Sunday, March 31, 2019

Now Alex Jones Has "Psychosis"

Apparently Alex Jones is no longer claiming to be a performance artist. In a deposition for the lawsuit filed by Sandy Hook parents, he's now claiming that he suffered from "almost like a form of psychosis" when he presented the "Sandy Hook Truthers" and their ridiculous ideas seriously. Jones, of course, has never been diagnosed with psychosis. Because let me tell you, if he had, he would be riding it for all it's worth. He's doing everything he can to wriggle out of paying damages for which, as far as I can tell, he obviously is liable for.

In a deposition stemming from a lawsuit filed by parents of Sandy Hook victims, conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones claimed an imbalanced mental state caused him to claim the Newtown, Conn. massacre of elementary school children was a government-led conspiracy.

In the video released on Friday, Jones said he reached this alleged mental state where he “almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged,” the Austin Statesman reported. He went on to say this was caused by “the trauma of the media and the corporations lying so much, then everything begins — you don’t trust anything anymore, kind of like a child whose parents lie to them over and over again, well, pretty soon they don’t know what reality is.”

The admission came toward the end of a three-hour deposition where lawyers representing Sandy Hook families confronted Jones with videos from his show where he said the shootings were fake. Jones appeared much more calm than he does on his show and admitted to peddling the theory but kept blaming his state of mind: “So long before these lawsuits I said that in the past I thought everything was a conspiracy, and I would kind of get into that mass group think of the communities that were out there saying that,” Jones said. “And so now I see that it’s more in the middle. All right? So that’s where I stand.”

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Uri Geller Versus Brexit

The spoons are gonna roll, people! That's the prediction of fully-debunked-but-still-claiming-psychic powers stage magician Uri Geller, whose original claim to fame was his purported ability to bend spoons with his mind. The trick isn't actually all that hard, which led to a high-profile debunking by none other than arch-skeptic James Randi himself. Geller is now threatening to use his (debunked) psychic powers to stop Brexit by means of telepathy, which he's totally going to do if the prime minister won't play ball. Theresa May, fear his spoony wrath!

In an open letter to the prime minister, the Israeli-British TV personality said he felt “psychically and very strongly” that most Britons were anti-Brexit and promised to stop the process telepathically. He wrote: “I feel psychically and very strongly that most British people do not want Brexit. I love you very much but I will not allow you to lead Britain into Brexit. As much as I admire you, I will stop you telepathically from doing this – and believe me I am capable of executing it. Before I take this drastic course of action, I appeal to you to stop the process immediately while you still have a chance.”

Geller, who is currently in Israel, used to live in Sonning, which lies in May’s Maidenhead constituency. In his letter, he said he had known the prime minister for 21 years and that she had visited his home. He added: “Three years before you became prime minister, I predicted your victory when I showed you Winston Churchill’s spoon on my Cadillac, which I asked you to touch.” He also claimed he is using the power of his mind to ensure that “Jeremy Corbyn never gets the keys to Number 10 Downing Street”. “I will ensure that they bend out of all proportion to ensure that he never takes up residence there,” he wrote.

To be fair, Randi is known to play as fast and loose with his debunking efforts as a lot of phony psychics do with their powers. So it's not entirely beyond the bounds of probability that Geller might have some psychic abilities, even if the spoon-bending thing is a stage magic trick. He's calling out what he's going to do ahead of time, so we can watch and see. If Brexit goes through and/or Jeremy Corbin becomes Prime Minister, those are just more failures to add to the list. On the other hand it's possible that he could succeed, so like a good scientist I will wait and see.

Note that I barely follow British politics and have no idea what's going to eventually happen. But Geller sticking his spoon into the mix is just plain hysterical.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Watch Out for Unicorns

Anybody who knows anything about magick knows how dangerous unicorns are. Sure, they hide behind their sweetness-and-light exteriors, but underneath they are wild and violent creatures prone to lashing out at any moment. Recently a Baltimore convenience store faced down the wrath of one of these beasts that attempted to rob it armed with only a crowbar and seething unicorn rage.

