Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Against Linguistic Quibbles

I've written a number of articles here about the relationship between linguistics and magick. More to the point, I've written that I think any such relationship is entirely based on personal thinking styles and cannot be generalized in any meaningful sense. In other words, linguistics can't tell us much about magick at all except in the context of your own personal work - and only then if you happen to be a linguistic thinker, which not all people are. Since I'm not a linguistic thinker, this has been obvious to me since childhood. But apparently, there are a lot of folks out there who believe otherwise.

Most available evidence suggests that language is descriptive, not prescriptive. This has been pretty well-established by science, as what is called the "strong version" of linguistic relativity has been pretty much disproved at this point. The words and sounds we use to communicate do not carry inherent meaning apart from usage, and the best studies showing the influence of language on thought has found only weak effects. One example of this that I posted on a while back is Jules Davidoff's study on the Himba people of Africa, whose language does not include separate terms for the colors blue and black. Davidoff discovered that, on average, Himba children had more trouble distinguishing between black and dark navy blue than English-speaking children.

A BBC documentary took that study and used it to argue that ancient people "couldn't see" the color blue. Which is just stupid. On top of that, the documentary was incredibly poorly done - somehow in scripting the show, the Himba's single term for blue and black got turned into a single term for blue and green, and the producers included some misleading graphics to "demonstrate" the effect. Which wasn't even the effect Davidoff observed. This got turned into the Business Insider article that I skewered in my piece by simply quoting Davidoff presenting his own work. And to be clear, Davidoff's study of linguistic relativity is the best one out there. The others are worse.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Actually, It's Totally Frivolous

I honestly am still surprised that I get people asking me from time to time about "The Illuminati." If you haven't already figured it out, there's no such thing. The Illuminati order was founded as a competitor for Masonry in 1776, was basically dead by 1800, and its last gasp was an attempted revival in the late 1800's by Theodor Reuss, who would go on to found Ordo Templi Orientis with Karl Kellner. But Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea wrote some novels in the 1970's, so it has to be real, right?

As I've covered here on Augoeides, the Illuminati order has been mocked by Weird Al Yankovic, turned into an advance fee scam by Nigerian confidence artists, and treated as a big joke by the music industry. Most recently, it was turned into Taco Bell commercial. Come on folks, if there really was a sinister, powerful Illuminati order secretly running the world, none of that would ever have seen the light of day. But that's not what musician Charlie Daniels wants you to think. In response to the aforementioned Taco Bell commercial, he issued a warning to the fast food franchise.

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” musician and noted conservative Daniels took some time out of his evening on Monday to issue a grave warning to the fast-food chain. “Hey Taco Bell The Illuminati is not a frivolous subject,” Daniels cautioned. While Daniels failed to elaborate on his warning — perhaps out of concern for saying too much — the musician was presumably referring to Taco Bell’s recent “Belluminati” campaign, which employs conspiracy-themed language and imagery to reveal the “powerful connection between the dollar and Taco Bell” — namely, a line of menu items available for $1 each.

Taco Bell has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on Daniels’ words of caution — possibly because they’re awaiting guidance on a response from the Lizard People who control the Pentagon — but Daniels’ doom-signal to the brand drew its own responses on social media.

“Charlie how do you know Taco Bell isn’t a part of the Illuminati, making commercials mocking it to throw you off from the fact that they are a part of it? Explain THAT to me,” asked one observer. “Wait until you see the Bilderberg ad from Arby’s,” another commenter warned the musician. “And the Bohemian Grove ad from Hardee’s,” chimed in another. “Deals with the devil are not a frivolous subject,” cautioned another commenter, referencing Daniels’ trademark song.

In fact, "deals with the Devil" are pretty frivolous too, since they're the sort of things that happen in horror movies but not in real life. While you can make deals with various chthonic entities, there's no point in "selling your soul" because you can't really do that. Usually, spirits just want regular offerings or something similar as part of the deal. Also, there isn't one singular "Devil" who is essentially the god of all things evil. That's just a nonsensical piece of Manichean theology that worked its way into Christianity. There are many chthonic entities out there, and they aren't all "evil demons."

