A PGM Miscellany of Charms to Restrain Anger

One of the genres of spells present in the PGM that B. Key and I have always found especially intriguing are those categorized as “charms to restrain anger”. There are a handful of these within the papyri, each containing a combination of one or both of the these components: an oral charm said in front of the person whose wrath you are restraining, and a lead lamella or papyrus stele that is either worn, thrown in a river, or deposited near the target. At this point, I’ve been keeping myself stocked on papyrus, clean linen, and sheets of lead to cut shapes out of for a while in my experiments; all I really needed to give these a test was the opportunity.

I have not had the need of using these charms for myself. Instead, my experiences testing them came from friends who approached me in moments of need, as well as from the handful of clients I regularly work with for matters of operative sorcery. (As an aside, while I am now only taking on new clients for divination, not sorcery, please consider contacting our very own incredibly talented B. Key if you are interested in custom talismans and materia to facilitate your own magical goals.) In order to respect their privacy, I will have to speak vaguely on these matters, omitting the majority of the identifying details. However, with the appropriate permissions given, I thought it might be prudent to write a little on my personal experiences with these charms, which were the most efficacious right off the bat, and which were combined with other workings in order to attain the desired results.

An image of the rite as it appears in the Betz translation, page 143.

In no particular order, let us begin with PGM VII. 940–68, being “A charm to restrain anger and a charm to subject”. Out of the entire miscellany, this is by far the one I have used the most frequently, largely owing to its balance of potency and ease of use.

All one needs is a new sheet of papyrus and some myrrh ink, making it especially easily accessible. I’ve found this charm to be highly reliable both on its own and as a compliment to other workings. With regards to the letters and names of power, I have had success with both the English transliterations and the Greek, and have found no changes in potency either way. The main way in which I have deployed this for others is to include the target’s name in the first space and the client’s in the second (“[…] silence, subordinate, enslave him, [target’s name], to him, [client’s name], and cause him to come under [his] feet”), swapping the pronouns as necessary, and then either further modifying the text to include more precise instructions as to how the target ought to be dominated, or including a full length petition with even more details, seals, sigils, and spiraling names of power on the back.

As the PGM does not state whether this charm is to be kept, disposed, or worn on one’s person, I’ve tried out a number of different ways to incorporate the papyrus once it is complete. In one case, I wrote out a spiraling command in a similar fashion to an incantation or demon-trapping bowl, and placed it within a jar I had filled with the target’s tag locks, along with numerous commanding, compelling, and controlling roots and herbs. I would continue to shake this regularly and burn candles anointed in domination oil over it, repeating both the petition on the back and the “come to me, you who are in the everlasting air […]” conjuration from the papyrus. In that circumstance, I incorporated the charm into this structure as this was for a longer-term working to dominate the client’s competitor. Once my client had won indeed won—and the competitor, a notoriously irritable and arrogant sore loser much prone to vengeful slander, did not make any fuss in their workplace—I buried the remains in an appropriate location chosen by my spirits.

Ultimately, what I’m most pleased about with this charm specifically is that, while these additional incorporations certainly boost its power, it still maintains a consistent efficacy when used alone. I have found that for long-term works of suppressing the pride and abuse of a perpetually-bitter and toxic person, it is best used as the driving component or petition of a greater whole that can be continually fed and prayed over. But for targeting temporary states, quelling heat, and ensuring, for example, that one’s boss overlooks and forgives a mistake, simply performing the charm as it is written in the PGM has proved consistently reliable.

Next up are a group of three charms which are entirely oral: PGM IV. 46–668, PGM LXXIX. 1–7, and PGM LXXX. 1–5.

From page 47.

This charm appears twice in the collection, once here and again at PGM IV. 831–32. The next two charms appear grouped together, and as their translator notes, are the same text written by different scribes. Given that they were both copied more than once, we might assume that they were actually found effective and thereby reproduced. After all, they are far from the only PGM spells numbering so few lines. Of course, there are many reasons as to why they might have been copied like this, but given their repetition, I felt more hopeful that they would work like an oral charm, whose power lies in the command of its utterance.

From page 299.

I have primarily tested PGM LXXIX. 1–7 by incorporating it into workings as a repeatable conjuration. In one instance, I stabbed a skull candle with pins anointed with our friend Mahigan’s Chains of the Siren’s Song Ritual Oil, an oil I’ve much tested under the employ of numerous familiars, while reciting this charm over each, seeing the pins as lances boring into the very parts of the target’s psyche most resistant to the sorcery. The bottom of the candle itself was loaded with a matrix of herbs and capped off with a Fourth Pentacle of Mercury, which grants the ability to “to acquire the understanding and knowledge of all things created, and to seek out and penetrate into hidden things”—and what might be so hidden as another’s mind and innermost thoughts? While this setup has proven to be powerful on its own, I did find that the inclusion of the charm provided a particular kick, gathering and commanding additional ambient spirits. I have also made use of this charm with a simpler skull candle working, in which the oil was slowly and hypnotically massaged into the wax (having already been baptized and crossed as the target, with a piece of their spirit conjured into it) while the charm to restrain the anger was repeated 365 times.

