Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of 2011

With the New Year's holiday coming up (or, at this point, upon us), I've been looking back over 2011.  I've been thinking about everything I experienced, and the lessons learned.  Magically and mundanely, 2011 has been very...contrasted.  I'll show you what I mean:

Mundanely...

...I hated 2011.  It's been another one of the worst years of my life.  If it were a person, I would shoot it in the crotch with a double-barrelled shotgun, douse it in gas as it's squirming in agony and set it on fire.  I would sit in a lawn chair as it burned and sip a fucking cocktail.  Then, I would bury it right next to 2010...in a shallow grave with salted earth.

Sounds quite severe, huh?

See, 2011 was one of those years, for me.  I haven't really been able to catch a break.  Things I have done to better my situation have been fouled at every turn.  I lived in a bad situation that fulfilled my fear about ever becoming roommates with a friend.  Even when things did get better, there has always been something there to ruin it for me and keep me miserable, whether that was something in my own head or outside of me.  The forces of Jupiter have helped reverse that a lot, but even then I've still been in an in-between place.  I've been constantly broke and, due to internal and external factors, have been knocked on my ass every single time I tried to catch things up. 

My magical efforts to turn things around have been effective, don't get me wrong.  But it's been like plugging up leaks in a ship, with a new leak springing up for every one you stop.  I've been working hard, mundanely and magically, and it has been paying off.  Proverbially plugging the leaks just a little fast than they spring up has been working...just slowly.

All the above makes me wonder about my uncrossing and how effective it was.  I'm going to have to do some divination to explore that.

But anyway, the good news is that I'm in a better position now.  If I can keep things going well at my job, it's only a matter of months before I'm back on steady ground again.

Magically...

...I have loved this year!  The Strategic Sorcery course, the angelic initiations I've gained, and all the people I've met/interacted with/learned from this year have been absolutely amazing!  I started this blog, and it's been a major boon to my life.  I've been busier and busier with magical work, and have become much more effective than I have ever been since riding the n00b wave back when I started dis shit back in 1997.

My magical efforts helped me quite a bit this year during some really rough times, even though it often seemed like trying to stop something that was nearly unstoppable.  See my leaky ship metaphor above.

I had some really interesting experiences.  My interactions with the archangels of the elemental and planetary spheres, for one.  I solidly got my feet wet with evocation.

Through working with Robert Bruce's techniques, and Inominandum's overal procedure...I experienced astral projection in a new, interesting, and vivid way.

Talismans!  I learned a much better way of making and empowering talismans than doing the Golden Dawn Neophyte ceremony over them.

I could go on and on, and maybe I'll make an upcoming post where I illustrate my own Tech Tree (a la TGB's post here), but for now I'll just say this:


I'm letting the hellishness of 2011 go.  I'm taking the lessons and benefits, and moving on now.  I've been dwelling on this year and how sucky it's been in so many ways...but it's time to give that up and move forward.  I've got the rest of my life to look forward to, and work to do.  I'm gonna do it like a boss and I'm going to thrive.  

So mote it be.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year New You - A Response About Goals

For prompt 2 of the New Year, New You experiment in radical magical transformation, Deb is talking about goals and asking all of us about ours.  But she's not just asking about what they are, but how we intend to work toward them.  In addition, there is an element to it that asks us what we have already done.

This is the kind of goal exploration that I learned from the likes of Nancy B. Watson, Jason Augustus Newcomb, and Inominandum.  As I mentioned in my first New Year, New You post, I am focusing mainly on my finances, and that will be no different here.  My goals revolve first and foremost around them to the point that even my self-confidence/self-esteem/self-improvement goals are almost on the wayside.

Here is an overall summary of my financial goals:
  1. Get a higher-paying day job.
  2. Set up secondary income.
  3. Budget
  4. Catch up on my bills and get them out of collections, where applicable.
  5. Set up an emergency fund of $1000
  6. Reinstate auto insurance
  7. Pay off my credit card debt
  8. Build my emergency fund up to $4500 or three months of living expenses
I've estimated that all of these will take a year.  And since the New Year, New You experiment is only running until Valentine's Day 2012, I'm going to focus on completing 1-4 on the list, and get a good start on #5.  I've had setbacks thus far, but I'm trudging onward.  Now, it may seem like cheating when I tell you that I already have items 1 and 3 on the list completed.  However, if you know my financial history for the past year and a half, you'll know that item 4 has been one hell of a bitch for me.

Deb has the exploration of our goals split into 4...I dunno, aspects?  Here are items 1-5, explored through each aspect:

The Bite-Sized Pieces
  • Since I already have a higher-paying day job, I am focusing on keeping it!  I am mostly paranoid about this, but I don't want to take any chances.  I've begun to focus on re-honing my skillset and learning newer skills.  My company has training available, free of charge, and I'm going to take advantage of that.  My uncle recently offered to pay for half of the Dale Carnegie course if I take and stick through the whole thing.
  • The first idea I had for secondary income was secondary part-time employment.  This will consist of putting in applications, doing follow-up calls (and possibly pre-application calls), and hunting in sources other than job sites (craigslist, newspaper, checking with friends and associates, etc)
  • The second idea I had for secondary income is Delano Services, where I sell my sorcerous services and products online and possibly at certain local magic-friendly shops and events.  This, however, will require research and development (for the services), and require that I have some kind of money to put into it (for products and spellwork services).  On the upshot, with the prices I can reasonably charge, I will turn a profit if there's enough business.  It will also require some good time management...an area I'm not-so-good at yet.
  • My Budget is not a conventional budget.  I based it largely on Carmen Wong's Budget Calculator, although I have it as a Google Doc spreadsheet that I can plug in my anticipated income into and it will calculate my spending across Wong's categories, according to percentages I adjusted to my needs and obligations.  It's simpler yet requires a bit more homework and insight on my part, but I prefer it.
  • The bills are the beast of burden here.  I've been chipping away at them, but haven't gotten as far as I would prefer.  So, in combination with budgeting and all my income from all sources, I'm going to set aside even more to throw at them.  I will live frugally, refrain from eating out, see what I can sell, and scrape together as much as I can.  It is possible for me to get my tax refund before march, and if I do and if it is sizeable enough, it will go toward any action in my bills.
  • I am only aiming to get started on my emergency fund by Valentine's day.  Even so, my personal aim is to have $200 in a savings account or a money market account by V-Day.  The money for this will be gathered via the same means used to catch up the bills.

The Magical Acts
  • I used a combination of temple magic and field magic to get my higher-paying day job.  Since getting it, I have deployed a combination of field magic and temple magic aimed at influence and personal success.  I'm still working there, and glad for ever hour of it!  However, I'm also going to do work on better luck, better ability and memory.
  • For a part-time job, I will work magic much like I am looking for a day job, just with small adjustments.  For starters, magic to find likely opportunities that will actually fucking call me back.  I will enchant my resumes and applications with the power of Jupiter and Venus.  During interviews, I will deploy influencing field magic and Venusian enchantment.
  • For the prospect of my own business, I'll need to cast for better time management and discipline.  In addition, I'll need to work for discovery of knowledge and research to help me know how successful I might be.
  • For my budget and for my bills, I will work magic for discipline, abundance, and for limits on my spending.  On top of that, I'm going to start preparing enchantment and influencing magics for when I have to deal with bill collectors.  Finally, I'm going to be working Jupiterian and Mercurial magic for flow of money into my life, which I will continue for my emergency fund.
On top of all this, I'm going to be doing Gentlement for Jupiter-type work every Thursday, focusing on macro-enchantments and guidance on micro-enchantments from the spirits of Jupiter.

Divinations

To be honest, I haven't really done any yet, apart from inquiries about whether I'm likely to still have a job in three months, or even one (I'm seriously THAT paranoid).  But here are some areas of inquiry that I'm going to look into shortly:
  • Areas in my day job that I can target to cause me to stay as long as I wish, apart from avenues I've already worked on.
  • Divination to help find the places that will most likely hire me and will work around the schedule of my day job.  Also, people I can talk to and even sources of unconventional work.
  • For Delano Services, use divination to explore its viability and explore how I can specialize in order to gain a niche and thus a potential advantage over other sources of spiritual services.
  • Divinations about my budgeting will focus on upcoming events and possible unforeseen expenses.
  • Same thing with my bills.
  • The one thing about my emergency fund that I haven't been able to figure out is what kind of account to keep it in.  Should I go with savings or a money-market account?  One way or another I want it to be something that gathers interest.  Also, which bank?  Or credit union, perhaps?  These are what I will explore through divination.

