Ritual Calendar 2018

I realize that the last ritual calendar post I made was back for the year of 2015.  It’s been a while, I guess, and…gods above and below, a lot has happened.  Between getting a new job, buying my first house, leaving that new job to go back to my old one for unpleasant reasons, receiving several religious initiations and starting new projects of my own, and the whole ordeal of initiation into La Regla de Ocha Lukumí with the ensuing one-year-long iyaworaje, it’s…it’s been tough.  Like, a lot tough.  Somehow I made it through, and since I’ve gotten this far, I see no reason why I should stop.

But, yanno…the year of the iyaworaje kept me away from pretty much all magical ritual, it being a mandated year of rest, recuperation, and assimilation to the initiation of Ocha.  The new job I got in 2015 wrecked my mental health to the point where I got panic attacks for the first time in my life, and the whole house buying and moving thing in the first part of 2016 had me pack everything up (literally and metaphorically) to get it moved over.  Between all those things, I haven’t really had much of a chance to do as much with any of my temple gear.

In many ways, I’m starting over fresh.  So, let’s think fresh, shall we?  Here we are at the end of 2017, and it still being Mercury retrograde right now, it’s a good time for me to take stock of everything I am and everything I have, where I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I want to keep doing, and what I want to newly do.  Besides, a lot of my writing is focused around what I’m doing, and if I’m not doing a lot, then I don’t have a lot to write about (as my long-time readers have noticed, glancing back at my post counts from month to month).

With that, let me get the easy part of all this out of the way first: thinking about dates and times for the coming year of 2018.  As usual, I’m being as thorough as I can, both for my sake (just in case, even if half this stuff will hardly be thought of but which might be useful for my upcoming projects and whims) and for others and their own projects.

Dates of astrological solar movements:

  • Sun ingress Aquarius: January 20
  • Sun midway Aquarius (Imbolc): February 3
  • Sun ingress Pisces: February 18
  • Sun ingress Aries (Ostara, spring equinox): March 20
  • Sun ingress Taurus: April 20
  • Sun midway Taurus (Beltane): May 5
  • Sun ingress Gemini: May 21
  • Sun ingress Cancer (Litha, summer solstice): June 21
  • Sun ingress Leo: July 22
  • Sun midway Leo (Lammas): August 7
  • Sun ingress Virgo: August 23
  • Sun ingress Libra (Mabon, autumn equinox): September 22
  • Sun ingress Scorpio: October 23
  • Sun midway Scorpio (Samhain): November 7
  • Sun ingress Sagittarius: November 22
  • Sun ingress Capricorn (Yule, winter solstice): December 21

I’m already using the Sun’s entry into the four cardinal zodiac signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) to mark the solstices and equinoxes, so it makes sense to me to use the Sun’s halfway point in the four fixed zodiac signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio) to mark the cross-quarter days instead of the Gregorian calendrical method common to much of neopagan practice (where these are marked as the first day of the second month in the season, e.g. May 1 for Beltane).  The dates between the solar method and the calendrical method are fairly close, being off no more than a week from the popular observance of them.

Dates of lunar movements, to track the phases of the Moon and when it starts a new cycle of lunar mansions:

  • Full Moon, first of winter: January 1
  • New Moon, first of winter: January 16
  • Full Moon, second of winter: January 31
  • New Moon, second of winter: February 15
  • Full Moon, third of winter: March 1
  • New Moon, third of winter: March 17
  • Full Moon, first of spring: March 31
  • New Moon, first of spring: April 15
  • Full Moon, second of spring: April 29
  • New Moon, second of spring: May 15
  • Full Moon, third of spring: May 29
  • New Moon, third of spring: June 13
  • Full Moon, first of summer: June 28
  • New Moon, first of summer: July 12
  • Full Moon, second of summer: July 27
  • New Moon, second of summer: August 11
  • Full Moon, third of summer: August 26
  • New Moon, third of summer: September 9
  • Full Moon, first of autumn: September 24
  • New Moon, first of autumn: October 8
  • Full Moon, second of autumn: October 24
  • New Moon, second of autumn: November 7
  • Full Moon, third of autumn: November 23
  • New Moon, third of autumn: December 7
  • Full Moon, first of winter: December 22
  • Moon ingress Aries I: January 22
  • Moon ingress Aries II: February 20
  • Moon ingress Aries III: March 17
  • Moon ingress Aries IV: April 14
  • Moon ingress Aries V: May 11
  • Moon ingress Aries VI: June 7
  • Moon ingress Aries VII: July 5
  • Moon ingress Aries VIII: August 2
  • Moon ingress Aries IX: August 28
  • Moon ingress Aries X: September 24
  • Moon ingress Aries XI: October 22
  • Moon ingress Aries XII: November 18
  • Moon ingress Aries XIII: December 16

Other astronomical and astrological phenomena:

  • Perihelion: January 3
  • Aphelion: July 6
  • Southern lunar eclipse: July 27
  • Northern lunar eclipse: January 31
  • Southern solar eclipse: February 15
  • Northern solar eclipse I: July 13
  • Northern solar eclipse II: August 11
  • Mercury retrograde I: March 22 through April 15
  • Mercury retrograde II: July 26 through August 19
  • Mercury retrograde III: November 16 through December 24
  • Venus retrograde: October 5 through November 16
  • Mars retrograde: June 26 through August 27
  • Jupiter retrograde: March 8 through July 10
  • Saturn retrograde: April 17 through September 6

Regarding the Grammatēmerologion, the lunisolar grammatomantic ritual calendar I set up as part of my Mathēsis work, we enter January 1, 2018 with the day letter Ν, the month letter Η, and the year letter Ζ, in the ninth year of the 69th cycle starting from the epoch of  June 29, 576 BCE, and June 14, 2018 marks the first day of the year of Η, the tenth year in the 69th cycle.  Given the above dates of the New Moons during 2018, the following are then the Noumēniai (first day of the lunar month) and Megalēmerai (days where the letters of the day and month are the same) for the coming year.  There are no Megistēmerai (days where the letters of the day, month, and year are the same) in 2018.

  • Noumēnia of Θ: January 17
  • Noumēnia of Ι: February 16
  • Noumēnia of Κ: March 17
  • Noumēnia of Λ: April 16
  • Noumēnia of Μ: May 15
  • Noumēnia of Ν: June 14 (new year of Η, tenth year in the cycle)
  • Noumēnia of Ξ: July 13
  • Noumēnia of Ο: August 12
  • Noumēnia of Π: September 10
  • Noumēnia of Ρ: October 10
  • Noumēnia of Σ: November 8
  • Noumēnia of Τ: December 8
  • Megalēmera of Ι: February 26
  • Megalēmera of Κ: March 28
  • Megalēmera of Λ: April 28
  • Megalēmera of Μ: May 28
  • Megalēmera of Ν: June 28
  • Megalēmera of Ξ: July 28
  • Megalēmera of Ο: August 28
  • Megalēmera of Π: September 27
  • Megalēmera of Ρ: October 30
  • Megalēmera of Σ: November 29
  • Megalēmera of Τ: December 30

Movable festivals and holidays whose dates are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar:

  • Hermaia: March 20
  • Asklepeia: March 24
  • Dionysia: March 26 through March 31
  • Thargelia: May 20 and 21
  • Protokhronia: July 13
  • Aphrodisia: June 17
  • Nemeseia: August 16
  • Chanukah: December 2 through December 10

Notes on the movable festivals follow.  For the Hellenic festivals, lunar months are numbered according to the solstices/equinoxes and not according to the Grammatēmerologion system, so as to better match up with historical and modern Hellenic pagan practice.

