Building the Arte

I learned this from a website called The Secret Law of Page Harmony, and I think it has powerful applications to magic. Whenever I use this approximate template in my book of spirits, I have improved my connection and contact with the spirit in question, and gotten great results.  It also improves the quality of the artwork or the text that I write, even in a blank notebook — because I’ve created a clear delineation between what counts as ‘information’ and what counts as ‘border’. 
As a practical note, the wide outside margins and the thicker margin on the bottom create useful negative space where the thumbs or fingers can hold the book without obscuring any text or critical illustration underneath.  This really is the most harmonious way of laying out a book page. 

I learned this from a website called The Secret Law of Page Harmony, and I think it has powerful applications to magic. Whenever I use this approximate template in my book of spirits, I have improved my connection and contact with the spirit in question, and gotten great results.  It also improves the quality of the artwork or the text that I write, even in a blank notebook — because I’ve created a clear delineation between what counts as ‘information’ and what counts as ‘border’. 

As a practical note, the wide outside margins and the thicker margin on the bottom create useful negative space where the thumbs or fingers can hold the book without obscuring any text or critical illustration underneath.  This really is the most harmonious way of laying out a book page. 

graycloak mentioned that he was finding The Magician’s Reflection by Bill Whitcomb to be useful, and it occurred to me that one of the exercises in that book is both known to me, and useful to budding magicians. Write out the Pythagorean values of the letters of our alphabet: viz. A, J, S = 1. B, K, T = 2. C, L, U = 3. And so on up to I, R = 9.  There’s a little chart in the upper left of the photo, but it may not be readable. 

Anyway… Once you have the values of the letters, you can use those values to calculate the values of significant words, as I’ve done here in this example. HAPPY, for example, has a value of 30, which can be “reduced” to 3 (since 3+0= 3), suggesting that happy is a kind of Fire, numerically (since the number of elemental fire is 3). abwatt this blog, has a value of 13, reducing to 4— a number of solidity and order and symmetry and Earth. Graycloak’s blog name reduces from 39 through 12 (the Zodiac) to three (Fire, again). And so on. 

Whenever you find words that have the same numerical value as your own name (whichever version of your name you use — and you should find three, at least, each time you do this exercise), write a couple of sentences explaining how that concept relates to you. Or draw a picture. The same goes for other words that you find are joined together numerically. 

Is this a ridiculous (value 50, reducing to 5) exercise? Of course it is. English speakers didn’t choose how to spell words based on their arbitrary mathematical value 500 years ago using a Greek number system. It’s totally arbitrary. 

But. 

 But it is a powerful way of drawing connections between completely arbitrary and weird concepts that aren’t necessarily connected. It’s another way of empowering sigils — using number as well as letter to encode them, and likewise energizing them with mathematic precision. And it’s also a technique for bridging mental gaps and re-wiring one’s mental map. 

But the reflection process is essential. Don’t neglect the writing or drawing to join certain concepts together with your own name. It’s part of the genius of the exercise that you have to connect yourself to the number theory for it to be a useful technique, I think.

graycloak mentioned that he was finding The Magician’s Reflection by Bill Whitcomb to be useful, and it occurred to me that one of the exercises in that book is both known to me, and useful to budding magicians. Write out the Pythagorean values of the letters of our alphabet: viz. A, J, S = 1. B, K, T = 2. C, L, U = 3. And so on up to I, R = 9. There’s a little chart in the upper left of the photo, but it may not be readable.

Anyway… Once you have the values of the letters, you can use those values to calculate the values of significant words, as I’ve done here in this example. HAPPY, for example, has a value of 30, which can be “reduced” to 3 (since 3+0= 3), suggesting that happy is a kind of Fire, numerically (since the number of elemental fire is 3). abwatt this blog, has a value of 13, reducing to 4— a number of solidity and order and symmetry and Earth. Graycloak’s blog name reduces from 39 through 12 (the Zodiac) to three (Fire, again). And so on.

Whenever you find words that have the same numerical value as your own name (whichever version of your name you use — and you should find three, at least, each time you do this exercise), write a couple of sentences explaining how that concept relates to you. Or draw a picture. The same goes for other words that you find are joined together numerically.

Is this a ridiculous (value 50, reducing to 5) exercise? Of course it is. English speakers didn’t choose how to spell words based on their arbitrary mathematical value 500 years ago using a Greek number system. It’s totally arbitrary.

But.

