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 an object of perception that is innately linked to a pattern of meaning. A 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 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" 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

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
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?