On the Subject of Confession after Alexander Eth’s Latest Episode of Glitch Bottle

If you’re an explorer in magick, you may have come across Alexander Eth’s Glitch Bottle podcast. If you haven’t heard his show yet, it’s very well produced and worth digging into! Today, I’m focusing on his latest episode on confession, which I’ll give a quick overview of and then expand on slightly.

Eth’s episodes skew historical and Western, and this fills a big gap the understanding of modern magicians. The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Enochian magick both reflect a great deal of the groundwork laid by Agrippa, but as Glitch Bottle listeners quickly come to understand, there’s a lot more to what can be broadly called “the Western magical tradition” which isn’t included in Agrippa. It should become clear, after reflection, that the entirety of the magical tradition to that point was all too much to put on one historical figure!

Eth dives into the nature of confession in the magical context. Confession, he explains, restores the covenant between the Divine or the spirits (usually angels) and the magician/supplicant. As another example which Eth gives: any attempt by the entity to undermine the mind of an exorcist by appealing to guilt about misdeeds is nullified in advance by the confession. Intriguingly, Eth mentions that for some practices, magicians are to confess to wrong acts, whether they have committed them or not!

There’s more to the episode, but let me move on to some observations behind the philosophy of magick. Eth alludes to, but I’ll say explicitly, that what’s happening with confession is a means to single-mindedness. Rather than selectively mentally pushing back and forward certain portions of the mind, what one normally ignores (for the sake of protecting the ego) one instead puts forward in confession. As far as the operation is concerned, confession helps one move toward unbiased/nondual mind and minimizes the dialectical monkey mind. In short, confession should some of the same effects as meditation(!).

Returning to the matter of confession to sins one hasn’t even committed: as a human being doing the ritual, one brings all of their potential with them to it. “There but for the grace of God go I,” as the saying goes, which points to the deeper matters of Original Sin, or the broader idea of dukkha. We are where we are in life both in spite and because of our flaws. In this broader sense, we are guilty of murder and every sin because we know that we are capable of it (though of course we strive to not commit such an act). I would also add that as a human being, we come to the ritual as an emissary for all of our fellow humans, whose affairs will be significantly altered by the influence of the spirits we call upon.

So there is a statement of identity and overlooked reality that, within a ritual context, the magician chooses to bring forward before the ritual in order to even it out in the mind with the more typical (and affirming) subjects of thought. This brings the mind closer to a nondual state. Note that this is a rectification of one’s astrological 12th house, “The House of Bad Spirit.” This makes sense: to maximize the effectiveness of magick, one needs to align this house (along with the 1st house, the “House of Good Spirit”) to the ends of that magick. The cost of not engaging with the 12th house, of course, is that it can weaken the 1st house’s effectiveness during the ritual, or worse, be strong enough to overcome the 1st house and lead to backfire during the ritual.

There’s also the matter of the logic of doing magick itself. If one approaches magick with the attitude of “Reality is just fine, I’m fine, we’re all fine here now–how are you?” then why even do magick? But if, instead, one admits misdeeds, though, one is heightening the obvious contrast between how things are and how one wants them to be: “current state” and “goal state,” an idea closely related to intelligence.

Ultimately, my recommendation is to consider confession as either an alternative or supplement to meditation and relaxation before one’s magical practices. Good luck!

Podcast Appearance: Praxis Behind the Obscure!

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve had another podcast appearance with Ryan Villa on Praxis Behind the Obscure, Episode 19 (a fitting number)! We talk about Enochian, angels, gebofal, Buddhism, and so much more, and of course we had a great time: check it out here!

How I make my planetary talismans

A talisman, strictly speaking, a visual seal (sigil) of magical intent that is energetically charged to bring wanted things toward you; it has typically been contrasted with amulets which repel unwanted things. In Western traditions nowadays, this line is a little blurry, so this post refers to both, but only those related to astrological talismans. Any time is possible to do magick. Elemental magick is always available, no matter the circumstances. Astrological magick is also always available, and can be tweaked via planetary banishing and invoking, but it’s a bit more like playing a game of cards, in which you can discard some cards and draw others.

I start my planetary talisman process based on the desired astrological energy. To do this, you need to have familiarity with basic astrology and what makes a planet’s energy strong as well as harmonious with other planets. Once the dominant planetary energy is selected, I pick the time and the base metal. Paper is fine but not as durable energywise as metal. Classically each astrological planet has its own metal; of the seven planets, only four have metals that are realistic to use nowadays: Saturn’s and Mercury’s metals (lead & mercury, respectively) are toxic, and the sun’s metal, gold, is toxic to your bank account! I substitute silver, the moon’s metal, for these three planets, because the moon is “closest” to the earth in the medieval tradition.

Once I have the metal picked, I begin the design; there’s not much imagination on my part in designing talismans. If a planetary talisman, I begin by looking up the magic square for that planet. This will be the center of the overall design, and also tells me the number of elements to incorporate into the talisman, including the numbers of the square itself (but not the grid). I usually go with the sum of a given row or column.

