Feast Day of Saint Carl of Sagan

2015/11/09

On November 1st, the Feast of All Saints, Jason asked some of us “Who are your Saints?” and suggested people think of the “great Sorcerer Saints and Mystics that have come before, and upon whose shoulders we all stand.” I knew right away who one of my main saints is, despite not being a sorcerer, and by many perceptions of him, not a mystic or spiritual person at all.

For me today is a feast day, with an unconventional feast celebration, for an unconventional saint. Outside of a technical definition adhered to by Catholicism, it’s hard to define a saint. Catholicism has a complex system of slowly canonizing and investigating miracles to evaluate if a person could be a saint. (A modern idea within the Church, as many early saints were considered saints by the people, and essentially grandfathered in.) Within Buddhism we have a myriad of interesting saints, but no real structure into that definition. Exceptionally wise, and powerful tantric practitioners are called saints.

Crowley introduced the idea of the Gnostic Saints, people who, regardless of their background, seemed to in line with the spiritual path of Thelema, and his saints included people from different religions, poets, and mystics.

For me a saint is about the embodiment of understanding on a divine level, regardless of where it comes from. Like Crowley I have a list of Gnostic Saints, and while my own views are in line with Thelema, my Gnostic Saints are about gnosis, that radical understanding, regardless of source. It includes saints, and mystics, poets and artists, but also scientists and writers.

tumblr_mjecp7AS9j1qcten6o1_500[1]Probably my most important Gnostic Saint, is Carl Sagan. It might seem strange to have a saint that identified as agnostic (and by modern language might be more of an atheist), but to me there are very few people who embody a divine wisdom better than Carl. My path owes a great debt to saints, mystics, shamans, and sorcerers, but I cannot deny the debt it owes to scientists as well, especially those connected to the Cosmos the way Sagan was.

His show in the eighties, for which he is best known and served as my introduction to him, put forth some of the most beautiful expressions of cosmic interdependence from a scientific perspective, that it spoke to me, deeply. The line has become cliché and overused, but Sagan said it best “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

His vision of the Cosmos, all that is or was or ever will be, inspired me so much that when I did the Abramelin ritual I used Cosmos for the name of the ultimate divine. Every other word was either too loaded (god, vague, which one?), too culturally specific for my experiences (Brahma, Godhead), or too impersonal (Divine), but Cosmos…Cosmos suited. My path, named by a spirit years before the Abramelin, is known to me as the Starry Path, and the Cosmos, the literal physical universe has always been an important part of my path. As much as we might ascend the spheres of heaven on the astral to understand the universe, it is important to gaze into the heavens at the stars (same rootword as astral) to understand the universe.

I’ll let this introduction from his show speak for Sagan.

“There is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”

I can’t help but feel a spiritual resonance with that idea. Far too many magick folk spend so much time focusing on the mystical subtle realms, that they don’t realize how astoundingly beautiful, complex, and divine the physical is. Sagan delves so deep into the wonders of the (material) universe that it becomes spiritual.

He understands the interconnection of all things, that we are literally made of molecules forged in stars, that the molecules in our bodies have all come from the same place, that all life on earth is connected in a vast family tree, and all phenomena in reality are part of a single entity, the Cosmos.

“And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the Cosmos we’ve begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the Cosmos.”

He contemplates the Oneness of everything to a degree that puts many spiritual folks I know to shame.

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.”

So every year on this day, his birthday, I hold his feast. The celebration is simple.

Turn on an episode of Cosmos, while they’re all amazing for the more spiritual bend I recommend episode 1 (The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean), 2 (One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue), 9 (The Lives of the Stars) or 10 (The Edge of Forever, in which Sagan actually quotes from the Vedas).

My image of Sagan on a shelf of my Saint altar, complete with feast.

My image of Sagan on a shelf of my Saint altar, complete with feast.

