We’re always worried about whether we can see a spirit.
But very few people ever ask, “Can the spirit see me?”
-Jason Miller, North Witch Podcast April 12 2022 (1)
It has been a busy month as always and I am writing this a thousand miles from home! My journey thus far has been eventful and I’m pleased to share a few tidbits below. First, two announcements!
I am performing a short psychodrama, OPENING CEREMONY, on Saturday May 7 in Granite City IL. At around 8pm I believe. As of now this is looking to be my only live performance this year, so if you are in the southerly- midwest region of the US, please come see! Details at: http://www.gcadd.org/events
I have updated my shop at https://ulupublications.bigcartel.com/ with two new products: HOLY DAZE, a pamphlet of art, poems and musings on my time in “the upturned skullcap of Los Angeles’ cultural wastelands” PLUS interviews with Djin Aquarian and Stewart Home! Also available on the Big Cartel is a new project which is in its earliest stages: I have begun crafting Natal Tapestries- unique symbolic ‘portraits’ made to order for each individual client, taking into account birth aspects and current life circumstances. This piece pictured below right is one of two that I’ve created so far- get in touch if you’d like one of your own, constructed talismanically utilizing your natal (birth) chart, benefic planetary elections, and magickal correspondences. There is also an option for spellwork toward any particular issues, goals or intentions you may have in mind, and a top tier that includes extensive research, hard- to- find materials, and several hours of intensive prayers and invocations. Colors, shapes, and other ingredients will be determined by your astrological profile, etc. Sizes vary but roughly 9×12”. I make no claims or guarantees re: results or life changes- to be effective, this magick must be matched by your personal intention, effort, and will.
OK that’s all the filthy lucre for now! Read on for this month’s slapdashery:
-Just Like a Prayer
-A Soviet Seance
-In Review: Dr. Al Cummins, Sasha Ravitch
-In Closing: A Love Spell
With highest regards,
Howling from the Heart of the Rose
“JUST LIKE A PRAYER…”
Hour of Mars just ten minutes before hour of Sun. I gathered implements into my backpack and set off up the mountain behind our yurt.
Singing a line from Psalm 119: “Revive me According to Thy lovingkindness”
A few hundred yards up the moderately steep incline through loose coral-coloured sand, studded with larger chunks of milky quartz ranging from pebbles up to fist, head, melon-sized and larger, there was a level boulder outcropping I’d scouted earlier which would suffice for this working. But as I climbed through low grizzled juniper, hopping silvered logs, elk scat, and mounds of disintegrating branches resembling piles of bone and antler, I realized I’d passed the chosen platform lower on the slope. I decided to continue on rather than turn back, and soon I approached a much larger (yet still miniscule within the range) summit: a castle- like configuration probably three stories in height.
About halfway up from the base of this small peak a suitably level area again presented itself; but now I was so close to the top that I resolved to strive on. I crouched as I wound back and forth through crannies and over boulders, under low dry branches, avoiding as well as I could the thickening cacti and sagebrush. With about 20 feet to go I came to a point where I needed to repeatedly throw my tools ahead of me and grapple with the rock to pull myself to the top. Above the lip, this evened out into a wider plateau which led up a minor ridge towards the larger face of earth looming in the distance beyond, another few thousand feet higher…
THIS was finally the true site toward which I had been pulled.
The above excerpt from my journal describes a day in Southwest Colorado earlier this month; one moment among many comprising a months- long working that culminated this past week in a weird little cabin in central Illinois. The process I’ve been following is a bit of a mashup: some medieval grimoire formulae, a few techniques rooted in the Greek Magickal Papyri but restructured quite a bit by Frater Acher [whose website www.theomagica.com is a real treasure], a heaping spoonful of Crowley filtered through Poke Runyon’s OTA, as well as ancestor veneration, meditation and energy work I’ve synergized over the past few years. This has all cooked down into a spiritual poultice that is not nearly as heterogeneous as that list makes it sound: my goal is never to staple the world’s traditions into a post-modern chaos magic zombie, but rather to glean inspiration from what traditions I encounter in order to pull from myself a sense of cosmography that matches what I know of my inner and outer experiences.
