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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

King, Gardner, Magician

Sometimes as we begin to develop magically we will find something changes in our lives. A lot of people talk about increases in synchronicity, but frequently, this is just a matter of training ourselves to look for synchronicity. Developing magically involves a process of unfolding through several forms of magical power or agency. Some of these we outgrow, and some of these we develop a more intimate connection to.

As we explore we learn to reach to the heights, connect with the Holy Guardian Angel, and wield the power, wisdom, and authority which come with this connection. As we become closer and closer to it our personal kingship develops into a more and more natural state.

A good king is one with his kingdom. As we develop towards mastery we must also stretch out our hands and apprehend the world around us. We draw its myriad pieces together within our apprehension and hold them to ourselves until they move fluidly with us.

Frequently I look at this as the blending of ceremonial magic and natural magic, or witchcraft. There are other ways this can manifest but this is one way to illustrate the relationship. The point we're looking at however is what happens as you begin to develop these aspects of your magic, along with your other sources of power.

Essentially, you will, rather than uncovering synchronicity, uncover moments of automatic magic, or moments where your magic functions like it's on autopilot.

What's the difference?

When things display synchronicity it's a cool feeling of serendipity and harmony where you note that various seemingly unrelated things seem to bare a similarity. Things you didn't know you needed, or things you will need just randomly show up before you even considered the need. It's a state of feeling blessed and taken cared for by the invisible hand of the universe. It isn't particularly magical though, there's no intention, no will, no agency.

Magic occurring automatically happens when you decide a specific goal or need. You plan a method for achieving it. You maybe even begin your preparations. But before you launch your attack your goal manifests, leaving you holding your wand in your hand asking “well, what do I do with this now?” In instances like these, there is a focused intention, a defined goal, and at the least a determination to accomplish it by magic.

In my experience I tend to find it frustrating as opposed to the nifty ooey gooey feeling synchronicity is associated with. I want to know I made shit happen when I do stuff. Sometimes it's pretty clear cut though. For instance, last week, I was driving to work and determined to feel comfortably on my way to meet my numbers for the quarter I needed to find someone to purchase a particular product for $300K and determined the most likely source for clients to have those funds. I decided I would conjure Sachiel that Thursday and outline what I was looking for in a client. Later that day, a coworker brought me in to a meeting with a client because he ended up with a client from my book coming in who I hadn't spoken with in a few years. He thought I could help the client with something I couldn't, but while talking with the client I uncovered that he had $300K he needed help with. So he agreed to meet with me, this Thursday, to go over the product I had determined I needed to present to someone. He's a perfect fit for it, it's the right thing for him.

So what should I do in this situation? Run with it. This is the result of being a good king, I get to decide what's going to grow in my garden, and when my plantings sprout it's my responsibility to tend to them. Stirring the pot, either by proper magic or by authority and connection dovetailing, requires that I work with what comes to boil. Getting it started and letting it go routinely is a good way to disconnect from apprehending your world and cutting off a piece of that power you've cultivated. Besides, it's what you wanted in the first place.

But again, it's a sprouting. Depending upon the nature of your goal, that initial little push might be enough to get it done. A bigger goal with more parts, or where more factors could impact it might need bolstering. In my case, workings to secure my business partner and I making our presentation right, or for success for myself and the client would be ways to cultivate what has started.

Again, part of the difference between synchronicity and magic. You got your goal started without much work, but as a magician you observe the situation, understand the goal, and do what you need to to make that first movement blossom into your chosen manifestation.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Talismans for Success

I've seen people ask sometimes what to do with a talisman once they've consecrated it. There's a lot of options, let's look at a few, and wrap up with one that will get you things you want pretty solidly with minimal work.

Growing up when I made a talisman I tended to just put it near whatever it was meant to do. If it was for money it went in my wallet. Talismans for sex went under my mattress or somewhere in my pants. Being a young male those were the only two things I ever used magic for. Just kidding, but you get the idea, talismans were placed in relation to the goal. For more global goals I would leave the talisman on the altar, or burn it, or use it with other ritual implements.

Most of those talismans were based on making a sigil for a goal and charging it with a ritual. They weren't usually talismans made with spirit magic.

As I got into magic involving spirits some of my view on how to use talismans changed. In modern magic the talisman is often thought of as a “magical child” or creature which goes and does the work of the magician and dissipates. So leaving it on an altar or putting it near what it's effecting makes sense.

A talisman consecrated by a spirit is a material link to the force of that spirit. The talisman remains substantially whatever material it's made from, essentially the talisman has the form of the magical purpose written into it, but the being of the talisman is changed to match the being of the spirit based on contact with the spirit. The talisman essentially becomes a small link between the spirit and the world.

So if the nature imbued into the talisman is effective, in that it describes what the spirit is doing, wearing the talisman as a charm or carrying it, or placing it in proximity to what it's effecting makes sense because it's pretty similar to the modern view of the talisman being a magical creature doing a job. But if your talisman is just marked with symbols of the spirit, or powers which rule the spirit, or symbols which relate to its correspondences then the being and essence of the talisman are simple and reflect the spirit more directly. The talisman at that point is kind of like a battery, or an little piece of the spirit's power radiating out for your use but not in a particular way.

This can be useful if you're just trying to draw a particular force into your life, but it doesn't do much for a specific goal.

Once you've consecrated such a talisman there are two primary ways to use it. First, it can be a short cut to conjuring the spirit again to ask it to take care of your goal. Alternatively, you can use the talisman as a source of power in more basic sorcerous spell work.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to consecrate the talisman, and then when I'm ready to use it take a candle which has been rubbed with oil and incanted for a particular goal. Then place the candle over the talisman and just let the candle burn up. The candle draws the force of the talisman and radiates it out into the world in accordance with the goal assigned to the talisman.

One could easily make a talisman charge it regularly and keep it wrapped up and in a special spot whenever you have need of that particular force, just whip out a candle, rub it up, chant over it, and put it on your altar on top of the talisman. Set it and forget it. Simple way to manifest your goals with only a few minutes of spell work.

