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Gothic Grimoire
Gothic Grimoire

By: Konstantinos
Imprint: Llewellyn
Specs: Trade Paperback | 9780738702551
English  |  192 pages | 6 x 9 IN
6 x 9, 240 pp.
Pub Date: September 2002
Price: $14.95 US,  $23.95 CAN
In Stock? Yes, ready to ship
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Chapter One
Stepping into the Current
Your way of life can never be truly codified by others. Seeker of dark mysteries, how you choose to fulfill your desires shall always be flexible. Yet perhaps you’ve begun to notice that in your exploration of the dark side of the occult, you’re experiencing something that is much more than just a collection of nocturnal experiments.
There is a very tangible current or energy at work in the ether of night. If this is your first foray into nocturnal magick, then maybe you still need some time to feel the current. But even after invoking just a few dark gods and goddesses, and tapping into the ether of night for inspiration, it is almost impossible to not feel that the darkness possesses just such a current—an energy that seeks to embrace and carry you along to the accomplishment of greater things.
This dark current is, in a way, the only ally you need in your path to spiritual development. It links you to the Source through the guise of the nocturnal deities. It gives you, this energy you can tap into, the tools you need to transform reality around you.
Learn here, in Part One, how to use this current to fully step into the night’s mysteries.
Identifying the Nocturnal Tradition
In Witchcraft, a new energy current usually forms around a new tradition. Some High Priest or Priestess determines a set of practices and rites, deities and myths, to base a tradition upon. Practitioners then give energy to the whole, adding vitality to the new current being formed. All Wiccan traditions have begun in this way.
Contrary to popular legend, there are no Wiccan covens with lineages dating back hundreds of years. While Paganism is many thousands of years old, it was never celebrated in quite the way that Witches do so now. This is why many Witches prefer to add a prefix to their theology, calling it Neopaganism. Traditions are relatively new, be they the ones Gerald Gardner or Alex Sanders began last century, or any of the others that followed. Again, until now, Wiccan traditions would come first, then an energy current would form around them.
The current of night, however, has always been here. How can I or any other Witch ever claim to have created this current? Dark power has always existed, and has been tapped by countless magick users through the years. The Nocturnal Tradition, therefore, is one we must attempt to identify in reverse, if you will. It is a tradition formed to make best use of a timeless force that has shown itself to nightkind each sunset for millennia.
While I am presenting here rites that will enable you to live year-round within something I’m identifying as the Nocturnal Tradition, the rites can ultimately be molded to meet your needs. This tradition is what you nightkind make of it, after all. You can use the practices presented here, as they are, for decades, or you can immediately rewrite them—I won’t mind. The night’s energy is still there, waiting to be tapped. I only hope to help you feel its reality and make practical use of this current.
Initiation
If you’ve performed any kind of self-dedication to the God and Goddess and have begun working with dark magick, then you have experienced the dark current. A few short lunar cycles after said dedication, you should have felt that your connection to the universe expanded. If you’ve only just begun working with magick, you’ll soon know what I mean.
Everything starts to seem different when you walk down a magickal path. In magick, results are obtained when probabilities and coincidences are bent slightly to ultimately provide you with what you ask for. Do a spell for a new car, and you may either get a raise to make possible the payments on a new car, or may even win one in a contest. The universe decides how results are obtained.
Well, coincidences and bending probabilities and the like abound even when you’re not waiting for a set magickal result. This is because life itself is a path toward a magickal result—toward adepthood or occult mastery. Working with a current sets this all in motion. Even newly developed currents take on a form of tangible intelligence in time, providing the universe with a means of helping you. A current as old as that of night, however, can powerfully alter your life.
To more fully allow yourself to be swept up by the wonderful gifts awaiting you in the darkness, you should consider taking your dedication a level further through full initiation. Contrary to legend—and recent legend, at that—you can initiate yourself. Again, there are no centuries-old traditions that can claim the authority to pass on a figurative torch. And even in ancient days, when Paganism was the prevalent religion of most lands for millennia, self-initiation rites still existed, ranging from inner vision quests to dangerous exposures to the elements in the wild.
The Self-Initiation found here will only strengthen your link to the unseen world and to the night itself. Think of the night as an ether filled with intent—a viscous intelligence that closes in on you with each passing sunset. In time, the dark will guide you where you need to go with gentle nudges or even startling pushes in the right direction. Initiation allows this current to carry you in the fullest sense of what the word “current” implies.
