Thursday, June 30, 2016

Trump a "Baby Christian"

Maybe it's because of his tiny hands.

Earlier this week, James Dobson of Focus on the Family declared that Donald Trump had accepted Christ and should be treated as a "baby Christian." After being questioned by other Evangelical leaders, he clarified his comments. As North Carolina minister John Pavlovitz points out, by just about every meaningful measure Trump is a terrible Christian. But Dobson seems convinced nonetheless, or at least completely blinded by his hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Only the Lord knows the condition of a person's heart. I can only tell you what I've heard. First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit. I also hear that Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ.

Do I know that for sure? No. Do I know the details of that alleged conversion? I can't say that I do.

But there are many Christian leaders who are serving on a faith advisory committee for Trump in the future. I am among them. There are about 45 of us that includes Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, Jack Graham, Ben Carson, James Robison, Jerry Johnson, and many others whom you would probably know.

We've all agreed to serve. How will that play out if Trump becomes president? I don't know. It is a good start, I would think.

If anything, this man is a baby Christian who doesn't have a clue about how believers think, talk and act. All I can tell you is that we have only two choices, Hillary or Donald. Hillary scares me to death.

And, if Christians stay home because he isn't a better candidate, Hillary will run the world for perhaps eight years. The very thought of that haunts my nights and days. One thing is sure: we need to be in prayer for our nation at this time of crisis.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Religious Freedom Ruling Stands

The Supreme Court has issued several important decisions over the last few days. One of those decisions was allowing a ruling to stand in a religious freedom case from the state of Washington. Washington passed a law stating that pharmacies could not refuse to stock particular drugs for religious reasons. This was challenged by a pharmacy that wanted to get around the whole "religious objection" problem by simply not stocking the medication in question.

In 2007, Washington state passed a law making it illegal to refuse to stock a drug for reasons of conscience. It was challenged by the owners of a supermarket-based pharmacy who declined on religious grounds to handle morning-after pills.

"Dispensing these drugs would make them guilty of destroying life," their lawyer said.

I'm going to break in here and point something out, because I keep seeing it glossed over in news reports on these "religious freedom" contraception cases. The morning-after pill is not an abortion pill. That would be RU-486, a completely different drug. The morning-after pill does not and cannot end a pregnancy once conception has occurred.

What a lot of people don't realize is that sperm can stay alive for seven days inside a woman's body, and conception usually happens during that time rather than at the exact moment of intercourse. So the morning-after pill is a high dose of regular birth control medication - which, by the way, does not and cannot end a pregnancy either. It suppresses ovulation for the week during which the sperm is still active.

I don't have a problem with reasonably accommodating religious beliefs so long as they don't interfere with the lives of anyone else, but I really wish we had a legal standard here that included "accurate" along with "sincerely held." Many religious beliefs deal with spiritual principles that cannot be experimentally tested, but others are obviously wrong.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Elemental Work - Air

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

This article is the third in my Elemental Work series, covering the element of Air. The basic symbol set of the Western Magical Tradition consists of the elements, planets, and signs of the zodiac, and realistically an effective magician should be familiar with how to work with all of them. These basic conjuration rituals for each of the classical elements will be my "Magick Monday" posts for this week and next week, when I'll be wrapping up the series with the element of Fire.

The elemental schema used in the Thelemic and Golden Dawn systems involves five elements, adding Spirit to the classical arrangement. I will probably put together a ritual for Spirit at some point, but as there are only four traditional elemental Kings, the ritual will be significantly different in a number of respects. There also is the issue of Active versus Passive Spirit, and it might make more sense to do two separate Spirit rituals. But I haven't worked out what I want to do there yet.

If you've already read through my last two posts, you will probably find parts of this one repetitive. That's intentional, as I want each of these posts to be able to stand on its own without reference to the others. Incidentally, this has been one of the biggest challenges for me with respect to my Enochian books. I want each book to stand on its own, but at the same time I want to make sure that I re-hash as little as I can get away with.

According to the ancient Greek system, each element arises from the interaction of the Powers, which many modern magicians do not work with or even know about. The four powers are Warm/Cool and Moist/Dry. The Warm power separates things, while the Cool power merges them together. The Moist power breaks down structure, while the Dry power reinforces it.

I will not be going into a full discourse on the Powers and how they relate to the elements, but if you would like to delve deeper into the symbolism I recommend that you check out The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements by John Opsopaus. The links from that main page will allow you to explore these aspects of the classical elements, along with a lot of other related symbolism.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

No Fire-Walking Selfies!

