Announcement: Astrological Magic Panels #1

Announcement: Astrological Magic Panels: Ritual Procedures


I’m excited to announce that I will be participating in the Astrological Magic discussion panel on Ritual Procedures Saturday, October 17 at 3 pm EDT. I’ll be joining Christopher Warnock, Michael Ofek and Joshua Proto for this session. This new project is being presented by SMARRT, the Michigan chapter of NCGR and will be moderated by Elizabeth Hazel.

I’m particularly looking forward to getting into the nitty gritty of talisman creation and related topics, and sharing highly useful techniques that have never appeared anywhere else. Contact for your Zoom links right now!



Magic of the Lunar Mansions @ PantheaCon 2018

Magic of the Lunar Mansions at PantheaCon 2018



The Arabic Mansions of the Moon are often described as a Lunar Zodiac; a division of the passage of the Moon into 28 zones, about one per day.

Each “Manzil” foretells the life of those born under it, but plays an important role in the creation of talismans in the tradition of Scholastic Image Magic. Picatrix, Cornelius Agrippa and many other grimoires detail their astrologically timed creation for countless purposes.

These talismans are perhaps the simplest examples of this system, explaining their ubiquity.

In this class we will discuss how to select and make basic Mansion talismans.

Please note that this lecture is substantially different from the ConVocation lecture of the same name. While the other lecture is more streamlined, this lecture covers more sources and traditions.

If you find this video useful, please subscribe to and , give thumbs up and Like posts. Your feedback matters.

Upcoming Appearances 2


Big Money Magic

Sunday, 9:00pm February 16th in the Silicon Valley room

I doubt that money is the root for all evil, but the lack of it certainly feels like hell. As long as people have wished for more than they have, practical wealth magic has offered solutions. This class will be a broad survey of effective magical techniques which draw and keep money. Whether you’ve wanted to find buried treasure, win the lottery, get a raise, inherit a fortune, invest like a pro, sustain your lifestyle, or even beat the house in Vegas; here are some powerful spells that you won’t find anywhere else. Big money magic is real.

This schedule is tentative and subject to revision.

Upcoming Appearances 1


Pawn Takes King: Political Magic

Thursday February 20th 10:30pm 

Magic and politics have been intertwined throughout history. The metaphysics of magic are often expressed in political language or imagery, especially that of monarchy and feudalism. The Sforzas and Borgias launched a Renaissance arms race of astrological talismans. In America, slaves sought to magically destroy or gain power over their oppressors. Spiritualism had an essential role in the suffragist movement. Magic has played a role in modern political movements on both the Right and the Left. Discover how practitioners of magic are attempting to control elections and manipulate leaders in democratic governments today. Explore the rise of political radicalism in magic, and learn practical spellwork you can do to support the issues and people that matter most to you.

The Dark Arts: Curses, Binding, and Coercive Spells

Friday February 21st 4:00pm

People have been using magic to harm others since before recorded history, and practitioners have been busy inventing new and more ingenious spells to destroy people, places, and things in virtually every tradition. It’s controversial because it works. We’ll survey historical methods of cursing, binding, and dominating, and highlight effective methods for the contemporary sorcerer and witch. Learn how to make a Hoodoo poppet to cause suffering and incapacity, create a modern defixio from a lead sheet to cause illness, burn a black skull candle to drive someone insane, create a wax astrological talisman to foment strife, and more terrifyingly useful techniques. As the Weird Sisters said, “Double, double toil and trouble.” Let’s get cooking.

Creativity, Magic and The Genius

Saturday, February 22nd, 2:00pm

Seeking inspiration? Use magic to enhance your creativity! The very word “inspiration” is rooted in the belief that invention is a force that comes from outside the self—even from the spirit world. To the Romans, the word “genius” once meant a guiding spirit. Several important grimoires provide guides to unite the initiate with a higher, perfected self or powerful spirit being capable of endowing formidable skills, knowledge, and power. More immediate methods include scrying, tarot, bibliomancy, dream incubation, and many others. In this class we will survey how magicians have used the spirit world for creativity and brainstorming in these and many other ways. Delve into historical practices and learn effective modern methods for cultivating your creativity.

Mystical Minds

March 28th through 29th, 2020

Times for my lectures at Mystical Minds Convention have not yet been finalized. 

