Solomonic Invocation of Archangel Gabriel and Cauldron of Art Consecration

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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Note: This article and all images contained herein are Offerings of thanks to the great Archangel Gabriel, not unto my glory, but unto the glory of the Most High. May all of the praise and honour be to Him and Him alone. All photos were taken after the Temple was closed. All communications from the Angel are shared here with permission for the extension of the Good for the benefit of all beings and the accomplishing of the Divine Will. May all beings be well, blessed, and free from suffering, amen!

Date: Monday, January 14, 2018
Sun Phase: Set
Moon Phase: Waxing, First Quarter (58% Illumination, as close as possible to the 50% suggested by the Heptameron) in 3 degrees Taurus
Mansion of the Moon: Thurayya
Planetary Day: Day of the Moon
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Moon
Activities: Solomonic Ritual Bathing with Hyssop; Crafting Gabriel’s Sigil; Dressing Candles for Cyprian and Gabriel; Preliminary Prayers; Offerings to the Most High and to Saint Cyprian of Antioch; Heptameron Prayer; Invoking the Angels of the Four Directions as per Heptameron; Psalm 103 Recitation; Conjuration of Gabriel; Exorcism and Consecration of the Cauldron by Cyprian and Gabriel; Scrying with Gabriel; Temple Closing 

For the past few days, I have felt a strong call not only to consecrate my new Cauldron of Art, but to invoke the Archangel Gabriel as well as my Patron St. Cyprian of Antioch for help in the process.  I was receiving a strong nudge, of the kind I often receive from Saint Cyprian or the Holy Spirit, that Gabriel would have a message for me. Therefore, I began a 3-day regime of ritual purity in preparation, culminating in today.

The timing for the Operation was appropriate. The Heptameron requires in “Of the Manner of Working” that if possible, “Let the Moon be increasing and equal, if it may then be done;” at 58% illumination, the ‘equal’ requirement was almost perfectly met  (Peterson, 2008). In addition, the Moon today is in the Lunar Mansion of Thurayya, which is, as Picatrix (12th century) says, proper for “the acquisition of all good [things].” Agrippa (16th century) adds that it is good for “happy fortune and every good thing.” It is especially a good time for new creative ventures and asking for assistance and favours.

After a ritual bath with hyssop, I got into my white robe and stole, put on my Cyprianic rosary, scapular, and Cyprianic bracelet, and covered my hair with a black covering.  Proceeding to the Temple, which had already been arranged prior to the beginning of the Planetary Hour, I sounded the Bell of Art three times before entering the Circle as per the Hygromanteia. Then, I entered the Circle, and began preliminary prayers to the Divine while asperging the Circle, Altar, and all Instruments of the Art with Holy Water.  I then took up my Solomonic Sword and traced over the outer line of the Circle with its point. I put down the Sword and picked up my Wand. 

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First, I presented Offerings to the Most High and asked for His Help in sending His servant, Gabriel to be present with me and aid me in this Operation of the Art. Next, I presented Offerings to my Patron, St. Cyprian of Antioch, of Frankincense, a Candle dressed with Chili, Mugwort, and San Cipriano Oil, and bread drizzled with Maple Syrup. I poured his previous week’s offering of Spring Water into the Cauldron on the Altar and sprinkled it with Mugwort. I asked St. Cyprian to assist me in exorcising it, which I proceeded to do, while rubbing it with water from St. Cyprian’s water glass as Conjureman Ali recommends. I then asked if the Saint would bless it for use in all Operations of the Art and empower and charge it with prayers to the Most High and his own skill in the Art.

With this done, I proceeded to the Heptameron Prayer prior to Conjurations. I then asked Cyprian to aid me in bringing to the Circle those Spirits I would call and similarly called upon the Holy Spirit to aid me in this way. Then, I took up the Bell of Art and my Wand and then called the appropriate Angels of the First Heaven, ruling on Monday, as per the Heptameron, as follows:

  • From the East.
    • Gabriel. Gabrael. Madiel. Deamiel. Janael.
  • From the West.
    • Sachiel. Zaniel. Habaiel. Bachanael. Corabael.
  • From the North.
    • Mael. Vuael. Valnum. Baliel. Balay. Humastrau.
  • From the South.
    • Curaniel. Dabriel. Darquiel. Hanun. Anayl. Vetuel (Peterson, 2015).

Next, I sang Psalm 103 and then, while holding the Wand, proceeded with the Heptameron Conjuration of Gabriel. I performed the Conjuration in song-like vibratory pitch, slow and powerful. When it was done, I suffumigated and sprinkled Gabriel’s Sigil, which I had drawn in the Day and Hour of the Moon during the waxing Moon at its ‘equal’ stage, and stared at while vibrating Gabriel’s name over and over again. I continued in this way until I felt his presence in the room growing stronger. His presence struck me, as always, as powerful, incredible ancient, and yet warm and compassionate. I gave him consent to speak into my mind, or through the incense smoke, or otherwise to guide me how best he would like me to communicate with him on this day.

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To begin, I asked him to confirm his presence by moving the three streams of incense smoke visibly to the left, which he promptly did. Then, I welcomed him, knelt before the Altar, and blessed him with great love and respect and offered him gifts of incense, bread drizzled with maple syrup, a blue candle dressed with Saint Cyprian Oil, Mugwort, and White Sesame (sacred to the Moon). I asked him if the Offerings were acceptable to him and a deep, warm voice began to speak in my mind, feeling quite distinct from my own, saying:

These gifts were not necessary. But the kindness of your heart is appreciated.

I told him I was glad to hear this and how grateful I felt that he was here. I reminded him that I had always felt a loving connection with him and hoped I could learn much from him as he accompanied me on the journey of life.

I then asked him if he had any wisdom to offer me at this point in time. His message was as profound as it was moving:

O Son of Humankind, turn your vision to this candle flame you have offered unto me. To we Angels, this is what your human lives are like — a fleeting flame, that burns for the flash of a moment. Just as soon as it came, it is gone. For us, your entire human history, all that has passed, is now, and ever shall be, is but a flame of this same kind. Simply a flash of light in the darkness. The light of your life is not even yours, but a gift from your Lord, a sharing of His Light. And yet, how arrogant are your fellow human beings! How great you exalt yourselves, while fleeting flames!

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I felt so humbled by his words as I knelt before the Altar. I confessed my own shortcomings in this area, the many ways in which I had missed the mark. I then asked the Archangel what we, as individuals can do to help our fellow human beings in this time when we fleeting flames are so exalting ourselves, so out of balance, and seemingly so lost. The great Angel replied:

First, notice the fragility of human life. How easily blown out is a small and flickering flame. Give thanks for the light bequeathed to you. Then tend to your flame. Having tended to your own flame to strengthen it, tend to the flames of those with whom you share your world. Let your every meeting with another strengthen their flame, not weaken it. And as you strengthen them, so shall you be strengthened.

Then turn to the flames as yet unlit, flames only to be lit hundreds and thousands of years from now, the flames of future beings. Let your actions now, tend to their flames then. Tread lightly on the Earth, lest, in seeking to strengthen your own flame, your actions blow out theirs. Many among you are desperate and hurting. We see you and we help you as best we can as we are Willed to do. You are not alone. Show your fellow beings hope as you have been shown hope. Strengthen them as you have been strengthened. Nurture the Light bestowed on you. For your Father is in you as you are in Him. And all you meet are but Him in disguise.”

I thanked him for his wisdom. Then, out of curiosity, I asked Gabriel something I had long wondered. How did Mary, mother of Yeshua, respond when Gabriel went to see her and told her she would give birth to a son? Asked this question, his presence in the room seemed to brighten as if resonating with a fond and beautiful moment and he said:

She was surprised, as any would be. But she was humble. She surrendered to God’s Will. She did not elevate herself, but lowered herself, grateful. Her life became an offering, for she knew the blessings bestowed on her would be given to all.

I asked Gabriel if he would aid me by touching and blessing this Cauldron of Art for work to extend the Good as is the Will of the Most High. I was instructed to place the candle I offered unto him into the Cauldron and place his Sigil over the rim of the Cauldron.

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Then Gabriel spoke these words:

As this candle flame’s light fills this Cauldron, so, too does my Light bless it now. Use it for good or not at all.”

I said I would and then asked Gabriel for another request. Would he bless me with the honour of formally becoming one of my Patrons, to guide me in life and in my service to others, and lead me deeper into the Divine Mysteries? Much to my joy, the Angel replied:

As you have asked, it shall be. If you humble yourself and nurture the flames in others, then I will nurture the flame in you. Wherever you are, I too, will be. When you worship your Father, I will be there by your side. As God is in you, so be in God, for you and your Father are One. And there is none that do not abide in Him. Some know it, some do not. Nurture those who know and those who do not alike.

The wise know this: to humble yourself infinitely is to realize the Divine infinity in you. If you are willing to lay yourself so low as to be Nothing, then you shall realize the Nothing that is All. If you raise yourself up, you shall be brought down, but if you bring yourself down, you shall be raised up. To those who offer themselves for the good of the All, the All will be offered for the good of them. Receive by giving.”

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I asked if there was any final thing that the Archangel would like to show me before we closed.

“Gaze carefully into the Candle flame within the Cauldron.”

I did as instructed. Soon my gaze begun to fade out, distant and yet close. Both of my hands gripped the Altar on either side. I remained there for a few moments. And then a peculiar thing began to happen. My perspective seemed to zoom out, so that I could see my body kneeling before the Altar. Suddenly I became aware that Gabriel was not confined to the candle flame, to the Cauldron, or to the Altar. Instead, he was all around me, everywhere I looked and everywhere I could not see. His massive presence with thousands of wings surrounded the entire Circle…

Gazing within the Cauldron, the perspective shifted out further and further and further. Until I saw the whole Earth in Gabriel’s embrace, his vast white Wings of light wrapped around it, nothing out of his reach…

Remember the smallness of the candle flame…” He said.

I thanked him for his presence and invited him to enjoy the Offerings as long as he pleased, as I did to Cyprian. I then thanked the Angels and Spirits of the Four Directions for their presence and aid, blessing them with the Bell and with prayers each in turn. I gave the License to Depart to all spirits present and then formally closed the Temple, leaving the candles offered unto Cyprian and Gabriel flickering in the Temple.

A humbled, but joyful loving feeling glowed within me for hours after the Operation. How grateful I feel for even a moment in the presence of Gabriel. How grateful I feel for all of the beautiful candle flames whose light adorns my life, my friends, family, students,  colleagues, Fraters and Sorors, and loved ones. How they bless me with their light. May I always remember my responsibility to each of them and never take them for granted. I close with these all-important words of an Angel far wiser than this humble flame…

First, notice the fragility of human life. How easily blown out is a small and flickering flame. Give thanks for the light bequeathed to you. Then tend to your flame. Having tended to your own flame to strengthen it, tend to the flames of those with whom you share your world. Let your every meeting with another strengthen their flame, not weaken it. And as you strengthen them, so shall you be strengthened.”

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Three Kings Magic: Magi Lore and Christian Folk Rites on the Feast of Epiphany

By Adam J. Pearson (Frater S.C.F.V.)

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1. Celebrating the Coming of the Three Kings: Introduction to Epiphany Magic on the Feast of the Adoration of the Magi

On January 6th, the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate the Feast of Epiphany or the Feast of the Adoration of the Magi, a day richly layered in lore, folk magical resonances, apocryphal tradition, and esoteric and exoteric practices  alike.  About this most sacred and magical of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Feast Days, the traditional text of the Catholic Roman Rite reveals that

“In the East, the Church has long emphasized in her celebration of Epiphany the mystery of our Lord’s baptism, and by analogy our baptism.  This aspect is not neglected in Western Christendom, although in practice we have concentrated on the visit of the Magi.  Many years before the Latin Rite officially adopted the blessing of Epiphany water, diocesan rituals, notably in lower Italy, had contained such a blessing” (Fortescue, O’Connell, & Reid, 2009). 

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As Dr. Alexander Cummins (2018), contemporary Wise Man and author of the fantastic Book of the Magi: Lore, Prayers, and Spellcraft of the Three Holy Kings – Folk Necromancy in Transmission has described in tremendous depth, the Biblical Magi enjoyed a widespread Medieval cultus, accrued rich lore and hagiographic depth via authors such as Pseudo-Bede and John of Hildesheim’s Historia Trium Regum or “History of the Three Kings,” and inspired a wide range of folk magical practices.  

One of the earliest depictions of the Adoration of the Magi is located on a Roman sarcophagus from the 4th century CE from the cemetery of St. Agnes in Rome.  This depiction represents the Magi as three, a dominant trend in Christian literature and art despite the Wise Men’s not being either named or numbered in the Bible and the existence of rival Orthodox accounts that conceive of up to 12 different Magi in Adoration of the newborn Christ (Cummins, 2018; Longenecker, 2017).  This Roman depiction portrays the Magi, often traditionally named as Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior as identically dressed in Saturnine Phrygian caps and accompanied by camels, who have also interestingly accrued their own lore as having overheard the wisdom of the Magi and passed it on to their camel (Cummins, 2018):

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The verses about the Magi in the New Testament are remarkably sparse, and yet packed with meaning when they do occur, as in Matthew 2:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem
and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (NIV, 2018).

While their number is indeterminate, their mission and its foundation are clear; they have interpreted astrological signs in the Heavens and come “from the East” to worship the new King that the coming of a new star has indicated.  Matthew 2:2 thus inaugurated the longstanding tradition, later lauded by prominent Renaissance figures such as  Marsilio Ficino in his Apologia, De Vita and De Stella Magorum, of both ascribing astrological wisdom to the “Wise Men” and of validating astrology as a manifestation of esoteric wisdom in the West (Buhler, 1990).  Indeed, the Magi had attentively recorded “the exact time,” vital for astrological analyses, when they had glimpsed the Messianic Star, as Matthew 2:7 makes clear when Herod finds out “the exact time the star had appeared” from the Wise Men.

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The final verses relating to the Magi in Matthew 2 report that

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route (NIV, 2018).

These few verses and the devotional engagement of generations of subsequent Christians produced a many-splendoured lore around the Magi as Patrons of travel and pilgrimage, masters of offerings and gift-giving, and, in the occult community, as great Magicians who could be worked with necromantically and be called upon in conjurations and charms (Cummins, 2018).  As their traditions developed, unique materia magica emerged under their aegis, which ranged from consecrated Epiphany Chalk used to inscribe protective symbols over doorways and thresholds to Epiphany Water used in house cleansings (Cummins, 2018).  As visitors to the first “home” of Christ, the Three Kings sympathetically acquired the power to facilitate the entry of Christ into the homes of the Christian faithful.  In folk occult circles, their Feast Day on January 6th acquired a reputation as a particular auspicious day for the consecration of magical implements, which even came to be required in some texts such as the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (Peterson, 2006).