Generally speaking, there's nothing mystical or magical about fire-walking. Back in the 1970's a lot of New Age folks pitched it that way, until scientists tested the process and found out that it isn't actually that dangerous at all so long as you do it right. The key is to move across the coals at just the right rate of speed. If you go too slow your feet will get burned by making contact for too long, and if you go too fast your feet will get burned because as you step they sink too far into the coals.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins has been a big promoter of fire-walking for decades, and teaches people to do it at his seminars as a way of conquering their fears. Robbins has been pretty successful at this over the years, especially considering how many people he runs through the process. But at one of his recent seminars in Texas, forty people suffered burns trying to walk across the coals.

So what went wrong in Dallas? Probably the same thing that happened at the 2012 San Jose seminar. You have to set up a scientific experiment correctly to get the best results, and for something like fire walking there’s not much margin for error. Those who got burned probably lingered just a bit too long on the hot coals, the better to, say, snap a selfie of their moment of enlightenment.

That seems to be borne out by witness statements. “From my observation, there was someone in front of us and someone behind us on their cell phone, taking selfies and taking pictures,” Jacqueline Luxemberg, a participant who did the firewall and emerged unscathed, told WFAA. “[She asked others] to video record for her, so I think that that has a lot to do with it.”

So should you ever decide to attempt a fire walking stunt yourself, remember: walk (don’t run), make sure the coals have burned down sufficiently, don’t wet your feet beforehand, and try not to strike too long a pose for that selfie. Oh, and have some ice and Vicodin handy, just in case.

So these people really needed to be told that the first rule of fire-walking is "no selfies?" Seriously? You can't stand and pose on hot coals, people. I don't care how much "power within" you think you have. Those coals don't care one way or another. If you stop partway across, you get burned. It's that simple. No magick, no paranormal forces, just science.

I suppose this is a good metaphor for the spiritual journey, though. If the passage across the coals represents walking the path of mystical realization, it strikes me as completely reasonable to point out that stopping for selfies along the way is how you fail.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Last Season for Ghost Hunters

The long-running paranormal investigation television series Ghost Hunters may be coming to an end. According to a statement from TAPS founder Jason Hawes, the upcoming eleventh season will be the last to air on the SyFy Channel. Recently SyFy has been moving back to actually showing science fiction rather than reality TV, a move I generally applaud. Still, Ghost Hunters is one of the only reality TV programs that I generally like.

Jason Hawes posted to his Facebook page on June 7 that, "With heavy heart we want to inform everyone that we are choosing at this time to end our relationship with SyFy channel. Season 11 will be the last season we will do "Ghost Hunters" with the Syfy Channel." He went on to say that although they are ending their impressive run on Syfy, there are new plans in the works for "Ghost Hunters." What that is exactly, the founder of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) isn't sharing just yet.

Fans of the show responded with over 6,000 comments so far to the post, expressing their disappointment and concern over the wildly popular series wrapping up after their eleventh season with the Syfy channel. Some fans have stated that although the team conducted some ground-breaking investigations, it may be time for a fresh start for the TAPS team. Others are wondering if "Ghost Hunters" and the TAPS team are planning on moving to another channel, but only time will tell.

"Ghost Hunters" premiered on October 6, 2004, to rave reviews and featured co-hosts Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Along with their TAPS team, the duo took viewers along on investigations to locations that were reported to be extremely haunted. Using the latest investigation techniques and devices, over the years the "Ghost Hunters" team often captured compelling and startling evidence in support of paranormal activity at several of the locations that they investigated.

Ghost Hunters raised the bar for paranormal investigation shows in a couple of key ways. First off, they did look for normal explanations for allegedly paranormal phenomena before deciding a location was haunted. Also, they did away with the bogus practice of working with psychics that dominated preceding paranormal shows. The psychics would often produce lurid narratives, but never anything that could be checked or verified.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Elemental Work - Water

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

This article is the second in my Elemental Work series, covering the element of Water. The basic symbol set of the Western Magical Tradition consists of the elements, planets, and signs of the zodiac, and realistically an effective magician should be familiar with how to work with all of them. These basic conjuration rituals for each of the classical elements will be my "Magick Monday" posts for the next couple of weeks.

If you've already read through my Earth post, you will probably find parts of this one repetitive. That's intentional, as I want each of these posts to be able to stand on its own without reference to the others. Incidentally, this has been one of the biggest challenges for me with respect to my Enochian books. I want each book to stand on its own, but at the same time I want to make sure that I re-hash as little as I can get away with.

