Archive for the ‘grimoires’ Category

The Truth about Evocation   12 comments

Greetings walkers with spirits!

I’ve noticed people tend to have a general misunderstanding of what evocation is and for what it is intended. So many people seem to believe evocation is what Solomonic Magick is all about. It isn’t.

I understand why this view exists. In occult and fantasy fiction, it is necessary to make things look interesting – so the default is to always show a mage standing within his protective Circle, surrounded by incense smoke, wand or sword in hand, chanting in arcane tongues, calling forth frightening or awe-inspiring creatures from the astral mists. It’s no different than – for example – a cop show that only shows you the exciting chases and impressive sleuth techniques, but never shows you the hours of paperwork and waiting that actually make up most of the job. So it is with the popular depiction of grimoire magick. And, because you only ever see the mage doing that one thing – evocation – it tends to become what you picture when you think of the subject.

Another culprit, believe it or not, is the grimoires themselves. Or, I should say, the popular misinterpretation of the grimoires. As I explain in both Secrets of the Magical Grimoires and my online beginners’ course, the grimoires do not in fact present the whole of the Solomonic tradition. They are just the starter manuals (which is why they are called “grammars”), giving you instructions on how to establish first contact with the angels and spirits of the tradition. And how you do that is (to a large extent) by performing the evocations. Once you’ve established that contact, it is not necessary to perform the evocation over and over again. From there, the spirits take over and teach you the real magick – and it’s not just more evocation.

Evocation has two primary purposes:

1) to establish contact with a spiritual being (or group of beings). Once you have that contact, you never need to perform the evocation for that being again. Of course, you’ll need to perform it again for any new entities you want to meet. So I am by no means suggesting you’ll never perform another evocation! However, you will not need to repeat it for the spirit(s) you’ve already contacted. That is, as long as you bind that being to a Talisman, Ring, Tablet, Altar, etc and have a means to continue working with it.

2) For important matters that require directly questioning a spiritual being. Most specifically when you have a series of questions that need to be asked. This is why the grimoires often use evocation for the purposes of discovering hidden information, finding lost or stolen items or people, receiving specific instructions for something, to find buried treasure, etc, etc. I have said in the past that evocation – meaning its use for this specific purpose – is in itself a form of divination. You’re talking to the spirit in order to learn something you didn’t previously know. Otherwise – why are you calling it?

Therefore, evocation is something that is done MUCH more rarely than other aspects of the Tradition. For most purposes, you can make a petition to an angel, or create a Talisman for whatever you need, without going through the weeks- or months-long process of full evocation. If, that is, you have previously done the work of evoking the spirits you are working with and taken the time and effort to build a working relationship with them. In our house, we have altars to all seven Planetary Archangels (same guys you see in the Heptameron), not to mention to my HGA and Familiars, Carrie’s Prenda, her Ancestor Altar, and a few others as well. We don’t have to spend months performing full evocations of them when we need to ask for something – because we already did that and now they live here! We only have to evoke them to visible/audible appearance when we need to ask them specific questions and get their direct answers.

Another thing to consider, as well: there is NO need to evoke dozens of spirits! I’ve seen people who brag about summoning all 72 spirits of the Goetia. Or that they’ve evoked all the Shem haMephoresh and/or Tree of Life Angels. But, folks, that isn’t how this tradition works! You could be a successful Solomonic magus through your entire life and only contact one or two spirits. You have to find a spirit who works well with you, who likes you, and gets results – and keep working with that spirit. That spirit may or may not be able to do everything you need – and, if not, it can direct you to (or even introduce you to) another spirit who can, and now that spirit becomes part of your crew. The Angels and spirits of the grimoires aren’t Pokemon! You don’t have to collect ’em all. Your spiritual army should be something you build up very slowly and deliberately over years, and not treated like a call list at a phone sales company.

Yes, we have a LOT of altars in our home – mostly because we do this professionally. But, even with us, there are a smaller number of entities we go to for most things. For me it is first my HGA, then my Familiars. If directed to do so, I can take an issue to one of the Seven Archangels – and that often tends to be Sachiel and Iophiel, because somewhere along the way I became a Jupiter wizard. For Carrie, she’ll often go to Anael or Samael because she has a special relationship with them. That is not to say we never go to the other Archangels, only that it is a more rare occurrence in relation to the ones we work with the most.

And it is even rarer for us to perform full evocations for them. Instead, we spend our time tending to their Altars and Icons, making offerings to them, burning dressed candles and making petitions to them, and conversing with them either directly or via one form of divination or another. Sorry if that sounds more like work than the awesome fantasy of being a wizard – but it is the truth. And now you have it.

Posted January 13, 2021 by kheph777 in grimoires, magick, solomonic, students

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Planetary Rulership of the Winds   9 comments

Greetings Solomonic Mages!

astrology.jpg

In the Heptameron, we are given directions for the seven Planets, based upon their rulership of the “winds”:

-Saturn: Southwest
-Jupiter: South
-Mars: East
-Sol: North
-Venus: West
-Mercury: Southwest
-Luna: West

Note both West and Southwest are repeated, and the other three cross-quarters are ignored.  Meanwhile, Liber Juratus gives us a slightly different list:

-Saturn: Southwest
-Jupiter: North and East (does not say Northeast)
-Mars: East
-Sun: North
-Venus: East and West
-Mercury: West and Southwest
-Luna: West

It is possible the Heptameron‘s list is a corrupted version of this one from Juratus.  Therefore, let’s explore the Juratis version and see what clues it gives us:

-Note the South is not mentioned here. However, it is interesting that Juratus states Maymon (aka Amaymon) is the King of the Demons ruled by Saturn, and we know that Amaymon is the King of the South in many of the grimoires (for example, see Agrippa’s “Scale of the Number Four”).  Amaymon is therefore associated with Capricorn (ruled by Saturn). In the above list, Saturn is given “Southwest” – but perhaps this could be changed to simply “South.”

-Mars ruling the East makes perfect sense, as it is the ruling Planet of Aries – associated with Oriens.

