Dream Divination Ritual and Timing

The Sun enters Sagittarius today, the mutable fire sign and ultimate sign of Autumn in the northern hemisphere.  Among its many significations, Sagittarius rules any kind of higher learning or education: philosophy, theology, religion, mysticism, and the like.  Based on these associations, and there being so few institutions of higher education in the old days (e.g. colleges, seminaries, or universities), it’s perhaps not surprising that Sagittarius is also associated with foreign countries and exotic lands, as well as the people inhabiting them and those who taught high education.  Among the most distant places would be the stars and celestial spheres themselves, hence Sagittarius’ connection with astrology, celestial or high magic, divination, and especially dreams.  The ruling planet of Sagittarius, Jupiter in direct motion, bears many of these same significations, including nobility, greatness, and holiness.

It’s also the sign that rules my 9th house, with which it holds many similar associations.  So perhaps it’s fitting now that I start considering a ritual framework for working with dreams magically.  Dreams are not my cup of tea normally; my dream recall has been mediocre throughout my life, with many nights having no dreams to remember.

The Unlikely Mage during his Agrippa project recently summarized chapter 59 of Cornelius Agrippa’s First Book of Occult Philosophy.  I’ll leave you to read his post summarizing dreams and their significations (and, really, his whole amazing blog) for yourself, but Agrippa has this to say about divination by dreams:

… The rule of interpreting this is found amongst Astrologers, in that part which is wrote concerning questions; but yet that is not sufficient, because these kind of Dreams come by use to divers men after a divers manner, and according to the divers quality, and dispositions of the phantastick spirit: wherefore there cannot be given one common rule to all for the interpretation of Dreams. But according to the opinion of Synesius, seeing there are the same accidents to things, and like befall like; so be which hath often fallen upon the same visible thing, hath assigned to himself the same opinion, passion, fortune, action, event, and as Aristotle saith, the memory is confirmed by sence, and by keeping in memory the same thing knowledge is obtained, as also by the knowledge of many experiences, by little, & little, arts, and sciences are obtained. After the same account you must conceive of Dreams. Whence Synesius commands that every one should observe his Dreams, and their events, and such like rules, viz. to commit to memory all things that are seen, and accidents that befall, as well in sleep, as in watching, and with a diligent observation consider with himself the rules by which these are to be examined, for by this means shall a Diviner be able by little, and little to interpret his Dreams, if so be nothing slip out of his memory. Now Dreams are more efficacious, when the Moon over-runs that Sign, which was in the ninth number of the Nativity, or revolution of that yeer, or in the ninth Sign from the Sign of perfection. For it is a most true, and certain divination, neither doth it proceed from nature or humane Arts, but from purified minds, by divine inspiration. …

Basically, all those books with sets of symbols to be used in dreams?  Worthless; “there cannot be given one common rule to all for the interpretation of Dreams” because everyone’s spirit and soul is different and works in different ways.  Similarities may be observed, but these aren’t reliable enough to be made into rules for mass consumption and application.  The images in dreams are based on what happens in our lives and to ourselves, and so we should be aware of the constant activity going on around us and how we interpret it both consciously and subconsciously.  This helps us to not only understand our own minds and our awareness of the area around ourselves, but it helps to build up a conscious knowledge of the symbol set our minds are constantly building to help understand the world.

Agrippa gives several rules for when “Dreams are more efficacious”, and they all center around the 9th house in an astrological chart or horoscope.  Essentially, dreams for divination are best when the Moon is in the 9th house of someone’s chart; the other rules for yearly revolution charts or “the Sign of perfection” are a little more obscure, but since the Moon visits all the signs for about 2.5 days every 29 days, you’ve got a decent window for about two days running for good, honest, divinatory dreaming.  So, for instance, when the Moon is in Sagittarius (the sign ruling my 9th house), my dreams tend to be more potent and clear than otherwise.  Looking back through some of my journals, this actually makes sense, which is a surprise to me.

Because I don’t like to merely throw away dreams as I would trash, I figured I may as well approach them as any decent magician would: ritual and preparation!  Below is a simple ritual framework I’m gonna start using to work with my dreams more and see where this gets me.  It’s assumed that you know which signs rule over the houses of your natal chart, but if not, I’m sure you can find free astrology sites to do that for you.  Keep track of the Moon’s position, since that’s essential for this working.  Sure, the following ritual is a little involved, but then, it helps to dedicate oneself to dreaming when dreaming is Right for oneself, and it echoes the old asklepeions and temples where dreams were seen as holy messages sent to the worthy supplicant.

