Story Time: My Bloody Baptism

Part of digging one’s way through the rust and mud to a magical life is reaching back to those profoundly wyrd experiences which have occurred in one’s past but we’re potentially glossed over or not met with the same willing, open eyes with which one currently seeks the numinous. I know that I, personally, tend to find as much (or more) insight and inspiration from processing the accounts and experiences of other practitioners who I would consider to be peers as I do from practical texts. For these reasons I thought it would make sense to share another story.

I had just moved to New Orleans and was ironing out the kinks in a set of all-new songs using vocals, guitar, drum machine/beatboxing, synth, and base loops which I would record, layer, and mix on-the-fly into gritty indie jams. It would be my first performance in this unbelievable city as well as my first ever performance under my newly-chosen moniker, which was not just another band name to me, but a declaration of intent; a magical act that would have precisely undefined, but self-evidently real consequences.

Having spent eight-ish years prior to this in a locally successful five-piece band back in Florida, I had noticed that as our local popularity had grown, so had my wondering about the efficacy of what I was doing as a means for doing good. I struggled with the idea that many people out there dancing couldn’t hear the desperate cynicisms and ironic empathies within my words for the cacophony of booze and personal demons that always seem so empowered for most trauma and ghost-haunted humans when they find themselves wading through the swamps of social gatherings. 

For me, the whole point of writing, composing, practicing, and performing music was to do something inherently good for others (it definitely wasn’t for the money), and while there were some who went out of their way to express that what I was doing really did mean a lot to them or helped them in some way, mostly what arose were meal-opportunities for personal demons and sickly social dynamics by means of addictions, both chemical and emotional.

So by the time I had moved to New Orleans this had all been fermenting inside for some time, and the trimming season I spent in NorCal that led up to my move provided plenty of time to ruminate away from writing and performing and that whole world. I was still pretty sure I wanted to make music as my primary output at that point, but I didn’t want the words to get lost anymore, and I needed to pinpoint the exact gears that made what I was doing helpful for others and focus on them

So the tempo dropped and the sound became more moody and communicative as opposed to dancey, a choice that may have been an unknown cowardice on my part all along. And after an uncomfortable period of analysis and contemplation I began to feel that what I was really offering which was of-worth was the permission to feel anything without judgement that seemed to permeate the audience when I performed. When there’s a skinny drunk screaming his heart into a can up there, you, as an audience member, have zero chance of being the most obnoxious/ridiculous-looking/crazy/likely-to-be-hated person in the room, because that’s my job and you can be as weird as you like without fear. In my mind, that was so beautiful. A tiny martyrdom. A minor shamanism. And that became my answer.

Loop pedal stuff with drummer Michael Murphy

Now that I finally knew what I was obviously supposed to do with my entire life, it needed a name. There is a concept a roommate told me about which I found on a Feng Shui website around that time called Sha. It was defined as harmful energy, the Chi that is present when people are angry or when a place has a threatening feel to it. Immediately I heard Issac Brock’s Ugly Casanova side project echoing in my ear “SHA SHA SHA SHAAAA” and it struck me as fun that these two contradictory feelings would be tied to the same three-letter word. But then it occurred to me that this idea of dispelling Sha was essentially the same mechanism of creating an emotionally safe place for the audience which I’d just, quite dramatically, identified as foundational to my craft, and the pseudonym Sha Sha Shaman was born.

Now, I feel I must contextualize that at this time in my life I had no magical education. I had my own occasionally-functional grassroots brand of Castaneda-inspired psychonautical shamanism, but my depth of study and practice was that of a teacup. An observation which is, in all honesty, still true, albeit nowadays a travel thermos may prove a more apt metaphor. The point is that my ignorance as to the cultural specificity and significance of the two terms involved, and the subsequently less-than-graceful appropriative line-walking contained therein, are not lost on me. My bad.

So back to the show, the first show under this declarative new name. I meant it to be just that, a pronouncement of my intentions to help, to serve, and to enjoy myself at the same time. I held a simple, small ceremony, which for me at the time was a pretty big deal, to commemorate the occasion before heading to the bar and I remember getting that hyperthick feeling in the air, one I was familiar with, but not yet intentionally. When it was time for my set I hurried to finish my beer and get another one, plus water, for the set and choke down a cigarette as I checked all my levels. Loop pedal work is absolutely ruined if your volumes aren’t dialed-in by NASA (or equivalent) and the dials on my pedal made it possible to adjust these, if necessary, while performing, however shoes were too bulky and socks too slick, so to do so required bare feet for the sake of traction. I tossed my shoes to the side and began to emotionally prepare. The sound guy gave me the go-ahead from his little booth and I remembered there was one little detail I had forgotten to mention to him which, to be honest, I cannot even recall now. So I intended to hop off the stage, take two steps to approach and deliver the message, then return to the stage and play a set so fantastic that they name a fucking parade after me. What happened was different. 

I hopped down off the stage and was greeted, not with the familiar cold and sticky grime of a New Orleans dive bar floor, but with screaming pain from the arch in my left foot. I had quite literally looked before I leapt, but the dark of the bar and the beer I had been breathing rendered my best self-preservative intentions moot. I hopped on my good foot over to the sound guy and delivered the original message, too drunk to feel shame, and told him I needed to “fix my foot real quick.”

I sat in a chair and a friend came over with a cup and began collecting the dripping blood from my glass wound to keep the bar from becoming a hazmat zone, all red mixing with remnant beer foam. It was this moment that a man I’d never seen before, or since, saw what had happened. His eyes lit up and he walked very slowly and deliberately over to where my friend and I were sitting while praying under his breath and making the sign of the cross. He never broke eye-contact with me as his own eyes became wider and he dipped his finger in the blood-foam cup, which my friend still held, and continued to pray as he marked a cross of booze and blood upon my forehead and gestured as if to signify some sort of honor had been bestowed. I taped a bar napkin tightly around my bleeding foot and hopped back up onstage and played my whole set with that bloody cross on my head (and rather well for someone using foot pedals and having only one foot, if I do say so myself.) When I was finished the man was nowhere to be found.