  • Protokhronia (lunar new year according to the strict old Greek reckoning) takes place on the first Noumenia after the summer solstice
  • Hermaia (Hermes’ festival) takes place on the fourth day of the tenth lunar month after the summer solstice
  • Aphrodisia (Aphrodite’s festival) takes place on the fourth day of the first lunar month after the summer solstice
  • Dionysia (Dionysos’ greater festival, a.k.a. Anthesteria) takes place on the 10th through 15th days of the third lunar month after the winter solstice
  • Asklepeia (Asclepios’ festival) takes place on the eighth day of the third lunar month after the winter solstice
  • Nemeseia (feast to propitiate the dead) takes place on the fifth day of the third lunar month after the summer solstice
  • Thargelia (festival of Artemis and Apollo, combining agricultural, purificatory, and expiatory elements) takes place on the sixth and seventh days of the second month after the summer solstice
  • Chanukah (the Jewish Festival of Lights) lasts for eight days starting with the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month of the Hebrew lunisolar calendar

The following are holidays and feast days associated with the saints and sacred events of Christianity, both canonical and folk-oriented.  Because these dates are tied to the Gregorian calendar, they happen on the same calendar date every year.

  • Epiphany: January 6
  • Our Lady of Candelaria: February 2
  • St. Isidore of Seville: April 4
  • St. Expedite: April 19
  • St. George: April 23
  • Our Lady of Montserrat: April 27
  • Mary, Queen of Heaven: May 1
  • St. Isidore the Laborer: May 15
  • St. Rita of Cascia: May 22
  • St. Norbert of Xanten: June 6
  • St. Anthony of Pauda: June 13
  • St. John the Baptist: June 24
  • St. Peter: June 29
  • St. Benedict: July 11
  • Daniel the Prophet: July 21
  • Enoch the Great Scribe: July 30
  • Our Lady of the Snows: August 5
  • Santissima Muerte: August 15
  • Samuel the Prophet: August 20
  • Our Lady of Regla: September 7
  • Our Lady of Charity: September 8
  • St. Cyprian of Carthage: September 16
  • Our Lady of Mercy: September 24
  • St. Cyprian of Antioch: September 26
  • Sts. Cosmas and Damian: September 26
  • Michaelmas: September 29
  • Guardian Angel: October 2
  • St. Francis of Assisi: October 4
  • All Hallow’s Eve: October 31
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2
  • St. Barbara: December 4
  • St. Lazarus of Bethany: December 17
  • Adam and Eve: December 24

Other holidays, feast days, and memorials tied to the Gregorian calendar:

  • Feast of Benjamin Franklin: January 17
  • Feast of Alan Turing: June 7
  • Feast of Nikola Tesla: July 10
  • Feast of Carrie Fisher: October 21
  • Feast of Carl Sagan: November 9
  • Memorial of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau: January 27
  • Memorial of the Orlando Pulse Shooting: June 12

I’m sure there’re other festivals, memorials, holidays, and party times I’m forgetting or declining to list, but I think this is a good start.  If you have any you’d like to contribute, correct, or introduce me to, feel free in the comments!

All in all, I think this is a good start.  Now I need to figure out what I’m actually doing; now that I know the perimeters and boundaries of my time, I can begin the process of allotting it as I need and want.  So, with that, here’s looking to a splendid rest of this year, and a wondrous, awesome 2018!

2015 Ritual Calendar and Prospective

2014 has come and gone, and now we’re in 2015.  Awesome!  I hope your hangovers have worn off by now.  While we’re currently regretting our poor life choices from poured drinks from a few nights ago, we may as well review some of our goals and actions from last year.  So, how was last year?  Fucking rad, really, and busy.  Really busy.  Some of the highlights from 2014 include:

  • Probably most notably, I ended up starting on a new theurgical method called mathesis.
  • I gave my first talk at an occult conference to my occult peers!
  • I was on the air giving readings and talking about geomancy and things!
  • I attended a conference on Hermes/Mercury at the University of Virginia (posts one, two, and three).
  • I began working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, patron saint of magicians and necromancers, and held a large party in his honor on his feast day, as well as raising $1000 for the Malala Fund in honor of the good saint.
  • I started selling ritual jewelry, published several ebooks, and have begun taking other commissions on my Etsy shop.
  • I began a devotional practice to the seven archangels.
  • I began practices to several more Greek gods that I’ve invited into my home, notably Aphrodite, Hephaistos, Hestia, and Apollon.
  • I moved to a new house with the love of my life and good friend, which helped me with building a new temple as well as amplify my occult practice.
  • I began studying astragalomancy and the work of the Arbatel.
  • I completed a month-long Psalm 119 working (with more side-effects than anticipated).
  • I somehow managed to keep sane and hold down a standard office job to fund my odd hobbies and so much wine.
  • I got involved in the usual spats and drama common to nearly all magicians.

If you recall the prospective from last year, I had several goals I wanted to achieve.  How did I do?

  1. Get more physically active.  Moderately successful.  I’ve been sticking to Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido at the local Ki Society dojo for the better part of the year, with a month away here and there to take care of family, moving, and the like.  Plus, I’ve recently gotten re-enamored by the mobile game Ingress, which encourages walking and outdoor exploration.  That said, as my waistline can attest, that hasn’t really done much for my weight or body fat percentage, so I’m not doing something quite right yet.  Still, it’s an improvement, and I was able to make it to Fifth Kyu (the first graded rank) in the style of aikido I practice this year already.
  2. Conjure the angels of the fixed stars.  Not successful.  I barely made the conjuration time for Malkhidael, the angel presiding over the sphere of Aries, and pretty much dropped that off from there.  I didn’t exactly need to do this, but it would’ve been nice.  I had too much else going on, and conjuration generally has been at the back of my mind as I’ve gotten involved in other projects.
  3. Buy and move into a new house.  Sorta done!  Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the resources at this time to outright buy a house.  Instead, my housemates and I moved into a house that we’re renting, but the place is so remote and the landlord so detached that, for all intents and purposes, we own the place.  Moving was a pain, especially with the now-apocryphal stories of guinea hens and U-Haul issues, but we’re well-situated and love where we live.
  4. Start working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch.  As I’m sure a number of my posts from 2014 can attest, this has been wildly successful.  Not only have I started to work with the good saint of magicians, but I’ve written two ebooks on him, written a chaplet and litany in his honor, held a huge feast day party for him, held a fundraising drive in his name, and have been generally empowered and blessed by his presence and aid in my life.  Still have so much more to do and to involve him with, but this is no bad start, indeed.
  5. Start working with my ancestors more.  I’ve started to maintain an ancestor altar containing a few trinkets and ashes of print-out copies of photos of my ancestors, and have gotten into a groove of making regular offerings to them as well as involving them in regular conversation and chats.  I haven’t put them to work yet, but then, I may as well get to know them again slowly.
  6. Translate more Latin.  I didn’t do any Latin translation this year.  This was low priority, anyway, but those books won’t translate themselves and nobody else is doing it, either.
  7. More trance work.  Besides some light scrying here and there, yeah, nope.  Whoopsie.  I really do need to get my ass in gear with this, but it takes time that I simply don’t have without going on a dangerously low amount of sleep (which doesn’t help anything).