This long mega-rite (the goals and particulars of which I am being purposely vague about), like a lot of medieval European magic, has involved a heavier dose of Christian- based practices than I am used to. This was fairly uncomfortable for me in the beginning as I have had to set aside as best I was able the prejudices, traumas, and evils of being raised in a solidly Midwest Lutheran family line- a flavor of faith that goes heavy on guilt and the sinfulness of the flesh while stripping the world of the kinds of spiritual reality that might attract one to a religious life in the first place. Lutheranism denies its adherents both the lushness of Catholic faith and the visceral beatitude of the charismatic churches. It is sternly, stoically focused on work, endurance, and resignation- as if Life is just a waiting room and God is a small-town doctor prescribing bitter medicines that will cure us in spite of ourselves.
The irony is not lost on me that a lifelong path that began with obsessive childhood readings of Exodus and Revelations before progressing to self directed TOPY experiments, hipster satanism, and syncretic witchcraft would now deposit me into a practice of reciting Psalms and feeding archangels.
I am learning:
There is a broken trail, overgrown with weeds, washed out by floods and rubbed away by predatory conmen; it winds from the Pangeaic subroutines of the unconscious through African and Proto- Grecian caves, desert hilltops aspergated with the fever dreams of ancient herdsmen, to be carried hidden within the robes of clerical heretics and between the sweaty sheets of wandering poets. The Church burned and stomped and slew, brutalized thousands (or millions) to twist its own Messiah into an avatar of Empire- even today their descendants clip the wings of the divine to sell war and bigotry. But god has never lived in a house- She and He and They and It is a whisper upon waking, a bend in the road, an old woman’s basket of roots, a falling feather caught in a silver web- two mirrors facing each other: an infinite reflection held in cupped hands.
We each have a lamp crafted only once- happy lighting!
In the face of traumatic worldwide aggressions both personal and systemic, Astro- Mage and talismanic craftsperson Caitlin Coppock posted some excellent and clear-minded thoughts about Magickal Pacifism on her blog at Sphere and Sundry:
Though she doesn’t say so, I imagine her plea for peace may be at least partly in response to Michael Hughes’ newest group working, hexing Putin: https://unherd.com/2022/03/the-magicians-against-putin/
Readers may remember Hughes’ previous group rite, the acclaimed Bind Trump ritual (I myself joined in this a few times- if nothing else it was quite therapeutic, especially the time I substituted a dried beef foreskin for the suggested orange candle!) Although that four year monthly mega-golem did not of course remove Trump from power, it may indeed have had some success as a galvanizing principle and perhaps constrained some of his darkest hubris.
We’ll never know.
This time however, Hughes’ ritual strikes me as more of a cry in the dark than something that will actually have any discernible effect on Putin’s bloodbath invasion.
Beyond that, an open call to weekly malefica at this time feels like pouring gas on a fire. If states of mind feed directly into our emotional and physical health (and I think they do), then what happens to this conglomeration of ill will building in peoples’ minds, weekly, as they summon and sharpen their righteous hatred, “all together now…” focusing it on an international powder keg the depths and details about which we pleebs are utterly in the dark?
As Coppock alludes in the above- mentioned “Magickal Pacifism” piece, the Russian dictator likely has his own nine circles of protection that are more than capable of siphoning that curse energy into his own psychic war engine. If you are someone who believes in such things, why not instead raise your voice and heart toward peaceful and abundantly empathetic futures?
Speaking of Vlad P and whether or not he believes in magic, the article below offers an intriguing glimpse at an odd psychic experiment enacted upon the citizenry of the USSR as that union was en process of being busted. I wonder what part Vladimir played, in his concurrent role within the KGB?
“By imbibing “charged” water, spectators were told they would feel the effects of the therapeutic session until the next transmission. At the beginning of the broadcast, Kashpirovsky instructed people seated at home to have a vessel filled with water at the ready; drinking it would revive the unconscious of the land, which had fallen ill, and instill the aims of communism in the popular mind yet again.”
