The Ritman Library is a masterpiece holding over 25,000 occult texts in its library and now most of those texts are open to the public. Thanks to The Hermetically Open Project initiated by Esther Ritman, founder Joost R. Ritman, and underwritten by Dan Brown, the author of Angles and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, and other titles, we have some awesome reading to do.
A while ago I wrote the article “Six Uncommon Magical Symbols“, but there’s more to Chnoubis than I realized. If you take a chance to read my article, it’s a short list of mystical symbols and a brief description of their meanings and associations.
According to SymbolDictionary.net, Chnoubis is: “an Egyptian Gnostic solar icon, found most often on gnostic gems, and amulets for protection against poison and disease. It is a composite figure with the head of a lion and the body of a serpent, usually with seven rays emanating from the head, sometimes, with the twelve zodiacal signs. Chnoubis is an aspect of the Gnostic Demiurge, Yaldabaoth, and is associated with Abraxas. Images of Chnoubis are most often found inscribed on gnostic gems, small talismans made from semi-precious stone, that date from the first century onward,” (2012).
In my article, I missed key points about this being an Egyptian Gnostic icon and not really a Christian one, which I’ll have fixed in the article soon. I thought Chnoubis may have come from Christian or at least Judeo-Christian belief due to the icon being associated with Yaldabaoth from “the Apocryphon of John and Pistis Sophia and the Gospel of Judas” and Abraxas who, although questionable origins with the Greeks and Egyptians, has been linked to Christianity as well and is known to have had a place in heaven before he fell.
But what’s more interesting about this symbol is the concept of the demiurge. As I said in my article, “serpents were a sign of healing and enlightenment and are often demonized because of their link to Christian mythology’s interpretation of the devil,” (Authentikei 2019). The serpent having the head of a lion can be up to so many interpretations, but the common terms that pop up are “knowledge”, “poison”, and “protection”, which is why we’ll often run into the Judeo-Christian stories about El or Yahweh creating the universe and scolding Adam and Eve. However, we should turn back to Gnosticism regarding this symbol because the Chnoubis being connected to Yaldabaoth from the Apocryphon recognizes this being as an angel and a chaotic creator. Naturally we’ll think of Satan in the Garden of Eden, which I also mentioned. So is Yaldabaoth Yahweh, Satan, both, or neither? Whichever it is, the description of this demiurge only scratches the surface of the underlying meaning of the Chnoubis.
From Gnostic Warrior:
“The important thing to remember with the story of Yaldabaoth is that it (he and she) is an artificially created life form said to be a lion-faced serpent, with its eyes were like lightning fires which flash that was on a throne surrounded by a blood and no one of the immortal ones could see it. He becomes the Archon (Ark-ON or Spark-On) of the human race. The word archon is composed of the words Ark and On. Ark meaning a conduit of energy that is the Hu-Man sacred ark, or ark of the testimony, represents the original spark of divinity and knowledge that gave us Sophia or wisdom.”
I’m not going to write out a whole research paper here, but I just think it’s interesting that this symbol in particular has more to do with life, death, and rebirth (which is how I describe Abraxas) more than anything else. It’s not just a symbol of healing and enlightenment. It’s linked to creation and destruction, a power we often consider belonging to just the divine, but a power we exercise daily. That’s healing and enlightening in itself, I feel. And funny enough, the “archon” or “spark” is a very important concept in my novel. I love how everything comes together. #Synchronicity
If you know more about this symbol or the other symbols in my article, please comment.
So I found Global Grey, a website with all sorts of eBooks on the occult, history, philosophy, feminism, religion, and more. The website offers the whole collection for twenty pounds. I came across this while I was doing research on Baruch Spinoza. I’ll be writing an article about him soon.
Abe Books is also a great place to get a discount on books if you prefer them in print. They have A LOT of old books that are hard to find.
