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Friday, December 29, 2017

Blessings of the Magi



Dr. Al Cummins recently posted a very interesting post about ways to work with the Magi as a magician touching on various folk Catholic elements, and he and Jesse Hathaway Diaz spoke about such things in an amazing episode of Radio Free Golgotha last year. I highly recommend checking those out.

With Epiphany coming up, I wanted to note some elements of institutional Catholicism which may be useful for the magician, particularly magicians working with grimoires, especially pre-Reformation grimoires which reflect a particularly Catholic approach, and largely an assumption of some level of clerical capacity.

The Feast of The Epiphany gives us the opportunity to reflect on The Magi and the role of astrology in the biblical story, the connections to Zoroastrianism, the symbolism of Gold Frankincense and Myrrh, and the ability to receive direct divine and spiritual revelation at times of importance and at times in which we are questioning what to do. It its a time in which we ca reflect on the guidance of the one star whose light directs us surely through the darkness. It is a time where we can reflect on the roles of the Magi individually or on the universal brotherhood implied by priest kings representing different parts of the world coming together on a spiritual quest. There is a lot there.

What interests us from a practical grimoire perspective though is less about reflection and more about an auspicious day for consecrating implements. I think plenty of people will address folk Catholic elements, and modern magical parallels and readings of symbols, and they will engage these topics more than I would at the moment. I think the obvious easy bit to touch is the part we'll see fewer people looking at.

Holy water, incense, chalk, and your space.

A little more pedestrian sounding...but oh so exciting.

You see, The Roman Ritual has long been a go to for magicians wanting to say “Oh yeah, I've studied the Catholic rituals of exorcism.” But the Roman Ritual is filled with magic. The rite of Baptism is a rite of exorcism...so is the formula for making holy water, and also for blessing gold frankincense and myrrh...and...well...a lot of other bits of it are too. Out side of the preponderance of exorcisms there are rituals to bring rain, rituals to protect cars and ships and animals, rituals to cure sore throats.

Priests were once magicians, and while that has gone away in practice, it is something more slow to die in the written rituals themselves. A grimoire magician working with Liber Juratus, The Cambridge Book, TheHeptameron, The Book of Oberon, any pre-reformation influenced book of magic, is a magician who is expected to have some training in these clerical rituals that we sometimes forget are also magic.

And so on the Feast given to the Magi we have rituals which would be useful to the magician. We bless water, we bless gold frankincense and myrrh, we bless chalk, and we bless the home. All of these items are those which we might use in working magic and so this is a most appropriate time to bless our supply of such items.

The Epiphany water is a formula much more involved than the simple formula for exorcising salt and water and then blessing their combination as holy water (a formula which appears in the grimoires). The Roman Ritual says it was adopted in 1890 but is based on an old tradition in the Eastern Church.

This blessing comes from the Orient, where the Church has long emphasized in her celebration of Epiphany the mystery of our Lord's baptism, and by analogy our baptism. This aspect is not neglected in western Christendom, although in practice we have concentrated on the visit of the Magi. Many years before the Latin Rite officially adopted the blessing of Epiphany water, diocesan rituals, notably in lower Italy, had contained such a blessing.”

The Roman Ritual 1964

The magician could easily opt for the simply Holy Water form but this more complex blessing draws on auspicious timing and in particular if you are engaging in other work related to the Magi would tie into that work. At the least, since Holy Water is used in a somewhat baptismal manner at times in magic, this water is specifically connected to that element of the story as well.

The ritual for the Epiphany water is done the night before the Feast, and is a bit long so I won't be including it here. It occurs as the fifth item of the first volume of the 1964 edition of the Roman Ritual.

The sixth item given is a blessing of Gold, Incense, and Myrrh. I would assume in this case Frankincense would be the incense in question however I suppose other church appropriate incenses may be substituted. The blessing itself confers protection to those who possess these items. You could run it as is and have a powerful traditional blessing attached to your incenses and gold or make some tweaks to focus more specifically on conferring magical efficacy. The ritual includes an exorcism of demons which might be present in the material, the infusion of divine grace, and the direction of that grace towards the protection and intercession on behalf of the one who possesses these items.

This one is short enough to present here.

6. BLESSING OF GOLD, INCENSE, MYRRH

on Epiphany

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Accept, holy Father, from me, your unworthy servant, these gifts which I humbly offer to the honor of your holy name and in recognition of your peerless majesty, as you once accepted the sacrifice of the just Abel and the same kind of gifts from the three Magi.

God's creatures, gold, incense, and myrrh, I cast out the demon from you by the Father + almighty, by Jesus + Christ, His only-begotten Son, and by the Holy + Spirit, the Advocate, so that you may be freed from all deceit, evil, and cunning of the devil, and become a saving remedy to mankind against the snares of the enemy. May those who use you, with confidence in the divine power, in their lodgings, homes, or on their persons, be delivered from all perils to body and soul, and enjoy all good things. We ask this through the power and merits of our Lord and Savior, the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of all the saints, in particular the godly men who on this day venerated Christ the Lord with the very same gifts.

All: Amen.

God, the invisible and endless One, in the holy and awesome name of your Son, be pleased to endow with your blessing + and power these creatures of gold, incense, and myrrh. Protect those who will have them in their possession from every kind of illness, injury, and danger, anything that would interfere with the well-being of body and soul, and so be enabled to serve you joyously and confidently in your Church; you who live and reign in perfect Trinity, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy + Spirit, come upon these creatures of gold, incense, and myrrh, and remain always.

All: Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water.”

The next item presented is the blessing of the chalk. This one people reference a little more often, probably because chalk is sometimes given as an option for making circles and appears in various magical traditions, but chalk isn't given instructions for blessing in as many texts. Chalk may not be given in most grimoires but it has a long standing association with magic and religion. Chalk deposits are found in many British religious sites. Chalk develops from sediment caused from fossilized organic material, therefore chalk was once alive and is now material made from the dead. Chalk, while a stone, has a relationship with water, providing reservoirs to hold ground water to release in dry seasons, and growing to form cliffs and islands against the sea. These elements linking it to earth and water, and to the dead give it a liminal quality. In Ebeneezer Sibly's work, which we find later quoted by Waite, quick lime, which is derived from chalk, is used in the “burial” or burning of the body used in necromantic rites once the magician is finished questioning the ghost.

With these liminal qualities around death and the underworld qualities implied by stone and sea, the quality of celebrating life, and of divine revelation related to the Epiphany make for the perfect juxtaposition for completing and balancing the power of the chalk and reflecting the overlapping qualities of things chthonic and things celestial.