So why Water? The traditional order used in the Golden Dawn system when working the elements is Earth - Air - Water - Fire, inverting the elemental formula of YHVH. However, a number of practitioners have noted that when working through the series, the transition from Air to Water is especially difficult. When my magical working group did our first elemental series, we used that order and ran into the same problem. Earth and Air were smooth, but people started having all sorts of problems as soon as we hit Water.

When we decided to do a second series awhile later, we changed the order to Earth - Water - Air - Fire, going in density order rather than following the inverse YHVH formula. That one change seemed to fix the entire process, and it's quite logical if you think about it. If each element you work forms the foundation of the next, from a physical standpoint Air is a lousy foundation for Water. If this is reflected in the metaphysical realm, it suggests that the relative densities might be the source of the problem.

Based on that, we went ahead and adapted our rituals to use the Earth - Water - Air - Fire order rather than the inverse of YHVH. You'll even see it in our pathworking induction - it is the order in which the four layers of the aura are activated when preparing to manifest the body of light. If you use inverse YHVH and it works well for you, that's fine. You can work through Water after you work through Air, but if you want to use one of these rituals you will have to wait until next week.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sometimes a Monument is Just a Monument

It looks like the folks over at Vigilant Citizen have some competition for the title of the most paranoid website, or at least the dumbest. This video shows scenes from Milwaukee's Veteran's Park along with commentary claiming to explain the "occult symbolism" of the monument located there. Just like the folks crying "false flag!" every time some nut with a gun kills somebody, the people who are convinced that sinister occultism is hiding behind every bush really are a special kind of stupid.

I don't have a transcript of the video, which is from a site called "American Intelligence Report," but you can watch it for yourself. It's only four minutes long. The crux of the creator's argument seems to be that since the monument at Veteran's Park consists of three pylons, said pylons are therefore "obelisks" which are associated with "occultic symbolism." Just as a point, you can go ahead and say "occult symbolism" rather than bothering with the modifyer "occultic," because they mean the same thing.

So I guess in this guy's opinion, any monument that includes a section taller than it is wide incorporates an "obelisk." Fair enough, but what he seems to not realize is that just because a monument includes pillars or standing stone, it doesn't mean that occultists built it or that it is used for some ritual purpose. Most of the time it's a practical, aesthetic choice that has no real magical significance.

The video argues that the obelisk is "occultic" because it represents the phallus (which the narrator pronounces like "FAIL-ick") of Osiris or Nimrod. We'll ignore that there's no real mythology surrounding the phallus of Nimrod, but clearly this guy doesn't know his mythology that well. There is the Egyptian myth of Isis resurrecting Osiris and creating a magical phallus for him out of wood so that she could conceive their son Horus, so I'll assume that's the myth being referenced.

The narrator adds "or whatever you decide it might be," so clearly this shows where he's coming from. He totally wants these three pylons to be "obelisks" (even though they're shaped wrong for Egyptian obelisks) representing the phallus of Osiris (even though there are three, when normally one would be used if that is the intended symbolism).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Satanists Confront "Satanic Ritual Abuse"

These aren't real occultists, though I've heard that the unmasked guy in the middle there is a Scientologist

So what happens when you hold a conference for people who believe themselves to be victims of a Satanic conspiracy and the Satanists actually show up? And then, not only do these Satanists deny having anything to do with this alleged conspiracy, but they present solid scientific evidence supporting their contention that the real abusers are the therapists who made these folks believe in a Satanic conspiracy to begin with.

It sounds like the plot of a movie, a sort of anti-"God's Not Dead" that would point out how ridiculous and hypocritical the fundamentalists still pushing "Satanic Ritual Abuse" really are. But it's not anything like that - it really happened, thanks once more to the solid activist work of The Satanic Temple. There are therapists out there who either still believe this nonsense is real, or are cynically unwilling to give up the reliable income stream of treating people for something that doesn't exist with techniques that don't work and never have.

Who goes to an event like this?

Some people believe they have suffered abuse they cannot remember, have alternate personalities of which they are unaware, or have even committed crimes they cannot recall, all because of sadistic rituals inflicted on them as a form of mind control. Who do they think is responsible for this psychological abuse? The usual suspects include unnamed “cults,” the CIA, and an alleged conspiracy of organized criminal Satanists.

These techniques of mind control are believed to be so insidious that conference attendees were apparently forbidden from touching their faces, for fear that any subtle hand gesture could be a cue that triggers a victim’s subliminal programming.

And then actual Satanists showed up?

They did. Amidst all this paranoia, Satanists actually had infiltrated the conference, and they recently went public with the reason why. In a twist worthy of a bad M. Night Shyamalan film, the Satanists claim that they are the ones exposing a dangerous cabal and that it is the conference organizers who are abusing their patients.

