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.

 

Sriracha Sorcery

I have entered this decade at last and finally tried sriracha sauce this morning, and liked it.

But this being me, I quickly came up with four potential magical uses for sriracha.

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Let’s start off with ingredients of normal sriracha: Jalapeño Peppers, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Vinegar, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfite, Xanthan Gum. 

#1 Hot Footing Into Hot Mouthing: Now, to lay a Hot Foot down on someone in Hoodoo is a curse which causes someone to become so restless they wander the world until they die. Lucky Mojo’s Hot Foot Powder “…a proprietary blend of Red Pepper, sulphur, salt, and essential oils that include Black Pepper and other herbal extracts.”

Since red peppers and salt are already ingredients in sriracha, all you need is to add black pepper, sulfur, and your other favorite cursing ingredients in small amounts, mix it up, and put it back in the bottle.

Since the application is to the mouth rather than the feet, it might work differently– perhaps force the person to confess their lies and betrayals to anyone within earshot. (A tiny scrolled up petition paper put in the bottle would help that along rather nicely.)

Then you can surreptitiously replace the bottle with your target’s sriracha when visiting their home. Perhaps add it to a meal as flavoring and serve it to them.

Perhaps you can write your wish in script using the nozzle, making a cross on the plate like a Hoodoo petition paper, and serve food on top of it– the food obscuring the sriracha text. You could have JohnSmith crossing RevealAllLies below a nice pork pie.

What fun if you can serve him this special dish at a big dinner party where many disclosures would have a significant impact!

#2 Goofering Their Guts: Now, suppose you’re feeling extra naughty and you want someone to get sick or die.

Turn that bottle of sriracha into a deadly condiment as Goofer Sauce:  Lucky Mojo’s Goofer Dust Recipes for making it vary, but it is almost always a mixture of simple natural ingredients, usually including Graveyard Dirt, powdered sulphur (which can give it a yellowish colour) and salt. Subsidiary ingredients may include powdered snake heads or snake skin ‘sheds,’ red pepper, black pepper, powdered bones, powdered insects or snails, and greyish, powdery-surfaced herbs such as mullein and sage. In the past, some formulas for Goofer Dust included anvil dust, the fine black iron detritus found around a blacksmith’s anvil.” 

Just take small amounts of the ingredients which you like that aren’t already in sriracha and grind them up and mix them in. Deploy in a manner similar to Method #1.

#3 Tangy Temperament: People misunderstand the system of Elements. It’s about the experience of the four which determines their presence, so that something which tastes extremely spicy and hot has the same amount of the Fire Element in it as a blazing fireplace.

In Traditional Medicine– by which I mean what came before Modern Medicine and even Alternative Medicine– and includes Ayurvedic Medicine– you use fiery foods for specific conditions, most particularly assisting weight loss.

I can attest to the fact that using spicy relishes has helped me get over weight loss plateaus when nothing else has.

I can also confirm this works great with #4 for health conditions of all kinds.

#4 Talismanic Teamup: One of my own innovations is combining talismans with other materials: Usually magical but not exclusively. A select few are food based.

The way it works is that if you put an astrological talisman in the proximity of a material that falls somewhat or fully under its celestial hierarchy, it wildly magnifies the power of the previously mundane material.  It’s called “receptivity” in Picatrix. But if you put a supercharged material into your body, then you become flooded with power in a manner wearing a talisman alone cannot do. (It’s part of the rationale of planetary dieting described in Picatrix) You are making your body temporarily more receptive to stellar rays of a particular hierarchy. Combining that with a talisman rather than a petition is also very strong.

For example I’ve made Solar potions by making small Sun talismans and dropping them into bottles of Goldschlagger, Antares potions by dropping talismans into Fernet Branca, and a few others. That’s because Goldschlagger is a cinnamon liqueur and that herb is Solar, it has gold flecks and that metal is Solar, and things which are sweet and spicy are Solar– so it all lines up. Fernet Branca is different, because it contains saffron and that is an herb of Antares according to Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. Drinking my Solar potion gives one courage, luck in money, leadership abilities, health and vigor. Drinking my Antares potion protects against demons, makes one eloquent and more physically attractive.

So… the question becomes how to apply that to sriracha sauce?

Well, the choice most people would make would be to drop a strong Mars talisman into the bottle and shake it up, and add that to food for skill in combat and defense against physical or metaphysical threats.

