Friday, August 26, 2016

The Mansions of the Moon Are Split

Thing 1: Why is it that both the Latin Picatrix and Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy  have more than one list regarding the Mansions of the Moon?

Thing 2: Because working with the spirits of the Mansions of the Moon is more advanced than working with the Mansions alone.
In other words, every sorcerer should be familiar with the influences of the Mansions but to call the spirit associated with that Mansion is a whole other thing. In both of the books mentioned the list of the names of the spirits comes well after the list of the virtues of each Mansion. In the Picatrix they virtually bookend the whole work.

Thing 1: If one was going to start calling them what are some of the concerns?

Thing 2: That the spirit will be malefic when the Moon is waning or otherwise afflicted.
That there might be one or two or four or six or 360 faces for each spirit depending on the relative position of the Sun.
That a daily practice is what is indicated.
That my goetic work will be put on hold.

Thing 1: Mere excuses. Don't let fear dictate your actions. A thing is only finished once it's begun. A single step begins a thousand miles, after all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Was Told I'm Unconscious

This morning I was told that I am unconscious. And it hit me pretty hard because it didn't come from some person trying to give me constructive criticism, it came from much deeper.

I can feel it. My focus has been less, I've been feeling sleepy, and misfirings in my memory have been pointed out to me. My meditation sessions have been scant and superficial. I've been smoking and drinking every chance I get. It's a slump I didn't quite notice was happening until I was neck deep in it.

It's time for a spiritual clean up. Time to get balanced. It is time for me to wake up and be conscious again. The easiest first step is to start fasting. This will address some of the energy and fuzzy mind issues. A return to a more conscious and robust meditation regimen will also help.

It raises questions in my mind about the uses of ritual purity in the True Grimoire. I will admit that I have not been the most stringent in my adherence to purity in the process. Perhaps some of its value lies in preventing this slow slide into torpor. And while I do bless my shower every morning and many of the glasses of water I drink, my practice of purity can use a big reassessment and update.

This is the ebb and flow of practice I've written about before.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stone and Metal in the Surgat Talisman

In the True Grimoire spell ‘To Open Anything Shut or Locked’ the principal item is a lodestone covered in lead filings. This is an interesting combination in the context of this working. In preparation for making this talisman I have spent some time researching and contemplating their significance. Here are some of my thoughts.

The lodestone is a powerfully magical stone for its natural magnetism and its affinity with iron. But in this context it is not with the attractive qualities of the stone that we are concerned. "Lode" is from Old English meaning 'way' or 'course'. The lodestone is the Stone of the Way. It was used historically as a directional compass. Magically speaking its use in our talisman is to point out an open way, which happens to be wherever the magician points it.

In goetic terms, as a talisman of the Underworld, it opens all the gates and orients the traveler on the path they have chosen. On a journey through the Underworld, passage and orientation are essential tools to get in, find one's way, and get back out. This is one of the things the charged and consecrated lodestone provides. On the other side of the same coin, passage and orientation can be extended to summoning a spirit to the magician. The stone then acts as a sort of beacon at an open gate beckoning spirits. We would be foolish to wholly discount the attractive qualities of the lodestone.

Lead is also very powerfully magical and has been used for thousands of years to represent the heaviest and most earthy of spirits. Its use is hardly surprising in a talisman charged by an Underworld spirit. Most often it is used in works that restrict, constrain, and encumber. In our talisman it acts to constrain the attractive properties of the lodestone, thereby heightening its directional qualities and restricting its power to the intentions of the magician.

And, of course, we cannot dismiss the planetary attributions of these materials. Lead is the quintessential metal of Saturn and lodestone, according to Agrippa (book 1, chapter 44), is of both Mars and Saturn. Thus the chthonic connotations are heightened.

This spell makes for a most powerful Underworld talisman.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Solve et Coagula; Academic Syncretism

I just recently finished reading a new pamphlet from Hadean Press by Jake Stratton-Kent titled A Prince Among Spirits. I was keenly interested in acquiring this book as it is about the Verum spirit Surgat. And those of you following along will note that I have been working with Surgat off and on for a while now.

I thoroughly enjoy Stratton-Kent's writing. The style that I came to appreciate in the Encyclopedia Goetica series is continued here; intelligent but not obscure, balanced in terms of considering practice, deeply researched, and written to an audience of practitioners. It is an excellent addition to the Guides to the Underworld series and, in my opinion, superior to a few of them.

