“Unlocking the Observatory” PDF ebook now ready for free download! (Also on Ko-fi!)

I hope y’all have been enjoying my Unlocking the Observatory post series I recently finished posting!  It was a really fun project, once I got into the swing of it, and although the post series took like two months to go online in total, truthfully it only took like two weeks to write it all.  (You know how it goes with me and writing: it’s either feast or famine.)

As promised at the end of the summary post, and taking into my account of the desires and conveniences of my readers based on my earlier Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration post series, I went ahead, compiled, and edited my ZT post analysis into a PDF as well.  It’s 167 pages on US Letter-sized paper, which is…well, more than I had anticipated, I suppose, but then, it was a fairly large project.  As with my other ebooks, I’ve put it up under the Books page of my website, but just like a small number of other projects and unlike most of my ebooks, this one is entirely free of charge.  You can download the compiled PDF of these posts, all nice and formatted as you might expect, here at this link.

Also, as a little bonus, I went ahead and uploaded all three of my free ebooks (Unlocking the Observatory, Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration, and the Grammatēmerologion Calendar for March 2015—March 2053) to my Ko-fi shop as well!  Here as well as there, the se three ebooks are free to download, although I have marked these books specifically on Ko-fi as “pay what you want” rather than having any fixed price.  It’s just something nice for those who like using Ko-fi and want to support it and the platform, I suppose, but it is a convenience I haven’t made use of quite yet until now.

I hope y’all enjoy the read, whether on my website or in the offline ebook!  By all means, feel free to post comments on the associated blog posts, too, because Zoroaster’s Telescope is a really nifty form of divination and my analysis is by no means exhaustive.  Feedback and further investigation from those who know more French than I do or who apply such a form of divination would be great to hear about!

Updated Version of “The Telescope of Zoroaster” PDF Available (Error Fixed)

It was bound to happen, of course, in a translation as nitpicky and as intricate as this.

So, a bit ago, not one but two people extremely clued-into ZT (one using the Ouroboros Press translation of the Das Kloster German text, the other using the original French text) pointed out a minute but still nontrivial error in one of the tables of my “Telescope of Zoroaster” PDF ebook.  Specifically, one of the tile allocations for one of the angels was mismatched: Michael should be given 32 but was given 35 in error instead (in addition to 55 and 95, which were already correctly assigned).  35 was already correctly assigned to Adriel.

I’ve gone back and fixed it, and uploaded the new version to both Etsy and Ko-fi for all future purchasers, but I don’t have an easy means to contact all those who have already purchased the text.  If you have already purchased the text and are interested in having a corrected version, please contact me using the Contact page of my website, or through messaging me on Etsy or Ko-fi regarding your order.  So long as you can provide proof of purchase (like your Etsy order number or something), I’ll send you a copy of the corrected PDF.

I apologize for the slip-up!  It helps to have an extra pair of eyes in something like this, and I’m glad I have some rather attentive readers looking out for me.

UPDATE: I’ve gone through my order lists on both Etsy and Ko-fi and tried to reply to everyone who’s ordered the book so far based on their original method of purchase, so if you’ve already purchased the book, be sure to your Etsy/Ko-fi messages.  If you aren’t able to find the message or if you’re unable to get the updated PDF there, please let me know using the messenger feature on Etsy/Ko-fi, or use the Contact page of my website to let me know.

New ebook for sale: The Telescope of Zoroaster!

On the one hand, I should probably apologize to all my followers on Twitter for being subjected to a constant barrage of tweet threads about this topic for several weeks now.  On the other hand, I can also blame someone else for starting me on this bizarre research project.  Either way, those who know anything about my history regarding fixations and obsessions when it comes to niche occult topics would probably guess I’d get around to writing more formally about it at some point.

So, back in early March, Nicholas Chapel a.k.a. McCryptoFace on Discord (from the excellent Hermeticulture blog) asked in the Hermetic House of Life Discord server a fairly innocuous question in the divination channel:

Has anyone ever heard of Zoroaster‘s Telescope as a divinatory method? We used to do it every year for the year ahead back when I was in my temple. I’d never heard of it before or since, but it was always pretty cool to do.

