Friday, 5 May 2017

Luna Working. Part I: Lunar Dreams

"I am called Asmodeus among mortals, and my business is to plot against the newly wedded, so that they may not know one another. And I sever them utterly by many calamities, and I waste away the beauty of virgin women, and estrange their hearts." – Testament of Solomon. 
Last Monday I took part in a rite with seven other marvellous magicians dedicated to exploring the Planetary Spheres. Being a Monday, the rite was Lunar in nature and involved invoking the Archangel Gabriel and scrying a glass receptacle for communications from the Heaven of Levanah. There’s far too much resulting research from this rite to put up in a single post, so I’ll be analysing it in two parts, and will begin by taking a look at the oneiric effects that creating the talisman had.

The Talisman

The preparations for the rite began in the first planetary hour of the Moon, when I rose early and consecrated a talisman. After charging it, I returned to sleep, leaving the planetary energies of the Hexagram Ritual unbanished with the intention of leaving a sacred space open where its influences would be allowed to run free until the second Lunar hour, when the rite took place.

Unsurprisingly, this led to me receiving a rather violent and unpleasant dream. Four of the eight people taking part in the rite also reported experiencing dreams that morning, some of which had overlapping qualities. These continued the next day, with three people reporting strange, half-remembered and frightening dreams. One of them also described experiencing bizarre memories and hallucinations that lasted into and beyond the next day. I also found myself subject to auditory and visual hallucinations into the next day, including mishearing mundane words for the names of various gods and spirits of water, and seeing strings of Hebrew characters in places where there were none. On top of that, I also found myself in a highly passive, almost drunken state, with a poor, dreamy state of concentration, and a strange lack of awareness of the passage of time. An unusual perception of the passing of time was also a quality some reported experiencing during the rite itself, with a feeling of time being stretched being cited.

The Dream

In the dream following the consecration of the Talisman, I had just started a new job doing something with computers in a complex web of modern offices set within an old, single-storey building that was located in an industrial area at the very western boundary of London, though the physical appearance of the place was that of an industrial area at the very eastern edge of my old home town. Inside, I was accompanied by two men who were there to assist me on my first day. I was full of nerves and trepidation in this building, as there was something unsettling about the other employees, though the men who accompanied me were friendly and helpful. After being shown through a labyrinth of blue carpeted corridors that reminded me of a hospital, I found myself outside in a yard that resembled a beer garden that was surrounded by walls and trees. It was night, and the two men accompanying me sat around a bench with me where we drank and talked casually.

Then, very suddenly, a group of dark-skinned men from a rival company invaded the garden with knives and began viciously stabbing and cutting the other employees. I understood that there was some kind of underworld, ‘gang’ relationship between the two companies which had boiled over into extreme and bloody violence. Although several people were being slaughtered all around me – with women in particular being targeted – I didn’t feel compelled to move from my spot on the bench as I had the strong sense that no harm could come to me. Eventually though, the two men with me led me away through a waste-ground to escape the danger. While walking through the wasteland, I became aware that someone behind me was trying to stave my head in with a thick tube of wood, and I could both feel and hear it missing my head by inches with each attempt. After three swings, the perpetrator gave up and I turned my head to see three large, pale-skinned thugs laughing to themselves.

After we escaped the waste-ground and came to a residential street, I realised I’d left my jacket back at the place we’d fled from, and insisted to my two companions that, despite the great danger, I had to return to retrieve it as my wallet was in it. Ignoring their protests, I ran back to the place where the slaughter had happened, which was now abandoned, and found my jacket draped over the back of a chair inside the building. On picking it up, I noticed that it had furry white cuffs that somehow I hadn’t noticed before. It was only when I checked to see if the wallet was in the inside pocket that I noticed that neither the jacket nor the wallet inside were mine, and actually belonged to a woman, maybe one of those who had been killed. For some reason, I didn’t dare take the purse out, having a feeling that if someone saw me holding it, they’d think I was deliberately stealing it and would bring violent intentions my way for committing such a crime. To avoid this, I felt the purse through the fabric of the jacket to see if I could determine its contents by touch. After this method failed, I took the jacket and wallet as my own and held onto the thought of looking inside the purse when it felt safe to do so.

Leaving with the stolen items, I caught back up with the two men, who were still waiting for me in the civilised, residential area beyond the wasteground. They went on ahead without me, and with them gone, I took my chance to check out the contents of the wallet. I had a moral choice, when looking in it, to either look for money, or to look for some clue about the identity of its owner. Despite the temptation to plunder, on opening it, I went straight to a document inside and read it. It was a green and white application form to join an occult order, whose name I don’t recall, which the woman – whose name also eludes me – was seeking entrance into.  At the top of the document were her name and Natal Chart details, and next to them was Sr. S’s name. Sr. S was acting as her sponsor into this mysterious order, a fact which I ended the dream remarking on the coincidence of to Sr. S, who was suddenly standing next to me.


The strangest thing about the dream was the fact that while I was having it, Sr. S. dreamt that she was writing an application form to join an occult order that she couldn’t remember the name of. What the significance is here can only be guessed at, though there's a hint at the idea of approaching new spiritual dimensions, which was part of the intention behind of the rite.

The violence found in it is typical of dreams prompted by work with spirits of the ilk of the Goetia, with the aspects of cutting and bloodshed in particular reminding me of a dream I had following some work with Chasmodai, the Spirit of Luna, a couple of years ago. Here’s a recounting of that dream followed by some notes on Chasmodai.

Chasmodai Dream, 2nd March, 2015 

I dreamt that there were strings of flesh coming from my mouth that, when pulled, caused bits of my stomach to come up through it. There was also a horizontal gash along my torso which I put my fingers into to try and fix the problem. From this, I only succeeded in pulling out another portion of stomach before deciding to put it back where it came from.  
To test my repair work, I ate a large meal and everything seemed OK. But then, after eating a small piece of apple, I realised that it has become lodged in a part of my abdomen outside of my gut. I then pulled a flat, metal, silver-coloured box from my insides, which was connected to my intestines by a cord. It was at this point I realised that I needed to go hospital. When there, I was somehow deemed to be a non-urgent case, so began trying to fix it myself again, which obviously led to further complications. My cries led to me being taken away by some nurses for emergency surgery, and I remember no more. 


The stomach is associated with line 18 in Col. CLXXXII of 777. This line is associated with Cheth/Cancer/The Chariot, with Cancer being ruled by Luna. Line 23, Organs of Nutrition, may also have some relevance, as this relates to Gabriel in column LIX. 
Having witnessed the workings of my insides made me think of the powers associated with the Intelligence of Luna – the Vision of the Machinery of the Universe – which one’s insides could represent on the microcosmic level. Those parts were being parts pulled out and destroyed through the cords which came out through the mouth, the symbolism of which could be illustrating the dissolution of the inner self via the path of Peh/Atu XVI. 
Looking into the etymology of the name Chasmodai, Mathers relates it to Asmoday/Asmodeus of the Goetia and  Abramelin, and equates its etymology with the Hebrew ‘Asamod’ – to destroy or exterminate, though a better approximation is that of the Avestani  Aeshma Daeva, meaning ‘Demon of Wrath’. In the legend of the building of Solomon’s Temple, Asmodeus attempted to dethrone Solomon and put himself in his place, but Solomon vanquished him and he was chased into Egypt by Gabriel. In another legend, Asmodeus has a temple in the Egyptian desert, where one day he will tear himself into pieces before disappearing.  
The most interesting, if somewhat loose, point I thought worth noting, was that relating to the destruction/dissolution of the coarse self as an alchemical process. This began in the initial vision I had at the time of the working which featured my departing Malkuth through a plughole in the sky that resembled the alchemical symbol for Salt. In the dream, the destructive Sulphur of Chasmodai was added to bring dissolution, then the nurses that rescued me at the end of the dream to restore the damage done by the Sulphur, may refer to the feminine principle of Mercury being added to Sulphur to purify that Salt. This has a certain resonance with the Magickal purpose of Chasmodai being related to the White Tincture.


