Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Helios

(Update 1/9/2018: Interested in more about this ritual?  Check out my more polished, fleshed-out writeup over on this page!)

As I mentioned last time in that post detailing a list of neat shit I found for use in my own magic, there’s one particular ritual that I hadn’t used before or included in my original enchiridion, but that I thought would be worth it to include.  This is a ritual from the Greek Magical Papyri, that awesome Dead Sea Scrolls collection of magic, and specifically comes from PGM IV.1596—1715, under the title This is the consecration for all purposes; Spell to Helios.  It’s a somewhat lengthy incantation, and doesn’t provide any ritual instructions nor does it seem immediately connected to any other ritual found close to it in the PGM, but it’s a fascinating method of consecration of a charm, stone, ring, phylactery, or other object for power under Helios, the sun god of the Greeks.

However, it being the PGM, its’s not that straightforward.  Besides the usual barbarous words of power, this ritual has several fascinating aspects to it.  For one, the ritual associates Helios with the Αγαθος Δαιμον, the Good Spirit or Genius, with heavy references to a Serpent God and even an explicit one to Serapis, none of which is too surprising given the PGM context in which we find this ritual.  More fascinating than this, however, this ritual has Helios with twelve forms and twelve names, each form and name for each of the twelve hours of the day.  This is much like the names of the hours of the Heptameron, and has corollaries to the names of angels from the Key of Solomon; however, the practice of giving names and gods to the individual hours of the day is old and definitely has its origins in ancient Egyptian practice.  There is another ritual, PGM III.494, which provides a partial list of the gods of the hours, but it’s incomplete, making PGM IV.1596 the only complete one in the text.  For reference, the names (in Greek along with their isopsephic values) and forms of Helios in the twelve hours are listed below, along with the hieroglyph for each animal (as close as I can ascertain, for reasons which will soon become clear):

Hour Name Animal
1159 (ΩΨΝΘ)
Cat Hieroglyph for "Cat"
1180 (ΩΤΠ)
Dog Hieroglyph for "Dog"
2122 (ΩΨΧΚΒ)
Serpent Hieroglyph for "Snake"
1029 (ΩΣΚΘ)
Scarab Hieroglyph for "Dung beetle"
2176 (ΩΨΧΟΕΑ)
Donkey Hieroglyph for "Donkey"
326 (ΤΚΕΑ)
Lion Hieroglyph for "Lion"
1533 (ΩΨΛG)
Goat Hieroglyph for "Ibex"
833 (ΩΛΓ)
Bull Hieroglyph for "Bull"
2957 (ΩΨΧΦΤΝΖ)
Falcon Hieroglyph for "Falcon"
639 (ΧΛΘ)
Baboon Hieroglyph for "Sacred baboon"
1910 (ΩΨΥΙ)
Ibis Hieroglyph for "Crested ibis"
193 (ΡΠΓ)
Crocodile Hieroglyph for "Crocodile"

There’s a small bit written about the forms of the Helios, mostly in German, and I don’t propose to get into it too deeply here.  However, I did mention above that there is another list of names and forms of the Sun through the hours earlier in the PGM, but it’s incomplete; Stephen Flowers in his Hermetic Magic attempts a reconstruction, but…well, suffice to say that I’m not particularly sanguine about his work.  Mind you, this is focusing on the twelve hours of the day, since Helios (in the Egyptian reckoning) dies and goes into the underworld during the nighttime.  Some of the faces of Helios have small descriptions appended to them, such as that of the ninth face ΦΗΟΥΣ ΦΩΟΥΘ as “the lotus emerged from the abyss”, of which the lotus is a traditional throne of Harpokrates, also known as Horus, given the animal form of a falcon.  It might be that the Sun was thought of by the author as an ultimate, monistic god that took on multiple forms, especially given his laudation of the Sun as “the great Serpent, leader of all the gods, who control the beginning of Egypt and the end of the whole inhabited world” and other praises.  Other notably Egyptian names can be found amidst the other barbarous words in this ritual.

Now, while the ritual as given in the PGM is well-preserved, there are two main issues, as I see it.  For one, each one of the twelve hours has an associated benediction for the phylactery or charm to be consecrated except for the tenth and twelfth hours; Betz notes that it’s likely a copyist omission that left out the consecration for the these hours.  Moreover, the bigger issue we have is that we don’t know exactly how to employ the ritual, as no framework for the ritual was given.  To that end, here are some of my thoughts on setting up such a ritual employing this consecration:

  • When it comes to timing, I think it’d be good for us modern Hermetic magi to stick to a time powerful for the Sun, such as during a day and hour of the Sun, during a good astrological election of the Sun, or using the day when the Sun hits his exaltation at 18° Aries (which, barring unusual circumstances, only happens once a year sometime around April 7).  As this is a consecration, choosing a day when the Moon is waxing or full would be preferred.  The wording of the text suggests that the Sun, at the time of uttering the spell, has already set, meaning that the ritual would have been done at nighttime, leading to a peculiar necromantic-solar vibe.  However, there’s room for fleshing this out, and I think doing it in the daytime could be done just as well.
  • No offerings are mentioned, but strong red wine would be a safe bet.
  • Ritual setup could involve six candles (six being the Qabbalistic number of the Sun), but I think it’d be better to have twelve candles, one each for the twelve faces of Helios.  Alternatively, oil lamps would work equally well.
  • Frankincense would be an obvious choice for a suffumigation, but if you wanted to go fancier, you could make a more complicated and delectable solar blend.  If you wanted to go old-school, perhaps kyphi would also work.
  • The usual solar decorations of gold, yellow, bay laurel, and the like would be nice, perhaps substituting the number 6 for 12 (such as using a duodecadon or a double hexagon instead of a single hexagon).
  • Even though the ritual text lacks benedictions for the tenth and twelfth hours, it’s not terribly hard to fill in the blanks with related ones.

So, with all that in mind, here’s what I have planned for the full ritual of the Consecration of the Twelve Faces of .  For the full ritual, it will take place over the course of a full day from the moment of sunrise to the moment of sunset, with thirteen total invocations to be done, but later on I’ll also describe a one-fell-swoop approach to doing the whole ritual.

Prepare the following supplies:

  • Thirteen white, ivory, yellow, or gold candles that burn for at least 12 hours, or thirteen clean oil lamps that have not been painted red filled with enough oil to burn for at least 12 hours
  • A bottle of red wine
  • Twelve small cups and one large bowl, if the ritual is done inside
  • Non-red (preferably white or yellow) chalk, paint, or ink, if the ritual is done inside and/or upon some sort of writable ground or surface
  • Incense, either purely of frankincense or compounded of equal parts frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and cinnamon
  • Oil, either pure olive oil or some sort of blessing/magical oil
  • An object to be consecrated, henceforth known as the “charm” (but change the word in the instructions and ritual text as necessary to “ring”, “phylactery”, &c.)

The ritual will take place at thirteen different points in time throughout the same day: at the first hour of the day (moment of sunrise), at the second, third…twelfth, and at the thirteenth hour of the day (moment of sunset).  Be sure to calculate these specific times for the ritual in the same way as you’d calculate planetary hours, focusing only on the diurnal hours plus the first nocturnal hour (sunset).  One is to strictly fast from all food, all drinks except water, all sexual activity, and all impurity from the moment the ritual begins until it is concluded after sunset.

Prepare the ritual area:

  1. Clean, purify, and banish the ritual area from all impurity before setting anything up.  Using natron as a purifying agent is suggested, but not required.
  2. Arrange twelve of the candles in a large semicircle, so that the open side faces the north. The twelve candles may be spaced so that the first candle is oriented due east and the last candle due west, or they may be spaced so that the first candle is oriented towards the exact direction of sunrise and the last candle towards the exact direction of the Sun’s position in its twelfth hour of the day.
  3. If done inside or in such an area as to permit a writable surface, write out the name of the twelve faces of Helios between the object to be consecrated and each of the candles, so that ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ is written between the object and towards the easternmost candle, ΣΟΥΦΙ towards the next one just to the south, and so forth.  If space is tight, use the isopsephic value of each name instead, written either in Arabic or Greek numerals.  Outside the semicircle beside each candle, write the Egyptian hieroglyph for the animal associated with that candle’s hour and name.  Additionally, write the hieroglyph for the Sun in the focal point of the semicircle.
    Hieroglyph for "Sun"
  4. If the ritual is done inside, place the bowl at the focal point of the semicircle, then put the charm inside the bowl.  If outside, place the charm at the focal point on the ground.
  5. If the ritual is done inside, set a small cup just beyond each candle (either on or beyond the hieroglyph if on a writable surface).
  6. Place the censer for the incense behind the focal point, a little bit away from the charm towards the north.
  7. If desired, write the names of the four guardians of the directions ΕΡΒΗΘ to the east, ΛΕΡΘΕΞΑΝΑΞ to the south, ΑΒΛΑΝΑΘΑΝΑΛΒΑ to the west, and ΣΕΣΕΓΓΕΝΒΑΡΦΑΡΑΓΓΗΣ to the north around the whole ritual area.  I’ve found these names of power to represent the entities guarding the stations of the Sun as he progresses through the heavens and hells, but it’s optional.  Likewise, if desired and if space permits, you may also want to “close off” the area by drawing a second semicircle to the north so as to make a more-or-less complete circle.