I mentioned earlier that I did not really have any need of these charms for myself. Perhaps the closest I have ever come to truly using one in immediate proximity was actually these very oral charms. During an instance of road rage, in which a belligerent driver in the adjacent lane began to blare his horn and drive recklessly, I locked my gaze onto as much of him as I could see and repeated PGM IV. 46–668 (“Will you dare to raise your mighty spear against Zeus?”) three times. When nothing changed, I switched to PGM LXXIX. 1–7 (which at this point I had memorized thanks to the earlier ritual) and was glad to see the driver indeed calm down—or at the very least, stop his fuming. While I do count this as a success of the latter charm working on its own, I reckon that perhaps an even better way to test it would be to mutter it three times in the spur of the moment when it is most crucial, to nullify swelling anger in its heat. Suffice to say, it is indeed a good thing that this opportunity has not yet presented itself to me.

In the highway example, PGM LXXIX. 1–7 had an effect while PGM IV. 46–668 did not. The latter is not only much shorter, but draws on only one name of power, being Zeus. I imagine that it would make for quite a mighty boast in the heat of battle—not just of weapons, but wits. Imagine being in the middle of a debate and whipping out such a flex under your breath! Some nearby spirit may well be spurred to action, or perhaps the charm could weaponize one’s Eye to affix itself upon their target. I have not used it as thoroughly as the other, though I have found it helpful as a mantra in one Jovian work of protecting a client not be fired by their boss. As additional materia and seals of Jupiter were being employed, this charm found itself all the more useful by its invocation of the mighty Zeus.

From pages 148–149.

The first of our lamellas is PGM IX. 1–14. While the spell itself only mentions engraving the words, target’s name, and image upon a “metal leaf”, the metal in question is not specified. Much as the translators themselves note, I presumed this would be lead, and my daimons and familiars concurred.

I performed this spell precisely as outlined without including it into other workings. While the PGM doesn’t specify what should be done with the lamella afterwards, I decided to bury it at the workplace of the target. Within a week, my client alerted me that not only was the individual in question far more demure, but that they were no longer making snide comments, sabotaging her efforts, or behaving jealously and with constant venom towards her. This was the only time that I made use of this lamella specifically, though I have plenty of ideas for how it could be used in conjunction with further ritual. Much as in the earlier case, I imagine it could be incorporated into further materia, rolled up like a tube and inserted into wax or clay poppets, sewn into cloth talismans, or wrapped in snakeskin and placed in the claw of an owl to be hung and fumigated—both animals being associated with Ananke, a goddess called upon in the conjuration (“[…] I adjure you by the awful Necessity […]”).

Needless to say, I certainly plan on incorporating it into other methodologies in the future with my spirits and see how it lends its power to additional structures of sorcery. What is essential is that the charm itself worked when I needed it to and is perfectly sufficient for the job on its own. Next time the opportunity for using this arises, I will ask my spirits during our initial divination about the matter if they foresee this charm as being sufficient, or if I should further bolster it. This is really how I proceed with any of these—I first consult with my court about whether it would be appropriate to test out the charm in the situation (as opposed to rely on a more tried and true method between us), and then check if they advise any modifications or to proceed as given.

From page 149.

Speaking of charms which I didn’t change in any way, immediately following our previous example is PGM X. 24–35, a spell which allegedly “works all cases”, and not just against enemies, but phobias and nightmares. I am particularly fond of this one as it has such varied applications, being able to restrain not only the anger of others, but one’s fears and anxieties. While the spell specifies the use of gold or silver, I ended up using a sheet of tin to make four copies. All had varying degrees of success, so I can definitely vouch for the efficacy of tin specifically as a substitute. In fact, a friend even drew this out with a bronze stylus on aluminum foil and had it work, so it’s good to know that there are cheaper alternatives available. I plan on eventually making one out of silver just to have as a personal talisman, but for now tin definitely suffices.

I gave my set out to four friends and asked them to carry it on their persons while “pure” (not bleeding, not having recently had sex, etc.). One used hers to prevent nightmares, placing it under her pillow when not menstruating or having recently had sex, and otherwise by the bedside table. She reported to me that she noticed a marked decrease in regular nightmares, with the only ones that she did have appearing to be relevant as omens or indications of something being spiritually amiss. Another friend used hers to literally restrain her own anxiety and tendencies towards self-sabotage. While this of course did not fully resolve the anxiety in a long-term sense, being no substitute for therapy, it did help to contain it in moments of need, such as an important interview. The other two both used theirs for the primary purpose of restraining anger, albeit in both cases preemptively. They carried it to work around problematic colleagues and bosses and noticed a marked difference in their attitudes towards them specifically, but not towards others. It seems that even though one doesn’t engrave their own name upon the lamella, it is linked by the sympathy of being carried or worn to affect most powerfully its bearer. Wrathful coworkers and superiors still exhibited their usual behaviour to others, but ignored and passed over my friends entirely.

From page 269.

