In my latest novel, Eternal Witch, the main character Zaria is not averse to using sorcery to get what she wants. In this brief extract, she explains to Ethan, her lover, how she prepares for performing a magical operation which involves charging a Sigil:
Ethan frowned : he could tell by her manner that Zaria was holding back on him. He tried to disguise his irritation.
“ You want to be careful,” he said. Abruptly, however, he smiled, and attempted to change the subject, he said : “ So : what is your magnificent plan for today, then ? ”
“ Netflix,” she said.
“ What ? ” he said. He looked round at the room’s flat-screen TV, and briefly wondered whether she meant she wanted him to connect it to a computer. He looked back at her, puzzled.
“ My plan for world domination – or at least to take one step closer to it,” she said. “ I intend to take advantage of the opportunities offered by internet-streamed television. In fact, I’ve already got the sort of business-deal I have in mind. So we’re going to work a sigil which will enable me to close it.”
“ Oh really ? ” Ethan said. “ So how did you come up with this sigil then ? Out of curiosity.”
Zaria stared at him. “ I thought you said you read up on these things ? ”
“ Humour me.”
“ Well,” she began. “ In order to set a spell intention in the first place, you need a Well-Formed Outcome. Anything woolly and the spell won’t work.” She paced about in front of him, as he sat and listened to her. She continued : “ So I realized that I could make sure my outcomes were well-formed, by borrowing a technique from NLP.”
“ What, Natural-Language Processing ? ”
“ No, you idiot ! ‘Neuro-linguistic Programming.’ ”
“ Ha ha, I knew what you meant all along,” Ethan said. “ I was just joshing with you. So what technique is this ? ”
“ Say what ? ”
“ P-O-S-E-R-S. It’s a mnemonic,” she explained. “ ’P’ stands for ‘Positive.’ You should always express your intention as a Positive. Look… say you’ve got a general wish like, ‘I don’t want to be poor.’ The first step is to change that to a Positive – so : ‘I want to be rich.’
“ The ‘O’ stands for ‘Own-part.’ You have to express it in terms of what you do yourself – not rely on others to do for you. So you change ‘I want to be rich’ to ‘I want to make myself rich.’
“ Then, the first ‘S’ stands for ‘Specific’ – you know : who, what, where, when, how and why. So this transforms a generality into an actual plan. This is where it gets complicated, sort of… I had to do a lot of brain-storming with myself, but I eventually came up with the idea – of monetizing one of my songs, by convincing the producer of an upcoming Netflix serial to feature it as the theme-music – by this time tomorrow.”
“ Tomorrow ! ”
“ Sure ! ” she said. “ No time like the present ! ”
Ethan looked dubious. “ Isn’t that rather too soon ? ”
She shook her head. “ One thing I’ve learnt is that magick really does work instantaneously. Trying to give it a long period for it to work – supposedly because that feels realistic ? That’s just allowing unbelief in magick to creep in by the backdoor. Unbelief is fatal to magick. Please don’t tell me you’re frightened of a sign that magick actually works ! ”
“ No, no,” Ethan said. “ This time tomorrow. OK, I’m game… What do the E, R and S stand for ? ”
“ Hmm ? Oh yes. The ‘E’ is the Evidence for success, as in : what kind of sense-based evidence do I experience that tells me I’m successful ? So I imagine my goal in terms of : ‘I see this TV producer with a smile on his face, as I hear him telling me he wants to agree to it. I feel confident and assertive as I visualise myself closing the deal. I feel happy as I hold a large cheque in my hands which I see has got my name written on it.’ ”
“ OK. ‘R ?’ ”
“ ’Resources’ – I make a mental list of whether I’ve got all the resources to actually do this. Got the song ? Check. Got the serial ? Check. Got the contacts necessary to make the introductions ? Check. Got the skills necessary to handle the negotiations ? The determination ? The charm ? ”
“ The massive tits ? ” he said, allowing a stupid grin to cross his face.
She stopped pacing and leaned over towards him. “ Check, check, check ! ” she said, playfully smacking him with each word, for emphasis.
“ Ow ! ” he said. He rubbed his arm where she had hit him. “And the final ‘S ?’ ”
“ ’Scale.’ I make sure whether my plan is the right scale. Am I thinking too big ? In which case, do I need to concentrate on something more basic in order to achieve my goal ? Or am I thinking to small for it to motivate me ? In which case, do I need to step up to something more ambitious ? ”
“ Do you ? ”
She creased her brow in thought, and paused a moment, before saying : “ No. I think I’ve got it just right. It’s achievable, it’s realistic, and when it’s successful, it will lead on to bigger and better things of its own accord.”
“ I don’t know about all this. It sounds as if you’ve got it all worked out – but doesn’t all the fine detail defeat the beauty of the simplicity of it all ? ”
“ How do you mean ? ”
“ Well : say for example you do try to create a sigil – like in Chaos magick. You express your spell intention in a simple sentence. Then you knock out the repeating letters and the vowels, and create a sigil from the remaining letters – and then you’re ready to go. Probably doesn’t take more than five minutes before you actually have a worked-out sigil to use in your charging ceremony. But what you describe… if you tried to write that all down, you couldn’t write it in one sentence, it would take a page or more ! ”
She sighed in mock exasperation. “ Silly boy ! ” she said. “ The knocking-out-the-repeating letters method is only one way of creating a sigil. People think that just because it’s the most popular, or the most well-known, that it’s the only way ! What I do – when I’m going through this mental process of generating a well-formed outcome, I enter an altered state of consciousness – an immersive experience – where I’m totally absorbed by seeing it all go successfully, hearing it, and feeling it as well. And then : whilst I’m in this altered state, I’ve got my hand on a planchette which has a pencil attached – and that makes my sigil for me ! ”
She looked round the room for a moment – and then saw she had dropped her tote bag by the door, where she and Ethan had first tussled. She walked over and brought it back to the centre of the room, taking a pad of paper out it. She plonked the bag down and opened the pad to where she had drawn a strange design, curving and re-curving back on itself in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. She showed it to Ethan.
He stared at it. “Automatic writing, in other words ? ”
“Alright, I admit it, I’m impressed. Just one thing though - ” he said.
Zaria looked at him.
“ You said you felt disturbed earlier, right ? ” he said. “ If that’s the case, might not a better thing to concentrate on at this particular time, would be to deal with whatever was disturbing you ? You know, like Healing ? ”
Zaria did a double-take at him. Memories of what she had said when talking with Sofija briefly arose in her mind – making her feel uneasy. She tried to suppress them.
“ But I’ve had this planned meticulously ! ” she said, letting a note of irritation enter her voice. “ You don’t know how much effort I’ve put into this.”
Ethan shifted uncomfortably. He could tell she meant : “ You don’t know what you’re talking about.” “ Even so… ” he persisted.
“ When we form the Magic Circle, that in itself will banish all disturbing influences,” she said. “ So it’s irrelevant.”
“ OK, OK,” he said. He knew from her tone of voice that she thought the matter settled. He stood up, and looked straight at her. “ So let’s start.”
Eternal Witch is available now in Paperback and Kindle Ebook from Amazon.
… but then we shall see face to face.
John Dee, the famous Elizabethan Mathematician, Scholar and Occultist, continues to exercise a powerful hold over the British imagination. So much so that British newspaper The Guardian this weekend featured a nice article this weekend about Dee’s “Shewstone” or black-obsidian disc with which he got Edmund Kelly to skry all the wonders of what we nowadays call Enochian Magic.
The article in question was about a new exhibition at the Tate St Ives (Cornwall, not Cambridgeshire) about magic and modernity. This proved to be somewhat ironic as according to the article, the exhibition neither featured the work of a modern magic practitioner, nor did it feature John Dee’s Shewstone. Ah well, serves me right for reading such a miserable excuse for a paper. Back to The Daily Telegraph for me in future!
