Of Blood And Titles

All things naturally come to an end. We move on emotionally, mentally and sometimes even physically, broadening our horizons and leaving once important concepts behind us. We bury feelings, abandoning them to dance into the anaesthetising haze of memory where they will eventually cease to hold any power over our lives. We evolve, finding with some sorrow that what once held such depth of meaning for us no longer gets us through the long and lonely nights. Any form of spiritual restlessness may also bring with it a desire to be freed of previous oaths, contracts and grades. The following ritual can give you such a second bite of the cherry, albeit at the cost of everything that you once were.

The central premise is a simple one. As occultists, if all we are is represented by our magickal name, then changing that name changes who we will be. Such titles are central to the art in the post Crowley era, and through his work they have since made their way like moth-eaten hand me down sweaters into the modern ceremonial and witchcraft currents. No longer dispensed exclusively by a given high priest or mentor, most are now chosen by the initiates themselves. This is especially true in a notoriously traditionless tradition like chaos magick, and as such the possibility of being able to change your destiny by altering your supposedly secret name is an attractive prospect for those who desire a fresh start.

Unfortunately, such a process, no mater how simple, is not free. To get what you want you will need to bleed for it, sacrificing a portion of your life force to fuel the metamorphosis into a new, more focussed magickal being. As such, this flows neatly into the realms of necromancy, the occult application and utilisation of the life force of either the living or the dead to fuel change in line with the will. While this is a specialist area of mine, the following should work equally well in the context of any given mystical path, as long as it is one that allows the use of blood during rituals. We are not talking about lopping off a limb here, a small cut to the finger is more than enough to get the job done.

The required tools and ingredients for the following operation are simple in the extreme; four small black candles, a needle or knife to extract the blood, four frankincense incense sticks, a couple of sterile wound wipes and a roll of sticky plaster for after you finish up. To begin, banish and cleanse as normal, then sit cross-legged on the floor in the dark. Face north, and arrange the unlit candles around you at a distance that leaves them within easy reach but also allows for movement within the circle that they will create. Each candle represents one of the four directions of the compass, obviously, and the already burning incense is placed beyond each of these, standing straight up. The knife or needle is placed on your lap, and the medical supplies somewhere close just in case you accidentally decide to carve instead of poke.

With all of the previous considerations in place you are ready to begin. While the following operation might seem complex on paper it actually has a very definite rhythm to it once you get started, and lends itself nicely to a solo setting. Beginning with the northernmost candle, light it and, after allowing the light and warmth wash over you for a moment, rotate your entire body around ninety degrees clockwise. This is the direction tied to the raising of energy, and that is exactly what you are attempting to do. Still in a seated position, do the same to the candle in the east. Follow the same procedure with the ones to the south and west, before returning to the north facing position. You should now be surrounded by four points of light, and a growing cloud of purifying frankincense incense as well.

Closing your eyes, pierce the long finger of your left hand at the tip deep enough to draw a steady flow of blood. Place the now ensanguined knife in the flame of the northern candle while vibrating the last letter of your old magickal name. Rotate yourself bodily towards the western candle, and do the same with the second to last letter, drawing more blood from the wound on to the blade and placing it within the flame. Then move first to the south and then to the east, repeating the process for the third from last and fourth from last letters, until you return to the north on the fifth. Continue the procedure in the same manner until you finally run out of letters, ending with the first, and then return to the northernmost candle.

The eagle-eyed among you will have already realised that the anticlockwise motion thus described is designed to drain the power from the original name, wiping the energetic slate clean in preparation for the bonding of the new one to your soul. The reversed order of letters is designed to represent an inversion of the original naming process, which this entire ritual is designed to correct. The bonding of the new magical name works in very much the same fashion as what has been already outlined, though unsurprisingly, in reverse. Starting with the northern candle, work your way around the circle in a clockwise motion, vibrating each letter of your new magickal name in the correct order and placing the bloodied blade in the flames as before, until you have spoken each aloud. Once that is done, return again to the northern candle and meditate upon the power that you have raised for a while before continuing.

Here the clockwise rotation is designed to tie each letter of your new magickal name to ever increasing levels of mystical energy. By the end of the process not only should you have relieved yourself of the psychological baggage tied to your previous incarnation, but also created subconscious associations between your nom de guerre and the raising of such eldritch energy; a mental bond that will also make future ritual work just that little bit easier to pull off through the mnemonic sigil grafted to your very soul. To finish the process, simply rotate around the circle one final time in an anticlockwise direction from the north, snuffing out the candles as you go, until you are left in darkness. All that remains then is to return to normal consciousness, through food or drink, laughter or sleep, and the sterilising and covering of your wound.

While not the most complex of operations to complete, this ritual amicably fulfils the core tenets of modern occult practice, being simple and to the point, while also tapping into concepts that are deeply rooted in any serious magickian’s psyche. It also gives the magus dominion over their own spiritual destiny, something that is intrinsic to continued success in any free-form psycho-spiritual exploration. It lessens the hold that past hierarchies can claim to have over those that once wished to be numbered among their ranks, and allows for a line to be drawn under previous regrets too. In many ways it is very much like magical tattoo removal, though without the hefty price tag and, as long as you were not too overzealous with the butcher knife, a much smaller scar.

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