The next two charms are written one after the other in their papyrus. The first is PGM XXXVI. 1–34, which is a personal favourite as it calls upon Set-Typhon. The Kemetic Set is a deeply beloved deity for me, being formative in many of my personal experiences and bearing a place of great prominence in my home alongside the Lord of Wisdom, Djehuty. This spell calls on Set to restrain any subject—it is not specifically for anger, but rather works on “everything”. Inscribed by bronze stylus onto a lead sheet, the magician creates an image of Set (I confess mine was much nicer than the one preserved in the book, as I sketched the God more true to his Egyptian iconography) and inscribes the names of power within and around his body.

While I have only made use of this charm twice, it bore the most powerful and immediate result for me out of all of them. I do not doubt that this is at the very least partially owing to my preexisting relationship with the God. While I’m sure the powers and names of the associations alone will conjure success in the right circumstances (presuming one’s target does not have sufficient protections, and that one does not sabotage or work against the sorcery themselves by provoking them), the sheer intensity of the results I experienced with this were certainly benefitted from the decade of regular offerings and prayers I have made in cultivating my relationship with Set as a patron and Father to my craft. In one of the two instances, I deployed this charm to restrain both overbearing relatives and ancestral spirits alike from interfering with my client’s drastic change in career and lifestyle, and both parties evidenced a drastic change in attitude practically overnight. Out of the entire miscellany, I would recommend this one the most for matters of exorcism and the suppression of the pride and authority of particular spirits, who could not otherwise be bribed or negotiated out of their interference.

From pages 269–270.

Immediately after we have PGM XXXVI. 35–68, which assures us that it works “even against kings” and that “no charm is greater”. This one is part of a group which aim to not only restrain anger but also to secure and promote success and victory over others. The figure (which looks to me like a deity doing a kick flip on a skateboard while holding a serpent) is drawn on a silver lamella with a bronze stylus. Again, I ended up using tin, and found it to still work in the time that I deployed it. I gave it to a client to wear during an important competition and was much overjoyed to have heard that he had won. According to him, the opposing team was unusually sloppy and distracted, and his own demonstrated extreme confidence and prowess. Emboldened by this, I was going to make the same charm for another friend who was about to apply for a significant award, but was informed by divination that they would not win, even with the help of the lamella. My spirits informed me that this charm is better used in interviews and in direct competitions in which one is confronting their opponents, not in long-term applications with multiple, anonymously peer-reviewed rounds. While I considered the idea of making one anyway and using it as the centerpiece of a larger working, such as placing it under a plate upon which I would inscribe seals, conjure spirits, and burn candles (while having my client wear a matching one on their person), I ultimately was shown a more efficacious way to assist them by my court and proceeded with their guidance. That said, my spirits did agree that it would still work when used in conjunction with other such workings—they just happened to suggest an alternate method for that particular case.

From page 273.

Oh, how I love a charm that has you hold your thumbs. I’m always reminded of Balkan cantrips for invisibility and leaving one’s body as a spirit that have you repeat a phrase while holding the thumbs—which is also the equivalent for crossing one’s fingers for luck where I’m from! PGM XXXVI. 161–77 is a great one when it comes to affordability: it’s an oral charm that offers the potential to “augment the words” with a papyrus amulet. Instead of performing this one myself, I had my friend perform it on her own behalf to stop slander. I particularly like the phrasing of “[…] stop the mouths that speak against me, because I glorify your sacred and honoured names which are in heaven”. The elevation of one’s pure mouth, which speaks the holy names, over profane libel and other such drivel. My friend also wrote the full list of angel names on papyrus and kept it on their person, which assisted in stopping the gossip. This is another one I think can be really easily incorporated into plenty of other workings of folk magic. It provides a buffer of protection and an exaltation of one’s own truth and piety over that of slander, so as such one should ensure that they do not engage in gossip or similar behaviour while seeking the charm’s solace.

From page 274.

Shortly after we have our final charm which secures victory and favour in addition to restraining anger (by the way, in case you were wondering: none is greater). I just love that each of these makes mention that no charm is better while calling on entirely different gods and holy names; it feels a bit like watching an advertising competitions between cults. PGM XXXVI. 211–30 calls upon Helios, praying to him directly while facing the sun seven times and anointing your hand with oil, wiping it on your face. This one I performed myself to assist with winning a game of pure chance. As the spell does not specify which kind of oil is to be used, I opted for Holy anointing oil, though just frankincense would also do well in a pinch. I literally left my computer, stepped outside into my backyard to recite this, and then returned with the oil smeared on my forehead to resume the game, and promptly won six out of ten rounds of pure numerological chance—not a bad rate in the slightest! I definitely recommend playing around with this one. As it’s a prayer, it can be incorporated into many circumstances for obtaining victory, favour, honour, and fortune, and that’s with just using it on its own. Creativity is surely the limit with the ways this can be used. If you plan on using this for a major undertaking, I would always recommend divining first to see if it would work in your case, and if the answers are negative, using it more as a background boost for more elaborate sorcery.

From page 129.

