Monday, December 28, 2009

Quote of the day: What is an esoteric Order?

Today's quote is actually from myself. I was asking a question over on the Helium community boards. After spending several hours trying to figure out the answer to a FTC disclosure question (the one that Griffin made me think about), I decided to just ask writers and the administration there. Explaining the situation, I mentioned the fact that both parties involved belonged to esoteric Orders, which meant that I needed to define the term (I am assuming that most people there have no clue).

So here is my latest definition of esoteric Order:

For those who do not know what an esoteric Order is, think church with mysterious lore.

So what definition are you using? (Please post as a comment.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Constructing the hundred by hundred celled magic square Part 2

Earlier this month, I posted an entry about constructing the hundred by hundred celled magic square. I have not made much more progress towards the completion of this project, but I would like to mention some of the feedback that I got, and some of the thoughts that I have had since that entry. Some of this feedback was publicly posted; some of it was private---I am grateful for all of it.

(Note: I am not counting the blog posting by David Griffin as feedback; that was merely an attempt to control a member of the new media. Griffin wants everyone to agree with him and his membership's opinions. I am a journalist living in the United States; I do not have to agree with his opinions. My duty as a journalist is to report what I believe to be the truth. And yes, I do belong to a Golden Dawn Order, and have friends in other GD Orders; therefore he will always claim that I am involved in a conspiracy against him and his Order. My book reviews are my honest opinion at the time that I write them. I have not been invited into the conspiracy that he claims is going on, probably because I am a journalist.)

Using Excel

Several people have suggested that I use an Excel spreadsheet to doublecheck the math of the square. I will admit that it would have never occured to me to do that. I do not use Excel often (maybe once a year), so it is not a working tool that I naturally reach for. Thanks for the idea.

Use by Royality and the size of the finished square

Yes, I read the translated part of the book. Considering that I am a ceremonial magician, and a darn good looking wiccan, I believe that I have every right to use the square. After all, what would be the point of printing this information if we were not allowed to actually use it?

I am not sure that I want to put it on a banner. That would be awkward to carry in public, and I am already considered slightly strange as it is.

The creation of a floor or ceiling covering is an interesting idea. And if the claimed powers of the square are true, I can see how it would fit into the Golden Dawn floor diagrams and Vault paradigm. But based on the translated section, that is not how it was being used.

The reason I came to the conclusion that it was meant to be made and carried on one's person is the translated section. The martyr Ismail Bayek bore it; no hair could be shaven from him, or bullet hurt him while he carried it. Sultan Ali al-Shaheed was killed without it. "It is said that he went naked to wash in the bath, entered the bath and was killed during the time that he wasn't carrying it" (iv).

For me, these statements seem to imply that it is possible to make the Qaf square in a size that can be carried by human being, on their person, without having to lug around a carpet, banner, or shield bearer.

India Paper (Bible Paper)

Rereading the translated section did some good. Some of the classical examples were written on India paper, the type of thin paper used to print bibles. Unfortunately, the obvious occasionally escapes me; I have yet to figure out a set of Google search terms, or Bing for that matter, that coughs up a set of results for companies actually selling this particular paper stock in the size and batch amount that I would need. If anyone knows of a source, please leave the address in the comment section.

Reservation to change my mind

As always, I must remind everyone that I reserve the right to change my mind about the book after actually constructing and using the Qaf square. Until then, my original book review will go unamended despite attempts to control what I write by others.

The reason I am posting these entries

I figured that many of the thoughts, ideas and problems that I am going to encounter during this process are going to be the same as other people are going to experience. I presume that I am not going to be the only person to attempt to construct this magic square. Therefore, I believe that these entries are going to prove to be interesting reading to someone.

And I would like to point out that Nineveh Shadrach implied that they want us to construct this square. "Count yourself fortunate [to know about the Qaf square], but this fortune is merely a potential. It can only really become a full reality in your life, if you create the magic square and release its power" (xii). Why say this if they did not want us to actually do it?

All quotes are from the introduction of Magic Squares & The Tree of Life: Western Mandalas of Power published by Ishtar Publishing.

My original book review of Magic Squares & The Tree of Life can be found on Associated Content. Remember I earn money by the page view, hence the love that I show Google.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Adepts do not have to be nice

Last night, I was reading some messages from one of the many Golden Dawn yahoo forums that I belong to. And someone (an Adept) made a comment that another person promptly labeled as "not being nice."

I found myself wondering when exactly did people start expecting Adepts to be nice. Where are people getting this idea from?

None of the Adepts that I have ever encountered can be labelled nice. Especially if you are determined to be an idiot. They will come right out and tell you exactly what they think.

And that was exactly what was happening in this particular discussion. Someone was proving that they had the IQ score of a squash, and some Adept called them on it. It was not nice, but it was the truth.

I have even seen people say that if you are not nice and super-polite, then you are not a real Adept.

I cannot think of a single teaching off the top of my head that would require an Adept to be nice. So can anyone point out to me the source of this silly idea?

(And yes, I said that I find the idea that Adepts must be nice to be a silly idea. Heavens knows that my Inner Order sponsor was not nice when I was being stupid.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solistice!

I would like to wish all my blog readers:

Happy Solistice! May the coming year bring you Health, Wealth and Love!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Laughing at the Unlikely

There are times that I am rude---as in I cannot help but laugh out loud at some people. There is also the urge to mock them, or at least say the first thing that crosses my mind.

I had one of those moments today. I was reading the messages from one of the Golden Dawn yahoo forums. There is a discussion about diagrams going on.

One of the participants is someone that I have classified as a borderline troll...they are very much into proving that they are always right, and that they have greater understanding of Golden Dawn than the rest of us do. This one likes to twist definitions to the point that you can drive a semi-truck though the argument and not hit the broad side of wrong.

But today was absolutely precious. One of the people who responded to this person said that he had obviously never been in a Vault.

And the troll replied, "One does not need to be inside a Vault. Unless one does not know how to create a vault in one's own mind."

After I got done wiping soda off of my monitor, I told my wife why I was laughing so hard. She also suspects that he is a pure troll. She has seen the work I have done with our local Vault project...she is the one in the background saying that we cannot use that color because it is just ugly.

Now, I am not saying that it is impossible to create a Vault in one's own mind. I am saying that it is unlikely. And if this person is capable of doing it, I have to ask why they are slumming among us mere mortals.

I have done some work at building up a mental construct of the Vault of the Adepts. And I have came to the conclusion that few people are going to attempt to get past the visualization of a single generic wall. It is just easier to actually build a physical Vault in my less than humble opinion.

So for this person to imply that they have created a mental construct of the Vault of the Adepts means one of two things: either they are a troll or they are Third Order slumming with the unworthy. I know which square I placing my bet in.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pagan prayer for the busy season

Ok, this is a lift from the Colorado Pagan Yahoo Forum; it was posted by Teresa n'ha-Pagani.

White Lady and her Consort, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lady and Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

White Lady and her Consort, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

So Mote It Be!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In love with being an authority

I had an interesting conversation with one of my fellow lodge members the other day. We were putting back together the pillar that I had to take apart during the last heavy snow day---yes, I know that it is bad to leave the pillar undone that long, but it is a two person job to get it back together. We found ourselves talking about one of the local members of the esoteric community and his recent behavior.

There were the standard sexual no-no that was committed, just one more proof that perhaps sex and esoteric traditions have no place standing by one another. Or perhaps it is proof that we need to understand these energies in an esoteric content; it is easy to mistake certain types of links between people as being sexual in nature.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the whole sexual mystery issue. Nevertheless, you never want to suspect that someone set up their group merely so that they could get laid.

Important fact---this person is not a member of Golden Dawn. In fact, they feel that Golden Dawn has nothing to offer them which brings us to the behavior that they indulge in that I want to talk about.

They have a bad case of being in love with being an authority.

For those of us in the esoteric field, this is not a good disease to catch. We have enourgh temptations already without this one, temptations that threaten to bloat up our egos like sickly toads.

In the case of this person, he is arrogant already (not as arrogant as the person who told me that he was the only person in Colorado qualified to teach ceremonial magic, but close). He has bounced from one tradition to another. And he always ends up starting a group, to teach his lastest passion to others.

A few years ago, I rubbed shoulders with him in a group; we were briefly members of the same system for awhile. I decided that I could not work with him for extended periods; the feeling was mutually returned. In my case, he was teaching that any technique not in the original documents was improper. Being a modern student of the mysteries, I was using some techniques that I picked up elsewhere; as long as they produced results, I could care less if people a thousand years or more ago did not know or use the techinques. He also has never mentioned a single living teacher...his knowledge is all his own brilliant decoding of old books.

