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Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2019, 03:41:53 PM »
Either way works for me, although I am reluctant to believe that's the case, as I had issues with that kind of delusion in the past.

I think that's wise.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2019, 04:57:01 PM »
One of the more pertinent criticisms of ceremonial magic is its reliance on a great deal of stuff: wands, lamps, daggers, braziers, lamens, thuribles, tablets of numerous kinds, swords, seals, chalices and so on. The reader is probably familiar with Crowley's Book 4, Part 2, where we find in-depth essays on the ideal temple's ideal instruments and furniture. But most of the time, much of it isn't necessary.

The exceptions are few. If we are working indoors, and space and circumstances permit, I think a candle or two is necessary. Such lights are highly desirable in our ritual space for multiple reasons. Their rising flames are a fitting symbol of our highest and purest aspirations, for example. The presence of fire itself both consecrates and illuminates our work.

Using candles implies we must have a safe place to burn them, and usually that means some sort of altar. Any stable surface capable of supporting the candles should suffice. We might ideally place our altar near the center of our ritual space, but that assumes we have a fairly large room in which to work. In many cases we may have to make do with a small altar in the east of a more modest space. If we were working with some particular element, we might consider placing an altar in that element's corresponding quarter instead. In some instances, we might even have multiple altars.

In many rituals, beginning perhaps with the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, we trace various figures in the air. In making such gestures I have used my fist - with thumb between middle and forefinger - a found stick, a stick cut for the purpose, a plain wooden dowel, a short dress dagger, a ten-inch arming dagger, a couple of bayonets, at least one sword, and probably some other pointy things I'm forgetting.

I do not think it matters too much what we use to draw our figures, though some things might be more suitable than others in a given situation. In most cases, I personally prefer steel. Daggers of convenient size and price make fine, multi-use ritual tools. For many people, especially those with small hands, what's known as a “boot knife” will do very well. I am quite fond of bayonets, too. If I were facing anything hostile, or potentially hostile, I would certainly have good steel in my hand. I should also advise others to do the same. Whatever you use, if you intend to use it again for ritual work, it should be set carefully aside, when not in use, and used for no other purpose.

Among their ceremonial paraphernalia the Golden Dawn included four “elemental weapons”, after the four suits of the tarot: a wand, cup, dagger, and pentacle, representing fire, water, air, and earth, respectively. Their use is a part of the Golden Dawn's approach to ritual work. If you are handy at arts and crafts, and interested in making these formal weapons for yourself, see Robert Wang's, The Secret Temple: Construction of a Personal Temple and Magical Instruments in the Western Esoteric Tradition. He provides detailed instructions for recreating these implements and much more.

The four weapons may also be improvised, of course, with a little ingenuity. But despite their undeniable symbolic value, in general I find the weapons of little practical value in my temple work. What I have found useful is a small quantity of fresh water in a cup or glass. For earth, a small dish of salt will do. Substituting a seashell for the dish might be an interesting choice. For fire and air on my minimalist altar I have candle flames and burning incense. And a substantial dagger may serve equally well as a wand, should one be required.

A full discussion of fires, perfumes, and incense is probably beyond the scope of a simple introduction. For now let's just say that, if you are quite familiar with using charcoal and resins, and you are quite sure you will not suffer a mishap and set the room on fire, then by all means; use charcoal and resin incense in a suitable burner. For the rest of us, stick or cone incense is probably safer and preferable.

As far as consecrating your ritual objects, for now cleaning them thoroughly, followed by repeated use, and storing them safely away between rituals, may be enough. If more is desired, you might first wash or sprinkle the object with water, wave it about in some incense smoke, and then wrap it in a piece of cloth before setting it aside. We could even elaborate this simple ritual with prayers, bits of appropriate scripture, even simple exorcisms. The Golden Dawn would essentially initiate the object, much as one would a human candidate. We may cover those more elaborate sorts of consecration ceremonies in due time, but for now something simpler like the above should be enough.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #47 on: July 04, 2019, 12:41:53 AM »
Just in the space of a few wandering posts we have covered nearly enough to assemble a simple temple opening.

Assume we have a space prepared as above, including a simple altar in the east with candles, incense, something suitable in which to safely burn the incense, matches or a lighter, a clean, small cup or glass of fresh water, and a small dish of salt. For the purpose of demonstration, we will also assume some sort of weapon on or near the altar, something pointy with which to trace pentagrams and the like, though as noted earlier this is not strictly necessary.

First bathe and dress appropriately, then enter the ritual space, light the candles, and kindle the incense.

