Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Picatrix Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon

The Mansions of the Moon is a concept that is once again taking its place in prominence in Western magic. Here, for your general edification, is the list of each of the Mansions and the qualities of the spirit of the Mansion depending on the phase of the Moon. This list is taken from the Greer & Warnock translation of then Latin Picatrix. As the Moon waxes and wanes the spirits of the Mansions of the Moon become at turns beneficial and wrathful. There is a lot of material here that is ripe for experimentation.

The Picatrix Spirits of the Mansions of the Moon

  1. The first Mansion of the Moon, 0 Aries to 12 degrees 51 minutes Aries, is called Alnath. The angel of the house of Alnath is Geriz. The peaceful aspect of Geriz (waxing, beneficially aspected Moon) watches over the beginnings of journeys, the effective administration of medicines, and traveling safely. The wrathful aspect of Geriz (waning, afflicted Moon) watches over discord between partners, causing servants to flee, and killing. 
  2. The second Mansion is called Albotayn, 12 degrees 51 minutes Aries to 25 degrees 42 minutes Aries. The angel of the house of Albotayn is Enedil. Enedil peaceful presides over the digging of successful wells, finding hidden treasure, planting wheat, and removing anger. Enedil wrathful presides over destroying unfinished buildings, enraging men against each other, and improving the incarceration of slaves.
  3. The third Mansion, 25 degrees 42 minutes Aries to 8 degrees 34 minutes Taurus, is called Azoraya. The angel of the house of Azoraya is Annuncia. Annuncia beneficial helps with the acquisition of all good things, to sail and return safely, to complete works of alchemy and all works done by fire, to hunt successfully in the country, and to cause love between man and wife. Annuncia wrathful helps to more firmly incarcerate captives.
  4. The fourth Mansion of the Moon is Aldebaran, 8 degrees 34 minutes Taurus to 21 degrees 25 minutes Taurus. The angel of the house of Aldebaran is Assarez. Assarez peaceful is useful to kill and bind reptiles and venomous animals. Assurez wrathful is useful for the destruction of cities, villages, or buildings, for lords to despise their servants, for placing discord between man and wife, for destroying fountains and streams, for destroying those who seek treasure underground, for all things pertaining to hatred, separation, and ill will, and for obtaining enmity.  
  5. The fifth Manision of the Moon is Almices, 21 degrees 25 minutes Taurus to 4 degrees 17 minutes Gemini. The angel of the house of Almices is Cabil. Cabil peaceful watches over good receptions with kings and officials, visions during sleep, helping youths learn arts, the salvation of travelers, to improve buildings, and to place favor between husband and wife. Cabil wrathful is useful to destroy friendship between two people.
  6. The sixth Mansion of the Moon is Achaya, 4 degrees 17 minutes Gemini to 17 degrees 8 minutes Gemini. The angel of the  house of Achaya is Nedeyrahe. Nedeyrahe peaceful presides over putting love between two people and improving hunting in the country. Nedeyrahe wrathful presides over the destruction of cities and the besieging of cities with armies, to help enemies of kings exact revenge, to destroy crops and trees, and to destroy medicines and make them ineffective.
  7. The seventh Mansion is called Aldira, 17 degrees 8 minutes Gemini to 0 degrees Cancer. The angel of the house of Aldira is Siely. Siely peaceful presides over the acquisition of all good things, increase in merchandise and profit, to travel safely, to increase crops, to sail beneficially, to cause friendship between friends and allies, to expel flies, for benefits in the presence of kings and high nobles, to cause kings to be benevolent.  Siely wrathful presides over the destruction of officials.
  8. The eighth Mansion is called Annathra, 0 degrees Cancer to 12 degrees 51 minutes Cancer. The angel of the house of Annathra is Annediex. Annediex peaceful presides over gaining victory, love and friendship, safe travel in wagons across the countryside, and friendship between allies. Annediex wrathful presides over making the incarceration of captives firm and the destruction and affliction of captives. 
  9. The ninth Mansion is called Atarfa, 12 degrees 51 minutes Cancer to 25 degrees 42 minutes Cancer. The angel of the house of Atarfa is Raubel. Raubel peaceful presides over helping a man to defend himself from another. Raubel wrathful presides over causing infimity, destroying crops, making travelers unfortunate, to do evil to all men, to cause division and hatred between allies.
