Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What the heck have the cats been doing?

These are not cats--they are little devils.
One or more of my cats have been down in my ritual room using my magical tools--in particular my Fire Wand and the Banner of the West. I am not sure what type of magical ritual they were doing, but it probably has something to do with getting more tuna. I wonder if other ceremonial magicians and witches have pets that help themselves to the magical tools whenever they feel like it.

(The reason I know that someone has been using my tools is that I discovered the Fire Wand and the Banner of the West on the floor and on the opposite side of the room from where they were being kept. If not the cats, then who?!)

{And if you are wondering when I am going to do a real post, well, my moodiness is starting to soon.}

[And yes, I borrowed the paintshop photo idea from Stephanie, a friend of mine on Facebook. It was just too good of an idea not to borrow. Why should she be the only one with a demonic cat?!]

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow Day 2013

Mortimer is not sure what to say about the snow.
There is a sidwalk someplace under this snow.

Hello everyone!! If you haven't heard, Denver actually got some snow this winter. Pretty much, all on the same day. It is going to be so much fun getting the car out of the alley tomorrow. And as normal, the street up front has not been plowed. Mortimer, my cat, says that he is not helping push the car...because he is a cat, and must keep a lookout for Bigfoot, or whatever it is that hunts in snow like this.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My favorite 2012 Tarot Blog Hop post

The start of me drawing lots of monkeys.
As my regular readers know, last year I started to take part in the Tarot Blog Hop. (Basically, a blog hop is a group of bloggers that create a circle of blog posts on a subject, and their readers can go from blog to blog reading various bloggers ideas about a certain subject--more or less). What they might not know is that I am going to be the wrangler for the upcoming Ostaru Tarot Blog Hop.

Exactly what does the wrangler of a blog hop do? Well, they come up with the initial idea for the blog hop and try to get everyone moving in the same direction. They also spend a part of the day of the blog hop making sure that all the links of the blog hop actually work.

As I prepare to deal with the upcoming blog hop, I got to thinking about last year's cycle of blog hops. In hindsight, I must admit that the post that I did that sticks out the most for me is Mooning the Sun.

At the time, I did not realize how significant this post would turn out to be for me. I was talking about how my religion affected my view of the Tarot cards. And for copyright reasons, I chose to create a new version of the Sun card.

Originally, I meant for there to be two cats sitting on the wall; but by the time I was done, they turned into monkeys. Since then I have done several more cards of the "Monkey Tarot," though I must admit that it is a far way from being finished.

But the most important part about the monkey version of the Sun card was the fact that I was later tapped to draw the illustrations of a Wiccan friendly children book series which has lots of monkeys in it (Turtle Monkey). Yes, that is right--a children book author decided that I was the perfect artist to illustrate their series--scary, isn't it?!

Because of that, for me the best (or at least, most memorable) post I did for last year's Tarot Blog Hop was Mooning the Sun.

[Update: July 2013: Due to differences in sales expectations and business philosophy, in early July 2013, I ceased to be involved in the Turtle Monkey project.]

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bad cover for Lunatic with a Soapbox

An ugly temporary cover for Lunatic with a Soapbox.
The other day, I decided that considering that the third collection of articles that I wrote for the Hearthstone Community Church's monthly newsletter was ready, it was time to write the introduction and slap a temporary cover on the ebook, so that I could upload it to Smashwords.

I have mixed feelings about this cover. Mainly about the background. I originally planned on having this cover photograph taken downtown where all the street preachers do their work. Unfortunately, that is a two person job...and well, everyone knows how hard it is to get schedules to match up with one another.

The pose itself is more or less what I originally planned. Before anyone asks, I know--one should not mix an Inner Order tool with an Outer Order robe. But until I can afford to replace my Temple garb, this is what I have to work with. Besides, I am not sure that a white robe, or even a red one, would work any better for the final photo.

