New ebook for sale: Preces Templi!

Not that long ago, I put out an ebook, Preces Castri or “Prayers of the Castle”, being a prayerbook consisting of over a hundred prayers for a variety of devotional and ritual purposes, ranging from blessings of various ritual implements and supplies to invocations of the planets to general prayers and meditations on the divinity of God.  In many ways, I consider this to be a compendium of many of the things I’ve written, compiled, or composed based on existing ritual, grimoiric, and religious texts as part of my own spiritual work.  The thing is, however, that this text is…arguably not for all of my readers.  Not that this is a particularly advanced text—it’s definitely not by any stretch of the imagination—but the flavor of these prayers is largely Abrahamic in nature.  To be sure, I still consider all these to be solidly Hermetic in their foundation, but the word “Hermetic” can be used to mean any number of things, really, given how it’s been so mixed and remixed time and time again over the past 1500 years across so many religious traditions, Christianity and Islam notably among them.  As a result, many of those prayers in Preces Castri have a heavy Islamic, Christian, or otherwise Abrahamic monotheistic flair to them, which may not be so tasteful for all of my readers.  But, as I hinted when I published that text and on some of the more recent podcasts I’ve been on, that’s not the only kind of Hermetic work I do, not by a long shot.

The reason why I named that ebook Preces Castri, “Prayers of the Castle”, is given in the introduction to it.  Some time ago on Twitter, I gave some thought to how my own spiritual practice might be termed beyond simply “Hermetic”, and decided to use the ancient Egyptian city of Thēbes as a basis for naming it.  After all, Thēbes is the source for many of the papyri that form the collection we today call the “Greek Magical Papyri”, and was one of the two ancient capitals of Egypt, conveniently located in the middle area between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.  Although many Hermeticists might find that Alexandria to be the Egyptian source of so much of our tradition, I would rather give that to multiple cities throughout Egypt, with Thēbes at the top of the list.  Of course, Thēbes was just the usual Greek name for the city; towards the end of the classical period and into the Islamic one of Egypt, there were two other names for the city, one of which is still in use today:

  • Pape, from Coptic ⲠⲀⲠⲈ (earlier Egyptian p’ jp.t), meaning “the adyton”
  • Luxor, from Arabic al-`Uqṣur meaning “the castles”

It’s from these two names that I derived the terms “Papetic” and “Luxoric” to refer to the two styles of spiritual work I do, “Luxoric” referring to the more Abrahamic and monotheistic approach and “Papetic” to refer to the more pagan, Greco-Egyptian, and polytheistic approach.  Mind you, this is entirely a distinction I make for my own convenience, mostly for the purposes of organizing rituals and chaining prayers together (I find the whiplash from going between one to the other to be too jarring at times for myself), and is meant solely for the purposes of practical approaches rather than anything deeper regarding cosmology or syncretism without making use of the problematic terms “Abrahamic” or “pagan” to describe what it is I’m doing.  Still, all that being said, Preces Castri is a good example of the Luxoric stuff I do and have written about.  But what of the Papetic stuff, then?

Well, I’m happy to announce a new ebook for sale just for that: Preces Templi, or “Prayers of the Temple”, available through my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store for US$18!

(Yes, I did basically reuse the ring design from the write-up I did of the Royal Ring of Abrasax ritual from PGM XII.  I had a hard time trying to make a companion frontispiece like the one I used for Preces Castri, and opted for a different approach.  It makes sense in the context here, trust me.)

As with Preces CastriPreces Templi (extending the meaning of “the adyton” to “temple” more generally) is a prayerbook that I’ve written, both from scratch or composed from existing sources (mostly the Corpus Hermeticum, the Stobaean Fragments, the Nag Hammadi Codices, and the PGM), or otherwise compiled from other sources (e.g. Stoic and Neoplatonic hymns or Egyptian votive texts).  Unlike Preces CastriPreces Templi is much more pagan and polytheistic in its outlook and approach, with a heavy Hellenistic (though not necessarily Hellenic) and Greco-Egyptian flair, and may be more fitting for those who eschew purely monotheistic or Abrahamic approaches to Hermetic magic and devotional work.  To be sure, I’ve certainly shared a few such prayers on my blog previously (like here, here, or here), but again, there’s much more in here (well over 100 prayers total!) that I haven’t shared publicly before:

  • Various prayers and hymns to God from or based on the Hermetic texts or other attestations of the prayers and invocations of Hermēs Trismegistos
  • The “Epitomes of the Divine”, a series of 21 ten-line stanzas on Hermetic doctrine for use in contemplation as well as daily recital across the three ten-day decans across a single sign of the Zodiac (or across the three decamera of a lunar month) and the seven-day weeks
  • General prayers for ritual work
  • PGM invocations to Aiōn as the god of the gods
  • Hymns to the various gods of the Hellenistic/Greco-Egyptian world, including original prayers to Poimandrēs, Ammōn, and Asklēpios-Imhotep
  • Invocations of the 36 decans
  • And more!

