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Sunday, July 26, 2015

In what sense, then, was he different from the pigs?

The Grand Augur, in his ceremonial robes, approached
the shambles and thus addressed the pigs: “How can you
object to die? I shall fatten you for three months. I shall
discipline myself for ten days and fast for three. I shall
strew fine grass, and place you bodily upon a carved
sacrificial dish. Does not this satisfy you?”
Then, speaking from the pigs’ point of view, he
continued: “It is better, perhaps, after all, to live on bran
and escape the shambles. . . .”
“But then,” added he, speaking from his own point of
view, “to enjoy honour when alive one would readily die
on a war-shield or in the headsman’s basket.”
So he rejected the pigs’ point of view and adopted his
own point of view. In what sense, then, was he different
from the pigs?

In what sense, then, was he different from the pigs? was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

Filed under: Life, Taoism Tagged: human nature, Left Hand Path, Life

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Demonology Study: Baal

Hello Gentle Reader, and welcome to the frist in a long line of Demonology studies I’ve planned on doing for some time now.I will only include entities I’ve worked with over the course of my practice, and I am not a “catch em’ all type of Conjurer, so the order will not follow any pattern but the one in my head.That being said, I will start with my old buddy Baal (Bael), the frist of  72 Demons in the Pseudomonarchia daemonum, Ars Goetia, Discoverie of Witchcraft, Ad nauseam…for this is often the first entity called by those young upstart conjurers with an itch to call a “Demon”.


A few words about the books mentioned above,

In 1583, Johann Weyer wrote a treatise on witchcraft called “De praestigiis daemonum”. He included a section which listed the names and descriptions of demons called the “Pseudomonarchia daemonum”.In 1584 Reginald Scot translated the list into English in his “The Discoverie of Witchcraft”. Most of these demons found their way into Mather’s Goetia much later. But enough about all that, you came for some info on Baal, so let’s get down to work.

“Baell – Their first and principall king (which is of the power of the east) is called Baall who when he is conjured up, appeareth with three heads; the first, like a tode; the second, like a man; the third, like a cat. He speaketh with a hoarse voice, he maketh a man go invisible [and wise], he hath under his obedience and rule sixtie and six legions of divels.”-Pseudomonarchia daemonum.

This is the standard description of Baal, also known as Bael, Baël (French), Baell. MacGregor Mathers cleans it up a bit for the readers of his day,

“The First Principal Spirit is a King ruling in the East, called Bael. He maketh thee to go Invisible. He ruleth over 66 Legions of Infernal Spirits. He appeareth in divers shapes, sometimes like a Cat, sometimes like a Toad, and sometimes like a Man, and sometimes all these forms at once. He speaketh hoarsely. This is his character which is used to be worn as a Lamen before him who calleth him forth, or else he will not do thee homage.”

This is how he is known by most of the”Bell,Book and Candle” Evokers when frist starting out.He is also spoken of in Dictionnaire Infernal by Collin de Plancy, but he just makes a reference to the le Grand Grimoire, calls him the head of the infernal powers, then quotes Weyer.So we have established how he is known as a Demon, but Baal didn’t start that way. The antiquity of the worship of the god Baal starts around the 14th century BCE among the ancient Semitic peoples, especially among the Canaanites. The word Baal means “master” or “owner”, although it could be used more generally; for example, abaal of wings was a winged creature, and, in the plural,baalim of arrows indicated archers.Baal was common a name of small Syrian and Persian deities. The Baal we are talking about here was of Canaan. He was the son of El, the high god of Canaan(thought to be the model for YHVH, but that is for another time.). The cult of Baal celebrated annually his death and resurrection as a part of the Canaanite fertility rituals.It is said that these ceremonies often included human sacrifice and temple prostitution,but those who said such things, the Israelites, had a beef with the program of Jezebel, in the 9th century bc, to introduce into Israel her Phoenician cult of Baal in opposition to the official worship of Yahweh (I Kings 18). By the time of the prophet Hosea (mid-8th centurybc) the antagonism to Baalism was so strong that the use of the term Baal was often replaced by the contemptuous boshet (“shame”).

