2015 Ritual Calendar and Prospective

2014 has come and gone, and now we’re in 2015.  Awesome!  I hope your hangovers have worn off by now.  While we’re currently regretting our poor life choices from poured drinks from a few nights ago, we may as well review some of our goals and actions from last year.  So, how was last year?  Fucking rad, really, and busy.  Really busy.  Some of the highlights from 2014 include:

  • Probably most notably, I ended up starting on a new theurgical method called mathesis.
  • I gave my first talk at an occult conference to my occult peers!
  • I was on the air giving readings and talking about geomancy and things!
  • I attended a conference on Hermes/Mercury at the University of Virginia (posts one, two, and three).
  • I began working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, patron saint of magicians and necromancers, and held a large party in his honor on his feast day, as well as raising $1000 for the Malala Fund in honor of the good saint.
  • I started selling ritual jewelry, published several ebooks, and have begun taking other commissions on my Etsy shop.
  • I began a devotional practice to the seven archangels.
  • I began practices to several more Greek gods that I’ve invited into my home, notably Aphrodite, Hephaistos, Hestia, and Apollon.
  • I moved to a new house with the love of my life and good friend, which helped me with building a new temple as well as amplify my occult practice.
  • I began studying astragalomancy and the work of the Arbatel.
  • I completed a month-long Psalm 119 working (with more side-effects than anticipated).
  • I somehow managed to keep sane and hold down a standard office job to fund my odd hobbies and so much wine.
  • I got involved in the usual spats and drama common to nearly all magicians.

If you recall the prospective from last year, I had several goals I wanted to achieve.  How did I do?

  1. Get more physically active.  Moderately successful.  I’ve been sticking to Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido at the local Ki Society dojo for the better part of the year, with a month away here and there to take care of family, moving, and the like.  Plus, I’ve recently gotten re-enamored by the mobile game Ingress, which encourages walking and outdoor exploration.  That said, as my waistline can attest, that hasn’t really done much for my weight or body fat percentage, so I’m not doing something quite right yet.  Still, it’s an improvement, and I was able to make it to Fifth Kyu (the first graded rank) in the style of aikido I practice this year already.
  2. Conjure the angels of the fixed stars.  Not successful.  I barely made the conjuration time for Malkhidael, the angel presiding over the sphere of Aries, and pretty much dropped that off from there.  I didn’t exactly need to do this, but it would’ve been nice.  I had too much else going on, and conjuration generally has been at the back of my mind as I’ve gotten involved in other projects.
  3. Buy and move into a new house.  Sorta done!  Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the resources at this time to outright buy a house.  Instead, my housemates and I moved into a house that we’re renting, but the place is so remote and the landlord so detached that, for all intents and purposes, we own the place.  Moving was a pain, especially with the now-apocryphal stories of guinea hens and U-Haul issues, but we’re well-situated and love where we live.
  4. Start working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch.  As I’m sure a number of my posts from 2014 can attest, this has been wildly successful.  Not only have I started to work with the good saint of magicians, but I’ve written two ebooks on him, written a chaplet and litany in his honor, held a huge feast day party for him, held a fundraising drive in his name, and have been generally empowered and blessed by his presence and aid in my life.  Still have so much more to do and to involve him with, but this is no bad start, indeed.
  5. Start working with my ancestors more.  I’ve started to maintain an ancestor altar containing a few trinkets and ashes of print-out copies of photos of my ancestors, and have gotten into a groove of making regular offerings to them as well as involving them in regular conversation and chats.  I haven’t put them to work yet, but then, I may as well get to know them again slowly.
  6. Translate more Latin.  I didn’t do any Latin translation this year.  This was low priority, anyway, but those books won’t translate themselves and nobody else is doing it, either.
  7. More trance work.  Besides some light scrying here and there, yeah, nope.  Whoopsie.  I really do need to get my ass in gear with this, but it takes time that I simply don’t have without going on a dangerously low amount of sleep (which doesn’t help anything).

Now that we’re in the start of 2015, what are my plans?

  1. Get more physically active and drop some goddamn weight.  I’ve stayed at my current weight, which is about 50lbs too many, for a year now.  There’s no reason for me to stay at this weight.  I will lose those 50lbs and will keep them off from now on.  The idea is simple: daily walks and exercise, regular aikido practice (which I desperately need to get back into after having fallen out of practice for several months), and watching my food and drink intake.  Magically, all the planets can play a part: Mars for discipline, Saturn for helping to keep myself to a minimum when needed, Jupiter for being gracious and having only necessary wealth in terms of food, Mercury for managing my health and metabolism, Sun for managing stamina and health, and so forth.  But, really, at the heart of it is just watching what I put in my face and what I do with my body.
  2. Begin working with the demons from the Lemegeton.  This has been something on the docket for a long time now, but I’ve never really gotten around to it.  The approach I plan to use is that of Fr. Rufus Opus’ Modern Goetic Grimoire, a Lemegeton-spinning of the Trithemian conjuration ritual, and the tools and approach are generally the same to those in his Modern Angelic Grimoire, with the changes well-known and highlighted.  The first demon I’d like to work with is Orobas, specifically suggested to me as a beginner-mode spirit who can help with getting introduced to the rest of the spirits, but there’ll be plenty of work for them anyway.
  3. Undertake the Arbatel conjuration of the Olympick Spirits.  I’ve got the seals done and the text learned, so now it’s just a matter of going forth and conjuring the Olympick spirits.  I’ll finish planning my approach in the coming weeks, and it’ll be interesting to see how this complements or conflicts with my previous conjurations of the planets and their angels and what the angelic alliances I’ve built up to this point can contribute.  I like Fr. Acher’s approach of seeing these conjurations as initiations into the spheres, which is the point of Fr. Rufus Opus’ Gates rituals, but done in a different way.
  4. Study and prepare for baptism within the Apostolic Johannite Church.  Yes, this is a thing that I’ve figured would help buff out my practices with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, the seven archangels, and a variety of other spirits I work with.  No, this doesn’t mean I’m giving up my Hellenic or mathetic practices.  Yes, I believe that these different spiritual traditions can, if not dovetail in a completely complementary way, buff each other out.  I have my reasons.
  5. Begin learning and working with spirits within the tradition of Quimbanda.  During my vacation at the end of 2014, I got a consulta from a Tata Quimbanda which was fascinating and gave me no end of things to work on, and also gave me information on my personal and working Exus and Pomba Gira.  I plan to begin building relationships with these spirits, and something about the tradition snagged me and I have an eye on initiation, though that’ll be a ways off.  First things first: begin understanding this tradition at the direction of my tata friend.  My work with Saint Cyprian, who plays a huge role in Quimbanda, can also help, and I’ve resituated my altar of Saint Cyprian on top of a small cabinet which will house my Exus and Pomba Gira.
  6. Continue developing the study of mathesis.  This is going to be a life’s work, so long as I can keep doing it.  This will involve lots of research into Platonic and Neoplatonic occultism done back in the day, as well as whatever Pythagorean information I can get my hands on.  This is probably going to end up as a more meditative and contemplative practice than hands-on occult conjuration, but that might be for the best.  It may have applicable uses elsewhere and would dovetail nicely with other Hellenic practices, to be sure, but that’s not all entirely up for me to decide.

With that, let’s start talking about dates, times, calendars, cycles, holidays, festivals, and other chronological phenomena!  You can find the whole post after the jump, or you can jump to the individual sections you’re interested in with these links:

  1. Grammatēmerologion, the lunisolar grammatomantic ritual calendar
  2. Weekday cycle
  3. Astronomical and astrological phenomena
  4. Movable festivals and holidays
  5. Festivals and holidays fixed to the Gregorian calendar

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2014 Ritual Calendar and Prospective

2013 has finally come and gone, and now we’re in 2014.  Awesome.  How was last year?  Fricking amazing, lemme tell you.  Between a good amount of spiritual work and crafting, my first full year with my fantastic boyfriend, and no small amount of education and adventuring, 2013 really wasn’t bad at all.  Now that we’re in the start of 2014, what are my plans?