You can consecrate your talisman however you like. The traditional grimoiric methods are great, if you're looking for a quick and simple way to do it, try the Solomonic Hexagram ritual posted a couple days ago.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Body Talismans - First Use of the Solomonic Hexagram Ritual

The first time I used the Solomonic Hexagram ritual was back in 2005. I had recently begun competing in fencing tournaments and was in my final year as a collegiate competitor. My performance was not so hot at the time and my knees were starting to bother me. I was studying the Greater Key of Solomon and decided to conjure Bartzabel and use one of the seals from the Greater Key. The results I got were interesting, and successful. Here is how I went about it and what happened.

I was not yet engaging in actual Solomonic ritual at that point and had limited experience with evocation. I had a pretty solid familiarity with Golden Dawn based magic. So this was the solution. Despite worry over concerns expressed in the GD materials about people becoming obsessed by painting scrying symbols on their bodies, I decided to put the seal I had selected from the Greater Key on my right forearm, which was the arm I used in fencing.

I performed the ritual and when I got to the conjuration of the planetary spirit I extended my arm through the circle and asked the spirit to consecrate my arm as a talisman. When I was done I went to bed. My thoughts became rampant ideas and instructions on how I needed to train and practice. I worried that that was all I was getting. It wasn't.

That night I had intensely violent dreams about gang warfare. So intense that they woke me from sleep. I recognized that I had essentially tied my body to a martial spirit and then went to sleep so I acknowledged that the dreams were an effect of that choice. In the morning I woke up and went to a tournament. In the two months leading up to that tournament I'd fenced in a few others, and while I had not DFL'd in any of them, I came really close in all of them. In this event though, I won my group for the prelim round and medaled. My legs didn't bother me through the event. It was a pretty huge difference.

I began using this method pretty routinely with various spirits. Had success with various types of magical goals. To avoid any kind of obsession or spirit issues related to the consecration of body parts as talismans I ritualized washing off the seals. Four times, banishing based on the elements with each one. The one negative was routinely consecrating my arm began to result in pain over time, and so I dropped that method. But still used the ritual for calling on spirits. Because it was simple, quick, and worked really well, even without making my body into a tool, although partying with Venus talismans all over my body was kind of fun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Faster Simpler Shorter - Effective Easy Angel Work

Sometimes we need quick simple access to angelic or spiritual forces to accomplish things for us. Full Solomonic evocations, or even smaller methods like the Heptameron or Trithemius are not always convenient for various reasons.

Back in 2005 I determined that I wanted a quick simple way to work with spirits. I began using this pretty routinely as I was beginning to prepare for working with more traditional methods.

It was very good for consecrating talismans and for getting quick results to simple requests. This is not so great for asking the angels questions or scrying, except through dream work.

It's also a good stepping stone for those who are familiar with modern magic technique like the LBRP who are trying to bridge their way towards actual practical evocation.

Over the next few days I'll post some stories about the use of this ritual as well as a method for combining it with other simple practical magic.

The Solomonic Hexagram Ritual
Fr R.’.S.’.

I. Kabbalistic Cross.

Perform the Kabbalistic Cross

II. Formation of the circle

Advance to the east and trace the fire invoking Hexagram vibrating “AL”
Advance to the South and trace the Earth invoking Hexagram vibrating “YAH”
Advance to the West and trace the Water invoking Hexagram vibrating “AGLA”
Advance to the North and trace the Air invoking Hexagram vibrating “ADNI”
Return to the center

III. Invocation of the planetary Hexagrams

Advance to each quarter beginning in the East and ending in the North tracing the invoking Hexagrams of the planetary sphere required and vibrate the corresponding name.

IV. Invocation of the Spirit of the Planet

Return to the center. Extend the arms in the TAU then turn the palms face up; keeping the palms flat and extended raise the forearms into an obtuse angle. This sign signifies the reception of divine force.

Say the appropriate invocation for the desired planetary spirit.

V. Kabbalistic Cross

Perform the Kabbalistic cross.


The appropriate Solomonic pentacle from the second book of the Greater Key should be used in conjunction with these invocations as a means of directing the nature of the manifestation. The magician should also be clearly aware of the purpose for which he is performing the invocation. If he wishes to apply the force to a talisman to keep for general use he may apply the pentacle to an appropriate disk. If he wishes to invoke the spirit for a particular use he should scribe the seal upon some relevant portion of his body with a temporary means that may be removed at will. If there is no specifically relevant portion for the intention the seal may be placed upon a body part corresponding to the sefira to which said sphere is assigned. The ability to remove the seal with immediacy is necessary and is of the utmost importance.


By the holy name Shaddai El Chai, I invoke Levanah, the lucent wanderer that rides the sky and rules the crab, that I might stir Gavriel that I might receive Gavriel that he might send Malkah be Tarshisim ve-ad Ruachoth Schechalim, that I might manifest Schad Barschemoth that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name Elohim Tzabaoth, I invoke Kokab, the swift wanderer that rides the sky and rules the twins and the virgin, that I might stir Michael, that I might receive Raphael, that he might send Tiriel, that I might manifest Taphthartharath that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name YHVH Tzabaoth, I invoke Nogah, the shining star that rides the sky and rules the bull and the scale, that I might stir Haniel, that I might receive Haniel, that he might send Hagiel, that I might manifest Kedemel, that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name YHVH Eloah va-Da’at, I invoke Shemesh, the splendorous wanderer that rides the sky and rules the lion, that I might stir Raphael, that I might receive Michael, that he might send Nakhiel, that I might manifest Sorath, that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name Elohim Gibor, I invoke Madim, the red wanderer that rides the sky and rules the ram and the scorpion, that I might stir Kamael, that I might receive Zamael, that he might send Graphiel, that I might manifest Bartzebel that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name El, I invoke Tzedek, the merciful wanderer that rides the sky and rules the archer and the fish, that I might stir Tzadkiel that I might receive Sachiel, that he might send Iofiel, that I might manifest Hishmael, that through invoking him I shall…


By the holy name YHVH Elohim, I invoke Shabbatai, the cold wanderer that rides the sky and rules the goat and the cup bearer, that I might stir Tzafkiel, that I might receive Cassiel, that he might send Agiel, that I might manifest Zazel, that through invoking him I shall…

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Modern Solomonic Magic

A few years back I began occasionally presenting angel conjuration rituals at the local OTO body, William Blake Lodge. We mostly did a conjuration based on Mathers's Greater Key of Solomon but at one point I decided to experiment with using the Solomonic structure to create a conjuration based on Thelemic imagery.

