Jailbreaking St. Benedict

It ain’t always easy being into what I’ve affectionately coined Christianimism as there are few sources worth pulling from that don’t bleed into, or borrow from, traditions that I’ve no business adopting. A lot of magic involving the saints comes from Afro-Caribbean traditions in which there are often other spirits using the forms of the saints and their iconography to interact with the peoples with whom they have relations. This is generally a bad idea for a white midwestern boy that has no authority with those potentially dangerous spirits, nor any idea what their relational protocol might be. 

There aren’t a lot of saints in hoodoo, and the Catholics in North America refuse to admit to their magical acts of devotion so there is a whole lot of trial-and-error, research, and creative magical thinking that has to come into play to adequately explore this most fascinating of Western magical traditions.

After reading up on the saints I was interested in and setting them up on my altar, of course I get contacted very strongly by two I had yet to even research or find interest in. This time in the blogosphere I want to talk about the occulting or jailbreaking of just one of those two pious characters; Saint Benedict.

It seems safe to think of St. Benedict as a Saturnian influence based solely on the nature of his miracles. He took sickness away from people, avoided sinister plots against him that would have resulted in him “dying before his time,” has a special protective nature against poisons and for the home, performed exorcisms, and had authority over whether or not stuff was physically broken. He also had a way of seeing deep down to one’s true motivations and exposing them for what they were. If that isn’t Saturnian, I truly do not know what is.

It is certainly worth mentioning here, however, that the majority of these miracles were performed by him through prayer, and while he believed very strongly that students should rarely speak and casual discourse was a path to sin, this most strict among brothers also built into his order that different prayers should be repeated for specific times of day, and repeated often. 

He believed strongly in the power of oratory prayer and this makes him a wonderful ally to be called upon to join one in a ceremony of prayer. This is also indicative of a Mercurial current that carries forth as a more minor accent, as well as a Jupiterian one in his renovation of monasticism that carries on to this day. 

So if you are trying to build a community and find self-discipline, he just may be the saint you’ve been looking for. Just remember, it was Benedict of Nursia himself who told his would-be underlings when they begged of him his leadership that they would only regret their request of his authority, for he would be too strict for their tastes in short time. To which they replied, “Nay! We will have you as our leader!” Attempting, of course, to kill him via poison not long after his acquiescence.

Turns out he was right.

He also became uncomfortable with being noticed for his miracles and disappeared into solitude a couple times throughout his life. One of which times was spent in a cave, mostly fasting, and could thus be an ally if one needs to spend a lot of time in solitude. Potentially if, say, quarantined.

I’ve saved you the trouble of reading The Life of St. Benedict and made a list of potentially magically relevant miracles and plot-points to consider both in the sense of narrative and apparent metaphysics. 

  • Fixed a broken sieve through prayer.
  • Dramatically threw a glass bottle out a high window to make a point to a monk, and because his cause was just, the bottle did not break – thus preserving the small amount of oil that remained.
  • Raised a boy from the dead.
  • Returned a dead zombie boy to his grave after he arose from it (different boy, probably.)
  • Cured folks of leprosy.
  • Discovered wine hidden by his brothers.
  • Multiplied food.
  • Multiplied Oil.
  • Prayed over a bowl/glass in which poison had been slipped in a conspiracy to kill him. Upon making the sign of the cross the dish cracked in two, spilling the contents and saving his life.
  • Avoided notoriety like the plague, knew when to walk away without shame, and made the most of his alone-time.
  • Patron saint of cavers and probably the influence for Tarot’s the Hermit.
  • Untied the knots of a bound captive with just a will and a glance.
  • Exorcised a monk who had lost his way by hitting him with a “wand.” – That’s so wizard.
  • He seemed to be able to tell when things would end through prophecy and vision, including the monastery he built as well as, down to the day God told him it would happen, his own life.
  • Had visions. And I mean visions. Check this out: “Benedict, being diligent in watching, rose up before the night office and stood at the window making his prayer to Almighty God about midnight, when suddenly, looking forth, he was a light glancing from above, so bright and resplendent that it not only dispersed the darkness of the night, but shined more clear than the day itself. Upon this sight a marvellous strange thing followed, for, as he afterwards related, the whole world, compacted as it were together, was represented to his eyes in one ray of light. As the venerable Father had his eyes fixed upon this glorious lustre, he beheld the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, carried by angels to Heaven in a fiery globe. Then, for the testimony of so great a miracle, with a loud voice he called upon Servandus the Deacon, twice or thrice by his name, who, troubled at such an unusual crying out of the man of God, came up, looked forth, and saw a little stream of light then disappearing, and wondered greatly at this miracle. Whereupon the man of God told him in order all that he had seen, and sent presently to Theoprobus, a Religious man in the town of Casino, ordering him to go the same night to Capua, and learn what had happened to Germanus the Bishop. It fell out so, that he who was sent found the most reverend Bishop Germanus dead, and on enquiring more exactly, he learned that his departure was the very same moment in which the man of God had seen him ascend.”
  • He was also made psychically aware of a boy getting carried away by a stream, which he then telepathically communicated to brother Maurus, who was so motivated and justified by his psychic hero-mission that he didn’t even notice himself running on the water to save this kid by the scruff. Consider the shape of this, metaphysically. Perhaps he’s the kind of saint that will help you out in an emergency, to exceed your own limits and rise to impossible tasks with single-mindedness. 
  • When one of his monks decided to leave the monastery he began to pray for him. Upon leaving the monastery the monk saw a great dragon which frightened him into remaining with Benedict in the pious life. This sort of manipulation for positive influence is morally tenuous, and truly fascinating tactically. 
  • Consider this story for inspiration on emergency St. Benedict petitions for finance: “So he came to the Monastery, where finding the servant of Almighty God, told him how he was extremely urged by his creditor for the payment of twelve shillings. The venerable father answered him that, in very deed, he had not twelve shillings, but yet he comforted his want with good words, saying: “Go, and after two days return hither again for today I have it not to give thee.” These two days, as his custom was, he spent in prayer, and, on the third day, when the poor debtor came again, thirteen shillings were found upon a chest of the Monastery that as full of corn. These the man of God caused to be brought to him, and gave them to the distressed man, saying that he might pay twelve, and have one to defray his charges.”
  • Or this one if you live off-grid “…went up to the rock and there prayed a long time. Having ended his prayers, he put three stones for a mark in the same place, and so unknown to all he returned to his Monastery. Next day, when the Brethren came again to him for want of water he said: “Go, and on the rock where you shall find three stones one upon another, dig a little, for Almighty God is able to make water spring from the top of that mountain, that you may be eased of this labour.” When they had made a hollow in that place, it was immediately filled with water, which issueth forth so plentifully that to this day it continueth running down to the floor of the mountain.”
  • There is also a known cunning tradition of burying a St. Benedict coin at each of the four corners of a property for protection and fortification.
  • His iconography includes a raven, lending his appearance to sometimes resemble Odin when coupled with his staff and hooded robe. Saturn and Mercury, indeed.
  • Other Benedictine symbols include a broken vessel and book, though anything could be used from these narratives if they resonate with you, in theory.

