As many of you know, I recently published an essay entitled The Return of Psalm Magick and the Mixed Qabalah. (Find it in both Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly and Diamond Fire Magazine.) In that essay, I reviewed two books released by Avalonia Publishing, one of which was A Collection of Magical Secrets & a Treatise of Mixed Cabalah by Skinner and Rankine. This is two different pamphlets published together, and I found myself utterly captivated by A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah.
The Mixed Qabalah of Abramelin
Anyone who has read the Book of Abramelin (French or German) understands why that title would peak my interest. Within his autobiographical material, Abraham the Jew explains that there are only three types of true magick: The Qabalah, the True and Sacred Magick (i.e., of Abramelin) and the “Mixed Qabalah.” He goes on to elaborate the Mixed Qabalah by listing its different categories and types – but he really only succeeds in making the entire subject obscure. We are only left with the impression that the Mixed Qabalah is some kind of blending of Qabalistic wisdom and classical magickal arts such as alchemy, astrology, herbology and divination by visions.
Those who have only read the French (aka “Mathers”) version of Abramelin have missed an important part of the puzzle. Mathers decided to remove one of the Books of Abramelin from his publication of the grimoire – and that happened to be Book II, containing several chapters of folk magick-style spells. Not realizing that this book represented the Mixed Qabalah that Abraham described in the first book, Mathers assumed it was just a collection of low-magickal formulas that had been added to the text at a later date. He was obviously incorrect – and his deletion of that material made Abraham’s ramblings about Mixed Qabalah even harder to understand.
What we find in the restored Book II (see Georg Dehn’s Book of Abramelin) is fairly standard scriptural magick – like we would find in Use of the Psalms or Avalonia’s recent publication of The Book of Gold. The main difference is that those examples focus entirely on the Psalms, while Abramelin’s Book II makes use of scripture from various books of the Bible. Each chapter focuses upon a specific goal, most of which are fairly typical of grimoiric literature: healing, love, protection, warfare, birth, addressing nobility, etc, etc. In each case a prayer or scripture is given along with basic instructions on how to apply it. Here is a good example:
Chapter 5, Spell 1: Against Tempests, Ghosts and Visions Prepared by Evil People
Take flowing water, throw in some grains of salt. Then, with the blood of a wether or steer – into which has been mixed sulfur and gall – write the words below. Wash this off with the salt water. Sprinkle this water at the tempest or against the vision.
Adonai Zebaoth, threaten them, so that they will fly away. Haunt them like the wind puts dust upon the hills, and like the tempest comes before the whirlwind. [-adapted from Isaiah 17:13]
I would assume the prayer is written upon parchment. A dip-pen would be used to write the words, and then the salted water used to wash off the still-wet ink. (The parchment, pen, water and even the ink can all be consecrated beforehand.) The water/ink mixture is caught in a bowl, and it can then be used for the given purpose of the spell.
This is just the kind of magick I’m into, and as a devotee of the Abramelin system I was eager to try one of the formulas. I found a good reason when we moved into a new home just over a year ago. I wanted to use the following spell from chapter five to protect the property:
Chapter Five, Spell 3: That Evil People and Magic Cannot Damage Your House
Write on seven tablets of pure beeswax. Bury them in seven locations around your boundaries, or place them under the edges of the roof of your house. The house will be secure, evil will not be able to approach. The words:
The godless have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous will bear fruit. [- adapted from Proverbs 11:21]
It seemed straightforward enough, with a kind of Hoodoo simplicity about it. No elaborate instructions, just inscribe the words on the proper material and bury them around the property. So we did just that. We cast seven beeswax disks, inscribed the words and buried them at seven points around the property (in the form of a giant heptagram). We even did the burial at midnight.
Our first try was not without its issues. First, the seventh wax disk had come out of its mold slightly deformed. I didn’t like it, but the text didn’t mention what shape the wax had to be, so I felt there was no harm in using it as-is. However, over several weeks after I buried that talisman, I noticed that grass was refusing to re-grow over the spot.
