Saturday, August 27, 2016

VERIFIED Personal Gnosis

Remember a few years ago, when I told you about Asulzaz, the Guardian of Forever?  A spirit I had found "floating around" the edges of my consciousness?  Remember how,  I described my fuzzy vision (I am not very visual) to Brian, and he drew a sketch?


Here is the card called "Creator of Time" from the new Quaeria deck I told you about...


So, you know.  That happened. :)


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First Impression Review: Quareia Magician's Deck


pictures from  http://www.quareia.com/lxxxi-guide where you can see most of the cards.


In today's mail, I got a quareia magician deck, the new(ish) oracle deck from Josephine McCarthy, Stuart Littlejohn and Cassandra Beanland.  It's not a tarot deck, it's a set of 81 archetypes, spirits, and forces of the Other Worlds.  The cards are divided into four "types"; The Divine Realm, The Inner Realm, The Physical Realm, and The Realm of Death.  The cards are not evenly distributed; the Inner and Physical Realms are the overwhelming majority of the deck.   Ten of the cards are numbered (see below).  I'm not 100% sure why; they seem to correlate very roughly with the sefirot.  Right now, the categories and numbering don't seem to add anything, but I imagine I'll come to understand them once I work with the cards more.

In general, the cards represent the "people" and places one would see in a visit to the "Other Place" and I am expecting to use them to form sort of "mini journeys" for when I don't have time/trance enough for a full journey.  Even just looking at them, it's clear that each of them is also a gateway into the Other Place; I look forward to using them as portals for scrying.  I imagine they are bad for "fortune telling" about jobs or romance or what have you, but that's not what they're for.  These are MAGICIAN'S cards for communicating with the unseen world.  I'm eager to use them for that.  I'll update this review in a month or two, once I'm more familiar with them.

The art is beautiful, although a sort of uneven. Most of the cards are lush and detailed but (as always) there are some I like a lot more than others.  About a quarter of the cards seem to be done by a different artist (such as the Fellowship card above), whose work is still quite nice, but speaks less to my personal aesthetic than the others.

The colors are a little muddy and the edges are not as crisp as they could be; I assume this is the fault of the printer.  The cards are also not cut cleanly; there are "tags" on the edges that I imaigne will wer off over time.  The cards are not the same proportion as most tarot decks; they are quite wide.  I don't really like that, because they are hard to shuffle (for me, but my hands are VERY small).  They are high gloss and "slippery", they shuffle easily (except for the size issue).  All that being said, none of that really bothers me at all.  My only real issue with the cards is the title placards at the bottom:  The "ye olde fonte" and cheesy ripped parchment marquise is a little too "Lord of the Rings" for me.  But, that's easy enough to overlook, since the deck itself is so amazing.

The included booklet has about 200-500 word summary of each card as well as a description of the "main" layout intended for the deck.  The booklet is clear, concise, and explains really deep things in a very straightforward way, as is typical of Josephine McCarthy's writing.   There's TONS more info, including several spreads, available on the website, which I drooled over for some time before getting the deck.  They come in a regular slip box, which is fine, but I don't expect to wear very well.  I will probably get or make a box or bag for them.  Partly because they only ship from England, the deck is on the pricy side, $42 shipped to the US.   But, I'm quite happy with my purchase, and I look forward to working with them.

Here's a complete list of the cards:

The Divine Realm:
The Star Father (I)
The Creator of Time (II)
The Holder of Light (III)
The Archon & The Aion (this is one card)

The Inner World:
The Abyss
The Keeper of the Abyss
The Protector of Souls
The Weaver of Creation
Hidden Knowledge
The Light Bearer (IV)
The Imprisoner (V)
Pure Balance (VI)
The Inner Temple
The Inner Librarian
The Grindstone (VII)
The Unraveller (VIII)
The Inner Companion
Guardians of the Inner Desert
The Utterer
Keeper of Justice
Threshold Guardian (IX)
Chariot
Wheel of Fortune
Fate Giver
Fate Holder
Fate Taker

The Physical Realm
Mother Earth
Sol
Luna
Place of Healing
Inspiration
Temple of the Ancestors
Magical Temple
Gate of the Past
Home and Hearth
Path of Hercules
Challenge of the Gods
Inner Sanctum
Resources
Spirit Guide
Goblin Queen
Faery King
Blood Ancestor
Ghost
Parasite
Limiter: Air/East
Staff of the Gods: Fire/South
Regenerator: Water/West
Foundation: Earth/North
Premonition
Glamour
Temptation
Scapegoat
Disease
Magical Attack
Giver of Gifts
Bailiff
Wise Teacher
Fellowship
Communication
Seclusion
Hierophant
Union
Child Elder
Idiot
The Occultist
The Leader
The Man of Nature
The Mystic
The Male Warrior
The Oracle
Priestess Magician
Female Warrior
Shamaness