-Venus says East and West (perhaps because it is both the Morning and Evening Star, at different times of the year).  However, since the East is already taken, we could simply choose the West, as Venus is the ruling sign of Libra, thus connected to Paimon. (Note this is what is given by the Heptameron, too.)  Here, we can see a clear connection to three of the four Demon Kings of the directions.

Here is the Liber Juratus list again, with the minor corrections:

Saturn: South
Jupiter: North and East (does not say Northeast)
Mars: East
Sun: North
Venus: West
Mercury: West and Southwest
Luna: West

Sadly, there are still several problems here:

1) the North is attributed to the Sun, rather than Luna.  If we stick with the associations given by the Demon Kings: Ariton – ruler of the North – is associated with Cancer, ruled by Luna.
2) the West is repeated a second time with Luna.
(and then again with Mercury, see #5).
3) Jupiter has two directions, both of which are repeats from Mars and Sol.
4) Mercury is the only cross-quarter.
5) Mercury also repeats the West yet again.

We could assume Jupiter and Mercury should properly be cross-quarters, easily solving problems 3, 4, and 5:

Saturn: South
Jupiter: Northeast
Mars: East
Sun: North
Venus: West
Mercury: Southwest
Luna: West

And that’s the best we can do without drastically altering the original list.  If we want to solve problems 1 and 2 above, we’ll have to continue the same pattern of association with the Ruling Planets of the Signs/Houses.  We need to:

1) switch the directions of the Sun and Luna. This would properly put Luna in the North with Cancer/Ariton.
2) replace the Sun not with “West” from the switch with Luna, but assign it to another cross-quarter. (Northwest would at least put it in the proper place for Leo, the Sign it rules.)

Here is the list again – this time with the “not so minor” corrections, so we can no longer call it the Juratus list:

Saturn: South
Jupiter: Northeast
Mars: East
Sun: Northwest
Venus: West
Mercury: Southwest
Luna: North

This gives us something very close to a proper astrological arrangement.  If we consider the Planets of the Cardinal Directions set, thanks to their associations with the four Demon Kings and the Cardinal Signs, we can extrapolate from there.  Much as we did above to associate the Sun with the Northwest, we can look at the twelve Signs on an actual zodiac chart, and their natural positions in the Houses:

Basic Astrology Chart

This only suggests one further change to the list:  the switching of the directions for Jupiter and Mercury.  Jupiter rules Sagittarius in the Southwest, not the Northeast.  And Mercury rules Gemini in the Northeast, not the Southwest.  Therefore, here is the final list:

The Astrological Association of Planets to the Winds:

Saturn: South (Capricorn)
Jupiter: Southwest (Sagittarius)
Mars: East (Aries)
Sun: Northwest (Leo)
Venus: West (Libra)
Mercury: Northeast (Gemini)
Luna: North (Cancer)

Since there are only seven Planets to fill eight positions around the compass, it leaves one spot empty: the Southeast.  However, it is not my intention to fill out all eight compass points at all costs.  It is only my intention to find a list of Planetary directional rulerships that is solidly based upon the astrological cosmology of the grimoires.  Of course, should I finally discover the true source behind the directions given in either Liber Juratis or the Heptameron, I will be more than happy to amend my conclusions.

 

Posted June 10, 2019 by kheph777 in grimoires, solomonic

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Geomancy – the Solomonic “Obi”   2 comments

Greetings Spirit-Workers!

Geomancy Box

Many years ago – back in the old Yahoo Groups days – we discussed the lack of methods of using divination to speak to spirits in modern systems.  (At least, at the time the post was written.  Much has changed in the years since.)  In non-Western systems, there is usually a method of asking spirits yes/no/maybe questions, utilizing a physical system of divination to get concrete answers.  One such example is the use of Obi divination in the ATRs – which uses coconut shells, tossed on the ground to create a pattern (some being face up, some being face down) that presents a yes/no/maybe answer.  Those of us in the West may be familiar with a similar method in Geomancy using marked sticks or coins.  Though, the more traditional method is to use a small stick to make a random number of holes in dirt.  The name of the system, after all, is “Earth Divination.”

Geomancy, in fact, was once known in the West as an especially-suitable method of communicating with “terrestrial spirits” – as confirmed by Agrippa in his Of Geomancy:

“Geomancy is an Art of Divination, wherby the judgement may be rendred by lot, or destiny, to every question of every thing whatsoever, but the Art hereof consisteth especially in certain points where of certain figures are deducted according to the reason or rule of equality of inequality, likenesse or unlikenesse,; […] and therefore they will have the Projectings of the points of this Art to bee made with signes in the Earth, wherefore this Art is appropriated to this Element of Earth, even as Pyromancy to the fire, and Hydromancy to the Element of Water: Then whereas they judged the hand of the Projector or Worker to be most powerfully moved, and directed to the terrestriall spirits; and therefore they first used certaine holy incantations and deprecations, with other rites and observations, provoking and alluring spirits of this nature hereunto.”

With this in mind, I wrote a method of creating a Geomancy Box dedicated to the purpose of receiving answers from the Planetary Spirits.  It is based primarily on the method of creating a Liber Spiritus (Book of Spirits) outlined in the Fourth Book of Occult Phsilosophy.

I’ll be performing this operation very soon (now that I live out in the country where finding an old, little-used, dirt crossroads is more likely).  The only difference is that this will focus on my four Familiar Spirits (from the Abramelin system), as I will be using the box to communicate with them.  Regardless, here is the process as I posted it over in the Yahoo Group:

Solomonic Geomancy Box for General Divination

Construct a square box to contain fresh earth/sand. It should be
black with the Sigils of the seven Planetary Spirits and their
ruling Intelligences painted upon it in white. The sand should be
pure and white- preferably taken from a river bed- of about two
fingers’ depth. Also prepare a small notebook with the necessary
prayers and conjurations, to be used and kept with the box.
(See “Secrets…”, chapter 9, for consecration of pen, ink, paints
and paintbrushes.)