Some participants found that the Thelmic imagery spoke to and inspired them more than the more traditional Kabbalistic imagery. Most reported that the spirit seemed to arrive but with kind of a "what are you even doing?"
sort of feeling coming from the spirit until we began using divine and angelic names, at which point the spirit seemed in their perception to kind of "snap to" and pay attention more ardently. 

This result is interesting in that several people mentioned this impression to me, and if it is the case it would suggest that yes, our modern magical practices do invoke appropriate forces, but the classic ways do tend to exert control over the spirits as that is their nature. I do not know precisely what things people asked for or what they got, but people reported being happy with their results. 

I would love to hear what results people get from experimenting with this.

Thelemic Solomonic Evocation v.1
Fr. VH

Preparation of the Circle

Let the circle me marked out in salt, or chalk, or carved into the ground as described.

As the circle is drawn Liber Lapidis Lazuli is read.


Once the circle is drawn all exit the space devest themselves of their street clothes, wash in spring water and abramelin oil and put on white EGC robes. As they wash they say:

He that is righteous shall be righteous still, he that is filthy shall be filthy still, deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are & not other.” AL 2.57 - 58

Before using the water it is consecrated by tracing the symbol of water followed by the rose cross above it and imbuing it with light while saying:

Aye! Feast! Rejoice!! There is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.” AL 2.44

When this is accomplished all return to the temple and stand in the circle.

Consecration of the Circle

From the center of the circle let the Karcist recite before the altar, facing the high altar in the east:

Oh circle of stars whereof our father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark. Not to thee may we attain unless thy image be love. Therefore by seed and root and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee.

Then the priest answered and said unto the queen of space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet smelling perfume of sweat. Oh Nuit, continuous one of heaven, let it be ever thus that men speak not of thee as one, but as none, and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous.”
Let one participant advance to the East. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Chaos. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Theoricus he will say:

Hail unto Thee who art Ra in Thy rising, even unto Thee who art Ra in Thy strength, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Uprising of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night!”

Then let one participant advance to the South. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Psyche. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Philosophus he will say:

Hail unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy triumphing, even unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy beauty, who travellest over the heavens in thy bark at the Mid-course of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Morning!”

Then let one participant advance to the West. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Eros. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Practicus he will say:

Hail unto Thee who art Tum in Thy setting, even unto Thee who art Tum in Thy joy, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Down-going of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Day!”

Then let one participant advance to the North. He will visualize the pentagram in brilliant red within his mind and fling it out ending in the sign of the enterer and say Babalon. He will then make the sign of silence. Then, making the sign of the Zelator he will say:

Hail unto thee who art Khephra in Thy hiding, even unto Thee who art Khephra in Thy silence, who travellest over the heavens in Thy bark at the Midnight Hour of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Evening.”

Then let each return to the center of the circle.

When all are at the center the Karcist shall make the rose cross above the altar and say:

Now let there be a veiling of thise shrine: now let the light devour men and eat them up with blindness.” - AL 2.14

After this pause for a space and contemplate the presence of the divine light.

Invocation of the Highest

Let the Karcist face the East and invoke the Holy Guardian Angel with these words:

In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.” AL 2.3
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. ‘Come unto me‘ is a foolish word: for it is I that go.”
IO IO IO IAO Sabao Kurie Abrasax, Kurie Mithras, Kurie Phalle, IO Pan, IO Pan Pan, IO Ischuros, IO Athanatos, IO Abrotos, IO IAO, Kyrie Phalle, Kyrie Panphage, Kyrie Pangenetor, Hagios, Hagios, Hagios, IAO”
I adore thee in song
I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-knonsu
Whose words are truth, I invoke, I greet
They presence, O Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee: -
I, I adore thee!
Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the way of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! Let it fill me!
The light is mine; its rays consume
Me: I have made a secret door
Int o the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, O Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
By Bes-na-maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of Light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!”


0. Deeper and deeper into the mire of things! Farther and farther into the never-ending Expansion of the Abyss.
1. The great goddess that bendeth over the Universe is my mistress; I am the winged globe at her heart.
2. I contract ever as she ever expandeth;
3. At the end it is all one.
4. Our loves have brought to birth the Father and Creator of all things.
5. He hath established the elements; the aether, the air, the water, the earth, and the fire.
6. He hath established the wandering stars in their courses.
7. He hath ploughed with the seven stars of his Plough, that the Seven might move indeed, yet ever point to the unchanging One.
8. He hath established the Eight Belts, wherewith he hath girdled the globes.
9. He hath established the Trinity of Triads in all things, forcing fire into fire, and ordering all things in the Stable Abode of the Kings of Æ.
10. He hath established His rule in His kingdom.
11. Yet the Father also boweth unto the Power of the Star 418 and thereby
12. In his subtlety He expandeth it all into twelve rays of the Crown.
13. And these twelve rays are One.” Liber ARARITA 6:0-13

By Eheieh and Metatron we stir the world, by Yah and Ratziel we move thee forth, by YHVH Elohim and Tzafkiel we receive thee! By the name EL! We call and command thee Bariel! By the force of Tzadkiel we stir thee to action Bariel! By the presence of Sachiel we conjure thee with us Bariel! By the name of Iophiel we direct thee Bariel! By the hand of Hishmael thou art present Bariel! Hear our commands and answer our seeking, by the name of EL whose mercy is unending, by the name of EL from whom all gifts flow, by the name of EL, rich and fertile, by the name of EL whom you hold dear, we command you rightly.

All make their requests of the spirit.

License to depart

By the name of EL go forth Bariel and see to this work. Travel swiftly and in peace that you may succeed, and come again quickly when you are called. By EHIH, YAH. YHVH ELOHIM, and EL go forth and fulfill your commands!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Owning The Time of Your Magic

Have you ever had a magical ritual you wanted to perform where the outcome was pretty important to you, and so you wanted everything to go right, but little things that weren't under your control just weren't lining up?

I think everyone has this at some point if they do enough magic.

One of the little details that a lot of people want to include but find to be a pain in the ass to coordinate is planetary hours.

I've often seen where people believe they need to do something during a planetary hour but can't arrange their schedule to do their working to accommodate the planetary hour, or to combine forces with a particular hour on a particular day.

