Behenian Stars on Amazon.com

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screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-7-50-22-pmI’m pleased to report that the Poems for the Behenian Stars poetry book is now available on Etsy as a downloadable PDF (US $10.00) file, and on Amazon.com as a Kindle file (US 9.99).  So you now have a choice of formats.  I earn somewhat more from the Etsy download than from Amazon, which I hope factors into your choice; but either way it should work to your advantage.

What do you get in this collection?

The Behenian Stars are found in the writings of H.C. Agrippa in Book II, Part 4, chapter 47 and in other sources on medieval and Renaissance astrology and astronomy.  No wonder, really: most of them are first-magnitude stars in the northern celestial hemisphere:

  1. Algol in Perseus
  2. the Pleiades in Taurus
  3. Aldebaran in Taurus
  4. Sirius in Canis Major
  5. Procyon in Canis Minor
  6. Regulus in Leo
  7. Arcturus in Bootes
  8. Algorab in Corvus
  9. Spica in Virgo
  10. Polaris in Ursa Minor
  11. Capella in Auriga
  12. Alphecca or Gemma in Corona Borealis
  13. Antares in Scorpio
  14. Vega in Lyra
  15. Deneb Algedi in Capricorn

And to this list I’ve added three other poems, honoring Fomalhaut, the only one of the four royal stars not in the list; Altair in Aquila the eagle, one of the other first-magnitude stars in the northern sky; and Alkaid in Ursa Major, a star whose spectrum helps to classify other stars and which sits somewhere between 1st and 2nd magnitude on that 6-point scale.

The poems are in the traditional formal style called an ode: three stanzas of ten lines each, organized metrically and with a rhyme scheme of ABABCDECDE.  Each poem draws on the traditional lore of both astronomy and astrology, and ends with a call to bring the influence of the star into our lives.  For magic, for poetry, for learning the northern stars, for the purpose of studying the night sky — these poems help get you to the behen (from the Arabic word for ‘root’) of naked-eye astronomy.  Reading the poems while under the night sky will help connect you to your ancestors, and to the timeless mythology that constantly rolls by overhead.

Chapbook: Poems for The Behenian Stars

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I’ve published a chapbook.  It’s a digital PDF that you can download (and choose to print, if you so desire, for your Book of Shadows, your poetry binder, your vademecum, your 3-ring circus of astrological or mythological lore.

The Poems for the Behenian Stars is available immediately through my Etsy store for $10.00. It’s a collection of eighteen poems — for magic, for praise, for learning the stars, for learning to read and recite poetry, for supporting me.  The poems will take you on a journey through some of the astrological lore, imagery and powers of the Behenian Stars, while waking you up to their power in the world.

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 7.50.22 PM.pngAnd what are the Behenian Stars, I hear you ask?  Well, they’re a list. They’re most of the brightest stars in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere (I’ve added three to the traditional list of fifteen), and they range from Caput Algol, the snake-haired head of fierce Medusa in the constellation of Perseus, whose baleful eye allegedly wreaks havoc at first but then brings protection… to Sirius in Canis Major, the dog-head of Orion’s hound, who grants us peace-making and mediation skills.

Whether you’re a magician, an astrologer, an astronomer with a penchant for poetry, a poet with a penchant for astronomy, or just a lover of the other poetry on this website — here’s a collection for you.  None of the poems in this chapbook has appeared on this website before, and likely won’t ever.  They’re a secret testimony, a hidden hymnal, and a way to begin your study of the stars!

I hope you enjoy them.

Poem: For Jupiter & Saturn

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On Thursday this week, there’s an unusual astrological moment.  Jupiter will be in the third decan of Libra, and — 120° away or at a Trine Aspect, in the language of astrology — Saturn will be in the third decan of Sagittarius.  The two large outer planets, one governing expansion and rulership and the other governing discipline and boundaries, will be in a highly-beneficial relationship called “mutual reception” where each reinforces the other:  Jupiter granting expansiveness of ideas and courage in the face of challenges; and Saturn reinforcing discipline and deliberateness to accomplish difficult tasks.  A friend of mine, A.A., is undertaking a special operation, and this is composed for his work.

