Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some thoughts about the unpublished GD material

Last week, I was reading a discussion about the unpublished Golden Dawn material. Or rather lack of new stuff. And I have a few thoughts about the whole subject.

Personally, I think that we are near the bottom of the barrel for original Golden Dawn material. Most of the Westcott and Mathers material (outside of the A&O stuff) has been published; or at least, the important parts have been mined for material already. Despite this, people are going to continue to hunt for access to unpublished material...buyer beware,

We are not going to end up seeing anything published that is going to radically change how modern Golden Dawn is practiced. Nor are people's opinions about Westcott, Mathers and their contact (or lack of) with the Secret Chiefs going to change. People are going to continue to believe what they believe---buyer beware.

And if we are curious about unpublished stuff, we really need to consider widening the search to beyond the Golden Dawn and the A&O---unless of course, you believe that Westcott and Mathers got it perfectly right in the first place. People are going to continue to change things to suit their belief system...again, buyer beware.

Friday, October 29, 2010

WOT Primary colors in a commerical

One of the interesting things about being an occultist is the strange thoughts that run though your head while you go about your day. For instance, just now while watching TV, a Phoenix University commerical came on and they were talking about how different students get different amounts of attention.

By itself, it is nothing. Except that the A-level students were dressed in red; the trouble-makers in blue; and all the students in-between dressed in yellow. No actual occult significance to this color scheme (I suspect that the makers of the commerical just chose the colors because they were primary colors), but my mind could not help musing about the possible occult significance to the scheme.

And if you are an occultist, especially one familiar with the Golden Dawn color scales, I bet that you are now wondering yourself how good students can be associated with fire; bad students with water; and the middling students with air. It is an interesting world that we live in, isn't it?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I am a suffix angel

I am a suffix angel. Well, not really. But I might as well be one.

I was walking home the other day when I passed a little boy and his mom on the street. And the little boy said to his mom that I was M***'s godfather. He did not know my name, but he knew my function. At that moment, I realized something about suffix angels; we are knee-deep in them and a lot of them are flesh and blood beings.

Real quickly, for the Zelator reading this post (*waves hi to them*), the term "suffix angel" comes from practical kabbalah. Occasionally, you need the help of an entity which name you do not know. The standard method developed among kabbalists was to take the name of the area you needed help in and add the suffix "-al" ("-el") or "-ah" to that name. It allows you to call the entity without knowing its actual name.

For instance, I deal with the RTD (Regional Transportation District) a lot. There are times that I pray that I can get to the lightrail station on time, so that I can get to my class on time. Or failing that, the lightrail shows up in a timely manner to serve my purposes.

(I favor the lightrail over buses because it triggers less migraines.)

Now, I don't know the proper name of this angel (or is it a demon). The ancient kabbalists listed no name for this entity when they were compiling their lists. (In fact, if one learns something about the languages used by the ancient kabbalists, one learns that there are actually a lot of suffix angels in the angelic lists.) The only thing I know about the entity (at least initially) is their function.

Function: RTD, add the "-al" and you get RTDal. Sprinkle a few vowels in for my non-Enochian tongue, and I end up with something like Ratadal or Rotadal (depending upon my mood).

And we have all used a suffix angel at one time or another. Often they come in the form of real life flesh and blood human beings. Imagine for a second that your hot water heater springs a leak. Do you shout, "Call me a plumber named Bob!" No, you just want a plumber; you could care less what their actual name is. The same holds true for the pizza guy, cable guy, the police, firemen, and paramedics. You don't care who is sent as long as they can fix the problem at hand.

Furthermore, at one time or another you have been a suffix angel yourself. Think about your job for a second. Does your employer (or customers) care more about your actual name or your function? How many times have you asked someone what they did for a living (again function)?

The reason we are knee-deep in suffix angels is this is one of the ways that we view the world. In fact, the computer that you are reading this blog on is a suffix you know its name?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Work hard and give it away

I would like to apologize ahead of time for the following rant. I have never seen the nobility of having to slave for a less-than-living wage, nor have I seen the spirituality that is supposed to come from giving everything away. Having said that...

Today, I was reading comments about how one occultist used to charge for lectures while he was alive. Some of these lectures are now on film. And it irked me reading how this occultist was considered some less spiritual because they had collected money to give a lecture.