But it is a powerful way of drawing connections between completely arbitrary and weird concepts that aren’t necessarily connected. It’s another way of empowering sigils — using number as well as letter to encode them, and likewise energizing them with mathematic precision. And it’s also a technique for bridging mental gaps and re-wiring one’s mental map.

But the reflection process is essential. Don’t neglect the writing or drawing to join certain concepts together with your own name. It’s part of the genius of the exercise that you have to connect yourself to the number theory for it to be a useful technique, I think.

Some sense of the work that goes into creating each page of my geometry textbook. Because the pages are plain, the first part of the project involves laying out where the text block will be. I use the Jan Tischschold canon of proportion, adjusted for the fact that my pages don’t have inside margins and outside margins separately, because of the scroll-like nature of the Japanese Album style of Moleskine notebook. I only use the “inside style” because the multiple pages look weird when folded out to expose several panels at once.

The Hasbro Gallery at Springfield, MA’s Smith Museum of Art. I hope the artists who painted this hallway and side rooms were real Tibetans… Because the decoration and design work is amazing.

I also like how they worked Thoth, the Egyptian god of learning and magic, into the design. Because here’s all this florid Buddhist decoration from India and the Himalaya, mixed with Chinese Zodiac work (apparently I’m a metal dog— who knew??) and then around a corner here’s an ibis headed lord of wisdom. Awesome.

The book so far.

The book so far.

Kamea, Sigil and Sign of Mars
Mars is the warrior of heaven, the force of severity, and the sword of truth that cuts away and destroys with violence all that does not serve the Cosmos.  Where Saturn breaks down by slow degrees, and crumbles to ruin all things with a slow and steady tread, Mars lays waste with fire and sword and war. He is the avenging force of retribution, and the rage of the heavens. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting the Kamea, or magic squares, associated with the planets. These magic squares are part of the esoteric tradition of the Western world; Already, I’ve published the other Kameas of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, the Sun, and the Moon. Along with each image is a brief summary or essay about the nature of that planetary force, and its meaning in the western esoteric tradition.
Mars, the Warrior of Heaven
The red planet, the lord of Tuesday, whose metal is iron and whose number is 5.  The Kamea of Mars has a grid of the numbers 1 through 25, arranged in the cells of a box that is five columns wide and five rows high.  Each row, column and diagonal adds up to the same number, 65.  All the numbers together add up to 325. Thus the numbers of Mars are 5, 25, 65 and 325.
Mars in astrology is called the Lesser Malefic.  He cuts away and burns and destroys what does not serve the magician; some call him the Lord of Severity.  Masculine (some say feminine), and nocturnal, hot and dry, choleric and fiery, he is the author of all quarrels, strifes and contentions. Tuesday is his day.   It takes him about 321 days to circuit the Zodiac, and he rules Aries in the daytime, and Scorpio at night.  When retrograde, his retrograde motion lasts 80 days.  
When dignified or used for honest aims, Mars plucks up courage and makes men and women brave for the contentions which are to come.  He girds them for battle and makes them ready for conflict.  When under his auspicious influence, people become valiant and bold, confident, immoveable, and judicious risk-takers. But they also become contentious lovers of battle and conflict, even for no reason, and fight to the victory rather than to the objectives sought.  They brook no claims to honor but they must challenge it.
When urged to malevolence, Mars makes people into gossips and tale-tellers who lack both honesty and conviction.  They love slaughter and quarrels but do not stick around long enough to see the end — for they become cowardly too.  They are promoters of commotion and difficulty, and rouse people to turbulence and inhumane action. They neither fear God nor look after others.  They become oppressive cheats, full of fury and violence. Iron is his metal, and reds are his colors, and his incense is dragon’s blood or basil.  Both ironworkers and bakers are in his care, for they bravely face the fires of the forge and the oven; soldiers and thieves, too, the one for his bravery and loyalty, the other for his cowardly will to cut away from others what they protect carelessly.  He is a storm-lord and Kammael or Sammael is the angel who oversees the forces of this planet.

Kamea, Sigil and Sign of Mars

Mars is the warrior of heaven, the force of severity, and the sword of truth that cuts away and destroys with violence all that does not serve the Cosmos.  Where Saturn breaks down by slow degrees, and crumbles to ruin all things with a slow and steady tread, Mars lays waste with fire and sword and war. He is the avenging force of retribution, and the rage of the heavens. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting the Kamea, or magic squares, associated with the planets. These magic squares are part of the esoteric tradition of the Western world; Already, I’ve published the other Kameas of MercuryJupiterVenusSaturn, the Sun, and the Moon. Along with each image is a brief summary or essay about the nature of that planetary force, and its meaning in the western esoteric tradition.

