Suitable Jewelry for Magic, Spirits, and Forces

As many of my readers and followers on Twitter and Facebook are aware, one of the most important things I craft for my personal practice are pieces of jewelry I wear in honor of the spirits or as talismans of particular forces.  This goes far beyond the lamens used in conjuration or Solomonic rings, but include what I’ve come to call carcanets, beaded necklaces and bracelets with colors, stones, and metals that resonate well with a particular spirit.  I started making them to have simple wearable talismans of planetary and elemental forces that wouldn’t attract too much attention or be too bulky to carry around, but I ended up making more for some of my gods and spirits, and then more for other people based on custom needs.  On Facebook, The Professor from the blog Traif Banquet noted that she’s seen me make many different types of carcanets and was interested in how I pick the colors and patterns for each, and how I consecrate them and use them in ritual work.  Of course, I was headed to a theme park that day to support the local LGBT community, so it wasn’t quite the time for such a discussion then and there, but I decided to oblige anyway and write a fuller explanation of what exactly I do.

So, what is a carcanet?  Physically speaking, a carcanet is ritual talismanic jewelry made from beads that sometimes incorporate precious and semi-precious stone or metal or wood or bone, sometimes religious items like saint medallions or crosses, and sometimes other items that is worn to derive the blessing, presence, and aid of a particular spiritual force or entity.  I make mine from artificial twine and seed beads and make them into necklaces and bracelets, though there’s nothing saying you have to use the same materials I do.  I use artificial twine because it’s sturdy and resistant to breaking, though elastic cord or leather can be useful too on occasion.  Each carcanet is attuned and consecrated to a particular force or spirit, and the colors, materials, and patterns on the carcanet indicate exactly what that attunement is and to whom or to what it’s consecrated by or under.

For instance, consider my Sash of Powers, something I made a while back for use in standard Western ceremonial work, which contains representations of all the forces used in Western ceremonial magic based on the Golden Dawn and Agrippan materia.  This is worn across one shoulder and drapes down to the opposite hip, since it’s far too long to wear as a necklace or bracelet.  Among other forces, the Sash of Powers contains the 24 forces that we use in mathesis and, for that matter, most of the Western mystery tradition, and the colors I use for this tend are those I tend to use in most of my work:

Sash of Powers

  • Four elements: I use the system of flashing colors that the Golden Dawn instituted.  Thus, I use red (primary) and green (secondary) for Fire, yellow and purple for Air, and blue and orange for Water.  They didn’t really have flashing colors for Earth that I can find, instead using the “muddled” colors associated with the sephirah Malkuth (black, citrine, olive, russet), so instead I use black (primary) and white (secondary).
  • Spirit: I’ve never really considered this an element proper (as my mathesis stuff shows), though it can be considered an element or a planet or any other force based on the need.  Because of this, it’s hard to give a color for pure Spirit; I tend to use pure white, clear, pearlescent, or rainbow for Spirit.  If we consider Spirit to be the realm of the fixed stars (i.e. Chokmah), then some combination of silver, clear grey, or light blue might work; if we consider it pure divinity (i.e. Kether), then white and clear would work.
  • Seven planets: I use the system of Queen and King scales of the Golden Dawn, so black and crimson for Saturn, blue and purple for Jupiter, red and orange for Mars, and so forth.
  • Twelve signs of the Zodiac: I never liked the scales of the Four Worlds the Golden Dawn uses for the paths of the Tree of Life, from which we can get  colors for the twelve Zodiac signs.  Instead, I use a combination of the Queen scale of the Golden Dawn for the ruling planet of the sign as well as the colors that Agrippa gives for the sign (book I, chapter 49).  Thus, as an example, consider Aries and Libra.  Agrippa gives white as the color for both these signs, while the corresponding Queen scale of the ruling planets are red for Aries ruled by Mars and green for Libra ruled by Venus.  Thus, Aries has red and white, and Libra has green and white as its colors.  I tend to differentiate the Agrippan zodiacal colors from the Queen scale planetary colors by using a slightly brighter, more reflective, or metallic variant (so a reflective clear red instead of a flat red), but it’s not necessary.

Of course, the Sash also has a few other things marked on it, including the 12 Banners of the Names of God and the 16 geomantic figures, but those aren’t forces, per se.  These are less colors to be used with forces and more representations of more complex things that can vary.  Geomantic figures, being ultimately related to the Earth, use white and black as the colors of the element of Earth (with a white bead noting an active line and a black bead a passive line in a geomantic figure); I used white, yellow-gold, black, and brown to represent the four letters of the Tetragrammaton put in their different permutations, but I’m not sure that it matters for this how or which colors to use.