Of course, one can use an afflicted and weak Mars talisman and do the same to make a really vicious cursing sauce to put into someone’s food.

But that’s actually not what I’d do.

I think the rooster on the bottle is a big deal, and makes the whole artifact of a bottle of sriracha strongly Solar and appropriate for strong Sun talismanic placement. The rooster crows at dawn, when the Sun is on the Ascendant.

Peppers specifically may be Martial but they’re more generally fiery as is the Sun, and the overall flavor of sriracha sauce is spicy-sour and sweet– and that enlivening specifically ought be deemed Solar. It wakes you right up, in a more pleasant way than a truly hot pepper– that would be solely Martial because it is more irritating than invigorating. As William Lilly says on Solar flavors: a mixture of sour and sweet together, or aromatic  flavor, being a little bitter and astringent, but altogether comforting and a little sharp.” 

Furthermore, I should note that the bottle’s body is red because of the sauce, but the tip is green to make the whole resemble a pepper. Red and green in combination are especially Solar because at dawn the Sun usually looks red, but occasionally it flashes green at dawn. (That, incidentally, is why peridot is a very Solar gemstone. In certain lights it alternates between green and gold colors.)

When it comes to the celestial receptivity of a food, condiment or beverage, one can go with ingredients, flavor, symbology of the item as a whole or a combination thererof. All are effective in magic.

12/18/2016 Addendum: In addition to talismans using food and drink for as a vector for extending the reach of the talisman, the reverse also is effective. Herbal remedies which fall under a celestial hierarchy when stored with an appropriate SIM talisman also become more potent. Foods become more nourishing, sweets become tastier, garnishes become more attractive, and so on.

On Scholastic Image Magic

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Scholastic Image Magic or SIM was one of two main branches of magical practice in the Medieval Era and the Renaissance. It was heavily influenced by the science of the Arabic world, and incorporated astrology, optics, mathematics, and the philosophy of antiquity. The European version was an outgrowth of Medieval Scholasticism; a movement which attempted to reconcile Christianity with the works of Plato, Aristotle and the mystical Neoplatonists.

Scholastic Image Magic focuses primarily upon the creation of talismans; objects created or modified to become repositories of celestial light which alter the attributes and destinies and basic nature of anything in their proximity, including human beings.

It also includes celestial petitions, which are akin to highly ritualized prayers which facilitate the granting of expressed wishes. This is where Scholastic Image Magic and theurgy, the other main branch, cross over.

(The other branch is also sometimes called necromancy, depending on emphasis. It largely focuses on angel magic and spirit evocation, and use of Biblical charms and sometimes variants of Kabbalah. There is significant overlap, but the rationales for these traditions are different at heart.)

Both the creation of talismans and the making of petitions are endowed power largely through astrological timing. Some have asserted that Scholastic Image Magic is a subcategory of Electional Astrology, the choosing of fortunate times. It certainly is dependent upon it; but I and others believe in the importance of the materials used as well. There is no way to become minimally competent in this tradition of magic without being very skilled in Medieval or Renaissance Era Astrology.

Scholastic Image Magic may also include the creation of confections, suffumigations (incenses), and potions; though these are often considered to be alchemy.

Many of us who have experimented with Scholastic Image Magic believe it to be the most powerful (and sometimes dangerous) form of magic in Western history. The demands usually exceed those of other magical traditions in numerous ways, and the results are proportional. It is not for the dilettante. Many of us have studied under Christopher Warnock, whose RenaissanceAstrology.com is a great place to learn a major flavor of this from tabula rasa. Without having some background in the generalities of Traditional Astrology you’ll probably be very confused. John Michael Greer often describes this stuff as the rocket science of the Middle Ages. (And he should know, because he translated Picatrix with Christopher Warnock a few years back.)