But this got me thinking that I should take this opportunity to write a blog piece about Dark Mirrors and their use in magic generally.
A “dark mirror” or Speculum (not to be confused with the medical instrument of the same name) is not so much a conventional mirror but a black shiny surface in which one’s reflection may be perceived. It is used in magic for evocations.
Now a number of magicians seem to think that when performing an evocation, the spirit somehow materialises within the Triangle of Art out of thin air – but a survey of both classic magic texts and modern sources suggests that this is not the case. A great many texts suggest that the object of evocation is to make a given spirit appear in some sort of skrying medium: the most famous example of which would be the classic Crystal Ball.
However a number of other media have also been described as being used – e.g. Dee’s black-obsidian disc, or a bowl of water (a technique favoured by the Ancient Egyptians) or a small quantity of black ink held in the palm of one’s hand. Anything in fact which is black and shiny.
Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825 – 1875) advocated the use of dark mirrors for skrying purposes. He recommended using two sheets of glass, one flat and the other (the skrying surface) concave: the space between the two sheets of glass was to be filled with black ink. Randolph also wrote down practical instructions for getting started in dark-mirror skrying. (See his book Sexual Magic).
Eliphas Lévi (1810 – 1875) famously attempted to evoke the spirit of Appolonius of Tyana into a mirror. Technically he succeeded (he claimed that an apparition of Appolonius appeared) but for all the good it did him he might have just as well tried reading the tea-leaves.
Franz Bardon (1909 – 1958) in his book Initiation Into Hermetics also describes how to create magic mirrors for the purpose of skrying. According to Bardon there are several methods – such a mirror can be made from an actual mirror or glass bowl, a concave glass disc (such as can be obtained from clock-makers), or bowl which has been made by oneself out of plaster-of-paris. Knowledge of what Bardon calls “fluid condensers” – substances which attract magical influences in a kind of very simplified alchemy – is necessary to render the mirror effective. Once prepared – and assuming that one undergoes all of the other steps required for magical training – the magic mirror can be used for skrying the various planes of existence, contacting dead people, contacting magical entities, and numerous other magical effects.
The most famous practitioner of dark-mirror skrying today is Carroll “Poke” Runyon, founder of the Ordo Templi Astarte. Runyon has stated that he re-discovered the practice all by himself in the early seventies, and uses it to contact the seventy-two spirits of the Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon (whilst using a crystal ball for contacting angelic beings). See The Magick of Solomon.
What is being observed when one looks into a dark mirror? The reductionist-materialist would say that it is merely a dim reflection of oneself. However, in every case of evocation with which I am familiar, the magician does not just sit down in front of the object, but prepares himself with a great deal of magic ritual, which involves concentration and entering into an ecstatic or visionary state of consciousness. Runyon for example explicitly states that both raja yoga and self-hypnosis are necessary requisites for proper skrying in the dark mirror. Therefore although the physical cause of the apparition is the dim reflection of the skryer, what the skryer perceives is in fact the sum total of the influences at work on his or her mind at that particular moment, due to the magical ceremony in progress.
There is a description of a dark mirror skrying operation in my novel which I do not recommend readers carry out literally – it is meant to be the direct opposite of what a normal respectable magician would do in real life. On the other hand it is meant to convey an authentic flavour of what a vile, degenerate luciferian ceremony would consist.
Finally I should point out that several magicians claim that it is not necessary to “see” a spirit in order to evoke it properly. Lon Milo Duquette for example has claimed success with Goetic operations, but readily admits that when he evokes a spirit he feels its presence rather than seeing it. In Chaos Magick, an evocation refers to evoking the effects of a magical force to physical manifestation, not necessarily to evoking a visible appearance of the force itself.
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Tagged as chaos magick, dark mirror, eliphas levi, Enochian, evocation, franz bardon, goetia, John Dee, Lon Milo Duquette, paschal beverly randolph, skrying