Mars, the Warrior of Heaven

The red planet, the lord of Tuesday, whose metal is iron and whose number is 5.  The Kamea of Mars has a grid of the numbers 1 through 25, arranged in the cells of a box that is five columns wide and five rows high.  Each row, column and diagonal adds up to the same number, 65.  All the numbers together add up to 325. Thus the numbers of Mars are 5, 25, 65 and 325.

Mars in astrology is called the Lesser Malefic.  He cuts away and burns and destroys what does not serve the magician; some call him the Lord of Severity.  Masculine (some say feminine), and nocturnal, hot and dry, choleric and fiery, he is the author of all quarrels, strifes and contentions. Tuesday is his day.   It takes him about 321 days to circuit the Zodiac, and he rules Aries in the daytime, and Scorpio at night.  When retrograde, his retrograde motion lasts 80 days.  

When dignified or used for honest aims, Mars plucks up courage and makes men and women brave for the contentions which are to come.  He girds them for battle and makes them ready for conflict.  When under his auspicious influence, people become valiant and bold, confident, immoveable, and judicious risk-takers. But they also become contentious lovers of battle and conflict, even for no reason, and fight to the victory rather than to the objectives sought.  They brook no claims to honor but they must challenge it.

When urged to malevolence, Mars makes people into gossips and tale-tellers who lack both honesty and conviction.  They love slaughter and quarrels but do not stick around long enough to see the end — for they become cowardly too.  They are promoters of commotion and difficulty, and rouse people to turbulence and inhumane action. They neither fear God nor look after others.  They become oppressive cheats, full of fury and violence. Iron is his metal, and reds are his colors, and his incense is dragon’s blood or basil.  Both ironworkers and bakers are in his care, for they bravely face the fires of the forge and the oven; soldiers and thieves, too, the one for his bravery and loyalty, the other for his cowardly will to cut away from others what they protect carelessly.  He is a storm-lord and Kammael or Sammael is the angel who oversees the forces of this planet.

Kamea, Sigil, and Sign of the Moon
The Moon is the mirror and final imaginer of reality in ceremonial magic.  She is the lens that brings the light of the One into reality, and the mirror that reflects the image of the world back to the Soul of the World, and the opening eye that perceives the true nature of reality and the illusion that conceals that true nature. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting the Kamea, or magic squares, associated with the planets. These magic squares are part of the esoteric tradition of the Western world; Already, I’ve published the Kameas of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and the Sun, with the Kamea of Mars yet to come. Along with each image is a brief summary or essay about the nature of that planetary force, and its meaning in the western esoteric tradition.
The Moon’s number is nine.  Hence, the kamea consists of a grid of 81 squares, nine rows high and nine columns wide.The numbers 1 through 81 fill the grid.  Each row, column and diagonal adds up to 260, and all of the numbers in the square add up to 2080.  These, then, are the numbers of the Moon: 9, 81, 260, and 2080. 
The Moon is generally regarded as feminine in Western magic, owing to the parallels between the speed of her circuit around the Earth; she is night-loving and nocturnal, and associated with the element of Water in part due to her rulership over the tides.  Her colors are white, or silver, or pale blue, and she is associated with the metal silver, the stone selenite, and when making offerings she delights in freshly-picked foods or even under-ripe fruit — particularly melons, gourds, cabbage, endive, mushrooms and onions.  In waxing she is considered beneficent and generous, and in waning she is considered maleficent and conniving. Monday is her day from sunrise to the the sunrise on Tuesday, and she is the secondary ruler of Friday nights from sundown to Saturday sunrise (after Venus, the primary ruler).  Her incense is jasmine, although some sources say frankincense (I use jasmine in part because of the Garden of Gesthemane, which means “jasmine garden” — a fine place for Jesus’s weeping and wailing under the moon surrounded by newly-opened jasmine blossoms). 
The Moon rules over women, and change, and art, and image.  In the Great Chain of Being, it is she who rules over final surfaces and appearances, and who sees the work through to its completion.  She is both the bringer of change, and the one who brings about the return to a new normal.  She rules over psychic powers, and magic, and dream; and many of the plants assigned to her are capable of causing brain changes. 

