Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Soulcraft & Personal Power Time

י' באדר תשס"ז

Keeping meticulous records of spellwork allows one to discover his or her personal power times when spells and rituals tend to work well, when focusing and raising energy is easy, when distractions are few, and when magickal impact is greatest. Power times may be specific hours, days, moon phase, moon sign, astrological sign, planetary influence or other factor. Keeping detailed records allow one to analyze the data to bring out a pattern of time favorable to one's unique soulcraft.

Song Of The Soul, A Matter Of Providence

I have amended the reversal and protection ritual to include recitation of Tehilim 91, instead of Tehilim 37 as originally planned. It's a matter of Divine Providence (ע) which leads me to do it, as discussed at Walking On Fire, in Shelter Of The Most High.

From Rabbi Pinchas Winston's commentary on parashat Vayeitzei:

According to the Radak (Tehillim, 91:1), Moshe composed this tehillah in honor of the tribe of Yissachar, who were constantly immersed in the joyous song of Torah. What is the joyous song of Torah? It is shirah, the song of the soul, for, just as the angels are constantly singing praises of G-d and His world, so, too, do our souls sing praises of G-d as well, all the time.

Also from his commentary on parashat Mattos:

According to the Talmud (Shavuos 15b), this psalm is called the "Song of the Plagues," because, one who says it and trusts in G-d -- one who takes refuge in the shadow of the A'lmighty -- will be saved in times of danger.

According to the Radak, Moshe Rabbeinu dedicated this tehillah to the Levi'im, who spent their days in the insulated environment of the Temple -- a true "fortress" of G-d. It was composed the day that the Mishkan was completed, and the Divine Glory descended to envelope it, into which Moshe entered to receive communication from G-d.

And his commentary on parashat Devarim:

"Eleven psalms were forgotten after Moshe's death, and these are the eleven Negative Forces of which there are eleven, the underlying basis of the 'eleven days journey.' The Midrash goes on to say that this corresponds to the eleven tribes that Moshe blessed before his death, in order to weaken these forces which are known to the Kabbalists as the underlying concept of the eleven curtains [in the Mishkan], the eleven spices in the Incense-Offering, the eleven verses that begin with the letter 'nun' and end with the letter 'nun' corresponding the eleven Negative Forces which cause forgetfulness ... which is why the eleven psalms were forgotten ..." (Yalkut Reuvaini in the name of Asarah Ma'ameros, Devarim 13)

Tehilim 90 - 100 are attributed to Moshe. Important to note, the shoresh לנן has two letters nun in it, yet it doesn't "begin" with a letter nun. It begins with the letter lamed ל, symbolizing "a heart that understands knowledge" (lev meivin da'at). Thus, the shoresh לנן is the tikun of one of these eleven negative forces.

It is fitting, therefore, that I employ Tehilim 91 instead of Tehilim 37 in my reversal and protection ritual.

Incense Offering Ritual Procedure

י' באדר תשס"ז

Here is the ritual procedure I will be using to light the incense for my reversal and protection spell. The actions are based upon the Kohen Gadol's Yom Kippur avodah in the Kodesh Hakodoshim (Holy of Holies).

1. The censer rests on the upper left corner of the altar. Coal is lit with left hand during step 7 of the reversal procedure.

2. With left hand, place a chunk of kabbalistic name incense onto consecrated ritual spoon held with right hand.

3. Stick the handle of the ritual spoon under right arm.

4. Cup hands.

5. Bend over and allow contents of spoon to fall into cupped hands.

6. Pour incense from cupped hands onto burning coal in censer.

7. Say: May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and the actions of my hands be worthy and acceptable.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Welsh Mythology Tarot, Lamed-Tav

See linked sources for more detailed information.

The Hanged Man - ל - Enchantment Of Dyfed

(Llewellyn Tarot Companion) "The land of Dyfed was known to be susceptible to the influence of the Otherworld, having shifting or overlapping boundaries between the two realms."

The Four Branches of the Mabinogi are the best known tales from the medieval Welsh Mabinogion. The word "Mabinogi" originally designated only these four tales, which are really parts or 'branches' of a single work, rather than the whole collection.

The most mythological stories contained in the Mabinogion collection are the four interrelated tales, by a single author or storyteller, titled The Mabinogi in the manuscripts, or currently often "The Four Branches of the Mabinogi". The use of characters' names as titles for each branch is also a modern practice; they are not so named in the original manuscripts. One figure, Pryderi appears in all four branches, though not always as a central character.

First Branch: Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed; which tells of Pryderi's parents and his birth, loss and recovery.

Second Branch: Branwen, Daughter of Llyr; which is mostly about events following Branwen's marriage to the King of Ireland. Pryderi is named but does not play a part in the tale.

Third Branch: Manawydan, son of Llyr; Pryderi returns home with Manawydan, brother of Branwen. Misfortunes follow them there.

Fourth Branch: Math, son of Mathonwy; about Math and Gwydion, who come into conflict with Pryderi.

Death - מ - Arawn

In Welsh mythology, Arawn was the Lord of the Underworld, which was called Annwn.

In Welsh folklore, Arawn rides with his white, red-eared hounds (the Cŵn Annwn or Hounds of Annwn) through the skies in autumn, winter, and early spring.

The baying of the hounds is identified with the crying of wild geese as they migrate, and the quarry of the hounds are the wandering Otherworld Spirits (possibly fairies), being chased back to Annwn (sometimes to the abode of the Brenin Llwyd or Grey King). Later the relevant mythology was altered to describe the "capturing of human souls and the chasing of "damned souls" to Annwn"; Annwn was inaccurately revised in some variants of Welsh mythology and described as being "Hell."

Temperance - נ - Keeper Of The Well

In the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, a lost land of Cardigan Bay is defended by embankments and sluices. The keeper of the embankement, Seithennin, is said to have drunk too much after a banquet and left open the sluices. The sea broke through and only a few inhabitants escaped from drowning.

Seithennin is the name of a poem in the Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin (Black Book of Carmarthen), as well as the poem's protagonist.

The poem details the inundation of the Drowned Hundred (Welsh: Cantre'r Gwaelod) or Plain of Gwyddno (Welsh: Maes Gwyddno - named for its ruler Gwyddno Garanhir, Seithennin's likely contemporary), believed to lie off the coast of Gwynedd, Wales underneath Cardigan Bay, which folklore blames upon the person of Seithennin.

This Seithennin, son of Seithyn Saidi, was Lord High Commissioner of the Royal Embankment and, as such, it was his failure to discharge his duties which led to the drowning of the Cantre'r Gwaelod. Seithennin is also listed in the Triads of the Island of Britain as one of the Three Immortal Drunkards of the Isle of Britain.

The name is also spelled Seithenyn or Seithenhin.

The Horned One - ס - The Wild Herdsman

This archetypal character appears in the person of Custennin, in the story of CULHWCH AND OLWEN, but he is best seen in THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN, where he appears as the guardian of the beasts of the forest. He is a black giant with a club, who beats upon the belly of a stag in order to call the beasts together. Traces of this archetype are perceivable in the earlier texts about Merlin, who is shown in the VITA MERLINI as riding on a stag. His function is the guardian of the totemic forces inhabiting the land; as genius of the primal forest and instructor in wisdom he presents a threatening but enlightening challenge to the questor.

The Tower - ע - Bala Lake

Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid in Welsh, meaning Lake of Serenity) was the largest natural body of water in Wales prior to the level being raised to help support the flow of the Llangollen Canal. It is 4 miles / 6.4 km long by a mile / 1.6 km wide) and is subject to sudden and dangerous floods. It is crossed by the River Dee and its waters are famously deep and clear. The town of Bala sits at its northern end and the narrow gauge Bala Lake Railway runs for several kilometres along the lake's southern shore.

Bala Lake has abundant pike, European perch, trout, eel and gwyniad. It also contains the very rare mollusc Myxas glutinosa - the Glutinous snail. According to legend the lake is inhabited by a monster known affectionately as Teggie.

The Star - פ - Branwen

Branwen, Daughter of Llyr is a major character in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, which is sometimes called the Mabinogi of Branwen after her. Branwen is a daughter of Llyr and Penarddun and has been interpreted as a goddess of love and beauty. She is married to the King of Ireland, but the marriage does not bring peace.

Branwen, whose name means "white raven" in Welsh, is the Welsh goddess of Love and Beauty. She is considered the Venus of the Northern Seas and is also worshipped in Manx. She is one of the five Goddesses of Avalon and is considered one of the three matriarchs of Britain (along with Rhiannon and Cerridwen) The Full Moon in June is Branwen's Moon. She also is honored during the waxing moon of each month. She is associated with the Goddesses Artemis (Diana), Eriu, Nymph, and Aphrodite (Venus). She is considered to be a Maiden aspect of the Goddess although she has many Mother attributes. The magical attributes associated with her include invoking beginnings, new projects, ideas, inspiration, energy, vitality, and freedom.

