Magical Practice and Mental Health

It’s no secret that those of us who are into alternative religions, spiritual practices, magic, witchcraft, and the like aren’t exactly “normal”, according to the definitions of contemporary Western society.  Sure, we may put on nice masks and clean suits to at least quell any suspicion that we’re anything out of the ordinary, but we’re not the type of people whom most people would call sane or safe.  Heck, even among different types or traditions of magicians and pagans, we have people saying “I don’t do that weird stuff” or “this is too crazy for me”.  Eh, it happens.

I think, however, that most of us aren’t actually clinically unsound.  Sure, we’re not exactly the most conventional of people, but we’re not off-our-rockers unstable; we might be crazy, but we’re not insane.  If anything, we’re pushing the boundaries of what sanity means, but still able to operate in sound ways that relate theory and faith to experiences and actions down here in the world of matter and flesh, and even then, that’s only for a subset of the more exploratory, experimental magicians out there.  Many of us are content with getting that little extra boost towards achieving our goals, not world-shattering enlightenment and gods-gifted godhood (although I think everyone should reach for those latter two goals, it being our Hermetic birthright, and all).

Then again, the foregoing only goes for most of us.  As with any group of people, there are going to be a subset of people who aren’t as mentally sound, who aren’t as sane, who aren’t as stable as the rest.  And, like with any group of people, the hotter a mess you are, the louder and more visible you get.  And that’s a problem.

I’m sure you, dear reader, have heard of the stories that Enochian magic drives people insane, or that so-and-so got into this particular tradition and came out a complete loon, or other such anecdotal stories.  I don’t really believe any of them; it’s exceedingly rare that it’s a particular tradition or spirit or prophecy or what-have-you that drives people insane.  It’s much more frequent, not to mention plausible, that those problems were always already there, more latent in some than others, and that their experiences (intentionally or unintentionally, malefically or beneficially) exploited those small cracks into full-blown chasms.  This makes sense, after all; if you have anger problems but are generally well-composed enough to not let them show in the office, working with a lot of Fire or Mars will make it harder to keep your cool; if you have depression but get by on a day-to-day basis, working with Saturn or Water will make it harder to keep afloat; if you have issues with being overly prideful, working with the Sun will make it harder to recognize the achievements and contributions of others.  It’s not a hard stretch to see how working with particular forces can easily knock us off balance with our temperaments, emotions, thoughts, and actions, which is why part of the job is to healthfully and properly incorporate these powers in ourselves, regulating them instead of being overridden by them.

But for those who already have mental issues, magic can be outright dangerous, more than it is for most people.  If you’re emotionally unstable, adding emotionally powerful things to your life can wreck you.  If you’re impulsive, working with spirits who demand contracts (and often much more) can ruin your life by leaping before you look into a deep, deep pit.  Sure, magic can help lives, but it can just as easily hurt lives.  That’s why it’s often so important to have a community or a teacher with you, if for nothing else than to act as a magical spotter or as someone to point out “hey, you’re not acting right, when was the last time you cleaned off?”.  Teachers guide and help us through our mistakes or help us avoid them altogether; communities develop conventions and practices as a whole that keep everyone up and running in a healthful relationship.  That’s why, even in the more popular stories about witches and wizards, it’s always the loner that causes problems.  Not to pass moral judgment on loners out there or to say that the community is always right, but when it comes to the sanity and health of magicians, having people around you as contacts and support is usually a plus.

It doesn’t help that our contemporary Western society isn’t the greatest when it comes to dealing with mental health.  Sure, we’ve come a long, long way in the past few hundred years, but it’s still not adaptive, responsive, or holistic enough to go beyond “you have this syndrome, take this pill” for the vast majority of people.  There are lots of people out there whose problems intertwine the spiritual and mental, and since modern scientific approaches outright deny the spiritual, we end up with an institution that cannot well serve those who suffer.  As a result, many magical and spiritual practitioners find themselves to be the care providers for people, and this is…pretty shitty, to be honest.  So few of us have the proper training, expertise, or background knowledge to accurately assess or describe unsafe mental conditions, and yet we find people on our doorstep with “spiritual issues” that are making people literally insane.  We’re not qualified to help, but we’re the only ones in a position to even recognize some of the issues at hand.  It’s a terrible situation.

Guys, be warned, and take a few things to heart from this:

  • If you’re just getting into magical practices, make a critical self-assessment of your health in all respects, and be aware of any problems that might arise when developing yourself.  You may not be able to practice mental health like a doctor would, but at least you can recognize when mental issues arise in the people around you and work with them to get them the help they need.
  • If you’re generally sound of mind and body, consider augmenting your magical practice with psychology and mental health studies, especially if you plan to work with or on behalf of clients.
  • Everyone could use an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, and a hand to hold.  Everyone needs a therapist at some point, whether they’re an official and licensed one or just a friend to guide them through a tough period.
  • If you have problems, get help.  There are many resources available to you, both spiritual and otherwise.  Don’t assume your problems are purely spiritual or purely mental until proven otherwise; explore all avenues, and seek out help no matter the source.
  • If you need help, don’t delay getting help.  There is no shame in reaching out for help, even if it’s just to a friend.  Don’t think that you need to improve on yourself first to be more responsive to getting help; don’t think that you’re so advanced that other people can’t give you a leg up.
  • If you notice other people trying and then giving up trying to help you, especially if this forms a pattern, notice it and realize that you might actually have a problem.  It’s like the inverse of the situation where if you find yourself having to curse all these assholes around you, maybe it’s not them who’s the asshole, but you.  If you find that all these magical practitioners and spiritual guides can’t or are unwilling to help you, it might not be that they’re useless or spiteful of you, but that you have problems that they’re not able to tackle because you need more serious help than they’re able to provide.

Current Status

So, I haven’t made a post in a while.  I apologize, guys, even though I’m not usually one to do so; this is my blog, after all, and I post when and how I feel like it.

No, I haven’t abandoned you, or my Work, or my spirits.  However, I’ve got a lot going on in my life and certain threads are being weaved in unexpected directions; I had my own designs for the warp and weft of this year, but clearly it’s not turning out the way I expected it to.  It’ll still be beautiful and awesome, though, trust me.  However, in the meantime, my plate is rather full and I’m having to shift my efforts away from the usual and expected to other things.  I may be able to make a post here and there, but don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed.  Taking on crafting commissions for the foreseeable future is right out; regrettably, I’m unable to take on crafting commissions (including designing) from anyone at least through this summer.  I’m still available for divination readings and consultation sessions, either through Skype or through Etsy, although I’m declining to perform ritual work for others like I am for crafting.

Here’s hoping it’ll be a great 2016 for all of us, both according to our plans and those of the gods who look upon us!

The Geomantic Figures, Personalities, and Myers-Briggs/Kiersey Types

The other day, on an exceptionally slow Friday afternoon with little to do, my friend and I were bullshitting in my cube.  We were talking about things as varied as problems with Linux installation, Halloween plans, crude sexual humor, astrology, and on and on.  After all, we were bored, and half the office was out anyway.  Topic led into topic, and we were discussing some of the recent training courses and classes we had taken, including such droll ones as business communication and assertiveness strategies.  A staple of such communication-related classes is how different people communicate differently based on their personalities, and a particular favorite discussion involves something called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  This is a classification based on Carl Jung’s understanding of different personalities and how they interact with the world around them based on four dichotomies:

  • Direction of focus: Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • Method of informing oneself: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
  • Method of making decisions: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Method of living life: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

By taking a long, multiple-choice questionnaire, which gathers data on details of your life and how you view yourself, this data can be interpreted so as to whittle down your personality into sixteen different personality types based on the four dichotomies above.  These personality types are given in four-letter initialisms such as ENTJ, ISTP, ESTJ, and so forth.  The MBTI describes how each of the dichotomies function, and how each of the sixteen personalities differ from each other and how they can get along well.  Because of this, the MBTI is a favorite of managerial training, as it neatly bins people into a particular category that managers can use to better organize their offices.  Of course, this is an extraordinarily simplified version of the whole story; there are dozens of issues with using the MBTI as if it were actually a thing, as one’s type can change over time based on how and when they take the test, and most people tend to fluctuate between two or three types based on their emotional or mental state.  These difficulties are expected, however, according to the Myers & Briggs Foundation.

MyersBriggsTypes

My friend and I were joking that, in the time it would take to take the full, official MBTI test, I could draw up someone’s horoscope by hand and interpret it for them, getting at least as good personality results.  We both heartily admit that the MBTI test is pseudoscience and, worse, time-consuming for not a lot of payback.  To demonstrate this, I went to one of my favorite astrological websites, asked for my friend’s birth info, and did an informal chart delineation and description for him.  He found it fascinating; he’s not particularly spiritual, woo, or religious in any sense, but he’s certainly open-minded enough to entertain and consider a few things.  It seemed like I was able to give him plenty of information about himself that seemed more-or-less on the money.  Granted, there’s the Forer effect to consider, but the MBTI has just as much an issue with that as astrology does, and I consider myself a little more specific than your regular newspaper horoscope.

Anyway, we were comparing the results from my hasty horoscope interpretation for my friend and the MBTI results he normally gets, and I was struck by something that should’ve been obvious to me.  There are 16 Myers-Briggs types, and each type is composed of four qualities, each of which can be expressed in one of two ways.  This is the same mathematical structure that underlies the 16 geomantic figures: each figure is composed of four elements, each of which can be expressed in one of two ways.  Because the day was wearing on and we were getting ready to leave soon, I made a note for myself to investigate a possible method of correlation between the geomantic figures and Myers-Briggs types later on.  Well, here I am, and I think this could be a useful bit of data for geomancers, especially when compared against older works that describe a connection between personalities and specific figures.

So, let’s try this in the simple, most obvious way first and see where we end up.  A geomantic figure has four elements, and a Myers-Briggs type has four dichotomies.  Is there a way to link the four dichotomies to the four elements?  Let’s take a look at the four dichotomies and see what they mean for us.

  1. Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I).  This dichotomy indicates where people put their energy and how they get their energy.  Do they like to spend time in the outer world of people and things, or in the inner world of ideas and images?  Do others view them as outgoing or as reflective?  Are they more comfortable in groups or alone?  Do they rush into things without thinking, or do they think too much to start something new?  This relates to how one directs their energy, and whether they direct it upon people or have it directed upon themselves; Extroversion is the active, manipulating principle here, and Introversion the passive, manipulated principle.  This is connected to Fire; Extroversion is active, and Introversion is passive.
  2. Sensing (S) and Intuition (N).  This dichotomy indicates how people get information about the outside world and the main means of accepting it.  Do they prefer to pay attention to the concrete/objective data their senses give them, or do they pay attention to the patterns and possibilities that can be extrapolated from them?  Do they consider “what is real” to be more important, or “what is meant”?  Do they prefer to start with facts to build up to a big picture, or start with a big picture and work down to the details?  This dichotomy relates to the method of obtaining data and filtering it for use later, with Sensing being more blunt and focused on the low and Intuition being ephemeral and focused on the high.  This dichotomy should be given to Air, with Sensing being passive and Intuition being active.
  3. Thinking (T) and Feeling (F).  This dichotomy indicates what sort of information one relies upon to make decisions.  Do they put more emphasis on objective principles and facts, or on the personal concerns of those involved?  Do they prefer logical fields such as technology and science, or humanistic fields such as literature and art?  Is one more alarmed by something that is inconsistent, or by something that is inharmonious?  Do you prefer to be impersonal and consistent in dealing with others, or warm and sentimental?  This dichotomy discusses the meaning of data in their lives and what they value as information, with Thinking being emotionless and impersonal and Feeling being emotional and tactful.  This is related to the element of Water, with Thinking being passive and Feeling being active.
  4. Judging (J) and Perceiving (P).  This dichotomy indicates how one structures their outer lives and how they deal with the world outside.  Do they focus on making decisions or having things decided before acting, or do they prefer to stay open to final decisions because they need more information?  Are they task-oriented with things planned out, or casual with minimal planning?  Do they work before play, or mix them together?  Do they work to avoid deadlines, or do they work only because of them?  Are they so goal-oriented that they miss new information that could change the goal, or are they so focused on getting information that they miss making decisions?  This dichotomy is about structure, with Judging being rigid and fixed for the sake of achievement and Perceiving fluid and flexible for the sake of investigation.  This dichotomy would best be given to the element Earth, with Judging being active and Perceiving being passive.

Given the above analysis that links each dichotomy to one of the four elements, and each choice of the dichotomy to be either active or passive, we can associate each of the Myers-Briggs types to one of the sixteen geomantic figures:

ISTJ
Tristitia
ISFJ
Fortuna Maior
INFJ
Caput Draconis
INTJ
Acquisitio
ISTP
Populus
ISFP
Albus
INFP
Coniunctio
INTP
Rubeus
ESTP
Laetitia
ESFP
Amissio
ENFP
Cauda Draconis
ENTP
Fortuna Minor
ESTJ
Carcer
ESFJ
Puella
ENFJ
Via
ENTJ
Puer

Let’s take a look at my own Myers-Briggs type, ENTJ.  According to the M&B Foundation, ENTJ is described as a driving organizer, planner, vision-focused, decisive, initiating, conceptual, strategic, systematic, assertive, critical, logical, organized, and one who pursues improvement and achievement.  ENTJs are known as ambitious, efficient, outgoing, independent, and effective organizers of people and long-range planners.  The corresponding geomantic figure, according to my method of corresponding them to Myers-Briggs types, is Puer, the Boy, associated with the planet Mars direct.  Puer is known to be brash, rash, bold, and assertive, eager for love and war, fierce, easy to anger, and extraordinarily self-assertive.  ENTJ puts a prettier face on it than the other parts of Puer, but according to this only-kinda-not-really-joking Myers-Briggs Asshole Index, “scruples are alien to them…they have no compunctions about petty details like ruining someone else’s life, and if they can get away with it they will gladly stab you with the dagger themselves”.  So, all told, I think ENTJ is a good fit for Puer, both positively and negatively.  Taking a cursory look at the other Myers-Briggs types and the other figures, this correspondence appears to work more-or-less well.  I think it’d be good to do an in-depth analysis of these correspondences and match the positive and negative traits of each Myers-Briggs type with the personality descriptions of the geomantic figures throughout the Western corpus, but that’s a lengthy topic for another time.

However, there’s a few things that bug me.  When going through the dichotomies and picking out which dichotomy was related to which element, I got stuck several times.  It quite easily feels like two or three of the dichotomies can easily relate to multiple elements.  For instance, Judging/Perceiving is about how one approaches the external world and the structure in it.  Yes, I said this was Earth, and for good reason: how structured do you want your life, really?  At the same time, how one structures is how one plans, and how one plans is also quite related to Fire.  However, Fire was given to Extroversion/Introversion, which itself could be given to Water (with E being passive water and I being active).  The whole thing can loop back on itself, so it may be that the Myers-Briggs type dichotomies don’t always relate well to the individual elements.  I feel fairly confident in my correspondences here, but it’d still be good to see how they might be better refined.

I’ve noticed on some websites that there’s a sort of secondary or alternative personality type classifier with pretty names for each of the Myers-Briggs types, like Fieldmarshal for ENTJ, Inspector for ISTJ, Performer for ESFP, and so forth.  This is a closely-related instrument to determine personality types, but still fundamentally different: the Keirsey temperaments, which were developed based on the MBTI but went back to the theory of the four humours and how they influenced temperament.  While the MBTI focuses on how people think and feel, Kiersey focuses on behavior; MBTI focuses more on the E/I dichotomy, while Keirsey puts more importance on the S/N dichotomy.  There are other differences, too, but the two have a degree of mutual intelligibility, and they’ve been mapped to each other for some time.  So, in that method, we could add another descriptors to that table above: the Kiersey personality type based on its corresponding MBTI match:

ISTJ
Inspector
Tristitia
ISFJ
Protector
Fortuna Maior
INFJ
Counselor
Caput Draconis
INTJ
Mastermind
Acquisitio
ISTP
Crafter
Populus
ISFP
Composer
Albus
INFP
Healer
Coniunctio
INTP
Architect
Rubeus
ESTP
Promoter
Laetitia
ESFP
Performer
Amissio
ENFP
Champion
Cauda Draconis
ENTP
Inventor
Fortuna Minor
ESTJ
Supervisor
Carcer
ESFJ
Provider
Puella
ENFJ
Teacher
Via
ENTJ
Fieldmarshal
Puer

However, this is still based on the MBTI correspondence of the geomantic figures.  What if we were to start over with corresponding the figures to the Kiersey temperaments directly, and see how they correspond through that to the MBTI?  Would they be the same, or would there only be a degree of overlap, or no overlap whatsoever?  The Kiersey temperaments were developed as 16 wholes on their own; Kiersey doesn’t divide this up into a four-by-four grid of personality types like how the MBTI does, but ultimately relies on one of four main temperaments: logistical Guardians, tactical Artisans, diplomatic Idealists, and strategic Rationals.  Kiersey himself associates these with the four classical temperaments of melancholic, sanguine, choleric, and phlegmatic.  However, Kiersey’s 16 types can be grouped together based on four “rings”, each of which can have one of two roles (this should sound familiar).  This gives us two ways to assign Kiersey’s personality types to the sixteen geomantic figures.

One starting point we can use involves starting with the four main temperaments (Guardians, Artisans, Idealists, and Rationals), each of which includes four specific roles to determine an overall geomantic element.  After all, the 16 geomantic figures can be grouped into four elemental groups of four figures each; for instance, the Fire figures are Laetitia, Fortuna Minor, Amissio, and Cauda Draconis.  Similarly, the Artisan temperament includes the four roles of Performer, Composer, Promoter, and Crafter.  By associating the four Kiersey temperaments with the four elements, we can use the third and fourth rings of Kiersey’s descriptions to whittle down and specify a specific role within an overall temperament using a fully elemental structure that relies on the geomantic elements and subelements.  In effect, what we’re doing is we’re splitting up the 16 Kiersey roles by element, then by temperature (hot/cold within an element), then by moisture (moist/dry within a temperature).

However, I have an issue with Kiersey’s association of his temperaments with the classical ones.  He assigns Guardians to melancholic, Artisans to sanguine, Idealists to choleric, and Rationals to phlegmatic.  I don’t feel like this is correct at all, and the Wikipedia correspondence table from the Kiersey article reads like a thoroughly-jumbled version of Agrippa’s Scale of Four.  After thinking about this, I’m going to innovate off Kiersey’s system and reassign his four temperaments so that they become melancholic Guardians, choleric Artisans, phlegmatic Idealists, and sanguine Rationals.  This makes much more sense to me, based on my understanding of the humours and classical temperaments combined with Kiersey’s methods.

Those “third and fourth rings of Kiersey’s descriptions” I mentioned above are two dichotomies that Kiersey uses to specify sets of roles within an overall temperament.  The “third ring” is directive versus informative, also known as proactive versus reactive.  These describe how one communicates, whether one informs others to information or one directs others to action.  The “fourth ring” is expressive versus attentive, and describes how one interacts with their environment: those who prefer more overt action (being chatty, verbose, talkative) to covert action or inactivity (being all-eyes-and-ears, aware, circumspect, wary, watchful).  Of these two rings, I’d say that the “third ring” (directive/informative) relates to the elemental quality of moisture, with directive being dry and informative being moist.  The “fourth ring” is more about temperature, such that those who are expressive are hot and those who are attentive are cold.  In other words, we use the two dichotomies of elemental qualities (hot/cold, moist/dry) to determine a subelement within a given elemental group; Fire is hot and dry, Air hot and moist, Water cold and moist, Earth cold and dry.

Putting this all together, the method we have to correspond the Kiersey personality types to the 16 geomantic figures looks like this:

  1. The overall Kiersey temperament indicates a particular elemental group of geomantic figures.
  2. The “third ring” (directive versus informative) indicates the moisture of the geomantic figure within that particular elemental group.  If the personality type is directive, look at the geomantic figures that have a subelement of Fire or Earth within that particular elemental group; if informative, look at the geomantic figures that have a subelement of Air or Water.
  3. The “fourth ring” (expressive versus attentive) indicates the temperature of the geomantic figure within that particular elemental group.  If the personality type is expressive, look at the geomantic figures that have a subelement of Fire or Air within that particular elemental group; if attentive, look at the geomantic figures that have a subelement of Water or Earth.

Our resulting decision chart that assigns the 16 Kiersey personality types to the 16 geomantic figures, then, would look like this below:

Temperament Third Ring Fourth Ring Personality Type
Artisans
Concrete
Pragmatic
Tactical
Choleric
Fire
Directive
Operators
Expediting
Dry
Expressive
Persuading
Hot
Promoter
ESTP
Fire-Fire
Laetitia
Attentive
Instrumenting
Cold
Crafter
ISTP
Fire-Earth
Cauda Draconis
Informative
Entertainers
Improvising
Moist
Expressive
Demonstrating
Hot
Performer
ESFP
Fire-Air
Fortuna Minor
Attentive
Synthesizing
Cold
Composer
ISFP
Fire-Water
Amissio
Rationals
Abstract
Pragmatic
Strategic
Sanguine
Air
Directive
Coordinators
Arranging
Dry
Expressive
Mobilizing
Hot
Fieldmarshal
ENTJ
Air-Fire
Puer
Attentive
Entailing
Cold
Mastermind
INTJ
Air-Earth
Acquisitio
Informative
Engineers
Constructing
Moist
Expressive
Devising
Hot
Inventor
ENTP
Air-Air
Rubeus
Attentive
Designing
Cold
Architect
INTP
Air-Water
Coniunctio
Idealists
Abstract
Cooperative
Diplomatic
Phlegmatic
Water
Directive
Mentors
Developing
Dry
Expressive
Educating
Hot
Teacher
ENFJ
Water-Fire
Puella
Attentive
Guiding
Cold
Counselor
INFJ
Water-Earth
Populus
Informative
Advocates
Mediating
Moist
Expressive
Motivating
Hot
Champion
ENFP
Water-Air
Via
Attentive
Conciliating
Cold
Healer
INFP
Water-Water
Albus
Guardian
Concrete
Cooperative
Logistical
Melancholic
Earth
Directive
Administrators
Regulating
Dry
Expressive
Enforcing
Hot
Supervisor
ESTJ
Earth-Fire
Carcer
Attentive
Certifying
Cold
Inspector
ISTJ
Earth-Earth
Tristitia
Informative
Conservators
Supporting
Moist
Expressive
Supplying
Hot
Provider
ESFJ
Earth-Air
Caput Draconis
Attentive
Securing
Cold
Protector
ISFJ
Earth-Water
Fortuna Maior

How much does this method overlap with the MBTI method of correspondence, using Myers-Briggs type as a key?

Figure MBTI Kiersey Dichotomies Differ
Populus INFJ ISTP 3
Via ENFP ENFJ 1
Albus INFP ISFP 1
Coniunctio INTP INFP 1
Puella ENFJ ESFJ 1
Amissio ISFP ESFP 1
Fortuna Maior ISFJ 0
Fortuna Minor ESFP ENTP 2
Puer ENTJ 0
Rubeus ENTP INTP 1
Acquisitio INTJ 0
Laetitia ESTP 0
Tristitia ISTJ 0
Carcer ESTJ 0
Caput Draconis ESFJ INFJ 2
Cauda Draconis ISTP ENFP 3

There’s a surprising amount of overlap between the MBTI method given first and the Kiersey elemental method given second.  Six figures come out with the exact same MBTI key, another six that are almost the same with one dichotomy off, and two each that are off by two or three dichotomies.  Notably, we didn’t completely miss with any of these figures such that all dichotomies were missed, which is a little surprising to my mind.  The cause for the differences, where they exist, could be in an imperfect match between the Kiersey system and the MBTI system, the difference in method between using a strictly elemental-grouping method (Kiersey) versus elemental-dichotomy method (MBTI), or just dumb luck.  Still, I’d’ve expected at least two figures to get completely wrong answers (dichotomies differ = 4) if it were just chance, but apparently we might be onto something with this.

Now, the above is just one method of assigning the geomantic figures to the Kiersey personality types, where we use the geomantic system of element-subelement rulerships and associate them with the Kiersey temperaments.  This touches on the use of the four-rings model of the Kiersey system, but doesn’t use it in the same way as we used the dichotomies of the MBTI system.  The second way of assigning the geomantic figures to the Kiersey personality types uses the four rings explicitly in the same way as we used the four dichotomies of the MBTI, so let’s take a look at all four rings of the Kiersey system:

  1. Abstract versus concrete.  This first/inner ring deals with where a person’s mind is and how they shape their worldviews based on this.  Those who are abstract have their heads in the clouds and are more interested in big-picture stuff rather than the details; they focus on global, general, or theoretical issues, and are introspective and look inwards.  Those who are concrete are the opposite: they’re down to earth, interested in facts and sensory details, and are focused on practical matters or objective facts in their life.  Jung and the MBTI suggest that abstract is related to Intuition (N) and concrete to Sensing (S), which would suggest that this ring would be associated with the element of Air, but its phrasing and place in the Kiersey system would suggest that this should be more about the element of Earth and how grounded one is.  Thus, abstract would be passive earth and concrete would be active earth.
  2. Cooperative versus pragmatic (utilitarian).  This second ring deals with the level of importance one gives to opinions from different people.  Those who are cooperative give more attention to other people’s attentions and doing the right thing regardless of its effectiveness, while those who are pragmatic give more attention to their own opinions (if any) and to the facts of a situation, and are more concerned with doing what works regardless of how others feel about it.  There is no direct correlation between a single Jung/MBTI dichotomy and this particular ring, but this ring in combination with the inner ring gives a single temperament; abstract cooperative personalities are given to Idealists (NF), abstract pragmatic to Rationals (NT), concrete cooperative to Guardians (SJ), and concrete pragmatic to Artisans (SP).  With this and the third and fourth rings, the straightforward correlation between Kiersey rings and MBTI dichotomies falls apart.  However, when given to a particular element, since this is about opinion and depth of feeling, I’d associate this ring with the element of Water, with cooperative being active water and pragmatic being passive water.
  3. Directive (proactive) versus informative (reactive).  As above, this third ring is about how people communicate with others.  However, “communication” here is a poor word; it’s about interaction, and whether one acts upon others or whether one is acted upon by them.  In that sense, this ring should be given to Fire, with directive types given to active fire and informative to passive fire.
  4. Expressive versus attentive.  As above, this fourth ring is about how people interact with their environment, but it’s not interaction in the sense of action-action but actual communication (I feel like Kiersey had somewhat odd definitions for these things, as psychologists do).  If one is expressive, one is talking more than listening; if one is attentive, one is listening more than talking.  In that sense, this ring should be given to Air, with expressive types given to active air and attentive types to passive air.

In a mangled form of Kiersey’s personality chart, here’s how we end up with our second variation of Kiersey personality types associated with the geomantic figures by associating the individual rings with individual elements:

Fire Ring
(Third Ring)
Air Ring
(Fourth Ring)
Water Ring
(Second Ring)
Earth Ring
(Inner Ring)
Personality Type
Directive
Proactive
Expressive
Initiator
Preemtive
Cooperative Concrete
Guardian
Supervisor
ESTJ
Via
Abstract
Idealist
Teacher
ENFJ
Cauda Draconis
Pragmatic Concrete
Artisan
Promoter
ESTP
Puer
Abstract
Rational
Fieldmarshal
ENTJ
Fortuna Minor
Attentive
Contender
Competitive
Cooperative Concrete
Guardian
Inspector
ISTJ
Puella
Abstract
Idealist
Counselor
INFJ
Amissio
Pragmatic Concrete
Artisan
Crafter
ISTP
Carcer
Abstract
Rational
Mastermind
INTJ
Laetitia
Informative
Reactive
Expressive
Collaborator
Coworking
Cooperative Concrete
Guardian
Provider
ISFJ
Caput Draconis
Abstract
Idealist
Champion
ENFP
Coniunctio
Pragmatic Concrete
Artisan
Performer
ESFP
Acquisitio
Abstract
Rational
Inventor
ENTP
Rubeus
Attentive
Accomodator
Responding
Cooperative Concrete
Guardian
Protector
ISFJ
Fortuna Maior
Abstract
Idealist
Healer
INFP
Albus
Pragmatic Concrete
Artisan
Composer
ISFP
Tristitia
Abstract
Rational
Architect
INTP
Populus

With that, let’s compare it to our previous two systems and see how it compares by matching it with the MBTI key using the MBTI dichotomy method and the Kiersey elemental method given above and seeing how many match up.

Figure Kiersey Ring MBTI Kiersey Elemental
Type Diff Type Diff
Populus INTP INFJ 2 ISTP 1
Via ESTJ ENFP 3 ENFJ 2
Albus INFP INFP 0 ISFP 1
Coniunctio ENFP INTP 2 INFP 1
Puella ISTJ ENFJ 3 ESFJ 2
Amissio INFJ ISFP 2 ESFP 3
Fortuna Maior ISFJ ISFJ 0 ISFJ 0
Fortuna Minor ENTJ ESFP 3 ENTP 1
Puer ESTP ENTJ 2 ENTJ 2
Rubeus ENTP ENTP 0 INTP 1
Acquisitio ESFP INTJ 4 INTJ 4
Laetitia INTJ ESTP 3 ESTP 3
Tristitia ISFP ISTJ 2 ISTJ 2
Carcer ISTP ESTJ 2 ESTJ 2
Caput Draconis ISFJ ESFJ 1 INFJ 1
Cauda Draconis ENFJ ISTP 4 ENFP 1

Well, with this third method (“Kiersey Ring”), we get far fewer matches with either with the MBTI or Kiersey Elemental methods than we did with just those latter two alone.  We get several completely wrong matches, and far fewer close-but-not-quite matches.  Additionally, taking a cursory glance at the descriptions of the Kiersey/MBTI personality interpretations and the descriptions of the geomantic figures, it seems like this method really doesn’t work as well as either the MBTI or Kiersey Elemental methods.  Ah well, science for science’s sake.

Personally, I think this sort of correspondence (especially as it can be used for Jungian analysis of personality) can do with more investigation, and I plan to do so in the near future as a new line of geomantic research.  For now, however, I’d be inclined to stick with the Kiersey Elemental method of associating the geomantic figures to personality types, both Kiersey and MBTI.  Try using it in your work, and see how it turns out!  If nothing else, you can try a single-figure or full chart reading to determine something like “what is person X like” or “what is the personality/character of so-and-so?”, looking at the figure you get, matching it to a personality type using one of the Kiersey/MBTI methods above, and mulling that over in addition to what the geomantic corpus says.  It’d likely be a much shorter way of figuring that out compared to taking a full test, and it’s got at least as much scientific validity behind it, after all.  It’s not like these correspondences give us any new information for the geomantic figures on their own, as they’re already described quite thoroughly in the Western corpus with respect to personality and temperament, but since there’s plenty written about MBTI and Kiersey types in modern literature, such a correspondence can still be useful for those who know how to apply them.

Edit: I realize now that I misspelled “Keirsey” (e before i) throughout this article.  Mea maxima culpa.  I’m currently without a way to find-replace-all and don’t care to go through this post and correct every one.  I am, however, acutely aware of the error.

Search Term Shoot Back, October 2015

I get a lot of hits on my blog from across the realm of the Internet, many of which are from links on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS readers.  To you guys who follow me: thank you!  You give me many happies.  However, I also get a huge number of new visitors daily to my blog from people who search around the Internet for various search terms.  As part of a monthly project, here are some short replies to some of the search terms people have used to arrive here at the Digital Ambler.  This focuses on some search terms that caught my eye during the month of October 2015.

“can we change our physical gender by occultism” — First, a clarification: sex and gender are two separate things.  Sex is physical and involves the organs, bone structure, and hormones that your body has and produces; generally, this is male or female, but there are cases where someone is born intersexed with a mixture of the two sexual types.  Gender is a mental and social construct, and is a fluid gradient between masculine, feminine, agendered, and other genderqueer (hence the use of third person singular gender-neutral pronouns, i.e. neither “he/his/him” nor “she/her/her”).  Second, magic doesn’t work this way, not like how you asked.  I can no more change myself from a physical man into a woman any more than I can shoot fire from my palms or cause earthquakes by hitting the ground with my staff.  That’s the stuff of the gods and of myth.  Magic is a spiritual influence, not a physical one, and although it has physical effects, it goes through spiritual means to do so.  The Harry Potter stuff is just fantasy, and no more.  Now, you can certainly use magic to make transgender transition easier or more obtainable (easier access to hormone therapy, increased finances for physical reconstruction/plastic surgery, glamor to convince people easier that you’re a particular gender, persuasion to make bigots accept you easier, safety when alone at night or with friends), but there’s no ritual that will just up and change a man into a woman or a woman into a man.

“kybalion santeria” — Ugh. Ew. No. The two should never mix.  The Kybalion is New Thought trash; I know that many occultists read it as one of their first books, which acts as a gateway to bigger and better stuff.  I know.  I get it.  I do.  But the Kybalion is trash that causes more harm than good, and the fact that a lot of people read it doesn’t make it a good book.  It’s not Hermetic, certainly; heck, the name of the text itself is made up and supposed to recall “qabbalah”.  And, all that said, trying to mix the Kybalion with Santeria is…unpalatable.  Heck, Santeria is closer to actual Hermetic theurgy (complete with emanationist cosmogony and ensoulment of things) than the Kybalion could ever hope to be, and Santeria is a religion from slaves.  Slaves who had nothing but their ancestors and their gods and a crafty way of calling on them by a number of names unfamiliar to them.  Anyway….yeah, no.  Don’t mix the two, kiddo.

“how to consecrate a ring with the power of the sun” — Consecration of jewelry or talismans generally is an important part of my work.  How does one consecrate stuff?  Well, it depends on the force or god you’re consecrating it to.  With the planets, it depends on what tradition you want to work with, since there are dozens of cultures that have some sort of planetary magic, and hundreds or thousands of rituals between them all.  Originally, I got my start with a Christian-Hermetic angelic approach, which is still what I’ll pull out for really heavy-duty long-term projects, but I’ve experimented with many others.  For the Sun, specifically, I’d strongly recommend a ritual I recently came across from the PGM, which I’ve entitled the Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Helios.  Tweak it accordingly to receive the powers you want.

“is it cultural appropriation for magicians to work with saints” — No.  Spirits call whom they call; it’s not up to meatsuits to tell you “no, you can’t work with spirit X because you’re white”.  I’m very much of the opinion that when a god comes to you, regardless of where they come from, you pay attention.  I have no Greek ancestry, yet the Greek gods welcome me and Hermes especially calls to me; I have Jewish ancestry, but I feel less Jewish than a pig farmer in an oyster bar on Yom Kippur.  I’m getting involved with the ATR community, who’ve taken me in and with whom I hope to serve and pitch in as much as any black Cuban.  I’m not baptized, but the Christian saints have helped me out and continue to do so regularly.  Why is this?  Because spirits recognize color and ancestry and culture but (in general) they don’t care.  If you want to work with them, if you learn about them, if you encounter them how they ask and prefer to be encountered, if you fulfill your vows and keep your word to them, if you remember them and respect them, if you do your best to be a decent fucking human being, then you’re probably going to do better than many who are just “born into the culture” and don’t see it as any more than a thing their grandparents do.  However, respect is the key; that’s the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.  There can and should be a two-way exchange between cultures, and we should never be binned into a box just because we were born into it.  That said, we shouldn’t loot, disrespect, or forget the origins of those whom we call on, and we shouldn’t transgress boundaries that even people of a particular culture wouldn’t transgress.  Consecrating elekes with your Wiccan pentacle or setting up an “Elegua protection altar” with hematite skulls and candy is not how you respect the gods.  You don’t just read a book written with half-assed, half-correct information by gods-only-know-what-hack and think you’re good to go as some sort of divine initiate.  Lineaged initiations, for instance, cultural mores, and purity laws are things to be respected.  For instance, even though I’m not Christian, I go to Catholic mass all the same when I need to get in touch more with a saint; that said, because I’m not baptized, I won’t take part in the Eucharist and receive communion.  Why?  Because I’m doing it for the same Power that the saint lived and died for.  It’s respect, and I apply that to all my spirits, be they gods, theoi, orisha, saints, angels, ancestors, kami, demons, or whatnot.

“the true table of practice” — There is no “true” Table of Practice, no more than there’s a “true” wand or “true” Triangle of Art.  Tables of Practice are tools used in conjuration as a basis for summoning a spirit, and there are different types of Tables used: there’s the one from the Ars Paulina, the one from Trithemius, the one from Dee, and I’m sure there are yet others that exist in the Western Hermetic tradition.  The Table you use is dependent on what text or tradition of magic you’re working with.  If it exists, by which I mean if you have a tangible version of it you can use in a ritual, regardless whether it’s gilded stone or engraved wood or Sharpie on a cereal box, then it’s true enough to work.

“cyprian of antioch vs st michael” — Why “versus” at all?  Cyprian of Antioch is a saint, and so honors God through His angels, including Michael the Archangel, the Prince of the Heavenly Host.  They work together, although Cyprian might prefer to call on a number of other powers before calling on Michael.  Now, while I strongly recommend developing a relationship with both Cyprian and Michael, and while they both tend to achieve the same end result when it comes to spiritual work, they achieve them in different ways.  Saint Michael the Archangel is the one who conquers and subdues wicked spirits, demons, and devils; think of the usual image of him where he’s impaled the Devil with his sword or spear and has him chained and underfoot; Michael helps you command the spirits as your servants.  Saint Cyprian of Antioch, on the other hand, is the one who ennobles and elevates wicked spirits, making them genteel and dignified so that one may work with them on an equal footing; Cyprian helps you collaborate with the spirits as your partners.  Sometimes it’s better to go with Michael than Cyprian, sometimes the other way, sometimes either way.  It depends on your style of interaction with the spirits, whether you prefer to be harsh or soft and whether you prefer slaves or partners, and it depends on the specific circumstances you’re working with spirits.  Sometimes you need force, and sometimes you need nobility.

“how to do things with quartz crystal” — Yes.  You do the things with the crystal by using it.  You might need to hold it differently or make sure it’s smooth enough for some particular means; you may not want those ridges on a Lemurian crystal (snerk) chafing your anus or vagina.  Not all crystals work as soup ladles.  Crystals generally do not work well as shampoo.  Horses tend to get you from place to place on the streets in rural Pennsylvania better than crystals.  One cannot make good coffee or tea with quartz crystals (or, for that matter, the crystallized powder of dehydrated coffee).  Smoothed crystals work well as back massagers.  Most crystals, except for the tiny ones, can help keep papers on your desk in the case of an unexpected tornado.  So many things!

“scorpio planetary hours” — There’s a bit of a semantic mismatch here.  Scorpio is a sign of the Zodiac, a 30° segment of the ecliptic in the eighth sphere of the fixed stars, beyond the spheres of the planets.  Planetary hours are segments of daytime or nighttime that are associated with the individual planets.  Scorpio is not a planet, and thus receives no planetary hour.  However, Scorpio is associated with the planet Mars in its negative/passive/feminine aspect, so we can say that certain hours of Mars (such as those at nighttime or during the waning Moon) can be associated with Scorpio, as I’ve experimented with before.  However, as my results from said experiment have indicated, there’s no real need to use planetary hours for the zodiac; rather, you’d want to time stuff so that the sign in question is rising (at the eastern horizon) or culminating (at the zenith/midheaven).

“witchcraft entity children summoning conjuration rituals” — I…what?  Are you wondering what spells witches use to summon children?  Is Hansel and Gretel a cautionary tale of “don’t let your children get bewitched”?  Do you think that those Satanic witches summon children to their stoops so that they can dismember them and use them in sacrifices to the Devil?  Pah!  Smart witches understand that one should use the most mundane, innocuous methods and stock up when children are in abundance.  On that note, have fun trick-or-treating this weekend, kids!

“angelic runes chart”, “planetary runes combinations” — Funnily enough, these are not what triggered my recent post on term clarification for different types of symbols, but it was a Reddit post on /r/occult.  Anyway, neither angels nor planets have runes (pace anonymous author of the Liber Runarum).  The word “rune” refers specifically to the letters of the alphabets used for Germanic and Scandinavian languages prior to the introduction of the Roman script in northwestern and northern Europe.  There are runiform scripts out there, like Old Hungarian and Old Turkish, which look kinda-sorta like futhark/futhorc runes, but they’re not themselves runes.  Angels have seals or sigils (such as those given in the Magical Calendar or the Heptameron or Agrippa), and planets just have glyphs.  In general, it’s better to just use the generic word “symbol” to refer to things.

“cassiel ritual for separation of lovers” — Cassiel is the angel associated with the planet Saturn, and is otherwise known as Castiel, Caffriel, Tzaphqiel, or some other mangled form of its original Hebrew name.  Saturn is not exactly the most emotional or sweetest of planets, and is also associated with the metal lead.  You know the story of Cupid?  He has two sets of arrows: gold-tipped ones to cause people to fall in love, and lead-tipped ones to cause people to fall in hate.  I don’t have a ritual handy under the angelic powers of Saturn to cause people to spurn each other, but it’s not hard to see how this might be done.  For instance, if I were to make up such a ritual…get a fishing weight made of lead and hammer it out into a flat disc.  Engrave one person’s name on the left of the disc and the other person’s name on the right, with the symbol of Saturn written three times down the middle of the disc.  On a Saturday night in the hour of Saturn, preferably with the Moon waning and placed antagonistically towards the planet, call on the angel of Saturn with myrrh and asafoetida incense.  Proclaim the love of so-and-so with thus-and-such null and void, that the powers of Saturn sullen and ensorrow their relationship, and that the two lovers be no more; break the disc down the three symbols of Saturn into two, such that the two names are no longer together on the same piece of lead.  Suffumigate the pieces in the incense and set a black candle to burn on each such that the black wax covers the two pieces of lead.  In the morning, instead of using the bathroom as normal, piss on the two pieces of wax-covered lead, and bury each piece where the person will step over it (so-and-so’s piece where so-and-so walks, thus-and-such’s piece where thus-and-such walks).  You’re done!  Go take a shower and enjoy your chaos.

“how to consecrate a 7 day candle”, “burning candle rituals in psalms”, “candle burning rituals psalms”, “burning candle rituals use of psalms”, “florida water and white candle rituals”, “psalms 23 white candle magic”, “how to burn candle to pray with psalm”, “candle burning ritual using the psalms”, “can you use florida water to consecrate a candle” — I’m not sure if I noticed it before or if it’s actually weird this month, but it seems like I’ve gotten a higher-than-normal rate of candle/psalm-related searches.  Chances are these are variants of something a single person was using and kept getting turned back to my blog, and given the inclusion of Florida water in a few of the searches, I’m going to guess they’re looking for something more American in style, like hoodoo or rootworking uses.  Honestly, while the usual all-purpose candle consecration ritual I use comes from the Key of Solomon (book II, chapter 12), that’s generally overkill for something like this.  Washing a candle off in fresh, clean water or holy water is more than enough; Florida water may make it a little “brighter” than you want, but it’s a good spiritual cleanser all the same.  You can anoint candles with olive oil that’s been prayed over or with a specific magical oil, but it’s not strictly needed unless you think it’ll help with your specific need better.  There’re whole books and styles of setting lights and burning candles, especially with Psalm magic, far more than I can describe here, but use candles in ways that make sense, generate spiritual power from the flame, and demonstrate through ritual motion of moving and placing candles according to the specific psalm and purpose of the ritual.

“can i invite pomba gira into my dreams” — Ahahahaha a̴͔͓̰͕̩h̸͙͙̱̲̝a̜̝̦͈̤̦ͅh̕a̝͍̟̯̹̠h̺à̙̖͕h̻̻͚͍͔̼͙a̖͔h͇͟a̛̬̗̥̞̦h̡̠ H̷̹̣̘͈͎̭͔͟À̵̲̖͍̪̱̘H̢͚͈Á̘̳̠̭̰ͅH̥̼̳͎̞̻̖̲A̵̳̗̜̫͍̬̬H̜͇̰̟̜͜A̵̸̳̙H̡̙̯̩͉̼̼̹̳̰̕A̫̬̻͇͖̝̫͜ͅH͖̞͡A̞̳͇̫̕ͅ H͔̞̜̣̟̀͟͟͢A̭̯̹̥̼͙̪̤̩̤͔͟͢͠Ḫ̸̶̢̨̲͉͇̙̫͍̹̥͓̝͈̺̯͟Á̷̟̠̤̼̝̪̙͙͕͕̭̲͉̭̀͜͢H̸̵̴̖͓̪͙̬̹͕̣͔̰̟̥͈̭́͝A̧͙̟̘̞̠̼͍͠H̶̨̡̻͈͈̮͖̬̙̯̳̺̻͉̬̼̗̰̗̣͉̀͢A̴̵̦͖̲̠̯͚̲̜̬͔̪͇̙͈̺̦̺͚ͅH̴͇̟̦̙̦̺̖̭̰̦͕͔́͟Ą̸̪̲̝̯̥̤̲͖̪̥̲͖̗̗̕͜H̞͇̱͉̜̠͖͔̹͓̜̟͈̕͢ͅA̶̕҉̡̤̫͉̦̗̤A̴҉̡͎͈̰͎̘͈̭͙͟A͜҉̖̬͍͚̩̦̬̲̯A͘҉̤̗̭͉̪͇̠Ạ̸̛̛̫̝͈̰͍͉͖̻̝̞̺̭̼̹̣̠̀͢Ą̡̱͓̝̦̼͖̯̞̟̞̻̱̙̠̦̰͠ͅA̷̢͇̹̫̘̥͙̻͙̼̝͍̠̼͡ͅͅA̴҉̴͈͔̬̫͎͙̹̲̰͍͙̕͟ͅͅÁ̴̶̱̘͉͍͈͘A̗̻̯̲̪̟̯͚̠̠̭̥̬͓̻̙̙͢͝ͅ y͖̜o̷͘͏̺̮̭̮͇̪̰ù̧̩̖̪͖̬̀ͅ ̵͖̠̘̯̲͎̙̳͘f̘̮͖͙͝o̗̪̺͉̺̫̣͕o̥̖̳̹͢ĺ͉̥͍̥͇̥̹͞ 

 

And now, since I figure I may as well rejoice in it, here’s the list of all phallus-related searches from this month.  Because people obviously come to read the Digital Ambler for two things, magic and dicks, and I’m not sure which is more popular anymore.

  • anal sex with big black cocks
  • dick big kongo
  • black huge dicks
  • use method large cock
  • egypt massive dick man image
  • pompeii penis depictions
  • ebony dicks
  • huge dick