The information in this book is a whole other direction from where my own received Personal Gnosis was taking me. At the risk of giving a spoiler away the main thesis of A Prince Among Spirits is along the lines of Surgat=Forcas=Aquiel=Aziel. And Aziel is all over European and Semitic spirit work in very high ranking positions, including King of the West (cardinal direction) in Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. So Surgat, under a variety of names, is one of the more powerful and ubiquitous spirits of the grimoires.

I have little doubt as to the academic rigors of Jake Stratton-Kent's research. Some of his deductions about spirit names from different eras and books being related seem tenuous at times but never without merit or logic. From a practical standpoint I'm still processing how, or if, I will incorporate this new knowledge into my practice with Surgat.

Here is my difficulty: I have always been under the impression that the various names of an entity are really different entities. Venus is not Aphrodite. Does it help me to work with Venus knowing the depth of Aphrodite? Yes and no, in the same way that it is instructive to know something about a person's family before you meet them. But I don't think it tells me very much about Venus specifically. This has been my difficulty with syncretism in general.

I do appreciate that the interwoven strands of Surgat's mythology have been laid out in front of me. The way they seem to have joined and separated over time is the inspiration of this blog title.

I think I will continue to work with Surgat for his own sake, at least for now. A Prince Among Spirits has not greatly changed my attitude about Surgat. I was never much thinking he was a subordinate spirit in terms of esteem anyway and, if anything this book has confirmed that notion. We'll see if Forcas or Aziel make their way into my work with Surgat.

I'll be talking with Surgat and Scirlin about this at length.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Meditations on Surgat, part 3

After nearly a year of little to no activity, Surgat calls once again.
I have progressed a bit in the construction of a talisman in Surgat's honor.
For the past couple of weeks I've been concentrating on Surgat, working to build a relationship that was started a while ago. You can read my previous post here and another one here.
I posted some of my thoughts on Surgat on the Grimorium Verum Yahoo Group page and learned that Jake Stratton-Kent has put out a treatment on Surgat through Hadean Press, titled A Prince Among Spirits. I've ordered a copy but I can't seem to find an electronic version. I will be very curious to read it and see how it matches or diverges from my limited experience so far. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tarot Working, The World

The World
This is the last one for this project. I too have a few transitions happening in my life that seem to coincide with this working; endings and beginnings, new eras, new chapters.
I found the World to be rather draining to work with, much more than any of the other cards. I was so tired when I finished. At any rate, here is my report.
I opened the session in the same way as I have with all the previous cards; “Spirit of the World, I call to you. Come to me. Speak to me. Share with me your wisdom. Show me your forms.” Soon a noticeable stillness falls over the room and the mantle on the central figure of the card image begins to glow. Then I see a vision of a dark brook, a creek, winding through a thick wooded forest. The branches of the trees grow over the creek in a sort of low ceiling of lattice branches. It looks like a tunnel. It reminds me of the place I grew up. Then the vision passes and the image becomes the card again.
I ask, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The garland that surrounds the central figure in the image takes on the appearance of being comprised of feathers. They become two wings bent in an embrace. I hear, “encapsulating.” Then the central figure says, “turn,” and I take it to mean changing direction.
I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” The figure in the center is now a dancer and she says, “the surety of your footfalls.” Then the angel in the corner says, “the words in the ledger,” and I see the angel is holding a large book. Then the eagle says, “strength of heart,” as it thrusts forth its chest. I understand that it is invulnerable. Then the lion says, “the stillness of the subdued,” and he bows his head and it turns into a grass covered hill. I understand the hill is a symbol of patience. Then the bull says, “your curiosity and your humor; your sense of wonder,” and the bull is laughing like a child.
I ask the figure in the middle, “where are you?” She says, “above you,” but she answers my question just as I’ve thought it and before I can speak it.
I ask her, “who are you?” In response I see a vision of a stone lined well at night. I understand that this well is the only water source for a small village.
I ask, “What are the objects in your hands?” She says, “the active and the receptive. The hammer and the bell. The pitcher and the cup. A man and his god.” In her dance she does a spin. Below, the bull shakes water from its head as if it were submerged. Then its face becomes human, then two people’s faces, then back to the bull. The lion’s face changes to an old man’s face with a long beard but bright, youthful eyes. They are eyes that have lived a thousand lifetimes. At the top the angel has turned bright red and is gesturing toward the eagle to try to calm it. Apparently the eagle is angry and agitated. The figure in the middle gestures toward them all and says, “they turn as they will.” Then she spins again.
I ask, “what is your connection to the Four Kings?” The figure in the middle of the card looks thoughtful for a moment and then a glowing line like a string extends from her heart and connects to the eagle. Then another extends from her heart and connects to the angel, then the lion, and then the bull. They are connected through her. She is the product of their combined efforts. The four of them are her creators and work continuously on forming her. The moves of her dance are the buffets of their efforts.
The figure in the middle raises her arm in a gesture of blessing. She is blessing the world. She becomes a heavenly messiah blessing the earth as she returns.
At this point I am really tired and drained and it’s all feeling really intense so I decide to end the session. I thank the spirit of the World for coming and speaking with me, to be at peace. And as I do the figure in the middle continues dancing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tarot Working, Judgment