While watching it eat the sacred foods of St. Carl of Sagan, a Cosmopolitan (I prefer the variation of using blue curacao, instead of Triple Sec. It tastes better and gives it a deep blue-indigo colour reminiscent of the night sky) and an apple pie (that you bought at a store or bakery, as one cannot make an apple pie from scratch, see episode 9 if that statement confuses you).

Lastly, go outside, find the darkest area within a reasonable distance, and look up at the sky. See our family slowly wandering above us. Remember was are starstuff, those lights are distant cousins. Reconnect to the Cosmos, remember we are in it, as much as it is within us.


Sorcerer’s Plant: Care, Feeding, and Consecration

2015/10/13

Before I continue the post proper I wanted to address a question I got and can’t easily work into the post.

“Why do you suggest big blade aloe plants?”

There are two reasons. The first is when the angel(s) gave me the image it was the large bladed type of aloe vera, and I have kept my plants as close as possible to their vision and instruction. The second reason is because you can actually cut off a blade to use in certain rituals, but the plant is an ally, so the destruction of part of its body should be a sacrifice. If it’s dozens of small blades one removed will not contain much power, and will not be noticed, but a larger blade will make you think twice before using it.

Previously I spoke a bit about the uses of the plant, and the type of plant selected and the basic preparation, now let’s shift to the methods of consecration.

There are two elements of the consecration, a regular routine one, and an irregular one.

I mentioned that the plant is a connection to places and spirits you work with, this is part of the irregular consecration.

I’ve talked before about collecting dirt, here and here. This is how you connect the plant to different places. Follow the method I mentioned (or something similar) where you are not just grabbing dirt, but making an offering for it, gather the essence of the place into it, and then collect the dirt.

Gather Nest dirt, which I mentioned but didn’t describe in those posts, but to reiterate a Nest is a power place, often conceptualized in the West as a Nexus point, a crisscrossing of Ley Lines or flows of nature energy. But a Nest doesn’t have to be such a crisscrossing (or rather my tradition claims that some lines are far beneath the Earth and only rear their Head in certain areas), sometimes there is a place of power disconnected for the area around. Gather dirt that is important to your practice. Power places, temples, graves that are relevant to your work, holy places, whatever.

Now if you don't have soil samples from various graves, power points, and dragon's nests, then store bought is fine...actually, no it's not.

Now if you don’t have soil samples from various graves, power points, and dragon’s nests, then store bought is fine…actually, no it’s not.

When you have the dirt I recommend sterilizing it. You don’t have to, but dirt can contain harmful microorganisms which can be damaging to plants, and if you’re using it to detect magickal attacks you want to avoid any confusion if it starts wilting. To sterilize soil you bake it believe it or not. Put the soil in an oven safe container, I find mini-cupcake pans are the perfect size for my soil samples. The soil should be slightly damp. Cover the container with tin foil and pop in the oven at 90C (200F), once the dirt reaches around 82C (180F) keep it at that temperature for half an hour. Don’t let it go much higher than that, because that can actually produce (so the gardening sites claim) toxins in the soil. After half an hour take it out, and let it cool. You now have sterilized dirt that is free of damaging organisms for your plant.

My plant has soil from the various Nests near me. Places along the shore where I communicate with the spirits of Lake Ontario, places on the Bluffs, a crypt that has been a focus of my magickal work for 12 years, places like that. It also has dirt from the Blue Hole in the Pine Barrens, and sand from the Atlantic ocean, Graveyard dirt from the focal points of the various Lords of the Dead in different cemeteries I’ve visited in Canada and the US, and even stuff as far reaching as dirt from the roots of the (supposed) Bodhi Tree, and sand from the shore of Lake Rakshastal in the Himalayas (a lake of special importance to me). Think about the places that are important and powerful to you, and the places you have spirit allies. Take dirt from there.