The box will be consecrated/enlivened according the procedure for
consecrating a Liber Spiritus (Book of Spirits), as found
in “Secrets…” chapter 12, p. 419-20. A Circle must be cast in the
midst of a crossroads. All seven spirits are conjured to bind
themselves to the box, and the box itself is wrapped and buried for
three days.

Consecrated items Needed:

-Holy Water,
-Standard or generic Incense (or, better, the Seven Planetary Incense recipe given by Agrippa in the last line of Book I, chapter 44.)
-Coals and Censor
-Paints, brushes, pen/ink
-White or beeswax taper and Holy Lamp
-Seven 7-day Candles (Black, Blue, Red, Yellow/Gold, Green, Multi-
-Color and Silver/White)
-Burin
-Black-Hilted Knife or Athame
-Solomonic Sword
-Shovel and Rake
-Linen Cloth

Note: Before consecrating any of the Tools, Water, Incense, etc,
use the minor Solomonic Bath outlined in “Secrets…”
chapter 7, p. 217-18.

Items that do not need consecration beforehand:

-Mat (for kneeling in the dirt)
-Small notebook to record the Invocations and Conjurations
-Cord- about nine feet long. (A Traditional Wiccan cord is great!)
-Bible or Psalter

Prepare Invocations/Conjurations:

1 – In the little notebook, write a Prayer to the Highest. This
should be a prayer to God as creator and director of the Seven
Planets. (He before whom standeth the Seven Spirits of God. He in
whose hands the Sun is as a Sword, and the Moon a through-thrusting
Fire. Etc.)

2 – Following that, write seven dual-conjurations. The first part
of each should be an invocation to the Planetary Intelligence to
send forth the Spirit. The second part should be a conjuration of
the spirit in the name of the Intelligence.

3 – Then, a License to Depart. (See “Secrets…”, chapter 12,
p.380.)

4 – Keep this little book with or in the Geomancy Box at all times.

Selection of the Place: Must be an isolated dirt crossroads. It
will be necessary to erect a full Circle, burn incense and candles,
etc. So it must be very hidden and forgotten.

Magickal Timing: Calculate true midnight for the night of working,
and for the third night afterward. (See “Secrets…” chapter 5, p.
163.) Also draw up charts for these two nights, and try to make
sure that no planets are undignified or ill-aspected. The chosen
night must also be fair and clear.

Preparations: 12-hour Purification (see “Secrets…” chapter 7, p.
238)- starting about noon of the day of the work. Then, before
midnight and before going to the chosen place, take a full Solomonic
Ritual Bath (see “Secrets…” chapter 7, p. 233-35).

Erecting the Circle:

1 – Just before the hour of true midnight, light the Lamp with its
Exorcism of Fire (“Secrets…”, p. 206) and then the Incense with
its own Exorcism of Fire (“Secrets…”, p. 196).

2 – As steps 3 and 4 are perfomed, have a partner recite Psalms 2, 54,
113, 57, 47 and 68. Or else (if alone) perform steps 3 and 4, then
follow with the Psalms.

3 – Thrust the Black-Hilted Knife into the very center of the
crossroads. Tie one end of the Cord around the Knife, and the other
end around the Solomonic Sword. Using this like a giant compass,
inscribe a double circle into the ground with the Sword. Then use
the Knife or Sword to inscribe the names and crosses. Finally,
Cense and Sprinkle the entire Circle.

4 – Place the seven 7-day candles around the Circle* and light them.

(* Note: The Heptameron tell us the directions for the Planets:

-Saturn: Southwest
-Jupiter: South
-Mars: East
-Sol: North
-Venus: West
-Mercury: Southwest
-Luna: West )

Further Note:  After some research and discussion – comparing the above associations given by the Hepatmeron, as well as those found in Liber Juratis, it would seem a more astrologically sound arrangement (based on the rulership of the 12 Signs of the Houses) would be:

-Saturn: South (Capricorn)
-Jupiter: Southwest (Sagittarius)
-Mars: East (Aries)
-Sol: Northwest (Leo)
-Venus: West (Libra)
-Mercury: Northeast (Gemini)
-Luna: North (Cancer)

5 – Finally, from the very center of the Circle, recite the prayers
to consecrate- “When we enter herein…” etc. (See “Secrets…” p.
405-06.) Use the mat to kneel on the dirt.

The Operation:

The First Night:

1 – (Directly after “When we enter herein…” prayers.) Over the
Geomancy Box, recite the Prayer to the Highest. Cense and Sprinkle
the Box.

2 – In succession, recite all seven dual-conjurations – calling all
seven Intelligences and their Spirits. Repeat these for a
total of *three* recitations each.

3 – Tell the convoked spirits to come to this place within the space
of three days to “assure and confirm their obedience.”

4 – License to Depart. (See “Secrets…”, chapter 12, p.380.)

5 – Wrap the Box (with the little book) in the linen cloth. Then,
with the shovel, bury the book in the center of the Circle and
crossroads. Cover it so no one can tell anything has been buried
there.

6 – With the rake, destroy any trace of the Circle. Take the 7-day
candles with you.

Leave the area before sunrise.

The 3rd Night Afterward:

1 – Observe the same Preparations as above. (12 hours, plus full
Solomonic Bath.)

2 – Return to the same place at true midnight. Erect the Circle as
described above.

3 – Burn more perfumes while reciting a prayer of thanksgiving to
God.

4 – Dig up the Geomancy Box, but leave it wrapped in the linen!

5 – License to Depart. (See “Secrets…”, chapter 12, p.380.)

6 – With the rake, destroy any trace of the Circle. Take the 7-day
candles with you.

Leave the area before sunrise.

Afterward:

The seven 7-day candles can be taken home and burned away completely
as a sacrifice to the spirits. Keep the Box and its little notebook
wrapped and in a safe place until needed.

