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.

The Rite of the Crook of Saint Cyprian: A Powerful Ritual Revealed Through PGM Lecanomancy

By Frater S.C.F.V.

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Altar set-up for Novena of Saint Cyprian of Antioch Day 9 and PGM lecanomancy: large bowl filled with spring water, Holy Water, and Saint Cyprian Oil (bottom center). Brass cauldron with offerings of Church wafer and incense (bottom right). Key of Solomon Aspergillum and Water Glass Offering to Cyprian (bottom left). Offering of wine (center). Two lavender candles fixed with Saint Cyprian Oil, cinnamon, all-spice, and sage offered to Saint Cyprian (middle left and right). Statues of Saint Cyprian and Justina (back center), Vial of Saint Cyprian Oil (back right), and Novena Candle (back left).

A Sudden Change of Plans

On Day 9 of my 2018 Novena of Saint Cyprian of Antioch, I woke up and performed a ritual bath and morning worship. I then traveled to the city to do social work community service with older adults in the community as a form of Offering to Cyprian. At the end of the day, I meditated  on the Mystical Theology of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite on the journey home, and having arrived, prepared for ritual.

I performed a second ritual bath of the day and session of prayers and put on my robe, stole, and golden crown. I then fixed two candles as Offerings to Saint Cyprian, both lavender candles, fixed with San Cipriano Oil, allspice, cinnamon, and sage. I had originally planned a completely different series of rituals for tonight, but after receiving a strong intuitive nudge of the kind that Cyprian usually produces when he is giving guidance, I scrapped the initial plan and opted instead to focus entirely on the Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM) or Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri. Indeed,I felt a strong sense that the focus of the night should be on classical Graeco-Egyptian lecanomancy. As the night unfolded, it became clear that I was in not just for a powerful experience with Cyprian, but for learning an entirely new ritual directly from him…

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The Oracle of Delphi presented as performing lecanomancy or evocationary scrying via a bowl of water and olive oil painted by a Kodros painter and dating to 430 BC, roughly 100 years before Dr. Ryan Bailey (2017) estimates the Acts of Saint Cyprian of Antioch was written.

The Lecanomantic Origins of the Rite of the Crook of Saint Cyprian

I entered the Temple, and began, as usual, with offerings and preliminary prayers to the Divine. I then picked up my Solomonic Bell, sounded it three times before entering the Circle as per the Hygromanteia and then, from within it, sounded it thrice to each of the Quarters, greeting the Spirits of the East, South, West, and North with great love, respect, and  blessings. Next, I used my Key of Solomon Aspergillum of Art to sprinkle Holy Water all around the Circle and on the tools and Altar to purify the area for the workings to come. I then proceeded to give additional Offerings to the Divine and to Saint Cyprian and prepared myself for the intensive work to begin.

I lit both of Saint Cyprian’s twin candles and offered him a glass of red wine as well as consecrated incense. Then, I breathed deeply until I entered a quasi-trance state and standing and brandishing my Wand, I began to powerfully recite the Rite of the Headless One from the Stele of Jeu or Papyri Graecae Magicae V. 96-172.

The Rite came on strongly and powerfully as it always does. Before I knew it, I had been transported into a kind of ecstatic frenzy as the primal force of the “awesome and invisible god” began to overwhelm my mundane consciousness.  As I strained to not fall into the state of momentary transcendental dissolution in the Absolute that the Rite is known to produce, and still immersed in the frenzied, ecstatic state of the “Holy Headless One,” I shifted into a modified Cyprianic form of the lecanomantic spell of “evocationary scrying,” to borrow a term from Dr. Stephen Skinner, from PGM IV. 154 to 285.

Inquiry of bowl divination and necromancy. Whenever you want to inquire about matters, take a bronze vessel, either a bowl or a saucer, whatever kind you wish. Pour water: rainwater if you are calling upon heavenly gods, seawater if gods of the earth, river water if Osiris or Sarapis, spring water if the dead.

Holding the vessel on your knees, pour out green olive oil, bend over the vessel and speak the prescribed spell. And address whatever god you want ask about whatever you wish, and he will reply to you and tell you about anything. And if he has spoken dismiss him with the spell of dismissal, and you who have used this spell will be amazed.