The resulting layout for the ritual, assuming we use the due-east/due-west orientation of the candles with all the extra things and large enough to walk within, would look like this:

Daytime Consecration to the 12 Faces of Helios Arrangement

Before sunrise on the day of the ritual, prepare the temple space so that it is clean, banished, and prepared accordingly. Just before sunrise, invoke the four guardians of the directions, if desired, or other watchtower-type entities. At sunrise, the ritual fast and actions begin; light the thirteenth candle (henceforth referred to as the Sun candle) that has not been set out in the semicircle.  Light the incense, then take the Sun candle in in the left hand, salute the rising Sun with the right, and begin the preliminary invocation (state your name or whoever’s the beneficiary of the charm wherever “NN.” is used):

I invoke you, the greatest god, eternal lord, world ruler, I who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, rising at dawn, shining from the east for the whole world, setting in the west. Come to me, you who rises from the four winds, joyous Agathos Daimon, for whom heaven has become the processional way. I call upon your holy and great and hidden names which you rejoice to hear.  The earth flourished when you shone forth; the plants became fruitful when you laughed; the animals begat their young when you permitted.  Give glory and honor and favor and fortune and power to this charm which I consecrate today for NN.

I invoke you, the greatest in heaven, ΗΙ ΛΑΝΧΥΧ ΑΚΑΡΗΝ ΒΑΛ ΜΙΣΘΡΗΝ ΜΑΡΤΑ ΜΑΘΑΘ ΛΑΙΛΑΜ ΜΟΥΣΟΥΘΙ ΣΙΕΘΩ ΒΑΘΑΒΑΘΙ ΙΑΤΜΩΝ ΑΛΕΙ ΙΑΒΑΘ ΑΒΑΩΘ ΣΑΒΑΩΘ ΑΔΩΝΑΙ, the great god, ΟΡΣΕΝΟΦΡΗ ΟΡΓΕΑΤΗΣ ΤΟΘΟΡΝΑΤΗΣΑ ΚΡΙΘΙ ΒΙΩΘΙ ΙΑΔΜΩ ΙΑΤΜΩΜΙ ΜΕΘΙΗΙ ΛΟΝΧΟΩ ΑΚΑΡΗ ΒΑΛ ΜΙΝΘΡΗ ΒΑΝΕ ΒΑΙΝΧΧΥΧΧ ΟΥΦΡΙ ΝΟΘΕΟΥΣΙ ΘΡΑΙ ΑΡΣΙΟΥΘ ΕΡΩΝΕΡΘΕΡ, the shining Helios, giving light throughout the whole world.  You are the great Serpent, leader of all the gods, who control the beginning of Egypt and the end of the whole inhabited world, who mate in the ocean, ΨΟΙ ΦΝΟΥΘΙ ΝΙΝΘΗΡ.  You are he who becomes visible each day and sets in the northwest of heaven, and rises in the southeast.

Proceed to the first candle in the semicircle and light it with the Sun candle; if the circle is large enough to walk in, stand on top of the name of the face for the first hour and face the candle, but otherwise stand behind the charm towards the north and facing the candle of the first hour. Say the invocation of the first hour while saluting the first candle with the right hand:

In the first hour you have the form of a cat; your name is ΦΑΡΑΚΟΥΝΗΘ. Give glory and favor to this charm.

Pour out an offering of wine, either directly on the ground on top of the hieroglyph (if outside) or in its proper cup (if inside). Follow this with the following supplication:

You who will set at evening as an old man, who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, hear my voice in this present day, in these holy hours, and let all things done by this charm be brought to fulfillment, and especially for the need for which I consecrate it, for the sake of NN.

Set the Sun candle down by or on top of the charm. The ritual for the first hour is complete.

At each of the successive hours of the day through the twelfth hour, repeat the process by lighting more incense, taking up the Sun candle, and proceeding to go through each invocation for each of the hour, saluting each candle, until you reach the proper candle for the appropriate hour, where you’ll light that hour’s candle, recite the invocation to that hour while saluting the candle, pour out wine for that hour, and finish with the final supplication before putting the Sun candle down by the charm. The rest of the hour invocations are (supplemented with my own additions for the tenth and twelfth hours):

