Monday, March 28, 2011

Adventures with oatmeal

My wife seems to be performing science experiments using oatmeal. Or at least, that is how I am going to think about it for the next couple of minutes.

A few years ago, a friend of my wife taught her the trick of putting oatmeal in those travel coffee mugs (gee, thanks Th.). Which by itself is ok, provided that the oatmeal gets eaten and the mug brought in the house in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, my wife tends to be busy, so there is always that one cup of oatmeal that did not get eaten every week that sits in the car for days on end...until you can hold the mug upside down and oatmeal and spoon remain in the cup.

My theory is that this is a psychological science experiment going on and that I am the lab rat. After all, I get to clean up this mess. There has been a couple of occasions where I have put water in the mugs, came back a hour later, and witnessed obvious fermentation occuring. Oatmeal beer anyone?

Don't get me wrong---I love my wife. But I do not think that she should be performing experiments with oatmeal. If I am not allowed to have a physical alchemy lab, then she should not be allowed to perform experiments on her husband's tolerance threshold limits using breakfast foods.

And then there was today...for some reason, she thought it was a good idea to pour the oatmeal into her purse. (Ok, I know it was an accident...I hope...I haven't talked to her about it yet.) I think that we hit my threshold---I refuse to clean the oatmeal off the remaining checks and notebooks. She can get herself another lab rat or monkey.

As always, you can leave comments pointing out how heartless I am in the comment sections. But please, do not leave her any encouragement to continue this weird experiment...think of me, the poor lab monkey who has to clean this stuff up.

Friday, March 25, 2011

If initiates had a Bill of RIghts

Over on Flight of Hermes, Soror FSO is asking for ideas about what people think should be included in an Initiate's Bill of Rights. Personally, I have never considered what my rights as an initiate and an Adept should be (note that in my universe, initiates and Adepts are not the same thing).

Or at least, in the mindset of a Bill of Rights. Many of the rights I believe that I should have as an initiate and an Adept have made their way into the bylaws of Bast Temple. That is what happens when you are one of the more experienced group members when a new lodge forms---people look to you for ideas and they believe you (Bwahahaha!).

For instance, thanks to personal experiences and what I learned in Hathoor Temple, I believe that the members of a lodge (including the majority of the Outer Order) should have voting rights. We should be allowed to decide who rules over us. Please note that Inner Order officers are elected by Inner Order, and Outer Order officers by Outer Order (the two Orders have different purposes and therefore different needs). But note that Bast Temple bylaws allow the removal of an officer if three quarters of the voting members of both Orders have serious doubts that they are doing their job properly.

I also believe that initiates should have the right to choose if they accept the ideas and commands of those people who claim contact with the Secret Chiefs, Third Order, or whatever it is being called this week. Maybe some of us do not want to obey a Third Order that had no hand in the development of Golden Dawn for a hundred years or so. The Golden Dawn (by whatever name) was left on its own for a long time; it is a little late to come in and claim rulership---especially if all we are going to get is a series of bizzare orders and regulations.

I believe that initiates should have the right to choose their own religion, and not be forced to give it up and convert to something else. I am Egyptian Wiccan with Viking tendencies, and maybe a kiss from the Hindu monkey god. Live with it. I am not going to make a good Thelemic, Catholic, Christian, or whatever. Work with my religion---it has ethics and beliefs.

I believe that all members including the Chief should pay their fair share unless they file for a stay of dues. I pay dues that are equal to the rest of the membership.

I believe that initiates deserve a straight answer about the sources of their lessons. I will admit that this is one of those strange areas where I believe that an initiate deserves a straight answer, and outsiders get only general indiciations of where to go. It is part of the benefit of belonging to a group---if you want a straight answer, join an Order.

I believe that the Inner Order officer's rights should probably be limited to issues of curriclum and advancement and the ability to hit the brake if they see their group about to do something really stupid (if it was a train wreck the last time someone tried the idea, it is probably going to be a train wreck this time around also). And note that they are elected and can be removed from office, so they better be doing things for the correct reasons (personal power is not a correct reason to do anything).

I believe that an initiate has the right to know the bylaws of their lodge and Order. And know how changes are made in the rules and regulations. No one should have to put up with an officer that can change the rules or suspend the bylaws with a wave of their hand.

