My Own Seven Prayers for the Seven Days of the Week

What can I say?  I like things that come in sets of seven—what mage doesn’t?—and I’m feeling generous today, so let me share with you another set of seven prayers I use in my own practice, this time a set to be used one for each day of the seven-day week.  I’ve shared this before in my Preces Castri ebook of Abrahamic prayers for a quasi-Islamic Hermetic approach to spirituality and mysticism, too, along with a whole bunch of other goodies, much like my Invocations of the Seven Temples that I also shared a ways back, so if you’re interested in things along these lines, do check out the ebook!

Originally, I didn’t intend on sharing these prayers too widely, if at all; they were originally something that I was working on, refining, adapting, and building up over the course of almost two years as part of my own development of my aforementioned Abrahamic quasi-Islamic Hermetic practice.  While I don’t use them as much anymore, or at least in the ways that I used to, I still find good uses for them all the same; there are plenty of examples of such prayers across the grimoiric traditions of Western magic as well as a variety of spiritual and religious traditions from which the grimoires took inspiration.  In following those steps, I developed my own set of weekday prayers.  While I didn’t think to share these on my blog at first, since there are just some things I think are relatively intimate while other things I feel like saving for a future prayer book, given that my own practice has changed so dramatically from when I originally wrote these prayers and that they’ve already been out in one form for a while already, I figure that at least a few others could benefit from this being shared rather than just myself benefiting from it being kept to myself.  Besides, in this time of continued chaos and weirdness, I suppose we could use all the tools we can get, I suppose.  In that light, why not share these?

Although I can say that I composed these prayers, I can’t say that they’re wholly an original bit of writing.  I’ve taken free and liberal inspiration from a variety of sources, sometimes cribbing their language, sometimes keeping it the same and sometimes reordering or shuffling them around, and throwing in a number of other influences as well.  The biggest influences in the writing of these prayers come from the following sources:

Each prayer is composed of two paragraphs.  The first paragraph is a series of invocations of God, calling upon the various attributes, names, titles, and roles that the Divine plays, categorized according to the ruling planet of the day; this bears the strongest grimoiric influence.  The second paragraph (largely the supplications associated with Sayyida Fāṭimah, reordered slightly to fit a better association with the planet ruling that day) is a series of supplications to God and meditations on God, which also has some of the more traditional Hermetic stuff thrown in as far as the planets are concerned.  The overall prayers as a whole are written largely as mystic and philosophical supplications, appropriate for anyone in an Abrahamic tradition to be sure (and thus the great majority of grimoiric magicians), as well as for those who allow a…I guess a so-called “hieromonist” Hermetic practice.  (I’m not sure what else to call a path that has at least a God, regardless whether it also has other gods, so either monotheistic on its own or polytheistic with a central, on-a-different-level-entirely all-creator deity in a way that much of Hermetic literature seems to describe; I myself am of the latter persuasion.)  Of course, with a bit of tweaking, I suppose each of these prayers could be refocused to call on the seven planetary gods themselves, too, but these prayers weren’t written with that use in mind.  But, with that, let’s move onto the prayers themselves.

Prayer for Sunday, the Day of the Sun:

O incomparable Lord, o God who is beyond any equal, without beginning and without end! O God, almighty and supreme, the singly holy and wholly benevolent! King of Kings, Lord of Lords, whose essence is that of unsurpassed goodness and beauty, whose eternal power is matched with incomprehensibly infinite Light, whose endless mercy and grace are given freely and generously! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of courageous fortitude, who grants light to shine freely and ungrudgingly that all may perceive the Good, who grants us the holy power of your steadfastness by your light, life, and goodness!

Be propitious, o Lord, and grant that this and every day, every week, every month, every season, and every year of my life begin with success, continue with righteousness, and end with joy. Let me always turn to you that I might always seek and obtain your mercy, your grace, your blessing, your virtue, and your light for the fulfillment of my divine purpose and your divine will. Let my praise always rise up to you, the beginning and end of all that is, and let my understanding of the All be a harvest of tribute for you, without falling prey to the domineering arrogance and avarice of my own works. Let your blessing and goodness be enough for me, and let me know the fullness of your blessing and your goodness, I who rely upon you, your blessing, and your goodness, now and always.

