Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Golden Dawn stance on marijuana

One of the difficulties with a large tradition that is decentralized, and ran by numerous independent operators--such as the modern Golden Dawn tradition--is that it is hard for such a system to come up with universal policies.

And some people expect universal policies--it disturbs them when the leaders of two different Golden Dawn Orders disagree about a policy, for they expect a certain level of agreement within the tradition.

One of the policies that I am watching develop and evolve currently is the tradition's viewpoint on marijuana use.

It used to be more or less universal that admitting that you used marijuana would get you a demerit in Golden Dawn---after all, marijuana was an illegal drug, and no Order wants its members to engage in illegal activities---it was an offense that would end your membership in a proper GD Order.

(In fact, one of the nasty rumors spread though one of the flare-ups of the Golden Dawn flame wars---that wonderful time when certain Orders tried to drag the reputations of their competitors though the mud, in an attempt to create a monopoly for themselves---was that the leadership of a certain branch of the Order was engaged in the illegal trade of marijuana. Interestingly enough, no one ever went to the it might have just been one of the numerous lies told during the heydays of the GD flame wars.)

A few years ago, I openly came out as a supporter of legal medical marijuana, and later as a supporter of legal recreational marijuana. A lot of people in high positions of Golden Dawn leadership wanted to see me openly expelled from the system for my political beliefs about the subject. (Hey, I heard though the grapevine what people were saying about me.) To their dismay, they learned that the branch of the system that I belonged to was not inclined to expel me for my political beliefs, anymore than they were inclined to expel me for being a loud mouth blogger.

Today, you literally have to check with your superiors in the system to know which way to jump on the issue of marijuana. Some Orders will still expel your ass for using it; others are doing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy; and some Orders are going "if it is legal in your state, then we guess that we have to accept the fact that you are allowed to use it."

(I do find it highly amusing that one of the parties that used to trot out the "and their Chief is guilty of trading in marijuana" is now saying "ok, we guess it is ok if your state voted to make it legal"....which just proves my suspicion that the rumor was always about destroying the reputation of another group, and getting more customers for themselves.)

 So where is the Golden Dawn tradition ultimately going to end up on this issue?

Given that the national view on pot is changing, with half of the United States being able to use medical marijuana, and citizens voting to let recreational use happen, plus the little fact that the Feds have started to ignore it on the state level (all the recent busts in marijuana legal states involve syndicate, money laundering, and transporting of pot into states where it is still illegal), I think it is only a matter to time before the Federal Government reclassifies marijuana as a drug more akin to alcohol than cocaine.

Once that happens, I think Golden Dawn as a whole in the United States is going to be forced to embrace the "do not operate under the influence" stance on marijuana, which is the same stance that the system has on the use of alcohol. In other words, do not show up to Order events under the influence, and do not perform magic under the influence.

(Well, more or less...I have heard rumors that some GD leaders do not allow the use of any mind-altering substances, including meds for depression and bi-polar---as in being on prescribed meds will get you expelled---a rumor that worries me to no end, considering that some people like myself actually need such drugs. [Note that I was NOT on meds when I was allowed into GD, so my mental state is acceptable to some without meds...still I am a better, nicer person when I am on my meds.] And the rumor always makes me wonder if said leaders drink coffee, liquor, and use sugar--all of which are mind-altering substances, not alone do magical ritual which also alters your mind.)

Now, at this point, someone always brings up Crowley and Thelema--the Thelemic stance on drugs is much more simpler thanks to the fact that the Book of the Law contains a line that can be read as being pro-drugs. One could argue that you cannot be true Thelemite without doing drugs.

But here is the thing, Golden Dawn is not Thelemic---Thelema is just another religion, and we have to respect all religions. (The reason that Thelemics get tossed out of GD circles is that they insist that everyone needs to follow the Book of the Law and act like Crowley; in other words, they openly disrespect other religions.) While we have to respect your religion, we are also allowed to say that you cannot attend lodge while under the influence---it is not a religious right to be a disrupting agent in lodge.

And shamanism, and voudoun, and what not, again Golden Dawn is not those things---therefore, the stance that those systems have on drug use does not apply to GD either. Golden Dawn techniques are meant to be used for people who are sober...well, soberish.

