Thursday, March 29, 2012

What is Griffin trying to accomplish?

Looking over the few blog posts about David Griffin "suggesting" to his members that they rush over to Amazon and give Nick Farrell one-star negative reviews for his alleged insulting remarks about Griffin's HOGD/AO that did not originate from the two parties involved, I have noticed that the general opinion is that Griffin has lost his flaming mind. And I understand how one would believe this; I thought this when I saw the first puppet master post (really there is a global conspiracy against Griffin and his Order? it is not just simple loathing for a man who seems determined to destroy the greater Golden Dawn community because we refuse to bow down to his infinite wisdom?).

But the writer and business manager in me saw something more going on.

First, it was the launch of a major promotional campaign. Same as all of his campaigns, it features him knowing the truth and the rest of us as fools being too stupid to follow him. (Gee, I wonder why the rest of us loathe him.)

Second, it was launched just before his magical confab, one that was ill-timed for any leader in another Golden Dawn Order to attend. (Gee, could it be that Griffin did not actually want leaders from other Orders to attend?) That was too big of a coincidence for me.

Third, before the confab even started, Griffin was foaming at the mouth that Farrell was violating his Order and his copyrights. Here is a man who does not understand copyright law. Or any of the other laws that he threatens people with.

So I do not believe that Griffin has gone insane. No, I believe that he has other reasons to send his troops at Farrell. And yes, they willingly voluteered to do so. The poor fools.

One of the quickest ways to bond a group together is to give them a common enemy. In this case, Nick Farrell. If Robert Zink was still around and active, he could have been the sacrifical victim, but it is the community's loss that Zink is currently rebuilding his empire. And Pat Zalewski didn't have anything recent to rant about. So it had to be Nick. Poor Nick.

Now, how do I know that this is not what it appears to be? Simple, bad book reviews do not actually hurt the sales of established writers. In fact, the buzz and shouting probably helped Farrell's book sales. Therefore, considering Griffin is not stupid, and presuming that he has not went insane (ok, there is a possibilty there), why would Griffin do this campaign?

The only answer I have is the common enemy bond. These freshly minted Adept Minors have been given a common enemy to fight against. It is a minor form of brain washing.

And it does not matter if Griffin consciously meant this campaign to do that or not---he still gets points on the various cult danger evaluation forms for calling his members to fight in this campaign. And the fact that his members willingly hopped to defend their and his honor gets him even more points. And if you wait a few days, the final unveiling of the puppet master, who is supposely controlling the venom that flows in Griffin's general direction (it can't be the simple fact that people loathe the man), will gain Griffin even more points on the cult scales. Unless he has lost his flaming mind, in which case, the situation is even worse than I think it is.

[The opinions expressed here are mine. Remember that I PDFed a lot of what has happened, and no judge in the land is going to rule that this commentary is off-limits thanks to how silly this situation looks.]

Five Reasons Why Magic Fails coupon code

Five Reasons Why Magic Fails available on Smashwords.
Here is a Smashwords coupon code for the ebook (article) Five Reasons Why Magic Fails (50% off--$2.50) good until April 29th, 2012.


Go to the Smashwords, and buy a copy of Five Reasons Why Magic Fails, click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who will be revealed as the Puppet Master (I Ching edition)

My cats have assured me that the wheels have indeed came off the tricycle.
And yes, I believe my cats when they tell me that the wheels have came off of someone's tricycle---after all, I read the same blog posts they do.

But the question remains who will be unveiled as the evil puppet master giving orders to the much hated and counter initatory force filled Golden Dawn community...perhaps the I Ching will give us a clue.

(If nothing else, it is an excuse to do an I Ching reading.)

So casting the coins I get 7, 7, 8, 9, 8, and 7.

(For those playing at home, I am using the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, which is the version that my teacher in this particular divination art uses.)

This gives us the hexagram number 38, Opposition.

This hexagram is composed of the trigram Li (flame) on the top, and Tui (lake) below. It reminds me of the fire and water triangles of the Banner of the East, but we should really go with the Eastern Chinese symbolism which views this as two forces moving apart in direct contrast.

"Futhermore, Li is the second daughter and Tui the youngest daughter, and although they live in the same house they belong to different men; hence their wills are not the same but are divergently directed."

Hmm, I think that we can view this as the two Golden Dawn camps moving apart from one another. But I am also quite sure that someone will see this as supporting their viewpoint that there is indeed a conspiracy against them and their Order.

"When people live in opposition and estrangement they cannot carry out a great undertaking in common: their points of view diverge too widely. In such circumstances one should above all not proceed brusquely, for that would only increase the existing opposition; instead, one should limit oneself to producing gradual effects in small matters."

Hmm, still no sign of the identity of the puppet master. If I am reading this correctly, it seems that trying to make sweeping changes will just cause more problems.

"In general, opposition appears as an obstruction, but when it represents polarity within a comprehensive whole, it has also its useful functions....In the world of visible things, the principle of opposites makes possible the differentiation by categories through which order is brought into the world."

Hmm, one Order is Classical Coke, and everyone else is Pepsi?

"Above fire; below the lake: the image of opposition. Thus amid all fellowship, the superior man retains his individuality."

Hmm, I am sorry, but this tells me that there is no vast conspiracy. And if there is, it is among inferior men and women who forgot that they are allowed to have their own opinions.

We do have a changing line in the fourth place, therefore we must read that information.

"Nine in the fourth place means---isolated through opposition, one meets a like-minded man with whom one can associate in good faith. Despite the danger, no blame."

"If a man finds himself in a company of people from whom he is separated by an inner opposition, he becomes isolated. But if in such a situation, a man meets someone who fundamentally, by the very law of his being, is kin to him, and whom he can trust completely, he overcomes all dangers of isolation. His will achieves its aim, and he becomes free of faults."

Hmm, again, I am having difficulties in seeing the conspiracy. It seems more that those who are opposed to the people around them are being isolated from those who are different from them. Birds of a feather flock to the same Orders and do not talk to those in other Orders; no real conspiracy there unless one believes that they should be loved by everyone in the world.