(I am not sure why he does not want to work with me...class clown, dangerous experiments, the willingness to question and talk back---take your pick.)

And being arrogant, he believes that his knowledge about one system qualifies him to criticize another tradition. He has actually walked out of public rituals, during the middle of them while loudly saying that the people doing the ritual knew nothing about the system that they were working. This is one of those people who do not realize that it is near impossible to raise a decent amount of energy in public ritual, and that some of us do not care to become a Ph.D. in the history of our traditions---sometimes you just want an entertaining ritual and could care less if one of the Ancients would understand it.

But talking to my friend, I realized that I had misjudged the man. I always thourght that he was smarter than I was (though I managed to aviod the icky sexual misbehavior), and perhaps more spiritiually advanced. This is what I had been blaming his behavior on; I thought that he had higher standards than I did. Now, I realize that his behavior can be explained by him simply being in love with being an authority.

The sad part is that I know several other teachers and leaders that also fall under the same disease. Well, I guess it takes all types.

And for the record, I am not in love with being an authority. I am just a hack writer, who loves the sound of their own voice. I am happy being a follower as long as I am allowed to exhibit my ADHD in a loud and obnoxious manner. For me, the height of the estoeric tradition is being a student---it is just too much work to be an authority figure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Constructing the hundred by hundred celled magic square Part 1

Back in June, I did a quick book review of Ninevah Shadrach's Magic Squares and the Tree of Life: Western Mandalas of Power. At the time, I gave it a split rating: one for beginners and one for more advanced magicians (as always there is that question of who I am really writing for).

The review was based on first impressions. Occult books are not easy to review, especially if one wants to remain in the zone of timely. To do a proper review, one that would be suitable for including in a journal (peer-reviewed, rewritten, fact-checked, etc.), one would actually have to work their way though an entire occult book, doing the work, researching the writer's sources, and waiting for the results.

All reviews of occult books are well below journal-level, with the possible exceptations of reviewers who got the privilege of working with the rough draft of a book (more time spent with the book equals a better review). You can look at the sections that are similar to the techniques that you have experience with and estimate what is going to work and what makes sense, but beyond that you are just guessing. Even blurbs on the back of the books are suspect (there is economics involved here).

So when I did my review of MS&TOL, I stated that I was going to reserve the right to revise my opinion after working with the hundred celled square for awhile. Well, it was a long summer (my schedule was not exactly under my own control) and an even longer university semester; I am just now getting to the point of starting to create the magic square.

Now, I will admit that I agreed with some of the comments I got on the review that I should have only focused on clearness of the instructions and the power of the squares themselves. But to do a timely review required a quick guess of what your average occultist was willing to do. It is only now that I have time to construct one of the squares to work with it.

(An interesting side-note is that some people believe that you should only do timely book reviews, and never do some of the types of reviews I do----this completely ignores one of the most profitable sections of the occult book market: the used book section. It also ignores the fact that there is now a thriving pdf library of old, out-of-print occult works, including a massive pdf of a 666 page book; personally I would like to know if a book is worth downloading and reading before doing so, for more than one reason.)

Now that I am preparing to create one (or more) of these massive squares, I am having thoughts about the book I did not have before.

The primary thought that has been obsessing me for the last few days is: Where I am going to find a piece of paper big enourgh to do this square which is still light enourgh that it can be folded down into a reasonable size? There is also the matter of clearing off a workspace for the project.

I have a piece of poster board. It is not light enourgh for my purposes. And even if it was, it is still not big enourgh.

Yes, I said a piece of poster board is not big enourgh. At least, not for me.

It is only 55 centimeters across. Kicking it down to 50 centimeters because I do not own a yardstick (meterstick) with fine enourgh markings to deal with smaller units, that leaves me with a cell of only a half centimeter.

At this point, anyone who has worked with me in lodge, or who has seen my handwriting, knows that I need a bigger piece of paper. There is no way I am going to be able to write some of these numbers into a half centimeter by half centimeter cell.

The only solutions that I can think of at the moment (outside of wondering if there is not a coded version of the personal sized square) is to wonder if they make rolls of paper the width that I need. (I thought of doing it on fabric [silk maybe], but budget constraints and my lack of fabric painting skill will make it a non-possibility at this time.)

There is also the question of how thick this will be when it is folded. For those who did not do the extra credit in mathematics, a piece of paper rapidly becomes impossible to fold. Paper also becomes extremely thick when folded repeatedly. I do not want to wear a fannypack to carry around a magic square. I am not sure that they make onion-skin paper in the size I need.

Note: None of this was a glimmer in my mind when I did my original review of this book. I wonder how many average magicians would even consider proceeding once they discovered this particular problem.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

If we believed...

Yesterday, there was a lot of ruckus over a YouTube video of Lon Milo DuQuette singing an anti-Xmas song. Honestly, I understand where he is coming from, just like I can see where a lot of the outrage is coming from.

I personally have mixed feelings towards Christians.

Earlier this year, I was told by my sister (more or less) that my religion, spiritual beliefs, and Order involvement was wrong and misguided (I believed the term delusional was used). I have also had Christian friends tell me that they believe that it should still be legal to burn witches (aka wiccans); note that they quickly ceased to be friends when they learned of my actual religion.

And I rolled my eyes at the Take Back Christmas crowd. Especially the Gap ad haters: first you complain because Gap does not say Merry Christmas, then you complain when they include Stolistice.

Now, I know some wonderful Christians. For most, Christianity is a life-affirming religion. If I wasn't such a tree huggers, spell casting, goddess worshipper, I might consider the religion---provided of course, that it could agree to be open-minded and tolerant. But too often, Christianity is used to...well, Lon said it better than I can. All it takes is a few bad apples to ruin an entire religion for everyone.

So if you are one of the open-minded Christians, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. If you are a pagan or Wiccan, a happy solistice. (I am not familiar enourgh with the other religions to spell the names of their December holidays properly, but you know where I am headed already.) On the other hand, if you are a close-minded---get off my lawn!

Comment to Frater AIT (Geometry and the Western Tradition)

Once again, there is a comment I would like to make; but because of the silliness of web browsers and quarks of blogspot, I can't. For some reason, some blogs slip the security (prove that you are a real human) response box behind a another box where you can not actually see it and/or use it.

In this case, it is just a quick note to Frater AIT (Heavens Within Earth) post about Geometry and the Western Tradition.

I personally have done some private work with this. It was an interesting experience to take college algebra with a decade-plus Golden Dawn experience under my belt. Some of the equations and what they do are mystical for me. It was especially true when a tutor (in the Community College of Denver mathlab) explained to me why we can not divide zero by zero, an explaination I automatically associated with Ain Soph Aur.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fleece ritual robes

Being a magician/witch/pagan/conspiracy leader (hey, if I am going to be involved in a conspiracy, I am going to be the Chief of it, provided that my cats and wife agree to the plan), I have those weird moments when I look at something and am surprised about what goes though my mind.

Today, I was reading my junk mail (yes, I am blogging about my junk mail; would you rather have me blog about book reviews?), and there was a piece about Snuggies. Yes, Snuggies. And the thought went though my head that a Snuggie looked a lot like a ritual robe.

Now, for the record I live in Colorado. At the moment, it is like, oh, freezing outside; there is snow on the ground. It is the type of environment that no matter how much some pagans and wiccans insist you should be skyclad (aka buck naked), one choses to wear robes and lots of them if working outside (and perhaps even when indooors).

In a few days, there are going to be some crazy people going up to Red Rocks to drum up the sun (I will not be one of them; vehicle travel gives me migraines), and quite a few of them are going to be equipped with blankets. They just as well use Snuggies as well. Or make a Snuggie style blanket (doesn't the pattern look a lot like the pattern for the tau robe, or is that just me?).

And this concludes my junk post about my junk mail. Please remember to check out this blog on New Year's Day for my Full Disclosure post (it is going to take a couple of weeks to write; I have to remember everything I did this past year that annoyed someone or another).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Colored Enochian Tablets

For those who do not recieve their newsletter, I would like to mention that Original Falcon just put up full color pictures of the Enochian Tablets. I believe these plates are going to be part of the revised edition of the Enochian World of Aliester Crowley.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Obama's email lottery

As most of my regular readers know (or at least those who check out my writing blog), periodically I criticize the spam mail that I recieve. Often this happens when I am trying to get into writing mode (today my wife is home sick; all attached writers know how disruptive that is).