Beyond traditions surrounding Epiphany Chalk and Water, other folk customs coalesced around the Kings as the mythos of the Magi unfolded.  One such custom involved children writing letters to the Magi (los Reyes Magos de OrienteLos Tres Reyes Magos or simply Los Reyes Magos) with requests for gifts and leaving offerings of water and food out to the Magi and their camels in a manner reminiscent of Santa Claus traditions (Cummins, 2015). Also similar to the Santa Claus tradition, a hallowed tradition in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay, involved having the children receive presents from the three “Reyes Magos” on the night of January 5 (Epiphany Eve) or morning of January 6, Epiphany proper.  A different, but related, custom in Manila, in the Philippines involved children leaving out shoes on Epiphany Eve in the hopes of receiving gifts of sweets or money from the gift-giving Magi.

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The Three Kings as depicted in an Epiphany Parade in the Philippines.

In addition, a custom of holding Parades or Cavalcades in the honour of the Kings flourished in nearly all Spanish cities, in some cities in Mexico, in Poland and elsewhere (Przybylska, 2015).  The celebratory energy of the Kings’ Epiphany additionally poured out in song in Catholic areas of the German-speaking world, where Sternsingers or “star singers” carried a star from door to door representing the one followed by the Biblical Magi while singing Christmas carols such as “Stern über Bethlehem” (Cummins, 2018). Interestingly, a similar costumed singing Magi tradition developed in the Philippines as well, as evident in the following image by photographer Sidney Snoeck:

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Moreover, cakes also came to be associated with the Magi as sweets offered to groups of celebrants.  In Spain and Portugal, a ring-shaped cake (in Portuguese: bolo-rei) was served on Epiphany.  The cake contained a small figurine of one of the Magi or a small baby Jesus and a dry broad bean.  The finder of the figure was crowned with a cardboard or paper crown and given the responsibility of hosting the family celebration for Candlemas or Candelaria on February 2nd while the recipient of the bean was required to pay the value of the cake to the person who originally bought it (Cummins, 2018).  Mexican celebrants similarly developed a ring-shaped cake Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bagel or Thread) with figurines inside it.  Related traditions surrounding Epiphany cakes containing beans, King figurines, baby Jesus figurines, or crowns could be found in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and even New Orleans, Louisiana and southern Texas with Mardi Gras “King Cakes” (Poché, 2007). Such cakes took a circular form reminiscent of kingly crowns and might be enjoyed alongside a fine beverage like Jason Miller’s (2016) Three Wise Men  Cocktail:

Three Wise Men Cocktail:
1 part Scotch Whisky (recommend a blended Scotch for Coctails. Johnnie Walker Red or Black. Green, Gold and Blue should never be mixed with anything else.
1 part Tennessee Whiskey (e.g., Jack Daniels).
1 part Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (e.g., Jim Beam White or Black Label).

Serve either neat or on the rocks, according to taste. Variations include:

Three Wise Men Go Hunting Cocktail, which is the recipe above with the addition of Wild Turkey Bourbon.

The Three  Men and a Baby Cocktail: recipe above, add milk. (YUCK!)” (Miller, 2016).

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How can contemporary Magicians, particularly those interested in folk Christian and Solomonic magic, benefit from the magical traditions linked to Epiphany and the Three Kings of the East?  In the remainder of this article, I will offer some ideas and ritual scripts for blessing Epiphany Chalk, consecrating Three Kings Water, doing House Cleansings, and doing protective Epiphany Door Chalkings, as well as some practical folk magical applications inspired by the Magi.  In so doing, we will touch on the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, the Heptameron, the Key of Solomon, and Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft as we symbolically tread in the footsteps of the camels of the Ancient Kings.

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2. The Blessing of Epiphany Chalk

The following is my version of a ritual method for Blessing of Epiphany Chalk, which combines Key of Solomon methods with Daryl Moresco’s (2016) version of the Epiphany Chalk Blessing from the Order of Carmelites into a folk-Solomonic hybrid.  Keen readers will note that I have slightly modified the wording of the Carmelites’ version of the Blessing so that the resulting Chalk of Art is consecrated not only for house blessings but also for drawing magical figures.  The latter is a key instrumental technology within the grimoiric system of the The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, which call for a “Pentagon, or, the Omnipotent Five-Corners” to be drawn in chalk consecrated on the Day of Epiphany:

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As the text itself explains:

“This mysterious figure must be written before the exorcism, in the open air, and in the ground, with consecrated [Epiphany] chalk or with the index finger of the right hand dipped in holy three-kings-water [Epiphany Water, see below], the same as it is written up on the paper, but each line must be thirteen feet in length.

The conjuror then kneels in the centre of the star, with un­covered head and with face turned toward Zion, and calls first in a loud voice, coming from the heart, the names of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, thirteen times, and after calling these thirteen times, he must also then call the high and sacred name of Elohim 375 times with equal fervor and faith. But only as has already been stated in the Laws of Entrance, No. 10, in the first three days or nights of the new moon, or full moon, or when Saturn, Mars and Jupiter appear in the heavens” (Peterson, 2006).

Thus, to properly practice the 6th and 7th Books of Moses method, the Magician is required to have either Epiphany chalk or the Epiphany Three Kings Water, and even uses the names of the Magi to consecrate the protective Pentagram in which the Magician kneels to do the Operation.

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My Method for Blessing the Chalk

Before the Church service, Exorcise the Chalk using this modified formula based on the Key of Solomon (Peterson, 2004):

The Exorcism of the Chalk

Hold your hand over the chalk and say:

“CAMIACH, CANTAC, EMIAL, MIAL, EMORE, BARCA, MARBAT, CACRAT, ZANDAC, VALAMACH;1 by these most holy names, and the other names of angels which are written in the book ASSAMAIAN [The ‘Sepher Ha-Shamaiim,’ or ‘Book of the Heavens.’], I exorcise and conjure thee O Creature of Chalk that thou assist me in this operation, by God the true, God the holy, the God who hath created thee.”

[then say,

“O Angels and Names of the Most High ADONAY, ELOHY, AGLAY, AGLATHA: May you be our help, so that our speech may be fulfilled through you.  Almighty ADONAI, ARATHRON, ASHAI, ELOHIM, ELOHI, ELION, ASHER EHEIEH, SHADDAI, O God the Lord, immaculate, immutable, EMANUEL, MESSIACH, YOD, HE, VAU, HE, be my aid, so that this Chalk may have power and efficacy in all wherein I shall wish, and in all that I shall demand.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Suffumigate the chalk with consecrated incense and sprinkle it with a small amount of Holy Water, then bring it to Church on the Day of Epiphany (January 6th).  If you do not have any Holy Water at hand at this time, the chalk can also be sprinkled with Epiphany Water made on this same day according to the method given below.

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Interior of Our Lady of Kazan Church, Irkutsk, a Russian Orthodox Church built between 1885 and 1892.

During or after the Church service on the Day of Epiphany, January 6th, quietly pray the following prayers over the chalk.  Although there is some flexibility with timing this ritual, as in the Magical Consecration by Mass, the optimal time to pray the prayers of blessing is during the moment of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  In any case, one way to proceed with the blessing of the Chalk is as follows:

The Blessing of the Chalk

Our help is the Name of the Lord:
The Maker of heaven and earth.
The Lord shall watch over our going out and our coming in,
As over our work in the magical Art:
From this time forth for evermore.

Let us pray:

Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to trace holy figures in the Art of Magic or to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones, the Three Kings and Great Magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home and all who participate in our Operations of the magical Art; this we pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen (Adapted from Moresco, 2016).

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If you would like to go the extra mile and create your own Chalk containing materia magica from scratch, Conjureman Ali outlines a procedure for doing so in a detailed post entitled “Making Magical Chalk” (Ali, 2012).  Commenting on Ali’s method, Dr. Alexander Cummins (2018) offers some additional ideas as well as a simplified method of his own ingenious devising:

“These instructions include adding a pinch of herbal materia, and you should feel confident in employing your familiar plant allies that accord with the mysteries of this house and threshold blessing: to begin the year afresh, protected each time one journeys out of one’s home and purified each time one returns. I have used the Three Purifiers of the Grimorium Verum (that is, marjoram, mint, and rosemary) about which I have held forth at length in my article for the second Conjure Codex by Hadean Press. Other herbs of the Magi include hyssop, rue and anise. These could be added in very small dried quantities or even infused in Triple-Kings Water to be added to the dry chalk mix. One might also employ (sparingly!) frankincense and/or myrrh essential oil/s.

I will also say that, given the sheer time required to properly make chalk from scratch (especially the removal of the inner membrane, not to mention the grinding), I also have been known to use this quicker method:

Take three pieces of chalk and baptize them in the names of the Three Kings with holy water, with Three Kings Water being best. Grind them to dust with blessed salt. Add a small amount of infusion of rue, as well as frankincense and myrrh oils. Shape the wet mass into three sticks of new Three Kings chalk. Consecrate. Pray a Blessing of the Chalk” (Cummins, 2018).

As a relevant side note, consecrated Epiphany Chalk can be very useful for drawing Circles such as those used in the Heptameron system, which have to be modified by the day, hour and season, as in the following diagram from the grimoire (Peterson, 2018):

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Moreover, for those who work with chalk markers using an approach like the Solomonic Candle Magic system of the aptly named Balthazar, blessing the chalk markers on the Day of Epiphany can be a wise and fruitful exercise.

3. The Blessing of Epiphany Water or Triple Kings Water

The following method for the blessing of Triple Kings Water is a rather lengthy ritual that I developed with the purpose of faithfully integrating the Roman Rite‘s official liturgical method for consecrating Epiphany Water with the consecration of Salt and Holy Water methods from the Key of Solomon (Fortescue, O’Connell, & Reid, 2009; Peterson, 2018).  Christian folk Magicians and Solomonic Magicians may find it pleasantly resonant with their other practices. 

For ease of use, I have also included the full versions of all relevant Psalms used in the method drawing on the Clavicula Salomonis’ Holy Water method in the ritual script below (Peterson, 2018).  In addition, in order to infuse the magical Rite, the versions of the Psalms I have included feature the original Hebrew Divine Names rather than the English translations thereof, drawing on the Names of God Bible.  For those who are interested, the rationale for this approach of using Divine Names in their original language has been discussed in more detail by Dr. Stephen Skinner (2013) in his Doctoral Thesis, in its adapted form in Techniques of Graeco Egyptian Magic, as well as in my Glitch Bottle interview with Mr. Alexander Eth.  

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RITUAL OF THE BLESSING OF EPIPHANY WATER

Ritual Setup: 1. At the appointed time the celebrant, vested in white cope (if a bishop, the mitre is worn but removed during the prayers), and the deacon and subdeacon, vested in white dalmatic and tunic respectively, come before the altar. They are preceded by acolytes, who carry the processional cross and lighted candles (which are put in their proper place), and by the other clergy. A vessel of water and a container of salt are in readiness in the sanctuary.

[Adam’s Note: Adapt the setup as needed. At the very minimum, have a vessel of water, salt, a candle, and incense].

First the Litany of the Saints is sung, during which time all kneel.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All you Holy Angels and Archangels,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Jude,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists,
All you holy Disciples of the Lord,
All you holy Innocents,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,
Sts. John and Paul,
Sts. Cosmas and Damian,
All you holy Martyrs, Saints Cyprian and Justina,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All you holy Bishops and Confessors,
All you holy Doctors,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All you holy Priests and Levites,
All you holy Monks and Hermits,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Anastasia,
St. Catherine,
St. Clare,
All you holy Virgins and Widows,
All you holy Saints of God,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
Lord, be merciful,
From all evil,
From all sin,
From your wrath,
From a sudden and unprovided death,
From the snares of the Devil,
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,
From the spirits of uncleanness,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquake,
From plague, famine, and war,
From everlasting death, 
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
By the mystery of your holy Incarnation,
By your Coming,
By your Birth,
By your Baptism and holy fasting,
By your Cross and Passion,
By your Death and Burial,
By your holy Resurrection,
By your wonderful Ascension,
By the coming of the Holy Spirit,
On the day of judgment, 
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Be merciful to us sinners, Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will spare us,
That you will pardon us,
That it may please you to bring us to true
penance,
Guide and protect your holy Church,
Preserve in holy religion the Pope, and all
those in holy Orders,
Humble the enemies of holy Church,
Give peace and unity to the whole Christian
people,
Bring back to the unity of the Church all
those who are straying, and bring all
unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
Strengthen and preserve us in your holy
service,
Raise our minds to desire the things of
heaven,
Reward all our benefactors with eternal
blessings,
Deliver our souls from eternal damnation,
and the souls of our brethren, relatives,
and benefactors,
Give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
Grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That it may please You to hear and heed
us, Jesus, Son of the Living God,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,
Spare us, O Lord!

Graciously hear us, O Lord!

Have mercy on us.

 

Christ, hear us,
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

After the invocation, the Celebrant rises and sings the following two invocations, the second in a higher key:

Holy Lord, we ask that you bless  this holy water of Epiphany.

We beg you to hear us.

That you bless  and sanctify  this sacred water of Epiphany.

We beg you to hear us.

After this the Celebrant chants the Pater Noster in English or in Latin as given here:

“Pater noster, qui es in caelis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum,
adveniat regnum tuum,
fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne inducas nos in tentationem;
sed libera nos a Malo. Amen.”

Then the following Psalms are sung:

Psalm 28

1 O Yahweh, I call to you.
O my rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me.
If you remain silent,
I will be like those who go into the pit.
2 Hear my prayer for mercy when I call to you for help,
when I lift my hands toward your most holy place.
3 Do not drag me away with wicked people,
with troublemakers who speak of peace with their neighbors
but have evil in their hearts.
4 Pay them back for what they have done,
for their evil deeds.
Pay them back for what their hands have done,
and give them what they deserve.
5 Yahweh will tear them down and never build them up again,
because they never consider what he has done
or what his hands have made.

6 Thank Yahweh!
He has heard my prayer for mercy!
7 Yahweh is my strength and my Magen.
My heart trusted him, so I received help.
My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.
8 Yahweh is the strength of his people
and a fortress for the victory of his Messiah.
9 Save your people, and bless those who belong to you.
Be their Roeh, and carry them forever.

Celebrant: Glory be to the Father.

All: As it was in the beginning.

Psalm 45

For the choir director; according to shoshannim;[a] a maskil by Korah’s descendants; a love song.

1 My heart is overflowing with good news.
I will direct my song to the king.
My tongue is a pen for a skillful writer.

2 You are the most handsome of Adam’s descendants.
Grace is poured on your lips.
That is why Elohim has blessed you forever.
3 O warrior, strap your sword to your side
with your splendor and majesty.
4 Ride on victoriously in your majesty
for the cause of truth, humility, and righteousness.
Let your right hand teach you awe-inspiring things.
5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies.
Nations fall beneath you.
6 Your throne, O Elohim, is forever and ever.
The scepter in your kingdom is a scepter for justice.
7 You have loved what is right and hated what is wrong.
That is why Elohim, your Elohim, has anointed you,
rather than your companions, with the oil of joy.
8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia.
From ivory palaces the music of stringed instruments delights you.
9 The daughters of kings are among your noble ladies.
The queen takes her place at your right hand
and wears gold from Ophir.

10 Listen, daughter! Look closely!
Turn your ear toward me.
Forget your people, and forget your father’s house.
11 The king longs for your beauty.
He is your Lord.
Worship him.

12 The people of Tyre, the richest people,
want to win your favor with a gift.
13 The daughter of the king is glorious inside the palace.
Her dress is embroidered with gold.
14 Wearing a colorful gown, she is brought to the king.
Her bridesmaids follow her.
They will be brought to you.
15 With joy and delight they are brought in.
They enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your father.
You will make them princes over the whole earth.

17 I will cause your name to be remembered throughout every generation.
That is why the nations will give thanks to you forever and ever.

Celebrant: Glory be to the Father.

All: As it was in the beginning.

Psalm 146

1 Hallelujah!

Praise Yahweh, my soul!
2 I want to praise Yahweh throughout my life.
I want to make music to praise my Elohim as long as I live.

3 Do not trust influential people,
mortals who cannot help you.
4         When they breathe their last breath, they return to the ground.
On that day their plans come to an end.
5 Blessed are those who receive help from the El of Jacob.
Their hope rests on Yahweh their Elohim,
6         who made heaven, earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
Yahweh remains faithful forever.
7 He brings about justice for those who are oppressed.
He gives food to those who are hungry.
Yahweh sets prisoners free.
8 Yahweh gives sight to blind people.
Yahweh straightens the backs of those who are bent over.
Yahweh loves righteous people.
9 Yahweh protects foreigners.
Yahweh gives relief to orphans and widows.
But he keeps wicked people from reaching their goal.
10 Yahweh rules as king forever.
Zion, your Elohim rules throughout every generation.

Hallelujah!

Celebrant: Glory be to the Father.

All: As it was in the beginning.

***

The Celebrant then chants the following Exorcism [Note: cross denotes performing the Sign of the Cross]

The Exorcism against Satan and the Apostate Spirits

In the name of our Lord Jesus cross Christ and by His power, we cast you out, every unclean spirit, every devilish power, every assault of the infernal adversary, every legion, every diabolical group and sect; begone and stay far from the Church of God, from all who are made in the image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of the divine cross Lamb. Never again dare, you cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the Church of God, nor to strike the chosen of God and to sift them as cross wheat. For it is the Most High God who commands you,  cross He to whom you heretofore in your great pride considered yourself equal; He who desires that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. God the Father cross commands you. God the Son cross commands you. God the Holy  Spirit commands you. The majesty of Christ, the eternal Word of God made flesh cross commands you; He who for the salvation of our race, the race that was lost through your envy, humbled Himself and became obedient even unto death; He who built His Church upon a solid rock, and proclaimed that the gates of hell should never prevail against her, and that He would remain with her all days, even to the end of the world. The sacred mystery of the cross cross commands you, as well as the power of all the mysteries of Christian faith. The exalted Virgin Mary, Mother of God cross commands you, who in her lowliness crushed your proud head from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. The faith of the holy apostles Peter and Paul and the other apostles cross commands you. The blood of the martyrs and the devout intercession of all holy men and women commands you.

Therefore, accursed dragon and every diabolical legion, we adjure you by the living cross God, by the true cross God, by the holy cross God, by the God who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have life everlasting; cease your deception of the human race and your giving them to drink of the poison of everlasting damnation; desist from harming the Church and fettering her freedom. Begone Satan, you father and teacher of lies and enemy of mankind. Give place to Christ in whom you found none of your works; give place to the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, which Christ Himself purchased with His blood. May you be brought low under God’s mighty hand. May you tremble and flee as we call upon the holy and awesome name of Jesus, before whom hell quakes, and to whom the virtues, powers, and dominations are subject; whom the cherubim and seraphim praise with unwearied voices, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!

Next, All Sing the following antiphon and canticle:

Antiphon

ALL: Today the Church is espoused to her heavenly bridegroom, for Christ washes her sins in the Jordan; the Magi hasten with gifts to the regal nuptials; and the guests are gladdened with water made wine, alleluia.

mag

Recite the Canticle of Zachary from Luke 1.68-79:

Celebrant: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! He has visited His people and brought about its redemption.

ALL: He has raised for us a stronghold of salvation in the house of David His servant,

Celebrant: And redeemed the promise He had made through the mouth of His holy prophets of old–

ALL: To grant salvation from our foes and from the hand of all that hate us;

Celebrant: To deal in mercy with our fathers and be mindful of His holy covenant,

ALL: Of the oath he had sworn to our father Abraham, that He would enable us–

Celebrant: Rescued from the clutches of our foes–to worship Him without fear,

ALL: In holiness and observance of the Law, in His presence, all our days.

Celebrant: And you, my little one, will be hailed ‘Prophet of the Most High’; for the Lord’s precursor you will be to prepare His ways;

ALL: You are to impart to His people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of their sins.

Celebrant: Thanks be to the merciful heart of our God! A dawning Light from on high will visit us

ALL: To shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadowland of death, and guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Celebrant: Glory be to the Father.

ALL: As it was in the beginning.

At the end of the canticle the antiphon given above is repeated.

Antiphon

ALL: Today the Church is espoused to her heavenly bridegroom, for Christ washes her sins in the Jordan; the Magi hasten with gifts to the regal nuptials; and the guests are gladdened with water made wine, alleluia.

Then the Celebrant sings:

Celebrant: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Celebrant: Let us pray. God, who on this day revealed your only-begotten Son to all nations by the guidance of a star, grant that we who now know you by faith may finally behold you in your heavenly majesty; through Christ our Lord.

ALL: Amen.

Next the Celebrant blesses the water:

Celebrant: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

ALL: Who made heaven and earth.

From here on the exorcism of salt and the prayer that follows it as well as the Psalms used to consecrate the Water.

From the Key of Solomon

Say these words over the salt:–

The Blessing of the Father Almighty be upon this Creature of Salt, and let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hence from, and let all good enter herein, for without Thee man cannot live, wherefore I bless thee and invoke thee, that thou mayest aid me.

Then say:

TZABAOTHI MESSIACH, EMANUEL, ELOHIM GIBOR, YOD HE VAU HE; O God, Who art the Truth and the Life, deign to bless and sanctify this Creature of Salt, to serve unto us for help, protection, and assistance in this Art, experiment, and operation, and may it be a succour unto us.

Then say over the water:

I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, by Him Who hath created thee and gathered thee together into one place so that the dry land appeared, that thou uncover all the deceits of the Enemy, and that thou cast out from thee all the impurities and uncleannesses of the Spirits of the World of Phantasm, so they may harm me not, through the virtue of God Almighty Who liveth and reigneth unto the Ages of the Ages. Amen.

Prayer, say:

EL strong and wonderful, I bless thee, I adore thee, I glorify thee, I invoke thee, I render thee thanks for this water, so that this water may be able to cast from away all impurity and concupiscence of heart, through thee, O holy ADONAI; and may I accomplish all things through thee who livest and reignest unto the ages of the ages. Amen.

After this cast the Salt into the vessel wherein is the Water, and say the following Psalms over the Water to complete its transformation into Holy Water:

Psalm 102

O YHVH, hear my prayer,
and let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in trouble.
Turn your ear toward me.
Answer me quickly when I call.
3 My days disappear like smoke.
My bones burn like hot coals.
4 My heart is beaten down and withered like grass
because I have forgotten about eating.
5 I am nothing but skin and bones
because of my loud groans.
6 I am like a desert owl,
like an owl living in the ruins.
7 I lie awake.
I am like a lonely bird on a rooftop.
8 All day long my enemies insult me.
Those who ridicule me use my name as a curse.
9 I eat ashes like bread
and my tears are mixed with my drink
10 because of your hostility and anger,
because you have picked me up and thrown me away.
11 My days are like a shadow that is getting longer,
and I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O YHVH, remain forever.
You are remembered throughout every generation.
13 You will rise and have compassion on Zion,
because it is time to grant a favor to it.
Indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 Your servants value Zion’s stones,
and they pity its rubble.
15 The nations will fear YHVH’s name.
All the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 When YHVH builds Zion,
he will appear in his glory.
17 He will turn his attention to the prayers
of those who have been abandoned.
He will not despise their prayers.
18 This will be written down for a future generation
so that a people yet to be created may praise Yah:
19 “YHVH looked down from his holy place high above.
From heaven he looked at the earth.
20 He heard the groans of the prisoners
and set free those who were condemned to death.
21 YHVH’s name is announced in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem
22 when nations and kingdoms gather
to worship YHVH.”

23 He has weakened my strength along the way.
He has reduced the number of my days.
24 I said, “My El, don’t take me now in the middle of my life.
Your years continue on throughout every generation.
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth.
Even the heavens are the works of your hands.
26 They will come to an end, but you will still go on.
They will all wear out like clothing.
You will change them like clothes,
and they will be thrown away.
27 But you remain the same, and your life will never end.
28 The children of your servants will go on living here.
Their descendants will be secure in your presence.”

Psalm 54

O Elohim, save me by your name,
and defend me with your might.
2 O Elohim, hear my prayer,
and open your ears to the words from my mouth.

3 Strangers have attacked me.
Ruthless people seek my life.
They do not think about Elohim.[a] Selah

4 Elohim is my helper!
Adonay is the provider for my life.
5 My enemies spy on me.
Pay them back with evil.
Destroy them with your truth!

6 I will make a sacrifice to you along with a freewill offering.
I will give thanks to your good name, O YHVH.
7 Your name rescues me from every trouble.
My eyes will gloat over my enemies.

Psalm 6

O YHVH, do not punish me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage.
2 Have pity on me, O YHVH, because I am weak.
Heal me, O YHVH, because my bones shake with terror.
3 My soul has been deeply shaken with terror.
But you, O YHVH, how long . . . ?

4 Come back, O YHVH.
Rescue me.
Save me because of your mercy!
5 In death, no one remembers you.
In the grave, who praises you?

6 I am worn out from my groaning.
My eyes flood my bed every night.
I soak my couch with tears.
7 My eyes blur from grief.
They fail because of my enemies.

8 Get away from me, all you troublemakers,
because YHVH has heard the sound of my crying.
9         YHVH has heard my plea for mercy.
YHVH accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be put to shame and deeply shaken with terror.
In a moment they will retreat and be put to shame.

Psalm 51

1 Have pity on me, O Elohim, in keeping with your mercy.
In keeping with your unlimited compassion, wipe out my rebellious acts.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my guilt,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3         I admit that I am rebellious.
My sin is always in front of me.
4 I have sinned against you, especially you.
I have done what you consider evil.
So you hand down justice when you speak,
and you are blameless when you judge.

5 Indeed, I was born guilty.
I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 Yet, you desire truth and sincerity.
Deep down inside me you teach me wisdom.
7 Purify me from sin with hyssop, and I will be clean.
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness.
Let the bones that you have broken dance.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and wipe out all that I have done wrong.

10 Create a clean heart in me, O Elohim,
and renew a faithful spirit within me.
11 Do not force me away from your presence,
and do not take Ruach Qodesh from me.
12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me,
and provide me with a spirit of willing obedience.

13 Then I will teach your ways to those who are rebellious,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Rescue me from the guilt of murder,
O Elohim, my savior.
Let my tongue sing joyfully about your righteousness!
15 O Adonay, open my lips,
and my mouth will tell about your praise.
16 You are not happy with any sacrifice.
Otherwise, I would offer one to you.
You are not pleased with burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifice pleasing to Elohim is a broken spirit.
O Elohim, you do not despise a broken and sorrowful heart.
18 Favor Zion with your goodness.
Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Young bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 67

May Elohim have pity on us and bless us!
May he smile on us. Selah
2 Then your ways will be known on earth,
your salvation throughout all nations.

3 Let everyone give thanks to you, O Elohim.
Let everyone give thanks to you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing joyfully
because you judge everyone with justice
and guide the nations on the earth. Selah
5 Let the people give thanks to you, O Elohim.
Let all the people give thanks to you.
6 The earth has yielded its harvest.
May Elohim, our Elohim, bless us.
7 May Elohim bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth worship him.

At the end of the blessing the priest sprinkles the people with the blessed water.

Lastly the “Te Deum” is sung, given here from the Book of Common Prayer:

We praise thee, O God: we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee: the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud: the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim: continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty : of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles: praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets: praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs: praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world: doth acknowledge thee;
The Father: of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true: and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost: the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory: O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son: of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man: thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death:
thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God: in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come: to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants:
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints: in glory everlasting.

O Lord, save thy people: and bless thine heritage.
Govern them: and lift them up for ever.
Day by day: we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us: have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us: as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted: let me never be confounded.

Celebrant: Eternal God and Father,
by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed:
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service,
and live this day in love to one another and to you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Celebrant: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

ALL: Peace be with you. Amen.

chalk2

4. The Three Magi House Chalking Ritual

The following is adapted from the versions used by the Order of Carmelites (2016). Have the Head of the Household pick up a piece of consecrated Epiphany Chalk.

Pray as follows:
The Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who Incarnated into human form over two thousand years ago. May the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year and may the Holy Spirit be present and aid us in all of our workings both mundane and magical. Amen.

Using the blessed Chalk, trace at the top of your doorway to your home–and potentially other key doorways, such as the door leading into a dedicated Temple room for Magicians–with a pattern such as this,:

20 † C † M † B † 19

[The numbers refer to the calendar year (20 and 19, for instance, for the year 2019). The crosses stand for Christ.  The letters have a two-fold significance: C, M, and B are the initials for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar), but they are also an abbreviation of the Latin blessing Christus mansionem benedicat, which means, May Christ bless this house.”]

After tracing the letters and numbers, pray the following:

Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; empower us with success in all of our workings of the magical Art in accordance with your Will; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Father Adonai, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen

chalk.jpg

5. The Epiphany House Cleansing Ritual

Consecrate Epiphany Water on the Day of Epiphany.  Take up a Solomonic Aspergillum or other Aspergillum.

Recite the following prayer from Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Withchcraft (1584):

“O Lord show us thy mercy, and we shall be saved. Lord hear our prayer, and let our cry come unto thee. Let us pray.

O Lord God Almighty, as thou warnedst by thine angel, the Three Kings of Cologne, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, when they came with worshipful presents towards Bethlehem: Caspar brought myrrh; Melchior, incense; Balthazar, gold; worshiping the high king of all the world, Jesus God’s Son of heaven, the second person in the Trinity, being borne of the Holy and clean Virgin S. Marie, Queen of Heaven, Empress of Hell, and Ladie of all the world: at that time the holy angel Gabriel warned the aforesaid Three Kings, that they should take another way Home, for dread of peril, that Herod the King by his ordinance would have destroyed these three noble Kings, that meekly sought out our Lord and Saviour. As wittily and truly as these three kings turned for dread, and took another way: so wisely and so truely, O Lord GOD, of thy mightiful mercy, bless us now at this time, for thy blessed passion save us, and keep us all together from all evil; and may thy holy Angels defend us. Amen.”

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Then pray the traditional Catholic liturgical house blessing prayer:

O God, our True Light and Savior, You have deigned to be baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist to renew all men by the cleansing water of regeneration (Tit. 3:5) and to enter under the roof of Zacchaeus, bringing salvation to him and his house (Lk. 19:9), now, You, O Lord, protect also all those who dwell in this house from all harm and injury; grant them Jordan’s blessing, purification of soul and body, and good health; and hear all their supplications, which are for their salvation and life eternal.

For blessed are You, O Lord, together with Your Eternal Father and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

Now, walk about the house, sprinkling Epiphany Water in each room while saying

“May this space be blessed with the Gifts of the Three Kings Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior and in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

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6. Other Magical Ideas for Celebrating Epiphany and the Three Kings

a. Blessing and Reconsecrating Tools and Magica

The Epiphany Mass is an incredibly auspicious time to reconsecrate and bless magical tools and materia using the technique of Consecration by Mass.  During Epiphany Mass, I have performed cryptoconsecratio on most of my key Solomonic tools from the Wand to the Aspergillum, and Bell of Art, prayed Epiphany blessings over magical Rings, Pentacles, and other magical tools such as my Cyprianic rosary and scapular, and divinatory tools such as my Tarot cards and amethyst Runes.  I have also benefited from the Epiphany Mass as an optimal time in which to bless herbs, spices, and other materia magica.  Backpacks and suitcases facilitated the carriage of multiple tools and materia into the Church at once for this purpose, although sometimes drawing a suspicious eye from less esoterically-inclined churchgoers.

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b. Reciting Charms and Crafting Three Kings Talismans

As a final practical option for the magical celebration of Epiphany, here are a final set of magical rites that draw on the Three Kings and are very much in the spirit of the Feast of the Adoration of the Magi. The first is a talismanic method from Dr. Cummins.  This sleek approach is followed by a triplicity–one for each King–of ideas for Magi-inspired rites drawn from Scot’s Discoverie of Withcraft (1584).

To begin, Dr. Alexander Cummins has developed an elegant and tradition-grounded method to craft an Epiphany Talisman:

A Gift of Adoration

Finally, I present this devotional charm which developed from both my research into the history, folklore and cultus of the Three Holy Kings, and my own practice, supported and verified by divination and spiritwork.

            A Bag of the Adoration

On Epiphany, take a white silk bag and place inside gold, frankincense and myrrh. As you place these items in the bag, declare: as the Magi adored the Christ Child, so are these gifts given to the glory of Son known by the Star in the East. Pray. Invoke and cross + CASPAR + BALZATHAR + MELCHIOR + Tie it shut and hang three king charms from the knot. Smoke it in Three Kings incense and feed it Three Kings oil. You now have a talismanic representation of the authority of the Anointed One as well as a Star to call the Magi.

The king charms mentioned can be crown charms, or could be elaborately carved king figurines, or even small Christmas tree decorations of the kings. For various reasons I prefer using king chess-piece charms. Three Kings incenses and oils can be found at many botanicas – and you should of course be supporting your good local folk magic shops!

The essential features of the bag are of course the Three Gifts: I recommend you do your own research into as many significances of gold, frankincense, and myrrh as you can find. Scriptural, pre-Christian, historical, economic, cultural, magical, medical, mythic, environmental. Consider the research itself a devotional journey – an ongoing unfolding pilgrimage with no fixed destination, but a continual set of footnotes left following your Star of inspiration and promise of Light in the Darkness” (Cummins, 2018).

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Henry Siddons Mowbray, The Magi via Dr. Alexander Cummins (2018).

Finally, Reginald Scot in his Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), while trying to attack the folk magical methods of his contemporaries, humorously and helpfully did a splendid job of faithfully preserving a set of spells that employ the Three Kings and can be fruitfully performed on the Day of Epiphany.

First, here is a Magi-inspired Charm Against the Falling Evil:

“This insuing is another counterfet charme of theirs, whereby the falling evill is presentlie remedied.

Gaspar fert myrrham, thus Melchior, Balthasar aurum,
Hæc tria qui secum portabit nomina regum,
Solvitur à morbo Christi pietate caduco.

Gasper with his myrh beganne
/ these presents to unfold, 
Then Melchior brought in frankincense,
/ and Balthasar brought in gold.
Now he that of these holie kings
/ the names about shall beare,
The falling yll by grace of Christ
/ shall never need to feare.

This is as true a copie of the holie writing, that was brought downe from heaven by an angell to S. Leo pope of Rome; & he did bid him take it to king Charles, when he went to the battell at Roncevall. And the angell said, that what man or woman beareth this writing about them with good devotion, and saith everie daie three Pater nosters, three Aves, and one Creede, shall not that daie be overcome of his enimies, either bodilie or ghostlie; neither shalbe robbed or slaine of theeves, pestilence, thunder, or lightening; neither shall be hurt with fier or water, nor combred with spirits, neither shall have displeasure of lords or ladies: he shall not be condemned with false witnesse, nor taken with fairies, or anie maner of axes, nor yet with the falling evill.

Also, if a woman be in travell, laie this writing upo hir bellie, she shall have easie deliverance, and the child right shape and christendome, and the mother purification of holy church, and all through vertue of these holie names of Jesus Christ following:

+ Jesus + Christus + Messias + Soter + Emmanuel + Sabbaoth + Adonai + Unigenitus + Majestas + Paracletus + Salvator noster + Agiros iskiros + Agios + Adanatos + Gasper + Melchior + & Balthasar + Matthæus + Marcus + Lucas + Johannes” (Scot, 1584).

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Second, here is a Three Kings-infused Spell Against the Biting of a Mad Dog: 

“Put a silver ring on the finger, within the which these words are graven + Habay + habar + hebar + & saie to the person bitten with a mad dog, I am thy saviour, loose not thy life: and then pricke him in the nose thrise, that at each time he bleed. ◊ Otherwise: Take pilles made of the skull of one that is hanged. ◊ Otherwise: Write upon a peece of bread, Irioni, khiriora, esser, khuder, feres; and let it be eaten by the partie bitten. ◊ Otherwise:

O rex gloriæ Jesu Christe, veni cum pace: In nomine patris max, in nomine filii max, in nomine spiritus sancti prax: Gasper, Melchior, Balthasar + prax + max + Deus I max + (Scot, 1584).

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“Mad Dog” by Mike Savad (2011).

Third, see Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), Book 15, CHAPTER XIII. An experiment of Bealphares for some ideas of how to integrate the names of the Three Kings into Conjurations and Invocations of Spirits.

As a final suggestion I obtained from Joseph Clinton Ragan (2019) drawing on Dr. Alexander Cummins’ (2018) work, very fine gold foil can ground down with frankincense and myrrh on the Day of Epiphany to create “Three Kings Incense.”  Joseph recommends singing “We Three Kings” while grinding the incense for an additional layer of folk Christian consecration.

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7. Conclusion

Calling upon and conjuring by the great Magicians of the past has an ancient tradition in magic that stretches back through the Hellenistic period’s Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM) invocations of Solomon, Moses, Aaron, and others back into dynastic Egypt (Skinner, 2013).  Contemporary Christian folk Magicians, Solomonic Magicians, and practitioners of other magical streams can draw on these examples, but also stand to benefit from the powerful traditions of the Three Kings Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior.  The Rites of Epiphany presented in this article are merely a few out of many possible applications of the powers of the Magi to contemporary magical practice.  In working them, we stand on the giants who came before us, but also stand side-by-side with the Kings, gazing up at the Heavens as if guided and inspired by the same Holy Star.

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References

Ali, C. (2012). Making Magical Chalks. Raven Conjure. Available at: http://ravenconjure.blogspot.com/2012/09/making-magical-chalks.html

Buhler, S. M. (1990). Marsilio Ficino’s De stella magorum and Renaissance Views of the Magi. Renaissance Quarterly,43(2), 348-371. doi:10.2307/2862368

Cummins, A. (2018). On the eve of the eve of the Epiphany. Dr. Alexander Cummins.com. Available at http://www.alexandercummins.com/blog/2018/1/2/the-eve-of-the-eve-of-epiphany

Cummins, A. (2018). Book of the Magi: Lore, Prayers, and Spellcraft of the Three Holy Kings – Folk Necromancy in Transmission. Seattle, USA:Revelore Press. 

Fortescue, A.J.B. O’Connell, J. B., & Alcuin Reid, A. (2009). The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described. London, UK: Burns & Oates.

Longenecker, D. (2017). Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men. Regnery History.

Miller, J. (2016). 20+C+M+B+16. Inominandium. Available at: http://www.inominandum.com/blog/epiphany/

Moresco, D. (2016). Chalking the door: An Epiphany house blessing. The Order of Carmelites. Available at: http://www.carmelites.net/news/chalking-door-epiphany-house-blessing-2015/

NIV – New International Version Bible. (2018). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Peterson, J. H. (2004). Key of Solomon. [online eBook] Esoterica Archives. Available at: http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/ksol.htm

Peterson, J. H. (2006). The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. [online eBook]. Esoterica Archives. Available at: http://www.esotericarchives.com/moses/67moses.htm

Peterson, J. H. (2018). Heptameron or Magical Elements. [online eBook] Esoterica Archives. Available at: http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/ksol.htm [Accessed 01 October 2018].

Poché, D. (2017). Louisiana Sweets: King Cakes, Bread Pudding and Sweet Dough Pie. Arcadia Publishing.

Przybylska, L. (2015). Between sacralization and festivalization of public spaces: a case study of the Cavalcade of the Three Kings in Poland. Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series27(27), 171-180.

Scot, R. (1999). Discoverie of Witchcraft. Joseph H. Peterson Edition. [online eBook] Esoterica Archives. Available at: http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/ksol.htm [Accessed 01 October 2018].

Skinner, S. (2013). Magical Techniques and Implements Present in Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri, Byzantine Greek Solomonic Manuscripts and European Grimoires:
Transmission, Continuity and Commonality (The Technology of Solomonic Magic). Newcastle, Australia: University of Newcastle.

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Aligning with the Source: Unlocking Hidden Meanings of “Worship” in Hebrew, Greek, and English

By Adam J. Pearson

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“Whoever gives reverence,
Receives reverence.”

~ Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī in the Masnavi-i Ma’navi (Persian: مثنوی معنوی‎) (Sidek, 2015).

  1. A Brief Introduction to the Idea of Worship in Postmodern Context: Recovering a Key to Wise Living and Right Relationship with Being

“Worship” is a fascinating concept that has in some ways become foreign to contemporary life and thought in a society that is increasingly saturated with postmodern nihilism and narcissistic self-worship.  Indeed, in the 21st century, many of us have come to believe that there is no longer anything worthy of worship at all beyond perhaps  ourselves and our material aims.  As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously pointed out first in The Joyful Science (1882) and then once more  in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1892), our post-18th century Enlightenment commitment to materialism and scientific reductionism brought about the momentous shift in Western culture. of the “death of God” in Western culture.  In our pursuit of “progress,” we alienated ourselves from the Source and Ground of our being by denying its existence altogether.  As Nietzsche presciently realized, the result was nothing short of cataclysmic. Without even realizing it at the time, we dismantled the foundations of our culture’s value systems, ethical systems, and centuries-old approaches to giving life meaning as such.  The result was a void that we aimed futilely to fill with consumerism, egotism, capitalism, a disenchanted positivist metaphysic, and, in the 20th century, with radical political ideologies like Communism and Fascism (Knight, 2006).

Unfortunately, the cultural and philosophical condition that emerged from this trading of the Absolute for nihilistic relativism was incredibly disatisfying.  As a consequence, postmodern people now live with an inner void that they do not know how to fill.  The chief modes of filling the void that we attempt to deploy–hedonism, the pursuit of power and fame, social media narcissism, absorption in technology and current affairs, and addictions to sex, gambling, pornography, shopping, and many other forms of escapism–all fall flat (Supamanta, 2015).  It is as if, in our rightful casting out of the bathwater of Biblical literalism, unscientific superstition, dogmatic morality, and the apparent homophobia, transphobia, ethnocentrism embedded in Western culture’s preeminent Scriptures, we also threw out the baby of our only hope for true sustenance.  If so, perhaps a radical reframing of the meaning of worship–that deep human capacity to humble ourselves before the Infinite and the Source of all Good, however defined and by whatever name–could help us to fill our infinite void with the only thing large and lasting enough to fill it.

one-world-religion

In its deepest sense, as mystics of all of the world’s traditions from Christian Desert Fathers to Sufi Muslims, Jewish Kabbalists, Buddhist sages, and Hindu yogis have long noted, worship involves the bowing of the apparent individual self before the Self of all, that Reality which is “One without a second,” to quote the Upanishads (Sarma, 2016).  Worship, in its most practical and yet mystical sense, implies the right alignment of the human being with the Good at which it is wise to aim if we wish to live a meaningful life that benefits the individual, the family, the community, the society, and the commonwealth of being more than it harms.

Nor is the notion of worship as irrational or impractical we often assume.  Indeed, in order to do anything at all, we must presuppose a value structure (Peterson, 2002).  This structure posits that what we are doing is more valuable that what we opt not to do instead.  For this reason, we believe that it is reasonable to sacrifice the latter for the sake of the former — a gesture which captures the core of the theme of sacrifice and offerings in spiritual life more generally and certainly throughout the Biblical narratives (Peterson, 2002; NIV, 2018).  The object of this value structure, we might fairly call “the Good” following Plato’s lead in The Republic (Πολιτεία,), for at our best, when our nihilistic despair and malevolence do not consume us, we value goods, work for goods, and aim for things we believe to be good for us as well as for our families,  friends, colleagues and societies (Baltes, 2017).  If all of our rightly-aligned actions are aimed at the Good anyway, in this precise and technical sense, then perhaps an attitude of worship–or of honouring and humbling ourselves before the Source of everything we aim to achieve in all of our actions–is not as irrational as we have innocently assumed.

Moreover, if we are properly aligned towards the Good then perhaps worshiping its Source is akin to ensuring that we live gratefully, in balance with the natural world, and in service to extending to apparent others the blessings that have been extended unto us. The Good in us then bows to the Good in others and seeks to extend itself.  If we live in this way, we are in the state that Buddhism, in its Noble Eightfold Path, aptly calls ‘right relationship‘ with being (Cozort & Shields, 2018). By all accounts, the Ancient Yogis also knew this truth well.  It was no coincidence that they greeted one another with Namaste (नमस्ते)-– “The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you” — and served the Divine in the apparent Other through karma yoga, the yoga of action, as taught in the Bhagavad Gita (Easwaran, 2007; Mukherjee, 2016).

