Mars Conjunct Aldebaran

Notre Dame

The tragic news of a fire destroying parts of a wonder of art and architecture like Notre Dame Cathedral yesterday, as well as the simultaneous fire that destroyed part of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, saw a tight conjunction between Mars and the Fixed Star Aldebaran at 10º Gemini. Traditionally, Aldebaran’s conjunction with Mars is wont to bring destruction and accidents, and with both celestial bodies sitting in House IX, the House of Religion and Philosophy, at the place and time of the French fire’s outbreak (approximately 18:30, Paris time) the auspicious activation of a major destructive event instigated by fiery Mars and Marsian Aldebaran is credible. Furthermore, in the Sidereal Zodiac—which is that deemed most relevant to Mundane Astrology—the Lunar Mansion Al Dabaran, named after its leading star, is particularly associated with the destruction of buildings. That there were two such fires simultaneously could be seen as a manifestation of the twin or dual aspect of Gemini.

Jupiter, the planet which represents religion, gods and worship, stationed retrograde at 24º 21′ Sagittarius on 10th April, just 30′ shy of the face of the fixed star Shaula, and was positioned at 24º 19′, a small orb of 0º 32′ away from this star (which the Arabs named ‘the tail of the Scorpion’ and is known for its  Marsian and Mercurial properties) at the time the fire was detected. In Paris, Jupiter’s position in House III where it formed a loose departing square with Shaula’s other resonant planet, Mercury—the ruler of both Gemini and House III, which was in its detriment and fall in the twenty-ninth degree of Pisces, in that sign’s Marsian decan—may have assisted with the quickness with which the fire spread.

In Jerusalem, the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque—the third most revered place of worship  for Muslims—Mars and Aldebaran were located in House VIII, which is strongly influenced by Mars and Scorpio.

The fate of Notre Dame (which has some personal significance to me as I proposed to my wife while sailing past it on the Seine back in September 2016), brought to mind the lightning strike that destroyed the roof of York Minster on July 9th, 1984. Mars sat conjunct with the star Zubenelgenubi, the Southern Claw of the Scorpion—a star of the nature of Mars and Jupiter—at 14º Scorpio at that time, though more fitting to that event was the conjunction of the shocking sky god Uranus with Antares, then at 9º Sagittarius, which sits almost exactly opposite Aldebaran and is also destructive and Marsian in nature. Aldebaran was conjunct the Ascendant at the time that the fire brigade arrived on the scene at York Minister (approx 02:15, meaning the fire probably broke out around 02:00), while Antares was approaching the Descendant and Aquarius, the sign of Uranus’s domecile, was on the cusp of the Midheaven. Jupiter was also retrograde at the time of the York Minster fire, as it was at the time of yesterday’s twin fires.

I hope both of these mighty examples of human culture and endeavour will recover from the unpleasant setbacks that have befallen them, and I express sympathy and goodwill to all  those impacted by the fires. York Minster was eventually repaired and thrives today and hopefully Notre Dame and Al-Aqsa will recover too.

Book Review: Testament of Solomon: Recension C

Recension C

TESTAMENT OF SOLOMON: RECENSION C
Brian Johnson
Hadean Press

Alongside the works of researchers and writers such as Joseph Peterson, Jake Stratton-Kent, Daniel Harms, Clare Fanger and Richard Kieckheffer, this release provides us with another vital key in the understanding of the true scope of a magical tradition that, until recent decades, has seemed disparate and fractured. With the release of Recension C, which Johnson’s masterly translation enables us to peruse in English for the first time, the lines of descent between current modes of practice and their ancient origins in texts such as the Greek Magical Papyri become less obscure. While the effect of this ever-broadening synopsis allows for greater academic understanding of the subject matter, the importance of this broadening scope to practitioners comes with the increasing likelihood that the overwhelming reliance on a text as flawed in its redacted presentation of goeteia as the Lemegeton might soon seem like a thing of the past as truer ‘keys’ to such methods of working are revealed.

