Monday, 16 August 2021

wormwood star

We very much appreciated the introduction to actress, artist, poet and occultist Marjorie Cameron Parsons Kimmel—known by the professional mononym Cameron by way of the short film by friend Curtis Harrington, the eponymous piece featuring Cameron’s paintings and recitations and the sole documentary source for much of her work as much of her fame came posthumously. The title is also in reference to the name she choose for her first child, the first of many moonchildren devoted to the veneration of Horus, Cameron being adherent of Thelema and becoming a convert from her first husband, rocketry pioneer Jack Parsons having also worked at the Joint Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) during World War II, to be breed according to magick sex rituals called “Babalon Working” that Cameron herself oversaw, like a Bene Gesserit mother superior. Instead, Cameron’s surviving child, born on 24 December 1955, from a subsequent marriage though paternity is uncertain was named Crystal Eve. Cameron was also in the film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

your daily demon: sallos

Governing the first degrees of Cancer—from this day until 26 June, the nineteenth spirit is an infernal duke ruling thirty legion of subordinates and presents as a soldier riding a crocodile, as can be seen in his sigil. Despite this fearsome appearance, Sallos is a peacemaker and helps to reconcile relationship strife and encourage fidelity between partners. Opposed by the angel Leuviah, Sallos is possibly a conflation of the iconography associated with the Ancient Egyptian goddess Taweret, a fertility deity often portrayed with Nile crocodile and hippopotamus attributes or the Hindu river gods often personified as carried by the reptile.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

the kick inside

On this day in 1978, Kate Bush’s titular debut studio album (released in February) featuring the hit song Wuthering Heights first entered the UK charts to spend a total of an astounding seventy weeks and peaking with a high of number three. The album also features the song Them Heavy People about being a theological acolyte and the teachings of Jesus and the Russian mystic Gurdjieff, proponent of awakening one’s consciousness fully and following the “Fourth Way.”

Sunday, 25 April 2021

robigalia

One of a number of Roman celebrated during this time of year to ensure a good growing season and bountiful harvest, the feast of the for the god Robigus was held on this day in the agricultural outskirts of the city.
The god, which was designated as the divine representation of fungal blight or rust needed to be propitiated in order to ensure that the crops wouldn’t spoil in the fields. Understood as a separate, corrupt manifestation of the same infestation that could be harnessed for fermentation, the games held at this time with their attendant feasts (see also) were also marked by rather dark sacrifices that expressed their anxieties over crop failure—especially for one this late in the growing seasons that wouldn’t be easy to recover from. Whereas animal sacrifice generally was reserved for livestock that was part of the Roman diet and was shared in a communal meal, Robigalia rather gruesomely demanded a dog with a red coat—that matched the rust disease—as form of homeopathic magic.
Other observations included a celebration of—for whatever reason—of male sex-workers, professional female prostitution having had their own honours in the previous days, specifically on Vinalia urbana, the grape harvest on 23 April. Though without the cruel bits, thankfully—or the fun bits either, I suppose, the holiday is preserved in Western Christianity with the same day of prayer and fasting known as Rogation (from the Latin to beseech—to ask God for protection from calamity) and was done to cleanse the body and mind in anticipation of the Ascension and farmers often had priests bless their crops, often holding mass and processionals in the fields.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

liber legis

Though with the arrival of the ร†on of Horus humanity is supposed to have spiritually evolved to the phase where the precept and obligation to oneself and others was to “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” Aleister Crowley (previously) in 1904 along with his new bride, Rose Edith Kelly, was accountable for a bit more clarification and codification as mediums for a supernatural visitor—a disembodied voice—called Aiwass whom dictated to the newly married couple on their honeymoon in Cairo the three chapters of The Book of the Law of Thelema. Thankfully, each day from the eighth through the tenth of April, sessions only lasted an hour from noon, concluding the with the final volume published five years later, with the couple able to resume their vacation once Crowley emerged from his trance in the part of the hotel suite designated as the “temple,” though it seems that they had already done quite a bit of sight-seeing at this point, with a night spent in the Royal Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza two weeks earlier having the spirits in the first place. While the messenger for the whole of the transcript was Aiwass, each separate character was the first person narrative of the avatars represented by the Egyptian goddess and gods Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khnuit and despite the title contain more revelations and prophesies rather than anything proscriptive, with Crowley claiming to disavow the magical document and only having it published to exorcise the weight it held over him.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

they are not long—the days of wine and roses

Though separated by a considerable distance in the north and the southern part of modern Germany, it’s interesting to note, via the always engrossing Futility Closet, the kindred relationship between the oldest known rosebush and the oldest known uncorked bottle of wine. The Millennium Rose (der Tausendjรคhriger Rosenstock) grows in the apse of the Hildesheimer Dom—dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, and is a non-domesticated variety known as the wild dog, Rosa cainina. Hardier by degrees that cultivated garden varieties that usually only thrive for decades, this especially long-lived specimen is legendary, with Louis the Pious (Ludwig der Fromme), heir to the Holy Roman Empire after the death of his father Charlemagne, happened upon this rosebush after becoming separated from his hunting party. Sacred to the Saxon goddess Hulda, the lost emperor sought shelter there but offering a prayer to the Virgin Mary through a reliquary he carried with him. Ludwig rested and upon waking, he found his icon irretrievably stuck among the branches—taking this as a sign from the pagan goddess that she was to be replaced in veneration. The emperor’s entourage found him and Ludwig pledged that his city should be founded in this spot and constructed the cathedral around the rosebush. In March of 1945, Hildesheim was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid which razed the cathedral as well. The rose’s extensive root system was intact and began to flourish again the next season as the city was rebuilt. The Speyer wine bottle (Rรถmerwein) was recovered from a Roman tomb outside of the city (see also) in the mid 1800s and since dated to the fourth century of the common era. This grave good is contained in a glass vessel and is one-and-a-half litres in volume, two modern standard bottles and is shaped like an amphora with dolphins ornamenting the handles. There is no intention of opening it.

Monday, 29 March 2021

cult classics

Via ibฤซdem, we are directed to a gallery of some of the now dwindling fringe spiritual groups of California showcasing their chapels, meeting halls and reading rooms, which through the lens of decades of separation though a few are still active and claim many followers seem positively benign and even refreshing compared to the movements and gimmicks that we’re made to endure these days. What do you think? So long as they don’t take all your money or supplant science—particularly medical science—with woo, they seem as OK as any other organised religion. The Guardian correspondent pay visits to our old friends at the Unarian Society, the Lermurian Fellowship and many others like the pictured altar of Aetherius (that reminds us of the set of I Dream of Genie), whose congregation is communing with the Cosmic Masters for our collective benefit.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

your daily demon: bael

The first Goetic spirit listed on the calendar of demons, the infernal and principle king that commands sixty-six legions and rules from this day, the beginning of Aries, until 25 March, is probably a syncretism of the Canaanite deity Ba’al and presents in the forms of a cat, man or toad simultaneously. Sometimes conflated with Beelzebub—Lord of the Flies—Bael’s office is to impart the power of invisibility to the exorcist and is countered by the Shem HaMephorash angel Vehuiah.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

your daily demon: haures

This sixty-fourth spirit—also known as Flauros probably on account of a scribal error, and presents as a svelte leopard, probably our most Furry-like infernal encounter yet judging by written depictions but you’ll need to use your imagination, is a great duke and if summoned correctly will reveal the truth about all things—elsewise he equivocates and lies just as convincingly. Commanding thirty-six legions and governing from toward until the eighth of February and is opposed by the archangel Mehriel. Incidentally, the names of the corresponding angels are derived from a “seventy-two fold name,” a Kabbalistic cipher describing a hidden name of God—the Shem HaMephorash ( ืฉื ื”ืžืคื•ืจืฉ), which is some forms of Satanism is ritualistically employed in the form “shemhamforash” as anti-hallelujah or amen and understood as “Hail Satan.”

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

benedictus deus

Overseen by three successive popes between the years 1545 and 1563, the nineteenth ecumenical council of Trent (Concilium Tridentinum), called in response to the popularity of the Protestant Movement, and seeking to define the difference between the two sects and establish the rules that Catholics were to follow was ratified on this day in 1564 by Pius IV—with the thrust of the decrees and definitions forbidding Catholics, under pain of ex-communication, unauthorised interpretation. Judgment and enforcement was the reserve of the pontiff alone and shortly afterward the Index liborum prohibtorum was published specifying which books were banned as heretical.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

your daily demon: amy

Also known as a Hanni, this demon with the rank of President—corroborated and conflicted depending on one’s sources—initially presents as a flame (as seen in the sigil) until called upon by the summoner and knowledge in astronomy and the liberal arts and reveal hidden treasures, ruling the fifth quartile of Capricorn corresponding with this day, Epiphany, through the tenth of the month. Opposed by the angel called Ieialel, this fifty-eighth spirit in the calendar of demonology reportedly harbours the believe that he and his legion can reclaim the throne of the Seventh Heaven after twelve centuries have passed.

Monday, 21 December 2020

vรจvรจ

Either derived from a common cosmogram or schema representing the constellations or from the Nsibidi syllabary used by some peoples of West and Central Africa taken to the Americas by enslaved diaspora (or a bit of both), the religious symbols used in voodoo ceremonies and rituals is comparable to our extensive vernacular of signs and sigils employed in demonology and serve a similar purpose—which makes the later magicking seem like fanboy appropriation. Described as a beacon, vรจvรจs represent astral forces and compel the loa, lwa—that is the intermediary or medium—to do the bidding of the summoner, provided adequate sacrifice is offered. As with creating a mandala, the symbol is drawn on the flood with a mixture of sand and ash.

Friday, 18 December 2020

saint sebastian

Definitely the saint portrayed as the thirstiest, this captain of the Praetorian guard that prudently, sensibly hid his Christianity from Diocletian is venerated on this day in the Orthodox Church on the occasion of his martyrdom in 288, born around 256. Once his faith was revealed, the emperor (previously) ordered him lashed to a tree and shot with arrows. The firing squad departed, leaving Sebastian for dead, but he was able to miraculously recover—with the help of Saint Irene, widow of one of his previously martyred companions. Later Sebastian ambushed and berated Diocletian for his sinful ways and petitioned for better treatment for the Christian community. 

The emperor was first taken aback by such open and direct criticisms, especially from one who was supposed to be dead but soon regained his composure and ordered the saint to be cudgelled to death—probably not as pretty of a picture. Patron of the persecuted, archers and athletes, this Apollonian figure is also the protector of the plague stricken, due to a conflation with Hermes during medieval times, whom was said to deal diseased arrows from on high, and possibly because of his initial recovery which granted him a second martyrdom (called a sagittation and a fairly common theme) and that the wounds resembled the pox and buboes, whose appearance was alarming but not always a sign of certain death.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

variola major

With humankind since the beginning, claiming at least half-a-billion lives over the ages, scarring and maiming countless more, and surely the inspiration for all manner of curse and blight and vengeful and contractual god, on this day in 1979—after centuries of observation that a bit of homeopathy was promising innoculation and informing a more potent technique for Edward Jenner in 1796, able to later route the contagion’s last few sanctuaries and hiding places, a group of eminent epidemiologists, later confirmed by global public health agencies, were able to declare the eradication of smallpox. That is no small feat to banish the plague that informed and entangled an incredible portion of what we are as beings.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

saturnin

Identified as one of the seventy-two disciples at the Last Supper—the image of the head table is the one we are most familiar with—Greek bishop and martyr dispatched by Pope Fabian, himself famously elected to office after a pigeon alighted on his head during the conclave, to Toulouse as one of the apostles to the Gauls to re-establish Christian communities after Emperor Decius ordered their dissolution, is venerated on this day on the occasion of his death in 257. Attributing the silence of their pagan oracles to the constant presence of this meddlesome priest—their altars at the capitol (le Capitole de Toulouse) passed by congregants daily on their way to the Christian church, they seized Saturninus, who refusing to sacrifice to their gods, tied him to a raging bull and to be dragged through the streets until the rope broke. A similar fate befell one of Saturnin’s pupils, Saint Fermin, who died in Pamplona. Symbolically this martyrdom is an inversion of the mysteries of the cult of Mithras, involving the ritual slaughtering of a bull. Called tauroctony, and this tautology thereof is enshrined in many of the names of streets, squares and churches of Toulouse.

hello frens

Born on this day in 1752 (†1819) to Quaker settlers in the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations as Jemima Wilkinson after succumbing to severe illness—probably a bad case of typhus—died and was reborn as a genderless evangelic to be henceforth known as the Public Universal Friend. Preaching beliefs fairly in line with Quaker heterodoxy, the Friend eschewed her former identity and rejected gendered pronouns and generally referred to themselves as PUF. Rejecting the notions of predestination and the elected, the Friend believed that revelation could come to anyone and the congregation, the Society of Universal Friends, included enslaved people and Native Americans and was an early advocate for emancipation and equal rights.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

your daily demon: furcas

Ruling portion of the infernal progression from today until 2 December and attaining uniquely among his cohort the rank of knight, this wizened man sat agee is the fiftieth in the calendar and can be summoned to dispense knowledge on things pertaining to rhetoric, according to the Ars Goetia, as well as chiromancy and pyromancy. Named after the Greco-Roman term for sepulchre, Furcas’ invocation is said to bring peace of mind and dispels anxiety.

Friday, 27 November 2020

jumping jehoshaphat

Albeit only tenuously connected with the title epithet and expression, this day marks the veneration of saints and martyrs Barlaam and Josaphat, the former the tutor engaged for the emendation and education of the latter, a young Indian prince and unquestionably based on the life and subsequent enlightenment of the Gautama Buddha, Siddhฤrtha.

Trying to make the predictions that his son would become a Christian (the gospel having been brought to the sub-continent by Thomas the Apostle) null and invalid by isolating him, Josaphat—the Arabic name Bลซdhasaf ultimately derived from the Sanskrit term Bodhisattva—converted after meeting the hermit Barlaam and sustained his father’s rage, whom eventually relented and abdicated, transferring power to his son, whom in turn relinquished it all and went away to live with his spiritual guide. The phrase that we are brought to originated in the nineteenth century with the particularly American affection for minced oaths, later echoed by Bugs Bunny’s nemesis Yosemite Sam and invokes rather a king in Judea (whose name is probably epithetical, meaning God has judged)referenced in the biblical book 2 Chronicles who implored his army to remain strong and steadfast insofar as the battle was not theirs but God’s, and once they are winning, he jumps in righteous jubilation. Josaphat’s father also became a disciple of Barlaam. As much as a skeleton of a narrative these stories are everyone (though not discounting the anchoring details in every one), the Buddhist version that Christianity co-opted seems far more persuasive and one not for astonishment but rather for aspiration.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

merrymount and misrule

Whilst the stereotypical view of the pilgrim settlers of New England as stern and dour religious fanatics the espoused entitlement and supremacy is largely deserved and echoed throughout history and circumstance doesn’t change with the exception, it was quite heartening to read this essay from Ed Simon regarding a counter-cultural, even subversive element to our traditional colonialists. Lawyer, author and social reformer Thomas Morton (*1579 – †1647) founded a colony in present day Quincy, Massachusetts based on utopian ideals, freedom of thought and Bohemian (some would characterise it as Bacchanalian) way of life and integrating with the aboriginal population that was a firm repudiation of Puritanism and their practises. Unfortunately Moron’s alternative (not perfect but certainly preferable) was not allowed to thrive by Plymouth (they seemed to be especially preoccupied and judgmental over Morton frolicking around a Maypole), hoping to retain a monopoly on fur and tobacco trade enforced through religious heterodoxy. Learn more at Public Domain Review at the link above.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

your daily demon: bifrons

From the Latin for “two-faced” like Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, endings, transitions, borders and thresholds, the infernal earl who rules sixty legions of spirits and governs the second quadrant of Scorpio, is ascendant from the seventh through the twelfth of November. This demon according to the Ars Goetia and other sources imparts knowledge of herbs and the curative properties of precious stones and has the ability to shift the departed in their plots from one place to another.