Another issue that nagged at me was the utter lack of any ritual in the preparation or burying of these talismans. Others in the house mentioned this same thing – but since I always support following a text’s instructions without addition or subtraction the first time out, I decided against adding consecrations or invocations of my own design. (We did add the burial of the talismans at midnight.) Still, even I felt like something was missing.
At first, the talismans seemed to work. Some neighborhood kids, more mischievous than anything, had stolen several items from our front porch. They were caught in the act, and between my wife and their parents we had every single item returned within minutes. So I decided not to worry about the deformed talisman, the barren spot over it or the fact that we had created and buried all seven of them without consecration or ritual.
And then some idiot decided to chuck a rock through the back windshield of our car. We were only away from the car for about an hour, and in that time one of the local kids who sometimes use our street as a shortcut must have vandalized our property to impress his friends. I was steaming mad (still am!), but I wasn’t shocked. You see, the car had been parked right next to that deformed talisman where the grass refused to grow. I could no longer fool myself into believing the talismans were “just fine” – they were in fact an utter failure. I made plans to remake the talismans, this time fully consecrating them before burying them – and put the project on my “important magickal projects to-do ASAP” list.
A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah
Skip forward a few weeks, and Avalonia sent me a copy of A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah: Which Comprises the Angelic Art taken from Hebrew Sages. This was the first indication I had ever seen that the “Mixed Qabalah” was anything more than an invention of Abraham the Jew. Here was a book, completely unrelated to Abramelin, written maybe as recently as the late eighteenth century. Its existence implies that the Mixed Qabalah was in fact an established tradition – very nearly lost to the history of Western occultism.
The pamphlet is divided into two parts. The first is a lengthy angelic invocation based upon older Jewish customs of invoking angels (often Metatron) to teach the mysteries of Torah. In A Treatise… the focus is upon the seven planetary archangels and having them teach one the mysteries of Qabalah. Quite fascinating (and something I must undertake someday!) – but it didn’t grab my attention quite as much as the second part. This was an eight-day ritual for the consecration and fashioning of talismans.
In just one simple (yet extended) ritual, this short text provided a nearly complete magickal art. It calls upon the same seven archangels as the previous part (Cassiel, Sachiel, Samael, Michael, Anael, Raphael and Gabriel) and the ritual comprises both the consecration of the talismata material (wax or metal) and the enlivening of the completed talisman at the same time. Right away, I knew this could be used to create insanely powerful talismans for any imaginable purpose. Not only that, but it solved the problem of what was “missing” from my first attempt to use the house-protection formula from Abramelin.
I gave an outline of the consecration ritual in my The Return of Psalm Magick and the Mixed Qabalah essay, so I won’t duplicate all of that here. I am going to outline the entire process I followed below, so you’ll get the same information. Plus I’m going to elaborate quite a bit, and give English translations for the Latin invocations given in the text. (Thanks to Carrie Mikell for her translation work.)
Enlivening the Wax Talismans of Abramelin
First, I want to state right away that I was unable to follow good magickal timing for this project. The given ritual does not mention timing – however the first half of the pamphlet insists upon a waxing moon, and I can only assume the same applies to the second half. Personally, I also try to generate astrological charts to find the best days to do the work. In this case, we were under pressure to get this work done as quickly as possible, so we can continue forward with bigger projects – some of which demand specific timing. Thus, I went forward without consideration of timing – though it’s not something I recommend in general (especially for beginners).
There was also one point in which I deviated from the Treatise…. The text states that you must live “without sin” for seven months before attempting the ritual. This raises all sorts of questions regarding what the author meant by “sin.” Likely sex outside of marriage should be prohibited, along with gambling, getting drunk, etc. And certainly one must keep the 10 commandments. If we look at the subject outside a purely Judeo-Christian context, we find that “sin” means any action taken or taboo broken that offends your Patron God. On most of these points I’m pretty cool, and if I really do something to piss off my God, my Guardian Angel lets me know. I certainly didn’t think I’d been living a life of ‘sin” by my understanding of the term.
Of course, as a Solomonic mage, I want to interpret “live free of sin for seven months” as an instruction to perform ritual purifications for seven months – similar to Abramelin. And this is where I feel I deviated from the text. Rather than spend seven months in preparation for the magick, I decided to substitute a seven-day Solomonic preparation. While I don’t feel this harmed the outcome of the magick at all, I will certainly admit that a seven-month purification would have been even more powerful. I could see doing this for operations of truly life-altering importance.
Meanwhile, here is how I prepared for the rite: It really began on the Wednesday before I started the purifications. Just before an hour of Mercury, I performed a full Solomonic Bath followed by the consecration of holy water. (The ritual in A Treatise… calls for holy water on the seventh day. In one place it refers to it as “rose water”, so I also added some dried rose petals to the water and let them soak for a couple of days.)
After I had made the holy water (before I threw in the rose petals, in fact), I got the sudden urge to use it to (re-)consecrate my temple-space. I just recently had a Bible returned to my possession that I had thought long-lost. It was a very important talisman to me, and I was ecstatic to have it to work with again. So I took up that Bible and read Solomon’s Dedication of the Temple (2 Chronicles 6:13-42) while I circumambulated the temple again and again, sprinkling everything in sight with the water and aspergillum.
The following Tuesday, I began the week of purification. Because the consecration ritual is itself a week of purification, I kept this preliminary week simple. I made sure I had no social engagements scheduled, cut back on sexual stimulation and began a vegetarian diet. Also, I would recite a pair of invocations from the Key of Solomon once in the morning and twice in the evening. (You can find them on p. 215-216 of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, or in the Key of Solomon, Book Two, Chapter 4).
On the following Tuesday, I began the ritual as outlined in A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah. The pamphlet instructs one to begin the work on the day of the angel you wish to invoke. In my case, I wished to invoke Samael (Mars) to create guardian talismans for the protection of my home. At dawn, I washed and entered the temple. According to my own habit, I put on the white robe and opened the blinds to let in the dawn light upon the altar. I lit a white candle in my Solomnic lantern, and kindled coals for my censor. A Treatise… says to use pleasant odors for good things and evil odors for bad things. I chose to use a Martian incense:
Pipe Tobacco, 1 pt
Cinnamon, 1/2 pt
Crushed Red Pepper, 1/8th pt
WARNING!: Martian incense is one of the most dangerous substances I’ve worked with! It is, quite simply, tear gas. If you make this, do not add too much red pepper. And when you burn it, do it in small quantities. Never, for any reason, lean over the censor and inhale or draw in breath! Too much pepper or direct inhalation can burn your throat and lungs.
I know it sounds horrible, and I did cough a bit the first couple of days I used it. But once you get used to it, it has a rather pleasant smell. (That is, beneath a powerful burning smell.)
I had the wax I was going to consecrate on the altar in a steel bowl. Facing East, I held my hand over the bowl and recited the following three invocations seven times:
Blessing Prayers (see A Treatise… p 103-104 for the Latin)
Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Many are they that rise up against me. Many say to my soul: there is no salvation for him in his God. But thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory and the lifter up of my head. I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and He hath heard me from his holy hill. I have slept and taken my rest: and I have risen up because the Lord hath protected me. I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me: Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God! For thou hast struck them all who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners. Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon this creature of [wax].
From Psalm 133:
Behold, now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord who stand in the House of the Lord. In the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord. May the Lord out of Zion bless thee, thou creature of [wax]. he that made heaven and earth.
O Lord God, distribute the whole of thy knowledge and your every perfected virtue and kindness upon this creature of [wax]. Bless it, O Lord, and sanctify it so that you would drive away all our enemies who attack us within your sight, and stand victorious. Through thy holy Name which is exalted unto the ages. Amen.
It’s amazing how perfect these invocations were for my goal of protecting the house. (I’ll have further thoughts on this later.) After completing the invocations seven times, I took the wax, the book and the censor – leaving the candle burning in the lantern on the altar – and went out to the kitchen.