Spirits

This is another area that I haven't put much effort into...yet.  Here is a list of spirits I am going to conjure to ask for assistance:
  • My Genius - For general life advice and direction, as well as to put me in touch with the genius of my career for help with my day job and getting a part-time job or furthering my business idea.
  • Tzadkiel, Yophiel, Hismael - I'm going to be doing regular work with the spirits of Jupiter in a fashion similar to the Gentlemen for Jupiter to up the flow of Jupiterian force in my life.
  • Strategic Sorcery Mini-Grimoire Spirits - I won't mention them by name here, but there are two spirits from the SS Mini-Grimoire who would be good for my goals.  One is a spirit who helps with mundane knowledge and efforts, and the other is a spirit of money.  Now that I'm thinking of it, there is also a spirit who opens doors, but I already have a lot of help in that regard.

So, I have a lot of work, mundane and magical, to do toward this goal.  While catching up my bills and setting up the emergency fund will only be the beginning, it will definitely be a good start that will help me to become healthier and happier while I work on the larger goal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Year, New You - Prompt 1, Making Way

This is in response to Prompt 1 from the illustrious Deb, as part of the New Year, New You project.

New Year, New You is about radical change and magical transformation.  The first place to start with such changes to one's life is in 3 basic (but not simple) areas:

1.) Home

First things first, then.  The focus of home, in this case, is having a clean home.  Many people can attest that having a clean home lends rather well to having a clear mind.  There are exceptions, of course, but in general a clean home that is tidy enough and well enough organized can lead to greater relaxation, support well-being, and thus let the mind be its sharp little self!

Of course there's also the magical side of it.  A clean house has a nice flow and pleasant feel.  One could say the energy flows freely, which can be very nice.  Of course, being magic-workers, we can enhance housecleaning to make it even more effective!

One of the main things I have done is empower several of my cleaning supplies.  First and foremost is a spraybottle of household multi-purpose surface cleaner and disinfectant.  It's really easy to make, and part of it is mentioned by Devi in her post I go back to the most.  She mentions some ways to work with original Pine-Sol, but I came up with one that suits me even better!  To my bottle of pine-sol, I added some VanVan extract made of pure essential oils.  Shake it up, empower it, dilute and use it; it makes an excellent cleaner that has a side benefit of drawing steady cash due to the pine, in addition to the clearning, luck-turning properties of the VanVan.  Mop with it, dilute and surface clean with it, wash the walls, baseboards, spritz the carpet before vacuuming, etc.  VERY versatile!

While that is the main thing I use with the magical aspect of housecleaning, I also do small empowerments to my other cleaning supplies to boost them.

When it comes to decluttering, I've a lot of it over the past few years.  It began as shaving down my collection of occult books and branched out into other books, DVD's, CD's, and anything else I didn't use anymore nor anticipate using/needing.  It took a lot of thought and attention to determine what to keep and what to toss.  But eventually I did it, and felt better afterward.  Of course, there was the period that my roommate-at-the-time had taken off work for 2 months for his big getting-over-a-boy-and-suicide-attempt drama where I had to get rid of WAY more than I wanted to, and that hurt a lot, but I still survived.  There are some things I could still stand to get rid of, but I'm working through them.

2.) Time

Time management.

Yep, the feeling of shame is still there!  LOL  But in a little more seriousness, I am definitely in need of better time management skills and technique.  This is a major area I need improvement in.  So, for a first step, I have decided to delve into the wisdom of others.  Tim Ferris, for starters.  I'm also tempted to delve into more Getting Things Done literature.  For now, however, I'm pulling away from the internet a bit more, trying to stay aware of time that I waste on such things, and try to look for ways in which I can get the most out of my time while still taking regular Me Time.


3.) Rocks

Those things that are heavy, dense, and stay in place.  We all have our rocks that we're chained to, and I have some of my own.  See, my problem is not an abundance of people who are overly demanding with me.  It's that I try to get around to everyone I know, to make connections, to refresh friendships, to appease THEM, to do for THEM.

On top of that, there are habits and behavior patterns I have that are not only time-consuming, but are pointless as well.  Identifying those and working to change them is another current goal/priority of mine.

Finally, in areas that directly relate to my financial goals...I don't know what my deal is.  I haven't tried very hard to stay educated about certain things, and to update/refresh my knowledge on a semi-regular basis.  I can't think of much that is more destructive or negligent than this on a personal lifestyle level.  So, I've resolved to change that!  Starting in January, I'm going to work on refreshing those things I've become rusty at, work on those things that would enhance my abilities in my job and financial sectors, and hone this awesome brain of mine.

So, in short, most of my rocks have been...me.  Not in an emo way, but I've come to realize that I get in my own way a lot.  Many of us do, and it's not so surprising.  Maybe it's related to fear of success?  I don't know, but I have sign of the obstacles, and it's time to start busting them.

Lord Ganesh, may I borrow your axe?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Nice Piece Of Tech

Recently, I came across the blog of The Sorcerer and read through a lot of his posts.  Aside from amazing me that I didn't read it sooner, it really helped stoke the fires of inspiration, and provided some good tech!

In this case, I'm talking specifically about his post about creating a Witch's Jar.

In this context, a Witch's Jar is a type of jar/bottle spell in which is placed a petition for something you want to manifest or have happen.  No herbs, oils, or other objects are kept inside; just your petition, worded in a particular way.  Instead of quoting the technique wholesale here, I direct you to click the above link to the post.  I went ahead and followed the directions in that post last night.  However, I personalized it as follows:

  • Physically washed it and then spiritually cleansed it using florida water.
  • During step 1 of the process outlined in the post, I expanded on it thus: 1) Performed the Universal Center from TSS; 2) Performed the Pillar, also from TSS; 3) Recited the Invocation of the Agathodaimon (again, from TSS), personalized and with conviction; 4) Cast the Adamantine Temple; 5) Invoked Hecate and recited the invocation from PGM V 459-489, appending with a request for aid in empowering the jar.
  • After step 2, and before step 3, I used the Triangle of Manifestation gesture along with the Song of the Serpent to fill the jar with power.

For the incense, I went with one of his suggestions, as it was the only one I had!  I never used 3 Kings incense before, but as it turns out, it's pretty good stuff!  I just wish I had some Master Key products to use for stuff like this!

The end result is pretty damn cool.  An initial reading with my pendulum a day later suggests that it's got some good potency.  I'm already starting to see signs of the initial petition I placed inside it working.  The best part about that is the particular sign not only indicated it was working, but also pointed me to an area that would really boost my efforts!  I'm not posting a pic of it because when I went to do so, I got one of those strange urges not to, and fairly strong at that.

Nonetheless, I will post about my results using it, and I look forward to further work with it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Year, New You - The Time Is Now

Initially, I wasn't going to join in on Deb's 'New Year, New You' call for action and all kinds of magical ass-kicking.  Although it's a great concept, I just didn't think I could do it.  I've been mired in stress that I'm sure is at least partially my own doing, and I've been wandering aimlessly for the past month.  My writing here, in my opinion, has not been what it used to be, and I've been feeling very uninspired.

But it turns out that Deb's muse is infectious!  I'll let it speak for itself:

Don't wait until that stupid glitter ball drops and you're already making drunk and/or sentimental mistakes, start now.  Start now when it's hardest.  Start now when you feel so weighed down with emotions better left to glittery and not so glittery vampires and when you feel like you could sleep forever.  Now is the time you need to wake up.  Get up, get up!  Don't miss this moment.  Create magics great and small, mundane and mystical.  Find everything you've been looking for, mysteries revealed in every form of divination and song and when you fuck it up, when you are too tired to try, bring each other up from bloodied knees to get back up smiling.  You are all made of stars and you have stardust in your veins.  Do something about it.

Here is what you'll do.  You'll write prompts.  You'll explore.  You'll fall down.  Sometimes you'll lay there awhile, finding things under rocks that you never wanted to know.  They'll pull you back, using yarn, glue, cajoling and stern words.  You'll keep sewing yourself into who you'll want to be and you'll tell them, sometimes too much, because that's your way and what's needed.  You'll find how far you can really fly when you've made wings to carry you and be breathless from your accomplishments.  Besides your words, you'll give something made from your hands.

