Monday, February 28, 2011

Celtic Soul Jewelry testfiring and jewelry pieces

My wife recently got a new small kiln for her jewelry. It is smaller than her regular pottery kiln (the bucket sitting by the kilns is a five gallon bucket). She test-fired it on Saturday. The pieces seen here (earring and pendant pieces, also a couple of pin pieces) have been fired once already. There is no way that they are going to be done before Spirit Ways Annual Spring 2011 Psychic Fair and Craft Show (this coming saturday and sunday [March 5 {10 AM to 6 PM} and March 6 {Noon to 4 PM}]. Spirit Ways in at 3301 E. Colfax, Denver Colorado. Anyways, just thought I would share some pictures of her work as this batch of pieces went though the process of being turned into jewelry.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Repairing the Hierophant Sceptre

Decided to take a couple of pictures of the Hierophant's Sceptre as I repaired it today. This particular tool has been in use for eight of the ten and a half years of Bast Temple's existence (for a couple of years, we used a different Sceptre). This one was made from a wooden dowel, red and gold paint, some balsam wood for the crown points, and a giant cork. I am not sure what the support rod is made of (and I did not think about examining it before gluing the crown back onto the shaft). It is not as neat as the one that I saw that used a Pringle can for the crown. This is the first time that I ever had to repair it in the decade it has been in use. It is ugly, but functional.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The most dangerous Golden Dawn bylaw

The following is from the (London) 1888 Ordinances of the First Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer (GH Fraters Nom Omnis Moriar (W.W. Westcott) and Deo Duce Comite Ferro (S.L. Mathers). I consider this the most dangerous bylaw that you can put into the system; ironically, it is the one that is most likely to be included because leaders like it and the myth that it supports.

18. The GH Chiefs of the Second Order reserve themselves the right to make any alterations in these Ordinances, and also to suspend the operation of either of them in any case by means of a Dispensation.

In other words, the GH Chief(s) makes all the rules, and the rules can change whenever they decide that the rules are getting in the way of whatever they want to do.

Source: The Historic Structure of the Original Golden Dawn Temples (edited by Darcy Kuntz).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BIORC Outer Order Voting Rights Oath

When Robert Zink got "expelled" by a vote of the Adepts in his Order, I knew it was only a matter of time before he would issue a statement that the Adepts did not have the right to make that vote. This precognition annoyed me. But it wasn't all that marvelous of a prediction when you know the history of Golden Dawn.

I understood my annoyance. It was caused by another annoyance---I was about to have to refight an old battle.

One of the things that has always annoyed the leaders of the current Golden Dawn Orders is the fact that I openly support the membership having voting rights. Not only do I support voting rights, I believe that the members of the Outer Order should have voting rights and not just the highest level of the Inner Order.

My reasons for believing such nonsense will have to wait another night (I got a paper to write tonight for my Urban History class); but just to start getting people aware of the work that I have done to support this idea, I present the Outer Order Voting Rights Oath from the BIOGD (BIORC) Zelator 1=10 ritual.

As always, free feel to leave your offerings of hemlock in the comment section.

Outer Order Voter Oath

Hierophant: My dear brother/sister, _____ Temple, Golden Dawn in the Outer is pleased to offer you the privilege and duty of holding Outer Order Voting Rights. Because of the increased influence over the members of the lodge that such a privilege necessarily confers, the lodge requires you to take a further pledge of your fidelity to the well-being of the lodge.

As with the previous oath(s) that you have taken in the presence of the higher powers and in the presence of your brothers and sisters of this lodge, this oath contains nothing contrary to your civil, moral or religious duties. Are you willing to take this pledge?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Then place your left hand upon the symbol of the Order from which we draw our lessons, and your right hand upon the statue (icon) of ____, which represents the lodge of which you are a member of.