Ok, I really do not see any evidence of a conspiracy or puppet master here in this I Ching reading.

Looking at hexagram 41 (Decrease), I see further indication that those who believe one thing will part from those who believe another thing---"One may use two small bowls for the sacrifice."

Anyway, if there is a hidden puppet master, then they also control the I Ching. And if not, the unveiling is just going to continue to divide the community further. Probably because most of us will not believe that others are taking orders from some imagined evil.

As always, if you disagree with me, feel free to point out where my misreading is in the comment section. Remember that I do not allow anoynmous comments, and I will not approve the worst comments...unless the troll is really entertaining.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The poison of God---the Counter Initatic Force

Over on another blog, there has been an explosion of talk about the Counter Initatic Force (or Counter Initiatory Force if you prefer that term). Reading that particular blog, one gets the impression that all the other Golden Dawn Orders, students and members who do not condemn the actions of Nick Farrell, Pat Zalewski, and all their enemies are trapped in the Counter Initatic Force. If you are not with them, stoning their enemies alongside of them (figuritively speaking), then you too are being manipulated by the Counter Initatory Force, having your strings pulled by some giant invisible puppet master who insists that humanity be kept in the dark. After all, they are the only legitimate esoteric Order and the Counter Initiatic Force is determined to stop their progress of bringing people into the eternal Light.

Or at least, that is what it reads like to me. There is nothing like standing in a circle of fire while the dark forces howl outside to bind a group of magicians together.

Now, I will admit that the Counter Initiatory Force exists. It is called the dark side of the sephiroth. It is one of the reasons that the snake and serpent are used as symbols of the process of initiation. One can summon the Light side of a sephiroth without also summoning its Dark side. One cannot gain the power to heal without also gaining the power to harm. The poison comes with the ascension.

But honestly, the whole idea that the Counter Initiatory Force is manifesting primarily as flesh and blood human beings writing lies about them is a little too much. I am not saying it could not happen, but it sounds too much like something out of a fantasy movie or comic book for my personal tastes.

Then again, I live in another universe. I live in an universe where the Counter Initiatory Force arises from within. It is not the outside world that you have to worry about. It is yourself and the darkness that lays deep within oneself. Don't worry about other human beings. Worry about yourself stopping your own initiatory process. Worry about your own vices, such as greed and laziness.

The typical way that I see this manifest is the number of people who undergo initiation, have their world fly to pieces, and then cry that something went wrong---they drop out of the system, and attempt to put the genie back into the bottle.

It is not that something went wrong---it is their life was imbalanced in the first place, and the process of initation started to clean out the dirt and grime. If you have spent your entire life walking on your head, then all of sudden being placed upon your feet is going to feel mightly strange. For most people, comfort and unchanging familiarity is the goal---not the exciting world of change and spiritual struggle.

Yes, there is a Counter Initiatory Force, but its name is not Nick Farrell or Pat Zalewski.

Website moving to a new hosting service

Awhile back, I was informed by Microsoft that they were ending their Small Business Live web hosting and replacing it with another web hosting service. Basically, they want to charge more money and quit tracking traffic and keyword information and the easiest way to accomplish this is to kill one web hosting service and create another instead.

So today, I am starting the process of tranferring the Bast Temple website to the new hosting service. It is going to take several days. Of course, this forced move has to take place during my busiest semester ever.

By busy, I mean that I have been spending at least one day (typically two or three) at the library doing historical research. And falling ever further behind on the homework for my other classes.

Initially, I was hoping that no one would be able to spot the difference between the sites once I transfered the domain to the new hosting service. That is not going to happen---I am having all types of formatting issues as I copy pages. Even stripping out the previous formatting does not seem to help. There will also be slight navigation and color changes in the new site.

And the editing of the pages is going to have to wait until after my semester is over...because once I get the basic pages moved, I have to get back to work on my Honors Thesis for Literature and my Senior Seminar in History pages---both are supposed to be thirty pages when they are done.

Wish me luck to finish all my projects by the time they are due.

In case you would rather be watching Dharma and Greg

For the people who had no idea what the I was talking about when I mentioned "Good luck with your meat fight!", it is the beginning of the second clip here from the fourth episode of the first season of Dharma and Greg, "Then there was the wedding."

First clip

Second clip--the one with the meat fight scene :)

Third clip

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good luck with your meat fight!

One of my favorite scenes from Dharma and Greg.
Ok, I have hit the point where I firmly suspect that I am going to be blacklisted because I refuse to see that Nick Farrell was only bad-mouthing one particular group that claims AO descent in the introduction to King Over the Water: Samuel Mathers and the Golden Dawn. Furthermore, I refuse to retract my good review of the book.

Let me be clear, I have personnally seen other groups doing this...aka in living memory and within the last decade. The trademark did not stop this from happening; it merely removed it from public view. Some of these leaders were bad. And just because your group is good today, it does not mean that it will be good tommorrow. Therefore, I see the need for the warning, and I have serious doubts that it was only referring to one particular group. And no, I do not believe that descent from the original Order, or communication with Secret Chiefs, automatically makes you good guys.

I am not interested in your proof that you are real and your leader pure---let me be clear---I have personnally been buried by people claiming descent from the AO; I have also been burned by people claiming to be communicating with the Secret Chiefs (Third Order). I do not need to see Farrell's proof that people have abused the vaccuum that a lack of information has generated---I have experienced the abuse first hand.

I may not only have a Crowley in my woodpile; I may also have a Mathers in my woodpile. I have been told that my lineage traces through Mathers. Of course, because I am not a member of the trademarked organization, therefore I am no longer AO.

When you demand that Farrell apologizes to everyone in the AO community, am I one of the people he is supposed to apologize to? No. Because I am not a card-carrying member of the trademarked Order.

Therefore, forgive me...and go ahead blacklist me...because I am just as AO as the rest of you (according to some of the people who I have dealt with) and I do not see the need for Farrell to apologize to me (because of abuse by people who claimed to be AO).

Good luck with your meat fight!

Would bribes create more favorable reviews?

One of the things that I have been asked during the current internet boilover is if I get paid to do book reviews.

The answer is No.

