Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Clytaemnestra: A Hero for Our Age

Leda, the legendary Queen of Sparta, was a powerful priestess and an even more powerful Queen.  As sign of her power, she held the sacred Labrys (double headed axe).  Once held by Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.  From her, it passed briefly to Herakles, but it could not be held long by a man, and so he gave it over to his dominatrix, Omphale, the Queen of Lydia.  From Omphale, it passed to Leda and, as you will see by the end of this tale, thence to Clytaemnestra, and now I pass her power to you who read this.

In heiros gamos, Leda was wed to Zeus, while he possessed the body of her priest/consort Tyndareus.  Leda gave birth to four children from that rite.  Two were fathered by Zeus; Helen and Pollux are immortal.  Two were fathered by Tyndareus; Clytaemnestra and Castor were mortals, who live on among the Mighty Dead.  Everyone knows Helen's story, but you cannot really understand it without knowing also her sister's tale.

Stories differ as to the identity of Clytaemnestra's first husband, but most agree that, at some point, Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, killed her true husband and their infant child and took Clytaemnestra by force as spoils of war, as his brother Menelaus took her sister Helen.
He got a daughter on her, whom she named Iphigenia.  While Iphigenia was still young, Helen escaped her "husband".  Since his claim to kingship was by virtue of his ownership of Helen, Menelaus gathered all the forces of Greece behind him to take her back by force.  But the winds would not blow.  The goddesses protected Helen.  Finally, to raise the winds, Agememnon slew his own daughter, Iphigenia, as sacrifice.  Some say, and I beleive, that Iphigenia was not killed, but rather transfigured, transported across the seas by She of the Wild Places.  In any case, the blood magic was potent, and Agememnon & Menelaus set forth to wage war in Troy.

Now, the story of that war you know, and I will not tell it again here.  While her captor was away at war, Clytaemnestra, the scent of her daughters hot blood still fresh in her nightmares, began to plot to assassination of Agememnon, with the help of her chosen lover Aegisthus.  When Agememnon returned, with the Trojan prophet-princess Cassandra as his captive rape-slave, Clytaemnestra knew the time for justice had come.  Gathering all her power about her, she plyed him with wine and a blow job, and drew for him a hot bubble bath.  And then, she waited.  As expected, he soon feel asleep.  She threw a net over him, entangling him in the bath, and then murdered him with her holy axe.

Sic semper tyrannus.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

How To: Solomonic Style Circles.

I've been doing this a long time. I can't say this is the best way, but it's the summary of my 20 years of experience:

Image result for magic circle heptameron
A circle in the style of the Heptameron of Peter d'Abano, which I adore.

If you are not confident in your ability to cast an energetic circle, I HIGHLY recommend Ivo Dominguez's
Casting Sacred Space: The Core of All Magickal Work.

The most important parts of circle construction in almost any style are:
1) The "circle" be large enough you can comfortable preform the ritual inside it.
2) The "circle" be small enough that there is direct line of sight from any point inside to any other.
3) The "circle" be energy-tight and not leak.
4) The "circle" not have sharp corners (because they create little energy vortices which are hard to clean.

Not only does a "proper" circle not have to be 9 (or 13) feet across (Probably, the smart demons use the metric system anyway) it doesn't even really need to be circular.

To lay this out, lay on your floor at the center of where you want the circle. With a piece of chalk, reach as far as you can in each direction, and make a mark. Add at least a foot of buffer on each side. That should be the size of the inner circle.

For average height men, that give a circle about 9 feet across. Since I'm only 5 feet tall, and my arms are way short, a 7 foot circle works fine for me (although, these days, because I also host group ritual, I have a 23 foot circle, which is the biggest that will fit in my basement). My friend MJ, who is 6'4" needed an 11 foot circle just for him. The point of the circle is that the spirit not be easily able to "trick" you into crossing it. Pro tip: some Solomonic rituals can go long: Put a chair and small table, or at least a cushion, inside it and bring a book. Nothing pisses off demons like just waiting them out. I have a whole desk inside mine.

