Below you will find an interview with solomonic magician, author, blogger and tech pro Julio Cesar Ody. Julio’s blog Crossing the Sun is a simple yet elegant and extremely well written catalog of his experiences in magic, spirit evocation, psychedelic journeying, witchcraft and etc.
Q: What do you consider your greatest magical achievement?
A: This changes often as I develop a better understanding of their significance, but I suppose if I had to name one for its lasting impact alone, it’d be having pursued Solomonic evocation in its more traditional form, and then having had the will and tenacity to see it through and persist despite all the advice and contemporary writings I came in contact with early on pointing to it having worked when it clearly hadn’t. At least not according to an overwhelming number of source texts.
It’d certainly have been less laborious to choose to believe the point of it was the reduced form people were talking about, but I wasn’t content and in my heart I just knew it to be wrong. Despite the unfavourable circumstances at the time, getting stuff from spirits came a distant second in my mind to performing the operations correctly. That thinking paid off.
Q: Who are some of your personal heroes?
A: “Heroes” isn’t quite the word I’d use to describe them, but there are people who were are important in my spiritual journey who I could mention.
Of direct consequence to my practice, that’d be those who either admitted me in their traditions and/or have passed on sacred teachings to me, with whom I regularly speak about it as well as many other things. I’ll refrain from saying their names for several reasons. On other fronts, Gordon White, whose depth of knowledge and relentlessness constantly impresses me. And also Alkistis Dimech and Peter Grey as master wordsmiths and artists. I wish I was half as good at it as they are.
It’d be easy to name John Dee, Aleister Crowley and others here. Their work was no doubt momentous, regardless of any disagreement we may have with one or many things they said. I just find them to be the tip of the iceberg insofar as people who have moved the pieces into place so that we could now be here discussing this, and those who enter the historical record frequently do so for more than merit.
Q: What was your first “oh shit, this is real” experience?
A: A séance I did with two friends at very young age. It was originally intended to just be a plaything dangerous enough to be entertaining. We ended up in it for about 4 hours on the first day, and then returned on the next two for a similar amount of time. By the second day, even the more skeptic in the house had started peeking through the door. We made a believer out of a few others besides ourselves with what was seen there, in those days and what followed. A number of experiences came at me fast from that point and on, including being taken to an Umbanda house for ridding me of what my family suspected were bad spirits that had been drawn in by it. The exposure only exacerbated the craving for knowing more about it all.
Such origin stories aren’t uncommon in Brazil, and also a few other countries in Latin America, from what I hear. I assume many from over there would tell a similar story to mine.
Q: You recently published a book via Scarlet Imprint, can you tell us a bit about it?
A: Magister Officiorum is first and foremost a manual of Solomonic evocation, pertaining particularly to the lower spirits commonly seen in the tradition’s texts. There’s a route given in it that I found conducive for obtaining contact with a cardinal king. From there, the work is poised to direct itself by its own developments. Besides that, there are a few other operations I’ve used for various ends, and an admittedly off-book guide on black table spiritism that should be of interest for people conducting group operations still revolving around the same group of spirits.
The work described in it is a fruit of my experiences in Obeah, and towards later stages of it lightly influenced by Makaya. There was a process of reorientation that took me from a previous stage of my understanding of the spirits seen in Solomonic magic that I mentioned in passing, along with the experience that triggered it, the long story being a matter for a future book.
It however requires neither an interest nor initiation into either tradition in order to be used. This was mentioned merely as context so others can glimpse into how it came to be and the rationale for it.
Q: What separates Magister Officiorum from other books on Solomonic Magic?
A: It revolves around an approach I have used myself, extensively, and its outcomes. I suppose with a few exceptions, books on Solomonic magic are either translations/reproductions — those being very useful for their intended purpose, of course — or commentary on manuscripts/grimoires consisting of opinions resting on what authors assume the particulars would be if they were to put said text to use. In other words, rather than a report of findings, their arguments are driven principally from extrapolations made from comparisons with other works, it thus becoming a panchreston devoid of a need to honestly commit to an account of whether this or that indeed constitutes an effective way to work the spirits, what can truly be done without and what cannot.
Again, in all likelihood there have been exceptions and I haven’t participated in these people’s lives, but for the most part, it’s unclear whether authors are just being adamant when giving an opinion or whether they’re speaking from experience. And in select cases, I agree it’d be unhelpful to discard the latter possibility altogether.
With any luck, this will change.
Q: What parallels if any do you see in sorceries such as Obeah and Makaya or Espiritismo to that of Solomonic Magic?
A: First, it’s important to bear in mind that with the exception of Spiritism (Kardecian, in my case), none of the others are of a singular shape. These are non-liturgic magical practices that vary greatly depending on who is asked, so comparisons will in the best of cases reveal things that happen to coincide or look similar and not necessarily produce truths that wouldn’t fail to consider how deep the roots that make things possible go.
