Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Reality" and the Observation of Unseen Things

RO and I have been talking about people and their experience of the realm invisible.  He was explaining that one of the most common questions that he is asked is "how can I see spirits?"

Well, I think I'll start answering this question.  In the last couple of posts, I have stated that it is not a unique ability.  In fact, it's a practice, not an inherent skill.

So, first.

Why don't you ask yourself if you think you know what reality is.  I'm referring to something basic, something that we can all agree with.  Is there such a thing?

Lost because it wouldn't fit through the door of my new apartment was the Couch.  I was sad when the movers had to donate it to a good home, because that sofa had taught me something truly useful.  It was a giant brown couch.  Or a giant purple couch.  It's color actually depended upon the observer.  My son and many of his friends would swear on a stack of bibles (or at least their current favorite DM manual) that the sofa was purple.  To me, it was brown, brown like dark chocolate.

What color was it "really"?  It should come as no surprise that different people have different experiences of the external world, but I was certainly surprised that this effect extended to basic visual characteristics of things.  The discussion of whether this is a sensor problem or a processor problem is left to a future post.  The take-home lesson is that your world and my world are not the same.

This effect was initially tested by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris at the University of Illinois  with a movie that is a classic test of selective attention.  It proves that if you're focused upon one characteristic of a scene, you might (many people do) fail to see strange and amazing things in the scene that you HAVEN'T been told told to monitor.  The youtube link above contains this video clip.

So, I think that we can agree that we are unable to gather and process all the data presented to us, at least in part because of our focus.  We focus on our jobs, spouses, children, pets, hobbies.  This to us is "reality."  In order to experience the rest of the data that we collect, but are not aware of, we must change of focus.  This is not rocket science.  Depending upon how deeply we are engaged with what we consider to be physical reality, it may not be easy to change your focus, but it is SIMPLE.

I propose to start discussing the development of the ability to sense the invisible with a simple exercise.  

For an entire day, decide to experience every sound without a clear origin as being a message from a disincarnate entity.  Your rational mind will hate this, most likely, so be intentional about the way to talk about it to yourself.  "What if that sound means a spirit is trying to send me a message."  "That faint buzzing sound might be an angel appreciating these flowers in my temple."  Don't spend any time trying to convince yourself, just entertain the possibility.  Lightly, if possible.  Treat it as an experiment.

Like I was saying in a previous post, there's a huge spectrum of information that we're exposed to every day, some of which we can't sense (parts of the EM spectrum, for example) and some parts that we can process (only a small part of our experience is used to derive our notions of "reality").  This little experiment may help to un-glue you from whatever you're used to paying attention to, and open your senses to something a little different.  Some of you are doing this all the time, for others it could be the first step into a slightly enlarged world.

Blessed be thou.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Data comparison, occultist style

Last week, fellow occultist Brother MS honored me with a request to take part in a double blind experiment, the conjuration of a spirit he had recently encountered.  He sent me the sigil (below) and a brief description, and asked that I report back on my findings.

Daisos' sigil
The spirit was initially encountered during some Jupiter work during which Fr. MS asked Jove to send him a spirit to help him with his concerns, particularly in regards to managing finances and obtaining wealth. MS provided the following description of his experience: “As soon as he had asked, he sat up straight as though in trance and had a vision of the sigil and following it, a small putto appeared wearing a dalmatic and stole, carrying a spade and sliver of a lightning bolt. Around him, in Greek letters, appeared his name: Daisos (Δαισος).”  A short conversation ensued between MS and Daisos, and the day after, MS received a small loan and then later, came into a larger sum of money that enabled him to pay off some debts.  Daisos seemed to him like a good character to know, and few days later, RO and I got to work, amusingly enough, without firstly looking up the definition for the word “putto”.

Daisos was conjured using a modified Trithemian rite and Tzadqiel as an intermediary, in honor of the Jupiterian nature of his initial arrival.  I felt him first of all as a burst of heat.  We asked after his nature, and he was a little confused.  He settled on something like "catalysis that brings expansion" and "quickening," such as when a plant germinates.  As to appearance, he "rode" me more than I saw him, but both RO and I saw a triangular image in the crystal, a little foxy.  RO had the initial impression that Daisos was a terrestrial spirit of air.  The spirit said that he was more comfortable with plants than people or animals. Our experience was that of an agricultural/botanical spirit.  The spirit even made reference to the three blue-purple morning glories that were on the altar in honor of Jupiter.

Further, he didn’t seem explicitly masculine, although he did have an expansive feel about him.  Indeed, he had a strong childlike quality about him: RO asked him what his favorite flavor was.
He didn't understand this question at all, and began (as a way to sideline the question almost) talking about how things smell.  I interpreted it as a Shinto nature spirit type of entity.

