This spell is one of my tried and true favorites. Along with hard work and keeping your eye on the prize, this spell is an amazing way to supercharge your manifesting for drawing in success, money, and abundance.
-Fire proof container: Abalone shell, cauldron, etc.
-Small piece of charcoal
-Matches or lighter
-Small piece of paper and pen
-Crystals: Citrine, Adventurine, Pyrite, Carnelian, Copper, Tigers Eye, Clear Quartz
1. Burn some Sage and waft the smoke into your space, all around you and your crystals. Then place your crystals around your shell or cauldron.
2. Light the candle and if you’re using a charcoal, light it now as well.
3. Once the charcoal is hot, place a few Bay Leaves and a dash of Cinnamon on to it (if you’re not using a charcoal, simply light the Bay Leaves with your match or lighter.
4. On a small piece of paper, write down a word that describes your intention for this spell (abundance, success, prosperity) and place it into the cauldron.
5. Add the Rosemary and light the paper and Rosemary so both begin to burn.
6. Take your crystals of choice in your hands and imagine all that you want to manifest for this spell into the crystals (a new job, a promotion, drawing in business, etc.). Sit for a few minutes and meditate with the crystals if you wish (I like to do this to really solidify my intentions).
7. Burn some Palo Santo to bring in positive energy and to close the spell.
Altars have long been used by witches for varying purposes — spellwork, sacrifice, meditation, and worship. Mine is very personal and I debated posting a photo of this sacred space. But I felt moved to do it.
Blessed be. 🌎🍀🔥💧
A homunculus is traditionally a form of artificial life created by alchemy or magic. Vaguely human shaped, the homunculus serves as a companion, helper and possibly a surrogate child for its creator. Popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy and nineteenth-century, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human. The concept has roots in preformationism as well as earlier folklore and alchemic traditions.
Despite the name, they are not necessarily small, some homunculi are described as man sized and how man-like they are varies from account to account. This may be a function of how the creature was made and/or the skill of its creator while some are recorded as being able to speak, but most are mute. Other common unnatural features include wings, beaks, claws and fur. In a fantasy setting they may be hard to distinguish from imps and may be mistaken for a familiar (or may be a common disguise for familiars). In some accounts the homonculus will bear a more or less grotesque resemblance to its creator.
Methods of creation vary but most seem to be enthusiastic about the use of human semen which would seem to re-inforce the “surrogate child” theme and blood. Other methods involve a mandrake, a herb deeply entwined with human fertility, and retorts packed with herbs and and/or animal parts and incubated in baths of sand or manure for a given time. Sometimes the creator frames the creature’s body with metal wire and/or clay and sometimes not; a man-sized homunculus could even be cast onto a human skeleton. Of course, one could use the skeleton of a child or a monkey for a smaller creation. Perhaps the simplest method recorded involved injecting semen into a fresh hen’s egg, sealing the hole with parchment and then burying it in dung until it hatched.
It is said that homunculus possibly possesses no soul but it may, however, share part of its creator’s soul if that is what clones do under the laws of magic. This may make it more or less susceptible to magic. It is entirely normal for a homunculus’ master to be able to conduct remote viewings through his creature’s senses, for this may be an inherent ability or normal scrying magic with an improved focus. Harming the homunculus may or may not harm the creator, but it’s likely that access to one will provide substantial sympathetic benefits to magic aimed at its creator. Since it is likely to be made of a piece of him or her, it will probably provide a strong link under the magical law of contagion.<
“Homunculus in the Vial”. Illustration of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from Faust, Part Two, Act II, 1899 (public domain ).
Although science has made much progress in the last century, there are still numerous ethical issues that need to be addressed by the scientific community. One such issue is that of the creation of artificial life. For some, this is the logical progress of scientific knowledge; for others, this is a realm that should not be intruded by human beings. Concepts relating to the creation of artificial life such as genetic engineering and human cloning are relatively modern scientific ideas. In the past, however, it was in the field of alchemy that Medieval scientists sought to artificially create life. One of the beings that alchemists were purportedly able to create was the homunculus, meaning ‘little man’ in Latin.
The homunculus is first referred to in alchemical writings of the 16 th century. It is likely, however, that this concept is older than these writings. The idea that miniature fully-formed people can be created has been traced to the early Middle Ages (400 to 1000 AD), and is partly based on the Aristotelian belief that the sperm is greater than the ovum in its contribution to the production of offspring.
