Sunday, January 24, 2016

Harranian Planetary Magic/Religion: Post 2

This is the second post on the astral religion of the Harranian Sabians as exemplified in Picatrix.

As I've mentioned I am finding myself pulled towards this more devotional approach, as opposed to regarding the talismans as essentially empty mechanisms or the spirits as existing to fulfill my personal desires.

Of course we can immediately see that even Picatrix lends itself somewhat to this approach because the rituals enumerated are focused on petitions, ie asking for specific goals. This is not the "wrong" approach, but it is useful to recognize the underlying astral religion and the possibility of taking a stance towards the spirits that venerates them and is part of a spiritual path.

In addition, by looking carefully at Picatrix we can enhance the power and effect of our ritual and talismanic work.

"How to speak with Saturn. When you want to speak with Saturn and ask him for whatever you wish, you must wait until he enters into good condition, of which the best is when he is in Libra, which is his exaltation, next in Aquarius, which is the house of his rejoicing, and last in Capricorn, which is his second house. If you cannot have him in any of these three places, put him in one of his terms or triplicities or in an oriental angular or succeedent house (among all of which the angle of the midheaven is to be preferred), direct in his course, and in a masculine quarter, being oriental as mentioned above. Beware of his detriment and unfortunate aspects, of which the worst of all is a square aspect with Mars, and do not let him be cadent."

Picatrix Bk III, ch 7.

This passage is interesting because it directly contradicts the tendency to ignore astrological conditions when doing planetary or other celestial ritual. I know that this is a sore point with some contemporary magicians who insist they can do a planetary ritual whenever it suits them. My point would be again that this is not "wrong" but I can't help but believe that the power of planetary ritual would be enhanced if properly timed.

The next section is particularly interesting,

"The most important point (of which you should take diligent care) is that you should see that the planet is in good condition and quality, and remote from infortunes, because when he is like this, he is like a man of good will and a lively heart and a great and ample mind, and if another person seeks something from him, he cannot find it in himself to deny the petitioner. When the same planet is retrograde in his course or cadent from the angles, he is like a man full of anger and ill will, who is most ready to deny a petition."

Picatrix Bk III, ch 7.

I like the approach here very much. The planets are shown as having personalities. One has a relationship with them. The planets are not employees or some celestial that you can simply log in to 24 hours a day seven days a week and insist on immediate service and expedited shipping. The planets have moods, they are happy sometimes and cranky, weak and even feeling sickly other times. We can see how they are feeling by their astrological condition.

Again this approach conditions our ritual and talisman creation timing. We wish to be polite to these powerful being, we show respect to them by contacting them at appropriate times, when they are most ready to receive us and most ready to accede to a request.

As I've said, this is only one possible approach, we can see the Solomonic grimoires take a much more threatening and commanding approach. Even in the Renaissance, this approach was more popular. Nevertheless, Picatrix directly points to the possibility of a more devotional approach. I feel more comfortable with it and I can also attest that I have been the recipient of an incredible number of celestial gifts, both material and spiritual.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Harranian Planetary Magic/Religion: Post 1

Picatrix, while being a compilation of a wide variety of magical, religious and astrological practice, is heavily reliant on the celestial religion and magic of the Harranian Sabians.

The Harranians, whose antecedents and actual practice are mysterious, appear to be pagans, who survived into the Middle Ages under the Christians and then Muslims. While preserving indigenous beliefs and practices, they also venerated the stars and planets.

While Agrippa included summaries of many astrological talisman recipes from Picatrix, what he generally left out were the celestial rituals necessary to invoke the spirits of the stars and planets and to consecrate talismans. The most prominent example of the rituals and ritual practice of the Harranian Sabians is found in Book III, chapter 7 of Picatrix.

When we return to these recitations of the rituals and invocations of the Harranians, we see that while they can be used as petition for things or events desired, that they are at their root, religious and an expression of devotion to the celestial spirits.

Here are the introductory instructions,

"When you desire to speak with any planet or ask it for anything that you need, first and above all else, purify your will and your faith in God, and beware especially that you believe in no other; then cleanse your body and your garments of all dirt. Then determine the nature of the planet to which your petition corresponds. When you wish to address the planet to which your petition properly belongs, dress in clothing dyed the color of that planet, and suffumigate yourself with its suffumigation, and pray its prayer. Do all this when the planet is established in its dignities and called superior in its dispositions, for by observing these things, what you desire will come to pass."