PGM IV. 223- 243

In keeping with Saint Cyprian’s necromantic theme, I had filled a large bowl with spring water prior to beginning the Headless Rite. It was into this bowl that I now turned to begin my necromantic lecanomancy guided by Cyprian. I poured a libation of Saint Cyprian Holy Olive Oil into the bowl of water, into which I had also poured a small amount of Spring Water mixed with Holy Water used in a prior magical ceremony. I then began to recite the conjuration from PGM IV 223-243, modified to include Saint Cyprian in place of a Graeco-Egyptian gods:

The spell spoken over the vessel is: “AMOUN AUANTAU LAIMOUTAU RIPTOU MANTAUI IMANTOU LANTOU LAPTOUMI ANCHÔMACH ARAPTOUMI, hither to me, O Saint Cyprian; appear to me this very hour and do not frighten my eyes. Hither to me, O Saint Cyprian, be attentive to me because he wishes and commands this ACHCHÔR ACHCHÔR ACHACHACH PTOUMI CHACHCHÔ CHARACHÔCH CHAPTOUMÊ CHÔRACHARACHÔCH APTOUMI MÊCHÔCHAPTOU CHARACHPTOU CHACHCHÔ CHARACHÔ PTENACHÔCHEU” (a hundred letters).

But you are not unaware, mighty king and leader of magicians, that this is the chief name of Typhon, at whom the ground, the depths of the sea, Hades, heaven, the sun, the moon, the visible chorus of stars, the whole universe all tremble, the name which, when it is uttered, forcibly brings gods and daemons to it. This is the name that consists of 100 letters.

PGM IV. 223- 243

Immediately after finishing this powerful conjuration, I sat before the Altar with the lecanomantic bowl on my knees as described in the spell text. I began to scry into the olive oil swirling in the water and invited Saint Cyprian to guide me with a vision of whatever he felt would be helpful for the development of magical wisdom. I gazed and gaze into the swirling Cyprianic oil within the bowl until my eyes grew heavier and heavier before falling shut completely…

Suddenly, I saw him. Saint Cyprian, carrying his iconic Crook stepped out of the darkness of my closed eyelids and stood before me, exuding great power and mystery.  I greeted him with love, respect, and the blessings of the Divine, which he returned.  Then I asked him what he guidance he would like to offer for the next phase of my magical development and he said:

“Follow my example. Find connecting lines where others see gaps. Integrate the wisdom to which differing traditions cling into a broader vision of magic. Do not fixate on the outer forms of things. Instead, peer behind the techniques, at the principles that underlie them, and behind the symbols and language at the fundamental forces on which they draw. Having realized the concealed and foundational mechanics that power the techniques and rites of magic beneath their surface forms, you will be best equipped to enlist them in your work. Let undeniable results rule over the rigid opinions of the ignorant.”

I thanked Saint Cyprian for this wise message and promised to do my utmost to put it into practice.  I then asked him if he was pleased by my efforts and Offerings thus far in the 9 preceding Novena days of intensive magical work conducted in his honour and if so, whether he would do me the great honour of granting me his patronage as a result.  Smiling, he spoke into my mind in his deep calm voice, saying:

It is with pleasure that I bestow on you my Patronage. Wherever you go, my Crook will follow you there.  Whatever work you embark upon, my hand will be in it to strengthen it as well.” 

I felt very moved and grateful for these inspiring words and asked the great Saint if he would be willing to kindly bless me with a new magical technique that I could both use myself and pass on to other esteemed Magicians to empower their own work. Nodding in assent, Cyprian instructed me to open my eyes and begin to write.  As I did so, I was startled by the automatic rapidity with which the words of the rite that follows flowed, fully-formed onto the page as a potent gift from Saint Cyprian himself. I pray that you, dear Reader, will find it as useful as I have, that it will release blessings and power over you, your house, and your work, and that Saint Cyprian will pray for your success in all things, in the name of the Most High, Amen!

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The Invocatory Rite of the Crook of Saint Cyprian

Perform a ritual bath and stand to perform the ritual, ideally in the center of a ceremonial Circle of your choosing. Breathe deeply multiple times until relaxed and ready.