This prayerbook is intended to be used by anyone who operates within what might be termed a “syncretic Hellenistic approach”.  Consider the overall outlook of the various rituals of the PGM: it’s an incredibly mixed bag of stuff, calling on Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, and other powers using at least as many ritual forms from such traditions, switching between what we might consider to be monotheistic, polytheistic, or henotheistic, sometimes even in the same sentence.  As opposed to a more monotheistic or Abrahamic approach, this prayerbook is more geared towards those who are more freewheeling, open to syncretism, or outright polytheistic (though, at least for the “pure Hermetic” stuff, with a focus on a hierarchical single-god-above-the-rest-of-the-gods) approach.  Again, this is only a collection of prayers, not of rituals, but those who have even an ounce of ingenuity will be able to construct or adapt these prayers to their own ritual needs, perhaps augmenting what they already have or making new rituals with them.

This prayerbook is one that I’m really proud of and one that I’m genuinely happy to have put out—so what are you waiting for?  Head over to my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store and get yourself a copy today, and I hope that these prayers serve you well in your own Work!

New ebook for sale: Preces Castri (also now using Ko-fi Shop)!

Well, that was a pleasant break, if I do say so myself.  I took two weeks off from office work that I spent alternatively playing FFXIV or tending to my shrines for my birthday, and then just spent the rest of the month relaxing and taking things easy.  Admittedly, it’s hard to get back to a normal sleep schedule, given my natural propensity to be nocturnal and yet needing to be up for such trivial things as meetings with coworkers, but oh well.  Despite the crazy astro-weather we’ve been having, I hope you all had a relaxing time, too!

First, before we get to the main topic of this post, I want to mention that I’ve slightly redesigned how I offer my ebooks and services.  Before, I had my WordPress site set up to have payments through PayPal directly through the website, but recently, Ko-fi made a new feature, Ko-fi Shops, which I’m taking advantage of for my ebooks from now on.  This way, much as with Etsy, when you purchase an ebook from my store there, you’ll get a link sent to you automatically to download the ebook rather than having to wait for me to manually send it to you over email.  In addition, I’ve stopped offering services directly through my website, and instead offer them as commissions through my Ko-fi page (just click on the “Commissions” tab on the page).  As a result, I’ve reworked the Books and Services pages on this website to reflect how you can buy these things from me going forward.  If you’re interested in getting a reading or consultation (now that I’m off hiatus and getting back to Work), or if you’re interested in my ebooks (which you should be after reading this post if you’re not already), then check out my Ko-fi page!

Also, while knowing that there’re plenty of much more worthy recipients of your generosity and charity, remember that you can always support me and my endeavors by making a charitable contribution and donation to me through Ko-fi, whether you just want it to be a once-off thing or a repeating donation.  It’s by no means obligatory, of course, but if you find yourself exceedingly grateful and generous, please consider supporting me in the various costs and fees for Ko-fi Gold, Zoom, webhosting, books, classes, and supplies I go through in the course of my work.  Every little bit helps, and I’m deeply appreciative of all that my amazing readers to for me!

With that out of the way, I’m happy to announce a new ebook for sale: Preces Castri, or “Prayers of the Castle”, available through my Ko-fi store or my Etsy store for US$18!

As many of my readers know, the past three years or so have been an incredibly productive time for me when it comes to the writing of prayers and rituals, but as my practice has shifted and changed to match where I am along my own spiritual development, I realized that not all the prayers I had been writing were as useful as I had anticipated.  To be sure, there are some I still say frequently if not daily, or use in any number of ritual practices I have, but others either fell out of favor or never found a place at all.  I still find that having written them was deeply worthwhile, but otherwise, many of these prayers are just kinda…sitting around, doing neither me nor anyone else any good.  To that end, I decided to compile many of these prayers into an ebook, a bit of my own devotional writing and meditations, for those who are interested to make good use of them, or at least better use of them than I can.