Now that we’re in the start of 2015, what are my plans?

  1. Get more physically active and drop some goddamn weight.  I’ve stayed at my current weight, which is about 50lbs too many, for a year now.  There’s no reason for me to stay at this weight.  I will lose those 50lbs and will keep them off from now on.  The idea is simple: daily walks and exercise, regular aikido practice (which I desperately need to get back into after having fallen out of practice for several months), and watching my food and drink intake.  Magically, all the planets can play a part: Mars for discipline, Saturn for helping to keep myself to a minimum when needed, Jupiter for being gracious and having only necessary wealth in terms of food, Mercury for managing my health and metabolism, Sun for managing stamina and health, and so forth.  But, really, at the heart of it is just watching what I put in my face and what I do with my body.
  2. Begin working with the demons from the Lemegeton.  This has been something on the docket for a long time now, but I’ve never really gotten around to it.  The approach I plan to use is that of Fr. Rufus Opus’ Modern Goetic Grimoire, a Lemegeton-spinning of the Trithemian conjuration ritual, and the tools and approach are generally the same to those in his Modern Angelic Grimoire, with the changes well-known and highlighted.  The first demon I’d like to work with is Orobas, specifically suggested to me as a beginner-mode spirit who can help with getting introduced to the rest of the spirits, but there’ll be plenty of work for them anyway.
  3. Undertake the Arbatel conjuration of the Olympick Spirits.  I’ve got the seals done and the text learned, so now it’s just a matter of going forth and conjuring the Olympick spirits.  I’ll finish planning my approach in the coming weeks, and it’ll be interesting to see how this complements or conflicts with my previous conjurations of the planets and their angels and what the angelic alliances I’ve built up to this point can contribute.  I like Fr. Acher’s approach of seeing these conjurations as initiations into the spheres, which is the point of Fr. Rufus Opus’ Gates rituals, but done in a different way.
  4. Study and prepare for baptism within the Apostolic Johannite Church.  Yes, this is a thing that I’ve figured would help buff out my practices with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, the seven archangels, and a variety of other spirits I work with.  No, this doesn’t mean I’m giving up my Hellenic or mathetic practices.  Yes, I believe that these different spiritual traditions can, if not dovetail in a completely complementary way, buff each other out.  I have my reasons.
  5. Begin learning and working with spirits within the tradition of Quimbanda.  During my vacation at the end of 2014, I got a consulta from a Tata Quimbanda which was fascinating and gave me no end of things to work on, and also gave me information on my personal and working Exus and Pomba Gira.  I plan to begin building relationships with these spirits, and something about the tradition snagged me and I have an eye on initiation, though that’ll be a ways off.  First things first: begin understanding this tradition at the direction of my tata friend.  My work with Saint Cyprian, who plays a huge role in Quimbanda, can also help, and I’ve resituated my altar of Saint Cyprian on top of a small cabinet which will house my Exus and Pomba Gira.
  6. Continue developing the study of mathesis.  This is going to be a life’s work, so long as I can keep doing it.  This will involve lots of research into Platonic and Neoplatonic occultism done back in the day, as well as whatever Pythagorean information I can get my hands on.  This is probably going to end up as a more meditative and contemplative practice than hands-on occult conjuration, but that might be for the best.  It may have applicable uses elsewhere and would dovetail nicely with other Hellenic practices, to be sure, but that’s not all entirely up for me to decide.

With that, let’s start talking about dates, times, calendars, cycles, holidays, festivals, and other chronological phenomena!  You can find the whole post after the jump, or you can jump to the individual sections you’re interested in with these links:

  1. Grammatēmerologion, the lunisolar grammatomantic ritual calendar
  2. Weekday cycle
  3. Astronomical and astrological phenomena
  4. Movable festivals and holidays
  5. Festivals and holidays fixed to the Gregorian calendar

Continue reading

Grammatomantic Ritual Calendar vs. Planetary Hours

Of all the ritual tools I possess, the most important one isn’t even really a tool at all, since it’s intangible.  I have a hard time calling it a technique, since it’s not really a skill and it’s something I have to work with in order to make use of, like a resource.  It’s the matter of timing, and it’s crucial to much of my magical and devotional works.  Whether it’s being as specific as timing something to a 30min window for a rare astrological election or just being lazy and doing something at some point during a week of the waxing moon, timing is something that can easily make or break a good ritual, so it’s important to understand the rules of occult timing properly for any magician.  Any ritual, heck, any activity whatsoever can be augmented and benefitted from looking at a clock and using a few mental rules or simple charts, from conjuring one of the cosmic leaders of creation to organizing your wardrobe; it pays, sometimes handsomely, to learn how to time things magically.

By far, the most common system I’ve seen of occult timing is the system of planetary days and hours, which is such common knowledge among Hermetic magicians and traditional astrologers that I don’t see a need to rehash it in full here.  Suffice it to say that each of the seven traditional planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) are each associated with one of the days of the week (Sunday with the Sun, Monday with the Moon…).  Each planetary day starts at sunrise, and there are 12 diurnal hours (1/12 of the total time between sunrise and sunset) and 12 nocturnal hours (1/12 of the total time between sunset and the next sunrise); each of these are assigned one of the planets, as well, in a repeating order.  Times when the planet of the hour matches the planet of the day are exceedingly good for working with that planet, such as conjuring the angel or daimon presiding over the planet, while combinations of different planetary hours with different planetary days can yield interesting and refined times for specific acts (a la Jason Miller’s Advanced Planetary Magic).  This system of hours and days may look complicated, and if you’re having to calculate it all out by hand then it can be a headache at times, but there are plenty of tools to help you calculate planetary hours, so you don’t really have an excuse to be ignorant of them.  This system has been used for over a thousand years, and comes up time and time again (sorry I’m not sorry) throughout Western occult literature, so it behooves you, dear reader, to become familiarized with the system if you’re not already.

