The Wasp Nest of Damocles: an Old-Timey Chaos Grammarye

The Wasp Nest of Damocles: an Old-Timey Chaos Grammarye October 15, 2021

[A conversation with my Misfits brother Scott, who, it should be noted, lives in the country and deals with a lot of livestock.]

Scott: “A rooster got into the backyard earlier, and one of the dogs thought it was a toy.”

Me: “Oh, no.”

Scott: “Yeah. Blood and feathers everywhere.”

Me: “Jesus. That’s awful.”

Scott: “Yeah.”

Me: “…”

Scott: “…”

Me: “…”

Scott: “So, do you want the feet?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

And then he started debating the merits of freeze-drying versus salt preservation while listing off “all the magical things you’re going to do with my cock.”

There are times when I have to remind myself that I’m living the life I asked for, and this was one of those moments.

“I mean… I wanted a magical cock, but not like this. Not like this.” (Image courtesy of DrAmmatico.)

I’m glad I’ll be able to put at least part of what remains of the remains to good use, even though I feel really bad for the rooster. Just like I felt guilty about having to call management about the gargantuan wasp nest over my patio door, which I was really hoping to use for Witchcraft.

It took me a while to notice the nest, allowing the neighborhood wasps to expand on it unmolested, until I casually glanced up one day and spied a tennis ball-sized chamber of horrors scant inches away from my head. But once the stark terror subsided, I realized I wasn’t really under any kind of threat.

Red paper wasps are notoriously aggressive and territorial, but because I hadn’t bothered them when they first established the nest, and because I never interfered with them after that, they accepted my presence and, for the most part, ignored me, other than occasionally buzzing around my head in an insectoid expression of curiosity. As far as they’re concerned, I’m just a giant, biped wasp that screams when startled but doesn’t cause any problems otherwise.

It was a little irrational of me, but I got kind of emotionally attached to the wasps, and I felt oddly safe with them hanging out over my door. And since it’ll be a while before Scott brings me the chicken feet, I decided to kill some time by researching the magical uses of wasp nests.

“Hello, fellow vespid! I myself am clearly a vespid.” (Image via Pixabay.)

As I recently mentioned, some rootworkers will add wasp nest bits to their Hot Foot powder, so that’s one option. And when I worked at that leather shop, I used to sprinkle red brick dust across the threshold of the entrance to keep out belligerent drunks, so I’ll bet mixing that with powdered wasp nest would make a good protective spell.

But other than that… I really didn’t find much. At one point, I came across a fascinating article called “Insects and Witchcraft” by Harry B. Weiss, published in the Journal of the New York Entomological Society in 1930, which contained a ton of intriguing folklore (a future blog post will definitely be, “Things to Do With Bottle Imps When You’re Bored”), but nothing specifically related to wasps.

If I were in the market for bee lore, I’d be drowning in an embarrassment of riches, but other stabby pollinators are kind of left out in the cold. There’s a whole wealth of info around the English custom of keeping bee charms in the house to bring fortune, for example, but the only mention of wasps I could find was in the article above, which described their stingers as resembling “the magical arrows of sorcerers.”

And so, since I couldn’t find any useful spells involving wasps, I cheerfully decided to make some up. And this means I get to roll about in some good, old-fashioned Chaos Magic, which always makes me giddy.

First, let’s do a quick review of the forms of Chaos Magic

  • Pure Magic
  • Death
  • Wealth
  • Love
  • Ego
  • Sex
  • Thinking
  • War

… and the Five Discordian Elements:

  • Sweet
  • Boom
  • Pungent
  • Prickle
  • Orange
“Let’s call the corners, shall we?” (Image via Pixabay.)

Wasps plainly relate to War magic (attack, defense, and protection). But they’re also sneaky little bug(ger)s, so there’s a strategic side to them as well, which falls under Thinking magic. If we look at our Discordian Diamond glyph, we see that the element Orange is the bridge between Thinking and War, so Orange — the element of things visual — will be the basis for this work.

Aroma of Invisibility

Some species of wasps have the ability to mimic bee pheromones, which they use to enter hives and wreak havoc, and I want to duplicate this effect to get into places I maybe shouldn’t be (a concert, say, or a fru-fru social event) without being asked for my invitation or ID. Since pheromones are scent-based, I know I’m going to want an oil I can wear, so I’m going to start with some sweet almond oil, with an added squirt of safflower oil (it’s rich in vitamin E and will keep the finished product from going rancid).

