Fundamental SIM Texts

It occurs to me that it’s very hard to take the first steps in orienting yourself around SIM because outside of Chris Warnock’s courses there is nothing really like a 101 book. I’ve attempted to do some of that with my lectures, but there’s only so much you can do in a narrow window of time.

Even more important is orienting oneself towards the worldview of pracitioners of the system. Thinking like someone in the 21st Century rather than someone in the 17th is a major stumbling block, because so many assumptions about the self, the universe, and metaphysics overall have changed that really do matter. There is much to un-learn before you learn.

Chris requires one of two books early on in his Astrological Magic Course. The first is The Elizabethan World Picture by E.M.W.Tillyard. It’s a very useful book, but one of the most boring I’ve ever read.

The better option is The Discarded Image by C.S.Lewis. This book I can wholeheartedly recommend, and convinced me that the pious Lewis almost certaintly practiced some form of Christian Neoplatonic magic in secret.

I’d like to go a bit further and add two more books to your reading list, one of which is much easier to obtain than the other.

The first is the Timaeus of Plato and the many, many commentaries upon it. A great deal of the justification and rationale for (Traditional) astrology in Western Culture originates in this text, and it is profound elegant reading if sometimes a bit dry. You should read it fully at least once, but it certainly grows in value upon subsequent reads.

The second is De Radiis Stellarum of Al-Kindi in French and a harder to obtain version in English. Though this text was certainly respected in the Muslim world, it was widely disseminated throughout the Christian medieval world as an explanation for magic which did not recourse to the evocation of demons and only mysterious natural forces. More relevantly, it’s a logical philosophical and integrated view of how magic works and much more sophisticated than anything which has emerged since. Without understanding De Radiis Stellarum, it’s actually very hard to understand Picatrix; and it happens to be one of the biggest skeleton keys to understanding the text for my own researches.

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.


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.

About Time: Introduction To The Horoscope Chart @ ConVocation 2017


Clifford Hartleigh Low’s lecture on “About Time: Introduction To The Horoscope Chart” at ConVocation 2017. This lecture is a 101 introduction to core concepts in astrology, with a particular focus on the function of the horoscope chart, how to do basic calculation using a website or software, the meaning of the different parts of the chart and their relations to the heavens, the metaphysical cosmology of astrology and metaphors, the history of its development, and the variety of potential applications in a Traditional Astrological context, and much more…

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Welcome, and Thank You

Welcome to those of you visiting because of a series of very kind and generous compliments posted elsewhere by my friend and teacher Magus Christopher Warnock of

Praise from someone whom I respect most profoundly and whose amazing work has changed my life so much, means more than I can begin to express. He is both an excellent and brilliant person and one of the most accomplished magicians alive. It is a great privilege to know him and call him a friend and colleague.

Newcomers: Don’t be scared off by the spooky trappings here. I promise, I won’t bite.

Brush aside the cobwebs and bear in mind that without a little darkness, no one could ever see the stars shine.

In terms of navigation, if your interest is exclusively astrological and talismanic my posts labeled “Astrology” and especially “Scholastic Image Magic” will be be what you are looking for. For all practical purposes, Scholastic Image Magic or SIM is a more academic term for Renaissance Magic and what I use here.

And thank you, Chris. For everything.

The Great Rings of Wealth

THE GREAT RINGS OF WEALTH: Marxois, The Third Face of Capricorn


“There rises in the third face of Capricorn a man holding a book which he opens and closes, and before him is the tail of a fish. This is a face of wealth and the accumulation of money and increase and embarking on trade and pressing on to a good end.”

It’s rare to find a talisman which just brings great riches, so this was one I’ve been hankering to try for a very long time.

Marxois is empowered by the Sun, and the Sun is in the Face in question. Sun is unafflicted. Sun Day and Hour. The Moon is sufficiently fast and widely applying to both benefics by benevolent aspects. The Moon is in her House and conjunct the Pars Fortuna.

The main downside of this election is that it is the final degree of a Sign, but as this is Capricorn and the final degrees of Signs get that reputation largely because of Saturn this may not be as great a concern as otherwise. Furthermore, this election is hard to obtain so one must not demand flawlessness. Saturn is on the MC, but I don’t think that’ll cause mischief here.

I chose lemon chrysoprase for the stone, and bands made of both gold and gold-filled wire for strength. The suffumigation was long pepper, as was the herb affixed beneath the rings. The oil used was Money Drawing.

Seven rings were made for me, and one undesignated recipient in Size 8.5.

The ymage of Marxois bears some scrutiny. The Sun is accorded large books according to Picatrix, and the figure is of a merlad (a male mermaid) reading a book. This is a way of transmitting that the Sun is in the tail of Capricorn pictorially. In my design, I inscribed MARXOIS across the chest of the figure, and when possible the sigil of Marxois on the binding of the book. The design isn’t going to hang in a museum, but it doesn’t have to in order for it to work. It also wise to remind oneself that each entry on the Faces in Picatrix says “This is its Form.” I don’t think that word choice is accidental.

It should be noted that Picatrix is one of the few sources which consider this a thoroughly positive Face. Most of the others say it inspires selfishness and avarice. I trust Picatrix over those sources, but think those may be valid for malefic elections of this Face.