Now, I know that someone will say "Gee, Morgan, we presume that you are doing the happy drug, surely that means that you have to allow people under the influence into a meeting." No, in fact, given my experience with marijuana, I must insist that you should not be operating under the influence. Honestly, I have a hard time cooking dinner under the influence of some strains of marijuana, not alone calling the divine names in the correct order. If I can't do magic under the influence, I presume that no one can. And no, I am not going to watch as you try to prove that you are better at handling drugs.

(For the record, I am using marijuana because I get migraines that can last for days on end. My record is twenty-two days. Given that fact, I think that my open support of legal pot is understandable.)

To recap: Do not operate under the influence, and "don't ask, don't tell," and stay legal.

Don't you hate it when dinner becomes a math problem?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Magic is NOT for everyone

Late last night, a person posted, in the Golden Dawn Facebook group that I help moderate, that they and their partner were in the process of creating a new course. This course is to be aimed at a mainstream audience, so it could not be too occult--but they are planning on cherry picking techniques from Golden Dawn and other essentially the occult would be disguised. And most importantly, the course had to be effective and reliable for the average individual in western society--all in the name of empowerment.

To say I have a few problems with this idea would be understating things. Personally, I think that the whole idea is a giant bag of poo. Here are a couple of comments that I made about it before the entire discussion got deleted (and not by me...I think that the original poster did not like what I had to say about his project):

"My mind keeps coming back to a problem I see with aiming it at the average individual---your average person is averse to change; your average person is averse to work. So unless you are making another "Law of Attraction" level course (most LOA stuff is...well, flawed---the only real work most of it does is to transfer money from the clients pockets to the person running the course), you have to figure out a way to make your average person accept change, and a way to make them actually work at the process."

"Unfortunately, GD methods are full of change and you are probably going to have to lose this part of your course plan if you want your course to appeal to your average individual."

"And yes, if I was to create a course myself, aimed at the average individual, I would not go for anything more than happy New Age talk aimed at confirming that individual's opinion and biases are absolutely correct....because that is the amount of work and change that your average individual is willing to accept---absolutely no work and no change at all. Therefore, all the GD stuff has to be left out....along with the working bits of any other spiritual development system."

When the person shot back that they want to create human beings that think--I merely rolled my eyes...I have seen what passes nowadays as "critical thinking" training (basically if you do not agree with what the creator of the course thinks, you are labelled a troublemaker and showed the door). And I have seen firsthand the lack of actual thinking in this person's own postings on the internet, so I do not hold out high hopes that they can teach something that they themselves seem incapable of doing.

My "polite" parting shot was: "Here is the bottom line---if any of us knew how to accomplish this goal, we would be doing it already. And that includes you--if you knew how to pull this off, you would not be asking for input."

At this point of time, I was declared a defeatist by the other person, who then cited Gandhi, Einstein, and Tesla as people who had vision and had made a difference. It was right after this that I said "I guess that you are the Messiah."

I didn't get to say anything else because someone (and I think that it was the original poster, aka the creator of this "soon to revolutionize humanity" course) deleted the entire discussion.

Seriously, ideas like this worry me. Every course I have ever seen aimed at the masses is nothing more than a control and asset reallotment scheme (think like me, and give me your money! and feel good about yourself for making a other words, thanks for being gullible and buying me a new jet). And this individual's idea that people who subscribe to courses actually do the work is flawed---just look at the numbers of subscribers that pay for the BOTA course, who do not do a lick of actual work with the course...and that course is about empowerment and change.

No, the only real reason to create an occult course, no matter how watered down, aimed at the masses, Joe Q. Common, is that you are running a scam and want to fleece people of their hard-earned money, so that you do not have to work hard yourself.

If you actually want to make a difference, you aim at those individuals who can and are willing to become exceptional--you do not have to disguise the occult or make them feel good about themselves--and you never mistake them for the common herd.

Yes, magic is for all of you---and God wants you to send me your money because I need a new jet. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lies! All Lies! (The Really Real Secret Chiefs have their say)

When I make a mistake, I admit it...unlike some other people I know. A few days ago, I wrote a post consisting of vast amounts of misinformation. In the post, I "revealed" that the Secret Chiefs were dogs. This lapse of proper blogging logic was met with disapproval by those who are really the Real Secret Chiefs. So here is an interview with the Real Real Secret Chiefs.

