Fundamental SIM Texts

It occurs to me that it’s very hard to take the first steps in orienting yourself around SIM because outside of Chris Warnock’s courses there is nothing really like a 101 book. I’ve attempted to do some of that with my lectures, but there’s only so much you can do in a narrow window of time.

Even more important is orienting oneself towards the worldview of pracitioners of the system. Thinking like someone in the 21st Century rather than someone in the 17th is a major stumbling block, because so many assumptions about the self, the universe, and metaphysics overall have changed that really do matter. There is much to un-learn before you learn.

Chris requires one of two books early on in his Astrological Magic Course. The first is The Elizabethan World Picture by E.M.W.Tillyard. It’s a very useful book, but one of the most boring I’ve ever read.

The better option is The Discarded Image by C.S.Lewis. This book I can wholeheartedly recommend, and convinced me that the pious Lewis almost certaintly practiced some form of Christian Neoplatonic magic in secret.

I’d like to go a bit further and add two more books to your reading list, one of which is much easier to obtain than the other.

The first is the Timaeus of Plato and the many, many commentaries upon it. A great deal of the justification and rationale for (Traditional) astrology in Western Culture originates in this text, and it is profound elegant reading if sometimes a bit dry. You should read it fully at least once, but it certainly grows in value upon subsequent reads.

The second is De Radiis Stellarum of Al-Kindi in French and a harder to obtain version in English. Though this text was certainly respected in the Muslim world, it was widely disseminated throughout the Christian medieval world as an explanation for magic which did not recourse to the evocation of demons and only mysterious natural forces. More relevantly, it’s a logical philosophical and integrated view of how magic works and much more sophisticated than anything which has emerged since. Without understanding De Radiis Stellarum, it’s actually very hard to understand Picatrix; and it happens to be one of the biggest skeleton keys to understanding the text for my own researches.

The Talismans of the Inescapable Prison

THE TALISMANS OF THE INESCAPABLE PRISON: Fast Moon culminating in the 25th Mansion perfecting a trine with the Greater Benefic, with a dignified and unafflicted Ascendant Ruler.


The 25th Mansion generally is for the protection of orchards and crops as per the Plinian Mansion section of Picatrix, but the “Foundational Mansions” early section in the same gives a number of other options for people with brown thumbs like myself.

In this Mansion make images to besiege cities and villages, to take enemies captive and do as much evil to them as you please, to make messengers convey their messages and quickly return, to separate wives from their husbands, to destroy harvests, to bind a man and wife or a woman and her husband so that they cannot copulate, to bind whichever part of the human body you wish so that it is not able to function, to strengthen the prison of captives; and it is good to secure buildings.

Of course, the majority of these options are for curse talismans and would require a completely different sort of election.

But this raises a different question: clearly the hastening of messengers and the securing of buildings are benevolent and require benefic electional configurations, but what about the strengthening the prison of captives? And what is it with so many of the listings in this section either for the securing of captives or the liberation of prisoners? It’s really conspicuous when you look at them as a whole.

The most obvious possibility is that magicians were often in danger of imprisonment in antiquity and having a memorized list of potential talismans for escape was a priority. Another is that magicians were often in the employ of nobles who had a strong interest in securing enemies and rivals in their personal dungeons to fortify their positions. However, I don’t think this explains it all.

Usually SIM texts are painfully literal at times regarding the function of talismanic recipes, but I suspect this may be an exception; I think it is also for strengthening the binding of spirits. The reason I believe this is that Picatrix does make references to spirit binding throughout the text suggesting that the method is quite important but is curiously evasive about specifics. To me that suggests the methods appear in coded language elsewhere in the text, and this is one of my favorite speculations– that the references to prisons and prisoners are applicable equally to human beings, spirits, and even perhaps animals.

In any case, that’s all speculation for now.

The next quandary is whether strengthening a prison is benevolent or malevolent?

My take is that it is benevolent, considering that the alternative is a jailbreak. Breaking out of a prison is a form of destruction, albeit a desirable one from the subjective viewpoint of the prisoner. This is especially clear in this case when Jupiter is prominent in the electional configuration, whose attributes prioritize the augmentation and strengthening of things. Strengthening a prison is similar to the securing of buildings which is another electional option, which is unambiguously benevolent.

