A Message from the Star

'The Star' by artist: Kimberly Harris
Wyoming Based Artist & Proprietress of Full Frog Moon

The past year, it has often felt like the world is imploding…and yet I feel hopeful. We’re in what feels like a neverending watershed of disclosures of abuse, assault, and harassment by those with power. Some of our icons have been taken down by the truth of their past actions. The shine of our everyday s/heroes has been dulled as they refuse to hold perpetrators they admired accountable. The noise of social media arguing has become deafening.

And yet…I feel joy. Because mold can only grow in the dark. It can’t survive the light. Now we know. Survivors don’t have to suffer in silence anymore. We know who is clinging to the old ways of thinking – “don’t let a person be defined by one mistake” – and we can decide to create something different. A world where our bodies of decision makers begin to reflect our communities. Where "America's Dad" is finally forced to face a small degree of accountability for countless rapes, where a Southern trans woman can win an election because she wants to fix traffic congestion on a state highway, where record numbers of women and people of color are running for office, and where, no matter how painful, truth that has long been hidden is finally coming to light.

Although I often feel tired, I also feel inspired and I am ready to invoke the power of The Star in all I do. The Star brings joy, inspiration, and hope. She comes when you most need her, which may be different than when you most want her. Whether you are feeling helpless or ready for battle or simply numb, I invite you to join me in invoking The Star. May this tarot spread help you begin to illuminate the dark places and envision a brighter way of being.

3-card reading inspired by The Star

Card 1: What is the root of my joy?

Card 2: What is the root of my inspiration?

Card 3: What is the root of my hope?

Reader tip: If you pull cards with dark or challenging messages, do not get discouraged. Try to think beyond the literal meaning. You may have a block related to the message of that card and if you are able to work through it, you may be able to access something wonderful. Do you find joy, hope, or inspiration from helping others who experience tough situations? Are you inspired to do better when confronted with something awful? Have you conducted yourself in ways that you are not proud of and can you pledge to make amends and do better going forward? Sit with the cards if you pull something that makes you uncomfortable. There may be more wisdom there than you think.

Author: Sterling Moon has been reading cards for over 20 years. A friend’s sister gave her a deck when she was just a teenager, and she was absolutely fascinated by them. Her mom got her a book that took her deeper, and she was officially hooked. In 2013, she began reading and teaching professionally when she became one of the first instructors at Share Denver, a community craft space in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Sterling has provided readings and educational workshops for a variety of individuals, businesses, organizations including the Horseshoe Market, the Denver Public Library System, Denver Yelp, and private parties. Learn more about her work at www.sterlingmoontarot.com, and come sit with her at Ritualcravt every other Sunday. To follow along with Sterling via Instagram @sterlingmoontarot


Invocation vs. Evocation

(originally published in the Ritualcravt zine, issue 1)

Understanding magical terminology can often digress into an evening of searching through dictionaries, occult references, and dare I say: Google. Two terms are the frequent culprits of confusion: invocation and evocation, and they appear in many books on occult philosophy and ritual practice. Both practitioners of witchcraft and ritual magick should be aware of their dissimilarities and usage, as each involves different approaches, yielding different results.

Invocation can be defined as summoning any deity, spirit, ancestor, planetary energy, elemental or entity with the intention of communicating with, petitioning for manifestation or offering sacrifice. Magical practitioners may also use invocation to connect themselves with a deity as a form of worship and initiation into their mysteries. Some examples of invocation are:

  1. Ritual invocation to a deity in order to bring them into your life
  2. Petitioning to an angel for success, prosperity, protection etc.
  3. Offering sacrifices of gratitude to a deity
  4. Communicating with spirit guides and ancestors

Typically, invocation incorporates a recited passage that calls the spirit to the magician or witch. This can be a prayer, hymn, incantation, poem or self-written invocation. I enjoy writing my own invocations, but I am partial to the poems of Baudelaire, Shelley and Blake. Poetry can be a very personal and beautiful method of inviting spirits into your life. Invocation can take many forms, from ecstatic dance rituals to silent meditation. Some find that certain substances aid them in ritual. Wine, entheogens and recreational drugs are found in some invocations.