Prayer for Monday, the Day of the Moon:

O my strong Lord, o my almighty and ever-living God, o Divine and Forbearing One! O supreme Creator of All, o almighty King of All! O you who created and fashioned mankind, who embellished the heavens with stars, who adorned the Earth with flowers and animals, before the sight of whose most royal power every creature trembles in awe! O ruler of the living and the dead, who made mankind in wisdom to rule over and tend to creation, bearing witness to Nature in piety and prudence! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of wondrous awe, who grants those who live the blessings of sleep and silence and memory, who grants us the holy power of your knowledge by your light, life, and goodness!

Nothing in our lives can be accomplished except with the strength you provide us; all in this world can only be done according to your Will. I ask you to grant me the strength I need that I might worship you without faltering, comprehension of that which you have taught to your prophets and to me through them, and understanding of your Will that you seek for me to fulfill. Let me not be mislead by worldly illusions of growth or decay, for your creation is perfect in your having created it. Do not render that which I have learned barren, do not make that which I practice fruitless, do not turn me away from the path that I walk; but give me the strength I need to learn what I must learn, do what I must do, go where I must go, and become what I must be, for your honor and glory.

Prayer for Tuesday, the Day of Mars:

O my perfect Lord, o God of eternal strength, o indescribable and invisible God whom none can or could ever see! O powerful, divine, almighty Lord whose wrath dries the bottom of the sea, whose sudden glance breaks mountains! All the people on Earth tremble in awe of you, all the spirits in the Abyss dread your power, and all the powers in Heaven worship your goodness, you who are righteous in all your glory! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of prudent judgment, who grants those who struggle the fruits of their labors, who grants us the holy power of your justice by your light, life, and goodness!

Many forget your divinity, but I do not forget you. Many neglect your worship, but I will not neglect you. May I always remember you, and when I turn to your remembrance, may I always thank you. I will speak from the depth of my heart whatever I say with this tongue to you. Unbegotten yet in every begetting, unimagined yet in every image, uncaused yet in every cause! By your remembrance, may I recognize and subdue the rash audacity that holds me back from remembering you, enabling myself to dare to attempt the works of holiness that you have established for me to do. Complete and perfect are you, o God, who need nothing, but whom all need. May I fulfill my purpose, my true will according to your own will, that all the world may be complete and perfect as best as I can make it, that all that is done in the world may be accomplished according to your will.

Prayer for Wednesday, the Day of Mercury:

O Lord my God, o divine Repairer, o you who are All-Aware! O God, o Lord and King of all creation, creating all things within and above the heavens, commanding and controlling all the powers of Heaven! O God, all-hearing and all-seeing who dwells on high and beholds the humble, who creates and gives out all wisdom and knowledge! You are the one who gives such authority to your own people that the powers of the cosmos might be as obedient to them as they are to you, o God who endures forever beyond all! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of reverent piety, who grants moderation and persuasion and invention and blessing to all, who grants us the holy power of your joy by your light, life, and goodness!

You never succumb to sleep or weariness; you never falter in strength or support. May your eye always watch over me, and your presence always preserve me. Protect for me that which would be lost were it not for you; keep for me that which would be taken were it not for you. Restore to me what I have lost and regain for me what has been taken from me, all that which pertains to my body, my soul, my spirit, and my mind; all that which pertains to the Earth, and all that which pertains to Heaven. Heal me and soothe me, o Lord; repair me, renew me, and rescue me from despair and wickedness that I might enter more fully into the house of your knowledge and continue my work with joy in my heart according to your Will.

Prayer for Thursday, the Day of Jupiter:

O righteous Lord, o Holy of Holies! O God, o God, my God, my God! O God, o Maker, o Father! O praiseworthy and incomprehensible divinity, whose height of grace is immeasurable and whose mercy infinitely profound! O possessor of all power and presence in the wholeness of creation! O source of all dominion and hope in the order of creation! O mighty creator and royal ruler of all that which is visible and invisible, seen and unseen, heard and unheard, known and unknown! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of charitable understanding, who grants fortune and hope and peace to all that they might not devote themselves to unholy war, who grants us the holy power of your liberality by your light, life, and goodness!

From you and your teachings, from you and your mysteries, from you and your powers, from you and your prophets do I seek guidance and nobility in all the ways of life. It is acts of charity and justice which you love and which please you; grant that I might always act in charity and justice to mankind! Unworthy and undignified as I am, by your infinite goodness do I beseech you that you replace my weakness with your strength, my poverty with your wealth, my greed with your generosity, my mortality with your immortality, and my ignorance with your knowledge. Help me to always thank and remember you that I might always praise and worship your goodness, for it is in this which is truly right for me to do.

