Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paper Mage

The older I grow as a magician, the less I'm interested in owning stuff. I have been giving away a number of my books and magical items keeping only those things that I actually put into use. I now own less than I have five years ago, and sometimes I feel I still have too much.

I give. I don't sell. I don't think I would gain much profit or satisfaction from selling my old stuff anyway. I think giving (or doing an act of kindness for that matter) without expectation of return is an exercise that every human being should do. Own, own, own. Grab, grab, grab. This materialistic, consumerist, cosmopolitan way of life gets very tiring easily.

Trees get to be pruned, snakes shed their skin, people must undergo some kind of death in order to evolve and to grow. Yes, there is a pang of regret when I give away the books that have helped me in my journey. But it is a nice kind of pain. Like getting into a hot bath.

These days I perform ceremonial magic from pieces of cardboard in a shoe box and make talismans from scrap paper. I may have gotten cheaper, but I feel more magic than before.

Enochian temple in a shoe box.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Banaue - Stairways to Haven

"Good morning", an Ifugao elder said to me while I was taking pictures around the village. She was carrying a baby, lulling her to sleep. I could see that the woman's teeth was already reddened from years of chewing betel leaves, a favorite pastime in these areas. I wasn't able to greet back. I was waiting for something that comes after the "good morning". Maybe she'd sell some merchanise, or offer tourist services. But no. It was a genuine, cordial, neighborly greeting - so rare these days that I was taken aback. I felt so ashamed of myself.
Look at what the world has done to me: I have become suspicious of friendly greetings.
Finally, I managed to smile and belatedly respond: "Good morning din po".

I got up just before sunrise in the quaint little inn at Batad village, situated among the rice terraces themselves. My legs were still sore from yesterday's hike to Tappiya Falls, which took about three hours to get to and get back from. I usually don't mind long walks but the thing is, we had to walk on the narrow and sometimes slippery edges of the terraces, which are about 6 to 12 feet high. Not quite deadly, but high enough to trigger my acrophobia. I also get to see the majestic yet terrifying view of the steep slopes of the mountain when looking down on where I'm stepping. Our local guide, Ate Harriet, had to hold my hands almost all throughout the trek because my knees were shaking badly. The new friends that I made from the tour group meanwhile were throwing words of encouragement and friendly jeers at me to keep me going. It was terrifying, but I relish the experience. We had to make occasional stops because of the rain, and during those times, we get to really enjoy the scenery. The view was truly a sight to behold - the mountains, the mist, and the glorious sky. I can see why the Ifugao tribes have a fascination for winged creatures, with feathers on their dresses and their dances mimicking the movement of the eagle's wings.

We went back at the inn before sunset and spent the rest of the day enjoying our time being away from the city. There was no wi-fi and network signals, nobody was looking at their phone. Before bedtime, I get to know the people I'm traveling with more. We looked back at the day and exchanged stories of adventure over a cup of freshly brewed mountain coffee.

I woke up shivering in the cold. However I tried to I couldn't get back to sleep. I had enough of it anyway and it was a very restful sleep, so I just decided to go out with my camera and walk around the village. And so there I was, exchanging good mornings with villagers. Later I would find a little hut whereby I would just sit and look at the mountains, feeling the cool, December breeze of the highlands, and watching the sunlight slowly revealing the ancient artwork that is the Banaue Rice Terraces.

It did feel like a very good morning.

With our guide, Harriet.

Tappiya Falls

Traversing the terraces.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Enochian Journal 4: Praying to Enochian Gods

I have finally completed my portable Enochian magic kit just in time for the Lenten break. I decided to start immediately on Donald Tyson's 19-day working from his book "Enochian Magic for Beginners". The 19-day working is a set of prayers geared towards each group of the Enochian hierarchy, beginning from highest (the Secret God names) to the lowest (the servient angels). It's a great way to practice the ritual procedure and familiarize myself with the all the entities of the hierarchy. After the 19-day working I expect to be more familiar and more confident with Enochiana, and only then will I call my angel of choice (to do my bidding and such).

