Saturday, July 28, 2012

All About the Magical Wand: the quintessential tool of magicians, fairies, witches, and all manner of other magical folk

 Free illustrated pdf booklet History & insight on the
magical wand and inspiration for making your own

Why is the magical wand the quintessential tool of magicians, fairies, witches, and all manner of other magical folk? Why and how would you make a wand of your own? Find out. 

The wand is the quintessential tool associated with the magical worker or occultist. It also is an important ritual tool in Western magic and mysticism. Not Harry Potter swish-n-flick (even though that is great too!). But real magic by real people in real history. --History that belongs to you and me!

My willow wand
Unlike the sword or dagger, which are aggressive magical weapons that cut through space and are traditionally used in banishing operations, the wand is used to command and move energy. As a ritual tool the wand represents the magical will and qualities such as command, heroism, determination, and efficiency.

The famed Victorian-era mage Aleister Crowley has said:

 “The Magick Wand is thus the principal weapon of the Magus; and the ‘name’ of that wand is the Magical Oath.”

A Little History
Just as dinosaurs are thought to have shrunk into birds and small reptiles over the course of evolution, the wand may be a mini-version of the staff or scepter. The staff or scepter is a stylized version of weapons such as the club and pike. The person who held the staff or scepter in ancient communities was the one who held the power.[1]

The wand or staff also may be related to mysticism related to snakes. 

The snake may have been equated with the magical staff and used in fake "miracle working" feats by ancient spiritual teachers.[1] When a snake handler presses on a snake’s head in a certain way, the snake is temporarily paralyzed  so that it takes the form of a staff or a pole. When the “staff” is flung onto the ground, the snake  revives and appears to be a snake again. Such an event is described in the Book of Exodus (7:8-13):

Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, “If Pharaoh says to you, ‘Produce some marvel,’ you must say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh and let it turn into a serpent. To Pharaoh Moses and Aaron went and did as Yahweh commanded. Aaron threw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and the court, and it turned into a serpent.  Then the Pharaoh called for his sages and sorcerers and with their witchcraft, the magicians of Egypt did the same. Each threw his staff down and these turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up the staffs of the magicians.”

Aaron was Moses’ brother and apparently held political or magical power because Moses often is depicted telling him to use his staff to make magical catastrophic events occur. As in stories in the New Testament, the magical actions of the protagonists aren’t considered to be “magic” but acts of God, whereas the exact same actions performed by the enemy/rivals/nonbelievers are labeled “witchcraft.”

A similar scenario occurs in the New Testament Book of Acts in which stories of confrontations between Peter and magoi (mages), are related.[1-4 Like the story of Aaron and the Pharaoh’s wizards, the magic performed by Peter is considered to be a miraculous sign of God, but the magic of Simon and other magi are painted as misguided and diabolical.

Fresco of Jesus raising Lazarus from Dead
And so some controversy exists about whether early Christians thought of Christ as a kind of magician. A third-century fresco discovered in the catacombs of the St. Callisto Chapel in Rome shows Jesus holding a wand in his right hand while raising Lazarus from the dead. In another example from that era, a gold glass plate from the Fourth Century, now housed in the Vatican Library, shows Jesus using a magic wand to raise Lazarus from the dead. In a series of images on Christian sarcophagi dated to the 4th and 5th century, Jesus is depicted using a wand to resurrect Lazarus, turn water to wine, multiply loaves and fish, and heal the widow’s son.[1-4]

The staff/wand also may have had its origins in the staff of Asclepius, Greek god of healing  It is a single serpent encircling a cypress branch—a reference to a certain benign, tree-climbing snake that was common in the Mediterranean.

 The staff represents the power of knowledge and healing and came to be confused with the caduceus of Hermes. Rather than the art of medicine, the caduceus of Hermes represents the balance and union of opposing or complementary forces and the self- mastery that is achieved by the person who can unite opposites.

Witchy Wands

Circe by John William Waterhouse
The first literary reference to a wand, which appears in the Odyssey, does not associate it with male power or sorcery. The wand is wielded by a woman--the sorceress Circe.

 Circe was associated with the goddesses Diana and Hecate, which in turn were later associated with the Fate (pronounced like fa-tay)—Italian fairies.

Italian fairytales were the first place that fairies appear in literature.[5] They are depicted holding wands, equating them with the sorceress Circe. They were the counterpart to more threatening ideas of female power, which also were related to Diana and Hecate--the mythical witch.