Finally, there’s PGM VII. 417–22, which to my delight actually does call for tin! This one specifically should be thrown into a flowing body of water at sunrise, being engraved with the names of power and a customizable petition. I’ve done this one three times (making offerings at the riverbank to the local spirits in thanks each time) and it worked in two of the three instances, with the third one revealing under later divination that its magic was not able to sufficiently reach the intended target. In that instance, I went back to the drawing board, sent out a familiar adept at fetching etheric links from a long distance, and conjured more of the target’s presence into a spirit trap before subjugating their abusive behaviour towards my client further. The other two cases were far more local, which I imagine played an important role in how the spirits of the land and waters were able to deliver the potency of the lamella to them. The case in which this charm did not work ultimately involved an exceptionally prideful and stubborn target, so I was not surprised that it did not ultimately help much in the initial stages—though I found that making the charm anyway helped “soften” them up to make the later magic more effective, as it had stripped down some of the initial layers of resistance and protection.

In testing this genre of charm, I was able to verify that each is fully capable of producing its own result, while also easily being combined into other workings. In some cases, a lamella can simply be given over to a spirit on their shrine or laid atop their vessel, so that it becomes as a tool for them to use in your defence. In others, they were worn on the person, disposed of in places of power, or left to accumulate power inside containers and under candles. What strikes me the most about these charms against anger is how diverse they are. While they certainly are excellent to memorize in moments of passion when they would be necessary (especially in the case of the oral charms), they can be used to restrain far more. Pride, anxiety, nightmares, interfering spirits, gossip and slander, and even the very hidden plots and temptations within another to cause harm to oneself and one’s reputation—the diversity of use for these charms make them an excellent corpus to consider experimenting with, and I recommend those interested to not only play around with them with their own spirits, but to use them as a means to consider the applicability of other kinds of sorceries in matters concerning far more than what might initially meet the eye.

An Offering of Oil and Talismans in Celebration of the Feast of St. Expedite

Joyous feast of St. Expedite, holy martyr and swift intercessor of our souls! A saint deeply cherished by all three of us at With Cunning & Command, he’s been a continual guide, tutor, and ally in our workings. For his 2023 feast, I am proud to present a fresh take on an old offering, as well as three new rigorously-tested oils available for all who would like to further ingress into the pious soldier’s mysteries, accumulate great fortune and phenomenal luck, and solicit financial blessings, boons, and all manner of opportunities for the generation of wealth.

The intertwined consecration of the first batch of oils.

Oil of St. Expedite: Gold Edition

An oil built at the guiding hand of St. Expedite over many years and just as many iterations, bringing about countless successful workings, manifestations, and results for both myself and others along the way. This edition of the oil serves as a distilled offering to the Saint himself, primarily stirring him and his legions to action and guiding his virtues and sympathies into workings under his auspices. I recommend applying seven drops to the right foot of an image of St. Expedite upon the reception of this oil in order to complete a final personalized consecration. Cinnamon bark, cinquefoil, coconut flesh, coffee beans, dice, eucalyptus, lemongrass, blessed palm fronds from a Catholic church, crumbs from multiple pound cakes offered to St. Expedite in exchange for successful workings in his name, roses fed holy water from three different Catholic churches and offered to St. Expedite on Easter, whole vanilla beans, wintergreen leaves, skeleton keys, scraps of cloth from a cape that adorned a statue of St. Expedite, dirt from various shrines to St. Expedite, gold, silver, a carrier oil kept and fed on St. Expedite’s shrine for one year from feast to feast, and additional vegetable, animal, and mineral components. 1 fluid ounce / 30 milliliter amber glass dropper bottle.


The Red Oil in its first stage.

Oil of St. Expedite: Red Edition

An oil that expands on a traditional Hoodoo formula to bring luck in all forms, especially in financial and amatory workings. This edition of the oil was tested through cash bingo games at a local bar, thoroughly satisfying my expectations after winning 4 of the 7 games played, much to the delight, or chagrin, of the bar’s patrons. Alkanet roots, multiple varieties of cinnamon bark, coconut flesh, blessed palm fronds from a Catholic church, roses fed holy water from three different Catholic churches and offered to St. Expedite on Easter Sunday, whole vanilla beans, scraps of cloth from a cape that adorned a statue of St. Expedite, a carrier oil kept and fed on St. Expedite’s shrine for one year from feast to feast, and additional vegetable, animal, and mineral components. 1 fluid ounce / 30 milliliter amber glass dropper bottle.


The Green Oil, having been produced from the bodies of Gold and Red.

Oil of St. Expedite: Green Edition

An oil that expands on a traditional Hoodoo formula to bring monetary, financial, and business success, along with myriad other forms of wealth. This oil’s construction was made possible only after the Gold and Red editions brought the material and financial components included within. Shredded currency won through gambling using the Red Oil, multiple varieties of cinnamon bark, cinquefoil, hyssop, indigo powder, lemongrass, multiple varieties of mint, coconut oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, wormwood, gold, a carrier oil kept and fed on St. Expedite’s shrine for one year from feast to feast, and additional vegetable, animal, and mineral components. 1 fluid ounce / 30 milliliter amber glass dropper bottle.


The three mother bottles receiving their final consecrations.

A Trinity of Oils

For those who wish to purchase a set of of each Gold, Red, and Green editions of Expedite Oil, a discounted rate is available. Three 1 fluid ounce / 30 milliliter amber glass dropper bottles.


A batch of last year’s charms charging.

