De Regnis: Supplies and Objects

Although most of my writing is visible and accessible through my blog and my ebooks, there are a bunch of writing projects that I don’t necessarily intend for public release.  When I was recently going through my old documents folder on my computer, I found a writing project I had intended to be a compendium of Hermetic and Neoplatonic knowledge, guidance, and advice that would serve to document my understandings and work as a textbook unto itself, both for my benefit and any who might come after me.  This project, De Regnis or “On Kingdoms”, got pretty far along before it got abandoned, though parts of it serve as seeds or are outright cannibalized for some of my other works.  Though I have no plans to continue writing this text, I want to share some of the sections I wrote that can act as a useful introduction to some of the practices of Hermetic magic in a modern context.  My views and practices and experiences have grown considerably since then, but perhaps it can help those who are just getting started or are curious about how to fortify their own practices and views.  If you have any views, comments, suggestions, or ideas on the topics shared in this post, please feel free to share in the comments!

Today’s selection will be on the topics of supplies, tools, and objects.

On Supplies and Objects

Although the primary heart of spiritual work with the kingdoms of the cosmos is inherently intangible and immaterial, material goods and substances form an important part of many spiritual paths,whether acting as focuses and stimulants for the body or for symbols for the mind to dwell on to obtain higher meaning. The use of ritual tools, magical items, consumable food and drink, and other supplies has a long history across the world, whether offering alcohol to spirits, use of drums and sacred instruments to induce trances, or creating charms and amulets for loved ones to keep them safe. Although there are effectively as many spiritual types of items as there are mundane items, a few large categories are described below that are important to the magus.

Tools. In the course of magical and spiritual ritual, specialized objects that undergo specific consecration for select purposes are used; these are the magician’s tools. Tools may take the form of simple day-to-day objects, such as pens or kitchen knives, but often are elaborated, decorated, and made special through their form, such as by detailed engraving or anointing with oil. Magical tool soften undergo specific rituals of consecration or blessing, where the tools are not only cleansed and dedicated to ritual, but also often for a specific practice or limited use within ritual. For instance,some ritual practitioners have four types of bladed instruments: a ritual sword to represent the element of Air and the powers of the mental faculties, a utility knife dedicated for cutting material things or sacrifices, a spiritual knife to draw circles or engrave special characters, and a war sword used to represent the planet of Mars for offensive and defensive works against spirits and animals alike. Different traditions use different sets of tools, both for their material purposes as well as symbolic meaning, such as the attributions of the elements of Fire and Air to the wand and the sword. However, common sets of ritual tools often include a wand or a staff, a knife, a chalice, a pentacle, a scrying medium such as a crystal ball or mirror, a brazier or censer, an engraving tool,and so forth. Divination tools and supplies, such as a deck of divination cards or dice, also fall into this category.

Clothing. Ritual clothing is similarly important in spiritual work, acting as another type of magical object. Special clothing, kept and used strictly for magical work, helps the magician in both stepping into the proper mindset for ritual work as well as preserving and enhancing the spiritual power of the ritual and the magician. Clothing should be used at the least for enhancing the atmosphere and decoration of the ritual, but may also be generically used for all rituals. Full sets of clothing, such as robes that completely cover the body, may be used across rituals equally well, or minor trinkets such as rings, belts, or boots that may be worn with different outfits can be equally suitable. Ritual clothing may change between traditions or even between rituals in the same tradition, and may be used for multiple purposes at once. These purposes often include protection,preserving purity, aligning oneself to the spirits or to a particular force, and similar purposes.

Talismans. Not all magical objects are those used in ritual. Indeed, many objects may undergo consecration or blessing to bestow benefits or cause changes without any active use. These items are talismans, items that have been magically empowered to cause change. All tools and ritual clothing may be considered talismans, but not all talismans are tools. Talismans are often used to benefit those who possess them in some way, such as protection from spirits or illnesses, enhancing one’s business, or to attract friendship and love from others. Some talismans are dedicated and consecrated by a particular spirit, such as saint medallions, to bestow the attention and blessing of a specific entity upon its bearer. Some talismans are simply set up in the home and left there, such as talismans for protection or safety in the home. However, not all talismans need to be beneficial;talismans to work harm may also be created, left behind as weapons on an enemy’s property or similarly snuck into their belongings to cause malefic influences. Many methods exist to create a talisman, from devout and concentrated prayer over an object to elaborate ritual and sacrifice.

Edible Goods. Particular foods, drinks, and other edible substances may be used in ritual to great effect, either for oneself or for the benefit of a spirit. Many traditions make food and drink offerings, especially those of fresh fruit, harvested grains, clean water, fresh or sacrificed meat, wine or alcohol, and the like; some traditions have the priest or ritual officiant give the food offering entirely without consuming any of it, while others instruct the officiants to partake of the food after the ritual or during it. Blessing food to contribute benefits, or cursing it to harm those who eat it, is a common practice and easily done, either for oneself or for others, even to preserve the integrity of it over long distances or time frames without other preservation. Foods and drinks with a mind-altering effect, known as entheogenic drugs, have been used to enhance or open the mind up to the revelation of gods and the spirit worlds, but should be used with caution. It is important to never use toxic substances without close supervision or control, especially those known to be fatal if ingested. Poisoning others, likewise, is condemnable and generally punishable by governments.

Other Supplies. Beyond food, drink, tools, talismans, and clothing, many other goods often come into play for a magician. Particular incenses, oils, candles, and altar cloths which may be used for anointing or consecration, or for use in different conjurations or communions with spirits, often forms a crucial part of ritual setup, especially given the elemental association of burning incense with pure spirit. Candles, offering light to the world, are burned frequently and used in great quantities to illuminate the world and the worker with the Light from the Divine as well as to honor, exalt, and offer worship to other spirits. Herbs, resins, powders, and dirts from any number of plants, mines, rivers, or other natural features may also be called for, as may some animal parts such as feathers, fur, or blood. Statues, sacred artwork, or other decoration may be desired for work or altar setup, especially when called for by a particular tradition or to call upon a specific spirit.Collecting ancient or authentic artifacts from a particular tradition, era, or culture can connect one with the practices and people who lived in the roots of one’s own tradition. Other implements,such as railroad spikes, horse bits, broken glass, or wooden boxes may also be required for specific rituals. In essence, any object may be used for spiritual or magical purposes, often in creative or novel ways merely by some ideal or purpose-based link that connects an object to a magical ritual.

Tool and Talisman Care. Consecrated objects, being made holy and powerful, deserve careful attention and care to maintain their power and blessed natures. They should not be handled by other people unless it is permissible to do so or if a ritual calls for it, and should not be handled or toyed with by the magician unless actively in use, and unless the magician is in a state of purity to properly handle them. Tools, though they should be regularly used, should also be regularly cleaned, polished, anointed, and similarly maintained. Incense, ashes, dusts, powders,and other debris should be cleaned up and disposed of respectfully, or be reused with care. Any consecrated object, if it requires it, should be duly and carefully consecrated or undergo a type of periodic reconsecration or recharging. Talismans, statues, and images of spirits or gods should be honored and kept clean or anointed, and should be kept in places of respect or holiness such as altars or temples. Metal objects should be gently polished regularly to prevent rust, tarnish, breaking, or similar degradation. Edible and drinkable substances should be kept separate from other supplies, and should be stored and ingested with respect and contemplation. Consecrated objects and supplies of all kinds are a kind of treasure that deserves respect and honor, being made something more than mere matter; disrespecting these objects is to disrespect the spirits and power that made them holy, which can cause problems or punishment by those same spirits.

Search Term Shoot Back, April 2015

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 April 2015.

“which demon spirit can grant the conjurer every kind of need” — Be careful with these guys.  Many demons are proud and prideful enough to claim that they can do anything anywhere anytime, and granted, they often have enough power to do so.  However, just because a single spirit can do something doesn’t mean it will do it well, or whether it should do it at all.  Consult books like the Lemegeton or the Munich Manual to get little snippets of information that can tell you what a given spirit excels at; alternatively, check in with your supernatural assistant or Holy Guardian Angel, or simply do a bit of divination, to check whether a particular spirit can help you and whether they should help you.  It’s unlikely you’ll find a demonic spirit to fulfill every single one of your desires on their own.  The supernatural assistant or HGA on the other hand…

“are summoned spirits following you?” — They might be, if you don’t send them away.  After all, once summoned, they tend to not leave unless given leave to do so (or are powerful enough to simply blow off the magician anyway).  In any summoning or conjuration ritual, it’s good practice to close it out with an offering of thanks and goodwill to the spirit along with a formal giving of leave to depart; if you prefer, and this isn’t always suggested, you can banish the area and cleanse yourself afterwards to get rid of any residual resonance with the spirit.