I personally am not very sold on the traditional planetary hour system, at least, not the way it is approached by people who base their use of it on the way it's given in Mathers' version of the Greater Key. In this approach it's just another correspondence, another way to add a particular force to the context of your work. So, while I'm not going to argue in favor or against it at the moment, I will note that as it is simply a means of contextualizing your work within a particular current of force, there are ways around it.

The simplest approach would be some invocation of the planet, like through the Lesser Hexagram Ritual, or through reciting the appropriate Orphic Hymn.

Some people might not like this because it's just a way of ritually setting the space, where the hour is a fixed condition of the environment.

So let's look at another way. We can approach the problem hierarchically like we do in spirit magic. If we want to go a rung above the planetary force, then we would call upon the zodiacal force. The zodiac are generative, the planets and metals are reflective/manifesting, and the elements are producing or manifesting. If we start with the zodiac that determines the chain of manifestation going down into the planets.

The zodiac signs have ruling and mystical planets, but more to the point of an actual fixed condition of reality, the planets sit within regions of the sky mapped by the zodiac. Agrippa's description of the influence of the stars and planets relates to their radiance and their placement. So by invoking the planetary force based on its position in the sky we entreat the source of radiance and the placement while working with our actual environment.

Doing this is actually incredibly simple and can be added before any ritual easily.

Each zodiac sign has an element and a ruling planet. Before your ritual go to each quarter and trace the sign of the ruling element and planet for the sign in which the planet pertaining to your ritual resides at the time your ritual is beginning. Therefore, if you are doing a ritual of Mars and Mars is in Libra at the time of your ritual you would go to each quarter, and trace a symbol of Air, a symbol of Venus, and call upon Zuriel. In each quarter, seal the invocation with the sign of the cross and the seal of the zodiacal sign. Your ritual is now occurring within the light of the sign in which your planet resides, and thus, you and the planet are within the same space.

Even rituals which are defined primarily by the planetary hour, such as Trithemius's Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals, can be set and determined using this opening.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I'm with the alchemist

A couple days ago a friend of mine posted a link with the title “3 Ways to Become a 'Magician' by a 16th Century Alchemist”. I was pretty intrigued as he's a pretty solid magician with experience in a lot of traditional stuff. On top of that, I am pretty into alchemy, so a pre-occult revival perspective on what it takes to be a magician from an alchemist seemed like the coolest thing someone could be linking to.

I clicked the link, and it was on Ultraculture. I was pretty puzzled because they seemed to be a popular chaos magic forum, and 16th century alchemists definitely don't fit the bill there.

Well, on reading it, it became clear that the material was great, but the site was kind of punking it. They acknowledge that Giambattista della Porta was one of the best and most highly regarded magicians of his time, and they present his ideas, but it's within the article they refer to the magicians of the time as “one percenters” and reference the ideal described by della Porta as “magocracy” and refer to him as a “magocrat” and then point to historians looking at other views of magic at the time. So, they weren't directly mocking what he said, but they definitely present it in a context of derision. Even so, I thought there was value in della Porta's material.

I think that the elements of what makes a magician is something we over look a lot in magical culture. We talk about how to do magic. Sometimes good writers talk about philosophy and theory. Dime a dozen writers talk about ethical rules. But qualifications and character aren't things we look at. I think character is pretty important to consider, and there are definitely magical elements associated with character and power that can be derived from the substantive force of character. But Giambattista della Porta's take on things is about qualifications.

People avoid talking about qualifications because if we have them, then there are people who won't make the cut. Most people don't want to be the unpopular guy who cuts people from the team, but more so you don't want to be the guy who no one reads because you told them they don't make the cut. In the end though I think the big fear of qualifications is if we accept they exist maybe we won't make the cut.

I'd say, it's ok not to make the cut. Not everyone needs to be a magician. Not meeting someone's qualification as a magician doesn't preclude people from doing the occasional magic either. But, for people who want to solidly, truly, and thoroughly be a magician, some concept of what qualifies a person as such can be an inspiration or a guide for how to develop oneself.

In my own development there were a lot of ideas that people I respected imparted to me when I was a kid about what disciplines I needed to apprehend in order to truly be a magician. I took those to heart, and they helped guide me as I made choices about what to learn and do in life. Not meeting all those “qualifications” not having all the skills, and knowledge, doesn't necessarily kick us out of the magician club, but it can give us an idea of where to head.

So what were della Porta's criteria?

I'm not quoting, I'm just going to summarize.

1. A magician must be a natural philosopher (skilled in the natural sciences).
2. The magician must be a physician (skilled in physiology and chemistry)
3. The magician must be wealthy

When looking at these ideas we have to look at what the world was like at the time. The first two items are basically just presuming that the individual is educated. Specialized education is pretty modern. When della Porta was writing an educated man would automatically be educated in these topics. Engaging in magic and alchemy was similarly something that would not have been atypical for those of the leisure classes. These activities were viewed as an extension of science, an additional way to explore the world more deeply and gain knowledge that was beyond the science of the times.

Magic today fits into a different place in our culture. We have a wider array of subjects to learn and understand. Knowledge is more specialized because there is simply so much more of it. Science probes so much more deeply and has told us so much more about our world, our bodies, and our universe. So magic gets lumped in with religion, in a time where both are relegated more and more to niche parts of the populace. So if magic is not simply the crown of a liberal arts education do these criteria still make sense?

Well, regarding the natural sciences, if we look at Agrippa, and the grimoires, and the old alchemical manuscripts it is absolutely necessary that the magician have some knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, and physics. The magician does not need to be a doctor of such things, or even educated to the point of a bachelors degree in those subjects. That said, a magician will be well served by having at least a high school or undergraduate survey level of education in these disciplines.

Physiology is likely of less importance, but could have value. Beyond physiology a physick of the time would have been educated in herbalism, and rudimentary chemical processes associated with alchemy. Della Porta specifically cites humorism as part of the knowledge a physician would have had. Hermetic science, while it embraced the alchemical philosophies which advanced both alchemy and medicine beyond humorism, elements of humorism still are important to many parts of magic.

Clearly we don't need to all go out an become doctors, but looking at what was meant by the assertion is still useful. I'm not into herbalism, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone need to be unless they really want to commit to thoroughly being educated in it. Still, a magician needs a little rudimentary knowledge of herbalism. Knowing correspondences, knowing what different parts of an herb relate to, knowing how to extract essences, and make tinctures, all of these are part of developing a magical practice. Humorism is important in understanding the processes of manifestation, alchemy, initiation, and hermetic healing.