Who are these Satanists?

The Grey Faction of The Satanic Temple (TST). TST are atheists, and they do not believe in the supernatural. But they insist that they are an actual religion because they are a community with a shared body of symbols, rituals, and ethics. The group’s first tenet is to “act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.”

The Grey Faction is a division of TST that seeks to raise awareness about medical professionals who continue to promote conspiracy theories about Satanism. The Grey Faction protested a similar conference in April.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thanks, Dan Brown!

I sometimes joke that if I ever were to sell over 80 million copies of a book, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Instead of juggling my lucrative IT career and my not-at-all-lucrative writing career, I'd instead have a whole new job that would involved taking care of an enormous pile of money.

That's harder than you might think at first - at least, if you really want to spend it wisely and make the most of your good fortune. Spending it all on dumb stuff is easy, but really making a difference is more of a challenge. And it sounds like novelist Dan Brown just succeeded at that.

Brown, who really did sell something like 81 million copies of The Da Vinci Code, recently made a large donation to Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, more commonly known as the Ritman Library. The donation will cover digitizing approximately 4,600 ancient esoteric books in order to make the text available online.

Novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) has donated € 300,000 to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica to digitize and preserve part of its priceless collection, including Hermetica, alchemy, mysticism, Rosicrucians and Kabbala.

Thanks to Brown’s donation, the public will be able to access the core collection of some 4,600 ancient books online in the near future. Brown is a great admirer of the library (widely known as The Ritman Library after its founder Joost R. Ritman) and visited on several occasions while writing his novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno.

“I consider it a great honor”, the world-famous author said, “to play a role in this important preservation initiative that will make these texts available to the public.” The Dutch Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds is also contributing to the digitization project, to the amount of € 15,000.

The comprehensive digitization project will be carried out by Picturae, a company specializing in making Dutch cultural heritage digitally accessible. It is expected that the core collection of The Ritman Library will become available online in the spring of 2017.

Whatever you think of Brown's novels, this is an awesome development. The library's collection contains all sorts of material of interest to ceremonial magicians, including Hermetic, Alchemical, and Rosicrucian works that have never before been available on the Internet. So here's a very big "thank you" to Dan Brown for making this effort possible.

I'm really looking forward to being able to access so much ancient source material relevant to my own magical practices and research when the collection goes online next year.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

BREAKING: Zuckerberg Not a Lizard

That's totally not him on the right there

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally addressed the question that everyone is asking. By "everyone," of course, I mean conspiracy theorists and fans of David Icke and Infowars. In a recent Facebook Q&A, Zuckerberg flat-out denied that he is secretly a giant alien lizard dressed in a Mark Zuckerberg costume.

There have long been conspiracy theorists who believe that the world’s most powerful people are actually lizards disguised in giant human-shaped costumes.

David Icke, the British conspiracy theorist, is perhaps the most famous person who contends that almost all powerful people are actually shape-shifting reptilian humanoids. But Zuckerberg insists that he isn’t one of them.

“Mark, are the allegations true that you’re secretly a lizard? Um... I’m gonna, I’m gonna have to go with ‘no’ on that. I am not a lizard,” Zuckerberg said seeming oddly nervous.

“But keep the high quality comments coming in please, this is surely on track to be a great Live Q&A if we continue getting stuff at that level of quality,” Zuckerberg continued sarcastically.

The weirdest part is that the questions seemed to be pre-screened, at least in part. It almost seems like Zuck wanted to address the issue.

But see, that's exactly what a secret lizard person would do, right? Deliberately address the question and issue a pointed denial! So I suppose that matter has not been put to rest after all. At least, that's what I imagine "everyone" will be saying now.

Seriously, though, this idea that members of the global elite are lizards or occultists or space aliens or whatever is just plain silly. It's as if conspiracy theorists can't fathom the idea that they could be regular people just like everybody else. Which, by the way, they are - it's just that having unlimited resources gives them a very different perspective on the world than the one the rest of us share.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Liber Spirituum Now Available for Pre-Order!

Cross-posted from my author web site.

I am happy to announce that Liber Spirituum, a new anthology that includes my article "Evoking Zodiacal Angels" is now available for pre-order. If you've ever looked over the planetary conjuration work and wondered how you might apply those same methods to the angels of the zodiac, my article explains how to do just that in a fairly comprehensive fashion.