The actual glass.

In the months following this performance I would slide into addiction, a demon I knew I had within but had been effectively avoiding. It would begin a process that would take years, the process of being shaman-ned by the universe through the process of finding true bottom, dismantling everything that I was, losing most of my human relationships, and eventually overcoming addiction in a way that means true liberation, rather than the approach of institutional rehabilitations which hold as a core tenet the impossibility of that liberated state and offering treatment to the symptoms of a deeper, spiritual issue rather than the issue itself. 

Looking back, I believe that this declarative ritual on my part, and the unpredictable mystery of the world meeting me halfway to significate the experience by means of a bloody forehead-cross barroom-baptism, was the initiation of that horrific but necessary journey. Sure, I could have white-knuckled it for the rest of my life, always having within me that desire for feel-good drugs above all other things, people, and experiences, pulling my consciousness partly away from being present and embodied and leaving me bitter about the banality of so-called normal human existence, but it’s unequivocally better this way. 

I never would have been capable of maintaining the relationships I now have in my life, human and non-human, without that journey. I thought I was supposed to be doing what I was doing, believed it with my soul, and I was right about the structure, just not the specifics. I declared that I would give myself to the service of sanctity and the betterment of the Whole, and that call was answered with an intensive psychospiritual training program and eventual promotion.

For the time I have left on Earth as this self, I get to be fully present. I long for little that is damaging now, and I do not fear myself or my own judgement. I get to be whole. I get to be a husband, a mentor, and hopefully a father. 

All this from a noob with a purpose.

I don’t want to sum this story up with some catchy little moral, because there isn’t one. But I will say that I don’t look at people who appear stuck as lost anymore, knowing that I seemed completely hopeless to all outsiders at certain stages in my life and would have probably slapped someone if they’d told me that one day my passion for music would migrate to spiritual practices. Paths don’t diverge in the wood on their own, we must participate in the approaching of the forks and accept, with open eyes and arms, the unfathomable possibilities we call to us when we act with meaning and heart. It is interesting though, to think that sometimes we may be auditioning for a much bigger role than we realize due to the potential in us that can only been seen at the current time, by spirits.

I just wanted to share, in case it reminds a reader of a time they need to go back and properly venerate within their own lives. These moments are our plot points, our nodes, and they simply can’t be shared or studied enough. For practical gain, yes, but also for pure enjoyment and fellowship.

Until next time. ❤

How To Make Friends With Angels (or) How To Get Ahead In Angel Scrying (or) An Eye For An Eye Could Take a Really Long Time

My interactions with angels has been a strange ride thus far. I can only imagine how they must feel. Ever since myself and a group of fellow practitioners over at Rune Soup started a study group there has been much conversation, research, prayer, and work involved in getting to know the messengers through academic, theological, and practical efforts. We’ve poured through grimoires, scripture, apocrypha, modern academic works, and fluffy new age approaches in attempts to gleam some consistency and personality from our decidedly un-flappy and sometimes-winged-but-just-as-often-eye-spangled-and-fractally friends. Our efforts as a group have given us a boat-load of experiential data to consider, using namely the method found in Keys to the Gateway of Magic which consists of calling an archangel up as a group, scrying or journeying for ten minutes, and then comparing notes. I’ve gotten some really interesting stuff out of the sessions personally (such as Samael being a spirit who was originally worshipped on Mars as a god back when the red planet was still populated and Earth was a molten mess) but some of the others in our group have had some truly wild experiences. We have the occasional odd-vision-out but mostly the experiences, while catered to the individual and thus somewhat kooky and entirely unique, have been pretty on-the-nose as far as maintaining a suggestive coherent nature or personality of each archangel from experiencer to experiencer. The majority of my own personal contact at this point, however, comes from what I believe to be simply diligence, and eventual entanglement through the committed daily recitation of a few very lovely prayers, a dream journal, just generally having them on my mind through study, and (eventually) making requests and conversations on the fly (pun intended.)

It is best to use some training wheels to begin with and I only feel like I have a place to recommend what worked for me, and for me those training wheels were (along with our scrying sessions) the preliminary prayers from the Cunning Man’s Grimoire, which are at the bottom of this post. The first one is wonderful on it’s own, but better with the fourth following. Best practice, however, is to read all four each morning or each night before bed. Don’t just read them though, feel them. Perform them. Try it soft and listen to your words. Then try it like you’re on stage the next day; Explore them. Make shapes in the imaginal for the words, or ride them like a story within your mind. Get them in you and know them. The brilliance of these prayers is astounding to me and the metaphysics is genius. It took me some time to sort out just how much heavy lifting these prayers really do – read with magical eyes at what is being verbalized. 

Feel free to add other angels to the roster in that first prayer, but remember it covers “and their ministering angels and spirits” which means shoot high in the name list (cough, Metatron, Shekinah, cough), and consider intoning or singing them when you get to that part. These prayers also set up an imaginal command prompt with “being called or required in the name of etc..” and it really surprised me how much that helps get their attention on the fly. At least, after a month or three of nailing those prayers every day and keeping close written record of dreams.

The way that they seem, for me anyway, is more like a group of very strange friends that it’s taken a while to get to know, rather than dumb agency-lacking automitons to be commanded as some would suggest. Neither do they, in my experience, lend any likeness to archons or anything archonic, as others would say. They appear to be, through the collective experience I’ve witnessed in our group (including my own) something like sentient personifications of forces, or combinations of forces, in the universe who have permission to act causally. This is not to say they don’t have personalities, or even stories and narratives that may or may not have ever “happened” in the way us meatbrains like to define what True means, but they do seem structurally and causally integral to the universe. And they are most certainly persons

The archangels, especially, seem to have prominent roles in composing aspects of the world, as if fractured streams of consciousness cascading from the Capital G down into many streams or currents so that different forces can be combined in varying portions to make the variety of materials and beings we have in our universe. Like a table of elements, but spirits. Imagine pure white light of God hitting a prism and splitting into a rainbow, then those standard colors (archangels) sticking to some paint on a palette, only to be mixed again into new colors and images. I think of the Shemhamphorash and other “smaller-time” angels as being more complex iterations of these forces (the paintings, rather than the paint) with more complex spiritual structures and thus more specific vocations or rulerships. This would stack nicely against the grimoiric procedural method of calling up the ruling angels first; they very well may be actual components of the angels under their governance. In this sense it would be more accurate to think of a woven cascade of crocheted reality than some rigid hierarchy, but what do you expect considering the sources? In this case, also, we can think of getting to know the messengers as getting to know the very mind of God, or the seams and stitches in the quilt of Grandmother Weaver.

