Currently Ongoing Projects

For your amusement and my future reference, here is a list of my currently ongoing projects and magical experiments.

1) Skylights chapbook.  Twenty four pages so far detailing the results of my experiments in planetary magic and outlining a roadmap for other witches without ceremonial backgrounds to recreate them, plus copyright-free line-drawings of the major planetary sigils to make everyone’s life easier, and a few personal-use-only talismanic images produced over the course of my experiments.

2) Planetary Boxes.  Inspired by Jason Miller’s Jupiter Cashbox and the conjure boxes made by RO and Skyllaros, these sort of occupy the intersection of talisman and portable altar.

3) Stele of Jeu adaptation.  Crowley did it, why shouldn’t I?  (Yes, I know the answer to that question.)  “I am Aradia, your daughter, initiate of your Mysteries…”

4) Cave Canem.  Although my lovely guard dog has so far been a technical success, there have been some … oddities which require further observation and documentation.

5) Texting Coffee.  Earlier this week, my partner Aradia needed a coffee fix but couldn’t afford (temporally or financially) to go get the quad-mocha she craved.  So I texted her a picture of the espresso I had just produced.  Although done as a joke, it actually worked.  Now the experiments begin.

6) Book Reviews.  I’ve read a lot of books in the last year but have never written about them.  Highlights include Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets and Advanced Planetary Magic, Deborah Castellano’s Arte of Glamour, Josephine McCarthy’s Magickal Knowledge: Foundations, and the new edition of Apostolos N. Athanassakis’ translation of The Orphic Hymns.

7) Feminist Sex Magick.  Aradia and I manged to pull off non-creepy, non-dominating, mutually benefiting sex magick.  Now to find a non-creepy way to write about it.

After-Action Report for Enchantments of Fall 2012

When I came back to school in the fall of last year, I enchanted heavily for a few things.  Some of those I doubled down on over the course of the semester.  I mostly used sigils, though there were also a few planetary rituals, and a few projects that started over the course of the semester.

Sigils for Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

These results were mixed. 

One sigil was specifically aimed at getting people to give me weed for free, and that worked splendidly: I was given some smoke to bring back to the temple with me from KC, and when that ran out I was able to make it through the rest of the semester on the generosity of friends when I visited their homes and on shake and roaches provided to me by my neighbors.  Hell, I’ve still got some of that left.  That sigil is DEFINITELY getting recharged.

Another sigil was targeted at convincing people to give me booze.  This, too, worked like a champ: people brought booze to my house and abandoned it, they bought me drinks at bars (even when they didn’t know me), and I was even able to get a couple commissions for my homebrew operation.  The effects even continued over winter break, with two different people handing me large quantities of honey to ferment.  Another sigil for the permanent collection.l

Finally, and this may be part of the problem, I had several sigils aimed at getting laid.  I took several different tactics: my sexual needs are met, people feel comfortable approaching me for sex, I have generous and intelligent lovers … all to no avail.  The only people to grace my sheets last semester were my partners Aradia and Sannafrid.  Unfortunately, they were each only there for a week at a time (not the same week; my life isn’t quite that awesome) out of the eighteen week semester.  I was getting a little desperate by the end, and as things stand I have no new prospects for this coming semester.  (Anyone reading this blog is, of course, welcome to volunteer.)

Sigils for Health and Happiness

Again, results were mixed.  I specifically enchanted that I be “sound of body and mind”.  Perhaps that wasn’t clear enough.  I also enchanted for the solidification of old friendships and the establishment of new.

Physically, I was healthy for most of the semester.  I was laid up with a fever for a couple days, once, but it wasn’t that bad.  What really fucked with me, though, was the bouts of insomnia.

Mentally, things were much worse.  Maybe it was the Chaos Magic.  Maybe it was the absence of friends on campus.  Maybe it was Saturn in Scorpio, combined with the psychic backlash of Aradia’s Saturn Return.  Whatever.  I spent the majority of the semester depressed, neurotic, and struggling with paranoia.

I didn’t make many new friends this semester, but I did make one or two, and I was able to really solidify some existing acquaintances.  These are good things.

