On the Simplicity of Divine Prayer

Trying to get back into a routine is rough when you’ve been out of it for so long.  Between the job changes, house moves, seclusionary period of religious vows, and then a glut of partying and celebration at the end of 2017, I’m sure some of my readers can sympathize.  None of that excuses me, of course, from what I should be doing, but a trial’s a trial, after all.

One morning this week was the first in a long time I’ve made myself sit down, meditate, and recite some prayers.  Not many, given my lengthier commute than what I had back a few years ago, and given that I need to reconfigure my sleep schedule to allow for more awake time in the morning before work.  But, yanno, it was enough for this morning.  Admittedly, the prayers take some getting used to again, reciting them with the same focus, the same intent, the same clarity I recall I once had.  But then, any skill left unused for too long dulls faster than an overused knife, so it’ll just take practice and repetition and applying myself.  After a few days, I started to get that…silent Ring, that echo of the Hymns of Silence, back into my words.  So even if it doesn’t take too long to sharpen myself, it still takes time.

Briefly, I considered maybe if I wasn’t doing enough, if I wasn’t incorporating enough elements to give myself that proper atmosphere.  You know of what I speak, dear reader: that misty-shadowy-monochrome-occult,  evidently-powerful, clearly-mystical aesthetic that we all idealize and fetishize in our Work.  That perfectly-framed instagrammable/snapchattable/sharable #nofilter dark-room bones-and-herbs-strewn-about #tradcraft altar look that often sticks in our minds as both breathtaking and inspirational.  So, while in the middle of a prayer, holding my book in one hand, I reached for the incense with the other—

I stopped myself.  No, incense was not what I needed.  What I needed was prayer, and that alone.

A few weeks ago, while trying to find an appropriate time for a feast day of Hermes Trismegistus, I recalled a specific astrological alignment used for…something Hermetic.  After scouring through the Corpus Hermeticum and other Hermetic texts, I eventually stumbled upon what I was looking for in the Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth, but there was another bit of text that, although unrelated to what I was looking for, stuck out to me and reminded me of the simplicity called for in spiritual works, especially that of prayer.

From the Asclepius (chapter XLI; Copenhaver translation, p92):

As they left the sanctuary, they began praying to God and turning to the south (for when someone wants to entreat God at sunset, he should direct his gaze to that quarter, and likewise at sunrise towards the direction they call East), and they were already saying their prayer when in a hushed voice Asclepius asked: “Tat, do you think we should suggest that your father tell them to add frankincense and spices as we pray to God?”

When Trismegistus heard him, he was disturbed and said: “A bad omen, Asclepius, very bad.  To burn incense and such stuff when you entreat God smacks of sacrilege.  For he wants nothing who is himself all things or in whom all things are.  Rather, let us worship him by giving thanks, for God finds mortal gratitude to be the best incense.”

Let me unpack this by means of a parallel lesson I learned back in high school.  Say you’re the subject of a king, and the king is coming to your village to pay a visit and hold court.  All the local lords and nobles are coming, and all the subjects (high- or lowborn) are expected to present something to the king.  What they present are not gifts; gifts, after all, are seen as a kind of favorable charity, but how could a subject give a gift to his king?  The king already has a right to whatever his subjects own; a gift implies the bestowing of something that the receiver does not already have.  No, it is absurd for a subject to give his king a gift; what the subject offers is tribute.  Tribute is something given (yet not a gift) as well as an act of expressing admiration, gratitude, and respect to someone.  A craftsman giving a delicately crafted timepiece, a farmer giving the best of his year’s fruit, a herdsman giving the fattest of his personal flock, an artist giving a fully-decorated manuscript are all things that can be considered tribute in this context; these are acts or offerings of their own labor, their own work, their own hands with which they express thanks to their king, who enables them to do everything.

Of course, you can’t just offer any old thing as tribute.  No, it should be the finest example of what can you can produce, the most rarefied exemplar of skill and labor, and that which is suited to the tastes and needs of the king receiving tribute, as well as exemplifying the natural ownership of the king over his domain.  In other words, proper tribute shows our respect to those above us that we are grateful for their support, patronage, guidance, and protection in the means that they themselves strive to attain.

