Visualisation Session 6 – Power Of Words

Session 6 – Power Of Words

Words and names, spoken and written are an important aspect of most paths. In this session we will look at what purposes they are put to and probe the usefulness of them in visualisation.

First lets start with words in general, in the previous session looking at amulets I discussed written or symbolic forms, and their use being the most effective amulet form for visualisation as they provide a easy and simplistic, but still an effective medium of expression of intent. The purely symbolic side can be a little problematic so additional methods can be employed such as a vocal aspect. Spells, wishes and any vocal means to invoke your intent are obviously using words and their use is usually dictated by the ritual through the pitch, speed, rhythmic use and the language employed. These in themselves can require a significance amount of work to construct but for visualisation use they are the ideal tool as once a set of spoken forms are constructed they just need to be recalled.

Maybe obvious, but sometimes the obvious can be missed. A vocal aspect be that a rhythm, chant, statement or a demand as you would use normally, here in visualisation lends a greater weight as it is your, generally, only focus of intent. Whereas when its employed with other forms of expression the focus is diluted.

OK we have words in general but the most significant part of our vocal use of words are in names, whether that be the names of people or the divine. Sometimes though, through familiarity and repetition, we can loose the sense of the meaning, power and risk in the names we use to call to our Gods and Goddesses, and for those of us who cast spells or direct any kind of magic at or in the name of a person, the significance of that mortal name hides magical symbolism which needs to be taken into account and respected.

The rest of this session will look at what names have been used for, are still used for and why you should be careful when calling a name.

Importance of names

  • To the ancient Egyptian, to preserve the name will allow that personal to live for ever.

  • The ancient Egyptian magicians task was to know the names of the Gods so that they could be used to lend their power to their magic. Similar views were also held across many other paths to know the names of Gods and Goddesses to either control or use their power.

  • Medieval grimoire texts that use Christian magic to know the names of God, the Angels and the Demons for binding.

  • More modern uses of correspondences, not names as we know them but ways of linking and identifying a particular force or deity can be seen in a similar way to identify.

  • Various societies through time have used important stages of life such as gaining adulthood a reason to take on a new ‘personal’ name.

  • What about modern Western uses of names? Although everyone has their given name, many still chose something more suitable for daily life with their given name for formal use, and those in the craft also tend to pick secret names for their own use or that of the group. Even differing names for various social and professional settings.

Names are important, they define or reflect our personalities, our most obvious attributes or just something that sounds right in various situations. And then what about the phase He doesn’t look like a Jack’? The works of Oscar Wilde includes the marvellously funny play the Importance Of Being Ernest which revolves around this strange stereotype of names possessing certain characteristics. Perhaps it’s a recent association but it’s quite marked. Does the name define the person or the person describe the name?

There is something about a name and how its attached or linked between the person and their label, that is more intuitive than a given. Although they are intangible, powerful and magical they are still very definite.

What about their use? To know a name provides the user of that knowledge with power over the named, perhaps more than that, perhaps their very existence as the name defines their whole being. To know someone’s name is to know every aspect of them, which echoes back to ancient Egyptian times.

In ancient and modern times they can be used to gain the power of the deities for protection, to take vengeance, grant good luck and all of the usual things that people tend to want magical help with. There are even tells of the gods trying to find out the names of other gods to gain control over them that’s how important they were and still are.

Some uses however don’t quite fit comfortably with modern paths and that’s in attacking or an aggressive use but I will still describe common situations.

Negative uses

  • There are many texts for using names to bind spirit by summoning – obviously doing this really upsets whatever it is you are trying to bind. And it will try and break the binding. This is a major problem should the bound spirit be particularly strong will resent the disruption it causes to their activities and do whatever they can to subvert it and perhaps even exert their own punishment on the caster for their impudence.

Positive uses

  • Binding a spirit – now this already appears in the negative section, but in some situations it can be useful and relatively tolerable. The main use would be for a localized protection, to bind a protective force, be it an elemental, thought form or some other minor spirit to an item or place. Which ever being is chosen it is best and highly advisable to only bind for a limited length of time, no more than a year. Perpetual servitude would have much the same effect as mentioned above. And once the task is complete dissolve the binding and give thanks for the service given. A bit of good will could be repaid by more cooperation next time!

  • Empowerment through invocation, multiple deities and this can be for any ritual task you may want where you need knowledge, strength of influence that’s attributed to the divine being you are invoking.

