Search Term Shoot Back, November 2013

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 November 2013.  As most of you know, the big thing that’s been going on this month has been the 49 Days of Definitions project, but people are still finding their way here for many other things.  I also noticed that I had an unusual number of “unknown search terms”, referring to people who are using anonymous search techniques and secure browsing.  Good for you; keep it up!  I support that like whoa.

“orgone symbol” — As far as I’m aware, I know of no symbol for orgone generally; granted that I haven’t read many of Reich’s works, but I don’t know of an “orgone factor” represented with any Greek letter or symbol.  Orgone is just an ambient life force, so it doesn’t have a religion or *ism that has its own symbol; you might use the Chinese character 氣, qi, which is used for a similar concept but might be crossing disciplines too enthusiastically.  If you want a symbol to work with orgone, you might look up symbols used in Western-style reiki, or look up radionics patterns or designs.  Some of my experiments with making “orgone circuitboards” or force compasses (which are closer to radionics than other things) can be found at this post.

“how to get over an addiction to divination” — For reference, check out my post on divinaddiction and divinaversion.  First, let me clarify: an addiction to divination is basically micromanaging the future without letting things have a chance to happen first.  It is over-reliance and dependence on divination in order to do anything of use.  It’s alright to do ten readings in a row to figure out what’s needed for a trip or how certain things on the trip will go; it’s unhealthy if you do it for when you should leave for work in the morning each morning.  (Note to hyper-Christianist mothers: use of divination is a necessary but not sufficient symptom of divinaddiction.  Divination isn’t ungodly; you are for your hypocrisy and fundamentalism.)  Honestly, the best way to get over an addiction to divination is to stop caring so much.  Let life happen; you’re not in control of everything, nor have you ever, nor will you ever be.  Use divination (sparingly) to see what you can work to change.  Fix the problems that arise, and live with the predicaments that come your way.  Ease up and stop being so goddamn controlling of everything in your life; learn your lessons, live well, and let go.

“talisman for love tetragrammaton key solomon” — The second, third, and fifth pentacles of Venus from the Key of Solomon should do you nicely.  You might want to find the Mathers’ version of the text, which is drawn much more clearly.

“how to adhere my copper wand to my crystal” — Assuming you mean you have a crystal point that you’d like to affix to a copper wand, first I recommend you make a niche, nook, or pit in the wand that can hold the crystal comfortably and safely (much as in my ebony wand project); if the wand is a tube, see if you can get a copper pipe opening or valve that’s just big enough to let the crystal through while screwing the valve onto one end (much as in my fire wand project).  In either case, when you’re ready to make the bond, get two-part epoxy from your local hardware or craft store.  Mix the two parts together, apply to both surfaces, push together and hold firmly, then let cure for 24 hours.  The bond made will be permanent and very sturdy.

“why are there ruling angels for planets” — Oooh, a deceptively simple philosophical question!  To condense a lot of philosophy and theology into a brief explanation in a post mocking other people for finding my blog, the Divine Source has these things called “angels”, which are basically extensions of itself in other realms to achieve or create certain ends.  It’s like the Divine is the brain or central command of operations, and the angels are the actual hands and feet or the machines that actually do the work.  In that sense, everything that happens is manifested under the guidance and rulership of angels; it’s not just planets, but everything has a ruling angel, and some things have multiple angels.  For instance, the “threefold keeper of Man” (Agrippa, book III, chapter 22) refers to three angels each and every human being has ruling over them: one for their specific incarnation and destiny in this life (natal genius), one for their current job and productive capabilities there (angel of occupation), and one that connects us directly to the Divine to guide us through all circumstances in all lifetimes (the Holy Guardian Angel or “Holy Demon”).  Working with the ruling angel of anything is basically working with the thing that commands and directs the thing in this world, so it’s a powerful way to get in touch with anything and understand it.

“spiritual cleaningyour home with van van oil do i start from front to back” — The way I’ve heard it, when you’re cleaning out your house, you want to start from the back of the property to the front; when you’re blessing your house, you want to start from the front of the property to the back.  I wouldn’t necessarily cleanse things off with Van Van oil, though it’s possible; I’d save Van Van oil for blessing and protecting after cleansing and banishing.  YMMV.

“what are geomantic ablilities?” — The ability to understand the symbols and techniques involved in geomantic divination, but more than that, to cut through bullshit, ask concrete and specific questions, make effective and useful plans of action to achieve goals, to be able to cut a large problem down into multiple parts for easier analysis

“lost + stolen + planets + houses + astrology -vedic -radu -indian” — First, major props to anyone who actually knows how to use a goddamn search engine.  Whoever you are, I love you for knowing and specifying what you actually want to search for.   As for the actual substance, what you appear to be looking for is a method to find lost or stolen items using only Western astrology (as opposed to Vedic or jyotish astrology).  While I’m no real astrologer, I’d suggest looking at the significator of the second house to represent the object, that of the fifth (fourth from the second) to determine where it might be, and that of the seventh to see whether anyone stole it or whether you just happened to lose it.  Apply the other rules of horary astrology as normal.  If you want a geomantic perspective on how to find lost or stolen objects, read this post, which is more than a little influenced by horary astrology techniques.

“greek red five pointed star on a column geomantic magick” — I…what?  Are you trying to type out an entire slide on a Freemason conspiracy theorist PowerPoint presentation, or an entire Golden Dawn visualization?  As far as I’m aware, there are multiple subjects in that query, so it’s hard to understand what’s being searched for here.  Using my powerful geomantic abilities, I’m gonna have you whittle it down for me a bit.

“raven orthaevelve” — Ah, seems like I’ve been mentioning her plenty enough on my blog!  Raven Orthaevelve is a fantastic friend of mine, who’s also a very skilled craftswoman, silversmith, and reference for several occult communities.  She’s incredibly smart and regularly vomits textbooks of information, and is quite deft at weaving modern medical and scientific knowledge with alchemical, herbal, and spiritual lore.  She has an Etsy page (with beautiful works that make excellent holiday gifts), and she’s open for commissions; she’s helped me out immensely on a number of projects, and I’ve got her help in something very special in the near future, too.  Raven is also a devotee of the Mesoamerican (Mayan, Aztec, and Olmec, mostly) gods and does Mayan astrological forecasting on her Facebook page.

“books about positive energy communing with spirits” — If you’re still in the phase where you’re waffling about “positive energy”, I’m going to say that you’re not ready or magically mature enough to conjure or summon spirits.  Prayer to the angels or beneficial gods like Tykhe or Fortuna might be better for you.  Most spirits don’t care about “positive energy” but “energy that works”, no matter whether it’s positive or negative, lifey or deathy, white or black, or whatever.

“organic orgone” — You can pick this stuff up at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, usually beside the incense and scented soaps sections.  It’ll cost a little more than the orgone that comes with chemical preservatives, but it’s much healthier for you.  Goes great in kombucha, vegan quinoa kale curry, and anything that doesn’t actually taste good or is reasonable to buy but makes you feel better for being an entitled, yuppie activist-wannabe.

“how to conjuration calzas angel for help” — I’ve never heard of this spirit before, so it might be from some obscure text I haven’t come across yet.  Googling for “calzas” I find nothing but images of tights, stockings, hosiery, and skinny jeans, so if you wanted to conjure that, you could go to your local Target or department store and buy some; if you wanted something more spiritual, you could conjure the ruling angel of this type of clothing by drawing on a stylized picture of pants on a lamen and performing a Trithemian conjuration ritual.

“orgone generator orb”  — An orgone generator is anything that collects or “generates” orgone, usually in the form of a box or cabinet.  A container whose walls are lined with repeating layers of organic and inorganic material work fine for this to collect orgone in the inside of the container; a simple version of this can be made by taking multiple pieces of printer paper and tinfoil, putting one on top of the other in alternating layers with the paper as both the outermost and innermost layers, then gluing or taping it all together and making a box out of it.  An orb can be done in a similar way, but is difficult to make easily; you don’t need an orb to focus the orgone in the generator, since the generator simply collects it all inside anyway.  I use an orb in my MaGOS setup, but that’s for a different purpose; I’m using an orgone accelerator (which propels orgone in a particular direction) into a crystal field using the orb to redirect the energy in the field, so this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.  (Then again, with anything orgone-related, it’s hard to determine what people actually want out of it.)