Prayer for Friday, the Day of Venus:

O gracious Lord, o God of supreme splendor, o Divine Reckoner of All! O you after whom we all chase, beloved beyond all by all the faithful! O you who are benevolent beyond all benevolence, who keeps all evil away from us by your goodness, who possesses the endless sea of goodness from which all good comes! O you from whom all things come and to whom all things return, from whom derives all true compassion and all true love! O Father who delights in his own people coming to know him, who does not turn away his creatures for their weakness! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of faithful knowing, who grants the joy-bringing blessings of pleasure and laughter that life might not be punished beyond measure, who grants us the holy power of your temperance by your light, life, and goodness!

Open for me the treasuries of light, life, and goodness that I might be made wealthy by your grace and mercy. Provide for me from your abundant blessing a pure and good livelihood, keeping me near to sufficiency and far from paucity, keeping me near to satisfaction and far from covetousness, both in needs of this world as well as of you. Help me to increase my thankfulness to you, that I might always turn to you in all my needs and wants, seeking help from you and taking refuge in you. Be generous to me, o God; let me seek shelter in you in good times as well as in bad. Let me obtain what you love for me to have, and let it be a haven, a sanctuary, a source of strength for me, o wonderful God!

Prayer for Saturday, the Day of Saturn:

O all-knowing Lord, o God who is God, o God of Gods! O Lord our God, greatest and most supreme, whose might is utterly irresistible, who fashioned mankind, who arranged all of the cosmos according to your will! O you who created the entirety of creation: all of Heaven and Earth, all of the seas and lands, all that is in all parts of the world! O you who are exalted above all that has or will ever come to be! It is you, o God, you alone, who lifts us, who raises us, who gives life to the dead and new life to the already-living! O you who sealed all of creation with the spirit of holy wisdom, who grants justice and necessity to the cosmos and us the means to live within them, who grants us the holy power of your truth by your light, life, and goodness!

O God, keep me among the nearest of those who seek nearness to you; keep me among the most illustrious, the most blessed, the most fortunate of all who turn to you! Grant me your blessing and mercy, o Lord, and let me not die until my proper time as only you can judge; grant me to acquire the virtues I require to purify and prepare myself that I might not die and pass away from this world without coming to know you. Render upon me your favor and grace, o God, that I may be sincere in my faith and upright in my standing, that my soul may ever rise up to always sing your praise. Save me from joining with error and partnering with ignorance, that I may escape the danger of deceit and find a holy haven in truth; save me from that which I have done wrong or wrongly done, and help me that I might only do that which is right and that rightly by your mercy.

Although none of the foregoing prayers ends with “amen”, I usually use that word to close my prayers whenever I seek something or supplicate that something be done, so please feel free to use it or a similar word or phrase if you so desire, or not at all if you don’t.

Based on my own practice when I was using these prayers regularly, I would encourage using these weekday prayers in two ways:

  1. As a part of your daily morning prayer routine, following all other standard prayers that get said every day in the same order.  “Closing” that regular sequence of prayers with a weekday prayer helps to focus and establish yourself for the coming day.  Following this, I’d also encourage engaging in a bit of silent prayer and contemplation, contemplating the words of the prayer itself, and letting it guide you into a deeper state of holy silence.  Following this, I would encourage wrapping up with a few other, more magical-than-devout prayers that you might say in addition to the above, but in my experience, the weekday prayer functions excellently as a final “formal” prayer in my Divine-centric practice for a daily routine.
  2. In the preparation for a planetary-specific working done on the day of the planet.  So, if you’re engaging in a work of Mars at nighttime after sunrise on Tuesday morning but before sunrise Wednesday morning, you mihgt recite the Prayer for Tuesday as part of your preparation.  Otherwise, if you’re doing a work of a planet not on its own weekday, I would instead recommend that you omit saying any weekday prayer and simply skip ahead to the planet-specific stuff.

With that, I hope you might find these prayers useful!  And yes, I’ve already made a separate page for easy reference under the Prayers menu.

On Variations From and In Grimoires

A good question from an inquiring reader:

I’m just confused about something I see many occultists do, and that is simply this: deviating from the instructions given in the grimoires. In your wand-making posts, for example, you make substitutions, additions, and combine aspects from multiple sources, and you are not the only one who does this. But this is super confusing to me since the grimoires are all like, “this is the true wisdom of true divinity, so you’d better follow every rule to the letter or oooh there’ll be trouble!”  So how is it possible to deviate from the instructions and still work effective operations?

It’s certainly an interesting question to ask, and a good one, too.

Consider the origin of the word “grimoire”, in that it comes from the same word we have as “grammar”.  For us, grammar (without the article) is the set of rules we use to compose clauses, phrases, words, sentences, and the like to communicate with other people using language; a grammar (with the article) refers to a book that describes and lays out such rules.  If you were to learn Japanese from a Japanese grammar book, it would tell you how to properly and correctly conjugate verbs and adjectives, where to use the subject and topic particles, and the like.  It would also indicate to you what would be incorrect language, with the warning that you will not be understood properly if you use it.  All grammar books tend to work in similar ways to this: use these rules properly as laid out and you’ll be understood, don’t and you won’t.

But the thing is, people break those rules all the time, and they’re understood all the same.  Whether they use a non-standard dialect compared to the “standard” language of the grammar, whether they’re breaking rules ironically (e.g. “cat no like banana” or “I accidentally the thing”), or whether they’re using poetry that intentionally breaks some rules to maintain senses of beauty or aesthetics—the proper rules of grammar are broken all the time, and we still manage to understand people who do so.  Sometimes it’s an honest error, like when a native Chinese speaker gets the English pronouns “he” and “she” mixed up (because they don’t historically have a gender distinction for the third person singular pronoun 他 ); sometimes it’s because people have just adapted how they talk and have formed a “new standard” for themselves even if it’s not “book standard” according to this or that grammar.  This is the danger with linguistic or grammatical texts, and why there’s a distinction between “prescriptive” linguistics (which describe language as it “ought to” or “should” be spoken from a top-down authority) and “descriptive” linguistics (which describe language how it’s actually spoken in real life from the bottom up).

It’s much the same with many grimoires and magical texts.  What distinguishes a grimoire from a spellbook or Book of Shadows is that a grimoire doesn’t just provide a collection of spells, but a method and methodology—a “grammar”, if you will—of ritual and magic.  And grimoires, like grammars, can be traced and investigated to ascertain their origins and development across and through time, culture, and language; we know for a fact that no one grimoire just appeared out of thin air, but comes in a long line of spiritual research and development, and even if it’s an original text (rare, but it happens!), we can still trace its context for clues about what information fed into it.  For instance, the Heptameron of Pietro d’Abano and the planetary invocations from the Munich Manual both share a common origin, as does the Elucidarius Magicae, and all of these texts are based on other texts in the Solomonic grimoiric textual tradition, some of which can be traced back to earlier Arabic magical texts like the Shams al-Ma`arif.  When we take a broader look at these grimoires in their histories and lineages, we definitely see changes, developments, innovations, and departure from earlier texts all the time; sometimes it’s because a new author-operant of a grimoire found an improvement or simplification to make, sometimes they made a copyist’s error, sometimes they tried to “aesthetically fix” an ugly or messy symbol they found which causes changes in the shapes or appearances of seals and sigils and the like (cf. the pre- and post-Mathers versions of the seals of the 72 demons of the Lemegeton Goetia).

If anyone told me that they had the one and true wisdom and method of magic and that any deviation from it whatsoever would land me in trouble, I’d laugh in their face; that’s obviously just not factual.  But what these grimoires give us (in all their variation) as a whole isn’t just the notion that there’s more than one right way to do, write, or chant something; they each give us a baseline of operations.  One of the reasons I encourage people who are looking or consulting a grimoire for something to work with one specific grimoire to the letter, at least at first, is because it gives them something to establish themselves with.  Either they get results with it and they know what can happen when they follow the text, or they don’t get anything and either need to check themselves for departures from it or find out that maybe that method just isn’t for them.  But getting this sort of baseline is important for when you do need to change things or extrapolate from the grimoire to do something new using old methods; after all, the fundamental idea of a grammar isn’t to tell you every possible correct sentence, but how to form correct sentences.  Just so does a grimoire not tell you all that can be done, but shows you how to do all things by using its own “grammar” of magic and extending it as necessary.  And, when you want to innovate, improve, simplify, adapt, or otherwise depart from the grimoire for whatever reason or need that arises, you know what you can compare against as a baseline because you’ve already done what the grimoire says, and can extrapolate from the grimoire from there.  Remember that these grimoires were written by people who lived and breathed that magic in them; they know it works, because that’s what they’ve done and recorded as what works.  This is the reason behind the “this is the true wisdom of true divinity”, because it’s gotten them there—it’s just that that’s their truth, and there’s usually more than one way to be true.

