Search Term Shoot Back, August 2015

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 August 2015.

“how do we summon spirit astaroth to appear physically” — Carefully.  Summoning a spirit, whether to physical manifestation or just to spiritual presence, is no joke, and takes a lot of practice, study, and dedication.  Summoning a spirit to physical manifestation is even less of a joke and something that, as I see it, is nearly never necessary.  It’s all well and good if you can pull it off, but I see it as a kind of bragging right if you can do it; it requires strict fasting, serious self-empowerment, a good relationship with the spirit, intent focus on the ritual, and a huge expense of energy that…honestly, most people can’t afford and have no need to spend.  If you can do it, great!  If not, don’t worry.  So long as you can bring them in enough contact so you can communicate and perceive them, you’re doing what you need to do.  Anything more is cool.

“big cork anal prison” — Nope.

“runes that look like sigils” — I’m not sure what your idea of “sigil” means here.  To me, a sigil is a symbol that refers to some concept, word, name, entity, or intent that has been graphically encoded through a mechanical means, such as through a qamea sigil or a sigil wheel or simple combination of letters.  Seals, on the other hand, are symbols that refer to some concept, word, etc. that are obtained or revealed directly from a spirit, and are not generated through any conscious process.  Many people use the terms interchangeably, though I find the distinction helpful in my work.  So, sigils can take many forms, but runes are more or less fixed with a few variations based on era and geographic origin.  Perhaps you mean the system of bindrunes, a ligature (or, I suppose, letter-combination sigil) of two or more runes?

“crystal ball uses” — Crystal balls have many uses, and some of their more common uses are seen everywhere in our culture.  However, I’d like to go over some of the more arcane uses that only the most dedicated crystal users might consider applying crystal balls for, as it’s not always apparent how to do so.  Paperweight.  Decoration in a fountain.  Regift for a new age friend.  Drain stopper.  Candle snuffer.  Meat tenderizer.  Foot/back massager.  Game piece.  Cosplay costume component.  Laser light scatterer.  Blunt trauma weapon.  Anal bead/ben-wa ball.  Body modification implant.  Dough spreader.

“oil lamps less soot” — I wrote a post on how to use oil lamps for great effect in home and ritual, but a few points probably need restating for clarity.  There are several ways you can use an oil lamp with less soot: trim the wick before using it so that all the worst charred parts of it are removed, keep the wick low enough so that you have a big enough flame without it trying to use too much fuel at once, use a clean and pure wick made of natural cellulose or linen with no chemical additives, use clean and pure oil with few chemical (natural or artificial) additives.  Mineral oil tends to be good, but that’s because it tends to be pretty neutral in most respects, as well; olive oil would produce some soot due to its natural compounds, but the higher grade the oil, the better quality flame you’ll get.

“how should fiery wall of protection oil be applied to home” — Different traditions and practices will tell you different things, and even within a tradition, you may have different ways to apply oil for different oils.  For me, I apply Fiery Wall of Protection oil in a small cross on every threshold or lintel in the house: everywhere there’s a gate, doorway, or windowsill that leads to another room or to the outside, I put the oil towards the top and center of that threshold.  If I’m going all out, I’ll also anoint all doorknobs, latches, air vents, drains, and the like just to cover every possible means of ingress or egress from the house.  Alternatively, you could use a five-spot pattern (a dab on each corner and once in the middle) on every window and door, or anoint four large iron spikes (railroad spikes are perfect) and nail them into the ground at the four corners of your house.  The possibilities are endless!

“working with seals of iupiter in virgo” — Assuming you’re working with the Pentacles of Jupiter from the Key of Solomon (book I, chapter 18), I’d go with the consecration instructions given for each pentacle.  Mind you, Jupiter is weak in Virgo (detriment), as he’s opposite his domicile sign of Pisces, so Jupiter isn’t particularly happy about being there.  However, if the pentacle was well-made at a time good for it (day and hour of Jupiter at a minimum), then I’d think it’d be good to use whenever with little change in effect otherwise.  Thus, I wouldn’t want to make anything particularly under the planet Jupiter while he’s in Virgo, unless I really needed his specific influence where no other planet or means of obtaining something could work; in other words, unless it’s an emergency that only Jupiter and nothing else can fix, I’ll probably look elsewhere for help.  The same goes for any Jupiterian working.  Mind you, Jupiter spends just under a year, give or take a few weeks, in each sign.

