Saturday, May 28, 2011

Talisman Consecration Ritual

I had a recent request for a talisman consecration video. One of the things I really like about the Internet is the proliferation not just of written information, but also visual info. For example, I have hosta, popular lily type plant, in my yard. It grows like crazy and you are supposed to split them periodically. How to do it? About 100 videos that tell you how. Having never done it, I think I can pretty easily now.

So, I'm sympathetic to wanting to see how talisman consecrations are performed. Personally, I don't have any videos that I have done on this. Main reason is that the production values that the modern audience demands, even for free videos on Youtube, is very high. I get complaints about the sound quality of my videos made before I had a professional quality microphone and a recording expert buddy who does the sound recording and editing for me. To film a ritual would require multiple cameras, makeup, costuming, lighting, video editing, etc., if I wanted to avoid getting pounded by critics for not making the super glossy, professional free videos that today's discerning Youtuber clearly demands.

But I want to reassure everyone about ritual. In our atheistic/materialistic world ritual is something alien to most of us. We likely haven't had contact with anything other than dead ritual, haven't been able to see or participate in a living spiritual ritual where the participants trusted that the ritual was meaningful and effective.

The basic template for ritual and for consecration in particular, in the Western tradition, is fairly straightforward with three steps: Open, Do the ritual, Close.

(1) Open

You set up your sacred space and begin the ritual by separating the sacred space from the mundane. Alternately you can think of this as opening up a window or door into the spiritual. Or, finally you can think of it as recognizing the true spiritual nature of all reality and briefly dropping our illusory views of mundane reality.

I open by sprinkling water, and invoking divine names. I call on the 4 archangels (Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel) of the directions and sprinkle water in their respective directions.

Not only does this demarcate the beginning of the ritual, but it cleans out the space from any spiritual hangers on that are attracted by the spiritual energy/work being done there. Also blesses the space and ritual.

Now, the Picatrix style ritual that I use differs significantly from the standard ceremonial magic, particularly Goetic or outright demonic ceremonial magic, in that there is no magic circle and nothing is done to protect the mage from the spirits who are invoked. This is because we are invoking celestial spirits who are basically angelic. We do not need to protect ourselves from them nor can we command them, as one would do with a Goetic spirit or demon.

(2) Ritual

Essentially an astrological talisman consecration consists of invoking or calling upon the respective spirits by name and asking them to take up residence in the talisman.

We have a reasonable number of invocations in our traditional sources, particularly Picatrix Bk III, ch 7 for planets and Bk IV, ch 9 for Mansions of the Moon, but for fixed stars and decans we have to write our own.

Generally the Picatrix invocations call upon the planets by various names and then list their attributes, which can be both positive and negative.

While we are reading the invocation we generally have one or more candles burning and have incense burning as well. These spirits, like most benefic ones, tend to like candles and incense.

A key part of ritual is suffumigation which is simply moving the talisman back and forth through the smoke of the incense, while saying the invocation.

(3) Close

We end the ritual, closing the sacred space and returning to the mundane world. I usually say divine names and just say, "I now end this ritual"

I am very precise and rigid when it comes to astrological timing, but ritual is way more free form. I am increasingly moving towards short but heartfelt ritual as opposed to long, tired ritual. There is a wide variety of things you can do in ritual so long as they are appropriate.

Appropriate? First of all, be respectful! This is not a joke, these are actual, existent and very powerful beings. We can also figure out what is appropriate by looking at planetary rulership. Sun rules yellow, ok, yellow candles. Sun rules frankincense, ok, frankincense is good solar incense.

I can tell, however, that a lot of people are afraid of doing consecrations, in particular afraid that if they make a mistake, that it will blow up like a grenade. This is going to the other extreme of taking consecration as a joke. It is not a joke, but neither is it deadly serious or dangerous.

Couple of influences. First, as mentioned, this is new to most people. Second, 1000 years of anti-magic propaganda by organized religion, jealous of its monopoly on the spiritual. Third, the quite reasonable concern about Goetic spirits and down right evil demons.

My experience with celestial spirits has been overwhelming positive. Treat them respectfully and appropriately and a wide range of ritual, inspiring to you, is possible and effective!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Horaries about the News?

Not infrequently I get asked to horaries about topics in the news like Obama's re-election, or the outcome of a celebrity scandal.

Ok, I wouldn't like to say that this sort of horary was impossible, because Lilly used to do political horary questions. However, the problem is that unless you are personally and viscerally involved in a situation asking a horary about it lacks serious emotional punch. The further you get from a question that affects you personally and directly, the closer it gets to idle curiosity and the less "juicy" and focused the chart is.

The other problem is that with a binary question (guilty or not guilty) you can guess, get it right (?) and fool yourself in to thinking you predicted it. This is a common problem with presidential and other political election horaries. Really you need to be able to get multiple factors correctly predicted in a chart to be able to say that you nailed it.

Part of my problem, too, is that I am a professional horary astrologer. I am typically doing 2 sometimes 3 horaries a day. I find any reading exhausting because I have to really tune in on the situation and I have client who is paying for an accurate prediction. I don't do "freebies" or horaries for fun anymore than most people go into to work on Saturday and put in a few hours for their beloved boss and company for free, "just for the fun of it!"

I do get asked occasionally by the media for this sort of prediction. They like it, it's flashy, it's a topic in the headlines. From my standpoint it's a bit too dangerous because there is too much on the line. I don't feel that an astrological prediction will be judged fairly. The standard modern world view of atheistic/materialism KNOWS that astrology can't work, so an astrological prediction is judged on a much higher and more rigorous standard than say, economics, which is awful at prediction but rests on a more acceptable theoretical basis, so its errors are excused.

Plus when I make a prediction I am not only putting my own competence on the line, often to be judged unfairly, but the very efficacy of traditional astrology itself. If a particular prediction isn't 110% then not only am I fraud, but so is astrology itself.

So, I wouldn't want to say that this sort of prediction is impossible or wrong, but personally, I don't do 'em!