Archive for the ‘Ritual Magick’ Category

The Energy of Consecrated Oil: Oil of Abramelin Ritual

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

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What happens when oil gets consecrated? That was my question at the Oil of Abramelin ritual at the Blazing Star OTO.

This was a public ritual to create consecrated oil for use in other rituals, including the temple’s Gnostic Mass. About 20 people attended, most participated but a handful (including myself) chose to watch. If you want to know more about the ritual, there are plenty of resources online, so I’m going to talk about the steps I found particularly interesting in terms of energy:

The ritual opened with a Star Ruby. I believe this is a banishing. I had expected banishings to remove and block connections from spirits, but it doesn’t do that — I was connected to a spirit I often work with, and during the ritual we talked with a couple other spirits too, and none of them were affected. I also did some psychic intuitions, and my connection that that ethereal software was unaffected as well. So, banishing does not remove connections from spirits, at least the type of connections and spirits I work with.

So what did it do? It set an energy signature for the room, like a field of energy. This was done with some force, which would wipe out any existing energy signatures for anyone not shielded against it. So I’m now thinking of banishing as banishing the old energy, rather than banishing connections.

While this was happening, I connected to the energy field that was being set, then to the structures that were setting it, which I expected to be ethereal software. It was not. Here’s how I know: There’s a type of connection that’s universally recognized as requesting communication, used by every spirit and ethereal software I work with. I tried making one of these “communication connections,” and the energy-field-setting structure ignored it. This structure seemed to be entirely devoted to delivering energy to set a field for the room.

I felt my way around that structure, past it, and found the ethereal software that created it. This software responded to my communication, and explained some of what it does (essentially, associates energy effects with rituals — this would be one component of a larger system of ethereal software). But it took some effort to find this ethereal software, it’s clearly not intended for the ritual participants to use directly. So if you do a Star Ruby (or other Thelemic ritual) and go looking for the ethereal software, be aware that it may be hidden.

The next few steps of the ritual involved mixing some oil, I didn’t notice much interesting energy stuff. The next part involved two bottles of oil, one that was just mixed in this ritual, the other from a previous year’s ritual. Each participant came up to the altar, filled a small flask with this year’s oil, then added a drop of the previous year’s already-consecrated oil. And adding the drop of already-consecrated oil triggered a large energy shift. Whatever just happened, that’s probably the energy-level implementation of consecration.

After the ritual, a friend let me examine his flask. (I had the option to make my own, but there were limited slots for participants, and I figured other members would benefit more.) I saw an energy structure attached to the oil, low-energy and mostly inactive, but stable, almost crystalline. I’m calling it a “matrix.” I was surprised to see that no ethereal software was connected to this matrix — it’s apparently stable enough to just last on its own.

At the start of the ritual, my spirits had said that the consecrated oil would be marked energetically. In future rituals, when the ethereal software connected to the oil, it would see the marking and know it was consecrated. Essentially, that the consecration is a tag placed on the oil, rather than a structural change to the oil itself. And this matrix certainly fits the bill.

There was one more item of interest during the ritual: Participants were supposed to have a conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel (a term from Abramelin’s 14th-century manuscript) and focus on their aspiration while charging their oil. I’d encountered this term in my teens, reading about Crowley on the early internet, and I had a question: Is the HGA an internal part of their mind, or an external spirit / force? There doesn’t seem to be much agreement on this, or much of a clear answer on what an HGA is in general. So I looked for external connections when two experienced participants were doing that part of the ritual. One had no external connections, the other was connected to the ethereal software that was engaged during the Star Ruby. Neither had connections to spirits or other ethereal software, which leads me to believe that the HGA is an internal part of the mind.

In all, I very much enjoyed this ritual. The energy was fascinating. Next year, I intend to return and make a flask for myself to explore that matrix and understand how to make that sort of stable structures.

(Ananael or other Thelemic practitoners, please feel free to add or correct me on the ritual. Also, note that this ritual was open to the public and thoroughly non-secret.)

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Ritual, Magick, and the Brain

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

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Responding to Ritual as Social GlueSimon asks a question I find fascinating, even though I don’t have an answer:

Question here – your magick is very ‘head centered’ in some ways. Do you think there’s ever a case the engaging the body – ie actually moving it in patterns can achieve something in magick that sitting at a laptop cannot? And I mean magick in the more narrowly defined sense – affecting change in the world- rather than building social cohesion etc.

Its been demonstrated that views of the brain as some isolated phenomenon is now obsolete and what you do with your spine has as much influence on your mental faculties as anything else. Ethereal structures may well be ‘unfamiliar matter’ but we are still mediating them through our brain.
I wonder if there is not some correlation here. ‘as above so below’ and all that… maybe its not always the most effective route to sit behind a laptop and avoid doing strange ritual movements etc. I don’t know…

First, let’s review the moving parts: Ethereal muscles are the parts of the mind that interact with energy and drive magick. They are made of ethereal, magickal stuff, rather than nerves. They connect to the brain and respond to our thoughts and intent — that is, ethereal muscles do magick when our brain enters certain states.

To paraphrase Simon, some brain states don’t happen just from thinking ideas while sitting at a laptop. Some parts of your brain are devoted to physical movements, or speaking, or to seeing other humans moving and speaking. What if some of those brain regions let us engage and signal our ethereal muscles in different, useful ways?

I love the idea. Because it’s plausible, and it never occurred to me before. (Yet another reason you should start a blog.)