I believe that an initiate should know the reason that their lodge and Order exists. There is a difference between Orders that issue merit badges for time served, and those who are pooling resources for magical purposes. The reason for a lodge's existence affects a lot of things, including what is needed to advance though the Grades.

And finally, I believe that initiates have rights to have human leaders. A leader should be able to come to the members of their group and ask for advice and suggestions. A leader should not have to be all-knowing and all-wise. It cuts down on a lot of BS if you are allowed to be a flawed human being, both as a member and as an officer.

As for these types of ideas making their way into an Initiate's Bill of Rights, I won't hold my breath. I have been told repeatly that my ideas are poppycock---and perhaps they are. But they are mine, and they are what I fight for.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Can the SRIA decide what Golden Dawn group is official?

I have been thinking a lot about "recognition" lately.

First, there is the ongoing drama in the EOGD. When news came out that Robert Zink was voted out of the EOGD, several of us came out and siad a few words. David Griffin (HOGD/A&O) came out in support of the vote. Nick Farrell noted that the EOGD was not set up to allow such a vote; he also stated that a new name and system was probably in order.

Bast Temple took a vote on it, and decided to continue with our current policy of recognition---we recognize individuals, not groups. (There actually some history beyond that policy; it allows us to avoid recognizing the bad eggs in good groups while allowing us to recognize good people in bad groups.) Needless to say, the Bast Temple vote pleased no one outside the pale of Bast Temple. Given the news coming out of the EOGD, I would still vote the same way---recognition to individuals and not groups.

Second, there is always the ongoing debate in Golden Dawn about who is legitimate Golden Dawn and who is not. A lot of that debate depends upon where you think the roots of Golden Dawn lay, and where you think it should be going. Needless to say, those who do not see eye to eye do not recognize one another.

Third and the subject of this post is a recent blog post about William Coon II, the Supreme Magus of the SRICF, saying that the SRICF of America and the SRIA of England have the right to decide which Golden Dawn Order is the "official Golden Dawn." Thumbs up to David Griffin for bringing that one to my attention.

[SRICF: Societas Rosicruciana in Civiatibus Foederatis; SRIA: Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia]

Do I believe that Coon said that? Yes, I do.

Especially if this is the same William Coon II, who is Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the USA. For an example of his authority, consider his opinion about another group that he consider to be an "invasion of terrority" threat.

The Great Priory of America is an unrecognized Templar Order operating within the United States of America, in direct conflict with Section 3 of the Constitution of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America. Accordingly, membership in the Great Priory of America is incompatible with membership in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America and any Grand, Subordinate, or Constituent Commandery under its jurisdiction or owing allegiance to the same.

For more about this situation, check out the Freemasons For Dummies blog.

Do I believe that he considers that the Golden Dawn is an "invasion of terrority" threat? Yes, I do.

But does the SRIA and SRCIF have any right to determine what Golden Dawn Order if the "official" Order? In my opinion, no.

I do understand their logic. Kenneth Mackenzie, Samuel Liddell "MacGregor" Mathers, William Wynn Westcott, and William Robert Woodman were all members of the SRIA. Robert Felkin and Arthur Edward Waite were also members. All the founding members of the original Order, the (best candidate, IMHO, for) creator of the Cipher Manuscript, and leaders of two of the splinter groups were members of the SRIA. Logically, especially if you believe that Golden Dawn was started out as a forgery, the lineage of the first generation of Golden Dawn came from the SRIA.

Now, Griffin argued against Koon using the official history of the Golden Dawn as his Order (HOGD/A&O) tells it. Honestly, I do not have enourgh information to decide whether that history is true or not.

But I do have enourgh information to argue that the creator of the Cipher Manuscript (who I believe is Mackenzie) and the three founders of the Isis-Urania (Westcott, Mathers, and Woodman) had no intention of making the Golden Dawn answerable to the SRIA.

First, the Golden Dawn was formed during the mushrooming of the lodge system in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There were Grand Lodges forming all types of lodges. It was a big business with plenty of potential members (by business, I mean that there is a certain economies involved that are best explained by treating the lodge system as a type of business model---not all lodges were created for profit). Most (if not all) Grand Lodges declared their independence.

