Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Meditation Works

Last week's dramatic rescue of twelve teenage soccer players and their coach from an underground cave system in Thailand was all over the news. Not as well-reported, though, is how the coach managed to keep the boys calm throughout what must have been a pretty terrifying ordeal. As Vox reports, the coach had spent ten years at a Buddhist monastery and taught them meditation.

Rain trapped the group in the cave on June 23rd, and they were not found until July 2nd. That's eleven days during which they literally had no idea whether or not they would be found alive. The rescue effort took eight more days, and was not complete until July 10th.

“Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” the mother of one of the boys told the AP, referring to a widely shared video of the moment the boys were found. Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach.

According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal. And British diver Ben Reymenants, who was involved with the rescue operation, told Vox on Thursday that each of the boys did an hour of meditation with the coach before they were brought out of the cave between Sunday and Tuesday. “He could meditate up to an hour,” Ekapol’s aunt, Tham Chanthawong, told the AP. “It has definitely helped him and probably helps the boys to stay calm.”

Ekapol, 25, went to live in a monastery at age 12 after he was orphaned. According the Straits Times, he trained to be a monk for 10 years at a monastery in Mae Sai, Thailand, but left to care for a sick grandmother. He then was hired to be the assistant coach of the team, known as the Wild Boars. Coach Ake, as he is known, still maintains close contacts at the monastery. The abbot there told the Wall Street Journal he’s “a responsible young man who meditates regularly.”

As a teenager I loved caves and I still do. I dragged my parents to every cave tour on every vacation we ever took. I never have felt lost underground, or claustrophobic, or anything. But I can tell you that my high school self would have found this absolutely horrifying. Even being violently murdered is over quickly. This is sitting in the cold and damp, wondering if any future awaits you besides slowly starving or suffocating in the dark.

But meditation works. Focusing on the practice helped the boys remain as calm as possible under the circumstances, such that when rescuers arrived they seemed confused that they had been underground for as long as they had been. Keeping your attention on the present moment helps to pass the time, and helps you feel less depleted by boredom when all you can do is wait. And hey, it works great for practicing magick too!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Via Solis Cancer Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Cancer Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday July 17th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. We will continue the momentum of last year by performing one of these per month for each of the twelve signs. I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the oasis know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Cancer. The sign Cancer is attributed to "The power of casting enchantments." As I interpret it, this is related to the ability to magnetize or draw things into your life in accordance with your will. So those sorts of intents are most appropriate. This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963.

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

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: MAKAShANaH

Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.

All: ABRAHADABRA

Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, 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: AUMGN

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

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


Bell chime.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fetus Blood on the Rocks

Just in time for Friday the 13th, Wonkette is reporting that webcaster Dave Daubenmire is on to us. Or, at least, he thinks he is. According to a recent webcast, the religious activist claimed that the reason liberals are opposed to putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court and support legal abortion is because liberals get high by drinking the blood of fetuses.

No, really! This is apparently not a joke!

Hey fellow liberals. I hate to break it to all of you, but the jig is up. Dave "Coach" Daubenmire has got us figured out, and he knows that the whole reason we support abortion is because of how much we love drinking fetus blood in order to get high on "adrenochrome."

On his show this week, the one where he sits in front of a weird green screen of a football field and makes up weird shit, he asked his "audience" why the Left was so upset about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the fact that it means we will be losing our reproductive rights by next year or so.

"Why are they so upset about abortion? Why are they so interested about death? Why do they want so much, the most important right they are ever going to have is the right for a woman to be able murder her unborn baby?"

Being far too clever, clearly, to even consider the fact that maybe people just don't want to be forced to give birth against their will, the "Coach" then brought in his buddy Vinnie to talk all about our thirst for fetus blood. "These people are Satanists," Vinnie explains. "What they do is they sacrifice children and they use the children's blood for their drug adrenochrome."

