Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mummy Juice!

This is either one of the funniest things I've ever seen, or one of the dumbest and most disturbing. Petition-spamming site has a petition up to, and I quote, "let people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus." This is the same mystery sarcophagus that was recently discovered in Alexandria, Egypt.

According to archaeologists, the red liquid is a mixture of sewage water and the decomposed remains of three bodies that were buried together more than two thousand years ago. Why would anyone want to drink this crap? Well, I'll let the petition explain.

we need to drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus in the form of some sort of carbonated energy drink so we can assume its powers and finally die

Truly, that's a compelling rationale right there. According to the page, more than twenty-seven thousand people have signed the petition. So this is either funny as hell, or there are more than twenty-seven thousand Darwin Awards sitting on the shelf, just waiting to be handed out. I think I'm going to go with funny as hell, since the alternative is pretty damn sad.

Yes, if you drink it, you'll get very sick and you might die. You're not going to be transformed into a supernaturally powered mummy who can wield the ten plagues of Egypt at will. Yeah, I know, that would be cool, but these bodies were buried almost fifteen hundred years after the alleged date of the Exodus. There's no connection there, and anyway it wasn't Egyptian magicians who summoned the plagues, it was Moses.

And it's not even clear that these bodies were mummified. So maybe what we're looking as is zombie juice instead. Or just dead body juice diluted with sewage. Drinking it might be a novel way to kill yourself, but other than that it's hard to see the appeal. It's not going to give anyone special powers, because we don't live in a comic book. Even we magicians who cast spells and the like live right here in the real world.

On top of all that, the red liquid is not carbonated and I'm sure it tastes nothing like an energy drink. It most likely just tastes like shit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

If You Build It, They Won't Come

It's been a while since I made fun of Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, and of course Ark Encounter. Frankly, it's been too long. This recent article from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State points out that basically, the giant replica of Noah's Ark that took so much work to get built just isn't meeting the attendance projections used to justify the tax breaks Ham obtained from the state of Kentucky. Ham offered a bunch of rosy projections when he pitched the idea to the state, and apparently the attraction is having trouble meeting even half of its projected ticket sales.

To help cover the cost of emergency services the small town now must provide to the visitors of a large amusement park within its borders, city officials last year initiated a 50-cent fee on the tickets sold at the ark and a few smaller amusement venues in Williamstown. (This is the fee Ham and his company, Answers in Genesis, tried to avoid paying last summer by briefly switching the park’s status to nonprofit – a move that would have had a crushing long-term impact on property tax generation for the community but also nearly resulted in the park losing its $18 million state tourism subsidy.)

The local newspaper, the Grant County News, reported this month that Williamstown had collected about $374,000 in amusement fee revenue from the Ark Park during the first 11 months of the 2017-18 fiscal year. While that’s a nice chunk of change, it’s barely half of what town officials had been led to believe they would collect from the attendance projections submitted by Ham. “Last year, we based [our] budget figure on attendance at the Ark Encounter at 1,400,000,” Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner told the paper. “This year, we are more conservative and using 870,000 visitors.”

Ham initially projected 1.2 million people would visit the Ark in the first year after it opened in July 2016, and that average yearly attendance going forward would be in the range of 1.4 million to 2.2 million people. On the first anniversary of the park’s opening, Ham said about 1 million people visited in the first year, about 16 percent fewer than expected. But, Ham said he expected the 2017-18 attendance to be “closer to the high end” of the projections – in other words, close to 2.2 million people.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Secrets of Solomon

One of the really cool things about living in the Twin Cities is that the wonderful Joseph H. Peterson only lives a couple of hours away.

This last weekend, he came to Leaping Laughter Oasis in Minneapolis and gave a presentation on his latest book, The Secrets of Solomon: A Witch's Handbook from the trial records of the Venetian Inquisition. Peterson is one of the few authors in the grimoire field doing academic-quality research, and his books on the various texts and their histories are always illuminating.

I bought a copy of the book at the presentation and have not had a chance to read it, but I figured for today I would summarize a couple of takeaways from Peterson's presentation that are relevant to issues that keep coming up in discussions of the grimoires.