The Moon - צ - Lake Of Maidens (Llyn y Morwynion)

Lake of the Maidens, where the serving maids of Blodeuwedd fell while being pursued by Gwydion.

The Sun - ק - Llew Llaw Gyffes

In Welsh mythology, Lleu Llaw Gyffes (/ɬeɨ ɬau gəfes/, sometimes mispelled Llew Llaw Gyffes) is a character appearing in the fourth of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, the tale of Math fab Mathonwy. Lleu (sometimes mispelled Llew) is widely understood to be the Welsh equivalent of the Irish Lugh and the Gaulish Lugus.

The name Lleu shares the same roots as the Modern Welsh words golau ("light"} and lleuad ("moon"), and means both "light" and "bright". Like the word golau it can also refer to fair or blond hair.

Judgment - ר - The Sleepers

The Brenin Llwyd (Welsh for "Grey King") is a being believed by some to inhabit the mountains of Snowdonia in Wales. Reports of its appearance vary. It is sometimes described merely as a "presence", but it has also been reported to be large, hairy, man-like creature, [1] similar to the American bigfoot or the Himalayan yeti.

Susan Cooper's novel The Grey King, the fourth book in The Dark is Rising series, is named for the Brenin Llwyd. In the book, he is a lord of the Dark, who is an ever-present, oppressive force pervading the area around Cadair Idris. His agents are the milgwn, spectral foxes who seek to prevent Will Stanton and Bran Davies from awakening the Sleepers who will ride against the Grey King and the forces of the Dark.

The Universe - ש - Cadair Idris

Cadair Idris or Cader Idris is a mountain in Snowdonia, north Wales. It lies at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park and reaches 893 m at its summit, named Penygadair (Welsh for "top of the chair").

Cadair Idris means "the chair of Idris" in Welsh, a reference to a giant in Welsh mythology and the resemblance of one of the mountain's cwms, Cwm Cau, to an enormous armchair. The spelling Cader Idris is often found in both Welsh and English, as reflected in the name of the local secondary school, Ysgol y Gader (never Ysgol y Gadair). This spelling is presumably due to the common pronunciation in everday speech of the Welsh word cadair as [kader] (rather than [kadair]). However, Cadair Idris is the form used on modern maps and many people regard Cader as incorrect.

Cadair Idris is imbued with numerous legends; some nearby lakes are supposed to be bottomless, and anyone who sleeps on its slopes will supposedly awaken either a madman or a poet.

As mentioned above, the mountain's name refers to the giant Idris of Welsh mythology. The name is sometimes translated as Arthur's Seat.

The Fool - ת - Peredur

Peredur is the name of a number of men from the boundaries of history and legend that was Dark Age Britain. The most well known of them appear in the following literary sources:

Peredur ab Efrawg (Peredur son of York) - one of the Arthurian Welsh Romances associated with the Mabinogion. It tells the life-story of its titular character. The French author, Chrétien de Troyes transformed him into Percival.

Vita Merlini (Life of Merlin), by Geoffrey of Monmouth – a Peredur, King of Gwynedd, appears in battle, apparently at Arfderydd.

Both may possibly be identifiable as an historical Brythonic king of somewhere in Northern Britain recorded in:

Trioedd Ynis Prydein (The Welsh Triads) – which say he fought at the Battle of Arfderydd; was, with Gwrgi and Arddun, one of triplets born to the wife of Eliffer Gosgorddfawr; died, alongside Gwrgi, fighting the Northern Angle, ‘Eda Glinfawr’.

Welsh Mythology Tarot, Aleph-Kaf

The tarot cards I use are designed around figures and concepts of Welsh mythology. The major arcana are basically as follows (mythic information mostly from wiki, for more detailed mythological info see links to sources):

The Magician - א - Gwydion

In Welsh mythology, Gwydion is a magician appearing prominently in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi and the ancient poem Cad Goddeu. He is the brother of Gilfaethwy and Arianrhod, and the nephew of Math fab Mathonwy. In the Mabinogion he is called the son of the goddess Dôn, making it likely he is an euhemerized god or demi-god.

Gwydion also appears in the 6th century poem Cad Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees), found in the Book of Taliesin. There he wins a battle against Bendigeidfran by animating an army of trees and guessing Bendigeidfran's name.

The Priestess - ב - Ceridwen

In Welsh medieval legend, Ceridwen was a magician, mother of Taliesin, Morfran, and a beautiful daughter Crearwy (or Creirwy). Her husband was Tegid Foel, and they lived near Bala Lake in Wales.

From the Welsh cerydd, "chiding love", and gwen, "white, blessed". The theonym appears to be derived from Romano-British *Caritavena, Proto-Celtic *Karjitā-wenā a feminine compound meaning "chastisement-love" or "chiding love" (cf. [1][2][3]).

Ceridwen plays a role in Wicca as a goddess, her cauldron symbolizing the feminine principle.

The Empress - ג - Rhiannon

In Welsh mythology, Rhiannon was a daughter of Hefeydd the Old. She was married to Pwyll and, later, Manawydan.

The name appears to be derived from Proto-Celtic *Rīganto-n-ā meaning "great queen" or, more literally, "feminine reigning [spirit]", *-n- being a Proto-Celtic infix denoting divinity (q.v. [1] [2] [3]). Following accepted sound laws elucidating systematic diachronic phonological sound change in Celtic proto-linguistics (q.v. [4] [5] [6] [7]), the Romano-British form of this Proto-Celtic theonym is likely to have been Rīgantona.

The Emperor - ד - Bran The Blessed

Bran the Blessed (Welsh: Bendigeidfran, literally "Blessed Crow") is a giant and king of Britain in Welsh mythology. He appears in several of the Welsh Triads, but his most significant role is in the Second Branch of the Mabinogion, Branwen, daughter of Llyr. He is a son of Llyr and Penarddun, and the brother of Branwen, Manawydan, Nisien and Efnysien. The name "Bran" translates from Welsh as "Crow", often translated in the context of this tale a "Raven", as the name brân is the generic name for the genus Corvus.

The Hierophant - ה - Taliesin

Taliesin or Taliessin (c. 534 – c. 599) is the earliest poet of the Welsh language whose work has survived. His name is associated with the Book of Taliesin, a book of poems that was written down in the Middle Ages (John Gwenogvryn Evans dated it to around 1275). Most of the poems are quite late in date (around 10th to 12th century), but a few are earlier, and eleven of them, according to Ifor Williams, date from the 6th century. He is believed to have been a bard in the courts of at least three British kings of that era. In legend he attained the status "Chief Bard of Britain" and as such would have been responsible for judging poetry competitions among all the royal bards of Britain. A few of the marks awarded for poems are extant in the margins of manuscripts. Taliesin's life was later the subject of 16th century mythological work by Elis Gruffydd, who may have relied on existing oral tradition about him.

The Lovers - ו - The Dream Of Macsen Wledig

And he saw a dream. And this is the dream that he saw. He was journeying along the valley of the river towards its source; and he came to the highest mountain in the world. And he thought that the mountain was as high as the sky; and when he came over the mountain, it seemed to him that he went through the fairest and most level regions that man ever yet beheld, on the other side of the mountain. And he saw large and mighty rivers descending from the mountain to the sea, and towards the mouths of the rivers he proceeded. And as he journeyed thus, he came to the mouth of the largest river ever seen. And he beheld a great city at the entrance of the river, and a vast castle in the city, and he saw many high towers of various colours in the castle. And he saw a fleet at the mouth of the river, the largest ever seen. And he saw one ship among the fleet; larger was it by far, and fairer than all the others. Of such part of the ship as he could see above the water, one plank was gilded and the other silvered over. He saw a bridge of the bone of the whale from the ship to the land, and. he thought that he went along the bridge, and came into the ship. And a sail was hoisted on the ship, and along the sea and the ocean was it borne. Then it seemed that he came to the fairest island in the whole world, and he traversed the island from sea to sea, even to the furthest shore of the island. Valleys he saw, and steeps and rocks of wondrous height, and rugged precipices. Never yet saw he the like. And thence he beheld an island in the sea, facing this rugged land. see link for more ...

The Chariot - ז - Manawydan

In Welsh mythology, Manawydan, son of Llyr, is the equivalent of the Irish Manannan mac Lir and a presumed sea god.

Manawydan was a scholar, a magician, and a peaceful man.

Manawydan is one of the seven survivors of the second branch (of the Mabinogion).