  1. The day before the Moon enters the sign of the 9th house, prepare yourself mentally and physically for dreaming.
    1. Banish, take a spiritual bath, and generally cleanse and clean oneself and your sleeping area.  
    2. Start winding down your food and drug intake: no caffeine, no heavy foods, light fruit or stomach-soothing foods only.  You can extend the fasting period as long as you like, but one day should be sufficient.
    3. Pray and ritual as you normally would.
    4. If you have a dream-conducive tea (mugwort, jasmine, rose, and valerian work well for me), start drinking this today and continue drinking it through the operation.
    5. Be sure to get a full night’s rest, at least 7.5 hours’ worth of sleep (or five sleep cycles).  Before resting, make an offering to Morpheus, the god of sleep: sing his Orphic Hymn, make an offering of opium or poppy incense, and light a black or dark candle to him.  Ask for his help in bestowing good and healthful rest, and protection in sleep and dreaming.
  2. The next day, the Moon should be in the sign ruling the 9th house before you go to bed at night.  Be sure you have at least ten hours to spare for proper rest and sleeping, with the addition of ritual.
    1. Fast.  Drink only water, and eat only white food with no salt.  Plain or vanilla yoghurt, bananas, and similar are suggested, if any food is to be eaten at all.  If you have a dream-conducive tea, keep drinking that.
    2. In an hour of Mercury while the Moon is in the sign ruling the 9th house, make an adoration to Hermes Chthonios or similar nighttime, underworld, or otherworld guide.  Say a prayer e.g. the Orphic Hymn to Terrestrial Hermes; make offerings of candles, incense, wine, or other preferred goods.  Ask for clarity, memory, truth, and direction in the realm of dreams and sleep.
    3. In an hour of the Moon while the Moon is in the sign ruling the 9th house, make an adoration to the Moon, a lunar angel like Gabriel, or any lunar deity.  Say a prayer e.g. the Orphic Hymn to the Moon; make offerings of candles, incense, wine, or other preferred goods.  Ask for help, guidance, and illumination in dreams and the realm of night.
    4. Set pen, paper, and flashlight by the bed for later.
    5. Meditate for at least twenty minutes before retiring for the night.
    6. Upon retiring, make another offering to Morpheus as before.  In addition, make an offering to his other role as the god of dreams: sing the Orphic Hymn to the Divinity of Dreams; make an offering of a white or lightly-colored candle, along with wine and sweet floral incense such as jasmine, rose, gardenia, violet, musk, or similar.  Ask for truth, understanding, memory, and power in one’s rest, that true and meaningful dreams be bestowed upon them, and similar.  If you have any specific requests that should be answered, now’s the time to do that.
    7. Go to sleep, but set a (quiet) alarm after 4.5 hours (or however long three sleep cycles would be).  Upon waking, write down any dreams that one may have had immediately.  Make another entreaty to Morpheus as God of Sleep as well as God of Dreams using prayer with more incense; their candles should not have burnt out yet, but if they have, light new ones.  If the request for a specific answer has not yet been answered, pray for it again; if so, and if another question needs to be answered, ask it; if no other questions need to be answered, ask for illumination, truth, and awareness generally in dreams.
    8. Return to sleep for at least another three hours; however much is up to you, since this second sleep is the final sleep of the day.  Upon waking, write down any dreams as before.  Make another offering of candles and wine to Morpheus as thanks for the previous night and dreams.
    9. Repeat the above for as as long as the Moon is in the sign ruling the 9th house, asking for more dreams along the way.

Happy dreaming!

Lunisolar Grammatomantic Calendar

In my first post on grammatomantic calendars and day cycles, I hypothesized that it would be possible to a kinds of calendar suitable for assigning a Greek letter (and, by extension, the rest of its oracular and divinatory meaning) to a whole day without an explicit divination being done, similar to the Mayan tzolk’in calendar cycle.  I did this creating a solar calendar of 15 months of 24 days each, each day assigned to a different letter of the Greek alphabet in a cycle, and also extended it to months, years, and longer spans of time; its use could be for mere cyclical divination or for more complex astrological notes.  At its heart, however, it is essentially a repeating cycle of 24 days, plus a few correctional days every so often to keep the calendar year in line with the solar year.  Because of this, it is essentially a solar calendar, keeping time with the seasons according to the passage of the sun.

Awesome as all this was, it’s also completely innovative as far as I know; the Greeks didn’t note time like this in any recorded text we have, and it takes no small amount of inspiration from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar system.  Wanting a more traditional flavor of noting time, I also hypothesized that it might be interesting to apply a grammatomantic cycle of days to an already-known calendar system used in ancient Greece, the Attic festival calendar.  In this case, the calendar system already exists with its own set of months and days; it’s just a matter of applying the letters to the days in this case.  No epoch nor long count notation is necessary for this, since it’s dependent on a lunar month a certain number of months away from the summer solstice (the starting point for the Attic festival calendar).  The primary issues with this, however, is that the Attic festival calendar is lunisolar following the synodic period of the Moon, so it has months roughly of 29 or 30 days, depending on the Moon.  This is more than 24, the number of letters used in Greek letter divination, and 27, the number of Greek letters including the obsolete digamma, qoppa, and sampi.  With there being only 12(ish) months in this calendar system, this is going to have some interesting features.  To pair this calendar with the Solar Grammatomantic Calendar (SGC), let’s call this the Lunisolar Grammatomantic Calendar (LGC).

