Friday, February 16, 2018

Not "Mass Hysteria"

Well, that was quick. Just as I predicted, researchers examining the Cuban "sonic weapon" brain injuries have concluded that what is going on is absolutely not a case of mass psychogenic illness, or if you will, "mass hysteria." To be clear, there's no evidence that any sonic weapon was employed to cause these injuries, but it is also clear that they have some sort of physical cause. That should have been obvious from the start, but skeptics just love to muddy the waters by insisting that anything they don't understand is "psychological."

While the exact cause of these concussion-like symptoms remains unknown, these individuals appeared to have sustained injury to "widespread brain networks without an associated history of blunt head trauma," report clinicians from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Brain Injury and Repair in Philadelphia, which was selected to coordinate evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of affected patients.

Importantly, note Randel L. Swanson II, DO, PhD, and colleagues, there is no evidence that the symptoms reported by US embassy personnel in Cuba can be attributed to mass psychogenic illness, as some skeptics have suggested. Mass psychogenic illness typically involves uniform symptoms that are of short duration and are often benign in nature, with no consistent physical exam findings. This is completely opposite of what is seen in the Cuba cohort, they note. Although not systematically excluded, viruses or chemical exposures are unlikely, they say.

"While there are many open questions that remain, we are collectively convinced that these individuals, as a group, sustained a neurological injury. So, the constellation of signs and symptoms and their response to rehabilitation mirrors what we see in patients with mild traumatic brain injury, both in the civilian population and in our military population," Swanson said in a JAMA podcast.

As a point, there are equally misguided folks in the magical community who do the same thing. There's no clear consensus on the nature of spirits, for example, so some practitioners dismiss them as "psychological projections." But my point is that what's going on with both spirits and the Cuba case is that we just don't know for sure. If you automatically dismiss everything you don't understand as "psychological," you are going to make a lot of mistakes evaluating any paranormal phenomenon - or even unusual ones.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Calm Before the Stupid

Donald Trump may be a bad president for many people, but the one group that he has consistently delivered for is conspiracy theorists. I don't mean the garden-variety "big business is colluding with the government to make money" kind of conspiracy theorists (those sorts of conspiracies happen all the time), but rather the complete and utterly batshit insane variety. More and more implausible allegations come to light every day. Is it fake news, or is it just flat-out stupidity? I expect that you already know my answer to that question. I recently came across an article about a conspiracy theory floated last year called "The Storm." It was a sort of meta-conspiracy that set the bar quite high for future efforts.

Part “Pizzagate,” part New World Order, and part hyper-partisan wishful thinking by defenders of Donald Trump, “the Storm” is a sprawling meta-conspiracy, with actors ranging from Hillary Clinton to model Chrissy Teigen, in which everything you know about the current investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign is upside down.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, in this alternative universe, is in fact preparing to indict hundreds of Democrats (including Clinton, Barack Obama, and financier George Soros) and Hollywood celebrities for their roles in a massive worldwide pedophilia ring, operated by “globalists” who are conspiring to destroy Trump — and that the president himself is himself masterminding this “countercoup.”

“What we have come up with is a possible coup,” explained conspiracy theorist David Zublick in a late-November video, “not against Donald Trump, but by Donald Trump, working with Robert Mueller to bring down the Clintons, the Democrat Party, and the entire U.S. government involved in pedophilia and child sex trafficking.”

In just a few short weeks, the theory has grown from a handful of posts on fringe Internet chat forums to become the overwhelming obsession of nearly every conspiracy theorist in the business, notably Alex Jones and his Infowars operation, as well as social-media figures such as Liz Crokin. In addition to being a constant focus of discussion on Infowars, dozens of YouTube videos and thousands of Twitter posts exploring various facets of the conspiracy, and presenting the usual dubious “evidence” to “prove” it, have shown up on the Internet.

The origins of “The Storm” lie in Trump’s cryptic remarks on October 6, saying that a gathering of military leaders represented “the calm before the storm.” When asked what he meant, Trump responded: “You’ll see.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

Via Solis Aquarius Elixir Rite

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Aquarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday February 13th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be performing 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 Aquarius.