Adding the dirt to the plant is something that I do non-ceremoniously, though I only do it when I water the plant. Before I start I hold the dirt, and use it as a link to the spirit or place, and reach out and connect it, then I speak to the spirit and place and plant, and explain that I’m giving it the dirt to connect them, so they become linked. So that offerings to the plant are offerings to these spirits, so that the plant becomes a place where I can easily speak to those far away and draw on their forces. You don’t need to add much, and if you’re like me, you don’t want to use too much, because pretty soon your pot will be overflowing. I use maybe a teaspoon each time.

(As a sidenote: I mentioned that my last plant died. I took the soil from that pot, from the edge away from the roots, just in case they started to rot, and I sterilized that dirt and reused it with my new plant. That way it kept some of the energy of the plant, and the connections I had already established. It felt like they broke, but the guidelines are there, so it’s just a matter of charging this plant back up to connect.)

Now for the part of the regular consecration, this is what helps connect the plant to you, and helps it stand in as you during magickal attacks. It also, I believe, it was largely gives it the power to become something more than just a plant, but a more conscious spirit.

It is to be watered every New Moon, and every Full Moon. (Water in between if it needs it, but not a full watering)I use rain water (or melted snow in the winter), I wasn’t told to, but it just seems right. Every Full Moon it’s not just water I feed my sorcerer’s plant, but my blood as well. *insert people suddenly being squeamish for no good reason* It doesn’t have to be much, I usually only include three drops for a symbolic reasoning. I mix the blood in with the water, and give it to the plant. As usual it’s less ceremony and more altered state chatting with the plant, reminding it that I share my blood with its water, so that I may become part of the plant, and that the plant is part of me, to bind us together and to enliven the plant. On the New Moon I offer my plant water and semen. (Those who didn’t know my sex or gender, you at least know I have functioning testicles) I cannot speak for those without the ability to produce semen, either due to medical issues or have different gonads/genitals, though I suppose other sexual secretions would work, or a second serving of blood. When I water the plant this time it is much the same, just explaining and reinforcing our connection.

(Feeding the plant my blood and semen is why my sorcerer’s plant has earned the endearing, but inaccurate, nickname of being a cum-guzzling cannibal cactus.)

This really gives the plant its own presence, and as mentioned helps it become a sort of astral double that works well as a stand in for a lot of malefic magick. There is nothing done to make it stand in, it just seems to be a nature of the plant, a natural occurrence after it builds up enough force.

Now that the plant is active and developing, you can use it essentially as a remote altar. If you need to connect to a distant spirit or place, treat the plant as you would an image or statue on an altar. Reach through it, make the offerings to it, connect to it, and speak through/to it.

I mentioned cutting off the blades. When I find I really need a boost in a ritual, I need access to more force/energy than I can easily tap, or I want to be empowered by distant allies I cut off a blade, split it lengthwise down the centre and use its gel as an anointing oil. My forehead, temples, wrists, and any other appropriate power point is wiped with the gel and I find that really sends me up and out into the ritual. Also I’ve used it as a stand in for my own blood in other rituals when I’ve not been comfortable using my own blood.

The sorcerer’s plant has inspired other such botanical familiars in my work, and I’ve come across similar ideas since then, but this post is long enough as is, so I will leave it here.


Sorcerer’s Plant

2015/10/09

For well over a year I cultivated my sorcerer’s plant, and in that time it was a good focus and tool, and in the end it proved to be a great ally. Two weeks a good I began the process of consecrating and ensorcerelling a new one. Since people asked me about it, I asked the spirits who helped guide me to the plant, and I have a green light to talk about it. (I figured since it was part of a tradition of sorts, I needed permission to discuss it exactly, rather than in broad strokes)

So to start, just what is a sorcerer’s plant? It’s a hard question to answer, but most simply it’s a living (literally) talisman. Now a lot of us magickal folks (myself included) see some of our talismans and objects as alive, but this literally is alive on a biological level. A sorcerer’s plant has several purposes. It’s a focal point of power, it’s a very lively plant, and can be used to draw energy from, far more than you could from a regular plant, but it’s more than a battery, because it’s a focal point of different entities, and nests, and sacred places. (Nest in this tradition refers to a Dragon’s Nest, what most people would understand/call a nexus point of Ley Lines, a point of convergence of flows of power across the land) Through the plant you can access, if in a limited way, places and entities that are distant. (The spirits who set me about working on the plant told me that a long-lived and powerful sorcerer’s plant would eventually shift the flows around it to become a nest of its own. I don’t know if I believe that, or if it’s true, they might have been speaking out of their ass-trals.) It also has a more active plant genus attached to it, a more conscious spirit.