What I really think that I need is a big howking-a** pentacle. You know the type--one you can see from space. But I do not own one of them. I wonder if a "Beware of dog" sign would be an ok substitute. Probably not. (The house came with a Beware of dog sign; it is currently in storage...because I did not know what else to do with it.)

So anyways, the collection of articles that I wrote in 2012 for the Hearthstone newsletter is now available on Smashwords (99 cents), and should be available in a couple of weeks on Barnes&Noble and Apple.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trolls say that there are 20 Wiccan holidays

It is Tuesday, and we all know what time is. Yep, it is time for Morgan to get up on his soapbox, and take his hat off to someone who is a bigger troll than he is.

And today on Trollish Tuesday, the proud winner is Fox News. In a nushell, Fox News is this week's winner for insulting every Wiccan in the United States.

How did they do this? Let's see--Wicca has less members than Zoroastrianism (have you ever met an Zorastrian?!); all Wiccans are either complusive Dungeon and Dragons players or twice-divorced women living in a rural area and working as midwives; the religious freedom that Wiccans enjoy is because of "tradition" (I think that they are trying to imply that Christianity is built on religious freedom, or that it is Christianity that ensures that religious freedom happens in this country); and that Wiccan has too many holidays.

That last part is the tricky one. The university religion guide that they are complaining about lists the Wiccan holidays, which initially the news-things say represent twenty percent of the holidays listed. By the end of the segment, we have gone from twenty percent to twenty holidays.

Holidays that half of the Wiccan can't name. Well, I can name the eight that actually exist. I have no clue what the names of the other twelve are...but I imagine that their names are all variations of "Fox News is a bunch of poo throwing monkeys."

Fox News' real crime here--they can't do math, and believe that Wicca is being used to downgrade what is important to the majority of Americans--in other words, the right of Christianity to be the only recognized religion in the United States. Fox News do NOT tell me what I should be angry about; I am capable of being angry for reasons beyond your desire to keep me in my place--reasons such as I like Halloween better than I like Christmas.

And yes, Fox News--you are a bunch of bigots. By the way, the answer to the question "How many Wiccans can name every Wiccan Holiday?" is "Every Wiccan that underwent their initial year and a day training to be initiated into the religion." Of course, considering the fact that Fox News just invented a dozen new holidays, we all need to retake that course...but give us a week, I am sure that we will embrace the new holidays (because it is the only reason that Fox News believes that you would choose to be Wiccan).

If you know any of the names of the unknown twelve Wiccan holidays (and their dates), please note them in the comment section. And if you are really irrate, there is a Facebook group to air your complaints on.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coincidence or road sign?

Is that a skunk on Big Ape's head?!
One of the quirks that many occultists seem to pick up is the reading of coincidences as road signs. Or maybe it is just me that has picked up this particular habit. Now, I am not as bad as some of the people who have taken the Oath of the Abyss--but I do have my moments.

My latest example of "Is it just a coincidence? Or is it a road sign?" is a skunk on the head.

As many of my friends know, my wife points out that my hair is thinning. My response tends to be that I am going to buy myself a Shatner. My wife is not sure if I am being serious or not...we will just have to see, won't we?

Nevertheless, the joke carries further out than that. Recently, I have been engaged in drawing some ape and monkey pictures for a pagan/Wiccan friendly children book series.

(Yes, I am confused about how I qualified for this one exactly--I think that it is because I seemed to have a little spare time and some colored pencils...or at least, that is the theory today.)

Now, I decided that Big Ape, the father of Little Ape (the school bully), was going to be suffering from Ape Pattern Baldness and be covering it up with a skunk. I did not inform my co-creator of this decision--it is a most of my ideas for the artwork.

So where does the coincidence kick in?

Well, I started to read a book that I plan on reviewing, God Attacks by J. R. Kiefer. In one of the opening pages of the book, he mentions a picture where one of the subjects appears to have a skunk on his head.