During the entire Lenten break, I recited invocations for each of the God names of the four Watchtowers. Because these are Supreme Beings of the Divine plane, I wouldn't dare call them into manifestation. But I did ask for signs and messages after the first night.

And because I type faster than I write, I posted my experiences and observations on Facebook immediately after ritual. I know it's supposed to be personal, but I have friends who are more experienced on this sort of thing and their suggestions have been really valuable.

My altar set up.  Dagger and wand hidden from view. I decided to include Enochian Skrying Cards just it case the obsidian ball doesn't work for me.

April 18 (Good Friday)
First night of Enochian working. Reciting an invocation to the god name of the Eastern Watchtower, ORO IBAH AOZPI. This is just the most elaborate ritual setup ever. No skyring or astral travel work yet. Didn't recite the calls. Though I tried to peek at the obsidian ball. Mostly clouds, then a figure of a man sinking, and some word that spelled AYOA. Didn't get it, but I wasn't expecting visions anyway. (After this, I decided to explicitly ask for visions after each prayer.) 

April 19 (Black Saturday)
Reciting a prayer to MOR DIAL HCTGA, god name of the Northern Watchtower. Again, nothing on the crystal ball but from time to time a face would appear (not mine). It does not respond to my questions. Apparently it's a 'lost' entity (not Enochian). I tried to banish it away by the name of Adonai Melekh, and I think it worked. Still no visions appear in the ball even though I asked for a sign. I was beginning to doubt my visionary skills. But when I looked at the skrying card, I saw a scene: a desert, there was a stampede of bulls (or maybe a battle), and among it is a magnificent god-like creature riding a golden chariot which was being pulled by a dark horse with flaming hair. I could hear the sound of the hooves and the chariot. The god-creature has a head and wings of an eagle or a hawk, wearing a something like an Ancient Mesopotamian costume and it was pointing to the sun. I got a bit confused because the scene was very Fire-y, whereas the Golden Dawn associates MOR DIAL HCTGA to the element Earth. Whatever, I took note of it nonetheless. I think the creature is an angel of the Northern Watchtower, if not MOR DIAL HCTGA him/herself. It was a short vision and I had no interaction with the creature. I didn't recite the Enochian calls.

April 20 (Easter Sunday)
Invocation to MPH ARSL GAIOL (Watchtower of Water/West). I forgot to take a photo of the altar but here's the skyring card showing the symbol of the Western Watchtower before I packed things up. Although I'm really not doing Enochian vision magic yet, I've been asking the powers-that-be for some sign to appear in/on the ball. After reciting the prayer and after a few minutes staring at the ball, there came a serpent-dragon that moved gracefully within the crystal ball - like a sea snake in a spherical aquarium. It was amusing to watch, then later I realized it was forming an infinity symbol ∞. It disappeared, then I waited for some more visions - repeatedly reciting the names MPH ARSL GAIOL or Elohim Sabaoth, but there was no more. Then, as I did yesterday, I took up the skyring card on my palms. Almost immediately, I heard some bubbling and *glug-glug* sounds and water began to spring forth from the card. I almost did an eye-roll because it was so cliché - water on a the watchtower of Water (yesterday it was a fiery scene on the watchtower of the Earth). The water began to part, and I could see there was something at the bottom of it. I couldn't quite see what it was so I closed my eyes, changed into astral travel mode, and went into the water. I swam, and saw the serpent in the water again, which was blue (again, cliché) and was actually really huge, like a sea monster. This must be the creature associated with MPH ARSL GAIOL or Elohim Sabaoth. It was going elsewhere so I followed it. After quite a long travel, we came into a pile of treasure chests. I think these were the things that I saw earlier when the water parted. Some of the chests were open and had piles of gold coins in them. I asked the serpent dragon if I could open one of the closed chests but it didn't respond. I opened one anyway. Inside there was a severed human hand, wearing a large ring of ruby and gold. I asked the serpent what these all mean, but got no response. I asked again, no response, and asked again, and it got very angry and charged at me as if it's going to eat me. I stepped out of the water and the vision before it could. I guess I'm not yet worthy to have knowledge of some things. I realize the creatures do not interact with me - maybe since I'm not reciting the Enochian key. I guess I shouldn't be demanding too much for now and be content with the short visions. I was just asking for some sign anyway.

