Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogs I am reading 28 August 2010

In no particular order, here are some of the blog posts that I have recently read on the blogosphere.

Alex Sumner Oaths of Secrecy

Ok, let's be honest I love Alex's sense of humor. I love his description of the lodge gathering; it is what people would like to believe about the lodges. Instead, the truth is more like "We met in the basement of ABC. Several stays-of-dues requests were submitted, reviewed and voted on; half of the lodge's membership is unemployed still. Gossiped for a half hour about the latest insane blog post by GHF. Did an improto working to charge a hex sign (Pennslyvania Dutch folk magic) for EIJ."

Now, given his thoughts about secrecy, this is what a lot of people believe about the whole subject of secrecy. If you were not up to no good, why do you need to keep secrets? I am a bigger cynic, as most of my readers know; often I think that secrecy is merely to keep it a secret that someone is trying to fleece the public---oh, wait, that is Freemasonry I am thinking of, isn't it?

But yeah, if I was an evil magician, I would want a heavy oath of secrecy from the membership. It is not the reason that my lodge has an oath of secrecy...but the last two paragraphs of Alex's blog post sum up it up pretty well in my opinion.

S.R. Conversations with a Master Alchemist on the Creation of the Solar Body of Light

Ok, when Anonymous posted his comment to the original LES translated statement from Master RC, I just laughed and moved on. Honestly, I am not sure if Anonymous' comments even deserved the dignity of a response. Despite what he said, I doubted that he was as well read as he claimed to be.

In my case, I would point to certain parts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (which is partially why it got brought back into the tradition when it was translated in the 1800's and 1900's) and the Hermetica. And as SR periodically have noted, Paul Foster Case sure seemed to know something. And I agree that one needs the eyes to see the information when one stumbles across it.

The statement by Master RC reminds me of the statement I read in a book about astral projection; it is only real provided that you can consciously remember doing it. (And no, I do not remember the author of the astral projection book.)

Frater Baba The Ego

I have mixed feelings about both killing (or weakening) and building up the ego. There are pros and cons to both goals, especially if you actually succeed. I do know that my ego has became stronger though the course of study that I have been doing...but some would point out that it may be causing more mischief in my life than it is worth.

I have noticed that there seems to be two settings where killing the ego is emphasized: harsh physical envirnoments which led to the idea that life is a test, and service oriented organizations.

I do agree that for a magician both a strong ego (self-esteem) and a strong spirit (love) is necessary. As Baba noted, balance is the key to success.

The Truth about the Secret Order GBG

I have a copy of the original Complete Magick Curriclum of the Secret Order GBG. I am looking forward to reading the expanded edition. The best part of this review by Donald Michael Kraig is the following:

Today, I have seen an increasing trend of people who seem to want everything, including spirituality and magickal abilities, without changing themselves in any way. If there is something about a particular spiritual system, especially Wicca, that they don’t like, rather than doing the introspection necessary to discover why they don’t like it, they simply leave the system and look for another or invent something that allows them to remain exactly as they are. If spirituality doesn’t change you, what good is it?

Amen to that one, brother, Amen.

Frater AIT Golden Dawn as a school of magic

I have touched the Z operations in my Inner Order course work, but I figure it is going to be at least another decade before I can reasonably say that I understand them. I would go one step further and say that a lot of Golden Dawn members do not understand the initiation ritual (Neophyte) that the Z operations are built upon. As for my best work, I use bits and pieces of the Z operation, but I find the examples given in Regardie to be long and tedious. And at the moment, I am combining hex signs (Pennslvania Dutch hexology, a form of folk magic) with Golden Dawn ritual techniques; I will post results after I get a large enough sample to examine.

GH Frater PDR (Robert Zink) Masculine and Feminine energies of angels

Given the fact that angels (in theory) are sexless, but that we think in terms of gender, it is natural for the angels to slip back and forth between being male and female. It is an experience that seems to have been around for a long time given the literature. Zink's post gives reasons for Auriel and Metatron to manifest as both male and female. I wish that he would have used Michael as an example (a personal experience that I would love someone to explain).

Anyways, those are some of the blog posts that I have been readin lately. Have a good day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Differing definitions of magic

Today, I spent the day writing Law of Attraction articles in my mode as a copywriter. (To the person, who thinks that the Law of Attraction is just a New Age gimmick, just remember that there is a market for these articles and I do need to make a living---who am I to deny myself a living?) Or to be more exact, I finished one five hundred word article (pending cool-down and final edit before submission) and started several others. (I also pulled some weeds, did some laundry and dishes if you are curious.)

