The Physical and Subtle Human Body According to Geomancy

Every year, towards the end of summer leading through the middle of autumn, is my Hell Season.  Not that it’s a particularly chthonic or calamitous time of year or anything, but it’s just super busy.  Between my and my husband’s birthdays and our wedding anniversary, thirteen saint feast days, eight religious anniversaries, and a few other events and tasks every year take place during this time, and it always gets almost overwhelming at times.  We got a big start on that this year by taking a road trip to Maine this past weekend…all of fourteen hours up and fourteen hours down, with my husband and my sister and I in my tiny two-door coupe.  Plus, there’s a few more things happening later this week that will keep me out of contact for a few more days, so this year’s Hell Season is really getting to a strong start.  (If I’m slow with getting to your messages or requests, I gratefully appreciate your patience!)

Over this past weekend, I was apparently summoned in a Facebook thread; someone was contemplating the elemental arrangement of the geomantic figures, such that the topmost line is given to Fire, the next one down to Air, the next one after that to Water, and the bottommost line to Earth.  Given such an arrangement, they were interested in seeing how the elements given in such an order could overlap with the elements given to particular energy centers in the body (the resource they were using was some neopagan/Wiccan-derivative text that involves another rehash of the seven Vedic-system chakras with a novel Western elemental approach).  There are obvious issues in straightforwardly trying to map the elemental rows of the geomantic figures to a system of chakrasa, not least because they’re different systems with different bases of logic, but also because Western occult systems haven’t historically had a notion of “chakras” or bodily energy systems before the advent of Theosophy and the influx of “Oriental” traditions.  This isn’t to say that there are no energy practices in Western occulture historically, but nothing like what we’d commonly think of as having discrete energy centers or “chakras” in the body connected by meridians.

Still, it was an interesting idea; conceiving of a subtle energy body that uses the structure of the geomantic figures as a basis could be useful.  After all, I find the notion of energy centers in the body to be a useful one in many contexts, so why not conceive of the human body itself as structured geomantically?  From the reply I made on that Facebook thread:

…the system of how the elements are arranged as rows within a geomantic figure is based on their elemental density as well as their natural motion: Fire is the most subtle and burns outwards and upwards, Air is slightly more dense than Fire and moves sideways, Water is even more dense than Air and moves downward, and Earth is densest of all and compresses and condenses unto itself into a stable, unmoving form. This order (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) is different than that used in the Zodiac (Fire, Earth, Air, Water) due to a different logic, however, due to a different logic of how these two systems are built (I don’t have my notes on the latter zodiacal order at the moment and forget that system’s particular logic here).

Historically, the lines of the geomantic figures were already given to parts of the body:

Fire line: head
Air line: throat or arms
Water line: belly
Earth line: feet or legs

In this sense, we can see a sort of match between the metaphorical “geomantic” body parts and the elements of the rows they correspond to: the head with Fire due to the intelligent Divine Spark given to us as well as with sight and perceiving light or Light, the throat or arms with Air as means of communication and breathing, the belly with Water due to it being the seat of health and the humours of the body, and the legs or feet with Earth because they are what support us on the Earth. Such a system doesn’t match with one based on chakras, however, because there wasn’t historically a “chakra system” of the West, though there are other types and notions of energetic or subtle bodies (though not necessarily in those terms). Using Agrippa’s Scale of Four, for instance, we can consider a multipart “human” composed of Mind, Spirit, Soul, and Body, which are given to the elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, respectively, each with the faculties of Knowing, Thinking, Emotion, and Physicality, but these are more like interconnecting “layers” (think of the Egyptian notion of the multipart soul, with the physical body, spiritual body, identity, personality, shadow, heart, double, intelligence, power, and so forth).

Perhaps, if you were to shoehorn a variant of chakra systems onto the geomantic “body”, you could reinterpret it so that the third eye or crown chakra was given to Fire (giving it Will or Divinity) and the throat to Air. Such a “geomantic energy center” system could work, and might be useful to experiment with: the Fire center in the head, the Air center in the hollow of the throat, the Water center in the belly, and the Earth center either in the feet or at the perineum (where the legs meet the rest of the body). Could be interesting to experiment with!

The idea of using a geomantic template of thinking about energy centers in the body does seem interesting to me, but before we go onto that, how are the geomantic figures associated with the body in the extant literature we have available to us?  Given that the planets and signs of the Zodiac are associated with different parts of the body as well as the different organs and systems of the body, it also makes sense that the geomantic figures themselves would also be associated with them, too.  So, let’s start simple, shall we?  John Case in book III, chapter 9 of his 1697 work The Angelical Guide gives the following list of figures associated with parts of the body:

Figure Body Part
Puer Head or face
Coniunctio Belly
Puella Spine and lower back
Rubeus Arms
Carcer Feet
Via Breast or stomach
Albus Belly
Fortuna Maior Legs
Populus Knees
Cauda Draconis Thighs
Caput Draconis Belly
Acquisitio Head
Laetitia Throat
Amissio Navel
Tristitia Genitals and groin
Fortuna Minor Face and cheeks

However, it’s important to note that these associations may be limited in scope.  Case brings this list up in a discussion of queries related to house I, which is also the house that should be inspected to make sure the chart is authenticated: not necessarily valid, but useful and accurate as well as valid.  Specifically, Case says that “the Figure [chart] is verified also by certain moles, marks, or scars”, with the figure in house I indicating the part of the body where the mark may be found.  It’s important to note that the parts of the body are associated with the figures by means of their zodiacal correspondences, though it’s not made explicit in the list above; thus, because Case gives Populus to Capricorn (using the traditional associations of the figures to the Zodiac that I also use), and because Populus rules over the knees (and also bones, skin, etc.), Populus gets all the body associations that Capricorn has.

So much for Case’s simple scheme.  Then there’s the extraordinarily complex method of John Heydon in the Theomagia, where he gives a table of how the figures relate to the parts of the body based on what sign they fall in (book I, chapter 26).  (I understand the table is probably gonna be too wide for the usual width on my website, but just bear with me and accept that Heydon did not like to be concise.)

Sign Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon
Aries Breast
Arms
Shoulders
Heart
Stomach
Head
Belly
Head
Thighs
Feet
Lower back
Legs
Genitals
Head
Knees
Taurus Heart
Breast
Shoulders
Arms
Upper spine
Belly
Neck
Throat
Lower back
Knees Head
Genitals
Thighs
Feet
Throat
Legs
Gemini Stomach
Heart
Navel
Breast
Lights
Lower back
Loins
Arms
Shoulders
Genitals
Legs
Ankles
Neck
Throat
Thighs
Head
Knees
Arms
Shoulders
Feet
Cancer Lower back
Belly
Genitals
Stomach
Heart
Genitals
Bladder
Breast
Lights
Thighs
Feet Arms
Shoulders
Knees
Neck
Throat
Legs
Head
Breast
Stomach
Lights
Leo Genitals
Lower back
Belly
Hips
Thighs
Heart
Back
Knees
Head
Eyes
Breast
Heart
Legs
Arms
Shoulders
Feet
Neck
Throat
Heart
Back
Virgo Thighs
Genitals
Feet
Lower back
Loins
Knees
Belly
Legs
Neck
Throat
Stomach
Liver
Heart
Feet
Head
Breast
Lights
Shoulders
Arms
Belly
Libra Thighs
Knees
Legs
Genitals
Lower back
Genitals
Feet
Shoulders
Arms
Head
Belly
Hips
Neck
Throat
Heart
Stomach
Breast
Lights
Lower back
Loins
Scorpio Knees
Legs
Thighs
Feet
Head
Eyes
Genitals
Bladder
Breast
Stomach
Heart
Neck
Throat
Lower back
Loins
Shoulders
Arms
Belly
Stomach
Heart
Liver
Genitals
Sagittarius Legs
Feet
Head
Eyes
Knees
Neck
Throat
Thighs
Heart
Belly
Back
Shoulders
Arms
Genitals
Breast
Lower back
Loins
Lights
Bowels
Thighs
Capricorn Head
Feet
Neck
Throat
Legs
Arms
Shoulders
Knees
Belly
Hips
Breast
Lights
Thighs
Stomach
Liver
Heart
Genitals
Reins
Loins
Knees
Aquarius Head
Neck
Arms
Shoulders
Feet
Breast
Lights
Heart
Legs
Lower back
Loins
Thighs
Stomach
Liver
Heart
Back
Knees
Belly
Thighs
Genitals
Legs
Hips
Pisces Neck
Arms
Shoulders
Head
Eyes
Breast
Heart
Heart
Stomach
Liver
Feet
Genitals Hips
Belly
Legs
Lower back
Loins
Knees
Thighs
Feet

It’s important to note that, in this case, Heydon uses the usual planetary association of the figures, but only gives Cauda Draconis to Saturn and Caput Draconis to Jupiter.  Later on, in book III, chapter 7, Heydon talks about moles, marks, and scars as well:

Having projected your Figure, consider the Figure in the first House and the Idea and Ruler that governs it, and what part of member in mans body they govern: for the Querent hath a Mole, Mark or Scar in that part of his body.  Example: if Puer be in the first House, it is a cut in the head or face, or burn, or red Mole: If Coniunctio, it is on the belly, viz. a Mole, Mark or Scar: if Puella be in the first, it is on the Reins, viz. a Mark, &c. If Rubeus, the Secrets.

Consider if the first Figure go into any other House out of the first, the Querent hath a Mole in that part also: Consider Populus, and wheresoever she is, that House and Figure tells you in what part the Querent hath another.

What Figure is in the sixth House, notes usually a Mark, Mole, or Scar in the Member it signifieth, as you may read in the 26 Chapter of the first book: if Carcer or Tristitia signifie the Mar, &c. it is generally an excrescence of a dark obscure or black colour.

If Acquisitio or Lætitia, it is usually a purple or blewish Mole: If Puer or Rubeus, it is commonly some Scar, Slash or Cut, chiefly in a House governed by a fiery Idea [i.e. ruled over by a fire sign]; and sometimes a reddish Mole or spots of Gunpowder: If Fortuna Major, or Fortuna Minor, generally of an olive or chestnut colour: if Amissio or Puella, of a hony-color.

If Albus or Conjunctio, whitish or lead-color: if Populus or Via, white, and of the color the Figures signifie that behold them: Caput Draconis, white; Cauda Draconis, black or read: If the figure be Masculine that represents the Mole, Mark, &c. it is on the right side of the Body; if Feminine, judge the contrary.

If the Significator of the Mole, &c. be in the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth of any question; it is then visible to the eye, and other forepart of the Body: but the other Houses signifie the Mole is to to be seen, but it is on the back-part of the Body.

If ill Figures be in the first, the Querent is usually blemished: for the Face is signified by the first, let what figure soever be in it.

Note that, in general, the table Heydon gives above is related mostly to specific inquiries about house VI, while the figures themselves as described here typically are simply given the usual zodiacal correspondence to the body.  Heydon, I should note, uses the planetary-zodiacal associations common to later geomancers and which is in use by the Golden Dawn and John Michael Greer and not the older system that I and other geomancers historically used.  Heydon’s information above, however, is useful in determining not just the specific location of marks on the body, but also their type and coloration, too, which is information not otherwise commonly seen in the geomantic literature available to us.

So much for the scant Western resources we have on associating the geomantic figures with the parts of the body: the rule appears to be to link the figures to the parts of the body by means of their shared zodiacal correspondences. I can’t recall there being other sets of explicit associations of the figures with the body in Fludd, Pietro d’Abano, or other European authors, though I don’t doubt they exist; however, I do doubt that they’d do much more than retranslate existing sets of correspondences that exist for parts of the body using their shared zodiacal or planetary associations.

However, that’s not the only such correspondence available; there are others that directly link the figures to the body without a zodiacal or other correspondence go-between.  One Arabic treatise on geomancy, MS Arabe 2631 from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, gives the following diagram on folio 64v detailing a correspondence between the sixteen geomantic figures and the different parts of the body:

 

In this system, the parts of the body are given to the following figures:

Figure Body Part
Laetitia Head
Rubeus Throat and neck
Puella Left shoulder
Puer Right shoulder
Carcer Chest and breast
Amissio Left hand and arm
Acquisitio Right hand and arm
Albus Upper belly, stomach, solar plexus
Coniunctio Left torso and ribcage  Ribcage
Populus Right torso and ribcage (?)  Back
Via Navel, lower belly, and intestines
Tristitia Crotch and genitals
Fortuna Maior Left hip, thigh, and upper leg
Fortuna Minor Right hip, thigh and upper leg
Cauda Draconis Left foot and lower leg
Caput Draconis Right foot and lower leg

Stephen Skinner in his Geomancy in Theory and Practice gives a translation of these, but some of them are incorrect; he says that “the figure…faces outwards from the page, so left and right have been designated from the point of view of the figure rather than the manuscript page”, so he gives e.g. Puer to the left shoulder, although Puer in the diagram is clearly designated as “al-kutuf al-ayman”, or right shoulder.  I retranslated from the diagram in the manuscript as best I could.  The only figure in the list that was truly mysterious was Via, which was not given a label; Albus is designated as “belly”, so I interpreted that as the upper belly and stomach, and Via as the lower belly and intestines, though it could also refer to the back and spine (which, physically speaking, would resemble the shape of Via).  Similarly, I couldn’t make out what word is given to Populus, but given the symmetry here, I’m assuming it’s referring to the right side of the torso in general, though there is a chance that it refers to the inner viscera of the upper torso and Coniunctio refers to the outer flesh and the ribcage on both sides of the torso in general.  However, I can’t be certain as yet; those who can read this kind of older, book-script Arabic are welcome to comment.

EDIT: Thanks to a few people from the Geomantic Study-Group on Facebook, I’ve amended some of the translations further.  Populus is given to the back and Coniunctio to the ribs.  Via, though unlabeled, can be interpreted as the navel, which still ties into the lower belly and intestines.  There still is some ambiguity in the diagram, but this is still far better off than we were before.  My thanks go out to Masood and B.A.!

Personally, I like the layout of the “Geomantic Adam” design above and how the figures are clearly arranged on the body, though I also like the use of planetary and zodiacal associations.  I suppose a blended approach could work: use the geomantic arrangement for general body areas, and the organs and physical systems associated with the planets and elements to fill in the gaps.  So, for instance, since Laetitia rules the head in the Arabic design, one could say that Laetitia would also rule over the brain; however, since Mercury rules over the nervous system as a whole, this could be given to Albus or Coniunctio, and given Albus’ location closer to the solar plexus, I’d wager that Albus could rule both the belly as a general physical area as well as the nervous system.  Further clarification on expanding the Arabic system would be good, I’d think, in one sense or another.

Anyway, back to the diagram.  Even with the parts of the body that are clearly labeled, we can see something fascinating: the figures with only one element active are associated clearly with the parts of the body that we’d call those corresponding elemental rows: Laetitia, with only the Fire/Head line active, is given to the head; Rubeus, with only the Air/Throat line active, is given to the throat; Albus, with only the Water/Belly line active, is given to the belly; and Tristitia, with only the Earth/Feet line active, is given to the privates and groin, which is the lowest part of the torso to which the feet and legs are connected.  Though the manuscript dates only to the 18th century, it’s likely that it has much earlier origins or carries on an older Arabic tradition of geomancy from whence the body-names of the rows of the figures comes.  This, along with a clear use of geomantic relationships between parts of the body that match each other (right hand and left hand, right shoulder and left shoulder, etc.) is greatly indicative that the body-correspondences given in MS Arabe 2631 are strictly geomantic in nature rather than using planetary or zodiacal go-betweens.

This reinforces the idea behind the notion of naming the four rows of a geomantic figure after their corresponding body parts (head, throat, belly, feet) and can be a key to coming up with a geomantic system of energy centers in the body:

  • The Fire Center would be found in the head, likely just under the crown of the skull directly above the top of the spinal column.
  • The Air Center would be found in the throat, in the middle of the neck though perhaps slightly closer to the spine than the front.
  • The Water Center would be found in the belly, closer to the stomach just under the ribcage near the solar plexus.
  • The Earth Center would be found in the groin, near the perineum at the base of the spine.

To offer a conjectural way to work with these energy centers, I’d feel that an intonation of some sort would be appropriate.  My usual power words for the four elements are based in Greek stoicheia, where each of the Greek letters has an occult signification, so I’d normally use ΧΙΑΩΧ for Fire (Khi is the Greek letter associated with this element combined with the divine name ΙΑΩ), ΦΙΑΩΦ for Air, ΞΙΑΩΞ for Water, and ΘΙΑΩΘ for Earth.  However, we can do better than that, especially given even what little we know about Arabic geomantic practices and how they tie into the elements.  One interesting technique comes to mind that crops up in some early European sources with a clearly Arabic origin: the use of the word BZDA.  From my translation of the 15th century work Lectura Geomantiae:

By the Greek word “b z d a” we can find the house of the figures, which is to say in which house the figures are strongest, wherefore when the first point starting from the upper part of the beginning figure is odd, the second house is strong; when the second point is odd, the seventh house is strong; when the third point is odd, the fourth house is strong; when the fourth and last point is odd, the eighth house is strong. Thus we will find by this number the proper houses of the figures; by “b” we understand 2, by “z” 7, by “d” 4, by “a” 8, as in this example: “b z d a”.

This may not make a lot of sense on its own, but compare what Felix Klein-Franke says in his article “The Geomancy of Aḥmad b. `Alī Zunbul: A Study of the Arabic Corpus Hermeticum” (AMBIX, March 1973, vol. XX):

The best taskīn is that of az-Zanātī; it bears the key-word bzdḥ: according to the principle of Gematria, the transposition of letters of a word into numbers, in place of bzdḥ there result the numbers 2748. Thus the Mansions of the taskīn are indicated; each spot denotes one of the four elements; in the 2nd Mansion there is only the element Fire (Laetitia, ḥayyān), in the 7th Mansion only Air (Rubeus, ḥumra), in the 4th Mansion only Water (Albus, bayāḍ), and in the 8th Mansion only Earth (Cauda Draconis, rakīza ẖāriǧa).