The Realm of Death
Underworld
The Bridge of Death
Destruction



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Vriditas

Fecundity, by Desiree Isphording
http://www.desireeisphording.com/


The Festival of Vinalia Rustica, August 19th (also my late father's birthday). Originally, the festival was dedicated to Venus Obsequens, (Gracious Venus), a VERY old face of the beloved Green Goddess of the Gardens.  As Latin culture gave way to Roman, it was given to Jupiter.  Similarly, our understanding of Venus has also been given over to the Patriarch.

Venus, as we know her today, is much reduced.  Almost everyone sees her as the goddess of love and sex, and while she is, certainly, the Queen of those things, that is not her only, or even her primary, face.  So many of the goddesses, and so many of the gods, were made small, transformed into the playthings of the Father of Heaven.  

As I work with the oldest forms of my gods more and more, those first names of the Ancient and Nameless Powers, I am taught about how each gave a great gift to us.  Ereshkigal, The Great White Lady, is also She of the Flint.  Thoth-Hermes, my beloved Orange Lad, invented the alphabet.  And, Venus, She of the Green, taught us to garden.

Venus is the goddess of fecundity; the fertile vigor of the garden and the orchard, the field, the livestock, the mother, the community.  Venus is the overflowing Greenness of Life, the essential "life-ness" of the soul, viriditas.  Says Hildegard: “There is a power that has been since all eternity and that force and potentiality is green!”

The force, the Greening, has been much on my mind lately.  This is the music I most associate with it, but it's behind a paywall (I strongly recommend a subscription).  Here's a runner-up song.

An oration:

She of the Green, Vriditas Dea, Venus of the Garden and the Glen, Who gives Life, and Love, and Light, and Joy, Who Gives Grace and Goodness, and the Healing Green Light, que in excelso resplendetut statuta columna, you reflect heaven's exceeding radiance like a pillar, you are the Pillar which holds up the Temple, the Tree at the Center of the Grove.  You are the Fig and the Cedar, the Clover and the Rose.  Your skin smells of balsam and your hair of myrtle and roses.  All nourishment pours from your nipples, milk, honey, every fruit of the field, your lips are an orchard of pomegranates.  You are all-together beautiful; there is no flaw in you.  You bring life, health, joy, vigor.  You are the sweet rain that kisses the fields and the green fire that quickens life in the womb. Hear me and bless me, heal and deliver me, comfort and confront me.  Lie with me in the garden and in the grove, Great Green Goddess, All-Loving, All-Healing, All-Giving.





Monday, August 1, 2016

Jupiter's Recipe

This evening, several local magicians and I worked a global Jupiter ritual (still open for 2 more days!) For a group that hasn't worked together before, it went EXTREMELY well.   Among the prophecies was that we are in "the time between the lightning and the thunder".  

As part of the ritual someone asked Jupiter how "to increase the bounty and happiness of the magical community in Pittsburgh". We received a recipe for a ritual, that included collecting several local supplies (water from the three rivers, some special brickdust, "something small and red from the Carnegie Museum") and brewing them into a sort of potion.  Then, we learned five special points around the city to pour the brew, and we were instructed to have a BonFire in the middle (which turns out to be Panther Hollow).  We'll be working Friday, September 16th.  (NOTICE DATE CHANGE)


If you'd like to participate with us, please email me at PittsburghWitchHouse@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/events/624622331031255/

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How To: Scrying. Part Three

You should have already read and experimented with the techniques in part 1 and part 2.  I'm going to teach two different methods for magical scrying. One is intended more for seeing the future, and one for communicating with spirits.  However, you can use either method for any kind of scrying.

Predictive Scrying

This method was taught to me by Arbatel, angel of the East, angel of Revelation.  You can do it on any kind of surface, but it's traditionally done in a glass of wine on shabbas eve (ie, Friday night).  This predictive method is about looking for "paths of possibility", trying to figure out what happens as a result of our choices.  At each "pivot point" the paths spread out, but they tend to "clump together" as you move out.  Our goal is to survey the branches, and find those which seem "best", and then try and figure out how to get there.  Do whatever you like to enter trance and get in "the zone" and then sink.  This should be a real physical feeling of going down (ie, with gravity).  If you're not accustomed to underworld journeying, that's ok; this is a very easy place to learn, we won't be going very far down.  Just center yourself, breathe deeply, and pretend you are a tree, with roots winding down, down, down into the center of the earth.  

