Oct 20, 2012

Ashes in spiritual work and magick

NOTE: I dedicate this post to Miss Artemissia, who is  a very dear friend, and a commendable, experienced practitioner. Also I dedicate this post to  her due to her kean interest in "dead" things and dead energies , and for constantly inspiring me to  finish  up his article :)

If You have read my blog posts before, You could have noticed that  I posses a curious tendency to   write about things neglected by most  modern ( sometimes even older, classical ) occult literature. You know, those kind of  rituals /  methods and tools/curious  we normally do not  find being discussed in urban occult societies nowadays.

An artistic depiction of Cindarella, sitting by the
fireplace, ashes representing modesty and humility,
which in given story turned out to be a good base
for new chance and good chenges in life
I decided to do so on this occasion as well. Googling for magick regarding Ashes, and talking to fellow practitioners brought me to what could be metaphorically called an dead end, which has only inspired me to a more voracious and in-depth research of the matter, as much as possible  for me anyway .

Since the ancient times they were a symbol of humility, sorrow, and even a chance for new begging. Just take Cinderella for example,  a poor maiden, always covered with ashes ( cinders ) which did not conceal her beauty. O conteur, the  kindness and humility they stood for, just made Cinderella’s beauty shine brighter, making her more than just a pretty face , making her a commendable spirit as well J  
And I have found some remarkable things indeed!

Even though being an substance ( matter )  that has very little energy, and even that is some sort of special energy/vibration, it is a very handy   stuff to use in magickal workings. Apparently , It has a “hungry”  , extremely perceptive vibration to it, as well as power to end something.     Alchemists say how ashes are  fixatives,  tied to salt and Earthy principles. Technically ashes are unpurified mineral ( salts ) remains  of matter destroyed by combustion. In alchemy however, the common found  ashes are rarely used as such , for they are to be purifie d all until the pure , snowy  white mineral powder remains, consisting of  various mineral salts ( mostly K2CO3 ).  In alchemy, herbal ashes are simply subjected  to calcination or calcining,    constantly heated on a very strong flame, until   the ashes become white.  However, since the calcinations method is very imperfect, it is often combined with water purging method to get the best results, which would call for dissolving the ashes in rainwater and then  filtrating them,  if needed more than once, discarding what  remains on the philter  paper ( or whatever used for  filtration ), and finally evaporating the resulting filtrate ( filtrated liquid ) until obtaining the fine powder. Such, white powder ( mostly K2CO3  as stated above  ) Is the “herbal salt” or “herbal ashes” of alchemy. They are binding and tying, fixative principle of elixirs , stones, even amulets and talismans of a kind, for they have power to “draw and recreate” what was lost. So in a  ( very simplified ) nutshell, alchemists believed that something can shed  most of it’s imperfect parts and draw matter /energy from surrounding to recreate new ones ,  better than previous,  as long as mineral compound ( salt ) was preserved.  The “dead” ashes have had it’s C atoms ( life ) removed and is thus ( according to alchemy ) ready to be reanimated with “universal fire “ and  therefore eneble creation of life on some higher level, often by drawing  same or akin influences to those that material ( in this case herb  ) was infused with.  To illustrate: If You would create Mugwort’s ashes  ( salt ) it’s ashes would make a great fixative in an prophecy elixir or stone.   So Alchemistic calcinaton removes any impurities  that come as natural result of corpus involution, and hence such ashes are ready to be reanimated with new ,  radiant, “universal mercury of the herbal kingdom” ,  that is the more  pure, untainted “ashe” even in larger amount than   that which   the material originally contained .

A decent example of such in form of  talismanic work,  could be  the waxen images  ( often simply geometric figures and stars  ) that were popular  in middle ages, and such popularity had  allegedly  been  inspired by works of Paracelsus , who  had been  ( again allegedly/supposedly )  quite keen on making such.