Second, the Golden Dawn allowed non-Christians, non-Masons, and women to be members. At the time, these were charter-revoking acts if your group was SRIA---and probably still are (not being a member of the SRIA, I am guessing here).

Third, whether you believe that the Sprengel letters are legitimate or fake, the letters tell us that our roots are in Europe and that the Golden Dawn is on its own---we are not of the SRIA, and the parent body wants nothing to do with us. One of the purposes of the letters, whether they were created by Westcott or actually written by Sprengel herself, is to put the authority for Golden Dawn inside of Golden Dawn itself.

So can the SRCIF and the SRIA issue a judgment and decide who is the "official" Golden Dawn? Yes...(cue laughter)...but it will only be obeyed by the loyal members of the SRIA and SRCIF.

And for me, that is the biggest joke about Koon's opinion about the SRCIF and the SRIA being able to decide the issue. The only people who are going to obey the ruling are (maybe) SRCIF and SRIA members.

Oh, and whatever Golden Dawn group that they decide to pick. Which will be an all-male, all-Freemason, all-Christian group. In fact, I would be willing to bet that it will be the least magical of the Golden Dawn Orders. They will pick something that is little more than a study group with merit badges---not a single member will be able to hex their way out of a wet paper bag.

The leaders of the SRIA and SRCIF will pick the weakest link---a Golden Dawn group that is absolutely no threat to them. It will be all about the business of membership numbers---the membership numbers of the SRIA and SRCIF, not Golden Dawn's.

All the rest of the Golden Dawn community, however much we do not see eye to eye, no matter how much we distrust one another, no matter our beliefs about Golden Dawn history, no matter the differences in our adminstrative structures, will laugh when we hear the official proclaimation and continue to go about our Work. Bottom line is that the SRIA and the SRCIF opinion will be ignored by the overall Golden Dawn community (outside of whoever they pick). Me, David Griffin, Pat Zalewski, Nick Farrell, and Chic Cicero will all agree that the SRIA and the SRCIF have no business determining how official any of our groups are.

I have said this before, and I will say it again---as long as you and your fellow members think that your group is official, who cares about outsiders and their opinions? I don't and either should you.

Remember to keep your dagger sharp, your wand lit, your cup fulled, and your pentacle flowered---we are all in this together.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

QoD Armand Barbault on alchemy

Currently reading Armand Barbault's alchemy book, "Gold of a Thousand Mornings" (1975) ["L'or du Millieme Matin" (1969)]. Started to notice that some of his section headings and "takeaways" could be read as a short alchemy text all on their own. ("Takeaways" for the non-journalist crowd are these sentences you see enclosed in boxes to highlight the important stuff from magazine and newspaper articles.)

The Dawn of the Magicians begins at daybreak on a Spring morning.

The twelve Signs of the Zodiac hold the secret of Nature.

Astrology is only one step from Alchemy, Alchemy only one step from Medicine.

The Adept who reveals all he knows about the First Matter is not betraying any trust, for the means by which it is obtained remain very personal, linked to nature and to the Alchemist's own individual preparation.

A repeated series of operations should bring the Matter to the state of Leaven, the state conductive to the "opening" of gold.

Our preparation is produced by following the philosophic process which deal with the "first part" of the Great Work as described in traditional alchemy.

The Tradition represents the great work as consisting of Three Parts.

[Quoting from The Twelve Keys of Philosophy] The pure is freed from the impure...Corruption of one and generation of the other...All flesh born of the earth shall be destroyed anew and shall be returned to the earth. In as much as previously it was earth, new generation of the salt of the earth is produced by the breadth of celestial life.

[Another quote from The Twelve Keys of Philosophy] A salt is most effectively extracted by fire if the body in question has been previously been brought to putrefaction...the true, natural tartar to be dissolved is hidden in the ash. When this tartar has been dissolved, the mighty lock to the King's apartment may be unfastened.

The Emerald Tablet and the Mutus Liber provide all the essential alchemical knowledge in symbolic form.

All the evidence points to the conclusion that the liquor of gold----which according to all normal systems of physical and chemical analysis contains no gold----constitutes a new state of matter.

In addition to vegetabilised gold, the alchemist can, within the framework of first-degree medicine, prepare tinctures of such metals as silver, antimony, copper and tin.

The three basic Tinctures are those of Gold, Silver and Antimony.

