Friday, June 3, 2011

Success With Planetary Magick

Remember my article on the series of astrological conjunctions that would be happening last month? In it I recommended that magicians take advantage of those aspects in order to augment any spells they were planning on casting involving Jupiter, Mercury, or Venus, and on May 10th I did so as well with a planetary healing ritual for a friend who has been experiencing chronic health problems over the course of the last year. For those of you who don't do a lot of healing magick, chronic health conditions are usually the worst to cast against. In many cases what you wind up with is a sort of magical "holding action" that temporarily alleviates some of the symptoms and then fades over the course of the next few days. You can sometimes hold symptoms at bay longer by casting over and over again, but the root condition generally remains unresolved.

In Liber 777 "miracles of healing" are associated with the path of Mercury. With all of the Mercury aspects that were going to be occuring between the 11th and the end of the month I figured that this would be one of the best possible times to perform a healing ritual. I'd also been working with the planetary magick schema that I presented at Paganicon back in March over the last couple of months, so a Mercury rite dovetailed nicely with my ongoing practice. The basic structure that I used is essentially the one outlined in that article, with a couple of additions intended to facilitate taking advantage of the upcoming conjunction.

I performed the working during the last Mercury night hour on Tuesday, the 10th of May. This was because the conjunctions were starting early in the morning on Wednesday and I needed to send the ritual off ahead of time. This principle is outlined in Estelle Daniels' Astrological Magick, which I've found has a lot of good material and is worth reading if you can stand the slightly annoying prose style in which it's written. Daniels' contention is that when working with astrological aspects you want to be sure to start your ritual before the conjunction, like catching a bus. As long as you cast beforehand you can take advantage of the aspect, but once it's past, even by a minute, you will have missed it. I've found this to be true in my own work with astrological timing, so in this case it was more appropriate to cast the spell during the last Mercury hour on the day of Mars rather than waiting for the first Mercury hour on the day of Mercury. Normally, without the conjunction to consider, the latter would have constituted superior timing.

I used a yellow 7-day candle, since yellow is the King Scale color for the path of Mercury. As soon as the hour of Mercury rolled around, I started at the top of the candle and worked down the side, drawing the characters for Mercury, the Intelligence of Mercury, and the Spirit of Mercury.

I used a standard black Sharpie marker to draw the characters. In the past I've used acrylic paint in flashing colors, which does look great, but the advantage of using a marker is that you can draw the characters and start the ritual all within the same planetary hour. Paint takes longer plus it needs additional time to dry. I then dressed the candle with Mercury fluid condensor, making 8 clockwise circles around the wick and coating all of the exposed wax. On the altar I placed my Mercury Tablet, then a photograph of the spell's target, then my pantacle, and finally the candle. The incorporation of the pantacle symbolizes the grounding of the ritual into the physical realm but it also serves the practical purpose of preventing the heat from damaging the photograph when the candle burns down.

I use custom tablets designed over the course of a previous series of workings. But if you don't have those, the appropriate Tarot card, in this case The Magus or Magician, can also be used. Similarly, if you don't have access to planetary fluid condensors Mercury is associated with Vervain, Herb Mercury, Major-lane, Palm, and Lime or Linden from the Plants column and Mastic, White Sandal, Nutmeg, Mace, Storax, and all fugitive odors from the Perfumes column. An essential oil matching any of those will work fine. I personally work without incense because allergies claimed my sense of smell years ago, but if you do use incense it should be one of those listed as Perfumes.

The ceremonial structure was assembled as follows:

  1. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram to open the operant field. The candle was then lit.
  2. The Elevenfold Seal as the general Godhead invocation.
  3. The Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram for the path of Mercury (Beth). The hexagram is traced in yellow as you vibrate ARARITA and the symbol is then traced in purple as you vibrate the godnam, ELOHIM TZABAOTH.
  4. Here I improvised, in order to take advantage of the upcoming conjuctions of Jupiter and Venus with Mercury. This is non-standard and requires a bit of background. The macrocosmic elements can be mapped onto the spheres surrounding Tiphareth on the Tree of Life. Chesed is Water, Geburah is Fire, Hod is Air, and Netzach is Earth. Note that this is different from the microcosmic elemental order of the lower spheres, in which Hod is either Air or Water depending on your schema and Netzach is Fire. Because this ritual was intended to have real-world, physical effects the macrocosmic elemental arrangement is most appropriate. This places Water in the north and Earth in the south. Since Jupiter is attributed to Chesed I therefore associated it with the north and since Venus is attributed to Netzach I associated it with the south.