“how do you spell your name in angelic script?” — First, note that nearly all forms of “angelic script” tend to be different 1-to-1 ciphers (or “fonts”) of Hebrew script; Celestial Hebrew, Malachim, Passing the River, and Paracelsus’ Magi script all follow this trend.  Thus, although these might be considered alphabets, they follow the same rules and have the same number of letters as Hebrew does.  To that end, you’d want to first learn how to spell your name in Hebrew, then use your preferred angelic script.  The big exception to this is Enochian, which was transmitted to John Dee and, although it claims to be an original proto-Hebrew Adamic language, follows the same rules as English spelling and grammar of his day.  However, Enochiana, although technically angelic, tends to be in a whole different field than the rest of the angelic stuff, and may not correspond semantically to other types of angelic work.

“ancient human giant cocks” — As I like to say, there’s nothing new under the sun; I claim that humanity has been pretty much the same today since the dawn of civilization or the dawn of language, if not the dawn of humanity itself some 60,000 years ago.  Sure, we have newer things to play with, complicated systems we’ve engineered, and a variety of abstract philosophies to lose ourselves in, but we’re still fundamentally the same.  This goes for penis size, too; I can’t seem to find any information on historical penis size, but I assume they’re more or less the same size today as they were for ancient humans.  If anything, penis sizes are probably, on average, larger today than they were in earlier eras; several cultures of the past considered smaller penises to be ideal, as they’d cause less vaginal/anal stretching and, thus, less tearing in sensitive tissue, which would lead to fewer rates of infection; similarly, huge cocks were something reserved for the gods, and even then, only in a sense of comical debauchery or intimidation (cf. guardposts with an ithyphallic Pan).  As we’ve gotten better about hygienic practices, internal tearing due to getting on a huge dick hasn’t been as much a concern, so there’s a little more bias now towards going for guys with bigger cocks, and if that’s genetic, then there’s a slight evolutionary trend for more well-endowed guys.

“how to conjure smaller angels” — Use a smaller triangle.

“what do occultists think of the kybalion” — Different occultists will give you different opinions.  Some occultists love it for its own virtue, some love it because it’s a “gateway text” that gets people into heavier and more interesting forms of occultism.  I personally detest the thing and would rather see all copies of it used for toilet paper.  It’s not Hermetic, despite what it claims, as its points and “axioms” are distinctly modern, and instead have its origins in the 19th century New Thought movement.  All of its major points and cosmological theories are either derived from modern New Thought stuff, or are only tangentially and convolutedly connected to actual Hermetic teachings.  I honestly find it to be a waste of paper and ink, and as its usually one of the first texts newbies encounter in the occult (for one unfortunate reason or another), it can lead to some really messed up ideas that ill-prepare them for serious education in Hermeticism.

“how to bless my pentacle in santeria” — Oh, honey.  You are doing everything so wrong.  You don’t; further, you don’t even, do you?  Because I can’t.

Search Term Shoot Back, November 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 November 2014.

“wicks for middle eastern oil lamp” — Honestly, for those little clay, metal, or terracotta lamps you find from the Middle East, the best type of wicks are those you make yourself from a cotton ball.  Every cotton ball is actually a tiny roll of cotton; simply unroll it into a flat-ish sheet, then roll it again tightly lengthwise like a dreadlock.  Stick it into the spout of the lamp, soak in oil for five minutes before lighting, and boom, you have yourself a perfectly good wick.  Follow the rest of the rules for oil lamps here.

“seven sphere rufus opus”, “‘seven spheres’ opus”, “seven spheres rufus opus”, “rufus opus seven spheres”, “seven spheres by rufus opus” — Yes, Fr. Rufus Opus (my instructor, who is not me) released a book this month, “Seven Spheres” by Nephilim Press.  It is an awesome book (that I did not write).  You should totally buy it from him (who is not me).  I have my copy that I’m working through, and it’s truly an awesome text.

“cinnamon powder spell benefits to sprinkle in four corners” — I don’t know of any, myself, but cinnamon is used to sweeten things up, as well as bring prosperity and joy into one’s life; given its connections to the Sun (cassia and Saigon cinnamon are a little spicier and given to Mars), it also has some mildly protective benefits in magic.  Some ideas for sprinkling cinnamon in this fashion would be to do so in an hour of Jupiter in the day of the Sun, praying for prosperity and happiness to fill up your home, hearth, and house, that all rooms in the house and all places on the property be blessed with the grace of the Lord.  Simple stuff like that, perhaps also setting a white candle dressed in cinnamon oil in each room.

