On Geomantic Holy Days, Redux

Lately I’ve gotten it into my head to try my hand at coming up with some sort of devotional practice with geomancy again, and it’s been stuck there for several days now. This post, however, is having a hard time coming out in a way I like, so it’ll be a bit more of a ramble than usual, but maybe we can end up somewhere neat that we didn’t expect. Also I’m writing it as a way to relieve a headache so I can focus on doing these 2019 New Year readings (which you should totally get one while the offer’s good, if you haven’t yet!).

I mentioned a while back in my post on the notion of geomantic holy days to honor and recognize the mythological and spiritual founders of the art, the four Progenitors Daniel, Enoch, Hermes Trismegistus, and Adam, with the archangel Gabriel being their supernatural teacher and initiator into the art. Whenever we find an origin story for geomancy, whether in European or Arabic texts, we see the same deal: the angel Gabriel arrives to instruct the prophet in question in the art of geomancy. If we were to center a devotional practice around Abrahamic figures that geomancy centers on, we could easily use the feast days associated with them to come up with five major holy days:

  • Feast of Gabriel the Archangel: March 24
  • Feast of Daniel the Blessed Prophet: July 21
  • Feast of Enoch the Great Scribe: July 30
  • Feast of Hermes the Thrice Great: April 4 (entirely an innovation on my part, see the above post as to why)
  • Feast of Adam and Eve: December 24

But why stop there? We can expand this basic set of feast days into a slightly fuller set:

  • Feast of Michael the Archangel and All Angels: September 29
  • Feast of Uriel the Archangel: June 21
  • Feast of Raphael the Archangel: December 22
  • Feast of the Guardian Angel: October 2
  • Feast of Saint Agabus: February 13
  • Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi: October 4
  • Feast of Samuel the Prophet: August 20
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2

Recognizing the feasts of the other three archangels makes a bit of sense to me; after all, with geomancy being heavily influenced by the number four (four elements, four Mothers, four Daughters, four Nieces, four Court figures, etc.), why not recognize the four archangels? Though we generally consider the archangel Michael to be prince of the bodiless hosts, Gabriel takes a more central importance to geomancy because he’s the one who taught the Progenitors the art. However, in my reckoning, the four Progenitors can each be associated with one of the four elements (Daniel with Fire, Enoch with Air, Hermes Trismegistus with Water, Adam with Earth), so we can also consider them each linked to one of the four archangels (Daniel with Michael, Enoch with Raphael, Hermes Trismegistus with Gabriel, Adam with Uriel). This makes a bit of mythological sense, too, considering Michael’s role in the biblical Book of Daniel and Uriel’s connection with the Garden of Eden and Adam. And, beyond that, why not recognize one’s own guardian angel as well? It’s under the tutelage, protection, and guidance of our individual guardian angels that we can all each of us learn to prosper, grow, and develop ourselves, so why not?

The inclusion of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is, of course, a nod to our ancestors, both familial and spiritual, when it comes to any spiritual practice. This is definitely influenced by my other ancestor work, but why not recognize our ancestors in any practice? After all, if it weren’t for our ancestors, we literally could not live; their blood flows in our veins, their breath fills our lungs, and their bones provide the foundation for us to stand upon. That goes for our family as it does all the geomancers and occultists and other learned sages of the past, for such esteemed names like Christopher Cattan, Robert Fludd, Hugh of Santalla, Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman al-Zanati, and so forth; it’s because of them, their teachings, and their writings that we have geomancy passed down unto us today.

The other feast days I listed also make a bit of sense, or at least enough to not be inappropriate. Saint Agabus is an obscure one, admittedly, but he’s given the patronage over prophets and, by extension, diviners and seers and fortune-tellers in general. St. Francis of Assisi (yes, THAT St. Francis!) is one of the holiest and most devout exemplars of true faith in God that Christianity has probably ever produced, and his connections with the environment and stewardship of the world as a whole should be inspiration for us all. Plus, there’s an ATR connection there, too; St. Francis of Assisi is the usual syncretization with the Yoruba diviner-god Orunmilá, the orisha of wisdom and knowledge and divination, and the central deity in the Ifá cult, and Ifá is distantly related to geomancy (though I neither like nor want to conflate the two). I also threw in the feast of the Prophet Samuel into the list because he was the last of the biblical Judges and the one who anointed Saul the first King of Israel and Judah, not least because he’s my own namesake but because of his role in establishing the virtues of wisdom, priesthood, prophethood, and rulership—and gives an illustrative example to the moral and just uses of divination by means of the episode involving the Witch of Endor.

You’ll note that I’m basically using the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar of saints for all these feasts. I mean, that’s fair; it’s a straightforward system that’s been established for hundreds of years, the saints are almost universally known in Western culture and religion, and the use of the usual Gregorian calendar is easy. I fully recognize that not all geomancers are Christian (I mean, I’m not), but you can’t really ignore the importance Christianity (or Islam) in Western occulture generally, nor geomancy specifically. The current of faith, devotion, and power with the saints, and the mythological backing they provide to divination, is already there; why not tap into it, especially when it’s so easy to do so?

Well, let’s back up. Let’s say we don’t necessarily want to adopt a Catholic approach that uses the feast days as they are. What could we do instead? In the post about those geomantic holy days, I mentioned the possibility of coming up with a geomantic Wheel of the Year that’s based on the Sun’s ingresses and midpoints in the signs of the Zodiac at the usual places, namely the solstices and equinoxes. Why not go to something like that? Sure, except how do you map the Progenitors to those days?

Although the modern Catholic practice is to celebrate all the angels and archangels on the same day—Michaelmas, the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and All Angels, on September 29—the four big archangels had their own feast days scattered across the year, roughly in line with the solstices and equinoxes: Gabriel’s feast day occurs roughly at the spring equinox, Uriel at the summer solstice, Michael at the autumn equinox, and Raphael at the winter solstice. (Yes, I write from a perspective in the northern hemisphere, but hear me out.) This arrangement makes sense at first blush, but that’s an odd order, indeed, isn’t it? The spring equinox is when the Sun enters Aries, a Fire sign, so the normal occultist would expect Michael to be honored then instead of Gabriel; likewise, for summer, it’d be Cancer and Water, so Gabriel instead of Uriel; for autumn, Libra and Air, so Raphael instead of Michael; and for winter, Capricorn and Earth, so Uriel instead of Raphael. A bit of a conflict, no?

Note the traditional order of the archangels being honored in this system, starting from the autumn equinox: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. Their corresponding elements are Fire, Air, Water, and Earth—the elemental order that’s used in geomancy. This contrasts with using a zodiacal order—Raphael, Uriel, Michael, and Gabriel, so Air, Earth, Fire, and Water—which isn’t used in geomancy. It also contrasts with Cornelius Agrippa’s reckoning in his Scale of Four (book II, chapter 7), where Michael is given to summer, Uriel to autumn, Gabriel to winter, and Raphael to spring—exactly the reverse of the usual elemental order. Since geomancy isn’t strictly an astrological art and since the strictly angelic order matches up best with the geomantic order, it could be argued well that this system would work best for a devotional geomantic calendar. This means we could start off organizing a geomantic devotional calendar by using the solstices and equinoxes for ascribing them to the four archangels:

  • Feast of Gabriel the Archangel: March 21 (spring equinox)
  • Feast of Uriel the Archangel: June 21 (summer solstice)
  • Feast of Michael the Archangel: September 21 (autumnal equinox)
  • Feast of Raphael the Archangel: December 21 (winter solstice)

(Yes, dates are approximate and can vary from year to year by a day or two in either direction. Bear with me.)

As noted above, just as there are four archangels, there are four Progenitors in this system I’m coming up with, and each of those Progenitors corresponds to one of the four elements, just as the four archangels do. While we could double up the feast days and celebrate the feasts of the Progenitors along with their corresponding archangels, I don’t like that method; for one, I try to avoid multiple simultaneous celebrations on the same day, and because Gabriel would need to be honored alongside each and every Progenitor (as he was the one who taught geomancy to them all), that means we’d really be celebrating Gabriel on each of the solstices and equinoxes, either alone (spring equinox) or along with another archangel (solstices and autumn equinox). So that’s a really messy and convoluted system.

