Search Term Shoot Back, March 2014

I get a lot of hits on my blog from across the realm of the Internet, many of which are from links on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS readers.  To you guys who follow me: thank you!  You give me many happies.  However, I also get a huge number of new visitors daily to my blog from people who search around the Internet for various search terms.  As part of a monthly project, here are some short replies to some of the search terms people have used to arrive here at the Digital Ambler.  This focuses on some search terms that caught my eye during the month of March 2014.  This month was particularly awesome with two things in mind: for one, the recent Hermes/Mercury conference, for which the writeups are as complete as I can make them without putting up voice recordings; for two, I crossed the big threshold of 200,000 hits this month!  Thank you all so much, dear readers, for serving my plans for world domination sticking with me and all my antics and adventures.

“symbol with dot for north node : symbol without dot-?” — I’m not aware of any symbol for the North Node, also known as the Head of the Dragon or Caput Draconis, that involves a dot.  Rather, the symbol for the North Node looks much like the symbol for the sign of Leo (♌) but with both “tails” curved into loops (☊).  Similarly, the South Node, a.k.a. Tail of the Dragon or Cauda Draconis, is the same symbol but reversed (☋).  There are the related geomantic figures for these signs, too, but there’s no such thing as a geomantic figure “without dot[s]”.  So, I’m really not sure what the querent here is trying to look for, but it’s certainly not one of these astrological/astronomical symbols.

“ben franklin potato advocate” — …this is true, he was in fact an advocate and lover of potatoes, and potatoes weren’t really popular in the early history of the United States until he started hawking them.  They also make fantastic liquors with them, which is another thing Mr. Franklin would approve of.

“a prayer for charing crystal and mirror” — Being that crystals are usually made of non-combustible minerals, and mirrors are made from non-combustible class and metal, I find it difficult to char these things with fire.  It’s possible to crack them apart or shatter them with heat, or get them dirty from soot, but charing isn’t something that can be done.  Charging, however, can be more easily done by praying intentfully, calling on the powers you prefer to enter into or deign to consecrate, bless, and charge it for a particular end.  There’s no one particular prayer for this, so just say what you want and do it forcefully.

“clear blue digital pregnancy test book symbol” — Er…I understand that the Digital Ambler talks about symbols and books rather often, but this is an unfortunate confluence of search terms that yielded a result most inappropriate for the query.  Still, Yahoo! Answers has something better for you.  Admittedly, I’m not one to ask about pregnancy tests, since I’m neither female nor predisposed or inclined to children.

“what do six candles represent on altar” — Depends on the candles and the altar.  Catholic altars are often seen having six candles, though this is a custom that came about only a few hundred years ago; before that, they were reserved only for high holy rituals, with two candles being common for a low Mass or none at all on the altar.  Beyond that, whatever associations go with the number 6, I suppose, indicate the purpose.  Some people use six candles for a solar ritual.  There’s really no way to answer this question; it’s like “what does the sound does the mean”, where it depends on the specific sound and in what language.  Try again, querent.

“need to summon good ghost or spirit free pliz” — Yes, it can be absolutely free!  But I won’t do it for you, because that’s like having someone trying to eat for you.  You need to do the work yourself, buddy.  There are so many resources, on this blog and on many other sites like those on the right hand side of my blog, that are available for free that will get you a running start.  Don’t be lazy, and don’t try to outsource your own spiritual work.  Our “*-as-a-service” world is not great for individual development.  And even if you absolutely need to have someone else do the work for you, why would you expect it to be done as a free service?  Lawyers get paid for their expertise, as do doctors and therapists.  After putting in all the time, effort, money, and resources into their studies and Work, it’s only fair to recompense a magician for their services to you.  You can’t get something for nothing, you know.

“words to summon a demon” — Behold, I have here a most secret conjuration preserved from the ancestors of my ancestors, which I will reveal to you to know now, that you may summon the demons of magnificent and terrible power:

Yo, NN., get your flaming ass over here!  I’m serious, I’m for real, I’m dead serious!  Quit your shit and come on!  Y’all’re gonna piss me off if you don’t show your lazy ass before me, and I don’t want any of your crazy shit tryna scare me.  If you don’t show up right here right now, I’m pressin’ charges on your ass and my lawyer is gonna sue you to a hell deeper than you ever been to before.  Do you know who I am?  I’m motherfucking NN., and I own this shit and I own you.  Now come on, I’m not just forcing you for shits and giggles here.  In fact, let me give you something to hold you over for a bit.  But, really, come on.  I need you here; don’t lemme down, now. <cough> …forever and ever, world without end.  Amen.

After this, snap four times in the form of a cross, roll your neck, and put a 7-11 taquito in a fire and pour out a Four Loko as an offering to the demon.

