Nov 1, 2015

Botanical Symbols

Although this is not a typical Solomonic magic thing, I ve decided to show you my system of botanical symbols.

I employ this in labelling my plant parts. I ve devised a system of combinatory symbols that is easy to use, easy to remember, and hard to crack for anyone not familiarise with it s basics, so your planty things can be safe in their jars and bottles from nosy people.

The top part represents the plant part in question and the bottom part represents the plant itself. My six parts are derived from Agrippa s correspondencies and I use this inm employing them. Although each plant has it s virtues, every part of it may have different virtues and can be used differently.

The root, with all its subterranean symbolism and deposit of energies and potent juices, is ruled by Saturn and this is my symbol for it, a rough sketch of an outstretched root, placed upside-down for symetrical reasons of the sign series.

The stem, carrier of the sap, vertical and straight and hard and masculine, is of course ruled by Mars, and the symbol pretty much speaks for itself: one main stem with four secondary ones, the base stems being larger. 

The leaves, the receptors of light and heat much the same way our own natural satellite is,  are ruled by the Moon, and I ve chosen to stylise it as triangular not because of some arcane symbolism related to the Fire sign or Water sign but just because it seem damn well pleasent and dandy! 

The flowers, feminine, receptive, open and beautiful, are governed by the ruler of reproduction and beaty, Venus. I ve stylised six petals into one circular glyph due to the sexual symbolism of the hexagram and the pleasant polarity it develops.

The fruits, the berries, the nuts or the husks containg seeds and other potent things, usually full in shape and sometimes hard, are ruled by Jupiter, the master of abundance, stylised here as two round shapes on either side of the stem.

Last but not least, some of the most potent parts of the plant, containing the entire genetical code of itself and the ability to reproduce, the seeds, are ruled by the master of information and androginity, Mercury. The symbol is quite obviously representative of the two halves of the seed and the embrio within. 

To give an illustrative example, we`ll take the symbol I ve devised for Elder, Sambucus Niger, and combine it in two symbols:

Base symbol: Elder

Elder berries                  Elder stems

Just for kicks, another plant that does not have a simple letter symbol, but a magico-astrological symbol for hystorical reasons, the revered Wormwood, Artemisia Absinthium:

Base symbol of Wormwood


Wormwood leaves         Wormwood root

Frequent problems:

But Asterion, you re insane! You can`t make up symbols for a gagillion plant species and subspecies!

You`re right. And I won`t. Basic Solomonic magic teaches the use of 24 plants in the Book of Raziel, add that to another 7 planetary inceses, add to that 10 or 20 of the most potent plants of my country`s magical tradition and that`s kinda it. 
Since you can accomplish at least 6 operations with one plant, those would suffice. 
Every plant, and I mean EVERY plant has a magical use. But not all are as potent or as fit as others. So I will stick to a few and experiment. I think I m creative enough to come up with at least 200 base symbols so I m set..

But Asterion, you ve gone all Wiccan? 

Not really. Plant lore is far older than Solomonic magic, it s used all over the world and it s your duty as a practicioner to become proficient in it. 

But Asterion, you`re a moron! My Book of Shadows doesn t list any uses for Wormwood stems or Elder flowers!

It Should! I use every part of the plant, nothing is discarded. 

But Asterion, where is the Sun in all of this plant arrangement?

The Sun rules the resin of the plants, wherever that may be the case. Not all plants produce it and when they produce it, the resin is treated like a separate substance in it`s own class, like Frankincense, Opoponax or Myrrh, so I have not included a base symbol for Resin. 

Be free to develop your own set, this is just my way of labelling my magical jars and my macerating tinctures and wines. 

Best wishes and much love!

Oct 4, 2015

The Conjuration of the Fire: 1

One of the shortest conjurations and easy to commit to memory, is the Conjuration and Benediction of the Fire.

There are multiple conjurations to be found but some grimoires, such as the Lemegeton, the Key of Solomon by Ptolemy the Grecian, the Heptameron and all derived works follow similar patterns.

I d like to study these a bit and find out how it translates exactly.

To be noted that there are more than one fires that the magician uses, al all firesv must be dealt with accordingly. The fire for fumigations is dedicated in a way, the fire that lights the candles, in another way, the fire used to torment rebellious spirits, in yet another way, and so forth.

The fire used to warm the hearts of the spirits before the circle will be useless in constraining more dangerous or obstane spirits, and vice versa. The element stays the same, the physical phenomenon stays unchanged, but due to the magical charge, it has different properties.

Most sources draw upon the Goetia and the Heptameron, the latter being the source of inspiration for the rituals in the former.

Let s take a look at the Heptameron:

Exorcismus ignis, cui superponuntur fumigia.

The Exorcisme of the fire upon which the perfumes are to be put.

Exorcizo te creatura Ignis, per illum, per quem facta sunt omnia, vt statim omne fantasma eiicias à te, vt nocere non possit in aliquo.

Deinde dic:

Benedic Domine Creaturam istam Ignis, & sanctifica, vt benedicta sit, in collaudationem nominis tui sancti: vt nullo nocumento sit gestantibus nec videntibus: Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, &c.

Turner s translation:

I exorcise thee, O thou creature of fire, by him by whom all things are made, that forthwith thou cast away every phantasme from thee, that it shall not be able to do any hurt in any thing.

Then say,

Bless, O Lord, this creature of fire, and sanctifie it, that it may be blessed to set forth the praise of thy holy name, that no hurt may come to the Exorcisers or Spectators: through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.

Is it correct?
Yes and no. 

Gestantibus, from Gestanti, does not mean Exorcisers, it means Bearers, that is, the disciples or assistants that hold the incense or the Master of the Art who does the incensing. That is why the plural is used. It ensures the safety and wellbeing of the bearers of the coals, even in the (avoidable) event of punitive measures of the spirits via smoke, as Goetia implies.

Videntibus, from Videnti, does not mean only Spectators, as in passive assistants that only witness the rites, but all those who see the rite and the beings evoked, including the Seers used in certain catoptromantic or hygromantic rituals, so the word Seers might be more adequate.   

The most important part and the most overlooked is the lack of ending: the dormula ends with &c, (etc cetera) meaning, And so forth, indicating that it has been shortened, the original text containing the full ending that was often repeated and here it was truncated for the sake of brevity. 

Not only is the Heptameron conjuration mistranslated, but it is incomplete. 

A very close text is to be found is Reginald Scot s Discoverie of Witchcraft appended material of the 1665 edition: 

An Exorcism for the fire

The Exorcist ought to have the earthen Censer, wherein to preserve the fire for magical uses, and the expiations and fumigations, whose consecration is on this manner.

By him that created Heaven and Earth, and is the God and Lord of all, I exorcize and sanctifie thee thou creature of Fire, that immediately thou banish every phantasm from thee, so that thou prove not hurtful in any kind: Which I beseech thee O Lord to confirm by sanctifying and making pure this creature of fire, that it may be blessed and consecrate to the honour of thy holy Name. Amen.

The text most likely copies the Heptameron, omits the &c and ends with an Amen. 

The Clavicle of Solomon, in the earliest manuscript in English (Sloane 1387) dated circa 1572, has a similar one:

The Coniuration of ye Fyer.

Exorsizo te creatura ignis per que~ facta sunt omnia ut sine mora aliqua eiicias fantasinata [sic] ut nocere non possunt in aliquo oprtr naturam humanam per invocationem altissimi creatoris, Benedic domine creaturam spei~ ut sanctificiata et benedicta sit in collandationem no~is tui sancti ut millum nocumentum sit gestantibus et videntibus per dominum nostrum et.
With scribal notae and mistakes, the text is nearly identical, yet stillincomplete, endind with et (and).

A very new addition , and valuable indeed, is the Folger Manuscript, recently transcribed by Peterson and Harms and published under the name of The Book of Oberion. By their immense generosity, the full transcript is available for free at mister Peterson s website.

It contains extensive material that ties everything together, and among many other precious finds we have this very conjuration (my translation , I do not own the book yet):

Exorcismus ignis, cui superponuntur. Fumigia. 
(Exorcism of the fire over which the suffumigations are put)

Nota ignis quo utendum est ad fumigationis sit in vase fictili seu terreo novo. Exorcizatur autem hoc modo. 

Exorcizo te creatura ignis, per illum per quem facta sunt omnia, ut statim omne phantasma eijcias ate, ut nocere non possit in aliquo. deinde dic. Benedic domine creatura istam ignis, et sanctiffica + ut benedicta sit in collandationem [*collaudationem] nominis tui sancti, ut nullo nocumento sit gestantibus, nec videntibus, per dominum nostrum Iesu, Christum fillium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate spiritus sancti deus, per omnia secula secculorum Amen.

Without doubt, this is the correct and full conjuration to be used, complete with ending, for the first time rendered. The sign of the cross in the text marks where the Exorcist marks the fire with the sign of the Cross. 

Exorcism of the Fire

 Exorcizo te creatura ignis, per illum per quem facta sunt omnia, ut statim omne phantasma eiicias a te, ut nocere non possit in aliquo. 

 I exorcise thee creature of fire, by Him by whom all things are made, that forthwith thou cast away every phantasme from thee, that it shall not be able to do any hurt in any thing.

Benediction of the fire

Benedic Domine creatura istam ignis, et sanctiffica + ut benedicta sit in collaudationem nominis tui sancti, ut nullo nocumento sit gestantibus, nec videntibus, per Dominum nostrum Iesu Christum,  fillium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate spiritus sancti deus, per omnia secula secculorum Amen.

Bless, O Lord, this creature of fire, and sanctifie it +, that it may be blessed to the praise of Thy holy name, that no hurt may come to the Bearers, nor the Seers, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee lives and reigns in Unity with the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever, Amen. 

Discoverie of Witchcraft:

Clavicle of Solomon, Ptolemy the Grecian:

Folger Book of Magic: