Tetractys and Magic

Alright, alright, I can hear some of my readers mutter in the distance.  “Yes, polyphanes, we know you like the Tetractys.  We get it.  You’re on a huge Pythagorean kick lately.  You’ve been on this kick for over a month and a half now.  Yes, it’s awesome.  But what about magic?  What about conjurations and talismans and shit?  When are you going to talk about those things again?”  Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten.  Yes, I admit I’ve been taken with the Tetractys and this new field of occult mathesis as of late, but to be fair, it’s a huge new thing for me that I didn’t expect to develop.  I honestly feel like I should be spending more time on it, more meditation, more scrying, since it’s all so new and, thus, unexplored.  And, to make proper use of it, I feel like more exploration is definitely needed.  Otherwise I’d just be stumbling around with a wand in the dark, and I like to do my research before jumping into anything.

Though, I also have to wonder: what substantially changes if I use the Tetractys of Life instead of the Tree of Life as my core magical framework?  The best answer I have for that is, well, not terribly much.  I mean, the only real kabbalistic thing I use in my work is the use of particular godnames to conjure the planetary and elemental angels under; maybe I rap several times on the altar to open up a ritual, the number corresponding to the spirit’s sephirah; I might occasionally use a number square to charge something upon.  But, really, that’s about it.  The planets, stars, and elements would exist regardless whether I used the Tree, the Tetractys, or neither, as they have for countless other cultures and magicians before me.

celestial_spheres

The heavens still remain in their usual order, which is probably one thing that neither the Tetractys nor the Tree of Life really affect.  I mean, Saturn is still the next heaven in line under that of the stars, and Jupiter is the next one under Saturn.  In this scheme, there are still ten heavens, with the first one being that of God (Monad) and the last one being that of the Earth (Decad).  Thus, the sphere of the fixed stars is still recognized as the Dyad (2), that of Saturn as the Triad (3), that of Jupiter as the Tetrad (4), and so forth until that of the Moon as the Ennead (9).  The sephiroth are not the planets, and the planets are not the sephiroth; the Tree of Life assimilated the planets into its structure as a later development of the Tree itself, corresponding to the planets without identifying with them.  The planets are still a representation of number, and numeric representations of the planets are still important tools independent of whether they’re placed on the Tetractys or the Tree.  In that light, the magic number squares of the planets can still be used as important tools, and the use of numbers to associate with the planets as well.

In this view, perhaps my idea-in-passing from a ways ago about using a Greek version of the magic number squares could still be used.  After all, the planets are a different realization of number and are associated with the sephiroth, but are not themselves the sephiroth; the number squares are also representations of number in the same way as the planets are.  The magic squares are not kabbalistic in and of themselves in the same way we’d reckon kabbalah; they’re a tool used to understand the kabbalah, but they are not themselves kabbalah.  The only real change to be made here would be to create a set of Greek number squares and find a new set of spirit names to make sigils with; that idea is one I’ll have to pursue for sure.  The hangup I had with that, to be honest, was the fact that I couldn’t easily assign a simple 1-to-10 numbering to each of the dots in the Tetractys.  It’s easier to see the planets or other forces as distinct groups working in tandem with each other on different levels in a conceptual way apart from the nested-spheres view.  The planets are number, too, and with a bit of clever rearrangement can be put into a tetractys of their own.  While I like my arrangement of the planets onto the Tetractys, it’s surely not the only way to do so, though I have good reasons for going with the model I have.

Say some reader says “well, I think the number squares should stick to kabbalah, so we should use another model of numerical mediation”.  Okay, good!  I like making new models and tools.  However, what could be used in their stead?  The regular polygons of a particular number, say?  Well, if you exclude the Monad (which is a simple point) and the Dyad (which is an infinite line or a circle, neither of which are polygons), we run into an issue.  The “true” Greek way of developing a polygon is to use a compass and straightedge, neither of which are marked for degree or length.  While the triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, and decagon can be constructed by a compass and straightedge, the heptagon and enneagon cannot.  They can be approximated, sure, but these numbers cannot be made into regular polygons by compass and straightedge alone, similar to the ancient Greek geometrical problems of squaring the circle or doubling the cube.  It’d be like trying to make a magic number square of rank 2, which cannot be done.  While their ideal forms might be good for meditation, it’d be hard to apply those forms in reality or construction of forms.  This itself can be considered a mystery worthy of meditation, but in terms of applying or constructing numbers, I’d prefer number squares myself if the rank of the square is going to be the same as the number of sides of the polygon.

Beyond numbers, what else might have to change?  Colors?  I’ve gotten good enough results with the colors as used in the Golden Dawn Queen and King scales, so I may as well stick to those (though seeing what else the spheres themselves can show me is useful).  Names of spirits?  Obviously, since Greek names and spelling follow radically different rules than Hebrew, but again, those would just have to be obtained through scrying and numerological research.  The associations of other tools, symbols, and the like with the planets is pretty firmly established and I see no reason to change all those.  So, if by and large the major tools of my work aren’t going to change by switching over to the Tetractys from the Tree, what really changes?

alchemical_planetary_tetractys_paths

The set of paths I have on the Tetractys really don’t work for the Tree of Life; if you try to take the standard ten sephiroth and apply the same paths I have on here, you end up with something resembling metaphysical spaghetti.  While the paths on the Tetractys make sense to me, they cannot be separated from the Tetractys.  The Tetractys offers a radically new meditation and theurgic model of manifestation and understanding how the Divine interacts with all that exists.  That’s the big thing that the mathetic Tetractys provides: a modern Neoplatonic/Neopythagorean model of emanation and divine flow from high to low and back up again.  Unlike the Tree of Life with its neatly-defined start and end points that are so diametrically opposed to each other (due to the Jewish conception of the mortal world being so far removed from the divine), the Tetractys shows how everything is involved in a balanced way in the evolution of everything.  The Monad exists as much as it does down here as it does up there, after all; there’s no need of a God to “recede” from itself to allow for creation within-yet-apart from the rest of its own infinity.  There’s no clean start point for us to use the Tetractys, because not only are we composed of all the forces in the Tetractys, but all of the Tetractys is within us equally and directly.  It might make good sense for us to start with the four elements that compose our bodies and senses of self, but we could easily start with ourselves as a unified whole, or a Monad unto ourselves, and see how we quickly devolve/evolve into a Dyad between ourselves and the rest of the cosmos.

What does the Tetractys really represent?  If the Tetractys is fully present within each of ourselves, then that means we can start anywhere and go anywhere on our personal Tetractyes; we can start at Earth and work our way up through the elements, then the reagents, then the principles, all the way up to the Monad and back down to Earth; we can start at Fire and sublimate ourselves to Nothingness and back down to pure matter once more.  The Tetractys of Life is less about state than it is about process, less about what we are and more about how we come to be in every passing moment.  It’s the connections that we should study, I claim, since that’s where the real beauty and action happens.  Once we understand how we work internally, then we can start expanding outwards and relating ourselves to the rest of the cosmos.  I mean, if each of us is an individual Tetractys in the world, then we’re each our own monads, each taking part in an even larger Tetractys that connects and binds us all together.  Once we can understand the grander connections, we can scale back down and back up in a neverending Tetractys fractal, understanding how the cosmos as a whole is based on the same principles we are, and how we can use the same processes with different materia at different levels.  After all, ten monads does not a decad make; it’s the connections and processes between them that link them together into an ordering, a kosmos of its own.

While the Tree of Life in Jewish kabbalah was originally intended to be used as a mediation model to indicate the interaction of the Creator with Creation, and eventually picked up associations and correspondences to further those meditations, Hermeticists and occultists generally took qabbalah into their own hands as a model of magic and system of correspondences as a cosmological framework.  I don’t consider this an abuse of kabbalah, but I do consider it (at worst) a misuse of the system generally, especially when many people don’t have the required background to fully explore kabbalah as it’s meant to be studied and used.  In the same way, I don’t intend for this Tetractys of Life to be used as a system of correspondences but, again, as a meditative and theurgic blueprint for understanding how things come to be.  Tables of correspondence exist aplenty; good meditative models are harder to come by.

Magically, the use of the letters on the Tetractys’ paths deserves exploration.  For instance, the path between Venus/Water and Jupiter/Air is connected by Nu/Scorpio.  And, while the exact correspondences between the signs of the Zodiac and alchemy differ from tradition to tradition, the most common association I’ve seen with Scorpio is the process of Separation, where a mixture of two or more substances into distinct groups, usually with one of the components of the original mixture enriched in one of its resulting groups.  Air and Water are closely related, both being moist and easily blended with other substances, but it’s by their separation that we can see warm air rising and cool water falling, as in the Poemander’s description of the creation of the world.  Alchemically, we can understand separation in this sense of refining a particular lump of mass within a mixture, but we can also see it in other occult ways, too, such as whittling down extraneous forces to get to the heart of a particular matter or spirit.  We know that the path of Nu is a “lower register” in the Tetrad as the single path is directly above it in the Dyad is, or the path of Nu compared with the path of Xi, which we know is associated with Water, that which permits change and flow.  While Air connects and diffuses itself, Water flows and changes things, cutting certain areas off from others or whisking things away from one place to another.  Water is a form of separation, as separation is a representation of Water.

So now that I’ve thought about the place of the Tetractys of Life in magic a bit more, it doesn’t really have as big an effect on my magical practice as I thought it might have (or worried it might have).  Kabbalah was famous for crossing religions and traditions and incorporating more and more tools into its own toolbox; why not let mathesis do the same a bit, especially from those parts that themselves came from Neoplatonism or Pythagoreanism?  My day to day magical practice and religious offerings are going to be maintained, and the colors and materials of my talismans won’t change much if at all.  I will need to make versions of the magic squares using Greek letters and go through the planets and start getting new spirit names (as well as to figure out why there’s a “spirit of spirits” and “intelligence of intelligences” for the Moon and the like from the spirits themselves), but that’s something that we could all make do with, after all.

Oh, and names of God?  I haven’t forgotten about those, either.  Making use of my names of God from my first foray into making a Greek kabbalah, let’s see what we have.  First, recall that the Tetractys is composed of four ranks: a Monad, Dyad, Triad, and Tetrad.  I temporarily propose these names of God for these ranks, all based on Revelation 1:8, which contains all these names of God (attributes, really, but eh):

  1. ho Kyrios, “the Lord”
  2. hē Arkhē kai to Telos, “the First and the Last”
  3. ho Ēn kai ho Ōn kai ho Erkhomenos, “He who Was and Is and Is to Come”.
  4. ho Pantokratōr, “the All-Ruler”

All are God, of course, and the overall monadic name could easily be God (ho Theos), the Aeon (ho Aiōn), the Whole (to Holon), and so forth.  Personally, I’m getting into the habit of using Aiōn or Iaō as my primary go-to names of God, though my old Stoic inclinations always keeps the Whole nearby in my mind.  So, in conjurations, I’ll test how the use of these specific names work, though I’ll also shoot for other names to see whether other appellations or descriptors of God work better, or whether there are more secret names of God to be used.  Who knows?  As this Tetractys model of magic develops, maybe these names’ll be obsoleted in favor of others, or another method can be used entirely.

