Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Last Season for Ghost Hunters

The long-running paranormal investigation television series Ghost Hunters may be coming to an end. According to a statement from TAPS founder Jason Hawes, the upcoming eleventh season will be the last to air on the SyFy Channel. Recently SyFy has been moving back to actually showing science fiction rather than reality TV, a move I generally applaud. Still, Ghost Hunters is one of the only reality TV programs that I generally like.

Jason Hawes posted to his Facebook page on June 7 that, "With heavy heart we want to inform everyone that we are choosing at this time to end our relationship with SyFy channel. Season 11 will be the last season we will do "Ghost Hunters" with the Syfy Channel." He went on to say that although they are ending their impressive run on Syfy, there are new plans in the works for "Ghost Hunters." What that is exactly, the founder of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) isn't sharing just yet.

Fans of the show responded with over 6,000 comments so far to the post, expressing their disappointment and concern over the wildly popular series wrapping up after their eleventh season with the Syfy channel. Some fans have stated that although the team conducted some ground-breaking investigations, it may be time for a fresh start for the TAPS team. Others are wondering if "Ghost Hunters" and the TAPS team are planning on moving to another channel, but only time will tell.

"Ghost Hunters" premiered on October 6, 2004, to rave reviews and featured co-hosts Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Along with their TAPS team, the duo took viewers along on investigations to locations that were reported to be extremely haunted. Using the latest investigation techniques and devices, over the years the "Ghost Hunters" team often captured compelling and startling evidence in support of paranormal activity at several of the locations that they investigated.

Ghost Hunters raised the bar for paranormal investigation shows in a couple of key ways. First off, they did look for normal explanations for allegedly paranormal phenomena before deciding a location was haunted. Also, they did away with the bogus practice of working with psychics that dominated preceding paranormal shows. The psychics would often produce lurid narratives, but never anything that could be checked or verified.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Elemental Work - Water

This article is Part Two of a series. Part One can be found here.

This article is the second in my Elemental Work series, covering the element of Water. The basic symbol set of the Western Magical Tradition consists of the elements, planets, and signs of the zodiac, and realistically an effective magician should be familiar with how to work with all of them. These basic conjuration rituals for each of the classical elements will be my "Magick Monday" posts for the next couple of weeks.

If you've already read through my Earth post, you will probably find parts of this one repetitive. That's intentional, as I want each of these posts to be able to stand on its own without reference to the others. Incidentally, this has been one of the biggest challenges for me with respect to my Enochian books. I want each book to stand on its own, but at the same time I want to make sure that I re-hash as little as I can get away with.

So why Water? The traditional order used in the Golden Dawn system when working the elements is Earth - Air - Water - Fire, inverting the elemental formula of YHVH. However, a number of practitioners have noted that when working through the series, the transition from Air to Water is especially difficult. When my magical working group did our first elemental series, we used that order and ran into the same problem. Earth and Air were smooth, but people started having all sorts of problems as soon as we hit Water.

When we decided to do a second series awhile later, we changed the order to Earth - Water - Air - Fire, going in density order rather than following the inverse YHVH formula. That one change seemed to fix the entire process, and it's quite logical if you think about it. If each element you work forms the foundation of the next, from a physical standpoint Air is a lousy foundation for Water. If this is reflected in the metaphysical realm, it suggests that the relative densities might be the source of the problem.

Based on that, we went ahead and adapted our rituals to use the Earth - Water - Air - Fire order rather than the inverse of YHVH. You'll even see it in our pathworking induction - it is the order in which the four layers of the aura are activated when preparing to manifest the body of light. If you use inverse YHVH and it works well for you, that's fine. You can work through Water after you work through Air, but if you want to use one of these rituals you will have to wait until next week.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sometimes a Monument is Just a Monument

It looks like the folks over at Vigilant Citizen have some competition for the title of the most paranoid website, or at least the dumbest. This video shows scenes from Milwaukee's Veteran's Park along with commentary claiming to explain the "occult symbolism" of the monument located there. Just like the folks crying "false flag!" every time some nut with a gun kills somebody, the people who are convinced that sinister occultism is hiding behind every bush really are a special kind of stupid.

I don't have a transcript of the video, which is from a site called "American Intelligence Report," but you can watch it for yourself. It's only four minutes long. The crux of the creator's argument seems to be that since the monument at Veteran's Park consists of three pylons, said pylons are therefore "obelisks" which are associated with "occultic symbolism." Just as a point, you can go ahead and say "occult symbolism" rather than bothering with the modifyer "occultic," because they mean the same thing.