“geomantic gods of earth”, “geomantic gods”, etc. — Geomancy isn’t a religion, nor is it even a major part of spiritual practices; it’s just a form of divination, and arose in an Islamic culture and propagated through other Abrahamic cultures and traditions before finally arriving to our libraries in our modern pluralistic world.  In that sense, I suppose the god of geomancy would be God, as in that of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and about whom many geomancers of the past (Robert Fludd, Agrippa, al-Zanati, etc.) have written as the ultimate source and original cause of enabling us to use this divinatory method.  As far as angels go, we might claim that Gabriel is important to geomancy, being as he is the angel of messengers and heralds generally as well as the one who mythically gave the knowledge of geomancy to (depending on the myth) Adam, Hermes Trismegistus, Enoch, or Idris.  Hermes Trismegistus, in his form as the thrice-great Thoth-Hermes, might be considered from this as a god of geomancy, inasmuch as he’s god of any and all occult sciences, divinatory methods, astrology, conjuration, worship, sacrifice, fate, time, language, and the like.  Beyond that, if you’re looking at things with a more neopagan mindset, any deity of the earth (and especially of the desert sands) or of “low” divination (as opposed to prophetic divination or astrology) would be fitting, but that’s very tradition-specific and vague.

“can i activate seals of solomon by praying and lighting candles only” — Actually, that’s really about it, though you’d need to swap candles for incense.  The Key of Solomon describes how to go about consecrating the pentacles (book I, chapter 8), where you go into a ritual chamber and pray several psalms and a certain prayer over the pentacles.  The ritual says you need to have incense burning and to have a special circle drawn on to contain the censer for incense.  After that, you suffumigate the talismans in the incense and you’re done.  I’d have a candle burning, anyway, and incense is something I find necessary in rituals, but that’s really just about it.  The heavy lifting of consecrating the pentacles comes from their construction and proper inscription of the right names and signs in the right places; what comes afterward is just a blessing, and even then, that almost seems to be a minor point to me.  Most Solomonic magic, anyway, takes the forms of prayers and invocations, so you’re already basically there.

“how to invoke angels on saturn” — I’d assume the same processes we use on Earth would work reasonably well on Saturn, as well, though there is the issue of figuring out planetary days and hours on the planet.  More important would be the issues of actually getting to Saturn and, once there, figuring out a place to land on a planet that has no solid surface; those are questions that beyond my expertise to answer.

“geomanctic symbols + younger futhark”, “futhark + geomantic symbols”, etc. — Apparently there’s some interest in linking together the geomantic figures with the runes of the futhark (elder, younger, Anglo-Saxon futhorc, whatever).  I don’t really see a need or a purpose for this besides the ever-dominating Western penchant for completion and connection; there’s no 1-to-1 mapping between the 16 figures and 24 runes of the elder futhark, though there might be such a connection with the 16 runes of the younger futhark, but as far as I’m aware the younger futhark are nearly never used in divination.  Geomancy and runic divination, further, come from radically different traditions, cultures, and time periods, and really have little in common (unless you want to use a very late interpretation of runic divination to be assigned to the planets and signs of astrology).  Just because two sets of symbols have the same count doesn’t mean there are clean mappings or relationships between them; I might claim that certain types of African diasporic religions have 12 gods, but just because there are also 12 Olympian gods in Hellenic paganism doesn’t mean that they’re the same or that there are clean connections between the two.  (I realize that this kinda leads me to thumb my nose at people like Agrippa, Crowley, and Skinner who are known for their correspondence tables, but I can’t be the only one who thinks that one can take these things only so far without them breaking down miserably.)

“how do you manifest with orgone energy” — You manifest things, and then orgone energy exists.  One doesn’t really manifest anything with orgone energy except…I guess, more orgone energy.  It’s like using the qi/chi/ki in the body to make food appear; it can be effected by means of the body to go out and buy or harvest supplies that can then be processed into food, but qi/chi/ki cannot itself make food.  Likewise, orgone energy doesn’t itself manifest desires; it’s the animating force behind other systems that enables them to work so as to manifest a desire or will.  You can use orgone energy to maintain health and activity, which you can then direct to manifest, but you can’t be so direct with orgone energy alone.  However, you can use orgone energy (being, as it is, an ambient resource of magical power) in other magical rituals to focus and charge talismans (like my Mercury election experiment), intents, desires, and the like; again, however, this isn’t using orgone directly as much as it is empowering other things to work directly.

“sigil to sigil symbol to symbol magic to magic planetary to planetary occult to occult astrology to astrology” — You’re so thorough!  I’m sure you found exactly what you needed.

“the finger ring of solomon” — There’s lots of information known about the ring of Solomon on the internet, largely due to resources like the Lemegeton and John Dee’s Enochiana works (cf. the PELE ring).  Still, the way this query was phrased leads me to believe that the good King Solomon may have other types of rings he may have used.  In that case, I want dibs on the design for and production of the cockring of Solomon.

“summon spirits without ritual” — This is a moot point; summoning is a ritual.  It’s like saying “eating food without nutrition” or “sleeping without closing eyes”.  Of course, my idea of ritual is pretty far-reaching, but then, there’s no reason for it to not be so broad.

