Imperial Arts (imperialarts) wrote,

Goetia: #61 Zagan


Zagan
ZYYPN (coin-forger) pronounced "Zye-fon"
King and President commanding 33 Legions
North and West
 
Sometimes the things described by occult literature appear to have no place in reality, or they appear to be plausible yet sit comfortably just beyond the realm of what is ordinarily considered possible. The books may instruct a magician, for example, to sandwich a magic square between to plates on the doorstep so that cheese will magically appear between the plates overnight; or they might say to bury a lobster and chant something from the Koran to manifest a spring of sparkling water. In the former case, it would be purely irrational to expect real cheese to suddenly pop into existence; but in the latter case there is a remote possibility that a spring may bubble out of the ground as that does happen in some places on occasion. Barring any mistranslations, like those of the infamous "Maine de Gloire" or Mandragore, an occult practitioner may feel at times that a given set of instructions is intentionally misleading, or that it may be pure bull concocted by idiots and crazy people.
 
As for the buried crustaceans, the experiment will have to be undertaken by someone who finds them less edible than myself, and I can attest to total failure on my own account in all attempts to manifest cheese from the void. Even if a person were in the absurd position of actually being in dire need of some cheese overnight, and had no way to get it, the fifth Abramelin Square of the fifteenth chapter of the third part will probably never produce the cheese on demand. The 61st spirit, Zagan, presents similar challenges. It is described as having the power to transmute wine, water, and blood into each other; to transform metals into coin; and to make fools wise. It is within the normal scope of possibilities for a foolish person to become wise, but metals being transformed into coin might be a stretch, and the transmutation of wine is a mythic power.
 
I came to the ritual prepared to investigate the powers of the spirit on the spot. I had a small malachite tray with grains of pure gold, and a large glass of water. I realized that it was likely the spirit could not simply transform gold nuggets into $10 war bonnet Liberties, but the idea that the spirit could transform the shape of the metal without affecting its substance was intriguing. Although it was beyond my original intention in conjuring the spirit, I was to learn something important about substance and shape from this encounter.
 
 
The apparition was preceded by rapping noises on the glass, as if miniscule impacts were being made here and there on my mirrors and windows. I was expecting the spirit to appear much larger than it actually was, which was a very small bull with ridiculous little wings. It was certainly not the mighty guardian of Sargon the Great, but a happy-looking young bovine keeping its front hooves barely off the floor with a pair of seemingly inadequate goose wings. Its voice also betrayed no element of ferocity or gravity: it sounded eager and pleased.
 
"What is it you wish to have? I am curious."
 
This wasn't what I had expected at all. It certainly was not what one expects from a "great lord of demons" and there was nothing to convey any sense of importance about the thing. It would have been amusing in other circumstances, but there was an uncanny unreality to the creature, as if it were demonstrating a physical impossibility. It seemed to have a secret, a trick played upon me and at my expense, although the form was consistent with that ascribed to the spirit by the grimoire. This apparition may have been nothing more than an insult made by the spirit, to disrupt me and put me off guard, so that I might make some mistake in the charges.
 
Fortunately I had its sigil and name written on my new white paper and all of my charges were written out in full. In the exorcism of spirits it is important to persist in the ceremony whenever things get weird. That is the standard method among a variety of traditional religious exorcisms. In some cultures a whole tribe or congregation will be present for the exorcism, which is invariably accompanied by a persistent prayer and liturgy. No matter what the demon does, the ritual persists until the spirit relents, even if it takes many days. The spirit may attempt to beguile or mock the exorcist, but the prayer or chant considered holy by the exorcist is done until it works despite any contradiction from the spirit. My approach to the Goetia is derived more from a study of exorcism than from a study of evocation.
 
I think that the idea of evocation has led the focus among magic practitioners away from the concept of what the ceremony is supposed to provide. In the literature of evocation, you are usually just given a set of instructions, some advice, and a few odd drawings. Terrific things are demanded of you, but they are just practical manuals. The real work is with the spirits, and what they can provide is the true hidden lore of magic. The words and symbols are nothing! It is the way in which the ceremonial process affects the spiritual will that makes the communication effective. In the case of exorcism and in evocation, the evil spirit is commanded to release its grasp, so that by being free of its influence a magician could work wonders. The magical ceremony is the language of that command, but the nature of the command is entirely personal and its origin is not in the orations or the mystical figures. 
 
I wished to know if the gold there in the Magic Circle could possibly be made into some form of coin as if by a miracle, or in what other sense is its power over that metal is actually applied. I would like the gold to be useful in some way. Few people want to invest in solid gold figures and expensive jewelry from a private source, and I did not wish to make one thing and then need to melt it to make some other thing for the sake of profit. People who "buy gold" are everywhere, and it's difficult to sell gold for more than the assay rate.
 
I had been advised by Spirit #48 that I ought to make electro-plated basic forms for the purpose of photography, and then cast them in metal when ordered. This woud probably work for an online store, but I had specifically desired to make this gold into an actual thing, and piece of art worth making, and then to be able to do something with it so that it can be seen and known in the real world.
 
