On the Arbatel’s Seal of Secrets

So as I work towards the end of a year of interesting spiritual obligations, I’m beginning to get back to some of my projects I had to put on hold about this time last year.  One of those projects is that of the works of the Arbatel, described in the eponymous text the Arbatel: of the Magic of the Ancients, a 16th century text that presents a body of very religious and devout occult wisdom and practice that famously introduce the seven Olympic spirits (Aratron, Bethor, Phaleg, Och, Hagith, Ophiel, and Phul).  However, while these spirits are fairly well-known, less understood and talked about is its Seal of Secrets and what the Arbatel actually preaches about wisdom that can be learned through occult means.  I’ve been mulling this particular diagram over the past few days, and it’s not the most straightfoward or clearly-explained thing in the text.

So, let’s start from the basics.  The Fourth Septenary of the Arbatel focuses on secrets, starting with aphorisms IV.22 and IV.23:

IV.22: We call that a secret, which no man can attain unto by humane industry without revelation; which Science lieth obscured, hidden by God in the creature; which nevertheless he doth permit to be revealed by Spirits, to a due use of the thing it self. And these secrets are either concerning things divine, natural or humane. But thou mayst examine a few, and the most select, which thou wilt commend with many more.

IV.23: Make a beginning of the nature of the secret, either by a Spirit in the form of a person, or by vertues separate, either in humane Organs, or by what manner soever the same may be effected; and this being known, require of a Spirit which knoweth that art, that he would briefly declare unto thee whatsoever that secret is: and pray unto God, that he would inspire thee with his grace, whereby thou maist bring the secret to the end thou desireth, for the praise and glory of God, and the profit of thy neighbour.

Aphorism IV.24 then lists three sets of seven secrets, classifying them into the greatest secrets, the medium secrets, and the lesser secrets, each focusing on a different kind of goal or aim ranging from the divinely sublime to the mundane and temporary.  Arbatel also says that the greatest secrets are those that “a man of an honest and constant minde may learn of the Spirits, without any offence unto God”, a qualifier not given to the other two, suggesting that the greatest secrets are the ones that are innately of God and for God and that the others are more easily inclined to lead away from truth and divine works.  In general, the secrets listed here fall more-or-less in line with the powers claimed by magicians in countless other texts: healing of all illnesses, knowing God and truth, longevity, the obedience of spirits, the transmutation of metals, excellence in all sorts of arts and sciences, and so forth.  By dividing them up into greater, middle, and lesser, however, we get a clear sense of priority from the Arbatel, encouraging us to focus more on the most beneficial, kind, and holy works and less so on the more mundane or “contemptible” ones.

Moving on to aphorism IV.27, the Arbatel then discusses a particular diagram that it calls the Seal of Secrets:

Make a Circle with a center A, which is framed by a square BCDE.  At the East let there be BC, at the North CD, at the West DE, and at the South EB. Divide the Several quadrants into seven parts, that there may be in the whole 28 parts: and let them be again divided into four parts, that there may be 112 parts of the Circle: and so many are the true secrets to be revealed. And this Circle in this manner divided, is the seal of the secrets of the world, which they draw from the onely center A, that is, from the invisible God, unto the whole creature.

This is a simple geometric construction telling us, basically, to make a circle bounded by a square, with the circle divided up into seven divisions, and each division divided further into four sections, for a total of 4 × 7 × 4 = 112 sections.  Some versions of the Arbatel include such a diagram, which I’ve reproduced below without the letters or labels but includes the division-level boundaries, but it could be technically written to be constructed in a more simple way as well with all the lines converging without inner boundary circles:

Continuing from the above, the Arbatel then begins describing the function of the divisions and sectors of the seal:

The Prince of the Oriental secrets is resident in the middle, and hath three Nobles on either side, every one whereof hath four under him, and the Prince himself hath four appertaining unto him. And in this manner the other Princes and Nobles have their quadrants of secrets, with their four secrets.

But the Oriental secret is the study of all wisdom; The West, of strength; The South, of tillage; The North, of more rigid life. So that the Eastern secrets are commended to be the best; the Meridian to be mean; and the West and North to be lesser.

(A note on the word “noble” here: Peterson in his modern translation of the Arbatel uses the word “governors” to describe these six subordinate spirits, while the original Latin uses the word “satrap”, a Persian term originally describing provincial governors but later adapted to refer to leaders who act as surrogates for larger world powers.  I adore the word “satrap”.)

