Recollection in its Proper Time

Tonight begins the third Mercury retrograde period of 2016.  It entered its shadow on August 10, and entered into retrograde tonight on August 30; it will pause again to go direct on September 22, and will be back to its proper speed on October 6.  All this happens within its own domicile sign of Virgo.  The next time Mercury goes retrograde is after entering into its shadow on December 1, then hitting its retrograde station on December 19, going direct again on January 8, 2017, and getting out of its shadow on January 27; this begins when Mercury is in Capricorn, and ends when Mercury is back in Sagittarius.  As many of my readers already know, when a planet goes into retrograde motion, the things associated with that planet tend to go backwards, awry, or wonky in some way.  Given that Mercury governs all things associated with travel, commuting, divination, communication, study, memory, speech, trade, technology, and planning, expect difficulties, delays, repeats, and do-overs aplenty during this time.  Because this specific Mercury retrograde period is all within the mercurial sign of Virgo, expect this to be a double whammy for many people.  It’s not all that bad; for most people, you just need to do your three-point tap before you leave the house, leave ample time to get to work, and always read through any and all documentation twice before making a decision and you’ll be fine.  For Hermetic magicians and those who work closely with Hermes, or for those who have Mercury as a particular strong planet in their natal horoscope, you may want to step more carefully, given our strong connections to this kind of energy.  Take this time to review your life, trace your steps, and reflect on all the things that compose you and your life before the retrograde period is over; use this time well, and don’t freak out about it.

For the nights that Mercury goes retrograde, I prescribe an offering to Hermes much as the usual: candles, incense, libation, and prayer, preceded by the usual honors to Hestia and Zeus.  I do this because I recognize the physical planet of Mercury, or Stilb­­­­­ōn, as the body of the god, however distinct or connected as it may be from his divine presence, and because I recognize the change in motion of the planet as a change in energy and action of the god.  However, I do things a little differently for these particular nights to mark the occasion.  For this, instead of using the usual Orphic Hymn for Hermes (number 27), I recite the one for Hermes Chthonios, the terrestrial and underworld aspect (number 56), which goes like this:

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell
In the dire path which leads to deepest hell;
O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine
Of Dionysius, parent of the vine
And of celestial Venus, Paphian queen,
Dark eye-lashed Goddess of a lovely mien;
Who constant wanderest through the sacred feats
Where hell’s dread empress, Proserpine, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way
When Fate decrees to regions void of day;
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly,
Or lulls to slumberous rest the weary eye;
For Proserpine through Tartarus dark and wide
Gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed power, the sacrifice attend,
And grant our mystic works a happy end.

For the libation, instead of my usual wine mixed with olive oil, I only offer clean, pure water, and that only after thoroughly cleaning and polishing out his offering vessel.  Normally, I’d give it a good rinse to get any of the remains from the previous offering and wipe out any remaining residue, but I take this opportunity to thoroughly clean and polish the whole thing until it shines like new.  Similarly, I also remove all old offerings and clean his shrine.

Additionally, and most distinctly, I wrap my image of Hermes in a black shroud, so that the entire body and form is occluded.  The shroud remains until the planet leaves retrograde, at which point I remove the shroud and make the usual offerings of wine and ouranic prayer.  Between these two dates, however, I make no further offerings or direct interaction with the god.

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Why the unusual ritual offering of water, chthonic prayers, and the shroud?  This is all because Mercury goes into retrograde.  In a sense, this is the unusual time where Hermes is a little more trickstery, a little more baneful than at other times, and…honestly, while it’s not a bad thing, I don’t want that influence in my life more than is absolutely necessary.  To that end, I cover Hermes in a shroud to insulate him from the outside world so that he can focus on his own work, and in a way, insulate me from him so that I’m not affected by his backwards-looking gaze.  This ritual period is where I work with Hermes in an apotropaic manner only, turning away the difficulties posed by Mercury retrograde and keeping me insulated and blocked off from them.  For a similar reason, I only offer water that is clean and pure, rather than dark wine.  I want to give Hermes that which is clean and clear so that I can obtain the same, keeping my eyes and my ears clean and clear from confusion, my path and my travels from obstacles, my mind and my heart from illusion, my hands and my feet from difficulty.  Offering only water to clean the ways helps me and helps Hermes to help me keep my life open and free during the retrograde; wine would obscure it in too dark a way during too dark a time, oil beslickens it in too unpredictable a way during too unpredictable a time.  To me and for my work with the god, when Mercury goes retrograde, Hermes stops flying across the skies and seas and travels primarily between our world and the underworld.  Previously, Hermes instructed me to only recite his chthonic hymn during nighttime, while the ouranic one could be done at any time; during retrograde periods, if I ever feel a need to use a hymn, it will only ever be the chthonic one.