Sigils for Wealth and Prosperity

These enchantments were utter failure, at least in the short term.  I tapped every resource I had and called in every favor owed me, and I still had to beg for money from friends and family to make it back to KC for winter break.  The school actually threatened to not let me come back next semester unless I paid them part of what I owed them before the start of this semester.

Now, that’s all been worked out.  In fact, I may actually end this semester ahead rather than behind.  But it took a lot of enchantment—some of it by friends of mine—and more than a little hard work in the material world to get there.  And I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Sigil for Academic Excellence

I haven’t been invited to Phi Beta Kappa yet, but I did earn an honors GPA this last semester, despite being on the verge of mental collapse.  3.69 for the semester is nothing to sneeze at, particularly given that I was doing two dead languages at the same time.

Shielding Talismans

These, made toward the end of the semester, were a resounding success.  Coming back to classes this semester, in fact, it’s been a little bit of  a shock to me to realize that I actually need them at school more than I needed them in the mall.  Apparently, at least right now, I find the psychic miasma of adolescent angst and the occasional authority-abusing professor to be more toxic than the capitalist nihilist malaise of the indoor mall environment.

Conclusion

So, overall mixed results for manifesting my will last semester.  I got most of what I needed, but not everything I wanted.  Two sigils, though, proved so effective that I’m going to turn them into semi-permanent talismans, which is a definite win.

This semester, I have set myself a challenge of launching a shoal of sigils every Sunday.  For myself.  For my friends.  For politics.  For the world.  For whatever.  Three to five sigils every seven days.

Let’s see how this goes.

Lucky 13

So concludes another rotation of the Earth around Sol.  By the Gregorian calendar, at least, counting from the approximated birth date of the Christian Savior.  For many years now I have also counted my year Samhain-to-Samhain, emphasized by the fact that my birthday is only seven days after.  And most recently, I have also come to live and die by the academic calendar, which is not quite half done.  By any of those counts, though, this has not been the best year ever.  Not by a wide margin.

It’s been a trial-by-fire since the end of the last Spring semester: going back to the mall for the summer, but somehow not making enough money to actually cover my rent; an art class that consumed twice as much time and energy as it was supposed to; higher costs of education combined with a slightly smaller financial aid package—culminating in the very real possibility that I might not have been able to go back to classes in January if I had not been able to find work over the break; financial policy madness in the United States which may STILL reduce my financial aid to the point where I am unable to finish my degree; fewer friends on campus and fires all over the terrain of my social life; the paranoia and insanity associated with Chaos Magick; and, just for spice, a little bit of inheritance drama on my father’s side of the family.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve gotten a lot done, magically, and there’s been some significant awesomeness in my personal and academic lives.  I finished off the ceremonial experiment and started Project Null, and in doing so I’ve made friends and inroads all over the cosmos.  I’ve come to new levels of understanding and communication with my lovers and our burgeoning polyamory.  I’ve solidified a few friendships, and maybe even started a couple new ones.  Despite the exhausting workload, I ended the semester with a 3.69 GPA, bringing my cumulative at the new school up to 3.44.  And yet, especially as I look a the two lists … it definitely doesn’t weigh out the way I want it to.

So fuck you 2012.  Good riddance.

With that in mind, I did a Tarot reading for the coming year.  My card for the year is the XX Aeon; as I was shuffling, I also caught glimpses of the XVI Tower and XXI the Universe.  When I did a full spread, 0 the Fool, XIII Death, XIX the Sun, and VI the Lovers were all prominent, as were the Queen of Wands and the Page of Swords.   II the Priestess and XVII the Star also made appearances.  Except for Death in my 10th House (professional recognition; clarified as 6 Swords, not III the Empress), the reading is overwhelmingly positive.

Sure, that could be the 6 of Swords as “travel” not “fleeing disaster”, but … I don’t like that shiny red reset button blinking on my career dashboard.  It makes me nervous.  I don’t graduate until 2014.  This is the year I take the GRE and start filling out grad school applications.   An ill-timed “Death” in my professional life …. well, y’all get the idea.

