Storm Raising

As a process which can obviously be put to mischievous uses (and in the medieval Christian mind always was), I deal with storm raising and its more far-reaching concomitant, weather working, under this particular chapter heading as a matter of convenience rather than one of hard definition.

Far back into recorded history, powerful practitioners of the occult have generally been credited with powers of weather working. From Kublai Khan's eastern shamans, to the Druids of the British Isles, they have all possessed one skill in common, the mysterious power of controlling wind, rain, mist, and thunderbolt. During the Middle Ages, however, in Christian lands, at any rate, this skill, where demonstrated, was seen simply as another manifestation of ever-present Satan's power. The orthodox Christian doctrine ran thus:

Almighty God in the depths of his wisdom and for reasons best known to himself had temporarily delegated the power of control over the elements to Satan, under whose regency the world had been placed until such a time as the Second Coming took place. Hence, Satan's title, "Lord of this World."

This power Satan in turn conferred on witches, wizards, and other practitioners of the Black Arts, all seen as being if not subservient to, then at least in league with him.

The delegated power of weather working was then used either for the ignoble purpose of blighting the crops of God's faithful or, should the effect produced be a benevolent one leading to increase of crops, as a means of leading the unwary astray from the path of righteousness by dint of heretical reliance on devilish practices. Whatever the ecclesiatical dogma, however, witches had their own beliefs and apparently managed to maintain them fairly consistently throughout the various periods of persecution in Europe and England, although the years of total secrecy contributed much to the almost total fragmentation and hybrid diversification of the knowledge such as it exists today.

Apart from the direct application of witch power, whether inherited as an inborn talent or learned in a coven, the actual methods of accomplishing the feat of weather working are about as varied an assortment as you are ever likely to encounter. To one familiar with the weather-working practices over the centuries, at least nine different processes of rain making, for instance, will come to mind. There is the one involving the burning of the desiccated liver of a chameleon on the rooftop; another specifying the casting of flints behind one's back; the flinging of sand into the air; beating up a spray of water from a river with a besom. Boiling hogs' bristles in a cauldron; vigorously stirring the water in a hole in the earth with your ringer; sprinkling cold water over a naked virgin; and, finally, sacrificing a coal-black cockerel.

Most all of these are what Frazer would have categorized as "sympathetic" magical gestures, processes designed to effect their aim by reason of the magical axiom that if you perform an action symbolically, that which it represents may in fact occur, due to the oneness of the universe, the interaction of the microcosm with the macrocosm. This, of course, is the basic working thesis of witchcraft. What Frazer leaves out, however, and it is the thing which differentiates a child's game of make-believe from a genuine witch's magical operation, is that vital occult factor of the deep mind's part in the work. Unless that underlying stratum of physical coexistence here designated as the deep mind is penetrated, the "magic" remains totally within the personal sphere of the operator, at best remaining purely an exercise of surface autosuggestion; at worst, a fantasy game to be taken to in refuge from a hostile outside world. Only when the "deeps" are contacted, only at that point does any real witchcraft take place.

This principle applies as much to the process of weather working as to any other magical field. Most of the work being done in this direction by present-day covens is concerned mainly with the direct use of personal or collective witch power used to "split" or dematerialize cloud formations while under personal scrutiny, and is often performed in an impromptu manner rather than as an elaborately thought-out ritual. The "splitting" process consists of simply a bending of your pyramid powers toward the event which you wish to take place, namely, the dissolution of the cloud mass, an operation taken thus far and no farther. In fact, it is a simple process of binding, in this instance performed on a natural phenomenon rather than on another living person. You "see" the clouds as splitting and parting, harrying them with your fortified will and imagination.

However, for those witches who would prefer a more deliberate approach, the seeds of the process will lie in the use of the archetypal symbolism of the four elements of the wise. In order to raise a tempest or wind, whether it be used to split clouds or tear up trees, contact has to be made with the powers of the air, using as many magical images congruent with the airy principle as appeal to you. The square of Mercury may be of use and Herne invoked. The Kerubic Eagle, or Great Bird, from the watchtower of the east should be called upon. The wand should be used as the emblem of power in your ritual, and you should seek to call up all the stormy, howling, blustering, wind-swept memories of gale and hurricane within your experience, and augment them by rhyming spell within a circle properly cast with Mercurial incense.

For a benevolent zephyr, invoke on a Wednesday with the moon waxing at 8 A.M., 3 P.M., or 10 P.M.; for a destructive storm, conjure at one of the same hours on a Thursday with the moon waning. For an electrical storm, call upon Cernunnos and all the powers of fire on a Tuesday with the moon waning. The Great Lion from the watchtower of the south must be invoked, and your fiery Athame or sword must be brandished as a magical emblem; burn an incense of wrath and chastisement. Thunor and all the storm gods must attend on you! Finally, for mist, cloud, or rain, invoke the Lady Habondia as Ruler of the Great Waters, and that Serpent of Old, Mighty Tiamat, from the watchtower of the west. Burn your lunar incense from Chapter 3, and use your chalice of salt water as the magical weapon of invocation, performing the operation on a Monday at 8 A.M., 3 P.M., or 10 P.M.

Should you wish to "pre-set" the storm for a future unspecified time, an old witch device is to bind the invoked force into a talisman which is then "discharged" at the appropriate moment. About the best device for this purpose is the knotted cord.

Construct your elemental ritual around the action of braiding a cord of red ribbon or yarn, as in the creation of your original cingulum, binding in the invoked forces by means of a repeated jingle of your own composition.

Complete the operation by tying three deliberate knots in the cord, two on the outside, one last in the centre, with words to the effect of:

"As these knots are loosed, so mote the weather be!"

At the time the effect is desired, the operator should take the cord in hand and turn to the correct direction, east for gales, south for thunderstorms, west for rain. He must then summon up all the powers of the required element from the depths of his being with all the force of his will, faith, and imagination. Traditionally, he should at this point whistle thrice for a wind, clap thrice for thunder, or spit thrice for rain. A metrical incantation of intent devised by the operator should then be thundered forth, punctuated by the untying of the three knots in reverse order to that in which they were tied.

Should you be disposed to combine the powers of all three elements and raise a hurricane, then you must perform your three operations on separate occasions, tying the knots on top of the previous knots in the same cord, making three large triple knots in fact. When you release them, again make sure you work in the reverse order, chanting an all-embracing spell which effectively enumerates all the elemental images concerned.

The important thing to observe throughout is that the operator be "possessed by a wave of godhead,"

using as a triggering device all the previously activated archetypal element images within him. This is where the knack lies.

Weather working is a thing that has to be worked at. The all-important factor is contact with the archetypal elemental powers in their most fundamental form. As a beginner, you would be wise to begin experimenting with this type of magic at a season when the type of elemental activity you are trying to induce would not prove too uncommon. As I have said elsewhere, don't strive for the "impossible." Not yet, anyway, stick to the "improbable" for the time being. You must take great care not to impair your newly established magical faith in yourself at this early stage of your career.

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