I don’t have a solid answer, but I do have a few thoughts:

Ethereal muscles seem to be able to connect to many different parts of the mind. That may be why some people see visions, others hear, and still others just receive information — their ethereal muscles may be connecting to the visual, auditory, and memory centers of the brain. Much of learning Direct Magick is helping your ethereal muscles connect to your conscious mind, rather than your unconscious. And around 5 years ago, I did some work connecting my ethereal muscles to the visual parts of my brain, and the information became more visual, a diagram of the tissue I was working with rather than just knowledge about it. So, it may be as simple as, “If your ethereal muscles connect to your physical-movement brain regions, then you need to do ritual. If not, then you don’t.” Which has always been more or less my model.

(Ritual also seems to work like a sigil, connecting the mage to that system’s ethereal software. See the section, Aside: How Do Sigils Work?)

Continuing that reasoning, if a person starts magick by doing ritual, they’re always engaging their physical-movement brain regions whenever they do magick. I could imagine their ethereal muscles bonding to those brain regions, and that those regions would become a necessary part of the mental posture for engaging their ethereal muscles. Whereas in someone who always did magick mentally, their ethereal muscles would probably not bind to the physical-movement brain parts.

But maybe there’s something else. Maybe ethereal muscles have a default set of brain regions they bind to, and one of those regions is the physical-movement one. Maybe that means that doing magick without ritual requires re-binding your ethereal muscles to different regions (through years of practice). Or maybe some ethereal muscles are one way and some are another way, and the only way to get certain ethereal muscles is to engage the physical-movement brain regions. I wouldn’t bet on any of those, but I wouldn’t dismiss them, either.

I don’t have an answer. But the next time I get the chance to do a by-the-books ritual, I’m going to do what I can to find out.

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Demystifying Ethereal Software

Friday, January 31st, 2014

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Let’s clear up some misconceptions about ethereal software.

This post was inspired by Ananael’s comment, where he laid out some of his understanding of my model. Now, Ananael is an experienced mage, a longtime reader, and generally a smart guy. If he’s misunderstanding my model, others probably do too. Which means I should try to explain it more clearly.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Ethereal Software = Egregore

Not really. But it’s a good starting point.

Words do two things. First, they point to external objects. That man, this cup, those ships. We use words to point to things.

In that sense, “ethereal software” and “egregore” both point to the same external objects — the forces we contact and channel for magick.

But words also suggest purpose, use, and other connotations. Is that music, or just noise? Is it graffiti or art? I chose to use a new term because I disagree with the connotations around egregores — where they come from, how to best use them, and so on. I discuss that here (written when I used the word “system” instead of “ethereal software.”)

Programming vs Using

When I use ethereal software, I tell it what I want to happen. That could be a short instruction (“make me successful in this job interview”) or complex (“heal this cold, and adjust the signature every 5 minutes for the next 24 hours“). Note that I never said how to make me successful, or what energy to use for the cold. I assumed the software already knew how to do that.

When I program ethereal software, I show it how to do something new. For energy healing, that means using my ethereal muscles to produce energy in certain signatures, showing the ethereal software which tissues get those signatures, and describing what to do: “When I tell you to reduce her auto-immune sensitivity, apply this signature throughout her body for 3 hours.”

In order to program ethereal software, you must first do the magick without the software. That’s the origin of the term “direct magick”: Doing magick by directly applying connections and energy and other magickal structures, rather than telling a force what we want to happen.

You’ll notice that, just like computer software, programming and using are two separate skills, and generally not done at the same time. First you program ethereal software, then you (or someone else) uses it.

Most people never program ethereal software. I didn’t program anything until I’d been doing magick for almost 20 years, and doing it directly for 5-10 years. These forces can already do so much, it’s just rare to run into things they can’t handle.

(There’s also a middle-ground, where you name a complex command so you can use it easily. For example, “Whenever I tell you to heal a cold, by default, adjust the signature every 5 minutes for the next 24 hours.” Useful when making a command for someone else to use, if they cannot clearly communicate complex commands.)

Ethereal Software and Rituals

Rituals aren’t required to use ethereal software. In fact, most of the software I personally use was designed for spirits, and has no concept of a ritual; you have to communicate by packaging your thoughts into a message, like when you talk to spirits. But lots of mages do rituals, and Ananael was asking about them, so let’s talk rituals.

Ananael says:

As a ceremonial practitioner, if I’m going to employ a software metaphor at all it seems to me that the “commands” in magick are akin not to each variation of a full ritual but rather the spirit names, words of power, and figures employed to construct those rituals. The “programming” takes place when a magician assembles those “commands” into a structure. So the Star Ruby is separate from an LRP because it calls on different names and godforms, but if you take apart the LRP, keep all the names and spirits, and put it back together to look more like a Star Ruby (which as I recall I sent you an example of) it’s still an LRP, just optimized differently.

I think this is a miscommunication about just what it means to “program” ethereal software.

Ananael is communicating his intent to the ethereal software. He’s doing it using a complex symbolic language. I can see why he might think of that as programming.

But remember, programming is when you show ethereal software how to do something it doesn’t understand yet. What signature to apply to which tissue for a particular healing technique. It’s not about explaining your goals, it’s about doing the magick yourself, with your own ethereal muscles, so the software can copy you.

(I’m not sure what the equivalent would be for manifesting, I haven’t programmed that software yet. But the first step would be figuring out how it functions under the hood, doing what the manifesting software does using only your own ethereal muscles, then showing it how to do that new technique. Which isn’t the sort of thing a normal user needs to do.)

The rituals I’ve seen — LBRP, OTO Mass, a few others — seem like a way to express your intent using a complex symbolic language. Someone (probably a spirit) programmed those symbols and correspondences into the software, then people learn the symbols and correspondences and use them to communicate with the software. It’s rather clever, actually, because it’s probably easier to explain these symbols than it is to explain how to clearly communicate with the software using only your thoughts. But the programming happened earlier, when that spirit set the software to know how to implement those commands and intents.