What about using the cross-quarter days? These are the four midpoint days between the solstices and equinoxes, and could be ideal. How would we arrange the four Progenitors across these? There are several options that come to mind:

  • Angel-based: give the cross-quarter day to the Progenitor that matches the element of the angel that immediately precedes it. Thus, if the spring equinox is given to Gabriel (Water), then the cross-quarter day that follows it (Beltane) should be given to the Progenitor of Water, Hermes Trismegistus.
  • Season-middle: give the cross-quarter day to the Progenitor that matches the element of the season it falls in, reckoning seasons to start at the solstices and equinoxes. Thus, if spring is reckoned to start at the spring equinox and we use Agrippa’s association of Spring with Air, then the season cross-quarter day (Beltane) should be given to the Progenitor of Air, Enoch.
  • Season-start: give the cross-quarter day to the Progenitor that matches the element of the season it starts, reckoning seasons to start at the cross-quarter days and not at the solstices and equinoxes (as is traditional in some parts of Europe). Thus, if summer is reckoned to start at the midpoint between the spring equinox and summer solstice, and summer is associated with Fire, then this cross-quarter day (Beltane) should be given to the Progenitor of Fire, Daniel.
  • Zodiac-based: give the cross-quarter day to the Progenitor that matches the element of the zodiac sign it falls in. Thus, the cross-quarter day between the spring equinox and summer solstice falls in the middle of Taurus, an Earth sign, so this day should be given to the Progenitor of Earth, Adam.
  • Chronological: give the cross-quarter day to the Progenitor in the chronological order they appear in the biblical and mythological record. Reckoning the year to start at the spring equinox, this would mean the four Progenitors would be celebrated in the order of Adam (the first man), Enoch (ancestor of Noah), Hermes Trismegistus (though not given a strong temporal presence, he’s sometimes considered a contemporary of Moses or of otherwise Egyptian time periods), and Daniel (living in the Babylonian Exile period).
Approximate
Solar Date
Cross Quarter
Day
Angel Season
Middle
Season
Start
Zodiac Chronological
May 6 Beltane Hermes Enoch Daniel Adam Adam
August 6 Beltane Adam Daniel Adam Daniel Enoch
November 5 Lammas Daniel Adam Hermes Hermes Hermes
February 3 Samhain Enoch Hermes Enoch Enoch Daniel

For the same reasons that I give the four archangels to the four quarter days in the order they’ve already got, I think the angel-based method makes the most sense. Understanding the angelic day to “come first”, just as Gabriel came first with the knowledge of geomancy to bring it to the Progenitors, the angel-based method where the Progenitors follow their corresponding elemental archangel makes the most sense to me—if we were to link the Progenitors strongly to the archangels based on elemental correspondence alone. However, because the other three angels don’t really have as much a presence in the geomantic mythos as Gabriel does, and because Gabriel is most important to them all, this connection is kinda weak.

Honestly, because of that reason, I’m most inclined to go with the chronological ordering, which also makes good sense: if we consider Gabriel to have come down and instructed the four Progenitors in the art of geomancy in successive revelation, and if we consider the spring equinox to be both the feast of Gabriel and the start of a new solar year (which is definitely a thing!), then it also makes sense to celebrate the four Progenitors in the order in which Gabriel taught them. This way, each year can be considered a retelling of a revelation of geomancy, and honoring the four Progenitors in turn would instill that same sense of revelation and continual, continuous discovery and learning in the art. Since I would consider the non-Gabriel archangel feasts to be of secondary importance, we would only need to be concerned with five primary feasts for a geomantic devotional practice on approximately the following Gregorian dates (with specific solar events that would mark them properly from year to year):

  • Feast of Gabriel the Holy Archangel, Teacher of the Progenitors: first sunrise after Sun ingress Aries Aquarius (approx. March 21)
  • Feast of Adam the First Man, Progenitor of Earth: first sunrise after Sun midpoint Taurus (approx. May 6)
  • Feast of Enoch the Great Scribe, Progenitor of Air: first sunrise after Sun midpoint Leo (approx. August 6)
  • Feast of Hermes the Thrice Great, Progenitor of Water: first sunrise after Sun midpoint Scorpio (approx. November 5)
  • Feast of Daniel the Blessed Prophet, Progenitor of Fire: first sunrise after Sun midpoint Aquarius (approx. February 3)

Why mark the feasts by the first sunrise after the specific solar event? Personally, I like to mark such holidays and special days by being the “first full day” with the full event, because for me in my practice, I mark days for spiritual practice starting from sunrise. So, if the Sun makes its ingress into Aries at 7pm my time, then that say still started when the Sun was still in the previous sign, so it makes more sense to me to celebrate the first full day with the Sun being in Aries on the first sunrise after that. If that solar event happened at the very moment of sunrise, all the better; it would count for my purposes.

Anyhow, now we have a cycle that’s tied less to Catholicism or purely zodiacal concerns, and one that’s grounded in the mythos of geomancy while still being tied to the natural cycles of seasons. A geomantic new year is celebrated at the spring equinox, which is specifically dedicated to the archangel Gabriel, the angelic patron of geomancy and geomancers and who teaches and reveals the art to all its students. The year progresses in turn being marked by the feasts for the four Progenitors, each of whom were taught by Gabriel to pass the art of geomancy down into the world. Celebrating the new year with the spring equinox dedicated to Gabriel also has a fun coincidental Islamic connection; in some sects of Islam, this date is reckoned to be the solar calendar equivalent (Persian Nowruz, based upon the earlier and still-practiced Zoroastrian New Year festival) to when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ to give him the first revelation that started off the Qur’an (though that’s usually reckoned to take place during Laylat al-Qadr during Ramadan in the Islamic lunar calendar).

I actually feel pretty comfortable with this novel arrangement. Though there are five main feasts that would be celebrated, which would be an odd number for geomancy, it’s really more like four feasts of the Progenitors plus a special feast that they all center around. They could be balanced by adding in the other three feasts of the archangels to yield a constant and balanced eight feasts per year, sure, peppered with the other feasts throughout the year for the other saints and days taken from Catholic (or Orthodox) tradition. For me, though, it suffices to have these primary five (really, four plus one) feasts to act as holy days for a devotional geomantic practice. I can easily envision having lead-up days, such as one to four days of fasting immediately prior to the feasts of the Progenitors or four to sixteen days of fasting, studying, and praying leading up to the feast of Gabriel at the spring equinox, too, which would also work to deepen and focus devotional practices. Heck, we could give these fancy terms, too, like “Days of Cultivation” for the period leading up to the feast of Gabriel.

So, let’s give an example. For this year 2019 CE, the spring equinox happens at 5:58 PM Eastern US time on Wednesday, March 20. This means that we’d get the following dates to celebrate the above feasts:

  • Days of Cultivation: March 5 (starting at sunrise) through March 20, 2019 (ending at sunrise the following day)
  • Feast of Gabriel the Holy Archangel, Teacher of the Progenitors: March 21, 2019 (starting at sunrise)
  • Feast of Adam the First Man, Progenitor of Attainment: May 6, 2019 (starting at sunrise)
  • Feast of Enoch the Great Scribe, Progenitor of Dedication: August 8, 2019 (starting at sunrise)
  • Feast of Hermes the Thrice Great, Progenitor of Wisdom: November 8, 2019 (starting at sunrise)
  • Feast of Daniel the Blessed Prophet, Progenitor of Judgement: Feburary 5, 2020 (starting at sunrise)

And, just to complete the set, the feasts for the other three archangels:

  • Feast of Uriel the Holy Archangel: June 22, 2019 (starting at sunrise)
  • Feast of Michael the Holy Archangel: September 24, 2019 (starting at sunrise)
  • Feast of Raphael the Holy Archangel: December 22, 2019 (starting at sunrise)

What about one’s guardian angel? That one really doesn’t fit into any of the above systems, and that’s fine, because it’s such an intensely personal spirit to begin with. While you could give that one October 2 in general, just taking it directly from the Roman Catholic calendar, but there are two other opportunities that come to mind:

  • If you’ve already attained formal contact (e.g. K&CHGA) with your guardian angel, a la Abramelin or the Headless Rite or some other practice, use the anniversary on which you established contact as your own personal Feast of the Guardian Angel.
  • If you don’t yet have formal contact, use the day before your own birthday, being the day which you came into this world as an independent human being to celebrate your own personal Feast of the Guardian Angel. Using the day before avoids any conflicts, and allows you to honor your guardian angel as a preexisting force that gives you a foundation to live and grow.

What about a day or feast to recognize the blessed dead, whether familial or spiritual, by blood-lineage or tradition-lineage? Again, you could use All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days for this, or other culturally-appropriate Day of the Dead-type holidays; for specific ancestors, you could use their birthdays or their deathdays. Though, given the above system, I think we could do one better. Those Days of Cultivation, the days of fasting and study and prayer leading up to the geomantic new year and the Feast of Gabriel? Why not make the day before that dedicated to the dead? After all, it’s because of them that all this we have can come to pass, and by “starting” the Days of Cultivation with them, we give them their proper due and respect as we would begin our own period of intensive study and prayer and preparation for the New Year. So, that means that the Feast of the Blessed Dead would be 17 days before the Feast of Gabriel:

  • Feast of the Blessed Dead: March 4, 2019 (starting at sunrise)

The other secondary feasts I gave up above don’t really matter as much, just being plucked from the Roman Catholic calendar for the sake of it; it wouldn’t be bad to recognize them, but it’s not needed, either. I think that with these five (or four plus one) primary feasts of Gabriel and the Progenitors, and the five (or three plus one plus one) secondary feasts of the other archangels, the guardian angel, and the blessed dead, plus at least one major period of fasting and praying, we end up with a good number of events for a devotional geomantic practice.

Now to actually give it a whirl and develop devotions and practices to go along with it! After all, it is still the beginning of the year, and I do still need to make my 2019 ritual calendar. I’ll get on that soon enough…once I get some of these readings done first!

