Pensées sur la peur – FEAR

Last night I had an interesting exchange with a few dear friends about an article featured in the Seattle Times about the inappropriateness of wearing costumes that could be associated with the present Ebola crisis. Personally, I’m unconvinced that people should particularly worry about it. In the article, Philadelphia physician assistant Maria McKenna notes that the idea “definitely rubs me the wrong way,” and “Normally I think that irony and humor is funny, but this thing with the costumes, is it really that funny? I mean, Ebola’s not even under control yet.”

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Personally, while it may be in bad taste, contextualizing it in the phenomenon of Halloween is quite another. At its root, in America, Halloween is fundamentally a transgressive holiday. Sure, we can mass-market it and let children have fun, but it’s a lot deeper than that, it’s a time where we are allowed as a country that is no stranger to paranoia and using fear to subjugate our own population and others to willingly and knowingly inflict it on ourselves in a cathartic manner. What we wear may not be in good taste the next morning, but it’s comparable in many ways to classical Carnival practices for which we don’t have much of a cognate in America, even allowing for Mardi Gras which while historically related, is now relegated to one of those parties that we make another excuse for breasts, penis and wine.

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People on Halloween dress as things they fear, even if it’s tongue in cheek. Republicans dress up as Democrats, Democrats dress up as Republicans; the living dress as the dead; atheists dress up as the pope and so forth. Is it offensive? Sure, but deep down it’s something that we fear or other and it’s that fear to which we need – as humans and as social beings – to come face to face with.

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Is dressing as a victim of Ebola in bad taste? Perhaps. But few can deny one thing for certain. It is terrifying. News, satire, internet and other media sources have been feeding us this fear for weeks with no end in sight and we, as a country transfixed by media and limited by any direct intervention, don’t have any other way to let it out. My friend brought up, in true ironic and rhetorical fashion, “[Is] dressing up to make light of something that’s killed thousands of Africans as any more offensive than dressing as a Nazi storm trooper or wearing black-face and chains or celebrating Columbus Day?” Honestly, I would have to say yes and no, with an emphasis on the latter.

21f368ec4a929beab8dc7d976125291dOne could, similarly, ask if it would be bad taste to dress as a police officer in light of the systemic police brutality in America, a soldier in light of the many wars we’ve had and knowing consequentially (if subconsciously) our veterans might be provoked to PTSD, a Native American in light of the genocides we’ve caused, and so forth. None of these are “good” – and I emphasize, none of them – bu the next day we’ll have as many regrets about our costume choices as how many drinks we had or whom we went to bed with.

Not_what_you_may_think_-_these_are_nazarenos_(hooded_penitents)_in_the_Holy_Week_parade_in_Granada_(IMG_5519a)These things are absolutely not in good taste and don’t pander to political correctness, but transgression rarely does. It can, on the positive, create a need for dialogue and exploring these themes which plague our social consciousness, but I’m not convinced many would go that far. It is, ultimately, about expression and about achieving catharsis from these expressions, particularly the ones that we fear. If we don’t express it somehow, even playfully, it really only gets channeled into more bizarre and strange ways.

140811-ferguson-shooting-main-5a_54d5596619ee52e9d1eb20d49239939eI’m reminded of the writings of noted quantum physicist Dr. Peter J. Carroll who noted in one of his works what I’ve come to observe as true for humanity, “That which is denied gains power, and seeks strange and unexpected forms of manifestation. Deny Death and other forms of Suicide will arise. Deny Sex and bizzarre forms of its expression will torment you. Deny Love and absurd sentimentalities will disable you. Deny Aggression only to stare eventually at the bloody Knife in your shaking hand. Deny honest Fear and Desire only to create senseless neuroticism and avarice.”

terrifying_asylum_tour_of_the_past_01I think that modes of catharsis and expression, even if seemingly in poor taste, are necessary to a functioning society. Does it make the society healthy? Perhaps not. But if these fundamental realities are denied, we could find ourselves in a reality that is a lot more like the contemporary Purge films than having one night out of the year where we are allowed to playfully explore the atavistic aspects of our social consciousness.


The Divine Feminine in Johannine Scripture

This morning I finally had a moment to read my colleague Rhyd’s most recent post for the Wild Hunt titled, The Multitude and The Myriad. It’s truly an amazing text for many reasons, particularly his survey of the philosophy of thought in post-pagan civilization. I say post-pagan, largely because I don’t think the treatment of so-called monotheistic thought is entirely all that it’s cracked up to be. Naturally, writing for a pagan and polytheist audience, I can’t really take much offense to what he had to say mostly because it’s true.

What I thought most interesting in his article was the following:

A popular reading of the re-introduction of “The Goddess” into modern religious thought (not just Pagan, but also some strands of Christian ‘Theology’) is that it’s a necessary correction of two millennia of male-centered, Monotheistic thought. This is a fair reading, and one can certainly point to all sorts of social and religious tendencies which, through a belief in an a male-gendered Only-god, contributed to the systematic degradation of a full half of humanity. That there was only one god, and that this only-god was male, is certainly peculiar and suspicious, particularly considering the patriarchal succession of priesthoods of this only-(male)-god.

While some who chose a more literal interpretation of Christian texts may be content to suppose that the One is One and the various messengers (typically male) have somehow removed the feminine from religion. My tradition has something quite different to say.