Stephen Skinner clarifies this even further in his works on geomancy.  From his 1980 book “Terrestrial Astrology: Divination by Geomancy”:

Further specialized configurations or taskins are outlined together with mnemonics for remembering their order. Gematria, or the art of interpreting words in terms of the total of’ the numerical equivalents of each of their letters, is introduced at this point. Using the mnemonic of a particular taskin such as Bzdh, Zunbul explains that the letters represent the four Elements, in descending order of grossness. Each letter also represents a number in Arabic, thus:

b – 2 – Fire
z – 7 – Air
d – 4 – Water
h – 8 – Earth

This mnemonic therefore indicates House number 2 for Fire, House number 7 (Air), House number 4 (Water), and House number 8 (Earth). For each of the Houses indicated in this taskin, we see that the second is most compatible with Fire, the seventh with Air, and so on. Therefore, if the geomantic figure Laetitia (or in Arabic Hayyan), which is solely Fire, occurs in the second House, this would be. an extremely favourable omen. Likewise, the occurrence of Rubeus (or Humra), which is solely Air, in the seventh House would also be extremely auspicious. Further chapters are devoted to even more complicated combinations of the basic figures, and to labyrinthine rules for everything from marriage to medicine. Diagnosis by raml even became a lay rival of the latter, and tables were educed of the relationship between specific parts of the body and the geomantic figures.

In other words, based on these letters, we could intone a particular sound that starts with the letter “b” for Fire, “z” for Air, “d” for Earth, and “ḥ” (think of the guttural “ch” of German, but further back in the throat).  To vocalize them, since the Arabic alphabet doesn’t have vowels, I’d probably borrow Greek vowels which I know have similar-enough elemental qualities to what I’m looking for.  Thus:

  • Fire: bi
  • Air: zu
  • Water: de
  • Earth: ḥa

Those who might want to use a more Greek or Western approach could use the Greek letters and the natural vowels associated with them, which is simple given that they all have the same vowel Ēta:

  • Fire: 
  • Air: 
  • Water: 
  • Earth: 

Instead of using these, one might also use the Arabic terms for the elements instead for intonation purposes.  These are just the standard terms for the four elements, but Skinner gives them according to Aḥmad b. `Alī Zunbul as:

  • Fire: nar (pronounced “nahr”)
  • Air: hawa’ (pronounced “HAH-wa” with a sharp stop in the throat)
  • Water: ma’ (pronounced “ma” with a sharp stop in the throat)
  • Earth: turab (pronounced “tuh-RAHB”)

Of course, this is all highly hypothetical and experimental stuff we’re getting into, but then, that’s never stopped me before.  I would venture to say that this sort of geomantic energy center work could easily and happily be paired with my system of geomantic gestures or “mudras”, such that when working with the Fire Center in the head, one would make the gesture for Laetitia while intoning bi or  or nar.  With enough experimentation, I suppose a full (or at least fuller) system of energy work with a geomantic subtle body could be developed for other magical work, or used instead of Vedic- or Chinese-based systems that are commonly found in later Hermetic or Western magical systems.  This is definitely something I want to (slowly) explore, but if you’re interested and willing to give it a shot, why not try experimenting with this system as a base for your own work?  If you do, I’d love to hear what you’d think of such a practice!

Discounted Divination Readings until 10/31!

Okay, so, money’s tight for me, but it’s always getting better (and there’s much more to wealth than monetary numbers, anyway).  Still, there are some upcoming expenses that I need to pay off, including a few plane tickets and otherwise prohibitively expensive books.  Since divination’s something I like to do and can do well, let’s do this: from Sunday, 9/15, through Thursday, 10/31, I’ll be offering discounted rates on divination readings.  Instead of the normal $30 for a reading, Here’s what I’m charging:

  • $10 for a single query
  • $40 for five queries, or if you submit four $10 single-query requests within this timespan, you get a fifth for free

The process of divination will be the same as normal, where you clicky-click on a PayPal button below, then once I get the payment request, we’ll start talking over email.  For my line of divination, keep in mind that I’m much more a worldly advisor than cosmic seer: I like to help people with down-to-earth, real-world problems and issues.  To that end, the best queries will be clear, concise, and direct.  We’ll hash the query out over email and I’ll get you an answer, and we can talk about methods of action for advising afterward.  All the same rules, etc. apply as for normal readings (you can get all that over on the Services page).  This only applies to divination readings obtained through the Internet by email, and is only valid through the last day of October 2013.

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$10

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$40

If you’ve gotten a reading from me before, feel free to leave a testimony (if you so desire) in the comments.  After doing 40 divinations this past Tuesday in the service of Hermes, a good number of people have gotten good worth out of my readings.  Feel free to share this and spread the word; the world needs answers, and I’m more than willing to do my best to provide people with them.  If this goes well, you might expect to see more of these discounted months every so often.

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.

More Quick Experiments with Orgone

Jarandhel and I are at it again!  While helping move some furniture at his place now that one of his and friend’s roommates moved out yesterday, we spent some down time playing with more orgone generator setups.  Since I’m building my own permanent orgone installation, I’m working with him to refine and learn more about the theory, applications, and methods of development of orgone.  We’ve played with it before, but this time we made use of different setups and an experimental circuitboard/magic circle to be used with orgone.  Because the circuitboard is still under heavy experimentation, I’ll refrain from talking about it here, but I’ll talk about it later once I have my full-blown writeup discussing my orgone system.  Here, I’ll just describe what we did last night involving different perimeter crystal setups.

(I swear I have the writeup forthcoming, once I have more experiments and a few more supplies gotten in the mail.  At this rate, it looks like early November for the complete write-up, but it’ll be a doozy.)

To recap (I really really need to do the writeup soon so I can stop recapping this): the orgone system, or Babalon Matrix, is a crystal grid (a series of crystals or force-channeling objects “energetically linked” to produce an effect) combined with an orgone accumulator or shooter.  The crystal grid is composed of a series of perimeter crystals (normally four) linked up to a central focus and to each other; this produces a kind of field around the focus, like an aura-expanding magical circle (I used this in my Mercury election ritual).  The orgone accumulator is like a trickle charge, constantly feeding energy or force into the field, while the field simply binds and reflects the energy out from the focus, which radiates force outwards.  The orgone accumulator itself doesn’t need much to it; it works naturally, like a kind of magnetic propulsion for ambient energy.  The crystal grid itself is what needs to be “activated” by energetically linking them up, kinda like programming them for a purpose.  The orgone accumulator feeds energy in, while the crystals are linked up to contain and recycle the energy.