Bringing up these narrative points as a means to consider potential ways of collaborating with St. Benedict is my sole intention, as I am only beginning to actually get to know him myself. I claim no authority on the matter and should very much like to hear from anyone who has worked with this saint.

One last point to consider:

PETER. I would know whether he obtained these great miracles always by prayer, or did they some times only by the intimation of his will? 

GREGORY. They who are perfectly united with God, when necessity requireth, work miracles both ways, sometimes they do wonders by prayer, sometimes by power. For since St. John saith: “As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God.” What wonder is it if they have the privilege and power to work miracles who are exalted to the dignity of children of God. And that they work miracles in both ways is manifest in St. Peter, who by prayer, raised Tabitha from death, and punished with death Ananias and Sapphira for their falsehood. For we do not read that he prayed when they fell down dead, but only that he rebuked them for their fault committed. It is evident therefore that these things are done sometimes by power, sometimes by petition; since that by reproof he deprived these of their life, and by prayer revived the other.

Experiment away, wyrdos. ❤

Coronavirus Sanity Plan & Novena to St. Lucy

There is an uncanny amount of garbage clogging up the psychosphere in the form of inaccurate data and media terror campaigns. Whether it’s an Eurobank conspiracy, healthcare/election play, or just pure chaos the only thing any of us can be sure of is that the situation stinks. In times like these I find myself grasping to see above the waves, fruitlessly clinging to hope that somehow I’ll wake up tomorrow and discern signal from static; That it will all suddenly make sense.

So far, each morning, it hasn’t.

In hopes of attaining some clarity I’ve formulated a game plan:

Step One: Commit to NO Coronavirus news for three days. Probably nothing is going to happen in that amount of time. Definitely if anything does, someone will fucking tell you about it. Probably two or three someones before the day is through. Cut it off and see how you feel by the end of day three. If others keep you updated and the lack of stressful news is working for you, keep it going full-steam. Consider what benefit watching news outlets provides you. Consider, objectively, what the effects are when you ingest these sources in your normal life compared to the intensity and quantity you’ve been consuming since the coronavirus took over our lives. Are you actually gaining useful data, or are you only accumulating a greater intensity of emotion? Make a pros and cons list. Do it.

Step Two: There are 24 hours in a day and you can’t meditate for 20 minutes? You’re not even working this week. I kid, I kid. Probably. Really, though, now is the best time to start relieving stress and exploring your inner world. Try out some guided meditations or write and record you own after you realize you could do it better than most of the fluff that’s out there (the spirit guide ones seem to be the least bad.) Then send me a copy of your homemade ones because I need some better options too. We can trade.

Step Three: If you are under quarantine, call someone on the phone every day. At least once. Even if it’s just for a second and for no reason, and trust your intuition. You might not need to hear another human voice right now, but what if that other human voice needs to hear another human voice right now? Small actions can have huge consequences, or did you not read The Hobbit? That could easily be step 3.5 if not.

Step Four: I’ve been drawn to St. Lucy for a while now. She is usually depicted as holding a dish containing a second set of eyes and I, for one, found this to be blatantly divinatory in symbolism. Not only in reference to the ancient art of basin or water divination, but also the concept of second-sight. The ability to see the spirits, the subtleties of matter, or even the Tao itself all fall, in my mind, under this umbrella idea of second-sight. Regardless of St. Lucy’s patronage to the blind and the backstory of her second eyes being merely replacements for the martyred peepers her betrothed had removed upon discovering her christian ways, there is still some kind of magic in that first set of eyes going with God. Ghost eyes, if you will. Not to mention her striking resemblance to the Delphic oracle; branch in her left hand, water basin in her right.