I had some trepidation about sitting with Judgment that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m not sure what made me nervous before I started but I persevered and here is a record of my session.
I used the same opening as all the last cards and soon I felt a tingling sensation across my scalp on the back of my head. This was the sign of the arrival of the spirit.

I asked, “how can I use your energy in my life?” The angel in the image on the card seemed to spread its wings and the angel says, “flight”. The wings seem to keep extending until they have encircled me and further to encircle and embrace the world. Then they suddenly shrink down until they appear like ears on the angel’s head and the angel says, “listening deeply”.

I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” A wave of goose bumps shiver across my left thigh and the angel says, “moving beyond the flesh.”
At this point my phone rings. We all freeze. When it finishes the angel smiles at me.

I ask, “are you Gabriel?” At this the angel gets a rather serious expression on its face and says, “among others”.
I ask, “what is the purpose of your trumpet?” Again I get the shiver across my leg but the vibration seems to leave my leg and expand and turn in to the vibration of a note played on the trumpet. The vibration spreads and soon it is vibrating all creation. And the angel says, “penetrate to the core”.

I ask, “what is you connection to The Lovers?” [the tarot card]. Around me the room seems to grow a little darker and the angel says, “I bring the lovers to their end”.
I ask, “what is your connection to Temperance?” [the tarot card]. The angel shines with a divine light and says something that I don’t catch. Then it starts to play the trumpet but I can’t hear anything. Then, quite apart from the figures down below I see a man appear next to the angel on its right. On the angel’s left flames appear. The angel says, “I am the other side of Temperance.” The angel puts its hand to its ear as if listening for something.

I ask, “who are the figures below?” At this I get a vision of people on the earth falling dead and their spirits rising from their bodies and ascending to heaven. The angel says, “they are the graves of the conscious and the unconscious.” Then the angel points to the figure in the card image that resembles a corpse. The corpse’s head is a swirl and the angel says, “this gate is the same as my gate,” and the angel also points to the ring of clouds from which it emerges which now resembles the same swirling shape that is the head of the corpse.
I ask, “are they alive or dead?” The angel says, “they are yet unconscious. They are distracted by the flesh. They have lain like insect larvae, developing in the grave. They emerge transformed.”

I ask, “how can I recognize your call?” The angel says, “all will hear it. There is no hiding from it.”
I ask, “what is your connection to the Underworld?” The angel says, “I pass between. All I call forth are obliged to come.” I see a vision of a dark figure on a subterranean cliff blowing a clarion as ranks of soldiers march below. Then the angel points to the flag attached to the trumpet and says, “the cross, it is the crossroads.”

Then the man in the grave at the bottom of the card starts to say something; he raises his hand slightly and opens his mouth to speak. He appears to be ready to argue and question the angel. The woman looks at him fearfully. The angel will not let him speak. The man wants to plead his case but Judgment is beyond placating.
Too late. The decision has already been made and the actions here are repercussions of that decision.

The woman is hiding something in her hand. It is a small stone, a jewel. She mistakes it for her heart. The corpse, who has nothing, is a direct conduit to God. The corpse’s head becomes the opening of the angel’s trumpet and the Will of God comes echoing out like music.
Then I see the light of the angel grow so intense that it sweeps across the earth, scorching the hills like a burning scythe. It reminds me of a similar vision I had with the Death card so I ask, “what is your connection to Death?” the angel says, “we both work the gate. Where Death recedes I expand.” And I understand Death as receptive and inward moving and Judgment as active and outward moving.

At this I decide it’s time to wrap this session up. I thank Judgement for speaking to me. I ask that Judgement be my ally and to be at peace and then I end the session.