When a planet goes retrograde, it is only an apparent illusion that the planet goes backwards through the skies and the stars.  In reality, due to the mechanics of our heliocentric solar system, retrograde periods are caused when the planet in question is closest to our own planet.  In a sense, that’s what causes all these weird happenings involving the things that planet governs; rather than being at a healthy objective distance for us to interact with, the energies of that planet suddenly become too close for comfort, hidden right under our nose, and befuddled all up in our mind as subjective rather than objective and distant.  Mercury is no exception, and in fact is the poster child for retrograde energies, even if only because it’s the planet that goes into retrograde motion the most often.  It’s the time when all these energies and influences turn inward instead of outward, which would be fine if we didn’t have all these pesky civilized things we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, like jobs and commuting and business and whatnot.  Rather than posting melodramatic memes on Facebook fuming about Mercury retrograde, I try to go with the flow, respecting it and accepting it in a way that helps me deal with the resulting chaos, and changing my habits and works accordingly.

So, for someone like me who’s so entrenched in mercurial energies in both the religious sense (priest of Hermes), the magical sense (Hermetic magician), and the career sense (software engineer), and for someone whose own natal Mercury is already retrograde and dignified, what’s the best way for me to spend this retrograde period?  For that matter, what’s the best way we can all spend this time?  Mercury, the planet of thought and memory and learning, is going backwards, so it behooves us all to go backwards in the same way: spend this month in a time of reflection, reminding, recollection, and remembrance.  Think of your whole life and how you got here, even to the physical place you are.  Think of all the people, from teachers and parents to friends and enemies, who had even the smallest influence on your character.  Think of all the lessons you’ve learned, sitting down at a desk or running around in your life, which helped shape how you think and how you act.  Think of all your ancestors, from those who passed away in your lifetime to the countless generations back before you, who lived and fought and rejoiced and died so that you too can share in this incarnation of flesh and blood and breath and bone.

Reflect on yourself, and see who you are both inside and out.  Remind yourself, and re-mind yourself. Recollect yourself, and re-collect yourself.  Remember yourself, and re-member yourself.  By these, you will come to know yourself, and that’s really the whole goal here for any of us, isn’t it?

For myself…gods, how did I get here?  Back in middle school, I dabbled with my brother’s hand-me-downs from his short voyage into neopaganism, and learned the basics of divination from my Tarot-reading sister.  In high school, I kept alive a healthy imagination for new worlds and poetry and the power of the written word in personal journals to explore my own internal landscape.  In college, I began my studies of geomancy and medieval astrology, and started this blog on Blogspot as a devotional for XaTuring, the Great Worm of the Internet.  I met so many people, so few of whom I have in my life anymore because I was only barely developing a social life after intense bullying in elementary school, and I recently turned down the invitation for my high school’s ten-year reunion because screw those people and the awkwardness and the lack of connections I never care to suffer through again.  I dated and fucked up and made it better and repeated the process so many times, and showed me my own capabilities, my own culpabilities, and my own tendencies to virtue and to vice.

After college, I pined and loathed and laughed and fucked around and fucked with others and fucked others and been fucked by others.  I began my own Great Work, and built up my own geomantic practice and social presence both online and offline.  I developed my own style of working under Fr. Rufus Opus, and met people of varying paths both light and dark, both right-handed and left-handed, both brilliantly alive and gloriously dead.  I met the love of my life through magic on both our ends, and we began to build ourselves together, only to get cut down together by misplaced trust and found it again with allies and colleagues.  We married, on accident for us and by divine provenance from the gods.  We bought a house.  I changed jobs to one that I was encouraged by multiple spirits to take, only to suffer and discover my own limits but which allowed me the means to grow privately even more.  I changed jobs back once more, solidifying my career path into one that I am fundamentally comfortable and safe within among colleagues and coworkers I know and trust and love.

