Of Sun and Stinging Stars

Hello folks,

I am still enjoying a shadowy afterglow of October’s three- night Prayer To the Moon working (linked HERE ), as well as the energetic pressure-washing of the lunar eclipse earlier this month. I will be releasing a full transcript of the Prayer rite soon, but I am also excited about two new lines of inquiry and I want to share my take on them here and now:


I admire the workbook-like output of Hadean Press’ Guides to the Underworld series; short reference works on specific topics that lend themselves well to portable use in the field and in the circle.  I picked up two more this past week that have just been released: The Red Dreaded Spindle: An Astrolater’s Guide to the Stinger Stars of Scorpius by Sasha Ravitch and The Secrets of Helios: Unlocking the Practical Uses of PGM IV.1596-1715 by Alison Chicosky.

Both are available in printed editions or as ebooks. (I’m new to kindle, but at two dollars apiece for these digi-tomes I am happy to indulge, and avoid the cost and wait of a shipment from Europe. Does that mean I am reading invocations with my phone in one hand and incense in the other? Yes it does. Adaptability is key!)

The Red Dreaded Spindle, Sasha Ravitch

“When we lose the folklore, the observational devotion, the worshiping of the stories the stars are telling about themselves, we lose the nuance, we lose the wisdom, we lose the cleverness of their sidereal tongues.”

The Red Dreaded Spindle explores mythic, historical, and astrological viewpoints on a group of stars making up the tail and stinger section of what we call the Scorpio constellation.

Its central thesis unfolds from the author’s detailed analyses of the ancient and contemporary sky – analyses that are a good distance beyond my current understanding; but even with my paltry experience in the astrological arts, Red Dreaded Spindle is digestible and illuminating. The rich textures of the piece and its threading of perspectives and praxes can be read as one would read a painting- with a roaming focus on details and flourishes that make up the whole yet whose foci advance and recede over subsequent returns. Stepping through fixed- star astrologer Bernadette Brady’s “gateway to the Otherworld”, Ravitch leads us toward a reckoning with the approach of darkness: oncoming winter and its unruly ghosts, the hungry spectres of ancestral patterning, the absorption of the sinking velvet sting that deals oblivion or deliverance.

“Magically, the overcoming of a curse, the triumphing over an ordeal, the survival of an initiation, transmutes these eviscerating phenomena into gilded bellows which feed the Witch’s fire. The poison is the medicine, the curse is also the cure.”

Focusing her lens on the constellation as a whole as well as particular groups of stars that make up Scorpio, Ravitch explores multiple interpretations and roles of these stars across time and geographical space.  Informed by folklore, archaic historical records, and her professional practice of natal astrology, Ravitch employs Stellar scrying, spirit communication, and received visionary data that fleshes out these pinpricks of light that shine cold and distant upon our birth charts. By her telling, the Stinger Stars of Scorpio inflict ordeal, initiation, Fortune and misfortune via the bitter taste of viscera- scorpion and arachnid, dagger and sword. Poisons that cause twitching or spasticity, the poisons that make us dance- those that enflame and bedevil, taking one through the body’s parameters into dimensional shift, driving out of mind and out of time. The necromantic handling of threshold energy. 

Congruently, Ravitch states that she often prescribes dance and movement to her clients.

The work ends with a ritual formula which is thrilling in its telling. Involving a dead toad, the heart of a pig or cow, an arrow broken by one’s own hands and much more, the rite calls to the Othering and malefically-curative powers of the Scorpion Stars and produces in the end a fetish object consecrated in the illumination of this dark nebula, for further use in concentrating and channeling these energies.


The Secrets of Helios – Alison Chicosky

“I invite and wholeheartedly encourage everyone, initiates and adepts alike, to experience the glory of all the sun has to offer firsthand by performing this relatively simple ritual and reaping its remarkably powerful results.”

The Secrets of Helios begins with an English translation (by Cory Childs)  of the invocatory charm “The Consecration of All Things”, a spell from the Papyri Greco Magica that calls upon the solar energies of the archaic sun god Helios to infuse an object, person, or circumstance with numerous blessings and honors from 12 animal godforms relating to the hours of the day and other solar-zodiacal cycles.  This translation is followed by author Alison Chicosky’s in-depth analysis and discussion of the spell’s historical origins, cultural context, and possibilities for contemporary use.

As Chicosky, a practicing authority on the magic of the PGM, explains, the magic is enacted through the channeling of heka a sort of lifeforce or operative field of magical potential- via the mechanism of the narrative charm. This to my understanding involves the retelling of stories about a god or spirit, the recitation of long strings of the spirit’s various names and titles, and generally a sort of chanted outpouring of familiarizing information that both evokes the spirit into greater sympathetic manifestation and at the same time provides credentials: demonstrating that the magician making the conjuration is not someone who has stumbled ignorantly into the process- but is, rather, attuned to the spirit’s history and qualitative identity.

The Consecration of All Things employs this method to open direct gnostic contact with the emanating influence of the Sun in it’s mythic and alchemical guises- a perfect paregoric undertaking for this dark season of contraction, as we approach the cusp of the Winter Solstice!

The Consecration is largely intended to invite the generative powers and vivifying blessings of the Sun into an amulet or talisman of some kind, stone or otherwise; but Chicosky also extends this consecratory process to the practitioner or another intended beneficiary. The question arises – if I were to infuse myself regularly with this spell for the rest of my life, would my mortal remains someday become valuable as a saturated talismanic materia? LET’S MAKE A DEAL! 

I began performing the rite this past Sunday during the afternoon Hour of the Sun.  (Neither the spell nor Chicosky’s commentary suggest observing the planetary hour but I figured Why not?) At the time of this writing I have performed it 4 times, once daily. The first three times, I announced myself  “in body and faculties” as the phylactery vessel. Unverified personal gnosis aside, all three were energizing experiences in their own way. For my fourth go this morning, again in the hour of the Sun, I performed the consecration on a concoction of lemon juice and ground psilocybin, swallowing the potion at the conclusion of the rite.

The specific results of that are a story for another day, but I will say that for now, I’m excited to continue working with this text on a daily basis.


As stated above, both The Red Dreaded Spindle and Secrets of Helios are available digitally or in printed booklet formats from Hadean Press HERE and from quality booksellers worldwide. 

Both these volumes come highly recommended and I look forward to more underworldly delights from both Hadean and the respective authors!

Yours In Blood and Rainbows,

Jason Triefenbach, HFHR



2 responses to “Of Sun and Stinging Stars”

  1. Adriel van Drimmelen Avatar
    Adriel van Drimmelen

    Hi Jason,

    The great work you are doing both on Instagram and your blog is a real boon to the occult community. It’s always exciting to see what you are up to next. May the Gods shine their light on all your endeavors.

    Jon van Ohl (Adriel van Drimmelen)

    p.s. Should you feel inclined, check out the Grimorium Verum Study Group on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words! I will look for the group!


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