Yes, it is probably a coincidence and nothing more serious than that. At least, it was not as shocking as the time, I wrote about a character speaking with the voice of a cricket, and then read a translation of Homer's Iliad only to discover that the old men talk with the voices of crickets.

[Update: July 2013: Due to differences in sales expectations and business philosophy, in early July 2013, I ceased to be involved in the Turtle Monkey project.]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

No free editing from me

Bottom of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth.
Sometimes I am surprised at the stuff that I have to state that I thought was perfectly obvivous. Such as the following statement:

I do not provide free editing services.

The reason that I find myself having to say this is the fact that someone last month decided to cloud-source the error finding portion of an edit job (for their second edition--yes, I am talking about that one), and is now saying that their book cannot be that problematic because no one provided them with a long list of errors.

In my case, I mentioned an error I found a couple nights before...I was looking though the book to see what the author said about something (I am researching a book of my own) and spotted the error, so it was fresh in my mind. But that was not good enourgh for this person.

I am guessing that the author thinks that I should have spent a couple of days locating all the errors for him.

I am sure that those people who are paying me to edit stuff would have been thrilled to have me help this person for free.

If I am editing something, I am getting something out of the job--an hourly rate, a job fee, an exchange of labor, a percentage of the gross, an expensive book, or maybe a couple of plants or chickens. I do not edit for free.

The same goes for my writing, photography, and artwork. I have bills to pay, therefore I must charge for my time and energy. (And yes, I also charge for spellwork and divination.)

Now, some people will note that I still do first-reads and book reviews. Plus they will note that I do some volunteer writing.

In the case of first-reads, I am a first reader because I like the author and are friends with them (and like their books)...there is also a darn good chance that they are also one of my first-readers.

In the case of book reviews, a copy of the reviews end up on a blog with ads in the sidebar--therefore they are not completely free of monetary income. Futhermore, I recieve the books for free. (I used to pay for books that I reviewed; but now that I am established reviewer, I don't have to do that as anyone who looks at my coffee table can see--I have a couple dozen free books on it waiting for review.)

And in the case of my volunteer work, yes, I am donating work. But it is also advertising for myself, and I earn on the backend (such as Bad Monkey--the collected 2011 Hearthstone articles by Morgan Drake Eckstein). Plus if I had cash to spare--which I don't (thanks student loan debt)--I would be donating folding green energy to these organizations. (Yes, that includes the Legal Defense Fund.)

Of course, we all know that charging for my time and energy makes me a villian. But then again, everyone who flips burgers for a living is also a villian. At least, I enjoy what I am doing for a living.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Want to be a real GD writer?

Given the fact that the Golden Dawn forums and blogs are knee-deep in so-proclaimed experts, one needs to have a way to separate the good from the bad. One of my ways of doing this is whether or not, the expert has ever got past an actual editor.

Yes, the method is not ideal...because there is that whole debate about what an actual editor is. And this is one of those times that one will be sure to hear someone say that there are no actual editors involved.

Nevertheless, today I read on Donald Michael Kraig's blog that Hermetic Virtues is looking for submissions for a planned hardcover book called The Book of Rituals. Submissions must be original and unpublished ceremonies that are well-written and ten thousand words or less, preferably focused on the Inner Order (Adept) level (Outer Order rituals will be considered also). The deadline for submissions is June 1st, 2013. For more information, or to make a submission, contact

This project is non-profit, as in all proceeds go to the HOGD Legal Defense Fund. This last fact means that certain people will not be submitting to, or buying copies of this collection. And they may decide that everyone who does decide to submit something is a traitor to the Golden Dawn system. Of course, this fact may just make one want to submit something to spite them.

So would I consider you a good expert if you get something printed in this collection? Maybe. Maybe not.

(I used to read Hermetic Virtues--and will probably try to catch up with the back issues after my wallet recovers some more from college [my income is slowly increasing now that I have time to focus on it]--so, it is more of a "maybe.")

