Monday, July 25, 2016

More Thoughts on Daily Magical Practice

I got a couple of questions this past week about daily magical practices, and while I've posted on that topic in the past, the most recent of those was back in 2008. My general opinions have not changed that much, and I still use pretty much the same practice sequence as I did back then.

Here are my previous two posts, one from 2006 and the other from 2008. The basic arrangement that I perform today is as follows:
  1. The banishing form of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram.
  2. The invoking form of the Comselh Ananael Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram.
  3. The Elevenfold Seal from Liber V vel Reguli, substituting the name of my own Holy Guardian Angel for that of Aiwass.
  4. A brief invocation of my Holy Guardian Angel, which includes my prayer of intent: "Fill me with the Divine Light, set my True Will in motion, and bring me to the accomplishment of the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness."
As you can see, it's not that different from what I was doing years ago. I've kept these practices because they work.

To elaborate a bit, points (1) and (2) create the operant field. I am convinced that this is absolutely vital to get the most out of your practices, and in fact started working on the operant model because it made such a big difference when I went from the banishing to the invoking Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram on a daily basis. You need to (1) clear out your sphere of consciousness with the banishing pentagram, and (2) call into that space the forces of the macrocosmic elements so that your magical intent can engage the external world on a daily basis.

As always, you should do the work in the way that works for you, and if you've tried the operant method and it just doesn't, so be it. But most of the people who have tried it find that it works better, so I highly recommend at least experimenting with it briefly to see for yourself. My explanation for why it works might not even be correct, but folks who disagree with certain aspects of my model still seem to find that the invoking Lesser Hexagram just works better.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Holy Land Experience Estate Sale

Here's another cautionary tale about Christian theme parks. Last week, I covered the story of Heritage USA, a park in South Carolina that was once owned by Jim and Tammy Bakker. In the mid-1980's it was one of the most popular theme parks in the country, but it fell into disrepair after being struck by a major funding scandal and Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

In 2001, Christians decided to try again. That year marked the opening of Ken Ham's Creation Museum in Kentucky and The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. Ham should be well-known to regular readers here as the man behind Ark Encounter, a tourist attraction modeled on the Biblical description of Noah's Ark.

But The Holy Land Experience has not been nearly as successful as the Creation Museum. The park appears to be going out of business after racking up more than a million dollars in debt by 2014, the last year it filed with the IRS. The park is now holding an estate sale, selling off just about everything in the place.

In the market for a throne, a Roman gladiator's helmet or a near life-size Nativity scene? Then the Holy Land Experience in Orlando has a sale for you. The massive estate sale by the Christian theme park started Thursday and lasts through Saturday. The Holy Land Experience is selling scores of items, many of them Biblically themed, amid declining revenue and contributions.

IRS documents show that in 2014, the most recent year filings are available, The Holy Land Experience had anywhere from $1.9 million to $2.5 million in contributions. By contrast, it had $42 million in contributions in 2010. The theme park had a $1.3 million deficit in 2014.

It should be noted that even the Creation Museum saw a big decline in attendance after its first year, which I am of the opinion can be associated with "point-and-laugh" tourists who went just to see how terrible the science presented would be. But maybe there are more people out there than we generally realize who will patronize any establishment that depicts Jesus riding a dinosaur - you know, because really, what's cooler than that?

There's an old joke that I like to make - "What do you call Christian music that's good? Music." Even fifteen years ago, much of Evangelical Christianity worked hard to keep its followers in what was essentially a separate world that was all-Christianity-all-the-time. Maybe I'm reading too much into the failure of a single park, but it could be that people are becoming less willing to put up with an inferior product just because it bills itself as "Christian."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Is Trump Voldemort?

Tonight Donald Trump will be giving his big speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, accepting his party's presidential nomination. The convention is packed with his supporters, who booed Ted Cruz off the stage last night after the Texas senator refused to endorse Trump. But there's another group out there that is particularly down on The Donald's candidacy - Harry Potter fans.

Raw Story reports a new poll that shows readers of the Harry Potter series dislike Trump in direct proportion to the number of books in the series that they have read. While this could be a spurious correlation, the pollsters speculate that the effect may be based on readers seeing similarities between Trump and the villain of the books, Lord Voldemort.

A national poll of 1,142 American Harry Potter fans who read more and more books were less and less likely to support Trump by a factor of two to three points. So, a reader of all seven books lowered a respondent’s evaluation of Trump by 18 points.