It is possible, of course, that deviation from the rules can (and does) land you in trouble; to use a food-based metaphor, there is no safe way to incorporate arsenic as an ingredient into a meal, even if you’d like for that meal to be colored a brilliant green, and there’s no way to use food to perform physical equations in the same way as you would with pen and paper.  But if a recipe calls for buttermilk and all you have is Greek yoghurt, you can substitute one for the other and still come out with a great dish, and the recipe will still work.  Sometimes it works because the thing you’re substituting and the thing you substituted are similar enough where you got your point across, or where they’re functionally and spiritually identical and it’d work either way; sometimes it works because you have no other choice but to make it work, because perhaps the original thing called for is unavailable or otherwise impossible to get or do anymore; sometimes it works because you make systemic changes that overall achieve the same goal by compensating in one area what you lacked or goofed on in another.  What the grimoires often show is an ideal, perfect method of doing something, but the world we live in is hardly ever ideal; we do what we can to make things as ideal as possible, and what we can’t, we make up for in substituting, rearranging, or otherwise putting in elbow grease to make it work the rest of the way.  An engineering textbook can give you the principles of building a bridge, and even show how to build a bridge under ideal conditions, but where on Earth is there a place where those ideal conditions actually exist?  Living engineers using real engineering must make concessions to reality and work around things that aren’t ideal in order to make a safe and sturdy bridge that fulfills its travel throughput needs—but using the principles of engineering in that textbook, and following whatever governmental, market-based, and other regulations and restrictions they need to along the way (which the engineering textbook itself may not take into account).

For my part, with my Wand of Art, it’s not so much that I was deviating from a grimoire I was working, since I wasn’t really working from any one grimoire—at least, not intentionally so.  But I was taking inspiration from and adapting several sources at once for an all-around all-purpose sort of tool that covers different aspects of wands from several grimoires.  For that reason, I wasn’t so much “deviating from the instructions” as I was making new instructions entirely, just based on old ones.  Besides, many of the grimoires offer designs and instructions not just as an ideal case, but also sometimes as a minimum requirements standard: so long as you do X, Y, and Z, it doesn’t matter what else you do, whether A, B, or Θ, even if you happen to mix the two.  In this case, I read the grimoires in question as giving a minimum set of requirements for my wand to fulfill, and as such, I’m able to work with both.  There’s also the matter of interpretation, such as by using Hebrew names of God instead of Latin ones, but since they’re effectively the same thing one way or another, it’s a clean substitution in many ways.

This is probably a bit longer of an answer than they (or you, dear reader) were anticipating, so to offer a summary: it’s possible to deviate from the instructions and still work operations because the instructions themselves are only an example of ideal situations and case-studies, and the fundamental method and methodology of a grimoire allows for making whatever improvements, adjustments, or fixes along the way to account for real-world scenarios—but no more than what’s necessary.  Even then, each grimoire is just a snapshot of a particular book-based magical tradition and lineage, and each snapshot we can get shows how varied the real-time, real and living magical tradition can be.  There is never “one true way”, but many ways to truth; it’s just up to us to find them and follow them, and sometimes we can take a detour along the way that ends up being better for us but not for others.

I was on a podcast!

Yanno how fleeting and excellent college hookups are?  That’s basically what it was like this week with the wonderfully crazy Gordon White over at Rune Soup.  (UPDATE 2022-11-11: I no longer associate with this man due to his toxic and noxious views that actively spread harm and violence in the online occult community.  I leave this post up as record of my past involvement with him.)

First off, I am incensed and appalled at the man because, in my quest to learn more about the Arbatel and similar works, I finally signed up to take his lectures on the history, development, and use of grimoires (which come bundled with the rest of his premium membership stuff, like forums, etc.).  For one, there’s apparently an old, early proto-grimoire called the Kyranides which is a handbook of various magical things you can do with herbs, stones, animals, and whatnot…all categorized by the Greek alphabet.  I had never even heard of this before, despite that it apparently was the most dangerous book to own for a solid 500 years or so in Europe; this gives my Mathesis stuff a whole new realm of data to work and play with, and I’m utterly fuming I hadn’t come across it yet.  Second, like, dude.  It’s Gordon.  He’s good, that should come as no surprise, but I didn’t expect this all to be that good.  This is quite literally a “shut up and take my money” kind of moment for me.

ANYWAY

So he and I were BSing (as we are wont to do) on Twitter, and he asked me to talk on his podcast.  So I did, and the results can be found over at his blog (see YouTube here).  An excellent time to be had by all, wherein we talk about geomancy, PGM, weird family stuff, and how awful people are generally; do give it a listen.