If you decide you like this style of work and want to make a permanent circle, here is what I recommend:

1) Ideally, choose a room with only one entrance, with a door.
2) Purchase pre-painted white pine 12" baseboards to fit all four walls.
3) Use black sharpie markers to draw out the names, characters, etc on the baseboards. Take time to think about how the room lays on a compass, and where the corners will be. You will almost undoubtedly have extra room, which you can use to add names, characters, seals etc of your personal protective spirits and gods. I use other colors to also add elemental/directional quarters. If you're not sure what to put, just leave some space, and you can add them as you figure it out. Remember to think about that part of the circle you want the door in!!
4) Consecrate the baseboards in your usual way.
5) Install the baseboards (or pay a handy person to do so)
6) Complete the circle across the bottom 12" of the door.
7) I recommend casting a smaller energetic circle inside your permanent one while in use, because otherwise you will get weird energy vortices in the corners, which are hard to clean. The inner circle, honestly, doesn't have to be very good; it's ok if it leaks a little.

WARNING:  I am told it is not healthy to sleep inside a circle, but I have never tried it.

Want a triangle? Buy the biggest coolest mirror, and draw the triangle on it with black magic marker. If you use a dresser with a mirror on it for this, you then also have a table of practice and some storage. Even permanent marker will come off with windex and some elbow grease. Either wash off the triangle every time or else cover it. If you make a permanent circle, use a curtain rod for the drape; they have a tendency to "accidentally" fall off. Be sure to hang the mirror VERY securely. I have had a mirror fall mid-rite, and it was a disaster; flying glass shards when everywhere like shrapnel (but "luckily" missed me entirely. Broken LCD screens (ie "black mirrors") work even better than mirrors, and don't shatter if they fall. Ask around until someone is throwing out a broken flat screen.

I recommend putting kosher salt (and other crystals if desired) on the windowsills of a temple space as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Orphic Hymn #10, to Physus (Mother Nature)

Sorry I haven't been posting much here.  Facebook is a better place to see my work, if you'd like to read more.  As always, you can find my professional witchcraft at or preorder a copy of my book at

Image result for alyson grey art

Secret Writing by Alysson Grey

Physus aka Mother Nature

Physus (Φυσις), from whose name we derive our English word “physics” is the Greek goddess of the natural world.  Her name derives from the verb φύω, which means “to grow” (like a plant or a child) or “to come into being”. That word, and the English “to be” share a common IndoEuropean root, highlighting Physus’s essential character: she is the entire “being and becoming” of the universe.  In this way, her name closely parallels the name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה) or “I Am That I Am”, which is the name spoken to Moses by the burning bush in the Hebrew myth (Exodus 3:14). Latin speakers called her “Natura” (from whence our word “nature”). Some writers also equate her with Pan (whose name means “everything”), although I do not.
Physus is, in Orphic tradition, one of the great primeval gods (the protogenoi, or “first born”) who emerged from nothingness as the universe was coming into existence.  Physis is the great conductor of the cosmic harmony, who orders roiling chaos, bringing into being quarks and galaxies, setting fire to the stars and awakening life itself.  She is everything the exists, and the essential cause of all becoming.

Although often anthropomorphized as the Great Mother of All, Physus is profoundly ungendered, as she predates even Eros Protogonos’s invention of sex, much less the genesis of gender (which is a uniquely human phenomenon). In his commentary on the Timaeus, Proclus says of her: “Nature, therefore, is the last of the causes which fabricate this corporeal-formed and sensible essence. She is also the boundary of the extent of incorporeal essences, and is full of reasons and powers through which she directs and governs mundane beings...

Orphic Hymn #10: To Physus, or Mother Nature

Incline to our prayer and grant us your favor,
Physics, All-Matter, divine Mother Nature,
Much-mechanical Matrix of clockwork creation,
Great Magna Mater, accept our libation:
Celestial Anassa, lustrous and endless,
Indomitable diktator, all-conquering Empress,
Almighty mistress of the mountainous breast,
Nursing the world, happy and blessed.
Imperishable Protogenia, exulted of old,
Sung forth by the night stars, their numbers untold:
Silent galaxies whirl on light-leaping feet,
The pitter-patter of matter to time’s tick-tock beat.
Pure Cosmic Mother, unbounded, eternal,
Font of all gods, heavenly and infernal.
Common to all, but uncommonly unique
All-pervading quintessence everything we seek.
Self-made and fatherless, poly-mythic majesty,
Full-blossoming weaver of natural tapestry,
Head of hegemony, life-bearing maiden,
Victorious charm-weaver, seductive all-satan,
Self-sufficient founder of multiverse reality--
Ethereal, material, and abyssal locality.
Bitter to the sinner, but sweet to the saint,
All-wise, all-generous, all-giving, all-great,
Queen for Forever, rich ripening savior,
Growth-promoting immortal divine liberator.
Father and mother, nurturing all-fruitful womb,
Giving birth to the seasons, coaxing blossoms to bloom.
You crafted the kosmos and you wove the waves,
Your perpetual motion spins nights into days.
Everlastingly circling, quick-flowing, whirling,
Fluid-formed shapechanger, eternally swirling.
Mover and shaker of every eternity,
Worldly wise essence, much-honored deity:
Enthroned, scepter-bearing, growling with power,
Mountains tremble in your presence, roaring out fire.
All dominating mistress of life without end,
Future-seeing foremother on whom all depend.
Truely, to everyone you are everything,
And from your immortal being all fates spring.
Good Goddess, Great Mother, we humbly request,
You guide us through life, happy and blessed,
Bring every good thing, each in its season,
Peace, health, and prosperity, wisdom and reason.

