Thursday, May 5, 2011

Worst. Ritual. Ever.

Salem, Massachusetts is an odd place. The town is famous because a bunch of innocent people were mistaken for witches and executed there in 1692. So its fame derives from the killing of fake witches, not the presence of real ones. If you were looking for a town in which you might find the genuine article based solely on history, Salem wouldn't be it. Despite this, the city has transformed itself into perhaps the largest witchcraft-themed tourist trap on the entire planet over the last several decades.

Judging from the recent events surrounding the hexing of Charlie Sheen, it's clear to me that despite the executions all those years ago plenty of the town's fake witches never left. In fact, they appear to have founded their own fake tradition, in which effective spell-casting takes a back seat to looking spooky, wandering around in Renaissance Festival attire, and dredging up all the free tabloid press coverage and tourist dollars they can muster.


According to serial eyeliner abuser Christian Day's updated website he is now the world's most famous warlock. I suppose that could be true, seeing as Charlie Sheen now admits he was only joking around, Julian Sands played a fictional character, and the other six people in the world besides Day who call themselves warlocks have never been mentioned on TMZ. Fame has little to do with competence, however, and the fact is that the "binding spell" on Charlie Sheen that brought Day his fame is one of the worst rituals I've ever seen in my life - and trust me, I've been around long enough to have attended some that were pretty bad. The thing is, nobody involved thought any of those rituals were awesome enough that they needed to be posted on YouTube for the whole world to see. Let's take a look at Day's masterpiece and bask in its awfulness.



0:40 - Lorelei gets some points for wearing red rather than the otherwise ubiquitous black of her and Day's gothy hangers-on and for apparently having a really cool athame, unless those jewels in the hilt are plastic. Red is attributed to Mars and is just as appropriate for a curse as is black. But she loses those points almost immediately when she casts the circle incorrectly. In witchcraft the circle is a protective barrier that encloses the place of working and needs to be cast around everyone present. Lorelei, however, just casts it around the altar and main operators, leaving most of the people present outside it. Bad form. One of my friends noted that her outfit is pink rather than red and just looks darker because of the lighting, so that would in fact make it inappropriate for a ritual such as this. Maybe that makes the overall score for this section negative.

1:14 - When calling the four archangels the directions for Gabriel and Raphael are swapped, replacing the order used in both Wicca and ceremonial magick with one adapted from a Kate Bush song. Are these people for real? Either this is another stupid mistake or the Salem witches practice a style of witchcraft I've never encountered. To my knowledge there is no legitimate tradition that has ever led off with Gabriel in the east. And no, this isn't the order used in the traditional Jewish prayer either, which is said as follows:

May Michael be at my right, Gabriel at my left, Uriel in front of me, Raphael behind me, and above my head, the Shekhina—the Divine Presence.

2:10 - Day now uses his skull named Robert (!) to call upon the dead. He gets points for wearing a really cool cloak but loses them for, as usual, wearing too much eyeliner. As far as the skull being named Robert, I don't know enough to make a determination. If the skull actually belonged to, say, one of his ancestors who was named Robert, from a necromantic standpoint that would be pretty effing cool. But I'm guessing that's not the case, which makes it rather sad.

Now, in most traditions in which the spirits of the dead are called upon an offering should be made at this point, a step that is conspicuously absent. When I stated at the beginning that Lorelei cast the circle incorrectly maybe I was wrong. Perhaps the gothy hangers-on outside it were left there as an offering, so that the spirits of the dead would have the opportunity to nibble on a bunch of angst-ridden souls as payment for their presence and help. Is this the sort of thing Moloch was talking about when railed against magicians taking up necromancy as some kind of fad? Looks like it to me!

3:00 - Day whips out his Anubis-head rattle and shakes it vigorously at about 3:30 once the other operators have made various statements related to the goal of the ritual. I guess this is supposed to pass for raising power. While in his media statements Day claimed that his and Lorelei's group was trying to "help" Charlie Sheen, Anubis is the psychopomp and this gesture along with all the black in the room is really most appropriate to "works of malediction and death." One wonders if that's the real psychic intent going on here with more positive language being substituted for the cameras. Either that or the rattle the only tool like it Day owns because his big tourist event is the Festival of the Dead, for which Anubis is legitimately the most appropriate Egyptian deity.

4:15 - Lorelei finally binds Charlie Sheen, using a spell she seems to have picked up from the film The Craft. What is it with this group and pop culture? They know that spells from songs and movies aren't real, right? I mean, I know that Fairuza Balk is a practicing Wiccan and served as a sort of unpaid ritual consultant so the spells aren't quite as bad as usual in The Craft, but still.

Note that this "binding" is cast using the name Charlie Sheen, which is a stage name. Sheen's real name is Carlos Estevez, which is the name one would need to use to make a binding spell like this work properly. The intent of the rite preceding the final binding is also rather muddled, with several people speaking at once punctuated by intermittent choruses of "so mote it be!" If you want a spell like this to have an effect you need to have your whole group on the same page and make a single, concise statement that covers all your bases rather than having each operator make up their own on the spot.

4:55 - The ritual is over and the circle is closed. That took what, five minutes? Some spell. I know, short spells can sometimes work well, and making an incoherent mess like this longer wouldn't have helped it any. The only good thing I can say about it is that I'm glad it was over quickly.

Unsurprising to real magical practitioners, the only effect the spell might have had is to ruin Sheen's first show in Detroit. His next performance in Chicago went much better, but as he reworked the show between performances it's hard to say whether or not this is simply a case of a veteran actor adapting his presentation to his audience. I'm guessing the first show was just bad, and that this ritual most certainly had nothing to do with the reviews. Sheen's still here and still famous, while Day is left complaining about being defamed by a stupid stoner comedy that nobody wants to see. Where the two of them go from here remains to be seen, but the trends are already not looking so good for Salem's would-be warlock.

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39 comments:

PhoenixAngel said...

I am absolutely dumbfounded...

JustWyrdJamie said...

Wow . . . Also, I like that you back up your opinions with legitimate facts and historical references.

Cameron O Johnson said...

A reasoned, insightful, and well thought critique regarding the craft of a circle of addle pated mendicants. I laughed out loud, and yet it's all too true. Thanks Mr. Stenwick. You made my evening read an educational entertainment.

V.V.F. said...

For some reason I lost it once you started talking about the skull. Comedy gold.

I hadn't even thought about how they didn't use his birth name. Probably because it's never entered my head to do something so pointless and stupid as to curse a celebrity.

Jack Faust said...

It seems Mr. Day is a member of the Google Tradition of Witchcraft, but he appears to only be a Neophyte. Otherwise he'd have known to check Wikipedia for Sheen's real name...

Rob said...

Actually I'd argue that Sheen is the better name to use for the binding. Carlos Estevez is no more his name, spiritually speaking, than Charlie Sheen is. Names like this are largely a construct, and what Sheen's name actually is is based on human law, not some spiritual process.

A name is really only as powerful as people make it. Most importantly is if Sheen's adopted the name and allowed it to have some power over him, allowed the name to become his persona. A secondary consideration is how much others identify Sheen with his name.

Charlie Sheen is not just some pen name or internet handle that Sheen thought up of one night and will quickly toss away. For like three decades now it's been the name he's adopted for himself and used as his public persona. If there's any name that Sheen sees as identifying himself, I think that name is Charlie Sheen, despite what his birth certificate may say.

In fact I'd say that the name Carlos Estevez would have even less power over Sheen than his stage name. Estevez was the name that Sheen was willing to cast aside. Sheen meanwhile is the name he adopted and the name he now identifies himself as publicly. I'd bet anything that Sheen is the name that Sheen has allowed to have power over him, not Estevez.

Methos said...

I think that Christian Day gets his skulls through tis Tibetan thing, where people will their skulls to be used for ritualistic purposes (though one would think they'd prefer Tibetan Buddhist rituals). I could be wrong on this.

This was a very strange ritual. I'm led to believe that Lori Bruno does know her stuff, and I don't know why she would have done things this way. She is 'Strega'. Perhaps she switches the directions for a logical reasoning.

