Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Office of the Readings for 2019

Happy Thelemic New Year, everyone! It's that time again, for the Office of the Readings.

The Thelemic dates that you may see written online are arrived at by counting the number of 22-year cycles since 1904 to obtain the upper case Roman numeral, and then counting the years of the current cycle starting with zero to get the lower case one. Within each 22-year cycle, many Thelemites ascribe the Major Arcana trumps of the Tarot to the years in order starting with The Fool and ending with The Universe. According to this, the year that we're about to enter into is V:v, attributed to The Hierophant.

This post will remain the top article here for the duration of the Thelemic Holy Days which end on April 10th. The Rite of the Office of the Readings is performed for all of the readings beginning on March 20th.

This year I'm pleased to announce that like last year, this year's Office of the Readings will be presented at Leaping Laughter Oasis, the Minneapolis local body of Ordo Templi Orientis. This year we performed the Invocation of Horus on the evening of March 16th to keep it on the weekend, and the Prologue of the Unborn will take place on March 19th as usual. Also, on March 22nd and 23rd we will not be performing the ritual at Leaping Laughter but rather at our hospitality suite at Paganicon, the largest local convention of Pagan and magical folk. This is the first time they will be performed this venue, so we're looking forward to that. If you will be at the convention, stop by and check it out.

Rituals

The Invocation of Horus
The Rite of the Office of the Readings

Readings

March 19

Liber VII, Prologue of the Unborn.

March 20 - Saturn/Earth, The Universe

Liber LXV, Cap I.
Liber VII, Cap II.

March 21 - Fire/Spirit, The Aeon

Liber LXV, Cap IV.
From "The Four Zoas" by William Blake - "Night the Ninth, Being The Last Judgment"

March 22 - Sol, The Sun

Liber VII, Cap IV.
From "A Mithraic Ritual" Translated by GRS Mead.

March 23 - Pisces, The Moon

Liber VII, Cap VI.
From “Dark Night of the Soul”, Book II, Cap 8 by San Juan de la Cruz.

March 24 - Aries, The Emperor

Liber Tzaddi vel Hamus Hermeticus.
From the “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu, Cap 37 and 39.

March 25 - Mars, The Tower

Liber VII, Cap I.
From Liber CDXVIII, The 16th Æthyr.

March 26 - Capricornus, The Devil

Liber A'ash.
Relevant to Liber A'ash is my solution to the mystery of the duck.
From Liber CXI, Cap 174-175.

March 27 - Sagittarius, Art

Liber DCCCXIII, Cap VII.
From “The Vision of the Universal Mercury” by G.H. Frater S.R.M.D.

March 28 - Scorpio, Death

From Liber Arcanorum.
From Liber CXI, Cap 192-194.

March 29 - Water, The Hanged Man

Liber LXV, Cap III.
"I. N. R. I." by Frater Achad.

March 30 - Libra, Adjustment

Liber Libræ.
Selections from “The Spiritual Guide” by San Miguel de Molinos.

March 31 - Jupiter, Fortune

Liber VII, Cap III.
From Liber CDXVIII, The 20th Æthyr.

April 1 - Virgo, The Hermit

Liber VII, Cap V.
"The Emerald Tablet of Hermes" by Hermes Trismegistus.

April 2 - Leo, Lust

Liber Stellae Rubeæ.
From “The Daughter of Fortitude” Received by Edward Kelly.

April 3 - Cancer, The Chariot

Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni.
"Maha Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra" (The Heart Sutra, Buddhist text. Translation by the Kuan Um School of Zen).

April 4 - Gemini, The Lovers

Liber LXV, Cap II.
From Liber DCCCXXXVII, The Law of Liberty.

April 5 - Taurus, The Hierophant

Liber LXV, Cap V.
From “On Christ and Antichrist” by Hippolytus, Cap 2.

April 6 - Aquarius, The Star

Liber DCCCXIII, Cap VI.
From “The Thunder, Perfect Mind” (Gnostic text).

April 7 - Venus, The Empress

Liber VII, Cap VII.
From Liber CDXVIII, The 7th Æthyr.

April 8 - Luna, The Priestess

Liber AL, Cap I.
“Vajrasattva, Primordial Buddha of Diamond or Rainbow Light” From Songs and Meditations of the Tibetan Dhyani Buddhas.

April 9 - Mercury, The Magus

Liber AL, Cap II.
“Visvapani, The Bodhisattva and Spiritual Emanation of Amoghasiddhi” From Songs and Meditations of the Tibetan Dhyani Buddhas.

April 10 - Air, The Fool

Liber AL, Cap III.
From Liber CDXVIII, The 22nd Æthyr.

If you would like to perform this series and have questions, feel free to e-mail me here. All Office of the Readings posts may be viewed here. Our Office of the Readings series is based on this ritual series by the Companions of Monsalvat.

Watch Out for Unicorns

Anybody who knows anything about magick knows how dangerous unicorns are. Sure, they hide behind their sweetness-and-light exteriors, but underneath they are wild and violent creatures prone to lashing out at any moment. Recently a Baltimore convenience store faced down the wrath of one of these beasts that attempted to rob it armed with only a crowbar and seething unicorn rage.

Baltimore County Police say a person dressed in a unicorn costume and wielding a crowbar tried to rob a convenience store Saturday morning in the Baldwin community.

Officers arrived just after the High’s store opening time of 5 a.m. to respond to the robbery call.

Police say the suspect had fled in a silver car. They located what appeared to be the same car after it had wrecked. No other cars were involved in the wreck.

Miraculously, the cash and cigarettes inside the convenience store remained unmolested as the frustrated creature finally gave up and drove off. But since unicorns are by nature forest dwellers, their driving skills are subpar. The creature wrecked its getaway vehicle and ran off, but is still at large.

Residents of Baltimore, be warned! If you come across this unicorn on the lam, don't try to play music to it or touch its horn or anything like that. Just call the police - your life or at least your cash and cigarettes could depend upon it!

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Invocation of Horus


The Holy Season has arrived! Next week we will be starting up the Office of the Readings on Tuesday, March 19th and my usual Office of the Readings post will go up on March 18th, the preceding Monday. Normally I just include a link to the Invocation of Horus in that post, but this year we have decided to do the invocation tomorrow evening, March 16th, at 7:30 PM. So because we're doing it early, I'm posting the Invocation of Horus today so folks can take a look at it before attending. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

The text of this ritual is by Saint Aleister Crowley according to the vision of Ouarda the Seer, and has been adapted for group performance by Ananael Qaa and Lalitha. Crowley's original version can be found here.


0. CONFESSION

All stand facing east. A flaming sword (flamberge) is placed on the altar. Horus is visualized appearing in the east as a human figure with the head of a hawk in the east towering over the participants. A statue or image of Horus may be placed in the east to assist this visualization.

Officiant opens the ritual with the Star Ruby.

All assembled then read the Confession.

Unprepared and uninvoking Thee, we are here in Thy Presence – for Thou art Everywhere, O Lord Horus! – to confess humbly before Thee my neglect and scorn of Thee. How shall we humble ourselves enough before Thee? Thou art the mighty and unconquered Lord of the Universe: we are the sparks of Thine unutterable Radiance.

How should we approach Thee? But Thou art Everywhere. With unwashen hands therefore we come unto Thee, and lament our wandering from Thee – but Thou knowest!

Yea, we have done evil!

All bow to the east.

We bow our necks before Thee, so are we in Thy hands. Strike if Thou wilt: spare if Thou wilt: but accept us as we are. Our trust is in Thee: shall we be confounded? For that All is in Thee and of Thee; it is enough if we burn up in the intolerable glory of Thy presence.

Rays of golden light shine forth from the figure of Horus and enter the crown chakras of all assembled, moving through their bodies all the way down to the feet and purifying all actions taken that are out of harmony with the operation of True Will. There is a short pause for this visualization. Each person rises as he or she feels the purification is complete. When all have risen the rite continues, led by the Officiant.

Enough! We turn toward Thy Promise. Doubtful are the Words: Dark are the Ways: but in Thy Words and Ways is Light. Thus then now as ever, we enter the Path of Darkness, if haply so we may attain the Light. Hail!

The figure of Horus responds by sending forth golden light that fills the temple. This visualization continues until the end of the invocation. The light becomes brighter and stronger as the rite goes on.

Officiant then opens the invocation proper with the Star Sapphire.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"QAnon" Now Has a Book


Whut???

It amazes me that anybody still believes the "QAnon" conspiracy theory, but for whatever reason it seems to be a ridiculous idea that nonetheless refuses to die. After many failed predictions the theory has died down a little online, just like those fake "End Times" pastors who predict the end of the world over and over again and are always wrong. Maybe because the online version is starting to fade, some clever con artists have come out with a book that aims to "educate" (that is, defraud) anybody who buys it.

The book, which says it was written by a dozen “anonymous Q followers, decoders and citizen journalists known collectively as Where We Go One We Go All (WWG1WGA),” claims that Democrats murder and eat children and that the government created AIDS, polio and Lyme disease. Then there’s the belief that the world is run by a Satanic cabal led by Hillary Clinton.

There’s more. So much more. But we’ll leave it there. QAnon emerged from the dark corners of the internet and into the national spotlight thanks primarily to supporters of Donald Trump who would show up at his rallies wearing clothes and holding signs referencing the “Q” conspiracy.

Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy-theory expert, told NBC that the book is just another way for the QAnon movement to cash in on its gullible followers, calling it “a bold new step in the endless grift at the heart of Q.”

Nevertheless, the book keeps selling and racking up questionable glowing reviews, which Jason Kint, CEO of the trade association Digital Content Next, chalks up to manipulation and the lack of oversight on Amazon’s part.

“To be clear, they absolutely shouldn’t be censoring the availability of books like this,” Kite explained to NBC. “But the fact we’re left only with the publisher’s own description of the book and a clearly gamed set of 5-star reviews — how is the average shopper supposed to know this is toxic garbage?”

Monday, March 11, 2019

Via Solis Pisces Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Pisces Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday March 12th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be continuing to perform 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 oasis 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 Pisces.

The sign Pisces is attributed to the powers of "Bewitchment" and "Casting Illusions." So this is the power that you would call upon to cast classic magical operations such as "glamours" and the like. Spells that act directly on your own mind or those of others would also qualify. And, since magical powers are descriptive, not prescriptive, this can be scaled up to include all sorts of contemporary issues in our society.

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.

All: MAKAShANaH

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.

All: ABRAHADABRA

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.

All: AUMGN

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.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Christian Witches are a Thing

You might think that being a Christian witch would be a contradiction. However, according to this article from CBN they do exist and are planning their first convention. Reverend Valerie Love is a former Jehovah's Witness who now identifies as a Christian witch. In the article, she talks about her beliefs and how they fit together.

"For as long as I can remember I've always been 'magickal'... seeing things that people said 'weren't there' or daydreaming in far-away worlds as a child and being constantly 'snapped' back to 'reality' by teachers and other big people," she explains in a post on her website. "The word Witch engenders power in some and fear in others. The determining factor in what comes up for us when we hear the word 'Witch' is consciousness. One person is ecstatic about the possibilities of Magick while another is stricken with terror."

Love says she left behind the Jehovah's Witnesses and found the freedom "to be the Goddess I AM today." It's worth noting that Christian theologians and church leaders do not consider the Jehovah's Witnesses to be a Christian group, labeling it as a cult. Meanwhile, Love says she wrestled with being a witch and being an alleged Christian. She claims she found inner peace by writing "The Christian Witch's Creed," which says "I am a Christian Witch; I love my cross and my wand. I consult my Tarot deck and my Bible. I adore & am devoted to Christ and the Goddess."

A man named Calvin Witcher, who calls himself a "prophet," will also attend the conference. He claimed during a Facebook live-stream two months ago that the Bible is full of witchcraft. "The Bible is a huge book of sorcery. You literally can't get around that. You can't get around Jesus being a magician. There's just no way," he said.

Now before you laugh, I should point out that this idea is nothing new. Modern fundamentalist Christianity with its insane obsession with "purity" - listen to all Christian music, read all Christian books, have only Christian friends, and so forth - is a relatively recent movement. At most it dates back to about the mid-1800's and the latest incarnation is largely a backlash against the social movements of the 1960's.

What this reminds me the most of is Appalachian hexcraft, which is a thoroughly Christian tradition of folk magick. For example, the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses provide magical uses for the psalms, which are widely used in that tradition. Also, books like the Long Lost Friend, one of the main hexcraft sources, are full of Christian references. Since modern witchcraft includes a lot of folk magick, the two systems probably look quite similar.

You can argue that Christianity forbids magick, but the reality is that this is only true of conservative literalists who do not make up even the majority of Christians. There's even some question over the meaning of "witch" in the injunction given in Leviticus. As I've pointed out here many times, the minute you pray for something to happen you are doing magick anyway, so why not study your craft and get good at it?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Flat Earthers are Dumb

Yeah, I know, not much of a revelation there. Anybody who lives near the ocean can prove that the Earth is at the very least curved with a simple spyglass. Train it on a ship traveling away from you on the water and you will see the bottom of the ship disappear before the top. This is because of the curvature of the Earth, and it's probably how the Greeks initially figured out that the Earth was round. Nobody really believed it was flat until Medieval Europeans came along. But anyway...

A flat earther decided to fund a scientific experiment that would demonstrate the Earth does not rotate. But according to a new Netflix documentary, all his experiment managed to prove was that the Earth does indeed rotate. So like any good scientist would do, he went ahead and ignored the results.

One of those Flat Earthers is Bob Knodel, who hosts a YouTube channel entirely dedicated to the theory and who is one of the team relying on a $20,000 laser gyroscope to prove the Earth doesn't actually rotate.
Except... It does.

"What we found is, when we turned on that gyroscope, we found that we were picking up a drift," Knodel explains. "A 15-degree per hour drift. Now, obviously we were taken aback by that - 'Wow, that's kind of a problem.' We obviously were not willing to accept that, and so we started looking for easy to disprove it was actually registering the motion of the Earth."

You know what they say: If your experiment proves you wrong, just disregard the results!

"We don't want to blow this, you know?" Knodel then says to another Flat Earther. "When you've got $20,000 in this freaking gyro. If we dumped what we found right now, it would be bad? It would be bad. What I just told you was confidential."

I suppose in this day and age of fake news a resurgence of this nonsense was inevitable. You have to wonder, too, how much of it is a scam. The flat-earther who was going to prove the Earth was not round by flying a rocket less high up in the air than the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago is a good example. You're going to fly a rocket when you could get better data by riding an elevator up to the top of a tall building. Better still, get on airplane with the cheapest ticket you can find. Even shorter flights usually still climb to around seven miles.

But maybe my problem with this has to do with some residual resistance to the idea that people are this stupid. I have to keep reminding myself to look at how smart the average person is and then take into account at least half of them are dumber than that.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Not The Pineal Gland

There is so much nonsense on the Internet about Ordo Templi Orientis and magick in general that we get people coming in the doors of our local bodies with a lot of weird beliefs. Here in the Twin Cites, we once had an individual show up who was convinced that there was a "five-foot pineal gland" in the Vatican archives.

We pressed said person - do you mean a carving or a statue? No, they replied, it was a "real pineal gland." I entertained whether this was even possible for a second or two. But I don't think there are any animals on the planet with a pineal gland that big, even a blue whale. The only reason I gave it any credence at all, in fact, was that whale organs were harvested throughout the nineteenth century, and the Vatican archives are supposed to house some weird stuff. But no, none of it made any sense.

Later on I think I found the YouTube video this individual was referring to, and it was about a statue of a pine cone that was supposed to represent the pineal gland. It isn't all that weird that the Vatican might have such a statue, simply because Rene Descartes believed the pineal gland to be "the principle seat of the soul" based only on its position in the brain and its geometry. Descartes first published this hypothesis in 1637 and it has proved surprisingly enduring, even though pretty much everything he knew about the function of the pineal gland is now known to be incorrect.

Friday, March 1, 2019

John Oliver Versus Psychic Mediums


John Oliver recently posted a great takedown of the psychic industry, particularly television mediums, on Last Week Tonight. The full video of the segment is included above. Oliver goes over cold reading and hot reading, and shows some pretty impressive failures by celebrity mediums. While Oliver scoffs at the entire notion of psychic abilities, whereas I do not, the segment is entertaining and educational. For every real psychic out there, it sounds like there are dozens of scammers hiding in the woodwork and waiting for opportunities to make some quick and easy cash from grieving families. And that's just awful.