After some internet digging it would seem that there are some southern cunning and conjure spells dealing with St. Lucy and divination. When intuition and research agree enough to get a foot in the door, you get experiments. I modified a common novena to St. Lucy with the renovated intent to help us see through the illusions in our present lives.

To be recited three times daily for nine days. Burn a white candle each day or keep a vigil candle going ’round the clock. Consider using the timing methods suggested in the previous post to this one to decide on a time of day for the initial and subsequent recitations or, as I like to do sometimes on Sundays, set up any saints or angels icons you have and live-stream Holy Mass as a lead-in to your work. Consider some lubricious psalms or a few Hail Mary’s (nothing crazy, just ten or twenty to get your head in the game.)

As always, I invite you to share any comments, questions, or experiences below.

Reverend Janglebones’ Novena To St. Lucy for the Blessing of Second-Sight:

O St. Lucy, you chose to surrender your sight instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul.

You chose to give your eyes to God rather than to close them to His light. And God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with a second set of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the keeper of the second-sight.

They sold your body to sinful men, but they could not defile your soul; for the Bearer of Light in the Darkness is forever chaste in her Holy Death; a martyr for the Lord.

O St. Lucy, protector of the blind, I rely entirely upon your intercession that I may not be counted among those who are blind to the innumerable splendors of the Lord, but that I may see a great many things which would normally be hidden from view, through the virtue of the second-sight which I entreat you to bestow upon me. 

Preserve in me the eyes of my soul, the faith through which I can know my God, so that I may see the beauty in Holy Creation, the flow of the Sun, the Moon and stars, the dancing of the Holy Angels, and every deceit devised by spirits malevolent. That I may never lose sight of His love for me, nor the road that leads me to where you, Saint Lucy, can be found keeping company with all of the holy saints and angels.

Saint Lucy, preserve my faith and enhance my second-sight. Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be x3)

O, Glorious St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most merciful Lord, save us from blindness to the Holy Spirit and reveal all illusions in our path. Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our lives in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendour of our celestial home. Amen.

St Lucy, pray for us and for those in most need of your blessings. 

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Wax-On : Revivifying the Candle Spell

Candle spells are undoubtedly the basic-bitch of the magic world. Some swear by them and others swear about them, but where is the split? On one hand I can completely understand the allure found in the simplicity of lighting a candle and making a wish but is that really effective? On the other I can see where a more advanced practitioner would gleefully turn their nose up at such a practice, even if just to preserve their own investments in light of the frustration they feel when watching noobs do very little before boldly proclaiming themselves wizards.

In either case there is one thing for certain; there are egos in the way.

If you want to wish into a candle and manifest it subsequently then there are a few ontological and philosophical parameters that I believe can help raise this practice from the shelf of the novitiate and revitalize the heart (and the metaphysics) of the candle spell.

Fire = Hot

First, take a few moments to forget, to the best of your ability, all your learned notions of the metaphorical properties of the elements. Let all those associations go with just a few deep breaths. Now, let’s think about fire for a minute. If you have a candle handy, light it. Sit with it. Think about the nature of that little spirit you’ve just conjured. Consider how easily that little spirit can act like a gremlin fed post-midnight when not properly tended to. Think of a single word to represent the process that is taking place before your very eyes. That light, it’s potential; all-encompassing and fatal. A lack thereof, equally as such.

 I personally arrive at the word “Hunger.” with a capital H. In an animist model of the universe, everything has an interiority, a spirit, intelligence, or consciousness. Our fire is the very embodiment of need and this is the only association required here. Fire needs, as do we. Give the fire agency in your mind. Even if you don’t believe it, try it a few times. If you partake of cannabis this is probably all too easy. Perhaps recite Eliphas Levi’s Prayer of the Salamanders. Clear your head and feel the sounds of the words. Build the image in your mind’s eye as you go along and try to keep your mind uncluttered of thought, then sit with your flame. Get to know one another for a while.

How Do You Want It?

The next step is to allow that want/need to flow through you freely as a wild desire. Meditate on the target of your spell. Dig deep within and notice any clever resistances to your goal. Do you actually not feel that you deserve what you want? Are you selling yourself short? This is where the success or failure of your candle spell is most likely determined: Your ability to want with your whole being, totally conscience-free. No guilt, and no shame. If you cannot do this, reconsider your target. More often than we could stomach believing, I’d wager, what we want is actually not that far off, but we have numerous resistances within that prevent the manifestation of our desire. Bhakti yoga can be very helpful in this process. Once the bliss of adoration can flow through you because of a godform, it isn’t that much of a stretch to feel something of similar intensity towards a preferred outcome in your life.

Ongoing shadow work is crucial to keeping one’s intentions pure and powerful, as are ancestral relations. The effectiveness of one’s magic is directly proportional to the amount of clean-up work that has been invested in one’s overall spiritual health and that of their lineage. I mention this now rather than in the last step because there is a lot of prep work to be done here for most everyone.

Don’t say candle spells don’t work if you haven’t put in the time to fortify your own convictions about how your life should look. We have to clean up our messes before we can have any new toys.

Timing Is… …Everything.

Sept. 14, 1019 full moon. Exactly one month after completion of a candle spell to find the “best possible partner to joyously attempt the works we both came here to accomplish.” 24 hours before this photo a conversation began between myself and my now fiance. The caveat? Ohio to Denmark, with love. If you want the best in the world, be willing to travel.