But I digress. It's not that there aren't conspiracies out there, but I'm in agreement with Alan Moore's contention that they all are run by "ham-fisted clowns." There certainly is a caste of wealthy folks out there who network with each other and have disproportionate influence over world events, but for the most part they are not occultists and don't do anything like conduct evil rituals, sacrifice babies, or whatever. It's true that some of them wind up doing a lot of harm, but usually it's totally banal - they just are looking to maximize their profits without any concern for other people.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dinosaur Tantra

So this is a real thing in the world. Actor David Joyner, who played Barney the Dinosaur in the popular children's television program, is now a tantric sex guru. More accurately, he practices what some folks have dubbed "neo-tantra," the New Age system of sacred sexuality that actually doesn't have very much in common with authentic Tantric Buddhism. Regardless of what you call it, though, it's a pretty big career change.

American actor David Joyner, 52, told Vice that his decade-long stint playing a dancing purple dinosaur was helpful for his current career. “The energy I brought up [while] in the costume is based on the foundation of tantra, which is love,” Joyner said. “Everything stems, grows, and evolves from love."

Joyner only accepts female clients for his services, and charges $350 for a four-hour session. On his website, Joyner, a former software analyst offers clients the chance to reach "a higher and more blissful state of awareness [of their] sexuality." According to Vice, Joyner believes this "blissful state" is best achieved through unprotected penetrative sex, and claims that condoms "block the energy".

He reportedly asks clients to declare whether they have any sexually transmitted diseases, and sign a consent form, before their sessions. "Lisa", an anonymous source contacted by Vice, said she had been one of his regular clients for three years, after first making contact with him through the dating app Tinder. She added that she had sexual intercourse with Joyner during their third session, and described the experience as a "spiritual awakening".

There already is such a thing as dolphin tantra that apparently was directly transmitted from aliens in the Pleiades - without any real explanation of how dolphins evolved in parallel on some other world over four hundred light years away. Can dinosaur tantra be far behind? I do realize that Joyner is not actually out there working with his tantra clients while dressed as a giant purple dinosaur, but you have to admit it's a pretty hilarious image.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thoughts on the Fixed Stars

While I remain convinced that the template works for everything, there have been a couple of questions over the last week about working with the fifteen fixed stars. What I am going to post here is my best guess as to how fixed star operations would work in the context of the template, but to be clear, this is a guess. I'm not some sort of "enlightened master" who knows everything there is to know about magick, and these are a series of operations that I have never tried. So they might work well, they might work poorly, or they might not work at all. And this is an important point - you can never be sure that a magical operation will work based on speculation or even what seems like airtight logic. You have to experiment with it, full stop.

I mentioned in the comments that I came across a system once that attributed angels to each degree of the zodiac. A system like that with some traditional authority would be ideal, but I haven't been able to find it again. In Liber 777 there are angels attributed to the 36 decans, and that's as granular as it goes. So that is what I'm going to use here. I suspect it won't work as well as if I had an angel of the exact degree, and if at some point in the future I work out where I saw that system, I will be sure to let you all know. It also occurs to me that you could conjure the decan angel by the method I'm going to outline here and ask which angel rules the degree in question. That would give you some additional routes for experimentation.

The Shem angels were also mentioned in this context, and it is possible that they might work. With the Shem angels you can break up the zodiac into half-decans, but there's some confusion as to which system should be used. The Golden Dawn system starts the Shem angels off in Leo, but the Bardon system starts in Aries. To me Aries sounds more logical, but again, logic is not really what we're about here. We're talking technology, and objectively one arrangement should work better than the other. An example of this is the Golden Dawn system for tracing pentagrams versus the one used by the Aurum Solis. The latter is more logical, but according to every test I could come up with back in the day the Golden Dawn system makes for more effective magick.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Paranormal Investigators Hate Witches

Or at least, this one does. I'm talking, of course, about Zak Bagans, host of the paranormal train wreck that is Ghost Adventures. Bagans is not like the paranormal investigators on shows like Ghost Hunters, who always start by looking for normal explanations and often find them. Bagans runs into ghosts and spirits all the time, mostly because he appears to lack critical thinking skills of any kind. Bagans is the only paranormal investigator about whom I have ever agreed with James Randi - and let me tell you, I can't stand Randi's smug dismissal of everything from ghosts to psychic abilities to meditation (!).