Modifying Rituals

One more misunderstanding to clear up:

As I recall, you originally came up with the idea based on the concept that ceremonial magicians don’t change their rituals. The implication there, then, is that any trivial change to something like the LRP makes it “different software.” But to anyone who’s practiced the ritual that obviously isn’t true – magicians vary it all the time within reason and it works the same way and draws the same energy.

The origins are quite different, actually. I originally noticed how all these different systems of magick, with different theories about why magick works and how to use it, produced similar results. That suggests there’s a single mechanism shared by all those systems.

Also, the changes in the world that magick creates are much more complex than you could express in a sigil or ritual. Whatever magick does at the atomic level, however it figures out what will happen in the future and which ways to influence the present, something extremely complex must be going on. Which means something equally complex must be driving those changes, taking our instructions and figuring out the details of creating that change in the world.

(That equally complex thing is a combination of the software itself, and the spirits / people who programmed it.)

Now, the details of ethereal software — how we connect and interact, what exactly it does, if there’s one or many of them, etc — didn’t come from those ideas. The details came from working with ethereal software, asking spirits about it, and testing things out myself and with other people.

As for changing a ritual, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Remember how my sigil has 6 symbols? My ethereal software is bound to each symbol. So, you could mess with the overall sigil, reorganize the symbols, even change some of them, and it would probably still work. Redundancy is your friend, and I bet there’s more than one symbol involved in most of your rituals.

When you begin your ritual, the software is already out there, already made. If your ritual uses enough standard symbols and steps, the software will connect to you. If your ritual doesn’t, the software won’t. But doing something weird won’t get you different software, unless you accidentally modified your symbols to look like another system’s symbols.

And all of that is interesting, but probably not what’s at work here. Because doing a standard ritual is just one way to get software to connect. Much more common — the only thing I do, and from what I’ve seen, the normal way ritual practitioners do it too — is to just think about the magick you want to do. See, once you’ve used some ethereal software a few times, (once if you focus on it), your ethereal muscles will remember its signature. And most software will leave a tiny connection to you, to let you contact it again — all my software does this, anyway. So, just remembering the signature will let you contact that software again.

So, when an experienced ritual practitioner does some weird ritual, whether it’s a modified LBRP or some made up thing about Superman? They’re probably contacting the ethereal software by remembering its signature and letting it read their intent. No ritual required.

What does the ritual do, then? At a minimum, if rituals are how you do magick, they’ll help you focus. But I also expect (but don’t know) that most ethereal software used in ritual magick is programmed to respond to the ritual, to take the ritual into account when interpreting the intent it reads from the practitioner’s mind. I could see that adding redundancy to the communication with the ethereal software, and as we all know, redundancy is your friend.

Does that help? I’d like to know if this is clarifying things, for Ananael and the rest of you, so I know if I should go into this in my book. Thanks!

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4 Questions on Demons

Monday, October 7th, 2013

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Responding to Don’t Mock Demons, Ola Olu asks four questions. I’ll answer each in turn.

Protecting Siblings

Q: if i can call an angel from mars to protect a family member with ritual magick, how would you protect your siblings from demon that seek revenge on you though could not get through you?

Ah, the basic question: How do I stop malicious spirit X from doing undesirable thing Y?

Some systems of magick have many answers. For this spirit, invoke this angel. For that spirit, use this ritual. Different ways of handling each spirit.

But I like answers based on basic principles. So, let’s go basic: The malicious spirit needs ethereal muscles to do magick. If you disable his ethereal muscles, the spirit can’t do magick anymore. Then you win.

(How do you do that? Disable the connections between its ethereal muscles and the rest of its mind. For more, follow that link, which is from when I used the term mental muscles instead of my current ethereal muscles .)

So, my answer to you is: I would ignore the angel, connect to the malicious spirit, disable its mind, win, and then eat some pizza. Because pizza is awesome.

(Your magick will still work without the pizza, though.)

Banishing Ashtaroth

Q: i was once troubled by a DEMON and later i called archangel MICHAEL to banish it from my room. I want to know how to banish ASHTAROTH without the aid of holy GOD and the service of strong ANGELS.

Connect to whatever you want to get rid of. Damage the connections between its ethereal muscles and the rest of its mind. Then, pizza.

Although I should note, in my experience, these impressively-named entities are often ethereal software, used by a variety of spirits. So, if one of those spirits is bothering you, the answer is:

Trace the connections back to the ethereal software. Hack it. Remove that spirit’s privelages with the software. If the spirit continues bothering you, see above.

(That link is from even longer ago, when I used the term system for what I now call ethereal software.)

Circles of Protection

Q: Can you create a sacred circle of protection with this new system of magick and you are sure of 100% safty from the venom of BAAL, LILITH, MOLOCH just to name a few.

100% safety? Does not exist. Any shield can be bypassed. The point of shields in serious fights is to delay an attacker, not to stop them. The only way to win is through offense.

Stealing Souls

Q: Direct magick would fuel its energy from the soul, and these demons have their tricks to buying even the souls of humans. I would wait to see direct magick do better than the ritual of solomonic magick.

I think this is a terms problem:

Direct magick clearly draws its power from somewhere inside the mage. And we can call that a soul, or a source, or a giant pizza, because, well, we can point to a thing and assign it a name, that’s how names work.

And the whole definition of demon is that there’s this thing humans have called a soul, which isn’t a physical thing we can photograph or measure or anything, but that demons can steal it.

So, if you pick a spirit and choose to call it a “demon,” and you point to the source of a magick inside a mage and choose to call it a “soul,” it becomes natural to ask, “Can the demon steal your soul, and thereby steal your magick?”

But there’s no reason to think that calling a spirit a demon actually gives it the power to steal your anything, and there’s no reason to think that the thing demonologists call a soul corresponds to the thing we chose to call a soul. After all, we just kind of picked a word for that source of power. Let’s try picking a different term:

Can that malicious spirit steal a mage’s giant pizza?

Honestly, I have no idea. But I doubt it. First, spirits don’t like pizza — never had my leftovers stolen by Baal, after all. But second, a mage’s source of power is heavily integrated into their ethereal muscles, which connect to their brain. So a power source not the kind of thing you “steal.” And what would that even mean? That the power source powers your ethereal muscles? That it stops powering theirs? I can’t even see what it would mean to steal a thing without a physical location.

That’s why I think this question has more to do with terms, and with assuming that the thing I call soul is the same thing another guy calls soul, and then trying to use my meaning and his meaning interchangeably.

Probably not the answers you expected, but I hope they gave you some food for thought.

My favorite food for thought is pizza.

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My Take on the 4 Standard Models of Magick

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

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This post is about the “Four Standard Models of Magick,” and how they relate to direct magick. I used to think of those models as attempts to describe an underlying mechanism of magick, and found them rather incomplete. But lately, I’ve come to think of them as methods of communicating with your unconscious, which seems useful. We’ll get into all that soon.

You’ve probably heard of the four standard models before: Spirit, energy, psychological and information. You can use any of those models and get decent results, and the idea is to categorize the range of ways people explain magick. They’re popular with the chaos magick crowd — temporarily believe this or that model to make your magick work.

When I think of them as attempts to explain the underlying mechanism of magick, they felt rather incomplete. Sure, I use spirits and energy and my mind and information, but (1) you need all of them to really describe the inner-workings of magick, and (2) none of the models seem to really grapple with magick’s complexity. (Details below.) So I familiarized myself with them to be literate, then ignored them.

But recently, readers have been asking me which model I subscribe to, and if my energy matches the standard model’s energy, and if ethereal muscles map to the psychological model, and so on. (Short answers: “None of them, no, and no.”)

Developing longer answers to those questions made me realize there’s a fundamental difference between my model of direct magick and the four standard models of magick. They’re trying to do different things, and even the word “model” seems to mean something different. But I’m not sure how to explain that. So, that’s what this post is about.

(Not familiar with the 4 models? This post (from chaos matrix) explains them. Or scroll down this page for my explanation.)

What Makes Models Good?

Here’s what I mean by “model”:

  • There is some actual mechanism occurring in the external world. (Probably just one, but it could be several.)
  • A model should describe that mechanism. The more of that mechanism it describes, the better. And it has to offer enough detail that you can imagine how each part works and predict what will happen if you try something new — simply saying “my magick goes out and does it” is correct, but not useful.
  • We determine how closely a model matches the actual mechanism by seeing if it accurately predicts new, non-obvious results. That’s key: Any story can “predict” things we already knew, but if a model really matches the underlying mechanism, it should give you new insights to predict new results you haven’t seen before. For me, those predictions are usually new, effective techniques I wouldn’t have found without the model.

That’s more or less the scientific worldview. It’s what I strive for in my models. But I’m realizing, it’s not really the goal of the standard models of magick.

I can’t just say that, though. It wasn’t obvious to me until I thought through the shortcomings of the four standard models as scientific models, and thought about them in relation to direct magick, which is my best attempt at building a scientific model of magick’s underlying mechanisms. So, let’s start there: Taking the four standard models literally, as attempted explanations of the underlying mechanism of magick, before we discuss what they really are.

The 4 Models Explained with Direct Magick

I’m going to explain each of the four standard models — spirit, energy, psychological, and information — in terms of Direct Magick. Yes, I’m assuming my model is accurate because, well, my blog, my rules. This will help everyone get on the same page, whether you know the four standard models (but not direct magick), or you know direct magick (but not the four models).

Again, I don’t actually use these four models, so I’m mostly drawing from this post. Sorry if I get something wrong.

The Spirit Model

Quick summary: Spirits are awesome. They can do powerful magick. So ask them for what you want, and let them handle the details.

In Direct Magick: Yes, I often ask spirits for assistance. I’d count ethereal software as a spirit in this discussion, too. So that’s a large portion of what I do.

But… Imagine this conversation:

Jane: I’m a great cook.

Bob: Awesome. I love pizza. Can you cook pizza?

Jane: Sure, I make a great pizza.

Bob: Tell me about your recipe.

Jane: My recipe is simple: I pick up the phone, call Luigi’s, and ask for whatever I want. Like I said, I’m a great cook.

Every time someone says they use the spirit model, I want to ask, “Aren’t you curious about how it actually works?” Also, what if the spirit’s technique isn’t optimal? What if it isn’t even effective? And what if those building blocks could also build a new solution to some unsolved problem? Unless you dig into how the spirit implements your request, you’ll never know.

The Energy Model

Quick summary: Everything has magickal energy in it. Change that energy to change the world. Often, you’ll build energy, tell it your intent, and hope the ball of energy can make that intent happen (I think).

In Direct Magick: I use energy, too. It’s part of energy healing, and with part of communication — I collect the signatures that my mind enters as I think my message, and while those signatures aren’t exactly energy, the concept is reasonably close.

But energy — the thing that makes you feel tingles — is simple. Dumb, even. You can build energy in a particular signature, and use it to shift the signature of other magickal stuff, but that’s about it. You can’t tell it, “Cause me to find a good job.” You send messages like that to ethereal software, which you could think of as a spirit, but most definitely isn’t energy.