Emanation in Qabbalah versus Mathesis

So, in the meantime of developing the Tetractys of Life and starting to use more Pythagorean and classical Neoplatonic ideas in my studies of the occult, I think I’ve finally found a word that accurately captures what I want to name this system.  The broader system in Hermeticism and Western occulture is qabbalah (or Jewish kabbalah or Christian cabala, to use different spellings to indicate different traditions).  All these words have the same root in Hebrew: קַבָּלָה‎, meaning “tradition” or “reception”.  I’ve been using a Greek transcription of this word, καμπαλα or “kampala”, to describe my Pythagorean-Neoplatonic system, but this is still basically the same word, and I’m developing it to a point where it doesn’t really fit into the qabbalistic scheme anymore.  After thinking about the thing I’m developing and going through some Greek dictionaries, I think I’ve found a word to name this new system of occult thought: μαθησις, or “mathēsis”, which means “the act of learning” or “obtaining knowledge”.  This word is related to our word “mathematic“, which itself comes from Greek meaning “scientific, disposed to learn”, itself from Greek μαθημα, or “that which is learnt”.  While this Tetractys of Life and everything are things to be learned, sure, they’re all tools to learn more.  Hence, the broader system I want to call is appropriately mathēsis, a term that’s been used before in the pre-modern and modern Western world by philosophers such as Descartes and Leibniz to describe a hypothetical universal science modeled on mathematics.  And, well, since Pythagoras established that everything is number and (in our modern sense) mathematical, this isn’t too bad a term.  To that end, I’ve gone through and labeled all the Towards a Greek Kabbalah posts (which are their own blog project in their own right) under the category of mathesis.

Alright, so, labels and terms are out of the way.  I want to talk about emanation in mathēsis and how it compares to qabbalah, because there’s a critical difference between the two that really should be understood.  While I originally set out to develop a qabbalah-like system based on Greek mathematical and grammatomantic principles that essentially shared the same ideas, I ended up with a much different beast of a cosmology than I had anticipated.  For instance, consider the idea of emanationism, where successively more complex forms of existence and reality develop or flow forth both within and from a higher and more primitive source.  This is distinct from creationism, where things are made as they are without successive steps by an external creator, and from materialism, where things come about from other things without a metaphysical origin.  The idea of emanationism is replete throughout many forms of the occult, not least in both Pythagorean, Neoplatonic, and mystic Jewish thought.  It can be seen in both the kabbalistic Tree of Life as well as in this new mathetic Tetractys of Life, but not in the same way.

For instance, consider the Tree of Life in qabbalah.  There are ten sephiroth, each assigned a particular number from 1 to 10 and descending from the top to the bottom.  Each sephirah represents a different attribute or aspect of the one God, or a different way God expresses his will.  There exists a particular set of paths, collectively termed the Lightning Bolt Path, that hits each sphere in sequence from Kether to Chokmah to Binah all the way down to Malkuth.  This describes the emanation of the cosmos from God in successive forms, ultimately culminating in our existence down here on Earth.  This also ties in (or perhaps founded?) the notion of an Idea of God descending through the many spheres of Heaven, hitting each planet in turn, building up more form and density until it hit our lowest Earth-plane, finally becoming a manifest Thing.  There is one Source and one Goal, clearly marked out with clearly defined stages in between.

The Tetractys of Life also describes emanation, but not in the same way.  Like the Tree of Life, there are ten spheres or units, each representing an aspect of creation in a different manner.  Like the Tree of Life, there is one Monad at the top, the undifferentiated and divinely simple source of all things.  Like the Tree of Life, the Tetractys of Life describes an emanatory or development of creation from the top down.  However, that’s where the similarities end.  Instead of having each sphere on the Tetractys represent a different emanation or stage in existence, the Tetractys shows emanation based on the rank of the Tetractys; instead of going One-Two-Three-…-Ten, it goes Monad-Dyad-Triad-Tetrad.  In other words, there are only four stages of emanation in the Tetractys compared to the ten in the Tree.  The emanatory dyadic principles of Light and Dark  occur simultaneously and as two parts of a whole, not in a sequence.  They are different, but they are in a kind of super-alchemical marriage as One, since they both come from One.  Likewise, the emanatory triadic reagents of Salt, Mercury, and Sulfur occur simultaneously as a result of the marriage between Light and Dark, as do the emanatory tetradic substances of the four elements from the harmony of the three reagents.  And, from these four substances, all of material creation is made.