The true value of this work can be found in its drawing together of the textual traditions and spirit names found in the older versions of the Testament of Solomon (such as Onoskelis and Asmodeo) with names recognisable from other medieval texts (Belet, Oriens, Boul, Astaroth, Latzepher and Magot) in order to reveal a snapshot of the evolution of an ‘independent demonological tradition’ that formed somewhere between Byzantium and Renaissance Italy. With this done, the link between the original versions of the text, the traditions expressed in the Hygromanteia, Liber Juratus, Folger v.b.26 and Les Livre des Esperitz and the Italian textual conglomerate known as Recension C. presents us with another important glimpse into the historical evolution of this field of magical study.

Johnson’s opening Introduction and essay opens this short but essential book in an accessible manner that reveals an excellent academic standard which transcends the boundaries of most modern occult texts. As well as reinforcing the older texts’ presentation of the entities summoned as essentially astrological in their origins, the assignment of various spirits to the four elemental quarters in the manner that finds its best expression in Folger v.b.26, reveals another possible progression from the works that initially assigned each elemental quarter to the four kings, Oriens, Amaymon, Paymon and Egin first mentioned by William of Auvergne (though certainly older in its origins) to reveal another connection to the astrological principles that are generally incomplete or obfuscated in later texts such as the Lemegeton. While operative instructions are only alluded to in the opening and closing sections of the Recension, the descriptions of the spirits’ legions, their powers and the depictions of their seals also provide another important link between the medieval and Renaissance texts and their more ancient forebears. While, ultimately, it is not a ‘true’ derivation of the Testament, what this publication of Recension C reveals in terms of tradition is the drawing together of older Hellenistic magical methods into a single text that proves a vital addition to our current understanding of the development of Solomonic magic.

Book Review: Gods of Thrones: A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Religions of Ice and Fire: Vol. 1.

Gods of Thrones

GODS OF THRONES: A PILGRIM’S GUIDE TO THE RELIGIONS OF ICE AND FIRE: VOL. 1.
A. Ron Hubbard & Anthony LeDonne
Bald Move Books

While I’ve only really skirted around the peripherals of geekdom, I’ve often felt the gravitational pull into fanboy nerdishness that beautifully constructed fantasy worlds like Middle Earth, Osten Ard, Hyboria, Krynn and Allansia emanate from their cores. Teenage-me lapped up tales from such perilous realms with devotion, while Tolkien’s words on man’s role as the ‘sub-creator’ of the divine mysteries through his creative output has remained an inspiration to me right through to middle-age, a time of life in which the yearning for days of high adventure seem to have as much chance of happening as Arnold dusting off his codpiece to play King Conan.

With the emergence of A Song of Ice and Fire, which I discovered around 2010, and the ridiculously excellent HBO series Game of Thrones that came a year later, the spotty, sinewy teen who wandered the woods and hills of south Wales fruitlessly hoping for glimpses of elves, re-emerged like the sapling of the White Tree of Gondor. I found my lifelong interests in magic, myth and religion—which, in the early days, were doubtlessly nurtured by the re-sacralisation of the magical imagination by the likes of Tolkien, Terry Brooks and Tad Williams—were once again complimented by a modern creation worthy of unleashing my inner geek upon. I read the entire series up to A Feast for Crows in less than a month before I had to briefly join the frustrated hordes waiting for the release of A Dance with Dragons in 2011. Since then, with several more years having lapsed between Dance and the long-anticipated Winds of Winter, the frustration of waiting a year, and more recently two years, between seasons of Game of Thrones completed the total long-term absorption of Martin’s world into the fabric of my psyche. He is an author whose works require patience and devotion, having now strung his devotees along for twenty-three years since A Game of Thrones was released; but like all exceptional works, the forthcoming culmination of the HBO series will undoubtedly prove worth the wait, as will the presently theoretical release of A Dream of Spring.

Re-watching the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones recently, I noticed—in ways both subtle and gross—just how much the movement of many plot devices could be construed as the movements of the gods moving our beloved and despised characters around as their pawns over the chequered landscapes of Westeros and Essos. Noting this, I wondered if anyone had thought to look into the patterns of behaviour and motivations of the gods in Martin’s world in order to decipher more about what their ultimate game was. Further, I wondered if anyone had tried to piece together what religious and magical inspirations from our own terribly fucked world Martin and the show runners looked towards in order to shape their own unique visions of divine action in Game of Thrones. The answer, I discovered, was that someone—two someones, in fact— had recently done that very thing.