Mercury in Nutmeg, Third Edition

Back by popular demand, a batch of Mercury in Nutmeg charms are available for the Feast of St. Expedite. As described in a post all their own, these talismans for all manner of luck-enhancement can be petitioned with your desires in mind in order to bring about expedient and radical changes in fortune. Born from a year of continuous experimentation with the aim of refining the ensorcelled components therein, the third edition of the Mercury in Nutmeg charms contain an improved variation of the powdery matrix that fuels the talisman and an improved internal load born of metallurgical and alchemical processes hard won from the various patrons of these arts. As with previous editions of this talisman, a cantrip similar to a “knotting the wind” charm has been included to unleash a brief yet intense boost in luck in a critical moment. In order to use this extra boost in power, untie the red cord affixed to the talisman and burn it, scattering the ashes to the wind.

Those who have purchased previous editions report best results when carrying the talisman with them, or keeping the talisman situated in work spaces, on computer desks, or inside the cash registers of their businesses. As these talismans are very much alive, the spirit should be nourished with offerings of strong, dark liquors such as whiskey, brandy or dark rum, tobacco smoke, red, green, or yellow candles, and praise upon successful completion of tasks.

All Third Edition Mercury in Nutmeg talismans have been sold as of April 19, 2023! Thank you all so much for your support!

The first batch of individual bottles for sale being set over the Kamea of Mercury.

The products herein are made in limited quantity and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis as curios only. Please allow up to one week from the time of purchase to package and ship each order. An email with tracking information, when available, will be sent to the address associated with the PayPal used at purchase.

For those interested in bespoke work or wholesale opportunities, contact us [here]. Stay tuned for more offerings shortly, as well as an exciting new project for the entire blog!

Thank you, St. Expedite, for guiding my hands.

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: 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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting With Your Own Daimon: PGM VII. 505–28

I have a great love of the Greek Magical Papyri and all their related historical material, having experimented heavily with various phylacteries, talismans, conjurations, and dream incubation rituals from its corpus, as well as various broader collections of Coptic, Aramaic, and Hebrew sorcerous texts. For a number of years, it has been a bit of an unofficial tradition among myself and a few local friends to flip through the English translation by Hans Dieter Betz, fall upon an entry at random, and test out the formulary to see what comes of the results. The sorcery you can get up to with just a sheet of tin or papyrus!

Recently, while Salt has been busy with a particularly intense training program, Key and I took it upon ourselves to resume this practice and select a working from the papyri to carry out. At the top of our freshly-generated list (the remainder of which we will also write a series on, both together and individually, depending on the undertaking) was PGM VII. 505–28, a short ritual falling under the parhedros or supernatural assistant evocation category, aptly named “Meeting with your own daimon”.

A cropped image of the rite as it appears in the Betz translation, pages 131–2.

Suffice to say, Key and I shared a lot of laughter about this one. There’s just something about waking up at dawn, immediately reading a gnostic prayer, and then eating a raw egg that had us feeling like we were on some sigma male bodybuilder mindset cultivation plan. And yet, this deceptively simple ritual had completely captivated us. The prayer, outlining the order of spatial and temporal emanation, from heaven and firmament down through the planets, elements, and finally the abyss. The repetition at dawn and dusk, culminating in fourteen prayers to match the fourteen eggs. The “male eggs” themselves, one of which must be cleansed with and the myrrh holy name licked clean, the other to swallow after ensorcelling it with the incantation. The fragmented mention of “olive branches”, perhaps suggesting that the magician should stand underneath them while showing the egg to the sun, was also doable—though ultimately, as we would later find out, unnecessary. Everything about the ritual’s logic to its tantalizing promise was especially intriguing, and, after much deliberation (and many memes), Key and I decided to carry it out together. At worst, we would be down fourteen eggs and some sleep; at best, we would have gained an exceptional new spirit ally.

As Betz himself notes in his 1981 article, “The Delphic Maxim ‘Know Yourself’ in the Greek Magical Papyri,” title “Meeting with your own daimon” at first glance appears misplaced, as the matter of the actual introduction between the magician and the daimon is never raised again. The oration is short, beginning with praise to Tyche, other divine names, Helios-Aion, and then continuing with the planets, elements, and abyss, terminating with the holy Scarab, Khepri. While the ritual does appear to be quite short, differing from other more complicated evocations in the parhedros genre, Betz explains that not only is the title appropriate, there is a rich internal logic to the conjuration. Drawing on Plato’s myth of Er, he elaborates how the “personal daimon” (again, in this context, it is clear that this is not an emissary or assistant of another deity, granted unto the magician as a familiar, but rather the intimate companion and fated, celestial guide of the individual magician themselves) has been greatly associated with Ananke, Tyche, and the three Moirai. To begin with Tyche is especially advantageous, Betz muses, as this draws on a long Platonic and Neoplatonic history through Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus of associating one’s personal daimon with the fulfillment and resolution of one’s own personal destiny, incarnated purpose, and fortune.

