I’m extraordinarily lucky in my occult practice that I live as a free adult in my ostensibly secular country, without the control or necessarily involvement of my family, coworkers, or even roommates. I have my own apartment where I do what I want, I have my own income that I spend how I want, I have my own schedule that I set how I want, and I have my own practice that I effect how I want, largely without the supervision or interference of outside parties. My family, though aware of and amused by my occult works, don’t have any say in what I do, nor will they disown me for living my life the way I find best. My job is independent of my occult work and I am legally protected from incurring any punishment for my activities outside the workplace, especially as they pertain to my religious and spiritual beliefs and practices. I live in a country whose laws protect me, my beliefs, and my free exercise (or lack of exercise) thereof, and where there’s a large and healthy occult interest where I can find many people to share my beliefs and discussions with openly or semi-openly. And I count myself as among the extraordinarily lucky and fortunate that my boyfriend (and many of our friends, shared and otherwise) isn’t just permissive of the occult but is an active participant in it, studying and training in his own ways for his own purposes, and who mutually aids me as I aid him in our spiritual lives and growth.
Not everyone can be so lucky, however. Many who want to study and practice magic, the occult, or religious lifestyles often cannot do so nearly as openly, if at all, given their living situations. Sometimes it’s because their culture won’t permit it, finding occult studies and practices harmful or dangerous, and punishing those who engage in the occult with imprisonment, torture, or death. Sometimes it’s because of their resources, where they simply can’t afford the space, tools, or supplies that many magicians use (and the temple’s worth of ceremonial regalia my type of magic is known for). Sometimes it’s because they live with others in close quarters and don’t wish to disturb them or rouse their ire at engaging with this stuff, either out of respect for their housemates or out of fear of their reactions. Many reasons abound for this, but I’d wager that the fear of religious persecution and oppression is a big one. I mean, look at how religions like Santeria and Palo Mayombe developed under the slave trade in the Caribbean from their ancestral African forms; depending on the culture, occult and spiritual practices might be blended and merged with those of the slavers and colonialists, or they might be hidden away and kept furtive and secretive when the colonialists punish them.
And this is why magic, spirituality, spirit-working, and the like is called the occult. The occult is called the “occult” because it’s literally a hidden, secretive, and unrevealed thing to most of the world. It’s, quite literally, an esoteric study and practice, and though many magicians and occultists (including myself, obviously) have no qualms about talking about it in public, it’s ultimately an intensely personal and internal practice that cannot and can never be shared with others on a fundamental level; each person must develop themselves in their own way according to their own personality and internal self. Whether it’s out of fear of persecution or merely misunderstanding, many occult topics simply can’t be shared or revealed to the public. The fourth power of the Sphinx, “to keep silent”, is a development of this; by keeping silent about one’s work, not only will you prevent the world from fucking it up or fucking you up, but you’ll also keep the mysteries a mystery in the classical and original sense. The occult truly thrives when it’s done privately, personally, and internally, and practicing it in such a manner will give the practitioner a true power that otherwise they might lack.
I was recently emailed by a young man nearing the age of majority who was living with his atheist parents yet wanted to study and practice magic in a way that wouldn’t disturb them or arouse their suspicions. He couldn’t set up any kind of altar, nor can he perform any kind of advanced ritual; the most he’s been able to do are little amulets and charms and some invocation. He wanted my thoughts and advice on how he might further his spiritual practice in this situation. I can completely sympathize with him, too; when I first moved up to the DC metro region four years ago, I was living with my then-ex-boyfriend who wasn’t very spiritual, and though my spiritual work was just starting then, I didn’t want to do much when he was around, much less intoning arcane words of power or making holy water on Wednesdays when we both might be working at home and he needed the kitchen. Still, I was able to at least start my spiritual practice regardless of his presence, and though it truly blossomed out after he left and I had the apartment to myself for a few months (and got over any apprehension about practicing magic with a future housemate), it was those initial months of practicing in a private and internal way that helped me the most.
First, never forget that no matter what the external world controls in your life, it can only ever control the external things in your life. The people around you, the resources available to you, the places you find yourself in, and the like all only ever affect the external well-being and state of your life, like your body’s health, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the parties you go to or are made to go to, and so forth. None of these things, however, are you, and none of these things can truly affect your internal self. No matter what happens to you, you are the only one who can ever decide how you react to them and act based on them. To draw a comparison with aikido, no matter where someone grabs you or attacks you on your body, they can never get your one-point, or center of balance; you can give them your center of balance and let them pin you to the ground, or you can maintain it and move them around no matter how they grab onto you. It’s the same with the mind and the spirit; no matter what someone tells you to think or how to act, you are the only one who can determine what you think or how you act. Once you’ve established this primacy and independence of mind from the world, you’ve unrepentantly and irrevocably opened the door to a new way of life, your own way of life. With that done, everything else is just details.
So what are these details in terms of a spiritual and magical practice? It’s the simple basics of stuff, really, that I keep harping on about when it comes to magical practice. The most important resources you need for this are privacy and time, which you likely if you have the capacity to email me or read my blog from a first-world country. If you have your own bedroom where you sleep at night, or if you have a bit of regular free time in an empty park or office room, you have all you absolutely need to engage in the occult. If you live with others and if you have the time and privacy (and maybe the occasional excuse or cover-up) for masturbating or playing video games, you have the time and privacy for the occult. If you absolutely don’t have the capacity for privacy even for sleep (and this is surprisingly common), ask those around you to give you a bit of privacy or seek it on your own; abandoned parks or buildings, empty rooms not your own, even the bathroom will work. And, no matter how much you might argue, you will always have the time you need to do the occult. It may not be as much time as you think you need, but if your life is so busy and jam-packed that you truly have no time for the occult, then you need to reconsider what it is you’re doing so you can make time for the occult.
With privacy and time, what can you do? Plenty, especially if nobody’s going to peek in after you’re done or if you have the ability to leave things as they are after you’re finished. Even if you can’t, though, there are four big things that you can do: meditate, pray, energy work, trance work, and visualization practice. I won’t talk about any of these here, because you can find plenty of resources across the Internet and in books about these practices, but suffice to say that any and all of these things, which don’t depend on any physical tools except your own body and breath, are necessary and fundamental to occult practice. Hell, even if you can dedicate 20 minutes a day every day for private prayer and meditation, you’ve already got 75% of magical practice down right there. I cannot understate the importance of these few disciplines; everything else in magic, the occult, spirituality, and religion is based off these things.