And for energy healing, you have to know the right signature to use — just knowing your goal won’t work, unless your ethereal software already knows how to implement that goal. And, again, we’re now involving ethereal software, which the energy model doesn’t have.

It seems to me that the energy model is describing what the mage should think about to send their intent to their ethereal muscles / software, rather than describing how the ethereal muscles / software actually do the magick. We’ll come back to that idea later.

The Psychological Model

Quick summary: Your unconscious knows how to do magick. So ask for what you want, and let it handle the details.

In Direct Magick: When most people start magick, their ethereal muscles are unconscious. Since your main goal as a beginning mage is to get your intent to your ethereal muscles, it makes sense to work on getting your intent to your unconscious mind.

But why stop there? Like the spirit model, you’re ordering your magick from something you don’t understand. Don’t you want to know what your unconscious does so you can debug your magick and build on it?

That’s why, fairly early in direct magick training, we make your ethereal muscles conscious. Then you can see how they work and start understanding what happens after you send them your intent.

Also, I make a distinction between ethereal muscles and my ordinary unconscious mind. It’s useful for distinguishing ordinary intuitions from psychic intuitions, for example, and also for learning techniques to awaken ethereal muscles. Calling everything “unconscious” seems to make that distinction harder.

The Information model

Quick summary: To change X — an infection, lottery balls, your job search — send your goals (the information) to that thing, or simply out into the universe.

(The article I linked to wasn’t great on this model. I found this post helpful.)

In Direct Magick: I send requests to ethereal software all the time. Information matters.

But like the spirit model, this reduces magick to asking for what you want. Aren’t we interested in the thing that receives those requests? How does it act on them? What algorithms does it use, and how can they be improved?

Also, there are better ways to transmit information to ethereal software, but that requires working with the energy of your brain — getting down into how ethereal muscles / software store and transmit information, in the same way that a computer engineer digs into how computers store and transmit information to build a new, better internet protocol. I can’t see how to do this if your fundamental unit of magick is “information.”

(I’ve also heard some folks suggest that you’re telling the infected cells themselves to get better. I don’t buy that — cells communicate using chemical messengers, not words and ideas. That’s why I send instructions to ethereal software, which does communicate in ideas, and is programmed to turn those ideas into specific changes in the world.)

What the 4 Models Really Do

For years, that’s where my thinking began and ended on these models: They’re incomplete over-simplifications. They give the feel that you’ve answered, “How does magick work?” without actually addressing the underlying mechanics — that is, they’re curiosity-stoppers, stories that let you calm your curiosity without really answering the question. And I like my curiosity, so I didn’t spend much time on those models.

But preparing for this post, I realized: These four models aren’t trying to explain the underlying mechanism. They aren’t trying to be scientific models. That’s not their goal.

These models give you common, reliable ways to communicate your intent to your unconscious, things you can imagine and focus on to achieve magick. Spirits, energy, just going into trance and assigning meaning to a symbol, or just focusing on the information — they’re not trying to explain how magick works, they’re just trying to give you a procedure for doing magick. They’re an operator’s manual, not an engineer’s handbook.

I don’t know if that’s how practitioners who use those models view them, but I suspect it may be, because of the “meta-model,” which basically says, “Feel free to use any of these models any time. You don’t have to commit to one.” That sentiment seems odd if you believe the model actually describes how magick works, but it makes a lot of sense if you know you’re just describing standard procedures for doing magick — of course you should feel free to pick any standard procedure you like, then pick a different one tomorrow.

Which makes me think, I should build a standard procedure for direct magick. Something simplified, focused on ease of use rather than accuracy, to give beginners something to focus on to get their magick working. It would quickly explain how to do direct magick, without going into details, and be accurate enough that it won’t confuse you when we go into the underlying mechanisms later.

And this is where you come in, dear readers. Those of you who use the standard models, is this roughly your understanding? Does my explanation resonate? And for everyone, would a simplified direct magick procedure be useful?

Thanks for the feedback!

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Examples of My Model: LBRP

Monday, May 28th, 2012

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Another excerpt from Part 1 of the book, explaining my model by walking you through the LBRP. As always, feedback is welcome.

I don’t do rituals myself, but I sometimes join friends for rituals, so I’ve seen the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) a bunch of times, from several different groups. Here’s what I observed each time:

During the Kabbalistic Cross, ethereal software would connect to us. It first connected to the people who regularly practice the LBRP, then connected to me and the other guests. I continued looking for other connections from spirits or other ethereal software, but did not find any, so I’m fairly confident it’s only that one ethereal software connecting to everyone.

As we performed the pentagrams and invoked the angels, the ethereal software communicated with everyone’s mind. Because I was performing the ritual, I wasn’t focused enough to read the messages and images the software was sending to my friends, but in similar situations (such as Enochian magick, psychic visions, and astral projection), other ethereal software sends intuitions and visions. Since some of my friends described visions of angels after the ritual, I assume the ethereal software was responsible for those.

At the close of the ritual, the ethereal software stayed connected to everyone, presumably so it could respond to the next ritual we might perform. For example, if we asked for luck in some activity, the ethereal software would read that request from our minds and cause the actual changes to make that lucky event happen. The software can also connect us to other ethereal software or to spirits for assistance with other tasks.

How did the ethereal software know to connect when we started the ritual? In the rituals I participated in, my friends were experienced in that ritual style. They performed LBRPs regularly, and knew the ethereal software’s signature so well that they didn’t even notice its connections. They could probably connect to the software simply by focusing on its signature (without performing any ritual), and they probably reached out to the ethereal software they’d worked with so many times as they started the ritual.