The sign Aquarius is attributed to the power of "Astrology." Since astrological divination is a fairly mechanical process, it seems to me that in addition to being the proper spirit to call on in order to learn astrology or understand it better, the angel of Aquarius should also have a more active aspect. So what I am going to experiment with when we perform this ritual is to see if Aquarius has some degree of influence over astrological forces in general. That would have practically unlimited applications - if it works.

As just one example, there has been a lot of discussion back and forth here about magical strategies to neutralize and/or mediate negative aspects and debilities in natal charts, and I'm going to see if I can just use the power of Aquarius to accomplish something along those lines. It would be very convenient if, say, you could just call up Aquarius and say "neutralize/mediate XYZ in my natal chart" instead of working out a remedy involving a particular planet or element. Of course, I don't know how well this will work, but that's the whole point of experimentation.

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.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

More Fun With Yoga Demons

I've written a number of times here on Augoeides about the hatred for yoga among some fundamentalist Christians. They tend to be the kind of Christians who insist on living in their own little bubbles consisting of Christian television, Christian movies, Christian music, and so forth. So according to their sad ideology, anything that's not explicitly Christian is depraved and evil. Yoga does not fit that bill, even though I have come across so-called "Christian Yoga" practitioners who rename the postures and open with Christian prayers. Recently a Christian blogger warned that yoga - apparently, no matter how you do it - creates a "demonic trance" and is just like playing with a Ouija board.

A Christian blogger is warning those who follow his faith that practicing yoga is like playing with a Ouija board.

“You may perform the moves without consciously seeking the demonic trance they were designed to help you attain, but it would seem you are playing, quite literally, with fire,” Matt Walsh wrote for the Daily Wire.

He repeatedly called yoga a pagan practice. “I don’t think all yoga practitioners go to Hell,” he wrote. “But neither do I see how a pagan ritual could ever help someone get to Heaven, and maybe that’s reason enough to leave it alone.”

I'm going to say this again, because I keep saying it and nobody seems to listen - there is such a thing as non-sectarian yoga. A lot of people practice it. While some yoga classes do include elements like simple Hindu prayers that a strict Christian could reasonably object to participating in, without any of that yoga is just stretching. There's nothing "demonic" or even Hindu about the postures themselves. As I also have mentioned in previous posts, modern "exercise yoga" is not even entirely Indian. It is a mixture of Hatha Yoga, which simply consists of holding the postures for sustained periods of time, and European calisthenic exercises. The Europeans who practiced the latter were almost certainly Christian.

Sadly for those of you looking forward to getting your demonic trance on at the local Ashtanga studio, Walsh is full of it. Even for those of us who like working with spirits, there's nothing about yoga that's going to help us connect with them. It's good exercise, but that's about it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

That's Really Too Bad

It sounds like the African nation of Zambia won't be conducting cutting-edge paranormal research any time soon. In response to rumors that the government was considering investigating witchcraft - that is, magick - as a science, its chief spokesperson issued a strong denial on the grounds that Zambia is officially defined as a "Christian nation" in its 1996 constitution. As I see it, this is one more case where having a state religion is just a terrible idea. Western academic institutions are highly biased against paranormal research on entirely different grounds, so little of it goes on here. But in Africa, it could be a more plausible area for study if not for all the religious prejudice.

The Zambian government on Tuesday denied media reports that it intends to consider research on witchcraft as a science. Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft often occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.

Chief Government Spokesperson, Kampamba Mulenga, said such reports were blatant falsehoods. Mulenga said: "We are aware that there is a group of people that is spreading malicious statements through various media platforms, bent on destroying government’s image." According to her, the government could not start advocating for witchcraft practices as the country was a declared Christian nation. She added: "Christianity and witchcraft are poles apart and cannot co-exist."

In other words, as long as Zambia is a "Christian Nation," no paranormal research will ever be conducted. That's too bad, because paranormal research touches on all sorts of areas that I remain convinced will become important areas for study in the future. At the very least, consciousness studies has taken off as a discipline over the last decade or so, and one wonders if that would fall under "witchcraft" as well according to the Zambian government. After all, consciousness is the key to working with every magical system I've ever come across, and I highly doubt that the African form of witchcraft is any different.