Hold a Wand, Dagger or extended finger straight up into the air and call out:

RAI ATAH IA YAH YAH
(Ray-Ah-Tah Ee-ah Yah-Yah)

Begin to trace a Spiral symbolizing Cyprian’s Crook out from the center of your forehead. Continue spiralling faster and faster while declaring:

I draw out the Eternal
GA RAHP TA GAKAIOL
(Gah-rahpt-tah-gah-ka-ee-ol),
Beyond all, at the Source of All,
Beyond the First, after the Last,
Nowhere and Yet everywhere,
Here and Now And evermore,
ONTA GA SHALEIO KA
(OH-N-Tah-Hah-Shah-Lay-Yo-Ka)
RAMATA GAH RAH KAA!
(Rah-Mah-Tah Gah-Rah Ka-Ah)

Thee I Invoke, The Ancient One,
As You, as I, Without A Second
GOKAHRAI TAH AGAI
(Goh-Kah-Ray-Tah-Ah-Gah-Ee)
OVAYOTOGAIOL
(Oh-vah Yoh-toh Gah-ee-ool)
RAHGAH PEII RAH TAI!
(Rah-gah Pay-Ee Rah Tah-Ee)

Pull the potent force evoked down towards the ground to complete the Staff portion of Cyprian’s Crook, tracing your wand, dagger or finger down from the forehead over the throat, heart, and solar plexus.

Finish with your hand over your genitals and your finger, Wand, or Dagger pointing to the floor. Exclaim:

Planted am I, the Eternal Root,
Fiery Source, Birth and Destruction,
Mighty am I, Force Beyond Force,
None do breathe except through Me —
GAH RAH TEII AIOL!
(Gah-Rah Tei-ee Ah-Eee-Ol)

Life and Death are naught but coils
In my Ancient Serpent’s Form,
Beyond the Hidden and Revealed
OTA GOH KARAIOL!
(Oh-tah Goh-kah Rah-Ee-Ol)
GOGEI AN PA-AH-IOL
!
(Goh-gay An-pah Ah-Ee-Ol)
As That Alone which Is declares,
So must yet it be:
__________________ (Call out petition / desired magical outcome)!
KAH GEI RATEI GAIOL,
(Kah-Gay Rah-tay Gah-Ee-Ol)
OMEI GATEI ALEI PHA,
(Oh-may Gah-tay Al-Ay-Pha)
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!”

Cross the arms over the chest like the resurrected Osiris and abide in that position for some time, monitoring the sensations that result, certain that what has been declared will come to pass.

Akephalos: The Staggering Power of the Stele of Jeu or the Rite of the Headless One

By Frater S.C.F.V.

Introduction: Apotheosis, Theo-Identification and Graeco-Egyptian Magic

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After a powerful Invocation of Cassiel, Archangel of Saturn and Angel of Saturday from the Heptameron on the Day and Hour of Saturn during Day 6 of my Novena to Saint Cyprian of Antioch, I recently felt moved to perform a powerful and ancient Rite.

The Stele of Jeu or Rite of the Headless One occurs in the Greek Magical Papyri or Papyri Graecae Magicae V. 96-172. As Dee Rapposelli (2016) points out,

The Greek Magical Papyri are a compilation of highly syncretic texts that date from the 2 century BCE to 5 century CE of Hellenistic Egypt. They are Graeco-Egyptian magical spells and are loaded with Egyptian, Greek, Gnostic, Orphic, and Hebrew [Divine Names]—sometimes all in the same [papyrus.]

The Rite has classically been understood as a powerful ritual of exorcism, for it contains repeated references to subjugating all daimons that may be adversely influencing one’s life (e.g. “deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune“).

The manner in which it does this goes far beyond any ordinary exorcism, however.  After first identifying with Moses and “the messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris,” the Magician completely casts his or her earthly human identity into the great Void of the Eternal and primordial to temporarily abide as no less than the Supreme “One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day, who created the Light and the Darkness.”

As such, the Stele of Jeu can additionally be seen through another lens, not only as a rite of exorcism, but also as a rite of Theurgy and mystical identification with the Godhead.  Indeed, my yogic teachers might describe it as a way of realizing and abiding as Brahman, the ultimate reality that appears both as and beyond all things.

This is no small feat in itself, but the Headless Rite is even more than this.  It is a Graeco-Egyptian hybrid of invocation and evocation conducted simultaneously. As Rachel Isabella (2003) explains:

To evoke a spirit is to call it/her/him to one’s immediate vicinity. To invoke a spirit is to call it/her/him into oneself. This Rite does both at once. It’s customary upon completion of the Rite, with the invoked power still humming in you, to state a specific intent or prayer in the voice of the God.