Why is this significant?  Because we have different notions of a “starting point” when working with the Tree and with the Tetractys.  With the Tree, we can all safely agree that we’re down here in the tenth sephirah of Malkuth, and it’s our job to rise through the sephiroth in the reverse order compared to how we got here.  With the Tetractys, however, there is no single starting point; our starting point is below the Tetractys, in the unnumbered and implied pentad of all the things that exist, the symbol of which is the pentagram and which represents the Divine Proportion (φ).  In that sense, our starting point is below the Tetrad working within as a Pentad, itself not represented on the Tetractys.  The Tetractys is the source of life but is not itself life in the same sense that the Monad is the source of existence but is itself neither existence nor nonexistence.  We must first understand how the Pentad comes forth from the Tetrad, then the Tetrad from the Triad, then so forth back to the Monad.

tetractys_pentad

So, rather than thinking of each of the ten spheres in the Tetractys as a separate stage of emanation, it’s more proper to understand mathetic emanation as occurring in four stages (divine simplicity, differentiation, system, embodiment) compared to the qabbalistic ten.  And, within each stage, there are different forces at work that represent how that emanation of the cosmos takes place.  While the Tetractys of Life illustrates the different types of forces within each rank of the Tetractys, this is only an ideal representation, much as the Bohr representation of atoms is convenient to understand ideal spatial relationships between an atom’s nucleus and electrons, but in reality the electrons move in indeterminate electron clouds where either the speed or location of a subatomic particle may be known but not both at the same time.  In other words, Light and Dark take place at the same time and interchangeably within the Dyad, as do the three reagents within the Triad, as do the four elements within the Tetrad.  We may find it easy to focus on one element, reagent, or principle at the same time, but this is a hyperfocused and ultimately false distinction that isn’t true on a fundamental level.  That said, on a fundamental level, everything is already part of One and is One, much as the distinction between the sephiroth in qabbalah is only apparent from the point of view of the Created and not of the Creator.

So why am I clarifying the notion of emanation when studying mathesis in using the Tetractys of Life?  Because it requires a different sort of understanding of the cosmos than what we’re used to thinking based on the Tree of Life in qabbalah, which is arguably the starting point for much of Western occultism today.  Why does this matter?  Because I ran into the practical problem of trying to assign numbers from 1 to 10 to each of the spheres in the Tetractys.  I wanted to link the spheres on the Tetractys to the sephiroth in some way, or find some sort of numerical sequence for the forces in the Tetractys, so I could link these spheres to other types of magical technology and techniques.  For instance, consider magic squares, the qameas of the planets.  If the planet Saturn is corresponded to the sephirah of Binah, and Binah’s number in the order of emanation is three, then three is the qabbalistic number of Saturn.  Thus, the magic square or qamea of Saturn is a 3 × 3 grid of numbers from 1 to 9 (or 3²), upon which we can plot qabbalistic names and sigils of various spirits and concepts related to the sphere of Saturn.  I personally like the use of magic squares in magic, and I wanted to find a particular way to develop a set of magic squares to each of the forces in the Tetractys of Life.  However, after a good amount of reflection and late-night thinking, I couldn’t find a way to suitably number the spheres on the Tetractys outside their non-sequential lambdoma numbering.  Because I can’t (yet?) think of a way to sequentially number the spheres in the Tetractys, this makes it cut off from systems such as qabbalah and much of qabbalah-influenced magical tech; at the same time, trying to force on a numbering system like this seems ill-advised, like trying to square the circle when the two cannot be done except at a higher level.

In this case, if we have a collection of points that themselves are unordered, are we up Styx creek without a paddle?  Not at all.  The use of algebra and arithmetic weren’t the preferred means of mathematics back in Pythagorean thought, but rather geometry.  And, understanding the four ranks of the Tetractys to refer to geometric forms, we have a 0-dimensional figure as the Monad (a single point), a 1-dimensional figure as the Dyad (two points form a line), a 2-dimensional figure as the Triad (three points form a plane or a triangle), and a 3-dimensional figure as the Tetrad (four points form a solid or a tetrahedron).  Geometry, then, might be a better route to go to understand the various forces represented within each rank of the Tetractys than number squares or knocking on an altar a particular number of times.  The Tetractys is slowly but surely showing me a new way to understand the cosmos and how to apply myself within it and to it both theurgically and thaumaturgically; what new tech it’ll lead me to, I don’t yet know, but I’m excited to find out.

Search Term Shoot Back, July 2014

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

“sigil in cock by zodiac” — I don’t even know what this means, or why I got this search term among the most common this month looked for across several days.

“can i burn kameas in ritual work” — You can, but I have the feeling it’s not always a good idea.  Kameas are magic squares, a numerical and numerological method of representing the essence or power of a planet.  Effectively, they emanate the same “vibration” or power the planet itself does, though in a weaker and more transmitted way.  The kameas are talismans in their own right, no further consecration needed (though more consecration can always help).  Burning things in ritual work almost always has a connotation of sacrifice, like burning hell money for the ancestors or bleeding a pigeon out over a fire for Hermes (it’s a thing), so burning a kamea as an offering could be done, but I don’t immediately recognize for who or what.  I mean, if you want to dispatch a particular force, you could burn something like a name paper or a photo, but the kamea on its own is just the planetary force.  Chances are you want to use and direct that force, not just send it out without guidance or instruction, so burning it might not be the best idea.

“art deco and orgone accumulators” — To be honest, I like dieselpunk a lot more than steampunk; environments like those of Bioshock are a deep pleasure to me.  Dieselpunk is a cyberpunk derivative that focuses on art deco and early 20th century interbellum (1920s to 1940s) period aesthetics and technological appearances.  Think of the style of the Empire State Building in NYC, the almost hieroglyphic engravings from the 1930s on public buildings lauding the labor movement, the classic Rolls-Royce fancy cars, and even old jukeboxes, and you’ll have a grasp of art deco and dieselpunk aesthetics.  As for how this connects to orgone accumulators, that’s anybody’s guess, but I suppose one could make an orgone accumulator using a dieselpunk or art deco theme.  At that point, you’re just applying visual art to tech, so it’s not really going to change the tech itself much.