  1. Get more physically active.  The past few months haven’t been kind to my waistline and it’s starting to show, not to mention that a number of the spirits are getting on my case about treating my body better.  To that end, I’m changing up my daily and weekly routine to get in some more exercise (running and basic weightlifting), as well as beginning to take aikido classes.  I’m specifically choosing aikido with the Northern Virginia Ki Society, not just due to the estimable opinion of my good friend, occult crafter, and martial artist Raven Orthaevelve, but because it will help in my energy manipulation and meditation skills.  Add to it, it’s something that I’ve always had an interest in but hardly had the chance to take it up when I was younger, so I may as well.
  2. Conjure the angels of the fixed stars.  This past year, I finally contacted Iophiel, the angel of the fixed stars and the angel of the eighth sphere, which was an amazing experience.  However, I’ve barely had time to investigate that sphere, and since it’s the most unfamiliar and complex of the spheres I’ve yet encountered, I want to spend some more time working with the forces of the stars as a whole as well as individual segments.  To that end, I want to start a year-long project by conjuring the angels of the fixed stars; not just Iophiel, but each of the angels of the Zodiac (as the Sun enters each sign) and the angels of the lunar mansions (as the Sun and Moon enter each lunar mansion).  This will amount to about 40 new conjurations, with about three or four new contacts being made a month.  I’ll start this project once the Sun enters Aries at the spring solstice this year, kicking off the solar new year with new conjurations.  This will provide a new wealth of information, I’m sure.
  3. Buy and move into a new house.  I’ve lived at my current apartment since I got out of college almost four years ago, and while I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s time to move into somewhere better.  I’m investigating the possibility of actually taking out a mortgage and buying a house for myself, my boyfriend, and two of our friends; since we’re all into magic and the occult in our own ways, that should prove to be an interesting arrangement indeed!  I’ll need to start talking to my agency’s HR department as well as some of the angels and gods for the help I’ll need, too.  This will definitely help me, personally, to have more space for my magic work as well as begin more intense devotional practices with the gods and spirits.  Speaking of…
  4. Start working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch.  Saint Cyprian of Antioch is the patron saint of pagans, sorcerers, and magicians; need I explain further?  Although no longer recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Cyprian of Antioch (not to be confused with Saint Cyprian of Carthage) is well-known by some Nordic communities of magicians as well as by many Portuguese, Brazilian, and Caribbean occultists.  His ties to some ATR deities will help bridge a possible spiritual gap between me and my boyfriend and his godfamily (a group of ATR practicioners and initiates), too, as well as help give me a more solid footing when dealing with spirits of the dark and the dead.  And speaking of the dead…
  5. Start working with my ancestors more.  My interactions with people of ATR faiths has shown me by force how powerful our ancestors can be in our lives.  This isn’t just to say those of our family who’ve passed away in our lifetimes, but literally all of them going back to the furthest distant reaches of our genesis, even to the gods or elves or chaos or what-have-you.  I’ve started a small shrine and practice to my ancestors on my main devotional altar, but it’s just a tiny squished corner for now.  Once I get the space, I plan to setting up a full altar for them and getting to do more research for their names, pictures, and preferences.  This will be made more convenient since I’m tasked with repairing my mother’s old computers, which have books’ worth of genealogical information on different branches of my family.  Weekly chats and offerings to them would be the minimal practice here.
  6. Translate more Latin.  My boyfriend got me one of the most complete and thorough books on European geomancy ever written, the “Fasciculus Geomanticus” written by Robert Fludd in 1687.  This is about 650 pages of dense late medieval Latin replete with very deep geomantic lore and technique compiled by one of Europe’s most famous masters of the art.  I plan on translating this in full, perhaps even submitting it for publication or cannibalizing it into my own work on geomancy.  Who’s to say?  Maybe even both!  Other works in Latin might be translated, too, pending advice and suggestions from my dear readers.
  7. More trance work.  This is something I’ve tried off and on again since I pretty much started magic, but I haven’t really made much progress or even much of a concerted effort.  Entering states of trance, engaging in astral projection, and being able to dream lucidly is still high on my to-do list, so I’m going to devote myself to trance work on nights when I don’t work out and don’t have other magical work to do.  This, combined with the above things, basically necessitates I keep a strict routine for myself with putzing around on the Internet reserved mostly for when I’m at work (hah!).

So, without further ado, the calendars and timings for things for the year of 2014.  First, the updated conjuration cycle:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Raphael
(Air)
Tzadqiel
(Jupiter)
2 Michael
(Fire)
Kammael
(Mars)
3 Michael
(Sun)
 Auriel
(Earth)
Haniel
(Venus)
4 Raphael
(Mercury)
Gabriel
(Water)
5 Gabriel
(Moon)
Iophiel
(Fixed Stars)
6 Personal
Angels
Tzaphqiel
(Saturn)

In the past, I was going on a 5-week cycle of the angels, with all the elemental archangels being done on Wednesdays (as my work schedule lets me work from home then).  However, this past year, I finally gained contact and initiation from Iophiel, the angel of the fixed stars of the 8th heaven, and wanted to allow more time for that as well.  Further, due to some of my other scheduling constraints, I wanted to leave my Fridays and Wednesdays mostly clear of magical work except as necessary.  Thus, I expanded the conjuration cycle to six weeks instead of five, moving the conjurations of Iophiel and my personal angels (natal genius, Holy Guardian Angel, and angel of occupation) to the weekend between the conjurations of Gabriel of the Moon and Tzaphqiel of Saturn.  Further, I also moved the elemental archangel conjurations to other days instead of Wednesdays.

Next, the lunar month cycle:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New
Moon
Arktos Ritual,
house cleansing
and blessing
General material
consecration
Monthly
Hermaia
First Quarter
Moon
Full
Moon
Full Moon Ritual
Last Quarter
Moon
House
cleaning

Generally the same as last year.  I observe a monthly ritual for Hermes every fourth day of the lunar month, and I use the day before through the day after the New Moon to clean, cleanse, banish, and reward my house.  I also set aside time on the New Moon and Full Moon for certain celestial rituals, assuming the weather allows for it.  Not much of my normal work revolves around the revolution of the Moon, but it does help in getting a few things done here and there.

Of course, no schedule observing the stars could be complete without a list of planetary retrograde dates. Below are all the retrograde dates for Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury that take place sometime during 2014. Of these, only Venus and Mercury are of any real importance, but still.

  • Saturn retrograde from March 2 through July 20
  • Jupiter retrograde from November 7 2013 through March 6 2014
  • Jupiter retrograde from December 8 2014 through April 8 2015
  • Mars retrograde from March 1 through May 20
  • Venus retrograde from December 21 2013 through January 21 2014
  • Mercury retrograde from February 6 through February 28
  • Mercury retrograde from June 7 through July 1
  • Mercury retrograde from October 4 through October 25

Other astrological and astronomical phenomena:

  • Sun ingress Aquarius: January 20
  • Sun midway Aquarius (Imbolc): February 3
  • Sun ingress Pisces: Febuary 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, fall equinox): September 23
  • Sun ingress Scorpio: October 23
  • Sun midway Scorpio (Samhain): November 7
  • Sun ingress Sagittarius: November 22
  • Sun ingress Capricorn (Yule, winter solstice): December 22
  • New Moon, first of winter: January 1
  • New Moon, second of winter: January 30
  • New Moon, third of winter: March 1
  • New Moon, first of spring: March 30
  • New Moon, second of spring: April 29
  • New Moon, third of spring: May 28
  • New Moon, first of summer: June 27
  • New Moon, second of summer: July 26
  • New Moon, third of summer: August 25
  • New Moon, first of autumn: September 24
  • New Moon, second of autumn: October 23
  • New Moon, third of autumn: November 22
  • New Moon, first of winter: December 21
  • Perihelion: January 4
  • Aphelion: July 4
  • Northern lunar eclipse: April 15
  • Southern solar eclipse: April 29
  • Southern lunar eclipse: October 8
  • Northern lunar eclipse: October 23