Grimoiric Textual Authenticity and Legitimacy

I was looking over some of the threads in /r/occult on Reddit recently and came across a perplexing, bemusing thread that…not gonna lie, it made me too angry to reply to it.  Like, not enraged Tea Party-like flaming anger, but there was just so much wrong with the OP’s views that I had a hard time knowing where to begin.  They admitted they were new, but I contented myself with downvoting and upvoting replies appropriately in the thread.  The gist of the thread was that the OP was looking for “propper [sic] grimoires”, at first for display purposes like home decor but later to actually read and investigate.  After having been suggested the Clavicula Solomonis, the OP did some searching on Amazon, but decided he didn’t want “Knock-off / Edited / Bad copies of the book”, trying to find “the acutal [sic] book itself”.  From his later replies in the thread, he didn’t necessarily want the original manuscripts, just the “original text” instead of something that had been “edited into oblivion”.

I…what is this, I don’t even.  Essentially, what he’s asking is like asking for the original Gospel of John, Dao De Jing, or something similar, the very first copy taken down by hand without any of the translation, editing, or whatnot.  None of the attached philosophy or editing, just the good ol’ original text without any of the extra embellishment.

Grumpy Cat says "NO"

This is such a bad question that I honestly don’t know how to reply except “no, stop it, you’re doing it wrong”.  Actually, no, it’s so bad, it’s not even wrong.  Grimoires (literally “grammars”, methods and rules for learning and applying magic that often contain exact ritual specifications in addition to magical and ritual frameworks) aren’t discrete texts that arose independently in occult vacuums.  Grimoires, then and now, were part of a thriving (and often underground) tradition of magic that was derived from older grimoires before them and helped derive newer ones after them.  They were more academic than hedgewitchy formularies or herbals, and less philosophical than outright religious tractates on angels or heresies, but were still fairly academic texts.

The big issue is that academic rigor nowadays is much different from academic rigor back then.  Combining hearsay with experimental or anecdotal data, plus plenty of appeals to authority (Plato, Aristotle, Vergil, and Solomon were some of the faves back then), as well as flawless incorporation of spiritual and material knowledge yielded sometimes awkward but applicable logical results in magic.  The primary method of transcribing this method was by manuscript and handwritten text; given the expensive nature of book publishing and the fact that vanishingly few publishers would want their names sent to the Inquisition for starting up a Renaissance Llewellyn, there was really no other choice but to copy, write, and transcribe grimoires from book to blank book.  This would by nature make the texts different through copy differences and transcription errors, sometimes in significant ways (differences in sigils, holy names, and words of power especially).

Plus, these texts were also largely written and copied by people who were actually doing the work, reading and incorporating those texts into their own occult practice, perhaps keeping the text intact with as few errors or differences as possible, sometimes adding in their own information or experiments, sometimes blending in information or technique from multiple sources.  Whether they wanted to keep to the tradition verbatim, add in their own supplements, or make changes based on their own experiments (e.g. “method X won’t work as written, use improvised method Y for expected results”), the end results gave grimoires a life of their own, growing and changing with different generations of occultists and magicians.

Another big source of edits in the grimoires was that their source information was often unintelligible or poorly understood to begin with.  Many of the oldest texts we have out there in the grimoire tradition are in Greek or Hebrew, and many European occultists simply had bad understanding of either language; the phrase “it’s Greek to me” came from this very situation by monks with the same problem.  Between translation to translation to copy to copy, names or nuances might have been changed or lost, especially based on the aesthetics of the transcriber’s eye when it came to magical circles, diagrams, or sigils.  This is especially bad with Hebrew, as can be seen in many manuscripts of the middle-to-late Renaissance, where any word with “Hebrew letters” is downright illegible.  There’re good arguments to be made that these illegible or overly-and-poorly stylized Hebrew letters sometimes became magical sigils in their own right, which again would undergo changes from copy to copy.

And then there’s the whole notion of “forged” grimoires.  So what if something is a “forgery”?  What would it have been forged from?  Who even cares?  Half of the texts used in the Renaissance, medieval era, and back were variously attributed to the Jewish prophets, Christian apostles, Greek philosophers, rabbinic authorities, and so forth often with no real connection between what the prophet/philosopher/apostle/etc. was known for and what the text was about (cf. Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, or the “Diadem of Moses” from the PGM, or Pietro d’Abano’s Heptameron).  The attribution of a text to a spurious author doesn’t really change the nature of the text; the real question on evaluating whether a magical text is legitimate is whether its magic is legitimate.  As Crowley said, “let success be thy proof”.  By this metric, then, even copies of the Necronomicon (a wholly and fully fictional text from Lovecraftian mythos that some authors took and ran with) are legitimate, because their magic works.  Who cares if it was made up out of whole cloth, or whether it was based on older sources?  If it works, it works; if not, trash it and start with a different text.

