Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Picatrix Editions!!!!

I am very pleased to announce 4 new editions of Picatrix, with one new limited time first edition!! To accommodate these changes I've completely revamped my Picatrix book section

Ok, so obvious question is, "What's the difference between these editions?" First, all Renaissance Astrology editions of Picatrix contain the complete four books of the Latin Picatrix. You won't be missing out on any of the complete text of Picatrix with any of our editions. The differences have to do mostly with the appearance of the book and in particular NEW illustrations!

All of the editions contain the basic Picatrix sigil images, again right from the Latin Picatrix, but we have several new illustrated versions of Picatrix.

I've also finally not only gotten fed up with Amazon and its totally inconsistent discounting and also figured out how to do discounts if you buy directly from the printer Lulu, so not only do we have new illustrated editions, but I've figured out how to cut out the middle man, keep making a reasonable profit for John and me and significantly cut the price for the reader!

Let me talk a bit about the edition. The "standard edition" is the Liber Atratus or Black Book, this is the one on Amazon for $39.95 (they pulled the discount!!!). Instead you can get this directly from the printer for $26.21 Wow!

The first new edition is the Illustrated Picatrix This is an illustrated hardcover version of the paperback "standard edition" this will eventually be available on Amazon at a list price of $59.95. This is really great! It has over 100 black and white illustrations, with Nigel Jackson's beautiful images of the 7 planets and 28 Mansions of the Moon, plus the 12 signs and 36 decan/faces by Renaissance artists.

But I have an really incredible deal! The Illustrated Picatrix won't be on Amazon for at least 6-8 weeks, until it appears on Amazon, I am offering a special limited edition First Edition, Illustrated Picatrix hardcover, with all of the great b&w illustrations, plus a special page with hidden Picatrix sigils from the great astrologer William Lilly's personal copy of Picatrix.

This special limited First Edition Picatrix with the hidden Picatrix sigls and illustrations is just $44.95 plus shipping with direct ordering from the printer Lulu. Order the First Edition Illustrated Picatrix here

$44.95?!! That's just $5 more than the Amazon list price for the paperback, this is for a HARDCOVER with the illustrations and with the hidden sigils! Hurry though, the special First Edition will end as soon as the regular 2nd edition hardcover Illustrated Picatrix appears on Amazon.

But there are even more new Picatrix editions. Let me talk about the Liber Rubeus, the Red Book, we have a new illustrated edition of the Liber Rubeus! This is hardcover, again with the over 100 b&w illustrations including Nigel Jackson's 7 planets and 28 Mansions of the Moon and the 12 signs and 36 decan/faces by Renaissance artists. The Liber Rubeus is special because it is only initiated under the 5th Mansion of the Moon. It is the most macabre edition containing a very sanguinary description of the creation of a divinatory head and being decorated in skull motifs.

Finally, we also have an AMAZING deluxe COLOR Illustrated Picatrix. Unlike the other versions this is 8.5 x 10.25, very large format and all color. This version has even more incredible huge color images by Nigel Jackson of the 7 planets and 28 Mansions of the Moon, with color images of the 12 signs by a Renaissance artist. GORGEOUS! Each version will have a unique dedication that can have your name or the name of the recipient on it. For an additional charge I can do 7 separate planetary consecrations of your Color Deluxe Picatrix, turning this book of magic into a powerful magical artifact. Let me tell you, the spirits LOVE to inhabit Picatrix.

So, incredible number of options for Picatrix, the key grimoire of astrological magic, an authentic 1000 year old book of magic, a must have for any devotee of ceremonial magic and the occult. Again, check out all the editions here and order the limited First Edition Illustrated Picatrix here

Friday, March 20, 2015

Planetary Ritual with NO Astrological Timing?

I really like Jason Miller. He's a contemporary sorcercer/mage who's got a significant web presence and has written lots of interesting books. One key concept of his that I have really embraced is the idea that magic, particularly financial magic, but any magic looking to influence material things, needs to be one part of a complete pragmatic strategy. Do the money magic, he says, but you better also have a budget, financial plans, work smart, etc.