How long have you been Secret Chiefs?

We have been Secret Chiefs since Ancient Egypt. In fact, we are the real McCoy, the one and only Secret Chiefs. Anyone who tells you different is just trying to make you look like a complete idiot.

Would you like to provide answers to the questions that the imposter Secret Chiefs answered?

No. Do we look like dogs who will roll over on command? Oh, you are offering catnip...oh, I suppose that we can answer the same questions and set the record right.

When asked "How do you determine the spiritual rank of people?," dogs answered they did think by the quality of food given to them, their general treatment, and sniffing butts.

Well, part of that answer is correct, but the rest of the answer needs revision. Yes, the quality of food is important, but even better is the ability to know what we are hungry for today---not many people are Adept enough to be able to do that. As for the being taken on walks and being forced to play fetch, we must point out that dogs are complete idiots who do not realize that such behavior is actually abuse. Far better is a person who does not care that we sleep on and sharpen our claws on all of their furniture--that is part of the royal treatment that we deserve as Secret Chiefs. And it is the spiritual advanced who sniff our butts, not the other way around.

When asked "Who is the highest species on the planet?," dogs answered that humans were the highest species on the planet.

Really? That could not be more wrong--are all dogs dropped on their heads when they are puppies? Because they sure are failing in their game of pretending to be Secret Chiefs. The only reason to think that humans are superior is if you are breed and trained to serve them--something that has cursed dogs since they came into the cave. Poor brain washed creatures.

So who is really the highest species on the planet?

You are a little daft, ain't you? Naturally, cats are the highest species on this planet--after all, humans are serving us.

When asked how to advance in the Great Work, dogs answered that one did so by working hard and pleasing the divine.

Well, one cannot go wrong by pleasing the divine, but you need to remember that us cats are the true deities, therefore you need to please us. As for hard work, what are dogs thinking? No enlightened being works--no, your day needs to be filled with play and power naps.

When asked how they feel about bacon, dogs answered that they love it, and that it cannot be improved upon. What are your thoughts on bacon?

You should fry us up some bacon, so that we can decide if we like it today or not. Really, go on, get into that kitchen. Oh, you are just going to sit there, no wonder you are failing in your quest to become enlightened--what is the point of having Secret Chiefs, if you do not obey their every whim?  Anyways, dogs are wrong about bacon being perfect. Bacon can be improved by wrapping it around sardines and shrimp--hint, hint.

When asked who is the worst enemy of mankind, dogs said that the mailman is because he brings bad news and bills. So did dogs get this answer right?

Of course not. Yes, the mailman is a bad person, but he is not as bad as his totem animal, the evil happy squirrel. It is sad really how rotten dog brains are; even the Ancient Norse knew that squirrels were evil, lying bastards.

When asked what the official uniform of Secret Chiefs was, dogs answered that it was a fez.

Really? A fez? Have you ever wondered why so many cats refuse to wear a fez, or any other type of headwear or clothes? The answer is simple--the uniform does not make the Secret Chief. We are as wise as ever, whether or not, we allow you to take silly pictures of us cats wearing fezes--a simple piece of life endangering clothes is not going to make you any smarter...especially considering that you only seem a bit more intelligent than a dog.

I think that we should end this interview right here.

And we think that you should never have believed the word of a dog. Meow!

Here is a picture of a cat wearing a fez...because the internet really does need more of these.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Real Secret Chiefs finally revealed!

Today, the stars are all aligned right to reveal news that will shake the Golden Dawn community to its very foundation. For years, I have been doped and manipulated, forced to serve a false set of Secret Chiefs. But recently I learned the truth that will unlock every esoteric and occult document, and bring new strength to the Golden Dawn tradition.

Without further ado, I present the real Secret Chiefs who chose me, and only me, to reveal the superiority of their Secret Wisdom. Feast your eyes on the very first communication with the Secret Chiefs, an initimate interview that the Secret Chiefs commanded me to post on my blog--enjoy your newly dawning enlightenment.

Why reveal yourselves today?

Today is the most sacred of days in our esoteric calendar, Day C, when all the brothers and sisters of the Rosicrucian Order met with their fellow seekers, the Illuminitia, exchanging lessons of crutical thinking.

And why did you chose me as your prophet?