There, on the stove, I had a pot of water on to boil. (I turned it on before entering the temple, so it was just boiling when I came out.) I set the steel bowl full of wax onto the pot of water like a lid – thereby creating a double-boiler to safely melt the wax. As the wax melted, I put fresh incense on the censor and passed it around and around the steel bowl as I recited seven times the passage that would eventually be inscribed in the finished wax: “The godless have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous shall bear fruit.” Then I recited the two following invocations:
Primary Invocations. (See A Treatise…, p 100 for the Latin)
Almighty and Everlasting God, who formed all of creation in thy praise and thy honour, and also in the service of Man. I pray unto thee to send forth and cause to appear before me the worthy spirit [ANGEL] to instruct me in the ways of equity and worth. Let me volunteer no truth, but through thy Holy Name. Thou art exalted through the ages.
Prayer to the Angel
I entreat you, o good angel [ANGEL], who is set in the day of [DAY], that the Lord, thy God and mine, who placed in thee power and strength above every intelligence and force, I beseech thee, that thou permit me to receive [_______] and that which will assist me and support me, and that you take this, my name [______] and make it strong beside you. And through this operation, I will be given light and instruction in this science. Amen Amen Amen. Fiat Fiat Fiat.
The Angel in question was, of course, Samael – the angel of Mars and Tuesday. (Some traditions call him Khamael – the result of mistaking a Hebrew Samekh for a Khaph.)
After making the invocations, I just had to wait for the wax to completely melt. A Treatise… is giving instructions for making one talisman at a time, but I was working with enough wax for seven! If I had been melting less wax, I’m sure it would have completely melted by the time I finished the invocations.
Finally, the melted wax had to be quenched in white wine purchased specifically for this purpose. (If I were making a metal talisman, I would have heated it until it was red and then quenched it.) Because I had never cast molten wax into cool liquid, I feared it might result in an explosion – akin to tossing water into hot grease. So, for the quenching I stepped out onto my back patio, with my wife attending to see the fireworks. I had to recite the scriptural phrase (“The godless have pleasure from doing harm…”) once again as I poured the wax into the pot of wine, and to our amazement no explosion resulted!
Interesting side note: as my wife and I peered into the rapidly cooling pot of wax and wine, we became aware of a rather large bumble bee buzzing around the pot. It paid no attention to us whatsoever, but was doubtlessly inspecting the familiar odors coming from the warm pot. I remembered in that instant that the bee is a classic symbol of the Goddess, and I took this as a very good omen for the work we were undertaking.
There was nothing left but to let the wax cool. I went back to the temple, burned some incense on the dying coal, said prayers of thanks to God and Samael and put out the candle. After the wax had plenty of time to cool, I removed it from the pot and returned it to the steel bowl. (While some liquid remained trapped in pockets in the wax, most of it had gathered beneath the cooled wax in the pot.)
The next six days were the same. I also continued my vegetarian diet, cut off all sexual stimulation and engaged in no social activities. Also, I did not call upon Samael on all seven days. While I did make use of the same Martian incense throughout the process, I actually called upon the angel who ruled the day in question. So Samael was followed by Raphael, then Sachiel, Anael, Cassiel, Michael and finally Gabriel. This way, the martial aspects of each of the seven archangels were invoked to add their blesing and power to the wax.
The only other thing to change during these seven days, was the use of holy rose-water instead of white wine to quench the melted wax on the seventh day. Of course, once I learned that quenching the wax would not result in an explosion, I performed the quenching in the kitchen from the second day forward.
During these seven days, my wife was performing her own ritual purifications. She started a vegetarian diet and cut off all sexual stimulation. She also prepared the mould we would use to cast the seven wax talismans:
A Treatise… gives the design for the talisman – a heptagram with a heptagon nested within it (likely inspired by the Sigillum Aemeth made famous by Dr. John Dee). In each angle of the heptagram is written a specific Hebrew Name of God, and in each corresponding side of the heptagon is the name of one of the seven archangels. The center is left blank for the inscription of a verse. (A Treatise… includes Psalm verses for many different uses, though I was of course using the verse taken from the Book of Abramelin.) You indicate which archangel you are invoking simply by orienting that name at the top of the talisman before you inscribe the verse in the center.
