alchemy

Do the tools define your practice?

Recently I asked people if they thought components such as herbs or candles were necessary to work magic. This question was prompted by reading some of Draja Mickaharic's work. He offers a variety of spells in his various books and all of them inevitably have some physical component. The responses I got mostly agreed with my own perspective, in that they weren't absolutely necessary to work magic, but sometimes using them was more useful than not using them, and just as importantly, it was good to be able to improvise, up to and including not using the usual tools. All seemed to agree that the various tools aided in the focus and concentration needed for working with magic. However all the responses did get me thinking about whether or not the tools defined the practice of the magician. One person offered a quote that the tools don't make the blacksmith, but rather the blacksmith makes the tools, and in thinking about and applying that perspective to magical work, the same principle applies. The magician makes the tools, and what that ultimately means is that the magician decides what tool is significant and why and most importantly s/he realizes that what empowers the tool is not anything necessarily inherent to the tool, so much as the meaning and connection that the tool represents. One person pointed out that as he worked with a specific type of tool, it helped him align with the energies he was seeking to connect with, and consequently brought about changes within himself that aligned with the forces he was working with. Another person shared an example of how using tools allowed a member of her family to connect with spiritual entities that in turn helped him heal the person sharing the example.

To some extent tools do define the practice in terms of what they enable or allow a person to do, but first they are defined by the person, specifically in terms of the actual function they serve in order to focus the person and/or represent a connection with something else that can help them. This recognition however is useful on an improvisational level, because it allows the magician to adapt an item in his/her immediate environment into a tool for use in magical work. Chaos magicians have demonstrated that principle a number of times, as has anyone else that had to improvise on the fly in order to pull off a magical ritual. In the end, our tools can be as flexible as ourselves, provided we have the right mindset when using them.

Credibility, causality, and magic

When I think about causality and magic, one realization I have is that trying to make the causality of magic credible is really trying to apply a different model of thinking that may not fit magic. Magic doesn't really operate on Scientific laws of cause and effect. It has its own rules, and those rules involve a different angle and take on causality, as magic applies to it. Trying to fit magic into some box or hole of another discipline isn't useful, if you are strictly applying that discipline to magic as an explanation of it. It can be useful to draw on concepts and practices from other disciplines in your magical work, but that's a different post altogether. Wanting magic to fit some kind of scientific, rational explanation is really taking the wonder out of magic, in my opinion. Even in my own work of defining magic, I've never really tried to fit it into another discipline, so much as I've tried to explore my own experience of it. And when I think about it, magic is really about experiences. Yes it can be a technology, and an art, etc., but its more than that. It's experiences and its stepping into a frame of mind that is willing to accept those experiences and find meaning where most people wouldn't. It's not about credibility in the standard sense of the word, because such ideas of credibility are based off specific disciplines that try to structure the experience of the world in very specific ways, different from magic And to be fair, magic also is about structuring experience in a very specific way.

My point is this: Trying to approach the causality of magic in terms of credibility as derived from other disciplines doesn't work too well, because there's a predisposition to view magic as some kind of primitive activity done by people who don't know any better.

We do know better however. We know that magic works and we can even explain how it works, but the explanation we provide won't necessarily fit within the accepted perspectives of other disciplines. Nor does it need to. If the result occurs consistently, the process works and that's all the credibility you need. The causality is involved in the process and your understanding of that process is a large part of the causality of magic, and how it's bringing desired change into your life.

Book Review: The Emerald Tablet (Affiliate link) by Dennis William Hauck

This book provides a good explanation of the seven stages of alchemy and how they can be applied to a person via psychology. The author does have a tendency to mix in some inaccurate history and also tries to connect alchemy to UFOS, but even with those flaws, this is still a useful book for someone wanting to learn about alchemy and begin applying some of the concepts to his/her life. I recommend it primarily for the explanation of the seven stages of alchemy, which you can apply to your life via your own internal work.

Elemental Love Work month 12

I wrote this poem on Thursday, in my live journal. I'm reposting it here, because it depicts part of the conclusion to the elemental Love work. The connection is what we want silver strands that glisten by the star light, whispering promises from the vibrations of the space/time wind The core opens to reveal the secret heart of the universe a path lit up by red lines of force the flames of the fox fire beckoning, and luring on those eager hunters of desire

Hourglass eyes witness the illusion of time, The spiderweb, wet with dew, promises a non linear story Truth, truth, truth...

Whirling fan over the light, a very tired person looks up spreads his arms, and journeys into the iridescent glow of promise. I see all possibilities in the quantum sea everything could, is, was, will do, but will any of it become?

