The Rings of the Diplomat


THE RINGS OF THE DIPLOMAT: Sirius culminating, with a tightly applying conjunction of the Moon; the very fast Moon applying to both Benefics, and the Greater Benefic on the Ascendant.

While Jupiter is somewhat afflicted, overall this is a superb election for Sirius. The speed of the Moon, the Benefic on the Ascendant, and the amazing tightness of the conjunction of the Moon with Sirius on the Midheaven were all great fortitudes that together provided an election that is quite powerful and proportionately rare.

For the time being I don’t believe the solar eclipse of August 21 will have had a significant impact upon these elections; they ought to be fully out of orb.

This is an election that I’ve been eager to try out for an exceptionally long time.

Under the Greater Dog Star, they made an image of a hound and a little virgin; it bestoweth honour and good will, and the favor of men, and aerial spirits, and giveth the power to pacify and reconcile kings, princes, and other men. –Cornelius Agrippa

And elsewhere:


One part savine juniper juice with wormwood and bistort and a little serpent’s tongue put under a golden beryl, etc., grants the favor of the spirits of the air and the peoples of the earth, and brings peace and concord between kings and other potentates, and between husbands and wives. –Qundecim Stellis

The oldest obtainable coverage is more general and possibly is confused with the listing for Procyon which follows it in the text, and has no listed powers:

And Canis Major in his like
The fifte sterre is of magique,
The whos kinde is Venerien,
As seith this astronomien.
His propre ston is seid berille,
Bot for to worche and to fulfille
Thing which to this science falleth,
Ther is an herbe which men calleth
Saveine, and that behoveth nede
To him that wole his pourpos spede.

–The Confessio Amantis of John Gower

All things being equal, I lean towards the Quindecim Stellis as canonical over Agrippa’s fixed star sections; particularly the sigils. The Confessio Amantis material is valuable too, but mostly to reduce ambiguities and illustrate the evolution of the text.

To clarify this, talismans of Sirius:

  • Make people like and obey the wearer.
  • Make spirits like and obey the wearer.
  • Allows the wearer to resolve disputes between lovers.
  • Allows the wearer to resolve disputes between people of leadership and renown.

I’ve long said that the Ring of the Pleiades is the most important in the Quindecim Stellis; the most fundamental in plying one’s trade as an itinerant magician in the Early Modern Period. The Rings of either the Greater or Lesser Dog Stars and the Ring of Alkaid would be the ones to follow it; but considering that Sirius is the brightest star of all, it probably takes the lead. A magician with a Sirius ring would be able to be a supreme counselor for his liege or patron, and assist him or her in the governance of their fiefdom or estate. In exchange for generous payment.

On a personal level, I’m close to finally completing the full set of fifteen Behenian talismans as described in the Quindecim Stellis. Though a few of these I no longer have in my possession, the process of creating thirteen of these over the past decade have been as powerful an initiation as anything I can imagine. It hasn’t been easy, and when the fifteenth is completed I’m going to enjoy a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate.

Four rings were ensouled. The gemstones were golden beryl (with heavy inclusions) in silver bands. I would have prepared more, but golden beryl is very hard to obtain right now. I was indecisive about the suffumigation, and tarot suggested pine resin—not an obvious choice, but there’s little canonical guidance on this matter.

Obtaining the wormwood was easy. Obtaining the savine juniper was slightly more challenging. Bistort was difficult, and the chunks were hard to secure under the ring.

But serpent’s tongue is not for the squeamish. I ordered preserved constrictors from a educational supply house and dissected half. The process of rooting for the tongue was disgusting, and finding it inside a dead snake challenging. I have done some graduate-level work in Biology, and I don’t envy anybody with less training doing something like this. Just nasty.

The serpent’s tongue, just to be clear, is not a euphemism for an herb. It’s an organ cut from the body of a dead snake. There are no substitutions on this one. And it’s arguably the most important of the ingredients after the beryl itself, because of the associations between the persuasiveness and deceptiveness of a serpent, and its mythical speech.

I haven’t seen any effects from the one I’m currently wearing, but it clearly emanates power. I can hardly wait to see what this one will do.



Ménage à Talisman

The Power of Three


“When the Moon is rising in this mansion by night, fashion a lamina of gold and inscribe in it the figures of two maidens embracing and the figure of a man before them and over the heads of the two maidens, a crown… and pray by the name [of the lord of the mansion that there be love] between you and your women and your maidens, and also that there love be between them, from one to the other; and so it will be.”

So, apparently there’s an ancient SIM talismanic formula for consummating threesomes.

People do not change.

Note to self: I could probably charge a lot of money for these.

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:


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.


On Scholastic Image Magic


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 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.


Durability of SIM Talismans’ Effects

“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.