Astro-Magic and Talismans pt.2
Here we are; astrological talismans and their creation by a rank amateur with no business calling forth the ancient and immensely powerful spirits of entire fucking planets. That’s right, if the glassy-eyed freak who freely admits to having a crush on David Bowie, and suggests that adding one’s own unique flair to the masturbatory process is a noble raison d’etre can create effective astrological talismans out of a hastily thrown together charm bag and some poorly drawn paper talismans, anyone can.
First off, the election: an astrological election is a time elected by an astrologer because of specific planetary and stellar alignments. Essentially, it’s a birthchart for the creation of an object or event and like a birthchart it dictates, to some degree, the general vibes of said person, place, or thing. For those of you interested in learning more from folks who know what the fuck it is they're doing here’s a link to Chris Brennan and Leisa Scheim talking for nearly three hours about electional astrology and all the other things that tie in with that. I have learned a whole truckload of super valuable and useful astrology things from The Astrology Podcast and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn about astrology for free plus how could you not enjoy a podcast hosted by this guy.
Fair warning, Chris’ voice hovers somewhere in between robotic monotone, partially reanimated corpse, exasperated emo teenager, and that teacher from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off; Ben Stein. For more magically inclined astrological podcastery check out the biannual astrology episodes of Rune Soup featuring the inimitable Austin Coppock, and Austin’s own podcast: Eavesdropping at Midnight.
The timing for my talismans fell, quite effortlessly, into my lap through forces I will never fully comprehend. Here’s the chart for the Venus talisman which, oddly enough, was so good that the brilliant Coppock’s who run Sphere and Sundry used it as well. Check it!. That said, they used the election to much greater effect and called in a total of 5 planetary spirits during their ritual and lined up the houses better than I did. All in all, though, for a first crack at astro-magic I’d say I did pretty well.
For those of you looking for solid elections this year, the Astrology Podcast gives away a free election every month with their astrology-of-the-month-ahead show and, if you become a patron at a certain tier they give you around 5 elections a month. Looking at those elections and the ones posted on Sphere and Sundry has been an incredibly valuable, free learning tool for me. Other options for finding elections include r/planetarymagic and various other forums dedicated to astro-magic. There are more classes available than I care to count, I believe Chris Warnock, co-author/translator of the Picatrix, still offers classes and astrological talismans at Renaissance Astrology and Austin Coppock has some prerecorded classes on his site. I’ve heard that starting with talismans of the lunar mansions, as outlined in The Picatrix, can be a decent intro to talismanic astro-magic though, as is my wont, I chose to forgo the intro and leap headfirst into the deep end. One could also make daily or weekly prayers and offerings of candles or incense to the planetary or stellar spirits one is looking to work with and see what happens. I have done this with spirits of many varieties and it works a treat.
Speaking of prayers, finding examples of traditional prayers to the spirit you wish to petition and using those as a template, or cribbing whole sections, and adding your own personal flair and language has worked superbly well for me. Also, being comfortable enough with the gist of the prayer to go totally off-book and freestyle if the mood strikes has yielded outstanding results in my own practice. Speaking from the heart seems to be a key factor in successful evocations. As Aleister Crowley said: “The whole secret may be summarized in these four words: “Inflame thyself in praying.”
This is easier than it may seem: It’s acting. Giving yourself completely to the words on the page, or in your heart, and feeling them “inflame” you creates a potent spiritual and magical environment conducive to inter-dimensional diplomacy and the achievement of magical goals.
Here are some examples of the the basic ritual shape and prayers I used to petition Mars and to empower my talismans.
- Purification by bathing and reading Psalm 51, especially verses 7-12.
- Calling of Personal Daimon from PGM
- Consecration of ground, and consecration of fire and incense from Drawing Spirits Into Crystals by psedo-Trithemius in Barret’s The Magus
- Prayer: Oh Mars, you who are an honored lord and are dry and hot, mighty, weighty, unshakable of nerve, firm of heart, spiller of blood. You are strong and hardy, acute, daring, shining, agile, skillful. The lord of battle who has no fear or contemplation of anything, who strikes by instinct and trained skill at the perfect moment both on the anvil and on the battlefield. Sole helper in all your effects and in investigations thereof, strong in calculation and will to conquer, indomitable of will and drive and endlessly seeking fortune. Cause of lawsuits and battles, doer of evil to weak and strong, lover of the sons of battle and vindicator of wicked people. King of the forge and the purifying fire, hot as molten rock and sturdy as the anvil. Harnesser of destruction, channeling explosions into pure forward drive. Inexorable progress, mowing down any and all who stand in your way. I ask of you and conjure you by your names and your qualities that exist in heaven; by your fire and progress, by your drive and purification and also by your petitions to the Lord God who placed power and strength in you, gathering them in you and separating them from other planets that you might have strength and power and victory over all with great vigor.
- Orphic Hymn to Mars
- Conjuration: I conjure you by all your names which are in Arabic Mirrih, in Latin Mars, in Persian Bahram, in Roman and Greek Aries, in Indian Angara, in Etruscan Maris, in Babylonian Nergal, in Vedic Mangal.
- Conjuration: I conjure you by the high God of the universe that you hear my prayer and attend to my petition and furthermore see my humility in the presence of your holy might and fill my petition. I conjure you by Samael who is the angel whom God set beside you to complete your effects and affairs.
