Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Magical Powers are Descriptive, Not Prescriptive

I talk a lot about the magical powers and visions from Liber 777 as the basis for the magical operations posted here for the elemental, planetary, and zodiacal work. Reading over the powers, you can see pretty clearly that they are derived from the attributions of the corresponding Tarot trumps. For example, the power for Leo is given as "the power of training wild beasts," which is a pretty good description of the Strength card in the Rider-Waite Tarot. I went a little metaphoric there in my description of the Leo operation, and surmised that this was a power that could be used to alter conditioned responses in general - and I will say that my first experiment along those lines worked quite well.

So as far as I can tell, the powers given are descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, they are examples of what can be done rather than lists of what has to be done. Leo is the fixed sign of Fire and is ruled by the Sun. Neither of those is particularly related to "training wild beasts," but they are valid attributions for the sign. If you find yourself with a really strong election for a Leo operation, that means you could call on the angel of the sign to do both fiery things and solar things in addition to Leo things. An example would be a case where you have a good Leo election, but the Sun is afflicted in the operation's chart. In such a case, the angel of Leo would be a better choice than the angel of the Sun for a solar operation.

The key here is that as long as you keep your attributions straight, you can call on all of the angels of the elements, planets, and signs to do far more than what is given for their specified powers. It goes both ways, too. In the Leo example, you could call on the angel of Fire or the angel of the Sun (both of whom happen to be Michael for practical operations) to do Leo things, such as working with conditioning. The angel of Taurus, "the secret of physical strength," can also be called on for things related to Venus and Earth, and both the angel of Earth and the angel of Venus can do things related to Taurus. And so forth. Keeping all that in mind helps when you are trying to get the best possible election for your operation.

Even within the signs themselves, there is more variation than what the powers describe. Astrology is a subject that is massively documented in terms of what all of the signs represent, and most of those attributions are also valid. For example, the sign that originally prompted this discussion was Capricorn, which is attributed to "The Witches' Sabbath so-called" and "The Evil Eye." The former is the only case in Liber 777 where we see something described as "so-called," which implies this is some sort of blind, or gloss - which, by the way, are pretty rare in published magical texts. The latter is a specific kind of curse case by line of sight.

Taking a look at Liber A’ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici, and keeping in mind that "The Witches' Sabbath" was not a real operation but rather something that sprang from the imaginations of church inquisitors, this appears to be another case of Aleister Crowley using a euphemism for sex magick. So it is similar to the chapter in Magick: Book Four on "the bloody sacrifice," in which Crowley apparently found it quite amusing that he could write all he wanted about "sacrificing children," but if he said anything about sex magick the censors would consider the book obscene - when it should be obvious to any reasonable person that real human sacrifice is far more obscene than anything sexual.

But even given all that, Capricorn can be used for a lot more than sex magick and cursing. Ruling over "The Evil Eye" means that Capricorn can also be used to protect against curses of this type, just like Mars and Saturn can be used both offensively and defensively. Beyond that, here is what an astrology site has to say about Capricorns.

Chief among the traits of a Capricorn is their fierce drive for success. Capricorns are strong-minded and mature, and they are always on their A-game. They are competitive and love a challenge, and love when a solid structure is put into place. Ruled by taskmaster Saturn, a Capricorn is incredibly disciplined and will always ensure that a project, no matter how big or small, is seen through to its completion. Capricorn is the sign of the slow and steady Mountain Goat. As the ruler of the zodiac’s tenth house, Capricorns can be highly career-focused.

Suppose that you have a project at work that is encountering all sorts of problems. Capricorn would be perfect for blowing through those obstacles and keeping everything on track. That objective has little to do with the powers from Liber 777, but the attribution fits perfectly based on Capricorn's astrological properties. And this is just one example. If you take a look at the astrology, you can find all sorts of things attributed to the signs and planets. Most of the time, anything related to those attributions is likely to work.

Now I do recommend learning the "official" powers from Liber 777 to start off, because they provide clearer guidance than the vast collections of traits that you will find if you start digging into the astrology. Also, they help you learn the attributions of the Tarot according to Crowley's arrangement because the list of powers is so closely derived from the imagery on the cards. But as you get to know them better and better, you will become the magical equivalent of a musician who knows how to "jam." You start by learning the science, and that will eventually get you to the point where you can make the art.

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javier said...

Hi Scott

I think that logically the angel of the sign covers everything related to the sign-beyond 777-Scott anyway is becoming more interesting to me, invoking the 2 angels of the schenmaphrash for zodiacal operations, they are true focalizers of the permutation of the tetragrammaton and work in Yetzirah, both the location of the GD and the one that gives to Vehuiah from 0 to 5 of Aries works perfectly, in this case I invoke Mebaiah and Poyel(5 of pentacles) through Asmodel, and here something very powerful arises if I discover that a planet is very badly aspected in my natal chart, and I know the degree to which I can call the angel that occupies that degree of Schemphaforash, even through a planetary angel, although I would always use the permutation of the appropriate tetragrammaton, to me in 2 days I have removed an important block, this opens interesting possibilities, for example I could work on fixed stars if I know in what degree they are inside the natal chart .

Scott Stenwick said...

Sure, I would think that the angels of the degrees in the signs could be employed in a similar fashion to the zodiacal angels. And yes, I would also expect that to work with the fixed stars. The fixed stars are in pretty much the same degree positions in every natal chart, unless you are going back many centuries or something like that. They can shift a little with the movement of the Earth's axis over very long periods of time, but otherwise they stay the same.