Normally, the Babalon Matrix uses four perimeter crystals arranged in a square around the central focus.  This produces a kind of spherical field around the focus, which can be used to charge an object in the focus or felt by stepping into the field directly.  Jarandhel has aspirations of using such a field as a gate to better obtain access, astrally or otherwise, to other places or planes, something like a Vortex that Fr. Rufus Opus suggests in his Astral Warrior Handbook.  By stepping into this field based on a focus that was synched or energetically linked to a certain place, we were able to clearly view or experience that given place; a Martian talisman, for instance, would yield a Martian environment.  However, we experimented using different numbers of crystals and different ways in linking them up:

  • Three crystals in a triangle: A feeling of motion, erasure, being moved from one place to another, but no sensation of the place or images.  Not really dependent or affected by the object in the focus.
  • Six crystals in a hexagon: A feeling of presence, of feeling the energy or sensations of the place without being there.  Pure information, nothing material or visible.
  • Six crystals in two overlapping triangles: Being both pushed and pulled to the place, bidirectional movement, able to clearly see and “step through” as it were.  A combination of sensation between both worlds, suitable for being a gate.
  • Seven crystals: Not good; confusion, a mess, different mixes of random and varying sensations.  Inverted or messed up colors, nothing clear or discernible.  Highly uncomfortable.
  • Eight crystals in an octagon: A singularity of sensation and time; all things together at once, all space and history compressed into one spot.  Confusing, hard to make individual things out since everything is completely conjoined, like viewing the entire world as a whole unit.
  • Eight crystals in two overlapping, crossing squares:  Being “upside down” or criss-crossed, a sensation of vertigo, like seeing with crossed eyes, two images of the same thing overlaid slightly askew over each other.  Sensations dulled, like feeling through gauze.  Being a doubled form of the normal set up but rotated, this makes sense.
  • Eight crystals in two nested squares lined up at the corners: Sharp, clear, easily discernible forms and place.  Like putting on perfectly-fitted and prescription glasses.  Still like trying to see through something, but everything was brought into “focus” but still with using an intermediate but easily passable boundary.

In all cases, there was a kind of “boundary” beyond which we couldn’t pass, but which we could easily sense; this is partially because we were actively and consciously doing an energetic form of remote viewing not involving any trance or actual projection, but may also be due to the nature of the field itself and its own bounded nature.  Based on this and our experiments, four crystals seems sufficient for most needs, though six crystals set up as two overlapping triangular fields works as well.  We didn’t do five or ten crystal setups, but we plan to in the future.  It seems like the more crystals one adds to the matrix, the different properties one obtains in the “view” or sensation of the field when stepped inside.  For gate-making purposes, six-as-overlapping-triangles seems to be the way to go if possible, but four crystals as a simple materialization or basis for remote viewing suffices.

Another thing we tested was the orientation of the perimeter crystals themselves.  The crystals in question are long crystal bars, about 8″ long, that were lab-grown on a flat surface (one example can be found at this site); these are pure quartz crystals that terminate into points on either end but have a long flat side to them.  The crystal points are put parallel to the central orgone system so that the flat side of the crystals either face in towards the focus or out away from the focus.  When facing inwards, the field was contained to the area marked off by the crystals, roughly in the shape of a sphere.  When reversed so that the flat sides faced outward, the force within the area marked by the crystals seemed to vanish to mere threads, but was projected equally in all directions from the crystals.  However, this only really works when there are a balanced and stable number of crystals; using only one crystal to “reflect” the field back towards the orgone system, it seemed to overwhelm the other direction and reflected it back (so that if the crystal was placed south of the orgone system with the flat side facing north, the field would be reflected all towards the north).  Using only two crystals, one on each side, produced a field, but it seemed unstable and ill-defined; we presume that at least three crystals are necessary to form a “stable” field in this manner.

Also, we noticed a neat little thing: instead of putting one object into the field focus, we also tried two (an agate pendant I always wear as a reservoir for excess force/Light, and a phylactery I made for protection) items.  The field at first glance seemed to combine or merge both auras or objects into a single field, but after a while seemed to feel more like it was two fields overlaid on top of each other.  It’s like being able to taste several ingredients in a dish separately at once without anything actually combining them.  Using objects or crystals charged with a certain intent or force as perimeter crystals or placed randomly in the field had interesting effects themselves:

  • Placed in the center focus: Whole field took on the force/aura of the object.
  • Placed at the perimeter as a perimeter crystal: Field took on the force of the object, but only in the direction “radiated/reflected” by the object.  The field was otherwise unaffected by the object and kept the force of the object in the focus.
  • Placed inside the field not at the focus: Field took on the force of the object only locally around the object’s location, like a tumor in a mass of flesh.  It felt like the area from the object outwards to the perimeter was a mixture of that force and the force from the focus, but inside that “boundary”, it was just the focus’ force itself.

Next up (probably): seeing the difference between using a normal orgone accumulator versus one doused with a Bardonian simple fluid condenser, testing the material of the central force radiator (metal orb, crystal orb, nothing, etc.).,  thoughts and experiments with that circuitboard-like magic circle I mentioned, using different orientations of crystals, and so forth.  I may as well just make a series of these orgone posts and use that as my write-up for my whole system; since I’m combining several ill-understood technologies at this point, I’m really only finding this stuff out as I go along.  Half the time it seems like nonsense, but it works and looks cool to boot.

Musings on Orgone

It’s funny how much of this occult stuff changes my tune on things I thought before starting it.

For example, a few years back, I had first heard of orgone, this Force-like universal life energy that surrounded and permeated all things.  Granted, it’s officially discredited and has always been on the fringes of science, and from what I’ve always heard about it, it’s kinda been ridiculous and unworthy of my attentions.  Until recently, that is.  One of my friends is an expert in energy work, reiki, and a good deal of nature magic, all things I’m not too acquainted with.  He was also moving from his old place to another, and I was helping him move.  I noticed a strange contraption on his desk: a sort of lantern-style candleholder with a pan in it, with a black box with some tubes sticking from it suspended above it.  I had guessed it was an orgone generator, even though I had never seen one, and my friend started describing to me how it works, supposedly.  Specifically, what he has is termed a “Babalon Matrix”, having its origins in Thelemite tech, but still falls under the orgone heading.  Later on, after we finished moving and got a few bites to eat, we started playing with it and he showed me how to activate it and the effect it’d have on various objects put into the focus.  I was impressed; now that I’ve got at least a modicum of astral sight to see things, I was able to get what was going on with the generator and the field it generated.  We tried stones that were tied to other places, my pendant I wear that’s closely aligned to my own energies, my reality-warping key, and a variety of other things.

