Sunday, September 30, 2012

Odds of me being at the Peace and Harmony Pow Wow

Someone asked me if I was going to the Peace and Harmony Pow Wow being hosted by the HOGD/AO--and I thought that I would post my answer here...just in case, anyone else was curious.

Odds are that I will not be going for simple budget reasons. As most of my regular readers know, I recently finished up two Bachelor degrees; I am currently taking some time off to work on my business before applying to the Masters program. I simply do not have the money to go to such an event.

In order to even think about going to the gathering, my business would have to do better than my wildest dreams in this last quarter of 2012. I am not saying that it is impossible, but it is highly unlikely.

In other words, I have to sell a lot of ebooks to be able to go (aka I need to get a lot of fresh ebooks written and up on the internet before the Xmas season begins, and they have to be hot sellers).

And honestly, even if the money did come together--there is so much bad blood between me and their membership, especially a couple of them, that it is probably best that I do not go; it is the type of bad blood that restraining orders were invented for--in fact, it reminds of exactly the type of bad blood that plagues my family. Furthermore, given the fact that it is only a matter of time before I make them openly upset again--not "if"; it is "when"--I imagine that they will be wanting my head on a platter long before the Pow Wow. I could be wrong about this last part--but given the track record of how many times I have annoyed them since 2000, it is a safe bet that I will be unwelcome by the time that the Pow Wow rolls around. It is not that I try to annoy them; it is just that I continue to be me, which seems to be offensive enough for all practical purposes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

QoD The difference between Golden Dawn and Thelema

This quote is from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn yahoo news/e-zine forum (the more evil non-Griffin one).

"The Golden Dawn's approach to ritual is like that old saw everyone's dad told them growing up: The right tool for the right job.

The A.'. A.'. 's approach to ritual is less subtle. I would say it was, "OMG! BREAK STUFF!" but that would be over-simplifying it a bit."---
Frater Amre

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are the responsibilities of a leader?

[The following was written for the Hearthstone Community Church's September 2012 newsletter.]

One of the questions that I occasionally kick around is: What are the responsibilities of a leader? In particular, what are the responsibilities of a leader in the rarified atmosphere of modern paganism and the occult? In addition, if a person does not fulfill these responsibilities, are they still a leader?

The reason I typically kick around this set of questions is someone accusing me of being a leader. Normally, the label leader being attached to me is accompanied by the person accusing me of doing behavior that is unbecoming of being a leader. In another words, I am never called a good leader—just the type of leader that someone does not want the rest of the world exposed to.

Now, I will admit that this particular type of behavior both amuses me and annoys me—for the exact same reason. I am not a leader; I am a lunatic with a soapbox; there is a difference. In other words, I do not consider myself a leader. I am merely someone with very loud opinions.

Sure, I am a public representative of a group. In all fairness, to myself that is, I would like to point out that no one else in the group wants to be the public representative. The group also believes that if someone doesn’t like me, then they will not be a good fit for the group. In other words, I am not a leader because I am the public voice of a group—I am a speed bump because of my visibility.

And being an officer of a group does not make me a leader. In the case of said group, I am an elected officer. This means simply that there are jobs to do that no one else wants to do, and that I am not clever enough to recruit someone who wants to do them. I suspect that a trained monkey could do my job as an officer—hmmm, I wonder if I could find a trained monkey who is willing to work for free.

The biggest expectation that I encounter of leaders is that they are supposed to work for free. Only in paganism and occultism are leaders expected to work for free. In other areas, leaders are expected to be paid—not necessarily well, but still paid. In Wiccan circles, I have seen people believe that the leader of a coven should not only give their time freely, but should also foot the entire operating cost of the group. As a lunatic with a soapbox, I disagree. While I am open to the possibility that the leader of a coven or lodge should not charge for their time, I believe that all members of an esoteric community should chip in on the operating costs. Furthermore, I believe that authors and teachers of occultism and paganism should get a token wage for their efforts.
The second expectation that I encounter is the idea that a leader in the esoteric community should be open to all ideas—as in they should never tell anyone that they are wrong. I am not sure where this idea comes from, but it completely does not fit into the universe I live in. This idea is often combined with the idea that a leader needs to be a more evolved spiritual being. I am sorry; the two ideas do not support one another. If everyone was right, then we would all be equally evolved. Therefore, in my little universe, a leader occasionally has to tell someone that they are wrong.
So what are the responsibilities of a leader in my universe?