“what is the means of talisman use in the ritual your name will be written 9x around the diagram own blood in talisman” — I think you’d be better off than me to say how to use such a talisman.  I haven’t encountered anything that describes this sort of talisman outside fantasy works and tawdry modern occult manuals that I pay little attention and less credence to, but given the number 9 there, I’d say you might use it in visceral works involving the Moon or Saturn.

“ebony huge cocks” — Man, I had to search high and low for a suitable bit of ebony to make my Wand of Art before it was given to me by a good friend.  Trying to find a phallus made of ebony would be near impossible, as I doubt many woodworkers are willing to use such rare and expensive wood on so unusual a bit of art.  That said, I’m sure a few of my gods would appreciate such a statue.

“what magical element begins with the letter k” — I…I can’t say there is one.  Of the four elements, there’s Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and then there’s the fifth quasi-element sometimes called spirit, ether, or quintessence (the closest thing to a K I can come up with).  The seven planets don’t start with any such letter, either, so unless you’re referring to some other system of magic that recognizes other elements, or using the cop-out of using another language, then I think you’d be better off telling me the answer when you find one than me trying to make one up on my own.

“ακραμμαχαμαρει meaning” — One of my favorite barbarous words of power, commonly seen in Mediterranean classical magic like from the PGM.  The prevailing theory behind this word is that it’s a corruption of an Aramaic phrase meaning “cast off the nets”, or “remove all obstacles or blockages”.  I use this word when piercing through shields or protections, but also to free myself from things that entangle or trap me.  However, it canonically has no meaning on its own that humans can understand, being a divine word and name on its own.  I also use it to refer to the luminary of the heights, the protector of the space above us, whose image is that of an old man in grey robes holding a staff in his right hand and a ring of keys in his left, but that’s a personal innovation in my own practice that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

“is sun bad for labradorite” — No.  Labradorite is, beyond anything else, a rock.  Sunlight doesn’t degrade that, and leaving such a stone out in the Sun will not cause it to shatter or lose its labradorescence.  Energetically, there might be a bit of a conflict; labradorite is more resonant with the aurora borealis of the nighttime skies, and is more stellar than solar.  Still, it’s a silly thing to worry about unless you’re tuning the stone to a very specific need over time.

“communing with the spirit of your unborn child” — First of all, uh, ew.  I have no disrespect towards parents or parents-to-be, but I’m not one of them nor will I ever be.  I have no fathering instinct and I do not like being around children until they can start forming logical, coherent thoughts that are worthy of discussion.  Yes, I was a child once, too, but it was a phase and I grew out of it.  Anyway, as for the spirit of an unborn child, what do you hope to glean from that?  Speaking Hermetically, while the moment of conception is an important time, the moment of birth itself is more important, because at that point the child finally becomes separate from the mother and becomes an independent (strictly speaking) living being, as opposed to something that is still part of and inside the mother.  Before it becomes its own being, it’s still a part of the mother, and has no life of its own to speak of; heck, it doesn’t even have much of an existence because it hasn’t had experience of developing, growing, or interaction, and as such is like a spirit of a newly dead person; it’s unreliable, confused, and still nebulous enough to the point that it’s better to leave them alone for the time being.  While singing, treating yourself holistically well, and the like is a good idea, and while pregnant women are holy in and of their own selves, I don’t think there’s much of a spirit of the unborn fetus to communicate with.  Then again, I’m probably not the right person to ask about this; I have a bias against children anyway, and seeing how I’m a gay man who will never seed, bear, or give birth to a child, my opinions and pontification aren’t worth much, anyway.

“lemegeton cloth circle” — Large cloth and tarp sheets are excellent ideas for Solomonic work because they allow you to draw on the magic Circles of Art once and transport it anywhere, so long as the space is large enough to unfold the sheet.  Before, you might have had a stone or wooden floor with the same pattern inscribed or painted onto it permanently, but traditionally, you’d do it in the dirt.  If you read the instructions given in the Keys of Solomon to create the magic circle, it references using rope and knives to mark out the boundary of the circle, which can only really work if you’re doing it on an earthen floor that can have a knife stuck into it or scratching the surface of it.  The whole point of the Black-handled Knife or athame, after all, wasn’t just to act as the Weapon of Saturn and to threaten and intimidate spirits, but also mark out the Triangle of Art and other magical patterns into the ground.  Cloth is more convenient, but if you want to go cheap and old-school, use the knife for all it’s worth and draw the patterns out in the dirt.

“conjuration of spirit to see visions past present” — Many spirits can show you this, and there’s no one conjuration to do.  In fact, if you’re blessed with a spirit of prophecy, then you may not need to do anything besides calm your mind and get into the right headspace.  There are problems here, however: you have little assurance that you’re seeing the right thing (the past, present, or future itself as it actually occurs) nor that you’re seeing the thing right (actual physical happenings versus metaphors).  If you’re seeing through the eyes of a spirit, bear in mind that the spirit may see the world and cosmos from a radically different perspective than you’ll ever be able to attain, and trying to translate from spirit-sight to human-sight can be more difficult than it is worth it.  Spirits may focus on different things than humans do, and trying to make sense of spiritual descriptions of events may not make any sense to us.  Add to it, you have to trust the spirit that they saw exactly what you’re asking about, and not all spirits are able to traverse time nor ubiquitous; sometimes they’ll have to call on other spirits who were at the event both in time and space, or they’ll have to branch out themselves.  In other words, trying to use a spirit to gain clairvoyance through time and space is a risky business.

“orgonite octahedron with charged talismans inside” — You’re precious.  Go away.

“sick person determine the illness by geomancy divination” — Ah, medical queries!  This is a type of query where geomancy really shines, but there are some caveats.  First, unless you’re a licensed doctor giving a medical examination, you are not certified to give medical advice, so don’t do it.  Bear in mind that geomancy is not a certified method of practicing modern Western medicine, and as such you can get yourself into huge trouble if you misrepresent yourself as capable of doing so.  Once you’ve gotten that understood and out of the way between yourself and your querent, you want to inspect the figure in house VI, the house of illness, and see whether that figure passes anywhere else in the chart.  If it does, then the part of the body indicated by that house the figure passes to is the source or primary affliction of the illness (I’ll let you look those up on your own); if it doesn’t, then the illness is relegated to the stomach, GI tract, and overall humours.  Take into account the elemental and planetary association of the figure itself, and you start to get a good idea of what’s going on with the illness exactly.  For more information, house VII represents the doctor who can help the querent, house X represents the regimen or prescription or treatment of the illness, and house IV represents the overall outcome of the illness.  Noting perfection between these multiple houses indicates how well things can be affected by each.

“gods dick” — They pack a whallop, that’s for sure, and can be quite nice, besides.  Check out your own if you get the fancy; the phallus is a mystery in and of itself, though one more explicit and, thus, more easily misunderstood.

“occult epiphany chalk blessing is occult” — This refers to the practice where, on Epiphany, the Christian holy day that remembers the visitation of the Three Wise Men to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  At Mass, the priest blesses chalk that the faithful take home and mark YY + C + M + B + XX, where YYXX is the year of the Ephiphany AD, and CMB stand for the names Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar (the Three Wise Men) or for the phrase Christus Mansionem Benedictat, “may Christ bless [this] house”.  I try to do this myself on Epiphany day, even though it’s not well-practiced in American Christianity (and even then, relegated to mostly traditional Catholics).  As for whether it’s occult, absolutely, in the sense that anything spiritual or actively religious is occult.  If you want to see it as merely a religious custom, you’re free to do so, but if you believe in the apotropaic and blessing power of the act, then it becomes closer to a miracle or magical act, and thus occult in the strictest sense of the word.

Search Term Shoot Back, March 2015

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 2015.