Lesson learned: 1.) Do not take too long on visions for now. There is no Enochian keys yet. There is a risk that I might end up 'forcing' the visions. Be content with the signs. 2.) The vision stops when it stops. Do not try to continue the vision. (The water thing was suspiciously cliché.)

April 21
Invocation to the god name OIP TEAA PDOCE, Watchtower of the South/Fire. Last god-name invocation. I have pretty much accepted I'm not very good at skrying on the crystal ball (or I haven't learned the technique yet) so after the invocations I went on straight to use the skrying card instead. I took the card on my palms and the card turned into a moth, just a bit bigger than my hands. It was a light bluish gray color, and there was a pattern on its wings that very much look like a pair of human eyes. It started to flutter its wings. Just before it flew, I went into astral travel mode and followed it. The journey was quite long, until we finally came upon a weird-looking forest. What makes it weird is that there were giant penises (about 3 - 4 feet high) protruding from the soil, like mushrooms. The moth landed on the meatus (the hole on the penis. I had to google that) of one of the giant phalluses and started to drink its nectar (or precum, whatever that was). I left the forest, the vision, and stopped skrying on the card. I turned my attention to the crystal ball. There I saw what happened in a speedier time frame. The moth shed its wings and became a human, the human eventually died, its corpse came back to earth, and from the earth sprung forth the giant phallus. What a weird depiction of the cycle of life and death and transformation.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Enochian Journal 3: Completing the Temple - the Lamen, the Ring, and the Round Tablet

"Magick is not something you do, magick is something you are" 
- Donald Michael Kraig

My temple is finally complete - just in time for Good Friday, which is today (as I write this post), and which was about the same time Dee and Kelly received the Holy Book from the Archangel Raphael. I'm not going to start immediately with calling a specific angel though. I plan to work through Donald Tyson's 19-day working in his Book of Spirits: a set of invocations that addresses all the angels of the four Watchtowers, from the highest in the hierarchy to the lowest, as you go along. I think it's a nice way to properly introduce myself with the entities as a whole, and consecrate my tools in doing so.

"Adonai Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts, the fountain of true wisdom,...Light my soul and make me a seer of visions...Let it please your angels to dwell with me, that I may dwell with them; to rejoice with me, that I may rejoice with them; to minister unto me, that I may magnify your names among them...By the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. Amen. Amen." - Donald Tyson, Enochian Magic for Beginners (Appendix A: Enochian Book of Spirits)

Thankfully I'm having no issues with the Christian themes. Yes, I'm pagan, but I'm also a chaos mage. We're pretty good at fooling ourselves.

The Lamen, the Ring, and the Round Tablet of Nalvage

I got a thick-banded, stainless steel ring for 60 pesos from a stall inside a mall that sells cheap jewelry. On this, I superglued the PELE bezel made of two small boards pasted together (for thickness) and painted with gesso and silver acrylic. The PELE symbol itself was simply hand-drawn with a gel pen.

The Lamen and the Round Tablet of Nalvage were also made from two boards glued together. For the Lamen I sandwiched an ID strap between the boards, making sure that the strap is just the right length so that the Lamen would fall nicely at the center of my chest when I put it on. The thin lines were drawn with a silver gel pen, while the Enochian letters with a silver-inked permanent marker. I painted the sides of the Lamen and the Tablet with black acrylic to hide the color of the paper and just so they don't end up looking like a school project.

So there. I basically built an Enochian temple made of school supplies and cheap materials. What I've always wanted to tell starting magicians - however cringingly cliché it is - is that the magic is within you. (Ok, I'll barf now.) It's a pretty popular notion, but you would see more people looking for and collecting magic things rather making magic themselves. The latter is hard, I know, but magic isn't supposed to be easy. That's what that "to dare" part is for.