I have gone from having neither shrines nor altars to one, then two, then four, all the way to having a house full of them and beginning what is truly a temple to recognize all the powers, and moreover, all our powers and deities.  I have gone from having a journal to a notebook to a blog to several ebooks and a full book on the way.  I have gone from school to college to federal job, within each from hell to heaven and back and again.  I have gone from single to committed to broken down to broken up and back again, and now to marriage and partnership on all levels of human existence.  I have gone from having friends to enemies, and enemies to friends.  I have gone from one computer to the next, one operating system to the next, shifting data and programs around and finding new and better ways to do what I need to do.  I have gone from no debt to student debt to low debt to car debt to credit debt to mortgage.  I have gone from hair to skinhead and back.  I have gone from pristine to consecrated tattoos, from whole to pierced to whole again.  I have gone from spiritually fearful to excited to exasperated, both towards people and to spirit alike.  I have gone from repulsed by even the notion of rot to almost enjoying the smell as it passes by me in the forest or in the basement.  I have gone from despising emotion to recognizing it to manifesting it to using it and being used by it.  I have gone from one place to another in every way and in every sense.  Just as all motion is change, then truly, in so many ways, as I have gone, so have I changed.

And yet, underlying all that, there’s so much that has never changed.  I still hunger, like a crazed man starved for years, for knowledge and power and glory and wisdom.  I still rejoice with friends around me.  I still love, and I still love to create and to build and to fortify and to defend.  I still make mistakes.  I still make successes.  I still write, privately for myself and publicly for others, sometimes for free and sometimes for pay.  I still code and woodburn and bead and craft and cook.  I still love the wind through my hair and the rain on my palms.  No matter how much I change from past-me to present-me, I am still me.  I still move with the world, and that when I move the world, the world moves me.  No matter how much I move, I am still.  Just as all motion is change, then truly, in so many ways, as I have remained still, so have I remained the same.

I see my hands, and how they have maintained the same bone structure, and yet have grown and have touched and used so many things.  I see my eyes, and how the irises still have their intricate patterns, and yet gleam differently than they ever did, both brighter and dimmer than ever before.  I see my body, and how the flesh is still recognizably mine, and yet have so many scars and additions and subtractions.  By remembering all the things I have done, I re-member myself, and make my body whole from parts.  By reflecting my emotions I have felt, I re-flex myself, and make my soul whole from parts.  By recollecting all the things I have said, I re-collect myself, and make my spirit whole from parts.  By reminding all my thoughts I have thought, I re-mind myself, and make my mind whole from parts.  And, in doing so, by remembering and reflecting and recollecting and reminding, I am become a sum of the parts, and become a whole, and become greater than the sum of the parts.  There is no one thing of, in, or about me that is me, and yet it all comes together to make me.

Retrogression is for retrospection; we go backwards to look backwards.  Use this time well; as Hermes descends among us and below us, he goes to find the lost and bring them to their proper place.  Whether these are lost items, lost tasks, lost souls, or lost goals, it serves us well to go back and find ourselves in this chaos so that we can once more bring order to ourselves and, thus, to our worlds.  This is not a time for tools, except for the pen and paper in the study; this is not a time for communication, except for our own thoughts echoing in our heads; this is not a time for action, except for acting within ourselves in our own internal spaces; this is not a time for learning, except to relearn what we already forgot.  Turn back, dear reader, not for fear for your life to stop, but for faith for your life to continue.

When the lights go dark, look to the Sun.

As you might be aware, dear reader, the planet Mercury went retrograde a few days ago on September 17, and will be in retrograde until October 9.  It’s cute how this retrograde ties in oh-so-well with commuting issues (the Pope is coming to visit my area, causing huge traffic and building closures) as well as other large-scale events (e.g. upcoming government shutdown), but it also means I have some insulation and introspection to do in the meantime.  Mercury retrograde periods are good for review; as the planet goes backwards, it behooves us to look back and take stock of what we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished, and the like.  Conjuration and some divination of mine can get a little hairy during these periods, but it’s not insurmountable with a bit more dedication and practice; Hermetic magic, though based on Hermes-Mercury-Thoth, provides many tools to get around the currents and ebbs and flows inherent to the tradition when they on their own don’t go your way.

