Friday, June 13, 2014

Astrological Magic without Astrology?


Astrology, alchemy and magic are called the Hermetic Arts because they are under the patronage of Hermes Trismegistus, the Thrice Great Hermes.

Hermes Trismegistus is a liminal figure, literally threshold, but also relating to doors, boundaries and gates. To be truly Hermetic is to embrace paradox, to be both fish and fowl simultaneously and to love having your cake and eating it too.

This makes astrological magic particularly Hermetic, since astrologers and magicians mix like oil and water. Astrologers, as a general rule, are loath to do magic, they prefer to sit back and passively observe the Heavens. While modern astrologers don't tend to like the idea of Fate, as astrologers they are, in fact, the votaries of Fate, watching it unfold in the celestial cycles. Magicians, on the other hand, tend towards the exercise of will, seeing themselves as acting and acting independently. Whether or not this is actually Free Will depends on the person and how you define it, but the stereotypes of the active magician and passive astrologer have some merit.

Astrological magic, therefore, combines these two arts. The astrological magician must act, but only at a time that is astrologically propitious.

Getting astrologers to act and do magic is very difficult, for various reasons it seems to go against their grain. Magicians, on the other hand, don't seem to like the idea that they are not in control, that they have to wait to express their will. Also from a practical standpoint, learning traditional astrology is difficult.

A basic resistance to any timing and the practical difficulties of learning traditional astrology means typically when the normal magician does planetary magic, they use very little astrological timing, generally not much more than planetary days and hours. This itself is very traditional, the Greater Key of Solomon, a very popular Solomonic grimoire, is pretty much limited to planetary day and hour, with the occasional Moon phase or planet in sign.

There are three different factors that give power to astrological talismans: the materials and design of the talisman, the consecration ritual and the astrological timing. So, if you make a Jupiter talisman, for example, with a great whomping ritual and appropriate materials, you can still get results from it, even if the timing isn't right. Of course, you're going to get better results if you have proper design and materials, ritual AND astrological timing.

Personally, I get nervous about astrological magic that's not astrologically timed. For example, early on I made a Jupiter talisman, Jupiter day and hour, but Jupiter in detriment and retrograde. I started immediately losing large amounts of money until I deconsecrated it.

As Picatrix says and this is applicable to any serious affliction of any planet, "If [Saturn] is retrograde and you ask him for something, what you seek will come about with delays and miseries and great labor." Bk II ch 7.

I don't want to be dogmatic about this and imply some sort of minefield effect where you blow up if you make a single mistake. So, I don't make talismans with a planet afflicted and this includes being retrograde, because this freezes the conditions permanently. On the other hand, I do planetary invocations daily, regardless of the planet's condition. That seems odd, but then I have been doing these continuously every day for over 10 years. I think the continuous repetition makes up for the occasional negative conditions. Similarly, once a planetary talisman is made, it seems to be ok to re-consecrate on planetary hour even if other conditions are problematic, since the talisman is already made.

The key point here is that astrological conditions do matter for astrological talismans. There's some flexibility here, but it really is a mistake to ignore astrology when working with the planets, stars, etc. Align yourself with the celestial cycles and the power of your magic will increase tremendously, to ignore them, or worse to fight them is to fight the tide, "Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. But omitted, and the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries" -- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act IV Scene 3.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

USNO page for Astrological Magic: Part 2, Fixed Star Elections


Ok, in the previous post on the USNO page, I discussed how to use the page for planetary talismans using the rising or transiting/culminating time as determined by those friendly folks at the Naval Observatory. (I used to walk by the Observatory when I lived in DC, this is where the Vice President lives.)

So, this time we are going to use the USNO page to do a fixed star election. Let's go to the USNO rising, etc page Now to make a fixed star talisman you would like to have the Moon applying to conjoin (this is best) or applying to sextile or trine the star plus the right Moon phase, plus the Moon and star unafflicted. The USNO page won't do all this.

However, for a fixed star re-consecration, once the talisman is made, having the star rising or culminating/transiting, is fine. It's good to reconsecrate every six months or so, though you can do it more frequently if you want. Note, that when you get a fixed star talisman from Renaissance Astrology you get one free consecration election. After that you need to either do the election yourself, or order an election from me.

Again, for a US location use the top section, for a non-US location use the lower section. Just google the longitude and latitude for a non-US location, and google the elevation in meters for all locations.

Now choose the "Celestial Object of Interest" The USNO page actually lists a number of key fixed stars for astrological magic including Spica, Regulus, Aldebaran, Antares, Capella, Procyon and Vega.

So for my location Iowa City IA, elevation 203 meters on April 22, 2014 Spica culminated/transited at 00:31, that is 12:31 am and then rose at 19:0, ie 7:06 pm.

So start your consecration 15 minutes or so before the set time and end 15 minutes or so after the set time. Voila!

Ok, that's very cool for the listed stars. One that is not listed, but often needed is Algol. What I realized was that if we used Aldebaran, which is not far from Algol in the Zodiac, and had Aldebaran culminating/transiting, then subtracted an hour, we could get the Algol time.

So, for my for my location Iowa City IA, elevation 203 meters on April 22, 2014 Aldebaran culminated/transited at 15:40, that's 3:40 pm, so subtract an hour, that's 2:40 pm. and yes, 2:40 pm is when Algol culminates/transits. Start your Algol consecration at 2:25 pm and end at 2:55pm.

Thanks USNO!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

USNO page for Astrological Magic: Part 1


While there is some good astrological chart drawing software online, for example Astrodient use "chart drawing Ascendant" you need a good deal of training to use full chart software for astrological magic.

For planetary talismans, my PMP, planetary magic program, is an excellent shortcut for planetary elections. It's not 100% as good as using full chart software, but great if you don't understand how to do talismanic elections.

Similarly Decanichron is great software for decan/face talisman elections, that like PMP for planetary talismans, basically automates the whole process.

Ok, Mansion Tracker is software that tells you when the Moon is in a particular Mansion. It doesn't tell you if the Moon is afflicted and doesn't tell you if the Moon is rising or culminating.

Then finally fixed star elections. Unfortunately my software designer was working on a fixed star election program, but then had a serious family illness to deal with.

But I just discovered a great resource! They probably weren't expecting that it would be used for astrology, but the US Naval Observatory website has a great page online software page for the rising, transiting and setting of celestial bodies.

So, what they call rising is also astrological rising,ie conjunct the Ascendant or 1st house cusp, transiting is astrological culminating or conjunct the Midheaven or 10th house cusp and setting we don't tend to use, but it would be conjunct the Descendant or 7th house cusp.

There are two sections, a US section which automatically finds the longitude and latitude of your location and the non-US section where you enter your longitude and latitude. That's easy, Google it! You also need the elevation of your location in meters, again easy, Google it! Pick what celestial object you want to track. Set the date and date range, then click "compute data" You get a page with the rise, transit and set times.

Now this has lots of uses. For the planets, just couple the rising or transit/culminating time with looking at the planets' sign and planetary hour and you are well on the way to getting a good election!

Here are signs ruled by and exaltations of planets:

Saturn rules Capricorn, Aquarius, exalted Libra
Jupiter rules Sagittarius, Pisces, exalted Cancer
Mars rules Aries, Scorpio, exalted Capricorn
Sun rules Leo, exalted Aries
Venus rules Taurus, Libra, exalted Pisces
Mercury rules Gemini, Virgo, exalted Virgo
Moon rules Cancer, exalted Taurus

Ok, so let's try it out! Here's a website showing the signs that planets are currently in

Sun is currently in Aries. Let's try Sun for a week on the USNO page

I have listed just the rising and transit/culminating times. We don't need the other info on the page

2014 Apr 08 (Tue) 06:37 13:08
2014 Apr 09 (Wed) 06:36 13:08
2014 Apr 10 (Thu) 06:34 13:07
2014 Apr 11 (Fri) 06:33 13:07
2014 Apr 12 (Sat) 06:31 13:07
2014 Apr 13 (Sun) 06:29 13:07
2014 Apr 14 (Mon) 06:28 13:06

Ok, then using TPHP, my planetary hours software I looked at the planetary hours for those times.

2014 Apr 08 (Tue) 06:37 Mars 13:08 Jupiter
2014 Apr 09 (Wed) 06:36 Mercury 13:08 Venus
2014 Apr 10 (Thu) 06:34 Jupiter 13:07 Saturn
2014 Apr 11 (Fri) 06:33 Venus 13:07 Sun
2014 Apr 12 (Sat) 06:31 Saturn 13:07 Moon
2014 Apr 13 (Sun) 06:29 Sun 13:07 Mars
2014 Apr 14 (Mon) 06:28 Moon 13:06 Mercury

Ok, interesting thing about the Sun is that it is our timekeeper, so planetary days all begin at Sunrise and the first hour is the planet ruling the day, so Tuesday (Mars day) begins with Mars hour. Then Sun transits/culminates and is directly overhead at local noon, but with time zones this is different from clock time. This is one of the 24 planetary hour starts of the day.