Big Money Magic

I doubt that money is the root of all evil, but the lack of it certainly feels like hell.” As long as people have wished for more than they have, practical wealth magic has offered solutions. This class will be a broad survey of effective magical techniques to draw and keep money. Whether you’ve wanted to find buried treasure, win the lottery, get a raise, inherit a fortune, invest like a pro, sustain your lifestyle, or even beat the house in Vegas, learn powerful spells you won’t find anywhere else. Big money magic is real. 

Pawn Takes King: Political Magic 

Magic and politics have been intertwined throughout history. The metaphysics of magic are often expressed in political language or imagery, especially that of monarchy and feudalism. The Sforzas and Borgias launched a Renaissance arms race of astrological talismans. In America, slaves sought to magically destroy or gain power over their oppressors. Spiritualism had an essential role in the suffragist movement. Magic has played a role in modern political movements on both the Right and the Left. Discover how practitioners of magic are attempting to control elections and manipulate leaders in democratic governments today. Explore the rise of political radicalism in magic, and learn practical spellwork you can do to support the issues and people that matter most to you.

Panel Discussion on Magick

Details to be announced later.

Big Money Magic @ ConVocation 2019

Big Money Magic at ConVocation 2019


Continuing what we began with “A Treasury of Money Magic” we will discuss even more techniques of wealth magic from a wide range of traditions, as well personal tips, methods, and strategies I’ve leveraged successfully for myself and for clients.

If you’ve already been dusting your money with sachet powders, putting talismans in your wallet, petitioning your ancestors with lottery tickets, and burning green candles dressed with lodestone dust and pyrite grit, we’ll take it to the next level and beyond; expect a few surprises.

This lecture will help you greatly along your quest for treasure and living like royalty.

Big money magic is real.

If you find this video useful, please subscribe to and , give thumbs up and Like posts. Your feedback matters.

Your Astrological Magic Is Broken



Many people studying magic and astrology depend upon reference books and tables of correspondences—especially early in their studies before details are memorized and internalized. Among practitioners of magic, a fairly standard set of numerological and chromatic correspondences are the established consensus for the seven traditional planets.

You may be familiar with these, seen here in the table below:

Planet Color Number
Saturn Black 3
Jupiter Purple or Blue 4
Mars Red 5
Sun Yellow or Gold 6
Venus Green 7
Mercury “Mixed Colors,” Orange or Brown 8
Moon Gray, Silver or White 9

I would like to be conservative and polite by noting that these are only one of multiple sets of planetary correspondences which are at variance with each other; but in all forthrightness, I am certain that the preceding list is almost completely wrong, with only a few exceptions. I am not referring to the four scales used in the Golden Dawn system of magic, nor the confusion regarding what Mercury’s “mixed colors” actually mean or whether Jupiter’s proper color is purple or blue. The problem is much more fundamental than that.

Essentially, for practicing magicians almost everything you know about astrology and planetary magic is wrong. Dead wrong.

The upshot of this is that magicians have been using this table of correspondences unquestioningly for several hundred years and almost consistently failing to conjure wealth from Jupiter, love from Venus, wisdom from Mercury, and so on. Frustrated, they have often drifted away from the astrological foundations of much of Western Hermeticism, or have stubbornly persisted for the rest of their lives uncertain what they have been doing wrong.

None of them were stupid. They simultaneously had too much faith in the infallibility of the authors of the manuals of magic which they had access to, and insufficient understanding of the actual history of how these correspondences developed—or to be blunt, devolved.

Understanding how we got from a series of correspondences which were mostly correct to ones which seem almost designed to fail has a long and winding history going back over two thousand years of misunderstandings, religious supersessionism, economics, the availability of textile dyes, and even a prized species of snail.

I’ve studied the interactions of magic and astrology in an intensive way since 2001 and have become one of the most prominent experts on the subject, so I realize this is a very bold and controversial declaration. I’ve become a somewhat well-regarded amateur historian on the subject; so while there is an amount of speculation in reconstructing this history, it is an informed and reasonable conjecture.

It also has one additional virtue helping validate my reconstructed descent of planetary correspondences: the colors and numbers that I have unearthed work far better than the more familiar ones. I believe that readers of this blog who experiment with them will come to similar conclusions.

Unpacking my discoveries will probably stretch several blog posts, and I’d rather you follow my reasoning and insights before providing you the corrected table. I also would like to use this as an opportunity to explain some contexts in how these planetary lists were meant to be used, and some significant misunderstandings about these which have been undermining students of magic for several centuries.

The Problem Is Revealed

For me, the journey goes back nearly 20 years to when I was actively researching how to integrate magic and astrology. In order to understand how I came to these discoveries requires an autobiographical interlude which has been a long time coming.