The Blessing of the Chalk is pretty short and simple. There is no exorcism, just a blessing, but the blessing is one which essentially empower the chalk for use in folk magic. The faithful are instructed to use the blessed chalk to scribe the sainted names of the Magi upon their doors in order to bring about their intercession and blessings.

The ritual, performed on the day of the Feast is as follows:

BLESSING OF CHALK

on Epiphany

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Bless, + O Lord God, this creature, chalk, and let it be a help to mankind. Grant that those who will use it with faith in your most holy name, and with it inscribe on the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Casper, Melchior, and Baltassar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health in body and protection of soul; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

It is sprinkled with holy water.”

The eighth item of volume one, and the final Epiphany item is a blessing of the home.

Now a blessing of the Home might seem less obviously in line with the grimoires. You don't bless your home in the grimoires, in fact in some instructions it would sound like you might even do magic away from your home. In some spirit traditions we find advice to keep certain workings out doors, or in places designated for spirit work rather than in the living areas of the home, or in altars which can be closed away. For most magicians though, magic is done in the home. So blessing the home would be part of routine maintenance. Even if you're not doing magical work in your home or your living space, you are aware of spiritual forces which might impact your life. Routine apotropaic work is something many magicians overlook, but which could help prevent situations which they might later need to turn to magic to help resolve. The Roman Ritual provides a few options for blessing the home, in fact, the chalk blessing implies a home blessing. The blessing of the water can be used to make water to sprinkle the home and bless it, or the blessing of the gold incense and myrrh and provide a protective possession to keep in the home.

The home blessing interestingly doesn't contain an exorcism. In fact it does not seem to be about purifying or wiping away any negativity on the home, but, like the season of Christmastide it is a ritual of joy and light. The magnificence of God and of his revelation through Christ is recalled in the ritual and that shining light sanctifies the whom and all who enter therein.

The ritual is as follows:

BLESSING OF HOMES

on Epiphany

As the priest comes into the home he says:

P: God's peace be in this home.

All: And in all who live here.

P. Ant.: Magi from the East came to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasure chests they presented Him with precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Alleluia.

Canticle of the Magnificat

Luke 1.46-55

P: "My soul * extols the Lord;

All: And my spirit leaps for joy in God my Savior.

P: How graciously He looked upon His lowly maid! * Oh, see, from this hour onward age after age will call me blessed!

All: How sublime is what He has done for me, * the Mighty One, whose name is 'Holy'!

P: From age to age He visits those * who worship Him in reverence.

All: His arm achieves the mastery: * He routs the haughty and proud of heart.

P: He puts down princes from their thrones, * and exalts the lowly;

All: He fills the hungry with blessings, * and sends away the rich with empty hands.

P: He has taken by the hand His servant Israel, * and mercifully kept His faith,

All: As He had promised our fathers * with Abraham and his posterity forever and evermore."

P: Glory be to the Father.

All: As it was in the beginning.

Meanwhile the home is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. At the end of the Magnificat the antiphon is repeated. Then the priest says Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Many shall come from Saba.

All: Bearing gold and incense.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May he also be with you.

Let us pray.
God, who on this day revealed your only-begotten Son to all nations by the guidance of a star, grant that we who now know you by faith may finally behold you in your heavenly majesty; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Responsory: Be enlightened and shine forth, O Jerusalem, for your light is come; and upon you is risen the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.

P: Nations shall walk in your light, and kings in the splendor of- your birth.

All: And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

Let us pray.

Lord God almighty, bless + this home, and under its shelter let there be health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to your commandments, and thanksgiving to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May your blessing remain always in this home and on those who live here; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.”

Now this last ritual as it is written would need at least two people, the Priest, and the People. It could reasonably be modified for personal use with the individual simply doing both the call and the response. Some of the things desired for the home might not be the goals of all contemporary magicians. I could easily say “well go through the ritual as is, the words are just symbolic” but they're not. You're praying for those things. It's not an idea of bringing sanctity by reflecting back the words a God wants to hear, you're asking spiritual powers to bring conditions into your home and the people in your home. So consider what it is you truly wish to ask for. Maybe the actual blessing of the house in which chastity and humility are asked for is a prayer which you might have to explore tweaking a bit to suit your own needs, or maybe it does describe what you want in your home. If in essence you want magnificence and light to bring a presence of uplifting joy, that's the end game here, the shape it takes will need to fit the spiritual powers you're calling upon, but they can also fit the way you wish to engage those powers. Explore your relationship with the Lord of Hosts and determine what virtues he might bring into your home, and ask for those.

Speaking of relationships, and the vast army of hosts, there is a vast host of people on Facebook, so pop over there, and share our page, and if you haven't yet, like our page, for more interesting stuff from us. Thanks! And enjoy the rest of the Christmas season and have a Happy New Year. Hopefully I'll have some stuff to say about making friends with dead folks next week!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Touched By an Angel

There seem to be more people working towards achieving Knowledge and Conversation of their Holy Guardian Angels these days, and that's great. There also seem to be more people who want to look like they've checked that box on the spiritual authority check list, and that's not so great.

A friend recently noted that we see a lot of people who describe their experience as if it was one super cool moment, and then it was done. Nothing changes after, there is no relationship after, they did it, they have it in their back pocket that they did it, and they don't have much of anything useful to add to the discourse that reflects their experience. They generalize the angel, or reduce its nature to something relatively meaningless, or treat attaining the angel like a badge they get for leveling up and then moving on. The experience is doing the thing, and saying they did the thing, and that's all it is; it's another experiment with another grimoire or another technique and they met the spirit and it was cool and that's it, right?

Nope.

It's a pretty immense fantastic experience when it happens. And to some degree that initial experience is momentary. That momentary experience exists to create a powerful on going relationship. Think of it sort of like a friend. You can call up a friend, hang out, have a good time, and then go your own way, getting together as needed. But say you and that friend have some sort of life changing experience which shapes the both of you, that creates a bond which ties you together and lets you share an intimacy you don't have with others, so there is a connection which is always there. The moment in the oratory where you complete the retreat is like that. It is a moment so full of force and fire that it forges a bond between you and the angel which is unlike that of other spirits with whom you interact.

