Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration: The Pedestal in all its Churchy and Grimoiric Flavors

Where were we?  We’re in the middle of discussing the early modern conjuration ritual The Art of Drawing Spirits Into Crystals (DSIC), attributed to the good abbot of Spanheim, Johannes Trithemius, but which was more likely invented or plagiarized from another more recent source by Francis Barrett in his 1801 work The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer.  Many who are familiar with it either read it directly from Esoteric Archives, came by it through Fr. Rufus Opus (Fr. RO) in either his Red Work series of courses (RWC) or his book Seven Spheres (SS), or came by it through Fr. Ashen Chassan in his book Gateways Through Stone and Circle (Fr. AC and GTSC, respectively).  I’ve been reviewing the tools, techniques, and technology of DSIC for my own purposes as well as to ascertain the general use and style used by other magician in the real world today, and right now, we’re in the middle of focusing on the Table of Practice and how DSIC instructs the table and pedestal to be made.  Last time, we began our investigation by introducing what the Table of Practice generally is, introducing ourselves to DSIC, and talked about the overall form and need for the crystal and which stands on the table.  If you need a refresher, go read the last post!

So we have this crystal ball, and according to the instructions in DSIC:

Procure of a lapidary good clear pellucid crystal, of the bigness of a small orange, i.e. about one inch and a half in diameter; let it be globular or round each way alike; then, when you have got this crystal, fair and clear, without any clouds or specks, get a small plate of pure gold to encompass the crystal round one half; let this be fitted on an ivory or ebony pedestal, as you may see more fully described in the drawing, [figure 1]. Let there be engraved a circle (A) round the crystal with these characters around inside the circle next the crystal:

afterwards the name “Tetragrammaton“. On the other side of the plate let there be engraven “Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael;” which are the four principal angels ruling over the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury;

This is backed up with the accompanying illustration from DSIC:

We have this crystal, we have a design for it, and we have a description for it, too.  We need to set it in a gold plate “round one half”, but that phrase is a little odd to read and interpret.  This may be interpreted to mean either to set the crystal ball halfway through the plate, such that it sticks out equally from both sides, or that the crystal must be put into a depression on the plate such that the crystal sticks out visibly from one half and is covered by gold on the other.  I’ve only ever seen this latter interpretation discussed twice, once by I forget by whom; doing so would make the crystal look completely gold from the front, and the pure gold backing (if polished and smooth enough) would turn the crystal into a spherical (almost parabolic) mirror of sorts.  This could certainly be the case, and it’s not like mirrors aren’t used in conjuration as a scrying medium, but I’ve only seen one person provide that sort of explanation, and I’ve never seen an example of anyone actually using it.  The other place is Fr. RO himself in his Modern Angelic Grimoire which forms part of RWC, where he describes this as (emphasis in my bold text):

The Crystal used in the Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals was a clear crystal ball an inch and a half in diameter, with a special gold plate covering the bottom half of it. On the gold plate, a Star of David with a Yod in it, a pentagram, a Maltese cross, and Tetragrammaton were engraved. On the other side of the plate, the names Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel were engraved. The side with the symbols was placed against the crystal, and then the gold plate was mounted to a pedestal of ebony or ivory. I’m assuming the plate was molded to the shape of the crystal.

However, that said, the more common (by far) interpretation, which makes more sense to me and which is more popular, is the former: use a thin plate of gold, make a hole in the plate, and set the crystal into the hole such that it’s visible from both sides.

Either way, we must set the plate into a pedestal made of either ivory or ebony; alternatively, from a practical point of view, we set the crystal directly into the pedestal, and then place one gold plate with a hole in the middle around the crystal on the front of the pedestal, and another on the reverse. Either works, so long as the final result looks the same; we want the gold to be visible from both sides of the pedestal, which necessitates it either a large circle cut out from the pedestal for the gold plate and crystal to fit into, or the crystal put into a hole in the wood on a recessed surface and gold being put on either side. The former would be ideal. Why do we need to have the plate, or at least some gold surface, visible from both sides? Because there are inscriptions to be made on the plate on both sides, and it doesn’t make sense for there to be just one plate tacked onto the wood with half the inscriptions visible and the other half hidden by the wood.

How big should the plate be? Based on the image given in DSIC, it doesn’t look all that big compared to the crystal. If the crystal is about 1.5″ in diameter, then using that very image from DSIC as a guide, the plate should be about 2.32″ in diameter, giving us a space of about 0.4″ to write within on the band produced by the plate with the crystal in the middle; this is not a big space. That would make the whole ebony/ivory board into which the plate itself is set something like 3.3″ wide total, and like 5″ tall or so.  Fr. AC’s pedestals, it would seem, are far bigger than what would be recommended according to DSIC; he also appears (just based on general photos without any clear frame of reference besides guessing) to use a larger-sized crystal (despite what he said about the benefits of it being small in the last post) with a bit more ebony wood on all sides of the plate.

(EDIT 2019-08-20: In a private message to me, Fr. AC confirmed that the crystals he uses in every ebony pedestal he makes are 1.5″ in diameter.  I’ve never seen his tools in person, so it could be that the pictures in which he shows them makes me think they’re larger than they are.  So my assumption about them being larger in what he makes is wrong, and I appreciate his correction!)

On one side of the gold plate (or on the gold plate on one side of the pedestal, depending on how you interpret it) should be written the names of the four archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel; interestingly, although Uriel is almost never given to rule over planets, DSIC says that Uriel rules over Venus, though in the table of planetary hours and presiding angels at the end of DSIC, we see Anael instead. I think the ascription of Uriel to Venus, even if interesting, is almost certainly a mistake if not a once-off departure from the usual associations we see of either Uriel or of Venus.

Now, there’s already a problem here; the text says to engrave the names Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael (presumably in that order), while the image from DSIC gives the order (clockwise, starting from the top) Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. I personally like the order given in the image better; this puts Raphael opposing Michael and Gabriel opposing Uriel, which makes elemental sense. If we start at the top of the ring and consider it to be East, then we have it arranged such that Michael of Fire associated with the East (cardinal sign of Fire Aries) and Raphael of Air with the West (Libra) make one axis, while Gabriel of Water with the North (Cancer) and Uriel of Earth with the South (Capricorn) make the other axis; this is shown as the first of three options in the next set of designs. The only issue with this is, if we write the names clockwise around the circle (as indicated by the image in DSIC), this puts Gabriel on the right and Uriel on the left, which makes the angelic directions go counterclockwise. I’m not pleased by that, honestly, but it’s what the image explicitly shows, and I’m willing to trust it for this. If we were to keep a clockwise motion here, we’d have Uriel on the right and Gabriel on the left. Either way, they’re on the same axis, so their elemental relationship is still preserved. Besides, if this plate is facing away from the conjurer, then the directions would still match what we’d expect, with Gabriel then aligned towards the North and Uriel to the South, so it’d still work. We’d just need to face this side away from us when it’s put on the table, and since there’s nothing actually saying how to align the pedestal, this should be fine.

Now, on the other hand, if we take the other order and start with Michael at the right point, then we get (starting from the top) Raphael at the top, Michael at the right, Gabriel at the bottom, and Uriel at the left, which gets us the East-Air Fire-South Water-West Earth-North attribution that’s so common in later occult works (option #2 below). Either works, I suppose, but I prefer the former choice, as it lines up better with the elemental-direction association I use based on cosmic directions of the signs of the Zodiac, and which is already used by Cornelius Agrippa in his Scale of Four (book II, chapter 7). GTSC, however, uses the latter choice of Michael-South, but keeping Michael at the top of the ring (option #3 below).

Personally, I don’t see that big an issue with choosing any one of these options, or another option, so long as you have the names of the four archangels on this side of the gold plate and have them arranged in a way that makes sense to you.

But what about the other side? Since no depiction is given in DSIC, we have to interpret what is specifically meant by:

Let there be engraved a circle round the crystal with these characters around inside the circle next the crystal:

afterwards the name “Tetragrammaton“.

I can see two possible interpretations of this, based on how one wants to interpret the meaning of the word “afterwards”:

  1. We inscribe the hexagram with central Yod, the pentagram, and the cross around the crystal in one “ring”, then the name “Tetragrammaton” around the symbols in a second “ring”.
  2. We inscribe the hexagram with central Yod, the pentagram, the cross, and the name “Tetragrammaton” around the symbols in the same ring.