Stand in the center of the space for a moment, have a look around and ensure that everything is in order, then take the weapon from the altar, return to the center of the room, and perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

With that complete, and satisfied with the result, advance to the altar and replace the weapon. Then take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it in the water. Pick up the cup or glass and move to the west. Raise the water toward that quarter, pausing for a moment, then, turning to the left, use your fingers to sprinkle a few drops of water in an imaginary circle as you walk counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the room. When you have completed the circle, again raise the water toward the west for a moment, and return the glass or cup to the altar.

Take up the incense and move to the south, holding it up as you pause for a moment facing that quarter. Then, turning to the right, carefully carry the burning incense in an imaginary circle as you walk clockwise around the perimeter of the room. With the circle complete, raise the incense toward the south again for a moment, then return it to the altar.

Move to the center of the space and, with as much solemnity as you can muster, say something like, “I proclaim this temple of art duly opened”.

From a metaphysical viewpoint, you now stand in the center of a cube-like structure, with the elemental realm of air before you to the east, that of water behind you to the west, the realm of fire on your right to the south, and that of earth to the north on your left. An archangel stands guard in each quarter. The light of Tiphareth and the heavens shine down from above you, and the earth and the darkness below lies beneath your feet.

Within this structure shines a circle round about you, purified with water and salt, and consecrated with fire and incense. With only a little effort we have erected a fitting place for many activities, from meditations, to astral work, to elemental evocations, a place that can and will provide a solid foundation for more elaborate structures.

To close, after tidying up whatever it was we were doing, and before leaving the circle, retrieve the weapon from the altar and again perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Then, while still standing in the center of our space, we might recite a simple “License to Depart”, perhaps something like:

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Depart in peace unto your abodes and habitations. Let there be peace between you and me, yet be always ready to come, should I have need or call.

Then add, “I proclaim this temple closed” - at which point I usually strike the floor or a suitable piece of furniture with the hilt of my weapon. This simplest of batteries seems to bring a satisfying finality to the proceedings.

This generic opening, or something like it, should be practiced a few times before elaborating on it further. The exact wording does not matter so much as how comfortable you feel with it. Personalization is strongly encouraged. Copying whatever preferred version of this opening into your personal grimoire, lab notebook, or journal might be a good idea.

The goal in practice is to achieve a certain fluidity as we go through the motions, the setting down of this object flowing smoothly into the picking up of that object, without stumbling or wondering what to do next. We should also try and develop a feel for the drama of what we are doing. After all, this is a performance, and we should strive to project our voice and make all our movements deliberately and with purpose.

Perhaps most importantly, we must understand the why of everything we do. We first assemble our ritual tools and materials in our prepared space, then ritually prepare ourselves. We then banish unwanted influences and entities from our space and set guardians to watch over us as we work.

Next, we prepare simple holy water and use that to purify our ritual space, defining our magic circle as we do so. We move counter-clockwise around the room at this point because we are banishing or cleansing our workplace. That done, we consecrate with fire and incense going clockwise because we now invoke the blessing and protection of that which is pure and holy. We can observe this convention as we move around our ritual space more generally: clockwise, in the direction of the sun, when we intend to invoke, and the opposite direction when we intend to banish.

Everything now in place, we firmly announce what we have accomplished. Then after we have finished our work, banishing anything we don't want around, and formally saying goodbye to things we do, we firmly announce that our work is done.

Elaborating this simple ceremony is easy to do, and can be rather fun, but we shall save that exercise for our next installment.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 01:25:28 AM by Satyr »

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #48 on: July 04, 2019, 08:54:51 AM »
Interesting. What's the purpose of going in a circle in the space? That's part of what I never managed to understand.

Another thing - the weapons; is there much reason to have them, if one is already performing the LBRP, and therefore has intrinsic authority over the elements?
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Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2019, 12:59:15 PM »
What's the purpose of going in a circle in the space? That's part of what I never managed to understand.

It's a convenient pattern, very common in the grimoire tradition. You're already erecting a rudimentary circle using the LRP or its derivatives. Circumambulations were important in the Golden Dawn, EGC, various witchy trads, &c. Round dances are widely attested historically and culturally worldwide.

A circle uses a single, unbroken line to divide the earth into two circular area, one inside, one out.

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Another thing - the weapons; is there much reason to have them, if one is already performing the LBRP, and therefore has intrinsic authority over the elements?