Now, based on many approaches to understanding the angel, there is already a bond between you and your angel before the retreat. I would question whether or not all of these other descriptions of Guardian Angels and Holy Guardian Angels are necessarily talking about the same thing as what is described in The Sacred Magic, in fact, I would assert that in many cases they aren't. That said, in my experience, yes, your angel is there from the beginning, and you can and should make contact before doing the retreat. The retreat changes the nature of the bond and the contact, probably mostly on our end, but still, there is a perceptible change, which changes us and how the angel interacts with us.

I very rarely reference things Aaron Leitch says, and initially when I saw him compare Knowledge and Conversation to being Crowned by a spirit I mistook his meaning, and I avoided the comparison. But really, it is pretty apt. Knowledge and Conversation is a form of possession.

People tend to think of possession as it appears in The Exorcist, or The Exorcism of Emily Rose, or other cinematic depictions. Both of those examples are based on true stories, to some degree, but they both take cinematic license and make things visually shocking for horror movie audiences. Still, there is a reality to that kind of possession. Possession can refer to a point where a spirit takes over a person, and torments them. Possession can look like madness.

But that's not the only kind of possession, and even in the case of a spiritual assault there are stages to possession. In magic, where we find possession occurring as choice in which the magician has a relationship with the spirit these stages are more clearly understood. Unfortunately most European Magic (as Western is an inaccurate description) no longer contains spirit possession work, so for most people exploring Holy Guardian Angels, spirit possession means spinning heads and pea soup.

So first you should understand that possession occurs in different stages. In Catholicism there is Courting, Obsession, and Possession. When a spirit is courting someone it is exploring weaknesses which would open that person to possession and tempting them into situations to exploit and exacerbate those weaknesses. The spirit might directly influence and inspire the person and attempt to draw them in. When a spirit is obsessing someone the spirit has made contact and presents the person with things they desire and draws them towards desiring a relationship with the spirit or opening up to that spirit's influence. The obsessed person is oppressed by the spirit as the spirit begins to exert some control., often by impacting their well being and weakening the person's resistance to their influence. Possession occurs when the person succumbs to the obsessing spirit and control is relinquished. Finally an integration would occur if the person willingly gives themselves over to the possessing entity.

These stages all take a pretty negative view on the subject because in Catholicism possession is almost always an involuntary and negative act. Catholicism does however provide a lot of the framework for European spirit magic and so an awareness of it can be useful as a way for setting up our thinking.

Another way of looking at it based in Afro-Caribbean traditions would be that in stage one the spirit sits on you or next to you, you can feel the presence of the spirit, it touches you, you can communicate with it, but aside from a more intimate awareness of it, you're still in the driver's seat, and you can break off from the contact. A second stage involves the spirit more intimately connecting with you such that it can influence and take partial control. You're aware of what's happening, mostly, and you can exert some control, but you and the spirit are kind of sharing control of the steering wheel. The third phase is when the spirit is in full control, and you act as the spirit, you may or may not have awareness and it may or may not communicate with you so much as through you in this process.

Knowledge and Conversation is somewhere between stage one and stage two, which would fit somewhere close to the obsession stage in a Catholic context. But in the case of Knowledge and Conversation it is voluntary on our parts, and so that gives it an integrated element, which makes it like he reception of a Head Spirit, or being Crowned, in which the spirit with whom you work, by whom you are possessed “resides” with you and so there is an on going relationship in which the “stage” or the clarity of contact, moves on a scale as per the context of the particular moment.

That said, unless you've experienced these types of spiritual interaction, this probably doesn't explain the experience too much.

To go back to Hollywood as a means of illustrating...Death Note is a good example. The relationship between Light and his God of Death is a good example. Ryuk is always there, even if he's just sort of in the back of Light's awareness. They communicate, Light gets answers and suggestions from Ryuk. Ryuk isn't in control but his presence impacts how Light is able to approach things and Ryuk is at times able to facilitate things for him. On some level it looks kind of like a relationship with a familiar spirit, except that Ryuk exerts influence just by virtue of his connection to Light as well as directly by what he communicates, rather than a familiar, who generally performs tasks and provides information but without that same influence. The recent Fox TV series version of The Exorcist has also depicted this phase of possession, albeit in a negative context, in season two of the series. Andy, the possessed individual, initially experiences the possessing spirit as a girl who he believes to be one of his foster children. She suggests things to him, influences what he does and how he makes decisions, she isn't always with him but she's always watching and can make suggestions to or influence Andy pretty much whenever she chooses, but still she's not ultimately in control of him.

Recently when talking with the same friend who pointed out that some people treat the Holy Guardian Angel like a One and Done kind of thing I described it like this:

By possession I mean like first/second stage The spirit is touching you so it knows and understands you and is able to freely talk to you, but it's there like generally. Like not every waking moment but at any given moment it can interact. It's intimately in the space of your being; still identifiably separate though, but it doesn't feel dissociative. It is like a partner who sits in your sphere and kind of comes into your ear when he needs to speak.”

I could go into what talking to it is like, or how this relationship impacts magic and divination and other spirit work...but if I did all that in one blog post it's seriously limit what I'd have to talk about later.

In any case, finishing the Abramelin, or Liber 8, or Samekh, or whatever ritual you intend to use to achieve Knowledge and Conversation is great, and it's important, but it isn't really the goal or the prize. That all comes later, and is the unfolding relationship which completing the ritual catalyzes. It's not just that single moment, but rather the way in which it affects all the later moments.

Speaking of relationships...once again, if you liked this, please share, and please like us, and encourage your friends to like us on that vast and ranging Book of Faces.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Advent: World Wide Anticipatory Participatory Sorcery



Sunday December 3rd marks the first Sunday of Advent this year, which means that today, Monday 11/27 is the first day of the advent season. I like Advent, not as much as I like Lent, but Advent is still pretty cool, because anticipation is a big part of why exciting things are exciting. When we know we have a cool event coming up, thinking about that cool event helps build up to making it amazing. Thinking all day about the awesome dinner you have planned, waiting for the moment when you and someone you like share your first kiss, foreplay leading up to climax, all of those things serve to create the powerful experience of the moment which we anticipate.

Ritual magic can work that way as well. We do a series of actions and we put together various forces, call upon various spirits prepare ourselves, our space, and our tools, and all of it works to create a moment in which we're able to communicate either through a singular action or statement what we want or need. Maybe we perform a Mass and prepare the species of communication, and draw together the forces of transubstantiation and in a singular moment the material is changed and is brought into us to change us. Maybe we're engaging in some Kabbalistic magic and we build a path for the forces of creation by juxtaposing symbols and finally we ground the divine light in a talisman by writing a divine name. Maybe we conjure a spirit, and we bathe, cast our circle, call our intermediaries and gatekeepers, talk to our ancestors and call upon a spirit to accomplish the work we need with the support of these various allies, and we still reach a moment where we explain what we want, offer what we'll give for it, and ask the spirit to go do the work. Everything involves preparation, and with it anticipation of the moment where we make things happen.

