Leonardo & The Hermit

Alec Falle Hamilton recently shared this drawing which was inspired by the spirit(s) of the magic mushroom. “I asked the mushrooms how I could honor their spirit with a single drawing. Their answer came back immediately… ‘It’s all One line’. Here’s Leonardo Da Vinci and the Hermit, drawn without lifting my pen from the paper, made up entirely of mushrooms.”

credit: Alec Falle Hamilton, used with permission


This resonates so deeply with my own mushroom experiences, which often hurtle me back and forth between the past and future, with icons like Leonardo and other Renaissance figures giving my inspiration through their work. Leonardo has always represented to me the greatest mind humanity has ever offered: one whose inquisitive nature lead him to define new art forms, mechanisms and ideas that were centuries ahead of his time.
The Hermit is of equal importance in his quest for interior silence. Becoming a spiritually minded person often means separating oneself from society in order to deepen the relationship of the individual with nature and his own self.
These are all values upheld by the mushroom spirit.

See more of Hamilton’s art at their website and Instagram

Astrophotography Milestones & Celestial Adventures

I don’t live in a place where clear skies happen often–such a shame because one of my favorite hobbies is astrophotography. This year though, I made an arrangement (with a church, of all groups!) to make use of a private field near my house for astronomy purposes. Astronomy is, after all, hugely important to magic!
On the night after Christmas, the sky finally cooperated and so I went out to this field for the first time to take pictures with some new equipment. As expected, the cops showed up in the middle of my work with their obnoxious bright lights, ruining whatever shot my camera was working on. Know-nothing neighbors had reported suspicious activity where a strange man was allegedly taking pictures of their houses in the middle of the night. So I showed the cops my equipment, and my proof of permission to be there.
That still didn’t stop the interruptions since other nosy neighbors simply plowed through the pristine field in their 4-wheeler to stop right in front of my camera to see what I was doing. “I’m taking pictures of space. You just drove right through my shot man”. They were nice enough to apologize and we talked a bit about space before I shoo-ed them off. It was a night of hassle and obstruction, but I at least managed to get two decent pictures using a barn-door tracker which I had built the week prior.
This imaging session represents a big milestone for me, as it was the first time I have ever successfully imaged another galaxy. It just boggles my mind that the precious light from those stars had been traveling across the vast ocean of space for 2.5 MILLION years before it made its final destination in the sensor of my camera. In my city, the night pollution is a nightmare. I don’t get to practice much but I am always studying to improve my techniques. This is proof to me that study and sound theory make good results!

Orion constellation. 54 frames at 50″ each, totaling 45 minutes of exposure. Stacked in DSS and then edited in PS.
Andromeda galaxy (2.5 million LY away). 34 frames at 50″ each, totaling a mere 27 minutes of exposure time. Stacked in DSS then edited in PS.

I’ve been using this Fall and Winter to spend more time under the night sky, not only making astronomical observations, but in spiritual contemplation. My coven recently had our annual High Sabbat of the Woods where there was much time to lay under the stars in a visionary state. We spent most of our trip watching the sky from dusk till dawn. As the trip started kicking in, the sun was setting in a gorgeous gradient of orange red and yellow against the black horizon of trees, as Venus and Jupiter glided downwards to follow the sun. I could see how the planets are revolving around the sun in a 3D universe, not just the dome of the sky. It was a moment of cosmic revelation which just made me feel so incredible small against the unfathomably huge and ancient universe.
For a time, our group had been scattered about in the woods exploring. When we all suddenly met each other in a cypress swamp, we looked through the dense trees at what seemed like an industrial light nearby. It was the moon, shining so brightly and hanging low and large above the horizon. The rest of our trip was lit entirely by moonlight. It was a beautiful night of enchantment and delight.

