Monday, October 12, 2009

Political Magick in Australia?

Are dark magicians at work influencing the Federal Parliament of Australia? Pastor Daniel Nalliah thinks so, and is organizing what he calls a "prayer offensive" to combat these unnamed sorcerers. That is, he's casting a counterspell - as I've mentioned numerous times on this blog, any prayer directed toward a specific goal is exactly the same thing as casting a magical spell. What evidence does Nalliah have? Why, the discovery of a "black mass altar!"

The discovery of a "black mass altar" at Mount Ainslie in Canberra by a group of school students had inspired him to organise a prayer gathering at the area on Saturday.

"The type of altar discovered on Mount Ainslie pointed to a black mass and the work of dark forces wanting to cast spells on Australia and federal parliament," Mr Nalliah said.

"These days people don't think the devil is real but we have seen the bad effects of the spiritual being known as Satan and we believe there is a spiritual fight over the nation of Australia being fought in the heavens."

Asked what evidence of Satan there was in parliament, Mr Nalliah said: "The number of politicians who have serious marriage problems."

I would be interested to see what the divorce rate is for politicians compared to the general population in Australia. Something like half of all marriages end in divorce and I suspect being married to a politician is especially stressful, so I'm guessing that the rate would have to become pretty outrageous before it crossed into paranormal territory. I also find it pretty amusing how Nalliah leaps from the discovery of an altar to the apparently obvious conclusion (to him) that it was being used to cast spells on Parliament. Actually, the most popular spells tend to be for love, money, or revenge rather than the passage of some particular bill or referendum, so my guess is that if this altar was in fact set up by a working magician and not a bunch of kids fooling around those are the most likely spells that would have been cast.

This whole altar incident brings to mind a story I heard years ago. Back in the mid-1990's I did some work with a small magical group here in the Twin Cities for about a year or so. One of the members had a pretty remarkable imagination, to the point where just about any story he told had to be taken with a grain (or maybe a bucket) of salt. He once told me a story about being out in one of the parks down by the Mississippi River after dark and coming upon a "Satanic Altar." He destroyed the altar by smashing it to bits, but as he did so a black hand reached up out of the altar and tried to grab him. He got away from the apparition, but not before it managed to grab his hand. He then proceeded to show off a cut on his hand as "proof" that he had been attacked by a Satanic entity.

While I've seen enough weird things over the years that I've been practicing magick to know that such a story is not absolutely impossible, there are a number of factors that make me doubt its veracity. One of the current members of my magical working group was there that night, and he tells me that while he felt some sort of hostile presence, he did not see any apparitions or other measurable paranormal activity and the whole incident with the altar supposedly happened while the person who claimed to have experienced it was off in the woods by himself. Furthermore, since many of the pagan groups in town do public rituals in that particular park, the altar was much more likely to have been put there by a pagan than by a Satanist. Finally, the "black hand" is pretty over-the-top and I've never seen anything quite like it when working a ritual.

My guess is that what really happened is that for some reason the atmosphere in the park felt weird that night. It might have been a spiritual presence, but it also might not even have been paranormal - high-tension power lines run through the park and if the load was high that night the electromagnetic field might have been perceptible. My friend probably did find some sort of altar, freaked out, smashed it, and in the process cut his hand - he said that he destroyed the altar by smashing it with a walking stick, which would make a hand injury well within the realm of possibility. Maybe he even saw a shadow that looked like a hand and then put the whole thing together into a gripping yarn. I'm serious, in the old days this guy would have probably been a bard or something. He really could tell a good story.

So where am I going with this? Well, one of the things that I think magicians need to cultivate is a skeptical attitude toward claims of this sort. It's counter-productive to dismiss them out of hand like the hardcore skeptics do, but at the same time blindly accepting them as true is also problematic. Daniel Nalliah has clearly not learned his lesson here - he jumps from a fact (an altar was found) to an essentially unrelated conclusion (spells are being cast on Parliament). This the same logical fallacy that Scott Adams epitomized in one of his Dilbert books as "My car won't start. I'm certain that the spark plugs have been stolen by rogue clowns." I mean, it's possible, but is it likely?

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4 comments:

Sator said...

I know you follow this kind of news; its about a man that claim to be shaman. He introduce himself with womans and said they have a curse and he can help them. So; he use to took them to an hotel and ask them to have relations with him if they want to get rid of the curse. It seems that he made this for years, but right know he is facing charges for rape.
Sorry but the article is in spanish.

http://www.elnorte.com/seguridad/articulo/520/1039742/

Sator said...

http://www.elnorte.com/seguridad/articulo/520/1039742/
Sorry I miss a number

Ananael Qaa said...

Well, this story shows that it's not just magicians who need to develop their critical thinking skills. Such skills are useful for everyone.

And as I've said before, people who exploit magick and spirituality in order to con others into providing money, sex, or whatever make me glad that there's a skeptic movement, even though I find many of the folks involved in it to be closed-minded and sometimes outright obnoxious. Frauds need to be called out, especially when they're hurting others.

ChandraNova said...

The whole Catholic Church/abuse scandal is proof it goes on on every single side...

I guess people will be people, no matter who they say their invisible friends are!

"So where am I going with this? Well, one of the things that I think magicians need to cultivate is a skeptical attitude toward claims of this sort."

I do agree. I was on a (very well run and reputable) shamanic training once, and a woman there was clearly CHANTING a name during one of the workings, and afterwards people were acting like they'd mystically heard it in the air - no, it was the blonde broad in the brown suit over by the door!

I'm glad I'm no longer the only skeptic I know who has, y'know, spirits and stuff - I royally piss mine off very often, it would be funny except I'm really just being a bit of an idiot....