If you have a basic understanding of astrology or gods of the classical world, then you understand something of the personalities of the planets. Matching the nature of your spell’s intent to the nature of the planet that rules the day of the week on which you begin your spell, with a petition and offering to that planet at dawn, can greatly increase the chances of your success. Additionally, I always end a candle spell on a full moon regardless of the duration. Consider what sign the moon is in during your spell and how that position, plus any malefic or benefic aspects from the other heavenly bodies might play into your success or failure from an astrological perspective. Or, perhaps use grimoiric timing, the foundation of many later timing systems including that widely employed in Wicca. If you need something now, then by all means do something about it immediately, but often it is far preferable to wait for the right time.

Dress For Success.

Dressing the candle by poking holes of a number somehow relevant to your working and stuffing them with herbs and oils to get the attention of whomever you may be petitioning for assistance is also another helpful way of weaving together your need with the planets of the day, the spirits that assist you, and the raw chemical need of the fire itself. Remember that the animal world has representational language, the spirit world has symbolic language, and we humanfolk have both. This is the way magic works, which reminds me…

Make a sigil of your goal and carve it into the candle, deep enough that it will be visible when lit. You will charge it when you pour your heart and intention into the flame like fuel, emboldening the beacon of your need. The sigil will charge and, as the candle burns, be destroyed and successfully forgotten to the Unconscious realm.

My most successful candle spells have been accompanied by a story as told through a succession of carefully chosen tarot cards laid out in order across the space or surrounding the candle representing the progression of attainment or relevant characteristics. The more intent and sensory guidance you put into this, the more metaphor, the more you will get out but that isn’t to say busier is better. Simple and intentional is best. Make it a story a spirit can understand. The card progression in this post’s main image is meant to convey the acquisition of a lucrative new job in a creative field and I have used Robert M. Place’s Alchemical Tarot for it’s highly illustrative and largely self-explanatory nature (regarding the images, not the alchemical sigil-fest.)

The Business.

Get clean and get comfortable, in a clean space, and alter your consciousness by your chosen trusted means. Invoke, meditate, take a bong rip, microdose, it doesn’t matter. Make sure you have given thought to your room’s general mood and ambiance and cleared the room or banished and that you will not be interrupted. Petition any of your allies, guides, and honored dead to help in thine occasion, with their own offerings of appreciation according to your relationship with them.

Finally, light your candle. Perhaps you wrote a prayer for your need, or a poem. Never underestimate the power of a few well-chosen words with your whole heart behind them. Perhaps a mantra that fits your work, maybe one of your own devising or some Our Fathers. Perhaps draw a picture and put that under your candle, if visual expression is your bag. Imagine the end result. Imagine, as Mitch Horowitz recommends, remembering doing this spell from the end result. Feel the aching, yearning pull of your targeted desire. Allow that to flow through you like light and sound. Like you’re in love. Get emotionally involved in this and make it count. Stare into the flame and use whatever breathing method works for you. I do a five count in, five count hold, five count out, five count hold, repeat. Shop around.

I sometimes go for an hour per session, sometimes five minutes. This is a personal preference, although I do recommend trying for longer periods. There are levels of intensity that require time investment in order to reach, at least until a familiarity is gained with that conscious state and can thus be invoked with less time and effort. Dawn and dusk are ideal times of day for these sessions unless you are using planetary hours that suggest more favorable options. When you feel your session has ended, snuff out your candle and thank your assisting spirits and ask them to return when you plan to continue. Do show up, though.

The aforementioned operation’s sigil representing the positioning of Sol, Mars, Mercury, and Venus all conjunct in Leo at the time of the operation.

If by the end of your spell, like me, you let your candle melt into a disk within its burning dish, think of a nice incantation or prayer to sum up this work and seal the deal by carving it into the leftover wax puck. This can be kept until the fruits of the operation are harvested or, as I usually do with mine, they can be buried in a sacred place or at a crossroads. I offer mine into the earth as a seed down by my hearth in the woods. Make it your own.

I Dare You To Succeed

The best things about candle spells are their diversity and their simplicity. You will not be appropriating anyone’s culture by wishing into a flame and there is an amazing amount of room to make this practice your own. I have found an unusual amount of success in this most basic of magical acts and I urge you to consider these suggestions. Perhaps candle spells do work for you, if you get the peripherals right. Again, the keys to this actually working are the gathering of otherworldly witnesses, the weaving of metaphor, of story in front of them, and the ability to allow desire to truly blossom and flow through you. If these things can be cooperatively employed “silly” will no longer be a word subtexting candle spells in your mind.

Please, share with me your successes and failures, past and present, in the comments below! It is we that are our most valuable resource, we together.

Thanks to GrepGiggles for inspiring this post with a write-in question. My contact form is always open.

Tyche Praxis & Wetiko-Free Djurö

Standing on a varietal patchwork of green mosses covering verbosely shaped rock quintessential of the Swedish landscape, surrounded by courageous dendrites whose roots desperately grasp for purchase in the mere inches of windswept topsoil, and with the meager offering of tobacco, I perform the Orphic Hymn to Tyche in the direction of a rising scandinavian sun.

Normally I would burn frankincense and light a candle, but calling in a presence to experience and share the golden light of a wild morning seemed, to me, far richer than incense. This morning practice of performing a Tyche alignment has had some interesting effects in the four weeks since it began. One of which being the invitation from an old friend I hadn’t seen in years to enjoy a weekend with both of our respective fiances catching up and steaming in the loving warmth of a Swedish spa, his treat. This unexpected and treasured time with a beloved and long-missed friend, as well as this luxurious experience which my partner and I could not have afforded otherwise pushed my senses, and my sense of worth, into the realm of miraculous deserving. 

