Image of the Moon

Image of the Moon
Image of the Moon

Image of the Moon as she appeared to me in February of 2015.

A feminine figure on a black field, a blue-lined purple cloak hangs from her shoulders.  She holds a bowl in one hand and a stang in the other.  She is crowned, and broad horns extend from the sides of her head.  Her face bears three eyes, and two more stare from each of her horns.

When Aradia and I conjured the Moon at the end of our cycle, I had no idea how the archangel Gabriel might appear to me. After all, Michael had appeared to me as the most femme Sun I had ever seen.  That the archangel appeared to me in the guise of the Witches’ Goddess, then, was not unsurprising … but neither was it expected.

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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Good Problems To Have

There is a theory which argues that “complaints” of being busy is actually a distinctly modern form of bragging.  I don’t think that’s always the case, but it definitely is, here.  Since my last full moon post, I have suffered a problem that probably every magical blogger is happy to have: I have been too busy doing magic to write about it.

I did two more nights of full moon magic after the first.  The results were … not what I expected, but solid.  Sunday night I went on a second visionary journey, and Monday I performed a series of offerings and fired a shoal of sigils.

The Seven Spheres in Seven Days group-work has gotten spectacular results.  I’ve had time in the last two days to implement the instructions presented to me during my Saturn rite, brining my rituals that much closer to the ideal form of the Gates Rites.  As such, I have completed my first Mars ritual and my most successful Mercury ritual to date.  I’m very, very excited to start the second week tomorrow.

Last night, tonight, and tomorrow will be dedicated to Samhain.  Last night’s visionary work was … potent, if not fruitful, and I did my divination for the coming year.  Tonight will be offerings and a Bacchanal.  Tomorrow will be more visionary work.

I will tell all these stories in good time, but ….

Tomorrow is also the start of National Novel Writing Month, which will devour every moment of my spare time.  Accordingly, posts of substance may see a sharp decrease.  Conversely, however, I’m going to try dabbling in hypersigils—my NaNo is going to be a combination pseudo-grimoire in the tradition of the Simonomicon, a magical narrative in the tradition of the Invisibles, and a weed-and-absinthe soaked memoire—and the results (both creative and material) may appear here.

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.

Libra Dark Moon Reading

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.

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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.

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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)

HPF 2012: Rites of Magic

Not counting the public rituals, which are a disaster I will get to soon, I did three major rituals at Heartland Pagan Festival this year.  The last, I have already described.  The first was the creation of a Moon Talisman, taking advantage of the Lunar Election; the second was my most effective performance of the rite of the Stele of Jeu to date.

Friday morning there was a window of opportunity to create a lunar talisman.  Due to a variety of factors (idiocy on my own part chief among them) I was not able to print out a copy of Christopher Warnock’s lunar talisman to assemble and charge at the appropriate hour.  Instead, having the pdf on my phone, I transcribed the invocation into my sketch book and reproduced a crude sketch of the general figure and the characters above him.  When the hour came, I expanded upon my crude sketch from memory, using my nice fountain and brush pens.

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The invocation was potent, and I felt the familiar Lunar power flow through me as I incanted.  I had to leave my ritual jewelry sitting on the talisman when I was done, because it was tingling too much for me to continue wearing it (as is my wont at ritual occasion such as the festival.

I think it turned out nicely.  One of these next days, I’m going to produce a nicer version, as well as Lunar images from the other sources Warnock quotes above.

Saturday night, after the main-ritual-gone-awry, Alopex and I went back to Camp WTF to decompress.  The sun was setting, Alopex went for a walk, and I’d been wanting to perform the Stele of Jeu since I arrived, but hadn’t quite found the right moment.  That seemed to be the right moment: Memorial Grove, Camp Gaea’s small graveyard was near the encampment, there was a trivium crossroad on the way, and the sun was setting.  I made the walk and found a stone slab of an altar in the middle of the grove.  Beside it was a fist-sized rock, ideally shaped for me to paint the Beneficial Sign upon it.

I opened with my Pentagram Rite, and made my offerings of pomegranate mead.  The wind, which had stilled for a while, rose as I incanted and just kept rising.  I really don’t know how to describe the effect of the ritual except to say that I was high, and that I stayed high for hours.  I was going to leave the stone, except that it insisted I take it with me.

