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Posts Tagged ‘thelema’

In the previous Epicycle we discussed what a planetary hour is and how they can be calculated. We also briefly touched on how they can be used. Much of the remaining orbits of this series will explore these other techniques. However, before addressing these additional observances I think a valuable question we should be asking ourselves at this point of the discussion is: “What good does all of this do me? Why does timing matter when working with magick?”

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Sunrise over Rosh Ha-Ayin, Israel

At its most basic, a planetary hour can be described as a classical means by which a person is able to put his/herself in accordance with the heavens by dividing the day from sunrise to sunrise (instead of using midnight as the border of one day to the other), ultimately dividing the day into periods ruled by the classically recognized planets. Measured by the amount of light and darkness that is contained from from one dawn to the next, these periods will vary in chronological length depending on the time of the year.

In the past, these variable periods were said to share in the powers and sympathies of the planets associated with them and were consulted when performing certain rites and operations designed to maximize the influence of a particular planet. For instance, if you wanted to be successful in battle (and who doesn’t?) a ritual could be timed to maximize Martial energy – it could be performed on a Tuesday, the day associated with Mars, during one of the four Martial hours that occur during that day. To cinch the deal one could burn dragon’s blood, brandish an iron spear, wear scarlet, etc. etc. If you’re particularly lucky perhaps the planet itself would be in a sign in which it rules or is exalted (i.e. in Scorpio or Capricorn). This would align the “signatures” of the planet in question thus allowing the Magician usage of a clear link between the divinely connected planetary force and us poor, amnesiac schleps stuck here on earth.

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One of my students passed along a link to her documentarian friend, Phyllis Galembo’s, website cataloging ritual clothing. One image is above.

Why?

Recently, in my “Start Yr Own Religion” class we discussed the use of clothing in ritual and ceremony and the difference between “formal wear” and the “come as you are” approach. The question there being, what exactly demarcates a space as “sacred?” Is it because we name it so? What effect does having “special” clothing (robes, gowns, face paint, horns!, skycladness, etc.) have on separating the mundane from the sacred? Is such a dichotomy over-played and unnecessary? Of course, these are questions the sadhaka, the practitioner, will decide for her or his self, individually, or by consensus in community, so in some ways the question is moot. However, when we live in a world where most ritual and rite has been vacated of potency, it helps to at least take a peek at the opportunities we might have to don that headdress or rock up in PJs.

Perhaps it’s a question of urgency -vs- initiation.

[some vids after the bump jump]

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All that is currently pagan blog, The Wild Hunt, posted a nice piece on Chaos Magick by writer, anthropologist, and esotericist Amy Hale, which takes an honest look at some updated critiques of the DIY anarcho-magickal movement started in the 1980s. For those who may be unfamiliar with the movement:

“When Chaos Magick sprung forth in Britain in the 1980s, it styled itself as the naughty child of magickal movements. Inspired by a combination of punk and DIY culture, the work of Austin Osman Spare, Thelema, Robert Anton Wilson, and popular culture, Chaotes like Ray Sherwin and Peter Carroll proposed a rejection of ‘orders’ and ‘traditions’ and ‘lineages’ and advocated an emphasis on the perfection of magickal technique for the purposes of getting results by concentrating on the universals of magickal technology.”

When I first came across Chaos Magick I, like many others before me, felt as if I had stumbled upon the Holy Grail of contemporary esotericism. Anarchistic, pagan, DIY, fuck you, magickal, homo-friendly, Chaos Magick seemed to have it all. Everywhere that neo-paganism failed for me (think: ubiquitously pony-tailed Druid impersonators) CM seemed to pick up the loose ends. For me, CM came as a necessary assault on the preciousness of privileged long ago mysteries. It was an attack on everything that held the old ways to be better than new ones. In short, for me, Chaos Magick was the kick in the ass paganism needed in order to get off the “doth thou” and “wilst ye” train.

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