By Herb and Angel: A Folk Christian Working with Archangel Michael for Three Recently Deceased Souls

By Frater S.C.F.V.

A. Spiritual Work for the Dead: Context of the Working

As some of readers may know, I am a Clinical Social Worker in my professional life, and specialize in palliative care, working with older adults with dementia, cancer, and other serious diagnoses, defending vulnerable people from elder mistreatment, and working with younger people with disabilities.

The people with whom I work with are mostly low-income, socially and intersectionally disadvantaged in various ways, and desperate for help. My mundane calling on this Earth embraces working with them, empowering them, equipping them with tools and resources from the government and community organizations, supporting them emotionally through their challenges, and accompanying them, often until the end of their lives.

And yet, it dovetails with my spiritual calling, for as Initiates know, matter and Spirit are but two sides of the same nondual coin, and death is but a phase of the soul between life and afterlife.

V0017612 – Life and death. Oil painting. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

Indeed, the deeper I go into the study and practice of traditional Rootwork and Conjure with my beloved teacher Aaron Davis, studying the classic texts, and learning from experienced Rootworkers, the more I see that this style of magic is and always was about community, resilience, and survival. The African slaves who developed Hoodoo, Rootwork and Conjure in conversation with Indigenous Peoples, Appalachian white folks, esoteric Jews and others, developed a way of using what they had access to to protect and empower themselves, as well as to strengthen and nurture their families and communities. Furthermore, they did this often in the face of harsh realities, abuse, antagonism, and death. Hoodoo, Conjure and Rootwork, therefore, not only practices of spiritual resilience, resistance, and resurgence, but also practices grounded in family and community.

In the spirit of these traditions’ history, I strive to be mindful of my social location and yet also to honour the great teachers spiritual ancestors and workers of old by applying what I’ve learned in service to both the living and the dead. Chiefly, like the Rootworkers, of old, I’ve been focusing on those in my care–friends, family, loved ones, community members, and clients. As I came to work more and more for others and less for myself, I came to discover that doing magic for the betterment of others has a purity of purpose and spiritual strength that can be both moving and profound.

Just as my magic has become more community and service-focused, quite like my professional life, so has it also extended to accompanying my elderly and palliative clients into the liminal spaces following their deaths. Of course, working with people as they transition from life to death is by no means new; from the Ancient Period onwards, spiritual workers have often played the role of Psychopomps, that is, beings who strive to accompany newly deceased souls as they transition from life through death into the afterlife.

Icon Depicting St. Michael the Archangel as Psychopomp.

Historically, the Psychopomp role was deemed so important that it was cross-culturally enshrined in our mythologies in figures as diverse and yet similar as the ancient Egyptian god Anubis, the deity of Yama in Sanatana Dharma, the Greek ferryman Charon and god Hermes, the Roman god Mercury, the Norse Valkyries, the Aztec Xolotl, the Slavic Morana and the Etruscan Vanth. Ancient Mystery Religions like the Rites of Eleusis often centered on the Mysteries of Life, Death, and the Afterlife. Similarly, in the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ, St. Peter, and the Archangel Michael were all regarded as serving Psychopomp functions, much like the Angel Azrael in the Islamic tradition.

By extension, folk spiritual workers strove to collaborate with these spiritual powers to assist the dead. Indeed, in European folk magic as well as in American Hoodoo, Conjure, and Rootwork, magicians have often helped to offer the dead comfort, rest, light, and spiritual support in their experience beyond this world.

And so it was it was that I found myself drawn to continue to serve my clients after their deaths and helping them as best I could to brave the Great Beyond that gaped before them.

The working to which we now turn was a product of teachings passed on to me from the Conjure and Rootwork traditions in addition to folk Christian traditions, some elements of grimoire magic (e.g. the use of the Bell of Art), and the guidance I received from my own Spirits.

The purpose of this working was to bring cleansing, purification, protection, good fortune, blessings, Light, and peaceful rest to the spirits of three older adults I served in life after they passed away. Within the span of a few weeks, these individuals, each with their own strengths and limitations, had all died in sudden and unexpected circumstances: one after a sudden heart-attack while walking with his caregiver near his home, one after a major stroke in her residence, and one after complications stemming from COVID-19 in the hospital.

Concerned about the suffering and confusion they might feel after passing away so suddenly and hoping to help them in every way I could, I prepared the following ritual.

B. Setting the Lights on the Tablet: Preparations for the Work

To begin, as I work within a chiefly Christian framework, I offered prayers to God for guidance in the work and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me to select the right ingredients to benefit the three souls at the center of the work at hand.

I also opened up to the Archangel Michael as well as to my Ancestors, their Ancestors, and the spirits of the Herbs to guide me in developing the right formula for the work at hand.

I began by gathering the Herbs, consulting their spirits to see who would like to assist me in this work. In the end, the following 7 curios were included:

  • Holy Olive Oil (for spiritual anointing and to carry the powers of the Herbs),
  • Hyssop (that their souls might be purified and cleansed),
  • Rue (that they might be protected and cleanser),
  • Oak (that they might have good fortune in the afterlife and be blessed with protection),
  • Cinnamon (to fire up Light to help them progress and strengthen their spiritual progression),
  • Mugwort (that they may rest in peace and to enable them to communicate with me in dreams if they should like to do so),
  • Loosestrife (that they might have calmness of mind and heart and drive away all evil and worries).

I ground the herbs together while praying over them, thanking each for its aid and asking it what I wished it to do.

I then took up a plate consecrated for the purpose of candlework–which Solomonic magician and Conjure worker Balthazar Van Der Merwe called the “Tablet of Lights”–as well as a spiritually-prepared chalk marker. This chalk had been previously exorcised and consecrated following the Key of Solomon’s method.

With these, I drew a “5-spot” of 5 equal-armed crosses in the form of a larger cross. Hearts were used to finish the Holy Cross, signifying the intention to extend love, care, and comfort to the Souls included in the work. I then included the initials of the three Souls under where I would position their candles.

Using a fresh pin, I carved each of their names into their respective candles. I then dressed each candle with Holy Olive Oil before rubbing the Herbal mixture into it, praying continuously at the same time. Finally, I warmed the bottom of each candle to fix each to the Tablet of Lights, while praying over them.

Next, I prepared charcoal, Frankincense, 3 glasses of water, and an additional candle for Archangel Michael, and brought the Tablet with the fixed candles into my Temple space. I left them there while I took a ritual bath, cleansing and purifying myself with Hyssop for the work at hand. Then, the spiritual work began.

C. The Working: Offerings and Transition Assistance for Three Recently Deceased Souls

I placed Archangel Michael’s dedicated spirit table at the center of my Solomonic Circle in the center of my Temple space. On the table, I placed Michael’s Statue, a water glass for him, the Tablet of Lights and candles, a censer containing charcoal and Frankincense, the Bell of Art, a bread offering for Michael, a torch, and three glasses of water for the three spirits.

I began began by praying in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while ringing the Bell in the formation of a Cross multiple times over the spirit table, to open the work and “wake up” the spirits.

I then prayed extemporaneously for God’s help, the help of my Ancestors and those of the three deceased, and that of Archangel Michael. I did not do a formal Solomonic evocation of Michael, but simply asked him to be present and to assist with the work and greeted him with water, bread, Frankincense, and a candle offered to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit on his behalf and which I invited him to enjoy.

