Fashion and other alterations of the appearance are mind-altering substances, for both the wearer and the witness. This is magnified in the context of magic, and magic itself is amplified through these.
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:
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.
On Thursday, February 23rd at 8:30pm–
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.
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.
“If you carefully attend to the proper harmony, and harmoniously join figures together and prepare them, they will be the first matter and foundation of this work. When images are fashioned in this way, they will be lasting and complete in their effects, and if they are not fashioned in this way, their effects will be destroyed by the destruction of their terrestrial material and the destruction of the composition thereof.” –Picatrix, IV:4
Meaning that if a talisman is constructed properly, with every aspect in harmony with the celestial hierarchy in question, the effects will even persist long after the talisman is destroyed.
Useful to know for talismans made of wax and other perishable materials, fragile talismans generally, and curse talismans which could be discovered and destroyed by a target.
VENUS PETITON: Venus and Moon in Taurus, Cancer ASC, Moon triumphed, Venus sextile ASC.
Talismanic elections have been few and far between of late, and I’m taking a break from curse talismans for a while– so that leaves petitions. This one was slightly experimental.
Now, the key with petitions as opposed to talismans is that you’re trying to arrange a relationship between the petitioner and the planetary hierarchy in question using the chart. So instead of putting a strong planet on the ASC or MC and thus make the talisman an embodiment of the planetary strength, you make the planet aspect the ASC or ASC ruler in a benevolent manner. This represents assistance rather than embodiment. ASC and ASC Ruler need to be fortified, the planet petitioned needs to be fortified, and the Moon needs to be unafflicted.
This election has Cancer on the ASC and the Moon is exalted, fast, applying in perfection with a Benefic and (arguably) triumphed by “reverse besiegement”, protected by combustion in her own Sign, the Ruler of the Moon’s Sign is not cadent, and she is in a benevolent succedent House. Venus is very essentially dignified, applying by sextile to the ASC (and Venus loves sextiles more than trines), and is protected by combustion in her own Sign. The pars fortuna is also on the ASC. Day of Venus by both Arab/Jewish and Zoroastrian/Christian planetary days, but not Hour.
The negatives are that the Moon is in fact separating from conjunction with Venus, and one may be concerned about the combustions of Moon and Venus but since both are highly dignified in Taurus and the Sun is also there, it is a good case for these planets shielded by the flames rather than burnt. The 4th Lunar Mansion is not ideal for most matters of Venus, but you can’t have everything.
The petition text was taken from Picatrix, and I attempted the “dress in the manner of Arabians” option. But only if the Arabs in question were fond of terrycloth bathrobes. I’ll hope Venus has a sense of humor about it. I wanted to do more than dress in blue, and I just wasn’t feeling like doing a ritual in drag this morning.
The suffumigation listed was gall, frankincense, gum mastic, long pepper, and raisins. I don’t have any gall, but I took pomegranate seeds from one of the alternate suffumigation recipes and made do. It was very smoky and I teared up a lot.
I won’t say what I asked for, but it wasn’t necessarily what you think. The following are from Picatrix in various places:
“Ask from Venus the desire for copulation, the virtue of causing loves and enthusiasms and expelling sorrow and sloth, invigorating the appetite, increasing generation, multiplying children, extinguishing fire, and being safe from animals.”
“Venus is the source of the power of flavor. And she rules grammar and the art of measuring sound and song. Among languages she has Arabic; among the internal organs, the right nostril, and among internal organs, those that meet in sexual intercourse and project sperm, and the stomach, and those from which come the virtue and flavor in eating and drinking; among religion, Islam; among clothing, all painted clothing; and of professions, all professions of painting and shaping, selling things that smell good, playing instruments that are good to listen to, singing, dancing and making stringed instruments; among flavors, all sweet things that taste good; and of places, place of vice, places in which men seek healing, and in which men dance, and places of cheerfulness where there is singing and speech, and places of ladies and beautiful women, and also places of eating and drinking; and of precious stones, pearls, and of rocks, lapis lazuli and almartach; and of plants, all plants with a good odor like saffron and arhenda, roses and all flowers with a good odor and smell and are pleasant to look at; among medicines balsam and grains of julep, and those that emit a strong smell, such as nutmeg and amber; among animals, females, camels that are beautiful and all beautiful animals with symmetrical bodies such as gazelles, sheep, gazelles, hares, partridges, calandras and the like. Among small animals, she has those that are colorful and beautiful; among colors, sky blue and gold tending a little to green.”