In my tradition, I find it particularly interesting the role to which the feminine is emphasized, often eclipsing the male in some regards. Following the historiola of the Gospel of John, commonly considered the first chapter of John, the first person introduced who speaks is Jesus’ mother who mentions to Jesus that the wine has run out at the wedding they were attending in Cana. John, or the Beloved Disciple, recounts this episode emphasizing the deeds of Jesus starting with the miracle where Jesus has the servants or hosts fill six stone pots with water and has them deliver the pots to the head waiter who tastes the water which has miraculously become wine.

Now, some may ask what this particular scene has to do with the divine feminine implicit in Johannine thought. The wedding is said to take place in Cana on the third day (2:1), a note that connects this story with those in 1:19-51. Many see this inititial period as a seven-day cycle symbolizing the dawn of the new creation. John says the mother of Jesus was there at the wedding and when Jesus’ mother says They have no more wine (2:3) it’s only after her statement that the disciples take initiative in speaking to Jesus. While his mother’s statement doesn’t dictate what he is to do about it, in conventional translations of John, Jesus replies, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” (ASV 2:4), noticeably in the Evangelikon as found by Bernard-Raymond Fabre-Palaprat, this verse is noticeably missing. Why is that?

The role of time in the Second Chapter is rather extensive, the detachment Jesus shows toward his mother is anything but cold, particularly when one considers the intimacy implied in the Fourth Chapter with the Samaritan woman (who by all accounts would have been considered ‘other’) and the closeness he feels toward the Mary of Bethany in John 12:1-8, and then finally the Mary who witnessed the resurrection in John 20 – a scene also noticeably missing from the Evangelikon gospel which ends with Jesus being laid in the tomb after telling his mother “Do not weep, for I return to my Father and eternal life. Behold, your son; he will take my place. “

Distinct from exoteric scripture, the Johannine scriptures – in particular the Gospel of John – focus on a sense of other-worldliness and intimacy and the dynamics between self and other. It is in the Gospel of John that we encounter a Jesus who probably has the most concrete sense of self – being part of this world, but not of it. It’s also in this text that we find him having the most positive and inclusive treatment of women. I think, perhaps, that this is intentional – calling to mind the first interaction he has in the Gospel of John and the interaction he has with Mary Magdalene in the twentieth chapter, perhaps one can say that Jesus’ entire ministry in some respect was a rite of katabasis. We see this for sure in the interactions he has with Martha and Lazarus, but the revealing aspect of the Gospel of John according to the Evangelikon is his descent into the feminine in order to attain to the supernal.

The first katabasis in the Gospel of John isn’t a journey to the underworld, as would be commonly considered, but the descent of the Spirit (Gk. Pneuma Agion, fem.) into the world of the material Jesus:

“I did not recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water said to me: He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” (1:33)

In Gnostic thought, the material world, was considered to be intimately feminine. Valentinus, the great gnostic bishop, often spoke of it in highly sexualized terms as a fullness or Pleroma, in addition to entering the Bridal Chamber – perhaps a symbolic experience more than an external ritual or sacrament – of joining with the divine.

The katabasis of Lazarus was also very clearly an intimate experience that shows a very human Jesus coming to terms with the death of his friend Lazarus:

“So the sisters sent word to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. But when Jesus heard this, he said: This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (11:3-5)… So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said: Remove the stone. Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days. Jesus said to her: Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes, and said: Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them: Unbind him, and let him go. Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what he had done, believed in him.” (11:38-45)

The scene of Lazarus’ katabasis is very clearly an intimate one, yet what I find interesting is the degree of genuine love, or agape, that is the cause of Lazarus’ resurrection – something that according to some gnostic thought, happen while one is physically living and how, in each case in John’s Gospel it is urged by the feminine – you can also see a glimpse of this symbolism with the woman at the well – the well being intimately linked to the concepts of baptism or dying to the self and rising in Christ. The feminine in many of these cases could be linked symbolically to the Jewish concept of the Shekinah, a word meaning dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the Divine Presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Palaprat’s Evangelikon gospel is as fascinating in this regard in its additions and omissions as the conventional Gospel of John is radical in its own special way of inclusion with the Divine Feminine. I would like to propose, in this case, that the omissions of the resurrection of Jesus in the Evangelikon gospel is not an omission of a miracle, but a sign pointing us to the eternally present Divine Feminine which, as the German romantic poet Goethe wrote: the eternal feminine [that] draws us upwards.

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Anthropos

“John, John, why do you doubt, or why are you afraid? You are not unfamiliar with this image, are you? – that is, do not be timid! – I am the one who is with you (pl.) always. I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible one. Now I have come to teach you what is and what was and what will come to pass, that you may know the things which are not revealed and those which are revealed, and to teach you concerning the unwavering progeny of the perfect Being. Now, therefore, lift up your face, that you may receive the things that I shall teach you today, and may tell them to your fellow spirits who are from the unwavering race of the perfect Being.”

Apocryphon of John.

Being (Gk. ἄνθρωπος) Scholars used to consider it to be a compound from ἀνήρ (anḗr, “man”) and ὤψ (ṓps, “face, appearance, look”) “he who looks like a man”. Beekes argues that since no convincing Indo-European etymology has been found, the word is probably of Pre-Greek origin; he connects the word with the word δρώψ (drṓps, “man”). Romain Garnier proposed another etymology in his 2007 article « Nouvelles réflexions étymologiques autour du grec ἄνθρωπος », deriving it from Proto-Indo-European *n̥dʰreh₃kʷó- (“that which is below”), hence “earthly, human”.