So you could do a Sun Aries rising talisman on Sunday April 13, 2014 at my location at 6:29 am or you could do a Sun Aries culminating talisman on Friday April 11, 2014 at 13:07, ie 1:07 pm.

Cool!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On a Spiritual Path: Venus Rising Talisman


I am very pleased to present a new current chart, the Venus rising in the 1st degree of Pisces talisman.

This can be a tough talisman to elect for, since Venus needs to be in the 1st degree of Pisces, (that's 0 Pisces 1 to 0 Pisces 59, not 1 Pisces!) and rising. We haven't been able to do this for several years so I am excited about this opportunity to make a rare talisman.

This talisman comes from Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy,

"From the operations of Venus they made an Image, which was available for favor, and benevolence, at the very hour it ascending into Pisces, the form of which was the Image of a woman having the head of a bird, and feet of an Eagle, holding a dart in her hand. "

Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk II ch 42.

This Agrippa image is based on several different images from Picatrix,

"Image of Venus. If, under the influence of Venus, you make the image of a woman whose body is human with the head of a bird and the feet of an eagle, in her right hand an apple and in her left hand a wooden comb....everyone who carries this image...with them will receive good and be liked by everyone."

"If, under the influence of Venus, you make the form of a woman, holding an apple in her right hand and a comb in her left hand, in white stone, the first face of Libra ascending, whoever has or carries the above image will always laugh and be cheerful."

Picatrix, Bk II ch 10.

This is very interesting! Note that Agrippa switches Venus' sign Libra for her exaltation, Pisces and combines the two images, showing flexibility and not following slavishly, but not departing entirely from his traditional source, Picatrix. He's not just making it all up and not trying to use a Saturn image for Venus, but on the other hand he's not FREAKING OUT that image doesn't follow Picatrix TO THE LETTER! We can see a master astrological magician in action here, innovating, but fully within the tradition in that innovation.

So, now the most important point, why would you want to make this talisman? Venus is the planet of love, friendship, arts, music and pleasure, so if you want these things, Venus is your planet. This particular talisman is for favor and benevolence, which I read as improving your social skills and getting along better with people, having people like you more and more.

And this is fine, if you are focused on what you want and how you can benefit from this and other talismans. We do need to enhance our lives and our ego selves. But it is possible to use astrological magic as part of our spiritual path as well. But how?

I do a daily invocation of the planet that rules the day and have done so "religiously" for almost a decade. The invocations are adapted from Picatrix see my Secrets of Planetary Ritual Paperback and Kindle versions. so these invocations do involve petitions, ie they often ask for things, but generally these are things like health, prosperity, safety and wisdom, general goals, as opposed to "make X love me" or "bring me $100,000" You can ask for specific stuff, but I like the idea of the superior wisdom of the planetary spirit deciding for me exactly what I need.

Further, through doing an invocation of an astrological spirit I am getting closer to that spirit and building up our relationship. I am aligning myself with the spirits of the planets and the stars who are, at the celestial or intermediate level, responsible for everything in the material world. These are key spirits in the Great Chain of Being connecting us to the Divine World of Archetypes and Platonic Ideas and eventually to the One.

These are not our servants, we serve and embody them! They are not waiting around to get us stuff, but we benefit greatly by being in their presence and rising to their spheres. These are beings of incredible power beyond our limited understanding and comprehension. While it certainly is a valid traditional approach, I find it presumptuous to command these spirits.

To get a sense of their otherwordliness, their being beyond our ken, look at the very bizarre image of Inanna, the Sumerian Venus at the Venus rising in the 1st degree of Pisces talisman which corresponds to the Agrippa and Picatrix descriptions: a woman with the head and feet of a bird. Strikingly weird! Meditate on this image and see that Venus is numinous filled with great spiritual power beyond our limited understanding.

So while it's great to do a Venus love talisman, (Venus loves love!) perhaps you are intrigued, hopefully mysteriously drawn to invoke and contemplate these very powerful, very numinous, ultimately inexplicable spirits.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book Recommendations from the UPenn Magic in History Series


One of the problems of a magical practitioner in the early 21st century is getting caught between running aground on the Scylla (google it!) of fluffy bunny New Ageism or being whirled into the Charybdis of academic magical scholarship.

It's very tempting to be "serious" and start paying lots of attention to academic sources, after all they are the high priests of our society and their imprimatur (google it!) is necessary for legitimacy and prestige.

