Monday, November 23, 2020

Via Solis Sagittarius Elixir Rite - Year Four (Streaming)

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Sagittarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, November 23rd. Like the last few elixir rites, it will be streamed on Facebook Live at the Leaping Laughter OTO page. The page can be found here. I will be starting around 8 PM CDT, but barring any technical difficulties I will archive the video after the ritual so you can view it whenever you have time if you miss it live.

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 Sagittarius. The sign Sagittarius is attributed to the power of “Transmutations." It is also the only sign attributed to a vision, the "Vision of Universal Peacock." This vision is a significant step in alchemical processes. Transmutation is a general power with many applications, since in a sense all magical operations represent attempts to transmute or transform some aspect of yourself, the external world, or both. So any intent along those lines would be in harmony with the power of the sign. 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.


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.


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.


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, November 18, 2020

Ritual Night Talk for November 17th

Here is the video of last night's Ritual Night Talk on magical metaphysics. The donation link is here.

This is probably Part One of a longer conversation about how the metaphysics of magick work and how our models of consciousness necessarily relate to that process. If we start with the assumption that magick works - since we know it does - we can take a look at some of the ideas that are out there and see which ones qualify as possible explanations for our observations. It allows us to narrow down ideas from both quantum physics and consciousness research in order to build an accurate model of how what we do interacts with the world.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

No Internal Monologue is a Thing

Over the years you may have noticed that I don't have a lot of patience with arguments or ideas that require consciousness to be based on or constrained by language. Some of that has to do with experiences from the cognitive science of the early 1990's that I felt gave way too much credence to "symbolic artificial intelligence." That mostly consisted of linguists arguing that if only you could get the word and symbol relationships right in your AI computer program, it would be the same thing as consciousness. I knew it was nonsense from the start, and it never really did work. As it turns out, a lot of time and money was expended on that particular doomed idea, when we probably should have started working on machine learning ten to twenty years before it became the focus of AI research.

While that story in and of itself isn't necessarily relevant to practicing and/or learning magick, how I knew it was nonsense from the start probably is. I don't think in words. I never have. Or at the very least, I don't think exclusively in words. I don't really have any sort of "inner monologue" that guides my thinking unless I deliberately create one - which, for example, is how I write fiction. I guess that a person with an internal monologue experiences the world kind of like how I experience writing a book. The difference is that for me, it requires some discipline to keep my thoughts running that way. Otherwise my focus expands and my thoughts turn back into - well, thoughts. They're kind of like a combination of images, abstract relationships, dynamic unfolding processes, and memories.

When I remember things I don't "hear" a description of the memory in my mind. I literally re-experience it, but without the same intensity of it actually happening. I can take "the experience" of that memory like an object and relate it dynamically to other memories, ideas, concepts, philosophical principles, and pretty much anything else that I can experience internally or externally - up to and including the sensory information I am processing in the moment. I talk about individual differences between magical practitioners a lot, because there are a lot of them, and while I don't have a set of experimental data to draw from in this respect, my guess is that whether you have an internal monologue or you don't likely makes a difference in how magick will work for you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Ritual Night Talk for November 10th

Ritual Night Talk for November 10th - Improvisation and Experimentation

Ritual Night Talk for November 10th - Improvisation and Experimentation Donations:

Posted by Leaping Laughter on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Here is the video of last night's Ritual Night Talk on improvisation and experimentation. The donation link is here.

Many people who are learning magick seem to have the idea that there is an exact way to do ceremonial rituals, and if they don't get every bit of minutia correct terrible things can happen. But this is more a horror movie idea than anything real. In fact, usually when you do things wrong all that happens is nothing. Experimentation in magick is a good thing, and all magicians should feel free to work out the methods that are most effective for their own practice.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

All The Wrong Angels

The United States presidential election has been the big story this last week. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump and will become our next president. As you all well know, I can't stand Trump and am very happy to see him voted out. But among the folks who are less happy is Trump's spiritual adviser, prosperity gospel preacher Paula White. White worked herself into a frenzy on Wednesday trying to conjure angels to secure Trump's victory.

President Donald Trump's spiritual advisor Paula White led a passionate prayer event on Wednesday in a bid to secure his reelection.

During a prayer broadcast livestreamed on her YouTube channel, White claimed that "demonic confederacies" were attempting to steal the election from Trump. "I hear victory, victory, victory, victory in the quarters of heaven," White said as she closed her eyes and gestured passionately.

At one point White proclaimed that "angels are being dispatched right now" and appeared to speak in tongues. "Angels are being dispatched from Africa right now," she said, adding, "They're coming here."

Here's the thing, though. It's not like people in Africa particularly like Donald Trump. Neither do people in South America, which she also named. Much of Trump's talk about "shithole countries" was directed at nations on those two continents. As I've mentioned multiple times, spirits including angels have individual personalities just like people do. There's no reason to think that African or South American angels like Trump when people from those countries don't. I mean, it's possible, but I wouldn't think it likely.

