Purification Ritual Draft

Last October I wrote a purification ritual in anticipation of Samhain rites and led it at the October Spirit Circle.  The original ritual was set up with participants encircling a raised altar.  The initial results were positive, but not really in line with the amount of effort it took to put on the ritual.  The following week, I adapted the ritual for an outdoor setting, encircling a bonfire.  The participants moved in and out of the center, each taking their turn in contemplation at each of the four elemental stations.  Participants were deeply moved, and the energetic results were spectacular.  Yesterday, I adapted the ritual for a smaller, more intimate indoor setting.

The ritual went smoothly, and all participants reported a feeling of weight being lifted from them.  I, myself, even as the facilitator of the ritual, felt strong effects in the moment.  After the ritual, I was overcome by a deepening sense of calm.  I slept well for the first time in weeks.  I felt fantastic in the morning, which is something that almost never happens.

I think it’s safe to say that the ritual is ready for wider testing.

Clever readers will recognize elements from a variety of sources.  The altar construction and layout has its roots in eclectic Wicca.  The blessings of the elemental components are adapted from Agrippa via Rufus Opus.  The magical Names and barbarous words are drawn from the Stele of Jeu.  The concluding meditation on the Light is drawn from Thelema and modern Gnosticism.  The decision to mix all these things together, of course, is rooted in my study of chaos magick.

Please check out the ritual behind the cut.

Read More

Ancestors for the Alienated: First Contact

At last Thursday’s Spirit Circle, Shauna Aura Knight’s Full Moon included an invocation of the Ancestors and the Descendants – either literal or figurative.

As I mentioned fairly recently, I’m SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE with the notion of ancestor work because, as a white person, there is no clear differentiation between my biological ancestors and White Supremecy.  The descendants part was more uncomfortable for reasons that ar much more personal as a child-free individual who may or may not ever take students or produce work whose influence might be equivilent.

But one of the things about rituals led by other peope is that they sometimes go places you weren’t 100% prepared for.

In this case, at least, I was about 50% prepared.  I didn’t expect it to come up in the moment, but I had names to call.  In that moment, two particular names came to mind.

I called out to Aleister Crowley and Pamela Coleman Smith as my occult progenetors.  My mental image was, in case it’s relevant, drawn from the most common pictures available of them.

Contact with Crowley was … ephemeral.  Neither positive nor negative.  Further experimentation needed.

Smith, on the other hand, responded warmly.  Positive contact.  It was a fleeting moment.  No terms were discussed.  But the mother of the modern tarot is open to further contact.

Corn Moon Musings I: Recovery

altar-4

I’ve come at it sideways from more angles than I can count, and have probably even said it outright once or twice before, but: I have been struggling.  Since I closed down the Sunrise Temple and moved back to Kansas City and began backing my way out of the rigorous but ultimately toxic-to-me ceremonial pracctice I had there, I have been wounded and flailing and desperate to refind my path.  Without the rejuvination of ecstacy, the majority of my magical work was dedicated toward material prosperity, and it was exhausting.

Moreover, culminating in March, I enchanted myself out of a job.

And, it’s worth noting, into a new one — one which pays only half as much, but has left me with the time and energy to puruse my writing more seriously than I have done since the first months back from Indiana.  And the time to promote my photography, if not the money to pursue it.

But the ice-bath of sudden and unexpected unemployement left me shocked and twitching   Combined with some structural issues with my house, and some mental health issues …. well, I’ve been limping from one crisis to the next, barely keeping up.

Last Thursday, though, as one of my many duties with the Sacred Experience Committee, I hosted and participated in a chant workshop and Full Moon Ritual led by Shauna Aura Knight here in Kansas City.  An hour and a half of light trance followed by an hour long group ritual of singing ecstacy, with someone else doing the heavy lifting so that I could have my own experience.  The ritual’s central conceits were seeking healing in the Sacred Well beneath the World Tree, and then descending further into the underworld to find and recclaim our power.  Despite the public forum, I was able to go deeper and clearer than I have in months.

I was brought to cliff where my astral temple used to stand — shattered and burned more than a year ago now (have I ever told that story?).  I called the Well up to the center of where my temple used to be, and the Well moved the landscape to suit its purposes, drawing the cliff face down into the earth so that what had once been a mighty bastion of stone overlooking the astral sea now stood only as a low wall against a high tide.  The borders of the realm collapsed, or perhaps moved outward beyond my sight.

I submurged myself in the waters of the Sacred Well, let them fill me and wash over me and run through me.

The next two days were a hard crash.  Friday I was hung over like I’d been on a whiskey bender, not participating in a ritual.  I was sick to my stomach, weak and light headed.  Saturday I was hit hard by depression and anxiety.  I felt useless and alone.

