Unlocking the Observatory: Further Guidance from Another Text

Where were we? We’re in the middle of discussing the obscure Telescope of Zoroaster (ZT), a manual of divination and spirituality originally published in French in 1796 (FZT) at the close of the French Revolution, which was later translated into German in 1797 (GZT) and then again in an abridged form as part of Johann Scheible’s 1846 Das Kloster (vol. 3, part II, chapter VII) (KZT), with Scheible’s work then translated into English in 2013 as released by Ouroboros Press (OZT).  Although OZT is how most people nowadays tend to encounter this system, I put out my own English translation of FZT out a bit ago as part of my research, and while that translation was just part of the work I’ve been up to, there’s so much more to review, consider, and discover when it comes to this fascinating form of divination.  Last time, we talked about a case study from Karl Kern’s 1933 Die wahrsagende Kabbala der Magier: die Kabbala des Zoroaster (WKM) later reprinted in 2009 under the name “Baron André-Robert Andréa de Nerciat” by Verlag Edition Geheimes Wissen. If you need a refresher on what we talked about last time, go read the last post!

※ For those following along with their own copy of ZT (get yours here!), this post does not touch on any specific chapter of the text.

Normally, I have a policy of not reading stuff written by assholes.  It’s true that shitty people can make good points, but so can non-shitty people, and given a choice between the two, I’d choose reading the non-shitty people any day; there are lots of non-asshole people who also make really good points (if not the same ones) without being an asshole, and I’d rather give them my attention.  As history has conclusively shown decade after decade for the past several centuries, fascists, Nazis, and racial supremacists are among the worst such assholes; unfortunately, we’re reading Karl Kern’s book because this is one of the exceedingly few texts out there that deals with ZT, even if he was an avowed Ariosophist and member of various völkisch movements that led to the rise of Nazism.  Happily, this doesn’t impact what we can glean from the book he wrote on the subject.

Well, besides him trying to tie in the whole “race-culture religion” in his case study from last post, and besides his own introduction to the “Kabbala of Zoroaster”:

Experience teaches that even under the strangest coverings there is a deep core of wisdom and knowledge. One cannot really consider everything categorized under the name “superstition” as superstition alone. To dismiss the essence of our Kabbala as madness and nonsense is not an option. Such action would show great short-sightedness, for how many things that were recently considered superstition are now generally accepted facts! When a Cretan idiot explains the cuneiform text of a stone slab already thousands of years old as an indecipherable, senseless scrawl of an equally senseless stonecutter, this does not yet provide the shadow of a proof that another person does not know how to decipher and read the symbols. And our Kabbala is just as old, if not even older, than the stone monuments of times long past that we know of. As all ancient scriptures teach, it is the oldest knowledge known to mankind. It is said to be older than the knowledge of the stars, which is called astrology today. Yes, our Kabbalist claims that astrology first arose out of Kabbala, and that astrology that arose out of Kabbala as a result of its distortions and abusive embellishments, brought about and hastened the downfall of Kabbala. Be that as it may, it is hardly disputed today that the Kabbala is of immense antiquity. The mystical-Jewish trains of thought that we find in the Book of Zohar have little to do with the actual Kabbala. They are the watered-down infusion of an ancient Aryan knowledge that was developed by the ancient Sumerians about 5000 years ago and which was remodeled by the Jewish tribe with their own egocentric bustle for their own purposes and then deceptively provided with their own company stamp.

Needless to say, this is a far stronger claim than what ZT makes; while ZT just quietly (mis)uses the word “cabala” generically to refer to some ancient system of spirituality without any actual reference to the substance of Jewish kabbalah, WKM here makes the logical and ideological leap that “no really, this is the actual Kabbala, those Jews just pissed all over it”.  At the time of the Third Reich (and around the time Kern was writing WKM), Nazi race theory (such as it was) considered the Persians to be a kindred Aryan race to the Germans (well beyond the Indo-European linguistic and human migration connections); for this reason, I suspect that Kern found the orientalizing pseudohistory ZT to make it an alluring form of divination and spirituality in line with his own Ariosophy.  After all, ZT does claim to be descended from Zoroaster, the Persian prophet of an ancient Persian religion, which would make this supposedly pristine Aryan numerological system suitable for his own racial ideology, so of course Kern would say that the Jews just appropriated “real Kabbala” from an ancient Aryan race.  (I really hate how utterly banal history can be sometimes; on top of the rest of the crimes against humanity and insults against dignity they commit, Nazis are just the laziest when it comes to any kind of thinking, to boot.)