Of course, I don’t make carcanets and the like for just pure forces.  The major focus of what I make nowadays is for individual spirits, gods, saints, and the like, and that’s where creativity and research really come into play.  Unfortunately, most of the Western tradition (especially books like the Lemegeton) focus on the use of certain kinds of metals or woods and less on colors than I’d like, so I have to branch out and be a little more innovative to figure out what colors go with what spirit.  However, the way I tend to settle on colors follows a pattern:

  1. Traditions of the spirits takes precedence; if there’s a body of lore or worship built up around something, I’ll likely start with those colors, if not just use those colors.  For instance, it’s tradition that Saint Cyprian of Antioch’s colors are generally perceived to be black, purple, white, and red, so nearly all my Saint Cyprian gear has black, purple, and white on it (red I tend to reserve for specific workings or subsume it into purple, perhaps settling on a compromise of wine or dark red).  The archangels of Christianity often have their own color symbolism, especially in icons from the Orthodox tradition, so I might use the colors most commonly seen on their robes or in their icons, like light blue and pink for Sealtiel.
  2. Association with the forces described above can play a role in deciding colors.  For instance, I work with Hephaistos, the blacksmith god of the Greeks, except there’s so little known about Hephaistos’ cult back in the day that I have no tradition to go on.  However, Agrippa in his scale of 12 (book II, chapter 15) helpfully gives an association between the 12 Olympian gods (including Hestia and excluding Dionysus) and the 12 signs of the Zodiac.  There, Hephaistos is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra, and my colors for Libra are white and green, so good colors to use for Hephaistos can include white and green, as well.
  3. Asking the spirit themselves for colors they like can also work well.  This generally requires being in tune and in good standing with the spirit to get that kind of information about, and it might require divination or light trancework to get a good set of colors that works well, but overall asking the spirit themselves for what colors they like can be hugely helpful.  However, no two people may arrive at the same colors for the same spirit, based on their relationship with them.  For instance, my Hermes altar uses orange as the primary color (since I started off conflating the god Hermes with the planet Mercury, which isn’t too hard a leap to make), but my ritual necklace I have for him uses bone-white, brown, light blue, and gold beads based on a color scheme he gave me.
  4. Syncretism of different traditions can be informative as well.  If it’s alright with the spirit, looking at other traditions not native to them can help me pick what colors to use.  Going back to Hephaistos, I asked if it was alright if I looked at another tradition with a huge repertoire of color symbolism: Santeria.  The elekes and collares of Santeria are color-coded necklaces that indicate which orisha one has received, and although the ATR I’m in (yes, I’m an initiate in one) doesn’t have colors of its own, our spirits in that ATR are happy with using the same colors as Santeria (since they’re basically cousins of each other, much as how Roman and Greek gods are mythological cousins).  In Santeria, the blacksmith god Ogun has the colors black and green, so with the permission of Hephaistos, I also use black and green for some of my works in conjunction with white and green derived from Hephaistos’ association with the zodiac sign of Libra.  This can be tricky, however, and you need people on both sides to agree that the use of another traditions’ colors is alright, especially if you happen to live in an area with a large number of that other tradition who might confuse you for one of them.

As a rule, I like to have at least two colors on the carcanet.  To be honest, this keeps the thing from being visually boring; I dislike having a single solid color unless it’s required for a spiritual purpose, kind of like the Santerian orisha Obatala having his eleke being pure white.  That said, most spirits tend to have a multitude of powers, fields, strengths, and things they rule over; the different colors I use reflect those different responsibilities and dominions.  Too many colors can be confusing, however; I usually stick between two and four colors per carcanet, but sometimes more if there’s a specific need for it or if the spirit itself is associated with having many colors.

Beyond the colors of beads themselves, most of my carcanets and the like often make use of precious and semi-precious stone and metal beads, and those are much better attested in the Western traditions generally.  Of course, color symbolism is important in picking these, too, as well as the specific resonances of the stones or metals or whatnot.  For instance, red stones tend to be ruled by Mars in general, though carnelian, ruby, and fire agate all have slightly different feels that may make them better for some forces or spirits instead of others.  The minerals and chemicals within the stones themselves, too, can be important, which can link them together with metals.  For instance, one of my favorite green stones is malachite, which contains a high amount of copper that gives it its bright green color.  Copper and green are both associated with Venus, which makes this an excellent Cytherean/Venereal stone suitable for the planetary force as well as the goddess Aphrodite.

Once I have the colors figured out, then it’s time to figure out the patterns.  The most straightforward and simple pattern, assuming two colors, is to alternate the colors of beads one by one (so red, black, red, black, red, black…).  Personally, I hate this system, and I try to stay away from it as much as I can.  I generally figure out patterns based on numbers sacred to the spirit.  For instance, Saint Cyprian’s sacred number is 9, so the patterns I use tend to involve 9 in some way; one such carcanet I made for him has nine black beads, three wine beads, one white bead, one clear bead, one white bead, and three more wine beads for a “set” of 18, or 2 × 9, and I’ll repeat this as many times as necessary to get a carcanet of suitable length.  My mathesis carcanet (yes, I even made one for that) has ten white beads followed by one gold bead, since 10 and 1 are sacred numbers in mathesis and Pythagoreanism.  My Venus carcanet has two sets of seven green beads separated by a tiger’s eye bead, two sets of seven gold beads separated by a green aventurine bead, and a set of 14 (2 × 7) beads that alternate green and gold.  Making the patterns can be tricky, but usually I have a good idea in my head before I launch into stringing the beads.  On occasion, I’ll decide a few sets into the carcanet that the pattern isn’t good and I’ll start over, but they’re generally close to what I had in mind.

