Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ipswich Accepted by Moonfire Publishing

Cross-posted from my author website.

It's been a while since I published my last fiction piece, but that's not because I haven't been writing any. Arcana, my first novel, was published by Pendraig back in late 2009. At the time, Pendraig was primarily an esoteric press, and my debut novel was their first fiction release. Arcana did what most indie novels do - it racked up some sales the first year it was released and then tapered off substantially.

Pendraig would go on to publish my Enochian series, but over the last couple of years the company made the decision to focus on esoteric titles rather than pursuing more fiction releases. As their esoteric titles are their best selling books, that probably is a good business decision for them. But it also meant that Ipswich, the second novel in my Guild series, was without a publisher. Fortunately, that has now changed. Ipswich was picked up by Moonfire Publishing, a new independent press here in Minnesota. The novel has been scheduled for a spring release if all goes according to plan.

Ipswich was shaped by some of the feedback I received from Arcana. The biggest problem with my debut novel is basically that people either loved or hated all of the technical magical exposition. All of that is in there by design, but treating urban fantasy more like hard science fiction was not what mainstream readers were used to, and resulted in a book that mostly appealed to folks already interested in esotercism. And the fact is, statistically speaking, there aren't very many of those. So the idea behind Ipswich was to write a novel that was less heavy on the technical magick side and structured more like other urban fantasy titles that are currently popular.

I suppose time will tell how popular Ipswich turns out to be, but so far my trial readers have agreed that it is more readable, more fun, and less technical than Arcana. It tells the story of Sara Winchester, a young heiress and newly empowered magician. With the help of the Guild, she explores her newfound powers and the mystery of her mother's untimely death. In her search for answers, she confronts a killer who can control the spirits of the dead and the machinations of a rival order seeking the Guild's destruction. It also introduces some of the alternate history of the Guild universe, in which the direct Winchester family line never died out and the Winchester corporation became one of the world's major multinationals.

I am currently in the process of working with an editor on the manuscript, but once it is released you'll be the first to know. Watch this space for future announcements.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Planetary Work - Mars

This article is Part Three in a series. Part One can found here, and Part Two can be found here.

Today I will be moving on to working with Mars, the next planet in sequence according to the Chaldean Order. Liber 777 associates Mars with "Works of Wrath and Vengeance." So Mars, like Saturn, rules over negative magical operations such as curses. Also like Saturn, Mars may be called upon for protection from such operations, as these sorts of curses represent the planet's sphere of influence.

Mars is referred to as the Lesser Malefic in astrology, and generally speaking, curses associated with Mars are less deadly than those associated with Saturn. The classic Saturn curse is a straighforward death spell, whereas Mars curses tend to be operations designed to cause pain and strife rather than outright destruction. Still, even if a Mars curse is not necessarily deadly, it can be quite detrimental.

For a complete protection spell, the best way to go is to perform operations for both Saturn and Mars. The Saturn operation protects against the bigger, more sweeping "death spell" type curses, while the Mars operation protects against the smaller, day-to-day curses that get in the way of living the kind of life that you want. These should be performed as two entirely separate operations, as multiple planets rarely combine well in a single rite without very careful design and calibration.

Even though Mars curses are in some way less serious than those attributed to Saturn, they also are more common. An intuitive psychic effect triggered by extreme anger generally falls under the Mars category, and these are the sorts of "curses" that are usually thrown about. Keep in mind, though, that magical attacks are still pretty rare overall, and before concluding that you are being afflicted by one, you need to explore every other possible cause for what you are experiencing.