  1. In the second hour you have the form of a dog; your name is ΣΟΥΦΙ.  Give strength and honor to this charm and to NN.
  2. In the third hour you have the form of a serpent; your name is ΑΜΕΚΡΑΝΕΒΕΧΕΟ ΘΩΥΘ.  Give honor to the god NN.
  3. In the fourth hour you have the form of a scarab; your name is ΣΕΝΘΕΝΙΨ.  Mightily strengthen this charm for that which it is consecrated.
  4. In the fifth hour you have the form of a donkey; your name is ΕΝΦΑΝΧΟΥΦ.  Give strength and courage and power to the god NN.
  5. In the sixth hour you have the form of a lion; your name is ΒΑΙ ΣΟΛΒΑΙ, the ruler of time.  Give success to this charm and glorious victory.
  6. In the seventh hour you have the form of a goat; your name is ΟΥΜΕΣΘΩΘ.  Give sexual charm to this charm.
  7. In the eighth hour you have the form of a bull; your name is ΔΙΑΤΙΦΗ, who becomes visible everywhere.  Let all things done by the use of this charm be accomplished.
  8. In the ninth hour you have the form of a falcon; your name is ΦΗΟΥΣ ΦΩΟΥΘ, the lotus emerged from the abyss.  Give success and good luck to this charm.
  9. In the tenth hour you have the form of a baboon; your name is ΒΕΣΒΥΚΙ.  Give power and wisdom in all things to the god NN. for whom this charm is consecrated.
  10. In the eleventh hour you have the form of an ibis; your name is ΜΟΥ ΡΩΦ.  Protect this great charm for lucky use by NN. from this present day for all time.
  11. In the twelfth hour you have the form of a crocodile; your name is ΑΕΡΘΟΗ.  Give the greatest protection to NN. by this charm.

At sunset, go through the entire ritual once more, burning more incense and invoking and saluting each of the hours as before.  Regardless of whether the circle is large enough to walk through, stand behind the censer facing south towards the candles, and hold the charm in the incense smoke throughout the entire set of invocations.  After this, continuing to hold the charm in the incense smoke, recite the following prayer:

You who have set at evening as an old man, who are over the world and under the world, mighty ruler of the sea, hear my voice in this night, in these holy hours, and let all things done by this charm be brought to fulfillment, and especially for the need for which I consecrate it, for the sake of NN.  Please, lord ΚΜΗΦ ΛΟΥΘΕΟΥΘ ΟΡΦΟΙΧΕ ΟΡΤΙΛΙΒΕΧΟΥΧ ΙΕΡΧΕ ΡΟΥΜ ΙΠΕΡΙΤΑΩ ΥΑΙ, I conjure earth and heaven and light and darkness and the great god who created all, ΣΑΡΟΥΣΙΝ, you, Agathon Daimonion the Helper, to accomplish for NN. everything done by the use of this charm.

Put the charm back down in the focal point of the semicircle, either on the ground (if outside) or inside the bowl (if inside).  Pour out a new offering of wine on top of the charm. Set the candle by or on top of the charm.  Face north with the candles to your back.  With arms outstretched, say the concluding formula:

The one Zeus is Serapis.

The ritual is complete, and the ritual fast may now be broken.  Let all the candles burn out on their own, and at the first sunrise after all the candles have burned out. If done inside, take the bowl with the wine and the charm, remove the charm from the bowl and set it on the ground facing the Sun, and pour out the wine on top of the charm while facing the Sun. Whether done inside or outside, once the charm can be removed from the ritual area, gently clean off the charm with pure water and let it dry in the Sun’s light after anointing it with oil.  Keep the charm nearby whenever you need its power or whenever you need to use it.

Nighttime Simultaneous Ritual
An alternative method of employing the ritual is, instead of progressively building up to the full consecration throughout the twelve hours of the day, is to do it all at once at night.  For this, the general ritual setup would be similar with the fast starting at the sunset before the ritual and ending at sunrise after the ritual, but the ritual is to be done precisely at solar midnight, the balance-point between sunset of the previous day and sunrise of the next (which, especially if you’re on summer time/DST, may closer to 1 a.m. instead of 12 a.m.).  In addition, the candles may last any length of time; I’d recommend twelve tealights and a single taper candle.  Perform any banishing or invocation as desired and set up the ritual space, but instead of using the semicircular arrangement as above, use a circular arrangement with the first face oriented to the east; the censer should be put off to the side somewhere, with the twelve candles surrounding the charm.

Nighttime Consecration to the 12 Faces of Helios Arrangement

At true midnight, light the incense and light the Sun candle, and begin the preliminary invocation.  For each of the twelve faces of Helios in order, light its candle, salute, invoke, and pour wine out for the face.  Afterwards, finish with the final supplication (the one involving barbarous words), pouring out of wine on top of the charm, and concluding with the concluding formula.  Let the candles burn out and clean up at sunrise as you otherwise would.

Other Variations
I’ve seen vague references to other magicians employing this ritual for other purposes, not just for the consecration of a charm but for general empowerment or wealth, and this ritual can be modified accordingly merely by tweaking the text for the benedictions of each hour as well as the final supplications.  For a more initiatory ritual, you might use the circular arrangement, even in daytime, with you standing at the center being the thing consecrated, building up after a fast and performing the ritual at least once, if not at nighttime then multiple times throughout the day.

Search Term Shoot Back, June 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 June 2014.

“what does it mean to trace the grid from the center crystal to each other crystal using a wand or your fingers show picture” — …I mean, I feel like the idea is pretty explanatory.  Center to crystal 1 to center to crystal 2…to center.  Do you really need more guidance than this?  You already described the method.