In addition to my article, the anthology also includes essays by a number of other well-known authors in the ceremonial magick field:
  • "Introduction ∙ Opening a Book of Spirits" by Adam P. Forrest
  • "The Place of Mingled Powers: Spiritual Beings in the Magical Lodge" by John Michael Greer
  • "Patrons and House Gods: Building Lifelong Relationships with Your Spiritual Guardians" by Aaron Leitch
  • "The Evocation of Metatron: A Golden Dawn Z-2 Ritual" by Charles Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero
  • "The Prayer for Success" by Jake Stratton-Kent
  • "Lay Thy Tongue Upon My Heart: Forty Days of Ritual Communion Between a Pagan Adept and the Archangel Raphael Tipherethel" by M. Isidora Forrest
  • "Substance Through Spirit: A Reflection on Magical Evocation and Talisman Construction" by Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)
  • "Kalein tous Theous: Divine Invocation in the Late Neoplatonic Tradition" by Jeffrey S. Kupperman
  • "Evoking Zodiacal Angels" by Scott Michael Stenwick
The hardbound edition is limited to 500 copies. Printed in two colors throughout, with 2-color illustrations, bound in faux leather silk-touch cloth. Foil stamp on both the front and back boards, with a full color frontispiece by acclaimed artist Caniglia. The deluxe leatherbound edition is limited to 32 copies, with satin ribbon sewn-in marker, custom endpapers, and housed in a handmade tray case.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Coast Guard Ship Meets Noah's Ark

Imagine this: you're a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel, comfortably docked and minding your own business. But then, you suddenly notice a gigantic vessel pulling up alongside you.

The other ship appears to be of an ancient design, built mostly out of wood. It occurs to you that more than anything else, it reminds you of the Biblical description of Noah's Ark. The Ark draws closer, then closer still. Before you have time to do anything about it, you realize that it is way too close, and about to run right into you... and then it does.

Sound outlandish? I suppose so, but that was the scene last week when an enormous replica of Noah's Ark built by Dutch construction magnate Johan Huibers collided with a Coast Guard ship docked in Oslo harbor.

Media says the wooden replica, built by a Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers after he dreamed of a flood in his home town, was being towed into Oslo harbor when it somehow lost control and crashed into the moored patrol vessel Nornen.

Watching the video its hard to tell exactly what happened, but photos posted by Norwegian media show a big hole in the side of the Ark’s wooden hull.

The Ark is now owned by the Ark of Noah Foundation, which was planning on bringing the educational vessel across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games this summer. Media reports said there were no animals on board when the collision occurred.

Since modern ships are made of stronger materials like metal, the patrol vessel appears to have suffered little damage. Still, it's not every day that you just happen to literally run into Noah's Ark. Or, I suppose, Noah's Ark literally runs into you.

The collision is an inauspicious start to the Ark's planned voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil. The reality is that the squarish design of the craft is not particularly maneuverable, especially at that size, which I expect makes navigating harbors and steering clear of other ships somewhat challenging.

I suppose Noah never had to worry about that, because according to the Bible his was the only ship on the entire sea created by the great flood. So we know that there were no Coast Guard vessels around to get in his way.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Elemental Work - Earth

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

Years ago I posted a series of planetary operations designed to produce various practical effects. As the way I work magick has changed over the years, those rituals are similar to, but not identical with, how I would work the same operations today. So I was thinking at first that I might put together a series for "Magick Mondays" that would revisit the planetary work.

But then it occurred to me that one of things I have never posted here is a series of elemental operations constructed along the same lines as the planetary ones. The basic symbol set of the Western Magical Tradition consists of the elements, planets, and signs of the zodiac, and realistically an effective magician should be familiar with how to work with all of them. So the idea is to post a basic conjuration ritual for each of the classical elements as my "Magick Monday" posts for the next few weeks.

It should be obvious that the classical elements do not refer to "the elements" as applied in chemistry. Alchemists are sometimes ridiculed by modern chemists for having only four or five elements when we know today that there are over a hundred. But the classical elements refer not to the atomic composition of matter, but rather to the state of that matter.

So, for example, water in its liquid form is represented by elemental Water, but ice is represented by elemental Earth. Earth corresponds to solid, Water to liquid, Air to gas, Fire to plasma, and Spirit to energy. As another example, lava may be composed of molten rock, but as long as it is flowing it corresponds to Water. It then transitions back to Earth when it hardens.

In addition to equating Spirit with energy in general, you can also think of "Active Spirit" as energy in its pure form and "Passive Spirit" as matter in its pure form, with the ratio between the two represented by the famous physics formula E=MC^2. The other elements, then, could be thought of as mixtures of matter and energy in various proportions that manifest as the other four states.