One, they have chosen to put the interests of a group ahead of their own personal interests. A leader serves the needs of a group. It is an unpleasant job. Occasionally, this involves “herding cats” and moving the group in a direction that the individual members do not want to go. A true leader knows that one sometimes has to make unpopular decisions. One cannot please everyone when they are a leader. A leader also has to place the interests of their group ahead of other groups—if all opinions and interests were the same, we would not need leaders in the first place.

A leader leads by example and/or suggestion. They do not need to be officially in a position of power. Their ability to lead does not spring from the position that they hold in a group, rather it springs from their innermost being. Sometimes, a true leader seems more like a force of nature than a human being.

And most importantly, a leader needs to know the following two sentences: “I do not know,” and “I made a mistake.” A leader has to be able to admit when they do not know something, and they have to be willing to admit to occasionally (or often) making mistakes. A leader does not need to be right all the time, but they do have to be willing to admit mistakes and ignorance, and be willing to change directions when necessary.

Leaders are not leaders because they are popular or agree with everyone. They are leaders because they are willing to make unpleasant decisions, and are willing to put the best interests of others ahead of their own personal interests. A true leader will not change their behavior just because someone says that they are wrong. Being a leader is unpleasant on most days—which is why I am glad that I am just a lunatic with a soapbox.

[The 2012 Hearthstone Community Church's newsletter articles written by Morgan Drake Eckstein will be collected in an ebook sometime in 2013. The 2010 articles can be found in the collection Pizza Boxes on the Floor. The 2011 articles are currently being formatted into an ebook. Three of the best articles can be found in the free ebook--Four Cornerstones.]

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oh goody Purification

Hi and welcome to this stop on the Autumnal Equinox Tarot Bloghop. If you are a hopper, you probably came from Christiane's post. If you are one of my regular readers, you are probably coming here from the Big Bang Burger Bar where you nourished yourself on the veal burger...hey, it could be true.

Today's topic is purification...and to a lesser extent, the Tarot and alchemy.

On my property, there are currently three compost piles. And at least one of them is about to grow larger as I rake more leaves into it. This year was not a good year for my compost piles--it was just too darn hot and dry for them.

One of the things that non-gardeners may not realize is that a compost pile requires a delicate mixture of ingredients. It has to be the right temperature, the right moisture level, the right mixture of organic material, the right amount of circulation; otherwise it either burns or stinks to high heaven.

Even when it looks like it is going ok, things can still be wrong. For instance, I have a black walnut tree on my property; a black walnut tree produces a chemical that many other plants find toxic (for instance, rose bushes do not like black walnut trees), so I have to be careful where I use the results of the decomposing black walnut leaves.

Having a compost pile really puts you into direct contact with the process of purification. If you do it right, you end up with something that your garden will thrive on. Do it wrong, and all you made is a big old mess.

Now, in my profession--I am a writer by trade (woe be me)--there is a stage in the process (or at least, my personal process) where everything that one has written reads like pure sewage. One needs to leave the writing sit for awhile when it gets to that point to create some form of distance between oneself and the writing, especially if one is hoping to wrestle the good bits out of the rubbish of your latest draft.

While dealing with compost piles and my horrible drafts, I tend to think about the process of purification. Especially now that I am doing make-up work on the subject. It is the closest that I get to lab alchemy--I have cats and a god-daughter; I am not about to use dangerous chemicals around them.

Now, one of the modern things that occultists have done is attempt to associate alchemy with the Tarot. There are many ways to do this. But I am a Golden Dawn member, so I have to work with the Golden Dawn version of this arrangement. Now, the best known version of Tarot to alchemy is Pat Zalewski's version--perhaps merely because he actually published his version.

Now in his version of alchemy to Tarot correspondences, he uses a 3-7-12 system. Therefore, the process of alchemy is not assigned to a single card.