“geomantic hours”  — The geomantic hours are a development of time division much like the planetary hours, where individual slices of time are assigned to the seven planets.  Similarly, previous geomancers have tried to form a similar system of time where one assigns individual geomantic figures to the hours, but I haven’t found this system to be of much use.  While the system of planetary hours is clean, orderly, and regular, the systems of geomantic hours (as I’ve read them) are either incredibly haphazard, significantly flawed, or corrupted from an original source.  Besides, I haven’t found much use for them that I wouldn’t simply use for the planetary hours and looking outside to see whether it’s daytime or nighttime.  If you’d like to read more, you might look up this post on timing with geomancy that mentions these hours.

“md caduceus symbol tattoo”  — If you’re going to be a doctor of medicine with the highest recognizable degree in the land to show it, you should know better than to use the Wand of Hermes (with two snakes and wings on the top) for your profession.  You want the asclepian, or the Staff of Asclepius, which has one snake and no wings.  You can see my tattoos, one of each, in this post from before.  The caduceus is for speed, messages, trickery, deceit, which is good for commercial health organizations who’re into that.  The asclepian is for health, healing, wholeness, and purity, which is good for doctors, nurses, medics, and anyone who actually helps people.  I would, however, suggest the caduceus in addition to the asclepian if you’re an ambulance driver, in an armed forces, or some sort of field medic where speed is of the essence, but this might be better for a talisman than a tattoo proper.

“lead pencil in orgonite” —  Technically, “lead pencils” use graphite, which is a form of more-or-less pure carbon.  Like lead and unlike some other sources of carbon, however, graphite is inorganic, serving as a metal when working with orgone technology.  The wood surrounding the graphite, as might be expected, is organic; technically the pencil itself can serve as a conductor for orgone due to its combination of organic and inorganic elements, though a weak one on its own.  Pencils have never contained lead, not now nor ever since their development as a tool of writing, but were thought to since graphite is visually similar to lead ore.  In a similar vein, orgonite has never been of use, not now nor ever since their development as glittery robot vomit, but were thought to since fluffy pseudoscientific new-agers want to “heal the earth” without doing any actual work of value.  The pencil is better off being used to fill out forms for helping out with third world countries or disaster victims than being wasted in resin and other trash.

They call me “Ol’ Snake-arms”

I like to consider myself a fairly responsible young male adult (whatever the fuck that means), generally speaking.  I mean, I graduated high school with top marks, went to a good university for computer science and engineering, got a respectable job with the federal government, and am progressing slowly in my quest for cosmic apotheosis and power.  I make a car payment and have finished paying the vast bulk of my nontrivial college loans in two years, and am generally doing well in the world.  Life is good, dear readers.

Of course, because I’ve been such a good student, son, colleague, and laborer, I’m taking a few more liberties with my life than I have before.  For instance, I got my first piercings (all three of them on my ears) about eleven months ago in late January last year, and got my first tattoo back in October.  Well, the thing about me is that I like balance, so I couldn’t just have the one tattoo on just my left arm, so I went ahead and got a second tattoo in a similar style done on my right.  A few weekends ago in November, I got the rod of the healer god Asclepius, the asclepian, on my right.

The caduceus (left forearm, two snakes with wings) is the wand of Hermes, and has its origins in the staves used by heralds in ancient Greece.  Mythologically, Hermes was given a golden wand as a magic implement and cowherding crook by Apollo as a symbol of their friendship, but was later merged with the symbol for heralds which was a staff with white ribbons tied on it.  Over time, the ribbons became snakes, wings were added to show Hermes’ divine nature, and the symbol eventually became the astronomical/astrological glyph for the planet Mercury.  The symbol generally refers to commerce, deception, trickery, language, trade, travel, and magic.