So, to review the Attic festival calendar, this is a lunisolar calendar, a calendar that more-or-less follows the passage of the Sun through the seasons using the Moon as a helpful marker along the way to determine the months.  Many variations of lunisolar calendars have been created across cultures and eras, since the changing form of the Moon has always been helpful to determine the passage of time.  With the Greeks, and the Attics (think Athenians, about whom we know the most), they used the fairly commonplace system of 12 months as determined by the first sighting of the new Moon.  As mentioned, the start date for the Attic festival calendar was officially the first new Moon sighted after the summer solstice, so the year could start as early as late June or as late as late July depending on the lunar cycle in effect, making mapping to the Gregorian calendar difficult.  The names of the 12 months along with their general times and sacredness to the gods are:

  1. Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομϐαιών), first month of summer, sacred to Apollo
  2. Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών), second month of summer, sacred to Apollo
  3. Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών), third month of summer, sacred to Apollo
  4. Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών), first month of autumn, sacred to Apollo
  5. Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών), second month of autumn, sacred to Zeus
  6. Poseideon (Ποσειδεών), third month of autumn, sacred to Poseidon
  7. Gamelion (Γαμηλιών), first month of winter, sacred to Zeus and Hera
  8. Anthesterion (Ἀνθεστηριών), second month of winter, sacred to Dionysus
  9. Elaphebolion (Ἑλαφηϐολιών), third month of winter, sacred to Artemis
  10. Mounikhion (Μουνιχιών), first month of spring, sacred to Artemis
  11. Thergelion (Θαργηλιών), second month of spring, sacred to Artemis and Apollo
  12. Skirophorion (Σκιροφοριών), third month of spring, sacred to Athena

Each month had approximately 30 days (more on that “approximately” part in a bit), divided into three periods of ten days each (which we’ll call “decades”):

Moon waxing
Moon full
Moon waning
New Moon
11th
later 10th
2nd rising
12th
9th waning
3rd rising
13th
8th waning
4th rising
14th
7th waning
5th rising
15th
6th waning
6th rising
16th
5th waning
7th rising
17th
4th waning
8th rising
18th
3rd waning
9th rising
19th
2nd waning
10th rising
earlier 10th
Old and New

The first day of the month was officially called the New Moon, or in Greek, the νουμηνια, the date when the Moon would officially be sighted on its own just after syzygy.  The last day of the month was called the Old and New, or ενη και νεα, which was the actual date of the syzygy between the Earth, Moon, and Sun.  The last day of the second decade and the first of the third decade were both called “the 10th”, with the earlier 10th being the first day and the later 10th being the second.  Days in the months would be referred to as something like “the third day of Thargelion waning”, or Thargelion 28.  Only days 2 through 10 were referred to as “rising”, and days 21 through 29 were referred to as “waning”; the middle block of days from 11 to 19 were unambiguous.  When a month was “hollow”, or had only 29 days instead of 30, the 2nd waning day was omitted, leading to the 3rd waning day becoming the penultimate day of the month instead of the 2nd waning day.  Since this was all based on observation, there was no hard and fast rule to determine which month was hollow or full without the use of an almanac or ephemeris.

At this point, we have enough information to start applying the Greek alphabet to the days.  As mentioned before, there are fewer letters in the Greek alphabet than there are days, so there are some days that are simply going to remain letterless; like the intercalary days of the solar calendar, these might be considered highly unfortunate or “between” times, good for little except when you have a sincere need for that bizarre state of day.  A naive approach might be to allot the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet to the first 24 days of the lunar month, then leave the last six or seven days unallocated, but I have a better idea.  If we include the otherwise useless obsolete letters digamma (Ϝ), qoppa (Ϙ), and sampi (Ϡ), we end up with 27 days, which is 9 × 3.  In using the Greek letters as numerals (e.g. isopsephy), letters Α through Θ represent 1 through 9, Ι through Ϙ represent 10 through 90, and Ρ through Ϡ represent 100 through 900.  In other words,

Α/1
Β/2
Γ/3
Δ/4
Ε/5
Ϝ/6
Ζ/7
Η/8
Θ/9
Ι/10
Κ/20
Λ/30
Μ/40
Ν/50
Ξ/60
Ο/70
Π/80
Ϙ/90
Ρ/100
Σ/200
Τ/300
Υ/400
Φ/500
Χ/600
Ψ/700
Ω/800
Ϡ/900

In this system of numerics, it’s easy to group the letters into three groups of nine based on their magnitude.  This matches up more or less well with the three decades used in a lunar month, so I propose giving the first nine letters to days 1 through 9 (Α through Θ) and skipping the 10th rising day, the second nine letters (Ι through Ϙ) to days 11 through 19 and skipping the earlier 10th day, and the third nine letters (Ρ through Ϡ to days 21 through 29, and leaving the Old and New day unassigned.  If the month is hollow and there is no 2nd waning day for Ϡ, then the Old and New day (last day of the month) is assigned Ϡ.  Letterless days might repeat the preceding letter; thus, the 10th day of the month (or the 10th rising day) might be called “second Θ”, but still be considered effectively letterless.