Using the Box:

Simply take out the Box and its little book. Light a 7-day candle
appropriate to the Planetary Spirit you wish to consult. Burn the
same incense as used to consecrate the Box itself. Recite the
Prayer to the Highest over the box. Then inscribe a Pentagram in
the sand, with the Sigil of the Spirit within it. Recite the
Invocation of the proper Intelligence, and follow with the
Conjuration of the Spirit. From there, ask the Spirit what you
will, and begin to squill as usual for Geomancy. (One can either
use even/odd to determine yes/no, or one can create three or sixteen
Geomantic Figures- depending on the depth of the quesiton.)

For further information on using Geomancy for divination (including a method of determining simple yes/no/maybe answers with a single geomantic figure (tetragram), check out this article.

Posted June 9, 2019 by kheph777 in grimoires, magick, santeria, solomonic

Invocation of Archangel Raphael   1 comment

Greetings Angel-Workers!

This post is loooong overdue!  We performed our annual invocation and feeding of the Archangel Raphael way back on May 30th of this year (2018), but I have been so busy with magick, business, and life this year I haven’t had much time to maintain this blog.  😦  So, without further ado, I’ll jump right into it:

Raphael Altar Painted

We decided to feed Raphael when Mercury entered the sign of Gemini, which it rules.  It did so this year on May 29th – a Tuesday and the Full Moon.  We decided the next day – Wednesday, sacred to Mercury – would still be within the Full Moon phase.  If we tried to wait until the Moon waxed again, Mercury would have already passed out of Gemini.  So there was only one day we could do this one!  May 30th it was.

Raphael and Child-Tobit

Archangel Raphael

Raphael – the Healer of God – is the Archangel of Mercury and Wednesday, Prince of the second heaven, Lord of Medicine, Communication, Travel, Invention, Education, Mathematics, Science, Language, Magick, and Divination, as well as Business, Deception, Acting, Writing, and Sleight of Hand.  He is also the angel of Elemental Air – traditionally associated with the West, but many modern systems associate him with the East.

Some traditions place him as the Archangel of the Sun, and the chief angel of Tiphareth (Majesty) on the Tree of Life.  This solar association works well with his modern assignment to the eastern point of the compass.

According to Biblical legend, Raphael was the angel who taught language to Adam and Eve.  He also appears in the Book of Tobit, where he accompanies the young Tobias on his long journey, unites him with his future wife, and protects them both from the wrath of the demon Asmodeus.   Raphael is also the chief angel of the Hermetic arts, as well as the Golden Dawn and its current.  Historically, he is closely associated with figures such as Hermes (aka Mercury) and Thoth – sometimes even bearing the former’s famous Caduceus Staff – the symbol of both Hermeticism and Medicine.

 

 

Offering Ritual for Archangel Raphael

It is best to choose a Wednesday when Mercury is well aspected in the heavens, and he should be above the horizon at the time of working if possible. Dawn is best. The most powerful times of year to do this ritual are when Mercury resides in either the sign of Gemini or Virgo.  The Moon should be in increase.

On Wednesday evening, cover a table or altar with a multi-colored, orange, yellow, or white cloth. Place a talisman and/or image of Archangel Raphael upon the altar. (If it is a talisman, place it in the center. If an image, set it toward the east facing westward.) You will need a censor and an incense of Mercury:

1 part Benzoin

1/4 part Frankencense

1/8 part Lavender Blossoms

Also prepare all elements of the offering to Mercury : Eight candles – either rainbow color or orange, eight glasses of water, a glass of wine, a glass of half-and-half cream, eight pieces of bread covered with honey, strawberries, a pomegranate cut into eight slices, and a mix of colorful flowers.  For his meat, we grilled a whole fish, as the “Ichthys” is sacred to him in Biblical tradition (as in the Book of Tobit).  It should be grilled over hazel wood if possible.  Otherwise, grill it over natural wood or wood charcoal, and add Mercury incense to the fire.  Season the meat with the incense as well.

On Wednesday just before sunrise, wash yourself and don a white, pied, or orange robe. At sunrise, set the offering to Mercury upon the table. Place seven of the candles around the edges, and one in the center – directly upon the talisman if there is one. Set a glass of water beside each candle. Around this arrange the food offerings. You may also add any gift offerings for Raphael, or items you wish for him to touch – such as jewelry or trinkets, talismans, stones, oils, currency, written prayers or petitions, etc.

Light the censor and candles with their proper exorcisms, and add fresh incense to the coal. Then exorcise and consecrate the offerings with holy water and the censor.

Then move to the eastern side of the working space, facing outward. If you have a consecrated bell or trumpet, sound it and recite the following call (or one similar to it):

In whatsoever place ye may be, Raphael, who are invited to this feast, come ye and be ready to receive our offerings, presents, and sacrifices!

Move to the south and repeat – first sounding the bell or trumpet, then repeat the call. Do this again in the west and the north.

Finally, return to standing west of the altar facing eastward, and recite the following invocations:

Prayer to Elohim Zabaoth

Elohim Zabaoth, God of the Hosts of Heaven, Divine Splendour, the sphere of fleet-footed Mercury, Lord of Words and Letters, of Speech and Knowledge. You are the Logos and the Speech in the Silence. Director of Spirits and Angels. Your Messengers protect travelers on their ways, and guide pilgrims upon the Paths of Mount Abiagnus, the Sacred Mountain of Initation. Lord of all Magick, Spells, Invocations, Divinations, Evocations, Talismans, Characters, Sigils and Signatures, and Seals. Establisher of boundaries, and pathways, travel, communication, and commerce. Lord of fortune and wealth and the Gods of the underworld.

I invoke thee, God of Hosts, and humbly ask in Thy Holy Name to bless and saanctify these offerings. May all spirits of deceit and illusion be cast therefrom, and only the good and fortunate enter therein. May these sacrifices by found pleasing to You and your Messengers.

Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen

Eight Mercurial Psalms

39 (I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.)

52 (Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?)

54 (Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.)

55:16-23 (As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.)

57 (Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me.)

63 (O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee.)

101 (I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.)

119:9-16 (Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?)

Invitation to Raphael

O’ Raphael, Divine Physician! Messenger of God! Labbiel the Rescuer!