And that, dear readers, is what it's about!

But here's the thing:  New Year's may be coming up, but of course that is not the only time to work on one's goals in life, and it's not the only excuse to be a Billy (or Betty) Badass in whatever you do.  I for one am working on bringing back the Ocean Delano who started this blog, the one who put together strands of different spellwork and wove them together into something awesome.  I let personal catastrophes get in my way, thinking that I'll start doing my awesome thang after the next bill I pay off or catastrophe I avert.

But that's not right!  We are magicians, shaman, witches, SORCERERS!  It's almost a duty to us to do our Crafts and to work our wills all over our spheres, reaching out to the world to take part in its creation and destruction.  New Year's is a marker, and an excellent one.  It's a time that's supposed to carry the promise of renewal and success, and I'm not pulling punches anymore.

Now, with all the pump-up speak done...exactly how am I going to do this?  WHAT am I going to do to cultivate and express my magical badassery, and HOW am I going to change my life for the better?

GOALS

Finances - This is, first and foremost, the topic at the center of my life and my attention, and that's not going to change much in the near future.  My whole life before adulthood I was raised in a paycheck-to-paycheck world by a single mother.  As an adult, I've furthered that lifestyle and given it new dimensions with the sheer number of ways I've wasted and screwed myself out of money.  It's time to take control back, and once I do this, I will be a lot happier and healthier.

By extension, my Career needs some serious work.  When your job makes you feel like an axe is constantly lingering over your head...something isn't right.  And it's not just the fact that IT infrastructure support is a sucky-ass, completely insecure field to work in.  I'll be working on staying successful in my new job, as well as learning more and honing my abilities.

In addition, I'm looking into secondary sources of income.  One such possibility is going into my own small (and I mean, tiny) business.  Given my love for the magical arts, one thing that immediately jumps to mind is offering my services online and locally.  I've been tossing around name ideas, but so far "Delano Sorcery" has sounded the best ("Delano Products" being second).

Me - Yes, me.  Now, now, I know that on here I'm all kinds of humorous, exciting and awesome ;) - However, I could use a little polishing up in several ways.  I'm not as confident in person as I am on here, I'm not pleased to admit.  If I had more confidence, hoo-boy I'd kick that much more ass!  And probably get more of it too!  >:D

But yes, I need more confidence, especially after the wringer I've been through the past couple years.  In addition, health is more of a concern of mine.  My weight is something I've battled since childhood, and although the past few years have seen me the most successful with it ever...it's still just barely, and I've been backsliding since March!  I want to look good, dammit!!!

PRAXIS

Levels - One thing about Strategic Sorcery that I've been giving more attention is touching each of the levels of reality more directly.  Out of these, Mental and Causal sorcery has been of most interest to me.  I want to explore these, especially the Informational Level. 

Talismans & Amulets - Amazingly enough, I don't have a ton of experience with amulets and talismans.  It even sounds shocking to see myself writing that!  But, it's true.  So, coming up, I am going to work on making talismans for the more long-term aspects of my goals.

Initiations - Looking back, the elemental and planetary initiations I was inspired to seek by Rufus Opus have been a godsend (pun not intended, srsly).  Things about me have changed and made me into more of who I want to be in regard to handling the negative things that come our way.  This relates to the "Me" goal above.  I've shaped myself more out of who I don't want to be anymore, and so I want to begin doing a little more shaping into who I want to be.

Once I complete the first series of planetary initiations, I'm going to start working more in-depth with each power.

Results, Results, Results! - That's what I started this blog for, and it's what I'm going to keep working on: Effectiveness in my magic!

Magically, this has been my busiest and most developmental year ever!  I'm not stopping, either.  I can't remember if it was Rufus Opus, Inominandum, or Gordon who stated that this is an exciting time for us magical folk.  Hell, all three of them might have said it.  But it really is.  We've never been more connected, and capable of reaching out as far as we now can.  We're following in the footsteps of all the great magi who came before...we're making the new traditions and systems, and it fucking rocks!





And you thought the pump-up speak was done...silly readers.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Frustration Abounds

To be honest, I've been more than a little frustrated lately.

Ever since I started my new job, my life has been a ball of stress and paranoia where my mind has been preoccupied almost totally by my job situation and the possibility of losing it over flimsy bullshit.  I've also been frustrated by my own "new guy" screw-ups, especially on Friday.  On top of all that, my financial situation hasn't really improved.  I've still been broke most of the time, mostly because it's been rent time.  I really hope I can get things to turn around soon.

"What magical things have you been doing to improve the situation", I hear some of you asking.  To start with, I've been deploying field magic at my workplace by deploying things like High John oil in my cubicle, and Commanding oil to strategic areas that my coworkers and boss will walk across and touch.  In addition to that, I've resorted to some informational magic by injecting an idea into my boss (That I should keep working there).  So far, my principle focus has been my boss, as my coworkers have been much more forgiving of the foibles of a new person, especially since the place I work at has one of those loose, play-it-partly-by-ear IT departments.

However, there are aspects of my own skillset that I've been intensely dissatisfied with (mostly stuff that got rusty with disuse), and with the recent instability of the department I work in.  So those are what I'm going to focus on further with more temple work and a little bit more field magic.  Financial and economic instability, hindered performance...these are things that are related to the influence of Jupiter and Mercury when they're retrograde, if I'm not mistaken.  And Jupiter and Mercury are currently both retrograde, of course.

Things have been complicated further by a recent bout of aimlessness and complete uninspiration with my practices.  I'm trying to overcome that and get my engines going again.

On a practical note, in the past few days I came across tech that I think would be useful to me over at Magick of Thought, which I found through the blogroll of the awesome Mr. Black over at Beyond Chaos Magick.  Namely, I've been working with the technique of finding and adopting my Mental Posture for working magic.  So far I've only given it a limited test run, but it looks promising.  I'm looking to do some practical work with it soon and see what happens.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Arts

Just a few minutes ago I put the finishing touches on an item I've been wanting for over 6 months.

Black arts oil (also, incenses and powders) is used primarily for two things:  Crossing and pact-making/demonic evocation.  For a good synopsis of its uses, check out Brother Ash's post on it.  People, I'm not gonna lie, I've had the urge to curse people since day one of being into magic.  In fact, it was one of the main things that drew me into it all.  I got into Wicca, where cursing is basically forbidden, and practiced that for most of the past 15 years, but I always had that urge in the back of my mind.

Despite that, I've never actually performed a full-on hexing, crossing, or other curse.  However, I decided to make some Black Arts oil as a "Just In Case" measure.  Here's the recipe I used.  It was inspired by similar formulas by Brother Ash and Catherine Yronwode:
  • 1 tsp Patchouli herb
  • 1 tsp Valerian Root (aka Vandal Root)
  • 1 tsp Black/Brown Mustard seeds (slightly ground)
  • 1 tsp Spanish Moss
  • 1 tsp Mullein
  • 1 tsp Sulphur
  • 9 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pinch black dog hair
  • 2-3 ounces blended olive, mineral, and castor oils
Blend the patchouli, valerian root, black mustard, spanish moss, mullein and sulphur into the base oil, heat for a few minutes, and then store in an airtight container.  Shake everyday for 3-7 days.  When this is done, filter the oil out using a coffee filter or cheesecloth.  If desired, pour in about 9 drops of patchouli essential oil.  Pour it into a 2-3 ounce bottle with a pinch of each of the herbs, plus the peppercorns and the black dog hair. Following this recipe resulted in what you see to the right.

Pretty much all the ingredients are associated with cursing, hexing, harming enemies, and conjuring malevolent spirits, according to Yronwode's Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic.  The only one I don't quite get is Patchouli, where according to the aforementioned book, it's mostly used for love, money, and jinx-breaking.

Heh, the funny thing about the black dog hair is that I don't have a black dog handy.  What to do?  Well, I lied to the pet groomers!  "Well, it's my niece.  I promised her I'd help her get this for her science class project.  It involves putting animal hair under a microscope, and her part of it specifically requires black dog hair."  And amazingly, there was no fuss, no muss after that and I walked out of there with a fistful of the stuff (in a bag, of course)!

And now that I've made it, it's time to plan for the empowerment.

It just so happens that today is Saturday, and Saturn most aligned with the purposes of Black Arts products.  I think, for the empowerment of this oil, that I'll call on Hekate Kthonia for assistance...