First, note that the first symbol is one I’m describing as a “hexagram with a central Yod”, referring to the mark made in the center of the hexagram.  Following Fr. RO’s reading, I’m interpreting this as the Hebrew letter Yod, the tenth letter of the Hebrew script, which Agrippa explicitly states is the single-letter name of God (book II, chapter 4), and itself has the numerological value of 10.  This makes sense to me, although DSIC never clearly states what this mark actually is.  Fr. AC in GSTC interprets it as a Daleth, the fourth letter of the Hebrew script, which can represent the four-lettered name of God YHVH, as well as “door”, as in a gate by which spirits may traverse or communicate.  I personally don’t find Fr. AC’s interpretation convincing, but I can see why he might read this as a Daleth and not a Yod, given the lack of clarity in the DSIC illustrations.

What about the name Tetragrammaton? This is a commonly-encountered divine name of God used in plenty of occult works both past and present, and it literally means “[word of] four letters”, referring to the name of God in Judaism, YHVH. Personally, I don’t much like using “Tetragrammaton”, because it seems to me like a euphemism to be used instead of the actual name (like the Hebrew haShem, literally “the Name”, to refer to God and his name indirectly); I’d rather write outיהוה than “Tetragrammaton”. However, I can’t deny that the actual word “Tetragrammaton” is used in other occult texts, and its presence on the wand in DSIC suggests that, no, DSIC really means “Tetragrammaton”. Okay, I guess.

Option #1 seems unlikely, given that the specific phrasing of the design suggests an order, and moreover the narrowness of the ring doesn’t lend itself well to multiple rings. as a variant of option #2, we can split the word “Tetragrammaton” up into three parts (“Tetra”, “Gramma”, “Ton”) and intersperse these three parts between the three symbols: “Tetra” between the hexagram and pentagram, “Gramma” between the pentagram and cross, and “Ton” between the cross and hexagram. Splitting up the word “Tetragrammaton” is seen in other grimoires, after all, and the effect is rather pleasing.

Given the spatial appearance of the plate of gold from the DSIC illustration, we don’t have a lot of space between the crystal and the edge of the gold plate, and we probably don’t want to make the engraving too small, instead keeping it at the same size of font. This is probably the most reasonable case to be made for selecting option #2 as what was most likely meant by DSIC for this side of the gold plate—though, personally speaking, I like the variant of option #2 better, with “Tetragrammaton” interspersed between the symbols. Indeed, this is the very choice that Fr. Ashen Chassan takes in GTSC, though he puts “TETRA” on the left between the cross and hexgram with central Yod, “GRAMMA” on the right between the hexagram with central Yod and pentagram, and “TON” on the bottom between the pentagram and cross, as he showed in a detail on his Facebook page.

However, GTSC also brings up a different design choice altogether when it describes the gold plate: the book says that the two sides of the plate could (or should? it’s unclear from how Fr. Ashen Chassan phrases it) be one side, with the three symbols and Tetragrammaton on the inside closer to the crystal and the four angel names on the outside of the gold plate, as this would “feature the names ‘inside and outside’, not ‘forward and behind'”, which…doesn’t really follow from reading DSIC, which clearly states “on the other side of the plate”. From what this description implies, and using my options #2 and #3 from above for the symbol side as well as the Michael-East angel ring layout, we’d end up with these as potential designs for the single-sided gold plate, if we just wanted to engrave one side of it.

I don’t like either of these at all, to be honest, on top of the fact that I can’t imagine that this is what DSIC is actually suggesting we use, just how the symbol ring option #1 above doesn’t seem likely, and on top of the bit we discussed about the specific placement of angels on the disc to matches up with the direction when facing the reverse side of the pedestal.  But these could be considered options if you wanted to just go with a one-sided plate or if you were using some other kind of pedestal that, for some reason, didn’t have the option of engraving two sides.

As for the overall shape of the pedestal itself, which Fr. AC matches petty closely, the DSIC illustration just shows a…something like a schoolhouse-silhouette-like board, cut out with a little lozenge at the top. Getting the lozenge to be that fine of a point at its bottom while still being anchored to the rest of the board is perilous, so I don’t think it could be that narrow without it being too easily knocked off, but alright, whatever. Above the crystal and plate is engraved another hexagram with another Yod in it, at least on the side of the names of the four angels; there’s nothing showing us what, if anything, should be engraved on the other side.

I also want to point out that DSIC says that the pedestal may be made out of either ebony or ivory; the text treats them as functionally equivalent for this purpose.  Although Fr. AC mentions what DSIC says here about the choice, he only ever considers ebony in GTSC.  For all its difficulty to come by and its expensive nature, ivory is even harder and more difficult to come by, and at greater cost.  For ethical reasons, I can’t really recommend getting ivory to be used for such a pedestal.  However, if you have ethically-sourced ivory of enough stability and quality to use, you could use it if you want.  Ebony matches the use of the wand (which we’ll cover later), but ivory would work as well.

Interestingly, although Fr. AC makes these pedestal with a leg and foot for it to stand higher up (see the picture higher up in the post of one of his creations), that’s not actually depicted here; whether that was considered extra or just an oversight just isn’t known. A simple board doesn’t seem able to support itself very well, so it might be that something would be needed to properly support this pedestal on the table itself, whether some sort of anchor or support or weight; a leg does seem appropriate and necessary. Plus, if we do include a leg for the pedestal, as pointed out to me by my good bromancer Pallas Renatus a few years back, then the pedestal for the crystal and gold plate begins to bear a strong visual similarity to the ostensorium, also known as a monstrance, a vessel used in Catholic and Anglican churches to hold and display the consecrated Eucharistic Host or of other holy relics. In that light, having such a pedestal with a leg makes perfect sense, with the crystal taking the place of the Host, the gold plate taking the place of the sunburst so common in monstrances, and the lozenge at the top taking the place of the surmounting cross or crucifix.

Heck, some monstrances even take the shape of miniature churches or cathedrals themselves, which have the same rough outline as the schoolhouse-silhouette from DSIC:

GTSC mentions that there’s another text, Occult Spells: A Nineteenth Century Grimoire compiled by Frederick Hockley. This text describes a similar device to the DSIC pedestal, though which uses a consecrated beryl, “a kind of chrystal that hath a weak Tincture of red”, i.e. a red emerald, though other magicians may use “a chrystal sphere or mineral pearl for the purpose which is inspected by a boy or sometimes by the querent himself”. Hockley goes on to say that “[this] Beryll is a Perfect Sphere, the diameter I guess to be something more than an inch, it is set in a ring or circle of silver resembling the Meridian of a Globe, the stem of it is about 10 inches high all gilt at the 4 quarters of it and the names of the 4 angels viz, Uriel, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael on the top is a cross patee”. Though not identical to the DSIC apparatus, it is strikingly similar, and gives another idea for some to work with. This still retains the loose idea of a monstrance, too, just of the round sunburst style instead of the cathedral- or church-shaped style that’s implied by DSIC, and might even be closer given its simpler nature and the inclusion of the cross on top.  And remember how we pointed out last time that Agrippa considers both quartz crystal and beryl to be watery materials (book I, chapter 7)!

Since Hockley’s text postdates that of The Magus, I think that this form might well be a derivative or alternative form of what’s presented in DSIC.  As a result, we end up having two forms of the pedestal to play with: the church-shaped monstrance style from DSIC proper, and this sunburst-shaped monstrance style from Occult Spells; fundamentally, it’s the same thing, something to hold aloft the crystal above the table, and the only real difference is the general shape of the ebony or ivory material that supports the plate and crystal. I can’t, however, explain the presence of the hexagram with the central Yod inside from the DSIC image, however, and it’s not mentioned in the text itself. We do know that the DSIC images love to use hexagrams, though; they’re on the wand, circle, lamen, and in the ring of gold itself around the crystal, and DSIC does make repeated use of this hexagram-with-central-Yod design that I don’t really see elsewhere outside DSIC. GTSC uses this symbol on both the front and back of the pedestal, but there’s nothing saying anything about it being on either side, just the depiction of it on the side of the pedestal with the names of the angels (which, as I argued above, would probably be facing away from the magician).

I don’t particularly think much of this, honestly; include it if you want, if you have space on the pedestal above the crystal, at least on the side of the angel names, but if you don’t, I don’t think it’s that much of a loss if you were to omit it or didn’t have space for it. I assume that, if it was actually vital to the device, the text would have said something about it like it does the other symbols and the names. Plus, the symbol is already present on the ring with “Tetragrammaton” on it, so duplicating it again on the same object could just be unnecessary and used as a stylistic thing (and I see some authors like Donald Tyson and Fr. AC argue that duplication is probably a mistake in some of these contexts related to DSIC tool design).  I can’t say for certain, but I don’t think it’s that necessary for the apparatus as a whole to have this stylized hexagram present on the actual pedestal itself outside of the gold plate that holds the crystal.  To my eyes, it’s just an added mark of holiness, perhaps used to fill the otherwise empty space above the crystal so as to use more ebony and give it a more churchy-monstrance look, but I don’t think it’s much more than that.

