Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cannot wait to talk about this book

Cover for Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls by the GD Community.
I can't wait to talk about this book. Yes, I know something about this project which has been in the pipeline for a little over a year. For those who do not think that GD members can keep a secret...well, this was a closely guarded secret. Would like to say more, but I am going to be a good lad and wait until Kerubim Press (KP on Facebook) makes their official announcement about this book. (They did the reveal of the cover today, so I think that this blog post is ok.) And yes, I am so going to write a book review on this one; conflict of interest be hanged.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Poor magicians

One of the reasons that I am welcome as a plague in certain circles is the simple fact that I became a magician to keep the wolf away from the door. I am not in the esoteric arts for spiritual development or to be a service to mankind; I am here merely because I was looking for a big enough stick to smack the wolf on the nose and survive the crisis of being a poor kid and young adult.

Now, there are some that will roll their eyes, and ask how poor could I have been when I entered the field. Let's see, my father lost everything that he owned; I am the oldest of eight kids; and I grew up constantly wondering if I would have a roof over my head tomorrow. Plus, where my next meal was coming from was always a concern. I wore whatever could be brought at yard sales for a quarter. When I left home, I joined the military...because I was poor. I was a high school dropout that got bad grades because my folks could not afford a real babysitter. And I worked twenty years in food service making minimum (or just above) wages.

And if you still don't believe that I know what it is like to be poor, just remember that I have done Tarot readings and practical spells for the payment of government surplus cheese and peanut butter--because all I had to offer was my skill as a magician, and all my clients had to offer was some food (which I was very glad to eat).

Just admitting this stuff bars me from entry to certain select circles. Part of it is simply misunderstandings of what magic is. [If you want to know why I started to think about these matters today, go read this entry on Aaron's blog.]

Talk to most people in the Golden Dawn/Western Mystery Tradition community (and this includes Thelema and Wicca) and you will hear that the purpose of the mysteries is spiritual development and service to mankind. In fact, there are groups that will bar you from entering if you say anything other than those two reasons for wanting to join. Anything else, especially practical magic, is viewed as black magic and power seeking.

But this is what the documented record of Western magic is all about--weather magic, power magic, legal magic, treasure magic, health magic, love magic--all about fulfilling basic needs in a hostile wolf at the door world. Even alchemy was about the practical nine times out of ten. Yet we in the modern world are not allowed to have these needs or desires.

Why? Because H. P. Blavatsky tells us that it is wrong. Yes, the modern view that the only acceptable uses of magic are spiritual development and service to mankind comes straight out of the writings of Blavatsky, the mother of Theosophy. And the modern Orders have embraced this fact, rejecting anyone who admits that they actually need to practice practical magic. Blavatsky made the esoteric Orders into the mystic dreamlands they are today. You can mediate all you want on the glories of the divine, just don't attempt to better your life conditions with practical workings.

Therefore, we do not find truly poor magicians in the ranks of the Orders (unless they lied to get in). The members of a Law of Attraction group are always living above the poverty level. The members of your typical esoteric Order can always pay their annual dues, no matter how much they are. And people can charge hundreds of dollars to do workshops, to teach magic that does not actually work, because everyone who attends can afford for magic not to work. It is all theory and no practice because anything other than spiritual development and service is considered black magic.

In the meantime, people like myself tend to remain outside the Halls of the "True Mysteries" working our small low practical spells, hoping to keep the wolf from the door for one more day. We are simply too poor to be worthy of proper training. And Heaven forbid that we ever decide to retake the mysteries back; after all, we are the unwashed, unsaved, impure masses.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Made the Hot 500 in the Yahoo Contributor Network in April 2013

Yes, I took a screen shot of this because I was excited.  
And this is how I imagine that other people will feel about it.
So, I made the Top 500 in April 2013 on the Yahoo Contributor Network--for having a really big audience on Yahoo Voices (formerly Associated Content). What does this really mean? Probably nothing at all. Or that the audiences are really small. Or perhaps that my small payment for pageviews were in the top 500--in which case, it is just proof that even the best writers are starving artists--or not, depending on the clout level (levels nine and ten get paid more than clout level eight). Still I thought that I would say something because I do not remember the last time that I advertised my work on Yahoo Voices.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Counting the letters in Exodus 14 (Shem ha-Mephorash)

Most Golden Dawn students know that the Golden Dawn uses the Shem ha-Mephorash to create 72 angelic names that are associated with the 36 decans (and to 36 of the minor arcana of the Tarot)--two per decan and aforementioned Tarot card. And most of them also know that the Shem ha-Mephorash is created by writing out three lines from Exodus 14; three lines that each has 72 letters.

