The Ritual of OCH
On Sunday, 3rd of July, during the noon hour of the Sun I conducted the fourth ritual of my Arbatel Experience; this time related to the Olympic Spirit of Och. Och is associated with all solar things and thus also the kabbalistic Sephira Tiphareth.
The Arbatel describes his influence in the following terms:
“Och presides over all solar things; he gives 600 years of good health. He grants wisdom, gives most excellent spirits, and teaches perfect medicine. He turns everything into most pure gold and precious stones. He gives gold and a pouch that pours out gold.”
(Arbatel, Aphorism 17, p.35)
To pre-empt any misleading expectations right from the beginning - I won’t be able to confirm most of the above. Och didn’t give me the Midas touch nor did anything turn to gold while I was in the presence of the spirit. Well, to be honest, I also didn’t asked for it? As with the three previous rituals my motivation was purely to encounter Och, to be in his presence for a short while, experience his energy, his qualities and learn about his influence on myself and the world in general.
Below you can find my account of the ritual. What I hope to share with this record is an accurate report of my personal experiences with the Olympic Spirit of Och - as well as inspiration to embark on your own journey into the inner realms. Just like dance, music and all forms of art, magic cannot be learned from books but by personal experience only. To do so we all have to accept that we will always be students and teachers at the same time.
“Magically the Princes of the seven Governments are called simply, in that time, day and hour wherein they rule visibly or invisibly, by their Names and Offices which God hath given unto them; and by proposing their Character which they have given or confirmed.”
(Third Septenary, Aphorism 17)
The previous Arbatel ritual for the Olympic Spirit of Hagith had been an extremelyintense experience on many levels. One of the most interesting results was physical illness which stemmed from an overload with Hagith’s (i.e. Venusian) energies which again led to a breakthrough of the barriers that I had built around these in my body and mind. As a result Hagith’s qualities became much more predominant - or I should say balanced - in my life since then. The aspects of ‘love as a tool that opens and life as the seed that follows’ established itself as the central theme in my work, private and magical life for several months. Essentially that period lasted for three months, from March until May 2011.
It was during this phase when I got in touch with Josephine McCarthy and read her seminal book ‘Magical Knowledge II’. This opened many doors for me that I hadn’t seen before. One of them was the ability to get in touch with Olympic Spirits in advance of the actual ritual - thus starting to form a relationship, a better understanding of each other before we were to meet face to face in the void of the magical circle. For my ritual of Och this turned out to be a central element of preparation that I hadn’t been able to do for the previous three rites. You can find an account of my first encounter with Och on my blog under the Arbatel tag.
This is the background in light of which I started to prepare to meet Och in a ritual environment since early June.
1a) Preparatory Purification
As I shared in my ritual account for Hagith purifying the place of the rite is something that cannot be emphasized enough. My personal learning had been that even if you work in an environment that is completely dedicated and reserved to magical workings only, it still requires a purification at times to free it from the ‘astral cobwebs’ that might creep in while your are out integrating the results of your magical work.
Therefore two weeks before I performed the ritual of Och I went into my temple and completed a full purification rite. This included physical cleaning of the space, allowing a lot of fresh air to come int, burning menthol crystals in all four corners of the room and subsequently consecrating the space with incense, fire and water.
This gave me a blank and clean surface to work on during the ritual that followed two weeks later.
1b) The Liturgic Book
Following the same considerations as I had shared during the ritual account for Hagith I kept the Liturgic Book intact and unchanged. Yet unfortunately, just like before I needed to act against my intuition in doing so. What my intuition kept telling me was that the ability to connect with the spirit of Och - or any other spirit for that matter - was a question of my ability to
- create a space on the physical, astral and mental plane that was free of the normal ‘static’ of energies, entities and thought forms and
- to bring my own being into resonance with the specific ‘rhythm’ of the spirit I was planning to commune with, i.e. Och.
While the long prayers to God might have fulfilled the first or maybe even both of these goals for the Renaissance practitioner and magician, I more and more learned that this wasn’t the case for me. Reciting these prayers certainly allowed my mind to focus and my heart to open. Yet for some reason it felt like starting each car ride with a read through the manual, an official thank you to the car dealer who brought you this wonderful device and a sincere request to God to show you the ignition key slot, while the key was already in your hands.