Scholastic Image Magic has a body of literature which we refer to frequently. The most central text is the Picatrix, which has two popular editions at present. Another, harder to find text is the Treasure of Alexander. Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books on Occult Philosophy (especially the upcoming complete Eric Purdue translation) is an excellent source for Scholastic Image Magic and much else besides, and large portions of the somewhat derivative The Magus from Francis Barrett are appropriate. Though the available version of De Imaginibus is purged of suffumigation recipes and incantations, it is still of great value. I find the Liber Lunae to be very fascinating, and has had an influence on Kabbalah. The Mysterium Sigillorum and the Kyranides have content of interest. Many shorter texts such as the Quindecim Stellis and De Mineralibus, Seals & Stones of Solomon, Seals & Sigils of Chael, Talismans of Hermes, and the Seals of Thetel are also very important, and sections of the works of Giordano Bruno and even parts of the so-called Greater Key of Solomon merit study. But all of this is built upon a foundation of antique astrology and metaphysics, such as the essential writers Guido Bonatti, Johannes Sacrobosco, and Abu Yusuf Al-Kindi, which the authors expected the readers to have expertise in.

I have studied and practiced Scholastic Image Magic in a very focused way for over a decade, I have witnessed it cure incurable diseases, draw hundreds of thousands of dollars from nowhere, conjure storms, raise and banish spirits, repel dangerous animals, hypnotize and compel obedience, and make a subject fall hopelessly in love. In my own experience it is vastly closer to the kind of magic which appears in myths and Fantasy literature than anything else I’ve seen. (And I have expertise in many other traditions of magic, which have their own distinctive advantages.)

If this tickles your fancy and you’re considering putting in the effort, welcome aboard. SIM is one of my very favorite flavors of magic. If it isn’t your cup of tea, there’s a lot of additional material on my blog to inform and tantalize.

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Jewish Numerological Meanings of Ten

Jewish numerology is different from those developed in other ethno-religious cultures, and it does have some key magical connotations which should be paid attention to.

  1. Keter: Crown. The Sphere of the Primum Mobile. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” The Plague of the Slaying of the Firstborn.
  2. Khokmah: WisdomThe Sphere of the Fixed Stars. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image– any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them…” The Plague of Locusts.
  3. Binah: UnderstandingThe Sphere of Saturn. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” The Plague of Fiery Hail. Seder Tohorot (Purities.)
  4. Khesed: KindnessThe Sphere of Jupiter. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…” The Plague of Boils. Seder Kodashim (Holy Things.)
  5. Gevurah: Severity.The Sphere of Mars. “You shall not murder.” The Plague of Pestilence. Seder Nezikin (Damages.)
  6. Tifaret: BeautyThe Sphere of Sun. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (The 5th and 6th Commandments are flipped for some reason.) The Plague of Wild Beasts.
  7. Netzakh: EternityThe Sphere of Venus. “You shall not commit adultery.” The Plague of Lice. Seder Nashim (Women.)
  8. Hod: SplendorThe Sphere of Mercury. “You shall not steal.” The Plague of Frogs. Seder Moed (Festival.)
  9. Yesod: Foundation. The Sphere of the Moon. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” The Plague of Blood. Seder Zeraim (Seeds.)
  10. Malkut: Kingdom. The Sublunar Sphere. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” The Plague of Darkness (oddly out of order here.)

The Dying Book

dyingbookThis is a relic of the Black Sun Project era.

A Dying Book was a riff off the Jewish notion that God writes the names of all who are to survive the coming year during the high holidays. The idea that an inversion of this might be turned into a magical object comes from a Robert Bloch story, “The Pin” where a miniature scythe is used to prick telephone book entries, bestowing doom. It’s a fine story, but one which has been plagiarized many times.

My version– which failed utterly I must confess– was to create a magical notebook filled with vast amounts of malign power, and then enter the names of various enemies by a quill dipped in blood.

Clever idea, but not all clever ideas are useful. The sticky pages stuck together and absolutely no one died. But the poem which served as a preface has some nice bits. It probably deserved a bit more editing, perhaps.

This was probably written around 1995, plus or minus.

The Divine and Demonic Absurdity of Names

The divine and demonic absurdity of names.

This was a topic raised elsewhere, but I want to highlight it here while also avoiding getting into anything which could be construed as personal with people I respect.

Astaroth and Astarte are completely different beings.

It is historically correct that the name Astaroth (a male, aggressive demon) was probably derived from Astarte (a female, seductive goddess.) This was also obviously done to defame Astarte and eliminate competition. That does not mean that under the mask of a nasty, aggressive soul-eating monster there is a friendly sex goddess waiting to be your nekkid playmate on the astral plane.