The Secrets of Solomon is a grimoire that is explicitly dedicated to working with chthonic spirits. It appears to be one of the sources used by the original author of the Grimoirium Verum, and it is clearly aware of the Key of Solomon. It positions itself as a grimoire for working with chthonics, whereas the Key of Solomon is dedicated to working with "aerial" spirits (which I usually refer to as celestial). Here are a few takeaways related to issues that have come up in the grimoire community that The Secrets of Solomon may help to shed some light on.

The text is clear that chthonic spirits are supposed to communicate visually, and aerial (or celestial spirits) do not. In other words, if you're charging up your Key of Solomon pentacles and trying to get the spirits to appear visually, according to the tradition you are doing it wrong. I doubt this is an absolute rule, and I also know from experience that the modern scrying techniques I use work fine, but it's a nice point to be able to pull out in those arguments over the whole visual appearance thing. It The Secrets of Solomon is to be believed, the celestials from the Key of Solomon don't necessarily appear and in fact are not supposed to.

According to the text, chthonic spirits can generally accomplish more than celestials. I can't personally say that I've found that to be the case, since I'm able to do about the same level of effects with both, but it's no surprise that the author of the text is going to say that the methods they are outlining are the best, whether or not that's true. The trade-off is that celestials can be "bound into a ring and carried with you" for performing ad hoc magical effects. This is an interesting idea for the Key of Solomon pentacles - what if you made a ring for one of the pentacles, enchanted it for general effects related to its function, and wore it around? It seems to me that could be a very useful technique.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sorry, No Mummies!

Well, actually not sorry. As horror movies have shown us, mummies are bad.

When archaeologists opened the mysterious black sarcophagus found in Alexandria, no mummies sprang up to loose evil spells or plagues of Egypt or whatever upon the world. In fact, the whole thing was pretty underwhelming. They found that water had seeped through the seal even though it looked intact from the outside, filling the box and speeding decomposition of the bodies inside. So there were no mummies, just three skeletons.

Despite warnings of an ancient curse to those who would open the 2,000-year-old sarcophagus, archaeologists went ahead on Thursday, enlisting the help of Egyptian military engineers.

"The sarcophagus has been opened, but we have not been hit by a curse," Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of Egypt's antiquities ministry, told Egypt Today, which published live updates of the sarcophagus opening. Waziri added that the sarcophagus was unusual for its size; it's the largest ever discovered in Alexandria.

What the archaeologists found inside the sarcophagus was grisly - but it was not the earth-shattering discovery some had hoped it would be. The three skeletons found in the sarcophagus were most likely soldiers, according to Egypt's antiquities ministry, and one skull showed signs of fractures caused by a sharp instrument. Beyond the skeletons, the sarcophagus was inundated with sewage water, which accelerated their decomposition. The skulls will be further analyzed to understand their age, the cause of death, and where they came from.

Alexandria was the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt after Alexander's army conquered the region and deposed the old pharaohs. The Ptolemaic dynasty famously ended with Cleopatra's suicide during the Roman conquest of Greece and Egypt around 30 BCE.

So the sarcophagus appears to be of unusual size because it was used to bury three people, not one person of high status. Maybe the skeletons will yield more information about the Alexandrian period, but for that we will just have to wait and see. I suppose technically we have to wait and see about a curse, too, since spells sometimes take time to produce results. But that seems less likely now that we know the sarcophagus doesn't hold the body of the sort of high-ranking leader that might justify setting a curse.

It's also interesting that the sarcophagus was opened with the Sun in Cancer - because this story is a reminder of the power of cardinal water. Over time, it gets into everything.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Somehow, I Don't Think So

Conspiracy theorists seem to be obsessed with scenarios that are farfetched at best, and for the most part downright laughable. A couple weeks ago it was Alex Jones revealing "the truth" that Democrats would start a civil war on July 4th. Obviously, that never came to pass, because no Democrats were actually planning such a thing. On the other hand, Jones' stupidity did launch a bunch of funny tweets claiming to be dispatches from the "second civil war." So at least some good came of it.

The latest bit of conservative conspiracy-mongering comes from evangelical broadcaster Rick Wiles, a seeming endless font of ridiculous assertions that appear to be entirely disconnected from reality. According to Wiles, we are only "72 hours away" from a coup in which Donald Trump and his family will be beheaded on the White House Lawn. Does anybody else agree with me that somebody has watched too many of those Christian-produced films in which the only real answer to all the world's problems is feckless melodrama? I mean, come on. Sometimes politicians do get removed from office, but we've never beheaded one.

After ranting that the prominence of people like Maddow and CNN’s Anderson Cooper on television is evidence that America has been “homosexualized” and is “no longer a Christian nation,” Wiles declared that a recent segment in which Maddow argued that this nation must begin to prepare for “the worst case scenario that Trump is compromised by Russia” was really a signal that a leftist revolution is imminent. “She was spewing out, last night, calls for revolution,” Wiles said. “She was telling the left, ‘Take a deep breath, we’re at the moment, it’s coming, we’re almost there, we’re going to remove him from the White House.'”

“We’re about 72 hours—possibly 72 hours—from a coup,” Wiles warned. “Be prepared that you’re going to turn on the television and see helicopters hovering over the roof of the White House with men clad in black repelling down ropes, entering into the White House. Be prepared for a shootout in the White House as Secret Service agents shoot commandos coming in to arrest President Trump. That is how close we are to a revolution. Be prepared for a mob — a leftist mob — to tear down the gates, the fence at the White House and to go into the White House and to drag him out with his family and decapitate them on the lawn of the White House.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Meditation Works

Last week's dramatic rescue of twelve teenage soccer players and their coach from an underground cave system in Thailand was all over the news. Not as well-reported, though, is how the coach managed to keep the boys calm throughout what must have been a pretty terrifying ordeal. As Vox reports, the coach had spent ten years at a Buddhist monastery and taught them meditation.

Rain trapped the group in the cave on June 23rd, and they were not found until July 2nd. That's eleven days during which they literally had no idea whether or not they would be found alive. The rescue effort took eight more days, and was not complete until July 10th.

“Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” the mother of one of the boys told the AP, referring to a widely shared video of the moment the boys were found. Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach.

According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal. And British diver Ben Reymenants, who was involved with the rescue operation, told Vox on Thursday that each of the boys did an hour of meditation with the coach before they were brought out of the cave between Sunday and Tuesday. “He could meditate up to an hour,” Ekapol’s aunt, Tham Chanthawong, told the AP. “It has definitely helped him and probably helps the boys to stay calm.”

Ekapol, 25, went to live in a monastery at age 12 after he was orphaned. According the Straits Times, he trained to be a monk for 10 years at a monastery in Mae Sai, Thailand, but left to care for a sick grandmother. He then was hired to be the assistant coach of the team, known as the Wild Boars. Coach Ake, as he is known, still maintains close contacts at the monastery. The abbot there told the Wall Street Journal he’s “a responsible young man who meditates regularly.”

As a teenager I loved caves and I still do. I dragged my parents to every cave tour on every vacation we ever took. I never have felt lost underground, or claustrophobic, or anything. But I can tell you that my high school self would have found this absolutely horrifying. Even being violently murdered is over quickly. This is sitting in the cold and damp, wondering if any future awaits you besides slowly starving or suffocating in the dark.

But meditation works. Focusing on the practice helped the boys remain as calm as possible under the circumstances, such that when rescuers arrived they seemed confused that they had been underground for as long as they had been. Keeping your attention on the present moment helps to pass the time, and helps you feel less depleted by boredom when all you can do is wait. And hey, it works great for practicing magick too!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Via Solis Cancer Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Cancer Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday July 17th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. We will continue the momentum of last year by performing one of these per month for each of the twelve signs. I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the oasis know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Cancer. The sign Cancer is attributed to "The power of casting enchantments." As I interpret it, this is related to the ability to magnetize or draw things into your life in accordance with your will. So those sorts of intents are most appropriate. This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963. The Via Solis Elixir Rites were written by Michele Montserrat in 2010 for the Comselh Ananael magical working group.