  • Any process where you need to make contact with another person for healing, sending a psychic message, thought or emotion (e.g. think about the times you’ve thought of someone that you need to phone, put to one side for a moment and at shortly thereafter they phone you? That’s sort of thing I’m referring to) or locating them.

  • Of course the classic use is to make them a target for a particular spell, such as luck or protection, etc.

However, in using people names you many see a flaw in using just a name, in that even for the most uncommon name you will quite likely not have a unique name. Try it in an Internet Search engine, and see how many instances of your name pop up. Its quite amazing really. Documented spirit names do tend to be unique so you can be fairly sure that you will get the correct one, but as spellings change slightly due to age and methods of translation over time, you still need to research the name to be certain you have the correct one. A mistake summoning the wrong spirit could lead to unexpected situations to say the least.

For dealings with people, the common examples where some kind of spell is placed one someone, you will find that a combination of methods are used to locate the correct individual. For example, the classic wax doll for good or bad, tends to combine the name and personal items and/or hair/nail clippings to make a connection, although in some ways this makes use of contagious magic concepts where contact with someone remains, so it’s important to be aware that the use of other symbolism is important to locate and fix the target. Just think of it as fine tuning the address of the spells destination by adding a postal code.

Following on, and connected with the issue of miss spellings, is the pronunciation of the names. This becomes more of a problem when the name is not in the casters native language and the adaptation or lack of understanding of the vocalization of the sounds could have an impact. Now, for me this is a big problem as my Egyptian path does have the added complication that the language has not had a native speaker for nearly a couple of thousand years. We have no idea how the original sounds were vocalized and what with the added impact of miss spellings, translation, transliteration errors I’m walking a mine field of potentially summoning the wrong deity every time.

There are however a couple of ways around this for me and for anyone who is in a similar situation. The most obvious is use a name connected with the deity in a language you can pronounce correctly and has been known to work. For example Isis most of people have heard of, but that’s a Greek name, her native Egyptian name is Aset – is that correct? Who really knows. Then again there may be older ones and alternative spellings so where do you stop? If you pick one that’s established from previous attempts then you have a good chance of calling the right one.

Another option that I go with is to make use of other connections to the name (as I mentioned above about fine tuning the address). Using the same example again of Isis, I could say that name (or Aset) while also picturing an image of her, holding one of her amulets, touching or addressing a statue of her. Any or all of these things will help in locating the subject.

In summary, we perhaps take for granted the use of names and how we use them during rituals. Whenever you use name just think of what it means and what you are calling for, they may not come but they are listening (or something is if you have the wrong one), it’s their choice to come freely unless you force them and that’s never a good thing. Or at the very least you’ve alerted them to your presence and that may perk their interest in you. For the rest of us mortals, the name is as important as our souls, to use names is to play with another’s existence, do so with care and respect.

For visualiastion purposes using spoken words and names are an even easier option for us than any written form, as there is no need for any kind of expression or preparation for us other than the reciting from memory. However as this may be the focus of any intent with little or now supporting methods as you may include during physical working, the words will have a extra depth and importance so all of the previous discussion should help with the pitfalls in using words. Remember spirit can and certain ones enjoy taking a literal interpretation to your words. As an echo of a previous session, be careful of what you wish for.

Visualisation Session 5 – Amulets

Session 5 – Amulets

Although the majority of this session will be discussing physical amulet use, there will be some cross over with their use through visualisation.

Beginning with the basics then, amulets have a long and established place in the occult world, of all the ancient civilizations the ancient Egyptians are perhaps the most well known through the prolific use of amulets associated with the dead and everyday life, many of which are still in use in one form or another today. They may have been busy, but by no means the only ones and from them and their contemporaries, amulets still are a popular device, evolving into very complex systems and appearing in many differing forms throughout time.

However you look at amulets, essentially it comes down to the symbolism used to represent an item, person or event you want to repel or attract. The object can visually represent, associated with, or be purely symbolic as in a combination of words or items with the the target.

For example, to ward against a dangerous animal such as a snake (a real hazard in antiquity), some options could be a picture of a snake etched into a stone or bit of wood, or a model of the snake in clay (representative). A bit of twig that’s shaped in a fork to represent a snakes tongue, or some clay shaped into a fang (associative). Then on the more abstract levels having the name of a snake deity etched into something you carry (the view being in this case that having the associated deity means you are under their protection so snakes wont bite, or that you are able to coerce the deity to fend them off), another abstract item could be a ball of string so that the snake will tie its self in a knot or become tangled in something if it approaches you.