Festivals and holidays whose dates move around:

  • Hermaia: March 5
  • Asclepeia: March 9
  • Dionysia: March 11 through March 16
  • Purim: March 15
  • Pesach: April 14 through April 22
  • Aphrodisia: July 1
  • Rosh haShanah: September 24 through September 26
  • Yom Kippur: October 3
  • Chanukkah: December 16 through December 24

Other festivals and holidays whose dates don’t move around:

  • Veneralia: April 1
  • Feast of St. Isidore of Seville: April 4
  • Feast of St. Expedite: April 19
  • Feast of Mary, Queen of Heaven: May 1
  • Mercuralia: May 15
  • Feast of St. Benedict: July 11
  • Festival of Venus Genetrix: September 26
  • Feast of Saint Cyprian of Antioch: September 26
  • Feast of the Angels (Michaelmas): September 29
  • Birthday: October 8
  • All Hallow’s Eve: October 31
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2
  • Feast of St. Lazarus: December 16
  • Saturnalia: December 17 through December 23
  • Christmas: December 25

Notes on the above lists:

  • 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.  While most other occultists and pagans will use the normal calendrical dating, I’ll stick to my solar dating and tie it to the cycle of the Sun instead.  The dates are fairly close, at least, being off no more than a week from the popular observance of them.  The calendar dates of these cross-quarter days are the 1st of the month the astrological date occurs in (thus May 1st for Beltane).
  • The period between All Hallow’s Eve and the astrological Samhain is a big deathy week for me that I’ll probably make a big to-do for the dead.
  • Similarly, the period between Saturnalia and the winter solstice will be a roughly week-long period of partying and fun.
  • Yes, dear reader, I do count my birthday as a festival, not least because it usually coincides with Columbus Day (a federal holiday, and thus three-day weekend).
  • The Jewish festivals are things to mark one of the cultures I come from.  While I’m not very observant, I try to make these things a small reminder of what some of my ancestors have done.
  • While the Roman festivals are tied to the normal calendar, the Greek festivals move around due to their being tied to the lunar months.  By my reckoning, the Hermaia (Hermes’ festival) takes place on the fourth day of the tenth lunar month after the summer solstice; the Aphrodisia (Aphrodite’s festival) takes place on the fourth day of the first lunar month after the summer solstice; the Dionysia (Dionysus’ greater festival) takes place on the 10th through 15th days of the third lunar month after the winter solstice; the Asclepeia (Asclepius’ festival) takes place on the eighth day of the third lunar month after the winter solstice.

With that, let’s get 2014 rolling!

Lunisolar Grammatomantic Calendar in Use

Now that the lunisolar grammatomantic calendar (LGC) is explained at length, let’s talk about how it actually might be used.  To refresh your mind, dear reader, the LGC is a modern variation on the old lunisolar calendar that the Athenians used in classical Greece to determine their festival dates and religious observances.  The months are marked by the passage of the moon, with adjustments made every so often to get a calendar year to match the actual solar year.  With grammatomancy, they days are assigned a particular Greek letter for use in divination, magic, and advising on specific actions based on the day in the calendar; some days, however, don’t have letters.  Months and years, likewise, can be assigned letters (or not depending on the circumstances), and there are overall cycles of 38 years which repeat a certain set of letters for the year, month, and days.  All this to produce a calendrical divination tool, hence the LGC.  I made a solar version as well, the SGC, with which the LGC shares a number of similarities, especially in terms of how they might be used.

Again, the core point of the LGC is for divination.  Much as with the Mayan calendar stuff, or with the planetary weekdays and other Western ideas, different days will have different effects and different forces in effect; the use of the letters is to indicate what those forces might be and how we might align or counter them.  By using a calendar to map these forces out, we have a tool to help us prognosticate and plan for different events and circumstances that we can harness for our own ends.  With the Greek letters, each letter represents a different oracle, advice, planet, sign, element, god, number, and more; whole worlds can be unfolded from the use of a simple letter through the arts of stoicheia and isopsephy, as well as grammatomancy.  In this regard, both the SGC and LGC can be used to determine on a day-by-day, month-by-month, or year-by-year basis how a particular period of time will go.  By inspecting whether a day has a particular letter assigned to it, we might plan events for that day or avoid it entirely.

However, how these letters might be applied to the days can differ; for example, compare my own SGC and LGC, both of which have the same intention and the same core idea, but reflect it in different ways.  Depending on the need, the use of the SGC might be more preferable than the LGC, or vice versa.  Specifically with the LGC, the calendar is lunisolar, which is fantastic for most magical activities undertaken nowadays, especially by people in neopagan or reconstructionist traditions.  Since these guys, as well as farmers and other people who work with lunar forces in some regard, all use the Moon as a focus for determining time, using the LGC can help with augmenting their current style of working with time and lunar forces.  Another draw to the LGC is that it’s grounded in actual historical usage of an actual calendar, complete with its own cycle of festivals, religious observances, and power.  For the Hellenismos crowd especially the LGC would be of help in combining religious observances with magical forecasting beyond other augury and divination.  Being more in tune with natural cycles than artificial precision as the SGC has, the LGC would also be better in charting planting cycles or other worldly/earthy/natural events.  Of course, this is all based on the Athenian ritual calendar, some of the days of which are associated with particular deities; for instance, Apollo is associated with the seventh day of the month, which is assigned the letter Ζ.  This gives Apollo a similar connection, and can help explain other attributes of his or explain those of the letter itself.

One notable difference between the SGC and the LGC is that the LGC has far more unassigned periods of time than the SGC.  To clarify, the SGC year has only five to six days that have no letters at the end of the year to make up for the difference between the total duration of the letter-months and that of the solar year.  Further, only days can miss a letter; the intercalary days are not assigned to any month, and all the months, years, ages, eras, eons, and so forth are all labeled with letters.  On the other hand, the LGC has roughly 65 days per year that are without a letter due to the length of the lunar synodic month, and even whole embolismic months or leap years have no letter assigned, either, according to the system I proposed.  Similarly, embolismic months and leap years might be considered special times for settling debts, finishing work, and clearing out the old brush to make way for new growth, since these times always represent some kind of closing or coming to an end of a cycle.  This would especially be true of the last embolismic month of the 38-year cycle for the LGC, which I envision as something of a party month.

That also brings up another important difference between the SGC and LGC: the use of the obsolete letters in the LGC.  Digamma, qoppa, and sampi are ancient letters that were used in very early forms of Greek as it began to borrow the Phoenician script for its own use; however, these letters were no longer in use at the time of the Greek alphabet oracle I use, and hadn’t been for quite some time except to mark numbers.  As such, they have no oracular meaning ascribed to them, nor are they used in stoicheia, qabbalah, or magic.  Due to this, days that are marked with these obsolete letters are effectively letterless, or explicitly unlucky days as opposed to the otherwise unlettered days, which might be considered more like a Moon void of course period or “thin time”.   Since these letters were overall dropped due to their uselessness, not even retained for their etymological value, these days might also be considered “dropped” from usefulness, with business being avoided entirely or similar prohibitions observed.  Since in the second and third decades of the lunar month the last day was letterless and the second to last had an obsolete letter, this gives the calendar a type of “weekend” for rest or for other observations.  The first decade, on the other hand, would be focused on ritual and sacrifices throughout those ten days.

Another change in purpose is how dates are even used between the SGC and LGC.  The LGC is focused on near-term natural cycles that have an immediate and direct need, and doesn’t really have much of a convention for calculating or even denoting dates far into the future or the past outside of the current cycle.  This follows the traditional view of time, where these things simply had no real meaning; events far in the past were history-myths, and events far in the future were undetermined and up to the gods.  What was needed was individual human timeframes that one could deal with and live within.  On the other hand, the SGC is meant for determining times and dates far into the future and the past, around 7000000 years in either direction when used with the letter-eon place, or around 13000 years without it.  This calendar might be considered more “scientific”, determining astrological or astronomical events or determining mystical transitions of the cosmos and universe over large stretches of time.  The enforced precision of the SGC and the organic flow of the LGC can easily compliment each other, much as the Mesoamerican calendar systems were used in tandem with each other.  In other words, I see the likely scenario to be the Babylonian magus or Academic geometer making use of the SGC, and the common families and townspeople making use of the LGC.  It’s like the difference between someone giving you an informal calendar date for ease and a Barycentric Julian Date for exactness.