Besides that, what else can you do? Study! Read and absorb as much as you can and whatever you care to. Nobody (with the exception of the NSA and especially nosy parents) is going to be looking at your browsing history on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, and you can always clear the cache and history when you’re done (and if you ever grew up using a family computer as an adolescent male at nighttime when everyone else was asleep, this should be second nature to you). If you don’t want people to see your library, get an e-reader and download copies of texts. We live in a time when an unimaginable wealth of occult and spiritual lore and information is freely and instantly available to ourselves at the speed of thought; by all means, use it! Study correspondence tables, sacred geometry, the history and development of religious sects, the seals and sigils of spirits, and the like. Practice drawing out the Tree of Life with a compass and straightedge, and learn how to write in Hebrew and Greek and the magical variants of their writing systems. Keep a private journal where you note important connections you make, dreams you have, odd happenstance circumstances, how deep your last meditation was, important prayers you have a fancy for, and the like. Just because you aren’t able to have a blog with oh-so-many devoted readers and shelves upon shelves of magical texts and tools doesn’t mean you can’t keep your own record, notes, and doodles that an untrained eye would think is no more than a student exploring simple art or playful ciphers.
Anything else? With altars and offerings, you may not be able to erect a permanent shrine to a particular deity, nor might you be able to set up a permanent altar with an array of magical tools synced up in a particular way. You might not be able to light candles or incense and leave them burning for long periods of time. You might not be able to make offerings of wine, water, or food. All of this is entirely okay, and aren’t strictly necessary. If you absolutely need a working space, clear off a small side table or a reasonably-sized area on the floor. Pack up your tools when you’re done, and be simple and minimal with your tools if you even need them at all: use a paper printout of a Table of Practice or draw one out on a whiteboard or chalkboard, use a sharpened pencil or a single matchstick (or even your index finger!) as your wand, use a pocketknife as a ritual blade, use a shotglass as a chalice, use a cup of water as a scrying medium, use a colorful bandanna as an altar cloth. Leave offerings out only for as long as you have privacy and time, and dispose of them in the trash, the drain, the compost, or out the window when you’re done. Use electric candles, scented candles, an oil diffuser, or a wax melter instead of traditional candles or incense. Or, rather, don’t do any of this at all, and keep everything internal and personal in an astral temple with visualization and minor trancework.
The only thing that you’re really impeded from in tough circumstances are prolonged and involved ritual, such as a multi-day consecration of a talisman or a full Solomonic evocation of a spirit. Admittedly, these can be difficult, especially when you need a material embodiment of something to act as a vessel for power. What can you do? Be subtle and minimal, as always! When consecrating a talisman, do the major work in the astral first to build up the power being as elaborate as you want or can, then transfer that power from the astral into a simple object down here: a wooden plank, a wax mold, a cheap ring, whatever. When doing evocation or conjuration, do it in the astral, and meet up with your spiritual allies and friends there frequently to keep tabs on what you send them out to do down here in the material world. In fact, the majority of the stuff you can do in a physical temple you can do as well in an astral one, and building up your own astral space is an important aspect of much of modern magic and spirituality.
I won’t lie to you: having the physical space, time, privacy, and resources to engage in the occult is an awesome thing, and it does help immensely to have all this stuff, and I look forward to the day when the dude who emailed me can move out on his own and explore his own spirituality as thoroughly as he desires. That said, it’s by no means necessary for the practice and study of the occult. Humanity has always been able to practice the occult and spirituality in even the most dire of circumstances, with the harshest conditions, under penalty of death and worse; this shit is our birthright, and the spirits of the cosmos want us to engage with them and with the cosmos in whatever way is most appropriate and suitable for us. To that end, they’ll be more than glad and ready to help us in whatever way we can, and they’ll try to communicate with us in whatever way we are able to. Whether we use the spiritual equivalent of a next-gen cellphone with the clearest call quality ever or a tin-can phone across the cul-de-sac, the spirits will respond; whether we use the Golden Dawn-style or John Dee’s style of pronouncing Enochian, the Enochian angels will still catch our drift; the connection may not be as clear or as easy to understand, but the connection will still be there. So long as you make the effort to work the magic you want and need to work, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
I get a lot of hits on my blog from across the realm of the Internet, many of which are from links on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS readers. To you guys who follow me: thank you! You give me many happies. However, I also get a huge number of new visitors daily to my blog from people who search around the Internet for various search terms. As part of a monthly project, here are some short replies to some of the search terms people have used to arrive here at the Digital Ambler. This focuses on some search terms that caught my eye during the month of March 2014. This month was particularly awesome with two things in mind: for one, the recent Hermes/Mercury conference, for which the writeups are as complete as I can make them without putting up voice recordings; for two, I crossed the big threshold of 200,000 hits this month! Thank you all so much, dear readers, for
serving my plans for world domination sticking with me and all my antics and adventures.
“symbol with dot for north node : symbol without dot-?” — I’m not aware of any symbol for the North Node, also known as the Head of the Dragon or Caput Draconis, that involves a dot. Rather, the symbol for the North Node looks much like the symbol for the sign of Leo (♌) but with both “tails” curved into loops (☊). Similarly, the South Node, a.k.a. Tail of the Dragon or Cauda Draconis, is the same symbol but reversed (☋). There are the related geomantic figures for these signs, too, but there’s no such thing as a geomantic figure “without dot[s]”. So, I’m really not sure what the querent here is trying to look for, but it’s certainly not one of these astrological/astronomical symbols.
“ben franklin potato advocate” — …this is true, he was in fact an advocate and lover of potatoes, and potatoes weren’t really popular in the early history of the United States until he started hawking them. They also make fantastic liquors with them, which is another thing Mr. Franklin would approve of.
“a prayer for charing crystal and mirror” — Being that crystals are usually made of non-combustible minerals, and mirrors are made from non-combustible class and metal, I find it difficult to char these things with fire. It’s possible to crack them apart or shatter them with heat, or get them dirty from soot, but charing isn’t something that can be done. Charging, however, can be more easily done by praying intentfully, calling on the powers you prefer to enter into or deign to consecrate, bless, and charge it for a particular end. There’s no one particular prayer for this, so just say what you want and do it forcefully.
