Gird ye on Every Man His Sword: To Arm a Statue of St. Expedite

Since visiting Sfinga earlier this year (some highlights of which can be seen here and here), a great deal of my time and energy have gone towards better ensouling and anchoring spirits into particular loci of devotion; in this world as well as the next. These developments primarily stem from numerous midnight talks between Sfinga and I, in which we mused about and theorized practical strategies towards the “arming” of our spirits. After years of covering ourselves in talismans, phylacteries, amulets, powders, condition oils, and the like, it seemed the natural next step would be to give similar to our spirit allies, such that they may independently reap the boons from the vary materia that they helped craft. This is not only a core principle to much cross-cultural technology with respect to seating spirits and birthing their vessels, but also a rather intuitive concept: if you’ve hired a skilled mercenary to protect you, would you rather he defend you in the hostile wilderness with no supplies and rusty ammunitions, or amidst a heavily-stocked fortress complete with neighboring alliances whose spies would inform of you of danger well ahead of time?

I began by consulting with my court to me to see what could potentially be desired, and one of the most prominent figures that immediately stepped forward to request such a working was St. Expedite (conveniently adding to our rapidly growing series of Expedite-related posts). Himself a centurion in life and just a capable warrior in holy death, it was not the good saint’s appearance that surprised me, rather the specifics of his request, which to this day still do. As I sat in contemplation, he delineated the recipe for what remains one of the most involved, intricate, and complex magical workings that I have had the privilege to see to completion.

The good saint revealed a recipe to me for what would serve as a load to the statue that has been the centerpiece of my altar since my devotional practice with him began. On a basic level, to load a statue is to fill it with the materials that carry the virtues sympathetic to the spirit, arming the spirit with tools to use once it is more strongly linked to the image. Naturally, this involves properly baptizing the statue as the spirit’s own, and preventing other spirits from inhabiting the figure in order to steal any offerings made. In the majority of the traditions in which I am involved, there is always a warning about buying statues and figures for spirits without baptizing and dedicating them properly—at minimum, they should be washed, fumigated, and prayed over to ensure that only the spirit being called into it will take up residence within its shape (or rather use it as their glove if it is not itself a house for them), lest ambient spirits become attracted to the spiritual attention it receives and come to shapeshift into its form. Different techniques exist across the globe, some very rightly claiming to place the spirit into the image—my personal favorite examples of this come from Thailand, in which amulets or bucha pieces can be fully ensouled and inhabited by the spirits residing within them—whereas others serve to increase the sympathy between and co-mingle the essences of the image and the spirit without actually calling the spirit to fully live within. I want to emphasize that this particular recipe falls into the latter category—one could hardly hope to place an ever-wandering saint into such any such vessel!

The recipe itself begins with the time in which it was to be made—the ten day period from Palm Sunday to St. Expedite’s feast. For each day in the Holy Week, specific ingredients corresponding to the holidays were to be gathered, and then in turn blessed every day following their collection, such that each piece received a blessing “today”. As I began to compile the list, I was initially daunted by the sheer scale of what would be needed. However, fueled by the power and potency of the saint that has been such a trusted compatriot over the years, I became determined to see things through while the spirit of the work was upon me, my ambition fully stoked.

For the next week, it was if I was possessed by the spirit of the work itself, with every waking moment consumed either by the collection and processing of materia, or the inspired contemplation of the loads as they began to take shape. Each day consisted of a spirit-lead journey around the city, visiting dozens of locations and negotiating with the spirits of each for permission and blessing to do my work, making offerings at each place of power along the way. I began to notice early on in the process that each ritual step closely matched the Passion—Palm Sunday bringing with it workings at the gates of seven cemeteries to mirror the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Maundy Thursday bringing with it devils that walk the earth on the eve of the crucifixion and their being crushed beneath the foot of St. Expedite, crossroads workings performed and dirts collected as Jesus walked through the streets toward Calvary, dives into the underworld during the Harrowing of Hell, the triumphant return therefrom on Easter, and the ultimate culmination of the work on St Expedite’s feast.

At every turn, the working moved to finish itself, with incredibly lucky opportunities enabling the acquisition of trickier-to-find materia that needed to be collected and blessed on the same ritually potent day. Finding floral and herbal materia drifting down the river or floating in sacred grottoes at the beck and call of my sea spirits, encountering doors and gates unlocked (or very literally opening before me at utterance of a charm and wave of a spirit’s hand!), chance encounters with people on the street handing me that which was needed in exchange for a cigarette—all these and more highlighted just how much the Good Saint and I shared in the desire to see the creation finished.

As the adage goes, a magician must never reveal his secrets, but what follows is a fraction of the saint’s armament, for those with the cunning to replace the gears and wind the springs missing from a watch that ticks ever onward to the beat of “to-day-to-day to-day…”

  • Blend of soils from 7 crossroads collected on Good Friday
  • Blend of soils from the gates of 7 different cemeteries collected on Palm Sunday
  • Blend of soils from 7 Catholic churches collected on St. Expedite’s Feast
  • St. Expedite’s Hodie Powder (as discussed in a post from Sfinga, here)
  • A few drops of my personal St. Expedite Oil
  • A vehicle for the spirit of the Crow-Devil crushed beneath the foot of St. Expedite crafted on Maundy Thursday
  • A wishing bean, baptized in a river on the Harrowing of Hell
  • A piece of a palm frond from Palm Sunday Mass
  • A piece of the pound cake offered to the saint at the start of the work
  • A piece of the pound cake offered to the saint on His feast
  • Wax from dressed candles burnt as offerings on His Feast
  • A small square of fabric torn from the cape that adorned my St. Expedite statue over the duration Holy Week
  • Herbs blessed on His shrine including Abre Camino, Basil, Myrrh, Palo Santo, Spearmint, Vervain, and Vanilla beans
  • A skeleton key blessed at a crossroads
  • A small ampoule of Mercury

At last count, each load totaled around 100 components, the most important of which were tokens of those intangible acts found in the unfailing collection and processing of the materia on each day of Holy Week. As the final assembly was performed, every component and individual blessing to this point snapped into place and began to hum with a potency far greater than the sum of the individual parts, almost rhythmically and mechanically whirring together into an elegant machine in my own sorcerous arsenal—and the arsenal of the saint alike. In taking stock of the work, I have a newfound appreciation for the tireless diligence that the saint brings to his works, and an enflamed drive to go the extra miles for my spirits, without hesitation or fear of complexity or effort required for certain procedures or practices.

Two statue loads, one for myself and one for Sfinga, receiving their final blessings on St. Expedite’s feast day.

I cased the loads into blessed wax, allowing them to sit in the containers of used tealights in order to retain their smaller shape. From here, they could be easily removed and fitted into the bottom of any such statue once it was sufficiently hollowed out with a drill. After the load’s incorporation with the statue, I’ve noticed any workings performed with the aide or through the intercession of St. Expedite have greatly increased in efficacy and potency, with the saint heavier upon me than ever before, more ready to step forth and provide his aide today, with his new armor in hand, and girt upon him, his sword.

Mercury In Nutmeg Luck Talismans

Quicksilver, Vidajan, Azogue, Pada-rasam, Parad, Shuǐ Yín, Zhū Shā—by whatever name, Mercury and its derivatives are found in magical constructions and formulations across the globe. From baths, floor washes, and other more secretive formulations across the ATRs, Thai Saiyasart and other forms of Wicha for the construction of Barangs, to the Rasalingam of Shaivism and numerous Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas, we can observe a set of physical and metaphysical applications just as diverse as Mercury’s global proliferation.

A common use that emerges cross-culturally, however, is for a radical change in luck, especially when gambling—a natural inference from its unstable nature and ability to keep spirits restless. This is done in various ways, ranging from direct application of Florida Water mixed with a few drops of Mercury (which, although said to be effective, comes with the obvious drawbacks of health and environmental concerns) to carrying it as one plays craps, slots, keno, etc. A particularly compelling manifestation of this idea is recorded by Cat Yronwode in Nutmeg In Hoodoo Folk Magic, Spell-Craft, and Occultism:

Some people tell us that they drill a hole in a nutmeg, fill the hole with liquid mercury, and seal it with wax.

Over the years, I have seen this formulation parroted countless times across dozens of blogs and formularies, however, I had never seen one actually made, let alone a report on its efficacy as a charm. This set me on a bit of a hunt which left more questions than answers, after reaching out to rootworkers, conjure doctors, and godsiblings in Quimbanda, to invariably receive the message that they all had heard of this technique, but never seen one in person (and thereby, in action). With my contact list exhausted, I fell back on my spirits, asked them for their thoughts, and if they would consent to a project to make some of these amulets ourselves. With an affirmative in mind, a dremel tool in one hand, and a flask of Mercury in the other, I decided to take this folkloric recipe for a spin.

At the direction of my spirit allies, I prepared powders for luck, gain, and protection of the fate one chooses to enchant for, then blended them with additional charms and ingredients to balance and meld their compositions harmoniously, ensuring the final enchantment was greater than the sum of the parts. I took up 13 whole nutmegs and coated each of them in this powder. In the meanwhile, the allies who agreed to aid in the work took over my hands, wove their own enchantments, and ensured that the seed which was the animistic spirit of the talisman itself was firmly planted in the core of the work.

Once this process was completed, I drilled a small hole into each of the nutmegs and used a glass Pasteur pipette to transfer a bead of Mercury into each talisman. Next, I dripped wax from a consecrated candle into and around the hole while again incanting alongside my spirits to birth the talismans on the night of St. Expedite’s feast.

The talismans charging in their powder.

Inspired by Thai amulet cases, I decided to use tiny glass jars to contain the sealed nutmegs and serve as their home. They were chosen not only for the practicality of being able to contain other materia, but also for safety purposes—even though the wax holds the mercury firmly in place within the nutmeg, my own laboratory training had taught me it is always better to be on the safe side when handling such a material. To the charm I added a pinch of the original powder used to consecrate it, pinches of planetary powders and incenses I had made prior, additional enlivened herbal and mineral materia, drops of oils and sacred waters geared toward the sorcerous aims listed above, and further prayers and mantras.

As the nutmegs were cased and the consecration proceeded, one of my allies suggested adding an additional boon to the talisman: a cantrip by which one can gain a brief yet intense boost in luck in a critical moment. The spirit once again took my hands, and began tying, untying, tangling, entwining and retying these fates within a length of cord from my toolbox. I then cut short lengths from the cord in the direction of significant locations and assigned them by sortilege to the appropriate vessel. In order to use this extra boost in power, one needs only to simply untie the cord and burn it, scattering the ash to the winds of change. In this way, the cantrip works much like a “knotting the wind” charm, only it unleashes a powerful burst of additional luck when needed.

The talismans sealed in their cases, undergoing their final consecration.

My first run was actually created well before St. Expedite’s feast as a sort of test batch, sans the election of a significant holy day. I distributed these to close friends for purchase to see how they would fare in their hands and what boons they would bring. I decided that if I were satisfied with their results, I would make a further thirteen following the same recipe and make them available for sale, with an additional blessing of having been completed on the day of St. Expedite. The following testimonials arose from these first tests:

From my good friend, godsister in Quimbanda, and astrologer extraordinaire Sasha Ravitch:

These observations have been collected over the short period of one week and a half after receiving my nutmeg charm. Those experienced in materia magica will know that such immediate and quantifiable efficacy is the gold-standard of charms, but rarely achieved; this should speak for itself about the desirability of the charm. Upon the first weekend of carrying the nutmeg charm on my person, my entire household was exposed to Covid. We shared smokes, drinks, cups with infected friends, but somehow all three of us managed to be the only individuals in the group of 12+ people who did not come down with Covid. This already felt like demonstrable proof of the charm’s gifts, but there were many other incidents which were additionally remarkable. I was surprised and pleased to see the glamour affects the charm offers; I received a marked increase in compliments on my beauty, charisma, hair, and hands, over 120 new Instagram followers (despite not posting anything special), increased shares on different social media platforms (especially around people enjoying my use of language), and support, generosity, and increased attention from mentors and teachers. Each time I’ve taken the charm out with me, I’ve had wonderful nights where everything seemed to go my way, almost as if it were too good to be true. People were kinder–not just to me, but seemingly to each other, and I felt a general ease and sense of confidence in navigating my environment. I felt positive that things would just…work out the way I needed them to. The apparative daemons I’ve seen connected to the charm are cunning and clever but benevolent; brilliant orchestrators of my own success and happiness, and generously satisfied by offerings of smoke, a little liquor, and some affectionate kisses. I have multiple times seen them twist, tie, and untangle different strings in my environment in order to cast fortune in my favor, and have noticed no malefic or unexpected negative fall out as a result of these ministrations. I will absolutely cherish my own nutmeg charm, and already plan on procuring another for a companion. I suspect these charms, while versatile and precious in our own hands, would also be incredible tools in the hands of patron spirits, especially those compatible with the auspices of luck, fortune, and fate-spinning.

From Alexander Moore of Practical Occult fame:

This talisman has immediately shown itself to be one of the most effective in my arsenal for the manipulation of chance, circumstance, luck and probability towards my desired ends. Intelligent, proactive, creative and very much alive, this charm is the perfect example of delivering more than I expected. While DMing for tabletop games, I’ve had to keep the talisman in a separate room so as to not influence the dice, as when it is near them the rolls I have tested produced statistically improbable combinations of good fortune. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to any occultist I know.

And of course, from our very own Sfinga:

Since receiving this talisman, I’ve experimented with it heavily, taking it around with me to various venues, whispering to it and employing its enchantment, and keeping all other road-opening, fortune-bringing, and luck-enhancing charms stored safely at home so as to ensure that whatever manifestations come, they are specifically from the Mercury in Nutmeg. The results have been remarkable and phenomenally consistent. I’ve received numerous improbably discounts from store clerks right as they’re ringing me up, in one case getting a fairly expensive order cut down by more than 25% because of a clerical error I pointed out—which the merchant decided intentionally not to correct because “it’s [my] lucky day”. I took a party of four to one of the most famous German beer halls in the city on Saint Patrick’s day without any reservations, and asked the talisman to ensure we would have a place to sit together. The bouncer told us that there would be no way to get seating, and the best we could hope for would be individual spots opening up at the bar. Just as he finished his sentence, a party of four left, causing him to stare at us in bewilderment and promptly seat us there. Various machine errors would occur in the charm’s presence, ensuring further discounts and free purchases, and whenever I asked it to help me find “treasures” before heading out, I would inevitably come across precisely what I needed, guided by its spirit to enter shops I would ordinarily pass by. Intriguingly, its magic has even worked in the context of online gambling, especially with regards to lootboxes, gacha games, and rare item drops in MMORPGs. I’ve joked many times to Key about my thanks for his help in feeding my magic-for-better-items-in-games addiction!

I was not only deeply satisfied with the results, but moreover glad that they had brought such boons into the lives of my friends. Excited by how thoroughly they had been tested, I felt comfortable to proceed in finishing off the second round, and, with Sfinga and Salt’s encouragement, make them available for purchase here.

If you would like your own, be it for gambling, good fortune, or all manner of luck-enhancement, I am happy to offer the rest of this special set made on St. Expedite’s feast for $100 USD each. I will not be making any more until the following year, so this will be a limited run. To work with the charm’s spirit, simply whisper your desires to the bottle and carry it on your person when you are traveling, or keep it by your work desk, your computer, the cash register of your business, or any location you wish to see its influence. If you are ever in a bind and require the winds of fortune to blow strongly for you, untie and burn the cord, scattering the ashes where you see fit.

All talismans have been sold out as of 27/4/2022! Thank you all so much for your support!

A Particular Experiment To Bring A Good Spirit Into A Glass

Over the past nine days, I recently had the immense honor to visit some very magical friends, namely Sfinga (at whose home I stayed for a much-needed reunion—we had not seen each other in person since my initiation into Quimbanda last October, where she was present to facilitate the rituals, having just seated her own Pomba Gira as well), and the talented Mahigan of Kitchen Toad. This trip was amazing—alongside traveling, dining, drinking, beautiful conversations, and other revelry amongst friends, we had the opportunity to dance with and walk among our spirits and the beautiful menagerie of wights in the otherworldly ecosystem of the city.

Among all the magical shenanigans we got up to, from creating powders and talismans (posts forthcoming!) to conjuring spirits and performing firmeza at her tronco, Sfinga and I decided we wanted to perform some form of larger, grimoiric, conjuration. After looking through her extensive library, my spirits brought my attention to one of the books on her shelf: Nicolás Álvarez’s The Key to Necromancy: Volume II from Enodia Press. Sfinga and I immediately began to scan through the text and settled on a ritual that can only be performed under the light of a full moon on Friday—which happened to be the very next day.

The ritual is a straightforward, four-page long jaunt that promises “To Bring A Good Spirit Into A Glass”, requiring only a circle, a glass of water in which the spirit can manifest, some incense, and a conjuration. The grimoire states that while the ritual must be performed on a Friday full moon, the planetary hour in which it takes place can be flexible. Instead, the angels summoned (as well as the rite itself) will take on the character of the hour, and if the conjuration lasts past a full hour and into a new one, it will take on a hybrid nature between the two planets. In order to determine which planetary hour we should summon the spirits in, I performed a brief prayer and divined via geomancy, taking the planetary association of the judge as my answer, being Mercury.

We drew out the circle in chalk on the floor, and prepared frankincense and myrrh, consecrated black-handled knives for the two of us, a leatherbound journal to record the seals and information we receive, and a glass of water in which the spirit may appear at the easternmost point of the circle. In the grimoire, it is specified that the sun should be able to shine into the glass of water, and since we performed the rite indoors, we set a candle consecrated on a Regulus election behind the glass, into which we submerged the fourth pentacle of the Sun (engraved and consecrated by Sfinga and our mutual close friend, for the perception of spirits). We donned our Solomonic rings and pentacles, traced out the circle with the knives, fumigated it with incense, and finally, stepped inside its borders to begin the conjuration.

The grimoire states that the spirits will “certainly appear to you” after three repetitions of the conjuration at most. The entire command is surprisingly short, so this took us by some surprise, though we posited that the power was likely in the timing of the Friday full moon on which date these spirits are sworn to appear, much like with the Tuba Veneris. As for the spirits themselves, the intention of the rite is to conjure the angels Coronthon, Mutheon, and all their companions, so that they visibly appear in the glass and answer every question truthfully. Álvarez suggests in the footnotes that Coronthon is the same as Coronzon, the spirit present in the 1665 edition of Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft, in the spell “How to conjure the Spirit Balkin the Master of Luridan“. In this rite, Coronzon is referred to as a mighty prince, who guards the operator from harm, and whose name is given twice on the bear-skin girdle. Our goal was to learn as much about these spirits from their own words as possible, to determine their nature, offices, relations to each other, powers, secret seals, and verify for ourselves their power and accuracy.

We felt the pressure in the atmosphere build during the first two repetitions, though there was no immediate manifestation. However, during the third repetition, the winds shifted outside and several knocks were heard on the wall, accompanied by trembling in the earth (the floor quite literally shook physically in the house, like there was a minor earthquake). We were especially intrigued by this, given that we were not performing the rite outside, but rather indoors, with the sun streaming through the window into the glass magnifying the fourth pentacle of the Sun.

After the third repetition and a brief delay, a white pillar of light appeared in the glass, which appeared physically like a door to the heavens opening, out of which stepped a mighty figure. He was quickly accompanied by a companion spirit, and the two were in turn joined by a swarm of other exquisite beings. The first two spirits identified themselves under oath as Coronthon and Mutheon. While we will keep the record of their appearance private, it is important to note that both, while clearly non-human, took on more explicitly human forms than how Sfinga and I are both typically used to perceiving angels. The conjuration does instruct the spirits to appear in their “nicest form and shape”, and we later commented to each other that this was likely why they were so pleasing and ethereal to behold.

Our interrogation of the spirits proceeded, with questions of office, abilities, history, and nature answered rapidly and pleasantly, all while a retinue of fiery spirits and angels continued to pour forth from the heavenly door to surround Coronthon and Mutheon. This back-and-forth continued for close to an hour, with Sfinga furiously recording everything that was heard in the leather journal. Their responses were heard clearly, and both of us were able to quickly and effortlessly communicate about them back and forth without any delay or pause. The spirits were surprisingly pleasant to speak with, eloquent yet direct in their responses, while being polite and forthcoming when questioned. Both of us were able to simultaneously receive identical messages, visions, omens, etc. throughout, at one point even becoming aware of the other’s thoughts telepathically, communicating wordlessly our reactions and thoughts. Neither of us had ever experienced such a melding before—generally, when performing such rituals with another sorcerer, the rituals would typically take on the character of one person becoming the conjurer (giving the questions) and the other the seer (being responsible for receiving the answers), even if these roles were not determined prior to the rite. Yet in this case, the manner in which the angels communicated was so clear to us, that we would simultaneously hear the same responses down to the syntax used, and even talk over each other at the same time to communicate the very same impression and vision. When our thoughts began to merge, it felt as if we were instinctively communicating with each other as spirits, without the delays of flesh.

As the hour Mercury came to an end—at which point the grimoire specifies that the character of the spirits would hybridize with next hour, being Lunar—a bead of wax atop the candle slid down the side, forming a waterfall of fire which ultimately carried the flame off of the wick into the vessel. The flame quite literally glided down the side of the candle, plunged into the base of the copper vessel in which it was being burnt, and extinguished itself in the pool of wax below. Then, the wick re-ignited atop the candle, and continuously expanded to become a large pillar of fire enveloping the crown, becoming two distinct flames, then four, then back to one in response to specific lines of inquiry (which again were answered swiftly and pleasantly). The retinue of spirits surrounding the angels changed as well, taking on a more ephemeral and wisp-like character.

At one point in the evocation, we began to remark to each other that we could see sparks flying forth from the mouths of the spirits as they spoke, at which the candle began to sputter and pop violently, sending small flames that physically danced around the circle, sprayed into the air, and at one point jumped into the circle, where they mysteriously persisted on the floor until they were extinguished with the blade of one of the black-handled knives.

After Sfinga petitioned the spirits to be granted a particular boon (in line with what the spirits themselves confessed to their offices and powers being), a large ball of wax climbed and aggregated atop the candle, ignited, then fell into the base below, taking with it yet another flame that continued to burn until the end of the ritual. This ball appeared as a meteor falling from the sky, piercing the atmosphere, and continuing to burn once in the Earth. The candle collapsed immediately after this, yet, most intriguingly, the wick itself physically rose from the pile to stand upright without wax, coated itself entirely in flame, and continued to burn. It looked exactly like a figure rising from a grave, as instead of extinguishing itself in the pool of melted wax, it simply rose until it was perfectly erect vertically. Witnessing the candle’s flame be manipulated so freely and dramatically, including extinguishing itself only to rise and re-ignite in direct response to questions (and in physical manifestation to the visions given) was especially beautiful.

Interestingly, the grimoire states that that one “must also have and know the characters of the planets on the day on which you want to do the operation”. We took note of this prior to the conjuration itself, and later found precisely why this clause was included. The angels frequently produced these seals in the glass, as well as to our spiritual perception, in response to questions (as in “delay until such and such planetary hour”, “do that ritual on such and such day”, etc.). For example, after Sfinga finished her petition and was granted the request, I wanted to obtain the exact same result, but was told to wait until a different planetary hour, whose character would imprint upon this boon and manifest it in a way that would be most conducive to me. Sfinga immediately perceived the same instruction, having a simultaneous vision that I both a) wanted to do the same petition as her (I had not articulated this verbally in the circle) and b) was told to summon Coronthon and Mutheon later during the exact same planetary hour I received instructions for.

We received secret seals for the two of them, and were given several operations to carry out in accordance with the lore they revealed on their nature, what kinds of angels they are, what their offices are, and what they are capable of granting, so that we can call them up without the ritual and circle framework in the future and continue to work with them in our own capacities. Further work with them, through these seals and signs, can now take place for the both of us without having to wait for the next Friday full moon. Suffice to say, this was an incredible experiment and one we can both whole-heartedly recommend as a fairly simple yet marvelously potent rite for anyone to carry out, provided the timing is right.

On Alchemy, Deception, and the Notes Left Behind

Happy New Year everyone! I’m B. Key. After a July 2021 guest post describing the evocation of Faust’s Mightiest Sea-Spirit, Sfinga and Salt, two of my best friends, graciously invited me to become a third author for this blog. To kick things off, I decided to develop a brief miscellany of sorcerous chemistry and external alchemy. By day I’m a biochemist, so this blend of interests never fails to stir the spirit to put pen to paper.

For the past two millennia, alchemy, with its myriad and diverse cultural interpretations, has been practiced in an uninterrupted and ever evolving march toward inner and outer reunification with divinity. Forming medicines and other precious substances from baser materials, lengthening our lives to the point of immortality, wielding magic, commanding spirits, and deepening our connection to the Gods are not without pitfalls. In these ~2200 years, the chase continues to leave the fragmented notes and the emperors, philosophers, physicians, and chemists who penned them in behind, all reunified with the divine in death, instead of life.

To pick up the fragments of the past and piece them back together again, and to add our own scrap to the pile in hopes that one may, some day, craft from it the Philosopher’s Stone, drink from the Font of Life, see Gold in the crucible instead of Lead, is unto itself a goal both most high and tantalizingly attainable. From these records, we find a both a “science simply composed of one and by one, naturally conjoining things more precious, by knowledge and effect, and converting them by a natural commixtion into a better kind” (Roger Bacon, The Mirror of Alchemy), as well as “…the knavery and confederacy of conjurors, the impious blasphemy of enchanters, the fruitless beggerly art of alchimistry, and the horrible art of poisoning” (Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft).

For Hermes said of this Science: Alchemy is a Corporal Science simply composed of one and by one, naturally conjoining things more precious, by knowledge and effect, and converting them by a natural commixtion into a better kind.

Roger Bacon, The Mirror of Alchemy

Ahead is a small collection of personal techniques, selected to demonstrate sorcerous applications, both duplicitous and sincere, of chemical materia and the synthesis thereof. With the guidance and inspiration of spirit and deity, each of these works will take on a life of its own, as all things shall, and become a gateway to new endeavors, each as disparate and expansive as the notes left behind.

A disclaimer: The following experiments involve the use of strong acids, caustic solutions, powerful oxidizing agents, heavy metals, and their products. It is extremely dangerous to attempt any of the following, especially if you do not have formal laboratory training and an environment with the equipment and space to carry out these experiments in a contained and professional manner. Of special concern is the experiment by which one can see a serpent—if deciphered and enacted, the byproducts and waste created by this reaction are extremely dangerous, highly toxic, difficult to clean, require specialized facilities to dispose of, AND some may be regulated in your municipality.

Pieter Bruegel the Younger | The Alchemist (ca. 1600) | Artsy
Pieter Bruegel the Younger, The Alchemist (ca. 1600)

To have 30 Pieces of Silver
Take up your Copper, and wash it in a mixture of good vinegar and salt in excess until impurities have fled. In a good flask, dissolve lye, about 12 grams, into 100 ml of water that has been distilled, and heat, but do not boil. Once warm, add granules and fragments of Zinc. Dry your Copper of vinegar, and add it to the lye, atop the Zinc.

Your Copper shall be Silver, after half of an hour. On Holy Wednesday, take up this silver in your left hand, ideally during the darkness of Tenebrae, and kiss an icon of Christ. Turn, and do not look back until you arrive at a potter’s field. Bury the coins, begging the spirits of place take them, which they will refuse if all is done properly. Leave the place, and return only to unearth them at the dawn of Easter Sunday. Know that these coins are now of great use in trafficking with spirits, especially those who shun the Lord. To have Gold from this Silver, heat it upon a plate.

To Transmute Lead into Gold
Add Aqua Fortis to an equal measure of pure water, and toss in some Lead shot. Heat until the Lead is gone. Boil pure water, and add to this one gram of Potassium Iodide, a splash of good vinegar, and the humor of Lead. As this cools, it shall take on the luster of Gold, until Gold itself falls like snow out of the menstruum. It shall snow for one day and one night, until it can be recovered.

To Have Stigmata
Baptize the Salt born of Potash and Sulfur and apply him to your palm. Take up the stone Molysite, reduce him to dust, baptize him, and apply him to the other. Pray fervently, and know stigmata shall appear without damage to the hand.

To See an Evil Serpent
Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, this secret of secrets, hidden from the eyes of all but God. Hear, O my son, the Serpent of the Garden has not strayed far from his Bride our Mother. Hear, O my son, that His sons Salt and Mercury stalk the Earth. Hear, O my son, that those same serpents conjured to thwart Moses may be called through our Art at great peril to Body and Soul!

Aqua Fortis, itself distilled, shall feast upon Mercury, and emit a miasma so potent as to ravage the lungs of beasts. From him, his brother, Salt, shall be born a Red Oroboros. Boil Him to free the White tail from a Black mouth and return him to the Water of His birth, but know that he too will bring an equally perilous miasma.

Baptize Him, and with Him cast Salt born from the marriage of Potash and Sulfur. Know, O my son, A plague of Fog shall descend upon the land, and know He is in it. Take Him into the desert, as Enoch, and exorcise him with Fire. An Evil Serpent shall appear before you, and know He will escape you by shedding His skin. Hear, O my son, that all parts of Him are corruption.

Michael Maier, Mary the Jewess, from Symbola Aurea Mensae Duodecim Nationum (1617)

To Know the Weather by means of a Wonderful Vessel
Add 900 mL of good spirits (100 proof vodka works well), three blocks of Camphor, 30 grams of Saltpeter, and 30 Grams of Sal Ammoniac to a pot and heat until all is dissolved. Decant this liquid into a clear glass vessel, leaving some air, and seal. Allow to rest outdoors for a night, and know the liquid inside now produces wonderful omens by which to know the weather, which are as follows:

  • If it is clear, the weather will be as clear
  • If it is cloudy, the weather will be as cloudy
  • If it is cloudy and there are small stars, the weather will be perilous
  • If there are stars, expect fog. If it is winter and the sun shines, expect snow
  • If there are large flakes throughout, it will be overcast, and may bring snow
  • If there are crystals at the bottom, expect frost
  • If there are threads near the top, expect wind

To refresh the vessel, heat him in a bath until the liquid within is clear of all debris, and let him rest overnight once more. Know the vessel must always rest outdoors away from sunlight, lest he cease to function.

To Harm and Bring to Obedience Those Spirits That Conjure Tempests Before The Circle (twice proven)
Mix together 6 parts saltpeter, 4 parts sugar, some Sulfur, and some Asafoetida, then cast some of this upon the fire with this exorcism:

Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord,
and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld,
and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace into the eyes and nose and mouth and lungs of NN.
And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain,
He destroyed the enchantments, beguilements, deceptions, deceits, and of NN
and filled the eyes and nose and mouth and lungs of NN with the Fire and Brimstone
which is prepared for all rebellious disobedient obstinate and pertinacious spirits
.

To have a Luminous Phial
Heat almond oil in a vessel. Add to it phosphorous, 12 grains per half ounce of oil. Allow the oil to cool, then decant into phials until mostly, but not entirely filled. When uncorked, the phial shall glow.

To Have Mercury
MIx a liter of pure water with about 400 grams lye. Add Sulfur, about 50 grams. Apply heat until he is gone, then allow to cool. It will appear as Blood. Add Cinnabar and wait. Add Aluminium, pounded thin, by parts until it is in excess. Add an equal volume of pure water. Allow to rest for one night, then decant the menstruum. Wash him with water; repeat until impure mercury is seen. To purify him, wash him in a bath of Potassium Permanganate. Again with water until pure. Wash in a bath of diluted Aqua Fortis. Wash again with water until pure. Filter and recover the Mercury, now pure.

To have a Pigment favored by Venus and her Spirits
MIx 256 grams of Blue Vitriol with 700 ml pure water in a flask and heat. Mix 96 grams of Soda Ash with 300 ml of pure water in a flask and heat. Once both are liquefied, add the second to the first in many small parts. Allow to rest for one night, then recover the pigment by filtration. Boil away the fluid that passes through the filter to yield strong Natron.

To have the Oil of Vitriol
Burn Sulfur and Saltpeter together in the presence of steam.

A reading list and selection of sources:
Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Joseph H. Peterson – Three Books of Occult Philosophy (2000)
Al-Razi, Gerard of Cremona – Liber Luminis luminum (1974)
Roger Bacon – The Mirror of Alchemy (1597)
Henry Beasley – The Druggist’s General Receipt Book, 9th Edition (1886)
T. L. Davis – Pyrotechnic Snakes, Journal of Chemical Education (1940)
Ekmeleddin İhsanoglu (ed.) – Cultural Contacts in Building A Universal Civilization: Islamic Contributions (2005)
Jerry Alan Johnson – Daoist Mineral Magic (2006)
Jerry Alan Johnson – Daoist Internal Alchemy: Neigong & Weigong Training (2014)
David A. Katz – An Illustrated History of Alchemy and Early Chemistry (1978)
Albertus Magnus, Joseph H. Peterson – Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus (2006)
Lawrence M. Principe – Chymists and Chymistry: Studies in the History of Alchemy and Early Modern Chemistry (2007)
Reginald Scot – The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584)
Christopher Warnock, Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold – The Book of the Treasure of Alexander: Ancient Hermetic Alchemy and Astrology (2012)
Martha Windholz (ed.) – The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals and Drugs, 9th Edition (1976)

The Conjuration and Call of the Sea Spirit Quirumudai

It’s been a very busy year and a half for both myself and Salt. The complexities of the pandemic aside, we’ve both been hard at work with not only our day jobs but also our efforts in the myriad traditions of sorcery and witchcraft that we both individually and collectively celebrate our pacts in. We continue to honour and give gratitude to all the incredible spirits that support and empower our efforts, as well as our incredible friends and mentors in magic and life. Not only have the skies cleared significantly, but so many of the seeds we have both planted have really grown and bore fruit, allowing us the time to update this blog more regularly and soon, offer even more services through it. We are elated to keep sharing with you all! Expect more on traditional astrology and the grimoires soon from the ever-erudite Salt, and more on folk magic, saints, and Balkan witchcraft from yours truly. For now, please enjoy this guest post from one of our best friends and brothers, the incredibly talented witch B. Key. ~ Sfinga

———

Two years ago, my brother Salt wrote a review of the Enodia Press’ Doctor Johannes Faust’s Mightiest Sea Spirit by Nicolás Álvarez. His glowing review is compelling, and one should give it a brief read to see what first drew my interest to various “Faustian” grimoires.

My own knowledge of the German language and fondness for the spirits of treasure—those that guard, bestow, or otherwise patron the hunt of—naturally lead me to undertake the operation presented in Darmstadt MS 831, or the “Conjuration and Call of the Sea Spirit Quirumudai”.

A note from Alvarez in the manuscript’s introduction further piqued my interest—the only known mention of the spirit Quirumudai, apart from this text, is a brief comment on a paper-strip in possession of the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek. Upon reading his transcription, I was left wondering—What is this spirit? Why are we finding his name alongside the Archangels Anael and Uriel? What is the nature of this spirit that it can co-mingle in this way?

To address all of these questions, I decided to proceed with the operation at earliest convenience and ask the enigmatic Quirumandani myself, as is befitting of any sorcerer. The operation itself is neither particularly difficult nor particularly lengthy, spanning only four pages of text and requiring, it seems, no tools beyond the circles and sigils provided.

Before proceeding, I would like to highlight two points at which I disagree with Alvarez’s translation of the original text of Darmstadt MS 831, presented in the first edition of Mightiest Sea Spirit (Enodia Press). I am normally hesitant to do this, as the translation is mostly faithful to the text, and Alvarez is performing a great service in transcribing these texts in the first place—however, these two errors genuinely affect the successful completion of the ritual prescribed. I would like to add that I have not seen subsequent editions of Mightiest Sea Spirit (as mine is a first), so I hope that this post can call attention to these errors in the event they are not corrected in subsequent editions.