“how to relate question to geomancy houses” — The twelve houses of geomancy are the same twelve houses in astrology.  You, as the querent, have a query to ask.  That query has a topic.  Find the house that best relates to that topic: e.g., if marriage then house VII, if children then house V, if job then house X, if curses then house XII, etc.  It really doesn’t get any simpler than that.  If your query doesn’t have a topic, then you don’t have a query.  If your query can be associated with several houses equally, then inspect each of those houses.  Take your time.  There is no rush to ask a question of geomancy.  Make sure your query is clear, concise, and concrete enough for you to handle instead of being vague, complicated, and abstract.

“tetractys divination” — This is an idea I’ve been experimenting with, using the Tetractys (especially in mathesis) for divination.  I haven’t yet found a suitable way to do so, but there are opportunities here I may not be looking at yet.  My idea would be to use two ten-sided dice (2d10) from a tabletop gaming set, with the 0-9 die given to “answer #1” (where you’re coming from, where you’re based out of, past experiences) and the 00-90 die given to “answer #2” (where you’re headed to, what you need to become, future experiences).  The number on each die could be associated with one of the ten sphairai on the Tetractys, such that if I rolled a 3 and a 50, that’d indicate the sphairai of Fire and of Salt, respectively, indicating that it’s time for me to reduce myself from pure action in the world to a base of nothing, to burn out completely, to focus on the substance that keeps me burning rather than focusing on the results of acting.  That kind of thing.  It’s a side project, but one that could be useful.

“penis growth curse” — …is this really a curse? I mean, usually you’d want to shrink or remove the penis as an effective curse, which is actually a cultural phenomenon in Africa known as koro.  People actually get killed for being accused as wizards or witches there who shrink or disappear away men’s penises, so this is a pretty big thing, but cursing a penis to get bigger?  Dude, that’s like a fetish of everyone who likes penises, especially their own, unless you’re talking about something so big that it’d crush cars.  Even then, there’s a fetish for that, too (hyper and/or macro).

“huge dick images.” — You won’t find any of those on this blog, sadly; I may be a little colorful with my vocabulary, but nothing here is generally NSFW.  I do make the “big anointed wand” joke occasionally, though.

“how to use elohim gibor in prayer” — Technically, you don’t.  From my point of view, you let him use you.  Elohim Gibor (lit. “Strong God”) is one of the names of God, associated in Western qabbalistic practice to the sephirah of Geburah and thus to the planet Mars.  I’ve used this name when working with a martial aspect of God or when working with martial spirits who respond to this name of God.  However, the process is the same otherwise as with any other name of God: you seek the aid of God for his blessing, grace, guidance, and protection that his will be done and not your own lest it be in accordance with his, that you work with the authority of God that God may work through you, etc. etc.  So, really, the answer to this turns out like that Soviet Russia joke, with Elohim Gibor using you.  Beyond that, gematrialize it, intone it, contemplate it, meditate on it, calligraphy it, and whatever else you want to use to figure the name out.

“rufus opus review” — Dude’s cute but in a relationship, also straight, so I typically don’t have my eye out for him like that.  He’s charismatic, for sure, especially once he’s got a few whiskeys in him.

“do males born on a leo/virgo cusp have big dicks” and also “do guys born on a leo/virgo cusp have big penises like greek god hermes” — I’m not surprised I got these searches (again), though I am surprised that they came apart several days away from each other.  Either this is one very concerned searcher, or two separate searchers who have similar tastes and problems.  Hermes, if you look at his Homeric Hymn, would actually be born sometime around the end of Pisces or the start of Aries (a few days after the third New Moon after the winter solstice), and he’s not generally the most sexualized of the gods (though he has his own thing going on), and isn’t exactly a god of giant endowments.  Then again, he might be totally the god to go to if you have a koro curse to enact on someone, which would be hilarious for everyone except those who’d get killed in Africa for it, so I dunno.

“geomancy blog” — While this blog covers many topics, I do occasionally write about geomancy.  A while ago, I wrote a 20-post series on geomancy that covers each of the 16 figures in depth and at length along with four aspects of geomantic technique. the I even wrote a translation of a medieval text on geomancy, which is available on my Etsy that you should check out!  Spread the word, check it out, and I hope it helps.