Raphael! Fleet-footed Hermes! Six-Winged Angel of Mercury and the Sun who bringeth Healing in Thy Wings!

Raphael! Serpent-Bearer! Psychopomp! Lord of Crossroads!

Raphael! Revealer of Loagaeth, the Speech From the Logos!

Lord of Initiation! Light of the Sacred Lamp! Fool! Mage! Protector of Lovers!

O friendly companion of Tobias, who protected him from evil upon his long journey, as you protect us upon ours. As the Patron of writers, teachers, and mages, you are the source of our life and livelihood. You are the Chief Archangel of my Order. Therefore, I ask that you come and partake of these offerings, prepared in thy honour and to the splendour of the Lord of Hosts! May you find them pleasing and empowering, and bear our offerings and prayers of thanksgiving to the Divine Court. Cast your light before us upon the Path, and offer your blessings upon my household, my family, and business. In the name of Elohim Zabaoth. Amen.

Repeat the Invitation eight times. Then, share in the feast you have offered to the Angel – taking bites of each food item, sips of the liquids. Leave the offerings in place until the candles burn completely away (or no less than eight days). Place the remains in a natural place, into running water or at a crossroads.

– End –

 

 

 

 

Posted October 23, 2018 by kheph777 in grimoires, magick

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Llewellyn Blog: Grimoires and the Solomonic Tradition   1 comment

Greetings, Bibliophiles!

magick_blog_updated

From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, Jan 15, 2018:

I would like to talk about grimoires. Not a specific grimoire, like the Key of Solomon, or Heptameron, or Lemegeton. This isn’t even about their contents, or their history. No, what I want to talk about are the actual physical grimoires – those dangerous things made of paper and cardboard, with arcane scribbles of ink on their pages. Books that at various time and places (including to this very day) could get you arrested and worse. That pretty thing you might like to display prominently on your bookshelf, or perhaps hide away from prying eyes. Most of what we know about the medieval and Renaissance Solomonic tradition comes from those books, and they continue to be a treasure trove of new insights (and magical formulas) as more and more texts are discovered and translated into English (or other modern tongues). They are truly the heart and soul of the modern Solomonic movement; the foundation upon which the tradition ultimately rests.

But the modern movement has lost something that was paramount to the old-world Solomonic tradition: the grimoires themselves. And, once again, I’m talking about the actual physical read-y things that require manual page-flipping to fast-forward or rewind them. You see, in the medieval era, it was believed that a book containing magical spells, names and descriptions of spirits, seals and characters was itself an object of magical power. There were even spells intended to empower and enliven your grimoire – as preserved in books like the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy and the Key of Solomon. However, common thought at the time was that such a ritual was not necessary for a grimoire to be possessed by the spirits listed within it, or even a living demon in its own right. There are medieval records of public occult book-burnings, where witnesses swore they heard the screams of the spirits issuing from the flames as the books were consumed.

Read the Rest at:  https://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2018/01/grimoires-and-the-solomonic-tradition/

Posted January 15, 2018 by kheph777 in grimoires, history, hoodoo / witchcraft, llewellyn blog, Uncategorized

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Making Goetia of Solomon Skrying Incense   2 comments

Greetings fellow Summoners!

00-seal of solomon

Today I would like to share something rare and precious: the making of the incense prescribed by the Goetia of Solomon – found in the Lemegeton.

I’ll explain exactly why it is both rare and precious in a moment, but let me first quote the relevant portion of the grimiore.  It is found after the long list of 72 spirits, under the ‘Maigical Requisites”, where the Secret Seal of Solomon (pictured above) is described:

This secret seal is to be made by one that is clean both inward and outward, […] It is to be made on a Tuesday or Saturday night at 12 of the Clock, […] When it is so made, fume it with alum, raisins of the Sun, dates, cedar and lignum aloes…

The list of ingredients, with its raisins and dates, might remind one of Egyptian Kyphi incense, as its base is made from raisins soaked in wine.  (It is certainly possible the Goetia is attempting to mimic that recipe, though there is no evidence beyond the shared ingredient.)  However, what truly makes this incense precious is the inclusion of lignum aloes.  Also known as agarwood, lignum aloes can only be obtained from the heart of an increasingly rare far-Easterm tree (aquilaria malaccensis). Furthermore, the aloes can only be obtained after the tree has been infected with a specific species of mold.  According to its Wikipedia entry, agarwood is one of the most expensive natural resources in the world – and frankly that was likely true even when the Lemgeton was written.  Today, some sellers of incenses have even ceased carrying it in the hopes of preserving the dwindling trees.

I was able to acquire several ounces of lignum aloes – though I had to import it from Indonesia.  In the bag, it looked much like any ground wood incense – like cedar, only slightly darker.  We immediately lit a censer, and places the tiniest pinch of the material onto the coal.  It has a woody smell (no surprise there) with perhaps a small hint of musk.  I would describe it as smelling like fresh dirt after a rain, because it does, but I don’t want to give the impression it smells anything like patchouli.  It’s not nearly as sweet as that.

As you see above, the perfume is instructed for use in the making of the Seal of Solomon (used to bind the spirits to the Brass Vessel).  However, once I had a small whiff of pure lignum aloes, I began to suspect it was intended for much more.  It made my head tingle as if a head-rush was about to begin, and gave me a somewhat stoned (“buzzed”) feeling – almost as if the world had shifted slightly and left me with a touch of vertigo.  The affects didn’t last long after the incense was gone.  I knew right then, lignum aloes (or agarwood) is a powerful skrying incense!  It could very well be intended for use during the evocations.

After that experience, I couldn’t wait to get the complete recipe put together and see what the result smelled – and felt – like.  So I went out and bought packages of raisins and dates – making sure they had no added sugar, sulfur, or other preservatives.  As it turned out the packages contained 7oz (rasins) and 10oz (dates) for a total of 13oz of fruit:

01-Raw Fruit

About 2/3 of the fruit shown here.