I then lit the three candles while praying over them. I greeted each spirit in turn, starting with P.D., proceeding to M.TP. and ending with J.W. I explained to them why I had invited them here and offered their candles, Frankincense, and water glasses to the Most High on their behalf before inviting them to partake in them for refreshment, light, and strengthening.

I then prayed for the three spirits collectively and then explained to them the role of each Herb fixed to their candle and prayed for its benefit to be bestowed unto them.

Next, I spoke to the spirits of the Herbs and invited them to partake of the fire, Frankincense, and water offered as thanks for their assistance in the working.

Then I prayed for each spirit one at a time, starting with P.D., proceeding to M.TP. and ending with J.W. I then spoke to each spirit as if they were sitting before me and alive, citing cherished memories of my time with them, thanking them for their strengths, blessings, and the traits I appreciated about them, and again praying for their cleansing, purification, uplifting, illumination, good fortune, care, and comfort beyond their deaths.

At the end of each series of prayers, I addressed the spirit and invited it to communicate any message he or she wished to share with me.

The messages were brief and yet, so meaningful to me. As each spirit spoke, I seemed to see a hint of it Astrally; I saw them appearing from their waist up, looking much as they had looked when I last saw them, or perhaps a little younger.

Their images seemed to emerge out of darkness and hover in a gentle illumination above their associated candle and its flame.

These were the messages I received from the three dead spirits with whom I had worked in life:

From P.D.: (speaking in French) “Thank you for this gesture and for your help. It’s so nice here (Frater S.C.F.V.’s Note: seeming to me, in the “space” in which he now found himself after death)! So beautiful! Thank you!

From M.T.P. (speaking in French): “Thank you, A., for helping me. How we laughed! Thank you for all you did.”

From J.W. (speaking in English): He appeared stern as he had in life, then seemed to shift into a half-smile and said, gruffly but sincerely, “Sorry I gave you such a hard time. Thanks for your help.”

After each spirit spoke, I shared some private final words to them, which I shall not share here as they are personal to us.

Their candles were burning so still and the feeling in the room was somehow both heavy and light at the same time. The words I spoke seemed to hang on the air… as if time itself had come to a halt.

Attuning to the spirits of the tree, I could feel that they were dead, but they did not seem scared; instead, they seemed content and comforted to be there.

The space in the room was positively thick with energy and yet so still, so clear and yet so solid…

Indeed, I was so touched when I finished sharing and receiving the above messages, that I had completely forgotten to pay attention to Archangel Michael’s candle.

That’s when I noticed — it was going wild.

My impression was that the Archangel was doing some intense work to help the three spirits.

In a startling visual display, Michael’s candle began to sputter up tall bursts of fire, spitting them upwards at a rapid pace, like dragon fire. This rapid bursting would be followed by the flame dropping into a very tall, clear, still flame, and barely moving at all.

Then the flame’s tip would split into separate “tongues” of flame, as if the Angel was working on individual spirits at that time, 2-3 at a time, before returning to the tall flame bursts and swaying. The bursting seemed to indicate burning through impurities; the still hovering to harmonizing and attuning.

I asked Michael if I could film this candle flame manifestation and share it with others to inspire them to know that Angels are very real and he agreed for me to share the brief footage below:

I cannot overstate the intensity of the emotions I felt as I watched this scene and felt its impact on the three spirits… I felt overcome with awe, complete wonder, utter astonishment, moved almost to tears…

Even just watching the video back a day later, I feel an intimation of those same feelings. The contrast between the wildly active candle offered to Michael and the very still candles of the dead was so striking to me then and remains so today.

Moreover, I was amazed and surprised by the fact that in this humble little ritual to help these three souls, I felt Michael’s presence more powerfully, more palpably, more viscerally than I ever had before… Including in any of the full Solomonic evocations I had done with him. I didn’t know what to make of it…

Suddenly, my eyes fell closed.

Out of the blackness of my closed eyelids, I saw a face of pure light emerge from the darkness.

It was Michael.

He spoke to me in a voice at once deep, calm, loving, and grounded.

He said:

This is the work I knew you were capable of, that I was waiting to see from you.
Working to help, working not for yourself.
Whenever you work for the good of others, in love and humility,
I’ll never fail to help you.

Just like that, his image vanished, and my eyes opened once again.

The Archangel’s candle continued to flicker, sputter, wind from side to side like a serpent, and stretch higher than I thought possible above the candle holder…

Image of Michael’s candle rising high above the rim of the candle holder, with the wick being all the way at the bottom of the candle holder, sitting in a shallow pool of wax. Shared with the Angel’s permission.

I felt so moved and touched I couldn’t think of words to say. I could only pray “thank you… thank you… praise God! Thank you…”

My thoughts drifted back to remembering a Solomonic invocation I completed 4 years ago, in which I had found Michael quite difficult to communicate with. I’ve now come to believe that part of why I had such trouble was that, in that ritual, my heart simply wasn’t in the right place. I was thinking too much of myself and fooling myself perhaps, but not the Angel.

Now I was focused on working for the good of others, asking nothing in return, pure and sincere in my intent, nothing could be easier than receiving Michael’s words… That seemed a profound lesson about Angelic work, namely, that an Angelic Operation is most powerful and effective when we not only respect the protocols for fasting, prayer, abstaining, etc. in the days leading up to the Operation, but also approach it with a clear and clean purpose and a heart centered on extending the Good, on blessing.

Such a heart, such a mind-set, is in harmony, not only with the nature of the Angels themselves–thereby making it easier to attune to them–but also with the Divine Will itself.

For the Divine Will is always to extend the Good, through all manners, through all planes and worlds, to all beings, in all ways; as the great Adepti and Scriptures tell us, the eternal extension of the blood–Supreme Cosmic Benediction–is Love itself in action, Grace itself, and even the very Nature of God.

Photo of the Statue of Michael I took in Saint Michael’s Basilica in Sherbrooke.

Indeed, it reminds me of the words of Christ in Matthew 23:12, in which he says that “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

It now seems to me that there is a profound occult secret hidden here, in plain sight. At least for the Christian folk magician, the more we humble ourselves, the more we keep our self-concern out of the work while elevating the Divine and focusing on benefiting others through the work, the more help we will receive and the easier it will be to attune to the Angelic presence in the work.

Conversely, if our Angelic communications break down, it’s worth doing some soul-searching about our real motives, what we’re really aiming at, and whether that really is what we say it is…

This lesson also reminded me of the words of John the Baptist speaking of Christ in John 3:30, in which he proclaimed that “I must decrease; He must increase.” John devoted his life to paving the way for Christ, heralding his arrival, and drawing all to him in repentance, even unto death. Having so faithfully humbled himself, Jesus said about him in Matthew 11, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” And yet, even after this, he added a humbling other part for you and me, “…yet whoever is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.

At this part of the working, I was so moved, I could barely proceed. But I knew I had to carry on.

I prayed for P.D., M.T.P., and J.W and recited Psalm 132 on their behalf, praying the following (Names of God Bible Translation):

“Psalm 132

A song for going up to worship.