The way of the second order is even more mysterious. The alchemist may embark on it once he possesses First Matter which has reached the first degree of perfection.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Looking at the Golden Dawn as a Business

One of the things that disturbs some people is that I have the habit of looking at Golden Dawn as if it was a business. I tend to blame this on having managed a business for several years; though to be honest, my father also had something to do with this habit (small family business). But let's be honest, my past experiences just bring to the surface my own infernal triad.

There is something deeply twisted about me that causes me to look at most Order-level decisions and statements and wonder how much of the decisions were actually being driven by business and politics, instead of magic and spirituality. Even when someone says that decision XYZ was made because of ABC magical reason and DEF spiritual reason, I tend to believe that there is a GHI business reason and JKL political reason that is the real cause that XYZ was decided upon.

I may no longer being running a business, but there is a part of me that is permanently corrupted because I have done so. This fact has been pointed out by several people. They also like to point out that I should not even remotely be allowed near the top of any lodge or Order because of my nasty thought processes.

Bottom line, I am not spiritual or magically-inclined enourgh to accurately judge the behavior of those making the BIG decisions in the Golden Dawn tradition. After all, Golden Dawn is not actually a business.

I don't let the opinions of these people stop me from dissecting decisions and statements, poking around the inwards and guts looking for that point that screams that money and political power was its root cause. I am a happy little cynic, ain't I?

But here is an uncomfortable truth---some decisions and statements were driven by business and politics.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

For instance, the other day someone asked a former member of the EOGD if they ever asked for a refund. In the back of my mind, I found myself thinking about how issuing refunds is not in the best interests of any Order (my reasoning was primarily business-related). I almost blogged about it (I may still do so in the future).

And yesterday, when reading a post about a rumor that says Robert Zink is going to be paid all the monies from all future EOGD members in exchange for giving up the ownership of the EOGD websites (gee, I wonder whose bright idea it was to have them owned by Zink), I immediately looked at the rumor and thought that it would be a really bad idea to do that. I have since learned that it is just a rumor. Nevertheless, I might still use it as an example the next time I blog about the evil and neccessarity of collecting dues and fees from esoteric members.

In fact, the whole EOGD business/Order model needs to be looked at. We all know that certain decisions were made because they were in the best interest of Robert Zink's wallet. The trick is to figure out which ones they were, and if the EOGD can live without them (or wants to live without them).

One of the problems with business models, and with Order administrative structures, is that human beings tend to treat the first one that we encounter as the only possible model. Your Mother Order and Mother Lodge really warps the way that you view the administrative system.

For instance, look at my view of the traditional hierarchical administrative structure of the Golden Dawn. I tend to look at it with great reservations. Why? Because in the first lodge structure I was exposed to, all the full members had voting rights. And the right to vote was much lower than the typical model. When Bast Temple started, I was one of the people who pushed for Outer Order members to have voting rights; it was what I knew.

(For the record, I have experience with groups that are modeled on the traditional administrative structure of Golden Dawn, and I have never seen anything good come from it in the long run.)

At the moment, the EOGD knows a system that was heavily influenced by Robert Zink, and I think that worries all of us (at least, those of us who are concerned with the health of the overall Golden Dawn tradition). Hopefully, they can figure out the worst decisions and policies that Zink imposed upon the Order and get rid of them.

Remember to keep your wand lit, your cup full, your dagger sharp, and your pentacle flowered---we are all in this together.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

QoD Raymond Abellio makes a wish

It is high time that activities such as astrology and alchemy, which are wrongly termed 'occult', provoked some reaction other than the customary blind acceptance or sarcasm. I feel it is necessary to point out to those deep thinkers who have shed all their illusions without having gained anything else in the process, that to denounce the charlatanism of certain 'seers ' or the naive attitude of 'believers' is not a sufficient investigation of these secular disciplines. One wishes that orthodox scholars would bring to bear judgements based on practical knowledge and would at the very least agree to learn the rules of the game. Instead , they oppose on principle arts of which they have no knowledge and about which they fabricate quite fantastic ideas.

   ---Raymond Abellio

Friday, March 11, 2011

QoD PhoenixAngel on the buying your spirituality

PhoenixAngel yesterday posted some thoughts about what Adepts are truly like. Here are two quotes that I really like: One is about Adepts, money and the nature of spirituality; the other is about the returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner (and the person I am laughing at knows who they are).