Lavender talisman example

One  such example suggests  burning  Lavender and Frankincense in censer, using 3 Lavender branches and flowers of it, and as You do that chant  some soothing words of power.    While doing that You must take care to reserve the ashes, for they are latter placed in   Yellow wax poured in form of  triangle. Such talisman is said  to confers great success and luck in all sort of things. [1]

St.John’s wort talisman example

Another similar example I encountered call for finding a small dead frog, which is dried and beaten to a fine powder and  then mixed with  St John’s wort also finely powdered. The resulting mixture is burnt minding to collect the remaining ashes, which are then kept in some ring, medallion  or sachet , used to protect from ill, misfortune, bad luck, and also as an aid in personal empowerment [2]

 In modern occultism, however, ashes are rarely used or even discussed . And the little uses they  have , seem to originate either from bias personal gnosis  of New Age authors,   or from European pagan religions, folk magick as well as inspirations from Judaic and  Christian religion and mysticism. Cross referencing what all  these have to say about it,   I have come to certain conclusions about ashes use in occultism:

·         Ashes have power to fixate , draw specific energies, that are akin to those of a object they originate from ( Alchemy , see earlier in text )

·         Ashes have power to end something , or to symbolically turn other things to ashes or make something fail. This concept  is often used  in Wicca and Pagan magick, as well as folk magick, where ashes “ending” is employed in apotropaic spells ( see example latter in text )

·         Ashes can Uncross or Cross  ( cigarette ashes can apparently cause depression magickaly [3] )   and are hence ingredients of many Conjure powers, most often for blessing, Uncrossing and Crossing ( Hoodoo, see examples bellow ) ,

·         Ashes can be used for divination

As stated above they are often used in apotropaic spells  that can end and “turn to ashes” someone’s attempts to harm, they are to literarily  make the energy sent/directed inactive. Here is an example in a very fine  jar/bottle spell available all  world wide web’s space, actually  under the moon LINK

“Spell  to stop a trouble maker”

Write the name of the person on a piece of parchment/paper
Fold it twice.
Take a lime and cut it twice, once diagonally and once horizontally, but don't cut it all the way into four pieces.
Place the paper or parchment inside the lime and hold it together with two long steel nails.
Place the lime into a clean glass jar and put into it some ash, salt and vinegar and screw the lid on tight. Keep the jar in a secure place where other people won't see it.
When you no longer have need of the jar, pour the contents onto the ground and then recycle the jar.
The ash and salt are supposed to thwart their efforts to cause you trouble of any kind, and the vinegar and lime should sour their own affairs at the same time.  [4]

This very spell reminds me of Hoodoo Mirror box spell J and to me it illustrates well aportopaic ( or even crossing ) power believed for ashes to hold, in European folk magick. I also don’t see why this could not be treated as nice Hoodoo jar spell too, more so If we take in consideration, that Lemon is  used in Hoodoo herbalism to cut ties with someone, here a troublemaker. 

Ashes in Hoodoo and Conjure

I myself had not  yet encountered any articles,  entries ,  in classic Hoodoo texts regarding ashes. However  they make  fairly used ingredient in Hoodoo magick.
To make a Down Home Uncrossing powder all one needs to do is burn black Hen’s feathers and reserve the ashes. They are said to have a great Uncrossing power , as stated in  an  online Hoodoo supplier  catalogue [5]  

Ashes  are also ( reportedly ) and ingredient of certain  Hoodoo crossing powders,  and not just any ashes, ashes  of the burnt Palm leafs  that were blessed on Palm Sunday . Some people attribute this use to  Herman Slater’s formulary, however I have heard  of such ashes being used in Hoodoo, long before Slater’s formulary. 

Sometimes they are ( a coloring  , or a dye )   ingredient in “Black salt” , although better choices are cast iron scrapings or  charcoal, or even chimney soot.

 Judaic and Christian influence

 In old Testament and Torah, ashes play an important symbolic role,   akin , in a way, to that of  Earthly dust. In Judaism,  ashes represent something that had potential before, but no longer has much, as opposed to dust. This however, does not have to be taken literarily, more so symbolically , for as such, they    simply illustrate the humility of Abraham, before the Lord of the Hosts. In Christianity, similarly they represent repentance, and death. In Old Testament it represented sorrow , suffer and  repent.  For Catholics play and an important symbolic role in Lent period  that begins on Ash Wednesday .

It still a custom in some Christian monasteries to lay a dying person  on a Cross patern drawn using ashes. Blessed ashes are sometimes added to food of Monks that fast rigorously, and is used in ritual of Consecration of The Church Ground, even in some funerary rites [6] . Hence once again, we attest power of the ashes to  bring to an end something,  or even  bless.   

