Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Production - What Haunts Us

Augoeides has been quite for the last week and a half because my publishing company, Moonfire Publishing, has been finishing up the rollout for our latest title, What Haunts Us by Loren Niemi. Loren is a storyteller who performs all over the country, and What Haunts Us is his first-ever published story collection.

This book was challenging to produce, but if I don't say so myself the result is pretty outstanding. From a literary standpoint the narrative style comes from performance storytelling, which gives it a fundamentally different feel than your standard anthology of short stories. Some are adapted from existing folklore and others are entirely original compositions. This is a work that has been long in the making, as Loren has been performing for more than forty years. You can check out his website here for more information about him and his background.

All of these stories touch on various elements of the paranormal and metaphysical, and should be of interest to magical and spiritual practitioners. I know that a lot of us don't read much fiction, but this is a book that grounds the fantastic firmly in the real world as we know and understand it. As magicians, that is, after all, precisely what we strive to do with our practices. So I think that What Haunts Us is definitely a book worth checking out, and on top of that the stories themselves are quite good.

Loren will be performing tomorrow evening, Wednesday February 27th, at Tillie's Farmhouse in Saint Paul, Minnesota. If you are local to the area, come by and check it out. It promises to be a good time with opening music starting at 6 PM and Loren's storytelling starting at 7 PM. He also travels around the country, with his upcoming events posted on his website. If you get a chance to see him, you should - there aren't a lot of storytellers around any more, and Loren is an excellent one.

Now that the book production project is mostly wrapped up, I'll be getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. Also, the Office of the Readings is coming up in a few weeks and as always you will be able to follow along here. I have to say, with all the snow we've been getting this February I really am looking forward to spring.

Friday, February 15, 2019

What's Down There?

A cave in Nottinghamshire UK has been found to have more protective symbols designed to ward off evil than any previous archaeological site. Deeper inside the cave, beyond the marks, is a deep hole that leads to... well, I don't think anybody has gone in yet to find out. It makes you wonder what sort of spiritual force might be down there that the people who drew the various symbols were so afraid of.

If there is a gateway to hell, a portal from the underworld used by demons and witches to wreak their evil havoc on humanity, then it could be in a small east Midlands cave handy for both the M1 and A60. Heritage experts have revealed what is thought to be the biggest concentration of apotropaic marks, or symbols to ward off evil or misfortune, ever found in the UK.

The markings, at Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border, include hundreds of letters, symbols and patterns carved, at a time when belief in witchcraft was widespread. The scale and variety of the marks made on the limestone walls and ceiling of a cave which has at its centre a deep, dark, hole, is unprecedented.

Believed to protect against witches and curses, the marks were discovered by chance at the site, which is also home to the only ice age art ever discovered in the UK. Paul Baker, the director of Creswell Heritage Trust, said the marks had been in plain sight. They had known they were there. “But we told people it was Victorian graffiti,” he said. “We had no idea. Can you imagine how stupid we felt?”

The trust was alerted to the marks last year by Hayley Clark and Ed Waters. The two keen-eyed cavers thought there were perhaps two or three markings; it soon became clear there were dozens and then on further investigation up to a thousand. And counting. “They are everywhere,” said Baker. “How scared were they?”

You can't get to the spiritual underworld or hell or whatever just by going into someplace underground, since the chthonic realm is a spiritually different place than the earthly realm. But it also is true that paranormal investigators have come across some pretty nasty spirits over in the British isles. This might be the home of one of them, or perhaps it was at one time. At this point it's not clear. My suggestion would be to send a paranormal investigation team down there to find out.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Football Magick

European football - that is, soccer in the states - has a long history of magick and spells used by players and teams to increase their odds. American football, on the other hand, does not. That might explain the continued success of the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, who finally admitted in a recent interview that his wife, model Gisele Bundchen, has been casting spells on his behalf.

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady is now a six-time Super Bowl champion and, despite being 41 years old, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all. So, whatever he’s doing – both on and off the field – is clearly working. Brady revealed earlier this week something his wife, Gisele, has taught him that’s kept him going late in his career.

“So she put together a little altar for me that I could bring with pictures of my kids,” he explained this week, “and I have these little special stones and healing stones and protection stones and she has me wear a necklace and take these drops she makes. I say all these mantras.”

I don't have any problem with players using magick to win games, but I will say that at this point I'm pretty sick of the Patriots winning Super Bowls. It's no surprise that if one team is using magick and the others aren't, that team is going to win consistently. Clearly, other teams need to get in on the action and hire their own spellcasters. They could work to level the playing field by making sure every team has paranormal forces at their disposal.

