Archive for November, 2010

talisman s preliminary tracings November 15th, 2010

obverse tracing, 2″/5 cm bronze plate (“solve et coagula” side)

reverse tracing, 2″/5cm copper disk (“conjunctio” side)

asphaltum test notes November 14th, 2010

Dies Saturnus

Luna wx 61%v

Prepared four small pieces of scrap metal (copper, brass, bronze220) and coated them with both thick and thin layers of asphaltum varnish from Rio. Prior to coating the pieces were scrubbed with extra fine pumice and scotch-brite pad in a soapy solution and then thoroughly rinsed. They were then wiped down with 99% alcohol to completely degrease.

Asphaltum was applied with a soft-haired brush moistened with mineral spirits to ease in the spreading.  The  varnish had the consistency of honey and adhered very well. The thin layer was as little as I could get away with and still have full coverage, a film. The thicker coating was about 1/64-32″ thick.  Asphaltum thins super-easily with mineral spirits an cleans up well with that too. I did not find it particularly messy but then again I was meticulous in preparing the working space and in application.

The pieces were left to dry in the unheated studio room (probably about 65* average in there) wit no additional heat lamps or other heat sources. Humidity levels were consistent with indoor fall  Oregon levels – fairly high but not steamy. This makes for slow drying.

What I was aiming for was reaching a firm, wax-like consistently that would be firm enough to lay paper with the image on top of it without smearing or sticking and still be soft enough to first do a sketchy tracing with the scribe through the paper. Then the paper would be removed and the complete image scratched through the asphaltum, and the metal placed in an acid bath for etching.

12:05pm (11/13) asphaltum applied, thick and thin samples.

3:05pm thick and thin layers still liquid, line drawn directly with scribe does not hold.

4:25pm very sticky, direct-drawn line holds in all samples but is easily movable

5:25pm firmer w/tacky surface, line holds in thick & thin samples

6:30pm direct line holds, paper sticks to tacky surface on all samples

Wondered if I could powder the surface and then use paper for tracing. Had no powder on hand, ground up gold glittery eyeshadow and used that. Worked on the thin layer, thick layer moved around too much to be useful even on powdered surface.

7:05pm unpowdered paper peelable but still sticks a little on thinner samples, still to sticky for thick ones. Powdered samples work very well, esp thinner ones. Direct scribed lines hold very well. Some “drag” on thicker samples, though.

8:25pm thinner samples very firm and workable with paper both with and w/o powdering, thicker still gummy but surface firm enough to touch *beginning of good, reliable firmness for scribing though using transfer paper*

10:25am(11/14) still firm but flexible

12:05pm firm, takes impressions well, no sticking on thin & powdered samples, thick samples also ok but move & drag somewhat more.

6:35pm similar state as that  of 12:05, best option seems to be lightly powdered thin layer allowed to set up 16-24 hours, powdered at 6-8 hours in

prep for the next piece

November 12th, 2010

Dies Venus

Luna wx 42%v

After going at it in fits and starts, finally clicked into something of a steady daily drawing practice. One hour a day, and I can take one day a week off. This will form the third point of a three-point daily regimen that includes the temple work and the brand new binder into which will be put one project narrative + budget analysis per day. There is a slight variance in how strict I will be about doing these – ritual dailies every day without exception, drawing six days a week with an occasional five day week allowable, project narrative exercise 4-6 days a week allowable but shooting for daily. Melete will be a constant presence. With some luck, hopefully also Thesis/Metis.

The minimum time required for these things is completely manageable:

  • basic ritual dailies- 15 minutes
  • daily drawing – 1 hour
  • project narrative exercise – 15 minutes

The actual studio work (Melete), research, outreach/networking(Mneme), display and documentation (Aoide) times are separate things from the above and will take as much time as I can find to give them. If As it all comes together, Thelxinoe will escort the completed works into the world : )

Drew a single pear multiple times for an hour last night and boy was it ever boring. Until it stopped being boring when I remembered how to look at it properly. Then it was just hard work. I’m rusty.

Preliminary invocations and the visual form of the working circle are coming along. I’m playing with several variations now but I feel it will coalesce and settle well soon. I’ve been doing so much solve over the past few years it’s finally time for some coagula to happen.

November 10th, 2010

Dies Mercurius

Luna wx 23%v

Studying Samekh again last night, happened to re-read the scholion and was surprised at how much of it didn’t register the last time through. It drove home the point that it really does hinge upon one’s capacity to reach and hold certain states, the ability to shape/push energy around, and the intensity of one’s ardor. The anatomy & personal sensate experience question is still a valid one when getting down to the practicalities of doing it, but really that’s a problem to be worked out by the student. It’s not really the instructor’s job to do that for them, even if he’s a real genius.

Next I’ll be looking at the GD Bornless ritual, the stele of Jeu, revisiting the Abramelin book and checking out V&V for the account of the aethyr where C receives detailed instructions in the method of K&C. The study of these rituals has a twofold benefit: 1) the enrichment of my knowledge on the subject and 2) as I read the parts, often it becomes clear to me as I read each section what the appropriate thing for my circumstance is. Sometimes right down to the exact wording of a line. This is meshing perfectly with the Muse studies.

Picked up more Eliade yesterday & read the introduction for Sacred & Profane. Hierophany = art that is doing its job. All of a sudden the term “hierophant” has been redeemed in my regard  : )  Exoteric religion, somewhat, as well.