These prayers are a collection of those that I’ve written from scratch, those that have been influenced by the various Abrahamic and monotheistic religious and magical traditions that I rely on in my work, from Judaism to Islam and from Spiritism to the Arbatel.  In addition to these, there are a few prayers that I didn’t write but are so useful that I couldn’t not include them in this vademecum of over a hundred pages, consisting of more than a hundred prayers.  Some of these prayers I’ve written or composed from existing sources are those I’ve already shared on my blog previously (like here, here, here, here, or here), but there are far more have not been shared publicly before, and I think it’s high time to share at least some of the fruits of my labors.  Between them all, there are plenty of prayers for a wide variety of purposes:

  • Various prayers and hymns to God, whether for general devotions or for specific needs
  • Prayers and invocations of the archangels and guardian angel
  • Prayers to the planets
  • Prayers for the dead
  • Prayers for the seven days of the week, the four solar points of the day, and the different points of the lunar month
  • Over two dozen prayer rules for the misbaḥa (Islamic prayer beads) for different entities and purposes
  • Prayers for ritual processes, blessings, and dedications of offerings
  • And more!

This prayerbook is intended to be used by anyone who operates within a roughly monotheistic or monolatric approach to divinity;  as such, the prayers within have been heavily influenced by Abrahamic prayers, especially the rich Islamic literature of supplications and other Qur’ānic verses, giving these prayers a distinctly Islamic flavor on top of the various magical and grimoiric sources that I drew on.  For that reason, it may not be to the tastes of all my readers, especially those who want to keep away from Abrahamic influences in their magic and spirituality, but I claim that there’s enough in this collection influenced by the PGM and other pagan sources that can be used by anyone who works within a post-classical Western or European approach to magic and spirituality.  To be fair, this is only a collection of prayers, not of rituals, but those who have even an ounce of ingenuity will be able to construct or adapt these prayers to their own ritual needs, perhaps augmenting what they already have or making new rituals with them.  (And yes, I do have plenty of other prayers I’ve been writing that aren’t nearly so monotheistic or Abrahamic, appropriate for a polytheistic, Hellenic, or Hellenized Egyptian approach, but those aren’t nearly as ready for publication.)

So what are you waiting for?  Head over to my Ko-fi store or to my Etsy store and get yourself a copy today, and I hope that these prayers serve you well in your own Work!

Updates to Divination Services (also, happy 10th birthday to me!)

So, first things first: happy birthday to the Digital Ambler!  As of today, the Digital Ambler is 10 years old!  This has been a wild ride, and I honestly had no idea that this is where I’d turn up, though it’s undoubtedly better than anything I could have imagined on that winter day back during my last semester of college when I started this blog as a tributary writing project for XaTuring.  From delving deep into classical Hermetic stuff to exploring the expanse of geomancy, from researching Greco-Egyptian magic to refining any number of other magical and spiritual approaches to making our lives better, I’m thrilled to have gotten this far, and I’m even more thrilled you all have stuck around for it.  Thank you, my amazing and lovely readers, for ambling along this path with me; let’s see where our path continues to take us.

UPDATE (2020-02-10): It turns out that this is my 777th post, and I’m upset I didn’t catch that when I made it.  I would’ve made something fancier had I been more aware, but of well.  Ten years and 777 posts between them; not a bad stretch!

Anyway, now that I’ve finally caught up on sleep from the gauntlet of divination readings from last month, I’ve been reconsidering how I want to continue offer divination services, and I’ve been rethinking my services and how I want to go about them.  I’m still offering them, no worries there, but I figured it’s time to get rid of the services that I don’t use and add the ones I’ve been using more as of late.  To that end, I just wanted to put out a quick update about the divination services I provide, both here on my website’s Services page as well as on my Etsy and my Ko-fi:

I’ve added a new divination service, “Domino Reading”.  This is a form of divination I’ve been experimenting with for some time since last year, and started doing readings for others through my Ko-fi as a test for client work.  I’m happy to say that I (and my clients) have been extremely pleased with the results, and I’m happy to make it a more formal thing.  The price for a domino reading is US$21 per reading, a three-bone reading that will address the situation, what to expect, what to accept, and how to conduct yourself through actionable advice both mundane and spiritual.

For reasons that will soon become clear, I’ve renamed the “Full Geomancy Reading” to just “Geomancy Reading”.  It was just the name that was changed, with the rate being the same (US$44 per reading).

I’ve taken down the “Horary Geomancy Reading” service entirely.  This was a rarely-used service, and there honestly wasn’t much need to have this up.  This style of reading is mostly an extension of the usual geomantic method by overlaying a horary astrological chart on top of a normal geomantic chart, per the method given by Priscilla Schwei and Ralph Pestka’s The Complete Book of Astrological Geomancy.  While a fun technique, it’s a lot of extra work for not a lot of extra gain, and I’ve generally encouraged people to go with the usual geomantic style of divination anyway, so I didn’t see much of a point in keeping this up.  Besides, the geomantic methods I use are already so encompassing that throwing in a halfway-horary chart doesn’t add much further detail.