I was a latecomer to belief in astrology for various reasons, but certain highly frustrating events a few years earlier convinced me that planetary transits could cause a great deal of personal mayhem. A major project I and several friends initiated during highly adverse astrological conditions resulted in an entire year of betrayals, mysterious bad luck, unforeseen expenses, illnesses, and near-universal exhaustion and bitter regrets. The project was able to be saved in the end, but the sheer difficulty of it all forced the previously-skeptical me that astrology was something I could no longer ignore or scoff at.

I was aware that magic had worked in tandem with astrology for centuries, and was astonished to discover that almost nothing was available in print on how to turn predictions of doom into opportunities to flourish. Magicians are by nature obsessed with achieving the impossible, and the fatalism of astrology seemed to be antithetical to the hopeful and ambitious character of the practice of magic. Even traditional depictions of wizards often had them wearing robes covered in the symbols of astrology, so it was obvious to me that I was missing some very important bridge between two temperamentally incompatible fields of knowledge.

The majority of material on modern astrology itself was frustrating, full of slippery language about the function of nearly every foundational component of the horoscope. Nearly every book left me more perplexed than the last, leaving me very concerned that my skepticism should not have been directed at astrology itself, but at its current leading voices. I accumulated multiple shelves of books on the topic which after I began studying traditional astrology have only accumulated dust. And deservedly so. Modern astrology is very bad at providing concrete answers and clarity about almost everything, and clarity is precisely what I was looking for.

The available material on planetary magic was almost exclusively derived from the output of Victorian lodge magic, such as the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and the Aurum Solis. The astrology of these fraternal orders was utilized as a set of universal archetypes and symbols used for the spiritual development of the initiate, not to remediate adverse horoscopic conditions. Sometimes planetary imagery was incorporated into practical rituals, but these rituals were seldom truly astrological in nature. Many of these groups claimed to routinely raise the initiate above the influences of astrological vicissitudes, thus rendering the study of the horoscope a spiritual hobby like palmistry rather than something essential.

Nevertheless, I did have a few resources which were useful starting points. I had Francis Barrett’s The Magus, Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn, and Mather’s edition of The Greater Key of Solomon. All of them taught me many useful things, but not how to solve the puzzle which was driving me through all of this.

I began experimenting with planetary candle magic. Dressed candles were originally established through the tradition of Hoodoo generations earlier, but in New York City the practice was popularized in the largely Caucasian Western Esoteric community through occult shops. Creating some version of a dressed candle was thus a foundational practice for nearly anyone learning practical magic in the area during the 80s and 90s. Candle magic of this flavor wasn’t consistently powerful, but candles cost pennies and a dressed candle could be sold for $10 and up. This was understandably pushed heavily by nearly all the local occult shops in order to stay in business. Candles were engraved, dressed with essential oils, sprinkled with glitter, and sometimes passed through incense smoke in front of the customers. It was partially entertainment, like a teppanyaki grill at a Japanese restaurant, but it served to teach customers how to do the same at home. I was friendly with many of the owners and employees at these shops, so I knew the procedures especially well.

My starting point was to use the conventional planetary colors for the selection of my candles for dressing as offerings, and prepare them during the appropriate Planetary Hour or Day. When this proved entirely unsuccessful, I used a variation of the Golden Dawn Hexagram Rituals (which are used to invoke the planets) upon the candles to give them a boost of power. I found some interesting unconventional uses for the Hexagrams in the process, but the candles were producing results which were just as disappointing. I could not tell whether any results were the results of false attribution and the placebo effect or any magic causing changes, and that is always a bad sign.

Completely frustrated, I began to experiment with the cycles of time itself. I had found a copy of Estelle Daniels’ book Astrologickal Magick at a local shop and thought it might be what I had been looking for. The book was a potpourri of notions on how to blend magic and astrology; most of it was unhelpful or even slightly dangerous, but gems were scattered within. It introduced to me a clearer notion of astrological timing and that of Essential Dignity by way summarizing some of the work of pioneering traditional astrologer J.Lee Lehman.

Daniels wrote that one could bring about superior outcomes when a planet was transiting the Signs of its Rulerships, which was one of many types of Essential Dignity–zones of power for individual planets as they moved through the Zodiac. Furthermore, a lesser-known type of Sign placement was Exaltation, which was sometimes more powerful with the timing of magic.