Picatrix Bk III, ch. 7

Note that these instructions are for when you wish to speak with the planets OR ask them for something. It's a good idea to build up a positive relationship as opposed to just invoking them when you want something. The religious aspects are indicated by the need for both physical and spirituality purity. This is very common, in Shinto practice, there is always a chizuya, or water purification font, at the entrance to a shrine so you can wash your hands. See Chizuya.

Next, if you are asking for something you need to figure out what planet rules that thing. No use in asking Saturn for love!

Then the basic ceremonial preparation. One classic Harranian method is to wear appropriate clothing, in particular to wear the color associated with the planet. These can be widely variant, but often Saturn is black;Jupiter blue, green or purple, Mars, red; Sun yellow, orange or saffron, Venus, white, green, pink; Mercury, mixed colors; Moon, white or silver.

Then the suffumigation, this is appropriate incense. Again there are many different planetary incenses. If possible, however, it is important to use some kind of incense. If you have respiratory problems, you can pass on it, but even though I am sensitive I still use a very small amount.

Finally, and this is key for astral religion and astrological magic, we invoke the planets at an appropriate time. Planetary days and hours appear in the Greek Magical Papyri, but the Harranians appear to have been the most sophisticated users of electional astrology for magic and religion, timing their rituals and talisman making with full chart elections.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Kamidana: A Devotional Approach to the Astrological Spirits

Much magic, both traditional and modern, is of the "Hurry up and give me X, Y or Z?" variety.

Certainly in the Solomanic and Goetic grimoires the magician never flinched from ordering the spirits to show up pronto and give him what he wanted. I can't say this is untraditional nor can I really condemn the approach, but I've increasingly been pulled towards a more devotional approach to the celestial spirits.

Partly this comes from the approach of Picatrix. In fact the most detailed planetary invocations found at Bk III, chapter 7 of Picatrix are explicitly said to be from the astral religion of the Sabians of Harran. There's a certain amount of asking for specific stuff, but not much "get going" instead there's a lot more listing of the attributes of the spirits and being respectful and complimentary.

I've also been quite influenced by my immersion in Japanese culture, first through Zen and then through frequent trips to Japan. This year I decided to put together a kamidana, which is a small household Shinto shrine. You can see more about my kamidana.

In Japanese practice, you can definitely ask for stuff and both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples have talismans. But there's very little coercion here and a lot more respect and devotion. I certainly wouldn't say it's the only way, but I can tell that this is the way I'm drawn to.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I sell house tools, not houses!

As a Sun Pisces, one of the more difficult things I deal with are frequent "HELP! HELP! Save me!" e-mails. Some poor soul is in dire straits, usually financially and is desperately seeking instant change in their unfortunate surroundings. I'm careful to explain that I can't guarantee the results of talismans and I strongly advise clients not to spend their last dollar on talismans in hopes of being instant billionaires. I flat out tell people that ask about the lottery not to buy a talisman.

Certainly from the client standpoint the results are what matters. That's what the client thinks they are buying. They want to buy a house, so to speak. From the perspective of the mage/talisman seller, the talisman is a tool. If you want to build a house, i.e. get results, talismans are very useful, in fact you might not be able to get the result, i.e. build the house, without a talisman. But just buying a lot of house tools and wood, won't get you a house, you will have to get the land and then pitch in and build it. One of the things I really like about Jason Miller's financial magic, is that he says you can't do it in vacuum, you need to budget and make other practical financial steps with magic one part of the overall plan.

While I'm definitely sad about the end of my jeweler's casting metal talismans, I am increasingly feeling pulled away from talismans as instant panacea towards being a celestial priest. The priestly focus is more on establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with these incredibly benefic spiritual beings. More on aligning ourselves to positive spiritual forces and getting the ego out of the way so they can manifest through us as opposed to a sort of spiritual "gimme, gimme" Obviously we need to take care of our physical wants, but having that as our main purpose and single goal in our magical work is problematic.

The happiest clients I have tend to be experienced magic users, they understand what's possible with magic and appreciate the power of the astrological spirits. But I don't want to foreclose newbies, instead I want to keep moving towards the idea of talismans and other magic work as tools that need our contribution and depend on our situation, rather than instant guaranteed results.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More on the Planetary 3rd Order

Folks, I am very pleased to add some additional diagrams, tables and explanation to the 3rd Planetary Order page.

