Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Arnemancy Podcast Interview

Back in August I recorded an interview with Erik Arneson for his Arnemancy podcast. The full interview is now available here. We spent some time discussing Enochian magick and my books, but much of the conversation drifted into models of consciousness and how they can play a role in better understanding ritual. We also covered some topics relation to my quantum information model of magick and some of the scientific work that needs to be done before we can properly test many of its predictions.

Even though we talked less about Enochian magick than I expected going into it, I think that John Dee as a scientific-minded occultist would have approved. Much of the material I discuss with regards to my magical model is covered in these posts outlining much of my thinking on the matter and why I consider my model the best - at least for my own work, and possibly for the work of others. The conversation jumped around a bit, but at the same time it covered a lot of material.

Erik is a good interviewer and I had a lot of fun recording this episode. Hopefully I'll have a chance to appear again in the near future. Have a listen, and enjoy!

What About Eels?

Longtime readers of Augoeides should be familiar with my contention that the Loch Ness Monster could be an Atlantic sturgeon, as well as the work of Steve Feltham, a longtime Loch Ness researcher who disagrees with me and thinks it's a Wels catfish. But now a recent article from the British tabloid Mirror asks the question that neither of us are asking - what about eels?

Scientists now believe that they may have evidence that the creature could be a ‘giant eel’ after carrying a DNA investigation at the lake. Researchers have been taking samples from Loch Ness and constructing a list of the life that is in the waters by looking at genetic remnants.

Prof Gemmell, who worked on the project, said: ‘We found large amounts of eel DNA in the Loch Ness, every single site we went to had eels. Is it possible there’s a giant eel? Maybe. We don’t know if the DNA is gigantic or just many small eels.’

Let's take a look at this hypothesis. The largest eel by weight in the world is the European Conger, which can grow to almost ten feet long. That's big, but not as big as an Atlantic sturgeon or Wels catfish. I will say that a very large conger could in theory breach the water and explain some of the "hump" sightings of the creature. Looking at pictures like this one I have a much easier time seeing that as an eel than a catfish - even though it really looks more like the back of a sturgeon to me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Real Story of MK-ULTRA

The Central Intelligence Agency's MK-ULTRA program has been a staple of conspiracy theorist for decades. Despite that, the program was entirely real. It ran for about ten years from the early 1950's to the early 1960's, and involved a whole panoply of techniques that chemist Sidney Gottlieb, who ran the program, hoped would produce a viable form of mind control for use in intelligence work.

This involved all sorts of unethical and in many cases horrific techniques intended to break down the structure of the target's mind in order to replace it with new contents. Among other things, it involved a whole lot of drugs administered to subjects without any ethical controls or safeguards. NPR has an article up today that covers the history of the program and Gottlieb's work. As the article notes, the program never actually worked for mind control but it was largely responsible for introducing LSD to the counter-culture of the 1960's.

MK-ULTRA, which operated from the 1950s until the early '60s, was created and run by a chemist named Sidney Gottlieb. Journalist Stephen Kinzer, who spent several years investigating the program, calls the operation the "most sustained search in history for techniques of mind control."

Some of Gottlieb's experiments were covertly funded at universities and research centers, Kinzer says, while others were conducted in American prisons and in detention centers in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Many of his unwitting subjects endured psychological torture ranging from electroshock to high doses of LSD, according to Kinzer's research.

"Gottlieb wanted to create a way to seize control of people's minds, and he realized it was a two-part process," Kinzer says. "First, you had to blast away the existing mind. Second, you had to find a way to insert a new mind into that resulting void. We didn't get too far on number two, but he did a lot of work on number one."

Kinzer notes that the top-secret nature of Gottlieb's work makes it impossible to measure the human cost of his experiments. "We don't know how many people died, but a number did, and many lives were permanently destroyed," he says.

Ultimately, Gottlieb concluded that mind control was not possible. After MK-ULTRA shut down, he went on to lead a CIA program that created poisons and high-tech gadgets for spies to use. Kinzer writes about Gottlieb and MK-ULTRA in his new book, Poisoner in Chief.