Alvarez’s translation reads as follows:

During the waning moon, one should begin to perform the operation, but in the following manner: You must undertake this operation on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, close to water, then you shall proceed the citation on Saturday morning at 3 o’clock in the following manner.

Doctor Johannes Faust’s Mightiest Sea-Spirit (Enodia Press), p. 80

I find that this portion has two problematic adaptations that deviate from the text of Darmstadt MS 831: First, the German text specifies a “zunehmende Mond“, meaning waxing moon, not waning. Second, the source text specifies not that one must be in physical proximity to water those three days, but “…bei Wasser und Brodfasten…“, or, must fast by water and bread.

Because of these adjustments, I waited until the next new moon, and began my fast on bread and water alone for three days (not a particularly difficult feat, living and working near a bakery), reserving myself to study the text, consult my spirits, and fortify myself spiritually.

I set out to perform the ritual in the final nocturnal hour of Mars (I believe this to be the intended meaning of “on Saturday morning at 3 o’clock ” in the text) on Saturday, arrived at a tucked away ritual site along the bank of the Mississippi river, cleared away some debris, and drew the circle on the ground with the prescribed prayers.

I armed myself with a handful of Solomonic pentacles (namely, the 5th of Mars and the 4th of the Sun) and the black handled knife from the same tradition (a beautiful and treasured gift from Sfinga, having received her blessing under the light of a potent +11 Mars election discovered by Salt), then set foot into the circle with the prescribed prayers for this as well. I offered additional prayers for success to the Four Evangelists inscribed within, and to St. Christopher to preserve me from the dangers of the sea.

I placed the character under my left foot as dictated and began the conjuration. With each recitation of the conjuration, I felt a heavy, humid stillness press harder onto the edge of the circle, bearing down upon it with the force of the nearby rapids. Once this tension was built, I received a psychic impression to switch to the next oration: “The Call on Quirimundany”.

After a single recitation of this, the spirit appeared, pulling himself out of the water onto the bank. He appeared at first as a hazy, blue, semi-transparent mote of fog that distorted the color of the water behind it to a dark, bloody red. This mote of smoke shifted into the form of a man who had drowned, swollen and pallid in complexion, each of his four limbs broken and shattered to stand at unnatural angles from his body.

He pulled himself toward the edge of the circle a handful of times; each time he was rebuffed by the aforementioned instruments, being ultimately constrained into the “character” that is laid upon the ground before the circle. Because of this, I suspect this “character” to act analogously to the triangle of the Ars Goetia or the Crystal of Barrett’s The Magus, being an instrument in which spirits are constrained to manifest. This character began to glow blue with the same haze that the spirit first brought once he stood upon it.

I welcomed the spirit in the prescribed way, at which point he began to speak quickly and eloquently, like a mad professor who, in his age, only thinks aloud. Interestingly, the spirit spoke primarily in English, which surprised me, as the text states that the spirit will speak German (a language I am conversant in as well) in this hour.

I had written out a proposed pact on parchment before the evocation, so I now produced this, read it aloud, and held it to the edge of the circle for the spirit to either add additional clauses or sign. In response to components of this pact taken directly from from Darmstadt MS 831, among some other, more private clauses, he responded with something that continues to fascinate me at the time of writing, which is: “I have agreed to these terms before, I shall agree to them once more with the following addenda“, at which point we began negotiations.

At my request, he expounded upon how and when his results will manifest, and the nature of the seal to be engraved on the shell as described in the text. I believe that this shell would have been physically granted were I to have performed the operation at a more proper “sea” in which they are already found, however I was told to purchase a shell from a particular shop, and engrave the seal into it myself the following day. I returned the document to the edge of the circle, at which time the spirit embossed physically his seal upon the parchment, which I later traced in ink for my own reference.

The final terms seemed amicable to both the Sea Spirit and myself, as well as to the spirit allies in attendance, however, the cautionary tales of the good doctor Faust himself are not lost on me, so I remain ever vigilant.

At this point in our interaction, one such ally spirit informed me that the hour of Mars was coming to a close, and it was time to dismiss Quirumudai, so I repeated the prayer for that purpose three times, along with a litany of psalms for purification and spiritual fortification. I left the circle, inspected the area for any debris or other tokens left behind, and left without looking back.

The following day, I went forth to the shop referenced and purchased a shell that matched the image the spirit provided. I etched into the shell his revealed seal, and wrapped this tool in a cloth for safekeeping.

When the time dictated by our pact came, I produced the shell, set it upon a table, and spoke the phrase “Quirimundani Alam!” alongside another call he described for this purpose. This caused the shell to rattle back and forth physically, and a grey, astral mist to fly forth to form the spirit in the chair across from me. I had an impression that the bones in his limbs were still shattered, but set back into position, covered in the grey robes of thick morning fog that obscure the waters of the sea. We had a brief discussion, during which I delegated a handful of tasks to him, and asked for him to teach me a working or cantrip that can be performed with him. He spoke to me of a procedure reminiscent of a spell to produce rain in Joseph Peterson’s Secrets of Solomon for the same purpose, which I shall test at the next possible opportunity. Satisfied, I dismissed the spirit to set about his work.

In the final hours of the specified time frame for the first treasure-obtaining task, as I began to wonder if the spirit had been unable to fulfil his goal, I received a peculiar message from an acquaintance, offering freely to me that which I had specifically requested the sea spirit bring forth.