So, I began to experiment with creating and lighting dressed candles when they were, as astrologers say, in Sign. Much to my surprise, the results were almost the same when planets were in Rulerships; but strange and intriguing outcomes proceeded from making and lighting planetary candles when present in their Exaltations. In spite of this, the results were not very powerful and highly unreliable; but I could tell that finally something was going on which could not be attributed to mere coincidence and wishful thinking.

Necessity Is The Mother Of Opportunity

The eureka moment was, strangely enough, the result of my highly precarious financial situation.

I had a bad employer who would pay me a variable amount of money at a seemingly random moment, but I had no better options at the time. My solution was to adapt by buying up bulk goods whenever I was paid and subsisting on them until the next check. Thus for a few years I lived out of boxes of canned food, stacks of books to read at my leisure, and most importantly glass encased novena candles that I would purchase by the dozen at local thrift stores.

Inevitably I would time things poorly, and I would run out of something. As I was experimenting with elected planetary candles, I would run out of candles of a necessary color when the corresponding planet was in Sign or Exaltation. Out of desperation, I crossed my fingers and used whatever color candles I had available. As my use of planetary candles increased and the length between paychecks seemed to stretch longer, improvisation correspondingly increased and a pattern emerged.

Planetary candles which used colors that were quite different from the traditional correspondence tables frequently worked better than those which were traditional. I burned hundreds of these candles, and was baffled and intrigued. I was still using very primitive electional techniques by the standards I use today, but I began to track which colors worked best with each planet. The only conclusion I could come to was that the traditional color scheme was wrong; the correct color scheme remained elusive.

I tried using the colors of the Signs rather than the planets; that was not the pattern. I tried comparing the colors with those of the configurations of my personal horoscope; again, this was not consistent. Nor was it anything to do with the Exaltations. I was mystified.

That’s when I realized that astrology was fundamentally broken. If even the proper colors of the planetary correspondences were incorrect, then all of our assumptions about the meaning of the planets were questionable.

At this point my exasperation and disgust turned into excitement. Because I finally saw this as an opportunity. I had begun to worry that I was incompetent; solving magical puzzles usually didn’t take me nearly so long. Now I realized that I had been misinformed.

Finding out where the misinformation had originated and the correct correspondences became a personal mission; a mission which has led to the discoveries of the remaining posts in this blog series.

I hope that you will join me on a wild ride through the history of magic, astrology, and much else.

Magical Medicine @ ConVocation 2019

Magical Medicine at ConVocation 2019


Since prehistoric times, magic has been used to heal the sick and revive the dying.

The historical line between enchantment and medicine is elusive at best. A mind-boggling array of methods and theories have been employed throughout the ages.

Grimoires which banish the demons of disease, enchanted poultices, wound talismans, amulets and mojos, baths and potions—all are based on the seductive premise that the spiritual can restore the corporeal.

In this class we will explore many of these systems, survey healing recipes, investigate eras when the doctor and witch doctor were one and the same, and discuss methods which may be used as complementary medicines today.

If you find this video useful, please subscribe to and , give thumbs up and Like posts. Your feedback matters.

Magical Medicine @ Morbid Anatomy’s Festival of Arcane Knowledge

Magical Medicine at Morbid Anatomy’s Festival of Arcane Knowledge 2019


Magic has been used to heal the sick and revive the dying since prehistoric times. The line between enchantment and medicine has always been blurred, with a kaleidoscopic array of methods and theories employed throughout the ages.

Grimoires that banish the demons of disease, enchanted poultices, wound talismans, amulets, mojos, baths and potions—all are based on the seductive premise that the spiritual can restore the corporeal.

In this lecture we will explore these systems, survey healing recipes, revisit eras when the doctor and witch doctor were one and the same—and investigate corresponding fringe science that persists today.

If you find this video useful, please subscribe to and , give thumbs up and Like posts. Your feedback matters.

A Treasury of Money Magic

A Treasury of Money Magic @ ConVocation 2019


I doubt that money is the root of all evil, but the lack of it can feel like hell.

Magic to manipulate prosperity precedes the invention of currency, and there’s no sign it’s going out of style any time soon.

As long as people wish for more than they have, practical wealth magic offers solutions.

This class is a broad survey of magical techniques and traditions that draw and keep money.

Whether you’ve wanted to conjure a spirit to find buried treasure, win a lottery, get a raise, inherit a fortune, invest like a pro, get an edge over your business rivals, enchant an ever-full purse, sustain your lifestyle, or even beat the house in Vegas, I have some amazing and effective spells to teach you that you won’t find anywhere else.

