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


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


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.


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).


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:


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


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:


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: 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!

Oracle of Kronos: PGM IV. 3086–3124

Ever since I had forged my daimon pact through PGM VII. 505–28, I found my existing love and appreciation for the papyri become even more enflamed. My list of rituals to accomplish had more than doubled, coming to encompass a number of more complicated rites, my mind being at ease with my daimon’s assurances that he could arrange for all the necessary materia requirements without resulting in me breaking any budgets. While I am in no way averse to substitution, especially when the workarounds are orchestrated by the spirits themselves (and naturally, confirmed with cunning and insightful divinatory inquiries), I have often found a special thrill and excitement in carrying out older spells as they were written. My spirits have often noted that there are pacts forged at every step of a working’s channeling, with the powers that are drawn upon, anchored, and payed homage to through each ingredient often being far more complicated and nuanced than one would first assume, largely being the dominion of the privacy and secrecy of the ruling spirits of the working themselves. It is ultimately a sorcerer’s wit that will guide them in reading between the lines of received grimoires and rites, consulting with their spirits on matters such as what is superfluous or merely an artefact of the time, what marks a power’s presence and must be included, what can be summoned spiritually through existing alliances within one’s own court to stand in the place of the material, and which elements provide an initiation unto themselves simply by being gathered, alerting the watchers of the rite to the sincerity of the seeker of mysteries.

One of the most crucial lessons my patrons have ever taught me when it comes to magic is to always remain level-headed, curious, flexible, and diligent. To live tradition is to carry it forward into the incarnated times in which one lives; not to be a servant of its artefacts. At the same time, to disregard the pacts our ancestors had already made on our behalf, including the ancestors of sorcery itself—those who penned down the rituals we consult and seek to reenact, or who forged the first agreements with certain spirits and how they would consent to manifesting and arriving when called in the future—is to extinguish personal ambition with bitterness and arrogance. While I have always pursued magic’s manifestations and miracles for the consistent delights they have conferred upon my life, I find that in my heart I love the art for its own sake. That so much is possible, that so much folklore is true, and that so many spirits exist to consult with, learn under, and stretch the limits of our perception and cognition with will never fail to fill me with absolute glee.

In some cases, procuring certain items is in and of itself a significant part of the journey, in others, they flag important powers that must be noted and given their due in order for the requested spirits to manifest in the way the ritual assures they will. To love Mystery, what is hidden, occulted, and what in some cases may never be known to the magician, being the knowledge only certain spirits have the license to witness and bear, is also to allow for adventure in every step of the sorcerous process. A long-standing agreement I have with a few specialized familiars, combined with the work of the 2nd Pentacle of Mercury (which brings things “contrary unto the order of Nature”, that is to say, including that which is improbable or rare, or to make what is expensive cheap, etc.), is to open the roads to procuring rare materia for future experiments. In some cases, this manifests as unexpected windfalls of money to purchase what I need, in others, in the form of sudden connections with those who either themselves are able to obtain them for me, or know someone else who could. On this front, my new daimon was eager to join in, encouraging me to pursue other workings from the late antique Mediterranean period, both from within the PGM collection and beyond, with the assurance that he would open the way forward so to carry them out precisely.

At the top of my list was PGM IV. 3086–3124, the title of which is given as the Oracle of Kronos. This ritual had captivated my fascination for almost a year now, ever since another spirit of mine pointed out its remarkable qualities to me. Its intended outcome is to call forth the god Kronos, who, once manifested, may reveal the answer to any question. While the Oracle may certainly then be consulted as a purely divinatory ritual, it was made clear to me by my spirit that there is nothing which suggests the “questions” posed must strictly concern themselves with such matters. Instead, one may presumably petition the god in the same fashion, requesting knowledge, rituals, secrets, mysteries, ways to access particular powers and familiar spirits, and so on, as is the case for most rituals in the PGM intended to compel or conjure a deity to appear. I sat in discussion with my spirits to determine the list of questions and petitions to put forward some time ago, and immediately set out to recreate its instructions.

An image of the rite as it appears in Betz, p. 98.

The ritual involves going out to a place “where grass grows” at night and grinding salt in a handmill, speaking a formula until the god arrives. His manifestation is said to be heralded by the clattering of iron chains and the sound of heavy steps. The magician should be clothed with “clean linen in the garb of a priest of Isis”, and have prepared an offering of sage, the heart of a cat, and horse manure to burn. Additionally, a phylactery must be made and held on the person for the purpose of protecting oneself from the god, subduing him when he “appears threateningly”, and compelling him to provide the answers to the questions given, while similarly chanting another formula. The phylactery in question is to be made out of the rib of either a young pig (presumably one which has not reached sexual maturity) or a “black, scaly, castrated boar”. The rib is to be carved with the inscription “CHTHOUMILON” and the image of Zeus holding a sickle.