The resulting book, Gods of Thrones, comes courtesy of Bald Move’s A.Ron Hubbard and religious scholar Anthony LeDonne, whose combined knowledge of Martin’s world and the philosophical, historical, mythical and religious landscapes of our own shines effortlessly in this volume, which covers topics such as animism, Zoroastrianism, patriarchal cults, tribalism, scepticism and Messianic figures in the context of Martin’s own background as a meticulous ‘sub-creator’ and lapsed Catholic. With the forthcoming Volume 2 of this work looking to cover the mythology of the Ironborn, the culture of the Dothraki and the ‘dragon cult’ of the Targaryens, the combined efforts of the authors will prove a welcome addition to the ever-broadening world that Martin has shaped.

While Gods of Thrones holds an expert stock of well-presented and researched information, my only sticking point came with its jocular and over-familiar tone which featured a few too many cross-references to other vessels of geekdom that the authors obviously revere. While reading, I noted that if I were listening to or watching what I was reading on a podcast (which, in fairness, is Hubbard’s primary medium) or on YouTube, I would probably have enjoyed its style and laughed along. In book-form, however, the less formal approach suitable for online media doesn’t translate as well. It wasn’t that the attempts at humour were terrible, but rather that they sat awkwardly in what was otherwise an excellent and informative book. Still, this personal gripe wouldn’t put me off purchasing, and most-likely enjoying, Volume 2, though I expect I may occasionally grit my teeth and scrunch up my face at times as I did with this Volume.

In response to my own criticisms of the book I think it would only be right for me to check out Bald Move’s Game of Thrones podcast before reading Volume 2 to see if it’s a case of needing a degree of familiarity with Hubbard’s style to better appreciate the book. If not, nothing lost, Volume 2 will be worth getting hold of anyway, as is this.

Book Review: Holy Daimon

Holy Daimon

HOLY DAIMON, Frater Acher.
Scarlet Imprint.

With Frater Acher’s Theomagica website (theomagica.com) being a consistently interesting presence in my magical web-browsing over the past few years, the announcement of the release of Holy Daimon by Scarlet Imprint last year instantly caught my attention. Working pretty solidly on a magical book of my own for some time when it was finally released, however, I found myself lagging behind in my reading responsibilities, but now that my project is sitting with the publishers, I’m finally getting the chance to catch up with some great books I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

The essence of Holy Daimon is grounded in the foundations of a historical presentation of the concept of the daimon, beginning with overviews of the Chaldean and Zoroastrian concepts before a more succinct body of evidence is presented in Acher’s succinct analysis of the Greek concept of the daimon. Following this, the book firstly bases itself in the praxis of the author’s fascinating account of the extended Saturn retreat he partook in to strengthen his relationship with his daimon. Being a practitioner who keeps a regular magical record, Acher’s braveness in publishing this part of his magical history provided me with an additional level of respect and empathy for him, as his account revealed the depth, yearning and humanity one would expect to find in a sincere and devoted initiate. Ultimately, it was this and Acher’s unique advice (with a hint to Ficino) on singing to the planets to draw down their energies which stand out as some of the most memorable aspects of this work, though that judgment is in no way intended to detraction from the quality of the rest of the book.

The book concluded with a section including recommended practices which, alongside the Holy Daimon Online Project and some other useful tools found on Acher’s website, provide sound advice to those who wish to come to know their personal daimon. Of these, the inclusion of a ritual from the PGM designed to grant communication with one’s daimon was of particular interest as works with genuine and ancient roots such as the Greek Magical Papyri are often those that are the most satisfying to explore.

Alongside Rain al-Alim’s Jinn Sorcery, Holy Daimon stands out amongst Scarlet Imprint’s already stellar catalogue of recent releases and, as always, I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future.

– David Crowhurst

Book Review: One Truth and One Spirit

one-truth-header-small-2000x1200-1

Keith Readdy – One Truth and One Spirit: The Spiritual Legacy of Aleister Crowley. Ibis Press.