On the three scale, purification is assigned to Last Judgment. On the seven scale, it is assigned to the High Priestess.

The twelve scale is touch more complex--for purification is divided into three parts: Separation (Filtration and Distribution) assigned to the Lovers; Circulation and Digestion assigned to the Chariot; Fermentation and Corruption to Death.

So we end up with five Major Arcana that could indicate purification if they came up in a reading...more if we open the door to other assignment systems. Of course, given the fact that Tarot reading is such a personal art, I lean towards two cards over the rest--Judgment and Death. I might remember that the High Priestess is also involved, but I better have a muse whispering in my ear to remind me of that fact.

Then again, I need a muse to remind not to dump fresh cut grass into my compost pile, and not to shred my rubbish drafts.

(For the one person who will be curious--no, I do not have one of these composting barrels; I want one--I just can't afford one at the moment.)

For those of you who are continuing with the Mabon Tarot Bloghop, the next step is Joanne Sprott's blog.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hearthstone 2013 Open Full Moon Rituals dates

Here are the dates for Community Church's Open Full Moon rituals. Hearthstone Community Church is a non-profit organization that helps provide support and space for Wiccans who want to do public full moon rituals. Hearthstone is still looking for voluteers to lead most of next year's rituals--March and June are already reserved. (Yes, June 21st OFM will be done by Bast Temple--BIORC.)

2013 Open Full Moons

January 25
February 22
March 22
April 19
May 24
June 21
July 19
August 16
September 13
October 18
November 15
December 13

Hearthstone OFMs are held at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, Colorado. Doors open at 7 pm, and ritual starts at 7:30 pm. The rituals are held upstairs, and the Church is handicapped accessible (there is an elevator that goes up to the second floor).

This coming year, I will continue writing a monthly column for the newsletter (fourth year in a row).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How many mortar and pestles do you need?

I think a bigger problem is that you actually own a mortar and pestle.
A couple of weeks ago, in the daily Woot email (which I read for the monkey jokes), they made a mortar and pestle joke. "I hope none of the guys notice that I only have one mortar and pestle." Really? Are the guys coming over to watch the football game also members of your coven? Because otherwise, just the presence of a single mortar and pestle is going to make it a fun-filled evening for you.

But this does bring up the question--How many mortar and pestles does a person really need?

My answer is Four.

One for herbs that you can eat--basil, thyme, sage, etc. Basically, this mortar and pestle can do double duty both in your circle and your kitchen, If it is safe to eat, you grind it in your "food safe" mortar and pestle.

The second one is for plants that you should not be eating--nightshade, wormwood, belladonna, etc. Basically, you want to keep your poisons away from anything that you might be ingesting.

The third mortar and pestle is for resins--frankincense, myrhh, etc. I prefer this one to be smooth bottomed because resins tend to get into the grooves and never come out.

And for those who are doing alchemy (other than the plant variety--which a lot of people insist is "not really alchemy"), you need a fourth mortar and pestle for metals and other stuff. This mortar and pestle often needs to be made of stone or metal (depending upon the school of alchemy you are working in).

So there you have it, you need four mortar and pestles.

(If you really need a mortar and pestle for the first two types and live in the United States, consider buying one from my wife--Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Informed the lodge about the impeding peace and harmony

Sometimes, I am amazed at the things that I do as an officer of the Order (BIORC) that I find personally distasteful. Yesterday, I duly informed the members of the lodge of the upcoming Peace and Harmony Pow Wow being hosted by the HOGD/AO. And noted that they were free to go to it if they wanted to; the choice is theirs--just like the choice is theirs to decide whether or not to trust the leadership of the HOGD/AO.

Honestly, it was as painful as going to the dentist. My distrust of the HOGD/AO, and its leadership, goes back to at least 2009 (when they decided that my honest book reviews were not honest and part of a conspiracy), and have merely been compounded over the course of this year (having my reputation destroyed once makes me extremely hostile to anyone who takes it upon themselves to repeat that deed). Plus, their recent disapproval of my actions reminded me of the "we are not trying to control your entire life, but we really know best" behavior of my bad parent.

