Tag Archives: Ritual

Elevation of the Deceased

So, there’s a thing happening that’s kind of neat that, in spite of my agnosticism on the nature of the soul after death I kind of wanted to participate in. Naturally, not being a pagan or polytheist I rewrote the ritual as seen below, based on Galina Krasskova’s rite of the same, to do my effort in helping, even if by tokenism, the process of elevating the deceased.

While some may take some offense to the idea of a Christian or Gnostic version of the rite, I would like to remind my readers that it’s not like Christianity doesn’t already have a theological practice of doing the same thing. For specification, the intent of this rite is not necessarily to baptise the dead – a practice frought with a number of ethical concerns – but to welcome the Christian dead into the hereafter, especially those harmed by the dark aspects of religion.

As always, preface: the ritual below does not reflect the official stance of my church or any organization I have been a part of past or presently.

Rite of Elevation of the Deceased

Concerning the Service

Baptized Christians are properly buried from the church. The service should be held at a time when the congregation has opportunity to be present.

In the instance that a member of one’s family may have died without proper Committal or Burial, or if they had lapsed from the Faith, or if they have been, through human error forgotten or otherwise unattended to, it is desirable to perform the Rite of Elevation that they may be restored and reintegrated in the afterlife.

The Rite of Elevation of the Deceased may be performed over the course by any of the Faithful in the course of a nine-day process whereby the Deceased may be given due blessing, glory, and honor and engaged with according to local custom.

The Rite of Elevation of the Deceased requires, ordinarily, a multi-tiered shrine dressed in white cloth along with beeswax or white candles and a chalice or water. Images of the deceased may be utilized if they are known, otherwise a simple cross may be used to represent the whole of the family of the deceased. Flowers, if used, must be white, and other fragrances such as frankincense or other resinous gums may be burned.

Elevation of the Deceased

The First Triduum, or three-day period of service, occurs at the lowest portion of the altar or on the ground on a white cloth. On the fourth day the shrine is raised another three days, and on the sixth day it is raised to the highest level. Candles may be placed in any convenient location, though should optimally number four in total. The chalice or goblet of water may be placed in a central location during the service along with incense burning in a thurible.

All stand while the following anthems are sung or read,

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For if we live, we live unto the Lord and if we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors.

The Celebrant says the following Collects, first saying

Celebrant. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All.  Amen.

The Celebrant says to the people

Celebrant.  Dearly beloved, we have come together in the presence of Almighty God our heavenly Father, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear this holy Word, and to ask, for ourselves and on behalf of others, those things that are necessary for our life and our salvation. And so that we may prepare ourselves in heart and mind elevate our departed brethren, let us kneel in silence, and with penitent and obedient hearts confess our sins, that we may obtain forgiveness by his infinite goodness and mercy.

Celebrant and People together, all kneeling

Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against thy holy laws, we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, spare thou those who confess their faults, restore thou those who are penitent, according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

The Celebrant alone stands and says,

Celebrant.  The Almighty and merciful Lord grant us absolution and remission of all our sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant  O Lord, open thou our lips.

People   And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.

Celebrant and People

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: asvit was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Lord be with you.

People             And with thy spirit.

Celebrant        Let us pray.

At the Elevation of an Adult

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant (or, thy servants) N., and grant him (or, them) an entrance and elevation into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

At the Elevation of a Child

O God, whose beloved Son did take little children into his arms and bless them: Give us grace, we beseech thee, to entrust this child (or, these children) N. to thy never-failing care and love, and elevate us all to thy heavenly kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The People sit and one of the following readings are read by the Celebrant or Reader.

From the Old Testament

Isaiah 25:6-9 (He will swallow up death in victory)

Isaiah 61:1-3 (To comfort all that mourn)

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33 (The Lord is good unto them that wait for him)

Wisdom 3:1-5,9 (The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God)

Job 19:21-27a (I know that my Redeemer liveth)

After the Old Testament Lesson, the following Psalms are sung or said following each Collect

The Celebrant stands and says,

Celebrant.       Almighty God, who hast revealed to thy Church thine eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace to continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

All.                  Amen.

All remain for a moment of silence,

PSALM 91, Qui habitat

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, *

abides under the shadow of the Almighty.

He shall say to the LORD,

“You are my refuge and my stronghold, *

my God in whom I put my trust.”

