In the spirit of creative experimentation, I’ve joined forces with award-winning photographer, Holly Wilmeth. Holly recently released a Sacred Nature Oracle Deck. Our collaboration is inspired by the photographs of plants and humans in this gorgeous deck. But instead of plants, we’ll be creating talismanic photographs of planets using people as placeholders.
What’s a talisman?
Put simply, a talisman is a bit like lightning trapped in a bottle. The lightning refers to favorable celestial rays emitted from the planet we have chosen to work with. The bottle corresponds to a physical object—in this case: a photograph—that locks in those rays at a specifically elected time. Why trap lightning in a bottle or ensoul celestial rays into a talisman? Because it causes changes you wish to see in the real world. If you would like to learn more, you can read an article I wrote on planetary magic 101 here.
Why use an “election”?
The election is the window of time that the rays of the focus planet are highly powerful. For example, would you rather join a Zoom call with internet speed of 4MB or 40MB? Having recently gone through this difference, I can tell you that 4MB is going to drop, freeze and roll you right out of a meeting whereas 40MB gets the job done. We want the our focus planet at peak performance.
Furthermore, when you create a talisman, you bake in the celestial energy of that time into the physical object. In effect, you and I are talismans carrying the energy of the sky we were born under. So if you’re creating a Venus talisman, you don’t want her being squashed by Saturn or beat up by Mars. The Moon’s position is of upmost importance as well. There are many different rules to tick off a long list when you’re looking for the needle in the haystack that is a great election.
I will continue to create metal talismans, but I’m delighted to join forces with Holly to see what happens when we use the same process I’ve used in creating magical planetary talismans and apply it to a photograph. We did our first one last Sunday!
- Planet: Saturn
- Ambassador/Model: Artist and tarot reader Miguel Canseco
- Place: The ruins of Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato, Mexico
- Election: December 12, 2021 from 10:15am-10:52am
We left San Miguel at 7:30am and drove for 90 minutes in the loveliest fog. I don’t remember ever seeing this kind of fog in San Miguel. Once we arrived in Pozos, Holly took Miguel and I to a couple places she had scouted earlier in the week. After weighing our choices, we jumped a fence to photograph in the ruins.
As Holly went through her preparation process, I set up for the ritual that accompanies the making of a talisman.
The ritual plan consisted of:
- Purifying the space
- Sealing the area with a protection spell
- Setting up an altar and lighting the incense
- Purification of Miguel and I which included confession
- Calling in the spirits
- Reciting the Orphic Hymn to Saturn
- Briefly articulating the request
The subconscious mind is a charger for what we out-picture in reality. When we’re out of alignment, we are not in balanced reciprocity with the gods. Confession release imbalances, sludge and stuckness so there is restored energetic flow. This inner harmony keeps covenance with the gods. If you’d like to learn more, I highly recommend this episode on the Glitch Bottle podcast.
This part of the ritual was very powerful for both Miguel and I. It shook something loose that had felt stuck for awhile for both of us. Confession requires vulnerability and trust. I hope to carry it through on all the shoots as it was a key factor in clearing the energetic mood for Miguel and I.
After the opening of the election with ritual, Holly had roughly 30 minutes to shoot. That’s not a lot of time! She had me announce the time in 5 minute increments as she posed Miguel and worked him around the ruins. The fog that had accompanied us to Pozos had begun to lift during confession. The moment Holly started shooting, the Sun came out in full force.
At one point, a van of tourists poured in through the gates and onto the grounds. Miguel who is very Saturnian, introverted and shy, had to put Saturn’s barrier around his discomfort and walk by the group shirtless with a short-cypress cape decorating his shoulders! This synchronicity was tied to his confession and I could see how Saturn was already working to remove obstacles by having Miguel face his own. Miguel did beautifully and did not let the tourists or his own shyness get in the way of a the photoshoot.
Once Holly finished, we closed the ceremony, passed Miguel and the camera through the smoke of the incense, and prayed over how this image will affect the viewer who sees it. Here’s the short version of the talismanic benefits:
- May this talismanic photograph bring stillness, activate integrity, promote wisdom, alleviate depression and loneliness and help the viewer deepen and embody what they are learning.
I think the three of us were touched by the magic on Sunday. Personally speaking, 2021 has been a struggle for me and for a number of reasons, I have felt myself in a fog of melancholy for months now. The day after the shoot, I woke up and for the first time in a long time, I felt lighter, brighter and lifted, just like that Sun lighting up the field of Pozos ruins, burning the fog away.
Up next: Jupiter in January! Fingers crossed Holly and I find exactly the right ambassador who models Jupiter in their everyday life just as expertly as Miguel lives and animates Saturn through his.