The release of One Truth and One Spirit comes with a great deal of anticipation and interest in the Thelemic community. No small part of this interest has been generated by some who have chosen to adopt a hard line of opposition—in the majority of cases without having seen the work itself—to the documentary evidence that Readdy previously announced would be included in this book. That the primary evidence he presents features exclusive examples of private personal correspondences between formative members of the modern expressions of the A.’.A.’. and the O.T.O., as well as unpublished documents and photographs from the O.T.O. archives (personally provided by the Outer Head of the Order), challenges Readdy’s detractors with a predicament of whether they should rationally argue their cases to the information presented with equal evidential rigour or whether they should instead resort to the flat denial of the proofs offered and ad-hominem attacks on the author. Sadly, thus far at least, some have opted for the latter option, as is evident in one of the reviews apparent on Amazon by an individual who opened his diatribe with the proclamation that he had no intention of either purchasing or reading the book. But as is always the case, those who engage with an open-mind to either inform or challenge their views on the world will find their reward.

Putting the storm of discomfort this book’s appearance may have conjured to one side for a moment, what we find in Readdy’s work is a concise overview of the history of Thelema from Crowley’s initial formation of its doctrine, including his vision of the work of the A.’.A.’. and the O.T.O., through to the battle for legitimacy in the ‘interregnum’ between Crowley’s death and the modern reorganisation of the two Orders. It is this section in particular that proves unsettling for those who disagree with the author’s assertions, not least because of the documentary proof of the implausibility of one of Thelema’s most beloved figure’s position as the primary link in the chain between Crowley’s manifestation of the A.’.A.’. and the manifestation that resulted from its gradual rebirth between the 1970s and 1990s.

Although such sensitive points will naturally be seen as contentious to some, the overall theme of One Truth and One Spirit is, as the title suggests, an appeal for unity. Readdy demonstrates well that there is a much wider and broader manifestation of the Thelemic movement in the modern world that goes beyond the boundaries of the O.T.O. and the A.’.A.’. and, despite what some critics may suggest, this is not portrayed as a bad thing, as any worldly manifestation of the Law of Thelema serves the ultimate purpose of successfully establishing the New Aeon. What may be argued from his assertions is not that the many diverse strains of Thelema available to us today are _in themselves_ illegitimate, but that they don’t have a very _specific_ legitimacy. The nature of that legitimacy is then clarified in the book’s content.

Other than the arguments made to prove the legal and spiritual legitimacy of the modern O.T.O. and A.’. A.’., the only point in this book that could be construed as at all ‘negative’ in any sense is Readdy’s dissection of the phenomenon of The Digital Magus in Chapter 12, which to me resonated very succinctly with some of the realities of 21st Century occultism. The reasons for such criticisms will no doubt already be clear to many without further need for clarification, but Readdy assertively and eloquently elucidates the obstacles that social media places in the way of those who would seek to do the Great Work but instead find themselves plunging into the pits of narcissism and self-aggrandizement.

Despite the undisguised calling-out of those who have forged their online projections in accordance with the aims of Choronzon, this chiding comes with the same call to unity in its intentions as those that are echoed in the author’s closing statements. Thelema, states Readdy, comprises of a highly diverse and comprehensive set of practices and activities that are ultimately designed to bring the practitioner spiritual freedom. The triad of Thelemic organisations, the A.’. A.’., the O.T.O. and the E.G.C., offer the means to assist with this and with the integral demand for the philosophy of Thelema to accept all of humanity in all of its diverse forms, its overall message is one that calls to end the fragmentation that has characterised the Thelemic movement since the death of its prophet so that it may mature its advance in the world and fulfil its purpose of providing humanity with the keys to its own salvation.

One Truth and One Spirit is available for pre-order on Amazon, or can be purchased now, directly from the author, here: https://www.one-truth-one-spirit.com/

XXXIX: Dogs

Cerberus

XXXIX KELEF

Servitors: Lagasas, Ekalak, Kelen.