 The fairies depicted in Italian fairy lore were different from those in Northern European tradition. Italian fairies were full-sized, elegant, goddess-like women who  protected and performed favors for those mortals  they took a liking to.[5]

They evolved from the idea of the Fates (Roman/latin, Parcae; Greek, Moirae; Teutonic, Norns), who spun, wove, and cut the thread of life. 

Whereas the wand of the male magician or mystic represented masculine will, leadership, and potency, that of the female magician represented the power to weave and ensnare. Rather than a scepter or weapon, the wand of the witch or fairy may have derived from the distaff--a antique tool used to spin thread.

The flipside of the wand-wielding fairy is the mythological witch. Rather than a wand, the witch was depicted with a bifurcated branch—that is, a bune wand, which is a rough distaff—or else a broom.  

 Brooms were not only a kind of wand used for symbolic space clearing but also magical objects for fertility. Jumping the broom, thus, was—and continues to be—part of the marriage rite within folk culture. There is also evidence that brooms handles were used in provocative ways for trippy shamanic adventures involving flying ointment [6]. . . .

 Learn more . . . .

Free pdf download

Selected references

1. Joe Lantiere. The Magician’s Wand Parts 1-4.
2. Michael D. Bailey. Magic and Superstition in Europe A Concise History from Antiquity to the Present. NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2007.
3. Lee M. Jefferson. The Staff of Jesus in Early Christian Art. Religion and the Arts. 2010;14:221-25.
4. William Storage and Laura Maish. Christ the Magician. A survey of ancient Christian sarcophagus imagery.
5. Raffaella Benvenuto. Italian Fairies Fate, Folletti, and Other Creatures of Legend. Journal of Mythic Arts. 2006.
6. John Mann. Murder, Magic, and Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press. 2000.

Excerpt from Chapter  VI The Pyr Sacra Empowerment  in La Maga A Story about Sorcerers and Magi

Leonard knew nothing was askew in the house—only he was, but as he had told his father, whatever it was, it wasn’t “bad.”

 He found Victor. He was the head of his father’s personal cadre of staff-bearers—his bodyguards. He lived with a wife and a pack of boxers on the property in a nice-sized stone cottage apart from the nestling of cottages in which the household help lived. He was a husky man with a strong but calming demeanor who approached his role as a chief attendant to the Consul with unwavering and ungrudging solemnity and faithfulness. Leonard found him at home, where he was propped on a sofa, watching a movie, and savoring pretzels and oatmeal stout while his wife was gardening in the moonlight.

He and Leonard and the canine guard skulked around. The dogs sniffed here and there, but neither the dogs nor that staff-bearer were willing to descend into the dungeon of de Lux senior’s tower.

 It was gloomy, with a single low-volt lighting fixture with which to illumine the shelves housing artifacts, worts, potions and props, organic materials, and metal plates and parchments of wicked sigils and defensive glyphs. The room had a well and a pit with a flue that took fumes of burned things through a tunnel in the ground to the outside away from the house. Nothing unusual seemed to be there.

 In the ground floor studio, Leonard found the big staff. His father didn’t tote it around in the way too many magical persons did their own staffs. The man could summon it through the ethers and into his grip on demand. The talent was fast becoming a lost art, primarily because persons weren’t as martial these days as in the past. (Schools didn’t allocate much time to perfecting the practice, and instead of staffs, more and more younger persons were carrying wands, which were more easily concealed and portable.)

Wands and staffs typically had a wood core, generally oak, yew, holly, ash, rowan, cherry, or willow. They all had specific magical properties. Oak was commanding; yew bridged the here and hereafter; holly drew on the energies of the element of fire as ash did those of water; rowan was mercurial, cherry good for love magic, and willow for moon magic and healing.

The wood would be sheathed in a full coat or lattice of metals: iron, silver, platinum, gold, copper, bronze, nickel, etc. and studded with special stones. The staff that Leonard’s father had asked him to retrieve was made of oak and hawthorn sheathed in a serpentine design of iron and tin, spotted with chips of black and red stones. An onyx finial of the sea-goat Capricornus—the zodiacal sign under which Leo de Lux had been born—was mounted on a jewel-crusted girdle of platinum on the top of the staff.

Oak for majesty, hawthorn for the power of lightning, onyx for smiting magical attacks, and the metals of Mars and Jupiter. Capricorn: the sea-goat; the southern gate of the sun; the Babylonian Ea, god of wisdom; Grecian Aegipan, restorer of Zeus’ might in defeating the Titans; saturnine, mercurial, and spanning the heights to the depths. This staff was a martial and lethal weapon but not because it made a good cudgel.

Victor jumped back when Leonard grasped the staff. The dogs barked and whimpered.

 “What are you going to do with that, Lenny?” the man nervously asked.

 “My dad told me to get it,” Leonard replied, “to protect myself, I think.”

 “Watch where you point it, son,” Victor cautioned. “Are you in some kind of trouble?”

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Elephants, Eagles, and Crocodiles: Excerpt from La Maga

“And what are these creatures on your dress?” Madame Whitehead inquired and waved to Leo and a man who seemed to be Mister Whitehead. “Come and listen. The maga is going to tell us a story about her dress.”

“Alright then, let’s see it in color—the story, I mean. Leo, you’re the expert,” the gentleman said.

“An illustrated tale?” Leo mused.

“Do you want to see Leonard do it?” Sofia grinned. “Lenny. Come here,” she anxiously chanted.

A group converged around Sofia and Leonard in the center of the patio to hear the story.

“Okay. Now make it nice. Nothing cheesy, Leonard,” Sofia admonished.

“First tell us what these creatures are, La Maga Magus—the one’s on your dress,” Miss Noumen requested.

Sofia answered, “Elephants, eagles, and crocodiles.” Then she began: “Once, there was an elephant.”

With a fidget of fingers, Leonard created a handsome-looking, scaled down elephant, the size of a chair. It had big, winnowing ears and long, thick tusks and was floating in space.

“We need an Indian elephant. That one’s African,” Sofia said. “Sorry, Lenny.”

The ears had to shrink, and the tusks had to be much thinner although Sofia told Leonard that they could be longer and curly.

“Make the scene junglely with a watering hole,” she instructed.

The elephant began to plod in place while the flora within the courtyard grew denser and more enveloping. The creature reared its trunk and let out a squeak.

“Okay. So, once there was an elephant,” she stuttered again, with her usual goofy bravado. “And it went to go soak in a lake when a humongous crocodile—not an alligator, Leonard, a crocodile—caught the elephant’s leg in its jaws.”

The ladies screamed. A creature heretofore resembling a rock jumped out and gripped the elephant’s right hind leg. Bellowing and thrashing began. The ruckus spilled beyond the magical mirage’s boundaries causing the walls and pillars within the courtyard to shudder, the trees to bend and sway. Quelled swamp water doused everyone and made a mess.

“Good show, Leonard!” the impressed guests cried. They blotted their mussed hair and attire.

“The crocodile was going to drag the elephant under and have a tasty meal, but in that moment, as the elephant faced its death, it remembered that, in a past life, it was a human king who was very devoted to the Divine Pervading Principle of the Universe, Lord Vishnu. I’ll do that one, Lenny,” Sofia interjected and went on: “The elephant prayed to Lord Vishnu but nothing happened. So then he prayed again, and nothing, ‘cause . . . gods are like that.” 

The thrashing and splashing, rumbling and roar continued with heightened violence. Sofia hollered her story above it: “Finally, just as the elephant was about to be overcome by the crocodile, its heart filled with the desire for—not life but . . . redemption. Nearly with its last breath, it called out one last time to the Divine Lord of the Universe. And then, the deity finally showed up, wafting around on his mighty giant eagle.”

With hands swirling in the air, Sofia materialized an image of a white eagle astride which was a handsome pale blue deity bejeweled, garlanded, and clad in orange-yellow fabric. A pack of arrows were strapped to his back. With his four arms, he held a conch shell, a discus, a gilded club, and an ornate archer’s bow.

The eagle and the deity placidly soared in loops overhead that Leo—inspired—doctored into a luminously endless galactic sky. Indeed, he obscured the boundaries of the courtyard with a wave of his hand, creating a jungle. Startling caws of birds and small primates, moisture, heat, and smells of musk, detritus, exotic flora, and loam enveloped the audience. Wild creatures lurked in the distance.

“Although on the brink death, the elephant plucked a lotus from the lake and held it aloft as an offering to the deity,” Sofia continued. “Acknowledging the gesture, Lord Vishnu whirled his discus to stun the crocodile. He dismounted his eagle, and—this should be good, Len—grasping the crocodile’s jaws, he tore the creature apart.”

Guts spattered across the room and doused all who were near. Squeals, grunts, and laughter resounded.

Quietly amused, Sofia wiped her forehead and picked bloody bits of grizzle from her hair. Lord Vishnu, spotless despite the grisly conquest, flew on his eagle into the sky’s galactic radiance. The elephant, showered in flowers, trumpeted and assumed a kneeling stance. Sofia recited the last stanza of a prayer:

“In the early morning, I praise that great god who holds the conch and the discus with which he tore apart the crocodile to relieve the elephant’s great distress. He who removes all fear, him I praise so that the sins committed by me in previous births may be destroyed.”

Sofia placed her hands over her face because the words still made her cry.

“That was very sweet,” the ladies said. The men heartily applauded and pat Leo on the back because his son was so clever.

Excerpt from Chapter 9 Elephants, Eagles and Crocodiles from La Maga A Story about Sorcerers and Magi by Soror ZSD23 available from 
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On Michael and Lucifer: Two Ends of the Stick

Michael slaying the dragon by Albrecht Durer

A well-known legend, found in the Book of Enoch and other Biblical and apocryphal texts tells the tale of a revolt in Heaven. In it, a certain key archangel named Lucifer gets his nose in a snit because God tells the angels that they must bow down to and serve his latest invention: mankind.
Lucifer announces that he will not bow down to anyone or anything besides God Himself. A bunch of angelic hosts side with him. The brouhaha escalates into a war that is resolved when the archangel Michael defeats Lucifer and throws him and his renegades out of Heaven. The Lucifer myth is conflated with a similar myth found in Biblical and apocryphal texts about the archanagel Samael/Satanel’s fall from Heaven.          

Lucifer was a name of the morning star (the planet Venus) in the ancient world. (For an interesting run down on the term Lucifer throughout the ages, see .  In short, the myth of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, in part, may have been just another version of how the morning star came to be separated from the other stars of the night sky. And the story of the war in Heaven is also said to be a veiled story about the fall of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who identified himself with the planetary intelligence Lucifer (Venus). 

Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, respectively. Nevertheless, it cannot be seen at night like the other planets, nor can it be seen at midday, like the sun. Some myths about Venus explain why this is so: first, Venus was a bit of a cuckolding tease and vixen, and so was isolated by the other god-form planets. Second, it was fancifully suspected that Venus shined so brightly because she wanted to take over the status of the key deities of ancient Roman culture, Saturn and Jupiter, and was thus ousted from the night sky because of such overreaching ambition. 

Like Venus, Lucifer/Satanel of the Judeo-Christian tradition was a celestial entity who was full of himself and suffered a spectacular fall from grace because of it. For me, the myth is a moralistic tale about having the appropriate spiritual attitude. Lucifer was associated with the sin of pride (and Satan with wrath) in 1589, when Peter Binsfeld paired each of the 7 deadly sins with a demon who tempted people by means of the associated sin. As it relates to Lucifer, the idea was the self-importance and arrogance got the best of Lucifer, leading him disobey the will of God. I see something else in the myth, though. Although I have not seen it put this way, I think that the moral of the story is that one serves and “loves” God by serving and loving mankind, not by paying homage to a code or ideology. One might read a similar moral into the variant myth of Satan’s fall from Heaven. Satan, we are told, was a rather sadistic archangel who relished meting out God’s punishments. He then got above himself in his sense of importance and power. We are told that he sought to make his throne “higher than the clouds over the earth and resemble ‘My power’ on high.” Because of this Satan-Sataniel was hurled down (by God’s champion, the archangel Michael, a name with means “Who is Like God”), with his angelic renegades, “to hover in the air above the abyss.”        


In an important Hindu myth, we have a similar entity, Mahishasura, the “Buffalo demon,” whose name has figuratively been translated as “The Great Ego.” Just as the archangel Michael overcomes an entity who personified gratuitous self-will, ambitious, pride, and arrogance, the Great Goddess of Hinduism, who is described as the personification of the combined energy of the gods, overcomes an entity who also represents all that is base and self-ingratiating in the human character.            

Although some persons look at these myths and think of them as tales about good entities battling bad entities in some other dimension for the benefit of humankind, they are really metaphorical dramas in which the higher self is depicted as overcoming the lower self. This is what ideally occurs in the course of spiritual practices, such as yogic and hermetic work. It is sometimes tumultuous and often not “fun.” In it, one’s perceptions, habits, and conditioning must be broken down to liberate what was there before neuroses and artificial conventions took hold.             

Some years ago, I was doing meditations on the archangels of the four quarters. When I first began doing meditations on Archangel Michael, the impressions were a little troubling. I would find myself submerging into difficult childhood memories related to current patterns of emotional conditioning. Or else, I would simply feel odd and exhausted about the iconography in which the angel was fated to be continually stabbing and beating back a demon clawing at his feet. In time, I wondered what part of the iconographic image I mostly was: the demon, the struggle, the struggling angel, or something valorous and heroic.         

In time, however, the imagery became less about tension and struggle and about valor and even virility. I began to experience Michael as the ideal masculine, associated with the sun, fire, light, heroism, power, potency, self-control, and any all positive masculine attributes. I equated the angel’s signature staff with the Tantric lingam, which although thought to represent a phallus, also (and some Hindu commentators say only) represents the pillar of the light of creation.           

I view Michael as the transformational element—the Azoth and the Kundalini—through which the dragon and the angel are two poles of a single shaft—just as the leaden black sun of Saturn becomes the golden Sun of illumination and the coiled serpent becomes a splendorous goddess. Michael represents the courageous path of return from darkness to light.

Excerpt from Chapter 8: 7 [The Chariot] A Giant Pink Dragon from The Fallen Fairy

 A breeze swept over her and a light source flashed. It made Bella startle. She turned to see who had come upon her, but no one was there.
She closed her eyes and envisioned the sky as if jettisoned into the vault of night: the myriad of stars spied when the evening was clear and the moon was new. The scintillation before her eyelids was merely the effect of over-breathing from stress and sobbing. Still, with wet eyes and bitter endearment, she held the image of Michael in her mind and while uttering the name envisioned his angelic namesake. Micha-el, Who is like God: a towering archangel, shining white and made of fiery light who subdues chaos and guides and protects souls as they traverse the spheres. The crown of the secret fire and guardian of the interspaces between the end and beginning.

Bella let it embrace her. She imagined it being virile and great, like Michael had been. She let it pity her tenderly and gently command the cessation of tears. Its potency grazed her face. Her sinuses, impacted with bitter tears, cleared. Then she could breathe. A calm feeling overcame her.

So she rested with that feeling of communion with that presence (whether it came from within or without) until dusk descended and then night. Then Bella went home. That would be the end of visits to Michael’s apartment.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Azoth Mandala

Azoth is a term in philosophical alchemy that refers to latent, transformational energy. It has been equated with the life force and the “quintessence.” In effect, it is the key to philosopher’s stone —the perfected product and end goal of alchemy.

The word Azoth is derived from Middle English azoc, from Old French, from Arabic az-zā’uq, which translates as “the mercury” from the Persian (ie, Syriac) word for mercury: zīwag. The term also has come to represent A to Z (an adaptation on the idea of Alpha-Omega).

It is associated with the caduceus which in turn is the symbol of the Roman deity Mercury (which is loosely associated with the Greek deity Hermes and Egyptian Thoth.)  From the association with the caduceus, parallels with Kundalini lore are drawn.

The caduceus, like the shushuma of yogic lore, represents the line of ascent and descent between the macrocosm and microcosm, the divine and the mundane, the sacred and profane, and the celestial and the terrestrial. The 2 snakes intertwined around the caduceus represent afferent and efferent energies (“solar” and “lunar” lines of force). The wings at the top of the caduceus represent the polarized unity—the eclipse—of the solar and lunar forces, which results in numinous integration. Its parallel in the yogic traditions is the ajna chakra, which is depicted as an orb flanked by 2 lotus petals.

An interesting mandala, highly searchable on the Web if you type “Azoth” into the search engine, is the twelfth in the series of 14 plates within a 17th century alchemical picture book called Azoth of the Philosophers. Although traditionally attributed to one Basilius Valentinus, said to be a German monk and alchemist, it is more likely the product of some other mysterious character, considering that Valentinus might have been the invention of a late 16th century chemist named Johann Thölde (1565-1614). The whole Azoth series can be found at the Web site of the noted modern-day alchemist and archivist of alchemical texts Adam McLean at

The image is a mandala. The original presumably was a meditation on alchemical laboratory processes as well as a meditation on the transmutation from death and decay to numinous perfection. Like eastern mandalas and yantras, every part of the Azoth mandala is symbolic. A person needs to know what the symbols mean in context to understand and meditate on the image. The image (like all mandalas and yantras) can be thought of as a kind of labyrinth—a twisting path leading to the spiritual center of both the cosmos and the self (that is, the macrocosm and the microcosm).

The image consists of a 7-pointed star, representing the 7 planets known to the medieval world: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Sol, Mercury, and Luna. In Hermeticism, which is aligned with alchemy, the planets have symbolic themes that have correspondences with levels of human consciousness. Words that  hint at themes of the journey through the spheres are Visita, Interiora, Terra, Rectificado, Invenies, Occultum, and Lapidum (the Visit, the Interiorization, Earth, Rectification, Discovery, the Secret, and the Stone), which have meaning in relation to alchemical laboratory processes as well as the journey toward self-transformation and perfection.

Like chakras, the rays of the Azoth image and the planets they correspond with can be thought of as planes to be ascended through. Ancient and medieval Hermeticists , (pagan) Gnostics, and mystics in general seemed to think that this is what people did in the course of their spiritual journey, and regarded the planets as celestial deities or  rulerships  (archons) that having a hold on man’s character and fate, had to be psychodynamically worked through and atoned with in a path of return from matter to spirit, perfection, and freedom.

The triangle in the image depicts the alchemical trinity of sulfur, mercury, and salt. Sulfur corresponds with the solar principle (the vivifying, inspirational consciousness), mercury with the lunar principle (the spiritual essence that aspires to integration with and is the link between matter and the divine light of consciousness), and salt with matter and the body. Sulfur, mercury, and salt—or consciousness/soul (anima), spirit /life essence (spiritus), and form/the body (corpus)—are what a human is and they are what he or she, as a spiritual adept, is trying integrate to become a fully realized, conscious, and free person, in the context of hermetic alchemy.

In the image, the solar principle is symbolized by a king astride a lion in the lower left and also by the salamander in the upper left corner. The lower left quadrant of the mandala also represents the element earth (dryness, fixity; stability; crystallization, effect, and efficacy) and the upper quadrant represents the element fire (heat, activity, and transformation).

The lunar principle is symbolized by a queen holding shafts of wheat and riding a sea monster The lower right quadrant represents the element water (coldness, feeling, and generation) and the upper right quadrant, in which an eagle appears, represents air (humidity, thought, and inspiration).  The hand at left of the wheel holds a torch, the one on the right holds a fish’s bladder.

The bird at the top of the mandala represents the “quintessence”—the fifth element and divine essence of things to which the alchemical adept aspires. It is, thus, the Azoth and the philosopher’s stone itself: perfect, enlightened, volitional, and empowered being.

Who is the bearded man in the center of the image?  It is your spiritual ideal and aspiration. Modern-day alchemist Dennis William Hauck claims that medieval alchemists meditated on images like this mandala and that they sometimes placed a mirror in the center of the. See for to read Hauck’s in depth discussion of the  Azoth mandala.

This post is my most visited. I don't know why. Please leave a comment and let me know whether this information was informative, what you were looking for or not, what caught your eye, what your interest in Azoth is. . . .  

Digital collage after the 12th plate of the Azoth of the Philosophers copyright Dee Rapposelli

If you find this interesting, see check out The Seal of Secrets of the World click here to go to the page. Or read more on this blog here: pictorial guide/scrying the Olympic Spirits or here The Arbatel Working

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Dragon Dieth Not Unless It Be Killed by Brother and Sister at Once

Excerpt from Chapter 6 [The Lovers] The Sun and the Moon in  by The Fallen Fairy 

The “Law of Karma” posited three lines of force: sanchita karma, prarabdha karma, and agami karma. Sanchita karma was the momentum that had originated in some mysterious and distant past. It had built up over eons like a snowflake becomes an avalanche as it accumulates compacted snow, ice, rocks, twigs, shrubs, small animals, then big ones, all kinds of crap in the path of its ferocious trajectory. Wherever the exponentially building mass was as it fell was the present. That was prarabdha karma—fate, destiny—where the past caught up with a person, dictated the present, and set the direction for the future.

Then there was agami karma, which was where the avalanche might be headed and how its structure might change because of it. It was the potential future, predicated on both where it had been (sanchita karma) and where it was (prarabdha karma). Even though the residual effects of the past were relentlessly barreling from the present to the future, the present still could modify the future’s course.

Bellaluna Drago was a fallen fairy because having had the ill-fortune of becoming some sinister Renaissance necromancer’s pet (and Michael knew who that fiendish bastard now was), she had haplessly done something despicable that led to the necromancer’s and her own ruin. She was now clawing through lives and worlds in atonement. Her redemption had come. Michael felt privileged to play a role in it.

“There is a saying in the alchemical texts that goes like this,” Michael murmured. “The dragon only dies when he is killed by his brother and sister at once; not by one alone, but by both at once. That is, by the sun and moon.’ You and me,” he said.

“We’re compelled to create stories for the whys and wherefores of things in an attempt to trump a wild card, which is existence itself. And existence happens despite us and also is a product of our own making. It’s a bit of a paradox,” Michael continued. “You dream of being attacked by a man who would pull you down to Hell with him. This is all the fluff of the mind—a subterfuge for some other vexation that is limiting you. But even that is a mere projection of mental noise. We torture ourselves with it for no good reason.”

Michael told Bella this to console her, even though it was and wasn’t what was going on. Nevertheless, he continued.

“In creation mythology, we talk about the world forming from chaos and void by the will of a conscious entity—God. But the chaos—the so-called prima materia—is not matter, nature, or the world; it is the human psyche full of convoluted impressions, habituations, and the conditioning of nature and nurture. This is the seven-headed dragon that must be slain by the hero who is none other than the divine spirit within asserting itself. It rescues the damsel, which is the soul.”

The path of inner alchemy and of mysticism in all the great traditions founded in gnosis, Michael contended, was to transform the human creature, who was nothing more than a helpless gear of the world machine, into a real person with real will, intention, and creative abilities.

“Some persons call this enlightenment; some call it ‘being like unto God’; some call it the Great Work, which is magic,” he said.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ouroboros : Excerpt from The Savior at the End of Time

“It is formed out of a serpent called the ouroboros, which is the karmic wheel. You’re always in the loop of the circle but you have to think about the space inside of it and the space around it. One is contained, the other is infinite. Then you have to pull the tail out of the mouth of the serpent or else hack it in two so that the enclosed space and the all-around space are the same. There is no finitude there, no boundaries and so there are no thoughts, judgments, or expectations. Then things are just as they are.”
Chapter VI from the.The Savior at the End of Time by me, Soror ZSD23  Available as a ebook through

Little to a brief excerpt/mashup with gong music (long version from more abbreviated version featured in the AIN 23 Seconds of Time Project).

Little to the podcast about this book and others in the series at   Podcast #36.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to Meditate

Free pdf booklet on meditation and its effects

FREE PDF booklet in Dionesia Rapposelli's (Soror ZSD23's) series on magic, mysticism, and higher spirituality. Meditation and Its Effects. Topics in this booklet include Raja Yoga, Mindfulness, Shamatha, How to meditate, Benefits of meditation, and Chakra and Kundalini lore.  It is richly illustrated with my own original art work.

Contact the author at her Web page for info on  other available and planned pdfs in the series. 

Mindfulness East and West

“You must keep the mind fixed on one object, like an unbroken stream of oil. The ordinary man’s mind is scattered on different objects, and at the time of meditation, too, the mind is at first apt to wander. But let any desire whatever arise in the mind, you must sit calmly and watch what sorts of ideas are coming. By continuing to watch in that way, the mind becomes calm, and there are no more thought-waves.” Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

self portrait from my Spiritual ideal series
Swami Vivekananda was a Vedantist monk and Hindu missionary who became a big celebrity in the US among the progressively spiritual and intellectual set at the turn of the 20th century. In the quote above, he is talking about Raja or “Royal” Yoga. Raja Yoga, also called Classical Yoga, has nothing to do with body work. It is an Indian spiritual philosophy that outlines how to transcend the mind and achieve enlightenment through meditation. The philosophy exists as a book called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It was probably written sometime between the first and third century.

Mindful Mind
A key part of meditation practice is to watch your thoughts although this has often been misunderstood to mean that a person should fight having thoughts. There are forms of meditation that aim to suppress thoughts through concentration and fixation techniques but, for Westerners and people in modern society who,  paraphrasing a few lines from a Bob Dylan tune, have “a head full of ideas that are driving them insane,” mindfulness practices are probably more suitable at least at the beginning. Mindfulness (Vipashyana) meditation is a thought-transformation technique.  It trains you to realistically evaluate your thoughts and feelings, accept them , and then shift focus to more positive and constructive modes of thinking and feeling. 

“The body together with the notions of heaven, hell, bondage, anger, and fear are mere illusions and have no relation to me. I am pure consciousness. Therefore, what do I really need to do?”  From the Ashtavakra Gita.

Another main style of meditation is called Shamatha. Raja Yoga  falls into this category. The goal is to quiet the mind to achieve calm abiding. This form of meditation generally begins with observing your  thoughts so that you can have better choices about your thoughts, emotions, and actions and not be captive to the onslaught of compulsive rumination and distraction.

Regular meditation practice may start with watching the mind with detachment, then gradually concentrating and quieting the mind through mantra recitation and/or concentration on a mental or visual image (such as a picture or other object) or a process (such as breathing or feeling your pulse or focusing on a certain part of the body).

When the mind is quieted and keenly focused through concentration, the sense of time and subject and object (i.e., yourself and the object of concentration) are overcome. An illuminated sense of “being” or presence arises. This is true meditation, as defined by Raja Yoga.

The moment is experienced in its purity. It is not qualified by judgment, fantasy, or memory. Mental and emotional projection and karmic momentum stop. In deeper and deeper stages of meditation, the sense of duality becomes thinner and thinner until only a sense of pure awareness -not awareness of any thing-remains. Adepts then say that even this is transcended by another kind of experience.

Mind Stuff

The mind is naturally noisy and much of it runs like static on a TV screen or random code that comes up on a computer screen. It is sometimes like white noise or background noise and sometimes like a parrot or a little yapping dog.

What you are watching when you watch your thoughts is the noisy static and baggage of your mind. In fact, you are watching the subconscious mind come to the surface like soap bubbles. Like soap bubbles, the images of the subconscious are colorful, like the rainbows that form on the skin of bubbles before bursting into nothingness. If you suppress and filter these images and thoughts, which is what we do consciously and subconsciously at every moment, you merely drive them back into the sticky soapy goo of the subconscious where they intensify and evolve into neuroses.

A lot of “stuff” may come up in meditation. Images that seem visionary or like astral travel may emerge at a certain point early on in meditation practice for some people. Some people who meditate without guidance get caught up in this mental imagery instead of truly meditating. Although visualization, astral travel, and trance can be valuable methods of consciousness expansion, they need to be coupled with basic meditation and engaged in skillfully for greatest benefit.

It is important in meditation and other spiritual practices to know where the content of the mind and mental experiences are coming from. They are coming from you. Phenomena are not appearing before you or coming into you; they are coming out of you. 

In the words of the well-known mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904-1987): “All the gods, all the hells, all the heavens are within you. That god is within you. It is not something that happened somewhere else a long time ago. It’s in you.”

In meditation, when done correctly, the images and thoughts that waft through consciousness will subside or become somewhat distant, like white noise. You will feel calmer and more focused in daily life because you simply have more room in consciousness to be present and aware.

Preparing to Meditate

Simple stretching and movement of the joints and also deep breathing or some basic breathing exercises, done briefly, are recommended to prepare for meditation.

  • Cover the body with a shawl or blanket to keep warm (body temperature goes down during meditation). Keep the back and neck aligned and straight.
  • Sit comfortably, even if this means you are sitting on a stool or chair.
  • Postpone meditation if you are hungry or full, sleepy, anxious, depressed, or otherwise impaired.
  • Meditate in the same place at the same time. That is, make it a routine if you wish to achieve results. The best hours of the day are the morning and evening (sunrise and sunset). 
  • Determine how much time you sit for meditation and keep to it even if you become drowsy or restless during that time.
  • Observe rather than “fight” or be discouraged by sensations of noisiness, restlessness, boredom, or drowsiness.

Excerpt from La Maga – Chapter  VII Peace and Illumination

She wasn’t allowed to talk during their walks, anyway. In fact, she had to walk on her own, alone, with her own silence, her own muted thoughts. At first, she tended to seethe, wondering whether Sofia made Lenny walk like that, too—or whether she talked to him while they walked. Mirelle bet she did. Mirelle could tell when she looked at that kid.

If it wasn’t that he had done a 180 degree turn since Sofia had made him her special project, Mirelle would’ve become completely discouraged. She had to trust the method. She had to trust that a wonderful transformation was in store for her too. And she knew that she was extremely privileged. Even if Sofia kept her as an assistant forever and never let her take wing on her own, it was okay. Sofia was very kind toward her, and Mirelle could’ve had a far worse fate.

Medea Sarin Sortiar would’ve had Mirelle doing all kinds of weird things—and gophering around as one of her handmaids if Mirelle had apprenticed with her. She would’ve been learning magic straight-away. It would’ve been dark and chaotic but magic nonetheless. There had yet to be magic or thought-forms, keys, or rites in Mirelle’s apprenticeship with Sofia La Maga. So far, the only thing that had happened was these long silent walks and hours of sitting meditation in which Mirelle felt the weight of time and the racket of her mind and brooded.

She kept at it , hoping that if she dealt with it gracefully, she would be taken seriously by La Maga Magus who would then teach her something.

Emptying the mind is a dangerous thing precisely because it’s purgative. One sits expecting stillness that tames the tedium of time only to find that time is nothing more than the succession of thoughts. Even if they are muted, they persist nevertheless, like TV-screen static that hiss and scintillate annoyingly and are made of ions from the beginning of time.

The noise goes on; mundane thoughts give way to visions that seem like communications but are always deceptions. They are more junk from the depths of consciousness: random archetypes and convoluted wonders, mixed up impressions of stimuli complicated by one’s human senses. Emotions without thoughts soon follow. These are realized as things best forgotten, disguised as nightmares and neuroses emerging from an abyss: a Pandora’s Box called contemplation. One knows oneself then or goes insane.

Resolve, resting, the thoughts do not cease; they go far away, as if they were someone else’s property. That’s when a kind of serenity follows as a sense of balance yet awaiting the next wave.