I sometimes wonder if I should just do my own YouTube channel and put up the most outrageous lies I can imagine on it. Then I would see if anyone takes the bait. According to my religious webcast, when Aleister Crowley became the Ipsissimus he was promoted to the One True God of the universe. He never died in 1947 - that was all a ruse! After all, how else could he have run for president in 2012?

Yeah, I know, the website there says he's dead and British. But the Ipsissimus transcends all limitations, man! Christians are the ones sacrificing babies by the millions - in secret, of course - because they believe that it will stave off the full flowering of the Aeon of the Child. Vain hope! We will expose them all so that...

Oh hell, I just can't do it. This is all too stupid for words. Instead, I'm going to try to tease out everything that's wrong with Daubenmire's whacko theory.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mystery Sarcophagus Found in Alexandria

A large black granite sarcophagus has been discovered in Alexandria, Egypt. The sarcophagus is one of the largest ever found from the Ptolemaic period, when the Greeks ruled Egypt. More importantly, it is sealed - and nobody knows what they will find inside. It probably won't be alien bodies or anything bizarre like that, but it still should help us understand the burial customs of the time.

The 6-foot tall (185 cm) coffin was found buried about 16 feet (5 meters) underground, along with an alabaster head of a man whose features were worn beyond recognition.

It was discovered on July 1 at a construction site during a routine archaeological inspection by government officials, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced, in an official Facebook post. The news was reported by Al-Ahram, Egypt's state-run newspaper.

Egypt is governed by strict laws to protect and preserve national antiquities. Under the Protection of Antiquities Law, all antiquities are considered property of the State.
Archaeologists date the site back to sometime within the Ptolemic era, between 305 and 30 BCE.

Ancient Greek and Roman artifacts are not unusual discoveries in Alexandria, the famed home of Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great. But unlike other ancient Egyptian tombs that have been opened and looted, the 2,000-year-old sarcophagus has until now, remained undisturbed.

Archaeologists are particularly interested in the sarcophagus because the period from which it dates was a time in which Greek and Egyptian burial customs were intermingled, and because it appears to be undisturbed. Greek-style portraits were common on sarcophagi during this period, and I suspect in this case that may have extended to Greek-style statuary - the alabaster bust probably was originally an image of the deceased, and it looks like it was made in the Greek style.

Some Greeks also took up the practice of mummification, with varying degrees of expertise. A number of the burials found from this period show signs of poorly-done mummification, and it will be interesting to find out if that is the case here or if the body was simply entombed. The Greek and Egyptian concepts of the afterlife were very different, and during the Ptolemaic period it looks as if people often adopted customs from each.

Of course, aliens would be more fun. Or a functional engine for a flying saucer. Or an anti-gravity ray like the ones used to build the pyramids. But the most likely possibility, that it's a regular human body, can still tell archaeologists a lot.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Thoughts on the Star Ruby

As I continue compiling and commenting on the various rituals here on Augoeides, I realized that I never have done a commentary on the Star Ruby. For the longest time I have been linking to other versions of the basic ritual forms online, but it has been pointed out to me that some of these pages are confusing and in cases contradictory. Also, they sometimes just disappear and have to be tracked down through the Internet archives. As such, I've decided that having my own versions here is probably for the best.

Aleister Crowley published the original version of the Star Ruby in The Book of Lies, and in his commentary on described it as "a new and more elaborate version of the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram." The Star Ruby, therefore, performs a similar function to the banishing form of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. This is an important point to take note of, given that some commenters claim that the Star Ruby is an invoking pentagram ritual or a combined banishing/invoking pentagram ritual. It is not. Crowley specifically describes it as a banishing pentagram ritual.

This is also important in the context of my operant model of magick, in which rituals are opened by combining a general banishing pentagram ritual with a general invoking hexagram ritual. Looking at the Star Ruby, a banishing ritual, and the Star Sapphire, and invoking ritual, it is pretty clear that whether or not he thought about it same way that I do, Crowley hit upon the same basic structure. In fact, no invoking form is given for the Star Ruby and no banishing form is given for the Star Sapphire, which implies that he used these ritual pretty much the same way that I use them.

