Back in Kansas City, before I officially started Project Null, I was making my last trip out to Camp Gaea. I was floating on lake Onessa, with just enough of me out of the water to keep from drowning, tranced out and seeking the Initiation of Water. The below NSFW image is one to two visions I had that afternoon.
I got nothing done for Project Null this week: Tuesday through Friday were a complete wash. In a small part, that can be blamed on my frustration with the unsatisfying results of the sigil shoal I launched a couple weeks ago. Mostly, though, it was because I spent all my time and energy on my anthropology of gender class. In related news, I am now ill, but on the plus side I got a lot of great material for my Feminism as Chaos Magick essay (and narrowly avoided a tumblr fight in the process).
The Sorcerer’s Secrets finally shipped Thursday. Friday morning, the lost keys I was looking for did finally appear in a pocket of my backpack that I’m fairly sure I checked. I have found about a dollar’s worth of change on the ground. So: it seems like these things took about ten days to manifest. Perhaps I phrased my intent poorly, or chose targets that were problematic for reasons I don’t understand. Perhaps the sigil designs were somehow inadequate. Perhaps the launch technique was inadequate. Or maybe it just takes that long, even when a shorter time table is encoded in the sigil. For lack of adequate data, I’m going to assume a combination of all of the above was at fault and mark the experiment as “mixed results”
I did get my act back together yesterday morning and today: doing my meditations, making my weekend offerings, and firing a shoal of sigils each morning using a simpler charging technique: still charged from my morning rituals, I arranged the sigils on my Chaos Altar, lit a candle each for Death and Desire, held the sigils up to the sunrise, and chanted “It is my will” until I felt something shift. When each of the sigils was so charged, I lit a third candle, again chanting “It is my will” until I felt a shift. The first shoal was socially oriented: knowing who wants to fuck me, who I can trust, and that sort of thing. The second was more academic: improved comprehension, reading speed, and recall.
Because I seem to be much better at actually doing my meditation first thing in the morning, I am going to add that to my morning routine, as well as try for a second 5 minutes at night.
I did a reading last month. I didn’t even look at it a second time after laying the cards down, let alone actually try to suss out any nuance. Pretty much the same story the month before.
This month’s reading, then, is exceptionally lacking in temporal context. As usual, I’ve used the Twelve Houses spread with my custom addition of the central portion of the Celtic Cross to the center.
I’ve been escalating my daily banishing ritual a little bit, and doing better about my meditation, which has had a positive effect on the paranoia. Perfecting my sleeping tea and being ruthless about bedtime (“ruthless”, because my homework is suffering) have helped with the insomnia and the nightmares.
My patience with various frustrations is at a distinct low point. A class that I had hoped would be a fun challenge has, so far, turned out to be neither fun nor challenging, and another that should have been a coast-through is giving me trouble because the teacher seems to be suffering from part-timer syndrome. These are legitimate frustrations. My desire to set something on fire over them are just a little bit out of proportion. With that said: I’ve suffered from rage issues for my whole life, so this is nothing new to me. Stress makes me angry. This is probably related to the Chaos experiment only insomuch as my meditation practice is making it impossible to deny or sublimate the rage.
Over the course of the week, I pushed a little further in Stephen Mace, restarted reading Hine’s Condensed Chaos, read Carol’s Liber KKK, and re-read Gordon’s Sigils Reboot.
For most of the week, my meditation practice was the best it had ever been. I was making five minutes or more at least once a day. I wasn’t necessarily having great insights—really, just the Abrasax thing—but my mind was getting less and less unruly. Then, Thursday, I fell off the horse for no reason. No meditation Thursday or Friday.
This morning and yesterday, it’s distraction city all over again. With the noted addition of a distinct buzz at the end of every meditation session, which is interesting and might be good or bad.
At the beginning of this experiment, I took a bit of a hiatus from active magical practice. I have begun re-incorporating magic into my practice, and the results have been decidedly mixed. I dove back in to magic head-first Monday, with the Mercury Cazimi election just before dawn followed by the Mass of Chaos B that afternoon to fire off some sigils. The first was a success; the second, not so much.