Since we had seven talismans to create, we decided to make a mould of the Treatise‘s heptacle – leaving the center blank so we could also use the mould for future purposes. This way, my wife only had to carve the heptacle design once, and then inscribe the verse upon each cast talisman.
Something else interesting happened during this week. I was sitting in the temple one evening, looking over the work my wife was doing on the mould. (At that time it was still a design on paper.) I wanted a better look at it, and reached up to turn on the lamp she keeps on a shelf just above her art table. I looked back down to get that closer look at the design – and the lamp came crashing down onto the desk! Objects went flying all over the place, including a glass vessel – after which I heard an incredible shattering sound on the floor beneath the table, right around my bare feet. A burst of anger flashed through me at the thought of the mess, and the small bits of glass we were sure to find with our naked feet for weeks. I looked down to see the extent of the damage – and found the vessel had not shattered at all. A small piece of it had broken off, but it was basically ok. The shattering sound had, in fact, been a container of nails that had been knocked down by the falling lamp, sending the nails scattering across the tile floor.
As the flash of anger subsided and I stooped down to gather up the nails, I considered why such a thing would have happened inside the temple. It hit me as I reached to scoop up yet another handful of nails… which are traditional symbols of martian magick. The sudden calamity, the scattered nails, the intense flash of anger – it was obvious I was getting Samael’s attention.
Finally, the seven days were over. The wax had been blessed, melted and quenched seven times, each time having the verse that would later be inscribed into it recited over it seven-plus-one times. On the eighth day, well before dawn, my wife took a full Solomonic Bath. I followed her with a very simple bath of my own – using just one set of Barbarous Names and a prayer or two from the Key. By the time I was done she was in her white robe and waiting in the kitchen.
I came in with the wax in the steel pot, the book, the Solomonic lantern and censor (both already lit). I turned on the stove to boil the water, and as it heated up, I recited the following consecration over the burner:
Blessing of the Fire (See A Treatise…, p 105 for the Latin)
Bless, O God, this creature of fire, so that it is strong and effective in my petition to your kindness and your almighty power. Through thy most holy name which is exalted through the ages. Amen.
I then repeated the same process as on the previous days: I melted the wax on the stove while I perfumed it and recited the verse (“The godless have pleasure from doing harm…”) seven times. Then I recited the prayer and invocation for the angel of the day once again, calling upon Samael with extra emphasis.
Once the wax had melted for the final time, we used Pam to lightly coat the mould and then poured in some of the wax. We placed it gently into the freezer to set for a few minutes, then gently removed it from the mould. My wife set about repairing any imperfections left by the mould and inscribing the verse (making sure Samael was at the top), while I re-coated the mould with Pam, poured in more wax and returned it to the freezer. I also made sure the candle stayed lit in the lantern (had to replace it once) and that perfumes were put on the censor every now and again.
Now this is interesting. This process worked as smooth as silk for the first five talismans. And that’s when Samael, the haSathan himself, began to make his presence known. Talismans six and seven began to fight our attempts to cast them. Number six was recast once or twice, but number seven took at least five (there’s that number again) attempts before it began to cooperate. There would either be bubbles in the final result, or impurities from the censor, or I would drop it trying to remove it from the mold, etc, etc. Just as I had experienced in the temple with the nails, I found myself getting angry – and more-so each time I had to re-cast. By the time it was over, I was absolutely livid – not ranting and raving like a madman, but certainly boiling like a pressure cooker inside. The lamp and censor had long since burned out.
My part mostly done, I went into the living room and sat to calm down for a bit. My wife inscribed the final disk, at last, and recited the following prayer over the seven completed talismans:
Prayer after inscribing the Heptacle (See A Treatise…, p 106 for the Latin)
I come to you, all-powerful and eternal God, and to all the Angels of God, be thou propitious unto me, [______], whose names are written by my hand in this [waxen] symbol. And be mine help in obtaining [_______], by thy most holy names, and by all the virtues of the Creator, the Lord our God, who is exalted through the Ages.
After this, I returned to the temple to recite prayers of thanks to the Highest and to Samael and close things down. Afterward, I was still irritable – so we went to lunch (where I had meat for the first time in two weeks!) and then I went to bed.
Later that night (still Tuesday), we buried the talismans. We decided to stick with midnight, just to add a Hoodoo flare to the burial, though we might have chosen an hour of Mars just as well. Starting in the East, we buried the talismans as we had before – in seven locations around the property, marking out a giant heptagon- walking clockwise the entire way. At each burial, I would recite the verse inscribed upon the talisman once again, then bless the ground with the recitation of the Qabalistic Cross. Once we returned to the Eastern point, I raised my hands and said a prayer of thanks to the Highest and Samael – invoking Samael to send his servient angels to patrol the borders of our land and protect our home from all harm and evil magick.
Results of the Operation
The next day, me and my wife (who also happens to be my skryer/medium) discussed the immediate results of the magick. I had received a strong impression that Samael wanted us to place an offering over the talisman we buried in the East. I was thinking about hot peppers, rum, cigars and I had a strong feeling about adding some of the nails from the earlier incident in the temple. My wife said she had received a similar message about leaving offerings – including nails as well as a gun and a machete(!).
I fully understand why the spirits involved would want those weapons. However, in order to do that we would have to bury them quite deep (and make sure the gun can’t be used if it were ever found). However, I dislike the idea of burying offerings intended for celestial entities. When we return next Tuesday to make the offerings, we will likely use a pendulum or another method to divine exactly how to properly and safely offer them the weapons.
The night we buried the talismans, my wife also had a dream/vision in which she saw the angels placed by Samael over the talismans. She described them as a very dark rust color, with large dark wings and faces that would otherwise seem demonic. They were, of course, carrying very large swords. Each one patrolled an area around his talisman, and all seven of them chattered back and forth in a language she could not understand. (It was likely Angelical, but not the dialect we know from the 48 Calls.) She was, however, told that each of these angels would like us to know its name – and if we wanted to work with them directly, they would like us to set up seven “Solomnic prendas” for them near our front door on the porch. We may just look into doing that.
Some Thoughts on Changes…
Now that I’ve been through this operation and have a good idea how it works, I have some ideas on changes I’ll make next time around. First, I noticed that the first Psalm used for the Blessing Prayers in A Treatise… (Psalm 3) was absolutely perfect for my intended goal – the protection of my home from any potential enemies or criminals. However, I have to question how appropriate that same Psalm would be for- say- a Talismans for prosperity, or for love, or for the success of a business enterprise, etc, etc. I believe that Psalm could be changed depending on your magickal goal, and I will likely do this in the future.
Secondly, the invocations given A Treatise… for God and the Angel of the day are actually taken from the operation in the first part of the pamphlet. The second part simply refers you to those prayers and says to use them. However, as you can see above, those two prayers are specifically geared toward having the Angel appear before you and teach you things. This is not the goal of the second part of the book. Therefore, I suggest these two prayers should be used as examples, but need to be slightly re-worded for use with the consecration rite. When I use this process in the future, I will make that small change.
And that concludes the write-up of my first experiment with A Treatise of Mixed Cabalah. We will be making the offerings next Tuesday at dawn, but I will not likely share the information we learn from that point. This has been an exhausting yet rewarding experience.
Update (4-10-11): The Offerings
The Tuesday following the above work, we did indeed return to make an offering to Samael and his Angels.
It partly consisted of the wax left over from making the seven talismans (which was well consecrated to Mars and Samael) with seven of the previously-mentioned nails thrust into it. (I chose seven so there would be one for each buried talisman.) It also included five pieces of bread covered with milk and honey, five hot peppers, five cigars and red wine. This was all arranged (or poured out) at the Eastern boundary of our property, over the spot where we had buried the first talisman. I repeated the two invocations (one to God, one to Samael) I had used throughout the consecration ritual, then stated that I had brought the offerings in thanksgiving, lit one of the cigars and blew five puffs of the smoke onto the offerings.
We attempted to perform divinations to ask about the gun and blade, and how we should offer them. However, we got little result – and my wife reported that Samael was claiming to be “busy with something elsewhere” and could not attend to our questions. We will probably re-visit this issue at a later date, but for now we’ve put it aside.