Journal: 2023-09-04

A hardcover copy of "Seven Spheres" lies atop a paper diagram.

Three years ago, I worked through Rufus Opus‘s Seven Spheres as prescribed in his book to the best of my ability. I was able to meet the minimum requirements easily and even was able to incorporate a few of the “optional” tasks and enjoinders. All was well until I summoned Anael, the Angel of Venus. They promptly handed my ego a very cold and very tall glass of Reality Check and I had to confront certain aspects and behavioral patterns that were very self-damaging. I completed the series soberly and with a new direction.

Who would have thought that facing one’s self is one of the hardest things a person could do?

Well, here I am now, with the book back in hand and a different schedule of events. I will still be using the ritual as presented in Seven Spheres, but will be proceeding through the series of summons in a different order. The book has the magician starting with the Sphere of Jupiter and then working through the planetary spheres in descending Chaldean order, with an ascent to the Sphere of Saturn being an optional endeavor at the end of the series due to the severity it may bring upon the magician. (Can vouch for the severity.) This process creates a four-day gap between summons that permit the magician to work through any immediate aftermath of the workings and to better prepare for the next. When including the Sphere of Saturn, this is a 31-day process. (If you stop with the Sphere of the Moon, it is a 26-day process.)

I will be working in ascending Chaldean order, starting with the Sphere of the Moon and ending with the Sphere of Saturn. I anticipate this 13-day process to be somewhat more intensive in effect and consequence than the book’s prescribed method. (I am not mad enough yet to attempt a straight run through a standard week, that is from Sunday to Saturday in a seven-day sprint.)

Of the rite itself, there is not much to talk about. I had kept the paper materials printed and created when I did the series in 2020, so there was nothing new to do there. There were certain personal jewelry items that I had to have a long sit with and consider if it would be proper to wear them for this series of occasions. I realized that each piece of “questionable” jewelry was actually an external marker of an internal state. Sure, I could put that ring on the shelf for the working, but would doing so remove the mark on my spirit that came first? I decided to wear all the things I would bring to a Cyprianic working, with the faith that if some single thing did offend, if my personal spirits didn’t tell me first, then the offended spirit would give me the chance to remove the item and make amends.

Just because I had completed this series three years before doesn’t mean that I am completely prepared to do it again. The night before the first scheduled rite, I sat with the book and read the relevant sections again and again. Finding out all over again why I had a paperclip on a certain page and why it was needed. Being reminded why I needed certain items not mentioned in the book and why it was okay to leave certain suggestions unfulfilled.

There is much to be said for a Dry Run. To put the table in place and lay out empty bowls and substitute props so you can literally go through the motions without actually doing the ritual. Not much has changed in the three years since I did the series, but enough had changed such that I found myself moving the table away from the previous spot because there was now something flammable uncomfortably close to where the candle would be. A change in available chairs meant the ritual was now going to be completed standing because I no longer have a chair small enough to fit within the circle of working (which was also moved to meet the table’s shift) and it was far too late at night to go to any store even for something so ubiquitous as a step stool.

I was reminded how easy it is to adapt the ritual in Seven Spheres to match my budget and circumstances. However, even though I have done this before, it still felt like something was missing. I did the dry run again without having to make anymore impromptu changes. I read through the script again and found no old fears holding back the words.

Nothing was missing. The ritual really is that short and to the point. The fullness of the matter won’t be revealed until the ritual is actually underway.

“Pater noster, qui es in caelis…” Saying the Pater Noster is not prescribed by the ritual, but I recite it before engaging in theurgy just the same. It is the erection of one boundary and the tearing down of another. That I can (literally) stand and recite it in English and Latin is a mark of achievement after all I have been though. But this time, it is not spoken as an act of war, but an act of submission to the promises that were made to me, to the faith that I was now standing in.

Of the rite itself, there is not much more to be said. The only difficulty today was that the match did not want to light but I had anticipated that and had brought the entire match-box with me just in case. It flared on the last attempt before I was going to discard it and pull another. But for all that, the candle burned evenly, the wand wasn’t fumbled, the incense stayed put, the book remained steady, and the scrying crystal didn’t roll off the table.

One thing I have learned is that no matter how often the instructions say to view the spirit in the scrying crystal, I will experience that spirit every other way possible. From an obscuring vision that replaced the sight of the physical room with the spirit’s preferred environment, to “seeing” the spirit literally sitting beside me or across a table, to “feeling” a presence like a weight on my shoulders, to “smelling” a certain odor that comes from something that has never been in the room before, to “hearing” the spirit’s voice either in my ears or in the back of my mind, to some combination of these examples plus a few more besides.