Oh, also, for the record: Black Arts oil really doesn't smell that great.  Seriously.  Even adding a little patchouli oil to it doesn't help, not in the slightest.  Just adds a new dimension to the noxiousness.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude

I've been reflecting on what Thanksgiving means and what I'm thankful for.

In my spiritual path, I am very much thankful to three people:
  • Brother Moloch:  If not for his writings on his website, I probably would not have gone on to find Strategic Sorcery and the whole collection of occult blogs out here.  Although I have not directly practiced in line with his writings, he was the gatekeeper.
  • Inominandum:  Strategic Sorcery has truly changed my practices, and it is all for the better.  There's not a single negative thing I can say about Strategic Sorcery.  I'm definitely more skillful with my craft than I used to be, and I see things more clearly.  The magic I've worked has been consistently much more successful.
  • Rufus Opus:  I FINALLY got my feet wet with evocation!  I even have a loose paradigm within which to frame my practices (although I am indeed keeping it loose)
Those were just the ones I'm most thankful for. On top of them, I'm also thankful for all the other bloggers and resources I've learned from and encountered here on the internet.  All those in the blogroll on the sidebar, all those who have commented here on my blog, all of you.

And I'm thankful to all who read this blog.  There are some who have come to me with questions, and I've answered as best I can.  It really does me good to know I can help others with this stuff.

Taking things down to a more "mundane" level...this year has been hard.  It's very possible that things are going to get really bad for me again economically (it's all just so up in the air), but I'm grateful for the lessons learned this year, all the ways I have been tempered as a person, and for those who helped me when times were rough.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Planetary Seals

Even before I signed up for Strategic Sorcery, when I was reading through Jason Miller's book "The Sorcerer's Secrets", I was fascinated by these newfangled planetary seals he revealed.  There were a few in the book, and the rest were revealed in the course.

The seals provide a direct link to the planet's force, unhindered by any astrological aspects at that particular time.  As a gift to him, one of Jason's brothers in the Sangreal Sodality gave him a set of the seals printed in the correct planetary colors on what looks like black paper or cardstock.  Pics of them can be found in a few one Jason's blog posts: here on the wall behind the altar in the sixth picture, and here in the lefthand picture.

Ever since laying eyes on that set, I've wanted one for my own use.  And now, I have the means and the source to print them from!  I took to the GIMP and recreated the seals in their respective colors on a black background.  What is shown here are the same seals that Jason reveals in The Sorcerer's Secrets, as he asks us in the course not to spread them all around the internet.  But since he revealed three of them in the book, I'm ok with showing the same three from the graphics I made of them, plus Jupiter since he revealed it with the cover of his new book recently.

Now, one thing I'm aware of off the bat is that some of the colors I have used so far are different than the ones on Jason's set.  In the altar pic, I honestly can't quite tell what the color for Saturn is.  It looks like a dull pewter color, but as you can see in my graphic, I used indigo.  Once I have them printed, I'll go over the ones for Sol and Luna with gold and silver leaf pens, respectively.

I also thought about creating these each with a double circle around it detailing the name of the planet in latin and with the permutations of IAO around it.  But I'll leave off that for now and work just with the seals themselves.

I'm thinking of making these available to fellow students of Strategic Sorcery.  But for now, I want to get them printed, mounted to black cardstock or board, and charged as planetary talismans.

I gotta admit, people: I'm a little excited about this and proud of my work.  :)



NOTE:  The seals themselves are copyright Jason Miller and Matthew Brownlee.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An Attempt At Mercury...and stuff!

Continuing the initiations into the Planetary Spheres, I recently conjured Raphael as governor of the sphere of Mercury.  He declined to grant me the initiation and integration of Mercury at the time (as of writing this it was a week ago).  I honestly had trouble perceiving him, so I didn't entirely catch his reasons why.  There was something about me not being ready.  I'm not irritated about it like I was last time I requested initiation from Raphael (in his role as Governer of the sphere of Air).  If nothing else, Saturn has taught me to be patient.

I'll keep trying, though!  I doubt he's willing to deny me forever.  ;)

With that said, I've been rather busy lately.  Life has been full of my new job, and friends!  I've been trying to get back in touch with friends who had fallen by the wayside for the past couple years, and so the past couple weeks have been full of hanging out.

But about that mention of a new job.  I got one recently, and it pays more than any regular, long-term job I've ever had.  During recent employer-induced financial struggle, I went all out with magic.  During the process I made several condition oils that ended up being effective.  In fact, with all the field reports from other blogs on the Sorcerous Blog-O-Sphere, I've been tempted to do a write-up of my efforts and what I did to affect my situation for the better.

Today, during my regular practice, I decided to try something different at the end of my meditation session. In the lessons for Strategic Sorcery, at one point Jason covers the levels (not just the 3 in The Sorceror's Secrets), and talks about how you can access each one, even through meditation and astral travel.  The method he gives for shifting to higher levels is something he calls Sandpiling.

I decided to try it today and see how it goes, and I didn't really expect much.  I started from my basic meditative level left over from my normal session.  Then, I started sandpiling.  I drew my sense of awareness inward, towards me.  After a few minutes of this, there was a shift and I was experiencing things from a higher level.  In this case it was the Aetheric.  Then I repeated it, going upward towards the astral, then the soul level.  When I sandpiled into the mental level, things got interesting.

It was true to the mention of others in that there was no form, no distance...just information.  I found myself having to thing and act in commands.  I even manipulated the information level of a few things, including myself and someone else, while on this level.

Then I moved onto the causal level.  I can't remember if Jason said it could be accessed via sandpiling or not, but I decided to try anyway.  It's hard to describe what I experienced there.  The thing I remember most from it was my will being present.  Writing that now, it sounds strange to me...but that's the way it was.

I'm going to work with the sandpiling technique some more and see what I find.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Venusian Initiation

A little bit ago, I decided to continue my planetary initiations by conjuring the archangel Haniel to initiate me into Venus.

Normally I would have tried for yesterday since it was a Friday, but I was busy that evening.  So, I decided to try the more Abra-Melin based method of reckoning the planetary times.  It just so happened that Venus hit the midheaven at 2:55pm today. So, around that time, I performed my version of the Trithemius rite modified with Strategic Sorcery tech.

When asked what the best time by her Nature was to call her, Haniel answered that the absolute perfect time to conjure her would be on a bright, clear summer day while Venus is in the middle of the sky.

Then I asked her what method I could use to conjure her in less formal situations.  What I got was, "Let art and, if possible, people be around thee.  Sing my name aloud or under the breath in a melody of thine choice.  Hold thine arms out as if for embrace and speak thy will."

When it came time for the initiation itself, Haniel jumped right into it!  It wasn't like others I've gone through.  it was very sensual.  I mean, VERY.  Sensual.  All over...all kinds of places.  Yeah.

The scent of the incense (benzoin and red sandalwood) seemed to expand and permeate my sense of smell completely, even seeming to push out the smoky aspect of the smoldering incense.  I felt increased bloodflow to certain parts of my body, and muscles in my lower back began to twitch wildly for a moment.

Then it was all over!  After the initiation, I had a question for Haniel about Venusian talismans and she gave some advice as well as a brief consecration/empowerment of the lamen I was wearing.  After that I closed down like normal.

Overall, this is one of the more vivid and powerful conjurations I've done.  Haniel was very nurturing, personable and friendly, much like the forces of Venus are reputed to be!  ;)


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Update

After going through the initiation into the sphere of Mars, I've decided to kick things up a notch with the initiations.  I'm going to pursue the initiations every few nights, falling on planetary days, until I've gone through each planet.

As an interesting side note related to my Mars initiation: On saturday I went to a party where a few of the other attendees were interested in esoterica of various kinds.  We all drifted into one room at some point and started talking about astrology and elemental breakdown of personality.  I challenged one of them to guess my sun sign and/or primary element.  He said straightaway, "You seem very fiery."  I was honestly surprised, because throughout my whole life I've never been known to be fiery.  In the past, my primary and secondary elements have been shown to be Water and Air, with those two switching place from time to time.  It makes me wonder how they breakdown now.  But anyway...

Yesterday I completed the initiation into Sol by calling upon Michael.  I'm starting to wonder about my approach, especially concerning timing, as I've had a lot of difficulty "hearing" and "seeing" the angels I've called.  During yesterday's ritual, it was like I could barely even catch whispers from Michael.  Still, he seemed to agree to the initiation, and after giving my request, I felt a surge of euphoria with a certain lightness.  To my spiritual sight, my centers (opened through the Pillar exercise in TSS) each turned into bright fireballs.  Then, light coursed through my channels and spread throughout the rest of me.

