Thursday, February 20, 2020

Satanists Did It!

As you can probably guess, I happen to think that the last thing we need in politics is more Christians. Or, more to the point, more Poor Oppressed Christians who believe that passing laws based on their religious beliefs is a good and noble goal. A group made up of Christian lawmakers (who obviously disagree with me) recently put up a Twitter poll asking if America would be better off if more Christians served in elected office. It did not turn out as expected, which maybe means that there's hope for our country yet.

After more than 16,000 replies, the answer was an overwhelming “no,” which received 95.8% of the vote. In response, the group accused “atheists and Satanists” of “religious persecution” for voting in the poll. Congress is overwhelmingly Christian, far out of proportion with the people they represent. According to a Pew survey last year, the Senate and House are nearly 90% Christian, compared with 65% of America as a whole.

First off, why should atheists and Satanists not get a vote? They're citizens of this country too. How is expressing an opionion "persecution?" And finally, why can't these folks accept that even a lot of mainstream Christians are sick of their nonsense? I'm willing to bet that a lot of Christians who don't consider themselves oppressed by the mere existence of dissenting opinions voted "No" in that poll.

One in four Americans now considers themselves atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” a position publicly held by just one member of the current Congress, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who lists her religion as “none.” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) describes himself as a humanist, while a handful of others haven’t acknowledged a faith or lack thereof.

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers was started last year by Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who warned about the rise of witches in a recruitment email. It’s not clear how many members the group has, but its board of advisers includes a number of current and former elected officials, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Always Pay Me First

I have to say, as much as I try not to make fun of other folks' religious beliefs, I never get tired of mocking Paula White. Donald Trump's "spiritual advisor" is a Prosperity Gospel preacher who is considered extreme even by other Prosperity Gospel preachers. Although I don't necessarily have a problem with Christianity, I have no problem whatsoever pointing out the obvious - Prosperity Gospel is basically a scam. The idea that God will reward you for sending these preachers money with a lot more money is more like a pyramid scheme than a system of spirituality, and just like a pyramid scheme, the person getting rich is the one at the top. Here's yet another example of White's ridiculousness.

Prosperity gospel minister Paula White is apparently encouraging her followers to live in the dark if necessary to keep the lights on at her church. According to a report by Mother Jones, White, who serves as Trump’s “spiritual adviser,” told followers at her Supernatural Ministry School in Miami that they could earn God’s appreciation by sending her church as much money as possible — even if that meant they weren’t able to pay their electric bills.

White specifically told her followers that if they pay their Florida Power and Light (FPL) electric bill every month in lieu of giving it to her church, then they are treating the electric company better than they are God. “Instead of writing that check to the house of God as I’m instructed to, then what I’m saying spiritually is, ‘FPL, I have now established a spiritual law that put you first,” White told her congregants. “So FPL, save my family, FPL, deliver my drug-addicted son, FPL, kill this cancer that doctors say is in my body.”

The funny thing is, this is absolutely not what people who pay their electric bill before donating to Paula White's church are doing. They are treating their electric company better than they are treating Paula White. Obviously, this heresy cannot stand. More seriously, though, this attitude is the same reason that faith healing is dangerous.

If someone is severely ill and receiving proper medical care, there's nothing wrong with praying for their recovery. When my friends are in the hospital I do healing spells for them too. But if I were to tell them that seeking medical care shows a "lack of faith" that will prevent whatever deity I follow from healing them, I'm committing magical malpractice. Magical and/or spiritual healing should complement conventional medical care, not replace it. The deal is that as with anything else, you take all the non-magical actions you can to make your recovery as likely as possible. Then you use a spell to close the probability gap and "seal the deal."

In the Paula White example, having electricity means that you can heat and cool your home, and do what you need to do to get ready for work where you earn money. Those things are important. You have to make money to be able to donate money. But Prosperity Gospel preachers invert that whole relationship solely to enrich themselves at the expense of their less fortunate followers - who are remain less fortunate than they otherwise might be because they are donating all their money hoping for a payoff that probably will never come.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Power of Luck

Why practice magick at all? Some of us, like me, have been fascinated by it from a young age. For most people, though, it remains a niche interest that they just find weird - if they even understand what it is.