He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *

and from the deadly pestilence.

He shall cover you with his pinions,

and you shall find refuge under his wings; *

his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *

nor of the arrow that flies by day;

Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *

nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.

A thousand shall fall at your side

and ten thousand at your right hand, *

but it shall not come near you.

Your eyes have only to behold *

to see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your refuge, *

and the Most High your habitation,

There shall no evil happen to you, *

neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over you, *

to keep you in all your ways.

They shall bear you in their hands, *

lest you dash your foot against a stone.

You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; *

you shall trample the young lion and the serpent

under your feet.

Because he is bound to me in love,

therefore will I deliver him; *

I will protect him, because he knows my Name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *

I am with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and bring him to honor.

With long life will I satisfy him, *

and show him my salvation.

All reflect for a moment of silence.

The Celebrant stands again, saying,

Celebrant.       O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

PSALM 46, Deus noster refugium

God is our refuge and strength, *

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *

and though the mountains be toppled into the

depths of the sea;

Though its waters rage and foam, *

and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.

The LORD of hosts is with us; *

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her;

she shall not be overthrown; *

God shall help her at the break of day.

The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *

God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.

The LORD of hosts is with us; *

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, *

what awesome things he has done on earth.

It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; *

he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,

and burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, then, and know that I am God; *

I will be exalted among the nations;

I will be exalted in the earth.”

The LORD of hosts is with us; *

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

All reflect for a moment of silence.

The Celebrant stands again, saying,

Celebrant.       Almighty God, we remember this day before thee thy faithful Servant(s) N.; and we pray that, having opened to them the gates of larger life, thou wilt receive them more and more into thy joyful service, that, with all who have faithfully served thee in the past, they may rise presently in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

PSALM 90, Domine refugium

Lord, you have been our refuge *

from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or the land and the earth were born, *

from age to age you are God.

You turn us back to the dust and say, *

“Go back, O child of earth.”

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday

when it is past *

and like a watch in the night.

You sweep us away like a dream; *

we fade away suddenly like the grass.

In the morning it is green and flourishes; *

in the evening it is dried up and withered.

For we consume away in your displeasure; *

we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.

Our iniquities you have set before you, *

and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

When you are angry, all our days are gone; *

we bring our years to an end like a sigh.

The span of our life is seventy years,

perhaps in strength even eighty; *

yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow,

for they pass away quickly and we are gone.

Who regards the power of your wrath? *

who rightly fears your indignation?

So teach us to number our days *

that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? *

be gracious to your servants.

Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; *

so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us *

and the years in which we suffered adversity.

Show your servants your works *

and your splendor to their children.

May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us; *

prosper the work of our hands;

prosper our handiwork.

All reflect for a moment of silence.

From the New Testament

Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39 (The glory that shall be revealed)

1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 35-38, 42-44, 53-58 (Raised in incorruption)

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:9 (Things which are not seen are eternal)

1 John 3:1-2 (We shall be like him)

Revelation 7:9-17 (God shall wipe away all tears)

Revelation 21:2-7 (Behold, I make all things new)

Following the Lesson, all rise,

Celebrant.       Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

People             And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.

Amen.

In place of the above, from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost

Celebrant     Alleluia. Christ is risen.

People         The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

In Lent and on other penitential occasions

Celebrant        Bless the Lord who forgiveth all our sins;

People             His mercy endureth for ever.

The Celebrant says

Celebrant. Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then, all standing, the Celebrant or a Reader reads the Gospel, first saying

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

People  Glory be to thee, O Lord.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

After the Gospel, the Reader says

The Gospel of the Lord

People   Praise be to thee, O Christ.

All remain standing for the canticle,

A SONG OF THE REDEEMER

All 

Proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,

and comfort all who grieve.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, *

because he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,  *

to announce release from darkness for the prisoners,

To proclaim the time of the Lord’s favour,  *

and to comfort all who grieve,

To give them oil of gladness instead of mourners’ tears,  *

a garment of splendour for the heavy heart.

They will be called trees of righteousness,  *

planted by the Lord for his praise.

For God shall make his righteousness and praise  *

blossom before all the nations.

Buildings long in ruins will be rebuilt  *

and the desolate cities restored.

And you shall be called the Redeemed of the Lord,  •

a city no longer forsaken.