I also informed the members of Bast Temple that I would not be acting as the Order's official representative if I decide to go the peace gathering. I will merely be acting as an individual--if they want a peace treaty with the HOGD/AO, they have to send someone else.

So I have done my part as an elected officer of the system for peace and harmony. It is now up to them to decide what to do.

As for my attendance of the peace gathering, I am still undecided...for now, it is better that I just focus on my business, and wait to see how things work out.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

SpiritWays celebrates 15th anniversary

Nancy, the owner of SpiritWays.
Today, SpiritWays, one of the local metaphysical stores, celebrated their fifteenth year anniversary. The store located at Colfax and Adams is a store that I spend a certain amount of time at. My wife has been selling her pottery there for seven years (or thereabouts). It is a hub for local occultism. I wish SpiritWays many more years of business.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

QoD Xander Harris on the importance of secrecy

Xander Harris reveals the real reason to keep a secret.
"The more people who the secret, the more it cheapens it for the rest of us."--Xander Harris.

[Yes, I am watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and yes, I know that no one really believes that is the real reason why we keep secrets. Nevertheless, I thought it was a cute quote.]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Free for today only

Shakespheare's Monkey
Today (well technically until Friday September 14, 2012), you can get a free copy of my ebook Shakespeare's Monkey when you enter coupon code EX49A at the checkout. Why free today? Well, one of the stories contained in this volume was based on 9/11--apologizes to the dozen people that I blended together to create the characters (it was creative license)--and today is as good of a day to share that piece of fiction as any other.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

And this is all related somehow

My cat loves this statement from Joe Konrath. Copied and pasted [sic].
[As you read this post, please remember that I am trying to decide how much guilt I bear for the sad state of the Golden Dawn community. Is my dislike of the HOGD/AO poisoning the well? And do I need to completely walk away from Golden Dawn if the only way for peace and haramony to reign is for people like myself to completely disappear from the system?]

[And yes, yes--I know that I should just apologize to HOGD/AO, and never admit that I am struggling with the idea of peace with them. Even if it means that I have to completely disappear from the Golden Dawn scene thereafter.]

Occasionally, I treat the internet as if it is only talking to me (I think that anyone who has taken or considered taking the Oath of the Abyss does this--along with most of the rest of the people on this planet).

So today, I read Joe Konrath talking about how Amazon's allowing of one-star book reviews allows people to trash books:

Buying reviews isn't wrong. Using sock puppets isn't wrong. Leaving fake one star reviews isn't wrong.

It's shitty, and I wouldn't do it. And that's how I'm able to prove I'm right.

Amazon allows one star reviews. In other words, the existing system allows and encourages people to publicly trash books.

[Big snip, and then Joe Konrath continues to say:]

I pick on groups. Big groups who do authors harm.

I don't pick on authors behaving badly.

I'm fine with going against a mob of 400 even though it is an incredibly unfair, one-sided fight. (Hint: you'll need at least 500 more signatures before I'd consider us evenly matched.)

But I'm not okay picking on individual writers.

For those who are curious about how I feel about the on-going sock puppet and paid book review scandal that is big news in traditional book and ebook publishing (three normal novel authors have been caught using sock puppets and using paid reviews) and the resulting one-star campaign against them--just remember that I openly declared war on the HOGD/AO earlier this year when they decided it was ok to give a writer one-star reviews on their entire product line, and not just the two books that offended them.

(Previous to that point, I considered myself NEUTRAL despite the fact that I have been labeled as a menace by them since 2009 for disagreeing with them about the merits of certain books. It was this event that made me consider them enemies...because if they were willing to do it to one writer; sooner or later, I felt that they would do it to me.)

Personally, I think that if they really wanted to convince the writer to quit doing what they were doing, they should have just given him one-star reviews on the two offending books. Trust me, writers notice when just a couple of their books tank--and they tend to just write those books that continue to sell well. But I am obvivously biased because I gave both of the books in question good reviews...I saw merit in them because, well, see the end of this post.

Now continuing with this blogosphere is talking to me, consider the fact that Donald Michael Kraig is talking about the process and purpose of forgiveness and its effect on magick.