The plant also becomes an early warning system. The method of consecration causes a type of mirroring or interference between you and the plant, so a lot of stuff directed at you runs through the plant. In the case of attacks or malefic magick, this means the plant can absorb it, and it will affect the plant instead or first. Also the way it’s powered and connected makes it a great ritual ingredient for heightening trance states and the like. There is more to it, but any competent magickal folk will also start figuring out their own uses to it, and potentially tweaking it.

Regarding the early warning system, that is why I’m consecrating my second plant. I was recently a target of some malefic magick (since dealt with) which involved some pretty impressive signs. A dead mouse beside my offering dish, and the wards I drew on my walls before painting literally bled through the paint, and my healthy and living plant became mush. It didn’t just die or whither, it was suddenly a pile of goo held together by its skin. I don’t know what would have happened without it, but to turn a plant to mush, I’m pretty sure it took the brunt of it. I had found it useful before this, but this really drove it home.

Larger, fewer blades

Larger, fewer blades

So first one must acquire a plant to become the receptacle. I was told to acquire “the plant of immortality,” and my first thought was the Epic of Gilgamesh, but it was accompanied by a mental image of an aloe vera plant. Now supposedly (internet says) the Khemetic people called aloe vera the plant of immortality, but regardless it matches up, and makes sense to use aloe because of its gel (more on that next post). There are a couple of species of aloe vera, I personally recommend one with fewer larger blades, rather than many small ones. If you’ve never grown an aloe before, I recommend googling how to, they can be tricky plants, especially if you’re used to “normal” house plants, not succulents.

Too many small blades. Also avoid the more squat bladed species.

Too many small blades. Also avoid the more squat bladed species.

Then you need a pot, it doesn’t have to be a fancy pot, but large enough for the plant (again google what type of pots and setups are best for aloe), and preferably a touch deeper than needed. The most vague part of the instructions I was given was “make the pot magickal.” So I repeat that to you. I did it by using food colouring to paint the seals of some of my planetary angels on the inside of the pot and a few personal symbols related to the tradition. I used food colouring because it’s a terra cotta pot, so it absorbs well, and I didn’t want to use something like paint that would potentially be harmful to the plant.

Now plant the aloe into the pot, don’t fill it with dirt all the way to the top though. Leave some room. Almost to the top.

In most cases an aloe vera plant can be watered every two weeks, which just happens to sync up pretty excellently with the lunar cycle. I was told to water the plant on the New Moon and the Full Moon. Every once and a while in a really dry period I might need to give it a bit more in between, but save the full watering for the New and Full moons.

Next time I’ll discuss more on how it’s consecrated, nurtured, and worked with.


Black Mountain of Fire

2015/08/11

There are a variety of simple methods of establishing authority and focus within a place before a magickal working. Some traditions call it Centring, though to others that’s more of an energy work technique unrelated. It’s often a preliminary before banishing or creating space, but they can also be used to do both of those, when the practitioner is competent enough in them. The Qabalistic Cross is a great example of such a technique. (There is more to it than just that though)

It’s an alignment or realignment with the source of your authority, a recollection of your force, and a gathering of power

I wanted to share a method that was given to me by a spirit I work with. I’ve found it has a similarity to a Buddhist practice I’ve found in one ritual thus far (though it may be in more). When I need to establish a sense of stability and confidence within a practice, I will often do this, or a variation of it before hand. I find it is also great for giving my energy body a quick jolt, the energetic equivalent of a warm-up sprint.