To review, in Qabalah the planets correspond to the double letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are so named because they correspond to two specific sounds each, and this is reflected in the dual nature of the planets. On the Tree of Life, each planet corresponds to both a sephira or a path. Many magicians refer to the sephiroth as "spheres," and you may catch me doing that sometimes as well. It is, however, not a direct translation. The word actually means "emanations" - as in, emanations of divinity. But they are drawn as circles on most diagrams of the Tree of Life, and in addition, "sephira" and "sphere" sound very similar in English.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Satanist Versus Satanist

Last week Rooster put up an article on the growing feud between Anton LaVey's Church of Satan and the upstart, activist Satanic Temple led by Lucien Greaves. I always find it odd when disputes erupt between similar organizations over what seem to be small differences. The Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple are both examples of atheistic Satanism, and agree on most things besides, it would seem, style and media presence.

LaVey's version of the religion grew, and still exists. But whatever fun they used to have, it's dropped away. The Church doesn't have regular meetings or temples. And a reverend claims that even the infamous orgies are rare. In some ways, the Church of Satan is now disturbingly square. They do not "condone illegal activities," their website says. On that site, theis message comes across as preachy high school goths whose denim jacket said "future anarchist" but whose marching-band flute-playing and front-row seat in AP Algebra said "future sexually-frustrated tax attorney."

Although, just as a point, plenty of occultists like myself don't care much for going around breaking laws. If you have to do that to have a good time, it seems to me that you just lack imagination. But anyway...

But the Church of Satan laid the groundwork to make satanism semi-acceptable in modern society. And now they're understandably mad because the Temple, new and bold, has dropped them like a hot skull, dropped the incense and the rituals and the chants and all the other self-important mumbo-jumbo of the old Church. They're simply out there kicking ass, challenging kings and presidents and getting interviewed by Megyn Kelly.

As an outsider, it's easy to see both kinds of satanism as a joke or a sideshow. But that's a mistake. The Satanic Temple is a real challenge to Christians who want America to be a Christian-only nation. And that's a lot of Christians, including possibly our next Vice President. This is part of why the Satanic Temple continues to grow so quickly. They added thousands of members in the few hours after the election, Greaves said.

I will say that it seems strange to me to bother with complex rituals if you don't believe in anything paranormal. Magick is a technology, after all, and I think it is a profound mistake to treat it as some kind of fashion statement. On the other hand, you can be an atheist and still believe in the paranormal, so maybe that's the big difference - the Satanic Temple rejects paranormal technology and focuses on activism.

Still, you really can't say at this point that the Satanic Temple has not accomplished "change in conformity with will." Their many legal challenges have produced concrete results that stand against the the Poor Oppressed Christians who are desperate to write the privilege they fear losing into law. Plus, who doesn't love their Satanic coloring book? I mean, that was a big win right there.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Planetary Work - Jupiter

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

Today I will be moving on to working with Jupiter, the next planet in sequence according to the Chaldean Order. Liber 777 associates Jupiter with the "Power of Acquiring Political and Other Ascendancy." So Jupiter is the planet that you would work with for political operations. Also, because our modern society so closely associates money with status, Jupiter can be called upon for financial gain, and as such this article may be thought of as an updated version of this one.

The Sun can also be called upon for money, as it corresponds to the "Power of Acquiring Wealth." But there is a difference, at least in my experience. If you are wanting to get more money working a job as opposed to running your own business, Jupiter is more appropriate. And since that's how most people make their living, the money spell that I published ten years ago calls upon Jupiter. The Sun is more appropriate when you are working for yourself, such as running your own business, or to increase the value of investments and the like.

Jupiter is referred to as the Major Benefic in astrology, but just like Saturn, the Major Malefic, it has two sides. Since Jupiter rules over things like jobs and political offices, it can be called upon to make a political candidate lose or cause a person to be fired or demoted. A commenter on Facebook last week wondered if working with Jupiter might be associated with gaining weight (since the planet rules expansion in general), and while I suppose it could be used that way, I've never seen it just happen on its own as some sort of side effect.

To review, in Qabalah the planets correspond to the double letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are so named because they correspond to two specific sounds each, and this is reflected in the dual nature of the planets. On the Tree of Life, each planet corresponds to both a sephira or a path. Many magicians refer to the sephiroth as "spheres," and you may catch me doing that sometimes as well. It is, however, not a direct translation. The word actually means "emanations" - as in, emanations of divinity. But they are drawn as circles on most diagrams of the Tree of Life, and in addition, "sephira" and "sphere" sound very similar in English.

Friday, November 18, 2016

VICE on Love Spells

VICE has an article up today about love spells, or as they put it, "lonely dudes using magick to get laid." That's a crude way to put it, but it's often accurate. Among others, the author of the article interviewed the blogosphere's own Frater MC, who is currently working on a book on magical seduction.

I would like to think articles like this mean that magick is getting a higher profile in the media. I also appreciate that it includes an interview with a serious worker of magick, as opposed to some of the "media figures" out there whose main legacy seems to be turning magick into some sort of big joke at the expense of genuine practitioners.

Now, this isn't the type of magic outlined by pick-up artists or pulling a rabbit out of a hat so you can get into the pants of your hot neighbour. This is "magick," real men casting spells thinking that it will, honest-to-god, get them laid.

In case you were wondering, the spelling of magick with the "k" comes from occult OG Aleister Crowley and it's used to differentiate between stage magic and occult magick.

"Seduction is, of course, one of the main reasons people come to Magic, and from the days of the PGM [Greco-Roman Egypt magic] to modernity there have been more techniques developed for that purpose than any other, except maybe for attaining prosperity," magician and author Frater MC told VICE.

"People who come to Magick do so often out of desperation, necessity or great desire. They haven't been able to achieve their goals by any logical means so they become more and more willing to try something outside the box in hopes that it might work."

Frater MC is co-authoring a book focused on magickal seduction right now but says his certainly wouldn't be the first. Books, especially E-books, on the subject are littered all over Amazon and people's personal websites.

Until the recent activation of comment moderation, my own love spell article was a magnet for "testimonials" alleging the power of various spellcasters advertising the service, mostly from Africa. My new planetary work series that I am posting on Mondays will include an updated version of that ritual, at least once I get to Venus.

Frater MC is entirely correct about many people coming to magick out of a sense of desperation, which is really too bad. You should be using magick to set up your life the way you want it before anything ever comes to that, but I will grant based on my own experience that it can be hard to do. It actually takes more effort to keep up my practices when things are going well than it does when I have a problem that needs solving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Psychic Animals Called It

This Chinese monkey totally wants to make America great again.

Going into Tuesday's election, pretty much all the polls turned out to be wrong. In a surprise upset, Donald Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to win a majority of votes in the electoral college. The election was very close, with Hillary Clinton winning the nationwide popular vote.

The pollsters may have been wrong, but one demographic saw it coming - psychic animals. On Monday, Huffington Post reported that psychic animals around the world had picked Trump to win.

Various people around the world have attempted to predict the election results by asking animal oracles for their input.

The Shiyanhu Ecological Tourism Park in China’s Hunan province recently had Geda, a simian seer known for accurately predicting the winners of European soccer matches, take a stab at political forecasting, according to The Washington Post.

The monkey, whose name means “goose bumps,” was presented with life-size cutouts of Trump and Hillary Clinton. Geda not only chose Trump ― he climbed onto the cutout to give the man a kiss.

The article includes more examples of trials involving psychic animals, all of which came out in Trump's favor. So here's the question - are these animals really psychic? Some have shown seemingly remarkable abilities to make predictions, beyond what chance would expect. British biologist Rupert Sheldrake has done some interesting experiments with psychic pets, though few mainstream scientists accept his results.

And here's another - will Trump turn out to be the president who embraces the support of these psychic animals and genuinely cares about their issues? I mean, I don't know what those are, but they must want something, right?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Comment Moderation Enabled

If you've tried to leave a comment since yesterday, you will have noticed that I have finally enabled comment moderation. For the longest time I avoided it, because I don't like the idea of censoring opinions and so forth. Unfortunately, the spam posts have gotten so bad lately that I'm just getting sick of dealing with them.