In my experience, focusing on an ethereal software’s signature is most common way to contact it. That’s how I contact most of my ethereal software. But there is a second way: The rituals and symbols you use can connect you to the ethereal software for that style of magick. I’ll tell you about that next section.

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Contacting the Enochian Angels with Direct Magick

Friday, May 4th, 2012

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Yesterday, I showed you how I contact the ethereal software for the Enochian system of magick. Today, I’m going to take the natural next step: Talk to one of the angels.

Scott Stenwick (Ananael), author of Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy, was kind enough to email me with a recommendation:

Carmara, as “dispensor of the Heptarchial doctrine” is a good angel to contact if you have questions about the system as a whole.

Sounds good. Let’s do it.

Preparing for Enochian Visions

Yesterday, I had kept the ethereal software out of my mind, and communicated with it by packaging my thoughts, in the same way that most spirits communicate. Today, I allow the software to connect to my mind, because (1) I’ll need to send Carmara’s sigil, and I’m not good at sending images yet, and (2) I want the full Enochian experience, as other mages would experience it.

Normally, I wouldn’t bother telling you that. But something unusual happened when it connected. But before I can share that, I need to explain a little bit about the inner-workings of magickal communication.

When software (or a spirit, or an experienced mage) sends a message, they need to put that message in the right part of the receiver’s mind. If I want to send a conscious thought, I need to connect to the receiver’s conscious mind. To send a sound, I’d connect to the auditory parts of the receiver’s mind. And so on.

Normally, ethereal software only connects to my conscious mind. My mental muscles guide it there, making that the default for ethereal software. Software would only connect somewhere else if it were specifically, intentionally programmed to require a connection to that other part of my mind.

The Enochian ethereal software also connected to the visual part of my mind, meaning it is specifically designed to deliver visions. I see this very rarely, so I was initially surprised. But now that I’ve had a chance to think about it, it totally makes sense, and is exactly what you’d expect from my model of how visions of spirits work.

OK, back to talking to the angel.

Contacting Carmara

I sent the Enochian software the command, “Requesting an angel based on a sigil,” then focused on the sigil from Scott’s book (page 115). A few seconds later, a spirit* contacted me through the ethereal software, meaning that the spirit sends its messages to the software, which forwards them to me. (This is a common technique for communicating with many people at once, as it simplifies what the spirit has to do to communicate.)

*Spirit is the general term for non-bodied people. Angels are spirits.

I also got some images projected into my thoughts. (I saw them in my imagination, not projected on the wall in front of me.) The first was a tall white man with long, straight dark hair, wearing long, non-ornate, cream-colored robes. The second was a very brief image of a non-human, white-winged angel with a human-ish head and multiple arms, holding several swords. I don’t know enough about Enochian to interpret these images, but they were pronounced, seem significant, and I was able to request the images several times from Carmara as I wrote this paragraph.


I explain what I do, that I’m looking to connect with people who do this style (Enochian), that I’m working to grow magick into a mature, respected discipline, and that I want to know more about this and possibly collaborate with them on that project.

Carmara makes a bunch of connections to my mind. My guess is, he’s reading my thoughts to see if I’m genuine.

Me, after 30 seconds: Did you have time to read my mind and see that I am genuine?

Carmara: We are discussing.

Another spirit contacts me, this time directly (rather than through the software.) He introduces himself with the image of an equilateral triangle (flat on the bottom, pointing up), with a circle inside it (not quite touching the sides of the triangle), with a dot in the middle of the circle. Again, means little to me, but I could certainly use it to contact him again.

We discuss my credentials briefly: Other groups of spirits I work with, what my goals are, etc. He gives his blessing, and asks how I’d like to begin.

Questions for the Angels

I’ll call the spirit with the triangle-circle-dot symbol “Tri.” You can all make fun of me after you tell me the official name.

Me: Tell me about your organization, the relationship between the angels, other spirits, and the guys who run the ethereal software, and what your goals are.

Tri: We run the software. Please, check for yourself.

I do. Indeed, it connects me to another spirit, and from there, I can connect to a bunch of angels, including the one I’m talking to now.

Tri: We have some other spirits we work with, too. Some are in training to become angels, others are simply not interested in an enlightenment / ascention type of path, and want to focus on technical skills. The first are referred to as “spirits,” the second as “demons.” (The concept isn’t dark or evil, just focused on tasks rather than spiritual growth.)

Tri: Our goal is to help people learn enlightenment. (We discuss the details some, but it’s more personal than I’d like to post publicly.)

Me: Tell me about the visions of the angels. How do you send them? How do you pick what image to send?

He hands me off to another angel who handles that part, who explains: The images are sent either as an image in the person’s thoughts (this is the default, if you are not set up for the other one, which most people aren’t), or as an image to the eyes.

Me: Can you show me the nerves it would go to, when you send it to the eyes?

He connects to a part of my brain, toward the back. I’m guessing this is the visual cortex. He picks up these thoughts as I write them.

Him: Yes, so it’s not the actual literal eyes. But we don’t have words for the brain regions the same way you do, and the way we get to the “eyes of the brain” is by starting at the eyes and tracing the nerve until it reaches the brain.

He shows me, I can feel the path.

Him: So it makes sense to us to use that term. Is that what you were asking?

Me: Yes. Thank you very much. How do you teach people, or prepare people, to receive images in the eyes of the brain? (That’s the visual cortex, remember.)

Him: As people work with us, we start making the connections [to the visual cortex]. Once they are up to the second level*, we will start setting them up for visions. They simply have to do the work regularly so that the setup doesn’t stall or go backward.

*I’m not sure what a level is, but the “second” part of that came through clearly.

Me: When you do the setup, how does that actually work? What’s the technique?

