Saturday, November 23, 2013

Golden Dawn lodge directory project

A few years ago, I got involved in the Sanctuary of Maat as a proctor. (RIP SoM.) One of the things that I found nice about the SoM was the fact that the members could look around and see who the fellow members were in their general area. And I ended up with a small list of where people were--the list is out of date and misplaced--but it is the inspiration behind a project that I am kicking around doing this coming year...or maybe I should say, "I am doing it with or without your help--so deal with it!"

Several study groups and lodges actually formed from the SoM membership simply being able to locate each other--and I understand a few of these groups still exist. In addition, in the Denver area, we used to have a Pagan Purple Pages (unfortunately, that directory has ceased to exist...or so I believe) where one could look up the local pagan and Wiccan groups that chose to be listed.

And considering I just attended a local pagan/Wicca group meet and greet today--well, today is as good of a day to toss this idea out into public, so that the wolves can debate its merits and argue about how I am going to completely wreck the idea, and probably how someone more trust-worthy than me should do this instead.

Oh the idea?! Glad you asked.

Over the last few years, I have noticed that a lot of people ask a set of basic questions about Golden Dawn groups:

Where are the lodges and study groups located?
What group/Order is the lodge/study group affiliated with?
What is the email address of the local contact person?

In other words, they could care less about politics, trade-marks, and the claims of super-secret information that only certain groups have. All they are concerned about is location, location, location.

Therefore, I want to create a directory of where the Golden Dawn lodges and study groups are located.

Please note that this is NOT a ratings book--it would be up to the user of the directory to google the group to see what's its reputation is--if any--and to meet with the local contact person and/or membership to decide if they want to join that group. Yes, I know that some people will protest that only properly vetted and authorized lodges and groups should be included--and to them, I say, "You do not have to include any of your lodges and groups in this project if you do not want to be associated with unwashed riff-raff." Yes, this means that Robert Zink, David Griffin, Chic Cicero, and Nick Farrell would get to have groups listed in this directory, despite the fact that at least one party would argue that they should be barred from the directory.

But there is a catch--each group actually has to have a LOCAL contact person. Therefore, for instance, Nick Farrell can only act as the contact person for his local lodge or study group--he cannot act as a contact person for a group located in Denver, Colorado. If Farrell has a group in Denver, there has to a local contact person here in Denver, Colorado (or within the Denver metro area).

If I get a report that I trust, or multiple reports that the local contact person does not actually exist--I will delete the group's listing from the directory. Period. End of discussion. Likewise, if I get trusted reports that the group consists solely of the local contact person and/or just one more person, the listing gets deleted. Period. End of discussion. There will be one exception--and that is for a group just forming; basically, they state up front that they are just forming, and they will have six months or a year (I am undecided on that one) to bring their membership up to three people...there will be a notice someplace in the listing that the group is just forming.

Please note that I plan on emailing the contact person once every six months or year to ask them if the group is still active, and confirm that they are still the contact person. If no response to the email--yes, that is right--the listing is deleted.

The contact person can be listed as just a first name and a motto (if they want their last name to be kept private).

Why email addresses? Because I think that the local contact person should not have to give out their phone number to anyone that they do not want to. And we all have more than one email address, right? Likewise, the listing is for the city and general area that a group is located in. (Please note that means that one of the local so-called Denver groups would actually be listed under Lakewood and not Denver--local residents will know the general geographical difference between the two groups. If I get information that you are actually located in different city than your listing, I will adjust your listing, so be honest about the general location of your group--remember that this directory is all about location, location, location--it is not personal; we are just trying to give the applicants a general idea of what part of town you are really in.) Note that this is general area--not the exact street address (again, that information is up to the contact person to give to the applicant if they feel like it). A single web address will be optional for a listing (it can be a free blog that you update twice a year--because let's be honest, web hosting and domain names can get expensive). And there would be an appendix in the back of the directory for simple Order listings.

So as an example of a lodge listing:

USA: Colorado: Denver: North City Park

Bast Temple (lodge).
Contact: Morgan Drake Eckstein
Email: (Subject line: Membership inquiry)

 And in the back, the Order listing would look like:

EOEW/BIOGD/BIORC: Evolving Order of Eclectic Ways/Ba Iset Order of the Rosy Cross (Golden Dawn in the Outer).
Correspondence course: Yes, available though ebook retailers in early 2014.
Principal agent: Morgan Drake Eckstein

Or at least, that is how I currently think that the listings would look like.

As for the question of expense of a listing and cost of the directory itself--actually both would be free.

On the assembling end, I am going to call this a contribution to the greater Golden Dawn community...bascially, I am donating my time and energy to create the directory.