YHVH, remember David and all the hardships he endured.
Remember how he swore an oath to YHVH
    and made this vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
        “I will not step inside my house,
get into my bed, shut my eyes, or close my eyelids
until I find a place for YHVH,
    a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Now, we have heard about the ark of the promise being in Ephrathah.
    We have found it in Jaar.
Let’s go to his dwelling place.
    Let’s worship at his footstool.
YHVH, arise, and come to your resting place
    with the ark of your power.
Clothe your priests with righteousness.
    Let your godly ones sing with joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
    do not reject your anointed one.
11 YHVH swore an oath to David.
    This is a truth he will not take back:
        “I will set one of your own descendants on your throne.
12 If your sons are faithful to my promise[a]
    and my written instructions that I will teach them,
        then their descendants will also sit on your throne forever.”

13 YHVH has chosen Zion.
    He wants it for his home.
14 “This will be my resting place forever.
    Here I will sit enthroned because I want Zion.
15 I will certainly bless all that Zion needs.
    I will satisfy its needy people with food.
16 I will clothe its priests with salvation.
    Then its godly ones will sing joyfully.
17 There I will make a horn sprout up for David.
    I will prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
    but the crown on my anointed one will shine.”

Ancient Roman fresco of David as Shepherd.

I was going to end the ritual there, but felt nudged to add a final Psalm 23 as well:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Having finished praying the Psalm, to close the Temple, I prayed an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, as taught to me by a dear Esperitista friend, while again ringing the Bell of Art.

I gave thanks a final time, said goodbye to the three deceased, thanked Michael, the Ancestors, and the Most High, then declared the Temple duly closed.

I left the candles to burn and checked in on them about 40 minutes later, only to see the following:

My impression was that P.D.’s and M.T.P.’s candles had burned down rather quickly, but with tears of wax running down the sides as they burned, suggesting that pain and other impurities were being processed out of the spirits with help from Michael.

J.W.’s candle on the other hand, burned clean and clear almost to the end, when it suddenly pulled forward in an extension of wax towards where I was standing. How can we interpret the wax from these candles?

C. Practical Carromancy: Wax Remains Readings of the Three Candles

P.D.’s candle wax remains.

The next morning, I took the high-definition pictures of the wax remnants of each candle that you see here and endeavoured to interpret them with some insights from fellow readers with whom I shared the images in order to obtain insights from objective third parties. Much thanks to Cléo and David Domart, my fellow Working the Root students, for their input.

First, as seen above, we have P.D.’s candle. What I saw here was a spirit reposed and relaxed, a face looking to the side, surrounded by comforting and joyful petals. David got an impression of “thank you” from this wax and Cléo got a sense of “petals and playful cherubs.” This seemed very much in harmony with the message I received from P.D., namely, that he was grateful and that he found the space he was in very “nice! So beautiful!” This wax pattern was also very much in harmony with P.D.’s personality; he was a friendly and fabulous man who delighted in fashion and flowing fabrics. I saw his ‘imprint’ in this wax, in this sense, the stamp of the energy he embodied.

The second candle was M.T.P’s and looked as follows:

M.T.P.’s candle wax remains

What I saw here was her face, looking relaxed and content (the wick remains forming two eyes connected to a nose with a mouth below it). Above her, I saw the sweep of her hair, looking flowing and free. There were hints of her ears and perhaps a suggestion of a bosom at the bottom of the wax. Cléo also got a feeling of joy and gratitude from M.TP.’s candle. I was also struck by how much it looked like her; I could almost see her little smile and hear her joyful giggle as if she were laughing in my presence! David, similarly, sensed her free-flowing spirit and noted that he could feel “energy moving fast.” That sounded appropriate to me.

Finally, and most interestingly, we come to J.W.’s candle wax remains:

J.W.’s candle wax remains.

This wax felt entirely different from the others. As it turns out, this was exactly as it should be. P.D. and M.T.P. were both friendly, jovial people. J.W. was cut from a different cloth; he tended to be harsh and suspicious to the point where he refused to answer nearly every question I ever asked him. Part of my work with his spirit in the candle work here involved trying to show him my good will for him and help him relax his walls of suspicion so that he could move on without getting unnecessarily obstructed and encumbered. To hear him say “Sorry I was so hard on you, thank you” was about the nicest thing I could have hoped for from him. I told him all was forgiven and that I was just happy to have had the honour of meeting him and his family.

Looking at his wax remains, I see the wick remnants making up a face once again, a very different kind of face. I see eyes that look suspicious, perhaps a little fearful yet incredulous, but also see the wax sweeping down to the right as an outstretched arm, a kind of “olive branch” to me. I read it this way because the wax is coming towards where I was standing while doing the candlework. The overall message then became something like “yeah, I’m still a little wary of you, but I appreciate what you did for me so here’s an olive branch.”

Seeing this wax pattern, Cléo found it a little hard to read, saying he “seems elusive, like moving on or going through something.” That sounded right to me. J.W. was an elusive person in life, and remained so in death. He was hard to read, evasive as a man, both for people who just met him and for his own family members who had known him the longest. Moreover, he likely was going through confusion because his death came suddenly when we had been preparing for him to go home the very next day from the hospital; we have even put in place a new bed, raised toilet seat, and free homecare services to help receive him more comfortably at home. Appropriately, reading this wax, David saw someone “lost, not quite conscious.” That resonated. I hoped that the Rootwork would help calm, comfort, clear, illuminate, and strengthen his spirit through this transition.

D. Conclusion: Parting Thoughts on Working at the Crossroads of Life and Death

Overall, this was a beautiful working, a working that made me feel at once connected to the roots of the Herbs that powered the work, to Archangel Michael’s profound presence, to my own Ancestors and the Rootworkers who came before me, and to my fondly-appreciated clients at their passing.

I hoped that the working would help them to move on even as the Fire and Herbs helped soothe my own grieving and the bereavement of their surviving loved ones.

At the same time, the ritual cemented for me that magic really can operate at the Crossroads, even of Life and Death itself.

And while moving in that liminal space, a space of terror for many, we as spiritual workers can move in peace, and doing so, help bring that peace to troubled spirits in their moment of transition.

What could that be but an honour and a humbling opportunity for service, to life, death, and the Infinite itself?

By Candleflame and Anointing Oil: A Rootwork Operation for Job Interview Success

By Frater S.C.F.V.

A. Introduction: Context of the Working

A client came to me today asking me to help her spiritually as she has a significant job interview tomorrow for an important new position that would enable her to help others. She consented for me to do some rootwork to aid her as well as to enlist the aid of her Ancestors in the Operation, and to use a piece of her hair to tie the rootwork to her personally. As I was grateful for the opportunity to practice applying the valuable teachings of Hoodoo, Conure, and Rootwork that I have been learning from my teacher Dr. Aaron Davis, I did this working for free and to the glory of God and gratitude to my Ancestors and Spirit Allies.

B. Timing of Operation

Hoodoo, Conjure, and Rootwork emerged in a historical and cultural context independent of the Planetary Hours, Arabic Mansions of the Moon, and other concerns that affect the timing of Operations in traditional European grimoire magic. The development of the folk practice in these traditions emerged in the American colonies and driven by the ingenuity and survival necessities of African slaves. Their work integrated African traditional methods with insights from North American Indigenous Peoples, Appalachian traditions, Christian traditions such as the use of the Psalms, and much later historically, influences from Jewish magic and European grimoires. As a result, it is not necessary to observe Planetary Hours, factor in astrology, or Lunar Mansions in Hoodoo operations. Traditional Rootwork is eminently practical and ready-to-hand, hands in the herbs, and based on need; its methods are flexible by design.

However, since two of the wisdom traditions that influenced my practice are the Sufi Arabic tradition and the European grimoire tradition, I will note here just for my own records that this operation was completed on the Day of Mercury with the Moon in Aries in the Arabic Lunar Mansion of Al-Thurayya (Many Little Ones, linked to the Pleiades). From a grimoire magic perspective, this working would best be done on the Day of Mercury or Jupiter; however, since the client’s interview was on Thursday, the day of Jupiter, the latter would not be an option. From an Arabic magical perspective, doing the ritual with the moon in the mansion of Al-Thurayya (25°42’51″ Aries to 8°34’17″ Taurus) is perfect, however, because this is a Mansion that The Picatrix (11th c.) says is “suitable for the acquisition of all good things.” Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (16th c.) in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy adds that this Mansion is good, among other things, for “profit,” “happy fortune and every good thing.” It is a Mansion used in Arabic magic to receive blessings, good fortune, and support, and therefore, perfect for an operation designed to ensure success in a job interview context. Of course, none of these concerns would be relevant to the working of a traditional Rootworker, but it’s interesting as a circumstantial side note.

C. Preparation and Operation

I prepared for the Operation by obtaining the informed consent of the client after explaining to her the work I intended to perform on her behalf.

I then performed ritual bathing and prayers to purify myself.

Next, I prayed to the Most High that this work and the Oil to be produced through it might enable the client to charm her interviewer, protect her from negative judgments, attract good luck and favorable judgments leading to her attaining the new position, and attract money to her through the new job. I also prayed that she might be helped through this work so that she might help others through this new position to the glory of God and in accordance with His Will to extend the Good to all beings and care for all beings.

As my teacher Dr. Davis taught me, I spoke with each Herb in turn, asking for its help to aid the Operation, and explaining what I was asking each Spirit to do to contribute to the work at hand according to its unique occult virtues and strengths (e.g. to charm the interviewer, grant fiery protection against adverse circumstances and negative judgments, attract luck and fortune, “fire up” confidence, and provide peace of mind under pressure).

As I worked with each Herb, I used it to fix an offering candle and also added it to a condition Oil with a traditional base of Olive Oil. The formula used here was my own recipe drawing on the individual abilities of each herb as I learned from my teacher, Dr. Davis.

The Oil and Candle-Fixing formula I used here included the following Herbs:

a. Cinnamon, Allspice, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cardamom, and Cloves — This is a potent positive combination for drawing favor, friendship from prospective colleagues (cardamom, nutmeg, cloves), yielding fiery protection from negative judgments and self-doubt, heating up favor and energizing luck (ginger, Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves), and also relieving stress in the stressful context of an interview (allspice).

b. Consulting the Herbs to ask who else would like to be included in this Operation, I also felt inspired to include Sugar to help sweeten the situation and the interviewers to the client’s benefit. I also offered the Sugar to the Herb Spirits themselves as thanks for their help, not a traditional Hoodoo practice, but something I was inspired to do by my own Spirits.

c. In addition, Rosemary was added for its power to strengthen female clients and confer protection and positive working relationships in this case.

d. Thyme was also included to grant peace of mind and protect money and financial opportunity, a strong complement for Allspice in this formula.

e. Next, Bay Leaf was worked with to grant victory in obtaining the new job position and succeeding in it.

f. Finally, the client’s own hair was included as a sympathetic curio to link the working to her personal success.

As I stirred in the herbs, I prayed first extemporaneous prayers tailored to each Herb and empowering its role in the Operation, prayers to the Glory of God, thanking the Most High in advance for His generosity, grace, and Providence, and then prayed Psalm 23 over the Operation, Candle offering, and enchanted Oil:

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I then sealed the container of the Oil with the top and prayed that as it was sealed, so might it seal the virtues and powers of each Herb and Spice included into the Oil.

I then placed the fixed candle on top of the container of the Oil and offered it to the Creator, once again requesting God’s aid and empowerment of the Plant Allies involved to bring about the client’s aim. I again gave thanks in advance for the successful result of the Work.

Connecting the Candle magic to the Oil magic, I prayed that as the candle burned down, that it might draw the blessings of Divine Power and the virtues of the Herbs included down into the Oil to the clients benefit.

Finally, I called upon both my Ancestors and the client’s Ancestors to aid in the success of the Operation. Thanking them in advance for their guidance and assistance.

D. Day of the Interview

I advised the client to take the Oil with her and right before the interview, to dip her finger into the Oil and trace three Crosses of it on her tongue.

Then, I asked her to pray for her success and use the tongue she has thus empowered to speak the words that would bring success in her interview.

When I gave her the Oil, I asked her if she sensed anything from it. She said that she felt it “was very powerful” and that it “makes me feel safe, protected and supported.”

She followed the instructions I gave her, anointing the tongue with the 3 Crosses of the Oil, making the prayers, and then going into her interview.

When I asked her after how it went, she said that after she applied the Oil, she “felt my stress calming, and felt at ease, more confident, and supported.”

She said that at one point, she was asked a question that she was not sure of, so she took a moment, and felt that the words just came to her, as if aided by the Herbs. The interviewers said that “the answer was exactly what they had wanted.”

She added that she also felt that the interviewers treated her with great warmth and friendliness, as was intended in the formulation of the Oil.

E. Results of the Operation

The results of this Operation were strikingly successful. Not only did the client feel supported in the interview itself, but the results came very quickly afterwards.

The morning after the interview, the client informed me that she received a call from the Director of the organization to inform her that they wished to bypass checking her references and hire her immediately.

The Director further added that they had decided to give her a more than fair salary, added on many paid sick days, and included more weeks of paid vacation than she had in her last job.

In addition, the Director explained how she would be working in a position that would enable her to work with and support others as she had yearned to do. She was thrilled and very grateful.

I asked her to thank not me, but God who aided the Operation with his Providence, the Spirits of the Herbs that assisted her, and the Ancestors who helped as well from behind the scenes.

I did my own work to give thanks in this way and offered a white candle fixed with Olive Oil and Sugar as thanks to the Most High and the herb Spirits and Ancestors who assisted. Much love also to the ancestors of the Hoodoo, Conjure, and Rootwork tradition, for your strength, resilience, and brilliance in developing the tools and methods that enable me to help others and to my teacher Dr. Aaron Davis for his kindness, wisdom, and guidance.

Solomonic Invocation of Archangel Gabriel and Cauldron of Art Consecration

By Frater S.C.F.V.


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. 


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.


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!


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.


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.”


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.”


The Cyprianic Call – Or the Strange Story of How I Came to Work With Saint Cyprian of Antioch

By Frater S.C.F.V.