Strength - ח - Twrch Trwyth

Twrch Trwyth is the name of a particularly potent wild boar Culhwch is instructed to hunt in the Middle Welsh prose tale Culhwch and Olwen. Twrch is named as the son of Prince Tared, cursed into the form of a wild creature; he has poisonous bristles, and carries a pair of scissors, a comb and a razor on his head, between his ears.

"Twrch" means "burrower, pig, mole" in Welsh, but Twrch Trwyth probably comes from Old Irish Orc tréith "Triath's boar" into early Welsh as (t)orc treth-i > "Trwyth's boar". The Irish version is found in Cormac's Irish Glossary.

The Hermit - ט - Myrddin

Myrddin Wyllt or Merlinus Caledonensis is a figure in medieval Welsh legend, known as a prophet and a madman. He is the most important prototype for the modern composite image of Merlin, the wizard from Arthurian legend.

Myrddin Wyllt appears to have been a historical person living in 6th century Britain. He was probably born sometime around AD 540. He is said to have had a twin sister called Gwenddydd. Myrddin Wyllt is said to have gone mad after a certain battle in AD 573. He fled into the forest and lived with the animals. There he is said to found his gift of prophecy.

Myrddin reportedly prophesied that he himself would die by falling, stabbing and drowning. This was fulfilled when a gang of jeering shepherds drove him off a cliff, where he was impaled on a stake left by fishermen, and died with his head below water. His grave is reputed to lie near the River Tweed in the village of Drumelzier near Selkirk, although nothing remains above ground level at the site.

Wheel Of Fortune - י - Arianrhod

Arianrhod ("silver wheel") is a figure in Welsh mythology who plays her most important role in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion. She is the daughter of Dôn and the sister of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy; the Welsh Triads give her father as Beli Mawr[1] In the Mabinogion her uncle Math ap Mathonwy is the King of Gwynedd, and during the course of the story she gives birth to two sons, Dylan Eil Ton and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, through magical means.

The name "Arianrhod" (from the Welsh arian, "silver", and rhawd, "wheel") may have been derived from Proto-Celtic *Arganto-rotā, meaning "silver wheel".[3] Alternately, the earliest form of the name may have been Aranrot, in which case the first part of the name would be related to "Aran". [1]

Justice - כ - Lady Of The Fountain

Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain is one of the Three Welsh Romances associated with the Mabinogion. It is analogous to Chrétien de Troyes' Old French poem Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. It survives in the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest, both from the 14th century.

The tale's hero, Owain, is based on the historical figure Owain mab Urien. The romance consists of a hero marrying his love, the Lady of the Fountain, but losing her when he neglects her for knighly exploits. With the aid of a lion he saves from a serpent, he finds a balance between his marital and social duties and rejoins his wife.

Petition Spells

Arin Murphy-Hiscock (Power Spellcraft For Life) writes regarding petition spells:

Another simple spell, petition magic involves writing your need or desire on a surface and then burning it, burying it, or tossing it into a moving body of water.

for growth spells, bury it
for movement or communication spells, throw it into moving water
to remove something from your life, burn it

Magickal Ink - In Velt Ouis Velt

I've chosen to use natural vegetable parchment paper, quill pen and magickal ink to write the petition spell portion of the upcoming reversal ritual.


small vial of black ink
1 pinch name incense, undissolved
1 drop name incense infusion, steeped and dissolved in alcohol*
1 drop dragon's breath oil
1 drop sandalwood oil

While most ink recipes call for the resins to be steeped and dissolved in alcohol, I'm choosing to also add a small undissolved chunk into the ink as well. The dissolved portion will blend into the ink, while the undissolved portion will form a "foundation" within the ink. It will also be symbolic of being both in (immanent) and out (transcendent) of the world simultaneously - in velt ouis velt.

*70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol used in actual preparation of infusion.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sandalwood & Meditative Alertness

This morning, in addition to Dragon's Breath and Witch's Brew essential oils, I obtained sandalwood essential oil. Sandalwood in Hebrew is אלמוג, from the root למג, meaning to "be rare" and "to stand out". In witchcraft, sandalwood is a feminine essence connected to water. It's used in protection, exorcism and healing spells, to enhance spiritual awareness, and to enhance one's Divine connection.


Fragrance Use

Sandalwood essential oil provides perfumes with a striking wood base note. Sandalwood smells are not unlike other wood scents with the exception that it has a bright and fresh edge with few natural analogues. When used smaller proportions in a perfume, it is an excellent fixative to enhance the head space of other fragrances.

Religious Use

Sandalwood is considered in alternative medicine to bring one closer with the divine. Sandalwood essential oil, which is very expensive in its pure form, is used primarily for Ayurvedic purposes, and treating anxiety.

In Buddhism, sandalwood are considered to be of the Padma (lotus) group and attributed to the Bodhisattva Amitabha. Sandalwood scent is believed to transform one's desires and maintain a person's alertness while in meditation.

Sandalwood, along with agarwood, is the most popular and commonly used incense material by the Chinese and Japanese in worship and various ceremonies.

Firekeeping priests, who have maintained sacred fires for centuries, accept sandalwood twigs from Zoroastrian worshippers as their contribution for sustaining the fire.

Dragon's Breath Oil

Today I came upon and acquired a few more essential oils for spellwork - among them are Dragon's Breath and Witch's Brew. On dragon symbolism, Mark Schumacher writes:

"In both Chinese and Japanese mythology, the dragon is closely associated with the watery realm, and in artwork is often surrounded by water or clouds. In myth, there are four dragon kings who rule over the four seas (which in the old Chinese conception limited the habitable earth). In China, a fifth category of dragon was added to these four, for a total of five dragon types:

Celestial Dragons who guard the mansions of the gods
Spiritual Dragons who rule wind & rain but can also cause flooding
Earth Dragons who cleanse the rivers & deepen the oceans
Treasure-Guarding Dragons who protect precious metals & stones
Imperial Dragons; dragons with five claws instead of the usual four"

Dragon's Breath oil contains dragon's blood oil, sage, juniper berry, ocean pine, spikenard, frankincense and other pure essential oils. It neutralizes negative energy, especially in areas touched by violence or death.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Golem Watcher, A Wizard's Familiar

Researching defensive magick, I came across this about "familiars" in Mastering Witchcraft (Paul Huson) which sounds amazing like the magical golem of Jewish tradition.

There are several types of familiars, or magistelli, to give them their more correct title. Basically, there are three types of magistellus.

The third type, and to the individual witch (or wizard), most important type of magistellus is that of the magical servant. This may be a demonic entity who has been "bound" to some magical instrument such as a show stone or mirror, permanently or temporaily. It may also be an elemental creature formed by the combination of your witch (or wizard) power and some natural phenomenon. This type of magistellus becomes the protective spirit or Watcher, a magical guardian of the home. They take time to formulate, but really can prove to be of tremendous value. For unlike the general Earth spells which are effective to guard your home from general bad vibrations, to guard against out-and-out magical attack, a magistellus is ideal; it possesses a definite will of its own, the entire aim of which is to protect the house and those that dwell in it from all offensive sorcery. As such, it is really a magical type of vigilant robot, programmed solely to watch over the safety of the home. A sorcerer's watchdog, in fact.

Interestingly, in Jewish tradition, the term golem (a creature created "artifically" by magical means) is also used to describe newbies to the tradition and Torah study. In other words, ba'alei teshuvah and converts are often used as golems, magistelli and familiars are used. They are "simple" people, in terms of Torah scholarship and are eagerly looking for acceptance into a community. Consequently, they can easily be used as watchdogs and to "bide the issue" as discussed in a previous entry regarding lost curses.

In my own way of thinking, a wizard or witch ought to be willing to take full responsibility for his or her magic. If he or she isn't willing to do this, then something is terribly wrong with the kavanah and/or magic of the wizard or witch, and clearly he or she suspects that the magic may have a cost that he or she is unwilling to pay.

Lost Curses & The Wizard's Minion

Paul Huson (Mastering Witchcraft) writes regarding the fate of lost curses and those who cast them:

In matters of occult warfare, passive defense is the most effective type of retaliation.

When a wizard or witch mounts a magical attack, if it happens to misfire or if the victim is in any way adequately protected, as they say in the craft - "an the witch (or wizard) bide the issue!" - the home of lost curses is right back where they came from, the sender his or herself. So, if you can arrange to be ritually well-defended at the time that the dark spell is being cast, the spellbinders will, in fact, be conjuring to their own destruction. Advanced practitioners try to avoid the recoil by enveigling other, less-advanced members of their coven only too glad to try their hand at a bit of cursing (or magic), to do the actual dirty work for them: a well-known expedient in all fields! Regardless of any feelings of compassion for who actually "bides the issue," however, you should proceed with all your means of defense as surely as you would board up your house if it stood in the path of a hurricane.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

How To Kill A Witch

Just kidding.

