Monday, December 31, 2018

Of Magical Personas and Cartesian Dualism

Whither Magick Mondays. I know that the last few months have been pretty erratic, with the magick posts showing up in the middle of the week about half the time and occasionally not at all. I'm hoping to get better at that in the New Year. It's not a "resolution" because I think those are dumb, but rather the observation that I should be less distracted going forward than I have been during the latter part of this year. I have several projects that are wrapping up soon, and once they do I should be able to do a better job of keeping up with things here.

At any rate, earlier this month Frater Barrabbas put up a new post covering what he sees as the necessary components for getting a good start as a magician. It is a long and very informative article that I recommend any beginning magician should read it its entirety. I agree with the vast majority of it. What I'm going to talk about here, though, is one key point on which my operant magical system differs from Barrabbas' work.

To be clear, Barrabbas and I are friends and many of his ideas have informed my practice over the years. The difference that I want to highlight here is not a case of me being critical or thinking that his perspective is somehow objectively wrong. The operant system, though, does have a slightly different emphasis that works better for me, and if you are wondering which way you should go I invite you to try out both approaches and see which one works best for you. As always, my first rule is that if it works it works. Here are the points in question, with my comments.

The first objective is to elevate the self-image so a person is able to establish the credible belief and confidence that he or she can perform magical rituals that produce effective results. In this fashion a person assumes and becomes the persona of a magician with all of its associated practices and expectations. This means that the individual undergoes some kind of change or basic transformation that allows for paranormal phenomenon to occur, and it colors the way that he or she perceives themselves and the world around them. Self development of a particular kind, such as meditation practices, yoga and breath-control can help to build a foundation; but at some point the erstwhile magician must adopt the persona of a practicing magician.

Now I wouldn't say this first paragraph is that different from what I do if what we are talking about is the beginning magician developing confidence in his or her ability to produce paranormal change. It also is not that different if what we are talking about is dispelling doubt - remember, as per the operant equation magick is not powered by belief, but rather inhibited by doubt. I do this by pushing people into working practical magick as soon as they know the basic forms, because the best way to become confident in your ability to make things happen is to make things happen.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Read Your Bible!

I've mentioned a number of times here how my opinion of any Christian always goes way down when I realize that I know the Bible better than they do. I'm a Thelemite. I did grow up Christian, but liberal ELCA Lutheran rather than literalist Evangelical. That being said, I attribute much of the disparity between my knowledge of the Bible and that of conservative Evangelicals on the fact that I've read the whole thing. Twice, as a matter of fact. The implication there is obvious - for all their claims to follow the literal Word of God, they usually haven't read very much of the text that they consider holy.

I don't necessarily think that's a blanket statement, as I have met conservative Christians who are extremely knowledgeable about the Bible, its history, its context, and so forth. But one of the things I have observed about these folks is that they generally don't want anything to do with the modern "Religious Right." As I see it, the problem is pretty simple - organizations like Focus on the Family and the Christian Coalition of America are not driven by the values of Christianity as found in the Bible, but rather by the agenda of the Republican Party.

Don't take my word for it, though (which will be a recurring theme throughout this post). Check out this article from Vox by former Tea Party activist Cindy Mallette who voted Democratic for the first time ever this last November. What changed her mind, you ask, in this age of extreme partisanship? She sat down and read the Bible.

Like many Christians, I looked to the Bible for moral guidance. But I wasn’t relying on my own reading of the Scriptures. I was relying on the interpretations of pastors and evangelical leaders like James Dobson, whose readings happened to line up nicely with the Republican Party platform. This is not a coincidence; these same individuals have been politically active in the GOP for decades, going back to the 1970s, and their understanding of scripture informs the Republican Party platform.

My experience with the Bible was on par with the majority of American evangelicals: We have this perception that we know a lot about the Bible, but we hardly read it. In 2015, I decided to read the entire Bible on my own. I read from Genesis to Revelation in one year. I was astounded that so much of what the experts emphasized as good, godly living was not at all what God had in mind.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Why Canada's Witchcraft Law Needed to be Scrapped

Canada has finally struck down its archaic "pretending to practice witchcraft" law. In a previous post, I pointed out that existing fraud laws are sufficient for prosecuting scammers and confidence artists whether they defraud clients by claiming paranormal abilities or not. It made little sense to me how opponents of the law could claim otherwise, since Canada does have comprehensive laws prohibiting fraud that would have applied to every case I had previously come across.