Full Moon Ritual of Friday 13

Friday, September 13th
Full ☾ in ♓️

This weekend in the northern hemisphere we were all treated to an auspicious occurrence of a full moon in Pisces. This placement to me indicates a great magnification of spiritual movement, intellectual flow and inward creativity. Retrograde Neptune which governs this lunation may cause it to seem like the spiritual seeker is trying to swim upstream–there is struggle but determination in his efforts.
The day of the 13th, Sage, the priestess of our coven, invited me to join her in a full moon ritual. Despite being tired from all the crazy shit going on in my professional life right now, I decided that a full moon on Friday the 13th just cannot be overlooked. So we gathered!
Here in the south it is still hot at night but a passing tropical storm across the state thankfully provided some breeze and ambiance to the surroundings. This night was full of life as all the trees swayed, the crickets sang and a large and invisible family of frogs were calling out to each other as the moon passed silently overhead. To prepare we set up a working table outside. We took a lot of time before starting anything to ground ourselves and discern what need there was for working under this moon. It would be a night for divination and spirit travel! Not having a proper crossroads to work in, we decided instead to get cross-faded with an inebriating combination of alcohol, cannabis, kinnikkinnik, and the last dregs of my vision potion (the jury is finally out on this BTW. It is very inspiring).
We purified ourselves to start, cast the circle with the LBRP and called the elements together. We opened our ritual by drawing down the power of the moon into our space. Then we took out the Black Mirror. This mirror was built by me, consecrated to the moon, and since then has never touched the light of day. Sage took her dive into the depths of the mirror as I stood watch. By now all the potions and fumes from earlier were keeping me relaxed but deeply focused. I couldn’t tell you what Sage saw in the Mirror. That is for her to tell. But when I went in next, I had a profound, almost psychedelic experience.
My intention when starting this divination was to discern whether there was any hope in the future for the human species. As I opened the veil and entered into the Mirror’s fathomless depths, my mind’s eye briefly caught a glimpse of the anthropological story of homo sapiens from the last major Ice Age, to perhaps a not-too-distant future of human space exploration. But before gleaning too much about my intended question, a cosmic voice interjected…
“You’re asking the most boring question ever”, it said. And suddenly my vision transformed into an ever-expanding, multi-dimensional, fractalizing space. It was a universe beyond our own. It was the world of forms and it was the world of the formless at the same time. This multiverse of possibilities, endless endless combinations, opened up to me like a book in an alien script. “Is this the Askashic record?!!”, I thought to myself. No answer. Only the fast whizzing of ineffable words, images and feelings which were beyond my understanding. It was too much to contain. My mind was spinning and then somehow I spiraled back into my normal time and place, outside the Mirror, and outside still under the light of the moon. The lesson from my seemingly idiotic question? The human condition is an illusion of permanence. My human consciousness is a mere drop of water temporarily separated from an immense ocean of Mind. In some ways this is disturbing. In other ways it is comforting.
After this we had to stand up, move around, stretch and breathe. We then sat down for a mutual astral voyage up to the sphere of the moon, to explore its powers, denizens and structures. But that is a highly detailed story for another time. Finally we set up a small telescope which we used to focus moonlight into a singular point. We took turns charging our ritual objects with this favorable lunar energy, and blessing ourselves with its light. We also prepared a lovely urn of moon water, which we will use in the coming days.

The fullness of this moon also serves to remind me how full my life is. It is a blessing to have the means to explore the path of the spiritual seeker. And it is truly a blessing to have companions to explore the path together.

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Timothy Wyllie – Ketamine Lord

Timothy Wyllie’s life is proof that in order to become a great wizard, you have to alter your mind in drastic ways–usually to the point that you no longer even identify with the profane world at all. Having recently spent some more time learning about his life, he strikes me as the spiritual son of Dr. John Dee as well as Dr. Alexander Shulgin. A bit more about his mystical life comes from this eulogy by Erica Robinson of Inner Traditions:

It is with sadness that we report the passing of author Timothy Wyllie on Wednesday, October 4th. Born in 1940, Timothy was a great soul, forever changed by his near-death experience in 1973. A former member of the Process Church known for his appearances on Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia on Viceland Video, he spent the years after his NDE studying communication with non-human intelligences, such as Dolphins, ETs, and Angels. In 2011, with the publication of The Return of the Rebel Angels, he began to share his collected wisdom on the rebel angels as well as that of his own guardian angel, Georgia, an angel of Seraphic status. Georgia came to the fore with the publication of Timothy’s next book, Confessions of a Rebel Angel(2012), which Georgia channeled through Timothy. Their shared story has continued through several other books: Revolt of the Rebel Angels (2013), Rebel Angels in Exile (2014), Wisdom of the Watchers (2015), Awakening of the Watchers (2016), and Secret History of the Watchers (due out in 2018).