The binding words could work okay, if the focus, and intent was there. Using the stage name could be appropriate since its 'on the stage' that he used the term Warlock, but as for keeping him from doing harm to himself, his real name would be more appropriate (the spirits know who they are talking about, so unsure how much it matters. It's not as if they have his true name).

Overall, its a total screwy ritual. Nobody there seemed to have any focus.

Robert said...

Hey, the most famous skull in America, after whatever they keep in the Skull and Bones Society is named after me! Woot. I am famous too.

P.S. Great post.

Ananael Qaa said...

@Rob: Personally I would go with the birth name if I wanted my spell to affect the person behind the persona. To be fair to the Salem folks, they did use a photo so there's a link, but the lack of focus likely rendered it useless.

@Methos: I don't know much about the Strega tradition so I suppose it's possible they call the archangels like that. All I know is that the only reference I could find in which the order goes like that is in the Kate Bush song. The thing is, "Auriel" is an angel name that was concocted by the Golden Dawn, so if this is a pre-GD technique they would be saying "Uriel" instead.

About the only thing that I can think of that might explain how these folks could know what they're doing and still put on a ritual this bad is that what they posted isn't the real ritual. Like, say, if what they really cast was a death curse but they knew that would get really bad press. But then why release this? Is it part of their media strategy to present themselves as inept douchebags?

M.C. said...

Scott Salem is unlike anything you've ever seen; I live here in Mass about an hours drive from there, and was invited by a "Goetia Group" there to come participate in one of their ceremonies and I have to say it may have rivaled the one of which you're speaking here. Same cheesy makeup and pseudo-goth apparel, demon masks which clearly had been found at a post-halloween sale, the whole clownish package.

Rob said...

@Robert: Obviously the skull was named after me (for I am awesome), you just had the good fortune of sharing my name. Stop riding my coattails, damn it! It's unbecoming.

@Ananael Qaa - Apparently I no write good when I'm tired. Personally if I wanted to use Sheen's name to have power over him, I'd go with Sheen. Needless to say though the ritual was crap and I think it's only coincidental that they chose the name I would've went with.

@M.C. - Since I've been on the Internet I've noticed that almost every magician I've talked to thinks they live in some atypical place where these types of silly rituals are common. It's not just an American thing either. I've talked to people from all over the world, and everyone seems to have the same stories.

V.V.F. said...

If you wanted to affect his career specifically, then using his stage name would be perfect. But if you're trying to affect him deeply on a psychological level and get him to "open his eyes, mumble mumble, craft of the wise," then I would definitely use his birth name.

Ananael Qaa said...

@Rob: No worries, I got from your first comment that you thought the ritual was crap.

@V.V.F: That's how I would probably use the names as well. Sheen could be the most appropriate if your goal is to limit his public persona and statements.

@M.C.: I'm with Rob on this one, I think bad rituals are done everywhere. That's why it can be really tough to find a competent group to work with. I will say, though, that in the Twin Cities the whole "clown shoes" aspect of those rituals sounds more toned down than what you describe from Salem.

pomomagic said...

Isn't the skull in the Harry Dresden novels named Bob? Could this just be a very, very elaborate joke?

Ananael Qaa said...

@pomomagic: Somebody on Facebook mentioned that too. I'm not familiar with those novels, but it would be par for the course with these folks.

Oh, this ritual is a joke all right. The question is whether or not it's an intentional one. I'd like to think nobody could possibly be this stupid or clueless, but then ever since this whole Charlie Sheen fiasco the statements coming out of Salem haven't inspired much confidence in that regard.

christianday said...

Actually, Lori does this intentionally. I asked her why, and she explained that her father, a longtime occultist himself who raised Lori (now 71) in such things, said that they were a blind and that it should be obvious that Gabriel is air because he blows the horn and that Raphael holds the fish, so therefore is water. Mind you, I am not a ceremonialist, so I cannot verify the depth of history behind her practices but I've known her to do them as long as I've known her. I guess it's easier to critique from a place of ignorance than to actually ask someone why they do something a certain way.