Zelator: (does so)

Hierophant: Do you promise to regard the privilege of having Outer Order Voting Rights as a trust given to you, not for your own selfish gain, but rather as a service to this lodge, so that our lodge and our tradition may be kept pure and undefiled, and the Light kept safely for those who seek it on this Path?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Do you promise to uphold the right of the members of the Second Order, especially the (Co-)Chief(s) of this lodge to decide on issues of the curriculum and upon issues of advancement in this lodge, so that our high standards of knowledge may be maintained?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Do you promise to allow members of the Second Order to override any Outer Order vote, provided that they CAN truly justify their actions as being in the best interests and well-being of this lodge?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Do you promise that you will neither recommend a Candidate for admission into First Order, nor for advancement without due judgment and assurance that they are worthy of such a great confidence and honor, nor unduly press any person to be a Candidate?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Do you furthermore promise to support the admission of both sexes to our lodge, on a perfect equality, and that you will always display brotherly/sisterly love and forbearance towards the members of this lodge and Order, neither slandering nor evil-speaking, nor repeating, nor tale-bearing, whereby strife and ill-feeling may be engendered?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Do you promise to exercise your vote with conscientiousness and loving care, not alone towards this Temple and Order, but unto every individual member?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: Finally do you promise that if during your travels that you should meet a stranger who claims to be a member of the same Order from which we draw our inspiration, that you will examine them with due care before acknowledging them as such?

Zelator: (affirms)

Hierophant: (addressing the lodge) Brothers and Sisters of _____ Temple, you have heard the pledge of Brother/Sister , do you accept it and grant onto him/her Outer Order Voting Rights?

Lodge: (affirms)

Hierophant: Brother/Sister , you are now a voting member of _____ Temple. Remember always that it is only through the wise exercise of secrecy and our voting rights that we maintain the resources that this lodge has gathered for the use of its members in accomplishing our common goal, which is to accomplish the Great Work, the Union of the Sun and Moon, the Uniting of the Macrocosm and Microcosm, the attainment of the Philosopher’s Stone, the SUMMUM BONUM.

Copyright 2000-2011 Morgan Drake Eckstein.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The difference between western medicine and witchdoctory

Apologies to those who already saw this joke that I made on Facebook last night.

Western medicine:
First, you make the patient fill out lots of paperwork. Then you ignore what they said and proceed to run tests. Then you make them take pills that does not address the initial problem. Finally, you send them a large bill insisting that your very expensive medicine was the only way to deal with the problem...and if the problem still exists, it is the result of the patient's bad lifestyle and not the ignorance of the doctor.


Well, first you take the live chicken and dance around the patient with it. You listen carefully to the patient, and then invoke a loa who is in charge of such symptoms and ask them to kindly leave your patient alone. Then you kill and eat the chicken with the patient. If the problem still exists, you proceed to use more chickens.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

QoD Marie de France about storytelling and study

Ok, this quote is not about magic, but rather about story telling and the study of the classics. Nevertheless, I think that there is something to be learned from it.

Anyone who has recieved from God the gift of knowledge and true eloquence has a duty not to remain silent: rather should one be happy to reveal such talents. When a truly beneficial thing is heard by many people, it then enjoys its first blossom, but if it is widely praised its flowers are in full bloom. It was customary for the ancients, in the books which they wrote (Priscian testifies to this), to express themselves very obscurely so that those in later generations, who had to learn them, could provide a gloss for the text and put the finishing touches to their meaning. Men of learning were aware of this and their experience had taught them that the more time they spent studying texts the more subtle would be their understanding of them and they would be better able to avoid future mistakes. Anyone wishing to guard against vice should study intently and undertake a demanding task, whereby one can ward off and rid oneself of great suffering.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bedford Hours Aquarius

The Image of Aquarius from the Bedford Hours (ms. Add. 18850) created around 1425 CE. This medieval illustration has Ganymede, cup bearer to the gods, pouring water out of two jugs. This manuscript (calendar) is housed today in the British Museum (London). Compare it to the Golden Dawn Tarot card, the Star, which corresponds to this zodiac sign.

Bast Temple Official Stance on Secret Chiefs who are not cats

Bast Temple back in September 2001 decided to include the following in its bylaws:

The lodge does NOT recognize the authority of the Secret Chiefs. The Secret Chiefs have been used to justify the abuse of power and authority in other groups. If the Secret Chiefs do contact a member of the lodge (Order), we will try to keep an open mind, but their suggestions and commands will not become law in the lodge unless approved by the voting members of the lodge.

Needless to say, this rule does not apply to the cats.

Friday, February 11, 2011

QoD Pat Zalewski on Secret Chiefs

Over on the Golden Dawn Group yahoo forum, Pat Zalewski wrote:

I have been asked many times why I have no dealings with Secret Chiefs. Well, the first response is that they have not contacted me. The second is that believing in the secret chiefs and what they say [brings] the GD into a "belief order" and in my book either crosses the line into theology or is a step closer to it. You can say anything and place the secret chief tag over it and it's a done deal. Common sense goes out the window and when the secret chiefs are in charge you have a defacto cult or call it what you will. I have never heard of any secret chief producing documents of late that is significant and that is the key. I would rather see the GD without the control of secret chiefs and other such nonsense to plain old fashioned hard work and study. I produce papers almost on a weekly basis for my GD group and if I can do it the others can as well. So lets skip the bullshit and simply do the work.