I have watched the scrying crystal change opacity. I have watched bowls of water suddenly ripple as if stirred. (There is a different between stirred and shaken. If you spend time in earthquake country or close to transit corridors, you’ll learn the difference very quickly.) I have watched the smoke stream from incense suddenly and sharply bend in a still room. Pressure changes. Sounds from untouched and unmoving objects. Sensations and perceptions in circumstances where nothing is moving. Sure.

But to see the spirit in the crystal? Nope. Never done that. Still on the bucket list.

So when the Angel of the Moon made their presence known, the only sign given in the scrying crystal was that it became completely opaque. I suddenly could not see any of the interior structures nor was the light from the candle passing through. I looked down at the globe to study this and felt something insert itself in the space between my head and the ceiling of the room.

I looked up. And my eyes saw no physical thing, but I perceived. And I rested in that perception. I allowed it to fill my attention, and as it did, it unfolded. I smelled certain scents that I separately associate with Gabriel and with the Moon. I felt a hum from within and from without, and allowed the hum from within to shift until it harmonized with the hum from without.

And once aligned, there was silence as my intent and directive for undergoing these workings revealed itself. There was no conversation, only understanding. I perceived where I had created weaknesses that required mending. I perceived where I had permitted strengths to lessen from shallow and insincere use. But of all those lessons, none were permitted to be captured into words except one.

“All these instructions are yours to receive and work in silence. Hear then, an instruction in the words of your speech, for you to write for others to receive.” So said and so says Gabriel, Angel of the Moon: “The light of the Moon is cold. It does not offer comfort, but revelation. The unveiling of things hidden in the bright day’s shadows. If you are going to come through, you must be prepared to receive what you asked for.”

And here I knew the matter was done. I rested in the angel’s presence for a while longer but there was no further communication from them. I pulled my awareness back into myself and closed out the ritual without incident or concern.

A little thing about me, formal rituals, candles, and incense: Candle & incense make a match pair for as long as the incense is burning. The candle may be dedicated to a series of workings because of the lifetime of the candle but the incense [stick] is dedicated to the working at hand because most of the time, it’s not going to last longer than an hour. So after a formal working, the candle will be extinguished but the incense will be permitted to burn itself out. The period of time during which the incense is doing as it does is “quiet time” for me. I will monitor the incense to make sure nothing incendiary happens out of turn, but I will not do any workings during this time. Instead, I am writing my notes (to turn them into a blog post later, such as), sitting quietly, or otherwise relaxing if there is nothing to do.

Nor do I clear the working space. Everything remains in place as Brother Fire completes their obligation. Because of where everything is situated, when I am at my desk writing notes, I’m on the “wrong” side of the table. Whereas during the ritual, the candle is on the left and the incense is on the right, now the incense is on the left and the candle is on the right and the scrying globe is right there in between them both.

So it is now after the ritual and the incense is doing as it does. There is still a barely perceptible hum in the room, like a piano note haunting an auditorium, and I am sitting quietly watching the incense smoke caress the scrying globe now that there is a light draft in the room. The scene suddenly strikes me as one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever had the grace to behold when the hum settles on my shoulders like a shawl and I suddenly have thoughts I have never considered as something exterior to myself is reflected in them.

“Sometimes you must work to make it happen. To watch it come to pass from the working of your own hands. Sometimes you must work to make space for it to happen. The nest must be made before the egg can be received. Sometimes you must have faith that it will happen. You cannot receive a boon that you never believed in.”

The thoughts reverberate into shapes that can be captured by words and written into letters. Suddenly inspired, I write them down quickly while still seized with inspiration. As soon as they are written in full and repeated to the empty room, the hum fades entirely. I sit with my notes and watch as the incense burns itself to nothing, releasing the room from its vigil.

Now the table can be deconstructed. Items cleaned and put away for the next shenanigan. My fears can be chided while my ego can be soothed. It still takes me two days to write this post, even though it will be backdated to the proper morning when posted. The words of the angel and the reflection of their sphere are easy to memorize and recite. They are hard to accept and work upon.

That’s the point, sharp and brutal. It is my intent to find where I am being blocked and find a way through. I already knew I wasn’t going to like the answers, no matter how gently they may be delivered.

But now that I’ve started, I guess the only way out is through.