Overall, invocation creates a working relationship between the practitioner and the spirit that is often marked by reciprocal benefits. The spirit is invited and welcomed into the life, home and heart of the practitioner.

Evocation is, however, dissimilar in that the practitioner, or operant, is conjuring a spirit or entity for a specific task, information, or some practical application aimed at manifestation in the physical world. After the operation, the practitioner dismisses or banishes the spirit to leave the room or space of evocation and complete the task. The operant is not offering supplication or service to the entity, and the goal is for the entity to grant the request of the operant. After a successful operation, the magician may choose to supply an offering to the spirit, as this is always good courtesy. Crucial to evocation is the barrier created by the operant between the spirit being evoked and the operant. This is an astral barrier such as the one produced by the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, or by calling in the four directions. The circle gains power when it is drawn on the ground in the physical realm as well as in the astral. Ceremonial magicians are known for their elaborate circular constructions, but a simple circle cast on the ground with an iron nail, wand, finger, dagger, or crystal point can be just as effective. After the ritual has been conducted, an evocation includes a dismissal to the spirit to fulfill their charge and a clearing of the astral space.

The Goetia, or Lesser Key of Solomon is an excellent example of such evocation. It consists of explicit instructions for conjuring the 72 “demons” of Solomon in order to aid the operant in finding lost treasure, raising storms and aiding in legal matters. Each spirit has a fixed set of skills in which they perform when successfully evoked. These spirits can be a very effective way to manifest change in the material world, but unlike deities, familiars and spirit guides, they are not sentient nor instinctual in their abilities. The operant must be very clear and firm when stating their requests. In contrast to invocation, evocation, especially of the Goetic variety, should always be performed sober, with a centered mind. With this form of evocation, one is encountering spirits of a “wild-card” nature. I also don’t recommend utilizing Goetic entities as spirit guides.  

Evocation can also be used when contacting familiars or ancestors for the first time. It’s good to know and trust spirit guides. You should test them to learn their true nature before allowing them into your life. Over time, spirits may become familiars or spirit guides, but this is after a mutual relationship has been established.

At first glance, invocation and evocation may seem like interchangeable terms, but they are in fact very different. Both terms involve communicating with spirits, but the preparation and execution of the operation diverges. By understanding magical terminology, both witches and magicians gain insight into the tradition of magical practice and strengthen their own personal power.

Author: Samuel McCabe is a visual artist, educator, operative magician and Tarot reader at Ritualcravt. He has ten years experience with ceremonial magick in group and solitary settings. He is currently researching the origins of magick through grimoires, mythology and anthropology. Samuel teaches using a project-based approach that inspires creativity and independence in his students. You can follow and connect more with Samuel via Instagram @thepeacockgrimoire

©2018 by Samuel McCabe. All rights reserved.


Witch Blood: A Proposed Myth of Origin

David Tibet, Hypnagogue
The cicadas are omnipotent sound.

Alright, story time.

In the beginning, which hath no beginning nor end, in the remotest regions of the cosmos, the demiurge, Yaldabaoth created life. With the assistance of the celestial beings known as Archons, Yaldabaoth designed the life on earth as we know it: the joys, ecstasies, the decay and suffering. He exclaimed to his creation that he was supreme over all. He denied the existence of his origin and mother Sophia, claiming omnipotence over humanity. After creating a life-form in his image, Yaldabaoth ordered his host of angelic beings to bow before his creation. Lumiel, recognized a flaw in Yaldabaoth’s creation, the lack of “gnosis”, or spiritual knowledge. Lumiel refused to bow to the Adam, stating: “Why should a being of fire bow to a being of clay?” For this transgression, Lumiel jettisoned to a lower realm of the heavens, the darkness of the night sky. Lumiel became Lucifer, and Lucifer inhabited the morning star Venus. Over time, Lucifer began to take pity on the two humans and their spiritual deficiency. He descended to earth and led them to a tree located in a sacred grove of Eden. It was the tree that Yaldabaoth claimed was poisonous and would kill them. Lucifer instructed the woman to eat the fruit of the tree, thus initiating her into the process of spiritual transformation. The man also ate the fruit, and gained knowledge of true will. The illusory façade of the demiurge had been exposed, and the word deceit was first uttered. Of course Yaldabaoth couldn’t be bested, and punished the humans with further evils, famine, pestilence, and disease. To further add to Lucifer’s demotion, Yaldabaoth claimed it was Lucifer who deceived the man and woman, and turned them against the angel.  

