#12 - August 2017 - Decans and Dream Mirrors
"OK so i have to ask about the effects the 1st Face of Cancer will bestow.
From Arabic Picatrix:
Effect: It indicates wittiness, mindfulness, friendliness, delicacy and cleanliness Image: A man with a curved face and fingers that look like a horse. He has white feet and tree leaves are attached to his body.
From Latin Picatrix:
Effect: This is a face of instruction, love, subtlety and mastery. Image: A man whose fingers and head are distorted and slanted, and his body is similar to a horse's body; his feet are white, and he has fig leaves on his body.
From Three Books of Occult Philosophy:
Effect: It is excellent for sharp senses, subtlety of wit, and love of men. Image: A virgin Girl, dressed in pretty clothes, waering a crown on her head.
The images from the Arabic and Latin picatrix are similar, but differ from the T.B.O.P. However there is some over lap of effects, though the images differ. I see increases in mind in all 3, love and friendliness also, though T.B.O.P mentions specifically the love of men. Will sticking with the picatrix images keep the effects only to what it mentions, or is what is mentioned in the T.B.O.P, fleshing out more of what to expect, in conjunction with the mental increase? Your insights are appreciated.
This poster, who is a very experienced user of talismans asks a very useful and in face very deep question. First, the decan/faces are very ancient. They are one of the sets of astral factors that were used independently of astrology which is a unitary system that relies on a Zodiac. The Egyptians mapped the decans to the rising, culminating and setting of sets of fixed stars and used them for temple timekeeping. Each decan had a god or gods associated with it, the decan lords. The decan lords also appear on sarcophagi and had magical and spiritual uses.
Like the Mansions the decan/faces were incorporated into traditional Western astrology and mapped to the Zodiac with each of the 12 signs having 3 decan/faces. For decan/faces, we have an almost bewildering array of different sources, which as you note, are often contradictory.
So, how do we deal with these contradictions? There is a natural tendency to want and expect that there is a single "right" answer, true for everyone for all time. We can then get ego attached to our preference and have all sorts of delicious arguments and pronouncements and other ego enhancing activities. The solution to the contradictions is therefore to seize on one or more sources as "right" and the others as "wrong". But being so sure of oneself immediately collapses a wide range of possibilities.
Let me posit some alternatives. Again, I don't propose these as "right" but merely as starting points for personal exploration. First, there is the plain fact that we have a lot of different sources. The spiritual realm is very difficult to pin down and thus it is hardly surprising that spiritual sources differ.
Then, we might consider what Ficino says about the chains of sympathy,
"I have said elsewhere that down from every single star (so to speak Platonically) there hangs its own series of things down to the lowest...Under the celestial Serpent or the entire constellation of the Serpent-bearer, they place Saturn and sometimes Jupiter, afterwards daemons who often take on serpent's form, in addition men of this kind, serpents (the animals), the snake-weed, the stone draconite which originates in the head of a dragon, and the stone commonly called serpentine...By a similar system they think a chain of beings descends by levels from any star of the firmament through any planet under its dominion."
Ficino, Three Books on Life, Bk. III, Chap. 14, p. 311.
Thus while my preference is to deal with the highest archangelic celestial spirits, in the chain of any celestial factor like a planet or decan/face, there are going to be archangels, angels, daimons and even demons. We can even see this in the Testament of Solomon where the all of the listed decan spirits cause various illnesses and are restrained by angels. So some of the differences may be accounted for by the fact that the sources are interacting with different types and different levels of decan/face spirits. So what we may be seeing is the incredible variety of different spirits, good, negative, indifferent, powerful, weak, interested or disinterested in humanity, that are all collectively contained under the umbrella of a particular astrological factor, like a decan/face.
But this doesn't really answer the question of what effects you are going to get. This raises some other interesting and deep questions. While there is nothing wrong with looking at effects, in fact, you'd be wise to be concerned about them, I'm beginning to think that a primary focus on effects is counterproductive. Instead, my focus is shifting to my relationship with the celestial spirits. So think about someone who decides to be your friend because you are rich, hangs out with you because they want money from you and then decides you are a bad person or that friendship is worthless in general because you don't immediately give them what they want. Are they right? Is friendship worthless? Are you the bad guy here? Consider, on the other hand, how pleasant it is to hang out with someone who is very positive all the time, even if you don't get anything material, you are uplifted by your time with the person. You may even find that an internal transformation has taken place and you yourself have become more positive from your time and relationship with the person.
Again, all very interesting! So let me end with some practical advice. If there are these variant sources, we can treat these as different possible modalities, different realities. In his Axioms of Magic the contemporary mage Bill Whitcomb says,
II. Law of Attention
The more evidence one looks for to support a given law, conclusion, or world view the more one will find. World views have inertia. Since we create our world each moment (as discussed above in the Law of World Views), we are constantly maintaining our world view. This is done by means of a recursive internal dialogue of words and symbols with which we constantly edit our perceptions. By rearranging our attention, we rearrange our world view. To quote Lewis Carroll, "What I tell you three times is true."
This is not to say that we can think up some sort of fantasy and immediately have it come true, instead it is pointing to the incredible interpenetration of worlds and realities that we can either passively experience or actively work with. So, in simple terms, if you want the Agrippa decan effects use the Agrippa decan images and any other associated decan/face lord names, rituals, etc. Stick with one or associated sets and you are likely to get more consistent results.
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