To recap that story, back in 2014 I posted about an allegedly haunted house in Indiana. Bagans hyped the case a whole bunch, purchased the house, and was planning on making a documentary about it. Meanwhile, the Randi Foundation and many other commenters on the Internet noted that the only photos of the alleged ghost had been faked with a popular iPhone spirit photography app. It's possible Bagans is not so stupid that he fell hook, line, and sinker for a hoax that could have been unraveled with a simple Google image search, but then again, his opinions about Wiccans and Pagans also demonstrate a complete lack of comprehension.

After experiencing an encounter at night in the abandoned Golden church, the archbishop and Bagans discuss “what might be feeding the malevolence that permeates the entire area.” Bagans asks Cloud, “Have you ever heard about this sanctuary out here in the woods somewhere that is very close to this? They do these rituals; I know it’s Witchcraft. It said Pagan rituals. Have you heard about this group?”

Cloud answers he has and that the Witches are all over, and that the ritual practices are “steeped in Witchcraft,” and that he is sure that “they are conjuring demons.” Another interviewee later confirms that by saying that she “knows” it is caused by the local Witches. During the discussion between Cloud and Bagans, there are flashes of various images of people at night in the woods obscured by branches and trees. The entire sequence, which includes hanging stick figures and dramatic sound, is reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project (1999).

“Could the unusual number of violent acts in this area be caused by the dark entities conjured by this group of Witches?” asks the narrator. Interestingly enough, there actually is a Witch camp not far from Golden. Bagans is right; the area does have modern Witches performing modern Pagan rituals. It is Free Cascadia Witchcamp, one of Reclaiming’s annual retreats. Last year, the week-long event happened in late June, quite possibly at the same time the show was being filmed. However, that has not yet been confirmed.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Canada to Legalize Witchcraft

After a long process of legal review, Canada is moving towards eliminating many outdated laws. One of those laws is the prohibition on pretending to "exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration." This is an old law that was probably originally put in place to target fraud involving claims of paranormal powers, but the law is so vaguely written that it can be applied to cases where no scamming is involved. It could, for example, render any performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest illegal - because after all, any actor playing Prospero is pretending to use magick.

“One of the provisions that’s being removed in this bill is pretending to practise witchcraft,”Steve Coughlan, a professor at Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, told the House of Commons committee that studied the bill. “It probably hadn’t been prosecuted for 30 or 40 years, and about six months ago, some police officer in Toronto laid that charge. At some level, there’s an element of randomness as to when the lesser-known offences come up,” Prof. Coughlan added. “It’s somebody looking at the index, doing a search online, and trying to find it. It’s possible that the crown can then look at it and say, ‘You know what? That’s the wrong one.’”

The plan to repeal archaic laws from the criminal code was well received in Parliament. “One must wonder about the existing laws regarding the practice of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration” Wayne Stetski Kootenay, the NDP MP for Columbia, BC, told parliament. “In addition to the fact that it impinges on the rights of some religions, and would confuse the U.S. President who is certain that he is the target of a witch hunt, this might also hurt Harry Potter cosplayers; Dungeons and Dragons “larpers”, which I do not know much about but which my staff assure me is a thing; and others for whom sorcery is an entertainment. This is a good law to be rid of.”

But some opposition Conservative Party members were not thrilled with the idea. “We all chuckle and laugh, but I can understand why the party of Mackenzie King would want to make legal the practice of witchcraft, sorcery, and talking with people who have passed from this world, as Mackenzie King enjoyed doing,” Peter Van Loan, the Conservative MP for York, Simcoe, Ontario, said. “The concern is, and we have all heard stories like this, that people use these kinds of fraudulent witchcraft powers to persuade people that, for example, if they put $10,000 in an envelope, which they say will be burned but they slide it under the table instead, he or she will be saved from whatever curse they say the person is under.”

The thing is, I'm well aware that there are scammers who claim paranormal powers in order to hoodwink their targets. But shouldn't the example cited just be charged as fraud? There's no reason for Canada to have a special law for "fraud involving witchcraft" when fraud in general is already illegal, any more than there would be a reason to have a special law for "fraud involving envelopes." It's not like once this is repealed, there will be nothing left to charge these scammers with.

Furthermore, the idea that laws like this do no harm is just not true. Keeping them on the books means that law enforcement can go after Wiccan, Pagans, and anyone else who practices magick as a spiritual discipline any time they want. Canada is not necessarily as progressive as a lot of Americans think, especially with regard to religion. Wicca, Paganism, and even larger polytheistic traditions like Hinduism are not considered "real religions," and therefore have no legal protections.

A while back I covered the case of Dominique Smith, a Winnipeg woman who runs a metaphysical shop. Her shop was repeatedly vandalized by Christians, but the police were slow to take action. Technically, a police force more willing to persecute Smith could easily claim that her entire business is illegal under this law, and even though that hasn't happened, the fact that it could should be extremely troubling. Canada needs to step up and start protecting members of minority religions, and repealing this law will be a good start.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Via Solis Capricorn Elixir Rite

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Capricorn Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday Januray 16th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be performing one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the lodge know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Capricorn.

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

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

In addition, one of the magical weapons attributed to Capricorn is "the secret force" which is a reference to internal energies such as kundalini, whether employed in sex magick operations or otherwise. So another application for Capricorn would be to develop and/or strengthen those energies by magical means.

This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963.

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.


Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.


Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.


Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present are and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence. So mote it be.

Bell chime.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Paula White Wants Your Money

Prosperity Gospel preacher Paula White is alleged to be one of President Donald Trump's spiritual advisors. It's really no surprise that they get along. She's pretty and blond - exactly his type - and just like him she seems to have a real talent for relieving people of their money. This month, White explained to her followers that they should donate their first month's salary of the new year to her, because otherwise they would face "consequences" from God.

Each January, I put God first and honor Him with the first of our substance by sowing a first fruits offering of one month’s pay,” White writes. “That is a big sacrifice, but it is a seed for the harvest I am believing for in the coming year. And God always provides! Every year many others join us and sow a month’s pay, a week’s pay, others give a day’s pay, but everyone gives their best- The results are miraculous!”

White explains that it’s important to donate money to her at the start of every new year because it helps you get off on the right foot with the Lord. “All Firsts belong to God,” she says. “When you honor this principle it provides the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life, it unlocks deep dimensions of spiritual truths that literally transform your life! When you apply this everything comes in divine alignment for His plan and promises for you.”

However, White also warns that bad things could happen to followers who don’t send her money this month because to not do so would contradict God’s word. “When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience there are consequences,” she writes.

Now the thing about this, though, is that if you follow this advice your first month's salary won't belong to God. It will belong to Paula White. The whole Prosperity Gospel thing is basically a scam, and it's a scam that exists only to enrich Prosperity Gospel pastors like White. She's probably just mad because Creflo Dollar has a nicer airplane than she does or something. It should be absolutely obvious to anybody who has read Jesus' teachings in the Bible that there's no way God would want anybody to enrich these charlatans.

It may be a good spiritual practice to donate significant amounts of money to the needy at the beginning of each year. That, at least, would be in line with Jesus' teachings, and if done right it can legitimately make the world a better place. But donating to a pastor who is already rich, just to help them sustain an extravagant lifestyle, is an entirely different thing that no sincere Christian should take seriously.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Enochian and Goetic Online Master Classes!

A while back Jason Newcomb approached me and a number of other magical practitioners with the idea of crowdsourcing online classes for Enochian and Goetic magick. It sounded like a good idea to me, so I signed on with the project. And now, the Indiegogo campaign is live if you would like to back the project. There are a lot of cool perks available, so check it out.