It is not immediately clear when the spirit is supposed to appear, however. The magician is to lick the divine names off the first egg and discard it, after first using it to cleanse their body thoroughly. The second egg, which is consumed following the seven utterances of the prayer, perhaps provides protection. Yet, there is nothing more following this. Key and I spoke to our spirits separately, and returned with similar guidance; both in additional advice on how to further enhance and complete the ritual, and also in terms of how best to consider its own structure. Independently, we were told that the “daimon” that will be summoned is incarnated through the consumed eggs, having passed through the various layers of reality, being reborn from its original substance into the fullest sphere of the magician. While the spirits long predate the ritual, it struck us that the eggs served the additional purpose of further inoculating their essence with our own, calling forth an ideal supernatural assistant. Our spirits also agreed that, as Key and I are both in exceptionally intimate, soul-bound pacts with our primary guardians and mentors/initiators, whom would otherwise fulfill the role of “personal daimon” in the Socratic and Plotinian senses, that whichever spirits would manifest through this rite would naturally have to be of a complimentary nature as familiars and tutors. With the approval to proceed given, and the relevant additions made, we proceeded without haste onto our new regimen of early rising, prayer, and cleansing.

For the ensuing seven days, we would exchange daily groggy, near-incoherent egg-related texts shortly before the crack of dawn after being woken by our alarms. We had sorted through our egg cartons and separated the fourteen “male” eggs for the ritual beforehand, but we decided to inscribe in myrrh ink the holy names upon the shell each morning before use instead of all at once in the beginning. On the subject of male and female eggs, Betz makes a comment in the footnotes that the ancients were themselves in disagreement over which eggs would produce which sex of bird, as well as how to distinguish them, and that there was no consensus. Following some practical folklore from my own culture, we ended up going with Pliny the Elder’s judgement in his Natural History, Volume 10, Chapter 74: that the male eggs are those with pointed ends, and the female eggs those which are rounder. This is, of course, merely a folklorically useful judgement and not a truly scientific one, but nevertheless it proved helpful in the carrying out of the rite. Once they were marked with the myrrh ink, we performed the cleansing with the first, the prayer with the second, and swallowed the contents. During the evenings, right as the sun was setting, we would give the oration another seven times, as per directed.

Over the week, we continued to catch glimpses of visions relating to the project. I would frequently see the egg in my hand coil with serpents, like in the famous Orphic Egg images, and at times I would catch flashes of a holy, golden scarab rolling it gently across the horizon. Whenever I would give the evening prayer, I would feel the taste of the yolk, and be reminded of the noble birth of this spirit presided over by Khepri, emerging out of the primordial sea, shaking the pillars upholding the earth. Throughout the conjurations, I was often reminded of Jan Bergman’s analysis of the prayer in his article, “Ancient Egyptian Theogony in A Greek Magical Papyrus (PGM VII, II. 516-521),” in which he noted the presence of the first-ever Greek transcription of the Egyptian names of the two solar barks, (Me)Sektet and Manedjet—the night and day barks respectively—proving an authentic Egyptian lineage. His own translation notes the noble birth (“or the primoridal apparition) of a god: Ra as Khepri, coming into being to regulate the cosmos and create the daimon. Bergman’s entire article is excellent, and I highly recommend it as further reading; he goes into a great deal of depth into the Egyptian cultic origins of much of the prayer, and additionally touches on the possibility that the two male eggs—the primary materials for the magical work—are themselves representations of Khepri and Atum, the latter of which might even be syncretized with IAŌ.

On the final morning, Key and I both noted the visions becoming far more personal, though no spirit came. We had been told earlier by our spirits that the daimon would appear upon the final recitation of the prayer at sundown, and, when the time finally came, we were both overjoyed to report to the other that the operation was a success. On my end, the daimon manifested in a flash of light, gathering its form out from the corners of perception, bringing together heaven and earth at the horizon, and then springing forward towards me, emerging from what looked to be layers of reality riding a solar disk. An umbilical cord formed between us, humming with etheric, stellar light, filling my body with an intense warmth that flooded down to my shadow, to which I quickly became aware my new ally would anchor himself to, and rest within. The spirit indeed presented himself to me in a masculine form, the details of which I will not share, but suffice to say it was immediately clear that he had taken on not only the characteristics of the various divine names invoked within the conjuration, but also elements of my own witchcraft and deepest, sorcerous mysteries.

In Key’s case, primordial dusts and clay aggregated into a body that knelt before him, which was subsequently flooded with the remaining classical elements in sequence. Waters filled his veins, Air filled his lungs, and Fire ignited within him, all commingling and undergoing various transmutations to further enliven the body, ceasing only as the newly incarnate “soul” of the spirit stepped forth from the setting sun into the effigy that had assembled before him. The daimon then stood, immediately revealing the signs, omens, and forms similarly intimately linked to Key’s own witchcraft mysteries.

The characteristics of being able to reside in our shadows (not only that which is cast upon the ground, but every stretch of darkness that brings dimension to our skin), the presence of an umbilical-like tether, the forms mirroring both the cosmic mysteries of Ra and Khepri as well as our own innermost mysteries, and various obvious, immediately-tangible, and powerful abilities that they immediately were able to manifest clearly and plainly before us were shared between our spirits equally. They presented us with individual, private names, as well as nicknames to call them by when discussing them amongst each other, and were able to immediately cohere to our courts’ idiosyncrasies, facilitating manifestations, further organizing spirits, and gathering divinatory intelligence. One aspect we both remarked on was how easy it was to see through the eyes of the daimons, to trade visions, and fly out through their perception as with other more closely-bonded, pacted familiars. When we arranged for them to observe each other, we experienced the exciting vertigo of regarding each other’s magic and spirits through multiple sets of sensory perspectives, aligned in holy focus.