One of the reasons I stay out of the magick/psychic business is that everybody I've seen who's been successful in that area has a bit of the huckster in them - not to say that their abilities are fake, or that their techniques don't work, but rather there is a certain feel to them that I just don't like. I don't want to be one of those people, and I would honestly feel bad about taking money from someone for a spell if it doesn't work. Sure, I could try the whole "charging for success only," but I know how that goes because I've run several small businesses. If you give anybody an opening, they'll try to weasel out of paying. So that's not a viable option either.

I would rather just publish my magical techniques either here or in print and let them speak for themselves. Either my methods work, or they don't.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Production - What Haunts Us

Augoeides has been quite for the last week and a half because my publishing company, Moonfire Publishing, has been finishing up the rollout for our latest title, What Haunts Us by Loren Niemi. Loren is a storyteller who performs all over the country, and What Haunts Us is his first-ever published story collection.

This book was challenging to produce, but if I don't say so myself the result is pretty outstanding. From a literary standpoint the narrative style comes from performance storytelling, which gives it a fundamentally different feel than your standard anthology of short stories. Some are adapted from existing folklore and others are entirely original compositions. This is a work that has been long in the making, as Loren has been performing for more than forty years. You can check out his website here for more information about him and his background.

All of these stories touch on various elements of the paranormal and metaphysical, and should be of interest to magical and spiritual practitioners. I know that a lot of us don't read much fiction, but this is a book that grounds the fantastic firmly in the real world as we know and understand it. As magicians, that is, after all, precisely what we strive to do with our practices. So I think that What Haunts Us is definitely a book worth checking out, and on top of that the stories themselves are quite good.

Loren will be performing tomorrow evening, Wednesday February 27th, at Tillie's Farmhouse in Saint Paul, Minnesota. If you are local to the area, come by and check it out. It promises to be a good time with opening music starting at 6 PM and Loren's storytelling starting at 7 PM. He also travels around the country, with his upcoming events posted on his website. If you get a chance to see him, you should - there aren't a lot of storytellers around any more, and Loren is an excellent one.

Now that the book production project is mostly wrapped up, I'll be getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. Also, the Office of the Readings is coming up in a few weeks and as always you will be able to follow along here. I have to say, with all the snow we've been getting this February I really am looking forward to spring.

Friday, February 15, 2019

What's Down There?

A cave in Nottinghamshire UK has been found to have more protective symbols designed to ward off evil than any previous archaeological site. Deeper inside the cave, beyond the marks, is a deep hole that leads to... well, I don't think anybody has gone in yet to find out. It makes you wonder what sort of spiritual force might be down there that the people who drew the various symbols were so afraid of.

If there is a gateway to hell, a portal from the underworld used by demons and witches to wreak their evil havoc on humanity, then it could be in a small east Midlands cave handy for both the M1 and A60. Heritage experts have revealed what is thought to be the biggest concentration of apotropaic marks, or symbols to ward off evil or misfortune, ever found in the UK.

The markings, at Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border, include hundreds of letters, symbols and patterns carved, at a time when belief in witchcraft was widespread. The scale and variety of the marks made on the limestone walls and ceiling of a cave which has at its centre a deep, dark, hole, is unprecedented.

Believed to protect against witches and curses, the marks were discovered by chance at the site, which is also home to the only ice age art ever discovered in the UK. Paul Baker, the director of Creswell Heritage Trust, said the marks had been in plain sight. They had known they were there. “But we told people it was Victorian graffiti,” he said. “We had no idea. Can you imagine how stupid we felt?”

The trust was alerted to the marks last year by Hayley Clark and Ed Waters. The two keen-eyed cavers thought there were perhaps two or three markings; it soon became clear there were dozens and then on further investigation up to a thousand. And counting. “They are everywhere,” said Baker. “How scared were they?”

You can't get to the spiritual underworld or hell or whatever just by going into someplace underground, since the chthonic realm is a spiritually different place than the earthly realm. But it also is true that paranormal investigators have come across some pretty nasty spirits over in the British isles. This might be the home of one of them, or perhaps it was at one time. At this point it's not clear. My suggestion would be to send a paranormal investigation team down there to find out.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Football Magick

European football - that is, soccer in the states - has a long history of magick and spells used by players and teams to increase their odds. American football, on the other hand, does not. That might explain the continued success of the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, who finally admitted in a recent interview that his wife, model Gisele Bundchen, has been casting spells on his behalf.

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady is now a six-time Super Bowl champion and, despite being 41 years old, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all. So, whatever he’s doing – both on and off the field – is clearly working. Brady revealed earlier this week something his wife, Gisele, has taught him that’s kept him going late in his career.

“So she put together a little altar for me that I could bring with pictures of my kids,” he explained this week, “and I have these little special stones and healing stones and protection stones and she has me wear a necklace and take these drops she makes. I say all these mantras.”

I don't have any problem with players using magick to win games, but I will say that at this point I'm pretty sick of the Patriots winning Super Bowls. It's no surprise that if one team is using magick and the others aren't, that team is going to win consistently. Clearly, other teams need to get in on the action and hire their own spellcasters. They could work to level the playing field by making sure every team has paranormal forces at their disposal.

And for those who are skeptical, keep in mind that it often comes out that top players or top teams are the ones using spells. For example, back when Tiger Woods was so dominant in golf he had an online "church" of fans praying (that is, casting spells) for him. After he was caught having affairs and the "church" disbanded, he kept playing and was still good - but not nearly as outstanding as he had been with paranormal assistance.

