Eclipses: Moon, Magick, and Multipliers

2012/05/16

May 20th will deliver us an Annular Solar Eclipse. I love eclipses; mundanely, magickally, and astronomically. It’s amazing that our Moon is about 1/400th the size of the Sun, and is 400 times closer so that we actually get these eclipses. If our Moon was smaller, or farther away it wouldn’t obscure the Sun, just blot out a little as it passes. I love the world slipping into a fake twilight. I love the feel eclipses give me, and what they mean to me, what they inspire in me.

I mentioned it when discussing the period between my birthday and New Years, but I love the liminal places, the twilight realms, that is where I thrive. Magickally I love the expression of being balanced and in transition, and it’s something I love to make use of. A lot of my life (and my death) has been about these neither-nether places and they have a personal appeal to me.

In Vajrayana Buddhism it’s believed that during a solar eclipse the effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied by 10,000. So in general they’re considered auspicious days to practice on. This eclipse takes place on the 30th day of the third Tibetan month, the next day begins Saga Dewa, the holy month containing the birth, Enlightenment, and death of Shakyamuni Buddha. (I have some issue with the concept of multiplier days, but I still practice with them.)

Eclipses are linked with other eclipses in different ways. Eclipses occur when the Moon is conjunct a Node; South Node is a solar eclipse, and North Node is a lunar eclipse. While the Moon is at the same plane as the nodes it can have multiple eclipses, the most common is a lunar eclipse 14-15 days before and/or after a solar eclipse. We have just such a link this year, a lunar eclipse falls 15 days after this solar eclipse on June 4.

This is the 15th day of Saga Dawa, known as Saga Dawa Düchen, the day celebrating the Enlightenment and death of the historical Buddha. That holiday is another multiplier day, as is the lunar eclipse. (But, like a well balanced role-playing game these multiplication modifiers don’t stack) So this eclipse is part of a bigger system.

On top of this the Sun and Moon will be conjunct Alcyone during the eclipse, Alcyone being the central star of the Pleiades. The only thing that could make this eclipse better in my system was if Pluto was aspected somehow, but alas he is not.

So what does all this mean? It means I’ll be locked in my temple pretty much all day. The eclipse doesn’t start locally (EST) until 16:56, is full at 19:53, and ends at 22:49 but even still there will be preparation to do. I have stacks of pendants and talismans that I’ve been waiting to complete (and some I have to finish physically making) so there will be a lot of time spent on that. I’ll probably complete them properly during the lunar eclipse to tie them into both. I have materia to transform, magickal items to make, bless, and charge. I have a Cosmos to love.

I’ll probably end up figuring out more in the next few days. I see my lama tonight, so we’ll nail down (phurba down?) some plans and I’ll go from there.

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Day-After-Wednesday Webshare: Police, Prayers, Angels

2012/02/02

Once upon a time Wednesdays were the best day of the week for me to do this. Two years in a row I didn’t have school Wednesday, and the symbolism was good. Now I work Wednesdays and either volunteer in the evening or go to temple, so webshares are less common and occasionally a bit backdated.

Also both law enforcement experts and astrological “experts” are not really giving this much credit the Chatham-Kent police department sorted people arrested by their Sun Signs. Of 1986 people arrested the largest group, with 203 people, was Aries, and the smallest, with 139, was Sagittarius. I agree with the assessment, it’s not so much that Sags don’t commit crimes, we’re just smart enough not to get caught, or talk our way out if we do.

Memoire of a Vipassana Retreat, it’s a nice read about the experience. I’ve done these retreats before, they’re awesome and intense. If I can swing it with summer school I hope to lock myself inside a silent cell with no control over my life for ten days over the summer.

Frater Barrabbas has done several posts on the Nephilim. This is the first post for those of us who like our angels a bit lusty and warlike.

The controversial figure of Dorje Shugden has his own graphic novel depicting his origins and trying to establish his legitimacy. I’m not expressing an opinion on him one way or the other (like a pregnant mother I’m just not qualified), just thought it was an interesting text, explains some of the basics of the history of Tibetan Buddhism and where Dorje Shugden fits in, though they leave out the current Dalai Lama denouncing him.