But then there's this. Tiffany Butch of Timmins, Ontario, was charged under the law only two days before it was due to be repealed. I don't know all the facts of the case, but if the account from the article is true it sounds like the law is being applied in a discriminatory and problematic manner. That's why it needed to be scrapped.

Authorities have charged Butch, 33, of pretending to practice witchcraft over an incident that allegedly occurred in October, weeks before the law was scrapped last week. Police in Timmins, in northeastern Ontario, described Butch as a “self-proclaimed spiritualist, medium and clairvoyant.” They say she promised to protect a client from “some form of potential danger” to her family and tried to elicit payments in return.

Butch contends that she’s not a witch, but a psychic, and that she has been one since she was 11. Her alias was merely a “cute name” her friends and family called her, she said. She said she never advertised herself as someone who practices witchcraft. The charges against her are false, she said, and fellow psychics — her rivals — have conspired to frame her, though she declined to name anyone.

She said that sometime in October, a woman came to her office in Timmins and asked for a crystal ball reading. But, Butch said, she told her that she was not in business at that time. “I don’t believe that I even read for her,” Butch said. “I don’t believe I even provided this woman a reading.”

Putting these two accounts together, the sense I get is that something like this happened - the woman approached Butch and asked if she was a psychic and could give her a reading to help protect her family. Butch replied that she was and could do a reading for some sum of money. The woman refused to pay, and when Butch refused to read for her, the woman reported her to the police. That's not fraud - no money changed hands. But because Butch replied that she was psychic, she still committed a crime under this stupid law.

Many religions including my own accept the existence of paranormal and/or psychic abilities. And if I were in a position where a lot of people were getting on my case to cast spells for them I would of course charge for my time. I don't because I make plenty of money at my day job already. If I lived in Canada, though, I apparently could be charged the moment I asked for even a dollar or something ridiculous for my services. As I mentioned before, the law doesn't include any way to show that you are an actual spellcaster rather than "pretending."

So repealing the law and using existing fraud laws instead means that this wouldn't be a case, which is a good thing. There certainly is good reason to charge psychics and the like who bilk clients out of large sums of money through various scams. On the other hand, just charging a reasonable rate for time spent casting a spell is not the same thing at all, and the idea that it should be criminalized basically suggests that members of esoteric religions are all scammers by default. That implication is not just wrong, it's offensive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Dragons

Yes, it's true. Some people really do have too much free time. Diana Rowland likes dragons so much that she used inflatable dragon lawn ornaments to set up a holiday display in her front yard four years ago. The dragons appeared to be a hit with the neighborhood. But this year, Rowland received an anonymous letter calling on her to take them down.

The inflatable lawn ornaments, black and red, purple and green, were the epitome of cool to the former police officer and morgue worker, who is now a writer of sci-fi books. And after what Rowland says was a smashing debut one Halloween, she decided to set the dragons up again for Christmas, outfitting them for the holiday season with garland, Santa hats and blue shawls meant to evoke biblical stories. The neighborhood loved them, she said. And she did, too.

This year was scheduled to be the fourth that the dragons would uneventfully grace her yard for Christmas. But then an anonymous letter came in the mail.


It continued.


Rowland did what any normal person would do in 2018; she posted the angry letter on social media. “Our dragon holiday display got fan mail!” she wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of both the letter, and, it must be acknowledged, the dragons somewhat demonically lit up at night.

A couple of points here. First, cartoony inflatable dragons are in no way demonic. Actually, they're kind of cute. The only sorts of people who might think otherwise are fundies who know less than nothing about demons and/or cults. Second, the "true meaning of Christmas" is basically so much bullshit. If you really are such an abject busybody that you feel the need to police how others - and especially others who don't share your religious beliefs - celebrate the holiday season, there really is no help for you. Minding one's own business is a real virtue.

According to Rowland, she lives in a neighborhood where people talk to each other if they have a problem rather than leaving anonymous notes, so I'm wondering if the note even came from a neighbor. Fundies of the "poor oppressed" variety really are the worst, and it would not surprise me one bit if the note was sent by one of them that happened to pass through the neighborhood and felt oppressed by a display that did not contain ancient symbols of their religion like mistletoe and snowflakes. Hey, they've done that before!

Personally, I think the dragons are cool. Instead of taking them down, Rowland went ahead and added a couple more. Clearly she understands the right way to deal with religious nutters.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Auto-Talismanic Ritual for 2018

Today's Magick Monday post is the script for the Auto-Talismanic Ritual that we will be performing at Leaping Laughter Oasis on Friday December 21st for the Winter Solstice. This ritual is a group invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel that we perform at this time every year, and which incorporates some of the same elements as the elixir rites. As with the Via Solis series and our other seasonal workings, this is a public ritual that is open to all.

0. The Temple

The temple is set up with an altar in the center, on which sits the Table of Art. A chalice, initially filled with salt water, is placed in the center of the Table. The banishing dagger, invoking wand, and bell chime are placed on the altar. Magus stands to the west of the altar facing east. Sophia stands to the east of the altar facing west. Magus wears white and Sophia wears black. Throughout the ritual, Sophia and Magus face each other across the altar, moving appropriately throughout the various ceremonial forms.

I. Opening

Magus takes up the banishing dagger and performs the Star Ruby.

Sophia: 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.


Magus: 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.


Sophia: 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.


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

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

All: So mote it be.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Get Some White Christian Love

Pastors getting busted for sex offenses is practically a cliché these days, but according to this article from Patheos a case from Oklahoma takes it one step further. A pastor there was busted for running a white supremacist brothel, which is one of those things that I didn't know existed until now. In addition to the quote below, the original article has a roundup of press coverage regarding the case.

An Oklahoma pastor is under arrest after being caught running a prostitution ring with a white supremacist. Pastor Walter Eugene Brazington Jr. is “being charged with procuring for prostitution and possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony,” according to a report from Tulsa World.

The Oklahoma pastor was caught running a massage parlor that was being used as a front for a prostitution ring. His partner in crime was white supremacist Tiffany Roach, an HIV positive prostitute who calls herself “Aryan Woman” and professes to have “Whitegirl Pride.” Brazington is listed as an apostle and prophet for the All Nations Evangelistic Team, a preaching group based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

It's not clear from the news coverage how the white supremacist angle played into the prostitution business or how it was run. But really, who cares? The story is bizarre enough without additional details, and it's probably more fun to use our imaginations. What is clear is that this is something that no evangelical pastor should be up to, given the teachings of conservative Christianity on sexuality. The white supremacy angle also doesn't seem to line up with a denomination that professes to serve "all nations," though I suppose that could be code for "all white nations." With evangelicals these days, you can't be sure.

One wonders how many of these folks that make the news for their blatant hypocrisy would live happier, more honest lives if they would just take up a religion that doesn't revel in sex shaming. On the other hand, maybe they feel like they need conservative teachings to keep their sexuality in line - which is sad, and obviously doesn't work. Or maybe they just enjoy shaming others too much to give it up, and like most criminals figure they will never be caught.

At any rate, the shutdown of the brothel means that it's that much harder to find some white Christian love in Oklahoma. Despite my support for decriminalization of sex work in general, under the circumstances that probably is a good thing.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Not That Kind of Nativity Play

Ah, the holiday season - a time of sad consumerism, cheesy music, and bad school pageants. At first I thought this one might be a fake story, but I dug into it just enough that I see no obvious signs of it being a parody article. Even if it is, it's too funny not to share. A mom in Scotland bought a shepherd costume for her son's nativity play, which came with its own "blow-up sheep." Apparently nobody vetted this product all that carefully, because as it turns out the sheep in question was in fact a sex doll. The picture above really says it all. Imagine that as part of your school's pageant, and try not to laugh.

46-year-old mum of two Helen Cox from Alloa, Scotland, decided to shop online for a fancy dress costume for her son Alfie’s nativity play. Seeing a shepherd costume advertised on Amazon for only £16.99, Helen was even more delighted when she realised the product came with its very own blow-up sheep to complete the look. However, when Alfie returned home from school telling his mum a teacher told him to take the sheep home, Helen was puzzled.

Her confusion only grew when upon blowing up the sheep she found it had red lips, eyelashes and best of all, a huge hole in its bottom. Doing some research, Helen found the same sheep advertised on Amazon as a ‘naughty inflatable sheep doll with backdoor pleasure hole ‘perfect for a gag gift’. Elsewhere it was being sold as a ‘stag night bonkin’ sheep’ because apparently that is a thing people want in their lives.

I really have no idea who the idiot was who thought that pairing a shepherd costume with an inflatable sex doll sheep was a good idea, but frankly I don't care. The result is just too damn funny. A couple of points that make me think story might be real are (1) the costume itself is shoddy and hand-made, probably ordered from a crafting website or something similar, (2) the mom did not actually inflate the sheep before sending it to school with her son, so she might have missed the whole "sex doll" aspect if it were, say, folded up, and finally, (3) a fake news article would probably say that the kid performed in the pageant with the inflatable sheep and nobody knew what it was because they were a bunch of clueless prudes.

At any rate, whoever came up with this costume or the story itself has added a little cheer to my holidays. I hope it adds some to yours, too, however you choose to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Evoking Hillary Clinton to Visible Appearance

As a progressive I'm not a huge fan of the Clintons, seeing as their legacy had a lot to do with the Democratic Leadership Council moving the Democratic Party in a more conservative direction in the early 1990's. However, what I don't understand at all is the ridiculous mountain of nonsense that conservatives have been sending their way since then. David Brock flat-out admitted that the "dirt" published by American Spectator during the Clinton administration was made up, but that doesn't seem to stop anybody's crazy uncles from sharing those stories over and over again. "Pizzagate" and "Qanon" still have some traction even though the respective folks who made those up have publicly admitted doing so as well.

But here's a new one that kind of blew my mind. When the CBS television series Strange Angel debuted, a bunch of folks I know in OTO were concerned that the show got so many things wrong that it probably would feed conspiracy theories. It did get people looking into the life of Jack Parsons, which is generally a good thing. But that has the potential to spawn conspiracy theories as well, and given their conspiracy magnet status, it was really only a matter of time before some nutter linked the Clintons into all of it. That nutter's name is Tom Horn, and he happens to be the CEO of Christian television network SkyWatch TV.

Today, SkyWatch TV posted a program in which End Times author and SkyWatch TV CEO Tom Horn suggested that Hillary Clinton is the “Whore of Babylon” who was conceived during a ritual carried out in 1946 by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Horn claimed that stolen emails posted by Wikileaks revealed that Clinton had filled her 2016 presidential campaign with “occultists” who believe her to be the biblical Whore of Babylon who will usher in the Antichrist.

Citing a ritual that took place in 1946 called “The Babylon Working” in which Hubbard and others allegedly attempted to conceive a goddess through “ritual sex magic,” Horn claimed that Clinton may have been the result of that effort “to bring through, into our reality, the archetype divine feminine, the Whore of Babylon.”

“She’ll grow up, she’ll become an influential worldwide-known feminist who will help give rise to the Antichrist,” Horn said. “They believed that that was Hillary Clinton.”

“It’s been announced now that Hillary Clinton is very likely going to run for president again in 2020,” he continued. “Guess what? In 2020, she will be 72 years old. This is, again, one of the most important occult marker and it is going to again cause the occultists around her to believe that she is the incarnation of that entity.”

