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Aug 22 2010

The Book of Werewolves

Since people have been recently enamored of the subject, and there seems to be growing “werewolf” sub-culture among kids I’m going to post this preview of what I consider to be the Bible of Lycanthropy, Sabine Baring-Gould’s The Book of Werewolves. Along with Montague Summers’ The Werewolf in Lore and Legend, Baring-Gould’s study of the history of werewolves and their practices will be your go to guide book for all things lycanthropic.

I own a copy and for this particular book I urge you to eventually do the same, as you will find yourself quickly thumbing through it for references throughout your association with the Arts. Unlike Summers’ otherwise excellent tome The Book of Werewolves has no theological ax to grind but presents a history of werewolf lore through the ages along with studies of actual cases. Once you read Baring-Gould’s book you will realize that the werewolf has never disappeared, but is simply reimagined in our overly psychoanalyzed culture as the serial killer. I urge all people to in particular look at the case of Ed Gein after reading The Book of Werewolves, keeping in mind that it is rumored that during his confinement Gein was said to act out popular werewolf myths, such as howling at the full moon.

For younger visitors whose image of werewolves has been shaped by White Wolf, horror movies and certain book publishers eager to take advantage of pop culture these books will delve into unfamiliar territory. The traditional occult view of werewolves is that they practice a kind of Witchcraft or Sorcery. Some ancient myths tell the tale of men cursed by the gods to walk as wolves, but from the fall of Rome until now all werewolves actively sought out the transformation of mind and body through ritual. Trials of werewolves (which Baring-Gould covers) from the middle ages show that people who we would now call sexual sadists – cannibals, necrophiliacs and child murderers- were termed werewolves but few actually admitted to being such until tortured. We can infer from this that in the middle ages violent predators in general were lumped in with petty sorcerers who sought out ‘The Black Rider” to learn the secrets of shape shifting.

The aforementioned teen werewolf sub-culture becomes more worrisome for the occultist when you are familiar with the practices of the werewolves of old which include wearing wolf skins. Today’s Hot Topic werewolves have taken to carrying fur tails of animals as fetishes and at least one of these young people has already publicly displayed the traits of the European werewolf.

But rather than read my theorizing here’s Baring-Gould himself:

There are cheap Kindle editions available online so there’s really no excuse for not owning this one. The above preview is missing a hundred or so pages and frankly you could simply scour the web for those missing pages but is all that time really worth ten bucks?

Aug 21 2010

A Quick and Dirty (and Smelly) Exorcism for Your Home

From Donna Rose’s hard to find The Magic of Spells and Curses. My version is a 1984 edition from Mi-World Publishing and is simply a cheaply made pamphlet which cost all of $4.50 which I purchased from Magickal Childe when that Mecca of metaphysics was still open. This was probably in the late 80s or early 90s.

The cheap exterior hid a real gem however, a grimoire of Hoodoo(ish) spells and charms for almost every occasion. Rose’s little pamphlet has consistently outperformed most other so-called grimoires in my experience, and if you can grab a copy do so. You can risk buying one on the Amazon marketplace but first try any local Botanicas or metaphysical shops. The latter won’t carry it unless the owners are truly “old school” but the former will usually have one if they cater to English speakers.

This spell is quick and not so easy as it involves burning sulfur, then getting your hands on wolfsbane and mandrake. All are surprisingly easy to find, especially in the Internet age but can be expensive so if you find a good deal stock up. It also involves rosemary, which can be so easily grown and harvested I’m unsure why anyone would need to buy it, but good quality (and overpriced) rosemary can be found in the spice aisle of every grocery store. I grow a drought tolerant variety of Rosemary known as Gold Dust which survives even the un-greenest of thumbs.

The spell calls for sulfur candles which, also surprisingly, are not that hard to find but the regular sulfur you get from science supply houses burned in an incense dish works as well, and will have the added benefit of killing pests in your house as it is not only fungicidal but known to kill mites and ticks. Do not stay in the house while burning large amounts of sulfur.

Wolfsbane is poisonous, as is mandrake. Please be careful with them. I’ve always been under the impression that Wolfsbane and Monkshood were basically the same plant, but some say they are in the same family but are actually different plants. I’m no expert so I’ll just say I am fairly certain Wolfsbane blooms in the mid summer.

Needless to say, this process will be extremely unpleasant to the senses so it should be something you only pull out in emergencies.

To Exorcise Your Home

One of the strongest methods of clearing out the home is to burn sulfur candles in each room. (Please – the fumes from sulfur are often irritating, and in concentration, can be injurious). This will remove any evil spirits or any negativity which may have been implanted in your home by your enemies

In addition to this, a mixture of Rosemary, Wolfsbane and Mandrake scattered around the house will keep it clean and will allow no negative forces to penetrate again. This should be reinforced on a monthly basis.