“invocation of sphere of the prime mover” — I can’t imagine there to be one.  The Sphere of the Prime Mover is Divinity unfiltered itself.  The sphere of the Earth has its prayers and invocations of worldly spirits, ancestors, and demons; the spheres of the planets have their hymns and songs, such as those of Orpheus or the Picatrix; the eighth sphere of the fixed stars has the Hymns of Silence and, when the mood is right, glossolalia.  The Eighth Sphere is the highest place (or the lowest, when seen from the point of view of Divinity) where we can still have distinct thoughts and impressions, wordless though they may be except through pure Logos itself.  Anything higher than that, and all distinctions, impressions, and ideas go out the window; you’re in the realm of the Monad at that point, where there’s really nothing but the One: everything, nothing, both everything and nothing, neither everything nor nothing, all of the above, none of the above, and something else entirely.  The only invocation I can think of to this highest of spheres is to ascend to henosis/apotheosis and speak whatever the gods speak among themselves, or whatever God speaks to Itself.  Understandably, people tend to not survive this or take multiple lifetimes to achieve this, so exceedingly few people have likely had the chance or seen the point to utter such an invocation, since there’s literally nothing we can utter to even approximate or connect to the glories of the Infinite with our finite speech.

“how to pray sator square” — The Sator Square is an old type of magic square talisman, with the words “SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS” written in a 5 × 5 grid, which can be read up, down, forwards, and backwards.  Its palindromic nature, as well as its grammatical plausibility in Latin, have made it a powerful magical tool, even appearing as a pentacle in the Key of Solomon.  However, it’s never really meant to be prayed; it’s a talisman to be engraved, simple as that.  You engrave it on stone or write it on paper and keep it around; you can throw it into a fire to put it out or keep it in your house to prevent fires, for instance, no further consecration needed.  There’s a theory that the Sator Square was used by clandestine Christians in the early Roman Empire to identify themselves, since if you rearrange the letters you get the word “Paternoster” (Our Father) written twice in a cross intersecting at the N, with two leftover As (alpha) and two leftover Os (omega).  So I suppose you could pray the Lord’s Prayer over it, but that’d be stretching it.

“orgone accumulaors and cold water fusion” — Uh…um.  I’m a Hermetic magician and software engineer, not a physicist in any sense, so it’s hard for me to speak much about this particular combination of topics.  What I can say, however, is that the two don’t really mix in any conceivable way.  Orgone energy is a spiritual substance, an ambient life force pervading the universe.  Cold fusion is a hypothetical (not even theoretical!) means of achieving nuclear fusion at room temperature, as opposed to the millions of degrees required for normal fusion.  There’s no accepted or agreed upon theory that permits such a reaction to occur, and all the science that permits this is convoluted, fake, questionable, or some mix of the three.  No, I’m not a fan of trying to use cold fusion to solve the energy crisis of our time, and no, I don’t think that it’s the key to our continued technological progress.  Neither, for that matter, is orgone energy, which is such a radically different thing that it’s like asking what effect eating cake at nighttime has on the catalytic converter of my car.

“orgone accumulator collects neutrinos” — Again, another weird physics query involving orgone? Granted that I don’t have a physics background or degree, but Randall Munroe of XKCD fame does, and he’s mentioned neutrinos before and how utterly transparent they are to normal matter.  Quoth he, “[l]ook at your hand—there are about a trillion neutrinos from the Sun passing through it every second”.  A single neutrino might, on average, hit an atom in your body once every few years, if you’re lucky.  It’s just about laughably implausible that anything can conceivably collect neutrinos, since they almost never touch anything material to begin with.  Orgone energy isn’t physical, either, so it accumulates something that is actually intangible and unphysical, as opposed to something that’s just about completely intangible and physical.  This is definitely one of the odder orgone-related queries that’s led here, especially since I don’t recall having talked about neutrinos or subatomic particle physics before on this blog.

“what is the difrence between solomon sommoning ritual and high magic summoning ritual” — Er…this is a surprisingly complex question to answer and involves a bit of history.  Summoning rituals (and all their variant terms) are common to just about any and every path of magic: you’re calling upon a spirit to be present for some reason, you do your business with them, and you send them away.  Every path of the occult that recognizes the existence of independent spirits (and even then, some that don’t) has a means to converse with spirits in this manner.  “Solomonic summoning” likely refers to the type of conjuration given in the Key of Solomon (though it focuses mostly on talismanic operations) and Lemegeton Goetia (though there are several other parts to the Lemegeton that work with other types of spirits and systems), though it also includes other types of conjuration in the same vein such as the Heptameron and Trithemius’ Drawing Spirits into Crystals.  This is all largely an offshoot from the Hygromanteia of Solomon, an old old grimoire that even I haven’t had the chance to read yet, along with other older books such as Sepher Raziel, Liber Lunae, the Picatrix, and so on.  In a sense, “Solomonic” magic is, if not synonymous with post-classical Western Hermetic magic, a label for a large subset of the field.  “High magic”, on the other hand, is a weird term, and the earliest use of it I can think of off the top of my head is from the title of Eliphas Levi’s book he published in the 1850s, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie or “Dogma and Ritual of High Magic”.  His magic was a derivative of Solomonic material and some quasi-“pure” Hermetic stuff, but is generally synonymous with the same.  Used in modern parlance, however, I feel like “high magic” is anything involving elaborate ritual, tools, or setup, as opposed to “low magic” or the “simpler” or more “vulgar” applications of candle magic, application of herbs and powders, and folk magic.  In other words, “high magic” is often given the image of learned wizened wizards in towers speaking to entities through arcane circles, while “low magic” is given that of an old illiterate grandmother witch cooking up brews and doing divination for the village.  It’s a really bad distinction to make, because I see no reason to stick to just one or the other, and a ceremonial magician like myself can often get lazy or see no reason to be so elaborate when simpler and easier methods exist to achieve something.