Hebrew people and Christians also used ashes, to dust them self, while wearing “sackcloth” , as a sign of resentment and humility, when they’ve felt they’ve sinned.  

 Bible mentions ashes , being employed,  in various places, for example in Numbers 19:16-19:20 ;

Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days.

17 “For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them. 18 Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave or anyone who has been killed or anyone who has died a natural death. 19 The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them. Those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean. 20 But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean. [7] 

Or ,
"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. "[8]   

 "  The word reached  the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. "   [9] 

Mentioned paragraphs finely illustrate  the   spiritual concept of ashes,  which they have in Judeo Christian religion and spirituality.

In China, it is considered to be a sign of death, illness or at least  some sort of misfortune, to spot wet ashes . And more than  just being ominous in certain cultures /traditions/ systems,  ashes often those obtained from ritual sacrifice had been ( and are still  ) used in divination method, known as spodomancy  [10]

Here are few ideas that crossed my mind, regarding  how we could employ ashes in magick ; 

To waste  someone’s fortune  

Obtain a money bill from the person, If You can, If not, use some old , worn out, low amount  money bill.  Also some soil from their yard. Write their name  on it nine times, each time writing in smaller letters . Place it in a jar and  pour some vinegar or lemon juice over it,  and If You feel so inclined, add a whole red pepper . Then  leave it open ,  somewhere outside preferably, for as long as the Moon wanes , so that  the fluid could evaporate. On the “moonless” night ( night just before the New Moon, before the waxing period ) carry the bill nearside the river ( that should be well  dry  and worn out looking  ) and burn it there reserving the ashes as You say :

I burn not merely this bill, but also Your  fortune with it! As the fire consumes the paper and turns it to ashes so shall Your money ( add : decrease, turn to dust, disappear etc. )  !

Mix the ashes with the soil and then sprinkling them over the river’s surface, and watching it being carried away, You could add something along these lines: 

As this ashes and this earth, move away from You, so shall Your wealth run away from  You! So mote it be !

  Peace a nasty ghost spell

If a spirit of a dead person is  being  a nescience and /or a threat,  obtain some of it’s belongings (  while they were alive ) and wrap them in a piece of new, white cloth, tying a knot to secure it. Bury on crossroads, cemetery  or in forest during the waning Moon, and cover the “burial” spot  with mixture of Ashes and Graveyard dirt. Lay it  over the spot, so that   it  forms the mark of equal armed Cross, or  to form and x pattern. You can say something along the lines:

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust
Spirit to Spirit

Take them away and set me free!

So mote it be    !

There , I hope readin’ this was if not informational, at least interesting, and provided some insight into how we could use ashes in magick J

Blessings , Shade ;)
NOTES: This article was written, and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any part of it elswhere online, feel free but add credits : Shadow of Shadows magick place,    or Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a d irect link to this post.
[1]  Translated and adapted ( edited )  from “Magija biljaka, I lek I amajlija” by Jasna Jojic Pavlovski, an Serbian  folklorist, ethnologist and anthropologist
[2] as under [1]
[4] Quoted from; http://www.everythingunderthemoon.net/spells/spell-to-stop-trouble-maker.htm  for illustrative,  and explanatory purposes, also reviewing, without any ill will
 [6] according to “Recnik okultizma” by Tomislav Gavric ( “Occult dictionary”  ) 150th page, entry : pepeo ( ashes ) published by “Lento” in republic of Serbia, 2004th , in Serbian. Paraphrased and translated here
used here for Illustrative purposes without  any ill intention s


Anonymous said...

A very interesting article with some really good information. Since people are cremated is there any use for their remains ? Or is that just too taboo ? Just curious.

Mike Hunt said...

Google Mehta prai oil from Thailand those oils are made from human remains. Maybe white Europeans went their and taught them their magical system of using dead babies (Kumantong) as amulets or reducing human bodies to ashes in order to make amulets or boiling them to make oils.

Please read signs and symbols of Primordial Man by Albert Churchward to find out the basis of animism or Anacapalysis to find out who were the first civilizations. Wrap that around your warped black obsessed minds.