“yes and no divination” — Easily one of the easiest and most important forms of divination you can do.  Drawing one of two different stones from a bag, flipping four coins or four shells, rolling dice to get an odd or even answer, and any number of ways can be done to get a yes or no answer from a spirit.  Personally, I find the Chinese system of jiaobei particularly elegant.

“symbols that summon spirits” — Offhand, I don’t know of a symbol that by itself has the power to summon spirits generally, but the one symbol you need for best results is the symbol of the specific spirit itself that you’re trying to summon.  The idea goes that the symbol is a physical “form” or circuit for the spirit, a type of “body”, so wherever the symbol is drawn, the spirit is already there at least in some form.  The rest of the ritual uses that symbol as a basis to bring the spirit more into being for a proper summoning.

“greek sigil magick” — Sigils weren’t that big in ancient and classical Greek styles of magic as far as we can tell; according to extant magical texts, the celestial letters, sigils, seals, and the like came about from Alexandrian magic (think PGM), and weren’t native to Greece.  Rather, instead of combining letters together into a single glyph, Greeks used isopsephy (Greek gematria) to condense words into a single “symbol”, that symbol being a number.  This has the added benefit of linking any number of words together that share the same number through isopsephy; this would be akin to two different words or phrases turned into the same sigil, provided they were reduced to the same set of letters and arranged in the same way, but would be much harder to achieve in letter-based sigil magic.

“st cyprian and justina medal” — While prayer medals of St. Cyprian of Antioch can be found, they’re not that common, and it’s sometimes easy to mix up his medal with that of St. Cyprian of Carthage (though he doesn’t really mind and both work).  However, I’ve never heard or found a prayer medal to both St. Cyprian and St. Justina, or even to St. Justina.  I’d love to find one!

“geomantic representation of numbers and alphabet” — Ugh, this is one of the things that Western geomancy disappoints me with.  I have not yet found any good way to divine letters or numbers with the geomantic figures, and it’s not for lack of trying.  I’m working on another scheme to assign the geomantic figures to the letters of the Greek alphabet (which I find to be easiest to work with), but it’s still in development and hasn’t been tested yet.  Western geomancy has techniques to divine numbers and letters based on Robert Fludd, Christopher Cattan, and John Heydon, but I’ve used all these methods and found none of them to be worth the effort.  Either it can’t be done and people who say they do it are either lucky or liars, or it can be done and the systems we have from Fludd, Cattan, and Heydon simply aren’t the ones we should be using.  I have some theoretical and linguistic issues with the notion of assigning letters to the figures (which language? which dialect? what pronunciation?) that still should be figured out, too.

“what are the planetary hours of the 1-12a.m and p.m?” — That’s not how planetary hours work.  Planetary hours are divisions of daylight and nighttime and don’t follow clock hours.  They’re based on the time of sunrise and the day of the week you’re currently on, so there’s a bit of calculation that goes along with it.

“olympic arbatel enns occult” — I’m honestly not sure where the word “enn” comes from.  As I understand it, it’s like a mantra or an incantation used in conjuring a spirit, a sort of expanded name or verbal seal one can use to catch a spirit’s attention, and I’ve seen it used for the goetic spirits of the Lemegeton.  That said, I’m not aware of any such things for the Olympic spirits; the Arbatel has a pretty simple and clear format for conjuring the Olympic spirits, and they don’t involve enns or incantations or mantras of any sort beyond a short and direct prayer to God asking for the presence of the spirit.

“mix anoited oil.and.florida.water to banish.evil” — I suppose you could, though most oil I know of doesn’t dissolve in Florida water particularly well.  Rather, anointing oil doesn’t really banish evil as much as it does inculcate goodness; Florida water helps to dispel or loosen darkness on a thing and “brighten” it, but may not be enough on its own to properly banish or exorcise evil.  Try keeping them separate and used for separate stages of the process.

“christian rituals to summon angels” — You mean, like, prayer?  Or pretty much the entirety of the Western Hermetic tradition dating from the late classical period?

“why should amblers keep to the path?” — Good question!  Tell me where you’re going and how much fun you want to have, and I’ll tell you whether there’s a path to stick to.

“geomancy gpod days to pray ancestors in 2015” — Honestly, any and all days are good to call on your ancestors.  I can’t think of one that isn’t, generally speaking; any and every day you’re alive is a testament to what your ancestors have done for you—give you life through their own lives through the ages—and you don’t need any system of divination to tell you that.  Still, I suppose you could throw a chart to determine whether a particular day is especially good or ill for ancestor veneration, or use some sort of geomantic astrology to find when the Moon should be in a certain sign or mansion, but beyond that, just pray to them and you’ll be fine.

“can you use vegetable oil in oil lamps” — I mean, you can, but ew.  Vegetable oil doesn’t tend to burn very clean and leaves not only an oily smell but an oily feel in the air.  Stick to pure olive oil.

“which arcangel to pray for improvement in oratory skilks” — As far as the Christian archangels go, I would consider Gabriel to be helpful, since Gabriel is the famous herald and foremost messenger of God.  After all, he was the one who announced to Mary what was going to happen, and there’s the apocryphal horn of Gabriel to call everyone to attention on Judgment Day.  Raphael would be helpful in a more medical method, such as removing speech pathology issues, but Gabriel would probably be best for actually learning how to deliver a message clearly and communicatively.  Planetary magic would suggest Raphael of Mercury and Michael of the Sun, and their elemental counterparts Raphael of Air and Michael of Fire, though Gabriel of the Moon (or of Water) would be good for that human touch in speech that hooks everyone into believing what you have to say.

“orgone radiatior” — While I’ve heard of orgone accumulators (to gather and store orgone) and accelerators (to push and direct the flow of orgone), I’ve never really heard of an orgone radiator which, I assume, would emanate and radiate orgone.  I mean, I have, and those would be living bodies.  Orgone is an ambient, pervasive force that’s generated from living corporeal entities; in that sense, your own body is a radiator.  Thinking of this in terms of a machine you could build, I dunno; the thought’s never really occurred to me, and I don’t know whether there’s a need for this considering the ambient, pervasive sources of orgone already present in the environment literally everywhere.

“how to create talism of desease in geomantic figures” — Probably the same as any other talisman for disease, involving curses, conjuration of baneful spirits, using astrologically harmful times, and the like.  For incorporation of geomancy, I’d recommend applying the figures Cauda Draconis or Rubeus combined with the figures that govern the parts of the body you’d like to injure, then using the resulting talisman in a suitably earthy way: sneaking the item into their belongings, burying it where they frequently visit or walk over, somehow dissolving it and sneaking it into their food or drink, and the like.  Fun times!

“how do i locate my phone using geomancy” — (11 hits?  Really?) Lost item and recovery charts are one of the things I find geomancy to really excel at, and the process is simple.  Phones, being a possession you own, are ruled by house II.  See whether this figure moves around in the chart, and see what the figure itself is to determine its condition and for clues as to where it will be.  Be wary of the Judge, however, in case the phone is actually lost or destroyed for good.

Constructing a Lamen for Conjuration

Recently, I had someone ask me for help in creating a lamen for use with the Trithemian conjuration ritual.  While the original text doesn’t go into details about it, it says that “the pentacle may be either wrote on clean virgin parchment, or engraven on a square plate of silver and suspended from thy neck to the breast”.  In other words, the lamen used in conjuration is a type of pentacle or talisman worn, and this talisman is associated with the spirit to be conjured by writing the name and seal of the spirit upon the lamen.   It’s very similar to wearing the seal of the demon to be conjured according to the Lemegeton Goetia, so the idea is the same, though its execution is a little different.