So for the first two ideas, I would assert that, yeah, definitely, these disciplines, understood in a modern context, are necessary for developing as a magician. Philosophy (including politics, rhetoric, ontology/metaphysics, and ethics), history, and theology would likely have also been part of the education della Porta would have assumed. What we now call psychology wouldn't have quite existed, but its roots would have existed in philosophy and medicine. I think being a complete and successful magician still includes education in these subjects. In fact these subjects may be more obviously necessary for the magician.

Magicians need to understand various cultures, mythologies, and symbols which are often understood through the study of history. Understanding politics and rhetoric helps us with understanding how to think and how to structure and understand ideas. This is important because we deal with a lot of really bizarre concepts and experiences which have to be squared against the observable world. Magic itself is the application of an understanding of the fundamental nature and structure of the universe and the self, and so ontology and metaphysics are absolutely necessary for the magician. I'm not into chaos magic which is often associated with tying psychology to magic, but, before chaos magic, Regardie, Fortune, and even Crowley incorporated a lot of psychology into magic. Magic, again, deals with a lot of bizarre experiences. Understanding how our minds work, how symbols work within the mind, how ritual and various experiences affect us, and how all of these dynamics come into play with how we approach the world and the people around us is necessary to surviving as a magician. As to theology, this might be more controversial, but I think the controversial element of asserting that we have a grounding in theology and theological discourse proves the need for that grounding. There are a lot of ways to understand the divine and divinity, most more advanced magic requires some approach to divinity. That isn't the same as saying it requires believing in a guy up in the sky. The theological elements of magic are much more nuanced and complicated and the relationship between theism and atheism gets very very skewed in a magical context.

Outside of a practical sense, the role of the magician also implies the need for these disciplines. The magician has access to knowledge, power, and insight that others do not. He needs the mental basis to interpret and apply this. He also needs the ability to relate it to the world and communicate it in a way which makes him useful to those around him. Whether we interpret magicians as leaders, or advisers, as gurus or prophets or hermits, the magician is intended to improve the world. That's what the Great Work is. Yeah you have to transmute yourself and reveal your inner awesome, but you contribute to the over all transmutation of the world too, and frequently that's done by impacting other people in the world. These disciplines are necessary to being that person who can encapsulate and communicate that inspiration from beyond.

Nothing about this makes magic unattainable or suggests that magic is a “one percent” activity. Anyone with access to a library, or anyone with intelligence who is paying attention to their high school education can reasonably have a very basic grounding in these subjects. More commonly though this well rounded set of academic disciplines can be attained by meeting the general education requirements of education at most universities. Not really a daunting task.

Now, the part that's easy to say doesn't fit is the having wealth part. Now, Jason Miller, and Rufus Opus have written a lot of great things about how the modern aversion to money associated with magic and spiritual disciplines is a potentially damaging concept. A lot of great magicians these days have put out a lot of great material around prosperity work. There is a clear attachment to Jupiter, and work relating to the sphere of Jupiter amongst many of the leading magicians today. Part of the idea seems to be that if someone gets their finances straight first they'll feel good about their ability to be successful with magic, and in addition to that they'll reduce some of the basic life stresses that distract us from engaging in magic.

I think during della Porta's time there probably was a bit of elitism to this idea, but practically speaking, a poor tradesman would not have had time for a lot of the things that della Porta and his compatriots were doing. So in that vein the logic is similar. Further their experiments involved a lot of stuff. Much of it was expensive, some of it needed to be made by or procured from particular sorts of people. More traditional ceremonial magic today has the same issue. Classical magicians also sometimes needed to employ aids for their work. This part isn't as necessary today. It remains though, having a stable financial basis puts you in a better state for the work, and also affords you the resources needed to obtain materials needed for the work.

So no you don't need to be rich. I won't even say you have to be financially stable, although a ton of people like to repeat “you have to have your Malkhut in order first,” but I will say that it'll be a lot better if you are stable.

Now I think there are other things that go into being a magician, mostly, the magic parts. I also think the discussion of the character of the magician is another important discussion. But all in all, I think the ideas that Ultraculture reported as being proposed by della Porta are pretty useful when examined for what they mean today. It's not some archaic curiosity. It's not some dated elitist sentiment. It's not a look at how magicians of the past equated to the maligned wealthy people of today. Della Porta's ideas are useful, and really still describe a concept of what qualifies someone as a magician which is still relevant for today.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Offerings for the Dead

Friday was my late father's birthday. It got me thinking about the offerings for the dead, and related topics. I'd been considering writing about these things for awhile, so now is as good a time as ever.

In the Pagan community there is a lot of talk about honoring the dead and honoring ancestors. Growing up around NeoPaganism I saw a little talk here and there about such things, mostly how it was part of traditional Pagan cultures, but not as much about it as a living praxis. You'd see it a lot in movies with people involved in magic from Afro-Caribbean systems, and people connected to those traditions seemed to do it more. Having recently gotten involved in an organization with more of a reconstructionist influence I've gotten to finally experience some modern Pagan approaches to honoring the dead. I'm also seeing it more in the magical community as Afro-Carribean sorcery becomes popular amongst traditionalists and people explore the connections between Goetia and Necromancy. In my personal practice I explore a lot of Greek and Roman Necromancy in and of itself, and as part of my exploration of the mysteries, as well as it being a significant component of the witchcraft tradition I practice. Real traditional witchcraft is often hugely necromantic.

I don't see a lot of straight up necromancy being worked by people, regardless of tradition, and that's ok. It isn't and shouldn't be something that everyone does. I've noted that even amongst people drawing on the dead in conjunction with magic it's mostly just ancestor worship stuff.

Ancestor worship definitely has an important place in magic. The noble dead from our own bloodlines, or with whom we share other life connections, have a more personal sympathy with us than other spirits. The also have a more of a direct interest in us as individuals. Like all relationships though, the relationship with them has to be fostered. Our memories of them, actively engaged, help link them to this world. Honoring them with offerings and gifts help strengthen their link to us. Talking with them about the events of life draw them into engagement with life, ourselves, and with the world of the living. These engagements, these connections, help their agency in our world as well as help them understand how to guide and help us. It's a very communal sort of activity where we enter into a sharing relationship, a guest-host relationship, like we would with any other family members. It can also feel pretty good and fulfilling connecting in that way.

