Monday, August 13, 2018

Via Solis Leo Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Leo Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday August 14th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be continuing to perform one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). 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 lodge 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 Leo. The sign Leo is attributed to "The power of training wild beasts." As I interpret it, this power is related to working with conditioning of whatever sort, yours or that of others, 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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica Conference 2018

Augoeides has been quiet since last week, and it's not just because of the issues with Facebook's new sharing policy.

Leaping Laughter Oasis is hosting the 2018 Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica Conference in the Twin Cities this weekend. This is a national-level Ordo Templi Orientis event, and it's been all hands on deck for a couple of weeks here to make sure that everything runs smoothly. I'll be at the conference all weekend and my next post will be the Leo Elixir Rite next Monday.

It probably is too late to arrange transportation if you live out of town, but if you are an active Ordo Templi Orientis member living in or around the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) you can still register and attend. Click here to find out more.

If you will be attending the conference I'll see you there, and if not I'll catch you here on Augoeides next week.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mummy Juice!

This is either one of the funniest things I've ever seen, or one of the dumbest and most disturbing. Petition-spamming site change.org has a petition up to, and I quote, "let people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus." This is the same mystery sarcophagus that was recently discovered in Alexandria, Egypt.

According to archaeologists, the red liquid is a mixture of sewage water and the decomposed remains of three bodies that were buried together more than two thousand years ago. Why would anyone want to drink this crap? Well, I'll let the petition explain.

we need to drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus in the form of some sort of carbonated energy drink so we can assume its powers and finally die

Truly, that's a compelling rationale right there. According to the page, more than twenty-seven thousand people have signed the petition. So this is either funny as hell, or there are more than twenty-seven thousand Darwin Awards sitting on the shelf, just waiting to be handed out. I think I'm going to go with funny as hell, since the alternative is pretty damn sad.

Yes, if you drink it, you'll get very sick and you might die. You're not going to be transformed into a supernaturally powered mummy who can wield the ten plagues of Egypt at will. Yeah, I know, that would be cool, but these bodies were buried almost fifteen hundred years after the alleged date of the Exodus. There's no connection there, and anyway it wasn't Egyptian magicians who summoned the plagues, it was Moses.

And it's not even clear that these bodies were mummified. So maybe what we're looking as is zombie juice instead. Or just dead body juice diluted with sewage. Drinking it might be a novel way to kill yourself, but other than that it's hard to see the appeal. It's not going to give anyone special powers, because we don't live in a comic book. Even we magicians who cast spells and the like live right here in the real world.

On top of all that, the red liquid is not carbonated and I'm sure it tastes nothing like an energy drink. It most likely just tastes like shit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

If You Build It, They Won't Come

It's been a while since I made fun of Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, and of course Ark Encounter. Frankly, it's been too long. This recent article from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State points out that basically, the giant replica of Noah's Ark that took so much work to get built just isn't meeting the attendance projections used to justify the tax breaks Ham obtained from the state of Kentucky. Ham offered a bunch of rosy projections when he pitched the idea to the state, and apparently the attraction is having trouble meeting even half of its projected ticket sales.

To help cover the cost of emergency services the small town now must provide to the visitors of a large amusement park within its borders, city officials last year initiated a 50-cent fee on the tickets sold at the ark and a few smaller amusement venues in Williamstown. (This is the fee Ham and his company, Answers in Genesis, tried to avoid paying last summer by briefly switching the park’s status to nonprofit – a move that would have had a crushing long-term impact on property tax generation for the community but also nearly resulted in the park losing its $18 million state tourism subsidy.)

The local newspaper, the Grant County News, reported this month that Williamstown had collected about $374,000 in amusement fee revenue from the Ark Park during the first 11 months of the 2017-18 fiscal year. While that’s a nice chunk of change, it’s barely half of what town officials had been led to believe they would collect from the attendance projections submitted by Ham. “Last year, we based [our] budget figure on attendance at the Ark Encounter at 1,400,000,” Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner told the paper. “This year, we are more conservative and using 870,000 visitors.”

Ham initially projected 1.2 million people would visit the Ark in the first year after it opened in July 2016, and that average yearly attendance going forward would be in the range of 1.4 million to 2.2 million people. On the first anniversary of the park’s opening, Ham said about 1 million people visited in the first year, about 16 percent fewer than expected. But, Ham said he expected the 2017-18 attendance to be “closer to the high end” of the projections – in other words, close to 2.2 million people.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Secrets of Solomon

One of the really cool things about living in the Twin Cities is that the wonderful Joseph H. Peterson only lives a couple of hours away.

This last weekend, he came to Leaping Laughter Oasis in Minneapolis and gave a presentation on his latest book, The Secrets of Solomon: A Witch's Handbook from the trial records of the Venetian Inquisition. Peterson is one of the few authors in the grimoire field doing academic-quality research, and his books on the various texts and their histories are always illuminating.

I bought a copy of the book at the presentation and have not had a chance to read it, but I figured for today I would summarize a couple of takeaways from Peterson's presentation that are relevant to issues that keep coming up in discussions of the grimoires.

The Secrets of Solomon is a grimoire that is explicitly dedicated to working with chthonic spirits. It appears to be one of the sources used by the original author of the Grimoirium Verum, and it is clearly aware of the Key of Solomon. It positions itself as a grimoire for working with chthonics, whereas the Key of Solomon is dedicated to working with "aerial" spirits (which I usually refer to as celestial). Here are a few takeaways related to issues that have come up in the grimoire community that The Secrets of Solomon may help to shed some light on.