“clear blue digital pregnancy test book symbol” — Er…I understand that the Digital Ambler talks about symbols and books rather often, but this is an unfortunate confluence of search terms that yielded a result most inappropriate for the query. Still, Yahoo! Answers has something better for you. Admittedly, I’m not one to ask about pregnancy tests, since I’m neither female nor predisposed or inclined to children.
“what do six candles represent on altar” — Depends on the candles and the altar. Catholic altars are often seen having six candles, though this is a custom that came about only a few hundred years ago; before that, they were reserved only for high holy rituals, with two candles being common for a low Mass or none at all on the altar. Beyond that, whatever associations go with the number 6, I suppose, indicate the purpose. Some people use six candles for a solar ritual. There’s really no way to answer this question; it’s like “what does the sound does the mean”, where it depends on the specific sound and in what language. Try again, querent.
“need to summon good ghost or spirit free pliz” — Yes, it can be absolutely free! But I won’t do it for you, because that’s like having someone trying to eat for you. You need to do the work yourself, buddy. There are so many resources, on this blog and on many other sites like those on the right hand side of my blog, that are available for free that will get you a running start. Don’t be lazy, and don’t try to outsource your own spiritual work. Our “*-as-a-service” world is not great for individual development. And even if you absolutely need to have someone else do the work for you, why would you expect it to be done as a free service? Lawyers get paid for their expertise, as do doctors and therapists. After putting in all the time, effort, money, and resources into their studies and Work, it’s only fair to recompense a magician for their services to you. You can’t get something for nothing, you know.
“words to summon a demon” — Behold, I have here a most secret conjuration preserved from the ancestors of my ancestors, which I will reveal to you to know now, that you may summon the demons of magnificent and terrible power:
Yo, NN., get your flaming ass over here! I’m serious, I’m for real, I’m dead serious! Quit your shit and come on! Y’all’re gonna piss me off if you don’t show your lazy ass before me, and I don’t want any of your crazy shit tryna scare me. If you don’t show up right here right now, I’m pressin’ charges on your ass and my lawyer is gonna sue you to a hell deeper than you ever been to before. Do you know who I am? I’m motherfucking NN., and I own this shit and I own you. Now come on, I’m not just forcing you for shits and giggles here. In fact, let me give you something to hold you over for a bit. But, really, come on. I need you here; don’t lemme down, now. <cough> …forever and ever, world without end. Amen.
After this, snap four times in the form of a cross, roll your neck, and put a 7-11 taquito in a fire and pour out a Four Loko as an offering to the demon.
“geomantic gods of earth”, “geomantic gods”, etc. — Geomancy isn’t a religion, nor is it even a major part of spiritual practices; it’s just a form of divination, and arose in an Islamic culture and propagated through other Abrahamic cultures and traditions before finally arriving to our libraries in our modern pluralistic world. In that sense, I suppose the god of geomancy would be God, as in that of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and about whom many geomancers of the past (Robert Fludd, Agrippa, al-Zanati, etc.) have written as the ultimate source and original cause of enabling us to use this divinatory method. As far as angels go, we might claim that Gabriel is important to geomancy, being as he is the angel of messengers and heralds generally as well as the one who mythically gave the knowledge of geomancy to (depending on the myth) Adam, Hermes Trismegistus, Enoch, or Idris. Hermes Trismegistus, in his form as the thrice-great Thoth-Hermes, might be considered from this as a god of geomancy, inasmuch as he’s god of any and all occult sciences, divinatory methods, astrology, conjuration, worship, sacrifice, fate, time, language, and the like. Beyond that, if you’re looking at things with a more neopagan mindset, any deity of the earth (and especially of the desert sands) or of “low” divination (as opposed to prophetic divination or astrology) would be fitting, but that’s very tradition-specific and vague.
“can i activate seals of solomon by praying and lighting candles only” — Actually, that’s really about it, though you’d need to swap candles for incense. The Key of Solomon describes how to go about consecrating the pentacles (book I, chapter 8), where you go into a ritual chamber and pray several psalms and a certain prayer over the pentacles. The ritual says you need to have incense burning and to have a special circle drawn on to contain the censer for incense. After that, you suffumigate the talismans in the incense and you’re done. I’d have a candle burning, anyway, and incense is something I find necessary in rituals, but that’s really just about it. The heavy lifting of consecrating the pentacles comes from their construction and proper inscription of the right names and signs in the right places; what comes afterward is just a blessing, and even then, that almost seems to be a minor point to me. Most Solomonic magic, anyway, takes the forms of prayers and invocations, so you’re already basically there.
“how to invoke angels on saturn” — I’d assume the same processes we use on Earth would work reasonably well on Saturn, as well, though there is the issue of figuring out planetary days and hours on the planet. More important would be the issues of actually getting to Saturn and, once there, figuring out a place to land on a planet that has no solid surface; those are questions that beyond my expertise to answer.
“geomanctic symbols + younger futhark”, “futhark + geomantic symbols”, etc. — Apparently there’s some interest in linking together the geomantic figures with the runes of the futhark (elder, younger, Anglo-Saxon futhorc, whatever). I don’t really see a need or a purpose for this besides the ever-dominating Western penchant for completion and connection; there’s no 1-to-1 mapping between the 16 figures and 24 runes of the elder futhark, though there might be such a connection with the 16 runes of the younger futhark, but as far as I’m aware the younger futhark are nearly never used in divination. Geomancy and runic divination, further, come from radically different traditions, cultures, and time periods, and really have little in common (unless you want to use a very late interpretation of runic divination to be assigned to the planets and signs of astrology). Just because two sets of symbols have the same count doesn’t mean there are clean mappings or relationships between them; I might claim that certain types of African diasporic religions have 12 gods, but just because there are also 12 Olympian gods in Hellenic paganism doesn’t mean that they’re the same or that there are clean connections between the two. (I realize that this kinda leads me to thumb my nose at people like Agrippa, Crowley, and Skinner who are known for their correspondence tables, but I can’t be the only one who thinks that one can take these things only so far without them breaking down miserably.)