He and one of the other mods on the server (cuchlann from the G Conley: Magic Arts blog) were talking about various cartomantic card spreads, one of which was a Fibonacci-like spiral spread.  The spiraling reminded him of a similar pattern laid out with the tiles of this weird divination system, and he wanted to know if anyone else was familiar with it, since he himself wasn’t sure of the details of it.

As it so happens, I have a book on the system—rather, the book on it, I suppose.  Back in summer 2013, the fine occult book publisher Ouroboros Press put out Zoroaster’s Telescope: The Key to the great divinatory Kabbala of the Magi, translated by the inestimable Dr. Jenn Zahrt (yes, the same one of Revelore Press).  Sometime that year, I had seen some link to the book, probably on Facebook, and given how this was still relatively early on in my magical career, I thought that it would be a neat addition to my own collection and could be a useful thing for me to pick up.  I mean, Zoroaster?  Something related to the Chaldaean Oracles?  Astrological sortilege?  It seemed pretty cool!  So, in addition to getting a few of Ouroboros Press’s limited-run prints (namely their lunar mansions print and their Emerald Tablet print), I also got a copy of their Zoroaster’s Telescope book, and the book arrived later that winter.

And then it promptly sat unused for the next nine years.

It’s not like I didn’t try to read it or anything; I did give it a few honest skims, but I admit, it was a daunting system.  The method itself called for some 112 hexagonal tiles, each with a different number + planet + zodiacal symbol + angel name on them, each of which could appear in these elaborate beehive patterns it called “mirrors”, and, uh…well, the text didn’t seem to be all that well-specified.  I told myself that I’d eventually get around to reading it and studying it properly, and one day I’d get a set of wooden tiles and make them myself according to the patterns in the book.  Nine years later, the book has seen more action moving from shelf to shelf and residence to residence than actually being studied or consulted.  However, with this weird question from Nick seemingly out of the blue, I decided to take this as a sign that maybe this is the time to actually dedicate some time to learning the system.  Maybe I just wasn’t ready or learned enough before to make heads or tails of the system or something, and it’s not like I wasn’t swimming in occult research or work anyway, so I pulled the (admittedly tiny) book down off my shelf and started reading it anew

Almost immediately, I was hooked.  I started putting together spreadsheets to track correspondence tables and lists of interpretations, started jotting down notes on the system, and started puzzling out how this divinatory system was put together.  The more I studied the Ouroboros Press book (which was becoming something of a pain, because it’s actually really small for my hands and also too small for my bookholders to actually carry), the more questions I ended up having.  There was plenty about the system that made sense, but for every thing I could puzzle out there was another that I couldn’t—and the Ouroboros Press book seemed to be, I dunno, incomplete or inscrutable at times.  This led me down a long spiral of research and digging through several hundred years’ worth of really obscure occult, divinatory, and astrological texts that…well, I’ll get to that in a bit (though I’m sure you can see where this is going).

