On Geomantic Education

To those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook, this will come as no surprise.  I’m finally working on my book on geomancy again.  It’s something that people have been dogging me about for years, and it’s been an on-again-off-again project since 2013.  However, since recently rebuilding my computer and getting all my files back together, I got the bug again to write that book, and good progress is being made again.  At this rate, it’ll be the size of a proper textbook, and my aim is to make it thorough and complete on a level not rivaled since Fludd or az-Zanati.  I’m not going to discount the extremely valuable books put out by John Michael Greer or Stephen Skinner, as I stand on the shoulders of those two living giants with regards to this art, but I aim to put out a text of a different kind.

And yet, despite that this book is (currently) estimated to come out at around 300pp., I can already hear a complaint off in the distance.  My goal is for this book to present a fundamental and thorough exploration of the art of geomancy in such a way that it will start from first principles (what is divination, what are the elements and planets and stars, what are the relationships between these forces and the figures, what are the relationships amongst the figures, how is geomantic “mathematical”, etc.) and go through every major technique I can document in Western geomancy, including variations and specifics of detailed things along the way.  In this sense, I’m following in the same steps as the geomantic authors of yore.  However, there is one major thing that my book does not and will not have that virtually every other book on geomancy has, and while it may frustrate people used to it, I find that it’s something that should never have been written by anyone ever to begin with.

If you haven’t guessed yet, dear reader, it’s lookup tables, those lists of premade answers to particular arrangements of Court figures, figures in the houses, and the like.  It’s these lookup tables (cf. Hartmann, Skinner’s “Oracle of Geomancy”, the Golden Dawn primer on geomancy, etc.) that I believe are a bane to the proper study of geomancy, and I refuse to include them in my work.

Now, I understand why they were written.  For the sake of completion, many authors have endeavored to provide a clear explanation and guide to interpreting each figure in each of the houses; since there are only 16 figures and 12 houses, this is only about 192 small entries.  After all, astrologers have done the same for the planets and parts in the houses for centuries, and they have a lot more to worry about in their texts.  And, for the sake of being reeeaaallly complete, many authors have also included premade interpretations for the different possible combinations of Witnesses and Judge; after all, if the Judge must be an even figure, then that cuts down all pairwise combinations of Witnesses to just 128 different combinations.  Again, not terrible.  For completeness’ sake, and to offer an illustrative guide to the gist of what figures mean for a query, sure, I can see why this was done.

The problem, however, is that many people are not as dedicated to the art when they claim to be its students, and would rather be lazy.  Mass-market publishers, additionally, want things that sell, and will happily cater to the many who would spend a few pence on a text that appeals to them rather than the extraordinary few who would spend more on a text that they need.  I mean, consider how much trash there is out there with the neopagan or pop magic literature; sure, it sells well, and it may very well be a good starting point for those who are serious about their studies.  Hell, even I admit to having a few of Scott Cunningham’s fluffier books somewhere in my library, and it did help me get started back in middle school with learning what magic is and how it works.  That said, if I were to stop there, I’d be putting myself at a great disservice and would never have gotten to where I am today; moreover, if I thought that Cunningham’s style of pop magic spells done on a beach or in the snow was all there was to magic, I’d insult all the magicians and occultists who came before him, not to say the field of magic as a whole.

The problem is that, as time went on in the Renaissance and more and more books were published on geomancy, all they really focused on was the lookup tables.  The techniques were discussed only inasmuch as they enabled you to use the lookup tables; for this, see Franz Hartmann’s book on geomancy as a prime example.  Geomancy became whittled down from this elaborate, profound system of divination that could elegantly answer any subject with extraordinary detail into this…well, the phrase “parlor game” comes to mind, something like Chi-Chi sticks or those little folded paper fortune-teller doodads we all used to make in elementary school.  Even though geomancy was more popular in Europe than Tarot is now, imagine if Tarot were reduced only to using its numbers and suits; it’s effectively playing cards, ignoring different spreads and the qabbalistic symbolism inherent in the art and structure of the Tarot.  That’s what basically became of geomancy towards the end of the Renaissance, and was one of the main contributors to geomancy effectively being lost once the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution came around.  No, geomancy was not completely forgotten, but it was all but regarded as useless and overly complicated for an answer that usually amounted to little more than “evil, except for bloodletting”.

So much for how the publishing and spread of lookup tables influenced the general perception of geomancy.  However, there’s another part of the problem with relying on these: lookup tables are inherently limited.  Sure, the small number of combinations of figures in houses or Witnesses and Judge is sufficiently limited to offer a good high-level summary in a single text; it’s not the fact that there are only so many combinations in geomancy, but it’s that these summaries cannot be helpful in all circumstances and for all queries.  These interpretations are very general, but also very isolated from other factors in a geomantic chart.  Yes, Fortuna Maior in house IV is a good thing for one’s personal life, but what if we’re asking a query about having an ex-lover move out of our house, and this figure is aspected by opposition, and it’s in company with a negative figure, and the querent has indicated that health issues may be at play?  Fortuna Maior, although a good figure, is sufficiently negated that it becomes stressful and harmful to the querent.  Yet, what can a lookup table say?  Not much, except that the querent will do well and strong in their personal life and home.  That’s all well and good, but the geomancer still has to link that to every other factor present to actually give a useful answer.  Without indicating how, books that stress the importance of lookup tables without teaching how to synthesize these factors gimp the geomancer.

Lookup tables, in effect, cheapen the art of geomancy; it reduces a synthetic, holistic, detailed divination system to a copy-and-paste, abbreviated, vague system of terse and snippy answers.  Because of this, geomancers who rely primarily on lookup tables aren’t really learning how to actually use geomancy beyond following page numbers like a “choose your path” story book.

That’s why my book will not have these lookup tables.  Tables of correspondence that indicate what figures mean in specific contexts?  Absolutely! Detailed interpretations of each figure as they are and how they relate to other figures to explore their own worlds?  You got ’em!  Case studies of geomantic readings that explore each individual factor and technique used for a particular chart, then synthesized together to form a coherent, cohesive narrative?  But of course!  These are all parts of understanding the principles of geomancy from a ground-up approach, so that lookup tables become useless anyway.  By enabling the geomancer to develop their own interpretations through a deep knowledge of each figure, understanding how the figures interact with each other ideally and in particular charts, and giving them the tools to synthesize different parts of a reading, the geomancer will never need to use lookup tables for answers on “will he obtain his love” or “how will the undertaking end”; at a glance, the geomancer will be able to answer these on their own anyway based on their own skill and intuition.

So, if the fact that my book is gonna be around 300 pages and remind you of college, dear reader, don’t worry.  This is not a book to flip through because you want to be lazy.  This is a book to absorb thoroughly because you want to be excellent.

End of an Enchiridion

I can’t believe it’s come to this.  It’s been four years, and I cannot even, I literally cannot.  I knew this day would eventually come, as all finite things must come to an end, but I’m confused at the fact that it’s here.  It’s been so slowly coming that I never realized how fast this moment arrived, and I’m…not quite at a loss, but nonplussed all the same.

My Moleskine is full.

This isn’t just any journal, mind you, as Moleskines are hardly ever wont to be.  No, this particular journal is my εγχειριδιον, my vademecum, my Book of Shadow, my spellbook, my grimoire, my personal book of prayers and rituals and seals that I have been writing and maintaining since my first days in Fr. Rufus Opus’ courses.  The cover is worn, and certain pages have all but fallen out, and some already would have if it weren’t for the masking tape holding them in place.  Pages with exceptionally well-used prayers are tissue-soft, and others are dog-eared for quick reference so that I don’t have to flip through a chaotic mish-mash of traditions and systems.  Among pages of my best efforts at Roman and Greek script mixed with my personal shorthand, annotated with origins of each prayer and ritual, I have poured countless hours into keeping track of the words and acts I use in my work as a magician as an aide for ritual, supplementing my memory when my memory alone hasn’t caught up.

And it’s full.  Fuck.

I knew this day would eventually come, and I made plans years ago to digitize it into a more easily accessible format, first copying whatever I wanted from a source to my Moleskine, and from there into LaTeX files to be compiled into a fancy PDF which, for various reasons, I haven’t kept up with lately.  And, while that’s still a good way to go for future use (heck, maybe even dissemination to students?), I’m…not sure that’s what I want to do for myself.  Lord knows I still need to keep track of rituals, and even though this particular book is filled, I question whether a digital format or some other means is the best way to keep an enchiridion.

I’m no stranger to journal-keeping, after all, and I’ve filled a number of them over the years since my first attempts back in elementary school, ranging from the mundane goings-on between classes or meetings to the most arcane theorizing of the cosmos, and this blog is just another manifestation of that; as such, I know the paradoxical heart-wrenching elation that comes with filling a journal.  Still, even this particular one is…jarring.  I’ve carried this book with me around the country, and found myself sometimes going into a minor panic when I realize I may have left it at home.  That book has had oil, water, ash, dirt, spit, and even the occasional blood spilled on it.  That book has grown up and full and worn with me as I’ve grown as a magus.  Even though this all seems rather sentimental for a glorified notepad, and even though I’m unusually attached to such a thing, I’m still somewhat at a crossroads with how to proceed.  Do I get a new one, and retranscribe everything?  Do I go for the binder-and-printout method, so that I can more easily manage and organize the thing on the fly?  Do I just want to use a document I can edit on the fly and get an e-reader or tablet to do the same?

I need to do something, obviously.  Just because this journal is full does not mean my Work is complete, not by any sense.  There will still be prayers to practice, rituals to record, and designs I deign to copy for clarity’s sake, and I will still need somewhere to write them and keep a ready index of.  But…I can no longer do it with this book, which already has so much in it and cannot accept any more.  This is a problem that demands a solution, but…perhaps it’s best to review what I’ve learned from keeping such an artifact first.  What do I know now, after filling up a whole book with my rituals and prayers, that I wouldn’t have expected years ago?  What does such a book become and do for the magus?  Based on my own experience, how should one approach the process of writing in an enchiridion?

  1. It becomes a ritual tool in and of itself, rivaling the importance of any wand or shewstone or oil.
  2. It is a physical object made of paper and thread and cardboard and, if you’re fancy, leather.  Even with careful and delicate use, the book will rip and tear and fall apart, and so should be given all the respect due to any magical tool for as long as it is used.
  3. It gains power in its own right, not only by virtue of the words and seals and patterns inscribed within, but by the constant use and reuse in ritual, as well as by the spirits and powers it comes in contact with.
  4. It offers a way to prototype and practice a ritual without ever performing it first, by recording all words said and motions made, before ever putting them to use.
  5. It provides a useful way to learn what is important and what is not important in ritual, gauging by how little one needs a particular prayer or ritual.
  6. Conversely, it provides a way to note what ought to be learned by heart, gauging by how much one needs a particular prayer or ritual.
  7. The fact that one is writing, actively putting in words, as opposed to typing gives the book a different feel and different (more) power.  Yes, the information may be the same, but the method makes the difference.
  8. With written words, one has the book indelibly and permanently made in one’s own kind of typographical image, as our handwriting is as much us as any photograph or depiction.
  9. It forms a record of one’s progress by virtue of the order and type of rituals written inside.  Even without records of ritual or proceedings of meditations, the prayers and rituals themselves show the state of the magus when they were first needed, as well as their exploration by the variety of text added over time.
  10. It is a testament to one’s activity and work as a magus, and as such is best kept private and secret lest anyone find it and, thus, find you out as a magus.
  11. Depending on your sources and your teachers, the text inside may be the last time those words are ever written, with you the last magus ever to use them.  As long as those words are around, at least in your own book, the traditions and rituals you use can stand the test of time and survive to be practiced by yet another generation.
  12. Organization from the outset, when keeping track of these things, is overrated.  When you’re still learning, the best order is chronological; by flipping through over and over to find the same things, you get used to the physical location of the text you need within the book.
  13. Presetting certain boundaries, so that this set of pages will be dedicated to conjuration rituals and that set of pages dedicated to Hellenic prayers and so forth, potentially wastes pages since you never know exactly how many or how few pages you need for a given topic, should you even get into that topic, which may not always be determined from the start.
  14. It is a finite object with a limited amount of space.  It will eventually become full, even if you keep only the most important and sacred words in it with nothing extraneous written and no space wasted.
  15. It is a tool and an aide.  It is to be used as much as it can be, so that the paper and ink inside is not wasted on idle copying, but made to work as much as you Work.
  16. When first copying things into it, you will use up a lot of space; only a year or so into my work, I had already filled up over a third of the pages, but it took me another three to fill up the other two thirds.  The rate at which you add things in will almost always decrease over time as you settle into a particular tradition and use the same rituals over and over.
  17. Not everything can be memorized.  While memory can always be improved, there are some things that one will keep forgetting without regular, almost daily use.
  18. A written text is crucial for smooth, repeatable work, so that one can read when memory can fail.  There’s a reason Catholic priests literally focus on the Missal while they perform their ritual, that they don’t slip up and jumble words or forget the order of things.
  19. What you write in the book, you write in your spirit.  The act of transcribing prayers is an important and powerful form of kinetic meditation.  For a similar reason, I find it helpful to say aloud every word that is to be said aloud in prayer or ritual (a la the tradition of soferim in Judaism), and to visualize the action when writing down instructions for actions.
  20. The art of handwriting is not doing too hot nowadays, and I don’t claim to have a good style of penmanship by any means, but it is a crucial aspect of maintaining the book.  Clear handwriting bespeaks a clear, methodical, premeditated mindset, and involves as much art as any skillful orison or profound prayer, not to mention making reading off the paper easier in dim lighting.
  21. It is useful to keep rituals and processes separate from records of using those rituals and processes.  I do not mix the two, and maintain a separate journal for keeping track of spiritual seals, conjuration conversations, and after-effects of ritual.  This is because the same ritual may work at some times and not at others through no fault of the ritual at all, and sometimes a ritual needs to be edited even though it works well-enough so that it can work better.
  22. It is useful to keep practice separate from theory.  Theory and philosophy and theology are nice to know and learn and discuss, but they do not come into play on the ground when the ritual is being done and the only thing that matters is the result.  Save space and keep the theory for another place, and focus only on what is necessary to complete the task at hand.
  23. It is useful to keep practice separate from recipes.  While oils, incenses, and the like may definitely be done in a ritual manner, the ingredients, conditions, and processes may often take up a lot of space that isn’t needed when doing the chanting or other ritual actions involved.
  24. It’s good to get a good-quality journal for this, neither poor nor great.  Something cheap and trashy is easy to fall apart and destroy, and something expensive and rare is too precious to waste a working text with errors, emendations, and errata in.  Settle for sturdiness, not for style, and save the pricey stuff for an heirloom calligraphied masterpiece that will be complete in and of itself.
  25. When there are a series of texts one may wish to transcribe, such as the Orphic Hymns or the Book of Psalms, it’s often better to get a separate text that contains those prayers as a complete set.  Transcribe only the ones you use most frequently, like Psalms 51 and 23 without the other 148 psalms.  An urge for completion is natural in many magi, for whom a perfectionist streak often runs strong, but you’ll ruin your hand with painful cramps and fill your book up faster than you need to.
  26. Be terse in the text for your instructions, and thorough in the text to be said aloud.  Only say what is absolutely necessary for instructions, as that can take up far more space than you need.  Laconic brevity is a virtue in the process of ritual, as is completion and wholeness in the prayers.  So long as you’ve written down enough to perform all steps of the ritual, you’ve written enough, and in the process allow yourself with room to grow and experiment and customize steps of the ritual.
  27. Even if you think they’re demanded of only by the bitchiest of middle-school teachers, get a bookcover or some sort of protection for your book.  You want to keep the book as intact and safe for as long as you possibly can.  Moleskines fit perfectly in a variety of leather car manual three-fold cases, as it turns out, and even includes a little loop for a pen and a pad of paper for quick notes and visions.
  28. Once you’ve started writing, do not stop until you’re done.  Do not leave something unfinished; if it’s part of a whole, write it wholly.  Do not begin writing until you know you can complete it in a single go, but if you need to write it, write it then and there.
  29. Generalize rituals when appropriate; think rubrics for ritual, not specific instances or implementations of ritual, and leave blanks and bracketed spaces for names or other things to be inserted when necessary.  Make a note when a particular prayer may be modified from its original intent or purpose.
  30. Only include tables of correspondence when absolutely necessary, such as when making a reference for how to fill in a ritual rubric.  Times when needing to use a table of correspondence in ritual are few, and usually only serve to take up space.  It’s better to commit the system of correspondence to memory, and that only what is necessary.
  31. Plan for rituals to be as modular as possible.  Build and conduct rituals using multiple prayers and acts, and record each one separately rather than writing the same invocation over and over for multiple rituals.
  32. The word enchiridion literally means “in the hand”, and vademecum “go with me”.  The book itself should be small enough to fit conveniently in a knapsack, but big enough to hold and read from comfortably.  If you use something too small, it’ll fill up too fast and will be hard to read from; if you use something too big, it’ll be hard to hold and hard to carry around.
  33. Never tear anything out of the book.  You will never make a mistake so egregious that you cannot write around it, and all rituals, even if needed just the once, will help you learn.  There will always be spare paper or media available to write on for things that cannot go in the book.  Keep the book intact as much as possible, since it’ll weaken on its own over time without any extra help from you.
  34. Get a good pen, and keep to that same type of pen when you write in the book.  Whether it’s a fountain pen or ball-point pen, you can never have too good a pen.  Carry it around with the book.  Keep it a neutral color, like black or blue, using other colors for specific purposes like corrections or particular symbols or watchwords.  And yes, it has to be a pen, one that isn’t erasable.  The point of the book is to put things in and keep track of what you practice, not to change the past and remove it.
  35. It doesn’t matter how you write in your book, so long as you can read it.  Your book is primarily for you and your eyes; everyone else takes a very, very distant second, although the day will come that someone else will need to use your book.  If you use a shorthand or type of code to write in the book, include a key somewhere hidden just in case you or someone else needs to decode it.
  36. Do not lose the book.  Do not destroy the book.  Do not get rid of the book.  Once finished or rendered to a point where it is unusable through age and wear, keep it somewhere safe, and only if you absolutely cannot keep it with you should you even begin to consider entrusting it to someone you can trust.
  37. It doesn’t matter whether your book is a journal or a sketchbook, i.e. lined or unlined.  I find lines helpful since I’ve never been able to develop a steady baseline for handwriting, and it helps with drawing out patterns and diagrams, but many people prefer an unlined paper to write on.  Go with what’s best for you.
  38. Once you start writing in a book, keep the book and keep using the book until it’s filled or you cannot use it any longer.  Just because you don’t like a ritual you wrote doesn’t mean the whole book is trash.  Just because you’ve changed traditions doesn’t mean you forget your history and past rituals.
  39. Take the book with you and read from it in as many rituals as you need to do.  You may not always need the book, especially if you’ve memorized the rituals and prayers needed, but take it with you just in case.  If nothing else, you help the book build power.

I suppose I had more thoughts on keeping and maintaining such a book than I expected.  I guess I wanted to be thorough, in a kind of “what would you tell a younger version of yourself” kind of way.

I think, at this point, I’ve decided on what I’m going to do.  I may not stick with Moleskine, but I am going to get another blank journal for myself.  I can always digitize the stuff as I need to in case I need a digital copy of my book, but…in all honesty, I can’t bring myself to care as much about that as I will about having a handwritten copy of my rituals with the ability to add in new rituals at a moment’s notice.  For me, and I speak only for myself, I will need to write by hand my enchiridion, and I will do this again, word by every painstaking word, for as many times as I need to.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to the coming weeks as I start this process again, but for me and my practice, it’s absolutely worth it.

Occult Desert Bookshelf

Not that long ago, I was asked a simple question: if I were stranded on a desert island and could only have three occult books to keep with me, which ones would that be?  Hoo boy.  Asking this to most Western magicians, bookhoarders that we are, is a tough question.  Asking this to one who wants to build up his own library?  You’re just being cruel.

So, just to get it out of the way, there are two books I think every magician should have: a handbook and a recordbook.  The former keeps all their notes, sigils, symbol information, rituals, prayers, and the like that they find useful in their practice.  The latter acts as their journal, reading log, dream record, ritual notebook, liber spirituum, and so forth.  While the two can be combined, I prefer to keep them separate (and I keep a separate divination book from my ritual book, but that’s just me).  These two things are as vital as one can get for a magician, since it keeps a written, permanent record of their work and activities over time.  That said, with enough practice, much of these things can be committed to memory; of the nearly-full moleskine journal I have for my ritual handbook, I need to look at it for only a handful of prayers at this point since I’ve done so much of it over time that I’ve gotten all my daily practice and regular ritual stuff memorized.

That said, those don’t count for this question; I can always write and keep records on many surfaces, and memorize enough aplenty, but those are for things I come across and invent and perform.  If I had to pick three books, grimoires, reference books, or the like to take with me on a stranded, perhaps life-long exiled island, what would those three books be?

One of the easiest ways I like to think of things, given my earthy Virgoan tendencies, is to decide on negative criteria, or “what qualities am I not looking for?”.  It’s a fascinating way to learn more about something or another person, and it’s a good way to get a conversation started on a first date.  In terms of books I’d not want to bring, I know that I wouldn’t want anything on geomancy (at this point I’m left to innovating or starting over in another tradition), astrology (I can plot and figure out the stars on my own with a bit of trial and error), or…honestly, most magical topics.  Books of prayers, spirits, saints, rituals, and the like are good things to have on hand and familiarize oneself with, and I’ll be the first to claim that I could always do this more, but even at the risk of reinventing the wheel, what I need to do I can learn to do on my own.  After all, necessity is the best teacher, and on a stranded desert island, necessity would be the order of the day.

For me?  I’d pick these three books:

  1. A good book of herbs and plants.  Besides the obvious guide to what’s safe/medicinal/psychotropic and what’s not, the other benefit to this would help expand my knowledge and help me understand how to work with these things on both a material level as well as a spiritual one.
  2. A good book of stones, crystals, and soils.  See #1.  Add to it, knowing what minerals are present in an area can also suggest the safety of planting, water drinking, and building.
  3. A good book of animals, fauna, and insects.  See #1.  Add to it, knowing how an animal acts and where it lives can also help learn how to work with, tame, hunt, or avoid them, as well as what plants are likely in an area.

Why these?  Because, honestly, I’m simply ignorant of these things.  Angels, astrology, divination, mathematics, programming, designing, prayers, religion, these are all nice things to learn about, and I daresay I’ve learned a small smattering of each.  That said, for my own self, I’d pick books on the natural world that can guide me and help me survive and, based on how I react to certain things, help me grow spiritually.  In working with the things around me, I can work with the spirits around me and help them, and help myself be helped by them.  Perhaps, if I weren’t so ignorant and underlearned on these things, I’d pick different books.  For myself, these things as a survival guide would be paramount.  I’d gladly go with pragmatism over spirituality; after all, I can’t be a very good magician if I’m dead (post-death magic excepted).

So, what about you?  If you had to pick three books to keep with you on a deserted island, what would they be?  Also, if you know of good examples of the above I chose that aren’t written by Scott Cunningham, what would you suggest?

Fr. Rufus Opus, who is not me, made something awesome!

So, if you’re at all involved with the ceremonial magic blogosphere or Hermetic occulture online nowadays, you may have heard that there was a new book published this week: Seven Spheres by Frater Rufus Opus, from Nephilim Press.  This is Fr. Rufus Opus’ second time being in print (the first being a contribution to Holy Guardian Angel, ed. by Fr. Mike Cecchetelli), and his first time publishing a full book, which is a huge accomplishment for the man.

SONY DSC

From the Nephilim Press page:

Seven Spheres is more than a simple book of traditional Hermetic Magic. It is designed to be a series of rituals that function on many levels to take an average ordinary magician and turn them into a self-actualized powerhouse of proactive reality engineering. It’s entirely about attaining initiation and empowerment in the highest levels of un-manifest reality. These experiences and rites result in the release of a floodgate of power that pour down through the layers of progressive manifestation, building up awareness, understanding, and ultimately raw potential as you move from sphere to sphere through the rites, ultimately culminating in the anointing of the magician as Priest-King directing the forces that climax in your personal daily experience of the Joy of your life. This book isn’t about physical or spiritual mastery, it is entirely about understanding that you, personally, are beloved, honored, blessed, and highly favored of every intelligence, spirit, angel, and god of every sphere. This is about understanding who you are and what you can accomplish as a human being manifest upon the surface of the Earth. Spiritual enlightenment and material mastery will be yours, if you do the work described.

If you’re familiar with Fr. Rufus Opus’ stuff, you’ll know that he had a thing going on a while back called the Planetary Gates series of ebooks and rituals.  They formed the crux of his system of Hermetic theurgy: a series of conjurations calling upon the angels presiding over the planetary spheres.  He understood that a conjuration of one of these angels is a lot more than merely charging them to do such-and-such for you; rather, he realized that working with the angels can be a series of initiations into elevating oneself higher through the heavens to reach, essentially, godhood.  It’s a modern method of Renaissance Hermetic ritual with foundations in ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern theurgy, and it’s awesome.

As some of my own readers are familiar, I’m a student of Fr. Rufus Opus himself and his Red Work series of classes.  It’s how I formally got started in being a ceremonial magician back in 2011, and I’ve been close to him since and have consulted with him on a number of topics.  The Planetary Gates texts he had online for quite some time was one of the pillars of his coursework, and I’ve used them extensively in my own work, culminating in my own conjuration of the angel of the fixed stars and an initiation into the Eighth Sphere.  I can’t suggest his approach enough to people who are new to the occult, since it affords so much and so fast to those who are willing to put the work in and do the rituals.

A while back, Fr. Rufus Opus took down the option to buy the Planetary Gates ebooks he had on his website, only recently acknowledging that he had done so to polish them up, add in more content and experiences, and refine it into a proper occult grimoire.  Now, after all that time, the fruits of his labors can be harvested!  The Planetary Gates texts were valuable for their content alone, sure, and how to go about performing Trithemian-style conjurations and how to plunge oneself into the heights and depths of the planets, getting everything one can over and over out of the heavens to benefit ourselves on Earth and in all other planes of existence.  Seven Spheres will have all that and more!  After all, as Fr. Rufus Opus says:

The point is to empower you to be the king and queen of your world. You are the center of your existence, and it is through your decisions and actions that you influence the experience of your manifest life. From money, to sex, to happiness, to fulfillment, all of your life experiences are the result of decisions you make based on your awareness of what’s going on at the time.

Even if you’re not into all that high and mighty theurgical henosis and apotheosis, chances are you’re into getting laid and getting paid.  From low and vulgar ends to the highest and most rarefied, Seven Spheres covers how you can do both at the same time.

So, the text was released this past Monday, November 17, and I noted almost immediately once the news hit Facebook that my blog hits started shooting up, with more than a few searches for “rufus opus” and “seven spheres”.  While it’s true that I do reference Fr. Rufus Opus’ work (I’m kinda indebted to him, after all, for essentially giving me a leg up in the occult world), I just want to make it clear: I am not the Hermeticist you are looking for.  I may be seen to approach his level of awesomeness and, on occasion, drunkenness, but let me tell you, the man you’re looking for is far more awesome and far more and far more often drunk than I could ever be.  To resolve this, I thought it might help if I mentioned that, no, I am not Fr. Rufus Opus, I’m just polyphanes, and I haven’t published anything except a few of my own ebooks yet (which, admittedly, I think you should also buy).  You want Fr. Rufus Opus’ new book, which you can buy from Nephilim Press for US$50.00, which is pretty much a steal for what is essentially a landmark work in modern Hermetic magic.

After all, I’ve already ordered my copy.  You really, really, really should, too.  Even if you have laminated copies of his Planetary Gates texts enshrined in a secure locked-down binder and kept in a safe place (because surely I can’t be the only one who does that), you should get a copy of Fr. Rufus Opus’ new book today while supplies last from Nephilim Press.  Add to it, Fr. Rufus Opus is planning on making this the primary textbook for his future style of Red Work courses, which means you should really get the book anyway especially if you’re considering learning from him.

Stop waiting.  Close this window, get out your PayPal login or credit card, and go to Nephilim Press right now to buy Fr. Rufus Opus’ Seven Spheres.  If you’re interested in doing some real Work, you can do much worse than opening the Gates and walking through them with this.