Baal with thunderbolt. Limestone stele, 15th-1...

Baal with thunderbolt. Limestone stele, 15th-13th century BC. Found at the acropolis in Ras Shamra (ancient city of Ugarit). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To paraphrase the Baal Cycle from the Ras Shamra tablets, I turn to Alan G. Hefner-

“After defeating the sea god Yam, and building a house on Mount Saphon, and taking possession of numerous cities, Baal announced that he would no longer acknowledge the authority of Mot, “death.” Baal not only excluded Mot from his hospitality and friendship, but also told him that he could only visit the deserts of the earth. In response to this challenge, Mot invited Baal to his abode to taste his fare, mud. Being terrified and unable to avoid the dreadful summons to the land of the dead, Baal coupled with a calf in order to strengthen himself for the ordeal, and then set out. El and the other gods donned funeral garments, poured ashes on their heads, and mutilated their limbs, while Anat, aided by the sun goddess Shapash, brought the corpse back for burial. El placed Athtar, the irrigation god, on the vacant throne of Baal, but Anat bitterly missed her dead husband. She begged Mot to restore Baal to life, but her pleas went without avail, and Anat’s attempts to interest the other gods in helping her were met with cautious indifference. Thus, Anat assaulted Mot, ripping him to pieces “with a sharp knife,” scattering his members “with a winnowing fan,” burning him “in a fire,” grinding him “in a mill,” and “over the fields strewing his remains.” El, in the meantime, had a dream in which fertility returned, which suggested that Baal was not dead. Afterwards, he instructed Shapash to keep watch for him during her daily travels. In the due course of time Baal was restored, and Athtar fled from his throne. Yet Mot was able to arrange another attack, but on this occasion all of the gods supported Baal, and neither combatant could gain the victory. Finally El intervened and dismissed Mot, leaving Baal in possession of the field.”

This gives an understanding of how Baal is linked to the alteration of the seasons and became a god of rain, thunder, and lightening. He was also popular in Egypt from the later New Kingdom in about 1400 bc to its end (1075 bc). Through the influence of the Aramaeans, who borrowed the Babylonian pronunciation Bel, the god ultimately became known as the Greek Belos, identified with Zeus.So as you can see, from Fertility to Rain god, Egypt and Zeus himself, this entity has gone through quite a few changes over the years to now be known as a simple Demon.This has been done to most of the spirits that are called by modern Art workers today ( I can bring up Beelzebub, Astaroth ,and Moloch just to name a few off the top of my head),and I’ve found that the relationship you have with these Spirits deepens considerably the more time you spend researching the Providence of the entity.They also quite enjoy reliving the taste of power most had in the past, and when you offer a Demonized Old God something from its past, they tend to be quite grateful.

He has appeared to me as a Frog with a crown, eating a fly over and over in a loop , and as a warrior King with a Spear raised and ready to be thrown. Often rude and full of himself (you would be too if you once held the title Canaanite God), yet quite helpful if spoken to with respect. I’ve used him for work concerning Invisibility for a client (to make certain things in his home unable to be seen, worked well for the agreed upon time ) For information on Canaanite History, he is an invaluable resource and will gift you with such wisdom if you compose a Hymn in his name and recite it during the next thunderstorm. When working with him he has asked that his Sigil be placed in interesting places as payment for services (A Newstand, Coffeehouse, and Hospital come to mind) where it can be seen by the most amount of passer-by.I’ve called him by a number of different methods, Goetic (Lesser Key and Poke Runyon’s System), the demonolatry method of S.Connolly using the Enns, as well as with my own self-made system of Conjuration and he is always quick to answer.

Sorces- Pseudomonarchia daemonum-Johann Weyer, by Alan G. Hefner, Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King: Lemegeton – Clavicula Salomonis Regis, Book 1- Aleister Crowley (Editor), Grimorium Carceris (unpublished)-Vincent Piazza.