There are a few things to note from the outset. Firstly, it is clear that the conjuration conflates Kronos with his own father, Ouranos, given the reference to him as a “hermaphrodite” upon “whom the transgression was committed by [his] own son”—a reference to Kronos severing Ouranos’ genitals with a sickle (making him actually a eunuch, not a hermaphrodite), which resulted in the birth of Aphrodite as well as the Furies. The ritual itself is clearly coercive, with the incense offering being particularly foul-smelling (horse manure and a cat’s heart with sage), and the very act of grinding salt over grass which grows, rendering the land infertile, being a clear transgression against a patron of agriculture. There is a formula to further compel the god once he arrives, in order to subdue him in case he “appears threateningly”, as well as a phylactery of Zeus to protect the sorcerer, allowing them to take on the divine mask of Kronos’ son to threaten him with not only his banishment to Tartarus, but with the same fate he dealt his own father. That the phylactery is made of a piglet’s rib may be to evoke the imagery of a scythe (in the image, wielded by Zeus, but also of course being a typical symbol of Kronos as a castrator, with his depictions frequently wielding a curved harvesting blade), while also drawing on the common sacrifice of young pigs as offerings to chthonic deities in late antiquity. The presence of the cat’s heart is also evocative of the conflation and syncretism of Kronos and Chronos, saturnine associations of time and longevity, and the lion-headed Mithraic Aion.

My spirits had given me much fruit for thought with their commentary as to what kind of theophany might appear from this conjuration. They recommended only changing the line “you hermaphrodite” to “you eunuch”, given the reference to Ouranos’ castration, but proceeding with the rest of the ritual as is. Naturally, my first order of business was to take inventory of what I already had in stock. Regarding the “garb of a priest of Isis”, I thankfully already had a white linen robe on hand for ritual use that I had fumigated with frankincense and myrrh. Similarly, I keep a stock of Dead Sea salt, as well as Greek sage, so I could write those two off the list. This left me with the cat’s heart, the horse manure, and the pig’s rib phylactery.

Key’s invaluable expertise with biochemistry came to my rescue with the matter of the heart. Initially, he kindly offered to place an order with his laboratory where he works for a cat to dissect, and to quite literally obtain the heart for me directly. I decided that this would be our last resort, assuming I could not find just a heart alone to buy elsewhere online. Thankfully, after consulting with one of my aforementioned treasure hunting spirits (whom I primarily at this point employ for assistance in obtaining materia and rare books), a taxidermy shop I frequent suddenly procured a cat’s heart preserved in formalin as a wet specimen, and I purchased it immediately. And yet, Key still managed to save the day regardless! I set the shipping address to his apartment, and once he received it, he treated the heart of the formalin in his lab, ensuring it would be safe to burn as incense when the time comes to give the offering. My biggest thanks as always to him for the crucial help!

I reckoned that the virtue of the horse manure in the offering lies in its foul smell, being coercive in nature. For this reason, I briefly entertained the idea of swapping this component for powdered sulfur, but ultimately decided to at the very least include it in some form while also offering one of my fouler-smelling Saturnine incenses, which contains sulfur in the recipe. I made my way to a small urban farm that is open to pedestrians, slipped away and collected a small amount of the manure, and returned promptly home. I always carry some extra plastic bags, a pair of gloves, and a Sharpie on me in my backpack full of talismans for materia collection, and I have to say that this smelly experience was not even within the top ten least pleasant things I’ve had to grab for magic. Witchcraft and Quimbanda alike have certainly provided the rest.

Finally, I was down to the matter of the pig’s rib. I decided that it would be far easier to obtain that of a young pig’s than a “black, scaly, castrated boar”, and placed an order for a rack of ribs from a suckling pig at a local butcher. I gave the meat itself as an offering to my spirits (as a vegetarian all meat I buy tends to go to spirits and friends) and treated the bones. Once I had an image of Zeus and the name of power to my liking, I lacquered it with clear nail polish to preserve the bone from cracking. In the meanwhile, my friend Alison of Practical Occult had also procured a similar set of piglet ribs, and graciously sent me one of the extras that she was distributing. This meant that, should everything work the way I’d hope, I would be able to mail out the additional leftover ribs to any friend who was hoping to carry out the ritual as well—assuming my other spirits didn’t claim them for their own devices and talismans first.

For the ritual itself, I decided to wait for the nighttime Saturn hour on a Saturday my spirits recommended. I scouted out the location “where the grass grows” ahead of time, placating the spirits of the land ahead of time, and letting them know that I would be grinding salt over the field until the deity manifests, making the appropriate offerings in advance. When the time came, I filled up my bag with the incense, phylactery, salt and mill (in my case, a mortar and pestle), charcoal and a brazier, a lighter, and one glass-encased candle so that I could see in the dark, and headed for the ravine.

By the time I arrived on location, it was a little past 10:30pm, right at the Saturn hour. I had already dressed in my ritual linen robe at home, wearing a plain white skirt and tank top underneath, and had marched over to the forest with no one seeing me on the way there. I set up the brazier and charcoal, lit the candle, and took out my ritual script (a printed scan of the rite as it appears in Betz), checked in with my spirits one more time, and proceeded with the call.

While I’ve never been scared of the dark, even as a child, I found myself feeling strangely anxious as I began the process. At first, I lit the charcoal and began to recite the prayer, entirely forgetting in my eagerness (and sudden onset of uncharacteristic nervousness!) to grind the salt itself—the key component of the ritual! I quickly came to my senses and managed to laugh at myself for a moment, filling my mortar with the salt, and started again, roughly pounding and grinding it with the pestle on its side to continue to spill the contents over the grass. I then continued repeating the prayer until, after the third time, the atmosphere in the darkness of the forest became completely eclipsed by a sudden, encroaching, swelling presence.

