Co-Arising Stars: Formula for the Paranatellonta

Paranatellonta and the formula for calculating rising and setting stars

The paranatellonta are another major feature of astrology that is occasionally utilized by classical authors, such as Firmicus Maternus, Manilus, and so on. We also find examples of these rising stars in later authors, influencing works such as the Astromagia of Alfonso and the Astrolabium Planum (or Astrological Optics as the English edition is known) of Johannus Angelus. They even find themselves appearing in the works of William Lilly and later renaissance authors, by their tables of “bright, dark and empty” degrees.

Now, the word paranatellonta (παρανατέλλοντα), literally “parallel rising” (or alternatively, συνανατέλλοντα, “synanatellonta” – rising simultaneously according to the Brill’s New Pauly) describes the rising of the fixed stars that occurs over the horizon. This is contrasted with the method of Ecliptic Projection given by Ptolemy, which sees use in various works including Anonymous 379 – in which, though he might imply use of the paranatellonta by his language, is in practice giving the ecliptic projections of the fixed stars in his work. This ecliptic projection method is also used by many astrologers today and in the classical period. It’s the most common and popular method of using the fixed stars, and itself one of much use and virtue.

Yet it is not the sole method of observing them, and, alongside the heliacal phases of the stars, the paranatellonta make up one of the three approaches to using the fixed stars in classical astrology.

Now, in ecliptic projections for the fixed stars, even if 8° Leo is rising in the Ascendant, it doesn’t mean that a fixed star whose ecliptic projection is at 8° Leo will also have its physical body also rising, because it is not directly on the Ecliptic (though some are and thus will). In other words, its body might be elsewhere, under or above the horizon. The paranatellonta however, refers to the more precise astronomical observation that we can use to determine the ascendant degree at the time a particular star’s physical body appears over the horizon. The name itself – co-arising, parallel rising, or rising alongside, however you spin it – is chosen because they rise at the same time as a particular degree of the zodiac, over the circle of the horizon. Thus they share a sympathetic relationship to the same said degree and exert their influence over it. The precise astronomical relationship here is going to be a subject in my upcoming Astrological Course, and we’ll leave those finer details for another time, though those familiar with the basics of astronomical coordinate systems will be able to understand these things just by what has already been written.

The concept of paranatellonta does indeed have a relationship to the “parans” of modern astrology, though there are also some distinctions and differences as well. Namely, as far as similarities go, the emphasis is upon the star’s physical body rising over the horizon (though we arguably also include culminating and setting stars as well) at the time of the Native’s birth.

As far as the differences, the first is that the paranatellonta emphasise the horizon. In other words, a star must be in the Ascendant or (arguably) culminating, setting and so on, to be considered relevant. It does not need to be regarding a planet to be effective or to have influence over the figure.

The second is that the paranatellonta are only effective at the time of birth itself – the exact measure of this seems to be based on the exact degree that the star co-rises with, if we consider the ‘images of the degrees’ given in Johannes Angelus & the Astromagia to give us an indication of this, although its worth thinking that Firmicus is clearly ascribing Sirius multiple degrees of influence as well. On the other hand, contemporary use of the parans considers them in relationship to the planets and horizon, and through a 24 hour period, whilst the paranatellonta emphasise the moment and degree of birth itself.

So we can see that the fundamental concept is very similar, and holds a similar basis; but there are distinctions as well.

Now, these paranatellonta also have a relationship with the decans, which makes sense considering that the decans were observed in relation to the horizon as well as their heliacal phases by the Egyptians, creating a nocturnal stellar clock – though we should distinguish the earlier Egyptian decans and the later use of decans in horoscopy.

We see them as especially important in judgements of physiognomy and the body in Astrology – which, is a far more important topic than is given credit at times. The body itself is a Nativity – a natal chart in and of itself – and the divinatory art of physiognomy as expressed in premodern Europe, much as chiromancy (or palmistry), was essentially looking at the celestial influences upon a person using the body as the medium and making divinatory statements based on their appearance. Likewise the paranatellonta are given a clear relationship to the body by Firmicus Maternus in his Mathesis – who, drawing on (I believe, as I am quoting from memory here) a lost work by Nechepso and Petosiris, gives the degrees that he calls full, and the degrees that he calls empty. These are related to the “bright, empty, dark, smoky” degrees found in later Astrological literature.

The list given by Firmicus Maternus includes Sirius as the most reliably identifiable star, and gives it to the 7th to 11th degrees of Cancer. However, the ecliptic projection of Sirius was in Gemini during the period Firmicus was writing, and the same for any sources he would have been using. On the other hand, if we look at the rising of Sirius over the horizon, during 100 BC the value we have is roughly 12 degrees of Cancer using the modern zodiac. Of course, there would naturally be offset from the zodiac used by our classical authors by some measure, but, it is still approximately close enough.

Correcting these tables (assuming they need it – as I think they do) is a difficult task; the paranatellonta vary as to which star rises, and which stars set over the horizon at any given time based on latitude. Thus any such efforts to do so would need to be able to calculate them for the given latitude as well as precession. Probably an impossible task, all in all.

But we can see here the relationship the fixed stars and paranatellonta have with the appearance. This is resembling to the decans who themselves, in astrological literature, tend to represent the corporeal form or body of a thing that they signify, as well injury to the same by disease or accidents. We find examples of this relationship in the works of Sahl Bin Bishr (again quoting from memory, please comment if a correction is needed!) who cites Al Andrazaghar on the use of the Face-Lord in judging appearance and also Julian of Laodicea, recently translated by the Horoi project. Thus we see that the co-arising stars have a strong share and influence over the body of the Native, as well as their activity and behaviour.

This brief cursory look is just a beginning, but I leave you with the formula below – so that you can calculate the time that a particular fixed star might rise or set over the horizon, as well as the formula to determine which stars will rise or set.

Notes to the Formulary

A quick note: I do not have a background in mathematics, save for entry level programming in Javascript, BASH & a small amount of C#. As such please forgive my crude formatting and the fact that I am probably breaking several mathematical conventions. Furthermore, I wish to note my sources used here. Firstly, I have drawn upon the formula given by Robson in her work on the Fixed Stars, and the formula for the Ascendant and Midheaven given by Radixpro. I have removed the conversion of LST to RAMC (or vice versa) in both cases as a result, and redacted Robson’s use of the Logarithmic Trigonometry since it is unnecessary – though those who wish to make use of them will find modernized formula for these logarithmic tables following the example as a helping hand to those who are interested in using parans and calculating them by hand.

The Formula

Sin-1 (Tan (δ) x (Tan (φ)) = AD

90N + AD = H

or

90S – AD = H

α – H = Rising RAMC

α + H = Setting RAMC

sin RAMC / cos RAMC x Cos ε = ƛMC

Tan1 (cos RAMC / -(sin ε x tan φ + cos ε x sin RAMC)) = ƛAsc

1. Breakdown of the Formula

First we need to take the declination of the fixed star (δ), the right ascension of the fixed star (α), and the terrestrial latitude (φ).

2. Calculate the Ascensional Difference (AD) for the star, as follows:

Sin-1 (Tan (δ)) x (Tan (φ))

In the windows calculator for example, this is as follows:

Tan δ x Tan φ = Dif

Sin-1 (Dif) = AD

3. Use one of the following, depending on whether the star is southern or northern

90N + AD = H

or

90S – AD = H

4. Calculate the rising RAMC of the star as follows, using the Right Ascension (α)

α – H = Rising RAMC

5. Calculate the setting RAMC of the star as follows, using the Right Ascension (α)

α + H = Setting RAMC

6. Now we calculate the MC, before calculating the Ascendant; so that we can determine the rising time of the star. This is a simple formula, divided into a few steps, and should give you the chance to familiarize yourself with these calculations before the more complicated Ascendant. The formula is as follows: to calculate the zodiacal longitude (ƛ) of the MC, using the RAMC we calculated above, and the obliquity of the ecliptic, which we can approximate to 23.4371 for modern dates but ideally, we use a more precise amount, especially in dealing with trigonometry.

ƛMC = sin RAMC / cos RAMC x Cos ε

Simplified, it is as so:

Step 6.1:: sin RAMC = SinRam

Step 6.2: cos RAMC x Cos ε = CosRE

Step 6.3: SinRam / CosRE = Result

Step 6.4: tan-1 (Result) = ƛMC

Note that if the RAMC is under 180, it will fall between 0 Aries and 29°59’ of Virgo. If it is greater than 180, then it will be between 0° Libra and 29°59’ of Pisces. If it is not meeting these requirements, add or subtract 180 as necessary to produce the result sought.

7. Now we use the following formula to calculate the Ascendant from the RAMC. To do this we need our RAMC from earlier steps, and terrestrial latitude (φ) from step 1. Finally we need the obliquity of the ecliptic (ε). This can be found easily online or via its own relevant formula. Then we consider the following formula:

Tan1 (cos (RAMC) / -(sin ε x tan φ + cos ε x sin RAMC)) = ƛAsc

However, we can simplify this as follows into six steps.

7.1: cos RAMC = CosRam

7.2: sin ε x tan φ = sintanEL

7.3: cos ε x sin RAMC = cossinERAM

7.4: sintanEL + cossinERAM = Negative Number1

7.5: – Negative Number1 = Negative Number2

7.6: CosRam / Negative Number2 = Result

7.7: Tan-1 Result = ƛAsc

From this we have our ascendant axial degree – and remember that 00.00 is 0 Aries; Whilst 359.99 is 29.59’ of Pisces. It must be in a sign following, or to the left; of the MC. So if the result is not appropriate, then you must apportion 180 to the ascendant longitude as necessary.

Examplum

Let us take the star of Regulus, on 7 Sep 2022; and as for our local horizon, let us say that the Native is from Winchester, Hampshire.

1. First we need to take the declination of the fixed star (δ), the right ascension of the fixed star (α), and the terrestrial latitude (φ). [I have also included the obliquity of the Ecliptic (ε) since we will need it later.]

φ: 51°05’ or 51.08 North

δ: 11°51’ or 11.85

α: 10h9m32s, or 152.25

ε: 23.4382260812

2. Calculate the Ascensional Difference (AD) for the star, as follows:

Sin-1 (Tan (δ)) x (Tan (φ))

In the windows calculator for example, this is as follows:

Tan δ x Tan φ = result

Sin-1 (result) = AD

Let us take the Ascensional difference, by observing the formula given, and it gives us:

tan(11.85) x tan(51.08) = result 0.2598493562969941021326313835425

We then use the arcsin on result to generate our AD:

sin-1 0.2598493562969941021326313835425 = AD 15.061123671264834812596990682949 (or 15°03’)

3. Use one of the following, depending on whether the star is southern or northern

90N + AD = H or 90S – AD = H

Now, since the star of Regulus is of northern declination; and we likewise are northern, we add his ascensional difference to 90, so we can make H.

90.00 + 15.061123671264834812596990682949 = 105.06112367126483481259699068295

4. Calculate the rising RAMC of the star as follows, using the Right Ascension (α)

α – H = Rising RAMC

Then following this, we calculate the RAMC of the star by subtracting the same from his RA, and it gives us a sum of 47.18887632873516518740300931705 in RAMC. Thus the midheaven shall have the Right-Ascension of 47 degrees and 11 minutes, when the star rises over the Ascendant. Note that we will dispense with looking for the setting time (step 5) here to keep the example simple.

6. Now we calculate the MC, before calculating the Ascendant; so that we can determine the rising time of the star. This is a simple formula, divided into a few steps, and should give you the chance to familiarize yourself with these calculations before the more complicated Ascendant. The formula is as follows, to calculate the zodiacal longitude (ƛ) of the MC, using the RAMC we calculated above, and the obliquity of the ecliptic, which we can approximate to 23.4371 for modern dates but ideally, we use a more precise amount, especially in dealing with trigonometry.

ƛMC = sin RAMC / cos RAMC x Cos ε

Simplified, it is as so.

Step 6.1:: sin RAMC = SinRam

Step 6.2: cos RAMC x Cos ε = CosRE

Step 6.3: SinRam / CosRE = Result

Step 6.4: tan-1 (Result) = ƛMC

So, using the RAMC to determine the longitude of the midheaven in the zodiac, we must proceed as follows:

The Sine of the RAMC is 0.73359794075541645499224468998881

The obliquity of the ecliptic is 23.4382260812 and when cosined and multiplied with the cosine of the RAMC, it gives us 0.62351091696510862919932339243141.

So, we divide this sum from the sine of the RAMC, giving us 1.1765598978220749303357600844386. Make an arc-tan with it and we are given 49.637609676335657842990870332858.

Converted to DMS (this means at the time of the stars rising) it will be at 49°38’ degrees of absolute longitude. IE: 19°38’ Taurus will be on the MC.

Note, that if we consider the Swiss ephemeris table of houses for the right ascension of the Midheaven, the answer is approximately the same. (Possibly give or take an insignificant deviation of a few minutes – I haven’t interpolated the table of houses).

Intermission

Now, before we move onto calculating the Ascendant (which is more useful if we would construct a table, for example) we ought to examine the figure, and determine the evidence to show that this works.

Here we have the Chart as I have designed it. We can see the Ascendant is 29’45’’ Leo. The Midheaven is at 19’38’’ of Taurus, as we observed earlier.

Now, if we look at the ‘parans’ in the Solarfire program reports, we can see that connecting to and rising over the Ascendant is Regulus, with only about a minute’s difference to our manual calculation.

In this respect then, we can see that it works effectively for the calculations. But still, if we had the wish to construct a table, for example, then it is good that we know the rising degree as well.

Back to our example!

7. Now we use the following formula to calculate the Ascendant from the RAMC. To do this we need our RAMC from prior steps, and terrestrial latitude (φ) from step 1. Finally we need the obliquity of the ecliptic (ε). This can be found easily online or via its own relevant formula. Then we consider the following formula

Tan1 (cos (RAMC) / -(sin ε x tan φ + cos ε x sin RAMC)) = ƛAsc

However, we can simplify this as follows, into six steps.

7.1: cos RAMC = CosRam

7.2: sin ε x tan φ = sintanEL

7.3: cos ε x sin RAMC = cossinERAM

7.4: sintanEL + cossinERAM = Negative Number1

7.5: – Negative Number1 = Negative Number2

7.6: CosRam / Negative Number2 = Result

7.7: Tan-1 Result = ƛAsc

So in this example, we have our RAMC, and we make the cosine of it to be as follows which we will save for later. (Cosine of the RAMC: 0.67958374121178950478721381305492)

Now we take the sine of the Obliquity of the Ecliptic and multiply it via the tangent of the Terrestrial Longitude, and it gives us this result. 0.49259755429671712792119030118711

We then take cosine of the obliquity of the ecliptic, and multiply this via the sine of the RAMC. This gives us the following. 0.67306837551544119543796432811591

We add these two values together to produce the following:

1.165665929812158323359154629303

But we then negate it, so that it is written as such instead:

-1.165665929812158323359154629303

Now we take that Cosine of the RAMC, and divide it by the negative number:

0.67958374121178950478721381305492 / -1.165665929812158323359154629303

This shall give us the following result:

-0.58300043248351719733908295153597

And this we make the arctan, or tan-1 and the value that is returned will be our absolute longitude. However, in this example we must also add 180 Degrees, since the result is -30 and would place us elsewhere.

tan₀⁻¹ ( -0.58300043248351719733908295153597 ) = -30.242203862335842420585487984185

-30.242203862335842420585487984185 + 180 = 149.75779613766415757941451201582

Converted to degrees this is 149 degrees and 45 minutes, 28 seconds of absolute longitude. So we thus know the Ascendant will have the 29th Degree of Leo, 45 minutes and 28 seconds, just as it is also affirmed in the figure above. And if we wished to include it in a table for the same star, we could do so.

Co-Latitude and which stars can rise or set

Note that not every star will rise and set however, depending on the latitude we look. Therefore we must look to its colatitude:

1. Determine the Co-Latitude. This is found by subtracting the latitude of a place from 90. Thus, Alexandria has the latitude of 32°10’ (or 32.17 decimal).

90° – 32°10’ = 57°50’N

2. Any star with a greater declination than the co-latitude in the same hemisphere cannot set. Any star with a greater declination than the co-latitude in the other hemisphere cannot rise. As an example, if our co-latitude for Alexandria is 57°50N, then a fixed star at 58°N cannot set; and a fixed star at 58°S cannot rise over the horizon.

A final note on Robson’s formularies

Though I don’t consider the aspects with the paranatellonta, I wanted to make a note for those who are interested in using the above formula for their own use of parans. The formula given by Robson was making use of logarithmic tables, and converting these to a calculator can be troublesome. Whilst I won’t give the full formula here, as a helping hand for the interested parties who might want to use the same, the method of deriving the logarithms is as follows. For example, if we wanted to observe the logarithmic tangent of a particular stars declination:

log(tan(δ)) + 10 = LTδ

In the Windows calculator this would be as follows (make sure you are using scientific mode):

Tan δ = δt

log δt = δtl

δtl + 10 = LTδ (logarithmic tangent of the declination)

For example:

log(tan(11.85)) + 10 = 9.3218506117750843878824221985422

And finally, a note on usage of these formulas

If any readers, students, and fellow astrologers are interested in using these formulas in their publications and programs, you have my permission and encouragement to do so! All I’d ask you to give me a shout out as well, and ideally a link to either this article/our blog, or the website of our upcoming platform for hosting classes, soon to be featuring work from myself, Sfinga, and Key: mercurii-school.com. The website isn’t live yet, but expect updates very shortly on the first course: a 106 lesson tour of traditional astrology and magic by yours truly. I named my sources, and would appreciate being named in turn!

Many thanks for your time, and I hope you find this useful!

Natal Astrology and Consultations

What is a Natal Reading?

An Astrological Natal Chart is essentially representative of the stars at the moment of your birth, and it is (if we follow the ideas of the Platonists) on account of them, that the soul is joined with the body. As this occurs, the powers of the relevant stars themselves come into play, and they participate in what is called the process of Generation and Corruption—a power they receive from the World Soul (Anima Mundi) which in turn receives the same power to do this from (the) God(s). This inevitably means that the things below the stars themselves (i.e. the terrestrial) are influenced by them, as these stars themselves are responsible for the bodies that they generate and administer.

Thus, when we look at the Astrological chart, we are considering the condition of the stars and the power they exerted when you, the Native, came into being. The place of the planets (wandering stars) in the heavens dictates their disposition and conduct and whether or not they will favor the Native, and help him/her in life, or even impede and obstruct certain things, presenting challenge and difficulties. Indeed, sometimes they might even be placed in charge of a given matter (or manage it, as we translate it today) and yet be unable to fulfill it, letting another more capable planet step up to the plate to tackle the issues.

The fact that the planets are so present in the affairs of living creatures and are themselves their own souls is also not to be neglected. Astrology is ultimately, through its connections with Platonism, animistic in nature and is arguably a practical application of ideas such as the Great Chain of Being. In this living universe, the whole of the world moves according to the order dictated by the stars and their dance across the heavens. This ultimately includes notions and ideals of fate, the attitudes of which vary greatly depending on the period. We can point to Renaissance Humanists arguing for free will to play a stronger role in Astrology (to account for the importance placed on the topic in Christian theology). However, the Stoics held a different view, which is not to be neglected either, and ultimately we find Astrology entangled with a variety of philosophical schools, such as Platonism, Aristotelianism, Ptolemaic cosmological ideas and Stoicism.

Furthermore, this art itself has been practiced since the Hellenistic period, a synthesis as multicultural as the city of Alexandria whence it is suspected to have originated. Drawing on Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek ideas and technical ability, Astrology ultimately became the gargantuan field that it is today, with schools of techniques dedicated to politics, magic, medicine, questions and, nativities, which we might call the Astrology of the Soul itself.

Thus, in summary, a Natal Consultation can essentially be considered as considering the Stars and how they influenced one in the moment of their birth. It provides an overview of them, their reach into ones soul and life, and how this will shape you and your experiences. If you believe in fate, you could also say it represents the promises that fate has made with you.

On the other hand, the Revolution consultations are a little more contemporary, up to date you might say. If the Root chart is essentially a seed placed in the earth, the Revolution is the perpetual motion of the stars that nourishes that seed and determines how it grows. Tomato seeds don’t become Potato seeds, they’re still Tomatoes. However the weather will still dictate how they grow. In this way, the Root is akin to a seed and the Revolutions, (and transits) akin to the environment and weather. Thus, we look to the condition of the stars at a particular time (the time of a revolution) and by comparing them with the Root of the chart, we get a general picture as to how the stars are moving things for you now today. After all, if the Stars in the sky influenced us the same way, then we would all be doing the same thing! But because of the Root chart we see that how the Stars conduct themselves at a prominent moment will vary, because how they interact with one’s own nativity or root, differs from how it interacts with the person besides you. Typically, the Revolution won’t betray the promise of the Root, but rather acts within its confines. Sometimes what is evil in the nativity is mitigated by the goodness of the revolution; and vice versa.

Ultimately then, we might call Natal Astrology the Science of the Soul. It is the spiritual art of knowing oneself, the world around you, and one’s place in the world. What one does with this information is down to the individual, but whether pursuit of material gain, or closeness to the Gods and theurgy, it is a most rewarding art.

How I Conduct my Natal Consultations

This brief summary will go over the general methods I use to conduct my readings. In particular, we’ll look at some of the sources I use and the core of my practice, as well as what a complete root consultation actually looks like. In the short future an example reading will be up on this page as well.

The Astrology I practice is mostly built around Persio-Arabic Astrological techniques. This school itself is drawing on earlier Hellenistic techniques but also provisioning its own skillset. Thus you’ll see that some of my favoured sources are Sahl bin Bishr, Masha’allah, and Abu Ma’shar. However, I also draw on a wide range of sources and don’t limit myself to this period alone. In particular, including Hellenists such as Dorotheus, Valens, Theophilus, Rhetorius, and even later Medieval Astrologers, such as Guido Bonatti, Al-Biruni, and Ibn Ezra.

I am also familiar with the Early Modern Astrology as per William Lilly, John Gadbury, Partridge and so on. In-fact it is where I first began my Astrological journey and some of my clients have even received consultations using their methods! I have since adjusted to focusing on the “Persian” techniques, and so returning clients will note these readings look considerably different than in the past. However these methods will always retain a very fond place in my heart.

The Consultation Process

I begin each reading by considering the chart and making some calculations by hand. In particular the Mean Longitude of the Planets, needs to be done by hand as there is no reliable software for them that I have access to. I’ll also calculate the 12th Parts (Dodecatamoria) in this way as well for certain points of the chart. This process can take quite some time and is mostly manual calculation, rather than anything interpretive.

The next step of the reading is to pray to the spirits and powers that assist me in my consultations, wearing a talisman that has been created to one of them, so that they may grant clarity to my interpretation and lighting a suitable fumigation of incense. From here, I begin to judge the chart. Typically, I will do this multiple times over a number of days. My readings are not one and done, rather each one takes a considerable amount of work, time, and effort. The topics I cover in a complete reading, are as follows:

Note: Due to the particulars of astrology and how far reaching the subjects we cover can be, clients are always given the option to request that I don’t cover a particular topic in their consultation. You may also, ask further questions on any other various topics.

Topical Considerations in Root Consultations

1. On the Conditions of the Planets and Calculations for Preleminary judgements

Included here is a long list of the planets and their astrological conditions, their temperament and quality in the chart as well as major aspects. A description and summary of the planet, as if it was its own character in a royal court is also given using non-technical terms to express the nature of the planet in an understandable way for those who aren’t themselves astrologers. Furthermore, two charts are also included here. The first hand drawn, showing the Planets, 12th Parts, and Antiscia. The second chart, is as shown in the software used.

2. On the Native themselves, their Soul, Bodily Health and Inclinations

Here, we judge the Temperament and complexion of the Native, the nature of the Soul (or Wit), the constancy of the Native’s bodily health, appearance and also natural inclinations and behaviour in social settings (“Manners”).

3. On the Family and Kinsmen

A judgement upon the family of the Native and any matters of note or major events that stand out in the root occur regarding them.

4. On the Wealth of the Native, and their profession or exaltation

A delineation of the fortune, happiness, wealth and general prosperity of the Native’s life, their reputation and honour, essentially here we judge the good things in life and the measure of the same, drawing on techniques from Dorotheus, Rhetorious, Sahl Bin Bishr, Al-Andrazagar and Valens.

5. On the Marriage and Friendships of the Native

A judgement upon the marriage[s] of the Native, their friendships and associations, and where difficulty or happiness may be found with both of them. Timing can be done on request, as regards Marriage.

6. Of Dangers, Wars, Crime, Imprisonment, Sicknesses, Violence and Injuries

Here, we cover in particular the difficult aspects of life. An emphasis is placed upon sickness and diseases as something every one will experience in their life however any stand out dangers in the chart that are yet to come will also be commented upon.

7. On the Religious life of the Native, and Occult Matters to be considered.

An analysis of the Spiritual Life of the Native, what forms of divination they might well find favourable indications of piety, religious faith and devotion.

8. Of the Home, Household and Country and Travels, whether the same is safe.

Judgement upon whether the Native will face difficulties in moving to another country, and if such is probable. Finally we consider the general safety of the Native whilst travelling.

You can find my services available [HERE].

Sphere + Sundry: Hermanubis Series (Review)

I took notice and became interested in Sphere + Sundry’s offerings in the same year I began experimenting with astrological talismans. At the time, one of my best friends, who goes by Hex, had begun studying scholastic image magic. Whenever he found an appropriate election, he would also message our friend group of magicians with the times for their respective cities and the general instructions for making the talismans. A few months later, Salt himself signed up for Christopher Warnock’s astrological magic course and he too joined in the hunt for elections. Over the course of the last year we’ve made an assortment of planetary and fixed star talismans using the appropriate metals and gemstones. While I am not currently studying the same art, being more immersed in other projects relating to my traditions of witchcraft, the grimoires I am procuring tools for, and my Quimbanda lineage, I have come to deeply respect and enjoy the power of astrological talismans in my practice. Their magic feels so clean and elevated it sings; bending reality around them to flow with the tides of that particular celestial moment they capture and eternally embody.

Run by Kaitlin and Austin Coppock, Sphere + Sundry create more than just your standard talismans. Their range of products include oils, candles, inks, hydrosol sprays, incenses, collaborations with perfumers, jewelers, and blacksmiths, and a host of other elected tools and materia all having been crafted to the strictest standards within the time frames allotted. Even the very bottling and packaging is carefully done within the right times, and the bottles and jars themselves are never branded. You can read more about their philosophy and approach at their website [here]. Both Salt and I have had nothing but excellent experiences with their work—in fact, part of my Christmas gifts for him last year involved a few of their Exalted Mars offerings in addition to a set of the seven pentacles of Mars in iron. The results he’s had with them in conjunction have been nothing short of remarkably powerful. As for myself, their main line I work with is their Hermanubis collection, of which I have almost a complete set. Given that they see such regular use, I thought I would offer a review of the line here for those interested in both the set itself and their products more broadly.

Before I get into the review proper, I wanted to briefly comment on Hermanubis himself. I first began engaging with the god two years ago, shortly before I read Gordon White’s The Chaos Protocols in which he is famously recommended. I was led to him by a cynocephalic spirit familiar Hekate had bestowed me, who referred to Hermanubis as one of his masters. Intrigued by the syncretized Hermes-Anubis psychopomp deity, I printed out a picture of his statue in the Vatican museum and set him up with a tealight and a glass of water in the corner of one of my necromantic working altars. Since then, his guidance and erudition have been the catalyst of some of the most important breakthroughs in my witchcraft, spirit work, and general understanding of magic. There is a distinct elegance, a celestial current flowing within the sea of the dead he shepherds, a starry overtone to his shadowed approach; a mercurial swiftness embedded within his darksome guidance. While there is no shortage of psychopomps and death-beings in my life, from St. Cyprian of Antioch, Veles, and Hekate to the Exus of my Quimbanda court, Hermanubis has a distinct and deeply valued place among my spirits and my attempts to further ingress his mysteries have yielded important sorcerous fruit.

As my relationship with him grew, so too did his shrine. The framed picture of his statue was soon replaced with figures of Hermes, Yinepu/Anubis, and a little figurine of Hermanubis from the Hachette “Gods of Ancient Egypt” series. I created the APHEROU (“way opener”) brass bowl for scrying and conjuring the dead using the instructions in The Chaos Protocols and set aside the usual space for candles, water, and food.

In purchasing the Hermanubis series from Sphere + Sundry, I was specifically interested in further cultivating the god’s presence in my life as well as having properly-enchanted materia on hand to bring his essence and power into other domains of spellcraft, sorcery, and spirit work. I am reviewing everything available in the series except for the beeswax candle.

Here is what they look like together out of the box. Inside the package was a bottle of Oil of Hermanubis, a bottle of Ink of Amenti in a 1/8 oz glass vial, a vial of Natron, some Way Opening Dead-Drawing Elixir in a 1/2 oz glass bottle, a bottle of Hermanubis Self-Igniting Incense, a 5″ Hermanubis statue in white, and the accompanying Opening of the Mouth and Eyes Ritual. As with all Sphere + Sundry shipments, they came packed with a few chocolates which were promptly devoured. No pictures/traces of evidence for those.

Let’s begin with the most immediately striking: the figurine. Its presence in the collection is owed to Oliver Laric’s Three D Scans, a project involving copyright-free 3D models of statues from various museums. Unless you commission your own or buy one of the Hachette figurines like I did, this is one of the only few actual statues of Hermanubis available. It’s a lightweight, 5″, standard 3D-printed figure that looks just like the Vatican museum statue. You have a choice of white or black in the listing. I went with white to match the marble of the original.

Accompanying the statue is a ritual to perform a take on the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, to better enliven and consecrate it as an icon of the god. Performing the ritual was the first time I actually used most of the products; I received my package late on Halloween (auspicious!) and wanted to wait until it was the Mercury hour on the following Saturday to carry it out. Until then, I kept the vials wrapped in black silk in a black cauldron that sits on the Hermanubis shrine.

When it was time, I withdrew the oil, elixir spray, incense, and natron and procured a series of offerings to the god—breads, olives, alcohol, spring water, and so on. I cleaned the statue with purified water and natron, anointed its eyes and lips with the oil, “cut” them with a ritual knife bathed in the smoke, and sprayed the entire figure with the elixir. I did the same for my other statues and figurine as well and then sat in communion with the spirits as the offerings were presented. The combination of the incense, oil, and elixir truly emanate, enhance, and vivify that exact blend of Hermes Chthonius and Yinepu heka made manifest in the spirit of Hermanubis as I’ve come to know him. The sensation that fills the room when even one is used sings with the same power that builds after I’ve spent some time praying and invoking at the main shrine, having plunged deeper into the work—though elevated to an even stronger degree. I find that now, all it takes to stir the same level of attention, focus, and presence of the spirits at the shrine is to open with a prayer and mist the space with the elixir.

I tend save the incense for larger workings as the bottle is quite small. A myrrh resin blended with a herbal mixture aligned to Hermanubis along with some black dog hair, the powder is self-igniting. While it can be used as an offering to the dead and to Hermanubis himself, I’ve chosen to use it only in important chthonic rituals in which I really want to draw, wake, and gather the dead or other such spirits and facilitate their conjuration.

The elixir, along with the oil, are my favourite pieces. To quote the listing:

Dark red wine and high proof spiced rum were ritually infused with herbal attractants for drawing the dead, blessed by Hermanubis as the Sun set on the day of Mercury’s exalted direct cazimi 2018.

The bottle is similarly prepared with copper leaf, echoing the concept of paying pennies to traffic with the dead. While I have yet to use this at a cemetery (which can be done to wake particular graves), I have mostly employed it to great effect at my ancestor altar, at a boveda during seance, and to baptize particular necromantic tools. Before I use it, I always begin by delineating the appropriate boundaries, naming precisely which forces I am calling, and ensuring that several of my helping spirits and familiars are at my side to guard the gates, as it were. Similarly, as is advised, I banish, cleanse, and re-anoint the windows and thresholds of my working space with holy oil once I’ve finished. I also give offerings to my spirits in thanks for monitoring what flows through my walls. When sprayed, the atmospheric change is unmistakable. I find that my psychic senses are instantly elevated and attuned to the frequencies of the dead, that the spirits more easily manifest and take form in my compasses and circles, and that the clarity of their messages and warnings are distinctly improved. Extremely versatile and consistently potent in every circumstance I’ve used it in, I would highly recommend the elixir to any witch; whether you work with Hermanubis or not. As long as the chthonic have a place in your practice, you will benefit from this water.