Meanwhile, a group of celestial beings called the Grigori, watched over the growing human race and noticed some shortcomings in their spiritual development as well. While Lucifer had initiated the spiritual evolution in humans, the Watchers still saw some room for growth. They agreed to help humanity by descending to earth to teach skills and reproduce with the human women, in order to proliferate their knowledge and genes. In all, there were two hundred of these Watchers, divided into 20 groups of ten, each with a leader. Each angel prepared a special gift for humanity, twelve of which we can confirm from ancient texts:  Baraqiel taught astronomy and astrology. Chazaqiel taught meteorology and weather enchantments. Penemue bestowed gifts of writing and culinary arts, while Kasdeja instructed protection enchantments. Azazel taught the arts: metalworking, cosmetology, and crystal divination. Kokabel taught the star lore of the cosmos. Armaros taught humans how to resolve enchantments. Sariel taught lunar cycles and the magick of working with them. Gadriel taught martial arts as well as cosmetology. He was fabulous! Shamsiel taught the signs of the zodiac. Araqiel taught divination, in the form of geomancy, and Shemyaza taught root magick.

Unfortunately, humanity wasn’t ready for these gifts. As their civilization grew, humans began to fear the Watchers and their gigantic hybrid progeny, the Nephilim. War broke out between the giants and humans. The Watchers left earth in defeat. Their spiritual blessings corrupted by the immature humans, the Watchers attempted to ascend back to their homes. They were barred by Yaldabaoth, restricted to the same strata as Lucifer, in the stars of the night sky.  As for the Nephilim, outnumbered by hominids, they retreated to remote places where they could remain in safety. The humans worked hard after the Nephilim retreated to undermine and redact the story of their angelic teachers. Only through a few corrupted texts can we today learn of the blessings which the Watchers bestowed upon the human race. But it is the bloodline of these displaced titans which runs through the veins of each and every human drawn to the spiritual arts. Stories of giants pervade the mythologies of all cultures. It is through the union of later humans and giants that the Watcher bloodline dispersed into human DNA.  Psychic abilities, a determined quest for spiritual enlightenment and aptitude in the magical arts are all indicators of the influence of the Watchers. This is our legacy and birth rite.

Liberated from the illusions of servitude and shame, I present this story as an allegory of abstract forces I cannot fathom. I do not assume the Watchers to be archetypes of a psychological nature. They are real. I have communed and divined in their presence. They are etched in the fabric of my tarot cards and frequent the mist of my dreams. As a witch in the 21st century, I find myself searching for an origin, a creation myth to hold close to my heart. After years of research and study, it is this myth which resounds for me. Many witches, magicians, sorcerers and psychonauts have recounted the story of the Watchers. Their influence bears marks, but this retelling is my own. I am not the first to tell this story and I will not be the last.

Author: Samuel McCabe is a visual artist, educator, operative magician and Tarot reader at Ritualcravt. He has ten years experience with ceremonial magick in group and solitary settings. He is currently researching the origins of magick through grimoires, mythology and anthropology. Samuel teaches using a project-based approach that inspires creativity and independence in his students. You can follow and connect more with Samuel via Instagram @thepeacockgrimoire

©2018 by Samuel McCabe. All rights reserved.