The truth is that there's a really compelling reason to practice that has to do with the power and influence of luck in our society and for that matter the rest of the world. Vox has an article up that talks about just how pervasive luck really is, and how much it has to do with how our lives really turn out.

These recent controversies reminded me of the fuss around a book that came out a few years ago: Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, by economist Robert Frank. (Vox’s Sean Illing interviewed Frank in 2016.)

It argued that luck plays a large role in every human success and failure, which ought to be a rather banal and uncontroversial point, but the reaction of many commentators was gobsmacked outrage. On Fox Business, Stuart Varney sputtered at Frank: “Do you know how insulting that was, when I read that?”

It’s not difficult to see why many people take offense when reminded of their luck, especially those who have received the most. Allowing for luck can dent our self-conception. It can diminish our sense of control. It opens up all kinds of uncomfortable questions about obligations to other, less fortunate people.

Nonetheless, this is a battle that cannot be bypassed. There can be no ceasefire. Individually, coming to terms with luck is the secular equivalent of religious awakening, the first step in building any coherent universalist moral perspective. Socially, acknowledging the role of luck lays a moral foundation for humane economic, housing, and carceral policy.

Building a more compassionate society means reminding ourselves of luck, and of the gratitude and obligations it entails, against inevitable resistance.

Read the whole article - it's quite good, and makes a point that a lot of people, particularly those who happen to be conventionally successful, don't like to admit.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Thoughts on Tarot Divination

I was asked (a while ago now) if I could put up a post on how I do divination. Looking back through my posts I haven't really said much about it even though, at least in my opinion, I use it pretty effectively. Now I also will say that a lot of the time when I'm looking for information I tend to call up spirits and ask questions directly. But one thing that I have found over the years is that unless you are communicating with an entity that is closely related to time, spirits don't actually see the future much better than we do. They also don't always have the best handle on the material consequences of interacting with the physical world, which is why you should always use limitations in your charges that rule out undesirable paths of manifestation for your injunction.

Since you can't ask a spirit something like what the overall outcome of an operation will be from your perspective, divination is the tool that you use to fill that gap. I pretty much exclusively use Tarot for divination, and I'm a Thelemite so I use Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot - no surprise there. What I like about the Thoth is that it lines up better with Crowley's Naples Arrangement of the Tree of Life, and also that it incorporates some specifically Thelemic concepts that I find highly meaningful in terms of my personal spiritual beliefs. I also really like Frieda Harris' art-deco-style drawings, basically because according to my personal aesthetic they just look cool.

And that whole looking cool thing is important. If you don't think the Tarot deck you're using looks cool, it probably won't work very well for you. That's because the Tarot is a tool that primarily makes use of your own psychic abilities to foretell the future and/or the real-world outcome of magical operations. As a human being, one advantage your consciousness has over that of a spirit is that it's more attuned to the physical world in general. This gives you a totally different perspective on the universe than anything you could conjure up, and generally that is the perspective from which you will get the best view of unfolding material events.

As an aside, if you want a good beginner reference for learning the Thoth Tarot, the best book out there is Lon DuQuette's Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. Crowley's The Book of Thoth itself is one of the most comprehensive books on the Tarot ever written, but it's not really a beginner-level text.

At any rate, since you are more acquainted with the nature of your own consciousness than any spirit is likely to be, operating from your own perspective is also useful in the context of mystical operations. Contrary to what some magicians have told me, I know from personal experience that spirits - especially the more powerful and intelligent ones - can read your mind. But they usually don't really understand your mind. My its very nature, the consciousness of a flesh-and-blood creature is always going be at least somewhat alien to a disembodied entity - and in a lot of cases, very alien. This is why in many cases you have to be literal with spirits. They can read surface thoughts, but not necessarily the context or the full intent behind them.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

"Cultists" at the Cafe

The always-sensationalistic Daily Mail has an article up today about a woman name Anya Driscoll who went to use the toilet at a vegan cafe in south London and encountered a meeting of "Satanic cult members" on the way. The alleged cultists were, horror of horrors, eating brunch. But Driscoll knew they were cultists because they were wearing robes and a couple of them had ceremonial daggers.