Copyright 2015-Vincent Piazza

Filed under: Baal, Demonology, Left Hand Path Tagged: Demonology, Left Hand Path

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Toad Bone Rite: A Study on the Practice

The Toad Bone, an object and magical tool that has fascinated practitioners for years, holds a special place in my heart and work.The reason for this is that I’ve performed it twice, once as a young man in the way taught by my grandmother, and yet again in prison with guidance from Chumbley in his “The Leaper Between”. Both bones have been lost to me by the sands of time, so in the next few weeks I plan on performing it once more. Frist, a bit of history for the uninformed. The toad bone is first written of in Pliny’s Natural History, in this huge tome of lore he tells us of the rubetæ or bramble-frog (the Classical terms for toads)-
“Authors quite vie with one another in relating marvelous stories about them; such, for instance, as that if they are brought into the midst of a concourse of people, silence will instantly prevail; as also that by throwing into boiling water a small bone that is found in their right side, the vessel will immediately cool, and the water refuse to boil again until it has been removed. This bone, they say, may be found by exposing a dead bramble-frog to ants, and letting them eat away the flesh: after which the bones must be put into the vessel, one by one.”
Naturalis Historia 32.18

Pliny tells us that after your ants have stripped  your toad, more than one bone has Magical uses, so perhaps you should save them all.

“In the left side of this reptile there is another bone, they say, which, thrown into water, has all the appearance of making it boil, and the name given to which is “apocynon.” This bone, it is said, has the property of assuaging the fury of dogs, and, if put into the drink, of conciliating love and ending discord and strife. Worn, too, as an amulet, it acts as an aphrodisiac, we are told. The bone, on the contrary, which is taken from the right side, acts powerfully as a refrigerative upon boiling liquids, it is said: attached to the patient in a piece of fresh lamb’s-skin, it has the repute of assuaging quartan and other fevers, and of checking amorous propensities.”

That’s about all he tells us on the subject, and as you can see the Rite itself is not outlined at all, so the cunning man or wise woman had to work it out for themselves.As we can see from the recounting of Pliny in Agrippa’s ‘Books of Occult Philosophy’-

‘And Pliny reports that there is a red toad that lives in briars, and brambles, and is full of sorceries, and doth wonderful things: for the little bone which is in his left side, being cast into cold water, makes it presently very hot, by which also the rage of dogs is restrained, and their love is procured, if it be put in drink; and if it be bound to anyone, it stirreth up lust. On the contrary, the little bone which is on the right side, makes hot water cold, and that it can never be hot again, unless that be taken out, also it is said to cure quartans if it be bound to the sick in a snake’s skin, as also all other fevers, and restrain love, and lust.’ (Trans. Freake, 1651).

The influence of Pliny on European magic as a whole is quite clear, as Agrippa is thought of as a forefather of modern occultism.   This has produced a number of variations of the Rite, and even a few that use a Black cat instead of a Toad.The black cat version of this same rite, as it is recounted in Mules & Men by Zora Neale Hurston,the witch is instructed to throw the cat into a pot of boiling water , and cooked until all the flesh falls from the bones. The bones are then either floated in a stream (the same as the toad’s bones) or passed under the tongue of the magician. The Cat bone in this tradition turns the user invisible, and can also be used in some powerful love spells. Most places selling this bone today are actually selling chicken bones painted black (any Voodoo shop in New Orleans will sell you one for 5 bucks, and we have way to many cats in this city for that brisk business)

Back to our friend the toad, Chumbley states- “that the uses and forms of the toad-bone amulet do not follow a clear linear progression through time. Its uses as a healing charm, a love charm, an animal-controlling amulet, and so forth, recur and overlap. Furthermore, the apparent distinction between its forms (either as a bone – singular, double, or multiple, a stone or jewel, or even a powder) is a matter of curious inconsistency in the historical record, with the forms at times indistinguishable and at other times clearly distinct. Adding to this complexity, the profusion of data for some periods and the sparsity in others presents difficulties, and at times leaves the search for conclusions outstanding. Nonetheless, a continuity in praxis can be seen.”