I am also Empty...Reach in and pull the last out Everything is stripped away...she took me on she gave me surfeit her hand gentle on my cheek, while the other rips everything out.

Your illusions are gone, now what?

Now what indeed. It's month 12...The end of the year long elemental love work...The end of my working with Babalon, the sacred whore, the scarlet woman, she who takes on all, but demands the sacrifice of your illusions. Babalon has thoroughly fucked me this last year. At times she had been a gentle lover, at other times a demanding bitch. One hand has caressed me as a lover, while the other has ripped my heart out. And through it all, her scarlet eyes have looked into mine, holding me steady, urging me on, demanding the best from me.

I wouldn't recommend the element of love to just anyone. I think this year's work has been by far the most intense and demanding of all my magical workings. You have to be ready to sacrifice it all on the altar of love to experience the truths you will inevitably find about yourself, and if you get anything back, count yourself blessed, and recognize you also earned it.

This last month has been one of nostalgia, regret, and healing. I remember a year ago, I remember how desperate I was, how much I knew I needed to change, my patterns of love had grown very toxic indeed. I was a toxic bloom, everything on the surface, ready to be popped. I remember meeting a priestess of Babalon, and a relationship that didn't work out and being told, "This elemental love work has left bruises on my heart, your wife's heart, and your heart. Will it be worth it?" I remember bad communication on my part, an unwillingness to really be open or intimate and my journey throughout this year to learn how to do that, how to really open up, how to be vulnerable, how to be honest despite the fear. Honesty with others, but most importantly honesty with myself about my desires, my fears, and what has motivated so many of  my choices.

I remember other situations, other people, all the lies I told to myself, ripped away. And I remember a couple nights with Lupa, where I really opened up, where I told her things I had not told her or anyone else. I remember being honest with her in a way I have never been with anyone, and despite my fears, despite the ingrained responses and reactions that said to just hold it all in, to protect myself by never saying a thing...I spoke...I told her, I laid myself out and let her see the real me. And she accepted me...she showed me LOVE, even as Babalon has Shown me LOVE.

A couple weeks ago, I felt the weight of these regrets...My mind wandered through the past year, through the lessons earned, the people touched, the bruises left, especially the bruise in myself. And I felt Babalon stir beside me. She gave me a gentle look and parted the folds of my flesh, to the heart underneath, and instead of seizing it in her hand as she often has, she gently touched it, touched the bruise of my regrets, and she said,

"It's time to let this go. You've learned what you needed to from this. Let it go, so you can move on and let other people into your life and into your love when you're ready. You've learned the lessons I needed to teach you and I will always be here to remind you of them, and also support you as you continue your journey."

And she took those regrets away...the physical pain I felt in the hollow of my chest left me.

This last Monday, I was talking with Wes Unruh about language, magic, semiotics, and we got around to talking about Babalon and male magicians. He said that he didn't think a male magician came into his full power until he'd had an encounter with Babalon. He told me of his own experiences and mentioned that for about a year after his working with Babalon ended he had focused on the element of emptiness and on rebuilding himself...and I found great comfort in this, because it's another confirmation I made the right choices, and I'm on the right path.

I was asked earlier this year, if this elemental love work would be worth the bruises, and the pain. And my answer is yes. It is worth all the pain caused, all the pain felt. It is worth the pain I caused as well as the pain I felt. It's not that I wanted to cause that pain. It's not that I felt a secret delight. No...That pain is part of the process of life, of how you learn. I made mistakes, I came face to face with the reality of the effects of those mistakes. The regret I felt for the pain I caused was something that's haunted me for this last half year. And yet, that pain, for me, for them has the potential for growth. It's what we choose to make it...and so Babalon showed me I could let go, move on, heal...

Last year, I said to Lupa, I said to others, "All of the relationships I'm in now will be changed if I do this working." And everything changed for those relationships. Every single relationship I was involved in on a romantic level is now gone, accept the relationship with my wife, which has ended up stronger than ever before because we worked through our problems with each other and came to a deeper, more intimate relationship than any I've ever had, except for one. It's taken a lot of work and honesty on our parts, but here we stand together, stronger than ever...

And that one relationship which is deeper and more intimate...that's the relationship I have with myself. This year has forced me to know myself as I never did before, and this next year will take me even further, but I'm ready for that plunge. Babalon has shown me not just the truth of LOVE, but also that of Strength. The strength to forgive, the strength to let go, the strength to love, and the strength to learn. She showed me my strength, even as she took away all the delusions I'd told myself.