Anya Driscoll, who works as a copywriter, was dining with her brother at the Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall on Saturday when she ventured to the toilet and came across the meeting of 20 people in floor-length black robes with ceremonial daggers eating pork pies.

After taking to Twitter to share her story, she discovered it was likely a meeting of Order of Oriental Templars, or OTO - a group which was brought to Britain in the early 20th century by infamous occultist Aleister Crowley, who was widely believed to be a satanist, and was dubbed 'the wickedest man in the world'.

Anya told how she was enjoying her mid-morning meal when her brother went to the toilet and came back urging her to find the bathroom. 'He won't tell me what's up, so - suspecting I'm going to look at some really bad art about veganism - I go,' she wrote.

'I was so wrong. I step through a signposted door that takes me into the terraced building next door. The toilet is apparently on the third floor... It feels I'm walking up the stairs in a private home. At the top of the first flight of stairs is a landing room.

'It appears to be a kitchen. On a table, a Classic British buffet of scotch eggs, breadsticks, cheese etc is laid out. The room is full. A party! Except... All the people - and there are at least 20 of them - are wearing floor-length black robes. Some have ceremonial daggers. They're making polite conversation and chomping on mini pork pies. It's like Eyes Wide Shut meets Keeping Up Appearances.'

Monday, February 10, 2020

Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Ceremonial Forms

A question came up over the weekend regarding the pentagram and hexagram as lineal figures and their relationship to microcosmic and macrocosmic aspects of magical work. The confusion surrounds my discussion of the pentagram as a microcosmic symbol and the hexagram as a macrocosmic symbol, and it was pointed out that surely there are macrocosmic aspects to the elements and microcosmic aspects to the planets and signs - even though elements are invoked with the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram and planets and signs are invoked with the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram.

As I've pointed out in a number of other places, the so-called "Lesser" rituals of the pentagram and hexagram do entirely different things than the so-called "Greater" rituals. A Greater Ritual of the Pentagram is NOT a "better" or "enhanced" Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. Likewise, a Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is NOT a "better" or "enhanced" Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. The "Greater" and "Lesser" rituals perform entirely different functions. "Lesser" really means "General" and "Greater" really means specific.

So the "Lesser" rituals are used to set up your magical field, the space in which you will be performing your magical operations. A "Greater" ritual is used once that field is set up to "tune it" to the specific quality that are working with. Then, once the proper environment is created by the space tuning, you either (A) use your own magical power to focus on your specific intent, (B) conjure a spirit to perform the desired function using conjuration/charge/license to depart, or (C) do both, which usually results in the largest probability shift.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

New Mothman Documentary

The Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia is one of the most famous cryptids in the United States. The creature was originally sighted around the time of the Silver Bridge collapse in 1967. The whole area around western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky has a whole lot of weird activity to this day, as touched on in the Hellier documentary series that I reviewed last month and many other places in the paranormal literature. A new documentary called The Mothman Legacy promises to recount more sightings and shed some light on the events surrounding the mysterious creature.

Per press release, "The final chapter in [Seth] Breedlove's Mothman trilogy, The Mothman Legacy will tell the story of dozens of sightings of a folk legend of dubious origin, who allegedly continues to be seen throughout the area today. With a dozen eyewitness interviews, the film promises to offer some of the most intense and terrifying encounters ever recorded.

"Many believe the Mothman to be a 1960's phenomenon, an omen only appearing before tragedy, and disappearing after a flap of sightings and the subsequent Silver Bridge collapse in 1967. But what if there's more? What if the origins of this omen trace back much further and go much deeper than anyone realized? And what if...the sightings never ended?

"The Mothman Legacy is directed by Seth Breedlove and produced by Adrienne Breedlove. Lyle Blackburn returns to narrate with cinematography by Zac Palmisano and an original score by Brandon Dalo. The Mothman Legacy is being funded through a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter which launches Thursday, February 6th. Rewards include copies of the film on DVD and Blu-Ray, posters, t-shirts, and more."