Now let the poet open his mouth and read the words which Rhyd has brought forth out of Silence.


Letting the Dead Bury Their Dead

So, preface, this is entirely a personal essay that’s looking at developments in my own understanding of theology. It’s not representative of the opinions of my church or members of my church nor does it necessarily represent my final opinion of the matter – it’s more of an intellectual exercise at this point and sign-post of my own understanding of things.

As frequently happens around this time of year, one begins to turn inward and ask some questions about the last things. It’s rarely comfortable because so few of us want to admit to our own mortality, particularly in a world that handles these things in a less than positive manner. Over the course of the last year I had a few friends do some divinations – I know a superstitious endeavor but one I think definitely has some merit as a form of reflection – which indicated I should be working with my ancestors. Now, it’s not that I particularly have any problem with the idea on a superficial level, but in interest of intellectual sincerity I can’t really bring myself to do it for a variety of reasons.

For a starting point about these last things, I think it might help to clarify my conception of the first things namely, “What is God?” For me, personally, God is a principle beyond all being, beyond all participation, transcendent, and completely ineffable One – all things exist because of God, though God is ultimately beyond all things. God is neither male nor female, masculine or feminine (though for convenience I’ll use the masculine pronoun when referring to God as that is part of the cultural language set and also the pronoun used in my sacred literature) but can be symbolized dyadically in the forms of the Limited and Unlimited or One and Many. Furthermore, God expresses Himself in effectively three realities or hypostases of being: “unparticipated” (Gk: amethektos), “participated” (Gk: metachomenos) and “in participation” (Gk: kata methexin), respectively or, in Christian usage, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

All things that exist emanate from God, in the symbolic and mythopoetic language of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Creation entirely comes into being as God effectively reflects on Himself causing creation to come into being through multiplicity. As such, the cosmos always subsists connected to the past, the present and the future – one may reflect here on the creedal statement found in the Gloria Patri, a doxological statement that became universal in Nicaean Christianity: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. The term used here for “ages” is the Greek term “aion” or more commonly rendered in English, “aeon” or “eon”. These “aeons”, furthermore, represent something very important in Gnostic thought, namely they are emanative personifications of reality.

Gnostic literature varies on agreeing on their number and the order in which they exist, but they are such principles of commonly expressed male/female pairs or syzygoi (lit. yokings together) as Depth and Silence, Mind and Truth, Word and Life, Man and Church, and so forth. Mythopoetically these aeons interact in a cosmic drama as personifications explaining creation and theodicy, they are not meant to be taken in any other way than as abstracts illustrating an underlying reality.

Effectively, these aeons exist in three realms reflective of that of the Trinity: the unparticipated One-Existent Ground of Being, the unparticipated intelligible Godhead, and the intelligible Godhead. From these realms we encounter further symbolic realities such as gods or simply divine thoughts and minds, eg. angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, princedoms, virtues, powers, seraphim, and cherubim or other thoughts that in other religions may term gods or divine beings. These beings do exist and have a peculiar agency of their own, however that agency can only come from the intelligible Godhead and can be seen in some ways as further extensions of the ultimate Godhead.

So, now we step into Creation itself. Creation, ultimately, is an emanation from God, Creation is not God but it participates with God through the noetic and noeric realms. Here is where I depart somewhat from historical Gnostic cosmology – while the ontology of God prohibits complete participation with Creation, because Creation is an emanation of God and is perpetual though not eternal , it is still connected though matter itself prohibits complete participation. As such matter (Gk: hulē) becomes a vehicle that encases divine thoughts and beings. It is not evil in any meaningful sense, but does limit full participation with God. In such a way we can view the hulic world as being the domain of enslavement and limitation, individual souls are more likely to err than archangels, which are much closer to their monad, the divine intelligibles.

Here a case can be made as well for “fallen” beings, that is beings that through their own volition choose not to participate in fullness with Godhead, thus we have the Watchers of Biblical myth as well as the “fallen” angels and demons. They do fulfill part of the hulic spiritual ecology, are unique, but not omnipotent as they ceased to participate in the noeric and noetic realms. This chain of perceptible though subtle beings extend from the deepest depths of the cosmos to the highest heights of the noetic realm, linking everything from God to Creation and fulfil, ultimately, the Mystery of Creation.

Establishing, very vaguely and all too simplistically the chain of creation and an outline of the hierarchy of being, we can now enter into the “sixth day” of Creation and humanity. The human being is a composite of a human soul that is descended into generation and provided a physical body. Naturally, the physical biology is much more complicated than and equally as fascinating as spiritual and theological discourse, but that’s beyond our scope for this brief subject. Effectively descended or incarnate humans can be classified into three dynamic groups: the hulic, the psychic and the pneumatic. As incarnate beings all humans do partake of these types to varying degrees with the exception of the completely purified soul or pneumatic. The first group, or hulic, are souls that are largely confused about spiritual realities and as such tend toward gross materialism; the second group is slightly better off and transfers their attention away from matter toward the intellectual realms but still participates in the material; the pneumatic ultimately is a being that has cleansed him or herself from the accretions of matter and engage in the nearly purified spiritual states.