An article comparing some modes of Christian Prayer to Buddhist meditation. Oddly enough I came across this entry and another mention of the prayer form in the same day. I recently taught my very Christian mother anapana meditation (her request), maybe I should let her know the connection it can have to her prayers?

There is a growing movement of Pagan Atheism, specifically in recon schools, this is a great post about the ideas of magick in Paganism and that it is alive, and to keep it there. Also relevant in general to the problems in the magickal (oc)culture.

Sarah V. from Invocatio writes on Mysticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Note this is an undergrad paper, it’s not a quick easy read, it’s about 22 pages, but for those interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the angelic revelations from those sources it’s a worthwhile read.

Interesting reading on money gods, and if the old gods and their methods still count. I had wondered this in regards to the digitalization of money, but this if far beyond what I had considered. Great food for thought.

The Shem ha’mephorash have been swimming around lately. For an interesting guide on working with them check out this haven’t tried it yet. I use my own methods, but plan on doing so when I get some time.

Lupa writes about cultural appropriation for artists (and occultists in many ways) who work with dead animals. Really good and thoughtful. Cultural appropriate is overlooked a lot in the occult spheres (well in general) so it’s nice to see someone talking about it and rationally engaging some of the issues.

How to make a tincture youtube video. The set/series also includes oils and stuff like that. It’s meant for a more herbalist audience, but it’s good information for those of us who make use of magickal oils, philtres, potions, and whatever. (For now I’ll just stick with my vodka steeped in a human skull mixed with spices)

I love this type of stuff. Polyphanes made a Greek Sigil Wheel ala the Rosy Cross. I’ve Greekified the Qameas before, but I really like this, and I’m sure Polyphanes would love to hear about people’s results in experimenting with it. (Makes me wonder if the Mantra Wheel I recently made for my lama could be used in this fashion. Stacking letters would make it hard.)

Lastly this is the reason I’m posting my webshare now, rather than scheduling it for next Wednesday. The Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in exile has called for an international vigil for Tibet next Wednesday on the 8th. He has also essentially recommended cancelling Losar (New Year, February 22) because of the Chinese pattern of reacting non-favourably/violently to expressions of Tibetan culture.


Wednesday Webshares: Music, Monks, Mayans, and More

2012/01/04

(Yes, I know I have an alliteration problem. I tried attending Alliteraters Anonymous, but that just made things worse)

In my review on Geomancy by Hartmann, I expressed some confusion about some assignments. Polyphanes came to the rescue with a killer comment, which then led into a great post on the planets orderings and their connections, days, nights, hours, and metals?

For the more musically inclined on the Ceremonial spectrum Alex Sumner has written a set of posts on Music in Theory and Practice. Putting the different ways of transforming Hebrew letters into musical notation. This is the first one, I recommend reading them. Of course, I disagree with his suggestion that you could just grab any instrument and play the names on it…he obviously doesn’t play a theremin, just saying.

Debating the Mayan Nonpocalypse? Here is a handy infographic comparing believers and sceptics.

I adore Carl Sagan. Cosmos was a huge influence on my spiritual path. I celebrate his birthday, and call him a Saint. Lupa writes up a great reflection on watching the series, and the importance of its message, and I couldn’t agree more.

Want an interesting bar experience in Tokyo? There is no shortage of bizarre places to go, but how about a bar staffed by Buddhist monks? It’s not just a silly gimmick, it’s an attempt to break out of the monastic tradition and return to engaging with the community, and helping others. I’m assuming they had a lot of discussions if this counts are right livelihood or not.

Looking for a good New Years Tarot spread? Check out Naya’s 26 card spread. It’s a lot to work through but after giving it a try I like the format a lot.

For more 2012 forecasting pop over to Peter Stockinger’s Traditional Astrology Weblog where he lists out the retrogrades we have coming this year, as well as Out of Bounds, Ingresses, Eclipses, and more.