This sounds fascinating, and I probably should watch the other two documentaries in the series to get up to speed before I check this one out. They are Eyes of the Mothman from 2011 and The Mothman of Point Pleasant from 2017. There have been a few non-paranormal explanations floated for the Mothman, such as sightings of large owls. But while those may explain some of the eyewitness reports, it doesn't really address all the other strangeness that surrounds the Mothman legend. Maybe this documentary will.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Trump Wizard's Easy Spell Succeeds

Here's one from the level one spell books, or maybe level zero. In the lead-up to Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, "prophetess" Amanda Grace called on an "angelic army" to protect the president from being removed from office. That is, she conjured thousands (or more) of incredibly powerful celestial spirits in order to make sure something that was basically mathematically impossible didn't happen.

In a Wednesday night appearance on The MC Files, “prophetess” Amanda Grace told host Chris McDonald that she has called on God to unleash an “angelic army” featuring “warring angels with flaming swords” to protect President Donald Trump from the ongoing impeachment trial that’s currently taking place in the Senate, Right Wing Watch reports.

Jay Sekulow, the right-wing religious attorney who’s part of President Donald Trump’s legal team, was the first topic of discussion. Grace predicted he “will be a beacon of light on the hill, speaking with wisdom that only comes from Almighty God.”

“The den of lions will not touch him, for I have marked him and positioned him for such a time as this,” Grace claimed, speaking for God. “I will give him vision and I will expose to him what is being plotted behind closed doors. Revelation will come forth and he will emerge an incredible witness and mouthpiece for my glory. For I, the Lord, have already ruled in the courts, the gavel has dropped.

Later in the broadcast, she offered this prayer:

“We ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Father God, your army, your angelic army, your warring angels with flaming swords be dispatched, Father God, to shred, destroy, and put down every plot, scheme, contract, assignment, hex, vex, spell, and attempt of the enemy against the president, against those with him, against those praying for him, and against your people. We ask that you send, Father God, the captain of the army of the Lord of Hosts to lead that team right now — that legal team of the president’s — to lead them to victory and to expose and shine your divine light on what is hidden.”

Thursday, February 6, 2020

"Prophet" Dave Daubenmire Suing NFL

Dave Daubenmire has been mentioned here on Augoeides before. He's one of those Christian talk radio personalities who claims to be a prophet and then spouts a bunch of nonsensical crap. Over the years he's covered weather terrorists, drinking fetus blood, and aborting babies for Satanic rituals. As you can probably guess, none of those things are true or real. Daubenmire's latest cause is suing the NFL because the Super Bowl halftime show was too sexy and therefore "endangered his immortal soul."

The halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl, featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez dancing in daring outfits onstage, drew fury from right-wing Christians — as two middle-aged women of color showing skin is apparently more shameful to them than the president of the United States bragging about assaulting women.

But according to Right Wing Watch, one Christian activist, Dave Daubenmire, is taking things even further. On his “Pass the Salt” podcast, Daubenmire said that he plans to sue the National Football League because the halftime show threatens to prevent him “from getting into the kingdom of Heaven.” “I think we ought to sue,” said Daubenmire.

“Would that halftime show, would that have been rated PG? Were there any warnings that your 12-year-old son—whose hormones are just starting to operate – was there any warning that what he was going to see might cause him to get sexually excited?”

Well, signs point to "yes," because every year Christian activists complain that the halftime show is too racy. Everybody knew up front it was going to be female pop stars singing and dancing, and anybody who knows anything about such performances knows that they are going to be at least a little suggestive no matter what. So it seems to me that he totally should have known and not let the kid watch, if he really believes what he says.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Ireland Abolishes Blasphemy Laws

In a big win for religious freedom in Ireland, the nation has now formally abolished its "blasphemy laws." Humanist groups have been campaigning for the repeal for many years now, leading up to a referendum in 2018 to amend the Irish constitution to remove the relevant clause. The change has now gone into effect, and Ireland is blasphemy-law-free.

The change in law comes after the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in referendum in October 2018 to amend its constitution to remove a clause which punished so called “blasphemy”. It was agreed that the following clause would be removed from the Irish constitution: “blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law”.

Atheist Ireland, a member of Humanists International, has spent more than a decade lobbying for repeal of the blasphemy law with the Irish Government and Department of Justice. Atheist Ireland report that the Irish President has recently signed the Blasphemy (Abolition of Offences and Related Matters) Bill 2019.