Again, I'm really grateful that your publisher took the time to read my entire book and loved it. It amuses me how many people couldn't understand the use of a skull in ritual, and it was even more entertaining to hear those Wiccans who said that it must be their "catholic upbringing" that makes them squeamish about the skull. I guess they've never seen those chapels of bones in Eastern Europe, or the Catacombs of Paris, or the various depictions of both Mary Magdalene and St. Francis of Assisi holding the skull, or heard that every Catholic altar is built on the relic (bone fragment) of a Saint. Yeah, what did those Catholics know about skulls? ;-D

And whatever you think of my eyeliner, my makeup probably costs more than your entire wardrobe. It's all MAC, like my computer.

This is the third post of yours I've read about me. I'm glad I could take up so much of your time. :)

christianday said...

As for Robert, I inherited him from my departed best friend and business partner, Shawn Poirier, by far the best medium I've ever known and, in this town, I've met many. Shawn bought Robert on Ebay in 2003 and insisted that "he says his name is Robert." I teased him about it since I was rather skeptical but I also knew Shawn to be very talented in such things so I didn't push the issue.

Recently, I was accused of naming him after some TV show that had a skull named Robert and didn't air until 2007. More idiots who find it easier to comment than to do their research, like those who might have known that perhaps Kate Bush's song was on to something, because Lori Bruno has been doing it that way for 50 years and Laurie Cabot, who also calls Raphael in the west, got it from Lori.

As for Robert, when I went on Ghost Adventures, their Ghost Box called out the name Robert and all of us thought it sounded pretty clear. Shawn was right after all. I might have known.

What boggles my mind is that you're still talking about all this weeks and weeks after this dropped out of the news cycle. I just love that I can inspire you. I wish I could say the same about you, but all this prattle has done is made me want to talk about me more. :)

cheers,

Christian

Ananael Qaa said...

@Christian: Good to hear from you. I was kind of figuring my traffic was way too low to attract your attention, but I guess not.

As far as "blinds" go, in the modern era they're bullshit, plain and simple. Lori's father invented this. He calls it a "blind" to disguise the fact that he made it up. You can read more on that here. Frankly, there are a whole lot of reasons why swapping the archangels around like that is just dumb and no other ceremonialists do it.

As far as the use of the skull, I'm not squeamish about it at all. Notice that I made no mocking comments about your method of calling on the spirits of the dead - it was short, succinct, and actually well-done, just about the only part of the ritual that struck me as decent. The only thing missing was some sort of offering, which is standard in votive traditions where the spirits of ancestors are called.

As far as inspiring us to write about you, I'm glad to hear that it's a win/win - you get the publicity and we get the LOLs. Lots of LOLs.

Frater.Barrabbas said...

@Christian - as an initiated Alexandrian witch, elder and lineage holder, not to mention, a long time practitioner of ritual magick, I have examined the video of you and your group putting a curse on Charlie Sheen. I have to say, what a silly performance!

First off, I have seldom seen a more puerile performance of magick, whether associated with the craft or even paganism, in all my decades of practice. People aren't talking about you, they are pointing fingers and laughing hysterically at you.

You really need some training and instruction about how to even work magick. Your group seems completely unable to cast a proper magick circle, and yet you boast about how much money you spend on your eye makeup? How about spending some money on books? Go find a real coven of witches and get some training and a qualified initiation. It is also doubtful that even the secretive tradition of Strega can come to the rescue in explaining the absurdities of your practices and beliefs.

As for the skull, if it was purchased on Ebay, it was likely from India, since trafficking in body parts, and that includes bones, skull, skeletons,is illegal in this country. So the actual owner of the skull likely had an Indian name. How about Rajif Patel?

By putting out on the web such a ridiculous ritual performance, how could anyone take witches or witchcraft seriously? You have done the rest of us a terrible disservice.

My only hope is that time and maturity may conspire to make you into a real and effective witch, until then, (sadly) stumble on. You seem to love the notoriety of being a complete fool.

Frater Barrabbas

christianday said...

Ananael Qaa: I've never met Lori's father but I don't know that he made it up. I've never gone for the blind theory of reversing the wand and dagger that folks like the Alexandrians and Gardnerians do, but this one made more sense to me. Either way, he was fired the day after my ritual so. for me, I'm happy with it. I don't care whether people like my rituals. I care that they work.

christianday said...