They are not RICH men, as far as material wealth goes. Their resources lie in their loyalties from other people. They basically have spent many years building their magick, not their entrepreneurial, and the last time I checked you cannot order a side of esotericism with your double cheeseburger and you cannot buy your spirituality at the same time you get your laundry detergent and a dozen eggs. Their life's work cannot be sold and charged to Visa, because it truly is priceless. Some however, do sell their services but also seem to have daytime jobs too.

And finally, they are not the best at getting back to you immediately and especially when you feel like your life is falling apart. In fact, they never seem to be around when it happens.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

QoD Frater BT on Healing Others

In a post about whether it is possible to use Golden Dawn healing techniques of cats, Frater BT said the following statement:

"Basically the first thing is that we can only elevate others up to where we are – and we can only heal others as much as we can heal ourselves. The cool thing is, though, that the desire to heal another is often a stronger motivation to become healed than the desire to be healed alone."

Of course, I think I might have done more healing work with cats than people---heavens knows that I practice my Reiki on cats more than people.

As for his statement, I am still kicking it around...I am not sure that I agree with it. I have seen healers who can heal others and not themselves. Therefore, this statement sounds more like religious (and Order-related) dogma than it does actual reality.

And I would have posted a comment to that effect on his blog, but there seems to be no way to comment on that blog directly.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What are QDBR Quick and Dirty Book Reviews?

I have decided to do a new form of book reviews (new for me, that is) on my blogs: Quick and Dirty. They will not be the longest or best reviews I have ever done; but considering that occasionally I obtain new books and do not currently have time to do longer or more detailed reviews, it is the best that I can hope for (sometimes).

Typically, they will be based on a quick (and perhaps partial) reading of the book in question. They definitely will not be based on a deep reading of the book. Think of the quick and dirty book reviews as a first impression of the book.

As they are based on my first impression of a book, I do reserve the right to change my opinion of the book later when I have more time to really examine it. (Actually, I reserve that right with my regular book reviews.)

They will also be short reviews unlike the ones that I post on the article and content sites (such as Associated Content). Being posted to my own personal blog means that I do not have to get them across the 400 word mark.

I will probably expand the idea to other media later. I will also try to post the Quick and Dirty reviews on the blog must suitable for them. For instance, on this blog, it will primarily be occult and magical book reviews.

Anyways, that is what I plan on starting to do. Enjoy. Or not.

(Curiously enourgh, after coming up with this idea---I really have a book I want to review, but I really need to do homework tonight and do not have time to finish the book, not alone do a proper review---my Facebook Fortune Cookie of the day said "A feather in hand is better than a bird in the air.")

Saturday, March 5, 2011

High Priest Vatican Assassin Warlock

Ok, I think that the picture says it all; but just in case, you have been living under a rock and do not watch TMZ,‎ a few words are in order (besides Google likes words, so I must write something to feed the friendly little spiders). First off, Charlie Sheen has burnt out his brain on recreational drugs. Nothing that comes out of his mouth makes much sense.

Listen to Charlie: "Guys, it's right there in the thing, duh! We work for the Pope, we murder people. We're Vatican assassins. How complicated can it be? What they're not ready for is guys like you and I and Nails and all the other gnarly gnarlingtons in my life, that we are high priests, Vatican assassin warlocks. Boom. Print that, people. See where that goes."
Beg pardon? Mister Sheen, I would like to point out that statement sounds like you have been drinking the funny Kool-aid while smoking dope and playing Warhammer 40K. Not that there is anything wrong with Kool-aid and Warhammer 40K, but you mixing both of them up wrong.

As for those who would like to bind dear Charlie, the Sheen-man, for using the term warlock. Go for it. I imagine that the Vatican and the assassin guild are right behind you also in this one (assassin guild, nice RPG joke, right?). For the record, the commonly accepted etymology for word "warlock" says that it either derives from the Old English wǣrloga meaning "oathbreaker" or "deceiver" or from the Old Norse varð-lokkur, "caller of spirits." Most of the pagan, Norse hearthern, and Wiccans do not want to use it. But if you feel like dressing all in black, and joining your Vatican and assasssin brothers who also dress all in black, and hunt down this man full of "tiger blood and Adonis DNA"---go for it. But please, quit making it sound like you speak for all of us. Some of us were followers of the old gods and goddesses before it became the cool thing to do, and quite honestly us old timers knew that Charlie Sheen brain is deep fried. For goddess' sake, the man has been taking recreational drugs for years and thinks that the AA (the non-drinking one) is a cult---and this is from the man who considers his brain some form of New Age drug.