Today's winner was from the United States of America International Lottery Program (whoever they are). Supposely, my email address was partially responsible for me having the winning numbers. Hmmm, I am paranoid; I bet everyone who got the email was told the same thing, down to the exact same numbers.

But that is not why it was chosen as today's winner. Here is the best line from this particular piece of spam:

This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by the New American President (Barrack Obama) as part of his social responsibility to the citizens in the communities where they have operational base and you are entitled with a huge lump sum of One Million United States Dollars ($1,000.000.00USD).

Huh?

Ok, the person writing the email has less than perfect knowledge of grammar rules. And what exactly is an "operational base"? Won't it be a lack of an operational base? (Ok, I am bluffing; I have no idea what an operational base is.)

And more importantly, exactly how does running a internet lottery help fulfill the President's social responsibilty? I imagine each of my readers can come with a dozen things that he should be doing that would sooner fulfill his social responsibility.

Fixing the economy, funding higher education, making us safer, etc., add you personal favorites in the comment section.

Once again, I find myself wondering who writes this stuff; and more importantly, who exactly is falling for it.

Oh wait...evil thought...what if this is the same email that was sent to the companies who were "too big to fail"? That give-away was lumped under social responsibility, wasn't it? Maybe I should answer it; after all, it would hurt so many people if I fail, won't it?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spirits Have Full Names

There are times when I read something that I have to say "So?!" or "This is news, how?!" The latest was when I was reading David Griffin's book review of Grand Key of Solomon the King the other day. I was sipping a coca-cola at the time (*wink*).

And Griffin wrote:

One thing that amazed me was that even though we are familiar with demons like Amaymon (in Arabic Maymon) and Paimon, according to this Key of Solomon these are actually surnames. This indicates that for a long time evocations performed by European occultists summoned these beings using only their last names, while Arab magicians called them by their full names. Just wow!

Wow?! Huh?! This is a surprise, how?!

Maybe it is just me, but this is old news, right?

I doubt that anyone who is familiar with Norse mythology, Greek mythology, or Egyptian mythology is surprised that spirits have first names. (I am not sure about other mythologies, but a passing study of any one of these three should provide the student the hint that spirits have whole names, and not just last names.)

No one who have worked with any of the angels who have numerous functions should be surprised. You have to use something more than just a single name if (for instance) you are interested in a specific function of (let's say) the angel Micheal.

And no one who is experienced in working with evocation should be surprised either. After all, the first thing you ask a spirit is for its name. A single experience of a spirit giving you a full name should be enourgh to wake you up to the fact that Western grimoires are incomplete.

The fact that Arabic grimoires are more complete should not be a surprise either. The Western world tried to wipe out its mystery traditions for centuries. There are still people today that think we should all be burned at the stake. Recording a first name for a spirit sounds like a sure way to get burned to me.

There is also the Western tradition that the specific ritual modifications that a spirit tells you are "For Your Eyes Only" and are not to be shared (aka written down). This includes differences between the name as they give it to you and the name that you used for initial contact.

Now, I will admit that I must say Wow! to the fact that we now have access to a grimoire that lists this information. I am just not sure if it will justify buying the book; I find that I am not nearly as impressed by the same things as the HOGD/A&O crowd is, so there is always doubt that the book is worth it based on a HOGD/A&O book review.

(In all fairness, I must admit that the HOGD/A&O members loathe my book reviews for the very fact that I find different things useful than their chosen set.)

Now, I am quite sure that Griffin will say that I misunderstood him. It will be interesting to compare the pdf of the original book review to whatever version he creates to prove that I completely misunderstood him, and knew all the stuff that I have already mentioned.

(By the way [bonus for my readers who are also bloggers], if you are interested in getting the most pageviews, you never revise a blog post, you always follow up with a new blog post instead. Remember search engines love blogs that regularly updated; a revision does not show up as an update. It also helps keep you out of the fraud and fakers category---the very appearance of revising your posts is enourgh to get one labeled a fraud when one writes about the occult.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pet Peeve: Blaming the Dead Guys

I had one of my attacks today. You know the one where I start foaming at the mouth because someone is dancing on one of my pet peeves. Today, it was a "Let's blame the dead old guy for the current state of things."

There are a lot of people who blame Regardie, Crowley, Mathers, etc. for the state of Golden Dawn today. Blaming a dead person is just as lovely as blaming one of the living people for the sorry state the tradition has gotten itself in.

I am sorry, but there is more than enourgh blame to go around. We are all guilty. Especially if we allow the dead guy to lock us into viewing Golden Dawn and magic in only one manner.

Yes, Regardie (or Crowley or Mathers) had one particular way of looking at the system. But that is their problem, not ours.

It is only our problem if we prove to be incapable of moving past their opinion. And it is definitely not their problem if we get stuck there.

Every writer, teacher, leader and student has some part in the sorry state of our system. Don't lay the whole blame on one person's doorstep; we are at this point because we allowed ourselves to get here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Some webpage updating done

Managed to get some webpages updated today. Still kicking around how I want to summarize last June's Open Full Moon, and what I want to say about next June's OFM. I am not sure if it is sad or not, that I already have an idea about what I (and my voluteers) are going to do for our annual "Let's see what the witches/wiccans think of Golden Dawn strangeness" ritual.

Open Full Moon Dates for 2010

2010 Dates
for the Hearthstone Community Church
Open Full Moons

January 29
February 26
March 26
April 23
May 21
June 25
July 23
August 20
September 17
October 22
November 19
December 17
Meets at the First Unitarian Church
at 14th and Lafayette, Denver Colorado
Doors open at 7 pm.
Ritual starts at 7:30 pm.
Suggested donation $5
(to help pay for renting the meeting space)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ritual Landmarks of Golden Dawn

The recent discussion over on Martin's Golden Dawn Group yahoo forum about the Watchtower Ritual have sparked a curiosity about what must be included in a ritual for it to be a Golden Dawn ritual and what needs to be excluded.

When it comes to layers that must be kept out, I have yet to think of anything that automatically would make a ritual non-Golden Dawn. Maybe my imagination is not that good, or maybe I am just too liberal to see the obvious. I am sure that my readers will point out things that I have completely over-looked.

But when it came to things that must be included, I instantly had a short list: Godforms, Elements, and the Tree of Life. To this short list, I have added a few things based on further thought and a brief conversation with one of my friends (I think he is a friend...maybe he is more of a thorn in the side...wait, thorn in the side is my definition of friend).

Godforms are a must have in Golden Dawn ritual. The absence of them in the Regardie Elemental Grade material disturbs me, but is understandable when placed in the historical context. Whether I use Pat Zalewski's, David Griffin's, or someone else's model is largely a matter of taste and depends on exactly I am doing at any given time, but every ritual I do needs its godforms.

Elements are another necessitity in my mind, though I will admit that there are a couple of rituals where I am a little fuzzy about what is going on the elemental level. I also think that the elements are given more attention than they desire occasionally; for instance, the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is more sephirothic than elemental in my less-than-humble opinion. Nevertheless, when trying to figure out what is going on in a Golden Dawn ritual, I look to see what role the elements are playing.

The Tree of Life is probably the most important item on my short list. It is like the control dial of the radio for me. It may not be the important in the larger scheme of things, but it is the layer I like to think that I understand the best.

For me, these parts (layers) and others are like Landmarks. If they are not present, then there is a good chance that it is not actually a Golden Dawn ritual that I am looking at. Now, there will be some that who object to my use of the term Landmark here, inisting that Landmark refers merely to administrative and lineage issues; but I say that it is the rituals that contain the Landmarks and not the Charters, Warrants and Bylaws. Besides they function as Landmarks for me, myself being one of those people who judge whether a group is Golden Dawn or not based on their ritual and not who a group is connected to.

Of course, someone will point out that being one of those silly people who give directions like "Turn left at the pink house; if you drive by the police station, you have gone too far" and expect other people to navigate the same way, that my whole definition of Landmark is completely wrong. But it is mine, and I am not about to change my definition just to make someone else happy.

