Little English Qabalah thrills

OK, so I have been playing around with English Qabalah this last while; finally, being unable to ignore it any longer after Jake posted a few of the cool, and very practical, things you can pull off with the system. It must be said I am far more comfortable digging around in a graveyard than I am with any sort of Qabalah - all the gematria makes my head hurt... but by golly after playing with EQ for even a little while, I must admit - this is the business. I can see how people lose their minds with this sort of thing though. It's crazy the funny little symmetries and connections that begin forming after playing with it for like five minutes. I have not been trying to crack the Cosmic Code or find the hidden face of God or anything. All I have been doing is drumming up a few chants and sigils to use in spells and conjurations of the lowliest, most results-oriented variety. Nevertheless, these weird little things keep popping out and I find myself at my desk scribbling for hours in the dark like a loon. And I'm pretty loony usually, anyway.

A few correspondences I came across yesterday after a tiny bit of amateur effort:

PLANT, using EQ11 comes to the value: 67
SPELL, comes to the value: 60

However, because of the way the cipher works - when both those values transformed into wakanaba words (the system's pronunciation tool) you get the magic word DIOL.


I accidentally discovered the word in a short incantation that  I created to activate and awaken the spirits of herbs used in a spell  - and it's as if that symmetry was validating the incantation in some way. Additionally, on some primal magico-linguistic level PLANT somehow relates to SPELL. Some deeper magical meaning was formed there which made me think about the interrelatedness of those two elements, not just historically, but in my personal practice. It was like EQ was talking directly to me. Wierd huh?

And then down the rabbit hole I go:

If one takes the value of of the word SPELL (60) and write it out in "in full" as SIXTY, what EQ value do you get when you add it up?
SIXTY=67 that's what!

SPELL=60, SIXTY=67, 67=PLANT and both PLANT and SPELL = DIOL

This is insane! I am not even trying to make connection to Liber AL or the bible or anything it just cropped up in the incantation "in the name of God awaken to my spell plant-spirit". It seems to be behind the structure of the english language itself. Here is the final wakanaba incantation:



Because the word GOD needs to be magically emphasised I decided to create a kamea to derive it for the incantation. The total derived from the kamea (or Great Word) once transposed into wakanaba-speak gives one ALWAWA. Which is an awesome-sounding name for God, I might add.

But then you will notice above that when the number for SPIRIT is turned in wakanaba-speak you get ALALWA.


Do you see how similar those two appear to be? Two syllables get swopped out - it seems one from the other. Spirit and God are connected somehow even though they are different. Somebody get the straight-jacket! :)

OK, so a real English Qabalist might snort at my insights and quite possibly my discoveries are not that remarkable, but by darn this gives me a little buzz. Additionally, the incantations that this system bangs out are quite beautiful - as are the sigils, once you get the hang deriving them. For the practical magician the applications are endless it seems. I will try to post some of my prettier sigils once I get the scanner hooked up, so I can spread the sorcerous joy.


The Magic of Dirt

Dirt is one of the most useful and versatile conjure tools, in my opinion. I enjoy incorporating dirt into spell-work and I am always learning more about its uses from other practitioners and from personal experimentation. It's relatively easy to get, no-one misses it, and is magically potent. What's more is that once you begin understanding the folk-magical and traditional african thinking behind the uses of dirt in spiritual work you are able to get increasingly creative with the ways that use it and where you collect it from. The use of dirt entered the New World traditions from these system's african roots, where a mythic preoccupation with the earth, the dead, bones and their commingling with the land had a profound impact on the way the stuff was viewed. Although it must be mentioned that dirt as magical substance does see a fair amount of use in the grimoires, and in european folk magic.

I will never forget as a teenager slowly driving past an informal settlement  watching- what pejoratively is called a "squatter-camp" back home - being demolished. These settlements are just tiny tin shacks where people who have no other options live. The people were away from home working and when they got back home everything had been flattened by bulldozers, along with all the contents. A Zulu woman whose home had been annihilated was sobbing horribly repeating over and over "now, our tears have have nowhere to fall".