On Geomantic Holy Days

One of the things I subtly introduced in my 2018 ritual calendar post was the inclusion of a lot more feast days of saints and holy men in the Abrahamic/Judeo-Christian tradition.  Some of them make sense for me as a magician (like Epiphany for the Three Magi, or Saint Cyprian of Antioch), while I recognize others for their use in scheduling feast days or ceremonies for orisha worship and work by means of the saints syncretized with the orisha (like Saint Barbara for Ṣàngó).  Others are more personal, like the feast of the Prophet Samuel for my namesake and reminding myself from whence I come and the virtues I need to remind myself to live up to.  Then there are a handful of others, where there’s no immediate connection.  I mean, what’s the deal with the Feast of Adam and Eve, or that of Daniel or Enoch?  Yeah, they’re all important characters in the Grand Story of the World, but…admittedly, it’s weird.

Not too long ago, I was experimenting with coming up with a prayer for geomantic practice.  It’s something I’ve long tried to do, time and time again, but with little success in finding something right for my practice and needs.  Heck, when floundering around for inspiration, I even put out a post on Twitter and Facebook asking whether everyone else who divines has their own diviner’s prayer, and if so, what it might be.  (If you replied to that post, you have my unending thanks, and my deep appreciation for your practices, prayer or no!) Eventually, however, I finally came up with something that fit in well with my needs and in a pleasant, organized, comprehensive way.  As part of the prayer, I recognize my ancestors, not just of my kin but also of my practice.  In this case, I recognize my blood ancestors as well as my geomantic ancestors, and what better ones to recognize than the Forebears of the Art?

If you look through the older geomantic literature, you’ll sometimes find an educational narrative about how the art of geomancy came to be.  I’ve even written one myself, a bit more prose-filled and fleshed-out than what you might find in medieval manuscripts, but the idea is the same: at one point, a wise man was meditating and an angel came to him and taught him the art of geomancy, with which the man became even wiser and learned the secrets of the cosmos and of God.  Interestingly, the choices for which wise man are limited: it’s almost always Adam, Enoch, Daniel, Hermes Trismegistus, or Idris ﷺ.  Further, when the angel is given a name, it’s usually Gabriel, which brings in his associations with being the messenger for the Virgin Mary,  a protector and guide of Daniel, and the revelator who narrated the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

The Forebears of the Art make decent enough sense, if you think about it:

  • Adam was the first man created, and thus the origin of humanity with his wife and co-creation, Eve.  From him do we have all language and, thus, the original medium for us to have and process knowledge.  Plus, his name literally means “earth”, for it is from dust and clay that we were all created, by which we live and eat, and to which we all one day return.
  • Enoch was considered to be among the greatest scribes to have ever lived, and lived 365 years before walking with God and entering Heaven alive.  Enoch was seven generations descended from Adam and several before Noah, and is credited with writing the Book of Enoch, but also with a huge number of books on all subjects, which provided the foundation for all civilization, science, technology, and art.  Once assumed into Heaven, it is said that he assumes the role of the Metatron, attendant to the Throne, guardian to all celestial treasures and secrets, and communicator of the presence of God.  For this and other reasons, the meaning of Enoch’s name means “dedicated” or “educated”.
  • Daniel, whose name means “God is my Judge” or “judgment of God”, isn’t considered a prophet (the divine art of which ended with his immediate forefathers before the Babylonian Exile), but was considered the foremost righteous and pious of the Jews in the diaspora.  It is because of this that he was blessed with divine protection, understanding, visions, and knowledge of mysterious signs, dreams, and omens, to say nothing of his otherwise astute sharpness, observation, and knowledge.
  • Hermes Trismegistus is…well, Hermes Trismegistus, another prophetical figure, mentor to his son Asclepius and student Tat, who was revealed the true nature of things by Poemander, the Shepherd of Men, and who is credited with the Corpus Hermeticum, the Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth, the Perfect Sermon, the Emerald Tablet, and many other Hermetic texts.  It is from Hermes Trismegistus, the Thrice-Great One, that we get the name for our style of magic, and many works, books, texts, arts, sciences, and discoveries are attributed to him.  That geomancy was one of them is of no great surprise.  In many ways, he can be considered another aspect of the Greek god Hermes, messenger and diviner and trickster and wayfarer, and especially so when combined with the Egyptian god Thoth, scribe, knowledge-seeker, order-keeper, magic-teacher, and ultimate president of fate.
  • Idris ﷺ is one of the lesser-known prophets in the Western world, but in Islam, he’s huge.  He came before the prophet Muhammad ﷺ, but still preached monotheism, purity, chastity, wisdom, honesty, patience, and all the other good virtues common to the prophets who came after him.  The name of this prophet has connections with the concepts of interpretation and instruction.  Many aspects of his life, from all the original civilizing works on sciences and arts, being the first to have the knowledge of writing, living for 365 years, and so forth have overwhelming parallels with Enoch, and the two are often considered identical in Qur’anic and biblical studies.  In other cases, especially by the more mystic interpreters of the texts, he’s associated with Hermes Trismegistus for many of the same reasons.  For the purposes of my studies and understanding, I equate Idris ﷺ more with Enoch than Hermes Trismegistus, but both associations are equally valid.

So, with that understood and clarified, I consider there to be four Forebears of the Art: Adam, Enoch, Hermes Trismegistus, and Daniel.  They are all equally the progenitors of the art of geomancy, each instructed according by the angel Gabriel to know, practice, and (in some cases) teach the art to their descendants, either children by blood or students by mind.  Given that there are four such Forebears, why not go one step further and associate them to the four elements themselves, and different blessings upon a diviner that grants them skill and success in the art?

  • Daniel, for his illumined understanding of visions and dreams and the judicious power of of the highest levels of mind, is given to the element of Fire, and models the blessing of Judgment to the diviner.
  • Enoch, for his education, skill in writing, and holding the secrets of the airs and the heavens in his possession, is given to the element of Air, and models the blessing of Dedication to the diviner.
  • Hermes Trismegistus, for his spiritual understanding and meditation upon the deepest of mysteries, initiation into new living and life, and mediation between all peoples and cultures, and so is given to the element of Water, and models the blessing of Wisdom to the diviner.
  • Adam, being born directly of the Earth and giving the first names to all things that are, bringing them into full materialization and actualization within the newly-made World of Man, is given to the element of Earth, and models the blessing of Attainment to the diviner.

Given that, if one were to consider honoring these progenitors, why not use their feast days, as normally reckoned according to the various Christian churches out there?

  • Feast of Gabriel the Archangel: March 24
  • Feast of All Angels: September 29
  • Feast of Daniel the Prophet: July 21
  • Feast of Enoch the Great Scribe: July 30
  • Feast of Adam and Eve: December 24

Note that, technically, Gabriel can be celebrated on two days: March 24 is his general feast day in the West, and was even recognized by the Roman Catholic Church before 1969.  After, the Church prefers to celebrate all the angels on Michaelmas, September 29, which includes Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel.

The only feast day I don’t have listed above for is Hermes Trismegistus who…well, doesn’t really have one.  It’s a little weird, now that I think about it, but I never really considered a specific day to give to Hermes Trismegistus. While he was sometimes recognized as a gentile prophet by some fathers of the Church, much as how Idris ﷺ was recognized as a virtuous pre-Islamic prophet before the Qur’an, Hermes Trismegistus is not formally recognized as either saint or prophet, and so has no feast day of his own in the Churchs’ systems.  So, my ideas on a possible feast day for Hermes Trismegistus:

  • I can’t really seem to find any practice or consensus of a feast day for Hermes Trismegistus besides a very modern and unexplained May 24, which doesn’t seem well-grounded to me.  The only source for this I can find is in Dennis William Hauck’s book on the Emerald Tablet, something-something pan-pagan Triple Goddess feast day, mumble-mumble alchemical processes describing the enlightenment/death of the Buddha Śākyamuni on the full moon of May.  I’m unconvinced of the associations, personally.
  • Previously I’d’ve used the Hermaia, but that’s more properly for the Hellenic Hermes, and is also based on the Hellenic lunisolar calendar (fourth day of the tenth lunar month, reckoned from the summer solstice).   This typically occurs in March at some point.
  • Rather than the Hellenic festival, the Roman one of Mercuralia on May 15 could suffice.  However, the focus on this was really the god of the marketplace and commerce (as Mercury always was, only later adopting more of Hermes’ traits and, even later than that, Hermes Trismegistus’).
  • We could just assign him a day of a new invention with an appropriate number.  The fourth day of the fourth month for us would be April 4, which might just be simple enough to work, even if it is unfounded in anything else.  This day does happen to be the feast day for Saint Isidore of Seville, the famous composer of the Etymologiae, the patron saint of the internet, computers, programmers, and students generally, so this might actually work reasonably well.
  • I suppose one could argue for an astrological alignment, such as when the planet Mercury is at 15° Virgo (or between that point and the start of Libra) between sunrise and noon as described in the Discourse on the Eighth and the Ninth, but that’s incredibly variable and not tied to the Gregorian calendar, which can also involve nasty retrograde periods, which might be ill-fitting for honor.   Plus, there’s debate about whether this is just an astrological election for talismans, a set of one-time instructions for the mythic engraving of the Discourse, or a reoccurring celestial marker to actually remember him by.  Plus, now that I look at it, there isn’t clarity as to whether the text really means the planet Mercury or the Moon, because Hermes Trismegistus was associated with Hermes in the Hellenic system and Thoth in the Egyptian one; Hermes is given the planet Mercury, but Thoth the Moon.
  • Instead of thinking of a purely Christian system, why not look at Hermes Trismegistus’ older Egyptian one?  Thoth was primarily celebrated on the third day of the Wag Festival, held from the 17th through 19th of First Akhet, the first month after the heliacal rising of Sirius.  The heliacal rising of Sirius isn’t something I would like to use, as the Egyptian calendar was timed by this observation but dependent upon the precession of the stars and latitude of observation; some modern Kemeticists do the right thing and calculate when the new year would be for their own area, but just as many (so it seems) just use an old date and work from there.  I often see August 6 as a date to celebrate Thoth and, thus, Hermes Trismegistus, but again, this is using a date that’s long since been out of sync with any historical use.
  • The ancient Egyptian calendar is still technically in use by their modern descendants, the Copts.  The Coptic calendar is still used by Coptic Christians today, and is largely regularized though it still drifts ever so slowly, since it’s effectively a kind of Julian calendar and not Gregorian.  Still, it’s better than nothing!  The first day of the year in that calendar, 1 Thout, is September 11 in our calendar (or September 12 in Gregorian leap years) for the rest of this century, due to the Julian-Gregorian drift of leap days (shhhh); skipping ahead to the 19th day of this month gets us to September 29, which would be the modern date of the Wag and Thoth Festival.  Oh, would you look at that, September 29 is also Michaelmas.  Cute.  So, we can slide Hermes Trismegistus on into there as well, and use that (or knock it back one day later, during leap years or until 2100 CE) as our feast day for the prophet.
  • Another Egyptian calendar, the Cairo Calendar, gives an explanation of the usefulness and auspiciousness of each day in the Egyptian year, along with an ongoing mythic account of what happens in the divine realm on that day.  The events have been associated and linked to certain celestial events involving certain stars, as well, with Thoth especially linked to Alphecca (α Coronae Borealis) in its heliacal rising on October 12 for the “going forth of Thoth in order to judge in the presence of Ra” or its culmination at dawn on January 24 for “the coming of Thoth”.

Honestly?  I’m inclined to just use April 4 for its regularity and convenient timing, so as to not overlap or bunch up with other things going on that time of year, and consider Saint Isidore of Seville to be a “mask” lent to Hermes Trismegistus for this purpose.  No heliacal or stellar observations, no Julian calendrics, no lunation weirdness; it’s easy, it’s regular, it’s Gregorian, the number matches well with Hermes and Hermes Trismegistus and geomancy, it matches the pattern of the other feast days, and the saint mask here is perfect.  Boom, April 4, done.

So much for feast days of the saints of geomancy.  The usual invocations and offerings can be made to them: candles in appropriate colors, traditional meals or drinks, flowers, and so forth.  Gabriel is, of course, among the most well-known of Christian entities, and chaplets, novenas, and other prayers to him are readily found aplenty.  (Heck, I even wrote an ebook compiling prayers to the seven Christian archangels, including more than a few for Gabriel.)  In the absence of any particularly specific prayers for some of the older biblical figures, I like using the Orthodox kontakion and troparion prayer-songs for Daniel and Adam and Eve, but I’m having trouble finding other such prayers for Enoch; I’ll likely need to do more digging or some writing for those, or appropriate/innovate from the Islamic tradition with his equivalent there.  Prayers for Hermes Trismegistus are old hat and abundant in Hermetic literature, but devising new ones might always be appreciated.

What about giving days to the figures themselves, for like a Feast of Albus or a Feast of Fortuna Minor?  This is getting dangerously close to setting up a “geomantic zodiac”, which weirds me out and is getting into very experimental territory; I’ve spoken before on setting up geomantic cycles of time, which can get kinda hairy.  Still, talking with the good Dr Al Cummins, I decided “eh, screw it” and went to work drafting an idea for a geomantic calendar of sorts.  The idea is very loosely based off the pagan Wheel of the Year, which divides up the solar year into eight parts.  Eight is just half of 16, so if we can divide the year up into eight, why not one more division down?  The fundamental idea behind these 16 “geomantic districts of the ecliptic” lies in the primary and secondary elemental rulers of the elements, so brush up on those if you’re unfamiliar with how I structurally figure those out.

The idea of this calendar goes like this:

  • Each season has a ruling element, based on the cardinal zodiac sign associated with the solstice/equinox that starts it.  Thus, Spring starts at the spring equinox, which is 0° Aries; because Aries is a Fire sign, Spring is ruled by Fire.
  • Divide each season up into four districts of 23 or 22 days.  As a guide, the quarter days (i.e. solstices and equinoxes) start the first district, and the cross-quarter days, reckoned by the Sun midpoint that season’s fixed sign (e.g. 15° Taurus in Spring) will start the third district.
  • The third district is given to the figure whose primary and secondary elemental ruler is the same as that season’s element.  Thus, for Spring, Laetitia (Fire/Fire) is given to the third district.
  • The second district is given to the figure whose primary ruler is the element of the season, and whose secondary ruler is its complementary element.  Fire complements Air and vice versa; Water complements Earth and vice versa.  In other words, use the element where the heat matches but not the moisture.
  • The first district is given to the figure whose primary ruler is the element of the season, and whose secondary ruler matches the element of the preceding season.  In the case of Spring and Autumn, the secondary element will be oblique to the primary one, agreeing in moisture but not heat; in the case of Summer and Winter, the secondary element will oppose the primary one, agreeing in neither heat nor moisture.
  • The fourth district is given to the figure whose primary ruler is the element of the season, and whose secondary ruler matches the element of the succeeding season.  In the case of Summer and Winter, the secondary element will be oblique to the primary one, agreeing in moisture but not heat; in the case of Spring and Autumn, the secondary element will oppose the primary one, agreeing in neither heat nor moisture.

With that, here’s a table showing an approximate yearly calendar matching the four seasons, the date divisions of the geomantic districts and their ecliptic degree boundaries, the associated pagan Wheel of the Year celebration (if any), the primary/major and secondary/minor elements of the district, and the figure ruling the district itself.  Note that the dates here are rough approximates, and will shift from year to year according to the exact placement of the Sun along the ecliptic.

Season Solar
Ecliptic
Degree
Rough
Date
Pagan
Name
Element Figure
Major Minor
Spring 0° Ari Mar 21 Ostara Fire Earth Cauda Draconis
22°30′ Ari Apr 13 Air Fortuna Minor
15° Tau May 6 Beltane Fire Laetitia
7°30′ Gem May 29 Water Amissio
Summer 0° Can Jun 21 Litha Water Fire Puella
22°30′ Can Jul 14 Earth Populus
15° Leo Aug 6 Lammas Water Albus
7°30′ Vir Aug 29 Air Via
Autumn 0° Lib Sep 21 Mabon Air Water Coniunctio
22°30′ Lib Oct 13 Fire Puer
15° Sco Nov 5 Samhain Air Rubeus
7°30′ Sag Nov 27 Earth Acquisitio
Winter 0° Cap Dec 21 Yule Earth Air Caput Draconis
22°30′ Cap Jan 12 Water Fortuna Maior
15° Aqu Feb 3 Imbolc Earth Tristitia
7°30′ Pis Feb 26 Fire Carcer

As for the use of the neopagan names of the quarter/cross-quarter days, I should point out that I don’t really do anything with the cross-quarter days themselves, nor can I even really remember their names on a frequent basis.  However, they are a useful set of names for those eight days, which is why I’m using them here.  Besides, just because I don’t really do anything with them doesn’t mean nobody else does, and they’re pretty common knowledge for other people, so I figured I’d have them here anyway.

(that said, don’t @ me about the exact dates of the cross-quarter days in pagan/neopagan/tradcraft practice, I know that it’s common to give them to the first day of May, August, November, and February, I don’t care because it doesn’t mesh with a system based on the exact placement of the Sun in the ecliptic as described above. shhhhh.)

Presented in a more pleasant and graphical format, I present to you a prototype Geomantic Wheel of the Year. Read the figures from the outside in, aligned with the date text in each district.

Of course, the usual caveats apply: this is entirely theoretical and hypothetical, and is thus in need of actual experimentation.  There are some oddities that would need to be explored here, like starting off the solar year with…Cauda Draconis, of all figures.  Then again, consider that Caput Draconis starts off the winter; these are the two figures of the eclipses, the spots that turn the luminaries dark, and here they bound the darkest time of the year, and fruther, one could argue that one needs to firmly close and end the old year at the boundary before truly starting anew.  Alternatively, we might consider the geomantic year to start at the winter solstice with Caput Draconis, the district starting off the season of Earth, rather than with the spring equinox of Fire.  It’s an idea.