- Conjuration: Mars I conjure you also by your spirit with which you have strength and potency in your works, I conjure you by your light and your radiance, by the red glow of your light and by the heart of the strong burning fire. You who are the embodiment of purification through fire and force of will, pure determination, the action and implementation of universal power, the bearer of wellfare and action through exploration and protection. Mars who is of the nature of the ardent flame, igniter of passion and reveler in battle. Commander of the forces of strength, drive, purification, protection, defending borders and expanding them through force, I conjure you by the High Throne of God and in the name of Tetragrammaton that you head my prayer in this your degree of exaltation and grant my petition and dedicate, bless, consecrate, and empower the items on this altar. Fill them with the might of your power in this your degree of exaltation and the height of your strength.
- Talisman Prep: Draw Mars symbols on paper or parchment or cloth or rocks, compound oils or waters or tinctures.
- Charm Bag: Draw Mars glyphs on bag and fill with plants and minerals sympathetic to Mars. Check Agrippa or Skinner or think about the qualities of Mars and what materials share those qualities: personal meaning adds a lot to these workings.
- Talisman Consecration and Empowerment: I conjure you mighty spirit of Mars and glorious archangel Samael, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to, with the indefatigable spirit of Mars, consecrate, bless, dedicate, and empower these talismans that they may shine forth with the glow of the forge and power of the hammer of Mars in his degree of exaltation. That they radiate the pure victorious drive and unstoppable courage, the inevitable success, heightened instincts and awareness, the indefatigable energy and iron will and flaming heart of Mars at his best, the right use of universal power and action through exploration. Fill them with the calculated, tactical striking power and purifying heat of the forge so that all those who hold them shall know victory and success, and that they may stand, solid as a block of iron, as a testament to your steadfast strength and power and serve as an everlasting tribute to your implementation of universal power without bringing any harm or unnecessary stress to the lives of those who hold them or the people within their spheres of influence.
- Talisman Enlivening: At this point I was about full to bursting of indescribable Martial power. My skin was hot and it felt like I had molten fire ants with jetpacks and rocket pants coursing through my veins instead of blood. My whole body was shaking with the raw power of this ancient, explosive power. I took a deep breath and focused all the power blasting through the room and my body into my core and lungs and hands, picked up my charm bag and pushed the glorious, fulminating, cataclysmic creative force into the bag with a forceful exhale, intending, all the while, to use the energy to enliven and empower the talisman. It was very obvious that it “woke up” immediately so I tied the bag closed with five knots and moved on to enliven the paper talismans.
- License to Depart: Thanking God and all the spirits who attended for their aid, requesting as they came in peace and power that they depart in the same fashion and return when called.
Image by Matthew Trupia
Wowzers! I got jittery and Martially (or Marshally) amped up to 11 just transcribing these prayers from my ritual notebook. Which makes sense considering that it was on or near the altar throughout the working and is likely a talisman in its own right.
For those of you thinking that Mars was a rather reckless first entity to petition for a talisman, you are right. That said, while Mars in it's degree of exaltation in Capricorn is more powerful, it is also much more stable. The whole thing came together rather quickly when, while making my standard Tuesday Mars prayers, I was struck with a massive surge of energy and the certainty that making a talisman was both within my power and a magical necessity. The surge of energy lasted from that Tuesday until the following Sunday providing more than enough maddening Martial motivation and energy to propel me, sleepless, through five straight days of research, magic, and ritual preparation.
That's all I've got for y'all this week. Let me know in the comments what you think and if you have had any interesting experiences with astrological magic, or magical magpie-ism, or anything else on your mind.
See y'all next time.
Sorry for the lateness of this post, it would have been posted last week on Wednesday only, a giant kingfisher pecked me into my duvet cover and then a frog stole my shoes. I’ve only just managed to wriggle out the bottom of my bed, tearing my last clean pair of jodhpurs on a magic hedgehog. Luckily the frog left me my slippers and a life in which shoes and jodhpurs optional.
To make up for my fecklessness I present to you part one of a long as post about astrological magic and magical magpie-ism. So circle up you miniaturized mercurial manta rays, you pulchritudinous potato poems for another journey through time and space...
A little less than a year ago in late March just as we in the USA were realizing that the shut down of the entire world also included us, I was called, quite loudly, to begin researching and preparing to make some astrological talismans in the style of The Picatrix. Astrological talismans and talismanic materia have been on my radar for a few years now thanks to Handsome Man-strologer Austin Coppock and his brilliant astro-sorceress wife Caitlin who run Sphere and Sundry. Making said talismans and materia had crossed my mind but, given my complete lack of astrology training and limited understanding of the ensorcelling required for the ritual, I figured it would have to be a project that some future-Tyler would sort out after present-Tyler did a whole shit-ton more research and learning. Not the case. As usual, going with my gut and studying the things I was nudged/called to study totally worked out because, as you will see below, I “randomly” stumbled on to an amazing magical election. Using the prayer and praxis from the Picatrix and some prayers and TEK from Drawing Spirits Into Crystals, and borrowing some of the beautiful wording from Jyotish planetary prayers I called forth, invoked, and petitioned the spirits of Mars and Venus as well as the angels and intelligences of their spheres and had them empower some talismans.
David Bowie, Marc Bolan, The Glitter Twins: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Sir William Blake, Greg Traw, Sarah Eisenlohr, The Avalanches, Daft Punk, Justice, and Beck. These are all excellent examples of humans who borrow shiny bits and pieces from the world at large and recombine them into something completely new, something greater than the sum of its parts. A beautiful chimera, unique and futuristic, cobbled together from the glittering refuse of the past. These masterful, majestic magpies unmake and take apart the world we take for granted, they strip it down to its component parts and then they take the bits that speak to them and create the Frankenstein monster of the motherfucking future from the bombastic bones of the past.