With magic we further have the anticipation that occurs between doing the magic and waiting for the result. We recognize the importance of not dwelling upon or obsessing about what we've done and the magic working to make it happen. But we also can recognize the utility of doing things to support our magic. Other related magic, mundane activities related to our goal. Whatever we need to support it getting done. Just like anticipation helps make getting what we want more exciting, the supporting work we do along the way to meeting our goal helps make our goal happen. Either way, while we're waiting, the excitement builds.

Another element of magic is knowing the landscape. We have to look at the various forces at play in the world that affect what we're doing. What are the positions of the stars and planets and how does that impact occult forces? What in my life would make it easy for this to manifest? What would make it hard for this to manifest? Am I willing to accept into my life what I'm trying to create in my life? Are other people competing to get the same thing and can we all get it? Are other people working to support me? Are other people working to stop me? Are their cultural powers at play that make a particular time more powerfully aligned to my goal?

This is where Advent comes into play.

I'm sure a lot of people who read my blog utilize Christian elements in their magic, some might be Christians, some might just use Christian elements of magic. I'm sure a lot of other people who read my blog don't connect to Christianity at all. Regardless of which group you fit into the idea here isn't about engaging in Christianity it's about utilizing a current of force in which countless people around the world are engaging, a current of force which creates a time focused on creation, focused on bringing something into the world. Advent is about anticipation, and maybe most people engaging in it ritually are focused on anticipating Christ, but an unimaginable number of children across the world are anticipating Santa Claus and receiving gifts, obtaining material objects. There's room for anticipating whatever you want.

The season is also set up in a kind of magical structure. You have four weeks, so a week for each element and a day for each planet. So as you work on building your creation you can progress through manifesting the various forces as they pertain to your goal and reflect them cascading into creation as they progress through the elemental worlds.

The first week of is Hope, the second is Love, the third is Joy, and then Peace, finally Christmas is the arrival of Christ.

Hope is the initial stirring towards creation, the beginning of anticipating what we desire. The initial spark of fire that brings forth a concept and begins energizing it into being.

Love draws things together just as a cup begins to coalesce all the attributes and associations of a concept that give it color and sensibility before it is defined into a form.

Joy is the moment of realization that you're coming close to the thing coming into being. It's close enough that you can see it, you can express it, you can name it, you can define it, it's not a stirring anymore, it's not a feeling anymore, it's an idea that you can call by name and hold clearly in your mind.

Peace is the acceptance of a thing, the realization that the thing is coming into being, that moment of settling because you know it's about to be real and you'll actually get to experience it. You've prepared the tray on which everything will be set and it waits for the thing itself which is about to be real.

So you have fire, water, air, and earth. The days of the week are pretty obvious for the planets.

So from there it's just a matter of identifying what you want and understanding the pieces of its processes towards coming into existence. Then you just need a few minutes for daily work to bring it into being and ride the current of millions of people anticipating a moment of creation.


The elemental prayers from Levi, and the Orphic hymns, or Liber Cordis and Liber Lapidus Lazuli are options for evoking the elemental reality and the planetary force and then a simple statement of what you want to bring into being. Possibly lighting a candle and incense. Basically building a current of force towards your goal. Then finally at Christmas perform the actual ritual, in the style of your approach to magic to finalize those preparations and channel that anticipation into creating your goal.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Accuser, The Chariot, and The Magician

Back in April I had a bit of an unnerving day, which involved a bit of magic, and that magic first induced a good bit of panic, and well, frankly, abject terror, eventually more magic made things run smoothly in seemingly miraculous ways. Because obviously, when magic is the thing that made things worse, it's obvious that more magic will make things better? Right? Well...in a lot of cases yes. So I'm going to tell my story, because so far most people who've heard it have thought it was cool, but hopefully it will also illustrate how to simply use magic in situations that arise as well as looking at how more magic can fix magic that isn't necessarily going how you'd hoped.

I, like most Americans, have a car. But, unlike a lot of people, I tend to not think about doing things I need to do for myself or my stuff, or my well being. For example, when I had pneumonia earlier in the year, it took two months of being sick before I went to the doctor because I figured, “I'll get better, and I don't have time to go sit at a doctors office or rest.” I spend a lot of time at work, and then I spend almost full time hours coaching, add to that blogging, other writing projects, the occasional bit of magic, and involvement in the local OTO body and I really don't have much time for me or things related to me. I'm usually pretty focused on the needs of others, or things I perceive as a duty to others and so I often deal with my own life when stuff explodes and forces me to look at it. Hopefully...I'll become more self aware and fix this at some point...anyway, for now, it provides the back drop for this story of magic, nearly crying in bed, more magic, and then success.

So yeah...the car. Well, my car is a 2014. I got it as a birthday present to myself in 2014. It's pretty nice, has navigation, rear cameras, a sun roof the full length of the vehicle, leather interiors...you know, car stuff. But it's a little European car, and it's a slightly larger model of this typically tiny car, but the engine still seems to be made for the tiny version and so it doesn't have a lot of pick up. But apparently it's got a turbo charger...which I didn't know, and those are fragile, and require, well the basic maintenance that normal people usually consider minimal and required.

My oil light was on, and I told myself I'd get to it. Some time passed, and I still told myself I'd get to it, and well the car started telling me to get to it. The pick up felt worse. It felt rough. It was idling poorly. I started to get nervous, and then one Saturday the engine light came on my car which has about 30K miles on it. I was pulling into the lot at work as it came on and thought “crap, I have stuff I have to do this weekend.”

So, I grabbed a bit of paper at my desk and cut it into a square. I drew a hexagram on it and in the hexagram drew the seal of Mars from the Heptameron and then like the seals from the Archidoxes of magic drew the planetary symbols in the points, but ordered such that Mars was crowning the hexagram. I added little crosses to the points like in the Lamen from the Heptameron and then drew a circle around it. I added the God name for Mars as given in the Golden Dawn's correspondences for Gevurah, and wrote the names of Samael, the angel of Mars, Samax who is the king of the aerial spirits ruled by Mars, and Carmax who is one of his ministers amongst the aerial spirits, and amusingly enough is also the name of the place from which I'd purchased my car.