Unfortunately, academic observers of magic are still required to reject its actual existence. This makes them very problematic sources of information when one is actually interested in doing magic. Hard to get practical tips from someone that insists the whole exercise is a pointless exercise in outdated superstition. So, I've generally used academic sources very sparingly, in the very beginning of study, simply to get my historical bearings. I hadn't even bothered to read anything new coming out of academia in the past few years, so it was a pleasant surprise to run across two new books in the UPenn Magic in History series that I can actually recommend.

The first is The Transformations of Magic: Illicit Learned Magic in the Later Middle Ages and Renaissance by Frank Klaassen

Klaassen even goes to so far as to say that in his opinion, at least as far as the actual practitioners were concerned, that magic worked. Though I don't think he'd go so far as to endorse the practicing of magic by those in the contemporary world. Klaassen is one of the leading lights of the Societas Magicae, which is extremely frosty about actual practitioners. Their membership form, for example, asks either for your academic affiliation or a listing of academic articles published.

In any case, I did find Transformation of Magic very interesting and can recommend it because it gives a great amount of information about the split between astrological and Solomonic magic. I had thought that this was a modern phenomenon, but in fact, while astrological magic texts, mostly of Arabic origin, were popular in the Middle Ages, by the time of the Renaissance, the Solomonic style, ala Greater Key of Solomon, Goetia, etc., were all the rage. Very, very interesting!

So definitely worth getting a copy here are the Kindle version of Transformations of Magic and Paperback version of Transformations of Magic

I was then on a roll, and found another good new academic magic source, Magic in the Cloister: Pious Motives, Illicit Interests, and Occult Approaches to the Medieval Universe by Sophie Page.

Here the focus is on the library of the Benedictine abbey of St. Augustine’s in Canterbury, (yes England). Interestingly enough a significant portion of the monks had the time, interest and inclination to collect and presumably practice magic, alchemy and astrology. Very interesting summary of medieval and Renaissance magic and magical texts. Well worth perusing!

Kindle version of Magic in the Cloister and Hardcover version of Magic in the Cloister

So let's just open the floodgates and look at the whole Magic in History series But I wouldn't buy it at the publisher, too expensive! Get Kindle or get used copies.

Here's what I like the most of the rest of the series:

Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer's Manual of the Fifteenth Century by Richard Kieckhefer

Oh, boy, this one really got me in trouble! This is a critical edition of a medieval book of magic, what Kieckhefer calls the Munich handbook of necromancy. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, while it includes the complete Latin, there is no complete English translation. Nevertheless, Kieckhefer gives a lots of information about the talismans, etc.

I got in trouble with the one talisman I made out of this book, a black Mirror of Lilith as you can see following the link. So while I can definitely recommend reading the book, I can't really recommend using it!

Paperback version of Forbidden Rites

The next book I can recommend is Unlocked Books: Manuscripts of Learned Magic in the Medieval Libraries of Central Europe by Benedek Lang

Again, by studying manuscripts and books in libraries, a great deal is revealed about the medieval and Renaissance practice of magic. Still, I'd love to have some actual critical editions of the magical texts discussed if not actual English translations.

Paperback version of Unlocked Books

Two more books in the series that actually contain translations of magical texts are:

Conjuring Spirits: Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic by Claire Fanger

This contains a translation of Bokenham's "Book of the Angels, Rings, Characters and Images of the Planets"

Paperback version of Conjuring Spirits

Invoking Angels: Theurgic Ideas and Practices, Thirteenth to Sixteenth Centuries by Claire Fanger

This contains an English translation of Antonio Da Montulmo's "Book of Intelligences" which is very unusual, giving instructions for invoking the spirits of the Zodiacal signs and intelligences of the planets.

Paperback version of Invoking Angels

So you can lose yourself for awhile in a wealth of academic material and even get some actual astrological magic or malefic magical texts!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review of Electional Astrology Course


Here is a review of my Electional Astrology Course by a recent graduate.

"For the past 18 months I have been working through (and have recently completed) the Electional Astrology course offered by Mr. Warnock. Since completing the course, I have used the skills acquired from Mr. Warnock’s Electional Astrology course in my daily life (and with clients) with good results.

As I browsed through the lessons prior to starting them, it became apparent I had enrolled in a course filled with depth and detail and that I was going learn a great deal which is what I was hoping for. I was also looking to study within the strict traditional approach found in Renaissance Astrology and not Modern Astrology – both hopes were fulfilled. Each lesson builds on the next, filled with the necessary information, reading material and chart examples to work through the questions at the end of each lesson. In the event there is something you are not sure of or have a question relating to the lesson, Mr. Warnock is available to answer any questions in a succinct and prompt manner. As a teacher, I have found Mr. Warnock to be approachable, supportive and helpful at all times, nothing is too much trouble – he is also patient and willing to clarify what it is you might not understand in a lesson. Mr. Warnock also carefully checks the student’s work thoroughly before recommending he/she move on to the next lesson. Over time, it became apparent the vast and extensive degree of Mr. Warnock’s knowledge when it comes to the subject of Traditional Renaissance Astrology - he is also willing to share this knowledge with other sincere and dedicated students.