Hail, great lords of the outermost darkness,
stern Saturn in the skull of a stallion,
Jove at the center of spinning swiftness!
Guiding stars who lead this treasure galleon,
I glory in your lights and praise your Names.
For you, old one, with great discipline rule
the mariner’s careful contemplation
and the discipline that achieves results.
Jupiter — riding ocean like a pool,
remaining steady amid gyration,
the cheerful captain whom the world exalts!

Now each of you in palaces reside
where your dignities sit, enthroned in grace,
and each of you also may hear and heed
the other’s degrees, turned to each friend’s face.
Secret allies in steadiness of will,
and unafraid in the tumult and strife
of all the hazards of troublesome years:
when all is wording ’round, you remain still —
charting out the course of a mindful life,
and steering true, like clever engineers.

Great and glorious, reliable, stern —
steady and sure as the music of spheres:
make this ship a home, and often return:
be my bankers, my cautious financiers,
who grow my wealth and keep my accounts black,
avoiding the wave-troughs of debt and waste,
while leading me through confusion and cheat.
When the winds change, guide me to the new tack;
then help me face the gale properly braced,
with an agile ship, and sea-ready feet.

 

Fourteen Minotaurs

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Blogos, over at Hermetic Lessons, wrote about the Fourteen Minotaurs recently, and I’ve been playing with this idea for a few weeks quite happily.  It’s the sort of thing that Robert Mitchell could really groove on with his Cabal Fang workouts, actually, so I’m sort of tagging him here.  And it’s also related to stuff from Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery course, so if you want to learn how to do this, consider taking his course, as well (an example of the wealth/poverty divide and thought process is here).

The essence of this idea is pretty simple.  Quantum mechanics indicates that there are maybe billions of “yous” in existence, because each time you make a decision, reality forks and you have a chance to become someone new — your ‘yes-self’ goes off into one alternate universe, and your ‘no-self’ goes on in this one, or vice-versa.  Charlie, a friend of mine, suggests that this is kind of like a tree model, where your first-ever decision to cry, or not-cry, becomes the root of your being — and each further decision ‘forks’ your reality until you end up at one of millions of trillions of possibilities.  Blogos argues, based on the book of Raziel, that that’s probably not the case, that maybe there are really only fourteen possible selves, fourteen minotaurs in the maze of human soul-in-animal-body, which you can become. As is common in much astrological and occult wisdom literature, these seven are associated with the seven visible planets (the ones that can be seen with the naked eye).  These are: More

Poem: Hymn to the Three Kings

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Today is the Feast of the Epiphany.  Among other things, it’s the feast of the Three Kings, or three wise men, or the three magi, who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child in Bethlehem of Judea.  This is a hymn to them, (as opposed to a sonnet) as witnesses and greeters of Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Hail to thee, wise ones in search of a king,
bearing gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and gold:
you beheld a star, a marvelous thing —
a royal birth in Israel, long foretold.
From distant lands you traveled, while the star
chatoyant and shimmering in beauty,
ascended from the East to find its throne,
to shout glad tidings: “The child is here!”
You three of great wisdom knew your duty,
and went to the place where the star shone down.

What gifts you brought! Shining gold for a king;
myrrh, because death is the fate of all men,
and — since for this child, the angels sing —
not the soldier’s sword nor the prophet’s pen,
but frankincense offered to deity.
How else does one welcome a conqueror
who sets down his arms and makes you his heirs,
Imparting the peace of eternity
On those who believe? Still, baby-terror
startles the chickens, the ox and the mares.

Purpled linen and rich embroidery
becomes stained with mud, and urine, and straw
as you worship the babe. No finery,
no gold cradle — just the prophets and law
fulfilled as you need in adoration,
while Word Made Flesh bawls. Guide me and send grace,
wise men three, who saw in that star good news
of a king sent from God for Creation—
transcendence immanent in time and space —
show me the Light where my knees sink in ooze.