The Celebrant addresses those present,

Celebrant.       Dearly beloved, let us call to mind our Brother (or Sister) N. who while passed from  this life, we come together to remember, commemorate and raise up to new life. Let our prayers, offerings and thanksgiving here bring them the strength and comfort they need, though seemingly vanished from our midst, and grant them the glory and honor of all faithful departed in the Communion of Saints.

All.                  Amen.

Celebrant.       O clement and merciful God, with the Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, with holy Saint John the Baptist, Saint John the Beloved Disciple and all the Communion of Saints, hear our prayer. We offer these prayers for the soul of N., and for all good souls who wish our prayers and recognition. Please let N. know that we here on Earth is come forth to speak for him (or, her, or them).

Merciful God, and all other righteous and ancestors, who might intercede for the relief of this soul: grant him (or, her, or them) hope. Grant him (or, her, or them) the awareness that he (or, her, or them) be illuminated by the Divine Light, that he (or, she or they) is beloved of God, beloved of the Holy Saints and Angels who minister to us at all times. Let him (or, her, or them) bear witness to the actions of their life in this fallen world, those hurts and imperfections which keep him (or, her, or them) away from peaceful tenure in Paradise, from rebirth, from reintegration. Open his (or, her, or them) heart to understanding, grieving, repentance and restoration. Let him (or, her, or them) understand that by his (or, her, or them) own efforts he (or, she or they) can make the time of (or, her, or their) trial easier. Eternity unfolds always and living or dead the power to weave  it well is in our hands.

May the Holy Powers and other helpful souls give him (or, her) the strength to persevere in all good resolution, to meet the tests of his (or, her, or their) fate rightly and well. May these benevolent and loving words mitigate and sooth their pain. May they give him (or her, or them) a demonstration that those still living on Earth acknowledge, remember and takes part in his (or, her, or their) sorrows. May  NN. know that we wish him (or, her, or them) happiness, salvation and renewal.

Here, a goblet or multiple goblets of water may be offered to the deceased and further incense placed in the censer. Bread and other food offerings such as fruit and smaller candles for the deceased, according to custom.

Those present may commune with the Deceased. The following canticles may also be sung,

Canticles

The Song of Manasseh (Manasseh 1a,2,4,6,7,9a,9c,11,12,14b,15b)

A Song of the Righteous (Wisdom 3.1, 2a,3b-8)

A Song of God’s Children (Romans 8.2,14,15b-19)

A Song of Faith (1 Peter 1.3-5,18,19,21)

A Song of the Redeemed (Revelation 7.9,10,14b-17)

Once all assembled have had some time to commune with the Deceased, all sit for a moment of reflection.

After some time, the Celebrant stands saying,

Celebrant.       Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt  love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Bearing in mind the soul of our beloved brother (or, sister) N., Let us pray through God’s mercy that through our prayers and Intercessions, they may be duly and rightly purified, their sins Absolved through God’s grace, and their presence made strong and present amongst us. Therefore, with this in mind we now Pray,

All rise,

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.

or,

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us.

All may be seated or kneel,

Celebrant.       Again and again, let us pray to the Lord.

All.                  Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Celebrant.   Again we pray for the respose and elevation of the soul of our Brother (or, Sister)  NN, departed from this life; and that Thou, O Lord, wilt pardon his (or, her) every transgression, both voluntary and involuntary.

All.  Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Celebrant. That the Lord, Our God, will estabish his (or, her) soul elevation and just repose.

All. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Celebrant. The mercies of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and remission of his (or, her) sins, let us ask of Christ, our Immortal King and God.

All.  Grant this, O Lord.

Celebrant.       Grant, O Lord, the peace and fellowship of thy servant, N. who we present before  you to raise up and to elevate in our midst, bearing in mind thy just mercy.

All.                  Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

All stand,

All.       Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us. For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

All remain standing for a moment of silence,

Celebrant. Dearly beloved, the raise up and elevate, N. into thy divine light. May they be amongst us always, now and forever, and raised up continually unto the ages of ages.

All.  Amen.

Celebrant.  Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant, we beseech thee, to thy whole Church in paradise and on earth, thy light and thy peace. Amen.

Grant that all who have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection may die to sin and rise to newness of life, and  that through the grave and gate of death we may pass with him to our joyful resurrection. Amen.

Grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, and who walk as yet by faith, that thy Holy Spirit may lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days. Amen.

Grant to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that we may be cleansed from all our sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind. Amen.

Grant to all who are uncertain a sure confidence in thy fatherly care, that, casting all their grief on thee, they may know the consolation of thy love. Amen.

Give courage and faith to those who are bereaved, that they may have strength to meet the days ahead in the comfort of a reasonable and holy hope, in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love. Amen.

Help us, we pray, in the midst of things we cannot understand, to believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life everlasting. Amen.

Grant us grace to entrust N. to thy never-failing love; receive him (or, them) into the arms of thy mercy, and remember him according to the favor which thou bearest unto thy people. Amen.

Grant that, increasing in knowledge and love of thee, he may go from strength to strength in the life of perfect service in thy heavenly kingdom. Amen.

Grant us, with all who have died in the hope of the resurrection, to have our consummation and bliss in thy eternal and everlasting glory, and, with [blessed N. and] all thy saints, to receive the crown of life which thou dost promise to all who share in the victory of thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Into thy hands, O merciful Savior, we elevate thy servant N. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Elevate him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

The Celebrant says

The Lord be with you.

People              And with thy spirit.

Celebrant        Let us pray.

Celebrant and People

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then may be said

Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord:

And let light perpetual shine upon him.

May his soul, and the souls of all the departed,

through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Celebrant.       To the Mother of Our Lord, the Christ, we now pray,

All.   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women,  and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Celebrant.       Almighty and everliving God, we yield unto thee most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all thy saints, who have been the choice vessels of thy grace, and the lights of the world in their several generations; most humbly beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow the example of their steadfastness in thy faith, and obedience to thy holy commandments, that at the day of the general resurrection, we, with all those who are of the mystical body of thy Son, may be set on his right hand, and hear that his most joyful voice: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Grant this, O Father, for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Celebrant.       Let us bless the Lord.

All.                  Thanks be to God.

skull-and-candles-garry-gay


Remembering the Trans* Dead

I’m not sure if I believe in a life after death, though I’m pretty well versed in cultural beliefs. That said, if one were so inspired I would totally suggest remembering and elevating the transgender dead, after all. A little ritual never hurt anyone and memory is a powerful thing.

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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.


Weaving Webs of Belief

In a recent article by doctoral candidate Samuel Webster, he proposes the suggestion that belief is a mental illness. While making some interesting observations, it is unfortunate that his own personal biases against minority beliefs in Christianity have created a problematic logic in his thesis, namely that faith is first the sole central component to Christianity (and I’d presume by extension Judaism and Islam), and that faith itself is irrational and somehow counter to reason. In omitting definitions of belief, he seemingly exempts his coreligionists from having some form of belief, as well as creating a rather messy category of the subject matter. To this end, I am led to the following conclusions.

First, I propose we look at some definitions of faith in order to address some of the misconceptions of this article. According to Protestant, existentialist philosopher and systematic theologian, “[Faith] is the state of being ultimately concerned”[1], “being” in this case referring to the Dasein or principle of humanity at its most genuine state. He continues in stating that as a centered act, faith is the movement of being toward the sum total of being itself – one here may make the argument that this sum total could be referred to as God, or in the case of Neoplatonic philosophy, the noetic One that exists from the sum total of the henadic worlds. Less philosophically, faith is a duty of fulfilling one’s trust[2], or confidence based on reason in that being ultimately concerned.

Belief, then, is the trust in which we are concerned with the sum total of being in contrast to the state of being which is faith. How then do we rest our trust on things that are purportedly immaterial[3]? Belief becomes the element of faith in the self-affirmation of one’s being in spite of the powers of non-being. In his discourse, Fear and Trembling, Søren Kierkegaard suggests that faith is not an aesthetic emotion, but something higher because it has resignation as its supposition; paradoxical to be sure, however affirmative of Being in that it is entirely rational and capable of apprehension by the aesthetic person, perceivable by the ethical person, and experiential by the religious self. In the his classic Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas even states, “Science begets and nourishes faith, by way of external persuasion afforded by science; but the chief and proper cause of faith is that which moves man inwardly to assent.” [4] Here, we approach the threat of non-being through discursive measures to arise at a faith that itself is entirely rational and founded on experience as the core of humanity’s nature.