In this case, Hermes Trismegistus is suggesting that prayers of gratitude are tribute to God, and anything else is simply extra and, moreover, sullying the pure act of prayer.  After all, God is both transcendent and immanent of the world we live in; God already contains all things, all incenses and oils and blood-offerings and flowers.  Why should we bother with these things then?  Hermes would claim that to offer incense in prayer to God would be like offering fish to the ocean, or like giving a king a tributary offering of cattle, including all the shit and piss and vomit they make.  It’s not that these things are unhelpful or without use to us, but they are of little worth to a king, and are so beneath him as to be offensive.  Hermes says that there is nothing physical we could offer to God, because everything physical is already part and parcel to him.

If we shouldn’t offer physical things to God, then what should we offer?  Hermes says simply: “let us worship him by giving thanks, for God finds mortal gratitude to be the best incense”.  Just as subjects to a king offer tribute to express their gratitude towards and to show their abilities fostered by their protecting lord, we offer prayer of gratitude with our intellect and own internal divinity to show God, who gave humanity its intelligible nature by means of the Logos, our respect and thanks to him.  We recognize our place and nature in the world, a unique intersection between the purely physical universe and the purely spiritual cosmos, and we remember our divine origins in God’s own being; we express thanks and gratitude, not to appease or placate God’s wrath, but to grow closer to him and his domain so as to rise above mere matter.

That’s another reason why Hermes abhors the use of incense in prayer to God.  If we’re to ascend above this mortal coil so as to retake our divine essence and birthright, then why should we let those very same mortal, physical, doomed things continue to hold us down?  As Hermes and Poemander say in the very first book of the Corpus Hermeticum (book I, chapters 20—21; Salaman translation, pp21—22):

[Poemander] continued, “If you have remembered, tell me, why are those who are in death, worthy of death?

[Hermes] replied, “Because the grim darkness is the first origin of one’s own body, from which darkness arose the watery nature, from which darkness the body is formed in the sensory world of which death drinks.”

“You have observed correctly”, he said.  “But why does he who has remembered himself go to the Father, as the Word of God says?”

I replied, “Because the Father of all is constituted out of light and life, whence Man has been begotten.”

Poimandres then said, “The truth is: light and life is God and Father, whence Man is begotten.  If, therefore, you realize yourself as being from life and light, and that you have been made out of them, you will return to life.”

Death and ignorance of the divine are intrinsic to physical existence and physical things, and of the things that are not physical, the opposite is true.  Thus, to mix physical things in acts meant to focus on that which is purely divested of them (i.e. matters of God) introduces a measure of death and ignorance into them.  Thus, not only is it sufficient to simply pray to God, but anything more taints such a pure act.

So, no.  I didn’t need to light incense to pray.  I never have, and I never will.  Such prayer to God, performed with the full intent of prayer, is a complete and sufficient act unto itself that no addition could ever make more or better than my present, attentive, intentive, and intelligible Speech saying the divine Words.

Now, I will qualify this: there are times when incenses, oils, tools, and other physical materia matter for spiritual works or sacrifices to the gods, but note the context of difference here.  With offerings to the theoi, for instance, it is proper to offer wine, olive oil, incense, and burnt offerings; they find these things pleasing, and to an extent they are either part of this world or part of the cosmos close to us where these things are useful and appreciated.  Magical ceremonies involving the planets, them being physical-spiritual forces in our world, make use of colors and metals and incenses and herbs and whatnot to make their presence stronger here on Earth.  But when we talk about prayer to God, who is completely above all and encapsulates all within himself?  It’s a different set of rules and contexts, where there is nothing physical to do or appreciated, and the inclusion of physical things only acts as a distraction and delay.  In a sense, it’s highly parallel to what the Buddha taught about meditation: you don’t need incenses or bells or Lululemon pants or overpriced crystals or ridiculously over-engineered sitting cushions.  All you need is meditation, nothing more; nothing else will help you meditate than simply meditating.  In the same vein, Hermes Trismegistus teaches in the Asclepius that nothing else will help with praying to God than simply praying to God.

And, to finish that off, what was the prayer that Hermes Trismegistus offered after his rebuke to Asclepius?  This, which serves as an example of the type of intellectual reflection and deep gratitude Hermes Trismegistus propounded:

We thank you, supreme and most high God, by whose grace alone we have attained the light of your knowledge; holy Name that must be honored, the one Name by which our ancestral faith blesses God alone, we thank you who deign to grant to all a father’s fidelity, reverence, and love, along with any power that is sweeter, by giving us the gift of consciousness, reason, and understanding:
consciousness, that we may know you;
reason, by which we may seek you in our dim suppositions;
knowledge, by which we may rejoice in knowing you.