Still, amidst the antisemitism and pseudohistory worse than ZT’s own, Kern isn’t without his own insights.  Amidst lots of Pythagoreanizing examples about how all things are fundamentally number (the numerology of words and names, or “name-cabbalism”, as Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke calls it in The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and their Influence on Nazi Theology, was a super popular thing taken super seriously among many Ariosophists, even though that, too, was also based on earlier Mediterranean and especially Jewish practices), WKM does point out something meaningful about how sortilege (the drawing of lots) works, even linking it to geomancy (“Punktierkunst” in German), which ironically Kern seems to have a much higher opinion of than ZT itself does:

The drawing of lots from the urn never happens by chance, but for a spiritual reason, through the power of which the imagination, or in this case the hand of the person drawing the lot, is moved. Therefore, those who wish to take lots must be well prepared and not be disturbed or distracted by anything; also he must have a firm desire and a definite intention to know what is asked. Just as in the well-known common art of geomancy the origin of the dots goes back to an inner origin, so it is with our Kabbala. In your lot-drawing, it is the soul which, when its desire increases to a high degree, directs the lot. All the lots only follow the direction of the soul, and there is always a necessary pull to what the soul desires.

Right before the case study (“Ein Beispiel”) opens up, WKM starts with a bit of practical advice regarding how to conduct oneself and how to perform an actual reading:

With all of the foregoing having been said, the student of Kabbala is given the key to unlocking the lock that closes to the layman’s eye the land of knowledge with its paths that come from the past and lead through the present to the future. Proper handling of the key and proper use of it can never be taught at length. This depends on the assets and abilities of each individual. A stiff hand will never insert the key properly into the lock, while dexterous fingers can open the gate with ease. However, practice may show an example and it may bring relief in the interpretation of the Great Mirror, which at first seems difficult. It must be noted that the mirror given as an example was not artificially assembled, but contains the stones as they were drawn from the Urn by a man questioning fate.

At the beginning of this work it was mentioned that there is sufficient power and power in the human soul to lead the lots, and that the man who wants to take the lots should not be troubled or distracted, and have a firm desire and a determined intention intended to find out what is being asked. So never let the stones necessary to form the Great Mirror be drawn from the urn in the presence of many people. Any disturbance by strangers, any distraction by noise and noise is to be avoided. A coffee shop or tavern is never the right place for Kabbalistic practice, because this is not a parlor game, but a deeply serious matter. Sitting comfortably is recommended. At the beginning of the Kabbalistic operation, in order to establish the closest connection between the questioner and the stones that herald fate, the seeker must for some time come into very close contact with the stones with his hand, which he then uses to draw the stones. It is best if he stirs and mixes the stones in the urn for a short time with absolute silence and concentration.

Besides the general guidance here about practicing this in a tranquil space (which is a great recommendation for almost every divination system out there in general), WKM notes that it is the querent themselves who should draw their own tiles, which are then assembled into the Great Mirror.  (This gives some clarification to one of the confusing bits of guidance towards the end of the post about the divinatory process.)  Indeed, this is explicitly confirmed in the opening lines of the tablature given in the case study from last time:

All of these conditions were met in our example. The searcher drew one stone from the urn one at a time, which found its place in the order of the numbers written in the Mirror, beginning with field 1.

Thus, at least for the author of WKM, it should be the querent who draws the tiles from the Urn, one by one, and that only after mixing them all up themselves for a minute or so.  Presumably, they should be concentrating on their query, getting their energy mixed up in the tiles, so to speak.  In addition to the benefits of this approach of letting the querent draw out their own fate, this also prevents any unseemliness on the part of the diviner, whose job it is to only interpret such a reading done for someone else, reducing any risk of suggesting that the diviner manipulated the tiles fairly or unfairly.  I get it, I suppose.

Likewise, a few sections later, WKM also gives a brief list of advice:

1. The draw of the stones must be done in a calm, non-distracting environment.

2. After they have all been thrown into an urn (earthenware bowl) or a similar (preferably non-transparent) vessel, the 112 stones are mixed by hand for about one to two minutes, after which the stones are then drawn, shuffled so that all stones come into contact with that hand.

3. Without hurry or haste, one stone after the other (never two or more at the same time!) is taken from the urn and the glyphs or numbers are entered in the list below in the order in which they were drawn . (Except for the two principles! See below for these.)

