Friday, December 10, 2010

Art of Statue Animation - Making a Magickal Eidolon

One of the most often discussed and reported magickal phenomenon found in the notorious god-making passages of the Hermetic Corpus (found in Asclepius III, sect. 23b, 24a) is the ability to animate a statue. What is meant by this is to somehow cause the spirit of a deity or daimon to reside in the statue, so that giving it offerings and devotions will give the magician an intimate target with which to engage. One could also assume that the deity or daimon would also be able to directly aid and bless the magician. What this doesn’t mean is building an electronically fully animated statue ala Disney’s animatronics that has no recognizable link with the Godhead, although such a device could act as the basis for being inhabited by a spirit, but actually, any statue will do quite nicely.

It would seem that one of the divergent capabilities of mastering the discipline of theurgia would be the animation of a statue with a spirit. I say divergent because the aforementioned book doesn’t present this capability as either an important or a critical point in the overall exposition. I would assume that the author in antiquity, briefly referring to this magickal effect, was stating what could be possible when pursuing the really important task of spiritual ascension and union with the One. I will quote the requisite passage to reveal that although mentioned, the what, where and how is mysteriously omitted.

“I mean statues, but statues living and conscious, filled with the breath of life, and doing many mighty works..”

The Church condemned this belief as a form of idolatry and saw it as the obvious worship of demons, even though many church statues were considered icons that had the power to bestow blessings and miraculous healing. The church would perform a kind of consecration, where a newly erected statue of a saint or an apostle would be blessed with holy water and incense during a votive mass, but it was the unquestioning faith of the people who saw these statues as emblems of divine power and grace that made them truly holy relics. Renaissance magicians, however, had no problem using unsanctioned statues and other devices for their reconstitution of Hermetic magick, but few had ever really written down (as far as I am aware) directions that would show how to make such a thing.

Years ago, as a ritual magician of no small ability, I decided to see if I could figure out how to do this operation within the context of my own system of magick. Not only was I intrigued by the Hermetic legend, but I also was exposed to the “statue as god” practices from a friend who was deeply involved in Voudoun and Santeria. I was also exposed to Michael Bertiaux and some of his heterodoxical voudoun and European magick.  Still, I needed to develop a methodology that would work within my own personal system.

Basically, I concluded that the requirements for crafting a statue that housed an aspect of the Godhead would have the following requirements:

1. An appropriate statue of that deity or some other analogous form made out stone or metal,
2. To place an energy field into the statue that would be perpetual, self-regenerating and whose characteristics would be analogous to the aspect of Godhead,
3. Perform a Godhead invocation through a gateway structure that would draw that Godhead and powerfully associate it with the statue,
4. Engage the statue in a mystery working where that Godhead aspect can communicate, bless and empower me and whatever else I magickally seek to impact.

So the first task would be to find an appropriate statue made out a material that would be amendable to the working. That would eliminate anything that is made out plaster, plastic or cheap metal (aluminum). It would also make the statue more expensive and perhaps even something of an object d’art. I had three statues that were made out of pressed alabaster, and therefore, were perfect for this work. They could also be made out pressed resin as well, since a lot of beautiful museum replicas are made out that substance these days.

The second requirement was, at first, something of a conundrum. How would I apply a perpetual charge to the statue. I thought this over and came to the conclusion that I could charge the statue like it was a talisman, which in sense, it was. The best charging mechanism that I had in my repertoire was the generation of a talismanic elemental, which is the combination of a planetary intelligence fused within an element charge. A talismanic elemental can also be invoked as one of the Enochian Seniors, as well as one of the Lunar Mansions. I chose to work with this specific perpetual charge as both an energy and a spirit, thus embodying the statue with a base line energy field that would hold and contain the particular godhead that I sought to invoke into it. So for each of the three statues, I would choose a specific talismanic elemental charge. I had a total of twenty-eight different constructs from which to choose. Timing would be an important factor, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to perform the invocation of the talismanic elementals whenever I chose, but it would have to be done when the Moon was waxing and when it entered into the targeted Lunar Mansion.

My three goddess statues provided me with the inspiration to choose the planet Venus for a talismanic elemental for each, so I chose Venus of Fire, Venus of Water and Venus of Air. Thus I had the charge determined for these three statues. The working called for a fourth talismanic elemental to be invoked and set to charge a special consecrated crystal - for that, I chose Venus of Earth. So all four element variations of Venus had been selected to be used in this working. Now on to the next step, where I would have to figure out how to do a Godhead invocation and somehow get it to materialize in the statue.

The key to getting an aspect of the Godhead to dwell in a statue was to be found in the ancillary rite used by the order to set a talismanic charge, called the Talismanic Elemental Application rite. This rite sets up a proper and powerful field in the target object that is to be charged. I will quote a section from that rite, which will establish the base for the applying of a charge, and help us visualize and determine the next step.

“The basic structure of this ritual consists of an Inverted Pentagram of Spirit Feminine that is set in the center of the circle, representing the Holy Feminine Spirit descending and bestowing its manifest blessings. This central power object is surrounded by a potent vortex that is generated with four hexagrams erected in the four Angles. The object to be charged is placed upon the sigil of the Talismanic Elemental in the center of the circle. The magician may use a central altar to perform this operation and focus the rite.”

So an inverted pentagram of spirit feminine is set in the center of the circle in the ultra-point, symbolizing the descent of grace and spiritual power into a material frame work, which is the target object. There is also a vortex consisting of four unicursal hexagrams in the four angles, embedded in a crossroads energy structure with another unicursal hexagram set to the infra-point, energizing the nexus point where the crossroads meet. The hexagrams set in the four angles are drawn to invoke the planetary intelligence of the Sun, and the one in the center of the circle is set to the Moon - thus creating a powerful vortex polarity of Light and Darkness, Solar and Lunar aspects.

As a form of preparation, the statue is sprinkled with holy or lustral water and then anointed with holy oil. These sacraments have been prepared through a votive mass. Other sacraments, such as wine and a host, may be kept in reserve after the Mass to use in this working.

Using the powerful ritual structure that is already in place, the magician then performs a ritual to summon the Godhead, in this case, one of the three Goddesses that I sought to work with. I will quote from the directions in the ritual “Enneagramic Gate of the Goddess.”

“The Celebrant then draws a great [Rose] Ankh in the Ultrapoint and seals it with a colored energy, depending on the nature of the Deity. The Celebrant then intones the Invocation of the Goddess and implores her to manifest and reside (in part) within the Eidolon - which the statue has now become.

When the above steps are completed for each of the Eidolons, the Celebrant shall light an offering of incense before it and then proceeds to anoint the statue a second time, thus sealing the power [and spirit of the godhead] into it.”

In addition, the magician may also give or feed the statue an offering consisting of a consecrated host particle dipped in consecrated wine. The statue is now fully activated and has a resident aspect of the Godhead fully active within it. It will, of course, require periodic feeding and rites of devotion and adoration, but that is the responsibility of the magician as priest. It is an obligatory part of his or her personal magickal religious cult, and should never be neglected. What I have done at this point in the working is set up a shrine of the three goddesses, and decorated it with power objects, other god statues (to keep them company), and periodically gave them offerings of flowers, incense and devotions, and consecrated sacrament to feed and keep them active.

The Fourth and final step is engaging the living statue in some kind of powerful mystery rite, one where that Godhead can be deeply and magnificently integrated into the spiritual process of the magician. How this is done is to incorporate a gateway of the mysteries and build a kind of mystikon (telesterion) where the Deity may intimately commune with the magician. Because I chose three goddesses who had a special primacy in my personal pantheon, I used a triple gateway consisting of nine points, or an Enneagram to establish a mystikon for all three of them. What this structure looks like is quite simple. It consists of a Western Gateway, a Southern Gateway and a Northern Gateway. You can consider that the west is the gate of darkness, the south is the gate of the summer solstice (ascension of light), and the north, is the gate of the winter solstice (death and rebirth).

An enneagram gateway structure is erected only when all three of the statues have been completely animated with the charged aspect of the Godhead, so until that task is completed, the triple gateway mystery can’t be done. Thus this rite of the triple gateway is performed with all three active goddess statues. Each gateway is erected and established for each of the three goddesses, starting with the north, then the west, and completing with the south. In this manner, an anticlockwise progression is established, producing a further vortex-like energy signature. The magician has now progressed through three gateways and is at the very center of the triple mysteries associated with the triple godhead. Achieving this point is quite a momentous and powerful magickal experience, but there is still more that needs to be done.

The magician then invokes the Talismantic Elemental of Venus of Earth and uses the Application Ritual to charge a specially selected crystal placed in the center of the circle. This can be done prior to the working, or it can be done in the very center of the working. I chose to make this talisman prior to the triple gateway, so instead of building up yet another structure in the center of the circle, I just brought out the crystal and set it up with the three statues of the goddess in their shrine, as mentioned previously.

Once this is done, then the magician takes the transmutar wand and draws all nine nodes of the gate structures together through the center of the circle in the ultra-point beginning with the Western Watchtower, and then ending after transiting the Northwest, North, Southeast, South, and Southwest. Now the enneagram is fully established and all four element aspects of the talismanic elemental of Venus are deployed.

When all three gateways are established, then the magician sets an inner circle in the center of the consecrated magick circle, proceeding in a sunwise direction. This inner circle has the quality of fusing all of the three gateways into a singularity, and the sunwise direction establishes a counter movement against the negative vortex, intensifying the energy at the center. An enneagramic trigon is placed in the center of the circle to establish the confluence of the nine points of the triple gateway.

Finally, the magician performs the opening of the portal gesture before the inner circle and steps into it. Then he or she declares the combined gateway keyword formula for all three gates and summons the combined power of the triple godhead. This completes the erection of the inner mystikon, and the magician then sits in the center of the circle and meditates in silence while communing with the combined godhead. He/She may place before that Deity composite shrine offerings and also sigils of his or her personal desires. When this communion is at an end, the magician backs out of the center of the circle and bows low before it. The three gateways are then sealed with sealing spirals, locking them for future use.

The final action is where the magician erects and projects an Eastern Gateway that represents an ascension into the light, as well as an exteriorization of all that was established in the mystikon. The ritual may be completed, but it can be revisited whenever the magician has need of communing with the triple powers of the combined Deity, through the artifice of three fully animated and empowered statues of the Godhead. To revisit, the magician performs a macro rite, that consists of the basic elements of the mystikon rite without all of the elaborate structures that were required to erect it the first time.

So that’s my detailed solution to fully animating a statue with a summoned and invoked Godhead aspect. I have tested it and the methodology works quite well. What this does is add a potent dimension to the devotions and priest-like obligations of the magician, and it gives him or her the ability to go directly to the Godhead and request any kind of assistance, guidance, council or just reassurance. It also makes the temple environment much more sacred, holy and imbued with the active and dynamic powers of the Godhead, which seem to be alive and fully empowered within the boundaries of the shrine. Since I went through this process and I now have living statues enshrined in my temple complex, I can’t imagine any other way of establishing a living connection with the Deity.

I hope this article has given you some ideas about how you might perform this working for yourself. Those who are members of the Order not only have the rituals to perform this working, but also some newly written documentation to walk them through it. 

Frater Barrabbas


  1. Although I've heard of the idea of creating "living statues" generally, this is the first thorough exposition I've seen on exactly how one could go about making one. Excellent post as always, brother.

  2. @Pallas Renatus - Thanks for the post and the compliment. Yes, I thought that this might be a first for modern magick. It's not a new idea for those who practice ATR and other Catholic based magick or theurgy.

  3. I have never encountered anything as comprehensive as the system you present here. Making a statue serve properly as representative of a deity is a common concern, and is normally approached through a relatively simple ritual purification and consecration, followed by the further consecration that repeated ritual use provides. To my understanding, once a basic magical form is established, this form starts attracting further energy (force) which feeds into the shape initially established. The continuing energy is provided by human focus and adoration. If the initial form is sufficiently in line with the deity's natural form of manifestation, then it will continue to refine itself over time to more precisely match the divine intelligence. Of course, to be able to establish that initial form correctly requires successful invocation of the deity, so it's a slight chicken/egg situation.
    Your methods of purifying and establishing a base (talismanic) energy prior to consecration proper is an approach of technical precision I have not encountered before. Similarly, you separate out the different phases of shaping and empowerment in a way that sounds terrifically effective - though probably only manageable for more experienced ritualists.

    I have actually been thinking along different lines about much the same thing, from the point of view of automatism and its use for invocation.

    I have my suspicions that the process of telestika (drawing a deity into an image) was explored by some Renaissance Neoplatonist artists such as Michelangelo. Francis Yates has expressed the belief that Botticelli's 'Primavera' was intended to embody and transmit the influences of the deities depicted. The very process of sculpting presents a fascinating interplay between the raw material and the 'idea' that is hidden within the form, which the sculptor attempts to gradually reveal. I guess what this effectively involves is the mental projection of an inspired form on to the material, and the projection helps shape the material while the material helps shape the projection. This has a corollary in automatic drawing. There's unfortunately not enough recorded about the methods of these artists (to my knowledge), though Da Vinci seems to have worked a lot with automatic processes, from at least one comment he made (quoted by AO Spare) and from partially-finished canvases I've seen. I would love to imagine that these artists were working with projected deity images that they tried to solidify within the stone/canvas/paper (I don't even know if Da Vinci was in the neoplatonist crowd, though!), but in the end all I can do is imagine...

    Taking an automatist approach would be quite different to the structured and precise approach you take: it would instead be a gradually refined oscillation between invocation and consecration.

    Thank-you for stimulating to words something that has been sitting in my mind for the past few days!

  4. @Ben - you are welcome, and thank you for your thoughtful and interesting comments.