It is a series of visualizations tied to breathing. While I mention the in breath and out breath they don’t have to be consecutive, if you need more time to do a visualization or part of the energy work, take it, but make sure when you resume to pick up the breathing pattern at the next step.

Stand or sit in a stable position, take a deep breath in. As you breathe out see yourself as a giant black mountain, a flat dull black like coal. It should be a large visualization, a mountain, but at very least cover the space you’ll be working in. As you take another deep breath in feel yourself as solid as possible, the core of this massive dark mountain, and as you breathe out feel the weight of the mountain pressing down on the Earth. You’re not just resting on the surface of the planet; your mass is pushing down into the planet.

Your in breath is used to stabilize this image, and with your out breath project your mind down into the core of the planet. Feel your awareness shoot down into the centre of the planet until it reaches the core. While the core contains molten rock and metals, you’re looking for an energy that has the sensation of fiery iron. That is actually what you’re trying to connect to, burning molten iron, red iron fire. Try to sense and locate the energy, but if you can’t project out the request, there is something down there that helps, ask for the Iron Fire.

Once you’ve connected to the Iron Fire energy take a fast deep breath in and draw that energy up through the earth, through your central energy column, the centre of the black mountain, and out through the crown of you head and out through the tip of the mountain. It erupts as light from the top of the mountain, the Iron Fire component of the energy being absorbed and transformed within you. The flow and radiance continues regardless of breath, the movement continues from the core of the planet through you into space.

(I’ve found after some time, that the light is actually connecting to a Star above me. Not a real physical star -I assume- but a symbolic star, either a representation of Celestial energy, or perhaps a higher aspect of myself. This star, or the awareness of it, is not required for this technique to function, I mention it as an observation that grew over time.)

As this energy flows up through your mountain body it begins to radiate outward from the centre, as it moves out it transforms the black material into a clear crystal. Eventually you’re left as a large crystal mountain, perfectly clear radiating a beam of light from below out through the top, and radiating a halo of light out through the crystal body. You transform your body from the coal black, to a clear crystal blazing with light.

(From here, if you so desire, you can continue to radiate out in an attempt to clear out the space, though it might take some work to become proficient at that. I find it is more efficient to clear the space normally after the next step, but it can be part of this is you so desire.)

Draw the light back in, up from the core, down from the heavens, in from the world around you, and see the mountain dissolve into your self, your body becoming the radiant crystal.


Goal Dirt: Grounding Your Magick

2014/09/26

Since my last post on dirt ran long I decided to split it into two sections. Previously I talked about grave dirt, this time I’ll talk about goal dirt. I wish it had a better name, but it’s simple and gets the point across.

Goal dirt is dirt from a place related to a specific goal. Need a loan, or money? Get dirt from places like your bank, or your city’s financial district. Healing? Dirt from hospitals and temples. Hexing someone? Get dirt from their property (can also be mixed with dirt from places like dumps, prisons, cemeteries, major highways, and unfortunate places). Want a job, dirt from the building. Your imagination is the limit, as is how you use the dirt when you have it.

Goal dirt is a great way to add a physical anchor to your working, how to link it into a place and concept, to target your working and connect with it. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of linking a spell that is tied to a place into that place through the physical foundation, the earth it rests on.

To collect the dirt you need the same three things mentioned for collect grave dirt: offerings, spoon, and container.

Now offerings can be a bit tricky depending on where you are getting dirt from. While it might be a touch uncommon for someone to light incense or a candle at a grave, or even bring food, no one is going to question it. If I sat down in front of my bank though and lit a cone of incense, I’d get weird looks. On one hand as sorcerous people we should be fine with being weird; on the other hand, we don’t want attention sometimes. In this case things we can make use of smaller food offerings, or water which can be poured out of a bottle, or my favourite stealth offering, cigarettes.