I hope that doesn’t sound presumptuous? The actual content of these prayers, i.e. establishing an attitude of humility, service and thankfulness is probably the most essential ingredient for any positively charged spirit communion to come to life. However, the most efficient way of tuning into this mind-set might be different for a Renaissance magician and myself...
1c) The Lamen
This time I made some photos of the creation process of the Lamen. Below are three photos from different stages; all of them show the carbon print copy on the actual papyrus that I was wearing during the rite.
And here are digital copies of the front and back Lamen of the Olympic Spirit of Och. From the two-letter name ‘Och’ no hebrew magical Kamea can be constructed. Thus I used one of the Psalters associated with the Sun (91:11-12) on the back of the Lamen instead.
(front of Lamen)
(back of Lamen)
Here is also one of the English translations of Psalter 91:11-12. For an overview of Psalters associated with each planet refer to Skinner, S., The Complete Magician’s Tables, p.130.
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
The structure of the rite to follow was exactly the same as for the three rites before:
- Kabbalistic Cross
- Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
- Welcoming of God in the four quarters of the circle
- Adjusted Unicursal Hexagram ritual of Och
- Gesture of the opening of the veil
- Arbatel prayer for protection of God and consecration of Table of Practice (from Second Septenary, Aphorism 14)
- Arbatel prayer to God for the appearance of Och (from Third Septenary, Aphorism 21)
- Evocation of Och (adopted from PGM IV. 986-1036)
- Communion with Och
- Gesture of the closing of the veil
- Lesser Banishing ritual of the Pentagram
- Ritual license to depart
2) Ritual Description
“All things are possible to them that believe them, and are willing to receive them; but to the incredulous and unwilling, all things are unpossible (...).”
(Third Septenary, Aphorism 20)
I entered the temple more than hour before the noon hour of the Sun. That allowed me ample time to complete my standard meditation as well as to sing Psalter91:11-12 which I had included on the Lamen.
Singing the associated Psalter to enter communion with a planetary spirit is something that I had learned from Hagith’s ritual. I mentioned above that one of the two essential goals of the Arbatel prayers and evocations was to align my own conscious to the rhythm of the spirit I aimed to commune with. This very same goal can be achieved by singing the associated Psalter; and the fact of singing these lines instead of reading or reciting them might even increase the effect. Let’s take a brief look at two related quotes from a seminal book on the nature of the demonic:
“Prayer, sacrifice, litany and singing, revelation and emotion follow each other; the solemn drama of every worship is born from the rhythm of its liturgy. It is the liturgy that draws believers to it, even can capture the infidel and gives shape and form to faith.”
“Human conscious strives to capture every rhythm in the metrics of a beat. And it seems to be the key to everything demonic that rhythm not only flows from subconscious to consciousness but that the metrics of consciousness are also able toawake, raise or disturb subconscious rhythms.”
Müller-Sternberg’s unique approach to identify the very nature of spirits, demons and consciousness with the Greek idea of rhythm is a long overlooked take on techniques and traditions of gnostic and ritual experiences.
Associating a certain Psalter to a planetary frequency or rhythm thus works on two different levels. First, the verbal content of the Psalter needs to make a statement about the nature of one’s devotion when in full spirit communion with the related entity. Secondly - and much more often overlooked - the metric of the Psalter needs to be in or at least support the rhythm of the entity one wishes to commune with.
What might sound terribly complicated here, is a very natural and organic experience when turned into practice. In this particular case I simply had learned Psalter 91:11-12 by heart. When finished with my standard meditation and connected to my Holy Guardian Angel I started to sing the Psalter. I opened my mouth and allowed the words to come out - in whatever melody or metric they chose. For me - as someone who is everything but a singer - this normally results in a few minutes of ‘tuning’ into the right melody of the Psalter. After a few repetitions I normally find myself adopting a certain rhythm, speed and melody. Without trying to force or control anything in the experience I continue singing the Psalter and lay my heart into it...
So far, I have to admit, this is the most impactful Opening to any rite I have found. It results in a deep, solemn trance like state that is sustained even when I get up, put on my robe and enter the magical circle. It does exactly what it is supposed to do: it unifies my mind, my body and my heart in a single rhythm that becomes indistinguishable from my own. It is a wonderful practice to step over the invisible threshold between Opening and Immersion.
Once I had tuned into the rhythm of the psalter opening the rite was almost effortless. I conducted the Kabbalistic Cross, the LBRP and welcomed God in the four quarters of the circle. I returned to the altar that was facing the South side of my temple and lid the charcoal. While I was breathing at the charcoals for the blaze to soak thoroughly through my mind was quietly resting in the presence of the circle. Then I added the incense of Sun on the coal and proceeded to the unicursal hexagram rite of the Sun.