And speaking of daring, it's now time to speak with the angels.

Related posts:

Enochian Alphabet Made Easy

Enochian Journal 1: Creating the Tabula Sancta

Enochian Journal 2: Seven Ensigns and Five Sigillums

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hail, Hermes!

I don't usually talk to gods, much less to Greek gods. I feel they're far too distant and alien to me.

But the more I learned about Hermes, the more I feel a sense of familiar comfort with him. Basically, he governs most of those things that I do and love: travel, languages, magic, athletics, the Internet...even my job as a software developer. I've also always had some sort of affinity with child-like trickster gods being a goofball myself.

Last year, Aldrin and Kaye invited me over to celebrate Hermaia Eriounia, the feast day of Hermes as the luck bringer. Being a sucker for luck and pagan rites, I joined, of course, bringing with me four votive offerings I made in the form of animals sacred to Hermes. Each offering is for each quarter of the coming year, to ask for blessings and such.

Aldrin's Graeco-Roman rituals have always been beautiful and eloquent, with the right balance of reverence and mirth. Hermes just loves sweet things, so the feast consisted of food with alarmingly high glycemic index, which I immensely partook of nonetheless.

There is nothing like holding a feast in the middle of a lush, grassy farm.

My votive offering of a bee in a tetradrachm of Ephesos, and four foreign coins from my travels.

Even as a magician, I'm not the type who would readily ascribe seemingly synchronistic incidents to divine and supernatural forces. But early this year, a series of events led me to attend a Forex seminar - one of the last things I would find myself going to. Later, I realized: trading foreign currencies - how very Hermes is that?

Surprisingly I found the talk to be quite interesting and it has led me to discover stuff like stocks and investments. I've always thought I was pretty good at handling my money until then. A few weeks later on, I was able to transform my savings account into a diverse portfolio of stocks, mutual funds and trust funds. Finances have always bored me, but I'm glad I found the heart to be smarter with my money now. I wish I've learned this before.

The second quarter just began with the very Hermes April Fool's day. I know it's wrong to expect gifts, but I couldn't help wondering what blessing he has for me this time.

Khaire Herme!




Friday, April 11, 2014

Enochian Journal 2: Seven Ensigns and Five Sigillums

The Ensigns of Creation

The Ensigns of Creation should be the easiest to produce since I have just decided to print them out. The hardest part actually is deciding where to print them on. I went to the nearest National Bookstore branch and asked around for something like a cardboard with a metallic color - to represent tin, the material which the ensigns were originally made of. All three salesladies I asked said they had no such thing, so I settled for a white, high-quality, Italy-made, 270gms board paper. I was already going to pay at the counter when I decided to go back and check again. And voila, they do have metallic cardboards - and they were just on the opposite shelf. Darn these salesladies. I chose the one with the light silver tint, but I really like the white board paper too so I decided to get them both.

I found that the right size for the ensigns for my 8"x8" Tabula Sancta should be an inch and a half, giving space for the Sigillum in the middle and not obscuring the letters around the table.

I don't have a printer at home so I had to use the printer at the office, which is a shared printer and is miles away from my cubicle, so printing the ensigns was very tricky. I really don't want the ensigns to end up in somebody's monthly reports, or someone's vacation leave form being printed on my high-quality board papers. Thankfully, none didn't happen and my two sets of ensigns, white and metallic, turned out looking pretty.

I also found that the metallic board paper was heavily scented. Now my ensigns smell like wedding invitation cards.

I have quite a number of copies printed, actually.

 As I place them in sequence on the Holy Table, I try to remember and recite the names of the Kings and Princes of the Tabula Bonorum associated with each ensigns.

The Sigillum Dei Aemeth

I looked around in the internet for a template of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth (SDA). Thankfully there is one, and so I had this printed and xeroxed in 50 copies (you can't have too many). I also had copies reduced to half of it's size for the actual SDA's I will be using.