Once I have the number of elements, I incorporate the names of the selected deities and/or archangels associated with the planet & its sephira. In the Hermetic tradition, these can be found by looking them up ina correspondence resource such as 777, 776_1/2, or Thelemapedia (in the case of a Mars talisman, for example, I use row 27, and perhaps also row 5 for the sephira it rules, Geburah); these are all based on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (which itself is largely based on Agrippa: see below); I have yet to explore other similar orders’ materials such as Aurum Solis but this is forthcoming, I’m sure. I then start counting the letters in the deity names and try to use some combination of them that adds up the the planetary square total (in the case of the Mars talisman, 65). Also, I do one final check for the planetary seal from Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 1, Chapter 33. My standard approach is to have the names parallel to each of the four sides of the square (placed according to the Four Worlds associations in the Kabbalah and/or stacked as necessary according to the hierarchy in which they fit; the planetary seal I break into four parts which go at the corners, in a rounded formation of long enough).

Once the design is complete, it comes to a method of charging the talisman. Here you’re asking the deity or angel to do you a solid and please charge your talisman. Angels work in the capacity of their deity, so appeal to that connection, and deities like it when you approach via the things they are connected to (such as the incenses or plants in a correspondence book like 777–the more the better, but there is diminishing returns, so don’t dip into your savings! If money is an issue, cultivate sincerity and it will make up for it). Use a picture of the appropriate animal, a small clipping of the appropriate plant, light the appropriate incense, etc. Next, perform the planetary invoking ritual (I use the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram) to call forth the energy associated with your astrological election. Then I usually will either do an invocation for the deity to temporarily inhabit my body (choose your deity wisely!) and provide a charge to the object, or a call to the angel by appealing to its deity. I will usually modify Liber Israfel for the former; for the latter, it depends on the system. Enochian has specific methods to call upon its angels; similarly, the Shem-Hamphorasch has its own 72 angels and various authors have books on contacting them. Once those methods are done you make your request to the angel(s) that you have called to charge the talisman for you.

One alternative to the entity method is energy work, such as Chi or Reiki (though the latter still accesses divine entities). Reiki is probably better since it explicitly calls on the energy of the heavens (which, you know, where the stars and planets are), but Chi could probably also be used, if you set a strong intention to only use the more terrestrial energy that fully reflects the celestial.

Here we come to a point not to be overlooked: timing is essential. Unlike other astrologers, my view of an event is to look at the definitive “birthing” portion. Just as astrologers typically use a birth time and not a conception time, events or even ideas have to be birthed and not just stirred or conceived. A seed doesn’t count as a new plant just because it’s been planted, or watered, or the like. The seed emerge from its shell and touch the air and light as well as put down its first root. I dwell on this point because, well, you have to time your actions to culminate as closely to the time you’ve elected.

That’s it: you now have a charged talisman!

Chaos magick technique: toothpick timelines

So I mentioned in my bio that I am a chaos magician at heart.

This chaos magick technique is one I recently invented on a long road trip:

Imagine timelines just as that: little lines that, if you shrank them down from the present to any point in the future, would resemble toothpicks. You could categorize these timelines according to desired outcomes. In this case, we’re going to do just that, and then make desired outcomes more probable than they would otherwise be.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you have a big performance you have coming up, such as a short talk on a subject. This could obviously go very badly (boos), or very well (accolades). Start this magickal technique by considering the gamut of what could happen. Imagine each outcome as a toothpick (if you’re visual, see it; if you’re not visual, imagine holding that toothpick in your fingers). As you get the feel for this, go ahead and imagine all the outcomes as something you have control over–a handful of toothpicks in a circle in your grip, or in front of you.

Now, imagine you have dropped all of the toothpick-timelines of undesired outcomes. They vanish before they hit the floor. What’s left are the neutral-to-positive toothpicks. You’re going to progressively pull towards you the toothpicks which are more and more desirable and, if you can see them imaginally, make the most desirable toothpick brighter and brighter, filled with more and more energy.

This next part borrows from Adam Blackthorne’s Sigils of Power and Transformation (which is a great guide to get quick results). Start with this bundle and let yourself strongly feel (and if possible, generate progressively more feeling) how much you want something–in this case, to give a good speech. Allow this desire to burn inside of you. This is important to you! You want to be well-received!

Now, decide that you will indeed make it happen, even if you don’t exactly know how. Simply make a decision on some level to do more than okay: as you do this, see (or feel) the inner third of your remaining toothpicks come closer to you. This represents your making the positive timelines more probable. Repeat this process with more and more inner circles of toothpicks until you have the most positive outcome, represented by a single toothpick, close to your heart. Imagine this toothpick getting brighter and brighter. If you can do energy work, bring chi and/or reiki energy to this toothpick, energizing it.

Now, feel relief in the faith that it is indeed going to go well for you! Then, imagine it’s several years from now, and you are looking back with serene reflection on how this concern is now long behind you.

Consider this toothpick for a moment, and allow it to fade from view, but know that it is still there, working on your behalf.

You’re done. Enjoy!