“congo men biggest cocks” — Since I’ve never slept with someone from the Congo region of Africa, I can’t say whether this is true or not. Also, seriously, I know the US had two federal holidays this past month, but if having two extra days off (for only a percentage of the population here, mind you) gets you that hot and bothered that I’m getting a higher than average hit count for people looking for giant pictures of dicks or for people with giant dicks, I seriously question why you’re using Google and WordPress and not Grindr or Scruff.  Tumblr’s where I go to get my porn, generally speaking, so you might also check that out.

“material used in summoning a spirit” — Technically speaking, you don’t need anything material to summon a spirit; intent, prayer, and a mental connection are all you strictly need.  Some people do a bit of centering prayer to contact a spirit, some people go to their astral temples, and other people just see them, flag them down, and have a conversation with them.  That said, many people (including myself) find it extraordinarily useful to have material tools, for which I suggest a scrying medium (e.g. crystal ball, glass of water, mirror), a summoning platform (e.g. Triangle of Art, Table of Practice), a tool of will (wand or knife or dominant index finger), a few candles, some appropriate incense, and the usual stuff.  Again, none of it is strictly needed, but it helps.

“books on loan from australian libraries about hinese and japanese astrology specifically nine star ki” — I know literally nothing about any of these these things.  I am definitely not an Australian library, nor have I ever been to one nor gotten a book out on loan from one. I’ve talked about these things exactly zero times on my blog or my Twitter.  Why did Google lead you here.  I apologize.

“adherent bandage and jelq” — For those who don’t know, jelqing is a method some men use to increase their penis size (both length and girth) by forcing more blood than normal into it with an extra-firm grip, using an almost udder-milking technique.  The jury’s out on whether this works, but I’ve heard good things with it, so long as you keep at it regularly like any workout; the idea is that you’ll slowly stretch the blood cavities in the soft tissue of the shaft, which allows it to hold more blood when you get an erection, which means getting a bigger hardon.  It’s not recommended for everyone, and there are definitely unsafe ways to do this.  Since you’re forcing more blood into the cock than normally goes in, if you have a cut or scrape or other wound on it that requires a bandage, you really really shouldn’t be handling it that roughly, if at all.  But then, who am I kidding, if you’re already into jelqing then you’re probably not looking to play by all the rules.

“do quadrivium.oils work” — Absolutely!  Some of my favorite oils comes from Quadrivium Supplies, and I’m a big fan of her work.  She charges a pretty reasonable amount for pretty powerful magical oils, and occasionally stocks some other useful and interesting supplies.  By all means, take a look; this time of the year, she has some good sales going on, so have at!

“san lazaro bead pattern” — San Lazaro, more commonly known in English as Saint Lazarus, can be a bit confusing for some people, since there are two Lazaruses in the Bible.  One is Saint Lazarus of Bethany, the brother of Mary and Martha and the one who was raised by Jesus Christ from the dead after being in his tomb for four days.  The other is…well, he has no formal appellation, just “Lazarus” from the parable of Jesus known as “The Rich Man and Lazarus”, from the Gospel of Luke.  San Lazaro kinda merges these two Lazari, mostly from the second, and is often depicted as a beggar covered in sores, walking on crutches, and licked upon by dogs.  He’s syncretized with the orisha Babaluaye, the orisha of illness, poverty, death, and the like.  However, there are many paths or aspects to San Lazaro, each possessing their own name, focus, and bead pattern for their elekes.  While you should always go to your local olorisha or Santero/a for real information, you can find some information online that may not be as trustworthy.

“hermes/mercury and legba” — They’re all pretty cool guys who don’t afraid of anything.  However, they are not the same entity, and you’d do well to take heed of that.  Hermes is Greek, Mercury is Roman; these two basically grew up together, with Mercury being solidly based on Hermes (the name “Mercurius” literally means “god of the merchants” and isn’t a native Roman god).  Legba is one of the variants of the name Eleggua, the childlike trickster and messenger of the crossroads who opens the ways.  Yes, they both preside over crossroads, messages, pranks, children, medicines, and many other things, but there are also important differences, too.  Legba, specifically, indicates more of a Haitian variant from Vodou, which has its own means of contacting Legba than Santería does Eleggua.  I highly suggest against conflating Legba with another crossroads gods, especially from a white or European culture.

