Archive for the ‘santeria’ Tag

Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería   2 comments

Greetings God-brothers and God-sisters!

Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería

Now this is a truly humbling experience.  As many of you know, my Solomonic practice was greatly influenced (and in no small way made possible) by one of my oldest friends and teachers – the Santo Ochani Lele.  I knew him long ago, when he was still a Gardnerian High Priest and maknig his first discoveries of  Palo Mayombe and Santeria.  After he became an initiate of those systems, I literally spent hours discussing magick with him – comparing and contrasting my beloved grimoires with his form of magick and witchcraft.  Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires was largely a result of those discussions.

Now he is a famous Lucumi author and teacher, with his own thriving House full of bright-eyed young aspirants.  He has produced an (ever-growing) library of books about the Lucumi faith and practices.  And, recently, he floored me by contacting me for an endorsement for his latest work:  Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería: A Complete Guide to the Rituals and Practices.

Heh.  Ochani Lele coming to me for an endorsement!  How do you like that irony?  And, after reading the book, I couldn’t help but to write what turned out to be a mini-review – part of which will be printed in the book, and is already included at the head of the Editorial Reviews on the Amazon page.  Ah, the circle of life….  🙂

Since my review had to be edited down to make it fit as an endoresment blurb, I felt it would be cool to publish the entire review here for you good folks to see.  So, here it is:

The Lucumi faith – better known to non-initiates as “Santeria” – has been one of the most misunderstood and maligned subjects in Western history.  Its practitioners have been labeled as satanists, animal torturers, criminals and ignorant followers of a “fake religion” – not to mention any number of outright racial slurs.  The good news is that this is finally changing.  The faith is growing faster now than ever before, admitting members from every race and creed and even having a massive impact on other religions and mystical practices.  For all of these reasons, at this point in our culture’s spiritual development, the importance of “Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santeria” cannot be overstated. 
For those inside the religion, it will doubtlessly be a useful textbook – containing not only the sacrificial rituals, but also information on the Orishas, what they eat, how to speak to them though divination, and the sacred mythos – or tales – that contain the true spiritual meaning behind the practices.
For those outside the religion, this book is an absolute must-read!  You will find here secrets never before revealed to the outside world.  But, more importantly, you will find a detailed history of the origins of the Lucumi faith, the rise of “Santeria” in Cuba and its further migration into the U.S. and beyond.  You will bear witness to the long and hard fight for the religious freedom and equality of its practitioners (from its survival amidst unsympathetic slave-owners to landmark cases brought before the Supreme Court in our lifetimes).  And, best of all, you will finally learn the true meanings and motivations behind the often-demonized practice of animal sacrifice.  No worse than butchering animals for food, and in fact many degrees better in its humane treatment of the animals involved, it is a deeply spiritual tradition dating back thousands of years.  You don’t have to practice it, nor even agree with it, to come to a better understanding of a religious mystery that has such profound and moving significance for those in the Lucumi/Santerian faith.
Ochani Lele has provided us with yet another magnum opus in his ever-growing library of Lucumi textbooks, instruction manuals and mystical explorations.  If you study religious movements here in the West, you simply cannot ignore this book.
 The book is going to be released in just a couple of weeks, so pre-order your copy now!  🙂

Posted August 7, 2012 by kheph777 in atr

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At the Crossroads – New Anthology by Scarlet Imprint   4 comments

Greetings God brothers and God sisters!

Scarlet Imprint is now taking pre-orders for an awesome new book called:

At the Crossroads

This new anthology brings together authors and practitioners of various Afro-Caribbean and Western systems of occultism to compare notes on their traditions’ difference and, especially, similarities.  From the Scarlet Imprint page:

At the crossroads the paths of magicians and worlds meet.
Grimoire and root workers, Hoodoo and Vodoun, Quimbanda and Ifa. A potent fusion is occurring, a second diaspora.

At the Crossroads tells the stories of what happens when the Western Magical Tradition encounters the African Diaspora and Traditional religions, and vice versa. It is a mixing and a magic that speaks of a truly new world emerging.

My own offering to this brew is called Folk Traditions and the Solomonic Revival.  The above quote, actually, is a fair description of exactly what my essay is about.  I discuss the current cross-semination taking place between the modern Solomonic movement and various folks traditions – such as Santeria, Voodoo and Hoodoo.  I briefly mention the relationship these traditions have shared in the past, and then explore the important impact such folk traditions are having upon the current understanding and practice of the medieval European grimoires.

And this goes far beyond the magick of Solomon, too.  This movement reflects a relationship between Westerners and magick that was lost thousands of years ago, but which is now re-emerging and flourishing throughout every aspect of the occult revival.  It is having an effect on everything from the Golden Dawn and Thelema to Wicca and Neopaganism.  My essay, and Crossroads overall, gets right to the heart of this new movement and why it is so vastly important for all of us.

At the Crossroads is going to be a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand what exactly is happening to magick in the Western world in the 21st Century.