“saint cyprian wand” — I’ve never seen something like this, save for maybe the blasting rod of the Grimoirum Verum that forms part of the Book of Saint Cyprian.  The good saint himself is usually pictured with a crosier and a book, though as a magician himself he was likely familiar with the use of wands in the classical and early medieval Mediterranean.  Heck, his crosier itself could be seen as a type of wand, being associated with wisdom, spiritual authority, and guidance, all attributes commonly given to the wand.  Still, a modern wand for use in Cyprianic workings isn’t a bad idea.  Necromantic materials would be of use: an ebony or iron wand packed with graveyard dirt and capped with smoky quartz or jet, engraved with holy symbols and names, perhaps buried for a week at the head of the grave of a priest or magician during the New Moon, fed with the blood of a black chicken or goat.  Not a bad idea at all.

“how to use saturn seals in “key of Solomon”” — If you merely read the book (book I, chapter 19), many sections tell you how to use it.  Generally, you show a pentacle unto a particular spirit like how the FBI flashes a suspect their badge (Saturn pentacles I, II, III, IV, V).  Some of them cause some change in the world by their mere existence and construction and should be kept for future use as a ritual tool, similar to a wand but used to “fire off” work into the cosmos generally (pentacles II, IV, VI, VII).  When a pentacle is not being used, it should be kept hidden and safe, or it should be enshrined on an altar with other magical tools, perhaps reconsecrated every week or so with candle and oil and incense.

“stones in sash black magic santeria” — …do people still consider Santeria to be “black magic”?  Really?  It means “way of the saints”.  It’s about as far you can get from “black magic”, and I’ve written about my thoughts on the term itself elsewhere.  As far as I’m aware, Santeria doesn’t really use sashes, though I’ve seen some massive elekes and collares that are used in limited ritual purposes, but those are all nearly entirely colored glass beads.  Also, I’ve seen sashes of fruit for newly made iyawos.  Beyond that, I can’t think of a Santeria sash, though I’m admittedly no expert in Santeria.  Sashes are sometimes used in other traditions, like the bandera of Palo Mayombe, but that’s a different thing and, again, is nearly entirely glass beads.  Stones might just be a personal flourish.

“h0w t0 consecrate oil with psalm 72” — I wasn’t familiar with this psalm before I wrote this post, but I like it!  Take some good, clean oil and pray over it fervently; that’s all you need to do to consecrate anything, really; the incense, candles, and hoopla of ritual can help but aren’t strictly necessary.  Psalm 72, specifically, sounds beautiful for blessing, dominating, and prosperity work.

“top 10 conjuring rituals real” — What, as if there’s a Buzzfeed list of magic rituals full of spooky GIFs?  C’mon, dude, get your act together.  There’s no such top-ten list of “real” rituals; any ritual that works is real, and different people often get different rituals to work for them.  Once you get the experience of a few conjuration rituals, you can start doing them on the fly with spirits you have a good connection with.

“seal of sealtiel angel” — Unfortunately, even though I’ve been making weekly offerings to Sealtiel the Archangel for a brief time now, I haven’t done much more than that and engaged the archangels in conversation, like I would in a conjuration.  I mean to in the near future, but I haven’t yet.  I don’t know of a seal for the angel, so you might want to stick with making a sigil based off the letters in his name a la chaos magic or by using my Greek Sigil Wheel idea.  Sealtiel often bears a thurible as his badge of office, so you might start with that if you want an image.

“how to use saturn to create prosperity” — Er, that’s not usually Saturn’s job.  Prosperity is usually in line with Mercury and Jupiter, the planets of exchange and expansion generally,

“autobiography of st. jehudiel”, “biography of saint sealtiel”, etc. — Seeing how these are angels who have never technically lived, it’s hard to have a biography of them, since a biography is an account of, you know, a life.  They’re immortal beings who serve the will of God directly; they don’t have lives like we think of them, and they don’t exist apart from God.  Also, an “autobiography”?  Not only does that assume a life of an angel, it also assumes they write and can communicate to us in language.

“horus demon god of sun sygils” — Much of this makes no sense to me on a conceptual level.  First, to spell the word as “sygils” means you’re probably in Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (or however it’s misspelled) or just some middle-schooler who wants to be all dark and powerful.  That isn’t done with extra “y”s and the metal umlaut, you know.  As for Horus, yes, he’s a god of the Sun, but in no sense is he malefic or demonic.

“locating lost thing by star power” — What, are you Sailor Moon?  There are astrological and geomantic methods of finding lost objects, but unless you’re a Sailor Scout or one of the Three Wise Men, you’re not going to find anything directly through the stars themselves.

“most deadly buddhist mantras” — …I don’t think you understand the point of Buddhist mantras.  There might indeed be powerful spells and mantra-like charms in some distant and extant traditions of magic and applied Buddhism, but none I know that would kill a target or the user.  That tends to go against the Precepts, anyway, but you know, expedient means and all that shit.