That's because spells work, full stop. In professional sports the differences between individual players is tiny. There's no such thing as a bad professional athlete, contrary to what angry fans might tell you after key losses. It comes down to each individual play, on which everybody involved is a great player but somebody has to wind up being the greatest player. The player on the field with probability weighted in his or her favor by spells will always be more likely to come out ahead.

So let's get with it, National Football League! Let's see some sorcerers on the sidelines. They could cast their spells right there, and make every game extra-interesting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Christian Ouija Board

You know how fundamentalist Christians hate Ouija boards? How they're supposed to summon demons and get people possessed and all that nonsense? Well, it turns out it's not entirely true. Yes, Christians really are using a device called "The Angels Talk Message Board" to communicate with angels, and it's the same exact thing as a Ouija board. Oh, except that it has an airbrushy picture of an angel, as shown above.

A week ago, we reported that charismatics are using “Christian tarot cards.” Christalignment, a ‘ministry’ run by Jen Hodge, had put together a “destiny card” schtick to help “reach people” in the New Age movement. You can read about that here, but they have since pulled down their videos. We also reported Hodge’s association with Bethel Church, which at first repudiated the tarot card ministry but upon finding out that Bethel members were involved with it, then deleted their rebuke and affirmed the practice.

Steve Kozar at Pirate Christian Radio posted a satire piece about “The Bethel Board,” a Ouija Board-type device by which charismatics can summon the demonic. While Kozar’s piece was satire, it appears that truth is stranger than fiction. Charismatics actually are using ‘Christian Ouija Boards,’ but not just as an evangelism technique. They are using them to communicate with ‘angels.’ Called “The Angels Talk: The Message Board that Connects You to Your Angels,” the device is used to communicate with spirits.

Note that this is NOT a satirical article. This thing really exists - you can buy it here from Amazon. And as you can see from the listing, it's been around since 1997!

This is yet another thing that I have absolutely no problem with aside from it highlighting the hypocrisy of fundamentalists. Ouija boards can be used to communicate with angels, no problem. They work for all kinds of spirits. Problem with them generally come from using them in an undisciplined fashion - calling out to any spirit that might happen to notice you instead of performing a magical operation to target the spirit you want. You will notice, though, that nothing of the sort can be seen here - no names of power, or sigils, or anything that might do something to tune this board to the angelic realm. So it's just a regular Ouija board that happens to have a picture of an angel on it.

So it's hypocritical to claim that other Ouija boards are dangerous but this one isn't. I happen to think that, in fact, neither are particularly dangerous and both can be used as effective spirit communication devices. Their effectiveness depends not on the board, but on the natural psychic ability of the user or users. And sticking an angel picture on the thing is not going to change anything.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Down With Satire!

I'm sure glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia. That's true for a lot of reasons. But today it's because back in September the country decided to criminalize online satire of religious values. I mean, I'm sure that if I lived there the anti-witchcraft squad would come for me long before the online satire police, but still. I do a lot of pointing and laughing at silly religious folks here on Augoeides and in Saudi Arabia I probably am breaking the law.

“Producing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disrupts public order, religious values and public morals through social media...will be considered a cybercrime punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($800,000),” the tweet said.

The country’s cyber crackdown has raised concerns among human rights groups, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—son and heir to the elderly King Salman and considered the power behind the throne—seeks to maintain the crown's tight control of society.

The government has used broad anti-terror legislation to prosecute dozens of citizens for their online activities, much of it on social media platforms like Twitter. In September 2017, the government asked Saudis to report any social media behavior “harming the state's reputation.”

Authorities even repurposed an app—launched in 2016 to help civilians report traffic violations and burglaries—to make it easier for Saudis to report each other. Announcing the new initiative, the interior ministry tweeted: “When you notice any account on social networks publishing terrorist or extremist ideas, please report it immediately via the application.”

As if satire and terrorism are the same thing. Am I a terrorist because I'm funny? Obviously I don't think so. But the truth is that Saudi Arabia is a pretty messed-up place, with all kinds of ridiculous civil liberty restrictions including this one. Since the article is months old I have no idea how many people may have been charged under this new law, but even if nobody has it's still a problem. Laws like this let the police criminalize dissent, which at this point should be allowed in any modern nation.

Friday, February 8, 2019

High-Level Witchcraft Attack

An astute Facebook commenter pointed out that the group of witches supporting Vladimir Putin that I wrote about yesterday bills itself as "The Empire of the Most Powerful Witches." They're not just AN Empire of Witches, people, they're THE Empire of the Most Powerful Witches. There's no evidence that they had anything to do with today's story, but these days you never know. If they're the most powerful witches, presumably that means they're "high-level."

Which brings us to today's article. "Firefighter Prophet" Mark Taylor has been mentioned a number of times here. Taylor has made one successful prophecy - that Donald Trump would win the presidency - and whole mess of false ones, or at least ones that seem to have no bearing in reality and which have never come to pass. During a recent talk radio appearance, Taylor claimed that a medical emergency affecting a judge serving at Guantanamo Bay was the result of a "high-level witchcraft attack."

During his recent appearance on Chris McDonald’s “The MC Files” program, so-called “firefighter prophet” Mark Taylor claimed that a recent medical emergency suffered by a judge serving at Guantanamo Bay was a “high-level witchcraft attack” aimed at disrupting President Trump’s plans to prosecute people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton using military tribunals.

Of course, there's no evidence of anything like these "plans" happening outside of Taylor's "prophecies." I recently saw a right-wing meme being passed around stating "If you impeach Trump, we'll impeach Obama." Whut? It's not even remotely surprising to me that there are a lot of people out there who don't understand what the concept of impeachment means aside from it being "something bad," but still. You have to actually hold a political office to be impeached.