Because of its regularity and association with the Sun and solar movement, I’m more likely to use the SGC in my Work, mostly because I resonate with that kind of independence from imperfection that the SGC (mostly) allows; plus, its ability to mark specific times arbitrarily is useful, especially when planning long-term effects that might not be immediately seen or noted.  That said, I can see the use of the LGC being helpful as well in determining lower or more nature-y rituals, such as offerings to the gods or the Earth as well as planning out lunar effects through a grammatomantic lens, especially in determining the letters associated with lunar months.  I know that a lot of this was an exercise in complexity, but it was helpful for me to get ideas, especially if I ever get into mobile platform programming or Twitter bot programming if I want to make a bot or a mobile app for these calendars (or to help others do the same, just let me know!).  Being able to use grammatomancy in a new way beyond “mere” letter-drawing is a useful thing, I think, and brings the power of time a bit closer than would otherwise be possible.

Lunisolar Grammatomantic Calendar

In my first post on grammatomantic calendars and day cycles, I hypothesized that it would be possible to a kinds of calendar suitable for assigning a Greek letter (and, by extension, the rest of its oracular and divinatory meaning) to a whole day without an explicit divination being done, similar to the Mayan tzolk’in calendar cycle.  I did this creating a solar calendar of 15 months of 24 days each, each day assigned to a different letter of the Greek alphabet in a cycle, and also extended it to months, years, and longer spans of time; its use could be for mere cyclical divination or for more complex astrological notes.  At its heart, however, it is essentially a repeating cycle of 24 days, plus a few correctional days every so often to keep the calendar year in line with the solar year.  Because of this, it is essentially a solar calendar, keeping time with the seasons according to the passage of the sun.

Awesome as all this was, it’s also completely innovative as far as I know; the Greeks didn’t note time like this in any recorded text we have, and it takes no small amount of inspiration from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar system.  Wanting a more traditional flavor of noting time, I also hypothesized that it might be interesting to apply a grammatomantic cycle of days to an already-known calendar system used in ancient Greece, the Attic festival calendar.  In this case, the calendar system already exists with its own set of months and days; it’s just a matter of applying the letters to the days in this case.  No epoch nor long count notation is necessary for this, since it’s dependent on a lunar month a certain number of months away from the summer solstice (the starting point for the Attic festival calendar).  The primary issues with this, however, is that the Attic festival calendar is lunisolar following the synodic period of the Moon, so it has months roughly of 29 or 30 days, depending on the Moon.  This is more than 24, the number of letters used in Greek letter divination, and 27, the number of Greek letters including the obsolete digamma, qoppa, and sampi.  With there being only 12(ish) months in this calendar system, this is going to have some interesting features.  To pair this calendar with the Solar Grammatomantic Calendar (SGC), let’s call this the Lunisolar Grammatomantic Calendar (LGC).

So, to review the Attic festival calendar, this is a lunisolar calendar, a calendar that more-or-less follows the passage of the Sun through the seasons using the Moon as a helpful marker along the way to determine the months.  Many variations of lunisolar calendars have been created across cultures and eras, since the changing form of the Moon has always been helpful to determine the passage of time.  With the Greeks, and the Attics (think Athenians, about whom we know the most), they used the fairly commonplace system of 12 months as determined by the first sighting of the new Moon.  As mentioned, the start date for the Attic festival calendar was officially the first new Moon sighted after the summer solstice, so the year could start as early as late June or as late as late July depending on the lunar cycle in effect, making mapping to the Gregorian calendar difficult.  The names of the 12 months along with their general times and sacredness to the gods are:

  1. Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομϐαιών), first month of summer, sacred to Apollo
  2. Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών), second month of summer, sacred to Apollo
  3. Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών), third month of summer, sacred to Apollo
  4. Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών), first month of autumn, sacred to Apollo
  5. Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών), second month of autumn, sacred to Zeus
  6. Poseideon (Ποσειδεών), third month of autumn, sacred to Poseidon
  7. Gamelion (Γαμηλιών), first month of winter, sacred to Zeus and Hera
  8. Anthesterion (Ἀνθεστηριών), second month of winter, sacred to Dionysus
  9. Elaphebolion (Ἑλαφηϐολιών), third month of winter, sacred to Artemis
  10. Mounikhion (Μουνιχιών), first month of spring, sacred to Artemis
  11. Thergelion (Θαργηλιών), second month of spring, sacred to Artemis and Apollo
  12. Skirophorion (Σκιροφοριών), third month of spring, sacred to Athena

Each month had approximately 30 days (more on that “approximately” part in a bit), divided into three periods of ten days each (which we’ll call “decades”):

Moon waxing
Moon full
Moon waning
New Moon
11th
later 10th
2nd rising
12th
9th waning
3rd rising
13th
8th waning
4th rising
14th
7th waning
5th rising
15th
6th waning
6th rising
16th
5th waning
7th rising
17th
4th waning
8th rising
18th
3rd waning
9th rising
19th
2nd waning
10th rising
earlier 10th
Old and New

The first day of the month was officially called the New Moon, or in Greek, the νουμηνια, the date when the Moon would officially be sighted on its own just after syzygy.  The last day of the month was called the Old and New, or ενη και νεα, which was the actual date of the syzygy between the Earth, Moon, and Sun.  The last day of the second decade and the first of the third decade were both called “the 10th”, with the earlier 10th being the first day and the later 10th being the second.  Days in the months would be referred to as something like “the third day of Thargelion waning”, or Thargelion 28.  Only days 2 through 10 were referred to as “rising”, and days 21 through 29 were referred to as “waning”; the middle block of days from 11 to 19 were unambiguous.  When a month was “hollow”, or had only 29 days instead of 30, the 2nd waning day was omitted, leading to the 3rd waning day becoming the penultimate day of the month instead of the 2nd waning day.  Since this was all based on observation, there was no hard and fast rule to determine which month was hollow or full without the use of an almanac or ephemeris.

At this point, we have enough information to start applying the Greek alphabet to the days.  As mentioned before, there are fewer letters in the Greek alphabet than there are days, so there are some days that are simply going to remain letterless; like the intercalary days of the solar calendar, these might be considered highly unfortunate or “between” times, good for little except when you have a sincere need for that bizarre state of day.  A naive approach might be to allot the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet to the first 24 days of the lunar month, then leave the last six or seven days unallocated, but I have a better idea.  If we include the otherwise useless obsolete letters digamma (Ϝ), qoppa (Ϙ), and sampi (Ϡ), we end up with 27 days, which is 9 × 3.  In using the Greek letters as numerals (e.g. isopsephy), letters Α through Θ represent 1 through 9, Ι through Ϙ represent 10 through 90, and Ρ through Ϡ represent 100 through 900.  In other words,

Α/1
Β/2
Γ/3
Δ/4
Ε/5
Ϝ/6
Ζ/7
Η/8
Θ/9
Ι/10
Κ/20
Λ/30
Μ/40
Ν/50
Ξ/60
Ο/70
Π/80
Ϙ/90
Ρ/100
Σ/200
Τ/300
Υ/400
Φ/500
Χ/600
Ψ/700
Ω/800
Ϡ/900

In this system of numerics, it’s easy to group the letters into three groups of nine based on their magnitude.  This matches up more or less well with the three decades used in a lunar month, so I propose giving the first nine letters to days 1 through 9 (Α through Θ) and skipping the 10th rising day, the second nine letters (Ι through Ϙ) to days 11 through 19 and skipping the earlier 10th day, and the third nine letters (Ρ through Ϡ to days 21 through 29, and leaving the Old and New day unassigned.  If the month is hollow and there is no 2nd waning day for Ϡ, then the Old and New day (last day of the month) is assigned Ϡ.  Letterless days might repeat the preceding letter; thus, the 10th day of the month (or the 10th rising day) might be called “second Θ”, but still be considered effectively letterless.