The oil packs a similar punch, albeit in a far more earthy, concentrated form. The description given for its contents on the listing is:

As the Sun descended into the realm of the underworld on the day of Mercury’s exalted cazimi 2018, organic cold-pressed olive oil was combined with ritually harvested cemetery cypress, hops, barley, and other herbs and ingredients sacred to Hermes, Anubis, or favored by the dead, along with myrrh, hair from a black dog, and 24k gold leaf.

After opening the mouths of my statues, I used the oil to anoint the offering plates and gifts belonging to my dead, five-spot their working spaces to further anchor their presence as liminal hedges of communion, and further empower particular tools—such as a wand made from the oldest yew tree in a British churchyard. A few of my familiars have taken a particular liking to this oil and I’ve used a small dab of it to further solidify their grasp and influence over workings I’ve done with them. Again, I’ve noticed consistently their manifestations have only ever been enhanced through this oil’s use. I’ve actually found that carrying it with me in my bag of throwing bones has served as a kind of battery and beacon to spirits in general. I’ve also anointed myself with it prior to going on cemetery walks to open myself further to the whisperings of my allies there, as well as in seances and any such sessions involving channeling and divination. Alongside my own Hekate oil, made through Jason Miller’s recipe in his Sorcery of Hekate arcana, this is my go-to oil for necromancy now. One interesting use I’ve come to discover is that if I lightly dab a wrapped offering or a particular working fetish, doll, or bundle I am disposing of at crossroads or cemeteries, specifically while charging and praying over the oil as I’m shaking and using it, the spirits in these spaces are immediately provoked to action far more quickly. It’s a powerful way to “mark” something as theirs now, whether it is a gift like a meal or bottle of alcohol, or a working bundle that draws their intercession.

The Ink of Amenti has been used solely for my work with a particular black book I keep. I’ve poured a small amount of it out into a larger vial of plain ink, fumigated it with myrrh incense, and consecrated it as another batch of necromantic ink through dilution. I tend to treat the vessels in which my ritual inks and oils are housed as living entities, especially since I’ve begun to make my own oils during specified times and with ritually-harvested ingredients. My mother bottles all have personalities of their own and I treat their bottling and pouring with reverence. So while the original bottle my ink came in is paired with that black book, some of it was reincarnated into a new, diluted form and saved for future work. As for its effects, I’ve noticed that what I write with it glows hazily in my psychic vision, especially in the dark, and that it has cemented the influence of the spirits whose seals and pacts are within that book in an interesting way. Namely, when I use ink from the same bottle to write petitions, commands, sigils, etc. on other pieces of parchment, the spirits of my grimoire can be instantly stirred just by their writing prior to any formal conjuration. A proper link has been forged between the agreements in the book and whatever I write with the bottle, as overseen by the chief binding spirits who authorize the contracts. As such, I’ve been able to more quickly launch these spirits to action through its use.

As for the natron, I’ve found the most practical way for me to use the special properties of this vial is to divide it among other existing purifying salts I have. I’ve mixed some with a larger batch of natron I have that I use for purifying baths and another portion with a jar reserved only for drawing circles. Again, to better blend them, I fumigated these jars with incense to combine them as one. There is little left in the original vial as it is now. Much of it was used immediately in the purification and consecration of various different statues and figures of the gods and spirits I’ve adapted the accompanying ritual for.

I referred to the elixir as extremely versatile and consistently potent, but really this applies to the series in general. You don’t need to work with Hermanubis to benefit immensely from these tools as enriching way-openers for all magic concerning the dead and travel to and from their worlds. If you’re thinking of beginning a relationship with the deity, these offerings will draw the attention and focus of the right spirits easily. If you’re struggling which to choose, I would pick between the oil and elixir depending on how you envision working with these powers, whether you prefer to anchor and anoint specific points or permeate and uplift the air around. With both you’ll be set for a long time indeed. While there aren’t many left, if you’re willing to spend a little extra I think the Statue and Opening of the Mouth Ritual Set is ideal; it’s not only well-priced but you get a sample of the majority of the offerings including one of the replica figurines. And if this particular lineup isn’t your calling, do consider checking their other series for something undoubtedly equally potent but better tuned to your needs.