Want to Help Me Write a Book?

Posted in Magical Systems, Techniques, Writing on April 18, 2014 by P. Dunn

I’m toying with ideas for my next book.  I’d like to do some research among those who practice magic.  Would you be interested in being interviewed for this possible book?  This may involve sharing some of your magical successes and failures, and perhaps trying a few techniques and reporting back.  There may be several follow-up interviews, as well.  If the book is published and I use your experiences, you will receive credit (either to your name or a pseudonym) and your experiences will be cited in the text.  I’ll also send you a free copy of the book when it comes out (but don’t hold your breath: it takes at least a year to write a book, and another year for it to come out).  I can’t guarantee that I’ll use everyone’s experiences.  But if nothing else, we may be able to share some ideas and techniques, even if they don’t end up as a book.

Feel free to join in whether you’re very advanced in magic or a brand-new beginner.  The book I’m envisioning is an advanced book, but I want beginners to be able to benefit from it.

If interested, email me at pee double-yew dunn at gee mail dot com.  And be patient with me; it’s a busy time of the year for me.

Balance

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2014 by P. Dunn

I would love to live in a fantasy world, I admit it.  If I could put on a robe, carry a staff, have peasants tremble at my terrible power, and so on — that’d be pretty nifty.  And that’s why there are such things as video games and novels and roleplaying games, all fun things.  But they’re not real.

In reality, I live a double life.  On the one hand, I am a mild-mannered (or not so mild, actually, in terms of manner, some days) professional.  I deal with the public, champion critical thinking and skepticism, and regard myself as a scholar.  I get up, go to work, pay my mortgage, clean the house, mow the lawn, cook dinner, eat it in front of the computer while watching old episodes of Frasier.  You know: an ordinary life.

On the other hand, I’m an occultist.  I pray to gods, practice theurgic rituals, try to probe into the meaning and use of occult forces, cast geomantic charts, summon spirits, make talismans, meditate (never enough).

It’s sometimes hard for me to maintain a balance.  I often find myself veering toward tweed rather than robes, because it’s certainly easier to live a mundane life.  But that way lies the slough of despond.  If I ignore magic, I start to feel thin and dry in my mind, like I’m letting the bigger part of me atrophy.

At the same time, I see people who retreat so far into magic that they fail to live a successful mundane life.  I’ll just say it, man: if you’re horridly in debt, unhappy, and your idea of a relationship involves someone to jeer and scream at, you’re not doing well.  Magic should make those things better, not be an excuse for them.  Sure, it’s not a panacea, and sometimes bad things happen to the best magicians.  And not every magician has everything they want automatically, because sometimes magic doesn’t work (often for very good reasons, but that’s another post).  But I’ve known more than a few people who claim great magical power but couldn’t balance a checkbook.

I don’t want to be such a person.  More importantly, I don’t want to seem to be such a person.  So it’s hard for me to balance these two important and valuable lives.

What helps me is to look at my friends who are not magicians, but have a rich spiritual life.  They seem to have found that balance, partially because their religions are sanctioned by the dominant culture, but really that’s just an excuse.  In fact, they find that balance because there isn’t, for them, a difference between these two lives.  The mundane life is a part of the larger, spiritual life.  It’s not a choice between two lives, but having one part of your life be a subset of the greater whole.  So that’s the balance I suppose I’m striving for.

Donald Michael Kraig

Posted in heroes on March 19, 2014 by P. Dunn

Donald Michael Kraig died yesterday.

His book, Modern Magick, was an inspiration to me from a very young age.  I first read it when I was about fifteen, I think, and I worked my way through it lesson by lesson, one month per (but I cheated!  I used lunar months!  They’re shorter!) chapter.  I made all the tools.  I memorized all the rituals.  All of them.  When I got to college and was introduced to Hegel, my first thought was “Oh, DMK talked about him.”  In a very real way, he was my inspiration in magic.  He showed me that magic could be real, rational, a way of life more than a style choice.  He taught me how it was a system that aligned with cosmology, ethics, philosophy, art, and the list goes on.  Magic, he taught me, isn’t something you do.  It’s something you are.