With the usual Attic festivals celebrated monthly (they treated the birthdays of the gods as monthly occurrences), the lunar month with all its information would look like the following:

Day
Name
Letter
Festival
1
New Moon
Α
Noumenia
2
2nd rising
Β
Agathos Daimon
3
3rd rising
Γ
Athena
4
4th rising
Δ
Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite, Eros
5
5th rising
Ε
6
6th rising
Ϝ
Artemis
7
7th rising
Ζ
Apollo
8
8th rising
Η
Poseidon, Theseus
9
9th rising
Θ
10
10th rising
11
11th
Ι
12
12th
Κ
13
13th
Λ
14
14th
Μ
15
15th
Ν
16
16th
Ξ
Full Moon
17
17th
Ο
18
18th
Π
19
19th
Ϙ
20
earlier 10th
21
later 10th
Ρ
22
9th waning
Σ
23
8th waning
Τ
24
7th waning
Υ
25
6th waning
Φ
26
5th waning
Χ
27
4th waning
Ψ
28
3rd waning
Ω
29
2nd waning
Ϡ
Omitted in hollow months
30
Old and New
— (Ϡ if hollow month)

That’s it, really.  All in all, it’s a pretty simple system, if we just take the lunar months as they are, and is a lot easier than the complicated mess that was the SGC.  Then again, that’s no fun, so let’s add more to it.  After all, the fact that the months themselves are 12 and the Greek letters are 24 in number is quite appealing, wouldn’t you say?  And we did add letters to the months in the SGC, after all, so why not here?  We can also associate the months themselves with the Greek letters for grammatomantic purposes; if we assign Α to the first month of the year, we can easily get a two-year cycle, where each of the months alternates between one of two values.  For example, if in one year Hekatombaion (first month of the year) is given to Α, then by following the pattern Skirophorion (last month of the year) is given to Μ; Hekatombaion in the next year is given to Ν to continue the cycle, as is Skirophorion in the next year given to Ω.  The next Hekatombaion is given to Α again, and the cycle continues.  Note that the obsolete Greek letters digamma, qoppa, and sampi would not be used here; I only used them in the lunar month to keep the days regular and aligned properly with the decades.

The thing about this is that the lunar months don’t match up with the solar year very well.  Twelve lunar months add up to about 354 days, and given that a solar year is about 365 days, the year is going to keep drifting back unless we add in an extra intercalary (or, more properly here, “embolismic”) month every so often to keep the calendar from drifting too far.  Much as in the SGC with the intercalary days, we might simply leave the embolismic month unlettered in order to keep the cycle regular.  Days within this month would be lettered and celebrated as normal, but the month itself would be otherwise uncelebrated.  For the LGC, we would add the embolismic month at the end of the year, after Skirophorion, so that the next Hekatombaion could occur after the summer solstice as it should.  I depart from the Athenian practice here a bit, where other months would simply be repeated (usually Poseideon).

Of course, figuring out which years need the embolismic month is another problem.  To keep the cycle regular, we’d need to add in an embolismic month one year out of every two or three.  Although there’s no evidence that the Athenians used it, I propose we make use of the Metonic cycle, a period of 19 years in which 12 of the years are “short” (consisting of only 12 months) and 7 are “long” or leap years (consisting of 13, or 12 months plus an embolismic month).  This cycle has been in use for quite some time now in other calendrical systems, so let’s borrow their tradition of having years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 be long years, and the other years being short.  Just as with the months, the 12 short years might be assigned letters of their own, while the long years would be unlettered due to their oddness (in multiple senses of the word).  Since the Metonic cycle has an odd count of years, two of these cycles (or 38 years) would repeat both a cycle of letter-years as well as letter-months in the LGC.  Since the use of an epoch for the LGC isn’t as necessary as in the SGC, figuring out where we are in the current Metonic cycle can be determined by looking at another calendar that uses it; I propose the Hebrew calendar, which does this very thing.  In this case, the most recent Metonic cycle began in 1998, with the long years being 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2016; the next Metonic cycle begins in 2017.  The two Metonic cycles, which we might call a LGC age or era,  starting in 1998 and ending in 2035, are below, and the same cycle is repeated forward and backward in time for every 38 years.

Year
Cycle
Length
Letter
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12 (13)
1998
1
12
Α
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
1999
2
12
Β
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2000
3
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2001
4
12
Γ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2002
5
12
Δ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2003
6
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2004
7
12
Ε
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2005
8
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2006
9
12
Ζ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2007
10
12
Η
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2008
11
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2009
12
12
Θ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2010
13
12
Ι
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2011
14
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2012
15
12
Κ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2013
16
12
Λ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2014
17
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2015
18
12
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2016
19
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2017
1 (20)
12
Ν
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2018
2 (21)
12
Ξ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2019
3 (22)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2020
4 (23)
12
Ο
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2021
5 (24)
12
Π
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2022
6 (25)
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2023
7 (26)
12
Ρ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2024
8 (27)
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2025
9 (28)
12
Σ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2026
10 (29)
12
Τ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2027
11 (30)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2028
12 (31)
12
Υ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2029
13 (32)
12
Φ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2030
14 (33)
13
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2031
15 (34)
12
Χ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2032
16 (35)
12
Ψ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2033
17 (36)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
2034
18 (37)
12
Ω
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
2035
19 (38)
13
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω

A few others of these cycle-epochs include the following years, covering the 20th and 21st centuries, each one 38 years apart from the previous or next one:

  • 1884
  • 1922
  • 1960
  • 1998
  • 2036
  • 2074
  • 2112

Creating an epoch to measure years from, although generally useful, isn’t particularly needed for this calendar.  After all, the Attic calendar upon which the LGC is based was used to determine yearly and monthly festivals, and years were noted by saying something like “the Nth year when so-and-so was archon”.  Similarly, we might refer to 2013 as “the 16th year of the 1998-age” or 2033 as “the 35th year after 1998”.  In practice, we might do something similar such as “the sixth year when Clinton was president” or “the tenth year after Hurricane Sandy”; measuring years in this method would still be able to use the system of letter-years in the LGC, simply by shifting the start of the epoch to that year and starting with letter-year Α.  The Metonic cycle would continue from that epoch cyclically until a new significant event was chosen, such as the election of a new president, the proclamation of a peace between nations, and so forth.

Associating the letters with the years and months here is less for notation and more for divination, since the LGC is an augmentation of the Attic festival calendar (with some innovations), and not a wholly new system which needs its own notation.  That said, we can still use the letters to note the years and the months; for instance, the 16th year of the cycle given above might be called the “year Λ in the 1998-age”, while the 17th year (which has no letter associated with it) might be called just “the 17th year” or, more in line with actual Attic practice, “the second Λ year”, assuming that (for notational purposes) a letterless year repeats the previous year’s letter.  Likewise, for embolismic months, we might say that the 12th month of a year is either “the Μ month” or “the Ω month”, and the 13th month of a year (if any) could be said as “the 13th month”, “the empty month”, or “the second Μ/Ω month” (depending on whether the preceding month was given to Μ or Ω).

Converting a date between a Gregorian calendar date and a LGC date or vice versa is much easier than the SGC conversion, but mostly because it involves looking things up.  To convert between a Gregorian calendar date and a LGC date:

  1. Find the year in the cycle of the LGC ages to find out whether the year is a long or short year.
  2. Count how many new moons have occurred since the most recent summer solstice.
  3. Find the date of the current moon phase.

For instance, consider the recent date September 1, 2013.  This is the 16th year in the LGC age cycle, which has only 12 months and is associated with the letter Λ.  The summer solstice occurred on June 21 this year, and the next new moon was July 8, marking the first month of the LGC year.  September 1 occurs in the second month of Metageitnion, associated with the letter Ξ this year which starting on the new moon of August 7, on the 26th day of the lunar month, or the 5th waning day, associated with the letter Χ.  All told, we would say that this is the “fifth day of Metageitnion waning in the year Λ of the cycle starting in 1998”; the letters for this day are Λ (year), Ξ (month), and Χ (day).

Now that your brain is probably fried from all the tables and quasi-neo-Hellenic computus, we’ll leave the actual uses of the LGC for the next post.  Although the uses of the SGC and LGC are similar in some respects, the LGC has interesting properties that make it especially suited for magical work beyond the daily divination given by the letter-days.  Stay tuned!

Crying of Calls 49: Lunar Recap

I mentioned recently that I got Jason Miller’s excellent Advanced Planetary Magic, which, again, you should totally get, since it’s worth far more than the cost.  It’s a collection of 49 short prayers or invocations to be used during different combinations of the planetary hours and days for different ends (so there’s a Moon/Saturn call to be done in an hour of the Moon on the day of Saturn, a Saturn/Moon call to be done in an hour of Saturn on the day of the Moon, etc.).  As part of his goal to get this magic out in the world and practiced by the masses, Mr. Miller started up a project called The Crying of Calls 49, where people participate by calling out one of the calls each for 49 consecutive days in the proper hour for a given week.  So, the first week is for the Moon calls, the second week for the Mercury calls, and so forth.  I’m posting my results in the Facebook group for the project, but I also thought I’d share my results and experiences with you all as well.    I won’t share what the Calls are or what they’re for, since you should go buy the ebook and find out for yourself, but the astute among you will figure it out.

This past week, Monday 7/8 through Sunday 7/14, we did the calls to the Moon.  Below are my experiences and thoughts:

7/8: Moon/Moon (No original write-up for this one)

Did the Luna/Luna call in the first hour of the Moon at dawn, as part of my morning prayers, but before any other occult or prepwork.  Lit a candle and two sticks of jasmine incense, called on the presence and power of the Moon, then visualized the symbol of the Moon (dark indigo on purple).  I drew out the sigil of the Moon silver on purple, then called out A nine times and the Call nine times.  Afterwards, I inhaled the Lunar sigil and closed out.