Peter Grey – Preamble: Standing Still

Jake Stratton-Kent – Necromancy: the Role of the Dead in a Living Tradition

Aaron Leitch – Folk Traditions and the Solomonic Revival

Eric K Lerner – Eleggua; Eleggua’s Worlds (art)

Stephen Grasso – Open up the Gate

Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold – The Invisible City in the Realm of Mystery

Richard Ward – In the Shadow of the Cross

Drac Uber & Ivy Kerrigan – Libations for the Lwa

Michael Cecchetelli – Countermeasures

Humberto Maggi – Crossing Worlds

Ryan Valentine – A brief history of the Juju

Hagen Von Tulien – Soul Dream (art)

Kyle Fite – The Syncretic Soul at the Cross of Cosmic Union

ConjureMan Ali – Goetic Initiation

Christopher D Bradford – Nigromantic Putrfaction

Chad Balthazar – A Garden Amidst the Flames

Angela Edwards – Queen of Fire & Flesh (art)

Jake Stratton-Kent – Magic at the Crosssroads

Posted July 6, 2012 by kheph777 in atr, books, reviews, solomonic

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Blood Substitute – ‘Solomonic Herbal Holy Water’   8 comments

Every once in a while, the subject of ritual blood use is raised among those who study the Old Magicks.  Blood and sacrifice were fairly common in both religion and magick until relatively recently in history.  I discuss the subject in depth in chapter four of “Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires”, if you want to read about my take on the subject.

Today, however, many modern practitioners (especially those of American WASP heritage) have sensibilities that preclude the use of blood in ritual.  Perhaps this will change, if our Great Western Civilization eventually collapses and we are again forced to raise and slaughter our own food.  But until then, some of us would rather not engage in the practice.

We can take heart, though.  Even ancient traditions that regularly make use of blood and sacrifice – such as the ATRs (Santeria, Palo, etc), the medieval grimoires and various forms of conjure and folk magick- also include paths and methods that do not require blood.  From what I have seen, no one looks down upon those paths nor upon their adherents for their choice.   That’s great, because it gives us avenues to explore the Old Magicks without the use of blood, and still learn how to do things right.

Omiero is a liquid used in Santerian traditions, whenever an Orisha (or  god) is born into a new vessel.  (These vessels are urns, filled with consecrated items, that become the center-pieces of altars to the Orishas.)  The Orisha will quite literally live inside the vessel, and offerings and sacrifices will be made to him or her upon the altar.  However, the Orisha’s very first meal is not blood at all – it is omiero.  Because of this, omiero can be considered even more potent (in its way) than blood.

Of course, the secrets of making true omiero are a closely guarded secret. I only know it involves the ripping and tearing of sacred herbs and plants beneath running water, so that a green-tinted water is collected. And there are mystical songs that must be sung during its preparation.

Meanwhile, the concept of herbally-infused holy water is not unheard of outside of these mystery religions. We can especially find it within the practice of Hoodoo – a folk practice that originated in the American south, and was itself heavily influenced by the ATRs. In this case, the process is much simplified – usually involving little more than steeping sacred herbs in water to produce a “tea” or extracting the scent of a plant and infusing it into water (such as the very popular Florida Water – which is named for its sweet floral scent, not for the US state).

Drawing from the concepts of omiero and herbal holy waters, we can use a similar method to produce a blood substitute for our own magick.  Below, I will outline a method of making a kind of holy water based upon the omiero concept (note:  this is not the recipe for true omiero as used in the ATRs), which I have incorporated into a Solomonic framework.


Solomonic Herbal Holy Water (UPDATED)

NOTE: If you want to see pictures of this process in action, click here.

For this you will need Holy Water, the Bible, plants and herbs gathered (as much as possible) locally by hand, and (for this example) a gallon of fresh spring water.  Yes, it needs to be fresh water from a spring.

1) First make or obtain a few ounces of Holy Water- either as outlined in the Key of Solomon, or obtained from a Church, etc.  In any case you will need about sixteen ounces of lightly salted consecrated water (a bit less is fine), if you are making a gallon of the finished herbal water.  Avoid Holy Waters that contain rose or other herbs.

2) Find several Psalms or other Scripture that relate to the Force/Angel/Spirit you are working with. (Try to find a number of Psalms based upon the number sacred to the entity.  Six Psalms for solar entities, eight for mercurial, etc.) My primary source for these is always “Use of the Psalms”- often found appended to the “6th and 7th Books of Moses.”  Another good source is called the “Book of Gold”, recently published by Avalonia Publishing.  Also, don’t hesitate to sit down with an online Bible and search the Psalms and other Scripture for keywords that relate to your needs.

3) Gather some fresh plants that relate to the Force/Angel/Spirit. (You don’t want woods or resins or roots – look for leafy green plants!) Scott Cunningham wrote some good source material for this kind of thing. See “Incenses, Oils and Brews.”  Again, gather a number of plants based upon the number sacred to the entity in question.

4) Prepare your ritual space, and yourself, as you normally would for magickal work. It is best to perform this work on the proper Day and Hour according to the table of Solomonic hours.

5) During said Hour, put the spring water into a large bowl.  Take some of the plant material in hand, and begin to sing/recite the Psalms as you immerse the plants into the Water and begin to rip and tear at the plant material. For tougher plants, you can make use of a knife to tear the material – use your White-Hilted Knife for this if you have one.

Keep going until the plants just can’t be ripped, torn, squeezed or pressed any further, and you finally run out of plant material.  In a best-case scenario, the water should have turned a very dark green.  (Not all plants will result in deep dark green water, and it will likely take some practice to know how much plant material you’ll need in each case.  Give yourself time to perfect your recipes.)

6) Strain out the destroyed plant remnants.  Then take the pure Holy Water and make a small prayer of your intent as you add it into the bowl.

I like to store this away in refridgeration, since it involves plant material.  I use it as needed for sacrifice/offering.   You can use it in place of blood anytime it is called for in a spell.  You can also use it any time you create a spirit pot – not only as a first offering to the spirit, but also to wash every object you will place into its vessel.