The important thing with this is the use of the exact days when the Sun enters the degree of the district, though I suppose it could be argued that if the geomantic figure actually resonates well with those particular degrees, it could hold over into the district as a whole.  And, of course, other such arrangements could exist, such as by expanding and refitting the lunar mansions associations of the figures into 22°30′ chunks, or reconfiguring the elemental assignments (swapping the rules for the first and fourth districts, for instance, or using different elemental rulers).

While I’m okay with the idea of ecliptic districts for the figures, the idea of particular days for the figures still strikes me as odd.  It’s like saying “this is the annual day to celebrate the Moon” or “this is the festival of the planet Jupiter”.  It’s fine when we talk about saints or gods, but when you’re talking about a celestial force apart and away from those, it seems a bit…weird.  Like, with the geomantic figures, yes they can be associated with spirits or saints or prophets or gods, but they’re still essentially forces that are constantly at work at all times in all places in the cosmos, universe, and world.  To single out a particular day seems more like a convention than something that actually arises harmonically and naturally, but then, considering how I’m linking the elemental flow of the seasons of the year to the elemental rulerships of the figures, I guess it could work.  I would fain try to apply the geomantic districts to any sort of astrological interpretation, but it is a useful model to organize a geomantic calendar, I suppose.

If you wanted to go one level further than just districts of the ecliptic, you could give the middle 16 days of each district to one figure (which means you’d have three to four days on either side of this set, or six to seven days altogether unallocated).  In that way, you could focus on pairs of the figures: first the figure of the current district, then the figure of the day within the district as its partner.  In this way, you could meditate on each of the 256 pairs of the figures throughout the course of a year in a regular, timed way.  How would the sixteen figures be allocated to the days within a district?  Good question, and one I do not propose an answer to (yet).  Maybe eventually, if the Geomantic Year ever takes off for me or others.

So now we have days for the geomantic saints, our noble Forebears of the Art, as well as an experimental system for special days for the sixteen figures themselves.  What about geomancy as a whole?  I mean, New Year’s Day, the turn of the seasons (or midseasons), one’s own birthday or nameday, or other important anniversaries can be done and made personal to one’s geomantic practice to perform divination for the coming season or year, as well as to honor the geomancers who went before you and the powers of the cosmos that are at work.  If you want to take a nature-centric approach to the art, there’s always Earth Day on April 22 each year.

But, if you’re asking me whether there’s one single day I might associate with the art?  I mean…that’s like asking for an “astrology day” or “tarot day” or “alchemy day”.  What I would say is this: no day must, any day can, and probably most days should be such a day to study and practice our art.

Ritual Calendar 2018

I realize that the last ritual calendar post I made was back for the year of 2015.  It’s been a while, I guess, and…gods above and below, a lot has happened.  Between getting a new job, buying my first house, leaving that new job to go back to my old one for unpleasant reasons, receiving several religious initiations and starting new projects of my own, and the whole ordeal of initiation into La Regla de Ocha Lukumí with the ensuing one-year-long iyaworaje, it’s…it’s been tough.  Like, a lot tough.  Somehow I made it through, and since I’ve gotten this far, I see no reason why I should stop.

But, yanno…the year of the iyaworaje kept me away from pretty much all magical ritual, it being a mandated year of rest, recuperation, and assimilation to the initiation of Ocha.  The new job I got in 2015 wrecked my mental health to the point where I got panic attacks for the first time in my life, and the whole house buying and moving thing in the first part of 2016 had me pack everything up (literally and metaphorically) to get it moved over.  Between all those things, I haven’t really had much of a chance to do as much with any of my temple gear.

In many ways, I’m starting over fresh.  So, let’s think fresh, shall we?  Here we are at the end of 2017, and it still being Mercury retrograde right now, it’s a good time for me to take stock of everything I am and everything I have, where I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I want to keep doing, and what I want to newly do.  Besides, a lot of my writing is focused around what I’m doing, and if I’m not doing a lot, then I don’t have a lot to write about (as my long-time readers have noticed, glancing back at my post counts from month to month).

With that, let me get the easy part of all this out of the way first: thinking about dates and times for the coming year of 2018.  As usual, I’m being as thorough as I can, both for my sake (just in case, even if half this stuff will hardly be thought of but which might be useful for my upcoming projects and whims) and for others and their own projects.

Dates of astrological solar movements:

  • Sun ingress Aquarius: January 20
  • Sun midway Aquarius (Imbolc): February 3
  • Sun ingress Pisces: February 18
  • Sun ingress Aries (Ostara, spring equinox): March 20
  • Sun ingress Taurus: April 20
  • Sun midway Taurus (Beltane): May 5
  • Sun ingress Gemini: May 21
  • Sun ingress Cancer (Litha, summer solstice): June 21
  • Sun ingress Leo: July 22
  • Sun midway Leo (Lammas): August 7
  • Sun ingress Virgo: August 23
  • Sun ingress Libra (Mabon, autumn equinox): September 22
  • Sun ingress Scorpio: October 23
  • Sun midway Scorpio (Samhain): November 7
  • Sun ingress Sagittarius: November 22
  • Sun ingress Capricorn (Yule, winter solstice): December 21

I’m already using the Sun’s entry into the four cardinal zodiac signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) to mark the solstices and equinoxes, so it makes sense to me to use the Sun’s halfway point in the four fixed zodiac signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio) to mark the cross-quarter days instead of the Gregorian calendrical method common to much of neopagan practice (where these are marked as the first day of the second month in the season, e.g. May 1 for Beltane).  The dates between the solar method and the calendrical method are fairly close, being off no more than a week from the popular observance of them.

Dates of lunar movements, to track the phases of the Moon and when it starts a new cycle of lunar mansions:

  • Full Moon, first of winter: January 1
  • New Moon, first of winter: January 16
  • Full Moon, second of winter: January 31
  • New Moon, second of winter: February 15
  • Full Moon, third of winter: March 1
  • New Moon, third of winter: March 17
  • Full Moon, first of spring: March 31
  • New Moon, first of spring: April 15
  • Full Moon, second of spring: April 29
  • New Moon, second of spring: May 15
  • Full Moon, third of spring: May 29
  • New Moon, third of spring: June 13
  • Full Moon, first of summer: June 28
  • New Moon, first of summer: July 12
  • Full Moon, second of summer: July 27
  • New Moon, second of summer: August 11
  • Full Moon, third of summer: August 26
  • New Moon, third of summer: September 9
  • Full Moon, first of autumn: September 24
  • New Moon, first of autumn: October 8
  • Full Moon, second of autumn: October 24
  • New Moon, second of autumn: November 7
  • Full Moon, third of autumn: November 23
  • New Moon, third of autumn: December 7
  • Full Moon, first of winter: December 22
  • Moon ingress Aries I: January 22
  • Moon ingress Aries II: February 20
  • Moon ingress Aries III: March 17
  • Moon ingress Aries IV: April 14
  • Moon ingress Aries V: May 11
  • Moon ingress Aries VI: June 7
  • Moon ingress Aries VII: July 5
  • Moon ingress Aries VIII: August 2
  • Moon ingress Aries IX: August 28
  • Moon ingress Aries X: September 24
  • Moon ingress Aries XI: October 22
  • Moon ingress Aries XII: November 18
  • Moon ingress Aries XIII: December 16

Other astronomical and astrological phenomena:

  • Perihelion: January 3
  • Aphelion: July 6
  • Southern lunar eclipse: July 27
  • Northern lunar eclipse: January 31
  • Southern solar eclipse: February 15
  • Northern solar eclipse I: July 13
  • Northern solar eclipse II: August 11
  • Mercury retrograde I: March 22 through April 15
  • Mercury retrograde II: July 26 through August 19
  • Mercury retrograde III: November 16 through December 24
  • Venus retrograde: October 5 through November 16
  • Mars retrograde: June 26 through August 27
  • Jupiter retrograde: March 8 through July 10
  • Saturn retrograde: April 17 through September 6

Regarding the Grammatēmerologion, the lunisolar grammatomantic ritual calendar I set up as part of my Mathēsis work, we enter January 1, 2018 with the day letter Ν, the month letter Η, and the year letter Ζ, in the ninth year of the 69th cycle starting from the epoch of  June 29, 576 BCE, and June 14, 2018 marks the first day of the year of Η, the tenth year in the 69th cycle.  Given the above dates of the New Moons during 2018, the following are then the Noumēniai (first day of the lunar month) and Megalēmerai (days where the letters of the day and month are the same) for the coming year.  There are no Megistēmerai (days where the letters of the day, month, and year are the same) in 2018.