On Using an Oil Lamp

Not that long ago, one of my good friends and colleagues Ahmadi Riverwolf (who also founded Bones and Stars, the paranormal investigation and spiritual consulting group I’m in), gifted me with something rather nice and unique: an old fashioned terra cotta oil lamp.  Bless her heart, she didn’t know what it was for and had been using it as an incense burner for years.  She had been cleaning out her house one day and found this old thing, then decided to give it to me.  I practically came with excitement over it.

Once I got it and finished cleaning it out from the old incense remains, I decorated it a bit, writing on certain prayers and symbols and…well, kinda left it unused.  I mean, who the hell uses oil lamps anymore?  They’ve been out of vogue generally in the Western world since the eletrification of both urban and rural areas, and the really old style of oil lamp like this one is best known to be used in the antique and classical Mediterranean and Middle East.  I’ve never seen references to oil lamps being used outside of the Greek Magical Papyri, if that gives you any indication of how old these things are, but I know that lamps hold a special significance in many religious and spiritual communities beyond simply acting as a source of light or a spot of remembrance.  To that end, I did some research, experimented with the use of oil lamps, and now I find it to be an invaluable addition to my ritual toolset.  Here are some guidelines and suggestions I’ve found out and read on for using an oil lamp like this, both generally and for ritual use.

On the lamp:

  • There’s usually at least two holes on the lamp: one for the wick at the spout or nozzle of the lamp, and one on the main chamber to fill the oil.  Don’t get the two confused.
  • Some oil lamps can be suspended with chains.  Be careful when you suspend them that they’re held in a stable position, won’t be bumped into, and won’t set the ceiling or its support on fire.
  • When setting the lamp down on a surface, be sure that it’s heat-proof or has something to insulate the lamp.  Although the lamp itself shouldn’t get hot, try to use precautionary measures whenever you can.
  • Many traditional oil lamps from the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East have religious designs on them, usually a Chi-Rho logogram or a Hebrew seven-branched menorah.  Pick one that suits your faith, or find one that has a generic design if you don’t want an overly religious lamp.
  • If you’re using an old lamp, make sure it’s clean by washing it with rock salt and rubbing alcohol, shaking the salt around inside.  Rinse well with clean water.
  • Newer lamps, such as those from the Victorian and 1900s, often have a glass chimney to keep the flame safe from wind as well as to keep it contained, as well as to collect soot.  Some chimneys are decorative and have shaded or frosted glass; try to use clear glass chimneys so you can see the flame clearly, if at all.  I recommend not using chimneys, personally, or lamps that use them.
  • Feel free to embellish and decorate your lamp!  Write spells, words of power, prayers, or characters of particular entities on the lamp using heat-safe paint or permanent marker.  I suggest the Orphic Hymn to Fire (Aither) in Greek, personally, but it’s up to you.
  • Many of these lamps are made of terra cotta or ceramic.  Be careful with them, since they can break fairly easily.  Bronze and metal lamps are more resistant to damage, but not by much.
  • Old oil lamps are meant to be low and shallow, not the long and large ones known from more recent centuries which use fast-moving oil.  Oil lamps with long, elaborately curved nozzles aren’t really meant to be used and are likely to be merely decorative.

On the wick:

  • Unless you have a wick holder that can be inserted into the lamp, just push the wick into the nozzle while twisting it.  It’ll go in easily enough either way, insert or no.
  • You don’t need fancy wicks from a craft store for the lamp; cotton balls work fine.  Most cotton balls are actually rolled up, so if you unroll them you get a large fluffy “sheet” of cotton.  Roll this between your hands into a thick strand of cotton.  You have a wick!  One large cotton ball can be rolled into a long enough strand to produce two wicks easily, maybe three if you’re being stingy.
  • For a brighter flame, soak the wicks in strong salt water thoroughly, then let dry.  The sodium makes the flame burn a brighter yellow.  Try experimenting with other mineral or metal salts to get the wick to burn different colors, such as green, red, blue, or white, but be careful of any noxious fumes these might produce.
  • Instead of using cotton balls, use low thread count natural fabric.  The plus of this is that you can write incantations or signs on the fabric which will burn with the lamp as the oil flows through it.
  • The purer and cleaner the wick, the less soot it’ll produce.  Try to use 100% clean cotton, linen, or hemp whenever possible, and never use synthetic fabrics.
  • Put the wick in before the oil, and let the wick sit in the oil for at least five minutes before burning.  The wick needs to soak up enough oil so that it can start burning the oil immediately instead of burning down the wick.
  • Clip the most burnt part of the wick off with scissors before igniting the oil lamp again.
  • If the wick is too long and too far away from the oil reservoir, it won’t be able to draw oil up fast enough to burn at the edge of the wick.  Be sure the wick is close enough to the nozzle spout to prevent overburn of the wick.