“Venus is cold and moist, and a fortune. She signifies cleanliness, splendor, preciousness, word games, delight in music, joy, adornments, laughter, pictures, beauty, loveliness, playing music by the voice or stringed instruments; delighting in marriage, desiring spices and things that have good odors; sending dreams; provoking games of chess and dice; desiring to lie with women and to fall in love with them and receiving promises from them; desiring to appear beautiful, loving liberty, magnanimity of heart, and joy. She abhors anger, brawling, vengeance, and lawsuits; she desires to serve the desires and wills of friends concerning the world’s opinion; tends toward false promises; is inclined to cupidity; desires to drink much; incessantly desires much copulation, and of shameful kinds, and to do it in inappropriate places, as women are accustomed to do with one another; delighting in animals and children and in making them good; making things equal; delighting in merchants and living with them and being loved by their women; and that they may be delighted by men. When she is well received, she plays a part in the making of crowns, building stables and working in stone, having sweet speech, disdaining the world and having no fear of it; sustaining people so that neither anger, strife, or discord can be felt by them; it designates a weak heart and a weak will in lawsuits and combat, and signifies desire for all beautiful combinations of things which may be in conformity with the will; making colors and laboring diligently in skills involving them; selling merchandise, spices, and prayers; those who observe the religious law; and those who adhere to sciences and philosophies of forbidden kinds.”
GEMS OF BEDAZZLING ARDOR: The Talismans of the Twenty-Sixth Mansion.
PICATRIX RUBEUS page 292:
“When the Moon is passing through it, take white wax and mastic and melt them together; from these fashion the image of a woman with her hair unbound and before her a vessel placed as if to receive her hair. Suffumigate it with sweet-smelling odors, and say: ‘You, Tagriel, bring me to the love and friendship of such and such a woman.’ Place the image in a small bag, and place with it also some of the most sweet-smelling of substances; carry it with you, and it shall be completed as you have requested. Know that Tagriel is the name of the lord of this Mansion.”
IBN HATIM via Lippincott:
“The image is a woman whose hair hangs down; on her are varieties of coloured cloths; between her two hands is a pot in which is a perfume (with which) she perfumes herself. You should shape her, in accordance with the name of whomever among women you wish, out of white wax and mastic. Fumigate it with varieties of perfumes. You should write on her chest the name of the man overcoming her love for herself. You should keep the image in the house so that she refrains from going to him, if God wills. The name of her lord is Nafsiyal taghriyal. Its speciality is for love that she entice (?) the man marvellously and promote lust. It is four stars, similar to a bucket.”
This was a slightly unconventional election and also slightly unconventional in implementation.
The Moon was in the 5th House of good fortune and pleasure, while the North Node was conjoined to the Ascendant. The Moon was extremely fast, waxing, and in a Sign whose ruler was not cadent (though retrograde.) The Moon was making benevolent aspects to the Sun and Mercury; the former very tightly.
These were loose gem talismans. Three lapis lazuli cabochons (fairly large) were inscribed with the ymage described, but with the North Node sigil at the apex, the number 26 at the bottom, and TAGRIEL on the obverse center. The suffumigation was a blend of dried rosebuds and lignum aloes. No oil was used.
The North Node functions similarly to a benefic planet when placed on the ASC or MC, and adds strength to any election– particularly one which requires an overcoming of an obstacle or an adversary. It is dependent on the strength of the election’s configuration overall, for though it magnifies the luck and power of other factors by itself it is highly unstable and cannot be the sole power drawn upon. Fortunately the speed, phase and aspects of the Moon are good enough for a potent election on their own, and though the placement of the Moon in a Succedent House easily offset by the benevolence and relevance to the election’s goal. The Dragon’s Head is really just the cherry on top, but what a cherry it is!
Due to the relative softness of the lapis lazuli and the intense speed of the Moon, these talismans should be very fast acting. Their durability at this stage is not clear, but the configuration suggests to me that the effect would be extensive and enduring.