Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sometimes the Magic Works, Sometimes It Doesn't

I had a student write me recently about the interesting synchronicities and “effects” of a recent talisman. I commended them, but noted that the real test would be when they did a talisman and got no discernable effect.

This reminded me of a scene from the movie, “Little Big Man” and to quote Chief Daniel George, “sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t”

This is not what some clients want to hear. They want guaranteed results, they want to be SAVED! They are only putting up with these silly shenanigans because they’ve already tried all of the conventional means and this is their last chance. If it doesn’t work 100% of the time, instantly giving everything they want, the method, the mage and the magic itself are clearly bogus.

It’s not particularly good for sales, but if you are going to practice magic, get used to it, it won’t always work, at least not always as you expect.

Ok, obviously if one is an atheistic/materialist no magic is going to work, or if it does it is solely psychosomatic, the “placebo effect”. We can go a bit further and based magic solely on belief. This fits nicely with the New Age affirmation style, “if you just want something badly enough you can have anything” Oh, really?

But if we’ve moved outside atheistic/materialism then how do we explain magical success or failure? In the traditional view, the spiritual world underlie the material. It makes sense that it is easier to use the spiritual to cause spiritual effects than material effects. Algol, for instance, has been repeatedly reported as causing electronic interference, which makes sense as the electronic is already very spiritualized as compared to a rock or a piece of wood. Material effects need to come from material causes, but the arrangement and order of these material causes can be altered spiritually. For example, I once did a Jupiter talisman and 45 minutes later got a check for several thousand dollars. The check did not appear out of nowhere, I had to do work and bill for it. But the check showed up promptly after the Jupiter ritual.

A key realization is that magic is not the sole factor operating in a situation, it is just one of many. Why can’t a doctor cure every disease or lawyer win every case? Because there are multiple factors operating outside their control. If a client has multiple previous offenses, robbed a bank on video and confessed to the cops, no matter how eloquent his lawyer, he is likely to be going to jail.

Similarly, if you are a blind beggar in a Third World slum and manage to do a Jupiter ritual, you are unlikely to become a billionaire.

Fate, that concept seemingly most dreaded by moderns, materialist or New Age alike, is one culprit here. Our desires are simply not the only factors operating and certainly not the most powerful ones. But the issue is bigger than not getting what we want. Fata volentem docunt, nolentem trahunt, “the Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling” What we see as some evil outside force stopping us from getting what we want, is, at a higher level of wisdom and understanding, Providence, that is the beneficient interlinking of all things and events in the Cosmos. Think of the child that wants to get into the cupboard and eat 50 cookies, giving themselves a bellyache. They will protest vociferously if we stop them, even in their best interests.

Now magic is probably never wasted and I think the planets and stars always appreciate the effort, but still as a magic user you will occasionally not get what you are looking for. Hopefully you can avoid credulously insisting that magic always works or the opposite extreme of righteously stomping off in indignation and roundly condemning it all as fraudulent. That it works sometimes is both sufficient and, in fact, quite incredible!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Algol and the Head of the Dragon

I had a recent post asking whether the fixed star Algol conjunct the South Node would be a problem. This is a good example of the nuances of traditional astrology. We do not want to fall into a classifying everything as simply good or bad, reality is much more complex than that.

The North Node of the Moon is known as the Caput Draconis, the Head of the Dragon and the South Node as the Cauda Draconis, the Tail of the Dragon. The Nodes are the points where the orbit of the Moon intersects the Ecliptic, the orbit of the Sun.

The English astrologer William Lilly says,

The Head of the Dragon is Masculine, of the nature of Jupiter and Venus, and of himself a Fortune; yet the Ancients doe say, that being in Conjunction with the good he is good, and in conjunction with the evil Planets they account him evil.

The Tayle of the Dragon is Feminine by Nature, and clean contrary to the Head; for he is evil when joyned with good Planets, and good when in conjunction with the malignant Planets. This is the constant opinion of all the Ancients, but upon what reason grounded I know not; I ever found the North Node equivalent to either of the Fortunes, and when joyned with the evil Planets to lessen their malevolent signification; when joyned with the good to increase the good promised by them:

For the Tayle of the Dragon, I always in my practise found when he was joyned with the evil Planets; their malice or the evil intended thereby was doubled and trebled, or extreamly augmented, &c. and when he chanced to be conjunction with any of the Fortunes who were significators in the question, though the matter by the principal significator was fairely promised, and likely to be perfected in a smal time; yet did there ever fal out many rubs and disturbances, much wrangling and great controversie, that the businesse was many times given over for desperate ere a perfect conclusion could be had; and unlesse the principal significators were Angular and wel fortified with essential dignities, many times unexpectedly the whole matter came to nothing.

