Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Comments on the Picatrix, Book III, Chapter 9 (part 1)

Chapter 9 of Book III of the Greer and Warnock translation of the Latin Picatrix gives us another very important set of details that, in my opinion at least, form a large part of the basis of the magic described in the book. It all comes down to the equilateral cross and identifying oneself as the center. We saw this same reliance on the equilateral cross in Chapter 6 of Book III with the Ritual of Perfect Nature. But where perfect nature is about honoring your connection to the universe, the rituals described in Chapter 9 are about honoring your connection to the planets.
Let's analyze the Chapter in detail. The Chapter is titled:

 How to Attract the Powers of Each Planet and the Powers of the Spirits, Naming Them According to Their Parts, and How to Accomplish This By Speaking Their Names.  

Straight away in the title we are given the key to this way of working with the planets. Call the spirits by name to do what work you require that is under the auspices of the planet with who you are working. When you need a Saturn (for instance) working done, these are the names to call, these are the spirits under Saturn who actually get things done. And while this is a very important point to consider regarding this chapter, I think the application of these names goes further.
The chapter begins with the names of all the spirits.

The spirit of Saturn called Redimez is coadunate with all of his names, both collectively and individually, and with his parts which are above and below and elsewhere, according to the opinion of Aristotle in the book which he wrote for Alexander which is called the Book of Antimaquis in which he discussed the way in which the powers of the planets and their spirits ought to be attracted.
This point about a spirit representing all the aspects of a planet gets repeated for all seven of them. In one way of thinking, in this example, Saturn is more of an office than an individual. It is Redimez that performs the actions of Saturn and it is Redimez that one speaks to when working under the auspices of Saturn.

And their names, as listed according to Aristotle's opinion, are as follows. The name of the spirit of Saturn above is Toz, below is called Corez, to the right Deytyz, to the left Deriuz, before Taylyz, behind Daruz; and it motions in its sphere and its progress through the signs and the motion of its spirits- all the aforesaid are united in the name Tahaytuc. All of these separate names above are united in the primary name, Redimez, and this name is the root and origin of all the names we have said.
The first question I have about this passage is "above what?". The conclusion I've come up with, and have been using, is that the magician using these names is the center from which they are oriented. It is instructive to remember that there are four passages in which these spirit names are given in context of working with spirits; twice in this chapter we're talking about now (Book III chapter 9), Book III chapter 8 (the one before this one), and Book IV chapter 9 (almost literally the end of the entire book). The chapter we are discussing now is the only one in which the names are expressed as individuals. In the other instances the list of names for each planet is simply called a prayer.

So what does this tell us? One of the things it tells us that by calling out the names we are invoking the power of the planet. In practical terms this means that to fill ourselves with the energy and power of a planet we use these names. When I make my morning oblations to the planet of the day I light some incense and call each of the names, envisioning that particular spirit in that place. So in our Saturn example my oblation goes something like this. I light the incense saying, "I light this incense to the honor and glory of Saturn and the spirits of Saturn." Then while saying "Toz" I envision a light above me. "Corez," a light below me. "Deytyz," a light to my right. "Deriuz," a light to my left. "Taylyz," a light in front of me. "Dariuz," a light behind me. I envision that these spirits form a sphere around me with their light. When I envision the spirit of the motion of a planet, in this case Tahaytuc, I envision the sphere to start spinning around me and the spirit is a charioteer, driving the sphere through space. Then when I intone Redimez I envision a light at my heart that encompasses all the other lights. By this method I fill myself with the influence of Saturn.

Instead of quoting the next several paragraphs I will simply list the spirits because all the paragraphs that mention them are strikingly similar to the one above.

above- Dermez
below- Matiz
right- Maz
left- Deriz
before- Tamiz
behind- Foruz
motion- Dehydez
collective- Demehuz

above- Heheydiz
below- Heydeyuz
right- Maharaz
left- Ardauz
before- Hondehoyuz
behind- Meheyediz
motion- Dehydemez

The Sun
above- Dehymez
below- Eydulez
right- Deheyfuz
left- Azuhafez
before- Mahabeyuz
behind- Hadyz
motion- Letahaymeriz

above- Heyluz
below- Cahyluz
right- Diruez
left- Ableymez
before- Tyluz
behind- Arzuz
motion- Dehataryz

above- Amirez
below- Hytyz
right- Cehuz
left- Deriz
before- Meylez
behind- Dehedyz
motion- Mehendiz

The Moon
above- Hediz
below- Marayuz
right- Meletaz
left- Timez
before- Hueyez
behind- Meyneluz
motion- Dehanuz
collectively- Harnuz

Then the chapter continues:
Aristotle said all this in the book already mentioned, giving the aforesaid spirits the names just given, and asserting that these are the spirits of the parts of the universe, there being six parts in the climes of the seven planets. The names of these spirits are those that worshippers of the planets were accustomed to use, and which they habitually used in the prayers they prayed to the planets. You, however, ought to diligently pay attention to what we said earlier.
This paragraph consists of three sentences, let's look at each of them. In my copy of the Picatrix the first sentence has a footnote in which the translators tell us that "The climes were basic concepts in medieval geography- regions of the earth arranged in bands from north to south".
This brings up a second thing we can learn from the separate passages of the Picatrix all mentioning these spirits, namely, that they are to be called as a group.
There are no instructions that say something like "if you are way up north call Toz and if you are way down south call Corez." Instead it is always a group of names given like an incantation. I can only imagine that what the authors (and translators) conceive of a clime is different than what I think it means and that, to eliminate any confusion, calling them all covers all your bases.
The second sentence gives us a tone and an application for working with these spirits.
The third sentence also has a footnote suggesting it is a warning against polytheism.
The Chapter continues:
Next, the philosophers said that from these spirits descend all the spiritual potencies of the same kind that come into contact with the climes and the world of generation. By praying to the aforesaid spirits, they accomplished miracles- from them riches and poverty emanated, for they gave, took away, and changed the course of these things. They had bodies in which they were clad, and were embodied with the same. Each of them had human beings in their climes, into whom their powers and spirit flowed, and they permitted them to arrange things with these sciences and make use of things of their nature.
 Since these spirits are the active aspects of the planets it is not surprising that it is from them that spiritual potencies descend. Nor is it surprising that miracles are accomplished or that they changed the course of things. But it is a bit surprising to hear that they are walking among us, either themselves or with their human allies. Are we to endeavor to be these allies?

It also seems to me that a zoning ritual can be derived from this structure, perhaps involving all 56 names. I have not yet tried this but it seems a logical next step.

Next, we'll take up the second part of chapter 9.

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