And for those who are skeptical, keep in mind that it often comes out that top players or top teams are the ones using spells. For example, back when Tiger Woods was so dominant in golf he had an online "church" of fans praying (that is, casting spells) for him. After he was caught having affairs and the "church" disbanded, he kept playing and was still good - but not nearly as outstanding as he had been with paranormal assistance.

That's because spells work, full stop. In professional sports the differences between individual players is tiny. There's no such thing as a bad professional athlete, contrary to what angry fans might tell you after key losses. It comes down to each individual play, on which everybody involved is a great player but somebody has to wind up being the greatest player. The player on the field with probability weighted in his or her favor by spells will always be more likely to come out ahead.

So let's get with it, National Football League! Let's see some sorcerers on the sidelines. They could cast their spells right there, and make every game extra-interesting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Christian Ouija Board

You know how fundamentalist Christians hate Ouija boards? How they're supposed to summon demons and get people possessed and all that nonsense? Well, it turns out it's not entirely true. Yes, Christians really are using a device called "The Angels Talk Message Board" to communicate with angels, and it's the same exact thing as a Ouija board. Oh, except that it has an airbrushy picture of an angel, as shown above.

A week ago, we reported that charismatics are using “Christian tarot cards.” Christalignment, a ‘ministry’ run by Jen Hodge, had put together a “destiny card” schtick to help “reach people” in the New Age movement. You can read about that here, but they have since pulled down their videos. We also reported Hodge’s association with Bethel Church, which at first repudiated the tarot card ministry but upon finding out that Bethel members were involved with it, then deleted their rebuke and affirmed the practice.

Steve Kozar at Pirate Christian Radio posted a satire piece about “The Bethel Board,” a Ouija Board-type device by which charismatics can summon the demonic. While Kozar’s piece was satire, it appears that truth is stranger than fiction. Charismatics actually are using ‘Christian Ouija Boards,’ but not just as an evangelism technique. They are using them to communicate with ‘angels.’ Called “The Angels Talk: The Message Board that Connects You to Your Angels,” the device is used to communicate with spirits.

Note that this is NOT a satirical article. This thing really exists - you can buy it here from Amazon. And as you can see from the listing, it's been around since 1997!

This is yet another thing that I have absolutely no problem with aside from it highlighting the hypocrisy of fundamentalists. Ouija boards can be used to communicate with angels, no problem. They work for all kinds of spirits. Problem with them generally come from using them in an undisciplined fashion - calling out to any spirit that might happen to notice you instead of performing a magical operation to target the spirit you want. You will notice, though, that nothing of the sort can be seen here - no names of power, or sigils, or anything that might do something to tune this board to the angelic realm. So it's just a regular Ouija board that happens to have a picture of an angel on it.

So it's hypocritical to claim that other Ouija boards are dangerous but this one isn't. I happen to think that, in fact, neither are particularly dangerous and both can be used as effective spirit communication devices. Their effectiveness depends not on the board, but on the natural psychic ability of the user or users. And sticking an angel picture on the thing is not going to change anything.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Down With Satire!

I'm sure glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia. That's true for a lot of reasons. But today it's because back in September the country decided to criminalize online satire of religious values. I mean, I'm sure that if I lived there the anti-witchcraft squad would come for me long before the online satire police, but still. I do a lot of pointing and laughing at silly religious folks here on Augoeides and in Saudi Arabia I probably am breaking the law.

“Producing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disrupts public order, religious values and public morals through social media...will be considered a cybercrime punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($800,000),” the tweet said.

The country’s cyber crackdown has raised concerns among human rights groups, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—son and heir to the elderly King Salman and considered the power behind the throne—seeks to maintain the crown's tight control of society.

The government has used broad anti-terror legislation to prosecute dozens of citizens for their online activities, much of it on social media platforms like Twitter. In September 2017, the government asked Saudis to report any social media behavior “harming the state's reputation.”

Authorities even repurposed an app—launched in 2016 to help civilians report traffic violations and burglaries—to make it easier for Saudis to report each other. Announcing the new initiative, the interior ministry tweeted: “When you notice any account on social networks publishing terrorist or extremist ideas, please report it immediately via the application.”

As if satire and terrorism are the same thing. Am I a terrorist because I'm funny? Obviously I don't think so. But the truth is that Saudi Arabia is a pretty messed-up place, with all kinds of ridiculous civil liberty restrictions including this one. Since the article is months old I have no idea how many people may have been charged under this new law, but even if nobody has it's still a problem. Laws like this let the police criminalize dissent, which at this point should be allowed in any modern nation.