  10. The tenth Mansion is called Algebha, 25 degrees 42 minutes Cancer to 8 degrees 34 minutes Leo. The angel of the house of Alebha is Aredafir. Aredafir peaceful presides over curing infirmities and easing childbirth, placing love between man and wife, strengthening and completing buildings, and to obtain the love of allies and mutual help. Aredafir wrathful presides over the destruction of enemies, and to make firm the incarceration of captives.
  11. The eleventh Mansion is called Azobra, 8 degrees 34 minutes Leo to 21 degrees 25 minutes Leo. The angel of the house of Azobra is Necol. Necol peaceful presides over receiving good things, rescuing  captives, safe travels on roads, strengthening buildings, and inceasing the wealth of allies. Necol wrathful presides over being feared and to besiege cities and profit thereby.
  12. The twelfth Mansion is called Azarfa, 21 degrees 25 minutes Leo to 4 degrees 17 minutes Virgo. The angel of the house of Azarfa is Abdizu. Abdizu peaceful presides over increasing harvests and plants and the improvement of relationship with allies, officials, captives, and servants that they will be steadfast and honest. Abdizu wrathful presides over the separation of lovers and the destruction of riches and ships.
  13. The thirteenth Mansion of the Moon is called Alahue, 4 degrees 17 minutes Virgo to 17 degrees 8 minutes Virgo. The angel of the house of Alahue is Azerut. Azarut peaceful presides over liberation of men who are not able to come to women, putting love between men and women, increase of harvests, travelers having good journeys on the roads, completion of buildings, freedom of captives, binding of nobles to have good from them. Azerut wrathful presides over the binding of nobles to have good from them. [I listed this twice because it strikes me as ambiguous in terms of benefit or liability. Also with out it Azerut would have no wrathful duties.]
  14. The fourteenth Mansion of the Moon is Azimech, 17 degrees 8 minutes Virgo to 0 degrees Libra. The angel of the house of Azimech is Erdigal. Erdigal peaceful is useful to put love between man and wife, to heal the sick with physic and medicine, to benefit kings that they may have good and ascend to their reign, for sailors to sail well and safely, and for friendship of allies. Erdegal wrathful is useful for separating men from women, for destroying harvests and plants, for destroying lust, and for the destruction of those who go by roads. 
  15. The fifteenth Mansion of the Moon is Algafra, 0 degrees Libra to 12 degrees 51 minutes Libra. The angel of the house of Algafra is Achalich. Achalich peaceful is useful for the acquisition of friendship and good will, for digging wells, to seek underground treasure, for the joining together of friends and lovers, and anything that pertains to friends and lovers. Achalich wrathful is useful for impeding travelers so that they are unable to go on journeys, to separate husbands and wives so that they never join with each other, to place discord between friends and allies, to scatter enemies from your area, and for the destruction of the reputation of the family house [name] of your enemies.
  16. The sixteenth Mansion of the Moon is Azebene, 12 degrees 51 minutes Libra to 25 degrees 42 minutes Libra. The angel of the house of Azebene is Azeruch. Azeruch peaceful is useful to making money [earning] and liberate captives from incarceration. Azeruch wrathful presides over the destruction of merchandise, harvests and plants, putting discord between friends and between man and wife, debauching a woman you desire, impeding those who journey so that the end of their road is never reached and to cause hatred between friends.
  17. The seventeenth Mansion of the Moon is Alichil, 25 degrees 42 minutes Libra to 8 degrees 36 minutes Scorpio. The angel of the house of Alichil is Adrieb. Adrieb peaceful is useful to stop thieves and criminals that they may not enter the house, make buildings firm and stable, to save sailors on the sea, to begin friendships that will be durable and never destroyed, to produce lasting love. Adrieb wrathful is useful for improving deceptions and for besieging cities and villages.
  18. The eighteenth Mansion of the Moon is Alcalb, 8 degrees 34 minutes Scorpio to 21 degrees 25 minutes Scorpio. The angel of the house of Alcalb is Egrebel. Egrebel peaceful is useful to take away fevers and infirmities of the belly, to guard the house from serpents and hurtful beasts, to build buildings that will be strong, and to free captives from incarceration. Egrebel wrathful is useful for men to conspire against kings, for vengeance against enemies, whatever else of the nature of vengeance and conspiracy, and to separate friends.
