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).


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.)