My Jovian offering case.

My Jovian offering case.

Now I don’t smoke (though most of the dead people on my altar of the Beloved Dead do), but a cigarette is a great burnt offering. No one pays attention to someone standing by a building with a lit cigarette (you can mime smoking it if you want to look more normal and just blow out instead of inhaling, because the cigarette isn’t for you). Depending on what it is for I might use regular cigarettes, or I might use clove cigarettes (which I understand aren’t really available in Yankeeland) because cloves are a great offering to Jupiter. Also I’ve lit a cone of incense, and sat down beside it holding an unlit cigarette near it, so it looked like the smoke was from my cigarette while I went through my communication with the spirit of the place.

You do pretty much the same thing as you would at a grave. You have the option of either trying to see if there is a spirit of the place you can talk to, as you did with the grave owner, or just work with the energy of the place. I prefer to find a spirit if I can, if not I just work with the flows of energy. Try to find a place, if possible, that is both out of the way, but also connected to the place. So maybe a side path to the building, or out by the sign rather than the door, but still where there is some dirt. Reach out to the spirit, or just gather in the energy. This works well while fake smoking if you take that route.

Again tell the spirit why you want the dirt, what it is for, even if it’s just the energy I find it helpful to clarify the intent out loud. Continuing the stealth sorcery here is where a cellphone comes in handy, cigarette or bottle of water in one hand, cell against your ear, you look completely normal, meanwhile you’re chatting up the spirit/energy of the place. Getting the dirt is a bit trickier. I’m sure you can figure out a way if people are around. One time after tying my shoe I “weeded” a dandelion near my foot growing out of the crack in the sidewalk, looked normal, tossed it in my pocket as I turned around, and then later just took the dirt from the roots. Other times if I just don’t care I reach down with my spoon, just take a scoop and walk off. It all depends on where you’re taking it, your comfort level, and things like that.

If you’re collecting dirt from someone’s place to use against them you might have to collect it quickly, and without asking the spirit of the place. It’s not as powerful, but you do what you can, and a spirit of place might feel protective of the person that lives there. (Usually the energy won’t have the same qualm, which is why meta-modeling is a good thing.)

Use the dirt however you want, mixed with other components, stuffed into poppets and boxes, combined with ink and paint for sigils, whatever.


Communion Breathing

2014/09/23

This is a simple, but scalable, method of working with a figure in a devotional sense to help bring you closer. It’s not an invocation (oh no ey didn’t!) of them, but more of a way of melding their energy into yours. (Invocation and energy, two faux pas in one sentence) It’s less about a conscious-mental connection and more about blurring the lines between you and residing as them. This is loosely based on some aspects of tantric fascination, but isn’t a traditional representation of such. I don’t recommend this with any general spirit you’re trying to work with and call into your life, this has more of a devotion and communion sense. Myself while I’ve used it frequently it’s only for three figures with me: Kali, Yamantaka, and my HGA. I’ve done it for years in preparation for my work with Kali, and it is often my introduction to more serious prayers to the Asshole In My Head.

While not totally required this is far more effective when you have an image of the deity in front of you. Sit comfortably as you would for any meditation facing the figure. (Also, doesn’t have to be a deity, can be a saint, angel, whatever, I’ll just keep saying deity because it’s easier)

For this you’ll be using a variation of Square Breathing, or Fourfold Breathing, which is very simple. Breathe in for a set count, and hold your breath for the same count, breathe out for that count, and hold your breath out for that count, and repeat. In, hold, out, hold, all for the same lengths of time. You might want to experiment to see what pacing working for you.

Simplest version:
If the deity has a short mantra or prayer, use that, otherwise you can use their name repeated or something like “Io Evohe [Name]” or “Om Ah [Name] Hum.”

Begin the Square Breathing and focus on perceiving the energy of the deity, after a few rounds of breathing this way sync your breath with the mantra. It works best if you actually say it aloud in a whisper while breathing in and out, and mentally while holding your breath. Match the mantra to the breathing pace you’re comfortable with.