Baltimore County Police say a person dressed in a unicorn costume and wielding a crowbar tried to rob a convenience store Saturday morning in the Baldwin community.

Officers arrived just after the High’s store opening time of 5 a.m. to respond to the robbery call.

Police say the suspect had fled in a silver car. They located what appeared to be the same car after it had wrecked. No other cars were involved in the wreck.

Miraculously, the cash and cigarettes inside the convenience store remained unmolested as the frustrated creature finally gave up and drove off. But since unicorns are by nature forest dwellers, their driving skills are subpar. The creature wrecked its getaway vehicle and ran off, but is still at large.

Residents of Baltimore, be warned! If you come across this unicorn on the lam, don't try to play music to it or touch its horn or anything like that. Just call the police - your life or at least your cash and cigarettes could depend upon it!

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Invocation of Horus

The Holy Season has arrived! Next week we will be starting up the Office of the Readings on Tuesday, March 19th and my usual Office of the Readings post will go up on March 18th, the preceding Monday. Normally I just include a link to the Invocation of Horus in that post, but this year we have decided to do the invocation tomorrow evening, March 16th, at 7:30 PM. So because we're doing it early, I'm posting the Invocation of Horus today so folks can take a look at it before attending. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

The text of this ritual is by Saint Aleister Crowley according to the vision of Ouarda the Seer, and has been adapted for group performance by Ananael Qaa and Lalitha. Crowley's original version can be found here.


All stand facing east. A flaming sword (flamberge) is placed on the altar. Horus is visualized appearing in the east as a human figure with the head of a hawk in the east towering over the participants. A statue or image of Horus may be placed in the east to assist this visualization.

Officiant opens the ritual with the Star Ruby.

All assembled then read the Confession.

Unprepared and uninvoking Thee, we are here in Thy Presence – for Thou art Everywhere, O Lord Horus! – to confess humbly before Thee my neglect and scorn of Thee. How shall we humble ourselves enough before Thee? Thou art the mighty and unconquered Lord of the Universe: we are the sparks of Thine unutterable Radiance.

How should we approach Thee? But Thou art Everywhere. With unwashen hands therefore we come unto Thee, and lament our wandering from Thee – but Thou knowest!

Yea, we have done evil!

All bow to the east.

We bow our necks before Thee, so are we in Thy hands. Strike if Thou wilt: spare if Thou wilt: but accept us as we are. Our trust is in Thee: shall we be confounded? For that All is in Thee and of Thee; it is enough if we burn up in the intolerable glory of Thy presence.

Rays of golden light shine forth from the figure of Horus and enter the crown chakras of all assembled, moving through their bodies all the way down to the feet and purifying all actions taken that are out of harmony with the operation of True Will. There is a short pause for this visualization. Each person rises as he or she feels the purification is complete. When all have risen the rite continues, led by the Officiant.

Enough! We turn toward Thy Promise. Doubtful are the Words: Dark are the Ways: but in Thy Words and Ways is Light. Thus then now as ever, we enter the Path of Darkness, if haply so we may attain the Light. Hail!

The figure of Horus responds by sending forth golden light that fills the temple. This visualization continues until the end of the invocation. The light becomes brighter and stronger as the rite goes on.

Officiant then opens the invocation proper with the Star Sapphire.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"QAnon" Now Has a Book


It amazes me that anybody still believes the "QAnon" conspiracy theory, but for whatever reason it seems to be a ridiculous idea that nonetheless refuses to die. After many failed predictions the theory has died down a little online, just like those fake "End Times" pastors who predict the end of the world over and over again and are always wrong. Maybe because the online version is starting to fade, some clever con artists have come out with a book that aims to "educate" (that is, defraud) anybody who buys it.

The book, which says it was written by a dozen “anonymous Q followers, decoders and citizen journalists known collectively as Where We Go One We Go All (WWG1WGA),” claims that Democrats murder and eat children and that the government created AIDS, polio and Lyme disease. Then there’s the belief that the world is run by a Satanic cabal led by Hillary Clinton.