Greg Traw's psychedelic magic masterpiece the Dracxiodos Tarot
All this is to say that while I appreciate the skills stances of grimoire purism and reconstructionism just as I appreciate the skills and stances of classical musicians; there is certainly value in traditionalism and reconstructing the rituals, and or concerts, of the past. It’s just not the way I roll. My whole life has been spent experimenting with what the different combinations of skittles in the packet taste like, adding brown gravy to my kalbi ribs and mac salad, and bravely combining drugs to test for synergy in the test tube that serves as my brain.
David Bowie has been a roll model/crush/idle/idol of mine for way longer than is appropriate. So it stands to reason that I would end up a musical, masticatory, and magical magpie as well. Magic is a living tradition and one of my favorite parts of being alive is innovation and finding what works for us as individuals, taking what we need and leaving the rest. Developing our own unique ways of being true to ourselves in whatever we do: magic, music, filing TPS reports, writing, delivering mail, dancing, eating, cooking, or masturbating seems like as noble a reason for living as any other.
Alright, in typical Myrrhkwood fashion, we started down a path headed for a clear and easily reachable destination and have become waylaid by the shiny fairy lights. That is, however, the very nature of the forest and Myrrhkwood is about as foresty as a forest can be: it may in fact be the forestyest forest that ever did forest… Damn it’s dark. Where did that trail go?
To be continued…
A Traditional Christmas Rant
I’ve got a short one for you this week and it comes with a disclaimer: if you are easily offended by intimations of wrongdoing by the folks in charge, foul language, hyperbolic but/and completely accurate reportage about the state of the system, I suggest you set the device you’re reading this on ablaze and duct-tape a pair of horny scorpions to your eyeballs and think about your life choices.
Like this guy
Here’s a great example of why I would love it if the bloated and rotting corpse of our long-dead and parasite riddled empire would implode under the weight of its own corruption and decay: the Washington state unemployment system. During the first round of p(l)andemic bullshit, the system was overloaded with new claims and it was an appalling bureaucratic wet-dream; filled with rape-clowns, Dutch angle camera work, rusty filing cabinets, miles of red-tape bondage ropes, and dim, flickering, fluorescent lighting, to click through the questionnaire before the session timed out and you were forced to start again while, at unemployment headquarters, the bureaucrats swimming in self-hate and atavistic ecstasy at the suffering of the people all finished at once and ritually drowned an out of work electrician in their acid bukkake rain. We were told that hundreds of millions of dollars were paid out to Nigerian hackers who defrauded the state. And now during the second shut down 7 months later the head of the unemployment department is under investigation for embezzling funds (sorry Nigeria looks like it was actually a terrible white lady who stole millions from her constituents and not your infamous hackers). And now, somehow, with seven months to upgrade, the website is even worse than before, adding splintery wooden buttplugs and Carolina reaper lubricant to the nightmare. To successfully fill out and submit a claim I had to pray to every spirit of mercury, to Ganesh and Garuda, Dakshinamurthy, and Durga and the Ashwini twins and stay up until two am on a fucking Wednesday to get it through. (Praise be to the Divine Creator, Archangel Raphael, Hermes, Mercury, all the other spirits who helped—Mercurial and otherwise, Ganesh, Garuda, Dakshinamurthy, Durga, and the Ashwini twins, as well as saints Cyprian, Justina, and John the Baptist)
This is Lord Garuda
This amazing example of spirit teams in action and the horror of government in general seems to be a solid juxtaposition for 2020 as a whole: the entire previously stable material world shat the bed spectacularly for a lot of folks, with systems that felt solid and safe (like food and toilet paper supply chains and social welfare systems) crumbling as if they were made of tissue paper (that precious commodity) and held together with the dried semen left over from the drowning of sacrificial electricians, while the intangible took to the forefront and offered support and comfort. Of course the non-physical has, from the beginning of this flaming pile of covid fatalities of a year (still very low numbers in Washington with a 98% survival rate so the pile isn’t all that big) been harnessed as a weapon by those in power both politically and socially with fear and paranoia and social distancing and mask-shaming. It’s interesting that a country so opposed to the communism of the USSR reached immediately for the same fucking tactics of fear and self policing that they demonized as a justification their cold war but I suppose McCarthy, that fuck, did the same thing in the 50’s so it should come as no real surprise.
The good news is this: the people in charge of weaponizing the non-physical seem to have a very limited idea of what is possible and luckily for us, the folks in charge of telling us what to do seem to, as a prerequisite for being in power, have had the part of the brain responsible for imagination surgically removed with a sharp blow to the head from a rusty hammer. Which leaves the field wide open for us to build a better 2021. So, as N’Sync so brilliantly put it in their criminally-underrated song: Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.
It saddens me to write this but with “cancel-culture” as popular as it is right now and with this blog obviously being popular enough to warrant canceling due to any one of the sentences above I feel this disclaimer has become necessary: (Sometimes) I, the writer, do not truly believe that the (lizard)people employed by the Washington state unemployment bureau actually sacrifice noble, out of work, electricians to their Lovecraftian Elder Gods by drowning them in their super-acidic reptilian jizz. Nor am I writing this to make light of the people that have died of COVID this year like that guy who was stabbed to death and then listed as a COVID fatality or the people with 5 co-morbidities like obesity, full blown AIDS, liver failure, drug overdose, gunshot wounds, etc, that died solely because of COVID. I simply enjoy using colorful language and hyperbole to really drive my points home. Think Hunter S Thompson writing in Rolling Stone that one of the candidates during the ’72 presidential race was addicted to ibogaine or any televised news outlet covering anything and you'll have a rough approximation of the liberties I've taken.