Going back two months Aghor Pit wrote up a nine part series on the Navagraha, the Nine Planets. Each entry talks about the Planet/God represents or rules, some explanation on the symbolism, Yantras, associations, mantras and more. This link is to Chandra (the Moon) the first in the series, but I really recommend reading them all. Even though it is different from the Western traditions, there is a lot to learn there.

I know it’s an easy horse to beat, and I’ll try to leave it with this, but a video on why 2012 is silly. Best quote “The History Channel: What happened to you guys?”

Also in a hitting myself over the head because it’s so clever and I didn’t think of it post Naya links the theory of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences to different types of magick. Now, when I teach people magick I always try to play into their strengths initially, and in my non-magickal life I’ve had Gardner’s MI beaten into me regularly for a long time, but I never linked them. Lots to think on, both what fits where, and one of the important questions with MI, how to modify something that doesn’t fall into someone’s stronger Intelligences so that it does, without having to abandon everything.


Review: Geomancy – Franz Hartmann

2011/12/20

Geomancy: A Method of Divination – Franz Hartmann
Ibis, 1889. 2005. 222pp. 0892541016.

Geomancy is one of my favourite methods of divination, there is something beautifully elegant in the way the figures change into each other, the flux and flow leading from a handful of simple dots into a complex reading of twelve or more figures. Yet it is also a system that is often overlooked, and the reprinting of Geomancy will hopefully help with that. Using a stick and sand, paper and pencil, or even dice (my preference), and a bit of practice and you can quickly be engaged in some very deep explorations of the world.

Hartmann’s Geomancy was originally published in 1889 but despite being an excellent book and still being relevant today it never saw much circulation. This edition, published 115 years later, is the original book but the contents have been reorganized to make it easier to use and navigate. This book starts off with the basics of geomancy as a system: the symbols, the casting, the associations, and quickly moves into detailed examples. The layout, with the previous one unknown to me, is a very useful method building up in complexity as you read, as well as being logically laid out for later examination.

The method and style of geomancy in the book is an older form, the astrological and planetary associations taken from Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy. This might be confusing if you’re used to a newer system like that shown in John Michael Greer’s The Art and Practice of Geomancy (which is still an excellent book), and I’m not sure how to synthesize them. The book also gives a new order for the planetary hours that I’ve never seen before and I do find confusing, the order of the planetary days.

The book has a structural position that I enjoy, it starts off with saying it is “recommended to keep a book for the purpose of entering the result of one’s calculations in practising Geomancy concerning future events.” (4) Without recording and analyzing your results you’ll never know how good you actually are, how helpful your reading is. Simple, and a dead horse I beat, but I love seeing authors stress the importance of recording your readings.

Related perhaps to being so structural is how much detail is put into the examples of the book. These examples explain what everything means according to the position/house they fall in when using an astrological cast. To get even more detailed 16 questions are asked and every possible outcome of the Witnesses and Judge is detailed so you can learn that reading as well as to begin to understand how it all comes together. These 2048 answers aren’t Hartmann’s original work, but are translated from a German text from the sixteenth century.

In order to be complete, the book (now) ends with a section on astrology, detailing the traits of the planets as well as their sympathies/antipathies with each other, and an explanation of the zodiac. The book’s appendix gives several different geomancy charts that the reader can photocopy and make use of to organize their readings.

If you’re looking for more information on this relatively unappreciated system of divination then this would be the book you’d want. If you’re looking to combine it into more of a magickal practice I’d suggest pairing it with The Art and Practice of Geomancy. Some of the attributions are different, but the rest of the procedures will work well together, especially with the deeper divinatory insight from Hartmann’s book.


Languages and Magick: Alphabets, Orders, and the Naming of Angels

2011/07/04

Language and magick; there is so much I could write and ramble about this combination that it will take several posts. Names, linguistic drift, spoken languages, dead languages, when languages have power and why; every time I sit down to write or think about this I come up with more ideas.