 

You might have noticed the Goetia includes a rather odd ingredient in the incense: alum. This is generally used as a preservative, and has the effect of slightly hardening fruits and vegetables that are soaked in it.  Its has an extremely sour taste, and was therefore popular in the making of pickles.  It was originally alum that gave pickles their snap when you bit into them.  (Due to health concerns, most pickles today do not use alum.)

It seems unlikely that alum would make a good ingredient in an incense – for both reasons of health and scent.  However, it seems quite likely the alum would have been included to preserve the raisins and dates.  And the proper way of doing that is to soak the fruits for several hours in water that has been enriched with alum.  The result can then be dried out and powdered, with the preservative already infused.

I didn’t use all the fruit in the first attempt, as it gets pretty bulky and I had to eventually fit everything onto a cookie sheet.  So I did it in two batches.  In order to maximize the contact between the fruit and the water, I gave it a good chopping beforehand:

02-chopped fruit

 

Then it was into a bowl of fresh spring water (NO tap water!) into which I had dissolved as much alum as it could hold:

03-Alum Water

04-fruit in water

Probably didn’t need this much water.  On the second batch, I just covered the fruit with water, plus a bit more.

 

I let them soak for about 8 hours the first time, but I found 6 hours to be more than sufficient for the second batch.  In both cases, it resulted in what looked like a bowl full of mushy sliced olives:

05-after soaking

Not actually olives…

 

These were then strained and placed outside on a cookie sheet to dry in the hot sun next to the “desert plants” section of my herb garden:

06-dry in sun

 

As it turns out, I did lose a few pieces of the above to birds and/or squirrels – but not much.  Next time, I’ll try to fashion a proper drying bed out of two screens: one on the top and one on the bottom, so air can get to all sides of the fruit (or herbs, etc) but animals can’t.

I made sure both batches had a couple of days out in the sun, to make sure they soaked up plenty of solar energy.  But it quickly got too rainy and humid (late spring in Florida!) to continue drying them outside, so I opted to complete the drying process in the oven inside.  It took a couple of days at the absolute lowest oven temperature setting.  Then the dried fruit went into the incense grinder:

07-grinder

The resulting powder was actually still a bit damp, so I spread it out on the cookie sheet and returned it to the oven for a few more hours.  In the end, 13 oz of fruit resulted in about 6 oz of powder, consisting of raisins, dates, and alum:

08-powdered fruit

 

After some testing of the different ingredients (I already had powdered cedar on hand), I decided it was best to use the following mixture:

1 pt Raisins & Dates infused with Alum

1/2 pt Cedar

1/2 pt Lignum Aloes (Agarwood)

The above is measured by weight.  It may seem odd that the fruit should be the greater ingredient, but remember it is denser and heavier than the powdered woods.  A single ounce of raisins and dates by volume is very little compared to the same weight of cedar or aloes.  For my first batch of Goetia Skrying Incnese, I used two ounces of the fruits and an ounce each of the cedar and lignum aloes.

09-finished product

 

The final result gives me the same “buzzed” feeling as the lignum aloes alone, plus it adds something between a musky and a fruity smell.  My wife at one point said it smelled like walking through a forest after the rain, and at another time said it reminded her of fruit cake!  In either case, it is definitely a musky and almost-heavy scent – doubtlessly quite suitable for chthonic evocations.  (My own familiars have already requested some!)

I will be consecrating this new incense on May 31st – the first Wednesday of the waxing Moon.    I don’t have a lot of this, and it will have to cost more than my standard incenses, but I will be offering it on Doc Sol’s site – so stay tuned either there or on the Doc Sols Facebook Page!

Llewellyn Magick Blog: Demons and Pagan Gods: Re-evaluating My Stance   Leave a comment

Greetings Goetes!

 

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From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, October 4, 2016:

If you’ve been following my posts lately, you likely know I am in the middle (or, maybe, just the beginning) of an adventure into the realms of goetia.  It is, to be completely honest, my first time exploring this side of things. That’s not to say I haven’t made a few scouting missions into the underworld—believe me, I have stories!—but I have always considered myself primarily an “angel worker.” […]

When I wrote Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires I was still viewing the world through the lens of dualism. In that book, I describe a universe firmly divided between the celestial and the “infernal” (I wasn’t using the term “chthonic” yet). From that stance, I made a rather strong argument against the common occult idea that demons (or at least a number of them) were originally Pagan deities who have been demonized by Church propaganda. […]

But, what if we remove dualism from the equation?

 

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2016/10/demons-and-pagan-gods/

Posted October 5, 2016 by kheph777 in grimoires, llewellyn blog, solomonic

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Llewellyn Magick Blog: Re-evaluating our Re-evaluation of the Holy Guardian Angel   Leave a comment

Greetings Angelophiles!

 

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From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, September 12, 2016:

Here’s another one from the Solomonic FB Group files! Somewhat recently, occult scoundrel and esoteric hooligan Nick Farrell posted the following comment to a thread about the Holy Guardian Angel (or “HGA”):

“I think the HGA is a big dumbed down modern con-trick. Sure Abramerlin featured him, but it was more of a gimmick, It was a pick part of Crowely’s ideas and of course Crowley was right about everything especially when it comes down to livestock. Now you get everyone asking you about HGA as if it is a vital thing… or worse your divine self (it really isn’t). I know… not a popular thought but there you are.”

Not a popular thought indeed! It was hardly just Crowley behind the HGA push in the Western Mystery Tradition. Israel Regardie picked up that flag and flew it in his work, and from those guys it was picked up by—well pretty much everyone else. (Except the Neopagans—but we’ll get back to that in a bit.) Especially among the Golden Dawn and Thelema crowds, the concept of achieving “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” became paramount. It was billed as the highest achievement of the adept, the “thing” toward which we should all be working. Without it can nothing else be accomplished! It is our Western version of Enlightenment.

That’s a very lofty philosophy, and I can’t blame those early Golden Dawners (yes, including Crowley) for sensing something vastly important at the heart of the Abramelin Rite. I certainly did!

[…]

But now we run into a snag. As wonderful and transcendent as the HGA may be, we don’t actually find him everywhere, do we?