The result of this total identification with the Godhead is intense to say the least. It can feel disorienting, possessing, transformative, and moving beyond explication and articulation. It is nothing short of a mystico-magical Apotheosis, as Leonardo of Voces Magicae (2015) explains:

Invocations such as the Stele of Jeu (PGM V. 96-172) and the Invocation of Typhon from PGM IV. 154-285 reach a magical crescendo when the ritualist self-identifies with the target of the invocation and speaks as that Deity.

This ritual apotheosis heralds the moment at which the practitioner wields the necessary authority to manifest their desire – whether to call forth a spirit to appear or to successfully cast a spell.

This method is, of course, very reminiscent of Ancient Egyptian spells from the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, which involve the priest assuming the identity of a God and speaking and acting magically within the power of the assumed Divinity. It is ancient magic par-excellence with syncretic Hellenistic, Gnostic, and Jewish twists. And it is powerful indeed.

The Experience of the Stele of Jeu

On this particular occasion, I performed thr version of the Stele found in Dr. Maleficarus Strangefellow’s Prayer Book of the Order of Saint Cyprian of Antioch (OSC), Cyprian Orisons (2017).

Standing in the Circle, with Offerings of Candles and Incense burning before me, clad in my robe and Stole and wearing a golden Crown, I held my Wand and began the ritual.

As I began the ritual, I immediately felt myself hooked into its ancient Graeco-Egyptian current of power.  Wearing my Saturn ring, I loudly proclaimed the assertive words of the text’s opening, which, in English translation, read:

Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aerial or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God.

I summon you, Headless One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day, you who created the Light and the Darkness; you are Osoronnophris whom none has ever seen; you are Iabas; you are Iapos; you have distinguished the just from the unjust; you have made female and male; you have revealed seed and fruits; you have made men love each other and hate each other.

The evocatory formula within the ritual is perhaps most evident here, but already the power of this potent Being as Source of all begins to be laid clear.

After this point, the Ritualist self-identifies first as Moses then as a Messenger of Osiris, declaring:

I am Moses your prophet to whom you have transmitted your mysteries celebrated by Israel; you have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment; hear me.

I am the messenger of Pharaoh Osoronnophris; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the prophets of Israel. Hear me, ARBATHIAŌ REIBET ATHELEBERSĒTH ARA BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHCHI CHITASGOĒ IBAŌTH IA; subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aerial or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God.

Thereafter, the text shifts into an Invocatory mode. As I bellowed these words, I felt the boundaries of my body begin to feel less and less distinct, as a potent and ancient force seemed to wash over me like warm and invigourating water…

I call upon you, awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit, AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOCHOU MODORIŌ PHALARCHAŌ OOO. Holy Headless One, deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune, ROUBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNABAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLETH ABRASAX AĒŌŌY; mighty Headless One, deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune. MABARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH, deliver me from all restraining daimons and misfortune, AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ.

He is the Lord of the Gods; he is the Lord of the Inhabited World; he is the one whom the winds fear; he is the one who made all things by command of his voice.

Lord, King, Master, Helper, I call upon you, IEOU PYR IOU IAŌT IAĒŌ IOOU ABRASAX SABRIAM OO YY EY OO YY ADŌNAIE, immediately, immediately, good messenger of God ANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIACHANNA CHORYN.

Thereafter, the strangest thing began to happen: my voice shifted.  It grew deeper, raspier, and sounded both intimate and foreign at once.  This shift continued to grow stronger and stronger through the words that followed…

I am the Headless Daimon with sight in my feet; I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll; I am the one whose sweat falls upon the earth as rain so that life can begin; I am the one whose mouth burns completely; I am the one who begets and destroys; I am the Favor of the Aion; my name is a Heart Encircled by a Serpent; Come Forth and Follow.

Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and the sages. He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds-he, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.

Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure and pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy are created by Me alone.

As these words were spoken forth, my perspective seemed to become less and less “my” perspective… “I” became That which saw the Magician “Adam” standing in his Temple speaking the words; the sense of being shifted from the relative human stance to the primordial Absolute, back and forth, back and forth…

The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the progenitors of mankind are born out of My mind, and all creatures in these planets descend from them.