Kamea, Sigil, and Sign of the Moon

The Moon is the mirror and final imaginer of reality in ceremonial magic.  She is the lens that brings the light of the One into reality, and the mirror that reflects the image of the world back to the Soul of the World, and the opening eye that perceives the true nature of reality and the illusion that conceals that true nature. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting the Kamea, or magic squares, associated with the planets. These magic squares are part of the esoteric tradition of the Western world; Already, I’ve published the Kameas of MercuryJupiterVenusSaturn, and the Sun, with the Kamea of Mars yet to come. Along with each image is a brief summary or essay about the nature of that planetary force, and its meaning in the western esoteric tradition.

The Moon’s number is nine.  Hence, the kamea consists of a grid of 81 squares, nine rows high and nine columns wide.The numbers 1 through 81 fill the grid.  Each row, column and diagonal adds up to 260, and all of the numbers in the square add up to 2080.  These, then, are the numbers of the Moon: 9, 81, 260, and 2080. 

The Moon is generally regarded as feminine in Western magic, owing to the parallels between the speed of her circuit around the Earth; she is night-loving and nocturnal, and associated with the element of Water in part due to her rulership over the tides.  Her colors are white, or silver, or pale blue, and she is associated with the metal silver, the stone selenite, and when making offerings she delights in freshly-picked foods or even under-ripe fruit — particularly melons, gourds, cabbage, endive, mushrooms and onions.  In waxing she is considered beneficent and generous, and in waning she is considered maleficent and conniving. Monday is her day from sunrise to the the sunrise on Tuesday, and she is the secondary ruler of Friday nights from sundown to Saturday sunrise (after Venus, the primary ruler).  Her incense is jasmine, although some sources say frankincense (I use jasmine in part because of the Garden of Gesthemane, which means “jasmine garden” — a fine place for Jesus’s weeping and wailing under the moon surrounded by newly-opened jasmine blossoms). 

The Moon rules over women, and change, and art, and image.  In the Great Chain of Being, it is she who rules over final surfaces and appearances, and who sees the work through to its completion.  She is both the bringer of change, and the one who brings about the return to a new normal.  She rules over psychic powers, and magic, and dream; and many of the plants assigned to her are capable of causing brain changes. 

Pretty much all I can show of this particular pair of pages for my Mansions of the Moon project. 

The illustration for “The Wings” is nekkid sexxxy stuff. So 1) I can’t show it, and 2) I don’t know how good it will be, probably not very.

Pretty much all I can show of this particular pair of pages for my Mansions of the Moon project.

The illustration for “The Wings” is nekkid sexxxy stuff. So 1) I can’t show it, and 2) I don’t know how good it will be, probably not very.

Kamea, Sigil and Sign of the Sun
The Sun is the source of all life and power in our Solar System, and in ceremonial magic is is the beating and energetic heart which sends light and heat and life into the Macrocosm and Microcosm alike. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting the Kamea, or magic squares, associated with the planets. These magic squares are part of the esoteric tradition of the Western world; Already, I’ve published the Kameas of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, with the Kameas of the Moon and Mars yet to come.
The Kamea of the Sun starts from the number 6.  On the tree of life, the sphere of Tiphareth (number 6) is associated with the Sun, and so this kamea begins with a grid of 6x6 cells.  The numbers arranged in the grid are the numbers from 1 to 36. Each row, column and diagonal adds up to 111, and the total value of the sum of all these numbers is 666. From this is derived the sigil of the Sun, an array of four circles and crossed bars that (when superimposed upon the kamea) touches all thirty-six numbers in the grid.   Hence these are the numbers of the Sun: 6, 36, 11, 666. 
The sun is warmth and heat. In many systems of correspondence, including astrology, the Sun is associated with raw energy, creativity and power. Masculine and diurnal, the source of light and life, he rules from the midst of Creation — the beating heart which brings life to all. 
His colors are yellow, of course, and his metal is gold.  As most readers should know, his movement through all twelve signs of the Zodiac takes twelve months and some hours, otherwise known as 365.25 days. Leo is his sign, and he is in detriment in Aquarius. In some ways, the Sun is benefic, or in Equilibrium — Thomas Taylor says, “Foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide; over all his steps propitious you preside.”  The Sun is a power of impassably good judgment, acting with supreme confidence, and warming the faces of just and the unjust alike.  He is beautiful, of course, and beauty is in his purview, whether of art or music.  But he is also a source of pain — for to gaze upon such beauty for too long is to risk blindness and ruin. Those who linger too long in the beauty of the Sun are at grave risk of becoming angry and broken at the same time — for they see the evil in the world and wish to destroy it, and yet they cannot, for they also unconsciously understand that evil’s purpose in the world.  Those who linger in the Sun’s energy without care become arrogant and prideful, and too aware of lineage and pedigree, and also blind to their own faults.  Those who take care and do not stand in the Sun’s light too long become generous, open, kind, trusting, and warm.  They are not merely humane, but human and beautiful.  Therefore should the power of the Sun in the self be cultivated slowly, with great humility and great subtlety.  Sunday is the Sun’s Day, of course.
Christians, particularly fundamentalists, may be alarmed by the appearance of the number 666 here. It should be remembered, though, that the Book of Revelation merely says that the name of the Great Beast has a number value equal to 666 — and as many scholars have shown, this number corresponds to the value-name of Nero Caesar, the emperor who first began persecuting Christians. Nero is not the Sun, nor is the Sun’s name equal to the number-value 666; this is merely one correspondence among many.

