Magical Protection

Defend Against Curses, Gossip, Thieves, Demonic Forces, Violence, Threats and Psychic Attack by Damon Brand.

Take cover!

Confession: I think I have a sort of love-hate relationship with The Gallery of Magick books. Big emphasis on love, and hate is of course a too strong of a word, yet I do have some issues with the way they present their material, which I’ll talk below. That being said, these books are intended for practitioners, not scholars nor armchair magicians (even if you can do all this comfortably from your armchair. More on this further down). As such, this review is done from the perspective of actual use and experience with the book in question, rather than snobbish occult theoretical elitism.

Recipes for Protection

The book is kind of split into 4 major parts. First off you have the introduction to why, how and what of banishing. Right away this will tell you which sections of the book will be most useful to you and what they recommend you do. It describes 3 different scenarios.

Most people will fall under scenario 1, which covers general protection. This basically consists of learning an easy banishing ritual (The Sword Banishing) to be performed at least twice a day, then after you are comfortable with that, you supplement it with a Master Protection Ritual. This last ritual is done once a day for thirty-three days, and then you’re done, but continue with The Sword Banishing.

Scenario 2 is more or less the same as scenario 1, and scenario 3 is for when you need urgent help, and is a lot more involved. You don’t need to follow any of these scenarios, but they offer good guideline for how to approach the content of the book. Some may just be interested in specific rituals, and you can of course pick and choose as you see fit.

StarT with the Master Protection Ritual

One of the main features (or maybe I should say best features?) of this book is the The Sword Banishing ritual. It’s worth buying the book just for that I think. However, we are not granted too much information about it, apart from being told that it was developed between 1982 and 1988, then refined in “more recent years” (original publication date was March 11, 2015), and that it’s the Gallery of Magick’s own preferred banishing ritual. Armed with the knowledge that this ritual has a history, reaching back 38 years (at the time of writing), does add to the effectiveness in my opinion.

Also taking into account how popular these Gallery of Magick books are, means that probably quite a few people do use this technique too, which lends further “power” to the tradition. It’s what I personally use now, and I highly recommend it as an easy, yet effective alternative to the more complicated and time consuming Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (aka LBRP).

Banish in your head – Banish in your bed!

“It’s all in your head — you just have no idea how big your head is.”

Lon Milo Duquette

Arguably, almost all magick (with a k at least) CAN be done “in your head”. What specifically sets The Sword Banishing from most other rituals, is that it’s almost designed to be used entirely “in your head”. I say almost, because it’s certainly encouraged to intone the angelic words/names, but it’s not absolutely necessary. You can just whisper or say the proper incantations internally.

Again, arguably all magick can, to some extent, also be done in bed, or lying down. So my point here is that this particular banishing ritual is very suited for disabled and/or bedridden persons. The author described how he uses this banishing in bed himself, and while I usually do mine sitting down, I have done this as well, with great results.

Talisman (is that a name of a superhero?)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Ok, so I’ve hopefully covered a lot of the good aspects of this book above. And there really is quite a lot for a release that’s just about 100 pages long. So from a strictly practical point of view, this is gold! However, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and while this might just be my own personal taste and preference, I feel it’s important to address.

I own quite a few of The Gallery of Magick’s publications. Some of them I’ve used A LOT, since it’s all practical magick meant for to be used. And let’s just say that the physical quality of the books themselves don’t hold up too well. Meaning the covers will shed their plastic (?) coating and just get damaged a lot in general. Now, this isn’t all bad, as these paperbacks are dirt cheap, and being working books, I don’t feel too bad about covering the pages with my notes and markings in the margins.

The blank pages in the back of this book for instance is great for keeping track of dates of when rituals are started and for how many times you’ve done them.

Furthermore, the internal layout is not the greatest. Mostly in the sense that it’s not very aesthetically pleasing, but also because clearly a more thoughtful presentation would help a lot with how the information is delivered. Unfortunately it can be a bit messy and you get a lot of unnecessary back and forth.

This last issue could perhaps have been solved with a good editor. But I get a feeling and an impression that they don’t spend a lot of money on production and that they sometime go for a quantity over quality mindset. But as we all know, there’s not a lot of money in occult publishing, so from a business perspective I get it. But it can make the overall impressing seem a bit cheap.

What’s really inexcusable though, is their lack of source citations and clues about how they’ve come to choose various names, symbols and procedures. At a minimum we should at least have a bibliography, as all this stuff has come from somewhere, whether it’s old obscure Kabbalistic texts or arcane (or not as well known) grimoires. You can gather some information by searching online though, and on their website.

Square off!

To end on a positive note, there is a very handy pronunciation guide at the very end of the book. Maybe we’ll get treated with more material like this, indices, bibliographies and appendices, if they ever decide to revamp their release in the future? At least we can hope for that.

In Conclusion

Aleister Crowley infamously said that “magick is for all”, and all in all, this is just that. It’s all you need to begin, and as such, I believe this could potentially be a good place to start for many neophytes.

This isn’t hard to do at all, in fact, at times it’s even deceptively simple. However, not everyone might be comfortable, or want to deal, for whatever reason, with all the angelic names and such. And even if this book also uses genius spirits, the angelic beings are inescapable and as far as I can tell, integral to most everything in here.

Despite some of its flaws, which most likely won’t bother others as much as it does me, it’s worth checking out, even just for getting the Sword Banishing Ritual.

They’ve got your back covered!

The Gallery of Magick

Protection & Reversal Magick

A Witch’s Defense Manual – by Jason Miller.

Talk to the hand!

This has been on my radar, and in my wishlist, for quite some time. I’ve been very curious to see if I’d find any of it useful. Besides, I needed a quick detour from all the angelical content I’ve been consuming as of late.

However, this isn’t completely devoid of angels (what book on protection would be?), but they are far from the mainstay of the text. This release takes a broad approach to protective measures and reversal operations in general, which in turn makes it likely that you’ll find something that aligns with your own personal praxis. A good thing, I think.

A paperback to keep in your backpack.

Now, before we go any further, I like to point out that I actually disagree with the author on how common actual magical attacks, or curses, are. I truly don’t believe they happen that often at all, and I’d be very wary of books telling you that you are an easy target, because, in a roundabout way, they are “magically attacking” you, the target audience, subliminally suggesting that you need to buy their product. Even dubious “psychics” or other kinds of magic workers with questionable ethics might convince you that you are either cursed or under a magical attack, just so that they can in turn charge you money to lift said curse or attack. Be skeptical.

It would take a very powerful mage to make a big dent in reality and cause your real harm. Most people that have reached that level of potency in their craft wouldn’t even dabble in such petty activities as that anyway. They have better things to do, and aren’t concerned with imposing on other’s will or do anything to you without your consent. If you are feeling that something is off, or that someone is after you, there’s much greater possibility that something else is going on. Which this book discusses in its first chapter.

Protection Recognition

With all the being said, there’s no doubt that some people will stoop very low, and try to get revenge or just wish bad luck upon you. We all know the type. Those fueled by jealousy and unresolved anger issues, can sometimes project their own self hatred on to you. Most of us will come in contact with them in one way or another throughout our lifetime. Even if this varies a lot cross-culturally, these attacks or curses might not even be intentional. Factor in the fact that you’re practicing magic and/or witchcraft, which attracts all sorts of astral entities and energies, and things can get weird. Fear not, this book has got you covered!

To fast forward a bit, and cut straight to the chase, what Mr. Miller advocates, is a regular practice of meditation, banishing rituals and offerings. This aligns 100% with my own beliefs and experiences, and just for the information on this alone, I highly recommended this book as a staring place if you don’t already do these three things regularly. I’ll even go one step further and say that in most cases, all you really need is a daily meditation practice, as that will take care of most of the interference that comes in your way, on every level, from physical to the etheric and auric planes.

M.O.B. – Meditate, Offer, Banish.

While I certainly enjoyed reading this book, and found plenty of helpful advice, I have a few issues. First and foremost, Dion Fortune’s influence is seemingly downplayed, and she was only mentioned once in Chapter 1 and in its belonging footnote in the Notes section. Dion Fortune’s book Psychic Self-Defense, albeit terribly outdated in parts (as well as Fortune being somewhat problematic as most, if not all, magicians of the past tends to be), is regarded by many as the go to primary sourcebook for magical protection.

What’s also curiously missing is a dedicated bibliography, although we do get a decent list of suggested books for further study, as well as an index. The latter is always welcome, even if in this case it’s a little on the short side, and I found the two things I actually looked for in it, Angels, Dion Fortune and Florida Water, was not included (but there were luckily room for me to pencil it in in my own accord, so problem solved).

Room for improvement.

Furthermore, although I understand that each case of attack or curse etc. is unique and requires countermeasures specifically tailored to accommodate it, I personally feel this could have benefited a little from being more specific in places. You’ll also find that a lot of the included material is heavy on the Hekate side. Even if in most instances this is used just as an example and a way of demonstrating how to put rituals in practice, the inclusion of deity neutral alternatives would be a better option in my opinion. And I’m saying this as someone who does work with Hekate.

First released in 2006, most of the material holds up, but I think an updated and revised second edition would be awesome. All of my criticisms can be considered to be minor, yet there are many areas that could be improved upon, perhaps making this one of the newer go-to books for protection and reversal magick.

All in all, a good manual to have at hand should you find yourself being the victim of a magical attack, or just want to your protection game, or. This book should prove to be a useful resource in times of need, and will be a very handy book to have as future reference. I keep finding myself referring back to it a lot, looking things up, well after I finished reading it.

Lastly, a huge thanks to Laura for giving me this as a Christmas gift!

Angelarium Oracle Deck

The cards are on the table…

Angelarium: Oracle of Emanations

I had intended to post this mini-review a while ago, however, I managed to either delete or misplace my original notes (I’ve looked and looked but they’ve mysteriously disappears, and I have no idea what happened…).

The good news is that because of this mishap I’ve had time to digest my thoughts about the deck itself. I feel like most people tend to be too quick to post reviews, walkthroughs and “first impressions” of products anyway, and I’d like to at least once in a while go against that trend. To offer more nuanced thoughts.

I believe it’s doing both the community and the deck creators a disservice to not give something that’s intended to be used practically the proper attention it deserves. Experienced cartomancer will know how much the experience of working with a deck can change over time, and this doesn’t always seem to be accounted for. With that lengthy introduction, let’s get down to business (cards)!

Not Your Typical Angel Oracle

Ground Control to Major Arcana!

Angel oracle cards have a notoriously bad reputation for being very tacky and tasteless. Apart from a handful of notable angel themed tarot decks, this certainly still seems to still be the case. Thankfully, Angelarium truly is a much welcome exception. Here the angel archetypes gets a much needed aesthetic visual overhaul that actually does inspire reverence. These giant. almost alien, beings are simultaneously arcane and high-tech, as if existing outside of time and space.

Peter Mohrbacher captures the surrealism as well as mythic qualities of angelic visions perfectly with his skilled art style. Even if it leans heavily towards fantasy, these depictions does highlight the sense of “otherness” and even androgyny that we so rarely see illustrated when in comes to angels in the “mainstream” these days.

Strange Angels

Da’at boi – “I’m so exquisitely empty”

11 of the angel cards are easily identified and simply maps onto the spheres of the Tree of Life. Despite that, ever since I got my hands on this deck I have bee puzzled by the other 22 angel cards and could not see how they fitted into the bigger picture. You’d think it would be obvious how they corresponds to the 22 paths and consequently the Major Arcana. But in my knowledge, albeit limited as it may be, it didn’t make sense (and it still don’t). Sure, some of the angel names I recognized and were familiar with, yet others deluded me.

Although I tried my best to do some research, I came up short. That’s until I saw Foolish Fish’s video overview of the very same deck in question. There he points out some of the possible sources of the names of the Angels which you can view at your own leisure here:

https://youtu.be/et7fcynwq18

Spoiler alert: It’s Neon Genesis Evangelion!

I will add that I agree with his opinion that the attribution to these 22 cards feels very much like UPS, or Unverified Personal Gnosis. Which is perfectly fine in and of itself, but it’s not ok to not mention this anywhere, as it’s comes across as disingenuous. But since the guidebook tells us nothing about the sources or reasoning behind anything, it might as well be arbitrarily, which is even worse.

“One magical movement from Kether to Malkuth” — David Bowie (Station to Station)

Face Like an Angel

All that being said, I absolutely love and adore the artwork! And considering how cheap this box of cards is priced, then that almost makes it worth it just on its own. Because the art truly is top notch and breathtakingly beautiful.

Even if I think it sort of misses the mark as a practical and working oracle deck, I still find use for at least the 11 Sefirot cards, either as study tools, inspiration or contemplative meditation. It might not be “my go to” deck, but it’s a keeper nonetheless.

For those that aren’t as concerned with Kabbalistic associations and magical theory as myself, and basically just want a cool deck to look at or supplement either their tarot reads or compliment an oracle deck collection, then this might be for you. And trust me, this is no tame and boring angel deck at all.

The included guidebook could have been improved by being fleshed out just a tad bit more, however, it’s translated into multiple languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German), which I actually think is a nice touch. This makes it even more accessible and useful for broader audience, and perhaps it will help in restoring the coolness of angels where they belong!

Lastly a shout out to my good friend Carol for gifting me this deck! Thank you!

If you enjoy my reviews and work in general, and want to be an awesome supportive person, you can buy me coffee here or treat me with something off my Amazon wishlist. I’ll happily return the favor in form of a tarot read. And if you buy something off my list I’ll review it.

Odin isn’t Santa Claus

Odin certainly is associated with the old celebrations of “jul” in Old Norse culture, however, no evidence points to him being the precursor to Santa Claus. Dr. Jackson Crawford explains these misconceptions well in the video below:

Never too early to start busting these kinds of myths in my opinion. For anyone interesting in authentic nordic Paganism, I endorse all the material produced by Dr. Crawford. The most historically accurate information readily available that I know of.

Enochian Vision Magick

A Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley by Lon Milo DuQuette.

Enochian on heavens door.

This was a surprisingly quick read for such a complex subject. As someone who’s quite familiar with DuQuette’s other writings, this perhaps shouldn’t have come as such a big surprise, since he’s very likely simultaneously both the clearest and most entertaining author of occult books… EVER!

However, at first glance, this book, with all its tables and diagrams and a page count of 304 pages, seems way longer and dryer than it actually is, which we will get into below.

Fear Enochian

Very content.

Before you get into the meat of the book you are treated with not just one, but two forewords, a preface and both a prologue to the prologue as well as a prologue! This all means that there is already a lot of material to go through ahead of its main content. Nonetheless I urge you not to skip any of it, as there’s plenty of gems in there and a considerable amount of good advice to be gleaned along the way. Hidden away inside here you’ll also find one very amusing alternative take on the purpose of Dee’s manuscripts, but I leave that little nugget for you to discover on your own.

After reading all the introductory texts, you really shouldn’t be too spooked by all their warnings, because from now on uncle Baba Lon will safely guide you through this system, putting all your concerns at rest.

Transmission Magick

Dr. John Dee – The First Enoch-a-naut.

John Dee was of course the original 007, a well known fact you likely posses already, as it’s almost certainly amongst the first things people will tell you about him. Followed closely by how he was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, which included duties as a spy as well as being a royal court astrologer (he choose her coronation date for instance). Oh, and we’re not going to go into the infamous wife-swapping incident instigated by the angels themselves, except to mention that all the involving parties had to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Side note: When will someone dramatize these events and make it into TV series? It’s ripe with juicy details and hilarious happenings. This is an untapped gold mine!

I think it’s agreed upon that Dr. John Dee was conceivably one of the most, if not THE most learned man of his time, at a time where it might still be possible to know everything there was to know. He was the proud owner of the largest library in England, and undoubtedly was the perfect candidate to be the recipient of a multiplex magical system downloaded directly from an angelic source. A case definitely can made of him possible being the only person capable of making any sense what was picked up on and communicated to him by angelic entities via his scryer Edward Kelley (a dubious and unstable yet immensely psychically gifted individual).

Inside this paperback tome you get related all the important and significant circumstances of how those operations took place, with the added benefit of being presented with the actual information of which they got their hands on. All done in a remarkably understandable and entertaining manner.

Don’t Try to duplicate the Magick Dee and Kelley Did to Receive the System— Just Use the System They Received!

Lon Milo DuQuette

Although the above quoted maxim is a sound recommendation, the author does intentionally contradict himself, suggesting that, in a way, you should imitate at least some of the original circumstances and procedures used by Dr. Dee and Kelley. So to a certain extent, it can be said that this manual acts as a provisional self initiation into all things Enochiana.

The angelic alphabet.

Which brings us to a highly important point, which is that not all of Dee’s manuscripts have survived after his death, making it evident that we sadly don’t have access to the complete system. Still, that’s not to say that this release in and of itself isn’t complete, because it is, and you basically get all you need to start practicing, and more. It’s just necessary, in my humble opinion, to know that some of the data given here is reconstructed and of newer developments. Mostly based off of teachings from The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley, amongst others.

Furthermore, we can’t even know for sure that what’s in the available manuscripts even was the final version of Enochian! Especially considering that Dee’s diaries has ample evidence showing us that the angels relatively frequently updated and revised their previously delivered information and material. Sometimes even years later, with the last documented transmission entry leaving an extremely essential piece of the puzzle. I postulate that there’s a high probability of further experimentation and research done on later dates (presumably with other scryers) yielded profound revelations that unfortunately have been all but lost. Unless they mysteriously manifests one day. Stranger things have happened. Especially where Enochian magick is concerned… I’m just saying…

I also believe that it’s crucial to note that the dear doctor did indeed promise the angels “never to disclose these Mysteries”! We actually don’t even know where Dee’s final resting place is…

Enochiana Jones

Wicked Angels & Strange Angles.

This is magick for the Dungeons & Dragons geeks that love long exhausting lists, diagrams and tables chock full of rules. Enochian is a gloriously elegant and remarkably coherent system of vision magick. If you take pleasure in such beauty, then this surely is the book for you. And trust me, it’s way simpler than it looks on the surface.

All that being said, beware, several schools of thought exists, and there’s a ridiculous amount of disagreement on what is proper and not proper forms of conduct. There really is no consensus in this field. Be that as it may, you can do much worse than to start here, as as far as I’m concerned, this is possibly the best guidebook available for those that want to embark upon their own Enochian adventures. That is, if you are willing to put in the hours of preparation and assembly required to become a bonafide Enoch-a-naut. Which is no small feat mind you, but armed with the knowledge contained inside this book, you’ll be more than ready, and you’ll have all the instructions you need readily available at your fingertips.

Of particular use is the incredibly generous amount of appendices, the handy bibliography and thorough index (yay, index!).

End of Program

Go back to the future by reprogramming yourself utilizing this magical manual.

In closing I’d like to take a brief moment to discuss the changes made between the 2019 and 2008 editions of this title.

This book was first published in 2008, under the same name, but with one additional word in the subtitle (highlighted below in italics); a word which I’m curious as to why they decided to drop… It was as follows:

An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley.

In my opinion, retaining the introduction part would make much more sense, as that is what the majority of the book actually is (the practical parts, albeit great, are not really given to us until almost the end).

Aside from that, the main difference between the two editions is the cover (the new one is so much cooler and tasteful), and that the 2019 release has a brand new foreword by Jason Louv, a new preface by the author himself and it includes a revised bibliography.

To be completely fair though, the only revision of the bibliography that I can spot is the addition of three books. I mean, that’s not a huge number of new content, and layout-wise, there’s room for at least one other book listed in said bibliography. So let me, completely free of charge, seize the opportunity to mention a couple of books worth investigating (that is not mentioned in the bibliography) if you are more interested in just doing the Magick, rather than understand all its history and theory:

Success Magick by Damon Brand and Liber Chornozom by A.D. Mercer.

Both of which I plan to review sometime further down the line.

Stay tuned.

Special Edition Saturn Cloth and Chapbook

such saturnfaction

Written by Meredith Graves with illustrations by Coleman Stevenson.

I had not planned on posting two reviews in a row, however I decided to strike while the iron (pun intended – see below) was hot and share my thoughts on these things.

“Saturn’s pretty cool, and that was one of the first ones that we discovered, that humans discovered, so there’s, like, a lot of cool ancient myths about it and stuff. “

Mandy (2018

Yeah, Saturn’s pretty cool, and so is this set; ie. both pretty and cool. I absolutely love the clean and minimalist design of the 16 page chapbook, titled An Abbreviated Discussion of Some Possibilities Towards A Theory of Saturn Symbolism and Its Practical Application. If you ask me, this is worth it just for that amazing title alone!  The whole presentation sort of reminds me of those old occult pamphlets that used to be popular in the early 1900s. Why aren’t these things back in style yet? Is it because blog posts like these, and the ease of posting stuff on social media or other creator curated platforms like Patreon for instance?

Anyway, I’m digressing, and stalling by writing filler sentences and paragraphs like this because I don’t want to spoil the content of the leaflet. It’s a quick read, but offers a lot of food (plants) for thought as well as some practical instructions of how to make sigils using Saturn’s planetary square.

all black everything

The cloth itself is made out of a very nice quality material, and my edition is the one printed using a special lead ink which shows up as a dark charcoal grey. Personally I think it lends an even more mystical quality to the already enigmatic Saturn. However, some might prefer the version printed in white for ease of readability. Depending on how you acquire it, due do packaging, some ironing is probably required.

The product listing mentions a number of uses for the cloth, like the fact that it can plainly/fashionably be worn (very useful at this time of writing), used as an altar cloth, a deck wrap, saturnine meditations or to simply use the square to draw your sigils. I’m sure you can come up with a whole host of other interesting uses, but I will leave you with this idea:

Make your own Saturn themed spread! Assign meaning to each of the nine images and use them as card positions.

  1. Symbol of Saturn
  2. Air
  3. Earth
  4. Number square
  5. Datura
  6. Foxglove
  7. Horsetail
  8. Rosemary
  9. Hellbore

I only have one question: Where or when can we get the unabbreviated version of the text? 

If your question is where to purchase this, then the answer is here:

https://www.etsy.com/no-en/listing/852268624/special-edition-saturn-cloth-and

The Enochian Magick of Dr. John Dee – A Review

The Enochian Magick of Dr. John Dee, with the gloriously pompous subtitle; The Most Powerful System of Magick in Its Original Unexpurgated Form. Edited and translated by Geoffrey James.

This is an oldie, but a goldie, as they say… or at least that’s what I say…

First released in 1984, then again as an updated version in 1994 by Llewelyn. It came to light at a time when there wasn’t that many books on this subject, at least not as far as I am aware (Fun fact: I was born the same year the introduction was written), and so in many ways it was then perhaps ahead of its time. If that’s the case, then supposedly it might have been a substantial influence on other authors books that came out in its wake. Now, I think it’s safe to say that a lot has happen throughout the years this niche field since its publication, yet I dare to say that this is still a rather interesting book, that also looks surprisingly well design-wise for its age and format (paperback – second printing 1998), with its pretty presentation being of particular note. I personally bought my copy right around the year 2000, and it’s held up quite nicely, and although it has gotten slightly yellowed pages over time, that just kind of adds to the charm and makes the experience so much richer and more immersive.

The yellow pages?

Here Dee’s Enochian magick is gathered together and put forth as a neat little grimoire, pulled from the good doctor’s own manuscripts. Complete with a sort of “pseudo history” to comply with the standard practice of ye olde arte of the grimoire tradition. All this makes for a very curious and compelling paperback artefact. It certainly has its unique glamour, and I’ve seen it described as the Key of Solomon of Enochian.

I think just the preface itself is worth reading for it’s sober take on wether or not this system was a complete fabrication of Edward Kelley. Then in closing we are also kindly blessed with a great set of appendices, which serves as the icing on this tasty delicious angelic cake of a book.

Grim dark grimoire noir.

However, it’s not without its flaws.

It’s been criticized for not being written by a practitioner, but that shouldn’t be such a big deal, since it’s merely mostly a presentation of the original source material. Although, I’m not even sure if it’s valid criticism, since the author doesn’t say he’s NOT practising this form of magick in the preface. Furthermore, some of the Latin translations are said to be less than favorable, but does anyone even know of any good translations of Dee’s Latin passages in his diaries? If so, please let me know.

Rereleased as The Enochian Evocations of Dr. John Dee. Out of print it in physical formats, but still obtainable digitally if you are so inclined.

THE CHURCH of TAROT

A cruciform spread in six cards.

Spreads shaped like various forms of crosses is a fairly common occurrence in cartomancy. The Celtic Cross presumably being the most well known, to the point of almost being the archetypical de facto spread. However, other variants exists, like my personal favourite The French Cross. Like many things, the origins of this particular idea came about whilst trying to develop a similar concept utilising a cruciform as its basis for layout. Such is the fractal nature of creativity that once you open the gates it’s an infinite rabbit hole of discoveries, and literally as I type this yet another conception of a seed for a spread occurred. It’s also something that’s useful to keep in mind as each card unfolds, leading you your thoughts in new directions. This is just an attempt at exploring the possibilities of using a traditional structure in an unconventional manner. Please think of it as a first draft, or a rough sketch, rather than something fully developed and set in stone.

For deeper immersion, face east, with the top card pointing towards the respective direction. Deal cards face down in order as shown in the illustration. Imagine it all as a top view of a church. Turn over one card at a time.

1. NARTHEX

Feet.

Open the doors. This is the threshold. A transition from the outside world in to a spiritual place. Often representing death. What is not allowed inside? What you must leave behind before you enter? 

2. NAVE

Torso/upper body.

Nave derives from the Latin word navis which means “ship”. Symbolically connected to such things as Noah’s ark for instance or your life’s journey. This is the current path you are on. Where are you headed?

3. THE CROSSING

Heart.

Yeah another transitional space. It’s literally the middle of the cross, a holy crossroads, connecting back to the past, leading towards the future and/or possible detours to the left and to the right. The heart of the matter. The core issue.

4. Left SEMITRANSEPT

Left arm.

Negative (outside) Influences. Might be relating to something or someone haunting you from the past. Liminality. Darkness.

5. Right SEMITRANSEPT

Right arm.

Positive (outside) influences. Light.

6. THE ALTAR

Head.

The most sacred part of the whole church. What do you need to sacrifice in order to become reborn? The word altar comes from the Latin words altārium and adolere, meaning “high” and “to ritually burn or sacrifice” respectfully. The latter meaning alluding to what was its original purpose. What do you need to place high upon the altar? Which bridges do you need to burn? What no longer serves its purpose? How do you clear your head? Symbolic of rebirth…

Variants:

Not too keen on the Christian connection? Want a more satanic approach? Try reversing the order, inverting the cross, reading card 6 as number 1 etc.

For a religiously neutral spread, just remove the transepts (wings) altogether, leaving you with four cards instead of six, and just call it The Temple of Tarot (I might expand on this idea later), and perhaps change the names of the various rooms if you are so inclined.

And lastly, if you’re feeling even more adventurous, try adding further locations, like left and right aisles, a sanctuary sanctum, bell tower, crypt, or a pulpit etc.

Angels & Archangels Review

Angels & Archangels

A Magician’s Guide

by Damien Echols

  • Hardback
  • 288 pages
  • Published by Sounds True

Firstly, I personally do recommend that you read Echols’ previous book High Magick before this, unless you already are experienced and/or familiar with western forms of ceremonial magical praxis, the likes of Golden Dawn or Thelema for instance. Nevertheless, I predict that High Magick very likely might become THE modern classic “go to” beginners introduction to magick, quite possibly destined to replace Donald Michael Kraig’s venerable Modern Magick. Time will tell. Now onward to the actual review Angels & Archangels.

POP MAGICK

I think it’s safe to say that this is somewhat of an anomaly, at least as far as occult publishing is concerned, as you could consider this to be quite a popular release by a very high profile author. My point being that this has both the momentum and exposure to be getting A LOT of public attention and opinions from people all around the online sphere, which should provide you with plenty of opportunity to get nuanced reviews, preview and overviews. So after you search YouTube for some excellent interviews where mr. Echols’s talks about his book himself, you can just pop over to Amazon or audible if you feel you need to further explore wether this is for you or not (spoiler alert: I think it is even if you don’t ;))

MAKING ANGELS COOL AGAIN

To be a mass marketed and mass produced book, it’s actually surprisingly well made. I’d say it even feels like a step up from the production of the aforementioned High Magick. It’s to be commended that they’ve managed to keep the book a hardcover while still keeping the cost down. Maybe it won’t last as long as the expensive hand bound talismanic releases of other occult publishers you may have in your private library, but for this price you can buy two copies… I also think it’s a fair chance that this will remain in print for years, so you don’t have to worry about missing out of a copy. It should also be said that this book is very tastefully designed and laid out, which isn’t uncommon for the more niche titles by the more specialist publishers alluded to, but for such a high profile release, it’s not a given. Also, everyone knows how easy it is for angel aesthetics to fall into the tasteless, tacky new age awfulness. Not the case here, thank God.

What I deeply appreciate about Damien Echols as an author and teacher is that he’s not a gatekeeper or an elitist, at all. His humble approach comes across in all his writing. Perhaps this is partly due to his poor upbringing or the fact that he initially learned his craft alone (he was as you probably know, on death row, spending several years in solitary confident) in prison, where his resources were limited, and he also was far removed from the occult and magick community. This is the real deal. Not the spooky, dark, mostly for pretend armchair snobbery you’ll often see these days and which frankly is getting a little old (although, if you know me, you know I very much enjoy that esoteric literature as well). Echols’s genuine excitement and enthusiasm leaps up at you from the page and is quite contagious and inspiring.

TWO PARTS MAGICIAN’S GUIDE

Part one acts like a reference of various categorizations of angels and archangels and their respective correspondences to such things as the elements, the Kabbalistic tree of life, the zodiac and the tarot. This is an extensive list serving concise information over a generous amount of pages. Of particular note is the attention given to the Tarot, with one page dedicated to each of the Major arcana cards and two cards a page of the Minor arcana. Now, we only get the name of the card, the associated angel and a short sentence or two of what it applies to, but with the Rider Waite Smith deck now being in public domain, it’s reprinted in full, albeit in black and white. Very handy.

Part two contains the practices and rituals. Again, here you might possibly benefit slightly from either having read High Magick beforehand or having previous magical training. However, this really is no prerequisite, and you’ll get everything you need here, from basic meditation and mindfulness to the essential rituals like The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) and ending with more advanced stuff like The Rose Cross and the infamous Shem Operation (AKA the ivocation of Seventy-Two Angels of the Shem Ha Mephorash).

ONE PART OF THE GREAT WORK

All in all this results in a very thorough source book as well as a practical work book, well deserving a place on anyone’s bookshelf. Informative without being dull and everything is eloquently explained making it extremely easy to follow. This truly is magick for all!

Although we do get a good list of book recommendations for further study and exploration, and a handful of sources mentioned in the NOTES section, we should have been given more clues as to where all this information came from. I know it’s not always possible trace down or even pinpoint where all your transmission came from, but certainly a guidebook like this could benefit a lot from being well documented. But at least we get an index!

Now I can’t wait until Damien’s next book is released, which I think I heard somewhere might be ritual compilation written as a collaboration with his wife, Lorri Davis. We’ll see. All I know is that he’s on top of his game, and seeing where he’ll go next will be interesting.

You can buy the book from the publisher or on amazon or probably just about any bookstore. It’s also available in kindle format and as an audio book read by the author himself.

The Xenomorph Lifecycle Tarot Transformation Spread

Happy Alien Day 2020!

In honor of this most holy day, and as a tribute to Saint Giger, I present to you this little idea. Please bear in mind that this is just a thought experiment. Ironically it’s not fully developed, but I wanted to post it none the less, as an exercise in creativity. Which might be what this spread is best suited (pun intended) for. Feeling blocked? Maybe consulting The Alien will help you unlock something. Or perhaps you are feeling stuck in some aspects of your life… the maybe, just maybe, some lateral thinking will change up the cycle.

LifeCycle_V5

Pose your question. Shuffle. Cut the deck. Deal four cards, pulled in sequence, representing the following stages:

Stage I: Ovomorph. The egg. Can remain in stasis for years until nearby movement is detected. Once a potential host approaches it opens up, unfolding, and a parasitic facehugger springs out, attaching itself to the newfound target. An egg has obvious symbolism, representing your hope, new potential etc.

Stage II: The Facehugger/Host-body. Eight fingers to hold you… hold on tightly. Hold on to that hope… those dreams…. don’t let go. Implant. Let the embryo grow. Once it’s secure, you can let go, and detach. Don’t lust for result. Let it die. You will soon be reborn.

Stage III: The Chestburster. This is the key. The (biomechanical) weapon. This is what will help you break out and break free. It will cut a path. Old habits will die, and you will discard what no longer serves a purpose. Be carful though, at this stage you are still vulnerable… so find safe space to hide so you can molt into adulthood.

Stage IV: Xenomorph*. The Alien. Your final form. Larger, faster, stronger, tougher than before. Your full potential. Enter the dragon. The Star Beast 666. 

* Stalker, Scout or Drone, according to some sources, but for the sake of convenience we are just going to treat it as one general form of xenomorph. One size, fits all.

For Further Research and Development

Depending on the lore**, there are stages beyond this which might be worth exploring, however, now we’re getting dangerously deep into deep, dark, geek territory. In any case, I’ll include them below for the sake of completeness, for those (including future me) that want to explore matters further: 

Stage V: Soldier, Worker, Sentry.

Stage VI: Praetorian, Crusher, Queen. 

Stage VII: Beyond the Queen… Queen Empress and Queen Mother. It has been suggested that the Queen will continue to grow as the hive grows, reaching proportions as big as a T-Rex! There’s even reports of Praetorians melting into something called Palatines, and then theres even whispered rumours about an Alien King…

**Source Alien the RPG

art credit: http://www.wallacebridgesjr.com/project/alien-covenant