The archangels also appear to be different from the planetary intelligences. The planets themselves, as persons, feel like vast old conscious generators of specific currents; engines of planetary essence being constantly emitted into the cosmos and from which things are woven, while the angels seem to be the stewards of how those currents behave and how they land in the manifest; like stewards of archetypal portions of existence. I’m not even going so far as to suggest that they are even the same class or “species” of spirit, per se (because who the fuck am I, and also see notes on Samael above) but our evidence and my experiences suggest that perhaps the ranking of “angel” is an actual thing reserved for spirits who have made the choice to take a custodial role in the universe.

It seems as though now that they know me and what I’m about they simply help me when I ask them, but as stated before, this is almost certainly more about entanglement and the imaginal interface one builds through praxis and research than anything. It’s honestly quite alarming just how much my own experiences working with and befriending the angels has been indicative of an under-examined legitimacy within the more intuitive but aesthetically appalling realm of the new-age angel craze.

I believe, as stated, that this all comes down to entanglement, and severity and quantity thereof. There is no doubt that using grimoiric methods to contact, command, and accomplish magic with angels does, in fact, work, but this alone does not suggest a superior methodology. The methods that have survived did so because they work, but I personally cannot help but think that a more shamanic or intuitive approach could be equally valid, if not more so. This aligns with messages received through our group scrying sessions and our dreams (which you can read more about here); that existing systems should be used as training wheels to develop one’s own personal methods of honoring and contacting the messengers. I received the following instruction from the angels in dreams in the form of a bullet-list, a recipe for contact without a grimoire and further evidence that our entanglement-centric metaphysics is somewhat accurate. I have elaborated where necessary since this was communicated in simple words but came with packets of emotional and geometrical data attached to them, some of which was completely beyond my comprehension. What was shocking about these instructions for me was how much they supported my already running model of universal metaphysics. 

I feel I should also add that there seems to be a correlation between the fidelity of contact and the connection one has through their personal astrology. If you’re trying to decide who to reach out to first, consider looking at your birth chart and focusing on the angel of your Ascendant or Lunar ruler. Contact with Gabriel seemed to confirm the idea that the moon and moon-things directly govern happenings on our planet, and thus Gabriel is the gateway to synchronicities and contact events making them another great place to start.

The shape of this I found fascinating when considering the lore surrounding Hecate’s altar being the actual moon, and who oversees the migration of souls in and out of this world, and Hecate herself being the gatekeeper to the liminal doors. Regardless of what you decide, I implore you to share your results, either in the comments or your own blog post. And please reach out if you do. Without further adieu…

  1. Know their name; This means to explore it. Say it aloud and pay attention to the way your mouth moves, the shapes you make with your projecting and contracting breath, what shapes those cause in your mind. Meditate on the name, formally or casually, until it feels familiar. Until you feel close to it. You could research the angel you wish to contact as well, forming a better idea of who they are and what to look for and while this was not explicitly part of the directions given in my contact events, “Know their name.” could easily imply knowing their story as well.
  1. Create an heartfelt image in dedication and representation of the essence of that angel, or at least as you currently perceive/understand them. An act of heartfelt creation makes an impact, a groove where reality incorporates an idea’s full manifestation into its unfathomable folds through a mutual engagement by the imaginal and yourself. To engage in such an act in dedication to another being is exactly the kind of entanglement we are going for. This could be a glorious work of art, or as simple as a sigil but remember with acts of devotion for the sake of contact you often get exactly what you put in. This doesn’t mean a painting is better than a sigil, this means take care to put your care into whatever choice on which you land. This image can also become an event, and even a talisman, when enough effort and heart is poured into the action.
  1. Dedicate an event in spacetime to them, making action and story in which you are both main characters. This can be as simple as “Tomorrow, on the day of the sun, I will climb to the top of a hill and greet the dawn with frankincense in honor of the archangel St. Michael, in his day and on his hour.” but could equally become much more flowery and dramatic. Naturally, an action that is in harmony with the nature or rulership of the spirit in question would be ideal. Tip: They seem to enjoy singing.
  1. Say words, tell their story, and add any poetic references to personal experiences you’ve had with the angel before, even if from a story or some kind of personal connection through childhood, perhaps the hospital where you were born or a boarding school dedicated to them, but especially if you’ve ever been helped or aided by the angel before. Calling upon the parts of your stories that intersect conjures the truth of your relationality, inherent in those moments in time.
  1. If you feel them arrive, thank them for coming and ask for closer contact with them. Ask how you can strengthen the connection. Ask them to give you a sign to confirm that contact was made, if you aren’t sure, and use your cards. If they show up and it’s a strong connection already, ask them to come when you call, to know them better, or for rulership specific assistance; ask what you think is best. Perhaps make a list of questions before hand. Here’s the kicker, end your heartfelt request with “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and through the merits of Jesus Christ + Amen.” 

