Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Calends (Leap Day)

Well, February is finally ending, and that means that spring will soon be here. Well, in another two months or so we can expect some spring-like weather - maybe. Meanwhile, there is a lot of work for me to do, and I will be starting to charge the talismans which I will be using in my own version of the Portae Lucis working. I will post an update to this article so that any interesting things that occur during the final working on Tuesday, February 28, will be noted. I am planning on doing the base workings on Sunday, and that involves the concurrent summoning of three Talismanic Elementals. All four of the elements of the Sun will be fully invoked and applied to the talisman by Tuesday evening, during the Lunar Mansion of Al Haqah (White Spot).

Pantheacon and Trangender Issues

Even though I didn’t attend Pantheacon the previous weekend, there seems to be no end to the controversy that Z. Budapest created when she put on a “genetically women’s only” ritual gathering. You could say that event really stirred up the pot of issues, especially about the definition regarding gender, and it was a continuation of a particular stand that Z. Budapest has been pushing since last year’s Pantheacon. At last year’s Pcon, the issue was over the fact that the exclusion of men was extended to transgendered women, and that it wasn’t advertised as such. This caused a confrontation when a few transgendered women attempted to gain entry and were excluded.

At the time, I reported my opinion about wondering why anyone would seek to put on any kind of exclusionary rite, since the whole purpose of having a pagan convention was to be inclusive. This time, however, the exclusion of transgender women was actually stated in the convention’s brochure, and was supposedly accompanied by some rather sad and prejudicial statements made by Z. Budapest herself. The event this time was accompanied by a silent protest outside the door where the rite was held, with a group (led by T. Thorn Coyle) holding signs disparaging the statements that Z. had made and supporting transgendered women. You can find many of the different opinions and points, both for and against, that occurred on this blog post put out by the Wild Hunt.

My opinion is short and maybe not so sweet, and merely restated from what I had said a year ago. The whole problem, in my opinion, is because some folks want to share their experiences with an exclusive group of like minded individuals. I can both understand and agree in principle with this desire, but only to a point. Where I draw the line is at a public venue like Pcon. I think it’s not a good idea, as far as I am concerned, because it can foster divisiveness, hurt feelings and create huge misunderstandings - and this is born out by what happened. I also believe that Pantheacon was at fault for allowing this kind of ritual to be performed at a public gathering of pagans. Maybe, after this years imbroglio, they will finally get it and quietly eliminate such exclusive programs.

Z. Budapest also loves controversy, perhaps I should say she revels in it, and she has gained for herself a kind of relevancy that she might not have had otherwise. Having encountered her on more than one occasion over the many years that I have been in the pagan community, I have to admit that I have little respect or agreement with what she is promoting, even though I do respect her as a person and as a spiritual leader. What she is promoting reminds me too much of other exclusive groups and organizations that passionately believe in the negative dialog of exclusion, victimization, hatred and bigotry.

Since we are such a small minority in regards to our religious beliefs, I think that gender exclusion or isolation by practice or creed is not a good theme for any public gathering. At such public events, we should present a united front, since in reality, we all have something to learn and gain from experiencing each other’s perspectives, and even sharing ritual space. It is my hope that the staff at Pantheacon will seek to ban exclusive gatherings in the future. If anyone wants to engage in a ritual with an exclusive group, then there are other places for doing that, such as at a hotel suite. A gathering just for Dianics who are biologically women, held at a private ritual space, at a home or even at some public place exclusively set up for that event would be quite acceptable to one and all. What is objectionable is to flaunt this difference and its implied exclusion at an event that should be open to all pagan folks, whatever their differences. Anyway, that’s my opinion about this issue, and I will now move on to other topics.

Portae Lucis Talisman Working - Sun

I have completed the first installment of the Portae Lucis talismanic working. What I thought would be a fairly simple set of workings, one planned for Sunday evening, the other, Tuesday evening during the correct Lunar Mansion auspice, turned out to be a really difficult ordeal indeed. In fact, it was far more difficult than I had ever imagined, and that wasn’t at all because of the difficulty of the rituals - in fact it was despite them. How ironic that I had carefully drawn up all of the sigils that I would need and did a remarkably beautiful job engraving the three inch diameter brass disk that would function as the target talisman. I made certain that everything would be ready for the working, only to discover that all my plans would have to be altered in order to be successful.

While I had intended to begin performing this working on Sunday night, February 26, I instead came down with a virulent strain of stomach flu that’s been going around. I had a series of excruciating and painful purgations occur in the early morning hours that were so intense that I pulled a muscle in my side (and it is still not fully healed). I haven’t been that sick in quite a long time, and it seemed that my illness might actually cause me to have to reschedule the first installment of the working. As I have stated previously, Lunar Mansion workings require a specific timing that isn’t easy to do over - I had one shot to accomplish this working for this month. Thanks to the tender care of my girlfriend, I managed to make it through the first day, although it was very difficult. However, by the second day, I was starting to feel much better, but I was left in a weakened state.

Just as a reminder, when I say that I am performing talismanic magick, I am actually working with a construct that joins one of the seven planets of antiquity with one of the four elements. Within this matrix, I am able to generate twenty-eight unique empowered spiritual entities that can be used to charge and empower talismans, or wherever else I seek to apply them. I have chosen to give them the names of the Enochian Seniors, but they could conceivably take other names as well. Because the energy of this being is both planetary and element based, and the fact that they are constantly interacting, they have the tendency of producing a charge that lasts a long time as opposed to what they would do as separate qualities.

The three talismans that I am generating for the Portae Lucis working require that all four of the planetary elementals of the Moon, Sun and Saturn be invoked and fused into a single hybrid charge. Therefore, in order to produce one of these talismans, I would have to invoke all four of the talismanic elementals for each planet, such as, Sun of Fire, Air, Water and Earth joined together through a base Lunar Mansion. So there is an element of timing involved, since the correct Lunar Mansion (occurring during the waxing moon) will appear only during certain times of a season, although there is some overlap. If you want a more detailed over-view of this ordeal, you can find it here in a previous article. I am also including a link to my past article on planetary magick, just in case you need to brush up on that information as well.

My chosen day to complete the working was Tuesday, then under the auspices of the 5th Lunar Mansion, called Al Haqah (White Spot). I had planned on having three of the Talismanic Elementals already summoned by that time, so I had to think about what I could do to condense the working so that it could be performed in its entirety on Tuesday evening. I also knew that having just recovered from my sickness, I was in a weakened state, so I would not have the stamina to engage in any long magickal working. What I decided to do was to collapse and condense the ritual working to its essentials, and remove any extraneous verbiage or executions. Initially, I had planned on invoking each Talismanic Elemental separately so as to fully experience each one as a distinct entity. Now, with limited time and strength, I had to assemble something much more efficient than what I had previously planned.

What I did was use the existing ritual that I had and rewrite it so that I would perform simultaneous element invocations at each point in the magick circle. Instead of just invoking one element, I would invoke all four. I chose to draw invoking pentagrams for each element, superimposing one over the other for all four elements, using the sequence of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. Since each pylon in the ritual required an apex of either Spirit Masculine or Feminine, I superimposed both of them together, and produced a pylon of all four elements at the base, and both aspects of spirit combined at the top. I have never attempted to draw all four invoking pentagram patterns sequentially at the same point, so it was an interesting technique. The end result was quite powerful (even a little mind-blowing), which shouldn’t have been very surprising.

I assembled all of the materials that I thought I would need, prepared the temple for the working, and tried to draw together as much bodily energy as I could to complete the working. As if to add to the difficulty of what I was undergoing, my girlfriend came down with the same flu bug that I had been fighting. While I was recovering, she was becoming sorely afflicted with the initial stages of this vicious virus. I had to tend to her needs as she had so devotedly attended to mine, but I managed to ensure that she had everything that she needed before I was to begin my working. So here I was going to attempt to complete this working in one session still weak from being sick, while my girlfriend was also being so afflicted, and then Old Man Winter decided to visit his vengeance on us for having given us too mild a winter so far - we were hit with a blizzard. (It’s still snowing today as I write this article, with more than a half foot of snow already accumulated.)

When I got into the temple, I realized that I had precious little energy to get this working done. I set the magick circle and thereby locked in the planetary hour of Jupiter, which I had felt was an auspicious combination, considering the planetary day was Mars. (Jupiter would balance out Mars, and so allow the power of the Solar aspect to come through.) I used no ritual to set the magick circle, but silently performed all of the ritual actions from memory. I was amazed at how weak I was, and how little stamina I had to perform this working. However, my lack of physical vigor translated itself into a much greater force from my magickal actions, for it seemed that my less than usual robust physical expressions (gestures, body postures, movements, etc.) seemed to produce a much greater effect than I had thought they would. I used a very efficient and frugal manner in performing the ritual actions, but the magickal results were greatly amplified. I assumed that it might have to do with the fact that I had been unwittingly fasting for the last couple of days, having managed to eat just barely enough to recover from my sickness. I was, as it were, greatly unencumbered by my physical body, so I felt very light and close to my spiritual body. That made the magick much more powerful and my magickal senses more keen.

I had planned on saying a full and ceremonious Mass of the Goddess to charge the sigils and the talisman, but decided instead to omit many of the more extraneous passages and just perform those that would accomplish the production of sacrament. So I scanned through the rite, performing those sections that I felt were critical and omitting or glossing over those that were superfluous. Drinking the sacramental wine made me a little giddy, but I managed to get through the Mass without making any mistakes or omitting any important steps. I charged the talisman with the sacramental blood of the consecrated wine, and I felt that it was highly charged and uniquely sacralized. It seemed to glow with an inner light as I held it in the candle light.

While performing the ritual that invoked the four Talismanic Elementals, I noticed some glitches in the hastily assemble rite, which I corrected on the spot, and then found that I had forgotten the Enochian invocations of the seven planets. That could have been a stumbling block for me, but instead of panicking or stopping the ritual to try and find it amongst my archived papers, I just put my hand on the septagramic talisman in the center of the circle (used for performing planetary magick) and drew out the sounds of the invocation and uttered a few of its words to set it into the spell. I did this three times, and it was a spontaneous action on my part. I was amazed at how successful that action was, and I could actually visualize the invocation emerging from the center of the talismanic septagram like some stream of sound and light. Since I had uttered this invocation many times in the past, I wasn’t too surprised that I could just pull it from the septagram, it just hadn’t ever occurred to me to do so.

When I had completed with establishing the fourfold Element base and the invocation of the Planetary Archetype (via the Olympian Spirit of the Sun) and passed through the invocation vortex and spiritual gateway, I performed the sequential invocation of each of the four Talismanic Elementals. The final stage of this process produced a remarkable power that seemed to radiate throughout the whole temple - at times it was almost overwhelming. However, I didn’t have the energy or stamina to sit and marvel at this startling combination of forces and intelligences, since I had so little energy left. I proceeded with the final application rite that focused this power into the brass talisman, engraved with the sigil of Gabiel, the ruling spirit of Al Haqah.

The rest of that ritual working went pretty much as planned, although dealing with a lack of stamina and energy made things a little rough, and at times, overall, it was a little difficult to focus on the structure of the rituals and perform the ritual actions. Yet I persevered, and after a while, everything was completed. The charged talisman of the sun sat in the center of the circle (on the central altar where the septagram talisman was ensconced), fully empowered and covered by a protective cloth. Everything had worked, although I made some mental notes about a few changes that would make the next working more efficient. The working had been started a little after 8:45 pm CST, and ended just as the clock bell began to toll for 10:00 pm. I had succeeded in completing the working, but the overall ordeal was quite amazing to me. I had no clue beforehand that embarking upon this effort would prove to be so difficult or have so many external events intercede or interfere.

Now that this working is done, I have to wait the required three days before the talisman will be ready to be used. It will be interesting to see how fusing four Talismanic Elementals together into a single talisman will work once this incubation is complete. This, of course, will be the first test to determine how effective my idea was about substituting Jean Dubuis’ alchemical Portae Lucis with one that is completely magickal and talismanic. I have no doubt that the results of this first working will be quite amazing, considering all that I had to endure in order to make it happen. If this is a good representation of what is in store for me as I progress along the path of this ordeal, then I will have a lot more to deal with before its completed, perhaps even more than I had originally bargained for. It’s certainly looking like that to me right now, as I stare out the window at the accumulating snow.

Frater Barrabbas

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