Necromany is pretty different. Necromany is more visceral and sorcerous. There is a relationship of offering and receiving in Necromancy just like in the more ancestor worship context. The way the relationship works and the nature of the offerings is different however. In necromancy we make offerings to the spirit to strengthen them and create vitality and substance in order to increase their power and their ability to work in the world. We stir and waken them and set them to operate in a particular task or to provide particular knowledge in exchange for the taste of power and life we are giving them. This is much more similar to the nature of an offering to a spirit or an offering associated with a pact in more conventional grimoiric sorcery. We may also at times make libations and offerings to the dead simply to strengthen them for when we call on them in the future.

Another element which is related but different is the offering being made in the context of offerings and prayers to other spirits. In ancestor worship we make an offering to the ancestors as part of our offerings to the spirits of our community or our tribe or family, but ultimately the focus is typically on the offerings and prayers made to the gods. The dead are there to share in the communion with the gods or perhaps to aid us in doing so. In Necromancy the chthonic gods are called upon to open up access to the dead, authorize their interaction, and strengthen the ability to connect with them, but in this case the chthonic gods partake of the offerings to the dead or are given their own offerings to facilitate a contact which is primarily with the dead.

So, what offerings do we make and how?

The offerings traditionally associated with necromancy are blood, lamb, wine, olive oil, honey, and milk. Coins are also needed as an offering to Charon in some instances. Sometimes bread or grain, or pomegranate seeds may come into play in connection with Persephone, or grapes in connection with Dionysos. But primarily, for the dead, we give blood, or we give wine, olive oil, honey, and milk.

I typically reserve blood and lamb for larger rituals. The lamb is offered to Hades and Persephone. They can be connected to using the Orphic Hymns. Along with them, Demeter, Hecate, Dionysos, Iris, and Hermes receive honor in these rites, along with Charon and Styx which are called upon more operantly. Styx sanctifies, empowers, and allows connection, Charon facilitates the connection and brings the appropriate spirits.

When we make the offerings they should be made in a liminal space. Liminal spaces include cross roads, property boundaries, town borders, grave yards, shores, or the edge of a wood. Twilight, midnight, and dawn are times which are liminal.

While typically offerings made to spirits are burned, this is less often the case in necromancy. Traditionally in Greek offerings, those offerings made to the Gods on Olympus are burned, and the remains of the offerings are left in the earth for the chthonic gods. In necromancy we're working on their turf and so it's more respectful to make the offering primarily in their manner, so offerings are poured into the earth, buried in a pit, or left beneath a tree. Some of the offerings may still be burnt, such as incenses, and the lamb. But the offerings to the dead themselves should not be. Hestia carries offerings burnt in the fire, and thus that is appropriate for the gods, where as offerings to the dead must cross via Charon.

Why do we offer the offerings we do? Blood is offered as it is food for the dead. Blood carries in it the force of life. Blood has its own special magic unlike that of most other materials. It is often the offering we see in mythology most typically when necromancy is depicted. When offering blood it is necessary that the magician be careful to ward off other spirits as the dead in general will be drawn to the blood.

The four libations are the more common and simple offering and may more easily be offered to a single spirit. The milk is for sustenance and substance. The honey for the sweetness of life and for sanctity. The wine is for joy and pleasure and stirring the “body” while the olive oil similarly reflects the force of life but with more to mental speed and the agility of developed action.

Once the libations are poured out and the dead are given time to absorb them they may be asked for knowledge or to perform some task. All in all it's pretty simple, but it does involve working with very visceral primal magical forces often in a close and intimate way.

I hope these thoughts were interesting and helpful, I'll post sometime soon about how one actually makes the offerings.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Chilling with the Spirit of Earth

So, having talked about modes of putting together magical rituals, and also having looked at the way in which the Golden Dawn based methods can still work with traditional methods, here is a visionary ritual which can be adapted for practical results as well. It streamlines the ritual and draws in GD and other modern elements along with elements based in tradition. Easily adaptable for other hierarchies or directly to an angel.

This was originally put together as part of a packet for initiating the element of earth in the body of the magician.

Ritual for Contacting the Spirit of the Earth
Fr. V.H.

The magician disrobes and washes external to his temple or working space.
His ritual clothing is laid out and waiting in his temple space. He enters and dresses in his ritual clothing.

The magician stands at the altar in the center. On the altar is a bowl of water, a
paten of salt, an asperger, an unlit candle, unlit incense, and a match. In the east,
beyond the working space is a single lit candle on an altar, or table, or some raised surface. The space is otherwise dark.

The magician advances to the east and makes the sign of blessing with his hand and traces the rose cross saying:

By the sign of light, I consecrate this work in the name of …N… that I might receive and know Phorlakh, the spirit of earth, his work and his nature.

Return to the center.

The magician places his hands upon the table, lowers his head, inflaming himself in the prayer he says:

Holy art thou Lord of the Universe
Holy art thou whom nature hath not formed
Holy art thou the vast and mighty one
Lord of the light and of the darkness

He takes the salt and makes over it the sign of earth and replacing it he takes the
water and makes over it the sign of water.
He then pours the salt into the water

So therefore first the Priest who governeth the works of fire shall sprinkle with the Lustral Water of the loud resounding Sea.

With the asperger he then sprinkles the quarters.

Having completed his sprinkling he returns to the center, replacing the bowl so that it is at the lower right corner of the altar. He takes the candle and over it he makes the sign of fire, then striking the match lights the candle saying:

When all the phantoms are vanished thou shalt see that Holy and Formless Fire…

Taking the flame he approaches each quarter making the sign of the cross with the candle, as he progresses through the quarters he says:

…that Fire which darts and flashes through the hidden depths of the Universe…

When he has accomplished this he returns to the center, replaces the candle so that the candle is in the upper left corner of the altar, and says:

…hear thou the voice of Fire.