Upon death, the majority of souls become “recycled” so to speak and return to generation. They no longer exist in any meaningful way as the individuals they once were and as such are largely of no consequence except for those they left behind as ideas of their former selves. It seems, then, that allowing for animistic and hulic beings, the cult of the ancestors came into being since these hulic beings, unable to perceive a reality greater than the material, developed cults to appease the dead. This is not a bad thing and is a development toward more sophisticated modes of worship as these souls develop, but ultimately keeps these souls attached to the material. The pneumatic souls likewise re-enter generation upon death and engage in modes of worship much like they did in their former lives or actually develop into pneumatic beings in their present state – this also is a possibility of the hulic being, but doesn’t seem to occur as often. The pneumatic souls, then through engaging in catharsis and theoria, ultimately attain theosis and cease to be in any meaningful sense as they have completely been absorbed into Godhead and lack their own individual identities.

Putting this all together, God being just and desiring not the death of the sinner, has provided the means to purify ourselves that we may join Him in Glory. Those who do not attain to the pneumatic state and ultimate reach union with Godhead, return to generation and are thus given the opportunity through subsequent lives. The role of the purified pneumatic is in this life to initiate beings into the suprasensual life before going into the Void. These souls, which in some way one could consider saints, leave behind their image and divine Names are symbols or tokens of divine reality and are not simply subjective terms for a limited human understanding of God. Thus, the Communion of Saints does not exist as an economy of isolate beings but instead are communicated with through that facet of Godhead whereby, in our non-perfected state, may be said to give them glory through the underlying knowledge that true worship can only be directed toward God.

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Mixed Qabalah and American Conjure

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Of the Circle, and the Composition Thereofe

As pseudo-D’Abano states in the Heptameron, or Magical Elements:

“The form of Circles is not alwaies one and the same; but useth to be changed, according to the order of the Spirits that are to be called, their places, times, daies and hours. For in making a Circle, it ought to be considered in what time of the year, what day, and what hour, that you make the Circle; what Spirits you would call, to what Star and Region they do belong, and what functions they have.”

For the purposes of this experiment, one will need a place on the floor that will provide the working space for the conjure lamp, ideally no less than three and a half feet, though modifications can be made. While it is preferable that one be able to draw this with chalk on a bare floor, this is not always possible so some modifications such as purchasing a piece of wood large enough on which to draw the circle, or a piece of fabric or paper where it can be drawn in blessed ink. Since this methodology is highly syncretic, one may use Dragon’s Blood or Bat’s Blood ink if this is to be drawn on fabric or paper.

Since this ritual will be dealing with the conjuration of Samael, the Angel of Tuesday and Mars, one will make the following considerations in the construction of the circle[1]:

  1. Create three concentric circles, the largest being about three feet, the second about two and a half feet and the third about a foot and a half.[2]
  2. In the middle circle, write the name of the hour in which you work. In this case it would be “Thanu”, followed by Michael, next his sigil, then his ministers Carmax, Ismoli, and Paffran; then the name of the present time which here is Casmaran; then the spirits ruling in this time which would be Gargatel, Tariel, and Gaviel; then the head of the time which here is Tubiel, the name of the earth which here is Festivati; next the Sun which is Athemay and the Moon which is Armatus.
  3. In the outermost circle, going clockwise, write Samax Rex (or King) at the 12 o’clock point, then Carmax at the three o’clock point, Ismoli at the six o’clock point, then Paffran at the nine o’clock point. Since the wind to which the angels are subject is East, the circle should be facing that direction.
  4. In the third circle, the Heptameron advises one to write, “four divine names with crosses interposed in the middle of the Circle; to wit, towards the East let there be written Alpha, and towards the West let there be written Omega; and let a cross divide the middle of the Circle.” The implication in the text is that one is to write Adonay in the upper right circle; Eloy in the lower right; Agla in the lower left corner, and Tetragrammaton in the upper left corner. While personally I tend to stick with those directions, there’s no particular reason that it couldn’t be substituted with the names found in Agrippa, the Golden Dawn or elsewhere.
  5. In the innermost circle, where traditionally the magician would stand with his or her company, one quarters this area into an equal armed cross with “Alpha” written at the top and “et ω” at the bottom.
  6. Outside of the circle Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Northwest portions of the circle, draw four pentagrams. These don’t need to be anything more elaborate than simple, five-pointed stars.

Naturally, the above directions concerning the specific names will change throughout the course of the year or the time chosen to perform the ritual, but these can be easily figured out beforehand and drawn out on a separate piece of paper to help with the construction during ritual.

The Consecrations and Benedictions: and first of the Benediction of the Circle, The Benediction of Perfumes, & The Exorcisme of the fire upon which the perfumes are to be put.

After completing the construction of the circle, one goes through the consecrations and benedictions of the working area and tools to be used. The procedure is familiar enough to those who have some degree of experience in Solomonic magic (who may already have most of these tools at their disposal), however for others who may be unfamiliar I highly recommend Aaron Lietch’s Secrets of the Magical Grimoires as a comprehensive starting point.

In the meantime however, let’s look at how we can approach this with the bare minimum of materials. For the aspergillum, which you will use for aspersing the various items and working space, one can easily use an evergreen branch of some kind or, following the Greater Key of Solomon, one can make a sprinkler of vervain, fennel, lavender, sage, valerian, mint, garden-basil, rosemary, and hyssop, in the day and hour of Mercury or, at minimum, in the hour of Mercury. Next you will need some holy water either procured from a Church (Catholic and Episcopal Churches generally have a ready supply) or make your own following the instructions in chapter five of the Greater Key of Solomon, which is readily available online, concerning the baths and how they are to be arranged.