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Supernatural golem

[While this post may be something that seems more suitable for my seldom updated nerd blog, I am posting it here...because if you read this blog on a regular basis, you should be a Supernatural fan...or at least, golems and Nazi necromancers.]

Tonight, I had a rare chance to watch one of my favorite television shows--Supernatural. The scheduling of this show conflicts with my wife's need to have quiet in the house by a certain hour of the night, so that she can sleep (long you really want to hear about my wife's sleeping disorder?); therefore, I have only seen first three espisodes of the season (...because people tell me that it is wrong to download the show from the torrent sites). And those three espisodes only because they were the ones that I found for free on Hulu.

We were watching Arrow tonight (the only espisode that I have seen all season--again, my wife has more control over what I watch than I do) when I saw the ad for tonight's Supernatural espisode, and I just had to see it.

A golem! Nazi necromancers! How could I possibly miss it?!

Oh, my wife wanted to watch the news...I decided to watch it anyway on the TV of fuzz (cheap TV that I might have grounded a black magic attack though a couple of years ago...provided that it was a black magic just might be a c*** TV and a super-duper delusion that I annoyed someone special).

And it was a great espisode!!!

Yes, I know--Supernatural never gets the lore right. But it is television--when did TV ever ever get anything right.

Especially their version of a Jewish descendent of a Rabbi, who loves bacon and smoked up a mystic instruction book...there is no way that could be a honest representation of the grandson of a Jewish mystic, right? That character in no way resembles any of the Jews that I have ever worked with (*wink, wink*).

Anyways, if you haven't seen the eighth season espisode of Supernatural "Everyone hates Hitler," I suggest that you do provided that you like tales about talking golems and Nazi necromancers. And if you don't--well, why are you reading this blog?!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Belly of Nut

So I decide to write about the extra days of the Egyptian calendar...and then I put it off and off...because I obviously need extra days to write it myself (there is also that small matter of falling into and crawling out of a depression). And at the last moment, when my mind is finally boiling, I lose the internet. Yes, it is going to be one of those posts.

Originally, this blog post was thought of as part of the Tarot Blog Hop. But by now, I should have been removed from the list. (Oh goody, I hear a cat throwing up.) So in theory, some of you were supposed to be coming from Joy Vernon's blog and then proceeding to the US Games' blog and all I have to say is so much for that theory. By now, given the time, I should have been removed from the master list, and work-arounds should be in place. (I am not really sure...because the journalist in me is more concerned about finishing this post than checking the damage report.)

Please visit both Joy and US Games. I am quite sure that they were more up on the ball than I was.

Now, to try to finish the post...of course, this is going to involve whacking the internet with a stick...more than once. (Really?! Don't I already look unprofessional?! And the internet is still phasing in and out...some trickster god loves me.)

In the Ancient Egyptian calendar, there was 360 days originally. Historically, this led to a small problem of the calendar not matching the actual time of the year. It would not have been so bad if the Ancient Egyptians had not tied their festivals and planting to the 360 day calendar. After awhile, a long while (centuries and centuries), the calendar said that one should be planting in the middle of winter or the dry heat of summer (I always forget which one--having just three seasons throws me for a loop also).

So here we have one of the first recorded instances of a calendar designed for religious purposes being terribly out of sync with the local realities. (The modern day example of this is the attempt to use the British Traditional Wicca holiday schedule in Australia...I will leave that one to your imagination--mainly because I live in Colorado, and my image of the scene involves several feet of snow...which I do not think that they get in Australia.)

So the Ancient Egyptians attempted to fix the calendar by adding five more days to it. These days were given religious significance by linking them to a myth that Thoth (Tehuti) won them from the moon god Khonsi in a game, and linking them to the birth of the five most troublesome deities of the Egyptian religion--Osiris, Horus (think Horus the Elder and not the son of Isis and Osiris), Seth (Set), Isis, and Nepthys.