Frater.Barrabbas: first off, for someone pretentious enough to use a name like that to criticize anything I do is endlessly amusing. Lineage means absolutely zilch to me and is merely a way for the spiritually impoverished to find a way to complete steps A through Z so they can feel wanted in the world. True magic is far more stratifying than this and the fact that I got what I wanted justifies what I did to get it. I can justify every component of what I did. The "circle" was for the benefit of my friends who were there with me. I don't need or use one in my personal magic and if you really think that's necessary then more power to you. I have an entire room full of books but that means nothing if you don't have the power to think outside their constraints.

For someone to be this degrading, you should have every duck in a row but you do not. To show the audience how uninformed you are, owning skulls is absolutely legal under federal law and Robert was purchased at BoneRoom.com, which has a shop in Berkeley, California. Skulls are also sold at Necromance on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles and, eventually, will be sold at HEX in Salem once I find out what the specific laws in Massachusetts are. There is an FAQ on the Bone Room site that explains this. Given how famous Robert is, now, I'm sure if I were breaking any laws, someone would have busted down my door just as if I were smoking a joint on national TV. Moreover, Robert is almost certainly not from India. I had friend of mine in his masters program in Anthropology and studies bones and skulls examined Robert and determined that he's not only male, but caucasian as well.

And don't even get me going on Alexandrianism, other than to say beep beep doot toot. If his silly rip-off of Gardner's work wasn't bad enough, and his stories about sex with his grandmother in a number of sources (including June Johns' King of the Witches) wasn't enough, his later theories on aliens left me with more chuckles from me alone than anything all of you could target collectively at my work. Frankly, I almost stopped reading your post at "Alexandrian." You might as well have said you live in a homeless shelter. :)

Rebel_Orange said...

Hey all -

A few thoughts. First, Robert is a legitimate human skull. He was estimated to be male based on cranial morphology (size and shape of glabella, mastoids, nuchal crest, supraoribal ridges and overall robusticity, size and shape). He is estimated to have been middle-aged at death based on dental health, dental wear, cranial synostosis (which placed him around 37 years of age) and overall bone thickness. That ends my comments as an instructor of biological anthropology and published anthropologist with an MA degree in completion. As an aside, ownership of skeletal remains varies by state law and is legal in most states. Additionally, clergy can transport and own remains in some circumstances which also extends Christian's right to own Robert.

As for the other issues presented here: First, this is all a discussion about the illegitimacy of the ritual which is pointless. Whether it is "traditional" or not, it worked. If shaking an Anubis rattle, wearing pink and switching angels around works for Lori, Christian and Lorelei then you should end the issue there.

Christian has very little need for titles or degrees. He was trained to the point that he began to explore, experiment and make the magic happen.

He has only a few principles which include: results are what counts, your character and success in life reflect your magical tact and finally your word is your magic so be honest and blunt.

Whatever else you might say, you can't deny that the spell worked and given that you should drop the bullshit about tradition. Given that none of your traditions are nearly as old as judaism or islam and we see how well they've served the world, one shouldn't put stock on tradition as the answer.

Ananael Qaa said...

@Christian: Trust me, I'm much more concerned about whether or not something works than its lineage or tradition. I've written extensively from that perspective. And as I said on the other thread, I suppose you can call this a success if your goal was to change one word in Charlie Sheen's vocabulary. Nonetheless, I have a hard time believing this ritual had much to do with it.

@Rebel: On the off chance you're not one of these, I'll pose the question to you also. If we start with the assumption that this group has real magical power, how sad is it that all they can think of to do with it is harass a celebrity? Pretty darn sad, if you ask me, but what's your take?

christianday said...