Introduction – Enter Saint Cyprian

2018 has been, without exaggeration, the most magical year in my life thus far. Not only is our G.D. Order happily thriving, but I have also been very grateful to have been able to go further into the Art of traditional Solomonic magic and more deeply into rigorous esoteric scholarship than I have ever gone before.  Perhaps the most unpredictable shift of all to unfold for me in the course of the Earth’s current circumambulation around the Sun, however, has been the commencement of my serious working relationship with Saint Cyprian of Antioch.

This surprising turn of events is rendered all the more shocking by the fact that in the past 30 years, I had never before seen the appeal of working with Saints in the classically Catholic manner, not even at the height of my faith in Catholicism itself.  To me, the practice smacked dangerously of violations of the First and Second Commandments from Exodus 20:2-17 to “have no gods but God” and not worship any “graven images.”  Moreover, later on, whilst studying Buddhism and Hinduism, I preferred to focus on Sutras than to contemplate the invocation of yogic Rishis and Buddhas.  Similarly, while practicing Islam and working the Qabalah, I was too reluctant to risk potential shirk or idolatry to even contemplate the idea of Saint work or veneration.  Indeed, throughout all of this time, I had been committed to working with Divine as directly as possible and the notion of working with Saints seemed like an unnecessary addition of a redundant intermediary.

My strongly Saint-aversive history only makes the recent transformation of my life into an adventure set ablaze with a zealous and heartful passion for full-fledged Saint work all the more astonishing.  After three long decades of avoidance of the practice as well as the theory behind it, I have found myself inexplicably called to work with Saint Cyprian of Antioch, the hieromartyr of the Greek Orthodox Church who was reputed to have departed from his mastery of the Ancient Mysteries and ceremonial and necromantic magic to embrace a heartfelt Christian faith out of love for his fellow martyr, the pious St. Justina, and respect for the power of the Cross to overcome all of his most formidable demonic Operations (Bailey, 2017).

As the tides of history have shown, with his one foot in the Pagan Mysteries, ceremonial magic, and necromancy and his other foot planted squarely in Christian Orthodoxy, Saint Cyprian of Antioch would come to inspire a paradoxical blend of generations of pious Christians and practical Magicians alike.  Indeed, the 4th century C.E. saw the appearance of three principal texts detailing the legend of Cyprian composed by three different authors, namely, The Conversion of Saint Cyprian, The Confession of Saint Cyprian, and The Martyrdom of Saint Cyprian, which collectively came to be known The Acts of Saint Cyprian of Antioch (Bailey, 2017).  The legends contained therein, via their cross-continental transmission through very disparate cultural and geographic milieus, would later spark raging fires of magical creativity and devotional passion.  The result was a completely distinct vein of grimoiric literature that can be distinguished from the parallel and sometimes inter-influencing streams of the Solomonic and Faustian grimoires (Leitão, 2014; Stratton-Kent, 2014).

After departing from the soil of Antioch, the legend and magico-religious influence of Saint Cyprian traveled to Scandinavia, where they inspired the magical “blackbooks” attributed to him; to the Iberian peninsula, where they sparked Portuguese and Spanish “Cyprianic” grimoires in his name; to Haiti, where they shaped the work of select Vodoun Houngans and Mambos; and finally, to North and South America, where they came to influence a staggering array of Brujos, Quimbanderos, Hoodoo practitioners, Rootworkers, Conjure Doctors, Santeros, and  Paleros and Tatas (Ali, 2013; de Mattos Friswold, 2013; Leitão, 2014; Stratton-Kent, 2014; Maggi, 2016).  As Jake Stratton-Kent is wont to point out with his characteristic warm and mischievous fondness, Saint Cyprian’s global magical legacy arguably overshadows that of even the great King Solomon himself, the pseudonymous inspiration of the tremendously influential tradition of Solomonic grimoires (Leitch, 2009; Stratton-Kent, 2014).


Gateways through Dreams and Intuition: My Personal Call to the Mysterious Saint of Magicians

My journey with Saint Cyprian of Antioch was at first astounding only in its utterly uneventful blandness.  I had encountered his name in passing in the works of Jake Stratton-Kent, Jason Miller, Dr. Al Cummins, and a few other authors whom I greatly enjoy and respect, but I did not at first feel any inspiration to pursue the Cyprianic Arcana or the intriguing historical trajectories of Cypriana and soon returned to my well-traveled journeys with the Golden Dawn and Solomonic systems.

Thankfully, however, this odd tale does not come to an anticlimactic culmination there.  To reach the odd zenith of this particular foray into the the mysterious and inexplicable, we must fast-forward to a few months ago, when I abruptly found myself stricken by a deep yearning to swan-dive into the Cyprianic mythos.  Seemingly out of nowhere, an obsession with the mysterious Sorceror-turned-Saint exploded within me like a blazing fire.

Before I knew it, texts about Cyprian were nearly all I was reading.  At a head-spinning and frenetic pace, I read through the three Acts of Saint Cyprian of Antioch texts, Jake’s two volumes of The Testament of Saint Cyprian the Mage, Jason Miller’s Cyprianic posts, Dr. Al’s articles, works by Humberto Maggi and José LeitãoAlexander Eth and Gordon White’s Cyprian-related podcast episodes, and every single article on Cyprian ever posted in Aaron Leitch’s Solomonic group, of which I am a Moderator, as well as in the history of Jake’s Attendants of Adrasteia.  Every time I heard the name “Cyprian,” I felt a mystifying flood of devotional love and awe fill my heart in a totally unprecedented way that was utterly incomparable to any affective response I had ever had towards any other Saint, Angel, or Spirit.  The change was so radical and so rapid that I was absolutely astonished by this rapid turn of events.  How had I, the most Saint-averse person I knew, suddenly become so enraptured by all things Cyprianic?

At first, I skeptically chalked the transformation up to the dawning of mere intellectual curiosity.  After all, the origins of passionate preoccupations were as mysterious to the Ancients as they are to our contemporaries. But then, truly magical events began to unfold, events that would vigorously shake the foundations of my casually blasé skepticism.

St Cip3.jpg

A Push from a Dream: Or How Two Lives Collided from a Continent Away

The truly strange events began to unfold when a Facebook friend named Joanne, with whom I had never before had a one-on-one conversation or met in person–as she lives on the opposite side of the continent from me–suddenly appeared to me in a dream.

In this brief, but extremely vivid dream, she did not speak, but instead stood with a mysterious smile, silently gesturing for me to join her, mysteriously beckoning, but to what, I did not know.  I awoke feeling utterly puzzled by the enigmatic dream.  Why Joanne?  And what was her oneiric appearance drawing me towards?

As my interest in Cyprian continued to build, I asked the Saint that if he wished for me to work with him, then he should kindly guide me in acquiring items to build him an Altar for our work. Within a single week, an Altar table was put out by the garbage on the very same street on which I lived, where I would easily find it.  With gratitude to Cyprian, I carried the table home and washed, exorcised, and consecrated it according to Solomonic methods.  Within this same short period of time, I also ordered a Statue of the Saint and inexpensively obtained all of the items I would require for his Altar.  I thanked him for his help and purchased 42 offering candles to gradually give to him over the course of our work together out of gratitude for his help, wisdom, initiatory empowerment, and instruction.