What started out as something of a joking dare flourished into a memorable experience, yielding precious companionship. We were not certain if the ritual would work at all when we began the process, but we are thrilled to be able to report that it was not only successful, but alarmingly so. Among the various parhedros and supernatural assistant rituals in the papyri, PGM VII. 505–28 is not only an excellent one, but fairly simple to perform, requiring only dedication, consistent prayer, and some tenacity. If you are considering performing it yourself to encounter your assigned daimon, do field it by your court first with divination, and check in case there are any additional protocols unique to you that your spirits may suggest. Until then, happy conjuring.

St. Expedite’s “Cras” Powder

Last year in the spring of 2021, while engaging in some work with St. Expedite in the buildup to his feast, I received a fairly complicated recipe for what I immediately realized was going to be the malefic companion to any Expedite-themed, fast luck (or otherwise “get everything done as expediently as possible”) type of oil or powder. I was in the middle of a walk through my local woods where I conduct many of my workings, when suddenly the trees I was hiking through swarmed with crows; dozens upon dozens of the murder gathering to perch upon the lanky branches in unison. The visions that came were unrelenting. Punctuated by the discordance of cawing, I was overtaken by the sight of thousands of holy relics, bones and skin and flesh and all, picked apart clean by crows, the birds penetrating the sanctums of the sepulchers with abandon. At each peck I perceived the impulse to wait, to delay, to savour the sweetness of resting now and the luxury of knowing that there will ever be a tomorrow, by which our deeds may be yet accomplished. The itch of the spirits to not come yet when called, but to not fully reject the petition either; only to fulfill it later, softly, timidly, with milder effort, and less strain. To reveal the omen that consents to the task at a future sunset. To finally, for the first time since martyrdom, sleep and be at rest—to lavish in the succors of delay, to have reprieve from the tortures of hymns; prayers wrought from ecstasy and yearning to call forth the saints again and again for intercession. I had often mused with my mentors on the nature of the sainted, holy dead as tortured; unable to move on, for we, as their hungry disciples, still call them, still beg them to deliver our prayers to the ears of the Lord, still grope at their statues and icons and medals, desperate for their gifts and signs. In this vision, oblivion in a crow’s maw seemed all too sweeter a death than immortality upon a cross.

When I came to, my eyes still awash with the sight of Christ’s spear-wound upon the cross becoming a feast for the carrion, I realized quickly that a recipe had been delivered to me; for the first time not from the boot of the saint who crushes such lurid temptations but of the Devil-Crow himself, entreating our martyr to convert the following day. While our beloved saint defeated such a foe with ease, few among us can say the same. The comfort of knowing that tomorrow awaits us will always cause for a great many missed opportunities, forgotten elections, and otherwise benefic confluences to slip out of our grasps as sorcerers.

My friends and I often discuss in depth the importance of intelligent shielding and protection. Beyond the usual wards, glamours, witch bottles, and talismans, we’ve experimented greatly with more substantive, self-monitoring and adjusting decoys—the kinds which not only obfuscate our spirits but ensure that divination or scrying performed will see precisely what is intended to be seen. One of my mentors, often besieged by envious eyes in her village, has an entire setup dedicated to ensuring this. In certain situations, that may be something along the lines of soothing the diviner, making them falsely believe that they’ve surpassed her, that their spirits are stronger and more capable than hers, and that she would not survive a psychic attack—only to inflate their already-fragile pride and bait them into her trap where the mysteries she keeps hidden would swallow them whole. In others, this dynamic may be reversed or entirely transformed, to make what is strong seem vulnerable and what is even stronger seem too close for comfort, even at a distance. While musing on the efficacy of these techniques intended to confuse and obfuscate, to lure and to entrap, we would often remark on that which could and may well undermine it all: the very procrastination and overconfidence Expedite’s Crow brings.

As soon as I had obtained the recipe, I was filled to the brim with the inspiration to make it. Its complexities, nuances, and ridiculously involved procedure by which to weave together each individual piece of materia under the auspices of the Crow had captivated me entirely. The idea of an Expedite-themed “cursing” powder was already fascinating in and of itself, but the applications were what had alerted Salt, Key, and I to its further uses. To gradually instill a sense of comfort in putting off important matters; to feel even more at ease, filled with satisfaction and bliss, certain that nothing will decline and no ills will come from neglecting friendships and spirit relationships; to persuade the mind under the banner of self-care to miss scheduled offerings and planned rites; and to corrupt divination attempts to reveal the truth behind if such procrastination would result in misfortune. Conjured over pentacles of invisibility and blended with numerous curated cantrips to obscured from detection, to replicate itself, to resist cleansing and protection, and to build on existing poor habits, this entire project was a nasty piece of work.

And every step of its creation was excruciating.