Daisos had words explicitly directed to MS: "needs to have heat to bring wealth, the heat that quickens" and he showed me a seed.

MS's drawing of Daisos
Following the conjuration, we spoke with MS.  The amount of agreement between our experiences was quite remarkable.  He agreed that Daisos was very ruddy - that was his first impression.  MS stated with respect to the first contact  “it wasn't so much seeing but there was a heat and then a more concrete image of the putto.”  MS showed us an image of Daisos that he had drawn, below, in which the spirit is similar to a winged cherub.  When the three of us were talking about the experience, I had to confess that I hadn’t known ahead of time what a putto was.  MS described a putto: “They're nature spirits. Usually called 'cherubs' but that's another thing. They are basically classic, Romano-Hellenic angels.”

MS felt as though we had achieved a very good confirmation of the basic nature of Daisos.  We both felt the heat, the agricultural/botanic nature of the spirit, as witnessed first by the little shovel.  The mention of the seed appealed very much to MS, as he often works with plant spirits.  The image of the seed had been appearing recently in dreams, additionally.  He confirmed the innocent of the spirit, “He's very childlike in my interactions.”

It was an amazing experience, and has built a little confidence into my practice.  I’ll be looking for further comparison work like this.  Thanks to Brother MS, to RO and, naturally, to Daisos!

MS may well tell this story from his side in his blog, The Digital Enchiridion:

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Someone gave me a hard time last weekend about having claimed to be psychic.  Besides mild irritation, because I have not (nor would I) ever declared myself "psychic," this denunciation brought up some thoughts that I thought I would share.

I began this blog with the thought that if I, a very linear and logical person, could develop a seer's capacity, then probably most people could do the same.  The blog itself is actually an exploration into concrete aspects of the practice.  

There, I've said it.  It's a PRACTICE.  

We live in a cold and rational world, and people in general try to restrict themselves to that sort of "thinking" way of being.  However, that is by no means the only technology with which to experience the world.  A useful comparison might be that of the very small range of electromagnetic radiation that can be directly experienced by the human eye (370 to 780 nm or so) compared with the whole of the known EM spectrum, from gamma rays to radio waves.  It goes without saying that humans can readily see the visible spectrum easily, but the remainder of all radiation can be detected using sensors to relay the information to the eyes and then to the mind.  Therefore, we can "sense" the entire EM spectrum, if we have the right technology.

Seership is something like that.  Want to open yourself to different realms?  The mystical realms are yours to explore.  There are the ways that take less effort, such as entheogens and alcohol.  There are physical ways, like exercise and sex.  There are ways that have been documented by mystics throughout time, such as trance and prayer.  It is very passive and receptive, and there is great work sometimes involved in the act of removing oneself from the path of information.  A rough paraphrase from a  Meister Eckhart text: "One must agree to the flow, as it rushes forth from the unmanifest, and be buoyant enough to keep up with its unfolding. Nothing can snag or delay the person awakened to the simple matter of rising to this life.  The repetition of seeing involves living life as a seer who is purified by the seeing."

I bet that Eckhart was not directly discussing the issue of seers and spirits, yet for me, his description is very pertinent.  I cannot say whether or not my experiences agree with those of other workers, as I haven't been doing this for very long, but as I develop the opportunity to perform these comparisons, you'd better believe I'll write about them.  Even if the comparisons don't seem to match, because...well, I never claimed to be psychic, but I do claim to be a experimentalist. One that documents the events.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Emotional Content in Scrying

Last night, it being Thursday, RO and I were doing our weekly Jupiter ritual.  This began  in a way similar to the Taphthartharath conjuration that I described recently, although it was a good deal more formal.  We donned suits, we had whiskey on hand, we worked to Mozart’s Requiem.  Like nearly every working we do, we started with the Invocation to First Father, we spoke the words from the Stele of Jeu (Invocation of the Headless God), we consecrated the crystal and incense.  As I sat in readiness, RO conjured the archangel of Jupiter, Tzadqiel and read the Orphic hymn to Jove.
RO spoke to Tzadqiel of G4J as a community, who liked this very much.  A graceful dancer appeared in the crystal, along with the heavy and electric atmosphere that we often feel.  T, who felt particularly feminine, provided me the vision of the members of the community as ballet dancers on a stage, each a perfect diamond unto themselves, but also trying to establish choreography, an organization.  A rush of love came at this point, indicating the depth of T’s regard for us all who are using the forces of Jupiter to better themselves and the world.  I wept with happiness, overwhelmed with the intensity of this feeling.  T. asked RO at least once to speak more about the Gents.

This is the first time that my seer experience has been so dominated by an emotion.  I truly felt love the way I did at church when I was a child, and not since.  I continued to weep throughout the remainder of the rite.