I have to emphasize again that I am not at all an easily-frightened person. Among my close friends my reputation for being incredibly difficult to startle is something of a meme, with many having attempted and failed to jump-scare me with various websites and videos. I’ve always enjoyed horror movies—the more unsettling, the better—and no amount of gore or tension has been able to truly unnerve me on an emotional level. If anything, being spooked by a physical manifestation or a spirit pulling a prank or trying to get my attention has only ever excited me. Yet, in that moment, it was as if my veins were filled with ice, my body entirely immobile, and my ears and eyes strained to their peak, staring blindly into the forest, mind absolutely awash with an overwhelming pressure and dread. I seized the phylactery in my lap and held it until my knuckles were white, willing my psychic perception to open further in order to catch even a potential glimpse of what it was that was approaching.

It was then that I heard it—not with my spiritual senses, but with my physical ears—the loud, slow, thumping of heavy footsteps, each movement followed by the piercing, clattering of chains. Words cannot express how genuinely shocked I was at the sheer noise and physicality of this manifestation! I instantly placed the cat heart over the charcoal and watched it quickly roast, adding then the horse manure (I nearly gagged from the smell at this point) and the merciful relief of the Greek sage which made the fumes at least tolerable. After a battery of steps and rattling, each louder than the last, I finally saw in my plain vision a massive, void-like stretch of black, blotting out even the regular darkness of the nighttime ravine, obscuring the outline of the trees I was able to make out by candlelight and my adjusted vision, extending to tower over me even unto the heavens. In my spirit sight, I was able to make out a titanic, hooded figure, features proud yet sunken, beard neat and elegant and yet frayed with time, joints bulbous and rough against stretched, thin skin which showed still the musculature and strength of an aging king. The passage of aeons had folded their paper-scarred weight into the wrinkles of his skin, yet the eyes which seared with flame and fervour—two lone stars in the sky his form had stripped of dimension—gazed down with cold eternity.

The proceedings of our interaction, and the petitions and inquiries I made, are not something I am able to retell publicly. Yet, suffice to say, the intense, passive aura of dread persisted throughout, and at one point the clattering of chains was so loud and the noise so disorienting that I wondered if I was happened upon by some poor nighttime hiker or a large animal—though there was no one there, not even a single forest spirit that I could detect, but me and the presence. I ended up using the compulsion formula when the sensation of fear was close to its peak, not only because I was sweating and gripping my phylactery so hard I worried any more and I might snap it, but because if there’s one thing I’ve learned across all the traditions I hold initiation in, it’s never to allow pride to supplant the practicality of protection formulas. It was not that I felt that I was going to be harmed, more that I decided I needed to do something about the way the feelings of dread were clouding my perception. I wanted to be as calm, articulate, and forward-thinking with the way I communicated my requests, and have the mental bandwidth to respond appropriately and with intelligently. Thankfully, the formula was truly effective, decreasing the aura that surrounded me significantly as it appeared to slink back like a shadow to where I felt the presence. While the tension was no less high, I was able to breathe and speak normally from then on, much to my satisfaction.

Once I had completed my work, and I received confirmation of my requests having been accepted, the answers I sought being given, and the familiar I asked for having been given unto me—with the name and abilities given and attested to, and the requisite oaths of loyalty sworn—I gave the license to depart and prayed for peace between us. Across various conjurations, especially grimoiric and necromantic ones, I have generally found that as soon as the license to depart is given, the spirit simply disperses or vanishes from my presence, leaving me back to my own devices within the ritual space. Yet here, I found myself mesmerized as the presence did not vanish at once, rather retreated the same way it came—with slow, heavy, receding footsteps slinking back into the woods, each step sinking lower and lower into the chthonic soil, accompanied by the clattering of the fetters and chains. I knelt, transfixed by the overpowering, physical sensation of the deific force quite literally walking away, until at last I could see the moon and stars, and feel the spirits of the forest and earth crawl back into their homes.

Suddenly, the time dawned on me, and I quickly gathered my things back into my bag, left the offering and brazier where it was, and scampered back home. I must have been quite the sight, should anyone have noticed me, running with an oversized book bag in a large white robe down the street and back to my neighbourhood! Once I was home, I enshrined the phylactery, which was now the physical token of the pact with the Saturnine daimon, made offerings to my spirits for their protection and guidance, and finally was able to rest.

I am truly beyond thrilled with how the entire rite proceeded. Acquiring all the materia for it was well worth the effort, and the divinatory answers I received have been nothing short of cosmically illuminating. One of the petitions I requested manifested instantly (in the very same Saturn hour!) in the first stage of its plan, being perhaps one of the fastest turnarounds I have ever seen. As for the new pact, forged so I could seek similar counsel when needed in a more personal capacity and flavour, among other reasons, all the powers involved have been integrating exceptionally smoothly and well. I had Key quickly scry the phylactery without telling him any details, as his psychic perception and spirit faculties have been trained diligently over the last year to become some of the most keen I have seen, and he was able to nail precisely the nature of the pact, its presence, and an array of subtler information I had been interested to test for. Ever since his most recent initiatory experience when I had last visited him in the States, his abilities have been so laser-precise and wide in scope, without faltering through any emotional or mental struggles, I have been all the more excited to resume our weekly training and practice on scrying, and checking each other’s materia and tools has been one such excellent way to do so. Suffice to say, this operation was far more successful than I had even hoped for, and I am so pleased to report that its manifestations are exactly as physical as the ritual instructions imply.

Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer (Pt 5): The Practice

Since I initially wrote about my journey crafting the tools necessary to work the Tuba Veneris as my chosen ritual magic grimoire in 2019, I have regularly received e-mails, communication, and all manner of questions concerning what exactly happened since I completed my toolkit. Even in Discord servers and other chat groups that I’ve joined, as soon as I’ve noted my blog, the first question I receive privately tends to be about my experiences with this rarely-worked little grimoire, what my results so far have been, and what the nature of the spirits are, their offices, powers, manifestations, and deeds. It has been two years since that fateful Friday new moon when I consecrated all of my tools—including the second Horn I had mentioned procuring, thanks to a witch and friend in Germany who had convinced his neighbour in the farms to wait until a Friday Venus hour to dehorn his steer—and I have not publicly noted outside of my private circles of friends what exactly has transpired with the book since. An update is certainly well overdue.

Since the August of 2019, when I performed the consecration and burial of the tools by a riverbank once more, I have been working with the implements and conjuring the six spirits fairly regularly. I had mentioned in an earlier post that one of my goals was to test whether using either Horn made a difference. To reiterate: the first Horn was consecrated on a separate Friday new moon with my Seal and Book, and the second was carved, consecrated, and re-buried with all the original tools once more on the next Friday new moon the same year, in August. The only difference between them, besides the date of consecration, was that I knew that the first Horn had been severed during a Friday afternoon, but the person who had sold it to me could not recall precisely what time.

The second, however, was intentionally cut precisely during the necessary time according to the grimoire, and I wanted to check whether there was any difference between the two in terms of potency during the conjurations. It turns out that there was ultimately none, or at the very least none that I could detect. The spirits, when summoned, appeared readily regardless of which one I spoke the call through, and their manifestations were equally as potent. I concluded that the consecrations on both were sufficiently carried out, and have decided to save the first as a shrine piece on an area I have dedicated specifically to Venus and Anael as a result of all the work I have carried out with this text, and her continued patronage of the art. I use exclusively the second, not just because of its origin, but rather because its size is more pleasant to wield and the engravings I had made appear far more striking, bold, and pleasing to my eye. Below are the images of this Horn prior to consecration, shared with the permission of my spirits:

I’m really so thrilled with how it came out, and that I managed to fit all the seals of the six spirits on the one side without having to squish any of them, naturally growing in size as the horn itself expands in width. I tried to make haste with the engravings during that hour in order to have enough time to both consecrate the tools through the smoke, and run outside to the nearby forest by where I live to bury them at river that passes through it. I was working on a giant table where I had printed out Jeffrey S. Kupperman’s recreations of the seals (from Teresa Burns and Nancy Turner’s translation of the Tuba Veneris) in order to better copy them, already dressed in my outdoor clothes for the trek. I really did not want to have to wait for the Venus hour well past midnight for convenience’s sake (even witches and Quimbandeiras must sleep, allegedly), so I wanted to make sure I could do everything in the same planetary hour—a task thankfully made possible by my home’s convenient location by that forest and river.

There is actually an amusing story to go along with the second Horn’s consecration. That August afternoon, as I was sitting with my spirits in eager anticipation of the nighttime Venus hour, one of my familiars reminded me to once more read over the grimoire’s text. It suddenly dawned on me that the engraving tool one uses to for the Seal and Horn must be “a new and pure iron or steel instrument”, and my engraving pen was certainly not new or pure—I had used it for the first time on the prior round, and since then it has seen much use creating Salt’s astrologically elected talismans, Solomonic pentacles, and all manner of such instruments. As soon as I realized this, I sprinted out the door and grabbed the bus to the nearest hardware store to purchase a new one with only a few hours to go, and returned home victorious with a sufficiently virgin tool. This was certainly a humourous lesson for me in always double-checking my inventory before such important dates!

Needless to say, rolling out my beloved Circle, unwrapping my Book, Seal, and Horn from their linen coverings, lighting a healthy green taper and preparing a copper dish in which to scald the wax seal of the spirit (should it be disobedient) has become a fairly regular Friday evening activity over the past two years. I set out initially to work this text out of a curiosity, and later sincere magical intrigue, as I detailed in my first post [here]. It’s a fascinating text with many strange, almost pagan elements to its setup, with a ritual structure that is not only simple but uniquely short. The tools were attractive to me, and my spirits had given me the go-ahead to attempt it. Now, I can happily confirm that the entire process was deeply worth the effort. While an unpopular text in early modern magic and grimoire tradition circles, I hope that my reflection as someone who has worked the book to the letter, having crafted each tool precisely to its specifications, may encourage others to attempt the same work.

This text has become my primary grimoire of choice in its efficacy, power, and speed—when I have need of the assistance of its six spirits, or simply desire to work with them again instead of one of my allies in Balkan traditional witchcraft, Quimbanda, or any other system and initiation I keep more closely to my chest, I will await the Friday evening Venus hour of that week and call them forth with the Horn. In the past two years, I have never needed to recite the conjuration more than three times for the spirit to visibly appear—a record that has certainly shocked me, given that the calls are so short, consisting almost entirely of a few lines of barbarous words, bookended by the chosen spirit’s name. The manifestations of the six have varied with intensity, though their presence has always been entirely unmistakable. They have often paced the Circle’s edge, disturbing physically the objects in the room, causing apparitions and poltergeist phenomena in my ritual space, bringing with them changes of weather outside, shadows, streaks, haze, mist, pressures and alarming sensations in the body, deep trances and visions of their forms, and visible, physical manifestations of their beings in the air.