The significant advantage of the unicursal version of this rite, as Regardie already pointed out, is that it makes the hexagram ritual for the Sun much less cumbersome. It simply appoints the point indicated by the crossing of the central lines to the Sun. Following clockwise from this point creates an invoking, following counter-clockwise a banishing astral pattern.
When I concluded with the fifth hexagram above the altar I could see all five gates vibrating in my mind’s eye. They hung like silver keys in the air, unified by a strong silver line that held them together. From the centre of each hexagram blazing energy was streaming into the temple, filling the globe of banished space with pure energy of the Olympic Spirit of Och.
At this point in the rite I realized that I had left out an element. It seemed due to the fact that I already had been so in tune with the spirit’s energy since reciting the Psalter - I had subconsciously skipped over the ‘prayer for protection of God and consecration of Table of Practice’. That realization caused a stir in the calm of my mind. I now had to decide where to pick up the flow of the ritual again? My mind went through the elements of the ritual again - not a good sign as any such conscious reflection disrupts ritual trance. I realized the ‘prayer to God for the appearance of Och’ would come next. That, however, felt wrong as at this point I could already feel Och’s presence in the circle all around me. Thus I decided to continue with the ‘evocation of Och’. I picked up the Liturgic Book and started to sing the evocation. It proved hard to swing back into ritual trance. The words of the evocation seemed way too formal for the immediate presence of the spirit all around me. It literally felt as if I was calling for something - while it already had arrived right in front of me.
Okay, so I guess these things happen. We forget, we confuse and finally we get back on track. The good thing is that the spirits don’t really mind, yet our mind does. The problem at this point wasn’t that Och wasn’t present in the circle, it was that my mind had tuned out and now needed to get back ‘into the rhythm’.
When I had finished the call of the evocation I stared into the black mirror on Trithemius’ Table of Practice and used the spirit’s name as a mantra. Slowly the presence of the Olympic Spirit faded back in front of my mind’s eye. I realized the presence of Och shimmering above the black mirror. While it was clearly present it still felt as if I was looking at it through eyes half closed...
I stopped the mantra and allowed my mind to be soaked with the energy in the room. The shape over the altar slowly become move visible. It was moving, spinning around its own axis and changed its size in a pulsating light as if it was breathing. This is the closest approximation of what I saw - consider this a snapshot of a shape that oscillated and spun in a strange rhythm:
Maintaining contact to this shape was exhausting - more so than in the previous rites. At this point I cannot tell whether this was because of the previously disrupted connection or simply because of the nature of Och. I had certainly entered the rite in good condition and with a fresh mind. I kept all my senses focussed on Och’s spinning and changing shape and started to reach out to him:
Acher: What is your secret name?
Och: (silence, then) Ka-Schi-Ra-Fim
A: What is your nature?
O: I am expansion, I am creation, I am consciousness. I am the speaking word and language beclouds me. I am now and now and now.
A: How does your influence reach Earth?
O: How does it not reach Earth?
A: Which parts in the human body do you govern?
O: The central pillar composed out of brain, spine and sexual organs.
A: Which human experiences do you govern?
O: I am every single moment, I am presence. I am every single conscious experience. I am the light in which you perceive and see.
A: What is your relationship to power?
O: There is nothing equal to me. I don’t need power.
A: What is your relationship to the Olympic Spirit of Phul?
O: Phul is the world behind the mirror.
A: How is your relationship to the forces of Tiphareth?
O: The sun shines, but I remain. I am the living, I am the mover.
A: What makes your influence constructive or destructive?
O: It is not me that destructs, it is matter that becomes obliterated. Matter ages , each experience takes away from her. She becomes brittle and cannot sustain my forces, like a vessel full of holes whereas my shining remains.
A: What is your geometrical shape?
O: I am the line, I am the power of the upright standing.
A: Which forces govern your influence?
O: I am governed by Nothingness. As long as emptiness exists, I will exist. Every particle of dark matter in the void is a new seed of my live. Nothingness and I are one, we cannot exist without each other, yet we never encounter each other.
A: Which substances in Alchemy do you govern?
O: The fluid ore, gold, pure consciousness.
A: How can I purify your forces in me?