I'll be teaching on the Enochian side since my experience with the Lemegeton is pretty limited. But expect the same level of clarity and transparency that you can already find in my books on the Enochian system. In addition, I expect that my third book, Mastering the Thirty Aires, won't be available before we do the classes. So assuming the project gets funded, this will be the first time my work on the Aires will be presented publicly and in detail.

So these classes should be a lot of fun, and I think you'll get a lot out of them. Everybody on the list here has been practicing for a long time, and while we have our disagreements, exploring a variety of perspectives is always the best way to learn any subject.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Template Works for Everything

I got a question a couple weeks back about working with the pentacles from the Key of Solomon using my ritual techniques. Back in October, I published my latest ritual template, which I will be referring back to in this post. Next week I should be back on track with the magick posts on Mondays, with the script for the Capricorn Elixir that we will be doing on January 16th.

One of the best things about modular ritual templates is how versatile and effective they are for all different kinds of workings. If there's a "magical secret" out there, how to put the various rituals and forms together into a coherent operation is probably it. Many published books on magick include instructions on how to do the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. Some include the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Some include the Middle Pillar. And so forth. But there's little instruction on what to do with them aside from recommendations that you practice them daily.

The Greater Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram are much more elusive in print. I met Donald Michael Kraig on his book tour for the second edition of Modern Magick, and told him that the biggest problem with his book is that he did not include how to do those rituals and he really needed to include them. But back then I wasn't a published author, just some random guy, and he obviously didn't take me very seriously. In the third edition, he devotes a whole (oversized) page to slamming Poke Runyon when he could have at least outlined the Greater rituals in that same space. Seriously, nobody ever really cared about Kraig's personal feuds, but adding even a page on the Greater rituals would have made Modern Magick a far better and more useful book.

At any rate, what I found when I published Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy is that nobody else publishes that stuff, either. I was told time and again how useful my book was because it laid out the whole structure of a ceremonial operation including the basic components that go into actually getting stuff done. I've gone ahead and published the whole magical and mystical series here on Augoiedes for precisely that reason. We really don't need any more occult books that teach the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and then don't really even tell you what it's for or what it's supposed to do.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thoughts on Sigil Magick

So this is a "Magick Wednesday" post. Monday was New Years Day and stuff has been kind of crazy around here over the long weekend. One of the things I did get around to, though, is starting to read through Gordon White's latest book, The Chaos Protocols. For anybody who doesn't know, Gordon is the guy who runs the excellent chaos magick blog Rune Soup, which I have been following for many years.

The Chaos Protocols basically represents what I consider the cutting edge of chaos magick techniques, and as Gordon quips in the book, people who pick it up off the shelf will probably flip right to the chapter on sigil magick. For better or worse, sigil magick has become the defining technique that most people think of when you mention chaos magick. It has the "bang for buck" advantage over a number of other techniques, it that it may not be quite as effective as a full ceremonial operation, but it is far simpler to perform.

Gordon writes that this is akin to the work done by pioneers of human-powered flight who finally solved the problem by designing a flying machine that could quickly be reassembled and reconfigured every time it failed a flight test. Since their machine could be rapidly modified every time it failed, they were able to go through far more iterations in less time than other engineers working on the same problem who put a lot of time and effort into designing and building what they considered the perfect flying machine, only to have to start again from scratch when the machine failed.

At any rate, Gordon mentions several points that I find highly useful for understanding sigil magick and how it works. Unlike a lot of chaos magicians whose work I have read, he points out that the whole psychic censor/forget your operation idea is based on an outdated model of psychology and should be abandoned. The psychoanalytic schools have this idea of an "unconscious mind" that is akin to a sort of "separate mind" from what you experience as your conscious awareness. That is, it has goals and purposes, and in some meaningful way "thinks."

But this just isn't true, and I've been teaching my students accordingly for years. Neuroscience has shown that conscious thinking processes already consume the vast majority of the brain's resources. There is an "unconscious" in humans akin to what is found in other animals, but it is essentially just the conditioning system that runs on something like four rules. It prompts you to repeat behavior for which you have been conditioned in the past, and that's it. That's all it does. It has no goal, no awareness, and no capacity for "thought" as we generally mean it.