Remember, however, that you can’t have the planetary hours without the planetary days, and the planetary days is a repeating cycle of seven.  Seven is quite a popular number in occulture, spirituality, religion, and mysticism, and the system of planetary hours/days is a complete system on its own that can augment anything and benefit anyone.  The problem I have, however, is that I’m starting to use a totally different cycle of timing, my lunisolar grammatomantic calendar for Hellenic and mathetic rituals.  This is a cycle of 29 days (in a hollow month) or 30 days (in a full month) following the passage of the Moon in its synodic month, where there are three decamerons of 10 days, with the final decameron having 9 days if it’s a hollow month.  In each decameron, eight of the days are associated with one of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet, one of the days is given to one of the three obsolete Greek letters, and one of the days is unlettered (with this being the omitted day in hollow final decamerons).  I’ve been using this calendar for great effect lately in doing my mathetic letter meditations, scrying sessions, and rituals with the Greek gods above and below, and it’s a system I plan to continue using and refining as I continue developing it and my own mathetic practice.

The issue arises when I try to combine the two systems; it doesn’t really work.  Neither 29 nor 30 are multiples of 7, so they don’t really overlap except in complete cycles of each other (so thirtyish weeks or sevenish lunations, and the lack of specificity and exactitude here bothers me).  Add to it, the grammatomantic calendar doesn’t prescribe offerings and sacrifices on the days associated with the seven vowels, instead giving them to the seven planets themselves.  Thus, the first day of the lunar month, the Noumenia, is given to the letter Α, and thus to the planet of the Moon, regardless of what the day of the week might say it is; same case for the fifth day being given to Ε and thus to Mercury, and so forth.  Thus, the grammatomantic calendar affords another kind of planetary association to the days, though much more spread out than the system of planetary days.  It’s not something I’ve fully explored yet, being used to the system of planetary days and hours, but I plan to in the near future.

The problem, as you might have guessed, is that these systems don’t overlap very often.  For instance, if the Noumenia is the day associated with the Moon, and we’d like to find Noumeniai that are on Mondays to link the planetary day of the Moon with the grammatomantic day of the Moon, the next one is coming up on Monday, December 22, 2014; the next one after that is Monday, September 14, 2015, nine months apart!  Add to it, the system of planetary days and hours is pretty much a solar system, timed according to the rise and set of the Sun in patterns of seven.  The grammatomantic calendar (which I really need to find a shorter name for, perhaps γραμματημερολογιον, “grammatēmerologion”?) is lunar and follows its own patterns, which are frustratingly irregular by solar notions of the passage of time.  The two systems, simply, aren’t compatible to be mixed like that.

This only gets worse once we start reckoning letters for periods longer than a day.  For instance, the lunisolar grammatomantic calendar can give a letter to every lunar month, as well, but note that, because of the mismatch between the number of days in a synodic month and the number of days in a year, some years will have 12 months (hollow years) and some will have 13 (full years).  If we assume that every year has 12 months, then we assign every month in a two-year period one of the Greek letters in order, with the thirteenth month in a year receiving no letter.  How do we figure out which years need 13 months and which only need 12?  We look to the Metonic cycle of 19 years, 12 of the years being hollow (12 months) and seven of the years being full (13 months) in a particular order.  If we use a dual Metonic cycle of 38 years, then we have 24 hollow years interspersed with 14 full years.  We can assign all the hollow years in the dual Metonic cycle a Greek letter in order, leaving the full years unlettered.  However, with a month of 29 or 30 days, a year of 12 or 13 months, and a cycle of 38 years, none of this can be easily matched up with a system of seven days.  Thus, if one dual Metonic cycle starts on a Monday (year Α, month Α, day Α all falling on a Monday), the next time that will happen is in approximately (but maybe not exactly!) 266 years, which is 7 × 38.  A rare occurrence, indeed!

In that light, let me qualify my previous statement: the system of planetary days and hours, on its own without considerations of other systems of time, can be used by anyone to benefit everything, given a more-or-less Western or Hermetic understanding of the cosmos with seven planets.  The grammatēmerologion system uses the same seven planets, but is otherwise incompatible with the system of planetary days and hours.  Thus, they can’t really be used in tandem except by happenstance unless you have months (at a minimum) or centuries (if you want the whole shebang) to wait for a syzygy of letters and planets and days to occur.  I admit that I’m a little grieved by this, but I can’t say I’m completely surprised by the result.

So where does that leave us?  Honestly, my best solution is that it doesn’t matter.  So what if the systems don’t match up right?  They don’t need to!  They’re independent systems working on their own; there’s nothing wrong with that.  The system of planetary days and hours, of course, is definitely vetted and used across Western occulture, and it’s both simple and highly refined to achieve powerful results all on its own.  The grammatēmerologion system works, although it is experimental and used pretty much only by me and my household, yet calls upon the same forces.  So what if it calls for lunar rituals on a Tuesday?  According to the grammatēmerologion system, we don’t even have Tuesdays or any of the other days of the week; we have decamerons of ten days each based on the phase of the Moon, not (what might plausibly be argued) artificial cycles of seven days.  A debate between the theoretical efficacy of planetary days and hours versus that of grammatēmerologion is akin to arguing which set of elements is better to use, the Empedoclean/Western set of four or the Chinese system of five.  Arguing about it doesn’t make sense, since there’s no common ground to link the two together and compare or contrast against.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’ll break out my conjuration tools and call down Gabriel at sunrise on a Tuesday just because it happens to be the first day of the lunar month.  Planetary conjurations in the Trithemian-Solomonic-Hermetic system make use of the system of planetary days and hours, and I’m not one to force Gabriel to work with a system that he (nor the enclosing system he finds himself in) hasn’t vetted or agreed to.  Yes, I can just conjure Gabriel during a planetary hour of the Moon on a Tuesday, but that’s still relying on planetary hours and days.  Rather, in order to stick with the grammatēmerologion system in mathetic ritual and that system alone, a different approach to working with the planetary energies and forces is suggested here, one that can work with the seven planets as understood in Hermeticism as well as not being tied to the system of planetary days and hours as much of Solomonic work tends to be.  That’ll afford a deeper area of research, which can easily tie into my devotions as well as other offerings and sacrifices made throughout the rest of the grammatomantic lunar month.

Zodiacal Timing Review

Not that long ago, I made a post about retooling planetary hours for zodiacal hours.  I suggest you read over it to figure out where I’m coming from, but basically, one substitutes the planet ruling over a particular hour with a zodiac sign it rules, viz. a masculine sign if it’s a diurnal hour and a feminine sign if it’s a nocturnal hour.  It’s a pretty straightforward extension of the system, I thought, and I wanted to show it off before I start putting it towards use for a year-long project I have planned: conjurations of the 12 angels of the Zodiac signs, each done while the Sun is in the appropriate sign.  That way, by timing a particular conjuration to the zodiacal hour on the planetary day most closely associated with that sign, I thought I could get a better or more refined, though limited, timing to perform the conjuration.  While Iophiel is the angel presiding over all the fixed stars, different subsets are known for different effects, each with their own angel, just as there are individual angels of specific fixed stars as well as the lunar mansions.