They are part of how the Golden Dawn approached ceremonial magic. Not being Golden Dawn, I never worked with them, or felt a need to. Others might.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #50 on: July 10, 2019, 11:40:17 PM »
The Golden Dawn employed water and fire in the opening of the “Hall of the Neophytes” (Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn, pp 119-120, new pagination):

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[Hierophant:] Frater Stolistes and Frater Dadouchos, I command you to purify and consecrate the Hall with Water and with Fire.

Stolistes goes to the East, faces Hierophant, and making a cross in the Air with his Cup, sprinkles a few drops of Water three times towards the East. He passes to the South, West and North, repeating the purification in each quarter and returns to the East to complete the circle. He then holds the Cup on high and says: I purify with Water.

… Dadouchos faces East, raises his Censer and swings it thrice towards the East. He then goes to the South, West and North repeating the censing at each quarter and returns to the East where he completes the circle and raising the Censer says: I consecrate with Fire.

This is easily adapted for solo use in our own temple opening. For example, prepare yourself and the ritual space as before. Have a simple altar in the east with candles, incense, something suitable in which to safely burn the incense, matches or a lighter, a clean, small cup or glass of fresh water, a small dish of salt, and some sort of weapon with which to banish, if desired.

When all is ready, light the candles and kindle the incense. Take the weapon from the altar and, standing in the middle of the space perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Return to the east and replace the weapon. Take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it in the water. Raise the cup or glass towards the east, pause for a moment, trace the sign of the cross with it, then using your fingers sprinkle a few drops of water three times in that direction.

Turn left, go to the north and facing that quarter repeat the purification, again tracing the cross and sprinkling water three times. Then go to the west, then south, repeating this purification in each quarter, finally returning to the east and completing the circle. Face east, raise the cup or glass and say, “I purify with water”.

Replace the cup or glass on the altar and take up the incense. Raise the burning incense to the east for a moment, then use it to trace three crosses in that direction.

Turn right, go round to the south and facing that quarter again trace three crosses. Then repeat the same consecration in the west, then north, finally returning to the east to complete the circle. Raise the incense again toward the east and say, “I consecrate with fire”. Replace the incense on the altar. Then return to the center of the space and declare the temple duly opened.

This practice of sprinkling water to drive away evil, and provide protection from it's influence, is quite ancient. The eagle-headed and multi-winged guardians of Neo-Assyrian temples held a bucket of water in their left hand and a pinecone in their right. In contemporary texts the pinecone was even identified as the “purifier”. It is easy to imagine such a purification as part of the ancient temple rites of Mesopotamia, an officiant dipping a pinecone into a bucket and sprinkling water about the divine precinct.

In modern times the Catholic Church has practiced something similar, called aspersion. A fancy aspergillum and aspersorium replace the pinecone and bucket, but the principle and use remain substantially the same.

The Church uses holy water, of course, which is essentially fresh water and a little salt ritually prepared. The salt is first exorcised then blessed, then the water is exorcised and blessed, then a pinch of the consecrated salt is sprinkled three times in the form of a cross into the consecrated water while praying:

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Commixtio salis et aquæ pariter fiat, in nomine Pa☩tris, et Fi☩lii, et Spiritus☩Sancti. Amen.

Or so it was in Latin, before Vatican II. For most students, this is probably a bit too involved to be of practical use in a ritual setting. As in the simple opening above, I am usually content to just put a pinch of salt in the water and call it good. However, this ritual suggests another way in which our simple temple opening might be expanded into a richer and more detailed performance.

The Roman ritual is not the only liturgical source we might mine for material. Crowley's Gnostic Mass, Ecclesiæ Gnosticæ Catholicæ (Liber XV, The Equinox, Vol III, No I) is another source easily adapted to our needs. After raising the priest, the priestess uses water and fire to purify and consecrate him (p 253):

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The Priestess takes…the water and the salt, and mixes them in the font.

The Priestess: Let the salt of Earth admonish the water to bear the virtue of the Great Sea.

(Genuflects.) Mother, be thou adored.

She returns to the West. ☩ on Priest with open hand doth she make, over his forehead, breast, and body.

Be the Priest pure of body and soul!

The Priestess takes the censer… She puts incense therein.

Let the Fire and the Air make sweet the world!

(Genuflects.) Father, be thou adored!

She returns West, and makes ☩ with the censer before the PRIEST, thrice as before.

Be the PRIEST fervent of body and soul!

Once again, we can adapt this material to our purposes. We might even add a few extra touches, such as a bit of scripture, from The Book of the Law for example, and even an appropriate line from Virgil's Ænead, meaning, “Be off, O be gone, ye uninitiated”.