Therefore, the classical elements are not necessarily quite as archaic as some scientists will lead you to believe. The issue is more one of terminology than of symbolism. It is true that the magical system has less to do with the composition of particular materials than the modern system of chemistry aside from particular metals and stones, but the states of matter represented by the classical elements are the same as those in modern chemistry.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hexing Brock Turner

Brock Turner, the former Stanford student convicted of raping an unconscious woman, has been all over the news lately. Angry over his sentencing that they and many others believe was too lenient, a group of pagans organized a magical ritual last week to essentially put a hex on Turner. They posted the ritual on the Internet with instructions for others to join in, and got a lot of viral exposure on a bunch of different websites.

Melanie Hexen is inviting others to join her June 7 at 10 pm CT to place a hex on Brock Turner, Dan Turner, Judge Persky, while sending love and support to the victim of the attack. The Facebook event says participants can perform the hex in their own home and need only a black candle, a black string, and photos of those to be hexed.

Ms. Hexen says the idea came from discussions that she had with her coven sisters about the injustice of the sentencing, the unrepentant nature of Brock Turner, and the comments from Dan Turner equating raping someone with an object to “20 minutes of action.”

Hexen said, “I think it will raise awareness of not only this particular case but of this rape culture we live in.”

She said that the her action is akin to Christians taking action through prayer, and it is a way to bring women together by doing something powerful. “And witches will stand together against injustice.”

The group hopes the hex results in Brock Turner becoming impotent, his father suffering from nightmares, and for the judge to lose his job.

The event, which was created less than 24 hours ago, is now gaining momentum. Over 100 people have said they will participate with many more interested.

Now here's the disappointing bit. So far, I have yet to see one of these "mass rituals" accomplish much of anything measurable. The Trump-hexers completely failed and the Bernie Sanders ritual didn't result in him winning the Democratic nomination or even the key state of California. There have also been large healing rituals for prominent occultists who have passed away over the last decade, none of which produced anything resembling a miracle.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Oppressed Christian Filmmakers Face Lawsuit

Let's say that you're a Christian filmmaker out to make a movie that supports your faith. What's the best possible way to construct a story for your epic? According to a lawsuit filed against the producers of the Poor Oppressed Christian film God's Not Dead, the answer was apparently to steal it. You know, because there's nothing more Christian than theft, right?

Screenwriter Kelly Kullberg claims she developed a story inspired by her 2006 autobiography Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas with the help of family-friendly film multihyphenate Michael Landon Jr., who was tapped to produce and direct.

Her screenplay, Rise, never made it to production and she says it's because God's Not Dead producers used her story. So Kullberg and Landon are suing Pure Flix Entertainment and David A.R. White for copyright infringement and seeking at least $100 million in damages.

"The theme, set-up, opportunity, turning point, change of plans, complications, setback, final push, climax, and aftermath of the Rise screenplay and the God’s Not Dead motion picture are the same," states the complaint. "By producing God’s Not Dead, defendants destroyed plaintiffs’ prospects for producing a motion picture based on their Rise screenplay."

I suppose it's probably too much to expect anyone pushing a movie like God's Not Dead to have much integrity, given the completely dishonest approach the film takes to both academia and atheists. The central conflict of the film, a professor requiring students to sign away their religious beliefs, would be entirely illegal in the real United States and, generally speaking, atheists are not "angry with God." I mean, how can you be angry at someone or something that you don't even believe exists?

To be fair, I have no idea if there are any real grounds to this lawsuit, which is a matter for the courts to decide. If it turns out that God's Not Dead was stolen, though, I won't be surprised. Most Poor Oppressed Christians strongly support the idea of one set of rules for them and another for everyone else, because they're so darn special or something.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

So Wait, I Missed It?

Nope, not this time either

What if you threw an apocalypse and Augoeides was not there to ridicule it? Would anything happen? Well, okay, to be fair, nothing would happen anyway, ridicule or no ridicule. But I would miss a chance to be all snarky about how of course the whole thing was nonsense from the beginning, and how foolish anyone would be to accept it.

That's apparently what just happened.

Because according to this article from India Times, "scholars" have recently recalculated the date of the so-called Maya Apocalypse, from December 21st of 2012 to... last weekend. The argument is based on the fact that the Julian and Gregorian calendars accounting for leap years, while the Maya calendar apparently does not.

“As far as we know, the people of Mesoamerica, the Maya included, didn’t care about leap years,” Anthony Aveni, an expert in ancient Mesoamerican astronomy at Colgate University told the National Geographic.