“effects of reading saint cyprian book” — In my case, you’ll’ve learned Spanish and published a translation in English (hint: go buy my cheap ebook on Etsy!).  Supposedly, if you read the Book of Saint Cyprian, either front to back or back to front (I forget which), you end up summoning the Devil.  That didn’t happen in my case, and he might’ve just gotten confused with my flipping around randomly through the book.

“how to aproach the abramelin ritual if you already know your guardian angel” — Honestly, if you have contact with your HGA, why do the Abramelin ritual?  The meat of the matter is getting contact with your HGA, after which you go through and bind evil spirits from messing with you in the future.  Once you have your HGA, you can do anything, basically.  I know some friends who are going through the Abramelin as an initiation requirement in some groups, but that’s not the real use of the Abramelin, as I see it.

“is the word geomancy in the bible” — Nope.  Geomancy likely kicked off in the Sahara Desert around 900 or 1000 AD, well after the Bible was written (especially the Old Testament).  However, if you read that the Bible has a prohibition on divinatory arts generally, then that would include geomancy; if you read the Bible supporting the act of divination, then that also includes geomancy.  The word itself is coined more recently than the Bible, as is the art, so you won’t find biblical references to it, although some traditions hold that geomancy was given to the prophet Hermes Trismegistus, Adam, Idris, Daniel, Jesus, or Mohamed to discover more of the secrets of God, so it depends on what you consider meaningful.

Crying of Calls 49: Solar 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 7/29 through Sunday 8/4, we did the calls to the Sun.  Below are my experiences and thoughts:

7/29: Sun/Moon 

Made the Sun/Moon call today in the second hour, just before sunset. Standard operating procedure with frankincense and jasmine incense.

I got a beautiful buzz from this one. Unlike the Moon/Sun call, the energies of this one really meshed well and didn’t need to “align” or anything. I’d term this kind of feeling a “soldier’s peace”: resolute and authoritative, but secure and nurturing all the same. There’s no whiff of doubt or confusion in the air, just a pleasant, quiet, deep smirking joy within me. The stillness of the Sun’s energies are much brighter this time, but made softer and with less of a burn than pure solar force due to the Moon’s influence. I can’t speak to the balancing effect of this Call, since I expect that to happen over the course of the next day, but it is very solidifying and centering. Perhaps, instead of the energies clicking into place around me as it was with Moon/Sun, it’s me who’ll be clicking into place with the energies.

7/30: Sun/Mars

Made the Sun/Mars call tonight in the third hour of the Sun, standard operating procedure with pine/frankincense incense.

What memories! I did an intense Sun/Mars working over the course of two weeks back at the start of 2012, and it was a constant energy rush for that entire time. Tonight was like that, but not as intense, but then, it wasn’t as intense a working. Still: forceful, strong, a sort of fuck-all Sonic the Hedgehog-like attitude to everything came over me, and even gave me a much-needed energy boost for getting a crafting project done that same night (though with one or two minor hideable mistakes due to being in a rush). The sigil didn’t inhale as much as it did melt over me; the solar gold sigil of the Sun melted in the flames of Mars, and “bonded” with me as I inhaled it to form a sort of empowering light armor of Light. Excellent stuff, and a good method to combine these forces. Mars and Sun is the only pair of forces I’ve ever worked with combined before, so this being so similar definitely works for me. The solar stillness from before has become definitely more resolved and adamantine, which is awesome to maintain such an awesome Fire.

7/31: Sun/Mercury

Made the Sun/Mercury call tonight in the second hour of the Sun, standard operating procedure with frankincense and cinnamon incense.

“Vajra”, the adamantine lightningbolt of enlightenment, is probably the best single word I have for this feeling. It’s not the bright, slow stillness of the Mercury/Sun call, but much brighter, much stronger, much more forceful externally. The stillness of the Sun is more of a calmness, an equanimity, with a huge buzz and undercurrent of strong Mercurial flow underneath it all, like a self-composed scholar or guru teaching the basics slowly to beginners but inwardly reviewing an infinite number of possible cosmoses. It’s cheerful, but not necessarily joyful; it’s fun, but not for the sake of enjoyment. I feel like my head’s been completely opened, like I’m able to think subtle things just on the outer boundaries of my mind that I wasn’t able to recognize before. I can really dig this prayer, and expect to be one of the ones I pull into frequent use.

8/1: Sun/Jupiter

Made the Sun/Jupiter call in the second hour of the Sun today, standard operating procedure.

This is a much more mild experience than what I was expecting, especially after the Sun/Mercury call yesterday and from my other experiences with the Sun and Jupiter separately. The coolness and richness of Jupiter was certainly present, as was the stillness of the Sun, forming an overall relaxed but posh feel, like a high-class lounge for CEOs and other magnates. Nothing particularly striking, though visualizing the sigil of the Sun today was…interesting. I wouldn’t say “crackling” or “buzzing”, since those are more Mercurial qualities, but “erupting” or “bursting” like lightning; the edges of the sigil seemed electrified and sparking, yet inhaled like satiny oil. A good feel, all the same, though nothing particularly striking.