The after-effects haven't been anything dramatic.  I've felt (and been) more in harmony with those around me.  My sense of self feels a little stronger.  Interesting so far, but once again I got the sense that Michael was only able to take me so far and that more work is needed, specifically with attaining the HGA.

One other thing for now...

For some time now, I've been considering the creation of an ancestor shrine.  I know a lot of people who have had, at best, dysfunctional relationships with their blood relatives.  So much so that I've felt lucky with the family I got.  My family does have, and has had, its dysfunction...but it's always been personality clashes simply resulting in arguments and verbal fights (at least, to *my* knowledge).  But in regard to me, my relatives (dead or otherwise) have always had love for me, even during times of conflict.

So, after recently reading Moloch's post about working with ancestors...I thought, "Why not?"  'Tis the season for dealings with the dead, and I've been considering it for awhile.  I have the materials to make an ancestral shrine and the know-how to maintain it.  I'll go for it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Out of the Blue

Just a quick update with two things.

First, I revamped the look of my blog.  I wanted something lighter and, in my opinion, easier to read.

The second thing is something I'm not so sure I should post, for fear of sounding crazy.  See, although my current path encourages work with spirits equally with energy, mind, etc...long-term exposure and agreement with rationalist viewpoints causes me to still be a tad skeptical of talking to spirits and other such occurrences.

So last night, when I had a spirit approach me after my regular offering...I didn't know what to think.  At the conclusion of the offering, I got a clear and assertive psychic/spiritual impression that amounts to, "Hey, you!  Excuse me!  I need to talk to you right now!"  Thanks to meditation I've gotten a bit better at discerning my thoughts from spiritual communication, so the fact that this caused me to sit back down, roll with it and NOT dismiss it as my imagination playing wish-fulfillment...should say something.

Long story short, he introduced himself as a Mercurial spirit who is an opener of doors and ways, who releases from bondage and promotes motion and flow.  He gave me a name and a sigil to call him by, and although he seemed adamant about helping me, he simply told me to call him when needed.  I tried a couple of times to ask him why he approached me wanting to help, but all I got was basically, "Because I want to, period, and that's all I'm going to say!"

Yeah right, like I buy that.  I kept picking up the sense that this spirit has another motive that's more about him than it is about me.  But, I'll give him a shot and see how things work.

Initiation to Mars


This week I decided to continue the series of initiations into the Planetary Spheres by evoking the archangel Kammael and asking him for initiation into Mars and integration of its forces into my own sphere.

Initially I attempted the ritual on Sunday in the hour of Mars, since astrologically, Mars was in a position less badly aspected than it would be on Tuesday at the appropriate hour.  Long story short, the working failed.  Effects on me, along with a divination, indicated little success.

So I repeated the working yesterday, as it was the day of Mars.  This time, when I summoned Kammael, the air around me seemed to fill with the subtle influence of the archangel.  He showed up similarly to the way he did previously, but more regal.  In fact, he showed up looking similar to the picture to the right.

I definitely had different sensations during the work last night than I did during the previous rite.  During the attunement, I kept getting these dream-like sequences concerning things and people I know...but all based around themes ruled by mars.  After the ritual...ugh.

I say “Ugh” because I hate it when I get like that, and I haven’t gotten like that for quite some time.  I was surly, a bit brazen, and full of attitude.  I was confident, which is something I want...but it was to the point of almost being a bit egotistical.  That effect (thankfully) chilled out by the end of the night, especially when I went to perform the LBRP because that state had irritated me THAT much.  However, I didn’t actually do the LBRP...I just did the Qabalistic Cross.  As soon as I finished doing that...the Martial force in me calmed down, so I saw no need to continue with the rest of the LBRP.

Since then, I’ve been more confident and have felt more forceful, but it hasn’t been anything ostentatious.

I’ll be working on initiation into the sphere of the Sun this Sunday.

And coming up...inspired by The Unlikely Mage’s recent success, I will post about practical magics I’ve done to help with my work situation. In addition, I’m revisiting the notion of using a sigil web to help with my multi-faceted financial goal (which I will also post about soon).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Saturn Comes Back Around

Several others on the occult blog-o-sphere have been doing posts about Saturn.  Saturn, the Greater Malefic.  The planetary force of time, binding, limitations, agriculture and death.

I've had recent dealings with Saturn, as some of you may know.  Reading through the posts of Jow, Jack, and The Unlikely Mage...I can't help but reflect how different my experience with The Greater Malefic was.  To all indications, it was the forces of Saturn I dealt with.  But its effect on me was positive right from the start.  And note, by "positive" I don't mean beneficial...Saturn's influence, when used toward personal and spiritual development, is usually beneficial in the end, but hell  before that.  No, I mean that, right from the start, after my initiation into the Sphere of Saturn and the beginning of integration of its forces into my life...things were fine and I was better than before.

Months ago I realized that I have some boundary issues that were causing me a lot of personal problems and undue strife.  After the Saturn initiation, my boundaries were more solid, and I reaped multiple benefits because of this.  Since then, I've had close friends telling me how centered I've become, and I definitely have a stronger sense of self.

The recent posts have gotten me thinking.  Was that all there was to Saturn's new and apparently positive influence in my life?  Looking back over the past 2 months, things have been pretty rocky for me.  Yes, I got some inner change that was desperately needed, but externally things have been really tight and restrictive, especially with my finances.  However, and I suspect I can thank Jupiter's forces for this...at every turn I've had the tools I've needed to get through it, even when it didn't seem like I would at first.  And every step along the way, I've learned more, gotten better, become stronger.  In many ways, it reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Tool:  The Grudge.  In particular, where Maynard goes:

"Defining, confining, sinking deeper. Controlling, defining, and we're sinking deeper.

Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let's you choose what you will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent."


Throughout the trials I've been going through, I have indeed been fighting a massive depression tooth and fucking nail.  I don't know if that's a good or bad things, but it's working for me so far.  Maybe it's Saturn's way of working with me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Snake Oil

I know a good number of atheists, and I browse Reddit regularly, so I get to hear a good amount of gripe about pseudoscience, alternative medicine, spiritual practices, and others.  Of course, the common nickname for people who advocate such things is "Snake Oil Salesmen".

I was recently hanging out with a friend of mine of a rather chaote bent ("Jewel" from the Interview Spell post), and I got an idea to formulate a condition oil called Snake Oil and sell it at the local Pagan Pride Day next year.  She found it hilarious and thinks I should do it, especially considering that the local pagan community has a number of atheists who, while not religious about it, participate in the culture.  I think it would be hilarious to show up at a pagan gathering, selling Snake Oil!  That's just the way my sense of humor is.

The thing is, some occult suppliers already make and sell something called Snake Oil!  Namely, I found Snake Oils by Anna Riva and by AzureGreen.  It's mostly for money and legal issues, with some healing and cursing undertones.  But I can't find a recipe and I still want to make my own and sell it!

This is gonna be so much fun...LOLZ!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tapping Into Terra

Early on in Strategic Sorcery, Jason advised us to tap into various sources of power.  Among these were the power of the rising and setting sun, the energy of trees, and even the earth's magnetic field.

I obtained some lodestones a few months ago, and haven't really done anything with them since.  This was mostly because, while I am indeed in Strategic Sorcery and we tend to do some interesting, off the cuff things...I've tended to try to be traditional when making and prepping materia drawn from Conjure and other folk traditions.  So, having misplaced my magnetic sand, I didn't use my lodestones because I couldn't "feed" them regularly.

This past weekend I finally got some more magnetic sand...and also found the packet of it I had before!  Now, my lodestones are a bit weak, and I wanted to add some oomph to them via the magnetic sand...so I took things a bit further.

While in a cast circle, I drew upon the earth's magnetic field, pulling from the north and south poles.  It was definitely a new and interesting experience and sensation.  I drew on it and pushed it into the sand using the Triangle of Manifestation gesture.