Ὦ Φύσι, παμμήτειρα θεά, πολυμήχανε μῆτερ,
O Phusis, Mother of all, Goddess, much-mechanic Mother
οὐρανία, πρέσβειρα, πολύκτιτε δαῖμον, ἄνασσα,
Ourania, honored elder, much-founding power, Anassa
πανδαμάτωρ, ἀδάμαστε, κυβερνήτειρα, παναυγής,
All-dominator, indomitable, Governor, all-light,
παντοκράτειρα, τιτιμενέα πανυπέρτατε πᾶσιν,
Almighty nursing force, all uppermost All
ἄφθιτε, πρωτογένεια, παλαίφατε, κυδιάνειρα,
Imperishable protogeneia[6], anciently spoken of exulted one
ἐννυχία, πολύπειρε, σελασφόρε, δεινοκάθεκτε,
By Nyx’s multiply-pierced light-bearing wondrously powerful grip
ἄψοφον ἀστραγάλοισι ποδῶν ἴχνος εἱλίσσουσα,
Silent starry galaxies’ footsteps trace whirling essence
ἁγνή, κοσμήτειρα θεῶν ἀτελής τε τελευτή,
Pure cosmic Mother of the Goddesses and Gods, unending to the end,
κοινὴ μὲν πάντεσσιν, ἀκοινώνητε δὲ μούνη,
Common to all, truly all essence, uncommon to the last, alone
αὐτοπάτωρ, ἀπάτωρ, ἐρατή, πολύμηθε, μεγίστη,
Self-fathered, without a father, lovely muti-legendary majesty,
εὐάνθεια, πλοκή, φιλία, πολύμικτε, δαῆμον,
Abundant blossoming weaver of affiliations’ much-blended knowledge
ἡγεμόνη, κράντειρα, φερέσβιε, παντρόφε κούρη,
Hegemonic sovereign bearing life, all-nurturing Maiden,
αὐτάρκεια, Δίκη, Χαρίτων πολυώνυμε πειθώ,
Self-sufficient Dike, charming many-realmed Peitho
αἰθερία, χθονία καὶ εἰναλία μεδέουσα,
Aitherial, earthly and of the sea, Medeousa
πικρὰ μέν φαύλοισι, γλυκεῖα δὲ πειθομένοισι,
Bitter, indeed coarse, sweet from Peitho’s force
πάνσοφε, πανδώτειρα, κομίστρια, παμβασίλεια,
All-wise, all-giving conveyor, all-Basileia
αὐξιτρόφος, πίειρα πεπαινομένων τε λύτειρα.
Augmenting nurturer, rich ripening everlasting Deliverer
πάντων μὲν σὺ πατήρ, μήτηρ, τροφὸς ἠδὲ τιθηνός,
All powerful Father, Mother, Nurturer, and Nurse
ὠκυλόχεια, μάκαιρα, πολύσπορος, ὡριὰς ὁρμή,
Bringer of swift birth, blessed, multi-seeded Horai instigator
παντοτεχνές, πλάστειρα, πολύκτιτε, ποντία δαῖμον,
All-technician, mold-maker, multi-Creator, the seas’ power
ἀιδίη, κινησιφόρε, πολύπειρε, περίφρων,
Eternal motion producer, much-experienced, thoughtful,
ἀενάωι στροφάλιγγι θοὸν ῥύμα δινεύουσα,
Everlastingly circling, quick-flowing, whirling
πάνρυτε, κυκλοτερής, ἀλλοτριομορφοδίαιτε,
All-fluid circling-softly, ever-changing in form
εὔθρονε, τιμήεσσα, μόνη τὸ κριθὲν τελέουσα,
Truly enthroned honored discrimating priests
σκηπτούχων ἐφύπερθε, βαρυβρεμέτειρα, κρατίστη
Staff-bearing above loud-thundering mighty
ἄτρομε, πανδαμάτειρα, πεπρωμένη, αἶσα, πυρίπνους,
Intrepid, tamer of all, gifter of portions fire-breathing
ἀίδιος ζωὴ ἠδ' ἀθανάτη τε πρόνοια·
Eternal Life and undying foresight
πάντα σοι εἰσὶ, τα πάντα· σὺ γὰρ μούνη τάδε τεύχεις.
You are everything, all-ruling singly here armoured
ἀλλά, θεά, λίτομαί σε σὺν εὐόλβοισιν ἐν ὥραις
But, goddess, supplicating make me wealthy in season
εἰρήνην ὑγίειαν ἄγειν, αὔξησιν ἁπάντων.
Eirene (Peace=Spring) and Hygeia(Health), Hey! Growing everything