But anyway...

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Witches for Putin

Since the election of Donald Trump, evangelical Christians have been up in arms about witches casting spells against him. There is some truth behind that belief, such as the Trump magick war from two years ago. Some magicians support Trump as well, such as Christian prayer warriors and so-called meme magicians. This week Vladimir Putin got some assistance as well, in the form of witches casting spells to embue him with "mystical energy."

Russian witches and seers performed on Tuesday one of their most powerful rituals, "the circle of power,” to pass on their mystical energy to President Vladimir Putin.

Dozens of people who claim to have supernatural powers stood side by side, reading spells in their effort to support the Russian head of state.

Self-proclaimed leader of the Russian witches Alyona Polyn said the main intention of the gathering is to enhance quality of life in Russia, the whole world in general and to support the president.

“We have gathered here to make the world better off through Russia,” Polyn said. "Come up with the greatness, power of Russia, direct the way of Vladimir Putin right and correctly throughout the word of mine,” she intoned during the ceremony.

This should cause something of a dilemma for evangelical Trump supporters, but it probably won't. Allegedly, evangelicals don't have a problem with Trump cozying up to Putin because they see Russia as a "Christian nation" that in theory supports their values. But it should be pretty clear that a guy who is getting magical assistance from a bunch of witches - in a state where he has easily amassed enough power to shut this ritual down without batting an eye - is not the sort of pious Christian they can support.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Click to Pray

In a new development that is literally about spiritual technology, last month the Roman Catholic Church launched a new smartphone app called Click to Pray. The app was covered by numerous media outlets, some of which considered it kind of silly. But as a practicing magician, I think the idea is good even if Christian theology is misguided on the idea of spells versus prayers.

Pope Francis launched an app Sunday called “Click to Pray,” which connects Catholics to a global network to share prayer intentions via their smartphones.

The pope opened the new app using an iPad during his Angelus address Jan. 20 and encouraged young Catholics, in particular, to download the smartphone app to pray the “Rosary of Peace” ahead of World Youth Day.

“Click to Pray” allows users to post prayer intentions and view other prayer requests in six languages. After posting on the social network, one can track how many Catholics around the world have prayed for their request.

The Android and iOS app includes the pope’s monthly prayer intentions, all of the mysteries of the rosary, and daily prayers for morning, afternoon, and night. In each of these sections, users can click a box to indicate that they have completed the prayer and view how many others also prayed.

This topic has come up here numerous times. Some Christians argue that the difference between spells and prayers is that prayers are devotional whereas spells are performed for some specific intent. That's actually a fair enough definition, and somebody who prays in an exclusively devotional manner might be doing mysticism but probably aren't doing magick. Theological issues pop up, though, the moment you start praying for something. That's when your prayer becomes a spell.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Via Solis Aquarius Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Aquarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday February 5th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be continuing to perform 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 Oasis 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 Aquarius.

The sign Aquarius is attributed to the power of "Astrology." This includes both learning about astrology and astrological methods, and working directly with specific astrological forces, aspects, and the like. As such, this is a general power with many possible practical applications.

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.

All: MAKAShANaH

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.

All: ABRAHADABRA

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.

All: AUMGN

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.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Intent and Procedure


Intent without procedure - Soviet psychic Nina Kulagina

This Magick Monday article was prompted by a discussion over on the Ceremonial Magick School group in response to what I consider to be kind of a silly discussion elsewhere on Facebook. The discussion was over whether intent or "protocol" (that is, procedure) is "more important" in magical operations. People bring this sort of thing up all the time, and what tends to happen is that it breaks down into camps where one side is saying that intent is what matters and the other is saying that procedure is what matters.

It should really be a no-brainer to see that both are important, and that arguing over which is objectively "more important" is generally a huge waste of time. Again, obviously, it depends on the practitioner. Since both aspects are important, if you're having problems getting results with your magick you should work on whichever of them you are weaker at. But I'm going to take a look at both perspectives and see if I can clarify what each of the "sides" is saying.

Intent is the foundation of magical work. In other words, before you go about trying to change anything, you need to figure out what you want to change. This is your intent. As Karl Popper pointed out, all scientific investigation starts with a problem to be investigated. You need to know what you are looking for or trying to do ahead of time, so that you can properly evaluate your results. It also informs how you design your charge, including the injunctions (what you want to happen) and limitations (what you don't want to happen).

Much like I talk about how the "Lesser" GD ceremonial rituals should really be called "general" or "foundational," I think that the way intent works as a foundational component is sometimes overlooked. It's not that you can't get some sort of paranormal effect without it, but the point of magick is not generating essentially random paranormal events. You want to generate paranormal events that serve your intent, or as I would put it in Thelemic terms, your will.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Demon Dance

Recently elected New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been all over the news lately. Progressives love her and conservatives hate her, and while I could be posting an article here about the relative merits of policies supported by her and opposed by her detractors, this is Augoeides so I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to point out that whatever you may think about Ocasio-Cortez and her politics, one thing that should be clear to any reasonable person is that there is absolutely no way that a viral dance video from her college days is an actual demon-summoning spell.

Naturally, this point is topical here only because some nutty fundamentalist Christian thinks otherwise.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has raised the ire of the entire Republican Party. She has been criticized for everything from what she chooses to wear to a dance video she made in college. Crackpot preacher Lance Wallnau claimed Ocasio-Cortez’s success is due to witchcraft.