Throughout this process, I spoke regularly with my spiritual brother Chijioke, in Nigeria, who kindly shared various resources on Cyprian with me to help me along on my peculiar new Path.  After I told him about purchasing the supplies for Cyprian’s Altar, Chijioke told me that a friend of his had started working with Cyprian a month beforehand and that Cyprian had “guided the hands of my friend to sculpt an image of him. He spoke with her for over an hour.  He insisted that she must make a Halo over the head of the statue. Cyprian even knocked down a very securely-placed statue, after she told him “I’m not even convinced you are a Saint!” much to her startled surprise!”

I was fascinated by the story and asked if the friend he was talking about was the same one he had told me about previously, but he said:

“No, this is another friend, Joanne.”

My jaw dropped.


I asked for her last name and much to my surprise, Chijioke confirmed that it was indeed the same Joanne that had appeared in my enigmatic dream, the same Joanne that lived on the other side of Canada from me, both of us an ocean away from Chijioke’s home in Nigeria, Africa…

As the weight of this revelation began to truly sink in, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and chills ran through my body.

Oh Cyprian, I thought, and it occurred to me that I could almost see him smile.

Chijioke and I completely blown away by the fact that Joanne and I had independently started working with Cyprian without either of us knowing it only to be fortuitously brought together by an enigmatic dream in which she had silently beckoned me to join her.

Reflecting on this point, I suddenly came to understand the hitherto veiled meaning of my bizarre and cryptic dream — the astral image of Joanne had evidently been inviting me to join her in working with Cyprian and sharing our experiences with one another. Or perhaps, I wondered, the apparent “Joanne” might have really been the inscrutable Spirit himself appearing to me in her form in the dream in order to bring us into conversation for our mutual growth and edification.  As Gordon White once pointed out, “Cyprian’s plan isn’t clear, but he definitely has one.”


Shortly thereafter, I sent Joanne the first message I had ever sent her and told her about this impenetrably curious turn of events.  As I unraveled the events of the narrative thus far, she was as floored as I was since she had had no idea that I had been working with Cyprian at all, as I had not publicly shared this fact, nor had I privately shared it with anyone but Chijioke.  And yet, the more we talked, the more we discovered we had a shocking number of things in common, not only in terms of our mutual love for Runes and Druidic lore, but also in the way our twin journeys with Cyprian unfolded.

Joanne’s own journey had begun enigmatically similarly to my own. As she explained, “He came on very strong right from the beginning: I found myself obsessively thinking and learning about him and that hasn’t stopped.” How similar that was to my own shockingly passionate and obsessive immersion in Cypriana! She also explained that “apart from the Orishas, Saint Cyprian is by far the most powerful Spirit that I have ever worked with.”

My own experience was conspicuously convergent with Joanne’s.  It is clear to both of us that the Spirit that answers to “Saint Cyprian of Antioch,” whoever he is, has a remarkably distinct energy that is unlike any other Spirit we have ever encountered, and that he is a legitimately formidable force to reckon with.  Indeed, he remains as enigmatic and mysterious to Joanne as to me. “I have no idea who Cyprian truly is,” Joanne admitted to me in one of our resulting conversations, “but he has held nothing back in letting us know what he is capable of.  He has never demanded ‘worship’ from me, but I feel that he is a very old and powerful Spirit form.  He’s always with me now but I still retain a sort of spiritual sovereignty:  I can choose to ignore him but most often do not.”  My sense of Cyprian was precisely the same.

Thereafter, Joanne went on to explain that when she was working on her Cyprianic sculpture, even though she had never sculpted before, “for at least 2 months prior to the night I began, I was receiving visual thought forms of how to proceed with the sculpting. When I would be moved to pick up certain supplies, I would, and often without fully understanding why.  And I always got good deals!” How similar her experience with  procuring the necessary materials for work with Cyprian was to my own experience of sourcing and acquiring the items for Cyprian’s Altar!

“After initially receiving some help in the process from a Jinn I later came to believe was a subservient of Cyprian, Cyprian himself became my Muse and guide to lend a sense of proportion to the sculpture…,” Joanne told me. “I would ask him questions and would receive intuitive guidance. All I had to do was listen and follow. Once the basic ‘structure’ of the face was done I became aware of Cyprian’s presence. Whenever I would hit a roadblock, I would ask him “what next?”… Then I would somehow intuitively just start modelling the clay! I worked in trance induced by Shamanic drumming nonstop from Friday night until Saturday morning around 1:30 am… Thereafter, Cyprian was very clear that he wanted me to thank both the Jinn and himself appropriately.  I poured Cyprian a glass of wine and offered my homemade incense as demonstrations of thanks.”

The resulting statue was stunning in its piercing power and enigmatic radiance, and I share it here with Joanne’s kind permission:


If I am being completely honest, however, I was not without my reservations about working with Cyprian, and I candidly shared these with both Joanne and Chijioke alike.  For one thing, I was disturbed by the lack of archaeological evidence to support some aspects of St. Cyprian’s legendary story–the detailed records of the lists of Bishops of Antioch from the period conclusively show, as Dr. Ryan Bailey (2017) reveals, that “no Bishop of Antioch ever bore the name of Cyprian” (p. 52).  It was, of course, still possible that a great magician had become a priest of Antioch without ever being consecrated Bishop and that the Bishop detail was later interpolated into Cyprian’s hagiography to increase his Orthodox prestige at a later date. Joanne had found an alternative and very elegant solution to the problem of Cyprianic historicity as an obstacle to practical work with the legendary Magus-cum-Sanctus— she rendered it irrelevant.  In her insightful words,

“To my mind, whether “Cyprian” ever really existed [in the way he is legendarily alleged to have done so] is pretty much irrelevant.  To me, he is an emanation of Spirit that has chosen to enter my conscious awareness at this time in my Spiritual quest for enlightenment and gnosis.  I trust that this is no accident and that the lessons learned will serve the greater Good.”

With these wise words, Joanne deftly and graciously laid my final reservations to rest.  After all, if I have learned anything on the Way of the Mysteries, it’s that “Adam,” “Joanne,” and “Cyprian” are all simply characters in Brahman’s dreaming within the play of consciousness.  All of these seeming individuals are ultimately appearances of the Divine to itself, which it uses to realize itself (gnosis), to awaken to the realization of its fundamental unity (yoga); indeed, the deepest teachings of Advaita Vedanta, the Kabbalah, and Dzogchen Buddhism fundamentally converge on the idea that the appearance of diversity and multiplicity is only relative and apparent, while nothing is separate in the final analysis.

In this grand process of cosmic awakening, we, the Divine,  appear as distinct individuals who have roles to serve in “walking each other Home,” to quote Ram Dass.  In this process, we can speak of distinctive functions being played by the apparently distinct Adam, Joanne, and Cyprian to “serve the greater Good,” as Joanne puts it, even though ultimately, Brahman, Plotinus’s One, the Ein of the Qabalah is at once the served, the serving, and the servant.

To quote the great sage Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973):

Questioner: A message in print may be paper and ink only. It is the text that matters. By analysing the world into elements and qualities we miss the most important – its meaning. Your reduction of everything to dream disregards the difference between the dream of an insect and the dream of a poet. All is dream, granted. But not all are equal.

