[Here’s a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering Electional Astrology in general and the concepts behind astrological talismans.]
The unvoiced subtext, or assumption, of the Hermes stellar grimoire is that of the efficacy of traditional Electional Astrology.
There are four general branches of Traditional Astrology; Horary, which answers questions at a specified time rather like your typical tarot reading; Natal, which describes the personality, appearance, and events in the life of a person from the timing of their birth; Mundane (meaning Worldly), which, rather like the works of Nostradamus, predicts national and global changes over great spans of time; and finally Electional (meaning Choosing), which selects a lucky time to commence an activity. Examples might include when to begin an important letter, when to get married, when to buy a house, when to go on a vacation, and even when to go to a barber or hair stylist and try out a new look.
A special kind of Election is magical. Most magical elections involve the creation of talismans, which are to be distinguished from amulets and charms.
Amulets derive their principal power from the signatures of the charged natural materials from which they are composed; a mojo bag in Hoodoo is a perfect example of an amulet.
Charms derive their principal power from whatever is represented by the symbol it is shaped into. A gold cross pendant is a charm; it neither derives its power from the gold it is cast from, nor from the time of its creation, but its power (if any) comes from the spiritual power represented by it.
Talismans, however, derive their power from the influx of ambient astral light which occurs when particular symbols or pictures are graven or cast in shiny, reflective objects. This can only be accomplished at exceptionally particular times and places, as the quality of that astral light is constantly changing from moment to moment.
Astral light is the substance of time itself. One may have to wait years and years for a mere fifteen minute window when one can make a particular sort of talisman. In theory, talismans can be made at any time at all; but their value comes from their ability to store and maintain astral light whose strength and purity is rare, exceptional, and intense in every way.
Talismans are, to simplify, bottles of time. And not just any bits of time; minutes and seconds which have incredible powers.
Modern physicists will tell you that every minute and every second are blank slates, with no individual flavor or characteristics, other than their linear sequence and the events which might transpire within them. But anyone who has had a winning streak, or a day when absolutely everything seemed to go wrong, has had an intuition that there might be powerful forces at work which make some periods of time quite different from others. It’s hard to shake the feeling in your gut that those physicists might be seriously mistaken.
There is an alternative to their perspective. Astrologer John Frawley imagines a topography of time itself, being the very foundation of the worldview held by traditional astrologers. That even if nothing should transpire within it, each and every moment has sharp peaks and valleys of potential influences which can be taken advantage of. There is a geography of hours, minutes and days, each with their own flavors and powers, which are entirely invisible to us– at least invisible without mastery of Traditional Astrology.
Most moments are naturally inert, but some are favorable for one thing and unfavorable for another. Like a capable captain steering a sailboat with the help of winds, the technical skill of Electional Astrology allows a knowledgeable person to exert minimal effort and produce wildly disproportionate results. They’ll take you where you want to go, if you’re just a little bit patient.
Part of the wisdom in wizard, I believe, is good timing; learning how to recognize it, and catching it before it slips away.
There are also less frequent moments, weird moments, which have the potential to perform what some might describe as supernatural events, or even miracles. Spectacular recoveries from terminal illnesses, seemingly random presciences, Fortean incidents like fish falling from the sky, random teleportations, winning the lottery jackpot twice in a row, the restoration of youth, and the spontaneous apparitions of spirits– all of these may be the results of people accidentally tapping into the powers of these wildly peculiar moments.
These are the moments which magicians have often sought most frequently to store into talismans; because once they are created in the proper manner, talismans can radiate these powers whenever the bearer of them chooses. They are not trinkets or symbols. They are not props. They are objects of enormous inherent power.
Furthermore, they happen to be alive.
There is little distinction, if any, in this system of occultism between energy and spiritual entity, nor any distinction between these and spiritual light and consciousness. Let me provide a radical sounding theorem: Light = Entity = Time. All astrology and magic in Western Culture, for over two thousand years, relied on this assumption.
The astral light which becomes stored in a talisman is akin to a soul, albeit a very minor one and usually not quite capable of conversation. When a spirit becomes embedded in compatible matter, it is not all that different from a soul taking up residence in a warm body, and ownership thereof. Talismans are living things; just not organic life, and not alive in the sense modern biologists would recognize. But they are alive, just the same. Since that gives them a foothold in the material world as well as the spiritual realms, their ability to influence physical reality is superior to that of a wholly disembodied spirit.
Their status as a living being allows them to perform effects with or without the command of the possessor. Furthermore, the effects can be performed with or without any expenditure of any energy, effort, or even visualization of their owner. This allows the magician a well-hidden ally who looks out for his or her interests when asleep, incapacitated, distracted, ill, or forgetful. They are dutiful and quite obedient, as well.
Another value of talismans is that the most common varieties are associated with the Seven Traditional Planets, and store within them vast repositories of their astral light. According to the theory and philosophy of Neoplatonic Hermeticism, a major influence on astrological magic, our outer spirit forms or astral bodies are composed entirely of seven parcels bestowed by the planets at the time of our births. They are the rough equivalents of chakras or sephiroth for the spirit-selves of individuals, in this magical tradition. There are planets within us too. They are the organs and systems of organs of the subtle body, and like the physical body they can be healthy and strong or sick and weak.
These parcels, or garments for the innermost soul, are often in damaged or weakened states due to the condition of the heavens at one’s birth, which lingers on inside the self indefinitely. Weakened planets can produce physical illness over a lifetime, personality defects, inexplicable bad luck in particular areas of life, shortened lifespans, and many other burdens which are often quite hard to bear.
Planetary talismans can act as splints or grafts on the natural spirit bodies of those who use them. They don’t quite perform the functions of a full spiritual organ transplant, but they can leverage their strengths against someone’s weaknesses and allow them a much greater chance of a longer, happier, turmoil-free life.
Something even more interesting occurs when a person who is fortunate enough to have been born with one or more planets which were in a strong or atypically positive state at the time of their birth, when they use relevant planetary talismans. The natural power of the person is augmented by those of the talisman, even potentially exceeding normal human limits.
Someone whose Jupiter was strong natally, might find that after using Jupiter talismans his skill at financial matters is boosted to levels which rival those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Someone whose Mars is naturally strong, with the help of Mars talismans, could become an unstoppable killing machine if he so chooses. And so on, down the list.
How does this help magicians in particular, you may ask? Well, if you are fortunate enough to have one of these strong planets in your natal chart and acquire its talismans, your magical skills in the associated sphere of influence is boosted to shockingly intense levels. An ordinary person with a strong Sun in his natal chart might use a Sun talisman to improve leadership abilities and personal magnetism, but a magician with the same chart will find himself able to dominate and command hordes of spirits with great ease, and furthermore inspire in them fanatical loyalty and awe. He would also find that he could easily use such devices to mentally control, command, and influence human beings of lesser willpower; almost like hypnotizing people into puppets, or the fictional Jedi Mind Trick from Star Wars.
Similar enhancements to magical skill are possible with all seven planets in states of acute power called “dignity,” and also similar kinds of results when a notable fixed star appears on the Ascendant or Midheaven of a natal chart in combination with its talisman.