O: Start burning bright like a lamp, your skin will turn into ashes, porous, and the glowing will fade. Yet become like glass, purify the earth, as she hinders my influences and I will shine through you.
A: How does initiation into your current happen?
O: Silence, complete presence, no words, no hesitation, just being, no talking.
My mind is completely exhausted. It took all my concentration to stay connected to the forces of Ka-Schi-Ra-Fim. His presence seems volatile like none of the other Olympic Spirits I encountered. Most importantly he dislikes language and every word he or I spoke was an effort. He wants to be seen, experienced in his bright presence, not questioned. The earth of my mind is falling to ashes. For a moment I still see him hanging above the altar: Pure presence, complete silence, an elongated sphere rotating around its axis, mounted on two pulsating points above and below its centre... Then I perform the closing of the veil.
Och speaks: “I am the light that shines in silence. I burn what came before me and I burn what follows me. I am the conscious of my own presence. I drink from the blood of each moment. Do not follow me, nor do not search me. Sit still, become a single line, continuously extending into the void. Then explode in light, become the line that expands into all directions. Forget your words, hold my presence. I am within you, I am around you. Your thoughts becloud me, your earths blacken me. Turn yourself into glass, become the vessel of my light. Silence. And I will shine through you.”
What was left of my presence and strength I used to conclude the ritual. A feeling of emptiness and failure started to coat my mind like a blanket. Each word that I had spoken seemed wrong, seemed to take away from the presence of Och rather than to foster it. I had prepared for this rite for months, yet I felt incompetent and naive. I sat behind the black curtain of the inner temple room and scribbled down my notes. Even then when I wrote all the spirit’s answers down it still felt as if I had missed the most important point, as if I had kept my eyes fixed on a map while walking through the actual territory...
Only a few days later when I revisited my notes did I understand what had happened. The rite had been quite successful (at least for my standards). Obviously the skipping over the first two prayers hadn’t been part of the plan. But even this was good learning as with the fourth rite of the Arbatel Experience I seemed to had arrived at a personal level or approach to its magic where connection to the spirit’s presence happened more immediately and directly than moderated by a higher presence I had little personal experience with, i.e. God.
Where the feeling of emptiness really had come from was from the fact that after I had left the presence of Och my mind had collapsed. It had turned dark (literally) just like the vessel of an oil lamp that had lost its fire. The fire, the burning presence of Och was gone, Ka-Schi-Ra-Fim had retreated into a higher sphere and my mind had fallen back to earth like Ikarus.
It seems to be Och’s nature to create a centre of presence wherever it emerges. Och’s forces don’t know peripheries or orbits, they don’t define themselves in relation to others, they don’t define themselves at all, they simply are. In light of these forces every reflection, every attempt to pause and to understand is resistance and will drain you. What I had learned is this: If you evoke the presence of Och, be prepared to give up your own. There is nothing equal to the burning light of a star. There is only light and then ashes of earth.
There would be a lot more to say about the nature of spirits as rhythms. There is also a lot to be explored about the strange 4-syllabus name Och has given me, Ka-Schi-Ra-Fim and which rhythm it might induce once sang like a Psalter in silence? Similarly the astrological, alchemical and medical implications of Och’s answers want to be better understood. Maybe I will add a full analysis of these at a later point... Because for now, with only seven days between me and the rite, I feel I need to continue to honor Och’s presence in my life. And what better way to do this than to stay silent?
APPENDIX: A few weeks after the ritual I was ready to face what it had triggered in my life. Isn’t it strange how the spirits become invisible once we invite them into our lives? Simply because they are within us. On my blog under the Arbatel tag you can find short appendix to the ritual of OCH and its aftermath.
May the serpent bite its tail.
- Legard, Phil, An Approach To The Operation Of The Arbatel Of Magic (online resource)
- Magian Rumination, Everything Arbatel - Digest of Internet Links
- Müller-Sternberg, Robert, Die Dämonen - Wesen und Wirkung eines Urphänomens, Carl Schünemann Verlag, 1964
- Peterson, Joseph (ed.), Arbatel - Concerning the Magic of the Ancients, Ibis Press, 2009
- Rankine, David & Sorita d’Este, Practical Planetary Magick, Avalonia 2007
- Turner, Robert (ed.), Arbatel - Of the Magic of the Ancients, The greatest Studie of Wisdom (online resource)
- SOL Lodge Merlin, The Olympic Hierarchy, 2007 (online resource)