Engaging with my life and goals and taking the motherfucking initiative. Initiative, dear reader, is something that has been in short supply in my life from the get go. My moon is in Taurus and, because that moon is the ruler of my sun, what that means in a nutshell (or more appropriately a ferrero rocher wrapper) is; I am naturally drawn to the most comfortable route and, like a bull, can dig my heals in when it comes to change not carefully chewed over or chosen of my own free will. Said another way; I have an excuse written in the stars to be a lazy, stubborn, ass. I was recently standing in front of my mars altar asking for drive and courage, energy and passion, fierce will and tactical striking power (as one does of a Tuesday) and as can happen when one is barely awake and a bit stoned, getting very little out of the exchange when, like the impact of a hammer on a white-hot sword, it occurred to me in simple clear terms: asking for something every week and then, job done, sitting back and waiting for the results to show up on my doorstep like a fucking amazon package is asinine and insane. Outside of the all-powerful, all-seeing, all-dystopian, overlords of all time and space, the omniscient demiurge that is *all bow* AMAZON, there is not another situation that comes to mind where I can just ask for something, hit a button (or light a candle) and walk away expecting to receive what I’ve just requested without putting some energy or effort in before, during, or after. Of course I would have to, when asking for divine assistance with energy levels etc, put in some fucking energy! So I went in the next room and I exercised, something that I am about as inclined to do as I am to lick a spider’s asshole, and much to my surprise I was filled with the drive and energy and passion that I had been asking for, sadly the same cannot be said for tonguing spider anus. That energy lasted me through the busiest shift behind the bar that I’d had in weeks, fasting all the while, I maintained good energy and a (mostly) good attitude and people were friendly and energetic and it was a glorious, lucrative, fun, Tuesday. Receiving this insight from my friendly neighborhood Martial spirits and then acting on it is one of the reasons I love magic. Getting to know my own thoughts so that when one comes in from somewhere else I can recognize it, mull it over, and then do something with it or give it a miss.
Mostly I have found that acting on these outside thoughts has led to a much better quality of life with higher productivity and better mood, more joy and more fun, and more following of bliss as it skips merrily down the road in front of me pausing to sniff flowers and pointing out cute animals along the way while I stare at its butt. I suppose a disclaimer here would be appropriate, something like: if you’re working with some spirits and they tell you to start hurting people or sticking your head in the fire or stripping naked and tormenting a group of seniors, on leave from the home to buy soup and feed ducks, by swapping their dentures for those novelty chattering teeth soaked in LSD, then maybe think twice about acting on those impulses, or at the very least don’t blame it on me when you’re arrested.
This small success inspired me to try taking the initiative for a whole week, making concrete steps toward the goals that I was asking the planetary forces to assist me in achieving and, lo and behold, it worked out quite well. As I mentioned above, I started on a Tuesday and took steps to get energized beyond the usual routine of herbal stimulants and bitching about being tired and with only 20 minutes of exercise I was steaming with energy. Electricity crackling between my fingers, Martial fires stoking the furnace of the forge in my heart and tummy, pupils dilated like a jaguar munching ayahuasca and ready to strike, full to the brim with confidence and power. It was amazing and I had a genuinely good time at work selling booze and blasting witty banter-bombs at the endless stream of revelers, fast and calculated movements getting me from point to point, I quite literally danced and sang my way through the shift and made good money doing it.
Wednesday was my only day off in about ten days but I must’ve been feeling the afterglow from the day before and instead of weeping out the comedown as you do when you spend all night bursting with energy, dancing and singing, with your pupils dilated, I decided to take some more initiative. Since I was asking the Mercurial forces for assistance with inspiration, creativity in writing, magic, healing and the like I figured I’d just sit down and write and almost immediately my minuscule effort was rewarded with the idea for this blog post. I applied some of Sphere and Sundry’s* Mercury oil and felt an amphetamine lightning bolt of intellectual inspiration from my balls to my crown chakra and off I went, fingers fan dancing flirtatiously across the keys, clicking and tickling out surreal literary melodies in a state of ecstasy as I watched those divine digits decimate blank pages and deliver me dumbfounded at the end of this sentence. Another success.
Thursday was a bit different. Planetarilly speaking, I have historically tended to vibe more with Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars than Jupiter, Saturn, Sun because of my own personal planetary placements: Jupiter in fall, Sun below horizon, Saturn retrograde in a water sign. My wife on the other hand is all Jupiter all the time, her chart is 256 bunches of Jupiterian bananas (or more appropriately grapes). Every one of her natal planets falls in a sign ruled by Jupiter; half in Pisces and half in Sagittarius, and she gets amazing results from her Jupiterian offerings and workings so I’ve been warming up to Jupiter who, it should be said, has always done me right and been there for me when needed. So Thursday I asked, as I have been for some time, for joy and beneficence, expansion of resources, and greater goodwill towards my fellow humans and I had no idea how I was supposed to initiate-ize those requests, until I got to work. It was cold as all fuck and blustery and pissing rain sideways on the pier where I work and there are a large group of families who were out there fishing for squid; mom, dad, grandad, uncle, aunty, grandma, and so many kids. So it occurred to me that a good way to foster joy and goodwill and beneficence would be to discount those folks’ bills and offer them hot drinks on the house and the like. Everyone was so grateful and happy and friendly and if anything got expanded that night it was my fucking heart. It was achingly sweet to have so much happiness created by such a simple gesture. I should also say that I received very good tips that night even though it was slow, which was never the goal but which seemed to me like a fairly Jupiterian reward. Jupiter for me has always been happy to provide assistance when asked, with the understanding that I will have to work for what I’m after. Want more joy? Be nicer and more jovial. Want more money? Here’s a week of double shifts at work. Want to expand your blessings? Go expand someone else’s and I’ll sort you out. Want success? Take the initiative. Success.