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Making Poppets

A "poppet" is a doll used in sympathetic magic to be used as a link to the target of a spell.  If you think about the confused pop-culture notion of the "voodoo doll", that's more or less what we're talking about.  In general, it is always best to try to deliver spell materials directly to the target, so that they handle them with their own hands (or, ideally, ingest them).  However, when that is not possible, a poppet can be extremely useful.

The simplest type of poppet is the photo poppet.  In it, the basis for the poppet is a printed out photo.  Today's internet being what it is, you can find a photo of almost anyone.  Choose a recent photo, with no other people in it.  (unless you are also targeting them) Ideally, you want a photo where they are looking directly into the photo.  Avoid photos with crossed arms or other body language conveying guardedness.  Crop the photo to center the person and remove most of the background.  Print it out.  On the back of the printout, write the target's full name, birthday, and any other identifying information you know (such as parents' names, job or other titles, and etc).  The more specific you can be, the better.  Continue writing until you have completely filled the available space.  It's ok to repeat things.  If you have the talent to do a good job, a hand drawn picture is much more effective than a photo.

The next easiest kind is a poppet jar.  In these poppets, the base is a jar (or box) containing the essence of a person.  Begin by cleaning the jar very well, including scrubbing it with salt.  Collect as many personal concerns of your target as possible (business cards, hair, used tissues, dirt from their house, photos, names, birthdays, signatures, perfume, clothes, etc) and place them in the jar.  If there is space remaining, full it with herbs appropriate to the work at hand.

Poppets can be formed from wax or clay.  In these cases, you'll want to either mix the personal concerns in (which usually means reducing them to ash, and mixing that in) or form the doll around them (which is called the "core" of the poppet).  The most typical kind of poppet is sewn from cloth, which is stuffed with personal concerns and herbs (like the jar).  Tip: use a chopstick to help push the stuffing into the limbs.  Really, though, there is a near infinite variety of ways to make poppets.  Corn husks are nice, as are twigs tied together to make a stick figure.  More important that the construction is the next step, the baptism.

Light some incense over charcoal, to make a big cloud of smoke.  Mugwort is a good choice, or a mixture appropriate to the purpose you will put the poppet to.  Take a deep breath in of the smoke, and blow it out over the poppet.  Say something like: "Creature of dead matter, I have formed you as ___NAME____. I breathe into your nostrils the breath of life, and you become a living being.  You are a double of ____NAME____, and whatsoever is done to you happens to them."  Do this two more times.

Sprinkle the poppet with some living water (ie, water collected from a moving natural source, such as spring, river, or rain water), and say something like "Creature of matter, I have formed you as __NAME___.  I baptize you ___NAME____.  You are the double of ___NAME___ and whatsoever is done to you happens to them."  Do this two more times.

Pass the poppet through the smoke, and say something like "____NAME___ breathe deep of this magic smoke.  Be infused with its enlivening magic.  You are a double of ___NAME____, and whatsoever is done to you happens to them."  Do this three times.

"By the powers of three times three, ever ___NAME___ this doll shall be. Amen. Amen. Amen."

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Magic Chants of the Sex, Drugs, Music, and Sorcery Cult of Ancient Greece

As many of you know, the Orphic Hymns are a collection of 87 sacred chants from late antiquity addressed to the gods of Greece and Anatolia.  They were most likely written somewhere between 200 BCE and 200 CE in what is now Eastern Turkey, although they undoubtedly but one part of a much larger and older tradition.