From what my friend told me, a generator consists of a hollow tube that pierces through multiple layers of alternating organic and inorganic material (he used corkboard and steel wool), plus a series of perimeter markers (he used a set of long pure quartz crystals, flat on one side); the more layers the tube passes through, the more powerful the field generated.  Dissipate energy is collected on one end, concentrated through the generator, and passed out the other end as a focused “beam” of sorts; upon hitting a focus, the beam would branch out, pass through the perimeter markers, and back into the generator.  This would eventually form a field that would take on the force and energy of whatever object was in the focus.  This is done with the crystals facing flat side in; if the crystals were focused flat side out, the energy that took on the force of the focus would be dissipated outward.  Whatever was in the field would be affected by the force; whatever was in the focus itself would slowly gain more energy, sort of like a trickle charger for a car battery.  Once set up (the process of “turning on” the generator and field consists of energetically linking the crystals to the generator and providing a pulse of energy to get it started, which all takes seconds), the field continues to work until disassembled.

I’m not a firm believer yet, but seeing definitely helps believing.  Of course, as an engineer, there’s no way for this to work in any sensible terms; as a magician, I can definitely see how it works and how it can be used.  For instance, in conjurations, I could set up the crystals on the perimeter of the conjuration circle, set up the generator under the Table of Practice, and use the associated talisman of the force I’m conjuring (the Pentacle of Earth for Auriel, the Talisman of Mars for Kammael) as the focus, then have the entire ritual space take on the force of the angel; in Solomonic stuff, I could set up the crystals on the perimeter of the Circle of Art, set up the generator under me, and place the Ring of Solomon as the focus to fill the entire Circle with authority, light, and power.  I’m sure I could come up with more uses for this magical contraption, but these are things that are on my mind right now.

There were some questions that I had for my friend that, unfortunately, he didn’t know the answer to, mostly because he hadn’t experimented with some of these things.  Here are a few of the things I’d like to investigate:

  • The crystals that form the perimeter are to be facing flat side in or flat side out, all at once.  What happens if one of the crystals is turned outward and the rest inward?  Would that produce a focused field applying in only one direction?  Would that simply cause the field to break apart like a water balloon?
  • A generator is composed, in part, of alternating layers of organic and inorganic (metal) material.  These are assumed to be uniform, but what if they’re different materials?  Instead of using steel wool throughout the whole thing, why not use layers of lead foil, tin foil, steel wool, gold leaf, copper foil, pewter, silver leaf, and so forth separated by sheep’s wool, or steel wool separated by different sets of dried herbs?
  • Could the layers of organic and inorganic material be anointed with planetary or elemental oils, or be combined with Bardon’s fluid/solid condenser technique?
  • Orgone generators are supposed to stay away from the use of copper, supposedly because it creates “dead orgone”, or toxic/thanatoic energy.  However, my friend’s orgone generator used copper tubing for the generator, and it has (a) given our friend who works with death energy a lot a strong headache (b) hasn’t had any ill effects on his health for the past ten years.  Are there any materials that are really off-limits?
  • The generator (or more accurately, accumulator or “shooter”) doesn’t appear to have any directional alignment; it’s fairly symmetric, with nothing differentiating the in-end and out-end.  Without obstructing the tube, would a “receiver dish” on one end, using a wire matrix, and/or a “transmitter” on the other, using wires or crystal points, affect the generator for good or ill?
  • One of the main things my friend has experimented with is creating gates to other places, in the astral or wherever, by using an object aligned with that place as the focus.  Stepping into the field helps to astrally view or project into that place; I was able to see places I was not already acquainted with, describing things correctly according to my friend.  Could this be used with planetary talismans to better align myself or project into those spheres?

My friend had several of the crystals laying around, and sold a set to me.  Knowing what I do, after I consult him and some more sources, I’ll probably make my own device like this and experiment with them.

It’s definitely strange how much one’s opinion of this stuff changes once you actually fiddle around with it.  I mean, scientifically, it’s bunk, but then, so is the rest of my angelic, astrological, and divine work.  Keeping orgone in the sphere of magic and not in the sphere of (pop? fringe?) science works a lot better, and when presented to me in that manner, it becomes much more acceptable.  I mean, it’s like people want to still operate and deal with magic, but are too shamed or boxed in by scientism and modern sensibilities to admit a belief in it; to get around this, they have to use scientesque and needlessly complex mechanisms to achieve the same goals that have been done more simply and naturally for millennia.  I mean, if you’re going to do magic, call it magic.  I’m not saying that science and magic will never mix, but if the planes are discrete and not continuous, don’t try to get ahead of yourself and mix the two without actually having solid footing to do so (last I checked, orgone isn’t measurable by standard laboratory measurement tools).

Experimenting with Angelic Lamens

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I’m finally taking my original lamen design seriously and going to experiment using them.  My original lamen design was based off the one in Barrett’s the Magus to use with the Trithemius rite as well as from Fr. Rufus Opus’ Modern Angelic Grimoire, but altered to look a little cleaner and more magical; plus, the new style relies more on a circular format, similar to the seals given in Crowley/Mather’s Lemegeton.  For comparison, here’s the standard lamen for the angel of Mars, Kammael:

And here’s my new, experimental design:

The differences between the two, in case you’d like a written description:

  • The name of the spirit is written in another ring around a central circle.
  • Always use six pentagrams around the arms of the hexagrams, points facing outward.
  • No Romanization of the spirit’s name.
  • Center hexagram is embiggened and centered in the central circle.
  • Godnames rotated 90° so that El is aligned at the top.