8/2: Sun/Venus

Made the Sun/Venus call last night, standard operating procedure with rose/frankincense incense.

This was a good feeling, and much smoother than the semi-broken feeling I got from the Venus/Sun call this past Sunday. It was powerful yet relaxed, smooth and light, but it wasn’t focused on me. It was similar to one of the Saturnian curses in that it was a primarily externally-directed call, which makes sense given the purpose. It was like I was at peace, but that peace was reliant and tied up with in the people around and affecting me; a total confluence of agreement and harmony, truly a Cytherean thing. The sigil didn’t seem to inhale properly, much like the Venus/Sun call, but here it seemed to wrap around and link me to the rest of the world outside my sphere. With these kinds of energetic circuits linking me to others I rely on, this call is definitely good for this kind of work.

8/3: Sun/Saturn

Made the Sun/Saturn call tonight in the second hour of the sun, standard operating procedure with frankincense/rose incense.

This was very heavy, and I’m feeling like a cross between wanting to slumber (not just rest, but deeply slumber) and wanting to mourn, but not for the sake of my own self. The sigil seemed formal, the gleaming gold on solemn black, reminiscent of an old tribal funeral mask; when inhaling it, it seemed to turn to dust and “locked” me down to the things that…matter? That’s probably the word I’m looking for; the things that matter, though it’s unspecified what in my image. The feeling I get from this is a sort of hyperstillness between the crystal solar energy and the bleak saturnine energy; it’s not cheerful by any means, nor is it uplifting, but solidifying, sobering, focusing. The stillness seems to be a stillness of time, and my sense of it passing is kinda messed up afterward. This would be good for meditation, certainly, before any deep or serious work like a vigil or a fast.

8/4: Sun/Sun

Made the Sun/Sun call tonight in the third hour of the Sun, standard operating procedure, but saying the Orphic Hymn six times tonight in special honor of the pure Sun ritual.

WOW. This one packed a MAJOR punch of solar force into my sphere. Inhaling the sigil didn’t seem to work tonight; instead, I seemed to be inhaled and completely suffused and engulfed by the huge force of solar Light that the ritual produced, really linking me into the Sun instead of vice versa. While that same stillness and composure is present, it’s been greatly magnified into a kind of bright, new self-contained dynamism present in everything around me; this is a fascinatingly new way to see things, as if the Holy Name itself were revealed to me giving me a new understanding of the deep basis of everything. I feel…good. There’s really no other way to describe it. I feel good. Closing my eyes seems to give me more light to see with than opening them, when even looking at candleflames seems dark. I feel empowered, strengthened, and most importantly “pointed upward”, so to speak, in the right direction.

De Geomanteia: Fortuna Minor (going gentle into that good night)

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:

Fortuna Minor

Fortuna Minor

This is the figure Fortuna Minor.  In Latin, its name means “Lesser Fortune”, but is also named “outward fortune” in some Islamic traditions, as well as “coming in of fame” and “outside/apparent help”.  If you (quite literally) connect the dots, you might come up with a figure that looks like a mountain with a staff atop it, or a procession of people guarding a central figure.

First, the technical details on this figure.  It’s associated with the Sun setting, at nighttime, or in southern declinations, and the astrological signs of Taurus or Leo (depending on whom you ask); due to its solar connections, it’s associated with the sephirah Tiphareth.  It has the fire and air lines active with the water and earth lines passive, and is overall associated with the element of Fire.  It is an even figure with six points, relating to objective situations rather than internal or experential evens.  It is a mobile and exiting figure, showing things to be dynamic, fast-moving, and fleeting in influence.  In the body, it signifies the spine and central to upper back.  Its inverse figure (everything this figure is not on an external level) is Fortuna Maior, the Greater Fortune, showing that this figure is not independent, not ultimately successful, not unique.  Its reverse figure (the same qualities of this figure taken to its opposite, internal extreme) is also Fortuna Maior, showing that there is no other kind of state between independent success or success dependent on others except those very things.  Its converse figure (the same qualities of this figure expressed in a similar manner) is itself, showing Forutna Minor to be unique in how it expresses its geomantic symbolism.  It is more favorable than not, showing success but of an unstable, impermanent kind that relies on outside support and shouldn’t itself be relied upon for long.  It is a figure of speed, swiftness, evasion, and escape, and is unfavorable in any matter that requires direct confrontation, slow progress, or long-term determination.