Watch the full episode of Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, which features Wyllie, at Vice

Book Review – The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic


In The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic, Thomas Hatsis takes you on a roller coaster ride through history in search for the mysterious origins of the legend of the witches’ flying ointment. Through story telling and by using primary historical sources, Hatsis presents the way in which the village healers and folk medicine practitioners of the Middle Ages became the most hated and feared of creatures to Christian Europe–witches! This book explores the historical use of psychoactive substances in both medicine and magic, and sheds much light on the Inquisitors who reacted to these practices with fear. Thomas Hatsis’ academic work, shown expertly in this book, is truly, truly impressive. Did he find the fabled recipe for magical flight? You will have to read to find out!

A Vision of Satan, A Night of Magic

Sunday, November 11th MMXVIII. Waxing Moon in Capricorn.

Our group has a powerful tradition of nocturnal witchcraft. When we determine the times and seasons are correct, we go out hiking deep into the wilderness where we have free reign to wander the woods under the cover of darkness. This is a mixed group of experienced psychonaut-witches and others new to our craft. This night was S’s initiation into our Mystery. After hiking a few hours, we arrived at our gathering place: a small clearing at the foot of a dense cypress dome. By sunset, our camp was set up, the sacred fire lit, and the tall pines stood watch as they were beautifully silhouetted against the twilight sky. As the slender crescent moon loomed low over the horizon, it was time again to take the mushroom potion I had so diligently prepared months ago.
We each bring our own different intentions to the rites. Some were there for guidance, others for healing or communicating with nature. My specific intention was to grow in magical knowledge and personal power. The group dynamic was just right, so I felt brave enough to take a very large dose. As we sat around the fire waiting for the arrival of the Mushroom Spirit, that old familiar indelible sensation of a subtle unveiling passed over us, wave after wave after wave. By the time we were each in a fully altered state, a strong wind passed us and we came to attention. Almost in unison we rose to walk. As we traveled silently in the darkness, the world became new again. Our sense of separation from nature was replaced by profound harmony. We slowly and carefully crossed a patch of swampland and into a scrub field. By this point, we had all been babbling to each other in endless streams of consciousness, roaring with raucous laughter and profound joy. When I peered through the darkness towards T and C (the other two experienced witches), we had been visibly transformed. T with his wavy golden locks, and wearing a cloak of stars became to me like the god Apollo! C with her bright blue hair and wearing a cape with a dark, colorful mandala, became like Gaia. I looked at myself and had become like Hades.
We decided to lay down and rest together a moment (the Mushroom always creates an alternating need to move and then to stop moving). I told the group it was time to be silent and listen to the world. The sudden quiet covered us like a blanket. After a moment (or maybe an hour? Time was becoming so difficult!), I went up to “Apollo” and asked him to walk with me alone. A short distance later we were shocked and surprised to find a crossroads in our path. This was the sign I needed! In many western traditions, a lonely crossroads is a particularly powerful place, and one especially where Satan is known to present himself.
Remembering my original intentions, I asked “Apollo” to guard my body. I did not know what I should do. By this point I was at the peak of altered consciousness. I stood at the edge of the crossroads and whispered into the darkness ahead of me, “Please, show me what to do.” Again the wind picked up and seemed this time to carry on it the whisper of a voice. I sensed the presence of a mighty and dread spirit. “Satan,” I said, “Here am I. If you would grant me the fantastic powers I’ve heard about, which you are known by men to offer those of us who call on you, I would freely give you whatever price you would ask of me!”
Then by an impulse I dropped to my knees, my arms spread out and my eyes looked up to the vast cosmos. Suddenly the sky itself rippled open into a terrible vortex! It was a swirling kaleidoscopic tunnel reaching into infinity from some other dimension. Fangs, bones, flames of Hellfire, glowing texts in an unknown language that revealed secrets unfathomable, hideous demonic faces with burning eyes staring through me, all rotating and ever changing before my dumbfounded self. I felt waves of new power crashing down on me, penetrating deep into my bones! My chest heavy with this power, I felt like I could become anything, do anything! A burning orange light rose out of me like a red-hot ball of iron. I knew this was my soul ascending towards the vortex. Out of the whirlwind appeared a terrible black claw with a singular reptilian eye. It was slowly coming down to snatch up my soul like the prize in an arcade claw machine. Then to my complete disappointment, the trance was broken with the sound of my name, which clashed and roared like thunder! “Gaia” appeared behind me, radiantly, standing next to our Apollo, to intervene and save my soul from being taken away.
The empty silence of the woods surrounded me again, and the vortex was gone, leaving only the countless stars sparkling down on us. I was equally grateful for their concern as I was desperate to go back into that trance. I appreciate my friends’ intervention, I know they meant well. But who knows what could have become of me had I not been interrupted.  Twenty-four hours later I can still feel that power dwelling in me, so perhaps something was given to me after all?
The night continued, the trip was the most visually intense experience I have ever had. We eventually returned to our camp to rest by the fire, but the visions just would not stop. The group’s mad ravings and fits of laughter and wailing continued through the whole night. Ever restless, we broke into smaller groups here and there to explore the more familiar parts of our woods, rapidly exchanging our disjointed thoughts, sharing our visionary experiences, and gazing out at constellations and wishing on shooting stars. Sleep would not come to us till just before the dawn.
Was my encounter with Satan real? On a psychological level I may rationalize the experience in terms of brain chemistry and the power of suggestion. But on a spiritual level, I know my soul was touched that night, and had that infernal transaction been completed, I can’t say what would have happened to me. The experiences that night were real enough that we will be forever changed.