However, let’s be honest: the construction of the pedestal is nontrivial, and not everyone can make the thing to DSIC spec.  Something Fr. AC notes in GTSC is that John Dee (of Elizabethan and Enochiana fame, of course) “utilized a similar crystal device with a gold band wrapping the stone with a gold cross on top”, and that if the pedestal option seems too difficult, this might well (but not necessarily) suffice.  We have a design from Dee’s original journals of such a design, with the crystal inside a band on some sort of four-footed stand:

Not only does the cross on top give this sort of depiction a monstrancy-kind of flavor, it also ties it visually with the crystal stand present in Hockley’s text above.  After all, whether the crystal is surrounded by a plate of gold or a band of gold, it’s still surrounded by gold, either way, and it’s still doing the same fundamental thing as the stand in DSIC!  This idea for using a band of fold was used by Fr. FC of the Faith From Causation blog for preparing the crystal for their DSIC implementation.  Though they originally started with no housing or encasement for the crystal, they realized that the pedestal or something of the like was important, but instead of the pedestal itself, opted for a gold band to go around the crystal (in their case, made of gold foil paper).  In their writeup of the Trithemian tools, they put the divine names and symbols on the inside of the ring and the four angels on the outside.

This is an appealing substitution, I have to admit, since as Fr. FC states, “some sort of housing can block glare from the candles”.  Personally, if I were to go this route, I’d put the angels on the inside (being “behind” the band) and the divine names and symbols on the outside to match what I described about the orientation of the pedestal above.  Plus, it’d put the angels literally on the crystal, and since the whole point of the ritual is to conjure angels into crystals, it seems like it makes more sense that way to me.  Of course, instead of taking this route, one might use another band like this to act as a stand itself; imagine a cardboard tube (like that used for toilet paper) stood up on its end, with “Tetragrammaton” and the three symbols written on the outside and the four angels written on the outside, and you could have another more-or-less viable substitution for the pedestal—though at the expense of having anything going “around” the crystal itself in space.  It’s another option to consider, at least.

And that’s if you want to have the pedestal at all.  After all, many people who use DSIC (especially in the Fr. RO RWC/SS method) don’t use any sort of pedestal, angelic names, or the like at all: they just plop the crystal right on the table.  Though doing so goes against DSIC’s instructions to use a pedestal with sacred names and symbols and the like, countless people have still gotten abundantly useful results (myself included).  Taking this approach, however, typically involves some changes in how the different bits of equipment are designed and constructed.  This includes making possible changes to the table, and we’ll begin getting into the design of that next time.

Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration: Plenty to Say, so Let’s Start with the Crystal

I do take it as something of a badge of honor that Fr. Rufus Opus (or, to save keystrokes, of which there are many coming up, Fr. RO, and don’t worry, there are yet even more abbreviations to come here) claims that I’m one of the inheritors to his old Red Work courses, as he said recently on his Facebook page:

Sam Block is one of the few I’ve officially endorsed to carry on the Red Work series of Courses, one of my favorite people, and a presence in some of my favorite memories. Also introduced me to Hendrick’s. Good stuff.

I don’t talk a lot about the student-teacher thing, I think it’s pedantic. Literally patronizing, so yuck.

But I’ve learned so much from my so-called students over the years, and Sam is one of the ones at the top of the list of people who taught me as much or more than I ever showed them in my bumbling excitement.

Talk to the man some time. You come away richer.

I don’t mean to start off this post to puff myself up or to make myself seem like some grand poobah of high mucketymuck, but to remind myself that RWC is where I really began my formal studies into Hermeticism and Renaissance-style magic specifically and the occult generally. It’s been about four years since Fr. RO stopped teaching his Red Work courses (RWC), about the same time he released his Seven Spheres (SS) book and a little before he himself got formally into Thelema and the A∴A∴. I know his coursework pretty thoroughly—I’ve gone through it a number of times over the years, taking notes and charting my own progress and seeing where I and he differ—and given my recent quasi-ministry of occult and spiritual Q-and-A through Curious Cat, I’ve had plenty of reasons recently to go back even more, just to make sure I know what I’m saying versus what Fr. RO might have been saying through me all this time, even when he and I agree.

One of the things that a good number of people have asked me, both through Curious Cat and through email and through Facebook, involves the topic of the specific tools of conjuration that Fr. RO suggests to use in SS. He developed SS as a distillation of the Green Work section of RWC, and though it definitely brought an easy-to-use easily-accessible easily-applicable form of Hermetic planetary magic to the masses…well, I have my issues with it, sometimes in terms of quality (I’ve spotted a number of outright editorial errors that should have been caught with even a modicum of proofreading), but also in terms of content. While SS serves as a distillation of RWC, I think that he distilled it way too far, and a lot of really good information that was in RWC that would have been useful to the reader of SS just wasn’t there. As a result, I’ve had to take on students and consultees who want some mentorship on the SS approach to magic, correcting some things, clarifying others, and giving my own thoughts on yet other topics.

On top of what people are asking me about his SS approach, there’s also my own recent work involving me constructing this new Hermetic devotional practice based on the four archangels and four prophets of geomancy, which is so widely-encompassing I don’t know if I can even call it “focused on geomancy” anymore. I’ve been writing and compiling and editing and adjusting prayer after prayer after prayer after prayer into something that really is My Own Thing. I’m excited about it, but it’s also a source of no small amount of consternation. What, exactly, do I want to keep from before? What do I want to keep the same? What do I want to rewrite or adjust (of the things that I know back-to-front, up, down, and seven-ways-to-Sunday) to fit more cleanly in this new mode of working and contemplating? One of those things is how I do planetary work, and what’s next on the list is planetary conjurations themselves. I could keep the same script I’ve been using for years—originally the RWC script, then updated for my own less Christian and slightly more Hermetic ways—but why not adopt and adapt that, too, in ways that actually work?

For that, I need to really dig back into the technology and techniques of that conjuration ritual, and that ritual is, of course, The Art of Drawing Spirits Into Crystals (DSIC). Many who are familiar with it either read it directly from Esoteric Archives, came by it through Fr. RO in either RWC or SS, or came by it through Fr. Ashen Chassan by means of his book Gateways Through Stone and Circle (Fr. AC and GTSC, respectively). And while it’s all fundamentally the same ritual, Fr. RO and Fr. AC have some differing approaches to the text, the former through a looser and more freewheeling style and the latter from a stricter, grimoirically accurate approach. These differences have produced no small amount of discussion and debate over the years online and in person, sometime just being aesthetic differences and sometimes getting into some really serious cosmological ones. Given that I want to update my own approach to this ritual, I figured I’d delve in a bit deeper than I otherwise might have and actually investigate what’s what instead of just sticking with the same-old same-old.

Just to warn you, this turned out to be, well…a considerably longer investigation than I anticipated. I figured I’d just write a single post and be done with it, but as these things turn out, there’s just too much to actually cover within a single reasonably-long post. There’s going to be several, put out over the next few days, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. What I want to focus on, specifically, is to actually review the specific implements and process that DSIC instructs us to use, what’s actually being used by real magicians out there, and figure out what misses the mark, what can be legitimate alternatives according to different interpretations of the text itself, what can be reasonable alternatives, and the like, and one of the easiest things to start with is the actual tools of DSIC itself.

First up? The Table of Practice. This is the most complicated part of the whole Trithemian method of conjuration given in DSIC for a number of reasons, and there’s several ways we can interpret what DSIC says about how to construct it, so we’ll tackle this beast of a topic first before getting into the rest of the tools and method given in DSIC.

Let’s start with what I’ve got, shall we? The Table of Practice is something that Fr. RO instructed us to develop in the Black Work part of his RWC, and I made my own back in early 2011 from a simple pine placard and woodburning kit from Michaels, and even documented how I did it for posterity’s sake as well as showing others how I did it. The design matches what Fr. RO taught in RWC:

  • Three concentric circles
  • An equilateral triangle circumscribed by the innermost circle
  • A Maltese cross, a hexagram with Hebrew letter Yod inside, and a pentagram in the corners of the triangle
  • Between the outermost and middle circle, the glyphs of the seven planets and the names of each planet’s angel
  • Between the middle and innermost circle, the names of the four elemental archangels

I used this table for a good number of years, before auctioning it off as part of a raffle I held one year as part of a fundraiser for St. Cyprian. By that point, however, I had already made an updated version for my own purposes, one that added another ring of names of the zodiacal angels around the outside, added the three holy names YHVH Elohim Tzabaoth in Hebrew around the triangle (based on research of back-translating the divine names from the Lemegeton Triangle of Art), and rewrote all the names in Hebrew instead of some being in Hebrew script and some being in Latin script. Treating myself, and getting used to a flexshaft and diamond-bit tips, I engraved the whole thing into a sweet score of a granite cheeseboard in excellent condition from a thrift store:

I’ve used this design for a good number of years now (since like 2013 or 2014), and I’ve gotten excellent work done by it ever since.