Perhaps your experiences diverge from mine, but with respect I think you’re being conned. Demons are dishonest bastards. They invented lying. After a few trillion years of practice, they’re quite good at it too.

I think it’s entirely likely that an ancient nameless parasitic entity took the opportunity of the name variance to absorb offerings given to Astarte to set itself up as the demon Astaroth. Sometimes you try to order Dominos over the phone and get one digit off by one and end up talking to a strange guy in a Utah call center. People also sometimes acquire calls from the prior owner’s pals when they get a new phone number.

A name is sometimes just a name, just like your phone number is usually an arbitrary number. My old phone number used to spell out (201) TED-BUNG. I am not Ted. I am not Ted Bung. Nor do I know anyone named this. This is arbitrary information.

Now, this whole Astorath = Astarte thing begins to fall apart pretty rapidly under inspection. And that’s what I want to talk about.

Firstly, it wasn’t just ancient gods being turned into demons as a means of Christian defamation of pagan religions. Many ancient gods were turned into saints and angels. Hermes was an angelos ton theon, a messenger of the gods. Ficino and the Renaissance Neoplatonists thought all of the benevolent pagan gods were probably archangels who had been misunderstood, but they didn’t come up with that idea themselves. Brigid became Saint Brigit; you know that drill. This shatters the notion that there was a concerted effort to demonize all pagan gods. Pagan gods of noble virtues who made sense as angels were cast as angels or the holy dead, and the gods who demanded human sacrifice and orgiastic behavior were the ones who were thought to have led mankind astray and thus were demons.

However, it wasn’t just the Christians doing this. The pagan polytheists attempted to redefine foreign gods as beings in their own local pantheons. And some of this was just bonkers.

The Romans identified Venus with the Greek Aphrodite, but virtually anyone who has studied the Classics knows that there were huge differences between the two goddesses. There were also numerous local versions of both goddesses with pretty variable attributes. We all know by now that Zeus had many epithets but these were often understood to be distinctive beings. Venus was also associated with the goddess Ishtar and she with Inanna, but while the latter two were thought to be the planetary Venus the Romans only transferred the name Venus to signify the planet but didn’t believe the planet was the actual goddess. A name for Venus was Lucifer, and yes some early Christians thought the connection wasn’t accidental either.

It gets crazier.

Osiris was identified with Dionysius. Both were identified with Jesus by Hellenistic pagans. That may have been wishful thinking. It should be obvious that a castrated god of vegetation, a feral god of drunken underworld antics, and a magic Rabbi who got executed have precious little in common. Yet many believed they did.

This one isn’t discussed a lot; the pretty boy god Adonis and the Hebrew Adonai are the same guy if you go back far enough. But the Jewish version doesn’t even have an appearance at all, doesn’t get killed by a giant pig (though that might explain why I’m not supposed to eat bacon), and isn’t in a polyamorous relationship with Aphrodite and Persephone– though He’d probably win points with me if He did. Can we switch back? Never mind.

Here’s another one. The Egyptian god Aten– the semi-monotheistic Sun god that Akhenaten was so into– was identified in the ancient world as Athena, wisdom goddess and patroness of Athens. And Aten was probably Jehovah, or the inspiration for Him. So Jehovah is Athena. So, owls.

I may be hurting you. I’m sorry. Not enough lube?

Alexander’s parentage opens the door to another wacky conflation. He claimed to be the son of Amun, the Egyptian Sun god. One of them, anyway. (They had a lot of Sun gods, didn’t they?) In Greece that became Zeus instead, though in the form of a snake banging his mom. Because Zeus was the original furry. He deserves credit for that. And then Amun later became a demon Amon. Who is also evoked in Amen, in prayers.

Do you need a hug? I won’t turn into anything weird, I promise.

My point is actually very simple. Don’t trust these identifications. Don’t trust these appropriations. They were all done for political reasons and the names we use to call up a spirit, god, demon or whatever depend enormously on context. None of that shit is unique like DNA.

Because if you’re going to be stupid about this, it means every time you say “Amen” you’re giving a shout-out to a demon.

That is absurd. Use your brain.

The spiritual universe is almost certainly full of beings of immense power. It behoves you to figure out who you are actually talking to, but also whether they’re your awesome super pal, a nut, a sneaky brain-eater, or just a cosmic heroin pusher. The books of history, mythology and theology will only get you so far.