Planetary and Elemental Jewelry, also an Etsy shop!

Over the past few months, I’ve been rubbing shoulders with more practitioners of Santería and Palo Mayombe than I ever expected to, to my ever-increasing delight and education.  I was even invited to a San Lazaro party in December, which was fantastic (when the crowd chuckles and eggs on a 12-year-old girl getting possessed by a god instead of freaking out, you know you’re at a good party).  One of the things that indicates someone as an ATR practitioner, specifically Santeros and Santeras, is the eleke or collar, a type of beaded necklace or bracelet that marks a person as receiving the blessing and initiation into a particular orisha.  These aren’t usually fancy things; just a string of seed beads in alternating colors or specific patterns with specific colors.  For instance, the eleke of Orunmila, the orisha of divination and life path knowledge, is a string of alternating green and yellow beads; Yemaya, the orisha of the oceans and seas, has blue and white beads; and so forth.  Essentially, an eleke is a piece of consecrated jewelry made from a particular power’s colors.  If you’re still lost, do a search for “orisha eleke” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

That got me to thinking: why not make variants of elekes for my own work?  After all, beads come in many colors, and Hermetic magic (thanks to Qabbalah and the Golden Dawn) has a large and well-known set of colors for the planets, elements, signs of the Zodiac, and so forth.  So, for instance, why not make a bead necklace using orange and purple beads for Mercury, or green and amber for Venus?  Of course, since only Santería has elekes, these wouldn’t be the same nor would they be “fed” (consecrated) in the same way, so I’m calling them something else: carcanets, a French word meaning “necklace” or “choker”; the etymology of the word is unclear, but it may have a Germanic origin or a root in the Latin word carcer, meaning “prison” (which may sound familiar to the geomancers out there).  Carcanet is a sufficiently distinct term from a simple “necklace”, and I’m using it to describe these magical bead necklaces and bracelets.

To that end, I went ahead and made sets of carcanets for each of the seven planets and four elements using their planetary colors.  Of course, since bead-makers don’t make all the fine gradations of colors the Golden Dawn king and queen scales prescribe (nor could most eyes tell the differences, anyway), my choices were slightly limited, but I think they turned out pretty well.  Since then, my beading skills have improved, and I’ve moved onto making chaplets and rosaries, but carcanets are definitely among the most ritual-oriented wear I’ve made yet.

I made two forms of carcanets for each planet: a simple carcanet consisting of alternating colors (king and queen scales) of that particular planet, and a grand carcanet that consists of a specific bead pattern (corresponding to the number of that planet in Qabbalah) with extra gemstone beads in appropriate colors.  The elements have only simple carcanets, which use the flashing colors of the Golden Dawn.  Each force and type of carcanet has a necklace and two bracelets, forming a three-piece set.  I’ll consecrate them under their respective angels in my upcoming conjurations, using the grand carcanets for ritual wear (in addition to or in lieu of sashes, girdles, stoles, etc. for a particular force) and using the simple carcanets for daily wear and on-the-go rituals.  Essentially, carcanets would be another style of talisman that wouldn’t be as obtrusive as yet another pendant or as expensive as having a custom-made ring.

Making them isn’t that hard, and since it wouldn’t be hard for me to turn them out for others, I’ve decided to take commissions especially for carcanets.  More importantly, you can commission them easily at my recently-opened Etsy shop!  Yes, I finally took the plunge and opened up an Etsy page, where you can instantly buy my ebooks as well as buy crafts from me, such as these carcanets as well as some of my woodwork (Tables of Practice especially).

A few notes:

  • The Seven Planets and Four Elements carcanets are only available as necklaces and cannot be combined as a set with wrist carcanets.
  • The elemental carcanets, Seven Planets carcanet, and Four Elements carcanet are only available as simple carcanets.
  • Carcanets will include consecration and maintenance instructions included with the package.  However, since I know some people would rather others handle ritual and consecration, I’ll offer to consecrate your chosen carcanets for an extra $20 (both simple and grand carcanets).  Due to the extra work involved, the Seven Planets and Four Elements carcanets will be $40 to consecrate.  Requesting consecration may delay shipping by up to seven weeks in addition to crafting time, depending on the force requested.  Look at the styles on my Etsy page, figure out which one you want and the cost, then contact me directly and we’ll work it out over PayPal instead of Etsy.
  • Carcanets are not proper elekes and are not to be confused with them, nor do they have any association with the orishas or practice of Santería, nor do I have any experience with or initiation into Santería.  Just sayin’.  These things are their own things.