I made use of the Mercury election to recharge all my various Mercury talismans and to create a new language-learning talisman. Although the raw power of that election made it very easy for me to feel the dissonance between my retrograde natal Mercury and the planetary power, the enchantments went well. I have felt a distinct improvement in my ability to communicate with other humans (except over electronic media, which seems to be suffering an increased confusion, but there are a LOT of confounding factors making that correlation pretty blurry), and my comprehension of Greek and Latin does seem to be improving at a slightly swifter rate.
The Mass of Chaos B sigil launch was a qualified disaster. I had three desires: to have a lost set of keys returned to me by Thursday, to have an Amazon package that has been waiting in the dock for (I though) no good reason shipped that day, and to find money on the ground. The keys have still not been returned to me; Amazon has finally deigned to tell me that the reason my package didn’t ship is that The Sorcerer’s Secrets is currently out of stock; and I found a grand total of $0.06 on the ground this week.
So … I think I’m going to back up with my sigils. Try launch techniques which are a little more traditional. And hopefully aim my intentions a little better.
Meanwhile, the changes to my morning banishing rites have definitely left me feeling much more powerful. I’ve yet to see that improved sense of power translate into actual results, though.
The tea I’ve been using to help regulate my sleep schedule has really fucked my dream journaling. While on the one hand, my dreams have been vivid and interesting, on the other hand, I have been consistently woken up by the alarm which drives whatever I’ve been dreaming out of my head pretty much every time.
Have I mentioned before that dreamwork is not a native talent of mine?
Hopefully, the next batch of dream tea will cause me fewer problems: 2 tbs valerian; 1 tbs each white willow, chamomile; 2 tsp mugwort; 1 tsp spearmint. I will be brewing does of 1 tbs in 2 cups filtered water.
I’ve mentioned before, both pointedly and in passing, that the Judeo-Christian frame of much ceremonial magic does not work well for me. My attempts to reframe Golden Dawn and ceremonial rituals into my own neo-Pagan cosmology have been guided more by instinct and intuition than by research, and they have met with mixed results. My Pentagram Rite, for example, works better for me than the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram ever did, and without the unfortunate side effects. The Titan’s Cross, however, while more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional Qabalistic Cross, never really had the same “umph”.
Last week, however, I had a sort of break through. Sitting out on the campus lawn, doing my Liber MMM meditation(1) under the sun, the name Abraxas came to mefrom nowhere(2). The creative juices started flowing, the synchretism got hot and heavy, and the following ritual is the result.
The Titan’s Cross: Satyr Magos’ Morning Invocation
I begin by forming a banishing pentagram and stepping into it to flush my aura.
I reach into the sky and intone(3) the name PHANES as the winged figure of Eros Protogonos descends into you from above.
Drawing my hand down my body, I reach toward the earth and intone the name GE, as the body of the earth opens and engulfs me.
Reaching out my left hand(4), I intone the name HELIOS as a sphere of solar light ignites there and envelops me.
Reaching out my right hand(5), I intone the name SELENE as a sphere of lunar light waxes into being and envelops me.
Brining my palms together I take a deep breath of that cumulative power and intone ABRASAX(6)
Finally, within another full breath, I intone IAO.
1 – Five minutes a day of motionless breathing concentration.
2 – Well, not quite out of nowhere. Rufus Opus had just mentioned him a few days before.
3 – Or “vibrate”, as it’s called in many circles. For some reason that word makes my skin itch. Probably because a lot of twits use the word too much.
4 – Because I have a solar tattoo on my left shoulder, and wear my Solar Talisman on my left hand.
5 – Because I have a lunar tattoo on my right shoulder. Yes, this is a deliberate inversion that throws of a hillarious and disturbing number of people.
6 – Why Abrasax not Abraxas? Because that’s what came to me. Gotta roll with the UPG when it comes to you, folks.
I have been practicing magic for just shy of sixteen years. I’ve seen some whack-ass shit—some of it way back in the day, some of it a little more recently. I even burned out the circuitry in my own brain on one occasion, a psychic injury from which I have only fully recovered in the last two years. Fuck: I spent the first five or eight years of my magical practice with no other goal than to get some sort of hold on what currently passes for my sanity. So when Peter Carroll tells me that Chaos Magick can lead to paranoia and obsession and outright madness, my first reaction is, “Been there. Done that.”