For now I’m going to focus on alphabets and names. I recently finished updating my Genius Name Calculator (more on it in an upcoming post) and I know what you’re thinking “Kalagni, you’re already a genius and you already have a name, what do you need this calculator for?” That’s not what you were thinking? Could have humoured me at least…

What I’m referring to is what gets called the Angel of the Nativity and is often connected to the idea of your Genius or Daemon. Renaissance magick has a method of calculating the name of this spirit from your birth chart. If you’re interested you can find it in Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book III Chapter 26, or wait for my post with the calculator. Traditionally this is done in Hebrew, so I made my calculator in Hebrew. After all, it’s a magickal language isn’t it? I shared the calculator in this early form on an elist and people were appreciative, but asked for other languages. While Hebrew is traditional it isn’t uncommon to see this done in Greek and two different methods of doing it in English are popular too. Now for the rest of this post to matter you’re required to assume this method works, that you can find out a valid and workable Angel name from this process, so at least keep that idea in mind for now, if you assume the method has no validity than this is just a moot ramble.

So now you have one method, which you can substitute four different languages for and you end up with four different names. Using the time of this writing as an example the name of our Angel is Kavatzalah in Hebrew, Gochochopa in Greek, Xaqedije in English, or Majihats in another way of doing it in English. Which is correct? Are they all correct? Xaqedije sounds Enochian almost.Will any language work? I had someone ask for this in Sanskrit, which while representing a totally different culture, philosophy, and magickal system, I can’t give a reason why Sanskrit isn’t just as valid as Greek, Hebrew, or English. Especially as Sanskrit is also seen as a very magickal language.

Now one theory is that all of these are correct, loosely it is like brother, frère, frater, bruder, four words/names but one meaning. If that’s the case I can stop wondering, go home, and sleep soundly, it just means Kavatzalah is the Hebrew from of Majihats, simple. While I don’t deny the possibility of this answer it does seem a bit too easy to me and I don’t like that. (I tend to make life difficult by rejecting the simple initially)

Do we make languages magickal? I’ll touch on this in a later post, but the two most common languages for this process are Hebrew and Greek, languages that the magickians who used this system didn’t speak natively and associated with the magickal traditions they studied. Is it their investment in the magickal tradition of the Jews and Greeks that make these the languages magickal to use rather than English, German, or French? So is it the case that Greek and Hebrew aren’t inherently magickal, but the amount of time, both personally and historically, spent investing the languages with magick give them power?

With both Hebrew and Greek the alphabets are used in order when doing the calculations, yet both English methods don’t use the alphabetical order. Is that because English is too mundane and everyday to us as it is and requires some mystery added to it to become workable? (While the 26 letters of English and the order we have now is actually from the last two-hundred years most of the alphabet existed in roughly the same order before then, so I doubt that’s a factor) Perhaps it is something about our religious upbringing or ancestors, the languages important to our religion (in the Christian age of Europe that would be Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) or what our ancestors (however you view that) spoke, that this connection gave them the magick.

I don’t know, sorry if folks reading thought I might have a conclusion. I alternate between all languages are valid and there is something that makes one language more valid than the rest, but I don’t know if that language is always more valid or if it is personal. Perhaps Tibetan would work best for me, but Greek better for a friend and Enochian for another? Maybe the language doesn’t matter, but it is the process and effort that gives strength and reality to the Angel of the Nativity? The effort and process matters more than the tools? I don’t know, but I’d love to get thoughts on this. Hopefully in time I’ll have a follow up, as I’m strongly suspecting some friends are going to get roped into an experiment with this. I see myself distributing a bunch of Angel Names (and fake names) in my future.


Planetary Balancing Ritual Set

2011/05/29

Our body/mind/spirit is maintained by a delicate and unique balance of forces; too little is just as bad as too much, and one imbalance leads to another. While this is a philosophy I gleaned from the notion of lüng (rlung) in Tibetan Buddhism I find it applies to other forces in our lives.