The basic operant ritual structure uses the operant field - that is, a banishing pentagram ritual and an invoking hexagram ritual - almost exclusively. The other combinations have specialized functions, but for the most part the operant field is the way to go. According to the practical experiments that I have done, this method is far more effective than any of the other sequences taught by the various Golden Dawn orders - at least for me. I don't feel like I'm at the point where I can say that the method will always work best for everyone. However, I invite every magician out there to try it and see for themselves.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trump Card Would Make a Better Movie


The Poor Oppressed Christians are at it again. In their quest to create their own little media world in which nothing non-Christian - and therefore impure - ever has to darken their poor, sensitive souls, Liberty University is planning to release a film called The Trump Prophecy. Of course, it will be released in October just ahead of the midterm election, because Liberty University is totally apolitical like that. The movie tries to make the case that all the Christians who love our distinctly-un-Christian president aren't actually terrible Christians at all for doing so - because Trump being president is part of God's plan.

In post-election interviews in 2016, voters often expressed a belief that God had some role in the dramatic, unexpected outcome. For the many people of faith who see God’s hand in their own lives — from their triumph over alcoholism to their luck in finding a parking spot — it’s not such a stretch to believe that God has a hand in determining who wins the Super Bowl or the White House. That may help explain why Taylor’s and Mary Colbert’s 2017 book, “The Trump Prophecies: The Astonishing True Story of the Man Who Saw Tomorrow . . . And What He Says Is Coming Next,” won a following.

Taylor in the book recounts his traumatic experiences as a firefighter, and how, suffering from anxiety and depression, he began to hear from both God and evil spirits. God told him in 2011, he wrote, that Trump would win the election, though he expected that to happen in 2012. Trump won in 2016 despite widespread belief among pollsters and voters alike that Hillary Clinton would beat him easily. He won in great part because of the support of more than 80 percent of white evangelical voters. Taylor gained attention and made more predictions.

Trump will win a second term, he said. God has also told him, he said, that the dollar will become the strongest currency in the world and that the news media will come to see that Trump is in the right. Producer Rick Eldridge and his Charlotte-based ReelWorks Studios heard Taylor’s story and imagined it as a compelling movie for Christians who feel secular filmmakers offer them too few choices. Over Thanksgiving, he met with Schultze, who was visiting family in Charlotte. The two talked about a collaboration with Liberty in which students would get weeks of hands-on experience doing such tasks as camera work, lighting and makeup.

I don't know that God was necessarily responsible for Clinton's decision to divert campaign resources from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in an effort to win North Carolina and Florida. That decision proved disastrous to the Clinton campaign, as Trump won all five, the former (neglected) three by very small margins. It's easy to imagine a scenario in which Clinton could have won by pouring resources into those three northern states in which Trump was campaigning very hard. That sounds more like a flat-out strategic blunder to me rather than anything divine.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Not So Bullet-Proof

A couple of people over the years have e-mailed me about making "bullet-proof charms" like those sold by traditional African healers. Since I'm not a spellcaster-for-hire or anything like that, I've corresponded with them and speculated a bit on the kind of magick that would have to be involved. I am of the opinion that it would be very difficult if not impossible to create a spell that would physically flat-out stop a bullet. The probability gradient there is ridiculous. On the other hand, a general protective talisman, bound to a spirit charged with keeping its owner from being shot by whatever means, could be effective in combat situations.

But even if your talisman works, the absolute worst case to defend against is a bullet fired at close range in a non-combat situation - as a traditional healer in Nigeria recently found out.

A self-styled traditional healer in Nigeria has died after one of his clients tested his "bullet-proof" charms on him.