How To Kill A Witch is actually an interesting article from Current Archeology about a witch bottle.

What do you do if you find yourself bewitched? If you find you are constantly out of sorts, and you just know someone has put the evil eye on you? The answer is obvious: you must set about killing the witch who has bewitched you. But how do you set about killing a witch?

Well, the first thing you do is to get a witch bottle. Any old bottle will do - often they are made of pottery - the type known as bellarmines - but sometimes, as in this case, it is a wine bottle made of glass. In fact this was rather an old bottle, for it was made about 1685, but it was not buried till some time after 1720, so it was already some 40 years old when it was finally buried.

This witch bottle was dug up at Reigate, just south of London, where it was found buried in a ruined house. The bottle was however complete, the stopper was still in position, so it provided an unusual opportunity to examine the contents. Alan Massey, who has been studying witch bottles, was able to study the contents, and even to determine - with some difficulty - that the liquid was in fact urine. Whether the witch bottle was "successful" we cannot know: however witch bottles were often meant to explode when the witch finally expired, and as this witch bottle survived, perhaps it was a failure, and the witch survived too.

Read the full article at the link above.

Rites Of Confusion

Jason Miller (Protection & Reversal Magick) writes regarding confusion spells:

Another way to remove an enemy working against you without bringing him or her into direct harm are rites of confusion. Some see this as a type of jinx in and of itself, but confusion spells have been used in hoodoo and witchcraft as protection for many, many years. When faced with an obsessive enemy who will not give up, a bit of confusion can be a tame but effective way to deal with that enemy.

While Mr. Miller discusses confusion spells independent of general reversal magick, confusion may also return to sender in natural consequence to reversal magick alone, if one's enemy has, in the context of casting a curse, incorporated a "confusion spell" into the curse.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Night Moves - Sha'ah Zemanit By Night

ב' באדר תשס"ז

Calculating sha'ah zemanit, a proportional (variable) hour, by night:

For example, if I wanted to do spellwork tonight February 20, 2007 (fine-tuned to the power of the night according to my location and time zone),

sunset is 5:31 pm this evening
sunrise is 6:35 am tomorrow morning

From these data, we can calculate that there are 784 minutes of "night" (as opposed to "day"), inclusive of the minutes of sunset and sunrise.

5:31 to midnight = (60 X 6) + (60 - 31) = 389 minutes
midnight to 6:35 = (60 X 6) + 35 = 395 minutes

389 + 395 = 784 total minutes of "night" between sunset and sunrise

784 total minutes/12 hours = 65.3 minutes per "night" hour

Thus, 1 planetary night hour for tonight is 65.3 minutes long. Rounding to 65 minutes for ease of basic calculation,

hour 1 = 5:31 pm - 6:36 pm
hour 2 = 6:36 pm - 7:41 pm
hour 3 = 7:41 pm - 8:47 pm*
hour 4 = 8:47 pm - 9:52 pm
hour 5 = 9:52 pm - 10:57 pm
hour 6 = 10:57 pm - 12:03 am*
hour 7 = 12:03 am - 1:08 am
hour 8 = 1:08 am - 2:13 am
hour 9 = 2:13 am - 3:19 am*
hour 10 = 3:19 am - 4:24 am
hour 11 = 4:24 am - 5:29 am
hour 12 = 5:29 am - 6:35 am*
sun rises at 6:35 am

*add 1 minute to adjust for fraction (0.3 of 65.3)

According to (Gra version) Sefer Yetzirah (Table 36 in Aryeh Kaplan translation), the first hour of Tuesday night (the night before Wednesday day) is ruled by Saturn. Thus, the planetary associations for the hours of the night tonight are:

hour 1 - saturn
hour 2 - jupiter
hour 3 - mars
hour 4 - sun
hour 5 - venus
hour 6 - mercury
hour 7 - moon
hour 8 - saturn
hour 9 - jupiter
hour 10 - mars
hour 11 - sun
hour 12 - venus

Using all this information, a spell performed during the 6th night hour February 20/Adar 3 would be under the planetary influence of mercury. Mercury influences wisdom, skill, writing and language. Consequently, between the hours of 10:57 pm and 12:03 am tonight in my location would be a favorable time to perform spellwork to infuse wisdom and skill into my use of mystical language, ability to communicate effectively and to bestow understanding.

Spell Data Template Update

Spell data template updated to include documentation of planetary hour and halachic time spell is performed.

13 Daily Halachic Times

ב' באדר תשס"ז

While I won't be exploring in this particular post any specific associated meanings or significances, here is a list of halachic times which can be analyzed and utilized for timing and powering spells:

alot hashachar (dawn)
earliest tallit & tefillin
netz hachamah (sunrise)

latest shema
zman tefillah
chatzot (midday)

minchah gedolah (earliest minchah)
minchah ketanah
plag haminchah

shekiah (sunset)
tzeit hakochavim (nightfall)
chatzot (midnight)
sha'ah zemanit (proportional hour)

Note: There are 13 "named" divisions (inclusive of the proportional hour) of daily times associated with each 24 hour period. The 13 halachic times include the traditional 4 daily solar energies that may be used to power spells - sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight. In addition to the 4 traditional solar energies of witchcraft, halachic times list 9 more "propitious times" for active spellwork.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Powering Spells, Planetary & Halachic Hours

ב' באדר תשס"ז

Lunar energy is not the only energy with which one may power a spell. There is solar energy as well, whereby one may draw on energies associated with the phases of sun - dawn, midday, sunset and midnight. There is also seasonal energy - spring, summer, autumn and fall.

Likewise, to power a spell one may draw on planetary energy. There are general daily planetary correspondences. More optimally, one can infuse a large amount of focused energy into spellwork by knowing how to calculate planetary and halachic hours, and by knowing the associations linked with the various results.

Resources for further study:

Sefer Yetzirah, chapters 4-5 (kabbalistic astrology & planetary associations)
Calculating Planetary Hours
Halachic Times
About Zmanim (Halachic Times)
Zmanim Calendar, Methods & Calculators
Zmanim Astronomical Calendar

Working With Gum Resins

chelbenah-galbanum resin

To make grinding sticky-soft gum resins easier, place them in the freezer for about an hour. This makes the resins harder and easier to grind. Heating liquifies resins and makes them harder to work with [1].

To clean equipment following grinding resins, pure grain alcohol like Everclear has been recommended as an effective cleaning agent. Some incense makers even use it to wash their hands prior to washing with water follow grinding to remove the stickiness.

Information source: Carl from craftywitches yahoo group


[1] The friction from pounding and grinding will create heat. For this reason, unless there is a contraindicating "spell reason", add resins to blends last.

Mystical Language & Focus

On using foreign or mystical languages and alphabets in spellcraft, Arin Murphy-Hiscock (Power Spellcraft For Life) writes:

The issue of foreign languages being used in spellcraft arises every once in awhile. Some practitioners believe that if you can't speak the language, you have no right to use it magically. From a respectful point of view, this fact has a flip side: if you don't speak the language, chances are good that you're going to really concentrate on what you're saying in order to get it right. Therefore, focus is greater. This works equally well for written magic. Using foreign alphabets or codes forces you to concentrate on what you're doing. If this sort of thing causes you to focus on form rather than content, then using foreign alphabets might not be for you. In that case, stick to your mother tongue.

In my own practice, I've found using mystical alphabets and language to be a powerful meditative tool. I highly recommend this tool.

Recordkeeping & Spell Data Template

Arin Murphy-Hiscock (Power Spellcraft For Life) writes:

Spellcrafting is very similar to working in a lab; you have to keep track of everything you use, how you use it and in what proportions, how you combine it, and the results, in order to be able to replicate the experiment at a later date. Record keeping is crucial: it allows you to go back and do a postmortem of sorts on your spell to understand why it succeeded, or why it didn't. If you haphazardly toss stuff together, and something goes dreadfully wrong, then you won't be able to refer back to the spell in order to undo it.

Records allow you to analyze the data in order to ascertain times of personal power for you, to change small things in order to understand how each component influences the outcomes, to use a proven successful spell again, and to rewrite a faulty spell, among other things. Records also document a very personal journey through the world of enchantment and transformation.

The collection of notes and records will become a valuable reference as you evolve as a spellcaster.

Modified Basic Spell Template

Crafting A Spell

identify goal or desire
examine the context
evaluate the repercussions
refine the specifics of need or desire
decide on a time
decide on a method
choose correspondences & components
create central symbolic action
write text of the spell
write list of required materials

Casting The Spell

set up
dedicate the space
state your purpose
raise & release the energy
release the dedicated space
record the experience
reinforce the spell with action

Recording Spell Notes

name of the spell
date and time performed
halachic time
planetary hour
moon phase
calculations (if any) & other astrological data
how long it took to cast the spell
your state of health/mood
purpose of the spell
invocations utilized (if any)
tools & ingredients required
full text of spell or ritual
your immediate reaction/observations
short term results
long term results

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Herbs Helpful For Cardiac Dysrrhythmias

Note: Always check with your physician or alternative health care provider before using any herbal medical preparations!