Alchemical illustration of a Homunculus in a vial ( new-moster.wikia.com)
The first known account of the production of the homunculus is said to be found in an undated Arabic work called the Book of the Cow , purportedly written by the Greek philosopher Plato himself. The materials required for the creation of the homunculus include human semen, a cow or ewe and animal blood, whilst the process includes the artificial insemination of the cow / ewe, smearing the inseminated animal’s genitals with the blood of another animal, and feeding it exclusively on the blood of another animal. The pregnant animal would eventually give birth to an unformed substance, which would then be places in a powder made of ground sunstone (a mystical phosphorescent elixir), sulphur, magnet, green tutia (a sulphate of iron) and the sap of a white willow. When the blob starts growing human skin, it would be required to be placed in a large glass or lead container for three days. After that, it has to be fed with the blood of its decapitated mother for seven days before becoming a fully-formed homunculus.
A tiny person inside a sperm as drawn by N. Hartsoecker in 1695 (public domain )
In the Book of the Cow , there are two similar procedures for producing the homunculus. Instead of a cow / ewe, a female monkey is used in one, and an unidentified female animal in another. Additionally, different ingredients are used for the powder, and the incubation period of the blob in the vessel is extended to 40 days. All three types of homunculus have their own specific functions.
The first type of homunculus may be used to make the full moon appear on the last day of the month, allow a person to take the form of a cow, a sheep or even an ape, allow one to walk on water and know things that are happening far away. The second type of homunculus can be used to enable a person to see demons and spirits, as well as to converse with them, whilst the last type of homunculus can be used to summon rain at unseasonable times and produce extremely poisonous snakes.
A 19 th century engraving of Goethe’s Faust and a homunculus (public domain )
The 16 th century alchemist, Philip von Hohenheim, known also as Paracelsus, provides a different recipe for creating the homunculus in his work, De Natura Rerum . This recipe uses a horse as the surrogate mother of the homunculus, and the semen of a man is left inside the animal’s womb to putrefy for forty days, before a little man is born. Rather than using the homunculus to perform magical feats, Paracelsus instructs that the homunculus ought to be “educated with the greatest care and zeal, until it grows up and begins to display intelligence.” Paracelsus also claims that the procedure for making the homunculus is one of the greatest secrets revealed by God to mortals, perhaps suggesting that the creation of artificial life is divine wisdom that may be used by human beings.
Scientists today dismiss the work prescribed by the Book of the Cow and Paracelsus’ De Natura Rerum as mere fantasy, while others suggest the writing was intended to be taken symbolically, rather than literally, and contains hidden messages regarding the process of spiritual ascension. Nevertheless, the goal of producing the homunculus, i.e. the creation of artificial life, is a quest that some are still pursuing today.
In researching “How Frankenstein’s Monster Works” (and the podcast episode), I did quite a bit of reading about the homunculus. If you’re not hip to this terminology, all you need to know is that a homunculus is an artificial humanoid created through alchemy. While not quite a human, this creature is a “rational animal” and another fictional page in humanity’s dream of mastering life and death.
The medieval text known as the “Liber Vaccae” or “Book of the Cow” lays out some rather grotesque and confusing instructions in the art of DIY homunculi brewing — and Maaike Van der Lugt‘s “Abominable Mixtures: The Liber vaccae in the Medieval West, or The Dangers and Attractions of Natural Magic” really lays out some excellent commentary on what it all means.
Allow me to break it all down into some quick bullet points. Be warned that this is all rather grotesque. Also, please do me a favor and don’t actually attempt this at home.
Yield: 1 blasphemy
At this point, the text indicates that the cow or ewe should give birth and the resulting “unformed substance” should be placed in the powder you just prepared — which will cause the amorphous blob to grow a human skin.
Next, keep the newborn homunculus in a large glass or lead container for three days. The creature will become crazy hungry in this time, so you’ll then feed it the blood of its decapitated mother for seven days. In this time, it should develop into a full-grown tiny, grotesque humanoid with some fragment of a human soul.
Now what, right? Well, as it turns out, the homunculus has many uses for a practicing medieval sorcerer:
If it is placed on a white cloth, with a mirror in its hands, and suffumigated with a mixture of human blood and other ingredients, the moon will appear to be full on the last day of the month. If it is decapitated, and its blood is given to a man to drink, the man will assume the form of a bovine or a sheep; but if he is anointed with it, he will have the form of an ape. If the homunculus is fed for forty days in a dark house, on a diet of blood and milk, and then its guts are extracted from its belly and rubbed onto someone’s hands and feet, he may walk on water or travel around the world in the winking of an eye. Kept alive for a year and then placed in a bath of milk and rainwater, it will tell things that happen far away.
Oh, and then there’s this perplexing bit about turning a decapitated cow into a swarm of bees:
The fourth experiment describes an elaborate procedure to generate bees from the corpse of a decapitated calf. This involves locking up the corpse in a dark house with fourteen closed windows on the East, blocking all its body orifices after having reattached the head, hitting it with a large dog’s penis, extracting the flesh from the skinned corpse, grinding this with a certain herb, and leaving the mixture in a corner of the house, until it will be converted into worms.