Of course, crafting the carcanets and the like is only half the process; the other half is consecration.  Just like how the colors and patterns may change based on the purpose, the means of consecrating the carcanet will also change.  Generally speaking, however, consecration falls into two different methods.  Both methods first start off with ritually washing the carcanet off in holy water to cleanse and prepare it for future blessing, and both tend to involve anointing with oil and suffumigation in incense, but beyond that, they’re different:

  • Force carcanet consecration: A carcanet that’s a talisman of a force (e.g. Water, Mercury, or Taurus) is consecrated by conjuring the angel associated with the force (e.g. Gabriel, Raphael or Asmodel, respectively) at an appropriate time, generally during an appropriate planetary day and hour or when the zodiac sign in question is rising or culminating during the waxing moon.  I’ll charge the angel in the appropriate godname and office to consecrate, sanctify, dedicate, bless, and empower the carcanet to serve for me a powerful talisman and connection and link to the force in question, that it may radiate the same force into my sphere that I may call upon and direct it at will and in my need.  I’ll suffumigate it in the incense burning for the conjuration and anoint it with an appropriate oil if desired and if I have one.  You know, the usual.  After the conjuration, I’ll set the carcanet on top of the lamen of the angel wrapped around a candle to continue and complete the charge of the carcanet.  Once the candle burns out, I’ll often (but not always) conjure the angel again and thank them for helping me consecrate the carcanet, charging them to seal the power into the carcanet and make it a powerful tool and instrument for my work.  This completes (and, usually, overdoes) the consecration.
  • Spirit carcanet consecration: A carcanet that’s dedicated in the honor and blessing of a spirit, on the other hand, takes a slightly different route.  Instead of turning the carcanet into a simple talisman, it becomes more of a devotional offering to be worn in the honor and service of a particular spirit.  Yes, it still accomplishes the result of bringing the blessings of a particular force into my life, but this way it’s less that it’s being filled with a particular power or motion and more that it’s bringing the attention and blessings of a particular spirit.  In this way, I’ll go up to the spirit, make offerings to them at a time good or convenient for them, and formally dedicate the carcanet as an offering to them to be worn in their honor and devotion.  I’ll often anoint the carcanet in oil or their offering drink (wine or water, usually), drape the carcanet on the image or statue of the spirit or wrap it around a prepared candle, and I’ll ask that they consecrate, sanctify, dedicate, yada yada the carcanet to their own blessings and purpose.  After leaving the carcanet on their altar or shrine for a week, I’ll make another offering to them thanking them for the carcanet’s blessings and wear it during certain times to obtain their blessing and in their honor as a kind of votive action.

Now that I think about it, the methods for consecrating them for a force via an angelic conjuration and for a spirit by dedication aren’t that different; it’s just two variations of the same idea, really.  Plus, depending on the carcanet and spirit/force it’s consecrated under, I may maintain its power in different ways, sometimes by anointing it with oil or “feeding” it with other sundry liquids, sometimes by praying over it, sometimes by letting it sit out in sunlight or moonlight.  It all depends.  The carcanet is a general ritual tool that, even though the material basis looks the same being made out of twine and glass, its spiritual essence and use may vary wildly.

Speaking of, how are these things used?  It’s pretty simple: you wear them.  That’s it.  I’ll often say a short blessing or invocation of the spirit or force to which a carcanet is dedicated or consecrated under when I don one, and I’ll say a prayer of thanks and blessing when I remove one, but that’s about it.  Seed beads are often too small for my big fingers to manipulate, so I don’t bother with using them as prayer tools but rather as part of spiritual regalia, armor, and connection when I need it.  On occasion, I’ll make a chaplet or set of prayer beads large enough to be worn, and in those cases the carcanet doubles as a prayer instrument, but this is the exception and not the norm for me; such prayer carcanets tend to use stone and metal beads more than seed beads, so the way I make them tends to differ a little bit since my options are usually more limited.

And yes, if you’re interested, I do take custom commissions for carcanets and can make them to your specifications or based on my own interactions with the gods and spirits.  If you like, contact me or send me a message through my Etsy shop and we can hash something out.

Chaplet of Saint Cyprian of Antioch

My recent prayer work has definitely gotten a boost lately.  It’s always refreshing to get back on the ball, so to speak, after several weeks of having things go wonky or with other life events interfering in my Work and study, and (even though I’m guilty of procrastinating as often as not on this) prayer is one of the things I really enjoy.  Sometimes I get a good spiritual buzz out of it, sometimes I engage with conversation and communion with the spirits, and sometimes I do it for the sake of contemplation or introspection.  Regardless, prayer forms a good foundation for my spiritual work.  Generally, my prayers don’t take that long to do, which may not be a great thing.  Admittedly, I should probably slow down with my prayers and perform them in a more contemplative, slow manner, but it’s easy to just fall into the habit of falling into the right “feel” of the prayer and letting the words of the prayer carry me on from there.  Prayer should be more than just words, after all.