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Murdering Toads to Make Wizard Dust

13th century alchemist Michael Scot in his work Liber luminis luminum, gives us a recipe for a “miraculous powder” which when used “can bring wisdom, joy and all manner of blessings from God above.” The only catch? You have to get a family of toads drunk and high, then burn them to a crisp!

Take ten poisonous toads, and let them be live, and put them in in a special vessel that they can’t escape from. Later take fresh asphodel [or daffodil] and white hellebore in good measure, extract as much of their juice as you can, put the juice in the vessel with the toads and let them drink it for nine days.

Then stick the toads into a clay pot, and place it into an oven so that the animals are burnt to ashes with sufficient heat. And thence remove them and carefully grind them up. And when that work is done, take Salt of Wisdom (alembroth), alkali, and just as much ammoniac. And then carefully grind ,mixing it with the (sap?) [lit. “urine”] of a yew tree. And dry it and grind it again. Do that nine times and you’ll make a miraculous powder.

Decem bufones tenentes venenum et fiant vive et ponantur in aliquo vase unde non valeant exire. Postea accipe anfodillos recentes et eleborum album in bona quantitate extrahe inde succum cum eis quantum pones, pone succum in vase illo in quo sunt rane et dimitte eas bibere per ix dies. Tunc accipe eas et pone in olla rudi et luta eam luto sapientie et pone ipsam in furno ita ut animalia comburantur combustione sufficienti et extrahe inde ea et tere diligenter et cum opus fuerit de illo pulvere accipe 3 – 1 de sale alebrot,3 – 1 de sale alkali, 3 – 5 de sale armoniaco tantundem et teras diligenter permiscendo cum ea urinam tassi et iterum exsicca et tere et hoc nonies fiat et de illo pulvere poteris facere mirabilia.

Witch feeding a cat with toads, 1630’s woodcut

Whether God will bless you if you try this, I can’t say. But I’m sure mixing 5-HO DMT with other alkaloids, along with ammonia and other things from under the kitchen sink that you’re not supposed to mix together, is going to definitely make you feel special, perhaps permanently. DO NOT TRY.

Bibliography

Brown, Rev. James Wood. (1897). An enquiry into the life and legend of Michael Scot. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/enquiryintolifel00browrich

Hatsis, T. (2015). Witches ointment – the secret history of psychedelic magic. Inner Traditions Bear And Comp.