The word at the outer edge of the square, KELEF, derives from the Hebrew כלב (kaleb), meaning ‘dog.’ The spelling given here, with an ‘F’ as the final character reflects the soft ‘v’ pronunciation of the Hebrew letter beth, the word KELEB would be more accurate. If this variation is accounted for, the reversal of this word in the bottom row, FELEK, may be seen as an expression of the name of the Moabite King Balak, who commissioned the Mesopotamian sorcerer Balaam to curse the migrating Hebrews. Phonically, it also resembles the name of the Lemegeton spirit Valak. The name in the Central Square is a palindromic truncation of that of the spirit Lagasas, whose name derives from the Greek Λαγός (lagos), meaning ‘hare.’ EMAGE in the second row may be a variation of the Greek μαγεία (mageia), ‘magic,’ while its reversal EGAME may come from the Hebrew אגם (agam), ‘lake.’

Other notable meanings attached to the word in the first line are found in Mathers’s interpretations of Greek and Hebrew, with the spirit name Kelen being cited coming from the Greek ‘going swiftly, as in a race’ (though it is closer to Κελεός meaning ‘to order’ or ‘urge’), while a spirit named Kele, who comes under the joint rulership of Asmoday and Astaroth, is purported to come from the Hebrew for ‘to consume,’ which may come from the word לכלות (lakaloth).

The word KALEF is also found in Chapter 5 of the MSA manuscript, appearing in the Square that causes familiars to appear in the form of an ape, though the MSW manuscript associates it with the appearance of a lion in a Square that closely resembles the one that causes visions of dogs. As the following Square in Chapter 5 of the MSW causes familiars to take canine form, it is possible that the associations made between this Square with either apes or lions are erroneous.

KELEF2

The Vision

A small black and white dog was seen wandering alone across a moor at night. Larger, more dangerous dogs were hunting it, their howls and barks loud on the wind. Then the small dog uncovered a human corpse lying in the grass and proceeded to feast upon its flesh until it was stripped bare, growing braver and stronger with every bite. When it had finished, the dogs gave up their hunt, for the distant scent of human flesh had faded. The small dog was fearless now and proceeded to eat the eyes of the corpse from out of its sockets, then consumed the brain from out of its cranium. Having eaten the brain, the dog developed a human perception of the world. With my own conscious thoughts now melding with those of the dog, I took the skull from the ground and looked into its hollow sockets and saw small flames flickering in them for a few seconds.

When the flames were extinguished, I walked into a forest grove and lay the skull upon a stone altar there. As in the vision of Vultures, there was an inscription visible on the stone that was carved into it in Runic script: this time it read PEIRIOS. After this inscription appeared three Tyr runes, which prompted me to look up into the sky in the direction that their ‘arrows’ were facing. Lying on my back, I watched the heavens turn and the most prominent constellation was that of Orion. With him were his dogs, Canis Major and Minor, and they were chasing the Hare, Lupus, around the sky. I realised this scene to be the true representation behind the repeated hunting scenes evident in these visions. They represented the celestial hunt of the underworld giant and his psychopomps, the rotation of the Earth, the seasons and the cycle of day and night.

Then I saw the chase of the hunter, the dogs and the hare continue into the underworld as the constellations dropped below the horizon and the Sun rose with the dawn. I watched the Sun in silence and understood, as its rays shone upon me, that the Squares in this chapter reveal means to uncover the gateways into the underworld. With this understanding came the instruction that I should ‘invoke the dog,’ the guardian of the gates of the underworld—Cerberus—to pass into that domain.

Notes

Checking the diary I kept before starting this project revealed that the Moon was in Cancer when the initial prompting came to explore all thirty-nine Squares of this chapter through the medium of scrying. The Moon’s appearance in this sign is my prompt to conduct regular work with the spirit Naberius, which the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum reveals to be an alias name of the daemon Cerberus, the guardian of the entrance of Hades. That the sequence of visions ended with a referral back to this work may be a verification of the influence of the spirit on the entire exercise.

The morning on which I made that decision came with memories of a dream in which I had died in a plane crash and was wandering at the peripherals of the underworld and was searching for the correct door through which full entry to that domain could be gained. Of the edges of the underworld I noted:

There was a happy feel about the place, as I was with good, but anonymous, companions who I was working with to get to the correct destination.  With them, I climbed a wooden stairway from a low level in the place between heaven and hell. As I climbed, I wondered if N was dreaming about me as I was dead and she was still alive, so decided to send her a dream message to her to pass on to family stating that I was OK and was just looking for the right door, so they should not be concerned about me as I was in the company of good friends and as long as I remained true to my own heart I would make it to the right place. Emotional music played which sounded like the opening piece of a Bach violin concerto.