Very smooth, relaxed feeling.  Soothing, calming, but also very clear, as if clouds had opened up.  Little else, though; this wasn’t a spectacularly powerful call, but perhaps it was due to the lack of preparation and alignment with the planets beforehand.  Will try to Call the Sevenths and some other prepwork in the future.  Still, that bit of clarity…it’s like opening up in a weird, back-and-top-of-the-head spiritual way, like I’m just a lil’ more aware, a lil’ more out there than just all here.

7/9: Moon/Mars (Combined with a chat with the lovely Rachel Izabella)

Just did the Luna/Mars call, in the second hour of the Moon. Opened up with my version of Calling the Sevenths, lit a candle and some jasmine and pine incense, and prayed the Orphic Hymn of the Moon. I then called for her aid, visualizing her glyph purple on a red background, and visualized drawing the sigil of the Moon, silver on red. I intoned O-A nine times, then cried out the Luna/Mars call nine times as well; afterwards, I inhaled the Lunar sigil and closed out.

Dang, this is like being really pumped up, like a near-dire pep rally before a big battle. I haven’t felt this kind of emotional boiling in a while, much less with this kind of weird clarity and sharpness that doesn’t often accompany it. (If only I had this call back in my Linkin Park days…)  Basically, it’s a rush of emotion but with this weird pointed clarity. I’ve felt similar rushes before, often in no good times (think Rubeus), but this is different. Much different. Like it’s a distinct blending of Mars and Luna, like in a cake that’s been badly blended: it’s overall good, but you can taste the individual ingredients.  The blend of emotion I feel now gave me a kind of rushed, pointed epiphany: self-identification with emotion, and by extension anything, is pretty much BS. Parable of the mirror and that kind of shit.  Distinctly fiery, yet still distinctly emotional.

7/10: Moon/Mercury

Spoke the Luna/Mercury call out loud without any prepwork in the second lunar hour of the day today. Got a light, smooth feeling, but not much else. I redid the call in the third lunar hour, preceding it with a short Calling of the Sevenths, lighting a candle, lighting jasmine and cinnamon incense, praying the Orphic Hymn to the Moon, and visualizing the Moon’s glyph (in purple) and sigil (in silver) on orange. Called out E-A nine times, then did the call nine times. I thanked the powers, “inhaled” the sigil, and closed the ritual.

It’s definitely a smooth and cool influence, much different than the Luna/Mars combination yesterday, and it “blends” a lot better, too. It’s a very lofty, swift feeling, mostly in my head and neck area, but it’s pretty mental, too. Calming without slackness, observant but not detached; I feel like I could easily get into someone’s head and compassionately/intuitively understand and work with them.

7/11: Moon/Jupiter

Performed the Luna/Jove call in the second lunar hour today, with the same setup as last night (short Sevenths-Calling ritual, candle, jasmine and cedar incense burning, Orphic Hymn to the Moon). Pictured the glyph of the Moon in purple on blue, and the sigil of the Moon in silver on blue. The silver didn’t seem to “stick” this time; it seemed tarnished and darkened against the blue, which was interesting. Called out Υ-A nine times, then the Call nine times.

This is definitely a peaceful feeling, strongly and deeply calming. Despite being an eternal caffeine junkie, this almost feels like I’m in an isolation tank; my mind is very calm and steady, but there’s something deeper further down as well that’s not often felt. Despite the “silver” of the sigil being darkened, I’m wondering if that reflects the deeper, darker reaches of this Call, since it still felt appropriate to the night and settings. The forces of the planets don’t seem to “blend” tonight as much as they resonate together; it’s whole and unified, ambient yet pervasive. Still maintains that “clear” feeling I’ve had with the rest of the Lunar calls thus far, too.

7/12: Moon/Venus

Did the Luna/Venus call in the third lunar hour today. Same setup as before: short Sevenths-calling, candle, rose/jasmine incense, Orphic Hymn to the Moon, Moon’s glyph purple on green, Moon’s sigil silver on green, called out H-A nine times, followed by the Call nine times. I also managed to read out the call three times under my breath on the train this morning in the first hour with no prep otherwise.

Very subtle effect this time; it may be due to a headache or fatigue I had at the time of the ritual, but it’s very toned-down in nature. Still, what I do feel is highly pleasant, like a massage running up and down my spine. I got a slight tingle this morning when I read it barely out loud on the train, and noticed that work went smoother and more relaxed than normal; now that I’ve done the ritual proper, I just feel pleasant and cuddly. (This may be to my own astrological influences of Venus and Luna, which are both in Virgo in my chart in house 5, but this is just conjecture on my part.) Still, it does make me wish my boyfriend were here at the moment, but not in any wistful or sad way; it’s like a happy longing, if it can be said that way.

Over the night, I had a fairly in-depth and detailed dream, which was pretty sexual in nature. It was like one long tease for both me and the Other, who was somehow alluring but was “composed” or based off of people I’d find otherwise, well, unfuckable. Hot tubs were also involved, which was awesome.