To this my cats, the real Secret Chiefs, say:


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How many possible horoscopes are there?

Have you ever wondered why Golden Dawn and other esoteric Orders do not issue a book that gives every possible astrology chart and how to read them?

After all, many of our lessons provide suggestions for how to interpret a Tarot card when it falls into a certain postions in a reading and suggestions about how to read the effects of planets when they are in the astrological signs. And there must be an initiated view of how to read a horoscope, right? So why not just issue a book of all the charts that we might encounter and give us the official reading of them?

First, we want you to think. Sorry. Work and thought is a neccessary part of the system.

Second, do you realize how big of a book this would be? Seriously, have you ever pondered how many possible horoscopes there are?

Today, we are used to computerized printouts provided by astrology readers and websites. These generic readings are based on a system pioneered by Alan and Bessie Leo in the 1890s.

Alan Leo (born William Fredrick Alan) was one of the founders of The Astrologer's Magazine. One of the selling points of the magazine was that every subscriber got a free horoscope. Alan and his wife Bessie (born Ada Elizabeth Murray Phillips) needed to figure out a fast way to put a horoscope together. What they did was to write up a sheet for each aspect of a chart (rising sign, moon sign, etc.) which they assembled into a packet and mailed to the client. They made no effort to combine the effects of the aspects; such work was done by Alan, but it was more costly and involved a private consultation.

The system pioneered by the Leos was so effective that other astrologers rushed to copy their system for their own mail order businesses. In fact, it is the same system used by most modern astrologers, though a computer program does the actual compiling nowadays.

It is the figuring out how the aspects combine together that is the heart and butter of the professional astrologer's life. And their livelihood is perfectly safe because no one is going to sit down and come up with a blended horoscope, complete with interpretations for every possible situation and question that might arise, for every possible chart that might exist. When you pay for a private astrology reading, you are paying for a human being to "grok" the astrology chart and make the mental leaps necessary to blend all the aspects into a whole that actually applies to the situation at hand.

So how many horoscopes are there?

If one is only considering the seven traditional planets and the ascendent (rising degree of the chart), and is only concerned with the degree which they occupy, there are...

360 times 360 times 360 times 57 times 93 times 360 times 360 times 360


11539123163136000000 possible horoscopes.

You may have noticed that the math is not completely clean (57 and 93). The reason for this is that Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees away from the Sun, and Venus can never be more than 46 degrees from the Sun. For instance, you will never see an astrology chart where the Sun is in Virgo and Mercury is in Pisces---such a chart cannot exist.

(Some students may protest that such a chart can exist when one works with geomancy. It should be noted that geomancy charts are "randomly" or "spiritually" produced and the position of the figures bear no relation to the actual positions of the planets in the sky. In this article, I am merely talking about astrology; the number of possible geomany charts is figured the same way, but with a different set of numbers. For instance, only the house position matters in geomancy; in astrology each degree has its own symbolism.)

If you include the planets Uranus and Neptune, and the planetoid Pluto, the number of possible horoscopes increases to

538369330299273216000000000 possible horoscopes.

(It should be noted that because of the orbit times of these bodies that some of the possible horoscopes are unlikely to be encountered in one's lifetime---Uranus 84 years, Neptune 165 years, and Pluto 248 years.)

And if you want you can toss in the asteriods, comets and eclipses---but you will have to figure out the math yourself.

Even at a page per possible horoscope, that is a pretty thick book. I not going to haul it around---are you?

(I am not sure how much computer memory a pdf of such a book would take up---if you have an idea of how to figure that out, please leave a note in the comment section.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Official Bast Temple Recognition Policy

As I noted in an earlier post, my own policy is to give help and recognition on an individual basis. I do not give blanket recognitions of esoteric and occult groups.

With some of the Orders embracing (or rejecting) the various sides of the Zink EOGD expulsion schism drama, it was decided that the official Bast Temple policy for such situations needed to be discussed. And it was yesterday.

The policy decided was the same as my personal policy: Help and recognition is only given on an individual basis; no blanket recognition will be given to any Order or group. We will judge who we help based on their individual conduct and not on what Order they belong to.