If you want to know why the term Landmark makes sense to me for describing the essential layers of the rituals, consider this: when you hear the godname Shadai El Chai in a ritual, do you know where you are? I do not think that I need to say any more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

1111 page views

As of yesterday, one of my first articles written for Associated Content, an article about a speech Hillary Clinton did during the pre-convention Presidential Campaign, hit 1111 page views. Futhermore, it had 11 page views this month so far. Nothing really important about this, it just amuses me that there was so many ones (or is it elevens) involved in this particular statistic.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hating Explorer and Windows

There are times I really hate Windows and Internet Explorer. I just had a post ate by an Explorer crash. I was comparing 777 with the material given in the Golden Dawn rituals and lectures; basically arguing that Regardie should not have given Crowley as much credit as he did; and just as I was about to hit "send", Explorer decided that it needed to restart. It wiped my clipboard also (I had just copied the post to my clipboard and was going to paste the post in Word).

Unfortunately, I have so much writing to do today, and there is also the annoyance factor, that I wrote a short answer instead that basically said "Compare 777 with the GD Knowledge Lectures."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Only 3026 words so far, many more to go

Well, I have only done 3,026 words so far for NaNoWriMo. I should be almost at twelve thousand words (11,669 to be exact) at the end of the day if I was on schedule. Basically I have written six nights for a little while each day, and have only accomplished like two days worth (a touch short actually from even that short goal of 3,334 words).

It is enourgh to drive home the point that I might not even be capable of being a hack. But then again, I had homework, newspaper articles and finished off reading Dracula. I might not be a great writer, but even on a busy week I hacked out three thousand words. I guess that is something to smile about.

In the old days, we used to travel by couch and buggy, or maybe horse and buggy, horses, boat, or just on foot. There are some that believe that we used to (and still do) travel by fairy circle, stone hedges and by flying around on broomsticks. The latter has always puzzled me. Why would anyone trust their existence to a slender piece of wood with straw tied to the end? I do not care how strong of a candle you light, the rarity of the feathers that you tie onto it, or the awesome power of your charms; it is still just a stick being held up by the power of positive thinking. I will stick with mechanical means of travel, thank you no. Then again, given the security line and the reliability of pilots nowadays, going to a broom closet and selecting your own means of travel might be preferable if it wasn’t for the exhaustion that making a broom fly would result in.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Too Close For Comfort

Today, I was reading Mrs. B's Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom blog, and she mentioned that she was taking a few days off. She needs to. She lived in Killeen Texas for several years.

I can sympathize with her. It is always hard to know people and places involved in senseless acts of violence. Ten years ago, I turned out knowing some of the people involved in the Columbine massacre. And to my surprise, I have had connections with other acts of violence. So I understand how she is feeling.

Of course, for myself, the worst act of violence that hit too close to home was the murder of a security guard by a Subway employee in the last food court that I worked in. I actually knew both the security guard and the killer. The area where he dumped the body was a place that I walked though everyday.

The only reason I was not working that day was that my bosses had finally decided that our restaurant shouldn't be open on Saturdays; basically, the store burnt up all the profit from the week to be open on a day that was optional. It was the first Saturday for the new policy.

Needless to say, both myself and my employees were slightly freaked out. All of us thought about quitting. This event may have played a part in my deciding that I would rather not work in a restaurant ever again.

So I understand Mrs. B's needing to take a few days off. I will be lighting a candle for her; she needs all the comfort that we can send her.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Enochian Chess Piece Godforms

Given the comment about my cheap Enochian Chess set being almost tattwatic in nature, and Pat's comments about the godform polarity (something he realized though Enochian Chess), I thought this would be a good time to talk about another reason why I think it is a good idea to have a generic set of pieces.

One of the reasons that I like my simple set of pieces is that it allows one to associate whatever attributes one would like on the pieces without disturbing the focus of the other players. As long as you can agree on the elemental nature of the pieces, which in my opinion is the simplest set of attributions, you can play a game with each player seeing the game happening with whatever mental furniture they are most comfortable with.

So you can have one player just thinking of the pieces on the level of the subelements (just one step above Lesser Battle Formula), another using the court cards of the Tarot, and two others focusing on two different sets of godforms, and still have no apparent conflicts on the board that would distract any of the players.

Now some may ask what do I mean by two different set of godsforms? Isn't there just the official set?

Yes, there is just the official set if you believe that the Golden Dawn documents published by Regardie are perfect in every way (and all that there is to Golden Dawn). Could Mathers and Westcott, and all the other great dead Adepts, have gotten some stuff wrong?

If you open the door to the fact that they might not be perfect, you open the door to the possibility that the Enochian Chess papers might not be perfect.

For myself, I have been exposed to the possibility several times. I tend to attract Inner Order mentors that ask, "Do you believe everything you read?"---a lot. It may just be my happy cynicism that draws these people to me. Or maybe it is just something I need to hear---a lot.

There is also the fact that I have developed a strange operating quark. I was taught that you do things by the book until you know why they were done that particular way in the first place. But I am also someone who can feel energies. I am not as sensitive as many people, but the sensitivity does create situations where I do not understand the reason, yet I can feel that there is something wrong with the operating procedure. Often I have made a change, and later learned that I have changed it to the method being used by those who are lodge trained from even better lineages than mine.

It is this feeling of wrongness that have driven me more and more to the conclusion that the godforms of the Earth set are not right. The two pieces that are driving me nuts are the Knight and Bishop. The more I work with the traditional godforms for them, the more wrong they feel.

I will not go any further into this subject; the response I have gotten previously is that unless I have documents from some old dead guys to back it up, I am simply wrong. I prefer to go by my feeling and just imagine another set of godforms for these two pieces. And that is a really good reason for me to have a set that are just represented by the subelements and piece type rather than the full godform version.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Annual Blizzard Ritual

I got to perform the annual blizzard ritual this morning. Toni managed to get the car stuck at the end of the alley. Then I got to find cat litter to grit the road, and dig the car out.

So why do I call this a ritual?

Well, if I do not have enourgh cat litter (the non-clumping style), I get to take apart one (or both) of the Temple Pillars. For those who do not know, the Pillars I built are old four-by-fours placed in five gallon pickle buckets, painted black and white and weighed down with about ten pounds of cat litter each.

And this morning, that is exactly what I had to do. I chose to take apart the Black Pillar this time. I doubt that it means anything, outside of amusing me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow Days 2009

The last couple of days, I have been snowed in. Oh, I could have gotten someplace if I really wanted to, but I am finding that as I grown older that the urge to brave the weather lessens every year.

I have discovered that you can tell a lot by how someone spends a snow day. In my case, I napped a lot. My wife, Toni, spent the day napping also (she thought she was coming down with some bug).

I could have spent it working, but my heart was not into it. The same goes for homework. I am still having days when I hear my sister's opinion of my entire life in my head (basically, she thinks that I am doing everything wrong and generally wasting my time while leeching off of others).

It is for that fact that I really do not feel guilty about not accomplishing anything on these snow days; after all, I am not expected to. There is also the little fact that I am doing National Novel Writing Month starting on November 1st. I figure that considering that I am going to be attempting to write 50,000 words in thirty days, plus do everything else that I need to do in November, that a couple of naps while being snowed in are not the end of the world. In fact, I might actually earn them next month.

Early warning---most of my posts that I do in November are going to read: Day X of NaNoWriMo, Y words done, Z words to go.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

If you are going to get burned…

Earlier this week on one of the forums, I got to watch (read) another episode of When GDers Attack! I wish I could say that I am surprised at what happened, but I am not.

For a long time, I have been watching the community break into various camps. It is natural. Get three human beings together and you get politics.

At this point in time, it has not hit the point where I would label it politics, but it is getting there.

Basically, what I am seeing is the up-and-comers not living up to the standards of the old guard, and the old guard saying it openly and loudly. The up-and-comers believe that the old guard is outdated, and have not a clue. And both sides are dragging out documents to prove it.

Now, I will admit that when I saw what the member of the old guard was complaining about that I agreed with the old guard. This time the up-and-coming member had fallen far from the mark.

If I was to give the up-and-coming some advice it would be: If you are going to get burned, go for broke! Push the envelope!

The worst that can happen is that you end up looking like a fool.

(Think about it using both ways of reading that sentence. Do you want to risk either? If so, go for broke!)

If you do not want to get burned in the Golden Dawn community, you keep your mouth shut. Anyone who opens their mouth is leaving themselves open to gasoline and matches; or rather venom and criticism…gasoline and matches would actually be easier to deal with.

The old guard is being attacked for being respected and in a position of authority. Every young punk with a copy of Regardie is trying to prove themselves smarter than the old guard (or Crowley, Mathers and Westcott if they think the living old guard amounts to nothing).

The up-and-comers are attacked in return. The up-and-comers are supposed to be the next generation of leaders and experts. And if they ever hope to have any real authority, they need to learn to push the envelope and not be happy with the standard that is currently in play.

Full disclosure: Did you notice that I did not mention any names? The reason for that was it was different set of people last week, and it will be another set of people next week. No matter when you read this post, it will remain current if I do not mention any actual names.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quote of the day: Greer on signs and symbols

This is one of my favorite quotes.

A symbol...is an object of perception that is innately linked to a pattern of meaning. A sign...is an object of perception that has an arbitrary set of concepts assigned to it. The meaning of a symbol comes from the symbol's participation in the world of meaning and cannot be changed in any real way without changing the symbol itself at the deepest of levels. The meaning of a sign, by contrast, comes from nothing more than an agreement among those who make use of it. Equally, the meanings of a sign can normally be defined exactly, however complex the meaning may turn out to be. The meanings of a symbol, on the other hand, cannot be defined in so precise a way. They can be suggested and outlined, but because the symbol participates in a realm---the realm of meaning---that is not simply a product of human thinking and thus cannot be defined by human thought.

John Micheal Greer
Inside a Magical Lodge
(a book I quite enjoy and recommend)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Developing Enochian Chess

Last month, Frater A.I.T. of the HOGD/A&O posted a blog entry on Enochian Chess. In the entry, he asked the question about why we do not see more people playing (and perhaps developing) the game. At the time, I did not have the time to write down my own opinions about the issue...I forget who I was annoying that week, but I do remember that I kept getting sidetracked.

It is an old question.

Why do we not see more Golden Dawn students playing the game?

Regardie asked it.

A bunch of people asked it after the HOGD/A&O declared all the published material to be Outer Order. A lot of students thought that they would be playing Enochian Chess after making Zelator...funny, no one actually sees them around.

I know Enochian Chess Steve tried to get more people to play the game. He was quite impressed with the system; he thought it could replace the entire Golden Dawn/A&O system. It is just too bad that all the conversations he started ended up with him trying to sell you books and a membership in his course.

I do not know anyone who ever graduated from his course. I have heard both good and bad things about the Enochian Chess program that he sold.

I have tried to get people interested in the game...needless to say I have failed to spark any interest in the game.

Now I have kicked it around. I think that a large part of the problem lays with how Enochian Chess is taught, or rather not taught. The way we have Enochian Chess today and we first get exposed to it is much like being taught to swim by being thrown in the deep end of the pool.

(For the record, you can actually be taught to swim this way. I am proof. I am also proof that it makes a person not want to swim or go near any large bodies of water ever again.)

First, we get exposed to a system that was never developed. I know that the Mathers crowd is going to burn me for saying that, but I feel that is the truth. We do not see anyone develop the system until Chris Zalewski comes along. Of course, that book is out of print; my copy was brought used at a public library sale (the fact that it was being sold says that no one was ever checking the book out).

We are also expected to be a full-fledged Adept when we are exposed to it. As far as I can determine, the exact level the papers for the game was issued originally was at PAM (Practicus Adeptus Minor); later it was dropped down to ZAM (Zelator Adeptus Minor) when the higher Adept Minor subgrades were removed from the system by Mathers.

The game is occasionally mentioned by Pat Zalewski as a tool to study the polarity interaction of the Outer Order officers. This technique has been used by at least one of his students, but to what extent I am not sure of.

For divination purposes, Enochian Chess (I have been told) is the best system to use for figuring out how governments, businesses, sport teams are going to behave in the future.

Nevertheless, despite the importance of the game for these functions, I know maybe a half dozen people who have studied the game. And they are scattered all over---we would have to play by email (something that one of my cats would just love---he likes to wander off with the chess pieces).

Of course, it does not help that one has to spend hours analysising the game afterwards. Nor does it help that most people no longer play ordinary exoteric chess.

Now I have kicked around developing a couple of items for the game. One is the ugly subelemental chess piece set I made. Another thing I have attempted to do is to create a single (double sided) page set of rules for the game. Heck with throwing people in the deep end of the pool, we need a shallow end of the pool to begin people off in.

(Yeah, yeah, I know the HOGD/A&O has moved it all to Outer Order...you are aware that I am not a member of the HOGD/A&O, and I am still against the curriclum change?)

We need to introduce people to the Enochian Chess system the same way we teach them the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. First, we teach them the moves, slowingly adding more to the system as the previous lessons become automatic.

Of course, my idea will not be adapted...I am not a Third Order contact, not a super-Adept, or any of the other things that one would need to convince people to accept this course of action. But I can dream of the day when I can actually sit dwn and argue about Enochian Chess with someone as we play, can't I?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Attack of the know-it-alls

I must be getting old...not that I have ever thought of forty-four as old...but there have been a couple of times recently that I have wanted to yell at the younger (or maybe just inexperienced) members of the forums and mailing lists to get off their broomsticks and sit down and listen to the more experienced members of the community.

Of course, it may just be the fact that I belong to a different branch of the system (or perhaps it is a different flavor).

(For those of you who are curious, I am of the opinion that there are currently just three types of Golden Dawn [Regardie book based; Zalewski work based; and Griffin ultra-secret based]. I am probably wrong. This division also appears in pagan and wicca circles, though the names of the representives are different.)

What happens is that you get people strolling in who have read a couple of books, who want peer recognition, and they promptly tell everyone, including those who are actually working the system, that they are doing everything wrong.

The most amusing part is that they want all the more experienced members to tell them all of their secrets without putting anything on the table themselves, and they want the right to call these more experienced members wrong when the answers do not fit in their simple one layer (probably no work ever done) preconceptions of what the system is supposed to look like.

This is turn brings out the worst in the more experienced members, who so want to shout "get off my lawn"...it leads to even new experienced people who just discovered new groups to be treated like they just fell off the turnip cart.

Now here is what the newbies do not understand...peer recognition sucks.

Being recognized as someone who knows what they are doing gets you hated by those who want fame and recognition which leads to morons disagreeing with everything that you say. It also results in too many lawyers, complaints and complete nutters arriving on your doorstep.

Just say no to peer recognition and fame. It will save you a bunch of trouble later.

Quote of the day: Tesla on Science

Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
Nikola Tesla
1857-1943

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shopping for expensive books

Earlier today, I saw a posting on the public HOGD/A&O yahoo group that was basically an Ebay advertisement as well as providing bragging rights for David Griffin. It was about someone offering their copy of the Ritual Magic Manual up on Ebay; starting price a mere ninety-nine dollars (the curent bid is now $100). The seller mentioned that he thinks this is low compared to what others are listing it for.

And yes, I had to go look. Not that I am in the market for a copy...I own a copy already. My copy sits between a reprint of the first volume of the Equinox and a copy of the Blue Equinox; I am not sure how it ended up being placed on the shelf that way, but I do find that the placement appeals to my sense of humor.

Anyway, so I am looking at the other listings of this on Ebay. There are two (both by a different seller; I wonder how many copies they have): one starting at $600, and one at the "buy it now" price of $800.

The price of the book is only slightly cheaper on Amazon: the lowest are starting at $350 and move up into the $400s. And there are a couple copies that have a thousand dollar price tag.

Now everyone who has read my book review of the Ritual Magic Manual knows that I think that the book is perhaps worth the fifty dollars I paid for it, but it is sure not worth no thousand dollars. Even the hundred dollar mark is pushing the envelope in my opinion.

So what I am curious about is: Who is actually paying this amount for this book?

My current theory is that it is not actually occult students buying this book at these inflated rates...I could be wrong; we do get some fools ripe for fleecing by those who are willing to indulge in cult-like behavior. But I feel that it is more likely that it is investors that hope to unload the book on someone else down the line for even more outrageous rates.

(There is a third possibilty...but no one would actually do that would they? Only I am that evil, right?)

Nevertheless, I must admit that I admire this whole business. It is hard to convince people to pay more than ten dollars for an ordinary book, and here we have an out-of-print book going for hundreds of dollars. It reminds me of the stock market...but that may just be my black heart; remember---I do not think it is real occult students paying this book.

So if you are in the market for a copy of the Ritual Magic Manual, hop over to Ebay and check out the listing; you may actually get it cheaper than the Amazon price. I am going to be watching the auction all the while wondering who is actually profiting from this book. Heaven knows that author did not get that much loot from the original sale of the book.