For one, the lamen used in this conjuration has thirteen names of God written around the edge; I’ve explained these names in an earlier post.  Within the names of God is the name of the spirit, its seal, a hexagram, and at least four pentagrams.  The original form of the lamen, say for the angel Michael according to Trithemius and Fr. Rufus Opus, has it follow the general pattern:

Lamen of Michael, angelic governor of the Sun

Here, the name of the spirit is written twice, once in Hebrew (Celestial, in this case) outside and above the hexagram, and once in Roman script inside the hexagram with the seal, with four pentagrams surround the hexagram.  Why four?  It’s unclear, but we have a strong hint from Cornelius Agrippa (book IV, chapter 10) (emphasis mine)

Now the Lamen which is to be used to invoke any good spirit, you shall make after this maner; either in metal conformable, or in new wax, mixt with species and colours conformable: or it may be made in clean paper, with convenient colours: and and the outward form or figure thereof may be square, circular, or triangular, or of the like sort, according to the rule of the numbers: in which there must be written the divine names, as well the general names as the special. And in the centre of the Lamen, let there be drawn a character of six corners (Hexagonus); in the middle whereof, let there be written the name and character of the Star, or of the Spirit his governour, to whom the good spirit that is to be called is subject. And about this character, let there be placed so many characters of five corners (Pentagonus), as the spirits we would call together at once. And if we shall call onely one spirit, nevertheless there shall be made four Pentagones, wherein the name of the spirit or spirits, with their characters, is to be written. Now this table ought to be composed when the Moon in increasing, on those days and hours which then agree to the Spirit. And if we take a fortunate star herewith, it will be the better. Which Table being made in this manner, it is to be consecrated according to the rules above delivered.

So it seems like the spirit in the hexagram isn’t actually the spirit we conjure, but rather the ruler of the spirit.  So, if we were to call upon Nakhiel, the intelligence of the Sun, we still have Michael’s name and seal in the hexagram and the name and seal of Nakhiel in all four pentagrams.  If we were to call upon the intelligence Nakhiel, spirit Sorath, and three angels from the choir of Virtues, we’d have five pentagrams around the hexagram, each with a different name and seal according to the spirits we summon.  Considering the size of the lamen, this gets way too complicated way too fast.  It’s easier to simply deal with the spirit ruling over the sphere we’re coming in contact with and have them in the conjuration to bring the other spirits we wish to commune with.  For some reason, though, there should always be at least four pentagrams.  Why?  It’s never really said, but the number four has plenty of oomph in it, so maybe it’s just a numerological thing; it’s unclear.

So why do we have the name of the spirit both in Hebrew and in Roman outside and inside the hexagram?  It’s never really said, and both I and Donald Tyson (who published an updated version of Agrippa’s Books of Occult Philosophy with notes and commentary) think this is an error, or at least unnecessary duplication.  In either case, the name should be the same no matter what script you use.  If one uses Hebrew on the outside and Roman on the inside, the names should accord given the writing system they’re written in, only using Roman script inside the hexagram and some other script outside.  I think they should be different scripts, so if the script used originally for the spirit was Roman, you might consider the use of Theban script outside the hexagram.  It gets real crazy real fast, admittedly.

Because of the confusion with the designs, between the number of pentagrams to use and what names should go where and written in which writing system, I decided to come up with my own version of the lamen, based more on Solomonic and Goetic practice.  This was a while back, and I wrote a post about it before, but my versions have worked fine and clear for me.  For example, contrast the following lamen of Michael to the prior one:

Lamen of Michael, angelic governor of the Sun

The differences between this lamen style and the Trithemian one aren’t that many, really, but they’re important:

  • The name of the spirit is written in another ring around a central circle using only one language most appropriate for the spirit
  • Always use six pentagrams around the arms of the hexagrams, points facing outward.
  • No Romanization of the spirit’s name.
  • Center hexagram is embiggened and centered in the central circle.
  • Godnames rotated 90° so that El is aligned at the top.

To reduce confusion, I only write the name of the spirit once around the hexagram and pentagrams, using the inside of the hexagram for the spirit itself and leaving the pentagrams blank.

One thing that can be clearly deduced from Agrippa and Trithemius is how to make the lamen.  For timing, the lamens are to be made while the Moon is waxing in a planetary day and hour appropriate to the spirit.  Thus, lamens for spirits of the Sun should be made on Sundays in an hour of the Sun, those of Mars should be made on Tuesdays in an hour of Mars, and so forth; this is pretty simple, and fairly basic as far as talismanic creation goes.  As for materials, this is where you can really go crazy; I use heavy fancy résumé paper, color the border with gold leaf, and color the insides of the stars and hexagrams according to that planet’s associated colors per the Golden Dawn color rules.

New Lamen Collection

I use simple circles for my lamen designs, though I’ve made other sets before that use different polygons whose number of sides accord with the numbers of the planets, e.g. a triangle for Saturn, a pentagon for Mars, and a nonagon for the Moon.  I use a circular shape since I have a circular wooden picture frame I modified to act as a lamen holder, but having your lamens be punched with a hole in the top is also totally workable.  Instead of paper, you might use parchment, or you might go really fancy and use colored wax made with essential oils of herbs associated with the planet, or go all out and make silver, gold, or other metallic lamens that accord with the planet.  While this isn’t strictly necessary (I haven’t had problems using even plain uncolored copy paper lamens), it’ll help over time to strengthen the contact between you and the spirit, but so would putting more effort with a simpler construction.  Of course, if the spirit isn’t planetary or doesn’t really care, you can use whatever method you want for making the lamen so long as it works for the spirit.

So what about the seals inside the hexagrams themselves?  It’s easy to find seals for Lemegeton goetic demons or the angels of the planets, but what about the seals for some arbitrary spirit?  It can get awkward, I admit, if you only have a name and no seal.  One route you can go by is using some sort of sigil generator to make a seal for the spirit based on its name; if the name is in Hebrew, you’d use the Golden Dawn Rosy Cross sigil wheel, and if it’s in Greek, you might try my own sigil wheel for the Greek alphabet based on stoicheiometric principles.  If the spirit is associated with a particular planet, you might use the qamea (magic square) of that planet to generate the names, which is how Agrippa gets his seals for the planetary intelligences and spirits (book II, chapter 22).  If you have any familiarity with modern magic techniques, you might make a simple sigil based on the letters themselves a la chaos magic.  Alternatively, you might not use any seal for the spirit at all, but actually ask for a seal directly from the spirit themselves; this is my approach to them, and how I got my seals for the elemental archangels.

Don’t forget that, despite their role in conjuration, lamens are simply talismans, and should be made according to the same rules and upheld to the same maintenance you’d use for other talismans.  These talismans will help link you to the spirit and its sphere to aid in conjuration, communion, and communication, and so should be made with that spirit and sphere in mind.  Although it’s traditional to wear the lamen in conjuration, I’ve seen some magicians (including Fr. Rufus Opus in his more modern style of conjuration) just use a metal talisman placed on the Table of Practice itself, so you still have freedom to experiment here.  Make the lamen with the spirit you want to communicate with in mind, following a simple premade layout for names and seals, and you’ll be good to go.  You might want to wear it, place it on the conjuration circle itself under the scrying medium, or simply set a candle atop it; so long as you use the lamen, you’ll be bringing the spirit down for conjuration.

Planetary and Elemental Jewelry, also an Etsy shop!

Over the past few months, I’ve been rubbing shoulders with more practitioners of Santería and Palo Mayombe than I ever expected to, to my ever-increasing delight and education.  I was even invited to a San Lazaro party in December, which was fantastic (when the crowd chuckles and eggs on a 12-year-old girl getting possessed by a god instead of freaking out, you know you’re at a good party).  One of the things that indicates someone as an ATR practitioner, specifically Santeros and Santeras, is the eleke or collar, a type of beaded necklace or bracelet that marks a person as receiving the blessing and initiation into a particular orisha.  These aren’t usually fancy things; just a string of seed beads in alternating colors or specific patterns with specific colors.  For instance, the eleke of Orunmila, the orisha of divination and life path knowledge, is a string of alternating green and yellow beads; Yemaya, the orisha of the oceans and seas, has blue and white beads; and so forth.  Essentially, an eleke is a piece of consecrated jewelry made from a particular power’s colors.  If you’re still lost, do a search for “orisha eleke” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

That got me to thinking: why not make variants of elekes for my own work?  After all, beads come in many colors, and Hermetic magic (thanks to Qabbalah and the Golden Dawn) has a large and well-known set of colors for the planets, elements, signs of the Zodiac, and so forth.  So, for instance, why not make a bead necklace using orange and purple beads for Mercury, or green and amber for Venus?  Of course, since only Santería has elekes, these wouldn’t be the same nor would they be “fed” (consecrated) in the same way, so I’m calling them something else: carcanets, a French word meaning “necklace” or “choker”; the etymology of the word is unclear, but it may have a Germanic origin or a root in the Latin word carcer, meaning “prison” (which may sound familiar to the geomancers out there).  Carcanet is a sufficiently distinct term from a simple “necklace”, and I’m using it to describe these magical bead necklaces and bracelets.