“how do you manifest with orgone energy” — You manifest things, and then orgone energy exists. One doesn’t really manifest anything with orgone energy except…I guess, more orgone energy. It’s like using the qi/chi/ki in the body to make food appear; it can be effected by means of the body to go out and buy or harvest supplies that can then be processed into food, but qi/chi/ki cannot itself make food. Likewise, orgone energy doesn’t itself manifest desires; it’s the animating force behind other systems that enables them to work so as to manifest a desire or will. You can use orgone energy to maintain health and activity, which you can then direct to manifest, but you can’t be so direct with orgone energy alone. However, you can use orgone energy (being, as it is, an ambient resource of magical power) in other magical rituals to focus and charge talismans (like my Mercury election experiment), intents, desires, and the like; again, however, this isn’t using orgone directly as much as it is empowering other things to work directly.
“sigil to sigil symbol to symbol magic to magic planetary to planetary occult to occult astrology to astrology” — You’re so thorough! I’m sure you found exactly what you needed.
“the finger ring of solomon” — There’s lots of information known about the ring of Solomon on the internet, largely due to resources like the Lemegeton and John Dee’s Enochiana works (cf. the PELE ring). Still, the way this query was phrased leads me to believe that the good King Solomon may have other types of rings he may have used. In that case, I want dibs on the design for and production of the cockring of Solomon.
“summon spirits without ritual” — This is a moot point; summoning is a ritual. It’s like saying “eating food without nutrition” or “sleeping without closing eyes”. Of course, my idea of ritual is pretty far-reaching, but then, there’s no reason for it to not be so broad.
Alas, I recently had to dismantle my beloved MaGOS altar, though not because it failed its purpose. Rather, it’s been a fantastic bit of magical machinery, and it taught me no small amount about orgone and magical energies generally, as well as applying modern magical methods to traditional systems. No, I had to dismantle it because I needed the space. I swear, I’m going to be ecstatic when I move into a new place where I can get a whole room all to myself for use as a temple and have all my magical shit lining the walls without having to worry about things like beds or desks or porn.
Why did I need the space? Because I needed to set up a new altar for a new spirit. Of course, I don’t erect altars for every spirit I work with; my two big altars, my devotional altar where I make the majority of my prayers and my magical altar or Table of Manifestation where I do some of my Work, suffice for most of my purposes. The other altars around my room are for big-name deities, like Hermes and Dionysus, or for my ancestors. The other spirits I work with I make occasional offerings to at my devotional altar or dedicate a bit of jewelry to them and wear it in their honor every now and then. No, altars for me are where I do major spiritual work at, and if I have to set up an altar for something, it’s going to be for a long-term good purpose.
So, who’s this new altar going to? Someone with whom I should’ve probably called on long before now: Saint Cyprian of Antioch, the patron saint of magicians and necromancers. He’s been undergoing a resurgence and reemergence as of late, which is no bad thing, and I’ll leave you to do the clicky-clicky on the linky-linkies and read up more about him if you’re unfamiliar. Of course, he’s not officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church anymore, but that hasn’t really stopped him from playing a significant role in the lives of those who call upon him.
Why this good Saint? I’m working with angels and calling on the name of Christ, as well as getting involved with paranormal investigation and spiritual counseling, plus getting plenty of further integration and connection with various Central American African diasporic religions. The fact that this saint is a Christian magician, the archetype of many such magicians, plus a Faustian figure (if not the archetypal one), gives Saint Cyprian a special resonance with the work I already do. I mean, I’m no Christian in name, but I’m certainly not opposed to chilling with Christ or calling on his name, especially since my work is leading me in a direction that is parallel or even meeting up with him. Beyond that, though, Cyprian is especially good at working magic with spirits, especially those of the underworld in their many and sundry varieties, and working with the dead is becoming more of a focus in my work than I had anticipated, either with my own or with that of the areas I visit. Demons, too, which is still going to be a project of mine when I get the time for it, are something Cyprian works nicely with, and having this extra help for me is no bad thing. Perhaps most importantly, however, Saint Cyprian is mostly known in Central/South American, Hispanic, and ATR circles nowadays, and has major associations with a number of their gods (e.g. Babalu Aye of the Santeros, in addition to Saint Lazarus). It’s not that I want to work with these deities, necessarily, but it will help bridge a gap between what I do and what some of my associates do, especially in the necromantic department.
It’s weird, but I get nothing but good omens for working with him. Besides, having someone on my side lower than the angels is a good thing, especially when I get around to doing work that’s lower than what I normally do, anyway. Once I get a few more supplies (prayer cards for an amparo, saint medallion, yet another incense burner, etc.) and make a few initial charms and things, I’ll start working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch in the coming weeks. Deo volente, I’ll be able to get into another side of the magic I already do.
If you already work with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, what have some of your experiences been like? Do you have any advice for others who want to learn more about working with this saint?
I get a lot of hits on my blog from across the realm of the Internet, many of which are from links on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS readers. To you guys who follow me: thank you! You give me many happies. However, I also get a huge number of new visitors daily to my blog from people who search around the Internet for various search terms. As part of a monthly project, here are some short replies to some of the search terms people have used to arrive here at the Digital Ambler. This focuses on some search terms that caught my eye during the month of December 2013. As most of you know, the 49 Days of Definitions project continued through and finished up in this month, forming the bulk of the posts, but there was time for other people to get to my blog through other terms.
“how does 2nd decan libra embrace their charm?” — Seeing as how I’m one of these myself, it’s hard to tell others how I can truly embrace my own devilishly awesome charm. It has to do a lot with drinking diet cola and not giving a shit, generally. Also being a magician. Also being humble.
“fill me with your anointing lord” — Oh baby, I’ll fill you with my holy spirit, alright. Get down on your knees and pray for it. Jesus is coming; grab a towel. (Sorry I’m not sorry.)
“favorable geomantic figures” — Personally, I dislike simply saying that a particular figure is always favorable or always unfavorable, but rather see how individual figures agree or disagree with a particular query or situation. For instance, if one wants a quick escape out of a situation, the figure Fortuna Maior (which, although greatly useful) is terrible for this since it indicates having to overcome something and conquer it instead of simply sidestepping it. That said, there are two systems I know of for determining favorable figures generally. In Robert Fludd’s system, there are three types of figures: good, which are Fortuna Maior, Laetitia, Caput Draconis, Albus, Puella, and Acquisitio; moderate, which are Populus, Via, and Coniunctio; and bad, which are Fortuna MInor, Tristitia, Caput Draconis, Rubeus, Puer, Amissio, and Carcer. An older Arabic system has good figures as Populus, Albus, and Laetitia; better figures as Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, and Laetitia; the best figures as Acquisitio and Fortuna Maior; bad figures as Puer, Coniunctio, and Via; worse figures as Cauda Draconis and Amissio; and the worst figures as Carcer, Tristitia, and Rubeus. Generally speaking, I find Fortuna Maior, Acquisitio, Caput Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Puella, Laetitia, Albus, and Coniunctio to be favorable figures, from the most favorable to least favorable.