The general gist was that they should have given the lecture for free.

Well, they might actually have been giving the lecture away for free despite collecting a fee for the lecture.

What often is ignored is that it costs money and time to give a lecture. For instance, if you want to give a lecture without having to hold it in your basement, or deal with coffeehouse customers making noise, you need to rent a space to hold the lecture at. Locally, the cheapest hall that I know of charges three hundred dollars for a two hour period and it is late evening during the week; it is even more if you want the hall for longer or for more user-friendly hours on a weekend.

This hall rental money has to come from somewhere.

The "work hard and give it away" school believes that not only should the lecturer take time away from their busy lives, they should also pay for all the expenses of renting the hall, advertising, chair and equipment rental, etc.

My response to these people are "Are you willing to do this? Why are you not doing it yourself?"

The same hold true for open rituals, books, videos and music. Space to do such things costs money. Equipment and props cost money. And it takes time away from one's busy life and work.

It is possible to collect a fee for a lecture, or to sell your book, and still be thousands of dollars in the red. Just because someone has charged a fee doesn't mean that they actually made a profit.

Of course, my opinion must be ignored because I get paid to write an astrology column for a student newspaper among other things. But it is actually proof that I am right...I could make more money writing something else or flipping burgers while sweating gallons of blood everyday.

And yes, I have never seen the vast amounts of cash that occult writers are rumored to make by the crowd that believes that they should work hard and give it away. And that just makes me think that they are just cheap-skates...something else I have never seen the spiritual virtue in being.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Does anyone not know my Grade?

Over the last few weeks, there was some talk about the proper form of dress and acknowledgement in Outer Order on one of the forums. I could not help laughing about the discussion, for I could not imagine anyone who would need to see my Grade sash to know what my actual Grade was in Golden Dawn tradition.

Think about it. If you have been reading my blog and forum posts for any length of time, you have came to a conclusion about what my actual Grade is in the system. It does not matter what I claim that my Grade is (if I even bother to tell you); all that matters is what you percieve it to be. (The same holds true for Wicca, by the way.)

The level of your support and willingness to have a conversation with me, and the level that we talk at, will be determined solely based on what Grade that you think that I am really at. This is a two-way street; my opinion of your actual Grade will color how much information that I am willing to impart, and exactly how I say stuff. We do not need to see each others' sashes; perception and belief is everything.

A lot of people talk about mutual recognition among lodges. It is a nice concept, but I think that it ultimately falls apart. For instance, I can't think of any organization that would call the lodge I belong to "proper Golden Dawn." Sometimes, it is for major things like not acknowledging that a certain Adept is the greatest thing since white bread; other times, it is for minor things like not requiring "perfect scores" on the advancement tests.

And seriously, even if you and I belonged to Order that mutually recognized one another, would you want to sit in lodge with me? I know several groups, that while for the most part I think that they are doing a great job, which have at least one member that I would not want to sit in lodge with (for one reason or another). Often because I cannot figure out how they managed to get to the Grade that they shout from the rooftops. And seeing their Grade sash will not get me to change my mind either.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rash of Paypal phishing emails

Ok, this is not Golden Dawn or Wicca related, but I am going to post this here anyways. I just went though my email box and deleted a whole bunch of phishing emails all claiming to be from Paypal. And I do mean a whole bunch of them; there were seven of them. That is a lot for one day.

There were also a lot of phishing emails from people claiming to be HSB, Wells Fargo and other banks. All wanting me to verify my security information. Slight problem with a lot of these emails---I don't have accounts with these companies.

Remember people, play it safe. Never trust someone claiming to be from a bank (either local or Nigera), the FBI, Interpol, marines moving hidden war loot (gold), or Paypal. And definitely do not open their attachments.

Remember always treat strange emails as if they are demons after your soul, provided that you have not already sold your soul for a Snickers bar or world domination, fame and glory.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eating and drinking with Crowley

Last week, one of my sisters sent me a link to Aleister Crowley's rice recipe. Now, I know that some have expressed surprise that Crowley was a foodie; but for me, it makes perfect sense that he was. After all, this is the same man that liked good drinks, good drugs, and good cigars. It is only natural that he would also like good food. And being the picky bastard that he was---of course, he is going to have recipes.