If you find this video useful, please subscribe to and , give thumbs up and Like posts. Your feedback matters.

Secret Powers of the Sun in Astrological Magic

Solar Sapphires, Planetary Antipathies, and Substitutions

The Book of Secrets


The Picatrix, De Radiis Stellarum, and Three Books of Occult Philosophy are closest to broad textbooks of this tradition of astrological magic, but they are not meant to be used entirely by themselves. Both canonical texts of astrological magic and their partners, the manuals of traditional astrology, repeatedly state that the student must go beyond a mere rote understanding of formulae and considerations. The following step is the internalization of celestial functions, then a series of flashes of insight revealing why things are as they arranged, and finally the integration of the practitioner into their proper spiritual hierarchy by the attainment of Perfect Nature and the maximization of their unique potential.

Authors are quite evasive about the aforementioned epiphanies for good reason; they allow teachers to recognize genuine insights arising from their better students that stand apart from the shallow mimicry that is the hallmark of pseudo-intellectualism, and they protect the secrets of the art from immature people who are at high risk of abusing it. The Science of Images has reputed power within it so vast that it can collapse entire civilizations if deployed with precision and ill intentions. Based on some of my experiences, I am certain that this is no idle boast. Some of the difficulty is deliberate in these texts, because of the gravity of that power falling into the wrong hands. It was the reasonable hope of the guardians and transmitters of this tradition that intellectual mastery developed roughly in tandem with emotional stability and personal responsibility.

Nevertheless, this has led to an incredibly steep learning curve for mastery of Scholastic Image Magic for modern students. Some of this is accidental and needs to be remedied, and some of this is very appropriate. As an example of the latter, it’s critically important that a student be fully immersed in the traditional worldview, and at least provisionally set aside the modern worldview, so they may navigate deeply within this paradigm. This commentary is, I hope, an additional guide through one of the more important winding passages deeper into the heart of this complex system of magic and mysticism.

Let us begin with something highly counterintuitive and use it as a pretext to dive into some of the more practical and mystical secrets of the operations of celestial magic.

Sunrise by the seashore
Ascent to the Sun of the Wise

Solar Sapphire Talismans

Horoscope of Sun Exalted Talismans on April 13th 2018
Horoscope of Sun Exalted Talismans on April 13th 2018


During the latter Solar talismanic election I covered in the preceding post, I alluded to a second set of talismans which were created at the same time. In addition to the bloodstones, I created two sapphire talismanic rings and a loose gemstone sapphire talisman. The herbs when applicable and suffumigations were identical. One of the rings is mine, and one ring and the loose gemstone will eventually be sold to clients or given to friends.

The inspiration for this talismanic project came from Eric Purdue’s masterful new translation of Cornelius Agrippa’s Book One of Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Agrippa frequently has long lists of gemstones, materials and animals which belong to the various celestial hierarchies but less frequently highlights the particular powers attributed to each within that particular hierarchy’s context. Agrippa gave very special attention to the gemstone he calls heliotrope that we believe is modern bloodstone, but also gave great attention to a gemstone called hyacinth in the J.F. translation. Eric Purdue, I believe correctly, provisionally identified hyacinth as modern sapphire. And with it come a list of powers which only apply in a Solar context; they are only activated when made into Solar talismans.

Blue sapphire cabochon in a gold ring
Blue sapphire cabochon in a gold ring

“Sapphires also have a solar virtue against poisons and pestilential vapors. When carried [the person] is rendered safe and acceptable, brings wealth and talent, and strengthens the heart. When held in the mouth, [sapphires] exceedingly cheer the mind.” –TBOC, Agrippa I:23, Eric Purdue trans.

Before I break down the rather long and fascinating list of powers attributed to Solar sapphire talismans, I must make mention of something of which most traditional (and Vedic) astrologers and readers of medieval lapidaries are quite aware. Sapphires have an extremely ancient and strong association with the planet Saturn, vastly more than the Sun. The association between sapphires and Saturn is so strong that due to what appears to be a confusion with lapis lazuli, the latter is associated with Saturn among other planets—sapphire appears to mean blue stone in Sanskrit and lapis lazuli means the same in Latin. Though the Sun and Saturn do rule a few things in common, such as the metal gold and kingship, they are in most other ways complete opposites. There’s nothing obviously Solar about sapphires; they are hard and usually dark stones—an obvious choice for the harsh, implacable, and dim Greater Malefic. Materials having multiple rulerships are not unusual, but this instance stands apart.