4. A total of 37 stones are drawn. It should be noted that the stones of the Good Principle (a large radiant delta-shaped triangle) and the Evil Principle (a radiant pentagon or pentagram) do not fall under the numbers of the ordinary stones. They are not included in the list below, but care must be taken to determine which stone they were drawn from. If one or both of these Principle stones are drawn, the total number of stones to be drawn increases by 1 or 2 to 38 or 39, since they are not counted with whichever stone they appeared.

5. Whoever has his own Great Mirror, if the Good Principle has been drawn, put it in the Good Principle field drawn on the slate; if the  Evil Principle, in the Evil Principle field drawn on the slate.

WKM then gives a sort of template diagram to record a reading done with the Great Mirror:

The following stones were drawn from the urn:

  1. ___
  2. ___
  3. ___
  4. ___
  5. ___
  6. ___
  7. ___
  8. ___
  9. ___
  10. ___
  11. ___
  12. ___
  13. ___
  14. ___
  15. ___
  16. ___
  17. ___
  18. ___
  19. ___
  1. ___
  2. ___
  3. ___
  4. ___
  5. ___
  6. ___
  7. ___
  8. ___
  9. ___
  10. ___
  11. ___
  12. ___
  13. ___
  14. ___
  15. ___
  16. ___
  17. ___
  18. ___


  • The Good Principle was drawn from the ___ stone.
  • The Evil Principle was drawn after the ___ stone.
  • The Good Principle was not drawn.
  • The Evil Principle was not drawn.

First and last name of the querent: ____________________
Birthdate of querent: ____________________
Time of divination: ____________________
Date of divination: ____________________
Specific question: ____________________

For the Good/Evil Principle bits in the template, there’s an instruction to check off (and, if necessary, fill out) which happened as according to the reading.  It’s a simple template, to be sure, but not a bad one to use, and easy enough to replicate in most word processors or text editors without much hassle.  It might be interesting to see that WKM notes such things as the birthdate of the querent or date/time of the query, which (although good practice in general) would indicate more of a reliance on astrology than ZT would otherwise allow.  For WKM, that might not be so bad a thing to make use of a little bit of astrology on the side, but even in terms of a strict ZT approach, we should remember that individual parts of the year are ruled over by particular angels associated with natal stars, which can yield useful information on its own, as well.

WKM notes in a follow-up chapter to the case study a few neat details:

  • The case study as provided does not investigate every possible combination of fields and stones, nor the ideal figures that they might belong to.
  • At one point, WKM used a technique (not described in ZT) of drawing a straight line out from the center house to one of the corners of the Great Mirror, e.g. houses 1—4—13—28 (greatness/power to genius/fame to wisdom/science to perfection/maturity).  Other lines may be drawn for the other corners of the Great Mirror and analyzed as well in similar ways, and such lines may be interpreted in either direction (either from the center to the corner, or from the corner to the center).
  • The case study analyzed the solar orbit as an ideal small hexagon unto itself, but WKM also recommends looking at each orbit of the Great Mirror separately as well in similar ways, which can reveal different perspectives on the same situations described.
  • All ideal figures (WKM recommends only using small figures, e.g. small triangles or small diamonds) can and should be used whenever possible to allow for the development of further insights and developments.

Something to note is that, although WKM is largely a summary (if not abridging) of KZT, one of the things it completely does away with are the natal stars and angels.  While WKM does offer a reproduction of Plate VI (which shows the angels on the houses of the Great Mirror), the book contains no discussion of them whatsoever—which, as befitting an Ariosophist, probably saw such things as a Jewish (or otherwise Semitic) encroachment on his “true ethnic religion”, given that Ariosophy largely wanted to do away with Christianity and return to an Aryo-German protoreligion.  All the same, while WKM doesn’t mention the angels whatsoever, it does still allocate all nine Intelligences to the houses of the Great Mirror in the same way the “Second Supplement” of ZT does, giving Psykomena to house 1, Genhelia to house 3, Psykomena to house 6, and Seleno to house 17.  It justifies this accordingly:

With this distribution of the planets on the Great Mirror, it should always be noted that the planets Uranus and Neptune had not yet been discovered at the time when the Zoroastrian Kabbala came into being. However, as already mentioned, Psychelia (the spiritual Sun), and Psychomena (the spiritual Moon), are synonymous with Uranus and Neptune.