This means that Bast Temple does not support either side in the latest Golden Dawn drama. Bast Temple is neutral as far as this latest situation is concerned.

Please note that this does not mean that I am going to quit blogging about the situation if I notice something that interests me, or that I think needs commenting on. Just because the lodge and Order is neutral does not mean that I have to be silent as I watch this drama unfold.

(And later, this week I do plan on blogging about the big question that the Zink EOGD expulsion schism brings up. Ye has been warned.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Zink expelled?! (Busy Golden Dawn News Weekend Pt 2)

The other big Golden Dawn news this weekend is that it appears that Robert Zink (GH Frater PDR) has been expelled from the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn.

A couple of days ago, it seems that a new member forum was set up and invites were sent to EOGD members saying that it was the new members-only forum. Robert Zink responded saying that it was an unauthorized forum and not part of the EOGD, and that members should ignore it because it was probably a phishing campaign.

The truth seems to be that the new forum and the invites were a preemptive strike to try to wrestle control of the Outer Order membership away from Zink before the Adepti and Chiefs of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn expelled Robert Zink, who controls the official sites (most of the assets and resources of the Order are in his personal control). I am basing this conclusion on the announcement that went up on various blogs and websites yesterday announcing that the Second Order of the Esoteric Order had voted to expel Robert Zink.

One can read the entire announcement here on the new Public Announcement blog for the EOGD.

And a couple of hours ago, the HOGD/A&O extended their hand in friendship to the EOGD Second Order who, as part of their expulsion notice of Zink, extended their hand to David Griffin.

As of this point, at least one Golden Dawn yahoo forum has declared the subject off-limits for discussion. I am expecting a couple of others to declare the same thing relatively quickly. They will be the smart ones.

Unfortunately, having seen events like this in other groups, I do not need a cracked crystal ball to know that it is going to get ugly. Robert Zink is going to fight back. I predict that he is going to expel those who expelled him. I predict that he is not going to hand over the Order's assets and website back to them. In fact, I think it is safe to say that he is going to fight for control of the Order's name. Lawyers are probably going to be involved.

And in fact, if I was in the group that expelled him, I would start thinking about changing the name of the Order. (Remember when it was HOMSI?) One of the charges against Zink is that he has damaged the reputation of the Order (and of the Golden Dawn tradition in general); one should ask themselves if it would not be better to start a clean slate.

As for my own position on this situation, I am undecided. I will probably continuing helping the individuals I want to help, and ignore those who I do not (in other words, the same policy I had before this event). As for Bast Temple's official position, I will learn that on Sunday.

I may or may not post updates to this drama---I will decide as events unfold (how boring I find events will probably be the determing factor---if it bores me, it will bore you).

Griffin is a pagan?! (Busy Golden Dawn News Weekend Pt 1)

It has been a busy couple of Golden Dawn news days. And quite honestly, no one in their right mind probably wants to start the ball rolling on commenting about the things that have been going on.

Well, no one ever said that I was in my right mind, did they?

The first one is that David Griffin announced that he is an initiated member of Stergheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento, a branch of Stregheria (Italian paganism) that claims to have intact the Inner Alchemy secret of the Great Rite (a form of sex magic).

I presume that this is the big announcement that he hinted about a few weeks ago.

And the only thing I have to say other than the obvious (I am a non-believer in unbroken traditions) is: David Griffin is a pagan?!

Ok, I did not see that one coming. In fact, when asked what religion Griffin was (such things do come up in conversation), I have always said that I presumed that he was Christian. Well, I called that one wrong, didn't I?

The announcement did make better sense of some of his recent actions. For instance, when he waded into the whole historical argument about whether Wicca was a recent invention or an actual survival from the past, the best explanation I could come up for his interest was that if Wicca was a survival, then his claims that his Order (Hermetic Golden Dawn/A&O) was blessed with information intact from ancient Egypt and Babylonia would be looked upon more favorably. Again, I called it wrong, didn't I? I will admit that Griffin kept his beliefs well in the broom closet.

I tend to be very loud about my religion: partially because most Golden Dawn groups are so Christian, and partially because I am not smart enourgh to keep my mouth shut. I also practice the "buffet style" of paganism---if it is a tasty bit of lore or ritual, I grab it. I am definitely not the same type of pagan as Griffin, and therefore I will definitely not benefit from his efforts to make paganism a cultural force. Well, at least I know my place in the world, don't I?