Kamea, Sigil and Sign of the Sun

The Sun is the source of all life and power in our Solar System, and in ceremonial magic is is the beating and energetic heart which sends light and heat and life into the Macrocosm and Microcosm alike. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been posting the Kamea, or magic squares, associated with the planets. These magic squares are part of the esoteric tradition of the Western world; Already, I’ve published the Kameas of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, with the Kameas of the Moon and Mars yet to come.

The Kamea of the Sun starts from the number 6.  On the tree of life, the sphere of Tiphareth (number 6) is associated with the Sun, and so this kamea begins with a grid of 6x6 cells.  The numbers arranged in the grid are the numbers from 1 to 36. Each row, column and diagonal adds up to 111, and the total value of the sum of all these numbers is 666. From this is derived the sigil of the Sun, an array of four circles and crossed bars that (when superimposed upon the kamea) touches all thirty-six numbers in the grid.   Hence these are the numbers of the Sun: 6, 36, 11, 666. 

The sun is warmth and heat. In many systems of correspondence, including astrology, the Sun is associated with raw energy, creativity and power. Masculine and diurnal, the source of light and life, he rules from the midst of Creation — the beating heart which brings life to all. 

His colors are yellow, of course, and his metal is gold.  As most readers should know, his movement through all twelve signs of the Zodiac takes twelve months and some hours, otherwise known as 365.25 days. Leo is his sign, and he is in detriment in Aquarius. In some ways, the Sun is benefic, or in Equilibrium — Thomas Taylor says, “Foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide; over all his steps propitious you preside.”  The Sun is a power of impassably good judgment, acting with supreme confidence, and warming the faces of just and the unjust alike.  He is beautiful, of course, and beauty is in his purview, whether of art or music.  But he is also a source of pain — for to gaze upon such beauty for too long is to risk blindness and ruin. Those who linger too long in the beauty of the Sun are at grave risk of becoming angry and broken at the same time — for they see the evil in the world and wish to destroy it, and yet they cannot, for they also unconsciously understand that evil’s purpose in the world.  Those who linger in the Sun’s energy without care become arrogant and prideful, and too aware of lineage and pedigree, and also blind to their own faults.  Those who take care and do not stand in the Sun’s light too long become generous, open, kind, trusting, and warm.  They are not merely humane, but human and beautiful.  Therefore should the power of the Sun in the self be cultivated slowly, with great humility and great subtlety.  Sunday is the Sun’s Day, of course.

Christians, particularly fundamentalists, may be alarmed by the appearance of the number 666 here. It should be remembered, though, that the Book of Revelation merely says that the name of the Great Beast has a number value equal to 666 — and as many scholars have shown, this number corresponds to the value-name of Nero Caesar, the emperor who first began persecuting Christians. Nero is not the Sun, nor is the Sun’s name equal to the number-value 666; this is merely one correspondence among many.

The Emerald Tablet
Again, I was showing students a lot of advanced vector-graphics techniques for doing graphical layout — of text, of solo symbols, of shapes.  This was my advanced sample to show them.  I didn’t zoom in too closely, for them to read the Emerald Tablet Text, but it’s a good example of what kinds of things are possible when you are willing to play around a little bit, and be patient. 
Creating this was about three hours’ work.  I’m sure that there are genuine graphic designers who can do it faster, but I am not them.  It’s also a great example of alchemy’s motto — Solve et Coagula — “Dissolve and Recombine”.  Everything in this image is distilled and repositioned elements of someone else’s work and effort, from what the Wi-fi symbol looks like to the shape of the glyphs of the planets, to the translation of the Emerald Tablet text, to the way this program handles star-shapes as vector graphics. All I did was disconnect these elements a little from their origins, and reconnect them.