For writing the names in the Sigillum I used a Dong-A gel pen, but I would have chosen something with a thinner tip as it was challenging to use for drawing some of the characters in the very small SDA. The first Sigillum took me almost 30 minutes, but the rest were progressively easier to make. I was all tensed up as I was writing the characters so I ended up very exhausted. I was tensed because I was very careful not to screw up or else I would have to start all over again. I finished tracing the five Sigillums after about 3 hours, 2 donuts and a large cup of coffee at the Dunkin' Donuts joint. All that was left to do was paste them on a board, cut them out, and draw another sigil on their backsides.

Filling up the Sigillum template is actually a fun activity.

The five small Sigillums fit just quite right on a 10"x15" illustration board.

 Drawing the AGLA sigil on the back of the Sigillums. 
Thank goodness I still remember my geometry lessons.

Front and back of the five SDAs. One to be placed on the table and four under each of the table's legs.

The table and its "accessories" are now complete. I finally have an Enochian temple that fits in a shoe box. Now to begin with the Lamen and the ring.

Enochian Temple Kit

  • Table or Practice (done)
  • 7 Ensigns of Creation (done)
  • 5 Sigillvm Dei Aemeth (done)
  • Lamen
  • PELE ring
  • Optional Stuff:
    • Tablet of Nalvage (optional)
    • 4 Watchtowers (already made them years ago)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Enochian Journal 1: Creating the Tabula Sancta

I've finally gone through Lon Milo Duquette's "Enochian Vision Magick" taking notes on the way. Now I have decided to re-read Donald Tyson's "Enochian Magic for Beginners". I will still be applying LMD's approach but I believe reading other books will give me a more well-rounded view of the Enochian system, Golden Dawn or non-Golden Dawn. Duquette is known for his non-BS, down-to-earth, easy to understand manner, so Tyson's hoity-toity, self-assured tone of writing will take a bit to get used to. And then there's his Enochian Apocalypse theory, which is really hard for me to buy. I find Tyson to be pretty good when it comes to objective research, but I would take his personal conclusions - in this book especially - with a grain of salt, and preferably with margarita.

It's also time to finally get down and dirty with building my Enochian magic kit while practicing my skrying and visionary skills when I have time to. I'm starting with the Tabula Sancta since I already made one before and I figure it is the easiest to do among the bunch. I think I'll get by pretty well with office supplies for now.

I've been studying Enochiana during my weekend café moments. Last week, I was practicing to draw the Sigillum Dei Aemeth. This time, I'm trying to complete the Lamen in Enochian letters before the coffee gets lukewarm. Apparently my mnemonic device works. I finally know how to write with them. The donut sucks by the way. 

Bought my Enochian temple starter kit from National Bookstore and SM home depot for less than 500 pesos. I had to pay even less thanks to gift checks from my boss. Time to turn these stuff into magic.

Done pencilling the Tabula Sancta after an hour and a half of work. I forgot to buy a compass so I had to find the central points the hard way: counting lines on the T-square and using a calculator. Still happy with the result though.

For inking I used a metallic-silver permanent marker. Thankfully the wooden surface's finish allows the ink to cling. I love how the ink reflects the light, it almost seems like it's glowing. Now to finally put the 100 Enochian letters in. 

And...voila! I finally have a mini Table of Practice. It took me about 3 hours to complete - with breaks for uploading photo updates in Facebook and eating a midnight snack, all while listening to French FM radio. Learning the Enochian alphabet really helped in speeding up the process. The size of this table is only 8"x8" so the Seven Ensigns will obviously need to be quite small. These will be impossible for me to make by hand so I'll regrettably have to make do with printed copies.

All in all, here are what I need to make:

Enochian Temple Kit

  • Table or Practice (done, yay.)
  • Lamen
  • PELE ring
  • 7 Ensigns of Creation
  • 5 Sigillvm Dei Aemeth 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Temple Run in Angkor

Just posting some oldish vacation photos to fill the vast void of my blog.