For the longest time, I let people advertising spellcasters post here on the blog as long as they didn't post duplicate comments and limited their comments to appropriate threads, like the ones for love spells and money spells. I would manually delete anything that violated those rules, and that was that. Mostly, that system worked up until a few months ago. I would have to delete something every so often, but it was not onerous.

The latest generation of ad bots, or whatever it is that keeps posting these, now goes through the blog randomly, adding these "testimonials" to completely unrelated articles all over the place, making them all hard to track down. If you are not a bot, and are a person who has been doing this, congratulations - you have just ruined it for all your brethren. I will no longer be approving any of these ads, from anyone.

So I just want to assure my legitimate readers that this has nothing to do with anything you did. It's all about these spammers, who have stepped up their game to the point that I just don't want to bother spending the time it now takes to enforce what were previously the rules. The good news is you will no longer see ads filling up the Recent Posts list, and hopefully that will contribute to better discussion.

Thanks for your support, everyone, and I look forward to an Augoeides that will now be a spam-free zone.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Planetary Work - Saturn

This article is Part One in a series.

Over the years, I've posted a number of articles on planetary magick. After putting together the elemental work series, it seems to me that the time is right to put together a new set of these rituals reflecting some updates in my methodology. I have been able to refer people who ask questions to the older rituals, but sometimes that prompts more questions about why things are done as they are when I abandoned them years ago. So what I am writing up now is the planetary work the way I currently perform it. This article may be considered an updated version of this one, which is how I was working with Saturn ten years ago.

As just one example, I used to think it was a lot more important to work through the entire spiritual hierarchy to "get to" the spirit you wanted to work with. What I've found in practice, though, is that it works just as well to conjure the spirit you want using the overall godname - for the most part. The one exception is that with an Agrippa planetary spirit, you do need to conjure the corresponding intelligence in order to get the best results. Even there, though, you can also just conjure the planetary angel and basically delegate the work. This turns out to work about as well as digging into the Intelligences and Spirits, and it is simpler because you only have to conjure a single entity.

To start off, the planetary work as presented here is the essence of the most popular practical magical operations. Jupiter and the Sun correspond to status, wealth, and prosperity. Venus corresponds to love, and Mercury corresponds to healing. Saturn and Mars correspond to both cursing and magical protection. And finally, the Moon corresponds to clairvoyance, dreamwork, and psychic perception. As a magick blogger, I find that the vast majority of people writing me for spells want something in one of those areas, and it's really no surprise. That list includes most of what magick is famous for, and the kinds of powers that most people really want.

In Qabalah, the planets correspond to the double letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are so named because they correspond to two specific sounds each, and this is reflected in the dual nature of the planets. On the Tree of Life, each planet corresponds to both a sephira or a path. Many magicians refer to the sephiroth as "spheres," and you may catch me doing that sometimes as well. It is, however, not a direct translation. The word actually means "emanations" - as in, emanations of divinity. But they are drawn as circles on most diagrams of the Tree of Life, and in addition, "sephira" and "sphere" sound very similar in English.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ghost Wants a Drink

This video footage from a restaurant in West York recently has been going around the Internet. It appears to show a glass on the bar moving by itself, which could be a sign of paranormal activity. According to the owner, the restaurant was recently remodeled and afterwards a number of strange things started happening near the bar. This is the first one, though, that was captured on video.

Spooky video CCTV footage taken at a New York Italian Kitchen shows the moment a glass mysteriously topples off a tray at a restaurant - which the owner blames on a GHOST. Technically, ghosts don't have the ability to move objects. That's what poltergeists do.

But back to the incident, which happened at 6.55pm on Saturday. Shaun Deakin, the owner of the restaurant in Wakefield, West Yorks., said it is not the first time ghostly goings on have been reported since he opened three months ago. He said: "Ever since we did the fit out, there's been a few unusual things going on, all in one area.

"There's champagne glasses in the bar and one day, six of them just came flying out. We kind of ignored it but then there was another incident when a member of staff was walking with a tray of glasses. He said he felt like someone smashed the tray from underneath and the glasses went everywhere."

Other incidents have occurred also. "We have radios that we use between the front of house and kitchen, with screw dials on top. One day, a staff member went to pick the radio up and the screw at the top was missing. As they were looking for it, it was pushed out in front of them."

One technical point - while some paranormal investigators make a distinction between "ghosts" and "poltergeists," many others do not. And according to the quantum information model of magick, a spirit is a spirit is a spirit. Some are just stronger than others, with some small percentage strong enough to occasionally move physical objects.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Maybe He Is Psychic After All

Mike Lee, the Chicago man who predicted that the Chicago Cubs would win the 2016 World Series back in 1993, has finally issued a statement to the media. Apparently, the prediction was not a random joke, but rather came to him in a dream in 1983. So it's possible that this could be a genuine case of psychic perception that happened to be preserved in his 1993 high school yearbook.

But Lee, now a 41-year-old software engineer living in the Chicago suburbs, kept a low profile by design. “My attitude was, ‘You have to play the games,’” he told The Huffington Post. “I didn’t want to be a distraction. The players shouldn’t be asked about my prediction.”

Ah yes, the prediction. It may have been printed in the yearbook 23 years ago, but Lee said it actually came to him in a dream in 1983. “I saw the words, ‘Cubs World Champions 2016’ on the Wrigley Field sign and I heard Harry Caray calling home runs,” he said.

Lee may have predicted it, but he actually forgot about it until former classmate Marcos Meza reminded him, according to WGN TV. “When [Lee and I] connected on Facebook in 2009 I sent him the photo and told him we were nearing 2016. He posted the photo of his prediction on August 8th,” Meza told the station. “After my Dodgers lost it was time for me to make this go viral and BeLEEve in the Cubs for 2016.”

It's not clear if Lee has had any other psychic dreams besides this one, which tends to be the big problem with random psychic ability. It sometimes gives you information that's accurate, but not in a form that is particularly useful. It's possible Lee bet on the Cubs and made himself some money, but my guess is that he probably didn't.

One of the reasons we work magick in the first place is gain more control over these otherwise mostly random events. When you can induce a psychic vision, rather than just waiting around for them to happen, you will find many more opportunities to take advantage of them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

To Free Souls?

Last week, two Georgia men were arrested and charged with planning an attack on the HAARP research facility in Alaska. HAARP was used to study the upper ionosphere, and has been a magnet for crazy from the beginning, and it's actually kind of surprising that nothing like this happened years ago. The men claimed that God told them to blow up the HAARP machine in order to "free souls," which sounds like they were confusing a device used for atmospheric research with the mythical "soul-catchers" that Scientology claims the evil Lord Xenu placed in Earth's upper atmosphere.

Two men arrested last week in southern Georgia were planning to attack an aurora research facility owned by the University of Alaska Fairbanks around which conspiracy theories of mind control have long swirled, investigators said.

Television station WALB in Georgia first reported Monday that investigators with the Coffee County Sheriff's Office arrested Michael Mancil, 30, and James Dryden Jr., 22, on Thursday and said "the massive amount of arsenal seized looked like something out of a movie, one where a small army was headed to war."

Michael Vickers, a detective with the sheriff's office, told Alaska Dispatch News that both men confessed "that God told them to go and blow this machine up that kept souls, so souls could be released."

"All I can tell you is they were planning on blowing up the machine," Vickers said. "Going to try to find a scientist, to steal his car and ID badge to gain access. Any scientist." Vickers could not say what else the men might be charged with. "It is being investigated and there … could be more charges pending, but as of right now, there's nothing I can tell you," he said.