As mentioned above, ‘Underworld’ connotations, such as those portrayed by the violent gang warfare in this dream, have occasionally appeared in my dreams after work with the Goetia. The wasteground area in the dream formed a boundary between the underworld realm where I worked and where the violence took place, and the everyday world of civilisation. In the legends surrounding Asmoday, he is chased into the desert of Egypt where he builds his temple. This points to Asmoday being a spirit of the liminal areas on the outskirts of two realms – a gateway spirit like Scirlin or Papa Legba, seated on the threshold of Malkuth and Yesod – and it was in this liminal zone where attempts of violence were made towards me. The failure to hurt me came largely, I feel, from the protection given by the two guardians who walked accompanied me. Other liminal zones were apparent in the location of the workplace, which seemed to be in two places at once, with one being the outer borders of the city I now live in, and the other being the outer borders of the town I grew up in.

The purse, which contained the mystery, may represent the Talisman, which, after the consecration, was concealed by in silk wrappings that weren't to be removed until the correct moment during the rite.

After the rite, there was also a slight synchronicity with the events surrounding the  jacket I mistook for my own in the dream. As we were preparing to leave the Temple for post-ritual refreshments, I picked a jacket up to put it on, adamant that it was mine, only to find that it belonged to Fr. A. While a paltry event in its own right, its happening with a black leather jacket, just like the one in the dream, and the inability to see that it wasn’t mine seemed to act like a material bridge between the dream and events in the material world.

Shedim and Tanninim

Draco, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor 
My constellation (is like an animal which) reclines in its den in heaven; some men call me the Great Bear, but others the Offspring of a Dragon. Moreover, a smaller constellation accompanies my constellation, for the high position and throne of my father is always in the sky. So do not ask me so many things, Solomon, for eventually your kingdom will be divided. This glory of yours is temporary. You have us to torture for a little while; then we shall disperse among human beings again with the result that we shall be worshiped as gods because men do not know the names of the angels who rule over us.” – Testament of Solomon 5:4-5

Some of the elements present in the dream point not only to the influence of the Spirit Chasmodai, but to the presence of the second Lunar Spirit, Shad Barshemoth ha-Sharthathan. By attempting an analysis of that Spirit’s name, which, like that of the Intelligence, has been deemed untranslatable in any consistent way, I’ve uncovered, through my own translation and research, some aspects of it that are consistent with further influences from the Spirits of Luna.

Son of Shimath
the Servant
A Beast of Desolation

The first word, ‘Shad,’ refers to the Shedim, an order of demons mentioned in Psalm 106 and Deuteronomy 32 as being the recipients of child sacrifice. In this context, they are typically maligned, as the term has its origin in the Assyrian ‘Sedim,’ which means ‘guardian spirit.’ 

The Son of Shimath was Zabad (meaning ‘a Gift’), one of the Servants that murdered the apostate King Joash, in 2 Kings 12. Joash’s murder was deemed just, as he had angered God by permitting the worship of Baal and Asherah in the Temple, then having the prophet Zechariah stoned to death for rebuking him for it. As he died, Zechariah stated ‘may the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death.’ Zabad's mother, Shimath, is described as an Ammonite woman, though her name’s meaning, ‘Annunciation,’ reveals her to be the personification of a proclamation of the Lord. The announcement, in this case, was the death of Joash, which Zabad (also named Jozacar, meaning ‘Yahweh has remembered,’ in the account of 2 Chronicles 24-26) and his co-conspirator Jehozabad (‘Yahweh has given’), fulfil. ‘The Son of Shimath,’ therefore, either is or is possessed by a ‘demon’ or ‘Shad’ and acts as a tool of Divine Wrath to fulfil Zechariah's curse.

‘Ha-Sharth,’ meaning ‘The Servant’ reflects not only Zabad’s status as Joash’s Servant but also a Servant of God who acts, like the Satan of Job, as a vassal commissioned to do his dirty work. Taken together, Zabad and Johozabad's names combine into the phrase ‘A Gift Yahweh has Given,’ which in this case, was the gift of death.  

The suffix ‘Tan’ in the name of the Spirit of the Spirits of Luna identifies him as a ‘Jackal,’ though more generally it denotes a spirit of the order of Tanninim, a desolate collective of ‘demons’ or ‘monsters’ that reside in the wilderness, ruined cities, the sea and other abandoned or inhospitable places. These spirits take the form of jackals, dragons, serpents, sea monsters and whales, and other names for them include ‘tsiyim’ meaning ‘wild beasts of the desert,’ and ‘iyim’ meaning ‘Wolves.’ 

Isaiah, in his tirade against Edom – a kingdom associated with the Qlippoth in Kabbalisitic tradition – describes it as a place that shall be filled with such creatures, stating 
“The pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the screech  owl and the raven shall dwell therein.... and it shall be a habitation of jackals, a court for ostriches. And the wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wolves, and the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night monster shall settle there ..... There shall the dart-snake make her nest.” – Isaiah 34:11.
The ‘night monster’ spoken of here is Lilith, the Mother of Demons, who presides over her children in the desolation of Edom. Many of the animals depicted are known for their cries, howls, screeches, eating the dead, or having sinister or ‘outcast’ natures. These characteristics place them in a similar category of Spirits as the Goetia, an order that takes its name from the funerary tradition of Howling. A brief survey of the classic forms the Goetic Spirits take reveals a good number of them take the shape of Tanninim like Crows, Ravens, Wolves, Dragons, Monsters, Sea Monsters, Serpents and Crocodiles.   

In such expressions, these Spirits are the ‘Beasts of Desolation,’ who inhabit the deserts, seas and abandoned settlements as described above. We see similar ideas to those expressed in the person of Asmoday, who, in the Book of Tobit, was pursued into the desert of Egypt by Raphael (sometimes Gabriel), where he established his temple. Egypt, to the Hebrews,was ‘Rahab,’ a place associated with the sea, insolence, fury and pride. Naturally, such a place is fitting for  Asmoday, who, as ‘Asamod’ and ‘Aeshma Daeva,’ is a ‘Demon of Wrath’ who builds his domain there. 

In my dream, the attempted bludgeoning that came in the wasteground, as well as the furious assault that came upon the women in the liminal, border place where I worked, appeared to be a manifestation of Tanninim such as Shad and Asmoday. From this, it’s clear that the forces of Luna that manifested from this rite can be attributed to the Spirits of Levanah rather than its Archangel. Such Spirits are clearly akin to the sub-Lunar Goetia, and further clues came in the rite's scrying (details coming soon) that add extra weight to this conclusion. 

Although the intent of the rite was to call the Archangel rather than the Spirits the possibility that lesser spiritual beings would act as the means to deliver Gabriel's message was accounted for and to some degree, expected. The men that assisted me, for instance, appear to have been guardians set in place to keep the Shedim and Tanninim at bay, and can therefore be interpreted as representatives of the higher angelic powers of the Intelligence and Archangel that bind the Spirits and keep the practitioners who call them from harm. Their role was to lead me away from the violent wrath of the Spirits and escort me through the wasteground until I reached the civilisation that lay at its other side. When I returned to retrieve the hidden mystery concealed in the wallet (which was the silk wrapping), the violence had ended and the place where it had occurred was abandoned in the wake of the destruction they wrought. Once I returned intact to the guardians with the mysterious document (which was the Talisman), they left me to uncover it alone, or, as it turned out, in the company of Sr. S., who dreamed of the exact same mystery, albeit from a different perspective, at the exact same time.  

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