And if I was paid, I would have to admit to it---that is the law where I am living.

As it is, I have to disclose if I was given a copy (electronic or physical) of the item that I am reviewing.

(By the way, the only things I have to disclose are monetary involvements---I do not have to disclose anything else, including how many dogs or cats that the writer has.)

And it turns out that giving me a free copy does not guarantee a better review.

Would giving me money guarantee a better review? I don't know. Maybe. I am not even sure if it would move the items to earlier in the review line.

Open letter to those who have items in my review box: If you would like me not to review your book now that I am about to go on a black-list, email me through the address that you sent me the electronic copy through. If you do not care about the fact that I am about to be black-listed, then do nothing. I promise to get around to reviewing your material...sooner or later...please remember that I am a non-traditional college student doing his Senior Seminar in History this semester; for some reason, I think that final paper comes first before reviews--Silly me.

And the internet boils over (Flaming Book Review edition)

Satan Kitty is annoyed that we must talk about things other than him.
I was not going to blog about this...but the members of the HOGD/AO want an answer, so here I am blogging about the internet boiling over.

(For those who do not know about today's meltdown, David Griffin has allegedly ordered his members to quit buying Nick Farrell's books, and to give Farrell's books extreme negative reviews on Amazon; and Farrell has allegedly bad-mouthed the only people who have ever called themselves Alpha and Omega.)

The question that is forcing me to address today's meltdown is: Why did I not address Nick Farrell alleged bad-mouthing Griffin's HOGD/AO Order in my antacid review?

Now, this question should have came up before this point. But the only comment I got about the review before today was a remark from one of my friends that I could not spell (antiacid, antacid--what's the difference?!). I might have gotten a comment or two on Facebook, but I do not remember them...because they did not question why I said the things that I said about King Over the Water: Samuel Mathers and the Golden Dawn in my review of the book.

In fact, I was expecting the internet to boil over the first week of didn't. It made me suspect that the only people reading my review were crickets. It made me suspect that the only people to read Farrell's book were the reviewers.

Now, my unpleasant answer to the question---I did address it. Maybe, just maybe, I was too subtle about it.

Here is where I addressed the alleged bad-mouthing of the current AO.

The biggest problem with this book quite honestly is that those people who need to read it the most will ignore it because their superiors will tell them that it is just a pack of lies and a political ax job meant to destroy Mathers and their superiors' reputations. And they will believe their superiors. Farrell tries to address this issue by pointing out some of the things that dishonest Orders have done in the past. I would love to say that the offenses he lists are isolated events, but they remind me of the laundry list of crap that I have seen in the various esoteric groups that I have been involved in.

Wow. It looks like I am really good at predicting the future...I am not.

Get your Golden Dawn brand antacids here! Just $9.99 a bottle.
It is now time to take an antacid and step into the Way-Back Machine---mind the flaming dog poop.
The year is 1989. And I am trying to locate anyone working the Golden Dawn system of magic here in Denver Colorado. There are three lodges operating here. (Actually four, but I am unaware of the fourth lodge at this point.) All three lodges claim to be Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. And one is really loud about the fact that they are descended from the original Alpha and Omega.

It turns out that the loud-mouth is the worst behaved of the lot. I am fortunate that the leader (the sole person who really has power in the group) takes one look at me and decides that I am too poor to be worth his time. Yes, too poor. Years later, I had the opportunity to talk to some former members of the group in question after the group exploded into flames, and they had horror stories worse than mine. (For the record, I have been in a lot of bad groups and had lots of horror stories already about bad leaders.)

I also got to see their rituals, thanks to the fact that for some reason I was declared someone responsible. (How that happened I still don't know.) And honestly, the rituals looked like they came out of Regardie's book. It is safe to presume that the loud-mouth lodge had no actual lineage to the original GD/AO.

Interestingly enourgh, the lodge that might have had the best lineage, and which rituals actually looked like the AOs, chose to bury the fact that they ever had a lineage...occasionally, one would hear a horror story about the group that they sprung from. (Technically, they were a schism group...and we all know that schism are never correct in leaving their Mother Order.)

So here we have a bunch of AO problems of the type that Farrell is referring to and Griffin is not even in the community yet (or at least not as a visible member from where I was standing). This misbehavior was well BEFORE Griffin took out the trademark for the HOGD/AO name.

Therefore, I was not completely convinced that Farrell was talking the current AO. Honestly, if you wait long enourgh, the players will change, but the misbehavior will still be the same. In my experience, the worst leaders mimic Mathers and claim descent from him and his branch of the tradition. There was a thrity year period that a whole bunch of misbehavior was carried out under the banner of being from Mathers' spiritual lineage. And Farrell could have been talking about any of them...he did not mention Griffin's modern AO by name.

(One hopes that Griffin is different...but seriously, threats of lawyers, bad book reviews, and piracy?! One should not have to resort to such threats---one's actions and service to their community should be the only proof one needs.)

And honestly, someday Griffin is going to die and a whole bunch of Orders are going to spring up claiming to descend from his AO, and I am betting that some of them are going to be bad apples. Because of that, I would rather see the warning than ignore the past crimes of groups that spent thirty years claiming descent from Mathers before Griffin even showed up on the scene. Because the warning was needed thirty years ago, twenty years ago, and someday will again be needed.

So there is your answer: I am not completely sure that Farrell was talking about Griffin's Order because there were others claiming descent from the AO long before him, and they were bad evil leaders, and someday others (after Griffin is dead and buried) will claim descent from the AO to justify their misbehavior. Better a warning misread today than none at all.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Combining Astrology Symbols (sort of a Tarot Deck Review)

How the energies of Mercury may manifest in the sign of Leo.
One of the big things that the Picatrix talks about is images of the various zodiac signs and planets, and combining these images to create more complicated symbols. This idea is not new. In fact, you can figure it out from Agrippa. In addition, the Vault of the Adepts can be viewed as a complex astrological image.

(The comment that I just said about the Vault of the Adepts is approved by my Secret Chiefs and not yours, so don't you dare talk about it. Of course, given the fact that the Picatrix is considered Black Magic, one can only presume that the same applies to the works of Agrippa, who may have been using the Picatrix as a source. I wonder if the Vault of the Adepts is Black Magic also.)