I used this design for a temporary placeholder when testing out the look of some things, but went to the original format out of fear of fucking things up.  However, the basis for the design of the lamen comes from Cornelius Agrippa (book IV, chapter 10):

Now the Lamen which is to be used to invoke any good spirit, you shall make after this maner; either in metal conformable, or in new wax, mixt with species and colours conformable: or it may be made in clean paper, with convenient colours: and and the outward form or figure thereof may be square, circular, or triangular, or of the like sort, according to the rule of the numbers: in which there must be written the divine names, as well the general names as the special. And in the centre of the Lamen, let there be drawn a character of six corners (Hexagonus); in the middle whereof, let there be written the name and character of the Star, or of the Spirit his governour, to whom the good spirit that is to be called is subject. And about this character, let there be placed so many characters of five corners (Pentagonus), as the spirits we would call together at once. And if we shall call onely one spirit, nevertheless there shall be made four Pentagones, wherein the name of the spirit or spirits, with their characters, is to be written. Now this table ought to be composed when the Moon in increasing, on those days and hours which then agree to the Spirit. And if we take a fortunate star herewith, it will be the better. Which Table being made in this manner, it is to be consecrated according to the rules above delivered.

In some ways, my design might be closer to the description Agrippa gives.  Alternate designs could be drawn up that use, say, a pentagon for the shape of the lamen for Kammael (5 = Geburah = Mars).  Although I didn’t color the lamen template, I do hand-color in the lamens after I print them out and cut them in an appropriate planetary day and hour.  The rule about the number of pentagrams annoys me: four for conjuring four spirits and fewer, otherwise as many as the number of spirits being conjured?  Yet Barrett shows six pentagrams for his lamen of Michael.  How confusing!  I may as well just stick with the number six to keep things balanced and even around the design of the lamen, I feel.  Plus, if I do ever get around to using a single lamen for multiple spirits, this layout affords more space for the seals and names of the spirits to be conjured than the standard design.

Tyson, in his notes to his critical edition of Agrippa, notes that Barrett’s design strays from this by adding a Romanized version of the name inside the hexagram, as well as using six pentagrams around the lamen.  However, Tyson also theorizes that the name of the angel (Michael, in Barrett’s example) is the ruling angel of the spirits to be conjured, with the individual spirit being written in the pentagrams around the hexagram.  However, since the lamen is to be worn around the neck, it has to be an appropriate size for wearing, in which case the pentagrams are way too small for that.  Because this can’t be done, I’m going with the interpretation that the name or seal of the spirit written on the lamen itself is the one to be conjured.  However, Agrippa does say that “there be written the name and character of the Star, or of the Spirit his governour, to whom the good spirit that is to be called is subject”; this is why we can use a lamen of, say, the angelic elemental king Auriel to conjure Amaymon, since Amaymon is subject to Auriel.  (That said, the way I’m taught and used to doing things is just conjure Auriel and ask him to bring Amaymon once he’s already there.  YMMV.)

Since I’m scheduled to conjure Kammael this week, I’m going to try this lamen out tomorrow.  I don’t expect too different a result; the spirit should be the same, the strength should be what I’m used to.  If I get better results, I’ll finish off the rest of this lamen set and post them to the designs.  If I get worse results, I’ll just stick to what I already have and use.  Personally, I like my design better, but that’s because I’m biased and proud of my shit.  If it works well enough for me to continue with these things, I may as well make a nice and purty set on strong parchment-like stock.

In Terms of Another

A computer is a mechanical and/or electronic device.  It takes in electricity and input from a device like a keyboard or a mouse or a touchscreen, and uses electricity to perform logical operations on input.  The output is redirected and is used as further input or is used to display information on a device like a monitor or printer.  There are lots of models to show how computers work, from the mathematical (why input becomes particular output), physical (how supplied electricity is transformed into motion, light, or sound), and logical (how input and stored data is manipulated in an abstraction of a machine).  It does not, however, make sense to describe how computers work in terms of biology with cells, protein folding, evolution, and so forth.  The two are completely separate systems of knowledge and use different abstractions, terminologies, definitions, and assumptions.  Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to describe the involuntary actions and processes of a human body in terms of formal types, data representation, or logical operators.

Languages rely on complex rules of word formation, ordering, and meaning, collectively termed grammar and semantics.  An English sentence, such as the one you’re currently reading, is made intelligible through the rules of English grammar and the meanings of English words according to an agreed-upon dictionary.  It doesn’t make sense for an English sentence to be analyzed according to the grammar or lexicon of another language, like French or Chinese, because the rules and definitions don’t apply.  Comparisons can be drawn, and translations can be performed, but you can’t simply drop an English sentence into a Chinese input terminal and expect to get any processing done.  Further, you can’t analyze or make sense of an English sentence if you’re trying to describe it in terms of multivariate calculus.  The two are just radically different systems of knowledge with different purposes, uses, languages, and so forth.  They’re both useful and necessary, sure, but not in the same way, and can’t be used in place of each other.

So, given this, it annoys me when people try to make me explain, justify, or validate magic or the occult in terms of the laws of physics or other physical sciences.  It’s like trying to explain a computer in terms of biology, or English in terms of calculus.  You’re asking me to explain something spiritual and inherently non-physical in terms of the non-spiritual and physical?  I can’t do anything with that.  I don’t have the tools, the rules, the definitions, the terms, the background for what I need.  I can use philosophy to illustrate some of these things, sure, and religion to make sense of other things, but that’s like the English sentence/Chinese grammar situation above.

Am I saying that magic is completely detached from the physical world?  No. Am I saying that magic has no effect in the physical world, nor any measurable metrics?  No.  Magic does affect and can effect the physical world, but doing so can’t be described in an entirely physical model, because magic doesn’t directly affect the physical world like how observable physical processes do.  Magic assumes the backdrop of a chain of manifestation, it assumes things that aren’t physical and can’t (always?) be detected physically.  If you’re asking me to explain something spiritual and non-physical, and only allowing me physical explanations to do so, you’re setting me up for failure.  If you want to discuss spiritual matters, then let’s use spiritual methods, languages, and definitions; we can draw parallels or comparisons between the spiritual and nonspiritual, physical and nonphysical, and that’s awesome.  But I can’t explain something in terms of what it’s not and what it can’t be.  If you want to talk to me about spirituality, let’s talk in spiritual terms, or at least allow for the possibility of spirituality.