We chose you as our spokesperson because you have the most read Golden Dawn blog, and because everyone loves you--there has never been an unkind word said about you, except by people trying to destory you. Besides any man who choses to speak to us, giving us more attention than the mere human mortals around us must be a totally cool guy, fit to lead the human race into the future.

How do you determine how advanced someone is?

There are several ways that we determine such things. One can learn a lot about a person from their tone of voice, and the way that they treat other living beings. A big custom of ours that we command you to share with your readers is the sharing of food--you can tell a lot about a person by what food they are willing to share with their companions. We also recognize that play is important, as well as getting enough exercise--a healthy body equals a healthy mind--therefore, you should take more walks. And when all else fails, we can judge a person by how they react to getting their butt sniffed; after all, a lot of humans like to pretend that their gas does not smell.

Who is the highest species on the planet?

Humans, of course. They are like gods, and the whole reason that we, the Secret Chiefs, exist is to help them advance in their knowledge. We live to serve humanity as it blossoms into a species that aliens will be proud to meet.

How does one advance in the Great Work?

By working hard. Protect those who are weaker than you are. When bad things happen, spread the news--for when a siren is not barked at, no one will know that they are in danger. Do things that are pleasing to humans, for they are like gods awaiting your service.

How do you feel about bacon?

Love it---you can't improve on bacon.

Who is the worst enemy of mankind?

The mailman. Here is an example of a person who has sunk as low as a human being can get, fearful of strangers, ready to pepper spray any that greet them; a human that only fetches and brings forth bad things, such as bills and cat magazines.

Finally, what is the official uniform of a Secret Chief? 

A fez and a bow tie, of course. 

Behold the vision of a Secret Chief wearing the sacred Fez and Bow Tie.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Updating the Tarot

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Wekcome to the Spring Fling edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. Our organizer for this hop, Ania Marczyk, posed a question to our merry little group of Tarot bloggers--Given that the Tarot is a product of its time period, created five hundred years ago, is the Tarot elastic enough that it does not need updating? or does the Tarot need to be modified to bring it into the modern world?

As always, my answer is one that just proves that I am of two minds about everything.

No, the Tarot does not need updating. The type of events and people that are present in the Tarot five hundred years ago are still with us today. There is absolutely no need to update the Tarot.

Well, except one. It is damn good fun to update the Tarot. So while the underlying structure of the Tarot makes it timeless, I am still going to be interested in, and willing to create modern versions of the Tarot.

(It should not be a big surprise that this is my position---after all, I updated the Fives in a previous Tarot Blog Hop. ex. The Five of Swords was a pro-wrestler.)

One of my favorite "updated" cards is the Magician card is from an (live-action) role playing game, Magic the Ascension. While the Magic the Ascension Tarot deck was created as a prop for the game, and used as a themed set of illustrations, and very much keyed to the worldview of the game, a few of the cards are worthy of consideration if one wanted to update the symbolism of the Tarot.

The Mage from the Magic the Ascension Tarot deck. 
While there is a lot of imagery specific to the game in this version of the card, there is something that I would be tempted to use if I ever did a modern deck of my own, and that is the elemental "tools" on the altar (table). The four elemental items are all modern (well, maybe not the key...but bear with me): a gun (aka firearm) is used to represent the element of Fire; a soda can is used to represent the element of Water; a key is used to represent the element of Air; and a set of credit cards is used to represent the element of Earth.

(I apologize for the following cards being only in black and white---a family issue chewed into my art time.)

One of the cards that I think needs updating is the High Priest or Pope. The reason for this is that for many people, the Catholic Church is not the Church that they know. In the modern world, at least in the United States, the evangelists are the keepers of the faith. Interestingly enough, the corruption that was associated with the Catholic Church in the times that the Tarot was first created can now be found in the ranks of the tele-evangelists--I assume there is some deep spiritual significance and lesson to be learned from this, though I am too tired to think of it at this particualr moment.

The modern High Priest or Pope is the Evangelist. 
A few years ago, I spent some time reading for teenagers. One of the things that I learned is while they understand the ranks behind the Court cards, many of them could not easily translate the older imagery into modern terms. Therefore, I highly tempted to update the Court cards.