Conspiracy theorists have long argued that HAARP is used for mind control, weather control, and all sorts of other entirely implausible purposes. It has been blamed for the crash of TWA Flight 800 and the loss of the space shuttle Columbia, in addition to earthquakes, storms, droughts, and pretty much any other random bad thing that you can think of. But I have to say, I never have come across the "soul-catcher" one until today. It should probably come as no surprise that in addition to charges related to the planned attack, the two men are also facing drug charges.

It is hypothetically possible that HAARP could influence the weather, but because of the behavior of chaotic systems, it is highly unlikely that it could do so in any predictable way. While it is true that something as small as the flapping of a butterfly's wings can set in motion a chain of weather events that culminate in a storm weeks later, every other small interaction with the atmosphere has the same potential. And just as a point, it is highly unlikely that a spirit could be constrained by an electromagnetic device of any sort. To do that, you need to use magick.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Regarding Magical Models - Part Ten

This is Part Ten, the final part in a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, Part Six can be found here, Part Seven can be found here, Part Eight can be found here, and Part Nine can be found here.

To wrap up my series on magical models, this week I will be going over the basics of the quantum information model of magick. Hopefully the installments leading up to this week's article provide enough background that it will make sense why I did what I did in putting this model together. If you haven't read them and some of this article doesn't make sense, I recommend going back and reviewing the previous parts for clarification.

To recap, here is a basic breakdown of the various preceding magical models and why they do or don't work, based on my empirical observations over the years.

1. Psychological-Only - Magick is entirely "in your head." In effect, the entire discipline is a form of psychology and nothing more. Excluded by the existence of operant magical effects.

2. Psychological-Plus - Magick is psychological in nature, but can produce operant effects by tapping some sort of psychic ability that is latent in most people. Possibly compatible with energy models, but excluded by the increased effectiveness of operations calling upon spirits.

3. Individual Energy - Magick is energetic in nature, producing operant effects solely by applying subtle energies of some sort that originate with the practitioner to real-world targets and situations. Possibly compatible with the Psychological-Plus model, but excluded by the increased effectiveness of operations calling upon spirits. Also, parapsychology has never been able to identify the nature of this energy, despite many experiments along those lines.

4. Collective Energy - Magick is energetic in nature, as in the Individual Energy model. However, the collective model proposes that not all of this energy originates with the individual practitioner. Compatible with Psychological-Plus and also Spirit-Plus, if spirits are treated as external energy sources. Still, parapsychology has never been able to identify the nature of this energy, despite many experiments along those lines.

5. Spirit-Only - Magick is entirely accomplished by the actions of spirits called upon by the magician. That is, the only power held by an individual practitioner is some sort of authority recognized by those spirits, who accomplish all operant effects. Excluded by the effectiveness of energy work and daily magical practice.

6. Spirit-Plus - Magick may involve spirits, but the magician also is viewed as having a role in producing effects. Likewise, the magician has some ability to produce operant effects, which is substantially improved by working with spirits. This model is compatible with both energy models, as both the magician and the spirit can be viewed as sources of energy, at least in a metaphoric sense, whether that energy is viewed as collective, indivdual, or both.

7. Information Model - Magick is fundamentally viewed as a form of communication. The determining factor for magical effectiveness is the precision with which intent can be rendered in semiotic terms. Neither energy or spirits have a role in the strict version of this model, which is why it is excluded by the effectiveness of both energy work and calling upon spirits. It may be compatible with Psychological-Plus if some unconscious mental faculty is viewed as acting upon communicated intents.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Demonic Occult Deception

That's the phrase used by one Christian movie reviewer to describe the new Doctor Strange movie, now in theaters. I have yet to see the film myself, but I have heard from a number of friends who liked it. For anybody who doesn't know, Doctor Strange is the Marvel superhero whose powers stem his mastery of the magical arts - as they exist in the fictional Marvel universe. So of course this reviewer hated the film, because in it the wizard is the good guy.

Marvel's Doctor Strange will finally be released in U.S. theaters this weekend, and so far, it has been well-received by both fans and the critics, and doing well at the box office overseas (You can read our full review here), but as the saying goes, "you can't please everyone." One critic decided to label the film "abhorrent" and cites Biblical passages in his review to prove his points.