Jason is a colleague that I have real respect for, but I did feel like I had to make some sort of response to a recent mass e-mail I got from him. In the e-mail Jason provided instructions for a mass Jupiter ritual today March 20, 2015. I thought the ritual was good, but even Jason acknowledged that March 20 did not have ideal astrological conditions for Jupiter. I'll just quote him,

"TIMING: Some people have found the timing of the rite strange for a number of reasons. First is that it is on a Friday rather than Thursday, the day of Jupiter. As I have states in the past, the system of days and hours can be used to time things when appropriate but should not be allowed to be a restriction. Jupiter is in the sky and the God is the god on ALL days. The second concern is that Jupiter is retrograde until April 8th. Planetary force tends to build immense strength just before going direct and this rite will hopefully place people into a good position to take advantage of this. The third concern is that there is a Solar Eclipse and people tend to view eclipses as negative. In my view the eclipse removes a power from the mix, turning the volume up on all the other planets and forces filling the vacuum. This is why in Tibet for instance, Dharmic actions are said to have 10,000 times more effect. By doing the Jupiter rite, not just for ourselves but for others, we are taking advantage of the increased power of Jupiter, as well as strengthening the influence of this greater benefic during a time that the Sun's influence is in question. It is a positive all around."

Ok, from the standpoint of accepting the validity of astrological timing, I suppose you could talk your way around one or two problems, but doing a Jupiter ritual on March 20 is really saying "forget astrological timing!" After all if Jupiter is always in the sky, what's the point?

I understand why this is going to be attractive. First, it takes a lot of effort to learn traditional astrology. Second, one of the key attributes of the magician is a very strong individual will. Having to restrain that will and wait till the appropriate timing comes around kind of goes against the grain. Following astrological timing is also inconvenient. It causes me all sorts of hassles with my trips to Japan, trying to get a decent time astrologically that also fits for a workshop. Sometimes the best times astrologically are at 3am, and getting up in the middle of the night is a hassle.

Magicians not being that into astrological timing or not that good at it are not something new. Magicians, both now and in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, usually didn't get much beyond Moon phases, planetary hours or the Moon in signs is about as advanced as they ever got. I discuss this in depth for the Greater Key of Solomon here

So why bother? Well, our illustrious predecessors thought astrological timing was very important, Cornelius Agrippa says,

Every natural vertue doth work things far more wonderful when it is not onely compounded of a natural proportion, but also is informed by a choice observation of the Celestials opportune to this..Also in every work there are to be observed, the situation, motion, and aspect of the Stars, and Planets, in Signs and Degrees, and how all these stand in reference to the length and latitude of the Climate; for by this are varyed the qualities of the angles, which the rays of Celestial bodies upon the figure of the thing describe, according to which Celestial vertues are infused. So when thou art working any thing which belongs to any Planet, thou must place it in its dignities, fortunate, and powerful, and ruling in the day, hour, and in the Figure of the Heaven. Neither shalt thou expect the signification of the work to be powerful, but also thoo must observe the Moon opportunely directed to this; for thou shalt do nothing without the assistance of the Moon: And if thou hast more patterns of thy work, observe them all being most powerful,...

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch 29.

Let me just provide some personal anecdotal evidence as well. I once created some Jupiter talismans, and even used Jupiter day and hour, but Jupiter was in detriment and retrograde. I immediately began to have big financial losses, until I finally deconsecrated the talisman.

I think the key here is "doth work things far more wonderful" Agrippa is not saying and I don't necessarily believe that just because you do a ritual with bad astrological conditions that it will automatically fail or backfire or something. Though from my one anecdotal experience, this is possible. I want to emphasize that not following astrological timing does not mean INSTANT DISASTER 100% of the time because there is a definite tendency for newbies to get totally FREAKED OUT and frightened at the slightest possibility of a mistake or problem using magic.

It seems rather obvious that when using an astrological factor like a planet or star in a ritual that it would make sense to consider its astrological strength, weakness or affliction. It's like asking a friend for a favor. Do you call them when they are feeling good, in a good mood at a reasonable hour? Or do you wake them up in the middle of the night when they have a cold? Which of these is likely to get better results?

It therefore seems logical that if ritual is good, then ritual + proper astrological timing, supercharges the power of the ritual. This has certainly been my experience and the experience of ritual magicians who reported back to me after using astrological timing. "It felt like it hit the sweet spot" was a typical response by a very experienced ritual magician who I did a ritual election for.

Planetary ritual without proper timing may certainly work, I am no way saying that it is always doomed to fail. What I do think, however, it is that you are fighting against the tide to do a Jupiter ritual without Jupiter day or hour and with Jupiter retrograde. Moon combust after an eclipse is not helping either!

So let's call a spade, a spade. Let's be honest about what we are doing and if we are going to toss out astrological timing, let's be straight about it, rather doing it by subterfuge by insisting that each individual factor, no matter what it is, is astrologically fine.

So, as I said, I have great respect for Jason and I always look forward to reading his posts and his books, which are always thoughtful and well done. As an astrological magician, however, I have to respectfully dissent from the idea that astrological timing is not important for planets, stars and other astrological factors. It is worth the time to learn, because if your ritual planetary and stellar work is good to start with, proper astrological timing will turbocharge it.

