“Necromancy Manual in the Cambridge Library” was the first video of ESOTERICA’s randomly recommended to me on YouTube. ESOTERICA, hosted by Dr. Justin Sledge, has been a joy in my life while writing and learning about occult texts, so I’m grateful for the recommendation and happy to share it with fellow occultists. As the channel description says, you’ll see “content relating to topics such as alchemy, magic, mysticism, hermetic philosophy, theosophy, the occult and more using the best academic scholarship currently available.” Dr. Sledge’s overview of the variety of topics mentioned is insightful and I love his little jokes too (He doesn’t seem to be a fan of the publisher Brill). Sledge’s critical and humanistic approach to these occult topics is so refreshing and helps make “occult academia” more than just an aesthetic. He also leaves a list of recommended readings in the description of each video.
I hope you all are well. I’m finally getting back into a good working groove again for my art projects and my novel, which reminded me about how much I miss blogging about my progress/research.
Starting with the progress with my novel series, what really helped was using a cork board and sticky notes to jot out the main plot. My first draft was written with more of a pantser mentality. I kept beating myself up for it before, but now that I’ve accepted that I’m at where I’m at and there’s no changing that, I can lean more into my plotter side.
Using a cork board and sticky notes to track the plot/character arc of one of my protagonists has helped tremendously. I think seeing the story’s progression through one character’s point of view and having more of a visual/tangible mode of seeing my work brought it more to life. Specifically, I was able to pinpoint how many other characters cross the path of this protagonist along with what areas and events they come to interact with whether they expect it or not. It’s an interesting process because initially I was down on myself for not plotting more for my first draft, but it was pointless to think that way. I’m learning to trust my creative process more and I’ve accepted how chaotic it is, but it’s also has a natural order to it. In other words, there’s an order to my chaos and I should never have compared myself to other authors/writers to begin with. It does help to learn about the creative process of others, but at the end of the day, just do your own thing.
As for the Russian/Slavic witchcraft venture, I previously posted of a podcast I listen to where author Natasha Helvin describes her own experiences. I’ve been reading both of her books Russian Black Magic and Slavic Witchcraft. Both are intriguing reads and are very inspiring for a specific character of my novel, which I hope I can capture well with the utmost respect of the craft.
Here’s the Instagram of one fellow writer I follow who reminded me of cork board plotting.
Now, for my art projects. I focused on my poetry collection for most of the winter season. While working, I kept having these visual ideas being paired with my poems. I’ve done photography with poetry before when I was younger (like a teenager), but looking back on my creations in the past, it’s not really up to my standard of quality today, although I love that I tried my best back then. So what’s the next level? Photomanipulation. I’ve been taking lessons with photoshop, photography, and digital art to see if I can bring my dark fantasy vision and poetry to life through a darker medium. The surrealists and dark self-portraiture artists of the photoshop composite world are amazing.
Danny Bittencourt is a Brazilian visual poet whose work I’ve fallen in love with.
Another is Flóra Borsi, whose fine art self-portraits are surreal and captivating.
I hope to enter this world one day, so I’m working hard. Diving into the world of photoshop and photography was very unexpected while working on my poetry. At first it felt like I was distracting myself from the main goal of the project. Quite the opposite; this is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teenager. I don’t want the poetry collection to just be in a book. I want each work to be a masterpiece.
Here’s to ambition and the crazy chaos of creativity.
Demon/Daemon/Daimon: “Lesser spirit or god. A devil in Christian mythology. Literal meaning for Demon – “Replete with wisdom.” Derived from the Greek ‘daimon’ meaning divine power” – S. Connolly (1997-2006) – The Complete Book of Demonolatry.
The Stoic understanding of daemon is not so different from the Socratic understanding of the daimonion, or the divine sign which was responsible for keeping Socrates out of politics and instead passionate about a life seeking wisdom. A faculty of divine rationality.
According to Occult World, daemons or daimons are mentioned as far back as Ancient Greece and were considered divine beings intuitively communicating between humanity and the gods or the divine. They can be good or they can be evil (according to most demonologists, but not all. Opinions vary on whether some demons/daemons are completely good or completely evil). When Christianity evolved, most pagan deities were labeled as demons, or the fallen angels that rebelled against the Christian god, Jehovah. Daemons or demons are associated with possession, but that can be paralleled with the Jungian perspective claiming daemons can communicate or become the higher self.