Asking for an “original grimoire” is…well, it’s a stupid request.  If you’re looking for an actual manuscript from the 1500s, you’d be better off trying to bribe one of the curators in the Bodleian or Ashmolean Libraries, or be willing to shell out thousands on eBay or something.  If you’re looking for the original text from which something came from, you’re on a fool’s errand.  Consider the Key of Solomon, which has some of its earliest known copies from the 1400s; we find similar information in the Grimoirum Verum and Liber Juratus, with information in Liber Juratus coming from the Hygromanteia and Sefer Razielis, which is based on the Sefer Raziel ha-Malakh, which comes from a tradition dating back to the classical Sefer ha-Razim and Greek Magical Papyri.  From Liber Juratus and the Key of Solomon, in turn, we also have material that formed the basis of the Heptameron, which is a close sibling or cousin to the planetary conjurations of the Munich Manual of Necromancy; from the Heptameron we have Trithemius’ method of drawing spirits into crystals, which itself forms the basis for much of my work.  Asking what the original source for all this stuff is, without edits or changes or translations, is like asking who the first guy who talked to angels with using a wand and circle.

I understand the want for a “critical edition” or “authoritative copy” of a text, I really do, but it’s something we take for granted in our modern age when we have Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia and people from on-high or centralized systems telling us what’s cool and what’s not.  But this is hard to do when different copies of a given text are equally useful as tried by different people or handed down in different traditions, difficult when you’re looking at centuries of living tradition and practice that introduced features rather than bugs, and impossible when there’s no authority to judge authenticity or correctness.  Magic is often seen as belonging to orthopraxy instead of orthodoxy, proper practice instead of proper doctrine; magic involves actually doing stuff more than it does simply learning it.

Prayer of the Ring

You, dear reader, may remember that lovely Solomonic Ring I commissioned a while back.  It’s a lovely ring of silver engraved with the name of the archangel Michael and the name of Tetragrammaton Tzabaoth and set with a sunstone, made by my friend Orthaevelve of Obsydian Moon (whose wares you should totally check out and commission her for fantastic occult things).  I use the ring for most magical workings I do, especially in conjurations as an added layer of divine authority and magical defense against any that would seek to harm me.  Plus, it acts as another source of Light that can help me out in any number of situations, from illuminating dark situations to seeing in spiritual darkness.  It’s a pretty nifty thing, which I’m very glad to have in my magical armoire.

When I put it on, especially before a conjuration, there’s a particular prayer I’ve settled into into using.  Like my Prayer of the Itinerant, it was originally a spur-of-the-moment oration, but eventually became part of my ritual standard procedure.  I know there’re prayers for putting on other ritual garb (“ANCOR AMACOR AMIDES THEODONIAS ANITOR” etc.) but I consider those separate from putting on this specific item of magical gear; since I haven’t seen a similar prayer for donning a magical ring of divine power, I figured I may as well share mine.

I don the ring and step into my role as mage, as μαγος, as priest, as shaman, as holy one, as intermediary between the worlds.
I don the ring and am made protected by the archangel Michael, prince of the heavenly host and guardian of the Light, and the holy Father, the Lord of Hosts, YHVH Tzabaoth.
I don the ring and rend the veil between the worlds, and step out of this world into the ever-present Moment, the eternal Now.
I don the ring to accomplish my will.
I will to (ritual statement of intent).
I am here to accomplish my will.
My body is here.
My soul is here.
My spirit is here.
My mind is here.
I am here to accomplish my will.
My will be done, God willing.

Amen.

Follow up with any other prayers you may find useful (I tend to use a serquence of the Prayer of Hermes Trismegistus, the Our Father, the Prayer of Joseph the Visionary, and others), and then officially begin the ritual.  I do this before performing conjurations, working at my Table of Manifestation, or most other workings that require the use of the Solomonic Ring, sometimes for my own spiritual defense, but also to humble myself and start putting myself into the mindset of a magician working by the grace and authority of the Divine Source of All.

When I “rend the veil between the worlds”, I make a gesture of separating with my hands in the three dimensions (hands splitting apart, once with one hand going to the left and the other to the right, once with one going up and one going below, and once with one going before me and one behind me).  This was inspired by Jason Miller’s “The Sorcerer’s Secrets“; it’s is a nifty trick to make an instant ritual space independent of circles and whatnot.  Upon wearing the ring, it may be beneficial to start assuming one’s astral form mentally in the ritual space or visualizing oneself to become filled or covered in Light, but YMMV.

Planetary Consecration, Generally and Specifically

Since it’s a Sunday with a waxing moon, hangover notwithstanding, I’m finally getting around to consecrating my Ring of Solomon under the powers of the Sun.

In that picture, you can see my Table of Manifestation on the right with the Ring in the middle sitting on top a hastily-written Table of the Sun, with the symbol of the Sun in gold leaf and its sigils and names, and on the desk you can see some extra supplies: Abramelin oil, frankincense incense, container of Goldchläger, cotton swabs, and so forth.  It’s all part of the consecration ritual I’m conducting for this neat little tool.

