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.

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 Mighty Winds of Zizaubio


The following is a ritual I use a month or so before I travel by air. It requires the use of a Pleiades Ring from the Quindecim Stellis and any other Pleiades talismans you might have handy. It controls winds so that storms are blown out of the path of the airplane or other vehicles I and friends may use to get wherever and back. It’s very powerful and effective.

The text is a modification of material from the Greek Magical Papyri and the Quindecim Stellis and my own labors. Someone had been asking for a ritual which evoked the seven sisters by name, and in fact I’ve been using this for many years by now.

For the election the Moon should be applying to conjoin or making an amicable aspect to Alcyone and the latter should be on the Ascendant. Try to keep the Moon at least eight degrees off the Ascendant if you can.

The Ring of the Pleiades from the Quindecim Stellis should be anointed and worn and the hand held aloft. Additionally any other talismans should be exposed or held in the other hand as appropriate and any lamps of the Pleiades should be lit. Frankincense grains should be burned as a suffumigation with or without fennel.

Zizaubio is the spelling from the Greek Magical Papyri but it’s pronounced Zeezowbeaw, and I include both in the text.

O, mighty and beautiful star cluster of the Pleiades, O Seven Sisters, I call upon thee in your names of Alcyone, Maia, Taygete, Electra, Celoeno, Sterope and Merope, that you swiftly raise great winds so that storms, delays, confusions and troubles are sent far away from N.N. etc in all of our travels–and may our homes likewise be protected while we travel for our safe return.

I ask this here and now in the name of the angel of my nativity N. and my rights and privileges as [initiatory hierarchy stuff] and an initiate of thy court.

I call upon you, Holy Angel Zeezowbeaw (ZIZAUBIO) from the company of the Pleiades to whom you are subordinate and serve for all things, for whatever she may command you: you great indestructible fire-breathing one; who casts the tether of Heaven, through which tether all things turn upon Earth.

And also I call upon you; yourselves, who are angels who have been stationed beneath Zeezowbeaw’s power. Hence I call upon you all–that you come quickly in this hour to protect us and facilitate all of our journeys, along all of our respective paths.

I conjure you O lord who rises above the Earth of the whole cosmic region, by the One ruling the whole inhabited world and the benefactor of all.

Hence I call upon you in this hour and ask that you protect us and speed us safely and happily along to our destinations, O Angel Zeezowbeaw.

May this talisman and ring I wear forever and ever protect and increase the light of the eyes, raise winds, gather dæmones and spirits of the dead to come and speak, and make me know of secret and hidden things; at my will, at my command, and at my desire.

I ask this in the name of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades; Alcyone, Maia, Taygete, Electra, Celoeno, Sterope and Merope, and in the name of the Angel of the Pleiades, Zeezowbeaw; and all of the spirits of the Pleiades.


© 2017 Clifford Hartleigh Low

Mercury Retrograde Is My Ally


So, I guess this is what happens when you’re an astrological magician and Mercury goes Retrograde–

Companies send you $1100 Movado wristwatches completely randomly, and don’t bill you for them.

Magic is awesome.

Also, please tell me how Mercury Retrograde is awful. For you, maybe.

PS: Things like this happen to me relatively frequently during Mercury Retrogrades. Cosmic glitches happen in your favor if you practice SIM. For everything there is a season…

February 2017 Convention Schedule

I will be lecturing at both PantheaCon in California and ConVocation in Michigan this February, along with many other esteemed colleagues and friends. Please consider attending either or both.

PantheaCon 2017

On Saturday, February 18th at 1:30pm–

Eat Me: Magical Recipes in Medieval Astrological Magic

Though better known for the creation of talismans, medieval and Renaissance astrological magic texts contain further recipes and instructions. Many are intended to be consumed, buried, or burned, with numerous purposes and means of creation. Yet they all point towards a forgotten view of the universe and magic. From counting olive pips to cure illnesses to the creation of wax talismans or incense pills for evocation and influence, such mysteries depend on the philosophies of Al Kindi and his contemporaries. Explore how the outlook of the ancients can enhance our spiritual practices.

ConVocation 2017

On Thursday, February 23rd at 8:30pm–

DIY Talismans

Astrological talismans from the Scholastic Image Magic tradition often seem as challenging to make as they are powerful. After electing the window of time in which a talisman can be created, one must confect incenses, select appropriate sigils, and obtain tools and materials for the talismans. We will discuss how to create a talismanic laboratory, the process of practical considerations including choosing the best combinations, knowing which substitutions do and don’t work, and time and money saving strategies. Take the theory of talismans into real life creations and applications.

On Friday, February 24th at 4:00pm–

About Time: Basic Chart Calculation

Invaluable to numerous systems of magic, the astrological horoscope is a Swiss army knife for divination, classical medicine, and much else. One of the most advanced achievements of the ancient world, the horoscope can often be perplexing for beginners. This class will focus on the basics of erecting a horoscope chart. We will attempt to demystify the process and render the math easy, while also explaining the essentials of its parts, some of history of its development, and the rationale of the chart from the traditional (pre-1750 AD) perspective.

On Saturday February 25th at 4:00pm–

Fearless Magical Protection

It’s a jungle out there. In most magical systems one of the first things you are taught is basic protection against spiritual attacks, and for good reason. A magical life is a perilous one at times. As you become more proficient, the need for protection grows and takes new forms. This class will survey practical methods of protection from a variety of spiritual systems and methodologies. Some of these techniques are unpublished anywhere and likely to be unfamiliar, but have proven very effective. Magical protection will help secure your success.