So, I’ve been doing a lot of star magic of late. I’m not making (astrological) talismans, though I’ve played with those in the past. No, this current spate of experimentation began with Gordon White’s “[Lunar] Mansion Game” for Q2 2019. I suspect Gordon looked at the space weather for June through August and decided, fuckit. I mean, the planets are all fucked for the usual magical shenanigans. Also, I suspect Gordon wanted folks to move beyond thinking about and into playing with tech and what are, I’d say, many of the implications underlying Star.Ships.
Providing the Rune Soup Premium Members with some context on the Vedic nakshatras, Picatrix lunar mansions, Laurasian calendar and timing systems, sidereal vs. tropical astrological logic, and more, Gordon basically pointed to a tentative outline of a launch sequence for experimentally working around lousy planetary space weather to get to the mansions in order to launch sigils, Lynn McTaggart Power of 8-style intentions, and so on, and he encouraged folks to play with it. Then he went to the jungle for a few weeks.
And with some help from my friends, I did just that. I’m not going to share operational details here; you can go join Rune Soup and find all that. Let’s just say the PGM, Heptameron, and the Orphic Hymns are involved, at least for me. But I want to talk around what’s up above versus what’s down below.
I quickly decided that I wanted to get to know the mansions better, wanted to introduce myself, and have myself come back with some good fortune. Our Power of 8-ish intention tech features a targeted intention that is intended for about 10 minutes while spacey Choku Rei Reiki music plays while staring at the intention target. Typically, we’ve found the experience can be accompanied by journeying, visionary, or other phenomena, and synchronicities can pop forth, and so on. We typically will compare notes after the fact to see what emerged from our respective experiences. These experiences aren’t necessary for Taggart’s form of intention tech to work by any means, but it provides a way into something like journeying, trance work, and “scrying.”
Our intentions for the experiments we’ve been pursuing have been astrologically remediative, yet also uplifting: good fortune, avoid bad fortune, good favor, avoid bad feelings. I’m suspecting that our experiences reflect our perspective on what that intention looks like in relation with specific mansions.
For our imagistic focuses, I decided not to use the traditional images associated with the Picatrix, Agrippan, or Jyotish mansions, though they’re adjacent and available for consideration and comparison after the fact. Instead, I opted for images of the asterisms themselves. Where I could, I found nice pictures of asterisms and stars—I always love me some Pleiades—and in other cases, I had to kit-bash a more abstract image of the stars. For some of them, the “less sexy” asterisms, I had to rely on sky map apps to give me a representation of the stars in question.
I chose the asterisms themselves as our focal points for several reasons. The mansions have images associated with them in Jyotish and in the more Picatrix-derived lines, but we weren’t doing Picatrix-style mansion talismans, nor did we want to seem like we were feigning some kind of “Vedic star magic.” We certainly were not doing that. I also didn’t want to butt up against cultural layers I lacked a proper context for, so I chose to do something like our ancestors would’ve done, and we looked into the stars themselves.
In terms of the launch sequence, we adopted a more flow model approach to orienting ourselves to the mansion and asterisms in question and in getting their attention. As I will go into in more detail below, the mansions are “containers,” and the portions of the sky themselves contain the nakshatras and Picatrix mansions and Agrippa’s mansions and so on. At which point, they aren’t equivalent, per se, but they are perhaps adjacent. As we oriented ourselves imaginally towards the heavens—divisions of the heavens our ancestors have conserved for millennia—we pointed ourselves at the asterisms others had said, “That’s Anuradha, the Crown, the Flower Gateway, the Claws…”
I have written so many—well, 27, actually—“Orphic Hymns” to the asterisms. I took a cue from Kaitlin Coppock’s fixed star work, especially her Regulus work. (Also, I’ve used her Jupiter and Venus oils: very good stuff.) Her example was already partly on my mind with my experiments with the Pleiades—who, as is their wont, were probably the heralds of my current enterprise (see my “firstly” below)—and I adopted a similar approach to the other asterisms associated with the mansions. For example, I’ll point to my adaptation of Apostolos N. Athanassakis and Benjamin M. Wolkow’s version of the Orphic Hymn “To the Stars” for Acrab and Dschubba, for Anuradha and Al Iklil:
➤We call forth the sacred lights of the heavenly Acrab and Dschubba, with devotional prayers we summon the holy daimons. Acrab and Dschubba, dear children of black Night, round your thrones you move in circles, you spin in circular ways, O brilliant and fiery Acrab and Dschubba, the Scorpion, Graffias the Claws, Fang Xiu, the Room, O Al Jabhah, Irkil al Akrab, Gis-gan-gu-sur, the Light of the Hero, the Tree of the Garden of Light placed in the midst of the abyss, Nur, Bighanwand, Stephani, the Crown, Iclil, Anuradha—you do reveal fate, everyone’s fate, you determine the divine path for mortals. Wandering in midair, you gaze upon the seven luminous orbits. In heaven and on earth, ever indestructible on your blazing trail, you shine upon the darkness of the cloak night wears. Coruscating and gleaming, kingly and nocturnal, visit the learned contests of this sacred rite, finish a noble race for works of renown.⧫
I drew upon much of the star lore that I could find—names and titles and associations—with a lot of help from Bernadette Brady’s Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars and Richard Hinkley Allen’s Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning. In other places, I drew on Freedom Cole’s Science of Light, as well.
My hope was not to “dial up” the specifically Vedic or Picatrix take on the mansions but to get ourselves “up there” none the less, to see what we would find, not necessarily without expectations, but hopefully open to the fuller breadth of those divisions of the sky. I wanted to avoid trying to dress up the stars in some kind of cultural, mansion “drag,” but we paid attention to the images and motifs that emerged, and we paid extra attention to when we noticed the same motifs while trancing out to stellar ambience music and pictures of stars.
In terms of using “images” of stars rather than the stars themselves, ideally, I would have loved to have gone out to dark sky preserves and done these experiments, but that wasn’t going to happen. I also had the sense that what I am looking at when I look up at the sky anyway is an image of the heavens. It’s not the fidelity of the image—though not all images are made equally—but the ability to use that image to see/know/journey into what the image itself contains or opens into.
Firstly, star magic shows you how wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey the cosmos is. The synchronicities began popping out, and I started noticing how the present moment and the magic I was doing had been building itself backwards through my timeline, with ripples going back decades. I had noticed this to some degree with the decans—especially from the information coming via Gordon and Jake Stratton-Kent via Alexandrian and other sources. And while the mansions are not the decans, in experimenting with the mansions, the decans have also popped out again with greater vividness, and synchronicities and seemingly acausal, wibbly-wobbly events began appearing. I say “seemingly acausal” because I feel that the proximate causes are removed from a perspective of 3-dimensional linear temporality. In other cases, I got more synchs that helped improve the fidelity of subsequent contacts. I also began seeing connections I had previously missed between my experiences with the Heptameron, with the PGM, and even just visionary work, let alone faeries.
Secondly, my time capsule companion and I began having recurring subjective motifs during our experiments that were themselves profound. While doing this magic, it was as if we were remembering things we’d forgotten, things we’d always known. We were feeling how familiar it all was, like we’d always been there, were still there, but we’d consciously forgotten.
Consequently and thirdly, we found ourselves feeling often more whole and integrated and connected, as if we were finding our other halves. If we had, in some way, always been there in the mansions and amongst the decans, then we were also reconnecting with ourselves. Those selves were more composed, more calm yet resolute, effortlessly courageous, yet often very kind. The vast majority of our experiences during the experiments were positive—more like being visiting dignitaries at a court, if not long-lost family members coming home again.
Fourthly, the concept of mirroring and symmetry and twinning has been everywhere. To be fair, these have been longstanding motifs and concerns for me, but we also began noticing not just ourselves twinned or mirrored above, but family lineages/ancestral lines, country itself—it often seemed we were seeing country as from the perspective of the spirit masters, so seeing not “wilderness” but “gardens”—and more. Of course, we did not experience all mansions with equal fidelity. Indeed, I began to wonder if we had an easier time looking into some mansions, or seeing ourselves in those mansions, if we could imagine ourselves more easily in how that mansion would reflect us. We haven’t really noticed our birth charts mattering much in these experiences except, likely, our natal nakshatras (which I suspect have the feeling of “home base”).