(And if anyone knows the artist who did the Charlie Sheen "Defeat is not an option. They picked a fight with a warlock." piece of art that I opened this post with, please leave a note in the comment section, so that I can openly give them kudos.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Voting by walking away

Over the past couple of days, I have been reminded of one of the harsh realities of the administrative structure of the traditional Golden Dawn. And that harsh reality is that unless you are at the top of the totem pile, often the only way that you can vote is to walk away.

Resign, demit, walk away, cease paying your dues---this is the sole form of protest that a member of so many esoteric Orders have. They have no voting rights. There is often no court of appeal; and if there is one, you are often forced to appeal to the very person that you are disagreeing with.

And sometimes even when you do have voting rights, all you can do is to walk away. Unless the majority agrees with you (three quarters or better of voting members), if the issue really irks you, sometimes walking away is the best option.

The reminder of this aspect of the system came in the form of an insult. Several people have started to say that those people who chose to walk away from the EOGD were cowards, that they should have stuck around to oppose Robert Zink. Other people have said that the Adepts of the EOGD should have gotten rid of Zink sooner; and by letting him stay in office, they were supporting his actions.

I will admit that I asked the question myself: What took you so long?!

But I knew the answer. The administrative structure of the system had to be a nightmare. My proof? Zink could do things that no one approved of.

The members who chose to walk away were not cowards. The members who stayed did not necessarily approve of Zink's actions. The administrative structure of the Inner Order of the EOGD was a nightmare. There were few, if any, choices for protest.

A large part of my proof for this is that a few years ago, I came across a pdf of some of the rules and regulations of the HOMSI Inner Order. (The Order had a laundry list of names---it is almost as long as the list of mottos that I have used in my magical career.) While others used the correspondence course and the Inner Order documents that had been pdfed to prove the weakness of HOMSI/EOGD, it was the Inner Order rules and regulations that scared me the most. If you read them, you could see who had all the power, that there were no voting members, and the court of appeal was to the last person you would want to talk to.

Another insult that has came up is that no other Golden Dawn Order spoke out about it, except for Griffin's HOGD/A&O. There were a couple of reasons for this. One was the trademark lawsuit---you did not speak out against your allies in the lawsuit. This did not prevent things being said in private. But publically, allies stuck together (reminds me of events in WWII).

Secondly, there was the fact that if you spoke openly about not liking Zink's method of running his Order, you were immediately labelled a "flame-warrior." It is hard to talk about how you really feel about events in the Golden Dawn community when you know that you are going a villian automatically. It is one of the after-effects of the great flame-war that those of us with strong opinions are in constant danger of being labelled as villians. By dumping water on the flame-war, it was assured that no one outside of the flame-police would be willing to talk about abuses of the other Orders. Way to go, flame-police! How does it feel to be a tool of the power-mad?

Again, the only choice you had was to walk away, and do something else. So yes, a lot of walking away and ignoring the problem occurred. It did not mean that people approved or were cowards, it merely meant that they were being realistic about the situation, especially how much weight their opinion actually carried.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spirit Ways 2011 Spring Celebration and Psychic Fair

As some of you may have heard, especially if you attended the Open Full Moon ritual a couple of weeks ago, my wife has started a new jewelery business and will be selling her jewelery at Spirit Ways on Saturday and Sunday during their annual Spring Celebration and Psychic Fair.

Spirit Ways is located at 3301 E. Colfax, Denver Colorado. Phone: 303.331.1070

There is also going to be four intuitive readers available (a dollar a minute for a reading): Intutive Tarot with Phebe; Sacred Table Tarot with Lula; Grand Daughter Crow; Jaguar's Blessing Shaman Healing.

David Sosa is going to be doing chair massages.

Saturday March 5, 2011---10 am to 6 pm.
Sunday March 6, 2011---noon to 4 pm.