To figure out how this ties into the whole scheme, please remember that I have been asked to forgive the HOGD/AO for attempting to destory my reputation, which was their response to me saying that one should not use the tactic of condemning a writer's entire line of work. And I have feel that I am required to take responsibility for the fact that they believe (or "know" as they would remind me) that what went down was an attempt to destory the egregore of their group.

(Please remember that I do not believe that publishing the rituals of a group destorys its egregore--and that I saw the HOGD/AO encourage people to download pdfs of another group's material years ago. I presume that their knowledge changed because now they are against the publication of any information that was once oath-bound. In all fairness, one does need to remember that the material that they were encouraging piracy of was the material from the evil EOGD headed by Robert Zink. Today, the HOGD/AO would not encourage the publication of the EOGD material--how much things change in just a couple of years.)

In all honesty, I still find it hard to believe that there is an organized conspiracy against them. Especially, a conspiracy to destory their Order. But what do I know? I tend to be excluded from all the really neat conspiracies. (Yes, I used to be the last person picked when teams were decided.)

[For this lack of belief in an organized conspiracy, I apologize.]

The final piece of today's internet conversation with me came from Star Foster. Star was writing about how the pagan community needs a library to record and archive the modern pagan history. Star mentions that our pagan elders are dying, records are being lost, and we might have to repeat mistakes simply because we did not record the fact that mistakes happened in the first place.

Unfortunately, I honestly think that Golden Dawn itself needs such a library. And this, I definitely have to apologize. For I believe that the only sure way to preserve our history is for people to write about it, even if this results in biased and false versions of our history. Likewise, I believe the only way to ensure our rituals and lore are preserved is publication of said material.

I apologize for such beliefs, and my lack of trust that a completely secret underground esoteric tradition oathbound is the best way to actually safeguard oathbound traditions, lore and ritual techniques.

So at the end of the day, and this conversation with the internet, I will admit that I am guilty of thinking that the HOGD/AO is an enemy (if only for professional reasons), and that I have said bad things about them in the past. But I am fairly sure that I would react the same way if the events unfolded today.

Essentially, I need to apologize for being me. It makes me wonder how I managed to get into any Golden Dawn Order.

[Yes, yes, I realize that hitting publish on this post also requires an apology. But let's be honest, I believe that it is better to admit that I am struggling with making peace with the HOGD/AO than to just disappear and never write about Golden Dawn again. For that opinion, I owe someone an apology.]

Friday, September 7, 2012

25 percent off sale at Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery

My wife is having a 25% off September sale at her Etsy store, Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery. That includes her herb jars, and mortar and pestles, as well as the pendants and jewelry that she makes. All of her jewelry features handmade ceramic pieces; and the jars, dog and cat bowls, as well as the mortar and pestles are handthrown on the potter's wheel. Her work is fired in a studio that has a statue of Khnum sitting just a couple of feet away from the kiln--occasionally I do Tarot readings and Golden Dawn business in the studio (late at night), so there are probably exposure to other gods and goddesses (energies) also...try not to hold that against her pottery.

The coupon code for the September sale is SEPTEMBER25.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Changed the header to reflect the truth of this blog

Collect all the cats--including the ultra-rare Mint Green Cat.
Decided to change the header of this blog from: "Some personal thoughts and experiences from Morgan Drake Eckstein, web master of the BIORC--an independent branch of the Golden Dawn, about Wicca, Tarot, and the esoteric traditions in general. The opinions expressed are the writer's own, and do not represent the official position of any particular mystery tradition. In fact, his opinions will probably offend you, and he will refuse to apologize for doing so; don't say that you were not warned."

Now it reads: "A not-so-serious blog about all things occult."

Loki's Wisdom was supposed to be my humor blog.
 Awhile back, I tried to move my humorous postings to my Loki's Wisdom blog; there was also supposed to be an ongoing cartoon for that blog. It basically did not happen.

What I subjected to at home--demands to fill up the cat bowl.
Part of the reason, it did not happen is the simple fact that there are so many things that I find mockable in the occult community. And for awhile there, I simply did not have the time to focus on more than one blog--I was trying to finish up my college degree.