He who knows in truth this glory and power of Mine engages in unalloyed devotional service; of this there is no doubt.

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.

The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me.

To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.

Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

I am the Self, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.

More and more, a frenzy of energy began to whirl through the room, and the Ancient Presence began to shake and tremble the body as my raspy, deepened, and strangely transformed voice proclaimed the words of the Rite at an increasingly fast pace, whipping into an ecstatic stream of syllables…

Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.

Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.

Furthermore, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being-moving or unmoving-that can exist without Me. Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor. With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.

Thus completing the Rite, the ritual text fell from my hand. And the strangest things began to happen. A cosmic awareness felt like it encompassed all that it held within it; like it was all that could be experienced. I was the candle, the incense, and the Altar. I was the Circle, the walls, and the Temple. I was the breathing man wielding the Wand. I was the air in the room, the beginning and the end, the order and chaos, the All and the None.

I watched as my human body began to shake in strange ways as the ancient force convalesced and convulsed through it in powerful tremors like the earthquakes Archangel Cassiel had shown me… Then my body began to sway and sway as if dancing, as the vibrating, humming energy reached a fever pitch. My hands formed strange spiritual gestures or mudras. My body swayed and swayed. My arms drifted this way and that in the graceful movements of a dancer. On and on it went…

My eyes fell shut. I was a cosmic light. I was before the cosmos. I was the universe in its arising, sustaining, and destruction. I was the first and the last, the living and the dead. I stood as Osiris, with green skin and white wrappings. I stood as Christ, nailed to the Cross. I stood as the Godhead, formless and birthing all form. As all of this was inwardly seen and felt, still my body continued to dance its strange and graceful movements, shifting in and out of tremors and shaking…

At once, my eyes burst back open and my awareness drifted back into the confines of the body-mind. Once again, I became local. I was somewhere, somewhen. Here. Now.

And yet, I had not forgotten my Divine nature beyond this humble human form.

I remained That; and That continued to appear as “me.”

Breathing deeply, there I was, fully human, and That which appeared as human without being bound by it.

Thus is the power and the mystery of the Stele of Jeu. 

Pathworking on the 10th Path of Malkut

GoldenDawnlogoDate: March 29, 2018
Time:  7:33 – 8:04 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising, cloudy sky
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous in 30 degrees Virgo, Lunar Mansion of Awwa
Planetary Day: Day of Jupiter
Planetary Hour: Hour of Jupiter into Hour of Mars
Activities: LIRP, Pathworking of the 10th Path of Malkut, QC, ALU

I astral projected into the Inner Temple, which appeared Earthy and natural, not at all like a Cathedral, but with plants and rock features. I assumed the astral appearance of the Hierophant in red robe, red and green nemyss and performed the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram with the Hierophant’s Wand.

I then exited the Temple through large double doors and, performing the Sign of the Enterer three times, sent myself flying down into the Sphere of Malkut. I landed before a vast green Temple. With the Divine Names of Adonai (אדוני) and Adonai Ha-Aretz (הארץ אדונ), its vast doors lumbered slowly open and I stepped into the Temple of the 10th Path of Malkut.

As I entered, the walls faded away and I found myself in a vast-domed Earthy realm. This space reminded me of a much larger version of the Biodome in Montreal, which has Earthy natural environments for different ecosystems within a domed structure. I tested the vision with the Divine Name of the Sphere and it grew sharper and clearer.

This place was brimming with life. My feet were wet with the crystal blue waters of a peaceful brook. Trees abounded and birds, deer, and other creatures were around. I made an offering to the King of the Elemental, Gob and asked him to kindly send a Gnome to guide me through the 10th Path.

I heard a low voice say “it is done.” Moments later, a male-looking spirit appeared before me. He had a great brown beard, wore a red cap on his head, and was dressed in a green coat over a brown vest and white shirt. He wore beige pants and had lively green glowing eyes.

I greeted him with love, respect, and blessings in the name of Adonai Ha-Aretz (הארץ אדונ),, which he returned.

“You wish to meet with the Mother, the Queen and Spirit of Earth?” He asked in a deep and gravelly voice.

I said yes and he instructed me to follow him into a cave. The narrow cavern entrance opened onto a winding tunnel through a grey-stoned cave with glittering blue crystals in its walls.

As we walked, I asked him about himself and about his People.

He replied: “I am of the People of the Gnomes.”