During the writing of these Law of Attraction articles, I caught onto the fact that I am using at least two definitions of magic. Around ordinary non-magical people, I am using magic to mean "instant results"; with students of the occult, I am using magic to mean (more or less) "a tool to manifest coincidences."

Either definition will make everyone happy. And I am quite sure that the students of the occult will be more upset with me...especially considering both definitions will be viewed as completely wrong by the most vocal of magicians. For the record, I was copywriting with the expected audience being normal everyday know those people who have never see the inside of a lodge or circle (those whom the only experience they have with magic is the Harry Potter Hollywood Dungeons and Dragons style).

I did find it interesting that I was insisting that the Law of Attraction is not magic, despite the fact that it sure seems to work by the same laws. Again, I was copywriting (my name is not going to be attached to this stuff) for ordinary people...I have to use the vocabulary and definitions that they are familar with.

Anyway, now that you know what my definitions are, I am curious about yours---please leave your definition of magic in the comment section---and if you are using a different definition depending upon who you are dealing with.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When ego attacks differences of procedure

One of the more amusing parts of the modern Golden Dawn tradition is that it allows people to have ego explosions over differences in operating procedure (Ok, maybe I am the only one amused by such things...but if you do not laugh about it???). Or at least, that is how I am going to describe my latest email exchange. Unless I decide to use this particular exchange in my semi-annual campaign to try to NOT be elected to my current lodge office.

Today, I was accused of having an ego atttack. I have been exchanging a series of emails with a Zelator (an ex-member of another Order) who was interested in joining the lodge. When I received an inquiry about when the next Theoricus initiation was going to happen, I asked for some information because there was always a chance that I was misreading what I thought was going on. (For the record, I thought that they were of the opinion that if you can pass the exam, then you are automatically entitled to the next initiation.) After learning what they had to do in their previous Order, I replied:

You and I are going to have a long talk about lodge/Order culture because it is obvious that Bast Temple's culture and customs are different than the ones that you are accustomed to. For instance, we do not preschedule initiations---the next initiation into Theoricus will occur when the officers of the lodge decide that someone is ready for it (and that means the initiate in question has attended a certain amount of meetings---which is the primary method of learning in our lodge).

Now, my question is: Exactly where is my ego showing in this reply? I thought that it was a simple statement, illustrating the fact that there were differences in procedure between the two Orders. And by "long talk," I meant a cup of coffee as we discussed the differences and decided if this person could tolerate the procedures that Bast Temple uses.

I was wrong...this is the response that I got:

Hold don't come into my email address and start saying stuff like this "you and I need to have a talk" forget don't try to make this into a servent master kind of thing. No!!!!!!!! I will not bow before you to get the secrets of magic. There is enough information out there to get the secrets. It may take me longer and it may take more research to get the secrets...but I will never bow before your ego. You have lost the whole reason for magic....self-identity. Which, by the way, cannot be found by you. You are the enemy of self identity and freedom....because you want to dominate people......Yeah...I picked that up off of your email.....I'll find what I'm looking for without your order....and if I don't I will still be much more happier........I bow to no one.

Huh? What exactly in my statement signalled that I was looking for worshipful followers? And exactly how are the current lodge members servants? Gee, I am an elected officer...if I am playing Master, why haven't they gotten rid of me?

Maybe I am wrong, but I am not sure that it was my ego that was attacking. My closing email to this Zelator mentioned that there were at least two other Golden Dawn lodges in Denver, and that they had a choice in what Order they wanted to be a member of. After all, despite the fact that I do not think that my ego is out of control, the Zelator may be right.

Update: I did get an apology from the Zelator in question. There is a mutual agreement that he is not ready to be involved in an Order until he overcomes the boundary and control issues that he developed while in Christianity. Bast Temple wishes him luck as he continues his spiritual development on his own.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Next trend will be bad book reviews of Pats book

Today, on Nick Farrell's blog, I read the first non-Amazon, non-GD forum, book review of Pat Zalewski's commentary book. Or at least, it is the first one that I have seen.

But it will not be the last.

Yes, I am predicting that there will be a flood of book reviews on the various Golden Dawn blogs. Some will like Pat's book; others will loathe it. And both sides will say that the other side is guilty of bad book reviewing. That is a trend nowdays.

I will review it....eventually. (There is a small income flow problem at the moment on my end...the UCD new computer system is not updating and my aid is tied up someplace in cyberspace until it does.) Of course, I will be accused of just liking the book because of who dislikes it.

And yes, I believe that I am going to like the book. I liked previous versions of it, so I do not see why I will not like the current and latest version.

But I suspect that there will be more people who dislike the book than those who like it. Why? Because Pat Zalewski believes that one needs to work hard to qualify for the position of idea that upsets a lot of people. And so it goes. There is also the fact that at this point in time, Golden Dawn is almost two different traditions bearing the same name...with two different goals and lesson plans. And that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

So let the flood of book reviews begin...and if you see any really interesting ones, drop me a line in the comment section.

QoD William Faulkner on Goals

"Always dream and shoot higher than you know how to. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predeceddors. Try to be better than yourself."

---William Faulkner

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why all magicians are slightly paranoid

One of the things a person will notice is that magicians are all slightly paranoid. Sooner or later, we all undergo a bout of paranoia, believing that someone else is out to get us. It is one thing for an outsider to believe that they are being hexed; it is something completely different for a magician to believe it.

It is not something that you would expect logically from magicians. After all, we know how much work it is to actually target someone. We also know how pointless it is. There is a figure that is tossed around that 99% of psychic attacks are caused by people just thinking bad thoughts at you. Only one percent of hexes are actual "warmed up the cauldron, made thistle poppet, and poisoned their well" style cursing. And probably 99% of the actual curses are done by first year students---the more advanced students are too busy dealing with other stuff (like spiritual development).

So why are magicians so paranoid? Simply because by taking an active part in the creation of the universe (or at least how it looks right now), we know how fragile the universe is. That and if a magician thinks that the universe or someone is out to get them, the law of attraction (what you think about most is what you are going to get) is going to nail anyone that hasn't started to learn the real lesson of Daath. If you think that someone is cursing you, the magical mirror that is the universe is going to oblige you with signs and indications that you are indeed cursed.

The curse that most paranoid magicians recieve is the curse of thinking that they are important enough to curse in the first place. Everything else is a side-effect. And the guilty party is most likely the face that greets you in the mirror every morning.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sid the cussing rabbit and the oral tradition

As some of you know, I watch Craig Ferguson. One of the bits that show up occasionally is Sid the cussing rabbit. Tonight he showed up wearing glasses. At first, Sid claimed they were for reading, then we learned that it was a disguise (to fool the censor).

Then Sid the cussing rabit made a "oral tradition" joke.

"Rabbits can't read. We are into the oral tradition. We sit around telling each other stories, and then we do the oral tradition. That's why there are so many rabbits."

(Ok, that was a bad paraphrase...but I think that you get the idea.)

Later, after the rabbit left, during the reading of the tweets and emails, the question came up about whether eating moldy halloween candy would make you conclusive answer. But I agree with Craig, at least one of the audience had to be wondering that...heck, I imagine at least one of my readers will wonder about it.

After that, Betty White came out and said that she lost her money the same way most Americans do---calling telephone psychics. But fear not, Cleo said that her luck was going to change.

Ok, none of this has anything to do with magic---it just amused me. It is not everyday that you encounter an "oral tradition" joke, wonder if melted, moldy candy will send you into vision land, and hear Betty White make jokes about telephone psychics. Or at least, you do not hear it on TV that often. Maybe in the ritual room of your local lodge, but seldom on TV.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ask me a question---is asking an Ouija board about my future wrong?

Question: Is asking an Ouija Board about my future wrong?

Answer: Having done a clean-up operation after someone who used an Ouija board improperly, I would advise you to consider other options to learn about your future. The problem with an Ouija board in the hands of a non-initiate is that it basically opens up a channel with any spirit that is passing though while you are using it. Because of this, you have no idea what type of entity you are dealing with. And the more debased spirits will tell you exactly what they think you want to hear, and there will be no truth at all in their answers. My advice is just leave the Ouija board alone.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wondering about my birthday surprise

One of the things that I joke about is that every year, the universe gives me a birthday surprise---a big hulking problem that is going to take me a year to deal with. The surprise gift from the universe does not necessarily arrive on my birthday (though it has revealed itself on my birthday on at least one occasion); there is a month's window for it to sneak into my life. (The earliest it has shown up is a month before, the latest a week afterwards.)

Maybe it is just an artifical pattern that I am seeing. After all, my birthdays were never pleasant when I was a kid. My wife has tried to reprogram me---with limited success. I still dread birthdays.

My childhood programing consisted of "You are a big boy now; and due to the monetary situation in the family, you need to just accept that you are getting nothing for your birthday. Well, maybe a pair of socks, but nothing more." Holidays also were a drag for me...I do not remember not knowing that there was no Santa Claus and Easter Bunny.

Somehow the universe did not get this memo. Now, as I said it might be an artificial pattern. I could just be tying events that happen around my birthday into one big delusion: a delusion that says that some aspect of the universe amuses itself by sending me problems to solve.

Now, I will admit that in the long run, some of the problems I have been gifted with turn out to be benefits...but it takes a long time to get there from the initial KABOOM!