The effectiveness of them depends on so many things, the spell cast on them, sympathetic magical effects, the belief in the power of that amulet to protect (and that too goes for the viewer of the amulet you are wearing – the effect can be psychological and not magical). I tend to look at amulets as a form of ‘wish’ fulfilment as taken from my previous session on this aspect of visualisation. In this a case, whereas the practitioner would regularly recall and strengthen a wish through visualisation, an amulet is a item that symbolizes the intent of something and it reinforces this intent by its continued existence, no need for it to be worked with, it just is. This view becomes more obvious when compared to other magical forms that employ physical items that are enchanted to have an effect of some kind.

Apart from the physical amulet there are a number of other features that are common to their use. Primarily the material and colour are important design choices, then the charging of the amulet to take it from a simple material item to a magical device.

All of these attributes are defined by what you are trying to achieve, how you intend to use it and how effective you want it to be. The properties and shape of the design obviously depends on how it’s going to be used such as it hanging around your neck, in a pocket, on table, wall or by the window. The rest are really related to its effectiveness.

The choice of materials and colour for example can come form either the target of the amulet or what symbolic associations you want to call on for help, be that from your own deity or deities, or that of the target. There are lots of well known correspondences used for a multitude of uses and it can be down to what you feel comfortable with and your intuition how you choose. For example, I don’t really use crystals and don’t know much about colour correspondences as they are not a huge feature of my path, so I would perhaps go more with general association of colour such as gold if I want to invoke the sun god Ra, blue I associate with my goddess so I might pick that and silver for any lunar goddess. Material wise I usually go with clay or wax as they are easy to fashion by hand and are traditional ones on many paths. If it was something significant and long lasting then perhaps I would go to a more expensive material such as the various stones common to my path.

The craftsmanship of the physical item does not really have to be perfect, it can be if you want and have the skill, the key aspect is the intent you put into its creation and then the later charging and use. This is why I prefer to use wax or clay, they are very tactile, hands on materials that can be moulded in the hand. Sometimes uttering a charging spell at the same time as the material is worked to give it that extra boost as it all adds up. I tend to avoid shop made items as much as possible, this is because I don’t know what vibrations etc. they may have picked up on their travels and as I’ve not literally had a hand in making them I don’t have a connection with its purpose? That’s not to say bought amulets are ineffective, countless amulets have been manufactured for third parties all through history and again it comes down to what its purpose is and the personal spin to place on it. Anyway, you can always cleanse before you if you want to be sure, I just prefer to create from scratch as I have the materials around me most of the time.

Once physically made, then on to charging the item. This is as varied as the choice of material and colour, on the simplest level your normal rituals of initially cleansing and raising a circle followed by a blessing of any connected deities that you may chose, or you go the full works and do something elaborate such as calling on multiple divinities or that of the targets, threatening them if they come close etc. Again its all down to personal taste and ritual you want to attach and appropriate levels of effectiveness you want to place on this amulet. Apply this to a Visualisation form, is charging a requirement in this case? May be, its already a particularly charged item because of the method of its general construction and the fact that its not a mundane material item trying to have an effect on a spiritual level. It certainly wont hurt doing something in your working as if you were doing it physically, it will bolster the effects.

Looking at examples I will take you back to Egyptian forms and there are a lot of them to choose from, many of them making use of puns (they loved word play, even more than us today), multiple levels of mythology and magical knowledge. I will present three of the least obscure and quite possibly the most familiar to people.

First in the list is the very popular Ankh symbol. The hieroglyph of the looped cross which forms the word Ankh is the symbol for life and health, so a very literal amulet, the amulet is a word and the word describes what the wearer wants. As a small aside, I’ve said the Egyptians liked puns and another common form of the Ankh is as a mirror, the handle formed from the vertical part and the mirror itself held within the looped section. The reason for forming a mirror apart from the handy shape was that the word Ankh also meant mirror, the word and the object suggests multiple connections of use in an everyday object. Hold that thought for a bit later.

A second but with a slightly less obvious meaning is an equally well known amulet called the Eye Of Horus or Uadjet Eye. This amulet makes use of the power of god Horus and with it grants luck and health through the mythology and magical association of this symbol with that god. This amulet instead of being a literal request like the Ankh this one uses a variety of symbols within the amulet to draw on magical powers.

The third amulet is an another well known one and that is the scarab beetle. Another amulet for good luck but this one is not quite so obvious. The scarab beetle was observed in antiquity to roll balls of dung across the ground. These balls occurred to Egyptian to represent the sun and the beetle s rolling a representation of rolling it across the sky. The imagery stuck and embedded itself among the the mythology elevating the beetle to an aspect of divine power.

Of these examples two if not three of the above would lend themselves to visualisation use as the symbol has little connection with a physical material design. So your choice, if you have a selection like this, is to pick something that would be suitable or one that could cope with a slight alternation to fit without lose of potency. Better though would be to make your own. Simplicity is usually best so you don’t have to be exotic or obtuse in the design and construction.

Another angle to take on amulets is to look at the last few centuries with the craft has been forced to do in hiding magical function beneath everyday items (like the Ankh above but they were not trying to hide it) and the use of most basic items can be very successful if approached in the same way. If they have been charged they wont be visually magical to the passer by unless you’ve managed to make it glow, so any protective amulets (which most tend to be) can be easily ignored on a neck chain, keyring, wrist or in a window. An amulet to us is just a lucky charm or something eccentric to someone else, though an unusually placed item may appear to a passing observant witch as something of magical use but most would go unnoticed by the vast majority of people who are on the whole not that observant.

Think about the possibilities of constructing or reusing something different and everyday. Here are some completely random thoughts on that:

  1. A razor blade. To grant you razor sharp wit? Context can be flexible.

  2. A piece of paper with lots of writing on so you don’t suffer a writers block?

  3. A small mirror to ward against ageing?

  4. An empty crisp packet to ward off munchies?

  5. A broken watch so you are never late or always have lots of time spare.

  6. A party blower so that life is just one long party and full of fun.

  7. A key. So you wont get locked out of any door.

  8. A bit of paper with ‘I will not….’ with lots of them of things you don’t want. You can be quite literal with amulets.

  9. An umbrella so it does not rain.

I’ve only tried out the last one and it seems to work most of the time, might give the others go sometime.

OK a lot of silly and trivial ideas but possibly usable especially when you think about some off our traditional ones for example horse shoes for luck a common and familiar item to people of those times. Look around and see how it relates to something you want or want protection from.

Another form of amulet use relates to purely written requests employing magical alphabets or symbols. Of the many forms that exist common ones include letter to number correspondences, magic squares and runic forms. Again the selection will most likely be based on your particular path, and for me, I regularly use hieroglyphic and runic forms, I perhaps now use this form of amulet above physical ones due to the ease, speed and my preference for ritual work through visualisation.

However this form does impose an obvious limit which is employed with physical amulet types, namely the benefits that a particular material has on the amulets effects. But this is just one aspect of its source of effectiveness, I don’t expect its potency would be severely affected by it.

Some alphabets rely on number correspondences such as the Greek and Hebrew forms, others make use of calling on certain deities or spirits evoking the power associated with them. Or magical words such as the word Abracadabra. Or you could go all out and just write a spell on them, even if its not actually uttered, the mere fact that its written down means its just as effective. Again you path may have some bearing on this.

The most flexible I have personally used are runic characters either individually or in a compound form, by that I mean they lend themselves to fit very nicely around and into each other, so a few lines can encode half a dozen runic characters. And these compound runic forms contain a very potent power and they are worth investigating as I have a few I’ve regularly used for many years with great success. And I have in previous sessions mentioned my use through visualisation of these such as the 10ft high flaming Rad rune to aid in my travel issues.

Again the purpose of these amulets cover the same basic functions as with all other amulet form. Options for symbolic or word based amulets can be taken from a vast range of examples and many lie with the medieval Renaissance grimoires such as Keys of Solomon, Abramelin the Mage, Enochian, hermetic and alchemical works. They all tend to combine many forms of amulet forms, written, item and symbolistic in their ritual practices.

As discussed in a previous session on it is these less physical amulets that benefit the most from use through visualisation, although still possible to visual a physical item and use it, if you want to make use of it.

Whatever your magical need, the methods use always come down to selecting the correct tool for the job, be that the selection of the correct amulet, spell, words or degree of physical or in this case non-physical use. The other half of this process via spoken or written words, whether they are related to divine names or spells will be explored in the next session.