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The next night, while Aradia and Aurora combed my aura and I tried to let go of all the accumulated pain and bullshit I hadn’t quite managed to deal with and/or banish over the semester, shortly before I performed my overzealous blessing, I was struck by my first real insight into the Stele.

Although one source gave the rite explicitly as an exorcism, the other people I’ve talked to about it insist that there’s more to it.  And there is.  The first two thirds seem to be an exorcism or banishing of sorts—“Mighty Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him”—but the final portion suddenly identifies the magician with the Headless One he has been calling upon:

“I am the headless daimon with my sight in my feet; [I am] the mighty one [who possesses] the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds arc done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll;/ I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated; I am the one whose mouth bums completely; I am the one who begets and destroys; / I am the Favor of the Aion; my name is a heart encircled by a serpent; come forth and follow.”

Suddenly, after months of practice, this seems to be a ritual which first hollows out the magician—blasting him free of “negative” influences and forcing his aura into the shape of a vessel—in order to make room for the Headless One to fill him.  In a very loose sense, the Stele of Jeu may be the badass great-great-great-grandparent of Drawing Down the Moon.  It is an exorcism, and simultaneously a literal invocation.  Or seems to be, anyway, at this stage in my practice.  Would anyone who has experimented with this more care to comment?

Gemini Dark Moon Reading

I’ve done readings at the last two dark moons.  I’ve even analyzied them, to a point.  But I never posted about them.  So I’m taking a page from Aradia’s book and I’m going to decipher it before your very eyes.

Interestingly, this is the second time I’ve managed to do my reading on the first degree of the new sign.


ANNUAL CARD(S)

When I did my annual reading at Samhain, the card I drew for for Gemini was the 5 of Cups, which I was to fix with the 10 of Pentacles (Robin Wood).  I’m not sure if the decision I’m going to regret is one I’ve already made or one I’m going to make over the course of the month.

DARK MOON READING

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1st – Self, Viewpoint – Princess of Disks

I am, apparently, laden with potential this month.  Elsewhere in the reading, this card would make me very nervous[1].  Here, it’s a hint of things to come, and the first hint of the amount of magic I’m going to need to do.

2nd – Finances, Income – VII Adjustment

I’m working again.  That’s a bit of an adjustment.  I’ve worked three twelve hour shifts in the last eight days.  I am nowhere near adjusted to this shit.

And, after months of living on pennies, I’m going to get a four hundred dollar check.  Two weeks from now I’ll get one for twice that.  Most of which, granted, is going to go paying my rent and utilities back in Indiana.  That’s not just going to take some Adjustment, that’s going to take discipline.  See the 6th and 10th Houses.

3rd – Daily Experiences – 8 Wands “Swiftness”

I’m going to be energetic!  Full of spunk and verve!

Who am I kidding? I’m going to be running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Working open-to-close shifts in the mall, attending Heartland Pagan Festival, trying to catch up with all my friends in Kansas City … it’s going to be a zoo.

4th – Home-place – XV the Devil

Uh, what?

5th – Fun / Pleasure – XI Lust

So, I see there’s going to be some sex, drugs, and rock&roll in my sex, drugs, and rock&roll.  I can live with that.

6th – Work – 2 Disks “Change”

Again, the meaning here appears straightforward and clear, given my transition from full-time student to part-time goon.

I think it may also be an admonition not to sink back into the employment ruts that were forming when I left Kansas City.

7th – Partnership – 7 Wands “Valor”

Aradia was sitting next to me as I laid out this spread.  When I turned over the 7th House she said, “please don’t set me on fire.”

This is a fighting card in a place where I don’t really see that kind of difficulty.  The most optimistic interpretation here is “Stay on top of shit.  Do not let anything fester.”

8th – Taboo / Crisis– X the Heirophant

Of course I have issues with Tradition and Authority.  What’s new?

Oh, wait.  I’ve been studying at the feet of Tradition lately.  That’s only going to make things more complicated.

9th – Higher Perception– VII the Chariot

Looks like I’m going places.  The question is “where”?  Crowley’s Chariot is a lot less about Will than the Chariot in other decks and a lot more about Destiny.  Perhaps I should ask ZG about this one.

10th – Recognition– 5 Disks “Worry”

I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.[2]

11th – Friendships – 5 Swords “Defeat”

This is worrisome.  I need to stay on top of things.