And we who are saved by your power do indeed rejoice because you have shown yourself to us wholly.  We rejoice that you have deigned to make us gods for eternity even while we depend on the body.  For this is mankind’s only means of giving thanks: knowledge of your majesty.

We have known you, the vast light perceived only by reason.
We have understood you, true life of life, the womb pregnant with all coming-to-be.
We have known you, who persist eternally by conceiving all coming-to-be in its perfect fullness.

Worshiping with this entire prayer the good of your goodness, we ask only this: that you wish us to persist in the love of your knowledge and that we never be cut off from such a life as this.

With such hopes and such prayers, let us now turn to putting it to practice with dedication.

Geomantic Forecast for 2018 (and how to get your own!)

Alright, alright.  Now that my house is cleaned, my shrines refreshed, and my body recovered from my celebratory hangover, I figured that the start of the year is good for a bit of divination, yes?  After all, after the hellish 2016 and 2017 so many of us had, just as many of us are looking for something to orient ourselves and plan with/against.  To that end, I decided to bust out my geomancy tools and did a reading to see just what 2018 has in store for us.

Before I get to that, though, I also wanted to announce that I’m having a sale over on my Etsy for my divination services!  After all, general readings from my blog for the year as a whole for humanity as a whole are well and good, but getting something specific for yourself is always a good thing.  Plus, you can use both my general interpretation for The Masses as well as what’s specific for you to get an even better view on both the broad and narrow spectrum!  From now through January 31, all my divination services are 20% off:

If you’re looking for a thorough, clear, and understandable forecast for the year of 2018, or if you have other issues and questions you’d like to resolve through divination, now’s the time to do it!

Now that the self-promoting’s out of the way, let’s get to that broad spectrum reading.  For myself and for all those who come in contact with my words, what will 2018 have in store for us?  The Mothers for this chart are Albus, Cauda Draconis, Via, and Carcer.  The Sum of the Chart is 93, the Part of Fortune is in house VIII, and the Part of Spirit is in house IV.  The ascendant for this chart, based on the figure in house I, is Cancer.

The overall theme of this year is shown by the Court.  Here, the Right Witness is Amissio, the Left Witness is Fortuna Minor, the Judge is Coniunctio, and the Sentence is Rubeus.  This is a year of changes and decision-making, coming from a place of tumult and bereavement into a state of success, fortune, and protection; in other words, we find the support we need to stem the losses we’ve been succumbing to.  As we all know, the past year (or two, or three) have been chaotic for many of us, with many of our role models being lost, opportunities cut off, and our dreams out of reach.  While this isn’t a year for wild success and getting everything we want, it is one for triage of ourselves and our lives so that we stop losing what we hold dear to ourselves, which is the first step to overcoming these problems, and the first of many to eventually getting what we want.  Be careful, though; not everything we want is what we need, and not everything that looks good actually is.  In addition to triage, this is a year for the careful evaluation of our dreams and goals and seeing whether they’re actually beneficial for us to pursue, or whether they’re merely pipe dreams that cause us more damage down the line.  Talk things through, keep your options open, and be willing to change and make deals with others.  You may not get everything you want, but you can get what you need; that’s the nature of compromise.

We find ourselves represented by Albus in house I, a figure of calm, tranquility, peace, and meditation.  These are traits that will serve us well throughout the year (and, I claim, all life generally); always think things through once, twice, and twice more again for good measure.  Always keep a state of detachment to avoid getting too wrapped up in matters of your life, because there’s always the bigger picture at play to think about, and the current outrage du jour will often only be a small blip on the radar once the day is done.  Reserve your energy whenever possible and enjoy whatever downtime you can, because there will be many instances this year that demand much of us, and we need to make sure we have the mental and spiritual fortitude to see those times through, especially during the latter parts of the year from September onward when we can expect major cataclysms, destruction, and possible mass incarcerations to occur.  Taking a Stoic or Buddhist approach to the world is a solid way to keep your head above the water; just don’t forget to actually take care of your own business!