Yesterday, though, despite getting up early to help with some heavy lifting, I felt increasingly myself throughout the day.  Private, custom jewelry commisions started falling into place: I expect at least two down payments within the week.  I meditated last night without having a panic attack.  As I examine my aura, now, I find I am more stable, more full, than I have been in months.  There’s a …. spot on my back that may need help from a more practiced healer than I, but it may also sort itself out if I can re-establish a daily practice.

For the first time since coming back to Kansas City, in general, and since losing my old job in March, in particular, I feel genuinely ready to face the world.  There are enough irons in my fire that it is time to stoke the forge, and to begin striking as the irons grow hot.

The lesson, here, is threefold:

  1. Yes, sometimes you fuck  yourself up doing magic.   Particularly when you are getting results.
  2. More magic can be the solution.
  3. Even knowledgable, practiced witches, sorcerers, and magicians benefit from letting others take the helm.  Speaking for myself: I believe that I need a great deal more of that right now.

Altar to Eros, Aphrodite, and Dionysus

_DSC6951

Last night I finally unpacked my second Dionysus statue–the one that went with me to Indiana and back–and dedicated the altar he now shares with Eros and Aphrodite.  This is not their final home, but the vanity I wish to appropriate for this purpose is still full of heirlooms.

No, your eyes do not deceive you: that is a penis-shaped bottle opener front and center.  I got it in Athens.

Rebuilding

Re-establishing my magical practice now that I’ve moved back to Kansas City has proven a greater challenge than I had anticipated. I’m managing to keep up my Esbats, but only barely. I have failed to resume making regular offerings to my familiar spirits, and the gods… well, since Aradia also had a Dionysus statue, the idol I’d kept in Indiana was only unpacked tonight. I have still not completed the masks the Witchmother instructed me to make, nor have I made any progress on the ceremonial witchcraft book I had once delusionally believed I would complete over winter break.

Part of the problem, I think, is the degree to which my magical practice has come to differ from Aradia’s. While she has found some use from the Orphic and Picatrix hymns to the planets, the Stele of Jeu is not at all to her taste. Meanwhile, I have (very much to my detriment, mind) fallen out of practicing the sort of visionary work that remains central to her practice, and she has picked up a bit of the Hoodoo that’s going around Kansas City circles these days (a Catholic upbringing and a better grounding in Chaos magic paradigm-shifting make that much easier a leap for her than it is to me). And the people we used to do Sabbats with are … not really practicing with us any more; we seem to be drifting apart.

Further, especially since we’re not practicing together like we used to, I feel really awkward practicing magic in a house where someone is not participating.

Of course, since we’re not doing magic the place isn’t really tuned to magic, and there’s more … resistance when we do do things.

This is all just whining, of course. The solution is clear and simple.

Resume the visionary work, keep at the planets, keep at the moons, and fucking DO MAGIC.

Further Experiments With The Stele of Jeu

beneficial moon
Third night of the full moon, 15 Apr 2014. Neither my most nor least successful attempt to photograph the moon.

Excepting the Valentines’ Day Full Moon, when I was laid low with the literal flu and a fever of 104, I have performed the Stele of Jeu the Heiroglyphist (or one of my experimental variants) at least twice at every Full and Dark Moon Esbat this semester.  It has, to my own surprise, become the centerpiece of my magical practice over the last few years.  The results of the ritual, however, have been in no way consistent.

I have written about the ritual before–perhaps more than anyone on the internet except Mr. Jack Faust, who introduced me to the ritual–and I don’t want to re-tread too much ground, but there have been some interesting changes, particularly lately.  In my two years of research, now, I have found about a double handful of people who mention or advocate the ritual.  Only two have talked about the effects of the rite, or their personal experiences with it, and they have spoken to me mostly in private.  I don’t know if this in any way resembles the experiences that others have had with the ritual.

When I first began performing the ritual, I could feel it sending shockwaves throughout my world.  My web of power trembled.  Cracks emerged in the foundations of my reality.  I got so high on power that sometimes I could barely walk to bed at the end of the ritual.

As I became fore familiar with the ritual, the effects seemed to diminish.  The earthquakes were fewer, further between, and came mostly when I was either performing the ritual at a place of power or making the most radical changes to the structure and performance.  It became a sort of touchstone, a powerup, and I had to push the power out into my web.  I began to use the power to help the people in my web transform their lives.  Then I hit a breaking point.

In the last months, I’ve been keeping the power of the ritual to myself again.  And, rather than being disruptive–rather than earthquakes and cracks–the power of the Headless One has been regenerative.  The cracks in me, the cracks in my life, have been filling with that golden-white power, and they’ve been starting to close.

 

 

Full Moon Musings–November 2012

Over the course of the semester three new magical tools have come into my possession: a pentacle, a staff, and a black-handled knife.  The pentacle I picked up at a swap-meet hosted by the local pagan store.  The staff is hand-made by a fine gentleman in the local community, and was given to me as a gift.  The knife was also a gift, a birthday present from another friend here in IMG_5583Sunrise.  These were my first clues that it was time to get back to my basics.  I didn’t ignore the message, per se; I just couldn’t figure out how to enact it in the context of my current workload.