    The ritual steps for these two planets consisted of going to the north compass point and tracing the invoking hexagram for the sphere of Jupiter (blue rather than violet) along with the vibration of ARARITA followed by tracing the symbol for Jupiter in orange while vibrating the godname, EL. I then moved clockwise around the temple to the south and traced the invoking hexagram for the sphere of Venus (emerald rather than emerald green - this is a pretty subtle distinction, the difference being that the green is darker for the sphere than for the path) along with the vibration of ARARITA followed by the tracing of the symbol for Mercury in bright red. The reason for using sphere attributions here instead of path attributions is based on earlier research, in which I found that trying to open more than one path in the course of the same ritual seems to mess up spells. My hypothesis on this is that since the paths represent specific types of activity you can't combine them, as each is following its own unique vector. But the spheres are different - the represent the realms of the specific planets rather than their activity.
  5. Once this was done I returned to the west of the altar facing east and began the conjuration. Since I needed a physical effect I conjured the Intelligence followed by the Spirit, and then delivered the charge. I won't repeat it exactly here, but the idea was to return my friend to health over the course of the next 21 days, taking advantage of the conjunctions as they unfolded. At the end of the 21-day period, on June 1st, the spell was to lock in all the changes it had managed to accomplish as permanent and shut down.
  6. I then gave the License to Depart followed by the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to close down the ritual proper. The candle was allowed to burn all the way out over the course of the following week.

The results of this spell have so far been remarkable, better than any of my previous healing rituals. My friend is feeling much better and healthier now and it seems as if the chronic problems that were proving so intractable over the course of the last year are easing and resolving themselves. My feeling is that the conjunctions provided the "boost" spell needed to get these results, but the clarity of these ritual forms is helpful as well and even without a nifty astrological alignment to play with the basic Mercury healing ritual appears to be quite powerful on its own. I look forward to further testing of this form, and of course to being able to provide some help to friends who are experiencing health-related difficulties.

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John said...

Wonderful post! Very helpful!!

Ananael Qaa said...

Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful. I know sometimes it's nice to see an example of how a ritual is put together for a specific purpose rather than reading through a bunch of theory.

Pallas Renatus said...

Funny, as I was reading this post I immediately wondered whether the conjurations were what would help kick this spell over the edge and prevent the effect from wearing off, and it seems you were thinking along the same lines.

Dacia Pacea said...

This article along with the other article you posted for healing is all the info I need to deal with someones problems. I thank spirit for leading me to your blog!

If you haven't gotten tired to answering my questions, here is another one :)

What should I do with the candle remains? Can I bury them along with the picture, as in witchcraft? I suspect the wax will drip over the picture...

Dacia Pacea said...

I will do this kind of ritual next Tuesday night in the hour of Mercury. I want to add to it the sphere of the Sun, since Mercury will be in conjunction with the Sun starting Wednesday if I remember correctly. Also, both Mercury and the Sun will be in a pleasant aspect with the person's natal Sun, so I find the timing perfect.

As I see it in 777 Tiphareth has the element of Air, as shown in column XI. I guess I'll have to trace the Sun hexagram (bright pink rose - bright lime) in the west, right? I will use your method of tracing the solar hexagram, water triangle first.

Please correct me if planned something wrong.

Dacia Pacea said...

Tomorrow is the Full Moon and at night, the summer solstice. I'm thinking of a way to celebrate these two celestial events in one ritual.

Can I conjure the Moon (just the Godname) to give praise, followed by the conjuration of the Sun? Or should I perform two separate rituals?

Scott Stenwick said...

It depends on what you want to do. For a purely celebratory ritual that would be fine. Celebratory rituals are a lot more forgiving since from a technical standpoint, you're not really doing magick per se. Magick requires an intent, because it refers to causing change in conformity with will. No change, no magick.

If you have separate solar and lunar intents, though, and are trying to create some practical effect, in my opinion you are better off performing two separate rituals. Mixing traditional planets together doesn't seem to work very well for some reason, at least when you're measuring probability shifts.

Dacia Pacea said...

It's for a celebration purpose only. Thank you!

Luciano Pereyra said...

Hi, I'm glad that the ritual went well and your friend is recovered. there something I do not understand about ritual, that of elemental arrangements to produce physical effects, how does that work? and the ritual would be a kind of high and low magic?

Sorry if I do not express myself well, English is not my native language. I would appreciate your reply.

Scott Stenwick said...

There are a lot of different ideas about how the magick works when it affects the physical world. I have my ideas, but so do many other practitioners. I summarized some of that here, in my magical model series.

That's the final section, with links to the nine earlier articles that precede it. Simply put, it's not an easy question to answer and different practitioners model it differently.

I am of the opinion that the "high/low magic" distinction is not that useful. With the way I work, I do practical operations (thaumaturgy) in which I identify with the divine (theurgy) as part of the procedure. So basically as I see it, this is just magick, period.