From the University of Eastern Carolina health library:


An animal study showed that an extract of hawthorn significantly reduced the number of experimentally induced arrhythmias. [1] Although the use of hawthorn for arrhythmia in humans has not been studied scientifically, it traditionally has been used for this purpose. [2]


An active constituent in corydalis, dl-tetrahydropalmatine (dl-THP), may exert an anti-arrhythmic action on the heart. This action was observed in a preliminary trial with 33 patients suffering from a specific type of arrhythmia called supraventricular premature beat or SVPB. [3] Each patient took 300 to 600 mg of dl-THP per day in tablet form, and the dl-THP was found to be significantly more effective than placebo in reducing arrhythmia.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Refer to the individual herb for information about any side effects or interactions.


[1] Al Makdessi S, Sweidan H, Dietz K, Jacob R. Protective effect of Crataegus oxycantha against reperfusion arrhythmias after global no-flow ischemia in the rat heart. Basic Res Cardiol 1999;94:71-7.

[2] Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic, 1919, 217-20.

[3] Xiaolin N, Zhenhua H, Xin M, et al. Clinical and experimental study of dl-tetrahydropalmatine effect in the treatment of supraventricular arrhythmia. J Xi'An Med Univ 1998;10:150-3.

Mortar & Pestle, The Health Benefits

From the Temple of Thai Asian cooking site, on the benefits of using a granite mortar & pestle in cooking:

The reason why the granite mortar and pestle has not entirely been replaced is that indeed it does produce a more delicious paste. Instead of grinding up the fresh herbs and spices with a metal blade, these ingredients are pounded to release and meld all of their natural oils and juices. The metal blade merely cuts the ingredients up and mixes them. But the heavy stone pestle pounds the ingredients in a way that an electric device cannot.

Beyond the idea that the pounding of the pestle can be meditative and help to alleviate stress there may be other health benefits of using your mortar and pestle.

Granite dust contains 5 percent potassium, and has associated with it 16 minerals. Granite dust is commonly used in organic gardening to take care of mites and other harmful pests. According to Dr. D.C. Jarivs, "I have come to the conclusion that potassium alone is not as effective in producing results as potassium with associated minerals, some of which must activate the potassium" (from Folk Medicine, Copyright © 1966)

Potassium & General Health
Cardiac Dysrrhythmias & Low Potassium
Importance Of Potassium In Cardiovascular Disease
Potassium, Neuromuscular Function & Metabolic Processes

Cleaning A Mortar & Pestle

Here are several possible methods of cleaning a mortar and pestle following use:

Contributed by Robin:

My recommendation would be to use bicarbonate of soda. If it is a wettable mortar, make it into a thick paste with water. Put this into the mortar and grind it around a bit with the pestle to cover both with a decent layer. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse it out. If you still aren't happy, give the same treatment a go but add vinegar to rinse it out; it will foam in the coolest way, and between the vinegar and bicarb should get rid of the last of the flavour/smell. (maybe leaving it smelling like vinegar!)

Bicarb is just the very best thing for absorbing flavours and smells. I keep a cup of it in the fridge to absorb fridge smells and have used it with great success as a paste on plastic containers that have absorbed garlic smells.

Contributed by Saber:

One of the best methods of cleaning a brass mortar and pestle is to use half a lemon dipped in charcoal ash and gently rub all over the M & P and rinse in clean water. Dry after cleaning.

Contributed by Sara Kate:

If your mortar and pestle has an unglazed interior, the best way to clean it is to rinse it out and let it drip dry. If it is especially gunked up, you can use a hard brush to scrub, but I wouldn't even use soap because the porous nature of the ceramic will take on the scent/taste of the soap. For this reason, you only want to use your mortar and pestle to grind spices and herbs. I wouldn't mash any oils in there, for example.

Contributed by Scazza who disagrees with Sara kate regarding oils:

I have a suribatchi and it is made for grinding anything, including pastes that would have oil in it. I don't know any other way to make such a thing, even grinding garlic and salt into a paste (which would stink up your m&p). I also make pesto (since you need to pound, not cut, the greens to release the oils) and gucamole in my marble m&p.

My own contribution:

If one would like to sterilize one's mortar and pestle (those made of oven-safe materials) prior to use, after cleaning and rinsing thoroughly, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Candle Magick Signs

Catherine Yronwode, a hoodoo rootworker writes regarding reading signs in candle magick:

When we burn candles, we often watch and wait for divinatory signs that tell us how the work is going to come out -- that is, whether the spell will be a success or not. Some of the common signs we observe are so-called "coincidences" (especially names and subject matter that relate to those in the spell). We can also consult a system of divination, such as using a pendulum or a Jack Ball, reading or cutting playing cards or tarot cards, or employing Bibliomancy (divination by means of a book such as the Bible). Another easy way to get a divination on candle-burning spells is through ceromancy -- divination by wax. In this case, the wax we "read" is the wax of the candles themselves.

Some signs one may wish to interpret according to the ritual work he or she is doing:

The candle gives a clean, even burn.

The flame flares, dips, gutters, and flares again, repeatedly.

The flame hisses, sizzles, pops, or makes other noises.

A free-standing candle runs and melts a lot while burning.

A free-standing candle burns down to a puddle of wax.

A glass encased candle burns half clean and half dirty.

A free-standing candle lets out a lot of smoke but burns clean at the end.

There is a dirty, black, sooty burn (especially one that messes up a glass encased candle)
This means things.

A glass encased vigil candle cracks or breaks, spilling wax.

The candle goes out before completely burning.

The candle tips over and flames up into a fire hazard.

The candle burns up overly fast.

For a more in depth analysis of the points listed above, see the Catherine's site at the link above.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lavender, Scent Of A Long Peaceful Life

כ"ט בשבט תשס"ז

Lavender (ארגמן-כחלחל), also called elf leaf and spike, is a masculine botanical connected to the planet Mercury and to the element air. Among its powers are love, protection, sleep, chastity, longevity, purification, happiness and peace. [1]

Burned as an incense, lavender induces good sleep and rest. Smelling it often promotes a long life. Indeed, I dressed my black shabbat candle this evening with the essential oil of lavender prior to lighting it.

As a component of healing mixtures, lavender protects against the evil eye. Scattered about the home, it maintains peacefulness. So powerful is the essence of lavender that it has been known to bestow upon one suffering from depression, joyousness.

In Hebrew, lavender (noun) is ארגמן-כחלחל. The first term in this construct is argaman (ארגמן). The royal purple of Torah, argaman is derived from the Akkadian word argamannu meaning "purple". Argamannu (argewan, Sanskrit) itself is a synthesis of two Sanskrit adjectives for red - i.e., two different kinds of red - ragamen and ragavan.

The second term - חלחל - means to "permeate". The first letter - כ - of the second term refers to the sefirah Keter (superconscious crown). Thus, taken together, the Hebrew phrase for "lavender" means to permeate one's will, desire and Divine connection with the royal color of everlasting (keter) life (ateret hayesod-malchut). To make this everlasting royal color of everlasting life, one needs two colors of red (i.e., two colors of blood). In other words, the key to everlasting life is making peace between different colors of "bloods" (peoples), within oneself and within one's world.

Parah Adumah Temimah - why is there death in the world?


[1] Encyclopedia Of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunnignham (p. 152-3)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Storm Raising & Weather Working

כ"ח בשבט תשס"ז

Given the huge midwest blizzard earlier this week (resulting in at least 12 fatalities by the time it moved through the northeast) and the weird hail which fell in Jerusalem this morning, I thought I'd write about the weather, specifically about weather working.

Paul Huson (Mastering Witchcraft) writes regarding storm raising and weather working:

Far back into recorded history, powerful practitioners of the occult have generally been credited with powers of weather working. From Kublai Khan's eastern shamans, to the Druids of the British Isles, they have all possessed one skill in common, the mysterious power of controlling wind, rain, mist and thunderbolt.

Apart from the direct application of witch power, whether inherited as an inborn trait or learned in a coven, the actual methods of accomplishing the feat of weather working are about as varied an assortment as you are ever likely to encounter. To one familiar with the weather working practices over the centuries, at least nine different processes of rain making, for instance, will come to mind.

(Most of the rain-making processes are) categorized as sympathetic magical gestures, processes designed to effect their aim by reason of the magical axiom that if you perform an action symbolically, that which it represents may in fact occur, due to the oneness of the universe, the interaction of the microcosm with the macrocosm. This, of course, is the basic working thesis of witchcraft.