In addition to helping your development, the Self-Initiation will strengthen your link to Divinity. The gods and goddesses of night will somehow feel closer to you from the moment you complete the rite. This is no hallucination on your part. The dark current is what you use to access these deities. By aligning yourself more closely with the dark current, you allow your soul a freer way to reach the godforms built upon the same energy.
To perform this ritual, you will need an altar that is fully set up. Make sure there is a black skrying device or “nocturnal portal” on the center. You will also need to cast either a nocturnal circle or whatever magick circle you’re comfortable with.
In addition, a couple of extra items will be necessary. One is a lidless black box about the size of a shoebox. This can literally be the latter, covered on the outside with black construction paper or paint. The box will be used upside down as a cover for some items that you need to place at the foot of the altar.
These items? For starters, you’ll need a piece of obsidian. This can be of any size, but consider that it will be something you keep around for a long time, so make sure it’s a piece you like.
Also, gather representations of the four elements that make sense to you. A feather for air, perhaps, or some rocks for earth? How about a match for fire and a shell for water? Don’t worry too much about what you select. Unlike the obsidian, these representations of the elements will not be around with you for long at all and should be disposable.
This next item is one you don’t have much leeway with. You need to find some kind of small toy human skull, unless you happen to have a real human one lying around (and if so, I don’t need to know why!). Odd as this sounds, trust me on the skull’s necessity for now.
The last item is a one-sided hand mirror. Place this facedown on the ground before your altar and put the other objects on top of the mirror. Try to arrange the objects so that the elemental symbols are toward the appropriate quarters on the mirror, and place the skull in the center. The skull should be facing west (and all the objects should be on the floor to the west of the altar, where you normally stand). Behind or to the east of the skull, place the piece of obsidian. It should not be visible if you kneel before the items on the floor.
Cover the objects with the overturned black box and prepare yourself for the Self-Initiation. Before you undertake this powerful transformation rite, however, be certain to read through it a couple of times, even visualizing how you’ll carry it out. It contains a few steps that are more dramatic than the typical ritual and which you’ll perform much easier after having imagined them.
Self-Initiation Rite
Take a ritual bath if possible, imagining that you are being purified by the water around you.
Do a self-relaxation meditation or rite.
Cast a magick circle, but do not invoke the God or Goddess yet.
Place both palms on the altar and kneel before it, being careful not to knock over the black box with your knees.
Spend a moment feeling a connection with the energy present in your altar. Your palms may start tingling.
Look into the nocturnal portal until you can see your reflection. Think about how you coexist with the glowing darkness around you, and about how your life has been changing as a result. Think of your first successful invocation, your first manifested thoughtform or spell result.
Gaze into the reflection of your eyes and say:
I now delve deeper into the shadows.
May the gods and goddesses of night guide their still-blind child
on the road of the seeker.
So mote it be.
Move your face back from the portal, seeing its reflection blend fully with the darkness.
Lift your hands and wave into your face some of the incense smoke that you used to cast your circle. Close your eyes and let the mystical scent alter your mood and, ultimately, your state of mind.
Stand up suddenly and move clockwise around the altar to the east. If you feel a head rush, however, pause for a moment before making such a move. When at the east, say:
I now depart the land of the rising sun for the realms of darkness.
Whoever dies shall be reborn.
Now, move counterclockwise to the west of the circle and, as dramatically as you can, simulate your own death. Bizarre as it sounds, you should face the west and collapse (carefully!) to the ground, without losing view of the west until after you’ve hit the ground. When you do complete your simulated collapse, slowly close your eyes.
Against the black backdrop of your mind’s eye, imagine that before you, to the west, there is a pair of glowing silver columns. Crackling all around them is silver lightning. Try to hear this lightning. Try to feel its pulsing, its static tingling all over your body. For this is the only thing you can feel—your body is otherwise numb.
Focus on the silver pillars. Note how the lightning cannot touch these columns, bouncing away each time it gets close to them. And the lightning is slowly disappearing from your mind’s-eye field of vision. See, the silver columns are moving apart.
Imagine that you are moving closer to this dark abyss between the columns. What do you see there? Skry this gate of the west, this land of the dead. What impressions do you receive from this realm? Symbolically, the self that you used to be proud of being is now dead. A new, darker identity is being born within you. Allow any impressions and visions to come to you, but do not worry about their meanings just yet. You can dwell on them later.
Feel yourself pulling back suddenly from this gate of the west. Immediately open your eyes and stand up as quickly as possible. Pause for a moment to let yourself become oriented.
Move clockwise three times around the circle. Each time you pass the east, say:
I seek the guidance of the Dark Ones.
May the primary energy filling my life be that of night.