I’ve also taken down the “Mini-Divination” service entirely.  Like with the “Horary Geomancy Reading” service, it was rarely-used, and, to be completely honest, that’s probably for the best.  This was a sort of mixed dice reading, using polyhedral dice (much as one would use for tabletop RPGs a la Dungeons & Dragons) to combine grammatomancy (Greek letter divination) with a short form of geomancy.  It’s a nifty technique, and while it was useful for a nudge in the right direction, that’s all it was really good for, either as follow-ups to earlier divinations for clarity or for a quick pointer in the right direction.  In the future, I may bring something like this back as a proper grammatomancy reading, but I haven’t yet decided.  While I adore the use of grammatomancy, between geomancy and dominoes, there are just better systems to use for almost all cases in general.  For now, I’ll keep grammatomancy with astragalomancy as part of a more devotional approach to Hellenic works; if this interests you, contact me and we can see about working something out.

So, with that, I offer two forms of divination readings: Geomancy and Dominoes.  In that light, what sort of reading would be best for particular circumstances?

  • Geomancy readings are the most complete form of divination I provide, and go into depth on a particular situation, choice, or event in your life, whether making a single choice or for a whole forecast.  These can be fairly involved, but also discuss matters put to divination in depth and at length with a high level of specificity.  This is my classic form of divination that I have the most expertise and study in, and it’s rare that I would recommend anything else to top this.  Whether you want to start small or start big, starting with geomancy is always a good idea.
  • Domino readings are the closest I get to card readings, and for the price, can’t be beat as far as bang for your buck if you’re strapped for cash.  They’re fast and easy to do, and though they can get pretty in-depth, it doesn’t have the absolute specificity that geomancy provides.  Still, they can be pretty up-front (sometimes with an amazing bluntness and frankness) with the details regarding a situation, the causes of it, and how to proceed with it.  A three-bone reading is both a good prognostic as well as diagnostic tool to determine what will happen and the best way of approaching it.  The traditional rule is that one should not have more than three bones read for oneself in the space of a month, and while I’m still feeling out that rule, it sounds like a safe one to go with.  Since my style of domino reading uses three bones in a single sitting, this means that it’s best to space out your concerns—though, if we find that we can break those concerns down into several topics, we could also do one bone per concern, which still manages to get a wealth of detail and information for this.

As a reminder, I charge each reading per query, not per session or time-block; some readings can take five minutes, some take fifty or more, and while I do my best to give as much detail as necessary and as desired, I don’t like throwing in a lot of filler to waste time or bandwidth.  As a result, each reading is charged per query—but, because of that, I also dedicate some time ahead of the reading working with the client to review, understand, and (if necessary) to refine the query, both for my sake so I understand exactly what the client would like to know, but also for the client’s sake to make sure the query is clear, concise, and concrete enough while also able to touch on as much as possible.  In the case where the client has multiple concerns or queries, we can rephrase and refine the query a bit to try to cover as many bases as possible so that I can touch on or address as many concerns as possible in my report, but things that are too unrelated to our chosen approach may best be put aside for a separate reading afterwards.

Also as a reminder, how the reading process starts will differ based on what medium you get it from:

  • If you get a reading directly through my website’s Services page (with PayPal as the only payment option, but using whatever other payment options PayPal themselves provides you), I’ll reach out to you at the email address used for your PayPal account and we’ll go from there.
  • If you get a reading through my Ko-fi page (with PayPal or Stripe), put your query in the commission request box when you make the commission, and when I receive the request, I’ll send you an email at the email address used for the commission request, and we’ll go from there.   Be sure you actually make a commission and not a donation; donation messages are generally publicly visible!
  • If you get a reading through my Etsy store (with all the forms of payment that Etsy accepts), Etsy will automatically send you a PDF download “ticket” to your email address with instructions on how to contact me and with what information.  Once I receive that information from you, we’ll go from there.

As always, if you get a divination reading from me, feedback is always deeply welcomed, whether up front or after the fact, and if you feel like you have something nice to say, feel free to leave a review for me on my Facebook page or by sending me an email and letting me know you have a review you’d be okay with me sharing.  If you find that my services are undercharged, you’re always welcome to leave me a tip through my Ko-fi, whether as a once-off donation or on a monthly basis, all of which helps keep my webhosting and other tools paid for as well as keeping my services’ prices low for those who need them most.