The Emerald Tablet

Again, I was showing students a lot of advanced vector-graphics techniques for doing graphical layout — of text, of solo symbols, of shapes.  This was my advanced sample to show them.  I didn’t zoom in too closely, for them to read the Emerald Tablet Text, but it’s a good example of what kinds of things are possible when you are willing to play around a little bit, and be patient. 

Creating this was about three hours’ work.  I’m sure that there are genuine graphic designers who can do it faster, but I am not them.  It’s also a great example of alchemy’s motto — Solve et Coagula — “Dissolve and Recombine”.  Everything in this image is distilled and repositioned elements of someone else’s work and effort, from what the Wi-fi symbol looks like to the shape of the glyphs of the planets, to the translation of the Emerald Tablet text, to the way this program handles star-shapes as vector graphics. All I did was disconnect these elements a little from their origins, and reconnect them.

Kamea, Sigil and Sign of Saturn
Here’s the Old Man.  Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve been publishing the kamea, or magical squares, of the planets — you can find the squares of Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus so far. This week, we bring Saturn to the mix.
Saturn is the outermost planet of our Solar System known to the ancients.  It’s visible with the naked eye, and to the Greeks and Romans it was the planet that ruled over time, endings, declines, limitations and boundaries, as well as agriculture, old age and death.  Its planetary symbolism is of responsibility and consequences.
Saturn’s number is 3.  Accordingly, the square of Saturn is 3x3, containing the nine numbers from 1-9 (or the hebrew letters that stand for 1-9, in a common protection charm). Each row, column and diagonal adds up to 15, while the square as a whole adds up to 45.  The sigil resulting from working with Saturn appears as a pair of angles crossing over a diagonal line drawn between 2 and 8.
In Christian angelology, Saturn is associated with Tzaphkiel (sometimes spelled Cassiel, as in Dorothy Sayers’ play, The Zeal of Thy House, where Cassiel is the recording angel who notes down both the blessed and cursed deeds of humans). In Greek mythology, Saturn was the old god Cronos, who had once ruled the heavens before being supplanted by Jupiter. Now, old and decrepit and castrated, he wanders the lonely track at the edge of the visible solar system, counting out cycles of 29-30 years, marking time until The End.
Not the apocalyptic end, of course.  Saturn is not about bringing the universe down.  No, quite the opposite: Saturn reminds you that time marches on, in its slow way, and that you — YOU — have one or two, maybe three cycles of 30 years to work with; but not four, not five.  IF you have stuff you want to get done, you should get that started.  It’s going to take a good deal of effort for you to build anything up, and meanwhile Saturn is walking the slow outer track, beating everything down first to ruin, and then to rubble, and then to dust.  
The old man, with his hourglass and scythe, with his skull and his crossed leg bones, and with his cloak of funereal black, has it in for you.  Not in a personal way, you understand: this is just business. He’s just doing his job. Things die. Relationships end. Mistakes get made. That which is perfect has still got to be broken down and reduced to its component parts.  As the Thomas Taylor Orphic Hymn to Saturn says, “Consumed by thee, all forms that hourly die, by thee restored, their former place supply; the world immense, in everlasting chains, strong and ineffable thy power contains.” What is broken now, is both the fuel and the raw components to what gets built next.  What is whole now, will be broken down. And this…
This is normal.
It’s more than normal.  It’s magical.  It’s this decades-long cycle of change whereby things get worn out, damaged, broken down, and destroyed.  It’s not something you can stop: powers as old or older than the gods, perhaps older than the cosmos, have set these forces in motion.  Saturn is here to remind you that you have responsibilities, and duty, and that time is wasting — not in the sense of hanging around enjoying time, but in the sense of time laying waste to you, your house, your goods, your friends, your family, your city, your kingdom, your world.  Nothing you build is going to last forever; it will be broken down and destroyed, and the pieces will be used to make whatever comes next.  The sand is running out of your hourglass.
So. Make peace with that.  Get used to the idea that you’re not going to live forever, and set your plans in order to achieve what you want to achieve in the meantime.  Without war or disease or accident, you’ve got sixty or ninety years between the womb and the grave.  You’ve got things to do, and time enough to do them. But it’s time to get to work.

Kamea, Sigil and Sign of Saturn

Here’s the Old Man.  Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve been publishing the kamea, or magical squares, of the planets — you can find the squares of Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus so far. This week, we bring Saturn to the mix.

