The Liminal Degree

Metaphysical musings & esoteric explorations

This is a simple, reliable, fast acting, and very effective spell to stop anger that is being directed at you, to silence a gossip, to divert negative attention, to thwart a slanderous foe. It is a variation and elaboration of Gordon White’s rendition[^1] of PGM XII 179-181[^2], refined through my own seasoned performance.

A section of papyrus AMS 75 vel 4 aka PGM XII


In addition to your usual magical paraphernalia, have at hand within the boundary of your circle the following items:

  • Rectangular strips of paper, each about the size of a cigarette paper. One for each person to be bound. I prefer to use good quality unlined letter writing stock.
  • Black pens. I prefer either brush tips or a fountain pen and ink.
  • A candle. I use bee’s wax.
  • Matches
  • A brazier. I have a small brass three legged bowl but an ashtray is also fine
  • A writing surface. Typically, I perform the actual spell sitting on the floor in front of the candle and brazier and so I simply use the cover of my personal grimoire as a writing surface. However if you wish to stand and use a high altar you may either need space on the altar to write on the scraps of paper or else have some kind of lectern or tall desk beside your altar for this purpose.
  • Myrrh and/or dragon’s blood incense (optional). The original spell calls on the magician to “write with myrrh [on linen]” so in homage to this I will often use myrrh incense. I associate myrrh with Saturn and Hecate which is appropriate for restraint magic. Dragon’s blood is another incense option if, like me, you correspond it to Mars. See the notes section at the end for a fuller explanation of the relevance of Mars to this operation.


  • Having taken the necessary precautions to ensure that you won’t be interrupted for at least half an hour, prepare yourself for ritual according to your magical tradition or personal practice.
  • With all materials for the spell close at hand, cast a circle or create your ritual space as usual.
  • Bring your awareness into a ritual state of being.
  • Bringing the person to be restrained to mind, write their name onto one of the pieces of paper. Use their full name if you know it.
    • If you are restraining more than one person, turn the first piece of paper face down and shift your attention to the next person as you write their name on a second strip of paper. Repeat until you have one piece of named paper for each recipient of the spell.
    • Note however that I do not recommend more than three targets for any given performance of this ritual. Any more and you risk diluting the effectiveness, impact, and result. In fact I strongly suggest that you to limit the spell to one target at a time whenever possible, which should be most times. Consider the following: Who is the most pivotal person in the problems you currently face? Which individual if silenced would have the most impactful change on your current circumstances?
  • Once you are ready, take up the paper and bring to mind the person. Allowing feelings of defiant indignation to rise within you, scribble and scrawl the word “CHNEŌM” across 
the name, obliterating it as best you can. Then fold the paper once lengthwise.
    • Note that you can write this word as: ΧΝΕΩΜ if you prefer, as a nod to the original Greek.
  • Light the candle.
  • While holding the piece of paper in your non-dominant hand, gaze 
into the flame. Bring yourself into a state of magical intent, deepening your candle gaze with the use of your third eye.
  • Continue to hold this state as you summon the person to mind and say:
I restrain the anger and gossip of all, and especially of NN, which is CHNEŌM
  • In the slight pause between the final two words, touch the paper to the flame and watch it light as you intone the magical formula, slowly vibrating the word as a monk might.
    • Where the spell says, NN, instead say the person’s full name.
    • Noting that the pronunciation of ancient Greek is a complicated topic, I tend to pronounce the initial “CH” with an aspirated “K” sound (think of a breathier version of the initial consonant in the word “chaos”), and the Ō as a long O.
  • Drop the burning paper into the brazier and watch it burn.
  • Repeat for each piece of paper.
  • Once you are done, cover the brazier (if using a book, beware that you may end up with a sooty smudge on the cover).
  • Close your circle.
  • As soon as possible, dispose of the ashes in the centre of a crossroads. Note that you should carry the covered brazier there and just tip it out. The quieter the crossroads the better, for magical as well as personal safety reasons. No need for any ceremony, just tip it out and keep moving.
    • I cannot comment on the likely outcome if you choose to dispose of the ashes in any other way and I do not advise it.
    • Note that the spell is not fully complete until the ashes have been disposed.
    • Clean your brazier as soon as possible. I use fresh rosemary from my garden as a scrub and running water from an outside tap, but you can do this however and with whatever you like.


