I was delighted to be a guest for a third time on Praxis Behind the Obscure: check it out!
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!
One of the great efforts put forth in recent years is Scott Stenwick’s initiation system into all sephiroth and veils of the Tree of Life. It represents an excellent structure for initiation, and nicely complements his planetary work series on astrological magick. One of the things that a fellow magick.me student’s question (about Lon DuQuette’s Chicken Qabalah) inspired in me is whether or not a practical ritual could be done at the sephirothic level.
The answer is yes. Sephiroth are ruled by planets, after all, but this is not to say that they are ruled in the astrological sense of planetary domicile (wherein the planet is stronger due to zodiacal sign placement), but rather of the sephiroth brought to completeness. Hence, the pleasure or joy of Victory is symbolized by Venus ruling Netzach, and the Understanding of the nature of reality is brought to completeness by acceding to its limitations (i.e., its nature), symbolized by Saturn ruling Binah.
What exactly is accomplished by this? I believe that on some level, the magician is attempting to “correct” the current sephiroth-energetic balance of the universe. Attempts to bring sephiric energy have been done before; Jason Louv, in John Dee and the Empire of Angels, goes into detail about Jack Parsons’ attempt to instill this supernal feminine energy into the world via his Babalon Working. My guess is that for most hermetic magicians who would be interested in a sephiric working, the goal of such working would be to bring Tiphareth energy into the world, in accord with Crowley’s law of Thelema. Crowley himself also elaborated a ritual to bring about the energy of the Aeon of Horus, Liber V vel Reguli (which may have been an attempt to bring in the energy of Geburah, but this seems too broad of an oversimplification). I haven’t worked this ritual because I haven’t fully committed to Thelema, though I recognize it as a viable and important Law: I just prefer my own.
I think one could construct rituals for all of the sephiroth below Kether (I’m not yet sure how one would go about this sephira, but I’m open to suggestions!); Stenwick lays out the components of both planetary and sephirothic invocations; I would simply combine his sephirothic hexagrams, god names, and archangel names with the planetary intelligence and spirit of the planet that rules this sephiroth.
What inspired this post, however, was the question of what the planetary intelligence and spirit would be for Chokmah, and the answer seems to me to be to use the sephirothic invocation that Stenwick lays out, then to simply call on Archangel Ratziel, and rather than the next step of calling a planetary spirit and an intelligence, to instead call on all twelve of the zodiacal angels (see Col. CXLII in Liber 777 or Col. 412 in 776 1/2 (they differ in that Aries & Aquarius are reversed in 777, which Eshelman corrects). One could call each angel twice (to obtain the twoness of Chokmah), or the angel and its assistant (776 1/2, Cols. 412 & 413), or call on the Day & Night triplicity lords (776 1/2, Cols. 414). Further reading on Stenwick’s essay on evoking zodiacal angels is here.
I haven’t tried this but I may do so for my own law later this week and determine whether I see more effects of this law afterward: I will keep you posted.
Update: I did a ritual based on this and rather than try to evangelize, I simply made an Enochian prayer that those who are to hear my law would in fact do so in God’s time and measure. In other words, a prayer that God’s will be done, or put another way, a conscious moving with Universe rather than against It.