“Our philosophy about leap year is a complicated scheme to make the seasons jibe with the calendar,” Aveni said. “They were more concerned that time should be unbroken, not interfered with, and that the count of time should have continuity. To break continuity would be to break order.”

Here is how the fresh calculations predict the date:

There is a 1,260 day difference between the calendars.

The Julian Calendar is 365.25 days which accounts for leap years.

The Gregorian Calendar is 365.2425 days which accounts for leap years as well.

The Egyptian and the Maya Haab Calendar don’t account for leap years. Thus, the Egyptian and Maya Haab Calendar is 365 days! And December 21st, 2012 plus 1,260 days = June 3rd/4th, 2016

So... seeing as nothing happened - again - it's probably just about time we retired this whole Maya Apocalypse concept. Simply put, it's a complete misinterpretation of a tradition that still lives. If you want to know when the Long Count turns over because you aren't sure, there's a much easier way to do it than sitting in a library poring over historical records - just ask a Daykeeper.

These are the Maya who are the keepers of the calendar, trained according to an oral tradition that goes back to before the Spanish conquest. They can still be found in Mexico and Central America, and can give you an authoritative answer - and they all thought that the original apocalypse thing in 2012 was nonsense, a misreading of their calendar by Europeans who did not understand its significance or its symbolism.

It seems to me that if you are trying to ascribe an apocalypse date to a culture that wants nothing to do with it, maybe you should just keep your mouth shut instead of going on about it. It would at least save you further embarrassment, both back in 2012 and this last weekend.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It's Art, Not Magick

Not Baphomet, just a guy dressed up as a goat

Listening to people try to interpret art is usually a huge waste of time. I even think that's true much of the time when it's the artists themselves talking, because I think most art isn't nearly as "designed" as even the people who create it sometimes like to believe.

I know that I can go on and on about the symbolism and so forth in piece of fiction that I wrote, but the reality is that most of the time the story just went where it went because it felt right and sounded cool. If you just tell folks that, they're disappointed. A lot of people have a deep-seated need to feel like they're understanding the "hidden meaning" of a piece, even when it's not really there.

So that brings us to the folks at Vigilant Citizen, a website dedicated to just about every half-baked conspiracy theory rolling around the Internet. They were featured once before here on Augoeides, in my piece on the Georgia Guidestones, a monument designed and erected by a couple of rich kooks, but which Vigilant Citizen insists details the agenda of a massive global conspiracy.

The site's latest target is the seriously weird opening ceremony that was recently performed for the opening of a new tunnel in Switzerland. Vigilant Citizen is convinced that the avant-garde theater piece by German director Volker Hesse was a "bizarre occult ritual." You know, instead of what it really was, a "bizarre theatrical performance." As it turns out, "bizarre" seems to be a description that everyone can agree upon.

As I discussed in my article on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, the occult elite enjoys putting on full display its agenda and philosophy symbolic, dramatic displays which are reminiscent of dramas re-enacted in secret society rituals. Furthermore, there is no better way to showcase sheer power than putting the “Illuminati stamp of approval” on massive mega-projects such as the Olympics or major constructions.

But the thing is, why would they bother? The word "occult" actually means "hidden." It would seem that the practice described above is entirely contrary to the definition of the word. Naturally, Vigilant Citizen has its own unique - that is, pretty nutty - take on interpreting the performance.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Simple Electional Timing

Have you ever cast a spell that seemed to go just fine, but produced few or no results? The problem might have been the prevailing astrological conditions at the time you cast it. Electional astrology is an entire sub-field of astrology dedicated to finding the best and most opportune times to do just about everything, including casting spells.

The trouble there is that most magicians are not skilled astrologers and don't necessarily want to put in the necessary time to learn all the intricacies of the discipline. We just want to cast spells and have them work. So today I'm going to tell you about a simple method that can help you do some effective electional work without having to learn too many involved astrological concepts.

In order to use this method you only have to pay attention to the sign of and aspects formed by a single planet - the Moon. I know, it's not actually a planet according to the modern definition of the word. But it is the closest heavenly body to Earth, and it moves through the entire zodiac every 28 days or so. As it does, it makes aspects with all the other planets.

To start off, here's some basic terminology. Aspects are specific angles formed between planets in the sky. For the purposes of this method, I am only talking about the Moon and any of the other planets. A Conjunction is when two planets are in the same location, an angle of 0 degrees. A Sextile is an angle of 60 degrees, a Square is an angle of 90 degrees, and a Trine is an angle of 120 degrees. Finally, an Opposition is an angle of 180 degrees.