“It may simply be too difficult for Harry Potter readers to ignore the similarities between Trump and the power-hungry Voldemort.” It’s in keeping with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, who has written and tweeted about her contempt for Trump, saying he is a “fascist in all but name” and saying he’s actually worse than Voldemort.

Those aligned with Voldemort in the Harry Potter books supported Pure-blood supremacy wizards and opposed any who were born from non-wizards or muggles. While Voldemort did not propose building a wall around an all wizard town to keep out those who were not pure blood, he did support killing them.

It could also be that the biggest Potter fans simply love J. K. Rowling and are following her lead, as her opinion of Trump is well-known. Or it could be that people who have read more of the books are more likely to be avid readers who might be looking for more depth in a candidate than Trump has shown up until now. Or fantasy fiction readers might be more liberal in general. Or there could be any number of other relationships between variables that might only incidentally relate to this particular series.

But if the connection is genuine, those of us who don't support Trump should be sure to remember just how lame a super-villain Voldemort turned out to be. He tried to take over a high school - and failed. Even so, everyone in the Harry Potter universe was really, really scared of him. That means if Trump winds up losing big in November, the comparison will be a lot harder to deny.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mike Pence's Vampire Daughter

What is it with Republican political candidates and vampires? Over a year ago, Augoeides was the first media outlet to courageously report on Jeb Bush's totally true and bizarre history with the undead. Then, yesterday, Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence tweeted a seemingly innocuous photograph of his family. However, closer examination of the photo revealed that Pence's daughter cast no reflection in the mirror on the adjacent wall.

At first glance Mike Pence's photo of his family dinner at New York's Chili's seems to show The Donald's running mate enjoying some nachos with his wife and daughter. But on closer inspection something is not right. Pence's daughter Charlotte, 23, appears to have no reflection - raising the accusation that she was photoshopped in.

Indiana Gov Mike Pence sent Twitter into a meltdown on Saturday when he tweeted a picture of himself and his family having dinner at Chili's - but something is not right She is sitting next to her father in a white dress, but even her frizzy hair can't been seen in the mirror.

Shocked observers have take to social media - with many joking that Pence's daughter is a vampire. Sebastian Murdock wrote on Twitter: 'Sir I don't mean to be rude but your daughter might be a vampire just sayin.'

Another shocked user added: 'Where is the reflection of the woman in white? Does Chili's cause people to become vampires?!' One surprised viewer said: 'The woman has no reflection. Explain.'

By treating these vampire accusations as "jokes" the media clearly shows itself to be in league with the undead, casually dismissing this disturbing evidence of their very real presence. And accusations of photoshopping are thrown around by skeptics whenever they encounter a picture they can't easily explain away, regardless of what it depicts. The evidence is clear. Mike Pence doesn't just pal around with vampires, one of them is a member of his family.

I cannot stress enough how serious this is, folks. Can we really allow a creature of the night to get anywhere near the White House or the Naval Observatory or the Undisclosed Location or wherever it is they stash the Vice-President these days? Who know what horrors such a development could unleash? For those of you who refused to support Jeb Bush because of his vampire-palling ways, the choice is clear.

You cannot support the Trump-Pence ticket. Vote third-party if you must, but keep American government vampire-free!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Thoughts on the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram

A reader contacted me about two weeks ago asking some questions about the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Apparently one of the external sites I link to has a version of the ritual that differs from the version that I use, and that version has a couple of changes that I don't personally like. So since the Lesser Hexagram plays an important role in the operant magical system, I really should have put up a post on it years ago so I could link to my a page of my own and avoid any confusion.

But I suppose there's no time like the present, right?

This article is not as detailed as my presentation on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, which was written for a Pagan Pride audience that I assumed would include a lot of novice practitioners who might never have even performed a ceremonial ritual. If you are such a practitioner, I recommend that you review my Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram presentation before delving into this one. My suggestions for breathing, visualization, vibration, and so forth apply to this ritual as well, and should be understood before moving beyond the Lesser Pentagram.

To recap, it should be understood that "Lesser" does not mean "lame" and "Greater" does not mean "awesome" in the parlance of the Golden Dawn magical system. "Lesser" means preliminary or general, as the Lesser rituals are used to set up your magical space for performing any sort of ritual whatsoever. Greater means specific, and as such the Greater rituals follow the Lesser rituals and serve to "tune the space" to the corresponding element, planet, or sign for your operation.