Something I’ve found helpful for me to slow down and focus more on the prayers individually are repeating them, especially with the use of prayer beads.  I’ve been using them for years, often in the form of 108-bead malas (usually made of sandalwood or rosewood) for Buddhist mantras and, more recently, personal mantras or names using my 108-bead labradorite mala.  Not too long ago, the good Michael Seb Lux helped me out with sharing a gnostic Marian rosary, since a rosary is also a style of repeated prayer using prayer beads.  Since then, I’ve explored other styles of prayer beads, one of which is the chaplet used in Western Christian, especially Catholic, traditions.  The word “chaplet” can refer to either the actual prayer beads themselves or the prayers to be done using the beads, and in either case help those who use them for prayer and devotion.  There’s no set form to chaplets generally speaking besides the use of beads and repeated prayers, and not all chaplets have official status or recognition, though a good number do.

One of the most common chaplets is the generic “niner” chaplet, which consists of a medallion of a saint or holy image, followed by nine beads (either evenly spaced or spaced into three groups of three beads), sometimes followed by a crucifix.  One begins by holding the saint medallion and invoking the saint (e.g. “Saint NN., pray for us”); on each set of three beads, one says a Pater Noster, a Gloria Patri, and an Ave Maria; on the crucifix, one says the  or some other personal prayer.  Sometimes these niner chaplets are done as part of novenas or as a novena, repeated for nine days.  It’s simple and generic, and generally useful for pretty much any saint or holy figure.  As with all chaplets, praying a simple niner chaplet in the name of some saint can further one’s devotion, relationship, and intercession with them, which is no bad thing, especially if you plan to call upon them for help or in ritual.

However, many saints have their own special chaplets designed especially for them, with a certain number of beads in a particular order or arrangement, some with a crucifix, some not.  Often, there are customary colors for each of the saints, such as red and gold for Saint Michael the Archangel, red and white for Saint Philomena, and so forth.  In this sense, the rosary itself is essentially a specialized chaplet celebrating the Mysteries, and is particularly associated with Mary.  There are many types of specialized chaplets, some devoted to a particular saint or to a particular event, and unlike novenas or other well-known prayers, many chaplets are unofficial and used primarily in personal devotions but are kept in a fixed way according to custom and tradition.  I personally use the chaplet of Saint Michael the Archangel and the chaplet of Saint Gabriel the Archangel once a week (Sundays for Michael and Mondays for Gabriel) which I’ve found to not only improve my relationships with the angels themselves but also substantially reinforces any magic done with them when used in a ritual.

To that end, I was wondering whether there might be a chaplet associated with my newest spiritual ally and teacher, Saint Cyprian of Antioch.  I didn’t have very many hopes of this, since Saint Cyprian isn’t that well-known of a saint except by folk traditions, and he’s often confused with the similarly-named but as poorly-known Saint Cyprian of Carthage.  Even then, though, Saint Cyprian of Carthage didn’t have his own chaplet, so my options were limited.  I didn’t feel like using a simple niner chaplet for Saint Cyprian was good enough for me or for him, so I decided to design and write up my own Chaplet of Saint Cyprian of Antioch.

This chaplet consists of a medal of Saint Cyprian of Antioch, followed by three beads, attached to a ring of 27 beads separated into three groups of enneads (a set of 9 beads) with three separator beads.  The medal and three initial beads are attached to one of the separator beads.  The beads should be colored according to the preferences of Saint Cyprian of Antioch: dark red, purple, indigo, black, and white.  I suggest black and purple beads, given his associations with some African Diasporic gods like Babalu Aye.  Alternatively, you might consider the first ennead to consist of black beads, the second to consist of purple beads, and the third to consist of white beads.  When using precious or fancy beads, I find that onyx, jet, or black tourmaline; amethyst or garnet; and howlite, white agate, or bone work very nicely; for wood, ebony, rosewood, and white oak would be excellent.  Since Saint Cyprian of Antioch medals are hard to come across, a crucifix can work instead, calling on the power of Christ through the intercession of Saint Cyprian of Antioch; a simply named “Saint Cyprian” medal (usually of the image of Saint Cyprian of Carthage) can suffice, since the two saints are often confused enough to merge the two.  If these can’t be found, a black-and-white evil eye charm or large skull bead can work instead.  Be creative and work with what you’ve got.