Financially, many people will experience hardship and problems keeping themselves afloat; we find Cauda Draconis in house II, indicating that there are money issues afoot in the world.  In all things that deal with money and finances, plan for the worst outcome just in case it comes to pass (as it likely will for many people).  Always keep a tight budget, account for every cent that passes through your bank statements, make sure you have as much control as you possibly can, and be more responsible and cautious with your money than you think you’re able to be.  Just as the old thrifter’s saying goes: use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.  Better to use what you have until you can’t use it anymore, then repurpose it as you can for whatever purpose you can find, than to spend needlessly.

Relationships, similarly, will encounter many of the same issues, as Cauda Draconis also appears in house VII, that of marriages and partnerships.  Whenever possible, don’t walk away from conversations or shut things down prematurely (enough of that will happen on its own anyway!), but rather keep communication open and plumb every possibility before calling it quits.  Avoid letting sentimentality cloud your judgment, and bear in mind that the things that ought to end should be brought to an end.  Even then, however, try to wrap up ending relationships as cleanly as possible, because nobody wants to deal with the fallout from a messy explosion (and there will be messy explosions when dealing with people in a one-on-one context, whether romantically or business-related).

For my occult and spiritual-minded readers, this is a good year to focus on that good old-fashioned magic down here instead of up there.  Fortuna Minor is in house IX and Fortuna Maior is in house VIII; the Sun shifts from the highest heights of heaven to the dark halls of hell, indicating that better success will come from working with less-than-elevated spirits.  Those who work with the dead, demons, and land spirits will find their successes amplified this year, and I would strongly encourage everyone to develop an ancestor veneration practice or, if they already have one going, to explore it more deeply into something more meaningful and beneficial for both you and your honored dead.  Spiritualism, mediumship, and shamanic work will be solid gold for this year, so if you have an interest in that, now’s the time to get on it.  Further, the Part of Fortune is in house VIII, indicating that many people can find an easier time getting their Work done by approaching these same spirits and lines of work; for those who aren’t interested in the occult, this is a good time to cash in on favors, agreements, contracts, and all business deals before they sour.

With Coniunctio in house VI, our health can be a fickle thing, and this year, there is a high risk of communicable and contagious diseases; nothing terrible and nothing that would cause too much upheaval, but be aware of them spreading around.  Wash your hands, cook your food thoroughly, and keep up good hygiene habits no matter whether you’re at home, visiting a friend, in the office, or traveling abroad.  This is especially important for matters of the bones, joints, skin, brain, and head generally.  Try to keep your living and work environments fresh and clean, with good air circulating and surfaces dusted and free of debris; staleness and stagnation can easily cause sicknesses and injuries this year, more than it otherwise might.  If you’re of weak health, avoid being in public too much, as you run a higher risk of health issues caused by being around people.

For public and government matters, we also find Coniunctio in house X (which explains some of the public health issues I said above).  This indicates that we’re in a year of solid change for all those in office or enjoying public dignity, so if you’re currently relying on the status quo, you’d better change your plans and be able to roll with the punches that are coming before too late.  Any sort of business that is done in the public eye intentionally from the get-go will be benefited by virtue of being in the public eye; conspiracy, backroom dealings, and secret negotiations can come to light easily and backfire against you.

For private matters, we look to house IV, which has Carcer.  Normally, this would be a bad sign, but Carcer is a figure of Saturn, and in this chart, Libra rules over house IV, the exaltation of Saturn; moreover, the Part of Spirit is in house IV, as well.  This is a fantastic time to build yourself up in your own house and home, wherever you may reside.  Your private space is a sacred space, so treat it as such; build up strong walls and boundaries, both physically as well as spiritually and metaphorically, and keep the profane and defiled out of your home.  Keep things on lock-down more often than not, and use your private space and private time as your primary setting to build yourself up.  The sanctity of your home will help you fortify and protect yourself against everything life has to throw at you.  If you have a choice between staying home and going out, try to stay home.  In other words, introverts rejoice, for this is your year!

Other notes and suggestions:

  • Try to not rely overmuch on friends and colleagues, as they may not be able to help you as much as you might think.
  • Avoid being around too many people at once, as it can bring down your health as well as your mood.
  • This is a great year for creative endeavors of all kinds, and if you’re thinking of having a child, this is a great year to plan for having one.
  • Gambling and gaming of all kinds can open new opportunities; don’t expect the world to be handed to you every throw of the dice, but definitely explore the benefits of playing games for success and achievements.
  • Be careful around large or wild animals, as there’s a risk of danger of harm from encountering them.
  • Any enemies you may have will accidentally reveal themselves from being too loud or proud.  Be careful of them and be on the lookout, but secrecy is not their forte.
  • Lots of people will travel this year, but mostly to areas local to them, such as within their state/province.  Traveling abroad will be less common than otherwise.
  • If you have an interest in crafting or engineering hobbies, this is a good time to learn how to use your hands and head for them.  Taking classes in woodworking, machinery, and the like is a good suggestion for those who are inclined for it.
  • Whenever you consider scheduling or planning dates, always account for things happening sooner than anticipated.  While there’s always the possibility for things to be delayed, more often than not, things will turn out the opposite of that, even to certain things being done before you’re even aware of them.
  • Many headaches and problems can come from arguments and problems dealing with our partners.  Get some fresh air, take some deep breaths, and light some incense to clean the airs if you’re having communication problems or before making any big decision with someone else.
  • If you’re going through emotional pain, go outside and enjoy a local restaurant or park.  Spending time in your environment outside can help settle down an upset heart or head when you need it.

And there you have it, my predictions for the coming year!  May 2018 treat you well, and may this be a blessed year for us all!

Prayer for the New Year

It always makes me chuckle when I inadvertently stumble across something useful in the course of unrelated research.  Like, I’ll be looking for one thing, and even though I find something (maybe at best) tangentially related and ultimately unhelpful to my original goal, there’ll be something that just kinda screams “HEY, LOOK AT ME, I’M RIGHT HERE, LOOK AT ME”.

Lion GIF

One such thing happened recently, as you might be able to tell.  When I was thinking of ideas for geomantic holy days not too long ago, I was stuck on trying to come up with a feast day for Hermes Trismegistus.  Although I eventually settled on April 4 of the Gregorian calendar (which happily borrows the feast day of St. Isidore of Seville), I was briefly considering using an Egyptian calendar to calculate a celebration of Thoth, the Egyptian form of the god.  The idea didn’t quite work out, but I did learn a fun amount about the Coptic calendar, which is a direct descendant of the calendar used since ancient Egyptian times (even with fundamentally the same names!).

One thing about the Coptic calendar is that its New Year doesn’t match up with the European one.  Rather, it starts on 1 Thout, which historically coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius and marked the beginning of the flood season on the Nile, but after the Julian calendar reforms, has slightly drifted away day by day over the many long years.  Nowadays, the Coptic New Year starts around September 11ish (and every century or three, the date will advance by a day or so).  Because of its connection with the beginning of the flood season, the Egyptian name for the New Year was originally Ni-Yarouou, or the “Feast of the Rivers”, but over time, this was confused with the name for the unrelated Persian New Year Nowruz (which happens at the spring equinox in their calendar).  As a result, the modern Coptic name for the New Year is Nayrouz.

In the course of trying to learn more about what’s done religiously according to certain dates of the Coptic and Egyptian calendars (which share more than a few festival dates, much like how the Europeans preserved old pagan festivals in the Christian calendar), I came across a discussion of the Feast of Nayrouz, which also included a prayer that stuck out to me and begged for meditation and use.  Given that our own calendar is coming to a close for 2017 and the New Year of 2018 is starting in a few days, I decided to adapt this prayer for something of a more general, Western use.

O God, grant us to celebrate the Feast of the New Year that we may ask for a blessed year for all humanity, and that every man and woman has the experience of Your marvelous day.  Thus will all enjoy the brightness of Your glory every day in the New Year.  Allow me, O God, to celebrate the Feast of the New Year; let me experience this joyful faith and the truth of everlasting unity with You.  Let me celebrate the feast of the martyrs as I am able, that I may testify for Your truth.  Change my life to be full of joy with You, even in the moments of my repentance.

Wondrous is the Son who paid the price of my passage to Your divine bosom!  I see You, my beloved Lord, coming to me; you have chosen me to share in Your glory; you offered Yourself as a joyful sacrifice of love.  Come quickly, o Lord!  Our hearts are enflamed with Your love; our hearts ask for nothing and no one except You.  Grant me to become an icon of You with a blessed heart full of love to all humanity, that I may become a font of joy to everyone.