One of the things I do during Mercury retrograde periods is wrap my Hermes statue in fine black cloth, although loosely.  It’s not that I want to completely cut myself off from him or his effects, but doing this keeps some of the worst of retrograde issues at bay, like a layer of sunscreen on a hot and bright summer day.  Meanwhile, I restrict my offerings to him to silent and short ones done only at night, and when I do make a prayer aloud to him, I switch from using the usual Orphic Hymn to Mercury to the one for Terrestrial Hermes, as befitting his complete change in the heavens above.  I keep my explicitly Hermaic things to a minimum during these times, which can be a little awkward, given how big he is in my life.

Earlier this week, though, even before Mercury went retrograde, I was making an offering to him, and we had a bit of a chat.  He reminded me of the other gods I have in my temple, some of whom haven’t gotten an offering made to them in quite a while due to my eight-month hiatus from Work, and most notable among these was Apollo, the son of Zeus and Leto.  Hermes told me that, in the future, I should keep Hermes primary in my devotional work when it comes to the θεοι and with mathesis, and I should definitely involve Apollo more in my life and Work.  However, when Hermes is “retired” into retrograde, he told me that I should then shift my gears into working explicitly and primarily with Apollo—not as a substitute patron, mind you, but as a substitute guide and teacher.  Divination with knucklebones confirmed this explicitly, and since Apollo hadn’t gotten an offering in…well, too long, I decided to make an offering to him last night and call him down.

I forgot how much of a douche he can be.  He’s truly awesome, of course, as only a god can, but goddamn is he ever the frattiest and most brotastic of gods I’ve had the privilege of working with.

Still, after the jokes and haughtiness of the god were worked through, it hit me how badly I’ve fucked up by not incorporating him into my regular worship and Work for so long, even before the end of last year.  He’s instructed me in a way to approach him and, after more divination to confirm a few things, will continue to do so by my regular honor of him.  It’s not exactly what I’m used to, but it’s something that I really do need.  This is especially true with mathesis, that art I’ve procrastinated on developing for so long, since Apollo is truly supposed to be a part of it; this is something confirmed by both the god himself and Hermes, and in a way far greater than thorough purification.  I’ve become stagnant with mathesis, and after my own self-initiation under Hermes, I was looking forward to exploring the roads of the central six-way crossroads of the Tetractys I developed, but instead, I got stuck on an island with no way out.

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Part of this was the set of tools I’ve developed to work in mathesis.  They’re not much, but they’re something I had designs to use and…never got around to using them, partially because I knew I needed to have them but had no idea how to do so.  In my offering to Apollo, I was given a first glimpse and some very basic practice in using them; they felt a little awkward-yet-right, if that makes sense, and in getting more used to them, I can finally get off my ass and get back to mathetic exploration.  This is good, since Hermes is directing me to do a full mathetic ritual later on in October and I’m still stuck as to how to set that up.  With Apollo’s guidance, I may just be able to figure that out in time, at least in a preliminary and exploratory way so as to get started with other types of mathetic ritual and development.

So, why Apollo?  Well, he is Hermes’ half-brother by Zeus, and shares in the arts of divination and prophecy, that much is obvious.  Still, with Apollo’s connection to the Sun, especially as a rational force that drives the Sun’s light as opposed to Helios who is the Sun, we have a great wellspring of power and direction that can illumine much in our lives.  This is different from Hermes who guides, who walks along with us on a road and leads us hither and thither; Hermes guides, but Apollo directs.  There’s a subtle difference between the two in terms of scale and scope.  Besides, going by planets, both Hermes and Apollo could be recognized in the Triad.  But…this would mean a third deity, linked to the Moon, would be called upon as well for another purpose.  Can’t get the Tetractys all unbalanced, after all, but I’m unsure whether this would be Artemis or another deity, especially as I have no experience with the Lady Huntress.

