Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Traveller's Companion

Prior to my trip to Crucible, I wanted to get all my ducks in a row to prepare for what turned out to be a very long and arduous drive from my home in Indianapolis, Indiana to Somerset, New Jersey.

To complicate matters, I decided -during a Mercury retrograde- to have my car serviced. I simply went for an oil change, but the dealership went ahead and rotated the tires, and apparently my car's battery was on the decline. So I got that replaced at a price I really didn't want to spend...but having it potentially fail to start was the worse option.

And then there was the excessive tire noise after I left the dealership (remember the tire rotation)! For various reasons I didn't take the car back immediately, and decided that Murphy's Law would get my middle finger raised at it in my own little hateful salute.

And so I decided to cook up some magic to help me in the trip!

Early on, I decided that I would create a conjure hand to ensure safe travel, and found one in Inominandum's book "Protection & Reversal Magick". It was a simple three-ingredient bag, and divinations confirmed it would be of use. Unfortunately I did not have one of the ingredients, so I substituted with another herb that does the same thing, and this is what I ended up with:

  • Mugwort - For safe travel.
  • Comfrey - Another for safe and secure travel.
  • Oregano - To keep away meddling people and officers of the law.

Normally, in my eclectic style I would draw on extra spiritual forces that are especially good for the purpose of a talisman like this. In this specific case I would work with the forces of Mercury, patron of travellers and flow, but that planet is currently in retrograde. No way was I gonna work with it for this goal at this time given what had already happened with my car!

So I decided to draw on elemental Air by calling on Paralda, instead. Divinations confirmed that this would help with empowering the conjure hand, and so I proceeded with it. I set things up in my ritual space using a Compass round-style zone rite I learned from Strategic Sorcery, and called on Paralda in the name of IAO. I pore-breathed elemental Air energy and proceeded with empowering the conjure hand:

  1. I unlocked the herbs by speaking to their Spirits, coaxing out their Virtues for my goal of safe travel, placing some of each in a red flannel bag I made as I did so.
  2. After this I spat in the bag and then breathed the elemental Air energy into it.
  3. Cinched the bag closed, tied and knotted it three times.
  4. Dangled the bag from its string in between my hands while making the Triangle of Manifestation gesture over incense, bathing the bag in the smoke and chanting the Song of the Serpent for some time.
  5. Verbally spoke it to, telling it to wake up, explaining what I needed it to do, and making sure it understood.
  6. Once I completed that and confirmed it understood, I dressed it with a generous helping of VanVan oil. It was a thirsty little bag! ;-)

I've made a few conjure hands before, but the resulting spirit combined from the herbs was clearer than I've gotten it with the others, and I found it fascinating since so many other occultists have often said that talismans (in which I'm including conjure hands in this category) tend to be a spirit themselves. It was communicative and clear on when it needed to be fed and when it had enough dressing with VanVan oil! I attribute this at least in part to the inclusion of elemental Air energy.

And so far, the results have been very good! During the entire 12-hour drive to Somerset, it was totally uneventful, with the worst activity being having to deal with other drivers. On the way back, there were setbacks involving Pennsylvania traffic authorities because they closed off all the lanes of I-78 West around one small section, and I had to take another highway around and get back on I-78 further on. But the whole time, there were no untoward issues with my car! The check engine light had come on Saturday, but whatever issue caused that didn't give me any trouble at all on the way back. I even had a cop riding my ass at one point while I was speeding...and he just passed me by once I changed lanes!

So, I consider this one a success, dear readers, and I hope if anyone out there puts this to use, that they get results as good as mine!

And of course, at this point I must give a disclaimer that I realize the way I did this conjure hand was pretty eclectic, and there are many people who keep their Hoodoo separate from their other practices. I don't, which has been why the disparate parts of my praxis have come together into this neat little system I practice. And this is also why I call my practice Sorcery instead of Hoodoo, even when dealing with specifically Hoodoo elements. 'Nuff said? ;-)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Magical Folk And Their Damn Altars

Ever since I've been living in my current apartment, I've had this vanity off from my bedroom, tucked away in this nook next to my massive walk-in closet, and I've never used it. Personally, I don't really need a vanity, I don't have a ton of beauty products and styling tools to put on it, and so it mostly sat unused. I mean, I tried to have a small ancestor shrine on it for a time, but it went unused as well. It was sparsely decorated and I just didn't jive with it. So, I cleared it instead of disrespecting my people by giving them a shitty shrine.