Then some people decided to claim that I am the class clown of Golden Dawn...and now I can't move my humor off of this blog. While I would like to be a serious writer of all things occult, my reputation has been sealed as a clown. Therefore, it is best that I just re-write the header--so that new readers know that if they want serious esoteric secrets, they need to go elsewhere...because what I offer is bad jokes, angry rants, and lots and lots of cat pictures.

Is it worth tossing out the entire batch to get rid of some bad apples

As my regular readers know, I have been tracking comments about the recent eBay policy change that removes all fortune telling, spell-casting, and healing services from the eBay site. One of the comments I saw yesterday was that "We finally got much-hated and loathed master crook XYZ off of eBay--how is this a bad thing?"

Well, I am not going to argue that it is a bad thing that those types of readers and advisors are no longer allowed on eBay, but look at how they were removed from eBay. In order to remove the bad apples from eBay, the company removed ALL readers, spell-casters, and healers from eBay. Both the good and the bad are affected by this policy change.

So how many bad apples does it take to justify getting rid of the whole bushel? One, a hundred, a thousand? In the case of the paraphased commentor, one was enourgh to justify eBay's action. Whatever the magic number is for eBay, there were that many bad apples on eBay.

Now, back in February, I kicked around the bad apple threshold question when Paypal decided that it was no longer going to allow its service to be used by erotica writers who were writing the Forbidden Four. A couple of sites, to conform with Paypal's policy, ended their relationships with ALL indie writers, not just those who were involved in writing erotica and the Forbidden Four.

(Paypal, by the way, is owned by eBay. Are you surprised by their parent company's actions?)

The interesting part is that one of the sites allowed their own "bound by contract" writers to continue writing the Forbidden Four. So basically, it looks like they merely got rid of the toublesome indie writers as a token effort to appease Paypal. (One wonders how much, or how little, money they were collecting from indie writers.)

Of course, to answer the bad apple threshold question, one must figure out what a bad apple is in the first place.

The extreme answer that I keep running into in the local community is that a bad apple is any occultist or writer who charges. So if you do readings for money, or charge fees for classes, or collect royalites off your writing--you are a crook and a bad apple. And this seems to be the answer that eBay has embraced--all Tarot readers, psychics, magicians, witches, and healers are bad apples.

So yes, we got evil master crook XYZ off of eBay--but we also got to see the whole field declared a bunch of crooks by a major corporation. And I doubt that it going to prove to be a good thing in the long run.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Screenshots of the eBay discontinued offerings

In light of the doubt that some have expressed about eBay getting rid of fortune tellers and miracle workers, I present the following screenshots from eBay's 2012 Fall Seller Update. (And because I can foresee myself blogging more about this subject tommorrow.)

Discontinued eBay categories--Sept 2012.

It says spells and potions are a no-no, along with readings.

"Items that will be prohibited include: advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic services; prayers; blessings; Psychic, Tarot, Reiki, and other metaphysical services; magic potions; healing sessions...."
For some reason, the policy page on eBay has not been updated yet to include these services, but I assume that it is only a matter of time before eBay does so. As of this point, you can still see listings of these services on eBay...because it is not the end of the first week in September...yet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ebay bans fortune tellers and miracle workers

[Update Sept 5th--there is some doubt that eBay has actually made a policy change. This may just be an internet illusion.]

[Additional update Sept 5th--having looked for the information, I can firmly say that this is actually going on...despite the fact that the information was buried deep on Ebay. Added another post with screenshots of the eBay information.]

Yesterday, a fuss started to be made on the blogosphere and Yahoo forums about eBay's recent decision to no longer allow the sale of fortune telling and spell-work. Initially, people were crying that it was a "pagan and Wiccan" ban, but a little research showed that pagan and Wiccan products were still allowed for sale, provided that they were physical items and not just services (good job, David, for spotting that).

Interestingly, the Los Angeles Times article include magic potions in the banned category (wait for it--I will have a few words about that before the end of this post).

Now, living in Denver and having been involved (somewhat--I was the public representative for the ROAM/EOEW at the time) in the fight against Denver's anti-fortune telling regulations, I am positive that it is a service ban and not a product ban. And unfortunately, I can understand eBay's position, just like I can understand the position of Denver's laws on fortune telling.