I traced a cross and the sign of Mars above the paper talisman, I prayed the Orphic hymn of Mars and then said a prayer of invocation:

Holy and Merciful God, Lord of Hosts, hear my prayer and send me a good angel to be my aid in all that I ask. Adonai Tzvot I call upon you to send your angel Samael to assist me, and I ask that Samael bring forth King Samax and his minister Carmax that they may grant my requests.”

I felt the presence of the angel and I explained that my car was having difficulties and asked that he direct the aerial spirits to correct any problem so that I could at least get through the various things I had to do that day and make sure the car remained ok until I took it to the shop, and that I would do so the next day.

After work I went out to my car, drove it, and it drove fine. The warning lights were still on, but all the problems seemed to cease. Still, I was worried, and later in the day thought “perhaps if I put the seal closer to the mechanism that would help. So I parked, put the seal in the glove box instead of on the seat, and went into a store. When I came back out and turned on the car, the engine light was no longer on. I thanked Samael and the spirits, and I felt pretty good. I thought to myself how I should work with Samael more often. Normally in the past when I had need of something Martial I would call on Bartzabel, I guess because of my Thelemic background. It crossed my mind that a week or so earlier I had listened to an episode of Charm the Water where Aaron interviewed Diablito from Ordo Al Ghul and they talked about a warning in Ashen Chassen's Gateways of Light and Shadow against conjuring Samael, because, as the accuser he will come and lay out all of your wrong doing and your failures and he will break you down as you will be defenseless against his accusations because you'll see the truth in them. He essentially holds up a mirror of your flaws and forces you to face them. As this crossed my mind I thought “Well that's clearly not true, Samael is awesome.”

I went home, I posted a big thank you to Samael on my Facebook wall. I went to bed.

So, let's pause for the cause and look at what we'd done so far. First, it was a Saturday, but I called the angel of Mars (Tuesday) for magical help in a pinch. Mars rules over chariots, chariots in the ancient world largely being associated with war and battle. So the modern equivalent of a chariot would be a car, and thus Mars is the planetary ruler that oversees cars and other machines of transportation, but does not directly rule travel.

I didn't want Samael to fix my problem...I wanted Samael, to make Samax, make Carmax fix it. I needed Samael involved because he is essentially the governing agent set over that quadrant of creation, but asking the guy who manages the dealership to come fix my car probably won't do much, instead he'll tell the guy who runs the maintenance division (Samax), to tell the mechanic (Carmax) to do it. Another way to look at it is that Samael is an angel, and they are great at giving advice, telling you how to fix things in your life, initiating various powers into your sphere, and generally motivating big picture movements towards manifestation, but, while they can get hands on stuff done, they're not always focused on hands on manifest stuff, and sub-lunar spirits are better at that because they exist in conjunction with the manifest world. King Samax and Carmax being aerial spirits are spirits who are sub-lunar as in they exist within the earthly sphere instead of existing in the celestial sphere, there are references to aerial, and terrestrial spirits, and occasionally aqueous ones, as “demons” or spirits who exist beneath the celestial realm without being themselves infernal. The Theurgia-Goetia refers to aerial spirits as mixed nature, partaking both of good and evil, seemingly with the intention of saying they are partially of an angelic nature and partially demonic...this sort of blending is great for a comic book, but doesn't really fit into the worldview of the late medieval and early renaissance grimoires that predate the Lemegeton. At that point spirits were spirits and where they resided had to do with how they might be called and how they might serve you when they show up, maybe who they answer to, but not all demons who resided beneath the celestial realm were devils. So, consider the aerial spirits as being easy to access since they reside in the earthly sphere, useful for material needs, again because they reside in the earthly sphere, and somewhat morally ambivalent. They also generally arrive on the winds and should be called directionally and preferably in a space with access to air flow, although in my example, I'm at a desk in an office and it worked fine.

The way I called them was simple and unplanned. I didn't fast, I didn't do any special bathing, or put on special clothes. Those things are nice, especially for an introduction. There are various reasons why those things make it easier for you to experience a spirit. But in this case, I didn't have prior work with Samael and was still able to call on him without a bunch of ritual or special prep. Part of this is that I did not need him to manifest in a way where I could see or hear him, and I did not need to be able to have some visionary experience of him. I just needed his spiritual presence to hear a request and aid with it. So in cases like that you don't need nearly as much to accomplish it. Having worked with spirits in his sphere before, having worked the Abramelin, and having spent a lot of time working with angels in general probably helps. But even if that's not the case for you, angels generally are interested in contact if you're earnestly trying.

The prayer was pretty short and wasn't overtly magical. Part of that is influence from the Olympic spirits who all kind of suggest very simple methods of approaching them in my experience, and that of many other magicians I know. But part of it is also drawn from old medieval Catholic ways of working with angels. In Catholic magic a simple prayer to God to send an angel for assistance is normal and doesn't need circles and signs and stuff. In Forbidden Rites it's even noted that sometimes the method of a simple prayer to send an angel was considered acceptable whereas adding in seals and circles would be what crossed the line into “necromancy” and illicit magic. So the simple prayer method is also well attested. In my example you'll note that “Lord of Hosts” or “Adonai Tzvot” is the only “name of God” that I use (unless you count “Holy and Merciful God”). Lord of Hosts is my preferred go-to God Name because, well, it describes God as I understand God, but also it's the most appropriate name from a Merkavah perspective, which definitely influences me. Interestingly enough it's also one of the small handful of names of God which Abraham the Jew says is permitted to use after one received their Holy Guardian Angel and begins to work The Sacred Magic.

I asked for something pretty direct, and I said what I would do if I got it. A lot of times when working with a spirit you'll do this in terms of “if you get the girl I like to talk to me, I'll pour rose petals on your seal and then burn them for you as an incense.” You present an if/then in terms of an offering. That can be a good way to go. Sometimes, angels want to see you fixing what's going on with you. They want you to be your best self. So sometimes with an angel your if/then can be “hey, give me the assist to get through this and I'll do my part to make it better.” In addition to that I went online and publicly praised the angel's work. This is something we see in ancient graffiti, people would publicly thank gods and spirits who helped them achieve their desires. Spirits seem to like good publicity. Maybe it means more people will talk to them, maybe it strengthens their anchor in the world. I don't know. But lots of magicians find it's part of what their spirits want, the ancients understood it's what spirits want, and in my experience it goes over well with them.

So, now that we've analyzed the magic to this point, lets continue the story...

The next day was Sunday. I was supposed to take the car to the shop, since Saturday, everything ran smoothly. Instead, I slept til like 4pm. Now in my defense, normally I sleep like 3 to 5 hours a night, and usually once a week, maybe once every other week, I get a night where I can actually sleep. This had been my first opportunity at any extended amount of sleep for some time. And maybe I got overzealous about sleeping. In any case, I did not fulfill my end of the bargain. When I woke up I tried to. I drove around to a bunch of mechanics shops but they were all closed. Apparently most of them had no Sunday hours, so doing my part would have been tough even if I'd woken up, I did eventually find one that was open though, but they weren't taking anymore work for the day, so ultimately I still missed the mark.

So I figured “Well, when I get some time off I'll take care of this, the seal seems to be working.”

The next morning I got up, got ready for work, hopped in my car, got on the belt way...and found that I couldn't accelerate above about 20 miles per hour. My car was shooting huge amounts of smoke out the back, and it felt like it was going to fall apart when I tried to accelerate. I saw cars driving up behind me and thought “oh crap, I'm going to die if I don't get off the beltway” so I quickly exited, called my boss, and told her I wouldn't be in, and headed for the nearest mechanic.

I pulled into a repair shop up the street from my house, I asked the guy for an oil change and a tune up. He said it didn't make sense that I'd need a tune up. I explained my problem, and admitted I'd missed an oil change, and he said I should take it to the dealer, because if there's a problem, and he touches it the warranty will be voided. I was like “No, I can't make it to the dealer, I have to bring it to you, I understand I'll have to pay.” So he said he'd do the oil change, and he'd fix a light I'd had out for awhile, and he'd see if that took care of it. He also explained that I was wrong about how frequently I needed oil changes, and that the frequency was twice as often as I'd thought, so I was more negligent than I'd thought.

He seemed like a good guy though, I felt like I was in good hands. So I walked home and left him to it. I came back later, and he was done. He told me how hard changing the light was and showed me cell phone pictures. He was cordial and it seemed like everything was going to be ok. Then he was like “So, you'd f-ed.” He walked me over to my car and explained that I'd burned out the turbo charger because I hadn't taken care of the oil. But...he explained it in vivid detail, with lots of curse words. He explained repeatedly how it was entirely my fault, and no one could help me, and that I'd destroyed my car, and at a minimum it would cost me $8K to fix it, each line pretty much included a refrain of how it was all my fault because I'd “f'ed up”. It was the most surreal customer service experience ever. And that was when I realized I was standing in front of a very real manifestation of the accuser.

He suggested I try the dealership. I drove to the next town, went to where I'd bought the car, the trip was terrifying. It drove better than it did before the oil change, I could force it to about 40mph now, but each acceleration gave a puff of black smoke, and if I pushed passed forty is was constant smoke and rattling. The dealership told me they couldn't see me for two weeks, but maybe another dealership that took their extended warranty could see me sooner. I drove home, the car riding horribly. I went up to my room, and laid down for an hour trying to relax to get rid of some of the stress, but the mechanic's explanation of my fault and the problems it would cause me just kept vividly replaying in my head so I couldn't sleep, and I could feel my heart racing as I edged just outside of panic.

I went back downstairs, and I went to my ancestor altar and made offerings and prayed for help. Then I made essentially the same prayer as before, but this time called on Raphael and Tzadkiel.

Making offerings to my ancestors tends to center me, calm me down, and give me strength. When things are bothering me, and I can smell the incense from their altar I start to calm down. Generally knowing they are there looking out for me and helping me is something that helps make me feel good and feel like I'll get through stuff. This is one of the reasons I heavily advocate that people establish an ancestor relationship. Your ancestors can help you with stuff in your life, and they can also help you navigate the spirit world. They can work directly with the spirits you're calling on and make sure they way they are manifesting things is a way which will help you, and having been human, they'll understand in ways other spirits might not. So they can add strength to what you're doing and also clarity to the work that spirits are doing on your behalf.

A lot of the time it will make sense to do spirit work at your ancestor altar, having already made offerings to your ancestors and having invited their presence. But you can also do ritual with your ancestors and then go to your altar where you do magic or conjurations and work their having asked already for their aid, maybe taking some token with you, or you can do your magic, like I did, and then go to your ancestors afterwards for help, like I did. In my case I just made offerings and then asked for help, but you might also bring some talisman or physical element of the magic you're working and leave it on the altar for them to work on. There are a lot of ways they can be incorporated into your work. We often talk about needing them as spirits involved in our magic, but we rarely talk about how to do that in a practical sense. In my case, these methods I've described are how I actively work with them in working magic.

So in addition to my ancestors, I called on Raphael, for the Sun, and Tzadkiel, for Jupiter. Unlike Samael these are spirits with whom I have a long history of work and familiarity. So it's definitely easier to call them with a more present effect using the simple prayer method. In this case I called them at the same time, which I don't usually do, and I didn't use Orphic hymns or seals. Just a prayer to the Lord of Hosts, and this time especially highlighting his Merciful and Loving nature, and also not just asking for good angels...I asked specifically “send your good AND MERCIFUL” angels. Mercy of course being the opposite of the Judgment inherent in Gevurah.

So, why the Sun? The Sun has kind of a magical reset button effect in some ways, it sets things to order. The Sun and Solar Spirits have a lot of cool interesting effects of their own, but in conjunction with other planetary forces the Sun has the ability to set and direct their motion. This is why the Sun is a general force of healing, it creates balance and draws the forces of the body or soul which are misaligned back into alignment. An important part of work in magical development involves engaging this solar principle and learning to use it to give order to the planetary forces as they manifest in your life. This element is also reflected in the relationship between the Abramelin working and the spirit magic which follows it. So in this case I called upon Raphael to create order and direction so that the Martial force would manifest primarily around getting my car fixed rather than around punishing or judging me for any misdeed. I conjured Tzadkiel to add to this balancing effect, since Tzadkiel in addition to the various Jupiterian powers and the fatherly providence and the kingly fecundity which he brings, he also brings Mercy and therefore could stay Samael's hand and cool the fires of judgment. Tzadkiel could also cause those looking at my situation to look upon me mercifully and lean more in my favor than against it.