Chaplets of Saint Cyprian of Antioch

Since the number 9 is sacred to Saint Cyprian, I figured it was appropriate to have the sets of beads have nine each.  Each of the three enneads represents one of the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), as well as the three stages of Saint Cyprian’s life (initiate, magus, and saint).  The medal and the first three beads form the introduction, praying an act of contrition (though I’m waffling between using this and the Confiteor instead) followed by two prayers to Saint Cyprian, one Orthodox and one Catholic. The chaplet generally consists of the formula “Saint Cyprian of Antioch, …, pray for us”, each prayer followed by a Gloria Patri, with the middle of the prayer containing a short description of an event from the life of Saint Cyprian, and the beads separating the enneads indicating one to pray the Pater Noster.  The descriptions of Saint Cyprian are combined from a history from the Orthodox tradition as well as a prayer of Jason Miller to the good Saint Cyprian.

  1. Introduction
    1. Medal: Saint Cyprian of Antioch, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death.
    2. First Bead: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do good, avoid evil, and to amend my life.  Amen.
    3. Second Bead: Saint Cyprian of Antioch, you were converted from the art of sorcery, O divinely wise one, to the knowledge of God, and were manifested to the world as a most wise physician, granting healing to those who honor you, O Cyprian together with Justina.  With her, then, entreat the Master, the Lover of mankind, that He may save our souls.  Amen.
    4. Third Bead: Saint Cyprian of Antioch, who by Divine Grace was converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, you who possessed the highest secrets of magic, build now a refuge for me against my enemies and their evil deeds.  For the merit that you obtained before God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, cancel out evil spells, products of hate, the spells that hardened hearts have cast or will come to cast against my person and against my home.  With the permission of God Almighty answer my prayer and come to my assistance, for the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.
  2. First Separator: Pater Noster, &c.
  3. First Ennead: Cyprian the Initiate
    1. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, born to pagan parents, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    2. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, dedicated to the god Apollo as a child, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    3. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, taught sorcery in Olympos, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    4. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, taught illusion in Argos, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    5. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, taught witchcraft in Tauropolis, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    6. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, taught necromancy in Sparta, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    7. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, taught enchantment in Memphis, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    8. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, taught astrology in Chaldaea, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    9. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, master of all the occult arts, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
  4. Second Separator: Pater Noster, &c.
  5. Second Ennead: Cyprian the Magus
    1. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, magus residing in Antioch, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    2. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, approached by Aglaias to seduce Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    3. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, unleashing demons of lust upon Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    4. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, unleashing demons of deception upon Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    5. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, unleashing the Devil himself upon Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    6. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, wringing disaster on Antioch against Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    7. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, casting deadly illness upon Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    8. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, all magic defeated by the prayers of Justina, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    9. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, seeing Truth and rebuking the Devil and his snares, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
  6. Third Separator: Pater Noster, &c.
  7. Third Ennead: Cyprian the Saint
    1. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, burning his books in sacrifice to God, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    2. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, confessing repentantly for his sins before all Antioch, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    3. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, baptized in the name of the Blessed Trinity, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    4. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, made priest within a year by his zeal for holiness, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    5. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, made bishop to lead all to divine virtue, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    6. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, condemned to death by the Romans, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    7. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, beheaded and departed into Heaven, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    8. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, entering into the communion of the holy saints, pray for us.  Gloria Patri, &c.
    9. Saint Cyprian of Antioch, preserving us from all evil arts and acts, pray for us. Gloria Patri, &c.

Once completed, the chaplet may be concluded with any personal prayers to Saint Cyprian of Antioch or with something more general, such as the Creed of the Faith.  The chaplet may be prayed at any time, but is especially fitting on Saint Cyprian’s feast day (September 26 in the Western tradition, October 2 in the Orthodox tradition) or on Saturdays, the day of the week associated with Saint Cyprian, and generally at nighttime, especially midnight.  Saying the chaplet for nine consecutive days can be sufficient for a novena to Saint Cyprian, though there already exists a novena (available mostly in Spanish, but I’ve got my own translation in line for a future ebook).  The chaplet pays to be prayed slowly and carefully, as any prayer might; by doing it slowly, the chaplet should take about 10 minutes to perform.

Virtues of Labradorite

Despite my primary focus relying on “high magic” or theurgy, which is supposed to be divested from the use of natural or physical objects, material tools and the materials those tools are made from fill many important roles in my work.  For instance, the use of specific herbs, oils, or incenses for rituals, or the consecration of knives or wands using specific liquids or treatments.  Specific stones and gems are important, too, and can not only significantly empower a ritual but can be consecrated tools in their own right.  For instance, I have a handful of large citrine points I use as focuses or pseudo-wands for solar work, especially when I work with the Headless Rite.  The ability of a particular substance to affect the world around it is called its virtue, or its occult or “magical” characteristics that lend it power.  The discussion of virtues is the primary focus of Cornelius Agrippa’s First Book of Occult Philosophy, in which he discusses “Natural Magic”, and from which much modern Western occult literature follows.

