A couple of weeks ago, maybe a month, I posted a status on FaceBook that I had performed the Rite of the Headless One, AKA the Stele of Jeu, and finally understood what Jack Faust meant when he said that if you perform the rite correctly it feels as if you’ve ingested an entheogen. (Jack’s a genius, by the way, you should read his blog — all of it.) Another FB friend, Craig Slee (whose blog you need to read) sort of, kind of dared me to perform the Headless Rite thirty days straight. He said he did so some time ago and those thirty days taught him everything he needed to know in order to properly do the Work (i.e., of a sorcerer). I tried, and after a few days I caved. Sleep debt? Low mood? —Maybe but probably not. Probably just No to be honest. I think I caved because the Rite is just so frakking intense. I did it initially because it’s, in part, an exorcism, and some weird stuff was happening in my home. That’s just not right with me, and the Rite of the Headless One took care of it.
With this blog post I’m announcing my intention to perform the Rite of the Headless One for thirty days straight, starting tomorrow. I so want to know how to properly “do the Work”… I’m sick of fumbling, rambling from this to that, magically. Posting my intent here gives me the incentive of avoiding public failure. And I will publish any failure here. —I do reserve the right to abandon this project should some emergency arise which prevents me from completing the Rite for even one day. No harm, no foul, in that case.
These days, the Rite is performed most often with the intent of attaining Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, better known as K&C of the HGA. I’m not gonna go there with this little project so I’m not going to write about that. Info (mostly arguments) about the HGA are all over the Internet. —Also, all sorts of stories imply that, um, weirdness can result from the performance of this Rite, even if it works. Jack Parsons (about whom there’s too much fascinating stuff for me to link to any one source: Google is your friend) stated that its performance could result in a permanent haunting. But he was working Aleister Crowley’s much altered version, better known as the Bornless Rite, found in Crowley’s Liber Samekh. —Personally, I wouldn’t touch Liber Samekh with a ten foot pole. I mean, I admire Crowley, I admire Thelema and the Holy Books of Thelema (the ones I’ve read). So no offense, I hope — please and thank you very much — to any Thelemites who might be reading this. I simply believe Crowley made a mistake when he altered those rather important voces magicae…
I’ll be posting updates should anything … interesting happen, also periodic updates regardless.
So what is the Rite of the Headless One, AKA the Stele of Jeu? It’s found in the Greek Magical Papyri (available in Betz’s wonderful and scholarly translation), usually just referred to as the PGM (that’s backwards because it stands for the Latin Papyri Graecae Magicae). On page 103 in fact, if you want to preview it on books.google.com. To be precise, it’s called PGM V. 96-172. In the text it’s called the Stele of Jeu the hieroglyphist in his letter. Short version: it’s an ancient Greco-Egyptian magic spell. Long version … it’s much more than that. In it the operant, magician, goês, (Greek for something like sorcerer: incidentally Goetia stems from the word goês) or whoever both evokes and invokes the Headless One, who is most likely the Egyptian God Bes, and probably also the Agathos Daimon (Good Spirit) as well. And the “daimon which restrains NN” is exorcised by their power. NN stands for the name of someone oppressed by a spirit, a daimon. NN can be the name of the goês, meaning me in this case. I’m going to modify the Rite very slightly and say “any daimons which might restrain me, Rachel Izabella…”. Such tiny customizations are just a done thing.
Truth to tell though, it’s much more complicated than that. For the most cogent discussion of the Stele of Jeu I’ve read, go here. —Recently modern Magus Mike Cechetelli in his Book of Abrasax has suggested that the crucial entity, the real power source as it were, evoked/invoked by the Rite is the mysterious Power called Heart Girt with a Serpent. I believe nobody in this world knows who or what that Power is.
Evoke and invoke are used as technical terms in Western magic. To evoke a spirit is to call it/her/him to one’s immediate vicinity. To invoke a spirit is to call it/her/him into oneself. This Rite does both at once. It’s customary upon completion of the Rite, with the invoked power still humming in you, to state a specific intent or prayer in the voice of the God.
Finally, successful performance of this rite gives one a measure of authority over spirits. Or so I’ve been told. Repeatedly performed, it’s said, it changes you, maybe, in ways I suppose I’ll be finding out about soon enough. Regardless, I’m going at this with all my heart. What thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.
I start tomorrow, 21 March 2013.