It should also be pointed out that this is exactly the kind of nation that the Poor Oppressed Christians are fighting for here in the United States. As they are "oppressed" by the mere existence of people who don't share their beliefs, any paranormal research in a "Christian America" would be right out. I might not even be allowed to discuss it publicly in a forum like this blog. And as I see it, that simply is unacceptable.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Flat Earther Fails to Launch

Is there anything more ridiculous these days than a flat-earther? I'm not sure, but I think the answer might very well be "no." People have known since ancient times that the Earth is round. It simply is not true that we've only known the Earth was round since the Middle Ages. If you live on any coast, anywhere, you can easily observe this for yourself just like the ancient Greeks did. Just watch a ship as it disappears over the horizon. You'll see that the bottom of the ship disappears first, because the Earth is curved.

Given that, I'm still not sure whether Mike Hughes is a serious flat-earther or just taking advantage of stupid people. For a while now, Hughes has been raising money online from flat-earthers to launch his own rocket. The rocket is powered by steam, which has limited effectiveness as a propellant, and can reach about five hundred miles per hour and sustain that speed for a short period of time. Hughes claims that this is part of a plan to eventually reach outer space, but given the technology he's using it's hard to see how that's going to happen. Especially since, after many delays, his attempted launch completely failed.

In fairness to Mike Hughes, he knows how to build a rocket. He built them for many years under the precepts of classical physics, when he was still a relatively conventional daredevil, which is to say, one who believed the Earth is round. But Saturday marked Hughes’ third aborted launch since he declared himself a flat Earther last year and announced a multipart plan to fly to space by the end of 2018 so he could prove astronauts have been lying about the shape of the planet.

The Washington Post, like many news outlets, covered Hughes’ plan. In retrospect, there was never any chance he’d pull it off. Hughes blamed technical difficulties – possibly a bad O-ring – for his steam-powered rocket’s failure to ignite this weekend in the Mojave Desert. But even if it had, and even if he managed to subsequently rocket-pack himself into space by the end of the year, his mission would have ended at worst in death, and at best in disappointment as he realized what ancient Greeks and schoolchildren already know: The world is round; it has always been round; Mike Hughes will never see its edges.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Custom Spirit Boxes!

If you are interested in claiming perks for backing the upcoming Enochian and Goetic Online Master Classes, you only have a couple of days left. And now, a last minute perk has been added to the campaign - a custom spirit box by occult artist Mani C. Price! Here's what she has to say about these remarkable talismanic boxes:

"There are a variety of spirit boxes I do. They are a type of high-end talisman. They are created to house spirits and have a physical anchor on this plane. When you want to contact someone or resolve an issue immediately, a spirit box will do just that. When you go to open it, you are 'putting the spirit to work for you.' You make a request and send the spirit to work. Communication becomes smoother and faster. These spirit boxes can be treated as traveling miniature altars. I have one client who is a performer and she takes her box everywhere."

"...These are solid pieces of wood made to be heirlooms. They will last a lifetime. I’ve done mahogany, purpleheart, maple, ash, cherry and birch thus far. I start with a simple wood burning ritual around the main sigil. Then I start painting on the sides of the boxes.These images are usually related to aspects of the spirit the box is meant to work with. For example, a box for Venus may be covered with depictions of sex and lust, while a box for Jupiter has more images of money and kingship. In the end you have a masterpiece in its own right that you can do with as you please."

"...Clients are given instructions on offerings, prayers, rites and general upkeep to maintain that connection. Items pertaining to the spirit can also put inside the box such as oils, herbs, stones, or dirt (like from a bank to attract money). Animal products such a teeth, claws, feathers, or bones can also be incorporated."

If you are interested in claiming this or any of the other perks associated with the campaign, click right here to check it out. Remember, the campaign is ending in a couple of days, so act now if you've been putting it off. You'll be supporting a great series of classes with some truly outstanding magical teachers - you know, like me!