There’s more. So much more. But we’ll leave it there. QAnon emerged from the dark corners of the internet and into the national spotlight thanks primarily to supporters of Donald Trump who would show up at his rallies wearing clothes and holding signs referencing the “Q” conspiracy.

Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy-theory expert, told NBC that the book is just another way for the QAnon movement to cash in on its gullible followers, calling it “a bold new step in the endless grift at the heart of Q.”

Nevertheless, the book keeps selling and racking up questionable glowing reviews, which Jason Kint, CEO of the trade association Digital Content Next, chalks up to manipulation and the lack of oversight on Amazon’s part.

“To be clear, they absolutely shouldn’t be censoring the availability of books like this,” Kite explained to NBC. “But the fact we’re left only with the publisher’s own description of the book and a clearly gamed set of 5-star reviews — how is the average shopper supposed to know this is toxic garbage?”

Monday, March 11, 2019

Via Solis Pisces Elixir Rite - Year Two

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Pisces Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday March 12th, 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 Pisces. The sign Pisces is attributed to the powers of "Bewitchment" and "Casting Illusions." So this is the power that you would call upon to cast classic magical operations such as "glamours" and the like. Spells that act directly on your own mind or those of others would also qualify. And, since magical powers are descriptive, not prescriptive, this can be scaled up to include all sorts of contemporary issues in our society. 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.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Christian Witches are a Thing

You might think that being a Christian witch would be a contradiction. However, according to this article from CBN they do exist and are planning their first convention. Reverend Valerie Love is a former Jehovah's Witness who now identifies as a Christian witch. In the article, she talks about her beliefs and how they fit together.

"For as long as I can remember I've always been 'magickal'... seeing things that people said 'weren't there' or daydreaming in far-away worlds as a child and being constantly 'snapped' back to 'reality' by teachers and other big people," she explains in a post on her website. "The word Witch engenders power in some and fear in others. The determining factor in what comes up for us when we hear the word 'Witch' is consciousness. One person is ecstatic about the possibilities of Magick while another is stricken with terror."

Love says she left behind the Jehovah's Witnesses and found the freedom "to be the Goddess I AM today." It's worth noting that Christian theologians and church leaders do not consider the Jehovah's Witnesses to be a Christian group, labeling it as a cult. Meanwhile, Love says she wrestled with being a witch and being an alleged Christian. She claims she found inner peace by writing "The Christian Witch's Creed," which says "I am a Christian Witch; I love my cross and my wand. I consult my Tarot deck and my Bible. I adore & am devoted to Christ and the Goddess."

A man named Calvin Witcher, who calls himself a "prophet," will also attend the conference. He claimed during a Facebook live-stream two months ago that the Bible is full of witchcraft. "The Bible is a huge book of sorcery. You literally can't get around that. You can't get around Jesus being a magician. There's just no way," he said.

Now before you laugh, I should point out that this idea is nothing new. Modern fundamentalist Christianity with its insane obsession with "purity" - listen to all Christian music, read all Christian books, have only Christian friends, and so forth - is a relatively recent movement. At most it dates back to about the mid-1800's and the latest incarnation is largely a backlash against the social movements of the 1960's.

What this reminds me the most of is Appalachian hexcraft, which is a thoroughly Christian tradition of folk magick. For example, the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses provide magical uses for the psalms, which are widely used in that tradition. Also, books like the Long Lost Friend, one of the main hexcraft sources, are full of Christian references. Since modern witchcraft includes a lot of folk magick, the two systems probably look quite similar.

You can argue that Christianity forbids magick, but the reality is that this is only true of conservative literalists who do not make up even the majority of Christians. There's even some question over the meaning of "witch" in the injunction given in Leviticus. As I've pointed out here many times, the minute you pray for something to happen you are doing magick anyway, so why not study your craft and get good at it?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Flat Earthers are Dumb

Yeah, I know, not much of a revelation there. Anybody who lives near the ocean can prove that the Earth is at the very least curved with a simple spyglass. Train it on a ship traveling away from you on the water and you will see the bottom of the ship disappear before the top. This is because of the curvature of the Earth, and it's probably how the Greeks initially figured out that the Earth was round. Nobody really believed it was flat until Medieval Europeans came along. But anyway...