So I guess in this guy's opinion, any monument that includes a section taller than it is wide incorporates an "obelisk." Fair enough, but what he seems to not realize is that just because a monument includes pillars or standing stone, it doesn't mean that occultists built it or that it is used for some ritual purpose. Most of the time it's a practical, aesthetic choice that has no real magical significance.

The video argues that the obelisk is "occultic" because it represents the phallus (which the narrator pronounces like "FAIL-ick") of Osiris or Nimrod. We'll ignore that there's no real mythology surrounding the phallus of Nimrod, but clearly this guy doesn't know his mythology that well. There is the Egyptian myth of Isis resurrecting Osiris and creating a magical phallus for him out of wood so that she could conceive their son Horus, so I'll assume that's the myth being referenced.

The narrator adds "or whatever you decide it might be," so clearly this shows where he's coming from. He totally wants these three pylons to be "obelisks" (even though they're shaped wrong for Egyptian obelisks) representing the phallus of Osiris (even though there are three, when normally one would be used if that is the intended symbolism).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Satanists Confront "Satanic Ritual Abuse"

These aren't real occultists, though I've heard that the unmasked guy in the middle there is a Scientologist

So what happens when you hold a conference for people who believe themselves to be victims of a Satanic conspiracy and the Satanists actually show up? And then, not only do these Satanists deny having anything to do with this alleged conspiracy, but they present solid scientific evidence supporting their contention that the real abusers are the therapists who made these folks believe in a Satanic conspiracy to begin with.

It sounds like the plot of a movie, a sort of anti-"God's Not Dead" that would point out how ridiculous and hypocritical the fundamentalists still pushing "Satanic Ritual Abuse" really are. But it's not anything like that - it really happened, thanks once more to the solid activist work of The Satanic Temple. There are therapists out there who either still believe this nonsense is real, or are cynically unwilling to give up the reliable income stream of treating people for something that doesn't exist with techniques that don't work and never have.

Who goes to an event like this?

Some people believe they have suffered abuse they cannot remember, have alternate personalities of which they are unaware, or have even committed crimes they cannot recall, all because of sadistic rituals inflicted on them as a form of mind control. Who do they think is responsible for this psychological abuse? The usual suspects include unnamed “cults,” the CIA, and an alleged conspiracy of organized criminal Satanists.

These techniques of mind control are believed to be so insidious that conference attendees were apparently forbidden from touching their faces, for fear that any subtle hand gesture could be a cue that triggers a victim’s subliminal programming.

And then actual Satanists showed up?

They did. Amidst all this paranoia, Satanists actually had infiltrated the conference, and they recently went public with the reason why. In a twist worthy of a bad M. Night Shyamalan film, the Satanists claim that they are the ones exposing a dangerous cabal and that it is the conference organizers who are abusing their patients.

Who are these Satanists?

The Grey Faction of The Satanic Temple (TST). TST are atheists, and they do not believe in the supernatural. But they insist that they are an actual religion because they are a community with a shared body of symbols, rituals, and ethics. The group’s first tenet is to “act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.”

The Grey Faction is a division of TST that seeks to raise awareness about medical professionals who continue to promote conspiracy theories about Satanism. The Grey Faction protested a similar conference in April.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thanks, Dan Brown!

I sometimes joke that if I ever were to sell over 80 million copies of a book, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Instead of juggling my lucrative IT career and my not-at-all-lucrative writing career, I'd instead have a whole new job that would involved taking care of an enormous pile of money.

That's harder than you might think at first - at least, if you really want to spend it wisely and make the most of your good fortune. Spending it all on dumb stuff is easy, but really making a difference is more of a challenge. And it sounds like novelist Dan Brown just succeeded at that.

Brown, who really did sell something like 81 million copies of The Da Vinci Code, recently made a large donation to Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, more commonly known as the Ritman Library. The donation will cover digitizing approximately 4,600 ancient esoteric books in order to make the text available online.

Novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) has donated € 300,000 to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica to digitize and preserve part of its priceless collection, including Hermetica, alchemy, mysticism, Rosicrucians and Kabbala.

