“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.
“The primary power of water is in assisting the creation of forms for the expression of consciousness, providing nutrition for their continued existence, and physical purification.”
Mark Stavish – The Path of Alchemy: Energetic Healing & the World of Natural Magic (Pathways to Enlightenment)
When I started practicing, I wasn’t really into using water because I learned about how hazardous it can be to your materials and health if you weren’t careful. It is quite useful when it comes to enchanting, however. Many glamours, enchanted teas, purification spells and curses use water as a fundamental tool. Water represents so much more than just emotional energy. It also represents intuitive and psychic abilities, the concept of flow in many contexts, like time, memory, life, death, and more.
Stavish claims that water is very sensitive to psychic energies, so when using it in alchemy or otherwise, it’s important to adhere to your intent or motivation when casting energy or charging any kind of water. To be honest, I am a bit sick of the word “intent” in witchy and metaphysical circles and I know there are other practitioners who argue that intent isn’t everything. I do agree with that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It’s great practice honing one’s intention through the enchantment of an item and water, I’ve noticed, will absorb every bit of that focus. There’s something about water that is incredibly malleable. I suppose you could say that about any of the elements. I’ve been studying the functionality of water magic along with studying the role of poison in the metaphysical sense. Poisonous substances function very similarly to water, although it can take many forms, such as an herb, a liquid, or a gas. In regards to its liquid form, those studying the poison path have expressed that there are benefits to the use of poisonous and psychotropic herbs to aid in meditation and spell work, such as making tinctures, hexing/cursing, and building up one’s immunity in some way. All elements have a shadow side to them, and I find that poisonous liquids is one of those shadow elements that also provide an alternate view on intent.
Understanding our intent for casting anything requires intense reflection. I’m one of many who wrote a poorly thought out incantation leading to poor results. I kept spell writing techniques in mind afterwards, but I think a big issue was the intent. I’m not sure if anyone else thinks this way, but sometimes when I try to push my craft to do things that are more “positive” even though my craft doesn’t specialize in things like love, protection, harmony, etc., I realize the motivation just isn’t there. In this instance I was sort of “poisoning” myself with false positivity. I didn’t use any water for this spell, but I wish I had. I needed that reflective element to help me check in with myself before casting.
So, those are my thoughts and experiences regarding water magic and enchanting. I’ve been using water more often this year and it’s helped tremendously. Additionally it’s inspired one of my recent art pieces: Poison Becomes Power (which you’ve probably have seen on all my socials).
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.
…that they never existed in the name of evil or to make the “darkness” seem evil. The shadow is the part of us that’s trying to tell us what we need to be our real selves. It’s a process, but a worthwhile one where you do feel better about revelations about yourself. Shadow work isn’t meant for you to find the “enlightenment” destination, where you understand everything and you’re supposedly just “done” learning about yourself. It’s an ongoing journey that can be taken in gratitude if you humble yourself and listen to your shadow.
Prompt via The Life of Dee: Autumnal crafts for toddlers – give us ideas on what our little ones could make this season. I don’t have children. I’m not crafty. I wasn’t even allowed to do autumn crafts because when you’re raised by Christian parents, they think everything is a gateway to Satan. So I […]
It’s so important to have just one day completely stress free, but that’s not easy…like ever. Considering that many of us have been “grinding” so to speak either in the workforce or in school most of our lives, we can’t just say, “I’m relaxing now,” and boom! You’re chill AF. That’s not life. That’s not […]
Is luck on my side? Will my goals in life that can lead to success? Will my prosperity candle spell work? Not everything is guaranteed, but one thing is: change. Change. It’s chaotic, random, and often not noticed until it’s noticed. Lately, I’ve been exploring how my agnosticism and absurdism plays around with my mystic […]
“…is an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions, and embarrassing fears. This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos, and the unknown.” – Loner Wolf
The shadow is an archetype formed in the unconscious or subconscious coined by clinical psychologist and mystic Carl G. Jung. Working with your shadow requires confronting and embracing repressed feelings. Confronting one’s shadow can be done through divination, meditation, creative projects, journaling, therapy/counseling, and many other ways. If you find that you’re able to honestly express yourself through writing and journaling, you will love the Shadow Work Journal on Loner Wolf, a spiritual mentorship site run by Mateo Sol and Aletheia Luna. This year, I’ve decided to combine divination techniques with their shadow journaling prompts and have found it to be a very thoughtful collection of prompts that help you address what needs confronting and what self-care needs require more attention. My previous shadow work sessions focused on confrontation and I rarely gave myself self-care time. I wanted to give the journal a try because I was very impressed by Loner Wolf’s breakdown of the shadow self and all its potential.
So What’s The Point?
The point of shadow work is to work on the part of yourself that you have labeled as “evil” or “shameful” and instead of turning away from it, you see the shadow for what it is, starting with the fact that you are the shadow. Rejecting any part of yourself often develops into subconscious defense mechanisms, losing your sense of self, robbing yourself of autonomy, and even losing touch with reality. Psychologically, the repression of an aspect of the self creates a dissonance between one’s personal reality and reality as it is. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Repression in itself is a defense mechanism and defending ourselves is innate. However, defense mechanisms can build into unhealthy and unwanted habits.
Those of us who need to work with our shadow see ourselves pushing our loved ones away, having trouble connecting with others, struggling to see ourselves in a realistic light, believing negative and inaccurate perceptions without challenging them, hurting ourselves and others more than we meant to… the list goes on. The point of shadow work is to take that step towards understanding ourselves. Additionally, don’t believe that this is just for the “spiritual” person. The aspects of shadow work has appeared through works of art, philosophical discussions, scientific studies on humanity, and even in our particular day-to-day events where we have these epiphanies about ourselves. Shadow work in itself is a reflective process and I strongly recommend reading Loner Wolf’s article on the Shadow Self and take that step towards self-actualization.
For real?! This was my last post! Ugh! Well, I will show off two fun purchases to add some spook to my sketchbooks. I bought a spooky sticker pack and decorated one of my sketchbooks. I love it. Also, I’ve been enjoying the horror manga short story collection “Smashed” by Junji Ito. These stories have […]
Decorate your house for Autumn/Halloween – show us pics of your decor. Well what a coincidence. I was at the Spirit Halloween store recently looking for a fleece throw, but I couldn’t find any. Instead I found a bird’s skull and an iron key I want to use as a door knocker for decor and […]
Tips on dealing with the darker mornings/evenings – what do you do to make getting up easier when it’s dark outside. Prompts by The Life of Dee. I don’t get seasonal depression during the autumn/winter like most people do. It hits me during the spring/summer, but just because it happens during a different time of […]
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 […]