  • Noumēnia of Θ: January 17
  • Noumēnia of Ι: February 16
  • Noumēnia of Κ: March 17
  • Noumēnia of Λ: April 16
  • Noumēnia of Μ: May 15
  • Noumēnia of Ν: June 14 (new year of Η, tenth year in the cycle)
  • Noumēnia of Ξ: July 13
  • Noumēnia of Ο: August 12
  • Noumēnia of Π: September 10
  • Noumēnia of Ρ: October 10
  • Noumēnia of Σ: November 8
  • Noumēnia of Τ: December 8
  • Megalēmera of Ι: February 26
  • Megalēmera of Κ: March 28
  • Megalēmera of Λ: April 28
  • Megalēmera of Μ: May 28
  • Megalēmera of Ν: June 28
  • Megalēmera of Ξ: July 28
  • Megalēmera of Ο: August 28
  • Megalēmera of Π: September 27
  • Megalēmera of Ρ: October 30
  • Megalēmera of Σ: November 29
  • Megalēmera of Τ: December 30

Movable festivals and holidays whose dates are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar:

  • Hermaia: March 20
  • Asklepeia: March 24
  • Dionysia: March 26 through March 31
  • Thargelia: May 20 and 21
  • Protokhronia: July 13
  • Aphrodisia: June 17
  • Nemeseia: August 16
  • Chanukah: December 2 through December 10

Notes on the movable festivals follow.  For the Hellenic festivals, lunar months are numbered according to the solstices/equinoxes and not according to the Grammatēmerologion system, so as to better match up with historical and modern Hellenic pagan practice.

  • Protokhronia (lunar new year according to the strict old Greek reckoning) takes place on the first Noumenia after the summer solstice
  • Hermaia (Hermes’ festival) takes place on the fourth day of the tenth lunar month after the summer solstice
  • Aphrodisia (Aphrodite’s festival) takes place on the fourth day of the first lunar month after the summer solstice
  • Dionysia (Dionysos’ greater festival, a.k.a. Anthesteria) takes place on the 10th through 15th days of the third lunar month after the winter solstice
  • Asklepeia (Asclepios’ festival) takes place on the eighth day of the third lunar month after the winter solstice
  • Nemeseia (feast to propitiate the dead) takes place on the fifth day of the third lunar month after the summer solstice
  • Thargelia (festival of Artemis and Apollo, combining agricultural, purificatory, and expiatory elements) takes place on the sixth and seventh days of the second month after the summer solstice
  • Chanukah (the Jewish Festival of Lights) lasts for eight days starting with the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month of the Hebrew lunisolar calendar

The following are holidays and feast days associated with the saints and sacred events of Christianity, both canonical and folk-oriented.  Because these dates are tied to the Gregorian calendar, they happen on the same calendar date every year.

  • Epiphany: January 6
  • Our Lady of Candelaria: February 2
  • St. Isidore of Seville: April 4
  • St. Expedite: April 19
  • St. George: April 23
  • Our Lady of Montserrat: April 27
  • Mary, Queen of Heaven: May 1
  • St. Isidore the Laborer: May 15
  • St. Rita of Cascia: May 22
  • St. Norbert of Xanten: June 6
  • St. Anthony of Pauda: June 13
  • St. John the Baptist: June 24
  • St. Peter: June 29
  • St. Benedict: July 11
  • Daniel the Prophet: July 21
  • Enoch the Great Scribe: July 30
  • Our Lady of the Snows: August 5
  • Santissima Muerte: August 15
  • Samuel the Prophet: August 20
  • Our Lady of Regla: September 7
  • Our Lady of Charity: September 8
  • St. Cyprian of Carthage: September 16
  • Our Lady of Mercy: September 24
  • St. Cyprian of Antioch: September 26
  • Sts. Cosmas and Damian: September 26
  • Michaelmas: September 29
  • Guardian Angel: October 2
  • St. Francis of Assisi: October 4
  • All Hallow’s Eve: October 31
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2
  • St. Barbara: December 4
  • St. Lazarus of Bethany: December 17
  • Adam and Eve: December 24

Other holidays, feast days, and memorials tied to the Gregorian calendar:

  • Feast of Benjamin Franklin: January 17
  • Feast of Alan Turing: June 7
  • Feast of Nikola Tesla: July 10
  • Feast of Carrie Fisher: October 21
  • Feast of Carl Sagan: November 9
  • Memorial of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau: January 27
  • Memorial of the Orlando Pulse Shooting: June 12

I’m sure there’re other festivals, memorials, holidays, and party times I’m forgetting or declining to list, but I think this is a good start.  If you have any you’d like to contribute, correct, or introduce me to, feel free in the comments!

All in all, I think this is a good start.  Now I need to figure out what I’m actually doing; now that I know the perimeters and boundaries of my time, I can begin the process of allotting it as I need and want.  So, with that, here’s looking to a splendid rest of this year, and a wondrous, awesome 2018!

Pictures from the Day After the Feast

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Hail, Saint Cyprian of Antioch: mage, martyr, mystic; theurge, thaumaturge, theophoros; saint, sorcerer, sage!  Pray for us who are alive and dead, now and at the hour of our death.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

Now I need so much sleep.

Feast of Saint Cyprian Fundraiser Results!

Hail, Saint Cyprian of Antioch, saint and sorcerer, theurge and thaumaturge, mage and martyr and mystic!  On this holy day we venerate you, blessed and faithful servant of God; hear our prayers, receive them, and present them to the Lord for our sakes and for the sake of the healing, salvation, and redemption of all humanity before and through God.  Intercede for us in our hour of need and at the hour of our death, and help us walk the path of righteousness in the dark and in the light, with hands both on our left and our right, through Christ our Lord, amen.

By sharing in the ways of the Apostles,
you became a successor to their throne.
Through the practice of virtue,
you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God;
by teaching the word of truth without error,
you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood.
Hieromartyr Cyprian, entreat Christ God to save our souls.

You abandoned ungodly darkness, becoming a light of truth;
You were illustrious as a pastor;
You were glorified in contest:
O righteous Father Cyprian together with godly Justina,
Intercede for us before God the Creator of all!

You turned from the art of sorcery to the knowledge of God,
and were shown forth as a skilful healer for the world, Cyprian, inspired by God.
Together with Justina you grant cures to those who honor you;
with her, pray to the Master who loves mankind that He may save our souls.

(troparia and kontakion from the website of the Orthodox Church in America)

tumblr_mbo18nDcDx1r9z6va (1)Yup, it’s the Feast of Saint Cyprian of Antioch today, and you know what that means: PARTY TIME!  I’m throwing a celebratory party tonight for my friends and colleagues to honor the good Saint Cyprian, now that my household’s novenas are complete and the time of Saint Cyprian has come upon us.  If you haven’t made any prayers or works yet with Saint Cyprian, then today’s your day, so get off your ass and start preparing yourself to do just that!  Today’s basically a Cyprianista Christmas, and one of the best days of the year for magicians, sorcerers, necromancers, and all kinds of occultists.  Probably the biggest thing I get to look forward to is, after today, I can finally take a break from all the Cyprianic work I’ve been doing and take it easy for a few days to focus on a few loose ends and other projects before Crucible Convention 2014 (which you should totally come to if you’re anywhere near the Princeton, NJ area to hear me and many other highly-regarded magicians talk).

Of course, my dear readers will also know that I’ve been holding a fundraiser in honor of Saint Cyprian these past nine days, and I am floored by what I’ve been privileged to witness.  After all the donations and link-sharing, you guys have raised a total of $944 from 49 different people for the Malala Fund, which empowers girls through education and helps Pakistani, Kenyan, and Syrian children and refugees, and named after Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl activist who was shot by Taliban extremists, survived to world acclaim, and has been working since to improve the condition of life for girls and children across the world in extreme conditions.  I’ll be arranging the donation first thing on Monday, since my plate is a little full for today, and I’ll also be raising money tonight at my celebration of the Feast of Saint Cyprian to augment what people have donated online.  Besides, this will also give me enough time to let my paycheck come in so I can donate some extra of my own, too, so I can round up the total sum to a nice cool $1000.

With that, I’d like to publicly thank and honor you guys who helped chip in for this fundraiser in the name of Saint Cyprian of Antioch:

  • Mondo C.
  • Sacha B.
  • Kevin M.
  • Ocean Delano
  • Michele M.
  • Ahmadi Riverwolf
  • Papa Newt
  • Ty B.
  • Narkaios Alepou
  • Charles R.
  • Daniel
  • Nathen S.
  • Pallas Renatus
  • Alexander R.
  • Richard
  • Jon P.
  • William T.
  • Mary B.
  • Andrea M.
  • Joshua B.
  • Devin M.
  • George T.
  • Kemal Y.
  • Christopher C.
  • Israel D.
  • ♊+天死
  • Steve N.
  • Lee C.
  • Kevin K.
  • Julio. C. O.
  • Doc Firment
  • Kelly M.
  • Susan M.
  • Ericson P.
  • Andrew Watt
  • Joe W.
  • Others who have nobly chosen to remain anonymous (don’t worry, Saint Cyprian of Antioch and God know the work you did, even if other people won’t)

And, since (way) more than nine people donated, I’m thrilled to be able to do my drawing for the prizes I mentioned in the fundraiser post.  I did the drawing at the altar of Saint Cyprian himself earlier, allowing him to pick the winners, so  I’ll be contacting you guys today by email letting you know who won and what you’ve won; to those who won the geomancy reading or consultation prizes, you’re free to use them immediately or schedule them whenever you like in the future.