This election was specifically for the strengthening the prison of captives, which is especially suitable considering that the 25th Mansion’s name translates (according to some) as “the star of the dungeons.”

I should note that this election does not bind or imprison; it only fortifies bindings and imprisonments which already are in place.

The Moon was quite fast, applying a perfected trine to Jupiter. However, it was also applying a sextile to Mercury which is the dignified and unafflicted Ascendant Ruler, therefore reinforcing the significators. The Moon is also applying a somewhat loose sextile to Saturn which is the ruler of the Moon’s Sign and a very strong consideration for success according to Picatrix electional rules — even though it is a Malefic.

There are possible negatives. The Ascendant Ruler is applying a trine to Saturn, which by Picatrix rules would weaken it. However, Mercury and Saturn have a natural amity and the trine should soften any weakening. Saturn is in a malefic Face and is in the 7th House but not on the Descendant, so I think that’s acceptable. The malevolence of Saturn might make the imprisonment particularly harsh, or it may not factor in in any way. A counterindication is the role of Jupiter, which may make the imprisonment pleasant. And while Jupiter is retrograde, I do not believe this has any pertinence to the election since the planet is in a supportive role rather than being a principal player.

Six quartz crystal cabochons were made into talismans. The suffumigation was gum mastic.

The top of the cabochon was inscribed with a crescent Moon, and below it a chain with five or seven links depending upon the size of the gem. Below it were three words: STRENGTHEN, CAPTIVES, PRISONS; each below the last. On the back was inscribed an X for ease of the Mansion spirit’s entry.

Normally I would have inscribed the name of the Mansion Ruler, but tarot advised against it. Perhaps the Ruler uses a different name for orchards and imprisonments.

The Age of Black Magic: Step Eight

The Doorway To Hell Sigil



This is an important sigil to memorize and use for curses, and virtually any other attempt to access the netherworld of the dead and uncanny spirits.

It, and variations of it, appear on an extremely large number of katadesmoi and defixios. I’ve concluded that contextually it is the symbol of the “Terrestrial” Hermes of the Orphic Hymns, and more pertinently helps open a gateway into the realms of the dead.

It may also permit access to celestial realms as well, as variations of it appear on a sizable quantity of pentacles from the Greater Key of Solomon and other ritual objects in the Solomonic tradition. Many people believe the number 8 is associated with planetary Mercury, though this is debatable and not necessarily compatible with the pentacles. I speculate that it is a more general symbol for Divine Hermes, and assists in other forms of Divine communication. This is less well established, however.

In our context, it can be used to gain the attention of netherworld entities and a channel through which communication or miasma can flow. It is a wound you open into the darkest realms below.

So, let’s call it the Doorway To Hell Sigil.

It should be inscribed on all applicable objects used when attempting to constrain, harm and destroy the Trump Administration.

About Time: Introduction To The Horoscope Chart @ ConVocation 2017


Clifford Hartleigh Low’s lecture on “About Time: Introduction To The Horoscope Chart” at ConVocation 2017. This lecture is a 101 introduction to core concepts in astrology, with a particular focus on the function of the horoscope chart, how to do basic calculation using a website or software, the meaning of the different parts of the chart and their relations to the heavens, the metaphysical cosmology of astrology and metaphors, the history of its development, and the variety of potential applications in a Traditional Astrological context, and much more…

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The Talismans of Friendship and Love

THE TALISMANS OF FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE: Very fast Moon culminating in the Sixth Mansion, triumphed Ascendant Ruler, North Node loosely on the Ascendant.


This is good, but not as great as yesterday’s Pleiades election.

Here we have a very fast Moon culminating in the Sixth Mansion, the North Node somewhat distant from the Ascendant but probably providing some increased strength towards the beginning of the election, the Moon making a fortunate aspect to the Sun (a neutral planet), but the Ascendant Ruler (Mercury) in the very fortunate Fifth House and triumphed (AKA reverse/benevolent besiegement) by separating from Jupiter and applying to Venus. All quite good.

The primary usage of the Sixth Mansion talisman by way of in the Plinian Mansion section of Picatrix (in turn derived from Ibm Hatim) is for love. However talismans for friendship are also options, as well as talismans for hunting and a variety of destructive options.