There are various books on demonolatry, demonology, and demons themselves. A few are:
The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
The Complete Book of Demonolatry by S. Connolly
Dictionnaire Infernal by Collin de Plancy
The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon by Aleister Crowley
Psuedomonarchia Daemonum by Johann Weyer
If you’re a budding occultist or mystic, please be sure you’re thoughtful, well informed, and properly taught before engaging with any of the entities mentioned in the above texts or other books/grimoires.
IAO is a Gnostic mantra I came across while studying alchemy today. Mark Stavish proposed it as a chant that can be used to charge water. I want to share 333Kephirhet666’s post on the mantra since it’s succinct.
So I’m working on another/essay about the history of divination, its structure, and how it became stigmatized. I’ve been wanting to research this for a while because I have been scrutinized by the stigma by those who value science and those who value their religious practice. The motive to research isn’t necessarily to “prove” anything, but to understand how we comprehend something as having power and influence over our lives versus embracing what power we have over our own lives and the lives of others because it’s considered either “blasphemy” to embrace the power of god or just delusional; and yet, humanity’s use of symbolism to process the explainable and unexplainable things in life has been constant for so long.
When I started hunting for resources for my work, I was a bit underwhelmed. It was interesting to review how diviners were once revered advisors to rulers in the past. To this day, we still have people we call mystics, prophets, or readers who are depended on to interpret “the will of god” or the energy of the times. As someone who’s a mystic, I’m already aware of this and also aware of the more popular types of divination, and why divination is bastardized by those who value the scientific method and the domineering religious beliefs in specific areas of the world. All the research I found covered what I already knew so I’m hoping to actually breakdown the standard techniques of divination, the significance of symbolism, and how symbols/omens from divination practices may have made some symbols universal (one example being how we look at the four natural elements metaphorically).
It’s going to take some time, but I thoroughly enjoy it. A while ago, I was also researching past life regression and reincarnation. I still hope to write about that, but understanding of the language of symbolism is required because past life regression is often tapped in to through meditative or divinatory means. One step at a time.
Mark Stavish is well known as the Director of Studies for the Institute for Hermetic Studies and over 35 years of Traditional Western Esotericism making him a leading authority in Hermeticism today. You can read more about his academic and publishing history here, but I’m sure his reputation proceeds him for those who have already delved into the Hermetic Qabalah teachings. Some of his books, including The Path of Alchemy were published in the early 2000s, but he’s published many articles and is running a current blog here. As for the why, I think it’s pretty clear Stavish is dedicated to the occult sciences. After reading his interviews, he seems pretty down to earth as someone who acknowledges and is respectful of the different paths one can take to pursue magic, yet stands his ground as to why Hermeticism is essential to his life path.
My Take on The Path of Alchemy
I truly appreciate the informative tone of this book. I don’t know if you’ve experienced the dissatisfying ceremonial or hermetic magicians who are arrogant or publish books that are more fluff than education, but I’m sure over it. I take avid notes while reading The Path of Alchemy, constantly looking forward to dive deeper in this practice. Although most of my own magical practice has been folk/pagan based, I respect the scientific and philosophical background of alchemy Stavish has presented so well.
There isn’t any pretentious bias from what I’ve read so far. It’s not purely instructional either. If you respect the study of astrology and the study of the Qabalah teachings in Hermeticism (which is different than the Jewish Kabbalah or Jewish Mysticism), you’ll grasp the teachings from Stavish quickly. Astrologically, a lot I have read so far just clicked. Hopefully when I finish, I can do a full book review, but for now, I really like it.
If you’ve read this text already and have more you recommend, comment below. Let’s chat.
The Guoyu (Discourses of the states) says: “Of old, the gods descended into those whose spirit was focused, who were at once poised and centered, who knew how to ascend and descend and make comparisons, whose saintliness shed its light abroad, whose vision illumined matters, and whose hearing penetrated them. Men of this kind were […]