With the usual Attic festivals celebrated monthly (they treated the birthdays of the gods as monthly occurrences), the lunar month with all its information would look like the following:

Day
Name
Letter
Festival
1
New Moon
Α
Noumenia
2
2nd rising
Β
Agathos Daimon
3
3rd rising
Γ
Athena
4
4th rising
Δ
Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite, Eros
5
5th rising
Ε
6
6th rising
Ϝ
Artemis
7
7th rising
Ζ
Apollo
8
8th rising
Η
Poseidon, Theseus
9
9th rising
Θ
10
10th rising
11
11th
Ι
12
12th
Κ
13
13th
Λ
14
14th
Μ
15
15th
Ν
16
16th
Ξ
Full Moon
17
17th
Ο
18
18th
Π
19
19th
Ϙ
20
earlier 10th
21
later 10th
Ρ
22
9th waning
Σ
23
8th waning
Τ
24
7th waning
Υ
25
6th waning
Φ
26
5th waning
Χ
27
4th waning
Ψ
28
3rd waning
Ω
29
2nd waning
Ϡ
Omitted in hollow months
30
Old and New
— (Ϡ if hollow month)

That’s it, really.  All in all, it’s a pretty simple system, if we just take the lunar months as they are, and is a lot easier than the complicated mess that was the SGC.  Then again, that’s no fun, so let’s add more to it.  After all, the fact that the months themselves are 12 and the Greek letters are 24 in number is quite appealing, wouldn’t you say?  And we did add letters to the months in the SGC, after all, so why not here?  We can also associate the months themselves with the Greek letters for grammatomantic purposes; if we assign Α to the first month of the year, we can easily get a two-year cycle, where each of the months alternates between one of two values.  For example, if in one year Hekatombaion (first month of the year) is given to Α, then by following the pattern Skirophorion (last month of the year) is given to Μ; Hekatombaion in the next year is given to Ν to continue the cycle, as is Skirophorion in the next year given to Ω.  The next Hekatombaion is given to Α again, and the cycle continues.  Note that the obsolete Greek letters digamma, qoppa, and sampi would not be used here; I only used them in the lunar month to keep the days regular and aligned properly with the decades.

The thing about this is that the lunar months don’t match up with the solar year very well.  Twelve lunar months add up to about 354 days, and given that a solar year is about 365 days, the year is going to keep drifting back unless we add in an extra intercalary (or, more properly here, “embolismic”) month every so often to keep the calendar from drifting too far.  Much as in the SGC with the intercalary days, we might simply leave the embolismic month unlettered in order to keep the cycle regular.  Days within this month would be lettered and celebrated as normal, but the month itself would be otherwise uncelebrated.  For the LGC, we would add the embolismic month at the end of the year, after Skirophorion, so that the next Hekatombaion could occur after the summer solstice as it should.  I depart from the Athenian practice here a bit, where other months would simply be repeated (usually Poseideon).

Of course, figuring out which years need the embolismic month is another problem.  To keep the cycle regular, we’d need to add in an embolismic month one year out of every two or three.  Although there’s no evidence that the Athenians used it, I propose we make use of the Metonic cycle, a period of 19 years in which 12 of the years are “short” (consisting of only 12 months) and 7 are “long” or leap years (consisting of 13, or 12 months plus an embolismic month).  This cycle has been in use for quite some time now in other calendrical systems, so let’s borrow their tradition of having years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 be long years, and the other years being short.  Just as with the months, the 12 short years might be assigned letters of their own, while the long years would be unlettered due to their oddness (in multiple senses of the word).  Since the Metonic cycle has an odd count of years, two of these cycles (or 38 years) would repeat both a cycle of letter-years as well as letter-months in the LGC.  Since the use of an epoch for the LGC isn’t as necessary as in the SGC, figuring out where we are in the current Metonic cycle can be determined by looking at another calendar that uses it; I propose the Hebrew calendar, which does this very thing.  In this case, the most recent Metonic cycle began in 1998, with the long years being 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2016; the next Metonic cycle begins in 2017.  The two Metonic cycles, which we might call a LGC age or era,  starting in 1998 and ending in 2035, are below, and the same cycle is repeated forward and backward in time for every 38 years.

Year
Cycle
Length
Letter
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12 (13)
1998
1
12
Α
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
1999
2
12
Β
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2000
3
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2001
4
12
Γ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2002
5
12
Δ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2003
6
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2004
7
12
Ε
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2005
8
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2006
9
12
Ζ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2007
10
12
Η
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2008
11
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2009
12
12
Θ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2010
13
12
Ι
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2011
14
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2012
15
12
Κ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2013
16
12
Λ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2014
17
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2015
18
12
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2016
19
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2017
1 (20)
12
Ν
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2018
2 (21)
12
Ξ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2019
3 (22)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2020
4 (23)
12
Ο
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2021
5 (24)
12
Π
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2022
6 (25)
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2023
7 (26)
12
Ρ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2024
8 (27)
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2025
9 (28)
12
Σ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2026
10 (29)
12
Τ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2027
11 (30)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2028
12 (31)
12
Υ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2029
13 (32)
12
Φ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2030
14 (33)
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2031
15 (34)
12
Χ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2032
16 (35)
12
Ψ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2033
17 (36)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2034
18 (37)
12
Ω
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2035
19 (38)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω

A few others of these cycle-epochs include the following years, covering the 20th and 21st centuries, each one 38 years apart from the previous or next one:

  • 1884
  • 1922
  • 1960
  • 1998
  • 2036
  • 2074
  • 2112

Creating an epoch to measure years from, although generally useful, isn’t particularly needed for this calendar.  After all, the Attic calendar upon which the LGC is based was used to determine yearly and monthly festivals, and years were noted by saying something like “the Nth year when so-and-so was archon”.  Similarly, we might refer to 2013 as “the 16th year of the 1998-age” or 2033 as “the 35th year after 1998”.  In practice, we might do something similar such as “the sixth year when Clinton was president” or “the tenth year after Hurricane Sandy”; measuring years in this method would still be able to use the system of letter-years in the LGC, simply by shifting the start of the epoch to that year and starting with letter-year Α.  The Metonic cycle would continue from that epoch cyclically until a new significant event was chosen, such as the election of a new president, the proclamation of a peace between nations, and so forth.

Associating the letters with the years and months here is less for notation and more for divination, since the LGC is an augmentation of the Attic festival calendar (with some innovations), and not a wholly new system which needs its own notation.  That said, we can still use the letters to note the years and the months; for instance, the 16th year of the cycle given above might be called the “year Λ in the 1998-age”, while the 17th year (which has no letter associated with it) might be called just “the 17th year” or, more in line with actual Attic practice, “the second Λ year”, assuming that (for notational purposes) a letterless year repeats the previous year’s letter.  Likewise, for embolismic months, we might say that the 12th month of a year is either “the Μ month” or “the Ω month”, and the 13th month of a year (if any) could be said as “the 13th month”, “the empty month”, or “the second Μ/Ω month” (depending on whether the preceding month was given to Μ or Ω).

Converting a date between a Gregorian calendar date and a LGC date or vice versa is much easier than the SGC conversion, but mostly because it involves looking things up.  To convert between a Gregorian calendar date and a LGC date:

  1. Find the year in the cycle of the LGC ages to find out whether the year is a long or short year.
  2. Count how many new moons have occurred since the most recent summer solstice.
  3. Find the date of the current moon phase.