Cunning Man’s Grimoire Preliminary Prayers

  1. Oh infinite, wise, holy, blessed, glorious, pure, good, omnipotent Father, Son & Holy Ghost, one true god of gods, king of kings, Lord of Lords, creator of all the universal world, the holy, holy, holy, high, good & merciful god Sabaoth, the omnipotent of all powers in whom all creatures live, move & be, & doe obey to thee, which hast created thine Angels in wonderful order, & made them thy ministering spirits for all believers & heirs of salvation to the glory of thy great & holy Name, wherefore I, thyne unworthy servant, doe humbly implore thy holy divine glorious good and merciful majesty, through thyne infinite goodness, love and mercy & eternal love of Jesus Christ + our mediator and messiah [Messiah] [that] you wilt vouchsafe to forgive my manyfold sins & to purify my mind, soul, spirit & body with thy Holy Spirit, & fortifie me with true faith, hope, & charity, & grant me vertue & power that these thy holy Angels, Cassiel, Sachiel, Samael, Michael, Anael, Raphael & Gabriel, with their ministering Angels & spirits being called or required in the Name of god the Father, Son & Holy Ghost, may through thy mercie in + Jesus Christ willing & readily teach, instruct, shew & visibly represent, & openly & plainely in my native tongue make me perfectly to understand clearly all my honest & lawfull desires, questions, or demands, & in all my necessities with perfect understanding and memory to help & confirm me with thy power & strength of wisdom & might against all assaults of all myne enemies, spiritual & bodily to Thy glory, good of thy people & comfort of me, thyne unworthy servant, through thyne eternal love and mercy in + Jesus Christ our Lord & saviour so be it done. And in the Name of god the Father, Son & Holy Ghost to whom be ascribed all honour, glory, power, might, majesty & dominion without end, Amen.
  2. Oh Lord Jesus Christ + which art the eternal son of god the omnipotent Father of Heaven, creator of all creatures, I most humbly beseech thy glorious good and divine majesty which art + Alpha & Omega + the first & the last, our only mediator & advocate, our Lord & saviour sitting at the right hand in glory of god the Father, that thou wouldst forgive my manyfold sins, purifying my mind, soul and body with thy righteousness & holy spirit & to strengthen my faith, hope & charity, & grant me thy help & mercie that thyne holy Angels with their ministering Angels & spirits in all my necessities may help, defend, teach, shew & instruct me in all my honest & lawfull desires as thou hast granted to many of thy servants, through thyne eternal love & mercy who with the Father & the Holy Ghost remainest one true, glorious, good & merciful god to whom let men & Angels & all creatures in their degree & kinds sing all honour, glory, might, majesty & dominion without end, Amen.
  3. Oh holy, holy, holy, good and gracious God the Holy Spirit preceding from god the Father and the Son, I humbly implore thy holy & divine majesty, that you wouldst vouchsafe to sanctify my mind, my soul, & spirit, & all my members & faculties, of my body to the glory of god, salvation of my soul & body with a true & lively obtaining faith, hope, & charity, & that thy holy Angels with their ministering Angels may help and defend me in all adversities, & necessities, & that they may willingly & readly teach, instruct, & open & plainly shew to my sight & perfect understanding that thereby I may see, & perfectly understand, & know, all my honest & lawful requests, questions & demands that them being cited & called in the Name of god the Father, Son & Holy Ghost through the merits of our Lord + Jesus Christ our Lord & saviour who with the Father & the Holy Ghost remaineth one true infinite wise, holy, good & merciful, incomprehensible, omnipotent god, of all goodness & holy gifts, to whom let the universal world & all his creatures sing Hallelu-jah, with all honour, glory, power, might, majesty & dominion ascribed to + Elohim which is God in trinity of persons & unity of essence & a spirit & truth, & Emanuel, without end, through the merits of Jesus Christ +, Amen.
  4. Give ear to my words Oh Lord, consider my meditation, harken to the voice of my cry, my king & my God, for unto thee will I pray: let my cry come unto thee, for my soul trusteth in thee, our help & happiness is in thee, let me not be disappointed of my hope, infuse O god thy vertue into me, confirme O god what thou hast wrought in me & let my prayers be directed unto thee as incense in thy sight, & grant my humble request through the eternal love & mercie in + Jesus Christ, our Lord & saviour, Amen.

Fatima Crossroads Rite

It would seem the time has finally come to share this. Did I know this time would come? Absolutely not. To be honest, I didn’t even remember that I had written and posted this in a forum last year while in the midst of a Fatima research-hole. My honest-to-goodness assessment is that I became the temporary plaything of something bigger than myself after a big doobie one night, immortalized it on the internet, and promptly forgot entirely. Now, it would seem, a reputable magician-friend has made an earnest attempt of the rite, with the pact being reportedly accepted. This is, in my book, justification enough to share.

I adapted this working from a nine day novena and the very prayers given by Fatima herself and heralding angels. This is divided into three days for finding the right crossroads, three days to season the place, and up to three days successive attempts, but the nine is arbitrary. Obviously one could keep going until it worked, but sets of trinities are a nearly universal green light.

PART ONE

The selection of the location should be intuitive and in no way lazy. Shop around and find the right spot where you will not only be undisturbed multiple days in a row at either dawn or dusk, but a spot with which you can feel some kind of resonance. Spend three days shopping for crossroads while purifying each of those days, preferably in the morning, with either psalm 51 or rosary praxis, followed by one of these:

Litany to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima:

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for our dear Earth and her inhabitants, both visible and invisible.

Our Lady of Fatima, guide and enlighten our clergy.

Our Lady of Fatima, fortify our faith.

Our Lady of Fatima, temper our spirit

Our Lady of Fatima, embolden your saints and angels to our aid.

Our Lady of Fatima, guide and inspire those who govern us.

Our Lady of Fatima, cure the sick who confide in thee.

Our Lady of Fatima, console the sorrowful who trust in thee.

Our Lady of Fatima, assist those who invoke your aid.

Our Lady of Fatima, deliver us from all dangers.

Our Lady of Fatima, help us to resist temptation.

Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for us all that we lovingly ask of thee.

Our Lady of Fatima, guide and protect our loved ones.

Our Lady of Fatima, bring back to the right road our erring brothers.

Our Lady of Fatima, restore us to our ancient fervor.

Our Lady of Fatima, grant for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.

Our Lady of Fatima, bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child.

Our Lady of Fatima, bestow wisdom upon the world.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


PART TWO

The next three days, recite the following at the crossroads at either dawn or dusk (or better, both) as a way of preparing the place.

Delivered from the Angel of Peace:

My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love you.

Repeat X times, depending on how much you want this to work. Consider a full rosary, replacing Hail Mary’s with more of the above prayer.