Full disclosure: I am the elected officer of a Golden Dawn based lodge in Denver, Colorado. The opinions expressed do not represent the opinions of my fellow lodge members or the Secret Chiefs (aka the cats). Complaints can be filed with the Secret Chiefs; bribes of tuna will help to gain their prompt attention.

Angry email and comments will be read, but not necessarily approved or commented on. This includes poison ink letters from the author himself. The book review represents my opinion which I am allowed to have as a member of the media; I am not going to rewrite my book reviews just because they upset authors (and it is a long line of authors that hate my book reviews).

Followup---18 October 2009: The book got seven bids and sold for one hundred and fifty dollars, a far sight away from the prices that some are asking for. Maybe it is just the recession...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quote of the day: Cather on Artistic Growth

Here is a quote about Artistic Growth that I think can be as easily applied to RC magic.
Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.
Willa Cather
1876-1947
American Author

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Silly summary of Isaiah 6:1-9

Silly summary of Isaiah 6.1-9, another bit from the Adopt a Prophet and make a facebook page for them assignment for Biblical Literature class.

Death: King Uzziah is dead.

God: I am sitting in my throne room.

Seraphim: We are also in the throne room.

Isaiah: Sorry, I did not know anyone was in here.

Seraphim: Holy, holy, holy is HaShem, Master of Legions; the whole world is filled with his glory.

Isaiah: Woe is me, for I am doomed: for I am a man of impure lips and I dwell among a people with impure lips, for my eyes have seen the King, HaShem, Master of Legions.”

Seraphim: Behold, this coal has touched your lips; your iniquity has gone away and your sin shall be atoned for.

God: Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us?

Isaiah: Here I am! Send me!

God: Good, a volunteer.

Seraphim: It is a good thing that he volunteered; we are all out of burning bushes.

God: Say to the people---

Isaiah: What people?

God: ---Surely, you hear, but you do not comprehend; and surely you see, but you fail to understand.

Isaiah: Oh! Those people!

God: This people is fattening its heart, hardening its ears, and sealing its eyes, lest it see with its eyes, hear with its ears, and understand with its heart, so that it will repent and be healed.

Obama: We need to reform health care and education.

God: Who are you?

Obama: I am the chosen instrument of change.

Isaiah: I thought I was.

God: You are.

Isaiah: Who is?

Obama: Who is?

Seraphim: There should be a law against parodies like this.

Goofy summary of Isaish 1:10-20

Goofy summary of Isaiah 1.10-20 that was done for the Adopt a Prophet and create a facebook page for them project (for the Bible as Literature class):
(MDE: I actually made a mistake here; it was actually the Chiefs of Sodom and the people of Gomorrah being addressed here. But someplace in my mind, these two people belong to Israel.)

God to Israel: Why do I need your numerous sacrifices?

Israel to God: Have another ox!

God to Israel: It is the incense of abomination to me!

Israel to God: Have another meal offering!

God to Israel: I am FULL!

Israel to God: New moon! Time for another ox!

God to Israel: Another empty sacrifice. Why can’t you just live ethically? And quit sending me Happy Meals!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ruickbie v. Moonstone copyright dispute

Here are the facts:

Leo Ruickbie, Ph.D. included Origins of Halloween (and possibly other articles) by Rowan Moonstone in his Samhain Sabbat; this material was included in the Riders of the Crystal Wind Book of Shadows (a non-profit gift to the pagan community). He has also copied material from Dorothy Morrison, Joe Berthancourt, Leighanne Hussey and the OTO (or so Moonstone's allegiation claims).

His defense is that the work was in the public domain despite the authors' copyright notice (1989), and that his inclusion of the material in a for-profit work was permissible under fair use.

Rowan Moonstone said:

Please be advised that any inclusion of anything written by Rowan Moonstone in any work edited, written or distributed by Dr. Leo Ruickbie is not authorized. I have expressly forbidden him from using anything that I have ever written, or will write in the future, in any of his works now and in the future---Rowan Moonstone (October 2009).

Ruikbie has removed Samhain Sabbat from sale before a single copy was sold. There was some communication between the two parties, then communications broke down. As always in a situation like this, there are conflicting stories about what really was said by whom.

We do know that Ruickbie advised Morgan Drake Eckstein that he could be sued, claiming that by publishing the original statement of Rowan Moonstone that MDE has became the publisher of said statement and therefore liable to legal action himself (supposely for libel, slander and hate mongering). MDE considered using freedom of the press as his defense.

Instead MDE took down the original post by Moonstone, and substituted this one. These are the facts...therefore draw your own conclusions about the people involved.

Edited yet again on 6 October 09---any day now we are going to end up with a post about the curse of people trying to control the new media.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fortune cookie strangeness

The other day, I stopped at my favorite Chinese restaurant on my way home from college. The owners tossed a couple of fortune cookies in my take-out bag.

Today, I decided to eat them. Both fortunes read:

(Smiling face) You will soon be crossing the great waters. (Smiling face)

Now, it is probably nothing. The smiling faces, I presume are to reassure me that I am not going to kick the bucket. But honestly, I think I would rather die than have to cross the great waters (whatever they are; I am guessing an ocean).

For those of you who do not know, I pop a lot of ibuprofen at the best of times. I am prone to migraines. And one of my triggers is moving vehicles. Furthermore, none of the medicines I have tried put a dent in them; in fact, outside of ibuprofen, medicine makes them worse.

That was one of the reasons that I found my sister's angry email to me a couple of months ago so annoying. She accused me of going to ren-fairs and Golden Dawn gatherings. Hades, I can not get to the local Witches Ball without major sufferance.

(For the record, I was supposed to speak at a Golden Dawn gathering, but due to money issues, I did not go. The next year, the gathering was cancelled. Probably a good thing, considering I travel much like fine shrimp.)

No one ever realizes how bad it has gotten until they seen me white as a sheet. I had complete strangers come up to me, after I gotten out of a car and am standing by the side of a building trying to not have my head explode (or worse), and ask me if they should call an ambulance for me. I have suffered once for three long weeks after one particular bad ride.

The possibility that the great waters are death is more comforting to me than the possibility that I might have to travel overseas.

Fortunately, I do not think that either one is a strong possibility. But if it is not those two options, what the heck is great waters and how do you cross them?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The cheapest set of Enochian Chess pieces ever!


I proud to own the cheapest and cheesiest set of Enochian Chess pieces ever! Ok, maybe they are not the cheapest and cheesiest, but they have to be in the running, right? I created them with a couple cheap plastic chess sets from Target, with some model paint used to color code them (I used green for earth because brown on brown did not stand out enough for my tastes which leans towards gaudy; plus there is some ZAM and THAM teachings that support the color scheme). I am fairly sure that the coloring pattern is self-explainatory.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Color study 2000 (Part Thirteen) Color Scales on the Tree of Life


I believe that these are self explainatory. As with the rest of this 2000 study, these were done with colored pencils on the back of index cards.


Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Twelve) Vault Wall Masterkey


This is part of a study of the color scales and the Vault of the Adepts that was done in 2000. It was not the world's best study, nor is it the best scan on earth. This is the masterkey for the coloring of the Vault Walls. Original is drawn in color pencil on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Slow News Day

Gee, it must be a slow news day, or perhaps week. As a writer, I notice the silliness that comes out when there is no real news to talk about.

I must admit that I saw this particular silly season coming. A few weeks ago, one of my lodge members sent me a link to a site that said that everyone in Golden Dawn is involved in a global conspiracy.

Well, almost everyone. There were a couple of the up-and-coming leaders who were not tarred and feathered.

What amused me most was that Zink was associated with a video that Griffin actually did. But other than that the site was not newsworthy.

Let's see: Global conspiracy---check.

Anonymous poster---check.

Bad photoshop---check.

And drum roll please: Outcry and finger pointing---check.

Next, we will get a new demand that the Golden Dawn leadership control what their members are saying.

(And I will end up blogging about the freedom of the press…an moldy oldie for me.)

Yep, we are officially in a slow GD news cycle.

I wonder how upset Darcy would be if I post some of his bylaw and regulation book under "fair use", and spend some time talking about it.

Why?

Morgan bored by the silliness---double check.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My own personal Golden Dawn background

Given some of the recent discussions I have had lately, ones where I found myself looking at things completely differently than everyone else, it might be useful to remind people that my personal background in Golden Dawn is perhaps not what they expect it to be.

Like many people, I got drawn into the occult when I was young. My parents raised me without any religion; there was a conflict over what religion I should be raised in, and the compromise was none.