Arguments that faith is the result of some psychosis, are clearly unfounded even at a basal etymological level describing derangement[5]. Since faith is rational it cannot be the result of psychosis, however that does not excuse the reality or possibility of actions that are affronts to faith on the part of believers and may sometimes be irrational as well as rational. Affronts to faith, in this case, could also be considered affronts to reason itself since they indicate either a form of willingness against the objects of faith or they concern the rejection thereof either out of ignorance or spite and are therefore more appropriately acosmic in their natures as they themselves are concerned with an element of non-being.

To illustrate a point, belief is fundamental to religious activity is predicated on the a priori acceptance of a superior ontology of Being. An individual engaging in religious activity is operating in the realm of faith. Were one, for example to build an image some deity, engage in operations dedicated to that deity such as prayers and offerings, yet not believe in the reality of that state of being, then they are merely engaging in pantomime. For the religious person, who may believe in a manifestation of the divine, consecrate it and make offerings, they are necessarily engaging in the activity of faith and, as would happen, believe in that manifestation of Being, a good example would be the affectionate titles of that deity, such as κύριος (Gk. Lord) as well as σωτήρ (Gk. Savior) – epithets of divine affiliation common from the Ancient Greek deity Hermes as well as Jesus the Christ.

Faith is real in every period of history regardless of the symbols associated with the varieties of faith from history to the common era and cannot be discredited by superstition or authoritarian distortions. The denial of faith, in this sense, if indicative of its triumph as it is itself an expression of faith as that movement toward the ultimate concern. If there is a problem with faith in the modern age, it is that the concepts of faith and belief have been reinterpreted as “faith/belief in something unbelievable”. Empirical and epistemological inquiry does nothing to harm faith, instead it is reason and this self-criticism that provide validity to the emblems contained within each faith.

Raphael-Plato-and-Aristotle

 

[1] Tillich. Dynamics of Faith.

[2] faith (n.) mid-13c., “duty of fulfilling one’s trust,” from Old French feid, foi “faith, belief, trust, confidence, pledge,” from Latin fides “trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief,” from root of fidere “to trust,” from PIE root *bheidh- (source also of Greek pistis; see bid). For sense evolution, see belief. Theological sense is from late 14c.; religions called faiths since c.1300.

[3] https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/5e7ed624986d

[4] Aquinas. Article I. Faith. Secunda Secunae Partis.

[5] psychosis (n.) 1847, “mental derangement,” Modern Latin, from Greek psykhe- “mind” (see psyche) + -osis “abnormal condition.” Greek psykhosis meant “a giving of life; animation; principle of life.


Christianity as Theurgy

In a recent post my colleague Rufus Opus recently discussed his experiences as a Christian and a magician. For myself, I have been frequently met with the same essential question, “How can one be a Christian and a Magician?” While it may seem strange to reconcile the two apparently disparate ‘practices’, fundamentally my views of Christianity, esoteric and non-esoteric, is fundamentally a theurgical religion, organized as a mystery tradition – a shared point of origin with many other traditions that helped create the Western Esoteric Tradition, an root to which I personally feel drawn and representative of the true roots of Christianity to which we must return.

800px-Bronnikov_gimnpifagoreizev

The early Christian movement arose alongside the mystery schools of the Hellenic world, eventually competing with them well into the fourth century. As such, Christianity borrowed much of its early terminology from the mystery schools that prevalent at the time and, as it spread, also adopted much of the language of Neoplatonism. At its core, Christianity is a mystery religion – a religion with particular semiotic markers, signs and symbols and experiences separating initiates from non-initiates. To this day, in orthodox and heterodox churches, the sacraments are oftentimes referred to as mysteries or realities that transcend created intellect.

From here, it is very easy to understand where Christian mysteries and the practice of occultism become necessarily intertwined. The actual process of initiation is experienced separately from the ritual itself, the ritual creating a symbolic scaffold that the initiate would be able to use in integrating the semiotic content into their individual learning and developmental process leading to a greater understanding of one’s relation to the divine either through union with the uncreated logoic nature through contemplation or prayer or through mystical visions of the kosmos and celestial spheres. Applied prayer in the Christian context is nothing short of living theurgy; the miracles attributed to saints and holy persons a form of applied thaumaturgy by those who have by virtue of their initiations and contemplation of Deity are able to directly impact the subtle material world.