See, the 2013 Ouroboros Press book is not an original work; as I said earlier, it was Zahrt who translated it, not who wrote it.  What this book is is an English translation of the German text present in Johann Scheible’s Das Kloster (1846), volume 3, part II, chapter VII. Scheible was a German antiquarian and compiler of folklore, issuing a monumental 12-volume series from 1845 through 1849 containing various magical texts, superstitions, fairy tales, and other stories or records. Although the entire series is a treasury of folklore and esoterica, volume 3 in particular is an especially useful resource for occultists and magicians, containing such texts as the Heptameron of Pietro d’Abano, On Ceremonial Magic by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, the Romanus-Büchlein, a German version of the Arbatel: De Magia Veterum, and others. Nestled among these well-known texts is Zoroasters Telescop, oder Schlüssel zur großen divinatorischen Kabbala der Magier, which is what the Ouroboros Press book translated into English for the first time.  However, as the Ouroboros Press book itself notes, Zoroaster’s Telescope did not originate with Scheible, who was, after all, a compiler and not an author himself.  Rather, the system dates back to an earlier 1796 French version, Telescope de Zoroastre, ou Clef de la Grand Cabale Divinatoire des Mages.  Now, admittedly, I wasn’t about to compare the Das Kloster German book with the 1796 French one myself—my language skills are nowhere near good enough for that in either language, and the Das Kloster book is itself written in eye-gouging Fraktur—so I’m going to trust (as I have every reason to) that Zahrt’s translation of Scheible is spot on and as high quality as we should expect from her.  However, even at a glance, I could tell that there was a lot in the French version that just…wasn’t in the German version: the omission of an entire lengthy introductory epistle as well as concluding epilogue, the omission of footnotes, and the rest of what remained just generally seemed abridged or abbreviated.

Seeing this snagged my attention towards this research even more (if such a thing could be possible), and…well, three weeks later, I had my own English translation of the 1796 French version of Zoroaster’s Telescope, which I have now made available through my Etsy store or my Ko-fi store for only US$10!

The Telescope of Zoroaster (inventive title, I know) is a 92 page (US Letter-sized) PDF text in English that contains, following a brief preface of my own, the first (as far as I can tell) English translation of the fascinating 1796 French text that presents both a manual to a deceptively-simple system of divination that brings along with it a grand vision of theurgy, according to how it was originally published before any other translation or abridgement occurred (or, at least, the earliest extant such text).  Admittedly, I am an amateur at translating French, and even that’s a rather generous way to put it; I’ve been powering through with a combination of online translation resources plus harassing my Francophone artist friend Berenike (who also has an amazing Etsy shop of their own which y’all should check out selling Greco-Egyptian icons and art), but I like to think that I’ve put together a fairly reasonable and intelligible translation of the work, which is itself more of a challenge than even I was expecting—not just that I’m bad at French, but the text itself was pretty difficult to work with.

Now, here’s the thing.  While I was putting together this PDF, I was torn about including anything more than the translation itself (and my own preface to explain and introduce what the rest of the text was that follows with a handful of other sources).  There is so much about this system that is just outright delightfully bizarre, and as I mentioned above, for every question I was able to answer by the text there was another that was raised.  While turning to the French original has been an amazing experience that has done wonders for my ability to grok this divinatory system (as well as placing it in a broader spiritual practice that turns it into something so much more than just a divinatory system, which the Das Kloster version of the text, and by extension the Ouroboros Press version, seems to elide out), there are still so many other questions that I simply have not been able to answer to my own satisfaction, and so I am left with either conjectures on my part or halfway-incomplete answers—and I don’t like the thought of putting those into a more-or-less permanent format as an ebook as I have with some of the other things I’ve done before.  Besides, I mean, it’s not like my blog has been particularly active as of late (I’ve been enjoying a quiet time to myself besides the fun on the HHoL Discord), and this is a system that is both obscure and daunting so many people—so why not take the opportunity to actually walk through the text of Zoroaster’s Telescope (my own, no less!), the system it describes, and everything else about it that I’ve learned during the course of my research about it?

To that end, over the coming weeks and into June, I’ll be putting up a series of blogposts about Zoroaster’s Telescope, where I’ll be fleshing out whatever I can about the system (and hopefully garner some feedback and pointers from others more expert than I am in 1600s/1700s continental European occultism and literature) based on my translation.  I would encourage those who can and who are interested to get a copy of my ebook to better follow along and to pick up on whatever stuff I don’t mention, but I’ll try to cover all the main points in my posts as well.  Seriously, this is a really neat topic that I’m thrilled to get into, so we’ll start on that soon, and I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy the ride with me!  Maybe this will help more people figure out what this system is, or at least get more attention drawn to this unfortunately (although maybe intentionally?) neglected system of spiritual perfection through knowledge.