The first issue was that part of its process was to, quite literally, procrastinate. While the initial vision had told me to make it after St. Expedite’s feast had passed, it quickly became apparent to me that I needed to wait at least a year and a day from the feast of 2021 to even begin the next steps. The recipe, which I had written down on a piece of paper and hidden under the foot of my statue, literally collected dust for over a year before I even remembered its existence. When I finally did and found my passion reignited all over again, I found that this was only the beginning of the pranks this powder—which had evidently already taken on a life of its own—would pull on me.

Anything that I needed to buy, I could only do so if my trip downtown for its purchase was only for this end. In other words, I could not make the process in any way expedient, and combine each trip to shop for other necessary items or to spend time with friends. Instead, every step had to be as drawn out and inconvenient as possible. A crow’s heart and feathers formed the basis of the nest in which the rest would grow, combined with dirt from a mass grave of cholera victims, the mass grave of all those who had donated their bodies to science, seven cemetery crossroads dirts, the ashes of all the incense charcoals that had not been emptied yet, dust from bookshelves upon which not as single volume had been retrieved or read in the past year, and dust from every mess, pile, and bed post that had not been cleaned. Wasp’s nest, blackthorn, calamus, snakeskin, poppy seeds, black mustard seeds, onion powder, tobacco, and a great number of other herbs found their way into the mix, slowly combined with sleeping pills dissolved in offering glasses of alcohol that had long-since been consumed and yet still had not been fully washed or replenished. Eye crust wiped off after missing morning alarms was added to the printed calendar notes and e-mails of agreed-upon meeting dates that were not only neglected, but that no negative consequences arose from. In this way, the relief that not only can important events be evaded, but that all will be better for it, with no penalties being incurred, became an important part of the base. These slips were joined by the sections of Exodus in which Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, as well as other passages of note in which delay brought further ruin.

As part of our increasingly intimate work with the good saint, Key and I had agreed to make two significant projects on our own to exchange when we next saw each other. On my end, it was this “Cras” powder, and on his, a statue load crafted carefully under the auspices and direction of the martyr. Key had already completed his project around the feast, and I had already bought tickets to see him in the States for late May. Yet as the date of the flight approached, the powder was still nowhere near complete, with each step being dragged out to the point of mischievous agony.

Other ingredients included spilled rice and beans that were individually, painstakingly counted, only to not end up in the final batch at all—their wasted time instead being the true essence. Pacing around the bowl in which everything was being constructed was another facet, as was including bits of other powders I had intended to remake and supplement the mother bottles of, but had either forgotten or procrastinated on myself. Even those around me were not spared, as the sinkhole of the recipe continued its burrowing, wasting the time of even those near me in a lurid manipulation that came to exemplify its living spirit’s nature. With the aid of one of my dear familiars, a two-headed raven who is also far more, I was able to eventually contain the broken clocks and time loops involved in the process and finish the mother jar—the literal day before my flight—and package Key’s portion. Immediately afterwards, I decided to go on a walk to clear my head, and somehow found myself browsing Reddit for the next hour instead, completely missing my time. I then realized I truly needed to take a Psalm 51 shower before I decided on anything else!

Even delivering the smaller jar to Key was a hilarious set of circumstances in and of itself, with it constantly being left behind, then other people forgetting to bring it over to his apartment where I was staying, and then at one point even he drove off without waiting for our friend who had just ran to retrieve it and hand it off to us from where we had somehow, absent-mindedly, left it. I had to employ the cantrip which neutralizes its effects from leaking for us to finally take it home. Because each vial of it is its own “mother jar”, with its own independent spirit not subservient to the original batch, each must be subjugated and trampled like the Crow himself by its new recipient, so that they may claim mastery over its control and immunity to its effects. Anyone I would give a portion to (as this would never be for sale) would have their own, unique cantrip channeled to allow them to “finish” the spirit with their own dominating boot. While mine was contained, this one began to act up as soon as it was near the person it was intended for, and so even getting it to his Expedite shrine where it could be fully completed was an adventure. Finally, once it was in place, it began to hum in its containment, and served us well when we needed to employ it in a Law Keep Away working to great success.

One jar of the completed powder, fully contained with a lead seal under the lid.

This was a real exercise in creativity, patience, care, and staying on one’s toes as a project takes on a life of its own. It was especially fascinating to see how the spirit of the working became its own tempting devil, and how the process of creation was more a battle of wits than a cooperative effort. Ultimately, in order to complete it, I had to get a glimpse of not only the nature of the temptation our martyr endured, but also to further cultivate respect, reverence, and piety for his immediate ability to overcome it in ways that no one but he who would be sainted for this very triumph could. It is too easy to simply hear the story and not recognize the magnitude of St. Expedite’s immediate and swift response, and how this has transformed him into the lightning-fast intercessor we adore today. Even in learning how to make what is a malefic, cursing materia with him, I found myself in further adoration and humility through his great works, and in further knowing a fragment of the temptation he combats.

Mercury In Nutmeg Luck Talismans

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

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

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

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

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

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

The talismans charging in their powder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Alexander Moore of Practical Occult fame:

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

And of course, from our very own Sfinga:

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

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

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

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

A Particular Experiment To Bring A Good Spirit Into A Glass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!