One thing that differentiates a child's game of make-believe from a genuine witch's magical operation, is that vital occult factor of the deep mind's part in the work. Unless that underlying stratum of psychical coexistence here designated as the deep mind is penetrated, the "magic" remains totally within the personal sphere of the operator, at best remaining an exercise of surface autosuggestion; at worst, a fantasy game to be taken to in refuge from a hostile outside world. Only when the "deeps" are contacted, only at that point does any real witchcraft take place.

This principle applies as much to the process of weather working as to any other magical field.

Mr. Huson goes on to discuss weather working and storm raising in the book. I've never attempted to do any weather working or anything similar, but I find it interesting that such a storm occurred here in the midwest this week. We haven't had a significant snow all winter, but the week I plan to initiate my reversal magick, something like this happens - as if the "powers that be" think they can stop me. But, I'm already set to go. I have all my supplies for the entire sequence of rituals and need nothing more to carry it out than to be alive.

Snow or no snow, the ritual is good to go.

Garlic - Absorb Disease, Detoxify Blood

כ"ז בשבט תשס"ז

Garlic (שום) numbers among the many botanicals I have in my magickal herb drawer. Garlic is a masculine herb, bound to fire and Mars, and associated with the goddess Hekate, the goddess of eka power, the power of magickal speech and of unity.

Like a mezuzah is fixed on a doorpost, so too is the spirit of garlic fixed above and below the earth [1]. In other words, the protective spirit inhered within garlic surrounds the earth in its uber and mundane entirety, as above so below. The physical botanical is another link (creating the possibility of a circuit) into the Divine power inhered within it. So mote it be.

Garlic has also been used to guard against the plague, protect against shipwreck, repel thieves, and remove negative vibrations which might contaminate food. Importantly, garlic is also used to absorb disease and protect against hepatitis. [2]

Hepatitis is disease and inflammation of the liver. The liver is the primary organ of the body responsible for purifying and detoxifying the blood. Thus, garlic is an aid to ensure detoxified healthy blood - and by extention, of blood's perfusion throughout body tissues - to health throughout the entire body. Blood is the physiological system corresponding to Binah (Understanding). Thus, garlic guards and maintains the purity of understanding, insight and mental-spiritual clarity.


[1] שום is Hebrew for garlic. The root means "fixing a place", "arrange", "there", "toward a place", "setting a name", "heavens" and "space above and below earth". Etymological Dictionary Of Biblical Hebrew, R' Matityahu Clark, (p. 258)

[2] Encyclopedia Of Magickal Herbs, Scott Cunningham (p. 122-3)

DETOX FOODS from Nourishing Perspectives author Randa Khalil


Garlic has been used for its beneficial effects for thousands of years. It is a blood cleanser, a natural antibiotic it also reduces blood fats thinning the blood and lowering blood pressure.

To avoid the lingering smell when you eat raw garlic, simply peel the garlic clove, cut it lengthways and remove the heart stem (which is sometimes green). If you prefer to avoid the smell of garlic altogether, there is a multitude of garlic supplements in the health food shops to choose from.

Coriander (Cilantro)

Some studies have shown that the leaves of the coriander plant can accelerate the excretion of mercury, lead and aluminium from the body.

This delicious herb, when added to food, can greatly contribute in the detox process. It is available all year round. You can use it instead of basil to make a delicious coriander pesto.

Mix fresh coriander leaves (about 25 stems) with 1/2 a cup of pine nuts, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of lemon and 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a blender until you get a smooth paste (you can make the paste less lumpy by adding hot water). It's very tasty with pasta or as an accompaniment to vegetables or fish.

Other detoxifying roots and herbs include:

Echinacea: A lymphatic cleanser

Dandelion root: A tonic, a liver and blood cleanser, diuretic and filters toxins

Cayenne pepper: Purifies the blood, increases fluid elimination and encourages sweating

Ginger root: Stimulates blood circulation and sweating

Liquorice root: Is a potent detoxifier it also balances biochemical functions and acts as a mild laxative

Parsley leaf: A diuretic it flushes the kidneys

Red clover blossoms: A blood cleanser that's very useful during convalescence and recovery.

Fresh Vegetables: Great detox vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts and onions. Artichokes are well known for their liver detoxifying properties. Also recommended are beetroot and red and green vegetables.

Fresh Fruit: All fresh fruit is good for detox provided it is eaten on its own, not before, with, or after food. A fresh fruit or fruits juice fasting is often recommended for a short (3-day) fast to cleanse and detoxify.

Fruit can be fresh, frozen or dried. It includes apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, raisins, pineapple, mango, kiwi fruit, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, melon, sultanas nectarines and peaches.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Use Herbs Responsibly!

As it may be not be a given for all people, I want to make it clear that I advocate responsible use of herbs and herbal preparations.

PLEASE, particularly if you are taking medications or are being treated for medical conditions, consult your physician or alternative medical practitioner regarding the use of herbs and herbal preparations. Some herbs can be dangerous or dangerous in certain medical conditions. Some herbs may negatively interact with prescription medications. Some herbs may cause allergic reactions of varying degrees. Some herbs require special handling to be safely used in rituals.

Here is a link to HerbMed. I am creating a new blogroll for herbal and alternative remedies - the link to HerbMed will be permanently located there.

HerbMed® - an interactive, electronic herbal database - provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource provided by the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc. This public site provides free access to 40 herbs.

Mugwort, Pathworking & Nun Hafucha

Mugwort is known as the witch's herb. Among mugwort's many magickal associations (which includes prophetic dreaming) is the idea that mugwort is both a superior trail marker (pathfinder) and aids in magickal invisibility.

An article at Goddess Garden teaches regarding mugwort:

Mugwort is reputed in magick to help open locks and locate buried treasure.

Mugwort’s most striking claim to fame is its magnetic [1] character. Often known as the "compass plant", it’s leaves tend to align themselves with the North-South lines of the earth’s magnetic field. It enjoys a reputation for aiding lost travellers, which supports the relationship this plant has with Artemis, the patron of children, the patron of the wood, and a patron of children of all ages lost in the woods.

Priestesses of Artemis to wore clothing that resembled mugwort, having one side green and one side white. Wearing such a reversible tunic, they could turn it white- side-out to be visible in the forest, for staying together and avoiding hunting accidents; or they could turn it green-side-out for camouflage, to blend into the green of the forest and to hide from danger.

Within the Doctrine of Signatures, mugwort has the power to provide "mundane" invisibility, suggesting that it aids in magickal invisibility.

The powers of prophetic pathfinding, of knowing which way to travel (or not travel), and of turning inside out, remind me of the inverted letters nun of Bamidbar 10:35-36.


[1] mugwort contains copper; it's pollen may elicit allergic reactions

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Magickal Judaism Academic Resources

Jewish Magic In Late Antiquity Reading List



Aubin, Melissa, Gendering Magic in Late Antique Judaism (Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 1998)

Dennis, Geoffry W., The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2007)

Gaster, Moses, Three Works of Ancient Jewish Magic (Chthonios, 1986)

Harari, Y.Early Jewish Magic: Methodological and Phenomenological Studies (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation; Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1998) [Hebrew]

Hunter, Jennifer, Magickal Judaism (Citadel Press, 2006)

Saar, O., Superstitions in Israel during the Roman and Early-Byzantine Periods, (Masters Thesis, Tel Aviv University, 2003 (in Hebrew)

Articles in Periodicals and Chapters in Books

Baron, Salo, “Magic and Ritual,” in Salo Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews: Vol 2, The Christian Era, the First Five Centuries (NY: 1952), pp 15-23

Benin, S., “Megillat Ahima’az u-Mekomah ba-Sifrut ha-Bizantit,” Mekherei Yerishalayim be-Mahshevel Yisrael 4:3-4 (1985), 237-250

Eisenstein, J.D., “Alpha Beta Ben Sira,” in Otsar Midrashim vol. 1 (NY: J.D. Eisenstein, 1915)

Hamilton, Gordon J., "A New Hebrew-Aramaic Incantation Text from the Galilee: 'Rebuking the Sea'," JSS 41 (1996), 215-249

Harari, Yuval, "How to Do Things with Words: Philosophical Theory and Magical Deeds," Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore 19-20 (1998), 365-392 [Heb].

Harari, Yuval, "If You Wish to Kill a Person: Harmful Witchcraft and Protection from it in Early Jewish Magic," Jewish Studies 37 (1997), 111-142 [Heb].

Harari, Yuval, "Love Charms in Early Jewish Magic," Kabbalah 5 (2000), 347-364 [Heb].