But perhaps that’s itself an aspect Obeah and Makaya share with texts of Solomonic magic: the differences between manuscripts, not every time but sometimes, speak of different means by which spirits were contacted by someone. Practitioners of Obeah and Makaya customarily establish their activities on the direction the spirits lead them as well as their personal preferences, and how real their magic is is measured by how effective at solving practical problems, and how good one is at speaking to spirits and compelling them into service, as opposed to how well their magic complies to dogma (although *some* dogma does apply).
Another aspect that comes to mind is the focus on pursuing magical power, and Obeah in particular, broadly speaking, has that element well highlighted. In my opinion these practices suit people who are restless and hungry more than they will those who are only seeking to improve their lives, serve certain spirits and live in peace. An obstinate pursuit of forbidden occult knowledge is, according to both the spirits and myths such as that of Prometheus, the darkest of sins because succeeding at it places the magician in competition with the designs of immortal beings. Thus none of these practices are “good” magic in any way.
Q: What is your advice to the young aspiring magician just getting started today?
A: In connection to Solomonic magic, I’d remind them that spirit evocation — the reason why a large number of people seek it — isn’t exclusive to it. Evocation appears in several other traditions, and some of that is visible, for instance, in spells of the Greek Magical Papyri. It’s infinitely more helpful for one to find a tradition that speaks to their heart in all its aspects than to try and pick one apart (as an outsider, no less) for the sake of a single favourite aspect. This is very difficult work as is, and that exercise often ignores a fundamental part of it which is the relationship between the spirits and methods known to be effective for working with them. This teaching is strongly impressed on vodouisants through regleman, and is something I believe entrants of all arts should bear in mind.
There is a world of traditions of magic out there and with persistence and a sincere heart, anyone will find what’s right for them. I can guarantee that wherever they go, if the goal is doing magic in capacity, then it’s certain that there’ll be a lot of work to do, so they’d be better off loving it in such a way that work isn’t felt as such.
And last, learn to use books for informing praxis, it then getting the final say on anything. Don’t just assume what’s published is correct or final, as that’s the plight of occult consumerism and it’s cozy relationship with social media. That goes for mine and anyone else’s.
Q: What projects do you have coming up later in 2018?
A: On a personal level, I’ll continue working with the traditions I’m in and possibly do some more travelling for magical purposes. There’s a relocation on the radar with the intention of moving me closer to the forest once again. All things considered, I think I’ve done a good job for someone living in a city, but it’s simply impossible raising the right power structures in it, and too laborious commuting to where that can be done.
On writing, I’ve been jotting down notes for a next book for a few months now. In all likelihood not a manual of anything, but more of a report of the spirit encounters and the practices stemming from it. Some of that ended up in Magister Officiorum, in fact, but there’s a lot more.
Q: What effect and focus do you think magic should have upon politics and world events?
A: I think it should right all wrongs, but it’s unlikely that’ll ever happen. This world is a complicated piece of machinery both in a physical and spiritual sense and there are countless powerful forces, human and otherwise, that could be held accountable for what goes on in it. So the question is rather what *can* people do against that, and on a collective level I don’t think it’s a lot. Crises have been happening one after another for millennia and it’s difficult to say whether they reached an end due to magical intervention or something else.
On a micro level, I believe magic should ensure an individual’s survival, prosperity and happiness in a hostile world, same for their loved ones. This may not always be trivial given that circumstances vary tremendously, but it *needs* to happen and it’s an excellent gauge of one’s prowess. People who can’t attain any of these things for themselves have no business telling others how to.
We should start giving serious thought to living lives that are independent from the fabric of society. Making the right moves towards that can and should be guided by one’s magic.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your early practice with performance of séances and experiments with The Book of Saint Cyprian in the mountains in the south of Brazil?
A: From that first séance I mentioned earlier, I realised I had seen something I would want to pursue for the rest of my life, and that hunger for answers led me through many doors. The Book of Saint Cyprian is almost impossible to miss if you grow up in Brazil with an interest in the occult, however few people will put its more radical formulae to use. I may have taken it further than average, and the experiences that were had started a second stage of my understanding of magic, again based on what my eyes had seen. Kardecian spiritists, whose company I sought soon after the first séance incident, although some are excellent necromancers, they work within a rather narrow view of things in which magic is almost non-existent. The work of mediumship is to mediate, not to use spells. God and the guidance of elevated spirits are requested in prayer, instead.
But I wanted more and I knew more was possible, so for the next few years, The Book as well as several other similar volumes kept me company and helped me develop my view of magic and what it can do. Seeking the right company also helped. I initiated in Umbanda, but I ended up not walking that path much further, as my felt my passions laid elsewhere.
Séances stayed a regular occurrence, and later many of them took place in an old hotel that belonged to a family business, in a town in the mountains where I spent a significant part of my early life. Some of them turned quite scary. To be fair, the atmosphere of the place certainly helped contribute to that, but that town is a true place of power, as many years later I found out. Being there is like walking in a dream to me, and thus far there is only one other place on Earth I can say the same about. There’s something other living there I briefly referred to in a post.