It’s our job now to remember the meaning that his life had, and a life has meaning in relationships with others.  His work had a tremendous influence on many, many magicians, and as the meaning of a life goes, that’s a pretty good one.  Another thing we can do, of course, is help pay the bills of his medical care and funeral costs.  You can do that here.

Contest — Winner

Posted in Cartomancy, Contest, Lenormand, Techniques on February 15, 2014 by P. Dunn

It was very hard to select a winner, because these techniques were all so useful and interesting.  I selected this one as the most original, interesting, and versatile.  If you try it, you see it straddles divination and meditation.  It also requires nothing more than a deck of cards, tarot or Lenormand, and it works equally well with both.

It was submitted by Maighdlin, who should contact me to arrange the delivery of her prizes.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  I found this a very valuable experience — even if I was slow getting off my butt as usual — and I think I’ll be doing something like this again soon.

I don’t know if anyone else has come up with this before. This is something I created on the spot one day and have been using it as an exercise for about 6 months. Basically I shuffle my tarot deck and deal them out face down into three piles. While shuffling I don’t focus on anything in particular. I just clear my mind. This technique is closer to using flash cards than it is for getting an answer to a specific question, but is does provide a tremendous amount of insight into whatever happens to be significant at the time.
Basically I flip over one card from each pile and interpret the three-card spread. This usually is whatever comes to mind first. It could be something very mundane or something very profound. When I’m done I move the cards aside and repeat. I usually do this until I go through the whole deck.
I use this as an exercise to trust my intuition with the cards. What each card means to me and how they relate with other cards in spreads. Sometimes I note which sets provoke a notable emotional response (or stump me) and meditate on them further.
Sometimes I consider reverse cards, but not always. That’s how I am with any other reading I do. Sometimes I consider the reverse meaning as being a more internal influence vs external, something that is present, but not utilized or acknowledged, etc. It depends on the card(s) really. Other times if the card is reversed I just flip it right side up and read as usual. I don’t know if this is the proper way to go about it. I’m basing this off of my 7 years of experience with my deck, but very little research on the tarot in general. I use the Thoth deck by the way.

Contest — Runner-Up

Posted in Contest, Techniques on February 11, 2014 by P. Dunn

I like this technique a lot, because it uses the defixio itself as a kind of spirit, which is I think quite in keeping with the original way these things were intended.

I’m marking this one as a runner-up, and while I didn’t originally say so I’m going to offer the author of this technique, Travis, a choice of one of my books as well.  Travis, please contact me by email to arrange the delivery of the inscribed book of your choice.

Origami Defixio: Spirit Platform meets Defixio.

One technique of spell work Iv begun to appreciate is the concept of Defixiones as mentioned in Magic Power Language Symbol. The idea is very straightforward and easy to enhance with additional sigils or words written alongside the primary magical purpose.  Personally, I dislike sigils as I have difficulty creating them, and feel inauthentic using premade sigils. Instead, I write or copy a poem I admire and write that on the defixio as an offering to the spiritual identity I write the defixio to. If the practitioner is more comfortable with just “energy” instead of “spirits”, the poem will act as a resonator for its particular energy and the defixio will already carry a familiar quality with the energy the practitioner hopes to bring about.  Another way Iv enhanced my defixiones is by folding the paper into an origami shape. Depending on the tone of the petition or request and to whom I am releasing the defixio to, I can choose different origami forms to fold my defixio into. If I wanted to request the presence of love in my life, I could fold my defixio into a dove, if I desired money, I could fold it into a frog or rabbit (if I can find a pattern online that is). While folding the defixio, I envision the animal as the messenger, and on its wings or in its mouth, the completed defixio will carry my message for me to whatever source I petition. In this way, a small spiritual platform (a golem for others I suppose)  is created out of the defixio. Below is an abbreviated example of a defixio I made after my fathers death.

 

Defixio for Mourning and Healing

Step One: My father was a practical man so I used practical notebook paper. The sheets are thin and there for easy to fold crisply. At the top of the page, I wrote my fathers name with his birth date and the date of his death. Also, I wrote “Dad” since this was the name I most strongly knew him as.

Step Two: After reading through different poems, I selected Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”. The poem resonated with my feelings of grief but also spoke to the necessity of coping and dealing with the experience of loss. I put the poem beneath my father’s name.