As always, if you’re interested in any other commissions, contact me and we’ll work things out over email and PayPal.  Until then, enjoy the convenience of Etsy, especially now that I’ve updated my own business cards!  Also, note that I’ve now taken down my ebooks from the Services page, since they’re now more easily available through Etsy.

The Role of the Magician

Recently, I made a Table of Practice for a new magician; this isn’t that uncommon a thing, and I do enjoy making them (and for a pretty economical price, hint hint).  For this specific Table, he requested I add the symbols of the 12 signs of the Zodiac on the outside bevel, much as I made one for my sister a ways back.  For comparison, the one for my sister turned out like this:

Table of Practice

And for the dude who recently commissioned me, the Table turned out like this (his photo):

Table of Practice with Clockwise Zodiac

The two Tables are essentially identical (the one for the recent commission has Tetragrammaton around the triangle, but that’s basically it), but the big issue here is the orientation of the Zodiac signs.  For some bizarre reason, I unthinkingly drew the signs of the Zodiac onto this recently-commissioned Table clockwise instead of counterclockwise.  The counterclockwise depiction is the most common, since it represents the view of the ecliptical Zodiac constellations from our point of view down here on Earth; so, for instance, if you look up into the night sky when Aries is at the midheaven, Pisces will be on the right of Aries and Taurus will be on the left.  I’ve made several Tables with this pattern, but this recent commission is the only one I’ve goofed on.  It’s weird, and I’m both embarrassed and confused at how this happened.  That said, for some reason it also doesn’t strike me as “wrong”, despite the weird orientation of it.

Now, I don’t want the rest of this to sound like some justification for my design mistake, but the orientation of the Zodiac here led me to some thoughts on the role of the magician or conjurer in a conjuration.  Consider that if we as humans view the Zodiac as going in a counterclockwise direction around the celestial sphere, then having them situated clockwise indicates that we’re viewing the Zodiac from the other side.  The Zodiac is part of the eighth sphere, the sphere of the fixed stars, and the only thing higher than the eighth sphere is the ninth, the sphere of the Prime Mover, also referred to as Kether or God.  By using a Table where the Zodiac is present in a clockwise pattern, we’re essentially viewing the spirits positioned within the Table from the same viewpoint that God perceives the cosmos and all within it.  And that’s where this gets interesting.

What do we, as conjurers and magicians and magi, do?  We take our divine birthright as children of the Most High and join with him in the ever-continuing act of creation of the cosmos.  We ask for the blessing of God to do what is Right and to enact our True Wills, thereby rejoining God in his infinite Grace.  We step into the role as agents of the Divine, of the Most Divine, to work with the spirits who are our relatives, who are our brothers and sisters from the same Source, and who endeavor to aid us as they aid the Divine themselves.  We, essentially, become a consciously direct extension of God and join with God.  I’m going to stop this little poetic waxing short of saying “we become God”, because we already are essentially part of the Prime Mover down in this little ass-end of the cosmos, but we come closest to it consciously when we do our Work.

There are points when working with the spirits simply does not work; as Fr. Rufus Opus has said, the general idea is “move  this or move me”, where either a thing desired is changed or made in the world or where we ourselves are changed if nothing else can be changed.  God, clearly, can change everything, since that’s pretty much his thing; nothing disobeys God, since everything is a part of God and works as part of the One, the cohesive Whole.  But, that said, by moving ourselves, we partake in that same action, and bring ourselves closer to becoming what we need to Be and do what we need to Do; in these cases, we bring ourselves closer to attaining and carrying out our True Wills.  This is also the same in all other instances when working with the spirits gets us results in the external world.