And let me go further, I would be happy to collaborate and provide astrological timing for this sort of mass planetary ritual. If you are a magician and more than 100 people are going to participate, contact me and let's discuss getting good astrological timing!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Resources for Astrology of Guardian Angel/Personal Daimon and Almuten Figuris

When I get the same question multiple times this is a sign that I need to do a post or a webpage. So when I do natal readings, including:

the Full Natal Reading,

Astrological Checkup

and Spiritual Path reading

These all include a Guardian Angel/Personal Daimon name. This name is unique because it is determined using your unique birth time, date and place.

Here is a webpage from Renaissance Astrology that contains the passage from Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy that explains how the natal chart is used to find the angel/daimon name

Here is a post from my blog, giving an example of how to derive the angel/daimon name from a birth chart

Using this process provides a unique angel/daimon name, so unless someone was born at the exact time, date and place of your birth, they will have a different Guardian Angel/Personal Daimon name.

So what clients often say is "I've googled this name and I haven't found anything, where can I look up information on my Guardian Angel" This is completely understandable, and of course we would like to find out more information. But the problem is, since your name is unique based on your birthchart and everyone in the world has their own unique Guardian Angel, that would mean that there are over 7 billion different Guardian Angels with different names. Who could sit down and write 7 billion different angel descriptions? Where would the information for over 7 billion Guardian Angels be stored? So, no, there is not going to be any additional information on your personal Guardian Angel online or anywhere else.

Let me say a bit more about the Guardian Angel/Personal Daimon, one of my key sources is Robert Zoller's article on Angels. It's a good article, but I only see it at New Library which is selling Zoller's material without paying him anything. What a mess!

Anyhow, Zoller notes that angel comes from angelos, Latin for messenger and that there are good angels and bad or fallen angels. Angels are a separate creation from humans and thus humans at death do not become angels. Dionysius the Aeropagite in the Celestial Hierarchy, writes of levels of angels, with Cherubim, the highest, followed, by Seraphim, Powers, Thrones, Dominions, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels and finally Angels.

Zoller quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia,Guardian Angels

That every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church, and is, consequently, not an article of faith; but it is the "mind of the Church", as St. Jerome expressed it: "how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it".

Our Guardian Angel, says Zoller, exists to guide us. It is our personal connection to the Divine.

On the other hand, we are also under the spiritual authority of one of the seven planets, depending on who is the almuten figuris or chart ruler of our natal chart. This is not simply the Ascendant ruler or most dignified planet, but is determined through a complex calculation.

Here is an explanation of how the almuten figuris is determined using Ibn Ezra's method, which is recommended by Zoller.

Here's an additional post on talismans and the almuten figuris

I personally have not worked with my Guardian Angel/Personal Daimon, nor am I familiar with the Abramelin work. But I do think that this is a very important area for spiritual growth and magical work and I am happy to be able to provide both unique Guardian Angel/Personal Daimon and the almuten figuris in my natal readings.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Renaissance of Ancient Talismans

A long time friend of mine e-mailed me today with a link to a very interesting article on an ancient amulet. This particular one had a palindrome (reads forwards and backwards) inscription.

Very interesting! This reminded me of the famous Abracadabra inscription. Not a palindrome but it's also an example of wordplay, you repeatedly inscribe with a letter missing on each line. Both very interesting examples of wordplay in magical inscriptions.

These examples got me thinking about ancient magic. Clearly the most important text for ancient talismanic magic is the Greek Magical Papyri, edited by Betz. The Greek Magical Papyri, often abbreviated as the PGM, are quite amazing. Several hundred pages of magical spells, recipes, prayers and invocations. Coming from a period quite like our own in being very eclectic, combining many magical traditions in a new synthesis. Definitely worth having in your grimoire collection! There's just not that many examples of authentic ancient magical texts.

Another excellent book on ancient talismans is Curse Tablets and Binding Spelles from the Ancient World by Gager. This book gives many examples of defixiones, which are a very typical ancient talisman made from writing on lead strips. Curses, love spells, business, justice, even racing are covered, with lots of actual examples.

Gager even brings us full circle because the very first illustration in the book comes from Picatrix! He notes the use of magical symbols in Picatrix very much akin to those used in ancient talismans 1,000 years earlier, then notes the use of similar characters in Renaissance England. Of course, for us Picatrix is an exciting and new form of magic, the renaissance of medieval and ancient magic, in an endless birth, death and rebirth.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Astrology, Prophecy and Christmas

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet... Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” Matthew 2:1-11.