To this day, the six seals I made out of green wax and soot two years ago have remained undisturbed. Friends who have visited me and seen the space where I keep them have remarked that not a single one is blemished—this is because I have never had need to make use of the disciplinary procedure by which the spirits are reprimanded for being uncooperative, in which you heat the copper Seal around your neck in the candle flame and place it over the wax to melt and torment the being. Not a single conjuration have I experienced the spirits rebelling. I have consistently approached them politely, emphasizing amicable cooperation between the two of us in the name of Archangel Anael and the Holy Trinity, and have implored them to swear to speak the truth clearly and without any ambiguity by those same names, and have not been found wanting. Even the most sinister of the six, who speak in sly, envenomed tongues and slither about the perimeter of Circle, words dripping with lurid cunning, have kept to their oath, honoured my efforts as one who has carried out the work, and done good on their tasks I have set them out to accomplish. I suspect that one of the reasons I have never needed to take a more aggressive approach is because I speak every command, negotiation, and even mundane comment to them in our communications directly through the Horn. Another likely one is also that my guardian spirits and familiars are always ever-present with me, so even in the Circle itself I am never fully facing the daemons alone.

Ultimately, the results I have achieved with the grimoire have been superb. They have brought treasures, financial upheavals for family, assisted in business as well as domination, ruined enemies with curses, given accurate information as spies upon chosen targets and institutions, manipulated bureaucracies in the favour of friends, and assisted with all Venusian matters. They have revealed instructions for amulets, tools, and talismans (often favouring copper as the main medium—an old copper blade I’ve used for years as a witching knife has also come to serve a dual function now with the Tuba Veneris), assisted with other folk magic I have brought into the circle with them (including rootwork!) and further assisted with education, language acquisition, given details on the spirits of other grimoires and their uses, provided verified shortcuts to other such texts, and provided knowledge of “hidden” and “occult” virtues of various kinds.

While the grimoire itself does not differentiate between the offices and powers of the six spirits, only stating generally what the abilities of the work itself are for the magician, I have since filled my Book’s pages with notes in the same dove quill and ink on their individual characters, forms, special talents, preferred manifestations, and so on after much experimentation. I have also kept a log of their myriad successes within the pages as proof of their cooperation and further incentive to build on this working relationship between us. Many other familiars from across systems, as well as deceased magicians I have conjured for assistance and further education in better sorcery, have since lent their advice and nurtured my progress with the Tuba Veneris in how to better work with these six. It has certainly been nothing short of exhilarating, and I have been encouraging friends to give the grimoire a try when they are willing and able to dedicate the time to it, and naturally if their own spirits advise it. Perhaps by the following year, by the time the next Friday new moon rolls around, we will have some other testimonials and guest posts on here concerning the same!

Regarding the six spirits, I will be keeping the information I have learned about them to myself, sharing only with those who are also actively working the grimoire and can prove that they have made tools. They have on many occasions expressed to me that this entire work was one given to the text’s author by Anael, as a shortcut in and of itself into her arcana. Much as one might conjure one of the 72 demons of the Goetia, or from any other such spirit list, and once having successfully manifested them, implore the demon to reveal a secret name, seal, hand gesture, timing, or other such instruction to swiftly (and without all the lengthy conjurations and procedures!) manifest their powers again for the magician on account of their cemented pact, it appears that the procedure detailed in the Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer is, at least according to the spirits as they’ve spoken to me, one such example of a “revealed” method of efficiently accessing the servants of Anael as the Black Venus. What exactly the “Black Venus” is apart from the planet at night is also a mystery I have explored, not only through this book but also in my own witchcraft. Needless to say, the six have often stressed that this very “little key” as they have called is not one that has been often worked, and that they have historically been rarely called by only a handful of sorcerers compared to other grimoiric spirits they are aware of, and whose hierarchies they have intimate knowledge of. As such, I think it is fitting to keep the book’s treasures among those who are actively engaged with it and can be counted as friends in magic.

As it is now among my main systems that I regularly go to, I am in the process of furnishing a shrine space dedicated to Anael and Venus, complete with the pentacles of Venus from the Key of Solomon, copper pots that house their seals among other materia and charms, various talismans and amulets I’ve made with the spirits’ instructions, my Book and tools, and other such items. I plan on painting a good kamea as well as a kind of “table of practice” for some of them to sit on as well, just because I think it would be fun, frankly. Much as with any grimoiric practice, once one makes the initial compacts with the spirits, the work will take on a new life of its own, merging with the organic elements of magic already present within the sorcerer’s life, receiving input and commentary from their spirits and allies, taking shape in their lives and in the heart of the needs to which they conjure the spirits forth to address.

What started out as a fun little side project has become a staple of my craft. It would be lovely to discuss the more intimate details of the work with those who come to attempt the grimoire in the future, and I sincerely hope that my testimony that this is indeed a worthwhile system to pursue may inspire others to do so as well, and to further shed light on this rarely-discussed text. The most difficult element is the Horn itself, given the manner in which it must be procured (severed from a live bull during the Friday Venus hour). My recommendation is to perform a road opening with one’s spirits to bring about the Horn more easily, whether by divining among a selection of horns for purchase which one was cut at the right time, or by meeting the right person who is preparing to dehorn a steer on their farm and paying them for the extra trouble of waiting for such an hour to do so.