To that end, I went ahead and made sets of carcanets for each of the seven planets and four elements using their planetary colors.  Of course, since bead-makers don’t make all the fine gradations of colors the Golden Dawn king and queen scales prescribe (nor could most eyes tell the differences, anyway), my choices were slightly limited, but I think they turned out pretty well.  Since then, my beading skills have improved, and I’ve moved onto making chaplets and rosaries, but carcanets are definitely among the most ritual-oriented wear I’ve made yet.

I made two forms of carcanets for each planet: a simple carcanet consisting of alternating colors (king and queen scales) of that particular planet, and a grand carcanet that consists of a specific bead pattern (corresponding to the number of that planet in Qabbalah) with extra gemstone beads in appropriate colors.  The elements have only simple carcanets, which use the flashing colors of the Golden Dawn.  Each force and type of carcanet has a necklace and two bracelets, forming a three-piece set.  I’ll consecrate them under their respective angels in my upcoming conjurations, using the grand carcanets for ritual wear (in addition to or in lieu of sashes, girdles, stoles, etc. for a particular force) and using the simple carcanets for daily wear and on-the-go rituals.  Essentially, carcanets would be another style of talisman that wouldn’t be as obtrusive as yet another pendant or as expensive as having a custom-made ring.

Making them isn’t that hard, and since it wouldn’t be hard for me to turn them out for others, I’ve decided to take commissions especially for carcanets.  More importantly, you can commission them easily at my recently-opened Etsy shop!  Yes, I finally took the plunge and opened up an Etsy page, where you can instantly buy my ebooks as well as buy crafts from me, such as these carcanets as well as some of my woodwork (Tables of Practice especially).

A few notes:

  • The Seven Planets and Four Elements carcanets are only available as necklaces and cannot be combined as a set with wrist carcanets.
  • The elemental carcanets, Seven Planets carcanet, and Four Elements carcanet are only available as simple carcanets.
  • Carcanets will include consecration and maintenance instructions included with the package.  However, since I know some people would rather others handle ritual and consecration, I’ll offer to consecrate your chosen carcanets for an extra $20 (both simple and grand carcanets).  Due to the extra work involved, the Seven Planets and Four Elements carcanets will be $40 to consecrate.  Requesting consecration may delay shipping by up to seven weeks in addition to crafting time, depending on the force requested.  Look at the styles on my Etsy page, figure out which one you want and the cost, then contact me directly and we’ll work it out over PayPal instead of Etsy.
  • Carcanets are not proper elekes and are not to be confused with them, nor do they have any association with the orishas or practice of Santería, nor do I have any experience with or initiation into Santería.  Just sayin’.  These things are their own things.

As always, if you’re interested in any other commissions, contact me and we’ll work things out over email and PayPal.  Until then, enjoy the convenience of Etsy, especially now that I’ve updated my own business cards!  Also, note that I’ve now taken down my ebooks from the Services page, since they’re now more easily available through Etsy.

Search Term Shoot Back, November 2013

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 November 2013.  As most of you know, the big thing that’s been going on this month has been the 49 Days of Definitions project, but people are still finding their way here for many other things.  I also noticed that I had an unusual number of “unknown search terms”, referring to people who are using anonymous search techniques and secure browsing.  Good for you; keep it up!  I support that like whoa.

“orgone symbol” — As far as I’m aware, I know of no symbol for orgone generally; granted that I haven’t read many of Reich’s works, but I don’t know of an “orgone factor” represented with any Greek letter or symbol.  Orgone is just an ambient life force, so it doesn’t have a religion or *ism that has its own symbol; you might use the Chinese character 氣, qi, which is used for a similar concept but might be crossing disciplines too enthusiastically.  If you want a symbol to work with orgone, you might look up symbols used in Western-style reiki, or look up radionics patterns or designs.  Some of my experiments with making “orgone circuitboards” or force compasses (which are closer to radionics than other things) can be found at this post.

“how to get over an addiction to divination” — For reference, check out my post on divinaddiction and divinaversion.  First, let me clarify: an addiction to divination is basically micromanaging the future without letting things have a chance to happen first.  It is over-reliance and dependence on divination in order to do anything of use.  It’s alright to do ten readings in a row to figure out what’s needed for a trip or how certain things on the trip will go; it’s unhealthy if you do it for when you should leave for work in the morning each morning.  (Note to hyper-Christianist mothers: use of divination is a necessary but not sufficient symptom of divinaddiction.  Divination isn’t ungodly; you are for your hypocrisy and fundamentalism.)  Honestly, the best way to get over an addiction to divination is to stop caring so much.  Let life happen; you’re not in control of everything, nor have you ever, nor will you ever be.  Use divination (sparingly) to see what you can work to change.  Fix the problems that arise, and live with the predicaments that come your way.  Ease up and stop being so goddamn controlling of everything in your life; learn your lessons, live well, and let go.

“talisman for love tetragrammaton key solomon” — The second, third, and fifth pentacles of Venus from the Key of Solomon should do you nicely.  You might want to find the Mathers’ version of the text, which is drawn much more clearly.

“how to adhere my copper wand to my crystal” — Assuming you mean you have a crystal point that you’d like to affix to a copper wand, first I recommend you make a niche, nook, or pit in the wand that can hold the crystal comfortably and safely (much as in my ebony wand project); if the wand is a tube, see if you can get a copper pipe opening or valve that’s just big enough to let the crystal through while screwing the valve onto one end (much as in my fire wand project).  In either case, when you’re ready to make the bond, get two-part epoxy from your local hardware or craft store.  Mix the two parts together, apply to both surfaces, push together and hold firmly, then let cure for 24 hours.  The bond made will be permanent and very sturdy.

“why are there ruling angels for planets” — Oooh, a deceptively simple philosophical question!  To condense a lot of philosophy and theology into a brief explanation in a post mocking other people for finding my blog, the Divine Source has these things called “angels”, which are basically extensions of itself in other realms to achieve or create certain ends.  It’s like the Divine is the brain or central command of operations, and the angels are the actual hands and feet or the machines that actually do the work.  In that sense, everything that happens is manifested under the guidance and rulership of angels; it’s not just planets, but everything has a ruling angel, and some things have multiple angels.  For instance, the “threefold keeper of Man” (Agrippa, book III, chapter 22) refers to three angels each and every human being has ruling over them: one for their specific incarnation and destiny in this life (natal genius), one for their current job and productive capabilities there (angel of occupation), and one that connects us directly to the Divine to guide us through all circumstances in all lifetimes (the Holy Guardian Angel or “Holy Demon”).  Working with the ruling angel of anything is basically working with the thing that commands and directs the thing in this world, so it’s a powerful way to get in touch with anything and understand it.

“spiritual cleaningyour home with van van oil do i start from front to back” — The way I’ve heard it, when you’re cleaning out your house, you want to start from the back of the property to the front; when you’re blessing your house, you want to start from the front of the property to the back.  I wouldn’t necessarily cleanse things off with Van Van oil, though it’s possible; I’d save Van Van oil for blessing and protecting after cleansing and banishing.  YMMV.

“what are geomantic ablilities?” — The ability to understand the symbols and techniques involved in geomantic divination, but more than that, to cut through bullshit, ask concrete and specific questions, make effective and useful plans of action to achieve goals, to be able to cut a large problem down into multiple parts for easier analysis

“lost + stolen + planets + houses + astrology -vedic -radu -indian” — First, major props to anyone who actually knows how to use a goddamn search engine.  Whoever you are, I love you for knowing and specifying what you actually want to search for.   As for the actual substance, what you appear to be looking for is a method to find lost or stolen items using only Western astrology (as opposed to Vedic or jyotish astrology).  While I’m no real astrologer, I’d suggest looking at the significator of the second house to represent the object, that of the fifth (fourth from the second) to determine where it might be, and that of the seventh to see whether anyone stole it or whether you just happened to lose it.  Apply the other rules of horary astrology as normal.  If you want a geomantic perspective on how to find lost or stolen objects, read this post, which is more than a little influenced by horary astrology techniques.