Today I go to a workshop on fund raising for artists that I hope will be helpful, though I won’t be too disappointed if the topic is a little more advanced than where I’m at right now. I can always take good notes and tuck them away for later when I need them.

There is only one thing to do, and ten thousand ways to do it. How fortunate!

mousai notes November 6th, 2010

Mousai notes:

Pindar, Nemean Ode 7. 12 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :

“If success crowns a man’s venture, sweeter then than honey the them he pours into the Moisai’s stream. But lacking the songs to praise them, the mightiest feats of valour can but find a sorry grave a deep darkness. But for fine deeds a mirror to establish, one way alone we know if Mnamosyna’s (Memory’s) shining diadem will grant recompense for their labours, in the glory of music on the tongues of men.”

Greek Lyric V Anonymous Scholia, Fragment 917c (trans. Campbell) (Greek lyric B.C.) :

“Gentle-eyed mother Mousa [Mnemosyne], keep company with the pure family of your children : we bring out a complex song, newly flowering with fresh-built skill.”

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :

“From Aether and Terra [were born various abstractions] . . .
[From Caelum (Ouranos) and Terra (Gaia) were born ?] Oceanus, Themis, Tartarus, Pontus; the Titanes : Briareus, Gyes, Steropes, Atlas, Hyperion, and Polus [Koios], Saturnus [Kronos], Ops [Rhea], Moneta [Mnemosyne], Dione.”

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 29. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :

“The sons of Aloeus held that the Mousai were three in number, and gave them the names Melete (Practice), Mneme (Memory), and Aoide (Song). But they say that afterwards Pieros, a Makedonian . . . came to Thespiae [in Boiotia] and established nine Mousai, changing their names to the present ones . . . Mimnermos [epic poet C7th B.C.] . . . says in the preface that the elder Mousai are the daughters of Ouranos (Heaven), and that there are other and younger Mousai, children of Zeus.”

Arnobius, Against the Heathen 3. 37 (Roman Christian rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :

“We are told by Mnaseas [Greek writer C3rd B.C.] that the Muses are the daughters of Tellus [Gaia the Earth] and Coelus [Ouranos, Heaven]; others declare that they are Jove’s by his wife Moneta [Mnemosyne, Memory], or Mens (Mind) [Metis?]; some relate that they were virgins, others that they were matrons.

The Elder Muses, the Mousai Titanides are three in number and according to most accounts are the daughters of Ouranos and Ge [Heaven and Earth].

  • Mneme [Mnemosyne, Moneta], “memory, mind” and as Moneta “warning, money, memory”
  • Melete, “practice, exercise”
  • Aoide, “song”

Cicero and Mnaseus give four Elder Muses by Heaven & Earth: Thelxinoe (“charming the mind”), Aoide (“song”), Arche (“beginning”) and Melete (“practice”)

According to several sources, Mnemosyne is the mother of the later and better-known Olympian Nine by Zeus (Mousai Olympiades- Ovid: the Mnemosynides). These muses had two main cult centers in Boiotia on Mt. Helikon and another in Pieria on the slopes of Mt. Olympus.

There are also the Mousai Apollonides, the three daughters of Apollon: Kephiso , Apollonis, and Borysthenis, also called Nete (lowest note of the lyre), Mese (middle note of the lyre) and Hypate (highest note of the lyre)

The Elder Muses seem to be more about the aspects of making whereas the Olympian Nine are personifications of particular varieties of the arts in expression that unfold from the creation process.

Mneme- the well of accumulated personal and cultural knowledge, the raw source material within (and without when including access to recorded research materials) that when combined with inspiration forms the embryonic Works,  memorization and recall, one’s soul as “waxen receiver of impressions”

Plato, Theaetetus 191c (trans. Fowler):

“Sokrates : Can he [man] learn one thing after another? . . . Please assume, then, for the sake of argument, that there is in our souls a block of wax, in one case larger, in another smaller, in one case the wax is purer, in another more impure and harder, in some cases softer, and in some of proper quality . . . Let us, then, say that this is the gift of Mnemosyne (Memory), the mother of the Mousai (Muses), and that whenever we wish to remember anything we see or hear or think of in our own minds, we hold this wax under the perceptions and thoughts and imprint them upon it, just as we make impressions from seal rings; and whatever is imprinted we remember and know as long as its image lasts, but whatever is rubbed out or cannot be imprinted we forget and do not know.”


Melete- muse of practice and exercises, willed shaping of one’s physical instrument


Aoide- “song”, performance, the living art in actuality as existing and doing what it does in the world, the creator speaking his or her  living word through the Work.

how’s this for an excellent curse: November 5th, 2010

Dies Venus

Luna NEW

“Dead you shall lie, for ever, a name that none recall;

For never you gathered roses upon the Muses’ tree.

Dim as you were in living, there too in Hades’ hall

You shall drift where only phantoms faint and forgotten flee.”

(Sappho of Mitylene, born c. 610BCE; Diehl, I, p.354)

November 3rd, 2010

Dies Mercurius

Luna wn 8%v

“It can be argued that there are two distinct categories of the REAL; that which is common and habitual, which I shall call ‘Reality,’ versus that which is suppressed by the first category which I shall call MARVELOUS. If one can believe the great thinkers of this century — the suppressed will return to haunt the bright plaza of low contrasts called ‘reality’ like lava extruded from a fault in the earth’s crust. If ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’ then the imagination abhors reality (an opposition whereby what can be achieved achieves a clawhold on what is.)”

-Peter Koch, editorial, fall 1977 issue of Montana Gothic (via prairiemary)

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