Learning how to want is difficult, but for anyone to accept that they actually deserve to be pampered, or wealthy, or loved is a far greater challenge. This is the main lesson I am learning from Tyche. Nobody doesn’t deserve these things. So why not me?

My running thesis at this time is, in that new-thought kind of way, is that we have to actually open those possibilities by healing our misconceptions about our limits and our merits. We have to know that we deserve the things that are best for us before we can truly have them.

There is something else here to be mentioned, though, in the archipelago east of Stockholm. Not so much a something as an undeniable lack of something. There is simply no trace here to be found of that wascally wabbit Wetiko. It’s simply too far out of its jurisdiction. I couldn’t find a trace of rampant cynicism, woker-thans, postmodernist ironies, toxically masculine feminism, or subversive acts of goodwill. 

No cannibals here, spiritual or otherwise.

Sure, the Swedes have their own battle with the itch of abandonment their predominantly atheistic materialist-science driven worldview will undoubtedly leave them with eventually, but they simply don’t have the same rampant mind-virus/selfishness algorithm that has absorbed the United States all but entirely. 

It’s barely detectable in Stockholm, which is surprising, but back in much more familiar Copenhagen there are signs of the Wetiko pandemic spreading, mostly through the attitudes and speech patterns reverberating through streaming services, and popping up in actual conversations like little spells, tricking the unconscious mind that repeats the pattern into belief that the thoughts are their own, into a thought pattern that is essentially alien and hostile.

My scheduled trip home has me wondering about my spiritual arsenal and just what, exactly, I should be doing to immunize myself against the thick fog of the Selfishness Archon prior to my return.

Suggestions are welcome.

Another interesting result of my daily Tykhe alignment came from a dream in which I walked to the local metaphysical supply store and purchased the silly little Lo Scarabeo Gypsy Oracle deck and, upon actually physically walking to the store in efforts of signaling to the Other that I am paying attention, I discovered none other than the lady Fortune herself, blindfolded and generous, on the back of the pack. I purchased the deck immediately and readings have thus far been amazingly accurate, but not for hypotheticals. It seems Lady Fortune is not inclined to tell me “What will happen if…” but will accurately and readily answer true to “Show me this weekend…” as a closed article of fate.

At the break of dawn, light candle. Fumigation from Frankincense. Honey, Sunflowers, and their seeds are amenable offerings. I offer pocket change occasionally which I let accumulate in a cup before randomly giving the entirely to one street performer, indiscriminately, just as Fortune would do. Visualize each sound and feel it as you slowly and deliberately speak the hymn from your heart. After recitation, wait thoughtlessly and visualize a crown on your head showering gold coins all around you.

Approach strong Fortune [Tykhe], with propitious mind and rich abundance, to my pray’r inclin’d

Placid, and gentle Trivia, mighty nam’d, imperial Dian [Artemis], born of Pluto [Eubouleos] fam’d;

Mankind’s unconquer’d, endless praise is thine, sepulch’ral, widely-wand’ring pow’r divine!

In thee, our various mortal life is found, and some from thee hi copious wealth abound;

While others mourn thy hand averse to bless, in all the bitterness of deep distress.

Be present, Goddess, to thy vot’ry kind, and give abundance with benignant mind.

Space Fruits from the Tree of Life

I thought I would share a little piece of praxis of my own devising which has proven to be far more valuable than originally anticipated. This will be of particular interest to qabbalists (or however the fuck you spell it in whatever context this falls under) and even moreso among they who also have some astrological wisdom.

  1. Find and print an image of the Tree of Life that is minimalistic enough to leave room for your own scribblings.
  1. Using your birth chart, draw the zodiacal sigil on each sephiroth that corresponds to where that sephira’s corresponding planet sits in your chart. In other words, because Venus rules Netzach, the seventh sephira, and Venus on my birth chart is in Scorpio, I would draw the sigil for Scopio on the seventh sephira. 
  1. Add your rising to Malkuth, as that is the constellation literally rising on your earthly position and the sign with which you must learn to grow into in this incarnation.
  1. Add your chiron to Daath, the abyss, as it represents that which was brought from before this life, and that which can only be healed by crossing the abyss.
  1. Sit back and take it in. There’s a lot to process here. The way we operate within the different modes of hyper thickness can be much better understood when broken down into this context. It’s also worth considering the potential friction between the ruling planet of your signs and the attributes of the sephiroth.

An example of reading this system: Noticing that my entire astral plane is composed of fixed signs and how that relates to being spiritually slow to adjust but very sturdy, while on the surface my airy and cardinal Libra Sun in Tiphareth is constantly bored, insecure, forgetful, and impatiently trying to harmonize the double Scorpio in Netzach & Hod combo on the tier below with the double Capricorn in Geburah & Chesed above. 

Look for any detriments, falls, or exaltations in your chart and consider those places that may need healing or may be easily strengthened due to a preexisting personal makeup.

I would love to hear your insights if this proves useful to you.

As a disclaimer I have to caution against falling into systems traps, by which I mean to say that the tree and it’s sephiroth are a means to cramming that which is beyond us into a language we can use. It is no more valid than any other interpretation from any other culture or tradition (and arguably academically even less so, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

If you’re not into Kabbalah and this seems interesting, then gods help you and please enjoy The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune, it is an excellent work.