When I get back to the Sunrise Temple – I’m in Kansas City with Aradia for the winter break – I’ll compare this reading with the annual I did at Samhain.  This should be … interesting.

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.

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Icepick Initiation into Hermetics

The Ptolemaic geocentric model of the Universe...
The Ptolemaic geocentric model of the Universe according to the Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have just completed three consecutive weeks of daily planetary conjurations, two of those weeks overlapping with the two phases of Rufus Opus’ Seven Sphere in Seven Days challenge. The results included several visions of the Planetary realms and a ridiculous boost in personal power, and culminated in the ability evoke planetary forces at will … and my first magic-induced migraine since I recovered from my blown a gasket eight years ago. Ultimately, it seems to have served as an initiatory culmination of last year’s ceremonial study.

When Rufus Opus made his challenge, I was already on my third day of planetary rituals prompted by my spirit-allies. Although that first Jupiter conjuration was relativity weak, things escalated quickly. I could see the group current flowing across the sky as I did my work, and I bathed in it. I caught glimpses of the Planetary Realms of the Sun, Mars and Mercury—powers I had not touched so successfully or so formally, if at all. I received ritual instructions from Saturn, and built on my relationship with the powers of the Moon.

The group took a break between Phases I and II of the work, but I continued in between: making my first foray into the Planetary realm of Venus and receiving further instructions on how to perform my conjurations even better—most significantly an upgrade for my Circle of Art and Triangle of Conjuration.

When Phase II began, I was rewarded with a powerful Solar initiatory experience—less than apotheosis, but more than dismemberment. Then the tone changed radically. Although I was able to make contact with each of the Planetary powers in turn, the effects felt anticlimactic after the visionary drama of the week before. I could certainly still feel each planet’s influence—in fact, I could feel it continuing to build throughout the day, particularly as the First Hour of Day passed from the Eastern time zone into Centeral, and as the Third Hour of Night came around. It was at this point that I found the discussion group on facebook to be particularly helpful, as others were able to point out technical differences between Phase I and II that I had not been able to perceive, and to confirm that I was not alone in this particular manifestation of effects They also reminded me that, within the Hermetic frame, the planetary powers are not so much places or forces (as I usually concieve them) but refracted lights emanating from God. RO, in particular, suggested that I take some time to look inward at the changes going on within my sphere; doing so revealed that, by Thursday evening, I had tapped into far more planetary power than I had realized.

Saturday, though, I went over the cliff. My final ritual left me filled with black light and white light. I bumped up against the edge of something, the limit of Saturn, and when I came back to my body full of that bi-colored light, I saw a six-winged figure looming over the current. Things have been quiet on the board and in those corners of the blogosphere since the project finished, and I think that whatever I caught a glimpse of (Iophiel?) might have borked some brains that got a better look.

As usual, I had performed my rites at the First Hour. Within a few hours, my head started to hurt. I thought it was psychic feedback from lunch on campus: things were a little strange over the weekend in the wake of a tragic accident involving several students. Come the Eighth Hour, though, the pain had escalated to the point where I could no longer function well enough to run the errands necessary for my birthday party. Fortunately, Aradia—in town for the party—was driving and able to get me home, where I promptly collapsed into bed with a full-blown migraine headache.

Ninety minutes later, I felt up to taking some painkillers, and was finally coherent enough to put two and two together: the psychic weather—no matter how nasty a college campus can be—was not enough to lay me out like that. It was Saturn that had pushed me over the edge from “magicially manic” to “magical migraine”. Looking to my aura, I concluded that it was too densely packed: I separated out the planetary power—not wanting to ground it altogether—and pushed it out to the edges. That felt better, so I pushed the edges out further. The further I pushed, the better I felt. When my aura was bigger than campus and the surrounding college-owned student ghetto, the pain was finally manageable. It finally disappeared about the time I pushed out to the city limits. That sort of “coverage” is unsustainable, of course, but the pain did not return as my aura deflated over the course of the evening.

The final Saturn ritual brought with it a sense of finality. Whatever it is that my spirit friends wanted me to get out of daily planetary rites … I’ve gotten. I can now channel planetary power at will, just as I can elemental power, though I’m still struggling with the personal consequences of hot-and-cold-running-Venus (just as a for instance), and half a week later, I’m still struggling to maintain my aura at a reasonable level. There have been no new migraines, but my energy level has been up and down like an EKG and requires too-frequent “maintenance”.

Clearly I had some unfinished business with the planetary powers that I began working with during the ceremonial experiment. That’s been fixed: I have now received my first initiation in the seven Planetary Powers, complete with dissolution, crippling agony, and even some ἱερῳ ἀναμιγνομενος. And I’ve also just been handed a brutal reminder of what happens when I let my magical practice get too high-octane.

So I’m taking a short hiatus from magic: doing just enough to keep from setting off the cold-turkey migraine. My Dark Moon rites have so far been minimal. I’m going to get back into more “pure” Chaos Magic pretty soon here, but I am definitely not fucking around with any more Hermetics until Mercury goes direct again.

But, before I fall further down the NaNoWriMo rabbit hole for a few days, I want to thank Rufus Opus and everyone in the Seven Spheres In Seven Days working group for the opportunity and the camaraderie. It was a mad ride, y’all, and I’m glad I didn’t do it alone. I know that I would have gotten even more out of it if I could afford RO’s Gates Rites (and I am not for a moment questioning that the years of practice that went into developing those rituals is worth $12 a pop: I just don’t have the scratch), or if I were capable of believing in the Ptolmaic/Hermetic cosmology as the Truth, not just aTruth. In the end, though, I got enough: initiated into Hermetics with a Solar immolation and Saturnian icepick to the brainpan.

SEMPER LVX

φως ἀθανατος

Τιερεσιας Σατυρος ὁ Μαγος

Project Null: What Am I Doing Again?

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Much like the ceremonial experiment, I started Project Null thinking that I knew what it was I would be studying, and turning out to me more than a little bit wrong. There are certain key techniques of Chaos Magick: fewer and, in some cases, easier to define than those of traditional Western ceremonialism. As the Ptolmaic, enspirited paradigm centers and frames the Hermetic magician’s practice, so, too, do certain beliefs and attitudes make up the base and superstructure of the Chaos Magickian. So early in my studies, I am no more qualified to pontificate on the latter than the former. Still, I think I have reached a point where I might make a few observations. What follows below are just that: my observations and half-researched opinions, and if any of the self-identified Chaos Magicians who read this blog take my statements amiss, I apologize in advance and ask that they correct me.

Most central to Chaos Magic as I have studied it so far are one tenant and one strategy: first, the belief there is no fundamental truth, and the corollary that belief itself is a tool; and a dedication to experimentation in search of measurable results.

“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” I see this mantra everywhere in the Chaos theory I study, and it is here that Chaos Magick’s roots in the 1980s and 90s are most evident. There is wisdom in it, but also hubris: a fool’s absolutist misinterpretation of cognitive relativism and and postmodern thought. I like the newer version better: “Everything is true, everything is permitted.” The variation seems less open to materialistic nihilism, a trait I have observed in many of the Chaotes and former CM practitioners I have known in the physical world.

Much more valuable, and arguably even more iconic of the CM paradigm, is the second point. Experimentation is hardly unique to Chaos Magick, but—to the best of my ability to determine—Chaos Magick is unique in the way in which pseudo-scientific experimentation and the incorporation of scientific theory to achieve reliable, demonstrable results is central to its self-identity. And it is this point which I find most appealing about the paradigm.

After these things, what Chaos Magick seems to be best known for is sigils, which seems to be the central technique of the Chaote as spirit evocation is to grimoire ceremonial magic.

I had a plan when all this madness started. I knew what books I was going to read and had a pretty solid idea of what experiments I was going to perform. Things have already gone a bit off the rails, though. The results of my previous experiments weren’t done moving through the pipeline—a fact clearly demonstrated by the various spiritwork and visionary experiences that have devoured my last couple weeks.

Chaos Magick is results magic, first and foremost, and my experiments in Chaos Magick have turned into an engine for synthesizing the ongoing results from the ceremonial experiment into my larger personal practice. I thought about ignoring those results in favor of the original plan, but only for a moment. That dumb shit would blow up in my face so fast it would actually be be funny, and it would fly in the face of the spirit of Chaos Magick besides.