Of the stones I like (and there are some I don’t), labradorite is among my favorite.  It’s a feldspar mineral, and so retains all the occult virtues of feldspar, which also includes sunstone, amazonite, and others.  Labradorite specifically has a particular blend of sodium and calcium that has it lie between pure albite (sodium-based without calcium) and anthorite (calcium-based without sodium).  It ranges in color from dark grey to pale grey, sometimes with a brown or dark olive coloration, but it has an interesting optical property called labradorescence, where the fine layers of growth in the stone allow for a kind of metallic iridescence ranging in color from deep blue to green, red, purple, and yellow.  The iridescent qualities, however, rely on a particular angle of reflection; labradorite may appear dull and boring until tilted just so.  Labradorite was officially discovered by the West in 1770 in Labrador in northeastern Canada, but has also been discovered in Finland, Russia, Madagascar, and other places around the world, and occurs among the artifacts of native peoples.  As a type of feldspar, it has many commercial uses of the same including road paving and ceramic integrity, but has also been used as a gemstone since its discovery due to its interesting optical beauty.  Particularly iridescent or gem-quality labradorite is known as the variant spectrolite, with Ylämaa, Finland being the most well-known centers of this variant.  Darker variants of labradorite are also called black moonstone.

Adularescence

Due to its relatively recent discovery, there isn’t that much reliable knowledge on labradorite as it applies to magic, especially in Hermetic work.  As such, Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic lacks an entry on the stone.  According to the fluffy new-agey yet highly thorough Love is in the Earth by Melody, the general mineral feldspar is said to have the following attributes [sic]:

This mineral assists one in detaching from the old, encouraging unconventional and exciting methods to attains ones goals.  It provides for support in issues of self-awareness and self-love, for with realization of love one can become united with all aspects of the world.

It has been found as a constituent of moon rock and provides for a connection with inter-galactic intelligence.  Feldpsar also enables one to access the communicative forces of this intelligence.

It assists one in locating that which has been mis-placed and in discovering and understanding previously unidentified messages from both within and without of the self.

It can be used in the treatment of disorders associated with the skin and muscular structure.

In her entry on labradorite, Melody has this to say [sic]:

In addition to the properties listed in the FELDSPAR section of this book, this mineral protects ones aura, and helps to keep the aura clear, balanced, protected, and free from energy leaks.  It assists in the alignment of the subtle bodies, enhancing the connection between the physical and ethereal realms.

It is said to represent the “temple of the stars”, assisting one in sustaining and maintaining, while providing for the understanding of the destiny one has chosen.  It brings the light of the other planetary beings to the soul of the user.  The labradorescence is a luminescence, derived from extra-terrestrial origin, which is enclosed in the mineral to bring the galactic evolved energies from other worlds to the Earth plane.

The energy of labradorite facilitates the transformation of intuition into intellectual thought such that one can implement the instructions provided.  It assists one to traverse changes, attracting strength and perseverance.  IT has been known as the matriarch of the subconscious mind, providing instructive sessions to the user concerning the implementation of inner messages and the utilization of same in the physical domain.  it can help to provide clarity to the inner sight, instilling a passionless peace of imperturbability via the annihilation of disturbing thoughts.

It also symbolizes the moon and helps one to advance, without constraint, through the cycles of progression, heralding the arrival of ascension.  It also symbolizes the sun, providing for vitality and for a sense of “self” during transitions, and promoting refinement of action and discernment in direction.

It unites the personal self with the understanding required to both realize and achieve the destiny of this life, relieving insecurity and apprehension, while enhancing faith and reliance in oneself and the absolute purity of the universal harmony.

It assists one in eliminating aspects of familiarity which obscures thought and blurs instinct, helping one with originality and precision, and bringing uniqueness without judgment to ones contemplative patterns.

It helps one to reflect and to facilitate transformations which are beneficial.  It also enhances patience and an inner knowing of “the right time”.

It allows for recognition that humanity represents the “Being of Light”, transcending the limitations of the past and the thoughts of the future, and embracing the infinite possibilities of the moment.  It helps one to both “be” and to proceed with the assurance that the light is always there, surrounding and pure.

Labradorite brings the commencement of the recognition of ones inherent and analytical and rational abilities.  It further promotes the synthesis of intellectual thought with the intuitive, mystical, and psychic wisdom.

It assists in inspiring one to introduce the teachings of other worlds to this world of love and light, bringing assimilation and illumination to further the advancement of humanity.

It can be used during radionic analysis; holding a sample and placing a sample on the witness or using a pendulum of this stone, the energy of the stone interferes with the energy of the user and points to the problem[s] involved.

It has been used in the treatment of disorders of the brain, to stimulate mental acuity, and to reduce anxiety and stress.  It can assist in digestion, regulation, and metabolism.  It has also been used to clarify the eyes.

Labradorite has an associated myth according to its Canadian origin.  A common version of this myth says:

According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights were once imprisoned in the rocks along the Labrador coast, until one day an Eskimo warrior found them and freed most of the lights with a blow from his spear. Not all the lights could be freed from the stone however and for that reason we have today what is known as labradorite.