I trust you’re properly grossed out by this point, so I’ll skip to the part where I frame all of this in some sort of scientific reasoning.
As alarming and grotesque as these ideas are, they underline the mindset of the alchemist, who wandered a meandering path of chemistry, philosophy and superstitious occultism on the quest for knowledge. At the time, it was widely believed that humans could mimic and manipulate natural reproductive processes — especially when it came to simpler organisms such as bees. And it was still an age in which spontaneous generation seemed a sensible explanation for maggots in your meat.
As crazy as these ideas seem, they underline what our ancestors thought was possible. And as we continue to venture into an age of genetic manipulation and human cloning, who’s to say they were wrong?
But again, do not try this at home.
Campbell, M. B., 2010. Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus. [Online]
Available at: http://arcade.stanford.edu/rofl/artificial-men-alchemy-transubstantiation-and-homunculus
Goodrick-Clarke, N., 1999. Paracelsus: Essential Readings. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
Lachman, G., 2006. Homuncli, Golems, and Artificial Life. [Online]
Available at: https://www.theosophical.org/publications/1253
Lamb, R., 2011. How to Make a Homunculus and Other Horrors. [Online]
van der Lugt, M., 2009. “Abominable Mixtures”: The ‘Liber Vaccae’ in the Medieval West, or the Dangers and Attractions of Natural Magic. Traditio, Volume 64, pp. 229-277.
Part 1: From the Dark
Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham. While he was with me, the wonder and diabolism of his experiments fascinated me utterly, and I was his closest companion. Now that he is gone and the spell is broken, the actual fear is greater. Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities.
The first horrible incident of our acquaintance was the greatest shock I ever experienced, and it is only with reluctance that I repeat it. As I have said, it happened when we were in the medical school where West had already made himself notorious through his wild theories on the nature of death and the possibility of overcoming it artificially. His views, which were widely ridiculed by the faculty and by his fellow-students, hinged on the essentially mechanistic nature of life; and concerned means for operating the organic machinery of mankind by calculated chemical action after the failure of natural processes. In his experiments with various animating solutions, he had killed and treated immense numbers of rabbits, guinea-pigs, cats, dogs, and monkeys, till he had become the prime nuisance of the college. Several times he had actually obtained signs of life in animals supposedly dead; in many cases violent signs but he soon saw that the perfection of his process, if indeed possible, would necessarily involve a lifetime of research. It likewise became clear that, since the same solution never worked alike on different organic species, he would require human subjects for further and more specialised progress. It was here that he first came into conflict with the college authorities, and was debarred from future experiments by no less a dignitary than the dean of the medical school himself — the learned and benevolent Dr. Allan Halsey, whose work in behalf of the stricken is recalled by every old resident of Arkham.
I had always been exceptionally tolerant of West’s pursuits, and we frequently discussed his theories, whose ramifications and corollaries were almost infinite. Holding with Haeckel that all life is a chemical and physical process, and that the so-called “soul” is a myth, my friend believed that artificial reanimation of the dead can depend only on the condition of the tissues; and that unless actual decomposition has set in, a corpse fully equipped with organs may with suitable measures be set going again in the peculiar fashion known as life. That the psychic or intellectual life might be impaired by the slight deterioration of sensitive brain-cells which even a short period of death would be apt to cause, West fully realised. It had at first been his hope to find a reagent which would restore vitality before the actual advent of death, and only repeated failures on animals had shewn him that the natural and artificial life-motions were incompatible. He then sought extreme freshness in his specimens, injecting his solutions into the blood immediately after the extinction of life. It was this circumstance which made the professors so carelessly sceptical, for they felt that true death had not occurred in any case. They did not stop to view the matter closely and reasoningly.
It was not long after the faculty had interdicted his work that West confided to me his resolution to get fresh human bodies in some manner, and continue in secret the experiments he could no longer perform openly. To hear him discussing ways and means was rather ghastly, for at the college we had never procured anatomical specimens ourselves. Whenever the morgue proved inadequate, two local negroes attended to this matter, and they were seldom questioned. West was then a small, slender, spectacled youth with delicate features, yellow hair, pale blue eyes, and a soft voice, and it was uncanny to hear him dwelling on the relative merits of Christchurch Cemetery and the potter’s field. We finally decided on the potter’s field, because practically every body in Christchurch was embalmed; a thing of course ruinous to West’s researches.
I was by this time his active and enthralled assistant, and helped him make all his decisions, not only concerning the source of bodies but concerning a suitable place for our loathsome work. It was I who thought of the deserted Chapman farmhouse beyond Meadow Hill, where we fitted up on the ground floor an operating room and a laboratory, each with dark curtains to conceal our midnight doings. The place was far from any road, and in sight of no other house, yet precautions were none the less necessary; since rumours of strange lights, started by chance nocturnal roamers, would soon bring disaster on our enterprise. It was agreed to call the whole thing a chemical laboratory if discovery should occur. Gradually we equipped our sinister haunt of science with materials either purchased in Boston or quietly borrowed from the college — materials carefully made unrecognisable save to expert eyes — and provided spades and picks for the many burials we should have to make in the cellar. At the college we used an incinerator, but the apparatus was too costly for our unauthorised laboratory. Bodies were always a nuisance — even the small guinea-pig bodies from the slight clandestine experiments in West’s room at the boarding-house.
Friday night we watched The Wizard of Gore. It is a remake of the 1970 film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. I have included the film trailer for your review. Read below to see what the Dungeon thought of this film.
The action revolves around maniacal magician Montag. Each Night he hosts a show where he gleefully slaughters a woman in the audience in a horribly graphic and nasty way. He then closes the act with the girls returning to the stage unharmed. Enter the newspaper journalist and his girlfriend who stumble upon the show one summers eve. The journalist is mystified and attends again the next night. When he learns that one of the girls from the show has turned up dead he is impelled to attend once more. He quickly becomes obsessed, attending shows nightly. With each viewing his sanity disintegrates. This character suffers from a series of…
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(From Vanity Fair, October 26, 2016)
When he made his 1973 classic, The Exorcist, William Friedkin had never seen an exorcism. For decades he wondered how close he had come to reality. So, last May, he followed “the Dean of Exorcists” as he fought to expel Satan from an Italian woman.
“We have a clergy today who no longer believe in the devil, in exorcism, in the exceptional Evil the devil can instill or even in the power that Jesus bestowed to cast out demons.” — Father Gabriele Amorth
Sunday morning, May 1 of this year, was Father Amorth’s 91st birthday, but he had no plans to celebrate. He awoke just after dawn, said his usual morning prayers and one to Joseph of Cupertino, a 17th-century saint, and another to the late Father Candido Amantini, his mentor. Clutching a walking aid, he shuffled from his cell-like room to the dining room on the third floor of the Paulist Fathers residence, south of Rome’s historic center.
After his usual breakfast of caffè latte and biscotti, Father Amorth returned to his room, which had a tall window, a hospital bed, two chairs, and a wooden desk cluttered with pictures of the Virgin Mary and Padre Pio, a priest-mystic who experienced stigmata—bleeding wounds, corresponding to those inflicted on Jesus Christ on the Cross. For the next six hours, Father Amorth reviewed the mail requesting his services from around the world. Each letter contained tragic questions and appeals from people who knew Amorth only by name and reputation. He answered the letters, writing with a fountain pen, licking the envelopes and stamps himself. At two P.M., he knelt again to pray, then arose with difficulty, took up his walking aid, and made his way to an elevator, which took him to the first floor, where the small room dedicated to his work was located. The hallway was empty and dark. Whispering voices and footsteps could be heard, as from a tomb.
His old adversary was waiting.
At exactly three P.M. he began to conduct the ritual of exorcism. The possessed woman, Rosa, was in her late 30s, tall and slender, with raven-black hair. She was as dark and attractive as an Italian movie star—Sophia Loren or Silvana Mangano, with a quiet demeanor. She had a college degree but couldn’t work because of the fits and behavioral changes that came over her, most severely on the Christian holidays, such as Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Easter, and Pentecost. This was her ninth exorcism with Father Amorth. As with traditional psychiatry, the patient is usually not “cured” after the first session. Father Amorth had been exorcising one man for 16 years.
Rosa arrived with her mother and father and her boyfriend, Giuliano. Her parents were in their late 50s, her father tall, white-haired, with an aristocratic bearing, her mother short, a bit plump, friendly. Giuliano was over six feet, with the build of a heavyweight boxer and short close-cropped hair. He was warm and considerate of Rosa, but I sensed a strangeness about him.
With them was Roberto (Rosa, Giuliano, and Roberto are all pseudonyms), about 50, an insurance agent in Rome. In 2012, his sister, in her 30s, was suffering from depression. One day, Roberto saw her on the floor, convulsively twisting her body and growling like a wolf. When this continued for several days Roberto took her to a psychiatrist, who was unable to help her and suggested she see Father Amorth. She required four exorcisms before she was healed.
It was Roberto who noticed Rosa at Mass, acting disturbed and disoriented the way his sister had. He brought her to Father Amorth in August of 2015.