Also, my apologies to my Twitter and Discord friends who had to put up with me not just going on endlessly and repeatedly about Zoroaster’s Telescope in general, but also for the delay in getting out the translation as well as this series of posts.  I had to wait on a particularly obscure modern French book to come in the mail, which took a while to arrive, in order to finish one last bit of analysis before the whole thing went public, and I didn’t want to start the series only for it to be interrupted pending such a thing halfway through.  Most of this was finished up at the start of April (not even a month had passed since that original question on Discord!), but I just wanted to make sure all was said and done before I considered myself finished, too. Still, it’s all there now, so now we can get started with the actual fun!

Anyway, in the meantime, why not get yourself a copy of my translation and get a head start on what we’ll be talking about?  Head over to my Etsy store or my Ko-fi store and get yourself a copy of The Telescope of Zoroaster (or my other ebooks) today!

New ebook for sale: The Oracle of the Dominoes (also updated prices for my other ebooks!)

This is a project I’ve sat on long enough, I think, and it’s high time I get it out to people’s hands in at least one form I can manage.

While it’s been a long time since I’ve bothered—I fell out of it after it started feeling like a slog and a drain—I recall how my now-defunct CuriousCat account got quite a lot of attention, and was a great way to come up with post topics or other points for discussion and research.  Starting around May 2019, I think, people really started asking me about dominoes in quick succession, as if it were some sort of joke picking up speed on the way to be a running one or something.  It all started, I think, when someone asked about a connection between geomancy and dominoes.  After all, the geomantic figures are combinations of dots, and so are the pips on dominoes, so are they perhaps related? I mean, people can do divination with dominoes, too, right?

The answer was, and still is, a clear and flat “no”; there is no historical connection between dominoes and geomancy, or at least none that I have ever found in any text or discussion in any medium whatsoever.  If there ever was a connection, it’s long been forgotten or was never developed in a way that was preserved.  However, just to make sure, I did some simple research on the history of dominoes, and it turns out that dominoes were just coming onto the scene in Europe around the time geomancy was pushed off to the side in the 1700s CE.  Dice (which are in many ways similar to dominoes) are old, to be sure, and geomancy is also old, but Western-style dominoes are a relatively young thing, whether they arose from six-sided dice or were somehow descended from Chinese dominoes (骨牌 gǔpái, 牙牌 yápái, or 蒱牌 púpái).  And, just to be even more sure, I started some very brief research into reading about domino divination, just enough to confirm my suspicions; as I suspected, there was no connection between geomantic divination and domino divination.

But in the process of that research, something snagged my interest, and hard.  Maybe it was a spirit of mine, maybe it was just some latent desire to get good at this thing I had never before considered or even knew much about, but for the entirety of that summer I became obsessed with learning how to do domino reading and divination. What few books I could find—heck, most of the information was just a few pages in a handful of books.  I did as much research as I could, going back as far as I could with what resources I had available to me, a combination of using digitized records or buying antique copies of books barely held together anymore from the 1800s and scrounging around on websites in a variety of languages and crosschecking it all together to see what matched and what didn’t.  I ended up compiling dozens upon dozens of pages of notes on technique and interpretations, sorting out what seemed useful and what seemed to be coming out of left field.  Heck, I even ended up coming across the supposed connections between domino reading and orisha divination—which is very much not a thing, as I’ve mentioned before in the strongest of terms (that post came out of this research).

It was out of these notes and this research that I ended up putting together a whole book’s worth of knowledge, lore, and technique on how to read the dominoes as a form of divination and fortune-telling (which I immediately put to practice for myself, and whew does it work better and clearer than I thought it would).  I’ve been sitting on releasing this for a while, I admit, but I figured that I may as well just push it to PDF ebook format, since I know I’m not likely to get involved in formal publishing anytime soon (if ever).  After all, the more people who learn domino reading and take it seriously, the better off we’ll all be, I think, whether someone takes it as their one-and-done system or as an adjunct to other systems like card reading or geomancy.

