Thursday, January 23, 2020

Haunted Elsa Doll

This story is more silly than spooky or even obviously paranormal, but what the heck. The British tabloid Mirror has an article up about an alleged haunted Elsa doll from the Disney film Frozen. Basically, the story goes that the family tried to throw it away multiple times, but it CAME BACK! That's some scary stuff, kids!

A mum from Houston has taken to social media to reveal why she believes her daughter, Aurelia, has a "haunted" Elsa doll. In a viral post on Facebook , that has now been deleted, Emily Madonia explained that Aurelia's toy had first started to freak them out when it began singing and talking in Spanish, while switched off.

Right, the electronics developed a glitch. And? This happens fairly often with cheap electronics.

She and her husband Mat decided to throw the doll out (with their daughter's blessing) but since then it has found it's way back into their home, not once but twice. Emily wrote: "Mat threw it away weeks ago and then we found it inside on a wooden bench.

"Okay…so we were weirded out and tightly wrapped it in its own garbage bag and put that garbage bag INSIDE another garbage bag filled with other garbage and put it in the bottom of our garbage can underneath a bunch of other bags of garbage and wheeled it to the curb and it was collected on garbage day."

The family then went on holiday, thinking the whole thing was behind them, but when they returned home, the doll was back. "We were out of town, forgot about it. Today Aurelia says, 'Mom I saw the Elsa doll again in the backyard'," she continued.

The simplest explanation - the kid likes the doll but doesn't want to stand up to the parents. So instead of arguing, she makes a show of going along with throwing the doll away and then brings it back inside. I have kids. I know how this kind of thing goes. It's even possible that the Facebook post about this was removed because she finally fessed up.

But we'll never know, right? Maybe the ghost haunting the doll logged onto Facebook and took the post down. Sure, that's possible - you know, if this happened to be a ghost with some computer skills...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Book Banners At It Again

Last week, a number of news outlets covered an outrageous bill proposed to the State Legislature of Missouri. The bill would empower a "parental oversight board" to determine whether books stocked by public libraries are "potentially inappropriate" for minors. So basically, this would be an elected panel with the power to ban books from libraries. It should come as no surprise to any of my readers to find out that I vehemently oppose such a plan. It's especially heinous in that it proposes fines and jail time (!) for librarians who refuse to comply with the law.

Under the parental oversight of public libraries bill, which has been proposed by Missouri Republican Ben Baker, panels of parents would be elected to evaluate whether books are appropriate for children. Public hearings would then be held by the boards to ask for suggestions of potentially inappropriate books, with public libraries that allow minors access to such titles to have their funding stripped. Librarians who refuse to comply could be fined and imprisoned for up to one year.

“The main thing is, I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material,” Baker told a local news station. “Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.” Titles including Sherman Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a young adult novel about the rape of a teenager, have all come under fire in Missouri over the last decade.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hellier - A Review

It always has seemed logical to me that there should be a lot more overlap between magicians and people investigating psychic abilities and other paranormal phenomena. In my magical models series I discussed aspects of the "psychic model" versus the "spirit model" of magick, and concluded that both play a role in successful magical operations. I suspect that the same is true of other paranormal phenomena ranging from cryotids to UFOs to premonitions and synchronicities. Synchronicities, in particular, seem to strongly correlate with both magical practice and the "strangeness" or "weirdness" that paranormal researchers associate with areas where a lot of paranormal activity seems to be happening.

The television series Hellier, currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is a good exemplar of this idea. The story begins with a group of paranormal investigators who receive a series of emails describing a series of events in the little town of Hellier, Kentucky that sounds similar to the famous Hopkinsville Goblins case. In the emails, the sender describes goblin-like creatures emerging from a local cave and harassing him and his family. He sends photos of the creatures' footprints and some blurry pictures that are supposed to be of the creatures themselves. But soon after that, the emails just stop.

Season One of the series covers the investigation in Hellier. The investigators travel to the town, ask around, and have some trouble running down leads. The locals seem unwilling to talk, and the few people who sound promising at first turn out to not have much to contribute. The series does a nice job of showcasing various tools used by modern paranormal investigators, especially the use of the SB7 spirit box. The team also tracks what they consider to be highly significant synchronicities and general weirdness as they explore the area.

As a practicing magician, I had a lot of moments of "Use some freaking magick!" while watching Season One. I also was somewhat skeptical about some of the synchronicities that the team considered significant, and how impressed they seemed to be by them. Practicing magicians encounter synchronicities at the level seen on the show literally all the time, and the challenge is less recognizing them and more discounting their importance. The reason is that synchonicities are a side effect of both magical practice and paranormal phenomena, and they don't necessarily have any deeper meaning.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Against Freaking Cartoons

Just like with Harry Potter years ago, Christians are complaining about a new animated Disney fantasy series because it dares to have a protagonist who uses (fantasy) magic. I figure these folks must just hate the entire fantasy genre, because fantasy fiction without magic is pretty much not-fantasy-fiction. Also, doesn't Disney have a long history of animated films that include magic and magic-using characters?

This is so beyond Cinderella it's not even funny. Disney has come up with a new cartoon about a teenager who, in their words, "finds herself stuck in the Demon Realm and battles the forces of evil alongside a rebellious witch and a pint-sized warrior."

As an aside, the author of this article realizes that the whole point of Cinderella is that the fairy godmother uses magic, right? And that Cinderella herself benefits from it?

In this so-called fantasy world, the main character, Luz, "pursues her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda's (the rebellious witch's) apprentice." It's called "The Owl House" and is set to premiere on January 10th on the Disney Channel. Here is the link to the show's trailer if you're inclined to watch it.

A "so-called fantasy world?" Does the author seriously believe that this fantasy series is real? I sure don't, and I actually cast spells in real life. Fantasy magic has nothing to do with the real thing - because it's fictional.

The show tries to portray witchcraft as a positive tool to fight evil. That's similar to what real-life witches have been promoting over the past few years as they've been putting hexes on President Trump and others in order to fight for their beliefs.

It's also exactly how magic is portrayed in Cinderella. I mean, the evil stepmother is usually actually referred to as "evil stepmother." And the fairy godmother's (fantasy) magic is what allows Cinderella to escape her clutches. I have to ask - has the author of this article even seen Disney's Cinderella?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Integrating the Headless Rite - Jupiter

Lately I have been experimenting with adapting some techniques from the PGM into my ritual templates. This ritual is an example - incorporating the well-known Headless Rite into a Jupiter operation for finding employment. For whatever reason, I seem to be very, very good at job spells and not nearly as good at spells for success in business. So I figured that I would play to my strength here, and besides, I know several people who happen to be looking for jobs at the moment who I think could benefit from a rite like this. The basic formula should be easy to adapted to any of my other operations in the same manner as shown here.

One of the things I've done with this version that's a little different from what a lot of people do when modified this ritual for modern use is that I have left in most of the original exorcism structure. The idea is this: not only does the caster use the Headless Rite as a preliminary invocation during which they identify with the divine in the form of the Headless One, they also use it to simultaneously exorcise the target of hindrances and obstacles that may impede the goal of the rite. This is similar to idea of banishing before you invoke, and whatever traditional PGM practitioners think about mash-ups like this, the hope is that the exorcism component will help to deal with "sticky" problems for which more straightforward magical operations have failed or have been less effective than desired.

Ideally the setup for this should be some sort of containment structure in which the subject can sit or stand, or barring that they should be placed in the center of the temple and the caster or casters should them perform the rite around them. I generally use the Enochian Holy Table for this, with legs removed and placed on the floor. But other structures and configurations are certainly possible.

This is an explicitly Thelemic ritual, employing the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire along with the Prayer of the Aeon and a "Thelemicized" version of some of the Headless Rite text - though the version here is much closer to the PGM original than is Liber Samekh. Like my Planetary Work - Jupiter post, it then calls upon the angel, intelligence, and spirit of the Path of Kaph, attributed to Jupiter and the Fortune card in the Tarot.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Aggressive Satanism?

I suppose, if you really think about it, the opposite of "palatable occultism" might be "aggressive Satanism" - you know, if a significant portion of this alleged "Satanism" really had anything to do with actual occultism.

Here's the background. Father Francois Dermine, a longtime Roman Catholic exorcist, claimed in an article published in Crux that society is in grave danger due to the rise of what he calls "aggressive Satanism." The problem is that most of what he's railing against is only "Satanism" according to the literal definition put forth by conservative Roman Catholicism - that is, pretty much anything that's not Roman Catholicism.