Dr. Ted Baehr, the chair of the Christian Film & Television Commission, has given Doctor Strange a painful -4 or "Abhorrent" rating. “[Doctor Strange is] a dangerous introduction to demonic occult deception,” Behr wrote in his review. “The Bible clearly warns against the kind of occult practices and sorcery the hero in this movie learns to do, in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 and Galatians 5:20. Also in the movie, the hero’s New Age, occult guru teaches there may be no afterlife, that death is truly the end, and that this is a good thing.”

One of the odd commonalities between fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist atheists is their shared hatred of imagination. Does anybody seriously think that comic book characters like Doctor Strange practice anything even remotely resembling real magick? He's a superhero; he's totally not real, and the comics in which he appears are works of fiction. Which is what we humans do to entertain ourselves - come up with imaginary situations that we know full well aren't real. Why watching a fictional movie would be dangerous to anyone is entirely beyond me.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Billy Goat Curse Officially Broken

The sporting world is one of the few places where people publicly give credence to the idea of curses. One of these, the famous "Curse of the Billy Goat," was allegedly placed upon the Chicago Cubs baseball francise in 1945. For seventy-one years, the Cubs won no pennants and never reached the World Series. This year, though, the Cubs at last broke the curse. Wednesday night, they defeated the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 to win the World Series. From Wikipedia:

The Curse of the Billy Goat was a sports-related curse that was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball franchise in 1945 by Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis that lasted in a 71-year period from 1945 to 2016. Because the odor of his pet goat, Murphy, was bothering other fans, Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home ballpark, during game 4 of the 1945 World Series.Outraged, Sianis allegedly declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," which has been interpreted to mean that either the Cubs would never win another National League (NL) pennant, or that they would never again win a World Series.

The Cubs lost the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers, and did not win a World Series championship again until 2016. After the incident with Sianis and Murphy, the Cubs did not play in the World Series for the next 71 years until, on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis' death, they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5–0 in game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series to win the NL pennant. The Cubs defeated the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians 8–7 in game 7 (which lasted 10 innings) to win the 2016 World Series, thus ending the curse.

It's hard to say whether an offhand remark from a tavern owner could really conjure a curse that would last for more than seventy years. Effective practical magick is not something everyone does routinely, all the time, without knowing it, but rather a discipline that requires dedication, practice, and often some amount of training.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Church Burned and Vandalized

This election is really getting ridiculous. A church in Mississippi was recently burned and vandalized with graffiti reading "Vote Trump." While I realize that no political movement or position is without extremists who do stupid, destructive things, this is over-the-top and totally uncalled for. It seems to me that if Donald Trump wants be a decent person here, he should promptly denounce this attack.

Authorities responded to the fire at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, Tuesday night. Delta Daily News reports that the majority of the damage was to the main sanctuary and there were no reported injuries. Someone had spray-painted the words “Vote Trump” along the side of the building.

A woman at the nearby Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church told The Huffington Post that Hopewell is a historically black church. She said the community is in shock over what happened.

Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the incident “a heinous, hateful and cowardly act” in a press conference Wednesday, adding that it was “an attack on the black church and the black community.”

“This happened in the ‘50s and the ‘60s,” he said. “This should not happen in 2016.” Police Chief Delando Wilson said police are interviewing witnesses and talking to “a person of interest,” although there are no suspects yet.

To highlight just how utterly stupid this is, it's not as if Hillary Clinton has even a ghost of chance of winning Mississippi. The state has been solidly for Trump since he became the nominee. He even won the state in the Republican primary. So if this is an attempt at voter suppression or intimidation or something, it's hard to see how it could have much effect. With the way the Electoral College works, it doesn't matter if you win your state by one vote or by a million.