The asclepian (right forearm, one snake) is the staff of Asclepius, though its origins are debated.  Asclepius was the founder of medicine in Greek mythology, a son of Apollo, and had such skill that he was able to even revive the dead; since this was against the natural order of things, Zeus had him killed, but established him as the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, placed near Libra and Scorpio.  A special breed of non-poisonous snake associated with the god and was used in healing rituals, and also were allowed to live and breed in temples to Asclepius.  A related symbol is the nechushtan from Hebrew mythology, the bronzed serpent on a staff that Moses made at the Lord’s direction to heal the Israelites from poison while walking in the desert.

I wanted the tattoos to have a kind of art nouveau, art deco, hieroglyphic look, with the caduceus looking more arcane or stylized and the asclepian more natural and earthy.  The two were always designed as a pair, the caduceus on the left forearm and the aslcepian on the right, and were designed by one of my college friends.  The only modifications I really made to the designs were the size of them so that they’d fit proportionally, but the sun disk (dotted circle with hexagram) on the asclepian was a last-minute change I added myself to the design, since the asclepian looked a little off without it.  The sun disk more closely associates the symbol with the sphere of the Sun, since Apollo is the father of Asclepius, and gives the staff a more ethereal look that I can dig.

In healing the tattoos, I used two balms I made from beeswax, olive oil, and miscellaneous herbs.  I used herbs associated with Mercury for the caduceus, and herbs associated with the Sun for the asclepian.  I rubbed the balms into the tattoo as it was healing (after the initial peeling phase finished) while reciting the Orphic hymns to Hermes and Asclepius, respectively, and holding my planetary talismans of Mercury and the Sun.  I had them introduced to the angels governing those spheres and the gods associated with the symbols, as well, and both Hermes and Asclepius were highly pleased with the work.  They’ve both left a good imprint on my aura and astral self, which I’m totally okay with.  The caduceus has already been gone over once, and shouldn’t need touching up again for a good few years; I’m headed back to Wild Style in a few weeks to get the asclepian touched up, and maybe get something else done (another tattoo? another piercing?).

Also, it’s annoyingly common for people to mix up the two symbols: the asclepian is the proper symbol of medicine, seen on many ambulances, hospitals, and professional health organization logos, though the caduceus is also seen on many commercial health logos and healthcare products.  The caduceus is also used for American military medics, which is more a symbol of their speed of service than the kind of service they do.  Having these tattoos on my forearms is kinda helpful for correcting people; whenever people get them mixed up, I can now clothesline them with the proper arm.

Meditations on the Caduceus

From Wikipedia:

The caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. In Roman iconography it was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars, and thieves.

As a symbolic object it represents Hermes (or the Roman Mercury), and by extension trades, occupations or undertakings associated with the god. In later Antiquity the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury. Thus, through its use in astrology and alchemy, it has come to denote the elemental metal of the same name.

By extension of its association with Mercury and Hermes, the caduceus is also a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, two realms in which balanced exchange and reciprocity are recognized as ideals. This association is ancient, and consistent from the Classical period to modern times. The caduceus is also used as a symbol representing printing, again by extension of the attributes of Mercury (in this case associated with writing and eloquence).

The term kerukeion denoted any herald’s staff, not necessarily associated with Hermes in particular.

The Homeric hymn to Hermes relates how Hermes offered his lyre fashioned from a tortoise shell as compensation for the cattle he stole from his half brother Apollo. Apollo in return gave Hermes the caduceus as a gesture of friendship. The association with the serpent thus connects Hermes to Apollo, as later the serpent was associated with Asclepius, the “son of Apollo”. The association of Apollo with the serpent is a continuation of the older Indo-European dragon-slayer motif. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1913) pointed out that the serpent as an attribute of both Hermes and Asclepius is a variant of the “pre-historic semi-chthonic serpent hero known at Delphi as Python”, who in classical mythology is slain by Apollo.

One Greek myth of origin of the caduceus is part of the story of Tiresias, who found two snakes copulating and killed the female with his staff. Tiresias was immediately turned into a woman, and so remained until he was able to repeat the act with the male snake seven years later. This staff later came into the possession of the god Hermes, along with its transformative powers.