Read the whole article. It's fascinating and also pretty disturbing stuff. The CIA really was out of control back then, whether or not it is today.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Seb-Hed Ritual for 2019

Today's Magick Monday post is the full script for the Seb-Hed Ritual that we will be performing next Saturday, September 21st, for the Autumnal Equinox at Leaping Laughter Lodge here in Minneapolis. The Seb-Hed is based on a rite of renewal practiced for the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, updated with modern ritual forms and so forth. It invokes the balanced energies of Set and Horus, who in ancient times represented Upper and Lower Egypt. Note that I am not the author of this rite - it was written by another member of our magical working group who may identify himself if he so wishes.

0. The Temple

The Set altar is in the North, and Horus altar is in the South. The material basis is placed on each altar; red wine or juice for Set, white wine or juice for Horus. A statue of each deity is placed on the corresponding altar. A third larger altar with a chalice is placed between them and slightly to temple east. This allows the Officiant and other participants to stand directly between the Set and Horus altar during the ritual. The invoking wand and banishing dagger are placed on this central altar.

I. Opening

Officiant performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram using the banishing dagger.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.

All: AUMGN

Officiant: We take refuge in Set-An, the secret Black Flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened nature, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.

All: XEPER
(pronounced KEH-fer)

Officiant: We take refuge in Har-Wer, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.

All: THELEMA.

Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and are done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence.

All: So mote it be.


Officiant performs the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram (Comselh Ananael or standard version) using the invoking wand, replacing ARARITA with SOTHIS.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Don't Actually Storm Area 51

Back in July I reported on the viral success of the Storm Area 51 event on Facebook. The event was pretty clearly a joke, but people started passing it around until millions had indicated that they were "Interested" or "Going." The creators of the event decided to turn into a music festival called "Alienstock" to capitalize on all the publicity. But then reality set in. The town closest to Area 51, Rachel, Nevada, is tiny - far too small to support tens of thousands of festival attendees - so the organizers just announced they were canceling the festival

The creators of the viral “Storm Area 51” Facebook event announced that they no longer want to be associated with the Alienstock festival that was originally planned to take place in Rachel, Nevada, in late September. “Due to the lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000+ AlienStock attendees, we decided to pull the plug on the festival,” a statement on the Alienstock website reads. “We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.”

In July, the satirical “Storm Area 51” Facebook event made headlines when millions of people indicated that they were “interested” in or “going” to “see them aliens” by invading the fabled military base. Building off of the online hype, event creator Matty Roberts decided to hold an actual festival in Rachel, the town closest to Area 51. While Roberts had envisioned a weekend of arts and entertainment, the town itself was worried about whether it had the infrastructure to support the 5,000 to 30,000 people who were expected to attend. There were concerns that organizers wouldn’t be able to obtain enough food, water, and gas for thousands of people in a few short months.

So don't actually storm Area 51, at least not in those sorts of numbers. The operators of the Little A’Le’Inn motel in Rachel still are planning to put on an event with bands and comedians, but probably for fewer than tens of thousands of people. There also will be another event going on at the same time featuring ufologists. This could still turn out to be a good time, but it will probably be a better one with a smaller crowd of attendees than what the festival organizers originally suggested.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Benny Hinn Renounces Prosperity Gospel

If this article is accurate, it's a huge deal for Christian evangelism. In a statement last week, televangelist Benny Hinn renounced the so-called "Prosperity Gospel." It's huge because Hinn was an early and enthusiastic proponent of this misguided take on the teachings of Jesus that went on to infect ministries all over the country. It also is trivially obvious that the idea God wants you to have tons of money should not be part of Christian theology. A simple Google search for "Jesus" and "rich man" should suffice if there's any doubt in your mind.

Christian televangelist Benny Hinn, who has made millions of dollars preaching the prosperity gospel, has now made a stunning rejecting of the practice and declared that 'it's an offense to the Lord'. The pastor and faith healer behind Benny Hinn Ministries publicly renounced the teachings he has previously been a vocal supporter of during a live feed posted to his Facebook on Monday.