Consecration is a powerful thing, especially when you know how to handle the consecrating forces appropriately, but doesn’t always have to be done.  A lot of plants, stones, gems, and liquids have natural occult virtues that suffice without any extra empowering, though charging them or blessing them is certainly a helpful option.  Some tools don’t need to be consecrated at all, and the Lemegeton’s Goetia doesn’t give any instructions on how to consecrate the thing; I suppose this means that the ring is consecrated by construction.  Timing may help with consecration, and this is in fact the entire basis of astrological magic, where you want to time an event or act of creation under a particular arrangement of planets in the sky.  For me, though, I like invoking the proper powers and having them bind and mingle with something to consecrate or empower it.

The ritual I’m doing is based on a framework I use to consecrate things under a given planet.  In general, what I do for a planetary consecration is this:

  1. Figure out the desired qualities of the consecration, and pick the planet you wish to consecrate the item under.
  2. Procure the item.  If possible, make, or buy the item in days and hours of the planet.  If this is not possible, in a day and hour of the planet, formally state your intent and purpose of the item’s use to you at your Table of Manifestation (working magician’s altar), devotional altar, or other sacred place.  When not in use, keep the item at this place of power.
  3. In the day and hour of that planet, conjure that planet’s angel (based off the Trithemian ritual of conjuration) and ask them to”consecrate, sanctify, bless, dedicate, and empower” the item under the powers and blessings of that planet.  Ask them to bring their associated intelligence to open the way for the energies to flow into the item, and ask the spirit to infuse the item with the planet’s power.  Clearly state your intent as to the consecration’s purpose.  If they decline, ask why and see what changes might need to be made so as in order to proceed.
  4. For the next few days, in the hour of the planet, charge and bless the item under the blessings and powers of the planet in the name with the aid of the angel.  Repeat the Orphic Hymn over the item.  The number of days and the number of repetitions of the Hymn to be done should equal the number associated with the planet.  This is to be done either on one’s Table of Manifestation or in the light of a colored candle burnt as an offering to the planet’s powers and entities on a devotional altar.  Optionally, suffumigating the item in incense associated with the planet may be helpful.
  5. Once step 4 is complete, again conjure the planet’s angel in their day and hour and ask them to fully consecrate, charge, infuse, and bless the item in the power and glory of the planet’s full force and power as regards your specific need.  Thank them for their aid and assistance in the matter.

Yes, this takes a bit of time (especially if you’re doing something under, say, Mercury or the Moon), but it works, and it ties in things very nicely together.  It’s what I did for my Fiery Wall of Protection oil and a variety of other things.  I’m using this same process to consecrate my Ring of Solomon, but I’m tailoring the general ritual to be specific to this task:

  • Carry out the process for six days, starting in an hour of the Sun on a Sunday during a waxing moon.  It helps that the Sun is at its highest northern declination, giving it an extra boost of power at this time of year.  The repetitions of the ritual will take place in hours of the Sun (probably all nighttime unless I can swing a daytime hour after I get home from work) and will finish up on this Friday.  Each ritual takes about 20 minutes.
  • The statement of intent for this ritual is to empower the ring to lend me the protection, guardiance, light, authority, and fire of the Sun as I wear it, so that no spirit bring harm to me and that I have the strength and authority to conduct and conjure spirits and forces of the cosmos.
  • I anoint the ring with Oil of Abramelin and Goldschläger, suffumigating it in frankincense incense.
  • Since I use my Table of Manifestation with all its planetary and elemental tools and weapons, I’m using the Wand (symbol of Fire, director of Will and force) in conjunction with the Talisman of the Sun to direct and guide the appropriate forces into the Ring.  The planetary talismans are basically weapons tailored to their individual planets, hence the use of that particular talisman.
  • I pray over the ring once per repetition of the ritual with the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel.

So, come next Sunday, I’ll have a very nifty and powerful addition to my tools, and probably one of the most important.  Besides, the extra solar energy in my life is no bad thing, and will help out in some of my other work I’m doing at the same time.

Ring of Solomon +2

I went to a party back in January to celebrate Thor conquering the ice giants to drive back winter.  Fantastic party, and it’s held every year by one of my Nordic pagan friends who brews his own mead.  I lost a few hours of that night, but otherwise it was SO awesome.  Well, I ended up meeting someone particularly interesting at that party who knows the host through several different scenes in the area.  I noticed the tattoo sleeve on her arm, which incorporates alchemical symbols; I asked about them, and she replied with the four Powers of the Sphynx (to know, to dare, to will, to keep silent).  Immediately I knew I was talking to someone genuine, and heavens above and hells below she’s awesome.  Spagyrist, Mesoamerican occultist, stonecarver, and silversmith.  She knows her shit and has been at it for a long time.

Well, the silversmithing bit caught my interest.  Although I’m decent with wood and pyrography, the metal stuff she makes is fantastic (she showed me several impressive rings and a pendant-knife she made “out of boredom”).  This stuff is well beyond my capability to make, and for some of the more detailed items I need, I’d rather have something professionally and nicely made by someone who knows what their doing (required purification, occult virtues, planetary timing, etc.). I commissioned her for a Solomonic ring based on the one I was currently using.  That one was made of hematite worn on the pinkie, and the design was the one based off on this post at The Occult and Magic: a Star of David, Michael, and Tzabaoth written on the outside and the Tetragrammaton written on the inside.  I interpreted the three-circle design of the Ring of Solomon from the Lemegeton to be representative of using the outer, top, and inner sides of the ring, instead of a circular plate on the ring.  I used a dremel tool to engrave the letters in.  It was passable.  She noticed it and complimented its power (she said it had a distinct “back the fuck off” note), but the material used for it and the energy didn’t quite match up.