Harari, Yuval, "Religion, Magic and Adjurations: Methodological Reflections Aimed at a New Definition of Early Jewish Magic," Daat 48 (2002), 31-56 [Heb].

Harari, Yuval, "Power and Money: Economic Aspects of the Use of Magic by Jews in Ancient Times and the Early Middle Ages," Peamim 85 (2000), 14-42 [Heb].

Hildesheimer, E.E., “Mystik und Agada im Urteile der Gaonen R. Scherira und R. Hai,” in Festchrift fur Jacob Rosenheim (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1931), 259-286

Naveh, Joseph, “On Ancient Jewish Magical Books,” in A. Oppenheimer, I. Gafni, & D. Schwatz (eds.), The Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman World (Jerusalem: Merkaz Zalman Shazar le-toldot Yisra'el : ha-Hevrah ha-historit ha-Yisre'elit, 1996), pp. 453-456 [Heb]

Schafer, Peter, "Jewish Magic Literature in Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages," JJS 41 (1990), 75-91

Schafer, Peter, “Magic and Religion in Ancient Judaism,” in Peter Schafer, and H.G. Kippenberg (eds.) Envisioning Magic: A Princeton Seminar and Symposium (Leiden--NY--Koeln: E.J. Brill, 1997), pp. 19-43

Scholem, Gershom, "Havdalah de-Rabbi Akivah: Maqor le-maroet ha-magiah ha-yehudit bi-tkufat he-geonim," Tarbiz 50 (1980-1), 243-281 [HEB]

Swartz, Michael, “Magical Piety in Ancient and Medieval Judaism,” in Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki (eds.) Ancient Magic and Ritual Power (Leiden: EJ Brill, 1995), pp. 167-183

Tobias Lachs, Samuel, “The Alphabet of Ben Sira,” Gratz College Annual of Jewish Studies 11 (1973), 9-28

Wolfson, Elliot R., “ "Phantasmagoria: The Image of the Image in Jewish Magic from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages,” Review of Rabbinic Judaism: Ancient, Medieval, Modern 4 (2001), 78-120

Magic and Merkaba Literature


Cohen, M.S., The Shi'ur Qomah: Liturgy and Theurgy in Pre-Kabbalistic Jewish Mysticism (NY: University Press of America, 1983)

Lesses, Rebecca, Ritual Practices to Gain Powers: Angels, Incantations, and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (Harrisburg, PN: Trinity Press International, 1998)

Swartz, Michael, Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996)

Articles in Periodicals and Chapters in Books

Alexander, Philip S., “Response,” [to Peter Schafer] in Peter Schafer and Joseph Dan (eds.) Gershom Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism 50 Years After (Tuebingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1993), pp 79-83

Elior, Rachel, "Mysticism, Magic, and Angeology: the Perception of Angels in Hekhalot Literature," JSQ 1:1 (1993-4), pp. 5-53

Hermann, Klaus, "Magische traditionen der New Yorker hekhalot-handschrift JTS 8128 im Kontext ihrer Gesamtredaktion," Frankfurter Judaistische Beitrage 17 (1989), 101-149

Hermann, Klaus, "Magische traditionen der oxforder hekhalot-handschrift michael 9 in ihrem verhaltnis zu Ms. New York JTS 8128," Frankfurter Judaistische Beitrage 19 (1991-1992), 169-183

Lesses, Rebecca, "The Adjuration of the Prince of the Presence: Performative Utterance in a Jewish Ritual," in Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki (eds.) Ancient Magic and Ritual Power (Leiden: EJ Brill, 1995), pp. 185-206

Maier, Johann, "Magisch-theurgische uberlieferungen im mittelalterlichen: beobachtungen zu 'terafim' und 'golem'" in Helmut Birkhan (ed.) Die Juden in ihrer mitterlalterlichen umwiet (Bern: Peter Lang, 1992), pp. 249-287

Schafer, Peter, "Merkavah Mysticism and Magic," in Peter Schafer and Joseph Dan (eds.) Gershom Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism 50 Years After (Tuebingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1993), pp. 59-78

Schafer, Peter, “Ein neues Fragment zur Metoposkopie und Chiromantik,” Frankfurter Judaistische Reitrage 13 (1985), 61-82 [=P. Schafer (ed.), Hekhalot-Studien (Tubingen: 1988), pp. 84-95]

Scholem, Gershom, “Esoteric Knowledge: The Heikhalot, the Ma`aseh Bereshit, and the Literature of Magic,” in G. Scholem, Kabbalah (NY: Meridian, 1978), pp. 14-20

Shaked, Shaul, "'Innen' und 'Aussen' in der religiongeschichte: Einige typologische beobachtungen," in J. Assmann (ed.) Die Enfindung des inneren Menschen (Görersloh : Göthersloher Verlagshaus G. Mohn, c1993), pp. 15-27

Swartz, Michael, "Book and Tradition in Hekhalot and Magical Literatures," JJTP 3:2 (1994), 189-224

Swartz, Michael, "'Like the Ministering Angels' Ritual and Purity in Early Jewish Mysticism and Magic," AJS Review 19:2 (1994), 135-167

Sefer Yesira


Goldschmidt, Lazarus, Sefer Yetsirah (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1969)

Kalisch, Isador (trans. and ed.), The Sepher Yezirah: the Book of Formation (Gillette, NJ: Heptangle Books, 1987)

Kaplan, Aryeh, (trans. and ed.) Sefer Yetzirah: the Book of Creation (Northvale, NJ: J. Aaronson, 1995)

Kaplan, Aryeh, The Book of Creation (York Beach, ME: S. Weiser, c1990, 1997)

Kordo’ero, Mosheh Sefer Yetsirah: ha-Meyuhas le-Avraham Avinu: im perush Or Yakar (Jerusalem: Hevrat Ahuzat Yisrael, 1988/9)

Lambert, Mayer (trans. and ed.) Commentarie sur le Sefer Yesira de la creation, par le gaon Saadya de Fayyoum (Paris: E. Bouillon, 1891)

Menaham Mendel ben ha-Rav Barukh be`ndet me-Shaklav, Sefer Yetsirah: `im hamishah perushim [Rabad, Ramban, Saadya Gaon, Eliezer me-Garmaziya, Moshe Botarel, Gaon Eliyahu me-Vilna] (Grodno: 1806)

Moucka, Ladislav, Sefer Jecira [Czech and Hebrew] (Praha: Pudorys, c1991, 1993)

Papus, Gerard Encausse, The Qabalah: secret tradition of the West [complete translation of the Sepher Yetzirah] (Wellingborough: Thorsons, 1977) [translated from the French]

Pincherle, Mario, Fonti Archeologiche della magia: il Sfr Isire, primo libro dell’umanita (Ancona: Filelfo, 1977)

Sefer Yetsirah [heb and eng] (New York, NY: L.H. Frank & co., 1877)

Sefer Yetsirah: ha-Meyuhas la-Avraham Avinu: ve-alav kol shilte ha-Giborim ha Mefarshim ha-Mekubalim….Sefer Yetsirah: mesudar bi-Shelemut ‘al pi nusah ha Ari Ashkenazi, zal: im perush ha-Gera. Yatsa le-or me-hadash (Brooklyn: NY: 1987/8)

Sefer Yetsirah: ha-Meyuhas le-Avraham Avinu: ve-‘alav kol shilte ha-Giborim ha Mefarshim ha-Mekubalim (Jerusalem: Yeshivat Kol Yehudah, 1989)

Sterning, Khut (trans. and ed.) The Book of Formation (Sepher Yetzirah) by Akiba ben Yoseph (New York, NY: Ktav Pub. House, 1970)

Toaff, Gadiel (ed.), Sefer Yezirah: il libro della creazione (Roma: Carucci, 1979)

Vainshtok, Ben-Tsiyon Mosheh Ya’ir (ed.) Sefer Yetsirah ha-Shalem (Jerusalem: ha Makhon le-hotsa’at kitve yad ve-sifre Maran ha-Mehaber ha-Gaon ha-mekubal ha-tsadik Rabi Mosheh Ya’ir Vainshtok; New York: Li-fenot-nekhed ha mekhaber Sh. A. Vainshtok, 1982/3)

Vaynshtok, Bentsiyon Mosheh Ya`ir (ed.) Sefer Yetsirah ha-Shalem (Jerusalem: Defus S. Vaynfeld, 1965)

Westcott, W. Wynn, The Book of Creation: with a Bibliography of Modern Translations (Cambridge, England: I.A.M., 1978)

Westcott, Wm. Wynn, The Book of Formation and the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom (London: Theosophical Pub. Society; New York: The Path, 1893)

Articles in Periodicals and Chapters in Books

Ben-Shamai, Haggai, "Saadya's Goal in his 'Commentary on Sefer Yezira'," in Ruth Link Salinger (ed.), A Straight Path: Studies in Medieval Philosophy and Culture (Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press, 1988), pp. 1-9

