Archive for the Techniques Category

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.

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 — 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.

Contest Finalist — Akenu’s Sacred Chamber

Posted in Contest, Techniques on January 24, 2014 by P. Dunn

I am going to begin posting the finalists for the magical technique contest, and in a couple of weeks will post the winner.  I am posting those techniques I have found the most interesting, useful, and simple (within the scope of what they’re trying to do, of course: some are more complex than others, as you’ll see).  If I don’t post your submission it isn’t that I didn’t find it interesting or useful, but that it might not fit with the tone of the blog, be entirely clear, or too similar to another technique that is explained more clearly.

Our first finalist offers offers a seemingly simple, but very effective technique.  This technique requires nothing in the way of material and can be used as a handy warmup or quick practice in a number of basic magical skills.  It was submitted by Akenu:

This is called a Sacred chamber ritual, I developed it during my priesthood month while thinking about what’s so Qabbalistic regarding the QCoL.

Effects I get from the ritual (and few other people who tried):

-immediate feeling of being centered and grounded
-refreshing feeling
-feeling of attained authority, but probably linked with the grounding effect.
-when performed before going to sleep there is an improvement in the sleep process.

Procedure:Stand still and take few deep breaths.Visualize about 1ft wide orb of white light about 1 or 2 feet above your head.Point at the orb with your index finger and say: “Crown above my head, Kether”.Visualize a ray of the white light descending through your body down to the core of Earth while guiding it with your index finger.Say: “Kingdom under my feet, Malkuth”.Open your arms like you are welcoming someone and during opening your arms, visualize the ray of the light becoming thicker and thicker till it covers the whole room or space around you. During this say “Through the worlds”.When you are finished, standing with your hands wide open, say “Back to the Adam Kadmon”.

Technique Contest Results . . .

Posted in Techniques on December 3, 2013 by P. Dunn

. . . are not here yet.  But I’m looking them over and carefully weighing them, and there are some really good submissions.  I’ll be contacting the finalists and posting them (with permission) soon.

It is currently the week before finals, however, so I will need to carve out some time in the next couple weeks to begin that project, and such carving is not always easily done.

Thanks for understanding my busyness.

Technique Contest

Posted in Techniques on November 1, 2013 by P. Dunn

I have been informed that the astronomical Samhain is actually the 7th, not the 31st, so — fine then all you astronomy buffs.  We’ll make the deadline the 7th.  Send a clear description of your favorite technique or method to me at pee double-you dee you en en at gmail dot com.  They will be read when I have a free minute, judged harshly (well, not really) and the best of them will be posted, the winner getting various stuff.

 

Boring Magic . . .

Posted in Techniques on October 28, 2013 by P. Dunn

. . . is the best magic.

Frater RO has written several times about his desire to shoot fireballs out of his fingers.  If anyone ever manages it, it’d be Fr. RO.  Seriously, the man has some chops.  I imagine the words of power wouldn’t be safe for work, though, but then again, fireballs tend not to be . . . .

Aaaanyway, my point is this: fireballs are awesome.  But most magic is really kind of boring.  I mean, not really.  It’s actually awesome, but in a way that doesn’t look all that fancy.  Back when I was in grad school, my magician friends and I used to hang out, and we’d joke that we should write a roleplaying game about grad school.  It’d have a magic system, and you’d have real spells, like the kinds we actually used in our day-to-day lives:  Find Book in Poorly Cataloged Library.  Summon Time to Sleep.  Create Cheap Food.  That sort of thing.

Truth be told, that’s the kind of magic I still mostly do.  I’m riding high off of a success right now: it’s a magical technique I learned to make it more likely that I’ll get my To Do list done.  I learned it from a spirit.  It is, on the face of it, pretty boring.  In fact, it’s almost just psychology.  I would hesitate to even call it magic if I had learned it in a book.  But it works.  The items on my to-do list have a tangible sort of gravity.  So instead of walking past the piano, going, “I should practice later,” and not getting around to it, early today I walked by the piano and felt it tug at me.  That isn’t a metaphor.  It pulled me, very gently.  So I sat down and practiced.

The best part is, it has a side effect that’s quite nice.  Even things not on my to-do list get done.  They don’t have the same gravity, but doing something tends to lead to doing something else.  So in addition to completing my entire to-do list (including items that usually take a week!) in two days, I also mopped the kitchen, updated my blog, and did several other chores I don’t much care for.

I’m still way too damned busy but instead of overwhelmed, the magic keeps me focused.