 

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2016/09/re-evaluating-our-re-evaluation-of-the-holy-guardian-angel/

Those Blasted Grimoire Mages!   1 comment

Greetings fellow conjurors and spirit-workers!

You might have noticed a new blog, recently posted by Frater Barrabbas, entitled My Problem with Grimoire Purists and Strict Traditionalists.  Even if you haven’t read it, you might recognize it from Facebook thanks to the prominent image of a braying jackass right under the title of the post.

SIGH – here we go again…

Spidey-facepalm

To put it all as briefly as possible, it seems our Frater has had it with the “never ending argument between those who espouse the literal adaptation of Grimoires as they currently exist and those who follow a path of eclecticism.”  And he’s here to champion the eclectic path, dammit.

As one who does not practice the grimoire tradition, he sure seems to have a lot of opinions about it.  He’s even written several articles on what he perceives to be “problems” with the grimoires.  And that boggles my mind – because I doubt he would be so forgiving if I were to point out my “problems” with his chosen path.  (Not to say I have any – I am willing to admit I know very little about it – but I am led to wonder how the shoe might fit on the other foot…)

Now, I have no beef with Frater B himself.  And, to be fair, he has posted on Facebook that the inspiration for his recent post was an encounter with a particularly arrogant jackass who felt his way (or their way – I’m not sure if it was one person or a group, though I’m betting in either case it was rabid Lisewski fanboys…) was the only way to accomplish magick.  And, I’ll side with Frater Barrabbas in saying those types are insufferable – I’ve kicked a number of them out of my own Solomonic group(s).

So what is it that makes me heave a sigh over his post?  While he states at the beginning that he is only fed-up with that certain type of occultist – the rest of the blog is a diatribe against the grimoires themselves, not just a few practitioners who make jerks of themselves.

My initial thought upon reading the very first line of the article was “Exactly where is this never-ending battle taking place?”  I certainly hear about it a lot – but where is it happening?  I like to think I have some involvement in the global community of grimoire enthusiasts, and I haven’t seen groups of us sitting around talking about how stupid we think all other flavors of occultism are.  (And Jake Kent slagging off magickal orders doesn’t count.)  I’ve never once seen any of us compare wand sizes – at least not in a negative way.  Are there arrogant jerks to be found out there? – yep!  Same as with any group.  And, just like those other groups, they don’t make up the majority and they aren’t tolerated in polite company.

He goes on (still in the first sentence) to make a distinction between those who “…espouse the literal adaptation of Grimoires as they currently exist and those who follow a path of eclecticism, experimentation and creative adaptation.”  As if these two things are mutually exclusive.  As if the grimoires are not themselves eclectic or do not demand experimentation and creative adaptation on the part of their practitioners.  What grimoires has he been reading??

So, from the very outset, Frater B is setting up a straw man.  He casts grimoire purists in a light of close-mindedness and blind adherence to rules and traditions.  He makes a very minimal effort to suggest we aren’t all that way, but he then goes on to explain how my system fails in every conceivable way…???  Did I miss something?

Yes I know how it is with blog posts – you have a thought to share or a rant to make, then everyone with any connection to that subject matter whatsoever is going to take everything the wrong way and jump down your throat.  And it is not my intention to act in such a manner at all.  I know he had a bad experience with a jackass and wanted to post about it.  What I find unfortunate, however, is that the bulk of his post seeks to tear down my tradition in and of itself, showing how his own ecclectic path is “better”, more “in touch” with modern humanity, and the grimoires are dusty old relics with which we are largely wasting our time.  (As I said, he’s posted anti-grimoire material before.)  So… SIGH.

It is entirely possible he didn’t mean it that way – but, brother, that is how it came across.  He has even recently mentioned the stir his post has created; though I’m not entirely sure he gets why.  So, let me take things point by point:

– Almost right away, he discusses how the results of one’s magick are more important than whether one’s “magical tools are perfectly fashioned according to the dictates of the tradition or that the rites and liturgy employed are accurate and valid.”  And, here he shows just how much he doesn’t get my tradition.

My tradition also puts supreme importance on getting results from our magick.  (Surprise!)  However, what Frater Barrabbas is casting in the light of slavish following of pointless details, we happen to call “the protocols our spirits demand in order to work with them.”  If my spirits tell me to set up my altar a certain way, or to perform a certain ritual, or to use some specific tool made in a specific manner in order to get a certain result, then you can bet I’m going to follow their instructions – I don’t care how loudly Frater B and his eclectic buddies stand on the sidelines and shout “But you don’t have to!”  For some reason, he thinks our dedication and willingness to put every effort into our work with our spirits is a bad thing, a sign that we just follow rules without understanding, that we essentially don’t understand magick at all.  When an archangel tells one of us how to prepare a proper offering in the proper way, we should apparently tell the archangel to shut up and accept some McDonald’s take out because that’s what we have on hand.  Strictly adhering to the details of the archangel’s instructions is, apparently, stupid.

Even more than this, he outright states that the material used to fashion tools and the methods of fashioning them are purely esthetic and have absolutely no bearing on the efficacy of the magick:  “Whether the wand was made out of alchemical gold engraved with rare arcane symbols and glyphs or it was just an unusual stick found in the woods, the magic generated doesn’t seem to vary much.”  This is one of the places where he illustrates how little he understands my path.  He thinks we believe it matters if the wand is prettier or more expensive.  He doesn’t even consider that Spirit A may *require* us to use a golden engraved wand, while Spirit B might *require* us to use a stick we found in the woods.  And it is what the spirits want that is important here.

– Next, Frater Barrabbas slips right back into straw-man territory, by attempting to knock down yet another “popular” argument that “…the magicians of the previous age knew what they were doing and the grimoires that they wrote represent a true tradition of magic, and that now, after centuries of neglect and omission, we should pick up what they unwittingly passed down to us and use that above all other methodologies or techniques to work magic. In fact, it has been implied that we would be better served if we tossed out all of the current magical lore collected over the last hundred years or so and started fresh with one of the more older grimoires.”