All other elements are remarkably easy to procure and craft, and the conjuration itself is incredibly short and efficacious. Even the Seal is easy to make; one need only to buy a fresh pair of tin snips to cut the hexagonal shape from a copper stamping blank and affix a jump ring and chain for easier wearing during the appropriate times. I was especially careful to ensure that every step was carried out during the appropriate Venus hours, just to be absolutely certain, but I would encourage those interested in the text to always consult their own spirits for the process. After all, I went through an additional step with the Horn, washing it not only in the required “Vitriol dissolved in vinegar”, but also a bath made up of seven Venusian herbs, each prayed over in the Venus hour, in order to further empower the bull’s spirit and align it with the purpose of the work.

If anyone decides to embark on the journey and would like advice or feedback, I am an e-mail or DM away. Happy conjuring!

Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer (Pt 4): The Circle

I spent the last week of May in New York City with my godfather, assisting with a new round of initiations and training in Quimbanda. After I had returned and sufficiently rested, I decided that the following Friday I would endeavor to complete my Circle for the Tuba Veneris.

The grimoire states that the Circle can be made from many different materials, from being drawn on the ground with chalk, charcoal, and paint, scratched into the dirt with a sword or staff, to painted on parchment or virgin paper. My main goal with mine was durability. I wanted to be able to roll and carry it to wherever I choose to perform the ritual, be it an abandoned building or the same forest I had buried my tools in previously. That way, I also wouldn’t have to redraw it every time I wanted to conjure the demons. On the day I poured the six wax seals, I took a large sheet of canvas and, with the help of a trusted friend, cut it to a six foot diameter circle as per the grimoire’s instructions.

The chapter also states that the inner circles can be drawn “two or three fingers in from the first”, but my hands are definitely on the smaller side so I decided to go with four inches each. With my friend’s help we painted the three rings in black. The divine Names, however, have to be written in colour (elsewhere in the grimoire the colours of Venus are given to be green and red) in the days and hours of Venus. I chose to paint them all in green, so as soon as it was the afternoon Venus hour last Friday, I sprung to work. In order to keep the spacing of the letters even so that they would actually wrap all the way around, I used the crosses that divide the names as goal posts.

I had only just finished going over each of the letters again when the Venus hour ended, so I waited for the evening one to consecrate the Circle with the incense. Finally, I folded it up and placed it with my Seal, Book, the six wax seals of the demons, and my first Horn. I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out.

With the Circle complete, I am technically finished with all the preparations for the Tuba Veneris. What remains is the second bull’s horn which I had just received in the mail shortly after I returned from my flight. A friend and witch who tends to a farm had procured for me a bull’s horn that had been severed during the day and hour of Venus and graciously sold it to me. My previous horn had been severed on a Friday, but the person who sold it to me could not say what the exact time was—only that it was shortly after noon. Given that I can be completely certain about the second Horn, I intend to wait until the next Friday new moon (which is in August) to engrave and consecrate it, just to cover all my bases. Either way, I may well eventually perform the operation with both Horns to test if the spirits manifest equally, but for now I intend to follow the advice of my spirits and be patient. There is much magical work to be done in the meanwhile.

Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer (Pt 3): The Six Seals

My work with the Tuba Veneris continues to unravel in interesting ways. A few days ago, a friend who recently became aware that I was pursuing the operation messaged me, saying that he could procure for me a bull’s horn that fits the requirements of the grimoire exactly. Ecstatic, I agreed, and it should be in my hands within a few weeks. This will give me an opportunity to test how well the spirits manifest physically in different rituals. Before I engrave, consecrate, and bury it, I intend to once more bathe it in the seven Venusian herbs my Zmaj had recommended to stir the bull spirit, especially as it had such a potent effect with the last Horn. The next Friday new moon is in late August, so that is when I will be consecrating it. I will likely attempt the full operation before then once the Circle is complete, and then try again with the new Horn in September.

With that said, my next order of business was to create the six seals of the spirits. To borrow Teresa Burns and Nancy Turner’s translation, the grimoire states:

One takes green Wax, to which one mixes soot, makes from this round pieces and, with steel instruments, cuts into them the Seal of that Spirit one wishes to invoke. Let these Seals be consecrated with smoke in the same way as the others aforementioned in the time, by the day and in the hour of Venus, but do not bury them: rather, preserve them for the Work.

– “How to Make the Seals of the Spirits

As we can see, the consecration with smoke has to be carried out in the usual times of Venus, but there is no such recommendation for the actual construction of their physical forms. I decided I would make and carve them in the day and hour of Venus anyway, especially since I had the time. I filled a spare can with green candles and soot, placing it within a larger pot of water to double boil on the stove. As I waited for them to melt in the Venus hour, I set up my silicone molds in which I would pour the wax. Once the candles had turned into a dark green liquid, I fished out the wicks with a plastic fork and retrieved the can, carefully pouring the wax into the silicone. They fully dried and hardened in the Venus hour as well, and I gently carved them with a tiny steel pin.