Wondrous is the Holy Spirit who renews me into a heavenly bride, carrying me as if with the wings of a dove that Heaven may celebrate my wedding!  Your dwelling in me, o Holy Spirit, renews my nature; you transform my dark tomb into a holy sanctuary, you convert my darkness into exceeding brightness!  Grant me with all my brethren to fly and be with You in Heaven!

You see me, my Lord, rejoicing in You, and You become delighted in me.  The heavenly angels see me coming to You, and they welcome me.  They receive me with exceeding joy to join them in praising You.  The sinners see me full of joy, and they become filled with hope.  They see me rejoicing, and they join me in my continuous repentance.  The prophets and the apostles and all the martyrs see me, and they praise You for letting me accompany them in Your kingdom!

What a wonderful thing, that You delight in me, and all Your creation in Heaven and on Earth!  But the Devil runs away before me as he sees Your divine joy enlightening me and shining upon my face!  Glory to You, the source of joy and victory.

Grant, O Lord, that I may celebrate this and every new day of this and every new year all my life, that I may proclaim Your joyful renewal of us and the world, and that I may always be joined with You in Your tremendous love that I see You anticipating with longing for me.

Amen.

I would suggest reciting this prayer at sunset on New Year’s Eve (with sunset marking the start of the new day in most Abrahamic traditions) or at sunrise on New Year’s Day (as more Western magicians might reckon the start of the day), perhaps in front of a lit candle and crucifix facing the east, the direction from which the Sun rises and from which the Son shall come to us once more.  Besides that, however, I would also consider there to be potential in combining this prayer with a ceremony such as the Blessing of the Vessel (another Coptic ritual, but more in the vein of PGM magic) as a more magical means of bringing down the blessing of newness and freshness into a renewed water of life, to be used in refreshing the body and soul.

No matter how you use this prayer, or whether you do at all, I hope you all have a wonderful end to this year and a splendid start of the next!  Don’t forget to clean your house and put on some new clothes, too!

Propitiation Ritual of Saturn

Many of my friends take note of particular astrological phenomena, whether they’re just for the “planetary weather” effects the stars have on our lives, or for their more in-depth and particular motions for elections and magical workings.  Mercury retrograde is probably the most common, especially to mock for its (perhaps overblown) infamy in pop culture, but there are many other motions people take note of.  One of which is Saturn’s transition into the sign of Capricorn, one of its two domiciles, where Saturn is particularly strong.  Saturn takes just under 2.5 years to transit through a sign of the Zodiac, so the last time Saturn was in Capricorn was around the late 1980s and early 1990s.

This is particularly important for people whose natal Saturn is in Capricorn, as it signals their Saturn return, a rough time in one’s life that was the literal astrological definition of “mid-life crisis”.  To prepare for my own, I erected and worked a personal shrine to Saturn, and wrote a post about it back last year as Saturn came up on its own position in my own natal chart in late Sagittarius.  For that shrine and its works, I came up with a set of altar tools pulling from the Western astrological tradition as well as some things borrowed from the Vedic tradition for his counterpart in that system, Lord Śani.  Granted, I didn’t work with it as much as I anticipated due to everything else going on in my life, but I do feel like it helped stabilize those Saturnine energies into a useful focal point in my physical domain.

Given that Saturn is moving into Capricorn, and the fact that the Sun just moved into this sign through the passage of the winter solstice, I think it’s time to bring something out of my own playbook to the table, yes?  To help those who are interested in forming a stable, beneficial relationship with this great, powerful planet, here’s the basic ritual I use at my Saturn shrine to call upon the god and seek his blessing in my life.