With this, asperse the circle reciting the versicle from Psalms, “Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” While it’s not implicit in the text, there’s no reason necessarily that one couldn’t take the time to asperse all the working implements for this particular working.

Next, one will need the perfumes as listed in the text. The Heptameron, being somewhat simplistic, suggests pepper as the incense for Mars. While this is certainly not without precedent, even burning small portions of pepper can have quite the effect on one’s mucous membranes. For a much less harsh suffimigation, I suggest Aaron Leitch’s recipe found on his blog entry on planetary suffumigations[3]:

“1 part Pipe Tobacco (or, my favorite, “Black and Mild”)

1/2 part Cinnamon

1/8th part Crushed Red Pepper”

As he advises, and I reiterate, DO NOT use too much pepper. It can burn. One could feasibly substitute ground black pepper which, while potent, doesn’t have as harsh of an effect.

Once you have made or prepared the incense, make the sign of the cross upon yourself, and recite the following and sprinkle a little more holy water on the incense:

“The God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, bless here the creatures of these kinds, that they may fill up the power and virtue of their odors; so that neither the enemy, nor any false imagination, may be able to enter into them: through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.”

Next, having lit the charcoal in your censer (which could just be as simple as a soup bowl used specifically for this purpose), recite the following:

“I exorcise thee, O thou creature of fire, by him by whom all things are made, that forthwith thou cast away every phantasm from thee, that it shall not be able to do any hurt in anything. Bless also, O Lord, this creature of fire, and sanctify it, that it may be blessed to set forth the praise of thy holy name, that no hurt may come to the Exorcist (or Magician) or Spectators: through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.”

While the traditional text implies that one can and should have special garments set aside for the working, this is not strictly necessary. It’s more than enough to wear clean clothing or, drawing inspiration from African Diasporaic traditions, all white clothing may be considered as a viable alternative. These can be sprinkled with holy water prior to being put on while saying:

“Ancor, Amacor, Amides, Theodonias, Anitor, by the merits of thy Angel, O Lord, I will put on the Garments of Salvation, that this which I desire I may bring to effect: through thee the most holy Adonay, whose kingdom endureth for ever and ever. Amen.”

The Heptameron suggests working when the moon is increasing and equal, effectively during the waxing period of the moon or on the Full Moon itself. In my opinion there’s no reason this can’t be worked with in such a way as utilizing the increasing of the moon cycle for beneficial or positive purposes or the waning cycle for bindings or other such operations.

Here is where we depart from the traditional text.

Of the Lampe of the Arte

At this point in the Heptameron, the magician would enter the circle and begin a long cycle of prayers and conjurations of the spirits, but piggy backing off the inspiration of Chad Balthazar, its at this point that the magical lamp takes out place. Up to this point I’ve established the more or less traditional procedures for creating the temple and arranging the basic items, but here is where we enter into American folk tradition. These items, like the above, can be arranged in the same way as the others or blessed and consecrated as in the Greater Key of Solomon. I don’t particularly place priority on one or the other as it’s primarily a matter of aesthetic. What you will need for your Martial lamp are the following objects:

  • An small iron cauldron or black, fire-proof bowl.
  • At least 12 oz, or about .35L of mustard oil
  • Enough aluminum foil to cover ¼ to ½ of the container
  • Wormwood, licorice root chips, and asafetida powder (hing) [4]
  • Dragon’s blood oil[5] or Fiery Wall of Protection
  • Coffin Nails
  • Graveyard dirt from a soldier, police office, or judge.
  • A natural cotton ball rolled out into a wick shape or a floating wick
  • A piece of parchment or paper bag for your petition
  • Optional, beeswax for a poppet of the individual(s) you wish to work on or their pictures which could be found in a newspaper or social media.

To prepare the lamp, you can purify it with holy water as in the above or, if you’re inclined, you can clean it with Florida Water, War Water, Peace Water or the like depending on your purpose. Next you can bless the herbs by reciting the above prayers over it or use traditional Psalms. In this case one could use, Psalm 3:2-9, Psalm 133, Psalm 71, Psalm 121, and/or Psalm 100 for justice or victory. After you pray the Psalms over each of these herbs individually you place them in the container. The same can be done with the physical objects such as the small poppets with the offending person’s name written on it while anointing them with the intended oil and being placed in the container.

If you are using a poppet, construct them in the appropriate gender of the given person and write the person’s name on their back. You can also add appropriate herbs or oils to them after “baptizing” them in the name of the person. From here it can also be pierced with nails, pins, glass or bound to effect what your desires are.

On the piece of parchment, write the person’s name five times (relating to the number of Mars) and turning it clockwise for protection write over it: “Deliver from Evil” or, for coercive magic, write: “Punish for their Crime”. On the back of the paper, you can draw the sigil of Samael and Machen as given in the Heptameron and then anoint the paper with the condition oil and place at the very bottom of the container before adding the herbs or place under the physical container.

Next, pour the mustard oil into the container while reciting a personal prayer or statement of intent for this lamp. For something coercive you can pray something along the lines of:

“In the name of God the Father Almighty, Samael, Michael and all the hosts of heaven, upon the Earth and under the Earth; I call upon you to bring justice and persecute [Name of Person] until they are brought to true Justice. May they may never know peace or quietude until they stand before Judgement. I ask this in the name of Christ your Son, the Just Judge, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.”