From 1950 to 2000, it was illegal to perform fortune telling in the city of Denver. The law was part of the anti-gypsy laws. (Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.) There was a whole set of laws that were designed for the sole purpose of keeping gypsies from being able to make a living in the city of Denver. Violating the law could result in jail time. And then, it became legal to be a fortune teller, provided that you paid a fifty dollar a day license fee (which may still be on the books--I am not sure).

The law was only periodically enforced. The last time, the Denver Police Department decided to enforce it was 1999/2000. The Police Chief actually used the term "gateway crime" to describe fortune telling. Among the Wiccans who decided to fight the law, the joke was that obviously fortune telling led to drug abuse, prostitution, and urinating in public.

(The Wiccans managed to get the illegality of fortune telling overturned, but I am not sure about the license fee.)

But when you look at some of the bad fortune tellers out there (and occasionally, they make national news), fortune telling is a gateway crime. It is the hook to a bigger scam. "The reason why your life generally s***s rocks on toast is the fact that you have been cursed. For a thousand dollars and all your jewelry, I can lift that pesky curse off of you."

There are also things like Divination Addiction that helps make fortune telling a cash cow for those who do readings. Well, a cash cow for the dishonest readers.

And those are the fortune tellers that eBay is really targeting. Unfortunately to get rid of them, they have to get rid of everyone else who is offering such a service or variation thereof. Because of they leave any door open, the slimy con-artists will find it.

This ban is on ALL spiritual advisors and healers--there are a ton of Christian fortune tellers and miracle workers who are also affected by this ban.

(Kinda reminds of the little problem that is ongoing in the erotica market--the Forbidden Four sell, and some people are weasels who keep finding ways to continue writing about yucky themes.)

Now, let's look at from the viewpoint of Golden Dawn. One of the things that people talk about is how some Orders collect dues and provide astral initiations...and because you cannot prove that the officers involved are not sitting around drinking beer, they must be frauds. This is what eBay is targeting. How do we know that Reiki treatements are actually being done? How do we know that spellwork is actually being done? EBay doesn't know how to tell, and might be too lazy to check, therefore everyone selling a spiritual service is banned.

(On a sidenote: I have been told that astral initiation are a scam; self-initiations are a scam; books about the occult are a scam; products made by Golden Dawn members are a scam; and I have argued that memberships in Orders are a product, and have heard people argue that they are also a scam--in fact, I have been told that any Order collecting dues or any monies at all is running a scam. Basically, if you are charging for anything in the esoteric field, there is someone out there who is going to scream that you are running a scam. I tend to ignore the screams of fraud because everyone is accused, and a lot of the people doing the screaming are cheap-skates or sworn enemies of the people they are accusing. It is just easier to presume that everyone is a fraud, and ask yourself, despite that fact, if you find value in the product and/or service that someone is offering.)

Now, one of the loopholes that the frauds will try to use with eBay is the physical product loophole. But eBay is already going after the loophole with the ban on "magic potions." In other words, if the primary selling point is not the product, but its magical power, then it is banned. On the other hand, selling essence oil mixtures will still be acceptable provided that you make no claims about its spiritual and magical virtues (beyond the standard statement "Traditionally, this oil was used for XYZ magic").

So--do I agree with eBay's banning of spiritual advisors and miracle workers? No. Do I understand why they are doing it? Yes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Attention Colorado Voters

It just came to my attention that Colorado has purged a lot of voters from its list of registered voters. It is not just Democrats either--I am a Republican (it is family tradition--one that I continue simply because...I have no idea why)--and I was purged from the list (and I did vote in last year's election).

To check if you are still registered to vote in Colorado, visit the Go Vote Colorado page on the Colorado government page---here is the link to Go Vote Colorado.

Remember that if you were purged, you have to re-register by October 7th to vote in the upcoming Presidential Election.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The number one cause of aging with Mad Uncle Morgan

In today's video, Mad Uncle Morgan reveals the number one source of aging in America. He also reveals how to accelerate the aging process in your enemies. Expensive? Maybe. But it is all in the name of magical science. Remember that the world is our oyster; we must abuse it.