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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Grimoires and the Cycle of the Year Pt 1



How does time play into our magic? What about space? Aside from conjuring spirits to teach us about magic or about themselves are there ways we should ground ourselves or explore the powers we invoke aside from practical magic? Yes. Yes, there are, or, there should be.

Magic should be part of a lifestyle and to some degree a culture, and a lifestyle and culture which is spiritual should generally involve something religious. Not necessarily belonging to a Church or adopting a religion, but a way to routinely connect with and seat oneself in the context of the LIVING COSMOS OF SPIRITUAL FORCES with which your magic is engaged. Religion is at its core a pattern of rituals. Those rituals mirror the ideas we have about creation, existence, and the end. So for a magician magical religious ritual would be the exploration of these cosmic forces in the light of our understanding of the world.

We see this somewhat in the modern magical religions. Feasts of the times are important for Thelema because they're a way of doing this, and accessing important knowledge and mysteries within that system on multiple levels. Similar magical holidays play into the Golden Dawn, Thelema, Wicca, Druidry, and various other groups from the 19th and 20th centuries. These holidays deal with natural and cosmic movements which reflect the changes in the forces and concepts central to these particular worldviews. For those of us that are magicians, we're dealing with the forces that shape and move the world, so rituals to acknowledge the very visible, physical, movements of those forces are a reasonable way of engaging this same religious benefit. But for those of us not working purely in a modern context do we have a way of doing this? If we simply engage religions like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, which helped shape the grimoires, we won't address the powers and forces relevant to magic. Can we structure feasts of the times for traditional magic?

This idea sprang forth in full armor from my mind while working on another project. Rufus Opus had challenged me to reconstruct a complete and workable system of grimoiric magic from the mish mash of pieces and references held within the Heptameron. (As it is, you could pick up the book and work it, but it's really presenting several different magical ideas all swirled together). I had already been working a little bit with ideas regarding the angels of the planetary hours, and the very cursory approach to grimoiric timing found in modern magic versus the robust focus on the powers of time in the grimoires. So while working with the Heptameron, and the Raziel texts, and various Solomonic texts, I kept coming back to the INTENSE IMPORTANCE of TIME and SPACE in real magic. We talk in modern magic about “time outside of time, and place outside of space” which is a neat idea, but SPACE-TIME is fucking magical on it's own, and when we begin looking at directionality, the spiritualization of locality and the environment of the moment, the powers of time as they manifest in hours, days, months, and seasons, we begin to see that there is a whole magical way of addressing the reality in which we live, work, and manifest magic, and without connecting with and understanding the magical forces that build and move the context of our existence, we miss out on a huge way of connecting with creation and the power therein.

As I read through more and more of Raziel instructing Adam about the importance of understanding time, and it blended with the ideas of time in magic found in the Heptameron, and it ran up against my remedial explorations of astrology, I began to form a greater picture of what I was looking at. The idea of invoking the components of time and place more clearly than we tend to in modern magic had already begun creeping in for me based on the PGM, but in that context it seems to sometimes be a simple acknowledgment of time and place, what we see in the grimoires particularly those influenced by the Raziel tradition we see something much deeper than just mentioning them.

The grimoires understood every element of time and space in a way which allowed it to be approached as a spirit, or at least, a spiritually imbued part of our interaction with the Creator. Each element of time and direction has a name, it has a spirit, or spirits associated with it. We see pieces here and there in the grimoires referencing these spirits of time but not necessarily integrating them. While looking for this integration the circle in the Heptameron became an inspiration for more deeply engaging these forces directly, it became much more than simply as a map laid out on the floor of the space in which a ritual would be performed.

So while getting excited about all this, and about the magic of time and space, and while mapping out secret names given by the Heptameron and Raziel it occurred to me...ceremonial magicians not engaged in modern magic don't have rituals to observe major moments of time...but we could, and maybe long ago some system from which part of our system is drawn may have had such a thing. And the grimoires map out everything we need. In fact, with the importance of astrological timing in the older forms of magic, and the astrological treatment of the seasons in the grimoires, and the break down of correspondences mapping the seasons, the directions, and through them connecting the celestial, sublunary, and infernal realms made it apparent that marking the seasonal shifts was an easy way to incorporate all the various elements of time, space, and our overall cosmology into a ritual structure of observance.

So, over the last couple months the back of my mind has been playing out how to set up such a ritual, and I decided for the Solstice I would try it. It was pretty awesome. It was subdued, but it was pretty nifty. There were moments of being bathed within the various forces that make up the shift into the season of summer and define its nature. A lot of beautiful imagery conveyed by the spirits. Quiet moments to chill in their presence and to drink in their blessings and power.

The ritual was pretty nifty, and I definitely noticed beneficial currents in my life following its performance. Tomorrow we'll go into more about the ritual and the experience.