“greek red five pointed star on a column geomantic magick” — I…what?  Are you trying to type out an entire slide on a Freemason conspiracy theorist PowerPoint presentation, or an entire Golden Dawn visualization?  As far as I’m aware, there are multiple subjects in that query, so it’s hard to understand what’s being searched for here.  Using my powerful geomantic abilities, I’m gonna have you whittle it down for me a bit.

“raven orthaevelve” — Ah, seems like I’ve been mentioning her plenty enough on my blog!  Raven Orthaevelve is a fantastic friend of mine, who’s also a very skilled craftswoman, silversmith, and reference for several occult communities.  She’s incredibly smart and regularly vomits textbooks of information, and is quite deft at weaving modern medical and scientific knowledge with alchemical, herbal, and spiritual lore.  She has an Etsy page (with beautiful works that make excellent holiday gifts), and she’s open for commissions; she’s helped me out immensely on a number of projects, and I’ve got her help in something very special in the near future, too.  Raven is also a devotee of the Mesoamerican (Mayan, Aztec, and Olmec, mostly) gods and does Mayan astrological forecasting on her Facebook page.

“books about positive energy communing with spirits” — If you’re still in the phase where you’re waffling about “positive energy”, I’m going to say that you’re not ready or magically mature enough to conjure or summon spirits.  Prayer to the angels or beneficial gods like Tykhe or Fortuna might be better for you.  Most spirits don’t care about “positive energy” but “energy that works”, no matter whether it’s positive or negative, lifey or deathy, white or black, or whatever.

“organic orgone” — You can pick this stuff up at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, usually beside the incense and scented soaps sections.  It’ll cost a little more than the orgone that comes with chemical preservatives, but it’s much healthier for you.  Goes great in kombucha, vegan quinoa kale curry, and anything that doesn’t actually taste good or is reasonable to buy but makes you feel better for being an entitled, yuppie activist-wannabe.

“how to conjuration calzas angel for help” — I’ve never heard of this spirit before, so it might be from some obscure text I haven’t come across yet.  Googling for “calzas” I find nothing but images of tights, stockings, hosiery, and skinny jeans, so if you wanted to conjure that, you could go to your local Target or department store and buy some; if you wanted something more spiritual, you could conjure the ruling angel of this type of clothing by drawing on a stylized picture of pants on a lamen and performing a Trithemian conjuration ritual.

“orgone generator orb”  — An orgone generator is anything that collects or “generates” orgone, usually in the form of a box or cabinet.  A container whose walls are lined with repeating layers of organic and inorganic material work fine for this to collect orgone in the inside of the container; a simple version of this can be made by taking multiple pieces of printer paper and tinfoil, putting one on top of the other in alternating layers with the paper as both the outermost and innermost layers, then gluing or taping it all together and making a box out of it.  An orb can be done in a similar way, but is difficult to make easily; you don’t need an orb to focus the orgone in the generator, since the generator simply collects it all inside anyway.  I use an orb in my MaGOS setup, but that’s for a different purpose; I’m using an orgone accelerator (which propels orgone in a particular direction) into a crystal field using the orb to redirect the energy in the field, so this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.  (Then again, with anything orgone-related, it’s hard to determine what people actually want out of it.)

“geomantic hours”  — The geomantic hours are a development of time division much like the planetary hours, where individual slices of time are assigned to the seven planets.  Similarly, previous geomancers have tried to form a similar system of time where one assigns individual geomantic figures to the hours, but I haven’t found this system to be of much use.  While the system of planetary hours is clean, orderly, and regular, the systems of geomantic hours (as I’ve read them) are either incredibly haphazard, significantly flawed, or corrupted from an original source.  Besides, I haven’t found much use for them that I wouldn’t simply use for the planetary hours and looking outside to see whether it’s daytime or nighttime.  If you’d like to read more, you might look up this post on timing with geomancy that mentions these hours.

“md caduceus symbol tattoo”  — If you’re going to be a doctor of medicine with the highest recognizable degree in the land to show it, you should know better than to use the Wand of Hermes (with two snakes and wings on the top) for your profession.  You want the asclepian, or the Staff of Asclepius, which has one snake and no wings.  You can see my tattoos, one of each, in this post from before.  The caduceus is for speed, messages, trickery, deceit, which is good for commercial health organizations who’re into that.  The asclepian is for health, healing, wholeness, and purity, which is good for doctors, nurses, medics, and anyone who actually helps people.  I would, however, suggest the caduceus in addition to the asclepian if you’re an ambulance driver, in an armed forces, or some sort of field medic where speed is of the essence, but this might be better for a talisman than a tattoo proper.

“lead pencil in orgonite” —  Technically, “lead pencils” use graphite, which is a form of more-or-less pure carbon.  Like lead and unlike some other sources of carbon, however, graphite is inorganic, serving as a metal when working with orgone technology.  The wood surrounding the graphite, as might be expected, is organic; technically the pencil itself can serve as a conductor for orgone due to its combination of organic and inorganic elements, though a weak one on its own.  Pencils have never contained lead, not now nor ever since their development as a tool of writing, but were thought to since graphite is visually similar to lead ore.  In a similar vein, orgonite has never been of use, not now nor ever since their development as glittery robot vomit, but were thought to since fluffy pseudoscientific new-agers want to “heal the earth” without doing any actual work of value.  The pencil is better off being used to fill out forms for helping out with third world countries or disaster victims than being wasted in resin and other trash.

De Geomanteia: Geomantic Magic (let this spell last forever)

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 (last and final) week, let’s talk about technique instead of figures. Specifically, let’s talk about how to apply geomancy and geomantic figures to magic.

Yes, dear reader, magic. That fabulous art and science of causing a change in conformity with will, the thing I talk about near non-stop on this blog.  This (yet again) lengthy post on geomantic technique will review just a few of the ways one might apply geomancy to magic, since the sky is literally the limit here (at least in terms of celestial spheres).  So get a drink and a snack, put on your robe and wizard hat, and let’s begin.

Just as the planets in astrology can lend themselves to either divination or magic, so too can geomancy by incorporating the figures and their associations in magical ritual, talisman creation, and the like.  Keep in mind that a geomantic figure is nothing more than a collection of elemental forces, where each of the four elements is either active or passive, present or missing, on or off. In one sense, each geomantic figure can be seen as an alchemical formula that reveals a particular state of the cosmos.  Further, by figuring out the ruling element of the mixture, we can divine the overall elemental nature of a certain combination of elements. For instance, Coniunctio (air and water active), with its fluidity in emotional response and mental communication, lends itself very well to the element whose primary nature is wet: Air.

In addition to their elemental formulae and overall correspondences, the geomantic figures are also associated with the planets and signs of the zodiac.  Through these, they’re tied into the ancient and well-known field of planetary magic, which can incorporate the geomantic figures as well into their rituals.  For instance, when I want to work with the darker, more destructive side of Mars, I’d probably pick Rubeus or Cauda Draconis; for wealth magic, I’d go with jovial Acquisitio.  This also ties the geomantic figures into the planetary sephiroth in Qabbalah, which is an extensive set of systems in its own right.  For instance, Coniunctio is associated with Virgo and Mercury, and through those the sephirah Hod, the number 8, the color orange, and the like.  If you’ve forgotten what those are, review the other De Geomanteia posts on the figures for their elemental, planetary, zodiacal, and qabbalistic associations, the paragraph on the “technical details” of the figures near the start and the last paragraph that describes their divinatory and magical interpretations.

Another way to understand the figures is by expanding them to entire charts.  Due to the nature of geomantic chart construction, there are 16×16×16×16 = 65536 possible legal charts used in geomancy, but subsets of them have special properties.  One set, which I call “unique charts”, is the set of all charts that make use of 15 geomantic figures without repeating (excluding the Sentence figure, which of mathematical necessity must repeat from the foregoing 15 figures, and none of the figures in the first 15 figures of the shield chart can be Populus, which would induce repetition).  There are 16 such unique charts, which makes the prospect of linking each one to the sixteen geomantic figures tempting.  One of the members on the Geomantic Campus Yahoo! mailing list (which everyone interested in geomancy should join), Frater Pyramidatus, uncovered a way to assign these 16 unique charts to the 16 figures of geomancy as a way to expand and fully capture the “essence” of the figure in a whole geomantic chart.  Though I won’t reproduce the method or the full set of charts here, the Mother figures to generate each chart are as follows (in order from First to Fourth Mother):

  1. Populus: Caput Draconis, Amissio, Fortuna Maior, Tristitia
  2. Via: Puer, Caput Draconis, Tristitia, Albus
  3. Albus: Fortuna Minor, Rubeus, Puer, Amissio
  4. Coniunctio: Laetitia, Fortuna Minor, Puer, Coniunctio
  5. Puella: Cauda Draconis, Caput Draconis, Tristitia, Albus
  6. Amissio: Fortuna Minor, Rubeus, Carcer, Cauda Draconis
  7. Fortuna Maior: Puella, Cauda Draconis, Tristitia, Albus
  8. Fortuna Minor: Acquisitio, Puella, Albus, Fortuna Maior
  9. Puer: Rubeus, Laetitia, Caput Draconis, Puer
  10. Rubeus: Caput Draconis, Carcer, Albus, Fortuna Maior
  11. Acquisitio: Rubeus, Laetitia, Cauda Draconis, Caput Draconis
  12. Laetitia: Coniunctio, Puella, Fortuna Maior, Tristitia
  13. Tristitia: Rubeus, Laetitia, Cauda Draconis, Puella
  14. Carcer: Rubeus, Laetitia, Puella, Puer
  15. Caput Draconis: Puella, Puer, Tristitia, Albus
  16. Cauda Draconis: Laetitia, Fortuna Minor, Acquisitio, Cauda Draconis

Further, because of the mathematics of geomancy, whole charts can be added to each other to yield new charts by adding each figure in one chart to its corresponding figure in the other (e.g. chart 1 First Mother + chart 2 First Mother = chart 3 First Mother).  Based on this, we can obtain charts (not unique, but still significant) that similarly reflect the force of whole planets.

  1. Moon (Populus + Via): Amissio, Puer, Albus, Fortuna Maior
  2. Mercury (Albus + Coniunctio): Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Fortuna Minor
  3. Venus (Puella + Amissio): Albus, Fortuna Maior, Laetitia, Fortuna Minor
  4. Sun (Fortuna Maior + Fortuna Minor): Cauda Draconis, Acquisitio, Fortuna Maior, Tristitia
  5. Mars (Puer + Rubeus): Fortuna Maior, Tristitia, Acquisitio, Cauda Draconis
  6. Jupiter (Acquisitio + Laetitia): Albus, Fortuna Maior, Puer, Coniunctio
  7. Saturn (Tristitia + Carcer): Populus, Populus, Acquisitio, Coniunctio
  8. Lunar Nodes (Caput Draconis + Cauda Draconis): Fortuna Maior, Tristitia, Rubeus, Fortuna Minor

These charts can be used as talismanic images in their own right or augmented to other talismans to represent the entire force of a particular figure or planet.  Frater Pyramidatus also managed to link up the whole system of unique charts assigned to each geomantic figure into a more overarching diagram called “the Geomantic Pyramid”, which combines the geomantic figures, elements, and notions of the Male Principle and Female Principle.  It’s an interesting read, though I haven’t found a way to incorporate it into my own practice; Frater Pyramidatus operates (I believe) in a stricter Thelemic current, so maybe students of that tradition will get more out of it.  Still, I’ll leave the interested reader to join the group above and read for themselves.

In a similar manner, you might also use the geomantic emblems, or sequences of 16 lines like a geomantic figure that contain the essence of all 16 geomantic figures in a cohesive, single icon.  There are 256 such emblems, which can be analyzed elementally on their own, or grouped into 16 cycles of emblems.  Each cycle is associated with a particular figure, giving whole families of emblems a particular geomantic force underlying its nature.  If individual geomantic figures, which are combinations of the four classical elements, represent different states of the cosmos, then the geomantic emblems can be used to represent whole cosmoses or processes of the universe from one state to another fluidly.  The magical uses of these emblems is still mostly unexplored, but it wouldn’t do any harm to find a particular emblem structurally associated with a particular figure you want and elementally associated with a particular stage you want in a given situation and incorporate it into talismans or subtly-occult jewelry.  The notion of order, transition, and flow within the geomantic emblems does beg more investigation, especially in terms of “universal geomantic descriptors” of the cosmos.  You might do well to check out some of my meditations on how they might be explored and understood.

I once mentioned, long ago and separate from De Geomanteia, a particular set of geomantic mudras, or shapes and gestures one can make with the hands to concentrate and meditate upon the figures.  They can also be used as magical gestures, as well: in ritual, when wanting to direct the force of  a particular geomantic figure outward, one would make the mudra with the right (dominant) hand; when wanting to direct it inward towards yourself, one would make the mudra with the left (submissive) hand.  Consider the ASL sign for “I love you”, which is the mudra for Coniunctio, or the standard gesture used for Christian blessing, which is the mudra for Fortuna Maior.  When wanting to cause destruction or to lay a curse on someone, you might use the mudra for Cauda Draconis towards the target (like the surfer shaka/hang loose gesture).  These mudras can be thrown up in formal or informal ritual to act as a focus or “geomantic weapon” in their own right, depending on the need and context.  As a rule, the mudra should be selected based on the force desired: if one wants to start something new, one might throw the mudra of Caput Draconis, but if one wants someone to cut something out, one should use that of Cauda Draconis.  Based on the ruling elements of the figures and the natural motion of the figures (fire and air tend to go upward, water and earth tend to go downward), one could hold the mudra at different heights to affect the motion of the force:

  • Fire (burns upward): held high to “catch” and pull in Fire energy, held low to “burn away” and send out
  • Air (moves around but tends upward): any height works, but similar to Fire
  • Water (flows around but tends downward): any height works, but similar to Earth
  • Earth (falls downward): held low to “catch” and pull in Earth energy, held high to “drop” and send out

Plus, due to the “pure” elemental nature of the figures Laetitia (Fire), Rubeus (Air), Albus (Water), and Tristitia (Earth), these mudras are especially powerful for invoking and working with the elements.  Due to their internal, subjective nature, mudras for figures ruled by Fire and Water are more naturally suited to the left hand, with the right hand more suited to the external, objective elements of Air and Earth.  These attributions of right and left are assumed for a right-hand dominant magician; they may be kept the same or reversed for a left-hand dominant magician.

Every time I’ve talked about a figure in this series, I mentioned how you might get a certain shape or image if you play connect the dots with the figure. That method of making images or pictures by connecting the dots in different ways to form a variety of sigils; depending on the figure and depending on the method, a number of different sigils can be devised for a single figure.  Cornelius Agrippa gives a plentiful list of geomantic sigils in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy (book II, chapter 51) which can be used directly in magic or incorporated into talismans, either on their own or in conjunction with other signs and symbols, such as planetary squares, images and occult art, statement-derived sigils a la chaos magic, or qabbalistic diagrams or patterns.

Another use of the sigils, though I haven’t experimented with it personally, is to conjure the intelligence of the individual geomantic figure itself.  Beyond calling them “spirit of Puella” or “angel ruling over Fortuna Maior”, I had an idea to use the Hebrew names for the figures (based on Stephen Skinner’s Geomancy in Theory and Practice) and append the requisite -(i)el onto the end of the names.  Though I haven’t had experience with calling on these angels in relation to the geomantic figures, they should get good results, considering that their names are directly tied to those of the geomantic figures.  Instead of using these angels, one might conjure the angels ruling the zodiac signs or the planets associated with the figures (e.g. Malchidiel, angel of Aries, for Puer).  Instead of using the sigils for the geomantic figures as the seals for these angels, one might also draw out their names on their associated planetary qameas (using the Qamea of the Earth for the angels of Caput Draconis and Cauda Draconis).  These are names based off the traditional names of the figures; should you contact them and get different names or sigils specific to them, let me know, because it’d be nice to have a set of standard names for these guys.