Christian Astrology page 83

The Arabic astrologer Al-Qabisi, aka Alcabitius, says that the Head of the Dragon is a benefic and "Some say its nature is increase. If it is with the benefics it increases their good fortune; if it is with the malefics it increases their bad fortune...The Tail of the Dragon is a malefic...Some say its nature is decrease. If it is with the benefics it decreases their good fortune; if it is with the malefics it decreases their bad fortune. Thus it is said that the Head is a benefic with the benefics and a malefic with the malefics; the Tail is a malefic with the benefics and a benefic with the malefics."

The Introduction to Astrology, trans. Burnett (Warburg 2004) Chapter II page 87-9.

So, since we are using Algol as protection talisman, to diminish the effect of curses, perhaps being conjunct the South Node is appropriate? This is similar to the issue of Moon phase, again Moon waning is simplistically considered bad, but if we wish to diminish or remove it is exactly what we want.

Finally, we are going to do a final Algol casting before he/she gets too close to the South Node, ie within about 1-2 degrees. With this election we can have the Moon conjunct Algol within 8 degrees but still about 11-12 degrees from the South Node, which works!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reconsecration of Afflicted Planets' Talismans?

I had a poster ask about reconsecrating a Jupiter talisman when Jupiter was in detriment, which he will be until Summer of 2013. Definitely if we are creating a talisman we want to be careful about the election.

In essence we are "freezing" the moment of the creation of the talisman permanently in the talisman and at the moment of the initial consecration the spirit of the planet, star, etc., takes up residence in the talisman and begins the connection to the spirit.

Picatrix gives the example of Saturn,

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.
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.

Reconsecrating talismans is essentially renewing that original connection. Certainly it would be nice to have a good election for this, but I think it is less crucial. Following on from the passage in Picatrix quoted above, if contacting Jupiter when he is in detriment, though currently also dignified by term, means he is cranky. He's not going to be as helpful or generous, but at least you are keeping the connection going.

I've done a daily invocation of the planet that rules the day, everyday for years without ill effects. Still if one is cautious one could wait until Jupiter is unafflicted, the downside here is the loss of connection when reconsecration doesn't take place.

I then had another poster ask if I was reconsecrating all of my talismans daily. Hmmm...well perhaps technically no. I do an invocation of the planet of the day every day and I have talismans all over my altar space where I am doing the invocation, but since I don't suffumigate (move them back and forth through incense) I'm not sure I'd say I'm reconsecrating them.

On the other hand they are on the altar.....

Then again, with my Mansion talismans, 3rd, 7th, etc., every month when the Moon is in the appropriate Mansion I do actually reconsecrate with incense as well as candles. I often have 5 candles going at once, for example I had candles for the 3rd & 7th Mansions, a 6th Moon pentacle for rain (it's working!!!) the Sun from the Hermetic Zen Sun ritual, and the planet of the day all burning away. I use candles by the case!

This makes me think about the whole process and setup though. I guess you could say, for me, it's all about the overall connection to the spirits of the planets, stars, etc. I'm continually working on renewing my connection to these spirits in a devotional context. I wear the colors of the planet of the day, do daily invocations, do initial consecrations of mirror talismans and do reconsecrations of talismans. Talismans are part of this process, but not the sole focus.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Agrippa TBOP Bk I on Amazon!!!

Hot off the presses, the new modern translation of Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy Book One is available on Amazon!!! It's $25 so you get free Super Saver shipping!

If you haven't already got a copy, definitely time to add it to your reading list. Three Books of Occult Philosophy is in the top 5 of Renaissance magic books, in fact it's a real tossup between Picatrix and TBOP for #1. Don't make me choose!

What's so amazing about Three Books of Occult Philosophy? Agrippa lays it all out, the whole basis of magic, of astrology, in fact how the whole Cosmos is arranged. Follow Agrippa and you will be a mage.

Three Books of Occult Philosophy was originally written in Latin and needs to be translated. But why would you want to work from an inferior translation? The JF translation is what everybody, Tyson & Llewellyn included, uses. But JF makes mistakes, JF doesn't know astrology very well, it was ok, if that was all we had to work from.

Now, we can work from a top notch modern translation done from the Latin critical edition which compared all extant Latin versions of Three Books of Occult Philosophy to create the definitive text. Eric Purdue took the Latin critical edition and translated Book One into English, carefully annotating and sourcing each reference. There are over 1,000 footnotes!

Very cool, very useful to have this available to us and now through Amazon! Folks, I have to admit I use Amazon constantly. Where else can you get any book in print easily. Please feel free to order through Amazon, they do take a chunk of profit, but they make it very easy for authors and publishers by taking care of ordering and shipping.

Here's the Amazon link again

And if you do want to order directly from us you can do it here