Cannabis Allies

There’s no doubt that cannabis is a plant on a mission. It’s growing acceptance both culturally and legally is taking hold for the first time in the modern world and its ease of acquisition is at an all-time high.

Forgiving the pun, this brings up an interesting question. What does it look like when someone is actually spiritual allies with cannabis rather than simply dependent on a substance for its “medicinal properties?” In the stoned-ape theory sense, wouldn’t any idiot ape or idiot-of-ape-qualities incidentally ingesting, say, psilocybin mushrooms and various other entheogenic plants such as, say, cannabis be forming bonds with these fungi and photosynthesizers with-or-without the intent to do so? 

This case could be made, certainly. But what about the lazy stoners out there clutching xbox controllers for dear life with Dorito-stained hands? There’s no doubt they are under the influence and thus technically communing, but the same could be said for the opium addict nodding out mid sentence. It appears there is an important difference between communion and symbiosis.

Those who commune with cannabis regularly for health conditions, physiological and psychological alike, are certainly allied with the plant in some way, but this seems to be a different relationship dynamic than the kind a magician or witch forms with a plant spirit through the intentions of exploration and the expansion of both wisdom and power. This strikes me as akin to the difference between a dry work relationship and the intimacy of a close confidante.

I would argue that the particular personality of cannabis is one of subtle ferocity, rather than a snacky-sleepy one. Even when a hearty indica pulls your eyes half-mast as you become one with the couch cushions, the spirit you submerge into is tenacious and somewhat sneaky. In plunging the depths of my relationship with her (as well as my couch cushions) in tandem with my spiritual/magical practice I have found a spirit that makes one work really quite hard to unlock her true gifts. In her I have found a spirit just as capable as other entheogens of opening up my direct-perception / spirit-vision and with her own whole set of boons and traps to-boot. She is a powerful plant covered profusely in intoxicating pollen and hardy enough to adapt to an uncanny array of conditions and locales across the planet. This a plant that has been tested by time and elements mercilessly and survived. She’s a fighter. Did you think she was just going to give you the goods without rigorously testing you first?

So what’s the point in ranting about this? Well, hopefully many years of sharing headspace with her, many of those while magically operant, has hopefully left me with at least a helpful word on how to improve this most damaged relationship. After all, un-learning a previously patterned and socially reinforced dynamic in favor of a healthier one which is against the norm is no minor task.

I should also note that when I was actively and heavily addicted to both crack and heroin I would intentionally avoid smoking cannabis when offered because every time I partook my desire to acquire the bad, trap drugs would simply melt away. Even at my truly very worst she was extending a hand and offering a way out of my nightmare. It was only in my total commitment to remaining trapped that I avoided her help. Everyone is obviously entirely their own person and creature especially when it comes to synthesis with plant spirits, I simply aim to offer this as perspective.


Praxis

The number one advice I can give to aid in forging a healthier relationship with cannabis is to say thank you. For gods’ sake, mind your manners when you’re burning someone’s flesh and entwining your awareness with theirs. It’s very easy. Think about all the good things she has done for you, the good times, the inspirations, the giggles, and then feel that warm glow as you hold in your hit. In your mind, reach down and out with the roots in your feet, find a nice healthy weed plant in your imagination. Connect to that plant and release all that grattitute. Say thank you. Out loud, for a while. Remember you just started minding manners with a being you have been consuming for years. A little extra courtesy would not go amiss.

Try getting around twenty to thirty minutes deep into a creative or constructive project while stone-cold sober. Just when the momentum gets rolling, then take a break and partake and immediately return to your task. Note any difference in focus or productivity. This is especially effective for creatives but anyone who regularly partakes should see a difference with this strategy.

One of her “tests” in my opinion is in overcoming the overly chatty influence she can have on the inner monologue. I see an ancient intelligence throwing out distractions to prevent the less evolved of mind from accessing what she offers. Any repetitive saying works well for this in the raja yoga sense, but I find hail marys and mantras to be particularly effective. Of these options, and considering the goal, either a Kali mantra or Ganesha’s path opening mantra would be ideal. This combination has vastly improved my ability to see the invisible, so-to-speak. If you are catholic or have a rosary, there is something very special and interesting about the presence a round of 50 Hail Mary’s can bring into a space, physical and mental.

I would recommend this formal greeting to Kali for anyone new to her presence:

Om Sri Maha Kalikayai Namah

(aum shri maha kalika-yea namaha)

If you are skilled in the imaginal realm, I highly recommend planting an astral cannabis plant in your immediate vicinity. I do this with all my allies in my astral garden. It’s similar to constructing anything astrally in that a suitable form can be a warm invitation for a spirit to inhabit a designated part of your imaginal realm. Eventually interaction with the spirit can become possible without their physical matter even being present.

I hope this helps someone out there to rediscover this glorious plant; materialistically revered but spiritually taken for granted.

She has so much to give, so much more than she gets credit for.

Thought For Food

How often do you wonder where your food comes from? Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a piece on GMOs, or even health at all. No, friends, this is a piece on the character of your cuisine. This is about the stories we eat everyday without reading.

Throughout the course of the 20th century humans have industrialized, commercialized, migrated and globalized both our economy, as well as our eats. And as our cultures have intermingled and our trade routes turned into chain restaurants and Amazon boxes, the foodstuffs that we grew up with have become a source of identity and pride. Whether that be from your far-away native land, or a few blocks down the street. 