For now, one thing at a time.  Take this time of Mercury retrograde and call upon the forces of the Sun in your life, and honor Apollo and his progeny and allies.  You may be pleasantly surprised to see where it leads you, as well!

Mercury Retrograde Review and Resolutions

Hello hello hello, dear readers!  As you may have caught wind, Mercury went retrograde last week, on the day which happened to be Thanksgiving in the US.  I hope whatever food or feast you had, even it it wasn’t particularly festive, was delicious and relaxing.

And, as some of the more astrologically-inclined of you might know, Mercury goes retrograde about three or four times a year.  For those who aren’t so learned, a planet being retrograde happens at least once a year for the non-luminary planets (i.e. the actual planets) and makes the planet look like it’s going backwards in the sky due to the relative positions and motions of the Earth and the other planet.  With the planet of the intellect, commerce, and travel in such a bizarre state, it leads some people to become more forgetful, less eloquent, and generally slower or more confused.

Even on my end, things have already been getting crazy: I forget the PIN for my new ATM card, my fingers get slammed in a doorway, and the graphics drivers on my main computer break and I need to reinstall the whole operating system as a result.  Sigh.  Now, I don’t blame any of this on Mercury being retrograde, far from it.  It’s like…you don’t blame a woman’s period on the Moon being full or anything, the two just happen to sync up, and one is correlated but not causal of the other.  It’s like most of magic, astrology, and the rest of this crap.  Anyway, I digress.

It’s also a good time for reviewing what’s been going on in one’s life, gathering up one’s thoughts, and contemplating without much planning.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to gather up some of my own activities, thoughts, and lessons that I’ve had since the last time Mercury came out of retrograde (roughly on August 26), as a kind of self-review.

Workings (I feel there should be more of these than there are):

  1. Finally got into regular and acceptable conversation with my genius.  I had conjured him once or twice before after getting a tip that it was the right time to do so, but I didn’t get anywhere with it (nothing was getting through though we were both present, like on different sides of a window).
  2. Created and consecrated my seven planetary talismans for my Table of Manifestation.  In the process, established contacts with each of the seven planetary angels.
  3. Created a powerful Saturn talisman.
  4. Performed the Gate of Jupiter working.
  5. Consecrated and charged two sigilbearing objects for people close to me.

Occult lessons:

  1. Don’t launch into a massive orgy of talisman consecrations that involve more than one planet at once.  Pace yourself out; as the king of Fire Michael said, “you’re an air sign; you can either blow up all at once like a pure oxygen atmosphere, or direct yourself to make a small but powerful force like a gas torch”.
  2. Weekly divination readings are awesome.  Get into and keep a habit of it.  Don’t forget to keep records to compare against the actual resolution of things to see how you predicted it.  Also, offer free readings to others through social networks for the practice and fun of doing it alone.
  3. Different planets have different energies that stick around (shocking, I know).  So far, according to my awareness and knowledge, they’re a little more subtle and longer-lasting than dealing with the elements.
  4. Quoth Pallas Renatus, “banish your shit“.  I’m not going to banish every week or every time I clean the house, but after a guest comes over and stays or gets all up in my stuff, or after I return home from a stressful weekend out of town, things gotta get cleaned up (myself and my surroundings).  Besides, since I don’t have a temple room of my own, with my work, love life, recreation, occultistry, and worship all happening in the same space, I’ve got a lot going on in not a lot of space.
  5. Be kind to the dead.  This should go without saying.
  6. Be sure to stock up on holy water and consecrated candles before Mercury retrograde comes up (I find myself running extremely low on the latter, although it’s not an absolute necessity).
  7. When interacting with a force for the first time, give it plenty of time to settle in your sphere.  Be active with the initiation process into that force’s sphere for a while until you’ve got approval from the initiator that you’re on stable footing.
  8. Don’t involve radically different forces without really knowing what you’re doing, such as using good compartmentalization skills.
  9. Talking to my genius is a very good way to learn about myself, but even then, his influence and knowledge are limited.  He’s a very good voice to reassure me that I’m doing what I need to do, or a good switch to hit me with when I’m not.  It’s interesting to learn about cosmology and origins from him, but I’m curious as to know what other people might’ve heard or learned from their own guides or genii as well.  Pity that peer review isn’t as helpful with subjective stories as it is hard data.
  10. Having a familiar spirit of different spheres or forces or areas is always a good idea.  I haven’t yet done this with the planetary spheres, but the elemental buddies I have are pretty cool people.  Or hot, in the case of my fire buddy.  (It almost feels like I’m talking about Pokémon.)
  11. It takes time to get used to different spirits’ styles of communication.  I’ve noticed I have a much easier time right now working with the elemental kings than I do the planetary angels.  I’m hoping that this is just a practice issue.