End of an Enchiridion

I can’t believe it’s come to this.  It’s been four years, and I cannot even, I literally cannot.  I knew this day would eventually come, as all finite things must come to an end, but I’m confused at the fact that it’s here.  It’s been so slowly coming that I never realized how fast this moment arrived, and I’m…not quite at a loss, but nonplussed all the same.

My Moleskine is full.

This isn’t just any journal, mind you, as Moleskines are hardly ever wont to be.  No, this particular journal is my εγχειριδιον, my vademecum, my Book of Shadow, my spellbook, my grimoire, my personal book of prayers and rituals and seals that I have been writing and maintaining since my first days in Fr. Rufus Opus’ courses.  The cover is worn, and certain pages have all but fallen out, and some already would have if it weren’t for the masking tape holding them in place.  Pages with exceptionally well-used prayers are tissue-soft, and others are dog-eared for quick reference so that I don’t have to flip through a chaotic mish-mash of traditions and systems.  Among pages of my best efforts at Roman and Greek script mixed with my personal shorthand, annotated with origins of each prayer and ritual, I have poured countless hours into keeping track of the words and acts I use in my work as a magician as an aide for ritual, supplementing my memory when my memory alone hasn’t caught up.

And it’s full.  Fuck.

I knew this day would eventually come, and I made plans years ago to digitize it into a more easily accessible format, first copying whatever I wanted from a source to my Moleskine, and from there into LaTeX files to be compiled into a fancy PDF which, for various reasons, I haven’t kept up with lately.  And, while that’s still a good way to go for future use (heck, maybe even dissemination to students?), I’m…not sure that’s what I want to do for myself.  Lord knows I still need to keep track of rituals, and even though this particular book is filled, I question whether a digital format or some other means is the best way to keep an enchiridion.

I’m no stranger to journal-keeping, after all, and I’ve filled a number of them over the years since my first attempts back in elementary school, ranging from the mundane goings-on between classes or meetings to the most arcane theorizing of the cosmos, and this blog is just another manifestation of that; as such, I know the paradoxical heart-wrenching elation that comes with filling a journal.  Still, even this particular one is…jarring.  I’ve carried this book with me around the country, and found myself sometimes going into a minor panic when I realize I may have left it at home.  That book has had oil, water, ash, dirt, spit, and even the occasional blood spilled on it.  That book has grown up and full and worn with me as I’ve grown as a magus.  Even though this all seems rather sentimental for a glorified notepad, and even though I’m unusually attached to such a thing, I’m still somewhat at a crossroads with how to proceed.  Do I get a new one, and retranscribe everything?  Do I go for the binder-and-printout method, so that I can more easily manage and organize the thing on the fly?  Do I just want to use a document I can edit on the fly and get an e-reader or tablet to do the same?

I need to do something, obviously.  Just because this journal is full does not mean my Work is complete, not by any sense.  There will still be prayers to practice, rituals to record, and designs I deign to copy for clarity’s sake, and I will still need somewhere to write them and keep a ready index of.  But…I can no longer do it with this book, which already has so much in it and cannot accept any more.  This is a problem that demands a solution, but…perhaps it’s best to review what I’ve learned from keeping such an artifact first.  What do I know now, after filling up a whole book with my rituals and prayers, that I wouldn’t have expected years ago?  What does such a book become and do for the magus?  Based on my own experience, how should one approach the process of writing in an enchiridion?