I understand that atheism is a growing worldview and mindset of modern people, and there’s a good reason why: it makes sense.  It makes do with the tools and observations we have at our disposal and starts from there to make sense of the world.  If there’s no evidence for something, it doesn’t make sense to believe it if there’s a simpler explanation out there that, even if it’s theoretical, if it’s plausible, it can be accepted (Occam’s razor).  However, just because there’s no evidence in the Universe for a particular thing doesn’t mean that it’s evidence against that particular thing, either; just because there’s no meaning supplied by the cosmos doesn’t mean that meaning is completely denied, either.  Plus, modern science is not the be-all-and-end-all of all knowledge: we are constantly discovering new things all the time, and we are constantly revamping or reconstructing our current models of understanding to make sense of more stuff.  Further, we try to use a consistent system of logic to prove that something is true, “consistent” meaning that a well-structured proof with true hypotheses will yield a true conclusion.  It is impossible that a consistent system of logic can prove all provable things; in other words, I know something that’s true and you can’t show that it’s true (Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem).  In order to prove that something-unprovably-true, you need to use another system of logic, another kind of science.

It even gets me more riled up when people say “let’s establish empirical reality here” and try to dismiss my point of view out of hand.  First, “empirical” means “known through experience or experimentation”.  In my experience, magic works, nonphysical entities exist in some nonphysical form and can be interacted with in nonphysical (and sometimes physical!) ways, and there are worlds and phenomena that exist and can be interacted with nonphysically.  In my repeated experiments, under a particular setting and environment, I can call up angels or demons and chat with them or achieve some goal or desired end.  This is my experience, this is my reality that I work with.  If you want to disregard my reality, fine, but don’t try to argue with me about it.  My experience is not your own, and your experience is not my own.  If you want to try to convince me that something doesn’t work, try doing the same experiments I have and obtaining the same experiences I have, and then get back to me.  Trying to use “objective reality” to dismiss my experiences doesn’t really work: (a) everything has to be perceived in some way or another, leading to a subjective experience of reality (b) “objective numbers” obtained by tools made by mankind also have to be interpreted, and are obtained by machines that return numbers geared for a specific physical phenomena that doesn’t capture all known or experienced knowledge, but only a highly-specific subset of desired (subjective) knowledge (c) the models of “objective reality” don’t reliably account for the experiences that I and countless other people have.

Don’t try to ask me about my worldview if you’re just going to dismiss it.  It’s apparent from how you refer to me and my hobbies, that don’t influence or affect you, how you feel about them.  Feel what you want, please!  But if you don’t know about occultism, if you don’t want to know about occultism, and if you’re dead set against the possibility of occultism, don’t try to have me waste my breath or keystrokes to explain myself.  If you’re just going to call me crazy, save all of us the time and do so, and let me ignore you in peace.  If you don’t want to listen to me, ignore me!  I’m not going to be offended.  Magic isn’t for everyone.  Neither is any given religion, neither is art, neither is philosophy, neither is any given sport, neither is any given field of science.  But they all have worth, they all have meaning, and they’ve all been around for thousands of years for a reason.  Don’t try to discredit any one of them just because it doesn’t make sense in another one.

I don’t believe and work with this stuff for the hell of it.  What I do isn’t random and it isn’t haphazard.  What I do is researched, contemplated, discussed, planned, worked out, described, and analyzed.  The results I get are compared to my expectations, previous results I’ve obtained, and the results of others.  If I were crazy, I sure as hell wouldn’t be putting in as much effort or documentation into what I do.  If I had multiple personality disorder, I must be unique in being able to control when I talk to a particular alt-Polyphanes under certain circumstances.  If I were just deceiving myself, it’s gotta be a pretty damn big deception on a NWO-conspiracy-scale to be documented and discussed for as long as there’s been writing, and longer.  What I do isn’t physical and isn’t geared towards the physical or mathematical.  I wouldn’t use algebra to generate a change in consciousness; I wouldn’t use a computer to explain to me how to be happy.  Why ask me to explain spiritual things with physical processes?  It doesn’t work. I use physical and material processes to affect the world in terms of energy and matter; I use spiritual and mental processes to affect the world in terms of thought and spirit.  The two don’t mix.

It largely comes down to an issue of worldview and values.  If you believe that the ultimate expression and mode of reality is material reality, and that only material reality is the only thing of value and worth, awesome.  That’s not my philosophy, and I don’t expect my own philosophy to be yours.  My philosophy is that material reality is only one part of a grander part of reality, with each part being interactive and interactable.  If that’s not your philosophy, awesome.  But don’t try to say, explicitly or implicitly, that your worldview or philosophy is better than mine, because you don’t have the grounds to do that.  Logic doesn’t work in terms of things of worth or value, and I would hate to see someone supposedly so rational and logical to be so illogical in their approach and discussions when they continue to claim to be even more logical and rational than I am.  Hell, even more than logic, what I want is open-mindedness.  You don’t have to accept that what I do is sensible, you don’t have to accept the background or frameworks I’m working with, but please accept that it’s not baseless, not without cause, and not without effect.  Ascribe whatever physical explanation you want to it, be it psychological or pathological or whatever, but know that in doing so you’re trying to compare, not just apples and oranges, but apples and anvils.

In the words of the archdruid John Michael Greer:

The apotheosis of this sort of thinking is Arthur C. Clarke’s famous Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I mean no disrespect whatsoever to Clarke, who was among the best of SF authors; it’s hardly blameworthy that he shared misunderstandings of magic that were all but universal in his culture. The point remains that since magic does not do what technology does, and vice versa, the Third Law should properly be renamed Clarke’s Fallacy; no matter how advanced a technology may be, it does the kind of thing technologies do—that is to say, it manipulates matter and energy directly, which again is what magic does not do. I’d like to propose, in fact, an alternative rule, which I’ve modestly titled Greer’s Law: “Anyone who is unable to distinguish between magic and any technology, however advanced, doesn’t know much about magic.”

There.  My obligatory occultist’s rant on being accosted by hardline atheists.  I’m allowed to rant on my own blog, after all.  If you want to talk to me about the possibility of magic in a spiritual setting, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame, and I’d be up for that.  But let’s keep stuff within the same discipline and language, alright?  Thanks.