But are they aware of how rare it is to find three lines of 72 letters each, one right after other? I am not fact, I am not even aware of the rarity of the occurrence myself. It is towards that end that I counted up the letters in each of the sentences in Exodus 14 the other day.

(I tried to find a online source for the information, but I could not figure out the proper keywords to punch into a search engine to convince the web spiders to give me a quick answer--hence the counting of the letters the old-fashioned way.)

So the letter count for each sentence of Exodus 14 (provided that I did it right--do they make a large print Hebrew Bible?--please do not quote me on this without double-checking the count) is as follows:

Exodus 14:1--18 letters
Exodus 14:2--71 letters
Exodus 14:3--41 letters
Exodus 14:4--69 letters
Exodus 14:5--80 letters
Exodus 14:6--23 letters
Exodus 14:7--38 letters
Exodus 14:8--62 letters
Exodus 14:9--78 letters
Exodus 14:10--78 letters
Exodus 14:11--71 letters
Exodus 14:12--79 letters
Exodus 14:13--96 letters
Exodus 14:14--21 letters
Exodus 14:15--41 letters
Exodus 14:16--57 letters
Exodus 14:17--63 letters
Exodus 14:18--42 letters
Exodus 14:19--72 letters
Exodus 14:20--72 letters
Exodus 14:21--72 letters
Exodus 14:22--50 letters
Exodus 14:23--49 letters
Exodus 14:24--60 letters
Exodus 14:25--71 letters
Exodus 14:26--57 letters
Exodus 14:27--76 letters
Exodus 14:28--67 letters
Exodus 14:29--49 letters
Exodus 14:30--58 letters
Exodus 14:31--71 letters

Eyeballing this small sample, I would guess that finding three sentences of the same letter count one after another is pretty rare. But I could be wrong--after all, I have not counted all the other sentences in the Hebrew Bible yet.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy birthday Pat Zalewski

Vintage Kitten wishes you a Happy Birthday!
It is Pat Zalewski's birthday. We all know Pat Zalewski, right? And if you don't...well, you haven't been reading my blog for very long, have you? Yes, his ideas color my idea about what Golden Dawn is and can be.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Yard Wards

Fierce Kitty thinks that the garden is just divine.
I have been working out in the yard and garden lately. Pulling weeds, redoing the brick walkway, transplanting flowers and herbs--the typical springtime stuff that one does when one has a yard that is not completely grass. I am not happy that Denver is already on drought (watering) restrictions; but then again, most of the plants that I really care about are border-line weeds (most herbs act as if they are weeds).

Another thing that I am doing is resetting my yard wards. It has been several years since I have done so; and last year, there was a couple of incidents that made me wish that they had been renewed sooner rather than later (I was finishing my second Bachelors, so I did not get them renewed in a timely fashion...with results that probably made someone who was upset with me happy). The problems (resulting from a small spite...I sided with a pagan woman in a fight rather than the Christian ceremonial using male...of course, I was wrong to do so in their mind) were minor, but still annoying.

Wards, for those who don't already know, are kind of like a magical electronic fence. Sort of like shields, but not quite. It is hard to explain the difference...if there is really a difference. The ones I use are based on Pennsylvania Dutch magic. I won't tell you what I buried beneath the brick walkway, but I did bury something there.

So yes, this year I am renewing my yard wards in a timely fashion, along with all the weeding, planting and mowing I have to do. Good times in the spring time. And if nothing else, it makes the cat happy that I am spending time outside with him.

Monday, May 6, 2013

More magical jars available on Etsy.

Think of the magic you can do with these jars. 
Another item that I was taking photos of were a new butch of small cork jars that my wife hand-throws on the potter's wheel. Personally, I use these types of jars to store incense and for spirit bottles. I know that one of the local pagans uses them for magical oils.