Nor is this deep teaching foreign to Christianity and Judaism, for as the Call of Abram reveals, the nature of blessing is to extend the Good that has been given to us to others, such that after receiving a blessing, we become one.  As God says to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing, . . ., and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (NIV, 2018).  Is there any worthier way to live than to live that to live in such a way that we bless and benefit others and ourselves more than we harm? What could possibly be more practical, valuable, psychologically sustaining, evolutionarily-supported, ethically commendable, or wiser than that?

It seems appropriate, therefore, that to make the practical shift from serving the little “me” to serving the greater “Me” that includes all of us, the Divine by whatever name or symbol we refer to it appearing as All–Meister Eckhart’s ‘Godhead’ in manifestation–is, in a sense, the core of spiritual maturation itself (Fagge & Jackson, 2016).  And yet, how often do we believe that we are “too good,” “too smart” and “too modern” for something as “antiquated” and “superstitious” as worship?  Such views are understandable, and yet also bitingly ironic, especially since we have not really ceased to worship.  Our worship has simply gone underground and become unconsciously submerged in our anxious and fragile egotism, the last refuge of the despairing nihilist (Llanera, 2016).  Indeed, our worship remains evident in our enacted values, the values we act on, regardless of what we say we value.  Having decimated the foundational myths and strengthening stories to which our ancestors turned for empowerment and consolation against the vicissitudes and tragedies of life, our postmodern cultures have instead shifted towards worshiping ephemeral, unlasting, and ultimately unsatisfactory pleasures, power, wealth, fame, and a narcotized sense of “happiness” above all (Deutschmann, 2011).

If a worshipful attitude of a transcendental Source of all Good is not foolish or outmoded, but rather wise and replenishing, then it may be valuable to revisit the roots of our very notion of worship as a civilization deeply embedded in Judaeo-Christian thought in order to obtain a replenished and deeper understanding thereof.  What did “worship” originally mean in the Biblical sources on which Western civilization was founded, those stories that lie at the very bedrock of our culture and which we casually dismiss only to our own detriment?  To attempt a provisional answer to this challenging question, this article, we will explore the fascinating meanings of the original Hebrew and Greek words that pepper the original texts of the Torah and New Testament in their original contexts.  Having done so, perhaps we will be able to return to the subtle denotations and connotations of our own English term “worship” and see it with fresh eyes.

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2. Glory and Humility: Blossoms of Worship in the Hebrew Tanach

Before diving into specifics, it can be helpful to first survey the beautiful panorama of Biblical worship as a whole.  As Theopedia (2019) explains, in the Biblical texts, “worship is an active response” to the Divine “whereby the mind is transformed (e.g. faith, repentance),” we are reoriented towards the Good after ‘sinning’ or missing the mark — the literal meaning of hamartia (ἁμαρτία), from hamartánein (ἁμαρτάνειν), “the heart is renewed (e.g. love, trust), and actions are surrendered (e.g. obedience, service).” From the Biblical perspective, this is all done in accordance with the Divine Will,” which is the will-to-the-Good, “and in order to declare” the Divine’s infinite worthiness as the Source and Ground of all worth.  Seen in this way, worship for the Biblical authors is nothing less than a celebration of all that is good and worthy itself as symbolized by its transcendental Source.

Several Hebrew words are employed in the Tanach to refer to worship. These include:

  • 1) Shâchâh (שָׁחָה) – This term literally means to lower or prostrate oneself, and is translated in the King James Version of the Old Testament as “worship” (100 times), “bow down” (54 times), “do obeisance” (9 times), “do reverence” (5 times), “fall down” (Psalms 72:11; Isaiah 45:14;), “crouch” (1 Samuel 2:36), “humbly beseech” (2 Sam 16:4), or “make to stoop” (Pro 12:25) [See Strong’s Concordance #7812] (Theopedia, 2019).  As it turns out, prostration as a form of worship and self-humbling seems to be a human universal.  It is found at once among Orthodox Jews, devout Muslims, Hindu bhaktas or devotees, Christian mystics, and Tibetan Buddhist monks, to name but a few examples (Smith, 2016).

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  • 2) Abodah (עֲבוֹדָה‬) – literally means to work in any sense, but by implication, to serve. It is used more than 250 times in the Torah, most often translated as “serve” and 31 times in conjunction with shâchâh (see above).  However, three times the translators of the English Standard Version of the Bible chose the word “worship” as a translation of abodah (2 Sam 15:8; Psalms 102:22; Isaiah 19:21) [See Strong’s Concordance #5647] (Theopedia, 2019).  Interestingly, worship through service in the Hebrew abodah sense is roughly equivalent to the core meaning of the term karma yoga in the Hindu tradition, especially within the Bhagavad Gita (Easwaran, 2007).

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  • 3) Dârash (דָּרַשׁ) – In Ezra 4:2 and 6:21, the English Standard Version translates this term meaning to seek as “worship” [See Strong’s Concordance #1875] (Theopedia, 2019).  Darash captures the willingness to seek to be in the presence of the Divine, to “seek out” the revelation of Divine Presence in all things.  As the New International Version translates the same verse from Ezra 4:2, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, who brought us here.”

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  • 4) Yârê’ (יָרֵא) – In Joshua 22:25, the ESV translates this term meaning to fear or hold in reverential awe as “worship” [See Strong’s Concordance #3372] (Theopedia, 2019).  The form of worship captured by yare involves a heart-expanding, awe-inspiring, reverential wonder at the nature of the Divine that stills the mind, opens the heart, and elevates the spirit.
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Photography by Janelle Awe.

  • 5) Atsab (עצב) – In Jeremiah 44:19, the King James Version translates this term as meaning to carve or fashion as forms of “worship [See Strong’s Concordance #6087] (Theopedia, 2019).  This form of worship involves making things for the Divine as offerings, such as cakes in the Jeremiah verse, but also artwork created in honour of God.

In these five Hebrew words, we can identify some of the key harmonics in the melodies of worship that resonate throughout the Torah.  For the Ancient Hebrews, worship encompassed a wide spectrum of meanings which ranged from humbling ourselves (shachah) to acts of service (abodah) as offerings, seeking out (darash) the Divine Presence, contemplating the Divine in reverential awe (yare), and crafting things (atsab) in the honour of the Divine.

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3. The Kiss of Faithful Love: Greek Nuances in New Testamental Worship

While the Hebrew words offer deep insights into the modes of worship among the Ancient Israelites and suggest fresh ways to approach worship today, the Greek words for worship in the New Testament shed further light on this most intimate and cosmic of human actions.  The following comparative analysis heavily draws on Scott J. Shifferd (2015)’s insightful synthesis of Greek lexica, which

“defines each of the six Greek words by [its] use in the Scriptures and confirmed by five other sources consisting of Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, George Ricker Berry’s Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament, Arndt and Gingrich’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, and Barclay M. Newman Jr.’s A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament.”

Shifferd (2015) also supplements his comparative synthesis of each Greek term with  Dr. Everett Ferguson’s definition of each word to further support his definitions of the terms.

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According to Shifferd (2015), the first and most prominent word for “worship” in the New Testament is

1) Proskuneo (προσκυνέω) – Of the six Greek words for worship, this word comes the closest to representing the common meaning of ‘worship’ in English [See Strong’s Concordance #4352].  Supported by the lexical sources above, the most precise and consistent definition of this term is to worship by prostrating or bowing much like the Hebrew term shachah (Shifferd, 2015).  In the New Testament, the act of proskuneo consists of homage directed to the Divine or towards a noble human being, and worshipers show this homage by tokens of reverence.

Interestingly, however, proskuneo is never used as a synonym for any meetings or the group activity of assemblies in the New Testament.  Out of the fifty-nine appearances of the word in the Gospels and Epistles, proskuneo is only mentioned once in reference to an assembly.  This reference occurs in 1 Corinthians 14:25, where the Good News of the Gospels inspires conviction in an outsider who responds with ecstatic worship (“as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare, they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really here among you!”) (NIV, 2018).

According to the New Testamental texts, the worshiper may proskuneo the Divine,  including sacrificial and temple worship in passages such as John 4:20, 12:20; Acts 8:27, 24:11; and Revelation 11:1.  Interestingly, the New Testament depicts proskuneo being used both to honour, as in Mark 10:17 when a man worships Christ by bowing, and to ridicule.  An example of the latter occurs in Matthew 27:29, where Roman soldiers mock Christ as the King of the Jews by the act of proskuneo or bowing towards him.

About proskuneo, Dr. Everett Ferguson affirms that

“The most common word for worship in the New Testament is proskuneo (“to kiss the hand”, “to do obeisance”, “to prostrate oneself”).  It had the most specific content of the words for worship: to bow or fall down before an object of veneration.  Since it could also be done before a human being of higher rank from whom a benefit was desired, its frequent occurrences in the Gospels in reference to Jesus do not necessarily indicate acceptance of his Divinity or Messianic status by those who approached him in this way, a situation that is more ambiguous in Matthew 8:2 and 9:18 than in 28:9, 17; note the mocking used in Mark 15:19. From this specific act came a general usage for “worship” or “acts of reverence” (John 12:20; Revelation 14:7). It could be directed toward human beings (Acts 10:25, in this case rejected), the idols of paganism (Acts 7:43), the Devil or his agents (Matthew 4:9; Revelation 13:4), Angels (Revelation 22:8), or towards the Divine (Revelation 7:11).

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2) Latreuo (λατρεύω) – Synthesizing the lexical sources mentioned before, Shifferd (2015) suggests that latreuo means precisely to serve in a priestly and, or sacrificial manner [See Strong’s Concordance #3000].  Latreuo is, therefore, roughly analogous to the Hebrew term abodah (עֲבוֹדָה‬), meaning worship through service.  The noun form latreia also suggests sacrificial and priestly service to God.  As numerous uses of latreuo affirm throughout the New Testament, latreuo captures the notion of specific ritual acts of service done to glorify the Divine (e.g. ritual sacrifices and ceremonial offerings).

As Shifferd (2015) reveals, translators of the most popular English translations of the Scriptures translate latreuo as “worship” at least three times or more instead of as “sacrificial service; compare, for instance the following examples:

KJV – Acts 7:42, 24:14; Phil 3:3; Heb 10:2
NKJV – Acts 7:42, 24:14; Phil 3:3; Heb 10:2
ASV 1901 – Luke 2:37; Phil 3:3; Heb 9:9
NASV – Rom 12:1; Phil 3:3; Heb 9:1, 6, 9, 10:2
NIV – Luke 2:37; Acts 7:7; 42, 24:14; Rom 9:4, 12:1; Phil 3:3; Heb 9:1, 9, 10:2, 12:18
NRSV – Luke 2:37; John 16:2; Acts 7:7, 42, 24:14, 26:7, 27:23; Rom 9:4, 12:1; Phil 3:3; 2 Tim 1:3; Heb 8:5, 9:1, 6, 9, 14, 10:2, 12:28; Rev 7:15, 22:3
ESV – Luke 2:37; Acts 7:7, 42, 24:14, 26:7, 27:23; Rom 9:4, 12:1; Phil 3:3; Heb 9:1, 9, 10:2, 12:28; Rev 22:3 (Shifferd, 2015).

In the New Testament, latreuo is consistently used to refer to religious rituals, especially ritual offerings, fasting, or prayers, and in every single use of the word, worshipers direct their service toward the Divine or something considered to be a deity (e.g. a Pagan idol).

Similarly, Dr. Ferguson reports that latreuo meant

“to perform religious service” or “to carry out cultic duties”; noun latreia. It is used in the New Testament for pagan worship (Acts 7:42; Romans 1:25), but properly belongs to God alone (Matthew 4:10).  The word most often designates Jewish worship (Acts 7:7; 26:7; Romans 9:4; Hebrews 8:5; 9:1, 6, 9; 10:2; 13:10).  That worship included fasting and prayers in Luke 2:37.  A metaphorical use of the word occurs in John 16:2. Paul used the word to describe his service to God in Romans 1:9, another instance of his use of cultic language for his service to the gospel; cf. 1 Tim. 1:3; Acts 24:14; 27:23.  Christian worship is contrasted with Jewish worship in Phil. 3:3 (connected with the Spirit and with Jesus) and Hebrews 13:10 (referring to the sacrifice of Jesus). Christian worship is described by this word in Hebrews 9:14 and 12:28, as is the heavenly worship in Revelation 7:15 and 22:3. Latreia for Christians is no longer the temple sacrifices but the rational offering of their bodies as living sacrifices in doing the will of God (Romans 12:1-2).”

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3) Leitourgeo (λειτουργέω) – means specifically to minister in an official manner [See Strong’s Concordance #2356].  In the New Testamental texts, this word refers to public civil acts of religious service in a theocratic nation like Israel, also similar to the meaning of abodah (עֲבוֹדָה‬) (Shifferd, 2015).  In addition, in the New Testament, the term also refers to the ministry of Christians as they act in their office of being priests or Pastors who share the “sacrifices” of Christ.  Further building on Shifferd’s analysis (2015), Dr. Everett Ferguson remarks that

“The English word “liturgy” is derived from the Greek leitourgia (verb leitourgeo), a word referring to public service (cf. Romans 13:6), but used in Jewish and Christian literature of the early Christian era predominantly for religious service.  The broader sense of non-cultic service may be illustrated by 2 Corinthians 9:12 and Romans 15:27, the contribution for the needs of the saints, but even here there may be a metaphorical use of the sacrificial meaning (as in Philippians 2:17, cf. 2:30).

The common use of the word in the New Testament, reflecting the Greek Old Testament, is for the Jewish temple service (Luke 1:23; Hebrews 9:21; Hebrews 10:11), and thus it is used also for Jesus’ priestly ministry (Hebrews 8:2, 6).  Paul uses this family of words for his preaching ministry (Romans 15:16), and this fact along with usage in early extra-canonical Christian literature, may give the meaning of “preaching” or specifically “prophesying,” for the only usage of the word in the New Testament in the context of a Christian meeting, Acts 13:2.

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4) Threiskeia (θρησκεία) – is also sometimes translated as either “religion” or a system of beliefs about worship by the lexical sources reviewed by Shifferd (2015).  There are six occurrences of this term in five verses of the New Testament Scriptures [See Strong’s Concordance #2356]. Shifferd (2015) suggests that the word “religion” meets threiskeia’s definition the best in every single occurrence of the word in the New Testament while the lexica and Dr. Ferguson do not show a preference of “religion” over “worship.” To Shifferd’s point, it is worth noting that both “religion” and threiskeia do not have a verb form, unlike “worship,” because both terms refer to a belief system as is evident in Acts 26:5.  Dr. Ferguson adds that threiskeia 

“refers to Judaism in Acts 26:5 and the worship of angels in Colossians 2:18.  Its only application to Christianity in the New Testament occurs in James 1:26-27, where true religion is defined in terms of good deeds and right conduct.  In contrast to “worthless religion,” which does not control the tongue, “pure and undefiled religion” is care for widows and orphans and keeping oneself unstained by the world.

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5) Sebazomai (σεβάζομαι) means to venerate in fear, or more properly, a state of overwhelming reverential awe [See Strong’s Concordance #4573]. In this way, sebazomai is the rough equivalent of the Hebrew term yârê’ (יָרֵא).

In The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today, Dr. Ferguson (1996) affirms that

Sebazomai and cognates meant “to worship” in the sense of show reverence.  It was used for the worship of the Pagan deity Artemis (Acts 19:27). . . .  The participle is used for Gentiles who reverenced the God of the Jews several times in Acts – e.g., 13:43, 50; 17:4, 17.  The only express reference to Christian worship is Acts 18:13, where the Jews charged Paul with teaching “people to revere God in ways…contrary to the law.”

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6) Eusebeo (εὐσεβής, ές) means to show respect for the Divine through doing one’s duty much like the Sanskrit term dharma [See Strong’s Concordance #2152]. According to 1 Timothy 2:2, 2 Timothy 3:12, and Titus 2:12, this term is often used to enjoin respectful and pious living in dutiful action on behalf of the Divine.  As Everett Ferguson (1999) explains:

“Eusebeia – a general word for piety, or devotion – could also refer to worship. In Graeco-Roman literature, it almost always refers to cultic activities involving paying proper adoration. With reference to deity, it meant the attitude of dutiful ritual observance and obligation. With reference to human beings (especially the duty to parents) it meant the attitude of respect and loyalty to another person. But, in every case, it referred not just to the attitude (as often do the English words “devotion”, “piety”, and “godliness”) but also to the [dutiful] activity by which the attitude was expressed.”

As Shifferd (2015) explains, Paul uses this verb for the common Greek senses of Pagan worship through dutiful observances in Acts 17:23, as well as for fulfilling duties and obligations to members of one’s family in 1 Timothy 5:4.  Although eusebeo may refer to worship in some contexts, the word for faith, pistos, can as well. In 1 Timothy 5:4, Christians are “to practice piety” toward their family or faithfulness in the sense of honouring their familial duties (“if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.”).   Eusebeia, therefore, refers to a way of honouring the Good, or the Divine as its supreme symbol and Source, by doing our duty in relation to acting it out.

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4. Returning Home: Ancient Resonances in English “Worship”

Now that we have deeply explored the Hebrew and Greek words for worship with their many-splendored hues and nuances, we can return to the English word “worship” with a view to unpacking its own fascinating valences.  As Douglas Harper (2018) reveals, the etymology of the word “worship” captures similar connotations to both Hebrew terms like yârê’ (יָרֵא) and Greek terms such as sebazomai (σεβάζομαι):

worship (n.)
Old English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), weorðscipe (West Saxon) “condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown,” from weorð “worthy” (see worth) + -scipe (see -ship). Sense of “reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being” is first recorded c. 1300. The original sense is preserved in the title worshipful “honorable” (c. 1300).”

Shifting from etymology to semantic definition to reveal additional layers of meaning, the Oxford English Dictionary (2008) states that worship is

“1a: homage or reverence paid to a deity.
b acts, rites, or ceremonies of worship.
2 adoration or devotion (worship of wealth)
v. 1 tr. adore as divine; honor with religious rites.
2 tr. idolize.
3 intr. attend public service.”

In these various levels of meaning, we can see echoes of the Greek and Hebrew meanings we have already explored.  For example, “worship” in the English sense closely parallels proskuneo.  Both “worship” and proskuneo refer to reverence in a broad sense while also encompassing religious ritual acts of service like sacrificial offerings (Shifferd, 2015).  In addition, both terms are used to refer to reverence presented to the Divine or to people who are considered to be of a higher position and deserving honour, much like yârê (יָרֵא) and  sebazomai (σεβάζομαι).  There is one difference between these terms, however.  Proskuneo is never used to represent the collective action of a religious assembly though the English word “worship” is used that way today (Shifferd, 2015).

In addition, according to the American Heritage Dictionary (2010), worship is

  1. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
    The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed. Ardent devotion; adoration.
  2. Chiefly British Used as a form of address for magistrates, mayors, and certain other dignitaries: Your Worship. v. wor•shiped or wor•shipped, wor•ship•ing or wor•ship•ping, wor•ships v.tr.
  3. To honor and love as a deity.
  4. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion. See Synonyms at revere. v. intr.
  5. To participate in religious rites of worship.
  6. To perform an act of worship. [Middle English worshipe, worthiness, honor, from Old English weorthscipe : weorth, worth; see worth1 + -scipe, -ship.]

In these definitions, we can find all of the Greek and Hebrew meanings we have discussed represented in layers of meaning within the English term.  Clearly, the common English definition of worship is broader than sacrificial and priestly services, latreia.  “Worship” is broader than sacrificial and temple worship, and worship may include prostrating oneself in honour like shâchâh (שָׁחָה) and other acts of reverence such as doing good unto others or abodah (עֲבוֹדָה‬).  Latreuo is captured in the use of ‘worship’ to refer to priests who glorify the Divine by means of their spiritual offerings as in 1 Peter 2:5 (Shifferd, 2015).

Finally, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, worship means:

1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power.

2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.

3 : to perform or take part in an act of worship, sacrifice, or service.

These three meanings capture some, but not all of the subtle Hebrew and Greek meanings we have explored such as leitourgeo or public civil acts of service, and more particularly, it can refer to sacrificial services (Shifferd, 2015).  However, leitourgeo also contrasts with the English definition of “worship” that does not consist of such public and civic services.  Services of this type can include or exclude altogether the actions of proskuneo and latreuo, as Shifferd (2015) points out.  Indeed, we might argue that leitourgeo might better be translated “to minister” and not “to worship.”

To compare the English with some of the other Greek terms, the English definition of “worship” only matches threiskeia in the way that “worship” can refer to “religion” as a belief system.  Semantically, “religion” is broader in scope than “worship” because the word “religion” entirely encompasses a belief system consisting of both doctrine and practice while “worship” may be expressed only as broad as the practice of a religion (Ferguson, 1999).  Similarly, according to Shifferd (2015), sebomai mostly encompasses the English definition of “worship”, although there are no passages that present sebomai as the act of prostrating oneself while the English words “worship” and proskuneo do.  Indeed, the term “venerate” is as synonymous in meaning to sebomai as “worship” is to proskuneo (Shifferd, 2015).

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5. The Raising of the Bowed: Concluding Words on the Worshipful Life

As Scott J. Shifferd (2015) points out, “apparently from these dictionaries, worship is to honor, revere, and venerate the Divine and, or the noble person, and that the act of worship consists of rituals, offering gifts and, or simple acts of humility and reverence like prostrating oneself” as is common in the Biblical texts.  In the Tanachic and New Testamental understanding, a life lived worshipfully itself becomes worthy of worship, or of favour and honour.  The Sufi Muslim quote from Rumi that opened this article captures the same core meaning and paradoxically reciprocal meaning — “those who give reverence, receive reverence” (Sidek, 2015).

While those who venerate are venerated, those who are blessed–and thereby glorified– but do not reciprocally glorify and give thanks to the source of their blessings fail to extend the Good that was extended unto them.  In this way, the juicy grapes that grew on the vine of their life fail to ever culminate in the fine wine they could have produced; instead, they wither on the vine. This unfortunate case of blessings and reverence given but not returned roughly captures the Biblical meaning of ‘curse.’ This converse meaning is evident in Genesis 12:2 in which God promises Abram that because he is blessed and becomes a blessing unto others, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you” (NIV, 2018).

Similarly, just as we are shown to be worthy of love because we love others and the Divine, so will be receive honour if we give it to others.  Therefore, these texts suggests, blessing, reverence, love, and honour–all core components of worship as such– are all rightly balanced when they are symmetrically structured and the receiving matches the giving. When it does not, we have fallen into sin and missed the mark of the Good through hamartia (ἁμαρτία), a situation that requires reorienting ourselves to the Good through repentance, worship, and gratitude. A worshiping life becomes a worshipful life.

In short, our wise ancestors have long known that worship is profoundly central to a life lived in proper alignment with the Good in the face of all of life’s sufferings and malevolence.  Such an orientation to life and to being itself buttresses us against the storms of life and places us in the optimal position to enjoy life’s greatest fruits.  In so doing, it offers a strengthening path to victory and perseverance above all. Far from obsolete, worship remains supremely relevant to us today, for it offers us a key to unlock the fulfillment we seek, fill the inner void within, and to play on Nietzsche, resurrect the God we’ve killed like Christ triumphantly rising from the tomb.

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References

Baltes, M. (2017). Is the Idea of the Good in Plato’s Republic beyond Being?. In Studies in Plato and the Platonic tradition (pp. 21-42). New York: Routledge.

Cozort, D., & Shields, J. M. (Eds.). (2018). The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics. Oxford University Press.

Deutschmann, C. (2001). The promise of absolute wealth: capitalism as a religion? Thesis Eleven66(1), 32-56.

Easwaran, E. (2007). The Bhagavad Gita. Bombay: Nilgiri Press.

Fagge, M., & Jackson, G. (2016). The Godhead Beyond God and Proclus’s Henads: A Reading of Eckhart’s Trinity. Medieval Mystical Theology25(1), 57-68.

Ferguson, E. (1996). The Church of Christ: A biblical ecclesiology for today. Grand rapids, Mi: Eerdmans.

Harper, D. (2018). Worship. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved January 2, 2019 from https://www.etymonline.com/word/worship#etymonline_v_10853

Isenberg, S. R., & Thursby, G. R. (2018). Esoteric Anthropology:” Devolutionary” and” Evolutionary” Orientations in Perennial Philosophy. Religious Traditions: A New Journal in the Study of Religion/Journal of Studies in the Bhagavadgita7.

Knight, K. (2006). Transformations of the Concept of Ideology in the Twentieth Century. American Political Science Review100(4), 619-626.

Llanera, T. (2016). Rethinking nihilism: Rorty vs Taylor, Dreyfus and Kelly. Philosophy & Social Criticism42(9), 937-950.

Mifflin, H. (2010). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.  New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Mukherjee, R. Karma Yoga: A traditional perspective. Yoga Mimamsa (48)1: 37.

Nietzsche, F. (1966). Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1892). Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books.

NIV – New International Version Bible. (2018). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Peterson, J. B. (2002). Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Toronto: Routledge.

Sarma, D. S. (2016). The Upanishads. New Delhi: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Publishing.

Shifferd, S. J. (2015). The Greek words for the Biblical definition of worship. Seeing God’s Breath. Retrieved January 2, 2019 from https://godsbreath.net/2015/03/05/greek-words-for-worship-in-the-bible/

Sidek, S. S. M. (2015). The Concept of Generosity in Rumi’s Mathnawi: An Analysis. Doctoral dissertation, International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC): International Islamic University Malaysia.

Simpson, J., & Weiner, E. S. (2008). Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Smith, A. C. (2016). Prostration as Discourse: A Comparative Literary, Semiotic, and Ritual Analysis of the Action in the Qur’an and Hebrew Bible. Doctoral dissertation, Claremont Graduate University.

Supamanta, L. (2015). Economy of life: a Buddhist view. The Ecumenical Review67(2), 192-202.

Theopedia. (2019). Worship. Retrieved January 2, 2018 from https://www.theopedia.com/worship

2018: A Magical Year in Review

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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View inside a Vigil offered to Archangel Sachiel dressed with Solomonic Holy Oil and Basil.

As we move into 2019, I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on all that has happened in my life in the whirlwind of a year that was 2018.  It has been a tumultuous year in world events to be sure, but in my own little human life, it has been a massively important year.  I share these life and magical achievements and strange tale of bizarre events and poltergeist phenomena not out of arrogance, but in the hopes of inspiring others to work harder to achieve their own goals and to humble myself with the recollection of the giants on whose shoulders I was able to stand this year.

We are all the Divine dancing in the lila (Divine play) of manifested human lives; as this human action figure named Adam, however, I could not have done anything were it not for the amazing friends, family, and colleagues who have so blessed and inspired me with the relationships and time we’ve shared together.  May we have many more years together on this mysterious planet that races on around the Sun! So mote it be with all thanks and glory not unto me, but unto the Most High, amen!

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Major Life Events in 2018

  • I worked hard to support some truly inspiring students with special needs at McGill University as a Note-Taker, Mentor, and Life Coach. Their own hard work and progress in achieving their goals were so beautiful and inspiring to watch and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with each and every one of them.
  • Because of how many blessings came my way this year, I was able to give more to charity than I was ever able to give in the past.  I also gave more offerings to spirits and animals this year than in any other previous year of my life.

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  • I completed the penultimate year of my clinical social work degree at McGill with a 4.0 GPA and served older adults with mental and physical health issues both in long-term residences and living in the community.  I am now on track to graduate in 2019 and excited to officially begin my clinical social work career.After my prior careers as a certified Chef and high school teacher I am beyond grateful to have finally found my true calling.  Social work offers a vehicle through which I can strive to live out the Rosicrucian ideal “to cure the sick and that gratis,” and where I cannot cure, at least to support individuals and families to empower them with resources, services, and psychosocial support to maximize their well-being.

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  • I suffered a concussion in July from which I completely recovered in only a few months (thank God!).  More on that below.
  • I went to see the Beach Boys live in concert, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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  • I also got see my first ever professional comedy show, The Nasty Show at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival due to a kind gift from my friend Randy! Robert Kelly, Brad Williams, Ms. Pat, and Mike Britt had us in stitches from laughing so hard.

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  • I was called back to the mystical Christian faith of my youth with a newly integrative perspective and began to attend a beautiful local Church. The members of my congregation and I managed to put together gift boxes for kids from the ages of 1 to 14 in 9 different countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Senegal, Guinea, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Glory be to God!

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  • 2018 was by far the most successful year for Light in Extension for worldwide views, an overwhelmingly so:

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  • I was also grateful when the article was recommended by a Frater, magician, author, and friend whom I deeply respect, Fr. Aaron Leitch in a recording of a lesson in his fantastic Secrets of Solomon – Grimoire Magick Classes 101 class.
  • I had the honour of being interviewed by the kind, inspiring, and eminently professional Alexander Eth on the Glitch Bottle podcast.

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  • I was blessed to meet and become friends with many amazing occultists, some of whose books I have been reading and cherishing for the past 14 years or so. I have learned so much from my amazing Fratres and Sorores to whom I remain deeply indebted and grateful. I am humbled to have gotten to have some amazing conversations with not only such masterful occultists, but also such beautiful and amazing people as Aaron Leitch, Jake Stratton-Kent, Dr. Stephen Skinner, Frater R.C., Frater YShY, Joseph H. Peterson, Frater Ashen Chassan, Nick Farrell, Jason August Newcomb, Dr. Tony Fuller, Pat Zalewski, Christine Zalewski, and many more.I also learned a great deal from and enjoyed the friendship of many others whose names I won’t share out of interests of their wish to keep their occult involvement concealed under the Sign of Harpocrates. To all of them and to those I have not mentioned, you know who you are and I love and appreciate you very much.
  • I was honoured to become a Moderator in Aaron Leitch’s amazing Solomonic – Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires group.sol.png
  • I participated in multiple McGill University research studies, received EEGs, got paid to receive electric shocks inside of an MRI machine, and marched in the largest strikes for paid student internships in the history of Montreal. I also improved my skills at engraving, drawing, and painting, attended my cousin Julie’s wedding, and joined the wedding party of my sister’s wedding planned for 2019.

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Magical Achievements in 2018

  • After receiving a concussion in July, which occurred after I slammed my head into a ceiling beam causing it to burst out in blood, I was forced to leave my job working as a cook in an amazing Montreal restaurant on St. Laurent. The concussion resulted in brain damage to my frontal lobe which was associated with distressing symptoms like slurring of speech, forgetting common words in conversation, damage to episodic memory, and mood swings.Within a few months,  despite not receiving any form of medical treatment, however, I recovered all of my impaired cognitive abilities and my head healed almost completely, leaving only a tiny scar.  I attribute this nearly miraculous healing to God Almighty, whom I petitioned for help with healing the devastating effects this concussion had on my psychological functioning.
  • I coined the term cryptoconsecratio and developed the method of secretly consecrating magical items by Mass, which I performed countless times in the past year on objects ranging from Jupiter Pentacles to Wands, Burins of Art, my statue of Saint Cyprian of Antioch, my Cyprianic Rosary, and many other tools.

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  • I manifested my vision for my ideal home and was blessed–glory be to God!–to be able to equip it with everything I had ever hoped it would have in terms of appliances and electronics. I also read many amazing occult books and massively increased my esoteric library.  Divine Provision can be humbling indeed.
  • In 2018, aside from the Christian Trinity, and Saint Cyprian of Antioch, I was honoured to work with the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Samael, Anael, Cassiel, Uriel, and Sachiel, as well as the Angels Netoniel, Devachiah, Tzedeqiah, and Parasiel. I learned many interesting things from these spirits, such as about how limitations and discipline can be forms of freedom rather than simply obstacles freedom from Archangel Cassiel, learning about keys to prosperity from Sachiel, and much more.
  • I also did some deep work with the Papyri Graecae Magicae or Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri this year, especially the Headless Rite and PGM Lecanomancy.

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  • I made some serious progress with Pathworking in the past year and met and learned from many other spirits in the course of the resulting astral work.  Qabalistic Paths explored in 2018 included Peh, Tzaddi, Malkut, Resh, Qoph, Shin, and Tav.
  • I secured a dedicated and permanent Temple for the Ordo Aurum Lucerna. Our Order also increased its Archives of copies of G.D. manuscripts to exponentially larger than it has ever been thanks to the kindness and generosity of some truly amazing Fraters and Sorors from other G.D. Orders to whom we remain deeply grateful.
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W.B. Yeats’ drawing of the Hermetic Rose Cross.

  • After a series of strange experiences, and encouragement from my dear friend Chijioke, I began magically and devotionally working with Saint Cyprian of Antioch. I formally assumed the great Saint as my Patron after an intensive 9-Day Novena to him in September, 2018.  During my time of working with him, my magic has radically improved and deepened in all of the three traditions with which I work: Solomonic, Cyprianic, and Golden Dawn.  May the credit for that not be unto me, but unto Saint Cyprian, God Almighty, to the Spirits, Angels, and Archangels, and to the kind friends and colleagues who made this possible.

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  • Our Golden Dawn Order, the Ordo Aurum Lucerna, of which I have been Imperator for the last 9 years, has grown larger, stronger, and more active than ever before.  I am so grateful to my brethren in the Order for the beautiful work we do together, for our democratic power structure, for how much we have all grown in the past year, and for how much we have to look forward to in 2019.  Khabs am Pehkt, Konx Om Pax, Light in Extension!
  • I performed a controlled experiment that seemed to find some empirical support for the claim that food offered to Archangels tends to last longer and resist mold longer than the same food not given as an offering.  I tested the claim using muffins prepared from the same batch of batter and kept in the same temperature, moisture, and storage conditions.

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  • This past year, I have gone deeper into Solomonic magical practice than ever before.  I crafted the Circle from the Lemegeton’s Goetia, as well as consecrated Holy Oil, Holy Water, Incense, and Candles, crafted a new Wand and a Solomonic Bell of Art, several Burins of Art, a new Aspergillum, a consecrated Chest for materia magica, and several other items for use in my Operations. I also wrote a series of articles on Solomonic topics, as previously mentioned.

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  • This past year saw some fruitful results with Planetary magic, particularly with a consecrated Saturn ring I was kindly gifted by my friend Sarah Wreck and with Jupiter. I crafted the 2nd Pentacle of Jupiter from the Key of Solomon after waiting nearly an entire year for a solid election and also consecrated a Ring of Jupiter at the same time.This Pentacle and Ring have produced some amazing results, such as over 8000$ of my student loan being converted into a bursary I do not have to pay back, saving 400$ on a new TV and large amounts of additional money on appliances and a guitar, receiving much favor, and many other astounding results.

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  • Besides the more spectacular concussion recovery, I also experienced some additional interesting healing results this year.  These included Archangel Raphael healing me completely of a cold within 1.5 days; to place this result in perspective, it normally takes me 7 days or longer to get over a cold.  In addition, I experienced having scars, redness, and dark patches completely healed within days of asking YHVH for this result.
  • This year, I performed more professional Tarot readings than ever before and was honoured to have been able to read for clients all around the world. I am so grateful for the trust which people have placed in me by allowing them to do readings for them. What sets my approach to professional readings apart from others is that for the 50$ per reading that I charge, I not only include the reading itself, but also give offerings on behalf of the client and their family, and write a detailed report for them complete with HD photos of all of the cards in the reading so that clients can refer to it in the future.I noticed that most Tarot readers do their readings orally only, so clients do not have a record of the reading and often quickly forget it. In this way, they have a detailed record of the reading, which is incredibly comprehensive; as an example, the last such report I wrote came to a whopping 43 pages! Feel free to contact me on Facebook or by email should you be interested in arranging a reading.

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  • After Soror C.R. and I independently saw visions of the Archangel Sachiel wearing a red vest after invoking him via the Heptameron conjuration, Soror C.R. had a vision of him giving her a red vest to wear. The next day, while carrying the 2nd Pentacle of Jupiter consecrated by Sachiel, I was directed to a store where I found a red vest exactly like the one she saw in her vision, which I purchased for her. The price tag said only 9$, but I ended up paying only 6$ due to an additional 30% reduction.

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  • I performed more professional natal charts for clients around this world this year than in any other year of my life. These are also 50$ per chart and yield a similarly detailed and comprehensive written report explaining all of the Aspects to what I produce for my Tarot clients. Please feel free to contact me by email as well should this service be of interest.

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  • I was honoured to have had the opportunity to spend some time learning with members of the Order of Saint Cyprian of Antioch.  I met some beautiful and amazing people in that Order, for which I am very grateful, but have since retired from that particular group in order to focus on the Ordo Aurum Lucerna and my other magical projects, writing, and research.I am particularly grateful to Ms. Katarina Pejovic, from whom I learned a great deal.  It was Katarina whom I commissioned to sew my scapular of Saint Cyprian and who kindly gifted me a beautiful amethyst and tiger’s eye bracelet.  She is an absolutely amazing human being, kind and genuine through and through as well as an amazing esoteric practitioner and a brilliant scholar. I have nothing but fond things to say about her, as of many other members of that esteemed Order.

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  • After asking St. Cyprian to guide me to a vessel in which to store my magica materia, he led me to a shop I never visit where I found a fascinating hand-carved antique chest that was exactly what I had been hoping for.

 

  • I performed a formal exorcism of a possessed woman this year.  The spirit in question turned out to be a subservient spirit of Alloces, the 52nd spirit of the Lemegeton’s Goetia.  I am indebted to Sarah Wreck for her help with identifying the entity and advising me on how to proceed with the exorcism.  8 months later,  I’m happy to report that the woman in question remains in very good health.
  • I was guided by Saint Cyprian to a store I had never been to in a part of the city I had never explored which, to my amazement, happened to be the only store in Montreal that sells Oil of San Cipriano.

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Strange Phenomena and Poltergeist Activity in 2018

  • July 6, 2018 – I experienced the most powerful and unmistakable physical manifestation of an Angel that I have ever seen.
  • Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 – Around 8:35 PM. While standing in the kitchen speaking with Soror R.A. about working with Angels, a small white physical feather appeared seemingly spontaneously in the air.  Both of us saw and were shocked and amazed by this.  The feather drifted slowly and gracefully to the floor, which we both witnessed.  Then when we looked for it on the ground, it had vanished… Weeks later, Soror R.A. was called to work with Archangel Sachiel and developed an intense relationship with him.
  • Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018 – In a dream, two daimons, likely Jinn, suddenly appeared in the midst of the dream narrative.  They had pitch-black skin, but extremely white eyes.  I could sense their malevolent intent so I immediately bound them by the Sign of the Cross in the manner of St. Justina of Antioch and they backed off and vanished.

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  • November 8, 2018 – 9:45 PM – A fellow Magician gave me a consecrated ring of Saturn containing a large piece of led. This ring works very well for its intended purpose, but it seems to spontaneously vanish, be gone for a period of time, and then reappear somewhere I did not put it. It has vanished several times from the bureau near my bed and reappeared in pockets, in my backpack, and in other places. This night, I went to do a Rune reading for Soror R.A. and the Ring fell out of the Rune bag! Neither I nor anyone else had placed it there…
  • I experienced some interesting cases of telepathy where I stated something very specific (e.g. referring to Track II of the Monster roller-coaster in Montreal, QC, Canada) that another person had been thinking about before they said it.  Only to be told by the other person that this was precisely what they had had on the mind.. Other cases included messaging people about topics moments before they were going to message me, and other such events such as in some cases publishing articles on topics people had been thinking of asking me about. All of this made me feel “in-flow” and rather “plugged in” with the larger Mind of the One appearing as many body-minds. This even occurred with people who live in very distant countries.
  • I experienced multiple moments of minor precognition (e.g. accurately predicting the contents of sealed boxes and envelopes as well as their arrival dates when they had not even been specified).  This happened 4 times in a week period.
  • Dec. 9, 2018 – 4:25 AM – My cat was sitting staring at the Temple door. Suddenly, he meowed loudly and ran down the hall. Then a mysterious knock was heard within the Temple room although there was no one in it. This same sequence of events happened again a few weeks later.
  • December 8, 2018 – 6:37 PM – A door spontaneously opened before me without anyone touching it. Witnessed by Soror R.A.
  • November 8, 2018 – 7:35 PM – TV spontaneously turned on with no one in the room.
  • December 1, 2018 – 3:30 AM – While I was sleeping, my cell phone was suddenly knocked off my bureau. Half-asleep, I picked it up and put it back on the bureau. Then my watch was knocked off the bureau. Beginning to be annoyed, I picked it up and put it back on the bureau. Then my cell phone was knocked off the bureau again. Tired of this spirit’s antics, I called out into the silent room “In the Name of YHVH, cut that out!” No further objects fell to the floor that night.
  • During the formal exorcism, a heavy stack of paper was violently thrown to the floor with no breeze in the room.
  • One evening, the Enochian Tablet of the South spontaneously fell off the wall. Another night, the Tablet of the West fell off the fall. And still another night, the tablet of the North fell off the wall of its own accord. I had expected the tablet of the East to one day follow the same pattern, but it did not.

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  • As a final point, some interesting manifestations of spirit activity during ritual magic this year included a Crucifix hung around Saint Cyprian’s statue’s neck swaying in response to questions asked of spirits, strange knocks being heard in the room, incense smoke and candle flames being asked to move in response to questions as answers and the results happening immediately, sparks flashing out of an offering candle when Archangel Michael was conjured, and appearances of images and words spoken by spirits in crystal balls, water in lecanomancy bowls, flames scried into, and in the field of the mind.All in all, I believe it is safe to say that this has without a doubt been the most magical year in my life.  Happy New Years, dear friends! May you and your families be blessed with abundance, love, laughter, and growth in the coming year! So mote it be, amen!

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A Controlled Experiment With Angelic Offerings in Solomonic Magic

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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Preamble and Rationale

Magicians have long remarked that food offered to and accepted by certain classes of spirits seems to last longer without molding or decaying than the same foods that have not been offered to spirits.

I decided to objectively test this theory by conducting an experiment. I began by baking a batch of banana, chocolate chip and oatmeal muffins. I used two bananas in the batter to increase the average moisture level in the dough and make them more prone to molding within roughly a 7-day period of ambient room temperature storage.

Experimental Design

I offered one such muffin to the Archangel Sachiel as part of formal Solomonic Operation conducted with him after a conjuration via the Heptameron. I then left the offered muffin out in the ambient air of the room on the Altar for a week. The remaining muffins that were not offered to any spirit were set aside under identical conditions of storage, moisture levels, and temperature. Therefore, all relevant variables were controlled in both cases. The muffins were baked at the same time from the same batch of dough, were identical in size and muffin cups, and were otherwise stored in exactly the same way. The only difference between them was that one was offered to a spirit and the others were not.

Thus, the experiment had a treatment condition and a control condition as well as a way to falsify the hypothesis in very definite terms. If offering food to spirits had no effect on longevity, then the muffins would grow moldy at an equal rate. If offering the food to spirits did increase longevity, then the offered muffin should grow moldy at a slower rate than the unoffered muffins. Finally, if offering food to spirits actually had an opposite effect and decreased longevity, then the offered food should grow moldy faster than the unoffered food. So much for the experimental design.

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Results

After one week of ambient temperature storage of the offered muffin and unoffered muffins, the results were striking. The image below depicts the muffin offered to Sachiel on the bottom and a muffin not offered to any spirit on the top.

There was a statistically significant difference between the amount of mold on the unoffered muffins–and all of the unoffered muffins were as moldy as this one–and the muffin offered to Sachiel, which was pristinely preserved with zero mold upon it as the bottom picture reveals.  It’s also worth noting that a slice of bread was offered alongside the muffin to Archangel Sachiel and it, too, shows no signs of mold after a week of being left out in the ambient warmth.

Therefore, it would seem that at least in this case, the offered food did indeed last longer and remain mold free longer than the unoffered food.

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Discussion

After reading about my experiment, the esteemed Renaissance astrologer and magician Clifford Hartleigh Low suggested that perhaps offerings might exhibit varying kinds of changes when offered to different types of spirits.  While Aaron Leitch, Raymondo Beukes, and I have found that food offered to Archangels tends to last longer and resist mold for longer than unoffered food, Clifford noted that food offered to ancestors might show the opposite effect and decay faster than unoffered food. However, Curtis Estes pointed out that the amount and frequency of offerings given to ancestor spirits might exert some effect on offering longevity. To quote Curtis:

“I really feel like giving ancestors an abundance of offerings helps with this.
Regular family meals where they are given a plate, fruits and fresh foods and water.
These things done every day will make things like Día de Muertos or All Souls offerings decay much more slowly.”