Being a magician can be a scary thing.  It puts you in control, and therefore gives you responsibility, over your life, your station in life, and what happens in your life.  These all have their own caveats and asterisks and conditions, of course, but generally speaking, being a magician raises you to the point of Divinity.  In that sense, why shouldn’t we view the cosmos as the Divine would?  Isn’t that the whole point?  Isn’t attaining Kether and bringing more Light down here the objective of working with Hermetic Qabbalah?  Isn’t purifying and rarefying ourselves the end goal of the Great Work?  Isn’t understanding things as they are without human ignorance clouding them the result of fulfilling the Oath of the Abyss?  Isn’t attaining eventual power, reunion, unity with the Divine the point of all this crap we’re doing?

Maybe drawing on the Zodiac backwards wasn’t that bad an idea from a philosophical standpoint, after all.  I certainly didn’t have it, but then, where do all Ideas come from, anyway?

On Kinetic Meditation, or DIY You Lazy Bastards

As some of my readers have noticed, I’ve begun taking commissions for designs and tools over on my Services page.  This is a fantastic opportunity for me, since it helps get me a small cash flow on the side while getting more experience in crafting, and it also helps various occultists and magicians across the globe get tools and supplies they need for their work from these oh-so-learned hands of mine.  However, in starting this, I have learned a few lessons that aren’t that fun: it’s hard to balance commissions with other work and Work going on, and it also brings up the issue of buyer responsibility to both me and themselves.  That latter one is something that’s been gnawing on me as of late, and I’m going to basically institute a new rule for myself on taking commissions.

(Don’t worry; if you’ve already gotten a commission from me, I’m still going to complete it.  All orders already made will be honored, of course, but

So, Fr. Rufus Opus has this idea called “kinetic meditation”, where one does a particular activity as a kind of magical or contemplative act by itself.  In performing that act, one syncs or aligns one’s sphere with that particular activity.  What we might call kinetic meditation in magic might be better described as, well, “practice” in anything more physical or tangible: sports, engineering, cooking, whatever.  In other words, by actually doing the thing, you not only become better at it but start incorporating it into yourself and thinking processes.  A well-trained chef, for instance, can whip up a complex dinner with minimal planning because he intuitively understands what goes together and how to prepare it without much thought, relying on shortcuts and drawn-out procedures alike as needed.  A pro soccer player doesn’t have to plan every action out or check with his teammates; he acts instinctively, reacting as well as and at the same time as acting on the field.   A competent programmer doesn’t always need an API and syntax guide open for a given program, but spews out code that works and works well as if he were writing a Facebook message to his good friends.  This sort of practice builds muscle memory, reflexes, split-second thinking, and a deep intuitive understanding of how things work.  It’s not easy, sure, but it makes things easier given enough time and practice.

Magic and meditation, on the other hand, is far more a mental and spiritual process, and to perform kinetic meditation with this stuff requires something physical.  RO gives examples such as actually drawing out the complete Circle of Art from the Lemegeton Goetia, or drawing by hand the lamens used in conjuration of the angels.  I might suggest (and one which timed up perfectly with my getting my acceptance letter into RO’s classes back in 2011) getting a compass, straightedge, and coloring pencils and drawing out the Tree of Life based on its mathematical properties.  Performing calligraphy with the names of God, singing barbarous words of power, drinking herbal infusions of specific plants to see their effects on the body, all that can be considered kinetic meditation in some way or another.  All this has the effect of helping the magician intuitively and automatically understanding the designs, words, incantations, processes, and supplies used in our ritual.  For magic and meditation, kinetic meditation is the process of aligning ourselves with our Work, and is crucial for any significant level of success.

For me, the process of kinetic meditation started from day 0, when I first saw the Table of Practice design to use.  I studied the design, memorized the components of it, practiced visualizing the Table in my mind until I could hold it indefinitely, learned the Celestial Hebrew script so I could write out the names of the planetary angels, and drew it out many times on scrap pieces of paper for practice.  Later, I got on Adobe Illustrator and produced my own version, after having understood the components and purpose of it and after having studied other associations I could augment or modify it with.  Then I practiced drawing that out, then I got the supplies together and made my own official wooden Table of Practice, which I’ve been using ever since.  Similarly, I did the same with the lamens of the planetary angels, memorizing each one’s sigil and name and how to spell or draw them out, I visualized them with colors, I memorized and intoned the names of God around the lamens, and so forth; then I printed them out, prettied them up, and have used them ever since.  I did the same with my Circle of Art, my Wand(s), and everything else.  It’s exceedingly and increasingly rare for me to just up and use a particular tool nowadays that I haven’t already analyzed, understood, and integrated into my own sphere.

