Strategic Sorcery Homework #4

Consecration Through Use

Creation (March 24–30, April 13 & 14, 2013):

I repeated the steps for Day 1 for each sigil, which meant that I ended up getting a lot of practice with this part of the ritual!  I combined the creation of the sigil with the cleansing, meditation, and first-use components.  I unwrapped the canvases, purified them with water and fire, and left the stack of ten sitting on my altar until I needed them.

Each day, beginning on Sunday with the Sun, in the Hour of the Sun, I would draft the design during the morning planetary hour, then paint it during the afternoon hour, and finish/use the sigil for the first time during the evening hour (the exception to this was the outer planets, which I had drafted all at once in a fit of inspiration and then just painted during the planetary zeniths). I felt like this gave me a really solid grounding in how these energies felt at different times of day.

As I painted, I entered a light trance state, which allowed me to fully experience the sigil as it flowed onto the canvas. This combined steps 3 & 4, letting me meditate upon the tool and experience it with all my senses—the texture of the canvas under the brush and pens, the smell of the paint, the scratch of the Sharpies and gasp of the paint tubes as I squeezed them. There came a point with each sigil where the pattern seemed to almost float off the canvas, arching up to receive the final strokes of gold or silver paint that finished each piece.

When the sigil was done, I placed it on the altar and breathed in the energies from it, letting them gather and swirl around me. After attuning myself to the planet, I set the sigil on the altar to await its brothers and sisters.

There was a two-week gap between the creation of Uranus and Neptune. It was strange, but I just couldn’t attune myself to either Neptune or Pluto during that time. Then I looked at the calendar and realized that for some reason I needed to wait for the Dark Moon to feel those particular energies. It makes sense in retrospect, but was frustrating at the time. So I just continued aligning my energies with the completed sigils on a daily basis until the creative block passed.

Familiarization (March 30–April 24, 2013):

I kept the stack of sigils in my handbag, on my kitchen altar, or next to my desk with the daily “dominant” planet on top. (My 3 year-old son was particularly enamored with Venus—which I find hilarious since he’s a Taurus—and I had to keep stealing it back from him.) Each morning, I lit a candle in front of the stack and aligned myself with the topmost sigil. Then I would trace the pattern over the piece to reinforce the work.

 

Sigil Ceremony Chart

 

Ceremony (April 25, 2013):

On the Full Moon, Day of Jupiter, Hour of the Sun, I performed the following Ceremony.  I’ve been studying astrology for a while now, and I wanted to be able to incorporate that into my magical practice, but on a physical, visceral level. So the purpose of the rite was to anchor the sigils to each other in time and space, making them no longer just a stack of symbols, but living representations of the planetary energies.

After I established a working zone using the OBOD Ovate Grove Ceremony, I used the Cardinal astrological signs to stand in the Quarters: Aries in the East (Spring), Cancer in the South (Summer), Libra in the West (Autumn), Capricorn in the North (Winter) (I made the decision to align them with seasons rather than elements for various reasons). Then I asked first the Fixed signs, and finally the Mutable signs to stand in the circle, until all twelve were present.

Next, I lay out the planetary sigils around the circumference of the zone in accordance with the chart above, starting with the Sun and proceeding through the MV(E)MJSUNP sequence, to give grounding in the physical universe.

Then came the heavy magical lifting part of the rite, which was to take the tendrils of energy from each sigil and connect them to all the others. When that was done (and boy was the place humming when I finished!), I pulled each sigil to the center of the circle. When they were all stacked, Sun on top, Pluto on bottom, I pushed/collapsed the energy of the web down into the stack, binding them together.

I sat and meditated with my multi-part tool, just letting us get acquainted with each other. At last I thanked the spirits of the Zodiac and unwound the circle. The sigils are now arranged above my working altar, surrounding a painting I did to represent my work from the Bardic Grade of OBOD. Each day I pull one down and attune myself either with the daily energies (Moon on Monday, etc.), or with energies I might particularly need for that day (Mercury for good communication on a Monday morning debrief with my boss). These have become some of my most-used and best-loved tools.

Practicing Together #7

Apple Blossom

Seed thought taken from Leaning into Mystery: Practicing Together #12.

I noticed that destructive thought loops are like parasites: separate them from the host and they will die.

In more cheerful observations, I’ve heard both wood peckers and swans in the past week. And I was able to witness a rather impressive swan display as I walked around the brook yesterday. As the female nested, the male took off across the water, slapping the surface with his wings. It sounded like a series of gunshots, intimidating to say the least. Swans can be dangerous creatures if riled and this was a good reminder of that.

This week, I invite in poise and balance, inspired by my woodswalking, and having so much fun wobbling along logs with my son. Poise and balance generally seem like stuffy terms to me, and I want to figure out how to play with them more.

Ways this could happen: literally practicing balance with Crane qigong; more log balancing in the woods. I want to experience this viscerally, not just in my head (although that’s a pretty big place, too!).

What went well: Finished the Planetary Sigils project! ‘Nuff said. 🙂

Updates: Garden is still waiting expectantly. The seeds are sitting on my counter, begging to be put in the ground. My attic is still a mess, waiting for the book cases to be put in. This is making crafting challenging to say the least, not to mention bigger spiritual exercises. So for now, the woods and the kitchen altar will have to do until I get my woo!space back.

The Planets: Pluto

Pluto

Here we are at last, at the outer reaches of the solar system. I really enjoyed designing and painting Pluto. In a sense, it’s the culmination of all the previous planetary pieces. I love what Forrest says about Pluto in The Inner Sky: ” Pluto is the taproot penetrating the heart of a nation. It transmits into the individual psyche the brooding, seething force of humanity as a whole. All the dreams. All the nightmares. All the angels and demons of a race” (1988, 136).

This has really been a fun project, but I have to admit I’m looking forward to using the time for other things. The whole series can be found as a set over at my Flickr page.

The Planets: Neptune

Neptune

Whew, finally! After a week of percolating, Neptune is finally finished. Like Uranus, since there isn’t an official planetary hour, I began 30 minutes before the zenith and then worked until 30 minutes after. This was an interesting one to design, as I lost my original sketch in the middle of the week. I spent a good couple of hours looking for it, then another couple trying to wrack my brain and re-create it. But when I did find the first sketch, I was able to combine elements of both and make something that I liked even better.

The Planets: Uranus

Uranus

The first of the outer planets, this was the second design I drafted when this whole project began as a way to supplement the sigils provided in the Strategic Sorcery course. It was a little tricky to clean up from the original doodle, but smoothed out nicely all things considered.

ETA 04.13.13: I wasn’t completely satisfied with the color scheme, so I tweaked it a bit. The original is below for posterity.

Previous color scheme

The Planets: Saturn

Saturn

I somehow feel like the further out one goes in the solar system, the longer it takes for the energies of a planet to reach us. I have a suspicion this is all in my head, but for the moment, it seems to take ten to twenty minutes for me to synch with the larger planets, even after their planetary hour has begun.

I’m quite pleased with the way Saturn turned out, to say the least, even if it took some wrangling to get it there!