Our Father x3

Hail Mary x3

Glory Be x3

(Optional – Our Lady of Fatima seemed to like the idea of sacrifice and told the children “When you make some sacrifice, say ‘O Jesus, it is for your love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’” So if you’re into asceticism, it’s something to consider.)

Close with:

O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy Dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ our Lord. Amen, Amen, Amen.

PART THREE

The final three days will be spent summoning at the crossroads at dawn or dusk with a rosary using a Fatimized ‘glory be’ to make a rosebush, followed by another 50 classic Hail Mary’s if needed. Play with this. Perhaps one works better for you.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

O my Jesus, pardon us, save us from the fires of hell.

Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy,

Both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

If she shows up, it’s worth considering that at the first apparition Lúcia wrote that the children were so moved by the radiance that they involuntarily said:

Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The Pact:

(previously Nine Day Fatima Novena Prayer)

O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of graces hidden in the Rosary. Inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion, so that by meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in it, we may gather its fruits, obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners, the restoration of the right relations, and the favor which I ask of you in this Novena, (state your request here) , upon fulfillment of which I hereby vow to plant you a rose garden with size and beauty respective to that of the fulfilled favor, and to always speak true of your miracles when asked. I ask this for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of all souls, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.

Let us Pray: O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy Dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ our Lord, Amen, Amen, Amen.

Walk away reciting our fathers and do not look back.

It’s Personal

It’s been a while. How have you been? I’m sorry I’ve been so bad about keeping in touch. It’s been a very strange year. I’m sure you can relate if you’re also human. I imagine we’ve all been going through some deeply personal experiences in myriad forms, both outside, and in, irrevocably blurring the dividing line we were taught to imagine separates them, and bringing a different reality into view. 

So much has happened and I’ve been trying to sort out just why I haven’t written, which has opened up a fresh can of questions regarding the point of this blog and sharing things publicly, in general. The horrifying astrological configurations this year are reflections of tides and cycles in the causal, literal world; very real powers, in the face of whom we can only hope to appease, ride, or get out of the way. It would seem as though at times where we are collectively wading through the shit together, the sharing of personal experiences, trials, tricks, and triumphs would be exponentially more relevant and important. 

So why then? Why has my gut feeling been that radio silence has been almost necessary for so long? Part of it is that my life has never been so good. Sharing that feels almost inappropriate when so many are having a terrible time. But with the difficult stuff, it’s been exactly what I said earlier: Personal. Which is exactly why I’m going to share some of it: Because I’m a little scared to.

I recently had some very intense and major “energy” work done that revealed something behind my left shoulder, on my back. A bubble pushing on my left back shoulderblade. Imagine a twisted balloon, the smaller bubble being a part of myself which I had, at some point, made a choice to cut off from the flow of my conscious being. As my practitioner friend and I isolated it with our combined focus, I began to notice that the pains in my arm, shoulder, and back that had been there chronically hurting for years, began to intensify and eventually lift off of my skin slightly. My friend then said they were seeing the aforementioned bubbles, then the small one breaking the seal and being reabsorbed into the larger one as a whole. They said, upon further meditation, that it was a big masculine energy that I had chosen to “turn in on myself” as a means of preventing the possibility of any output of toxic masculinity, and that while this was a somewhat noble action, this was not an healthy or sustainable flow pattern. They told me I was strong enough to hold it now, that I had earned it. They then told me to bring it into my heart chakra and “love it.” 

My initial internal reaction was to complain that I wasn’t sure how to do that, but something in me took over and just did it. Then, for a moment, I became genuinely frightened having this agitated intensely masculine force burning and twitching in my chest, but I did somehow find the capacity to see it as a wounded thing and simply love it. This took a few moments, but eventually it stopped twitching, cooled slightly, and held a steady warmth. Then it expanded downwards filling the lower areas of my Orphic egg/energy body/whatever you wanna cal it. This sensation was truly astounding. It was as if I had anchored in to the earth and connected to a strength I hadn’t known in years. And it was about this time that I noticed my shoulder and upper back on my left side, a source of torment for over a decade despite numerous chiropractor visits, exercises, massages, and prayers, or more accurately noticed that I wasn’t noticing it in any pain. The source of that pain had been relieved. It was around that time I realized that I had been crying. It felt like I was embracing an old friend whom I not only thought was dead, but had altogether forgotten their existence. That was three weeks ago or so and my neck and back are still 90% healed, with residual tension and physical damage correcting itself as time goes onward. But those three weeks were no picnic.

It turns out that the part of me I reassimilated had not been encoded with any of the lessons or temperences I have been enriched by in the years since our disconnect. Imagine suddenly having a version of yourself talking to you in your head, commenting on fucking everything, and that version of you is ten or twenty years younger. The selfish, ignorant, destructive bullshit tendencies and worldviews of a younger you just haunting the living shit out of you. So what did I do? I talked to him gently every time and said “Look, we did it. We can do things this way now. Isn’t that nice?” And never once did he protest, but gladly and immediately re-patterned to the new, better way of being/thinking which was before him. This still took a few weeks, but the process is pretty much complete now.

So why am I sharing all this? Well, because I know as well as anybody that this sort of thing can be very difficult to believe sometimes, even when you’re in it. And perhaps my story or my ways of coping with something like this could come in handy for someone else. Or let them know they’re not crazy.

Also, because I want to start writing again. One thing that really helped me figure out what this blog is for was receiving the upcoming bill to keep the lights on here at reverendjanglebones.com for one more year. Turns out, it’s for whatever I want. And what I want right now is to do whatever I can to be helpful, even if that just means sharing what I’ve been wading through lately and hoping it lands for somebody out there.

Anyway, thanks for listening. 

Tripping With The Locals: Plant Spirit Praxis

In the horrifyingly likely case that pandemic-monium resumes this fall and “Thou shalt stay indoors” returns to its place on the third tablet as the awkward eleventh commandment, I thought it prudent to share some outdoor summer-shorts praxis. Obviously, I would never suggest anyone do anything illegal, so know your local (enforced) laws, because this involves mushrooms. However fungi are not the focus, but the vehicle, and there’s plenty of useful praxis here without entheogens and room for substitutions and experimentation (insert cannabis here.) But this technique is for connecting with plants, after all, and who better to help out with that process than our actual ancestors and the literal plant-internet?