delville_school_ plato

By the time of the late Middle Ages and the emerging Renaissance, Christianity once again was able to reconnect with its esoteric nature with the translation of the Hermetica and the rise of natural philosophers such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, the School of Florence, Abbot Johannes Trithemius, Johann Reuchlin and many others. In his Oration on the Dignity of Man, Mirandola explains:

“As the farmer weds his elms to the vines, so the magus unites earth to heaven. For nothing so surely impels us to the worship of God than the assiduous contemplation of His miracles and when, by means of this natural magic, we shall have examined these wonders more deeply, we shall more ardently be moved to love and worship Him in his works, until finally we shall be compelled to burst into the song: “The heavens, all of the earth, is filled with the majesty of your
glory.”

The Rennaisance, here, represents a return to the mysteries of early Christianity and the ancient schools of Greece through theurgy and the practice of so-called natural magic. The modern magician and Christian is an inheritor of this great chain of union between past and present and as such draws on this great power stretching from beginningless time to the Omega Point at which Godhead draws all things into itself completing the process of reintegration. Magic, here, is an essential tool to facilitate the process, best characterized by Louis Claude de Saint-Martin in his opus, Man: His True Nature and Ministry:

“The powerful virtues of men of God of all epochs are offered us, to strengthen and support us, that our own spiritual virtue may take courage and confidence in the fight, as well as to instruct us in the marvels and grandeur which fill the Kingdom of God, which they began to know, even while they were still in their earthly bodies…. the virtual sacred support of the Redeemer is granted to us, to revive within us all our former regions and powers, upon which He is pleased to take His seat, and to which He communicates His universal life.”

While the more conventional Christian or critic of Christianity and mysticism may find ritual and evocation to be bizarre at best and dangerous or useless at worst – the Christian magician recalls the words the living Christ left to his disciples as the most potent of invocation in the Lord’s Prayer, invoking the Divine Beloved to be radically present to establish the reign of God in the very real here and now. In the Lord’s Prayer, the Christian not only raises themselves to divine union but also, becomes God themselves as co-creator and participant in Creation itself. Therefore, as an initiate in the mysteries of Christ the Christian has no choice but to radically engage and exercise his arete as a being made in the likeness and image of Godhead.

wan1


Musings on Angels, Daemons and Working With One’s Personal Pantheon

In Chapter twenty six of the Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the great expositor of esoteric wisdom, Henry Cornelius Agrippa, provides us with one of the most complete modern variations of the ancient concept of tutelary spirits, which he divides as the Angel, the Genius and Evil Daemon:

“Drawing [the name] from the disposition of the heaven; as for example, any Celestiall Harmonie being proposed to thee for the making an image or ring, or any other work to be done under a certain constellation; if thou will finde out the spirit that is the ruler of that work… [casting] forth letters in their number and order from the degree of the ascendent, according to the succession of signes through each degree by filling the whole circle of the heaven: then those letters which fall into the places of the Stars the aid whereof thou wouldest use, being according to the number, and powers of those Stars, marked without into number, and order, make the name of a good spirit: but if thou shalt do so from the beginning of a degree falling against the progresse of the signes, the resulting spirit shall be evil.”

Further, he elaborates on the nature of such spirits as they relate to the individual:

“Every man hath a threefold good Demon, as a proper keeper, or preserver, the one whereof is holy, another of the nativity, and the other of profession. The holy Demon is one, according to the Doctrine of the Egyptians, assigned to the rationall soul, not from the Stars or Planets, but from a supernaturall cause, from God himself, the president of Demons, being universall, above nature: This doth direct the life of the soul, & doth alwaies put good thoughts into the minde, being alwaies active in illuminating us, although we do not alwaies take notice of it; but when we are purified, and live peaceably, then it is perceived by us, then it doth as it were speak with us, and communicates its voyce [voice] to us, being before silent, and studyeth daily to bring us to a sacred perfection.”

This concept of a Three-Fold Divinity is common in nearly every Semitic and Indo-European culturea, similarly popping up in some East Asian and African religious traditions as well. For the purposes of this, I’m merely going to treat the Indo-European perspective of the Abrahamic religious tradition through the lens of the Neoplatonism which would have been familiar to Agrippa in his writing.