Oops. Stultus sum.
I have spent the last week struggling with depression and paranoia far out of line with my circumstances. Also, a round of insomnia which has driven me to work on perfecting my sleeping tea and which has rendered me almost incapable of focusing on my studies. Small noises in and outside my apartment have sent me into fits, searching for the source. I have heard things scratching at the doors and walls. In the moments between sleep and waking, I am haunted by delusions that someone or something is trying to break into the apartment. My dreams have been haunted by fear, death, and betrayal.
Yes, I have things to be depressed about. I have abandoned one lover, for a second time, in a far-away city; I have stayed in place as another moves on to bigger and better things. That these things are inevitable, and the only path to each of us furthering our ambitions, is little consolation: I miss them. Beyond that, finances are tight. I didn’t make enough money over the summer, leaving with debt at the beginning and my costs have risen. I’ve secured a TA position, which will provide me more hours than my post office position last year, but it’s still minimum-wage work-study.
There’s also stress. I’m studying two dead languages at once, which is a kind of mind fuck. I’m learning to weave, which is relatively straightforward on the one hand, but hugely time consuming. And I’m taking an upper-level class outside my field: Gender Studies, as a point of fact, which while somewhat familiar territory as a queer feminist, is rightly known as a field of particularly difficult-to-read theory.
But these very real factors are not sufficient to account for the degree of madness I’ve been struggling against, or the perfect (if short-lived) efficacy of banishing and/or meditation as a method of managing it.
All this, and I haven’t even performed my initiation in to the Chaos Current, yet, or the Mass of Chaos B for a second time?
Fuck. Me. Running.
I just hope that if I do go off the deep end, there’ll be someone left in my life to send in a rescue party.
My meditation has been going fabulously. I have missed only one day this week—Monday—and I have meditated in excess of 30 minutes on two occasions: almost exactly half an hour Tuesday night, before sleep; and a somewhat harder to quantify amount Friday afternoon at the loom, made up of uncounted three to eight minute intervals as I lost myself in the rhythm of the shuttle and reed.
Which is fucking good, because, as I said above, it’s been the front line of defense against the hordes of my internal demons.
I have been banishing and refining my Q-Cross every day, but done little other active magic this week. What I have done is dwell upon Chaos Magick, its paradigms, and Project Null. Having produced the first half-dozen glyphs of my Sacred Alphabet, I must now begin to conceive of how it will grow. I have also been preparing for Monday morning’s Mercury Cazimi election.
And, of course, as is my custom, I spend Friday night cleaning and smudging my apartment. I also performed a couple banishings..
The most concrete product of these musings and meditations can be seen in the image at the top: a syncretic chaosphere for Aradia, myself, and anyone else who chooses to join in with Project Null. An image, a sigil if you will, to help unite and power our efforts. Our own little runoff stream of the Chaos current.
Although my dreams have been consistently violent, they have only been clear enough to record after waking about every other day. I’m always vague in the mornings; it’s twice as bad when I actually wake up with the alarm, rather than before, and that is always the case when I have to dose myself in order to sleep.
For the curious: the tea I’ve been drinking has been valerian, mugwort, and white willow at at 2:1:1 ratio. Last night I added 1/2 part mint and reduced the dose from 4 tsp to 3, which has produced the best results so far. Mugwort tea gave me nightmares as a teen, too, but almost never since.
As you may note by looking to the right, I am a member of Christopher Warnock’s Spiritus Mundi mailing list. I’m not very active—I don’t know enough about traditional astrology to participate(1)—but I do like to take advantage of the elections he and his students are kind enough to share. Many of the folks on the Spiritus Mundi group, like myself, are too poor to create talismans of precious metals. So there’s a lot of talk about paper talismans. So much so, in fact, that Mr. Warnock has recently posted a page on the history and construction of paper talismans.
The prevailing wisdom on the mailing list is that paper talismans are good for 90 days. My own experience has been radically different: although my Jupiter talisman, made back in April, did require a bit of a boost over the summer, it is still going strong.