“mancy vs kinesis” — I can tell that some of the people who get to my blog are interested in comic book or RPG magic, that’s for sure. Since both of these roots come from Greek, they’re used in some words to make “schools of magic” or whatnot seem that much more fantastical. Briefly put, anything that ends in “mancy” means a divination system, and anything that ends in “kinesis” means a control or movement of something. Thus, “pyromancy” is divination with fire, such as scrying or looking at burnt patterns in wood, while “pyrokinesis” is the supernatural harnessing of flames, fire, and heat according to one’s will. In some arts, the line between divination and magic is blurred, such as in necromancy; though it ends in “mancy” and was originally and ultimately intended to gain information from the dead or by means of spirits of the dead, a lot of necromantic technique involves methods to raise the dead and commune with them in nonspecific ways, so a good deal of death magic was confused with the gaining of knowledge from the dead. In video games and RPGs, however, a lot of “mancies” are actually “kineses”; anyone who moves earth with their mind is more properly a “geokineticist” and not a geomancer.
“meditation to obtain a kinesis” — Lots of meditation, sure. I’m sure you’d eventually develop some awesome powers if you become a master of meditation in the meanwhile, but that shouldn’t be the point of meditation, in my opinion.
“orbs around my altar” — You might want to banish your shit or, like, use some disinfectant. That, or stop taking crappy photos of your altars and dust your bedroom more.
“what spirit should I summon” — That’s like asking “what prayer should I pray” or “what food should I eat”. It’s really up to you and what you feel appropriate and safe with. I mean, I could just suggest Bael or Asmodeus or Yahweh, but I don’t feel like being that mean at the moment.
“beings that require bones for.conjuring summoning evocation -game” — I don’t know of any in the Western tradition that require bones, exactly, though they’re not exactly frowned upon, either. Bones are a part of the body ruled by Saturn, being the densest part of the body as well as giving it structure. Spirits of the dead as well as certain animals appreciate bones, especially if they’re the bones of the body of the spirit when it was still alive. Bones are generally good for communing with gods of the dead, too, but they’re not required in terms of offerings or sacrifices, either. Other traditions place a large importance on bones and their spiritual uses, but I’m not as familiar with them. As far as summoning goes, very few spirits require bones to get their attention. Candles, incense, and orations get you much farther and for a cheaper, cleaner cost.
“geomancy ifa” — Ah, the two great divinatory arts of Europe and Africa. Geomancy, as I’m sure you’re well-aware, is a pretty old and well-developed form of European divination that has its roots in the Saharan Desert, going back about a thousand years. It spread from there both to the east through the Middle East and Greece as well as to the west through Spain into the rest of Europe, where it was practiced virtually nonstop from then onward. It went underground for a while in the past few centuries, but it’s starting to become more popular again. However, the roots of geomancy also went south from the Sahara into the rest of Africa, where it was practiced in Madagascar as sikidy and by the Yoruban peoples as ifá and diloggun. This was brought over with the slave trade into the Americas, where it’s practiced closely with the Santería religion and some other ATRs. While geomancy and ifá share the same origin, they developed quite independently of each other, so it’s hard for me to claim any knowledge on ifá save that it’s pretty deep. Only a select few people are meant to learn ifá (babalawos, generally), so unless you’re part of Santería communites, you’re better off sticking with geomancy.
“what is an aquarius/libra decanate land aries/leo decanate together like?” — Another decan/decanate question, woo! I’m honestly going to ignore the part about romantic pairings because, really, it’s just about pointless to answer a question like that based on Sun signs alone. Considering the importance of the other planets, the rising sign, house placements, and the like, Sun signs (though important) are only a fraction of the information a proper horoscope can give you. As for the decans themselves, this query indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of them. The decans of the signs are ruled by planets, not other signs! There are different methods to assign the planets to the decans, however, with the Chaldaean ordering being traditional in Western astrology but the Vedic system (which is associated more closely with the signs than the planets alone) has been popular of late.
“where to buy consecrated chalk” — Regrettably, I haven’t found a supplier for this, and none of the local stores around me sell common items that have already been blessed. To that end, I wrote up a short ritual for blessing your own chalk, which you’re free to use on whatever chalk you might get for yourself. Alternatively, you could probably just buy a pack of chalk and ask a Catholic priest to bless it for you. If you live near a botanica (Hispanic Santería/ATR magic store), I suggest getting a cake of cascarilla, or eggshell chalk, which is pretty good in its own right.
“how to make a real snowflake using magic without even chanting.anything” — I’m amused that this query assumes that all of magic requires chanting, but surprise, it doesn’t! Just close your eyes, go to the kitchen, open the freezer, and knock off some of the ice from those leftovers you put in two months ago. There you go, a real snowflake! And yes, the magic of refrigeration is truly a miracle and allows otherwise inhospitable places to become endurable (e.g. the entire southern US).
“is anyone transalting munich manuel of demonic magic” — I have a few sections of the Munich Manual translated, though translating any more is currently on hold for the time being. The Latin from Kieckhefer’s critical edition of the Munich Manual is pretty clear and well-organized, so anyone with even rudimentary skill in Latin and a good dictionary can get good progress on their own. I have some other projects to translate in the meanwhile, but if there’s a particular section that you’re just absolutely dying to have translated ASAP, let me know and I’ll see what I can do about getting it put into English in the near future.
Also, Happy New Year! Go get drunk, call on the stars and your ancestors, and bring in 2014 right!
I get a lot of hits on my blog from across the realm of the Internet, many of which are from links on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS readers. To you guys who follow me: thank you! You give me many happies. However, I also get a huge number of new visitors daily to my blog from people who search around the Internet for various search terms. As part of a monthly project, here are some short replies to some of the search terms people have used to arrive here at the Digital Ambler. This focuses on some search terms that caught my eye during the month of August 2013.
