On my first 2 weeks of working with material from the Arbatel.
About 2 weeks ago or so, I took interest in the Arbatel de Magia Veterum, or the Arbatel: Magick of the Ancients, a simple book of magic dated to the late 16th century and probably attributed to an Italian mage. The introduction suggests that some of the content may be extant. It is a typically pious medieval document with references to Christian devotionalism and morals that, halfway through, interjects material about the 7 Olympic Spirits.
These are the planetary intelligences known to medieval occultists. I suppose they could be thought of as the alchemical Hermetic planetary archons and are described as planetary rulerships, much like the Vedic manes (celestial patriarchs or cosmic overlords who preside over world cycles). The text also describes them as aspects of the Divine, as in panentheistic systems in which personal forms of deity are seen as so many different provisional forms or ways of thinking about the Divine Reality.
The spirits are given unique names but relate to the classical planets as we know them: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, Luna. Attributes, powers, and gifts are glossed on, and more modern documents can be found that patently list the characteristics and special graces or powers of these entities.
Attempting to not be too influenced by preconceived notions, I set out to do a meditative kind of Arbatel working. I concocted incenses for each Olympic spirit, made colored copies of their sigils and, so far, have dispensed with worry about alignment of ritual with planetary hours.
The first week, I opened the circle with the traditional Kabbalist Cross and LRBP. I then have another way of circle casting which combines certain gestures from the LRBP with content from Eastern mysticism. I then address the designated Olympic spirit, following the guidelines of the Arbatel.
The impressions and teachings have not been exactly like I would have expected. Godforms, mostly from Greco-Roman and Egyptian sources, sometimes appear in mind and make statements or present imagery. Sometimes terms or geometric images appear. Although somewhat familiar with the forms, terms, and associations presented, I am often tasked with then looking them up in online searches to fill out the sense of what is being presented to me.
Luna/Phul: “There is no contrivance in joy.” ~ Diana of the Fate
Joy is an ambient, hypostatic principle. A living thing is the ephemeral measurement and relationship through which joy can be experienced. Experience the bliss and potency of the moment.
Mars/Phalec: “Have a single focus and drive it through.” ~ Minerva-Heka-Brigit
An intention must be decisive and unmixed and then directed like a fiery spear or arrow into the heart of its target. In addition, one should cultivate the idea of expressing bright light with the aim of blinding and conquering with it.
Mercury/Ophiel: “What do you want to know?” ~ Thoth
Observation and careful listening are key to persuade and confound if necessary to accomplish an intention. Single-minded focus, poise, and integration.
Jupiter/Besher: “What do you want to happen?” ~ Logos-Tetractys
For manifestation to occur, the infinite potential must be funneled into a point of definition and function.
Venus/Hagith: “I am the Cosmos and Beauty of Being.” ~ The Divine Mother
That which is tender, loving, giving, and enveloping.
Saturn/Aratron: “He who is the Intelligible Principle in Whom All Things Rest.” ~ Kronos-Zurvan-Shiva-Tetragrammaton
That which is the protection and affection of a very large, mighty, thoughtful, possessive, and righteous being. Manifestation, personhood, and personal power are predicated on concentrating time and space into boundaries and form.
Sol/Och: “There is no entity; there is only Self.” ~ Christos- Apollo-The Dying and Resurrecting God
Be open. See the illumination and the root of self-effacement.