Friday, oh my dear sweet Friday. Venus was the first planetary Deity I ever made contact with and holy fucking shit did I make contact. With only Sphere and Sundry’s Venus in Taurus oil, a costume change, and a recitation of the Orphic hymn to Venus I had The Empress of Desire herself, in all of her resplendence as the Morning Star explode into my bedroom. That moment was the closest I’ve ever come to shitting myself with an erection. As with all beautiful beings I’ve come into contact with, I didn’t know what to do once I had Venus in my bedroom, and I basically ran away and tried to figure out if I should banish the whole house or just burn it down. After my wife came home and verified that there was definitely something not sanctioned by official reality in the bedroom (easing my overwhelming fear that I had completely lost my mind) I ended up apologizing to Venus for my idiocy and incompetence. Over the years I have gotten to know her vibes and she seems to find me amusing, she has been an incredible help to both my wife and myself and our relationship and made life sweeter, softer, more creative, and more beautiful, loving, and passionate in every way. The things I ask Venus for are none of your fucking business. Needless to say, I took the initiative and it all worked out splendidly. Success!
Saturday, dreaded Saturday. Ruled by the dark lord of time and death, boundaries and restrictions, The Greater Malefic, Saturn. I have never been a fan of restrictions, boundaries or limits and have done my adolescent best to rage against them, indulging in the excessive consumption of every illegal substance known to man and basically just doing the opposite of what any rule-crazy fucker or good intentioned adult told me to do. I do, however, enjoy well built, finely crafted things with strong foundations, dedication, the inexorable progression toward my intended goals, the ability to move boundaries that have grown too tight, magic, finding treasure, and wealth. All of which I have been asking Saturn for whilst doing fuck-all to make it happen. So on this Saturday I decided to put my nose to the grindstone and do as many of the things I had tasked myself to do to further my long-term goals, and had been putting off due to lack of fun and interest, as I could before going to work. Hard to say how it went due to the time depth of the goals in question, and it seems that acting without expectation of immediate, or indeed any, reward is what Saturn is all about but I got the distinct impression when making my offering and prayer the next week that I was moving in the right direction and that Saturn appreciated the effort which is, in my experience, about as close to overjoyed as Saturn gets. Success.
An Overjoyed Saturn
Sunday was lovely. I asked for an increase in joy, cheeriness, energy, and wealth, to illuminate the path forward, to be seen by those who would further my goals and remain invisible to those who would do me harm (infinite thanks and gratitude to Dr. Al Cummins and Jesse Hathaway-Diaz for this tip about using the luminaries magically both to be seen and to be hidden, and for their podcast Radio Free Golgotha* and everything else they get up to). How to take the initiative? I don’t fucking know. I’m not an un-cheery fellow, folks seem to like me, but I can be a bit cynical, and I’ve historically been quite prone to depression and enjoyed the comforting darkness of oblivion rather than the sweet light of day. I struggled here y’all, and I ended up settling on just trying to be extra joyful: singing and playing and acting like I was that baby on The Sun card, like I had the sun in my heart and could feel that actual spark of starlight and divinity inside me. It took a while but in acting like I could feel that spark I ended up connecting with it, actually feeling it, and having a really lovely day full of pleasant encounters with friendly sunny people. I’m gonna call this one a success as well but it was the least forthcoming and I definitely had to work the hardest to get it.
Monday. Luminous, mellow, relaxing, quiet, creative, contemplative, magical, Monday. As a member of the Crustacean Crew, I love the Moon, it does tangibly weird things to my body and brain when I look at it and I can’t stop myself from looking if it’s visible. The 3 days on either side of the full Moon are very productive for me because during that time I very rarely sleep. I always hated Mondays while in school because some part of me knew that it was a holy day, the true sabbath, a day of rest and enjoyment (moon in Taurus remember), certainly not a day for bus rides with assholes to a school full of the worst humanity has to offer: hormonal teenagers. Mondays are truly special to me now that I can choose to treat them with the respect and reverence they deserve; I will not, unless faced by some as-of-yet undiscovered emergency, work on a Monday. Mondays are sacred to Shiva and he’s super fucking cool, enough said. My Lunar requests have to do with increasing my powers of manifestation, magical and psychic abilities, creativity, and material resources, as well as shrinking those things which no longer serve me and remaining hidden from those who would do me harm, and lighting my way through the darkness. So I worked on some magical projects and did some writing and reading, and some extra meditation to stretch those psychic and magical muscles. Also, I smoked a bunch of weed. I can’t say for sure if Monday was a success, my relationship with the Moon is always evolving (the dad in me wanted so badly to say waxing and waning) and I have found that feeling the cycles of the Moon and acting accordingly, putting in energy and starting and growing things while the moon waxes and resting and finishing while it wanes, has been a great way to honor and work with those energies. Success?
There you have it y’all, an entire week of taking the initiative and reaping the magical rewards. I don’t know why this is a lesson I need to keep learning but I’m hoping that having a record of it will keep me in the habit more often.
Since writing this some weeks back, I have noticed that keeping up with my magical initiatives has been much easier and that, even though I’m doing more every day, I seem to have more time and energy for the things I enjoy than I did before I started. Which could very well be a testament to the incalculable levels of sloth I was indulging in before I started than anything else. Either way, I am counting this as a win and am super grateful to that spirit of Mars for kicking my ass out of neutral and into a spluttering first gear.