“You are Elemental Spirits of Earth?”

“Yes.”

“Does your People often work with humans?”

“Not often.”

“Why not?”

“Partly because most of your People have forgotten us. And partly because many among you destroy our dwelling places.”

“Ah yes, sadly many among us are greedy and destructive, detached from Nature. But I am not like them.”

“Yes, we know what you have done for plants and animals. Tread lightly when you walk in the forest!”

“I will,” I said. “How should I proceed if I wish to work with the Spirits of a forest and the Gnomes who live there?”

“Respectfully.”

“How should I begin to speak with them?”

“Make an offering at a Tree, sit before it with open or closed eyes, and invite any spirits present to introduce themselves. If they wish to do so, they will. If they do not, leave the offering there.”

“What offerings are best?”

“Food is best. Bread is good. Dipped in honey or syrup of maple is better.”

“Thank you, I will respect this. What kinds of things can Gnomes do for their friends among humans?”

“We can help with small things pertaining to our sphere, Nature, earth, gold, and contacting other spirits. Here, we are arriving.”

We stood before large stone doors carved into a vaulting cavern wall. As the Gnome spoke, the doors slid open.

“Thank you for your kind guidance, friend. May I ask your name?”

“GARGA is my name,” he said in his low and rumbly voice.

“Thank you, Garga,” I answered. “I am Frater S.C.F.V. or _________.”

“Honoured to meet you, _______” he replied. “I will wait for you here.”

I stepped into a vast stone chamber with plants growing up the walls. A narrow path led down the middle. On either side, I was surprised to see what appeared to be many knights in grey-black armour, all standing silently.

At the end of the central pathway, a spirit that appeared as a beautiful young woman with long, flowing brown hair sat on a rough black throne carved out of black glossy and volcanic stone that resembled obsidian. She wore a green and brown loose fitting gown and had bright green eyes.

Seeing her, I got down on one knee and greeted her with love, respect, and the blessings of Adonai Ha Aretz (הארץ אדונ).

“Oh so formal!” she said with a laugh. “But thank you. I am surprised to see you, Child of Earth. Few of your kind come here! Why have you come?”

I laughed and expressed my wish to be initiated into the Mysteries of the 10th Path.

“Very well,” she said in a silky and melodious feminine voice.

Speaking to the metal-clad beings on either side of me, she said:

“Golems, please leave us.”

It was then that I realized that these beings that resembled human nights were in fact animated entities shaped by the en-spirited forms of minerals from the Earth.

She placed a crown on my head woven of fresh ivy.

“Disrobe your form and lay on the white cloth on the floor.”

What she was asking me to do reminded me of the initiation ritual for binding oneself to the power of Typhon in the Papyri Graecae Magicae IV (154-285).

I followed her instructions and lay down on the form with arms crossed over my chest as in the PGM ritual, my eyes closed.

“Ah, how Airy and Fiery are your energies! You are often swept up by fiery passion and abstract thinking. You must learn to adapt. Ground yourself in the energies of Earth!” She proclaimed.

Then she crouched over me and pressed her lips to mine, as in a kiss, or a meeting of mouths in CPR to transmit air to infuse the lungs of the other person and resurrect them from the brink of death.

At once, a flood of energy came through my Sphere of Sensation. It felt calming, grounding, solid, stabilizing.

I remained in this position for a moment, after which she instructed me to rise and regarb, retaining the Ivy crown.

I did so and she began to speak:

“If you would rise to work with the realms and forces above, you must be soundly grounded in the Earth. Just as the flower roots itself deeply in the soil before it can send its pollen into the Air, so it is wise for you to do the same.

If you do not, not only can you not grow to reach the higher realms, but you will be like the seed of a dead plant, ever-swept this way and that, chaotically at the mercy of the whims of the Winds.”

I bowed to her and gave her an offering as thanks.

“Go in peace and tread lightly on the Earth.”

“I will, I said.

I returned to Garga and gave him an offering of bread dipped in honey as a thank you.

“Ah!” his usually grimly stern face lit up as he received it. “Thank you! Come, I will accompany you to the surface.”

Reaching it, I thanked him once more and blessed him in the name of Adonai Ha Aretz (הארץ אדונ). He returned the blessings.

I returned to the Astral Temple and performed the Qabalistic Cross and the Adoration of the Lord of the Universe.