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Dec 5 2011

How to Make and Use a Magic Mirror

Were I to make a “magic mirror” I would use Donald Tyson’s excellent manual How to Make and Use a Magic Mirror as instruction. Of course, I actually have an old copy but people tell me they’re rather hard to find and quite pricey. I picked up a paper back in the 90s for around $7. Now on Amazon I see copies going for $30 and up.

Fortunately for you and sadly for them the YouTube set has never heard the saying T Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent. Thus you can find some good places to start – but be warned most Internet practitioners are sloppy to say the least. I advise using videos like the following as a starting off point but doing more research before trying this potentially dangerous experiment.

The following from “Cyberscribe” is one of the better videos, though his caviler attitude toward evocations and summonings is disturbing. The mirror doesn’t provide you with the protection he seems to think if you’re dealing with demonic or “evil” spirits but he does at least take the precautions necessary for this sort of operation. He also goes into the theory which is important to understand.

Oct 13 2010

Introduction to Geomancy

Geomancy is a form of divination in which the diviner makes random marks in the earth (or a bowl of soil) that are interpreted by their shape and position. It is a complex sounding system that puts many fledgling diviners off, but many feel it’s worth the effort to learn and it is really no more difficult to master than any other divination tool. Geomancy as we practice it now (in which dots are randomly poked into sand, soil or on paper with pencil) is often attributed to Agrippa and is fairly easy once you get the hang of it.

You will find magicians of every stripe practicing geomancy, and while I don’t fancy it myself it was considered something one should learn when I was first learning to practice Witchcraft. Like divination with dice, geomancy can be very useful for readings by people who are uncomfortable with the much more subjective tarot and rune divinations that are now popular.

I found this manual of geomancy on Scibd which is Aleister Crowley’s Liber Gaias which is considered a fairly good introduction to geomancy that you may want to read through. In the 90s an academic named Elizabeth Barrett posted some great information on geomancy on the Princeton website, including an English translation of Agrippa’s Of Geomancy which you may want to check out first.

A Handbook of Geomancy

I happen to think that other divination systems are more utilitarian for most practitioners but those into more traditional magical practices may enjoy these more complex processes not just as divination but as meditations.

Sep 24 2010

To Find the Body of One Who Has Drowned

Rollo Ahmed is one of the most underrated, yet important, occultist of the 20th century. Though he claimed to be of Egyptian descent he was known to be a native of the West Indies who lived in England for much of his life, plying his trade in the traditional fashion which led to him running afoul of the law at least twice. He penned the sensational The Black Art in the 1970s which legend says was largely due to his friend Dennis Wheatley recommending him when publishers began to see the public thirsting for more occult books. His best work however is The Complete Book of Witchcraft which is a rollicking study of Witchcraft through the ages written by an occultist but without the theological conceits that are found in many such work.

In that latter work (on pg 230 in my edition) Ahmed relates a peculiar practice for recovering bodies by Witches in Scotland and other parts of the English Empire:

Gaelic witches were thought to be able to find bodies of drowned persons, by casting some of the deceased’s clothes upon the sea or wherever they had met their death. The same belief is held in parts of India, and some Fakirs find bodies by similar means.

The idea behind this spell is clearly a use of sympathetic magic, and it should be noted that in the time period Ahmed is talking about it would be likely that a fisherman or sailor had a few garments he wore a great deal. It is well accepted in occult circles that objects that are on ones person for significant periods of time develop a “link” that can be used in magic and the assumption here is that the same link would draw the object tot he lost corpse.

Ahmed gives no information as to what sort of ritual might have been used but because it was thought to be a talent specific to Witches I assume there is some “trick” to it. Alas, I’ve seen no information on this but a practitioner could certainly work one out for themselves, I’m sure. I have thankfully never had need to resort to this sort of divination, but Rollo Ahmed was a serious and dedicated magician so I have kept this in my book just in case.

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.