Archive for August, 2011

Signs of Success

Posted in Magical Systems, Speculation, Techniques on August 28, 2011 by Patrick

DMK, as usual, has an interesting post on his blog about the signs of success in ritual: not that you get what you want, but hints that you’ve done magic before anything manifests at all.  He describes two signs: a change in temperature, and a change in time perception.

I have never experienced either of those things in ritual.  No, not even the warping of time perception, which is common enough in day-to-day life.

What I have experienced that lets me know I’m on the right track is a subjective sensation of intense euphoria.  It’s similar, but not quite the same, as the euphoria I feel at having finished a creative project.  I think it might be related to the idea of Flow.  But again, I’ve experienced Flow while writing or hiking and this isn’t quite the same.

The other indicator is a striking coincidence.  Usually it’s not so direct as do a spell for money, find a crumpled up twenty on the sidewalk.  That’d make me think maybe I didn’t specify quantity clearly enough.  But say you do a spell for money, then immediately turn on the radio and hear this:

It’s not unusual for people related to the purpose of the spell to call out of the blue, or for objects somehow related to the goal in my house to fall or end up in odd places.  Once, a wand I was working on for a friend fell from a table during a ritual invocation; on another occasion, after a particularly intense invocation, I heard a person talking on their cell phone in such a way that everything they said was exactly relevant to what I had asked for.  Obviously, these things can be coincidences.  Vibrations from the nearby train may have jostled the wand from the table.  I might have noticed a conversation that seemed relevant, but not noticed the ones that weren’t.  Confirmation bias seems a likely cause.  And yet . . . in the midst of it, it’s hard not to see a link.

So — temperature changes?  Nope.  Time stretching or compression?  No.  Visual manifestations?  Almost never.  Not for me, anyway.  For me, it’s synchronicity and euphoria.  What is it for you?


Ngrams are Addictive

Posted in Language, Speculation on August 14, 2011 by Patrick

Google has a new Ngram tool, which searches Google Books as a corpus of English.  An Ngram, if you don’t know, is a graphic plot of the frequency of tokens in a corpus.  From it, one can draw — oh, all kinds of conclusions, some valid, some ridiculous.  But you can point out interesting correlations.  For example, take a look at this one:

Magic Energy

Notice that “magic” stays mostly steady at the bottom, and “energy” rises dramatically in the middle of the twentieth century?  What does that tell you?

Or how about this one:


Now, of course, if you read this closely, you’ll see those numbers on the left-hand side are small, so don’t make much of this statistically, but it’s an interesting toy.


See that little tophat right there in the line, around 1900?  Who do you think is responsible for that?

ETA:  As a commentator points out, this is a little early for Crowley’s publications.  Yet there is a bit of a spike.  You can search for specific years, and in doing so, I found that they were mostly citations of some of the older stuff.  I wonder — could a young Crowley (about 25 at the time) have run into such citations and been inspired by them?  Meh, it’s all speculation, but it’s kind of neat anyway.


Posted in Magical Systems, Techniques on August 12, 2011 by Patrick

You know, now that I look into the nature of the plant mimosa, the more I think “accidentally” burning it during my ritual of Mercury wasn’t a mistake.  It’s one of the few plants that can move in response to stimulus: is that Saturnine or is it Mercurial?  Mimosa teniuflora is used in Ayauasca brews, according to Wikipedia.  Again: there’s Mercurius as psychopomp.

Since we like to use lavender for a lot of day-to-day applications around this house (it’s a wonderful antiseptic), I’d like to find a different scent for Mercurial magic.  But then what do I use for Saturn?  Any suggestions?  Ideally, something in the Morning Star line, because it’s such good incense, but failing that I’ll just find some myrrh.

One way or ‘nother, I want to find something by a week from Saturday, since that’s when I’m scheduled to evoke a particular Saturnine Olympick spirit.

Smelling Good

Posted in Magical Systems, Techniques on August 11, 2011 by Patrick

I used to make my own incense for magic, and while it’s nice and all, I have a job now.  So I’ve been looking around for planetary-appropriate incenses.  I like to find readily available, common scents, rather than pre-made blends, so that I can grow to associate particular scents with particular planets or elements.  My favorite brand is Morning Star.

A lot of tables of correspondence for the elementary perfumes are — old.  I’m not going to burn tobacco as a perfume of Mars, and I’ll be if I’m going to muck about with charcoal for a simple ritual.  Perhaps something elaborate and impressive and once-a-year, but I do magic all the time.  I don’t want to deal with the headache of charcoal every other day.  I’m an American: I want stuff prepackaged and easy to find, please, so I can get on with it.

My current personal correspondences for scents and planets are these:

Moon — Gardenia

Mercury — Lavender

Venus — Rose

Sun — Cinnamon

Mars — Pine

Jupiter — Cedar

Saturn — Mimosa

These are all easy to come by and more or less evocative of their planets.  I’m not entirely pleased with Mercury or Saturn (in fact, yesterday, I accidentally burned Mimosa rather than Lavender and didn’t even notice until today, when I looked at the box — maybe that explains why yesterday’s ritual took so long, although it was successful in the end).  I really like myrrh for Saturn, but that’s hard to find.  They used to make an opium incense which worked great for Mercury, but it’s hard to find and Morning Star, as far as I can tell, doesn’t carry it.

What are your correspondences?  And where do you get your incense?

Broken in New Almadel

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2011 by Patrick

I used the new almadel today.  It was awesome.  It’s got a few tweaks I want to make, but it works better than expected.  Phul came in more or less loud and clear.