Step Three: I decided to fold the paper into the shape of a fox for two reasons. Aside from being practical, my father was anything but typical. The idea of folding a dove or crane seemed too boring to the memory of my father. For personal reasons, the idea of a fox seemed to function better. Secondly, foxes are common figures in mythology as creatures that can step between spiritual and physical realms. Thus I decided on the fox.

Step Four: With the defixio folded, I meditated holding the fox in my lap. I dwelled upon my grief and told the fox my pains. I read aloud the poem that was now inside the fox and asked the fox to take my grief with him (Because it seemed right that the fox was indeed a “him”).

Step 5: With the defixio now full of my energy, I went walking looking for a good place to release my fox into the wild. When I found the right place, I simply said a small prayer asking that my message be received and that my little fox go where it needs to go unhindered. I thanked my deity for this expression and released my grief with the fox.

The ritual above can be easily altered for any purpose. If the esteem of your defixio is for protection, use a pattern for an origami bear or whatever other animal you find agreeable that resonates with the concept you are cultivating for your defixio. Poems and origami patterns are readily available through simple google searches.

Finalist — “State of Grace”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2014 by P. Dunn

This is a technique from a friend of mine, Chris, whose column at Rending the Veil is definitely worth the read.  I like it because it is simple but very effective.  It’s also extremely effective and useful in a wide variety of situations.

This is a variation on your physical/magical journey technique in your first or second book.
I learned to do this with the chakra system, but it would probably work just as well with any body-mapping system.
The technique involves holding your attention in one specific area for extended periods of time. A personal favorite of mine is either the crown, or the spot at the top of the aura (called the 8th in my work–one of the transpersonal chakras, in any case). With a little bit of practice, one can sense a kind of movement from the spirit, which can then be followed with the body.
It effectively allows one to act in a “state of grace” (Christian terminology) without actually being a saint.
Requirements:
1) being able to hold your awareness in one place for extended periods of time.
2) being able to hold your awareness outside of your physical body (so, at least a limited form of “astral” projection.
3) the ability to take direction from the spirit while simultaneously being aware of the world around you (there’s a chance that your spirit could direct you in questionable/dangerous directions — better safe than sorry)

Finalist — Edible Talisman

Posted in Contest, Techniques on February 3, 2014 by P. Dunn

I like this technique because it combines alchemy with practices derived from Renaissance magic.  It’s a very work-intensive sort of technique, but I often find that valuable.  You get what you give, I’ve discovered.   In using alchemy for medical purposes, I want to mention that you should of course use all avenues available to you, not just alchemy alone, but also western medicine.  This technique was submitted by Layo.

When I see a nice transit coming up, with two or more planets in good essential dignity or at least with reception making a desirable aspect with each other, I find a time the planets I want to use are angular in my area, if possible during an appropriate planetary day and hour.  Then I take herbs ruled by each of these planets, consecrate them, and tincture them together in pure ethanol or brandy.  I let them sit (shaking occasionally) until the planets I used will come around to another good aspect.

