Thursday, November 14, 2019

Enochian Workshops in Omaha, Nebraska

On Saturday, November 23rd I will be presenting three workshops on Enochian magick at Roar of Rapture Camp in Omaha, Nebraska. The presentations will include lectures on the three portions of the Enochian system - the Heptarchia Mystica, Great Table, and Thirty Aires - along with a ceremonial evocation of angels associated with each portion.

If you are in the area, this will be a great opportunity to see me present the material I talk about in my books in person. You can RSVP for the event on Facebook here. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Nobody Does This Either

This article is from a little over a month back, but for I'm just seeing it now. Maybe it's the law of attraction or something, because just like yesterday's post this one is about another Christian media host who is spouting ridiculous nonsense. Donald Trump complains about "fake news" all the time, but the news that is the fakest of the fake comes from folks in evangelical Christian media - most of whom support him.

For today's post, I'm going to point out that prominent Democrats don't drink blood and cast evil spells. Really? That I have to explain that to anyone is pretty amazing. When I differ with Republicans it's on policy - it's no secret that I'm a lefty and that therefore I don't vote for them. In fact, if I'm a single-issue voter it would be that I'm an anti-theocrat who won't support any candidate who caters to the religious right.

But while I can't stand Trump and do make fun of him on a pretty regular basis, you'll never see me posting that, say, he sacrifices hobos or eats babies. Not only are those sorts of allegations toxic to all reasonable political debate, there apparently really are people out there who are stupid enough to believe that they are literally true.

On the Wednesday edition of his TruNews TV show, Wiles mentioned that Hillary Clinton is looking much better these days than she did when she was on the 2016 campaign trail.

“Physically, she’s looking much better,” Wiles said to his co-hosts. “She must be drinking a lot of blood. … I mean, because she’s definitely getting transfusions because she’s stronger.”

Wiles went to say that Clinton was “definitely pretty weak back there in 2016.” “That woman was falling apart. Obviously, they’ve been taking her to a lot of spirit cooking events, and she’s been revived.”

As New York Magazine pointed out back in 2016, Wiles’ sinister interpretation of “spirit cooking” first debuted on InfoWars, which referred to it as “a sacrament in the religion of Thelema” founded by Aleister Crowley.

In reality, spirit cooking was conceived by world-renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic, and it “included absurdist recipes featuring such ingredients as ‘fingertips of the artist’ and ‘a ruby that has been soaking for three days.'”

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Absolutely Nobody Does This

You know what I was saying yesterday about evangelical Christians who believe in some sort of gigantic "Satanic conspiracy" are either engaging in propaganda or are flat-out nuts? Here's a prime example. Dave Daubenmire is one of those self-proclaimed "prophets" who hosts a Christian talk radio show. He recently explained that abortion is evil because "many women" have abortions "for Satanic rituals." I would like to think he's being a propagandist, because if he's not and he really believes this stuff he's completely delusional.

Christian Right activist Dave Daubenmire knows something about Planned Parenthood that is news to me. He said on his “Pass The Salt Live” show yesterday that many women who have abortions are actually doing it as part of a Satanic ritual.

"I don’t know if you guys know this or not. Many of the people who go into Planned Parenthoods, to have their babies killed, are what they call “breeders.” Breeders! They do it over and over and over. They’re paid to get pregnant to abort the baby for Satanic rituals. Did you guys have any idea of that? Did you know that? Did you understand that some of those women walking in there aren’t just troubled women, aren’t just caught-themselves-in-a-bad-situation, they’re breeders! They do it over and over and… but we don’t want to believe that, do we?"

I've been an occultist for more than thirty years, so let me set the record straight here. Absolutely nobody does this. Actual Satanists don't. LaVey Satanists are mostly atheists who don't believe in the supernatural, period, and theistic Satanists like the Setians and others who practice magical rituals don't do it either.

Even discredited accounts based on recovered memories that involve giving birth to babies for Satanic sacrifices (recalled, thanks to unethical therapists during the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980's, by women who medical examinations showed had never been pregnant) don't have anything to do with medical abortions.

I mean, if you can't believe the lying therapists that you trained to induce false memories of Satanic rituals in unwitting subjects, who can you believe? Come on, evangelicals!

From a practical standpoint - if you have an abortion at Planned Parenthood, do you think that they hand you the fetal tissue afterwards? How do you do magick with something you don't have, even if there was a ritual that called for it? And, of course, beyond that there isn't such a ritual and it's not even remotely clear how it would work.