So even if Paula White is able to conjure angels - I doubt it, personally, but you never know - she's calling on all the wrong ones. And of course, she's casting a spell. She's getting herself all worked up and then calling on angels to perform a specific task, to deliver an election victory for Trump. She seems pretty "enflamed" in prayer, as Aleister Crowley would say. But no matter how into a spell you are, it won't to work if you call on the wrong spirits to do the job.

I seriously think the world would be a better place if Christians just admitted that casting spells is what they're doing when they pray for specific things. We occultists work with different deities than their version of Jesus, but the difference is one of religion rather than technology and there's rarely anything particularly sinister about it. At least, no more sinister than trying to cast death spells by means of "imprecatory prayer," which granted is pretty freaking sinister.

Biden is a moderate Democrat and more conservative than me. But even so, I will be happy to have a president not beholden to these fundamentalist nutters. There's this guy, who insists people will have sex with cows when Biden becomes president. There's this pastor demanding another election because Trump lost. And there's every person out there who believes that there are enough occultists in the world do anything the QAnon conspiracy alleges.

As of January 20th of 2021 none of these folks will have "their guy" in the White House. And frankly, that right there is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Ritual Night Talk for November 3rd

Ritual Night Talk for November 3rd - Political Magick

Ritual Night Talk for November 3rd - Political Magick 777 Magical Powers: Donations:

Posted by Leaping Laughter on Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Here is the video of last night's Ritual Night Talk on political magick. The link to the magical powers column from Liber 777 is here and the donation link is here.

In this talk I go through a good exercise for any magician to do when faced with a problem. Liber 777 has a full list of magical powers attributed to the elements, planets, and signs, and when planning a magical operation it is good to consider how any or even all of them can apply to the problem at hand according to their respective spheres of influence. The problem I use for reference here is political magick, since it has been observed that using magick to affect politicians and/or the political process in general seems to be especially difficult. And, after all, this talk took place on the evening of Election Day here in the United States.


Friday, October 30, 2020

Assessing James Randi

James Randi, founder of the capital-S Skeptic movement, passed away this last week at the age of 92. Over the years I have posted various articles about the Skeptics, and while I consider they methods useful for debunking fraudulent "celebrity psychics," I also think that the movement - and especially Randi himself - took an unnecessarily adversarial position with respect to actual scientific research of the paranormal.

I have been asked on a couple of occasions about this, and why I had a problem with his attitude. I do try to test my magical techniques in as scientific a manner as I can and don't have a problem with the findings of mainstream science. But skepticism - real skepticism, not the movement variety - should be based on an honest consideration of the evidence. Randi's approach never seemed honest to me, especially his constant accusation of fraud when presented with evidence he found hard to dismiss out of hand.

On the occasion of Randi's death, I considered writing up a piece expressing my assessment of the man, his legacy, and my issues with his approach to the paranormal. But before I could do that, I came across this article from Boing Boing which expresses my thoughts at least as well as I would have. It even includes some material of which I was previously unaware.

Born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge in Toronto in 1928, Randi became a celebrated stage magician and escape artist who appeared in prestigious venues and on television shows, including Happy Days. His stage aesthetics and devices were often brilliant and original. Randi toured with rock icon Alice Cooper in 1973, designing a mock beheading-by-guillotine for the proto-metal star. When claiming the garland of skepticism in the early 1970s, the MacArthur-winning Randi announced his intention of exposing phony faith healers and grifter psychics.

Today, many people know Randi from the award-winning 2014 documentary An Honest Liar. But the laudatory and engaging profile tells its story in a fashion that skeptics traditionally decry: including only the magician's successful exposes (some of which were more questionable than the film allows) and obfuscating his darker and more lasting impact: making it more difficult for serious university-based and academically trained researchers to study ESP and mental anomalies, and to receive a fair hearing in the news media. Indeed, Randi ultimately cheapened an important debate over how or whether extra-physical mentality can be studied under scientifically rigorous conditions and evaluated by serious people.

In a typical example, The New York Times ran a 2015 piece about a wave of fraudulent and flawed psychology studies; its lead paragraph cited a precognition study by Cornell University psychologist Daryl J. Bem — without justifying why it was grouped with polluted research or even further referencing Bem's study in the article. (I wrote to the Times to object. The paper has used several of my letters and op-eds, often on controversial subjects — this time, crickets.)

The Bem study is interesting for two reasons. First, while critics have argued that Bem's "presentiment" findings must be the result of experimental error, they can never pinpoint what the problem with the methodology might be. To be fair, that doesn't mean there's couldn't be a problem with the methodology, only that it hasn't been identified. The second reason it's interesting is that a very similar methodology was used in studies constantly pointed to by researchers opposed to the idea of "free will."

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Scorpio Elixir Rite for 2020

Here is the video of last night's Scorpio Elixir Rite. The donation link is here.

Scorpio is associated with the Death card in the Tarot and its corresponding power is Necromancy. In this context it refers to working with the spirits of the dead, including "restless dead" such as ghosts and also ancestors who are no longer living.