In this light, WKM just gives these two extra planets their own place on the Great Mirror, and thus their own orbits (which explains a bit about some of WKM’s approach in the case study from last post).  It was, of course, fashionable at the time for occultists of all kinds to try to incorporate whatever recent scientific discoveries were made popular, even if they broke or otherwise didn’t fully mesh well with the systems they were trying to incorporate them into.  The same trends still happen today, of course, what with quantum physics or string theory being the raison du jour of how or why divination, magic, spirits, etc. work, but whatever.  One would think that turning to an ancient system that fully admits its age and provides its own understanding of the cosmos in its own spiritual terms would be sufficient, but I guess some people aren’t fully satisfied until they keep up with the non-spiritual Jonses.

Also, as one more interesting departure from KZT, take a look at WKM’s own depiction of the Urn foldout present in all other ZT texts:

WKM’s approach to the tiles is relatively simple, at least when compared to the more elaborate designs given in the Urn foldouts of all other ZT texts.  WKM keeps the planet and Zodiac sign on all the Numeric tiles, but otherwise does away with the angel names (as expected) as well as the decorative elements of each tile.  WKM keeps Seleno as a crescent moon with its points facing right ☾, but interestingly represents Genhelia not with a circle with a dot in it (as is normal for the solar glyph ☉) but just as a plain circle.  However, the rightmost column is perhaps the most interesting: not only does Sokak have a variant depiction of a squat pentagon (more accurately resembling a coffin, using the secondary description given of the Sokak tile in ZT) and Sallak likewise (wings coming from the corners instead of the edges), but there is no Sum tile present (normally placed in the rightmost column between Senamira and Sallak).  To an extent, this is understandable: given that only FZT contains any description of what the Sum tile is or does because only FZT preserves the Epilogue, Kern probably saw no description of it in KZT (or whatever other text he was referencing) and so omitted it in his own version of ZT.  As I said before, it’s up to the diviner to choose whether to use this 113th tile or not.

Anyway, that’s enough for WKM and Karl Kern; the rest of the book is basically just the same text as in KZT, without a whole lot else added, so I’m happy to never have to pick this book up or see its author’s name again.  Still, for what it’s worth, we were able to pick up some useful tips and tricks for implementing the otherwise sparsely-defined approach to divination given in ZT.  But we’re still not done; there are a few more things we need to touch on, namely how ZT itself considers us human beings to fit into its own grand spiritual cosmos.  We’ll start that conversation next time.

The Candle Blitzkrieg House Blessing

I try to keep my home a stable place of safety; after all, the home is the foundation of all that it is we do. It’s where we rest, recover, and rejoice, where we sleep, study, and settle, where we live, love, and laugh. The home is the most sacred place we have, our own personal temples where we are established in our sanctuaries. Without someplace to call our own, our little niche in the world, we really don’t have much. As part of my own spiritual maintenance, I try to keep my home in as good a condition as I try to make myself, complete with its own cleansings and blessings and purifications and wardings so that it can be a place of safety and sanctuary where I feel safe and sacred in.

In addition to keeping the house clean and cleansed and everything else, one of the more effective things I find myself doing is a particular type of blessing upon the house that doesn’t take a lot of labor but does give quite the return on its work. The central idea behind this is that, after the house is more-or-less emptied of unwanted influences and filth, you want to fill the house with greatly-desired influences and Light. For this, what better way than to literally give light to each room, and better, a consecrated light? Because this process uses a lot of candles throughout the house all at once (small ones, not the large novena candles), I call this the Candle Blitzkrieg technique, and I’ve put it to good use both in my home and in others’. After all, one of my favorite tools is fire, and lots of it. May as well turn it to a beneficial use once in a while, eh?

While I tend to use it for a general purpose for just bringing divine Light into the home, I’ve also used it for more specific needs, such as a whole-house prosperity or peace blessing. You’ll note that this ritual takes on a distinctly Abrahamic/Christian tone at times, because that’s just the general mode I work in for this type of work. For many of my conjure-based or Western magician friends, this is fine; however, this ritual format doesn’t need to be held to that religion; using similar prayers to open, consecrate, and bless, you can adapt it to any spiritual tradition you find appropriate to use. The ritual presented below is my general-use form, but adapt it to however you need to.

This ritual may be done at any time as needed, but avoid using it too often, both to avoid an overuse of candles and an overfilling of a home with too many influences all at once, say at most once a month. Especially good times would be during the dark of the Moon, winter solstice, or any other times when Light is needed in the home, as well as after any thorough cleansing or banishing that needs to be sealed up with good influences. Doing this before moving into a new house is also a good practice. I prefer to do this after sunset and before midnight so that the light of the candles really stands out, but any time of day will do. Planetary hours and days may be observed if the blessing is geared towards a specific goal, but this is not strictly necessary.

For this ritual, you will need:

  • One large white candle (a tall taper or glass-encased candle work perfectly)
  • A bunch of small candles, one for each room in the house (tealights are most preferred, especially in their metal tins). These candles must all be the same color; white is always a good option, but they may be colored appropriately for a specific end of your choosing.
  • Three small white candles
  • Two small white dishes
  • Holy oil
  • A blessing oil of your choosing
  • A long match or igniting stick
  • Optionally, a crucifix or other symbol of Divinity
  • Optionally, a wand

First, as I mentioned before, it’s best to have already cleaned and cleansed the home before doing this work. Sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, take out the trash, do the dishes, do the laundry, beat the rugs, wipe the windows, and so forth, whatever you need to do to get the house physically clean; banish, light cleansing incense, use spiritual floor washes, sweep with a consecrated broom, and so forth, whatever you need to get the house spiritual cleansed. The usual protocol is to do these cleansings in a direction from top-to-bottom, back-to-front of the house, all out the front door. Doing so will allow the rest of this work to go much smoother and take effect more strongly and quickly in the home. Similarly, be sure you’re clean and cleansed yourself before taking on this work.

On a large, clean working space, preferably in the kitchen or living room or other “center” of your house, arrange all your supplies. Anoint the large white candle with holy oil on one of the white dishes, and the other candles (less the three white ones) around it with the blessing oil of your choosing; this can also be the same holy oil as you used on the large candle and is best for general blessings, but it can also be something more directed for a specific purpose (money-drawing, peace, reconciliation, joy, love, etc.). Set the three extra white candles on the other white dish, and set it aside for the time being. If so desired, take your chosen symbol of Divinity and set it up on the table or behind it where it can be seen during this work.

Once all the candles (except those last three) are anointed, light the large candle, and consecrate it:

I conjure thee, thou creature of fire, by him who created all things both in heaven and earth, and in the sea, and in every other place whatever, that thou cast away every phantasm from thee, that no hurt whatsoever shall be done in any thing. Bless, oh Lord, this creature of fire +, and sanctify it that it may be blessed +, and that it may burn for your honor and glory +, so neither the enemy nor any false imagination may enter into it, through the Most High and Holy Creator of All. Amen.

Recite a preliminary prayer that allows you to set your mind to the work. For this and other general works, I use the following, which is based off the Preliminary Invocation from the Arbatel (aphorism II.14) and with an invocation from the Heptameron:

O God, mighty and merciful!
O God, great, excellent, and honored throughout endless ages!
O God, powerful, strong, and without beginning!
O God, wise, illustrious, just, and divinely loving!
O God, Lord of Heaven and Earth, maker and creator of all that is visible and invisible; I, though unworthy, call upon you and invoke you, through your only begotten son our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that you give your Holy Spirit to me, which may direct me in your truth, for the good of all. Amen.

I ask you, most holy Father, that I should fulfill and perfectly realize my petition, my work, my labor today. Grant to me your grace, that I may use these great gifts of yours only with humility, fear, and tremblings, through our Lord Jesus Christ with your Holy Spirit, You who live and reign, world without end. Amen.


Grant, o Lord, that as I light this candle in your honor and glory, that your divine Light may fill up this home as light fills up the dawn to cast away the darkness of night. Bless this home with your grace, bless this home with your protection, bless this home with your presence that all darkness, all defilement, and all death may flee this place and that only joy, life, and light remain. May the seal of your holiness descend upon this house, and may all those who abide within it rest easy under your guidance. Amen.

After this, recite the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be over the candle.

From the large candle, light all of the smaller candles for each of the rooms of the house. If the large candle is a taper, use that candle to light all of the others; if you can’t do that, use a long match or other wooden stick that can hold a flame to transfer the flame from the large candle to the smaller ones. , As you do this, say a quick blessing upon the smaller candle as you light it that quickly and succinctly captures the intent for the blessing. Examples of something like this might be, depending on your intent:

  • “May the light of God fill this home.”
  • “Fill this home with peace.”
  • “Grant prosperity upon this home.”
  • “Heal those who abide in this home.”
  • “Protect the body and soul of all those who live here.”
  • &c.