The Art of Cyprian’s Mirror of Four Kings:
2021 Dr. Alexander Cummins via Hadean Press’ Guides to the Underworld series (2)
This concise “grimoire- within- a- grimoire” is a treatment and record of the author’s ongoing workings with a short section of Sloane MS 3850– a manuscript held in the collection of the British Library.(3)
Dr. Al Cummins’ present volume is focused on a portion of said manuscript called Art of Cyprian which describes how to construct a particular magic mirror as well as a special ink for use with it. Cummins warns that the ink in particular is created through an arduous process that will test one’s dedication to the project.
The pamphlet begins with a short history concerning St. Cyprian, Agrippa, and other figures of magickal history and focuses in on the idea of directional kings- he points out that the 4 kings named in this volume are not the familiar Oriens Paymon Egyn Amaymon but the rather more Suessian- sounding Zorasaball, Zamfiziron, Rugidomos, Fairipopi. He goes on to explain that there are in fact many different names for cardinal spirits by different authors/ sources and clarifies that while he is not claiming a position as to whether these are all discrete spirits or just different names for the same four, he himself works with these four as if they are subordinates of O-P-E-A (this being effective for him since he already has a working relationship with those four.)
Following this concise history Cummins talks a bit about the construction of the implements and then there follows the text of the original working which in its own medieval cadence details the prayers and actions one should take to contact and work with the four spirits. After this, Cummins’ authorial voice returns with his personal reflections on his own experiments with the process. This is particularly interesting to me as it sketches out examples of how one might extrapolate one’s own methodologies and preferences from such oldschool sources. Cummins reflects on “spirit chairs”- i.e. objects in which the conjured spirits can reside so as to make things more comfortable for them and the magician. Other implements and techniques are suggested as well and unsurprisingly the whole thing is heavily, HEAVILY Catholic in nature. Psalms are prescribed as well as prayers and actual attendance at church masses in order to consecrate the tools and put the operator in a proper frame of mind for the spirit contact. This may put many off of the whole thing, and I wouldn’t blame those people in the least. However for anyone scarred by religious upbringing yet wishing to try this out, I’d suggest that you could take some pleasure in framing this with the idea that you are slipping like a secret agent into the workings of the oppressive church and detourning their rites toward your own diabolical ends! Bwaa-haa-haa-haa-haaaaaa!
The juiciest and most inspiring part of the book, for me at least, is Cummins description of the aforementioned spirit chairs- he describes these as hanging assemblages of various materials he has collected over time. I wish he’d included photos of these although it is perfectly understandable that they are private works for use between him and his spiritual guests, not art projects to be ingested by my hungry eyes. But one might imagine as reference the works of artists such as Joseph Cornell, Mark Bradford, Betye Saar, and more.
I am just a poor wandering clown, so I purchased the kindle version from Jeff Bezos. But if your coffers have the clink I suggest buying the printed pamphlet direct from Hadean Press, one of the most interesting occult publishers of our Age! (2)
Sasha Ravitch: Haunted Houses
In late February, astrologer Sasha Ravitch ran a promotion on her instagram account offering a free link to her recent “Haunted Houses” presentation at the 2021 AstroMagia conference, to anyone making a donation “in any amount” to United Help Ukraine. https://unitedhelpukraine.org/
I donated $25 (a small amount but large to me in my present financial circumstances) and followed her instructions for receiving the link.
Ravitch begins by defining the purpose of her talk: “…locating and diagnosing intergenerational trauma and patterns as well as ancestral curses and blessings within the utterly unique and haunted topography of the nativity.”
She describes the nativity (one’s “natal” -or birth- chart) as a living, growing conglomeration of spirits and entities in which the traumas of ancestors continue to haunt the living, and offers copious examples of such as well as alluding to possible processes of placation, exorcism, and/or apotheosis. In this she goes beyond the 7 classical planets into nodes of the moon, indwelling star spirits and more. The 60 minute talk and roughly 15 minute Q and A session are illuminating and tantalizing. She describes her approach as influenced not only by traditional astrological methods but also Essentialist and Post- Structuralist philosophy as well as Freudian psychoanalysis.