“The sixth mansion is called Athaya. It is from 4 degrees 17 minutes and 10 seconds of Gemini all the way to 17 degrees 8 minutes and 36 seconds of the same sign. In this Mansion make images for the destruction of cities and villages, and to besiege them with armies, and for the enemies of kings to exact vengeance, and to destroy crops and trees, and to cause friendship between two people, to improve hunting in the country, and to destroy medicines so that when they are taken they do not work.”

That’s from Picatrix III:4, and talismans for destruction are only used when the Ascendant and Moon are afflicted here, which is not the case.

“The sixth Mansion is Achaya and it is for putting love between two people. When the Moon is passing through this Mansion, make two images from white wax, make them embrace each other, and wrap them in white silk. Suffumigate them with amber and lignum aloes, and say: ‘You, Nedeyrahe, bring together so and so and so and so, and place between them friendship and love.’ It will be as you wish. Know that Nedeyrahe is the name of the lord of this Mansion.”

That’s from the pseudo-Plinian section of Picatrix in Picatrix IV:9.

“The image is two persons embracing. You should shape them from white wax, and you should fumigate it with camphor and damp aloes-wood. The name of its lord is Anari. Wrap it in a shining rag, hold it with you, and beseech it. You will be brought to love and to medical treatment. The name(s) of its stars are al-Zara and al-Mizan.”

That’s from Ibn Hatim. (No, I’m not sure what the medical treatment thing is about.)

How did I arrange this?

I took four quartz crystal cabochons– which is the best substitute for white wax talismans that you want to last– and engraved the image of embracing friends on some and embracing lovers on others. I engraved ANARI across the middle of the cabochon and the names of the targets (when appropriate) on the flat back of the gemstones. I then wrapped each gemstone in a little packet of white silk along with a calligraphic printout of the names for extra emphasis.

For suffumigation I used Baltic amber (since it’s pretty cheap) and some very nice lignum aloes (AKA aloeswood) which is not cheap at all.

In retrospect, camphor in place of amber would have worked but is more sexual and that’s not what I was necessarily aiming for here. Amber is nice enough.

Here is the sketch I used for tracing the romantic versions on the gemstones:


The Rings of The Fortunate Mystic

THE RINGS OF THE FORTUNATE MYSTIC: Fortunated Moon applying to conjoin Alcyone culminating with the North Node Ascending in Perfection.


I’d long ago nearly given up on finding a good Pleiades talismanic election, but stumbled across this one so close to the date that I’m glad that I’d ordered a few quartz crystal rings for another project recently or I’d have missed a treasure!

This one was quite worth waiting for.

Alcyone culminates, the Moon is very fast and she applies to a fortunate aspect of a benefic, albeit out-of-Sign. The Ascendant Ruler is fast and likewise applying to a benefic. The aspect is sextile which is closely connected to Venus, the benefic in question. The Moon is separating from a conjunction with Algol, but I think that’s safe.

Finally, and most excellently, the North Node is exactly on the Ascendant. Ka-pow!

The petition was similar to what I posted recently for fortunate travel by air, with only a few lines yanked.

Now, the most extensive instructions on how to create a Pleiades talisman comes from the Quindecim Stellis, but there are similar details in Agrippa and in the Confessio Amantis.

“Fennel seed with frankincense and quicksilver placed under a crystal with the appropriate character [engraved on it], with the Moon conjunct the Pleiades rising or at midheaven, preserves the eyesight, summons demons and the spirits of the dead, calls the winds, and reveals secrets and things that are lost. “

The left sigil is from the Quindecim Stellis text and the right is from Agrippa. I tend to use the more complex Quindecim Stellis versions unless pressed for time. Most people seem to think the Agrippa sigils are degenerate and certainly date more recently.

Above the sigil I engraved the name of the angel of the Pleiades from the Greek Magical Papyri, ZIZAUBIO, and below it I engraved the common sigil of the North Node of the Moon.

Now, the big problem with Pleiades talismans is that quicksilver is a deadly poison. Tarot divination has led me to believe that a passable substitute for this talisman are poppy seeds, perhaps because of the fever dreams opium can produce. It works well enough as far as I can tell.

Four snow quartz cabochon gemstones set in sterling silver wire rings were used.  I mixed the poppy seeds with glue along with fennel seeds and frankincense grains below the gemstones towards the end of the electional window. The suffumigation was predominately frankincense but fennel and poppy were included as well.

No scented oils were used this time.