As promised, this is the "director's commentary" on Hermes petitions
. This post is intended for people with at least a little experience in magic, but I'll try to explain any jargon as it comes up. The way I do it, making petitions is basically a "lite" version of a dark mirror conjuration. I know that my method is a little atypical (I learned it from Puck (the faerie; not my student)), but you could opt for any kind of evocation+scrying. The way I wrote it is so streamlined because I do it all the time; if you wanted to do it with a spirit with whom you had a less solid relationship, you'd probably want a little more of all the ceremonial hoopla, like a summoner's circle and maybe even a conjuration triangle. I'll break it down to its constituent parts and talk about all of them.
Step One: Soliciting Petitions.
So, why do I ask other people if they want me to make petitions for them? There are basically two reasons. The first is that Hermes seems to like it. But, the second reason is that, as I started to become a little more experiences as a magician, my magic started to pay off. For the most part, I'm quite happy in my life. I have a nice place to live, I genuinely enjoy my job, I'm in good health, etc, etc. I honestly didn't have much need for the small "cantrip" kind of magic I cut my teeth on. But, as I started to do more "big mojo" internal Work, I found that I missed the little stuff. I enjoyed the validation that came from watching highly observable things happen as a result of my magic. (It's much harder to evaluate the success of a request like "help me gain that state of Blessedness which arises from perfect knowledge of Self" than it is to tell whether a request for "an A+ inorganic chemistry" worked) I also liked having small, discrete daily things to do. So, working for other people lets me keep my witchy feet wet, and gives me the groundwork of daily practice I need for more "sophisticated" Work. (Sorry! I've tried rewriting this paragraph several times, but there's no way to get the pretentious out of it. Turns out being a douchebag is kind of an essential quality of mine.)
While I'm happy to give it a go on almost any petition, I generally try to solicit requests that are in Hermes' traditional bailiwick. That means things surrounding intellect, "book learning", writing, math, school, travel, commerce, exchange, translation, theft, magic, divination, and similar things. Because of the nature of my friends, I usually end up with a list that's about half academic requests, with the rest being a mixture of commerce and magic, with the occasional travel-related request. I've never declined a petition, but I can imagine that I might. People tend to be very vague and namby-pamby in their requests, especially people who aren't themselves, magicians. I try to help them firm up their requests; the more specific and "actionable" the request, the better and quicker the results tend to be. Every once in a while, I get a request that's too big; in those cases, I tell the person I'll put in a good word for them, but that they need to make their own petition. In those cases, I usually try to get a sense of what they should do, but I'm not much of a seer (I know, I know, what's even the point of letting girls do magic if they're not seers? Because fuck you, that's why.) So, sometimes I can come back with very specific instructions ("Offer ghee, rice, fruit every Friday, and say Om Ganepateya 26 times"), but often it's more vague ("Try some microcosmic orbits?").
Step Two: Setting Space, Centering, etc.
Before doing any conjuration, you should be sure the place/time you're doing it in is clean, safe, and "well dignified" for the work at hand. Physically clean is important; nothing attracts spiritual filth like physical filth (by nature, I'm a frat-boy level slob; I know whereof I speak). Straighten up the room and take a shower, you dirty hippy! :) If you don't have a space set aside permanently for magic (and I understand that's a lot to ask; I only recently started having an altar room; I used to work at the kitchen table in my 1 bedroom apartment), you'll need to "banish". This isn't, as most people seem to think, so much about getting rid of eeeeevil as it is about creating harmony. You can banish however you want; I'm partial to the LBRP
, but I know lots of people don't like it. Essentially, you need to connect with your "higher power", connect with the "center of the earth", and declare ownership of the space/time around you. Any way you want to do that is fine.
Step Three: Evocation of El Elyon
Before I do any kind of magic, I like to call "the ONE" (what my grandma would have called "big G God"). If you're not a monotheist, I think you'd better either completely rewrite or just leave out this part. In this section, really we're just stringing some godnames into a pretty litany and dedicating the space/time as a temple. I know a lot of people only dedicate space, but I think the time element is even more important. I think it's just my Judaism showing
. In addition to the english epithets I gave, I used three Hebrew godnames; "El Elyon", "Melech ha'Olam" and "Ha Makom". I'll talk about them each for a little bit here, but keep an eye on my blog for more detailed analysis (I've been trying to do a name a week; ARARITA
was the last one.) I chose those three because they highlight dominion over gods, time, and place.
(על עליון) is among my favorite godnames. It's usually translated as "God Most High", but it has a sense of "God of Gods" to it as well. Literally, it's sort of "God the Godlike". It's used only infrequently in Torah, notably in psalm 78, where it appears with both "El" and "Elohim": "They turned from their sins and eagerly looked for El. They remembered that Elohim was their rock, that El Elyon was their go’el (redeemer).
Melekh ha Ola
m (מלך העולם) is usually translated as "Master of the Universe", but it's literally more like "King of the Forever", which I think is much nicer. It's not usually understood as a godname per se, but rather a title. All the traditional blessings (over candles, over wine, over bread, etc...) begin:
"...ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם", "Baruch ata HaShem, Eloheinu Melekh ha'Olam
...", "Blessed are you, HaShem, our God, King of the Forever...
" I really love the word "olam" (עולם); its a great word. While it's usually translated as "forever", it can also mean something more like "universe" or "world". It means, really, something more like "far away" in either space or time. The last card in a tarot deck named in Hebrew would surely be XXI=Olam.
(המקום) is another cool name. It means, literally "The Place", but it's usually translated as "The Omnipresent". It's a relatively obscure name; I wrote about it last week
Step Four: Calling Hermes
This is just a normal "friendly/respectful" conjuration, where you string descriptors together however sounds nice. Announce the sorts of offerings you've made. I almost always offer liquor (I use Μεταξά, a kind of Greek brandy made with rose petals and herbs. My late father drank it, on the rare occasions when he drank.), along with oats or wheat, honey and olive oil. I have never found any spirit that's unhappy with grain+fat+honey. In addition, I sometimes offer eggs, figs, olives, and/or pine nuts. Whatever I have on hand that seems right at the time. I also offer some coins, which go into the charity box the following week when they're replaced. As I mentioned before, I also light candles and incense. I think you can use any sort you like. As I said, I arrange the candles in front of a mirror, because that's how I scry. However you do it, have that ready. A pendulum or tarot cards or whatever would be fine if you're not accustomed to spirit conjuration. You just need something in which the communication can manifest.
Step Five: Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Read the list of requests. Be sure to give each your full attention. I find that I sometimes have trouble reading some of them. I make sure to read it over and over until I get a "clean" recitation. I think the ones that are hard to get out are the ones that need the most work. If there's one I trip over a lot, I sometimes pour a little more liquor or light an extra candle to "lubricate" the work.
Step Six: Chill with your bro, Hermes
Just sit and be "in communion" for while. Talk, and listen (scry). Whenever you feel like you're done, just respectfully say "thank you" and "good bye".