Guys, thank you for helping out with this.  I am truly grateful, humbled, and flabbergasted that I have such noble, charitable, and awesome readers and visitors to this blog.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you, every one of you who donated, spread the word, and helped out in this effort.  May the blessing of God the Father, of God the Son, of God the Holy Spirit, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of Saint Cyprian of Antioch, of Saint Justina, of Saint Theoctistus, and of all the saints and angels above, below, and upon the Earth illumine, protect, and guide you both this and every day of your lives and into eternity.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a party to set up for.

Search Term Shoot Back, August 2014

I get a lot of hits on my blog from across the realm of the Internet, many of which are from links on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS readers.  To you guys who follow me: thank you!  You give me many happies.  However, I also get a huge number of new visitors daily to my blog from people who search around the Internet for various search terms.  As part of a monthly project, here are some short replies to some of the search terms people have used to arrive here at the Digital Ambler.  This focuses on some search terms that caught my eye during the month of August 2014.

“trithemius azazel” — So, Trithemius, properly Johann Heidenberg or Johannes Trithemius, was a German Benedictine abbot, born in 1462 and died 1516.  He was kind of fantastic at everything, and is also known for mentoring Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim who wrote the Three Books of Occult Philosophy.  Trithemius had several works dealing with the occult, including a survey of “necromantic” works, a text detailing the history of the world as shaped by angelic entities, and his famous Steganographia, which appears to be a system of angel magic but itself hides a system of cryptography.  A much later work attributed to Trithemius appears in Francis Barrett’s The Magus called The Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals, which is my go-to conjuration ritual; however, there’s no real evidence to suggest that this was Trithemius’ work, even though it bears his name.  The ritual is based loosely off of other well-known Solomonic grimoires, like the Key of Solomon and Heptameron, and the text itself focuses on conjuring the angel Michael (specifically the angel of the Sun), though the text also describes times to conjure the other planetary angels.  Azazel, on the other hand, though it bears an angelic-looking name, turns out to be nothing of the sort; this spirit does not appear in Trithemius’ works, and the name appears in Agrippa’s Scale of Four (book II, chapter 7) as the demonic prince of Air.  This is not a good guy; think destructive tornadoes, storms, gales that topple buildings and bridges, mindbreak-inducing doubt, and other mental or airy destruction, and you’ll have a grasp of what this spirit does.  I suggest working with Raphael, the angelic king of Air, rather than this spirit, and even then the only time you might want to conjure Azazel is to bind him out of your life for good.

“scrying with feldspar” — Same way you scry with any other material or medium: let your focus become absorbed in the scrying medium, and let your mind do the rest.  Feldspar is both a type of mineral as well as a group of minerals, and as far as I’m aware it’s not a popular stone in occult use.  Of course, there is labradorite, which is a type of feldspar, but that’s about the only variant I can think of that’s known at all.  Generally people tend to go with some variety of quartz, calcite, gypsum, agate, or even just simple glass, but labradorite sure is pretty.

“unfortunate hours planetary times” — Different texts will indicate good or bad times to do something; I recall that the Grimoirum Verum as well as the Greek Magical Papyri () have “calendars” that describe fortunate or unfortunate days.  However, when it comes to planetary times e.g. hours, it all depends on the activity in question.  For instance, starting a fight that you plan to win is better done on a Tuesday (day of Mars) than a Friday (day of Venus), since the latter doesn’t do well with fights at all.  Likewise, you probably shouldn’t start a fight on a Sunday (day of the Sun), since the Sun is about authority and rulership, and fighting against that usually doesn’t turn out so well.  Better than this, learn electional astrology; while planetary days and hours are a good rough and easy way to do planetary timing, actually timing them to fortunate or unfortunate alignments of the planets themselves is unequivocally better.

“rituwal instrucshins summin belsubub” — While I understand what you’re trying to communicate, and in that sense you aren’t failing the use of written language, I suggest you learn how to properly write, type, and spell before you dare to work with some of the more powerful demonic entities out there.  They appreciate a bit of finesse.

“st. sealtiel feast day” — So, Sealtiel a.k.a. Selaphiel is one of the Seven Archangels (depending on what tradition of Christianity you’re looking at), and is considered to be the angel presiding over prayer to God.  However, unlike Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, he’s not named in the Bible, and so while the Catholic Church is open to his existence, they cannot claim his existence as dogmatically real post-Vatican II.  As such, Sealtiel does not pass muster for licit veneration in the Catholic Church, and so doesn’t get a feast day from them.  However, the Orthodox Church gives him a bit more leeway along with the other archangels Uriel, Jehudiel, and Barachiel, and does officially venerate them.  However, the Orthodox Church also clusters all the archangels together into a single feast day that they commemorate on November 8, as a general feast day for all the angelic powers.  The Catholic Church has something similar, known as the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels or simply as Michaelmas, held on September 29.

“can my hga hear me” — At all times, on all days, and in all places, yes.  Your Holy Guardian Angel has always known you and always been around you

“rufus opus moon walk” — I’m not sure my mentor, Fr. Rufus Opus, is that smooth.  He’s charismatic, sure, but I wouldn’t bet on him being able to pull off a moonwalk that easily.  That is, of course, unless he wants to try it at Crucible Convention in front of everyone, in which case I’m all for that.

“can i combine the colors on a orisha necklace” — Please ask your local botanica’s resident Santeros and babalawos for authoritative answers on Santeria questions.  That said, as far as elekes go, I’m pretty sure it’s just one orisha per eleke.  Unless you’re doing something that’s eleke-inspired, don’t go combining the colors of different orisha on the same eleke, especially if those two don’t get along (like Yemaya and Oya).

“how to consecrate and charge a ring in naked” — The same way you’d consecrate a ring while clothed, except without clothes.

“magic square of saturn benefits” — The magic square, or qamea, of Saturn is a 3 × 3 grid of numbers, the numerological aspect of which makes it a very powerful Saturn talisman on its own.  You don’t need sigils or names or symbols or lead or what-have-you if all you have is the magic square; it all helps, sure, but the square is a potent realization of the powers of Saturn on its own.

“archangel michael invocation for orgonite” — None whatsoever, also ew.  I still stand by my conviction that orgonite is bunk; orgone technology generally isn’t, but orgonite is a crap interpretation of it all.  Trying to combine angels into this?  How would that work?  I’m not even going to fathom to what ends, but what would that do that literally any other invocation couldn’t?  I mean, the Catholic Church sure isn’t going to accept orgonite’s usefulness (nor should they bother), so they won’t be accepting canonical submissions for prayers, litanies, or blessings for orgonite anytime soon.

“how to tell if summoning asmodeus was successful” — A lot of people think that conjuration requires the physical and visible manifestation of a spirit in order to be successful.  I mean, many magicians nowadays think that’s the end goal of magic and the mark of a master, and it’s true that if you can get a spirit to that kind of manifestation, you’re pretty awesome.  I don’t think that’s the end result of conjuration, though; it’s the equivalent of a really nice party trick at a business conference.  The better criteria for judging the success of a conjuration are whether you were able to perceive them at all and, if so, whether the end you conjured the spirit for came around.  Perception can take place many ways; I’m much better at hearing, smelling, and just coming up with full thoughts than I am with tactile sensation or vision, physical or spiritual.  We have more than just the sense of sight; use all your senses and see what works best for you and how you best interface with spirits.  As for ends, well, why did you bother summoning the spirit in the first place?  Did you have a specific request to ask and, if you did, was the request fulfilled?  Did you get answers to questions you may have asked?  Did you receive confirmation over something you were unsure about?  If so, then I’d say the conjuration was a success.

“congo huge cock” — I’m not sure.  I mean, there is the cliché that African men are the most well-endowed, but I’m unsure about that, and specifically whether Congolese men more than others are the biggest on average.  Besides, I’m already spoken for, so I can’t really experiment and find out myself.  That said,

“how to cleanse and bless a home with holy water and sea salt” — I’m confused as to why you’d use both sea salt and holy water, since holy water is usually already salted and mixed with other herbs, resins, or perfumes (like rose water, hyssop, frankincense, myrrh, etc.) in addition to being prayed over.  It kinda sounds like you’re mixing Christian and pagan practices which, although not a bad thing, the use of holy water alone should suffice.  That said, I might recommend strewing the salt across your home (all across your home), leaving it there overnight, and sweeping it all up and out of the house from the back to the front the next morning while praying that all defilement and filth be swept away, then spritzing holy water from front to back across the whole house while praying for blessings to enter into your house.  The salt here acts as a sponge to soak up all the spiritual ick in the house; just be sure to be extraordinarily thorough in getting it all out!  Instead of using salt as a spiritual sponge, I might recommend setting a glass of jar in each room for the same purpose and dumped into the road the next morning, or using the salt as a layer of protection in each corner of a room along with an iron nail or a few pennies.