First, let’s talk about the prime piece, the focal point of my Saturn shrine, an altarpiece I call the Platform of Saturn.  Essentially, it’s nothing more than a planetary hexagram, much as we might find in Western qabbalistic or Golden Dawn-type systems, except that instead of the Sun being the center of the hexagram, we place Saturn in the middle instead, and we put the Sun in Saturn’s position.  In this way, Saturn becomes the focus of the piece, with the other planets balancing and reinforcing Saturn’s power as the spiritual “center” of the shrine.  I went a bit extra with my design for the Platform of Saturn by writing the six-lettered name of the Greek god ΚΡΟΝΟΣ between the points of the hexagram, as well as inscribing the magical characters for the planets (taken from the Magical Calendar) around or inside the hexagram.  Plus, when I made the thing, I also put the six-lettered name of God Elohim (אלוהים) at the points of the hexagram on the bevel, using the more angular Phoenician/Paleo-Hebrew script instead of the more modern square script.  On the underside of the Platform, I also inscribed the three-by-three planetary square of Saturn surrounded by the Tetragrammaton, the divine name of the Saturnine sephirah Binah; nothing special, but since the piece of wood I used for the Platform has a plate-like recess on the underside, I also use it to cover the old lead Saturn talisman I made back in 2011, further deploying even more power to the altarpiece as a sort of celestial foundation.

 

The use of this Platform is to act as a base for setting lights and lamps to the planets: six small candles for the non-Saturn planets, and a larger candle (or, in my case, oil lamp) for Saturn.

For this ritual, you will need:

  • Six white tealights, or other small candles/amps in the appropriate planetary color
  • A clean oil lamp with fresh wick
  • A small amount of sesame oil with three drops of myrrh oil
  • Clean room-temperature water, preferably from a well or other underground source
  • Myrrh resin
  • A dry mixture of rock salt and two of your choice of the following:
    • Black gram (Vigna mungo, commonly sold as “black lentils”)
    • Black rice
    • Black mustard seeds
    • Black sesame seeds
    • Other plants, bark, resins, or organic material associated with Saturn, but most preferably cultivated grains
  • Optionally, prayer beads for chanting
  • Incense holder, offering glasses, charcoal, source of fire, etc.

In the minutes leading up to an hour of Saturn on a day of Saturn, arrange the six smaller lights in a hexagram around the large central lamp, putting each candle on top of its particular planetary glyph following the pattern of the Platform of Saturn.  Get your incense ready, and once you make sure your offering glasses are clean, fill one with water and the other with a few spoonfuls of the dry offering mixture.  Fill the lamp with the oil.  (Alternatively, instead of using a lamp, you could use a large candle, either white if the other smaller candles are white, or jet black.)  Set the incense to the right of the candles, and the water with dry offering to the left of the candles, either in a horizontal line or an equilateral triangle.

At the start of the hour of Saturn, begin the preliminary invocation to the other six planets.  Light each candle in turn according to the design of the Platform:

  1. I light this candle and offer its light to the Moon, Lady of the First Heaven, who sings with a pure, sweet voice into our world: Α

  2. I light this candle and offer its light to Mercury, Ruler of the Second Heaven, who sings with a pure, sharp voice into our world: ΕΕ

  3. I light this candle and offer its light to Venus, Lady of the Third Heaven, who sings with a pure, lovely voice into our world: ΗΗΗ

  4. I light this candle and offer its light to the Sun, Lord of the Fourth Heaven, who sings with a pure, holy voice into our world: ΙΙΙΙ

  5. I light this candle and offer its light to Mars, Lord of the Fifth Heaven, who sings with a pure, strong voice into our world: ΟΟΟΟΟ

  6. I light this candle and offer its light to Jupiter, Lord of the Sixth Heaven, who sings with a pure, royal voice into our world: ΥΥΥΥΥΥ

If desired, energetically link the six smaller lights to the central lamp of Saturn at this point, so that all the lights are dependent upon and reflect the ultimate light of Saturn.

Light the myrrh incense and the lamp of Saturn.  Invoke the planetary presence of Saturn according to a prayer of your choosing; for this, you might use the Orphic Hymn of Saturn, or an invocation from a grimoire such as the Heptameron, the Hygromanteia, or the Picatrix (as I used in my Saturn talisman creation).  Recite this prayer at least once, preferably three times.

Dedicate the light of the lamp to Saturn:

I light this lamp and offer its light to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, dark voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

Grant as this light shines upon this place, so too, Lord Saturn, shine your light upon us, gently and kindly enlightening us, illuminating our paths, and keeping us safe from all harm!

Dedicate the incense to Saturn (putting more on at this point if necessary)

I burn this incense and offer its smoke to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, silent voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

Grant as this incense rises up and fills up this place with its sweet heavenly smoke, so too, Lord Saturn, fill our spheres, souls, and spirits with your blessing, essence, divinity, and presence!