The word Chneōm has no apparent meaning and is usually considered to be one of the many Nomina Magica, ancient magical words or names.[^3] However the footnote to the spell in Betz observes, ”CHNEŌM here and in I. 181 is probably Egyptian Khnum.”

Khnum was one of the oldest Egyptian divinities.[^4] Khnum, whose name meant 'to create'[^5] is frequently shown fashioning the royal ka “upon the potter’s wheel along with the human [vessel].”[^6]

Khnum, an ancient Egyptian ram-headed god who creates people and their kas on his potter's wheel. Based on New Kingdom tomb paintings. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. source:

That Khnum has the head of a ram connects him with Aries, whose glyph is the horned ram’s head.[^7] Aries whose impulsive creative force can be seen as an echo of the “vital essence” that is ka.[^8] Aries whose fire can perhaps be thought of as the fire of Khnum’s kiln. Aries which is ruled by Mars. Mars who, like the ram, is hot-headed. Mars, who is often angry, like the person you seek to restrain.


In the course of writing up this spell I stumbled on a true kaos magixal formula of power. 😈

I was preparing to go on a road trip and I took some photos from a few of my books to refer to while away from home. Included in these photos was the publication details from Gordon White’s Chaos Protocols. Later, being the lazy writer than I am, I went to use the extract-text-from-photo feature on my phone to grab the text for a footnote. I selected the first line of the bibliographical details (title, date, author) and pasted it into my notes app. Weirdly the pasted text appeared to be Russian!

Соботи номі манно лос ка ром остатон а у с санта вадо

Curious, I pasted it into google translate, where the language auto-detect feature also identified it as Russian. I selected the option to translate into English and it rendered a sort of transliteration instead, I presume because the text did not contain actual words. After removing a little bit of White space (see what I did there 😜) the following powerful magical formula was revealed!

Soboti nomi manno los carrum ostaton aus santa vado

This formula may or may not have a relationship to the anger restraint spell. It is thus far, untested by me. Use with extreme caution but please do email a summary of results to: [](mailto: “”)

[1]. White, Gordon, The chaos protocols: magical techniques for navigating the new economic reality, Llewellyn Publications, 2016. p.194.

[2]. For an English translation of this almost 2,000 year old spell contained in manuscript PGM XII of the Theban Magical Library see: Betz, H. D. et al. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation. Including the Demotic Texts. University of Chicago Press, 1986, p. 160.

For PGM XII manuscript details (including age) see:

[3]. See Skinner, S, Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic, Golden Hoarde, 2021, pp. 92-96 for more on Nomina Magica

[4]. For an overview of Khnum see:

[5]. The meaning of Khnum is sourced from:

[6]. Ozaniec, Naomi, Becoming a Garment of Isis: A Nine-Stage Initiatory Path of Egyptian Spirituality, Inner Traditions, 2022, pp. 212-213

[7]. For a detailed overview of the mystical dimensions of Aries including references to Khnum this see:

[8]. For an overview of the Egyptian concept of soul and the role of ka within it, see:

#spells #pgm #anger #magic


I present here my version of the famous ‘headless rite’ as originally recorded sometime between 100 BCE and 400 CE in the Greek Magical Papyri, specifically in PGM V. 96-172: “Stele of Jeu the Hieroglyphist in his letter.”

Image of The Headless God from PGM II. 170-1775

I rely heavily on the Betz translation of the PGM, with the most major variation in my version being in relation to the six magical names. For these I follow T.F. from Sublunar Space.


During the long COVID-19 lock down days and nights of 2021, I enjoyed spending some time refamiliarising myself with the tarot, a useful tool that I hadn’t played with for a couple of years.

The first tarot decks I ever saw were my sister’s Smith-Waite deck (then still called the Rider-Waite) and Swiss 1JJ deck. I would have been twelve or thirteen at the time and I was immediately fascinated by their promise of ancient mysteries and secret wisdom.