Read More

Listening to Spirits II: Full Moon Visions of the Cosmos I

Although things haven’t quite gone according to plan over this full moon at the cusp of Aries and Taurus, it’s been pretty epic.  I hesitate to say that I’m “back on top of” my visionary practice, because every time I say that, I fall back off.  Instead I’ll just say that I’ve been doing a good job of keeping up with in over the last few Esbats, and that I’ve been having really powerful experiences as a result.

As I mentioned yesterday, the spirits on my altar have had a lot to say to me in the last week during my meditations and daily rituals.  One such spirit, which has housed itself in a Cycladic figure that I have been using along with my Kouros figure to meditate on my relationship with the archetypes of the divine feminine and masculine respectively[1], informed me that it was time for us to have a sit-down.

Trying to make room for a full three-night Esbat and still leave room for both Samhain and homework, I started my Full Moon rituals Saturday night.  I opened with the Titan’s Cross and Pentagram Rite, performed the Stele of Jeu, then made offerings from my new bottle of absinthe to Dionysus and the as-yet-unnamed Cycladic figure.  I louched the absinth, put on Michael Harner’s Drums, and began my descent.

From the beginning, my vision was off-script.  Stepping out into the void where I usually find the World Tree manifesting as a crystalline spire which rises into the “sky”.  Instead, the world tree appeared as the intertwined bodies of an opposite-sex pair—an image I wear around my neck and have used in art as one way of conceptualizing certain Mysteries, but which I have never used magically—emerging from the void about their thighs and with light streaming upwards past their heads.  The male figure was … blurry and passive, but the female figure beckoned me forward.

At first I attempted to enter the world tree as I usually do: stepping inside and descending as light moves through fiberoptics.  I passed through her thigh and descended … but rather than landing at my Inner Temple, as I had intended, I was confronted by images I could neither comprehend nor describe and landed back in my body.

On my second attempt, I climbed into her outstretched hand and she swallowed me whole.  I was briefly suspended in a dark, watery void, before falling down through more indescribable visions to land at the outer reaches of my inner temple.

The grounds surrounding my Temple were overgrown, and my Natal Demon, SKM, was standing on the parapets—grotesque, gothic fortifications which my Inner Temple did not used to possess and which it may or may not possess when next I descend.  I entered the front gate and knelt at the base of the vast Cycladic statue just to the right of the entrance, opposite her consort Kouros to the left.  In between them is a door that sometimes leads to the basement and sometimes leads to Mysteries; that night it led to the basement, where I sat down cross legged and waited.

Soon, a slender female figure descended and sat opposite me in the circle on the floor.  I could not discern her face.  I greeted her warmly and asked what I should call her.

“Witchmother,” she told me.

I asked her what her nature was, and she showed me a vision of deep forests and swamps and caverns, and flashes of secret rites taking place therein.  I asked what she would ask of me in terms of rites and offerings, and she didn’t quite answer.  I was left with a strong impression of “we’ll see where this goes,” but told me to continue the offerings I was already giving.  Finally, I asked if she had anything else to show me, and tat’s when things got really strange.

She turned and went back up the stairs.  I followed, and she led me past a series of places I half-recognized.  Finally, we passed through a network of interwoven webs or light and glass-like two-dimensional planes which intersected at odd angles.  I recognized the webs of light as relationships: when I’m at the top of my game, I can see those webs stretching between people and places and ideas: more intricate than any lace ever imagined.  We crossed into a dark void.  Up and  up we went, vast nothing stretching above and behind us.  Then she turned me around, and I saw the vast mass of webs and planes below, so distant as to appear small: the earth, and the worlds and relationships that make up all the people who live there.

Having shown me this, the Witchmother vanished, and I fell back to my body.


1 – I know I’ve talked about this before somewhere, but can’t find the posts.

Resuming My Visionary Practice

Beham, (Hans) Sebald (1500-1550): Luna, from T...
Beham, (Hans) Sebald (1500-1550): Luna, from The seven Planets with the Signs of the Zodiac, 1539 (Bartsch 120; Pauli, Holl. 122), first state of five, trimmed just outside the platemark, generally in very good condition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Putting Will to Word, I began the process of resuming my visionary practice last night.  Because it was Monday, and because my most recent successful journey was to the Moon in Yesod, I chose that as my destination once again.

As always, I began by visiting my Inner Temple, where I finished up some business between myself, Tsu, and ZG, regarding help they had given me at Heartland.  Then I called down night over my Inner Temple, where the sun is almost always shining.  To my surprise, constellations have begun to appear in that sky: Scorpio and Gemini, so far.  The Moon hung full in the sky above my Temple, and I flew up t meet it.