In an interview with Charisma magazine, Wallnau claimed Ocasio-Cortez’s success is due to demonic power. “After watching that video, I suspect she was conjuring up demons from hell,” said Wallnau. “I mean, she came out of nowhere, and now she’s a national figure. Satan must have been involved with that. Wallnau’s views are shared by several other Christians, according to Right Wing Watch.

According to Dave Kubal, president of Intercessors for Prayer, a Republican prayer group, demonic forces are gathered around New York City. “The good news about the midterm elections is that there is a great opportunity for evil to be exposed in the days and weeks to come,” he said.

“It’s been widely publicized that there is a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This particular coven is found in the southern portion of New York City.”

There is this idea shared by a lot of fundamentalist Christians that conjuring demons or Satan or whatever they want to call it is super-easy, and all you have to do is dance around or recite the Lord's Prayer backwards or say something else blasphemous and all of a sudden you have paranormal powers. It totally doesn't work that way. Magick is a discipline that requires practice, discipline, and dedication. You need to know what you're doing in order to get real paranormal results, and knowing what you're doing can involve decades of work.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dinosaurs Were Too on the Ark!

Over the years I've made quite a bit of fun of the silly beliefs of Ken Ham and his Answers in Genesis creationist crowd. Back in the 1970's the widespread creationist belief was that dinosaurs went extinct because they died in the great flood. That (sort of) explained why their bones were found in various strata and the like. The short timeframes supported by the "young Earth" crowd didn't really allow for fossilization or a real understanding geography or anything like that, but it was at least consistent. The problem for Ken Ham was apparently that when he set out to build the Creation Museum he wanted to show stuff like people riding dinosaurs. Because the only thing cooler than Jesus is Jesus riding a dinosaur. Right?

So Answers in Genesis decided that dinosaurs WERE on Noah's Ark, and their Ark Encounter attraction suggests just that. What makes Ham and his crew so easy to make fun of is that they insist there's absolutely no ambiguity. Either you believe dinosaurs were on the Ark, or you're not a real Christian. Same with the Ussher Chronology, which they insist is the absolutely only possible correct Biblical timeline, even though they claim to be literalists and Ussher is an interpretation-heavy other-than-literal exposition that predicted the world would end in the year 2000. It didn't, which to my way of thinking disproves the whole thing.

As with occultists, the easiest ones to mock are the ones who insist their own contrived interpretations completely infallible and kick anyone who says otherwise out of their churches or Facebook groups or whatever. But I digress a little. In a recent interview, Answers in Genesis "geologist" Andrew Snelling (and yes, a Young Earth Creationist geologist deserves those quotes) doubled down on the whole dinosaurs-on-the-Ark thing by insisting that old stories like Beowulf that mention dragons are actually talking about literal dinosaurs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Living in the Wrong Neighborhood?

Here's an odd one from across the pond. According to this article from Metro, West Yorkshire police were called with a report of public indecency that sounds like a Witchcraft or Pagan ritual. Either that or it was some sort of kinky group doing a good impression of one. Whichever it was, the group seems to have chosen a location that turned out to be less secure and remote than they perhaps realized at first. They were practically stumbled upon by a local dog walker.

The dog walker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: ‘I let the dog off for a run and he went to the top of the wood, near a field where kids play and people walk. ‘He disappeared and I heard what I thought was shouting so I went to get him, as he’s a big softy, but I thought he had scared someone. ‘It sounded like someone shouting in a different language, but then I saw a lady in her late 30s laid on a white plastic sheet.’ She said she thought the woman ‘was dead’ at first, but when she went closer to try and find her dog, she saw a man. The man then used his finger to take blood from a dead bird and ‘put it on the woman’s face’ before they had sex, she claimed.

She added: ‘I dragged the dog away, and my friend, and I walked away. Then, about 10 minutes later, I walked back that way and my friend said she saw at least five other women clothed around them [the couple] and we realised they were chanting. ‘We decided to go and ring the police as it seemed odd, because they knew people were there and just carried on. ‘We checked back later, to see if they’d gone and they were dressed in tunics and walking away as if nothing happened and had the sheet folded over their arms. ‘It was completely bizarre.’

I especially appreciate how practical it is to bring a plastic sheet for this sort of thing. Obviously members of this group had prior experience with navigating grass and twigs in the buff. I have to say, never in my life have I come across anything even remotely similar on a random walk in the woods or across any of the local parks or whatever. So I have to ask - am I living in the wrong neighborhood?

To be clear, I'm a lot less interested in living near a forest where people go to have sex (which can be found in a lot of places) and a lot more interested in living near a forest where people go to practice magical rituals. I do live on Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, which has been the site of the gigantic May Day festival since the mid-seventies. Also, over a years a lot of local groups have held Wiccan and Pagan rituals there.

So I guess I'm about as close to that as I'm likely to be living in the city - and I grew up in the suburbs and hated it, so that's not an option. The countryside has its own problems. But at any rate, if these people were engaged in a magical operation I wish them all the success in the world. Otherwise, I at least hope that they had a good time.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Via Solis Capricorn Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Capricorn Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday January 15th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will continue to perform 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. It is important to keep in mind that "sex magick" such does not necessarily involve having sex, but rather working with the union of energetic polarities - which can be accomplished by many different 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.

All: MAKAShANaH

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.

All: ABRAHADABRA

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.

All: AUMGN

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.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Magicians Do Magick

There has been a steady slew of articles over the last year about how witchcraft has been going more mainstream and becoming more popular. You would think that would be a good thing for occultism and it probably will be in the long run, but it also has led to the rise of witchcraft as a fashion statement rather than a system of magical practice. I'm not going to link to one article in particular, as it shouldn't be too hard to Google up a long list. I am firmly of the opinion that if your "magick" is little more than a fashion statement, you shouldn't call yourself a magician.