I. Opening

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

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

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

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


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


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


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

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

Bell chime.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fetus Blood on the Rocks

Just in time for Friday the 13th, Wonkette is reporting that webcaster Dave Daubenmire is on to us. Or, at least, he thinks he is. According to a recent webcast, the religious activist claimed that the reason liberals are opposed to putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court and support legal abortion is because liberals get high by drinking the blood of fetuses.

No, really! This is apparently not a joke!

Hey fellow liberals. I hate to break it to all of you, but the jig is up. Dave "Coach" Daubenmire has got us figured out, and he knows that the whole reason we support abortion is because of how much we love drinking fetus blood in order to get high on "adrenochrome."

On his show this week, the one where he sits in front of a weird green screen of a football field and makes up weird shit, he asked his "audience" why the Left was so upset about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the fact that it means we will be losing our reproductive rights by next year or so.

"Why are they so upset about abortion? Why are they so interested about death? Why do they want so much, the most important right they are ever going to have is the right for a woman to be able murder her unborn baby?"

Being far too clever, clearly, to even consider the fact that maybe people just don't want to be forced to give birth against their will, the "Coach" then brought in his buddy Vinnie to talk all about our thirst for fetus blood. "These people are Satanists," Vinnie explains. "What they do is they sacrifice children and they use the children's blood for their drug adrenochrome."

I sometimes wonder if I should just do my own YouTube channel and put up the most outrageous lies I can imagine on it. Then I would see if anyone takes the bait. According to my religious webcast, when Aleister Crowley became the Ipsissimus he was promoted to the One True God of the universe. He never died in 1947 - that was all a ruse! After all, how else could he have run for president in 2012?

Yeah, I know, the website there says he's dead and British. But the Ipsissimus transcends all limitations, man! Christians are the ones sacrificing babies by the millions - in secret, of course - because they believe that it will stave off the full flowering of the Aeon of the Child. Vain hope! We will expose them all so that...

Oh hell, I just can't do it. This is all too stupid for words. Instead, I'm going to try to tease out everything that's wrong with Daubenmire's whacko theory.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mystery Sarcophagus Found in Alexandria

A large black granite sarcophagus has been discovered in Alexandria, Egypt. The sarcophagus is one of the largest ever found from the Ptolemaic period, when the Greeks ruled Egypt. More importantly, it is sealed - and nobody knows what they will find inside. It probably won't be alien bodies or anything bizarre like that, but it still should help us understand the burial customs of the time.

The 6-foot tall (185 cm) coffin was found buried about 16 feet (5 meters) underground, along with an alabaster head of a man whose features were worn beyond recognition.

It was discovered on July 1 at a construction site during a routine archaeological inspection by government officials, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced, in an official Facebook post. The news was reported by Al-Ahram, Egypt's state-run newspaper.

Egypt is governed by strict laws to protect and preserve national antiquities. Under the Protection of Antiquities Law, all antiquities are considered property of the State.
Archaeologists date the site back to sometime within the Ptolemic era, between 305 and 30 BCE.

Ancient Greek and Roman artifacts are not unusual discoveries in Alexandria, the famed home of Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great. But unlike other ancient Egyptian tombs that have been opened and looted, the 2,000-year-old sarcophagus has until now, remained undisturbed.

Archaeologists are particularly interested in the sarcophagus because the period from which it dates was a time in which Greek and Egyptian burial customs were intermingled, and because it appears to be undisturbed. Greek-style portraits were common on sarcophagi during this period, and I suspect in this case that may have extended to Greek-style statuary - the alabaster bust probably was originally an image of the deceased, and it looks like it was made in the Greek style.

Some Greeks also took up the practice of mummification, with varying degrees of expertise. A number of the burials found from this period show signs of poorly-done mummification, and it will be interesting to find out if that is the case here or if the body was simply entombed. The Greek and Egyptian concepts of the afterlife were very different, and during the Ptolemaic period it looks as if people often adopted customs from each.