“magic orgone” — I wouldn’t call orgone “magic”, per se, but it is basically the quintessence, akasha, ether, or spiritual force underling the energy model of magic; orgone can be said to be the same thing as odic force, qi/chi/ki, or prana, depending on your tradition or viewpoint. Orgone technology was developed as a kind of fringe science using the principles of magnetism, electricity, and polarity extrapolated towards human energy/subtle-body models of working with the body. There are ways to work with orgone in a magical way, as my own experiments with orgone have shown, but it can be used outside of a magical framework just as easily, just as radionics or reiki aren’t necessarily considered “magical” (though basically are, anyway).
“planetary hours for july” — Planetary hours are calculated for individual days, based on the location and date of the observer. Trying to form a generalized calendar independent of location won’t work, since planetary hours rely on the sunrise and sunset times for a particular place (which change depending on latitude, time zones, and the like). Lots of free planetary hour calculators abound on the internet, however, so look instead for “planetary hour calculator”.
“sex sigil” — Yes please.
“ikea altar” — It’s true, my altar furniture is pretty much just from IKEA, or to a lesser extent, Target. IKEA is fantastic for cheap but sturdy stuff, so long as you don’t mind the appearance of it; if you use an altar cloth, you’ll be set. The small LACK side tables are perfect for corner altars or working tables in conjuration, I’ve found, and their price can’t be beat, especially if you want something disposable (a la Enochian Tables of Practice) or if you want something to engrave or woodburn without too much cost going into the thing.
“the kybalion homosexuality” — This probably references my post from before on the comparatively recent book Kybalion, gender, and sexuality. I wish I could talk about this more, and I probably should one of these days, but my thoughts on the matter haven’t much evolved past the point of “I don’t know”. Everyone has their own dynamic within themselves to work with, and even though the Kybalion is great at simplifying the world down into a few rules and laws of occult motion, they’re also sufficiently broad to gloss over the minute subtleties involved with actual experience in the world around us. Plus, the interplay between the laws isn’t well developed in that short text as much as we might like, and the cultural and personal bias of the original author(s) may have had something to do with the laws as they apply to homosexuality or queerness more generally. I’m going to appeal to authority here and say that Crowley had it probably more correct and concise when he said “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. In the end, it’s really only you yourself who can figure out who you are/Are, understand what you can and should do/Do, what’s good/Good and bad/Bad, and judge your own progress/Progress. Nobody else has that right; nobody else can judge you or tell you what it is you need to do, or what’s a beautiful thing for you to preserve or maintain. In this light, especially if you have any respect for Thelema or Crowley, to use any text, occult or otherwise, to justify judging, discriminating, controlling, or maligning others because of personal bias is revolting, and I advise all my readers to cut that shit out.
“strongest geomancy figures in order” — It depends on what you mean by “strongest”, and even then which author you read, since geomancy is an old tradition of divination going back a thousand years across multiple continents. If you mean favorability and fortune, i.e. how good a figure is, you might use a general rule such as that of Robert Fludd’s or an older Arabic system, but this is pretty broad and doesn’t take into account specific situations or context. If you mean positions in the houses of the astro-geomantic chart, you might use the directional correspondences of the figures or their planetary joys, but this isn’t used by all geomancers. At the risk of making my dear readers do a bit of goddamn research and study, I suggest you review my De Geomanteia posts on the figures to get a full grasp of what they mean and how they relate to any arbitrary situation.
“yes no meaning to six sided dice” — I suggest looking at Balthazar Black’s post on using six-sided dice for this. I use a set of RPG dice for my divinations, specifically the 2d10 dice for yes/no questions. Simple methods can be made, however: high numbers indicate high likelihoods of “yes”, while low numbers indicate low likelihoods, or odd means “yes” and even means “no”, or other combinations. Dice are an ancient tool and game, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you found any number of traditions from different cultures or ages indicating different methods of cleromancy with dice.
“quick divination” — Tomorrow you’ll wake up, do a bunch of stuff, and then go back to sleep.
“is sprinkling salt in bath water and praying to god” — This was, in fact, the entire search term; it seems like something got cut off, but who can say? Assuming the searcher in question ended the query with something like “evil”, “damnable”, “wicked”, or “sinful”, I can say that the answer is very firmly no. Salt has long been used across cultures and ages as a cleansing, purifying, or protective agent; spiritual baths are a longstanding tradition in pretty much every occult and religious tradition, from misogi in Shinto to wudu in Islam to baptism in Christianity. Prayer is, of course, a good thing in magic and religion, and any action whatsoever can always use that heavenly or divine boost from having the hand of God or hands of gods involved. I should take full spiritual baths with prayers more often, honestly, but I content myself with a regular sprinkling of holy water every day with prayer; before any significant working, however, I’ll definitely cast some salt I’ve prayed over into a clean tub of tepid clean water, immerse myself completely, and pray a number of psalms while in the tub.
“tojil strategic ffxi” — er…I don’t play Final Fantasy XI, though my boyfriend does. Tojil in FFXI is a pretty nasty boss mob, and from what I’ve seen over my boyfriend’s shoulder and from what I’ve heard him say about it, learning how to time attacks with Tojil’s changes in aura is key; you’d be able to take down this beast in fairly short time if you have a decent linkshell group with you. However, this entity has its origins in Mayan mythology and religion; Tohil was a fire, sun, and rain deity, with some qualities similar to the more popularly-known Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. One of my friends works with these pantheons, but I don’t myself, though they’re very cool guys and very powerful in their ways. Then again, it takes a powerful practitioner to actually get any good work done with them, so caveat orator. I’m pretty sure, since none of these terms actually appear on my blog, that it was grabbed by a Google spider from my twitterfeed on the right.
After lots of talks with the angels and figuring out how exactly to accomplish something magically, I think I’ve finally settled into a pattern for a manifestation ritual using my magician’s altar, properly called a Table of Manifestation. Because, you know, it manifests shit. Fr. Rufus Opus has described the magician’s altar as their terminal to access the cosmos and put in requests or commands to it to magically alter it. He put up his now well-known Altar Glyph to describe the schematics of such an altar:
For background on why the altar is set up the way it is, I suggest reading up Cornelius Agrippa’s Scale of Four (book II, chapter 7). The altar layout, representing our perception and vantage point outwards from the whole cosmos, is primarily designed according to the elements, the building blocks of the world we happen to find ourselves in. Thus, the things that are fiery are placed in the East, airy in the West, watery in the North, and earthy in the South. From the inside outwards, we have things under our direct control, things we choose to let loose or bind in the cosmos (this is represented by the four demon princes of the elements, which I hide wrapped up in black silk under my altar and left alone; the surface of the altar uses the central point as the ritual focus space). Outside that we have the four archangelic kings and the legions of forces/forces themselves that the magician will call upon to bring something into manifestation. Beyond that we have the four elemental tools, our means to work with both the terrestrial elements and the celestial planets, which allow us to work throughout the cosmos. Beyond those we have representations of the seven planetary forces, each aligned according to their element, which act as pumps or sources for those forces to pull from. Beyond that we have…well, really, anything else. A consecrated candle or lamp is helpful to have, positioned to the East to represent the Infinite Light and Source of All.