  • Populus: Qehilahiel (QHLHIAL, קהלהיאל)
  • Via: Derekhel (DRKAL, דרכאל)
  • Albus: Labaniel (LBNIAL, לבניאל)
  • Coniunctio: Chiburel (ChBURAL, חבוראל)
  • Puella: Halechiel (HLChIAL, הלחיאל)
  • Amissio: Abodel (ABUDAL, אבודאל)
  • Fortuna Maior: Elihiel (OLIHIAL, עליהיאל)
  • Fortuna Minor: Sheqiohel (ShQIOHAL, שקיוהאל)
  • Puer: Nilchamel (NLChMAL, נלחמאל)
  • Rubeus: Adomel (ADUMAL, אדומאל)
  • Acquisitio: Hashigiel (HShGIAL, השגיאל)
  • Laetitia: Nishoiel (NShUAIAL, נשואיאל)
  • Tristitia: Shefeliel (ShPLIAL, שפליאל)
  • Carcer: Sohariel (SUHRIAL, סוהריאל)
  • Caput Draconis: Rashithiel (RAShIThIAL, ראשיתיאל)
  • Cauda Draconis: Siumel (SIUMAL, סיומאל)

There are records and methods of assigning different letters to the geomantic figures, whether in the Roman, Greek, Hebrew, or Enochian languages.  Examples can be found in Golden Dawn’s use of Enochian Chess (images of the “chessboard” can be found here) as well as John Heydon’s Theomagia (book III, pp. 15-18, or pp. 323-325 on Scribd).  John Michael Greer also gives examples of assigning Roman letters to the geomantic figures in his book Art and Practice of Geomancy, perhaps based on Fludd’s or Heydon’s associations.  However, like with assigning numbers to the figures to tell time, I haven’t gotten good results in assigning the geomantic figures to letters to indicate names of people, places, or the like.  I’ve heard of others do so well enough, so your mileage may vary.

One way to incorporate geomantic divination into magical planning or geomantic magic involves the inspection of a given geomantic chart.  Say a querent wants to know whether something will happen that they really want to happen, but the chart denies the query and says “no, it won’t” (review this post on perfection, affirmation, on denial if you’re foggy on this).  By inspecting the significators of the querent and quesited, one can see what can done to “edit” the reality described by the chart to induce a perfection (though it might be best to limit this to the significator of the querent).  One might consider “adding” or “removing” elements from one’s life to change their significator into another one (such as “adding” Air to Puella to change it to Via, or “removing” Water from it to change it to Carcer), and see what effects that would have in the geomantic chart (either redrawing the whole chart from scratch or just superficially editing the house chart).  Doing the same with whole geomantic figures can also be done, such as adding Puella and Puer to form Coniunctio.

An old style of Arabic geomantic magic involves the use of taskins, or specific orderings of the sixteen geomantic figures as a kind of talisman.  One shown in Stephen Skinner’s book was used to find water, and there are references to other taskins to find treasure or similar objects.  I haven’t found very many of these, since it seems to be really old or obscure geomantic knowledge (at least as published in English or European publications), but one could use such orderings (say, four sets of four figures aligned to the four quarters based on their elements) for altar arrangements, geomantic Tables of Practice, or similar talismans.  Such orderings might share similarities with the geomantic emblems I mentioned above, but due to the dearth of information on the Arabic, African, or Middle Eastern uses of taskins in European languages, this is pretty much an unknown.  Unfortunately, until I learn Arabic or until someone who does is willing to take on a few translation projects for me, not much is going to change in this situation.  Although some taskins might be ordered by astrological principles (ruling planet, ruling sign, etc.), other takins might be derived from the unique charts above or the geomantic emblems.  Definitely something to experiment in the future with.

Arabic Geomantic Talisman

To give an example of geomantic magic, say Jane Doe wants to marry John Smith in the next year.  Marriage can be benefitted magically from a number of figures, but Coniunctio is probably the best.  So, to achieve her desired goal, Jane might do any or all of the following:

  • Make a talisman of the figure Coniunctio with associated mercurial, Virgoan materials and timing, since Coniunctio is a figure representing union, a coming together of forces and people, and marriage; such a talisman might have a sigil of the figure on one side and its associated unique chart on the other.
  • Conjure Chiburel, the angel watching over Coniunctio, perhaps under the guidance of the angel of Mercury Raphael, to invoke and manifest the forces of Coniunctio between herself and John.
  • Intone the vowel epsilon (associated with Mercury) in a day and hour of Mercury over an image of her and John put together, with a sigil of Coniunctio drawn over them, perhaps incorporated with yet other sigils a la chaos magic.
  • Throw the geomantic mudra for Coniunctio (which looks a lot like the ASL sign for “I love you”) around in John’s presence, perhaps visualizing a sigil for Coniunctio directed or “thrown” at him.
  • Make a small hemp or chain bracelet tied or knotted in a manner that makes use of the geomantic emblem for Coniunctio, starting at the position where Caput Draconis appears, repeating a short incantation to lure, tie, and conjoin John to her.
  • Cast a candle spell that uses six candles set out in the dot pattern of Coniunctio in a day and hour of Venus, placing a picture of her between the candles of the earth line and a picture of John between the candles of the fire line.

Assume for a bit that a geomancer throws a chart to see whether it’s possible that they can be married in the next year; the chart comes up with a negative answer, with Tristitia as the significator for Jane and Fortuna Maior for John.  There’s no perfection, but the structures for Tristitia and Fortuna Maior are similar, differing only in the water line (i.e. Tristitia has water passive, Fortuna Maior has water active).  Jane might consider “adding” the elemental force of water to her own self and life, perhaps by reaching out emotionally to connect with John more than she is or swimming more and being surrounded by blue and watery things, which would have the effect of transforming Tristitia to Fortuna Maior, which would induce perfection by occupation, turning the negative answer from the chart into a positive one.  The same could be accomplished by working with the figure Albus similarly, since Albus and Tristitia combine to form Fortuna Maior, perhaps by being more reflective and in touch with oneself, or by working with the angel Labaniel to make one more watery and spiritually deep.

At their core, the geomantic figures are another set of symbols that can blend or bind with other symbols in magic.  You might incorporate the geomantic figures into sigils, or use the sigils of the geomantic figures themselves, in a sigil web.  Drawing the geomantic figure on consecrated paper or scrolls to keep as talismans, or using candle arrangements in the form of geomantic figures, would be good ritual uses of the geomantic figures.  Conjurework and hoodoo might also benefit, by using the geomantic figures as talismans on paper or clay, burning or crushing them up into dust, and mixing them in with other powders to lay over someone as a target/victim/beneficiary.  The ability to use geomantic figures and geomancy in magic is as wide and varied as the kinds of magic out there entirely, so feel free to experiment and use the geomantic figures in whatever way might seem useful or interesting.

As a rule, before performing any magic working (geomantic or otherwise), it’s suggested that the magician perform a divination to make sure it’s both advisable and feasible to use magic to a particular end.  In other words, the magician should always ask “can I use magic to attain my goal?” before actually using magic as a part of planning.  To understand these charts, see whether the Judge is favorable to the working and whether perfection exists with the proper house.  Magic is related to four houses in geomantic charts:

  • Sixth house: magic you ask others to do on your behalf as a service
  • Eighth house: magic you do generally, e.g. those that involve lesser spirits, demons, witchcraft
  • Ninth house: magic you do with celestial, theurgic, divine, or philosophical forces, e.g. astrological talismans, prayer to attain a desired end
  • Twelfth house: magic done by others against you, especially without your knowledge

Additionally, you might want to inspect the seventh house (anyone working with you, a partner, a consultant, a spiritual worker, etc.) and the fourth house (the end result of the magical operation) to get a feel for other factors in magic-related situations.  The Part of Spirit, or Index, often indicates spiritual considerations related to queries and their resolution, which is doubly important in questions of magic.

And that concludes my 20-part series De Geomanteia, a weekly series of posts on the sixteen figures that constitute the alphabet of geomancy as well as four posts on geomantic technique. This series was a lot more fun to write than I expected it to be, and you guys gave some really good feedback during the whole process both on the blog and off.  Thank you, dear readers, for sticking it through with me, and I hope you learned at least a bit about this venerable and ancient divination system, if not inspired to use it in your own work. Would you guys have any other questions, queries, quandries, or comments to make about geomancy?  Or would you have anything to share in addition to what I’ve posted, especially about incorporating geomancy with magic?