Now, surely throughout your time spent roaming your local wilds there have been a few majestic members of the flora that have happened to catch your attention. These are the connections this praxis is meant to explore and strengthen. That pull to one plant over another is intuition, no matter how much logical mush you drown it in. This kind of attraction often plays out in the conscious mind disguised as a rational choice, but those explanations always come secondary to the impulse. The impulse is holy, trust it. Go and find a spot outdoors where you will be comfortable sitting for at least an hour and turn off your phone. Find a spot where there is some cozy sense of invitation, perhaps a spot where you notice a couple of your aforementioned favored local plants. If not, find some you like. You don’t need to know anything about them, not even their names. Sit and listen, observe. Do nothing else for that hour. Choose one or several plants growing within your view that you noticed feeling fond of in that hour and turn your phone back on, take some pictures, and identify them later. 

Get to researching their genetic history, evolution, life stages and cycles, soil, climate and terrain preferences, associated folktales and legends across cultures, myths and lore, planetary associations, magical properties, edibility, medicinal potency, leaf patterns, root structure, and pollinators. And anything else you can think of to learn about said plants. Learn their history, as far as we know, and explore how they are believed to have been carried to where they now reside, all the places that they dwell, as told both by modern science and the peoples with whom they have cohabitated and collaborated. Learn their journey, their story.

On another day, whenever feels right to you, go back to your sitting spot and spend an hour just existing with those plants without any potential for distraction. Bring an offering if you’re so inclined. Just be there. Talk to them if you wish, but mostly be receptive. Try to contain nothing in your mind. No-thought meditation tech is ideal here. Note your emotions as you hone-in on one plant and wait in a receptive state. Do this for all of the plants you studied, one after another, cycling through. Thank them for their company and bid them farewell and feel your gratitude towards them.

Note how knowing their story changed the way you saw them. Note how you felt about each one. Write down some descriptors for each plant and keep that list for later additions.

Whenever you are ready, return to your spot with offerings for the land, and mushrooms, water, and some post-journey fruit for yourself. Milk and honey, fresh fruit, bread, and juice are all excellent land-spirit offerings in my experience, but go with your instinct if it should protest. I recommend 1 – 2 grams for this because a microdose is not quite enough liftoff and a full dose is a bigger commitment (and may end up not being about the plants at all.) A threshold dose is still manageable but with ample boosting of connectivity from our fungi friends.

Essentially, repeat the second visit. Meditating on the way in to the experience is unbelievably beneficial, but once you’re centered, begin to silence your feelings and listen, listen, listen. Plants often project emotions instead of reciting prose, so that bit matters. See if a plant reaches out to you first. If not, send feelings of love and warmth and see what happens. You’re on your own at this point. Experiment.

Thank the spirits of place and record your notes while the experience is still fresh. Your revelations may blow away in a breeze like a dream in the morning lest you wait too long to record them. How did your experience align with what you learned about the plants in your studies? Were they feisty or friendly? Warm or cold? Was there texture, sound, or color? Regarding any details you add to your list from this third visit, be sure to thank the fungi for facilitating those insights.

I hope this is useful to a few of you beautiful wyrdos, you tormentors of the archons. As always, share in the comments. Be safe, shit crazy. ❤

Resistance, The Shadow, & Ethical Malefica

It seems obvious that any time someone compulsively avoids an issue it’s because there is something present within or connected to the issue of which they are afraid or by which they’ve been traumatized. Sometimes that’s due to the action of others, sometimes our own foolish folly. In either case what we find is a partition between the actively aware self and some dark corner of the mind. It reminds me of instances where a parent loses a child and seals up their room as a sort of museum shrine to their lost beloved offspring. The rest of the world keeps changing with age and experience, but the room becomes an out-of-place fixed anomaly, which in turn can become a petri dish for less-than-pleasant phenomena. So too goes the shadow.

My first experience with my shadow was when I was 18 years old and in Florida. One of my best friends had stopped by, distraught over yet another argument with his long-time girlfriend (for eighteen year-olds anyway) who was quite clairvoyant, but had little control and was often tormented by her abilities. My friend and I decided to go to the beach, but at his request we drove an extra fifteen minutes to an access point we rarely frequented and parked far back in the dunes where the car would be hidden from potential friends driving by in our small town, where everyone (and their cars) were overly familiar and recognizable. It was no more than forty minutes later that his girlfriend came walking up behind us along the shore, now nearly a mile up the beach from the car, asking him if they could talk, as if there was nothing strange about any of this whatsoever. 

After they had talked (for a teenage relationship’s length of time) I approached her about the only thing on my mind the whole time I waited: How the fuck did she know where we were? 

Her casual reply when I asked her was, “Your little boy told me, the one that lives in your yard.”

Of course, I started to shake. Sure, this would have been urine-inducing enough on its own, but add to that my experiences within the month or so leading up to this conversation, the ones where I knew I was being watched regularly at night when I was out on the screened-in porch, and I was lucky to have nothing but salty air on my shorts. I had also, within the couple of weeks prior, experienced an escalation. I was getting rocks thrown at me from the exact spot it seemed I was being watched from; a stand of three palm trees and a wild patch of Florida brush beneath. And what’s more, I had also felt that it was most assuredly a young boy. 

“He’s mad at you. He doesn’t want to be ignored, don’t be afraid of him.” She said.

Having zero evidence to the contrary, I took her advice with total conviction and much apprehension. I went home and I mowed that wild patch. And I put some potted jade and a couple trinkets down there, along with a lawn chair and an official address in which I fumbled over every word, terrified that the neighbors, or worse my mother, could see or hear me performing this seemingly insane ritual action. Nothing noticeable happened except that I felt a little more crazy. At least, until the next time I was out on the porch at night. Where before there was the thick fog of an ominous and envious gazenow it felt fine happy even, though still not entirely healthy or free of presence. When I looked over at that spot it felt like someone winking at me, still imbalanced, but no longer bitter and jealous for attention.