According to Neoplatonic philosophy, spiritual beings exist heirarchically in two prinicpal forms, a tetrad comprising the unitive intelligible forms of divinity; and a triad, composed of intelligible forms that may be classified as hypercosmic, liberated and encosmic. The Tetradic hierarchy is mostly cosmic, from a a modern Western Esoteric perspective, one might not do wrong by examining much of the material on the mysteries of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) or, from a Gnostic perspective, the Simonian mysteries of the Father, Mother, Son and Daughter as a Tetradic expression of the Trinity. The function of the triadic hierarchies is to facilitate illumination and purification toward Godhead, or in classical Neoplatonic terms, the Pre-essential Demiurgos which is not to be confused with the Demiurge as commonly depicted in Gnostic legend.

From this vantage point, it seems clear that Agrippa’s Genius and Evil Daemon function somewhat as two aspects of the individual’s personal spiritual ‘pantheon’, with the Guardian Angel at the apex of the hierarchy. This is a particularly important consideration as it removes the otherwise gross consideration of having a little angel and a little devil vying for control over a person’s life in a much unsophisticated, dualistic manner that I’m fairly certain Agrippa had not intended. The Genius and Evil Daemon, then, may be seen as enforcers of the Holy Guardian Angel prior to the mystical or theurgical illumination in which the magician or mystic attains knowledge and conversation with the latter and, finally, acheive henosis with the Pre-essential Demiurgos – i.e. Godhead.

The third, or fourth, entity in Agrippa’s schema of personal daimonology is the Daimon of Profession. From a surface reading, it may seem that this particular entity may complete a tetradic heirarchy, I doubt that this was necessarily implied as it does not seem to function in any distinct way other than influencing one’s personal profession which, at the time was more or less fixed according to class (e.g. a son inheriting the father’s business; the daughter, becoming wife and moving up or down social rank through marriage) which we understand now is neither conducive to the concept of Free Will nor theurgic ascent. For this reason, I view it as a changeable entity separate from the triadic heirarchy.

To begin working with the Genius and Evil Daemon, Agrippa conveniently lays out a system of arriving at their natural names through an advanced system of Hebrew gematria and astrological calculation, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 3, xxvi:

“There are also the Arabians, and many others, and some Hebrews, who finde out the name of a Genius by the places of the five Hylegians, and making projection alwayes from the beginning of Aries, and the letters being found out according to
the order of Hylegians with the Astrologers, being reduced into a known order, and being joyned together, make the name of a good Genius: but they draw the name of an evil Genius from the opposite Hylegian places, projection being made from the last degree of Pisces against the order of signs.”

While one may easily calculate this by hand, there are fortunately many avenues of arriving at this presently; personally, I would suggest finding a person such as the contemporary occult writer Frater Rufus Opus who does so for a small fee and from whom one may obtain much informative literature; the second is through computational means such as those provided by Frater Acher in his blog, “My Occult Circle“. The methodology of Frater Rufus Opus is will be well suited to anyone with a vested interest in Agrippan and Trithemean methods of magical practice and I highly recommend them for those inclined toward that angle. My own personal method, drawing much on my own experiences working more in line with Graeco-Egyptian magic are outlined below.

On a convenient day, preferably making first contact on your own birthday but any Sunday seems to work, arise early at the first hour of the sun and purify the temple space with water and incense. In a symbolic alphabet such as the celestial alphabet or having transliterated the name into a known alphabet be it Greek, Latin or Coptic, draw the name of the Genius at the back of the altar in consecrated oil. Having composed an invocation beforehand; call to that spirit and make an offering of frankincense. Toward the front of the altar, in the same manner, write the name of the Evil Daemon in consecrated oil, make an offering of myrrh and recite a similar invocation. In the center of the altar, light a large pillar candle in offering to your Holy Guardian Angel to mediate between these two forces.

The above ceremony can be done on any day, according to one’s inclinations, to facilitate conversation with these lesser daimones and to indicate to the mediating Holy Guardian Angel one’s intentions toward attaining Knowledge and Conversation, which is not a pre-requisite to this practice and, in fact, I would suggest holding off on until one has a more thorough understanding of the supporting and persecuting forces in their lives.