Now on the in-breath/recitation draw the energy of the deity into you with the breath. As you hold your breath saying the mantra mentally have it radiate through you mixing with your energy. On the out-breath/recitation send your energy (which is partially mixed with theirs) to them. As you hold your out breath see the energy radiating through them and mixing with their energy.

As you do this you will slowly incorporate more and more of their energy into your system, each time you draw in and mix, you become more and more of them. (Technically they become more and more of you too, but they’re so much “bigger” than you that it doesn’t really affect them. You’re a bucket of fresh water, they’re a chlorine pool, if you keep pouring a cup of water from one to the other, you’re going to be chlorinated, but you won’t noticeable de-chlorinate the pool.)

Intermediate version:
Same as above with two differences. See each syllable of the mantra leaving the mouth of the deity as a ball of light, if possible in an appropriate colour to them, and when you return the mantra see it again leave in the form of balls of light. Draw these energy balls into your solar plexus when you breath them in, and from there let them radiate outwards. When sending the energy out have it return to the solar plexus of the deity. Breathe in the balls of light into the solar plexus, hold your breath and have it spread from there, breathe out balls of light into the solar plexus of the deity, hold the outbreath as the energy spreads through the deity.

Advanced version:
Same as above with more detailed integration. How you do this exactly will depend on what model of the energy body you work with, and even within that it allows for increasing layers of complexity. When you breathe in the mantra, have it flow into your channels and throughout your body. This can be as simple as breathing it down the centre channel into your root centre and up the side channels to the top of your head, or into each centre individually and then down/up the leg and arm channels, or into each centre following out the energy pathways that radiate from there. In this case the mixing happens gradually as the lights move through your system. Slowly the lights meld with you as they travel through the channels radiating out the energy of the deity and drawing in your energy.

More Advanced version:
Because this one requires a lot more visualization/perceptive skill you can start off with the basic process again, of just breathing the energy in and defusing it through you in general, but ideally you should work back up to running it through the channels. This time for each syllable of the mantra the deity releases a tiny tiny version of themselves, which you breathe in and run through your system. When you breathe out you’re also sending out versions of the deity, but know that they’re composed of your energy, rather than the god’s.

If you do this for ten minutes you can really get a sense of the deity being embodied in you. It’s a great way to take in their energy and I find it’s less “fragile” than a lot of invocation styles. With a lot of things like assuming a godform and what not it’s fairly easy to “lose” the deity once your focus slips, but this way you’ve been running their energy throughout your system it is harder to lose in the same way and tends to fade out, rather than just dropping off. Use this before prayers, or magickal workings, or just as communion. There was a long time when I’d just do this every night before bed with Kali, no prayers, no communication, requests, or anything, it was just 10 minutes that I shared with Her for no reason other than to be with Her. Use it however you want, and as always: experiment.


Grave Dirt: Bring Up Your Dead

2014/09/05

I was asked on the Book of the Face how I collect dirt, and one on hand it’s really easy, do it however you want, on the other hand, if it’s not something you do I guess it’s helpful to know how others do it, so I thought I’d explain that.

There are (in the system I work with) three basic types of dirt: Grave dirt, Nest dirt, and Goal dirt. (I guess, last one was never named. Also there is Graveyard dirt, which is somewhat like Nest dirt, though elements of the other two now that I’m thinking about it)

The one most occult folks focus on is grave dirt. Whether it is a family member, a famous person, a spirit ally, or random grave, there are lots of uses for the dirt, which I won’t get into here, let’s stick with method. (Also, I reached my word limit talking about Grave dirt, I guess that’s the only one we’ll look at now, but hey, at least Goal dirt is already written, so you’re guaranteed a post on that)

My kit: Incense, lighter, spoon, containers with labels, and cigarettes, all stored in a zipper sandwich bag