Thank you again, everyone!

Musings after a Marathon Month of Mancy

So, funnily enough, as it turns out?  72 hour-ish-long geomancy readings, eight domino readings, four video consultations, three planetary adorations, one New Moon celebration, one consultation done for myself, and taking two online classes?  All on top of the usual full-time job (surprise, I became the lead developer of a high-profile project with low-profile resources!) with three hours of commuting three days a week, daily practice, and managing a household?  It might, just might, have been a bit too much for me to handle with my usual amount of comfort and flair.  Yet, here I am, somehow alive after it all, thanks be to God and the gods.  I’m tired, my back and arms are sore, but I managed to get all my yearly readings done (and quite a bit else) before January was out, and for that, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.  It’d be nice to have a weekend to relax, but there’s always more Work to be done—as well as a few out-of-town trips that needed making, as well.  Oh well; no rest for the wicked, I suppose.

Over the past month, I’ve done probably the most divination I’ve done in a single month’s worth of time, and this was one of the busiest and among the most challenging months I can ever recall having (as well as one where I’ve slept the least).  It’s gauntlets and marathons like this that give us a chance to learn, not just about the things we do but about ourselves, and I wanted to share some of the observations, realizations, and concessions I’ve come to terms with from all this work this past month.  To be sure, I learn more and more about geomancy with each and every chart I cast, but I want to focus on some of the bigger and broader things than mere technique.

First, and probably most practically, I don’t think I’ll be doing a special for yearly divination forecasts again.  I’ve done them for three years now, and while it’s great practice for my own divination skills and a great thing for us all to do at the start of a new year (depending, of course, on when your new year starts), and while everyone loves a good deal, let’s be honest: I don’t charge enough for my usual reading rate (US$44 per geomancy reading) to make a special worth it.  Each yearly forecast takes about 60 to 90 minutes to do, and that’s after my usual reading ritual process of preliminary preparation and prayer, to say nothing of how much it takes out of me to do such a widespread and all-encompassing reading, including typing a 2000-to-3000 word report on it individual for each person.  While the energy spent on divination isn’t exactly repayable through money, it certainly helps, that’s for sure, and…well, let’s be honest, I know I undercharge for my divination services.  I consider them fair prices for me, and I would prefer to err on the side of caution to avoid any risk of gouging my clients while also ensuring that such divination can be accessible to those who need it.  I do not claim that my prices are inherently better than others, and those who charge more often have very good and necessary reasons for doing so, and I charge what I can because I can afford doing so (this is just my side gig, with my full-time job paying the real bills) without it impacting my actual skills and ability to do the work asked of me.  I charge what I charge because I think it’s fair, and I plan to keep them fair.  If people want or feel obliged to pay more, either out of appreciation for the work done or to ensure that my prices stay low for the sake of others who need it most, then you’re always invited to tip your diviner—such as through my Ko-fi account.

So, while I won’t be doing yearly specials for this type of reading anymore, that’s not to say I won’t be doing yearly forecasts.  If you find yourself, dear reader, wanting such a forecast done for you for the new year (using whichever New Year date you choose), you’re more than welcome to book a reading with me, just at my normal rate as I would for any other query.  However, towards the end of this year (and in the future, if this year works out well), I do plan on compiling a list of all the diviners, astrologers, readers, and seers among my colleagues and those I trust and look up to who do plan on doing yearly specials, for those who are looking for something specific from another reader.  It’s something I want to try out, especially to share good business with good people.

Also, besides tipping your diviners (if they deserve it or if you feel it’s appropriate to do so) and taking note of other diviners who do good work?  It’s absolutely, super important for us to get feedback on our work we do, and it’s so rare that we ever actually get it.  Retrospective feedback is like pure gold for us, because while we always stand to learn from books or teachers, learning from experience is at least as important (and in many ways is even more so), because retrospective feedback is what helps us refine our techniques, learning what actually works in practice or what doesn’t, realizing what a given omen actually meant in retrospect, and the like.  By postdicting our predictions, we can make better predictions, and that helps us all.  In-the-moment feedback is important to us, too, because that helps us navigate the energies, flows, and currents of power and fate during the divination itself, but that’s silver to the gold of retrospective feedback.  So, be kind, rewind: after you get a divination reading from someone, and after the event or situation inquired about comes to pass, take another look at the reading you got, see what matches and what didn’t, see what was precise and what wasn’t, see what was accurate and what wasn’t, and go back to your diviner and share your results.  I promise you, they’ll be ecstatic with this, even if they fucked things up, because it’s a chance for them (and all of us) to learn and improve.