Nisargadatta: The dreams are not equal, but the dreamer is one. I am the insect. I am the poet – in dream. But in reality I am neither. As the Absolute, I am beyond all dreams. I am the Light in which all dreams appear and disappear. I am both inside and outside the dream. Just as a man having headache knows the ache and also knows that he is not the ache, so do I know the dream, myself dreaming and myself not dreaming – all at the same time. I am what I am before, during and after the dream. But what I see in the dream, l am not.

Questioner: Even as a dream you are a most unusual dream.

Nisargadatta: I am a dream that can wake you up. You will have the proof of it in your very waking up.

Within this great mystical context, I came to suspect that one reason that Cyprian had brought the Joanne and the Adam ‘dream characters’ together, to borrow a phrase from Advaita Vedanta, was to enable me in particular to move beyond an imbalanced preoccupation with clinging to academic issues of strict historicity, which would otherwise likely proven a sticking point to my rigorously scholastic and fact-driven mind.  Indeed, for Cyprian, as for Joanne, such intellectual debates are besides the point when there is concrete practical work to be done.  It was a lesson that was at once humbling and helpful.


Altar to Cyprian of Docteur Caeli d’Anto.

Guidance from the Sorceror Saint: How I Mysteriously Came to Acquire His Oil

The second unusual story that I will share in this brief compendia of strange but true Cyprianic tales is an anecdote that lucidly illustrates one way that Cyprian as a “teaching and guiding Spirit” can operate through intuitive nudges and gut feelings.  This story took place on the very day of this writing.  Early this morning, I was on a bus heading to the agency at which I am doing my clinical social work training when I was shockingly informed by my Supervisor that a gas leak had occurred in our building and the power was out on the entire block.  The surrounding streets were in a state of chaotic pandemonium after the police barricaded the street and traffic was being rerouted. The space was sonically awash with horns honking, people getting out of cars, police sirens and whistles blaring, confused and worried phone calls sounding through cell phones held by trembling hands.  Because we could not access the files of any of our clients as they were all on the computers which we lacked the electricity to turn on, I was told not to come in to work.

As a result of this startling plot twist in my habitual trajectory to work, I found myself an hour and twenty minutes away from my home with a free day ahead of me.  At that moment, I felt an intuitive to do something I had never done before — instead of taking a series of buses and metros to rapidly travel to my university to do my weekly work for that institution, I opted to take a 3-hour peripatetic stroll through three different boroughs of the city to circuitously arrive there instead.

After an hour of walking, I again felt yet another very strong intuitive nudge or “pull.” It later occurred to me that Cyprian often operates through a chain or series of intuitive nudges of this type. This time, however, the cryptic sense was that I needed to walk down a road that was completely perpendicular to the path I would need to take to get to the university, completely out of the way and in a totally different direction.  Why, I did not know.  All I knew is that doing so felt resonantly “right.”  However, I had been studying Cyprian’s history and working with him long enough to know that when such strong intuitive nudges come, it can be worthwhile to follow them and see where they lead.

Thus, I found myself walking down a street on which I had never before laid foot, in a part of the city I had never previously explored.  After ten minutes of walking, I was stunned by what I suddenly came upon: an occult store, and one I had never visited or even heard of before…

Intrigued, I looked into the shop window and was swiftly taken aback by the synchronistic sighting of glittering set of purple amethyst geodes.  This detail surprised me because I had received yet another Cyprianic nudge towards making an amethyst rosary for use in my work with him, such as my planned upcoming novena leading up to his September Feast Day.  Purple, indeed, seems to be his favourite colour, with its rich royal and ecclesiastical implications, as Conjureman Ali (2013) has explained, as well as the colour of the candles and Altar cloth I had purchased for him.  Therefore, I made my way into the store to see what curios it might have on offer.

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The Metaphysical Institute’s storefront, showing the striking purple amethyst geodes in the window.  Photograph taken by yours truly.

Once inside, I greeted the owners, who were kind and welcoming.  Again, I felt a persistent gut feeling or intuitive nudge, this time, to gravitate towards the store’s selection of Oils.  Never having been here before, it took me a moment of surveying the different sections of the store before I found the Oils arrayed in a shelving unit behind the counter.

A moment after perusing the Oils, my jaw dropped yet again — have you noticed that this tends to be a rather striking  theme in work with Saint Cyprian? There it was, the very item I had been futilely searching in every other esoteric store in Montreal to find: San Cipriano Oil the Oil of St. Cyprian of Antioch.

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Furthermore, I was delighted to find that the Oil was very affordable and bought the only two vials of Cipriano Oil that the shop had in its inventory.  Amused by the day’s surprising series of events–which had also included being intuitively nudged into a thrift store in which I found a 1,500.00$ blazer in my size, which I purchased for 10$–I shared with one of the shop’s Owners the story of how I had begun to work with Cyprian and had been serendipitously led to discover her store and buy the Oil by a series of strangely fortunate intuitive nudges that I can only attribute to the mysterious Saint.

She was awed by the story–the usual response to Cyprianic doings–and before I left, she took me aside and told me:

“You know, it’s no coincidence that you happened to come here today. We almost never have this Oil in stock.”

Once again, as through a glass darkly, I could almost see Saint Cyprian smile.

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Bailey, R. (2017). The Acts of Saint Cyprian of Antioch: Critical Editions, Translations, and Commentary. Doctoral Thesis. Montreal: McGill University Library.

de Mattos Friswold, N. (2013). Saint Cyprian and the Sorcerous Transmutation. Brighton: Hadean Press.

Conjureman Ali. (2013). Saint Cyprian: Saint of Necromancers. London: Hadean Press.

Leitão, José (2014). The Book of St. Cyprian – The Sorcerer’s Treasure. London: Hadean press

Leitch, A. (2009). Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires: The Classical Texts of Magick Decyphered. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications.

Maharaj, N. (1973). I Am That. Trans. Maurice Freedman. New  Delhi: Chetana Publications.

Maggi, H. (2016). The Book of Saint Cyprian. Timmonsville: Nephilim Press.

Stratton-Kent, J. (2014). The Testament of Saint Cyprian the Mage: Volumes 1 and 2. Brighton: Scarlet Imprint.



Pathworking on the 27th Path of Peh (פ)

GoldenDawnlogoDate: August 16, 2018
Time:  8:33 – 8:55 A.M.
Sun Phase: Rising, clear sky
Moon Phase: 69 degrees Waxing Crescent in 2 Degrees Scorpio, Lunar
Mansion of al-Iklil al-Jabhah
Planetary Day: Day of Jupiter
Planetary Hour: Hour of the Sun
Activities: LIRP, Pathworking of the Path of Peh (פ), QC

fe.gifAfter performing the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram in the Invoking mode, and donning the astral form of wearing my white robe, Stole, Lamen, Nemyss, and holding my Solomonic Wand, I astral projected into the 27th Path of Peh (פ), entering it via the exit of the Temple of Hod (הוד).

I found myself in a rocky, red-earthed field with scarce vegetation upon it. In the distance, I could hear what sounded like explosions, the clashing of metal weapons, and the cries of entities at war.
I made an offering to the King of the Spirits of Mars and asked for a Guide to be sent to lead me through the Mysteries of the Path of Peh (פ).