Once more, I found myself in the nine-pillared Palace of the Moon[1]  The two figures were both lucid and moving, and when I asked them to instruct me in the Mysteries of the Moon, they took me between them and filled me with the light of the Moon.  When I had been filled to bursting, they took me to the Astral mists, pointing the way to the more familiar Void, and to other “geographical” features I don’t have names for or quite know how to describe.  It was not an “initiation”, per se … but, then, I haven’t asked for one yet.  When they had finished their imparting what they would for the evening, I thanked them and departed.

Filled to the brim with Lunar power, I descended to the elemental realm of Water.  Rather than seeking out the Powers of Water, as I have before, I sat and waited for my presence to draw their attention.  Soon enough, it did.  Although I could sense them, this time I saw nothing but the vast depths of the ocean bottom.  First, I asked the Powers of Water to heal and cleanse me of the damage done by the main ritual at Heartland Pagan Festival this year; despite my best efforts, a lingering miasma has remained.  A powerful current of water washed over and through me, scouring and soothing way the lingering damage.

When that was complete, I once more asked for the Initiation of Water.  I was refused again, but more gently this time.  I asked what I needed to do to prepare myself for that initiation.  They told me to ask again while I was in the water, filling my mind with an image of Lake Onessa under the light of the moon.  I thanked them, and asked leave to depart.

Returning to the waking world, Aradia—who had been doing journeywork of her own—had instructions for me that had been imparted to her: I was to make Moon water with which I would make chamomile tea to use as a kinder, gentler flying potion than the absinthe.  I did so, blessing the water with an incantation of the Orphic Hymn to the Moon.


1 – I’ve been there since last I wrote about it, actually.  The story just wasn’t interesting enough to share: the male figure was still comatose; the female figure talked to me briefly.

Of That Which Has Been Put Off : My Full Moon Reading

Sun = 14*Gemini – Moon = 16*Sagitarius – Venus Retrograde

Aradia and I had Pasiphae and Aidan over last night for some Full Moon socializing.  The place was a little too messy for a full-on Esbat (the Battle of Mount Laundry has yet to be won), but we did spend quite a bit of time with our tarot decks.  Aidan purchased his first deck at Heartland, and Pasiphae managed to get her hands on a copy of the out-of-print Rohrig deck she had been coveting for years.  After I gave Aidan a reading, he spent the rest of the evening playing with his new deck, trying to grok the Celtic Cross and the internal logic of the cards.   Pasiphae as equally eager to break in her new toy.

I actually haven’t had anyone else do a reading for me in quite some time, so I took advantage of the opportunity.  Bought gently used, she’s still getting to know the deck and attuning it to herself.   It’s already got quite a personality: it doesn’t want to deal with piddly shit.  It told me the same as I shuffled it; it also demanded a specific question rather than a general reading.

So I asked it to talk about the direction my magical practice is taking.

IMG_5390

The central thesis here seems to be “Good job; now get to work.”  The Moon (which was central to my monthly reading as well) and the Hanged Man tell me that there’s some important work I’ve been dodging around.

“What am I avoiding?” I ask.  “I’m hip-deep in the biggest thing I’ve ever avoided in my magical career.”  I was speaking of the planetary and ceremonial magical studies I’ve been doing, of course.  I put that shit off for fourteen-odd years.

Aradia knows me well, though.  She knows the answer.  “When was the last time you visited the Underworld?”

“I … uh … don’t know.”

And … that’s unfortunately true.  The deeper into the planetary magic I get, the more my visionary work has been left by the wayside.  I could blame that on the fact that it’s not really a part of the system I’m studying—even if it is a major component of Penczack’s High Temple, which I’ve been using as an outline for my studies—but the fact of the matter is that I’ve just run into one too many things that have scared me when I’ve visited the Underworld.

Between the unsettling demands some of my newer spirit-allies have made of me, and my seeming inability to explore new territories without incurring new alliances and their attendant obligations… Well, let’s just say that I’ve become very, very good at finding reasons not to do Down.  Smart people can be disturbingly good at lying to themselves.  And with all the Work I have been doing—planetary talismans, the Stele of Jeu, puzzling my way (oh, so slowly) through Agrippa and my newfound relationship with my Natal Genius, and even the continuation of Deb’s New Year, New You, which I have fallen so far behind on in the last month—it’s been particularly easy.

“But wait!,” you (my dear readers) ask.  “Didn’t you work your way through that already?”  Yeah, I thought that I had.  Apparently I hadn’t.  It’s that bastard Dweller at the Threshold again.

So I’m setting myself a new goal: to descend to the underworld every Sunday and/or Monday night, regardless of whether or not there’s Work I think needs to be done.  It’s time to face the Moon.

Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, al...
Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, also known as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)