Monday, February 26, 2024

Taylor Swift Summoning Demons?

I have criticized various exorcists over the years here on Augoeides for their weird ideas about magick and especially demons. I do understand that if you have gone through years of training to expel possessing spirits, that's going to be your hammer and everything is going to look like a nail. But still, people sometimes get the idea that exorcists work with spirits so they must know what they're talking about, when that's not true at all. Exorcists are trained in one specific magical ritual that has a single specific function, and that knowledge is not very applicable to regular life - or even magick in general.

Spirit possession is weird and rare, with a sample size so small that it's hard to see why it happens when it does. But exorcists think they know - it's celebrating Halloween, or dressing in black, or doing yoga stretches or just generally not being a devout traditional Christian. Or in this particular case, it's popular music. According to exorcist Father Dan Reehil, Taylor Swift concerts should be avoided because the pop star is summoning demons on her latest tour.

Reehil says those who practice witchcraft "harness energy or they try to harness energy, and they look at the Earth with the elements of water, fire, Earth, and sky. They believe that they can harness this energy in some ways to do good and in some ways to do evil."

So far so good. Magick does use the powers of the elements, also planets and signs, as a technology to influence the world, and it can be used to help or to harm depending on the intent of the practitioner

"The problem with the concert is that whether Taylor knew she was trying to imitate witches or in fact was doing some kind of a cult ceremony during the show is sort of irrelevant to the demons," Father Reehil continues.

"She is an incredibly talented and influential artist. And so the demons will take deep note of what she's doing and how she's doing it and who she's influencing. So when they imitate these rituals with these orbs and these black capes, that looks like something you'd find in the woods.

"Even if her intent was not to practice any witchcraft or do any of the incantations, she is probably attracting a lot of demons to her concerts.

But then all this is completely nuts. Conjuring demons involves specific procedures and specific implements, and those implements usually need to be consecrated for that purpose. It also involves the intent of the magician. While it is true that some practitioners go overboard with this and insist intent is all that matters, it is nonetheless the case that a magical operation won't work without it. You can't just mechnically imitate a few pieces of a magical ritual and expect anything to happen.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Oracle of Perception Kickstarter

Embalmed Apple is a longtime student of Tarot and many other systems of divination, and an accomplished magical practitioner. This Kickstarter is for the Oracle of Perception, a unique divinatory tool for exploring the archetypal forces that shape our perspectives regarding ourselves and the world around us.

Tarot decks follow the same overall general pattern, with Major Arcana cards attributed to the paths on the Tree of Life, the numbered cards corresponding to the four elements in each of the sephiroth, and so forth. Oracle decks are all different depending upon the design, with varying numbers of cards and their own symbolic structure.

The Oracle of Perception is a 30-card Oracle deck of original artwork based on archetypal imagery. They deck can be used for divination, pathworking, and expoloration of your mind's internal landscape. The artwork is striking and lovely, and the design of the deck naturally lends itself to meaningful and practical readings and meditations for facilitating personal growth and spiritual evolution.

As of this posting, the project is 24% funded. If it be your will, check it out. If you like what you see you can help to make this amazing deck a reality. The funding window is open until March 15th, and if the project is 50% funded by March 1st a bonus limited edition print will be added to each deck.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Rethinking Magical Metaphysics

This is the text of the presentation I gave at the Leaping Laughter Anthesteria yesterday, February 17th 2024. It reworks and expands some of the previous articles I have posted on this topic here on Augoeides.

Throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods, metaphysics in the Western world was dominated by two primary currents of thought. The first and most significant in terms of its influence upon culture and religion was the school established by Aristotle, which was based on empirical study of the material world. Much like modern physical scientists, Aristotle believed that ultimate reality could be found in the behavior of material objects that could be observed and measured. The second was the school established by Plato, who contended that ultimate reality could be found in the world of Ideal Forms, akin to the world of mathematics.

Both Plato and Aristotle postulated that the fundamental building blocks of reality consist of Matter and Form. Matter refers to the actual physical substance of which objects are composed – atoms, molecules, and elementary particles. Form refers to how these particles are arranged, encompassing every manifestation of substance from a simple block of metal or stone to complex interrelated systems. Form is especially essential to living organisms – if a human body were broken down into its component molecules, the result would be mostly water and collection of complex hydrocarbons. Obviously, mixing these hydrocarbons and water back together will not produce a human being. While the matter of which the original person was composed is still present, the complexity of the person’s original form has been destroyed. Where the two schools disagree is that Aristotle taught that matter preceded form and was therefore more real, while Plato taught that form preceded matter and therefore form was the most real.

Both philosophical schools have their problems. Aristotle's worldview leaves little room for sciences such as psychology in which measurement is difficult, especially when examining the personal experience of spiritual awakening. Plato's worldview, on the other hand, can lead to the conclusion that if empirical data does not support a theory or set of equations, there must be a problem with the data because the theory is “more real” than the process it describes. Neither school can be directly refuted in any empirical manner – show a Platonist the mathematical formula that describes the motion of a falling body and then a ball dropped from the top of a building, and they will claim that the equation is more real than the dropping ball because the equation describes the general case that applies to all falling bodies. An Aristotelian, on the other hand, would claim that the dropping ball is more real because it can hit someone, and that the equation merely describes its motion.

From a spiritual standpoint the Platonic model is more appealing to magical practitioners for obvious reasons. Aristotle's system leaves little room for the results of spiritual practice, especially as articulated by the church. In fact, the medieval church taught that systems like Hermeticism were heresies because they were based on the idea that a person could become closer to God or more favorable in God's eyes through their own efforts. The whole point of Platonism, though, was to deliberately engage in spiritual practices and through them progressively realize the fundamental truths of the universe, which fit easily into the Christian framework as the realization of God and Christ - heretical though such realization theoretically was.