Alas, though, my system of zodiacal hours is apparently not the best way to do things.  Last Tuesday at dawn, I conjured Malkhidael, the angel presiding over Ares, and learned about zodiacal conjurations generally as well as the nature of the sign of Aries as well as of the fixed stars in general.    When it comes to the conjurations of zodiacal angels, however, timing to the hours isn’t that preferred.  While it can be done, it’s obtuse and not the preferred way to come in contact with them.  Rather, the best time to perform a zodiacal ritual for something like a conjuration, according to Malkhidael, is when the sign in question is “brightened”.  When asked for an explanation of this, he clarified that a sign is “brightened” when it is either on the ascendant (rising) or on the midheaven (culminating), so about when the Sun is at heliacal rising or zenith while the Sun is in that particular sign.

This…actually makes a lot of sense, since these two points are hugely empowering when it comes to astrological elections.  In fact, that’s backed up in several sources, such as Agrippa (book II, chapter 30 and 31, as well as book I, chapter 41):

…when they are in Angles, especially of the rising, or Tenth, or in houses presently succeeding, or in their delights…There is the like consideration to be had in all things concerning the fixt stars…

…Now the manner of making these kinds of Rings, is this, viz. when any Star ascends fortunately, with the fortunate aspect, or conjunction of the Moon…

The significance of these locations is widespread in astrology.  Both the ascendant and midheaven are angles, with the ascendant representing the location where planets and celestial objects rise into the sky from the underworld (going from complete obscurity due to the Earth to visibility and light), and the midheaven representing the zenith and highest point of the sky (where everyone and everything can see the object).  If I go with a strictly solar timing of zodiacal rituals with this, calling on a particular sign only when the Sun is in that sign, then that gives me the hours of sunrise and solar noon when we’re in that particular sign.  I have a strong hunch that the same would work when the Moon is present instead of or in addition to the Sun in that particular sign, which would give me more options throughout the year.  Even then, though, I could just go with the sign itself rising or culminating without regard to what’s in it, which would give me about one hour twice a day to work with that particular sign.

Ah well.  The best part about working with experiential sciences like the occult is figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  At least I got my answer early on in this series of workings about this particular technique, and now I have some principles to help guide my future work.

From Planetary Hours to Zodiacal Hours

Finally, now that it’s officially spring (the Sun entered Aries back on the 20th), I’m starting a year-long project.  No, it’s not the Abramelin, because I don’t need to do that at this point.  Rather, it’s a series of new conjurations for me to learn more about that most mysterious of spheres, that of the fixed stars.  I plan on doing conjurations of each of the angels ruling over the signs of the Zodiac this year, each angel while the Sun is in its proper zodiac sign, and learning and integrating myself more with the sphere of the fixed stars.  After all, I started with the elements, then I moved onto the planets; the stars are simply the next step, as I see it.  There are multiple ways one could go about this: work straight-up with Iophiel, angel ruling of the sphere of fixed stars as a whole; work with the 28 angels of the lunar mansions; or work with the 12 angels of the Zodiac signs.  I plan on doing all three, but this year I want to focus on the zodiacal angels, since they’re more familiar to me.

Of course, I can’t do much ritual without getting all my ducks in a row.  I plan on studying the signs first from another magical perspective, then getting my gear together and making a lamen for these particular angels, and so forth.  One important ritual is timing, and timing to the zodiacal signs is…interesting.  Planetary conjurations rely on planetary days and hours, which is pretty straightfoward, but I’m unsure about the signs.  Astrological common sense says I should do a conjuration while the sign is rising or culminating (ascendant or midheaven), but given my work schedule, that may not always be possible.  Since we use planetary days and hours to circumvent the use of proper astrological elections for the planets for ritual purposes, I wondered why we don’t have a similar system in place for the signs of the Zodiac.  So I made one up.

For those who have been living under a rock, let me describe the 12 signs of the Zodiac and how they correspond to the planets.  Of course, I’m working only with the seven traditional planets, so throw out what you know about Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, since they don’t come into play here.  Before continuing, you should learn about what the planetary hours are, because the zodiacal hours are just an extension based off them.  To describe only what’s needed about the zodiac signs at a very high level:

  • There are seven planets: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.  Of these, the Sun and Moon are called luminaries, since they’re bright enough to light the world.
  • There are 12 signs in the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.
  • The luminary planets rule over one sign each; the nonluminary planets rule over two signs each.
    • The Sun rules over Leo.
    • The Moon rules over Cancer.
    • Mercury rules over Gemini and Virgo.
    • Venus rules over Taurus and Libra.
    • Mars rules over Aries and Scorpio.
    • Jupiter rules over Pisces and Sagittarius.
    • Saturn rules over Aquarius and Capricorn.
  • Each sign has one of the four elements, so there are three Fire signs, three Air signs, three Water signs, and three Earth signs.
    • Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are all Fiery.
    • Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are all Earthy.
    • Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are all Airy.
    • Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are all Watery.
  • Each sign is either masculine or feminine, so there are six Masculine signs and six Feminine signs.  Masculine signs are either Fiery or Airy, and Feminine signs are either Watery or Earthy.
    • Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius are all Masculine.
    • Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces are all Feminine.

Got it?  Good.

All we do to develop the zodiacal hours is we replace the planet ruling over an hour with its corresponding zodiacal sign.  So, any hours of the Sun become hours of Leo, and any hours of the Moon become hours of Cancer.  So far, so good, but what about the other planets that rule two signs each?  For that, we look at whether a given hour is diurnal (daytime, between sunrise and sunset) or nocturnal (nighttime, between sunset and sunrise).  If an hour is diurnal, we use the masculine sign; if nocturnal, the feminine sign.  So, a diurnal hour of Mars becomes an hour of Aries, while a nocturnal hour of Mars becomes an hour of Scorpio.

It’s really that simple.  So, a complete table of zodiacal hours for each day of the week would look like this:

Hour Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Leo Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius
2 Libra Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius
3 Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries
4 Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius Leo
5 Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra
6 Sagittarius Libra Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries Gemini
7 Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius Leo Cancer
8 Leo Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius
9 Libra Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius
10 Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries
11 Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra Aquarius Leo
12 Aquarius Leo Cancer Aries Gemini Sagittarius Libra
13 Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo
14 Scorpio Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer
15 Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn
16 Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo Pisces
17 Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio
18 Cancer Scorpio Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo
19 Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo Pisces Taurus
20 Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo
21 Scorpio Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer
22 Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn
23 Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio Virgo Pisces
24 Virgo Pisces Taurus Capricorn Leo Cancer Scorpio

So, how would I go about using them?  Simple enough: for a ritual invoking Aries, I’d do the ritual in an Aries hour, or a diurnal Mars hour.  Of course, there’s some leeway with this; Mars hours are generally good, as are those of the Sun (the Sun is exalted in Aries, after all).  Same goes for all the other planets.  It’s a simple thing, really, but it’s another refinement that I might experiment with.  The logic makes sense, but what really matters is whether it works.  If the angel of Aries doesn’t care whether he’s evoked in daytime or nighttime, for instance, or whether he cares about planetary hours at all, then this system isn’t needed generally.  Since the sphere of fixed stars is higher than those of the planets, timing may not be a crucial factor generally.  Let’s find out!