There have always been people whose idea of being a "witch" consists of wearing lots of black Renaissance fair garb and running around with crystals and maybe a Tarot deck, neither of which they have any idea how to use effectively. But the mainstreaming of witchcraft seems to have brought them out in force. As I don't really think of myself as a witch I will leave it to practitioners who do to comment more directly. I will say that as I see it if you don't do magick you're not a magician, regardless of what you call yourself.

To be clear, I don't mean that you have to follow my philosophy of using practical magick for everything, all the time, for your work to qualify. I think that works of illumination designed to expand and enlighten your consciousness count too, though with operations of this sort there's a fine line between magick proper and mysticism. Basically I don't really have a problem describing a mystic as a magician, since in the Thelemic system ceremonial magick and mysticism work hand in hand and our definition of magick is broad enough to include both microcosmic and macrocosmic change in conformity with will.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Salem Encephalitis?

BBC has an interesting article up today discussing the possibility that an autoimmune illness, anti-NMDAR encephalitis, may have been responsible for some of the symptoms of "witchcraft" that fueled the Salem Witch Trials. Since the 1970's, the hypothesis that the witch craze in Salem might have been fueled by ergot poisoning - which can cause vivid hallucinations - has been reported in a number of places. However, as the article points out, no other symptoms of ergot poisoning were reported during the Salem trials.

Capital-S Skeptics like to run to their favorite explanation for the symptoms seen in Salem, "mass hysteria." As I've mentioned here before, this is basically the Skeptic version of "paranormal powers." We don't understand how it works, we can't predict situations in which it will happen, and we don't understand what triggers it. When a Skeptic describes something as "mass hysteria" he or she really means "I can't explain any of it, but what I do know is that anybody who calls it paranormal is deluded." In fact, whatever this phenomenon is, it is rare enough that it might as well be considered paranormal just like psychic abilities.

While I do understand that the witch trials and other events like them have a psychological component, I also know that they usually start with something, not nothing, and that something is usually inexplicable. That's why the ergotism hypothesis seems so appealing. It's fairly obvious that religious fundamentalists like the Puritans would interpret hallucinations as some sort of spiritual force, and interpret them as evil if they were threatening and scary - as hallucinations out of the blue often are.

But with no other symptoms consistent with ergotism the contention remains weak. That's why, according to an article published in the Journal of Neurology by Michael Zandi and Johnny Tam from University College in London, anti-NMDAR encephalitis could be a better candidate, especially in the case of the two cousins who started the whole thing up.

Here’s the story of a typical patient. She initially develops a flu-like illness. Within weeks, she becomes obsessed by god or the devil, consumed by paranoia and racked with insomnia. Now, she repeats the same words, then is struck mute. Next: seizures, writhing and contorted limbs, odd repetitive movements of the mouth and tongue. Her pulse races or slows, her blood pressure rises and falls. She sweats, drools, grunts and grimaces. She becomes catatonic and then comatose.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Is the White Horse Back?

For years I've enjoyed poking fun at Mitt Romney, better known to his detractors as Mittens. Romney's general awkwardness probably cost him the presidency in 2012, and on top of all that it's pretty easy to poke fun at anybody who owns a car elevator. One thing that I will say, though, is that Romney has been a consistent critic of President Donald Trump. Romney was elected Utah's Junior Senator in November, replacing the retiring Orrin Hatch, and his return to politics did not disappoint.

Romney penned an op-ed for the Washington Post that was highly critical of the president, prompting predictable angry tweets. Despite how amusing I find these occasional exchanges between prominent Republicans and the president are, Amanda Marcotte at Salon points out that up until now Republican criticism of Trump has been little more than sound and fury signifying nothing. Criticism may be rare, but actual votes against the president's agenda are pretty much non-existent.

The one noteworthy case I can think of is the late Senator John McCain who voted for cloture on the ACA repeal and then turned around and voted against the bill, killing it on the Senate floor. For the most part even the president's critics rapidly become his enablers and fall in line with their party when a vote is called, and Senator Romney will probably be no different. Already, comments like these do not sound encouraging.

But the (very) small chance that he might be even a little different is where this post drifts from politics in Augoeides territory. For years, rumors have circulated regarding "The White Horse Prophecy," an old piece of Mormon folklore - and possibly more. From Wikipedia:

The White Horse Prophecy is the popular name given an influential but disputed version given by Edwin Rushton, in about 1900, of statements supposedly made in 1843 by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, on the future of the Latter Day Saints (popularly called Mormons) and the United States.

The Latter Day Saints, according to Rushton's version, would "go to the Rocky Mountains and... be a great and mighty people," associated in the prophecy's figurative language, with one of the biblical four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. Smith's supposed original statement predicts that the US Constitution will one day "hang like a thread" but be saved by Latter-day Saints. The embellished version portrays it to be "by the efforts of the White Horse."

On the basis of either Rushton's version, which is widely known as "the White Horse Prophecy," or Smith's original statement, both some critics of Mormonism and some Mormon folk doctrine enthusiasts hold that Mormons should or actually expect that the US will eventually become a theocracy dominated by the LDS Church. However, some observers interpret the Mormon cultural artifact more blandly.

The idea that members of the LDS Church will someday or at various times take action to save an imperiled US Constitution has been referenced by numerous LDS Church leaders, but as to the Rushton version of the Prophecy, the LDS Church has stated that "the so-called 'White Horse Prophecy'... is not embraced as Church doctrine; while numerous Mormon fundamentalists continue to preach the doctrine."