I made sure that the seals would be on the thicker side, especially as the method by which the demons may be compelled if they are unruly involves stamping them with the heated copper Seal of Venus. They were consecrated at night in the Venus hour and are now waiting with the rest of my tools for their eventual use.

Since I will be consecrating the second horn on the next new moon, my next immediate goal with the Tuba Veneris is to construct the final piece of the ritual: the Circle. I have procured a large canvas cloth which I have already trimmed into a six foot diameter circle. On one of the following Fridays, I will paint the inner circles in black and write out the sacred names in green.

Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer (Pt 2): The Primary Tools

In my first post, I gave a brief overview of the Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer or Tuba Veneris, outlining my intentions to pursue the grimoire’s operation faithfully. This third of May was not only a Friday, but also fell within the range of the new moon; the combination specified for the consecration of the Seal of Venus, the Horn of Venus, and the Book of Venus. Needless to say, I was greatly looking forward to finally embarking on creating these three important instruments for the conjuration of the spirits.

I had previously acquired a brand new leather journal and two new inks (one black and one dove’s blood) to fashion my own “Consecrated Book of the Black Venus”. The Book must be written with the feather of a dove, which can be quite challenging as dove feathers tend to be so short. I made a very simple offering to the local land spirits the Friday before requesting to find a dove feather as I walked, and came across a longer one within half an hour. Satisfied, I took it home and cut it into a makeshift quill. Over the course of the Venus hours, I copied down the Tuba Veneris, including the additional titles in my red dove’s blood. For the first page, I reproduced a likeness of the female Venus standing with her own Horn and Seal, crowned with her symbol over her head. Despite the small feather, I did my best to keep my writing uniform and neat, and I am pleased to say that I’m quite happy with the end result now that it is complete. The rest of the pages will be used for writing down what the six spirits teach me, both about themselves and whatever I question them about in general, as well as the secret signs, hand gestures, and proof of our pacts they produce.

For the Seal of Venus, I cut a hexagram out of copper in the Venus hour using newly purchased tin snips. The grimoire instructs the magician to wear the seal around their neck during the evocation, so I drilled a very small hole into one of the vertices so that a copper jump ring may be affixed along with a chain. Engraving the characters came easily, especially as I’ve already had practice carving various gemstones and metals in the creation of astrological Picatrix talismans (whose elections Salt has been very adept at finding). I passed it through the smoke of verbena, myrtle, and musk and wrapped it in linen before heading to work on the Horn.

I went through great lengths to ensure that the Horn met the specifications laid out in the grimoire. Under the guidance of my Zmaj—my primary guardian and tutelary spirit—I went through a few extra steps in preparing the bull’s horn for the consecration. One of these included another wash in a bath made up of seven Venusian herbs, each prayed over in the Venus hour, in order to further stir the spirit of the bull within it. When I retrieved it from the water, the energetic change noted was immediate. I rinsed it with water and scrubbed any last bits of dirt, blood, and grime out with a toothbrush, and then similarly engraved it in the nighttime Venus hour on the Friday new moon. The engravings appear a little faint when photographed due to the hardness and colouration of the horn, but they can be easily seen in person and I’m very happy with how evenly spaced they ended up being, especially for the seals of the six demons.

Finally, after having passed the Horn through the smoke, I wrapped it in linen and moved on to consecrate the Book. Once baptized and prayed over, I suffumigated it and covered it in green cloth as per the grimoire’s instructions. Since time was of the essence, I made sure that I was already dressed to go outside while preparing the instruments. I’m quite fortunate in that I live a ten minute walk away from a large forest, so it didn’t take long to carry the three instruments inside, locate the nearest stream, and bury them right underneath the bridge which crossed it.

While the process may seem straightforward when written out, the whole day ended up being fraught with omens. Though I didn’t set an alarm for it, I woke up exactly at sunrise when the first Venus hour of the day began. I took the opportunity to pray and then returned to sleep. I would then wake six more times, each after a short but intense, highly-charged dream full of chthonic journeying and magical conflict. I won’t speculate on the natures of these dreams too much, especially as I’ll hopefully be able to confront the six demons of the Tuba Veneris face-to-face in the coming months, but needless to say I was quite taken by the visions. I found that I was physically exhausted upon waking, far more so than I recall being in a long time. The dreams felt like a peculiar combination of test and augury.

Later, as soon as I ascended up the path which led into the forest and its creek, having just buried the instruments, I was suddenly overcome with the exact opposite sensation from how I felt in the morning. Instead of tired, I experienced a prolonged feeling of ecstasy, marked by a surge of power and authority that accompanied me all the way home. I didn’t know quite what to make of it at the time—it was certainly unexpected given that the consecration of the instruments wasn’t even technically complete—but it was definitely empowering. It’s difficult to put precisely into words, but I couldn’t shake the visceral feeling of something “clicking”; that the procedures had been carried out correctly, and that the authority of Anael was being installed into my sphere through the carrying out of these rites. I cross-checked my intuition with divination and then returned to bed, sleeping peacefully in anticipation of their retrieval.

The next day, in the nighttime Venus hour, I returned once more under the cover of darkness to collect my tools. They now sit in my temple space next to the incense blend, inks, and dove’s quill, awaiting future use as I move on to prepare the seals of the demons and the circle itself.