The text is clear that chthonic spirits are supposed to communicate visually, and aerial (or celestial spirits) do not. In other words, if you're charging up your Key of Solomon pentacles and trying to get the spirits to appear visually, according to the tradition you are doing it wrong. I doubt this is an absolute rule, and I also know from experience that the modern scrying techniques I use work fine, but it's a nice point to be able to pull out in those arguments over the whole visual appearance thing. It The Secrets of Solomon is to be believed, the celestials from the Key of Solomon don't necessarily appear and in fact are not supposed to.

According to the text, chthonic spirits can generally accomplish more than celestials. I can't personally say that I've found that to be the case, since I'm able to do about the same level of effects with both, but it's no surprise that the author of the text is going to say that the methods they are outlining are the best, whether or not that's true. The trade-off is that celestials can be "bound into a ring and carried with you" for performing ad hoc magical effects. This is an interesting idea for the Key of Solomon pentacles - what if you made a ring for one of the pentacles, enchanted it for general effects related to its function, and wore it around? It seems to me that could be a very useful technique.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sorry, No Mummies!

Well, actually not sorry. As horror movies have shown us, mummies are bad.

When archaeologists opened the mysterious black sarcophagus found in Alexandria, no mummies sprang up to loose evil spells or plagues of Egypt or whatever upon the world. In fact, the whole thing was pretty underwhelming. They found that water had seeped through the seal even though it looked intact from the outside, filling the box and speeding decomposition of the bodies inside. So there were no mummies, just three skeletons.

Despite warnings of an ancient curse to those who would open the 2,000-year-old sarcophagus, archaeologists went ahead on Thursday, enlisting the help of Egyptian military engineers.

"The sarcophagus has been opened, but we have not been hit by a curse," Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of Egypt's antiquities ministry, told Egypt Today, which published live updates of the sarcophagus opening. Waziri added that the sarcophagus was unusual for its size; it's the largest ever discovered in Alexandria.

What the archaeologists found inside the sarcophagus was grisly - but it was not the earth-shattering discovery some had hoped it would be. The three skeletons found in the sarcophagus were most likely soldiers, according to Egypt's antiquities ministry, and one skull showed signs of fractures caused by a sharp instrument. Beyond the skeletons, the sarcophagus was inundated with sewage water, which accelerated their decomposition. The skulls will be further analyzed to understand their age, the cause of death, and where they came from.

Alexandria was the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt after Alexander's army conquered the region and deposed the old pharaohs. The Ptolemaic dynasty famously ended with Cleopatra's suicide during the Roman conquest of Greece and Egypt around 30 BCE.

So the sarcophagus appears to be of unusual size because it was used to bury three people, not one person of high status. Maybe the skeletons will yield more information about the Alexandrian period, but for that we will just have to wait and see. I suppose technically we have to wait and see about a curse, too, since spells sometimes take time to produce results. But that seems less likely now that we know the sarcophagus doesn't hold the body of the sort of high-ranking leader that might justify setting a curse.

It's also interesting that the sarcophagus was opened with the Sun in Cancer - because this story is a reminder of the power of cardinal water. Over time, it gets into everything.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Somehow, I Don't Think So

Conspiracy theorists seem to be obsessed with scenarios that are farfetched at best, and for the most part downright laughable. A couple weeks ago it was Alex Jones revealing "the truth" that Democrats would start a civil war on July 4th. Obviously, that never came to pass, because no Democrats were actually planning such a thing. On the other hand, Jones' stupidity did launch a bunch of funny tweets claiming to be dispatches from the "second civil war." So at least some good came of it.

The latest bit of conservative conspiracy-mongering comes from evangelical broadcaster Rick Wiles, a seeming endless font of ridiculous assertions that appear to be entirely disconnected from reality. According to Wiles, we are only "72 hours away" from a coup in which Donald Trump and his family will be beheaded on the White House Lawn. Does anybody else agree with me that somebody has watched too many of those Christian-produced films in which the only real answer to all the world's problems is feckless melodrama? I mean, come on. Sometimes politicians do get removed from office, but we've never beheaded one.

After ranting that the prominence of people like Maddow and CNN’s Anderson Cooper on television is evidence that America has been “homosexualized” and is “no longer a Christian nation,” Wiles declared that a recent segment in which Maddow argued that this nation must begin to prepare for “the worst case scenario that Trump is compromised by Russia” was really a signal that a leftist revolution is imminent. “She was spewing out, last night, calls for revolution,” Wiles said. “She was telling the left, ‘Take a deep breath, we’re at the moment, it’s coming, we’re almost there, we’re going to remove him from the White House.'”

“We’re about 72 hours—possibly 72 hours—from a coup,” Wiles warned. “Be prepared that you’re going to turn on the television and see helicopters hovering over the roof of the White House with men clad in black repelling down ropes, entering into the White House. Be prepared for a shootout in the White House as Secret Service agents shoot commandos coming in to arrest President Trump. That is how close we are to a revolution. Be prepared for a mob — a leftist mob — to tear down the gates, the fence at the White House and to go into the White House and to drag him out with his family and decapitate them on the lawn of the White House.”

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!