Another myth suggests that Hermes (or Mercury) saw two serpents entwined in mortal combat. Separating them with his wand he brought about peace between them, and as a result the wand with two serpents came to be seen as a sign of peace.

Caduceus

Hermes, more than any other role he’s known for, is the messenger of the gods.  He works under the authority of Zeus and the other Olympians to deliver messages, words, edicts, and decrees from on high to everywhere else in the cosmos.  Although most gods are thought of as kings, Hermes is explicitly not kingly at all.  Scepters and rods are seen as kingly implements used to rule, but Hermes wields the caduceus in his left hand.  His authority is taken from a higher being, and he’s simply operating under that authority, borrowing it as support instead of using his own authority to rely upon.  He directs with his right hand, doing the actual work of the gods manually, and channels his authority to do so from his left.  As such, Hermes never uses the caduceus as a simple walking stick, only ever holding it in his hands respectfully as a scepter.

The snakes and the wings on the caduceus make this staff quite unique, besides it being held by a god.  Birds and snakes are unusual creatures, able to rise between the worlds: birds fly in the skies, snakes slither on the ground, and both rest and roost in trees, a midpoint between them.  Wings represent the divine, celestial, and ouranic elements that Hermes deals with.   These deal with the words, the divine Logos, that Hermes is in charge of transmitting and communicating with the rest of the world.  These aren’t just simple messages to be relayed, however; Hermes is tasked with both leading the horse to water and making him drink.  On the other hand, the snakes represent the lively, terrestrial, chthonic elements.  These coiled serpents, twisted around the staff like a double-helixed strand of DNA, represent the basest of our natures, the actual inspiring work that soars upward to meet the divine nature coming downward to meet us halfway.  Both are needed to do the work and to form a tool that, much like the god himself, represents and travels between all levels of existence to do the bidding and will of the gods.

Hermes is a guide of spirits and souls, using the caduceus and the ever-present Word from Above to guide and instruct his followers.  The Word will always come, and the Word was always spoken and will always be spoken.  It’s up to Hermes to determine how that Word flows and communicates with the rest of the cosmos, who hears and what acts on that Word.  It’s the flow of this heavenly speech that Hermes is tasked with controlling, hence his job as god of language.  Words are what communicate ideas from person to person, as well as from above to below and below to above.  It’s what defines or frees concepts for us, limits or unties ideas, clarifies or darkens minds.  Hermes, as the god of words, can make words sharper or duller for us, and determine not only how words flow from one source but how a receiver of words takes them.

In that sense, the caduceus is not unlike a pen, with the wings representing ideas from above and the snakes representing the ink from below.  Ideas inform words that result in manifested reality, and just so does manifested reality create words to create new ideas.  As above, so below; from above to below, and to above from below.  Writing out one’s ideas is a way of clarifying those ideas, but it’s also a way of brainstorming new ideas from old words when done properly, and a way of getting lost in mazes of muddled meaning when done improperly.  Like Promethea’s snakes Mike and Mack, one is front, the other back; one is white, the other black; one is one, the other none.  The duality of words heard and spoken, flowing and blocked, understood and misunderstood have to work together in order to do work.

Where does the magician fit in?  Like Hermes, magicians are tasked with understanding their True Will, the Word for their ears alone, and carrying it out.  In order to do this, magicians must travel between worlds and between planes in order to clarify the Word they hear, and use their own words to bring their Word into effect.  The words we use define the reality we make.

A Real Caduceus

Hey, guys, have you heard that I’m on something of a Hermes/Mercurial kick lately?  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it anywhere, but working with the dude is kinda awesome.

I mentioned before that I hastily made a wand (cane, more like) for use in my work with Hermes, especially in being a psychopomp.  It was a simple walnut dowel that I had rubbed in with spirit oil and a Mercurial balm I originally made for my caduceus tattoo (olive oil, beeswax, and eight herbs associated with the sphere of Mercury) with some minor woodburning.  It was a really simple thing, and though it helped out for my first venture out in the graveyards, it was still a little too…well, boring for my tastes.  Besides, with it being unshod on the bottom, the staff could easily be damaged or harmed, and it didn’t look like anything special for a distance.  While mulling over ideas for elaborating it, I came up with a plan  and made the simple wand into something much more resembling a real caduceus, just omitting the real snakes and wings.