This is a good spell for those who lack the confidence to do a proper banishing, as it relies on the materials itself and their ability to dissipate negative manifestations and not the will of the magician.

Aug 21 2010

Carroll Poke Runyun on Practicing Solomonic Magic

The flamboyant Carroll Poke Runyun, founder of the Ordo Templi Astartes, is featured in this interesting but hokey documentary detailing the practice of Solomon’s Magic as interpreted by Runyun and his group. Runyun gets a bad rap in some quarters as something of a huckster due to his campy presentation and grandiose claims but I’m just old enough to remember when most practitioners were as eccentric as Runyun. Frankly, I’ve always liked the bigger than life characters who have clearly developed their magical persona which is so often key to successful practice. It’s all about confidence, or faith that you can move the heavens with your will. Runyun has that in spades.

That Runyun isn’t more well known is a crime, and largely explained by the popularity of post-80s style bland New Ageisms overtaking serious Occultism in popularity. These days people prefer to read Fiona Horne’s bloodless Hot Topic themed Wicca than Runyun’s more rigorous studies in Ceremonial magic and our community is poorer for it. Anyone interested in Ceremonial practice should read The Book of Solomon’s Magick as an introduction to the Art. This series of videos a sort of study aid to that book, but they contain a great deal of information useful to Ceremonialists regardless of their familiarity with Runyun’s work.

This has several parts so make some popcorn, sit back and enjoy. Watch it through a few times, it’s worth your time especially if you plan on going down the long, hard road of Goetia. If you’re truly pressed for time start with part III. Continue reading

Aug 16 2010

A Charm to Gain Advantage Over a Stronger Person

This is a charm from The Long Lost Friend, the grimoire of Christian/Pennsylvania Dutch magic first appearing in the 1820s. It’s author, John George Hohman (or Hoffman depending on the publisher), was said to himself be a healer and folk-magic practitioner. Until recently the book was found mainly in religious stores that serviced Santeria or Voodoo practitioners. The book regained it’s popularity with occult publishing houses (no doubt because it’s exempt from copyright laws) and there are several versions of various quality available. I have heard good things about this Kindle edition.

This charm is an incantation used before confronting someone bigger than you if things may get physical. It needs no preparation or special tools except a practitioner who is in practice and can generate the energy and focus necessary for any magical operation. It’s aimed at a man in the book, but I suppose it will work just as well on a big, intimidating woman.

I (N.N.) breathe upon thee. Three Drops of blood I take from thee: the first out of thy heart, the other out of thy liver and the third out of thy vital powers; and in this I deprive thee of thy strength and manliness.

Hbbi Massa danti Lantien. I. I. I.

I copied this out of an old edition (Fulton Religious Supplies) I’ve had for years and there may be slight variations in other editions. I have always assumed the final ‘I’s” were just spoken as it sounds, but some people have said it should be pronounced more like “EEEE” and others say it is a closing where a Christian may cross themselves. In most manuals the printers put a cross at the end of charms where you were expected to “cross” yourself but I suppose it’s possible this was a print mistake. But neither argument has ever swayed me. Do what feels right.

Aug 12 2010

A.E. Waite’s Book of Black Magic and Pacts

Arthur Edward Waite was a mystic writer from the early 20th century who was a big part of the Golden Age of occultism. Waite, as it is claimed by some, was biased against occultism though he was deeply involved in magical groups. His preference ran toward more mystical experience of the mysteries and his writings on ceremonial magic often reflect that bias, but he was also a first rate and conscientious scholar so his perspective is unusual and often refreshing.

Thus his Book of Black Magic (also know as Book of Ceremonial Magic and The Book of Spells and Rituals) straddles the academic and the mystical in presenting portions and reviews of some of the most popular grimoires that have been circulating the occult community for centuries. This book translates some hard to find material and is a great reference book for the Ceremonialist that lays out the facts about the material you’ll be immersed in. A must read if you plan on following the Ceremonial Magician’s path:

Aug 10 2010

Daniel Ogden’s Greek and Roman Necromancy

University of Exeter Professor of Ancient History Daniel Ogden has written several tomes of interest to both scholars and occultists. One of the key failing of today’s “open minded” magical practice is that too many people are unfamiliar with the long and rich history of the ‘Free Arts” and the basic rituals many of us use today. Ogden’s Magic Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds is not only an informative text of how our Pagan ancestors who founded the Western traditions viewed the unseen world, but is a virtual grimoire in and of itself. I urge practitioners of all traditions to give it a read.

In Greek and Roman Necromancy he concentrates on that dread tradition in all its aspects. It is interesting to note that, after reading this book, you can see some of the influence of these Greek and Roman traditions on the folk magics commonly associated with Latin American and Afro-Caribbean witchcraft. As usual I urge you to support Ogden, but there is a recession on so here’s an embed:

Ogden, Greek and Roman Necromancy Daniel Ogden