Ananael: Did I not just explain my whole motivation, or did you just not read what I wrote? This ritual worked in many, many ways. The declared intent of it was only the tip of the iceberg, but even that worked. But whether any ritual is successful is up to any interpretation. I could take every successful ritual anyone has ever done and find some other potential cause for the success. I mean, now we're getting into the nature of magic itself and how provable it all is. If your rituals are so easily provable, maybe you should go collect the million dollars from James Randi's paranormal challenge (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html). Debating whether my ritual was responsible for changes in Mr. Sheen's life is as ludicrous as debating the connection of any ritual to its end conclusion. It requires a certain amount of faith on the part of the person performing the ritual. I would my faith in Lori's magic before I would ever put it in yours. I've personally witnesses incredible connections between her words and the results they bring, but, again, it's all up to what you believe. You're not impressed with me. I'm not impressed with you? Who's right? We both are. We're all in the business of opinion. I capitalized on Charlie Sheen's celebrity to get my opinion out there. You capitalized on my celebrity to get your opinion out there. At the end of the day, you're going to do what you want to do and I'm going to do what I want to do and, as I said, I don't care how many people point and snicker with one hand so long as there's a buck in the other and believe me, in that regard, my magic definitely works. Most of these ceremonial magician types are what my dearly departed Shawn used to call "armchair sorcerers." Sure, they know every nuance of every detail of every ancient ritual, often in the original languages they were written in, but few of them can actually make the shit work. They're all wrapped up in the structure and the spelling. Well, spelling to me isn't about the correct formation of letters. It's about rusty coffin nails, razor blades, and deadly nightshade. I fill the Hawthorne Hotel ballroom to capacity for my annual Witches' Ball at $150 a head, which people pay merely for the privilege of standing next to me and having a drink. My two shops are the most successful in Salem and probably the world. People can certainly point to me from their trailer parks and tell me how my magic doesn't work, but as Liberace, whose piano playing was critiqued ad nauseum, said, "I'm laughing all the way to the bank."

Kisses. :)

Christian

christianday said...

Johnny/Rebel: this isn't even fun. I could see if I actually wrote something and these dolts would read the answer and get it, but it's like they're so blinded by the effects of whatever social island of misfit toys they live on that they can't even understand the point. I might as well be speaking Chinese.

Ching chong fong wong. That's Chinese for publicity stunt. Oy.

Rebel_Orange said...

My thoughts remain the same: They are sad, envious failed magicians who can't even whip up enough attention on their own blogs to raise the funds to get them out of A. Their Mother's Basements or B. The Trailer Parks they loiter in daily.

One look at Augoeides pictures and it is clear he's trying to emulate you - whether consciously or not.

Ultimately, success, happiness, health and results win the war. They don't and WON'T get it but then again...they are ceremonialists....

christianday said...

Rebel_Orange wrote: "One look at Augoeides pictures and it is clear he's trying to emulate you - whether consciously or not."

What?!??!?! What about THAT reminds you of ME?!?!?! Ok, I'm a little plump here and there but that's just not fair! :-D

Ananael Qaa said...

@Christian: Sure, I read what you wrote. The thing is, aside from the direct effects on Sheen everything else you mentioned had to do with how the ritual was promoted, which as I see it is on the mundane side of the equation. The purpose of writing these articles was never to critique your abilities in the advertising and marketing realm - clearly you're good enough at it to break through the media blackout that usually surrounds anything pagan or alternative, and to effectively promote events.

Mundane steps are an important part of ritual preparation because they make your goal easier to achieve with a smaller probability shift, but note the tagline at the top of the page - spiritual technology. My critique is directed at the technical aspects of what you put forth as the spell you cast, and to point out to anyone who might be wondering that no, this is not something they should be emulating if they ever want to be good at casting spells.

And just as a point, these articles were never about "capitalizing on your celebrity" as though they were part of some sophisticated marketing strategy. I just found the whole situation funny, so I wrote about it. That's it.

Rebel_Orange said...

Really? You weren't trying to capitalize? Ok. We'll let that one pass.

You can't compare magical technique like a recipe book, that takes all the fire, passion and Ase out of the work and kills it.

Magic dies and left in its place is a cookbook that anyone can supposedly pick up and wield and yet we know that the cookbook approach doesn't work! 95% of people are NOT good spellcasters. It isn't an issue of technique - the work always reflects its maker and to pretend otherwise is ludicrous.

Most of the brilliant witches who are renown for the miracles that effervesce from them do things their own way. Their magic isn't replicable, it isn't logical and it isn't sane.