I had some difficulty accessing the material and found myself mysteriously obsessive about it- mysterious because at the outset I took up her offer on kind of a whim, but then felt oddly desperate about hearing the material. After an initial listen I feel like this is exactly what I needed to hear, in the Here and the Now!
Ravitch’s Ukraine fundraiser is now closed but her talk is available as part of a package deal from the Astro- Magia conference itself at https://astromagia.org/audio-library-access and more on the topic of her talk is forthcoming in the form of her new book: Restless Dead, Restless Living from Revelore Press! (4)
The past few months have continued our century’s acceleration of novelty, cataclysm, and overall CHANGE- for better or worse humanity seems to be approaching another great bottleneck. Much of what comforts us, much of what we think we know about life and our place in it seems to be passing away. Yet between the lines we may also be witnessing and participating in a great upheaval of restrictions and a dissolution of bonds which have kept our human race locked into outdated modes of being. Will you rise with that tumultuous tide or sink beneath the waves? While the whole wide world is arming itself and a great gnashing of teeth keens on the horizon of our imaginations, perhaps a song of balance is possible. I have come to believe that prayer is efficacious beyond the corrals of our beliefs. Speak to the Totality! Sing to the Cosmos! Shout at the Devil! If you are needing some inspiration, a nice place to begin might be with Orpheus, one of the grand mythic poets of the deep past. There are many of his hymns from which to choose- here below is the Hymn to Venus. Try whispering to her or raise your voice with any melody you can muster! The Goddess of Love is fond of adulation. This song is fine as a standalone petition, but if you’d like to dress up the moment, consider lighting a green candle and concentrating your entreaty into its flame. You can really go for broke and perform this act on a Friday at dawn, but the Goddess is always listening.I copied this particular version of the hymn from Christopher Warnock’s encyclopedic website Renaissance Astrology. Warnock is a luminary of the field and the bounties of his site cannot be understated. (5)
HEAV’NLY, illustrious, laughter-loving queen,
Sea-born, night-loving, of an awful mien;
Crafty, from whom necessity first came,
Producing, nightly, all-connecting dame:
Tis thine the world with harmony to join,
For all things spring from thee, O pow’r divine.
The triple Fates are rul’d by thy decree,
And all productions yield alike to thee:
Whate’er the heav’ns, encircling all contain,
Earth fruit-producing, and the stormy main,
Thy sway confesses, and obeys thy nod,
Awful attendant of the brumal God:
Goddess of marriage, charming to the sight,
Mother of Loves, whom banquetings delight;
Source of persuasion, secret, fav’ring queen,
Illustrious born, apparent and unseen:
Spousal, lupercal, and to men inclin’d,
Prolific, most-desir’d, life-giving., kind:
Great sceptre-bearer of the Gods, ’tis thine,
Mortals in necessary bands to join;
And ev’ry tribe of savage monsters dire
In magic chains to bind, thro’ mad desire.
Come, Cyprus-born, and to my pray’r incline,
Whether exalted in the heav’ns you shine,
Or pleas’d in Syria’s temple to preside,
Or o’er th’ Egyptian plains thy car to guide,
Fashion’d of gold; and near its sacred flood,
Fertile and fam’d to fix thy blest abode;
Or if rejoicing in the azure shores,
Near where the sea with foaming billows roars,
The circling choirs of mortals, thy delight,
Or beauteous nymphs, with eyes cerulean bright,
Pleas’d by the dusty banks renown’d of old,
To drive thy rapid, two-yok’d car of gold;
Or if in Cyprus with thy mother fair,
Where married females praise thee ev’ry year,
And beauteous virgins in the chorus join,
Adonis pure to sing and thee divine;
Come, all-attractive to my pray’r inclin’d,
For thee, I call, with holy, reverent mind.
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