Hey everyone, I've been reading up on this particular part of the PGM for a couple months now with the intention of doing it myself. Now that things have slowed down at my job since summer is over, I finally have time to start getting things together for this. This isn't going to just be some quick thing, but more like an ordeal which the preparation for will probably last months. There are some things I'm still considering, but I imagine it will take awhile.
Anyway, that's why I've decided to create a thread for my progress. I can share my experiences with the class, and would be glad to hear the opinions and experiences of others with this rite. This initiation, once completed, allows the initiated to use a bowl divination spell to receive answers from whatever God or entity he or she wishes. I've been wanting to step up my divination game, and this really appealed to me.
I'm getting my information from two primary sources: Hans Dieter Betz's PGM and Leonardo Drakon's blog, which has been a life saver when it comes to understanding this rite and guiding me through the process. Here's the link, should anyone want to check it out, I highly encourage it: http://voces-magicae.com
The rite doesn't call for much in the way of equipment, but a couple of the things it does mention are meaningful and important:
1. A white linen cloth, which serves as a figurative burial shroud.
2. A crown of "dark" ivy.
3. A white garment, for after the initiation is complete.
4. The "Black of Isis", a black silk band that is used as a blindfold and around the hand in various rituals in the PGM.
I will do consecrations on the shroud and white garment, but to me, the ivy crown and Black of Isis seem like the most important items.
I could probably just trim some ivy from nearby and twist it into a circle, but I figure maybe I should take some time to interact with it. Since there is a beautiful trail I ride my bike on right by my house, I really have no excuse not to. My thought is that I'll repeatedly visit a certain selection of ivy in the surrounding woods and form a relationship with it by doing prayers on it, etc. Since it's going to take me awhile to make the Black of Isis I will certainly have time. I've been thinking that I could also make it into an actual metal piece: plants can be dried, shellacked, and the encased in copper through electroforming. The copper could then be given a sulphur patina, which would definitely make the ivy "dark". The ritual does call for me to wear it while I lay down though, so it being metal might be extremely uncomfortable. I'm still thinking it over.
The thing I am going to start on relatively soon, though, is creating the Black of Isis. I ordered some black silk for this purpose a couple months ago. The Black of Isis isn't just a piece of black cloth, it's a direct connection to Isis in her mourning aspect, and thus is a connection to the underworld and spirit realm. It's used in several other rituals for obtaining answers in dreams and other things, so I'm going to put some extra effort into making it. Leonardo Drakon has this passage from Plutarch on his blog:
"As the nights grow longer, the darkness increases, and the potency of the light is abated and subdued. Then among the gloomy rites which the priests perform, they shroud the gilded image of a cow with a black linen vestment, and display her as a sign of mourning for the goddess, inasmuch as they regard both the cow and the earth as the image of Isis; and this is kept up for four days consecutively, beginning with the seventeenth of the month…The things mourned for are four in number: first, the departure and recession of the Nile; second, the complete extinction of the north winds, as the south winds gain the upper hand; third, the day’s growing shorter than the night; and, to crown all, the denudation of the earth together with the defoliation of the trees and shrubs at this time."
Leonardo says that this begins after the Autumn Equinox and all the way through the Winter Solstice, since this is when the nights are longer. This is pretty good timing I'd say, so I figure I will begin working with this on October 17th through the 21st and do this for a few months. But I am thinking I will need to find more relevant things to myself, the times, and the area I live in to mourn than the recession of the Nile. I'm sure I'll come up with something.
Also, there is a beautiful overlook of the river on the bike trail I use, and I think this would be a good place to do this "mourning". It isn't the Nile, but it's symbolically appropriate. I recently read a defixio ritual from Gordon White in which he said the river should run North to South, so I'm wondering it that will be important for this too.
Anyway, that's all for now. If anyone has comments or suggestions, feel free to mention them. I'll update again with more thoughts and progress soon.
You and me and the Devil makes three.