This next step is optional, but I prefer doing it. Once all these candles are lit, using your dominant hand’s index finger (or a wand, if you have it, or whatever’s left of the long match/igniting stick you may have used), energetically link the flame of the large candle to each of the smaller candles. The process I use is tapping into the flame of the large candle, forging an energetic channel to the flame of the smaller candle, then back to the large candle; I then do this process again, starting from the flame of the small candle to that of the large candle and back. Then, I push a bit of energy of the Divine (avoid using your own, even if you’re already in a state of cleanliness and purity, which you should be in anyway) through something like the Hymns of Silence or other quick one-word intoned “amen” into the large candle to fix the connection. Do this for each of the smaller candles that have been lit. Even though a strong connection was already formed between the large candle and the smaller candles by spreading the flame out, I prefer to reinforce that connection energetically as well; those who use crystal grids will be familiar with this or similar techniques.

At this point, pray over all the lit candles for your intent. This part is really up to you, so long as you pray from the heart about it. You can use any number of psalms, invocations, litanies, or other prayers for this purpose, so long as it supports what you’re trying to do. For instance, you might use Psalm 122 if you’re blessing the house for prosperity, or Psalm 29 to purify the home generally, and so forth. Take as long or as short as you need; use whatever resources you feel moved to use. Essentially, pray that as each of these candles shines their light into each room of the house, that God may shine Light throughout the entire home, that all those who abide, live, reside, visit, or are invited in may dwell in his Light, and that you may obtain the blessing of his grace for what you seek in the home.

Take all the candles one by one and set them in each room of the house. The most essential places are where you spend most of your time, but it really is best to put one in every room: bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, garage, basement, hallways, crawlspaces, attic, everywhere. The idea is that, no matter where you are in the home, you can see at least one candle burning; if you need to use more than one candle in a room to achieve this effect, do so. Any shelves, wall sconces, or hanging candleholders or candelabras can be put to good use for this purpose. Just take care that the candleflame doesn’t go out in the process of moving and establishing that candle from the large candle to wherever it needs to go, and be careful of where you put each candle that it doesn’t cause a fire hazard. If their spirits, saints, angels, or gods agree to it, set candles in already-existing shrines around the house where you may have them to further empower the work at hand (just check with them before you do so). Try to go from the inside outward from where you started, so that the Light “spreads” throughout the home.

Once the candles have been set throughout the entire house, return to the large candle. If, in the course of setting lights throughout the house, you noticed that there’s a particularly strong “heart center” of the house, take this large candle and your chosen symbol of Divinity (if you have/want one) and establish it there. Otherwise, leave the large candle and the symbol of Divinity where it was where it can burn out completely, such as on the kitchen table, empty counter, fireplace mantel, or living room coffee table. While the large candle is burning, throughout the house generally but especially in the light of this candle, avoid engaging in any arguments, heated words, violence, blasphemy, or other actions that run counter to the presence and blessing of God.

At this point, take the plate with the three white candles on it. For the final part of this ritual as an act of thanksgiving, leave these candles unanointed, but set them up in a triangle pointing upwards on the dish in front of or just beside the large candle already lit. Light the candles one by one, and recite Jonah 2:9 once for each candle:

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that that I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.

(That part comes from Draja Mickaharic’s Magical Spells of the Minor Prophets, which is one of my favorite go-to sources of pretty dang effective magic. Short as it may be, it is a true treasure of that old-school Bible magic. I cannot recommend it enough. This particular working is simple and sweet, but is immensely powerful as an act of gratitude at the close of a working.)

Follow this up with any other silent prayers of thanksgiving, gratitude, respect, and honor to God. Once done, go about your business. Let all the smaller candles (including the thanksgiving ones) burn out on their own before collecting any tins or residue from around the house. The larger candle should be left to burn out on its own as well; if this is a multi-day candle, such as a novena candle, pray over it at sunrise and sunset for as long as it burns to continue the blessing of God into the home. Once this candle is burnt out, dispose of it as well. Enjoy your happily blessed home.

