Friday, July 31, 2009

Images for geomancy figures

One of the barriers to learning geomancy for many people is that the geomantic figures just appear like a random set of dots; or in a pure text media, a set of weird looking numbers made up only of ones and twos (examples: 2121 and 1221).

Another barrier is the cookbook, one size first all method of interpretation that the Victorian occult world imposed upon the system, a method of interpretation that the modern occult revival has yet to completely overcome.

A way to overcome both of these barriers is to create a set of personal mental pictures for the geomantic figures.

To read more about images for geomancy figures, click here.

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Six) Mars 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 Mars 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).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who reads astrology columns? I still don't know.

Today, I spent some time trying to find out information about who your typical astrology column reader is. A couple of hours worth. And I still don't know.

While I have found some information, it is all third party information.

Interestingly enourgh, the articles and sites that do cite demographic information are all anti-astrology: astronomy, Christian (anti-magic and anti-divination), and fraud awareness sites. The professional astrologers seem to have made their own typical customer a trade secret.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Open Full Moon Dates for the rest of 2009

Hearthstone Community Church

Open Full Moon Dates for 2009
July 31
Sept 4
Nov 6
Nov 27

There is no OFM for December 2009.

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 dollars.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Aleister Crowley’s Geomantic Mnemonic Rhyme

Caput Draconis: Strong and fierce
Of whorls---which Acquisitio beginning keeps spinning.
Puer’s a boy, with all a boy’s endeavour;
Puella’s rather good but not too clever.
Fortuna Minor means a lucky touch;
Fortuna Major more, maybe too much.
Via means change, apart from Querent’s action.
Populus, settling down, with satisfaction.
Rubeus always gives a nasty jar,
And Carcer tends to keep you where you are.
Conjunctio brings about completion; Albus
Is whiter than the walls once built by Balbus.
Tristitia lags, with heavy antic motion:
Laetitia is like the laughing ocean.
Amissio: love come, and goods diminish.
Cauda Draconis means---a sticky finish.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Five) Solar 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 Solar (Sun) 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, July 21, 2009

Finally created a twitter account

Well, I finally set up a twitter account. I have avoided doing this for awhile. I realize that as a writer, I should have a twitter account. Or at least, that is what the good folks over at Associated Content tell me.

Personally, not believing in mobile phones, the idea of twitter has passed me by. You can have a cell phone; but for myself, I had one for a couple of years, and I think I used it a dozen times over that time period. So it is like a hundred dollars per time I actually used the phone to make or recieve a call.

But a couple of people I know have twitter accounts, and actually update regularly. So I created a twitter account to be able to read their updates.

And if I can figure out how to do it, I will set my Associated Content account up so that it posts a link every time I publish something on AC because I am not the world best promoter of my own material. Having some of my self-promotion set on auto-pilot might help.

So if you want to get updates of all my Associated Content stuff (some of it might actually be readable), follow me on Twitter. And I will try to update it as often as I update Facebook.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Questions about the rest of the Grades of Golden Dawn

Recently, I have been following a discussion on the existence, or non-existence, of the Secret Chiefs and the Third Order on the Golden Dawn Group (a Yahoo forum). And occasionally the conversation slips over to what the rest of Inner Order and beyond (Adept Minor and beyond) would look like.

I actually have some knowledge (or is it experience) of this subject. When Bast Temple formed, I was one of the members that had to ask what were the limits of the new lodge. How far were we going to go?

One starts out with questions, then one tries their best to come up with reasonable answers. And if you are wise, you periodically re-ask the questions.

Here are a few of the possible questions that one may want to consider if one is trying to figure out what the rest of the Golden Dawn system looks like.

What knowledge and talents are currently available?

Are the roots of Golden Dawn high or low? Is the baseline of the higher Grades based based on the material already in the system? Or is the baseline of the higher Grades contained in rituals that we do not have already?

What admission badges are being used (if any)? What godforms?

Where does a group draw its authority from? Can a group give itself authority?

What are the myths of Inner Order?

Is secrecy absolutely necessary? What is secrecy's true purpose?

Is Golden Dawn about spiritual development? Or about practical magic?

Are the Orders (Outer and Inner [and Third Order if you insist] truly separate?

Why are the higher Grades invitation only?

What is the ultimate goal of the system? And if it is to "become more than human", exactly what does that mean and how do you get there? Why go there?

Should the membership be limited? Or should it be open to all (just like a religion)? Is there a reason for the Order to be only for the elite?

What research and academic standards should apply to the Order?

Can information and rituals from other systems be grafted on?

How much can you change the system and still have it be Golden Dawn?

Do the Secret Chiefs exist? And what form do they take? Is there really a Third Order?