Roman Catholic exorcists are some of the last practitioners of anything resembling ceremonial magick to be found among mainstream Christians, so to some extent I try to avoid making fun of them. On the other hand, they also say some pretty dumb things, like arguing that anybody who takes a yoga class incurs a significant risk of demonic possession. I can't say I've ever come across anybody who legitimately got possessed by these supposed yoga demons, so I think that argument is ridiculous.

Now it's not completely silly to point out that aggression and violence are major problems in society and are dangerous. But if you look around, it's not like being a Christian means you're any less likely to engage in them. Sure, it should, if you really are trying to follow the tenets of the religion. But the very existence of massive "Prosperity Gospel" churches should dispel any notion that all Christians pay attention to what Jesus actually taught.

“There are many groups of satanism,” Dermine said, noting that internet exposure has also increased, and references to the demonic are increasingly prevalent in videogames and school games such as the “Charlie Charlie challenge,” in which players cross two pencils on a grid with sectors marking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and ask a supernatural being, “Charlie,” to answer the questions they ask.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Via Solis Capricorn Elixir Rite - Year Three

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Capricorn Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday January 7th, at Leaping Laughter Lodge, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will continue 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 Capricorn.

The sign Capricorn is attributed to the powers of "The Witches' Sabbath so-called, the Evil Eye." The latter is a general form of cursing cast by line of sight, but keep in mind that as Capricorn rules the Evil Eye, this sign can be employed both to cast such curses and protect you from them. Seeing as the "Witches' Sabbath" is not a real magical operation, but rather an invention of Medieval witch hunters (as the "so-called" likely acknowledges) it requires some explanation.

According to the imagination of witch hunters, the Witches' Sabbath was a ritual in which witches copulated with the Devil in order to obtain magical powers. So in the context of real magical operations we are talking about sex magick in various forms, whether symbolic or actual. Liber A'ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici, for example, is attributed to this sign and describes in (only slightly) veiled symbolic language a sex magick technique similar to Spare's well-known sigilization method. The Great Rite in the Wiccan tradition would be another example.

In addition, one of the magical weapons attributed to Capricorn is "the secret force" which is a reference to internal energies such as kundalini, whether employed in sex magick operations or otherwise. So another application for Capricorn would be to develop and/or strengthen those energies by magical means. It is important to keep in mind that "sex magick" such does not necessarily involve having sex, but rather working with the union of energetic polarities - which can be accomplished by many different means.

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.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Palatable Occultism?

Slate has an article up today about the resurgence of occultism in popular culture. Or, more specifically, the resurgence of certain occult-related practices that don't go as far as doing actual magick. The author of the article calls these practices "the palatable occult." As I see it, this is a good start but it has a lot further to go before we are ever going to see magick itself go mainstream. I'd love to see that, of course, but my question is whether enough people are ever going to be ready for it to become a real mass movement.

“New Age,” as ye old boomers called it in the ’70s, has come back in a major way this decade, shedding its corny rep for well-designed apps and sleek websites. What once was considered fringe or weird or from another era—talking about astrological charts on a first date, getting your aura read with friends, sound baths—is now kind of just regular among millennials (at least according to various market research firms who track the spiritual industry, one pegging the “mystical-services market” as a $2.2 billion industry). I call it “the palatable occult.”

My first genuine experience with the palatable occult didn’t happen until 2017. Several of my friends were already occult curious or occult serious, and I had smelled my fair share of ancient burning wood, held crystals at friends’ homes, and got a tarot reading from a guy I dated briefly. (I pulled the “death” card, which he quickly explained didn’t mean I was going to croak but was a metaphor for transition.) I remained cynical. The trend seemed silly and manufactured, a distraction from the all-consuming Trump-era resistance, and the result of a nefarious and ascendant wellness industry that just wanted to take my money.

What I find fascinating about this is that "palatable" here feels a lot like "ineffective." Not that there's anything wrong with Tarot or astrology, you understand - I use both all the time in my personal practice. Crystals too, at least when I'm making talismans and the like. But the thing is, I have magical operations posted here, on this blog, that really work. I don't mean they kind of work, like doing casual Tarot readings and checking out horoscope websites. The Enochian magick in my published books really works too. And for the whole time I've been putting this stuff out, it's been a struggle to get people to pay any attention to it.