Either way, the chances are, nobody makes it like your grandmother.

When you’re out there in the world, and something you find tastes like home, there’s simply nothing else like it. The intermingling of cultures means that our chances of running into familiar fare are greater these days than ever before. This also means that we have the opportunity to try and share so much more between cultures. And with delivery services you don’t even have to leave the park (or Netflix if we’re being very, very honest.)

The evolution of food items are also fascinating to follow in some cases. The ubiquitous Nacho, for instance, was actually invented by Ignacio “El Nacho” Anya for a couple of U.S. soldier-wives when they tried to eat at a mexican border hotel-restaurant which had already closed for the day. Clearly white-girl dining etiquette has undergone little evolution since 1943.

By tricking the intrusive patrons into enjoying a no-preparation plate of chips with cheese tossed on top, they had unknowingly created what would become one of the most beloved snack foods of all time.

The fortune cookie, the blessed poor man’s prophecy, actually originated from a modification of the I Ching called the Ling Qi Xing which featured a form of divination that was outlawed in its region of origin. That’s right, the fortune cookie was an illegal outcast in its own home. But those semi-sweet starchy vaginas of fate became immigrants as well, flourishing in their new land and into American strip malls from sea to shining sea.

There’s always the fanatically documented yet widely misunderstood history of the evolutionary lineages and delineations of pizza, with no end in sight to the hot debate on proper crust depth. And you can bet your best mozzarella that debate is heated by a wood fire. Ask anybody who cares about pizza. They will all tell you something different and exactly why everyone else is an idiot. It’s beautiful. The spirit of pizza is clearly an elitist, purist, blue-collar hero, peerless among the cool-guys of consumables.

And while we’re at it, I have a particular love for the story of the lobster. Yes, that deliciously expensive high-society dish that we now drown in butter but the British once referred to as the “cockroach of the sea.” 

When the British inquired of the natives on the coast of Maine what possible function these hideous creatures could possibly have, the natives then kindly instructed the British on how to crush the lobsters into a fluid and fertilize their crops with them.

Everybody agreed.

Lobsters weren’t food.

Until the railroad stretched across the U.S. and changed everyone’s lives forever (especially the lobsters’.) I don’t mean the pillaging and massacres of the “civilizing” west, I mean canned goods!

That’s right, before the settlers out west were, well, settled they needed protein to keep them going. Hunting and farming and murdering the indigenous is hard when you’re living in a tent next to a steam engine running all hours of the day (with hammers swinging), so we did the only American thing: We canned and shipped them sea-roaches fer eat’n reasons!

A few years later affluent gold-prospecting families were taking trips of novelty out East to try the famous lobstrosities fresh from the sea, and the rest, as they say, is industry.

If you find yourself remembering this article the next time you’ve got hand-to-mouth disease, stop. Take a second. Look at what you’re eating, and do a quick search. Both in your soul and maybe also on the internet.

You just might find an occult adventure taking place inside your mouth.

Bon appétit.

Liber Kali

As much as my feelings on old Al Crowley seem to rest at a comfortable love/hate, the bastard sure could write. He also came up with many useful templates for crafting one’s own spells and incantations, although it sometimes seems these truly profound accomplishments of his get ignored in favor of the more extreme sensory experiences of elaborate ritual pageantry.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that a few well chosen words well-mastered can be just as powerful and without all the expenses and planning. That said, getting comfortable with your own expressions is a hell of a challenge and in hopes of inspiring some of you out there to write your own magic (or use someone else’s template,) I am sharing my own dedication to Kali Ma modeled after Crowley’s instructions in Liber Astarte for crafting a dedication to align oneself with a deity.

This practice is not necessarily devotionalism. It can be, but it can also simply be something akin to tuning an instrument. Once you really have a grasp on the personality you are tuning in to it becomes easy to dial that force back up again from then on. Rinse and repeat until the ability to differentiate one subtle force from another has been developed.

Without further adieu, Liber Kali by Reverend Janglebones.

I plead unto to thee, most terrible Kali

Lend me thy grace and shine thy bright darkness

That I may dissolve at thy lotus feet

OM MA (x3

_______

Hail demonslayer, great Goddess of black

My skull and my sword, they are yours to your service

Until your great tongue takes them back

OM KRIM KALI (x3)

_______

Grandmother weaver, from whom all is born

You could blink but your eye and erase every form

You could cease but your laughter and freeze time in stone

And in you, not ever, has a soul been alone

OM KALI MA (x3)

_______

Oh mighty and merciful Kali, 

Without whose darkness there could be not the stars

Without whose thirst for destroying illusions

Without whose ecstatic emancipation I would be

Forever bound and found-less 

OM KLIM KALIKAYAI NAMAHA (x3)

_______

Did you not confer to me a compact 

When I thought none I could accept, surely?