 If you have read them, it was almost certainly in the classic 1790s translation by Thomas Taylor.   Taylor was an excellent translator, and a pagan himself.  His translations, however, are often occluded, both by their antiquated language and their 1790s sensibilities.  Every translator brings their own biases to a translation, and Taylor's point of view is that of a rich British aristocrat of the 1790s.  For example, the Greek word that literally means "bed partner" is translated by Taylor as "bride" when it refers to women and "friend" when it refers to male lovers.  It's not just antiquated British sexual mores that color Taylor's translations, he also didn't have available the depth and breadth of understanding of ritual, trance, and entheogenic practices of the Orphic cult that we are only recently recovering.

I'm in the process of retranslating the Orphic Hymns, a project you can learn more about at where you can also pre-order a book.  My translations try to replicate, in modern English readers, the same feeling produced in initiates by the Greek originals.  Like Taylor, I write in the so-called "heroic verse", strongly metered iambic couplets which are the de facto standard for magical chants in the west, and also the usual way Greek dactylic hexameter in translated into English.  A working magician myself (you can see more about my magical practice at Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire), my translations are specifically designed to be used, as were the originals, as invocations of the gods' presence and force.

Because they are the teachings of an eastern-influenced mystery cult, several of the hymns are dedicated to gods obscure in "mainstream" Greek mythology.  For example, Hipta, Mise, and Melinoe were entirely unknown by those names save for their Orphic hymns until their names were found on ancient temples excavated in Anatolia in the late 20th century.  The hymn I'd like to share with you today is not quite so obscure as that, but is, perhaps, not a god you know.

Sabazios is the great Horse Lord of the Thracian/Phrygian (modern Turkey) steppes.  If you imagine a deified Khal Drogo, you're in the right ballpark. His worship was ecstatic, and almost certainly involved the small mushrooms we call "liberty caps" (Psilocybe semilanceata), but which were, of old, called "Phrygian hats".  You can see an image of Sabazios wearing a the aforementioned hat on the left, and the mushrooms on the right.

Image result for sabazios        Image result for liberty cap

In Greece, Sabazios was often syncretized with both Zeus and Dionysus. Below, I present my first draft of a translation of his Orphic Hymn, usually considered very obscure. I believe I can explain every part of it by adding some scare quotes. I have deviated from the traditional translations, but kept as close as possible to a literal understanding of the Greek. Several notes explaining my choices are below.

Orphic Hymn #47: For Sabazios

Listen to your daughter, the rebel rhapsode,
Forefather Sabazios, glorious daimon of old.
You’re the father of Bacchus, and the son of cruel Kronos,
Wailing, you “stitched up your thigh” to become Dionysus,
When you came to the rites of Tmolos's peak,
And took your place beside Hipta, of beautiful cheek.
High king of Phrygia, blessed guardian of all,
Be gracious to your initiate when she comes to call.

"Rhapsode" is a greek word for "bard". It literally means "stitcher of stories". You'll see the root "rapsos" or ῥάψις which means "sew" below. This line is my own invention, it is an expansion of the "Κλῦθι" or "Listen Up!" which begins this hymn.

"Eiraphiotes" is usually an epithet of Dionysus, of contested etymology. A likely false folk etymology comes from ῥάψις (to stitch), and that word play was probably intended here.

In some other literature of the ancient Mediterranean (including Torah), "thigh" is a euphemism for male genitals.  I believe it is here as well.

Mt. Tmolos, pictured below, is now called Mt. Bozdağ. It is in Izmir, Turkey. It is named (in Greek) after Tmolos, the oak-clad mountain king, and son of Ares. He was the first husband of the demigoddess Omphale who is most famous as the dominatrix of Hercules.

At Mt. Tmolos, and many other holy mountains in Lydia, Cybele (the great Mother of Mountains) was worshipped under the name Hipta, which is a Greek form of Hepat, the Great Goddess of the Hurrians.  Hipta/Hepat an eastern Great Goddess, was virtually unknown except in the Orphic Hymns (the next hymn, #49, is addressed to her) until 20th century excavation in Anatolia rediscovered her inscribed into the walls of a very early neolithic temple.  We know very little about her worship, but it was almost certainly very similar to that of Cybele.

The consecration ritual of a priest of Cybele is self-castration during ecstatic (often called "Bacchic" in Greek) frenzy.