Today was a fabulous research day! Today’s research topics helped me flesh out the history of two characters who, for lack of a better term, gave me major feels while writing them. Now that I’ve worked through their lives a bit more, I can continue writing their about their pain 🙂
Words Written Today: Two pages in my plot planning notebook. Current Word Total: Still 88k
Lord of the Rings–The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (I reread The Battle of Helm’s Deep)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Just started it just because)
Void Magic (True Void and Eldritch) – A branch of witchcraft/energy work one of my characters practice
The actual castle of Castlevania
Chess, because strategy is fun
Watched a video of a rising authortuber discussing their timeline on writing a novel.
Additional Work: Contemplating how magical battle plans work in my world. I also thought about the second and third novel a lot, which led to thinking about video games and the origin of haute couture…
Work Process: I spent the morning…laying in bed, as you can see here.
During all that chill time in bed, I was lost in the future of the second and third novels. This led to watching videos about haute couture (kinda got sucked into the MetGala feed on Twitter), which was more interesting than I thought, the legend of La Llorona, and other random stuff. I doubt some of what I looked at today will be in the novel; it just piqued my curiosity. Resting did help though. I was able to sort out a scene that has a lot of fighting involved and although I’m happy with the way I write some fight scenes, I was curious about how others do it.
I started with my hero, Tolkien, and found his writing style so…lively when it came to battle (I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THE MOVIE THAT’S COMING OUT ABOUT HIM BY THE WAY. I AM READY TO CRY–I’VE BEEN CRYING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT). The Battle of Helm’s Deep was so interesting, between Aragorn and Theoden’s strategic planning (and talking too much), to Legolas and Gimli being snarky af, to Eómer almost dying, it was all awesome. And even the orcs taunting Aragorn who gave them the basic “this is your last chance before you’re royally screwed” warning was so awesome. The liveliness of every character, their banter, their confidence, their vulnerability was the highlight while reading a BATTLE scene. It was so strange, but I didn’t care. You SHOULD connect to the characters while they’re fighting for their lives, but I’m so used to diving into the choreography or battle itself. It was just, so wonderful to reread this chapter as a writer. I learned a lot.
Then I read Martin, who I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while. I got a taste of his narrative voice. Very interesting. His use of metaphors and imagery captured me at times and at other times didn’t, but honestly, I’ve only read the prologue of A Game of Thrones and it’s just not enough to understand his writing style yet. Unfortunately, another thing came up and I didn’t get a chance to read more. I’ll make updates as I go along, surely. You can become my Goodreads friend if you’re interested. I’ll follow back. 🙂
Lastly, void magic. It’s a delicious path of witchcraft, I think. I find a thrill in it, but others have found it terrifying. I won’t expand into it too much because of that. I’m trying to figure out how I can connect that to another…thing. I also explored teleportation, via Castlevania…which I don’t know why. I probably should’ve explored scientific theories…or maybe Dr. Strange lol. Other than dabbling in some chess puzzles on this app I have, the last thing I did today that helped my writing enthusiasm was listening to Kate Cavanaugh, an absolutely adorable authortuber, who discussed the real timeline of her novel writing process. This is always reassuring to hear. I wrote a post about authors I like that have taken some time to write their novels. That helped me get out of my own funk when it came to writing mine.
Words Written Today: 1377 Current Word Count Total: about 88k
Research topics for today:
Western Astrology, Medical Astrology, and myths linked to Astrology
Dr. George W. Carey
Apis – Sacred Egyptian Cow Deity
Additional Work: Terrana lore developments that kind of scare me and are incredibly disorganized. Ugh.
Work Process: These hours of writing and research were pretty good. I try to write 1000-2000 words on average if I choose to have a writing day even if it’s riddled with research breaks. One thing I’m excited for and dreading to do during the second draft phase is better organizing the lore of my world because my notes…my notes are atrocious. Lmao! I understand them, but it’s kind of jumbled and that’s because new ideas kept popping up. All in all, pretty stoked.