(I will probably be there from 4 pm to 6 pm on Saturday. I have limited time to attend and hang out. I refuse to skip my online class on Saturady; we are studying the Splendor Solis at the moment, and my advanced adept advisor actually likes us to show up for the class. And I am serving as a lodge officer on Sunday---I believe that we have a Neophyte initiation scheduled.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I am reading 2 March 2011

It is now time for another espisode of what I am reading.

But first a rant...

D*** computer quit crashing on me. I do not like it when you just shut off without any warning. I don't care if it is a bad update, a flash issue, or overheating and electrical problem. Just quit bloody crashing! You are killing my productivity.

Sorry about that, but there is a slight chance that the post I am currently writing will be interrupted by a sudden "I do not want to work fit" by this computer.

So what have I been reading on the blogosphere lately?

First up, Tori Alexander has written a blog post about how to write a book review. This is something that I occasionally wish some of the more rabid reviewers on Amazon would read. Not that it would do any good. My own training in book reviewing (ignoring K-12) has been in history and literature classes (more in history than literature). Not that my book reviews make anyone happy, but at least some of my techniques are right.

Second up, the latest broadside in the great magical energy debate is over on Magian Runination. While
I have not been commenting on the dust-up, I have been following it. I have learned a few things, including the fact that perhaps the Egyptians had a good reason to place more importance on the heart than the brain.

Third up, Susanne Iles has painted a wonderful painting imnspired by the first verses of creation commentary from the Bahir. I really like her artwork. I wish I was as good as an artist or kabbalist as she is.

And finally a great quote from Dionysian Atavism from an open memo from the black brotherhood to the ascended masters of the universe:

We know you're concerned about the spread of The Witchcraft, and The Wiccaz. Don't worry. With further influence from Stregha circles, soon Harry Potter fans will have a new target. We understand that they are not “spiritually enlightened” in the same way that you are, but surely you can at least admit that the Potterites give one a sense of amusement. At their expense, of course. But then – isn't the universe laughing with all of us, anyway? In any event, would you might telling some of your more annoying Adepts to drop that shit when it comes to bitching about witches? It's getting old, already. Don't they have enough all-powerful angel-summoning rituals to perform, rather than pestering us about what we're up to?

I am not completely sure what I have missed, but obviously someone is belly-aching somewhere. I wasn't aware that there was gathering horde of witches to expel---which is a crying shame considering I haven't taken part in a good looting in ages. Oh, opps, I just admitted to be part of the gathering Wiccan horde, haven't I? On the Harry Potter note, while I must admit that my high school had the same colors, we had a much lamer mascot (a beet digger does not exactly inspire awe in anyone). Someone please send me the information about when and where the raiding party is leaving from.

Anyways, that is what I have been reading on the blogosphere lately. Have a good evening everyone.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weighing Amazon book reviews

One of the things about the modern world is that anyone can express their opinion of a book, movie, TV show, music album, etc., and everyone with an internet connection can read it.

(The rule I am about to suggest applies to my reviews also. I just happen to post my book reviews some place other than Amazon. I think that my book reviews are slightly less biased...but that is probably just my ego talking. Plus, I openly admit my identity and material connections, as per government regulations.)

For instance, you can go to Amazon, punch in the name of a book, and read reviews that people posted on the product page.

Unfortunately, you do not know how many reviews on Amazon are written by the author, their spouse, their friends, and their furry children hiding behind random customer names. Another unknown is the number of reviews which are posted by enemies and stalkers of the author.

So how do you figure out what reviews to listen to, and which ones to ignore?

Well, here is how I do it. I look at the other reviews that the reviewer has posted.

If you are a regular buyer of certain types and genres of books, odds are that you will have read some of the other books that the reviewer has reviewed. Remembering the books that you have read, do these reviews match the books?

Here is the kicker. Often someone who hates all your favorite books, movies, TV shows, etc., is actually an useful reviewer. My mom used to watch this one movie critic because she knew that if he hated a movie, she would actually enjoy it. I also have a few reviewers that I watch; I know that if some book makes them foam at the mouth, then I should really get it because their enjoyment meter is the polar opposite of mine.

So if you hate my reviews, keep reading them...I am a good gauge of what you like once you remember that I am on the opposite side of good taste.

And if you love my reviews, bless your little heart.