On Fitting Rituals Together

Most of the posts I write are written in one fell swoop, more or less, but on occasion, I’ll save something as a draft to finish later, especially if I feel like I don’t have enough information yet or if an idea hasn’t come through clearly.  The thing about these drafts is that they’ll either be finished in a few days after some more research and thinking it through, or it’ll get shelved indefinitely until I remember that I have drafts backed up waiting for another look.  I have more than a few such drafts from my blog-quiet Year in White, and a few more from before that, that I never really bothered to complete or, if they were complete, publish for one reason or another.

Recently, I went through my drafts and found a post on a PGM conjuration ritual, PGM IV.930—1114, which had a bunch of notes and comments ready for review, that I hadn’t previously touched since June 2014 (jeez).  I decided to pick that one to see where I was, and while it was mostly complete, it had plenty of room for expansion.  I decided to finish out that post, take a deeper look at the source material with a slightly more trained eye than I had before, and finally put it up; seeing how I’ve been on a roll with taking all the old prayers and rituals I’ve posted over the years and putting them into finalized, polished, published pages on this blog (which you can view using the updated navbar at the top of the site), I decided to forego the post and just put out the page.  Thus, if you’re interested, take a look at my write-up on PGM IV.930—1114, the Conjuration of Light under Darkness (under Occult → Classical Hermetic Rituals, with the rest of the PGM/PDM/Coptic stuff).

It’s a pretty nifty ritual, if I do say so myself; it’s a straight-up conjuration of the god Horus Harpocrates, and it bears a huge number of parallels to a proper conjuration ritual in the Solomonic tradition that arose after the PGM period, including prayers of compulsion and formal ritual closings.  One of the more fascinating parts of it is that, instead of performing the ritual on an altar, it uses a sort of anti-altar: a lamp held above the ground on the intersection of two ropes suspended from the ceiling of a room.  Reading deeper into the ritual and Betz’s notes on the source text, the ritual as recorded in the PGM is actually a combination of several earlier rituals: a prayer for divine alliance with a deity, a lamp divination ritual, and a conjuration of a god.  The fact that there are some parts of the ritual that seem duplicated or don’t read as a single flow of a ritual written in one go indicates that it is, indeed, cobbled together, but it also feels somehow familiar to later texts like the Key of Solomon in that same not-quite-jarring, not-quite-disharmonic sense.  It still works, though you can clearly see the distinct parts that make up the whole.

A few days back, Scott Stenwick over at Augoeides wrote a post titled The Template Works for Everything, which I encourage you to read.  He starts out by packing quite the punch:

One of the best things about modular ritual templates is how versatile and effective they are for all different kinds of workings. If there’s a “magical secret” out there, how to put the various rituals and forms together into a coherent operation is probably it. Many published books on magick include instructions on how to do the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. Some include the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Some include the Middle Pillar. And so forth. But there’s little instruction on what to do with them aside from recommendations that you practice them daily. …

At any rate, what I found when I published Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy is that nobody else publishes that stuff, either. I was told time and again how useful my book was because it laid out the whole structure of a ceremonial operation including the basic components that go into actually getting stuff done. I’ve gone ahead and published the whole magical and mystical series here on Augoiedes for precisely that reason. We really don’t need any more occult books that teach the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and then don’t really even tell you what it’s for or what it’s supposed to do.

Stenwick talks a lot more about his operant field theory of magic over on his blog, which should be damn-near mandatory for anyone in a Thelemic or Golden Dawn system of magic to read.  Suffice it here to say that Stenwick puts into no uncertain terms that there are certain components for ritual magic—for any kind of magic within a coherent system—that plug into each other in a modular fashion, and by swapping out certain parts as needed according to a particular template of ritual, you can get anywhere you need to go.

The fact that he put this idea into such bald, direct terms shocked me, because it makes so much sense and I wish I had written about it sooner myself.  He’s absolutely right: every tradition of magic has its own kind of template, and builds rituals up according to that template from smaller actions and rituals.  No matter what it is you’re trying to do, no matter what system you’re using, every complete ritual is a machine built from parts that fit together in a more-or-less cohesive whole, and by swapping those parts out as needed, you get a different ritual as needed.  If it seems like there’s something missing, it’s because there is, and you’re not using all the parts you should.

Yes, rituals that are complete unto themselves from the PGM or any number of grimoires of your choosing are a dime a dozen, but consider: those are snapshots, isolated incidents from within a tradition.  If you actually study the tradition from which such an instance of ritual comes, you’d get a more complete view of the preliminary stuff that would be expected to happen before it, the concluding stuff that would be expected to happen after it, how that ritual can be used as a part of an even larger ritual, and (if you’re exceptionally skilled, and for particular rituals) how to break down a ritual into its constituent parts and repurposed for other rituals.