For instance, consider the recent date September 1, 2013.  This is the 16th year in the LGC age cycle, which has only 12 months and is associated with the letter Λ.  The summer solstice occurred on June 21 this year, and the next new moon was July 8, marking the first month of the LGC year.  September 1 occurs in the second month of Metageitnion, associated with the letter Ξ this year which starting on the new moon of August 7, on the 26th day of the lunar month, or the 5th waning day, associated with the letter Χ.  All told, we would say that this is the “fifth day of Metageitnion waning in the year Λ of the cycle starting in 1998”; the letters for this day are Λ (year), Ξ (month), and Χ (day).

Now that your brain is probably fried from all the tables and quasi-neo-Hellenic computus, we’ll leave the actual uses of the LGC for the next post.  Although the uses of the SGC and LGC are similar in some respects, the LGC has interesting properties that make it especially suited for magical work beyond the daily divination given by the letter-days.  Stay tuned!

Preliminary Ritual Calendar 2013

Early last year, I devised a five-week conjuration cycle that has me conjure the angels of the seven planets, the angels of the four elements, and my natal genius.  In each conjuration of each of these forces, I’d spend time soaking in the light and power of that particular sphere, reconsecrating and recharging whatever tools or talismans I have, meditating on that force’s symbols, and asking for specific or general advice about where to go or what to do next.   It’s a neat system, although one I didn’t stick to as well as I ought to have.  I did it a couple of times, and recently went through all the angels in consecutive days, which was also a blast and pretty powerful (and what Frater RO and a good number of other guys keep doing just to say they can).

However, a lot can happen for a beginner like me in the space of a year: I’ve gotten in contact with my HGA, I’ve started an involved devotional practice to Hermes, I’ve started doing weekly readings and occasional classes at the local new age shop, and I’ve picked up a few more rituals and works here and there that need to be done every lunar month or so.  Basically, I’ve got work to do, and having a schedule to organize it and put it on my calendar to bug me about it on my phone and all is kinda important now.  So, in effect, I have two interlocking cycles, a 5-week planetary cycle for conjurations and some devotions and a 4-week lunar cycle for other devotions and works.

The five week cycle is mostly the same as before, going through the planetary angels in descending order (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, etc.) on their respective days and hours, with the four elemental angels sometime around midday on the Wednesdays not working with Raphael of Mercury.  This way, I have two or three conjurations a week, which isn’t bad for constant upkeep.  The big change to the conjuration cycle is that I’m not explicitly conjuring my natal genius anymore.  Instead, I plan to perform the Headless Rite with some extra bells and whistles, using the Light from the ritual to hold a conference call between my natal genius, my HGA, and the angel of my occupation (the third of the threefold keeper of man that Agrippa speaks about in his Third Book of Occult Philosophy).

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Raphael
(Air)
Tzadqiel
(Jupiter)
2 Kammael
(Mars)
Michael
(Fire)
3 Michael
(Sun)
Auriel
(Earth)
Haniel
(Venus)
4 NG/HGA/AO Raphael
(Mercury)
5 Gabriel
(Moon)
Gabriel
(Water)
Tzaphqiel
(Saturn)

Not shown in the above is the weekly devotional cycle I do as well.  Every morning, I do a set of prayers to the First Father, but on certain days I augment it with more prayers or with prayers to other gods and offerings to spirits, depending on who needs what when:

  • On Sundays, I spend more time in contemplative prayer and repentance, as well as making offerings to the solar-ish healing god Asclepius.  I also like to incorporate the Headless Rite into my normal routine, just to bask in the Light from the ritual as well as touch base with my HGA (who has largely supplanted my natal genius in responsibilities) to make sure I’m doing the right thing and doing it right.
  • On Wednesdays, I make offerings to the spirits of my home and land as well as perform a weekly devotional to Hermes, as well as performing a variation on the Litany to the Holy Archangels written by Michael Seb Lux.  I also like to do divination readings on Wednesdays in an hour of Mercury or of the Moon (my work-from-home days, which gives me a lot of time to work on my Work).
  • On Thursdays, contemplation and an invocation of the forces of Jupiter to fill and bless my life’s work and fortune.  This started out as an instruction from Tzadqiel, the angel of Jupiter, to continue until further notice due to a Jovial issue in my own sphere (Jupiter is badly detrimented in my natal horoscope).  Omitted on weeks I conjure the angel of Jupiter (subsumed into the conjuration of Tzadqiel).
  • On Saturdays, contemplation and an invocation of the forces of Saturn to protect and structure my life’s boundaries.  This is due to Saturn’s oddly dignified nature in my natal horoscope, permitting it to be one of the most favorable forces for me to work with (and to temper the malfunctioning Jovian force being done with the weekly observances).  Omitted on weeks I conjure the angel of Saturn (subsumed into the conjuration of Tzaphqiel).

Just to give myself a break, I’ll probably space each 5-week cycle out by a week, having it be six weeks in total.  This is probably unnecessary and a willingness to be lazy on my part, but it will help me maintain a healthy social and romantic life, not to mention giving me a break to keep tabs and wrap up anything down here that needs wrapping up before more conjurations need doing.

The other cycle is lunar, going by the phases of the Moon.  Only a few things happen with this (so far): the big ones are the Hermaias, my monthly devotionals to Hermes.  Hermes is associated with the fourth day after the new moon, so on that day at dawn I’ll make an offering of food, incense, prayer, and the like to him.  Conversely, though it’s not attested elsewhere, I’m also honoring his chthonic, underworldly aspect on the fourth day before the new moon (as a kind of reversal or switch), where I’ll make offerings to the spirits of the dead and act as psycopomp with Hermes’ help.  I’ll do a ritual for the Full Moon sometime around midnight when it’s full, and do a quick offering and ritual to the stars of the Big Dipper from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM VII.686) when it’s new.  Beyond that, I don’t do much tied to the lunar cycle, besides divinations for myself and for others.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New Moon Arktos Ritual House blessing,
general material creation
and consecration
Ouranic Hermaia
First Quarter Moon
Full Moon Full Moon Ritual  
Last Quarter Moon Chthonic Hermaia
(optional)
House banishing

NB: the days are numbered from the lunar phase, so that New Moon 1 is the day of the New Moon, not the first day afterward.  Not shown above are things that need to be tied to both the lunar phase and weekday, since there’s no way to really show that in either chart (yay interlocking cycles being horrible to map out!).  So far, the only big thing I have to worry about with that is maintaining a supply of holy water and consecrated candles, which I constantly go through.  The way I do it, I need to time it to the waxing moon (first two weeks of the lunar month) on a Wednesday in order to get a good effect, and also when Mercury isn’t retrograde.  Also, I like to do a general reconsecration and cleansing of the tools I use most on a Friday during the waxing moon with a mixture of holy water and Florida water.

Speaking of, that brings me to bigger cycles than the above 5-week or 4-week cycle.  As for the planets, I try not to do any big magical works I’m not already familiar with during Mercury retrograde (and forgot to do a Mercury retrograde retrospective last time, sorry guys!), and try not to do any craft construction when Venus is in retrograde.  Though I haven’t noticed a big effect with Venus retrograde on my life, work, or Work (or any other planet past Mercury), Mercury retrograde has made slight differences in communication (shallower) and meditation (deeper), but otherwise hasn’t made a big change in my works.  The relevant dates are:

  • Mercury in retrograde from February 23 to March 17
  • Mercury in retrograde from June 26 to July 20
  • Mercury in retrograde from October 21 to November 10
  • Venus in retrograde from December 28 through January 31, 2014

I want to try doing more with the solar cycle as well, doing something on the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days of the year, as well as do small devotionals or minor works on important feast days or festivals.  For that, I’ve compiled the following list of important dates for the rest of 2013:

  • Sun midway Aquarius (Imbolc): February 3
  • Purim: February 23
  • Sun ingress Aries (Spring equinox, Ostara): March 20
  • Pesach (Passover): March  25 through April 1
  • Hermaia: April 11
  • Feast of St. Expedite: April 19
  • Northern Lunar Eclipse: April 25
  • Sun midway Taurus (Beltane): May 5
  • Southern Solar Eclipse: May 10
  • Mercuralia: May 15
  • Northern Lunar Eclipse: May 25
  • Sun ingress Cancer (Summer solstice, Litha): June 21
  • Sun midway Leo (Lammas): August 7
  • Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement): September 13
  • Rosh haShanah (Head of the Year): September 16 through September 18
  • Sun ingress Libra (Autumn equinox, Mabon): September 22
  • Michaelmas: September 29
  • Birthday: October 8
  • Southern Lunar Eclipse: October 18
  • All Hallow’s Eve: October 31
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2
  • Northern Solar Eclipse: November 3
  • Sun midway Scorpio (Samhain): November 7
  • Chanukkah: November 27 through December 4
  • Saturnalia: December 17 through December 23
  • Sun ingress Capricorn (Winter solstice, Yule): December 21
  • Christmas: December 25

A few notes on the foregoing list:

  • 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.  While most other occultists and pagans will use the normal calendrical dating, I’ll stick to my solar dating and tie it to the cycle of the Sun instead.  The dates are fairly close, at least, being off no more than a week from the popular observance of them.
  • The period between All Hallow’s Eve and the astrological Samhain is a big deathy week for me that I’ll probably make a big to-do for the dead (the solar eclipse then helps, too).
  • Similarly, the period between Saturnalia and the winter solstice will be a roughly week-long period of partying and fun.
  • Yes, dear reader, I do count my birthday as a festival, not least because it usually coincides with Columbus Day (a federal holiday, and thus three-day weekend).
  • I’ve also included several Jewish festivals into the list, and I want to try getting into more of them (since I am descended from them, after all, but never really raised it).  Nothing serious, probably focusing mostly on reading and learning, except for the period between Yom Kippur and Rosh haShanah, which will be just a lil’ more strict on the fasting and self-examination.

With this all planned, it’s time to get it copied out onto the calendar and get to Work. Not counting my daily practice, all of the foregoing rituals (conjuration cycle, lunar cycle, and yearly festivals but not including daily practice) amounts to an average of about five hours a week, so even though it sounds complicated and overwhelming, it’s really not.  Expect a course calendar for the stuff I’ll be teaching at the local new age store, Sticks and Stones, in the near future, as well!

Service to Hermes

Why does Hermes (Mercury, though I’ve started calling him by his Greek name) carry the caduceus in his left hand?  So he can masturbate better with his right, duh.  And although I wish that actually were the answer (but who can say?), I asked him recently, and it’s because he’s only the god of messengers, and a messenger himself; scepters and wands are marks of kingship and authority, and he’s only acting as a herald in the name of someone higher than him.  While he’s allowed to work in almighty Zeus’ name and with his authority given to him by the big bearded guy, he cannot take it as his own.  Instead, he guides others to where he needs to be, letting the authority and might of the High, taking the scepter from his superior’s own right hand in his left, to guide him to where he needs to be so that he can do the same for others.  Pretty nifty, no?

This is just one of the things I learned from the god Hermes recently in the course of my life and Work.  As a Hermetic magician, I keep bumping into the guy and, after some talking and self-discovery, I’ve decided to volunteer myself as servant and priest to Hermes, god of the way, of thieves, of magic and astrology, and a slew of other things.  (Or, rather, he decided to volunteer me, but either way, here I am.)  It’s kind of a weird thing for me, never having grown up religious and only interacting with gods and goddesses in the context of magic and exploration of the universe.  Then again, I suppose the cosmos itself has a few tricks up its sleeves, and the cog in the machine that is myself fits into several spots in the wheels that keep things going.

To that end, here’s a compilation of some of the things I know, do, and perform in my service to the god, if you’re so interested.  For those in the know, I’m not coming from a Hellenismos or similar modern path or organization, though now that I think about it, contacting one or two might not be a bad idea.  This is all stuff that I’m learning and doing on my own, but if you have any suggestions, feel free to add in the comments.

First, some background on the god himself.  According to Theoi.com,

Hermes was the great Olympian God of animal husbandry, roads, travel, hospitality, heralds, diplomacy, trade, thievery, language, writing, persuasion, cunning wiles, athletic contests, gymnasiums, astronomy, and astrology. He was also the personal agent and herald of Zeus, the king of the gods. Hermes was depicted as either a handsome and athletic, beardless youth, or as an older bearded man. His attributes included the herald’s wand or kerykeion (Latin caduceus), winged boots, and sometimes a winged travellers cap and chlamys cloak.

As a planetary force, the Picatrix and Agrippa (book I, chapter 29) have this to say about the god and planet:

Things under Mercury are these; amongst Elements, Water, although it moves all things indistinctly; amongst humors, those especially which are mixed, as also the Animall spirit; amongst tasts [tastes] those that are various, strange, and mixed: amongst Metals, Quick-silver, Tin, the Slver Marcasite; amongst stones, the Emrald [emerald], Achates [agates], red Marble, Topaze, and those which are of divers colours, and various figures naturally, & those that are artificiall, as glass, & those which have a colour mixed with yellow, and green. Amongst Plants, and Trees, the Hazle [hazel], Five-leaved-grass, the Hearb [herb] Mercury, Fumitary, Pimpernell, Marjoram, Parsly [parsley], and such as have shorter and less leaves, being compounded of mixed natures, and divers colours. Animals also, that are of quick sence, ingenious, strong, inconstant, swift, and such as become easily acquainted with men, as Dogs, Apes, Foxes, Weesels [weasels], the Hart, and Mule; and all Animals that are of both sexes, and those which can change their Sex, as the Hare, Civet-Cat, and such like. Amongst birds, those which are naturally witty, melodious, and inconstant, as the Linet, Nightingale, Blackbird, Thrush, Lark, the Gnat-sapper, the bird Calandra, the Parret [parrot], the Pie, the Bird Ibis, the bird Porphyrio, the black Betle [beetle] with one horn. And amongst fish, the fish called Trochius, which goes into himself, also Pourcontrell for deceitfulness, and changeableness, and the Fork fish for its industry; the Mullet also that shakes off the bait on the hook with his taile.

Other names for the god in similar parts of the Mediterranean include Mercury (Roman), Turms (Etruscan), Terano (modern Tuscan), and there are lots of closely-related gods that resemble functions of Hermes in other pantheons and cultures.  However, not all of these are exact fits, and some of them are on weird terms with the god, while others are associated through ancillary functions of the dude (e.g. medicine, longevity).

  • Egyptian Thoth, Seshat, Imhotep, Anpu
  • Nordic Odin or Wotan, Loki
  • Hindu Hanuman, Saraswati, Budha, Rama
  • Judeo-Christian angelic Raphael
  • Islamic planetary/magical angelic Harqil
  • Gnostic aeon Anthropos, angelic Metaxas
  • John Dee’s angelic heptad (B)Naspol, (B)Rorges, Baspalo, Binodab, Bariges, Binofon, Baldago
  • Roman Meditrina
  • Greek Eros, Asclepios
  • Orphic Ailoaios or Ailoein
  • Akkadian Gudud, Nabu
  • Sumerian Ningishzida
  • Phoenicio-Caanite Eshmun, Malagbel
  • Celtic Nuada, Ogmios, Math Mathonwy
  • Chinese K’uei-Hsing, Shen Nung
  • Aztec Tezcatlipoca
  • Slavic Veles

Next, some background on my connection with the god.  He’s pretty awesome, for one, and is heavily involved in all the stuff I’m involved with:

  • I’m a software engineer, computer programmer and scientist, linguist, calligrapher, graphologist, classicist, Hermetic magician, and geomancer.  These are all my primary hobbies, and these are all under the rulership of Hermes.
  • The number of the sphere of Mercury, 8, appears four times in my birthdate, with 4 being the number associated with the god.
  • I just happened to work in the Postal Square Building, decked out with invocations and paeans to Hermes and caducei on the outside with the National Postal Museum on the inside, for a software engineering position in a statistics and calculation-focused department.  Hermes is all over that shit, yo.
  • The color of my graduation tassle, having studied in an engineering program, is orange, the color associated with the sphere of Mercury.  Cute.
  • Astrologically, Mercury is in the same house and sign as my Sun, Libra.  It’s not in the best position (combust, Via Combusta), but it is in mutual reception with Venus, my almuten and ruling planet in Virgo.

As for my altar setup and devotional practices:

  • An altar setup shown to me involves a statue of Hermes (I have the “Flying Hermes” by Giovanni da Bologna) in the center with four candles in a square around him, with incense and offerings in front of his statue.  This is the basic setup of my Hermaion, or sacred space for Hermes.
  • I got a small side table, originally $80 but marked down on sale to $64 (a higher scale of 8, and 8 × 8, respectively, with 8 being the magic number of Mercury), for my altar.  I don’t have much space in my room for it, but it turned out to be the perfect size for my needs.  As it turned out, it fit perfectly by my bookshelf with the computer programming, science, and astrology books.  Apparently, the god is cozy there.
  • Under each candleholder (which has a small recess) I placed four Mercury topaz stones and sort of energetically linked them up together with the statue, much as in a Babalon Matrix or crystal grid.  I got the stones at a gem show, and Hermes practically jizzed at the sight of them: four stones for $40 for the four corners of his altar.  I also consecrated them under a rare Mercury Cazimi election, which makes them powerful treasures in their own right.  As the candles burn above the crystals, the force and light from the candles continuously feeds the crystals and the statue itself, keeping the altar and god a powerful force.
  • Suitable offerings include barley, olives and olive oil, coins, and wine (preferably a Greek dark red).  Candles and incense, especially storax, sandalwood, cinnamon, and frankincense, as desired.  The god mentioned live birds, too, but that’s generally not practical unless I have an outdoor altar or temenos.  Other artifacts like bone dice, antique coins, keys, and figurines are really cool, too.  Instead of barley or food offerings, a candle offering can also be made (like in the picture above).
  • The altar is covered with an orange burlap cloth.  I wanted to use silk or a fancy cloth, but I couldn’t find any suitable that Hermes explicitly approved of.  I joked how I’d default to orange burlap, at which Hermes started laughing in my head; I turned around, and was face-to-face with a roll of that very same stuff.  The god has a sense of humor, you know.
  • The statue itself of Hermes is placed in front of  a wooden platform engraved with the Kamea of Mercury and his name woodburned into it in various Mediterranean languages and scripts: Mercurius (Latin), Turms (Etruscan), Hermes (Greek), and E-ma-a (Mycenaean in Linear B).  Four names for the god, one on each side of the square, though I was going to use eight names; these names would have referred to the planet itself in other languages like Sanskrit or Arabic, and not to the god proper, so I left them off.  This is another treasure for the god, and though he originally wanted it to serve as a base for his statue, the altar size had a hard time accommodating this layout.  Plus, I’d like a portable altar or stand for any specifically Mercurial work, and this Table of Mercury would act perfect for it, so he likes this setup as well.  Since it’s properly his and not mine, I’d have to pay him for its use as needed, but nothing extravagant or out of my means proportional to the work being done.  It’s reasonable.
  • Smaller statues to represent different faces of the god, whenever they become accessible, like Thoth and Hanuman.  He’s not on great terms and is sometimes unfamiliar with some of the divine associations and pantheon correspondences above, but what the altar has room for, he’ll enjoy some company.
  • Texts I make use of include the Homeric Hymns to Hermes (devotional though long-winded), the Orphic Hymn to Mercury (awesome generally), the Picatrix Invocation to Mercury (awesome for planetary and magical operations), and the Heptameron Conjuration and Catholic Prayer to Raphael (not normally my style, but it works for more angelic or qabbalistic workings).  For the god proper, he likes the Orphic and Homeric Hymns, along with prayers written to him specifically; Picatrix and other Hermetic invocations aren’t really his cup of tea, from what I’ve been told, and are more suited to other paradigms of working.
  • Tools to be used in my Hermes work include an orange silk scarf to mark my priestly activities, a consecrated bone bracelet to make communicating and communing with the dead and dying easier, the Table of Mercury mentioned above as needed, a caduceus or representation thereof to assist in directing and guiding spirits and forces, and a few oils or balms using scents or materials associated with Hermes for anointing and consecration.  Holy water, specifically the ancient Greek khernips, is also useful to have on the altar for purification, and an extra bottle of Greek extra virgin olive oil is a pleasant addition, too.

Times for rituals:

  • Every Wednesday (day of Mercury) in an hour of Mercury.  There are about four of these: dawn, early afternoon, early nighttime, and godlessly early in the morning.  A good time to do any Mercurial ritual, like a conjuration of Raphael or something, but I use one to make a small offering and invocation to Hermes, too.  This is more planetary/magical than devotional, however, and it’s a simple way to catch up and clean up the altar.
  • The fourth day of the lunar month, starting with the first day being the new moon.  This was the day reserved for the god in ancient Greek religious calendars as a monthly event, somewhat like a birthday (viewed more as monthly rather than yearly events).  Since ancient Hellenic practices were done at dawn, I use sunrise as my time for the god, even if it’s not an hour of Mercury.  This adoration is a monthly ritual, where I make an offering and do a full reading of the Orphic Hymn and Homeric Hymns to Hermes.  Coincidentally, the fourth day of the month is held sacred to Heracles, Aphrodite, and Eros, as well.  At sunset or midnight on this same day, I do an offering and work for Hermes as chthonic god or psychopomp, as well as making an offering to the local and mighty dead.
  • Planetary elections.  Again, this is more a magical event than a religious one, but this is when the power of the planet (the corporeal form of the god) is highly powerful and able to effect great change in the world.  Good ones are difficult to come by, since the planet Mercury is usually too close to the Sun to be very effectual, but when there are elections, you can bet I’ll be taking those opportunities by the horns.
  • Hermaea, the annual Greek festival to Hermes. The Hermaea was a rowdy festival and series of contests, celebrating Hermes’ patronage over gymnastics and physical sport.  This was often celebrated with Hercules, but sometimes had a more Saturnalian character inverting social orders.  I may not be big on physical activity, but trickery and pranks seem to work really well for this festival.  I’m having a hard time finding out about the dates for this festival, but I’m going to guess that it happens somewhere in the period between April 1 and April 15 or so each year.  One trick of the Hellenic ritual calendars was that annual celebrations were never to fall on the monthly ones, so the Hermaea would be shifted a few days in either direction to accommodate large events or monthly celebrations of Hermes.  I might just stick to using the fourth day of the fourth month, April 4th, as my selected date for this.  What I might do specifically for this is unclear to me, since it seemed to be intended for youths and gymnastics, but we’ll see when we get to that point in time.
  • Mercuralia, the Roman festival to Mercury held generally on or around May 4th to May 15.  This is primarily a festival for merchants and commerce, both words coming from the name Mercury, which itself came from Latin merx meaning wages or merchandise.  Roman religion originally never had a correspondence to Mercury, though the Etruscan god Turms was the Italian equivalent of the Hellenic god, and the merchants (who were often Greek or Hellenic) brought over their god.  Because of this, Rome never had an official high priest to Mercury, but imported rituals and festivals from Greece all the same; the name Mercury, with its name referring to goods and merchants, stuck.  Like the Hermaea, the date may be shifted around if needed.  Unlike the Hermaea, the Mercuralia has more literature on it and is much more applicable to my life and goals.
  • After a real rough travel during some snowpocalypse or other (the big Christmas blizzard on the East Coast of 2010), Hermes has really helped me out in keeping me safe and swift on the roads.  I always make a vow and a bargain with him before any long-distance trip: keep me, my goods, and my passengers safe from all harm, delay, and impediment within reason, and I get you a bottle of nice, dark wine to be dropped off at a crossroads as thanks.  I up the number of bottles of wine if something starts looking really awry or desperate, and he hasn’t failed me yet.

All in all, I use 27 or so days of the year as major events for Hermes, plus weekly adorations and any rituals I specifically need to call on him for.  As far as religious practices go, it’s involved, but it’s worth it.  For those on similar but different paths, a quick search on the internets revealed the following rituals for the god: