ALGOL’S ABSINTHE

camelia elias, absinthe, algol‘I’m making my own absinthe,’ I told a few friends at a conference in Oulu, Finland this week, ‘and I always use the sacred to the Finns spirit, aka 60 percent Koskenkorva Vodka.’

What I should have said is that I don’t just make absinthe. I ritualize the making of it, so that when I will finally drink it, I will drink the gods.

As tonight the Dark Moon is approaching her conjunction with the Sun, also conjunct the fixed star Algol, I thought that it was a good time to ask for something.

Not many want to approach this star, as it has a way of making heads disappear. In astrological cosmology Algol, Ras al Ghul, or the Demon Star, is the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Perseus decapitated her simply because she was a terrible monster, turning anyone who would gaze onto her into stone.

camelia elias, algolOf course, Medusa was not always the maiden with hair made of serpents, and angry with all men. She used to be a beautiful woman in the temple of Minerva, but when she gave birth to Chrysaor and Pegasus by Neptune, Minerva didn’t like it, hence turning her into a demon.

In astrological parlance, whenever Algol is conjunct anything, you can be sure to experience a loss of heads, more often literally than merely metaphorically. But there are instances when Algol conjunct the Sun will give victory over one’s enemies. We can all use that.

In my magical understanding, however, there is no terrible power, or a power that’s terrible enough to frighten us. Power is power. Neither good, nor bad. The best is to get a sense of how we can be in the proximity of power without losing our heads between our legs. So tonight I thought I’d make an offering to Algol in the form of making absinthe. According to Agrippa, The Picatrix, and a few other old grimoirs, the herbs sacred to Algol are hellebore and mugwort, so I wasn’t so sure why I wanted to through wormwood into it, as this herb is the main plant that goes into absinthe.

IMG_6304And yet, as I was letting a few frankincense fumes go to the ceiling of my den, aka the kitchen, I understood, however, that there are certain powers that we can mix. That’s the whole point of ritual. To get us to a place where we suddenly realize that we rather like our lives such as they are, and especially when they are not under dictations. For let’s face it, how many would endorse any activities that are not consecrated by what the neighbor has to say? Most of the time we plod along, doing what there is to be done, and making sure we don’t fall too much into cultural disrepute.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 12.20.13 AMSo, while enjoying this life that makes me think of stars and fumes, luminaries and planets sharing house with the greatest celestial female force – not that the mortals get that, what with most still being frightened of what women might be up to, disrupting the neat social order and such – I got to divine with my cards, as usual.

camelia elias, algol, marseilleTo the extent that we give ourselves license to talk about just how much more we get out of life when we walk the walk and talk the talk, I’ll say this: I can never get tired of the perfection of the way the cards fall on the table. I can never get enough of musing about just how much power there is in just sitting there and contemplating The Sun, The Popesse, and The Devil, presiding over my absinthe mix, and listening to my legs dancing wildly under the table, provoked by the tunes from Wardruna. Algol found a sister in Algir, one of the rune stones, and I could tell that my mix got more and more exciting. The Popess mediating between the two heads, Medusa’s heads before and after, as it were, knows what she knows. With her book on her lap, she gathers in it the brilliance from the Sun, and the Devil’s bidding. Being flanked by light and dark forces is not too bad.

A very good evening indeed. It gave me the opportunity to lose my head in my jars, in the music, my own drumming, and the sacred smoke. The she-dog Goddess Frigg approved too.

Happy New Moon to everyone.

camelia elias, algol, marseille, absinthe

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Note on the cards: Carolus Zoya, ca. 1790, facsimile of the original deck in the collection of K. Frank Jensen, by kind permission.

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9 Comments

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  1. Reblogged this on Grandtrines.

  2. Really, a very elegant piece! Your comment about the power of Algol is interesting. I see it as depending upon what drama we choose to live in. In some dramas Algol is evil, in others it is merely power, and in yet others it is admired. To some degree, The Bard was right: all the world is a stage….

    • Thanks. I’m glad you liked it. About Algol, all I can say is that we can experience its power in several ways, ranging from terrible to exquisite. In my experience, though, after having tried a few decapitations, I’ve come to the realization that it’s better to be aware of Algol’s presence upon us, and make a few good pacts with its power. Quite sublime, actually, when you realize you’re are in its grace, acting on grace, and seeing it work on your behalf beyond measure. After all, all is given in grace, including the sword.

  3. rohinibabe@aol.com May 18, 2015 — 11:44 pm

    VERY amusing. Thanks a lot! Maralyn

  4. As I read along here I was having a virtual Proustian moment–memories of my university days of cramming for finals fueled on the rather appalling combination of rolls, pear-ginger jam my father and I put up each summer and Pernod straight. This was all informing my experience as your words unfolded across the screen but then…well, the absinthe, the smoke, the cards, the ritual, the erudition and poetry, Proust, all of it receded gracefully into the liminal recesses when I saw the eyes of your soul companion. She’s the fulcrum of this piece! Her beneficent animal-self presiding over the exalted Dark-Moon moments much the way her namesake might be imagined to do…with sobriety, strength, eros and enigma.

  5. An alternate look at those cards could be that despite the chaperoning you’ll meddle with the dark forces anyhow.

    • Well, if we speak from a commonsensical point of view, and simply regard what we’re talking about here, then the expectation that one works – rather than meddle, I would say – with the dark forces is already part of the premise for one’s point of departure. When you make your concoctions at the time the moon is dark, conjunct a dark star, and during the night, you wouldn’t expect to say hello to Lucifer, but rather to bump into Lucifer’s shadow. So the cards were simply stating the obvious here, which is always a good sign this part side of the world.

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