For a protective operation, one may recite something like the following:

“O Lord, you who protected the people of Israel as they were enslaved by Pharaoh and brought them out of Egypt. Look kindly on [Name of Person, Activist Organization, or General People] your sons and daughters who cry to you for Justice and Relief. Grant thou that their prayers be heard and effective and lasting Justice reign over all. I ask this in the your Name, through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”

Finally, make a small hole in the aluminum and place the rolled up wick into it, allowing it to soak up all the oil. If you’re so inspired you may also add some conditioning oil to it in order to increase the connection between all the objects. At this point you may also anoint four red candles and situate them in the pentagrams outside the circle itself. Having prepared the lamp, placed it in the middle of the Circle. You may begin the conjurations as outlined in the text.

An Exorcisme of the Spirits of the Air.

First, kneel, facing East and pray the following:

“O Angels of the Lord, come to my aid and aid me in the petitions I’m about to make.”[6]

Next, repeat the following at each of the four directions:

“I adjure thee to come and bear witness, by the seat of Adonai and by these other names: O Theos, Ischuros, Athanato, Paracletos, Alpha and Omega; and by the secret and ineffable names: AGLA, ON, TETRAGRAMMATON, that you come at once and fulfil what I most desire.”[7]

Next, perform the exorcism of the Spirits of the Air, saying:

“Imbued and made in the image and likeness of God after His Divine and Most Powerful Will, and by the name of God, EL, strong and wonderful, I exorcise thee by the one who spake and it was done, and by all the names of God, and by the name ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ELOEH, SABAOTH, ELION and ESHERCHIE; and in the Name of JAH, TETRAGRAMMATON, the Spirit of the Lord Most High, do I exorcise thee and command you to appear in a fair and comely form without any tortuosity or deformity. I call you in the name of this seal and by the name of YOD which Adam heard and was made sensible; and by the Name of God, AGLA, which Lot heard and was saved together with his family, and by the name JOTH which Jacob heard from the angel wrestling him and was delivered from the hand of Esau; and by the power of Thy Name: ANAPHEXETON, which was spoken and Aaron heard and became wise; and by the name SABAOTH which Moses spake and the rivers and marshes in Egypt became blood; and by the name ESCHERHIE which Moses spake and the banks became infested with mice and frogs which went into the houses of the Egyptians; and by the name ELIONAS, which Moses spake and there was a hail such as which had not been since the beginning of the World; and by the name ADONAI which Moses spake and caused locust to appear over the face of Egypt and consume all the grains; and by SCHEMA AMATHI which Joshua called and the Sun delayed its course; and by ALPHA and OMEGA which Daniel spake and caused Ba’al – that great dragon – to fall asunder; and in the name EMMANUEL, which being spoken saved the three children Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago from the furnace of burning fire causing them to flee singing; and by the name HAGIOS, and by the seat of ADONAI, and O THEOS, ISCHUROS, ATHANATOS and PARACLETOS; and by these three names AGLA, ON, TETRAGRAMMATON, I adjure you spirits to testify before Lord, the Almighty, Ever Living and True; you, O Spirits, who fell from heaven, who had been cast into hell, I exorcise you by him who brought it all to pass, to whom all creatures obey, who created the awe inspiring sea, and sits above the Earth with the Four Mighty Spirits before His Throne, and by all the holy angels of Heaven, and by the Church of God and by the sum of [8]His Almighty Wisdom do I potently exorcise thee that you may appear and fulfill our will and that of all men of good will; and by Seat BALDACHIAE, and by His Name PRIMEUMATON, which Moses named and swallowed the Dathan, Korah and Abiram into the Deep; and by the power of PRIMEUMATON, which the unleashed the hosts of heavens to curse and deprive you of your duties, bound you in the depths of the Abyss until the Day of Be With Us, and dispatched you into the Eternal Fire, and threw you into the lake of fire and brimstone, and call you by ADONAI SABAOTH, ADONAI AMIORAM, to come! Come! Come thou in the name of ANONAI, SHADDAI, King of Kings, EL, ATY, TITEIP, AZIA, HYN, JEN, MINOSEL, ACHADAN: VAY, VA, EY, HAA, EYE, EXE, A, EL, EL, EL, A, HY, HAU, HAU, HAU, VA, VA, VA, VA!”

The above is addressed to the spirits of the air or aerial daemons who according to classic thought could appear in several forms and imitate other spirits. Naturally, by medieval times, their identity switched from daemonic to demonic.

A Prayer to God, to be said in the four parts of the world, in the Circle.

Next, say this prayer to the four directions:

“A Morule, Taneha, Latisten, Rabur, Taneha, Latisten. Escha, Aladia, Alpha & Omega, Leyste, Oriston, Adonay: O my most merciful heavenly Father, have mercy upon me, although a sinner; make appear the arm of thy power in me this day (although thy unworthy child) against these obstinate and pernicious Spirits, that I by thy will may be made a contemplator of thy divine works, and may be illustrated with all wisdom, and alwaies worship and glorifie thy name. I humbly implore and beseech thee, that these Spirits which I call by thy judgement, may be bound and constrained to come, and give true and perfect answers to those things which I shall ask them, and that they may declare and shew unto us those things which by me or us shall be commanded them, not hurting any creature, neither injuring nor terrifying me or my fellows, nor hurting any other creature, and affrighting no man; but let them be obedient to my requests, in all these things which I command them.”