Oh, and another thing?  Reviews!  For many people, the best way to advertise is simply through word-of-mouth, or leaving a good comment about someone whose work pleased you with their skill, precision, accuracy, and approach.  I know I don’t and won’t pay for advertising (in fact, I actively pay for webhosting to keep ads off my platforms as much as possible) and would rather let my work speak for itself, but I certainly won’t mind others speaking for me, either.  Diviners are still professionals, and professionals need to be able to profess their skills, otherwise they’re no professionals; if you found that such a diviner (whether me or anyone else) did a good job, consider leaving a comment on their blog, or telling others about them.  I’m not exactly greedy for more clients, but I won’t deny that I’d like to have a few more regulars or a bit more activity in that area of my life, and reviews are great for that.  Also, not gonna lie, getting a good review really just makes us as diviners feel good, and sometimes, that makes all the difference in whether we continue practicing publicly at all.  If you’d like to leave a review for me, feel free to simply mention my website on social media, leave a review on my Facebook page, or send me an email and let me know that it’s a review that I can share on my blog (and, if I get enough of them, I may even put up a whole testimonials page to collect them all).

As for getting more clients and business along the lines of divination, I think it’d be good, but the past month…well, it was hell for me to get all the work done on time.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t already working a full-time job, but as it is, and given how much else I get up to, this month has really impressed upon me that (a) more people actually come to me for divination than I anticipated and (b) my time is far more limited and constrained than I had thought, and I had been taking the flexibility of my schedule for granted.  While it was great to do four or six divination readings a day, it got old real fast when it was day after day of it while also trying to juggle household affairs and work concerns, both of which took a hit due to the time and energy I couldn’t devote to them as I should, along with the stability and quality of my sleep.  This marathon month of μαντεια showed me that, barring making this my full-time job (which would necessitate a significant price increase to make ends meet) instead of my stable software engineering job, that I just can’t do this kind of work at this rate, and that I need to both throttle the work I do as well as get better at scheduling it.  In the future, I plan to limit myself to 10 to 12 divination readings, consultations, or other client tasks a week, depending on what else is going on, compared to the 16 or more I was doing this past month.  There is a possibility that this may increase wait times for some clients, but I already specify an up-to-two-week turnaround time for my services, which I was (somehow) able to keep up with this month (and January is my absolute busiest month for divination readings), so I think that this possibility is fairly small in reality.

Something else I’ve learned is that, as it turns out, I do a lot of typing.  (Surprising, I know.)  In the past month, I’ve banged out about 80 divination reports on top of all the other notetaking, programming, and writing I do, and that adds up to about 160,000 words—far more than even what I typed out for my Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration thesis-length blog project last summer (only about 100,000 words).  My arms, wrists, and hands are tired, y’all, and I’m starting to feel the pains of work and pangs of age the more I do this, especially since my full-time job is already so heavily typing-based.  I’ve been using a standard 104-key mechanical keyboard this whole time, a sturdy and lovely thing, but it was getting to the point where I had to take more breaks than ever between typing/divination sessions, and that only slowed me down further.  With the proceeds from all these divinations, I splurged and got myself a nice split-keyboard for ergonomic and power-computing use; although it’s taken me some getting used to using it, typing feels so much better and more relaxing, which is only a good thing for me. For those who are interested, it’s the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, which some of my more technologically-inclined friends might have seen ads for online on various social media platforms.  This is, hands down, the most elegant, amazing, and productive bit of computer input technology I have ever had the pleasure of using, and though it costs a pretty penny (especially with some of the add-ons which are still in development), I am super, super happy that I got this thing.  Not only does typing no longer hurt, but I can do so much more right from the (eminently and easily customizable) keyboard that I couldn’t do with my old keyboard.  (I do miss having a separate numpad, and I’ve been having a hell of a time replacing that, but I can still just use extra inputs on this “60%” keyboard as it is without it just fine, even though that too takes getting used to.)  If you’re interested in one of the finest and well-made keyboards out there, whether or not you need it for ergonomic reasons, then this is the keyboard to use.  (Also, despite my love for the clacky-style Blue mechanical switches, I decided to go with Brown switches for this keyboard.  It turns out that, even though I love the sound and feel of banging out words like several machine guns going off at once, it’s somewhat more annoying for my coworkers, clients, and interviewers who have to listen to it on phone calls or recordings.  Brown switches still feel nice, at least, and have a much calmer sound.)