It should be important to note, that one may choose at some point to only work with the Good Genius or the Evil Daemon on a particular day. This is highly encouraged. From the Good Genius, one may obtain a clearer picture of their own progress along the path of their practice and from the Evil Daemon, obtain a record of their pitfalls from which they are able to rise above, make amends where possible, and move closer up the theurgic ascent. As a note, I absolutely reject the concept of subjugating or otherwise eliminating the Evil Daemon on the basis that I find reconciliation between opposing dynamic forces to be more beneficial and symbolic of uniting relative and ultimate truths of one’s nature and thus Macro and Microcosms, than dividing everything grossly and unscrupulously.

Until one attains to Knowledge and Conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel, there is ample opportunity to explore their own spiritual hierarchy through conversing with the more immediate daimonic forces. I strongly suggest this beneficial practice of obtaining and working with these spirits to be to the ultimate benefit of the aspirant to K&CHGA and significantly more confidence increasing than the current modality of pass and fail with the HGA working alone. To those who may have found benefit with this brief essay, I look forward to hearing your results and if there are any questions, please feel free to comment below.

PlatonicDaimon

Platonic Daimon from the Neoplatonic Tarot by Jeffrey Kupperman


The Way of the Heart and the Way of the Cup

Handed down from master to disciple in an unbroken chain of succession, the prayer of the heart as a spiritual discipline was fixed in writing by the eleventh century Byzantine, hesychast monk Symeon the New Theologian who taught that humanity could and should directly experience theoria, or direct contemplation of the experience of Godhead. In the Orthodox tradition, the preparation for vision of God takes place in two stages: purification, and illumination of the mental faculties. Without this it is impossible for man’s selfish love to be transformed into selfless love and unceasing prayer, as praised by the Apostle Paul who exhorts us in Thessalonians to, “Pray without ceasing.”

Though never achieving much currency in the West, the way of the heart as an esoteric discipline would become a central principal in the writings of the French philosopher, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin who, in his Theosophic Correspondences shares with us, “The inward or centre is the principle of everything; so long as this centre is not open, the greatest external wonders may seduce without advancing us; and, if I may venture to say so, it is our inward which ought to be the true thermometer, the true touchstone, of what passes without. If our heart is in God, if it is really become divine, by love, faith, and ardent prayer, no illusion can surprise us.” In Saint-Martin’s teachings, through similar meditation on God, one may undergo a spiritual process of reintegration with the Divine.

The way of the heart, in both hesychast and esoteric doctrines, is ultimately a form of theurgy. For Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus, the goal is henosis, or unity with God; in the Orthodox East, it is theosis, or the absorption into a divine way of life. I would posit, similarly, that in the esoteric doctrine of the West and the principals of the teachings of Saint-Martin, the achievement of reintegration is a form of spiritual and evangelical salvation of the soul at home with the universal Mind which, after its descent into the innermost core of being, must spread outward in all directions in a like manner as Christ, having experienced at a pivotal point in time descended into Hades and, upon ascent, drew them likewise out of the depths and later, again, spread outward in the form of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost imbuing the Apostles with the same knowledge of doing the same.

Although penitential in tonality, the way of the heart does not contradict Iamblichean principals of theurgy, but indeed does “[enlarge] very greatly our soul’s receptivity to the gods… and accustoms [our] eyes to the brightness of divine light, and gradually brings to perfection the capacity of our faculties for contact with the gods.” (De Mysteriis 5.26.18-40) Similarly, Saint Martin writes: “I think they would do better to call it the sentiment of the presence of intermediate agents doing the will of God. I believe we always perceive this reaction of the Virtues whenever we seek the Verb, not outside of us, but within, looking with intelligence at the temple in which He dwells.” My personal preference for keeping Saint-Martin’s usage of the ‘Verb’ adequately presents the activity of the divine as opposed to the rather abstract and now poorly understood Word, or Logos.

It occurred to me recently that this process is a form of eternal liturgy resulting in the fractio of our limited selves into the chalice representing the fullness of both our hearts and minds. Joining together these two species into one sacrament and consuming it, we experience joy of heaven on earth and partake of the ecstatic ‘Verb’ or action of Godhead. Far from the melancholy, the way of the heart teaches us to live in accordance with our intellect in the very real here and now instead of trying to escape to some indeterminate eschatological future. This bliss and this ecstasy, open to all, brings us not only contemplatively closer to Godhead, but is a challenge and affirmation of our own divinity and active co-participation in the Creation of a redeemed Humanity.

Sacred Heart doves Chalice


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