All the more reason, then, to get a new and better ring.  The design was to look mostly the same: the Tetragrammaton on the inside of the ring, with the names Tzabaoth and Michael on the outside with a Star of David which, if possible, would be circumscribed with a circle and a dot in the middle.  If she wanted to be fancy, I suggested she could engrave the Star of David on a topaz and set that on the ring.  Graphically, the design looks like this:

And, given that, this is what I ended up with:

This.  Is.  Incredible.  A silver band with Hebrew letters and a beautiful clear sunstone, with a dotted hexagram underneath it.  Very, very nice touch.  Since she understands the significance and importance of timing, we were originally going to go with a particularly powerful solar election back on March 25th, but we both dropped the ball on that, so she was going to try and get it done during a Sunday on a solar hour.  My assumption is that the ring is a solar instrument of magic, hence the timing.

Well, instead, this past weekend, she was kicked out of bed on Sunday with something telling her to get the ring done at noon that day, and she did; by the time she finished, it had a definite warmth that almost burned her skin.  She told me it was finished, and I was somewhat confused about the timing: the day of the solar eclipse? Sun conjunct balsamic moon?  Sun conjunct Algol?  Sun peregrine?  For a solar talisman of protection, it seemed that she couldn’t’ve picked a worse election.  I had my doubts, but was going to keep the ring either way: if the election defeated the defensive purpose of the ring, then I was going to keep it as a Trojan Horse-esque gift for someone I particularly dislike; if it worked, or if I could get the proper powers to make it work, I would keep it and use it as it’s meant to be used.  After all, what good is a line of defense if it’ll just buckle or, worse, backfire?

However, upon putting the ring into my hand, it felt positively comforting and strong, like a welcomed last gasp of air or a bright light at the end of the tunnel to see everything with.  And, upon wearing it (a perfect fit!), I felt a strong presence wrap around me, and my friend said that I went positively glowing.  Since this isn’t the kind of power my friend normally interacts with, and the fact that she was pretty much made to do it as a matter of capital-letter Inspiration, I’m pretty sure this ring is good to go.  Besides, what else is magic for, if not to bypass and surpass the natural circumstances and mechanics of the cosmos to Get Shit Done?  Of course, I’m still going to run a few tests, readings, and analyses on the thing to make sure it’s good to go, and if so, have it undergo a proper solar consecration of its own (probably using a dab of Abramelin oil and a wash of Goldschläger); she left it intentionally “unsealed” so I could work my own magic on the thing, which was kind of her.  I’m very confident that this thing will become a fast friend of mine, in terms of ritual tools and generally cool things to have.

I mean, come on.  I HAVE A FUCKING MAGIC RING.  I am officially living in an RPG.

The silversmith, Raven Orthaevelve, is always interested in furthering her business and skills and is willing to take commissions, especially with magical, occult, or other ritual items.  Her prices are very affordable, especially considering the quality and skill she employs in making really detailed or difficult stuff.  You can contact her at orthaevelve@gmail.com if you’d like to ask her for something, or look at her Etsy page.  Really, she’s fabulous.  Plus, she’s practically dying to make jewelry, knives, and other tools specifically for magical use, and she really does know her shit.  Get in contact her and commission her for stuff; you won’t be disappointed.  Plus, if she gets enough commissions from magicians to pay for it, she’ll be able to get a set of Hebrew stamps for metalworking that’ll really make her stuff impressive for our kind of crowd.

Also, right after I commissioned her for the ring, I found this little thing on Amazon.  For those among us with a more Christian persuasion, this would be a perfect premade substitute for a Solomonic ring.  However, I’ve noticed with other rings that the material it’s made of (tungsten carbide) has some interesting effects in that it helps work as a natural shield for the wearer as well as a blinder on the wearer.  YMMV.

Craftwork update!

Gotta love the feeling of being productive and actually making stuff again.  About damn time, too; crafting this stuff is at least a quarter of the fun of the Art.

Since I had all the supplies, and now that things in my life have calmed down enough to allow me enough time during the week and weekends to focus and set my mind to some projects again, I can proudly show off two of my latest crafting projects:

  • A ritual sword, partially Solomonic in design but with certain elements that give it a much more offensive nature against harmful spirits.  Yes, dear reader, I made myself a demonsbane-type sword.  I’m going to conjure Kammael and Michael in turn as this conjuration cycle continues and get their opinions on it and how to keep it in good shape, so there’ll be a post on that in the future.  In the meantime, I’m scared to even hold the thing; it feels like a firebomb in my hands.
  • A Circle of Art painted onto a large canvas tarp, based on a design I introduced before.  Simple, elegant, and portable, and awesome-looking, besides!  I made a few wooden pentagram placards to serve as bases for candles and the brazier, too, so the whole setup is pretty cool.  Walking into it feels like stepping into a fortress observatory, so I think I did it right.
  • Although not a craft, per se, I had a hard time finding a proper blessing of chalk that didn’t specifically mention the Three Wise Men or Epiphany, so I made one up.  Here you go, if you ever need a Hermetic or Abrahamic blessing of chalk.