He sounds excited, like he enjoys explaining this: We make a large number of connections that are always on. These set up a network within the visual cortex*. Then, once the network is set up, we turn on energy in the signature for the general class of messages we’ll send. So, we’re not sending a particular image, but instead we’re sending energy from which any image could be made.

*He’s starting to use my concept, so it translates as “visual cortex” rather than “eyes of the brain.”

Me: How would that differ from bathing the area of the brain in energy matching the ethereal software’s signature?

Him: That would work to let the software send general messages. But if you’re trying to change how that part of the mind works, so that you can add images that wouldn’t normally be processed, you need to align it not just to the software in general, but to the particular messages you’ll be sending. We could do what you do, and then do this, and that would be effective as well, but only doing the software’s signature will not set you up for proper, dramatic visions.

Me: One of my upcoming projects is to bind some ethereal software to a sigil. You guys seem to know a lot about this. Any advice?

He passes me off to another angel, who says: Make the sigil intricate. Make it so the sigil is made of many sigils. That’s what we did with the [Enochian] alphabet. That way, there is redundancy in that one sigil, so even if the person can’t focus on the whole thing, or copies part of it down wrong, or otherwise something goes wrong, there’s so much redundancy that it’s probably going to work anyway.

Him, continuing: Beyond that, you’ll want to know whether looking at the sigil should default to making the software contact you, or if the mage needs to reach out and contact the software-lookup software, like we do it. If it’s the former, you’ll need to use this other piece of software.

He connects me to another OS-level software. It seems tied to events, which makes sense, since it would need to detect whenever someone looks at my sigil.

Him: But I’m sure the spirits you work with will know about that, also. For you, personally, you will probably be involved in making the sigil, and deciding how it ought to behave, so those are the two questions you should consider. I’m surprised they haven’t taught you this already.

Me: I haven’t asked. We’re not quite there, but you guys seem so up on this that I wanted to ask you about it.

Him: Ah, ok.

That’s all my questions, and I’m ready to rest a bit. (This was a full hour of communication and writing.) I thank them, they invite me to call him back anytime, and that ends the session.

Closing Thoughts

On the whole, these guys seem like skilled, friendly spirits, similar to ones I work with already. After this discussion, I’m quite confident that the visions are projections from the ethereal software, rather than an actual statement of how the spirit looks, and it was fascinating to learn about the different ways to prepare an area of the mind for visions.

Now, a few questions for you (experienced an novice Enochian practitioners alike):

  • Would you be interested in doing magick like this?
  • What would someone normally do next, after contacting a bunch of Enochian spirits and getting their blessing to collaborate?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to see me explore with this?

Thanks for reading.

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Connecting to the Enochian Ethereal Software

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

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We’ve been talking about how ethereal software connects to mages, and I want to give you a concrete example. So, today, I’m going to contact the Enochian ethereal software, read its instructions and talk to the spirits that run it, and write down each step.

In the past, I’ve glossed over the advanced parts of my magick, trying to make it into something novices could do. I’m realizing that doesn’t work, and only gets readers confused. So I’m going to tell you the whole procedure I use, even though you probably won’t be able to do some of it yourself yet. But by the time you’re done with my book (which is finally underway), you should be able to do most of this, too.

Step 1: Wikipedia

I go to the Wikipedia page on Enochian and pick a letter. For today’s session, I’ll use Un.

Step 2: Contact the Lookup Software

This is the step I’ve glossed over in the past. I do it almost without thinking, but as I think about teaching you to do this, it really is non-trivial.

First, the concept: There are some pieces of ethereal software that work behind the scenes, making everything else work. You can think of it as the operating system, which is itself software, but a different kind of software than what you’d use.

This particular ethereal OS software connects mages to other ethereal software based on the desired software’s signature, ritual, symbol, or other identifying features. I call it the “software-lookup software.”

I initially developed this model by asking, “How does ethereal software connect to me when I focus on a symbol?” The answer seemed rather suspicious to me: Really, you’re answering a problem with ethereal software by using more ethereal software? But I looked for it, and I found it, and that’s what counts. At this point, I routinely interact with the software-lookup software, so I’m quite confident in this part of the model.

When I first found the software-lookup software, I was watching how I connected to other ethereal software, and tracing those connections. Like most other things I talked about, that requires good sensory connections, so I can’t talk you through it yet. But soon, we’ll have a common language around sensing these things.

Anyway, for step 2, I connect to the software-lookup software. At this point, I simply know its signature, so this happens more or less unconsciously when I think about finding some software based on a symbol.

Step 3: Focus on the Enochian Letter

Now, I just focus on the letter (looking at Wikipedia), and send it to the software-lookup software in the same way you would send a question to any psychic ethereal software. The software-lookup software connects another piece of ethereal software to me, then disconnects itself. I’m calling that other piece of ethereal software the “Enochian ethereal software.”

I also verified that other letters connect me to the same ethereal software. Nice confirmation that I’m getting something associated with the overall style.

Step 4: Read the Instructions

Whadda you know, a man who reads the instructions…

Whenever I work with new ethereal software, I start by asking for the “full instructions.” This gives me:

Software for contacting angels. Most angels speak indirectly, using the software as an interface. A few will contact you directly. Also has lookups for a variety of other spirits, including demons.

To use it, request the spirit based on its sigil. Alternately, request it based on its name. Alternately, request a “list of available angels” or “list of available spirits,” then select one from the list based on its signature.

A few notes on that:

  • These instructions are generally written by the spirits who made the software. Most ethereal software responds to “Requesting full usage instructions.”
  • I chose the term “angel” because I know what Enochian is about. The software communicates concepts, not words. But the concept had a connotation of “skilled and benevolent,” which the general concept of “spirit” wouldn’t have.
  • Same deal with “demon.” I initially wrote it as “goetia,” because I associate the two styles somehow. (This is probably incorrect, but I learned about them at the same time, so they are linked in my mind.) Anyone with experience in Enochian can shed light on the demons and other spirits?