Dedicate the water offering to Saturn:

I pour out this water and offer its power to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, profound voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

Grant as this water is poured out for your refreshment and enjoyment, so too pour over us your blessing, cleansing us from all pollution, cleansing our ways of all obstacles, cleansing our senses from all obstructions, and cleansing our hearts from all wickedness!

Dedicate the dry offering to Saturn:

I set out this grain and offer its strength to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, heavy voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

Grant as this grain and salt are set out for your nourishment and satisfaction, so too strengthen us inwardly and outwardly, in our bodies, souls, spirits, and minds, and protect us from all harm while giving us space to grow without undue burden!

At this point, continue the worship and exaltation of Saturn however you choose.  This is the point where I would first begin a chant for Saturn using a set of prayer beads; in my case, I chanted the Sanskrit mantra for the planet of Saturn 108 times on a mala made from black volcanic rock soaked in a magical Saturn oil.  Such chants, if desired, could be any of the following:

  • AUṂ PRAṂ PRĪṂ PRAUṂ SAḤ ŚANAIŚCARĀYA NAMAḤ
  • AUṂ SHAṂ ŚANAIŚCARA NAMAḤ
  • ΙΩ ΦΑΙΝΩΝ ΙΩ ΚΡΟΝΕ ΙΩ ΙΩ ΙΩ
  • IAVE SATURNE MAXIME NITIDE SEVERE

After chanting an appropriate number of times (33, 81, 108, 27000 etc.), continue praying, communing, or meditating with the presence of Saturn thus called.  Once finished, thank Saturn however you will; if this is a once-off ritual, give him a polite and trusting farewell, but otherwise, if this is part of a shrine installation, there’s no strict need for that.

At the end of the planetary hour, put out the lamp of Saturn, and let the other candles burn out on their own.  Once the hour is over, be sure to clean off physically and spiritually, or do some light solar work to balance out and brighten your personal sphere so as to not get too burdened with the heavy weight of Saturn.  This isn’t to banish its energies, but to balance them out so as to be able to better incorporate them as human beings.

Compared to the Western tradition of planetary invocations, Hinduism has a rich body of prayers, chants, and texts to appreciate.  Veneration and worship of the planets as gods in their own rights is alive and well in Hinduism, and many temples have a section just for the Navagraha, the nine planetary gods (seven planets, plus the North Node and South Node as planets of their own).  There are plenty of ways to make offerings in the Hindu system, which is where I got the inspiration for some of the dry offerings and the use of sesame oil.  Still, some of the prayers are positively splendid (when they don’t need to be chanted 23,000 times over), and one of my personal favorites is a prayer to Lord Śani for protection and blessing of one’s body.  In a sense, it’s a Saturnine version of the Lorica of Saint Patrick, and thus, I call it the Vedic Shield of Shani:

I bow down to the slow-moving Śani, whose complexion is dark blue like the ointment of nilañjana. The elder brother of Lord Death, he is born from the Sun and his wife Chāyā.

O god of night-blue skin dressed in night-blue silk, who wears a crown, who rides the vulture, who gives misfortunes, who wields the bow, who has four hands and is the son of the Sun, be pleased with me always and happily grant me your blessing!

Let the son of the Sun protect my head!
Let the darling son of Chāyā protect my eyes!
Let the strong brother of Yama protect my ears!
Let the child of Sūrya protect my nose!
Let the bright god always protect my face!
Let he with a pleasant voice protect my own!
Let the great-armed god protect my arms!
Let my shoulders be protected by Śani!
Let my hands be protected by he who does good!
Let the brother of Yama protect my chest!
Let he who is dark protect my belly!
Let my stomach be protected by the lord of all planets!
Let the slow-mover protect my hips!
Let he who makes all ends protect my thighs!
Let the sibling to Yama protect my knees!
Let my legs be protected by him who goes slow!
Let all my organs be protected by him who wears the cloak of darkness!
Let all my body be protected by the darling son of the Sun God!

AUṂ PRAṂ PRĪṂ PRAUṂ SAḤ ŚANAIŚCARĀYA NAMAḤ

With that, I hope that you have a happy time Saturning, no matter whether you’re coming up on your first Saturn return or are looking forward to the blessed release of your fourth!