In the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant set out to develop what he described as a “Copernican turn” in metaphysics that he believed could resolve some of the difficulties with both schools. Instead of attempting to define the fundamental nature of objective reality, Kant directed his attention to the perspective of the individual and how reality is perceived. Kant proposed two levels of reality, the world of “things in themselves,” or objective reality, and the world of appearances, or subjective reality. He further proposed that objects of awareness must conform to our mode of awareness, meaning that information from objective reality is taken in by the senses and interpreted by the mind to construct a personal subjective reality.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Via Solis Aquarius Elixir Rite - Year Seven

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Aquarius Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, February 13th, at the Tuesday Ritual Workshop starting around 8 PM CDT.

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 astrological forces, aspects, and the like. As such, this is a general power with many possible practical applications. 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.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Thomas Edison's Spirit Phone

Here's a fun article from Atlas Obscura. It seems that Thomas Edison invented a "spirit phone" that was intended to communicate with spirits of the dead. In the 1920's spiritualism was still going full-force, and researchers were very interested in the implications of apparently physical manifestations that occurred during seances.

In 1920, the inventor shocked the public when he told American Magazine: “I have been at work for some time, building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this earth to communicate with us.” Edison, who was known for having hundreds of patents of inventions and creating an efficient version of the light bulb, added that this new invention would not function by “any occult, mystifying, mysterious, or weird means, employed by so–called “mediums”, but by scientific methods. I am engaged in the construction of one such apparatus now, and I hope to be able to finish it before very many months pass.”

Edison’s idea became known as a “spirit phone”, and caused a media storm. For years many historians believed the invention to be a joke or a hoax; no blueprints or prototypes of a spirit phone could be found. But while he may not have actually contacted the dead, there is evidence he experimented with the idea. In 2015 the French journalist Philippe Baudouin found a rare version of Edison’s diary in a thrift store in France. This version includes a chapter that was not printed in the widely known 1948 English edition, called the Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison. This missing chapter was dedicated to his theory of the spirit world, and how it might be possible to contact it. Baudouin re-published the French edition as Le Royaume de l’au-delĂ .

Edison was such an extreme self-promoter that it's hard to imagine him not taking credit for contacting the spirit world if his device ever worked. That fact alone suggests that it never did. The article goes into more detail about Edison's model of how he thought the spirit world worked, and from that account I think I can see what the problem was. Detector sensitivity would have beem an issue with the electronics of the time, but beyond that I doubt something based on Edison's model would work even with the latest technology.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Satanic Temple Display Vandal Charged

This is good to see. An Iowa man who vandalized a religious display set up by The Satanic Temple at the Iowa State Capitol has been charged with a hate crime. That is exactly how hate crime laws are supposed to work, and why we have them.

A man who attacked and beheaded a permitted statue put up by the Satanic Temple at Iowa’s Capitol in December has been charged with a felony under the state’s hate crime statutes, the prosecutor’s office said this week. Michael Cassidy, who was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Mississippi’s state House of Representatives, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights, the Polk County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

This probably doesn't mean much coming from me as I've been very open about my progressive politics, but I always find it amazing that Republicans will go on and on and on about freedom until it means freedom for somebody they don't like. Freedom of religion is a basic concept enshrined by the United States Constitution, and it means that it is totally unconstitutional and thus illegal to persecute minority religions. There is no way you can read the actual text honestly and come away with the impression that the intent is to give any particular religion special rights and privileges above all the others.

“Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim’s religion,” the prosecutor’s office said. Cassidy, 36, had been charged with a misdemeanor. The enhanced charge is a class D felony under Iowa’s hate crime statutes. Cassidy, of Lauderdale, ran for Mississippi State House District 45 as a Republican but was defeated in November by Democrat Keith Jackson by 55% to 38%. His campaign biography describes him as a former Navy pilot and “a Christian conservative who loves our nation.”

Cassidy appeared on Fox News days after he beheaded the statue and called it “Christian civil disobedience.” He said he went to the Capitol and “nobody was there, and it offended me. It touched a nerve. It was, you know, righteous indignation.” Cassidy said on Fox News that he “pulled his head off,” referring to the display of Baphomet.

So basically Cassidy is claiming that he should have the right to persecute members of any religion that offends him. I'm sure parts of his religion are offensive to my beliefs too, but I don't go around vandalizing his religious displays. All it requires is some basic emotional maturity.

Minister Mortimer Adramelech of the Satanic Temple of Iowa told NBC affiliate WHO of Des Moines at the time of the vandalism that the display was there for the holidays. The Iowa Department of Administrative Services said the group met the application requirements for the display. “All religions have equal rights in the public forum under the First Amendment of the Constitution. As Americans we have every right to be here just like anyone else,” Adramelech told the station.

The Satanic Temple started its campaign of placing religious displays at State Capitols in response to a Christian movement to place promotional statues created for the film The Ten Commandmants at statehouses. The goal of this was clearly to privilege Christianity over other religions in the public square. Courts repeatedly have ruled that the displays can go up in public spaces so long as all other religions have the same rights to display their own symbols.

The Satanic Temple has gone on record stating that their preference would be to have no religious monuments on state property, as the United States is a secular, pluralistic nation. Personally, though, I actually like the idea of every religion out there having the right to put up their own displays. I'm perfectly fine with a celebration of our nation's many different religious groups, highlighting the secular laws that allow all of them to coexist peacefully - at least until some asshole like Cassidy comes around.