In the following year it became apparent to me that I had been attempting to separate from my inner-child because at that time in my life my inner-child represented a threat to my well-being. For me at that time, survival seemed dependent on the sacrificing of the inner-child for the sake of functioning in a nightmarish soul-sucking workforce when all I cared to ever do was create. Combine that with male adolescence in a social climate where toxic masculinity seemed an exclusive option and you have one sad puppy who doesn’t feel allowed to express any sadness. When placed in the proper context, nothing about any of this is surprising.

It fascinates me to this day that my inner-child was throwing rocks at me, having been twisted into a shadow by my miscalculated judgement and misdirected survival instincts, but that is exactly what happened. This was a special kind of experience. One where because others were a part of it, it cannot be unconfirmed in my mind no matter how much time or distance comes between me, here in the ever-living now, and the boy on that beach.

I wish I could say that I was suddenly adept at identifying and integrating my shadow, but I had barely yet begun creating it at that time in my life. Just as eventually the mother redecorates the bedroom and begins the arduous work of healing, so too have I now done so with more emotional trauma and self delusion than I ever thought myself resilient enough to endure. 

All this leads me to the current climate and the question of ethical malefics. Allow me to explain, but first we need to take a slight detour that turns into an on-ramp. Come along.

Now, to anyone who disagrees with malintent, be it through magic, physical force, psychological manipulation etc.; How would you feel about someone murdering your child or partner? What about emotional abuse or manipulation? Are you actually opposed to retribution itself, or is it more the issue of losing yourself in the indulgence of revenge? What about real-time self-defense?

As was elucidated in the video this too is a symptom of the shadow, albeit a much more deeply seated one than with which most people are used to working. But that doesn’t mean some don’t dare to delve that deeply into the depths. Some have no choice. And I would argue, as Jordan Peterson did, that this can be one of the most difficult aspects of the self to dissolve and reintegrate and those who have done so are worthy of respect, but what’s more this seems the only possible way of accessing the realms of necessary resistance without falling into warped emotional reward systems in relation to resistance or violence. Retribution is not sononymous with vengeance.

What if you have done all that inner work, dissolution and coagulation, with aggression like I did with my inner-child? What if you’re entirely comfortable with your moral boundaries and know that when you seek justice it is not out of an imbalanced emotional need? Why couldn’t a release of justified rage be controlled and focused on an outcome that is an appropriate outlet for that feeling rather than repressing or redirecting it? Certainly I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone (on good days) but something like “Those who swore to uphold the law shall be judged by it.” certainly wouldn’t be putting anyone in harm’s way that doesn’t absolutely deserve it. Perhaps it has no effect other than being the correct place to release that anger, but perhaps that is okay too. If outrage isn’t properly worked through it will spill out into portions of our lives in which it has no business whatsoever, and if focusing that outrage back onto the cause through magic has even a slight chance of efficacy, then why the hell not? As long as it’s genuine and not some social justice piece for your own self-propagandization.

That last question was not rhetorical. I want to hear your thoughts.

Be safe out there and take care of each other. You’re irreplaceable.

You Can’t Kill Your Shadow But You Can Make It Your Bitch

There are a great many ways one can work with their shadow, and a few variations of what that even means. I’m not, however, speaking from any perspective except my own unfortunately hard-won first-person here, but you should have an idea of what that means before we continue. 

I spent enough time chasing the chemical uplift of some of the most aggressively addictive varieties ever weaponized by human hands that nearly the entirety of my being was bent towards the manipulation of feelings and the monopolization of the resources of others, always campaigning my propaganda for the next pack of lies. The metaphysical knots that constant denial, guilt, self-loathing, and general warping of consciousness tie a person up in aren’t exactly the bows on your shoelaces (if they were they’d be tied together and tossed over a power line.) But there is truly no limit to how far back to the other side one can swing. Back to hope, connection, involvement. I’m living proof. Sure, I’m still broke, but I’m happy. 

And wasn’t that the whole point all along? As it turns out it was. It is. And one of the ways I combat the layers of leftover patterning that are ripe for the sloughing is to haunt the living shit out of my shadow. This is far less creepy than it sounds, and also far creepier, but incredibly effective once the ball gets rolling. 

We all do and say things from time to time that make our cheeks hot, our stomachs rise, and our hearts sink. We all experience the utter horror of observing the self acting a fool at times, and in these moments we have tendency to beat ourselves senseless in ill-conceived strategies of self-discipline such as chastisement and verbal abuse. 

Instead, I propose a cease-fire. Our egos are nothing more than survival programs running amok because we don’t have proper initiation rites or shamanic healing in most sections of the Western spiritual supermarket, nor sufficient training (and social acceptance thereof) to provide the tools for reprogramming our personal AI in order to regain it’s processing abilities as our asset.

Did you see what I did there? Somehow “ego” carries something more personal with it, doesn’t it? Ego is thought of as contained within us. If we look at the embarrassing decisions we make based on fear as our AI simply behaving like ill-programed protection software, suddenly there’s much needed emotional distance present and we find less inclination to slip into verbal flagellation. Far more genuine interest in understanding this strange phenomenon that so often gets mistaken for ‘I’ becomes instantly available and without the association of moments of blunder within the core self, there is no connection point for the self-deprecation to associate internally. 

Just simply notice every time you feel you’ve said something ingenuine. Take a little note when you hear yourself lie unnecessarily. If you can feel your conscience being shoved in a cupboard, pause, breathe, and listen. Sit right there in that moment where your feelings are, right when they happen. You’ll begin to get a sense, over time, for what kind of person your shadow is, as it becomes defined by the impulses which are intentionally prevented from manifesting. It’s likely that you think that you know exactly what the darker sides of yourself are like already, but it’s always more complicated than you think, more nuanced.

At first, catching that these moments happen at all is sometimes difficult, but eventually the turnaround is just a few moments. Then, after a little more practice only a few seconds, and eventually they become second-nature to see coming ahead of time. The real trick is to catch yourself in moments of careless deed or tongue red-handed, prevent that action from taking place, and allow the shadow (the origin of the impulse to have acted in some less-than-desirable manor) to play out as it intended in your imagination. Just sit back and watch your dark side do something shitty from the comfort of a better now. I guarantee the threads you pull will lead to trauma that isn’t nearly as difficult to heal as it is to face.