The imagery of the Fortuna figures, both Fortuna Maior and Fortuna Minor, can be best associated with wheels, circles, and cycles.  After all, they’re both ruled by the Sun, which moves in a circle around the sky from its highest daytime zenith to its lowest nighttime nadir, around the heavens from its highest summer northern declination to its lowest winter southern declination, from its hottest and most powerful point in Leo to its square and awkward point in Taurus, the strong sign of the Moon instead.  Fortuna Minor represents the Sun as it falls from its height, whether its setting from noon to midnight, its fall from bright Leo to dark Taurus, or its descent from the northern hemisphere of the sky to the southern hemisphere.  It’s still the Sun at all times, and still gives heat, light, and warmth to the world no matter the hour, day, or season.  However, as the Sun falls in its great cycles, it gets ever weaker, its strength wanes, and can support fewer and fewer people.  To make up for this deficit of solar energy, other people need to rely on other sources of heat and light, until the darkest and longest night of the year when the Sun is at its lowest, and weakest, point.

Falling Off the Wheel of Fortune

Just so does Fortuna Minor refer to success, fortune, and life.  Fortuna Minor is not a bad figure; just as the Sun always provides light and warmth, Fortuna Minor will always intimate success and good results.  However, as the Sun sets and becomes weaker, Fortuna Minor shows that this success and results will slowly become less effacious, less powerful, or less reliable as time goes on.  No matter how good things have been or how good they were looking, time is running out, and that success will run out, too.  Making use of the imagery of the Wheel of Fortune, Fortuna Minor represents the trip from the top to the bottom on the descending side of the Wheel; even though the ascent was slow-going, the descent is fast, and it’s easy to get crushed under the Wheel if you don’t jump off and find other means of success or livelihood to get by.  While you’re on the Wheel, it’s great and life is fantastic, but getting on the Wheel is one thing and falling off quite another.  No matter how much Fortune may favor the brave, Fortune is also fickle.

Just as one can ride the Wheel up to the top and we can rely on the Sun for heat and warmth for the summer and fall harvests, we too can rely on fortune and our inner success for quite some time.  However, as the Wheel falls and the Sun sets, we have to rely on other sources of energy and fortune in order to get by.  Fortuna Minor emphasizes this: it’s success from outside, from things we have to be dependent on, from circumstance and luck.  These are things we can pick up fast and lose just as fast; no matter how much we want to rely on ourselves, we simply aren’t enough to keep things going.  Life is good so long as you have someone to support you, but once you lose that support, you’ll have nothing.  Because of that speed of gaining and losing fortune and support, Fortuna Minor is associated with speed of results and speed of change, good for things that need help now, fantastic for things that need to be lost or escaped from, and excellent for short-term issues.  Because it relies on outside support so much, though, Fortuna Minor is poor for anything that Fortuna Maior would be good at: working independently, matters that take a long time, facing things head-on, going against the current or public opinion, and the like.

Fortuna Minor has the fire and air lines active, both hot elements, with water and earth passive.  Fortuna Minor is all motion, all energy, all light and heat without anything to sustain, contain, or preserve it; without some sort of kindling to keep that flame going or a furnace to keep it safe or sheltered, the fire will simply burn up and out, leaving nothing but the remnants of shadow and heat in the air.  That heat and light that pure air and fire unmixed with water or earth is good for only a short time, then gone.  The rapid movement along with its own heat and light give Fortuna Minor its fiery associations, just as the slow and steady pace of Fortuna Maior give that figure its earthy association.  This is the Sun at its most fiery and fast-paced, the chariot of Apollo in a rush to return to its stable, doing only the minimum it can before heading back into darkness.  This is not the noble, constant, all-benevolent Sun we’re used to, but it’s the Sun in darkness, at nighttime, in winter, the stingy and distant Holly King.  This is why, through its solar associations, the Solar figures  are given to Leo, but sometimes represented with the Sun’s sign of exile Aquarius.

When Fortuna Minor appears in a reading, it’s time to start thinking about wrapping things up in the near future.  Things will be good, but not for long, and with ever less time than you think you may have.  Situations won’t necessarily get worse, but they won’t get any better, either.  Any matter in which you can find support or people to back you up will go well, but if you have to face something alone or against the current, you’re going to have a bad time.  Its use in magic is similar: anything that needs a fast change or needs to be brought to a quick end is favored by this influence.  Falling off the Wheel of Fortune is really just a matter of timing: jump off too soon and you risk not getting all that you can out of a situation, but jump off too late and you risk falling off clumsily or, worse, getting crushed by fate.

Fittingly enough, this De Geomanteia post about the Sun at its weakest comes about on Christmas Day, right after the winter solstice and right before the close of 2012.  I’ll see you on the other side of the New Year, my friends and good readers, so have a merry Christmas, Saturnalia, Yule, Solar ingress into Capricorn, or whatever you may choose to celebrate around this time.  Have a happy end to the year, and enjoy these darkest nights when the Sun is at his lowest and the spirits in our spheres and our cups at their highest!