Soon thereafter, a large, muscular entity appeared before me. He was of a masculine form and was much taller than me, perhaps 7 or 8 feet tall. His skin was brown and he wore armor on his bulky muscles. His eyes appeared fiery and red and he appeared to have a pig-like nose. To me, he resembled the spear-carrying Moblins in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but with more resplendent armor, a more articulate disposition, and a firm demeanor tempered with a gruff sense of humor.

I greeted him in peace and with the blessings of ELOHIM GIBOR (אלהים גיבור), the Divine Name of the Path, which he returned, saying “you must have some courage to come to a place like this!”

He asked my business and I said that I had come to ask for guidance through the Mysteries and Wisdom of the Path of Peh (פ). He said he would, but that this was a dangerous realm and I would need to keep my wits about me “as all soldiers must.”

I agreed and asked him his name. He said it was “Pagiel,” a name I had never heard before. Later research revealed that it occurs in Numbers 1:13; 2:277:72,77; and 10:26, where a Prince of the Tribe of Asher and the son of Okran appears by the same name. Pagiel is sometimes translated as “allotment of God,” which evokes a sense of soldierly rationing, but also Divine provision and distribution. It is also sometimes translated as “intervention of God” or “occurrence of God.” In Hebrew, it is written as פַּגְעִיאֵ֖ל and has a Hebrew Gematria value of 194. The word צדק (tzedek) has the same value and means “to be right, blameless, righteous, and upright.” 194 is also the atomic radius of Iron (Fe), which was historically used in the weapons wielded by countless warriors. Other words with the same value are ויבקעו (cleave), לקחנו (to take), פקיד (officer), יחלצון (deliver), and ידליקם (pursue), פצחו (break), which all seem appropriate to the nature of this soldierly Spirit.

Follow me,” he said.

We walked closer to a massive battlefield, where countless soldiers of unknown species were battling in orange and green armor.  Massive catapults launched exploding projectiles which tore through the soldiers with great ease. The roar of conflict was powerful indeed. As Pagiel stood close to me, however, I could still hear his voice as he spoke.

These are the forces of Passion and Reason, spontaneous action and calculated strategy. See how the green-armored soldiers fight with berserk passion while the orange-clad soldiers fight with strategic precision. This is the tension between Netzach (נצח) and Hod (הוד), the foundations of the Pillars of Mercy and Severity. It is ongoing and eternal. But in your world of time, what you see as conflicts seem to come and go. “Conflict” is not always what it seems. What appears as conflict may simply be a re-balancing.”

Be wary to assume one side is “right” and the other is “wrong,” Pagiel said. “Both are valuable. Reason guides, passion enlivens. One supplies direction, the other, drive. One, planning, the other, spontaneity. The tensions of the Path of Peh, the tensions between Splendorous Glory and Victory are the substance of the dynamism of life itself. Know it as such and do not shy away from it in cowardice; embrace the fray with courage and the wisdom of the larger balance.”

As we were talking, the troops swarmed towards us and the fierce intensity of the battle became even clearer. As the conflict crescendo’d, a large Red Dragon swooped down from the sky, blaring fire at the troops through its gaping mouth studded with razor-sharp teeth. At this moment, it occurred to me that the meaning of Peh (פ) in Hebrew is “mouth,” and by extension, “word, speech, expression.” How often do our words and our conflicts create and sustain conflict, the Martian energy of the path!

To my surprise, the Red Dragon landed immediately on top of me and pinned me to the ground beneath one of its massive feet! I wondered if Pagiel would help me or whether I should attack the Dragon myself.

Remaining cool-headed, Pagiel spoke to me and said “Do not be so quick to assume that one who seems to attack you is a foe. A friend may appear as a foe and foe as a friend. Peh (פ) can be speak words of peace and words of attack, words that soothe and words that harm. We are responsible for how we wield its power. You have a choice right now. You can slay this Dragon or trust it. A soldier must practice discernment.

draFollowing my intuition, I decided to trust the Dragon. He immediately began to blast fire into my face, which soon engulfed my entire astral form. Amazingly, I felt no pain from the fire. On the contrary, it occurred to me that this was a fire of purification, of refinement, or alchemical transmutation.

Wise choice,” Pagiel said. “Sometimes, fire is required to purify the excesses of overly analytical or neurotic thinking and deluded and exaggerated emotion — the heart of the War of the Path. Ore must be purified and forged with heat to become a Sword.  When heated and under great pressure, coal becomes radiant Diamond.  Cowards resist pressure and run from it; warriors embrace the pressure and welcome the transformation.”

When the Dragon was finished his work, he lifted his foot off of my body and gestured with his head for Pagiel and me to climb onto his back. We did so and flew over the battling hordes, who continued their relentless combat. From the air, I could see how the soldiers in green armor fought like wild berserkers in a state of reckless, spontaneous abandon to passionate bloodlust and rage. The orange-armored soldiers, in contrast, formed Roman-like formations and deployed and mobilized in strategic configurations. Their very movements belied the differing archetypal forces that drove them — Reason and Passion, Air and Fire.

tower.jpgExplosive projectiles from the catapults blasted apart the foundations and structures of towers and buildings around the battlefield and I was immediately reminded of the Tarot attribution of the Path — the Tower, with its violent portrayal of the toppling of the Tower of Babel via Divine Intervention (“intervention of God” – Pagiel). Both rational and emotional Towers can fall. The superstructures of ideologies and philosophical systems, spiritual systems, political systems, and the “best laid plans of mice and men” can all be toppled by the winds and tides of history. The loving structures of Venus, the domain of Netzach (נצח) , can also fall; relationships can be blown apart, hearts can be broken. But like conflict, apparent falls may simply be forms of rebalancing. Destruction of the old can create the building blocks of the new.

So long as there is creation, there will be destruction, and the tension of sustaining,” Pagiel said. Destruction is neither intrinsically evil nor harmful; it is simply a Force of Nature. The fallen plants of yesterday become the fertile soil for the plants of tomorrow. The despised stone of a fallen Tower can become the cornerstone of a new tower more in line with Divine Will than self-centered delusion. The Martial Arts of Peh (פ) require balance and adaptiveness. When Towers fall; embrace it. In a combat roll, you lean into a fall. Fall with, not against. Flow. And see how the destruction of the Towers of your past may not be a loss, but a gain — the upwelling of potential and liberation.”

The Dragon landed near the entrance to the Temple of Netzach (נצח) , with its vast green dome. I asked Pagiel if he could initiate me into the energetic current of the Path of Peh. He asked me to clasp his right hand in my own and for each of us to place our left hand on each other’s forehead, immediately over the Third Eye. Then he transmitted a red influx of vivifying, encouraging, and strengthening current and resolve that resonated through the Ruachian astral body. I equilibrated the energy with the Qabalistic Cross.

I then asked Pagiel if I could attempt to contact him ceremonially and physically within my Temple. He said he was not sure if he could come down to that level of manifestation, but that he could try. I asked him for his Sigil by which I could reach him and he traced one in the air in red fire:

I thanked Pagiel for all of his guidance and blessed him once more in the Name of ELOHIM GIBOR (אלהים גיבור). “Peace be with you,” I said, before leaving the Path to return to my body.

Peace when possible,” Pagiel said with a smile and a wink, “and war when necessary.