Once you have sunk, begin reading aloud.  You may want to record yourself while you do this.  When you are first learning, it is hard to remember what you saw/said while entranced once you are "back up".

"A single river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it separated and became four heads. The name of one is Pishon; that is the one that encompasses all the land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; there is the crystal and the onyx stone. The name of the second river is Gichon; that is the one that encompasses all the land of Cush. The name of the third river is Chidekel-Tigris; that is the one that flows to the east of Ashur. And the fourth river, that is Perat-Euphrades." (Gen 2:10-14)

Of the four rivers, two are known, familiar rivers in the world-as-it-is.  The Tigris and Euphrates, the cradle of civilization, the rivers at the center of the world.  The other two rivers are unknown.  I have heard the Nile, the Ganges, and the Indus all floated as suggestions for the Pishon and also the Gichon.  However, I think these attempts to identify them are misguided.  Better, at least for this, to think of the Single Source river as splitting first into two world, this one and the Other Place, and then each of those splitting into two options.  Try, if you can, to follow the paths of all four rivers, in both worlds, while remaining in the Single Source headwater.  If you must, do it as two sets of two, but it's better if you can split into four all at once.  But, if not, that's ok.  Just pretend that you can; it only takes practice.

Look at the candlelight flickering on the surface of the wine (or whatever surface you've chosen to scry on).  Call out to the river Pishon, touch your finger to the surface of the water, and bring it to your lips.  Focus on the leftmost path.  Watch the surface of the wine until an image appears.  Name the image aloud (a cat wearing a crown)  It is possible that, instead of an image appearing, a word will form in your head.  If so, speak the word or phrase aloud.  This is the keyword of what is coming on the deepest spiritual level, the world of Atzilut.

Call out to the river Gichon, and once again bring a drop of wine to your lips.  Focus on the inner left path.  Again, wait for a word or an image.  Name it aloud.  This is the keyword of Beriah, of things that take form in the spirit world but manifest in the physical.

Next is Chidekel-Tirgris.  Here we emerge into the world of physical things which impact the spirit world.  The world of Yetzirah.

Finally, call to the river Perat-Euphrates.  Here is the world of Assiah, the world of the material.

Take a moment to consider your keywords.  These are the forcs that are swirling about now and in the immediate future.  It speaks of tonight's shabbas dinner.  Of the conversation that evening.  Of the day tomorrow, and the dawn of the week.  Here you are talking about things that are already set in motion.

You'll probably need to recenter yourself in the Single Source of the Waters of Paradise.  Here the river of life burble and sing around you.  Smell it's coolness and wetness; feel the way it sparkles and reflects on your skin.  When you are ready, call out to the Pishon again, and go further down the river.  It splits into four streams; follow them all at once.  Call out the images or words that come to you.

Continue with the other three rivers, for a total of 20 (the 4 original, and 16 new ones at this level).

If you feel you can, move on again, this time you will need to find 64 keywords.  I often find that, at this level, I just begin to speak.  DO NOT try to interpret while you scry.  Interpreting comes later and involves a whole other part of your brain.

Tomorrow, I'll teach another scrying method, this one involved channeling the Titaness Phoebe, the Great Illuminator.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

How To: Dark Mirror Scrying, part two

Part One of this post.

Sorry it took so long to write part two.  I forgot about it.  If there's ever a post that you want me to write more about PLEASE tell me in the comments.

So, in the last lesson, we learned the right state for one's eyes to be in while scrying.  Next, we'll learn where to find the visions.  Finally, we'll learn the magic for making the visions be the right ones, and not just random gibberish.

The next thing to do is to learn how to see things that aren't there.  Step one is to read the wikipedia article on pareidolia.

Next, you need to pick a surface to watch on.  When beginning, I believe that, by far, the easiest thing to start with is clouds.  Choose a sunny, pleasant day when their are clouds in the sky, and lie down somewhere with an unobstructed view of the clouds.  Because the clouds are far away, it should be easy to focus on them while keeping your eyes "open".  Try to look through the clouds, the very edges of the universe.  Watch for figures that appear and dissipate in the clouds.  For right now, don't try to interpret them, just call them out as you see them.  You might see animals, faces, or even whole scenes.  Do this for at least an hour.  It is best to practice this exercise whenever you can, even if only for a minute or two.  (you don't have to lie down for short sessions)  Again, there is no magic to this, it's an inherent skill all humans have, but some adults have forgotten.

Once you have re-taught yourself this skill you surely had in childhood of seeing visions in the clouds, move on to a slightly harder version: seeing visions on the ceiling.  The ideal ceilings for this are the kind with a texture to the plaster.  If you don't have that kind, that's ok too.
The ceiling in my new (temporary) ceiling has an excellent pattern for scrying.  The fractal-ish branch/splotches mean I get a lot of tree roots and mountains and antlers and blood vessels in my visions here.
Lie back on your bed or sofa, and let your eyes drift open.  Stare up at the ceiling and let your mind wander.  Don't try to empty your mind, or quiet it, just let it chatter on in the background, while you mostly don't pay attention to it, like a bore at a cocktail party, thinking your own thoughts, dreaming your own daydreams.  Put some trippy music on if you want.  Watch the ceiling, and look into and through the texture with your open eyes.  Slowly, images will begin to appear and move, crawling, and slithering, shifting and morphing.  Just watch, mellow and open, and call out the images as you see them, as if describing shapes in the clouds to an invisible lover.  (this makes it easier to remember what you have seen, and it helps settle the images, by naming them)  For now, don't try to interpret them, or ask any questions. This should be fun!  Don't concentrate on trying to make images appear, or they will flee.  Just chill out, watch with the mindset of a stones hippy, laying on a hillside, watching shapes in the clouds.  If you're really having trouble, the Great Green Goddess of the Hippies will teach you, but you need to learn to do it without her assistance eventually.

Part three, with the actual magic, later tonight.

Monday, June 20, 2016

To Dispell Trance


This is just going to be a quick note:

I have recently come to learn that I am not the only one who uses Elohai Neshema to dispell a trance, or to bring back a person who has gone to deep. It's a natural fit; Elohai Neshama is a prayer orthopraxic Jews say in the morning after waking up. It goes like this:

אלהי נשמה שנתת בי טהורה היא
Elohai, neshama shenatata bi tehora hi.
My El, the soul(1) you have given me is pure.(2)

אתה בראתה אתה יצרתה נפחתה בי
Ata b'ratah, ata y'tzartah, ata n'fachtah bi
You created(3) it. You formed(4) it. You breathed(5) it into me.

The first line is often sung.  Here is a cool version for two voices by Shefa Gold. And here's a video of the same tune, which is the one I use, just sung like a regular person.  There are many other tunes for it; ask youtube for more if you don't like this one.



It's a complicated thing to translate.  I want to talk about some of the words in particular.

1: נשמה (neshama) is one of several Hebrew words usually translated as "soul" or sometimes "spirit" in Hebrew. It literally means "living spirit", but it can also mean a puff of air; it comes from the root word נשם, which means "to pant".   The neshama is the "intellectual" spirit, the thing that make us sentient.  When one travels outside the body, this is the thing that's doing the traveling.  

2: טהור (tahor) means "pure" in the sense of unadulterated or clean, not mixed with other things.  It is sometimes translated as "innocent", but it doesn't really mean that.  It's "pure" like good heroin, not "pure" like a virgin.

3:  בראתה (b'ratah) is usually translated as "you created", but it can also mean something like "revealed" or "instantiated" or "made visible". It's almost never used with anyone other than G-d as the subject. It comes from the root word בּרא, which means "create" or "give substance to".  In other contexts, it can also mean "to choose"

4: יצרתה (yetzartah) is, in most contexts, translated "you formed".  In non metaphoric contexts, it means to give something literal, physical form, to sculpt something, or sometimes to plan something.

5: נפחתה (n'fachtah) means "breath" in a very literal sense.  In modern Hebrew it means "wheeze".  I didn't write the Hebrew with vowels, but if I had, you would have seen a daglesh (the dot) on the final heh of each of these last three words.  That's odd.  Usually, final heh's are silent (like in SaraH).  However, in these words, the daglesh tells you to say the heh by making a sharp breath out; connecting the words of the prayer with it's action.

Elohai Neshama tells us that our traveling-soul is whole and pure, and it inflates our body with the breath.  If you are preforming it for yourself, because you're having trouble coming back up out of trance, it's important to sing it.  The singing forces you to breath deeply, settling the soul back into the body.  If you're working for someone else, encourage them to take long, slow, deep breaths, and to concentrate on the feeling of air inflating their lungs, and of their body becoming heavier and more substantial.  If you can, get them to sing along.