Humanists International coordinates the global campaign to repeal blasphemy laws. The Board of Humanists International made a direct appeal to the people of Ireland in May 2018 when it passed a resolution calling for a ‘yes vote’ to the proposed constitutional amendment. Also, in August 2018, the chief executive of Humanists International also urged the people of Ireland to scrap its “blasphemy” laws in a speech to the Humanist Association of Ireland in Carlingford.

Blasphemy laws aren't just an issue for atheists and other humanists. They can easily be exploited by fundamentalist religious groups to go after anyone who doesn't share their strict religious beliefs, whether their targets are believers or not. With the recent rise of the Christian Right in the United States, I can only imagine how much damage they could do if they had blasphemy laws at their disposal.

Congratulations to the people of Ireland, for protecting the rights of all people to practice - or not practice - their religious beliefs as they see fit.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

This Port Tastes Like Pee

This story is from a month ago, but it's still funny enough to post. A presenter on the BBC Antiques Roadshow television series sampled a bottle from the nineteenth century, believing it to be port. Unfortunately for him, analysis revealed the that bottle was in fact a "witch bottle" containing urine, brass pins, and other tokens intended to ward off evil.

Glass specialist Andy McConnell inspected a sealed bottle from the 19th century on the BBC show, and decided to sample its mystery contents in front of an expectant audience. Presenter Fiona Bruce had unfortunate news for Mr McConnell, telling him that expert analysis of the antique bottle’s “very brown” liquid revealed it to be an unwanted vintage.

The glassware antiquarian sipped the well-aged urine when valuing a bottle in Trelissick, Cornwall, for a 2016 programme, after the item was found buried under the threshold of a local man’s house. Mr McConnell used a syringe to transfer a sample from the bottle to a tumbler, and sipped at the mystery beverage.

“It’s very brown,” he told the audience at the time. “I think it’s port. It’s port or red wine, or it’s full of rusty old nails and that’s rust.” In a programme broadcast on Sunday, Fiona Bruce delivered bad news to the specialist, after experts at Loughborough University had analysed the contents of the bottle.

The idea behind a witch bottle is that it acts as a sort of "lightning rod" to attract curses and negative magick. The urine links the bottle to the caster so that a spell targeting them will hit the bottle instead, and the container itself and the sharp metal objects usually placed within contain and neutralize the spell, rendering it harmless.

After hundreds of years there probably isn't much magick left in the bottle, so the presenter will likely escape any negative effects from sampling the bottle - you know, aside from drinking somebody's ancient pee.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Via Solis Aquarius Elixir Rite - Year Three

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Aquarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday January 28th, at Leaping Laughter Lodge, 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 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 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.


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, January 23, 2020

Haunted Elsa Doll

This story is more silly than spooky or even obviously paranormal, but what the heck. The British tabloid Mirror has an article up about an alleged haunted Elsa doll from the Disney film Frozen. Basically, the story goes that the family tried to throw it away multiple times, but it CAME BACK! That's some scary stuff, kids!

A mum from Houston has taken to social media to reveal why she believes her daughter, Aurelia, has a "haunted" Elsa doll. In a viral post on Facebook , that has now been deleted, Emily Madonia explained that Aurelia's toy had first started to freak them out when it began singing and talking in Spanish, while switched off.

Right, the electronics developed a glitch. And? This happens fairly often with cheap electronics.

She and her husband Mat decided to throw the doll out (with their daughter's blessing) but since then it has found it's way back into their home, not once but twice. Emily wrote: "Mat threw it away weeks ago and then we found it inside on a wooden bench.

"Okay…so we were weirded out and tightly wrapped it in its own garbage bag and put that garbage bag INSIDE another garbage bag filled with other garbage and put it in the bottom of our garbage can underneath a bunch of other bags of garbage and wheeled it to the curb and it was collected on garbage day."

The family then went on holiday, thinking the whole thing was behind them, but when they returned home, the doll was back. "We were out of town, forgot about it. Today Aurelia says, 'Mom I saw the Elsa doll again in the backyard'," she continued.