  • I woodburned four rings around the top and bottom of the staff, leading to eight rings total.
  • I got four yards of decorative cord twisted with gold thread, two each of white cord and black cord.  I drilled a hole near the top of the staff, threaded them through so that each cord had equal parts on both sides leading to four cords “emanating” from the staff.   These would act as the two snakes of the caduceus, one white and one black, one front and one back.
  • To keep the cords from fraying, I used a Fransiscan monk’s knot at the end of each cord, looping the cord back on itself four times and tying each knot around a (fake) gold ring.  The rings give the staff a bit of a flare, as well as link it to the khakkhara or shakujo, the monk’s staff used in East Asian Buddhism, as well as to the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha, who also plays a role as psychopomp and guide not unsimilar to Hermes.
  • I twisted the cords around the staff so that they each made four loops around in a double helix pattern, then “locked” them into place with four square knots.  This helped in keeping the cords managably short as well as giving the look of two snakes twisted around the staff, just as in the iconic caduceus.  And, just as in my tattoo, this leads to eight loops and eight knots total around the staff.
  • I took a small wooden sphere with a hole drilled out in the bottom to fit on the top of the staff to act as a knob handle as well as a finial for the caduceus.   Before I glued it on, I woodburned in a spherical form of a quadrupled Mercury symbol I had a brief insight of while thinking about the design, which on a 2D plane looks something like this:

    I adapted this to the sphere by connecting the crossbars on each of the legs from the circle and having the crescents meet up on the connected circle.  I also added four dots under the meeting tips of the crescents between the legs of the crosses, just for style.  If I were to draw it out on a 2D surface with the circle for the staff insert as the boundary circle for the symbol, it’d look like this:

    It looks pleasingly abstract, like something from Myst or Portal, which is appropriate in either case.
  • I got a brass cap, golden in color to match the cords and the rings, and put it on the butt of the staff to prevent damage to the wood.  Brass, being a mixture of metals, is perfect for mercurial work.
  • I rubbed in more of the Mercurial balm onto the light pine (?) handle after staining it a color closer to the walnut, as well as lightly rubbing in some oil I made specifically for Hermes himself (kinda like Alchemy Work’s Hermes Oil).  This was to help protect the wood as well as imbue the whole thing with magical force to help it better resonate with any Hermaic or Mercurial work I do.

Overall, I’m highly pleased with how this project turned out.  You’ll also notice that the number four keeps popping up, four being the divine number associated with Hermes, who was born on the fourth of the lunar month and also given the fourth day of the week, Wednesday.  This is half that of the magical number associated with the sphere of Mercury (8), but since this is more of a divine tool instead of a magical tool, it’s probably better to aim towards the smaller of the two numbers, even though they’re so closely intertwined anyway.

Now that the whole thing’s been finished, I plan on officially consecrating and dedicating it to Hermes and his service.   My idea is to present it to Hermes during his monthly devotion and officially dedicate it to him then, repeating the Homeric Hymns once and Orphic Hymns four times each day for four days.  After this, and if he’s amenable to it, I plan to conjure Raphael of Mercury and consecrate the staff under the powers of the sphere of Mercury for eight days as I would any other talisman or magical item.  This may not be needed, depending on how Hermes wants to work with the wand himself, but the magical consecration would help tie it in closer to Mercurial currents of power.

Psychopompery

As part of my work with Hermes, and as an exploration into a field of magic that I want to get into but am suggested to not delve into too deeply, I’m going to try my hand at being a psychopomp, or leader of souls.  It’s one of Hermes’ classic jobs, leading the souls of the departed to the afterlife (whichever it might be, depending on the soul in question), and it’s traditionally a skill belonging to necromancy.  However, priests and religious officials of all kinds usually involve themselves in some ways with the dead, and proper funerals have the effect of laying the dead to rest and sending their souls on their (maybe not quite) merry ways.   As a magician, I’ve got the nice benefit of working with the dead in some way, even if it’s just as another source of spiritual allies; however, not all spirits of the dead are suitable for forming allies or helpful in my own works, and it’s often just as good to send them onto the next part of their paths.