Over the last ten years, I have been gifted with two relationships (one of which is my wife), a mortgage, unemployment, college, and some lovely family problems. Oh, and possibly a lodge. As I said, some turn out to be benefits; it just takes awhile to get there from the initial explosion.

I had astrologers look at my solar return charts, but have yet to find one that is accurate enough to help me deal with the annual boom, not alone predict the form it is going to take. I am not sure if I want to argue that this is purely astrological. I suspect that part of it is initiatory, part of the package of being a working magician.

Anyway, in the next few weeks, if the past decade or so has been any indiciation of future trends, as my sun returns to its natal position, I will be gifted with a doozee of a problem. I am prepared...I am equipped with a monkey launcher, and have a bagful of evil flying monkeys just ready to send in the general direction of the favor. I may be delusional, but I am a barrel of laughs to be around.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If you already know the secret

One of the big questions about secrecy is when should a member of an Order be told something. There are some that believe that everything should be open; there are others who believe that following the strict Grade system is best. Then there are people like myself.

When I came into the particular branch of the Golden Dawn that I belong to, I will admit that I potentially had access to all of the published material. In actual practice, I had leafed though a Golden Dawn book or two, and had not done any actual reading. The book I was working my way though when Golden Dawn found me was Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick, a book that the members of the lodge I ended up in would roll their eyes at. Note that I said that I was "working my way though"---which is why I ended up getting into the lodge despite my sunny disposition. (If you did not get the gist and implication of this let me be clear: despite the many Golden Dawn books available, I knew almost nothing about the Golden Dawn before becoming a member.)

Now occasionally, I will mention something about my experience in Hathoor Temple online and someone will protest that they were not following proper procedure. For instance, I mentioned in passing once that I was told about godforms in Neophyte. I remember Nick Farrell replying that there was no need for me to have been exposed to that information as a Neophyte. He did not know the whole story, so I kept my sunny disposition in check.

Upon my entry into Hathoor Temple, I was rapidly placed in the "officer train", something that a lot of people do not think should have happened. (I understand the reasoning behind the modern idea that all officers should be Adept Minor or above---it just does not happen in my particular universe that often.) I think that it was a bloody test, though it was probably more likely that they foresaw that with my big mouth sooner or later I would be talking about the system and wanted me to actually know what I was doing.

The first office in the train is Sentinel. So why did I need to know about godforms as Sentinel? Well, I was sitting out in the outer hallway one night, minding my own business, when I felt like I was wearing a heavy all-body costume...complete with fleas. I remember saying afterwards that I thought that I was going "barking mad." The other officers thought that was really funny. The Praemonstrator rapidly came to the conclusion that I needed to be told about the godforms...and actually learn to work with them. (Personally, I think the "work with them" part was just the fact that the Praemonstrator really liked making my life difficult...the other possibility is just too harsh to give thought to.)

So should I have been told this? And should I tell the member of my current lodge who keeps seeing Egyptian Gods and Goddesses in the lodge room about the godforms? She started seeing them immediately---as a Neophyte. At what point should I break down and go "In Golden Dawn, we secretly work with the energies represented by the Egyptian Gods, and use their images to control the energies"?

If you already know the secret, is it wrong to be told the secret? According to Hermetic tradition, if you already know the secret, then it is ok for you to be told about it.

And I am not sure about anyone else, but there are books in my library that I swore that the book-fairies came into the house and rewrote them when I wasn't looking. Whole ideas that I did not spot the first time reading a book have leaped out at me later---I guess that some secrets you can't read, despite the words on the page, until you actually know the secret. It is one of the reasons that I think that the whole issue about secrecy is perhaps a little over-blown.

I am part of the mixed method magical camp

Over on the Magical Lotus, there is a post about the three methods of magic (I would have called them "approaches"). I am definitely part of the Mixed Method camp---when someone from the the Magical Method or Mundane Method complains that what they are doing is not working, I tend to point out the fact that they have forgotten something valuable from the other camp (aka I think that the Mixed Method is best). Often my pointer will be "Get up off the sofa" or "Why do you keep thinking so hard about the possibility of failure?"---which one will depend on who I am dealing with at that particular second.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why concrete is best for a ritual room floor?

Last night I was doing a ritual with a couple of other people. And we were using an incense blend that had some large "tears" of frankincense in it. During the middle of the ritual, we were all reminded why carpet, vinyl, and wood are not necessarily the best ideas for a ritual room floor. One of the frankincense tears popped (ok, maybe exploded would be a better description), and hot pieces of frankincense went everywhere. Fortunately, the floor is actually just painted concrete (the carpet was yawked out a year or two ago); so no harm was done, though it was a valuable reminder that burning resins can be dangerous.