The magician then kneels, bowing his head momentarily to consider the highest, and then raises it towards the light in the East in adoration saying:

My beloved is white and ruddy, preeminent above ten thousand.
His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are curled, and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves beside the water-brooks; washed with milk, and fitly set.
His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as banks of sweet herbs; his lips are as lilies, dropping with flowing myrrh.
His hands are as rods of gold set with beryl; his body is as polished ivory overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend

The magician then rises and adjusts the bowl and candle so that they are even at the middle right and left of the altar respectively. He then takes the incense and lights it from the candle and makes the sign of the cross with it saying:

Be thou the light, my shield and my breath.

The magician then replaces the incense and faces the east. With his hand he traces the hexagram saying the following passage, as he comes to the first instance of each angelic name he traces the sign of the appropriate element following in sequence fire, then water, then air, then earth:

Hail unto thee who art called holy,
Lord of the Earth who established his foundation beneath the firmament
Fertile field and bearer of treasurer
Who receives the light of the stars
And manifests their glory within secret chambers.
By the authority of your holy name, Adonai Ha-Aretz
I call upon the archangel, Sandafalon
One of the two most holy princes of heaven
That I might receive Michael
Who is warden and keeper of the Earth,
And the strength of your hand,
That he might send Kerub
Who is the formation of the foundation
That Phorlakh might be manifested unto me,
That I might know the mysteries of Earth
Through his work and his nature.
By the holy name Adonai Ha-Aretz
Be thou present Phorlakh!

The magician then sits in meditation to receive the spirit of earth and communicate with him. When he has accomplished this he may bid the spirit to peaceably depart.

He should then write in his journal. When he has finished this let him stand, making
the cross on himself, and at the center pause and say:

By the holy name ….N…. I declare this rite concluded, that all may be at peace.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Untying that hand from behind your back

Sometimes people argue about the superiority of modern magic versus traditional magic with the end that one must be exclusive of the other. I've often found in life that if someone wants to tell me that I can only be connected with them to the exclusion of others I want to be connected to, unless they have a good reason, it doesn't play out best to go with the one demanding exclusion. Unfortunately in the case of magic it's often both sides that want to shit on the other side.

In my experience though the best magicians have tool kits with multiple deep pockets. They don't dabble and they don't appropriate. They dive deeply into multiple streams and as a result can utilize the appropriate tool with an understanding of it's context and proper use. With that in mind, there is room for modern and traditional methods of magic.

A lot of the methods of modern magic provide simple quick solutions to small things, and they're enriched by the knowledge and experience traditional magical work provides. I do find that over the years I have grown to rely more and more on traditional systems of magic to provide a more complete system and worldview. Modern magic, however, provides the skills needed for traditional magic, and helps create the spiritual development needed for traditional magic. In fact, many of the magical orders responsible for developing the modern methods of magic structured themselves exactly for that purpose.

The problem, however, is that sometimes modern magic leads people to ideas that cause them to stall out and go nowhere. Some of this is because of shitty books and poor education, some of it is due to misunderstanding, and some of it is just due to bad material being passed off as good. I don't want to get into the specifics of sources. I want to address some silly ideas, and I'm not going to get into ideology, but just some practices. I'm going to try to keep it to a limited number, probably two, that came up today.

1. Openings

So two different people brought up issues with this today. One of them was talking about doing the Lesser Key and claimed to have been doing it since they were young. The follow up to this statement was to ask people's preference for starting with the LIRP and ending with the LBRP versus starting and ending with the LBRP, because of course, she's always started and finished with these because, research shows that's why they exist.

Another friend was asking about how to do the Merkavah stuff I posted yesterday. He asked about what to open with and similar questions, which at first left me with a sense of “huh, what are you even talking about?” Then it DAWNED (bad pun) on me what his background was. So it was reasonable that he was asking since that's how he learned to do magic. His go to was immediately the LBRP, LHR, etc. but those clearly had nothing to do with this system.

The problem here is that the Golden Dawn system assumes that these rituals, and the rest of the system, are a framework into which everything fits. That's just not remotely the case. When people really examine these rituals, the way they fit into the Golden Dawn system, and their effects, along with notes from the original practitioners of the system their purpose becomes pretty clear. Unfortunately they're often left to the level of examination which stops with “Well, the Knowledge lecture said to do this” or “Donald Michael Kraig said that.”

These rituals are awesome in that they're part of the road to making you awesome. They form the basis of a star lit path leading to the inner sanctum. They just aren't the inner sanctum itself. These rituals deal with the relationship between your subtle body and the LVX. Certain ones deal with the light in the form of the point, or the concentration of the soul of the magician, in other cases they deal with the light in extension, or radiance, the divine interaction between the soul and the harmony of the universe. This is why they are part of the daily practice of the developing magician at various phases in his development, because they are built to catalyze that development. They are not however particularly effective as banishings or openings, despite the fact that they provide formulas which hint at how a proper magical ritual, including banishings and openings, should be structured. In fact, that's the extent of their real applicable worth in conjunction with the Solomonic tradition, they provide a skeleton on the conceptual structure used in some forms of Solomonic magic.

So, what does a ritual begin with? First, ablution, or cleansing, primarily of the magician. This can involve prayers, rituals, fasting, but most basically it needs to involve washing, and usually, changing your clothes.

After this, you'll have some opening or establishment of the space, and possibly some cleansing of the space. Different traditions and different preferences may order these in different ways. You might have a general cleansing and then the consecration of the space, then maybe a more specific cleansing then an opening (this is the way I like to do things if doing a big ritual process). The opening, cleansing, and consecration might be all one ritual (the way I like to do things if doing a small ritual). You might dispense with the initial cleansing and just consecrate cleanse and open, you might cleanse consecrate and open, or your cleansing and consecration might be the same.

So what does each do and how? Again, different systems will have different expectations, and some systems won't need all this, but if you need it, you should probably at least match it to the system you're doing.

So the sparks notes version...

Cleansing (personal):

The idea - Wash away those things which are impurities. Unburden your soul. Assert your purity. Center yourself on yourself as a magician, competent and prepared for the work at hand. Remove those things which are not part of you being that.

Stuff to do – literally take a bath. Or maybe just wash your hands and feet, I like to at least wipe down the torso, pits, and junk. Spring water, holy water, or water with hyssop oil are good options. Change your clothes. Pray to be cleansed. Meditation, confession, anointing with oil or ash, and eucharistic practices can work well here too, as can rituals specifically intended as cleansing or purification rituals.