Κλῦθι πάτερ, Κρόνου υἱέ Σαβάζιε κύδιμε δαῖμον
Listen! father Kronos son Sabazios, glorious daimon

ὃς Βάκχον Διόνυσον ἐρίβρομον εἰραφιώτην
Who Bacchus Dionysus loud-shouting Eiraphiotes

μηρῷ ἐγκατέραψας
Thigh stitch together entrails

ὅπως τετελεσμένος ἔλθοι
so that consecration ritual come
("telesmos", which I have called a "consecration ritual" could be rendered even more literally as "talisman making")

Τμῶλον ἐς ἠγάθεον παρὰ θ’ Ἵππαν καλλιπάρῃον
Tmolos toward most-holy beside Hipta pretty-cheeked

ἀλλά, μάκαρ, Φρυγίης μεδέων βασιλεύτατε πάντων
But blessed Phrygian guardian big-king everything

εὐμενέων ἐπαρωγὸς ἐπέλθοις μυστιπόλοισιν
Gracious helper approach preforming mystic rites

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Orphic Hymn to Okeanos

original Okeanos ikon by Sara Mastros & Brian "Chase" Charles

The Orphic Hymn to Okeanos

Imperishable ocean, to you we now call,
Eternal Okeanos, undying Father of All.
Gods and humans both arise from your infinite flow
and all things above begin deep below.
You encircle the earth with great heavings surges
Eternal blue depths where every river converges,
Wellspring of water nymphs, source of the sea,
Birth waters of the Earth, awesome and holy,
Hear us, blessed one, sumptuous divine purifier,
and rain down on our planet all we require.
Your  watershed reaches the ends of the earth,
Your encircling boundary is death and rebirth,
Great Father Ocean, grant your initiates plea:
Gift your favor forever, as vast as your sea. If you enjoyed this translation, please consider pre-ordering my new book,
The Orphic Hymns Grimoire at You can read more about Okeanos here:

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Orphic Hymns Grimoire

Tomorrow at 9:39 am (because astrology) the Kickstarter for my Orphic Hymns Grimoire goes live.  Since I'm a big believer in "try it before you buy it", I've included a sample chapter (the one on Tyche, the goddess of luck and fortune) below. Click here or on the ikon to read it. Please enjoy it, and check out the project at

The Goddess of Fortune

Come, Tyche!  
We call you, Enodia supreme,
Sovereign of crossroads, altogether good Queen.
Song-renowned daughter of Euboleus’ bloodline:
the good guide who fell, along with his swine,
through the cavernous crack in the crust of the earth,
when Kore descended at Persephone's birth.
Tyche, we call in the great name of Artemis!
Gentle essence of fortune, wondrous and marvelous,
Your irresistible wish is our sovereign command,
For yours is the increase of riches and the wealth of the land.
Sorcerous and streetwise, you weave the tapestry of fate,
with stitches of riches, for those you appreciate.
But those who anger you, you sew into poverty,
Spinning their minds into tangles of anxiety.
Sweet goddess, Eutykhia, be my lifelong companion,
Rain down your favor and your nourishing compassion.
Grant happiness, strong-wishing, and generous charity,

Bless our lives and our work with unending prosperity.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Lyres of Ur

As most of you know, I've been working on retranslating the Orphic Hymns.  The Hymns are a collection of invocational orations, written in Turkey, likely in the 3rd century CE.  Unquestionably, they represent a much older tradition. The 1962 discovery of the Derveni papyrus, from the 5th century BCE, contains commentary on material similar to the Orphic hymns, and treats it as already old.

The magical current we call Orphism undoubtedly entered the Greek speaking world from the East.  The hymns contain the names of several Anatolian deities who were otherwise unknown in classical Greece, including some which were completely unknown save from the hymns until being rediscovered in inscriptions in Anatolian tombs.  Personally, I believe the current to be extremely old, undoubtedly predating writing.

When I imagine the archetypal Orphic lyre, I am always
imagining the fabulous Lyres of Ur (modern Iraq).  In the late 1920s, a team funded by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania excavated the royal tombs at Ur.  Among the many treasures they discovered were three mid-sized lyres and one large harp, all of similar design.  The reconstructed one pictured at the left is held in the British museum, along with another one of similar size coated in silver (called "the queen's lyre).   A plaster mold taken by the archaeologists at the time of it's discovery is pictured above, to give you some idea of the scale of it. The finest of the three lyres, covered in gold, and was held by the National Museum of Iraq until it was stolen or destroyed in 2003.  The final lyre, which is much larger, went to the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, where I first encountered it at the age about 12.

The Great Lyre, called also The King's Lyre, pictured at left, is very similar to the one pictured above, although somewhat larger.  You can see an entire gallery of images from all angles, including some showing restoration in progress, here.   I was overawed when I saw the Great Lyre; his form burned into my mind.  The great golden bull of heaven is often identified as Shamash, the sun god, Below the bull's head, a series of panel illustrations depict fantastical scenes.  You can see them, with the head removed for greater clarity, on the right. 

