It is now 100 days since Mom died. I miss her terribly.
[Here's a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering the Ring of Fortune, a talisman of the fixed star Aldebaran.]
Aldebaran: The Ring of Fortune
Milky thistle seed put under a carbuncle [AKA red garnet, or a ruby –CL] with the character shown [engraved on it –JMG], with the Moon conjunct [Aldebaran and –JMG] the Ascendant or Midheaven, increases riches and brings great honors. (Hermes)
Under Aldebora, they made an image after the likeness of God, or of a flying man. (Agrippa)
Currently located at 9 Gemini 56.
Simply put, Aldebaran is the ring for fame and fortune. Not everybody wants to be rich and famous; but if you do, this might just be the ring for you.
Aldebaran is a Royal Star, granting leadership and prominence to those born under its influence, and is associated with the Archangel Michael. Like Michael, Aldebaran is generally understood to be a valiant foe of darkness and evil.
This star is the eye of the constellation Taurus, quite possibly even the origin of the phrase Bull’s Eye; signifying precise success, hitting a target, and martial prowess. The star itself is of a pinkish-red hue, commonly signifying an aggressive quality. It is from this coloration that most probably the stones used for the Ring of Aldebaran are of strong reddish color.
It is unusual that a star with a somewhat pugnacious reputation would be used in a magic ring for success. My own opinion is that this is an acknowledgement that for one person to rise to fame and prosperity, sometimes this occurs at the expense of others.
Nevertheless, this is a positive star, even perhaps a holy star, and I am of the opinion that those others in this context are the pretenders, the unsuitable, the corrupt, or those who acquired their prominence through deceit or other profound injustice, who must first be toppled for the noble and wise to rise and take their rightful places.
The problem in making this ring is that the stones listed each have downsides. Garnet is the less expensive, but it tends to be brittle. A chipped talisman will eventually cease to function. Rubies of course are expensive, and nearly as hard as diamonds.
My own feeling is that ruby is the best option. One factor in the expense of rubies is the color, and the farther rubies stray from deep red the less expensive they are. Rubies with maroon, pink, or flame-orange color can be much less expensive.
[Here's a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering the 8th Sphere and the Behenian Stars.]
One concept which deserves some attention is that of the nature and role of the Fifteen Root Stars or the Behenii; the sources of the power contained in these rings, each associated with hierarchies of immensely powerful spirits.
In the astral cosmology of Aristotle onward until the modern era, the Earth was believed to lay at the center of about ten invisible spheres, nesting inside one another like Russian dolls. Each revolved around our world at a somewhat regular pace, and in most cases carried along a wandering star called a planet, embedded in the sphere. Planets served as markers or beacons, indirectly revealing the movement of these invisible realms; like a conspicuous chip or flaw in an otherwise perfectly translucent bubble of glass. Today, we can interpret this model as being a map of parts of the astral plane rather than a material cosmology; either way, it is one of many models or maps of the universe which loses some data through necessary compression, but it is quite superior when applied to a particular field of inquiry. The field that this one is especially well suited for is rigorous magical practice.
It was each sphere and its myriad occupants which bestowed their gifts upon all living things at the time of their first intake of breath rather than the star or planet itself; a mere lump of rock or burning gas carried along by massive tides of raw sympathetic attraction emitted by these astral spheres. Each of the seven traditional planets– Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon in descending sequence– impressed their ongoing activities permanently upon the composition of all astral bodies upon birth, from which they derived their substance. Likewise, all animals, plants, groups of people, and even ideas were influenced by the influx of these seven rays at the time of their coming-into-being. Since nothing could truly exist without having some form of presence on the astral plane, that suggested that virtually everything which manifested physically or even mentally had a spiritual component; this was a semi-animistic view that everything in the cosmos was alive, in some sense. It was through this astral medium, a dimension where light, consciousness, desire, time, and existence itself were all one and the same, that magic acted upon. And through.
Above the Seven Spheres of the planets, however, was the Eighth Sphere; the realm of the fixed stars. Normally fixed stars did not overtly influence the destiny nor spirits of people or events, unless an exceptionally powerful star appeared exactly on the Ascendant or Median Coeli (Midheaven) at the moment of birth, intellectual conception, or manifestation. This circumstance was somewhat uncommon, but it was observed that persons or events who had this type of quirky astrological chart were wholly dominated by the influence of that star throughout their lives, in ways that the planets themselves could not.
This is not a huge surprise. It was believed that the further from the material Earth each sphere was placed, the more priority and power each possessed. This being so, the influences of the fixed stars had the potential to override the influences of any or all of the seven planets; though in order for them to do so the conditions had to be quite precise.
Even among the fixed stars, there were a selection of very bright and prominent stars which were of even greater power. These were the Behenian Stars; behen being the distortion of an Arabic word for “root.”
Supposedly, at the precise beginning of the universe, these fifteen stars infused their own power and influences into the Seven Planets, in varying combinations. Much like human beings’ spirit body is initially composed of seven rays of astral light from the planets (or really, planetary spheres,) the planets in turn were infused at the dawn of time by the power of two or more Root Stars. The Behenii are to the planets, what the planets are to us.
That being understood, the Root Stars are best not thought of as routine or typical astrological influences in human lives. They were a part of the scaffolding of the cosmos’ creation, and today form part of the plumbing of reality which makes everything else we normally interact with work. They are hidden behind a wall in the galactic basement where even astrologers and magicians today seldom descend, and then only for quick errands. Working with them isn’t as user-friendly as more familiar forms of magic and astrology; but if our reality is anything like the one depicted in the movie The Matrix, then working with the fixed stars requires much skill in the arcana of hacking machine code. Delving into this can be rather forbidding, and most who try simply give up.
That is not how things used to be, however. Due to the priority given in ancient astrological magic over the reversal of undesirable destinies, and the typical personality makeup of magicians, the magics of the Root Stars were deemed as precious as they were forbidding. They are very powerful. They are also very secret, for good reasons. Yet that kind of danger is very alluring for true practitioners of the arcane.
Working with the Fifteen is not always safe; they are a toolbox of grand cosmic forces that were never designed with humanity in mind. The entities which form the Fifteen Hierarchies are alien in personality, possessing consciousnesses which can only relate to our experiences of time and space as hazy analogies. It is easy to imagine the astrological planets as gods, persons, or even emotions; but this is rarely possible with fixed stars. Sometimes they attempt to help those who invoke them in ways which only make sense to beings whose existences are virtually unchanging, and whose bodies can never die. We are as fragile and transient as mayflies to them. In terms of relative complexity and power, we are bacteria.
None are evil per se, and their most exalted princes are certainly more intelligent than anything we can reasonably conjecture about. But they care about things often quite foreign to us, and usually have absolute disinterest in the affairs of mortals– except in the few matters in our world which hold any meaning for them. These are what the stellar lore speaks of, and what these Rings of Power control.
That is why these rings are often so intensely powerful, and quite possibly why so many magic rings of myth and legend are also believed to be cursed, possessed, or haunted.
[Here's a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering Petitioning.]
This may sound exciting, but it is next to nothing compared to what I believe to be the greatest power of talismans– The power of Petitions and initiations into Stellar Feudal Hierarchies.
The process of creating talismans is laborious, but that effort reaps great rewards. Learning Electional Astrology, making elections, and etching or casting talismans are only the initial steps.
As I have noted, a minor spirit of the same nature as the planet, fixed star, or more obscure phenomena like a lunar node or lunar mansion, takes up residence inside the talisman and uses it like a body. Because it exists in close physical proximity with the owner, it usually comprehends their intentions and needs; sometimes even before they become apparent. It also has a fairly strong capacity for psychic empathy and occasionally telepathic contact is possible as well.
The talismanic spirit, however, also occupies a rung in a Hierarchy associated with the stellar realm where it hails from, and derives its substance thereby. Each of these Hierarchies are roughly pyramidal, with countless spirit pets, slaves and peasants at the bottom, and god-like emperors, princes, and grand ministers at the top.
Christian magicians often described these beings as angels. This comparison is understandable; they are not evil, are beings of light, often relay messages, and are highly disciplined and obedient. However, they are relatively indifferent to humanity and only treat corporeal beings with basic reciprocity. In most cases this means they give us little attention at all, aside from performing their roles in the astral ecosphere (or cosmic clockwork, if you prefer) which we habitually benefit from.
Planetary spirits in particular, not only meet and exceed human intellect, power, and complexity towards the higher end of their Hierarchy, but can have personalities which are comprehensible to human beings and can be negotiated with relative ease.
This is that very special role of talismans; they can act as communication devices with the Greater Hierarchs of each stellar realm. Because the talisman spirit is of a similar nature to the kings and godlings of its own Hierarchy, it can act as an interpreter to them for magicians, and furthermore obtain a favorable audience to their royalty. Without such talismans, attempts to communicate with such beings tend to be more perilous and far less effective. Without a talisman as a key, a local guide, and simultaneously a passport, one is always a distrusted outsider when visiting or communicating with a stellar court.
The Greater Hierarchs of each realm are not gods precisely, but behave much like medieval kings; and they expect praise, offerings, kneeling, and great seriousness from any who seek their audience. Lengthy rituals of attunement, meditation, and contemplation set up rapport with the talismanic spirit in order to prepare for these more serious engagements.
Requesting a boon from such beings is called a Petition, and when granted can be of unimaginable strength and extent, as it is possible that the authority and might of the whole Stellar Hierarchy can be behind it and enforce it– a level of cosmic power beyond any mortal magics.
When the magician is ready, he elects a favorable time and evokes the presence of the Hierarch or journeys astrally to his throne. There he barters with the representatives of the stellar court for secret wisdom (usually received through dreams, intuition, or divination) and boons of a relevant nature, in exchange for paying a tithe in the form of regular praise and regular material offerings (such as burned incense) to the particular Hierarchy, or its individual rulers.
Like most concerns associated with such beings, this process is initiatory, mystically transformative, and becomes successively stronger with each Petition. Over time, the magician working with each Hierarchy will be able to do more things with the talisman or talismans associated with it.
Eventually, the magician can Petition to be admitted fully into the Hierarchy of the planet or star, serving as a vassal to a Hierarch as his liege– a peer to the mighty spirits of the particular stellar court, and an Earthly ambassador to it. This grants greater privileges and responsibilities, in the form of even greater mastery of the magics of that planet or star; and the potential to dwell within that court in a position of honor in the afterlife, if he wishes to do so.
[Here's a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering Electional Astrology in general and the concepts behind astrological talismans.]
The unvoiced subtext, or assumption, of the Hermes stellar grimoire is that of the efficacy of traditional Electional Astrology.
There are four general branches of Traditional Astrology; Horary, which answers questions at a specified time rather like your typical tarot reading; Natal, which describes the personality, appearance, and events in the life of a person from the timing of their birth; Mundane (meaning Worldly), which, rather like the works of Nostradamus, predicts national and global changes over great spans of time; and finally Electional (meaning Choosing), which selects a lucky time to commence an activity. Examples might include when to begin an important letter, when to get married, when to buy a house, when to go on a vacation, and even when to go to a barber or hair stylist and try out a new look.
A special kind of Election is magical. Most magical elections involve the creation of talismans, which are to be distinguished from amulets and charms.
Amulets derive their principal power from the signatures of the charged natural materials from which they are composed; a mojo bag in Hoodoo is a perfect example of an amulet.
Charms derive their principal power from whatever is represented by the symbol it is shaped into. A gold cross pendant is a charm; it neither derives its power from the gold it is cast from, nor from the time of its creation, but its power (if any) comes from the spiritual power represented by it.
Talismans, however, derive their power from the influx of ambient astral light which occurs when particular symbols or pictures are graven or cast in shiny, reflective objects. This can only be accomplished at exceptionally particular times and places, as the quality of that astral light is constantly changing from moment to moment.
Astral light is the substance of time itself. One may have to wait years and years for a mere fifteen minute window when one can make a particular sort of talisman. In theory, talismans can be made at any time at all; but their value comes from their ability to store and maintain astral light whose strength and purity is rare, exceptional, and intense in every way.
Talismans are, to simplify, bottles of time. And not just any bits of time; minutes and seconds which have incredible powers.
Modern physicists will tell you that every minute and every second are blank slates, with no individual flavor or characteristics, other than their linear sequence and the events which might transpire within them. But anyone who has had a winning streak, or a day when absolutely everything seemed to go wrong, has had an intuition that there might be powerful forces at work which make some periods of time quite different from others. It’s hard to shake the feeling in your gut that those physicists might be seriously mistaken.
There is an alternative to their perspective. Astrologer John Frawley imagines a topography of time itself, being the very foundation of the worldview held by traditional astrologers. That even if nothing should transpire within it, each and every moment has sharp peaks and valleys of potential influences which can be taken advantage of. There is a geography of hours, minutes and days, each with their own flavors and powers, which are entirely invisible to us– at least invisible without mastery of Traditional Astrology.
Most moments are naturally inert, but some are favorable for one thing and unfavorable for another. Like a capable captain steering a sailboat with the help of winds, the technical skill of Electional Astrology allows a knowledgeable person to exert minimal effort and produce wildly disproportionate results. They’ll take you where you want to go, if you’re just a little bit patient.
Part of the wisdom in wizard, I believe, is good timing; learning how to recognize it, and catching it before it slips away.
There are also less frequent moments, weird moments, which have the potential to perform what some might describe as supernatural events, or even miracles. Spectacular recoveries from terminal illnesses, seemingly random presciences, Fortean incidents like fish falling from the sky, random teleportations, winning the lottery jackpot twice in a row, the restoration of youth, and the spontaneous apparitions of spirits– all of these may be the results of people accidentally tapping into the powers of these wildly peculiar moments.
These are the moments which magicians have often sought most frequently to store into talismans; because once they are created in the proper manner, talismans can radiate these powers whenever the bearer of them chooses. They are not trinkets or symbols. They are not props. They are objects of enormous inherent power.
Furthermore, they happen to be alive.
There is little distinction, if any, in this system of occultism between energy and spiritual entity, nor any distinction between these and spiritual light and consciousness. Let me provide a radical sounding theorem: Light = Entity = Time. All astrology and magic in Western Culture, for over two thousand years, relied on this assumption.
The astral light which becomes stored in a talisman is akin to a soul, albeit a very minor one and usually not quite capable of conversation. When a spirit becomes embedded in compatible matter, it is not all that different from a soul taking up residence in a warm body, and ownership thereof. Talismans are living things; just not organic life, and not alive in the sense modern biologists would recognize. But they are alive, just the same. Since that gives them a foothold in the material world as well as the spiritual realms, their ability to influence physical reality is superior to that of a wholly disembodied spirit.
Their status as a living being allows them to perform effects with or without the command of the possessor. Furthermore, the effects can be performed with or without any expenditure of any energy, effort, or even visualization of their owner. This allows the magician a well-hidden ally who looks out for his or her interests when asleep, incapacitated, distracted, ill, or forgetful. They are dutiful and quite obedient, as well.
Another value of talismans is that the most common varieties are associated with the Seven Traditional Planets, and store within them vast repositories of their astral light. According to the theory and philosophy of Neoplatonic Hermeticism, a major influence on astrological magic, our outer spirit forms or astral bodies are composed entirely of seven parcels bestowed by the planets at the time of our births. They are the rough equivalents of chakras or sephiroth for the spirit-selves of individuals, in this magical tradition. There are planets within us too. They are the organs and systems of organs of the subtle body, and like the physical body they can be healthy and strong or sick and weak.
These parcels, or garments for the innermost soul, are often in damaged or weakened states due to the condition of the heavens at one’s birth, which lingers on inside the self indefinitely. Weakened planets can produce physical illness over a lifetime, personality defects, inexplicable bad luck in particular areas of life, shortened lifespans, and many other burdens which are often quite hard to bear.
Planetary talismans can act as splints or grafts on the natural spirit bodies of those who use them. They don’t quite perform the functions of a full spiritual organ transplant, but they can leverage their strengths against someone’s weaknesses and allow them a much greater chance of a longer, happier, turmoil-free life.
Something even more interesting occurs when a person who is fortunate enough to have been born with one or more planets which were in a strong or atypically positive state at the time of their birth, when they use relevant planetary talismans. The natural power of the person is augmented by those of the talisman, even potentially exceeding normal human limits.
Someone whose Jupiter was strong natally, might find that after using Jupiter talismans his skill at financial matters is boosted to levels which rival those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Someone whose Mars is naturally strong, with the help of Mars talismans, could become an unstoppable killing machine if he so chooses. And so on, down the list.
How does this help magicians in particular, you may ask? Well, if you are fortunate enough to have one of these strong planets in your natal chart and acquire its talismans, your magical skills in the associated sphere of influence is boosted to shockingly intense levels. An ordinary person with a strong Sun in his natal chart might use a Sun talisman to improve leadership abilities and personal magnetism, but a magician with the same chart will find himself able to dominate and command hordes of spirits with great ease, and furthermore inspire in them fanatical loyalty and awe. He would also find that he could easily use such devices to mentally control, command, and influence human beings of lesser willpower; almost like hypnotizing people into puppets, or the fictional Jedi Mind Trick from Star Wars.
Similar enhancements to magical skill are possible with all seven planets in states of acute power called “dignity,” and also similar kinds of results when a notable fixed star appears on the Ascendant or Midheaven of a natal chart in combination with its talisman.
[Here's a draft section of the unpublished booklet I had been preparing for my presentations this past year on Ancient Stellar Magic, covering the basics of the Mundane Houses.]
There are two zones of the sky which have unusual properties that are of crucial importance to astrologers and especially magicians who wish to use astrology to enhance their magical prowess.
Imagine, if you will, the hours before dawn.
As the Sun creeps upward beneath the Eastern horizon a strange glow begins to render the landscape visible, comprehensible, less frightening, even colorful. The rooster crows, animals begin to stir, the scent of fresh dew is in the air. If you look about you, everything looks different, and feels clean and renewed.
When the Sun finally appears over the line of the horizon, it looks strange and distinctive; a ruddy cauldron of fire, surrounded by a golden-red glowing expanse of light. It is breathtaking. It is one of few things in existence which everyone on Earth considers beautiful, moving, and amazing.
To some, it is reminiscent of the blood of birth; many cultures have considered it the literal rebirth of the Sun god, and the renewal of the life force of the entire world. They’re not exactly wrong, either. The cold land begins to warm, nocturnal animals go to sleep, plants stop producing carbon dioxide and begin to turn light into energy. Without that marvelous dawn, nothing on this planet could live.
This beautiful, mesmerizing show of color and radiance finally passes into normal daylight, and the day truly begins…
The Sun has passed through the Ascendant. It has Risen.
The zone we call the Ascendant is the most powerful nexus of transition in astrology; a true liminal space which is also that of liminal time– a union of principles which ancient cultures truly took for granted. It is the division between one day and the next. It is the wondrous transformation of the world from one of sleep, danger, darkness, gray tones, and concealed things, to that of conscious awareness, mind, sight, color, and safety. The full experience of night and day, in pre-technological societies, are almost two different worlds. This zone of transformation is a place of great wonder, and even greater power.
The Ascendant and the entire system of Mundane Houses which derive from its position, does not exist in (an objective sense) in any fixed point in space. Like a rainbow, it is subjective in that it is wholly dependent on the position of the observer, and the angle of the rays of the Sun as they are cast across the surface of the world at especially sharp angles. Yet it cannot be denied that this has objective properties, or the color shift and the transformation it makes upon the surface of our world could not be so vividly apparent.
The only way to reach out and touch the Ascendant and grasp its power, is through mathematics. In fact, a lot of mathematics (especially geometry) originally came about in ancient times in order to quest for this power and plumb its many secrets– to literally use numbers as a bridge between our world and the ones beyond. And it isn’t remotely as frightening as it sounds.
From the perspective of the observer, if you were to divide the path of the Sun (and the other planets, which follow the same circular course) into a 360 degree circle, five to eight degrees on either side of the Eastern horizon are what we call the Ascendant.
When the Sun is directly overhead, is brightest at any other time of day, casts the fewest shadows, it is said to be crossing the Median Coeli or Midheaven, or is Culminating the arc of the heavens. Though less dramatic than the Ascendant visually, it has similar occult properties. Likewise, this zone is measured from five to eight degrees on either side of an invisible line drawn from the subjective observer straight up to the apex of the celestial hemisphere.
Much like the rays of the Sun exhibit strange properties which are connected with the optical, psychological, and ecological transformations which occur at dawn, the antecedents of astrologers in Mesopotamia came to believe that all planets and stars shed peculiar rays across the world when they approached and crossed the Ascendant and Median Coeli. The big difference was that these rays were not usually visible, but no less powerful in spite of that fact. These rays influenced the world we live in directly, but also through the invisible world which today we call the astral plane. All planets and stars emit both optical light and astral light, and just as photons nourish plants and through them all other living things, the astral double of light nourishes the spirits of all which live in the universe.
People came to believe that any planet or fixed star which was Rising or Culminating profoundly and permanently influenced anything which was initiated at that time, including human births. Though any number of things may be going on in the sky at any time, the events taking place in the Ascendant and Median Coeli are usually the most influential, and the most magical.
This is why all talismans require the source of its power be at either of these zones at the time of their creation. It does not matter whether it is a ring, an orb, a pendant, or any other thing. It does not matter whether the power comes from a planet, a star, or a more obscure astrological phenomenon. The Ascendant or Median Coeli are where the magic happens.
This blog will focus on my various fascinations and curiosities, primarily related to magic and the paranormal but not exclusively. It will be a mixture of text, audio, and video posts.
It will be a supplement to my exclusively video-based blog which I will launch later, whose focus is exclusively on introductory topics on magic and the occult.