Angkor Wat was a dream. I've been curious about it since I saw its photos in the encyclopedia. I went to Siem Reap on May 2012 with my good pagan friend Aldrin of the House of Two Trees. It was my first non-solo trip out of the country. Cebu Pacific just opened a direct flight to Cambodia and we were lucky to book tickets at the promo price. Being both francophiles we chose to stay in a hotel called "Terrasse des Élephants", which was absolutely gorgeous.

All in all, we visited nine architectural sites in the Angkor area. I was hoping to visit ten but the last one on the itinerary, Banteay Srei, was too far from and there wasn't enough time to get there according to our tuktuk driver/guide Adam. It didn't matter since we were all too templed-out anyway on our last day. We didn't do just temples though. Between temple running (more like temple-crawling actually), we managed to explore the quaint village of Siem Reap where we had a foot massage and fish massage, ate insects, haggled with shop owners, watched a cultural show, got touted at by ugly lady boys, got spooked by an old drunken lady, and had a fight with a waitress who didn't want to accept my dollar bill (okay, that was just me).

Angkor Thom
The capital city of the ancient Khmer empire. I had eyegasm as soon as I saw the looming gate from the tuk-tuk. The complex was actually too huge, we just explored the area in and around the royal enclosure (Phimeanakas) and the pyramid temple Baphuon.


The moat to the sacred city

A large temple located inside Angkor Thom. It's defining feature is the large, creepy, smiling faces of Jayavarman VII scattered around the walls. It must have been so beautiful on its heyday.

Angkor Wat
After having lunch at KFC, we had the entire afternoon to explore the large complex. There were plenty of tourists but it was so huge sometimes we found ourselves walking through empty halls. My gods, this whole structure is unbelievable.


In the inner cloister

Prasat Kravan
First stop on the second day of temple running. A small temple older than Angkor Wat (built in the 10th century) consisting of five reddish brick towers. It seems to be dedicated to the god Vishnu.

Vishnu riding on the garuda.

Banteay Kdei
In front of the artificial lake called Srah Srang (the royal bath) is Banteay Kdei (the citadel of monks). I think this was the temple I had most fun exploring. There was actually a Buddhist monk inside guiding those who wish to make offerings and prayers to the Buddha. Here is also where I bought a water color painting of Angkor Wat made by a young artist. I also bought a ganesh murti from a vendor just outside the complex.

A nun putting a red thread on my wrist after puja.

Ta Prohm
The so-called "Tomb Raider" temple. Giant trees with their roots destroying parts of the temple like snakes coiling on their prey. It would have been more impressive it weren't for the large mass of tourists here.

Ta Keo
An huge temple mountain and a challenge for my fear of heights. It felt like an eternity to climb to the top. We were the only tourists when we reached the top of the temple. A strong rain suddenly began to pour and Aldrin and I had to go separate ways to find cover. Each of us found ourselves in a small crypt-like chamber where we had to wait out the rain alone for several minutes. It was a pretty calming experience actually. How often do you get stuck in the rain in a thousand-year old temple? As soon as we made our way back to our tuk-tuk, our guide told us that the temple was actually dedicated to Shiva and is also called the Temple of Lightning. Hmm, looks like Shiva was trying to impress a couple of pagans.

As you can see, the top of the temple is higher than the canopy of trees.

Preah Khan
Also called The Temple of Sword. What I liked most about it is the serenity. There were quite a few tourists coming here so there were a couple of times when it seems like we had the place all to ourselves.

Around Siem Reap

Watching a Khmer cultural show over buffet.

Exploring Wat Bo, one of the still active Buddhist temples in the city.

Spicy fried crickets, anyone? I was really hoping to find deep-fried tarantulas. They say they taste like crab.

The hotel
Our lodging in the city, "Terrasse des Eléphants". Would have been perfect if it weren't for the door-less, wall-less shower "room".

Pool at the rooftop.

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