So as I gear up for Monday morning’s Mercury election (the last Hour of Night, just before dawn), I thought I would share the process that is working so well for me.
I start with two unlined notecards. I mark one as the front and one as the back: if I’m going to print them off (which I have done in the past) I’ll prepare everything the day before in an openoffice document(2); this weekend, as I’m out of printer ink and money, I’ll be hand-drawing them in pencil to be inked and colored at the electional moment. If I don’t already have an appropriate planetary incense on hand, I’ll gather the herbs and resins for that, as well, also to be mixed at the time of the election. Finally you need glue; I prefer rubber cement.
With your cards and images prepped, either digitally or by hand, you wait until the appropriate hour as taught in electional astrology, then print or ink the images. Write your legal and magical names on the backs of the cards—that is, what will be the “inside”. Blend or grab your incense that you will use to suffumigate the talisman. Trace the edge of one of the cards with your glue and sprinkle the incense blend inside it. Place the other card on top, make sure it seals all the way around. Suffumigate and incant as the ritual calls for. I also tend to finalize the concecration with a drop of Abramelin oil.
This is how I produce paper talismans that are still effective almost six months out. Checking and recharging these talismans is becoming a part of my Full Moon rites, along with my active sigils.
1 – I am, in fact, the exact kind of learn-at-my-own-pace system-hacker he despises. My saving grace is probably that I keep my damn mouth shut instead of demanding that he pontificate at my convenience.
2 – I’ll assume you know how to format the pages and everything yourselves to make that work. If not, there are message boards for that.
I don’t often enchant for concrete outcomes. The fact is that I have most of what I want and need. My web of influence (and social privilege) and mundane efforts keep things flowing pretty well. Most of my enchantments are aimed at bolstering that web: my planetary talismans, my safe-travel spells, and my circles of protection. Every once in a while, though, I do need something specific badly enough that I enchant for it: generally it works; this time it didn’t.
At the end of July I was invited to apply for a “scholarship” (actually a service-based work-study) program offered by my school. I cut things pretty close last year, and part of the problem was that I couldn’t get all my work-study hours, which the program would guarantee me. In addition to about a thousand extra dollars to live on each semester, it also offered a stipend for summer work. I wanted it badly.
As one is supposed to, I did a Tarot spread about the application. On the one hand the message was clear: yes, I should apply. On the other hand, the actual outcome was more ambiguous.
I put in the work on both ends. I was given two weeks from the time I received the invitation to the due date. I busted ass on application, itself, and turned it in on time. It was a damn good application essay, if I do say so myself.
Aradia and I charged a sigil and fired it off with a seven-day candle. I then sent that sigil to a few, select, close friends so that they could help charge it, too.
Then I waited. I was supposed to hear back about my application by the 6th of August. No word came. I got caught up in the process of packing, and basically let it go.
I got to Sunrise on the 14th of August. Still no word had come. So I walked up to the office and asked. The email had been sent, they told me. But, no: I had not been selected for the program. The application and the spell had failed.
There are a lot of variables here. Perhaps my application was invalidated for some technical reason I can’t know. Perhaps the sigils I designed were flawed in some way. Aradia and I raised energy for the sigils by laughter; perhaps that was not the way to go. Perhaps passing them off for a boost was a bad idea. Perhaps they somehow conflicted with other enchantments I have in place to assure my financial solvency. Perhaps my mistake was as simple as failing to encode a time frame: perhaps I will be selected for the program next year, on the basis of the same application.
A brief consultation with the Tarot—“Why did my spell to receive the scholarship fail?”—produced what you see below….
…. which basically comes across as pure static. Obviously, one could interpret this as “you didn’t put the work in”, but …. to the best of my ability to determine, I did. And the optimist in me wants to try to spit in as, “because something better is in the pipeline.”
Thoughts or suggestions would be very welcome.
I first performed the Stele of Jeu ritual in late January of this year, and for the last eight months it has been a regular part of my Dark and Full moon Esbats. At the beginning, I was advised to do the ritual outdoors, ideally at a trivium crossroads or in a vineyard, and that if I must—as my circumstances realistically dictate—perform the ritual within my temple, that I ought to do so within a circle of salt, as a Wiccan circle would not be adequate to keep out the wandering dead that would be drawn by the spell. Given that there is a graveyard next to the school I attend and live next door to, and given that Sunrise, IN is old Quaker territory, and they only started marking their graveyards when sectioning off the dead was legislated as a public health concern … well, let’s just say I took that advice to heart.
From January until May, it was my habit to move my rug out of the way and pour a circle of salt right out on my linoleum-over-concrete floor. The results ranged from spectacular to blasé, depending, I think, largely on just how much I heart I had to put into the ritual at the time.
In May, at the Heartland Pagan Festival, I had my first opportunities to perform the ritual outdoors. Just as the semester was ending, I performed the ritual on a creek bank in he woods behind campus as a part of my Full Moon ritual. The results were very different, but it ways that I find it difficult to articulate. The spirit world did not really become more aware of me, so much as I became more aware of it: it was both comforting and disconcerting to have a visceral feel for how vast the spirit world is, and for just how few shits it gives that humans even exist. Then again at the Heartland Pagan Festival, to incredible results that I have already detailed.
Things were a little different in Kansas City. Aradia’s apartment has old wooden floors that would be damaged by the salt, and hard to clean afterward. So I took a risk and performed the ritual without the salt: the results were unspectactuar. A Wiccan circle may be inadequate, but the years of circles and wards that Aradia and I put up around that apartment, to say nothing of the work done with Pasiphae and Aidan and the rest of the proto-coven, were more than adequate. I say “more than” advisedly, because the Stele of Jeu rituals I performed there were … limp. I actually wondered if I were performing the ritual too often, if maybe it was loosing its efficacy.
I moved back to Indiana just in time for the Dark Moon. I performed the Stele of Jeu as usual, but I had just acquired a new, heavier carpet which is too large to move readily, so, based on my experiences in Kansas City, I went without the circle of salt. And … things went off the rails, just a little bit.
I didn’t get any of the poltergeist effects during the ritual, which I had been warned was a possibility, but after is another matter. One the one hand, I’m fairly sure that that a lot of the weird-ass noises I was hearing that night were just the no-longer-familiar sounds of the Sunrise Temple. On the other hand, though …. I never did identify all of those noises, and they all stopped when I did some serious banishing work a couple days later. Also: the nightmares. That shit was out of control, and that’s all I’m going to say about that, except that those also chilled out when I did the banishing work.
Why did the Stele of Jeu have such strange and unfortunate side effects without the circle of salt in Sunrise, but not in Kansas City? Years of house-wards built up around the latter is my best explanation. But “why” is beside the point. The question is “what to do about it”. While the most obvious solution is to get rid of the rug that’s preventing me from pouring salt all over the floor …. The rug stays. It’s not actually mine, I’m just caring for it while the owner is doing a year abroad in China. So the solution, it seemed to me, was to come up with a way to have both the rug and the circle of salt.
When the full moon came, what I did was take three bowls and arrange them about equidistant from each other in a triangle around where I intended to sit while I did the ritual. I have a rock salt candle holder that lives on my altar, and I put that in the front bowl. After performing the first half of the evening’s rituals, I poured salt in each of the three bowls, going around the circle three times in order to do so, and lit a candle in the rock.
That worked beautifully. The ritual went fabulously: I did my banishings afterward, and slept … well, I’d say slept like the dead, but there are a couple necromancers who read this blog sometimes, and I know they’ll call me out on that. I slept soundly, dreamed as peacefully as I ever do, and went on to do another two nights of successful Esbat rites.
I count this as a successful experiment. If one needs a circle of salt, but can’t (for whatever reason) pour it directly on the ground, a simple solution is available. At least in this instance, the salt circle need not be contiguous; one may fill an appropriate number of vessels with salt and place them in a circle and achieve the protective effect.
Project Null officially kicked off a week ago today. This is the first of what I hope to be weakly updates on my progress through the project. This week has been more theory than practice, but both aspects have been solid.