So as a modern conjuror, what are we looking for in our use of the bone, to heal, gain love, animal control or some other less specified ability? The frist time I worked this trick it was for control over animals (most lore brings up Horses, but I’ve found as a young man, the bone works well for dogs) The second time for Healing (Medical in Federal Prison is quite horrendous, and as a runner it came in handy). One more note should be added before we move on, Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft, states –

‘A frog’s bones, the flesh being eaten off round about with ants, whereof some will swim, and some will sinke: those that sinke, being hanged up in a white linnen cloth, ingender love, but if a man be touched therewith, hate is bred thereby.’

This gives us a dual use of the Bone, to create Love or Hate depending on the sex of the victim touched. This could come in handy, yet the fights one may find themselves in from use of the object in such a way may bring more trouble than it’s worth.

The Ritual, as done to control horses or dogs, is performed in this way. Find a  toad alive (as an aside, I was taught by my Great-grandmother, if you happen upon a dead toad,it was a sign that it is time for you to work the Ritual with the toad after blessing it in the name of Saint who’s day it is when you find it)then bring it home.Kill the toad, and put it on a thorn bush(I’ve also found the instruction to crucify the little guy but unless you are of the Catholic persuasion, such a method is unsavory).Wait for twenty-four hours till it dries. Then bury the toad in an ant-hill( I’ve used both Black and Red, the Lore is unclear and I believe it depends on what you have on hand)Let the ants have a feast for a month, till the full moon.The day of the full moon, go to the hill and thank the Ants for their help (I leave a red apple in its place)and take the Toad Skeleton inside your home.That night as the moon rises full take the Toad Skeleton to a running stream ( you can also use a pond where 4 generations of Toads have been born, but to do so you wrap the skeleton in  cheese cloth then let it float in the water ).Watch it closely, don’t take your eyes off it, or the bone will lose all power.The bone you are looking for, the pelvic or breast bone, will separate from the rest of the skeleton and floats uphill against the stream.If you use the pond, the rest of the bones will sink with the cloth and the bone that floats is the one you wish to keep.

I will cover more on the Toad Bone, and my plans for it, as the time approaches for me to perform the ritual once more.But for now I think that will do as an Introduction to the work… May all of your Work be Fruitfull!

Sources – The Leaper Between By Andrew D. Chumbley, Agrippa, H.C. Three Books of Occult Philosophy , Scot, R. Discoverie of Witchcraft , Pliny Natural History 1865 edition, Mules & Men by Zora Neale Hurston.

Copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza.

Filed under: Left Hand Path, Magic, Magical Tools, Magick, Toad Bone Ritual Tagged: Left Hand Path, Magic, Magical Tools, Toad Bone Rite

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trying something new…

So, I’ve been working on a Website to showcase my writing and Ginnifer Herndon’s Artwork. This is a long, slow process of trial and error (I’m no webmaster and doing the whole thing on my own). I hope everyone enjoys it, and I promise there will be much more to come as I figure things out and cut my teeth on WordPress the hard way.Warning, I will make more then a few mistakes along the way, so advice is helpful but please,keep it constructive.We will add Film and Music Reviews,a Podcast and a few more Surprises as time allows.

Thank you all for your continued support,Have fun, and stay Gold….

By; Ginnifer Herndon

Filed under: independence, Life, Magic Tagged: Art, Left Hand Path, Life, Magic

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

“Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary….

“Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary.”
– Hakim Bey

Nearly everyone interested in magic and the LHP has a certain fantasy about who they would like to be when they begin practicing. Let’s be honest: we all want to be something more, especially if we’re practicing
magic. For some people the end goal is transcendence or divine union., those on the Left want to be a God or Immortal.  Of course, some of us would be happy just being millionaires and having a horde of Zombie-slaves to unleash on our enemies (yes ,I’m talking to you Necromancers out there,just put the skull down and back way real slow.). At times, I would just love to be Kane, and not have worry about anything but my next meal and my staff flute…

Magician. Pierpont Morgan, Visconti Sforza

Magician. Pierpont Morgan, Visconti Sforza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So ask yourself: “Who do I want to be?”