Of course, aliens would be more fun. Or a functional engine for a flying saucer. Or an anti-gravity ray like the ones used to build the pyramids. But the most likely possibility, that it's a regular human body, can still tell archaeologists a lot.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Thoughts on the Star Ruby

As I continue compiling and commenting on the various rituals here on Augoeides, I realized that I never have done a commentary on the Star Ruby. For the longest time I have been linking to other versions of the basic ritual forms online, but it has been pointed out to me that some of these pages are confusing and in cases contradictory. Also, they sometimes just disappear and have to be tracked down through the Internet archives. As such, I've decided that having my own versions here is probably for the best.

Aleister Crowley published the original version of the Star Ruby in The Book of Lies, and in his commentary on described it as "a new and more elaborate version of the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram." The Star Ruby, therefore, performs a similar function to the banishing form of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. This is an important point to take note of, given that some commenters claim that the Star Ruby is an invoking pentagram ritual or a combined banishing/invoking pentagram ritual. It is not. Crowley specifically describes it as a banishing pentagram ritual.

This is also important in the context of my operant model of magick, in which rituals are opened by combining a general banishing pentagram ritual with a general invoking hexagram ritual. Looking at the Star Ruby, a banishing ritual, and the Star Sapphire, and invoking ritual, it is pretty clear that whether or not he thought about it same way that I do, Crowley hit upon the same basic structure. In fact, no invoking form is given for the Star Ruby and no banishing form is given for the Star Sapphire, which implies that he used these ritual pretty much the same way that I use them.

The basic operant ritual structure uses the operant field - that is, a banishing pentagram ritual and an invoking hexagram ritual - almost exclusively. The other combinations have specialized functions, but for the most part the operant field is the way to go. According to the practical experiments that I have done, this method is far more effective than any of the other sequences taught by the various Golden Dawn orders - at least for me. I don't feel like I'm at the point where I can say that the method will always work best for everyone. However, I invite every magician out there to try it and see for themselves.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trump Card Would Make a Better Movie

The Poor Oppressed Christians are at it again. In their quest to create their own little media world in which nothing non-Christian - and therefore impure - ever has to darken their poor, sensitive souls, Liberty University is planning to release a film called The Trump Prophecy. Of course, it will be released in October just ahead of the midterm election, because Liberty University is totally apolitical like that. The movie tries to make the case that all the Christians who love our distinctly-un-Christian president aren't actually terrible Christians at all for doing so - because Trump being president is part of God's plan.

In post-election interviews in 2016, voters often expressed a belief that God had some role in the dramatic, unexpected outcome. For the many people of faith who see God’s hand in their own lives — from their triumph over alcoholism to their luck in finding a parking spot — it’s not such a stretch to believe that God has a hand in determining who wins the Super Bowl or the White House. That may help explain why Taylor’s and Mary Colbert’s 2017 book, “The Trump Prophecies: The Astonishing True Story of the Man Who Saw Tomorrow . . . And What He Says Is Coming Next,” won a following.

Taylor in the book recounts his traumatic experiences as a firefighter, and how, suffering from anxiety and depression, he began to hear from both God and evil spirits. God told him in 2011, he wrote, that Trump would win the election, though he expected that to happen in 2012. Trump won in 2016 despite widespread belief among pollsters and voters alike that Hillary Clinton would beat him easily. He won in great part because of the support of more than 80 percent of white evangelical voters. Taylor gained attention and made more predictions.

Trump will win a second term, he said. God has also told him, he said, that the dollar will become the strongest currency in the world and that the news media will come to see that Trump is in the right. Producer Rick Eldridge and his Charlotte-based ReelWorks Studios heard Taylor’s story and imagined it as a compelling movie for Christians who feel secular filmmakers offer them too few choices. Over Thanksgiving, he met with Schultze, who was visiting family in Charlotte. The two talked about a collaboration with Liberty in which students would get weeks of hands-on experience doing such tasks as camera work, lighting and makeup.