I got some really interesting and useful information from several posters, including Claire Pruitt on Facebook. First it was pointed out that the 3rd Planetary Order corresponds to the triplicity rulerships.

Then Claire pointed out the order of the planetary minutes was the 3rd planetary order (she calls the planetary minute order) and planetary seconds were in days of the week order.

I was then able to go back and using modular 7 arithmetic steps to deduce why the planetary minutes and seconds have these order. Note that while modern scientists like to use decimals so they use tenths, hundreths, etc of a second, the traditional method was base 60, so a hour has 60 minutes, a minute 60 seconds and a second, 60 thirds.

We can go back endlessly determining which of the 3 planetary hour sequences applies. Very cool!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Third Planetary Order

While it's easy to let my conscious ego self set goals, sometimes it's very interesting to just let myself be guided in my study and contemplation.

An early example of this was my meditation on the relationship between the Chaldean Order and the sequence of the days of the week. Each day of the week is ruled by a planet and by going through the 24 hour sequence of the planetary hours, arranged in the Chaldean Order (slowest to fastest planet) the first hour of every day is ruled by the planet that rules the day, giving us the order of the days of the week. Exploring this led to the discovery of beauty and order, in the planetary hours star of the week, which you can see on my Planetary Hours page

Recently I stumbled across another piece of the puzzle, which was that the sequence of days of the week for leap days, February 29th, were in the Chaldean Order! So not only did the Chaldean Order change into the days of the week, but the days of the transformed back into the Chaldean Order! How did this happen? My exploration had begun and I give a detailed explanation on my new Third Planetary Order page.

As you will see, I learned what modular arithmetic was and discovered that the Chaldean Order and the days of the week sequence are fundamental 7 fold orders, but that there is an additional fundamental 7 fold order, which I call the Third Planetary Order. What use this order may have for astrological prediction and magical power remains to be seen, but the incredible order and symmetry of the Cosmos is once again revealed.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Free or Controlled Thought & Discussion?

I recently received a mass e-mailing of a pdf entitled, "AMERICA IS BORN Out-of-Sample Tests and Predictions for the Regulus USA National Horoscope" by the anonymous Dr. H. This is another in his series of mundane/geo-political astrology works.

Whatever the merits of his work, I was highly disturbed to find this in the front of the pdf.

Regulus Astrology LLC asserts the moral authority to prohibit any astrologer from making any prediction of harm for any American, its elected officials, or the President based on the Regulus USA National Horoscope . By continuing to read this document the reader agrees to the conditions of this disclaimer."

Aside from the question of the propriety of death prediction, Dr. H is asserting that he has total control over how you, the reader, use the ideas and information contained in his article, in particular his personal view as to what the correct US birth horoscope is, which he proprietarily terms the "Regulus horoscope"

Now there is no doubt that Dr. H, like any author has the right to stop people from simply copying and plagiarizing his work. But under US law it is not possible to copyright or patent ideas or information. This is because of the importance of the free interchange and discussion of ideas.

What Dr. H is doing is copying the hard ball corporate tactics of the large software companies like Microsoft and their end user license agreements ("EULA"). A EULA is a private contract and thus can go beyond what is allowed under copyright and patent law.

Just by reading Dr. H's article, Dr. H insists that he can tell you what you can and cannot do with the information in it. This is like the first ornithologist to discover a bird insisting that no one can talk about the bird, without the ornithologist's permission. Dr. H could just as easily start charging for any use of the "Regulus horoscope" or start censoring people's opinions of it.

This is a direct attack on a key principle: free debate and exchange of ideas and information. The horoscope of the US is not a private possession of some individual, that they can use, abuse, charge for and control. We all, including Dr. H, benefit from the free interchange of knowledge. Personally, I am boycotting Dr. H and any discussion of the "Regulus horoscope" until he removes this disclaimer and makes clear his acceptance of the free interchange and expression of astrological ideas and information.

NEWS FLASH As of June 22, 2015, Dr. H e-mailed me and indicated that he had removed the disclaimer on his article. This is great news and Dr. H is to be commended for his commitment to the free interchange of ideas.