This picture illustrates my altar layout, set up for consecrating my magic ring of Solomon a while back. In the middle is the ritual focus, which is here the ring to be consecrated put atop a Kamea of the Sun as given by Agrippa (book II, chapter 22). Closest to the focus are four amethyst crystals, each a different Platonic solid, which I use as representations of the four archangelic kings and their forces (tetrahedron/d4 for Michael, octahedron/d8 for Raphael, icosahedron/d20 for Gabriel, cube/d6 for Auriel), each aligned to their proper elemental direction. Just beyond those I have my four elemental weapons: the Wand of Fire in the East, the Sword of Air in the West, the Cup of Water in the North, and the Disc of Earth in the South. Outside those I have the seven planetary talismans, again each aligned according to their elemental direction: Mars and the Sun in the East, Jupiter and Venus in the West, Saturn and Mercury in the North, and the Moon in the South. At the edge of the altar I have my consecrated candle (set in the East) and incense burner, and nearby I have other tools and supplies as needed.
So, I had all these fancy tools lying around on this table I got from Ikea a while back, but…well, never really used them. Sure, it serves as a display and storehouse for all the energy and forces I work with where I can use or draw on them as necessary, but mostly it sits there gathering dust. Sure, I use it as a focus to charge stuff I consecrate, but I never really used it in ritual. It took a lot of figuring out for me about what to use the elemental weapons for; perhaps it’s because of my lack of modern neopagan training or because the old grimoires never really used this set of tools, but I never really got into the habit of using them. It’s only through continued talks with the angels who have instructed me in their symbolism as well as their ritual use that I got into the habit of using them in ritual, and I’ve finally pieced together how to use them all coherently in a ritual for manifestation.
I feel like this is about as basic and introductory a topic I can get to, but honestly, it (embarrassingly) took me a while to get to this point to even write about this much. To help prevent other magicians and newbies to magic from getting stuck on how to use that fancy altar with all them tools, here’s a framework I ended up using to manifest or alter something using the magician’s altar. Influences from this come mostly from the Trithemius ritual of conjuration, as well as elements from the Clavicula Solomonis and other rituals here and there. Essentially, the ritual framework describes a kind of shortened conjuration but without a crystal, concentrating the force of some sphere or other onto a ritual focus to effect change instead of just a mere chat with an angel or other spirit.
Before even getting anything together, make sure you have an actual intent, goal, and method to accomplish something you want to change. It’s all well and good to ask the angels for good shit, but it’s better to state clearly what exactly you want from the cosmos, for what purpose you want it, and in what way you plan to obtain or otherwise accomplish what you want. As always in magic, the more specific you make your request, the more exact and refined your result will be. It helps to do some prior divination or chatting with the angels or spirits you’ll be working with to make sure your magical plan of attack is solid, as well as making sure any physical activity or material means you want to back up with magic are going to work as well. When you have that done, figure out the time in which to perform the ritual. Figuring out the planetary hour and day best associated with the intent and goal is awesome, as is finding a suitable election, or you might just use the phase of the Moon (waxing or waning, full or new) or the direction in which the clock hands move (both up, both down, etc.). Once you have the basics done, you’ve got a plan.
As with any ritual, start with preparation. Make sure your altar’s in good order with all the supplies you need at hand (charcoal, lighter, holy water, incense, etc.). Put on your magical garments and talismans, along with the requisite prayers if needed, as well as prepare yourself with aspersion or ablution with holy water. You might also consider energetically linking the tools on the table to the central focus, a la Jarandhel’s notion of a crystal grid, to tie everything more closely in practice. Do whatever energy work, quarter-calling, sevenths-calling, banishing and balancing ritual, or whatever you like to do to get yourself in the proper mindset. Most importantly, pray. Pray for guidance, pray for holiness, pray for strength, pray for protection, pray for wisdom, but pray. You might also call on the help of your HGA, patron gods, supernatural assistants, or similar to empower yourself and make more effective the ritual you’re about to perform. I generally do all the preparation just before the ritual begins, in the closing minutes of the planetary hour prior to when I want to do my ritual. As for the actual intent or thing to manifest, the use of a sigil, talisman, figurine, or other stand-in is often helpful; I typically create a sigil with my desire or will and use that.
Once you’re sufficiently prepared and once the appointed time has come, light the candle and consecrate the flame to officially begin the ritual. Take up the wand, sword, or whatever other tool of intent you prefer up to and including your dominant hand and trace out a circle around your working area, blessing and consecrating the area for the work. This could be around the altar if it’s free-standing or around a Circle of Art if you’re working within one, with the tool pointed downward at the ground, or around the perimeter of the room if the altar’s not free-standing or if you’d like to use more space than allowed in a Circle, with the tool pointed upward towards the conjunction of the ceiling and walls. Light the incense and consecrate it, waiting a few seconds to let the incense smoke rise up and fill the space a bit. I generally wait until I can distinctly smell it for a few seconds before continuing unless I’m in a huge rush.
Now it’s time to call the spirits you’ll be working with. If you have something specific to consecrate under a particular force, call up the spirits associated with that force; e.g., for solar spirits, you might choose Michael, Nakhiel, and Sorath, along with the aid or blessing of any solar patron deities, familiars, or allies you might have. If you want to effect some significant change in the cosmos, you might do well to call up all seven planets and all four elements. Agrippa lists several types of spirits for both the planets and elements and don’t appear to match up immediately, but after talking with both kinds of angels and with Rufus Opus a bit, here’s what I’ve figured out:
- Divine force, or the force in the qabbalistic world Atziluth, also associated with the divine Intellect or the element of Fire. Among the planets, this is the aspect or emanation of God as represented by the godnames of the sephiroth. Among the elements, however, which are all in the sephirah Malkuth, they’re all kinda lumped together; due to their distant, material nature, the four elements are part of the same divine force.