On the oil:

  • Be sure to not overfill the lamp with oil.  Fill the lamp until it’s between 3/4 and 5/6 full; you may need to test out proper measures by filling it up with water and seeing how much water you put in with a measuring glass.
  • You can use olive oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil, or even liquified ghee for the lamp if you want, but I prefer pure olive oil.  You don’t need to burn extra virgin olive oil unless you’re rich and insist on basically burning your money away.  Mineral oil might also be good to use (and is just about mandatory in Victorian era oil lamps), but olive oil is traditional.  Vegetable oil tends to smell bad and leaves residues that need to be cleaned out, but can be used in a pinch.
  • The purer the oil, the less soot it’ll produce.  Try to use clean oil whenever possible, and keep the flame away from walls or pictures so that soot doesn’t build up on them.  Unless, of course, you want to collect lampblack for making other things, which is totally doable and preferred from an oil lamp.
  • The purer the oil, the less residue it’ll produce on your walls and the room you use the lamp in.  A small amount of residue is unavoidable, but using cheap and dirty oil will leave a distinctly greasy feeling in the air and on the walls.  Either keep the windows open or expect to have to repaint the room in a few years when your rent is up.

On the flame:

  • Although the flame burns the oil, it also slowly burns away the wick, too.  Use tongs or tweezers to pull the wick up and down to manage both the size of the flame as well as how big the flame becomes; the more wick is out, the bigger the flame gets.
  • The smaller the flame is, the longer the fuel will last.  Big flames not only use more oil, but also burn more of the wick up.
  • The bigger the flame is, the faster it’ll produce soot.  Burn the wick at a low flame to prevent a notable trail of soot from rising from the flame.
  • Never leave an open flame unattended.  Obvi.
  • Keep the flame away from flammable substances and surfaces.  Duh.
  • When putting out the flame, use a candle snuffer or a clamp that can close around the burning part of the wick completely.  Do not blow the flame out, since this can blow parts of the wick away onto the surrounding area (which themselves might have enough oil in them to still be on fire).

On ritual use:

  • Before making use of the oil lamp in rituals, figure out how much oil you need to last for a certain amount of time.  Fill the lamp appropriately with a measured amount of oil, let the wick soak, light the wick, and adjust the flame to get a decent height, then time how long it takes for the oil to be used up completely.  Small amounts of oil are okay for short rituals, so long as as the wick is soaked in oil enough to be lit.  In my experience, a 1.5″ flame using 3 tablespoons of oil takes about three hours to burn up.
  • Most Renaissance magic calls for the use of candles and not oil lamps; consequently, I can’t find any Renaissance or Hermetic consecrations for an oil lamp or a flame burning upon one.  A Catholic blessing of fire might be used when lighting the lamp if you want to go a Christian devotional route.  For the more magically inclined, the conjuration of the fire from the Heptameron or the Trithemius conjuration ritual, both of which use variants of the conjuration of fire for incense from the Key of Solomon (book II, chapter 10), can be used as well if not better.  You might also adapt the consecration of candles from the Key of Solomon (book II, chapter 12) for consecrating the lamp itself as well as the oil and wick to be burned.  One of these days, I might experiment with writing up my own and sharing it.
  • Many parts of the PGM specify a lamp “that has not been colored red” (PGM I.262, inter alia).  This is because one of the colors of Set or Seth-Typhon is red, and many parts of the PGM didn’t particularly want to call on him through the use of his colors or symbols.  When painting a lamp, be sure to use only red ink or paint when working with this destructive god; otherwise, use black or any other color if possible.
  • For rituals, experiment by adding in magical oils into the fuel.  You don’t need much; if you normally use 2 tablespoons of olive oil, use 1 3/4 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 tablespoon magical oil.  This can be useful for specific rituals, or you can just mix olive oil with holy oil and use that as a general consecrated light. Be careful when burning magical oils; not all magical oils are made from natural ingredients, and some oils may not burn well or may produce noxious fumes when burned.  Experiment outside first using a small amount of oil.
  • Although oil lamps are referenced throughout the PGM, few consecration rituals are described for one.  PGM I.262 says that the wick should be made of cotton and have the ABERAMENTHO formula written on it (ΑΒΕΡΑΜΕΝΘΩΟΥΘΛΕΡΘΕΞΑΝΑΞΕΘΡΕΛΘΥΟΩΘΕΝΕΜΑΡΕΒΑ) for the purposes of lamp divination with Apollo. PGM II.1 says that “a lump of frankincense” should be put into the wick of the lamp before going to bed for the purposes of a dream divination before saying a particular prayer; in the same section, the lamp should be set on a lampstand made from virgin oil with a bit of the oil poured onto the stand itself.  Other parts of the PGM say that the wick should be taken from the corpse of one who has died violently or be made of a particular type of reed.

