Thursday, May 31, 2007

Harry Potter Foes Losing Ground

In Georgia, a judge ruled that Harry Potter books can remain on the shelves in schools despite arguments made by parent Laura Mallory, defeating yet another attempt by conservative Christians to have the books removed.

Mallory's failed argument is that Witchcraft is a religion and therefore making the Harry Potter books available in schools is a violation of the separation of Church and State. She might have a point if anything in the Harry Potter series resembled the tenets of the Wicca religion, but of course what the books really feature is fantasy novel-style spellcasting with no religious overtones aside from a generic good-versus-evil plotline.

On a personal note, I find it interesting that some conservative Christians get up in arms about how "separation of Church and State" is nonsense until they find a case in which they can use it to attack ideas that run counter to their beliefs. Mallory might have a point about consistent application of the law if the Narnia books of C.S. Lewis were banned by the school because of their Christian allegorical content, but I seriously doubt that is the case here.

In other Harry Potter news, it has been announced that a Harry Potter theme park will open in Orlando, Florida in 2009.

All Aboard for the Harry Potter Rollercoaster!

When you have your own Florida theme park, you've made it as far as popular culture is concerned.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Happy (Belated) May Day!

With everything going on this last weekend I haven't had much time to update the site. This last Sunday was the annual May Day Parade at Powderhorn Park, right next to my house. I actually wound up missing the parade because of our open house which we hold every year for the parade. Last year, so people had showed up while we were out watching the parade, so this year we had somebody (me) at the house the whole time. Thanks to those of you who made it - I hope that a good time was had by all.

From a magical research perspective, my weather control continues to get better. The night before the festival I summoned up a strong wind from the east to keep the storm fronts in western Minnesota away from the Twin Cities. Because I was casting so close to the event I used the full operant field to increase the spell's effectivness. My wife informed me that the wind continued throughout the day until 6 PM, the end of the festival, and then suddenly stopped. This matched my statement of intent precisely, and I hope that everyone at the festival enjoyed the day.

Slate Takes On "The Secret"

Emily Yoffe of Slate has a new article up discussing her attempts to apply the techniques published by Rhonda Byrne in The Secret for two months.

I've Got The Secret

As I've discussed in several articles, The Secret is essentially a rehash of the basic postive thinking methodology that originated with the New Thought movement in the early 1900's. That does not make it worthless by any means, but as Yoffe discovered, its power is substantially more limited than Byrne's sweeping claims. Positive visualization and affirmations constitute a system of magick, but one that is less precise and effective than systematic ritual work.

UPDATE: Slate has another article today (May 17th) that gives the pessimistic counterpoint to The Secret.

Think Negative!

The trick that allows a person to always think positively and at the same time be effective in the world is actually pretty simple - keep your emotions positive while maintaining an accurate view of facts. This is done by cultivating the realization that how you feel has less to do with your external surroundings than society normally implies.

UPDATE #2: Slate is really hammering these folks. Yet another article today (May 29th) on the "power of negative thinking."

Pessimist Nation

To be fair, negative thinking has little to do with these testimonials and contingency planning has everything to do with them. That's a good lesson - never assume that any magical method is all-powerful. Visualize success, but always make sure that you have a plan solidly in place for those times when the method doesn't work.

UPDATE #3: (May 30th) Some Christians don't like The Secret either.

The Secret: A Cosmic Dream Machine

Take a look at the references at the end - they cite me! Unfortunately the author's logic is something like (1) This ritual magician (me) says The Secret is magick, (2) Magick is bad, so (3) The Secret is bad, rather than anything constructive or interesting.

To materialize non-matter into matter, and to effect causal change through the power of thought is a hallmark of sorcery/magick. In essence, this is an attempt to be one’s own god, deciding for one’s self what is best and what is needed, and then endeavoring to create that desired reality.

I suppose what distances me from most Christians is that my first response to this assertion is "and?"