That’s where being a psychopomp comes in.  It’s something I want to learn, and despite having a good psychopomp friend, it’s hard to learn exactly how to do it.  My friend says that it’s as simple as pointing to a part of the astral realm and telling some wandering spirit “go that way”, but I have my doubts, at least for how I might accomplish it.  Hermes has suggested something probably a little more comfortable in a Hellenic standpoint: make a small feast to the dead (wine, red meat, honey, grains, sweets, incense, and the like) with some coins, and direct any spirits ready to cross over to the next place they should be.  To help with this, I made a simple cane out of a long walnut dowel and rubbed it with spirit oil and a Mercury balm I made (olive oil, beeswax, and eight herbs associated with the sphere of Mercury) to use as my own kind of caduceus-type wand; this will help me direct and guide spirits much as Hermes’ own caduceus leads others.  To act as a focus for directing the dead, Hermes gave me a sigil that he says can act as a portal-key to the afterlife, or at least a halfway-house where spirits can better get to their next destination.

Also, this was something I had been waiting for for a while to do, but Hermes wanted something special from me, first.  I had been planning to work with Hermes in a very close vein for a while, and decided on getting a caduceus tattoo on my left arm (the same hand Hermes carries his caduceus in).  A week and a half ago, I went to a fantastic little parlor (specifically by Tim at Wild Style, up in Glen Burnie near Baltimore, MD) and got my very first tattoo.  Hermes was buzzing for hours around me (though that could also have been me on my endorphin high), and with this gave his approval to work as a psychopomp.  This is why I originally made that balm of Mercury I mentioned above, to assist in the healing; using this with A&D ointment for a week with prayers to Raphael and Hermes is turning out fantastically for my tattoo.

So, with last night being Halloween, I got my gear out, got some offerings, and made the rounds to the local graveyards with a friend to act as a second pair of eyes.  I made offerings to the dead at each graveyard consisting of uncooked steak, fresh cheese, barley and oats, myrrh incense, dark wine, various sweets, old coins, a candle, and the like.  I praised their good natures, offered my laments and sympathies for their passing, and honored them for having the courage to have gone before.  Depending on the graveyard, this would also involve ritual walking, like circumambulation, around some focus or central monument.  After this, I called out to the spirits at each graveyard and asked if any were prepared to move on and out to the next world.

For those that came to the call, I constructed a portal in the astral using the sigil Hermes gave me, and guided the spirits to it.  Before guiding them through it, I made sure they had no business left that needed taking care of; if they were happy and ready to move on, I sent them through and shut the portal once all the spirits who wanted to leave did.  For those that didn’t come to the call but seemed pretty chill, I poured them a little extra wine, since they were obviously cool enough to deserve it and didn’t care to pass on and out.  As for the spirits that definitely weren’t at peace, I attempted my hand at some cautious placation with some rosewater and prayers.  I’ll try to make a trip to the local graveyards for a similar psychopomp trip monthly or bimonthly to catch up with the spirits and see if any more need guiding on, probably coinciding with my monthly Hermes adoration.

I didn’t use any specific prayer or words for this besides supplications to Hermes for help in working this, but having something ready would be helpful in the future.  For those working in an angelic or Christian current, you might find a little supplication I made useful (both in Latin and in English).  It relies on three angels associated with death in different ways: Azrael who delivers death’s touch itself, Raphael as the guide and leader (much as Hermes guides souls), and Auriel as guardian of the Gates of Paradise.

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti
Azrael tibi pacem perpetuum donet
Raphael te ad terminum tute ducat
Auriel te in Paradisum complectat
Ad gloriam piisimi Dei qui vivit et regnat per saecula saeculorum
Amen.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
may Azrael give you everlasting peace,
may Raphael lead you safely to the end,
may Auriel welcome you into Paradise,
for the glory of the holiest God who lives and reigns, forever and ever,
amen.