I don't know that God was necessarily responsible for Clinton's decision to divert campaign resources from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in an effort to win North Carolina and Florida. That decision proved disastrous to the Clinton campaign, as Trump won all five, the former (neglected) three by very small margins. It's easy to imagine a scenario in which Clinton could have won by pouring resources into those three northern states in which Trump was campaigning very hard. That sounds more like a flat-out strategic blunder to me rather than anything divine.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Not So Bullet-Proof

A couple of people over the years have e-mailed me about making "bullet-proof charms" like those sold by traditional African healers. Since I'm not a spellcaster-for-hire or anything like that, I've corresponded with them and speculated a bit on the kind of magick that would have to be involved. I am of the opinion that it would be very difficult if not impossible to create a spell that would physically flat-out stop a bullet. The probability gradient there is ridiculous. On the other hand, a general protective talisman, bound to a spirit charged with keeping its owner from being shot by whatever means, could be effective in combat situations.

But even if your talisman works, the absolute worst case to defend against is a bullet fired at close range in a non-combat situation - as a traditional healer in Nigeria recently found out.

A self-styled traditional healer in Nigeria has died after one of his clients tested his "bullet-proof" charms on him.

Chinaka Adoezuwe, 26, was killed after instructing the man to shoot him as he was wearing the charms around his neck. Police in the country's south-eastern Imo state say the client has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Charms are popular in Nigeria, where traditional healers are consulted for cures for various ailments. But there have been several reports of people being killed after testing "bullet-proof" charms and medicines.

"A young man had gone to [the healer] to prepare bullet-proof charms for him, which the native doctor did," a villager told the Punch newspaper. "To prove the efficacy of the new charms, [he] positioned and handed over a gun to his customer. Tragedy struck."

My reasoning regarding combat situations is this: not only are most people terrible shots, combat is one of the worst places to be a shooter. It's chaotic, people are running all over the place, it's loud, and there are not a lot of opportunities to really set and line up a shot. Also, weapons are exposed to dirt and grime, and depending on the type of gun may become prone to jamming or misfiring. Finally, there are a fair number of people who just won't fire their weapons for various psychological reasons. All of those things are subject to magical influences at probability levels within a reasonable range.

Now I have no idea how this demonstration was supposed to work. It seems to me that if the healer was a fraud, he would not have deliberately handed the client a loaded gun. Maybe it could have been some sort of magic trick, like the famous "bullet catch" which is always faked - but sometimes in pretty ingenious ways. There have been cases in the stage magic world where people were accidentally handed guns loaded with real bullets instead of blanks, or where people brought up from the audience reloaded the gun without the magician's knowledge to "beat the trick." Or maybe the talismans these healers make are good enough that most of the time they work even under these testing conditions.

Whatever the case, I will say that it's dangerous to rely on a talisman alone to keep you from getting shot. Your best bet would probably be to wear body armor AND carry the talisman. That way the talisman can influence shooters around you so that, for example, a bullet heading directly for you might hit the armor instead of an unprotected part of your body. That gives it one more way to protect you besides keeping the shooters from targeting you and keeping you out of the way of wild shots.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Bob Larson Uses Koetting's FX Guy

Since there doesn't appear to be a civil war going on outside my door, today I'm going to spend some time making fun of Bob Larson. Remember him? He's the evangelical exorcist known for creating the Teen Exorcist Squad and conducting exorcisms via Skype. Back in the 1980's and early 1990's, Larson's show was broadcast here in Minnesota and he was one of the loudest voices denouncing "Satanic Ritual Abuse," a moral panic that revolved around made-up practices of made-up Satanists who never did anything that made much sense to us real practicing occultists.

In the Bob Larson universe, just about anything fun has to do with demons. Dungeons & Dragons? Demons. Rock music? Demons. Making fun of Bob Larson? Demons. So I guess that makes Augoeides pretty darn infernal right now. I'll be sure to inform the angels and other celestial spirits that I work with on a regular basis. And anything that had to do with demons got you possessed, because that's how it works. After all, there's no such thing as mental illness. It's all caused by demons, and fortunately Larson is an exorcist so he has the cure - you know, for a reasonable donation to his ministry.