Friday, February 8, 2019

High-Level Witchcraft Attack

An astute Facebook commenter pointed out that the group of witches supporting Vladimir Putin that I wrote about yesterday bills itself as "The Empire of the Most Powerful Witches." They're not just AN Empire of Witches, people, they're THE Empire of the Most Powerful Witches. There's no evidence that they had anything to do with today's story, but these days you never know. If they're the most powerful witches, presumably that means they're "high-level."

Which brings us to today's article. "Firefighter Prophet" Mark Taylor has been mentioned a number of times here. Taylor has made one successful prophecy - that Donald Trump would win the presidency - and whole mess of false ones, or at least ones that seem to have no bearing in reality and which have never come to pass. During a recent talk radio appearance, Taylor claimed that a medical emergency affecting a judge serving at Guantanamo Bay was the result of a "high-level witchcraft attack."

During his recent appearance on Chris McDonald’s “The MC Files” program, so-called “firefighter prophet” Mark Taylor claimed that a recent medical emergency suffered by a judge serving at Guantanamo Bay was a “high-level witchcraft attack” aimed at disrupting President Trump’s plans to prosecute people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton using military tribunals.

Of course, there's no evidence of anything like these "plans" happening outside of Taylor's "prophecies." I recently saw a right-wing meme being passed around stating "If you impeach Trump, we'll impeach Obama." Whut? It's not even remotely surprising to me that there are a lot of people out there who don't understand what the concept of impeachment means aside from it being "something bad," but still. You have to actually hold a political office to be impeached.

But anyway...

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Witches for Putin

Since the election of Donald Trump, evangelical Christians have been up in arms about witches casting spells against him. There is some truth behind that belief, such as the Trump magick war from two years ago. Some magicians support Trump as well, such as Christian prayer warriors and so-called meme magicians. This week Vladimir Putin got some assistance as well, in the form of witches casting spells to embue him with "mystical energy."

Russian witches and seers performed on Tuesday one of their most powerful rituals, "the circle of power,” to pass on their mystical energy to President Vladimir Putin.

Dozens of people who claim to have supernatural powers stood side by side, reading spells in their effort to support the Russian head of state.

Self-proclaimed leader of the Russian witches Alyona Polyn said the main intention of the gathering is to enhance quality of life in Russia, the whole world in general and to support the president.

“We have gathered here to make the world better off through Russia,” Polyn said. "Come up with the greatness, power of Russia, direct the way of Vladimir Putin right and correctly throughout the word of mine,” she intoned during the ceremony.

This should cause something of a dilemma for evangelical Trump supporters, but it probably won't. Allegedly, evangelicals don't have a problem with Trump cozying up to Putin because they see Russia as a "Christian nation" that in theory supports their values. But it should be pretty clear that a guy who is getting magical assistance from a bunch of witches - in a state where he has easily amassed enough power to shut this ritual down without batting an eye - is not the sort of pious Christian they can support.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Click to Pray

In a new development that is literally about spiritual technology, last month the Roman Catholic Church launched a new smartphone app called Click to Pray. The app was covered by numerous media outlets, some of which considered it kind of silly. But as a practicing magician, I think the idea is good even if Christian theology is misguided on the idea of spells versus prayers.

Pope Francis launched an app Sunday called “Click to Pray,” which connects Catholics to a global network to share prayer intentions via their smartphones.

The pope opened the new app using an iPad during his Angelus address Jan. 20 and encouraged young Catholics, in particular, to download the smartphone app to pray the “Rosary of Peace” ahead of World Youth Day.

“Click to Pray” allows users to post prayer intentions and view other prayer requests in six languages. After posting on the social network, one can track how many Catholics around the world have prayed for their request.

The Android and iOS app includes the pope’s monthly prayer intentions, all of the mysteries of the rosary, and daily prayers for morning, afternoon, and night. In each of these sections, users can click a box to indicate that they have completed the prayer and view how many others also prayed.

This topic has come up here numerous times. Some Christians argue that the difference between spells and prayers is that prayers are devotional whereas spells are performed for some specific intent. That's actually a fair enough definition, and somebody who prays in an exclusively devotional manner might be doing mysticism but probably aren't doing magick. Theological issues pop up, though, the moment you start praying for something. That's when your prayer becomes a spell.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Via Solis Aquarius Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Aquarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday February 5th, 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 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 Aquarius. The sign Aquarius is attributed to the power of "Astrology." This includes both learning about astrology and astrological methods, and working directly with specific astrological forces, aspects, and the like. As such, this is a general power with many possible practical applications. 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.