Now that I’ve introduced my background and my own version of the Table of Practice, let’s see what the original text says. But, first, what exactly is the original text? The text itself is begun with the title “Of the making of the Crystal and the Form of Preparation for a Vision”, from “The Magic and Philosophy of Trithemius of Spanheim; containing his Book of Secret Things, and Doctrine of Spirits”. This text appears as part IV of Francis Barret’s 1801 work The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer. Although the title page for the Trithemian section (from pages 129 through 140) says that it was “translated from a valuable Latin manuscript by Francis Barrett” and “never yet published in the English Language”, such a provenance is specious at best. “Trithemius of Spanheim” refers to Johannes Trithemius, born Johann Heidenberg, who lived from early 1462 to late 1516, a Benedictine abbot who also specialized in cryptography as well as the occult, and was mentor to the famous Henrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, author of the “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” as well as the “Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy”, although a definite connection to the “Fourth Book” isn’t actually available, as evidence exists that it was spurious. Still, it is confirmed that Johannes Trithemius was a real person and a real occultist. However, the text we’re focusing on is…well, it doesn’t seem to appear anywhere before it appeared in the Magus. Unless Barrett had the only “valuable Latin manuscript” that contained it, I think it might be one of Barrett’s few original contributions to the occult.

So, onto the text itself. DSIC begins with the following instructions:

Procure of a lapidary good clear pellucid crystal, of the bigness of a small orange, i.e. about one inch and a half in diameter; let it be globular or round each way alike; then, when you have got this crystal, fair and clear, without any clouds or specks, get a small plate of pure gold to encompass the crystal round one half; let this be fitted on an ivory or ebony pedestal, as you may see more fully described in the drawing, [figure 1]. Let there be engraved a circle (A) round the crystal with these characters around inside the circle next the crystal:

afterwards the name “Tetragrammaton“. On the other side of the plate let there be engraven “Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael;” which are the four principal angels ruling over the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury; but on the table on which the crystal stands the following names, characters, &c. must be drawn in order.

First, The names of the seven planets and angels ruling them, with their seals or characters. The names of the four kings of the four corners of the earth. Let them be all written within a double circle, with a triangle on a table; on which place the crystal on its pedestal: this being done, thy table is complete (as in the Fig. D,) and fit for the calling of the spirits…

From this description, we know we need four things:

  • A small, pure, clear crystal
  • A small plate of gold, engraved on one side with the three signs as above and the divine name “Tetragrammaton” and on the other with the names of the four archangels, into which the crystal must be set
  • An ebony pedestal to hold the gold plate and crystal
  • A table to support the pedestal, on which is engraved everything else

Shortly before the text itself is a plate given with an illustration of some of the implements referenced:

The plate itself has depictions of the following, along with the following captions for each of the images:

  • The wand ­— “The Magic Wand to be used in Invocations by the Chrystal. Write or engrave on the other side ‘Ego Alpha et Omega’.”
  • The two candles — “Two Holy wax Lights to be used in the Invocation by the Chrystal.”
  • The pedestal for the crystal itself — “The true size and form of the Chrystal which must be sett in pure Gold, & the same names & characters as in the model here given.”
  • The magic circle for the magician to stand within — “The magic Circle of a simple construction in which the operator must stand or sit when he uses the Chrystal.”
  • The censer — “The Tripod on which the perfumes are put, & may be either held in the hand or sett in the earth.”
  • The lamen — “The Lamen, or Holy Table of the Archangel Michael”.

Since the pedestal was brought up first in DSIC, let’s start there. Unfortunately, the depiction of the pedestal is only given from one side, showing the side of the four angels and not that of the three symbols and the name “Tetragrammaton”, and there is no image of the table itself. All we have to go on is the description given at the start of DSIC.

While we’re here, let me make a small note about the crystal. To be true to the text, it must be a spherical crystal ball. Alright, no surprises there, nothing we didn’t expect! But, according to the text, it should be “about the size of a small orange”; when you see this, don’t think of the usual navel oranges you find in supermarkets, but think of mikan or Mandarin oranges. Like, we’re talking small in the sense of it being just a large marble. Happily, Trithemius gives an actual measurement, “i.e. about one inch and a half in diameter”. This isn’t big at all; for reference, here’s an image from an Etsy listing that sells just that very size:

Fr. AC says a bit about how small this actually is, but considers that the smallness of the crystal makes sense for the design of what DSIC is prescribing, and further, that “one needs to be able to gaze directly at the sphere without any peripheral distractions”, something more like single-pointed fixation-style gazing.  I mean, it’s not like we need a wide-screen TV to conjure and communicate with angels.

Likewise, although we might naturally jump at the conclusion that we should get quartz crystal (especially as lapidaries are mentioned, from whom we should get such a crystal), it doesn’t necessarily have to be quartz. Heck, the image of the crystal above is shows a lead crystal, and which was used across the Old World, especially to imitate precious and semiprecious gems and stones. Quartz may well be preferred, but finding pure quartz, even of that size, can be difficult. Personally, I don’t think the exact material of the scrying medium matters all that much; you could use quartz, calcite, or lead crystal, or plain glass, and probably get fine results any which way. However, I greatly prefer quartz, even if it’s not “pellucid” and “fair and clear, without any clouds or specks”; mine have plenty of inclusions in them, which I don’t think detract all that much from the final effect, but if you want to go with really clear, have at. You might do better to go with reconstituted, fused, or lab-grown quartz, in that case.  Fr. AC goes on a bit about the differences between them, and how they didn’t much matter in practice, even if they do in price and aesthetic.  Plus, consider that back in the day, they didn’t have such things as reconstituted or fused quartz; chances are that if you could get “pellucid”, perfectly clear quartz, you were almost necessarily bound to getting small pieces.  Nowadays we can get massive crystal balls that are perfectly clear without any inclusions or mars, but back then, if you wanted something perfectly clear all the way though, you shouldn’t hold your breath for more than a marble.  Getting such a perfectly clear natural crystal back then “about the size of a small orange” was probably pushing the bounds of feasibility and affordability for most people.

For that matter, though, let’s be honest: there are plenty of perfectly legitimate scrying materials and mediums one might use from the grimoiric tradition.  Now, to be fair, DSIC is called “Drawing Spirits Into Crystals” for a reason, not DSIM (mirrors), DSIW (water), DSIB (bowls), or whatever.  But we surely cannot deny the fact that there’s no one medium that’s truly best; heck, Fr. Acher of Theomagica uses a splendid black scrying mirror on top of his Table of Practice, and has gotten results that are just fine and splendid according to his writeups from e.g. his Arbatel operations, and Fr. AC himself describes how to prepare scrying mirrors in GTSC if one wants to go that route instead of using a crystal.  You could also take a hint from Asterion’s idea of modernizing water vessel divination instruments by using basically a large clear wine glass full of water, which would simulate the optics of crystal rather nicely and at an excellent affordable price.

But let’s say that we do, in fact, want to go with crystal; it is, after all, a useful material.  Agrippa mentions crystal (basically quartz) as being a waterish material since it’s considered “compacted of water” along with beryl and and pearl (book I, chapter 7), as well as lunary (book I, chapter 24), as well as being ruled over by the Pleiades (book I, chapter 32) and the sign Aquarius (book II, chapter 14).  However, beyond that, Agrippa doesn’t much talk about the substance in his Three Books, and not at all in his Fourth Book.  Honestly, that doesn’t surprise me all that much; while I don’t have any immediate sources to back this up, I feel like using crystals for divination and conjuration in this matter was a fairly late development in conjuration tech.  Rather, if anything, spirits were just supposed to just show up without necessarily appearing in anything, or instead used materials like one’s fingernail, vessels, candleflames, or smoke.