Can ordinary members actually contribute to the system? Or do you have to be "special" to contribute to the knowledge pool of the Order?

Should the subGrades of Adept Minor be reinstated?

Who and what is necessary to initiate a member into the higher Grades? Is astral initiation possible? How about self-initiation?

Are the higher Grades working Grades? Or purely honorary?

How do the rest of the Grades fit into the Four World system? Do all the Grades belong to Assiah?

What benefits come with the higher Grades? What obligations?

What role does simple lodgekit have? Who is supposed to make what decisions?

Are the higher Grades Christian? If so, what form? Hermetic? Gnostic? Thelemic? Pagan? Roscrucian? Egyptian?

Are the higher Grades concerned with magic? Virtues? Alchemy? Psychology? Religion? Parapsychology? Metaphysics?

As you can see there are many questions to be asked. This by the way is just the tip of the iceberg. And if you are serious about developing the rest of the Grades, you must have answers to them, even if they are wrong ones.

(Do like me: reserve the right to change your mind later and make sure people know it. At least that way, you will have a starting point.)

Plus, if you are considering joining a group, you should consider if their opinions are suitable to your needs (there are no absolute answers possible with these questions and your needs will change over time).

(My own current answers will be posted on an irregular basis on this blog. Plus I am betting dollars to doughnuts that other people will wade in with their own blogs and webpages if they have not already shouted their opinions to all who will listen to them. And they will all say that my opinion is wrong; it does not matter as long as my cats still love me.)

Remember to keep your robe handy; the Light is coming for all of us.

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Four) Thoth

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 godform of Thoth. He may not be part of the traditional study done at this stage of the Adept Minor work; but he is in the same set of notes as the rest of the color scale and Vault study, so I am including him here. 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).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Listening to podcasts

In my free time, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts. Some of them are political, like Common Sense with Dan Carlin; others are about history, like Hardcore History (again Dan Carlin); some are about economics: EconTalk.

(And you didn't think that I had any interests outside of Golden Dawn and my hack writing: silly you. But just wait...)

But a lot of them are Golden Dawn related.

( knew that I was headed in that direction, didn't you?)

Now, I am not going to name podcasters or the names of particular podcasts. Partially, this is because of the grief that I have gotten for doing book reviews; partially, it is because my comments can actually be applied to several podcasts at the same time.

(If you feel a stab wound when I am talking about a podcast, ask yourself why you feel upset at the comment: are you guilty of the offense? And can you prove that I am talking about your podcast?)

Now I will admit that I have kicked around doing a podcast myself. But those people who have met me in person know that my voice is not the best voice to be recorded. Twelve years of speech therapy have made me understandable maybe a quarter of the time; the rest of the time people just nod politely.

Even Regardie and Crowley sounded better than I do.

For the record, I have recorded the last two Open Full Moons that I have led...and I have yet to bring myself to listen to either one of them.

There is also the fact that it would just be me and a digitual recorder. A loon with a recorder and no editing program or skill. Therefore I think that it is best that I do not inflict a podcast on the world.

Nevertheless, there are some things to be said about the podcasts that I have been listening to.

I suspect that some podcasters have not thought their podcast all the way though.

(The same goes for their websites and blogs. Maybe it is just the critic in me that makes me think this. Heaven forbid that I am actually right about something.)

As proof, look at the number of podcasts that seem to be forgotten already. Of course, that may be because of the hidden cost of doing a podcast (time, online storage, and bandwidth). Or it could be the simple lack of things to talk about (which I find hard to believe as an excuse; but then again, my secrecy oath is less strict than most). But I suspect that a lot of magic, pagan. Thelemic, and Golden Dawn podcasts were not outlined before they were started. Hence, the lack of new espisodes.

It is even more frightening when you are listening to an espisode and realize that the caster has no idea where they are going. You never want your listener to ask at the end of the podcast: "What was the point of that?"

(Another reason for me not to do a podcast. I digress a lot.)

Organizing and outlining a podcast is not that hard to do. Or at least, I do not think that it is. The two guys sitting in the dorm room managed to figure out that a gameplan is necessary.

(I actually like that podcast. And all the others I am talking about; otherwise I would not be listening to them. Remember I grew up around truckers and construction workers; talk radio and podcasts are birds of a feather. You can swear at them both and still like the show.)

Then there are those who seem to think that advertising their book, website, lodge and Order is a good enourgh gameplan. These podcasts border on annoying. It is like listening to an infomerical.

And there is a dozen podcasts out there that sound like this.

(The podcasters that you would think are most guilty of this are not actually the biggest offenders either. Ironic, isn't it? Maybe it is because anyone with a touch of business sense knows better.)

