Michaelmas Present: Litany of the Holy Archangels

One of the reasons why the second half of September is always so chaotic for me is that, not only is it in the few weeks leading up to my birthday both in flesh and in Santería, but it’s also a cluster of feast days: Our Lady of Mercy and the Days of the Cyprians and the Feast of Saint Cyprian of Antioch, Saint Justina, and Saint Theocistus are definitely important, but today is yet another feast day I hold dear to my heart: Michaelmas, more properly called the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel and All Angels.  Today is the day when we especially revere and honor the bodiless and immaterial Hosts of Heaven, with Saint Michael the Archangel, their divine commander and our divine protector, at the helm and forefront of both God’s armies and our own hearts.  And, of course, to honor the other archangels: Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Sealtiel, Jehudiel, and Barachiel (or whichever set of seven archangels you prefer to use).

I’d also like to share a new(ish) page with you all: a new prayer, the Litany of the Holy Archangels.  This is, for once, not something I wrote, nor could I have written something so beautiful.  Rather, it’s a prayer I’ve been using for years now, courteously and generously shared with me by good colleague and friend Michael Lux of Nigromantic Matters.  Originally written for Johannite Christian spiritual practice, Michael has generously let me share the prayer on my own website for all to use and refer to.  I find it incredibly devout, and can be used in both solitary practice as well as in a community.  I had intended on sharing this page more publicly earlier in the year when I was going to propose a new project and craft for myself, but said project never got off the ground due to logistical issues, so I never really announced the page.  However, today’s a perfect day for just that, so I hope you enjoy and find it a useful blessing in your own practices and prayers!

With that, I hope you all have a blessed end of September, with all the Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Virtues, Powers, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, and the seven commanders of all the hosts of Heaven blessing you and guiding you every moment of every day!

Blessed Angels, watch over us at all times during this perilous life.
Holy Archangels, be our guides on the way to Heaven.
Heavenly Principalities, govern us in soul and body.
Celestial Virtues, preserve us against the wiles of demons.
Mighty Powers, give us strength and courage in the battle of life.
Powerful Dominions, obtain for us domination over the rebellion of our flesh.
Sacred Thrones, grant us peace with God and Man.
Brilliant Cherubim, illuminate our minds with heavenly Knowledge.
Burning Seraphim, enkindle in our hearts the fire of Charity.

Seven angels around my head, guide us safely where we’re led.
Michael, defend us from all our foes; Raphael, heal us from all our woes.
Gabriel, give us peace on wings; Uriel, release us our attachments to worldly things.
Jehudiel, fill our mouths with praise to God; Sealtiel, open our hearts to prayer of God.
Barachiel, bless us in all our ways; Guardians, guide us through all our days.

Amen.

A bunch of new chaplets up for sale on my Etsy!

So I got a bit of crafting energy out of my system this past weekend, and after taking care of three commissions, I decided to keep the flow going and made another fourteen little things.

Just a few chaplets.  Yanno, a few.  Three each for the four archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, each completed with a medallion of the good angel, and two chaplets for the blessed dead, each finished with a proper crucifix.  It’s been a while since I made any of these, but I had the supplies leftover from a project I had to abandon, so I figured I may as well put them to use and put them up for sale for some lucky magician, devotee, or spiritual worker to use in their own blessed work.

 

Interested in getting one (or more) of these beauties?  Hurry on over to my Etsy shore and buy one today!  Chaplets like these tend to sell fast, since everyone’s looking to up their devotional game with the powers above and below, so once these are gone, they’re gone!  Of course, if you need, you can always commission me for something special that you don’t see listed; for those, just send me an email and we can work together from there!

Swords and Scepters

As some of you may know, I’m a federal employee of the United States government, and as many of you know, the United States government is temporarily unfunded due to congressional incompetence.  Many federal employees, including me, are in a state of unpaid furlough, which is a fancy way of saying “you’re not allowed to work until we have a budget again”.  In the meantime, I’ve been relaxing, enjoying my recent birthday, and doing a heavy amount of Work and conjuration; after all, I need something to occupy myself.  (And if you’re interested in what exactly I’m working on, stay tuned on Sunday for a fancy thing you’ll all see.)  In the course of this week, I’ve conjured the angels Tzadqiel of Jupiter and Raphael of Air for general empowerment (which, as Fr. RO mentioned, is always a good thing), as well as to continue doing a semi-regular checkup of my own work, progress, and sphere.  In the process, I also got some interesting advice regarding two of the most visible and important tools many magi and magicians use: the wand and the dagger.

