The Talismans of the Inescapable Prison

THE TALISMANS OF THE INESCAPABLE PRISON: Fast Moon culminating in the 25th Mansion perfecting a trine with the Greater Benefic, with a dignified and unafflicted Ascendant Ruler.

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The 25th Mansion generally is for the protection of orchards and crops as per the Plinian Mansion section of Picatrix, but the “Foundational Mansions” early section in the same gives a number of other options for people with brown thumbs like myself.

In this Mansion make images to besiege cities and villages, to take enemies captive and do as much evil to them as you please, to make messengers convey their messages and quickly return, to separate wives from their husbands, to destroy harvests, to bind a man and wife or a woman and her husband so that they cannot copulate, to bind whichever part of the human body you wish so that it is not able to function, to strengthen the prison of captives; and it is good to secure buildings.

Of course, the majority of these options are for curse talismans and would require a completely different sort of election.

But this raises a different question: clearly the hastening of messengers and the securing of buildings are benevolent and require benefic electional configurations, but what about the strengthening the prison of captives? And what is it with so many of the listings in this section either for the securing of captives or the liberation of prisoners? It’s really conspicuous when you look at them as a whole.

The most obvious possibility is that magicians were often in danger of imprisonment in antiquity and having a memorized list of potential talismans for escape was a priority. Another is that magicians were often in the employ of nobles who had a strong interest in securing enemies and rivals in their personal dungeons to fortify their positions. However, I don’t think this explains it all.

Usually SIM texts are painfully literal at times regarding the function of talismanic recipes, but I suspect this may be an exception; I think it is also for strengthening the binding of spirits. The reason I believe this is that Picatrix does make references to spirit binding throughout the text suggesting that the method is quite important but is curiously evasive about specifics. To me that suggests the methods appear in coded language elsewhere in the text, and this is one of my favorite speculations– that the references to prisons and prisoners are applicable equally to human beings, spirits, and even perhaps animals.

In any case, that’s all speculation for now.

The next quandary is whether strengthening a prison is benevolent or malevolent?

My take is that it is benevolent, considering that the alternative is a jailbreak. Breaking out of a prison is a form of destruction, albeit a desirable one from the subjective viewpoint of the prisoner. This is especially clear in this case when Jupiter is prominent in the electional configuration, whose attributes prioritize the augmentation and strengthening of things. Strengthening a prison is similar to the securing of buildings which is another electional option, which is unambiguously benevolent.

This election was specifically for the strengthening the prison of captives, which is especially suitable considering that the 25th Mansion’s name translates (according to some) as “the star of the dungeons.”

I should note that this election does not bind or imprison; it only fortifies bindings and imprisonments which already are in place.

The Moon was quite fast, applying a perfected trine to Jupiter. However, it was also applying a sextile to Mercury which is the dignified and unafflicted Ascendant Ruler, therefore reinforcing the significators. The Moon is also applying a somewhat loose sextile to Saturn which is the ruler of the Moon’s Sign and a very strong consideration for success according to Picatrix electional rules — even though it is a Malefic.

There are possible negatives. The Ascendant Ruler is applying a trine to Saturn, which by Picatrix rules would weaken it. However, Mercury and Saturn have a natural amity and the trine should soften any weakening. Saturn is in a malefic Face and is in the 7th House but not on the Descendant, so I think that’s acceptable. The malevolence of Saturn might make the imprisonment particularly harsh, or it may not factor in in any way. A counterindication is the role of Jupiter, which may make the imprisonment pleasant. And while Jupiter is retrograde, I do not believe this has any pertinence to the election since the planet is in a supportive role rather than being a principal player.

Six quartz crystal cabochons were made into talismans. The suffumigation was gum mastic.

The top of the cabochon was inscribed with a crescent Moon, and below it a chain with five or seven links depending upon the size of the gem. Below it were three words: STRENGTHEN, CAPTIVES, PRISONS; each below the last. On the back was inscribed an X for ease of the Mansion spirit’s entry.

Normally I would have inscribed the name of the Mansion Ruler, but tarot advised against it. Perhaps the Ruler uses a different name for orchards and imprisonments.

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.

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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:

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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.

Black Magic And Dark Paganism @ ConVocation 2009

A lecture and reading covering the ethos and practices of black magic, a survey of curse methods, and dark paganism– a term which he coined in the early 1990s. (It is a fusion of elements from the PantheaCon lecture of the same name from 2008, the Secret Sequel lecture from 2009, and some unique material.)

Like several lectures during this period, the audio is imperfect. Please accept my apologies.

Black Magic Part Two (Partial) @ ConVocation 2010 

 

Part of Clifford Hartleigh Low’s lecture about the deeper ethics, strategy, and practice of curses, black magic and dark paganism. The omitted portion of the lecture was recorded without audio due to technical issues.