The prosperity gospel is the controversial teaching and belief among some Protestant Christians that followers can obtain wealth and health by making donations to God through the church. Hinn, who has an estimated fortune of $60 million, now insists the 'Holy Ghost is just fed up' with the prosperity gospel and vowed never again to ask for money.

The pastor and faith healer behind Benny Hinn Ministries publicly renounced the teachings he has previously been a vocal supporter of during a live feed posted to his Facebook on Monday 'I'm sorry to say that prosperity has gone a little crazy and I'm correcting my own theology and you need to all know it. Because when I read the Bible now, I don't see the Bible in the same eyes I saw 20 years ago,' Hinn said.

'I think it's an offense to the Lord, it's an offense to say give $1,000. I think it's an offense to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the Gospel. I'm done with it. I will never again ask you to give $1,000 or whatever amount because I think the Holy Ghost is just fed up with it. I think it hurts the Gospel, so I'm making this statement for the first time in my life and frankly, I don't care what people think about me anymore.'

It is, of course, a bit ironic that Hinn came to this realization that could be obtained with a simple Google search only after amassing a sixty million dollar fortune. He has enough money that he really does never need to ask for donations again. Still, if he really does press forward with an entirely donation-free ministry, it will be interesting and telling to see if other prominent televangelists follow suit. It really is about time.

John Oliver had a great segment awhile back on just how ridiculously money-grubbing and scammy these prosperity ministries have become. Frankly, it's flat-out embarrassing and makes the Christian faith look like one big confidence game. Maybe Benny Hinn with his "Holy Ghost machine gun" is just the guy to take care of the current situation.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pompei Sorcerer's Treasure Trove

I sometimes wonder what archaeologists would think of our temple implements and magical tools if they were to excavate our houses sometime in the far future. Last month a collection of magical implements was discovered in the ruins of the city of Pompei, which was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The result was that the site was essentially frozen in time, complete with all the accoutrements of a prominent Roman city.

Archaeologists working in the buried Roman city of Pompeii say they have uncovered a "sorcerer's treasure trove" of artefacts, including good-luck charms, mirrors and glass beads. Most of the items would have belonged to women, said Massimo Osanna, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. A room with the bodies of 10 victims, including women and children, was excavated in the same house.

Pompeii was engulfed by a volcanic eruption from Mt Vesuvius in AD 79. The fatal eruption froze the city and its residents in time, making it a rich source for archaeologists. The trove was found in what remained of a wooden box. The wood itself had decomposed and only the bronze hinges remained, preserved by the volcanic material which hardened over it.

In it were crystals, ceramic, amethysts and amber. Scarabs (beetle-shaped amulets) from the Middle East were identified, along with various gems, including a carnelian with a craftsman figure and a glass bead engraved with the head of Dionysus, the Roman god of wine, fertility and ritual madness.

It's interesting to look back and speculate on what these implements might have been used for, whether as talismans, tools, or some other sort of charm. If nothing else, it shows that magick has a long history going back to ancient times. Hopefully this find will help shed some additional light on the workings of Roman magick, as the historical accounts that exist are pretty fragmentary at this point.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Real Harry Potter Spells?

From the "Are you even remotely serious?" department comes this gem, which I thought was over and done with five years ago or so. But I guess not. A Catholic school recently removed the Harry Potter series of books from their library because they contain "real spells" that "risk conjuring evil spirits." That's sure news to us actual conjurers!

St. Edward Catholic School opened a new library for the 2019-2020 school year, The Tennessean reported. The books were removed when the school moved from the old library to the new library.

In an email to parents, Rev. Dan Reehill, the pastor of the church associated with the school said, “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”

Reehill said in the email that he consulted with several exorcists who recommended removing the books. The process of removing them started after an inquiry from a parent, according to the Catholic Diocese of Nashville.

I understand that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that any magical operation (besides their own operations, like the Tridentine Mass and Rite of Exorcism) is evil, and however dumb that position might be, if they are uncomfortable with a book featuring a wizard hero in their library I suppose they have every right to remove it. But believing that these fictional books contain "real spells" is a level of stupidity that I thought died out a while ago.