  1. It becomes a ritual tool in and of itself, rivaling the importance of any wand or shewstone or oil.
  2. It is a physical object made of paper and thread and cardboard and, if you’re fancy, leather.  Even with careful and delicate use, the book will rip and tear and fall apart, and so should be given all the respect due to any magical tool for as long as it is used.
  3. It gains power in its own right, not only by virtue of the words and seals and patterns inscribed within, but by the constant use and reuse in ritual, as well as by the spirits and powers it comes in contact with.
  4. It offers a way to prototype and practice a ritual without ever performing it first, by recording all words said and motions made, before ever putting them to use.
  5. It provides a useful way to learn what is important and what is not important in ritual, gauging by how little one needs a particular prayer or ritual.
  6. Conversely, it provides a way to note what ought to be learned by heart, gauging by how much one needs a particular prayer or ritual.
  7. The fact that one is writing, actively putting in words, as opposed to typing gives the book a different feel and different (more) power.  Yes, the information may be the same, but the method makes the difference.
  8. With written words, one has the book indelibly and permanently made in one’s own kind of typographical image, as our handwriting is as much us as any photograph or depiction.
  9. It forms a record of one’s progress by virtue of the order and type of rituals written inside.  Even without records of ritual or proceedings of meditations, the prayers and rituals themselves show the state of the magus when they were first needed, as well as their exploration by the variety of text added over time.
  10. It is a testament to one’s activity and work as a magus, and as such is best kept private and secret lest anyone find it and, thus, find you out as a magus.
  11. Depending on your sources and your teachers, the text inside may be the last time those words are ever written, with you the last magus ever to use them.  As long as those words are around, at least in your own book, the traditions and rituals you use can stand the test of time and survive to be practiced by yet another generation.
  12. Organization from the outset, when keeping track of these things, is overrated.  When you’re still learning, the best order is chronological; by flipping through over and over to find the same things, you get used to the physical location of the text you need within the book.
  13. Presetting certain boundaries, so that this set of pages will be dedicated to conjuration rituals and that set of pages dedicated to Hellenic prayers and so forth, potentially wastes pages since you never know exactly how many or how few pages you need for a given topic, should you even get into that topic, which may not always be determined from the start.
  14. It is a finite object with a limited amount of space.  It will eventually become full, even if you keep only the most important and sacred words in it with nothing extraneous written and no space wasted.
  15. It is a tool and an aide.  It is to be used as much as it can be, so that the paper and ink inside is not wasted on idle copying, but made to work as much as you Work.
  16. When first copying things into it, you will use up a lot of space; only a year or so into my work, I had already filled up over a third of the pages, but it took me another three to fill up the other two thirds.  The rate at which you add things in will almost always decrease over time as you settle into a particular tradition and use the same rituals over and over.
  17. Not everything can be memorized.  While memory can always be improved, there are some things that one will keep forgetting without regular, almost daily use.
  18. A written text is crucial for smooth, repeatable work, so that one can read when memory can fail.  There’s a reason Catholic priests literally focus on the Missal while they perform their ritual, that they don’t slip up and jumble words or forget the order of things.
  19. What you write in the book, you write in your spirit.  The act of transcribing prayers is an important and powerful form of kinetic meditation.  For a similar reason, I find it helpful to say aloud every word that is to be said aloud in prayer or ritual (a la the tradition of soferim in Judaism), and to visualize the action when writing down instructions for actions.
  20. The art of handwriting is not doing too hot nowadays, and I don’t claim to have a good style of penmanship by any means, but it is a crucial aspect of maintaining the book.  Clear handwriting bespeaks a clear, methodical, premeditated mindset, and involves as much art as any skillful orison or profound prayer, not to mention making reading off the paper easier in dim lighting.
  21. It is useful to keep rituals and processes separate from records of using those rituals and processes.  I do not mix the two, and maintain a separate journal for keeping track of spiritual seals, conjuration conversations, and after-effects of ritual.  This is because the same ritual may work at some times and not at others through no fault of the ritual at all, and sometimes a ritual needs to be edited even though it works well-enough so that it can work better.
  22. It is useful to keep practice separate from theory.  Theory and philosophy and theology are nice to know and learn and discuss, but they do not come into play on the ground when the ritual is being done and the only thing that matters is the result.  Save space and keep the theory for another place, and focus only on what is necessary to complete the task at hand.
  23. It is useful to keep practice separate from recipes.  While oils, incenses, and the like may definitely be done in a ritual manner, the ingredients, conditions, and processes may often take up a lot of space that isn’t needed when doing the chanting or other ritual actions involved.
  24. It’s good to get a good-quality journal for this, neither poor nor great.  Something cheap and trashy is easy to fall apart and destroy, and something expensive and rare is too precious to waste a working text with errors, emendations, and errata in.  Settle for sturdiness, not for style, and save the pricey stuff for an heirloom calligraphied masterpiece that will be complete in and of itself.