Saturn is the outermost planet of our Solar System known to the ancients.  It’s visible with the naked eye, and to the Greeks and Romans it was the planet that ruled over time, endings, declines, limitations and boundaries, as well as agriculture, old age and death.  Its planetary symbolism is of responsibility and consequences.

Saturn’s number is 3.  Accordingly, the square of Saturn is 3x3, containing the nine numbers from 1-9 (or the hebrew letters that stand for 1-9, in a common protection charm). Each row, column and diagonal adds up to 15, while the square as a whole adds up to 45.  The sigil resulting from working with Saturn appears as a pair of angles crossing over a diagonal line drawn between 2 and 8.

In Christian angelology, Saturn is associated with Tzaphkiel (sometimes spelled Cassiel, as in Dorothy Sayers’ play, The Zeal of Thy Housewhere Cassiel is the recording angel who notes down both the blessed and cursed deeds of humans). In Greek mythology, Saturn was the old god Cronos, who had once ruled the heavens before being supplanted by Jupiter. Now, old and decrepit and castrated, he wanders the lonely track at the edge of the visible solar system, counting out cycles of 29-30 years, marking time until The End.

Not the apocalyptic end, of course.  Saturn is not about bringing the universe down.  No, quite the opposite: Saturn reminds you that time marches on, in its slow way, and that you — YOU — have one or two, maybe three cycles of 30 years to work with; but not four, not five.  IF you have stuff you want to get done, you should get that started.  It’s going to take a good deal of effort for you to build anything up, and meanwhile Saturn is walking the slow outer track, beating everything down first to ruin, and then to rubble, and then to dust.  

The old man, with his hourglass and scythe, with his skull and his crossed leg bones, and with his cloak of funereal black, has it in for you.  Not in a personal way, you understand: this is just business. He’s just doing his job. Things die. Relationships end. Mistakes get made. That which is perfect has still got to be broken down and reduced to its component parts.  As the Thomas Taylor Orphic Hymn to Saturn says, “Consumed by thee, all forms that hourly die, by thee restored, their former place supply; the world immense, in everlasting chains, strong and ineffable thy power contains.” What is broken now, is both the fuel and the raw components to what gets built next.  What is whole now, will be broken down. And this…

This is normal.

It’s more than normal.  It’s magical.  It’s this decades-long cycle of change whereby things get worn out, damaged, broken down, and destroyed.  It’s not something you can stop: powers as old or older than the gods, perhaps older than the cosmos, have set these forces in motion.  Saturn is here to remind you that you have responsibilities, and duty, and that time is wasting — not in the sense of hanging around enjoying time, but in the sense of time laying waste to you, your house, your goods, your friends, your family, your city, your kingdom, your world.  Nothing you build is going to last forever; it will be broken down and destroyed, and the pieces will be used to make whatever comes next.  The sand is running out of your hourglass.

So. Make peace with that.  Get used to the idea that you’re not going to live forever, and set your plans in order to achieve what you want to achieve in the meantime.  Without war or disease or accident, you’ve got sixty or ninety years between the womb and the grave.  You’ve got things to do, and time enough to do them. But it’s time to get to work.

The Kamea, or magic square, of Venus, together with the sigil of Venus and the astrological sign of Venus.  This is the third kamea I have published, after the Kamea of Mercury, and the Kamea of Jupiter; next week I’ll publish the Kamea of Saturn.
What is a Kamea? It’s a mathematical relationship between a set of numbers, whereby those numbers are arrayed in a square grid. Every row and column and full diagonal of the grid adds to the same number, and the total of all the numbers in the grid add to a given value. The side of the grid is determined by the key number of the planet whose kamea it is — in this case, since Venus’s number is 7, the grid is 7x7, and contains the numbers from 1-49.  In this example, drawn from Henry Cornelius Agrippa, the row/column/diagonal sum is 175, and the total number is 1225.
How can you use a Kamea?  One of the common ways that they’ve been used in the past is as code-machines.  Numbers can be assigned alphabetic or syllabic values, or even the values of specific words, and then a sigil can be traced over the desired word.  The resulting symbol or sign could be a spirit’s name, or a coded sigil to result in a specific intention. In this way, the meaning of the sigil can be disguised from the conscious mind, so that the unconscious mind can work on bringing it about (also the fact that the resulting sigil is a shape rather than a meaning engages the visual parts of the brain more than the language areas… but the sigil’s meaning remains keyed into the mind, which means better magic in the long run, because both parts of the brain are working on the problem to which the sigil represents the solution).
Today, we associate Venus almost exclusively with love and sex, but historically in magic she is also associated with fertility of both animals and plants; and her powers also extend to personal projects and artwork, everything from making clothing and jewelry and various forms of artisanship, to cooking and household management.  Where Mercury is powerful in organizing and ordering communication, Venus is more about the personal touch and acting on one’s passions.  Mercury is about using symbols that other people can understand, but Venus brings the personal touch.  Where Mercury is about logic and reason and language, Venus is about gut feelings, intuition, and trusting in yourself.  
Venus’s day is Friday (Vendredi in French, Viernes in Spanish — both related etymologically to venereal, the adjective that used to mean “related to Venus” but now is almost always used in connection with sexually-transmitted diseases), and as mentioned before, her number is 7.  

The Kamea, or magic square, of Venus, together with the sigil of Venus and the astrological sign of Venus.  This is the third kamea I have published, after the Kamea of Mercury, and the Kamea of Jupiter; next week I’ll publish the Kamea of Saturn.

What is a Kamea? It’s a mathematical relationship between a set of numbers, whereby those numbers are arrayed in a square grid. Every row and column and full diagonal of the grid adds to the same number, and the total of all the numbers in the grid add to a given value. The side of the grid is determined by the key number of the planet whose kamea it is — in this case, since Venus’s number is 7, the grid is 7x7, and contains the numbers from 1-49.  In this example, drawn from Henry Cornelius Agrippa, the row/column/diagonal sum is 175, and the total number is 1225.

How can you use a Kamea?  One of the common ways that they’ve been used in the past is as code-machines.  Numbers can be assigned alphabetic or syllabic values, or even the values of specific words, and then a sigil can be traced over the desired word.  The resulting symbol or sign could be a spirit’s name, or a coded sigil to result in a specific intention. In this way, the meaning of the sigil can be disguised from the conscious mind, so that the unconscious mind can work on bringing it about (also the fact that the resulting sigil is a shape rather than a meaning engages the visual parts of the brain more than the language areas… but the sigil’s meaning remains keyed into the mind, which means better magic in the long run, because both parts of the brain are working on the problem to which the sigil represents the solution).

Today, we associate Venus almost exclusively with love and sex, but historically in magic she is also associated with fertility of both animals and plants; and her powers also extend to personal projects and artwork, everything from making clothing and jewelry and various forms of artisanship, to cooking and household management.  Where Mercury is powerful in organizing and ordering communication, Venus is more about the personal touch and acting on one’s passions.  Mercury is about using symbols that other people can understand, but Venus brings the personal touch.  Where Mercury is about logic and reason and language, Venus is about gut feelings, intuition, and trusting in yourself.  

Venus’s day is Friday (Vendredi in French, Viernes in Spanish — both related etymologically to venereal, the adjective that used to mean “related to Venus” but now is almost always used in connection with sexually-transmitted diseases), and as mentioned before, her number is 7.  

Anonymous said: You might have gotten this before, but how do you charge and/or launch sigils? I'm really confused.

novas-grimoire:

There’s a lot of varying ways. 

There are some people who say you can just look at a sigil and say “This sigil is charged.” 

There are others who say you have to give a drop of blood (JUST A DROP, don’t drown the poor thing in your blood) and that charges it. 

There are some people who have whole rituals dedicated to activating sigils. 

And there are others who say that you charge sigils while making them by pouring your intent and energy into them. 

And I heard another person say that sigils could only be charged by you making it and memorising the sigil’s form (concentrate on it, meditate on it) until it “flows” in your very blood. 

So, it’s all up to you. 

Followers, if I missed anything or got anything wrong, let me know.

I strongly recommend the “Robofish” method of launching sigils, as explained by Gordon at Rune Soup (improved! Now with 20% more futhark!).

In essence, make and launch three or four sigils at once. More than two, less than seven, an odd number or a sacred number works best.  Include among the sigils one that is likely to be true.  Better yet, as Gordon explains, include a sigil that you, through your own action, can actively bring to fruition (“have coffee tomorrow morning”). The fact that one of the sigils is thus activated, completed, and the claim gets processed by the universe means that the others on your “to do” list are more likely to get done.  It’s quite clever.

Also, he has a master post on sigil magic that is exceptionally good, like head and shoulders taller than anything else on sigils I’ve ever read. Pretty much everything he’s written about sigils is useful.