In the conjuration with Tzadqiel, he mentioned that the wand is not just a tool of power and will, but it’s indicative of another similar idea, that of the scepter.  While the wand (at least in my tradition) is the elemental weapon of Fire and is associated with the Will of the Magus, it’s used for not the magus’ will but the Magus’ Will, or the True Will.  The difference here is important, just as any distinction is regarding temporary will and True Will.  Tzadqiel motioned to my caduceus tattoo on my arm, indicating that the use of the caduceus and the magician’s wand are similar.  Hermes is always seen bearing the caduceus in his left hand, the submissive or receptive hand, and this coupled with his role as Zeus’ messenger indicates that Hermes receives his power and direction from Zeus.  In other words, although the caduceus is a symbol of power, it’s of power from a higher source than oneself.  Likewise, many monarchies across time are seen as being empowered and validated by divine right (cf. divine-right theory or Mandate of Heaven), and so the scepter is an indication that its bearer is carrying out the will of God.  This is seen to this day in the United Kingdom’s monarchy, which was established by God, but since God doesn’t like to micromanage things down here, he divests power to the Crown to manage things for him.

So too is the wand of the magician not used as a blasting rod or an offensive weapon, but it’s used as a mark of divine right and being rightly divine.  The wand should be used to remind the magician and guide them to their True Will, not used to enforce their temporary will onto others.  After all, if one is following their True Will, then pretty much all else will fall into place accordingly (except in dire or unusual circumstances when other work must be applied).  The image of control that the wand bestows is just that, an illusory image; it’s the obedience of entities to their proper stations in the cosmos that the wand reminds them of, and helps them fall into place when in the presence of one who is effectively sent from on high.  To use  the wand to simply force or bind something to the whimsy of the magician is to abuse the authority given to the magician, and when abused enough, the magician incurs punishment just as Chinese emperors might lose the Mandate of Heaven.

In the conjuration with Raphael, on the other hand, the angel indicated other uses of the wand that agreed with Tzadqiel, but expanded more on its relationship to the dagger or sword, the elemental weapon of Air.  Both are masculine, phallic, elementally hot weapons (and some traditions swap the elemental associations of the two), and are like semi-codependent brothers.  Wood must burn to produce fire to melt and shape metal into a blade, and blades must be used on wood to produce a wand.  However, wood is a living thing that grows, while metal is inorganic which can only be shaped.  These lead into the point Raphael was trying to make, and was chiding me since I don’t use the dagger enough in my work.  While the Pentacle is used to embody and materialize things, and the Chalice is used to receive and partake in grace and charismata, the Wand is used to “set things in motion” while the Dagger is used to “cut off and remove”.  Magically, the dagger is used to “cut through bullshit”, dividing problems, severing connections, removing influences, deciding on paths and choices, and offensive and defensive work.  Compared to this, the wand is used to progress, enforce decisions, and authorizes one to make choices as one can and ought.

Admittedly, the part about the fighting work that can be done with the dagger surprised me, since the dagger is associated with Air, and Air with Raphael, the healer of God; the comparatively benevolent wand is associated with Fire, and Fire with Michael, the commander of the heavenly host.  Raphael replied that not only are all angels soldiers in their own way, but that even in healing, some destruction is always needed, such as that of diseased limbs or infectious microorganisms.  In order to heal one of any assailing disease, the infectious organism must itself be destroyed or drastically cut back in order to allow the natural healing of the body to continue.  In this case, the dagger represents the ability to cut out the temporary misaligned will of those down below and the wand to encourage and direct those to follow the True Will of those above.  The whole notion of having to correct misaligned wills that are not in accordance with the True Will indicates other problems that may be cosmically systemic, and is often necessary to ensure the proper execution of one’s True Will.  In more magical terms, if I want to accomplish something through ritual, there may be other factors involved that I can’t easily deal with simply by praying really hard.  Battles are fought before declaring rulership, always because the ability to rule is predicated on the inability of others to contest it or stymie it.

Thus the Sword, to fight against the influences contrary to one’s Work, and the Scepter, to encourage devotion and progress in one’s Work.

Mercury Election Experiment

It was passed around in my occult circles that there was a decent totally awesome Cazimi Mercury election, a powerful timing to do anything astrologically related to Mercury or its forces, this morning between 6:15 and 6:45 a.m. around my location; the Mercury hour made it valid.  Since Mercury is among my favorite forces, and Hermes my favorite gods, I decided to take this opportunity to recharge my angelic planetary talisman of Mercury as well as a few crystals (Mercury topazes, fittingly enough) under this influence.  Something kinda like my Saturn talisman consecration from about this time last year, but I changed things around a bit.  The time window was just barely enough, and I learned to do more setup ahead of time, but it was sufficient for my needs.

The big change is that I’m starting to put my orgone setup to good use, so I made that part of my altar setup.  Basically, I have a crystal ball in the middle with a small plate over it supporting some objects which act as a focus for the energy and force; above that, I have an orgone accelerator or “shooter” that pumps more energy into the focus and crystal ball.  The crystal ball radiates the force pumped through the objects above it from the orgone accelerator outward.  Around the crystal ball, four crystal bars “catch” the field and reflect it back inwards to the crystal ball, forming a constantly-strengthening sphere of force.  The crystals are “linked” up using a “thread” of force or energy that syncs them all together, then activated with a final “pulse” of energy into the crystal ball.  (Expect a full post and explanation of some experiments I’m doing with this orgone setup in the near future, once I gather a few more supplies and run the experiments.  Then I’ll stop giving explanations every time I talk about this stuff.)

I coupled this with my standard consecration setup by setting a consecrated candle to the east, my censer to the west, and eight candles inscribed with orange symbols of Mercury around the orgone setup.  The resulting setup looks pretty awesome, if I may say so myself, and definitely produced a kick throughout the ritual and will keep going for as long as I have it set up.  For practical reasons, I’ll consider the consecration complete once the inner candles burn out, and will dismantle it then.  For now, I’m enjoying the bright orange Mercurial light and orb of force in my room, as well as how smoky it is from all the incense.

The ritual was composed as following:

  1. Preliminary prayer, meditation, empowering.
  2. Setting up the consecration altar components.
  3. Asperging the area with holy water to cleanse and sanctify the area.
  4. Lighting the consecrated candle. Mercury candles, and charcoal for incense.
  5. Linking up the crystal ball to the four perimeter crystals and the perimeter crystals to each other.
  6. Linking up the crystal ball to the eight Mercury candleflames and the flames to each other.
  7. Pulse of Mercurial energy with the seed vowel Ε (Greek epsilon, vowel associated with Mercury).
  8. Opening prayers and invocations, consecration of ritual space and incense.
  9. Picatrix invocation to Mercury.
  10. Conjuration of Raphael, Tiriel, and Taphthartharath.
  11. Presentation and suffumigation of the talismans of Mercury to the spirits and forces of Mercury.
  12. Setting the talismans into the orgone setup focus.
  13. Conjuration of Raphael, Tiriel, and Taphthartharath to consecrate, dedicate, bless, empower, and sanctify the talismans of Mercury.
  14. Recitation of the Orphic Hymn to Hermes eight times.
  15. Directing the forces of Mercury into the talismans using the seed vowel Ε.
  16. Second conjuration of Raphael, Tiriel, and Taphthartharath to consecrate, dedicate, bless, empower, and sanctify the talismans of Mercury.
  17. Recitation of the Prayer to Saint Raphael eight times.
  18. Thanks to the spirits and forces of Mercury, license to depart.
  19. Closing of the ritual and closing prayers.

For those interested, the Mercury incense blend I used consisted of two parts nutmeg, two parts frankincense, one part benzoin, one part clove, and one part Power blend incense.