Anyway, back to DSIC.  The text says that the crystal should be “globular or round each way alike”, which is to say as perfect a sphere as possible.  When we talk about the pedestal that supports the crystal in the next post, this makes sense from an aesthetic point of view, and also since spheres have a long history dating back to Hellenistic times in Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophy as being the most perfect shape, especially for perfect beings.  And, to be fair, crystal balls have a long trope in our culture as being the method for scrying for all sorts of occultists and fortune-tellers.  Personally?  I don’t see much of a need that it has to be a sphere; if you’re sticking to the DSIC design, then there are good practical reasons for it to be, but if not, then I’d consider any decently- and appropriately-sized, unbroken crystal with a smooth surface would work.  I have a particularly nice quartz tetrahedron I got some years ago that I’ve used quite well for conjuring and scrying, which I find geometrically appropriate for use in triangles since the tetrahedron is just the projection of the two-dimensional triangle into three-dimensional space.  I show this off prominently on my Facebook page on this overdone, overwrought fancy altar photo I took a while ago:

But that’s just me.  I did start off, of course, using a natural quartz sphere, and I still occasionally use it, but I like using the quartz tetrahedron when I get the chance to do so.

In the end, you can probably use whatever scrying medium you want for DSIC operations, though a crystal fits the method and design best, especially if spherical, as we’ll see next time when we talk about the pedestal and how that ties into the design of the table upon which it’s to be placed.  Going forward, we’ll assume a spherical crystal ball to fit in with the rest of the DSIC design, but later down the line, we’ll talk about alternative approaches more firmly and how to finagle the whole system to accommodate such adjustments.

Search Term Shoot Back, August 2015

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 2015.

“how do we summon spirit astaroth to appear physically” — Carefully.  Summoning a spirit, whether to physical manifestation or just to spiritual presence, is no joke, and takes a lot of practice, study, and dedication.  Summoning a spirit to physical manifestation is even less of a joke and something that, as I see it, is nearly never necessary.  It’s all well and good if you can pull it off, but I see it as a kind of bragging right if you can do it; it requires strict fasting, serious self-empowerment, a good relationship with the spirit, intent focus on the ritual, and a huge expense of energy that…honestly, most people can’t afford and have no need to spend.  If you can do it, great!  If not, don’t worry.  So long as you can bring them in enough contact so you can communicate and perceive them, you’re doing what you need to do.  Anything more is cool.

“big cork anal prison” — Nope.

“runes that look like sigils” — I’m not sure what your idea of “sigil” means here.  To me, a sigil is a symbol that refers to some concept, word, name, entity, or intent that has been graphically encoded through a mechanical means, such as through a qamea sigil or a sigil wheel or simple combination of letters.  Seals, on the other hand, are symbols that refer to some concept, word, etc. that are obtained or revealed directly from a spirit, and are not generated through any conscious process.  Many people use the terms interchangeably, though I find the distinction helpful in my work.  So, sigils can take many forms, but runes are more or less fixed with a few variations based on era and geographic origin.  Perhaps you mean the system of bindrunes, a ligature (or, I suppose, letter-combination sigil) of two or more runes?

“crystal ball uses” — Crystal balls have many uses, and some of their more common uses are seen everywhere in our culture.  However, I’d like to go over some of the more arcane uses that only the most dedicated crystal users might consider applying crystal balls for, as it’s not always apparent how to do so.  Paperweight.  Decoration in a fountain.  Regift for a new age friend.  Drain stopper.  Candle snuffer.  Meat tenderizer.  Foot/back massager.  Game piece.  Cosplay costume component.  Laser light scatterer.  Blunt trauma weapon.  Anal bead/ben-wa ball.  Body modification implant.  Dough spreader.

“oil lamps less soot” — I wrote a post on how to use oil lamps for great effect in home and ritual, but a few points probably need restating for clarity.  There are several ways you can use an oil lamp with less soot: trim the wick before using it so that all the worst charred parts of it are removed, keep the wick low enough so that you have a big enough flame without it trying to use too much fuel at once, use a clean and pure wick made of natural cellulose or linen with no chemical additives, use clean and pure oil with few chemical (natural or artificial) additives.  Mineral oil tends to be good, but that’s because it tends to be pretty neutral in most respects, as well; olive oil would produce some soot due to its natural compounds, but the higher grade the oil, the better quality flame you’ll get.

“how should fiery wall of protection oil be applied to home” — Different traditions and practices will tell you different things, and even within a tradition, you may have different ways to apply oil for different oils.  For me, I apply Fiery Wall of Protection oil in a small cross on every threshold or lintel in the house: everywhere there’s a gate, doorway, or windowsill that leads to another room or to the outside, I put the oil towards the top and center of that threshold.  If I’m going all out, I’ll also anoint all doorknobs, latches, air vents, drains, and the like just to cover every possible means of ingress or egress from the house.  Alternatively, you could use a five-spot pattern (a dab on each corner and once in the middle) on every window and door, or anoint four large iron spikes (railroad spikes are perfect) and nail them into the ground at the four corners of your house.  The possibilities are endless!

“working with seals of iupiter in virgo” — Assuming you’re working with the Pentacles of Jupiter from the Key of Solomon (book I, chapter 18), I’d go with the consecration instructions given for each pentacle.  Mind you, Jupiter is weak in Virgo (detriment), as he’s opposite his domicile sign of Pisces, so Jupiter isn’t particularly happy about being there.  However, if the pentacle was well-made at a time good for it (day and hour of Jupiter at a minimum), then I’d think it’d be good to use whenever with little change in effect otherwise.  Thus, I wouldn’t want to make anything particularly under the planet Jupiter while he’s in Virgo, unless I really needed his specific influence where no other planet or means of obtaining something could work; in other words, unless it’s an emergency that only Jupiter and nothing else can fix, I’ll probably look elsewhere for help.  The same goes for any Jupiterian working.  Mind you, Jupiter spends just under a year, give or take a few weeks, in each sign.

“how do you spell your name in angelic script?” — First, note that nearly all forms of “angelic script” tend to be different 1-to-1 ciphers (or “fonts”) of Hebrew script; Celestial Hebrew, Malachim, Passing the River, and Paracelsus’ Magi script all follow this trend.  Thus, although these might be considered alphabets, they follow the same rules and have the same number of letters as Hebrew does.  To that end, you’d want to first learn how to spell your name in Hebrew, then use your preferred angelic script.  The big exception to this is Enochian, which was transmitted to John Dee and, although it claims to be an original proto-Hebrew Adamic language, follows the same rules as English spelling and grammar of his day.  However, Enochiana, although technically angelic, tends to be in a whole different field than the rest of the angelic stuff, and may not correspond semantically to other types of angelic work.

“ancient human giant cocks” — As I like to say, there’s nothing new under the sun; I claim that humanity has been pretty much the same today since the dawn of civilization or the dawn of language, if not the dawn of humanity itself some 60,000 years ago.  Sure, we have newer things to play with, complicated systems we’ve engineered, and a variety of abstract philosophies to lose ourselves in, but we’re still fundamentally the same.  This goes for penis size, too; I can’t seem to find any information on historical penis size, but I assume they’re more or less the same size today as they were for ancient humans.  If anything, penis sizes are probably, on average, larger today than they were in earlier eras; several cultures of the past considered smaller penises to be ideal, as they’d cause less vaginal/anal stretching and, thus, less tearing in sensitive tissue, which would lead to fewer rates of infection; similarly, huge cocks were something reserved for the gods, and even then, only in a sense of comical debauchery or intimidation (cf. guardposts with an ithyphallic Pan).  As we’ve gotten better about hygienic practices, internal tearing due to getting on a huge dick hasn’t been as much a concern, so there’s a little more bias now towards going for guys with bigger cocks, and if that’s genetic, then there’s a slight evolutionary trend for more well-endowed guys.

“how to conjure smaller angels” — Use a smaller triangle.

“what do occultists think of the kybalion” — Different occultists will give you different opinions.  Some occultists love it for its own virtue, some love it because it’s a “gateway text” that gets people into heavier and more interesting forms of occultism.  I personally detest the thing and would rather see all copies of it used for toilet paper.  It’s not Hermetic, despite what it claims, as its points and “axioms” are distinctly modern, and instead have its origins in the 19th century New Thought movement.  All of its major points and cosmological theories are either derived from modern New Thought stuff, or are only tangentially and convolutedly connected to actual Hermetic teachings.  I honestly find it to be a waste of paper and ink, and as its usually one of the first texts newbies encounter in the occult (for one unfortunate reason or another), it can lead to some really messed up ideas that ill-prepare them for serious education in Hermeticism.

“how to bless my pentacle in santeria” — Oh, honey.  You are doing everything so wrong.  You don’t; further, you don’t even, do you?  Because I can’t.