Chinaka Adoezuwe, 26, was killed after instructing the man to shoot him as he was wearing the charms around his neck. Police in the country's south-eastern Imo state say the client has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Charms are popular in Nigeria, where traditional healers are consulted for cures for various ailments. But there have been several reports of people being killed after testing "bullet-proof" charms and medicines.

"A young man had gone to [the healer] to prepare bullet-proof charms for him, which the native doctor did," a villager told the Punch newspaper. "To prove the efficacy of the new charms, [he] positioned and handed over a gun to his customer. Tragedy struck."

My reasoning regarding combat situations is this: not only are most people terrible shots, combat is one of the worst places to be a shooter. It's chaotic, people are running all over the place, it's loud, and there are not a lot of opportunities to really set and line up a shot. Also, weapons are exposed to dirt and grime, and depending on the type of gun may become prone to jamming or misfiring. Finally, there are a fair number of people who just won't fire their weapons for various psychological reasons. All of those things are subject to magical influences at probability levels within a reasonable range.

Now I have no idea how this demonstration was supposed to work. It seems to me that if the healer was a fraud, he would not have deliberately handed the client a loaded gun. Maybe it could have been some sort of magic trick, like the famous "bullet catch" which is always faked - but sometimes in pretty ingenious ways. There have been cases in the stage magic world where people were accidentally handed guns loaded with real bullets instead of blanks, or where people brought up from the audience reloaded the gun without the magician's knowledge to "beat the trick." Or maybe the talismans these healers make are good enough that most of the time they work even under these testing conditions.

Whatever the case, I will say that it's dangerous to rely on a talisman alone to keep you from getting shot. Your best bet would probably be to wear body armor AND carry the talisman. That way the talisman can influence shooters around you so that, for example, a bullet heading directly for you might hit the armor instead of an unprotected part of your body. That gives it one more way to protect you besides keeping the shooters from targeting you and keeping you out of the way of wild shots.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Bob Larson Uses Koetting's FX Guy

Since there doesn't appear to be a civil war going on outside my door, today I'm going to spend some time making fun of Bob Larson. Remember him? He's the evangelical exorcist known for creating the Teen Exorcist Squad and conducting exorcisms via Skype. Back in the 1980's and early 1990's, Larson's show was broadcast here in Minnesota and he was one of the loudest voices denouncing "Satanic Ritual Abuse," a moral panic that revolved around made-up practices of made-up Satanists who never did anything that made much sense to us real practicing occultists.

In the Bob Larson universe, just about anything fun has to do with demons. Dungeons & Dragons? Demons. Rock music? Demons. Making fun of Bob Larson? Demons. So I guess that makes Augoeides pretty darn infernal right now. I'll be sure to inform the angels and other celestial spirits that I work with on a regular basis. And anything that had to do with demons got you possessed, because that's how it works. After all, there's no such thing as mental illness. It's all caused by demons, and fortunately Larson is an exorcist so he has the cure - you know, for a reasonable donation to his ministry.

At any rate, what I find so laughable about the above video is not the video itself, but the ridiculous low-budget special effects that go along with it. Remember E. A. Koetting's video where he's out in the desert and you see low budget CGI lightning and colored filters that are supposed to be "magick?" Well, here Larson is doing the same darn thing. I have no idea if Brenda, the woman in the video, has mental health issues or is just playing along. But she's not possessed by a demon. Have you ever watched video of ATR rituals where people are actually possessed by spirits? Let's just say they don't walk around acting all normal and we'll leave it at that. They also don't turn the room red or "burn" with bad CGI flames.

At some point I'm considering doing some of my own magick videos, and I'm left wondering if I have to do this too to "keep up with the Joneses," or at least keep up with the Larsons and Koettings. Even though I have mad skills with Microsoft Paint, I would have to track down something similar for videos. You know, something that would let me add a possum head to a picture of Bigfoot in real time, not just in the one photo. I'm kind of hoping that's not the case, though, because let's face it - these effects are cheesy as hell.