  19. The nineteenth Mansion of the Moon is Axaula, 21 degrees 25 minutes Scorpio to 4 degrees 17 minutes Sagittarius. The angel of the house of Axaula is Annucel. Annucel peaceful is useful to bring on the menses of women, to help women give birth quickly and without danger, to improve the lot of men traveling by wagon through the countryside, to increase harvests, to cause captives to escape. Annucel wrathful is helpful to besiege cities and villages and to take them, to destroy the wealth of whomever you please, to expel men from a particular place, to break and destroy ships, to separate and destroy the riches of allies, and to kill captives.
  20. The twentieth Mansion of the Moon is Alnaym, 4 degrees 17 minutes Sagittarius to 17 degrees 8 minutes Sagittarius. The angel of the house of Alnaym is Queyhuc. Queyhuc peaceful is useful to take everything in the world that you hunt, to tame wild and disobedient beasts, to bring those traveling in wagons swiftly back again, for men to come wherever you wish, for good people to be joined together. Queyhuc wrathful is useful to firmly incarcerate captives and to bring evil and destruction to the riches of allies.
  21. The twenty first Mansion of the Moon is Albelda, 17 degrees 8 minutes Sagittarius to 0 degrees Capricorn. The angel of the house of Albelda is Bectue. Bectue peaceful is useful to strengthen buildings, to increase harvests, to make profit and firmly keep the money, and to go safely through the countryside. Bectue wrathful is helpful for destruction, for the destruction and depopulation of a place, to separate wives from their proper husbands.
  22. The twenty second Mansion of the Moon is Sadahaca, 0 degrees Capricorn to 12 degrees 51 minutes Capricorn. The angel of the house of Sadahaca is Geliel. Geliel peaceful is useful to cure illness, to cause good will between allies, to make captives escape, and for the safety of fugitives. Geliel wrathful is helpful for the binding of tongues, to put discord between two people, and to make servants flee.
  23. The twenty third Mansion of the Moon is Zaadebola, 12 degrees 51 minutes Capricorn to 25 degrees 42 minutes Capricorn. The angel of the house of Zaadebola is Zequebin. Zequebin peaceful is useful to heal illness, to join friends together, and for captives to escape and flee their prisons. Zequebin wrathful is for destruction and devestation, to drive people from a place and destroy it, and to divide husbands from their wives.
  24. The twenty fourth Mansion of the Moon is Caadezod, 25 degrees 42 minutes Capricorn to 8 degrees 24 minutes Aquarius. The angel of the house of Caadezod is Abrine. Abrine peaceful is useful to improve and guard herds, to increase merchandise and make a profit from it, for goodwill between husband and wife, and for soldiers to report victory over their enemies. Abrine wrathful is helpful to destroy the money of allies, and to prevent an official from doing their duties.  
  25. The twenty fifth Mansion of the Moon is Zaadalahbia, 8 degrees 24 minutes Aquarius to 21 degrees 25 minutes Aquarius. The angel of the house of Zaadalahbia is Aziel. Aziel peaceful is useful for the protection of orchards and crops from evil accidents, to make messengers convey messages and return quickly and to secure buildings. Aziel wrathful is helpful to besiege cities and villages, to take enemies and do evil to them as much as you please, to separate wives from their husbands, to destroy harvests, to bind a man and wife or woman and her husband so they cannot copulate, to bind a part of the body so that it cannot function properly, and to strengthen the prison of captives.
  26. The twenty sixth Mansion of the Moon is Al Fargh al Awwal, 21 degrees 25 minutes Aquarius to 4 degrees 17 minutes Pisces. The angel of the house of Al Fargh al Awwal is Tagriel. Tagriel peaceful is useful for the creation of love, to bind people in mutual love, to protect those who travel in wagons, and to strengthen buildings. Tagriel wrathful is useful to make the incarceration of captives firm and to cause evil to them.
  27. The twenty seventh Mansion of the Moon is Al Fargh al Thani, 4 degrees 17 minutes Pisces to 17 degrees 8 minutes Pisces. The angel of the house of Al Fargh al Thani is Abliemel. Abliemel peaceful is useful to acquire profit and increase merchandise, to unite allies, to increase harvests, and to heal illness. Abliemel wrathful is useful for the destruction of springs and wells, to destroy the riches of whomever you wish, to impede the building of buildings, to put travelers on the sea in peril, to prolong the incarceration of captives, and to do evil to whomever you wish.
  28. The twenty eighth Mansion of the Moon is Arrexhe, 17 degrees 8 minutes Pisces to 0 degrees Aries. The angel of the house of Arrexhe is Anuxi.  Anuxi peaceful is useful to bring fish together in one place, to increase merchandise, to increase harvests, to travel safely by wagon and safely return, and to cause peace and concord between man and wife. Anuxi wrathful is useful to besiege cities, to get rid of things, to destroy an area, to make treasures be lost, to make incarceration of captives firm, and to inflict evil on sailors on the sea.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Comments on the Picatrix. Book II, chapter 1

Let's keep talking about the Picatrix! Book II is a fascinating book of astrological and magical knowledge. One of the reasons I am so fascinated by this section is that at a few points the book says this is all symbolic and full of dissimilation. Riddles within riddles. In fact it is with this admonition that Book II begins.
(And, for the record, I am pulling from Greer & Warnock's translation of the Latin Picatrix.)
The wise who are endowed by nature with intelligence never cease nor neglect to seek and inquire that they might learn and understand the secrets of the sages, who sealed them up in their books and wrote them in hidden words, that the aforesaid might search them out by careful investigation until they arrive at what they desire; but those who are stupid and lacking in intelligence will never reach it or arrive at it.

Straight away the message is that this stuff takes work to understand. The book tells you flat out, the real message is hidden behind the words. Personally this gives me pause. Step up to the challenge or you'll never get it! Though perhaps I'm putting a little too much pressure on myself and I should simply keep in kind that much of the material is to be read figuratively.

Yet the motive that drives me proceeds from investigating magic and forbidden things, in which I prospered from the days of my youth.

In the footnotes of the G&W Picatrix there is a note that this line is a reference to the Bible, specifically Isaiah 47:12. It is curious to me that the author would make this reference since Isaiah, chapter 47 is a essentially a curse against astrology and magic. I take it as a thumbing of the nose at religious authority.
I studied Ptolemy's Centiloquium, in which it is said that all things in this world obey the celestial forms. Indeed all the sages agree in this, that the planets have influences and powers in this world, by which all things in it are made and transformed by the movements of the planets through the signs. For this reason sages understand that the foundation of magic is the movement of the planets.
This is the underpin of the entire work; that all of its magic is based on the interaction of the fixed stars, the planets, and the cardinal points of the astrological chart (ascendant, midheaven, descendant, nadir). This passage is reminiscent of Agrippa's  That No Divination Without Astrology Is Perfect (3BoOP, Book 2, Chapter 53). But of course we already knew that the Picatrix was a book of astrological magic. As we proceed we should also keep this in mind as one of the keys to the riddles and the figurative writing. To continue the quotes.
I wish to present the following example, which I learned from a certain sage who labored in this science, who stayed in Egypt in the royal palace. There also dwelt a certain youth who came from a region in India, and who had progressed far by much study in the aforesaid science. 
That sage said to me that, while he and this youth were talking together, they heard the voice of someone lamenting that he had been stung by a scorpion and was about to die. When he heard this, the youth took a piece of cloth from his purse, within which were seals that smelled strongly of incense. He instructed that one of these be given in a drink, and he would recover at once. The sage said that he rose up at once, desiring to learn more and find out the reason for this, received one of the seals from the youth's hands and gave it to the victim of the scorpion sting in a drink, as he had instructed; and at once the victim made an end to his cries of woe, and was saved.
This is a curious passage. It begins with "as an example". An example of what? Given the preceding paragraphs and their message of figurative speaking it is this speaking in code that we are presumably sampling.
First we have the scorpion which probably indicates the sign of Scorpio. Scorpio is a water sign and so the cure being in the form of a drink makes sense.
Also, after reading this page several times it occurs to me that it could just as easily be describing a mercy killing as a cure. The victim is given the drink and abruptly ceases his cries. Maybe, maybe not. I also find it interesting that the narrator takes the seal and produces the drink, not the youth from India. Is this significant? Probably but I haven't figured out how yet. Perhaps it is indicative of the passing of knowledge from teacher to student.
The sage said that he then inspected the seal, and saw that it had the figure of a scorpion on it.
This line is important because it tells us that the seal was not consumed in the process of making the drink suggesting it is probably made of wax with incense mixed in it.
When he asked the youth what had sealed it, the youth showed him a gold ring set with an engraved bezoar bearing the figure of a scorpion. The sage inquired of him what the figure was and by what secret influences it accomplished what I described. The youth answered that the figure was made when the Moon was in the second face of Scorpio, and this was the secret of the power of the ring. This is what the sage said to me. I then made a figure of the same sort at the prescribed time, with which I sealed and suffumigated seals like the one he described, and with them worked wonders at which everyone marveled.
Gold and bezoar stones are both items whose occult virtues lie in purity. Gold was the perfected metal, the metal that all other metals aspired to be. When a metal became gold it had achieved physical and spiritual perfection. Bezoars are masses that form in the digestive tracts of goats, sheep, and cattle. For hundreds of years bezoar stones were believed to be universal antidotes for all poisons. So your carved bezoar set in gold is a tool for removing impurities and poisons.
The Moon, of course, pours all the influences upon the earth from whatever her position is. When she is in Scorpio all works of magic are connected to the influence of that sign (or constellation if you prefer to work with sidereal astrology). The second face is the fixed face of Scorpio (as opposed to mutable or cardinal) and is strong with its influence. Later in Book II we learn that the second face of Scorpio is the face in which to make images that "drive away tarantulas and snakes from whatever place you wish". Presumably we can also add scorpions to the poisonous beasts we want to drive away.
So we have gold (spiritual purity) + bezoar (antidote) + 2nd face of Scorpio (drive away pests) = cure for scorpion stings. The attributes of Scorpio tell us what form the administering of the cure should take (as water).
I find it curious that the phase of the moon is not mentioned. I would suggest that one of the waning phases would be appropriate to a working of this nature.
This passage also gives us the basic, philosophic process for creating talismans. One starts with the purpose or goal of the talisman, then considers the material in support of the goal, and lastly considers the astrological configuration that will support the goal.
Let's continue.
For this reason you must realize and understand that no one can realize and understand the virtues and powers of the heavens in this little world unless they have studied the natural and mathematical quadrivium, and whoever is ignorant of these sciences will be imperfect in his knowledge of the movements of heaven, nor will he be able to understand them, nor draw to himself what he wishes, because the compositions and foundations thereof are drawn from these subjects. Whoever is ignorant of arithmetic and geometry will be unable to calculate the motions of the celestial bodies, nor their returns and transits, nor to grasp the motions of those things by which the understanding is formed in arithmetic and geometry.
Thankfully these days we have technology that does most of this calculation for us. But that's not to diminish the importance of arithmetic and geometry.
Similarly you must learn music to understand the numbers and proportions of things, and in what manner celestial things correspond in love and hatred with terrestrial actions, and why the effects of celestial bodies are more apparent in one earthly thing than another.
This is another interesting passage about the philosophy of astrological magic. It seems to me that what the author is describing is that each star, constellation, planet, and everything beneath them, on Earth, has a vibration, a frequency. Some of the frequencies are harmonious and strengthen each other, and some are disharmonious and cancel each other out. This is the Music of the Spheres as all the vibrations, like music, affect each other as they descend from the heavens to earth. All the aspects for each body affects its frequency. This is the model on which the early practitioners of this magic based their work.
Indeed, anyone who does not grasp these proportions lacks any understanding of how these effects come to be, nor will such a person be able to work out the correspondences between causes and effects or vice versa.
The events on Earth have reflections in the stars and the composition of the stars is reflected in the events on the Earth. How far do we take the solipsism in this instance? If I were to look at a astrological chart of this moment would the condition of my own circumstances be reflected there too? The answer is yes but it is modified by the conditions of my natal chart.
Likewise he who neglects the natural sciences will not be able to understand the process of generation and corruption, and their causes, because if he does not know these things, he will not be able to understand or apply the effects that celestial bodies have, or the powers they exert over terrestrial bodies. Similarly, one who is ignorant of metaphysics will be unable to learn or understand how celestial virtues are infused in some terrestrial places and not in others. Therefore it may be concluded that no one will be able to understand or apply this science perfectly except for one who learns its orders and foundations, which no one will be able to learn except a philosopher who has extracted everything from the parts of philosophy already named. For this reason no one will be able to attain to perfection in this science except for a perfect philosopher.
And this is good advice no matter what branch or style of magic one is endeavoring to practice. The lessons and pertinent knowledge go beyond the magic itself. Germ theory and Quantum Physics were unknown in their present states when the Picatrix was written but the knowledge of these sciences does not diminish the effectiveness of the Picatrix. In fact, this passage tells us, the wider the knowledge and understanding of the practitioner the more powerful that practitioner will be in its magic.
Learn all you can about everything. It all counts and everything in the world is a part of this magic in one way or another.