As an example, consider Rufus Opus‘ now-discontinued Red Work series of courses.  I used to half-joke that he was a one-trick pony and that the only proper ritual he taught in his courses was his version of the Trithemian conjuration ritual, because he did.  Heck, he even wrote a whole book on planetary magic, Seven Spheres, with that being the only real ritual.  It’s true, but that’s the whole point of the system of magic he teaches.  His angelic banishing ritual he teaches, the first actual ritual in the text that isn’t making holy water or learning how to meditate, is just a Trithemian conjuration ritual that substitutes a full charge of conjuration with a half-charge that invokes the angels only so far as they banish one’s sphere; his conjuration of a genius loci is a pared-down version of the Trithemian ritual with a charge of conjuration modified specifically for a spirit of the land; his conjuration of one’s natal genius is almost identical to any other angelic use of the Trithemian ritual with the exception of a heavily-modified charge of conjuration; all the conjurations of the elemental and planetary angels are virtually identical except for the time of conjuration, the name of God used in the charge of conjuration, and the name of the angel being conjured.  Rufus Opus got the modularization of the Trithemian ritual down to a science well beyond its original purpose for conjuring the seven planetary angels, even down to adapting parts of it for his own take on goetic conjurations of demons.  When viewed from a naive perspective, sure, Rufus Opus may only have taught one ritual, but what he was really teaching was a framework, a template, a process of ritual and how to adapt that process to any particular need, just not in explicit terms.

On the other end of the spectrum, consider a text like the Arbatel.  This is a text that teaches about a system of magic, including some of the major spirits and types thereof in the system and what they do, but the text gives you next to nothing in the way of a ritual template; while it provides some prayers and suggestions for working with the spirits it discusses in its aphorisms, the text largely assumes either that you already have a framework of ritual you’re comfortable with, or that you’re spiritually developed enough and suited to the work that one will be revealed unto you.  Those who can read between the lines can divine something resembling a framework, vague as it might be, like I have on this blog before, but it’s just as likely (and just as well) that an experienced magician can take the information of the Arbatel, look at a framework of ritual they already know works, and plug in the few parts that the Arbatel provides to get as much out of it as one can get out of a fully detailed text like the Key of Solomon or Grimoirium Verum.

Now take a look again at PGM IV.930—1114.  It’s apparent that this ritual is composed of parts that were, at some point by some author, cobbled together from earlier rituals written by earlier authors that just so happened to fill the needs of that later author for a coherent purpose, combining the prayers, tools, and processes from each into a single whole ritual.  That magician had a good grasp of what he needed, and tried to keep as true as he could to the parts of the ritual without sacrificing any one benefit for the whole thing.  He had a framework for ritual that would match with that of any Renaissance Solomonic conjurer, and he used whatever parts at his disposal to come up with a complete whole.  Can the ritual be augmented with other preliminary work, or concluded or continued with other rituals?  You bet!  The author even included a part for further extending one aspect of the ritual, which is unfortunately lost in the source material, but not only is the possibility there, it’s a certainty that it’s there.

This is why it’s important for magicians to study the small, routine stuff like simple energy work, basic prayers, attunement and banishing acts, and other simple rituals.  While they all have importance on their own for their own sake, it’s not always said how profoundly important they really are as framing rituals or other ritual components in a wider system of magic.  These small building blocks are used to build larger rituals, and without having a solid grasp of the small parts, it makes having a solid grasp of the larger whole all the more difficult.  It’s not just that the smaller stuff produces a firmer foundation than might otherwise be achieved for later works, but it’s that each part must be able to be carried out smoothly and powerfully so that when they’re incorporated as parts in a larger ritual, the whole shebang is smooth and powerful in a way that treating it as a single unit unto itself wouldn’t be able to achieve.  Every ritual isn’t a single note, it’s a harmonic symphony unto itself, and each part is a movement that must flow from one to the next.

Every tradition has its process and framework, from Russian Orthodox ceremonies to Cuban Orisha ceremonies, and if you pay attention, you can easily pick up on the structure of how things flow, what should come next, what can be changed, what should stay the same, what can be considered an indivisible part, what can be broken down into smaller parts, what can be modified or tweaked to come up with a whole new part, and how to put parts together.  Every system of ritual work has a template, and as Stenwick says, “the template works”.