Of course, there are the standard technical problems. I am glad that we can all laugh about them considering they plague everybody.

But overall, I think that we all most agree that it is fascinating to watch this new development in magic, covens and Orders. We live in a world where even a complete Neophyte can talk about esoteric subjects and have an audience. I do not think that anyone could imagine this twenty years ago. Or even ten years ago.

I will leave you to ponder what effect it is going to have on the esoteric world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two more Tiphareth Incense recipes

As the result of my digging though books, trying to figure out the reasons for Slater's Tiphareth (Golden Dawn) Incense usage description, I have located two other Tiphareth incense recipes.

Tifareth (sic)

2 parts each:
Orange Blossoms
Cedar Chips or Ground Wood
1 part each:
Clove or Clove Powder

This recipe is also from the Master Grimmoire that I found the previous (Slater) recipe in. The following is from Spirit of Air: A Complete Book of Incense by Andrew Boyd (a book I do not own, but plan on getting next month).

Tiphareth Incense

1 part Frankincense
1 part Cinnamon
1 part Benzion Resin
1/2 part Cloves

Its description of use says that it is used for devotion to enlightment, which is more of what I would expect a Tiphareth Incense to be good for.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Followup to Golden Dawn (Tiphareth) Incense

This is a followup to my posting on a recipe for a Golden Dawn (Tiphareth) Incense that I discovered in a book.

Could the recipe be a simple editorial mistake? Based on further research, I would have to say: No.

Yesterday, before going to the library to work on another research project with my wife, I did some digging though my herbal library. I was looking up the sources that I had copies of that were listed in the back of the book that I found the recipe in (the author was using out-of-print works which is one of the reasons that the book is useful).

Turns out one of the sources used was Magickal Formulary by Herman Slater. He was the owner of Magickal Childe (originally called the Warlock Shop), a New York occult shop, and the recipes in the Magickal Formulary are based on the products he made for his own store.

In a companion volume to the Magickal Formulary, Magickal Formulary Spellbook (Book II), he says: Tiphareth (Golden Dawn)---Used to cast hexes, this incense is named after the sixth sephiroth on the Hebrew Tree of Life. The blend of oils used in this admixture is used only to invoke evil spirits, however, and draws its potency from the dark side of the Tree. [It is listed as being available as an oil, incense and a powder.]

For me, the very fact that it is Herman Slater saying this makes me shout Fouled Blind!

For those, who do not know anything about Slater, let me point out that he is considered by some to be the best candidate for "Simon", the writer of the Necronomicon (Avon edition). Slater was well capable of writing a blind, just for fun and as a test.

This incense recipe is just getting more and more interesting.

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Three) Mercury 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 Mercury 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).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Golden Dawn (Tiphareth) Incense

Occasionally during the course of researching something, I trip over something else that makes me say "Huh? Who decided that this was right?!"

Tonight, I was going though herbology formula books looking for an incense to use with geomancy workings (discovered a couple of possible ideas; open to suggestions). One of the books I was going though was Ancient Wisdom: Master Grimoire (herbs, oils and incenses: their magical uses and formulas) by Pat Kirven Sawyer. It is a fairly good book if you are into making oils and incenses, stuff like that.

But I did stumble across a recipe that made me question the authority of some of the sources used in the book.

Behold the recipe for Golden Dawn Incense (also listed as Tiphareth Incense)

Dittany of Crete (Mint)
Dragon's Blood
Balm of Peru

It does not sound too bad. Except that the description for its use said that it is for invoking evil spirits (for the casting of hexes and curses), and that the incense draws its power from the dark side fo the Tree of Life.

Huh? Says who?

I have yet to make a batch (I am sorry, but the description has me curious and don't act like you are surprised that I am willing to experiment with it); but looking over the recipe, I do not see anything that makes me think that it is a dangerous (evil) recipe. So am I wrong? Or is it the source?

Cue organ music: I guess we will have to experiment and see, won't we? Bwahahaha!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Observing oneself in others

The last couple of weeks, I have gotten to watch someone obsessed with a research project. My wife is interested in tracing her family tree; she is also busy researching the history of our local neighborhood. The two projects overlap to such an extent that they appear to be one and the same to me (same skill-set, same type of research).

On one hand, it is cutting into my computer time, hence my writing time (though I will admit that I am not sure how much writing I would actually be doing; I am guilty of treating my summer as a vacation). On the another hand, it has given me the opportunity to observe someone obsessed with a research project.

I, personally suffer from research obsession. It is a trait that is useful both as a writer and a student of the mysteries (it has proven to be less useful as a college student---go figure). But it does have the side effect of me staying up until four in the morning trying to locate the one fact or figure that will make an entire scheme understandable. ("Just give me ten more minutes; I want to consult one more book before going to bed." Repeat as needed.)