*Myrrhkwood.com has no official affiliation with or to Sphere and Sundry, Dr. Al Cummins, Jesse Hathaway-Diaz, or Radio Free Golgotha beyond being a massive fan of everything they do.
The ceremony itself was beautiful and awe inspiring and terrifying and time-warping and healing on a deeper level than I could’ve conceived. It was also delayed because of the wildfires that ripped through the PNW in August and September. The date chosen for the rescheduled ceremony was another massive synchronicity for me as it “just happened” to fall on the feast day of one of my patron saints, the esteemed, super badass, and massively popular among occultists, St. Cyprian of Antioch; patron saint of magicians. To have the ceremony rescheduled to his feast day turned out to be amazing and this final synchronicity was the one that eased my apprehensions the most. I have been working with St. Cyprian for some time now; he was actually one of my first introductions to an organized occult practice and he has been an invaluable guide, teacher, protector, and patron to me in that time.
Back to the ceremony.
We arrived around 7pm, set up our nest of pillows and blankets and sleeping bags outside and sat around nervously until 10 or 11. First we were guided through some meditations and then the ceremony leaders administered some ritually grown “hapé”, a type of tobacco grown in the jungles of South America, by blowing it up participants noses via a large wooden tube. I was told that since it was my first time I couldn't have hapé and I was super fucking bummed and wanted it even more. Then the vomiting began and I was perfectly fine with being excluded. Once everyone had their nose and throats full of powdered tobacco and most of the vomiting had stopped it was time to drink the ayahuasca. The ceremony leaders began to sing their “time to drink the medicine song” and my testicles quickly ascended up into the back of my throat, my mouth was dry but the rest of my body was clammy, I felt like a stoned and paranoid frog with his balls in the back of his mouth. I was second in line to drink and when I was given my ceremonial shot glass and swallowed my testicles back down to their usual place along with the medicine I was surprised at how sweet the medicine was: I was prepared for bitter and earthy and viscous, all of which were present in abundance, but not for the sweetness, apparently there are a lot of sugars present in the plants involved and the act of simmering them down for days of ritual silence concentrates them into a shot that is kind of like mud and opium and cough syrup but also not at all like anything I’ve ever tasted on this earth.
Ayahuasca is, for those of you who don’t know, a potent brew of (mainly) Banosteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, with other plants added depending upon specific ritual purpose or preference of the ayahuascero brewing it. B. caapi contains a powerful monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI and P. viridis contains N,N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT. DMT is actually found in a ton of plants but remains inactive if ingested without something to stop our natural supplies of monoamine oxidase from neutralizing it before it gets to our brain. Did I mention earlier that I have a deep and abiding interest in drugs and pharmacology?
About 30 minutes after I drank my shot the guy who drank before me started puking quietly into his bucket so I grabbed my bucket and waited… and waited, and waited. Nothing. I listened as the visuals began to kick in to everybody else vomiting and began to feel a bit left out again. At this point my body collapsed over my ten gallon bucket and the visions began in earnest. I had enough presence of mind left to begin silently repeating: “Mother Ayahuasca, I come to you with all due respect and supreme humility to ask that you please heal me”. This trick I learned after a disastrous run in with the plant spirit of Salvia divinorum served to ease some of the pants-shitting terror that I felt when my body turned off and left me semi-conscious and in between two very different states of being. I was experiencing sound on a level I had never known possible, as the songs began to take shape in front of my eyes and enter into my body and transport my consciousness to wherever it goes when one is being operated on by ancient, divine feminine, plant medicine goddesses, angels, and their operating assistants. At some point I managed to lie down and let myself be completely carried away by the medicine. I have no way of describing what happened beyond synesthetic snippets of seeing surreal, faceless giants made of a vibration closer to sound than matter above me as if I were actually on an operating table.
I became aware that something was poking my physical self and came back to my body by small increments as the poking turned into gentle shaking. My eyes came back into focus on official reality and I saw my love poking me and giggled and poked her back. She laughed and said it was time for the second dose. I was genuinely shocked that anyone could take more than what I was already experiencing but managed to sit up, the world around me slipping between states and morphing in sacred geometry and outlandish colors dictated by the vibrations of the sounds around me. I stood up like I had been huffing ether and wobbled my way to the altar like Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, dropped hard onto my knees and tried to focus my eyes on the fiery-aura dispensing the medicine. I looked into his eyes and he gave me what I thought was a scrutinizing look as if judging whether or not to give me another dose and then he poured the ayahuasca. I took the shot glass thinking he must have poured me just a drop and held it to the light to verify and was shocked again to find that he had poured at least as much in this time as the last. Giving a sputtering snort of a laugh I downed the glass and melted up onto my feet throwing a “haux” of thanks over my shoulder as I collapsed down onto my nest and was immediately blasted, like a particle of psychedelic gelatin in the hadron collider, back into the medicine as my body fell over frontways into my still empty puke bucket.