Time is Not Thee Enemy

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

So what do you get from magick? How does it improve your life? When can I expect results from a magical working? These are some of the many questions that people ask me during any given week. All of them are valid questions, and I believe at some point, all magical practitioners should ask themselves some serious questions regarding their practice. From time to time, a magician should evaluate their progress toward spiritual attainment and if the progress is really getting them closer to enlightenment, or not.  It’s one thing to buy a green candle and put a coin underneath it, and another thing to organize your finances and set the intention to save money for that vacation. While the latter may seem like just the responsible adult thing to do, there’s always room for magick in any mundane-world endeavor. As for that green candle, if that’s the extent of magick you plan to do, you’re only skimming the surface of magick, and the return on that candle is likely to help you find a dollar in the parking lot.

Magick works on a subtle level, and it’s an investment of time, energy, and resources. That’s not to say it isn’t potent. The results of magical operations do have the potential to yield astonishing results, but if all we’re looking for is love, money, and ritual thrills, what are we truly gaining? The word “Lashtal” comes to mind. Aleister Crowley dissected the meaning in Liber Reguli, but the most succinct definition can be found in The Book of the Law: “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.” — AL 1:44.

Lashtal is honoring our true will, by doing the work of improving our personal lives, without the lust of result. This means living in the present. We honor our true will when we accept responsibility for our choices. No one can make us doing anything against our will. We have the power to change our lives by being present in every moment. Mindfulness is a state where the opportunity of possibility is truly activated. Our senses are alert, and we are open to what the multiverse is presenting us. Each and every action, thought and word we speak becomes an intentional manifestation of our true will. Yes, I am willing this apple into my shopping cart, and later experiencing each juicy bite. But isn’t it a waste of time to labor over every step in sustaining the health of our bodies? Honestly, what could be more important?

We don’t have time for magick. We have daily responsibilities like families, partners and careers, and these things should have the priority we give them. However, we work way too long for the little we make and on top of that we have screens. The prevalence of screens and the things they distract us from is deceitful. How many beautiful moments on this planet have we wasted mouth-breathing the fungus of consumer culture.

Let’s look at our precious gift of Time. In ritual, Time is critical in determining favorable astrological moments for performing magical workings. Time is needed in preparation of sigils and tools, the reading of books, and in recording information into our magical diaries. Time is necessary for macerating herbs in alcohol for tinctures, and for incubating our desires into manifestation. We must devote time for magick. We do this through time management, and we can start with punctuality. The argument that time is a relative, human construct may be your excuse for being late for work, social meetings, or *gasp* group ritual meetings, but Time is the currency of opportunity. Being on-time for life through time management is a sign of a dependable person. Punctuality builds trust between people. Good time management creates time for our spiritual growth. The old, New Age joke about “pagan time”, is just that- old. The first time I heard this joke was while working the register at a metaphysical store, after having told two tarot clients that their reader was running late. Let’s all abandon this joke just like we’re divorcing the patriarchy. We owe it to the people who depend on us as magical practitioners.

Time management may sound like keeping a tight schedule and relying on a planner to dictate your life. That’s a pretty extreme method. Perhaps another method would be to experience each moment and its physical and emotional sensations as an opportunity to learn patience or acceptance. When we are mindful, we internalize time. Have you ever noticed those instances when you know the exact time before checking your watch? Call it intuition, but I would argue that this is an example of internalizing time and being present in the moment. Punctuality is a byproduct of mindfulness. When you’re mindful of time, you are prepared and responsible for your true will. Opportunities are more likely to present themselves as results of your spiritual practice, because you’re present, centered and grounded. You will find that you feel less rushed and have more time for magick, your loves and your life. Who could argue with having more time for that?

Love is the law, love under will.

Author: Samuel McCabe is a visual artist, educator, operative magician and Tarot reader at Ritualcravt. He has ten years experience with ceremonial magick in group and solitary settings. He is currently researching the origins of magick through grimoires, mythology and anthropology. Samuel teaches using a project-based approach that inspires creativity and independence in his students. You can follow and connect more with Samuel via Instagram @thepeacockgrimoire

©2018 by Samuel McCabe. All rights reserved.