Horn went on to say that Jack Parsons, one of the main participants in the “Babylon Working” ritual, reported that he had a vision in 1947—the year that Clinton was born—in which the spirit of this goddess visited him, telling him that she was now on earth to fulfill her destiny to “grow up and help the Antichrist come to power” and that her name was Hilarion.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Via Solis Sagittarius Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Sagittarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday December 4th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be continuing to perform one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the 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 Sagittarius. The sign Sagittarius is attributed to the power of “Transmutations." It is also the only sign attributed to a vision, the "Vision of Universal Peacock." This vision is a significant step in alchemical processes. Transmutation is a general power with many applications, since in a sense all magical operations represent attempts to transmute or transform some aspect of yourself, the external world, or both. So any intent along those lines would be in harmony with the power of the sign. 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.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Celene Dion's Satanic Clothing Line

Canadian singer Celene Dion has been accused of Satanism. Not because she worships the devil or practices witchcraft or supports religious freedom or anything like that, but because she has recently released a line of unisex clothing. Oh, the horror! Apparently, all you need to do to become a card-carrying Satanist is to sit on the sofa in sweat pants. Maybe that's why fundamentalists are up in arms about Satanists being everywhere, because let's face it - sweats are very popular.

“I’m convinced that the way this gender thing has spread is demonic,” said Msgr. John Esseff, a priest and exorcist in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania. “It’s false. I don’t even know how many genders there’s supposed to be now, but there are only two that God made.” The article also accuses Dion of hiding occult iconography in the clothing itself (“one pair of sweatpants has a number 3 on one knee and a 6 on the other. Three 6’s?”), suggesting that the range is not only “disturbing” but also “hideously ugly”.

“Who would pay $77 for a baby blanket with skulls or $161 for a jacket that looks like a trash bag?” asks the article’s author Patti Armstrong, a statement that suggests she is seemingly unfamiliar with the work of Demna Gvasalia. While Dion is yet to comment on the whole fiasco, she has previously said that the line was intended to enable “younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect.” Which sounds a lot more reasonable than an evil spirit attempting to manipulate children through a range of casual, unisex leggings but there you go.

It also makes for smart sales. If you don't need separate versions of your clothes for men and women you can save a lot on production costs. Then, when you sell it at the same prices as comparable gender-typed clothes you make more money. As if you really need separate versions of sweatpants for men and women - the whole point of them is that they're loose and comfortable, so they don't need to be fitted.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Books for the Holidays!

Cross-posted from my author web site.

With the holiday season upon us, it's good to keep in mind that the gift of books never goes out of style. Of course, I'm talking about my books. My first novel was published in 2009 and since then I've put out additional fiction and non-fiction titles. Naturally, if I do say so myself, they make great gifts.

The Mastering Enochian Magick Series

Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy

Volume I of the Mastering Enochian Magick Series is still the only book I know of dedicated to exploring the Heptarchia Mystica, an early portion of John Dee and Edward Kelley's work that precedes the better-known Great Table and Aires or Aethyrs. The Heptarchial system works with sixteen spirits total, a King and Prince for each day of the week plus a King and Prince who rule over the entire system. This book makes a great introduction to Enochian magick that can get the reader started right away without a lot of the complexity normally associated with the Enochian system, and produce impressive practical results.

Click here to find out more and order your copy today!

Mastering the Great Table

Volume II of the Mastering Enochian Magick Series is my own exposition of the attributions of the Great Table or Watchtowers. It is more controversial than Volume I because the attributions I use are based on my interpretation of the Dee diaries and they don't line up with the attributions used by the Golden Dawn, the Aurum Solis, or Aleister Crowley. Even other "Dee Purists" don't necessarily agree with my reading of the original texts, so this book is not going to be a re-hash of other Watchtower systems that you will find elsewhere. It is, however, rooted in decades of practical work and experience, and the rituals and structures contained therein have been proved highly effective.

Click here to find out more and order your copy today!

Mastering the Thirty Aires - Coming Soon!

Volume III of the Mastering Enochian Magick Series is my exposition of the Aires or Aethyrs based on my work with the Dee diaries rather than the modern attributions derived from the various Golden Dawn-based systems. Mastering the Thirty Aires has been submitted to my publisher but is not available at this time. Watch this space for an announcement once it is ready to order!

Enochian Master Classes

This is not a book but it makes a great gift anyway. I recently participated in a set of Enochian Master Classes along with Jason Augustus Newcomb and Aaron Leitch. These classes are a great opportunity to hear me lecture on my system of Enochian magick and at the same time hear the perspectives of two other longtime practitioners. You can sign up for the course here, and the coupon code STENW-ENOCH7-50 will give you 50% off the registration price.

Click here to sign up today!