Digging around in my supply cabinet, I found the following:

  • Calamus root chips — used to dominate others.
  • Mugwort — promotes psychic ability and safe travels.
  • Road Opener.
  • Poppy seeds — create a sense of confusion.

So here’s my plan. Starting with my base almond/safflower oil, I’ll add the calamus chips, mugwort, Road Opener, poppy seeds, and some scrapings from a wasp nest, then let it sit for a few days on a window sill to let the carrier oil absorb the properties of the herbs and curios. Then, when I’m ready to give it a whirl, I’ll dab some of the oil on my wrists and the sides of my neck and see what happens.

Nobody here but us chickens. (Image via Pixabay.)

Theoretically, the calamus will let me impose my will over the people around me, and the mugwort and poppy seeds will combine to create a psychic haze that makes me less perceptible. The mugwort will also provide safe travel, which will blend nicely with the Road Opener to grant me access to the swanky affairs of my choosing.

I also found a tiny nazar pendant in my jewelry box, along with some black ribbon. Since a nazar is a symbolic eye, I’ll dab some of the oil on it, wrap it in the black ribbon to “blind” it, and keep it in my breast pocket or shoe.

Okay! I like this. But let’s also see what we can come up with on the flip side, going from invisible to visible AF.

Threatening Aura Charm

I’m 6’1″ and broadly built, but I’m not particularly intimidating. I’m normally pretty comfortable with that, but there are times when it wouldn’t hurt to come across as someone Not To Be Messed With. Wasps are unsettling even when they’re not going on the offensive, and people tend to be wary around them, so I want to invoke that energy into an herbal charm.

Black snake root, which offers strength to those who are shy or timid, would be perfect for this working — but I don’t have any. I do have some yarrow, though, which promotes courage in stressful or dangerous situations, so we’ll go with that instead.

Try me. I wish you would try me. (Image via Pixabay.)

Diving back into the supply cabinet, I found:

  • A small orange bag.
  • Black pepper — to move troublesome people out of my way.
  • Ginger — offers fiery protection.
  • Rue — another fiercely protective herb.
  • A Mercury dime.

The heaviest item usually goes into a mojo or charm bag first, to act as the “skeleton,” so I’ll start with the Mercury dime — in addition to being representative of Hermes and His trickstery nature, it’s also apotropaic, so it’ll act as protection while helping me create an appropriate illusion.

Once that’s in the bag, I’ll add the herbs and a chunk of wasp nest, sprinkle it with some consecrated saltwater and smoke it with an all-purpose incense (probably frankincense and sandalwood), and bam: I’m back to being a giant, biped wasp, at least in the eyes of people who will now think twice before coming at me.

I haven’t had a chance to try either formula out, but I’m psyched to see what results I’ll get. In the meantime, feel free to swipe them and experiment, and let me know how they work for you.

Unfortunately for me and my magical designs, the wasp nest had to come down while it was still inhabited. Other area wasps started trying to move in on the nest’s turf, which led to a series of escalating, aerial battles for supremacy, like, right in front of my salad, and eggs were beginning to hatch, which meant the wasps were getting even more overprotective than usual.

Pew pew pew! (Image via Pixabay.)

Plus a young, stray tomcat has taken up residence on my porch (his name is Bolly: long story), and I was getting really worried about him playfully swatting at one of the wasps and bringing down the vengeful wrath of the entire colony.

It really boiled down to this: He’s technically not my cat, but I’m more emotionally invested in him than I am the wasps, and I do not have the cash for emergency veterinary visits right now. So I called finally called maintenance and came home to a bittersweet, wasp-free patio.

But all was not lost, because at some point, one of the squadron somehow managed to wriggle through the crack under my door and promptly die. I found his body last night.

So right away, I was thinking he would do well in a witch bottle:  Add some rusty nails, some Four Thieves Vinegar, top it off with some urine, fingernail clippings, and a few hairs, and hide it under my desk at work for a little extra job security.

Rest well, little bottle imp.

And after I rendezvous with Scott, I can fill the empty space where the wasp nest used to be with a couple of decorative chicken feet, which will definitely make me a frontrunner in my complex’s annual Halloween contest.

Or else my neighbors will get even more weirded out by what goes on at my place, and management will tape another note to my door about violating Community Standards. Either feels like a win, really.

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About Thumper
Thumper Marjorie Splitfoot Forge is a Gardnerian High Priest, an initiate of the Minoan Brotherhood, an Episkopos of the Dorothy Clutterbuck Memorial Cabal of Laverna Discordia, a recovering alcoholic, and a notary public from Houston, TX. You can read more about the author here.

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