Switching gears from logistic and physical concerns, there were a bunch of other spiritual realizations that I made, too, during this month that affects or enhances my divination practice.  Probably the best lead-in to this is how truly fundamental daily practice is for me.  Yes, I’ve harped on it before for years now, as have countless other magicians, Jason Miller of Strategic Sorcery among them, but having a daily practice really is the bedrock of a magical and spiritual life, and if you don’t have that, then you’re building on sand.  For me, my daily practice is my anchor-point for the day, and I have a rule about it: if I don’t do my daily practice, I cannot do anything else spiritual for the day.  I mean, consider: if I skip my daily practice because I’m so fatigued or so unwell to not be able to do 40 to 60 minutes of meditation and prayer, then I necessarily don’t have the energy or health to do anything else, right?  And if I don’t have time to do my daily practice, then I must likewise not have time to do anything else on top of that that day.  Otherwise, if I have the energy and if I have the time, then I have no reason to not do my daily practice, and if I can’t manage my daily practice out of sheer laziness, then I have no business trying to claim anything else that day, because I don’t feel appropriate working for others if I don’t do the work I need to do for my own well-being and spiritual maintenance.  My daily practice is essential for everything else I do, and even if I use some of the same prayers in divination readings as I do in my daily practice, my divination readings are not part of my daily practice, yet still build on it.  I feel like this is a good rule to have for those who need to stick to a daily practice and have other things planned, like divination readings, consultations, conjurations, or the like, and it’s one I force my students to keep, too.

Related to prayers, doing all these divination readings day after day has been a wonder for three other things:

  • Memorizing prayers.  I have a particular ritual process that uses several prayers that I precede and conclude divination with, and though some of them I’ve memorized, there were others that I was struggling to for the longest time.  Doing this same ritual day after day after day, saying the same prayers day after day after day, has finally helped me to memorize them without dedicating extra time just for memorization, because I’m still engaging in repetition of the same prayers.
  • Hygiene.  As part of that ritual process, I precede everything with ablution, which for me is flossing/brushing my teeth, saying a prayer, washing my hands and arms and face and feet, and then concluding with another prayer.  I like going into spiritual work cleaned from physical concerns or worldly “dust”, since this helps me focus better on the work to be done.  Yes, I start every day with a thorough ablution (i.e. a shower), but if it’s been more than a trivial amount of time between that and doing divination or other ritual work, or if I’ve had to get significantly involved in worldly or decidedly non-spiritual stuff, I perform a lesser ablution as above to reset and refresh myself.  More than that, though, doing divination for so many people in succession is itself…I don’t want to say dirtying or sullying, but such frequent ablution helps keep me going without getting too dragged down in a spiritual morass.  I did, of course, also finish up the month with a full spiritual bath on top of ablution to really reset myself, and I probably should have been taking weekly baths during the month to keep myself cleaner and fresher than I was, so I’ll make a note of that for future times when I’m swamped with divination work.  All that said, my teeth have never been so clean, and my dentist would be proud.  However, I was guided by my HGA to focus especially on my eyes and mouth when doing pre-divination ablution for the obvious spiritual symbolism: clarity of vision to see, purity of speech to communicate.  Ablutions, too, can be tweaked for broader spiritual purposes.
  • Anointing with oil.  Though it’s not an essential part of my divinatory ritual process, I do like anointing myself with a special oil prior to engaging in divination.  Though I could certainly just use holy oil, I rather prefer to use Quadrivium Oil‘s special Vision oil, currently only available as an alcohol-based spray.  Quadrivium is one of my oldest colleagues in the Work, and her oils have been a mainstay of parts of my practices for years, and her Vision blend (which I helped test for her back in the day!) is a wonder for me.  While it’s not necessary for me to use it, I greatly enjoy doing so and enjoy the boost it gives me.  Also, it turns out that anointing myself with this oil day after day after day, combining it with my usual anointing prayers, doesn’t just help me with divination skills, but has also had rather interesting effects on the quality, frequency, and semantic content of my dreams, too.  That was a side effect I hadn’t anticipated, but which I’m happy about all the same.