2014 Ritual Calendar and Prospective

2013 has finally come and gone, and now we’re in 2014.  Awesome.  How was last year?  Fricking amazing, lemme tell you.  Between a good amount of spiritual work and crafting, my first full year with my fantastic boyfriend, and no small amount of education and adventuring, 2013 really wasn’t bad at all.  Now that we’re in the start of 2014, what are my plans?

  1. Get more physically active.  The past few months haven’t been kind to my waistline and it’s starting to show, not to mention that a number of the spirits are getting on my case about treating my body better.  To that end, I’m changing up my daily and weekly routine to get in some more exercise (running and basic weightlifting), as well as beginning to take aikido classes.  I’m specifically choosing aikido with the Northern Virginia Ki Society, not just due to the estimable opinion of my good friend, occult crafter, and martial artist Raven Orthaevelve, but because it will help in my energy manipulation and meditation skills.  Add to it, it’s something that I’ve always had an interest in but hardly had the chance to take it up when I was younger, so I may as well.
  2. Conjure the angels of the fixed stars.  This past year, I finally contacted Iophiel, the angel of the fixed stars and the angel of the eighth sphere, which was an amazing experience.  However, I’ve barely had time to investigate that sphere, and since it’s the most unfamiliar and complex of the spheres I’ve yet encountered, I want to spend some more time working with the forces of the stars as a whole as well as individual segments.  To that end, I want to start a year-long project by conjuring the angels of the fixed stars; not just Iophiel, but each of the angels of the Zodiac (as the Sun enters each sign) and the angels of the lunar mansions (as the Sun and Moon enter each lunar mansion).  This will amount to about 40 new conjurations, with about three or four new contacts being made a month.  I’ll start this project once the Sun enters Aries at the spring solstice this year, kicking off the solar new year with new conjurations.  This will provide a new wealth of information, I’m sure.
  3. Buy and move into a new house.  I’ve lived at my current apartment since I got out of college almost four years ago, and while I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s time to move into somewhere better.  I’m investigating the possibility of actually taking out a mortgage and buying a house for myself, my boyfriend, and two of our friends; since we’re all into magic and the occult in our own ways, that should prove to be an interesting arrangement indeed!  I’ll need to start talking to my agency’s HR department as well as some of the angels and gods for the help I’ll need, too.  This will definitely help me, personally, to have more space for my magic work as well as begin more intense devotional practices with the gods and spirits.  Speaking of…
  4. Start working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch.  Saint Cyprian of Antioch is the patron saint of pagans, sorcerers, and magicians; need I explain further?  Although no longer recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Cyprian of Antioch (not to be confused with Saint Cyprian of Carthage) is well-known by some Nordic communities of magicians as well as by many Portuguese, Brazilian, and Caribbean occultists.  His ties to some ATR deities will help bridge a possible spiritual gap between me and my boyfriend and his godfamily (a group of ATR practicioners and initiates), too, as well as help give me a more solid footing when dealing with spirits of the dark and the dead.  And speaking of the dead…
  5. Start working with my ancestors more.  My interactions with people of ATR faiths has shown me by force how powerful our ancestors can be in our lives.  This isn’t just to say those of our family who’ve passed away in our lifetimes, but literally all of them going back to the furthest distant reaches of our genesis, even to the gods or elves or chaos or what-have-you.  I’ve started a small shrine and practice to my ancestors on my main devotional altar, but it’s just a tiny squished corner for now.  Once I get the space, I plan to setting up a full altar for them and getting to do more research for their names, pictures, and preferences.  This will be made more convenient since I’m tasked with repairing my mother’s old computers, which have books’ worth of genealogical information on different branches of my family.  Weekly chats and offerings to them would be the minimal practice here.
  6. Translate more Latin.  My boyfriend got me one of the most complete and thorough books on European geomancy ever written, the “Fasciculus Geomanticus” written by Robert Fludd in 1687.  This is about 650 pages of dense late medieval Latin replete with very deep geomantic lore and technique compiled by one of Europe’s most famous masters of the art.  I plan on translating this in full, perhaps even submitting it for publication or cannibalizing it into my own work on geomancy.  Who’s to say?  Maybe even both!  Other works in Latin might be translated, too, pending advice and suggestions from my dear readers.
  7. More trance work.  This is something I’ve tried off and on again since I pretty much started magic, but I haven’t really made much progress or even much of a concerted effort.  Entering states of trance, engaging in astral projection, and being able to dream lucidly is still high on my to-do list, so I’m going to devote myself to trance work on nights when I don’t work out and don’t have other magical work to do.  This, combined with the above things, basically necessitates I keep a strict routine for myself with putzing around on the Internet reserved mostly for when I’m at work (hah!).

So, without further ado, the calendars and timings for things for the year of 2014.  First, the updated conjuration cycle:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Raphael
(Air)
Tzadqiel
(Jupiter)
2 Michael
(Fire)
Kammael
(Mars)
3 Michael
(Sun)
 Auriel
(Earth)
Haniel
(Venus)
4 Raphael
(Mercury)
Gabriel
(Water)
5 Gabriel
(Moon)
Iophiel
(Fixed Stars)
6 Personal
Angels
Tzaphqiel
(Saturn)

In the past, I was going on a 5-week cycle of the angels, with all the elemental archangels being done on Wednesdays (as my work schedule lets me work from home then).  However, this past year, I finally gained contact and initiation from Iophiel, the angel of the fixed stars of the 8th heaven, and wanted to allow more time for that as well.  Further, due to some of my other scheduling constraints, I wanted to leave my Fridays and Wednesdays mostly clear of magical work except as necessary.  Thus, I expanded the conjuration cycle to six weeks instead of five, moving the conjurations of Iophiel and my personal angels (natal genius, Holy Guardian Angel, and angel of occupation) to the weekend between the conjurations of Gabriel of the Moon and Tzaphqiel of Saturn.  Further, I also moved the elemental archangel conjurations to other days instead of Wednesdays.

Next, the lunar month cycle:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New
Moon
Arktos Ritual,
house cleansing
and blessing
General material
consecration
Monthly
Hermaia
First Quarter
Moon
Full
Moon
Full Moon Ritual
Last Quarter
Moon
House
cleaning

Generally the same as last year.  I observe a monthly ritual for Hermes every fourth day of the lunar month, and I use the day before through the day after the New Moon to clean, cleanse, banish, and reward my house.  I also set aside time on the New Moon and Full Moon for certain celestial rituals, assuming the weather allows for it.  Not much of my normal work revolves around the revolution of the Moon, but it does help in getting a few things done here and there.

Of course, no schedule observing the stars could be complete without a list of planetary retrograde dates. Below are all the retrograde dates for Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury that take place sometime during 2014. Of these, only Venus and Mercury are of any real importance, but still.