Following these threads can unlock a fair amount of closeted scaries, but that closet is really not that big to begin with. We all have some sprucing up and airing out to do from time to time and I find it much easier to allow the shadow its room to act as it is compelled to rather than attempt to deny or stifle a force of nature. Often it’s the observations within the conscious mind (and the gratitude that comes with opting out of some dick move) that jolts our AI into making alterations to its protocol. That is, our observations differentiate which parts are ego, which are shadow, and give both the space to exist, but on our terms.

I, personally, like to watch my inner monster keep on talking in my imaginal realm as I roll my eyes, look over at my ancestors, and proclaim with a thumb gesturing, 

That fuckin’ guy…”

Passover to Panspermia in One Very Hot Take

“Man should not live on bread alone. And also sometimes, fuck bread.” -God.

Growing up in a Christian cult, I was lucky enough to participate in many an Old Testament holiday. That’s right; Christmas, Halloween, Easter, birthdays, and anything remotely glistening with festive innocence was dragged kicking and screaming into the spotlight of historical and dogmatic scrutiny and deemed pagan and forbidden. Because nothing says childhood like cynical asceticism. No, I didn’t get fun holidays. I got things like fasting.

This would have all been a boon to my ritually-inclined side if there had been any sort of coherence to the logic behind these rituals that seemed to serve no purpose other than self-punishment, but for little-bitty-Brian, there were no such reasons. I was offered no explanation that fasting, for instance, induced altered states, but instead given a flimsy logic involving frailty and dependence. There was never any sign in my father or mother’s eyes that it made sense to them, only a sense of duty and expectation. Like with taxes.

Even now that I am fully-grown and have my own practice full of ritual, I thought it might provide a way-in to a means of understanding these customs, but Passover was two nights ago and as I helped my grandmother put all the leavened food in a trash bag (one that would not go into the compost pile due to nuanced biblical law but be sent to the landfill to rot amongst non-biodegradables) I couldn’t help but fall into analysis.

The idea of this holy holiday, as I was always taught, is that yeast represents our sin and that for the sake of a ritual exercise, we will expel all sin from our property and lives in order to better understand what it will be like when Christ returns. Now, even if I ignore the irrefutable fact that from a cognitive sensory perspective this essentially equates Jesus’ comeback story with a removal of variety and enjoyment, I cannot ignore the audacity of both referring to something as ubiquitous and ethereally present as yeast as “sin” nor can I fathom what possesses the keepers of this holiday into thinking that something floating in the air around us all the time can ever be purged. You’re literally breathing it, even when you choose to eat flatbread for one week.

Yeast is our friend. The baker is it’s business partner and many of yeasts’ relatives keep your belly producing the right amounts of dopamine. Yeasts are actually fungi and I could literally write a  book (and I am) about the occult relationship between humans and fungi, and I’m not even talking about psilocybin here. Just fungi. The stuff that almost definitely came here from space and transmuted the rock into nutrients for bacteria and eventually plants to thrive on. I’m supposed to equate that with sin? 

In my mind, the numerous myths about the earth-mother or goddess sending forth a spirit to shape the land, a spirit of breath or air, does little in the way of excluding yeast from this perfect world when we consider that it’s ancestors likely shaped this world for us. There is a popular theory that water first came to Earth in the form of a giant frozen ice-cube, we already know that spores can survive being frozen, and some can even survive the vacuum of space. So let’s take a look at a popular story amongst practitioners of this yeast-banishing holiday, just for the sake of occulted perspective, from the viewpoint of the consciousness of the fungi itself, just floating in a block of ice near it’s spores and looking for a place to create a world. Remember ‘waters’ can be frozen and ‘without form and void’ could easily describe the planet pre-H2O.

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Now what happens when that consciousness in a chunk of ice careening towards our solar system feels the warmth of our sun? After all, you can’t have biological life without heat as far as we know.

“And God saw the light, that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness.”

Now, if you are floating in space, it would always be daytime. But the second you descend to earth, from your perspective, you would have “created” night and day by “separating” the light from the dark through a change in vantage point.

Then, skipping to verse 6, we get some insight into what it would have been like in the very first days of mushy, water-filled Earth. Hundreds of thousands of years of chemical reactions, gasses forming and expelling, water sinking deeper into the earth before boiling back up into the atmosphere. This was one of the most violent and crazy times on the face of this planet, as the water cycle found its groove.

“And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”

And now we have rain, snow, clouds, etc. Due to some findings in 2019, scientists are fairly certain that fungi crawled onto the land long before the beginnings of plants or animals did thus juxtaposing my Genesis thought-experiment with the various messages transmitted to Terrence McKenna by the mushroom consciousness telling the exact same story. Look it up.

Feel free to follow the rest of genesis through the evolution of plants, then animals, and then finally the break in ice ages with God “resting,” and all the while it’s far too easy to imagine yeast’s common ancestor observing the whole thing unfolding through an experience of time that is wholly unlike our own. Anyone who has communed with mushrooms knows that time is not the same for them and they enjoy showing this off to us monkeys.

All it would take is one person on a meal’s worth of psilocybe asking to be shown where we came from, then passing that story on orally until it became doctrine many generations after it was first told. I probably would have called the voice “God” too after an experience like that.

Back to here and now, as I watched the yeasts being demonized and my grandparents seeming to act more out of obligation to rules they don’t need to understand in order to follow, I realized exactly what ritual means to me. The occulted relationships between us and other living things, like yeasts, already have stories present. Vast, rich stories that tell the true-true of our relationality. When we go ascribing meaning all willy-nilly it’s no different than interspecies racism.

Truly, and above everything else, ritual is about what makes sense to me and making a pariah out of the being that may have actually done all that legwork just doesn’t. The spirit of the power of the air just might be the same one that makes your bread rise. 

Put that in your animist pipe and smoke to your heart’s content.

Thanks for listening. 

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.