I think I understand what's going on here, and it's pretty damn ugly. Evangelicals like Daubenmire are so confused by the idea that women might have rights to bodily autonomy that the only reason they can think of for a woman to have an abortion is to be evil for evil's sake - which is, of course, not a real thing outside of Hollywood melodramas.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wizardry for Trump

According to this article from Newsweek, Donald Trump's court wizard Paula White has launched a new magical initiative to protect the president from his enemies, who "operate in sorcery and witchcraft." Sure, White calls herself a "spiritual advisor" and describes her spells as "prayers," but those of us who practice the spiritual arts know that prayers and spells are the exact same thing. We magicians just do in a more disciplined and structured manner.

Alongside fellow Christian leaders Cindy Jacobs, Dave Kabul and Dutch Sheets, White has launched the One Voice Prayer Movement, starting the initiative on Tuesday with a prayer for Trump. "Lord, we ask you to deliver our president from any snare, any setup of the enemy, according to Ephesians 6:12. Any persons [or] entities that are aligned against the president will be exposed and dealt with and overturned by the superior blood of Jesus," she said during her prayer in a conference call with other Christian leaders.

"Whether it's the spirit of Leviathan, a spirit of Jezebel, Abaddon, whether it's the spirit of Belial, we come against the strongmen, especially Jezebel, that which would operate in sorcery and witchcraft, that which would operate in hidden things, veiled things, that which would operate in deception," she continued. "We come against it according to your word."

White's prayer continued by saying that anyone who stands against Trump "would be exposed and dealt with and overturned in Jesus' name." She said that believers know that Trump and his Christian supporters "do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age, hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." White went on: "Stretch out your arm and deliver President Trump and rid him of any bondage the enemy would try to bring against him."

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Haunted Grey Cloud Island

Like most places, Minnesota has its share of allegedly haunted locations. One of the most infamous of these is Grey Cloud Island, a three-square-mile island in the Mississippi River about twelve miles south of the state capital, Saint Paul. I've heard a lot of wild stories about the place over the years, and in my novel Arcana I wrote a scene there specifically because of the island's alleged spiritual energy.

City Pages has an article up today about a ghost hunting trip to the island. It's a good article, and the sort of thing it's nice to see make it into the media. Personally I have been to the island a few times, and while I have sensed some energies there that are kind of funky, I never have seen anything like an apparition or encountered anything that I found particularly scary. So even though the place does have an unusual spiritual presence, I think that a lot of the stories are probably exaggerated.

The St. Paul Park Police Department is aware of the area’s reputation. In a Facebook post from June, they attempt to address the “attention in the media lately about Grey Cloud Island being haunted,” reassuring everyone that “they have never encountered these ghosts, poltergeists, spirits, or weird happenings.” They go on to warn visitors that “unless you want to explain to a Washington County Judge... why you were running around a cemetery in the dark looking for ghosts at you’re [sic] hearing1 [sic] please stay home.”

Despite these warnings, I’m intrigued. This was two years ago, around Halloween of 2017. I email a local historian, asking if it would be possible to photograph Grey Cloud Cemetery and chat about its history and hauntings. “I would be glad to show you around!” he responds jovially later that day, sending along a map with the precise geolocation of the cemetery. The following day, I ask when he’ll be free to show me around. No response. The day after, I follow up. Nothing.

Several days later, I receive a clipped response. “They do not allow investigations of their cemetery,” he writes. “There are insubstantial rumors about the cemetery. [The Grey Cloud Township Officer] is fearful of what might happen later.” I assure him that the piece I was considering writing would be purely informational, not exploitative in any way. “I only wish I could do this,” he responds in his final communication to me, “but my Grey Cloud friends would never forgive me.”

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Truth About Salem

Salem, Massachusetts currently has outsized influence in pop culture as the "Witch City," due to the major tourist draw of its annual Halloween festival. These days at least half the paranormal television shows and movies explain characters that can cast witchcraft spells as having "families from Salem" or some other nonsense. What all of that ignores is that the "witches" executed at Salem were not witches or pagans or magical practitioners of any kind. They were for the most part marginalized members of their communities caught up in a moral panic that claimed their lives.

Kate Fox is the director of Salem's marketing organization. According to this article, much of Fox's work consists of drawing distinctions between the cartoon Halloween witches celebrated by the festival and the totally-non-witch victims of the infamous 1692 trials. She's the sort of person I would really like to see advising paranormal television producers to maybe link witchcraft to something or someplace else that makes more sense.

Fox is well-versed in distinguishing holiday from history for tourists. “The Salem Witch Trials do not have a direct relationship to Halloween, and the people who were accused and condemned in 1692 were not witches,” she clarifies, “they were innocent people and they were victims of a social crisis.” Pop culture, including Arthur Miller’s 1953 play “The Crucible,” has fueled misconceptions and Salem’s witch tourism economy.

Fox says many of the attractions, museums and more than two dozen walking tours can open visitors’ eyes. Jeff Page leads one named “Bewitched After Dark” that stops at a bronze statue of Samantha from the iconic TV show “Bewitched.” It briefly filmed in Salem in 1970 for a plot where Samantha, played by Elizabeth Montgomery, attends a witch convocation only to end up being chased around by a seemingly possessed, floating bed warmer.

“Once those episodes aired people come from all over the country to get a look at the Witch City,” Page explains to this day’s group, “About that point we start painting witches on everything in town. You guys seen our police cars yet? There’s a witch on ‘em.” Fox thinks Sam is the most photographed landmark in Salem, but visitors don’t really ask how or if it really fits in with history. “They take pictures, twinkle their nose and off they go.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stop the Mousemen!

There are only a handful of people who can misread a scientific study more adeptly than 700 Club evangelist and longtime Augoeides punching bag Pat Robertson. I'd probably put nutty creationist Ken Ham in that camp, and the jury is out on potato soup entrepreneur Jim Bakker. Last week Robertson launched into a rant against the scientists attempting to breed a race of half-mouse half-human freaks using cells derived from fetal tissue. You know, a rant against something that totally doesn't exist and never will.

Televangelist Pat Robertson has claimed scientists are attempting to "make a mouse human" using aborted fetal tissue, adding that "Adolf Hitler never did anything as bad as this." The comments were made Tuesday on Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) show, The 700 Club, after the program aired an emotional report concerning fetal tissue being used in scientific experiments.

The segment mentioned a study involving mice and fetal reproductive tract tissue. It did not mention the aim of the research, which appears to be studying the effects of synthetic hormones on female reproductive tracts, rather than creating human-mice hybrids. The segment also contained interviews with anti-abortion activists, including one who mentioned a cancelled study that involved "humanizing mice."

"I'm sure a lot of people will be shocked when they learn of these experiments," said CBN anchor John Jessup, who introduced the segment. "Well, they're no more shocked than I am," replied the 89-year-old Robertson.

To be clear, there are legitimate ethical issues surrounding the use of fetal tissue and the creation of transgenic organisms for research. But framing it as a courageous battle against the mousemen is just ridiculous. What, does Robertson think these non-existent monsters will escape from a lab and proceed to commandeer all the cheese in the world by force?

Also - even if our ethics lead us to conclude that this research is very wrong, and even if the research involves what Robertson claims, can we really compare the creation of a few mousemen to the mass genocide of millions? Sorry, I just don't buy that. Robertson's sense of proportion has always been out of whack, but this is extreme even for him.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Against Day of the Dead

A City Commissioner in Henderson, Kentucky recently came up with a truly novel reason that her community should not host a Day of the Dead celebration. According to this article from local outlet 14News, City Commissioner Patti Bugg is opposed to the celebration because she is worried that somebody might "summon a loved one from the grave." Could she possibly really be worried about an actual zombie attack?

I mean, I suppose Bugg has every right to be worried about brain-eating monsters clawing their way out of cemeteries and running amok. But seeing as that has nothing to do with Day of the Dead, or for that matter anything that ever happens in real life, I would hope that nobody out there is taking her seriously.

Officials with the planning committee tell us it is a good opportunity for people to learn about Hispanic culture. But, a City Commissioner is speaking out against the event. Judge-Executive Brad Schneider says there has been a big increase in the Latino population in recent years.

City Commissioner Patti Bugg says there are other ways to educate the community. “I’d say 99 percent of the day of the dead is probably innocent. I think that’s fine," says Commissioner Bugg. "I think if you want to honor your loved ones. I think the only challenge is if they actually try to summons somebody else, you know, a loved one from the grave, then I think they’re asking for some serious stuff. As a Christian, I don’t think they can do that.”

Organizer Abraham Brown says the event is less about religion and more about educating the community about Latino culture. “It’s meant to be a celebration to remember our loved ones," explains Brown. "As I was saying before, whenever someone passes away, we wouldn’t hide their pictures. We honor them and we make sure we remember them. It’s just a remembrance celebration.”

So is it too obvious to suggest that this is exactly why people like Bugg need to be educated? As Brown explained, there's nothing about the Day of the Dead celebration that has anything to do with calling up zombies from the grave, or whatever it is she thinks she's talking about. The films of George Romero are fictional, in case Bugg is unclear on that point. Brain-eating fiends will not rise up to attack the living just because her community hosts a celebration where people remember their ancestors and deceased loved ones.

In fact, this idea is so dumb that it's hard to believe that even Bugg could be so stupid as to think that anybody animates zombies for the Day of the Dead. I suspect it's more likely that she just doesn't want a Latino celebration in her community for no good reason, so she concocted this idiotic objection.