The sky is a mirror, in many ways. We look up and see ourselves and our surroundings. That’s still kind of true from the flat perspective of nuts & bolts aliens and UFOs, where we look up and can only imagine humanoid bipeds with space capitalism and space empires and so on. That said, the kind of mirror that Jyestha is differs quite a bit from Mula, let alone the reflections we may find there. The women I know who have done this kind of work had cracking times in Citra (associated with Spica)—I saw the city of Alexandria and Hypatia blending into Catherine of Alexandria blending into Athena blending into myself blending into other women I know blending into Virgo. But I had a hard far muddier time in the (seemingly) mirror of normative marital and family experiences. That said, I would probably say the error there is between the magical image and the chair and how I presently perceive what that mansion may contain or reflect.
Fifthly, I have developed a deeper appreciation for perspectivism in practical magic. I can imagine how many folks would react to what we’ve encountered or experienced, and we have found ourselves asking, “Well, what does it mean to us when NN does this or gives us this or we find ourselves doing NN? What’s the structural thing or the motif pointing to?” At other times, the experiment has provided an experiential perspective on things we’d previously only read about. As above, so below, but when you start finding yourself up above, you have to reflect on the implications of that as a lived experience. You also have to start reflecting on how the resulting synchronicities play out, too, and it’s been interesting finding synchronicities about how to roll with synchronicities have also come through of late, too. That is, I’ve tried to roll with them, let them come as they will, avoiding trying to pin them down into “meaning” or even “messages” (except when it’s inescapably such) but also welcoming them.
Sixthly, the synchronicities show you that you’re doing something, even if you’re not precisely sure what you’re doing. Our intention with these experiments—other than some sigilized practical enchantments as experiments themselves—has been something very much in keeping with the current line of astrological remediation. We’ve also have been touring and exploring, doing some incipient ground-to-sky diplomacy: saying hello to the neighbors. Otherwise, everything has seemed richer, on the ground, certainly, even as some practices feel a bit wan in comparison.
Furthermore, the motif matches you experience with your companions very suggestively point towards deeper structural elements—they may seem different in appearance from others’ perspectives—but then you compare notes and that underlying structure becomes more apparent, especially when you avoid censoring details. Hell, tech I was pointed at years and years ago suddenly started having something to do, and I also found what Dr. Al Cummins has pointed to on various occasions: I found my “dead magician” mentor, even as Saint Cyprian has also grown closer.
Seventhly, the mansions seemed very happy to see us, and they wanted this contact. Indeed, they wanted us to tell and put our stories—our lives, our stories, our myths, and our communities—into those mansions, up there amongst the stars. At the same time, we also often felt the need to try to earth and bring back that celestial experience—or, I think, to entangle heaven and earth, especially on local bases. The West hasn’t been doing this kind of thing for a while, for sundry reasons. They wanted to be on country again, and indeed, it was as if we were on another part of the same country. It’s given me some audacious notions for how to get at something like the Magical Battle of Britain that Paul Weston has written (and spoken) about extensively.
That said, our launch sequence also had several safeguards built in, and while it’s perhaps a bit wordy, it’s seemed advantageous for our results. And as time has gone on, the importance of various pieces of tech recovered from the PGM and elsewhere has become more apparent. Sometimes the mansions provided tech to improve reception, to limit noise, or to keep the beings we encountered from misbehaving. We soon realized that not all stars are good, but we could generally avoid their immediate influence.
However, eighthly, this kind of magic generates loads of attention back on earth from the locals, either on country or in the sublunar. The local nasties came out—watch your spiritual hygiene—and I’m convinced that many of the petty spirit kingdoms in the cities and environs don’t want what comes with entangling earth and heaven. Conversely, I feel that many of the bigger spirits in the sublunar welcome better entanglement: it makes the Earth more haunted, wyrder, which benefits them.