Now I'm looking forward to using my lodestones!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hail Columbia

I'm not going to link to it, but there is a project by a group of Apostolic Christians with the aim of using prayer across a particular succession of states ending with DC, to dethrone the goddess Columbia and turn our nation into a Christian Nation with all the tyranny they envision for it.  I haven't seen much effective action from other pagans and/or magicians and sorcerers, but today I found an awesome prayer to counter the prayers this group is using.  I was going to take action every night to counter them, but hadn't done so yet as I felt I had no direction.  But now I know there are a lot of others who are working on countering this.  So, with a slightly altered version of the prayer I found, I'm going to set about countering their efforts every morning for the rest of the DC40 project.  Here is the text of the prayer, from The Burrow Murmurs:

They pilfer the blood of the Lamb,

the stain of the crucifixion,

to imbue the tips of their arrows and cast them wide at the hearts and souls of Her children.

May they instead fall at our feet, the blood of the sacrifice returned to nourish fertile ground.

For I am of this land born.

The blood and spirit of Her first people, our Founding Fathers, and revolutionaries courses through my veins.

My heartbeat is the drum resounding across a land that broke the back of tyranny.

Let them come.

Let them exhaust themselves with their efforts.

Let theirs be as futile an assault on Liberty as a young child’s tiny fists.

Let it be the fitful struggle of a child that would beat upon the breast of his mother all while Her arms encircled him.

Nothing more.

Hail Columbia, and cry Liberty!

Hail Columbia, and cry Liberty!

Hail Columbia, and cry Liberty!

So mote it be brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

*WHACK*

OW!

That sound you just heard was me getting spiritually and mentally smacked upside the head, thanks to this video:


Did you see that?  Did you where she mentioned taking an electronic device to a powerplant and plugging it in directly with no filters or AC to DC conversion?  (Well, she didn't say THAT exactly, but something like it)

In my first post on uncrossing, I mentioned some spells I performed that went WAY awry, to the extent they actually reversed on me.  Some time after I finally recovered from the effects of the last one, I did a conjuration of the spirits involved and practically demanded answers.  This weak, pathetic mortal pretentiously calling himself a name other than the one he was born with went up to two powerful beings and basically said, "WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT ABOUT???"

Their response?  "You didn't leave the way open for us to fulfill your request."

Since, mundanely, the avenues were there the whole time for the magic to manifest...their answer confused me and I eventually wrote it off.  Until tonight.

Sometimes you just have to ground the magic in something physical.  Based on what I know and understand now, I think that's what the true purpose of materia is.  I've long since accepted this, ever since I began delving into Sorcery and, more specifically, Strategic Sorcery.  I used to chalk those backfired spells completely up to the crossed condition I was under, but now?

Maybe that condition wasn't all there was to it.  Granted, I think it played a part...but with the spells in question, I was basically plugging into a big power source without going through all the circuits, and now I'm really not surprised that things (namely, me) short-circuited.  But either way thank you, Cara Yowell, for helping me to finally understand an important lesson.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

This Was Entertaining

I just came across my old profile from The Witches Voice, and found it entertaining.  I had forgotten that I have a tendency to write like that when I'm feeling a little squirrely:

I spent 10 years practicing Wicca before I realized that I diverged from it. So, I decided to pursue my first love: Magic. Since then I've learned to liquidate my beliefs and have become closer to the Gods. I've done a (OMG!) banishing/warding ritual with a cup of coffee. I've done a worship ceremony to Apollo on the dance floor. I see the world beyond mere "energy". There is information, there are spirits, and there is also Mind. I'm not a Chaote, I'm mostly Hermetic.

The Goddess is alive, and magic is in my fingers. Karma doesn't matter, and I've denounced the threefold law. There is something liberating about letting go of superstitions and then subsequently choosing your own.

And just a warning for EVERYONE: I use good grammar and spelling. Anyone I encounter who doesn't gets docked points. And if they get bad enough, they WILL be put on notice.

Good day!


AND A GOOD DAY TO YOU, SIR!


Update or How I Empowered My High John Oil


All kinds of recent events and happenings have had me somewhat absent from my usual online presence here on my blog, on forums I frequent, and on social networking.  In short, it's been related to finances.  In response to it all, I've been a lot more magically active, implementing financial magic to get my life back to where I want it.

For starters, I've been working on several condition oils, including High John oil, which I mentioned in a previous post.  At the time, I was still working on making the oil itself, and so I didn't go into how I was going to empower it.

As I often have, I went with a spell from the Greek Magical Papyri.  This one is rather simple, from PGM VII 1017-1026:

"Hail, Helios! Hail, Helios! Hail, Gabriel! Hail, Raphael! Hail, Michael! Hail to the whole Universe! Give me the authority and power of Sabaoth, the strength of IAO, the success of ABLANATHANALBA, the might of Akrammachamarei.  Grant victory, for I know the names of the Good Daimon, HARPON CHNOUPHI BRITATEHNOHPHRI BRISAROUAZAR BASEN KRIPHI NIPTOUMI CHMOUMAOHPHI (XXXXX).  Grant me victory, as I have summoned you, and accomplish this for me."

The "(XXXXX)" near the end was the name of my Genius.

I simply prayed the spell over the oil at least 3 times a day for 3 days, leaving it sitting on a handwritten copy of the spell in between prayer.

There will be more to come on the financial magic I've been doing.  At this point it has mostly been candle spells, but forthcoming operations include spirit summoning, creation of a talisman, and creation of a spirit bottle.  Funny, that just happens to cover two homework assignments in Strategic Sorcery that I have yet to hand in.  ;)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gotta love the Muses!

I love it when inspiration strikes me!  I was doing my practice and I decided to begin empowering my Commanding and my High John oils.  For the High John I used a nifty little success spell from the Greek Magical Papyri, which I'll share at a later time.  For the Commanding Oil, I was just winging it when the following incantation came together:

My will supreme, my will is true;
My command extends across the land.
For now I know, wherever I go,
All shall fall under my command.

I mean, sure it's bad poetry.  But someone once said that bad poetry makes for good spells!  This incantation helped me focus, too.  And as I had called several categories of spirits together for offerings just before this, I give this shout-out as thanks to whatever spirit (if any) inspired it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quote About Karma

From user Roland Deschain at OccultCorpus:

"Just because karma is from a different country and culture does not mean it wasn't invented to keep the Hindu masses in order. Belief in karma is just a restraint for our morals. I can decide on my own what is right and wrong, and so can you. If some of you are afraid your magickal fire is going to come back and burn you, maybe you shouldn't play with it."


This matches closely with my thoughts on karma in magic.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Commanding High John

Tonight, as I write this, I am making two condition oils.  The first is Commanding oil, a la Brother Ash's 5 Black Saturdays post #4 (whose posts I am really enjoying; great stuff, Brother Ash!), except I'm also macerating the ingredients in the oil on the stovetop to start it all out.

I also decided to make some High John oil with the two roots I have of the same name.  Unfortunately this meant taking them out to the sidewalk in a ziploc bag and pounding the shit out of them with a hammer.

I can't wait till it's all finished!  :)

Cleaned Up & Organized

Over the weekend, I finally unpacked my materia.  Between herbs, oils, and candles, they took up all three shelves in one of those small bookcases.  I'm thinking of remaking my Uncrossing and Fiery Wall of Protection oils, because I've become proficient at macerating such oils since making these.  We'll see, though.

Over the weekend, I also started making what little supplies I'll need for another...um, "project", I guess.  Since getting my feet wet with the Trithemius/Rufus Opus method of evocation, I've decided to start including some more evocation in my work.  I also received the Strategic Sorcery Mini-Grimoire weeks ago, and it's spirits fascinate me.  Additionally, I've gained the vision of the Joyful and Fierce Bodies...so, I'm gonna have a go at it!

Initially, I was going to employ a particular spirit of debt and a spirit of domination from the Mini-Grimoire on the "downside to my recent move" mentioned in my last post.  Plans have begun to change since then, as I might just cut all ties with the person involved and wash my hands of the whole thing.  However, I'm also going to employ a spirit of money from the MG as part of bigger plans I have.

It's been a bit since I got the Saturn initiation, so I think I may attempt the Jupiter initiation soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Post-Move and Upcoming Plans

I got moved!

Last weekend, I moved to another apartment.  I finished moving everything over Saturday night, and since then it's been a big ol' Unpacking bonanza!