Pre-Cleansing Space:

The idea – if your space is not dedicated for magic it has a lot of other influences you might want to remove or reduce those before you even begin dedicating or opening the space for ritual

Stuff to do – sprinkle holy water. Clean up stuff that is in the way, distracting, or not part of your ritual kit. Burn some incense.

Consecrating the Space:

The idea – your ritual space is a connection between you as a divine operator within the universe (You as the local Demiurgos) and the universe as the substance of the divine harmony. The space is the fitting together of the divine puzzle pieces that are your soul and the cosmos. It is also the reification of the possibility that you can interact with the substance of creation and make changes to it's essence. The space is therefore both a demarked separation from the world around you an an encapsulation of the totality of your universe.

Stuff to do – Hold on a second and think about the awesomeness of the palpable encapsulation of your divine being united in harmony with the cosmos to create a singularity for the purpose of manifesting reality.

Stuff to do on a practical level – Physically mark out the space. Set up the appropriate elements representing this connection or this moment within the system being worked. Recite the appropriate prayers, petitions, charges, or calls for creating this spiritual presence within the space.


The idea – this will have a lot more variance based upon the system being worked. These might be separated or combined. The cleansing removes spiritual forces that could be damaging for the magician or for his work. When combined the cleansing and opening may also have a component of activating divine or spiritual energy. The opening can be a statement of purpose, a defining of the work being done, or an initial prayer to begin the active part of the ritual. It may also be combined with the prayers to invoke the forces representing the world or part of the world being impacted, as well as the prayers for the presence of divine grace and authority within the magician. But again, this is all going to vary based on the system.

Stuff to do – prayers and incantations, gesticulations with ritual implements involving fire, water or incense, donning of ritual regalia. Again, variance based on the system at work.

The meat of it...

So then at that point, you'll get to whatever it is you're actually doing. Now again, this is one possible framework and you'll note that elements of it do match up to the framework asserted by the LBRP and similar rituals but the way in which they're performed will typically be dramatically different, and the LBRP has within it the meat, or the execution of its purpose.

2. Visualizing Spirits

This has always been a bit of a weird one to me, probably because when I was a kid when you dealt with spirits you dealt with spirits. A very common idea in modern magic coming out of the Golden Dawn however is that you visualize the spirits based on their correspondences and the strength of the visualization is part of how you strengthen the manifestation of the spirit being invoked. Each spirit has a series of attributes to be visualized based on their Kabbalistic correspondences and possibly the correspondences of the letters of their names.

All in all, it comes off a little contrived and doesn't fit most typical theories espoused in studying mysticism and magic, which reflect the idea that the visionary naturally sees the symbols which have been ingrained as part of his culture. He doesn't need to actively generate them in order to lead his vision somewhere. The vision should naturally occur as a result of the stimulus if the stimulus is actually present.

When I was involved with an order in which the leadership had all come from modern Golden Dawn orders they taught this as their standard method of invocation. Invocations were performed by viualizing the appropriate form, and then invoking Kabbalistic god-names to fill the form with power, and then “putting it on like a suit.” The idea was an attempt at “assuming a god-form” but it missed that in both Crowley and Regardie's descriptions of that Golden Dawn practice the magician engages in a very mystical attempt at invoking the actual force, not creating an astral construct. These same individuals also insisted that the Golden Dawn current was broken because it used Egyptian god-forms which were all used up and burnt out. They didn't consider that maybe this isn't how one invokes a spirit...

When you call a spirit you need to be aware and receptive to signs and perceptions which tell you the spirit is there. Maybe you'll see it, maybe you won't, maybe you'll feel it, maybe some characteristic of your environment will change, maybe it won't. Worry about doing the best damn job you can at calling the spirit, and worry about it getting done what it's been called for. Don't distract yourself with mental masturbation by trying to really get a forced visualization of some systematized details down. That's a mental exercise in memory and focused visualization, and those can be useful to magic, but don't let them distract you from the awesome experience that is actual magical contact with the fundamental forces of existence.

3. Get to know the system you're doing and it's spirits

So, your magic might not involve spirits...but either way, get to know the system. Really good magicians know the ins and outs of the systems they practice, the worldview, the traditions, the ideology and mythology, and variant ritual practices. It might not be the only system they use, but when they use it they do it with authenticity, or at the very least, with a firm grounding in the parts of it they're being influenced by.

Taking an unrelated framework and assuming that the universe really does fit into a series of folders in a magical filing cabinet and you can just substitute the appropriate cog to make your one size fits all machine work will not get you nearly as far as using the right tool in the right way. Yes, there are times when a framework and a piece will work well. If there are times though when you need to replace your piece with another equivalent piece from the same folder because the new piece will work better, then the pieces aren't equivalent, and so maybe they won't fit as well into the same gear works.

No one brought up this as a problem today, but it is just a glaring element of the modern one size fits all approach. It also makes it way easier to have rambling discordant series of symbols in a ritual that goes no where, since you're grabbing random cool pieces, and sometimes more cool pieces will be attractive than are actually needed or suited.

4. Trust your angel

Modern magic puts so much focus on Knowledge and Conversation, which is HUGELY important, and it's great that it gets a lot of attention in modern magic, but modern magic also often ignores that you should always be bros with your angel. Your angel is a huge part of your power and authority to do magic. Your angel isn't the only means of agency you have, but it's one of the primary and most important. Your angel is also your guidance. A lot of the basic rituals of modern ceremonial magic are intended to connect you to the forces that lead to a connection with your angel.

Often magicians feel like their angel is inapproachable, or has given up on them, or is too distant or uninterested because they aren't at that point in their work. The thing is, you're always at that point in your work. Your angel is there to be with you and lead you to the full manifestation of your Being. It wants to drive you and push you and help you succeed. So don't turn your back on it by assuming it's turned its back on you. Dive into as much of a relationship with it as you can have.

Anyway, those are some thoughts for avoiding some of the traps that are out there. Again, a lot of what modern magic has to offer is great, and really useful, and is suited to developing the practitioner of traditional magic. That doesn't mean it doesn't have points that can lead to confusion and stifling. Traditional magic is the same way. There are plenty of things out there that can easily be misunderstood, or which may not be complete and might therefore suggest something they don't mean.

All in all though these are some common mishaps I see that are easily avoided. And yeah, 2 became 4. But I expected something like that when I said two. You should also.