Now this is a very interesting passage, since it provides such a positive view of astrology, often lumped with sorcery and witchcraft in the Bible. The three wise men or Magi are clearly astrologers and in some modern translations of the Bible, clearly identified as such. And while the use in Matthew is focused on the many foretellings of the birth of Christ, of course, the fact that it was astrologically predicted means that astrology works! Note that in this passage, astrological prediction and prophecy as well as dream interpretation all combine to give a complete view of events.

It's interesting to compare this with Luke, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-16.

Note that the astrologers knew that Christ was to be born from the stars, but didn't know where, while the divine revelation given by the angels to the shepherds is complete in all details, "born this night in the City of Christ the Lord."

What these accounts of the birth of Christ reveal is that astrology and prophecy are ultimately not antagonistic, but that they are different means to understand not just material reality, but also to approach the One. There is, of course, a tremendous amount of interesting material available on the Three Magi.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Using USNO Website for Fixed Star Elections!

Folks, I had posted earlier about the US Naval Observatory website which has a great page on rising, transiting(culminating) and setting times for any world location for planets and many stars.

Now I've really done it! I have a great new Renaissance Astrology webpage on how to use the USNO webpage for elections for all 15 of Hermes fixed stars.

Here's the link to my USNO fixed star elections page.

This makes it easy to do your own fixed star elections, this is perfect for consecration and invocation, though for actually making talismans you are going to want to elect more factors. I explain how to do this in my Astrological Magic Course.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Moon and Intuition: Key for Astrological Prediction?

On my recent trip to Japan I did a number of unusual (at least unusual for me!) things.

I've mentioned the planetary initiation, this time of Jupiter, which I was privileged to give to participants at a Shinto shrine in Osaka. I've never done these in the US!

Also on my list of unusual things was doing on the spot natal readings. Normally, I always do my readings in writing. I find this gives me time to think carefully about the chart, and seems to help to write out the reading. But as part of my astrology lectures in both Tokyo and Osaka, I looked at participants' natal charts, riffing on the spot and even in public, so the other participants could see and hear. Not that I want to switch my general readings to this style, but very interesting!

Among the lecture participants were a good number of professional Japanese astrologers, tarot readers, and other types of professional Eastern and Western fortunetellers. In Japan fortunetelling of many types, traditional Japanese, Chinese, Taoist/Yin yang, along with Western methods are both practiced and widely accepted. It's more accepted here and easier to think about and actually begin a professional career.

What was striking about the natal charts of the Japanese fortunetellers was the fact that very often they had either an angular and/or dignified Moon. I think of about 8 or so fortuneteller participants, about 7 had this signature. Very interesting!

Ok, so first let's talk a bit about astrological signatures. We must be very careful not to try to set up a 1 to 1 correspondence between character traits or natal characteristics and individual chart features. For example, while almost everyone who has a strongly dignified Mercury in the chart is intelligent, plenty of intelligent people have afflicted Mercuries.

But the prominence of the Moon in fortuneteller chart is interesting. In my chart, for example, the Moon is rising. We tend to think of Mercury as ruling astrology and indeed Lilly, Christian Astrology page 78 says Mercury rules astrologers. Saturn also plays a role, ruling "secret sciences" Picatrix Bk III, ch 7. But Picatrix also says the Moon rules, "thoroughly studying high sciences such as astrology, magic, and other secret sciences" Picatrix Bk III, ch 7.

While I looked and couldn't find a reference in traditional sources, the Moon is also often associated in contemporary traditional astrology with intuition, visions, prophecy and psychic ability. When Robert Zoller looked at my chart, he noted that the rising Moon indicated intuition and divinatory ability. The prominence of the Moon in these charts brought home to me the importance of intuition and divinatory ability to astrologers.

This raises an important point. When I first started practicing traditional astrology people would ask, "Are you psychic?" and I would say "no, this is scientific" After 15 years, I have realized that what Lilly calls judgment, aka intuition, is a key part of astrological prediction. I am finally confident enough in my intuitive approach to look at natal charts and publicly predict. It was gratifying to basically be on the money with almost every chart.

But as traditional astrologers we use intuition and psychic ability a bit different than a classic psychic. We do not immediately jump to our intuition. We first delineate the chart using traditional methods and then, within the possibilities indicated by the chart, we use our judgment and intuition to determine the final answer. I discuss this in a Youtube lecture here.

Nevertheless, this divinatory ability is extremely important. As astrologers should embrace rather than reject the title of fortuneteller, but in fact we are oracles. A great privilege and a weighty responsibility!