole lot of problems constantly. Based on a Reddit thread I saw that raised the issue of transgender people in Hermeticism (tl;dr: there isn’t one), I got tired of having this conversation, and so decided to look at what the extant classical Hermetic texts actually have to say regarding sex and gender and how that impacts the nature and work of the soul. Based on that, it’s clear what the Hermetic doctrines and texts teach, and—mirabile dictu—it’s not anything resembling New Age tripe about gender being an essential quality of anything or anyone.
Search Term Shoot Back (various) Although many of my readers arrive to my website through my presence on other forms of social media, at least as many come here through their own internet searches. Some of the search terms people use make sense—it’s unsurprising when people look for occult-related things and end up at an occult-related website—but some of the terms are things that I felt could stand a bit more definition or explanation about my specific thoughts on them. However, a good deal more than those are things that I just wanted to poke fun at or tie into other topics hilariously. Though I’ve somewhat fallen out of the practice of doing these monthly, they still gave me and a good number of people some hearty laughs, and it still brings a smile to my face when I check my website administration dashboard and check out the search terms. I may bring them up in the future; who knows?
- 2013: August, September, October, November, December
- 2014: January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
- 2015: January, February, March, April, Summer, August, September, October
Ritual Calendars, Retrospectives, and Prospectives (various) Around the start of the new year, I occasionally remember to put up a post detailing some of the things I did in the previous year, the things I hope to accomplish in the next year, and (most importantly) the big dates to pay attention to, at least for my own ritual practice. Feast days, religious holidays, lunar phase dates, planetary retrograde periods, conjuration cycles, and the like are all important for me to varying extents, and it’s helpful to track these things down at the start of the year with a fair bit of planning so as to keep things moving easier as the year goes on. I don’t always remember to do these, but they can be informative to take a look at, especially to see how my own practices, goals, and plans shift from year to year.