Assume ourselves and the ritual space prepared as above. Take the weapon from the altar. Move to the center of the space. Face east and forcefully proclaim, “PROCUL, O PROCUL ESTE, PROFANI”. Then perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Replace the weapon on the altar. Take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it in the water, saying, “Let the salt of Earth admonish the water to bear the virtue of the Great Sea”. Raise the cup or glass and say, “Mother, be thou adored”. Then, facing east and using your fingers, sprinkle a few drops of water three times in that direction, saying, “I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body” (Liber CCXX, 2, 62).

Turn left and go around to the north. Face that quarter and again sprinkle water three times while reciting the same verse. Proceed around to the west, then south, repeating this purification in each quarter, finally returning to the east and completing the circle. Face east, raise the cup or glass for a moment, then return it to the altar.

Take up the burning incense saying, “Let the Fire and the Air make sweet the world!” Raise the incense and say, “Father, be thou adored”. Then facing east trace three crosses in the air with the incense saying, “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect” (Liber CCXX, 1, 44).

Turn right, and going around to the south, face that quarter and trace three crosses with the incense while reciting the same verse. Then go around to the west, then north, repeating this consecration in each quarter, finally returning to the east and completing the circle. Facing east, raise the incense for a moment, then replace it on the altar.

Return to the center, and declare the temple open as usual.

Again, the student is invited to use the above examples as given, or to modify them as needed or desired. Hopefully they present some idea of how a simple ritual framework may be elaborated to taste using whatever appropriate material we find appealing and useful. The finished ceremony can be as simple or complex as we like.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 12:14:41 AM by Satyr »

Absconditus

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2019, 01:28:15 PM »


The exceptions are few. If we are working indoors, and space and circumstances permit, I think a candle or two is necessary.

This post as well as the ones following it are very helpful, thanks for that. I do have a couple questions regarding this first part though. Assuming there is not much space indoors is it possible to practice ceremonial magic outdoors? I'm assuming it is but what I'm more curious about is what precautions one should take when doing so and what the ideal space outdoors would be.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2019, 04:03:55 PM »
Assuming there is not much space indoors is it possible to practice ceremonial magic outdoors?

Yes, certainly.

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I'm assuming it is but what I'm more curious about is what precautions one should take when doing so and what the ideal space outdoors would be.

Secluded: you don't wish to be surprised or disturbed. That is the biggest issue. It must be private, at least for the duration of the ritual.

If the property is not private or secluded, there aren't any precautions an individual might take to prevent disturbances.

Flat: it will make work easier.

And of sufficient area, enough to work comfortably. An ideal space would have a natural feature - stone, stump, whatever - in the east that might serve as an altar.

Candles might be more difficult due to wind. A fire in some sort of container might be better. Improvise. Experimentation will show what works.

Absconditus

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #53 on: July 12, 2019, 08:59:56 PM »
Secluded: you don't wish to be surprised or disturbed. That is the biggest issue. It must be private, at least for the duration of the ritual.

If the property is not private or secluded, there aren't any precautions an individual might take to prevent disturbances.

Flat: it will make work easier.

And of sufficient area, enough to work comfortably. An ideal space would have a natural feature - stone, stump, whatever - in the east that might serve as an altar.

Excellent! Thanks for the response! I do have a number of spots around me that would seem to be ideal so I suppose it's just a matter of narrowing them down and experimenting. Perhaps trying one and then another or designate them for different purposes.

Candles might be more difficult due to wind. A fire in some sort of container might be better. Improvise. Experimentation will show what works.

I was wondering about that myself. I like the idea of improvising and experimenting. We'll see how this goes!

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #54 on: July 12, 2019, 09:46:44 PM »
Thoughts on cemetery lanterns as an alternative to candles?
They are designed to not go out in the wind, however the connotations being grim might be a factor.
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Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2019, 04:08:42 PM »
Thoughts on cemetery lanterns as an alternative to candles?
They are designed to not go out in the wind, however the connotations being grim might be a factor.

I think they would be a good choice.

I would also recommend glass candles, like the attached. I use them indoors probably more than any other candle, and they should do fine outdoors as well.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2019, 12:23:04 AM »
Once we have opened our temple, it is strongly recommended that we remain within the ritual circle until our work is done and we have formally closed. But, in the temple as in life, things sometimes happen beyond our control.