But I was exposed to some religion, one that my mom (in hindsight regrets that I was exposed to, especially after she became born again). My aunt was a Gardnerian; like a fool, I followed suit becoming an initiate of one of the offshoots of the Craft in my late teens/early twenties.

(My mom blames wicca, along with a couple of other things, for her sister's death. In her book, me and my aunt are not wiccans, but outright satanists. It is hard to be a satanist when you do not believe in that entity or his enemy; or at least, I do believe in the same sense as a Christian does. I believe that there are unbalanced spiritual entities out there; I just chose not to worship them.)

I have belonged to a few covens in my time, along with study circles, healing circles, and the odd Golden Dawn lodge. I have also belonged to a few groups that score high on the cult evaluation form. I was actually expelled from a couple of these, including one where I was stripped of my degree by someone of a lesser degree than myself (basically, I refused to do something illegal after they seized control of the group; they thought I should follow their every order; hence, my ongoing battle with willfulness made me unfit for all fair society).

Being told that you are unfit for fair society allows one to look at things differently. For instance, I know that there is potential for cult-like behavior in Golden Dawn. And I will not keep this a secret, even when high superiors tell me that this must never be admitted.

I am also a journalist (sort of). I believe in the freedom of the press. One of the first things that a bad leader does is try to control what is being said about them (and others). I have a soapbox; I am going to use it (even if it is only to write bad book reviews).

But the thing that one needs to know the most about me is that I did not start off as a book learned member of Golden Dawn. Before I walked into Golden Dawn, I knew as much about the system as is contained in Kraig's Modern Magick. In fact, it was my carrying that book in public that caused me to come to the attention of a member of Hathoor Temple.

I was harassed for six months (or tested if you prefer that term), brought in and promptly made an officer. At the time, the lodge was in distress. They were trying to find a replacement for one of their long standing officers; hence, my experience of being ran though the mill.

For those who have not experienced this, imagine undergoing the rituals and teachings of an esoteric system, both as a student and an officer at the same time. As quickly as you move up the Grade ladder, you are also moved up the Officer ladder. People wonder why I dropped out after Hathoor Temple closed: I was simply burnt to a crisp.

It is due to this experience that I look at the Golden Dawn system differently. So differently that often I will back out of a conversation rather than try to convince people that I might know what I am talking about. I did not learn the system though papers and books: I learned it from a script while trying to figure out where I was supposed to be standing.

My experience was hands-on. Studying the papers came later. And Hathoor Temple (along with the Inner Order mentors that I came into contact with later) often disagreed with the published material. For me, the published material is always going to be a touch wrong.

I am also a touch suspicious of anyone shouting "Lineage!" or "Secret Chief!" Here in Denver Colorado, a place that had four GD lodges active in the late eighties/early nineties, we have never had any help from the outside. We have been on our own for quite some time doing the best that we can. In my opinion, it is a little late to suggest that we need help.

So to sum it up: I have been involved in too many groups that were on their own; I come from a non-Christian religion (hence I do not think that GD is a Christian Order [Hathoor sure wasn't; Bast Temple sure isn't]); I have suffered at the hands of bad leadership; I learned hands-on using scripts that disagree with the published material; and I believe in the freedom of the press.

If I wasn't already declared unfit for all fair society, the combination would get me be expelled.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Open Full Moon Dates for the rest of 2009

Open Full Moon Dates for 2009

Oct 02
Nov 6
Nov 27

There is no OFM for December 2009.

Meets at the First Unitarian Churchat 14th and Lafayette, Denver Colorado
Doors open at 7 pm.Ritual starts at 7:30 pm.

Suggested donation: 5 dollars.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Eleven) Luna Wall


This is part of a study of the color scales and the Vault of the Adepts that was done in 2000. It was not the world's best study, nor is it the best scan on earth. This is the Luna (Moon) Wall of the Vault. Original is drawn in color pencil on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Equinox!

Happy Equinox!

Where has the summer gone?

And just in time for the equinox, cool weather. Or should I say cold---the next few nights, my tomatoes are in danger of freezing and I have only gotten one ripe one this year so far. Not to mention that the pumpkins are no where near being ready.

And the lesson? Only plant herbs. Especially catnip---it can be harvested even after a cold snap.

Remember: you can never have enough catnip. Or at least that is what the Secret Chiefs tell me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun Equinox ritual planned

An interesting side lecture and exercise is going to happen this Equinox meeting at my local (Denver) Golden Dawn lodge, Bast Temple.

Over on Martin's yahoo forum (he runs the show), the Golden Dawn Group, Pat Zalewski (who is only a loud guest there; he is also Martin's mentor) has been talking about how the zodiac matches up to the floor of the Neophyte Hall.

Now his theory puts the zodiac in a position that as a Wiccan I would not have considered on my own. He also has it rotating in the opposite direction than we are accustomed to.

I have followed his reasoning up to a point, mainly though hints and some information from both my current and previous Inner Order mentors. I have also traced down some published support of his theory.

One of the things that is going to happen at the Equinox meeting is that Pat's theory is going to be explained to the members attending; then as we go though the ritual, we are going to be watching for points that confirm or denies his theory.

It should be interesting to see whether or not, the lodge though our working, Pat's theory holds up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

RAEBNC

Earlier this month, I had a comment on one of my blog entries saying that she (Kate) wished that she could give it a simple thumbs up like we do on facebook (without having to leave an actual comment).

And I understood exactly what she was saying. There are times I wish that option was available also.

I have a friend whose blog I have quit commenting on because he wants comments, and good comments at that: no repeating what other people have said, constructive and insightful comments. I rarely comment on his blog simply because of time schedules, I am like the twentieth comment (and it is hard work to come up with something that he will tolerate from me). He hates (or maybe loathes) what I am about to suggest to my own readers.

If you want to give me a thumbs up, but do not want to leave a full comment, just say "RAEBNC."

For those people who have never been a member of an amateur press association (APA): RAEBNC is shorthand for "Read and enjoyed, but no comment."

Interestingly enourgh, the same APA that I picked up an appreciation for RAEBNC is the same place that my friend picked his hatred for the term. But in all fairness, we were at different places in our development as writers when we were members of that APA (Phoenix---a science fiction/fantasy APA).

Go ahead and RAEBNC me; I won't be insulted.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is this a two by clue?

The big question of the day for me: Does recieving the same occult book again when you are positive that you ordered something else constitute a hint that despite one's time crunch that one should really be working with it?

Yes, I recieved a duplicate book yesterday in the mail. I believe that it is simply a messed up order, but one always like to be sure about these things.

The universe I live in starts off with subtle hints, and then works its way up to two by clues (a phrase stolen from a friend).

When I ordered a copy of this book the first time, I looked at it and said "I do not have time to properly work though this at this time." I am looking at the second copy with the same feeling.

Now I do plan on working with it...but I am not sure if I should give it a higher priority number or not.

For the record, I do feel that I am guided. Some of my earliest magics as an occultists was book finding magic. But I am not sure in this instance.

In this case, it may not be my luck, just a bad shipping center. I did have to complain about my order not shipping once already.

(For the record, I am not going to name the publisher, the book, or the shipping center. I used to run a business; I know how easily mistakes happen.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spirit Ways is 12!

I am always interested in occult stores. Here in Denver, one of the more interesting ones, in my opinion, is Spirit Ways over on 3301 E. Colfax Avenue.

For those who have never been in the neighborhood, let me describe it. Across the street is a liquor store, a karate school, and a bar. Down just a couple of blocks is a 7-11. Oh, right next door is the Bluebird Theatre, and an adult entertainment store.

It is an interesting place to drop an occult store.

And this Saturday, September 19th, Spirit Ways is celebrating their 12th anniversary. Happy birthday Spirit Ways!

I first met the owner, Nancy, when she was working over at Herbs and Arts, another occult shop here in Denver. Then she and another person started Spirit Ways. My wife, Toni, used to do business with them when she was making pottery; actually, there are still a couple of pieces of Toni's pottery over there.

(The reason Toni is no longer making pottery is a full time job in elementary education and the pursuit of a second Bachelor degree. She may or may not someday resume making pottery.)

I may or may not drop in to Spirit Ways on Saturday to see what is going on (I understand that they are going to be doing some fun stuff with the kids as well as a special drum circle that night); it all depends upon how caught up I am by then.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Secret Chiefs are not amused


It has recently came to the attention of the Secret Chiefs that some Adepts think that the image of a set of dog balls on a cat is an appropriate image to describe something that is obvious. The Secret Chiefs are not amused.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 and Denver esoteric groups

Over the last few days as we have approached the anniversity of 9/11, I have been thinking about how the Denver community dealt with 9/11.