Later that day, on working with Naberius, I noted:

Performed thirty minutes meditation with the seal of Naberius carved into the altar skull as the meditation object. After knocking at the castle gates and entering the chamber, there appeared a strong, flashing mauve aura all around the altar and the skull seemed to move around and become very ‘alive’ as the visual effects kicked in. I was aiming for stillness and only making note of the phenomena that occurred, which involved seeing leaves in the eyes of a skull which became a forest floor concealing a dead body. Soon after, a female voice, slightly northern, said ‘Where were Jack and Jason found?’

Visuals in the surface of the skull included two different men’s faces, a prominent cat, a horse and, briefly a fish or whale. The wall behind the altar took on a reflective quality and I could see the outline of two human shapes in it… I recalled that Jason was the captain of the Argo and was ultimately found in Colchis, the land of Medea and the golden fleece, so his name perhaps represented underworld traverses… and that Jack the Giant Slayer was found in a castle set high in the sky.

The received word PEIRIOS engraved on the tombstone may come from the Greek Πειραιεύς (Peraieus), which roughly means ‘the place over the passage’ and is a famous port.

The Square was constructed with the Moon at 3º Sagittarius and scried with the Moon at 21º Aquarius.

Antares Rite

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tomorrow, 9th November, sees the Moon going conjunct with Mercury at 10º Sagittarius at 13:34 hours GMT. This degree is relevant as it is that in which the Fixed Star Antares currently sits. This star, in the heart of the constellation of Scorpio, ‘gives men healthy colour, grants good memory and intelligence, makes them appear wise, and banishes demons.’ A close Lunar conjunction forms with this star and the MC at 13:18 that day, just before the Moon goes perfectly conjunct with Mercury, which will add further strength to the effects of granting good memory and intelligence.

An Antares Talisman is utilised by placing a mixture of Birthwort juice and Yew beneath a Sardonyx Stone inscribed with the sigil of Antares.

Method

  1. Crush an even amount of Birthwort seeds and Yew berries with a pestle and mortar into 50ml of Olive Oil with a dash of Vitamin E oil a few days before the rite, keeping them sealed in a Mason Jar.
  2. Retrieve the jar an hour or so before the rite and strain the contents so that a clear oil is obtained.
  3. Five to ten minutes before the selected time, retrieve the Sardonyx and engrave the sigil of Antares onto it.
Antares
Seal of Antares
  1. Facing the Angle on which the conjunction is formed (South for Midheaven) Hold the Sardonyx over the open jar containing the oil.
  2. Recite the Emerald Tablet over both, fumigating with incense appropriate to the star’s planetary influences, which in this case are Venus and Jupiter, therefore Benzoin and Cedar (or any other fitting incense) are burnt.

The Emerald Tablet

“Here is a true explanation, concerning which there can be no doubt.

It attests: The above from the below, and the below from the above -the work of the miracle of the One.

And things have been from this primal substance through a single act. How wonderful is this work! It is the main (principle) of the world and is its maintainer.

Its father is the sun and its mother the moon; the wind has borne it in its body, and the earth has nourished it.

The father of talismen and the protector of miracle, whose powers are perfect, and whose lights are confirmed, a fire that becomes earth.

 Separate the earth from the fire, so you will attain the subtle as more inherent than the gross, with care and sagacity.

It rises from earth to heaven, so as to draw the lights of the heights to itself, and descends to the earth; thus within it are the forces of the above and the below;

Because the light of lights within it, thus does the darkness flee before it.

The force of forces, which overcomes every subtle thing and penetrates into everything gross.

The structure of the microcosm is in accordance with the structure of the macrocosm.

And accordingly proceed the knowledgeable.

And to this aspired Hermes, who was threefold graced with wisdom.”

 

  1. Place the Sardonyx into the oil and fumigate again, making an improvised statement of intent based around your purposes for creating the Talisman.

Once the oil has been created it can be used to anoint oneself or consecrate some other object whenever the talisman’s effect is desired.