Search Term Shoot Back, April 2014 (and an announcement!)

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 April 2014.

First, a bit of an announcement: I’m going to be taking the month of May off from blogging, since I’m moving from my apartment of four years into a house with my boyfriend and a friend of ours.  I just need some time to myself and away from writing the blog for a bit so I can get all my stuff packed up and moved, my new ritual schedules implemented, my new commute acclimated to, and my old place cleaned out and patched up.  I’ll still do my Daily Grammatomancy on Twitter and Facebook when I can, and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me or contact me through social media, and I’ll still reply to comments on my blog.  Also, I won’t be taking any craft commissions until the start of June, though you’re welcome to get a divination reading from me or get one of my ebooks off my Etsy page.  I still have those St. Cyprian of Antioch chaplets for sale, too, if you want to help out with moving expenses.  With that, onto the search results!

“computer generated geomancy” — If you’re looking for a place to get you geomancy figures automatically generated, you could do worse than go to random.org and use their random number generator to produce 16 binary results (0 or 1), or 4 results with a value of 0 through 15 (or 1 through 16).  If you’re looking for a program that draws up geomancy charts for you, there are a handful out there; I’ve coded one myself, geomancian, which is available for free on the Yahoo! and Facebook geomancy groups, but it’s command-line only (and old).  There’s Geomanticon available from Chris Warnock’s Renaissance Astrology, and I think there are a few mobile apps that do similar, but you’d have to pay for these.  If I ever learn mobile programming, I’d make a new one for Android, that’s for sure.  Still, no application can ever give you a proper interpretation of a full geomancy reading, though it can help you with interpreting the chart for yourself; if you want a full reading, I’m more than happy to offer them.

“do virgo males have big penises like greek god hermes” — I…really can’t speak to this.  (Disclaimer: my boyfriend is a Virgo, so there’s nothing I could say here that would end well for me.)  Also, save for the odd herm and a few ithyphallic representations of Hermes (more properly Mercury, especially in Roman art), Hermes isn’t portrayed with a particularly large cock.  It was actually seen as a good thing for a man to have a small dick in classical times, since they were easier to keep clean and reduced the risk of vaginal/anal/oral injury, trauma, or tearing, which would’ve very easily led to infection in pre-modern times.  That said, well, Hermes has shown me a few, shall we say, fulfilling things once in a while.  I’ll let you get on your knees and pray for that yourself, if you like.

“how to turn holy water into wax” — I don’t think you have a proper understanding of the physics that goes on here.  I mean, water and wax don’t mix, literally or metaphorically, and no ritual or physical process could achieve this short of a biblical miracle.  It’d be easier to turn water into wine, but that wouldn’t turn out so great, either.

“occult symbols of death” — Good question, and not one I really know an answer to.  You might use a seal for a spirit of Saturn, commonly associated with death, or of Azrael, the angel of death itself.  You might find symbols associated with Santissima Muerte, too, since she literally is death.  Other such symbols, such as the cap of Hades, associated with gods of death can work equally well.  When trying to find symbols for concepts like this when a spirit is not necessarily called for, I tend to look for sigils made from the letters of the word itself (so a sigil for the word “death” or “θανατος“), an Egyptian hieroglyph, or an ancient Chinese bone script or seal script character which you can easily find on Chinese Etymology.

“invocation of akasha or ether” — I suggest you don’t bother.  The only Western tradition that can even make good use of akasha is the Golden Dawn, since they’ve spent so much of their time augmenting classical and Renaissance Western mystery traditions with pilfered and appropriated Eastern, Vedic, Taoist, and Buddhist systems.  The use of a fifth element directly in magic doesn’t really have that much of a place, as I see it; Agrippa doesn’t reference it in his Scale of Five (book II, chapter 8) where he lists “a mixed body” instead, and its description in Plato’s Timaeus has it “arranging the constellations on the whole heaven”, so it’s probably more strongly based in stellar powers than perceived emptiness.  This makes sense, since we have no prayers, invocations, or workings of quintessence in the Western tradition before the Golden Dawn, but we have plenty for the gods, signs of the Zodiac, and stars.  To that end, you might use the Orphic Hymn to the Stars.  Alternatively, since the quintessence is the underlying substratum of the elements themselves, you might pursue your own Great Work, much as the alchemists did to find the Summum Bonum and Philosopher’s Stone, to understand and invoke ether on your own; I personally use the Hymns of Silence and invocations of pure Divinity.  And if you’re a neopagan who insists there are five elements because Cunningham says so, I hope you’re up for some actual magical lifting.

“how do i attach a crystal to a wooden dowel for wand” — In my experience, use two-part epoxy.  It forms one of the strongest adhesive bonds I can think of, far stronger than superglue, and it’s commonly and cheaply available at most craft or hardware stores.  If you have some sort of aversion to using artificial materials in crafting, the best I can suggest is carve out a niche in the wand just big enough for the crystal to fit and hold it in place with wire or cord.  Even then, it might fall out.  I strongly suggest the use of some kind of suitable adhesive for this, especially if you’re a heavy duty tool user.

“the use of crystals in conjuring” — Generally, I use crystals as the scrying medium within which I see spirits and by which I communicate with them, and this is often the case by many conjurers, especially those doing Enochiana with Dee’s works or the Trithemian system I use.  I also make use of a crystal on my ebony Wand of Art to help direct and focus power, if needed, but the crystal is not strictly necessary for the wand.  Beyond that, use crystals how you otherwise would in other rituals if you find a need for them; otherwise, don’t bring them into the ritual at all.  You don’t need a crystal for your wand, nor even for the scrying medium; a mirror, an obsidian plate, a blown-glass paperweight orb, a bowl of inky water, or a glass of clear water can all suffice as a perfectly good scrying medium, depending on your preferences; hell, depending on your second sight or conjuration skills, you may not need a scrying medium at all; with practice you’ll be able to perceive the spirit directly in the mind, or even evoke them to visible and material manifestation (which isn’t as important, I claim, as others may say it is, since it’s mostly a gimmick done for bragging rights at that point).

“when u draw a circle in a triangle,does it summon spirits? — On its own, no, otherwise every copy of Harry Potter with the Sign of the Deathly Hallows would actually be magical in more than the fantasy sense.  You’re just drawing shapes at this point, and the shapes are so basic and simple as to have no direct effect on their own.  However, you can summon spirits into the circle in the triangle afterward, which is the standard practice in Solomonic magic.

“is holy water used to bless the new fire?” — I mean, you could flick holy water into a fire to bless it, but the mixing of water and fire here bothers me.  The better way to make holy or blessed fire is to bless the fuel you use, such as the wood or oil, in conjunction with or just by saying prayers over the fire once lit.  This is common in Solomonic magic as it is in other religions, such as the fire blessing rituals of Zoroastrianism.  You might also consider making fire from holy woods or herbs, such as Palo Santo, sandalwood, or similar trees, depending on your tradition.  Generally speaking, fire is already one of the holiest substances we know of in the world and held in high esteem by many religions and traditions.  It can be made infernal, wicked, or evil, but the same can be said for anything material or physical, while it being naturally holy and closest to holiness is something that can be said for very few things, indeed.

“people who write in theban scripts” — Generally fluffy Wiccans, nowadays, who insist on making things blatantly-yet-“seekritly” magical.  The Theban script, as noted by Agrippa and Trithemius, has its origins in medieval alchemical ciphers common at the time, a simple 1-to-1 cipher for the Roman script (hence the use of a doubled U/V for a W).  Theban script used to be popular for enciphering alchemical and occult texts, but now it’s used once in a while for neopagan charms or quasigothic anime character design.

“how did saint isidore react when things went wrong” — Uh…”went wrong” is a pretty vague thing here.  For that matter, so is the saint; are you referring to Saint Isidore of Seville or Saint Isidore the Laborer?  The former didn’t really have much go wrong in his life, and the latter had his son fall into a well and needed to be rescued, so that’s hardly an epic to recount to kings.  I mean, the general Christian thing to do when things go wrong is prayer, which is probably what these guys did generally and how they also became, you know, saints.