Thanks to Brown’s donation, the public will be able to access the core collection of some 4,600 ancient books online in the near future. Brown is a great admirer of the library (widely known as The Ritman Library after its founder Joost R. Ritman) and visited on several occasions while writing his novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno.

“I consider it a great honor”, the world-famous author said, “to play a role in this important preservation initiative that will make these texts available to the public.” The Dutch Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds is also contributing to the digitization project, to the amount of € 15,000.

The comprehensive digitization project will be carried out by Picturae, a company specializing in making Dutch cultural heritage digitally accessible. It is expected that the core collection of The Ritman Library will become available online in the spring of 2017.

Whatever you think of Brown's novels, this is an awesome development. The library's collection contains all sorts of material of interest to ceremonial magicians, including Hermetic, Alchemical, and Rosicrucian works that have never before been available on the Internet. So here's a very big "thank you" to Dan Brown for making this effort possible.

I'm really looking forward to being able to access so much ancient source material relevant to my own magical practices and research when the collection goes online next year.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

BREAKING: Zuckerberg Not a Lizard

That's totally not him on the right there

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally addressed the question that everyone is asking. By "everyone," of course, I mean conspiracy theorists and fans of David Icke and Infowars. In a recent Facebook Q&A, Zuckerberg flat-out denied that he is secretly a giant alien lizard dressed in a Mark Zuckerberg costume.

There have long been conspiracy theorists who believe that the world’s most powerful people are actually lizards disguised in giant human-shaped costumes.

David Icke, the British conspiracy theorist, is perhaps the most famous person who contends that almost all powerful people are actually shape-shifting reptilian humanoids. But Zuckerberg insists that he isn’t one of them.

“Mark, are the allegations true that you’re secretly a lizard? Um... I’m gonna, I’m gonna have to go with ‘no’ on that. I am not a lizard,” Zuckerberg said seeming oddly nervous.

“But keep the high quality comments coming in please, this is surely on track to be a great Live Q&A if we continue getting stuff at that level of quality,” Zuckerberg continued sarcastically.

The weirdest part is that the questions seemed to be pre-screened, at least in part. It almost seems like Zuck wanted to address the issue.

But see, that's exactly what a secret lizard person would do, right? Deliberately address the question and issue a pointed denial! So I suppose that matter has not been put to rest after all. At least, that's what I imagine "everyone" will be saying now.

Seriously, though, this idea that members of the global elite are lizards or occultists or space aliens or whatever is just plain silly. It's as if conspiracy theorists can't fathom the idea that they could be regular people just like everybody else. Which, by the way, they are - it's just that having unlimited resources gives them a very different perspective on the world than the one the rest of us share.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Liber Spirituum Now Available for Pre-Order!

Cross-posted from my author web site.

I am happy to announce that Liber Spirituum, a new anthology that includes my article "Evoking Zodiacal Angels" is now available for pre-order. If you've ever looked over the planetary conjuration work and wondered how you might apply those same methods to the angels of the zodiac, my article explains how to do just that in a fairly comprehensive fashion.

In addition to my article, the anthology also includes essays by a number of other well-known authors in the ceremonial magick field:
  • "Introduction ∙ Opening a Book of Spirits" by Adam P. Forrest
  • "The Place of Mingled Powers: Spiritual Beings in the Magical Lodge" by John Michael Greer
  • "Patrons and House Gods: Building Lifelong Relationships with Your Spiritual Guardians" by Aaron Leitch
  • "The Evocation of Metatron: A Golden Dawn Z-2 Ritual" by Charles Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero
  • "The Prayer for Success" by Jake Stratton-Kent
  • "Lay Thy Tongue Upon My Heart: Forty Days of Ritual Communion Between a Pagan Adept and the Archangel Raphael Tipherethel" by M. Isidora Forrest
  • "Substance Through Spirit: A Reflection on Magical Evocation and Talisman Construction" by Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)
  • "Kalein tous Theous: Divine Invocation in the Late Neoplatonic Tradition" by Jeffrey S. Kupperman
  • "Evoking Zodiacal Angels" by Scott Michael Stenwick
The hardbound edition is limited to 500 copies. Printed in two colors throughout, with 2-color illustrations, bound in faux leather silk-touch cloth. Foil stamp on both the front and back boards, with a full color frontispiece by acclaimed artist Caniglia. The deluxe leatherbound edition is limited to 32 copies, with satin ribbon sewn-in marker, custom endpapers, and housed in a handmade tray case.