At any rate, what I find so laughable about the above video is not the video itself, but the ridiculous low-budget special effects that go along with it. Remember E. A. Koetting's video where he's out in the desert and you see low budget CGI lightning and colored filters that are supposed to be "magick?" Well, here Larson is doing the same darn thing. I have no idea if Brenda, the woman in the video, has mental health issues or is just playing along. But she's not possessed by a demon. Have you ever watched video of ATR rituals where people are actually possessed by spirits? Let's just say they don't walk around acting all normal and we'll leave it at that. They also don't turn the room red or "burn" with bad CGI flames.

At some point I'm considering doing some of my own magick videos, and I'm left wondering if I have to do this too to "keep up with the Joneses," or at least keep up with the Larsons and Koettings. Even though I have mad skills with Microsoft Paint, I would have to track down something similar for videos. You know, something that would let me add a possum head to a picture of Bigfoot in real time, not just in the one photo. I'm kind of hoping that's not the case, though, because let's face it - these effects are cheesy as hell.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Civil War Tomorrow!

Okay, I confess. I just can't bring myself to lay off Alex Jones.

At least, not when he's busy posting bullshit like the above. "The Democrats," by which he basically means "the boogymen," are apparently planning a full-on civil war for Independence Day. You know, tomorrow! Lock your doors and windows, folks. There'll be fighting on every corner and bloodshed in every street. Because it's a civil war, man - the last one killed a million people!

Note to Alex Jones - a million people killed is totally different than a million people yelled at on the Internet. And yes, Jones has shown himself capable of doing the latter all on his own. So is this his whole plan?
  1. Accuse Democrats of starting a civil war.
  2. When actual Democrats call him an idiot, insist that's exactly the same as a war.
  3. Go on and on about how "I was right!"
  4. Profit???
I know, I'm playing right into his hand if that's what's going on. The thing is that Alex Jones has a special and unique power. More than just about anyone else out there in the world, he's capable of behaving in such a way that you seriously can't help calling him an idiot.

And I suppose he may be in the one business - talk radio - where that superpower is an asset rather than a liability. Insults create controversy. Controversy drives coverage. Coverage drives listeners. And it sounds simple, but honestly, I don't think I could act as dumb and offensive as Alex Jones if my life depended on it.

So Alex Jones, you're an idiot. That's exactly what you wanted me to say, right?

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Greater Ritual of the Hexagram

Last week's post on the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram got a good response, so I figured I would go ahead and put one up today on the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram. The instructions for this one have not become quite as muddled as the instructions for the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram, but there are some differences between the material published in Aleister Crowley's Liber O (which is the version I use) and how the ritual is taught by at least some of today's Golden Dawn orders.

The biggest difference in that in Liber O, Crowley tells you that the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is used for working with both planets and signs of the zodiac. At least some of the Golden Dawn groups don't do it that way, and instead use the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for zodiac signs and the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for planets only. Beyond that, there are some technical points regarding the use of the Keyword Analysis and how the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram fits into my operant model.

Zodiac signs are associated with both a ruling planet and a ruling element. So while you can work with the signs of the zodiac from an elemental "direction," in the operant model it makes a lot more sense to go with the hexagram. The pentagram is a symbol of the microcosm and the hexagram is a symbol of the macrocosm. Both planets and signs represent macrocosmic forces. I could see the idea that using the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram might get you the microcosmic aspect of the sign, such as associated personality traits, but the macrocosm includes the microcosm.

I have been quite successful affecting my own personality using the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for zodiacal rites, so I know for a fact that even if you are only looking to work with personality traits the macrocosmic approach is entirely viable. As a result, I really don't see the point of working with the signs of the zodiac from a microcosmic-only perspective, and the Liber O method strikes me as the most effective way to work with zodiacal forces of whatever sort. That's what I use the hexagram, and not the pentagram, for the signs of the zodiac and the spirits associated with them.