So having conjured the spirits I explained what I needed and then continued with the day. I decided I would go get lunch and then make the trip to the other dealership, with the thought that the lunch trip could help me gauge my ability to drive more. When I got back from lunch I got the urge to check the mail. I'd just checked it over the weekend, and usually I don't check it too often unless I'm expecting something because usually it's just junk. But I thought “hey, maybe something in there will help things seem more alright.” So I opened the mail box and the only thing in it was a recall notice for my vehicle. Now it wasn't for the turbo charger, it was for the computer, but the glitch caused the car to be unable to accelerate above certain speeds similar to what mine was doing and it talked about the high level of danger this could potentially cause. I took this as a good sign and brought the recall notice with me.

I went to the dealer, explained my problem, and how I'd taken it to get an oil change today, but I'd misunderstood the frequency and I was late on the oil change, enough so that the new oil already looked bad, and that the oil had burned up the turbo charger so it wouldn't accelerate. Then I showed them the recall notice, and said, while it was a different part, it was the same symptom, and I asked if they could be related. The service station clerk said he'd call to see what the warranty could do, and he led me to the waiting room. About forty minutes later he came out with some paperwork and the keys to a loaner car. Three days later, they'd finished taking apart and reassembling my cars front end, and repairing the problems, and I went and picked it up.

The invoice pleasantly had zeros on the bottom. There was no cost. The first mechanic had suggested that maybe the extended warranty combined with the warranty would help reduce the cost but he insisted that the dealer would probably make me pay part of it. Again his estimate was $8K or higher for the work, and since they had to take apart everything, and it took days of work, a high cost seems likely. But in the end it didn't cost anything.

The car was definitely new enough, and with few enough miles that the warranty should have covered this, but I've seen situations where routine maintenance was done and the owner just couldn't document it and so claims were denied, let alone cases like mine. So I think this is a win for magic. But I think the story is especially helpful because it illustrates how various spirits and magical forces can work together to shape a manifestation. I think it also shows how when we're not careful a manifestation might have parts that we aren't expecting, or might not want to deal with.

I've seen people say that people should only conjure Camael because Samael is essentially the devil, he is poison, the Prince of Rome who God cast into fire for his desire to punish God's favored people. I've seen others say Camael is just a corruption of the name Samael and there is only Samael as the angel of Mars. But Camael seems to be a different name with a different meaning, and people seem to conjure Camael and get successful results from a different sort of presence than the one they get when they conjure Samael. If you look at the history of Jewish angel magic a lot of angel names are basically a random word with God tacked onto it. This isn't even a reductionist statement, it was essentially the concept behind the earliest Jewish forms of angel magic. So Camael also being an angel is pretty reasonable. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't still conjure Samael. Sometimes we need that poison. Sometimes we need to have a mirror held up to show us our flaws and break us down, but we need to know how to then put ourselves back together and what forces we need to draw in to move forward from that experience. Samael may be poison, but he's the poison which is an expression of the divine.

Don't let Samael accuse you of missing out by not following us on Facebook!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Gifts of Dionysos: Reflecting on 6 months of Mid-Atlantic Dionysianism

Over the weekend I got to attend a really awesome camp out hosted by Azul Nox Encampment of the OTO along with significant participation and contribution from St. Eve's Parish of the AJC. In the past the camp out was a sort of Gnostic Solar adoration themed camp, as far as I understand it. I was never able to make it in the past, there were always schedule conflicts. But this year, the theme was Bacchanalia and my schedule was miraculously open. Clearly I needed to be there.

Dionysos has been a major part of my personal spiritual and magical work for the last several years. The relationship is pretty different from what I've been used to with gods. It's more intimate and pervasive and touches on various areas of interest. It's more directly informative and shaping than others have been, but also more detached in a way and less formal. For years the main visible expression of this, well, aside from several general areas of my life and behavior, has been a Dionysian ritual we celebrate at William Blake Lodge, OTO in Baltimore.

The ritual, which is the first of a three part series I call the Thelemic Rite of Dionysos, started out as a a celebration of the vital force understood as Hadit in Thelema. I was asked to put together a ritual for the second day of the Three Days of the Book of the Law, and decided I wanted to work with Dionysos. A few years earlier some friends and I had done a small impromptu invocation of Dionysos as part of a series of study group sessions we called “Crowley, You So Crazy.” We would spend part of the night discussing a Crowley text and part of the night engaging in some sort of practice related to magic or Thelema. So that night wrapped up with a pretty simple ritual to invoke Dionysos. Our host often complained that he had never in any magical work felt any energy or divine or spiritual presences but after we were done this ritual he excitedly expressed how much he felt Dionysos and his influence. A couple years before that ritual was when Dionysos began as a consistent presence on the periphery of my spiritual awareness, one that was consistently edging deeper in, and by the time I had to start planning our Hadit ritual, I was being drawn pretty deeply into his mysteries – which were touching all areas of my magical exploration; and I wanted the people who were going to be there to feel the truly visceral power of Dionysian ecstasy.

So I tried to write a ritual and pretty much got no where. Then one night, when I wasn't even working on it, I basically felt like I was being told by Dionysos what should happen in the ritual. So the next day I wrote it, and we did it that year at WBL. It went over really well. That was around April 2011. People asked to do it again, and we expanded it a little and did it again, and people liked it even better. So over the last six years it's been done several times and I've written a second ritual for the series and outlined a third. The more I've done it the more I've found Dionysos inspiring my understanding of various areas of magic and religion.

Last December we celebrated the ritual again at Blake as our Winter Solstice Celebration. It was epic. So many people were there. We had a ton of new visitors who hadn't been to anything at WBL before, members brought friends from other groups, old members we don't see often showed up. The previous summer Azul Nox's summer camp had a significantly more Dionysian presence than prior years, and many people involved in Dionysianism through that event made it to ours. Better than the great turn out, people had a great time. With an event like a Bacchanalia it's easy for their to be drama, for people to cross boundaries that they shouldn't cross, or to have people who show up and just didn't realize what they were getting into. We had pretty minimal negatives. We had one of the best post ritual parties I recall us having at a Bacchanal. At one point in the night I said to someone, “If I could create a world, this is what it would be like.” I was pretty satisfied.

One very obvious element was that we had the right people, and I was truly grateful to Pankakke, our Pan, and the organizer of things Dionysian at Azul Nox, who arranged so many of the wonderful participants who helped make that night great.

It was an important time for us to have something like that at WBL. We had just finished getting through an issue involving an officer and another member which had left some people hurt and upset, and resulted in a couple people leaving. Several people felt that the ritual was working right away to help clear out the negativity and welcome in new life and vitality, which, is very much in line with the intended effect. People have often talked about how Crowley's Rites of Eleusis seem to activate energies which help draw the right people to an OTO body. Several of our officers seemed to feel this was the case with this ritual, as we made new friends, some of whom had unrealized connections with several members. We saw a huge uptick in the community building and networking efforts our Body Master had been working on grow directly in conjunction with this event. We saw some members become more open and present, some of them opening up for the first time at this event. In general there wasn't just a feeling of positivity but an actual visible social fecundity.