Some things are out of the question, but others are not. Being a half-human half-reptile that breathes fire is not something you’re capable of doing in this lifetime, I’m sorry.(but if you figure out the trick of it, Please let me know) However, more human roles can be adopted and dropped as time goes on. Not only do these roles teach you how to deal with other people, or get them to open up to you, but they also begin to teach you more about yourself.

We typically see ourselves as one stable personality, but that’s bullshit, we often actually adopt different personalities in different situations.New Faces for new people in our lives.Some call them Masks, or Shades, and the difference between doing this subconsciously and doing this magically is that you consciously adopt a new mindset. You can create vastly different personae, each with different names and styles.This has been covered by a number of occultists over the years.One Technique I picked up is to “set” a persona or Mask into a piece of clothing ,or jewelry. This is not hard to do, but you have to get deep into your own head to make it take.

First, find someone with the persona you would like to assume, the great thing about this is that it doesn’t have to be a real person.It fact your first few times trying this avoid using real people that you know, as it can have unforeseen side-effects for both you and the person involved.

So let’s use Batman, Brave, Strong, Rich but also a bit crazy and obsessive.No one wants to be Batman all of time (or perhaps you do, no judgement here pal)But for an hour or two walking in a bad part of town, The Bat of Gotham might come in handy.

Bob Kane

Bob Kane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now find an object that reminds you of Batman, I suggest something you can take off and put on quickly.Now for the work. Spend an hour or two a day, for one week, with your object on, watching or reading about Batman.When you put the Object on, say to yourself, in your best Batman voice “I’m Batman”, then sit down and watch the film, read,or play the video game of your choice.Every five or ten minutes, when you see or read Batman, touch the Object and say to yourself once more “I’m Batman”when you’re done with the film or book, take the object off, say your full name once, and put it away where you won’t see it till your next hour session.

By the end of the week, you may notice you kind of look forward to your batman time and want to prolong it.Resist the temptation, your trying to cause an Archetypal link between you and and what the collective unconscious thinks Batman is.This can cause insanity and obsession if taken too far.But it is rare to take such a thing so far as that if you have a solid Meditation practice (and if you are a practicing Adept of any Path,you should.)

On the 7th day,Sigil the name “Batman” (or whatever name you choose to use) with the “Spare method”, cast the circle of your choice,and sit with the object in your lap and the sigil before you, wile chanting the name  Batman,bringing up thoughts of the caped crusader in action over and over from the scenes you studied that week. “Pour” them into the object,if it helps, see your head open up and the thoughts pour out of your head,on to your lap and into the object.

Do this until you start to tire, put the charged object down and stand,repeat your full name three times to disconnect the persona,and close your circle.You now have a stored Persona in a Object,you should let it set for a day your two before use,but you may be surprised at what you can do with such a bit of power.Just remember,no matter how well you convince your subconscious mind that you ARE superman,flying is not a part of the gift this object can give you.But a sense of strength and bravery,or, if a young lady used Marilyn Monroe,true glamor and sex appeal. A more advance form of the rite can be done with an Angel or Demon,using a seven day calling of the entity,each day infusing the Object with more and more the the spirit’s essence.But the chance of Obsession and loss of your own Persona is much greater by using a spirit,so I would suggest you proceed with caution.

Hope you all enjoyed this small cantrip, I’ve been busy with my upcoming trip to Atlanta, but will write more soon as time allows…

Stay Gold….. Copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,

Lao Tzu, traditionally the author of the Tao T...

Lao Tzu, traditionally the author of the Tao Te Ching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,”
wrote the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, as sage advice to
fellow travelers on the Taoist path. The renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell often referred to the first stage of
“the Hero’s Journey” as “the call to adventure,” a step that
all of us must take, many times in the course of our lives.
The cautious first step into the unknown, however, is
typically accompanied by fear—so much so, that it can
immobilize us, make us want to refuse the call, rather than
answer it. This part highlights our departure from the
known into the unknown, from the familiar to the unbalanced brave new world we now find ourselves in, and the
common dangers of getting stuck or lost on the way.

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