Now that I have these two things, in combination with the tools and supplies I already have (wand, triangle, pentacles, ring), I’m finally ready to start working with goetia and other types of demons.  This opens up a whole new set of practices to experiment with, so I’m pretty excited about this.  Yes, I know that dealing with demons is a powerful practice and can fuck my own shit up if I’m not careful, but what’s life without living, and what is living without learning?  I want the experience, and I hear some demons are pretty neat guys to be acquainted with.  Based on a friend’s suggestion and my own inclinations, I think Orobas will be the first guy in line.

My brony friends would be proud if they knew about this guy.

Though, this does bring up a good question for myself.  I’m used to using the Trithemius ritual to conjure spirits, which I’ve used for angels and genii (two totally different ranks of spirits), but nothing besides (since I haven’t done any other kind of conjuration).  Fr. Rufus Opus has said he’s used it equally well for all kinds of spirits from different grimoires, traditions, and texts, so I’m eager to try and figure out experiments with this rite and how to conjure spirits that are less-than-sanguine about the holy Trinity, qabbalistic godnames, and so forth.  The Lemegeton and Key of Solomon have good starting points for me to jump off of; a Trithemius/Solomonic blended conjuration might be an interesting thing to write up, since the Trithemius rite has the basic framework I need and the Solomonic texts have all the godnames, conjurations, and calls.

A Circle of Art

Almost every magician likes circles.  It’s not really our fault; they’ve been used since before written records of magic for protection, isolation, containment, or just simply marking a boundary of working space in a magic ritual.  They’re important, of course, but sometimes magicians can go overboard with them (see the Clavicula Solomonis, Trithemius rite, Munich Manual, or the Heptameron).  It’s even gotten to the point where there are whole networks of artists in the video game, anime, DeviantArt or other communities who specialize in elaborate and intricately detailed magic circles.  They are pretty cool-looking, admittedly, but we have to keep in mind that the circle is still a tool used for protection and containment of a consecrated space.

For all the hype, magic circles don’t need to be that complex.  A simple ring around yourself, drawn in the dirt or carpet or sprinkled around with salt, will suffice for most intents and purposes.  PGM or classical styles of Hermetic magic may use a few voces magicae (Ablanathanalba, Sesengenbarpharanges, Lerthexanax, etc.) and maybe a cross in the center.  Wiccans might use a ring of candles, pinecones, or rope.  Goetic magicians, especially those of the Lemegeton persuasion, might go full-out with the complete Solomonic circle.  The effect could be stronger to include all those geometric designs and names of God, but the effect is the same at its core.  Such a complex circle, though, might be preferred for permanent working spaces or for carpets/rugs/platforms that can be transported from place to place.

Well, I want a circle of my own.  I don’t have the space for a full 9′ Solomonic circle, and I keep getting images from dreams or my astral temple of something simpler, anyway.  After some doodling, thinking, and research, and struggling to keep this a clean design, I’ve come up with the following Circle of Art.

The construction of the circle is as follows: make two circles, one in the other.  In the ring between the circles, write the godnames Agla towards the east, Adonai towards the south, Eheieh towards the west, and Eloah towards the north.  These names of God represent the four elements in their quarters according to Agrippa, and I got them from Frater Osiris’ New Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, a revised version of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram that updates or cleans up some of the possible inconsistencies in its format (though I kept the older Agrippa-style elemental and directional attributions that I use for my altar and other work).

  • Agla (אגלא), a contraction of Ateh Gibor Le-Olam Amen, is associated with Fire through the word Gibor, part of the godname of Mars and Geburah, Elohim Gibor.
  • Adonai (אדני) is associated with the Earth through the godname of Malkuth, Adonai ha-Aretz.
  • Eheieh (אהיה) is associated with Air since it is entirely breathed out without any hard or soft consonants, and also since it is associated with pure spirit through connection with the sephirah Kether.
  • Eloah (אלוה) is associated with Water by its first two letters El (אל) which is the godname of Jupiter and Chesed which, although airy, is made passive by its last two letters of the word which it shares with the passive letters of the Tetragrammaton.

In this scheme, all the names of God on the outer circle have four letters and begin with the letter aleph (א), showing a harmony between them that links all the elements and directions together in a kind of spacial and spiritual unity.  It helps to omit the use of the Tetragrammaton here, especially since use of the Tetragrammaton should (but hardly ever is) be used sparingly (never, as my orthodox Jewish brother would say), and since the Tetragrammaton already comprises all four elements.  Plus, these godnames link up to the four sephiroth used in the Qabbalistic Cross, lending both an elemental/microcosmic and planetary/macrocosmic power to this part of the circle design.  Major major props to Fr. Osiris for being so ingenious with this.

