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!

New Year, New You: Prompt 7, “Glamour”

Yes, yes, I know, I’m doing this out of order.  I haven’t done the sixth prompt yet on maps, sacred spaces, and goals, but I’m late and Deb’s more recent prompt is so much more readily available and easily writable.  The seventh prompt is about appearances and presenting oneself to the world and other people, and how to make oneself look awesome if not their damn best.

Well, as it turns out, dear reader, I’ve been going through some changes lately.  Up until last Wednesday, about a week ago, I had a respectable beard, shaggy hair, and glasses.  Then I shaved the beard (even the sideburns!) and cut the hair rather short, then I got contacts, and then I got my ears pierced.  I’m still in the shock phase about the ears being pierced bit, because even I’m still getting used to how I look.  Needless to say, my friends were caught off-guard, and my family hasn’t seen it yet save my sister via Skype. Plus, now that the new year festivities (all of them) are finally in the past, I can focus again on settling down into a stable simple diet that my body approves of, which will help shed a few more pounds.  Also, I ended up buying a few new clothes and affects in the shopping spree that was last weekend, so a good number of things have changed in a rather short time.  That’s what you get for playing with fire energies for two weeks straight (a post on that coming soon).

Let’s go through a few of the items Deb proposes in the prompt:

  • Makeup’s not my thing.  Never been much into theater or drag, and I’m on the more masculine end of the spectrum anyway, so I don’t have a need for that kind of cosmetic.
  • I’ve got plenty of clothes, and it mostly fits me appropriately.  I’m not big into tailoring, and the farthest my skills go with mending are fixing buttons and inside tears, but I would like some more fitted shirts.  If I do start getting clothes altered, it won’t be until later this year when I have more money to throw around recklessly and my next student loan (or both of them!) are knocked out of the way.  I’m not missing anything, save for perhaps more snappy shirts or pants, but I’ve got plenty of things to cover a wide variety of situations and styles.  Especially Middle Eastern clothes, I love that shit.  (Check out Shukr for good styles.)  Also, when I got contacts last week, I also went ahead and got a new pair of (rather expensive) stylish glasses.  I’m excited!  In tandem with the piercings and recent interest in industrial/electronica, I’m tempted to start exploring more goth-ish styles of appearances.  To be explored.
  • Ever since I was warned about the beginnings of gingivitis showing up on my gums late last year, I’ve taken hygiene much more stringently with myself.  Yes, I’m brushing my teeth thoroughly twice a day with flossing and tongue-scraping; I’m using astringent with salicylic acid to take care of a few zit problems, I’m using the proper amount of high-quality shampoo and conditioner for my hair in a proper manner (twice or thrice a week), and I’m trying to cut out nailbiting.  You’d be surprised how easy it is to pick that habit up if you’ve got thin nails, oddly enough.
  • I eat healthily enough, and it’s very far and few between that I have something as heavily processed as fast food or premade meals.  I only just brought out my microwave from storage so I can heat up water for cleansing my piercings in a jiffy, so I end up cooking almost everything I eat.  I drink when I’m thirsty, and tend to stick to coffee, tea, water, and milk (in that order); when pressed, I’ll down an energy drink, but that’s about it (I’m a caffiend, after all).  I don’t, however, do much physical activity.  That’s definitely a weak point.  I try to walk to local stores and bars whenever possible, but even that’s not too often.  Sigh.  Between work, commute, conjuration, sleep, and study, though, the time I have for working out is limited.  At least I’m living a healthy proper scholar’s life, though I might do well to pick up tai chi or yoga.

What magic might I be doing for my physical body?

  • I’m not against enchanting a bottle of my favorite cologne under the powers of Venus to look more attractive and desirable.  That’s already been stewing on my altar.
  • People at work have noticed and complimented the change in hairstyle, but nobody’s said anything about the piercings yet.  The silence kinda irks me, but it’s not unexpected, either; in an IT office in the government, when you’re the youngest person around, having piercings on a guy is pretty much unseen (especially the ones I have).  I might try my hand at actually making a glamour for myself, or at least having a shield of attraction and compliments set up to see if that changes people’s impressions of me.
  • I may as well ask my genius and the angels of Haniel and Kammael for help in finding suitable physical recreational activities like those mentioned above, even if it’s only for more excuses or causes to go out clubbing (dancing + subsequently hooking up).  I do miss dancing, but there are few enough clubs close to me and I dislike having to go to the city and leaving early to catch the train.  Whine whine whine.

Beyond that, my body.  (Warning, self-adoration approaching.)  I’m tall, broad-shouldered, thin (so I’m told), pleasantly hairy (so I claim), and I love it.  I like being one of the tallest people in the room, if only to chuckle; the frame I have helps intimidate, if not outright help me for strength on the rare occasions I need to use it; I’m an average weight (just slightly overweight according to the BMI, but screw that whore of a metric) and carry it well enough to turn heads; my body hair is uncommon (pretty much all gay guys are hairless, by choice or no, and it’s so depressing) and it helps sift out the guys I should sleep with from the ones I shouldn’t.  I’ve got thick dark hair that is apparently the envy of all women even though I find it more frustrating than not; I’ve got naturally long hands, perfect for crafting and typing; I’ve got big enough ears to host plenty of piercings (evidently); I’ve got large flat feet that love going outside bare across all terrain and temperature; and I can rock a beard, goatee, scruff, or nothing with equal suaveness.  Yes, my body has flaws; who’s doesn’t?  My body’s awesome.  Thank you, body, for being so awesome and looking so awesome.  Gotta love that Taurus rising, eh?  XOXO, etc.

New Year, New You: Prompt 5, “Enchant”

Last we left off in the NYNY series, I was told to take a break, treat myself to something nice (a bottle of sangria with friends and a new ring), because work had been going on and would continue to go on afterwards.  Deb’s most recent prompt revs things back into place and asks what magical rituals I myself need to do or get started on right now to accomplish my goals.

Now, within the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk of goals, even going back to before the NYNY project started: namely, there’s the Mercury Retrograde post I made in early December with a list of things I wanted to get done by the time the next Mercury retrograde comes around.  Let’s see how we’re doing on those:

  1. Craft the Bhaiṣajyaguru Cane and other minor projects for Christmas: done.
  2. Test drive a 5-week cycle of conjurations of the angels of the planets, the elements, and my nativity: in progress.  I wasn’t able to get my genius conjuration done on New Year’s Day proper, but I’ve done the conjurations of Tzadqiel of Jupiter and my natal genius on Sunday done.  I’ll be getting my conjuration of Kammael of Mars done tonight and Michael of Fire tomorrow, so things look good so far.  Plus, I’m taking advantage of the next three fiery conjurations (Kammael of Mars, Michael of Fire, Michael of the Sun) to consecrate a batch of Fiery Wall of Protection oil; stay tuned for a post on my experiment with this later in January.
  3. Finish crafting and consecrate the Lunar Kamea: done.  I wanted to consecrate this last night during the full moon, but inclement weather stifled those plans.  I did a mini-conjuration of the angels and spirits of the Moon at my altar to compensate.  Since the kamea is powerful just by its construction and by how it was made (entirely on Mondays in lunar hours), this could be considered icing on the cake, but that official mark of angelic approval is nice.
  4. Consecrate a silver ring for use as an astral vortex talisman: begun.  I did a similar thing as the Lunar Kamea project last night with the ring, and am now looking for a kindly friend with a south-facing window to hold onto the kamea and ring for a month while the ring stews in those juicy lights and blessed forces of Luna.
  5. Make Oil of Abramelin: waiting until 1/22 to actually combine the ingredients together, so that way I can start the process of making the oil at the next new moon on 1/23 for a complete lunar cycle.
  6. Redo the Gate of Jupiter rite once Jupiter goes direct again: done last Thursday.  Quite a fancy thing, and it turns out I really like pinot grigio.  A good start, too, to the cycle of conjurations I mentioned above in #2.
  7. Do the Gate of Mars rite, and maybe work on the other gates as well: not yet begun.  Haven’t purchased the other rites yet, waiting on things settling down financially after the holidays for when I spend money on these.
  8. Consecrate the Tarot cards on my Table of Manifestation to act as talismans for the four elemental kings themselves: in progress, as I conjure the elemental kings in my conjuration cycle (see #2).
  9. Working to keep my apartment quiet: great success!  Turns out I never needed anything more magical than a kind letter, and since then, I’ve become friends with the sweetest and foulest-mouthed old lady downstairs, and I’m not hearing her TV at all hours anymore.
  10. Start meditating at least one hour a day: working up to it, bit by bit.  Combining my morning half-hour meditation plus twenty or so minutes after my nightly Headless Rite.  Plus, the Trisagion meditation I mentioned recently is a new trick in my book, too.

All things considered, I’m doing pretty well on those goals.  The next time Mercury goes retrograde is on 3/12, so I’ve got plenty of time left.

As for the NYNY goals laid out before, let’s check in on those.  Granted that these are much longer-term than the ones above, I’m still making progress on them, bit by bit, and will need a bit more discussion.

  1. Finish paying off student loans by end of 2012.  Before I embarked on this quest to pay off $20K in loans within two years of the first bill coming in, I did a reading for myself and had my excellent tarot-reader sister do a reading as well to see if it was viable: yes indeed!  I just need to make sure that I’m not wasting my money on unworthy people (generosity is one of my downfalls, after all).  My first loan is paid, and now the rest need to be focused on.  I had a little extra cash leftover from the holidays, so I’m putting that towards knocking out the next loan.  I’ll be contacting Kammael of Mars (to direct and drive me to finish these loans ASAP) and Tzaphqiel of Saturn (to restrict and cut out any unhealthy or undesirable habits or reasons to spend money otherwise).  I already contacted Tzadqiel of Jupiter last week, asking him to help me out in remaining prosperous and financially sound while I get these loans knocked out, and he seemed to go along well with that idea.  I’ll talk to the other angels as I come across them in my conjuration cycle, and will make that a repeated point of discussion.  So long as I can keep enough money in my checking to make my monthly payments, I’ll be good.
  2. Work in the astral realms.  Performing the Headless Rite in my astral temple is an exercise I’ve sorely needed, since it gives me experience in all sorts of ways.  Plus, I’ve learned from my natal genius that I need much more experience in working astrally before I start exploring and stirring shit up, so he’s offered to help and instruct me in how to work in my astral temple as well.  I had him over in there to oversee my HR performance, and he gave me a few tips for me to work on.  The astral vortex talismanic ring from Fr. RO’s Astral Warrior handbook will take a lunar month to consecrate, but hopefully that will help in forming a more solid link between here and there.  Plus, I started keeping a dream journal recently, which is starting to help with my dream recall and maybe, just maybe, clairvoyance (or at least the recognition of synchronicities).  As a side note, I’ve noticed that the more I go to my astral temple, the more it kinda…I dunno, like it improves in condition; it looked kinda abandoned and overgrown when I first saw it, but it’s looking slightly cleaner and more well-kept the more I visit it.  Interesting.
  3. Strictness with body and life.  Yeah…this is where I’m hitting the most snags.  I am cutting back on excessive eating, which is a good start.  However, I’m trying to maintain my daily practice, which is wonderful since my normal routine is built around that; however, I also tend to say “fuck it” when the weekend comes.  The daily practice needs to stay daily, so I’m going to have to force myself to do this stuff.  Regular activity would be nice if it weren’t so damn cold in the winter, but there are random days that the weather is nice and passable for enduring for an hour or so; I’ll take advantage of those days to walk around the neighborhood, or maybe even down to the fancy old town of where I live to get some delish kabobs.  I finally got rid of Facebook, OkCupid, webcomics, and a bunch of other distractions.  I’m closing the accounts on services I don’t need or use and making myself more free to work (although this sometimes devolves into sitting at the computer talking with friends more).  I’ll talk to the angels of Mars and Saturn to talk about discipline, and it’s probably about time I reconsecrate and chat it up with the spirit of that Saturn talisman I made back in September.

And, after all that, there’s still just a little left over from the first prompt on cleaning house:

  • Reading each day: yeah, not as much yet.  The train ride, dark as it is, inspires me more to sleep from here to DC and back, but I’ll force myself to read more, if not every day.  Besides, I’ve got books I need to get through before I donate them.  My resolve to read is taken up more by resolve to work on other projects, and pleasure reading is currently taking a backseat to that.  Research reading, on the other hand, continues on an as-needed basis.
  • Donate shit I don’t want or need or use anymore.  I’ve been going through my clothes piece by piece and seeing what’s awful or doesn’t fit and setting them in a pile.  Combined with some of the Christmas loot I won’t use, I’ll make a trip at the end of January to a Goodwill or someplace to get rid of all these donatables.  No magic needed beyond putting this on my calendar.
  • Cooking the stuff I have.  In progress; I’m slowly going through the stuff in my pantry.  I’m holding myself back from buying actual groceries until I get rid of the bulk of what I have, which I’ve done before and can easily do again (laziness in going to the store is a good thing).

As for Deb’s other suggestions, my life is pretty awesome.  I’m single and love it (it’s so much simpler, and you can’t be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with), I have no enemies or troublemakers in my life, my friends are awesome, and projects and crafts are falling into my lap merely by talking with people (more on those as they happen).

So, back to Work for me!

New Year, New You: Prompt 3, “Something Put Off”

Okay.  Okay.  I’m back from my ancestral suburban home on the coast and comfortably situated once more in my suburban apartment near DC.  What a trip, let me tell you.  And now that I’m finally getting myself off the holiday chocolate/chowder/booze diet, I’m starting to feel better (read: I can poop again comfortably).  And what a windfall I got from Christmanukkah!  So many books, including a copy of Sefer Ha-Razim (a Jewish third or fourth century text on angelic/Kabbalistic magic), the Picatrix (most important treatise on astrological magic ever), and a variety of other books.  I’ve got plenty to study and apply now, as if I didn’t have enough beforehand.

I intended on fasting between when I got home early Thursday morning and New Year’s, but then I ate a whole pizza, a quarter box of Andes mints; drank a huge can of Monster drink; and porned it up twice.  Pretty sure I hit a snag somewhere, but whatever.  Now I’m getting back on that track.  Really, I mean it.

I also intended on jumping right back into my schedule and daily magical routine I had to forego over the last week due to a lack of privacy and peace at my parents’.  Well, after waking up at 11 yesterday and spending the day eating and getting adjusted to my surroundings again, you can guess how well that went (it didn’t).  Getting back into a routine is difficult, as we’ve all known, especially when it involves prayer and meditation and shit that, though fulfilling and important to any mage or mystic, just aren’t as exciting as the Internet.  I mean, I made a todo list and everything!

Basically me, except with shorter hair. (Much credit and goodwill to Ally at H&aH)

And then nothing happened.  And then yesterday also slipped by with most stuff being put off again, save for the article on geomancy and taking out the trash, and then I went out to a friend’s and had far too much wine and hookah.  So, tonight, I’m ringing in the New Year happily and determinedly, getting off my ass, and stop putting things off.  It fits pretty damn well, actually with Deb’s most recent prompt for the New Year, New You project about stopping putting things off.  However, as there’s not much to write about, the prompt is more of a call for action, i.e. GET OFF YOUR FAT ASS, POLYPHANES, AND DO YOUR SHIT.

Since we’re on the topic, my routine, let me show you it.  It’s enough to keep me in line and isn’t too demanding, and is really more of a good starting point than anything else.

  • Morning routine (roughly 1 to 2 hours)
  1. Writing down dreams
  2. Shower, aspersion with holy water
  3. Prayers to the Almighty
  4. Prayer and offering to my Natal Genius
  5. (Occasional) Prayers and offerings to genii locorum and/or the planeta diei
  6. (As needed) Banishing
  7. Meditation
  • Evening routine (roughly 1 hour)
  1. Headless Rite
  2. Meditation
  3. Thanksgiving and atonement prayers to the Almighty

In addition, I’m joining a small group of working mages that’ll be meeting regularly to discuss and review our own work.  It’ll help keep me in line with a few projects for the coming year, and if this group works out well (I’ve got every hope it will), it’ll be a wonderful tool and resource.  Now that things are settling down again and I have plenty of materia and supplies, I’m starting the year with a few decent projects to give good reports on.

Okay, okay, I’m doing my work now, for real.  I’m preparing for calling a bunch of my friends and having some glasses of champagne and vinho verde (<3 the bubbly) at home once I finish the rounds around my neighborhood: I’m going to make proper offerings to the genii locorum of the land and park where I live, a number of other spirits and gods, the dead at the local graveyard, and to all the memories, egregores, and people who’ve helped me get to where I am.  I made some offering cakes from the book Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris from flour, frankincense, benzoin, rosewater, honey, milk, and olive oil, and I got some good wines and mead to pour out.

Have a good New Years, everyone!  Ring in 2012 right, and have a blast blasting away 2011!  Look good, feel good, do good, and all that other happy bullshit.  Make your play your Work tonight, and have fun!

New Year, New You: Prompt 2, “Goals”

Gotta love the holidays with the family.  Between my largely Jew-ish (emphasis on the “ish”) family from Maine and Boston, my orthodox Jewish brother and his family, my punk astrologer sister and her ska husband, and the histrionic/quasi-stoned mother and stepmother (depending on their moods), it’s a jolly old time.  It’s a good thing there’s a good supply of gin and hookah here with me, but it’s a shame I can’t find enough time or privacy to get meditation in.  Gotta get that changed; I might hit up the Edgar Cayce center in Virginia Beach to see if they have any good books or resources I could use.

So, amid the hectic running around, wrapping, and yelling (and drinking gin, don’t forget the gin), I’m finding time to work on Deb’s most recent New Year, New You prompt, albeit a bit late.  This time, it’s on goals for 2012, those to be accomplished through magical and mundane means, and the steps to get them done.

This is going to be a bit difficult for me, but I like a challenge, so I may as well.  I don’t consider myself very goal-oriented; I focus more on where I am and short-term goals, with few to no overarching or long-term goals.  That said, I do have a few that guide the general practice and course of my life, and I mentioned a few of those in an earlier blog post on the NYNY thread.  These are some of the overarching goals for 2012 and how I’m going to accomplish them using the means available to my disposal.

Finish paying off my student loans by the end of 2012.

  • Make regular payments (increased from my original plan) to make sure I make the deadlines properly.
  • Restrict my spending to make sure I’m not in the red each month after other utilities and bills, and cut down costs where possible; balance spending with particular trips and activities that I intend on going to.
  • Financial magic with the spirits of Jupiter to increase income and make sure I’m comfortable with what I have, as well as grace and good luck with dealing with the collection agencies.
  • Work with Martian spirits to increase my discipline and judgment when it comes to casual spending.
  • Work with Saturnine spirits to fix things in my life to reduce the need or occasions for excessive spending on unnecessary things.

Work in astral realms

  • Research astral projection (RO’s Astral Warrior guide?).
  • Craft astral talisman ring under auspices of Lunar spirits (late January through late February).
  • PRACTICE.  Headless rite every night counts for something, but also should try astrally exploring the places I am on a day-to-day basis when I get time (my house, my office, etc.).
  • Work with planetary spirits in conjurations to build up astral strength with regards to their specialties.

Strictness with my body and life

  • Practice fasting.  I don’t want to be like some ascetic desert guru, but try fasting at least twice a month (new moon and full moon).
  • Actually take Lent seriously and give up a few things (like how I gave up grocery shopping last year, and then continued that until my kitchen was legitimately bare).  This year, try the following: alcohol, meat, gluteny foods, smoking, and probably some social media or other (texting, tweeting, unclear).
  • Restrict diet and activity before conjurations and rituals.
  • Start walking.  Like, take an hour or so every other day just to walk. It’s clearing, helpful, and keeps active, even if I do nothing else.
  • Maintain daily practice, increase prayer and meditation, and regular conjuration schedule.
  • Mars work to increase discipline and toy with the idea of employing geases/bindings on myself to force myself to do these things (unwise, but it’s an idea to be discussed).

From what I know, doing divination readings last year when I started my college loans, there are no roadblocks to my paying off my college loans save for the threat of spending too much money on dates or unworthy partners (fittingly, I’d also be single for the most part of this last and next years).  The other things I want to do are purely on myself and are a matter of dedication and discipline, and from my recent chats with the angelic spirits, it’s a matter only of getting off my ass and doing the work.

Other smaller goals I have are going to Crucible in October, a furry convention in March (friends and relaxing for a weekend, ’cause why not), try non-angelic non-genial (demonic) conjuration, and simply doing more practical magic/crafting/thaumaturgy.  The first two are a matter of prioritizing and allocating money in conjunction with my college loans (Jupiter work); the latter two are a matter of studying, gathering the necessary supplies, and doing the work (Mercury and Saturn work).

New Year, New You: Prompt 1, “Making Way”

So, let’s see.  Deb’s got three things for us to discuss for the New Year New You project for this prompt, so here goes my responses and thoughts.

  • Cleaning house.  My apartment is actually pretty spartan, all things considered; my living room has a coffee table, a side table with a lamp and some plants on it, and a couch, and a low shelf with some bottles of wine on it.  Beyond a series of fliers of Christopher Walken’s face on one of the walls, there’s nothing else in there.  My kitchen is well-stocked on cooking utensils but light on electrical appliances, but everything gets used sufficiently enough to justify keeping it, save for my apple/potato peeler.  My own room is slightly more furnished, but I’ve got a lot of books.  I haven’t read a good deal of them yet but will, one at a time, others I keep for sentimental value or because I like to reread them once every so often, and still others I keep for reference.  If anything, I need another set of bookshelves to store them all, since I also use shelves to store magical materia and tools.  My closet is, understandably, the fullest room in the flat, and is mostly clothes and extra candle holders, crafting supplies, and miscellaneous household goods and fabrics.  I wear all of my clothes tolerably often, but there are a few I know I don’t wear due to size or stains.  My housemate and I are neat freaks and he’s borderline OCD.  I go around cleaning (sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, wiping, sanitizing, etc.) a few times a month, and do the big stuff (tub, sinks, toilets, rails, polish countertops, etc.) at least once a season, and I asperge the house with holy water regularly (but don’t often do protective stuff, just cleansing).  I just reorganized my desk today and got some of the dust off it and my altar nearby, but beyond that, my house is generally very clean.  I have a lot of cooking and magical supplies, but I go through them all periodically and do, in fact, use them all up.  I dislike throwing things out like that, so I make a point of using them however I can (even if it’s ancient but still useful).
  • Spending my time.  I spend about eight hours during the weekdays at work, save for one day a week when I work from home; the commute takes about an hour each way (woo DC transit).  I sleep about six or seven hours a night.  That leaves about seven hours leftover on an average day.  Although I don’t have a smartphone, I do check it habitually for texts and the time; when I’m home, I’m nearly always on my computer on the internet, chatting or reading blogs and cycling through the same few sites laughing at old jokes and reading old texts.  Surprise, the Internet’s a major drain on my time and productivity (something I’ve noticed many times before).  I’m not on too many social networking sites, but the ones that I’m on do distract me aplenty.  Email, too, for that matter.  At least I don’t have a TV to speak of, nor do I play video or computer games anymore.  I go out once or twice a week, usually, to see/hang out/smoke hookah/drink with friends, which can be awfully nice.  I spend at least 45 minutes each morning in daily practice (prayers, offerings, and meditation), and do other things throughout the week as needed.
  • Rocks and restraints.  I usually have a list of my faults on hand, but now that I’m writing this prompt, I have a hard time thinking of what’s actually holding me back from getting shit done.  Personality-wise, I can be lazy, awfully so, in the sake of enjoying what can be enjoyed right now.  I like sleeping in, which can be necessary sometimes when I’m not sleeping enough during the week; I like to eat, which makes fasting for rituals and workings more of a fight with myself than not.  I don’t have an addictive or attached personality, but I know I can be overly critical of others or of minor events that other people can more properly see at a zoomed-out level.  I forgive easily, but have and do avoid people if I dislike them so that I can avoid confronting them.  More than anything else, I like being distracted, though my guilt over not being productive enough afterwards isn’t enough to completely get my ass out of my chair.  Although it’s not exactly a rock here, I like being overgenerous with my time and resources, and like to pay for others or hang out with them for their sake alone.

Based on all the above, I think a suitable list for things to knock off before, or at least get started by, the full moon in late January would look like this:

  • Go through all my clothes, separate out what I don’t/can’t/won’t wear anymore, and donate it.
  • Get rid of all useless candleholders, leftover jars, and other small things in my closet.  Donate the nice ones and recycle the junk.
  • Make Fiery Wall of Protection and Abramelin oils to properly protect my home.
  • Start cooking more beans, rice, and bread to use up those giant bags of them in the kitchen.
  • Get rid of Facebook.  I was going to do this anyway at the end of December, but really, get rid of it.
  • Cut back on txting/tweeting/emailing/chatting, and all non-work non-research computer use.  Clean out the bookmarks list.  Entirely cut out morning internet/phone use, and cut out pre-bed internet/phone use.
  • Switch browsers to something simpler (from Chromium to surf, which doesn’t allow multiple tabs, bookmarks, or much at all).
  • Meditate twice a day, not just once.  I’ve got plenty of time in the evenings.
  • Read a bit each day, both to enjoy my time, learn, and get through my books.