  25. When there are a series of texts one may wish to transcribe, such as the Orphic Hymns or the Book of Psalms, it’s often better to get a separate text that contains those prayers as a complete set.  Transcribe only the ones you use most frequently, like Psalms 51 and 23 without the other 148 psalms.  An urge for completion is natural in many magi, for whom a perfectionist streak often runs strong, but you’ll ruin your hand with painful cramps and fill your book up faster than you need to.
  26. Be terse in the text for your instructions, and thorough in the text to be said aloud.  Only say what is absolutely necessary for instructions, as that can take up far more space than you need.  Laconic brevity is a virtue in the process of ritual, as is completion and wholeness in the prayers.  So long as you’ve written down enough to perform all steps of the ritual, you’ve written enough, and in the process allow yourself with room to grow and experiment and customize steps of the ritual.
  27. Even if you think they’re demanded of only by the bitchiest of middle-school teachers, get a bookcover or some sort of protection for your book.  You want to keep the book as intact and safe for as long as you possibly can.  Moleskines fit perfectly in a variety of leather car manual three-fold cases, as it turns out, and even includes a little loop for a pen and a pad of paper for quick notes and visions.
  28. Once you’ve started writing, do not stop until you’re done.  Do not leave something unfinished; if it’s part of a whole, write it wholly.  Do not begin writing until you know you can complete it in a single go, but if you need to write it, write it then and there.
  29. Generalize rituals when appropriate; think rubrics for ritual, not specific instances or implementations of ritual, and leave blanks and bracketed spaces for names or other things to be inserted when necessary.  Make a note when a particular prayer may be modified from its original intent or purpose.
  30. Only include tables of correspondence when absolutely necessary, such as when making a reference for how to fill in a ritual rubric.  Times when needing to use a table of correspondence in ritual are few, and usually only serve to take up space.  It’s better to commit the system of correspondence to memory, and that only what is necessary.
  31. Plan for rituals to be as modular as possible.  Build and conduct rituals using multiple prayers and acts, and record each one separately rather than writing the same invocation over and over for multiple rituals.
  32. The word enchiridion literally means “in the hand”, and vademecum “go with me”.  The book itself should be small enough to fit conveniently in a knapsack, but big enough to hold and read from comfortably.  If you use something too small, it’ll fill up too fast and will be hard to read from; if you use something too big, it’ll be hard to hold and hard to carry around.
  33. Never tear anything out of the book.  You will never make a mistake so egregious that you cannot write around it, and all rituals, even if needed just the once, will help you learn.  There will always be spare paper or media available to write on for things that cannot go in the book.  Keep the book intact as much as possible, since it’ll weaken on its own over time without any extra help from you.
  34. Get a good pen, and keep to that same type of pen when you write in the book.  Whether it’s a fountain pen or ball-point pen, you can never have too good a pen.  Carry it around with the book.  Keep it a neutral color, like black or blue, using other colors for specific purposes like corrections or particular symbols or watchwords.  And yes, it has to be a pen, one that isn’t erasable.  The point of the book is to put things in and keep track of what you practice, not to change the past and remove it.
  35. It doesn’t matter how you write in your book, so long as you can read it.  Your book is primarily for you and your eyes; everyone else takes a very, very distant second, although the day will come that someone else will need to use your book.  If you use a shorthand or type of code to write in the book, include a key somewhere hidden just in case you or someone else needs to decode it.
  36. Do not lose the book.  Do not destroy the book.  Do not get rid of the book.  Once finished or rendered to a point where it is unusable through age and wear, keep it somewhere safe, and only if you absolutely cannot keep it with you should you even begin to consider entrusting it to someone you can trust.
  37. It doesn’t matter whether your book is a journal or a sketchbook, i.e. lined or unlined.  I find lines helpful since I’ve never been able to develop a steady baseline for handwriting, and it helps with drawing out patterns and diagrams, but many people prefer an unlined paper to write on.  Go with what’s best for you.
  38. Once you start writing in a book, keep the book and keep using the book until it’s filled or you cannot use it any longer.  Just because you don’t like a ritual you wrote doesn’t mean the whole book is trash.  Just because you’ve changed traditions doesn’t mean you forget your history and past rituals.
  39. Take the book with you and read from it in as many rituals as you need to do.  You may not always need the book, especially if you’ve memorized the rituals and prayers needed, but take it with you just in case.  If nothing else, you help the book build power.

I suppose I had more thoughts on keeping and maintaining such a book than I expected.  I guess I wanted to be thorough, in a kind of “what would you tell a younger version of yourself” kind of way.

I think, at this point, I’ve decided on what I’m going to do.  I may not stick with Moleskine, but I am going to get another blank journal for myself.  I can always digitize the stuff as I need to in case I need a digital copy of my book, but…in all honesty, I can’t bring myself to care as much about that as I will about having a handwritten copy of my rituals with the ability to add in new rituals at a moment’s notice.  For me, and I speak only for myself, I will need to write by hand my enchiridion, and I will do this again, word by every painstaking word, for as many times as I need to.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to the coming weeks as I start this process again, but for me and my practice, it’s absolutely worth it.