OK, switching gears, that is a magician’s prerogative, is it not? The last two weeks I’ve been on about trying to break the hold of the seven day week on my magic and work only with lunar phases. Well, I’ve also had this idea in my head for a new project, one to follow after my work with the Lovecraft oeuvre. I’ve been increasingly obsessed with Venice and Venetian magic, particularly around the close of the 15th c. To better align with this obsession I gifted myself the Skinner / Rankine ‘Veritable Key of Solomon’ over the holidays. The ‘Clavicula’ was called out in the Rune Soup Premium Member Grimoire course as the most popular grimoire in that area at that time. My intention for 2018 is to align my practice with the Clavicula as much as possible, and measure the results.
Also for 2018, I intend to concentrate my practice on wealth, influence, and productivity magic. My thoughts on this are that the Venetians became a world power, not only owning and controlling the known physical world but also the intellectual world of the Renaissance. My theory is this was done principally through the magic they were practicing, or that those in power were practicing. I believe that those power structures, that those spells, have extended five hundred plus years to the modern day, that these operations are not only still effective, but the most effective when it comes to magic for wealth and power.
Now, Ivy Brumious, over at Circle Thrice is probably the modern master of wealth and productivity magic. She has a really amazing interview over at Rune Soup that everyone interested in this type of magic should check out. This post of Ivy's is particularly relevant to the one I’m writing today, if you are interested in some further context. I’m interested in digging into the core history of money magic, however, so I plan on taking a route of practical enchantment informed as much as possible by the history (both magical and mundane) of the Venice of 1490, or thereabouts on the spacetime continuum.
When I am talking about wealth magic I am talking, at least initially, about establishing a relationship with Jupiter. In order to work with Jupiter and stick to the Clavicula, I have to eat some crow and say that the planetary days and hours are necessary for successful operations. That is the beauty of magical experiments and, really, chaos magic as an approach to probability enhancement. If something doesn’t work out, a line of thought, a practical experiment, there is no shame or dogma that says you have to continue down that road. I do believe, however, that the Lunar Phases need to be baked into practical magic so I’ve layered that system on top of the planetary days and hours as an method of aligning practical work with the celestial machinations.
Now, I am fairly certain that Ivy would reccomend one start with sigils when it comes to workplace and wealth magic. I am inline with that. The change I am making for 2018 is the method through which I charge, or rather, concecrate my sigils as I have different ideas on how to charge sigils now that I’ve had some success with using heightened emotional states (like being angry / frustrated after the daily commute or when some workplace bully decides its your turn to have your day ruined). In 2017 I used the Cyprian method made available to Rune Soup Premium Members. It is effective and a great way to bring sigils into focus. My relationship, or the lines of communication, with Cyprian are still fairly weak though, for whatever reason, so I am switching to a Jupiter invocation and conjuration in order to concecrate my sigils prior to charging.
There are a couple of hiccups though, in using the Clavicula to conjure up Jupiter. First off, the planetary spirit is not mentioned in the prayer, invocation, or conjuration for Jupiter and his day, Thursday.
Let’s look at the difference between a few grimoires.
First, here is the prayer for Jupiter from the Hygromanteia:
Lord our God, the great, praised and incomprehensible, whose height of divinity is immeasurable, unto you I pray. I, the unworthy, beg the height of your compassion, hear me and make this attempt and the work I want to do, to be highly effective. I conjure you, most valorous and most beneficial Jupiter, by the immeasurable ankle of God, do not disobey me. I conjure you, Jupiter, by the grace of all herbs. I conjure you, Jupiter, by your valor and justice, by your miraculous virtues and in your following names, Misthan, Mesaou, Alasigno, Pelkaous, Aabio, Kedesod, Olaber, Dedio, Aolioi, Azanor, Merran. In your most great and valorous names, grant your grace and your virtue by the work I am going to do. Amen.”
The Olympic Spirit is clearly called on here. Maybe it is because I was using this prayer and the others from the Hygromanteia as part of my daily practice for much of last year, but this prayer makes the most ‘sense’ to me in the way it is structured. Now, let’s take a look at the Clavicula. My source for the below is ‘The Keys of Rabbi Solomon’, Wellcome MS 4670 from 1796, which is included in Skinner / Rankine’s ‘Veritable Key.’ The Clavicula has an advantage for the Hygromanteia, in my view, because it includes a prayer plus an invocation and conjuration. I view the three as being seperate entities and not merely different names for a planetary prayer. The structure of the Clavicula here supports that logic, I believe:
Oh, Salutary and benevolent Cassiel, who are covered with honors and who are pleased to distribute wealth with a liberal hand, do not reject the prayer I am making to you through the intercession of your well-loved and favorite Maguth, Gutriz, Sachiel, Suth and give my Operation a happy outcome, so that I may render glory onto you. [Amen].
Come promptly, happy Spirits, who preside over ventures of this day. Come, incomparable Zebul with your entire cohort, hasten to my aid and show favor on my Operation. Be obedient and do not refuse me your might help.
I conjure you by the Holy Name Emmanuel, all you Celestial Spirits, who willingly assist the ministry of the Great Distributor of honors, riches, and health. I conjure you by the bond and by the good inclination, which you have to give pleasure to those who have confidence in your miraculous attributes, Oh Rahel, Miel, Nalapa, Caluel, be here present and make destructive spirits flee from my endeavour. [Amen].”
So, above you see that 1) the Olympic Spirit Jupiter is never specifically called out. It is possible that he is called on in the Conjuration as ‘the Great Distributor of honors, riches, and health’, as a type of encoding. And 2) There is a significant difference in the first spirit called on in the prayer portion. Before we get into that though, let me offer one more example of a Thursday / Jupiter conjuration, this time from the Book of Oberon:
I conjure and encourage you, O holy angels, by the name of Cados, Cados, Cados, Eschereie, Eschereie, Eschereie, Hatim, Ya, Strong, strengthening the world, Cantine, Iaym, Ianic, Anie, Calbat, Sabbat Berify, Alnaym, and by the name Adonay, who, on the fifth day, created the fishes and creeping things in the water and the birds above the face of the earth, and by the names of the angels [serving in the sixth army before the angel Pastor], holy, great, and potent prince, and by the name of the star which is Jupiter, and by all his seals, and by the name Adonay, highest God and creator of all things and by the names of all stars, and by thier strength and virtue, and by the names mentioned before. I conjure you, O Sachiel, great angel, who has command over Thursday, that you labor for me, and fulfill all my petitions according to my will and desire in my business and plea. [Amen]”
In the Book of Oberon conjuration, which my good friend Ghostly Harmless points out is identical to that which is included in The Magus, the olympic spirit is called on by name as well as the celestial spirit that is normally associated with Thursday, Sachiel (or Satchiel). We see in the Clavicula, Cassiel is called upon first. Cassiel is normally associated with Saturn and, according to the Clavicula, Saturn and his spirits should not be called upon lightly and only during very specific astrological alignments, lest misfortune fall on the shoulders of the magician. Sachiel is even notes as the first spirit of the first hour of Thursday in the Clavicula’s hourly chart. So why is Cassiel called on first, while Sachiel is called upon second and along with three other celestial spirits as a group? I initially thought that maybe there is an internal logic in the Clavicula that necessitates CC’ing the boss of the day’s celestial spirit first prior to the ‘ask’. That would place Cassiel above Sachiel in a spirit hierarcy (which, as we know, are typically called out in a fairly strict manner in Solomonic magic) but the logic doesn’t hold when you look at the operations for Saturday in the Keys of Rabbi Solomon. There, Machatan is called on first in the prayer and Cassiel is never mentioned, but is marked as the spirit of the first hour of Saturday in the hourly chart for that day.
All this means to me, really, is that there is some more armchairing to do. For my sigil shoal launch this past Thursday I used all three sources, in fact. I particularly like the Book of Oberon because it also offers a illustrations of Sachiel and King Forman, allowing me to add active imagination / visualization in to the operation. Along with shifting from Cyprian to Jupiter for my sigil launch, I am still adding in the Babylonian ‘timestamps’ to my sigils, indicating a date in the future in which the low probability event should take place, have been adding characters from Jupiter’s ‘alphabet’, as they are indicated in the Clavicula, and on the backside of the sigils I included the name of the ‘primary spirit’ of Jupiter, BETHOR, and the characters of Sachiel. This, in effect, is bordering on the world of talisman creation and does, in fact, make quite an involved system of characters and signs on the sigils. I will probably pare this down in future launches, but for the first sigils under this new system and under the auspicous of a new ‘patron’ i.e. Jupiter, a bit of ‘over-magic’ can’t hurt.
This week’s imbrications follow the plot trajectory of our Lovecraft offering pretty closely. We start it off with one of the most sensitive songs that Jane’s Addiction ever offered, Classic Girl. The video itself is a type of moving talisman that also dovetails into our card for this week.
The title of this week’s post is for Love and Money. Despite what the offerings of President Oprah’s bookclub say about love and the human condition, relationships are almost always about money (or the lack thereof). Money, very often, dictates the ebb and flow of our passions and our moods as we interact with those that we love and have chosen to share oxygen with. The second imbrication comes from what is still probably my favorite group from Chicago’s mid-nineties ‘Industrial Revolution’, KMFDM. I love how dated this video is, pay attention for the line where the singer calls out how he makes ‘a few hundred dollars a day’. Big money in the nineties.
The last imbrication gets at more of a self-love, which is just as important as the love of others and really, what magic is pretty much all about. It comes to us from the actual chaos magicians, Die Antwoord out of South Africa, and is the perfect soundtrack for how our Lovecraft tale ends.
PAN AND AEGIPAN
For this week’s Lovecraft story, I told myself, “Self, you need to tackle a story you’ve been avoiding, look at something that doesn’t immediately interest you. That is how I landed on Lovecraft’s ‘comic’ tale, Sweet Ermengarde for this week. As is the way of things, I found a host of connections into what I’m doing magically and a clear vector into the Tarot as well.
Before we dig into Sweet Ermengarde though, I wanted to comment on the connections that Lovecraft actually had into the roots of Venetian magic, pagan Rome. In ‘The Necronomicon Files’, in Gonce’s essay ‘Lovecraftian Magic’, the origins of Lovecraft’s passion for Roman religion is revealed in Lovecraft’s own recollection of his grandfather:
“His grandfather Whipple Phillips also fostered in Lovecraft a love of ancient Rome by showing him pictures and antiquarian souvenirs brought back from his trips to Italy. Of his grandfater, Lovecraft wrote, ‘He loved to muse amidst the ancient ruins of the city and had brough from Italy a wealth of painting and objets d’art whose theme was more often classically Roman than Italian.”
These early experiences led the young Lovecraft down a path of neopaganism:
“I have in literal truth built altars to Pan, Apollo, Diana, and Athena, and have watched for dryads and satyrs in the woods and fields at dusk. Once I firmly thought I beheld some kind of sylvan creatures dancing under autumnal oaks…”
and later, by his own admission (and in opposition to his primary critic’s assertion that he was an atheist) Lovecraft is recorded as stating:
“I was, and still am, pagan to the core.”
Gonce also sites an incredibly obscure pamphlet from one Paul F. Memoli, from 1979, in which Lovecraft is tied to Crowley through the former’s admitted connection to the God and the latter’s ‘Hymn to Pan’:
This metaphysical connection makes sense, especially if you subscribe to Peter Levenda’s assertion that Crowley and Lovecraft were linked through the spirit world, but not in the real. I can attest to having a similar experience recently, having met a new friend (a rare thing for me) following the days of Saint Cyprian. He reached out to me on social media shortly after those nine days of prayer and when we met in the real, it turned out that he was praying and invoking Cyprian every day as well. While I am still suspicious of Levenda’s assertion that Lovecraft could not have had any knowledge of Crowley (especially after hearing some of the details of Tobias Churton’s new book, Aleister Crowley in America, on his most recent Rune Soup interview. I am certainly not adverse to the idea that Crowley and Lovecraft had this type of spirit-induced synchro-parasitic relationship as well.
Pan, from a variety of sources, is reportedly the son of Hermes (or has no father, or is the son of Aegipan [or possibly his cousin] according to others). While Pan is the god of fecundity, fertility, general woodland lasciviousness, and physical love, if we are to operate under the model that his father is Hermes, we find another connection between the twin supernovas of human experience, Love and Money. In particular, the connection between Hermes and money is made in Rennasaince Venice, around the middle of the 15th c.
Joseph P. Farrel, in his work, ‘The Financial Vipers of Venice’ has this to say about Hermeticism and its connection to Italian rennaissance thought in nearby Florence:
“the claim of Hermeticism goes back to antediluvian knowledge, that is, that the Hermetic texts contained an ancient widom, a primoridal theology or prisca theologia, and this was to play a curcial role in the wide dissemination and influence of the Hermetica up until the late Renaissance… the reunion Council of Ferrara-Florence, held between 1438 and 1445 to reunify the Greek and Latin churches that had split in 1054… In 1439… Cosimo de Medici relocated the great Council of Ferrara to Florence. The Greek scholars in attendance… so impressed the Florentine intellectuals… that they decided to creature a home in Florence for the ancient spirit, particularly Platonism… the head of the Medici family chose Marsilio Ficino to render Plato’s writings from Greek into Latin. Then, in 1460 or thereabouts, one of Cosimo’s agents sent the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum to Florence… Ficino completed the first translation in 1463… and with that began the renaissance of Hermeticism, which shaped the intellectual history of the early modern period into the seventeenth century… Ficino’s translation activities for the Medicis included important translations of… Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus, in addition to the Hermetica… Ficino, in his construction of the genealogy of Hermes Trismegistus, followed the tradition that the individual was a real person, and found so many numerous parallels between Hermes and Moses that the idea could be entertained that the vast body of texts came from ancient times, and that the two figures might be identical… the widespread tendency of the Renaissance was to take the Hermetic texts at their word…”
So not only does Lovecraft’s admitted lifelong empathy for Pan connect him to the ancient Rome so beloved by his grandfather Whipple Phillips, but by metaphysical extension, Pan’s (alleged) direct relationship to Hermes creates vectors to the intellectual world of 15th / 16th c. Venice, as they would be in the throes of a belief that their magic was based on the literal words of Hermes, carried through the Deluge and codified by his son, Hermes Trismegistus. By this same logic, is it absurd to put forth that, maybe, just maybe, Hermes Trismegistus is also related to Pan and his cousin, Aegipan? Aegipan, the walking goat god [read: Baphomet], the son of Zues [read: Jupiter], who in his Egyptian incarnation of Hyginus was driven into the Nile during a battle with Typhon, transforming his hindquarters into that of a fish, leaving the top half that of goat, and giving us one of our astrological patrons for the next three years, Capricorn, the Mergoat. The mind boggles…
With these connections spinning around us in the perverbial ether, let us then look at that most un-Lovecraftian of Lovecraftian tales, Sweet Ermengarde. The protagonist of this tale is Ermengarde Stubbs, a young (or as it is insinuated, not so young). Ermengarde the beautiful but dirt-poor daughter of a backwoods Vermont bootlegger (but not a very good one, if they were so poor I surmise) was sought after by two men. It is a tale as old as the Deluge itself:
“Ermengarde’s hand was sought in matrimony by two ardent lovers. ‘Squire Hardman… rich and elderly… dark and cruelly handsome… Jack Manly, whose curly yellow hair had won the sweet Ermengarde’s affection when both were toddling youngsters…”
As is the way of things, Squire Hardman’s cruelty and decreptitude did not endear him to Ermengarde, which was altogether for the best seeing as he only wanted to marry her to obtain the farmland and wilderness areas owned by her father Hiram, the second-rate (but apparently land rich) bootlegger. It is quickly revealed that Jack Manly is Ermengarde’s choice and the two eventually consumate the relationship, in the middle of a wood-lined country road (how very Pan-like). Their love for each other did not go unnoticed, however:
“But these tender passages, sacred though their fervour, did not pass unobserved by profane eyes; for crouched in the bushes and gritting his teeth was the dastardly ‘Squire Hardman! When the lovers had finally strolled away he leapt out into the lane… ‘Jack Manly shall never succeed! I am a man of power — and we shall see!’”
There is certainly modern commentary in this tale, ‘I am a man of power — and we shall see!’ is a telling phrase, and also illuminates more of Lovecraft’s allegiances, which lies with young passion and not with propriety and those at the top of the power structure. This is also, perhaps, a wider comment on how power does not reward passion, and that passion is a much harder road to success on the gnostic map than that of power. Hardman, after his uber-creepy voyerism of the shameless woodland encounter between Ermengarde and Jack, took himself directly to her father’s house and gave her parents an ultimatum:
“Farmer Stubbs, I cherish a tender affection of long standing for your lovely offspring… I am consumed with love, and wish her hand in matrimony… Give me the girl or I will foreclose the mortgage [I hold on your land] and take the old home!”
I see a lot of Swift in this tale and the mechanisms he used, such as the cooking up of delicious Irish babies, to bring to the fore hard social points. Viewed through this lens the tale is not merely comic, as it is billed by the editor in my collection, but satiric, a much more powerful (and magical) vehicle. When the couple make there way back to Ermengarde’s home to tell their parents what they had just done in the woods, (because, well, I don’t know, the whole thing’s creepy), Jack declares that he will rescue Ermengarde from her fate:
“Jack remembered he was the hero… declaming… ‘Never shall the fair Ermengarde be offered up to this beast as a sacrifice while I live’”
There is something here about sacrifice to obtain power and perhaps the differences of sacrifice to obtain magical results and passion. At this point, however, Jack chooses the path of power, in order to fulfill the goals of the path of passion. Also, up until this point, Ermengarde is painted as the hapless victim of her fate as a woman, being smacked about like a badmitton shuttlecock.
There is some back and forth and some literary time passes , Ermengard is kidnapped by Squire Hardman and taken to ‘the city’, until:
“One day as ‘Squire Hardman sat in the front parlor of his expensive and palatial home… a great thought came to him; and he cursed alound the statue of Satan on [his] onyx mantelpiece.
‘Fool that I am!’ he cried ‘Why did I ever waste all this trouble on the girl when I can get the farm [and the gold beneath] by simply foreclosing?’”
Oh, Hey Baphomet, er, I mean Aegipan, er, I mean Satan, we were just talking about you...
After Hardman changes his approach to acquiring the Stubb’s farm, Ermengarde is released from captivity and placed in a brothel, and not being very good at brotheling, is then put out into the street. It is at this point that her fortunes change and she is taken in by a rich widower, who, long ago had lost a daughter to kidnapping herself. Mrs. Van Itty, a woman of money and influence, brings Ermengarde up from her poor but resourceful and pride-filled place on the streets, empowering her with money, wardrobe, and social influence.
I think there are a lot of important themes here that resonate with our modern world. The rich and powerful men who use their influence to opress women and force them into marriage, brothels, and worse; the abandonement of true love for the path of money and power by Jack Manly, sure, it is under the auspices of ‘rescuing’ Ermengarde [another form of oppression for women, placing them in a role where they require rescuing]; and finally, Oprah, er, I mean Mrs. Van Itty, empowering Ermengarde with money, power, and independence.
At the very end of the tale, all of the power lies in Ermengarde hands, along with the final decisions, which turn out to be a bit villanous themselves, but only in response to the lies and deceit of the authorities around her.
Of all the Lovecraft stories in existence, this is the only one that dovetails so nicely with the Tarot trump, The Lovers, or as it is known in some decks, Marriage. In our Etteilla deck, this is one of his more, um, remixed cards. The image on the trump is clearly that of the Lovers, or the Marriage card, two individuals being wed by a priest. The title Etteilla gives the card, however, is Le Grand Le Grand Prêtre, or The High Priest. ‘High,’ from the Old English heah, means of great height, tall, elevated, exalted, or high-class. So there is our connection to the power structure and, by extension, the world of Money. ‘Priest’ maps back to Old High German’s priast, or Vulgar Latin’s ‘prevost’, which means ‘one put over others’. The two keywords on Ettella’s card are ‘Mariage’ and for the reverse, ‘Union’. Mariage is from Old French and is a synonym for dowry, which is where the money and wealth feed into the card. Curiously, the reverse of this card, ‘Union’, when mapped back to Old French means ‘oneness’ or a ‘uniting’. In this instance, what is by modern minds considered the ‘higher’ ideal, that is a oneness of two people, a uniting of two persons, that is to say, the true essence of love, is the reversal of the trump, or the more ‘negative’ aspect of the card.
A more traditional definition of the Lovers, from Holistic Tarot, tells us that the card is about moral choice or choosing a path. Depending on the context of the reading, it can mean a uniting with a significant other when discussing love, or a unification of power if discussing business. At its core, according to Benebell Wen, this card is about making a choice that is in line with your ethics. Whether that choice leads you down the path of money or love, as it was in the end for Ermengarde, is entirely your own.