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Oct 1 2010

A Quick Banishment of Evil or Disease Using Vinegar

I have received several requests for exorcisms, banishments and general protection spells from spirits of various types. For minor inconveniences, which all who practice will run into from time to time, no elaborate ritual may be needed but simple fumigations are enough to dispel the type astral entities that are attracted to magical practice and tend to linger in places where magic has been performed.

As related in Kathryn Paulsen’s The Complete Book of Magic and Witchcraft one such fumigation allegedly practiced by the Chinese was to burn vinegar in red hot cast iron pots. This was thought to banish both evil spirits and diseases, and also increase wealth.

One need not be a chef to imagine what happens when a liquid is poured into red hot cast iron, and I assume the violent reaction would quickly fill a home with the vapor, which is the point. Vinegar left out in a dish is said to interfere with the materialization of psychic energy and is sometimes recommended in cases of poltergeist haunting. The complete fumigation of an area with vinegar vapors, while certainly not pleasant for people within, would assuredly overwhelm any non-physical entities and drive them from the premises or at least weaken them to such a degree that they would be essentially harmless.

I believe this measure would be a temporary solution the problem. But if you are experiencing problems with spirits it should “hold the line” while you seek out a more permanent solution.

As to why vinegar has this effect on spirits … I don’t know, but even Islamic exorcism utilize vinegar so this isn’t a belief that comes only from one group. Vinegar is mentioned in chapbooks like The Long Lost Friend and Egyptian Secrets so we can assume many people have found the substance to be effective for a variety of occult purposes.

Sep 19 2010

Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic

Scott Cunningham was the last of the old school Wiccans to churn out usable material for Llwellyan Books. Easy to understand, practical and most of all well documented spells and charms were the hallmark of this late author and his passing a few years ago left a great void in Wicca as a whole.

His Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic is a good introduction to his work and a must have reference for every practitioner’s book shelf. The basic knowledge of the properties of various gems and stones is something you will use again and again when creating your own rituals, or trying to understand the rites of others.

This preview from Scribd should wet your appetite for the whole thing. This is one book I recommend you own outright and not just rent from a library. There is a Kindle version as well for you e-readers so no excuses:

Encyclopedia of Crystal Gem and Metal Magic

Sep 2 2010

“Crossing” an Alcoholic Who’s Making Your Life Miserable

My friend Patty Bogus sent in this Hoodoo style hex designed to take care of a drunk who is disrupting your peace and happiness. It uses a poppet and requires some emotional investment by you, but it works. I can already feel some of you gearing up to wag a finger so I’ll tell you now, don’t bother. No Witch worth her salt let’s people walk all over her.

The spell, as I said before, requires some emotional investment from you so as you prepare really think about all the things this no-good drunk has done to you. Get angry! This will be the “fuel” of this work.

The process of designing the spell is also interesting so I’m actually going to print a couple of verbatim paragraphs here. Beginners should note how Patty works in many correspondences to help empower the spell. Pay particular attention to the days of the week (and the powers associated with them) as well as the thought that went into designing the doll.

Also note that when she wasn’t getting the results she wanted she wasn’t afraid to adapt and “tweak” the spell. Magic is both an art and a science, and a spell is like a poem. You may sometimes get better results when you go back and change a few things so don’t be afraid to:

I made a doll baby of her out of black polymer clay. I bend her legs backwards so I could “trip her up”, and intertwined her hands together behind her back so she could no longer “grab hold”. After she baked and I baptized her, I began the ritual. I took a jar with a fitted lid and filled it half way with vodka (her drink of choice), while cursing at her and yelling that she will drown in her drink. I filled the jar the rest of the way with vinegar and while cursing and yelling at her, I told her she would drown in her own venom, her demise would be of her own doing. I added red pepper, black pepper and valerian root for the obvious cursing, negative powers. Then I put the doll baby into the jar head first while yelling at her that if she didn’t stop her manipulative ways, she would cause her own demise, drowning in her drink, venom and filth. I lit a black candle on top of the jar and continued to curse her. I light a black candle every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on top of the jar while cursing her. At different times, if I’m walking past the jar and think about it, I shake the jar hard and curse her again.

Originally, I wasn’t having many results. I ended up adding a picture of her with my petition on the back. (Took the picture, turned it over. Wrote her name 9 times on the back while picturing her. Turned the picture 1/4 counterclockwise and wrote my petition over her name 9 times. Then I wrote the petition in an unbroken circle around the name/petition. Very important – do not lift your pen until it is completed. Go back to dot i’s and cross t’s.) I flipped the picture back up facing me, then added more black pepper, red pepper and valerian root to the front. I folded it away from me, turned 1/4 way counterclockwise, folded again, turned again, folded again, for a total of three folds. I put this under the jar every time I light the black candle.