Libellus Veneri Nigro Sacer (Pt 1): First Thoughts

“She is VENUS on High, a name given to me by the Stars.
Soon to be a Stygian sojourner, she appears when the HORN sounds.
The subjugated Dæmon groans under the strength of the SIGN.
Well done! As the victor, infused with glory, you return from the enemy.”

I’ve been fascinated with the Consecrated Little Book of Black Venus ever since I first came across it, but my interest shifted from a merely scholarly appreciation to a sorcerous desire to work it only recently. A confluence of events over the past several months continued to surface it to my attention. The first instance was during a conjuration of the archangel Anael using Trithemius’ Drawing Spirits into Crystals, in which the text was directly cited during my questioning of the spirit. Though I had not mentioned this experience to Salt, I later found out that he had been transcribing me a copy of the Libellus, or Tuba Veneris during Venus hours as a gift for when I last visited him in England.

Upon my return Toronto, I immediately set myself to work planning how I would undertake the operation. As a part of this blog, I intend to chronicle my journey with the Tuba Veneris in its various stages, focusing primarily on the preparation of the tools necessary for the ritual and then, if the operation is successful, providing further insights where possible given the necessary secrecy involved with all spirit conjuration.

Let us begin with the book itself. A short text, written by its own account in 1580, its authorship is attributed to John Dee; though there are many reasons to doubt this. The writing itself does not resemble any of his works, it does not contain his enduring Christian and scholastic undertones, its methodology is unlike that of his other magic, and its dating and place of writing do not align with Dee’s own diaries of where he was. Similarly, he never references the text at any point in the future. At the same time, its dating does place it within his lifetime, and especially during the years in which he was not so famous or remarkable as to warrant pseudepigraphal attribution in the manner of Solomon, Cyprian, or Faust. While Dee’s authorship of the text is neither conclusively proven nor disproven, the ambiguities are significant enough that the Tuba Veneris‘ author is usually referred to as Pseudo-Dee.

The grimoire details how to summon six demons ruled by the planet Venus, also referred to as Anael. Unlike grimoires like the Goetia, these spirits are not distinguished by their particular talents, abilities, and offices, rather they are addressed as a single unit who can accomplish a wide variety of tasks. Examples given include finding hidden treasures, navigating, trade, war. The reader is reminded that “practice and experience will teach a lot”, encouraging one to test the demons. Its magic, unlike Dee’s angelic practices, is “nigromantic” in the sense that it deals with the forceful compelling and binding of the demons. The names of the spirits are: Mogarip, Amabosar, Alkyzub, Belzazel, Falkaroth, and Mephgazub—and their seals, as noted by Teresa Burns, to a certain degree share elements of the Olympic spirits from the Arbatel.

Before one may undertake the operation, five main tools must first be constructed. These are:

  1. The Seal of Venus
  2. The Horn of Venus
  3. The Magical Circle
  4. The Book of Venus
  5. The Seals of the Spirits

The Seal is inscribed with virgin steel instruments on a double-sided copper hexagram during the day and hour of Venus on the new moon, after sundown. It is consecrated with the smoke of verbena, myrtle, and musk, and is then wrapped in linen and buried in the same hours next to a flowing body of water, from which it is recovered on the following night in the Venus hour.

The famous “Tuba Veneris” or Horn of Venus is made from the horn of a living bull, removed during the day and hour of Venus, which is then purified in Vitriol dissolved in vinegar. Once it is washed, the characters given are inscribed using the same steel instruments during the same times, consecrated in the same smoke, and then buried together with the Seal and recovered in the same fashion. The conjuration itself during the evocation of the demons is spoken entirely through the Horn.

A circle which protects the magician is also created during the hours of Venus. The exact materials can vary, with the text suggesting drawing it with a sword or staff in dirt, with a chalk on the floor, or with ink on parchment. I would prefer mine to be fairly durable, so I am likely going to be using a thicker cloth or canvas that can be rolled and stored away when not in use. This is especially as the text instructs to conjure the spirits in a “Safe place free from all human disturbances, either in a building, or better in a Forest or at an isolated and deserted crossroads”. I plan on performing the operation at a dirt crossroads in a forest whose land spirits I have been offering to for some time. The circle is also smoked in the incense and then stored away. It, along with the seals, are the only tools not buried.

The seals of the six demons are made in green wax, similarly consecrated in the smoke though not buried. In the operation, if the demon refuses to cooperate, the magician is told to heat the Seal of Venus (which you are normally wearing over your breast) in the coals of the censer or a candle and then place it over the wax seal so that it melts; this pains the spirit who will beg mercy and relent. Again, these are not buried, rather preserved until the summonings.

Lastly, the Book itself is created. Made from parchment, the text is reproduced (with a few modifications given in the instructions), and is christened the proper “Little Consecrated Book of the Black Venus”. The book is written with a dove feather and virgin ink, again only in the hours of Venus, and then consecrated with smoke, baptized in Vitriol water, and prayed over through the authority of Anael. It is finally wrapped in a green or red cloth and buried with the Seal and Horn in the same way.

Currently, my Book is completed though not yet consecrated. I plan on engraving and fully consecrating the Seal of Venus this coming new moon at a minimum; if I manage to do the same for the Horn, then I will bury them together by a nearby stream as per the text’s instructions.


Teresa Burns and Nancy Turner’s translation of the Tuba Veneris can be found at the following Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition page: [link]. The images in this post were sourced from Jeffrey S. Kupperman’s recreations also published in the same translation.