Feel the energy rising from your clockwise movements. After the last time you pass the east, return clockwise to the point before your altar. Drop to your knees instantly, feeling the energy releasing out of every inch of your body. This energy is rising up above.
Grab the black box before you. Close your eyes. Then, lift the box and throw it with force over your head so that it will be tossed behind you out of the circle.
Open your eyes and gaze upon the objects resting on the back of the mirror. Reach over the skull and past the visually hidden obsidian to pick up the air item. Say:
Intellect can only increase in the dark initiate.
Place the air item up on the altar without leaving your kneeling position. Reach back down and pick up the fire object. Say:
And the fires bring energy to the blackness that surrounds them,
to the initiate in whom they blaze.
Put the fire item on the altar without looking, but ensure that the object makes contact with the air item. These objects and the ones that will follow should begin to form a pile on the altar. Reach down to pick up the water item from the floor. Say:
More than the gate of death,
the west brings passion to whomever passes through.
Without looking up, place the water item on the altar, against the other two objects you put there. From the floor, lift the earth item. Say:
Buried within the dark mother’s womb we await more
than new life—we seek existence with stability.
Put the earth item on the altar to complete the elemental pile resting there. Do not look at this pile yet, however. Reach down behind the skull and pick up the obsidian with your receiving hand (the opposite of your writing hand). Gaze into its darkness, saying:
May the elements be absorbed by you, creature of darkest stone.
May your reflective surface capture the elemental essences
as the black ether houses these forces each night.
Look up to the altar and see the elemental pile of symbols. Note how they are not exactly aligned with their compass directions. They are mixed, their energies intermingling. Try to imagine yellow, red, blue, and green energies swirling about the pile.
Thrust your receiving hand, which holds the obsidian, into the pile of the elemental objects. It’s okay if they fall over or even off the altar. Make this thrusting movement with intensity. Imagine that the stone is absorbing into itself the present elemental forces. See the colors begin to move into and around the black stone.
Close your eyes. Keeping your receiving hand and the stone amidst the disrupted pile of objects, take a deep breath, imagining that the raw elemental energy present is coursing from the stone up into your receiving arm. Try your best to see the colors swirling about your arm. When you exhale, imagine the sensation and colors spreading throughout your body.
Repeat the drawing in of elemental energy twice more, imagining the color mists passing through you.
With reverence, gently position the obsidian on the altar before your nocturnal portal.
Return to a kneeling position before the one remaining object on top of the mirror on the floor. Look down at the skull.
Meditate on the powerful skull symbol for a few minutes. Allow even the wildest impressions to form. Some see the skull as a reminder of how fragile we are. An initiate sees a reminder that magick can animate even something as crude as this. Our lives are mystical experiences—experiences we repeat after coming face to face with the stage of life the skull also represents.
Before being given the gift of this incarnation by the God and Goddess, you had been decaying bones left over from another life.
Say:
That which dies shall be reborn.
Flip the mirror suddenly, knocking over the skull and replacing the bony face with a view of your own reflected face. Say:
I am prepared to animate the dead—to bring life to all magickal endeavors.
Stand before the altar and do an invocation of the universal aspect of either the God or Goddess of Night, your choice. However, for such a rite, do not call on a particular deity name. Just pick the gender you intuitively feel should be present with you this night, and call the universal form of him or her using these words or ones to a similar effect:
God/dess of Night, whose face is accented by the stars,
God/dess of Night, who embodies the dark ether about me,
be with me as I begin new life.
Surrounded by the elements of your creation,
I fully give myself to the dark current.
Armed with a growing awareness of reality,
I am prepared to see the unseen moving about me.
Be with me so that I may know my true will.
Allow a full godform assumption to happen (if you know how to do this), visualizing whatever the purest ideal of a nocturnal deity means to you. The God or Goddess may have some insight to share with you —be open to receive such wisdom.
When you feel the current begin to subside, you will be ready to close the circle and give thanks to the energies of the four quarters.
As with most Witchy workings, you can have at the end of your initiation a cake and ale ceremony (or “cake and drink,” as I like to call it—who has ale these days?). The way you partake in this can be as elaborate as you wish, but do make sure to at least reflect how important this night is to you.
After the ceremony has ended, you should bury the four elemental representations you used, as well as the skull. Keep the obsidian in a safe place or carry it with you from time to time. It can act as a special reminder of your link to darkness on even the sunniest day. Look at it whenever you feel the need to be reminded of your initiation and powerful link to the current of night.
Congratulations, Nocturnal Witch, and welcome to the dark fold. Life will never be the same again.
I promise.


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