Then:

“I do invocate and conjure thee, O Spirit, N. 1; and being with power armed from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by BERALANENSIS, BALDACHIENSIS, PAUMACHIA, and APOLOGIAE SEDES; by the most Powerful Princes, Genii, Liachidæ, and Ministers of the Tartarean Abode; and by the Chief Prince of the Seat of Apologia in the Ninth Legion, I do invoke thee, and by invocating conjure thee. And being armed with power from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by Him Who spake and it was done, and unto whom all creatures be obedient. Also I, being made after the image of GOD, endued with power from GOD and created according unto His will, do exorcise thee by that most mighty and powerful name of GOD, EL, strong and wonderful; O thou Spirit N. And I command thee and Him who spake the Word and His FIAT was accomplished, and by all the names of God. Also by the names ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ELOHI, EHYEH, ASHER EHYEH, ZABAOTH, ELION, IAH, TETRAGRAMMATON, SHADDAI, LORD GOD MOST HIGH, I do exorcise thee and do powerfully command thee, O thou Spirit N., that thou dost forthwith appear unto me here before this Circle in a fair human shape, without any deformity or tortuosity. And by this ineffable name, TETRAGRAMMATON IEHOVAH, do I command thee, at the which being heard the elements are overthrown, the air is shaken, the sea runneth back, the fire is quenched, the earth trembleth, and all the hosts of the celestials, terrestrials, and infernals, do tremble together, and are troubled and confounded. Wherefore come thou, O Spirit N., forthwith, and without delay, from any or all parts of the world wherever thou mayest be, and make rational answers unto all things that I shall demand of thee. Come thou peaceably, visibly, and affably, now, and without delay, manifesting that which I shall desire. For thou art conjured by the name of the LIVING and TRUE GOD, HELIOREN, wherefore fulfil thou my commands, and persist thou therein unto the end, and according unto mine interest, visibly and affably speaking unto me with a voice clear and intelligible without any ambiguity.”

After this you likely won’t have much need for the pentacle as described in the original text so the conjurations concerning that are omitted in this particular case. If you should choose to use the pentacle, you may draw it on a piece of paper or parchment and wear it around your neck or as your waist level.

Conjuration for the Day of Tuesday, and Visions and Apparations

Next, light the lamp and place incense in the charcoal and repeat the following which is the Conjuration for the Day of Mars:

“I invoke and conjure you, O Spirits, by the hosts and legions of angels and saints, and by these names: Ya, Ya, Ya, He, He, He, Va, Hy, Hy, Ha, Ha, Ha, Va, Va, Va, An, An, An, Aie, Aie, Aie, El, Ay, Elibra, Elohim, Elohim and by all the names of the Lord Most High who caused the waters to quit and dry land appear, who didst bring forth the trees and herbs from the Earth and found it to be Good; and by His Name and the angels who rule in the Fifth Heaven and do Serve thy Holy Angel, great, powerful and honored above, and by the name of your planet Mars, and by the above names, do conjure thee, Samael, angel of Greatness, who art chief ruler of the day of Mars and by the name Adonai, the true and living God, that thou wilt heed my petition that I present before you.”

Because this operation is somewhat different from the traditional conjuration, wait for a few moments until you sense the presence of the angel. Signs that he might be present are that the flames of the candles burn more brightly or taller or that you feel a sudden wave or heat. Be patient. If the angel does not immediately make himself known, repeat the above up to five times.

When you sense his presence, you may make your petition known to the angel as you would during any other standard invocation. You may also consider inquiring the names, order, and sigils of the angels of Samael that would be best suited to your needs. Naturally, since this isn’t a formal conjuration, his presence may not be felt that strongly or visibly, in which case you may ask that he send you a vision in a dream of the sigils and appropriate information of the spirits you may wish to conjure yourself and put into your employment.

Once you are done with communicating with the Angel and his attendant spirits with your request, you may politely thank them for their assistance and bid them license to depart by saying:

“+ In the Name of the Father, and of the +Son, and of the +Holy Spirit, go in peace back unto your abodes and habitations and may there be peace between us until I call again.”

 

Following this operation, you may consider burning the lamp for a period of nine days as one would a novena candle. Every day, preferably in the hour of Mars; you may refill the oil lamp, trim or replace the wick, and maybe add a drop or two of the conditioning oil while reciting the conjuration for the day of Tuesday.When the nine day period is over or when you, may thank Samael once again either through conjuration or through performing an action de gras[9] or some other formal offering.

 

Magus_Circle1
Also, one should not, not use this in an applied manner such as bringing justice people who systematically oppress others, like this person here, here, or here.

[1] This article, being written in August for the third hour of Mars, I discuss the circle as it would be made in this season. Minor alterations will need to be made to account for various seasonal patterns.

[2] 91.44, 76.2, and 45.72 centimeters, give or take.

[3] http://aaronleitch.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/planetary-suffumigations-incenses/

[4] For coercive workings to bring justice: Valerian root, whole red pepper, knotweed

[5] For coercive workings one may consider oils such as Victory oil, Crossing Oil, or Commanding Oil

[6] In the Heptameron, “O Angels supradicti, estote adjutores meæ petitioni, & in adjutorium mihi, in meis rebus & petitionibus”, paraphrase mine.