It was around this time that things began to get weird and would’ve been face-meltingly frightening if I had possessed the capacity for rational thought. A low-pitched roar, paired with overtones of amplifier feedback began to tear a hole in the fabric of my already awesomely altered reality. I found that I could “see” the vibrations of this sound combination creating a tunnel in time/space/reality/matter and this tunnel had a pull that I was powerless to resist. Someone in ceremony was sobbing: anguish made manifest bounced around unseen walls creating harmonies of echoing despair. Moments later I was aware of the sound and presence of a giant being snuffling around my physical head and was frozen with what should have been terror but was somehow too detached to be afraid: I was in the presence of something much bigger and older than myself, something that could have, with no effort, ended my existence. The thing snuffled and truffled and made elephantine blasts in deep rhythmic patterns all around the ceremony and I began to have the impression of insects or scorpions for some reason. Then came the demon. In a low growl I heard a being that I could not bring myself to look upon chanting “Om mani padme hum”. Certain that this being had emerged from the underworld, I could feel the flames curling around it like Tibetan buddhist representations of demons. Another voice joined in a much higher octave and their power was terrible and awesome and I became aware that they, as demons, were an intrinsic part of reality and were there, not to hurt anyone maliciously but to bring healing in their own way and that the fear I should've been feeling was most likely just a reaction to their levels of raw power and not any evil or negative intentions the beings were harboring. As Gordon White says: “sharks gonna shark”, they don't eat us because they’re evil or bad, they eat us because they’re higher on the food chain, and these demons felt similarly powerful and indifferent to human life. And yet they were here in a healing capacity, of that much I was sure even if I was too awestruck to look at them.
The chanting stopped and the music took on a less menacing vibration, I felt the heavy under/otherworld power and darkness begin to lift, light began to filter into the music, my spirits brightened with the songs, and I became sure that I had shit in my sweatpants and, not for the first time, decided that I was in no position to deal with it at that moment.
The icaros took on a playful tone and the leader of the ceremony did a dance that channeled, or made him look like, an old man stomping around the circle shouting “hey” and everyone laughed and played and the joy of shaking off all of the heavy stuff that had been drudged up by the earthbound/otherword/underworld spirits was pure ecstasy.
At this point I felt as if I’d been in the medicine for about 10 hours and it was still going strong though my body was now capable of sitting up and shifting between official reality and medicine reality, so I was genuinely gobsmacked to hear the ceremony leaders announce that it was 3:33 and, as such, time for the optional third dose. I felt amazing and was quite sure that I had done the work that I had come to do that night so I declined and enjoyed the rest of the songs on a more superficial level. I could still feel them reordering bits of my body and energy but they were no longer slurping me through wormholes like lightspeed linguini into alien landscapes populated with scorpion demons or giant star doctors or snuffling elephant monsters.
The rest of the ceremony was like being around a campfire with my best friends even though I only knew 3 of the other 12 folks there. I felt better than I ever remember feeling: it was like being rebuilt from the ground up on a molecular, energetic, vibrational, and physical level. Ayahuasca reached all up in me and got rid of a bunch of coping mechanisms that I had grown out of and optimized me for actually living my best life. Which sounds fucking ludicrous and if someone had said that to me on September 25 I would’ve told them to get fucked but holy shit this medicine works and it works in ways that are not understandable through the lens of official reality. I genuinely feel like I had a vibrational tune up and an energetic cleansing and a physical healing all at once and over the course of like 3 hours that felt like 12 because Ayahuasca operates completely outside of time and as the Mother of All Medicines she can do it all.
I started this post a few days after the ceremony and, as you can see, didn’t finish it until almost 2 months later (blame it on 2020). Before the ceremony I had taken a prolonged break from any and all occult practices beyond check-ins with my patrons and some light prayer after an encounter with some spirits that left me feeling like I had grabbed hold of a high tension power line with my teeth. More on that some other time. Since the ceremony I have gotten back into some regular practices with much better results than I had been getting before; I feel closer to that realm or like it is more readily accessible and easier to communicate with, like part of my tune up was optimizing me for this work.
There is such an amazing presence with Ayahuasca and she really does seem to be some sort of incarnation or avatar of the divine feminine spirit, the All-Mother, nurturing and healing, powerful and ancient, loving and playful, awesome and terrifying. I am so grateful to have been given the chance to experience such an incredible healing with such great people in a safe and familiar environment with experienced ceremony leaders and two great friends and my wonderful wife. I would honestly recommend this medicine to anyone; it was like being in Tom Bombadil’s house; love and magic and healing and joy dripping from the rafters. And what could be better medicine for an epoch-ending year like 2020 than that?
Good Medicine for a Shit Year pt. 1
Welcome children, gather round as your favorite rascal and ne’er-do-well fills your minds, and more importantly, your hearts with the AM radioactive, iridescent embers of his latest barefoot, tie-dye revelation: I am the messiah. Full. Fucking. Stop.
But then you already knew that, somewhere deep inside you you have always known that the messiah would be nearly unknown in this supersaturated, commercial plastic fuck-pile of a generation. The millennial messiah would obviously be someone who spent the vast majority of their life drawn to the filthy, degenerates of this world and would, getting lost in the wilderness of oxycontin, heroin, MDMA, cocaine, and their gratuitous intravenous application, bring light and love to those broken heaps of people at the bottom, the real people that the rest of society would prefer to ignore, before leaving most of the drugs and nihilism behind and accepting his divine birthright: the mantle of messiah.
Now before you completely lose your shit and call my mother, ruining her perfectly fine day by imploding her fragile skull with tales of her son’s complete psychological collapse into delusion, let me say this: you are also the messiah. Not in the dogmatic sense, I’m not either (probably). WE are, each one of us the perfect embodiment of the potential redemption of the human race stuck in the bullshit we’ve been fed since we got shoved into that perfect implement of soul-destruction called the public school system. “Forget your dreams, go into debt for the potential wealth available after you pay it all off, spend the most lively, productive, potentially-dangerous-to-this-broken-system years of your life putting off all but the bare minimum of government-sanctioned joy until you’re too fucking old to be a hassle”. Sound right? Obviously the powers that be are a tad more subtle and a lot more insidious than that but it rings true to me.