Trump may yet denounce the attack, and I hope he does. It seems to me that those Evangelicals who support him would want to hear him come out strongly against an attack on a church, so it would be a smart move on his part. But we'll just have to see what he does.

UPDATE: Predictably, over on Facebook there are Trump supporters coming out of the woodwork arguing that "clearly" this was staged by the Clinton campaign to make Trump supporters look bad. Obviously it's possible, but so far I've seen no actual evidence suggesting that to be the case. If such evidence does emerge from the ongoing investigation, I'll update the post to reflect those findings. To be clear, I don't think the Trump campaign did this either - it seems likely to me that it's the work of some individual asshole.

My advice to Donald Trump still stands either way - denounce this attack. If his supporters did it, he looks reasonable. If Clinton supporters did it and evidence to that effect comes out before the election, he looks even better for having done so.

UPDATE #2: So police have finally made an arrest in this case. The suspect is a convicted felon who was a member of the congregation. Police currently believe that the suspect's motivation was personal rather than political, and that the "Vote Trump" graffiti was an attempt to cast suspicion away from himself. There's no mention of the suspect's political beliefs, so I don't know which candidate, if any, he supported. But if he indeed burned down the church, it's quite clear that he's an asshole.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Origin of the Moon

In the comments on one of my elemental work articles, I was asked why I traced the sigils of the Kings onto the lunar kamea, rather than onto that of a planet harmonious with the element. My answer was that the Moon rules the entire elemental realm, and therefore it is more appropriate to use the lunar kamea than that of any other planet. Likewise, the Moon is the final dispositor of magical energy flowing into the material world, and plays an important role in electional timing.

I recently came across this article that offers an additional explanation - the Earth and the Moon are formed of the same stuff. This is not a new concept - that the Moon is the result of a collision between two planets that happened during the early days of the solar system. But there are a number of problems with the idea. Planetary physicist Sarah Stewart has now published a new version of the "Giant Impact Hypothesis" that explains more of the data than the previous model could.

This week in the journal Nature, she, postdoctoral fellow Matija Ćuk (now a researcher at the SETI Institute) and two other colleagues propose a new theory, one that Stewart argues offers a solid explanation for the chemistry and tilt of the moon based on a single, high-energy collision.

“You have the one event and then you stand back and just watch and everything will happen on its own,” she said of the new scenario. But just because it's set off by one event doesn't mean it's not a complicated process, so buckle up.

Stewart and Ćuk have been working on their model — call it Giant Impact With a Twist — for a few years. It starts with a crash. But instead of striking Earth at an angle, they argue that the collider, which scientists call Theia, smashed into our planet head on. The high-energy impact would have melted the collider and the Earth and mixed them together, explaining how the planet and the moon could condense from the same swirl of material and take on the same chemical signatures.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Haunted House App

Slate is reporting today that if you happen to live in Hong Kong and are looking for a haunted house, a new app might be just the thing. The app is called Spacious, and it uses a public database of murders, suicides, and so forth to identify places that might be haunted - not for paranormal research purposes, but to save money.

According to the story, Chinese people generally don’t want to live in places where people have died “out of a deep cultural fear of ghosts,” so they tend to sell for less. But “the city’s expatriates—not to mention Hong Kong’s new generation—aren’t usually bothered by living in haunted houses.”

Now spacious.hk’s new app makes it easier than ever for ghost-friendly tenants to find these haunted properties and score housing on the cheap.

Motherboard said that when a user opens the app, “listings pop up on the screen.” The user can also check a specific apartment building—if some sort of chilling event has happened there, spacious.hk’s “friendly ghost icon” will appear. Tapping on the listing reveals details about the apartment and explains why—murder, suicide, etc.—it’s selling for a lower price.

Nobody has built anything similar here in the states, and it would be very interesting to see how well it would work. Americans claim not to believe in ghosts for the most part, but it is also true that from time to time I do see properties come up that are well-known haunted place and they generally sell for less. How much less compared to in Hong Kong, that I don't know.