To that end, I present to you my newest ebook: The Oracle of the Dominios, available through my Etsy store or my Ko-fi store for only US$10!

The Oracle of the Dominos (a title that isn’t in Latin for once!) is a 178-page (US Letter-sized) PDF text in English that summarizes basically all the research I was able to do on domino divination, combining what I could gleam from over 50 different texts going back to 1862 across five languages.  A combination of both technique and reference, there’s over 100 pages alone of just details on what each of the individual bones of a traditional set of double-six dominoes means, split out into areas like work and career, money and finances, love and romance, family and friends, health issues, spiritual guidance, general advice, and other notes.  In addition to detailing the traditional approach of reading the dominoes, I’ve also included much more modern ways like using spreads or alternative ways that use the dominoes for specific situations like determining names, numbers, times, and the like, as well as introducing a little astrological symbolism to the dominoes (which I’ve never otherwise encountered) to expand the meanings to also include predictions regarding people’s temperament, character, appearance, and the like.  Having learned and practiced this form of divination since I started learning about it, I can personally attest to how brilliant this lore is when it comes together under the bones—if not outright punchy and blunt at times just to make a point!

Not gonna lie, I did originally intend to find a publisher for this and have it go to press, but honestly, that’s a lot more headache and hassle than I want to deal with (on top of my own personal thoughts and opinions regarding the state of occult publishing as well as perceptions around publishing in general), and that was frankly an impediment to me getting this sort of project out at all.  For those who wanted something like this in print, I apologize; I’d rather self-publish through PDF ebooks than keep this as a file that I’d never otherwise get out publicly.  Still, I’m fully aware that there are those who, despite the increasing popularity of e-readers and the like, still prefer to have an offline and non-digital copy of such things; for those purposes, as with all my other ebooks, I highly encourage my readers to please print these things off on their own for their own private and personal use, either just on plain printer paper shoved into a binder or whether done more professionally through something like Lulu or CreateSpace.  It’s also one of the reasons why, despite the time and resources I poured into a text like this, I’m pricing it how I am—and, for that matter, why I’ve priced my other ebooks how I have, because it’s just a digital file that I’m providing, which (I hope) allows those who wish for something more tangible to spend a few extra dollars on their own to have things printed out in a format and style they themselves prefer.

To that end, I’ve also dropped the prices of three of my older ebooks (Secreti Geomantici, Preces Castri, and Preces Templi) from US$18 or US$16 down to US$10.  I consider the two Preces books to be some of my crowning achievements when it comes to some of my prayer-writing and research, and Secreti Geomantici a fantastic text about a nascent field of magic in Western practice that stands to be developed greatly by the geomantic community, and I also consider this new ebook on domino divination to also be up there, especially given the time and resources I had to pour into it to get it researched and written.  It’s not that I don’t want to make money—money, though it isn’t everything, is damn useful to anyone—but I also want to be fair to people while also not wanting to be unfair to myself, especially in this time when there are so many people out there going through such hard times when something as simple as learning domino reading or having a new set of prayers for ritual practice could give them a necessary edge to make things so much better for themselves and others.  Given how printing things out on one’s own is an extra cost, I figured I may as well just standardize my ebook price to US$10 across the board rather than having things that are comparatively more expensive, especially since US$10 is already a fairly reasonable price for many print books already out there—and authors of such books in print generally get much less of that total cut than what I get (which is almost everything after a few fees towards PayPal, Etsy, or the like).    For those who have already bought these ebooks at the previous price, I give you my sincere thanks and hope you have found them useful enough to be worth the cost; for those who have not yet bought these ebooks, I hope the new price will encourage you to buy them and get some use out of them!

Anyway, what are you waiting for?  Head over to my Etsy store or my Ko-fi store and get yourself a copy of The Oracle of the Dominoes (or my other ebooks!) today, and learn a new predictive skill for yourself that can give you an edge in life!