Ye Olde Healing Artes For Mine Ears

So, late last week, while I was riding high on German darkwave and fire energy, I went and finally got my ears pierced.  It’s always been something I wanted, but I never had the money to pay for it, the balls to go through with it, or the gut to handle the potential pain.  Well, so much for that.  I got an industrial piercing in my right ear and a combination lobe and transverse lobe in the left all at once; not bad for a first time, and the lobe + transverse lobe isn’t something commonly seen.  The pain was surprisingly minimal, even for the industrial, which might’ve been described more as “crunchy”.

Of course, this begins the whole process of dealing with the pain, healing, and potential infections that could arise from having several new holes punched into my head.  Although the lobe will only need a month or two to heal, the transverse lobe and industrial may need upwards of six to twelve months.  That’s a nontrivial time to keep the wounds clean and free from infection, and although there are some ways to speed up the healing process, it’s largely a matter of my own body playing nice.  I’m taking extra zinc and vitamin C supplements in addition to my normal vitamins to help out the immune system and healing process, and using warm saline compresses twice a day to keep the wounds clean.  Still, isn’t there something else I can do?

I’m a magician.  I make shit work.  There is something else I can do.  Q.E.Duh.

I’m adopting a multifaceted approach to helping these wounds heal up ASAP.  Having gotten them done just before the start of Aquarius this year, I’d like them to finish up healing by around the start of Leo (approximately six months afterward).  That’s my big intent and stated goal for this, so let’s see what I might be doing.

  • Like I mentioned, I’m using warm saline compresses to clean the piercings.  Well, it turns out that the holy water I make is nothing more than saline, and I already use the appropriate kind of salt for the saline solution as I do for holy water (uniodized sea salt).  Plus, I make holy water using a variation on the instructions in the Clavicula Solomonis, which involves making it in the day and hour of Mercury.  Mercury’s angel is Raphael, who has traditionally been associated with the healing arts (cf. the Book of Tobit).  When I make my own batch of saline solution next time, I’ll conjure Raphael in a day and hour of Mercury and ask him to consecrate the salt, water, and resulting saline to aid in the speedy healing process of all wounds and to keep them free from infection and disease.  This will be specifically healing water that I’ll be making, to be kept separate from the holy water (I use different amounts of salt for each), and I’ll undergo further Mercurial consecration on the saline just for the added benefit.  Dunno how I’ll fit a gallon jug on my altar, but I’ll make it work.
  • In addition, these are specifically ear piercings I have.  Ears are for communication and observation, which are also Mercurial in nature.  Things that pertain to them would also tend to pertain to Mercury, although Saturn and Mars rule the ears specifically, the art of hearing and perception is more under Raphael’s jurisdiction.  I’ll ask Raphael, next I conjure him (both the Raphael of Mercury and the Raphael of Air) and ask him to keep the piercing jewelry themselves clean and free of infection.  In addition, I’ll ask him to straight-up bless them to aid in healing and perception and hearing, since I’m going to enchant them anyway once I can take them out safely (not for a while).  May as well get a head start on that.  Plus, I’ll ask him for any other advice he might have for healing or keeping them clean.
  • In a magical working group I’m involved with, I was suggested to begin basic energy work, a field of magic that I’m woefully inexperienced at.  I know that at least one of my friends has experience with healing using energy, and I’ve been told before that I’ve got a natural temperament and talent for healing.  I may as well pick up some skills with this and see where it gets me, and if it works, I get speedier healing as well as more mad skillz.  Practice with this can take up some of the extra time on my non-conjuration nights, so at least twice a week or more depending on how much I drink or go out with friends.

Those are a few ideas that I came up with, besides stuff like incorporating prayers into my daily practice.  In the meantime, I’ll check out my copy of the PGM, Munich Manual, and other occult texts I have for any rituals or workings to aid the healing process (though it might get me mixed results to adapt rituals intended for bite wounds from black dogs to being pierced).  What about you?  Do you know any healing techniques, spells, or rituals, or are there any specific deities or spirits you work with for healing?  If you’re willing to share, please do in the comments.  The world needs more healing, as much physical as spiritual.

My Little Posse

Despite the title, no, I’m not into My Little Pony, nor am I a bro-ny.  For some reason that escapes me, the new MLP series is all the rage among men 20 to 35 years old.  I…I don’t even.