Now, I like this photo--my wife doesn't. It was an experiment. One of the difficulties that I have taking photos of her pottery is that the glaze is so shiny, and occasionally the camera I am using has a difficult time recording the true color of the glaze. So in this photo, I was experimenting to see if a white background would help. My wife disapproves of the picture because I used wrinkled paper. *sigh*

These corked herb jars are available on her Etsy--Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery page for $18 (American) apiece.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

More mortar and pestles available on Etsy

Cobalt blue mortar and pestle.
The last couple of days, I have been taking pictures of pottery that my wife is putting up on her Esty--Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery page. Today, she posted five new mortar and pestles (various colors). My personal favorite this bunch of photos (of the mortars that is) was the cobalt blue mortar and pestle against the purple background. For those who have not heard me cuss about it, the cobalt blue glaze is really shiny and hard to take good photos of (especially if I am trying to show its actual color). This shot actually shows you its actual color, so I am very happy with the photo. This particular cobalt blue mortar and pestle is available for $19 (American)--though she did not use this photo on the sales page. (We seldom agree about the photos which should be used...but that is a post for another day, isn't it?)

So many mortar and pestles to choose from. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beltane 2013 (Tarot Blog Hop)

The first Tarot card I ever created. 
Welcome to the Beltane 2013 edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. For those people who are doing the hop, you probably came from Alison Coals' blog. If there has been any problems, you might have came directly from the Tarot Blog Hop Master List. As for my regular readers...well, it is probably a secret where you are coming from (esoteric Order humor--I s*** at it).

The theme of this particular blog hop is "What traditions are important to you in how you read Tarot?"

Now, some of my regular readers have heard me talk about one of my favorite Tarot traditions--which is to make your own Tarot cards. It is a tradition that some in the Golden Dawn has observed; but not all, for the number of surviving handmade copies of the initiated version of the Golden Dawn deck that has surfaced in the historical arena number less than a dozen (or so, I have been led to believe).

When I first joined Golden Dawn, or what passed for GD here in Denver during the 1990s, I was horribly bad at reading Tarot cards--better than some people, but not good enough to rely on them to tell me anything that I did not already know. One of the things that Hathoor Temple insisted that members do during their course work was prove that one could create a Tarot deck (hand make it) if one really had to.

Now, at the time, I was reading a Tarot based story by Pier Anthonys. Some people will recognize the book cover that I based my Death card on, and perhaps even the fact that I borrowed more than just that. The interesting thing is that, despite my nerdish leanings in my initial Tarot creation, the exercise worked. I became better at reading Tarot cards. I never did complete that first Tarot deck, but the point was proven to me that making your own Tarot cards helps you build a connection to the spirit of the Tarot.
Color your own Death card in Golden Dawn.
One of the problems with creating your own Tarot deck is that you might not have enough artistic skill to comfortably do the task. This problem may be why so few decks have survived. Or like in my case, the requirement was done with just a handful of cards.

BOTA, an esoteric Order in the United States, an offshoot of the Alpha and Omega, came up with a solution where the student did not completely create their own Tarot deck. The BOTA deck is a "color it yourself" Tarot deck; many in Golden Dawn seemed to have gone with that option. From a Golden Dawn viewpoint, the BOTA deck is not completely right (it is based more on the A.E.Waite/Pamela Smith deck than the initiated GD version); a point that was addressed a decade ago with the creation of a limited edition Golden Dawn version of a outline deck...which unfortunately is out-of-print to the best of my knowledge (not that you can't find and print out the whole thing from your computer with the help of a simple Google search).

Making your own Tarot deck is the one Tarot tradition that I insist on inflicting on all the students that I teach...because it worked for me. It is the cornerstone to how I teach the Tarot. Besides everyone loves to paint and color by number--and if they don't, well, I am quite sure that they will not tell me so to my face.

(And yes to the person who asked--eventually I did end up doing an entire Tarot deck by hand for the Inner Order Adept Minor program that I did a couple of years ago.)

For those who are continuing with the Tarot Blog Hop, the next stop is Aisling's Tarot Witchery Blog. As always if there is any problems, you can jump over any broken links by consulting the Tarot Blog Hop Master List. As for my regular readers, you probably should get back to work. Until next time, keep shuffling those Tarot cards.