The spirit revealed that I should make it into a work of art and then take it to a man named (.........). It desired to know the time at which its work in the matter was complete. I described the conditions of what I considered "success" in the enterprise.
 
"I cannot fly forever but have the wings to relieve a burden or increase my ease," was the reply.
 
"This I can do for you also, " it continued, "if you will use the wings I can make for you."
 
The spirit wanted to know what sort of wings I would have. Shall I fly as a moth, calm in the cool light of the evening? Shall I soar like the buzzard, awaiting every opportunity? Shall I have the wings of a bat, to feast in secrecy? I wasn't comfortable with having any wings at all, but I understood that the spirit was asserting something metaphorical about the wings. The nature of the wings reflect the way in which the spirit relieves the magician of some sort of burden, or increases ease.
 
My own problem, which I did not discuss with the spirit, was that I had no venue or display for my independent work. In the store, everything is done on behalf of the store products, whether it is sculpture of jewelry. I wanted to make things outside of the store product line, as my own art aside from business, but I didn't want them to be forever unknown or confined to online replicas.
 
The spirit tempts me with luxuries, and some bestowal of dubious merit. I wished for no confinement from the spirit. At present, I had no preparation for an idea of the spirit arranging my comfort and ease, especially not by way of its direct contact. The manner of its operation toward my satisfaction had been arranged and discussed according to the form that I had originally considered best going into the conjuration, and I did not wish to modify my requests in the middle of the process.  
 
I asked the spirit about its ability to transmute liquids. I had hoped for something better than NH4Fe(SO4)2·12 H2O + C7H5NaO3 but the spirit laid out a set of options after a brief explanation. It would make a man seek one as if it were the other: wine as though it were blood, and water as though it were wine, and blood as though it were water. Even as an allegory, that presents some gruesome options. This did not seem to be the spirit for creating bloodthirsty hordes, and the spirit made itself clear.  It also mentioned that it had to be written in such a way so that the spirit would not be neglected, and was made to say such a thing at its insistence.
 
Health, Necessity, and Luxury are the real transmutations of the spirit, represented respectfully as blood, water, and wine in the grimoire. One could be changed into the other. A man in poor health might give over his whole fortune to regain true vitality. A man in dire need might forsake his health for a fortune. It is not the sort of miracle that astonishes a crowd, but the sort of miracle that astonishes the magician.
 
Here was a charge within the power and office of the spirit, yet I was unprepared to answer. I began to examine my ideas about my health, and my necessities, and my luxuries, attempting to assess whether they needed to be rearranged at all. It was certainly a different kind of litmus test than what I had expected. I was bidden to choose, but it was the sort of choice not to be made lightly or unexpectedly if such a thing could be avoided. All the same it might offer a special opportunity if one could be selected with care.
 
These spirits can do miraculous or amazing things, or some of them can, and it is worth spending some time considering what purpose such a power could have in life as I know it. Of all the dozens of purposes presented in the spiritual offices, what is actually useful about each power is not written in the book, but must be adapted to my needs according to my present circumstances. More than any worry over "command and control," the more important worry is over whether one is making is wise wish. I feel that all disappointments or disasters in this art have stemmed from unwise decisions that could have been avoided with clarity and proper insight.
 
The demon Zagan, a king among the spirits of the abyss, was conjured to dispel the clouds of delusion and deception that prevent me from obtaining full accomplishment in all that I attempt. I felt that the spirit was properly conjured, and that what it said in reply would be accurate insofar as it was aware. I was more curious to know what sort of thing it would say, and there were a few people who I had presumed foolish that could benefit from an illumination. But the fool was myself as well, and the illumination was to be my own, if the spirit was indeed providing faithful answer to my demands.
 
There was no lecture or lesson: it was a transmutation of the mind, an awareness that opened around me. I was like ice melting in the light of morning, and what had been confusion became instead a grave sense of error and misgivings. I saw my values and my beliefs, my aspirations and intuitions, as polluted and out of order. The nature and structure of their disarray became apparent, their omissions and extraneous components were exposed. My misjudgments and my bias, my vanity and my sincerity, all were brought forward as though to assess the scope of my vast philosophical folly.
 
And then my insight was gone. It was "off" like a light. I was angry and confused, and humiliated at once. I was in absolute awe. I could only hope to capture a glimpse of what had been made clear in an instant, as if by chemical reaction, and then to be returned again as quickly to recognize my dismay. I have no moral prescriptions, no spiritual revelations or divine admonitions for the masses. I received no grand initiation into the cosmic truths of nature that I could share for a penny. What I got was real, and personal, and of inestimable value. As it had been arranged, the spirit would persist in its task until it was complete, and it had been completed.
 
I am not certain that I want to live in full sight of all of my difficulties, with the knowledge of their presence always among my decisions. That kind of knowledge, like the wings of ease offered by the spirit, leads to a decay of personal initiative. I am satisfied with having an idea of how to approach my faults so that I can be free from them on my own accord. This spirit was full of surprises, this last one certainly the best. I bid the spirit License to Depart and left the doorways open to discharge the incense.

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