The simplest explanation - the kid likes the doll but doesn't want to stand up to the parents. So instead of arguing, she makes a show of going along with throwing the doll away and then brings it back inside. I have kids. I know how this kind of thing goes. It's even possible that the Facebook post about this was removed because she finally fessed up.

But we'll never know, right? Maybe the ghost haunting the doll logged onto Facebook and took the post down. Sure, that's possible - you know, if this happened to be a ghost with some computer skills...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Book Banners At It Again

Last week, a number of news outlets covered an outrageous bill proposed to the State Legislature of Missouri. The bill would empower a "parental oversight board" to determine whether books stocked by public libraries are "potentially inappropriate" for minors. So basically, this would be an elected panel with the power to ban books from libraries. It should come as no surprise to any of my readers to find out that I vehemently oppose such a plan. It's especially heinous in that it proposes fines and jail time (!) for librarians who refuse to comply with the law.

Under the parental oversight of public libraries bill, which has been proposed by Missouri Republican Ben Baker, panels of parents would be elected to evaluate whether books are appropriate for children. Public hearings would then be held by the boards to ask for suggestions of potentially inappropriate books, with public libraries that allow minors access to such titles to have their funding stripped. Librarians who refuse to comply could be fined and imprisoned for up to one year.

“The main thing is, I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material,” Baker told a local news station. “Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.” Titles including Sherman Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a young adult novel about the rape of a teenager, have all come under fire in Missouri over the last decade.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hellier - A Review

It always has seemed logical to me that there should be a lot more overlap between magicians and people investigating psychic abilities and other paranormal phenomena. In my magical models series I discussed aspects of the "psychic model" versus the "spirit model" of magick, and concluded that both play a role in successful magical operations. I suspect that the same is true of other paranormal phenomena ranging from cryotids to UFOs to premonitions and synchronicities. Synchronicities, in particular, seem to strongly correlate with both magical practice and the "strangeness" or "weirdness" that paranormal researchers associate with areas where a lot of paranormal activity seems to be happening.

The television series Hellier, currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is a good exemplar of this idea. The story begins with a group of paranormal investigators who receive a series of emails describing a series of events in the little town of Hellier, Kentucky that sounds similar to the famous Hopkinsville Goblins case. In the emails, the sender describes goblin-like creatures emerging from a local cave and harassing him and his family. He sends photos of the creatures' footprints and some blurry pictures that are supposed to be of the creatures themselves. But soon after that, the emails just stop.

Season One of the series covers the investigation in Hellier. The investigators travel to the town, ask around, and have some trouble running down leads. The locals seem unwilling to talk, and the few people who sound promising at first turn out to not have much to contribute. The series does a nice job of showcasing various tools used by modern paranormal investigators, especially the use of the SB7 spirit box. The team also tracks what they consider to be highly significant synchronicities and general weirdness as they explore the area.

As a practicing magician, I had a lot of moments of "Use some freaking magick!" while watching Season One. I also was somewhat skeptical about some of the synchronicities that the team considered significant, and how impressed they seemed to be by them. Practicing magicians encounter synchronicities at the level seen on the show literally all the time, and the challenge is less recognizing them and more discounting their importance. The reason is that synchonicities are a side effect of both magical practice and paranormal phenomena, and they don't necessarily have any deeper meaning.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Against Freaking Cartoons

Just like with Harry Potter years ago, Christians are complaining about a new animated Disney fantasy series because it dares to have a protagonist who uses (fantasy) magic. I figure these folks must just hate the entire fantasy genre, because fantasy fiction without magic is pretty much not-fantasy-fiction. Also, doesn't Disney have a long history of animated films that include magic and magic-using characters?

This is so beyond Cinderella it's not even funny. Disney has come up with a new cartoon about a teenager who, in their words, "finds herself stuck in the Demon Realm and battles the forces of evil alongside a rebellious witch and a pint-sized warrior."

As an aside, the author of this article realizes that the whole point of Cinderella is that the fairy godmother uses magic, right? And that Cinderella herself benefits from it?

In this so-called fantasy world, the main character, Luz, "pursues her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda's (the rebellious witch's) apprentice." It's called "The Owl House" and is set to premiere on January 10th on the Disney Channel. Here is the link to the show's trailer if you're inclined to watch it.

