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.