Now, astrologers use the idea of blending astrological energies all the time; it is how they read charts. And magicians working with astrological energies use the concept all the time to do magic.

One of the tools I use for helping me think about such things is the Symbolon deck by Peter Orban, Ingrid Zinnel, and Thea Weller. It is a deck of 78 cards (but not a Tarot deck), consisting of 12 cards representing the zodiac signs and their planetary rulers, and 66 cards combining the basic imagery of the 12 basic images into more complicated images.

For instance, let's say that I am trying to understand how the energies of Mercury manifest in the zodiac sign of Leo---my natal Mercury is located in Leo, by the way.

Mercury, and its ruled sign of Gemini, is represented in the Symbolon deck by The Mediator, a winged messenger carrying a scroll.

The Sun, and its sign of Leo, is represented by The Ego, a king enthroned on a lion-headed throne (a symbol that most of Golden Dawn members will associate more with Aries).

The combined energies of Leo and Mercury can be seen in The Actor, which depicts a stage with the Mediator in the background while the Ego walks across the stage, in front of an audience, holding the unfurled scroll.

Hmmm, I see no way that could actually apply to me, a humble blogger---I must have decided to use the wrong card.

(Review Time)

I have owned my Symbolon deck for several years (more than a decade). I am not sure that it is even still in production---but with eBay does it really matter? I do not use it for readings, well, not card readings. The way I use it is exactly what I was talking about in the first part of this blog post; I use it to suggest to me ways that astrological energies might be manifesting when combined in various modes. It is basically, for me, a way to attempt to grok the parts of an astrology chart that I am struggling with.

(And no, I do not struggle with my Mercury in Leo; it is my Moon in Scorpio that causes all the problems.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The real puppet master revealed

Satan Kitty demands your worship, and some catnip, and some shrimp, seriously go get it now.
And the real puppet masters behind all the Golden Dawn drama is...cats! All the flame wars you see are actually directed at dog lovers, and we all know that dogs drool and cats rule. And the chief of the Golden Dawn puppet masters is Satan Kitty! Worship Satan Kitty---give him all your love, catnip, warm beds, and all your shrimp. You know that you want to worship Satan Kitty.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is the Picatrix black magic?

"Magic is, in fact, everything that absolutely fascinates minds and attracts souls by means of words and deeds."---The Picatrix (Ghayat Al-Hakim)

Today, reading the comments on another blog, I saw some one declare that the Picatrix is Black Magic. This naturally brings us to the question of how exactly are they defining black magic...your guess is as good as mine.

And in fact, I do not want to guess. Let me toss out a bunch of reasons that I have seen over the years and cross my fingers that one of them hits the target.

The Picatrix for those who have never leafed through a copy is a book of astrological magic; mainly talismans, correspondences, and invocations. It is basically Agrippa meeting Alan Leo.

So why is this black magic?

Well, some of the talismans' goals are dubious in nature---like causing nations and cities to fall. And some of the ingredients are icky---my cats would purr-fur me to not use cat brains in my spells (I pun today...and "cat brain" might be a code, much like babies' hearts.) So that might be part of it.

And we all know that any magic done for material ends, and not just spiritual development, is pure evil.

Then there is the fact that some people claim that it works...and one of the definitions of black magic is magic that works better than yours.

Add to the fact that it is published, well that is a sure sign of evil, for only evil and black magics are allowed to be published by the Hidden Masters.

Then again, if it is the source of one's inspiration, then one labels it black and vile to keep your students from reading it...or to make sure that they do read it (depends upon your mentor).

Of course, the cherry on top has to be the fact that it was written by a Muslim, mentions Allah, and requires some knowledge of the Quran...and we all know those people, not being good Christians, are just downright evil as all of their works are.

So there you have it, a bunch of reasons why the Picatrix is evil. Take your pick, or ignore all of them and make up another reason...but I imagine some of us are going to continue to use our copies of the material despite what you think (or because you think that the Picatrix is evil).

"I call you, you High and Powerful Spirit of Spirits, the Wisest of All Wise, Intelligent of All Intellignce, Knowledgeable with the World's Knowledge, answer me and come to me and get me close to your knowledge, make me as wise and powerful as you are, let me understand what I do not understand, let me see what I cannot see and protect me from ignorance, forgetfulness and cruelty and make me like the Forefathers of Wisdom, the ones that had intelligence, wisdom, attentive awareness and understanding in their hearts, let all that live in my heart and never depart from it."---Picatrix (Ghayat Al-Hakim)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Internal polarity of the Tarot Cards

If you are doing the Tarot Blog Hop, odds are that you have arrived from Tarot Notes by Zanna Starr, a nice blog which uses cards from many Tarot decks---for those of us who are always looking for more Tarot decks to buy. And if you are a regualr reader, the post is about a Tarot spread based on an Easter Egg.

The prompt for today (tommorrow) Ostra's Tarot Blog Hop is Paint a journey with new life. It was hard not to think of the "coloring the Tarot" exercise that I have done in the course of my Adept Minor ZAM training (Zelator Adept Minor--one of the subgrades that some Golden Dawn Orders use) when presented with this prompt. And being the lazy New Age Adept that I am, I figured "Why not?"

A rough draft of the Wheel of Fortune as colored by the RR et AC.
Now, I will be the first to admit that my results should be buried under a rock. My cards are not the world's prettiest; they are also not the most true when you look at the basis of the color scheme--the color scales of the RR et AC (the original Inner Order of the Golden Dawn, not to be confused with any of the modern Second Orders of the esoteric schools that call themselves Golden Dawn today). For instance, the Wheel of Fortune should be colored (according to my favorite set of scale sheets) with the colors violet, blue, rich purple, and bright blue rayed with yellow. Even my color blind Dad would have been able to see that my colors are slightly (or greatly) off the mark.

The polarities of the Wheel of Fortune card--according to the least reliable GD authority--me!
Even more suspect are my private non-canon, non-approved coloring experiments where I just toss out the traditional colors and do whatever I feel like doing. (Suspect in the sense that they are not even remotely what my mentor wanted me to turn out.) One of the coloring experiments that I have indulged in is to attempt to figure out the internal polority of the individual Tarot cards.