The first panel depicts the Lord of Beasts, wrestling with two animals.  This is sometimes said to depict the control of nature exercised by the state.  In the next scene, a hyena carries a tray of butchered meat, while a lion holds a large jar and a pitcher similar to some found in the tombs.  (the dagger the hyena is wearing was also found) . In the next panel, a horse plays a lyre while a bear holds it steady.  At the bear's feet, a small animal is playing a rattle.  Finally, in the bottom panel, a deceased spirit meets the scorpion-man, guardian of the entrance of the underworld.

HERE you can listen to a replica of the lost golden lyre, accompanying a recitation of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Clean Hands Cursing

By now, many of you know that my beloved friend and teacher, Caroline Kenner, was the victim of a brutal crime last week.  You can read about it here:

If you would like to aid in our efforts towards justice, here is what we recommend:

Clean Hands Cursing Instructions
By Caroline Kenner and Sara Mastros
I am a professional shamanic healer and Sara is a professional wonder worker. I call myself a Washington Witchdoctor and Sara calls herself a Witch for Hire. Both of us learned about curses in the process of learning how to neutralize them for ourselves and others. I have taught curse breaking for more than a decade, a curriculum I developed in response to the many curses I’ve needed to UN-do during my career as a shamanic healer.
The last time I cursed anyone like this was in 2011, when a group of fundamentalist Christians decided to curse the United States Pagan community because we, in their dumbass opinions, worship a “dangerous demon” as they call The Queen of Heaven. They cursed the Pagan community state by state in reverse order of admission to the Union. You may read about my and Katrina Messenger’s response to their psychic attacks on our national community here.…
When cursing, it is important to remain focused, particularly during a Mercury retrograde period. I strongly suggest *not* adding any other targets to your curse work, but instead remaining focused on a single target, in this case, a syndicate of Mexican extortionists. However, you can apply what you learn here to curse other targets at other times.  It is almost always to do several curses, independently, than try to bundle them together.
Under no circumstances should anyone curse the President now or at any time: we have found there are layers of centuries-old protections around our elected officials, as well there should be. Curses against public officials tend to boomerang. Be warned.
Here is a summary of basic rules about Clean Hands Cursing, rules that Sara and I have both found to be true through practical experience and many years of study.
1. Curses are a Dish Best Served Cold. Never curse in the heat of emotion. This is the most important rule of all. Curse coldly after you have has a chance to calm down.
2. Consider curses to be legal contracts with the Gods. Write down your curses, and then declaim them. Do not extemporize curses.
You endanger yourself by deviating from your written script. Write your curses down in handwriting, then check your written script carefully for possible boomerangs, loopholes, or unclear language that obscures your will from the Gods.
Divine on the petition, and if the response is negative or ambivalent, rework the words until you get a clear positive response. Please understand that there are forces just waiting to trip us up in situations like this. Be careful.
3. Always curse in the names of the Gods, and not in your own name. This type of cursing is essentially extending an invitation for Divine Retribution to fall upon the target.
This rule is essential for the human curser’s protection. Your action is to notify the Gods that a wrongdoing has occurred, and request that They act to rectify or ameliorate the wrong that has been done.
The corollary to this rule: Never specify a preferred penalty. You are inviting Divine Retribution. Divinities will know the karmic history of the wrongdoing, and act accordingly. This type of thing is not given to humans to know. Do not specify a penalty: doing so makes it far more likely that aspects of the curse will boomerang.
4. Curse only specific people for specific actions, and in specific ways. You should never curse an entire category of people, or curse for abstract reasons like “social injustice”.
Such curses are almost sure to boomerang because you live a glass house, and should not be throwing stones willy-nilly.
As you see below, we have defined the curse narrowly to the business enterprises of the criminals. This is not a deathly matter; please respect that.
5. Cursing is very serious. Justified curses often last several lifetimes. Never curse someone lightly.
In most cases, cursing should be reserved for crimes. Cursing is often the only justice available in some situations, for example, the current situation.
In most cases, cursing comes about because of a failure of the mundane justice system combined with asymmetrical power differentials between the criminal and the victim.
Curse only when you are confident there is no other option.
Cursing is the art the Gods taught to the oppressed to fight back.
6. If you believe you have cursed someone, and you regret doing so, follow the same directions for cursing below, and UN-curse, or release, your doomsaying. The method below is a portal, not a one-way route.