The Secrets of Antipathy

So is it a mistake? I’m quite sure it isn’t. It’s a phenomenal example of celestial antipathy which is described in Picatrix in more general terms about talismans which attract and repel animals.

“The effects upon animals are twofold—that is, one is to gather them and increase their number, and the other is to disperse and repel them. These are appropriate for different times, as they involve different motions—that is, there is a time for gathering and growth, and a time for dispersing and repelling. This may be considered under the heading of the opposition of degrees. In stones a certain supreme secret is hidden, that is, when any animal—that is, if you want it to depart—is hot in its nature, the stone ought to be cold; if the animal is moist, the stone ought to be dry, and vice versa. From this it should be understood that if you wish vipers and wasps to flee, the work ought to be done in cornelian and diamond and the like; but if they are cold by nature, such as scorpions, beetles, flies, lice, and things similar to them, work with hot stones such as malachite and crystal, and in bronze and gold and the like.

“This is for the working to make them flee. Workings to draw and increase them ought to be done with things that are harmonious and pertinent to them, as in working with vipers, you should work with gold and bronze and similar things. All this happens because of the harmony of complexion, the direction of movement, and the diversity of conjunctions and substances. The figure and form ought to be in the form and figure of the animal for which it is made, as a figure for mice in the shape of a mouse, one for serpents in the shape of a serpent, or one for scorpions in the shape of a scorpion.” –Picatrix IV:4, Greer-Warnock trans.

Liber Rubeus edition of the Greer-Warnock Picatrix
Liber Rubeus edition of the Greer-Warnock Picatrix

When Picatrix uses phrases like “a supreme secret” it’s not just talking about talismans that act as mosquito repellant. It’s an attempt to draw the discerning reader to a very important general principle that can be applied to a much wider set of circumstances. Picatrix uses language like this in other sections, such as the chapter on the manufacture of the thirty-six talismans of the Faces, to hint at a fairly radical reinvention of Neoplatonic cosmology that I have lectured upon previously. It is a test, an attempt to challenge the reader to learn a deeper lesson that is both mystical and extremely useful.

One of the concepts Picatrix describes elsewhere is what it sometimes calls reception; the capacity of a material to absorb celestial rays of a particular type. Some materials are receptive to the rays of many hierarchies. Emerald is receptive to Spica, Jupiter, Mercury and Moon. Silver is highly receptive to nearly every hierarchy because of the virtually ubiquitous and special role of the Moon in talismanic elections. Others are mostly inert, like clay and to a lesser extent human flesh. (Clay talismans really do not work, and in spite of the obvious allure talismanic tattoos aren’t especially viable.)

Parallel to reception is temperament or temperateness; in modern expressions, the capacity for something to manifest normalcy in contrast with manifestations which are abnormal and disruptive. Jupiter is the most temperate planet and usually signifies positive normalcy and health, and Mars is probably the least temperate planet and usually signifies disruption and injury. Materials belonging to each of these hierarchies often share these attributes, but can increase or decrease them or channel them in a particular direction.

Related to the preceding are sympathy and antipathy; some materials attract and repel species based upon their inner natures. But what Picatrix is hinting at is that it isn’t just animals that can be attracted by gemstones of one type and repelled by another, but also types of people, and finally even types of events. That’s where it gets really interesting.

And that is how we return to sapphires.

Blue Sapphire Cabochons
Blue Sapphire Cabochons

Analyzing the Solar Virtues of Sapphires

Solar sapphire talismans have the following powers:

  1. They neutralize poisons.
  2. They protect against contagious diseases i.e. “pestilential vapors.”
  3. They render the bearer safe from harm.
  4. They render the bearer inoffensive and pleasant.
  5. They attract riches.
  6. They magnify skills.
  7. They grant courage and health or “strengthen the heart.”
  8. They act as antidepressants, especially if sucked upon.

Now you can tell why I prize these talismans at least as much as the bloodstone ones I created along with them. Fame, glory, constancy, invisibility, and restored youth are really great but the eight powers listed above are possibly even more valuable for the average person.

What’s even more interesting is what these powers tell us about sympathy and antipathy in celestial magic.