Fireballs — still very cool.  Getting everything you need to do done in time — priceless.

“Hot” and “Cool” running magic

Posted in Magical Systems, Techniques, Theurgy, Weird on September 2, 2013 by P. Dunn

I don’t remember where I read about the distinction, but one idea that has haunted my work since I learned about it is the concept of “hot” and “cool” work.

Essentially, “cool” work is preparatory, interior, and what we might call theurgic.  It consists of things like offerings, meditations, regular visualizations — essentially, all the stuff you do to prepare yourself and stay ready.  It’s tuning the piano, practicing scales.  Or it’s sharpening the knives, seasoning the pans.

“Hot” work, though, is the practical magic.  It consists of work for specific, measurable aims: getting a job, getting laid, getting that copy of that rare book you want.  It’s playing a song, or cooking a meal.

There needs to be the appropriate balance between the two, and one thing it took me quite a while to learn is that this balance changes depending on time as well as personality.  Some magicians are very “hot.”  They do a lot of practical work, for nearly everything.  Others are very “cool.”  They prepare a lot, spend most of their time and effort praying, making offerings, meditating.  That balance is right for them.

Some are too “hot.”  They’re the chaos mages I knew in my misspent youth who seemed to have a sigil on every available surface.  I’m not sure they ever got anything done, though, because they were trying to do everything.  I mean, these kids couldn’t . . . um . . . charge the sigils fast enough.  And they heaped scorn on theurgy or illumination magic as “not practical” and “not measurable.”  They said things like, and I quote, “I fired off a tight little sigil . . . “, a phrase that contributed a lot to my abandoning chaos magic.  To this day that phrase — and the visualization that comes with it — makes me go “urp.”

Some, on the other hand, are too “cool,” the armchair magicians we all love to scorn.  The thing is, a real armchair magician isn’t just cool.  They’re zero degrees Kelvin.  If all you do, ever, is make offerings, meditate, and practice elemental pore breathing, well, guess what?  You are a magician.  You might be too cool, but you’re not an armchair magician.  A real armchair magician does nothing but read.  And that poorly, because even active reading is good “cool” work.  (Hint, if you had to learn a language to read the text you’re working on, that’s “cool,” not armchair.  In my biased opinion.)

Then again, you might not be too cool.  That’s the thing it took me a while to figure out, because frankly, I am at best a tepid magician.  Partially, that’s a result of success.  There isn’t a whole lot I want more than for my life to continue in the same direction.  So most of my “practical” work is maintenance these days.  I’ve considered doing some limited work for a limited number of hand-selected clients, just to “warm” up a bit.  But — maybe that’s a bad idea.  Maybe I should be tepid.

The other thing that I’ve learned is that hot and cool move in cycles.  I’ve had hot periods (there was about a year of grad school in which I had enough magical stuff going on that I was regularly having odd magical experiences, and another year during my undergrad years when I was still into chaos magic and had enough weird shit in my dorm room to give the housing people at my University fits).  But I also have cool periods.  Right now is very much a cool period for me.  I’m keeping up my offerings, trying to maintain my meditation (I’m bad at that).

The trick is to find a balance that works for you.  How do you do that?  I don’t know; I just bumble around until I get too damned bored (then I know I’m too cool) or too damned weird (then I’m too hot).  What do you do?  Let me know in the comments.

A Grimoire of Time

Posted in Good Books, Magical Systems, Techniques on July 6, 2013 by P. Dunn

Jason Miller gets — and deserves — a lot of my admiration.  He’s a thinking magician, which is great, but more importantly he does stuff.  Creative, innovative, and practical stuff.

Therefore, you need to buy his new chapbook, Advanced Planetary Magic, which I have been honored with a review copy of, and let me say, I’m blown away.  There are two main parts of this book that you need, as a practicing magician.

First, there are the seals, which at first I glanced at with a “Oh, look, Agrippa’s seals, but all swirly,” until I realized that they are graphically encoded rituals in their own rights.  Look at them: if you draw those seals in the air you are performing a ritual dance and invocation of that planetary force.  Try it!

Second, and my favorite part of the book and why I’ll be coming back to it again and again, he offers forty-nine short but powerful calls of the planets for each combination of magical hours and days.  These things are mind-blowingly awesome.  They are essentially a grimoire, not of spirits, but of time itself.  They can act as initial invocation of planetary forces, or as full-fledged rites.  I have had limited to time experiment with them since getting the review copy, but so far I am impressed and I am hoping to hear of other people’s experiences as they work with these calls.

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