In other words, if I can’t manage a replica of the thing astrally both in form and function down to the minutest detail, and draw it out or make it from memory (with minimal memory refreshing), I don’t consider myself ready to use it yet physically.

Now, that’s what I consider appropriate learning and education in tools in magic.  And yet, here I am offering to make these same tools for others, depriving them of the same joys and frustrations I had, and of all the kinetic meditation I did, that they might be able to have all for themselves with an equal (and minimal) amount of work.  So, here’s the deal from here on out.  If you want set up a commission for a tool, email/pay me and let me know as you already would and do.  I probably won’t turn you down unless I’m busy for the time being or unless I think it’s a terrible idea, for anyone involved.  However, you better know what it is you’re asking for and you better be able to at least conceptually have it ready for yourself in your mind’s eye and astral form.  Don’t get a commission from me because you want “someone who knows what they’re doing” or “someone initiated to do it for me”.  I know what I’m doing because I did the work for myself, not because I had someone else do it for me.  All the initiations I’ve gone through are from the spirits themselves, and they’re all for you as well if you ask and are ready for them, and if you’re not initiated for something you need, you don’t need it anyway.  Ask for a commission if you honestly are unable or don’t have the resources for something, or if you lack the crafting skills to make something you otherwise comprehend and understand for a quality piece of work.

Caveat emptor, my readers.  My tools are not meant for those who want to make things easy on themselves.  My tools are meant for those who want to make their work go farther and harder.

Occult Services and Commissions are Available!

It’s been a ways in coming, but I’ve finally decided to start offering ebooks, occult services, and commissions through the Digital Ambler.  Yes, you read that right: I’m now offering divination readings, ritual services, consultations, and commissions for crafts and designs, which you can pay for through PayPal over on the new Services page.  Some things are once-off payments, like divination readings or consultations, which can be paid for immediately.  Other things, such as tool crafting or design work, go by the hour and will start after we talk about needs, requirements, and the like; an invoice will be sent once the work is complete.  If you have any questions about these polyphanic services, feel free to email me (polyphanes at gmail) and I’ll try to advise as necessary.  Eventually, I’ll write more ebooks or coursework for the interested practitioner, but I’ll keep that in reserve for now; for now, I’ve written my first ebook “De Grammatomanteia”, a thorough treatment of Greek grammatomancy from a Hermetic perspective involving astrology, qabbalah, and numerology, available for $10 as a PDF.

You also may have noticed, dear reader, that you can now donate to the Digital Ambler through PayPal using the button on the right.  It’s completely up to you whether or how much you donate, or whether you take me up on my services and offerings, but even small amounts help loads (I suggest a simple $5).  If you donate or buy something off my Amazon wishlist, I promise to put in a good word for you and give you a shoutout on my blog for being so awesome and generous.

I write a lot for this blog because I want to, and because it helps get me to do the Work and get my Work out into the world.  I think it’s a good thing to show how my styles of magic and magical living can be done for others, not to mention showcase my own thoughts and rants.  Information, after all, wants to flow and be free.  Still, writing this blog takes up a nontrivial amount of time and effort; the Work is still work that requires resources and research; balancing my occult and mystical Work and studies with my federal and engineering work and errands is no easy task.  With a little help from my generous readers through commissions  consultations, or donations, I could get more Work done, get better tools for better crafting, procure more books and supplies to expand my project scopes, host my own blog independently, move to a better and quieter apartment, and the like.   Every little bit counts, and I hope to make those little bits count for a lot through my Work.

By the by, for you dear readers who signed up for a ritual experiment through Facebook or Twitter but haven’t heard back from me yet about that, I promise you I haven’t forgotten about it.  Things’ve been a lil’ hectic as of late and the project is on hold for now, but I’ll keep you posted of any progress or updates in the future.