The division of each direction into seven rulers, with one dominating Prince and six Governors under him, is fairly straightforward, and also that each ruler presides over four secrets unto himself.  What’s peculiar is that each direction is also given to have a quality of secret: the East for the greatest secrets, the South for the middle, and the West and North for the lesser.  Though not explicitly stated, it’s pretty much certain to me that the secrets here are meant to refer to the greater, medium, and lesser secrets given before in aphorism IV.24.  However, this seems to break the neat one-to-one regularity we would expect to see here, as we see elsewhere in the Arbatel; why should one set of secrets be given to two quadrants?  Peterson in the preface to his translation of the Arbatel says:

…[f]or symmetry, it is tempting to speculate that the seven lesser secrets listed—those of strength—are actually sought from the west, while the north secrets—those of harshness—are destructive and are not explicitly mentioned.

If Peterson is right, and I’m greatly inclined to think that he is, then that means that there are actually four sets of secrets: the greatest, the medium, the lesser, and a fourth unmentioned set of seven secrets that are focused on destruction, harm, and violence.  If the greatest secrets are those that can be learned “without any offence unto God”, while the medium and lesser secrets are more tempting to lead away from and offend God, then the unmentioned secrets are those that are most likely to veer too close or outright into what the Arbatel considers cacomagy or “evil magic”, which are doomed to offend God and should be avoided to the point where they are not even listed in the text.  The works of the lesser secrets would instead be recommended to replace those of this hypothetical unmentioned set, if only to direct the reader of the Arbatel to maintain a good life without temptation of evil.

Anyway, following this in the same aphorism, the Arbatel describes a twofold purpose of this diagram, one as a divine revelation and the other as a mere mnemonic device:

The use of this seal of secrets is, that thereby thou maist know whence the Spirits or Angels are produced, which may teach the secrets delivered unto them from God. But they have names taken from their offices and powers, according to the gift which God hath severally distributed to every one of them. One hath the power of the sword; another, of the pestilence; and another, of inflicting famine upon the people, as it is ordained by God. Some are destroyers of Cities, as those two were, who were sent to overthrow Sodom and Gomorrha, and the places adjacent, examples whereof the holy Scripture witnesseth. Some are the watch-men over Kingdoms; others the keepers of private persons; and from thence, anyone may easily form their names in his own language: so that he which will, may ask a physical Angel, mathematical, or philosophical, or an Angel of civil wisdom, or of supernatural or natural wisdom, or for any thing whatsoever; and let him ask seriously, with a great desire of his minde, and with faith and constancy and without doubt, that which he asketh he shall receive from the Father and God of all Spirits. This faith surmounteth all seals, and bringeth them into subjection to the will of man. The Characteristical maner of calling Angels succeedeth this faith, which dependeth onely on divine revelation; But without the said faith preceding it, it lieth in obscurity.

Nevertheless, if any one will use them for a memorial, and not otherwise, and as a thing simply created by God to his purpose, to which such a spiritual power or essence is bound; he may use them without any offence unto God. But let him beware, lest that he fall into idolatry, and the snares of the devil, who with his cunning sorceries, easily deceiveth the unwary. And he is not taken but onely by the finger of God, and is appointed to the service of man; so that they unwillingly serve the godly; but not without temptations and tribulations, because the commandment hath it, That he shall bruise the heel of Christ, the seed of the woman. We are therefore to exercise our selves about spiritual things, with fear and trembling, and with great reverence towards God, and to be conversant in spiritual essences with gravity and justice. And he which medleth with such things, let him beware of all levity, pride, covetousness, vanity, envy and ungodliness, unless he wil miserably perish.

In one way, the Seal of Secrets is a sort of divine cosmogram that shows how the spirits presiding over the secrets of the cosmos are produced and how they govern, with a ruling prince of spirits presiding in the center of each direction with three noble subordinate rulers on either side.  Though it has a divine purpose and origin, the Arbatel also concedes it may be used as a mnemonic device merely and only to remember how the spirits that exist apart and away from the Seal function and how they’re organized.  In either way, though, it seems that Arbatel suggests a distinct catalog of 196 secrets and their corresponding spirits.