This philosophy bleeds a lot into my magickal work, which led me to “create” a ritual of Planetary Balancing, which is really just a sequence of existing planetary rituals for a specific end. I just sent this over to a friend who needed it and decided I’d post about it here. Our psyche and our lives are composed of a balancing act of planetary forces, we might not be aware of it all the time, but it’s always at play. The problem is –like the lüng in Tibetan Buddhism– these forces can become unbalanced, too much Saturn, not enough Venus, and this spirals your internal and external world out of control. It may start with one force, but it spreads, too little of one force leaves an “energy surplus” that has to then go elsewhere, then you continue trying to compensate for having too much or too little in certain areas and it just gets worse. It seems everything starts going wrong; your desires/impulses seem off, your focus is wrong, and the world around you just doesn’t want to cooperate, it has the same appearance as bad luck or a curse in many cases. This ritual is relatively easy to perform requiring time and a willingness to wake up early more than anything. It’s nothing star-shattering, but it’s useful.

Now I suppose if you were focused and astute you could simply work on the specific problem force, but I find most of the time if it is getting bad it is best to start fresh. Sometimes when your diet is out of whack and your body isn’t reacting well and it can be tricky to get your diet and body back to normal while your body is still struggling with whatever is wrong. What do you do? You fast, you detox. Eliminate everything, and slowly reintroduce it back into your life. This is the basic idea behind my Planetary Balancing. In regards to the process of the various rituals of the pentagrams and hexagrams I won’t give instructions on them, if you don’t know them, they’re everywhere online and in books.

I personally start this ritual on Saturday. Any day of the week would work, but I find the order of Saturn – Sun – Moon very effective to get things moving, this is related to my personal symbol set of the layers of Self. Dawn brings about the same planetary hour as the force of the day, in this case Day of Saturn, Hour of Saturn. At dawn perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and then the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram for the force of the day. The LBRP helps clear you out internally while the LBRH clears out the force of Saturn (in this case) in your life. The idea is to remove your internal mental/magickal detritus and the planetary detritus from you and your sphere/life. You’re flushing yourself and your world of these forces that may be unbalanced. Repeat this process for the entire week, obviously changing the planetary attribute with the day.

On the following Saturday (or whatever date you started on) wake up well before dawn and perform, in the same order as the week, all seven LBRP/LBRH. I haven’t tested this part to see if it is strictly necessary (which is unlike me I admit), but logistically to me it makes sense. Over the course of the week even though you’ve banished a force parts of it can begin to flow into your life again (nature abhors a vacuum), and the balance/compensation issues appear again. So I feel it is wise to give yourself and your sphere one final banishing of all the planetary forces.

Once dawn has arrived perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the appropriate Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram. I tested this and feel this is a better combination than two invoking rituals; the focus should be on invoking and reuniting with the planetary forces so the only invocation should be regarding these attributes. Again the LBRP clears out your internal detritus and establishes a baseline, a blank slate, or a vacuum even. Then you invoke the appropriate planetary force and since you are blank there is nothing to interfere with it flowing into you properly, nothing to disturb it or set it out of balance. Repeat this process for the entire week, again obviously changing the planetary attribute with the day.

On the following Saturday (or whenever) wake up for dawn and perform all seven LBRP/LIRH. Same as before, haven’t tried the ritual without it, but it makes logical sense to me. A week, in my experience, isn’t enough to totally unbalance a force, so your Saturn won’t be off-kilter by Sunday, but it is enough that things can warp a little and a little warp down the line can lead to a bigger instability. I think it’s helpful to give the planetary forces one last boost to balance them all out.

So over the course of two weeks you zero-out the planetary influences and slowly reintroduce them into your life, bringing them into balance. Now I’m sure you could achieve all this in less than two weeks, so why do I do it this way? For me at least, it is intense. I can’t say why it’s not like this when I do either LBRP-LBRH or LBRP-LIRH for other purposes, but this hits my life hard. Counter-intuitively the days I banish a planetary force are filled with those influences in positive active ways. I think it is as though my life is “using up” that last little bit of planetary fuel to clear it out. On the other hand the days I invoke a planetary force are filled with all sorts of little annoying mishaps related to the influences, like a series of retrogrades, even though the Sun and Moon don’t have retrogrades. It is as though the forces are kind of “clunky” when restarting from scratch. So you could try shortening it, but I find two weeks is a good processing period and spreads out the highs and lows that accompany this for me.

Flush out all the imbalanced forces introduce them back without the imbalance and instability and your mind and your life tend to reorganize. Personally I don’t do this often, maybe once a year, twice at absolute most, when I feel things are going wrong and there is no reason I can find for it. I perform this and by the end my life is back on track.