It’s a glorious sunny summer Sunday afternoon and you’re lying in the park with an old friend. Fat insects hum through the tall grass all about you, as you talk away the day over cheese, dips and a bottle of wine. All the ingredients of a magic day are there, a day that should be uplifting and energising. So why, when you walk away do you feel so damn drained, so tired, perhaps with the beginnings of a mild headache, maybe almost a little depressed?

An AI generated image in a soft fantasy style showing a woman facing a closed white door. Between the woman and the door stands a black sinister figure with pointed ears and red eyes. It is blocking her way. In the background of the picture is another scene showing the woman walking away through a field of flowers

There have been so many books written about psychic vampires that you may be wondering why this post even exists. Well mostly because I’ve found the methods of defense presented in those erudite tomes to be largely ineffective or in some cases quite impossible. Indeed the most common advice to be found is simply to cut the person out of your life. This demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the situation. If you've got someone causing you enough problems that you’re scouring books on psychic vampires then the individual in question is almost certainly someone who is deeply connected into your life. So much so that you’d probably need to quit your job or leave the country or disown a family member or abandon a whole set of friends in order to get away.



“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” ― Niels Bohr


Paradox, ambiguity, uncertainty; these are the sort of concepts which, if you think about them for long enough, will probably start to make you feel a little giddy, a little uncomfortable, perhaps even a little queasy. Almost by definition they are confusing, contradictory, non-logical ideas; portals to the fathomless realms of the unknown. And, as H.P. Lovecraft observed in the introduction to his 1927 essay, Supernatural Horror, “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” [^1]

In a 2016 psychology review and research synthesis about fundamental fears, R. Nicholas Carleton supports Lovecraft by positing that fear of the unknown, or ‘FOTU’ is quite possibly the fundamental fear. He notes that, ‘FOTU tautologically does not require a priori learning; indeed, the first thing that could be feared would be “the perceived absence of information at any level of consciousness.”’ [^2]

From the abyss of the unknown we conjure demons, fiends and nameless horrors out of the very fabric of our fears; they are legion. We learned this as children when, without conscious effort, we materialised monsters under our beds, in our cupboards, in the darkened doorways of our rooms. Of course as we grew up we learned to dispel such childish fears with reason. Relax. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Ah yes sweet logic is the light which banishes the darkness of the unknown. And so when ideas like paradox pop up, ideas which defy coherent rationale, it’s no wonder we almost always pull ourselves away with a slightly unsettled shudder.

However, as is no doubt clear from the title, this article is not about fear of the unknown, but rather is centred on that last uncomfortable little idea, paradox. Paradox which seems to characterize so many of the big problems at the forefront of modern science. Paradox which has fascinated and confounded philosophers for millennia. Paradox, without which mathematics could not have solved the problems on which all modern technology relies.

But, I entreat you, dear reader, to proceed with caution. I’m no academic and this is far from a rigorous exposition. Question every assertion, examine each scrap of evidence, take that which works for you.

Far from seeking to untangle the profound mysteries of paradox, I hope instead to outline how engaging with the concept of paradox in particular ways can re-pattern the warp and weft of the unfolding Now of your life in strange and marvelous ways. The nature of such mysteries, however, avoids direct scrutiny and is diminished through attempts at explanation. And so these words are mostly just the sketchy field notes from my own tentative steps, flickering lantern in hand, into that vast antechamber which holds in its dark embrace the entrance to the bottomless caverns of eternal mystery. There in that yawning vestibule, between the realm of the known and the unknowable, neither in one place nor the other, yet both and neither all at once; there in the liminal twilight, blooms paradox.

But what is a paradox? Well somewhat fittingly it’s a hard idea to pin down. Etymologically it means an idea which is contrary to (παρά, ‘para-’) general opinion (δόξα, ‘doxa’). Often though the word paradox is used to mean something surprising and/or nonsensical. In more formal terms, paradox has been defined as “a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-contradictory or a logically unacceptable conclusion.” [^3]

In A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind, Roy Sorensen describes paradoxes as “questions (or in some cases, pseudoquestions) that suspend us between too many good answers…Typically, the case for one solution to a paradox looks compelling in isolation. The question is kept alive by the tug of war between evenly matched contestants.” [^4]


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