“In the name of the Omni-benevolent God, Amen…”
The planetary prayer for Mercury was read with more vigor than I thought I could muster for the early morning. Perhaps I’m getting used to the early hour.
“O mighty and merciful God, which in the finger of thy deity…”
It’s getting easier to not only say the words, but to hold the poses and perform the actions that go along with them. Even though I am not Christian, for the minutes spent reciting the prayers, I had faith in the powers they called on. I never would have thought that Solomonic Magic would be my gateway drug to Chaos Magic.
“… and in the name of God, Cados, Cados, Cados…” I felt the epithet “cados” echo around me as if a chorus was repeating the name. It felt comforting until I was reminded of how the churches I used to attend felt comforting before they started extracting sacrifices from me. I snapped back into full awareness and continued on.
“… the mighty name Agla, the wonderful name Adonay, the strong name El, and the name On…” Filled with unexpected joy, I suddenly felt stretched, as if something was pulling me back and up, but my feet were still on the ground. The sensation of a rubber band snapping shuddered through me. I heard my voice continue on with the recitation, but something had changed.
I looked down at the sudden lack of weight in my hands. Instead of looking down at my lap, I was looking at the back of my own head.
In surprise, I watched myself continue to recite from the book until I reached the end of the page. No page was turned. The book was simply laid open in my lap and I watched my body sit in silence.
I opened my eyes. I was “back” in myself. The book was in my lap the same way as I had seen it laid to rest. I tested my awareness by stepping on my own toe. I grimaced from the real pain. I shrugged, turned the page, and continued reciting the conjuration most necessary with all the unnecessary vigor as before. (What can I say… the ritual has somehow become… fun.)
«No rod. No work.»
[Patient Caller’s] emotion of disapproval manifested before any visual of him even began. The false smoke from the falsely lit candle again encircled his finger before swirling into the amber. The rutile quartz was untouched.
“The purchased rod will get here when it gets here. I was hoping you would instruct me what to do with it when it arrives so I could get a jump on the work.”
«You had a suitable rod in your hands yesterday. But you do not have it here with you as instructed.»
“It’s too thin.”
«What is your point of reference?»
“So the [Book of Oberon] doesn’t specify a thickness, but other grimoires…”
«Which book are you using?»
Shit. “… I’ll have it present tomorrow morning. But I’m not going to cancel the order I placed for its replacement. My instinct still says it’s not enough, and that I’ll need something more substantial for other work.”
«You will need another for other work. But for now, this will do.»
He spoke on the necessity for tools to be useful to the person using the tool. He spoke on the difference between form and appearance, between function and functionality. He pointed out my animism and propensity to speak of inanimate objects as persons in their own right meant I needed a personal connection to the major components of my magical toolkit.
Sure I could use any hazel rod to make the wand from, but this particular hazel rod has a personal history that can never be bought from a store. Just how any piece of amber would have been suitable for initial use for his summoning, but polishing one face of it made me think of it as an empty vessel and now this particular piece is required for future successful summonings of him.
It took me a few seconds to understand the implications of that statement as I continued to watch the false smoke flow into the polished face of the very real amber.
«Your knife. You detest it. Why have you not replaced it?»
The knife is a black handled knife, but it is a camper’s knife. Just as much metal as necessary to cover the blade when folded and not in use, the short lightweight blade has almost been dropped on my toes several times already because it is almost too light to hold well. He’s right. I do not like it. But when I was shopping for the Birto experiment, it was the only one within reach of hand and budget in the short time I had to prepare. I kept telling myself that I would replace it as soon as possible, but no suitable replacement has made itself evident yet.
“It does the job, and it does the job well. That I am offended by its appearance is neither here nor there. The grip is black. The blade is sharp. And it has never been used for anything else since purchase. Neither my budget nor my circumstance will allow for something visually extravagant, and I’m not going to go on a wild goose chase for something so damn subjective.”
«If only you had some sort of… assistant… who you could send to bring a more suitable knife to you. I understand your level of social strata does not allow for such a single minded purpose, but I’m sure a clever mind like yours would have some sort of resource available…»
As he spoke, he moved his ghostly hands with exaggerated gestures that caused his many rings to glint and wink in the light. The flow of false smoke moved with his hand, as if it were a string tying him to the candle and to the amber. Sudden movements caused the smoke to tighten against the finger and thin to show a thin band of gold daring the sun the shine brighter.
The brightness snatched my attention and I could not look away, even after he finished mocking me and settled into silence. After a breath, I finally found the force to challenge him.
“Who is capturing who, [O Patient Caller]?” Even as I spoke, I could not turn my eyes away from the ring slowly being covered by the false smoke. “I will be plain, you taste of those who would possess me before.” I was not as plain as I wanted to be. I was afraid that in the environment I had created, if I spoke brutally clear about what happened to me years ago in the cults, it would immediately happen again at once.
«And you wear the amulet, which I did not play at striking. I cannot touch you. If I, whom you have invited and made yourself vulnerable to, cannot seize you, then no hostile spirit can as well, even if they were to make ten, a hundred, or a thousand times a greater effort.»
His words reminded me of the spirit [Mud], who had attached himself to me after the Birto working and prior to the acquisition and activation of the amulet. Though the self-proclaimed helper was successfully removed, he was a vivid reminder that my ignorance was my greatest weakness.
«You tire, so I shall be quick. With the circle you have increased your defenses. With your increasing comfort in reciting the prayers, you have increased your security. The hazel wand and the black knife are your weapons. I am teaching you how to repel me, if necessary, and in doing so, how to repel others less yielding. You are not my prey.»
He clasped his hands on the table, resting them behind the shewstones. His body and clothes remained colorless shadow, while the rings continued to be brilliant and flash. The small ring on his right little finger was the brightest and most intense of them all.
“[O Patient Caller], lead me out of this deep sea I am drowning in.”
«I will. But you must trust me.»
I did not answer him directly, but after a few seconds of mutual silence gave the Apophenia Invitation and the License to Depart. He bowed his head at the concluding words and slowly, almost reluctantly, faded from sight.
When the false flame on the candle extinguished, I spoke Psalm 54 and ended the ritual.
Total ritual time: 32 minutes. It felt like hours.