The Talismans of the Second Decan of Scorpio
The Sun rises in the Second Face of Scorpio in the Hour of the Sun, the Moon is fast and applying to a square of the Sun and then the North Node of the Moon. The North Node is conjunct the Midheaven. The Moon is waning, but this is suitable for the purpose of the talismans. The Descendant is weak, potentially giving more relative power to the Sun on the Ascendant. Since putting fortunes or any dignified planets on the Ascendant and Midheaven require a quartile aspect, I consider this configuration beneficent; this is especially so with the aspects of the quarters of the Moon, with the exception of the combustion of the Moon. The Sun himself applies to a wide conjunction with a benefic, strengthening him a tiny bit. The Moon is applying an aspect to the Ruler of the Sign she is in; this would be better if it were a sextile or trine, but it does add power. It’s a good, solid configuration, if not absolutely perfect.
Picatrix on Face Talismans
For those of you who need a refresher, this is what Picatrix has to say about Faces, also known as Decans:
“Note that each of the twelve signs is divided into three equal parts, and these divisions are called faces. Each of these faces has its own images, forms and figures, as the sages of India have recounted, and to each of the faces is assigned one of the seven planets. These faces are divided and distributed according to the position and order of the planets, beginning at the highest and proceeding in order all the way to the lowest, and then returning to the highest as we will explain. Beginning with Aries, the first face is assigned to Mars, the second to the Sun which follows him in order, the third to Venus who follows the Sun, and the first face of Taurus to Mercury; it proceeds in this way through the order of the planets until the end of the signs. Each of these faces has a nature and image that is appropriate to its lord; and we will present each of the images that arise in each of the faces in the following pages.” –Picatrix II:11
At the end of the section, Picatrix details the somewhat unique requirements for the election of a Face talisman.
“When you make any of images of the faces described above, make them in a material appropriate to the planet that rules the face; then the work will be as we have said– that is, if you make the image when the corresponding planet is present in that face, then that work will be perfect and it will manifest in the world. If it happens that the Sun is rising in the hour of the planet or combines its force with it in a way that you desire, the work will be stable and strong. In what we have said above, beware that the quality of the planet be not overcome by the Sun. If, on the other hand, you understand the reasons for everything that has already been said, the images of the faces we have given will bring about the effects you wish powerfully and completely.” –Picatrix II:11
I have a particular love for Face talismans. I think the greatest secrets of Scholastic Image Magic are hidden within them, and have lectured about some of what I have discovered elsewhere. Although the Second Face of Scorpio is not one which most would leap at; I think it has hidden excellences and is worth another look.
Turmantis, the Second Face of Scorpio
“There rises in the second face of Scorpio a man riding a camel, holding a scorpion in his hand. This is a face of knowledge, modesty, settlement, and of speaking evil of one another. This is its form.” –Picatrix II:11
The ymages of the Faces are constructed by the planetary rulerships of the Signs, sometimes proximal Decans, and the activating planet. The scorpion in the ymage iconography represents the Sign of Scorpio. Camels in general are ruled by the Sun, and so the camel here is the representation of the Sun in the middle of Scorpio. The man may represent the user or may represent Mars, the ruler of Scorpio; this is why in my design I gave him a pointed helmet. The properties of the Face talisman rarely relate directly to the ymage, but instead the interactions of the properties of the activating planet, the Sign ruler, and even the triplicity of the Sign in parallel with the pictorial symbols. So is the case here.
The name Turmantis comes from the Liber Hermetis of the 1st Century. That text largely ascribes each of the 36 Faces to regions of the known world at the time and a series of ymages whose purpose is not described, though one may assume they are for the purpose of gaining benefits in each region. They are one of the few sources which give names to the Faces, and function as the name of the Face’s lord. The spirits of the Faces like it, and it’s more memorable and usually shorter than saying or inscribing or writing X Face of Y.
So, what does it do? Scorpio is probably the least pleasant of all the Decanic triads. The 1st Face is about suffering and anger, and the 3rd is for rape (and should never be used.) The 2nd Face is a mix of good and bad, but there’s definitely bad. Or at least dark.
- Speaking evil against another
I chose this election largely because of the first attribute; knowledge. Scorpio often is associated with secrets and the presence of the Greater Luminary, the Sun is the revelation of hidden knowledge.
However, I admit that the fourth attribute is also intriguing. In this era of outrage and memetic warfare, an enhanced capacity for imprecation might not be unhelpful. Or maybe I’ll get some juicy gossip. Here the sting of the scorpion is set ablaze by the fire of the Sun, and a victim’s fame is poisoned into infamy.
Modesty is something we all could benefit from a little. I’m not yet sure why it is an attribute of this Face.
Settlement perhaps suggests peacemaking, or perhaps settling for less? Setting down roots? I’m not sure what that means in this context; Picatrix can sometimes be elusive in this context. It also appears in the attributes of the 1st Face of Scorpio, so perhaps this has more to do with the nature of Scorpio than the particular interaction with the Sun.
Nevertheless, when a Face talisman’s electional configuration is benevolent those qualities will predominate, and when it is malevolent the latter will.
Design of the Talismans of Turmantis
Two talismans were created using large and medium bloodstone cabochons. I placed one on my Sun altar and the other in a black flannel mojo-style bag along with the Solar herbs cinnamon, calamus, and lemongrass. The colors of Turmantis are black, yellow and tan; so I chose a black bag. I wore gold and black during the election; the former representing the Sun and something approximating the yellow for the Face’s second color. The suffumigation was frankincense resin.
Talismans don’t have to be pretty, especially their inscriptions which tend to be invisible if they are scratches on the surface of a gemstone; and this is perfectly functional, and often usefully sneaky. But I drew this using my iPad with my fingertip, an acceptable representation of the marks my stylus made on the slippery gemstone surface. I kind of feel sorry for the camel and the poor guy holding a giant mutant lobster too.
At the top is the name of the Face, Turmantis. At the bottom is the power I most desired, knowledge. It is fairly standard practice to inscribe the purpose of a talisman in this manner as noted in Picatrix if there is space, especially if some of the other powers are less desirable. In the center is a helmeted warrior riding a bactrian camel; he holds a scorpion in his right hand. On the back of the gemstone is an X, normally this is used when the ymage of a celestial hierarchy is unknown, but my goal was to use this to overcome any defects of design. There almost was one.
The sigil I intended to inscribe which appears in purple was intented to be the sigil of Turmantis, which is exactly like what I engraved except it has a third circle at the apex. The sigils of the Faces we derive from charakteres on a Syrian defixio from the 5th or 6th century. Instead, I inscribed the Latin Picatrix sigil of the Sun, which is very similar and easy to confuse at 6 am sans coffee. This might have been a problem in a different configuration, but fortunately placing the sigil of a Face activator on the talisman of a Face is quite appropriate, and even deemed mandatory by Renaissance writers such as Cornelius Agrippa. Close call, but still good. I’m glad I made these for myself.
In any case, let’s see how this project turns out.