And on the applicant's end, I picture the final product as a free ebook that is distributed though Smashwords (and therefore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple's iBook store, and the other outlets in the Smashwords distribution program). I would like to upload it to Amazon also, BUT Amazon does not allow perma-free ebooks--therefore, that is not going to happen. The fact that it is not going to be available though Amazon is minor issue; after all, you can download your preferred ebook format from Smashwords without the hassle of creating an account (or at least until they update the site--we will have to see if that is still true after the upcoming site update).

So now that I tossed this idea out there, let the feeding frenzy of how wrong I am occur in my comment section (try to keep the language clean).

As if you want a listing despite the fact that the project is flawed, and my rules unacceptable, just drop me an email at (Subject line: Directory listing) with the necessary information.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Am I a Demonolator?

Looking over my list of things I want to blog about in the near future, I realized that the question of "Am I a Demonolator?" is going to come up at some I just as well get it over with.

And in all honesty, most of my regular readers and friends have already made up their minds about this question--for those people who feel that they already know the answer, feel free to wander off because nothing that I am about to say is going to change your mind.

Now, for the rest of you, mainly those who just accidently stumbled across this blog while googling "demonolatry"...

I do not consider myself to be a demonolator. But I can see how someone might believe that I am. And they might be right...of course, that last part probably needs some explanation. So here goes...

My preferred definition of Demonolatry is the ACTIVE worship of demons and/or the use of entities commonly known as demons to perform magic as the PRINCIPAL AGENT in the ritual and/or the consulting of demons as the PRINCIPAL SOURCE to learn magical techniques.

Please note my emphasis on the "active" part. I don't consider the passive use of demons in magic to be demonolatry. And there is a lot of passive use of demons in ceremonial magic, even in the holy grimoiric and Golden Dawn varieties. Also note my emphasis on demons having to be the "principal agent" or "principal source."

By "principal agent," I mean that the highest name used in a ritual or spell is actually the name of entity classified by the grimoires or folklore as a demon. In other words, the controlling force in the ritual is a demon, not one of the Christian/Hebrew names of God, nor is it a pagan deity. Please note that if the pagan deity has been demonized by the Church, then it is a demon if you are using the grimoire version of the deity--but not a demon if you are using a pagan version of the deity.

And by "principal source," I mean that you are calling directly on the demon, without using compulsion of the Christian/Hebrew godnames, and using a demon as the principal agent to control and empower the ritual.

The reason for this emphasis is the simple fact that modern-day Christianity is basically the King James translation of the Bible with a dollop of Dante and Milton tossed in for good measure--basically, any god other than Jesus (and his Father) is a demon, and goddesses are automatically demonesses. Yes, there are exceptions, but at the most severe level--all magicians are demonolators as far as radical Christianity is concerned. (In fact, the more radical the sect of Christianity, the more likely that only Christians of a particular sect are considered to be truly saved Christians, with the majority of Christians also being Satanists simply because they do not belong to the right church.) Therefore, if you are a magician, then you too are a demonolator to quite a few people...people whose opinions I generally ignore.

So my dear reader, you can see how some people could consider my worship of Bast as proof that I am a demonolator by their definition of the terms; but by my definition, I am not even close to being a demonolator because I am using a non-Milton/non-grimoiric form of Bast. (For the non-literate people: Milton classified all the Ancient Egyptian deities as fallen angels serving in Lucifer's war machine--a point that annoys me as a modern pagan.)

There is also a guilt by association that some might accuse me of. Yes, I have friends in the demonolator community. Yes, I have borrowed working techniques and ideas from some of them. But if you insist on guilt by association, then I am also a radical member of the Tea Party branch of the Republican party who believes that all laws should be based solely on the Bible because some of my friends on Facebook believe such things. Therefore, guilt by association has to be tossed out...because everyone is guilty of something by that standard.

Another related question is: Are demonolators Satanists? To this one, I always have to ask: Have you met and encountered first-hand many Satanists? Because those people who brag about being Satanists generally only worship themselves and/or are doing it for pure shock value, and would not know what a demon was if it bit them in the ass. Therefore, even if I was a demonolator, I would not want to be called a Satanist. (This connection is along the lines of saying that all users of the Elder Futhark [runes] are Neo-Nazis--a suggestion that might get you punched in the face by a big bearded Viking dude.) Of course, as a magician, according to radical Christians, I am automatically a Satanist even if I do not believe in his existence--therefore, I suppose to many people demonolators are automatically Satanists, even if the idea would get them punched in the face at some point. And please note that one really needs to know the context that the name/term Satan is used by a demonolator to be able to answer this question...just for that individual (there is no blanket answer here as far as I am concerned)--plus, I know one demonolator that uses Lilith as their Principal Agent--that makes them a Lilithist, not a Satanist (they like to point out that Satan in the Old Testament is a name of an office, and not an individual--therefore worshipping Satan is like worshipping a nameless lawyer).