And the calendar was still slightly wrong. Of course, one wonders the difference between "wrong" and "slightly wrong"--which sounds like the difference between "pregnant" and "slightly pregnant." Anyways, the calendar was still a quarter a day too short, therefore still out of tune with the local reality. But at least, it was a step in the right direction.

(At this point, I am going to hit save because the wind is picking up--just in case.)

(And back to writing this. Good thing, I already have that BAD reputation as being a clown and comedian...because I am not sure what people are going to think that only see parts of this post as it is being written...I normally try to cut out some of the thought process [insanity] out of the final edit.)

Now, if I was to just think about what is in my belly at the moment, without the aid of any divination tools, I would have to say forgotfulness, laziness, panic (oh, lots and lots of panic and anxiety), doubt, and stupidity. Or as I like to label, "depression and its aftermath." Then again, that is every day for me.

(I would go into more detail...but I imagine reading about depression is depressing.)

(And now, I hear two cats wrestling. Or at least, I hope that it is wrestling.)

So I presume that this is not what is actually driving me. Or maybe this unholy five of the great monster depression is what drives me.

(At this point, a phone call happens--involving the subjects of money and depression...and the debate of whether my depression is chemical or just bad programming.)

Back to the post writing...which writers and bloggers know is hard to get back into (supposely when you are still partially depressed and panic ridden).

But what if these are not actually the things that drive me?!

Fortunately, I have Thoth to help me. Thoth in the form of a Tarot deck (and I have no idea which deck this Tarot deck is...doesn't matter, I hope). I can do a divination to see what is deep in my belly, driving me forward (hopefully forward--I might be going around in circles).

Using the suggested questions that the organizer of this particular Tarot Blog Hop suggested--"What is in my belly? What is in my Spring? What shall I Birth in this season?"--I pull some cards.

(And disturb a sleeping cat by shuffling the Tarot deck.)

The Hermit, Three of Wands, and Ten of Cups. And they are ALL REVERSED.

The Hermit card of this particular Tarot deck is rather dark (again, I have no idea which deck this is). The only bits of light are the Hermit's lamp and a glow on the horizon...sunrise? sunset? I am guessing that it is supposed to be sunrise. (As a member of Golden Dawn, I am supposed to associate the Order with sunrise...but given my most famous interactions with the community, there are moments that I think sunset is more appropriate.) Given the three cards together it might be something that I just accomplished...or maybe failed to accomplish.

(One of the problems with reading Tarot cards when you are slightly depressed is the fact that one tends to fall towards the gravity of the darker and more depressing possible readings of the cards. Perhaps, one should not read the Tarot cards while depressed.)

The second card (and remember that these cards are all reversed--I photographed them upright just to make it easier to look at for my readers) is the Three of Wands. This is a card of waiting. On the horizon, there are two little boats. Being reversed, I would argue that perhaps one should not wait for their ships to come in...because it is probably not going to happen.

The final card is the Ten of Cups...and being depressed (slightly or greater), one cannot help but feel despair that one will never be happy again. And in my own personal universe, I can't help but notice the turtle that the little girl is poking (the last project I was working on was "Meet Turtle Monkey"). Being reversed, this card does not comfort me at all.

Of course, as I said, one should not read Tarot cards when under the depression or anxiety, the readings tend to be not helpful, and just emphasize the fact that one is not in a functional state of mind.

So what is in my belly? Yes, that is right--the five children of the dark mother depression.

I think that it is going to be a long dark spring for me.

(And I am too depressed to write--I think that a nap is in order. And my wife just walked in the door, and the phone is ringing again.)

As I noted earlier, this post was originally part of the Tarot Blog Hop, which means that some of you were supposed to come from Joy Vernon's blog, and proceeding to the blog of US Games. Feel free to pretend that I actually was part of the Tarot Blog Hop and visit their fine blog posts. (I presume that they write fine blog posts...they have to be better than this one, right?)