Meanwhile, at one point I took this awesome bohemian-looking frame, put my favorite pic of Hekate in it and set the whole thing with some candles by my door. While an appropriate place for a shrine to Her...the table normally got piled with a lot of very NON-Hekatean stuff, so that never got used either.

And so on and so forth with my small shrines to Jupiter/Wealth and my spirit animal; tales of misuse, bad or blahze setup, etc.

Until recently, that is! :-)

So, I found a couple sturdy boxes at a fabric store, and picked out a couple types of brocade. Took it all home, combined it all with a couple hanging lamps I got from Pier 1...and came up my new dual shrines to wealth and to Hekate! Look at this gorgeousness:

Overall, I'm very pleased and already have a positive impression from Hekate. I figured this would be appropriate, as my wealth altar will of course be VERY Jupiter-centric, and Hekate was given an exalted place by Zeus. Plus I love this interplay of blue and red. I plan to drape fabric over the mirror and maybe hang things from it, but haven't done that part yet.

The wealth side will be where I perform all magic related to finances. So far I have placed my Jupiterian spirit bottle containing some of the presence of Hismael, and also my Jupiterian cashbox, a la Inominandum's "The Sorcerer's Secrets". The Hekate side is where I plan on performing any magic that draws upon her aid, especially any necromancy, liminal, protective, or malicious work.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

An Interesting Experience

I recently posted about my trip to Crucible (which was awesome!), and mentioned a presentation by Rufus Opus which I attended. It was about ecstatic Hermetics, as practiced and taught by the man himself. He ended the presentation with a conjuration of Hermes in his usual Hermetic style.

Now, before I go any further, I'll say that I have not often been around other magicians in the midst of performing any kind of ritual. I've been around plenty of modern neoPagans calling the quarters, aspecting Godforms, etc...and I have picked up impressions and sensations from some of them, very faintly. But otherwise, for the most part, it's always been just little ol' me practicing my woowoo and getting along just fine on my own.

So, when Rufus Opus was including part of the Invocation of the Headless One (The Bornless Rite) as a beginning setup to the conjuration of Hermes, I thought it was interesting, especially to actually witness another magician practicing his/her craft. For context, here is the part in question:


"Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God."

This part initially invokes authority into the magician for carrying out the rest of the invocation. As R.O. finished saying this part, I expected to simply keep watching, not feeling the mental, emotional, and spiritual processes going on behind the physical actions. Or, maybe, feeling like he was more powerful than before or something.


It happened fast and didn't last long, but as he finished saying it, I suddenly and powerfully felt pins and needles wash over and through me for a moment or two. My hair felt like it stood on end for a good 5 to 10 seconds, as if the authority granted by that passage radiated outward from R.O. like a force of its own. I certainly didn't expect that!

So yeah. I guess that's kinda what happens when us magicky folk meet!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Crucible 2013

It's been a while, dear readers, and I have a number of things to talk about, but the focus of this post is:


Out of all the conventions I've had the opportunity to go to for the past three years, this is the one I wanted to go to the most. I've heard nothing but good things about it, as well as the group who hosts it. It caters to magicians, witches, sorcerers, and pagans of all stripes. It's a smaller convention, compared to others I have been to, but that does not reflect on its quality. There are several talks and panels that take place during Crucible, covering a lot of ground, topic-wise. Click this link for a listing of topics covered this year, and in previous years. And here is my review of the panels and talks I attended:

  • Panel: What Wizards Do - A discussion moderated by Jason Colwell, touching on such topics as daily work, what daily work consists of, the effect of each panelists True Will on their decisions, how each deals with setbacks and disappointments in life, and why each one went into occultism. Panelists included Maggi Setti, Inominandum, Rufus Opus, Andrieh Vitimus, and one man I only know as Alex. The panelists all had some good input, whether their practices were framed as uncovering one's deep humanity, being in tune with one's body, to simply keeping the proverbial wolf (thanks Morgan Eckstein) at bay.
  • Panel: Maleficent Magic - Admittedly, I really wanted to attend this one. Maybe a bit too much...but still! It was a really good one, very insightful and juicy. Topics covered include practical examples of curses each panelist performed and their effects, when cursing is justified, the effects of repeated cursing on the caster, and then it ended with a final statement on the topic from each panelist. Again, it was moderated by Jason Colwell, and the panelists included Inominandum, Rufus Opus, Andrieh Vitimus, Alex, and Andrei Freeman.
  • Maggi Setti: Love, Sex, and Magick - This panel was about finding ways to cultivate love in one's life, and in the programme booklet it stated "in ways that go way beyond your wildest dreams". I don't think it quite accomplished that, per se, but it was still a good talk by Maggi because I felt it went deeper, a little more "meta" into what love is, the highpoints and pitfalls, and how magic can intersect with it and affect it.
  • Inominandum: Sex Sorcery - This panel was a fucking hoot! I never realized how good a speaker Inominandum is, and I felt this talk was a very good exploration of introductory concepts of sexual sorcery and the use of sex in magic and mysticism. He handled the topic in a good, mature manner and delivered on what was promised in the programme booklet: providing a primer as well as revealing how best to make use of sex in one's sorcery, spirit, and life.
  • Rufus Opus: Nothing But An EYE - This was a very interesting talk by the good Frater, covering an introduction to the ecstatic mysteries and how they relate to Hermes and Hermeticism (HINT: They're not at all mutually exclusive!). Included in this was the effect of the use of alcohol and entheogens in a Hermetic ritual context, which is a topic I find pretty interesting and hope to one day experiment with a little. The presentation was completed with a conjuration of Hermes during which I had a VERY interesting experience, which I'll detail in a later post.
  • Andrieh Vitimus: Beginning Information Sorcery - This topic is one of my current favorites in modern magic. It steps beyond all the narratives which state that magic ONLY works by some vague energy, or ONLY by the action of spirits, or ONLY by the mind or as some confidence-building exercise. Patrick Dunn explores this topic in one of my favorite books on magic, and Mr. Vitimus goes in-depth with it, explaining how one can incorporate Informational sorcery into their practices, and giving examples from his own experience and knowledge. Vitimus offered a lucid exploration that, when applied, can open vistas!

As you can see, I've had nothing but good things to say about each event I attended, and for good reason. There was one event, which I did not attend, which I actually heard nothing good about, and it was a talk on Demonology. As I don't know all the details and wasn't there, I can't say anything about it.

Now, my drive to and from Crucible, frankly, sucked balls and the beautiful landscape seen during the near-endless trek through Pennsylvania was the only thing that made it bearable each way! :-) This, for the record, is not equated with the drivers and traffic authorities of Pennsylvania, however. If I go next year, I'm totally flying, hands-down.

But back to Crucible! I'm very glad I attended, and I want to give a big shout-out and "THANK YOU" to the Omnimancers who hosted it, and all the presenters and folks who made it happen. The hotel was very nice, the staff was great. The restaurant's food was good, and the bar's drinks were strong! In addition, I was graced with the fantastic fortune to meet, talk, and hang out with several of the amazing people I've met through the Occult Blog-o-Sphere, including Pallas Renatus, Polyphanes, Deb, Jow, Rufus Opus, and Inominandum. I think next year I need to kidnap Kalagni The Unlikely Mage, Rachel, and Skyllaros and drag them with me. Kicking, screaming, and in a burlap sack if necessary! ;-)

(or maybe preferably; I don't know their kinks!)

I also met several awesome people for the first time and made some great connections, including Piggy and his owner/wife(?), Knights Edge Leather, Jay, Carmine, Ogre & Arthur from the Omnimancers, Emery, Michael, Ms. Maggi Setti, Andrei Freeman, Jessica Alcorn, and several others. You all ROCK!

It was fantastic and I hope to go next year!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A True Wand of Art


That's really all I can say about the Trithemian wand of art that Polyphanes made. Click that link and go check it out, it is truly a thing of beauty.

Fantastic work, Polyphanes!