7/13: Moon/Saturn

Did the Luna/Saturn call tonight in the second lunar hour of the day. Cleansed myself beforehand with holy water, did a full Sevenths-calling ritual, lit a candle and myrrh/jasmine incense, called on the Moon picturing her glyph purple on black, called out the Orphic Hymn to the Moon, then visualized the sigil of the Moon silver on black intoning Ω-A nine times, followed by the Call nine times. Since this is the first one whose target is not me, I dedicated this beforehand to any who would stand in my way or would stand to strike me down.

This is interesting. Once the sigil was drawn (the silver of it took on an ephemeral, misty, cloudy quality this time, though bright all the same), the “mood” changed and gained that familiar, heavy, somber Saturnine feeling to it, but not oppressively so as it has in past purely-Saturn rituals. The Moon gave it that continuing clarity, like a single silver light in the darkness kept only to myself. I felt oddly satisfied, though grimly so, as if I just had to take care of unpleasant business. I’d call this feeling mischievousness if it weren’t for the heaviness of it. It feels like I’m a little extra alert, like I have nightvision or something, and while my own sphere feels calm and guarded, outside it feels like satisfying chaos.  I’d liken this feeling to Santigold’s music video for L.E.S. Artistes.

7/14: Moon/Sun

Did the Luna/Sol call in the first hour today, after my prayers, meditation, weekly banishing, and Sevenths-calling rite. Opened up as normal, lighting a candle with jasmine and frankincense incense, visualized the Moon’s glyph purple on yellow, called upon her and sang the Orphic Hymn to her, then intoned Ι-A nine times followed by the Call nine times, visualizing the Moon’s sigil silver on yellow. Afterward, I inhaled the sigil, as usual. (Hey, at least the ritual setup is easy enough to follow.)

The smell of frankincense and jasmine didn’t really work too great at first, and there was some similar confusion in the feel of the ritual as the sigil was being drawn; once I-A was intoned, things seemed to “align” like at a new or full moon, and it was just a feeling of pure Lux, neither moonlight nor sunlight, neither nighttime nor daytime. I felt this “cycle” reaching down from the heavens down through me, and likewise back up from the earth through me to the heavens, like I was plugged into something much greater. This is definitely a solar effect, and there’s less of the clarity I’ve experienced with the other Luna/* calls (maybe the force of the Sun on his day overpowers that of the Moon in her hour?).

Still, it felt like there was much greater access to the higher realms, and put a good finish on this week of lunar calls that opened up with a call for celestial clarity and astral action (oh god, now I’m alliterating too). Here’s looking forward to the next 42 days and Calls!

De Geomanteia: Populus (if you’re one of us then roll with us)

Since one of my most favorite topics in occultism and magic is divination, specifically the divinatory art of geomancy, why not talk about that? I know a lot about it, and not many do, so let’s go with it. If nothing else, you’ll come away slightly more educated, and I’ll come away with something looking like productivity. With that in mind, let’s continue this little series of posts on geomancy, “De Geomanteia” (On Geomancy). This week, let’s talk about this figure:

Populus

Populus

This is the figure Populus.  In Latin, its name means “People”, which is pretty common in lots of other traditions, often in other forms such as “congregation”, “assembly”, or “group”.  If you (quite literally) connect the dots, you might come up with a figure that looks like a crowd of people, or a meeting-house for people to discuss matters within.

First, the technical details of this figure.  It’s associated with the Moon waxing and the astrological signs of Cancer or Capricorn, depending on whom you ask; due to its lunar qualities, it’s associated with the sephirah Yesod.  It has all elements passive, and no elements active, being the most stable, slow, and status-preserving geomantic figure of them all; however, its placid and reflective nature closely associates it to the element Water.  It’s an even figure with eight points, the highest possible number, relating to objective situations rather than internal or felt events.  It is a stable and entering, showing it to be slow-moving and long-lasting where it appears.  In the body, it signifies the breast and midriff.  Its inverse figure (everything this figure is not on an external level) is Via, the Road, showing that this figure is not dynamic, not changing, not swift.  Its reverse figure (the same qualities of this figure taken to its opposite, internal extreme) is the same, Populus itself, showing that this figure is the same from all points of view.  Its converse figure (the same qualities of this figure expressed in a similar manner) is also Via, indicating that it is cyclical, internally whole, and representative of whole systems.  Populus is the most stable figure in all of geomancy and preserves everything around it.  It is entirely reflective and takes in whatever is around it and pushes it on, absorbing the influences of its neighbors.  It is good with good figures and bad with bad figures, especially favorable for reflection and meditation on matters already known as well as preserving the status quo of things.  It is unfavorable when change of any kind is a good thing, or when being alone is desired.