Now that you’ve accepted that you are your own personal Obi-Wan and the only hope that your life has of getting any better (you’re very welcome) let me tell you how this sentiment finally stopped being just words and really sunk in: ceremonial application of medicinal psychedelics, specifically ayahuasca. If you’ve read any other posts on this site or even the first two paragraphs of this one, you will no doubt be aware of my former propensity for using the vast majority of substances currently classified as drugs by the shit-lipped, cock-nosed, troglodytic agents of the archons, with squinty little anuses instead of eyeballs and a cold lump of shriveled, white wolf shit where a heart should go that would prefer to keep us small and NEED to keep us well away from our own sovereignty to continue living their best cyberpunk apocalypse. Ayahuasca was, until just a few months ago, on the feast day of St. Cyprian of Antioch no less, the last great frontier of mind, heart, and soul expansion in my life. I had always pictured my first time being in the jungle of Central or South America with a wizened shaman singing his icaros (healing songs) through a haze of tobacco and incense smoke and guiding me through a life-altering healing process at the hands of a healing goddess-plant who is made up of all the medicine and compassion that the universe has to offer. However, the universe had different plans and I was lead through a series of synchronicities revolving around tiny, feathered love-warriors to a five acre plot of land run by some of the sweetest and most magical people I have ever met. An oasis covered in cedar, Douglas fir and madrone trees with wild huckleberries in abundance and, as a simple boy from Oregon who usually prefers the company of trees, huckleberries, and cats to humans and who is already well-acclimated to the environment of the great PNW I can say without any reservation that I wouldn’t change a single fucking thing. The magic, healing, compassion, icaros, loving plant-goddes, even the shaman (though certainly not what I had pinned on my vision-board) were all present with the added benefit of being around two amazing friends who blazed the trail and eased my many fears about leaping into this uncharted territory, one spectacular and incredibly badass spouse, a very cool forest cat, and all of my favorite trees. Looking back it seams clear that this could only have happened in the forests that I’ve always felt at home in and been in love with.
Let’s get right to the heart of this thing; creating your own “Personal Legend” as Paolo Coelho puts it in his book The Alchemist which, though a bit basic, should be required reading for middle schoolers because it gives a fairly solid road map of how to follow the signs that the universe puts in front of us, the meaningful “coincidences” or synchronicities that lead us towards what you could be forgiven for calling your destiny. I didn’t read Mr. Coelho’s book until very recently but it reminded me of something in a book that I did read in middle school: Don Juan and the Yaqui way of knowledge by Carlos Castaneda. In it, Don Juan, an old sorcerer, mentions something about personal power and walking only paths that have heart and I am a firm believer that Don Juan and the titular Alchemist are speaking about much the same thing. As my favorite sorcerer of all time, that rakish chap Mr. John Constantine puts it; “surfing the synchronicity super highway” seems to be the best way to live out one’s Personal Legend; the great destiny attached to all of us at birth, letting the things we love lead us to our reward. This works regardless of what it is you focus your desire on, I’ve tried it. For years all I wanted were drugs and escape and they showed up in abundance and just kept showing up; more drugs, stronger drugs, better quality drugs, bigger drug dealers, more dangerous situations to escape from and holy shit come to think of it; even though they led me to dark, frightening, life-threatening, MRSA infected, cracked out, strung out places, they led me right back to my Personal Legend. All it took was shifting the focus of my desire from death, oblivion and escape three degrees back toward life. I had willfully turned away from all paths with even a pantyline of visible heart and yet, after a simple decision to turn away from my own destruction, here I am back on a path that, judging by the synchronicities and the way my life is going, seems to have heart to spare.
The hummingbird synchronicities started in June. By definition a synchronicity is a “meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved” and because a synchronicity, like a dream, usually holds a bare minimum of interest or meaning for those outside of the event I will spare you the details and simply say that hummingbirds were drawn to me in alarming numbers and proximity for months, one actually buzzed my hair, and another hovered within a foot of my face while I was in my backyard for a full 30 seconds which for a hummingbird is probably long enough for a 10 course meal packed with fast-paced, effervescent conversation, gravity-defying post dinner sex, a tiny honeysuckle cigarette and a glass of lilac wine. At the time I was unaware what, if anything, the hummingbirds or whatever sends synchronicities into our lives were trying to point out to me but, especially with the warp-speed winged hair tousling and the long face-to-face hover, I noticed an immediate change in my mood and energy. During the tiny-feathered tousling I was coming home from a shitty day at work and was grumbling to myself and in a Bog of Eternal Stench kind of mood and just as I was unlocking my front door, a hummingbird launched out from under the eves of the house and tousled my hair as it went. My Bog of Eternal Stench mood was immediately replaced with a shocked, grinning wonder. A similar shift happened with each encounter I had (2-5 per week) over the course of the two months that led to me telling a magical friend of mine who came into my life, as expected, through another series of synchronicities, about my string of swift and sweet hummingbird synchs. When I was done with my laundry list of hummingbird encounters he mentioned that he knew of some friends who put on legit ayahuasca ceremonies out in the woods on beautiful property not far from us and that these folks were beautiful, loving, trustworthy, amazing people and that they had some openings for a ceremony in early September. My badass wife immediately said yes. Apprehension set in immediately. “I don’t know, I always wanted to go to Peru and do a proper ceremony with a shaman. Is it safe? I’m not sure if I could get time off work” etc.. Then, almost as an afterthought, he mentioned the thing that made him incongruously start talking about ayahuasca after my hummingbird rant: “My friends that run the ceremony, they’re called Beija Flor”. Raising an eyebrow to indicate my utter confusion he cut me off as I was about to ask the question he was answering.
“It means ‘hummingbird’ in Portuguese”.
My chin hit the floor and I told him to sign us up.
To be continued...