The Scarlet Letter
Volume IV, Number 2 | June 1997
The Fire of Azrael: An Equinox Ritual
By Sr. Qadisha

SkullEmerging refreshed from the depths of a sound and restful sleep, I ROSE just in time to catch the start of what was to be an incredible sunset. I quickly threw my implements into my backpack and prepared to head south for the evening’s ritual.

I was already charged up from many days of anticipation. I watched as the sun spun ribbons of amber light through the clouds on the horizon. To the north was a solid army of huge black clouds, threatening rain. I vibrated the name Azrael on the drive to M.’s house, feeling and moving with each letter’s breath of energy.

I had a wild feeling in me, surrounded by the brightly crashing air of the brilliant sunset, and the almost full moon to the east, and the approaching storm, I sensed a vibrant energy in the air, the powers of nature converging. I reveled in sympathy with my environment and felt the power within my chest grow as I continued to vibrate “Azrael.” By the time I arrived at M.’s house, the winds were whipping the trees and telephone lines around with great force. I watched fascinated as the lid from a trash can rolled wheel-like down the center of the street past me. M. was excited too. We headed to our appointed spot outdoors. We climbed over the barbed wire fence and crawled through the huge concrete sewer pipe. As we emerged on the other side of the pipe, we felt as though we had stepped into another world.

We found our appointed spot and got right to work. I framed a large ritual circle with boulders as M. prepared the fuel for the Fire of Azrael. It was twilight and the clouds were closing in, pelting us with a few fat, cold drops of rain. The temperature and pressure had dropped very quickly as it often does when storms rise up from the north.

I performed a preliminary banishing. M. followed with a powerful invocation around the circle, addressing the elements. As I sat in the center of the circle, I was filled with a sense of movement and stillness at the same time: I felt I was a whirling swastika or the hub a gigantic wheel.

We then began the invocation. We were very aware of each other and things were going smoothly. We had no set format for the ritual although we had set some parameters and identified some specific tools. We always left room for creative spontaneity. We sat in the middle of the circle together, facing north, and lit the Fire of Azrael incense that had been specially prepared. The aromatic smoke of sandalwood, cedar and cedar berries rose smoothly into the air.

We had clearly stated our will and purpose for the ritual before proceeding. Azrael is the Angel of Death, a psychopompos, Lord of Transformations. For me the purpose of the ritual was to change old outworn patterns of behavior, to slough off the old skin and step into the strength of a new way.

M. and I performed spontaneous invocations to Azrael, passing our wands (fire/will) and then our quartz crystals (earth/manifestation) through the smoke of the incense we had prepared. We pressed our torsos together and vibrated into each other’s mouths:

I was lifted and transformed by the tremendous energy informing my emotions and imagination. I felt the power of transformation originating from within myself. Suddenly I realized that I already had the tools to change myself in the manner I desired. Once again, I had found magick a powerful tool for vitalizing my boundaries, renewing forgotten knowledge, rolling the ball of shit into the sun.

Our energy and the ritual peaked during the vibration, we collapsed on the razor’s edge of two distinct skies. To the south and west, the sky was clear calm and the stars were piercing the atmosphere with their brilliant, liquid radiance. To the north and east just overhead, the storm cast forth incredibly bright veins of flashing lightning against black boiling clouds. It was a light show like I’d never seen, before or since. And standing on that line where chaos meets tranquillity and the crack between the worlds flashes open for a split second, we let Azrael spit us back out.

We sat for awhile longer and watched the flashing blue-white streamers throw strange patterns against the mountains of clouds. Eventually, we grounded ourselves and closed circle. We thanked the POWERS THAT BE and said farewell to Azrael, knowing that when called, he would manifest again.

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