“can we use orgonite ennrgy to cean air ?” — Short answer: no; long answer: fuck no.  Orgonite energy is properly orgone, which is a meta-energy that does not directly affect the physical world.  Orgonite is a lump of resin and metal shavings with other fanciful crap inside which is claimed to purify orgone from deadly orgone (DOR) to positive orgone (POR), which is crap and impossible even according to the (surprisingly versatile and workable) pseudoscience of Wilhelm Reich who developed orgone technology.  All orgonite could feasibly do is collect orgone energy inside to pull things out; even according to the rules of orgone theory, it cannot purify orgone from DOR to POR, since orgone tech cannot distinguish between the two (nor do I think a distinction is even possible, having never noticed any negative effects of DOR or overly positive effects of POR).  Physically speaking, there’s no mechanism for cleaning the air using a lump of congealed robot vomit, and you’d be better off putting a few fine sheets of cloth on your home HVAC air intake vent and washing it every month or so.  Orgone is orgone, energy is energy; there’s no real difference between “good energy” or “bad energy” when you’re talking about orgone.  You’d be better off learning energy manipulation and clearing space than using orgonite.

“greek alphabet as magical sigils” — Totally doable.  People have used various forms of the Hebrew alphabet magically for centuries now, and the Hebrew letters are well-known as symbols and referrants to the paths on the kabbalistic and Kircher Tree of Life, especially as stoicheic symbols for numbers, elements, planets, and signs of the Zodiac.  The Greek alphabet, sharing an ancestor with Hebrew and many of the same qualities, can be used similarly, right up to its own system of qabbalah.  Just as there exist magical cipher scripts for Roman script (Theban and the Trithemian cipher) and the Hebrew script (Celestial, Malachim, Passing the River, and the Alphabet of the Magi), I know of two cipher scripts for Greek: Apollonian and a medieval Frankish cipher (from Trithemius’ Polygraphia).  I’m sure others could be devised from similar principles or adapted from another magical script; alternatively, you could use archaic or variant styles of the Greek script, such as Coptic or even a variant of Phoenician.

“cockring orgone” — I…suppose this could be a thing.  Orgone does have its origins in the study of the life energy produced from sexual activity, so you’d just be going to the source for this.  I suppose you could make a cockring out of…hm.  Maybe something made of layers of synthetic latex and natural rubber?  Metal with a plastic core?  I’m unsure.  But more importantly, WHYYYYYYY.  If I wanted to give my partner a good zap, I’d just as soon use mentholated lubricant or, better yet, Tiger Balm (protip: for the love of God never do this).

“alan shapiro puts off the fire for the usps” — G…good for him?  I guess?  Seeing how I’ve never used that name on this blog nor known anyone by it, I…well, let’s just say that I’m so odd, because I can’t even.

“circle filled with triangles orgonite” — My first thought was the image of the Flower of Life, a circle filled with overlapping circles which can form triangle-like shapes within, and a potent magical and religious symbol for thousands of years.  And then I saw “orgonite”, and my next thought was “new age bullshit”, which is about what people use the Flower of Life nowadays for anyway.  On the one hand, you’re talking about sacred geometry, and on the other, you’re talking about lumps of crap, so I’m unsure what you’re getting at here.  Also, I’m starting to loathe the popularity of these orgone searches, but they’re just so ripe for making fun of.

“hermetism and homosexualit” — Hermetism isn’t a word often used, and chances are that you’re referring to “Hermeticism”, the Neoplatonic-Gnostic-ish philosophy that came about in the classical Mediterranean from a whole bunch of philosophies and religions rubbing shoulders with each other.  In that sense, Hermeticism and Neoplatonism generally helped form a new concept of what was then called “Platonic love”, a love of souls more than that of bodies.  Men and men, men and women, and women and women can all have Platonic love for each other, while before this movement (especially in the Renaissance) it may have been hard to communicate one’s feelings about another, especially if love was itself defined between two people of the opposite gender.  Another point to consider is that “homosexuality” as a concept and identification didn’t exist until the late 1800s; labeling ourselves in this manner simply wasn’t done before then.  You either never had gay sex, were having gay sex at that moment, or had gay sex at some point in the past; it was an action and not a state.  Actions like this have no significant ramifications I can think of in Hermeticism, since there’s no sin to deal with or laws that say you can’t do that; it’s a very abstract yet thorough philosophy that embraces pretty much whatever and whoever you throw at it.  As for the other meaning of Hermetism, which I take to be a henotheistic worship of Hermes, well, the god-dude himself likes the occasional dick, so he has no problem with it.

“the most homosexual magician on the planet” — I…honestly don’t think I’m the best candidate for this esteemed title.  I mean, yeah, I’ve sucked a lot of dick, but I don’t go around drinking skinny margs, watching Glee, or wearing turtlenecks, either.  I mean, I’m not particularly effeminate (though I do have my moments), nor am I stereotypically promiscuous (not like that’s a bad thing), so…yeah.   Besides, the notion itself is kind of absurd; unless you’re a 6 on the Kinsey scale, I don’t think “most homosexual” is really a thing, but since I do score a 6 on that scale, I suppose I get the title?  Maybe?  I still claim that you’d be better off finding candidates for this title on Twitter, all of whom are good, noble, professional, upright people and magi (also I love you guys~).

“energy circle when summoning spirits how do you draw it” — You don’t draw energy circles when summoning spirits; you draw conjuration or summoning circles to conjure or summon spirits.  In that case, you draw (shock of the ages!) a circle.  You can add other symbols, names, or whatever to it as you want, but these are highly varied, as Ouroboros Press’ Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition by William Kiesel points out, but really, a circle is all you need.  You can use chalk, a knife, paint, rope, or whatever to draw it out, but do draw it out, even if it’s just in the carpet with a finger.  Energy circles are used in various forms of energy work with varying degrees of significance, though I’ve never needed such a thing except for shielding or putting out feelers in my local surroundings.

“ikea-rituals” — I’m not aware of any Ikea-specific rituals, but their wide array of furniture and household goods is quite amazing, much of it able to be repurposed to ritual use.  I plan on getting a few more LACK side tables as a series of altars, to be sure, and some nice shelves for my temple and personal library in the near future.  I assume rituals for Ikea would take on a strongly Nordic and Scandinavian flavor, but that’s not my area of expertise.

“where do i put my incense when summoning a demon”  — I would put the incense somewhere between you and the conjuration space for the demon, that way you have the smoke rising up to offer a kind of veil or ethereal lens through which you can more easily perceive the demon.  Where you put the conjuration space (Triangle of Art, Table of Practice, etc.), however, is another question entirely.  Some grimoires offer directions you should face, or a particular direction associated with the demon or spirit, which would provide you with a good idea of directional and spatial layout.

Also, this wasn’t really a search term, but something did catch my eye.  I keep track of what other sites lead people to my blog; search engines like Google and sites like Facebook are at the very top of the list, of course, but also some blogs are also notable.  One crazy hilarious blog linked to my post on the divine names written on the Trithemius lamen,  From the crazy blog itself, it’s about:

We are living in Biblically significant Times. Ironically it was the most persecuted man in modern history that lead me to dig deeper into the Bible and taught me more about God than any other human being on the planet. And that man is Michael Jackson. I started a blog to defend him. I ended up researching him and learned just why they were after him. They did everything they could to shut him down. In the song “Cry” he said “take over for me”, so that is what I am doing. God bless that man and his faith and strength

…alright, then.  Specifically, the post referenced my blog in that those silly Jews never understood God in that God obviously only has one possible name (the one referred to as the Tetragrammaton, which even they say has two pronunciations…I think? it’s hard to read the post) and that all other names refer to demons, and that Michael is not the angel of the Sun but is a demon because it’s another Michael besides Michael Jackson.  They also attempted to bind the angel Michael and God in the name of God because reasons.  My good friend Michael Seb Lux, before discovering that the blog doesn’t allow comment except from certified crazy people it allows, was going to reply with this:

Actually, there are multiple names ascribed to G-d in the Hebrew Scriptures. While Yahweh is the more common one, in Exodus 3:14 G-d speaks His Name as, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh” or “I am that what I shall be”. Similarly, the use of Adonai is common as a theophoric and literally means, “Lord”. Other names used in Scripture are Yahweh Tzevaot (1 Samuel 17:45), ha’el elohe abika (Genesis 46:3), Elah Elahin (Daniel 2:47), Elohim (Exodus 32:1; Genesis 31:30, 32; and elsewhere), and so forth. The four-fold name may have originated as an epithet of the god El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon (“El who is present, who makes himself manifest”) or according to the Kenite hypothesis accepted by scholars, assumes that Moses was a historical Midianite who brought the cult of Yahweh north to Israel.

May all the angels pray for us and God (in every one of his names) bless the Internet that we may be worthy of the lulz of paradise.

Anyway, see you guys in June!

Search Term Shoot Back, March 2014

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.

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.