I started thinking with accounts of saints of many traditions being pestered and bothered by devils and other nasties, desperately trying to distract them. I even had the sense to occasionally deploy this prayer:
➤O Saints Cyprian and Justina of Antioch, free me from all unclean spirits, clutching devils, and voices whispering against me, from the corners, or clutching on my back. Pluck these devils from my person, from my home, and cast them out. Free me from these devils who would lead me to my ruin, who would chain me, who would have me choose against myself, or who would harm me. Wash them away from me, O saints, and cast them away. Free me from their whispers and chains. By the blood of Christ and by the tears of his Holy Mother, Amen + Amen + Amen +⧫
Leading to, ninthly, the importance of ceremony and the assertion of Law that has been emerging. Yes, the heavens are the stars above, but they’re also the underworld and a font of—to us—limitless lifeforce. The safe and mutually beneficial negotiation of above and below helped quicken and vivify our world while helping keep the worst from above at bay. That said, ceremony and Law help make that advantageous negotiation happen. I don’t want to reduce ceremony to what I’ve been talking about here, but I suspect that engagement and entanglement with the heavens provides a starting point for entangling above and below on better terms again.
Also, I suspect the shape of finding, rediscovering, and forging new ceremony is dependent upon place, upon your local magical geography. Indeed, I’ve wondered how much I have been seeing some mirror of my locality in my experiences in the mansions compared to others’, as our sessions have been remote via online voice chat.
And, tenthly, everything just…feels better. I feel more plugged into myself, and increasingly so, but also walking out and about has felt far more engaged and real and enchanted.
My continuing project is to get a sense for what operations the mansions are suited for, and I suspect that the mansions will make that apparent as time goes on. In some cases, I’ve looked at experiences and have noted—on comparing notes—how Oh, so, that seems to be a motif of the mansion…borne out in the Picatrix line or Aha, I got this as something to try on future mansions.
A couple of things came across strongly in Pushya or The Gap. For one thing, have a flame before you, and place that flame atop some representation, some image of the cosmos. The flame itself is your star out amongst the stars—a star looking out to other stars. Even the act of moving the candle before me—rather than to my side, away from my keyboard—increased signal clarity. I started seeing myself at a firepit in the hills under the night stars, but also the use of a cosmic image provided me something of a “magic circle.” I got the image of a cross at the center, the signs, the nakshatra, and—because of previous work—the decans beyond that. I put something together—one of the reasons why I can tell you about using the consecration of wax images for photo paper—and it felt right, and I started noticing how some interactions changed: more grounded, less abstract. I started sometimes having scenes where beings would come to the edge of the firelight, and the firelight provided a “home point” I could return to or reassert.
This experience also got me thinking about ancient Egyptian zodiacs in structures and coffins. Pyramids with their zodiacs and depictions of progresses through the Dwat and heavens/underworld are themselves explicit miniature cosmoses, providing ritual sites to engage with the heavens/underworld: that is, they’re “star ships.” (I think they may also become pocket cosmoses, too, riding along as islands off the coast of our primary cosmos.) But, so too are the coffins with Coffin Texts and decanal imagery and zodiacs within them: the body within a miniature, ritualized cosmos also consecrated to protect and empower said person within that cosmos while they are also mirrored in the Macrocosmos.
I hadn’t really considered planets for my cosmological image/circle, but I came across this description of the Dendera B zodiac:
The zodiac is supported by four standing goddesses of the cardinal points of the compass, and by four pairs of kneeling falcon–headed deities. The 36 decans form the outer row of figures within which are the figures of the zodiac, with the planets in exaltations, interspersed with constellations.
I am now pondering adding in planetary glyphs or characters to their signs of exaltation, at which point, the cosmological wheel becomes, perhaps, the best sky one could come down into.
If you want to dive into the hot Rune Soup from which I ladled the means and contexts to get myself a-sea—there’s some mangled metaphors for you—then you should really be over there.
Featured Image: skeeze | Pixabay
 In particular for JSK, see volume 1 of his Testament of Cyprian the Mage. I don’t agree with the squishing he does between the hermetic sources and blue grimoires like Grimorium Verum, but I was re-reading chunks of volume 1 the other night and seeing several things suddenly pop into quickened relief. I also have to give big thanks to Austin Coppock for his 36 Faces and more. Bother him about the second edition.
 With a nod of appreciation to Pastor Delicious Brian and his prayer to Sts. Cyprian and Justina on the prayer cards he gave me.
 Wael Sayed Soliman, “Dwellers of the Sky: Serpent in the Greco-Roman Zodiac,” 59n34.