Our tears have nowhere to fall.

This phrase has haunted me ever since that time, poignantly describing the place of earth and land in african thought. For this woman not even something like grieving or loss could be expressed adequately without her tiny piece of dirt. That image of dirt mingled with tears truly etched the power of the soil in to my mind. Ancestral land in particular is of vital importance and one will find pilgrims traveling thousands of kilometres inland or from big cities to distant rural areas, to visit ancestral land. This is done when a terrible calamity strikes a family, a child is deathly ill, or there is some other grave need. The ancestors need to be petitioned right there on the land, sacrifices need to be made there and doing so anywhere else will not placate an angry ancestor. Similarly, when a great blessing befalls the family such as a good job or recovery from illness - a journey to the land is crucial, so that thanks can be expressed, or else the ancestors might take back what was given. Of course in the New World traditions people were ripped from the african continent, so traveling in this way became impossible and new ways had to be found.

You can see how dirt then becomes an important link in african magical thinking. In hoodoo, graveyard dirt probably sees the most frequent use in spellwork, but foot-track dirt, crossroads dirt, the dirt from an enemy's backyard, police station dirt, or court house dirt is often called into use also. It is understood that the dirt holds the quality or power of the place where it was collected and by adding it to the spell-work you are calling the influence of that place into the work, or influencing it in turn. Graveyard dirt in this way then becomes a link to the spirit from whose grave it is collected and a means to bring that spirit's influence into a spell, providing that the dirt has been bought and paid for. Similarly, foot track dirt then is a strong link to the person who made the track. Often stealing some dirt from an enemy's yard or place of business is the only link you can find to them - and it's a good one when all you might have is a name otherwise.

A particular trick of mine is taking some foot-track dirt and mixing it with other kinds of dirt and then employing the blend in bottle spells or other spellwork. I own dirt  which I collected from a frightening victorian mental asylum  back home and mixing it with the foottrack dirt can be an effective way to drive someone a little crazy. Similarly, I have in my arsenal dirt from a fort, a hospital, a bank, a castle dungeon, the site of a violent car wreck. You see where I am going with this?

However, the next question is how on earth do you even collect foot-track dirt in this day in age what with all the concrete and paving everywhere? I have gone to enormous lengths to try and capture a proper foot track to try and pull off one of those old-time foot-track spells. It's really hard unless you live in a rural area with a lot of dirt roads around. I have even gone so far as to sprinkle a layer of dirt across a doorway and call someone out so that they might step on it. But people have built in spiritual protection mechanism, and every single time I have tried this the person has carefully stepped over the dirt so as to not stand in it. Frustrating! 

However this doesn't mean one is entirely unable collect foot track dirt, even though you might not be able to capture the entire footprint. There is always some dirt on the ground and if the target walked somewhere very recently I sometimes take a dust pan and hand broom and sweep up some of the dirt from the area. It's not as strong as a real footprint I bet, but it's better than nothing at all and I have found has a certain efficacy in spells that call for foot track dirt.

A Handy Dirt-Based Spell

Here is straightforward spell to get rid of an unwanted influence or person, adapted from the testimony of a Hyatt informant. It originally was devised to get rid of unwanted debt but I have discovered it works well for anything you would like to part ways with. What's cool about it is that the spell demonstrates neatly how we can harness the sympathetic forces in our environment by means of simple yet skilful magical gestures:

Search for a dirt road that forks into two roads - like this: Y
Find a stick and write your own name in the road splitting off to the right. Write the name of the person or thing you want to be rid of in the road splitting to the left.
Take some dirt from each side home with you in your pocket and when you get home mix the two kinds of dirt together with some sulphur and then burn the mixture calling your intention into the work while doing so.

The burning sulphur breaks the link between the two parties sending each on their own way. This spell can be hastened by reciting the appropriate psalms or petitioning spirits during the burning phase to help expedite the effect. Remember, burning sulphur smells pretty bad so you might want to do that out doors. Dispose of the remains at another crossroads.


Conjure magic, jumping through hoops, hubris

Devi recently made a good post about the important skill set she suggests one should acquire before evoking anything. Not  much can be said against this approach - it's a measured, sensible way of going about this business of conjuring up spirits. Rufus Opus responds to some of Devi's points and the essence of what he is getting at, I think, is that whilst all these skills are of course very good and useful to have - that one should not have to jump through too many hoops before one gets started conjuring. I think he is right. It's possibly a tad over cautious, and there is something highly instructive about burning your fingers. Once you have mistakenly called the wrong spirit and have it mess your life up for a few months and had to deal with getting its influence detangled from everything, you know that you really are getting some valuable on-the-job training. Sometimes stuff going wrong is the best thing that can happen - because, dammit, at least something is happening!

However, Rufus slips in something stupid that truly annoys me:

Spiritual Cleansing is a nice thing to know how to do, but once you figured out how to light a sage bundle and waft its smoke around, you've done enough to start conjuring. The floor washes and baths and such are nice things to know about too, but if you can sprinkle Holy Water, you've got the same thing. Pretty much. 

PUH-lease, dude. Haitian houngans, santeros, paleros, rootworkers and south african sangomas to name a few (who routinely make use of holy water btw) all, without exception, use floor-washes and baths extensively in their work - for a very good reason. Do you honestly think that if sprinkling a bit of holy water around and waving a sage bundle would do it, they wouldn't? Have you ever done an actual house cleansing the traditional way with washes? Do you have any idea how much work it is?! It takes a good few hours in an average home - it's exhausting and onerous, to say the least.  Getting up before sunrise for days on end to do baths, similarly, is tough going. There is one very good reason that so many practitioners from the living traditions of the world go to the trouble: there is no substitute. 

It was being done for millennia in africa and egypt as part of an ancient unbroken tradition before the Goetia was a twinkle in Solomon's eye. Modern solomonic magicians would do well to look to these living spiritist traditions to inform their own practices, rather than dismiss tried and tested cleansing techniques out of hubris. Spiritual baths and washes are the corner stone of my spiritual work and I neglect these at my peril. What's more is that there is plenty of evidence to support that in solomonic magical genre that 'ablutions' were of great importance.

Sage and a few drops of holy water!!? Sheesh, remind me to never ask for your help to drive out evil spirits...


Tarot's mythic currents and recurring cards

Sometimes, with an important issue I might do a follow up reading a few days later, or even weeks/months later. I try to keep an eye out for any cards that recur from the previous reading on the same or a related issue, because they almost always are of particular interest and importance now. These are the persisting currents that are flowing through the situation. How they shift can illuminate my situation in a particular  way. Did the card become reversed? Did it move positionally and what does it's new positional meaning say in relationship to it's previous one? I find special narratives building up over time and sometimes I have even found certain cards will show up three or four times in a row in successive related readings. 
These threads and the cards that weave them are of special interest to me and can become like familiar characters in the drama that is my, or my querent's life. It's as if these mythic undercurrents are continually rising to the surface finding expression in different ways in the timeline of any given situation. I find looking at that current consciously, and trying to more fully grasp it's true nature as I examine its movement opens up the way for a clearer insight into my experience almost every time. The tarot is talking to me, like an old friend reminding me to look at something important from different angles until clarity breaks through. When clarity comes the card quietly vanishes back into the tarot's mythic undertow.

Magical Languages, Synchronicity and The Voynich manuscript

A series of odd, but not altogether surprising coincidences (forum posts, conversations and e-mails) - which I think are related to my two recent Grimorium Verum dreams - have led me to look into magical languages and English Qabalah in particular. I then was sent a link to these three videos by a friend out of the blue today and once again this theme of an ur-text or mysterious book and magical language weave their way into my awareness. In it Terrence McKenna disgusses the Voynich manuscript and his theory that it was either authored by the magician John Dee, or in some way connected to him - it's a very interesting listen. In case you don't know, Voynich manuscript is a mysterious book thought to date 15th or 16th century written in an unidentified language. And whilst it displays all the hallmarks of a true language, with grammar, syntax and apparently meaning. All attempts to decode it - even with the most advanced decryption methods - have failed.  Like McKenna says - it's like it arrived here from another dimension.


Intuition, tarot and the Big Picture.

People spend a lot of time focussing on the isolated cards in a tarot spread and the relationship between their individual and positional meanings and this of course is a very useful way of reading. In essence then, breaking it down into a series of one card readings that all link up, forming a whole. Coming at it this way, one might focus on a card's individual meaning in relationship to the question, the position, taking into account whether it is a reversed card or elementally afflicted (if you read using elemental dignities) etc. And in this way you build up your interpretation bit by bit. Simple and powerful.

There is another layer worth considering however, and that is looking at the raw quality of spread as a whole. This is like zooming out and getting the big picture, taking an arial perspective rather than looking close up at the details. It's a difficult technique to put into words, but if one had to define it I would say that you are looking at the basic energetic current flowing throughout the layout on the table. You are looking at stuff such as: is the spread encouraging or discouraging as a whole? Is the overarching theme leaning in a certain direction? What is that and is it supported by the outcome, or other key positional cards? Sometimes you can see two overarching themes but they seems at odds, what does this mean? What is the Big Picture saying about the story you have built up using individual card meanings and does it reinforce or weaken certain key cards?

These insights are subtle and often easily missed. As such they offer potent and valuable additional interpretative opportunities that can powerfully open up a reading, wether you are reading for yourself or for a client. What's more is that because what I am describing here is somewhat intangible and slippery, this is really where your own spiritual gifts, intuition and spirits have a doorway to enter into the reading and contribute in an invaluable way.

It must be said: I detest the notion of 'intuitive' readings. Not because I don't value intuition but because often I have seen would-be readers who describe themselves as 'intuitive' readers use this as an excuse to make up any associative nonsense when looking at the cards (although not all intuitive readers are guilty of this). In my opinion this is not a true tarot reading. The tarot is a structured system of divination, with a tradition and certain formal skills that make it a worthy discipline. Sure you can make up whatever pops into your head looking at the cards and this may or may not be helpful, depending one who does it . But then you may as well use postcards, or any other deck of cards with pictures on it to read (and people do). No, tarot like astrology, has a tradition and a coherent internal structure - accessing that structure, at the very least, is based on a knowledge of the traditional meanings of the cards. Sure, you can expand this based on your own research, theology and experience - but you cannot and should not make up anything that pops into your head when you look at that card, sorry.

I mention this because I wanted to distinguish this subtle skill of reading a spread globally by looking at the currents, themes of the Big Picture from the dubious business that is, normally, described as 'intuitive' reading. It's unfortunate that the word "intuitive" had to be brought into disrepute because of it. However, there is a place for the intuitive reading and that is when it is blended with discipline and tradition of the tarot. In my opinion this gift comes into play, very importantly, when looking at a spread at this macro level.


Goetic Pharmakos

Now we are talking! I have been so wrapped up in my own writing project I failed to notice this new Hadean pamphlet by Jamie Alexzander and Jake Stratton-Kent. Exciting hoodoo/verum stuff!

From Hadean Press: The purpose of this booklet then is to detail approaches to goetic spell-work, facilitating the further reintegration of New World and Grimoire approaches.

I have not had a chance to order it yet, but there is no doubt in my mind this will be excellent. Will report back with a mini-review as soon as I get my grubby hands on it...

Nocturnal Grimorium Verum Rumblings

Two nights in succession I have had Grimorium Verum related dreams - and they have been a little dark (but interesting). I have been spending a lot of time recently working with and thinking about the grimoire. Hadean Press have expressed interest in my work with the Verum and resultantly I have been wrapped up in the GV and The Natural and Supernatural Secrets chapter in particular, working on something for them. I guess it's not that surprising that I should be dreaming more about the grimoire - but these two dreams do stand out, so I thought to blog about them. Reportedly, the Verum and its spirits are known for becoming very active in the dream world of its operators and I can personally attest to this.

The first dream
I dream that I am in a vault beneath a church - except this is an antiquarian bookstore of sorts and it is filled with grimoires. There is an unfriendly shopkeeper and as I wander around the shelves I decide that I need to find an old Bible. I have always lusted after one of those large antique catholic bibles  - to conjure with - you know, its a style thing. I imagine there is nothing like belting out imprecatory psalms with one of those beauties in your hand. Anyway, I ask the proprietor if he has an old Bible, the bigger the better. He looks annoyed and then makes an odd remark - sure, he says, you won't believe how many people are asking for them nowadays.

He directs me to the shelf with the bibles, on the way there I get distracted and pick up a large book filled with pentacles, conjurations and diagrams - it looks old - it starts crumbling a little bit in my hands so I get nervous and put it down, worried that I will have to pay for a priceless book because I damaged it. As I do so I notice a slim black leather bound volume behind it. The title reads Verum Something-Something in dream-latin. Oh, I think - this must be the book that the Grimorium Verum was based on. It's the root text, I say to myself paging through it. I want it. The dream morphs quickly and I see various images of church vaults and even some hellfire (seriously!) - I awaken with the sense of a presence near the foot of my bed. I roll over and fall back asleep. This happens often enough that it doesn't bother me much - unless these sorts of night visitors go so far as to get onto the bed or decide to wake my spouse (which has happened and, understandably, upsets my spouse ) I ignore them. No harm done - just bringing a message.

So... antique bibles, church vaults, hellfire, ancient grimoires?! Its all darkly romantic, in a late-night horror-special sort of way. Admittedly it does fit into the narrative my personal spiritual cosmology quite snuggly, if I have to analyse the dream. The church vault and the hellfire, I feel, are symbols for the cthonic spiritual forces of the Verum. It is interesting that the book shop is beneath a church - part of its architecture, but hidden from the consensus above. This really is how I like to operate with regards to my personal mythic and magical  outlook. Participating in the magical currents of the Christian symbol system but coming from beneath the system, in a sense. Which is to say rather than looking at these through the lens of any given theology or dogma, I prefer to approach it directly as a set of living magical symbols and beings whom I can relate to unmediated by the orthodoxy. Like the vault filled with books in my dream, there is knowledge down there - ancient stuff, if you are ready to go 'through' the church and under it. The 'Ur-verum' which I find in the church vault, I think is reference to something Jake suggested in his True Grimoire about the possibility of another, older text prior to the Grimorium Verum. Instead, the dream could be saying that this 'root' verum is in fact down there in the underworld - that I have to find it myself, in my own way, beneath the church amid the flickering of hellfire of the unconscious. 

The second
I am standing holding parchment. On the parchment is drawn the Klepoth sigil and I begin to vocalise an oration of some sort. The sigil changes turning into a stylised tree with an enormous root system. Next I am no longer looking at the stylised tree but an actual tree and its root system. The roots go down deep into the earth but then I notice something odd with my ex-ray dream vision that manages to see into the earth - the roots all grow into, and join one massive horizontal root that seems to come from somewhere else. It's thick - thicker than the tree itself.  I notice words written all along the roots and momentarily it seems to me that these words are the oration I am chanting in written form. I marvel at this before I am woken by our dogs barking.
This dream seems to be connected to the previous dream using word play, as the subconscious sometimes likes to do. Connecting the Ur-verum 'root' text with the literal roots of a tree - although what the second dream with its enormous horizontal root is getting at, beyond that word-play, escapes me right now. Perhaps, it is saying Klepoth can tell me more about this image?