One particular ritual involving an oil lamp from the Greek Magical Papyri is PGM VII.359, which induces a dream oracle or prophetic dreams.  One is to take a strip of clean linen and write on it ΑΡΜΙΟΥΘ ΛΑΙΛΑΜ ΧΩΟΥΧ ΑΡΣΕΝΟΦΡΗ ΦΡΗΥ ΦΘΑ ΑΡΧΕΝΤΕΧΘΑ (an Egyptian or Coptic phrase, no doubt, involving some sort of darkness or “khōūkh”).  Roll up the linen to make a wick, set it in a lamp, and light it with pure olive oil.  In the evening just before going to sleep, while “being pure in every respect”, light the lamp using the linen wick and say the following prayer:

ΣΑΧΜΟΥΝΕ ΠΑΗΜΑΛΙΓΟΤΗΡΗΗΝΧ, the one who shakes, who thunders, who has swallowed the serpent, surrounds the moon, and hour by hour raises the disk of the sun, ΧΘΕΘΩΝΙ is your name.  I ask you, lord of the gods, ΣΗΘ ΧΡΗΨ, reveal to me concerning the things I wish: …

Then go to sleep and you will be given answers in your dream.  The PGM is full of these types of rituals, including ones that involve Eros (PGM VII.478), Anubis (PGM VII.540), Hermes (PGM VII.664), and others.  Others, like PGM XXIIb.27, make use of repeating a particular incantation to a lamp until it is extinguished just before bed to get a yes or no answer in sleep; they ask for a particular image (“water and a grove”, “rivers and trees”, etc.) for an affirmative answer and another image (“water and a stone”, “fire and iron”, etc.) for a negative answer.  Some Demotic spells use lamp divination in conjunction with a virgin boy to act as a seer, while many other spells use lamps to constrain or compel someone to act in a particular manner.  Generally speaking, and with many exceptions, the use of a lamplight gave the power of one to see what cannot normally be seen, either by our own eyes in daylight or by our mind in the subconscious world of sleep; on occasion, the lamp was considered a connection to divine entities by which one could converse or cause to act and cause change in the world.

Personally, I’m switching out the use of consecrated candles for my rituals with the use of an oil lamp with consecrated oil for the same purpose.  In any given conjuration ritual, for instance, I might have several candles burning, but there will always be one specific candle that I consecrate to shine forth the light of the Infinite.  It’s that candle that I’d like to replace, since that’s the one candle I need at a minimum; everything else is decoration.  Plus, given the adjustability of the flame, I can get more light out of an oil lamp than I can a candle.  This is especially nice given the preponderance of biblical and Hermetic references to the use and symbolism of lamps; plus, the sheer use of an oil lamp gives a ritual a much different feel and charm that brings things closer to how the ancients did.  I use pure olive oil for the fuel mixed with a bit of holy oil for general rituals, though for small amounts I like to mix in vision oils or planetary oils in a clean lamp for rituals that could really use the kick.  If I ever start up a collection of oil lamps, I plan on using one just for conjuration rituals, and using another to burn for my ancestors with a specific oil blend burning as an eternal flame offering for them to elevate, pacify, and appease them; other oil lamps can be used for similar purposes with other spirits quite easily.

Given the affordability and availability of old-style oil lamps, both modern replicas and old-world antiquities, it’s not hard to get a good oil lamp for yourself in your own Work.  I strongly consider the use of them, especially given how easy they are to maintain.