Chaos Magick is results magic, and by all the gods: I’m getting damn results.  I’m hearing spirits more clearly, and they’re damn sure hearing me. I’m seeing auras again AND suffering less from the effects of psychic weather. I’m having legit gnostic experiences—one after another, each more brain-borking than the last—which is … well, short of my ongoing relationships with Aradia and Sannafrid, pretty much the most awesome thing to happen to me. Ever.

Here’s to magic, y’all. Here’s to breaking ourselves, breaking the world, and putting it all back together so that it’s more interesting than it was before.

Here’s to forging ahead even when it’s terrifying.

Here’s to Chaos.

Project Null is Going Off The Rails

It’s amazing how productive you can be while not sticking to the plan.  My formal daily practice has basically fallen apart in the last weeks, even as my various experiments have increased in breadth and depth.

I have been re-re-reading Liber Lux and am working on several write-ups therefrom.  I have almost finished Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets and am in the process of incorporating some of his excellent suggestions into my practice.  Mr. Miller might be slightly annoyed to see him work included in my Chaos experiment—that’s not how he self-identifies—but, really, where is the line between innovative syncretism and Chaos Magick?

Meditation and Dreaming

As I mentioned above, my formal meditation and dream work have basically fallen apart.

Although I have not sat down to meditate deliberately in over a week, I have actually spent hours in trance.  Sitting outside in the cold one day, waiting for a friend, as a trance settled lazily over me for nearly thirty minutes.  I spent five hours at the loom the following day, not even half of which I can remember.  These meditations certainly don’t qualify as the concentrations Peter Carroll (and many other occultists like him) prescribe, but I refuse to concede that they don’t count.  I actually have a whole rant about this planned for the near future.

While my sleep schedule has been restored to the point where I no longer drug myself with chamomile and valerian at 10 o’clock every night, my ability to recall my dreams in the morning is spotty at best.  This is something I have always struggled with, and will probably continue to struggle with for years to come.  Most of my dreams, though—what little I can recall of them—have been clearly mundane: fragmentary remains of my bout with super-hero obsession a couple weeks ago, and my increasing state of holy-fuck-i-need-someone-to-sit-on-my-face.

Shielding

My shielding experiments continue, and I’m fine-tuning a protection talisman. At the suggestion of Chirotus Infinitum in the comments to my last shielding post, I attempted to use the image of a ladybug as shield. The visceral experience was indescribable. And it brought back a series of shape-shifting experiments from my high-school days that I’m in the middle of writing up, and will probably share after I have finished my write-up of Peter Carroll’s chapters on Evocation and Invocation, because they’re highly relevant.

Manifesting My Desires.

While none of last week’s sigils have quite manifested, my experience so far says to wait two weeks before getting antsy.  Also, those are socially complex endeavors, and while I haven’t actually found any new lovers, yet, the value of my social capital (to abuse a metaphor) seems to be rising.

I have another batch, this time aimed just at boosting my social situation, in the works to fire off this afternoon.

In the mean time, I have also been tinkering with my Web of Influence, again: drifting into a trance to tend the threads and make certain that things are moving down the pipeline (to deploy a cliché). Interestingly, though I had not yet consciously begun to incorporate my Web of Influence into my sigil work, I could see my manifesting sigils on the web as glittering lights.

Visionary Practice

I went on a pair of highly fruitful visionary journeys at the Dark and Full Moons that I still haven’t quite parsed.  In the first, I re-established contact with my my chief familiar spirits and discovered, as I had discovered when I was doing some of my work with Elemental Fire, that a portal to Chaos had opened in my Inner Temple.  I didn’t have the nerve to explore it the first night, but I did the second.  Beyond the door was a vast void: not the swirling mass of potentiality I had assumed the Chaos current would appear to me as, but the gaping void of Χαος.  I could barely sense an intelligence to it, it was so vast and alien, but it was definitely aware.