Mercury Retrograde: Background

2011/04/19

My Mercury Retrograde post got a surprising amount of attention, even though I was really just babbling about it not being a big deal to me, but it and the conversations it inspired made me realize how unfamiliar a lot of people actually are with Mercury Retrograde and the Shadow of it I mentioned.

Now as I begin, in honour of Mercury Retrograde (being confused and meaningless communication) after loving harassment of my friend Psyche (who has four websites so I didn’t know which to link to or should I link her twitter?) I have finally broken down and have decided to give twitter a try, so you can follow me here under the name Blueflamemagick. As far as I know I’ll be using it mainly to mention blog stuff, and to share interesting articles/links that don’t deserve their own posts but are fascinating none the less. This apparently gets me into this century.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging. I was surprised that a lot of people who dread Mercury Retrograde don’t even know what it is, much like a Saturn Return. Simple put Mercury Retrograde is when Mercury goes backwards in the sky. Obviously the planet doesn’t actually start to travel backwards but that is what it looks like from Earth. Why? Because we’re both orbiting the Sun at different distances and different rates and that creates the illusion of it travelling backwards. Have you ever been in a car and as you pick up speed that car ahead of you gets closer and then once you overtake it that car looks like it is travelling backwards? It’s the same illusion; Mercury just looks like it is going backwards because we “lap” each other in the race around the Sun.

So why does this disrupt our lives? I don’t know, it’s astrology, I find it works but no known mechanism, moving on. What it represents is everything about Mercury going backwards, against the flow of things. So it tends to be a time of travel issues, technological hiccoughs, miscommunications and the like. Now essentially all the bodies used in astrology go retrograde, so why does Mercury get all the glory? Mercury is a personal planet, which means it moves fast and affects people in more individual ways than a slower planet like Saturn does, but because it moves so fast when it goes Retrograde it “hits” a lot of other planets. When Mercury travels backwards it covers around a dozen degrees and if there are any planetary aspects in that range they get a touch of Mercury Retrograde. This is why it seems to hit people so much, Saturn hits around 8 degrees when Retrograde and it takes almost half a year to do it, so when it does affect something it is a smaller range, so less people are likely to share in the experience. Mercury is also an interpersonal planet, it’s communication, it’s commerce, it’s about you and other people, so it seems like it hits more people because by its nature it is a shared experience.

What is the Shadow of Mercury Retrograde? It’s a fancy name describe the time before and after retrograde when it is in the affected degrees. So right now Mercury started at 24 degrees of Aries and will go back to 12 degrees. So this area of 12-24 degrees is the shadow period. March 31 to April 23 Mercury is travelling backwards, but on April 23 Mercury will be in the same spot in the sky it was on March 17, and on May 12 it will finally be as far ahead as it was on March 31. So while March 31-April 23 is Mercury Retrograde, March 17-March30 and April 24-May 12 are the Shadows of Mercury Retrograde. They aren’t nearly as bad but share some of the same influence. One way of thinking of it is the first shadow is like walking on uneven terrain, retrograde is when you actually stumble, and the second shadow are your first few shaky steps as you catch your balance.

So what is the lesson of Mercury Retrograde? Like I said in the last post all retrogrades are about re-doing that planetary influence, and turning it inwards. Mercury you have to rethink, replan, rewrite, recommunicate, and such. While life must go on if you can avoid it never start something during the retrograde planet associated with it. That would be like a certain blogger who stupidly decided to upgrade Windows during Mercury Retrograde and has spent the last two days trying to get everything functional again. When you can’t avoid something in a retrograde people, always try to “re” it over in your head. Mercury Retrograde is commonly known for miscommunication, so when sending that important email or letter take time to reread, and revise it because now is the time where mistakes can appear more easily. Other than that, sit back, and relax, it is only Mercury Retrograde, it lasts for a short while and then you’re safe…for three months.

(Disclaimer: All spelling and grammatical errors are the result of Mercury Retrograde, milk the excuse while you have it.)


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