To understand why the internal polarity of a card matters, one must remember that in Golden Dawn ritual, the Temple is often symbolic (taking place in the location) of one of the Tarot cards. The projecting, neutral, and recieving (or positve, neutral, and negative if you prefer) parts of the card would in theory reflect into the space that the initiation is being done in. To figure out the parts would be a hint of what is going on in the lodge room during the initation. (Initiation equals a new stage of life and another step on the journey of spiritual development--smart I am, right?)

There would also be a bleed-over when reading the Tarot cards--the part that leaps out at you during a reading could be read in terms of polarity. For instance, if the first thing that leaps out at you during a reading is passive, there is a good chance that the energies of the card are manifesting themselves in that way in the client's life.

Now, one of the more easier cards to figure out the polarity for is the Wheel of Fortune (GD/RR et AC version). As I have colored it here, red represents the projecting element of the card (the sphinx), the neutral part is yellow (the wheel itself), and the recieving element is blue (the monkey). These are the basic zones of the card.

Actually, it may not be as simple as that. All three of these parts can be further subdivided, for they are comprised of symbols that add another layer to the polarity play of the card. For instance, the wheel's spokes actually represent the 12 zodiac signs; therefore, there are both positve and negative elements that comprise the neutral part of the card.

Of course, I do not need to tell my regular readers to take this idea with a large grain of salt. This idea is not gospel, rather it is suggestive only. After all, we all know that I got my Golden Dawn certificate out of a cracker jack box and my training in the back of a coffee shop. Ironically, according to some, that makes me the equal of most Golden Dawn leaders and which case, feel free to take this as gospel (heavens knows that I am going to inflict it on the members of my own lodge).

If you are continuing with the Tarot Blog Hop, you are now going to head over to Johanna Powell Colbert's blog (she is the creator of the Gaian Tarot). Her post is also about an Easter Egg Tarot Spread--obviously, I am the odd one in this particualr Blog Hop.

[This post was updated on 21 March 2012 with the permanent web links to the Tarot Blog Hop blogs that preceeded and followed mine.]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is a Tarot Blog Hop?

Tomorrow, my regular readers will notice that I am doing another round of the Tarot Blog Hop, and may be wondering exactly what a Tarot Blog Hop is.

The Tarot Blog Hop is a bunch of bloggers that periodically create posts around the same scheme or inspiration, and then link their blogs together. In theory, a reader hops from one blog to another (discovering new blogs) until they come full circle and return to their starting point. The Tarot Blog Hops take place eight times a year (the eight Wiccan holidays).

The Tarot Blog Hop is a way for the readers to discover new blogs to read, and for bloggers to be able to expose their blogs to new readers.

Two Extremes of Grade Requirements

There are two extremes when it comes to deciding what Grade one has in an esoteric Order. One is severe training where a person spends years in a Grade and is tested to an inch of their life. The other extreme is where the only thing that matters is if they paid the dues and fees for the Grade. Both extremes result in getting a piece of paper that says you are of a particular Grade.

The same thing happens with Charters and Warrants. Just because a group has a Charter or Warrant, it does not mean that the holder(s) of it actually got any training to go along with it. In fact, it is more likely that they just paid some money to get it.

Therefore, in my opinion, it is best to treat those who brag about having Grade certificates and Charters and Warrants with caution. Watch their overall actions, and weigh their teachings--don't take those pieces of paper at face value. While an Adept can't help but be human, they also can't help being an Adept. If you watch carefully, a person's true level of attainment eventually rears its ugly head.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Tarot of the Holy Light (Tarot Review)

Queen of Wands from The Tarot of the Holy Light.
Awhile back, a friend of mine sent me a copy of The Tarot of the Holy Light (Christine Payne-Towler & Michael Dowers--Noreah/Brownfield Press). Upon opening it, I realized that it would be perfect for an Adept Major game--Can you identify the source of the alchemical imagery in this card?

As my regular readers will not be surprised to learn, this deck was slow to start for me. Why? Simple, my mind got caught up with trying to understand and remember the sources of the alchemical emblems used in the artwork of this deck. After all, I am the person who really needs to take an Alchemy 101 class, often struggling to to read the simpliest of alchemical emblems.

The deck works much better, at least for me, once you set aside your rational mind and forget trying to intellectually decipher the symbolism. I am not sure if my last Inner Order mentor, VH Frater QA, would be pleased to hear that or not (he insisted that I took six months off to study the basics of alchemy--a task I still haven't gotten around to doing, thanks to the horrors of finishing up the final two semesters of my undergraduate degree, well, actually two degrees {the University of Colorado at Denver rules say that I have so many credits that it is two Bachelor degrees, and not a double major}--one hopes that he understands how Senior Seminars trump studying alchemy for the moment).

Of course, given this mode of working (forget knowing exactly what the emblem is supposed to say and going with my gut reaction), and the mash-up of the alchemical symbols drawn from multiple sources, I imagine that this Tarot deck is going to offend the more serious-minded alchemical students and masters. I am quite sure that they will label it "New Age Alchemy." The fact that it is more suitable for a student of psychological alchemy, and less useful for the student of traditional lab alchemy, will automatically offend the student who thinks that only lab or initiated alchemy is worth studying.

For the rest of us, The Tarot of the Holy Light will be more favorably looked upon. Especially for us, who are trying to link the symbols of alchemy to the events of our daily lives. Or at least, those of us who really could care less what the one True and Correct reading of alchemical emblems is.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How many chickens for a Tarot reading?

One of the things that I have done in the past (something that I have been informed that I should be ashamed of) is doing Tarot readings for a fee. Yes, I have been a professional Tarot reader. Even worse is the fact that I have collected fees to cast spells for others. Obviously, I am not a member of the real RC...because we all know that in the real RC, only an Order Head collects a fee to do a task that is taking time away from their day job that pays their rent. (I half-joke here.)