Offerings to Saints might also display different properties than offerings offered to ordinary deceased ancestors.  For example, both Curtis and I also found that offerings to Saint Cyprian tended to last as long as Archangelic offerings. I found this with bread and muffins offered to Saint Cyprian. Curtis tested it with a loaf of pumpkin bread which after two weeks of being left on Saint Cyprian’s Altar, still did not display any mold and continued to smell deliciously fresh. 

In addition, Andrea Meryem Angelos reported similar results in experiments she did with floral offerings to Hekate.  She offered one bouquet to Hekate and placed another in her home, unoffered.  According to her, the bouquet offered to Hekate lasted “between two to three times longer.” She found a similar result with food offered to Hekate.  Other devotees of Hekate have noted similar results in working with that particular spirit.

As a result of the publication of these findings, several other magicians in Aaron Leitch’s Solomonic group are presently attempting to replicate the results of this experiment with different classes of spirits such as chthonic entities, spirits of the dead, ancestor spirits, and Angels. This article will be updated with their results when shared.

Replications and Results from other Magicians

Jason Augustus Newcomb took two bananas from the same bunch. He placed one on his counter and one on his Altar as an offering to spirits. Otherwise, they were stored in equivalent conditions in terms of temperature and humidity. After 7 days, he compared the results. In the picture below, the banana on the left, which was offered to spirits on his Altar, remains much better-preserved than the banana on the right, which was not offered to any spirit and simply stored on his Altar.  His findings are consistent with my own results with the offered versus unoffered muffins.

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Spirit Offerings: Introductory Reflections on Types and Principles of Ritual Offerings in Magical Practice

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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Balinese spirit offering photographed by Teri Genovese.

Introduction

One of the most common questions new Magicians who wish to work with spirits in traditional ways often ask is what kinds of offerings to make. This is a fantastic and very respectful and attentive question.  My esteemed colleagues have written a great deal on this important subject — see for example the amazing Ritual Offerings book from 12 practicing occultists including Aaron Leitch, Zadkiel, Frater Ashen Chassan, Brother Moloch, Joshua Gadbois, Denise Alvarado, Jason Miller, Nick Farrell, Sam Webster, Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, and Gilberto Strapazon.

I cannot recommend this amazing book highly enough and what I have to share below are only a few humble footnotes from my own experience to add on to what they have already eloquently said there.  Dr. Stephen Skinner, Joseph H. Peterson, Jake Stratton-Kent and others have offered many helpful pointers on the subject as well.

In this brief prolegomenon to a more rigorously researched and comprehensive future article on the subject, I will aim to unpack why one might want to consider giving offerings as part of working relationships with Archangels.  I will explore some often less discussed forms of offerings such as offerings through action and sharings of spirits’ acconplishments. Finally, I will aim to outline four key principles to govern offerings and share some concrete examples to illustrate the central concepts this article strives to elucidate.

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Offerings to Archangel Michael by Fr. Aaron Leitch.

Offerings to Archangels in Historical and Magical Theoretical Context

One common question among new ceremonial magicians is how to proceed with making offerings for Archangels.  The comments below were shared as “notes from the field” based on my own experience in this area grounded in grimoiric tradition. From the outset, it is worth noting, as Dr. Alexander Cummins points out, that early modern literature is fraught with reservations about making offerings to Angels.  These include worries that it might entail idolatry, lead to accidentally feeding demons who might then harm the Magician, or that it is not necessary since the Angels neither require nor can digest physical food or some ethereal substance contained therein.

There are, however, some traditions of offering food to Archangels, as on the Feasts of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael on September 29th in the Catholic liturgical calendar. I once read about a similar practice from the Iberian peninsula, in which the sense was seemingly that the gesture of offering the food was meaningful to the Angels, because it was an act in harmony with their own nature of kindness, gratitude, respect, and loving consideration for others, quite analogous to a charitable action. In Agrippan terms, such gestures could be understood as embodying the sympathetic virtue of generosity in the service of the Good and of God, which is also in the nature of the Angels.

When I make offerings to the Angels, this is more or less the way in which I understand what I’m doing from a contemporary perspective, which is “traditional” in the sense of being in keeping with the offering-based philosophy as a way of structuring spirit work that runs through the Western esoteric tradition.  For instance, in Iamblichus’ Theurgia, the great Neo-Platonic philosopher and theurgist comments on how he understands the giving of offerings to celestial beings who would seem not to require them.  There, he writes:

“But,” it is remarked by thee, “the things that are offered are offered as to sensitive and psychic natures.” If, indeed, they consisted of corporeal and composite powers alone, or of such as pertained merely to the service of the physical organism, thou wouldst be correct. But since the offerings partake also of incorporeal ideals, special discourses, and simpler metres, the peculiar affinity of the offerings is to be considered from this point alone.

And if any kindred relationship, near or far away, or any resemblance is present, it is sufficient for the union about which we are now discoursing. For there is not anything which is in the least degree akin to the gods, with which the gods are not immediately present and conjoined. It is not, then, as to “sensitive or psychic,” but actually to divine ideals and to the gods themselves, that the intimate union is effected so far as may be.”

This seems like a sympathetic argument to me, on the basis of certain things being worth offering because they “partake of the nature” of the spirits in question in some form.  Iamblichus’ argument is here made in reference to gods, but we might take a similar approach to Angels, especially if we are working through a Heptameronic or other similar system that ascribes Archangels as ruling over Days and Planets.  Things of the same nature as a spirit are in harmony with them, and therefore, can be helpful to create the kind of sympathetic resonance that facilitates the work with the Angel in ritual. This remains so even if the Angel is not interested in actually ingesting or eating the thing offered.

It is definitely the case that arguments have been made against offerings to Angels as being idolatrous.  We can reply to this objection through the Catholic distinction of veneration versus worship.  The right way to make an offering to an Angel from a Catholic perspective is be to offer it to God in the “name and honour” of the Angel.  In this way, we are worshiping the Divine, but venerating the Angel, showing love, gratitude, and respect.

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The Angel Offering The Fruits Of The Garden Of Eden To Adam And Eve by J.B.L. Shaw.

Respecting Preferences and Incorporating Sympathetic Correspondences

As a general rule, I’ve found that it can be helpful to ask the spirits if they have any preferences for offerings and then proceeding accordingly. This applies across all realms from the chthonic and elemental to the Angelic, Archangelic, and Divine.  What spirits sometimes ask for can be surprising; as Jake Stratton-Kent has noted, for instance, it might be something as simple as an egg.

When we don’t yet know a particular spirit’s preferences, however, it can be helpful to look into the grimoires for correspondences that are sympathetic to their nature. This is especially true for herbs, incenses, colours, foods, and other readily-offered things. Often, the spirits will enjoy these offerings, grounded as they often are in hundreds of years of Magicians’ work with them, and I will continue to use them or tweak them over time with the same spirit. Many spirits offer things that involve some sacrifice on our part, even something as small as giving up a glass of wine from a bottle as a libation to them.

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A libation being poured as an offering at a symposium – Attica red-figure cup, ca. 480 B.C.E.

A Concrete Example of Offerings in Practice

As a concrete example to illustrate the point of how grimoiric correspondences can be applied to select offerings, yesterday, I lit a Vigil candle for Archangel Sachiel, Archangel of Jupiter and Thursday as per the Heptameron. I also offered him unleavened bread wafers, a classical Tanachic offering that works for many spirits, and which also has correspondences with Church wafers that work with Jupiterian priestly connections.  The latter also works with the sympathetic symbolism of Christ as King of Kings, Kingship being a Jupiter-ruled quality.

In addition, I offered Sachiel some Applewood incense, Apple being sacred to Jupiter as per Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy and a blue container-framed white candle inscribed with his Heptameron sigil in white. Blue is one of the colours that is traditionally associated with Jupiter. Moreover, Sachiel’s Vigil candle was dressed with Solomonic Holy Anointing Oil and dry Basil, Basil being associated with Jupiter as per Agrippa.

In addition, the bread and incense as well as additional candles for each spirit were also offered to four additional Jupiterian Spirits who operate under Sachiel, whom I also invoked for help in consecrating two 2nd Pentacles of Jupiter from the Key of Solomon and a Jupiterian Ring, namely Netoniel, Devachia, Tzedeqiah, and Parasiel. I used a framework from Balthazar’s Solomonic candle magic method here. The rationale here involves invoking the Most High, then the Archangel of the Planet, then Angels under that Archangel for help with a particular petition. This is a classically goetic approach of working down through spiritual hierarchies as Jake Stratton-Kent and others have shown. I’ll share a picture of my Altar setup from this ritual as an example to illustrate the point below. This setup was done on my Altar of Saint Cyprian of Antioch and under his watchful eye, which is why the Altar features his enlivened statue as well.

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Photographs and Sharing Spirits’ Accomplishments as Offerings

However, offerings can go much deeper than what is offered in ritual. All of my pictures of ritual setups for work with particular spirits that I share on Light in Extension are also offered up to the spirits involved as well as the recognition and exposure they get from these, as are the articles I share about the operations for my own records and the benefit of others to share ideas for their own work.

When a spirit asks me not to photograph something or write about it, I respect the request. Generally, however, I have found that they have appreciated such sharings made in a respectful context as it has often led others to work with them.  It also demonstrates gratitude for their work and the relationships built up with them when offered in their honour and not to our own glory.

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A colourful ritual offering at a unique Hindu temple on the outskirts of Madurai photographed by Dr. Allocco.

Actions as Offerings

In addition, we can make offerings of a still other sort, namely of actions. An action that is in harmony with a spirit’s nature, particularly if it is impressive, can be sufficient to motivate them to action even if they do not physically or spiritually require it. To illustrate the principle involved here, let us consider the rather humorous example of some rather inventive ants.

Suppose a group of ants were to gather together in your kitchen one fine morning. They had decided to venerate you, in all your dazzling human wonder, as a powerful Giant and request your aid in procuring food for their queen.  In other words, they wanted to petition you via a spell.

Suppose that in order to attract your attention, these craft ants decided to all click their feet synchronously to sound out something roughly analogous to your name. On top of this, they traced an amazing honey Sigil to you on your floor, reading “HELP US,” followed by your name, which they gave to you as an offering.

Now, you might not need their offering at all; in fact, it might be somewhat of a nuisance, since they had to dirty up your beautiful kitchen floor in order to create it. However, since you are a good-humored individual, you might be rather amused by their gesture and the effort and pains they took to create it. Thus, even if you didn’t remotely need their offering or particularly want to lick honey off of your own kitchen floor, you might accept the offering anyway and say “what the heck, what help do you want, ant friends?” And if all they wanted was a spoon of sugar for the Queen, you might even be willing to oblige them given how trivial such a small gesture of help seems from your own lofty perspective as a mighty Giant to a humble ant. Perhaps the situation with offerings to Archangels is something roughly analogous to this.

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Examples abound of actions in harmony with the natures of various spirits that we can perform for them as offerings. For instance, Aaron  Leitch cultivates a garden as an offering to the Archangel Anael.  Martial arts training sessions or military service can be offered up to Martial Spirits, such as Samael, Archangel of Mars and Tuesday. Romantic gestures can be offered to Venusian spirits as can works of art, music, dance, and other works of Beauty. Study sessions and intellectual work can be offered up to Mercurial spirits and Angels of Mercury. Gestures of kindness to make others smile can be offered to Solar spirits. Offerings of advocacy for the vulnerable and wronged can be offered to Archangel Michael. Healing work, herbal medicine, studying contemporary medicine and so on can also be offered to Raphael as well as simple gestures like dropping off soup or medication for a sick friend.

As two other common examples commonly represented among the magical community, for Pagans who work with the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri (PGM), gestures done in harmony with the nature of a god can also be offered. For Christians, prayers can be offered by ending them in the name of Yeshua / Jesus, or acts of forgiveness or loving gestures can be offered unto him and to God the Father more generally.

More generally speaking, to extract a general principle from these concrete examples, any action done in harmony with the teachings of a deity can be offered as a gesture of love, respect, gratitude for what was learned, and sympathetic harmony with their nature. In this way, the “occult virtue” of the spirits in question, to borrow a term from Agrippa, begins to become instantiated in our lives. In the process, we increase our sympathetic harmony with the spirits and facilitate future work with them.

My experience has been that Archangels particularly love when we do good deeds in harmony with their nature and offer these in gratitude for what they have done for us. Progressively alchemically transmuting more and more of our lives into doing things that benefit not only ourselves, but also our families, friends, communities, and societies has the added benefit of not only enriching our lives, but also meeting the grimoiric requirements (e.g. in the Key of Solomon, Arbatel, etc) for living a good and honourable life as part of the lifestyle of the Magician in the ideal these texts advocate. Any such gesture can also be offered to the Holy Spirit for magicians who work with him. In addition, periods of meditation on the nature of a Spirit or their class (e.g. Angelic, Elemental, Planetary, etc) can also be offered to the spirits. Often they will reciprocate with images, insights, or other manifestations.

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A collection of red beverages offered to spirits at a Thai Spirit House.

Four Underlying Principles of Offerings

Indeed, it seems to me that there are a few foundational principles that underlie all offerings.

One of these, which is so central to Archaic Goetia as Jake Stratton-Kent has shown in Geosophia, but also to the more offering-based Christian magical systems, is reciprocality.  Reciprocality means that both we and the spirits benefit from our work together, them through offerings and time with us and us through their teachings, magical help, and how we grow in the process. This principle ensures balance and harmony, key aspects of virtue as Aristotle, Siddhartha Gautama, Kung-fu-tzu and others have pointed out, but also central features of the Adepthood ideal.

Another principle is respect – treating spirits with the same respect we ask of them. In this way, we show them that we care enough about them and what they are doing for and with us to show them we respect them by making meaningful sacrifices on their behalf.

A third is gratitude, not taking them for granted, but appreciating the gifts they offer us. Gratitude is a powerful force in all human relationships; it deepens love, enriches friendships, improves work relationships, and ensures gifts receive the recognition they deserve. The same holds true in spirit work. Just as we love those who are grateful for our actions to help them, spirits seem to delight in the same way in gratitude. Just as we are more likely to want to help the grateful than the ungrateful, those who display haughty attitudes of unappreciative demandingness and entitlement, so are spirits more likely to help Magicians who show them the same courtesy.

And a fourth is sympathy, ensuring that the offerings are in harmony with their nature and preferences. As the examples discussed above have indicated, proper offerings should always be in some way in harmony with the nature of the spirits to whom they are given. Just as an appropriate gift for someone who only listens to metal music is not the latest country album, but a metal album they do not yet own, or a shirt of their favourite band, the appropriate offering for a spirit is not one that is contrary to their nature, such as a sword for a Venusian spirit, but in harmony with it.

Conclusion

Spirit offerings are one of the most ancient forms of human spirituality recorded by anthropologists.  To those of us in the contemporary world who continue to feel the enduring call to work with the spirits, they are an essential technology and technique of inestimable value.  Indeed, ritual offerings hold the power to amplify our magic and deepen our relationships with the spirits with whom we work.