There are other instructions I could ask for, but I don’t plan to use this software all that much, so that’s enough for now. Next, I ask it to “Connect me to the spirits that made or run the software.” I explain to them that I know other people who use this software and want to explore what they do, ask permission to poke around, and ask their advice on which angels to contact. (I do this using a fairly advanced communication technique, which shows that I know what I’m doing and usually produces good responses from spirits.) Their reply:

Yes, please do. I would recommend you contact any angel you like, they will all respond well to you. Just use the list of available angels. Feel free to check in with us if you have any other questions.

I thank them for being so generous and welcoming, and say that I’ll call back tomorrow after talking with my friends about which angel to contact. Also, I want a break after writing all this. So, tomorrow, I’ll contact an Enochian angel with direct magick. Any recommendations on who to contact, or what to talk about?

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5 Things I Enjoyed About Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy

Friday, April 13th, 2012

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I first reviewed Scott Stenwick’s Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy (MtMH) earlier this year. At the time, I was a few chapters in. Today, I’ll review the rest of the book.

I came into this book knowing very little about Enochian. I knew it was a complex ritual style, that it was supposed to put you in contact with Angels, and a bit of the history. I could disguise my ignorance a conversation, but I couldn’t really participate in a conversation about Enochian intelligently. After reading MtMH, I feel like I know enough of the history and the details of Enochian to have an intelligent discussion on it, which was one of my main goals.

When I first started reading MtMH, I thought about trying Enochian as a way to connect with more traditional mages. At this point, I don’t think I will. MtMH has made me less interest in practicing Enochian, which sounds like a slight, but really the book was just doing its job: It gave me a much clearer picture of what Enochian magick entails, which let me decide that Enochian isn’t for me. But trying to explain that I really do like the book, even though it makes me less likely to practice its subject, is challenging for a writer, and it’s a lot of why I’ve put this article off.

5 Things I Liked About MtMH

Scott has a great, detailed description of setting up the temple (the ritual space). It includes sigils for you to photocopy. Personally, I would be much more likely to practice the style if I don’t have to draw or carve all of these complex shapes. He also suggests using brass rings instead of gold, and other ways to get a quick and dirty temple up and running.

Seeing the details of the temple laid out gave me a much better feel for what ritual magick is about. I mean, I knew about correspondences before, but seeing Scott work through them as he reasoned about which metals to use for the temple gave me the feel of working with them, which is really useful for understanding what other mages are talking about.

Most chapters open with a blog-post-like discussion. Scott covered secrecy in magick (he’s against it), the different banishing and invoking rituals (LBRP / LIRH = Operant field), and other topics. They’re like more-polished blog posts, and even though I encountered the ideas on his blog, reading them again in book form (maybe with more editing?) made the ideas clearer. It was fun to get some of the ideas that hadn’t quite connected before.

I skipped most of the actual rituals, but from what I did read, they are quite detailed, with good diagrams. I believe I could correctly perform the rituals from just the written instructions, which isn’t true of all books. So if you do want to practice Enochian, I think this book will do a good job of it.

Beyond that, MtMH teases apart the now-standard Golden Dawn version from the original Dee-Kelly version. I can’t say which is better, but I’d sure want to know which I was using. This seems like an important distinction, and one that I wasn’t even aware of before reading this book.


Here’s where I ended up on the book:

Enochian isn’t for me. But that has very little to do with MtMH, and everything to do with what Enochian is actually about.

If you want to practice Enochian, this seems like an excellent book. It’s slim (150 pages), includes sigils to photocopy, and has quite detailed instructions for actually performing the rituals.

For me, I just want to be able to have an intelligent discussion with traditional ritual mages, and this book helped get me there. It gave me a much better sense of what’s involved in setting up a temple and performing the rituals, enlightened me on some distinctions in the history of Enochian and the Golden Dawn, and explained the difference between a lot of the standard rituals (LBRP, LIRP, LBRH, LIRH). And it did all that in about 75 pages, which is awesome. (Remember, I skipped the rituals.)

I’d recommend Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy for anyone wanting to practice Enochian, along with anyone looking for a quick introduction to what Enochian magick is all about.

Here’s a link to buy the book on Amazon: Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy.

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Why Study Ancient Magick?

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

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Today, I’m going to ask a question I’m genuinely curious about. But I could imagine an aggressive skeptic asking this pejoratively. So, I’m asking a favor: Remember that’s not me.

Frater RO recently talked about the Golden Dawn having magick from the first through third centuries. Which makes me ask:

Why care about 1st-3rd century magick?

I mean, if you try to heal someone with 2nd century medicine, you know what happens? They die.

If you try to cross the ocean with 2nd century boats, you know what happens? You get lost and die.

Publishing your ideas, moving across the country or creating a gear using 2nd century technology is roughly a million times harder and slower than it is today. You know why? Because technology compounds, science is awesome, and we’re better at altering the physical world today than we were 2000 years ago.

So, why seek ancient magick? What’s the point?

You’re probably expecting me to explain how ancient magicks are better, and why we should all explore what people did 2000 years ago. But I don’t have an answer. If you pressed me, I’d say that people exploring ancient magick are looking in the wrong places (assuming they want effective results, rather than historical art or something).

But there seems to be a lot of mages basing their art in the ancient world. So I’m curious — genuinely, respectfully curious, not “curious” as a euphemism for “an excuse to poke you with annoying questions.” Maybe there’s something I’m missing.


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