A flat earther decided to fund a scientific experiment that would demonstrate the Earth does not rotate. But according to a new Netflix documentary, all his experiment managed to prove was that the Earth does indeed rotate. So like any good scientist would do, he went ahead and ignored the results.

One of those Flat Earthers is Bob Knodel, who hosts a YouTube channel entirely dedicated to the theory and who is one of the team relying on a $20,000 laser gyroscope to prove the Earth doesn't actually rotate.
Except... It does.

"What we found is, when we turned on that gyroscope, we found that we were picking up a drift," Knodel explains. "A 15-degree per hour drift. Now, obviously we were taken aback by that - 'Wow, that's kind of a problem.' We obviously were not willing to accept that, and so we started looking for easy to disprove it was actually registering the motion of the Earth."

You know what they say: If your experiment proves you wrong, just disregard the results!

"We don't want to blow this, you know?" Knodel then says to another Flat Earther. "When you've got $20,000 in this freaking gyro. If we dumped what we found right now, it would be bad? It would be bad. What I just told you was confidential."

I suppose in this day and age of fake news a resurgence of this nonsense was inevitable. You have to wonder, too, how much of it is a scam. The flat-earther who was going to prove the Earth was not round by flying a rocket less high up in the air than the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago is a good example. You're going to fly a rocket when you could get better data by riding an elevator up to the top of a tall building. Better still, get on airplane with the cheapest ticket you can find. Even shorter flights usually still climb to around seven miles.

But maybe my problem with this has to do with some residual resistance to the idea that people are this stupid. I have to keep reminding myself to look at how smart the average person is and then take into account at least half of them are dumber than that.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Not The Pineal Gland

There is so much nonsense on the Internet about Ordo Templi Orientis and magick in general that we get people coming in the doors of our local bodies with a lot of weird beliefs. Here in the Twin Cites, we once had an individual show up who was convinced that there was a "five-foot pineal gland" in the Vatican archives.

We pressed said person - do you mean a carving or a statue? No, they replied, it was a "real pineal gland." I entertained whether this was even possible for a second or two. But I don't think there are any animals on the planet with a pineal gland that big, even a blue whale. The only reason I gave it any credence at all, in fact, was that whale organs were harvested throughout the nineteenth century, and the Vatican archives are supposed to house some weird stuff. But no, none of it made any sense.

Later on I think I found the YouTube video this individual was referring to, and it was about a statue of a pine cone that was supposed to represent the pineal gland. It isn't all that weird that the Vatican might have such a statue, simply because Rene Descartes believed the pineal gland to be "the principle seat of the soul" based only on its position in the brain and its geometry. Descartes first published this hypothesis in 1637 and it has proved surprisingly enduring, even though pretty much everything he knew about the function of the pineal gland is now known to be incorrect.

Friday, March 1, 2019

John Oliver Versus Psychic Mediums

John Oliver recently posted a great takedown of the psychic industry, particularly television mediums, on Last Week Tonight. The full video of the segment is included above. Oliver goes over cold reading and hot reading, and shows some pretty impressive failures by celebrity mediums. While Oliver scoffs at the entire notion of psychic abilities, whereas I do not, the segment is entertaining and educational. For every real psychic out there, it sounds like there are dozens of scammers hiding in the woodwork and waiting for opportunities to make some quick and easy cash from grieving families. And that's just awful.

One of the reasons I stay out of the magick/psychic business is that everybody I've seen who's been successful in that area has a bit of the huckster in them - not to say that their abilities are fake, or that their techniques don't work, but rather there is a certain feel to them that I just don't like. I don't want to be one of those people, and I would honestly feel bad about taking money from someone for a spell if it doesn't work. Sure, I could try the whole "charging for success only," but I know how that goes because I've run several small businesses. If you give anybody an opening, they'll try to weasel out of paying. So that's not a viable option either.

I would rather just publish my magical techniques either here or in print and let them speak for themselves. Either my methods work, or they don't.