The reason that I find my wife's obsession so interesting is that I have never watched a research obsession from the outside before. Call it knowing oneself though the actions of others.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Two) Vault Ceiling

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 ceiling of the Vault of the Adepts. Original is drawn in gold metallic ink on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How to cope without your favorite Tarot deck

Late last night (or was it really early this morning), I was reading posts on a Golden Dawn Forum. Other people count sheep when they can not sleep; I browse for occult ideas.

One of the posts mentioned the (Lady) Frieda Harris/Aleister Crowley Thoth deck (English editions) was apparently out of print, and commanding high prices on the internet. This was news to me. Going over to Amazon and Google, I quickly learned that the poster was right. (English language) Thoth decks are going for a hundred dollars a pop at the moment.

For myself, this is not a big concern. I lean towards cards that do not overwhelm a client; I prefer using short explainations about the symbolism of Tarot, and the Thoth deck is a deep one. I own one for study purposes, but it is not used as heavily as other decks in my collection.

(All the professional and most of the semi-professional Tarot readers I know have several decks that they read with. Someday, I will blog about the reasons for this behavior.)

So in my case, I imagine that the deck will be back in print before I need to replace mine. But for some students and readers, they would like to be able to replace their decks right now without having to spend a hundred dollars or more.

(One of the basic economic rules of occultism is that out of print books and Tarot decks fetch outrageous prices. Even the most useless occult book or Tarot deck will cost you a hundred dollars or more. A high price on an out of print occult book or Tarot deck is no indication of the item's actual merit.)

Or at least, I presume that it will be back in print within the next couple of years.

(There are both economic and copyright issues that could complicate the situation, delaying a reissue of the deck for longer than I am estimating.)

So how does one cope with the unavailability of one's favorite Tarot deck?

One can simply do without it. This is what the poster has been doing. This may or may not be acceptable depending upon one's personal preferences. Especially if one does not have a strong link with a different variation of the Tarot.

Most modern occult students today (or at least the younger ones) do not realize how spoiled we are today; we have an overwhelming wealth of books and Tarot decks. We have choices in what to buy when we need (or simply want) a new Tarot deck or book.

This has not always been true. Even thirty years ago when I was a teenager edging into the occult and wicca, my choices were much more limited. And when my aunt entered the field a couple of decades earlier, the choices were just a couple of Tarot decks (and they had to be imported).

As for the Thoth deck itself, it was twenty-five years after it was designed by Harris and Crowley before it was actually issued. That is 1969 for those who are reading this instead of counting sheep.

Going back in time, the members of the original Order of the Golden Dawn had two choices when it came to the Tarot deck that they used. They could either paint their own, or they could buy a Tarot deck imported from Italy or France.

Substition or doing without is a long tradition among occult students, especially the initiated.

In the case of the Thoth deck, one might be able to obtain one printed in a different language. Maybe.

If your beloved Tarot deck is not too tattered, one can attempt to repair it. Or at least, attempt to prevent further damage. I remember one of the members of Hathoor Temple had a deck of cards that were laminated. It is hardly ideal, but one can understand the thought behind it.

Making your own Tarot deck is still an option today. In some cases, you might not even need art skills, just access to a good printer, a boatload of ink, some glue and cardstock. For those who are attempted to experiment doing it with the Thoth deck, one should note that I have encountered an entire set of jpegs of the Thoth deck on the internet.

The set of jpegs is also useful for the ultimate initiated answer of dealing with the unavailability of a Tarot deck.

I mentioned earlier that I lean towards using a simple (non-initiate) Tarot deck when I am doing readings for others. (Except of course, for members of our tradition, who get the full song and dance.) What I did not mention was the fact that the cards I lay on the table are not neccessarily the cards I see when I am doing the reading.

One of the things that we do as initiates in the esoteric Orders is to build up our visualization skills; we also make the symbolism of the Tarot (and other symbol systems) a part of our "mental furniture". Professional Tarot readers also do this.

There are many reasons why we do this. One of the side benefits of developing this skill set is that you can be doing a reading in a coffee house using a light Tarot deck as your physical prop; and in your mind, visualizing and reading from the initiated Golden Dawn Tarot or the Thoth deck.

The moral of all this is that with a little imagination, we can cope with our favorite Tarot deck falling out of print.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An off day

I am kinda out of it for today. The most productive thing I have done today is guard the injuried sleeping kitty, and fed the recently fixed kitty. The cleaning lady sneak up on me (OMG, is that the time) and I have spent a lot of time on Facebook doing very little. I do not think that I am going to get any writing done today.