Generally speaking, the Sun is not the planet one would expect a cure for poisons from; that’s more often associated with Jupiter. The Sun is nearly as temperate as Jupiter and they both grant vigorous health and presumably a resistance to contagions. The Sun often can accomplish the works of Mars and vice versa, so the Sun can protect—especially from witchcraft and evil spirits. The Sun co-rules gold, which for most of history was currency and thus can attract riches. The increase of skills may make sense because the Sun is fiery and fire quickens as it illuminates. The Sun definitely can grant courage and often is associated with the heart. Finally, the Sun can certainly act as an antidepressant; St. John’s wort has been known to be ruled by the Sun since at least medieval times because of this property. However, in spite of a temperate planet endowing a quality of normalcy, the Sun is less associated with blending in than standing out; often in a highly aggressive manner. The Sun is the king, and the king likes to conquer.

I believe there’s something else at work here:

  1. Saturn rules poisons
  2. Saturn rules contagious diseases.
  3. Saturn rules infirmity.
  4. Saturn rules ugliness and things which are essentially unpleasant.
  5. Saturn rules poverty and desperation, in spite of the co-rulership of gold.
  6. Saturn rules senility and stupefaction.
  7. Saturn rules fear and cowardice.
  8. Saturn rather famously rules melancholia.

I think what makes far more sense is that the function of a Solar sapphire talisman is to ward against many of the negative attributes of Saturn, because of the fundamental disagreement of natures between the hierarchies of the Sun and Saturn. The Sun is hot; Saturn is cold. The Sun governs all that is light and bright; Saturn rules all that is dark and shadowy.

It’s a fantastic example of how one can use the materials of a dissimilar hierarchy to neutralize the negative effects of a planet or star. And it’s one of the greater secrets of this system of magic.

Black Sapphire Cabochon
Black Sapphire Cabochon

The seven traditional planets often have peculiar relationships with each other, as illustrated in the 45 aphorisms that are said to be derived from the Secretum Secretorum:

“38. The Sun abhors those things that pertain to Saturn, and the things that pertain to the Sun are abhorrent to Saturn.” –Picatrix IV:4

There’s a long list of substitutions and antipathies in this chapter that are less pertinent, but must be memorized to attain mastery in this art. There are no shortcuts on this one.

This system of planetary pairings appears in the passages on planetary petitions as well.

Jupiter with Saturn
Jupiter with Saturn

“If you find yourself in contemplation and sorrow, or in melancholy or grave illness, in anything just named, or in any thing that has already been mentioned as belonging to Saturn, and you ask for something that belongs to his nature, you may seek it from him in the manner we describe below, and you may also help yourself in your petition by means of Jupiter. The essence of all these petitions is that you should not seek anything from any planet unless it belongs to his dominion…

“Seek from Mars what is consistent with his nature, such as petitions against soldiers, officials, fighters, and those who busy themselves with warlike acts; and on behalf of friends of kings, and those who destroy homes and citizens, and do evil to humanity, killers, executioners, those who work with fire or in places such as stables, litigators, shepherds, thieves, companions on the road, liars, traitors, and the like. Similar, ask him concerning infirmities of the body from the groin downwards, and also for phlebotomy, accumulation of gas, and the like. In these latter petitions you may also help yourself with Venus, for the nature of Venus dissolves what is closed up by Mars, and repairs what he damages…

“Seek from Venus all things that pertain to her, such as petitions of women, boys, and girls, daughters, and generally everything pertaining to the love of women and carnal copulation with them, art, vocal and instrumental music, telling jokes, and all those who give themselves over to worldly pleasures, those who engage in vices, male and female servants, brides and grooms, mothers, friends, sisters, and all those similar to them, and in these petitions you may also help yourself with Mars.” –Picatrix III:7

Venus with Mars
Venus with Mars

It also should be observed at this point that Jupiter and Saturn are oppositional in nature but are (slightly counterintuitively) “friends” with each other. The same is true of the hierarchies of Mars and Venus. The cliché of opposites attracting is reflected in celestial symmetries or harmonies. I believe that this system of substitutions using planets of oppositional nature but mutual amity goes even further than what Picatrix states explicitly. It says that Jupiter can substitute for Saturn but not the reverse; it may be a somewhat reasonable assumption, however. To learn more about planetary substitution, we must look elsewhere.

For that, we turn our attention to the other Luminary: the Moon.

The Moon Serves the Sun

The Lunar Cycle
The Lunar Cycle

In Picatrix II:10 there’s a wonderful miscellany of planetary talismanic recipes, one of which I’ve made but never quite understood until fairly recently.

“If, under the influence of the Sun, you write the figures below in a sedina stone with the Sun rising in the first face of Leo, whoever carries this stone will be protected against the lunar illnesses that come from the combustion of the Moon.”