If we must temporarily leave the circle, we should do so without ‘breaking’ it. One simple technique is to use the “Portal Signs”. Stand at the edge of the circle, give the “Sign of the Rending of the Veil”, and step through the imaginary gap you just made. Then immediately turn around, facing the direction from which you came, and close the gap in your protective circle using the “Sign of the Closing of the Veil”. To reënter the circle, simply repeat the process, parting your circle, stepping through, and closing it behind you again.

Most of our work, especially in the early stages, will be performed solo. Though this may not always be the case, it is best practice to keep the number of participants to a minimum, and the number of spectators to around zero.

The most important thing perhaps is to give everyone present something to do. If there were two people performing our basic temple opening, for example, they could alternate tasks. The first might banish, the second might purify with water, and then the first consecrate with fire. If a third is present, that person might purify with fire, and perhaps be tasked with keeping the incense burning throughout the ceremony. In general, it's better to have someone stumbling through their part than sitting and watching, and perhaps growing bored and fidgeting. It's a potential distraction that is best avoided if at all possible.

Roles that demand additional people to be present should be fairly obvious. A dedicated skryer comes to mind. A seer would likely remain seated in the circle throughout the ceremony while the operator works around them. Gazing into the crystal or other medium would then be their only task. A dedicated scribe, on the other hand, might take on other duties in addition to recording whatever the skryer sees and the operator does.

Perhaps the hardest limit on the number of participants is the size of the ritual space available. One person can do a lot in a surprisingly small area, and sometimes a second might squeeze into a space not much larger. But three or more people will require a fairly large area in which to work or risk getting in each other's way. Overcrowding can lead to needless distractions and preventable mistakes, and even disaster with open flames and burning incense in a small space.

This will be the last formal post I make in this thread. We began with a brief discussion of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and proceeded to develop a simple temple ceremony, one that may be easily elaborated as desired. What we do inside this metaphysical structure I think deserves a thread of its own, and perhaps more than one.

Whatever discussions, questions, or comments that arise from the material presented so far are probably better addressed here in this thread. And please do not hesitate to post whatever questions or comments you might have, and I or someone will do our best to answer.

Many thanks for reading and may all your work be auspicious!

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2019, 07:24:39 AM »
Thanks. Those make a lot of sense. One thing that I need to ask, acting as magician, seer and scribe on once, what other tasks can a scribe do? I often find myself lagging behind the rapid stream of visions, and it puts a lot of strain on my mind to keep up. Even if I were to have someone transcribe them, they'd be hard-pressed to do anything else at the same time, lest they miss important details.
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Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #58 on: July 16, 2019, 02:49:45 PM »
One thing that I need to ask, acting as magician, seer and scribe on once, what other tasks can a scribe do?

I don't think I expressed that very well. I meant that a scribe could actively participate in the opening and closing of the temple, or something of that nature, because we are probably less interested in what the skryer sees during, for example, ritual purification. Once we get down to business, the scribe would have nothing to do but record what they see and hear.

The value of a scribe with today's technology may be limited, though. When my ex-wife and I worked together, I would set up a tape deck and microphones in our temple. It left me free to ‘direct traffic’ while she skryed. Then I would sit down at the computer the next day and transcribe the sessions from tape. Much to my surprise, I think it only malfunctioned once.

A scribe's notes combined with a recording would probably be ideal, especially in a critical situation.

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I often find myself lagging behind the rapid stream of visions, and it puts a lot of strain on my mind to keep up. Even if I were to have someone transcribe them, they'd be hard-pressed to do anything else at the same time, lest they miss important details.

This is why we sometimes really do need one or more additional people. It's difficult to skry and perform the necessary mechanics of ritual at the same time. It's much easier when the seer can enter a light trance without interruption, while an operator calls whatever entities are of interest and interacts with them.

At the same time, it might be useful if there were a third person who tended the altar, minding the candles, incense, and the like. Then the operator would be free to interact with the spirits and skryer without having to worry about the fiddly bits of their environment.

Though working in groups is likely an advanced practice, it is not particularly difficult to do properly. It can be problematic since the more people involved, the greater the chances of something going wrong. Group ritual, when done properly, can also be much more powerful than anything we might do solo, and that too can cause major difficulties of its own.

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #59 on: July 16, 2019, 06:54:08 PM »
Only once?

I normally can't record my visions on my phone, because the damned thing shuts down. I've suspicions that that's intentional, as often I get messages, but then they change and alter WHILE I write them down.

I've even had phones fail from just an LBRP.

I might try again, but I honestly doubt it'll work well. And having backup, so writing while speaking, is not the greatest.
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