Something I want to remind people about when it comes to yearly readings specifically, and all forecast-type readings generally, is that forecasts are just that: forecasts, descriptions of high-level trends that cover some specified length of time.  While super big things that are planned to happen during that timeframe can likely be described or accounted for in forecasts, in general, it’s not a good idea to read too much into forecasts, especially long forecasts that extend over a month, and definitely like those that go on for a year or more.  A number of clients this year had super-specific queries that they wanted investigated in the yearly chart, and I had to remind some of them that a yearly forecast only reliable describes high-level, long-term influences that describe the year as a whole, and trying to read specific things into that is clumsy and misguided at times.  This isn’t to say that I can’t and don’t get super-specific with these forecasts, as many of my clients can attest, but the specificity of abstract trends is not the same thing as the specificity of concrete events.  When in doubt, if you’ve got something actually specific to ask, it’s better to get a separate reading to investigate that.  That goes not only for forecast-type readings, but for any other reading, too, depending on how many things you want to know.  I know that some geomancers, especially of an Arabic or Persianate bent, feel confident in reading all sorts of unrelated queries from a single querent within the one and same chart, but that’s not an approach I feel comfortable doing, not because I can’t, but because I find that there’s just too much crosstalk in a chart that’s put to too many queries at once.  Rather than having to sift through the crosstalk, I find it easier and cleaner to just do one chart per query, which also increases the reliabilty of the readings, in my opinion.  I do try to work with the querent to reframe and rephrase their queries so that it covers everything they want to know as much as is possible, given the mechanics and techniques of geomancy at my disposal, but sometimes, some queries are just so unrelated that they’re best broken out into separate charts.

Along those same lines, I want to also emphasize that it’s so often important for us as diviners to understand the context of the query, not just what the querent is asking with their communicated words, but how and why they’re communicating it, as well.  While some diviners make a point of having the querent not ask their query as a proof of the diviner’s own psychic ability (or ability to read between the lines along with body language), I don’t make the claim that I’m outright psychic.  (I mean, I reasonably could, but I don’t.)  So much of the divination I do is done online by email or over Zoom or Skype, and it’s hard to get a good read on the immediate energetic feel for people without spending a lot more time and energy than I want to to tune in; I find it easier to rely on the words themselves, especially because geomancy is such a literal oracle: as opposed to other divination systems that answer the query you should be asking, whether or not you phrased it that way, geomancy answers exactly the query you ask, no more and no less.  Although there are some styles of divination where you let the oracle speak for itself as it answers a query only it knows, I don’t find geomancy to be one of those oracles, and I find it helpful for us geomancers to have a reasonably complete understanding of the query, not only so that we know exactly what the querent wants to know, but also so that we know what techniques to use and what to look for in the chart going into the divination.  Besides, there was one time earlier this past month (not using geomancy, I might add, and trying to use a more context-free form of divination) where I got burned by not really spending as much time as I otherwise have done with the querent in understanding what was going on leading up to the reading.  The reading was still eminently helpful, but my manner of delivery was shit and ended up hurting more than I wanted it to.  It was all sorted out in the end, but I still feel bad about that.  Knowing more of the context and reading more between the lines would have prevented that, and it’s a lesson I won’t soon forget.

And that leads to perhaps my biggest and most important realization about divination: divination is an act of intimacy.  In fact, I consider it one of the most interpersonally intimate things we can do as human beings with spiritual capacity.  Normally we consider physical sex to be the height of physical intimacy—the nudity and literally baring it all before someone else, letting them feel you from the inside, letting them know what makes you tick and pulse—but consider that divination goes so much further beyond that.  With divination, a querent lets me see their past, their present, and their future; with divination, a querent lets me see their hopes and dreams, their fears and anxieties, their envies and jealousies; with divination, a querent lets me see them more fully, even through a glass darkly, more than any parent, any doctor, any lover ever could.  It’s because of this intimacy that both diviner and querent need to take care, the diviner to keep a good measure of distance to avoid bias as well as spiritual pollution or contamination from the querent, and the querent to find a diviner they trust with finding out anything (or everything) about them.  This is why it’s so important for diviners to learn to keep readings confidential, just as lovers wouldn’t blab about the kinks of their partners or the lushness of their genitals, just as doctors wouldn’t gossip about the hilarious or depressing health problems their patients get into, just as parents wouldn’t air the dirty laundry of their children to the world.  Divination is intimate, and I’m somewhat embarrassed I’m only just now realizing the full import of how this intimacy truly takes form.  In that light, I want to extend my deepest appreciation and thanks to each and every one of my querents and clients for allowing me to divine for them, for trusting me to take care of them when and how they need care.  Thank you.

Alright, that’s enough for one night; it’s time to relax, especially after two separate out-of-town trips and another online lecture taken care of this past weekend.  Haha, just kidding; I’ve got plenty more to take care of this week, but at least things are going to ease up a bit, and I’m going to do my best to make sure things stay good and proper for me as much as it is my clients.  But I am definitely going to call out one day soon for a well-deserved trip to the local Korean spa and bathhouse.