Practical lessons:

  1. Open your windows when using even a small amount of resin incense.  That shit smokes up, son.
  2. Get an oxygen (or other non-propane) torch to melt silver successfully.  Propane simply doesn’t heat silver hot enough to work with usefully.  Ditto for copper, and you can forget about iron.
  3. When working with inlaying gold leaf and stained wood, do the staining first and then engrave and inlay.
  4. Wash your goddamn hands after handling hot peppers in the kitchen.
  5. Wear masks or protective clothing when melting metals, especially tin or lead.  I mean, duh.
  6. Bookshelves.  Buy more bookshelves.  For the love and sanity of your self, BUY MORE BOOKSHELVES.

Although I’m refraining from making solid plans (because that’s generally not the thing to do in Mercury retrograde), I’ve come up with a list of projects I want to do before the next time Mercury goes retrograde in mid-March.  They’re kind of like New Year’s Resolutions, except they’re more common and actually concrete enough for me to stick to.  In no particular order:

  1. Christmas present crafting!  Although not everything I make with wood, metal, and fire will be magical, I am making a few gifts for my family that I’m going to consecrate in some form or another.  One such gift will be a cane for my mother with the Medicine Buddha Dharani engraved in the Phags-Pa script and lapis lazuli inset on a Derby handle.
  2. Test drive a 5-week cycle of conjurations of the angels of the planets, the elements, and my nativity.  If I can handle it without too much obstruction in my life, I’ll keep it around (three or four conjurations a week? come on, Poly, get off your lazy ass and Work, you languid whore).
  3. Finish crafting and consecrate the Lunar Kamea.
  4. Consecrate a silver ring I have to act as a talisman for working in the astral realm, according to Frater RO’s Astral Warrior eBook.
  5. Make Oil of Abramelin (I’ve been lazy and haven’t gotten calamus root yet).  Then, consecrate goddamn-near-everything I use in rituals and then some with said Oil.
  6. Redo the Gate of Jupiter rite once Jupiter goes direct again.
  7. Do the Gate of Mars rite, and maybe work on the other gates as well.
  8. Consecrate the Tarot cards on my Table of Manifestation to act as talismans for the four elemental kings themselves.  I found a note in an older blog post of Frater RO’s that they were to be consecrated along with the four elemental weapons, whoops.
  9. Working to keep my apartment quiet (either some kind of binding on my neighbors or whatever).  I don’t get why someone needs to listen to their TV that loud at 4 a.m., for real.
  10. Start meditating at least one hour a day, either in one sitting or two half-hour sessions.

What’ve you been up to this past Mercury direct period?  Anything embarrassing or enlightening happen?  What’re your plans, if any, for the next few months?  Do tell, do tell!

Late-Mid Fall Miscellany

So, beyond my awkward experience on Sunday and continuing the work on my lunar kamea, I’ve been working on a few projects.  Here’s a general update for you, dear readers:

  • Seven new short translations from the Munich Manual are up under Rituals: Hide and Seek.  Two of them are oneiromancy rituals (divination through dreams), two are crystallomancy (by crystal gazing, one of which requires a young child as a medium), one is on unlocking all locked doors or objects, and two are on invisibility.  I wanted to include a translation of divination by gazing into fingernails, but they all required child mediums and magical circles, and that’s (a) a little too complex (b) a little too weird for nowadays.  A few involve animal sacrifice, so you might not find all these rituals entirely useful, but at least they’re in English now.
  • So I have this absolutely fabulous altar with fancy wands and talismans and everything, and I simply haven’t been using it.  Mostly, it’s because I don’t know how to use it or what to use it for.  To remedy that, I decided to go ahead and write up a short ritual that calls upon all the forces represented on the altar to charge and balance their effects and forces in my life, what I call the Alignment of Forces Ritual.  I intend to do it weekly or so, and anyone can do it if they’ve got representations of the four elements and seven planets on their altar.  Members of Fr. Rufus Opus’ Red Work series of courses should have an easy time doing it if they so choose, since we’re all working, arguably, off similar altar layouts.  Since this is the first substantial ritual I’ve written up, feel free to discuss about how it works for you and what experiences you get from it, if any.
  • I carried out a consecration and charging of the sigil from last week’s post.  The ritual was my first involving a Bible verse, but I drew inspiration from Draja Mickaharic’s book Magical Spells of the Minor Prophets, which is a pretty badass resource.  I set up four candles in a square around the plaque, engraved and anointed each candle with oil as well as the sigil itself, repeated a relevant Bible verse four times each over each candle, chanted four malas of the acoustic sigil, then forced all the energy from this ritual into the sigil itself.  It felt pretty decent, and I was drained for a bit after the working, so I think I did it right.
  • I’m considering writing up a guide to geomancy under the Skills section.  Geomancy’s been my favorite and most preferred form of divination for years now, and I find it rather useful and simple.  Writing a guide’s been something of a back-burner project for a while, but I’m unsure about how to go about it, especially when there are already a number of highly-recommended books on the subject.  If you think you might find it useful, or if there’s anything in particular you’d like to read about (maybe some advanced topics), let me know and I’ll consider picking up the pace on it.

Also, Mercury goes retrograde from November 24th through December 14th.  Have fun on your holiday travels, y’all!  Remember to make sure the stove is off before you leave and do your three-point tap whenever you head outside.

And back to the grind.

So, now that last week’s training is done, I can settle back into a comfortable routine where I don’t feel so harried or rushed around, and have time to work out and conjure angels and shit.  There’s something to be said for drinking bottomless coffee at all hours of the day, though (caffeine is my drug of choice, and good lord it felt wonderful to be hyped up like that again).  Of course, as soon as the hurly-burly cleared up, I have to make a trip back home to see the family and find out I still have a social life.  Never a dull moment.

So, two things.  The first is that I created a Solomonic black-hilted knife last night according to the Key of Solomon, and I’m not too disappointed with myself.  It’s a pitifully small thing, only 6″ overall, which means it’s dwarfed by my own hand.  I got it as part of an initiation into a local pagan group, but I opted to go for something more…substantial.  Not wanting to have something like this lie around pointless, I decided to do a bit of woodburning and engraving, and voilà!  I have another ritual tool.  It was engraved in the day and hour of Saturn at night, since this sort of tool is very heavy on saturnian influences.  I still need to consecrate it, which involves heating it until it glows then quenching the whole thing in a mixture of hemlock juice and blood from a black cat.  Engraving the steel and putting up with fumes from the faux wood being burned is a comparative cinch, so I’m going to have to find decent substitutes for those things.  C’est la vie.  The plus side of having this sort of tool is that it’s a powerful weapon to use against infernal and demonic spirits, and the small size makes it appropriate to take it anywhere.  ‘Cause, you know, I’m constantly running into demonic possession all over the place.  DC, man, gotta love it.  I also threw on the words “AGLA” and “TZABAOTH” to fulfill the description in De Responsione Spirituum, so I’ve got a double-purpose athame here.  Nifty!  Pictures of it are up in the Crafts section, if you’re so interested.

Second, I conjured Raphael and Paimon today, after making myself get off my ass, and it went well.  Paimon seems to have appreciated the blog post and has kept me busy with learning and getting new ideas out into the world and into my own sphere.  He suggests to continue being active, as busy as I can, so that I don’t become stale and let dust settle over everything.  Understandable advice, especially with the upcoming astrological forecast: there’s an upcoming Mercury retrograde period from August 3 to 26, and as a Hermetic magician with lots of connections to Mercury, I’ll keep an eye out for how things work or change.  Maybe it won’t be anything bad; my astrologer and tarot reading friend over at The Naked Truth has noted before that people with Mercury retrograde in their natal charts tend to be a little clearer and more productive during these times than when Mercury goes direct, and I myself have that kind of status.  We’ll see.