[7] O vos omnes, adjuro atque contestor per sedem Adonay, per Hagios, ò Theos, Ischyros, Athanatos, Paracletos, Alpha & Omega, & per hæc tria nomina secreta, Agla, On, Tetragrammaton, quòd hodie debeatis adimplere quod cupio.

[8] Sophia?

[9] An act of thanksgiving, usually performed in vodoun to petition or thank a spirit for its aid.


A Homily

When I was in college it was common to commemorate the passing of a monk by leaving a candle or candelabra lit in a prominent location in the refractory. I saw it happen a handful of times and was struck by the gravity and acknowledgement of the monk’s life.

Similarly, being acquainted with many Jewish people and being a lackadaisical, pseudo-Talmudist, one of the things I appreciate about Judaism is the Aveilut, or mourning process which in some situations is most poetically exemplified by the rending of one’s garments upon hearing the news of the passing and saying, “Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the True Judge.”

Fundamentally I thing mourning is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t need to be morbid — we are the ones in pain, not the deceased — but rather an affirmation of the person’ slide and their importance to us.

It may be funny to mention this tradition, me being a Christian and Gnostic, but let us look at the aforementioned traditions. The Sacred Flame is something that is not always visible to us, yet it exists in each of us. For earlier people, the physics of the flame was as mysterious as where rain came from and why the sun sometimes disappeared during the eclipse. Even though the light is seemingly gone, it remains a part of each of us.

In our material and fashion savvy culture it seems unimaginable to tear what might otherwise be couture or fine clothes at the mere mention of a death. As Christ and Paul taught to those who could listen, however, we exist as a priesthood of believers regardless of gender. Interestingly, the word used in the Hebrew Scriptures for priest was “Levite” a word related to the concept of sewing or mending peoples together.

When Saint Francis left his affluent upbringing he gave his fine clothes to his family and walked out from the villa naked. This mirrors how we feel with the loss of our loved ones or people who were inspirational to us. Finding himself at the margins of society, he collected scraps of discarded clothing and mended them together into the habit of a mendicant. Interestingly this is also a tradition that is done by some Buddhist sects before taking monastic ordination.

Today let us reflect not only on the passing of Robin Williams whose magnificent career touched us all, but let us piece together the memories of the past which we have buried yet make up a part of ourselves as Williams’ life was much more than simply being a performer on stage.

In a world where everything is seemingly expendable, let us all remember that people — ourselves included — are to be loved, and things to be used. And that suffering and pain happens when things are loved and people are used. Let us use our time, a fleeting thing, to love one another as best we can.

Amen.

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams, and may perpetual light shine upon you.


Light and Dark

Last night, I celebrated the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified at my apartment and gave Eucharist to a brother in Gnosis. What struck me during the service, in light of recent happenings, were the words spoken during the introductory rites where we declare ourselves united as one sacred communion where, together with the Most High, we raise a temple of living stones from the myriad with which we have been blessed, bothe light and dark.

It may seem odd for many to consider the blessings of the negative things in our lives. Often, we don’t want to acknowledge them and more often we deny them even when they’re standing right under our noses. Yet, the more we push them away, the more sinister they become — yet they can be transformed.

In 2001 I was living in Dresden, Germany; the site of one of the most devastating events of the 20th Century. While I was there, I would frequently pass construction being done on the Frauenkirche which was utterly destroyed during the Allied Firebombings, which you can read about in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”.

The Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, was built between 1726 and 1743 — beginning in the year that Sir Isaac Newton published his thesis on gravity and ending with the year in which Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin was born. The period of the Enlightenment represented the largely free and unchecked progress of humanity however, this progress and spirit of emancipation would similarly carry many darks events: the Battle of Nations, the Napoleanic Wars, the French Revolution and the start of the Industrial Age.

The Church stood as a symbol of beauty and pride for the people of Dresden who, like us, marveled at the beauty of their amazing city and didn’t address the darker elements of their society. Of these darker elements would be the slow and gradual rise of nationalistic pride and antisemitism; culminating in the events which would mark the rise of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.

In 1945, two centuries after the beginning of construction of this great edifice, the Allied Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city over the course of two days during which the entire city and a quarter of a million people were killed. After the end of the war, Dresden became the center of the East German Republic and all religious edifices that were destroyed lay fallow, including the Frauenkirche.

In 1989, after the reunification of Germany, a 14-member group of enthusiasts headed by Ludwig Güttler, a noted Dresden musician, formed a Citizens’ Initiative that would lead to rebuilding this symbol of the people of Dresden. This initiative would not only lead to the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche, but also the Great Synagogue of Dresden which was likewise destroyed. The foundation stone of the Frauenkirche was laid in 1994, the crypt was completed in 1996 and the inner cupola in 2000.

Sadly, I never got to see the completion and opening of the cathedral but what struck me as I walked past it regularly was how the architects incorporated the original stones – now blackened from years of acid rain as well as the original incendiary bombings in 1945 – on top of new, beautiful pink limestone.

Years later, reflecting on this, I’m led to wonder how we can come to terms with our own dark stones in the midst of our light. It’s not easy and I don’t have any answers, but when reflecting on this building, which incorporates a history of reason gone awry and turned violent alongside communal efforts out of love, I think we owe it to ourselves to consider the delicate balance and impact all our actions and words have not only for how they will impact others and ourselves now, but how they will survive us and influence others in the future.

320px-FraunkircheSouth


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