Babalon told me it would get harder before it got easier, and she was right. It got really hard somedays to wake up and face the reality of my motivations, my desires, my love or lack thereof. In April, when I walked around, desperately unhappy, desperate to fill something in me and instead walked home and told Lupa about my emptiness, about how empty I sometimes feel, that's when I started to really learn from this year's elemental working...that's when I came face to face with the underlying motivation for so much of my unhealthy behaviors. That's when I realized just how much my feeling of emptiness had so often motivated my choices to try and find something to fill it, instead of choosing to feel it. And now that I know that feeling...now I'm ready to accept it, to move into it and everything it has to teach me.

On Friday, I had some of my hair cut. Babalon spoke to me in a moment of shared love and lust, in a moment of ritual, a finishing touch. That night, Lupa massaged me, talked with me, reconnected with me about our love, about what we find so important and she cut my hair, part of my payment to Babalon. Below is a poem I wrote about Friday:

"You've still got to pay up the last bit for this year of companionship I gave you" She told me.

Her long black hair framed her face, cascading down her frame, hiding her body, leaving only the oval of her face her red eyes staring into mine a doorway into the abyss an invitation into Emptiness

As we fucked with wild abandon her hands touched my long hair and she said,

"Perhaps some of this... Cut some of it for me and also for the next element Cut it as an offering when you pass through the gateway within me and within you The gateway to the heart of the universe"

As we came to crescendo, She and I, My goddess of desire, her beast to ride, I felt myself swallowed into her. She whispered,

"Conjunctio, The joining of forces Your principle joined to mine, In combination we create the alchemical wedding Your sacrifice opens the gate that your seed might be consumed and you reborn in my dark womb of Emptiness Your potential realized in the joining of everything and nothing."

Later my body massaged with hands of gentle love and care, my hair brushed out, the scissors snap some is taken away "Taking a little, so a lot can grow back, so you can realize your potential" Caressed, loved, forgiven, your hands know my body I fall into the light of the quantum sea out of reality, into everything

Everything I am falling back to potential, In her hands I lay, in her womb I will be sacrificed The gateway is open, Conjunctio achieved Emptiness beckons It's a promise of potential I'll take.

"Your last price is paid, Your coin is accepted the gate is open, fly free my love fly free

When you come back reborn anew, you will really know me and my name.

And I whisper,

"Babalon, Great goddess, Sacred whore, scarlet woman, take me, take me, take my sacrifice and show me the door to conjunctio, show me the door to emptiness zero and one, everything and none, where potential awaits to sculpt, to show, to provide the pathway to the heart of the universe to the silver webs of time, and the purple halls of space"

And she rips away from me the last shred of illusion Her hand caresses my cheek one last time, her tears touch my face, She kisses my lips one last time, to steal my last breath Great Babalon has destroyed me.

And now... I'm free to arise. Elemental Emptiness show me the way, through the door

I am here, I am there I am everywhere, everywhen, all things and none, a whisper on the wind, the caress of a hand on your chin all realities within my eyes, I am reborn into emptiness... I am reborn to realize my potential.

Today, Saturday, I finished the Love working. I went upstairs, with the painting of the seal of Babalon, The beast dagger, the candle with her visage gracing it. I lit the sacred candle in my temple. I dedicated two posters of the mythos of Babalon as told by Oryelle Defenestate-Bascule to Her. I burned a bit of my cut off hair in the flame of the candle. I cut her seal into my flesh, her name into my skin with the tip of the dagger, tracing so delicately upon my skin the imprint of this goddess...

I sang her praise, I thanked her for her gifts, and then I asked her to take me through the portal to emptiness. I fucked her one last time, giving her my seed and then I was taken in hand by the entity who represents emptiness...But that story will not be told until Tuesday, when the dedication ritual is finished.

Farewell Babalon, sacred Goddess and sacred whore, my lover and destroyer.

The lyric below is from the song Here's to You by Lisbeth Scott. I removed a couple words, that aren't relevant to me, to this year's working...but the lyrics of this song, the song itself is a fitting end to the love working and the beginning of the work on the element of Emptiness:

Here's to you... Rest forever and ever... The last and final moment is yours. Agony's your triumph.

Here's to you, Rest forever here in our hearts. The last and final moment is yours. Agony's your triumph.

Review of Introduction to Magic by Julius Evola and the UR Group

Introduction to Magic by Julius Evola

The title of this book could be a bit misleading, as it's fair to say that the majority of the articles in this book are not intended for people who are just coming into magical practice. The articles requires at least an intermediate knowledge in Hermeticism, Alchemy, or Buddhist Meditation techniques, for the most part. With that said, I definitely recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading and practicing the different techniques described and discussed in this book.