A picture is a really nice “link” to someone and photos of people factor into many curses and bindings. This spell actually is both a curse and a binding which is why it’s so impressive. Note that once the doll is made the Witch treats it as if it is that person, talking to the poppet the way you would if the victim was standing there. Also the energy is maintained not just by regular “feedings” of the spell where the curse is renewed, but by abusing the doll periodically too. This is reminiscent of the Hoodoo “Honey Jar” spell where a desired one’s name is written on a popsicle stick and put in a jar of honey sweetened liquid. Whenever the jar is shaken the desired target thinks sweet thoughts of the caster.

I’m sure the thoughts of the lush are anything but sweet when the jar is shaken!

Obviously this spell has limited uses, but you should study it anyway to see how a spell is constructed, performed and maintained. This isn’t some Barnes and Noble spell written by a model hired to pretend she’s an author, this is the product of knowledge and experience. It is quite elegant (as are most Hoodoo charms) despite how crude it may seem to the outsider.

Aug 27 2010

Amateur Ghost Hunter Dies Hunting for “Ghost Train” … On Active Railway

This is why I started Spell and Ritual. There are too many armchair occultists (or as in this case, “paranormal investigators”) who lack not only the basic knowledge of their field but common sense.

From WISTV.com:

STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) – A man who was with about a dozen people who were looking for a legendary “ghost train” in Iredell County was hit by a locomotive and killed early Friday morning.

The incident happened on a train trestle at 2:45 a.m. near the 900 block of Buffalo Shoals Road.

Christopher Kaiser, 29, died at the scene and two more people were injured, according to Iredell County Sheriff Phillip Redmond. Kaiser’s body was found below the trestle down a steep incline, he said.

The injured patients were airlifted to a local hospital.  Their condition was not immediately known.

“During the investigation, witnesses told deputies they were at the site in hopes of seeing a ‘ghost train’,” the Iredell County sheriff’s office said in a press release.

The sheriff said the incident coincided with the anniversary of a train wreck that occurred at the same location in 1891.

Crewmen on the train tried to warn the group to get off the trestle and most were able to get away. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Christopher Kaiser’s family and friends at this time of need, of course.

But if I may be so crass as to illustrate a larger point about the growing occult community, which includes these “paranormal investigators” who seem to primarily be thrill seekers looking for scary experiences to share with friends, I would like to ask the following questions:

1) Why was it necessary for them to be on the trestle to investigate the supposed ghost sightings? A follow up to that would be why not send only the people physically capable of reacting quickly if trouble developed?

2) Why didn’t anyone check the schedules of trains, call the railroad to get permission or even scout out the location to see how active the area was? In other words why wasn’t this “investigation” grounded in the real world?

3) Couldn’t the “ghost train” be seen from the ditch the unfortunate Mr. Kaiser ended up in?

The answer to all these questions seem obvious to me. But they weren’t to Kaiser and company. And that’s not his fault.

It’s ours. And by ours I mean the wider occult community that ignores the growing trend of amateurs and dilettantes getting on television and claiming expertise about hunting ghosts or hunting monsters who are really just hunting for quick profits by teaching people to hunt for trouble.

Standing on a section of train track where there’s no place to run waiting for a ghost train is not just foolish, it’s pointless. Had their little adventure been successful and they saw a ghost, what would have been accomplished? Who among us hasn’t seen evidence of ghosts and spirits? And how many of us know of safer and more meaningful ways to explore the outer reaches that we could show people like Kaiser if we weren’t too busy trolling forums and pretending we’re “above” these ghost hunters?

I have always seen the place of the American occultist, whether Thelemite, Chaos Magician, Wiccan or good old fashioned Witches and Warlocks, as a sort of Merlin to the American round table. The fact that we hoard ancient and arcane knowledge, often for selfish reasons, makes us important voices to help steer the wider Judeo-Christian society away from dangers they don’t actually understand. We should strive to be advisers and experts on the things the Christopher Kaisers of the world don’t know but find themselves involved in. This man is dead because he thought he needed to be on that trestle to experience a haunting. We know better but no one shared that with him.

Clearly I’m not of a mind that some Witch somewhere knew what he was up to and sat idle. But we allowed television shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State to supplant real expertise, and to dispense falsehoods. Ghost Hunters, in particular, represents paranormal research as an amusement park ride available year round for people with free time on their hands. Paranormal State does worse in many ways.

And what if Kaiser and company faced metaphysical instead of physical danger? Would the Twilight themed Silver Ravenwolfery disguised as occult expertise that these shows dispense actually be enough to protect them? If you had a child who was going “ghost hunting” would you allow them to prepare by watching these shows and perusing the Internet?

The community of practitioners in America should speak out about the dangerous pseudo-occultism that is being embraced by the mainstream. Christopher Kaiser died because no sane occultist told him he could see this supposed ghost while standing somewhere safe – that he wasn’t going to see something on the tracks he couldn’t from on the road or frankly through a Black Mirror. But how many others are fed on by spirits they disturb, or “crossed” or are otherwise victims of forces they don’t understand?

And how much responsibility do you and I share for that?

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 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