A "so-called fantasy world?" Does the author seriously believe that this fantasy series is real? I sure don't, and I actually cast spells in real life. Fantasy magic has nothing to do with the real thing - because it's fictional.

The show tries to portray witchcraft as a positive tool to fight evil. That's similar to what real-life witches have been promoting over the past few years as they've been putting hexes on President Trump and others in order to fight for their beliefs.

It's also exactly how magic is portrayed in Cinderella. I mean, the evil stepmother is usually actually referred to as "evil stepmother." And the fairy godmother's (fantasy) magic is what allows Cinderella to escape her clutches. I have to ask - has the author of this article even seen Disney's Cinderella?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Integrating the Headless Rite - Jupiter

Lately I have been experimenting with adapting some techniques from the PGM into my ritual templates. This ritual is an example - incorporating the well-known Headless Rite into a Jupiter operation for finding employment. For whatever reason, I seem to be very, very good at job spells and not nearly as good at spells for success in business. So I figured that I would play to my strength here, and besides, I know several people who happen to be looking for jobs at the moment who I think could benefit from a rite like this. The basic formula should be easy to adapted to any of my other operations in the same manner as shown here.

One of the things I've done with this version that's a little different from what a lot of people do when modified this ritual for modern use is that I have left in most of the original exorcism structure. The idea is this: not only does the caster use the Headless Rite as a preliminary invocation during which they identify with the divine in the form of the Headless One, they also use it to simultaneously exorcise the target of hindrances and obstacles that may impede the goal of the rite. This is similar to idea of banishing before you invoke, and whatever traditional PGM practitioners think about mash-ups like this, the hope is that the exorcism component will help to deal with "sticky" problems for which more straightforward magical operations have failed or have been less effective than desired.

Ideally the setup for this should be some sort of containment structure in which the subject can sit or stand, or barring that they should be placed in the center of the temple and the caster or casters should them perform the rite around them. I generally use the Enochian Holy Table for this, with legs removed and placed on the floor. But other structures and configurations are certainly possible.

This is an explicitly Thelemic ritual, employing the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire along with the Prayer of the Aeon and a "Thelemicized" version of some of the Headless Rite text - though the version here is much closer to the PGM original than is Liber Samekh. Like my Planetary Work - Jupiter post, it then calls upon the angel, intelligence, and spirit of the Path of Kaph, attributed to Jupiter and the Fortune card in the Tarot.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Aggressive Satanism?

I suppose, if you really think about it, the opposite of "palatable occultism" might be "aggressive Satanism" - you know, if a significant portion of this alleged "Satanism" really had anything to do with actual occultism.

Here's the background. Father Francois Dermine, a longtime Roman Catholic exorcist, claimed in an article published in Crux that society is in grave danger due to the rise of what he calls "aggressive Satanism." The problem is that most of what he's railing against is only "Satanism" according to the literal definition put forth by conservative Roman Catholicism - that is, pretty much anything that's not Roman Catholicism.

Roman Catholic exorcists are some of the last practitioners of anything resembling ceremonial magick to be found among mainstream Christians, so to some extent I try to avoid making fun of them. On the other hand, they also say some pretty dumb things, like arguing that anybody who takes a yoga class incurs a significant risk of demonic possession. I can't say I've ever come across anybody who legitimately got possessed by these supposed yoga demons, so I think that argument is ridiculous.

Now it's not completely silly to point out that aggression and violence are major problems in society and are dangerous. But if you look around, it's not like being a Christian means you're any less likely to engage in them. Sure, it should, if you really are trying to follow the tenets of the religion. But the very existence of massive "Prosperity Gospel" churches should dispel any notion that all Christians pay attention to what Jesus actually taught.

“There are many groups of satanism,” Dermine said, noting that internet exposure has also increased, and references to the demonic are increasingly prevalent in videogames and school games such as the “Charlie Charlie challenge,” in which players cross two pencils on a grid with sectors marking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and ask a supernatural being, “Charlie,” to answer the questions they ask.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Via Solis Capricorn Elixir Rite - Year Three

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Capricorn Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday January 7th, at Leaping Laughter Lodge, 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) it 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.


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.