  • Saturn retrograde from March 2 through July 20
  • Jupiter retrograde from November 7 2013 through March 6 2014
  • Jupiter retrograde from December 8 2014 through April 8 2015
  • Mars retrograde from March 1 through May 20
  • Venus retrograde from December 21 2013 through January 21 2014
  • Mercury retrograde from February 6 through February 28
  • Mercury retrograde from June 7 through July 1
  • Mercury retrograde from October 4 through October 25

Other astrological and astronomical phenomena:

  • Sun ingress Aquarius: January 20
  • Sun midway Aquarius (Imbolc): February 3
  • Sun ingress Pisces: Febuary 18
  • Sun ingress Aries (Ostara, spring equinox): March 20
  • Sun ingress Taurus: April 20
  • Sun midway Taurus (Beltane): May 5
  • Sun ingress Gemini: May 21
  • Sun ingress Cancer (Litha, summer solstice): June 21
  • Sun ingress Leo: July 22
  • Sun midway Leo (Lammas): August 7
  • Sun ingress Virgo: August 23
  • Sun ingress Libra (Mabon, fall equinox): September 23
  • Sun ingress Scorpio: October 23
  • Sun midway Scorpio (Samhain): November 7
  • Sun ingress Sagittarius: November 22
  • Sun ingress Capricorn (Yule, winter solstice): December 22
  • New Moon, first of winter: January 1
  • New Moon, second of winter: January 30
  • New Moon, third of winter: March 1
  • New Moon, first of spring: March 30
  • New Moon, second of spring: April 29
  • New Moon, third of spring: May 28
  • New Moon, first of summer: June 27
  • New Moon, second of summer: July 26
  • New Moon, third of summer: August 25
  • New Moon, first of autumn: September 24
  • New Moon, second of autumn: October 23
  • New Moon, third of autumn: November 22
  • New Moon, first of winter: December 21
  • Perihelion: January 4
  • Aphelion: July 4
  • Northern lunar eclipse: April 15
  • Southern solar eclipse: April 29
  • Southern lunar eclipse: October 8
  • Northern lunar eclipse: October 23

Festivals and holidays whose dates move around:

  • Hermaia: March 5
  • Asclepeia: March 9
  • Dionysia: March 11 through March 16
  • Purim: March 15
  • Pesach: April 14 through April 22
  • Aphrodisia: July 1
  • Rosh haShanah: September 24 through September 26
  • Yom Kippur: October 3
  • Chanukkah: December 16 through December 24

Other festivals and holidays whose dates don’t move around:

  • Veneralia: April 1
  • Feast of St. Isidore of Seville: April 4
  • Feast of St. Expedite: April 19
  • Feast of Mary, Queen of Heaven: May 1
  • Mercuralia: May 15
  • Feast of St. Benedict: July 11
  • Festival of Venus Genetrix: September 26
  • Feast of Saint Cyprian of Antioch: September 26
  • Feast of the Angels (Michaelmas): September 29
  • Birthday: October 8
  • All Hallow’s Eve: October 31
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2
  • Feast of St. Lazarus: December 16
  • Saturnalia: December 17 through December 23
  • Christmas: December 25

Notes on the above lists:

  • I’m already using the Sun’s entry into the four cardinal zodiac signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) to mark the solstices and equinoxes, so it makes sense to me to use the Sun’s halfway point in the four fixed zodiac signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio) to mark the cross-quarter days instead of the Gregorian calendrical method.  While most other occultists and pagans will use the normal calendrical dating, I’ll stick to my solar dating and tie it to the cycle of the Sun instead.  The dates are fairly close, at least, being off no more than a week from the popular observance of them.  The calendar dates of these cross-quarter days are the 1st of the month the astrological date occurs in (thus May 1st for Beltane).
  • The period between All Hallow’s Eve and the astrological Samhain is a big deathy week for me that I’ll probably make a big to-do for the dead.
  • Similarly, the period between Saturnalia and the winter solstice will be a roughly week-long period of partying and fun.
  • Yes, dear reader, I do count my birthday as a festival, not least because it usually coincides with Columbus Day (a federal holiday, and thus three-day weekend).
  • The Jewish festivals are things to mark one of the cultures I come from.  While I’m not very observant, I try to make these things a small reminder of what some of my ancestors have done.
  • While the Roman festivals are tied to the normal calendar, the Greek festivals move around due to their being tied to the lunar months.  By my reckoning, the Hermaia (Hermes’ festival) takes place on the fourth day of the tenth lunar month after the summer solstice; the Aphrodisia (Aphrodite’s festival) takes place on the fourth day of the first lunar month after the summer solstice; the Dionysia (Dionysus’ greater festival) takes place on the 10th through 15th days of the third lunar month after the winter solstice; the Asclepeia (Asclepius’ festival) takes place on the eighth day of the third lunar month after the winter solstice.

With that, let’s get 2014 rolling!

Preliminary Ritual Calendar 2013

Early last year, I devised a five-week conjuration cycle that has me conjure the angels of the seven planets, the angels of the four elements, and my natal genius.  In each conjuration of each of these forces, I’d spend time soaking in the light and power of that particular sphere, reconsecrating and recharging whatever tools or talismans I have, meditating on that force’s symbols, and asking for specific or general advice about where to go or what to do next.   It’s a neat system, although one I didn’t stick to as well as I ought to have.  I did it a couple of times, and recently went through all the angels in consecutive days, which was also a blast and pretty powerful (and what Frater RO and a good number of other guys keep doing just to say they can).

However, a lot can happen for a beginner like me in the space of a year: I’ve gotten in contact with my HGA, I’ve started an involved devotional practice to Hermes, I’ve started doing weekly readings and occasional classes at the local new age shop, and I’ve picked up a few more rituals and works here and there that need to be done every lunar month or so.  Basically, I’ve got work to do, and having a schedule to organize it and put it on my calendar to bug me about it on my phone and all is kinda important now.  So, in effect, I have two interlocking cycles, a 5-week planetary cycle for conjurations and some devotions and a 4-week lunar cycle for other devotions and works.

The five week cycle is mostly the same as before, going through the planetary angels in descending order (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, etc.) on their respective days and hours, with the four elemental angels sometime around midday on the Wednesdays not working with Raphael of Mercury.  This way, I have two or three conjurations a week, which isn’t bad for constant upkeep.  The big change to the conjuration cycle is that I’m not explicitly conjuring my natal genius anymore.  Instead, I plan to perform the Headless Rite with some extra bells and whistles, using the Light from the ritual to hold a conference call between my natal genius, my HGA, and the angel of my occupation (the third of the threefold keeper of man that Agrippa speaks about in his Third Book of Occult Philosophy).