My kit: Incense, lighter, spoon, containers with labels, and cigarettes

To collect grave dirt you need three simple things: offerings, a container, and a spoon. Being how I am I actually have a ritual spoon for this…and by that I mean one that I’ve only ever used for dirt collection and I keep in my backpack at all times. In fact, all three things in my bag at all time. (They didn’t used to be, but some spirits I’m dealing with have me doing a lot with dirt right now…)

The offering is a bit subjective. If you know the person it could be something appropriate to them. When collecting dirt from my Grandma’s grave I took her vodka and a cigarette, cause that’s what she liked. For my other Grandma I’d take flowers, specifically chicory, dandelions, or anything else that grows on the side of the road. For a soldier you could take toy weapons, poppies, whatever. A lot of people offer coins, and mention the Greek tradition of leaving coins for the ferryman. Personally, I think that is fairly silly. Sure, it worked in Greek culture, and pagans who still follow it would appreciate it, but my Grandma would look at me like I was a goof if I thought two quarters would be a good offering. (But being my Grandma she’d take it and thank me I’m sure) I get the reason, I just think it’s too esoteric for most people. If you don’t know the person, or don’t know what they’d like the big five offerings you can give become water, food, incense, candles, and energy.

Approach the grave, centre and still yourself for a moment, just let the world drop behind you a bit, and then set out the offering on or beside the grave. Depending on your skill/inclinations you can either just talk out loud to the spirit, or actually do a bit more work to call them up. On a simplified level I usually put my left hand on the ground and project a tendril into the earth until I find the urn or casket or a sense of presence, then feeding a bit of energy down that line I draw them up, gently asking that the join me, or at least communicate with me. (The latter is because some really like to be rooted in their remains and would rather talk from below than on the surface, I don’t know why, I didn’t expect it until I encountered it)

Give them the offering. If you know how you can either multiple it, or shape it. The advantages to water, incense, and to a lesser extent candles is they’re fairly good at taking the “imprint” of offering visualizations. So if you create a visualization of an offering water/incense/candles are a good way to ground that offering in our reality and keep it stable. Energy is of course even more malleable, you can offer it however you want, I use a variation of a Shinto method. I clap three times, loudly, but not too hard, but enough to make a clear sound. With the first clap I see the sound clearing away discordant energies, the second more fully calls the spirit into the place, the last is a welcome announcement ‘ah you’re here.’ Then I rub my palms together and hold out my hand as if I was holding a ball in my hands. Aside from the meanings of the clapping, by clapping and rubbing your hands you bring blood, and thus energy, to the surface of your hands, which you can then naturally let pool in the bowl of your hands, or you can will it out.

Now that they have been called, and given the offering you can actually talk with them more directly. This is totally up to you; do you just think it, or speak it, do you chit chat or get straight to business? While thinking works, I find the vocalization carries more energy to them, so the messages are more clear, and oddly so are their responses, and at least in a cemetery talking to a grave isn’t unusual. Explain to them that you’re going to take a portion of their land/grave (my grandmother calls her grave her “property”), and if you have a specific request/intent you can explain that, or you can just explain it’s for connecting with them. Wait to see if they agree, depending on your level of communication they might say it, or you might get a sense of yes/no, if you can’t even get that ask for a small sign “If it’s yes touch my right hand, if it is not touch my left.” If it’s a yes, just take a spoon of the dirt, and you’re good. Usually I touch the dirt first and say something like “This is the spot I’m taking if you would bless it for me” to just draw their resonance into it a little more. If it’s a no, either give up, and thank them, or see if you can convince them, maybe they want another offering, maybe they want you to visit more often (yes Grandma…) or something, sometimes it’s a firm no, other times there might be some negotiation.

Put it in your contain, seal it, and label it. (Okay, I label them, because I don’t use all the dirt at once in many cases and don’t want them getting mixed up, and I occasionally grab samples from more than one place in a day, and again don’t want to confuse them.)


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