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Sep 17 2010

Burning Herring Heads Produces Visions

And a fishy odor that is heard to get rid of no doubt, but a reader emailed me about this little tidbit which I originally read in Kathryn Paulsen’s underrated beginner’s spellbook The Complete Book of Magic and Witchcraft which I thought was interesting enough to share.

Herring is fumigated to produce magical visions. “If one put the head of a fresh herring upon the coals to fumigate and he will get upon the house in the night, he will think all the stars run into one”

Paulsen cites Cyranus’ The Magick of Kirani, King of Persia (1685) as the source. As far as I know their are several copies of this work in academic libraries but few commercial versions. New York University has a copy.

Kitani is a fictitious King of Persia so this book is similar to the chap books popular at the time that attribute authorship to legendary magicians, like the Albertus Magnus.

To me the passage is unclear in it’s purpose. Are the visions a kind of divination or mystical experience? Likely, but it could also be a curse similar to the charms used to make people “think they were bears” etc, although since this involved burning fish in someones house I don’t see how this could work unless it was assumed that the victim would be unfamiliar with the rite and very trusting. I’ve been told that it is a way to “experience the cosmos” so to speak.

The herring, aside from being a tasty treat, has many curious superstitions around it. Some people believe eating a herring on the first day of the year will bring them luck, and according to The Encyclopedia of Superstitions the people’s of the Outer Hebrides believed that eating a salted herring, bones and all, in three bites would cause dreams foretelling the future.

Being married I cannot try this out myself, but I have a second hand Probatim on this. Anyone else who tries it please let me know how it turns out.


Sep 7 2010

A Charm To Remove a Curse by Donna Rose

This ritual is effective on many different types of curses but is supposedly specifically designed for women who fell the “other woman” has cursed their relationship. With minor alterations it should be workable in many different situations.

Again this comes from The Magic of Spells and Curses by Donna Rose which is a fantastic mini-grimoire that should be in your library, but it is rather hard to find and thus overpriced which is why I’m publishing her better spells here:

Make a mixture of the following into an incense and burn it in your home and especially in the bedroom, each midnight – for at least five nights.

a. Sandalwood

b. Juniper berry

c. Hawthorne Berry

d. Cedar Wood

e. Pine Wood

Use a White incense base and add the above ingredients, well mixed. Burn as directed.

Each night, cast the ashes out the front door, and scatter them into the winds.

As the incense burns, as that the Supreme Being reverse the spell and cast it back to those who have cursed you. Use a pine branch as the incense burns to sweep out the house. Run the branch down your arms at the conclusion of the spell-work each night, and, on the final night, burn the branch.

Needless to say please be careful when doing all this burning. The “white incense base” is for the hard core incense makers out there in this case I’ve known people who burn the herbs and dried berries on coals which I assume is messy but not everyone is going to learn to blend their own incense. A good protection incense made by someone you trust knows what they’re doing probably works just as well.


Aug 30 2010

Hymn to Saturn and Saturn’s Seal of Protection

Sorita d’Este posted this nice translation of the Orphic Hymn to Saturn which I believe is from Thomas Taylor’s under appreciated translations of The Hymns of Orpheus so I thought I’d print it also and give readers an idea of a magical use for it:

Etherial father, mighty Titan, hear, great fire of Gods and men, whom all revere:
Endu’d with various council, pure and strong, to whom perfection and decrease belong.
Consum’d by thee all forms that hourly die, by thee restor’d, their former place supply;
The world immense in everlasting chains, strong and ineffable thy pow’r contains
Father of vast eternity, divine, O mighty Saturn [Kronos], various speech is thine:
Blossom of earth and of the starry skies, husband of Rhea, and Prometheus wife.
Obstetric Nature, venerable root, from which the various forms of being shoot;
No parts peculiar can thy pow’r enclose, diffus’d thro’ all, from which the world arose,
O, best of beings, of a subtle mind, propitious hear to holy pray’rs inclin’d;
The sacred rites benevolent attend, and grant a blameless life, a blessed end.

Taylor was a poet at heart and though he takes some artistic liberties his versions of the Hymns keep the inner meaning of these prayers to the gods intact. For purely religious uses Taylor’s translations are excellent, it is essentially a prayer book for Pagans.

I have used the Hymn to Saturn when creating what some call the Seal of Protection from Sudden Death but others know simply as The Saturn Seal of Protection or some variation thereof. Creating seals is a process that requires a little more depth than a blog post but for a quick and dirty how to I recommend Anna Riva’s Secrets of Magical Seals which will have you up and running within a day.

I often include this seal in charm bags I make, or sometimes I simply put it in my wallet when I know I’ll be in some rough areas. I draw it on a small square of good quality paper (parchment is expensive, but purists can actually get the real stuff made by taxidermists) in Dragon’s Blood ink. I am usually burning some sort of protection incense when I do this because it’s part of a larger ritual, but if you’re just dashing off the square a Saturnian incense is appropriate.

I put my name, birthday and magical name on the back of my seals, but that’s just how I learned to do them. I then anoint the seal with an appropriate oil. The anointing of seals is not optional. While this is done the Hymn to Saturn makes is a powerful incantation to help “charge” the seal.

The Zazel written up top is the “Spirit” of Saturn which is kind of the blind “force” that we are imbuing the seal with, the essence so to speak. Agiel is the ‘Intelligence” of Saturn which is a sentient manifestation of Saturn energy which directs or allows the use of this force.

I hesitate to claim this seal will or won’t protect you, mainly because there is at least one person out there litigious enough to sue me after putting themselves in harm’s way while carrying their poorly constructed seal. However I have lived in some bad neighborhoods, I have been shot at once, had guns pulled on me three times and jumped, chased etc. I’m still here so … probatum as they say.


Aug 27 2010

The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems

This book is nearly one hundred years old and many modern readers have complained incessantly about it’s “simplicity” and one Amazon review I saw even claimed it was “overly literal.” I can only assume that these complainers prefer the vague platitudes of modern New Ageism or the incomprehensible fantasist like a Kenneth Grant to good old fashioned lore complied by people who use their classical education to explore the mysteries. That’s fine for hobbyists but for practitioners book collections aren’t for the coffee table, they’re references that will be well used and read often. The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems will be read often.

I frequently checked out a version of this book from my college library and was pleasantly surprised to see a new printing of it available on Amazon as well as a scan of it on SCRIBD. It has brief, yet thoroughly researched, explanations of almost every symbol used in amulet and talisman creation utilizing historical research, and the authors’ exploration of how Zodiac stones were used by our ancestors will help you in your own formulations. The book covers talismans from Hindu, Jewish, Chinese, Egyptian, Roman, Gnostic, Greek, Muslim and Christian traditions so there is very much something for everyone.

(1922) The Book of Talisman, Amulets & Zodiacal Gems


Aug 23 2010

How to Banish a Fever

Another one from The Long Lost Friend. I of course recommend seeking medical treatment for serious illness, but this is a magical remedy from a time when there was little recourse for a fever. Some believe that we may be heading to that time again but that’s another story.

How to Banish a Fever

Write the following words upon a paper and wrap it up in knot-grass, (breiten megrieb) and then tie it upon the body of the person who has the fever:

Pomat Sineat,

Pomat Sineat,

Pomat Sineat

Though The Long Lost Friend is mostly a book of Christian magics, I’ve always liked the almost Shamanic feel of this. The act of tying words that have only a magical meaning to a person with grass rather than string would speak to what Paul Huson called the “deep mind” in his classic Mastering Witchcraft. Next time your friend has a cold try it out and see.


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.