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 Raphael
(Air)
Tzadqiel
(Jupiter)
2 Kammael
(Mars)
Michael
(Fire)
3 Michael
(Sun)
Auriel
(Earth)
Haniel
(Venus)
4 NG/HGA/AO Raphael
(Mercury)
5 Gabriel
(Moon)
Gabriel
(Water)
Tzaphqiel
(Saturn)

Not shown in the above is the weekly devotional cycle I do as well.  Every morning, I do a set of prayers to the First Father, but on certain days I augment it with more prayers or with prayers to other gods and offerings to spirits, depending on who needs what when:

  • On Sundays, I spend more time in contemplative prayer and repentance, as well as making offerings to the solar-ish healing god Asclepius.  I also like to incorporate the Headless Rite into my normal routine, just to bask in the Light from the ritual as well as touch base with my HGA (who has largely supplanted my natal genius in responsibilities) to make sure I’m doing the right thing and doing it right.
  • On Wednesdays, I make offerings to the spirits of my home and land as well as perform a weekly devotional to Hermes, as well as performing a variation on the Litany to the Holy Archangels written by Michael Seb Lux.  I also like to do divination readings on Wednesdays in an hour of Mercury or of the Moon (my work-from-home days, which gives me a lot of time to work on my Work).
  • On Thursdays, contemplation and an invocation of the forces of Jupiter to fill and bless my life’s work and fortune.  This started out as an instruction from Tzadqiel, the angel of Jupiter, to continue until further notice due to a Jovial issue in my own sphere (Jupiter is badly detrimented in my natal horoscope).  Omitted on weeks I conjure the angel of Jupiter (subsumed into the conjuration of Tzadqiel).
  • On Saturdays, contemplation and an invocation of the forces of Saturn to protect and structure my life’s boundaries.  This is due to Saturn’s oddly dignified nature in my natal horoscope, permitting it to be one of the most favorable forces for me to work with (and to temper the malfunctioning Jovian force being done with the weekly observances).  Omitted on weeks I conjure the angel of Saturn (subsumed into the conjuration of Tzaphqiel).

Just to give myself a break, I’ll probably space each 5-week cycle out by a week, having it be six weeks in total.  This is probably unnecessary and a willingness to be lazy on my part, but it will help me maintain a healthy social and romantic life, not to mention giving me a break to keep tabs and wrap up anything down here that needs wrapping up before more conjurations need doing.

The other cycle is lunar, going by the phases of the Moon.  Only a few things happen with this (so far): the big ones are the Hermaias, my monthly devotionals to Hermes.  Hermes is associated with the fourth day after the new moon, so on that day at dawn I’ll make an offering of food, incense, prayer, and the like to him.  Conversely, though it’s not attested elsewhere, I’m also honoring his chthonic, underworldly aspect on the fourth day before the new moon (as a kind of reversal or switch), where I’ll make offerings to the spirits of the dead and act as psycopomp with Hermes’ help.  I’ll do a ritual for the Full Moon sometime around midnight when it’s full, and do a quick offering and ritual to the stars of the Big Dipper from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM VII.686) when it’s new.  Beyond that, I don’t do much tied to the lunar cycle, besides divinations for myself and for others.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New Moon Arktos Ritual House blessing,
general material creation
and consecration
Ouranic Hermaia
First Quarter Moon
Full Moon Full Moon Ritual  
Last Quarter Moon Chthonic Hermaia
(optional)
House banishing

NB: the days are numbered from the lunar phase, so that New Moon 1 is the day of the New Moon, not the first day afterward.  Not shown above are things that need to be tied to both the lunar phase and weekday, since there’s no way to really show that in either chart (yay interlocking cycles being horrible to map out!).  So far, the only big thing I have to worry about with that is maintaining a supply of holy water and consecrated candles, which I constantly go through.  The way I do it, I need to time it to the waxing moon (first two weeks of the lunar month) on a Wednesday in order to get a good effect, and also when Mercury isn’t retrograde.  Also, I like to do a general reconsecration and cleansing of the tools I use most on a Friday during the waxing moon with a mixture of holy water and Florida water.

Speaking of, that brings me to bigger cycles than the above 5-week or 4-week cycle.  As for the planets, I try not to do any big magical works I’m not already familiar with during Mercury retrograde (and forgot to do a Mercury retrograde retrospective last time, sorry guys!), and try not to do any craft construction when Venus is in retrograde.  Though I haven’t noticed a big effect with Venus retrograde on my life, work, or Work (or any other planet past Mercury), Mercury retrograde has made slight differences in communication (shallower) and meditation (deeper), but otherwise hasn’t made a big change in my works.  The relevant dates are:

  • Mercury in retrograde from February 23 to March 17
  • Mercury in retrograde from June 26 to July 20
  • Mercury in retrograde from October 21 to November 10
  • Venus in retrograde from December 28 through January 31, 2014

I want to try doing more with the solar cycle as well, doing something on the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days of the year, as well as do small devotionals or minor works on important feast days or festivals.  For that, I’ve compiled the following list of important dates for the rest of 2013:

  • Sun midway Aquarius (Imbolc): February 3
  • Purim: February 23
  • Sun ingress Aries (Spring equinox, Ostara): March 20
  • Pesach (Passover): March  25 through April 1
  • Hermaia: April 11
  • Feast of St. Expedite: April 19
  • Northern Lunar Eclipse: April 25
  • Sun midway Taurus (Beltane): May 5
  • Southern Solar Eclipse: May 10
  • Mercuralia: May 15
  • Northern Lunar Eclipse: May 25
  • Sun ingress Cancer (Summer solstice, Litha): June 21
  • Sun midway Leo (Lammas): August 7
  • Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement): September 13
  • Rosh haShanah (Head of the Year): September 16 through September 18
  • Sun ingress Libra (Autumn equinox, Mabon): September 22
  • Michaelmas: September 29
  • Birthday: October 8
  • Southern Lunar Eclipse: October 18
  • All Hallow’s Eve: October 31
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • All Souls’ Day: November 2
  • Northern Solar Eclipse: November 3
  • Sun midway Scorpio (Samhain): November 7
  • Chanukkah: November 27 through December 4
  • Saturnalia: December 17 through December 23
  • Sun ingress Capricorn (Winter solstice, Yule): December 21
  • Christmas: December 25

A few notes on the foregoing list:

  • I’m already using the Sun’s entry into the four cardinal zodiac signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) to mark the solstices and equinoxes, so it makes sense to me to use the Sun’s halfway point in the four fixed zodiac signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio) to mark the cross-quarter days instead of the Gregorian calendrical method.  While most other occultists and pagans will use the normal calendrical dating, I’ll stick to my solar dating and tie it to the cycle of the Sun instead.  The dates are fairly close, at least, being off no more than a week from the popular observance of them.
  • The period between All Hallow’s Eve and the astrological Samhain is a big deathy week for me that I’ll probably make a big to-do for the dead (the solar eclipse then helps, too).
  • Similarly, the period between Saturnalia and the winter solstice will be a roughly week-long period of partying and fun.
  • Yes, dear reader, I do count my birthday as a festival, not least because it usually coincides with Columbus Day (a federal holiday, and thus three-day weekend).
  • I’ve also included several Jewish festivals into the list, and I want to try getting into more of them (since I am descended from them, after all, but never really raised it).  Nothing serious, probably focusing mostly on reading and learning, except for the period between Yom Kippur and Rosh haShanah, which will be just a lil’ more strict on the fasting and self-examination.

With this all planned, it’s time to get it copied out onto the calendar and get to Work. Not counting my daily practice, all of the foregoing rituals (conjuration cycle, lunar cycle, and yearly festivals but not including daily practice) amounts to an average of about five hours a week, so even though it sounds complicated and overwhelming, it’s really not.  Expect a course calendar for the stuff I’ll be teaching at the local new age store, Sticks and Stones, in the near future, as well!