As I left the old place for the last time, I gave an offering to the Genius Loci of the apartment and the complex. That same night I gave a similar offering along with introductions to the Genius Loci of the new place.  So far, the feel of the new place is really nice.  It's not like other new apartments I've had, where things felt strange and a little scary.  Unpacking has even been easy.  It seems like me and the Genius Loci are getting along so far!  ;)

Last night I got even more unpacking done, and in the process setup my temple area.  I have two workings planned for the apartment:

House blessing
Fiery Wall of Protection

There is a downside to the move, but I'm not going to talk about it openly...yet.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Boxes

Hello, my readers.  It's been a while!

I'm moving in a couple of days, and so as one would expect, my apartment is being turned into a trainwreck of boxes and other containers.  So far things have fallen together rather well for this move, which to me is a possible indicator that I'm acting in alignment with what is "supposed" to happen in my life.

The state of my apartment isn't the only reason I've named this post "Boxes".  I also named it such because of recent magical and personal work I've been doing.  On the personal level, I've been trying to stay mindful of boundaries in myself and in others, and keep from breaching them.  Decisiveness and conviction is something I've been trying to cultivate more of.

On a magical level, I recently underwent the initiation into the Sphere of Saturn via Tzaphkiel.  A slight, "background" depression set in as the angel manifested its presence, and when I viewed it in the crystal, it had an appearance very similar to that of the statue of Giordano Bruno, but with wings and ashen-white skin.  It's been a week or two now, and I can't quite remember what Tzaphkiel said to me, but he agreed to give me the initiation into Saturn and integrate its forces into my Sphere.

What happened as the initiation commenced was not altogether unexpected.  Sadness enveloped me, and a small depressive episode came on.  But after a short time of this, I began to feel very calm and felt like I was perceiving this fathomless reality.  It was infinity, but just a tiny glimpse.  The feeling that all shall be, and that all shall pass filled me.  Although the sadness didn't go away, it was modified by this and became the melancholy I've read associated with Binah and Saturn.

After some time of this, Tzaphkiel caught my attention again, but for a moment looked like it had the "typical" features of an angel.  A good example would be the way Neil Gaiman portrays them...except Tzaphkiel was dressed in dark rags.  After a moment the vision reverted to the Bruno-esque appearance, and it told me that was all that could be done for now.  After I dismissed Tzaphkiel, the saturnine feeling lifted.

The results since the ritual have been interesting.  I've finally been able to swing things at work so that I've become more productive, for one thing.  Also, there has been my treatment of boundaries, and a better awareness of my limitations, both ingrained and self-imposed.  Looking back over the past couple weeks, it seems like I've been working with those limitations more, and actually managing to be more effective as a person!  Finally, time management has taken on more importance.

Patience and organization has been an increasing theme for me lately, as though mentally, things have been put into boxes for me, helping me to see things that are going on and work with situations.  Eventually I am going to get sick of the Saturnian influence working so strongly in my life, and I'll move on to the Jupiter initiation (besides, I really need a 2nd job; don't worry, I'm already doing practical work on it).  But in the meantime, the organization feels good.

Time to go continue putting all my physical stuff into boxes!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Elemental Air Initiation & Other Development

It's been the better part of a month since I attempted to gain initiation into the Elemental Sphere of Air by conjuring Raphael.  Since then, I've gone through a certain amount of personal work and development.  I recently wrote about my experiences in being attuned and initiated into Fire, and that has helped a LOT.

For that reason, I recently decided to try to gain initiation into Air again.  This time, as I did with the Fire initiation, I used a version of the Trithemius/Rufus Opus method modified with Strategic Sorcery tech.  Raphael didn't come across quite as clearly as Michael did, but his responses were more defined.  He agreed to give me the initiation to Air and integration of its forces into my sphere.

I've read the experiences of Polyphanes and The Unlikely Mage regarding this initiation.  In many ways my experience matched up with theirs, especially concerning the after-effects.  During the initiation it felt like air was blowing through my blood vessels, which was a rather interesting sensation to say the least!  Since then, I've noticed that I'm better at analyzing my thoughts and detaching from them.  This has unexpectedly lent me more emotional control in a kind of Cognitive-Behavioral therapeutic way (something which I'll get more into later in this post).

So with that, I've been initiated into all four Elemental Spheres.  Based on mention by students of Rufus Opus, there is a second part to the elemental initiations, but I'm going to hold off on those until I am more in touch with my Angel.  Besides, I'm going to begin working through the Planetary Spheres as well.

Recently I conjured my Genius again and asked it if my plan of going through the Planetary Spheres in the order of Luna>Mercury>Venus>Sol>Mars>Jupiter>Saturn was best.  Contrary to initial indications when I made these plans, my Genius advised me not to do that order.  Instead, I should apparently start with Saturn.

This advice, less than a week later, proved to mean more and make so much sense.

The Battle With The Demons Begins

Dear readers, what follows is slightly personal and has a slight weight to it.  When I say "slight" I mean it as in "yeah, there is, but not THAT much".

For a long time I've felt the need to go through psychotherapy of some kind.  My main reason used to be self-knowledge.  But now, that is the last reason.  The main reason is a lot of issues with depression and anxiety.

A few days after I received the aforementioned advice from my Genius, I went to my first appointment with my therapist.  Some of the major influences on my thoughts and emotions were discussed, and at the end of the session, my therapist said something incredibly apt:  It seems as though I have a weak sense of self.

One of the many issues involved in a weak sense of self are boundary issues.  These type of issues themselves can take several forms, and I'd say I have covered about 75% of them!  After learning this through further research, the advice from my Genius makes so much more sense.

See, this is where Saturn comes in.  Saturn can help me define myself, establish healthier boundaries, and thus enable myself to have greater self-esteem and confidence.  Going down the order from there, I feel like Jupiter has a great role to play in my reclaiming and fostering a healthy sense of self, but if I formulated the words for it, they currently escape me.

So that's it...the battle with my demons has begun.  Already I feel like I have so many weapons to use in the fight against depression, anxiety and other issues, that I truly feel hopeful.  I have the forces of the universe I can integrate into my being.  I have meditation to help me work with my thoughts.  I have literature chock full of great-quality Congnitive-Behavioral Therapy tech, and I have a damn good therapist whose reputation precedes her.

It's time to be awesome again.


Friday, August 5, 2011

World On Fire

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Unfortunately, my practical work has been at a lull.  Life has crept in and has tried to drag me away in its mundane clutches!  Actually, I've just been planning logistics and getting things in order for upcoming projects both magical and mundane.

One task that I've been trying to work on is cultivating positive "fire" in my psyche, as per my previous post, and boy do I have something to talk about here, folks!

I was hanging out with the friend of mine who gave me my staff awhile back, and was talking about the postponement of my initiation into Air and the reason for it.  My friend decided to help the process of cultivating elemental Fire in me by taking me through an attunement with that element using his techniques.  He anointed me with High John oil, spiritually purified me with tobacco smoke, and then the real work began.  I'm not sure if this is the best way to describe it, but he had me gather my soul into a piece of material that he then set on fire.  To my point of view, I placed the..."focal point"...of my Sphere into the material so that as it burned, elemental Fire swept through it, bringing purification and balance to elemental Fire within me.

The aftereffects were unexpected: calm, slowness to anger, a bit more body heat, increase in my creative urges.

In the time between this and my next topic of discussion, I kept getting an intuition that I should continue with the elemental initiations, going with Fire and Michael next.  So, guess what I did (and what the next topic is)?

Initiation into Elemental Fire

Copyright 2008 Howard David Johnson
I did some things differently when I conjured Michael as the King of the Elemental Sphere of Fire.  I took the conjuration ritual given in Trithemius and in Rufus Opus' 'A Modern Angelic Grimoire' and modified it using tech from Strategic Sorcery.  This was especially apt, as my cycle is going through the topic of grimoire spirits and evocation.  Divination by pendulum and then by a small, quick tarot spread showed positive signs for the effectiveness of the resultant conjuration ritual.

So, last night, I attempted it.  In hindsight, I'm surprised at how clearly Michael showed to me and how well I could discern his voice from my own thoughts.  He agreed to the Initiation and Integration of Elemental Fire without any real hesitation.  He also appeared in a manner somewhat reminiscent of a modern soldier...at least, in face a head (he seemed to have a crew cut...  <_<).  As he began the initiation, he pointedly told me, "Don't move."

Initially I didn't feel much.  I felt some kind of shifting, but then this sensation came over me that I can only describe as my soul being on fire all over again.  Shortly after this came a sensation that felt something like a low, steady and subtle fire coursing along all my nerves from my brain.  Later, after the ritual, I realized that my muscles all ached as though something were going on at a neuro-muscular level.