Magic Circles and Orgone

In the course of working with this orgone stuff, I’m planning on constructing a permanent Babalon Matrix in my room: a table specifically dedicated to charging or maintaining a field of force or magical energy for various purposes (charging, manifestation, and the like).  However, this is a really modern form of occultism, using various modern theories of force, energy, and methods of harnessing them.  As you may have noticed, dear reader, this is not my normal time period; I’m much more Renaissance or classical when it comes to magic and the occult.  Plus, ceremonial magicians are renowned (in)famously for making things more complicated and embellished than they have to be, because why else would someone do something if it didn’t look completely badass at the end?  Thus, after some experiments with orgone, I decided to try out something new.

To that end, I experimented with making a kind of magic circle for my orgone setup.  The setup creates a field of magical force or dweomer or somesuch (terms abound for this, but you know what I’m talking about) that radiates from a central core and is reflected or manipulated by perimeter objects, generally crystal bars that are ridged on one side and flat on the other.  Philosophers and occultists have long resorted to using symbolic diagrams to represent the cosmos, magical activity, and other immaterial things, so why not create a circle or pattern that can describe such a field?  At worst, the pattern would only be decorative, serving to make my orgone system look really really cool and arcane.  At best, the pattern would help amplify, guide, and empower the orgone system even more; using patterns or symbols on their own as potent magical tools has a long history in most magical traditions, so this could be fantastic tool.  Alternatively, the symbol could create a field that would interact and potentially interfere with the field generated by the orgone system, so I decided to experiment.

After lots of interesting, elaborate, and obtuse designs, I eventually came up with the following pattern:

The benefits to this pattern, as I see it, would include:

  • The circular form reflects the spherical field projected onto a two-dimensional plane.  The circle helps keep unwanted influences out of the field without first going through the orgone generator to accumulate and distill the energy.
  • The radial symmetry allows the field to be oriented towards any cardinal direction, pulling energy in equally from the different quarters of the world and cosmos.
  • The center “starburst” radiates energy from the crystal ball, while the circles around the edges collect it.  The central starburst circle represents the field radiator, with the perimeter circles represent the field collectors.
  • The field collectors define the radius of the field, which is represented by the circle passing through the field collector circles.  As the collectors define one set of points for the field to collect at, the midpoints between the crystals illustrate that the entire field is bounded by this same process.
  • The lines between the central starburst and the field perimeter show the radiation of the field from the center outward, and the reflection from the perimeter inward.
  • Lines intersect the field collector circles, showing their purpose to gather and reflect energy passing through them, but not the central starburst circle, showing it to be purely radiating.

So, I painted this pattern out onto a piece of posterboard.  I used a mixture of consecrated black acrylic paint (leftover from my Circle of Art project), dragon’s blood ink, and a Bardonian simple fluid condenser (chamomile extract, gold tincture/solution, grain alcohol).  Painting it alone made me dizzy, and the pattern definitely had a buzz of its own, so I must’ve been doing something right.  I took it over to Jarandhel‘s house later that night, and we started running some experiments with it.

What was interesting about this pattern is that, when we started putting it to use, it did not describe a spherical field at all.  Setting a Babalon Matrix system atop the posterboard and activating it, it felt more like a torch flame or cone in the center with energy being concentrated at the focus instead of being cycled about the entire field.  In fact, we noticed that this was still the case even after we removed the Babalon Matrix entirely, and just used the pattern itself as a field.  It felt like the posterboard was generating a field of its own; whether this was a result of the paint used to make it, the pattern itself, or some combination of the two was unknown to us at the time.  We concluded that the design didn’t describe a sphere, and on some reflection we figured out that it was due to the center circle in the pattern, which isn’t crossed through with field lines (meridians? ley lines?).  Because that circle isn’t connected to the rest of the pattern, we reasoned, it doesn’t and can’t actually radiate energy outward; instead, it gathers energy, and acts as a termination point for the rest of the pattern.  Thus, energy would flow along the lines and terminate into a single point at the center, resulting in a kind of energetic “spire” or cone.

To test out whether or not the center circle actually had something to do with it, I made another piece of posterboard with the same ink and dimensions, but with the meridians crossing through the innermost circle, resulting in the following pattern:

If the first version of the design created a spire of energy due to the central circle being empty, we reasoned that crossing it through would result in a different field shape.  We were correct, too: by having the lines cross through this central circle, we attained a stable spherical field.  It’s as if the central circle, now being crossed through, was now acting as a “top” rather than a “point”, which allowed energy to both radiate from and collect into the center.  This design more accurately described a spherical field, which is what the Babalon Matrix does.

What was interesting was comparing the first and second patterns, or the spire and sphere models, with a Babalon Matrix.  It felt like the field circle and Babalon matrix were each creating their own field that worked with each other, but in different ways:

  • Sphere model with Babalon Matrix: A reinforced, stronger sphere of force than either the sphere model or Babalon Matrix alone provides.  It’s like using two clear, flat panes of glass against each other instead of just one: it’s stronger, firmer, more insulated, and still able to provide light and illumination.  Smoother with a simple, air-like flow.
  • Spire model with Babalon Matrix: The spire model circle acts as an energy collection or concentration field, while the Babalon Matrix acts as a sphere.  The resulting effect was akin to using a telescope: one lens magnifies, the other focuses.  Very potent for concentrating force into a single point, for manifesting force or sensations, or for “bringing things through”.  Sharp and active, like a fire.

Using both models, we also experimented with different orientations and positions of the perimeter crystals.  Remember that the Babalon Matrix makes use of a set of perimeter crystals that define and reflect the field to from the center, when the flat side of the crystals faces inward, and outward into a omnidirectional field when the flat side of the crystals face outward.  Some experiments we ran on this:

  • Flat side in, no circle: spherical field contained by the perimeter crystals.
  • Flat side out, no circle: radiating field in all directions from the perimeter crystals.
  • Flat side in, spire model, on perimeter circles: a spire of energy gathered at the center in a culminating point.
  • Flat side in, spire model, on perimeter angles: (did not test)
  • Flat side out, spire model, on perimeter circles: four distinct spheres of energy at each perimeter crystal, about the same size as the circle design itself.  Nothing between the crystals or inside the circle.
  • Flat side out, spire model, on perimeter angles: (did not test)
  • Flat side in, sphere model, on perimeter circles: spherical field contained by the perimeter crystals, stronger than the Babalon Matrix alone.
  • Flat side in, sphere mode, on perimeter angles: a spherical field contained by the perimeter crystals, but it felt “off”, like it was a square peg in a round hole.  Jarring.
  • Flat side out, sphere model, on perimeter circles:  Four beams of energy radiating from the crystals, one beam per crystal.  Not omnidirectional, but unidirectional for each crystal.  Nothing really between the crystals except very faint radiation.
  • Flat side out, sphere model, on perimeter angles: Somewhat more even than before, but still felt “off” or blocky.  Like trying to make a smooth level out of chunky gravel.

Based on this and the experiments above, it would seem that the crystals and focus take their effect from what’s directly beneath them on the pattern.  The small circles are specific loci of power, as if they’re waiting for input, but objects placed elsewhere appear to throw the fields off or make them feel jarring or misshapen.  Making alternative forms of this using other numbers of loci might be an interesting experiment, especially considering Jarandhel’s and my experiments with changing the number of crystals used with the Babalon Matrix.  For instance, comparative spire and sphere circles making use of six crystals would look like the following:

Also, a small benefit to these designs is that they’re based on a unit circle (the innermost focus and the perimeter loci circles), and can be constructed with only a compass and straightedge.  If the small circle is one unit in diameter, the outermost perimeter circle is eight units in diameter, the circle passing through the perimeter loci is seven units in diameter, and the inside boundary circle is four units in diameter.  Since the square can be devised using only a compass and straightedge, the whole pattern can, as well.  Hexagons, too, though any pattern or polygon that can’t be made with a compass and straightedge also cannot here.  Then again, why would you want to use a design like that?  You silly thing.

It would seem that the circle itself is an interesting add-on to the Babalon Matrix orgone system, and even though not essential, it does have some useful applications.  Moreover, the circle designs themselves work as field generators, either for a concentrating spire or radiating sphere, and given their generic geometric form, can be applied in various other ways I can think of.  They’re original patterns, as far as I can tell, and rely only on their geometric proportions and layout, so they’re tradition-independent and can be used by anyone interested in this.  If you make use of these designs or make new variants of them, feel free to let me know and share what your own experiences with it are like.  For convenience, I’m uploading the designs to the Designs page.  What I’m really interested in figuring out is what to call these things; so far I’ve been calling them “charging circles”, but that’s both inaccurate and tacky.  Magic circuits, force circles, and the like are possibilities, but we’ll see.