And if you read this far, I bet that you still have the same opinion on whether or not, I am a demonolator as you did before you started reading it. The demonolators and radical Christians who thought that I was a closet demonolator before still think that--pointing out gleefully that I am just playing word games here. The pagans and Wiccans who thought that I was a pagan and/or Wicca are still thinking that. And my three favorite critics are still considering screaming at the top of their lungs that I am a very evil man. In other words, no opinion has ever been changed by a blog post...simply because you are not going to use my definition of demonolator if it does not already fit your world view. Which begs the question of: Why even bother? Answer: I love Google.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Proper Samhain

Bribes might change our opinion of your numptiness.
Exactly one year ago, someone posted a post on one of the forums wishing everyone a Happy Proper Samhain--which made me aware of this particular issue that was silently bubbling in the magical community. So what the hell is "Proper Samhain"? According to some people, Samhain should be celebrated on the day that falls exactly between the Fall Equinox and Winter Solistice--or when the Sun is in the fifteenth degree of Scorpio (the "astronomical Samhain" or "astrological Samhain")--November 6 or 7 this particular year (depending upon where you live).

And my response to this idea that everyone, other than these enlightened armchair occultists, are doing Samhain on the wrong day? Poppycock!!!

Honestly, my opinion is that the "Proper Samhain" theory was created by a bunch of people who decided that they have to be smarter than practicing Wiccans and pagans, especially the sainted Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca. The theory sounds good on paper, but really does not hold water when it comes to actual practice? No, it does not.

For one thing, the "solar-astronomical" Sabbaths, the Equinoxes and Solstices, are known as "Lesser Sabbaths." The "Greater Sabbaths" are all planting/harvesting/fertility holidays. Therefore, a proper astrological correct Samhain instantly becomes a Lesser Sabbath, a mere point on the journey of the sun though the zodiac--in other words, something other than solar position makes Samhain what it is--a Greater Sabbath.

Secondly, the theory ignores the non-universality of the observance of the Sabbaths. The holidays that the Sabbaths are based on were not practiced everywhere; and more importantly, when they were practiced, they were based on local agricultural conditions...or some local religious observance.

In other words, local conditions trump (override) the astrological theory. Your first harvest ritual corresponds to when your first harvest actually happens in your local neighborhood--not when the sun is in a particular degree of the zodiac. Likewise, your last harvest (aka Samhain) occurs when your local growing conditions cease to be suitable to leave the majority of the crop out in the fields (please note that there are some winter crops that can be harvested or planted despite the drop in temperatures). In fact, last harvest can vary from year to year--last year, my own last harvest occurred in late November--this year, it was mid-October. The only reason that modern-day Wicca gets away with fixed dates for the Sabbaths is that most of us are not farmers or gardeners anymore--but that still does not make the astrological version more valid than the farming/fertility version of the Sabbaths.

And in the case of Samhain (All Hallows Eve--Halloween), it occurs on a day that several cultures (including the much-hated Catholic culture) consider preceding a feast day celebrating the honored dead. This is another form of local condition overriding the astrological theory. Then again, that may be the real reason that certain armchair occultists want to move the celebration to a different day--in their minds, we can't share anything in common with the hated oppressors of the pagan religions...despite the fact that the Church lifted that particular feast day directly from the pagans themselves with us merely reclaiming it as our own in modern times.

So Happy Proper Astrological Samhain! to all the armchair occultists. And stay out of my garden!

October 2013 Third most read month ever

The cat version of Thriller.
Looking over my numbers (stats), I see that last month (October 2013) is now my third most read month since this blog started in 2007. Last month scored 10,606 page views--beating out the previous third most read month, November 2010, which had 8,523 page views. And sometime on October 14, 2013, I passed two hundred page views overall for this little cynical blog.

So what does this all mean? People like cat pictures and poetry better than snarkiness? Or does it mean that snarkiness and shaming the entire Golden Dawn community, along with unhealthy battles in one's comment section, is the real attention getter? (Yes, I am still only at forty percent of the page views of the blog that claims to be the most read Golden Dawn blog ever--a blog that I was checking the comment section three times a day during several ugly discussions...and I suspect a whole bunch of other people were doing that also--in which case, their claim of having the biggest Golden Dawn audience is vastly inflated.)

As for those people who do not like poetry and cat pictures, you are safe for a week...maybe. After all, the holiday season is coming up and that means cats dressed as Santa, doesn't it? Plus you know that you want to read a poem entitled "When elves attack."

But don't worry, I also plan on writing some stuff about Golden Dawn and magic really soon...because this blog is supposed to be about the Golden Dawn system of spiritual and magical attainment (plus some Wicca...and some New Age stuff...and anything else I choose to write about...because after all, it is my blog).

Are you sure that spiritual means what you think it does?