During the initiation, it felt as though Michael was holding back, only giving me a little.  He confirmed this, saying something like, "This is all you can receive for now, but it is enough and you are initiated into Fire.  Focus on your passion and creativity, and your capacity for fire will increase."

I had a question for Michael, based on a conversation about the fixity and volatility of the elements I had with my friend.  I asked which element is the most volatile, air or fire?  His answer was really interesting:

"Neither.  All elements are fixed and volatile depending on numerous factors.  After all, earth can easily be changed when it is dry and brittle.  Water can be made to evaporate.  Air can stand still, and fire can be controlled."

I'm not sure if that made sense, even to me, given the definition of the word 'volatile'.  I asked him further, in the context of conventional occult philosophy, which element is most volatile.  To this, he answered that it is Fire.

Afterward, I dismissed Michael and ended the ritual.

Overall, I feel this ritual was very effective, and I'm looking forward to attempting the Air initiation in the near future.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Well, *THAT* was disappointing...

I decided to conjure Raphael tonight and seek from him initiation into the elemental sphere of air, as well integration of its forces into my own personal sphere.


He refused.


*Sigh*


I mean, what the hell, right???


Copyright 2009 Howard David Johnson
Initially it really surprised me when he refused.  I thought my perceptions were failing again and so I repeated the question two more times, taking measures to open my senses more in between.  But each time, the answer was "No".  After asking him to explain, it went something like this:

"You are not ready for this particular initiation.  The weakest element represented in your personality is fire, and most of those traits present are of a negative/unhealthy fiery nature at this time.  Chief among them is a lot of anger.  Integrating elemental air at this time would be like fanning the flames and it could send those negative fiery traits exploding out of control.  Think air fanning fire, causing water to boil.  Work on strengthening those fiery traits that are more positive and would contribute something healthy to your life, like passion and creativity, drive and motivation.  Check back with me regularly while working on this, as it may not be as long as you think before you are ready."

There is a type of elemental meditation taught by Jason in Strategic Sorcery that can help integrate the forces of the elements into one's sphere.  I asked Raphael, with slight defiance, about the possibility of doing such a meditation on elemental air.  His response was simply, "Don't."

At that point I asked Raphael about conjuring Michael of elemental fire to assist with balancing that element within my personality.  He stated that it is a valid possibility and worth pursuing.  He also mentioned a couple of times that I should consult my Genius concerning these things.

So, I guess I have my work cut out for me.


In other news, I know I've been quiet lately, and that's because I've been planning some magical projects.  Top among them is a cash box.  I'm working on the design and figuring out how I'm going to work it (in terms of the actual painting, carving, etc.).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Condition Oils: Improving My Technique

Last night I completed the second out of two condition oils I've wanted to make for quite some time now.  The first was a Money-Drawing formula, the second was Money-Keeping.  I don't know what exactly goes in a traditional "Money Stay With Me" formula, but I gave it my best estimate using Cat Yronwode's "Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic".  The end product has stuff like bayberry in it to draw money as well as chamomile, mint, sassafrass and thyme to hold onto it.

I combined the ingredients in a glass measuring cup and covered them with olive oil.  Then I made a double-boiler type of situation with the glass measuring cup in a saucepan, with water in the space around it.  I macerated it over the stove on low heat for a couple hours.  Once that was done I added some vitamin E oil and bottled it with a small portion of the ingredients.

To empower the oil, I did an invocation to the powers of Jupiter and pore-breathed its energy into myself.  Then I took a bit of tech I picked up from Balthazar, which consists of fixing 3 tealight candles to empower the oil, then setting them around it to burn down.  I also placed a handwritten copy of the Jupiter invocation under the oil.  In the end I had what is depicted in the picture!

As for what I plan on using these for?  Well, those who have read "The Sorcerer's Secrets" by Jason Miller, specifically the chapter on financial magic, will have a pretty good idea.  In short, I'm going to make a cash box!  It is a talismanic box consecrated to the powers of Jupiter and Mercury, and it is made to enchant the money placed in it.  When that money is spent, the enchantment brings it back increased!  In short, it enhances the flow of money in your life.  I especially need this at this time in my life, because the past year has been financially my hardest year ever, in terms of debt and money-related stress.

With that said, I've improved the way I make condition oils, apart from the way I macerate the herbs.

When I began making my own condition oils, I tended to make large quantities.  This was especially so with my Uncrossing, Fiery Wall of Protection, and Road Opening formulas.  But I'm never going to use that much!  And so I found a solution:

A lot of liquor stores sell little baby bottles of alcohol.  Drink the contents, wash them out, remove the label...voila!  Using these, and making just enough to fill one, helps me make enough for my own use.  They are SO convenient!

Of course, I'm sure I'm not the first to discover the usefulness of these.  ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Strategic Sorcery Update: The Latest Homework

A while back, Strategic Sorcery students in my cycle all got the lessons on the astral plane and astral projection.

I consider myself to have a good amount of experience in this topic, although I am by no means an expert.  Back when I was in my late teens there was a period in which I practiced the material in a certain Llewellyn book on astral travel authored by DJ Conway.  Later I worked with material by Denning & Phillips.  I even read up on the work of Robert Bruce, which is fantastic.  However, eventually I saw progressively less use for astral travel and astral temples in my practice and shelved the whole thing.

Strategic Sorcery has me revisiting this topic with a new outlook and an improved approach, though.  Of course, one of our homework assignments was to astrally project.  The lesson appears to be heavily influenced by Robert Bruce's work (which I HIGHLY recommend; you'll see why soon), and has some very nice tips.  In preparation, I decided to read through the more praxis-related portions of Bruce's "Astral Dynamics" before I did the homework.  I'm really glad I did!

Relaxation and entering trance was an important part of the procedure, as I learned way back in the day.  However, I was not previously familiar with doing things to "loosen" the astral body.  Bruce talks about it in Astral Dynamics, but it had been so long since I had read it that I forgot.  So after relaxing, meditating, and then deepening my trance state, I performed Jason's instructions for rippling.  After that I did Bruce's Rope Technique for achieving projection.  I really did not expect what happened next.

Initially I felt a kind of twisting or squirming, and then I began to feel outright nauseous!  After that quickly passed I felt a kind of shaking, and a cooling sensation began to creep into me from the surface of my body.  On top of that, there was this type of deep-down mental/emotional/psychic pressure and strain.  At that point my intuition piped up that if I applied a little willpower I would be out.

So I did.  And I was!  (After a weird kind of "clinching-off" sensation added onto the cooling.)

I won't bore you with the details of what I did, dear readers, because it wasn't very exciting.  When I re-entered my physical body, the same cooling sensation returned, but receded from inside to the surface of my body.  I've never had those exit and re-entry sensations before, so that alone had me excited all night afterward!

The Rope Technique really works!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Confound my Memory!

See, I have this thing where I forget stuff.  Like in my last post, for example, where I mentioned doing back-to-back ritual.  Apparently, I forgot to mention the second ritual I did.

After the conjuration ritual wherein I summoned Gabriel, once everything was done and I dismissed him I moved on to do another ritual.  This one was to summon the forces of elemental Earth and Uriel to consecrate the earth oil I made.

It goes something like this:

  1. Opening by performing the Universal Center, Pillar, and the Invocation of the Agathodaimon.
  2. Zone Offering followed by casting the circle of protection.
  3. Placed the earth oil on the Table of Practice used in angel conjuration.
  4. Invocation of the powers of Earth:  "In the name of IAO, by the Spiritus Mundi, I call upon the powers of the living earth!  Forces of form and solid stability, hear my call and come to me.  Archangel URIEL, O Light of God, descend here now, I pray, and lend me your aid.  Lay your hands upon this vial of oil in consecration.  Imbue it with the powers of elemental Earth.  May it convey prosperity and protection, health and healing, form and function.  May those living beings anointed with it have the forces of earth positively integrated into their own Spheres.  May this oil be blessed, in the name of IAO.  So mote it be."
  5. Sat and chanted the Song of the Serpent until I felt a good flow of power, and released it into the oil via the Triangle of Manifestation gesture.
  6. Gave offering to the powers of earth.
  7. Dispersed the circle.
  8. Universal center.

And also?  Alliterations are fun!

I'm going to wear the oil and also practice elemental meditations taught in Strategic Sorcery to aid the integration of the elements into my sphere.