The Domagick Divination challenge is half over, and so is April. For the last two weeks, my daily method has been determined by a roll of the dice. Adding chance to the mix has freshened up my routine a little, at the very least. It’s also helped me determine that, while I may prefer certain divination systems and styles over others, I can read just about anything with which I’m presented. Some systems, like Ogham, were a bit like riding a bike. After a few moments of awkwardness, it felt natural again. Continue reading #Domagick #Divination Challenge Days 1 – 14
Way back in February, 2017, I posted my first how-to on constructing and launching sigils. That one used the freestyle method. Here is another technique for creating sigils using a magick square or kamea.
Because I am not doing the galdr work with the runes that I thought I would be this time around, I want to point out someone in this Domagick challenge who is. I don’t know them (him? her? zir?), so make no commentary on this blog other than pointing people at the current subject matter. I do wish them good luck! It is a fascinating subject.
Sareth Odinsson’s Blog: The #DoMagick Challenge Day 1
I recently spent two years studying and building relationships with the 72 spirits of the Ars Goetia, approaching them respectfully as a Daemonolater. In medieval times, rituals devoted to these beings typically involved the magus calling on higher powers to force lower ones to do his bidding. After the ritual, he would then exorcise the spirits he evoked for his protection. Modern Daemonolaters prefer to invoke or invite daemons into the ritual space at the beginning of their rites and then thank them for their assistance at the end. Unlike medieval magicians, we feel no need to banish the spirits we work with since we don’t believe they are evil entities.
I find this point of view most closely echoed in magick which calls upon the Norse or Germanic gods, written records of which could be found in Iceland late into twentieth century. In these grimoires, the magicians did not ward themselves against the powers they called upon when working their will. Just as in Daemonolatry, no exorcism was therefore needed at the end. Beyond this, the magic of the Norse depended primarily upon figures known as runes, incantations spoken over the runes, and natural substances such as blood rubbed into them. Of course, traditional daemonic magick revolves around the use of sigils, enns, and blood. Daemonolaters frequently use these three things in a near identical ways too. For example, we might create a set of sigil stones and redden them with our own blood to empower them before use, just as the Norse would have in ancient times.
Of all countries that once worshiped Norse or Germanic gods, Iceland held onto the old ways the longest. However, as the new faith spread and blended with the old, Christian demons began to appear in litanies recorded in the grimoires alongside the names of Odhinn and Thorr. Take for example the end of this rather comical curse from spell 46 of the Galdrabrok, the best documented grimoire in Icelandic history:
“May your bones split asunder, may your gut burst, may your farting never stop, neither day nor night. May you be as weak as the fiend, Loki, who was snared by all the gods. In your mightiest name Lord God, Spirit, Creator, Odinn, Thorr, Saviour, Freyr, Freya, Oper, Satan, Beelzebub, Helper, Mighty God, protect with followers…”
According to spell 43, both Satan and Beelzebub dwell in the Valhöll along with all the “good gods and goddesses.” This is the Icelandic version of Valhalla, the Hall of the Slain where the heroes go, and the place most believers in the Norse gods would want to go when they die. It is the “hall of the elect,” the closest we might conceive of a Germanic heaven. Although placing Satan and Beelzebub there proves the syncretisation of faiths going on, it also helped demonize gods that the Church wished to eradicate. Eventually, this led to the Norse gods being evermore equated with Christian daemons in the eyes of the populace, allowing for the persecution of witchcraft in Iceland. While the level of persecution in Iceland never reached what it did on the continent, almost a third of witchcraft trials there revolved around runes carved on objects or written in discovered grimoires.
Even after the trials stopped in the early 1700s, it seems as if these books were still being copied underground, particularly in rural areas. Two grimoires originally dating from 1790 to 1820 were discovered in the attic of a farm in Elverum, Norway in the 1970s. Another manuscript called only Rún, or Rune, was founded in Iceland several years later. It is believed to have been copied by hand in the Strandir district. It contains a large number of runic encryption alphabets the magicians could have used to hide their work from prying eyes, much like modern practitioners do with Theban or Enochian alphabets today.
Unfortunately, many people who want to use runes today do not even realize that more than one type exists for them to explore. The runes may have begun as a set of 24 letters, but over time different cultures abandoned and renamed certain glyphs. When deciding to learn the runes now, it is important to decide whether you wish to study the Elder or Younger Futhark, especially if you plan to draw on the original rune poems. The Elder Futhark is the most commonly studied system today, but it is not the only avenue for magicians to pursue, especially if they want to study the black books of Icelandic magick, many of which depend on the 16-rune Younger Futhark. Ideally, a runic magician would become skilled with both over time. With only eight days left to decide, I am hemming and hawing over which of the two to use! I’m plowing through the last of the books I want to read by Flowers / Thorrson before the 1st and then I’ll decide.
When I bought my first Tarot deck, the person who sold it to me emphasized it was tool. I was the one doing the reading, and my goal should be to read without cards.
That stuck with me, but it wasn’t until last December I tried it. What I saw scared me, especially when it came true. It wasn’t anything significant outside my social circle, but of enough personal importance that it made me both reluctant to try “seeing” again and sure that I’d have to eventually do so.
In the meantime, I’ve begun Lenormand and decided it was time to return to the runes. Odhinn seemed to be nudging me to do so. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said he didn’t influence my original attempt at seeing.
While I’m not abandoning the idea of working with the runes in December, I don’t need prioritize memorizing any more systems right now. I’m fluent in three of them and can converse passably well in a couple others. That’s a huge symbol vocabulary, but that won’t necessarily help me see well without divinatory tools. That’s something I need to keep in mind when planning future work.
NaNo! NaNo! No, I haven’t been conducted by Mork from Ork. I just decided I need to focus on writing rather than blogging this month. The last book I released was Daemonic Shamanism in July 2017, so I better get my act together if I want to publish in the new year.
Unfortunately, my commitment to seminary eats up the deal of the time I could use to produce work for the public. My main goal this month is to complete my portion of the next training program available through the temple of which I am apart. When I have my rough draft done, I can submit it to the other members of the clergy keep a review. I’m not able to discuss it at this stage in great detail— and I probably wouldn’t even if I could!
While some writers find speaking about their work in progress for some on, I have far more reluctant to do so with anyone other than my closest friends and family. Until I have finished a project’s rough draft, I tend to act like a nervous new mother with her first pregnancy. I won’t discuss my child until it passes through that worrisome and often difficult first trimester. Until then, I don’t want to risk any outside influences affecting or—I’ll admit it—jinxing the creation process. If I speak to you about something I’m writing, especially if I ask your advice, it means I trust you deeply indeed and respect your counsel.
And if I ask you to back off…
Well, to be truthful, the creation is messy. Writers may be likened to gods in some ways, forming our individual little worlds and people from the clay of our dreams, but it isn’t as clean as the myths make it it sound. I can’t speak for Ptah, but I get a lot of dirt under my fingernails while trying to scrape a planet together. It feels less like sitting down at the potting wheel at this point and more like slinging shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. I don’t necessarily want anyone else around while I’m flinging my own poo, you know?
Needless to say, I haven’t forgotten about this place. I haven’t backed off from using the Lenormand daily, either, though I’m not creating as many new spreads as I was last month. At the moment, I’m sticking to three-card draws, reading them both as a past/present/future spread and the triplet to form a sentence. As I approached the end of October, I found my daily practice shifting towards spending more time with my ancestors in the death Daemonic the divination. It’s the season, of course—and will continue to be the season for me until approximately the middle of November. The veil that many Pagans speak of thinning or opening at this time of year did not simply snap back shut as soon as Halloween finished. I personally find the optimal time for spirit communication last until approximately Remembrance Day. I’ll take on my altar and began preparing one for the winter season then.
This might seem early to some. After all, they’re only 12 days of Christmas and none of them are in November. Be that as it may, Odin poked his head in during and my meditations on the Death Daemonic, so could be that Jolnir and the holiday named after him is simply on my mind. It is one of his many aspects.
My friend over at Invoking Belial recently spent a month exploring the Elder Futhark, better known as the runes. I asked him if he would might be taking up the torch, and we spoke briefly about the possibility of interacting with the daemonic through the symbols. The truth is, I already have to some extent. I was using the runes as my primary divination system back in 2009 when I first began to work with Lucifer in a focused way. He reached out during my journeys and I read the runes to both make sense of and verify his messages for some time. Later, when I wanted a larger symbol set to communicate with him, I switched back to Tarot and other card-based oracles. I’d already read cards for over 20 years by then, so they were familiar friends. Since then I’ve continued to use the runes, but mainly for magickal work specifically involving the Norse deities.
When the Domagick challenge for December came up, I realized that I can return to my rune studies and engage them on a far deeper level than I ever had before. In preparation, I’ll be rereading my original rune divination texts, an ancient copy of Gundarsson’s Teutonic Magic and Thorrson’s Runecaster’s Handbook. I will then build on this knowledge by working through Futhark in December, also by Thorrson. During that month, I will meditate on each of the runes while singing the sounds associated with them, or galdr. I will attempt to do this will standing in the shape of the rune as well, a technique known as runeyoga or stadhr. If my body doesn’t permit me to hold that position, I will concentrate on the sound instead.
Immediately following the meditation, while I am still full of the rune’s energy, I will paint it on bristol board with red ink to which I’ve added my own blood. From that point forward, I will be the only person able to read and handle with the runes I produced. This is standard practice when creating a set of runes. In Daemonolatry, a ritual tool created this way is considered bound to the maker, and so it is here. If anyone else wanted to consult these runes, they would ask their questions, and I then would shake the bag or cup that the runes are in and consult the fates.
This may seem counter-intuitive to those who are normally asked to shuffle the deck themselves during a card reading, but with runes it is the castor his or herself who connects with the Norns or Fates to see the future clearly. He or she is the one who interacts with these forces, and thus the only person who should touch the runes. Those wishing to call upon these beings and undertake their own readings need to make a personalized set.
Because I wasn’t a Daemonolater when I first use runes, I never reddened any of the sets I purchased thus far with anything other than red ochre. In the past, I fretted using blood. In the years since, I have bloodied many bindrunes for magical purposes to excellent effect. This will be the first full set of the Elder Futhark I have made completely traditionally, I want to see if they work better for me. Back in ancient times, runes tended to be carved most often into wood and stone. Should this method give me better results, I will eventually sacrifice the entire lot to Odin and create a more permanent lot with similarly.
I’m also considering conducting a 9-day ritual for Odin prior to meditating on any of the runes, but that part of my work remains nebulous at this stage. It has yet to come to me in a fully formed way, so I don’t want to commit to anything.
For the same reason, I find myself unwilling to promise blogging here with any regularity during November, except that I’ll make an effort once a week during my month “off.” Good luck to anyone participating in NaNoWriMo and the next Domagick challenge!