Chaze, Micheline, "De l'identification des Patriarches au char divin: recherches du sens d'un enseignement rabbinique dans le Midrash et dans la Kabbale prezoharique et ses sources," REJ 149:1-3 (1990), 5-75

Dan, Joseph, "The Language of Creation and its Grammar," in Dan, Joseph (ed.), Jewish Mysticism I (Northvale NJ: J. Aaronson, 1998), pp. 129-154

Dan, Joseph, "Three Phases of the History of Sefer Yesira," in Frankfurter Judaistische Beitrage 21 (1994), pp. 7-29 [appears in Dan, Joseph (ed.), Jewish Mysticism (Northvale NJ: J. Aaronson, 1998-1999), pp. 155-187

Diamond, Jeffrey, "Sefer Yetsirah--el Libro de la Creacion," El Oliva 39 (1994), pp. 21-27

Finkel, Asher, "The Exegetic Elements of the Cosmosophical Work, Sefer Yesirah," in

Gruenwald, I., “A Prelimimary Critical Edition of Sefer Yesira,” IOS 1 (1971), 132-177

Gruenwald, I., “Some Critical Notes on the First Part of Sefer Yesira,” REJ 132 (1973), 474-512

Hayman, A. Peter, "Qohelet and the Book of Creation," JSOT 50 (1991), 95-111

Hayman, A. Peter, "Some Observations on Sefer Yesira: 1. Its Uses of Scripture 2. The Temple at the Centre of the Universe," JJS 35:2 (1984), 168-184; 37:2 (1986), 175-182

Hayman, A. Peter, "The Doctrine of Creation in Sefer Yesira: Some Text-Critical Problems," in Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle (ed.) Rashi, 1040-1990: Hommage a Ephraim E. Urbach. Congres Europeen des Etudes Juives [IV, 1990] (Paris: Cerf, 1993), pp. 219-227

Hayman, A. Peter, "The 'Original Text': a Scholarly Illusion," in Jon Davies, Graham Harvey, and Wilfred G.E. Watson (eds.) World Remembered Texts: Essays in Honour of John F.A. Sawyer (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), pp. 434-449

Hayman, A. Peter, “Sefer Yesira and the Hekhalot Literature,” Proceedings of the First International Conference on the History of Jewish Mysticism (Jerusalem, 1987)

Hayman, A. Peter, "Was God a Magician? Sefer Yesira and Jewish Magic," JJS 40:2 (1989), 225-237

Hermann, Klaus, "'Feuer aus Wasser': sum Fortleben eines enbekannten Sefer Yesira Kommentars in der hekhalot-Literatur," Frankfurter Judaistische Beitrage 20 (1993), 49-95 Herrera, R.A. (ed.), Mystics of the Book: Themes, Topics, and Typologies (NewYork, NY: Peter Lang, 1993), pp. 45-55

Jospe, Raphael, "Early Philosophical Commentaries on the 'Sefer Yezirah': Some Comments," REJ 149:4 (1990), 369-415

Kiener, Ronald C., "Saadia and the 'Sefer Yetzirah': Translation Theory in Classical Jewish Thought," in Biderman, Shlomo & Scharfstein, Ben-Ami (eds.), Interpretation in Religion (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992), pp. 169-179

Kuyt, Annelies, "The Haside Ashkenaz and their Mystical Sources: Continuity and Innovation," in Ulf Haxen, Hanne Trautner-Kromann, & Karen Lisa Goldschmidt Salamon (eds.), Jewish Studies in a New Europe: Proceedings of the Fifth World Congress of Jewish Studies in Copenhagen 1994 (Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel, 1998), pp. 462-471

Lacerenza, Giancarlo, "Il sangue fra microcosmo e macrocosmo nel commento di Sabbatai Donnolo al 'Sefer Jesirah," Atti della VI Settimana di Studi (1991), pp. 389-417

Langermann, Y. Tzvi, "A New Redaction of Sefer Yesira," Kabbalah 2 (1997), 49-64

Loewenthal, Elena, "Per una rilettura della premessa di Shabbetay Donnolo al commento al Sefer Yesirah: un capitolo inedito," Henoch 9:3 (1987), 345-352

Necker, Gerold, "Warnung vor der Schopfermacht: die Reflexion der Golem-Tradition in

Pines, Shlomo, "Points of Similarity Between the Exposition of the Doctrine of the Sefirot in the 'Sefer Yezira' and a text of Pseudo-Clementine 'Homilies': the Implications of this Resemblance," Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Proceedings 7:3 (1989), 63-142 [= Warren Zev Harvey & Moshe Idel (eds.), Studies in the History of Jewish Thought by Shlomo Pines (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997)]

Scholem, Gershom, “Sefer Yesira,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Keter, 1973), Vol. 16, pp. 782-788

Sed, Nicola, "Rashi et le Pseudo-Sefer Yesirah," in Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle (ed.) Rashi, 1040-1990: Hommage a Ephraim E. Urbach. Congres Europeen des Etudes Juives [IV, 1990] (Paris: Cerf, 1993), pp. 237-250

Smirnov, Andrey V., "The Universe as a Phenomenon of Language: Sa`adiah Gaon's Commentary to the 'Book of Creation'," in Raphael Jospe (ed.), Paradigms in Jewish Philosophy (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1997), pp. 87-111

Wasserstrom, Steven M., "Sefer Yesira and Early Islam: A Reappraisel," JJTP 3:1 (1993), 1-30

The Sword of Moses


“The Sword of Moses,” in M. Gaster (ed.) Studies and Texts (NY: Ktav, 1971) [Vol I pp. 288-311—Introduction; pp. 312-337—English Translation; Vol III pp. 69-103 Hebrew Text]

Gaster, Moses “The Sword of Moses,”JRAS (1896) 149-198

Gaster, Moses, The Sword of Moses (Edmonds, WA: Near Eastern Press, 1986, 1992)

Gaster, Moses, The Sword of Moses (London: D. Nutt, 1896)

Gaster, Moses, The Sword of Moses (NY: S. Weiser, 1970)

Harrari, Y., Harba de-Moshe: Mahadurah Hadasha Umekhor (Jerusalem: Akedemon, 1997)

Schafer, Peter, Synopse zur Hekhalot-Literatur (Tubingen: 1981), 598-622 [Text]

Schafer, Peter, Ubersetzung der Hekhalot-Literatur (Tubingen: 1991), Vol. 4 pp. 1-17 [German trans.]


Harari, Yuval, “If You Wish to Kill a Man: Aggressive Magic and the Defense against it in Ancient Jewish Magic,” Jewish Studies 37 (1997), 111-142 [Heb]

Rohrbacher-Sticker, C., “From Sense to Nonsense, from Incantation Prayer to Magical Spell,” JSQ 3 (1995), 24-46

Sefer ha-Razim


Margalioth, M., (ed.) Sefer ha-Razim [The Book of the Mysteries] (Jerusalem: 1966)

Morgan, Michael, (trans. & ed.) Sefer ha-Razim: The Book of the Mysteries (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983) [SBL, Texts and Translations 25: Pseudepigrapha Series 11]

Niggemeyer, Jens-Heinrich, Beschworungsformeln aus dem 'Buch der Geheimnisse' (Sefer ha-Razim): zur Topologie der Magischen Rede (Hildesheim--New York: Olms, 1975)

Articles in Periodical and Chapters in Books

Dan, Joseph, "Sefer ha-razim mahadarut Margalioth," Tarbiz 37 (1968), 208-214

Lightstone, Jack, “Christian Anti-Judaism and its Judaic Mirror: The Judaic Context of Early Christianity Revised,” in Stephen G. Wilson (ed.), Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity. Vol. 2: Speratation and Polemic (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1986), pp. 103-132

Maier, J, “Das Buch der Geheimnisse: zu einer neu entdecken Schrift aus talmudischer Zeit,” Judiaca 24 (1968), 98-111

Maier, J., “Poetisch-liturgusche strucke aus dem buch der geheimnisse,” Judaica 24 (1968), 172-181

Merchavya, Ch., “Review of Margalioth, Sepher ha-Razim,” Kiryath Sepher 42 (1966/7), 297-303

Merchavya, Ch., “Sefer ha-Razim,” Ecyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Keter, 1973), Vol.8, pp. 1594-1595

Sed, N., “Le Sefer ha-Razim et la methode de ‘combinaison des lettres,”REJ 130 (1971), 295-304

Sznol, S., “Sefer ha-Razim: El Libro de los Secretos: Introduccion y commnetario al vocabulario griego,” Erytheia 10 (1989), 265-288


Jewish & Ancient Magic Bibliography -