So I haven’t been completely idle these past few days, though I’m not as caught up as I wanted to be.  However, the next set of coursework for my Hermetic stuff came out, which goes over how to build a proper magician’s altar.  Now, keep in mind that I already have two altars, sorta: I have a devotional altar which I pray at and light candles and make offerings and stuff, and a small Ikea table which I use to perform miscellaneous rituals as the need arises.  The real altar, though, is going to be the Table of Manifestation, my sort of personal map of the macrocosm and microcosm as it relates to me, a supertalisman and focus for all my magical work.  It’ll have all my elemental weapons, symbols and talismans, and so on.  To that end, I’m getting together a rather large shopping list of metal ingots and weights to melt down to make talismans with and various other things (like some real frankincense resin incense and a proper charcoal incense burner).  Clearly, I’m putting my promotion and raise at work to good use.

As part of my altar setup, I’ll need talismans for each of the seven planets.  I got started last night on a Jupiter talisman, it being the day of Jupiter and all.  I took a wooden yo-yo from Michaels, split it apart, woodburned a few symbols into it, covered it in blue paint marker, then filled the woodburned inscription with silver ink.  There’s a hole in the bottom of the disc left from the yo-yo axle, which I’ll fill with molten tin (96% tin-4% silver solder from a hardware store).  Once that solidifies, I’ll apply a layer or two of glossy finish over the thing, then consecrate it under the auspices of Tzadqiel.  Lather, rinse, and repeat for the other six planets; the whole thing should be done by mid-September, if I’m dutiful.  For metal that can’t easily be melted, I might widen out the hole and just fit a piece of the planetary metal in there and glue or fasten it on somehow.  There’ll be pictures once I get all seven done, by which point the whole altar should have come together.

In other crafting news, I took an old staff of mine and made it all Solomonic.  The Key of Solomon has instructions to make a magical staff, which is virtually the same as the Solomonic wand and can be put towards the same use as other wands, such as the wand from Trithemius (I believe).  Unfortunately, I don’t have access to elderberry or cane wood, so I used an old staff I happened to find in a forest behind my last apartment (it was deliberately planted in the ground and already cut to a suitable height).  It’s not in the best of shape, but sanding it down and smoothing it off helped wonders.  I woodburned the symbols from the Key of Solomon into it as well as the Hebrew words AGLA + ON + IHVH, rubbed it with olive oil, and suffumigated it with incense.  Alas that no pictures show it properly since the oil turned the staff rather dark, but it looks pretty nifty.  Definitely an outdoorsy tool for a mage, and wielding a freaking staff feels pretty awesome.  I’ll be rubbing oil in it during hours of Mercury in the future just to make sure it gets waterproofed and treated properly.

Last but certainly not least, and related to the title of the post (of course there’d be a reason), I contacted Auriel and Raphael recently for a number of things, not the least of which to ask about obtaining elemental familiars.  You know, little helper spirits to call upon as I need.  I’m still kinda unsure about why I’d need them off the top of my head, but I figure it’s nice to call upon something already intimately familiar with the element in question as a need arises.  They’re pretty cool beings, I’ll admit, and are closer to humanity than the archangels.  That said, I didn’t expect the earth elemental Auriel to whom introduced me to have the high-pitched perky voice of a female Asian pop star, nor did I expect the air elemental to have fond memories of London and rhymes.

Don’t look at me.  I’m just writing this shit down.

Anyway, they’re pretty cool beings, and agreed to come when I called them.  They have pretty cool names, too, which just so happened to follow the rules of Hebrew theophoric names, which is interesting (ending in -iah or -el).  I’m starting to build myself up a whole circle of beings, apparently, to get things done.  Either I’m awesome or psychotic; after a certain point, I have a hard time telling.

Ooh, ooh!  Also, I splurged last week and got like eight new books for myself, including Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century by Richard Kieckhefer, a modern reprint of the famous Munich Manual.  It’s got a lot of source material for the medieval, Christian, or Hermetic scholar, and has a fair bit of planetary and demonic magic.  I’m not too keen on the demonic aspects of the work, but it’s got a lot of interesting stuff, regardless.  I’ve already translated one ritual from the source in Latin, so expect some more stuff to be thrown up as well.

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.