- Mental force, or the force in the qabbalistic world Briah, also associated with the mental abstractions and ideals and the element of Air. Among the planets, these are the planetary angels. There is no corollary between this and the elements, since the elements are too low in manifestation to reach this high up in the cosmos.
- Guiding force, or the force in the qabbalistic world Yetzirah, also associated with production, feeling, and desire and the element of Water. These forces indicate how things should be directed and manifested in the world, the design that fulfills the requirements given to the mental force above. Among the planets, these are the planetary intelligences; among the elements, they are the elemental archangelic kings.
- Active force, or the force in the qabbalistic world Assiah, also associated with the concrete force as controlled and effective as well as the element of Earth. These are like the personified or belegioned forces themselves as opposed to the directing rules or guides; it’s like the charge in a battery instead of the wires that connect it to a radio, which indicate how that charge should flow. Among the planets, these are the planetary spirits, and among the elements they are the elemental rulers. Any familiar spirits, elemental or planetary allies, or angels from the forces’ respective choirs are also members of the active force.
- Manifesting force, or the force that actually pops up and does stuff in the material world. These are spirits that actually do and create stuff on this plane with the four elements, the building blocks of this world that the other forces have to manifest through; because of this, there are no planetary forces that fulfill this role, since they’re too abstract and unformed to manifest directly in Malkuth. Instead, these spirits are strictly elemental, specifically the elemental princes (Oriens, Paymon, etc.), who are close to goetic demons, but are so close to manifested reality that they can directly manifest things on behalf of the higher forces that guide them. The demonic princes (Samael, Mahazael, etc.) do this too, but in ways that are shitfully terribad (ergo, don’t call on them).
Once you call up the relevant spirits for the forces you want to work with, thank them for their presence, since it always pays to be polite. Once you get everyone together, the process is fairly straightforward:
- Declare your charge to the cosmos and to the spirits present. Clearly, authoritatively, meaningfully, and wholeheartedly proclaim what you want the spirits gathered to help you achieve and attain in the cosmos, what needs changing or removing or adding to the cosmos, and how you want the manifested thing to take form and effect in your life and reality. If you have an object, sigil, or figure that represents your intent, display it to the four corners, to the heavens, and to the earth, then place it in the focus of the altar.
- With the Wand, call on the divine forces present to turn your Will into cosmic Law. Proclaim your intent and desired goal, establish your will as something the cosmos, universe, and world shall fulfill, and call on the blessing of the divine force and the assistance of the guiding forces to assist you. Take up the Wand, point at the ritual focus, and have the Infinite Light begin to manifest around the focus and intent-object (if any).
- With the Sword, call on the mental forces present to turn your Reason into cosmic Design. Straighten the path between divine intent and manifest reality, cut out all obstacles or impediments to manifestation, sharpen your stated will into implementable method, and call on the assistance of the mental force to reverberate the cosmos with your desire and plan. Take up the Sword, cut the area around the ritual focus, and penetrate into the ritual focus area with the point to let the Light begin to fill the focus.
- With the Cup, call on the guiding forces present to turn your Emotion into cosmic Direction. Pour out your need, fill the world with your desire, and guide the flow of forces you call upon to fill up and take form within the cosmos, calling on the assistance of the guiding forces to direct, guide, and flow the force called upon into manifested reality. Take up the Cup, make a pouring gesture with it around in a clockwise pattern closing in on the ritual focus, filling the focus with the force you desire and taking form in the manner you desire.
- With the Disc, call on the active and manifesting forces present to turn your Reality into cosmic Manifestation. Actualize your desire, manifest your goal, and have what you desire and will be made concrete, real, physical, material, and effective in all the stated ways, calling on the assistance of the active and manifesting forces to bring the desired goal into manifestation. Take up the Disc and lower it down onto the ritual focus, pressing the form into concrete, hard shape and seeing it as real as the Disc itself.
- Finalize your charge to the cosmos and to the spirits present. Reiterate your will, intent, desire, and goal to the spirits, proclaim it sealed and finished, and declare your work finished by the authority, power, strength, wisdom, and Light within you and within your manifested intent. Charge the intent-object by suffumigating it in the incense while repeating any prayers, intoning any mantras or sacred sounds, or visualizing force flowing in and strengthening the intent and manifestation as you find necessary. Focus the Light from the candle and the Light within yourself onto the ritual focus, supercharging it as bright as the Infinite Light itself, and sending it off as a discrete entity into the cosmos. Declare the work done using a Great Amen, “So Mote It Be”, “Thus have I spoken/thus are the words”, or similar closing, final statement.
After this, you’re pretty much done. Ask for any follow-up advice or directions, thank the spirits for their presence and aid, bid them farewell, and give them leave to depart. Afterward, make any thanksgiving prayers to the Infinite Source, to your patrons or HGA or supernatural assistants, and to any spirits of the cosmos you may find helpful or meaningful. Put out the candle, remove the ring and ritual garb, and clean up. You’re done. Let the intent-object stay in the altar focus for however long you desire, or keep it in a place that can be easily accessed or viewed until the intent is manifested according to your desire.
This is a framework for a ritual, not a ritual itself, since the ritual specification can change depending on what exactly needs to happen; e.g., for consecration of an object under a planetary force, you might do away with calling on the elemental spirits and the use of the Disc entirely, or any of the elemental tools, perhaps using the planetary talisman instead as your tool to channel the force of the planet desired. The prayers and calls needed for the ritual can also change drastically, but the links I’ve provided above give good grimoire examples of what you might use. All told, for manifesting things in the cosmos, the above framework is pretty solid, if I do say so myself.
The studious or observant magician will notice that, although I’ve included the forces of the elements and the planets, I haven’t mentioned the sphere of the fixed stars and their forces. This isn’t because I don’t think they’re worthless, but it’s because I don’t have experience of working with them yet. In the future, I may begin doing just that, perhaps including the angels of the zodiac signs or the lunar mansions as the guiding forces and Raziel/Iophiel (depending on which text you’re reading) as the mental force, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Still, the use of the fixed stars isn’t absolutely necessary, though I’m sure it helps; calling on the aid of the planets or elements is quite enough, and enough pagans and more simple magicians than me get by fine with just the four elements, so YMMV.