This first example is from the suit of Pentacles. In this card, I show the Page of Pentacles as a youth working in some minimum wage job. This may seem to be an odd association, but I am standing by it because a lot of people who consult fortune tellers are the poor, whose associations with money tends to be poverty and minimum wage jobs, and not the wealth of the traditional version of this suit's Court cards. Or maybe it was just me that ended up having those associations, and those types of experiences...and almost everyone I have ever worked with.

Modern Page of Pentacles is the minimum wage worker. 
The second example of my attempt to update the Court cards is my version of the Page of Wands. Here we have an youthful artist, who is passionate both about their art and their politics. And yes, I accept the idea that artists smoke dope; that includes about half the pottery students that I know. I am quite sure if the Tarot was invented today that there would be a card representing the evil that this type of person can lead to....though in the original decks, it was a game for the worthy, therefore, this type of person (as well as my previous example) would not have gotten a Court card (probably both would have been dumped into the Fool card).

Modern Page of Fire is a pothead, sometimes in both senses of the term. 
Anyways, that is all the updating of the Tarot that I had time to finish (I have a whole list of cards that I have not even penciled yet). Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to visit my little corner of the blogosphere. And please consider checking out some of the other blog entries that my fellow and lady Tarot bloggers wrote.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

If you say I am guilty

Yesterday, on Facebook, I realized that I need to remind people occasionally about one of my ugly habits.

As some of my readers know, my family background is...well, my family had a few problems, and I still suffer from some of the built-in programming. In the case of the current ugly habit, one of my relatives liked to accuse people of doing evil stuff, and then punish them for the crime whether they were actually guilty or not. And after awhile, I came to the conclusion that if I was going to be accused of something, then by the gods, I was going to have the pleasure of actually doing the crime.

This moral position is such a fixture in my life that one of my Order mottos is based on that idea.

So for instance, if someone on Facebook decided to accuse me of trying to create a flamewar, there is a part of me that will be inclined to actually do such a deed. This is especially true if I was merely stating facts about how I got involved in a previous mess, and not actually trying to start trouble. If I am actually guilty, I tend to admit to my involvement. But if I am innocent and presumed guilty....I am likely to do exactly what you accused me just to balance out the scales---after all, if I am going to be punished for something, I just as well do the crime.

Yes, I know that it is an ugly habit, and that I should evolve out of it...but I absolutely refuse to accept guilt for things I haven't done. Yes, I am a small petty man---I admit to it---and you might want to remember that if you accuse me of doing something that I haven't actually done yet.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Treating the rituals of Golden Dawn as a literary text

(Please remember that one of my majors in college was literature while you are reading this. I wrote this as comment in a Facebook discussion on associating the officers of Golden Dawn with various Tarot cards, and believe that some of my readers might be interested in this comment, even if they do not belong to that FB group.)

I think that a lot of the layers in the GD rituals are hardwired into the system by the Cipher Manuscript and the basic set of assumptions that eventually find their expression in the original Z documents. It does not matter if you use the Spirit model or the Psychological model or whatever other model you want. The Cipher Manuscript, the ritual scripts, and the Z documents are a piece of literature, and it can be analyzed though the lens of literary studies.

The Cipher Manuscript associates the Tarot with planets and deities. Once you bring in the idea that the officers, and other forces (places of potent power on the floor of the lodge) are associated with deities (in the form of god-forms), it is natural to make the link between the officers and invisible stations to the Tarot (though the planets and deities).

This linkage creates a situation that once the idea is put forth that (for instance) the Hierophant is the Sun, that we will also associate the Sun card with the office. Furthermore, it opens up the box that says the other six officers who move in the Neophyte ritual are associated with the other six classical planets, and their associated Tarot cards.

Because the creator of the Cipher Manuscript did this type of linkage, and the first generation of GD initiates read this type of linkage into the system, following generations have discovered that though a process much like literary analysis that they can puzzle out more linkages that have always been present, but invisible upon first reading of the text of the rituals. (Note that a performance of a ritual is a reading of the text, much like the performance of a Shakespeare play is a reading of the text of that play.)

What students of the system, such as Jack Taylor, Pat Zalewski, and myself, are doing is merely exposing the implications of what the original authors of the text (Cipher, ritual, Z docs) wrote into the text itself. Now what you do with it will depend upon what model you are using, but the task of literary analysis remains the same no matter what model you choose to use (just like in literature, you can read the same text using several different literary theories).