Still weeping, I leaned over to touch one of the cats, who had been present since the Invocation of the Headless God, purring incessantly.  As I did, an electrical and incredibly pleasurable feeling came over me.  T. whispered "what a gift it was to be incarnated."  Ah.....

Blessed be thou.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"A Fragment of Underdone Potato..."- Physical contact with conjured spirits, or not?

In the last blog post, I described my first experience where there seemed to be a physical contact with a spirit, the spirit of Mercury, Taphthartharath.  I was slightly surprised by the intensity of the experience, and reported to be glad to be a little more protected during this conjuration than in some others.  After I published this description, there was a comment made to RO on Facebook indicating the authoress thought I might have been in some danger during the rite.  While that is not impossible, I would say that it wasn’t likely.  Recall that the spirit was summoned into a crystal situated on a table of practice, which is to say inside a circle of angels and inside the traditional triangle.

I appreciated the comment very much, though, because it shows that the person who wrote the remark actually experienced something of the surprising intensity of the event.  It was indeed a disturbing sort of episode.  However, I may actually not have described well that while I experienced the spirit physically with my skin and eyes, that I did not believe that he was in actual physical contact with my body.  And, intense though it was, I don’t believe it was dangerous, or even odd.  For me, spirit conjuration always has at least some degree of body-sensory inclusion to it, and I don’t believe those experiences to have been damaging.   The experiences described in this blog notwithstanding, I have a normal existence that includes healthy human relationships, adequate self-care and a paycheck.

Besides the larger question of whether spirits have reality external to us or not (i.e. is he “a plot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato” or not, with apologies to Charles Dickens), it’s not necessary for any person or being to touch me for me to have an experience of them.  In some ways, the simple version of this statement is “my eye doesn’t need to touch the crystal to see what’s inside the crystal.”  Just as when one is focused, one can sense heat from another person’s body, I don’t see any reason why this can’t be a sort of amplified version of the sensation you get when someone is watching you. I say amplified because it occurred in a ritual scenario when all of my senses had been turned up to 11.

Another source of the “feelings” could also be that during ritual data initially received as visual gets funneled through the imagination and can emerge as other sensory  information.  This leads to such observations as “T. is slimy, dark and metallic,” which I wrote in my magickal diary after the event was over.  This sort of data handling synesthesia could be used to explain much of spirit manifestation, including the descriptions of the Aethyrs and the catalog of spirits in Lemegeton’s Goetia, I believe.

Blessed Be Thou

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Staying close to the door...

Last night was the first time that I was actually "touched" by a spirit.

R.O. and I conjured Taphthartharath to do some material manifestation work.  Because we were making a talisman, I didn’t have time to fully prepare myself optimally for the experience.  I took a hasty bath in complete darkness and tied my wet hair up in a white bar towel.  We prepared the temple, carried in a shot of bourbon to share with the spirits, and began.  As we began the rite, I became aware of a smell.  It was an unpleasant yeasty smell, and I immediately ascribed it to the towel I had used to put my hair in.  We purified one another with hyssop oil and then I took the towel off to put on my phylactery (a headband embroidered with the words ΑΟΘ ΑΒΡΑΟΘ ΒΑΣΙΜ ΙΣΑΚ ΣΑΒΑΟΘ ΙΑΟ).  The smell vanished with the towel and was at that point replaced by the smell of the modified Abramelin oil we used to trace the beneficial sign on one another’s foreheads.

The usual Goetic precautions were taken to prevent any misadventures with T, and then we summoned him into the crystal.  I could see hints of him in the crystal, and got the usual feeling of thickness in my shoulders that I associate with the presence of a spirit, but I also immediately got the sensation of his hands.  They were chill, lizard-like and very large.  I had the impression that they were black or gray in color and metallic, although this was not visually acquired data.  Even whilst in the trance, I was grateful that I was not as open as I sometimes get for this particular rite.

It's worth noting here that my experience does not necessarily mean that the spirit was not fully contained by the circle and triangle on the Table of Practice.  As many people "see" the spirits in the crystal, part of my interpretation of information coming out of the crystal seems to involve senses other than sight.  Not probably very strange, but intense, to be sure.

We had a fruitful and interesting conversation with T, which I will not document here.  His hands were on or near me during much of the rite, and I stayed very close to the surface (i.e. normal consciousness) so that I could easily escape them if they became too frightening or intrusive.  There was a lasciviousness to the experience that was a real first for me.

At the end of the rite, we snuffed the candles and turned the lights on.  The white candles we used had melted dark gray wax that had dribbled down their sides.  The towel had a smell certainly, but it was not the strange unhealthy yeasty smell that it possessed as the rite began.  Lastly, the remainder of the bourbon left for the spirits had developed a white cloudy precipitate.


Be thou blessed.