Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Practical Uses for the Mansions of the Moon

    So much of my magical attention has been trained on the Mansions of the Moon lately. If one were to dig through the archives of this blog one would find references to the Mansions of the Moon years and years back but for the past year and a half the Mansions have been the center of my focus; the names, the images, the spirits. I continue to dig into the star lore, the magic, and the thinking behind the Mansions in a concentrated effort to learn as much as I can and try to understand them. I am just now getting to the point where I have an idea of how much I don’t know and how vast the amount of things yet to learn. But understanding needs to have a starting point and a process and so, here I am, working through trying to understand them. 

Let’s work through some of the ideas and insights I’ve stitched together from various sources or invented myself to see if I can make sense of any of it. Organizing my thoughts for public consumption will help me question my assumptions and lines of thinking. Explaining things to you will help me understand them. In the spirit of the Moon I reserve the right to be irrational, obscure, or cryptic as the mood strikes me. 

I will begin with a general idea, an abstract, thousand foot level question to kick things off. No doubt we will wade through the weeds of minute detail as we progress but I need to define some broad outlines first. I need some big shapes to get my figurative hands around before we drill down into the pith of individual Mansions. 

At this point I am not going to get into what the Mansions of the Moon are with the hope that you are at least somewhat familiar with the idea of the Mansions. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept 

Why bother with the Mansions of the Moon? This question is probably best answered with practical, concrete advantages and things one might hope to get or achieve by working with the Mansions. From my perspective there are several good reasons why one might go down this rabbit hole. 

The first practical use I'll give is the reason that I started to study the subject in the first place, the Picatrix. The Picatrix says in Chapter 4 of Book 1 that the Mansions of the Moon are essential to working astrological magic. One needs to know the effects and condition of the Moon based on where it is in the lunar zodiac in order to fully understand the potential results and efficacy of a magical working undertaken at a particular time. I infer from the Picatrix that consideration of the Mansions is a basic skill in the performance of electional astrology but in modern times the Mansions are not a big part of Western magic if one is working outside of Chinese, Arabic, or Hindu contexts. And while Chinese, Arabic, and Hindu traditions have immense value, the inclusion of the Mansions of the Moon in the Latin Picatrix and in Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy hints at a tradition in Western magic that is somewhat forgotten, muted, and struggling to regain a place of prominence. Studying the Mansions of the Moon reestablishes some of the depth and complexity of magic with European roots. 

And I have found that the depth and complexity of the Mansions is profound. In all seriousness one could spend their entire lives studying nothing but the Mansions of the Moon. I am convinced that each Mansion has its own lessons to teach and mysteries to reveal. As I said earlier, the more I study the Mansions the more I realize how little I really know or understand. Part of the purpose of these blog posts going forward will be to try and work out some of the tangle of ideas to find the stepping stones on this path.  

One of the exciting things about the Mansions is that I have found the spirits of the Mansions readily available for communication using either pendulum or tarot cards. In some ways it was almost too easy. Sometimes I would lament what I perceived as a failure in invocation or communication only to realize I was calling to someone who was already there. I started joking that it was like being fish trying to be aware of the water it was in. At all moments of every day the angel of the Mansion in which the Moon is sitting is present and exerting its influence on the world. This realization opened up my perception and suggests the third practical use of the Mansions of the Moon, development of skills. In terms of astrological elections Mansion talismans are considered one of the easier kind to find suitable times to perform. In terms of spirit communication the spirits of the Mansions are readily available to teach and perform tasks. Additionally, other occultists have linked the Mansions to other traditions. Two that I have seen are Jake Stratton-Kent equating each Mansion to a spirit in the Grimorium Verum and Chris Reppucci linking the Mansions to the 28 icons of Hekate initiation mentioned in PGM VII lines 756-794 The Prayer to Mene. I find this idea intriguing that the context of the Mansions can expand into a variety of traditions or practices.  

Lastly, for me, the Mansions of the Moon are a great way to break out of the homogeny of astrology and the standard zodiac. The lunar and the solar zodiacal wheels are related but I have found the Mansions to be much more descriptive of star lore. I have found great value in changing my perspective on the stars in the ecliptic with the Mansions that I didn't so much feel when studying the decans. 

I imagine as I progress with my research and learning that other practical uses will become apparent. These are the most easily identified reasons I have for chasing down the Mansions of the Moon. As this blog moves forward and we explore each Mansion individually more will be revealed. 

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