All this is well and good, but even with the nice Native American legend and the wealth(?) of Melody’s new age fluff, this doesn’t speak much about its virtues in Hermetic magic, though it is helpful.  The labradorescent light within the stones definitely has a varying and ephemeral quality not unlike the Aurora Borealis, formed from the interplay of the Sun and the magnetic sphere of the Earth.  This also ties labradorite in with the Roman goddess Aurora, or Dawn, who heralded the coming of the Sun with her many colors, or “rosy fingers” as is frequently seen in literature.  From the legends, then, we can already assign a celestial, nocturnal, and luminary quality to labradorite, a kind of interplay of the Sun and the Moon against the larger firmament of the stars.

Since labradorite was discovered well after Cornelius Agrippa’s time, and since he otherwise doesn’t mention feldspar in his tables of correspondence or discussion of virtues, it helps to look at the qualities of things Agrippa lists to figure out what forces labradorite might play best with.  For this, Agrippa might say that labradorite is lunary, solary, and mercurial based on the qualities of things he ascribes based on these planets:

  • Moon (book I, chapter 24): silver, white, or green things, crystals generally
  • Sun (book I, chapter 23): opal, rainbow quartz (Iris, or “Rainbow”), glittery things
  • Mercury (book I, chapter 29): things that are mixed, those which are of diverse colors or are mixed with yellow and green, things that change forms or appearances

Of these, the connections to Mercury and the Sun are probably the strongest, with the Moon being a little less likely.  Of course, all celestial forces are present in all sublunary things anyway (book I, chapter 30), but labradorite’s strongest connections might lie with Mercury and the Sun.  Peculiar to labradorite, however, we have definite nocturnal tendencies; the Northern Lights are primarily a nocturnal feature, and the darkness of labradorite combined with its bright luminescence is similar to those famed lights at night, or light shining in the darkness from otherwise hidden features.  Mercury is probably the strongest connection to go with, then, with the Sun and Moon playing equal parts in its virtue (or slightly unequal, biased towards the Sun).  If it is mercurial, however, it’s a kind of holy, celestial, or ouranic force of Mercury.  Given the variance in color with labradorescence, it might not be wrong to say that labradorite is definitely stellar, as in pertaining to the sphere of the fixed stars in addition to or instead of any one particular planet.

In addition to its almost-gaudy beautiful radiance, the magical feel, or aura or dweomer, of labradorite is what really hooks me.  It feels very cooling as far as stones go, like smooth, soft, light water or a thick cool mist that washes away filth.  It doesn’t have a strong centering aspect to its feel, but it is clarifying, sharpening the mind into precision.  It doesn’t feel slow or heavy, but it doesn’t seem to speed up the mind or jolt it into activity, either.  It’s not luxurious like stones of Venus or Jupiter, but it has a kind of safe and still feeling that I’ve associated with the Moon and Sun in the past.  It tastes (metaphorically speaking) clean and refreshing, more pleasant than unpleasant, again tastes which are lunar and solar.  It would seem like it would be a spiritual kind of ruby or carnelian; these stones are known for energizing and supercharging physical acts, while labradorite might be better for energizing or supercharging spiritual activity, more than star sapphire or other “celestial” or “spiritual” stones which seem only to draw upward.  Its varied colors do help in unifying various forces within the mind, certainly, and would seem to help act as a kind of “spiritual grounding” stone, in which one can ground “higher up”; use of labradorite in astral ritual would not be a bad thing, using it as an anchor for the physical body to link to the astral one.  Its iridescence that comes from within, normally hidden until turned just right towards the light, can be an indication that this stone can help bring out magical power, talent, or genius from within; again, this ties into supercharging spiritual activity, giving these things more light than would otherwise be known or seen.

During the last gem show that I go to every so often with some of my crafty occult friends, I kept getting distracted (as in past gem shows) with labradorite.  Its interesting appearance kept tricking me, leading me to inspect samples and beads over and over again until I realized that it was just the same stuff.  At the gem show before the last one, I ended up buying a labradorite orb about the size of a small orange, which is beautiful and dark with bright labradorescence showing, which will be good for meditation or scrying of specific entities.  At the most recent one, however, I decided to finally suck it up and got a few strands of labradorite beads that I fashioned into a mala, or prayer beads not unlike a rosary.

Labradorite Mala

A mala is a string of 108 beads, the number 108 assuming high importance in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other dharmic religions.  I’ve always liked malas, and have owned several in my life, but I’ve never crafted one myself before.  Using repetitions of prayers is helpful in my work, and I use Buddhist mantras, my magical motto, or other short prayers with these things.  My mala design uses 108 beads as the actual prayer counter beads, plus four extra beads: a large banded onyx bead plus three extra labradorite beads, with a black tassel and held together with black silk cord.  The four (or three plus one) beads assume different meanings, depending on tradition.  In Buddhism, the larger bead represents the guru or teacher, and the three smaller beads represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha).  For me, since I’m less Buddhist than other things, these extra beads can also refer to the three persons of the Triune God, plus the larger bead to represent the One God, or the One Thing or Whole of Hermeticism.  I used onyx since it’s a stone associated with Saturn, representing the firmament and black night sky against which all the stars shine and the celestial light is filtered through from the Divine Supernals down all the way to our sphere of the Earth.  Plus, onyx is a fairly heavy and dark stone, which can also represent the physical power and material result of prayer, magic, and meditation; in this sense, the three extra labradorite beads and onyx bead can also represent the Hebrew understanding of the elements, where the elements of Fire, Air, and Water are independent in their own right and Earth is a combination of the other three elements.