Occasionally, when people find out that I used to do this for a profession (or sideline job), they ask me how much I charge. My answer, like most answers I give, is less than helpful and maybe a touch chaotic.

"How many chickens can you afford?"

Actually, I have never collected a chicken for a Tarot reading. But over the years, I did end up eating a lot of government cheese and peanut butter. (My wife wants me to point out that I will kindly accept government pork in exchange for Tarot readings--she actually like to use the cans of government pork to make tacos with.)

Why? Well, I was dealing with the poor. And they were getting government and food bank assistance. In fact, the only reason I wasn't getting assistance myself was that I was making a hundred dollars a year too much. (No joke.) Therefore, while they did not have chickens to pay me with, they had more than enourgh cheese and peanut butter to share.

If you think that this does not go on all the time, let me point out that there is an IRS rule that insists that services and goods obtained in barter is actual income, therefore must be reported to the IRS.

[The Norse rune Fehu, which some consider the source of our modern term "fee," means "cattle." Therefore, I should probably be collecting cows for my services...therefore, I am also willing to accept the government cans of beef also.]

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sanctuary of Maat officially closed

A few months ago, as many of my readers know, the Golden Dawn community lost a valuable member, GH Frater Imhotep. He was the founder and prinicipal mover behind the Sanctuary of Maat, an online Hermetic school that used the Cicero's Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition as their primary textbook.

And as most of my readers know, between his death and a rather ugly server crash, the website of the Sanctuary of Maat has been inaccessible for months. Basically, everyone including Proctors and Co-Chiefs, were locked out of the site. 

Today, it was announced that the Sanctuary of Ma'at was being officially closed, and was no longer going to be accepting applications for SoM memberships or study groups. The decision was made because of the loss of all the school's data in the server crash, the death of Imhotep, and the need to focus on the growth of the physical Order.

Part of the official announcement for the closure, made by GH Frater Odo Caosg (Imperator, Ordo Stella Matutina) included the following statement:

If you currently have an ongoing subscription to the SoM [Sanctuary of Ma'at], please cancel it. The current Chiefs of the Stella Matutina have no access to Frater Imhotep's accounts, so we can not remove you or offer refunds, nor can we access any funds that are paid into it. Likewise, we have no access to the existing SoM website, and cannot even post this announcement there. It is our hope that these accounts will close of their own accord now that our Frater has passed on.

For those who are involved in the process of self-initiation into the Golden Dawn tradition, the Magical Working Group (MWG) yahoo group is still available for answering questions about the system. Most, if not all, the former Proctors of the SoM are active on the MWG. And many are members of the Ordo Stella Matutina or other lodge based Golden Dawn Orders, as are many former SoM members. In fact, the trend for SoM members to move on to take physical initiations was one of the reasons that the Ordo Stella Matutina was formed.

(Yes, one of the members of Bast Temple--VH Frater H.K.Aa.L.A.H.R.--was a proctor for the Sanctuary of Maat.)

Long time members of the SoM will remember this picture.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Concord and Peace of the Three

S.R. just posted an appeal for peace in the Golden Dawn community. Having experienced the Denver Witch War of the 80s and having been an "active bystander" in the flaming Golden Dawn feud of the last decade (only half of its length), I doubt peace will actually occur. I honestly do not see any chance for peace in the Golden Dawn community until one of the camps steps completely away from the Golden Dawn label, especially considering how wide the gap is between the perception of the two parties of what Golden Dawn is about.

As proof that such a peace is possible, S.R. notes that he was taught that Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (Head of the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega), Dr. Robert William Felkin (Head of the Stella Matutina), and Arthur Edward Waite (Head of the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn) met and agreed to mutually recognize each other's Orders.

This is only partially true. A "working truce" occurred, but there is no evidence that it ever was a formal meeting and recognition between the three. And it fall apart quickly.

Initially, there was a concord between the Stella Matutina and the Independent and Rectified Rite (Waite). This concord broke because Waite discovered that Felkin was communicating with J.W. Brodie-Innes, Mathers, and Westcott. Waite could not tolerate peace with Mathers or any of his supporters.

And officially, there is a lack of peace between the three Orders.

When the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross formed in 1915, after the Independent Rite suffered a series of schisms, its constitution said "The Independent and Rectified Rite, with its dependencies, if any, in so far as now in activity, and the Stella Matutina Temple, together with its dependencies, are not in communion with the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and cannot be Visited or Joined."

Likewise, the 1916 New Constitution of the Stella Matutina says, "Members of any other Temples applying for admission, must be clearly warned that they will be required to give a definite pledge not to work in future with or under D.D.C.F. [Deo Duce Comite Ferro--Mathers], S.R. [Sacramentum Regis---Waite], Sub Spe, or Dr B. [Brodie-Innes]." Furthermore, in the section about the conditions where expulsion of memebrs is talked about, besides mentioning that six members were expelled when the Order broke with D.D.C.F., it says, "I have had to ask one Member to resign, because she told me she intended to join S.R.'s new Society."

And people outside the Concord of the Three did not foresee lasting peace between them. For instance, Westcott presumed that after his death that the Three, along with "Crowley and Co." would "make claims on my G.D. properties and may each make public claims derogatory to my historical interests in the G.D. and Isis [Urania] Temple."

Based on all this, if there was ever a meeting between Mathers, Felkin and Waite, the resulting peace did not last very long (and I really doubt that the meeting actually happened). And can you really picture Mathers agreeing that anyone else was legit?!

As for a possible peace between the two current Golden Dawn camps, I will not hold my breath; for the one side will only allow peace when the other side acknowledges their absolute right to rule the entire tradition, and the other side refuses to allow themselves to be repeatedly trashed as being less than fully Golden Dawn. That is how I see it. If you disagree, you know where to comment.

Printing out a large Death card

...and we will update this horrific story of the 2012 nuclear meltdown as soon as we have more information. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, "Who the heck let Morgan into the Golden Dawn?!"

How to use Adobe Reader to print out a really big Tarot card.
One of the things I have been doing lately when I am just too fried from doing too much research to do any actual homework or Russian Bride fiction (damn you History Senior Seminar) is working on the script (really I plan on having a script...that will not be used) and the props for the late June Open Full Moon Ritual (Hearthstone Community Church).