Despite classes, my reading has been progressing swiftly. I have finished Carroll’s Liber Null and Psychonaut. I have re-read the Simon Necronomicon. I have read most of Frater U.D.’s Practical Sigil Magic, and the first half of Stephen Mace’s Stealing the Fire from Heaven. The last two are particularly exciting, because between U.D. and Mace, I have what I feel is an adequate grasp of A.O. Spare’s sigil methods. I’m waiting on Amazon to get around to shipping Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets, and I’m really looking forward to reading that, too, though I don’t yet know if it’s “Chaos” enough to qualify for this project.
Outside of my constant struggle to recall and master my dreams, I have never encountered the Psychic Censor in quite the way Peter Carroll describes it. Perhaps I struggled against the very perception of the supernatural when I was younger—I did, after all, begin practicing magic at the age of sixteen—but I cannot now recall.
For me, much of my struggle is against what I have often described as my “unruly mind”. Owing to my overwhelming (and largely irrational) fear of medicine in general and psychiatry in particular, I have never been diagnosed with anything. But when people complain of their struggles with ADD/ADHD … well, the Rotten Card above is a familiar experience to me. Outside of my magical practice, I rarely work on only one thing at a time: music or television plays in the background while I study or do housework; rather than see either task to completion before moving on to the other, I will often do laundry and another cyclical chore, such as the dishes, in tandem to create a natural flow of breaks.
Beyond that, I often struggle against the vestigial remains of the protestant work ethic which was instilled in me as a child: the idea that one must, at all times, be productive, and that even in moments of leisure (earned only by suffering) one must still be doing something. Working on my art does not rouse this nagging voice; even smoking weed and watching television—the most useless and slothful activity in which I engage—does not bring the restless, almost painful feeling that comes from inactivity. But meditation? Simply sitting in the quiet of my own presence and listening to my breathing? That drives my inner Puritan into a mad frenzy.
Since beginning the meditative practice called for in Liber MMM approximately ten days ago, I have rarely managed to perform my meditations two days in a row. When I have, it was over the weekend. Around half of each meditation session—which has averaged five minutes, went as far as six once, and as little as three—is spent thinking about journaling or blogging about the experience. During the first several sessions, my mind was awash with a riot of images. Counting my breathing has helped with that, but not eradicated it completely. Regardless of the position I sit in—and I have tried several—my body almost always grows restless, and on two occasions this actually manifested as physical pain.
On the plus side, there have been several days where I was able to carve out small blocks of time to sit and trance, without a timer, in the sun around campus. Those sessions were actually more fruitful, in some ways, than my planned meditation sessions.
One interesting thing that’s come up while I’ve been doing these meditations is the relization that my aura is loosing its differentiation again: without doing chakra-specific meditations, I’ve dropped down from the “usual” seven to four: a crown above my head which somehow includes my third eye, a point at my heart, one at my loins, and one below my feet. Also of interest is that, though it’s better now than it was a week ago, my crown feels tightly congested. (And that was before hayfever season kicked in to high gear three days ago.)
I have not actually launched any sigils, yet, though I have done a bit of work recharging sigils I have previously fired. There’s not actually anything new that I want right now.
What I have been doing is daily banishing. I’ve actually only fucked that up twice, and was on one of those occasions able to go home, do my banishing and card-of-the-day, and put things right. I’ve been keeping it simple with a banishing pentagram and the Qabalistic Cross, but that seems to be doing me a fair bit of good.
Thursday night, for the full moon, I busted out with the full Pentagram Rite for the Stele of Jeu. It was fucking incredible, and deserves a post all its own.
More interesting than any of that, though, are my experiments with creating my own Alphabet of Desire. Which also deserves a post of its own, but will have to wait until I’ve made it a little further along that road. For now, suffice to say that I’ve had some interesting and positive results with producing personal sigils by automatic drawing, but because of the nature of some of the work, I am uncertain of what about half of the characters mean.
I have been doing better at recording my dreams on waking than I have done with my daily meditations, but there have still been a number of days where, for one reason or another, I didn’t write down my dreams. In one instance, it was because the nightmares were so terrible that I was afraid attempting to record them would draw me back down into them. In at least one other, it was just that I’m a fucking idiot first thing in the morning, and have no idea what’s going on (why, yes, that was one of they days I didn’t do my morning banishing).
So far, though, nothing interesting or significant to report in the dream arena.