“seals to control angel” — One doesn’t control an angel.  In my understanding, and based on what I’ve seen and witnessed, angels are God-made-miniature, collectively forming the “cells” of the Divine Will.  Angels exist to carry out the will of God; their will is God’s will and God’s will is their will.  To say that they have desires for anything else is nonsensical; whether they have free will or not doesn’t matter for them, since they only operate to carry out the functions of the cosmos, which is the desire and will of God.  So, if you were to control an angel, that would imply control over the will of God, which is just a touch hubristic.  Just as you can’t tell God what to do, you can’t tell an angel what to do, either; they’ll acquiesce only inasmuch as your demands are in line with the will of God.  It’s very much a “move this or move me” type of deal; either something is to be done (in line with the will of God) or something to you is to be done (also in line with the will of God).  This is why it’s so important to maintain holiness, virtue, meditation, and prayer when working with angels, because the closer your will is with that of God, the more what you want will happen, because it’s already supposed to happen, though not always effortlessly or with the most ease.  After all, it’s also God’s will that everybody is to achieve salvation (I claim), but there’s a lot going on the world to fight against that effort.

“summon a demon spirit ‘through the internet'” — While I’m not saying it’s impossible, I doubt one could simply conjure a spirit of any kind with the press of a button, like a “Purchase Spirit Now” button for PayPal.  I mean, say you press a button that runs a program to conjure a spirit.  What would the program output?  What would receive the output?  What connection would the internetizen be making with the spirit to be conjured?  What would meaningfully differentiate this operation from the person just writing out “I want to summon spirit X” on paper and leaving it at that?  While that could work, it won’t for the vast majority of people and practitioners; getting into the right mindset, building oneself up through prayer and spiritual preparation, focusing on the sphere of the spirit to open a connection, and so forth are good things to do when preparing to conjure a spirit.  Once all that’s done, I suppose clicking a button would be the same as saying “In the name of the Blessed and Holy Trinity, I conjure you, X…” with a comparable amount of gravity and weight, but at that point, why even bother with the Internet at all, especially when you may not be assured internet access?  With words alone, you can summon spirits wherever you can speak; you can only click PayPal buttons wherever there’s a usable internet connection.

“similarities between greek god hermes and males that are a leo/virgo cusp” — If the other search entries I repeatedly get are any indication, maybe it’s being endowed with a huge cock?  I dunno.  Hermes is a god, and Hermes the god is not identical to Mercury the planet, the zodiac signs of Gemini or Virgo, the signs where Mercury is strong.  There’re plenty of correspondences between them, sure, including analytical minds, a skill for communication, and a knack for travel or traversing distances mentally or physically, but Hermes himself is not a Virgo.  Hermes, according to the Homeric myth and Athenian belief, is born on the fourth day of the tenth lunar month, or sometime around April, which would make him an Aries or a Taurus, depending on the exact lunation sequence in the Metonic cycle.  Then again, Hermes is also an immortal god, so I doubt astrological influences would affect his divine nature much the way it does to humans.

“where can i fine satanic ritual manuals and conjuring?” — I hear E.A. Koetting has some good comedy routines, but I’m trying to be thrifty with my money and spend it only on things that have meaning.

“lbrp of dragon” — If you’re faced with a dragon, I’d personally suggest you use a bigger gun than a banishing ritual, especially the LBRP (or as one of my friends jokingly calls it, Le Burp).  Drawing out that banishing pentagram of Earth isn’t going to do much against, you know, fangs and claws and what’s likely to be a more than a ton of scales and flesh rending your own.  But hey, I’m just a simple magician, what do I know?

Quick Update

So, before I head on out for the holidays with the family, I wanted to make a quick update of a few recent events and results.