A few days before the second election, I strain out the dead plant matter and burn it to fine white ash.  The ash is then soaked in a little purified water and shaken up; once it settles out, the solution is carefully poured off the precipitate and then evaporated, leaving pure crystals of potassium carbonate which should be bright white.  Plant material has a lot potassium carbonate, which is soluble in water, and calcium carbonate and metals like copper and iron, which are not.  This method separates them for you so that all you add back in is potassium carbonate.
At the hour of the second astrological election, I put the tincture on a stone tile engraved with the name of an Enochian Bororum angel who has the nature of both planets and I add the crystals (Salt) back in.  I shake it well, put it back on the name, and invoke the planets and the angel.  I have the angel bless the cohobated tincture and then, right there on the tile, filter it through an unbleached coffee filter so that the finished tincture contains only the finest dissolved Salt.  This creates an edible medicinal talisman filled with the blessing of the transit that I captured in the plant material.
If I need it to be a strong medicine for a certain physical condition, I will choose a transit when at least one of the planets that act on that part of the body or have a lot of essential dignity are situated in the sign that rules that body part.  The easiest way to do this is find a desirable planet transiting that sign (example, I could use Venus exalted in Pisces to heal the feet or Mercury exalted in Virgo to heal the intestines) and then look for days when Luna is in the right phase and making a harmonious aspect to that planet.  Luna should not fallen or detrimented, unless – this is a rare exception – the otherwise unfavorable sign is pertinent to the health condition *and* she and the planet are in mutual reception.
The plant material is chosen to be sympathetic to the nature of the planets and the signs they occupied so that it will draw the planetary force into itself strongly.  If there is a specific health condition to address, then the herb is chosen for its known healing properties.  For example, if there is a heart problem then hawthorn is the herb to choose, and one of the planets should be in Leo which rules the heart.  The election ideally involves Mars, since hawthorn is ruled by Mars; Sol is also a good choice because it rules the heart, and is profoundly regenerative when strong by sign.  Mars cazimi in Leo, or Mars in Aries trine Sol in Leo, or Mars in Leo trine Sol in Aries, are all options to look for for healing heart conditions with hawthorn, but some planetary combinations are more rare.  Moon in Leo in good aspect to Mars is easier to find because she moves so quickly through the zodiac.  (General tonics for high vitality and banishing depression or destroying maleficia can be made with solar herbs – when the election is very powerful, the result will blow you away.)

Remember, planetary aspects must be *approaching*.  Once they’ve perfected, you can’t use them in an election anymore.  Similarly, if a negative aspect has already passed, once it’s a degree away it can usually be ignored for our purposes here.

Make sure that neither the planets to be invoked nor Luna are afflicted during the times chosen.  Even if Luna is not making an aspect with the planets under consideration, she, like them, cannot be afflicted by Mars, Saturn or the South Node or combust the Sun.  They should also not be conjunct Algol.  If a full moon is used, she cannot be within ten degrees of the exact opposition with Sol.  I found out the hard way not to let Luna be afflicted by Sol or the South Node, even if she’s exalted!  Pay attention to this rule!  If one of the planets is the Ascendant ruler in your election, this will focus the benevolent influence right on the physical body, so it’s a plus if you can get it.  If the effect sought has to do with reputation and success, then the Midheaven ruler is more appropriate.
Use a waning moon to decrease a growth, kill an infection, or lose weight.  Use a waxing moon to mend a bone or wound, increase fertility or virility, grow hair or increase muscle.  Use a waxing moon for prosperity and a waning moon to stop a habit.
Use Saturn herbs for the skin and bones.
Jupiter for the liver.
Mars for the blood and muscles, also male potency.
Sol for the heart and eyes.
Venus for the genitals and beauty generally.
Mercury for the intestines, hands and intelligence generally.
Luna for the eyes, brain and lymph, also female hormones.
Place good planets in Aries to heal the head.
Taurus to heal the neck.
Gemini to heal the arms.
Cancer to heal the breast.
Leo to heal the heart.
Virgo the heal the intestines.
Libra to heal the kidneys.
Scorpio to heal the genitals and colon.
Sagittarius to heal the thighs and buttocks.
Capricorn to heal the knees.
Aquarius to heal the calves, ankles, and veins.
Pisces to heal the feet.
The Bonorum system of angelic attributions is more difficult to explain.  I have 49 names carves in marble, sandstone or granite.  Seven are planetary kings, and the rest partake of the nature of one dominant planetary influence and one secondary planetary influence.  When working with them I have prioritized using the correct planetary days and hours.  This is not an absolutely necessary way to work with the planets; they can be invoked using whatever method you already like.  You can make a flashing tablet for one of the planets in your election, cover it with something transparent and waterproof, and create your tincture while placing it on that.  Or you can use the seal or sigil of a specific spirit known to be useful in matters that the tincture is intended to address.  I always bathe the herbs (before tincturing, and the finished tincture) in incense smoke burned for those planets.  I always do the Middle Pillar, charge with appropriate names, and then project the energy into the herbs and the tincture.  I always ask the spirits to consecrate the work, and tell them what I wish to accomplish.  I always tell the herb what I need it for, and thank it for its help.
When the tincture is finished, take a dropperful in water during the correct planetary day, or every day during the planetary hour for an acute condition.
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