These articles were written in the late 1920's by a group of experimental magicians called the UR group, lead by Julius Evola. This book presents a fascinating glimpse into ceremonial magical work being done in that time by magicians who weren't overtly associated with magical orders such as the OTO or Golden Dawn. The articles are detail oriented, but all of the writers manage to discuss the concepts with enough brevity to explain what needs to be done and how to do it, without unnecessarily waxing poetic about it.

One article I particularly liked was what I would suggest was the first article ever written on space/time magic...but rather apt for what it suggests about the nature of time and how a person interacts with it. This is definitely a book I will read again and again and get more out of each time I read it. I recommend it to any person who wants to either get a better historical perspective of magical practices or wants to continue honing his/her practices.

Between

I'm reading On Becoming an Alchemist by Catherine MacCoun. A good book, I recommend to any level of magical expertise. She brings up the concept of Between, or liminal reality/space/time, etc and as always I find this concept fascinating because it's one I've worked with a lot. She also discusses Style, which can be interpreted as the essence of a person, or the personal signature. Again, an intriguing concept. I see some intriguing possibilities for relating the two to each other. The style a person exhibits, the identity if you will, creating a between space. Actually the between space is created quite frequently by people. Have a really good conversation with someone and you'll marvel at the time that passed, because you entered into a pocket dimension that just existed between you and that person. Get into a state of do easy or not-doing and you're in a between state. Which then makes me wonder if it's ever possible to NOT be in a between state of one form or another.

Yes I know, I'm being subjective here with that last statement. I could easily say that we're always in between states and then go look for them, proving because I think of them. Still if you look into neuroscience and states of mind this kind of concept gets played with a lot, in terms of the types of consciousness people exhibit everyday. We have our everyday consciousness and perhaps between states are very subtle in that from of consciousness. So we only obviously perceive them when we meditate and we can clearly point to that and say, "Aha! that's a between state."

But right now I'm writing this post, and I'm in a different reality from the people around me. I'm aware of them, I can interact with their styles, their realities, etc, but I'm still in a between state of some sort, just a very subtle between state, as opposed to something more blatant such as meditation or doing a ritual. In fact, I'd say such overt displays as meditation or ritual are necessary for teaching people how to perceive between states, liminal realities, but I'd also point out that sometimes appreciating the subtlety of a different state of consciousness, appreciating the only slightly out of this reality between state is equally important to really being able to do magic on the fly.  I'm writing this post, and even though I'm aware of my environment, aware of people speaking on the phone, or walking by, I'm also aware that I'm in a between state, in a difference place...They are in my physical environment, but are they in my liminal reality? It's a subtle, but important distinction to make. No worries, I'll be exploring this in much more detail.

Namaste

Transformation and re-dedication

A week and a half ago I got interviewed by Leisa Refalo for tarot connections. She and I happen to live in the same city, so she was game for doing the interview in person. Because the majority of my work with Tarot is practical magic oriented as opposed to divination, she was curious as to how I could demonstrate some of my work. I won't ruin it for my readers, because we discuss what I did in the interview she and I had. However what really interested me was that before we did the interview, she gave Lupa and I a white candle with the Strength card displayed, saying she had a feeling we needed it. The Strength card is also the Lust card, depending on the deck and portrays Babalon riding the Sacred Beast. I found this relevent because I'm working with Babalon for the course of a year in my elemental balancing work and because I had also dedicated myself to her.

In the course of the interview I did my magical working with the cards and the final card I picked as an outcome for the working I was doing was the Transmutation card, or transformation. This card was important because it signaled a transformation of my relationship with certain aspects of my life. I'm not going to go into detail about those transformations, as they are of a highly personal nature.

Tonight when I go home, I will be buying several bottles of red wine. One will be for a friend, but one will be for the lady in red. I will light the flame of the blessed candle. I will take my blade, with the hilt of the beast and pass it above the flame, as I call her. I will paint a picture and use the smoke of the candle to purify and bless the picture. I will take the bottle of red wine and pour some into a cup, with a bit of blood and cum to go in as well to flavor it with my essence. I will commune and re-dedicate myself to her.

Her hand is on my shoulder. We will keep walking and talking with each other, just as we had before, but in a different vein. There's so much she can teach me and she is still my guide for this year's elemental love working, but also for beyond. We are transformed, now we continue the journey of refinement.