I don't remember the book that it is in (someone will put the title in the comment section), but I remember a story about Crowley casting a money spell and then spending the last of the money he had on a big dinner. It takes guts to do that. And yes, his spell worked. Aleister understood the principles of focusing on your desired outcome, rather than wallowing in your fears (something that I find that many magicians, myself included, and Law of Attraction users have difficulties coping with [knock the Law of Attraction all you want, but remember that there is a grain of occult truth in it]).

Despite being a complete a**, I honestly think that Crowley would have been a fine person to sit down and have dinner with. I would attempt to have a conversation with the man, but I fear my intellect is a little sub-par (ain't all of us sub-par in the intellect department when compared to Aleister?). I would not dare take my wife along---Uncle Al would say mock her food allergies. Then again, if me and Crowley started to talk about politics, her eyes would glaze over.

So yes, I would consider have a meal with Aleister Crowley (can you say that you wouldn't be attempted?), though I would draw a line and not consider drinking tea out of his head (have you seen the Crowley teapot?). That is not foodie behavior; that is just bizzare.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why I treat Golden Dawn as an open document

Occasionally, I get told that I am uppitty person and should stick more to the traditional Golden Dawn ways of doing things. I guess it annoys people that I treat Golden Dawn like an open document that can be modified as local conditions change.

The reason that I treat Golden Dawn as an evolving tradition is quite simply I am not living in 1888, Victorian era London. Heck, I am not living in 1888 Denver Colorado either for that matter. I live in a modern city, and my concerns and needs are those of a modern person.

For instance, I work with a lot of Wiccans, pagans and other associated non-Christians. I don't care what the rituals say and how Christian the original Order was; the people that I have to explain things to often do not have a Christian background even. They also expect different things.

As an example, Wiccans tend to believe that if you have Equinox rituals, then you must have Solistice rituals also. It looks bloody wrong to these people to have the one without the other. It does not matter what Mathers and Westcott thought about such matters. All that matters is that the modern member often expects a special ritual during the Solistice.

And giving them such a ritual does not change the core of the system. In fact, a Solistice ritual would provide the opportunity to be able to examine certain symbols in a manner conductive to the way most modern members learn and think.

Some people think that this idea is wrong. Of course, this type of person also believes for instance, just because Mrs Felkin wrote about Atlantis that we must keep it in the system also, despite the fact that such a behavior makes us looks like loons.

(Yes, we are loons---but more of the lunar worshipping variety than the "2012 Atlantis is going to look like a nice spring day" species of lunatic.)

Our information has evolved. Atlantis is no longer needed because we have ice bridge and drifting continent theory to explain things that Atlantis was used to explain a hundred years ago. As for the spiritual ideals that the Atlantis myth has been used to depict...well, ain't they explained by our fall from Eden story?

So yes, I am a Golden Dawn heretic. And I hate to inform you that there are quite a few of us hidden in the woodwork of the modern Golden Dawn.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What I want to see Cigar Guy in Golden Dawn

I have decided that I really want to see the latest internet meme mixed with Golden Dawn. So someone please photoshop the Cigar Guy into a Golden Dawn photo/picture---pretty please. And if you do so, please leave a link to your masterpiece in the comment section.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another astrology column done

Wrote another astrology column today for Campus Connection, the student newspaper of the Community College of Denver. At first, I thought this column was a throw-away, but it turned out rather good in my opinion. Today is one of those days that I wish that I could share the column with my audience faster, but the writer agreement is that I am not allowed to republish until the issue is off the stands (about six weeks from now).

I would consider directing people to the issue when it came out, but the pdf issue that is currently up on the CCD website is from April. Yes, the pdf is six months out of date. I wonder if anyone on the publishing end is aware of that tidbit of information. Plus, getting to the pdf is harder than it should be. *sigh*

What was this column about? Well, I was explaining how some of the traits of the sun signs were echoed in the zodiacal glyphs. You know the drill: What does the symbol of the two fishes of Pisces say about natives Pisces? And so forth.

Anyways, if you find yourself impatient to see the column I just did, remember that I feel that way also.

Update (August 4, 2011): Reading the comments, I was reminded that I should really provide my readers with a link to this article now that it is "reprinted." The name of the article is "What the Glyph of Your Zodiac Sign Represents."