I normally wake up between 4 and 4:30 AM, I know, its obscene, but I need time in the morning for my rituals, the first of those being making coffee. I am one hundred and fifty percent a coffee snob, so that ritual can get complex.
When I wake up I stumble down the stairs in the one hundred year old farm house that I live in with my family. I walk over to the sink and draw water into the carafe and pour it into the coffee maker. This almost always makes me want to pee so I head back upstairs to our tiny bathroom to take care of that primal urge and head back downstairs. I am lucky to live in a city with a number of microroasteries, so I have fresh whole beans, or relatively anyway, so I grind them on demand. I have a nice burr grinder but it is really loud so sometimes I grind the beans the night before so as to not potentially wake up the kids, because if that happens, all rituals are shot.
Having freshly ground coffee in hand, I place the gold mesh metal filter on the scale and take out its weight. Unless the coffee is really special or nuanced or weird, I weigh out thirty-eight grams of ground coffee, place the filter on top of the carafe, place both under the coffee maker and turn the switch on.
This used to take longer. Before I invested in my current coffee maker (which brews at 195 degrees exactly for a consistent extraction) and burr grinder I was into making everything manually. I used a Hario hand grinder and a Hario two cup carafe with a metal filter (I love the no-mess full oil cup you get from a metal filter). I would heat water in a goose neck pot and after placing the precise amount of finely ground coffee in the filter would begin a slow extraction. This is when I had more times in my morning, before I regularly started performing magical rituals in those quiet hours before and just after dawn.
After long reading about and frankly being terrified by Solomonic Magic, I have recently began to work that into my routine as well. Solomonic Magic is very ritual heavy but proven to work over centuries of use. Like my coffee ritual, you need certain accoutrements. Most often you need a knife or a sword, depending on the ritual. You need very specific orison's or prayers at the ready to be spoken at certain times and in certain situations. It is important to have a pen and ink and parchment that have had prayers or consecration said over them and are of a specific color or material. You require incense, and not just any incense but a different one for each day, sometimes each hour, and sometimes even scents that are specific to the type of demon or spirit you plan on working with. On the parchment specific sigils are drawn. The knife is used to create circles in dirt with more sigils. The circles are absolutely required otherwise you are not performing Solomonic ritual and could, theoretically, unleash Godzilla on your sleepy little suburb as the circles are meant to constrain the spirit you are working with.
Some modern magicians are really quite strict about what parts of this ritual need to be adhered too, others not so much. Having just started with this method of magic I am naturally trying to draw parallels to other rituals in my life, i.e., coffee. Now, if I adjust the grinder on my morning coffee to a very coarse grind but keep everything else the same, I will still get a pot of coffee, but it will be weaker because there was not as much time for the coffee to extract and there is less coffee actually suspended in the water. If I change the weight of the coffee, this will have a similar effect. If I change the grind and the weight, depending on which direction I go with either, I could potentially end up with a pot of coffee that tastes very much the same as the original formula. If I omit the filter, however, or the water, or the carafe, then all I have is a mess I am too tired to properly clean up.
All rituals have these components, reading through the Book of Oberon last night I found that even some of the strictest Solomonic rituals, after being completed once, no longer required the same attention to detail to achieve the same results in subsequent attempts. This is normally achieved by making a pact with the spirit once you have succeeded in gaining its attention. I have, on many occasions (OK, only when the batteries die in my scale) eyeballed the amount of coffee and gotten a good result and sometimes even a spectacular result, which I am unfortunately never able to replicate.
The first Solomonic ritual I attempted was the calling of Birto from the Book of Oberon. Birto did not show up. A number of things did happen though. I chose the right hour to perform the ritual but I had no knife, nor was I outside in the dirt, but inside in the area where I perform divination, planetary spirt prayers, saint devotion, and ancestor worship. I kept the circles, which I think are probably the carafe in this analogy as you need something to contain either the coffee or the spirit. I used rope to make the circles and placed the required sigils on cards. I stood in the circle and began the correct incantations. The minute I was inside my circle and had begun the ritual that specific body buzz I associate with magic actually doing something on the physical plane began and began in earnest. I was buzzing from my toes to my head. I look at the words and the sigils in the circle like the grind and weight of the coffee. These aren't going to be perfect, but they are close. They can change a bit, like during orisons that proclaim protection from the spirit I normally throw in a 'and my family' or anyone else that happens to be around (take that random house guests; Fox hovering over your air mattress invoking demons). To me, that just makes sense and those types of changes really shouldn't make or break the ritual.
I already mentioned that I didn't use a knife at all and had just used a marker and no parchment to make the sigils. I think these elements might be the filter in my metaphor. I knew I was doing something from the buzz I felt, if I didn't use a filter and just steeped my coffee in water, I could certainly ingest it and get a proper buzz (I used to roast coffee and we would do this when 'cupping' different varietals), but without the filter I don't really have a 'sit down on the couch bleary eyed listening to magic podcasts and enjoy a cup of joe' kind of experience. I can get parchment, I can acquire different inks and pens, and I can get a knife, I have the appropriate prayers to say over all of them to consecrate them for use. The next time I plan on adding the filter to my Solomonic Coffee, and see if I can't get a better result. We can always make substitutions, magicians have done so for a thousand years or more, and often we will get the magic to work. The point of this week's post is, make your experiments but start from a place that has been proven to work. Don't make coffee without a filter and expect not to have grounds stuck in your teeth at the end.