With all that said, the Arbatel is lacking in actually explaining the deeper use or purpose of the Seal.  It’s likely because the Arbatel is essentially an incomplete work; of the nine books it describes, only the first is extant, which is what we actually call the Arbatel today, though it calls itself the Isagoge, “which in fourty and nine Aphorisms comprehendeth, the most general Precepts of the whole Art”.  To me, the Arbatel raises more questions about the Seal and the secrets it describes than it answers.  So, what’s the deal with dividing the Seal up in the way that it does?  What first came to my mind was to compare the 4 × 7 = 28 divisions of the circle in the Seal of Secrets to the 28 Mansions of the Moon that survive in Western magic, as given by the Picatrix and Agrippa:

However, despite the use of 28 divisions, I don’t think there’s actually a connection (though I’d like there to be).  The 28 Mansions start with Alnath at 0° Aries, which is exactly celestial east.  However, the eastern quadrant of the Seal doesn’t have a well-defined “start”, and given the lack of elaboration in the text as well as the construction of the Seal itself, it would seem that the corresponding eastern point would fall smack-dab in the middle of the central division of the eastern quadrant, the seat of the Prince of Wisdom in the East according to the Seal of Secrets.  That doesn’t seem to lend itself well to associating each ruler of secrets to a single Mansion of the Moon.

That said, we do know that each Mansion of the Moon is given to a particular set of talismans, works, and properties that are used in astrology and astrological magic, each with its own presiding angel.  If we can’t allocate the 4 × 7 = 28 rulers of secrets into the Mansions of the Moons, what about the 7 × 4 = 28 secrets they rule over themselves within a single quadrant?  It could be conceived that each of the secrets ruled over by a direction’s Prince and six Governors could be allocated to a single Mansion of the Moon, giving us more insight into what each of those secrets could be, recalibrated for each direction and its corresponding kind of secret: thus, the rightmost secret of the Prince of Wisdom in the East would be given to the same Mansion (13, Alhaire) as would the same secret of the other Princes, but with Alhaire directed to Wisdom in one instance or to Strength in another, depending on the Prince being worked with.

While this is reasonable, I also don’t find it likely.  While I’m no expert on Paracelsus (who was either a large influence on the Arbatel or who founded the overall school and body of work the Arbatel builds upon within Renaissance Hermeticism) and given that much of his work is lost, I don’t think the Mansions of the Moon would have figured prominently in his or derivative works, so any actual association between the Mansions of the Moon and the rulers of secrets or the secrets themselves based only on the fact that they share the number 28 is tenuous at best; indeed, Peterson doesn’t even mention it in his version of the Arbatel.  That said, I’m still investigating that with the help of friends who are more well-versed in Paracelsian stuff than I am.  However, given that the lunar mansions weren’t really that important a topic in Western astrology or astrological magic since their introduction in the 12th century, I’m not holding my breath for such a connection.

Still, there’s another way to consider how to understand what the multitude of secrets are and their nature.  Consider how the text associates the directions with the four types and four sets of secrets, including Peterson’s hypothetical “unmentioned” set for the North and “a more rigid life”:

Secret Set
East Wisdom Greatest
South Tillage Middle
West Strength Lesser
North Harshness Unmentioned

Something to note is that the strength of the secrets—greatest to lesser and then to unmentionable—follow the path and light of the Sun, which rises in the East, culminates in the South, and sets in the West (at least from the point of view of an observer in the Northern Hemisphere, which makes sense for a book published in Switzerland during the Renaissance).  We know, from aphorism III.21, that the first hour of the day (sunrise) is the most appropriate time to conjure the Olympic spirits, and would be considered the strongest time of day; thus, the East is given the greatest secrets, and the strength descends from there as the Sun’s light grows older.  However, the Sun only rises at (more or less, accounting for time of year) due east, though the eastern quadrant of the Seal of Secrets covers the area from the northeast to the southeast.  If we associate due east with proper sunrise, then this means the three governors to the north of the Prince in the East are about the dawn, the time of early morning when the sky begins to brighten but before the Sun rises.  Likewise, the Prince in the West would be given to sunset, and the governors to the north of that Prince are dusk, the time of evening after the Sun sets but while the sky still has some light in it.  This means that the Prince of the South would be given to high noon, and the Prince of the North to midnight.  Note how the three sets of secrets listed explicitly in the Arbatel are then associated with the times of day when it’s light outside; the dark period of the night, after dusk and before dawn, would then be given to the unmentioned set of secrets.  This spatial-temporal reckoning of daylight with the secrets makes sense, at least to me, such that the secrets that should be revealed are made so by the light of the Sun, and those that shouldn’t remain occluded by the dark of the night when the Sun’s light is gone from the sky, in addition to the usual connections between darkness, nighttime, evil, wickedness, and so on.

Even still, though, there’s much about this Seal that remains unexplained, especially when considered alongside the system of the seven Olympic spirits in the text.  For instance:

  1. Do the four quarters of the Seal have a connection to the four elements that we’d normally see based on their connections to the directions?  If so, can we make use of those connections within the system of secrets within the Arbatel?
  2. Do the seven rulers within a quarter have any connection to the seven planets, or do there just happen to be seven for an unrelated reason?  If there is a planetary connection, which of the seven planets would be the prince of the direction, and who would be the governors under him, and in what order?
  3. Should we consider the seven Olympic spirits to “have their place” among the spirits in the Seal of Secrets, or should we consider a distinct Seal of Secrets for each planet, such that each of the seven planets have their own set of greatest, medium, lesser, and unmentioned secrets?
  4. Are the spirits described in the Seal of Secrets to be conjured alongside or independently of the Olympic spirits?  If so, then what is the purpose of the Olympic spirits within the system of secrets described in the Arbatel?  If not, then again, what’s the connection between the prince/rulers within a direction (or across all four directions) with the planets and their Olympic spirits?
  5. Do the seven rulers each have their own take on the seven secrets associated with that direction, or is it one of the secrets within the set per ruler?  If the former, what distinguishes the specific rulers’ takes on each secret, and do they have other providences, perhaps by relating to the other systems of magic described at the beginning of the Arbatel?  Or, alternatively for the former, are the four secrets under each ruler unrelated and given in addition to the big secrets given within the set associated with the direction?  If the latter, does this actually mean that there are four approaches to each secret within a set given by the Arbatel?
  6. What does the Arbatel mean when it says that the secrets of the South are for “tillage” or “culture”, referring to agriculture or cultivation, and how does this actually relate to the middle secrets which are more associated with the results described in books like the Liber Juratus or Ars Notoria?
  7. What does the Arbatel mean when it says that the secrets of the West are for “strength”, when the lesser secrets are more associated with mundane affairs and success in worldly matters?
  8. If Peterson is right and there is a fourth unmentioned category of secrets, the unmentioned ones for the North, how do they relate to “a rigid life”, and what are they?  If he’s wrong and the lesser secrets really are allocated to both the West and the North, then what distinguishes their spirits and the secrets they rule over?

Some of these questions might have answers based on other hints elsewhere in the Arbatel.  For instance, at the end of aphorism III.17 which contains the information about the seven Olympic spirits, there are the “most general precepts of this secret”; the fourth precept here says that “in all the elements there are the seven Governours with their hosts”, suggesting that the Olympic spirits or the planets they preside over are present in each of the four elements, and thus in the four directions, and that that there is some connection between the seven rulers in each direction and the seven planets with their Olympic spirits.  Later, in the invocation of the Olympic spirits given in aphorism III.21, there’s the statement “…beseech thee that thou wouldst send thy Spirit N.N. of the solar order…”, which indicates that there are multiple spirits of the Sun that can be worked with, not just Och which is the only named solar spirit given in the Arbatel; otherwise, why make the name general but the order definite here as an example?  This may suggest that while Och presides over all works of the Sun, there could be four rulers of secrets set under Och (one for each direction and set of secrets).  As for the fourfold division of secrets under each ruler of secrets in the Seal, note that aphorism VII.49 lists four kinds of good sciences: knowledge of the word of God, knowledge of the government of God through his angels, knowledge of natural things, and wisdom in humane things; these might be hints as to the ways a secret may be known or effected, though since this doesn’t mirror exactly the corresponding evil sciences, this might not necessarily be the case (though a case could be made for this, since even though there are seven evil sciences given, three of these are more states of manners of practice rather than actual works of science, so there could be still four corresponding evil sciences to match the four for the good ones).

Of course, all the above must be understood knowing that I haven’t yet worked with the Olympic spirits themselves, but in the near future, I plan to make that one of my big project priorities.  Perhaps that will help shed some more light on the secrets hidden yet within the Arbatel.

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Workplace Magic

Most people spend their time in two places: at home or at work.  Not everyone, of course; some of us aren’t employed, and some of us work out of our own homes.  Sadly, the number of people in unemployment is rising and will likely continue to rise for quite some time, and I personally hope to see more and more people working home-based jobs for crafting, machining, and engineering as time goes on, but in our society it’s still common and the norm for people to work outside of their home in some sort of environment like an office, a factory, a restaurant, a store, or some other place that provides goods or services to our larger society.  Add to it, many people who are employed tend to work long hours, not including commuting to and from work which itself might be nontrivial.

Of the people who work outside the home, a smaller number of people do magic.  Myself, for instance: I’m fortunate enough to be employed in a sit-down office environment (which is still a surprise to me and my family), and I’m also a Hermetic magician (which may come as a surprise to some of you).  The problem for magicians like you and me is that the things we do typically takes a fair bit of time, and when considered alongside time commitments for work, we typically have to compromise our practices or overlap certain things to maintain both our spiritual development as well as our regularly-scheduled income.  For instance, for myself, my commute is about an hour and a half one way, plus seven to eight hours in the office; that’s ten hours out of my day that I’m not at home, and sometimes I work longer than just eight hours, though sometimes I work less, and sometimes I work for longer hours at home so I don’t have to work as long at the office.  That’s just my situation, too; I know some people with longer commutes and who also work longer hours on a more frequent basis than I do, so while my situation might seem icky, I know for a fact I don’t have it that bad.

Then again, a good amount of magic is in discretion, secrecy, and hiding things in plain sight.  Sure, we might be in a public space, perhaps surrounded by people, but that’s no reason to say that we can’t use our time out of the house to do magic or keep up our practice.  Of course, depending on where you work, not all types of practices will be available to you; performing meditation throughout the day at a desk won’t be possible if you’re working on a standing factory line, for instance, nor could you chant mantras repeatedly if you’ve got to do customer service throughout the day.  That said, there’s still plenty of opportunity to keep up your practices during the workday with good success and good secrecy.

That last bit is important: you want to be discreet and secret about this.  Many places across the US and the world generally frown on magical practices, and you may be subject to no small amount of discrimination if you’re found out to be one who does magic.  You might be ridiculed, barred from promotion, demoted, fired, or worse, depending on the type of people around you and their own beliefs, so any way you can keep your practice on the down low is a good way.  That is, of course, if you choose to do magic at all in the workplace; given how easy it can be, however, it’s not that hard to do.

I won’t be elaborate and give you details on conjuring angels or demons in the broom closet, but here are some things you might consider:

  • Any place where you have a modicum of privacy and time can be used for magic.  If you drive to work, use your car on your breaks.  Use empty conference rooms or neglected spaces, but nothing too suspicious like a broom closet.
  • If you get a break of any substantial length, take a walk to a nearby park.  Explore your surroundings for abandoned buildings or other desolate (but reasonably safe) places.
  • If you have a desk, set up one of the corners as a modest and incognito shrine; if you’re bold, go ahead and use statues or other explicit representations of your gods, but stick to the more innocuous things like attributes or abstract images.
  • If you want to tie your magic closer to your work without having much of your magic in your workplace, use things like business cards, dirt or dust or rocks from your office, and the like at home to do workings there from afar.  Similarly, take a bit of dirt, stone, or other part of where you live/do your Work to where you work and make that link from the other side.  Even better, do both!
  • If you have someone you want to lay a trick on, use whatever you can discreetly in the office or workplace to do so.  Any leftover pairs of shoes, cups or drinking-bottles, doorknob handles to offices, the threshold of their cubicles, their keyboards and pens, and all the like are fair game so long as it’s not suspicious for you to be hovering or touching these things without them present.
  • Protection in the office is huge; given all the politics and backstabbing and gossip, you want to keep yourself safe magically.  Use a protective oil on your desk or office walls to block out things, and reanoint these surfaces every month or season.  Set out a glass of water weekly to “collect” the ick passing around you in the office, and clean yourself off every morning into the glass.  Set out a Rose of Jericho to keep the spiritual airs clean and to also bring prosperity.  Lay out a line of salt leading into your cubicle or office.  Wear protective charms under your clothing when possible/safe to do so.
  • Set out a small mirror where you can to act as a means of communication or scrying with spirits.  Similarly, those ornate blown-glass paperweights can do the same.
  • If you’re more of a technologically-minded mage and have access to a computer, don’t forget that using hard disk or server space can be a fascinating and subtle way to spread magical influence.  I’ve done this by storing a massive text file consisting of prayers on several server arrays; as the had drives spin, they generate those prayers an unimaginably huge number of times not unlike Buddhist prayer wheels.
  • If you’re not bound to a particular uniform, try to color some of your clothes according to the planetary colors on different days of the week to align yourself to different overall workings or bring those planets’ influences into your office.  In my informal clothes, I wear a bandanna of a particular color in my back pocket (purple for Monday, red for Tuesday, etc.); on more formal days, I’ll wear a tie of that color.  Bonus: consider using Kalagni’s correspondence of tie knots with planets!
  • Most workplaces don’t let you have fire, but consider using an essential oil diffuser instead to spread particular smells around a place for a given effect.  If you move around a lot, consider wearing them (safely) on your own person or anointing a particular bit of fabric with them.
  • If you insist on having a set of magical tools in your office, keep them innocuous.  For instance, for the elemental weapons, you might consider a shaved pencil, a letter-opener, a coffee mug, and a CD your wand, sword, cup, and coin.  Use small coins consecrated to different gods or planets as their token talismans.  Use printouts as altar cloths, if you insist.
  • Never forget the importance of astral magic.  If you have the ability to doze off, you have the ability to go astral even for a short while (or do a half-projection using the mental faculties).
  • If you have downtime and aren’t using it for ritual or doing activity, always see if you can read and study, instead.  Hell, I’ve done more than half my occult research in my office between projects and on breaks, to say nothing of my occult writing and planning!

Got any other ideas you’d care to share?  Feel free to post them in the comments!

Versatile Blogger Award, woo!

A few days ago, the magnificent Lechim Nosredna over at nightswimming nominated me for the Versatile Blogging Award, which is totally awesome.  It’s a neat little thing, but it comes with a few rules of its own.

Versatile Blogging Award Button

First, thank you Lechim for nominating me.  I’m humbled and amazed that people would find my noisy rants and shoddy crafts interesting, much less worthy of note or perusal.   To both him and all you viewers out there, thank you!  Lechim blogs over at nightswimming with some of his buddies about their dreams, collectively calling themselves Dream Catchers who explore the realm of haze, imagery, and night that we all partake in when we sleep.  Really cool stuff, not to mention trippy.

To keep the VBA trend alive, I’m also going to nominate fifteen blogs that I find are also really cool.  These aren’t professional, public-service, theoretical, or discursory blogs, but more of the ones in my register: personal, detailed, meticulous, thoughtful, and entertaining.  Generally, all of the blogs on the right are fantastic, and you should consider visiting them and their buddies as well, but below are a few that stand out to me or aren’t on my public list (yet).  I hope you’ll give them some traffic and enjoy them as much as I do.

  1. Camylleon’s Cave
  2. The Key to the Clavicula Solomonis
  3. The Grey Book of Runes
  4. CGA in a VGA World
  5. Beloved in Light
  6. skatologicalhumor
  7. The Difference Between Beauty and Fear
  8. Amaranthine

Between the list above and the one on the right, that easily adds to 15.  Right, guys?  Anyway, I’ll be notifying the blogs above about their nominations in the coming week.  Once you get it, remember to post about yourself and your nominees on the VBA Winners page.

And, to keep things hilarious and to fulfill one of the stipulations of the VBA rules, here are seven things about myself that I tend not to tell others.  I mean, this being my blog and all, they might’ve come out at a future date anyway, but whatever.  These are all things personal and not really occult-related, but maybe you’ll get a better glimpse of who I am based.

  1. I was bullied really bad in elementary school to the point of nearly having my neck snapped.
  2. I’m too tall to comfortably sleep on twin mattresses, but king beds weird me out by how big they are.  Queen appears to fit well for me (lol ghey).
  3. I was really into crafts as a kid, always making things out of cardboard.  I even made a near-functional ATM out of a flat crate once, with chutes and tunnels for paper money to come out of.  Now I’ve graduated to wood and steel from corrugated paper and marker, but I guess I’ve kept the trend alive.
  4. I like to have a crush on someone after I start dating them.  It’s kinda backwards, yeah, but it makes the passion and sex a lot better for a good deal longer.
  5. Although I don’t tend to drink soda anymore, I will always grab a six-pack of TaB cola whenever I can.  I love that stuff, yo.  One time in college during winter break when I had the apartment to myself, I scoured every grocery store in Charlottesville stocking up on TaB and completely filled my fridge with the stuff.  It was awesome.
  6. The first time I cheated was in the 6th grade in a quarter-long Japanese introductory course, when I wrote that week’s katakana on my wrist in very faint ink to copy onto a quiz.  I was really anxious about it.
  7. My wardrobe consists almost entirely of five colors: black, grey, brown, green, and taupe.  Sure, I have a few blues and whites and other things, but the vast majority of my clothes fit into those colors (Venus in Virgo, baby).  Also, I pretty much only wear cargo pants, and only own one pair of jeans that were a hand-me-down from my brother years and years ago.

Anything else you’d care to ask me, occult-related or otherwise?  Post a comment and led me know!