The current Golden Dawn system also includes a ritual called the "Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram," but as this nomenclature essentially breaks the original model I have to think that it was a later addition of some sort. A "Supreme Pentagram" is akin to a Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for Malkuth, in which each of the four elemental pentagrams is traced at the appropriate quarter with the corresponding godname. In terms of the Thelemic rituals, it is most similar to Liber V vel Regulu.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ten Years of Augoeides

Looking over some of my older posts this last weekend, I realized that I missed marking an important milestone. As of last month, I've been blogging here at Augoeides for ten years, since June of 2006. Back then I had no idea it would keep going for as long as it has, or that it would generate any interest at all. I just wanted to share what I knew about how magick works and snark on news stories that touched on spirituality and the paranormal.

During the last decade, I've traditionally published three books and written a couple more that I hope to be able to make available one of these days. I also have contributed to two excellent anthologies and released one self-published eBook. If you're interested in picking any of those up, you can find the links to order them on the right sidebar. And if you hate Amazon, which is completely understandable, there are even alternatives.

Augoeides is completely free, and after experimenting with hosting Google ads years ago, I vowed I would never do it again. So the only income this site generates is indirect, through book sales, and if you like the site and want to support it that's how to do it. Being a published author has taught me that I truly hate doing marketing and promotion work, so this is one of the few times you'll hear me make anything resembling a sales pitch.

If you haven't done so already, I invite you to check out my author web site. It's down on the right sidebar along with the rest of my blogroll, but it's easy to miss. I don't post as often there and usually everything I put up has to do with new book releases and so forth. But I'm thinking about increasing the posting over there as well, talking specifically about writing and my writing process.

At the same time, I'm happy to report that I'm still having fun doing this, and I expect that Augoeides will be around for the foreseeable future. If nothing else, the goal of putting up 15-20 posts a month forces me to write at least every couple of days. That's a good discipline, because the more you write, the better you get. At present I've put up almost 1500 posts here, and will probably pass that mark in a couple of months.

So today, with Augoeides ten years and a little over one month old, I would like to take a minute to thank everyone who has supported and enjoyed this site over the years. I hope that you've been able to learn from the magical techniques I've shared, and I also hope that you've been informed and amused by my sometimes unique take on the news of the day.

The world is a weirder and more magical place than our conventional cultural narrative likes to assert, and I very much enjoy being able to shed some light into some its more obscure corners.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fear the Pokémon Demons!

There are a lot of legitimate reasons to be down on the new Pokémon Go video game. Besides the most basic objection, that I'm not ten years old, this article from Reuters discusses how the game opens the door to all sorts of new marketing tactics that I want nothing to do with. Always remember, if a complex online service is free, you and your data will inevitably become the product.

But as usual, fundamentalist Christians take the cake on coming up with the most ridiculous possible objections to anything other people might find fun. This time around, evangelist Rick Wiles is busy going on about how the various Pokémon creatures are actual demons, and therefore the game is a tool of the devil. He also floats the bizarre idea that players will start murdering people in order to catch more creatures, which makes absolutely no sense in terms of how the game works.

“The enemy, Satan, is targeting churches with virtual, digital, cyber-demons,” Wiles said, before adding: “I believe this thing is a magnet for demonic powers.”

Wiles went on to claim that “Pokémon masters” may soon start “telling people to kill people in those buildings” in order to catch more Pokémon, comparing the use of the App to Philando Castile’s girlfriend use of Facebook Live to live stream the aftermath of Castile’s shooting by a police officer, which he said might have been staged.

This conversation led “Trunews” cohost Edward Szall to read a fake quote from the creator of Pokémon allegedly endorsing Satanism.

“They’re spawning demons inside your church,” Wiles said. “They’re targeting your church with demonic activity.” He then again warned that “this technology will be used by the enemies of the cross to target, locate and execute Christians.”

Apparently the quote in question comes from this article, which is from yet another fake news website. The absence of critical thinking skills with these folks never ceases to amaze me. They constantly are falling for the dumbest fake stories without doing any fact checking at all. But beyond that, the whole idea that anything fun has to be evil tells me a lot about how sad Rick Wiles' life must be.

Or maybe the whole thing is just a show for his even sadder audience. I'll be waiting to see if, a few years from now, Wiles is caught driving around town in a van with darkened windows desperately trying to capture his first Pikachu. Then he'll go on his show and cry about "how he has sinned" by trying to "catch 'em all." If we're lucky, the scandal will destroy the idiot's ministry, because he sure is a dumbass.