August Dark Moon Esbat

Two weeks ago, Aradia and my mother helped me lay the foundations of my house-wards.  Since then, though, my dreams have been more troubled than my waking life, alone, can account for.  I’m accustomed to living in a tightly Warded space, and although the neighborhood is quiet … it’s not that quiet.  Besides, I’ve been performing the Qabalistic cross daily for the entire interim: I was ready for a badass ritual, and I needed to prepare the space for rituals to come.

I began with a shower – a ritual cleansing that I often forgo.  I cleansed the space with a blend of sage, lavender, and kava – not my usual mix, but it was what I had on hand.  I called up an elemental circle, asking the powers, creatures, and beings of the quarters to guard my space so long as I abide there.  I charged a bottle of Dark Moon water to mix with my flying potion, and for whatever other uses I can find in the next month.  I made sacrifices to my household gods and spirits – mead for Dionysos and for the Nameless Ones; absinthe for the Nameless Ones, my journey-mask, and Tsu. 

Drawing on the theories of Frater Barrabbas, I opened a vortex within my initial circle and raised a cone of power as well.  With that power I turned to my oldest, but in some ways best, tricks: my Pentagram Ward, a structure upon which I will build more sophisticated wards and protection spells.  My power raised and protections in place, I could do what I’ve been putting off to long.  Doning my mask and downing my flying potion, I returned to the Underworld.

The world tree took me down to my Inner Temple, where Tsu, one of the spirits I work, with was waiting.  She pointed me toward a portal, and I followed.  Interestingly, the portal led first to campus, where I found another portal that led me into a void where I found the Leopard of Dionysos.  I was relieved to see her – I’ve been lax in my practice for a while, and I was afraid my allies had deserted me – but she reassured me that he was unconcerned by my absence; Rhea, on the other hand, was waiting for me.

I descended to a grassy plain I’d seen before, and went deeper into the Underworld via the Temple of Rhea I had seen before, during my initiation.  Dionysos appeared briefly – a translucent image, but still a presence – and I descended further.  I found the Magna Mater in a vast cavern, gargantuan and reclining as before.  I abased myself and apologized for not delivering Pasiphae to her before I left Kansas City.  A realization came to me suddenly: “This is all for my benefit, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” she conceded, and pointed me to a tunnel leading down.

That tunnel, in turn, led to oceanic depths I had encountered before, most recently while exploring the Elemental Realm of Water.  It occurred to me that perhaps the Power I had encountered here had not been knocking me around for her own amusement, but that perhaps there had been a purpose.  I swam in the direction she had thrown me and discovered a passage leading up.

That passage led me to more familiar territories, the caverns beneath a ziggurat I had “discovered” in my earliest spirit-journeys.  Reaching light at the top of the zigurat, I encountered a spirit I had almost forgotten – a winged stone serpent placed atop that temple, whose nature I have never determined.  After a brief, silent communion with him, I was returned to the heart of my Inner Temple.

I concluded my journey with a brief but fruitful conversation with Tsu, and returned to my body to put a lid on the vortex and close the circles.

My Unruly Mind

This afternoon I was working on my Greek homework.  In particular, on memorizing the alphabet.  To aid with this, I turned to my Tower of Memory*, pulling one of the many blank books from the shelves.  I placed the book on the table, pulled as pen from the air, and opened the cover to the first page.  Or tried to anyway.  The book refused to cooperate, pages flapping until it was open to the middle.
I tried putting the book back on the shelf and starting over.  I tried leaving my trance state, casting a circle, and entering a deeper trance.  I could feel the pebbled texture of the cover, smell the leather and paper. Still, the book insisted on opening to the the middle.  One of the spirits I work with was there the whole time, laughing at me.

It’s been some time since I started a new “book” in my Tower of Memory.  As I think on it, though, I’ve had this problem before.  I’m better at visualization now than I’ve ever been, but there are still times when my mind refuses to cooperate with me. 

I know that my visualization needs work.  I have had enough experiences where my body and the mortal world were simply gone to know that I am capable of full, six-senses visionary work.  (Though I also know that this is simply not going to happen every time no matter how good I get.)  But I also know that the mind and the Otherworlds have rules (largely unwritten, which is part of why I keep this blog: in the hopes that someone else will be aided by my fumbling experiences) different from those of the mortal world.  Which, of course, beg question: is this a failing on my part, or something about the nature of this particular visionary technique that I don’t know?

* In his Temple of High Witchcraft, Christopher Penczak talks about using a portion of the Inner Temple as a “Tower of Memory”. This, of course, is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not even new to me: I’ve been using both techniques for as long as I’ve practiced magic. I couldn’t even begin to cite my original sources, cribbed as they were from message boards and FTP sites back in the Cretaceous Period of the Internet, when HTTP was shiny and new, everyone’s homepage was on lysator, and geocities hadn’t happened yet. (I mention these things first, so that if you haven’t heard of the technique you can go look it up; and second, to re-establish that Penczak is not my first or only source by any stretch of the imagination, just one I’ve been drawing on recently.)

If I can’t find a good link on the subject in the next few days, I’ll post an instructional write-up of my own.  It’s strange that, though I’ve been working with these techniques since I was sixteen years old, I still don’t feel confident to impart them to others.


A basic instruction for creating the Inner Temple in the first place:

A non-occult conceptualization of the Palace of Memory:

These are adequate, but I think, however, that I will still refine my decade-plus-old write-up of the Inner Temple and House of Memory.