“interpreting triad in geomancy” — So, this is an aspect of the geomantic shield chart that, as far as I can ascertain, was first written about at length by Robert Fludd in his Fasciculus Geomanticae, but it may have been written about somewhere else before that and the information isn’t accessible yet; there are some parallels with Fludd’s technique (which he and John Michael Greer call “triplicities”) and some Arabic and African forms of geomancy.  The idea is based on the Witnesses and Judge; the Judge is made from the two Witnesses above it, and so form a triad of figures that indicate the past, present, and future of the overall situation.  We can apply that same logic to the triads of the Nieces and the Mothers or Daughters that generate them; thus, the First Triad is composed of the First and Second Mothers with the First Niece, the Second Triad with the Third and Fourth Mothers with the Second Niece, the Third Triad with the First and Second Daughters with the Third Niece, and the Fourth Triad with the Third and Fourth Daughters with the Fourth Niece.  As JMG and Fludd describe it, the First Triad describes the overall condition and state of the querent, the Second Triad describes the context of the situation of the reading, the Third Triad describes the places and location of the query and querent, and the Fourth Triad describes the people and their actions involved in the query.  It can help shed light on a Shield Chart, though I find that it’s not particularly useful if one also uses the House Chart; I almost never interpret the Triads in the Shield Chart for this reason.  It’s a useful bit of knowledge, however, especially if you prefer analyzing the Shield Chart as “the” chart, though both the Shield and House Charts for a reading answer the question the same.

“rubeus iching” — I got several search queries that focus on the geomantic figure Rubeus and the I Ching, a Chinese form of divination that uses eight trigrams (three lined figures) or 64 hexagrams (six lined figures).  Some people think that there’s a link between geomancy and I Ching because both use binary figures: geomancy uses 16 four-lined figures with either one or two dots in each line, and the I Ching uses 8 three-lined figures or 64 six-lined figures with either a solid line (single line segment) or a broken line (two line segments) in each line.  They do look superficially similar, but that’s about it; there’s no evidence to indicate that there’s anything to link the two in method or meaning.  Add to it that the earliest records we have indicate geomancy to develop between 900 and 1000 CE in the Saharan region of Africa, while the I Ching has its origins at least as far back as 100 BCE, if not as far back as 1500 BCE.  The I Ching is anywhere from 1000 to 2000 years older than geomancy, and in light of the fact that we have no evidence to link the two even by means of the Silk Road, trying to link the two systems is probably folly-in-action.  In that light, while you might be able to find a hexagram or trigram similar in meaning to Rubeus, it’d be coincidental at best and contrived at worst.

“greek alphabet oracle spread” — Now this is interesting: the use of a spread with the Greek alphabet oracle, or what I call grammatomancy.  Consider Tarot divination: you could draw a single card to get a single answer, or you could use several cards arranged in a particular way to get a more developed answer.  I actually go over several types of grammatomantic “spreads”, or what I call syntaxes, in my ebook on grammatomancy, which you should totally buy and look at.

Hail, Saint Isidore of Seville!

Although a lot of my practice in recent weeks has been focusing on working with saints, usually the holy archangels or the good Saint Cyprian of Antioch, there’s another saint that I want to bring up today on this blessed Friday.  First, it’s the monthly Hermaia, being the fourth day of the lunar month, so it’s fitting that this day coincides with the feast day of the Catholic saint, Isidore of Seville, whose feast day is April 4.  He’s not one of the more popular saints, but he’s definitely important to me and my work.  Given that he wrote what is basically the first encyclopedia, he’s usually associated with mass stores of knowledge and data, which is why he’s given patronage over students generally and anything dealing with computers: IT technicians, programmers, software engineers, computer users, computers themselves, and the Internet.  (Yes, the Internet.)

Saint Isidore of Seville

Saint Isidore of Seville was born in 560 CE in southeastern Spain to a family of Roman and Visigothic ancestry, high up in society and related to Visigothic royalty. Well-educated, Isidore became bishop at around 40 years of age, and incorporated both Roman, Visigothic, and Hispanic cultures into his see, and helped to conquer several sects of heretical Christians as well as tame barbarism in the general peoples.  In addition to helping culture his own people, he also pronounced anathema against any ecclesiastic who would molest monasteries or, notably, children (something both the modern Church and modern paganism should heed, especially given recent news).  Happily (or perhaps boringly), St. Isidore died on his own after serving 32 years as archbishop of Seville, unmartyred or killed.

Among his most notable works is that of the Etymologiae, or “Origins”, an encyclopedia that collected all that classical education had to offer at the close of the late classical and antique periods.  To say that this was a lot of information was an understatement; the Etymologiae had sections on grammar and language, mathematics, medicine, law, angelology and theology, animals, physics, geography, metallurgy, agriculture, tools, domestic matters, and many more.  The work encompassed twenty books in all, each dedicated to a specific topic.  One especially notable exemplar of this work is the Codex Gigas, the world’s largest medieval manuscript, consisting of 620 36″×20″ pages, consisting of the Vulgate Bible, several books of history, the entirety of the Etymologiae, several medical works, magical information, and many other sections.  One legend has it that a monk, sentenced to death by being walled up alive, wrote the entire book with the aid of the Devil in a single night; as gratitude, the author drew a large illustration of the Devil in the book, hence the name of the codex.

Saint Isidore, as many other saints do, has many attributes associated with him, but his two most important ones are bees and books.  Bees, as well as swarms of bees and beehives, have always been seen as a symbol of industriousness and labor, as well as community, cooperation, and connection between individuals for a greater purpose.  Books, of course, as well as pens are notable for St. Isidore, given his prodigious writing projects.  It’s clear to those with a basic grasp of symbolism what St. Isidore stands for: work, study, networking, and getting things done, especially when it comes to matters of intellect, education, and mental power.  Fittingly, St. Isidore is good for all types of students and academics, from graduate researchers to grade school pupils.

But it’s his connection to one of the first encyclopedias that he’s given patronage over computers and the Internet.  As I mentioned way, way, way, way long ago in my XaTuring days, I don’t believe computers are forever, nor will we have the economic or fuel resources to maintain things like this forever; server farms, after all, take an extraordinary amount of energy, and without someone “thinking of something to fix it”, it’s an amazing aspect of our current age that we can maintain these types of connections and networks.  By allowing people to chat instantly from all over the world, to storing and processing more data in a single short night than humanity was able to collect in a thousand years, to creating massive troves of porn and warez for us to enjoy.  If nothing else, the Internet is the modern human beehive and collaborative supercollective, and it’s more than fair to say that many inventions and scientific research would not be possible without this type of connection and network.

Besides, there’s another more snarky reason why St. Isidore might be patron over the Internet.  As many of my readers realized, a few days past was April Fools Day, or as I like to call it, “Trust Nothing and Trust Nobody Day”.  Virtually anything on the Internet that day is wrong, but then, most stuff on the Internet is wrong anyway, being passed mimetically from mouth to mouth or keyboard to keyboard, like that meme that goes around this time every year now claiming that the holiday Easter comes from the ancient goddess Ishtar (which is completely wrong).  Likewise, for all his studies and scholarship, St. Isidore was limited in only what he could find out, which leads to studies such as that of spontaneous generation.  For instance, he claims that “many creatures go through a natural change and by decay pass into different forms, as bees by the decaying flesh of calves, as beetles from horses, locusts from mules, scorpions from crabs”.  Obviously not true, but then, that’s information for you.  Just as the Internet can be a neverending repository of all information, wrong and right, so too is the work of Isidore of Seville, but it can’t be faulted against him.  For all his incorrect facts, he helped spur further research and study to correct what was wrong, just as people on the Internet do all the time.

One modern prayer to Saint Isidore in his patronage over the Internet might be worth considering, especially for those who browse comments on forums, YouTube, and the like:

Almighty and eternal God, who has created us in Thy image, and hast bidden us to seek after all that is good, true, and beautiful, especially in the divine person of thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the Internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

A more traditional prayer attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville goes like this:

Here we are before thee, O Holy Ghost.
We feel the burden of our infirmities, but we are united all together in Thy name:
come to us, help us, enter into our hearts:
teach us what we should do, the path to follow,
do for us what Thou askest us to do.
Be the only one to propose and guide our decisions,
because only Thou, with the Father and the Son,
hast a name that is glorious and holy.
Do not allow us to offend justice,
Thou, who lovest order and peace,
Let not ignorance lead us astray,
Let not human sympathy bias us,
Do not let people or office influence us.
Keep us intimately close to Thee with the gift of Thy Grace,
so that we may be only one thing with Thee,
and nothing may separate us from the Truth.
Gathered in Thy Holy Name, may we be good and firm,
so that all we do may be in one accord with Thee,
awaiting that the faithful fulfillment of our duty
may lead us to the eternal good. Amen.

So, dear readers, if you’ve been having problems with studying for spring midterms or finals, whether you need extra help in getting your computer right, or whether you want an extra pair of eyes watching out for you to make sure you don’t share something on Facebook that’s cute and mind-numbingly stupid, you might want to light a candle and offer a class of water to this good saint today.