So, that’s my contribution to widening the scope of magical knowledge on this stone.  What about you, dear readers?  Have you used labradorite in your work for anything?  Are there any particular experiences or thoughts on this stone you’d like to share, or theories on how it might be used in rituals or talismanic magic?

Minor Things and Updates

Not much happening as of late; little conjuration work to be done, no big projects.  There have been some business requests made, in terms of readings and design work, which is absolutely fabulous; many thanks to those who have asked for them!  For those who are thinking of them, why not take a chance and spend some of that extra coin lying around?  I could always use the work, after all, and it keeps me busy.  But yeah, beyond the occasional reading and my normal daily practice, not much has been happening.  Which leads to me writing less, at least for my blog, which after all these months feels real weird.  Eh, I guess I needed the break.  Anyway, just a few little things I wanted to note lately.

First, as you may have heard from the rest of the interweb, Jason Miller of Inominandum and Strategic Sorcery fame recently released his newest work, Advanced Planetary Magic, a set of 49 calls to the planets based on pairwise combinations of the seven planets.  You may have heard of it somewhere else in the blogosphere, and I’ll keep my review short: it’s awesome, and I suggest getting yourself a copy of this awesome work.  He describes a system of planetary magic where one uses a particular short invocation or spell for each pair of planets (Luna/Sol, Sol/Luna, Venus/Saturn, etc.), to be used according to a particular situation and in a particular time (planetary hour and planetary day).  Nifty stuff, by any measure.  He’s starting a project called the Crying of Calls 49, where people who have the text are invited to perform 49 consecutive days of prayer, using each one of the biplanetary invocations each day in a particular hour on each day.  The first week starts tomorrow, July 8, with Luna of Luna in an hour of the Moon in the day of the Moon, Luna of Mars on July 9 in an hour of the Moon in the day of Mars, and so forth.  He’s set up a Facebook group for it, but as of this writing the group is still inoperational.  Quick, go get a copy for yourself and join in on the fun!

I’ve recently picked up my prayer beads again and started using them.  I’ve had this dark Indian rosewood mala with red thread for years, bought a long time ago when I was on a strong Buddhist kick, and though I used it for a while with some basic mantras (Avalokitesvara’s and Manjusri’s, to name two), I never really kept up the practice.  The prayer beads have just been languishing in their bag for years, maybe picked up once or twice out of nostalgia, and put back.  I figured I may as well augment my practice by using them again, though picking out the mantra or prayer to be used with them puzzled me slightly.  Then I remembered that I have my own magical motto, “Lautitia Laborum Lucis Laetor” (“I rejoice in the splendor of the works of the Light”), and since it rings pretty deeply with me, I figure I may as well use that as my mantra.  It’s pretty relevant to my own work, and is fairly devotional in and of itself.  I’ve gotten a good buzz from using my motto as a mantra, as I have the Trisagion and my Prayer of Light.  I’ve been experimenting with rhythms and numbers of circuits, and I like the preliminary results so far.  My goal is to do at least one motto circuit per day, twice if I have the time; doing this on the train works well enough, since I sit comfortably far back from the rest of the people in a quiet spot where others can’t easily bother me.

Speaking of daily practice, I’m also considering with toying around with my personal schedule.  Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I go to work at the office, and I work from home Wednesdays.  On the days I go to the office, I normally get up around 5 a.m., hygeinate myself, do my prayers and meditation and other essential practice, leave around 7, then catch the train to work, then get home around 5 or 6 p.m.  Ideally, this allows me four or five hours of time once I get off work for more practice but…I normally just end up on the computer for the night instead.  Since I’m a morning person, and there is another train that leaves much later than I’m used to that can still get me to work on time, I’m thinking of shifting more practice to the morning, which gives me about two solid hours each day to really focus on my stuff: a half hour for prayers and offerings, a half hour for meditation, a half hour for energy work and other “kinetic” methods of prayer and practice, and another half hour for more meditation or astral work.  This should of course be backed up with more work in the evenings, but shifting more to the earlier part of the day is no bad idea.  I’m a morning person, anyway, so this should definitely help me out more in getting my ass in better magical shape.  I’d be getting home probably around 7 or 8, but that still leaves me enough time most evenings to relax and get at least another round of meditation again, not to mention any planetary work that happens in the evening.  I figure I can handle this fairly well; I’ll try it this coming week as a test round.

Anyway, time to finish tidying up my house and get to my prayers and offerings for the night.  How’s this past Mercury retrograde period been treating you?  Besides some minor holiday traffic, things have been delightful on my end.