On the inside of the circle, there’s a diamond for the magician to stand, with a cross inside with a letter of the Tetragrammaton on each end of the cross.  The corners of the diamond, the cross, and letters of the Tetragrammaton are aligned towards their proper directions and elements (yod for east and Fire, one Heh for south and Earth, the vav for west and Air, and the other Heh for north and Water).  The inner ring can be considered the boundaries of the celestial world, and the diamond the boundaries of the terrestrial world.  Outside the diamond and aligned with each of the four directions are four hexagrams, which are known to have a protective or banishing quality against harmful energies.  However, unlike the Solomonic style of hexagrams that have the letters of the word ADONAI written around it and the Greek Tau cross in the middle, I came up with my own design, a figure I call the Star of Azoth.

The Star of Azoth is a hexagram or Star of David with the letters composing the word “Azoth” in it.  This is a very powerful word, coming from alchemy to refer to the essential spirit of all things, the supreme reason, and the action that determines all things in all realms.  Further, it can be formed from four letters of the three big scripts used in Western occultism:

  • A from aleph (א), alpha, or ay, the first letter of all Phoenician-derived scripts
  • Z from zed, the last letter of the Roman script
  • O from omega (Ω), the last letter of the Greek script
  • Th from tav (ת), the last letter of the Hebrew script

In this way, you have the beginning of everything and the end of all things combined into a single unit Azoth (אZΩת).  It’s got a similar meaning, in this way, to the phrase “[EGO] ALPHA ET OMEGA”, but that phrase really bothers me.  I mean, the names of Greek letters spelled out in Latin?  Really?  How gauche.  Besides, I’ve used the same word on my fancy magical cane before, and I rather like this construction over the Alpha et Omega construction.

Anyway, the Star of Azoth combines the letters of the word in a hexagram, using aleph as the center of the star and the other letters outside, with each triangle holding the other three letters.  The same letter shares the same axis, giving the star rotational symmetry.  Using the hexagram as an image of the seven planets, as in the following image,

we can associate planets that share the same progression of Z-Ω-ת, the same letter, or the same triangle:

  • Saturn, Mars, and Mercury share one progression of letters, starting at the top Z and going counterclockwise. These planets are all on the Pillar of Severity on the Qabbalah, and all show cold, logical, or harsh qualities.
  • The Moon, Venus, and Jupiter share the other progression, starting counterclockwise from the bottom Z.  Jupiter and Venus are both on the Pillar of Mercy, though the Moon is on the Pillar of Balance.  However, these planets all share generative, kind, and generous qualities.
  • Saturn, Mercury, and Venus share the upwards-pointing triangle, indicating the ascent to the Almighty through the cosmic boundaries (Saturn) through the use of magic and spirituality (Mercury and Venus).
  • Mars, Jupiter, and the Moon share the downwards-pointing triangle, indicating the descent of spirit into the physical world, with Jupiter and Mars determining the quality and quantity of spirit allowed and the Moon giving birth into the physical world as the lowest part of the heavens.
  • Moon and Saturn share the letter Z, which reveals their natures showing boundaries (Saturn as the boundary between the celestial and the divine, the Moon as the boundary between the celestial and the terrestrial) as well as their feminine and generative nature (Saturn being associated with Binah, the black Mother and God as Female, and the Moon representing the fertility of mother goddesses and generation through the feminine cycles).
  • Mars and Venus share the letter Ω, and these too are associated with being the masculine and feminine poles of energies and forces.  They both represent kinds of nonlogical drives, that of force and action by Mars and that of emotion and reaction by Venus.
  • Jupiter and Mercury share the letter ת, and it’s been shown through Qabbalistic texts that Mercury and Jupiter, or Hod and Chesed, share a connection of their glory, which both sephirah names can translate to.  Both are related to education and nobility, for one, and both rely on each other as a forest on its trees and trees on its forest.  As the smallest and largest planets in the solar system, these share a kind of size extremity on opposite ends.
  • In the center of the hexagram, we have the Sun associated with aleph.  Aleph and alpha, in terms of gematria, both have the numerical value of unity, representing the Almighty, which has its representative in the solar system as the Sun.  In addition, in terms of the Qabbalah, the sephirah Tiphareth is known as the Lesser Countenance of God, revealed to the world as the Son by whom all things can be done.  You can’t exactly do much without eating a good meal, grown by the light of the sun, now, can you?

Putting it all together, we come up with this magic circle which combines representations of the elements (through the Tetragrammaton and the four four-letter names of God on the outer ring) and the planets (through the use of the hexagram figure and the Star of Azoth in the inner ring).  With the magician standing in the center of it all, we complete the circle in a third dimension and add one final part to the whole setup, the operative force or the quintessence that binds the entire cosmos together, the magician himself.  This looks promising as a circle design, and I hope soon enough to get a big enough piece of canvas to roll out, paint on, and use in my own work.