Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No replacement for meditation

One of the features of my methods of magic that sometimes throws people for a loop is the importance I place on meditation. It is the keystone of my magic. You can do magic without it, but there will be somethings that I teach - especially if I launch a truly Advanced Sorcery or Strategic Spirituality course - that will have a very subtle explanation that relies upon certain experiences to even understand. Those who do the meditation will nod and understand. Those who do not, will either go "huh?" or will just fake it - possibly even to themselves.

In his latest post, Frater R.O. makes some very kind comments about my magical style, and notes that we have a very different style of magic. This is very true. If we appear thick as thieves here in the blogosphere it's not because we are doing the same things. It's because we like each other a lot personally, respect the work that we each have done, and agree on certain points. We also both possess the ability to disagree, talk about it without getting upset, and walk away as friends - a rare trait in some circles.
In the aforementioned post, he notes that a few of my students have asked him if he does all the meditation that I recommend. He doesn't, but does go on to say that " until you've learned to still your own mind and recognize where your own thoughts come from in your head, you will have a very difficult time differentiating between the Voices of the Spirits and your own meandering thoughts. The best way I know of to learn to do this is to practice meditation outside of ritual. " Needless to say, I agree.

In the next paragraph though, he talks about how he reaches these contemplative states by being in the presence of the spirits or God, and that for the meditative state is a side effect of magic. He notes the states of contemplation and trance that people at Thelesis entered by attending his lecture there. Knowing several of the folks there, I can attest to the fact that many people did enter trance or altered states. That this is in any way comparable to meditation is where we need to part ways.

People have told me that they don't need to meditate because they reach "the meditative state" by any number of things including:
• Taking psychedelics
• Ice skating
• Running
• Astral Projecting
• Doing the LBRP
• Talking to Angels
• Using Sound and Light Machines
• Self Hypnosis
• Listening to relaxation tapes.
• Dancing

All of these activities are good. All of them can bring you into altered states of consciousness such as trance, ecstasy, or deep calm. NONE of them does what a solid meditation practice does. NONE OF THEM. This isn't an opinion thing. It is a fact. All you need to do to verify this fact is meditate for at least 20 minutes a day for three months.

A lot of people seem to have a real problem with meditation. Even after I dispel the "I'm no good at it" stuff, people just do not like to do it. Especially occultists. There are a few reasons for this:
• Magicians like to do stuff. Meditation distinctly lacks the doing of stuff.
• Magicians like to see visions and get visited by spirits. Meditation instructs you to ignore those visions and politely tell the spirits and gods that show up to please STFU because you are meditating.
• Magicians like altered states of consciousness. Meditation is actually all about your NORMAL STATE consciousness.

Note that last one. Meditation has NOTHING to do with reaching altered states of consciousness. It ONLY has to do with getting to know your own mind in its most normal and fundamental state. It can help you reach altered states because you know your mind so well. It can help you reach relaxed states, empathic states, or just about any other state of mind that you choose because it is NOT a type of trance or altered state thing.

In the beginning stages of meditation, you are focusing on one thing, or if you can, you empty the mind completely. This lasts for seconds before you get distracted. You than gently return to the meditation. That is it at first. If you are doing anything else than you are distracted. If you are having visions of Gabriel than you are distracted. Meditation is the practice of cutting through distraction.

It is true that you can make yourself mentally absorbed in running, and sports, and other activities that put you into "the zone". You enter this state ONLY because you have made your activity the single focus of your mind and thus you are technically meditating. But here is the problem, if you are doing something active like this to cause you to enter into clarity, than you are locked into doing that thing. What good will it do you in the office when you are in a heated exchange with your boss? Are you doing to stop so that you can run around? Of course not.

Real meditation, seated and walking, takes the GOAL AS THE PATH. Clarity cannot be linked to some external activity. You must learn to be clear naturally. After you achieve the state of clarity, you realize that it is actually your normal state.

Eventually you stop being distracted as easily: you win the battle against wandering trains of thought, you win the battle against agitation, you win the battle against dullness. Now you drop even the focus of the meditation and are able to just be clear, naturally and effortlessly. This is contemplation.

Contemplation, in the mystical sense, cannot be given to you by spirits. Demons, Angels, Buddhas, and Dakinis all place one into altered states of consciousness when you encounter them. They can empower you and even give you glimpses of clarity, but if you are not doing the work to step through the door that they open, than it is not going to get you anywhere near what meditation and contemplation will. The whole point is that it is in YOU. It is your Primordial state of awareness, NOT the gift of some external being. "If you see a Buddha on the road, kill him".

This is not an eastern vs western thing either. There is a very strong western meditative and contemplative tradition. Drawing from Christianity alone, we have the Cloud of Unknowing, Meister Ekhart, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, etc, etc. In the Christian sense, if you are relating to God as a being that you are in the presence of - you are still not meditating or in true contemplation. As Meister Ekhart said: "The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge."

The practice of meditation and contemplation itself has nothing to do with beatific visions other than increasing the ability to have and to exploit such visions as a side effect. This is also how you know if people are actually having the abyss experience. If you are describing things in terms of subject and object, you are not there.

You can do magic without meditation. Most do. I do not. For most practical magic and evocation a little ability to concentrate is all that is needed. So RO is quite correct when he says that he can do magic without meditation. As for the side effects that mimic some of the gifts of meditation, I have this analogy that I was taught by my fellow Chthonic Auranian, Alobar:

The various gifts that meditation can bring are like treasures buried underneath a kings castle. By aiming at these individual effects, you can be like a thief who breaks in and makes off with some of the treasure. By meditating, you become king and do not have to move a single piece to possess it all.

I am quite serious when I state in my books that I would give up every scap of arcana, every spell, every ritual, every energetic manipulation and astral venture for the practice of meditation.

There is no energy exercise, physical action, ritual, incantation, spell, or mental effort of any kind that can replace your meditation. Period.

It is my most earnest wish that every man, woman, and child on this planet take up the practice of meditation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When to teach

I got asked for advice tonight by someone on how to be an instructor in magic for someone that is just starting out. The person that asked me was twenty. My advice: don't.

This has nothing to do with the individual asking me. Unless you spent your teen years shut away in the Black School under the Glaciers of Iceland, or were raised as a Eckankarian Tulku in the secret Katsupari Monestary  than you are simply not ready to teach magic by the ripe old age of twenty.

You can and should recommend books and give advice. This should be done from the perspective of a fellow student of a higher grade giving advice to a younger student. Actually developing a curriculum and teaching is a whole other ball of wax. This leaves the question though: when should we teach?

If you belong to a solid tradition, than there are probably some rules in place. However, even in the oldest traditions there can be some wiggle room. For instance, you should not assume that everyone who calls themselves a Lama, or even is recognized as a Lama by the establishment, has been on three year retreat, or any major retreat at all for that matter.

Outside of those traditions magic is basically the wild wild west. Thats fine. I like it that way.

My advice however is not to teach when you think you ready.

When others think you are ready to teach, I still don't think you should jump into it. Instead you should maybe be in informal mentor. Perhaps lead a group of peers. Get some experience advising.

Only when others have been asking you for a while, and you have some experience of advising peers and mentoring should you consider setting yourself up with students.

This is just my advice of course. There are no hard rules. You can do as you please. Just be prepared to not be taken seriously if you are 20 and your students are 18.

Unless of course you were raised in the Black School or Katsupari Monestary. In which case: can I be your student?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Field Report # 4

More Field Reports. This one on finding a job. Good use of Temple and Field Magic together. Also a great example of how to run your magic and not let your magic run you. Note that he declined the first offer that his magic presented him with. A lot of magicians I know would never DARE to do that, thinking that it would either be an insult to the spirits or that the magic presents some kind of initiatory path. The Sorcerer says, "Nope, not good enough". Than gets the results he wanted

Presented below, as I received it.

Identify prospective Career Change through life mapping (looking at training, cost, benefits, etc.)

Step 0: Made offerings on Wealth Altar to Mother Rat, (like a money frog, only.. a momma rat with ratlings), St. Expedite, Crow (shiney shiney!), and "The powers of abundance" in general. incence, lights, and food.. well.. rum.

Step 1: Apply for school, channeling Mercurial energy into the application, and saying a quick prayer to the Mercurial powers.

Result: Acceptance of application. Not too impressive, as schools are accepting a lot of folks durring the recession.

Step 2: Apply for Entry Level positions: Dressed and acted the part, kept open and relaxed body language, and laughed often. Used eye contact to push the thought of "Hire Me" into the minds of my prospective empolyers. Recieved business card with hand written name.

Step 3: Stay on my refrences to make sure they give good and prompt reviews. Occasionally hiss, "Hire Me!" in to the "ear" of the business card.

Step 4: Probably should have been step 1. Divination. Geomancy: 1 figure draw: "What would be the result if I accepted the new position?" Result: Rubeus. Terribly unfavorable figure. If pulled first in a full chart read, the whole chart is scrapped. Signifies passion and strife. "Good in all that is evil, and evil in all that is good."

Step 5: Second interview: more wealth altar offerings. Dressed the part with lots of Jupiterian blue. Got offered position! Was also told starting salary involving a large pay cut.

Step 6: Review budget of both time and income. Position would not pay off for years, great finantial hardship till degree is finished.

Step 7: Re-Divination: Tarot two paths spread. Indicates great stagnation and unhappiness after much struggle, though financially stable.

Position unsuitable. Will decline offer.

Step 8: Divination for "What would the result be if we poured much more effort in to side project X?" Geomancy, 1 figure pull: Laetitia: Joy. Favorable in almost any question where happiness is desired. Will be putting more effort in to side project.


Prospect job called me back, seemed determined to have me, and was going to work to see if I could get hired at a higher position, while at my current job I was offered to start on the clinic management track.

Altar Merging

There is still work to do (painting the walls blue instead of red, new altar cloths, etc) but I did merge most of my altars. The Buddhist and Christian stuff now dominates the altar because for as much materia based sorcery as I do, I do way more meditation/contemplation/prayer work. The two are sharing a space quite nicely and it forces me to really walk the walk as far as my spiritual view. Having them separated was leading to a false separation in my psyche that I was not even really aware of. Here's hoping all the associated guardians and lower spirits play nice.

I slept in the temnple/office last night with the altar right at my head. Best sleep I have had in weeks, which to me is a better sign than a dream would be.

All lingering components and links from previous spells are being stored until I can dispose of them properly and respectfully. I am giving some stuff away as well.

The Wrath/Chastisement stuff is now in a sealed box under the altar, ready to be used when needed. The space feels better already.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nine Principals of Strategic Sorcery

The below is a re-worked version of an essay that appeared here a month ago. Note there are now two more principals.

The Nine Principals of Strategic Sorcery
By Jason Miller
A few years back I started offering consultations and spell clinics for those Witches and Mages who seemed to have a lot of knowledge, yet still found themselves thaumaturgically impaired; unable to make practical magic with measureable results work for them. These informal consults, led eventually to the groundwork of my second book "The Sorcerer's Secrets, Strategies for Practical Magick". The interest generated by that book led me to create my online course: The Strategic Sorcery Training, a One Year Bootcamp in Practical Magic". In these books and classes I lay out all the specific methods that I have found to be most effective and useful over the years.

What even more important than the methods though are the principals. While the methods of Strategic Sorcery are many, there are nine basic principals that can be employed by just about anyone from any system of magic or Witchcraft. Whether you have an interest in my other works or not, if you put a few of these principals to work, you will see real results from your magic and real improvements in your life.
As with so many ideas, these nine principals came about as a result of a great conversation with a fellow occultist who's identity, for reasons relating to his profession, needs to stay in the closet. Below is my own re-creation of pertinent parts of the conversation presented as a Q&A.

Q. So how did you start on this whole “Strategic Sorcery” bit?

A. Well, as you know I have been practicing magic for over 20 years, starting in my mid-teens. Like 90% of teens that start looking at magic and Witchcraft I got into it because I had the silly idea that I could cast spells on people and enchant events in the real world. Unlike most people in the occult scene, I never gave up on this idea. Like others in the occult world, I am very much concerned with the spiritual evolution of both myself and others, but this progress just made me better at the spell casting part. I had enough success in my early efforts that I knew it could be done, so saw no reason not to keep doing it. I saw no conflict between material and spiritual progress and still don’t. After studying system after system and tradition after tradition I had arrived at a place where I was learning lots of different ways to do the same thing. I was learning a lot of occult information, but my progress as a magician was stagnating.

This left me with a choice to make. One: I continue to study different forms of magic and spirituality that I am not familiar with (Druidry, Native American, Peruvian Shamanism, etc, etc) until I die. Two: I could pick one of these traditions, stick with it like glue, and become one of its representatives (Jason Rinpoche?, His Eminence Bishop Miller? Houngan Jay? Inominandum the OHO?). Three: I could focus on taking what I knew in a new direction, making it better, stronger, faster (“we have the technology!”).
Since I had no interest in learning yet more ways to accomplish essentially the same goals, door number one was easy to close. I flirted with door number two, but in the end I realized I am just not called to be a Priest, Lama, or high order muckety muck. I chose door number 3.

I started to deconstruct all the practical magic that I had learned so I could see what was really good tech, and what was not. When I began to take a look at the methods outside of the various symbol sets they are often attached to, it became remarkably clear to me how methods could be teamed together for better effect. For example, most of the magic I write about in my book combines tapping into the divine and energetic levels of magic in a way that is familiar to most ceremonial magicians, and channeling that through very intricate workings with physical links that would be familiar to rootworkers and other folk magic practitioners.

I realized that everything I valued about magic came down to one thing: making life better by doing things differently than how most do it. I began to see practical magic as type of what has recently been called “Life Hacking”. Realizing this, I began to take a look at other methods of life hacking.

I began to read books on time management tricks, intelligence gathering, pick-up techniques, asset building, and neuro-plasticity. I picked the brains of friends that knew hypnosis, NLP, applied disinformation, martial arts, and interpersonal mediation. I listened to CD’s on sales techniques, geo-arbitrage, social dynamics, and neural reconditioning. In short, knowing that magic works best when it is followed up by other types of work to support the goal (the blending of magical and mundane methods), I studied anything and everything I could to help make the magic I did, as effective as it could possibly be.

Applying all this to building pro-active strategies of life building, rather than reactive emergency magic that most people resort to when its already too late, gave birth to Strategic Sorcery.

Q. In your blog and class material that you have showed me you have started referring to “Strategic Sorcery” as a system in and of itself now, and not just as an approach. I thought you were against starting yet another system of magic or trying deliberately to be the founder of a tradition. How did this happen?

A: It just sorta happened without me trying. I think that way too many people are going out of their way to deliberately create systems just for the sake of being the founder of a system. This is even sillier when we talk about “traditions”. How can you call it a tradition if it has never been worked by anyone before or passed down to anyone but yourself?

There are currently an overabundance of systems that do not say anything new and are pretty much useless exercises in ego inflation. In my case I really just wanted to share my thoughts on how to do magic effectively, not start my own system. Eventually my ideas started to spawn rituals and inspire symbols, next thing you know, I have the makings of a system. At this point it is starting to accumulate its own “current”, complete with the egregore and strange synchronicities that accompany it. This all just sort of happened. I hope that it remains an open system. I want to make sure that it can be used by people who also work other traditions, as well as be used as a system unto itself. I also hope it keeps growing and changing after I am gone.

Q: So if systems are pretty useless unless they say something new, what would you say that Strategic Sorcery has to teach, that isn’t covered elsewhere?

A: I have narrowed this down to nine basic principles that I think define Strategic Sorcery.
1. Strategy before Sorcery : Crappy magic says do a spell and sit back waiting for the result. Do a spell and wait for a friend to call with a job offer. Good magic tells you to make sure you follow up your magic with mundane work: You do the spell to get a job, than go job hunting so that the spell can work. Strategic Sorcery reverses this process and tells you to do mundane work first. Form a clear strategy to attain your goal and use magic to support the details of that plan at almost every step. In the case of getting a job the Strategic Sorcerer would study the current trends in targeted resume writing and employment offering rates. He would also study interview skills and modern networking techniques - all of which have changed drastically in the last 5 years. He might use magic to bless the entire venture and magnetize himself, but he would also might individually charge resumes as talismans, do influence magic targeted at those looking over the resume, glamours to make himself stand out at the interview etc.

2. Emergency magic is bad magic: Some people claim that magic should only be done to fix problems that cannot be fixed through mundane means. By that time, it is usually also too late to much with magic as well. Strategic Sorcery is done ahead of time and according to a plan, so that those problems don't occur, or at least get fixed before they get out of hand. Besides, it is much too easy to stay trapped in a crap job or living situation by fixing all the emergencies that might force you to do better for yourself. Sometimes what seems like an emergency is actually the universe opening up an opportunity that you might close with your magic. By being proactive with magic the Sorceress knows whether these little glitches might support her overall life plan.

3. Material needs and desires are not unspiritual: Some systems focus on spiritual growth or religious worship so much that they insist that practical magic is a side issue only to be used to support a spiritual practice or to provide aid in dire emergencies. Strategic Sorcery poses the opposite: by focusing on the magic of finances, sex, love, health, and power you naturally get drawn into spiritual work. By having such immediate and material concerns tied to your spiritual practice, your motivation to actually do the work is often much greater than if it is aimed only at an ephemeral goal like enlightenment or worship. Make no mistake the Sorcerer is concerned with spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment, he just views his practical magic as the outstretched rays of his illumination.

4. Always blend magical and mundane methods: In the old days magicians and Witches used to use not only use “supernatural” methods as part of their craft, but all kinds of skills that were not widely known to the populace at large: herbalism, illusion, chemistry, and hypnosis. The modern Sorcerer does the same by learning the hidden skills of persuasion, financial prowess, alternate medicine, computer hacking, media manipulation, and so on. By fusing these so-called life hacking techniques with traditional magic, we arrive at what it really means to be a Cunning Man or Woman.

5. Appropriate Tech not Symbols: Systems of magic can be broken down into symbol sets, and tech. Symbol sets are usually dependent on culture, time, tradition, and sometimes only available through initiation. Using a symbol set outside of its culture, or initiatory stream can sometimes be difficult, disrespectful, or even downright dangerous. Tech on the other hand works because it works, and thus can be looked and examined from outside of any specific tradition. In this way you can find the most effective techniques without falling into the trap of making an eclectic mess. For example it would be find to borrow the idea of multiplying offerings with the mind from Tibetan Buddhism and use it in Wicca. It would be quite another to grab the nearest Phurba and call it your Athame, using it in the way that an Athame is used without really learning anything about the Tibetan Phurba traditions.

6. Be Achonistic: The Strategic Sorcerer does not value old magic because of its ancient roots, nor does it value new magic because it is supposed to be cutting edge. Value is based on whether something works and how well it works.

7. Maintain a balance between Temple Magic and Field Magic: Most systems do not maintain a balance between magic done in a circle or temple and magic done in the field or on the fly. By using both the magic of the constructed circle and ritual, as well as magic performed right in the workplace, nightclub, bedroom, courthouse, or street, your magic will be more effective. Examples would include combining a midnight ritual in your home to effect the mind of the mind of a potential employer, followed by some embedded commands and maybe even a discrete use of compelling powder when you meet her next.

8. Maintain a balance between the Divine, Energetic, and Material levels: Most systems of magic do not maintain a balance between the three levels of Material, Energetic/Astral, and Divine/Causal level. By making sure you hit all these points in your working, your magic will be more effective. Some people do magic through working with energy and conjuring spirits. Some do it primarily through prayer and meditation. Some do it by the manipulation of herbs, candles, magnets, etc. Most people use more than one of these - but it is a rare Sorceress who uses all three.

9. Know that magic does not always work. Learn from what you do regardless of the outcome: Some say that magic done well always works. I agree that all magic done well has an effect - but sometimes the effect is meets insurmountable obstacles such as poor magical links (pictures are not as good as you think they are) or overwhelming odds (You are 40 times more likely to die in a car crash on the way to buy a lottery ticket as you are to win the big one). One of the reasons to do multiple types of magic towards any goal is so that if one spell fails, another will work. You can often learn more from does'nt work than you can from what does.
These Nine Principles have served me well time and time again. I apply them to my spiritual as well as my material needs. I share them with you in hopes that you will get some use out of them. The world needs transformation. Transformed circumstance and transformed citizens. Whether you call yourself a magician a Witch or a sorcerer, get out there and practice your craft.
I will be exploring each of these nine principals in detail in further articles.

Jason Miller (Inominandum) has been studying and practicing magick for over 20 years. His studies have brought him all over the world, from the American South, to Europe, to the Himalayas. He is a member of several magickal orders and craft traditions as well as being an initiate of the Nyingma and Bon lineages of Tibet.
He is the author of Protection and Reversal Magick, A Defense Guide for Witches and The Sorcerers Secrets, Strategies in Practical Magick as well as the Strategic Sorcery Blog, Thoughts on Thaumaturgy, Life Hacking, and Liberation. For more information on books, classes, and the Strategic Sorcery Training, go to

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hopefully the Last Goetia related post I feel compelled to make for quite some time

You see a lot of blog posts by Wiccans on Witchvox about Christians Demonizing them and their gods. You see the occasional post from me and a few others about Wiccans and Pagans Unfairly Demonizing Christians. Recently there has been a lot of chatter about demonizing Haitian Vodou and the Loa by Protestants. These kinds of things happen all the time.

You know its a weird month however when a magician goes on a crusade to stop the demonization of, well, demons.

This however is the subject of the last 10 Posts over at Head for Red. I started to reply to lots of them, but because of time constraints and the need to keep focus, I thought I would post yet another Goetic post here. HBesides this all started with a post I made. All I wanted to do though, was defend my conjuration of Bune by pointing out that 1. I rely upon the realization and power of the magician more than ceremonial parameters and 2. though deceptively short, my conjuration contains very targeted constraints. This has turned into a discussion on the nature of the beings and now has spiraled into a full on crusade on the good Frater's part to defend the reputation of these spirits.

Leaving aside the fact that the magnitude and veracity of his demonic defending would itself be reason in the eyes of many magicians to think that the Goets had too much a hold on him ;) I must admit that he makes some excellent points. Among them:

1. People are quick to attribute their Goetic Successes with their own abilities but their failures on the evil nature of the spirits.
2. His own problems with Goetia stem not from the nature of the spirit, but from the manner in which he worded things and possibly the frantic mood he was in at the time.
3. You can get unwanted results from Angels as well as Demons.
4. Many Goetic spirits have their historical origins in Pagan deities, as do many Angels.

All excellent points. I would not dispute them directly, only point out that it should be kept in mind that:

As to point 1: Sometimes it is nothing more than the summoning that goes bad, not a result. When I conjured Asmodeus I did'nt even get to my requests because after reading the spirit psychically and making sure it was Asmodeus, I felt I had summoned a presence that was not just wrathful, but truly evil - a concept that I did'nt even believe in at the time. Now, I have used Goetia before that and after that, and never felt the same presence of evil, but when thinking of them as a group - it does force me to keep that in mind.

As to Point 2: It is true that giving any spirit too much latitude can cause problems, but man, there were a million and one ways for that to manifest. The way it did was pretty drastic. You can give the spirit too much of an opening, but it still takes that spirits nature to drive through that opening with sherman tank covered in napalm.

On Point 3: Yeah, maybe if you focus on the wrong thing. For instance if you focus too much on making money through your night job and only work with the Angels in that capacity, they may make more time for you by removing your day job. However, with Angels I have always seen an underlying wisdom in the end. They tend to work more in line with our intent than our wording, the Goetia's spirits seem to do the reverse.There is an ennobling factor to Angels that there that I just do not find with the Goetias Spirits. Its not even a matter of very Material spirits either. I have encountered this ennobling nature in Loa and in Saints. Lucifer himself has it, though not the being that I contacted under that name using the seals from the Verum. Of course this is just one Mages experience vs another.

Apart from the above, the possibility of Spirits acting in ways we dont anticipate is one of the reasons that I advocate any spirit magic at all to be done in support of other types of direct magic which in turn is in support of well defined goals. It is not their job to know exactly how you want your life to run.

As to Point 4. Here is a real can of worms. There are a number of points to make:

First of all, most of the Goetias Spirits do have older origins than the Lesser Key, but many of them have ALWAYS been considered evil. Asmodeus literally is Avestan for Wrathful Demon. Belial has always been translated as "without worth" and indicated an evil spirit.

In other cases like Bael, it is a Christian demonization of a Pagan Deity, Baal. Same with the Verums treatment of Astaroth who is a demonic development of Astarte. The problem is that if you are summoning them via the Lesser Key's Goetia, you are NOT approaching them as if they were a God or Goddess - you are approaching them as if they were a demon.

It is like someone in the Mafia. I have known a few people related to organized Crime. Some are very nice, some are bad all the time, just like Goetia's description of its spirits. If you approach them from the angle of someone who wants to hire them or do business, than they treat you one way. If however you are a cop and you are forcing them into service they treat you another way. Read the Goetia itself. Read the conjurations. The system is BASED on the legend of Solomon BINDING DEMONS into service. Some of them are easier to deal with than others, but they are still Bound Demons when you approach them from that angle. Whatever they were originally, the spirits that answer to those calls and those sigils are patterned by that approach and basically act as Demons.

Now, there has also been a few terms that have been thrown mixed in to the conversation. Goety and Qlippoth come to mind. Goety or Goeteia is basically just a term for Sorcery in Greece. It is distinct from Theurgia in aim. Pretty much any practical magic is Goeteia and so it bears little upon the specific Grimoire known as The Goetia.

I dont know why Frater RO Brought up the Qlippoth in one of his posts. They have little bearing on the spirits of the Goetia. There are different interpretations of what they are but none of them involve anything good other than the way that confronting the most unbalanced and fractured portions of yourself and your owld can be good. It IS good work, but hard. Whether the Qlippoth represent genuine Evil, the shells of a broken and unbalanced Geburah, or the "nightside" of the sephira and paths, they are distinct from the rest of the system for a reason.

Anyway, I know that I am not going to change Frater R.O.'s mind with this. He has his view, and has the experience to back it up. I respect him even when I disagree with him because he does the work and doesnt whine about the consequences. I hope he reads most of this e-mail knowing that I am smirking while writing, but also that the issue is serious enough that I wanted to provide a counter balance to his recent posts. Frankly it doesn't matter whether an individual sees Bune is a Money Machine a being primarily concerned with ferrying the dammed in Turkish mythology (remember that first bit in his description?). But the discussion is a good one.

The Breastplate of St Patrick

I realize that there are some Pagan Un-friendly lines in this prayer, but I present it in its entirety with the understanding that if I were to use it, it would be changed slightly.

Happy St Patrick's day

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Monday, March 15, 2010

99 problems

Magical Attack? I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but a witch ain't one.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meditation for the evening,

"Talk of a divinity in man! Look at the teamster on the highway, wending to market by day or night; does any divinity stir within him? His highest duty to fodder and water his horses! What is his destiny to him compared with the shipping interests? Does not he drive for Squire Make-a-stir? How godlike, how immortal, is he? See how he cowers and sneaks, how vaguely all the day he fears, not being immortal nor divine, but the slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate. Self-emancipation even in the West Indian provinces of the fancy and imagination — what Wilberforce  is there to bring that about? Think, also, of the ladies of the land weaving toilet cushions against the last day, not to betray too green an interest in their fates! As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."


Friday, March 12, 2010

Altar Merger

Its happening all over. Parishes are merging, churches are sharing spaces. Now it is happening in my very own closet.

In the effort to make more space in the house I am condensing my previously separate Tibetan Buddhist Altar into the largely Christian Rootwork Altar that I keep in the Closet. I rarely do Tibetan Sadhana that involves all the stuff anymore so this is not really a logistical challenge. It is also not, in my mind anyway, a spiritual conflict. Most of the Tibatn stuff I do is straight Dzogchen and even that is beginning to combine with the Christian Contemplative work.

Still, it will be interesting to see how this goes. It is nice to have to review what is really important in your practice and have to scale back a bit. When we finally move to a bigger place I am sure it will all spill out again. The room is still dedicated to my work, but I gotta make room to have the kids in here if I am going to get anything done.

I will post pics when it is all done.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On the nature of Goetia

Well, my original post was just to defend my ritual for Bune in TSS vs any other method. This however has sparked a wide debate amongst our blog community about what the nature of the beings in the Goetia actually are. 

Kenaz finds them akin to Hot Spirits in Vodou. In this I agree. They are quick to work but volatile. I would not go so far as to say Corrosive, though some are. Asmodeus was when I worked with him and I would never do so again. Bune and Vassago are more chill. And indeed the book itself gives hints as to which ones are easy and which ones are a pain in the ass. 

Frater R.O. who I normally agree with in many ways has pointed out that the main screw up with how he worked with them lately was on his end: not supplying a specific plan for them to operate within. Very true. He did however seem to say that there was not much difference between the spirits of the Goetia and the Archangels or Planetary Intelligences. This I totally disagree with. There is a Tutelary and uplifting role to the higher spirits that the Goetia just do not have. They can behave in unpredictable ways, but not usually in the same   manner. When things go wrong with Angelic magic it is pretty easy to address and fix. When things go wrong with Goetia, they tend to take some of the worst possible forms - just like working with some of the HOT spirits of Vodou or even some of the Dregspa - wrathful spirits of Tibet, 

Anyway, I respect everyones opinion. In a way, I wish I had left out the Bune thing on TSS, it was however the fulfillment of a contract with the spirit.


Father Matthew's Response to Pat Robertson

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Holy Mysteries

Theologian Karl Rahner once said that we should stop using the word God for 50 years because we really do not know what we are really talking about. We should refer instead refer to "The Holy Mysteies".

Just a thought on this Sunny Sunday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Goetic Approach

Anyone that writes a book with a wide release is going to recieve some criticism. Generally I let most of it go unanswered because either 1. The Criticism is valid and stands for itself (Dunn's and Ed 1300's review of TSS would fall into this category) or 2 The criticism is just stupid (Rantboi, Informer, and the guy whose name I forget that complained about there being nothing about shields in P&RM when there is a whole section on it). Occasionally though there is a smart piece of well reasoned criticism that you want to answer or further clarify.

A few people have noted that my invocation of the Goetic Spirit BUNE is a little lite compared to what one would find in the Goetia proper. Given what RO has just gone through concerning his home and the idea that it was linked to his use of Bune, this critique has even more weight to it. A good synopsis of this criticism was given by Kenaz Filan:

I think that Miller's approach to working with Goetic demons is too casual and potentially dangerous: the safeguards built into the Solomonic system are there for a reason, and using those spirits outside that system can lead to all sorts of problems. This is a personal opinion, of course, and we could both find other writers and practitioners who supported our view. So like gentlemen we will agree to disagree.

This opinion is not just Kenaz's alone, but has been given to me in private by a number of people I respect and admire including one of my own mentors. I do not so much feel a need to defend myself as I do a wish to offer further clarification and point out a few things that I think people gloss over when reading that section of the book.

The first thing that I want to point out is that I should have made more of a solid point as to when to resort to Geotia: short-term specific goals. I tried to make that point in the beginning of that section, and again at the end in the section on Strategies. Upon re-reading it, I can see how it was not strong enough.

I am not an advocate of long term work with spirits of the Goetia. In fact as my thoughts on Strategic Sorcery started to take shape and I had to really analyze how magic worked, I have to say that I am extremely warry of turning to much work over to spirits at all, Demonic, Natural, Angelic whatever. Its not their job to know how you want your life to work, its yours. I use the Archangels to bestow blessings and initiations over specific projects and to open up new opportunities, but I make sure that I am the one guiding those projects and that I always maintain the right not to take those opportunities when they arise. They dont live here, we do. Asking spirits for something general and then letting them figure out the details tends to work out poorly.

The second point that I wish to make is that I did preface the work with Bune with the following :

That said, you do need to be able to summon and constrain the demon. Ideally you would have the Knowledge and Conversation of your Agathodaimon when summoning a demon, however if you are adept at universal center excercise, are regular in your invocations, and competent as banishing, you should have no trouble.

Quite frankly anyone that is adept at the Universal Centering Excercise (The SS way of taking on a God Form) is regular in their invocations (has a close relationship with the Divine) and is competant at Banishings (can clear up stuff when the fit hits the shan) than you should be able to summon Bune or any other being without fear. If you really keep up with what i suggest you are a lean mean conjuring machine. Note that many magical texts refer to the operator as an "exorcist". This is because the ability to exorcise is a given. Often people interested in magic would enter Seminary and Leave after taking the final of the Minor orders (Exorcist) but before they took the first Major Order (Deaon or Subdeacon). Does an Exorcist need a circle and triangle on the ground and a ring and a brass vessel? No. They need their personal link with the Divine. In short, as an old friend from Philly once said "Its not the wand baby, its the wizard".

Now I have done Goetia in a number of styles. I have perhaps never done it completely by the book with every detail, but I have done it in as elaborate a fashion as you are likely to see today: proper circle on the floor done to the specs of the book, representatives of all the seals and tools, evocation by the book. As close as we could get without costing a fortune. It worked really well. I have also done it according to the specs in Modern Magic. It also worked really well. Just as well in fact. I have also used Paul Huson's evocation of Vassago from mastering Witchcraft and it worked just as well. No problems.

The ritual that I give in TSS is not even an Evocation. It is not meant to bring Bune into appearance so that you can hang out together and shoot the shit and get into a big dialog. It is a spell. A request for help in exchange for spreading his name. However, I have used the same format that I gave as an evocation and it works perfectly well.

I begin with a short three line circle opening. It has been my experience that the more complex openings are not necessary for people who are really doing regular work as I prescribe. The Goetic circle is just as much about putting you into a "Goetic State of Mind" and opening up your psychic senses as it is about protection. TSS suggests that other methods are better for reacing that state and thus the three line circle opening should do the trick.

The short evocation begins with the lines from the Psalm that is assisted with constraining Bune, followed by the name of the Shemhamphorash Angel that binds him, and the Greek and Egyptian Names of his Deacon of the Zodiac that he is ruled by. If you are successful enough with this evocation to conjure Bune, you will also be successful enough to conjure all the constraining forces. Lastly you make a deal with Bune so you are not just shoving him around demanding things lest god kick his lilly ass.

I think that some people are just thrown by the fact that it is so short. People are used to entire books on Goetia, not snippets as parts of chapters. It hasn't been done that way since Huson's Book. I maintain however that often there is too much written about a topic and that the best thing to do is get down to business. Even if you get your fingers burned you will probably come out stronger and wiser in the end.

So, in short. I offer the following.

1. I should have been more clear about when to summon a Goet or how to only use spirits for specific goals. I think that every writer looks back at books and findds things that they wish they could change.

2. My statement about the requisites for doing the spell should not be taken as lightly as they have been.

3. My spell is not an evocation, its a petition rite.

4. Even as an evocation it contains enough constraining forces. More is not always more. I would rather trust someone with a real connection tothe divine, using a simple circle and a few names, than an newy or Chaos magician that has chosen to "believe in god for the term of the operation" and has the whole elaborate set up. Thats just me though. As Kenaz wisely puts in his statement, we will have to agree to disagree.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview with me Tonight at 9pm RST

I am being interviewed on "Stirring the Cauldron" tonight at 9pm EST. The Topic is Protection and Reversal Magic.

You can listen or join the chat at

Or you can download and listen later.