At first, there was nothing there that I could perceive, an I thought that I was walking through a black void like the astral fragment I use to access the Otherworlds.  Slowly, though, the vastness of the space in which I was moving began to dawn on me.  I began to perceive fling things moving through the void at almost unimaginable speed.  There were countless multitudes of them, but the scale Chaos made them seem few and far between.  At that point, Sue, ZG, and SKM joined me, forming a protective triangle, and helping me keep track of where I had come from for when the time came to leave.

We drifted until we came to a lone floating chunk of rock, which we landed on essentially out of my mortal, terrestrial instincts.  Faster than I could think, an insect/crustacean-like creature (I never saw the whole of it), whipped around from the other side of the boulder and impaled me through the heart with a many-jointed limb.  Although we were able to overpower it and reclaim the “blood” that had stuck to its talon, we took that moment to flee back to the Inner Temple.

Gods and Spirits

Since the conclusion of the ceremonial experiment and the Invocation of Baphomet, I now have ten gods and spirits living on my altar.  I speak to fewer than half of them on a regular basis, and I don’t think that’s appropriate.

A few weeks ago, even the gods on my altar demanded a portion of my weekend coffee offerings.  I was happy to oblige, of course: I had only not included them because they had not asked, before, and coffee is such a non-traditional offering that I didn’t wish to offend.  Yesterday, I began incorporating Jason Miller’s Rite of General Offering* into the ritual, and today I will bring back fruit from the cafeteria to add to the offering.

So far, I have rarely asked the spirits I work with for much in the way of manifesting the world I desire.  When I have, though, the results have been spectacular.  When one friend was at risk of being evicted, I got Sue to change the landlord’s mind.  When another needed a specific job, I asked Sue to make sure it happened.  When I was wallowing in a crushing pit of despair last week, I dedicated an evening’s festivities to Dionysus, asking him to purge me of the negativity and obsessive behaviors in which I was engaging; I have since heard that it was the best such party in some time for everyone else there, and I have been pulling out of my emotional morass much more quickly than usual, and am now struggling against a new, but less self-destructive so far, set of obsessive behaviors.

Although I do still intent to built my home defense servitor, and ideally do so before the end of the semester, I think it best that I tend to these relationships before adding anyone or anything else to my altar.

a Change in Plans

Although it might not seem so from my previous weekly reports, my experiment in Chaos Magick has been more productive that I would have anticipated at this early stage. It has also been productive in ways I ever could have imagined, many of which are exceptionally difficult to articulate—a dilemma with which I imagine all my mage-blogging peers can identify.  Some of them have come to light today, some I may never be able to talk about.

I originally conceptualized Project Null as a simple follow-up to the ceremonial experiment: a way of continuing my formal study of the Western magical tradition and of not loosing the momentum I had built up over the course of the previous year.  I set the time frame for the ceremonial experiment at a year because I was originally using Penczak’s year-and-a-day system as a map.  I set a year time frame for Project Null because that was how long the ceremonial experiment had lasted.

It seems, however, that Chaos Magick is even less suited for such a survey than ceremonial magic was.  And I haven’t finished processing or internalizing a number of the lessons from that experiment yet.  And this semester is much, much busier than I had anticipated.  And Project Null is digging things up from my youth that I haven’t though of in a decade or more.  And each and every one of these things deserves my full attention.

Project Null is not being cancelled.  But the deadlines are.  This shit is way too interesting to not let the phenomenal organic growth I’m experiencing progress at its own rate.  Hopefully y’all will understand that this is a carefully considered tactical decision, not just a drunken satyr flaking out.

——

* – Miller, Jason.  The Sorcerer’s Secrets.  Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books (2009).  pp53-5

ETA: Jason Miller reference clarified and cited properly.

Ow. That Was A Wall

projectnullI 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.

Failed Enchantment: No Scholarship for Satyr Magos

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.

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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.

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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….

IMG_5558

…. 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.

The Ceremonial Experiment In Summation

I know that my year of studying ceremonial magic (particularly of the Golden Dawn and grimoire traditions) has been a whirlwind tour at best.  How can one cover, in a year, the variations and culminations of two thousand (or more, depending on where you start counting) years of magical tradition and experimentation?  At times I have felt like a child playing with forces I can barely comprehend.