Until the shape of fate laid prone before me

From birth unto death

Shone the one single thing I’d regret if my breath 

Shortened early

OM SRI MAHA KALIKAYAI NAMAHA (x3)

_______

Always do you see me, never falling for my charms

Reflecting as a confidante the profundity of my folly

Marking out ahead of me the tripwires of desire

And chivalrously sounding the alarms

OM HRIM SHRIM KLIM ADYA 

KALIKA PARAM ESHWARI SWAHA (x3)

_______

Hail She of shameless night, bare-breasted in Her glory

Whose nectar from the deepest rose bestows memento mori

I would drink of your sap and collapse in your Shakti

I would nap in the lap of the Goddess Kali

OM MAHA KALYAI

CA VIDMAHE SMASANA

VASINYAI CA DHIMAHI

TANNO KALI PRACHODAYAT (x3)

Tradition Vs. Aesthetic

I like my coffee like I like my magic; Stong, dark, and ethically sourced. Folks! It was the ‘ethically sourced’ part that roused me to ruminate on an issue which has been crawling under my skin for some time. I have grown to abhor that seemingly inevitable question which one encounters when meeting a group of occultists for the first time. A question which always feels, to me, as abrasive as a thunderous fart shattering the mood of a riveting Sunday mass;

“So, what tradition do you practice?”

I know, I know, it’s just an innocent conversation starter, and I can certainly relate to the feeling of novelty by which one is enrapt when they finally take their spirituality back from their parents (or whoever) at long last, but there is no way around this being discourse which falls well over the line into laziness and this particular vernacular record-scratch is, I dare say, also damaging.

The word “tradition” implies a lot more than an aesthetic with which you resonate. Tradition is not merely the adaptation of cultural and spiritual lifeways according to one’s understanding, but implies the total immersion in a worldview which is passed on through stories, practices, and cosmologies. There is no amount of solitary study or praxis, no amount of books that could be read which would suddenly induct you into a tradition and there never will be. Tradition implies ways of life; a life which, in most cases, we simply have not lived.

Sure, everyone has aesthetics they resonate with more than others. Use that to your advantage, absolutely do, but don’t say it’s hoodoo because of your Florida water. It isn’t. 

I have personally had experiences of being visited by a couple minor, and one major hindu deity through no will of my own, but I do not know their customs or lifeways nor have I experienced their culture. I wouldn’t dare call myself hindu, though the initiation of contact by another entity or form seems to reach a level beyond appropriation so long as it isn’t misrepresented as a cultural understanding.

Giving a shout-out to the traditions in which you find inspiration without simultaneously colonizing them is something of an art unto itself, but there is a whole world of Christian and Catholic magic, grimoires, saints, prayers, curses, and “folk” magic all relating to traditions you likely have actual claim to, so the more  research and effort put into jailbreaking these avenues the better off we will all be, and what better way to transmute your relationship with Christianity than using scripture and psalm for magical ends?

Until then, perhaps we can summon a little true-speak and sharpen our tongues to something like “What aesthetic are you into?” or “What traditions do you draw inspiration from?” it’s wordy and doesn’t flow as well, but belittling the entire worldview of a people through negligence doesn’t flow too well either once you start to hear it in action.

Quick Change

Sometimes we think or behave in ways that are downright disturbing. Some of us more often than others. Our own destructive behaviors can be a mystery to us no matter how we strive to get a glimpse of our self-sabotaging strategies before the damage is dealt. We may be able to see their effect on our loved ones and our surroundings but there are times when, despite our best efforts, the motivations for our trash actions remain as of yet out of our sight. The following is a simple original remedy for such malaise requiring only privacy and spare change. That is what we’re going for, isn’t it; change? (Come down off your pun high-horse.)

MATERIALS: Bowl or jar of pocket change, privacy, a fierce desire to change your actions.

  1. Choose two types of common coin. Do your best to find a reason to prefer one and dislike the other. If you like a gold color and think quarters weigh too much then use pennies as your “good” coins and quarters as your bad. As always, creativity and emotion are key. 
  2. Get yourself into a magical mindframe and be in a comfortable space because the next step is to get uncomfortable.
  3. Get uncomfortable by taking one of your “bad” coins and holding it in your hand as a point of meditation. Begin to guide your mind to the negative behaviors as the “bad” coin burns into your mind. Think of the people you’ve hurt or embarrassed. The opportunities sabotaged. The ripples of negativity that you helped perpetuate somehow. Get angry at the why of it all. Get sad and beg yourself. It doesn’t matter as long as you mean it. When you’ve had enough, throw the coin back into the jar with the rest. 
  4. Take a minute to center, then do the same with a “good” coin. Focus on all the joy and charm and insight you’ve brought the world. All the things you have been and are, but also those future potentials, too! Imagine the best parts of your ideal self radiating into that silly pretty coin. Love it. Then put it back in the jar with the mixed masses.
  5. Now every kind of coin is sloshing around in there, much like in you. Now dump that motherfucker all on the floor in a pile and pretend it’s your only chance to get that bad shit sorted out. Do it steadily and deliberately. Separate all the bad as you imagine the same happening within. When you have them in your hand say a prayer of cleansing and either bury them or, my personal preference, scream bloody murder as you chuck them as hard and as far as you can into a body of water. Bonus points if it’s a river.
  6. Now, take a moment to wide angle the remaining coins on the floor. Let the “good” coins start to stand out. Almost glow. Smile, because you know which ones they are. Put the coins back in whatever container they were in, but as you do be sure to feel those good things whenever you pick up the corresponding type of coin. You’re putting everything except the bad back inside you, but now you know the good when you see it. It’s a good idea to go and go buy yourself something tasty with the rest to positively reinforce your self-improvement efforts, assuming you didn’t pick the most valuable denomination as your “bad” coin.
  7. Keep the very last “good” coin you pick up separate from the rest. You just made a power object. Treat it well.