The God Who Comes is also a god who gives to those willing to receive him into themselves. While my normal impulse would have been to celebrate the revelries and freedoms in which people were engaged by joining in, I ended up in a quiet corner getting to know someone special, who prior to then I hadn't had the opportunity to sit with. Normally that wouldn't be my thing, but I felt driven to do that beyond my innate desire to explore the various other enticements. (Admittedly, I engaged in some more classically Dionysian fun before retreating to said quiet corner...)

I also met a new friend, one who I'd previously only known on the internet, and discovered that not only is she pretty awesome, but we have several magical experiences and interests in common. Since the ritual we've gotten to continue discussing and exploring those, which has helped me with several ideas and given me someone who can relate to some of the less commonly discussed things one encounters in magic.

That new friend made introductions for William Blake Lodge with several groups, which included connecting us with a trance-possession group I've wanted us to work with for years, and who I think will help introduce us to a sort of spirit work which is not just useful, but is wholly necessary in engaging the mysteries of Dionysos...but also lacking in many with an interest in Dionysianism.

This new friend also made a new friend whom she seems to be very happy with, and it sounds like they're bringing good things into each others lives.

Our Lodge Master continued this burgeoning Dionysian force and its positive effects with a Lupercalia a few months later which was also well attended and was a great time. Plus, it fulfilled my dream of being one of the Luperci, which I've desired since high school. We had some amazing and joyous things happen at that event, including a proposal. The recipient of the proposal, a man brilliantly aflame with Dionysian fire, also announced that this year's Azul Nox Camp Out would be fully devoted to Dionysos and present another approach to a Bacchanalia.

Throughout the months since our last Dionysian rite at WBL several people have told me not just that they enjoyed it, or that they want to do it again, but about how much they feel it has benefited them. We've continued talk about next year's celebration on an ongoing basis, and I think joyously awaiting the summer Bacchanalia at Azul Nox has helped inspire that focus.

Several of us from Blake's Bacchic Crew were set to attend and I know I for one couldn't wait to see what was in store. Pankakke is the literal embodiment of everything which is Pan when he takes on the role at the WBL Dionysian ritual, so I was certain his fervor and mad fury would bring about something unquestionably amazing for the summer Bacchic festival, and he did not disappoint, it was amazing. His Dionysos had been crowned as Dionysos ritually the last year, and was in a year long obligation to the Office of the God Who Comes serving to embody Dionysos for the community. He was offered up to us as our alchemical sacrifice for the Winter Bacchanalia, creating a powerful link between what we were doing and what the Dionysians of Azul Nox were doing. Several of their drummers drummed for us in the Winter, and one of their main Maenads was also one of ours. We were ritually blending in a way which I believe helped cement Dionysos's influence and presence into our experiences, we were extending the rite from being a single ritual we performed occasionally to being a current, an agent of the Mysteries, which wasn't just a ritual but was rather a Dionysian community of which that ritual was now a part, and of which other rituals would also be a part. This was the question I was never able to answer before. “How do you have a mystery tradition that isn't just a couple rituals?” Pankakke showed me the answer this year, you have a community of devoted individuals, coming together and networking to create various expressions of the divine mystery; you create a culture.

I spent part of my time in anticipation of the Bacchic camp out anticipating new inspirations from engaging Dionysos in a new way. The third ritual for my mystery system is not yet written, and celebrating rituals one and two seemed the best way to stir the Dionysian presence to inspire me, but as I realized this camp out would occur, I realized it would also be able to inspire and teach me. And it did. I had so many amazing experiences of Dionysos during this camp out, in both ritual time and in more relaxed playful times. Since then I've seen more connections and had more inspiration for ways to continue this development. Not only have I had that benefit of being inspired by seeing what others were doing, and seeing what a large group of Dionysians Pankakke was able to call together, but I learned that our works have been somewhat symbiotic in that our Winter Celebration helped inspire and stir communication with Dionysos that impacted the development of the Summer Celebration, just as working with the previous years summer celebrants and anticipating this summer celebration has impacted the current at Blake.

Aside from mystical inspiration I gained some personal clarity this weekend, having spent a fair amount of it away from revelry and focused more quietly on that same person I was drawn to in the Winter, and in a wine soaked night finally gained the clarity we'd previously been missing. And, while I almost didn't post this post because that same clarity went away just after I wrote it, the time during the weekend is still something I'm thankful to Dionysos for, and I trust that in the end, things will be right, and if Dionysos wishes to give live to this he will continue to stir us with his presence, and if not, then we'll find music that guides our dances elsewhere.

And more importantly, I know it was a transformative weekend for others who were there, some finding happiness after struggles, some gaining needed breaks from difficulty and reconnecting to themselves and past happinesses, some reaping rewards for previous hard work, and some just being moved by mystical experiences they weren't otherwise expecting. I have seen so many Facebook posts praising the weekend.

So, Evohe!

I applaud and appreciate the work Pankakke has done, and I am super happy I got to attend this year's camp out and hope to attend future ones. I fully encourage any readers who are able to be in Baltimore when we engage in our Dionysian rites, or in PA for the summer camp out to make every effort to attend these if you're at all called to the transformative and vivifying power of Dionysos. I look forward to future work with the other Dionysians of our growing community.

If your experience of spirit work is in a primarily European context, and you maybe get a little Orphic with the Hymns, but not so rhapsodic as to fully get down with the Orphic mysteries inherent in Dionysos, then maybe exploring this as an entry to more visceral and intimate spirit work might be for you. But maybe not. There's definite power there.

Dionysos comes, and he brings with him force, motion, life itself. He draws us to the dance which is existence and inspires us to touch divinity unbridled as it courses its way through us, moving us, questioning us, and teaching us. He is a God of many gifts, and they manifest on many levels. Changes in the world around us, in our social connections, in our perceptions of ourselves and others, in our ability to bring mystery to the world, in our ability to experience ourselves and the divine. We can drink deeply of him, and intimately know him, but he is essentially the force behind the live wire. Be ready to move with that force, be ready to maybe get burned a bit by that force, but dance with it, and find what it offers you through the madness and freedom it brings.

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Also...I hear rumors about live leopards and NPH in the future of the Dionysian mysteries...?