Fuck: the fact of the matter is that I am such a child.  We all are.  I think that the best many of us—particularly those of us with families, jobs, and other “worldly” obligations—can ever dream of achieving is adolescence.  Still, though, if I sit down and enumerate (as I did a bit in my previous posts on the subject) the things I’ve accomplished, it turns out that I’ve made respectable inroads.

In this final post on the subject I want to talk about the resources I accessed in order to make those inroads.  It would have been impossible for me if I weren’t in college, for one: my access to top-notch internet; the moments of down time between classes that were too long to waste but too short to do any real homework; the intellectual ambiance (so radically different from the outside world) that treats spending weeks at a stretch with your nose in obscure data as healthy behavior rather than as dysfunctional.  There’s also the thing about my relative economic privilege which has allowed me to amass (and hoard) my library over the last decade and a half.

Over the course of this project, in approximate chronological order (with some considerations for ease of citation [and comments]) I have read:

Du Quette, Lon Milo.  Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford: Dilettante’s Guie to What You Do and Do Not Need to Know to Become a Qabalist.  San Francisco: Weiser, 2001.  [Gave me the courage to really dig into this project.]

–.  Low Magick.    Woodburry, MN:  Llwellen, 2011.

Penczak, Christopher. Temple of High Witchcraft. Woodburry, MN: Llwellen, 2007. [Solid at first glance, but structurally unsound: lessons begin and end but don’t middle.]

Crowley, Aleister.  Moonchild.

–.  Book of Thoth.  (*)

–.  Book Four.  (*)

Fortune, Dion.  Sea Priestess.

–.  Moon Magick.  York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1978.

Kraig, Donald Michael. Modern Magick.  St. Paul, MN: Llwellyn, 1997. (*)  [I see that there’s a new edition out, but it looks hardcore Llwellenized.  Does anyone know if it’s been nerfed as bad as it appears, or if it’s actually still solid?)]

Turner, Robert.  Trans.  Arbatel of Magic

Frater Barrabbas. Mastering the Art of Ritual Magick Volume One: Foundation.  Stafford England: Megalithica Books,2008 (*)  [Explain to me again why people take this guy seriously?]

Agrippa, Cornelius.  Three Books of Occult Philosophy. (*)

Trithemius, Johannes. The  Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals.  (*)  [So … is he a cryptographer or a magician?  Can someone more expert in these fields help me with this?]

Betz, Hans Deiter (ed.).  The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation Including the Demotic Spells.  (*) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.  [I wish I had the brazen gonads needed to do half the magic in this book.]

Warnock, Christopher (trans.). Picatrix. (*) [Working with excerpts provided on his web page and via the Spiritus Mundi group.]

Greer, Mary K. Women of the Golden Dawn: Priestesses and Rebels. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1995.  [Brilliant.  You should read it.]

Books I didn’t make it all the way through are marked with an asterisk(*).  Yes, there’s some novels on there.  I apologize for those citations which are incomplete, especially to the owners of those works, I do not have the print volumes on hand for all the relevant publication data.

And, last but not least, I have been hip-deep in the blogosphere.  Rufus Opus at Head for the Red and Polyphanes the Digital Ambler have provided me with a great deal of information on Hermeticism.  The former operates in a decidedly Christian tradition, while the latter is somewhat more eclectic, and between the two I’ve really been able to get a better view of the mechanics behind the symbolism and ideologies.  Also Aaron Leitch of Annael, who provided me a view of the (sane quarters of the) modern Golden Dawn, a recipe for Abramelin oil (and a process for extracting essential oils in general, which has been great fun), and a few other things.  I should also point to Skyllaros of the Crossroads Companion, because he’s awesome and his work is more accessible to me than that of many other hermetic magicians, but I only discovered him late in the game.

Deserving of special attention and thanks is one mister Jack Faust, of Dionysian Atavism, who has helped me contextualize a lot of these ideas with his very post-modern thoughts on the subject, backed by wonderfully hard archaic sources.  He also gave me a number of personal pointers over email and on G+, for which I am extremely grateful.

Thank you, all of you, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with me.