  1. The Lunar Kamea and Bhaiṣajyaguru (Medicine Buddha) Cane are completed.  Pictures of them are up under Crafts, as is a page just for the cane project.  Major thanks to Blue Flame Magick for help with the Buddhaworking.  Now I just need to find a friend with a south-facing window for leaving the Kamea and a ring in for a lunar cycle; if push comes to shove, I suppose I could use my car parked in an advantageous spot, but…eh.
  2. I also put up a picture of my Trithemius cane on the Crafts page; I made it about a month and a half ago, an extra-large size wand to be used in conjurations with a few personal flourishes of my own.  It’s hard to get something like that to show in a single picture, but it’s subtle enough to be carried around in public without too many weird looks while still being a nifty magical weapon in its own right.  It follows the Trithemius style, but instead of “EGO ALPHA ET OMEGA” on the back, I incorporated the word Azoth around the wand to mean the same thing but better.  Here are some more pics of that, if you’re interested.  The cane works well in conjurations and definitely has a noble or regal feel to it, though it’s awkward to use inside given its size (38″).
  3. Finally got the apartment quiet!  Turns out the best magic is the most direct, which in this case was writing a respectful note to the neighbor downstairs (an 80-odd year old hard-of-hearing sweet/badass lady).
  4. Calamus root and dragon’s blood resin acquired!  Abramelin and Fiery Wall of Protection oils will be made upon my return to Villa Polyphanae.
  5. I finally got off my ass and memorized the Headless Rite (or Bornless Ritual).  After seeing it pop up practically daily for two months, I figured the cosmos was sending me a hint or two or thirty.  Voces magicae ftw, and I also made myself a little pendant (pewter medallion engraved with a dremel) with the “beneficial sign” from the PGM text to use the Rite with.  I’m using a variation I wrote up based on the PGM text, Crowley’s Liber Samekh, and other variants I’ve come across.  I’ve got an emphatic green light from my genius to start using it, so here goes.
  6. In the process of researching the PGM, I also picked up a few other spells and workings that I’ll put to use soon and write up my results with.  Not gonna lie, it’s kinda hot that I’m doing the same spells that were used 2000 years ago.
  7. I’m teaming up with The Bad Witch over at Open Path Sanctuary to write up a series of articles on geomancy.  They’ll be available both at OPS and on The Digital Ambler, but you should totally go to OPS first because duh.  They should be out by year’s end, if I get the time and research done on the finer points of technique and history.

Have a happy Christmas, Chanukkah, Solstice, Yule, whatever; just be happy and be good.  I’ll be back sometime late next week, and probably won’t have much to post until the New Year (unless said posts are New Year New You-related and/or I have free time while with my family).  Check out my Twitter feed (on the right, and also here) for humorous interludes if you’re that bored.

Instead of a caption, this cat gets a sigil.

You may remember that Nyan Cat plaque I made for a friend.  Well, being me and all, I decided to emblazon and charge it with a sigil for my friend’s benefit, because what good would a Nyan Cat do just lying on a shelf?  (Be completely awesome and a wonderful conversation piece, obviously.)  So I decided to artsy up this sigil as well and post it to the interwebs.  The intonation associated with this sigil is “MUNES ILTER JEK” (moo-nehs eel-tehr jehk), if you’re so acoustically inclined.

Also, according to friends, both this and the last sigil I posted back in October look like hats.  What an odd trend.  I claim it looks like…okay, no, it also kinda looks like a hat.  Whatever.

In other crafting news, I decided to remake my black-handled dagger based on the Key of Solomon.  I was using a dinky little 6″ one that literally my hand would envelop (I’ve got big hands), so I decided to use a slightly larger dagger this time around and did it a little nicer with a dremel and more patience with the metal engraver (picture’s up in Crafts).  Also, in preparation for making a talisman per Fr. Rufus Opus’ Astral Warrior handbook, I’m in the process of making a Table of the Moon, a 9×9 grid of numbers that add up to the same value in each row and column.  These magic squares, also called kameas, are powerful planetary talismans in their own right, and I made one for my Saturn talisman consecration a while back.  This, however, is three times the size, and of course I’m only working on it during lunar hours on Mondays.  Next Monday I’ll be inlaying the kamea with silver leaf, painting over the wood in purple, and applying a few layers of finish.  I pray I never have to do this shit again; if I do, I’m taking RO’s advice and just drawing the damn thing out on paper.

It’s kinda funny; I was recently chatting with Haniel, the angel of Venus, and asked him to reconsecrate my Venus altar talisman.  He said nope; basically, I don’t have a need for the extra Venus power, since there’s so much Venus around me as it is.  I just thought he referred to my being very Venusian astrologically (Taurus rising, Libra sun, Venus almuten, etc.), but the Unlikely Mage pointed out that, no, I’ve been making omgsomuch crap lately.  Looking back, he’s right; I have been crafting an impressive amount of this stuff in the past month or two, and it’s also true that one of Venus’ powers is that of generation and creation.  Although I tend to make stuff with the intent to use them (Venus in Virgo, after all), the stuff I make tends to be nice and look nice.  In this sense, I suppose one of the purposes of the altar talismans I made is to help balance things out in my life; if I’m already good to go in one area, that particular talisman won’t need to do much.  Alternatively, that talisman is doing its job by having me bring about its influence into manifestation.  Either way, nifty.

So, how’ve you been?  Read any good books lately?

Talismans, Curses, Conjurations, News, Etc.

Seems like I got a fair bit accomplished since my last post. Guess I triggered some change for a good effect, or something.  I had a few worries that the hurricane that swept up the east coast would interfere with a few of my plans, but yeah, no.  I should keep this advice in mind when it comes to interpreting weather news.  Also, Mercury went direct again!  He’ll be back up to speed in early September, if you’re curious.  And now for the updates:

  • As part of my making a working magician’s altar, I’m making a series of planetary talismans, one for each of the seven traditional planets.  It’s an awesome project, though it’s taking its own sweet time: each talisman needs to be made in its proper planetary day and hour, which yields three or four hours, one hour at a time, one day a week, for each talisman.  Each talisman is a small wood disk engraved via woodburning with the planet’s symbol and its seals along with its angel’s name and his seal (those last two are from the Magical Calendar and Heptameron).  The engravings are filled with gold leaf, and a small hole in the bottom of each talisman is filled with the planet’s proper metal (lead for Saturn, a copper nail for Venus, etc.).  I’ve got only Mars and the Moon talismans to fill with metal, and afterward need to apply finish to all of them and consecrate them, which will involve calling up the planetary angels for the first time.  Lessons learned from this project: don’t try to nail too many things into the same block of wood at once, silver’s really hard to melt down with a propane torch, and if 5′ of gold wire costs only $20, it’s probably not gold.
  • I put up two new pages under the Rituals menu: Writing a Defixio, on the writing of binding spells and curse tablets such as those found across the classical Mediterranean and European world; and my complete (but probably crappy) translation of the Planetary Conjurations from the Munich Manual, complete with illustrations.  That said, that whole section from the Munich Manual was basically lifted wholesale from the Heptameron, so, whatever.  And my parents said that Latin would never be useful for me.
  • I conjured Michael again and the Elemental Prince Oriens for the first time last week so I could go through the last of the elemental initiations.  Alas!  Oriens turned me down, saying that I wasn’t yet ready.  Michael suggested that I talk to my natal genius first in order to find out more about my true will and cause for doing all this occult stuff, with the suggestion that understanding why I’m doing this will make my drive to do it all that much stronger.  Also, this time talking with Michael, things were much cooler than the time before: the first time I conjured Michael, it was a really intense experience, but I had also been building up for that in every possible fiery way I could imagine.  Apparently, it’s much more in tune and harmonic usually, but still wiped me out (or burnt me out, if you will).
  • Also as part of this stage of my Work, I had to conjure the other princes of the elements, the nasty demonic ones whose names are Samael, Azazel, Azael, and Mahazael.  I conjured the archangels to bring them to me, then I sealed them up on pieces of paper bound in black thread and sealed up in little tea tins taped shut.  This is to keep their influence out of my life, and things have felt kind of clearer and a little easier since I started doing this, though that may be entirely psychological (what isn’t, when it comes to magic?).  It’s not the sturdiest of prisons, but it’ll do for now.  Once I finish the planetary talismans, I’ll redo the prisons, time permitting.  Bee tee dubs, those are some spiteful, hateful things.  I can’t remember the last time I shivered at that sort of emotion so deeply before.  Since then, however, things have felt…I dunno.  More relaxed, calm, smoother, even though nothing has explicitly turned out for the better.  No complaints, though.
  • After chatting with the four archangels, they helped me out by agreeing to come to my aid if I called on them by name outside of a proper conjuration.  The conjuration helps forge a stronger connection, but when I don’t have the materia or time, asking for their help with a small oration will suffice.  Nifty!
  • After my chalice shattered by my own hand after the oh-so-horrible earthquake aftermath last week, I went shopping and got a simple but pretty (and much sturdier and shorter) glass goblet.  I conjured up Gabriel the next day and had his help to consecrate this new cup for my altar, and now all is right with the world.  Or getting there, at least.
  • Along with my new chalice, I bought some asafoetida powder from an Indian store.  Asafoetida, also called hing or Devil’s dung, is a powerful herb related to Saturn and Mars, and can curse, uncurse, or banish.  That said, now I know why people think Indian food stinks, and my whole house smells like ass forever.  Such sadness.
  • It turns out there’s a decent Saturn election next month (Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 2:29 p.m. EDT where I live), when Saturn will have an essential dignity of +8 (If I did my math correctly).  I’m taking advantage of that to make a decent Saturn talisman for myself and to get some experience in astrological magic.  The whole process will be pretty involved, but I’ve already gotten the basic steps done of making a base lead disc for the talisman and planning out the design.  I’m pretty excited since, according to a natal reading from Chris Warnock at Renaissance Astrology, a talisman of Saturn is highly recommended for myself.  As part of this upcoming ritual, I’m also making a wooden kamea of Saturn, which should be done this coming weekend.
  • I’m restarting the practice of a weekly divination.  I’m out of practice with geomancy and I really need to pick my skills back up, so I’m going to try to get a weekly and monthly divination up again.  I’ll try to remember to note my results on this blog, just for reference’s sake.
Next up, finishing up a few more talismans, consecrating them with the archangels, having a few chats with my natal genius, working on this Saturn talisman, and rebinding the demonic elemental princes with lead and steel instead of paper and tealights.  Also, by mid-September, I’ll have a fully operational Death Star Table of Manifestation, which alone will be a significant achievement for me.  All that should carry me through the end of September nicely with plenty of stuff to do.  Now if only I could fit things like sleep and boozing it up in clubs in there, too, but I guess I should have something resembling priorities.

Derp derp.

So, earlier today as I was doing research on the planetary entities and angels, I got caught up in the sigils of the planetary spirits and intelligences.  Deceptively simple, they rely on a combination of kameas (magic squares) and gematria (Hebrew numerology).  I ended up spending two and a half hours trying to figure out how Agrippa derived them in Book II of his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, with general success except for a few things (namely, the sigils of the lunar entities, because, really, wtf).

Then I found out that, in Tyson’s edition of Agrippa, Appendix V describes in full detail the construction of the squares, the sigils, and where I was fucking it up, which was NOT MY FAULT, I SWEAR, THESE METHODS ARE NOT THAT TRANSPARENT.  This is called “occult” for a reason, son.

I’m just gonna call it “active meditation”, call it a day, and start on the several bottles of sangria I have in the fridge.