12th – Secrets & Fears – 3 Disks “Work”

Between working for money, working on my novels, and the Great Work … there is a LOT that I want to get done this summer.  I know I won’t be able to do it all.  I’m afraid I won’t manage to do any of it.

+1/6 – Current Position – 5 Cups “Disappointment”

I feel like this isn’t really the 5C in particular so much as it’s a generic swamp.  It’s my change of circumstances and Venus Retrograde.  It’s my indecision and my conflicting goals.

+2/6 Current Influences – XVII the Moon

If 5C is a morass, the Moon tells me I have to cross it in order to continue my journey.  Face the fear.  Walk the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Descend to the Underworld.

+3/6 What Crowns It – Hexagram

And here, at last, we get to the point: whatever it is, fucking do magic about it.

+4/6 The Root of It – I the Magus

I am a magician.  I do magic.  See above.  Sometimes divination is anvilicious.

To pass from the Magus to the Hexagram, I must cross the 5 of Cups via the Moon.

+5/6 Going Out – Queen of Swords

I’ve done an awful lot of thinking, talking, writing, and intellectualizing about my magic.  That’s going to have to wane for a while in order for me to get back to really doingthe magic.

+6/6 Coming In – XX the Aeon

I’ve set myself on a path of transformation.  If I pursue it diligently over the next lunar month, I’m going to undergo some serious changes.


1 – childfree for life!

2 – Snoop Dogg.  Yeah.  I went there.

Lunar Journey II

Because, to my mind, 4am 8 March is actually more Wednesday night than Thursday morning, I performed my Esbat rites on Wednesday.  Initially, I didn’t feel as “on” as I did Monday night, but the journeywork turned out to be more productive, if less dramatic.

I made another Lunar incense blend: calamus, eucalyptus, jasmine flower, myrrh, and willow.  I actually liked my first blend better, but this is why we experiment, right?  After charging the incense and a bottle of lunar water, I mixed my flying potion (1), donned my visionary mask, and descended to the underworld through the Void.

Approaching the world tree, I asked to be returned to the Realm of Yesod and the Moon to further explore it.  Taking me DOWN this time instead of UP, the tree deposited me back on the island with the nine-pillar temple.  I began my work by leaving offerings of light for the two figures in the temple, and the entity which had “roped” me Monday night.

There was a land-bridge off to one side which I had neglected to investigate last time, so I started there.  Strangely, it didn’t go anywhere: although I tried to follow the coast I found past the land-bridge, I kept finding myself back on the shore of the island.  Frustrated, but undiscouraged, I dived into the lake instead.

Swimming down, I encountered a dolphin.  I asked it if it was there to guide me.  “No,” it said.  I asked it why it was there, but it didn’t answer.  It did, however, follow me as I continued swimming down.

“This is an awfully small body of water for you,” I noted.

“Well, yeah,” it acknowledged.

“Where do you come from?”

“Out there.”

I asked it to show me, so it led me—almost faster than I could follow—out to another, deeper region of water.  Down and down it led me, vanishing as I found myself on the bottom of an ocean floor.

Being the bottom of the ocean, there wasn’t any light, and it took me a few moments to adjust my astral vision until I could see.  (For some reason just conjuring a light didn’t seem like a good idea.)  When I could see, I found myself surrounded by massive, alien creatures, all trudging toward the direction from which I had come.  I couldn’t see them clearly—mostly just massive legs and bodies, dimly seen through the dust they raised—but they were legion, and each hundreds of times more massive than I.  I swam in the direction from which they had come, and none deigned to acknowledge me.  Eventually I came to a place where I was alone.

After swimming in random directions and encountering a lot more nothing, I drew a circle in the sand of the sea bottom and sat down cross-legged, waiting.  soon I began rising, and eventually broke the surface.

I cannot remember—could not, in fact, even immediately upon returning to my body—how I transitioned from floating over this massive, primordial ocean to standing once more in front of the nine-pillar temple.  This time when I ascended the stairs, the figures had moved.  They moved again in front of me, and acknowledged my presence.  We communicated briefly, and I received a positive response when I asked if I could return for instruction.  The woman reached out and touched me, and I was filled with a vibrant, cool energy.

I returned to the world tree, and through it to the waking world.  The journey was done.

I think I will do one more lunar journey before moving on to Hod/Mercury.


1 The usual, lately: absinthe and sacramental mead at a 1:3 ratio.  It’s a little stronger and a little easier to slam than properly louched absinthe, if not quite as exquisite.