I’ve never heard any such argument.  Yet again, this arises from the fact that Frater B doesn’t practice this tradition.   His arguments are close, but they miss the point in the end.  We don’t think magicians of previous ages were some kind of super-beings who knew everything.  We do, however, know that magicians of previous ages inherited their knowledge from ages before them, who got it from ages before them – all the way back to the most primitive tribal shamans.  It was an unbroken line of human experience that developed naturally over thousands of years.  Then (in the West), along came the medieval Church and outlawed it all, followed by the Age of Enlightenment that declared it was all superstitious nonsense.  Then came the psychological model of magick to replace it.

A few of us have found that psychological model lacking, and are looking back to before that massive break in human tradition and asking, what were they doing?  And, somehow, that means we are worshiping those people and declaring them infallible??  We are, in fact, wrong for having issues with any form of occultism that developed after the Golden Dawn?  We should all be Thelemites or Wiccans, and that’s it, Jack!?

– The next paragraph contains more of the same, though it stands out for including a line toward its end declaring the grimoires do not produce the impressive results their practitioners claim.  As he does not practice or even understand the fundamentals of my tradition, how could he know this?  Did he just pick up a grimoire once and “try it out” and got nothing for his efforts?  He believes making the tools properly is just esthetic nonsense, and doesn’t grasp the concept of following spiritual protocols.  Thus he was hardly experiencing my tradition – yet his limited grimoire experience (or lack thereof) was a good enough reason to declare an entire tradition a load of bunk?

– Next, he enters into one of the most overused and tired arguments out there:  the grimoires were written in the medieval and renaissance periods, and thus do not represent our modern culture.  Because, certainly the magick and methods presented in those books only apply to that time and place.  Only in medieval Europe did people need protection, healing, prosperity, love, and all sorts of outdated nonsense like that.  Only in the Renaissance did anyone need to seek out and connect with the spirits of nature, and learn the secrets of magick from them.  You can only summon the Archangel Michael, or the demon Bael, if you are a serf living on a farm or a nobleman living in a castle keep.  Does this sound as silly to you as it does me?

Without a doubt, I’m the first one to insist you need to understand something about the time and place a text was written, if you want to understand what is written.  (I dedicated the first half of my Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires to that alone!)  But it’s a pretty far leap to say that no text can have meaning or application outside of the time and place it was written.  Some things are timeless – and magick just so happens to be one of those things.

– From there, he goes into an explanation of how the grimoires are actually eclectic themselves, and how even a single grimoire (say, the Key of Solomon for example) will usually exist in several conflicting manuscripts.  In other words – the grimoire tradition is not, nor has it ever been, about the blind following of pointless rules.  It’s always been about experimentation and finding what works best.  And that entirely contradicts the point he is trying to make.  Does he really think we grimoire mages hold up a manuscript that exists in dozens of different forms and declare it “infallible”??  Has he overlooked the massive efforts some of us have put into restoring old texts, correcting talismans and sigils, completing unfinished word squares, hunting down lost or corrupted rituals?  Yes.  Yes I think he has.

In this same section, he puts quite a bit of effort into illustrating how we only possess a fraction of the grimoires that actually existed, and therefore can’t really know anything about the tradition anyway.  I’m sure this information will come as quite a shock to Claire Fanger, Richard Kiekhefer, Elizabeth Butler, Stephen Skinner, David Rankine, Jake Kent, Owen Davies and others (including yours truly) who now must recall all of their books and essays and theses because, suddenly, they don’t really know anything about the medieval grimoire tradition.  Again, it sounds silly because it is.

After that section, Frater Barrabbas comes back into sensible territory again – making perfectly agreeable statements about magick, his thoughts on Satan and demons, etc.  I don’t have any problem with him there – though I think he also doesn’t really “get” the role of demons in the grimoires (it’s something I’m teaching and lecturing on currently).  But I don’t take personal issue with anything in these final sections of his blog.

Again, I’m sure most of his post was motivated by running into a real dumbass who claimed to be the Grand Solomonic Master before whom we should all bow.  But, a large bulk of what he had to say was against the grimoire tradition itself, painting both it and its practitioners with a very inaccurate brush.  I don’t blame him for not understanding some of the nuances of how my kind of magick works – but my feathers ruffle over his attempt to present himself as an expert on a subject matter with which he does not have experience, and clearly has very little understanding.

In the end, I would say this:

Hey, Frater B!  Let’s make a deal – I won’t try to explain your tradition to others, and you don’t try to explain mine.  Sound good?  😉

 

Posted May 19, 2016 by kheph777 in blogs, grimoires

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Llewellyn Magick Blog: Why I’m Worried About the Revival of the Old Magick   Leave a comment

Greetings Readers!

 

magick_blog_updated

From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, April 20, 2016:

When I began my occult path—so many years ago now—there were two things I lamented above all else: 1) that Western culture had abandoned its official belief in magick, and 2) that what little remained of Western occultism had abandoned the Old Magick in favor of post-GD psychological models. I would have to say, in some sense, my entire career as an author/teacher and all-around very public occultist has been dedicated to setting those two things right again. I wanted to live in a community of people who believe in magick—and therefore place real value on what I do, rather than viewing it as a quaint or outright weird hobby. And, of course, I wanted to see the Old Magick revived for Westerners; for us to put away all the mental masturbation and “self-help” and reconnect with Nature as humans should. This seemed like a noble cause, so I set my sails and began my journey.

Yet, as often happens with age and maturity, I have learned and experienced more than my young self had. I have gained new wisdom and a decidedly broader perspective. My ship has sailed, the movement I wanted to start—but, in fact, had already started by the time I joined it—can’t be stopped now. The Old Magick is coming back, via several different channels. Even if I hung up my pen and never wrote another word, it wouldn’t change a thing now. And, now that it is clearly too late to do a damned thing about it, I have serious concerns…

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2016/04/why-im-worried-about-the-revival-of-the-old-magick/

Posted April 20, 2016 by kheph777 in grimoires, llewellyn blog

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