+ 20 + C + B + M + 17 +

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Painting gifted to S: The Final Approaching

Magic on 34th Street

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I’d never seen Miracle on 34th Street (1947) all the way through from beginning to end before.  It’s one of those movies that I’d caught six or twelve or fifteen scenes from, but out of order and with only a general sense of the plot without caring too much about the specifics.  Which is fine; I imagine that many of you have seen other charming movies in much the same way.

Yet this time, seeing it all the way through, two things stood out for me.  First, the movie is utterly without special effects.  It may be that there are ‘behind-the-scenes’ film-editing techniques that are creating astonishing results.  Yet those results are invisible to the audience member.  The whole movie is told with (sometimes campy) acting and storytelling, not with flash-bang and crazy imagery.

The second thing I was aware of is how much Miracle on 34th Street looks like magic.  Or more specifically, how frequently magic works exactly as it’s presented in this movie.

Consider: a series of coincidences results in the real Kris Kringle being able to replace the old lush who was intended for the parade.  The real Kris has a variety of people come to his aid.  Mr. Macy and Mr. Gimbal come to various detentes and agreements because it seems to be good business.  The right place for Kris to sleep opens up for him.  The Post Office delivers the letters on exactly the right day, exactly at the right hour, to release Kris from custody and win the day.

This is what magic looks like.  Don’t expect lightning flashes and Goetic emblems to manifest in the air in fire as you cast spells (though that sometimes happens).  Don’t expect demons to manifest in lightning and cloud (though admittedly they sometimes do.).  Don’t expect powers and principalities to respond to your requests with voices like thunder and volcano (though that sometimes happens).

No — instead, recognize that your magic is likely to manifest in synchronicity and coincidence, like a 1947 movie about Santa Claus.  The letter or the check arrives in the mail on the right day.  The bill is delayed from arrival for a little while.  The old lush gets fired and a job opportunity appears for you.  The friend has a spare bed in the right neighborhood.  The right opportunity opens at the right time.

So… recognize that you are in the business of altering probabilities. Creating synchronicities. Inventing coincidences.  And accepting certain benefits that arise from that.  You cannot expect that your magic will ever generate Hollywood-style special effects, of course.  But that doesn’t prevent your magic from generating spectacular results that are nonetheless perfectly natural.

But it does to some extent depend on believing in Santa Claus.

Sketchbooks

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I had some leftover 11×17 paper from a project, so I folded it up into a number of quires, and then found some papers and cardstock for covers for them.

The result is a trio of handsome sketchbooks, including the one with fishy covers that reminded me of the emblem or personal sigil of my high school friend, the painter Fred Poisson (who does some amazing work!).  The books’ covers are covered with papers from Michael’s DIY, nothing particularly spectacular; the interior of the covers are a heavy cardstock, and the body of the covers is a medium-weight pressed cardboard that provides the book with its substantiality and weight.

The use of waxed black thread provides a nice contrast with the lightness of the covers; but I must admit that it results in some stains on the pages from the process of binding the book.  And, since I don’t have sewing frames (for case-binding a book, which is the traditional method of making hardcovers in the western European style), nor a guillotine cutter, the arrangement of quires and covers is sometimes a little uneven.

The binding of a book is not a particularly difficult process; I’ve documented it before in my writings on the Coptic Stitch, of which these are examples.  In essence one (or in these books’ cases, two) thread is passed backwards and forwards through the quires in a long serpentine or Celtic interweave not unlike a knitted stitch.  The result forms these thick black bands along the spine of the book (not visible in these photos), and eventually emerges as those lines that run perpendicular to the spine on the cover both inside and out.

I have one more of these books ready to bind, in a lovely blue marbled paper cover.  All four are likely to wind up as Christmas presents this year, though I may put one or two up on my Etsy shop for sale.  Are you interested in buying one?

Mostly, though, I think of the making of these journals as an intermittent project, or practice, or a way to use up materials for the larger project, which is producing my own books —  The Book of Splendorwhich explores my own Sun and Moon poetry; the Behenian Stars, the Decans of the Zodiac, and the Mansions of the Moon. Would you buy those, in a format that involved the author hand-binding each copy?  I hope so — I’m planning to do it whether or not anyone buys them.

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