Think of how Lady Gaga performs: it isn't logical, it isn't sane. People critique it for its lack of convention and simply its humorous attempt to be serious music...

and yet, the awards, fans and singles keep coming, screaming and selling.

Stop shoving the cookbook down our throats. You do a disservice to your readership with such rubbish.

We all know that we don't do that magic, we are the magic. The gods are not something we summon up or believe in - they live inside of us and if we can't open up to let them out and channel them, we are nothing - whether we wear MAC eyeliner or run pathetic blogs where amateur magicians attempt to critique rituals that WORKED - whether they make sense according to Silver Ravenwolf's rules or not

christianday said...

Ok, John/Rebel, you have a officially out-bitched me. LOVED your response!

My friend Kate pointed out his silly impressions of the color black. Obviously, he understands nothing about the nature of the spectrum of light or how psychic ability works.

christianday said...

This one's another shout out to Frater Barrabas, Satanas, whatever his name is cursed be ...

He said: "How about spending some money on books?"

Oh, I have a room full of books I've spent money on and two successful shops full of even more of them. But some books I get for free, including a few I'm not really supposed to have:

BookofPlanets.pdf

BEEP BEEP DOOT TOOT!!!!!

I love the power of celebrity. Here's another way that my ritual "worked." I posted a link making fun of this blog on my Facebook and a hot, sexy fan emailed me that PDF. Me ... WINNING! Alexandrians ... well ... losing. :-D

christianday said...

‎"This book is restricted to persons whom have achieved 3rd degree status and are currently studying towards the 4th degree."

*snicker*

Maybe someone will send me some secret OTO stuff next. ;-D

Ananael Qaa said...

No, you're right. Magick is not a cookbook. However, when evaluating whether or not a specific piece of magical technology works, you need to evaluate it based on the intent.

So you do this ritual, and the result is that you and Salem and your shop get a ton of publicity. That's not a success. Nowhere in the ritual did you specify publicity as one of your goals. Obviously with how you promoted your ritual this was something you wanted, but still.

Just like the idea of karma (I did something good so an unrelated good thing happened to me later in the day) a successful ritual is not one in which you perform it and good things happen for you which are unrelated to the intent. A successful ritual is one in which the stated intent is accomplished as specified.

magickofthought said...

Hey Ananael, general ritual magick question from a non-ritual mage. You say that you should use the person's real name, not their stage name, in a ritual. Are names effective in general? I ask because I often do magick where I need to reference a person, and typically I make a connection to them first using their picture, their writing, etc, then I just tell the force driving the magick to use that connection. But I've never used a name to establish the initial connection. So I'm wondering if you use the media I use to make connections (pictures, writing, etc), and if you would ever explicitly make a connection then reference "the person I'm connected to" in the ritual. Thanks -Mike

Ananael Qaa said...

@Mike: You need to have some sort of magical link if you want to affect an external target. A name will work as a link, though it's even better to have something like a photograph or something the target was physically in contact with. Photos take advantage of the law of similarity and direct contact takes advantage of the law of contagion. Those are the two main magical "laws" that apply to targeting a magical link. A name is a similarity link, but not a particularly strong one by itself.

magickofthought said...

Cool. That matches my experience. I'm curious about the connection though. (In my style, a connection is a stable structure that energy can follow, you might call it something else but you probably have the same concept in your Qigong). Would you use connections in your ritual magick to refer to a person or spirit, or do you only use them for energy work, not rituals?

Ananael Qaa said...

You can use links like that for both rituals and energy work, but with energy work direct contact still works best. I have, for example, done energy-based healing work on someone who isn't present through the medium of a magical link. The thing is, the magical effect is usually going to degrade to some extent as it passes over a link and with direct contact you don't have that problem.

magickofthought said...

Yeah, I've noticed that too, that healing is easier to do in person than over a connection. Any thoughts on solving that, so you can heal just as effectively at distance?

Ananael Qaa said...

@Mike: My latest post is a longer explanation of how magical links work. Check it out and see if that answers your questions, and if not we can move this discussion over to that article's thread.