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.

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