Picture a small little town, not large at all.  You know, one of those rural towns with a couple hundred people in it, maybe a few gas stations, a stop light if you’re being generous.  It’s a town where everybody knows everybody, and everybody’s family has been there for generations.  It’s an old town with little activity: life goes on as normally as ever.  Gossip from within cycles around and settles down on its own, the town taking care of itself, with the most activity being perhaps a yearly event that’s as old as the town hall itself.  The town’s had its history, and the people have had their knowledge and wisdom built up since their founding,  knowing what they know and keeping it known amongst themselves.  They’re not particularly fond of new people, but are friendly and cheerful all the same to welcome visitors and new settlers amongst them all the same.  A new resident of the town quickly finds out he can’t just deal with one person in the town; just as gossip spreads, he ends up dealing with everyone all at once even through one person.  Every influence around the town, stable as it is, affects the town in some way or another; the town reflects its surroundings and occasionally gets caught up in outside turmoil, all the while keeping its deep identity the same.

Harvest Moonrise

Unlike the other lunar figure, Via, which can be likened to a rapidly flowing river, Populus is much more like a calm lake.  While Via is fast-moving, Populus is still; Via is dynamic, Populus is stable; Via is outwardly powerful, Populus is inwardly-reflective.  Via goes out into the world and changes everything around it, but Populus stays where it is and lets others change it.  Via takes any figure it’s faced with and transforms it into its complete opposite; Populus sustains and copies it.  Via is the result of opposites attracting, while Populus is the result of similarities resonating.  The difference between inverse geomantic figures is starkest between Via, pure activity, and Populus, pure passivity.

Populus is the only figure in geomancy without any active elements.  There’s nothing going on within it, which gives it the unique ability to reflect whatever’s put into it.  Populus plus any other figure yields that other figure; it reflects what it’s given.  It’s like a large crowd of people which has no leader, and when given any impetus or stimulus, the crowd of people goes in that direction.  When a leaderless crowd of people encounters someone with the energy and direction to lead, they become followers and take on the energy and direction of the leader.  Similarly, when two identical figures encounter each other, the combined figure they yield is Populus, showing either a smooth transition from one to the other to preserve the status quo, or a larger group sharing the same goals, ideas, directions, and hopes.  In this sense, Populus can represent the townsfolk having banded together as a single, unified group.  It can It’s a figure of both similarity and multiplicity, of alliance and preserving the status quo.  As far as wisdom and thought go, Populus can represent common sense, the combined learning of a community, but can also represent mob mentality, depending on the situation.  Even here, Populus indicates a confluence of thought, reason, and information that has its basis on consensus and agreement.

Because of this ability to repeat figures or combine a repetition of figures, Populus is the one figure that is mathematically implicit in all geomantic charts.  Although a full geomantic chart has sixteen figures, no geomantic chart can ever have all sixteen figures of geomancy present; the presence of Populus would imply the presence of repeated figures to generate it, or would repeat another figure it’s combined with.  This ability to carry on and sustain figures in all charts, despite Populus having no elements active within its elemental structure, associate it to the element of Water.  Figures are assigned to different elements in part due to their elemental structure: with the exception of Populus, every figure’s ruling element is active within that figure (Albus, for instance, has only Water present, and is thus associated with Water).  Water can just as easily be fast-flowing and turbulent or cloudy (as Via) as it can be smooth, calm, reflective, and clear (as Populus).  Water, as a fluid, takes the shape of whatever container it’s put into; unlike gaseous Air which expands throughout containers, energetic Fire which consumes them, or solid Earth that forms the container itself, liquid Water is malleable enough to take on the form of whatever it’s faced with, while being solid enough to hold the shape of it.

Astrologically, Populus is given to the waxing Moon, which makes sense; it represents the slow growth and stability of something, much as a town slowly waxes in its population and resources.  This part of the lunar cycle that grows and increases in light also increases security and assurance in one’s self and beliefs, which is reflected socially by an increase of people agreeing and banding together with you.  Reflection, too, is important to both Populus and the Moon; just as the Moon begins and increases the amount of light reflected from the Sun, so too does Populus reflect the influences shining upon itself.  The zodiac signs associated with Populus are Cancer (through its connection with the Moon) and Capricorn (Gerard of Cremona’s association); both are cardinal, powerful signs of the Zodiac, but also diametrically opposed to each other.  Still, the association works for both: Cancer and Capricorn both represent stability and security, one through internal means and the home, the other through external means and the public.  Both offer assurance and preservation of the status quo (one informal through the use of social cues, the other formal through the use of established law), and so are both fitting for Populus, representing both the family at home and the family of the town.

In geomancy readings, Populus indicates stability and security in numbers.  When appearing as the Judge or as the combination of two figures, Populus often indicates that there’s no change between the past or present, or that there’s a complete unity of identification without difference between two parties or influences on a situation.  Populus can also indicate a plurality or multitude of things, or that something is waiting and able to take in input from any source.  It represents stability ready for change to occur, the blank paper ready for the pen.  Other people may be involved with a particular matter, or perhaps there’s nothing exciting to talk about, since whatever’s been the case will continue to be the case.  As opposed to Via, which can indicate that something is too much in flux to get a clear answer, Populus indicates that there’s no real answer to give since nothing is changing.  Magically, Populus is good for augmenting something with extra power, especially given its connections to the waxing Moon; it’s good for helping harmony and unity of thought and desire, as well as settling something down into a stable state.