Due to the detailed nature of the course, I would recommend students take their time to complete it – also, as a student, be prepared to do some additional research or reading on any astrological terms or theories to help broaden your knowledge and understanding. This is a course compatible with those who are self starters or have a high degree of initiative. It is essential that the student take their time with each lesson and refrain from rushing from one lesson to the next to ensure you have understood, grasped and comprehended the reading material otherwise you are setting yourself up for difficulties in the next lesson. I quote from the registration page: “Students should keep in mind that the material presented in the Electional Astrology Course requires commitment to master”. If you want to pass this course effort, patience and commitment will be required but the results are rewarding.

In closing, the course is excellent; I have thoroughly enjoyed it and would not hesitate to recommend it to others who are genuinely interested in learning the art of traditional Electional Astrology. Was the course value for money? Yes indeed it was when one considers the skill and depth of information it imparts. It was a joy and honour to have Mr. Warnock as a teacher."

LS Electional Astrology Student Victoria, AUSTRALIA

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Letter or Spirit of the Rules?


I had a question recently about a reference in Picatrix to only making certain talismans at night or during the day and what to do about this rule.

Really it comes down to whether we follow the letter of the rules or the spirit. But watch out, are we sure we know what the spirit really is?

There's a whole lot of different rules for electing talismans, just like there are many rules for elections in general. Typically our traditional sources relied on many other different earlier sources and just lay out all possible rules, without mentioning what is most important or trying to resolve any discrepancies. One of the nice things about Ramesey in Astrology Restored/Astrologia Restaurata is that he will list off a bunch of rules and then say, "well if you can't get all that, just do x, y or z"

The reality is that we can only elect about 3-5 astrological factors, so we have to pick a few that we (and hopefully our traditional sources) find most important. The day/night rule reminds me a lot of the Moon phase rule, ie Moon must be in appropriate phase, usually waxing. Now clearly day and night are pretty obvious as is the Moon phase, so these are easy rules for non-astrologers or beginning astrologers to follow. An immediate practical problem ensues, however, with both of these rules: right off the bat you lose 1/2 of the total times available for elections. So if you decide that day/night or Moon phase is the ultimate, most significant factor for all elections, and certainly there are some traditional sources that insist on this, you make your life as an electional astrologer or astrological magician very, very difficult.

Now if I am making a regular Moon talisman, or Lunar Mansion talisman or even a fixed star talisman, since fixed star talismans are essentially Moon aspecting the fixed star, I do make sure the Moon phase is appropriate. For any other planetary talisman, no, I don't think the Moon phase is so important that I will sacrifice getting the planet itself in a strong position as opposed to worrying about the Moon. I do compromise a bit here and I do get the Moon unafflicted, ie not combust, in detriment, fall, making nasty applying aspects, etc.

Now this gets into another issue. For the longest time, I've been insistent on looking at traditional (ie pre 1700) sources. This is because we all start out as either conscious or unconscious atheist-materialists and our view of reality in general and astrology and magic in particular, is very different from our medieval and Renaissance predecessors. Our "natural" reaction to almost any facet of magic or astrology is quite different from traditional astrologers and astrological magicians.

However, the next stage is a slavish and total devotion to every jot and tittle of a traditional source. No deviation is permitted and no source may be questioned. This is going too far in the other direction! Consider that traditional sources are often contradictory, what do you do then? If you are grounded in the tradition as a whole, you can find an authentic way to resolve or even disregard the contradiction.

Further, I don't think that magic or astrology have or need to "evolve", in other words what ever does not accord with 21st century sensibilities gets changed. On the other hand, there's a point at which a master doesn't need to look at the books anymore to know how to do the work. Of course, it's tempting to think one has mastered magic or astrology after a few charts, invocations or talismans, which is not possible.

Having been a full time practicing traditional astrologer and astrological magician for close to 15 years, having participated in translating Picatrix, and having elected and created hundreds of astrological talismans, I'm finally to the point of saying, "yes I'm a master of traditional astrological magic"

So when I deviate from a particular source, I've got a reason for it, both practical and traditional. Ultimately while I might not follow an individual thread, I am certainly very much within the overall tapestry of the tradition.