After work mood: I haven’t eaten dinner yet, so I’m hAngry.
I did a lot of research today. Sumerian mythology has interested me lately, since it’s one of our oldest belief systems. The stories are… very human to me. Mystical to a god-tier level, of course, but still human to me. Well, perhaps I’m using “human” as a synonym for relatable in this case. I’m sure others have felt that way when they read a type of mythos. I really like Inanna, Enki, and Tiamat… Anyway…yeah. It captivated me and I’m hoping I can learn a little bit of Sumerian cuneiform myself.
Additionally, lots of astrology study today. I decided it was time to learn about the different types of aspects and what they signify. It’s…still confusing, but I have a better idea of what it all means. I was able to read my own chart better than before. I did write an article about how you can remember the astrological houses in a simpler way so that helped a bit (it’s mostly based on certain keywords and the signs; don’t judge me too harshly if you’re a hardcore astrologer lol).
Overall, a day of research was worth it. My blogging the last couple of days hasn’t been as frequent because I was focusing on my novel. Goodness, I hit a very annoying writer’s block yesterday. The left side of my brain wanted to categorize every detail about a character when the right side just wanted to let the flow happen and write. Sometimes I have to subside to the left so the flow can continue, but yesterday I pushed through that crap and let my right side take the wheel. It was rough, but I reached my writing goal. It’s the first draft. Not everything has to be perfect, just foundational.
Hopefully, I will have the first draft finished by June 1st.
I wanted to share a new discovery today. There’s a website known as Occult World that provides very straightforward information about occult terms, entities, activities, and the like. They also offer courses, but I don’t know too much about that. I wanted to share and save it as a resource. If anyone else is more familiar with this site, you should chat with me.
I was looking into the demon Forcas, or Furas/Foras, because his name came to mind when I was thinking about, actually, stressing about, how I really, really don’t want my mind to lose its sharpness. I’m so insecure about math, my ADHD sometimes convinces me that my reading comprehension is garbage, and I’m convinced that I would be fluent in Japanese by now if my memory had better retention. Foras appeared offering help, but as someone who works with spirits quite a bit, I did some research (as any spirit worker should, I don’t care how experienced you are).
Honestly, he’s pretty chill. Buff as all get out, but overall pretty interesting.
Description of Forcas from The Goetia: “The Thirty-first Spirit is Foras. He is a Mighty President, and appeareth in the Form of a Strong Man in Human Shape. He can give the understanding to Men how they may know the Virtues of all Herbs and Precious Stones. He teacheth the Arts of Logic and Ethics in all their parts. If desired he maketh men invisible, and to live long, and to be eloquent. Hecan discover Treasures and recover things Lost. He ruleth over 29 Legions of Spirits, and his Seal is this, which wear thou, etc.”
Invisibility is a neat bonus. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve found anything else about this guy that is beyond this definition. Other sources simply echo the information already provided.
Will my experiences with him be referenced in my novel series?
Most definitely. I actually have a character in the novel who is an exorcist who partners with demons (for any anime fans, no it’s not like Blue Exorcist) to take care of certain tasks or receive information (actually, maybe I should watch Blue Exorcist again for more inspiration…I don’t know…).
Ether or aether 1. “Identical with the Hindu Akasha and the fifth element in Western Magick, Spirit, which is believed to originate the other four: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Also called Astral Light, Qi, Odic Force, Orgone, Prana, Vril, the Force. It can be concentrated and directed by will, and intensified by breath,” – The Llewellyn Complete Book of Psychic Empowerment.
2. (Etymology) “In ancient cosmology, the element that filled all space beyond the sphere of the moon, constituting the substance of the stars and planets. Conceived of as a purer form of fire or air, or as a fifth element. From 17c.-19c., it was the scientific word for an assumed “frame of reference” for forces in the universe, perhaps without material properties. The concept was shaken by the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887) and discarded early 20c. after the Theory of Relativity won acceptance…” – Online Etymology Dictionary