Creating a Crucible for Curses
* Identify the target of the curse very clearly.
* Define the target narrowly.
* Choose a divinity to work with: it is best to choose a longterm ally over a specialist in this work.
Your personal spirit allies will have far more stake in the work than some divinity Who does not know you. Your ally will call in a specialist to assist Them if there is need. Trust your normal spirit allies to defend you. Even the Blessed Virgin does this type of work under certain circumstances.
Asking either one or a small number of spirits to assist you in this work is far more effective than asking a large diverse group of spirits. However, if you work predominantly with one entire pantheon, it’s fine to call on the whole pantheon.
It is bad practice to involve spirits Who have divided loyalties in baneful work. Don’t put spirits in that sort of position: again, this liable to cause boomeranging.
In this case, please do not invoke Santissima Muerte or the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe. I love both of Them dearly, and They both have images in the Conjure Dance. Think about the Trojan War, and how the Gods took sides in ardent divine combat. No divided loyalties, please.
Suggestions for Cursing the Mexican Extortionists:
Here is a summary of my personal work for the next three nights. I have requested assistance from some of the Gods I work most closely with. Tonight, Friday the 13th, I am working with Loki. Tomorrow night, I am working with Eris and Wayland the Smith. Sunday, I am working Papa Legba.
I will make a fire in my barbecue grill in the ritual circle at the top of the hill. I will have a bottle of rum left over from the Conjure Dance, and the already-handwritten petition to Loki, as well as one of my rattles. I will sing the shamanic songs I always sing that many of you are familiar with. And then, when sacred space is established and all of my helping spirits are present, I will read my pre-written curse aloud. Then, with some dancing around and gathering energy beforehand, I will burn the piece of paper. Burning the paper releases the curse fully, in my experience. I pour libations at the beginning and the end of all my workings.
Here is the spell I am going to work with, again, courtesy of Sara Mastros, a specialist in spellcraft. Once you learn the basic structure of this spell, you can easily adapt it to any future cursing needs if you wish.
Begin by preparing your petition, and lighting a fire. If you cannot use a large flame outside or in a hearth, light a small tea light, and work over the sink. As always, when working with fire, take sensible safety precautions. You will also need wine, liquor, oil, honey, milk or another libation.
Open sacred space, time, and consciousness however you see it. Next, pour the libation, call in your personal allies, and read the following aloud:
Moon Wane. Work bane.
Mercury Retrograde is the curser's aid.
Mars Direct, the Just protect.
On April the 6th, bad men hurt my friend,
Help bring their scam to a sorry end.
Please take it from here, ___divine ally___ so dear.
I call You, ___divine ally___: please use your might,
to protect and defend Mother-Right, Father-Right.
Help Loki and Eris, Help Wayland the Smith,
Help Legba and Odin to clean out this nest.
They are vipers and liars, extortionist thieves,
who prey using fear causing trauma and grief,
to line their own pockets. These malicious persons
must be brought low, until they’ve learned their lessons.
(end with your preferred sealing of spell, “so mote it be” or preferred equivalent.)
Now, in your fruitiest Columbia School of Broadcasting magical voice, read your pre-written petition aloud. When you have finished reading it, burn it, and release the ashes, into the wind if outside, or down the drain if working inside. (Releasing them into a natural body of running water is ideal but not necessary.)
After the curse is released, speak from your heart, in your own words, thanking your spirit allies and the planetary forces for their help. Return to normal space, time, and consciousness. Be sure to ground by eating at least a small snack. If you feel at all shaky, sprinkle some salt on your head, and then take a shower with a salt rinse at end.
For people of other religions who would like to help: Light a candle, petition your spirits and ask Them to assist bringing down a syndicate of Mexican extortionists that torment parents and grandparents to make their living frightening them and stealing their money. Simple.
Many minds make light work, so to speak, in the world of spells.
Please do not “send light” to the criminals. That’s far more likely to protect them than to expose them. The criminal justice system in Mexico veers among incompetent, uncaring, and completely corrupt. Police, DAs, and judges are likely to be in the pay of organized crime in many if not most jurisdictions. Hoping for any sort of prosecution in Mexico is beyond idealistic, sadly.
Thank you very very much for any efforts you feel like contributing to this enterprise. Love and blessings from Caroline, with a great deal of help from Sara Mastros.


If you'd like to learn more, I sell a video lesson with more in-depth teaching on this matte here:!/Intermediate-Witchcraft-Lesson-Clean-Hands-Cursing/p/104385619/category=24551343