One of the props that I decided that I needed was a really big version of the Death card. And by big, I mean poster board size. At first, I thought I was going to have to use the old grid method or perhaps draw one completely freehand. Then I stumbled across a neat trick using Adobe Reader X.

By clicking on the "poster" button in the print menu, and adjusting the tile scale, you can print out enlarged sections of a picture which can then be glued to a poster board. Therefore, with just a little glue and some help from the Secret Chief in charge, I will have a honking big Tarot card to make the local Wiccans and pagans think that I am completely out of my mind.

Cool, isn't it?

The Secret Chief in charge believes that I need to adjust the sections of the card.

Proof that I also own a copy of Pat Zalweski's Magical Tarot of the Goklen Dawn.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

GD War Rules Double Standard

One of the things that can be seen quite clearly today (especially today) on the Golden Dawn blogosphere is the fact that we have a double standard going on here. In other words, what is fair for one party to do is not fair when another party does it.

First, we have individuals who are ok to be used by one side as witnesses and evidence, but are declared "innocent bystanders" when it is decided by that they are now fair targets. Let's be clear--if you use someone as an example of evidence that you are right, they may actually still be an innocent bystander; but when someone who goes on record as a witness saying that someone's opinion is wrong, they just turned themselves into a fair target.

And given how much photoshopped stuff is trotted out, a simple screenshot seems harmless. Maybe if they had been cropped the people into Lisa Simpson, it would have been ok.

Second, hackers do not just delete one post--they trash your entire site and blog. Are you sure you did not hit the wrong button and revert your post to a "draft"? If I have done it on occasion, it is possibly that you have done it also. But then again, double standard, one side is capable of being human and making mistakes, and the other side is perfect and must have been hacked.

Third, it is ok for one party to copy and paste entire blog and forum posts on their blog and forum, robbing the other party of readership and context, but it is wrong when someone does it to you?! Let's be clear--if it is a violation of copyright for one party to do so, it is a violation for all parties to do so. There have been several occasions that I felt that my copyrighted posts were being unfairly used, but I held my tongue.

And you do not need to post a notice that your material is copyright protected to enjoy the protection of the don't even claim that it was fair because there was no notice visible (because you had no visible notice until you felt wronged). The truth is that the instant I, or anyone else, writes something it is under copyright until seventy years after the time the writer dies. No notice needs to be given.

Therefore, the next time you copy any, and I mean any, amount of a blog or forum post and post it on your blog or forum, you will recieve a nasty comment from the person that you just copied from. Again, if the rule applies to one, it apply to all parties.

Fourth, why is it wrong to mock the whole conspiracy idea? If any of the rest of us would have floated the idea, we would be mocked to the next Sunday. So why shouldn't we mock you?!

Fifth, one party cries that their material was wrongly published, yet they encouraged people to download for free the entire course material of a rival Order. Let's me buy you a hint--your excuse that the other Order was ran by a crook does not excuse the behavior. If one Order's material is fair game for publication, especially because it is all "public domain" material, then that rule also applies to your material that is actually in public domain.

In summary, you may think having a double standard where behavior is perfectly acceptable for you, and the signs of conspiracy and flame-war when done by others is fair; but the rest of us believe that using a double standard makes you a bigger hypocrite than the rest of us.

If brothers and sisters go to war, the rules of war should not be based on a double standard. Unless you are sibling below the age of ten...then we might have to spot you an extra card or two.

Time to summon up sock puppets to call me a very evil man.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kicking around Neophyte Oath changes

Lately, I have been kicking around rewriting the oath of obligation that my lodge uses in our Neophyte (0=0) initiation.

Here are the changes as I currently see them.

[I] solemnly promise to keep secret the true mysteries of this lodge and Order, its Inner Names, the names of its members, the locations and the proceedings of its assemblies unless authorized to do so.

{Yes, I am borrowing the "authoritization clause" from the A&O Mathers version; it addresses the fact that we have to give out a location to someone who is not a member, so that they can get there in order to be actually initiated.}

I solemnly promise to keep secret any oathbound information I may have gathered concerning this Order before taking this Oath.

{Basically, just because you knew the identities of several members before your initiation, it does not give you the right to "out" them. On the other hand, as you will see, I could care less about protecting secret documents that have been published a dozen times already.}

I will neither copy nor allow to be copied any unpublished manuscript, document, or symbol of this Order, physically or electronically, until I have obtained permission of the voting members of this Order or the original creator of the material....

{Again, I am concerned only with unpublished material, and only if it is still under copyright. One should not have to stress that if the original creator of the material is still alive, then it needs to be cleared with them, but some people do not understand this. On the other hand, thanks to the copyright laws of an earlier time, most (if not all) of the material from the original Order is already in public domain. And yes, I think that the public domain material needs to be published, so that all the various offshoots have a level playing field in that regard. Not that there is ever really a level playing field if living Adepts are allowed to contribute to the system--the better Adepts produce better material; it is that simple. Furthermore, I was taught that the original creator of a document had control of the copyright, and not even the Order could stop them from publishing it if they felt like doing so. And yes, by voting members I am refering to the members of my group--the same people who have the right to ask me not to publish something; it does not refer to people who believe that the entire GD system should answer to them.}

Sock Puppet Master says Meow

Your master will eat you dear sock puppet.
Oh c'mon now people of the Golden Dawn blogosphere---someone has to make a joke about the pending breaking dark news story. And if not me, then who?!

Of course, it is easy for me to make jokes about puppet masters being revealed. I know who my puppet masters are---my wife and a small pride of cats. The most common things I hear from them is "You are not doing anything important, go fetch me something to drink and eat" and "Meow." I trust that my readers can figure out who says which statement---well, maybe.

And I am betting that we are about to be served another round of "Golden Dawn students and leaders are communicating with one another without my consent, therefore it is a conspiracy that has been going on for two decades." That smelly sock odor is merely a bunch of people who had the balls to communicate with one another without the Secret Chiefs' permission---the great unwashed masses of Golden Dawn. Tasty sock puppets they are.