Some modern astrologers have proposed other kinds of aspects, but it's only those five that we need to worry about for the purposes of this method. As the Moon moves through all twelve signs of the zodiac, it enters a sign, and then makes each aspect in that sign as it passes through. Looking at this process gives us the two pieces of information that we need to make a simple electional determination for a magical operation.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Totally Not Ghosts

The porn shoot in question looked absolutely nothing like this

I always like to point out that the key to successfully investigating the paranormal is understanding that most phenomena have normal rather than paranormal causes. A number of haunting symptoms can be triggered by electromagnetic fields, weird noises can be regular sounds filtered through unusual architecture, and so forth. But paranormal investigator Mike Covell was still surprised when his investigation of mysterious moans and groans in an allegedly haunted British cemetery led him to a porn shoot.

Expert Mike Covell, 37, was leading the party through the ‘haunted’ cemetery when they heard groans.

The group hurried off to investigate but were stunned to find a couple having sex in a patch of ivy.

Two other men, with cameras and sound equipment, were so busy filming the romp they did not notice their audience.

Paranormal expert Mike, of TV’s Most Haunted and Most Haunted Live, said: “The woman was in her 30s and when she saw us she pushed the bloke off, pulled up her knickers and ran.

“They were going at it like rabbits. She was a blonde in her 30s and still had her knickers around her ankles.

“We looked at her and she looked at us. Then she pushed the bloke off her, pulled up her knickers and bolted.

“The guy ran after her, desperately trying to protect his privates from the brambles. We didn’t know where to look."

Clearly all of the paranormal accounts from this cemetery are probably not related to porn shoots, but one does have to consider the "Scooby Doo" effect that could involve porn producers wanting people to be scared of the cemetery so they can shoot there without interference. You know, besides interference from paranormal investigators trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.

"And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddling ghost hunters!"

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Simulation Argument is Still Dumb

It always surprises me when smart people believe dumb things. I realize that for some my practice of this thing called "magick" puts me in that category, but I'll venture anyone who thinks that hasn't seen a tenth of the things I've seen. My direct, personal experience supports the notion that magick is something other than nonsense, and while the possibility always remains that I could be misinterpreting those experiences, there's no denying that I have had them.

The latest comments from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, though, are another thing entirely. He accepts the "simulation argument," one of the dumbest ideas to come out of modern philosophy in a long time. Musk is a brilliant businessman and engineer, so the fact that he gives any credence to the concept that the odds are "one in billions" that we are not living inside a computer simulation is quite disappointing.

Put simply, there's no evidence whatsoever, direct or otherwise, that we are actually living in The Matrix. The simulation argument depends on a particular misunderstanding of the laws of probability, and it surprises me that an otherwise highly intelligent person like Musk would fall for it. Here's how he explains it.

The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were.

Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it’s getting better every year. Soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality.

If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.

So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

King Tut's Space Dagger

That headline sounds like the title of a History Channel special discussing alien contacts in ancient Egypt, but it's actually true. New analysis has confirmed that a dagger found in the tomb of the Pharoah Tutankhamun was crafted from meteoric iron.

So the material used in the blade literally came from outer space, making the term "space dagger" more appropriate than you might think at first.

In 1925, archaeologist Howard Carter found two daggers, one iron and one with a blade of gold, within the wrapping of the teenage king, who was mummified more than 3,300 years ago. The iron blade, which had a gold handle, rock crystal pommel and lily and jackal-decorated sheath, has puzzled researchers in the decades since Carter’s discovery: ironwork was rare in ancient Egypt, and the dagger’s metal had not rusted.

Italian and Egyptian researchers analysed the metal with an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine its chemical composition, and found its high nickel content, along with its levels of cobalt, “strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin”. They compared the composition to known meteorites within 2,000km around the Red Sea coast of Egypt, and found similar levels in one meteorite.

That meteorite, named Kharga, was found 150 miles (240km) west of Alexandria, at the seaport city of Mersa Matruh, which in the age of Alexander the Great – the fourth century BC – was known as Amunia. The researchers published their findings on Tuesday in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

Meteoric iron must have seemed magical to the ancient Egyptians. It was super-hard and super-strong, didn't rust easily, and randomly fell from the sky. I never have done ritual with a tool made from it, but I have heard from a number of other practitioners that it works quite well.

Tutankhamun's dagger, with its gold wrapping and crystal pommel, was almost certainly a ritual object of some sort rather than a weapon that would have been used in combat. It would be interesting to find out how it was used, and what attributions the ancient Egyptians might have associated it with.