Combustion (a close conjunction of a planet with the Sun) is deemed to be the worst planetary affliction according to William Lilly and is generally accepted as such in traditional astrology, with some uncommon exceptions. The combustion of the Moon is especially dire; it often signifies death and destruction in elections, and a variety of challenging health concerns in natal charts.

The more conventional suggestion would be to use a talisman of an afflicted planet in a person’s natal chart as a remedy, but here we see something very different. Here the suggestion is to double-down on the influence of the Sun. It seems counterintuitive because the Sun is overwhelming the native’s Moon, but it is logical if the Sun and the Moon have a similar relationship as Jupiter and Saturn have, and Mars and Venus mutually share in the petitional instructions cited above.

Indications that this is the case between the Sun and Moon are scattered throughout Picatrix.

Echo and the Bunnymen: The Killing Moon

(As I am writing this, Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” just began to play on Pandora. Everything is connected.)

“The Nabatean sages have said that the power and works of the heavens and stars are from the Sun originally, and this is because they see and understand that the Moon helps him (that is, as much as is in her power), while the Sun does not need her effects, nor those of the other planets; and similarly, the five other planets follow the Sun in their effects and obey and are humbled by him, and proceed in their aforementioned effects according to the dispositions of the Sun. In the same way, according to their opinion, all their effects are primarily rooted in the Sun, and the other six planets help him by their effects. Similarly, the fixed stars are the Sun’s handmaidens, and serve, obey, and are humbled by him, and while they help him with their effects, this is not because of any need that he has of them.” –Picatrix III:8

And elsewhere:

“Our sages say likewise that the virtue of the fifth quality [the Moon in a perfected conjunction with the Sun] has a similar effect to the effect of the Sun, and this is a very great thing and a noble quality. They say that all composite bodies receive from this the virtues that they ought to have, nor should it be understood from the foregoing that the Moon causes virtues and workings differing from those of the Sun; rather, the Moon reveals the Sun’s influence and brings forth works accomplished by the Sun; nor do these appear until the Moon manifests those things that were previously concealed, and illuminates what had previously been in obscurity.” –Picatrix II:3

One of the ways Picatrix conceals secrets of talismanic magic is by describing electional considerations and the composition of talismans and suffumigations in what superficially appear to be abstract cosmological relationships. To a person immersed in the worldview espoused by the author, ultimately there is no difference between these things; or at least there is a profound sympathy.



What Picatrix is saying here is pretty radical.

While most talismanic and petitional elections depend strongly upon the condition of the Moon and to some extent the planet on or ruling the Ascendant, if a major significator in the election is the Sun the role of every other planet is greatly diminished. The manifestation might be subtler with a weak Moon, however. In theory, one could create a benevolent Solar talisman even if the Moon was afflicted catastrophically. I personally wouldn’t take that chance unless it were an emergency, but in the earlier of the two Sun in Aries elections I described in the last post the Moon was slightly afflicted. It is because of Picatrix that I felt this was inconsequential.

This is a special case regarding the Sun and the Sun only. Tropical astrology is not heliocentric; it is geocentric. But it is what I call heliophilic. It gives a very special significance to the role of the Sun, and it has powers unique among all the planets. It is not merely the strongest planet—something seldom stated in canonical texts because it really is taken for granted—but it has a central role in the cosmos as the bringer of order, the primary source of visible and astral light, the liminal mediator between the world of Forms and the Sublunar sphere, and of the four seasons that sustain all life. Thus, through the Sun, the equinoxes and solstices define the positions and properties of the Zodiacal Signs and the essential architecture of the universe and time itself.

A road leading to a sunrise

In Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this somewhat serpentine journey through the world of Scholastic Image Magic which started with Agrippa’s Solar sapphires, has taken us through the complex relationships of planetary pairings, and finally to the fundamental supremacy and centrality of the Sun. Traditional celestial magic conceals a lot of secrets of both a practical and spiritual nature, and as we solve the puzzles it sets before us in the canonical sources, the aspiration is that our own personal disjointedness is transformed into a more coherent spiritual being.

I’m cheating a little by letting you in on some of the glimpses of the treasures that I’ve uncovered. I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me for bending the rules a little; that you’ll return the favor someday to myself and others, and that you’ll use this knowledge wisely.

No one can perfect any of the works of traditional astrological magic without passing on some of the illumination that one receives, much like the Sun illuminates each of the planets and they transmit their light and fill all of their hierarchies with vitality and power. It’s more than a metaphor; it’s the essential connection between consciousness and cosmos that produces magic and our experience of reality itself.