Remember I am here all week, bringing you bad humor and cat jokes. Next show is tomorrow at ten. Good night everyone!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Smashwords Sale until March 10 2012

Five Reasons Why Magic Fails
Smashwords is having a site-wide sale until March 10, 2012. One of my ebooks (really an article) is included in the sale---you can get Five Reasons Why Magic Fails for half off ($2.50) until the end of the sale by entering coupon code REW50 at the checkout. This small ebook sums up the five most common reasons why practical magic fails---at least according to my experience.

Five Reasons Why Magic Fails.

Friday, March 2, 2012

AoW Crowley in the Woodpile

A week ago (or was it two weeks ago?) I openly noted that I was kicking around the question of how one's lineage was affected by having a villian in your lineage. "Does having Aleister Crowley in your lineage make you less of an Adept?"

The reason that I started thinking about this question again (it is a periodic re-occurring question) was that I had encountered some blog posts about lineage that were arguing that you could not have an initiation higher than the person's initiating you; furthermore, Grades are actually a measure of spiritual development--and NOT magical development. Therefore, it is doubtful that a sinner could initiate someone into Neophyte even.

Now, this is always an interesting question for me...because if you believe the story that I was told by one of my initiators, part of my lineage actually traces back through the infamous Aleister Crowley. That is right, my lineage may go back to Crowley and MacGregor Mathers.

Of course, if you believe that a sinner like Crowley cannot pass on a lineage, then the initiations I got from that lineage does not count. In fact, I can point to dubious characters in all the other lineages that I supposely have. Therefore by the logic and beliefs of many people, I am not an initiate at all.

To add a cherry on top, having sat in the hot seat and initiated people myself into the Golden Dawn system, there are people who trace their GD lineage through me. While I am not as bad as Crowley, there are some people who think that I am more than slightly evil.

And there are some people who do not even know that their lineage traces through me. (Oh, you know how that happens.) One should really pity those poor souls.

When I openly started kicking around this question this time around, someone pointed out that the question is really about the spiritual technology and not the person giving the initiation. That answer is fine...provided that there is only one true Golden Dawn, and everyone outside of the real Golden Dawn is not an initate at all.

(Please remember that everyone in the 80s and 90s claimed to be the one and only true Golden Dawn. Someone obviously had to be lying. My membership in an Order was based more on who I discovered first than on what they claimed to offer.)

Problem is that I do not believe that there is only one true Golden Dawn. I believe that all initiations have an effect on the person undergoing them. Therefore, the question is really about how badly does it affect someone to undergo an initiation where the officers are not ALL SAINTS armed with the COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE OF THE 10=1. Yes, I am serious. Saints who are 10=1s would be the ultimate initiation team.

(Of course, given the fact that there are only allowed to be twelve/twenty-four/thirty-six/seventy-two/whater-your-number-is Magus 9=2s in the entire world at any one time, logic tells us that the perfect initiation team is more myth than actual fact. Especially when you consider the number of groups that claim that there is only one 10=1 alive at any one time. And this is not even accounting for the groups who do not believe that Third Order Grades can be held by living physical human beings.)

Everyone who suffered with a team of initiators who were less than full 10=1s has been dealt a lineage with holes and problems in it. (I do mean the whole team has to be 10=1s--therefore the Neophyte Grade needs eleven 10=1s to man all the officer stations in order to properly do the Neophyte initiation.)

Lesser members do not have the full spiritual technology. Therefore, by logic of the spiritual technology model combined with the idea that officers must know and master it all (otherwise their ritual performances are flawed), only a person with access and mastery of the complete system, aka a 10=1, can provide a complete initiation. Logically by this style of thinking, only Third Order, and only those of the very highest Grade, should be giving initiations to anyone.

Yet we live in a world that this is not true. For instance, in the very first days of the Golden Dawn, there was only three officers and (let's be honest) they were not yet fully instructed in the system yet. Their rituals were flawed...their initiates were flawed...and the cycle goes on and on. Therefore, most initiates in Golden Dawn have undergone flawed initations.

So the real question becomes how do you deal with the fact that you have a Crowley in the woodpile. The answer is keep collecting lineages (to better your chances of connecting to a better stocked lineage) aka "healing your lineage" and/or by doing the advanced work of the system. The latter unfortunately requires finding the correct work to do, which also leads to collecting multiple lineages. Hence the only way to make sure that the rot of Crowley (or whoever your favorite villian is) does not bog you down is to join every Golden Dawn Order that will let you in the door. And don't trust anyone who claims to possess the only correct way to do things...because they might be wrong. You must collect all the lineages if you want to be absolutely sure that you have the correct spiritual technology.

Of course, if you are like me, a poor college student with little spare time and money, that is not really an option. In that case, you just have to make your best guess and cross your fingers. And in my case, let's be honest, everyone knows how incorrect my decision was.

"What the hell?! It is a tadpole--I wanted a dragon." "That is not a tadpole; that's a baby salmander." "A baby salmander?! I wanted a dragon." "Patience, patience, patience."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rule 1 of magical mottos

[Here is a peek of one of the small ebooks that I am currently working on.]

The first rule to remember about your motto is that it is supposed to be personal to you. The motto represents a channel which the spiritual and magical energies that you are exposed to during initiations and your private magical work are directed through. This channel should represent your spiritual aspirations, and not those of another person.

The fact that it should represent your own spiritual aspirations, and not another person’s, means that being given a motto by someone else, whether a guru or Order superior, is undesirable. After all, who knows your personal spiritual aspirations best? Hopefully, it is you.

Likewise, recycling the motto of a previous member of the Order is unwise, for the mottos of previous members represent their spiritual aspirations, not yours. Furthermore, a recycled motto carries with it part of the karma of its original possessor. A common initiate that many people recycle mottos from is Aleister Crowley, the founder of Thelema. While it is true that Crowley was a great Adept, and perhaps even the higher Grade that he claimed to possess, his mottos come with a heavy price. Before even remotely considering recycling a previously used motto, one needs to consider if they are willing to help another initiate (living or deceased) work on their karma while ignoring one’s own karma and aspirations.