At the time, I was in one of my public phrases (I drift in and out of the local community as the mood stucks me). So I was taking public classes over at Quantum Alchemy, besides dealing with Bast Temple.

(At this point, I think that I was no longer involved with the Thelemic Golden Dawn.)

Due to my work schedule, and travel habits (I do not drive due to the fact that moving vehicles set off my migraines which is why none of you ever see me at any of the bigger occult gatherings), I was walking to work that morning.

And it felt like a Sunday in downtown Denver (we fold up the sidewalks here), there were no one about that morning. It wasn't until I walked into the food court that I realized that it wasn't just a slow day.

I promptly lighted a candle when I learned what happened (one of the rights of wiccan restraurant managers everywhere).

Later that night, I went over to Quantum Alchemy. I do not remember if there was a class scheduled that night...I think that there was...anyways, the group there did a ritual that night in light of what happened.

And that Sunday, the Tarot class that Bast Temple was conducting jumped to the Tower card.

Now, looking back on the event and how various esoteric groups reacted, I realize that based on the groups that I was aware of at the time, those groups that had meetings/rituals that addressed 9/11 are still around, and those who did not have disappeared.

And talking to other people, I also realize that I am not the only one that has noticed this pattern. Now, Denver is too small of a sample to draw conclusions from, but it does make one wonder, doesn't it?

Quote of the day: Two important facts about secret societies

Here are two quotes by Arthur Goldwag about secret societies (one that I used in my review of his latest book Cults, Conspiracies and Secret Societies, and one that I didn't):

Here in the real world, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the closest kept secret of many secret societies is the fact that they haven't got all that many secrets worth keeping.

[W]hen reading (and writing) about secret societies, one truisn should always be kept in mind: the more we know about a group, the less we probably have to fear from it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Three kisses of death to any idea

The top three kisses of death to any idea that you might have in magical and spiritual circles:

3. That sounds like change for change's sake.

2. Do you have a document from a dead white guy to prove that you are right?

1. My spirit guides/mentor/Third Order contact says that you are wrong.

If you hear any of the above, don't bother to try to justify your idea; just pick up your ball and go home---the speaker has already made up their mind; it does not matter if you are right or wrong; they are not going to actually listen to you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What I learned in the color scale class yesterday

Yesterday was the first session on the color scales for Bast Temple. And I must admit that it was a learning experience.

What did I learn?

Oh, quite simply that there is a lot of missing material here, besides the obvious lack of a set of published complete color scales. There is nothing like teaching a class to point out all the holes in your own knowledge base.

So now I have to kick around whether the holes I spotted (the ones that have not been addressed already---yes, I am going to be borrowing some of Tabitha Cicero's work from the Hermetic Virtue magazine) are big enourgh and important enourgh to sink a bunch of time into them filling them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Only these documents count

Something that often disturbs me is that some students of Golden Dawn believe that unless an idea was written down by an old dead guy, it is not worth considering. The old dead guys got it absolutely right; just like the secret Third Order has it completely right.

Quite simply the ideas that you have and the ideas that I have are NOT worth having.

And I will admit that this gets my goat.

Oh, there is one exceptation, and that is if we can get Golden Dawn recognized by modern scholars. But that involves getting scholars interested in correcting the system in the first place.

Again, you and I have no place actually thinking about the system. We should just pay our dues, obey our superiors, and shut up.

Ok, maybe I am just having a bad day, but can you really tell me that some people do not believe exactly this? And then some people wonder how the terms "cult" and Golden Dawn gets confused.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame

Given the recent talk of Golden Dawn "cults", with one person claiming that they exist and another person denying their existence, I thought that this would be a good time to blog about cults.

The problem with cults is that they look remarkably like legitimate religions, political groups and fraternal organizations; or at least until the Kool-aid, guns and multiple wives are brought out into the open.

As for cults existing in Golden Dawn, let's be honest: the potential is there, even if no cults are currently active today. My own experience reminds me that bad things can happen when the wrong leaders step forward. I am especially suspicious of anyone who wants to be a leader.

(I would like to remind everyone that I am an elected officer. I did not ask for the job; I was just guilty of doing the tasks of the office, and too slow to get out of the way of the voting members when they decided that they did not want to do it themselves. Not that I can blame them for not desiring the job; my desk is buried under enough work to keep me busy for the next decade.)

One of the best things to know about cults are the signs of what a cult act like. Remember a cult always hides behind a cloak of respectability, clear up to the day that the FBI kicks in the door.

And one of the best handouts I have ever seen on the subject is the Cult Danger Evaluation Frame from P. E. I. Bonewits.

It is a set of fifteen subjects that you assign a number from one (low) to ten (high). Without further ado, the fifteen categories of cult behavior as outlined by Bonewits are:

1 INTERNAL CONTROL, amount of internal political control exercised by leader(s) over members.

2 WISDOM CLAIMED by leader(s); amount of infallibility declared about decisions.

3 WISDOM CREDITED to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions made by leader(s).

4 DOGMA, rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility.

5 RECRUITING, emphasis put on attracting new members, amount of proselytizing.

6 FRONT GROUPS, number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group.

7 WEALTH, amount of money and/or property desired or obtained; emphasis on members' donations.

8 POLITICAL POWER, amount of external political influence desired or obtained.

9 SEXUAL MANIPULATION of members by leader(s); amount of control over sex lives of members.

10 CENSORSHIP, amount of control over members' access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s).

11 DROPOUT CONTROL, intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.

12 ENDORSEMENT OF VIOLENCE when used by or for the group or its leader(s).

13 PARANOIA, amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; perceived power of opponents.

14 GRIMNESS, amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or leader(s).

15 SURRENDER OF WILL, emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions.

As a general rule, the higher the numerical total scored by a given group, the more dangerous it is likely to be. Though it is obvious that many of the scales in the frame are subjective, it is still possible to make practical judgments using it, provided that all numerical assignments are based on accurate and unbiased observation of actual behavior (as distinct from official pronouncements).

Those who believe that relativism and anarchy are as dangerous to mental health as absolutism and authoritarianism are, should count groups with total scores nearing either extreme (high or low) as being equally hazardous.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interesting discussion on roles of members and officers

There is an interesting discussion of the role of members and officers of Golden Dawn starting on the Golden Dawn Group yahoo forum. Or at least, I have found it interesting so far.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Enshrining Regardie

Pat Zalewski, over on the Golden Dawn Group yahoo forum, is busy taking another tilt at convincing people that Regardie had a limited view of Golden Dawn.

I doubt that he is going to succeed in convincing anyone to change their mind.

Outside of a couple of people who have reason to see Regardie as a vemonous toad who broke all possibility of them being able to milk members for the privilege of seeing the Outer Order material (stuff that most of them would not have obtained if it wasn't for Regardie in the first place), most of us view Regardie as a beloved Frater of the Order who has became the unofficial Godfather of Golden Dawn.

And either you enshrine the man for saving the system, or you shrug your shoulders and get on with the Work.

Those people who enshrine Regardie hold his books up as the limit of what Golden Dawn and the RR et AC can be. For them, the rituals beyond Neophyte have no corresponding godforms despite indiciations that Adepts always perform the Work with the aid of godforms. For them, the last Grade of the system is ZAM (Zelator Adeptus Minor 5=6).

(There are also people who enshrine Mathers, Crowley, and the Secret Chiefs; all this enshrining limits what Golden Dawn can be.)

Those who just shrug their shoulders and move past the limits of what Regardie thought have learned already that his viewpoint was limited. It is a matter of experience. Those who are experienced know firsthand that there are things past the limits of the Regardie material.

In my own case, I got lucky. My first encounter with Golden Dawn was with a group of people who saw Regardie as a human being complete with flaws and warts. This group would have gotten along with Pat---scary thought as that is. I never even got a chance to enshrine Regardie.

As someone pointed out in an online class I attended today: Regardie only attended ritual seven times.

Read that again: seven times.

My cat has attended more rituals than Regardie did. My cat probably also has a better understanding of the rituals than Regardie, or Mathers for that matter, ever did.

It is one thing to read the works of Regrdie, but one should use a grain of salt when using them as Holy Writ; they are not a true indiciation of what Golden Dawn can be.

I wish Pat luck in his windmill tilting session. But I am not going to hold my breath that he is going to succeed in convincing a single person to change their mind.