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.


SKuo said...

I'm with you on this one. I'm also gravitating towards the more devotional practise concerning the spirits. I don't have an altar at the moment, but I'm thinking of setting up one. Any tips for that? I know altars usually are highly personal matters, but what would you recommend for especially working with celestial/planetary spirits?

Christopher Warnock, Esq said...

You can see an example of one of my astrological altars here

I am thinking of having altar kits!

SKuo said...

I'm sure this will be useful. Thank you very much!