Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The real problem with Christmas

Spock discovers the real problem with celebrating Christmas.
Heavens knows that decorating for Xmas brings out my OCD.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How to start a GD argument

On this week's episode of Star Wrecked--the Next Face Palm.
Bored? Have a bowl of fresh buttery popcorn? And a six pack of micro-brews? Ready to amuse yourself with a fight? Grab your dice (3d6), roll them, and use the result from the following table as your initial sentence to start a fight in your favorite pixelated Golden Dawn watering hole.

3: "I am not even a Neophyte, and I know more about Golden Dawn than the rest of you do."

4: "All Golden Dawn writers, except ABC, write books about the Golden Dawn only to make large bags of money and/or destroy all other GD Orders except their own XYZ Order."

5: "The only real genius/magician in Golden Dawn was member ABC."

6: "Adepts should act only in the following manner..."

7: "Members of XYZ Order are abandoning ship because the actions of ABC."

8: "Unicorns and glitter are the future of Golden Dawn."

9: "The form of alchemy that Golden Dawn taught was..."

10: "The Secret Chiefs are/were real, and this is the form that they take/took, and this is the esoteric Order that they currently/previously guided."

11: "The Order of the Golden Dawn never closed its doors. Member ABC became its leader, and only Order XYZ is its only legitimate descendant."

12. "The proper work of the Second and Third Orders of Golden Dawn is as follows..."

13: "All Golden Dawn Orders, except XYZ, are money making scams."

14: "I have decided to change ritual QRS."

15: "All members of Order XYZ are involved in big-ass-impossible conspiracy against ABC and/are Neo-Nazis."

16: "The only part of Golden Dawn that matters is..."

17: "The only way to properly initiate a member of the Order is..."

18: "Bleep. Peace. Harmony. Victory. Bleep."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lux e Tenebris

[Welcome to the last Tarot Blog Hop of 2013. The theme of this Tarot Blog Hop is "Turning Darkness into Light." The following is an excerpt of a poem that I started to work on when I saw the topic...it has fifty-six more stanzas.]

Lux e Tenebris
Light from darkness
Seventy-eight steps
A compass on the path

Crazy young fool
Smell the roses
Tame the wolf
Beware the thorn-ed abyss

Magician of the spheres
Gild yourself with power
Channel the gods
Balance the elements

Priestess of the Silver Star
Bearer of the holy chalice
Sacred scroll of the law
Embrace ebb and flow

Daughter of the Mighty Ones
Descending dove
Pregnant with potential
Best curse is mercy

Chief among the Kings
Gaze upon your domain
Beware of upstart goats
Re-invent your power

Expounder of tradition
Long unending scroll
Cryptic runes and starry letters
East looks upon the West

Twin souls of Metatron
Dreamers of the illusion
Hero is the prisoner
The prisoner is the monster

Juggernaut triumphant
 Bellowing cloud of dust
Clamor of beaten swords
Keep sight of the center

Daughter of the Flaming Sword
Mankind is the beast
Red omens signal redemption
Mind, rose, blood, storm

Lonely prophet of the Gods
Circle of light illuminates
Emptiness all around
The oasis far away beckons

Spinning forces of life
Monkey silent as a squirrel
Goal and beginning far apart
Ouroboros dancing between

Holder of the scales of Maat
Large feather, large pans,
Swift sword, fox eyes
Forty-two principles to guide

Sacrificed eye of Odin
Hidden in the dark
Rippling depths revealed
Whole world upside down

Lord of the Gates of Death
Hades' seed and harvest
Both elite and the oppressed
Underworld claims all

Daughter of the Reconcilers
Blazing fire and icy water
Stand in the place between
Life, creation, and magic arise

Lord of the Gates of Matter
Master of the horned ones
Absolute necessary evil
Prisoner holds the key

Shattered tower of the Mighty
Blazing flash of light
Nature's gravity captures
We are all in free fall

Daughter of the Firmament
So above, so below
Dust of stars animate
Small doses fortify

Ruler of ebb and flow
All started out wild
Howling, clawing, biting
Tetragrammaton is the tamer

Blazing spirit of the crucible
Arcs of influence descend
Dark wings, horned skull
Children know the maze

Spirit of the Primal Fire
Spirits cross the Bifrost
Trumpeter of the end
Rebirth comes from the ashes

Great One of the Night of Time
Four celestial watchers
Magic from Arabic image
The wands merely point

A compass on the path
Seventy-eight steps
Light from darkness
Lux e Tenebris

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pagan Portals--Runes by Kylie Holmes (Book Review)

There is an old saying that there is only one book about the Tarot and that each writer only publishes a few pages from it. I feel the same way about books written about the Elder Futhark--the so-called Norse runes. (Actually, the runes used by the Vikings were the abbreviated sixteen rune--Younger Futhark.) And just like one encounters the same information over and over again in Tarot books (or for that matter, books about the Golden Dawn), one reads the same material over and over again in books about the runes. Therefore, when one reviews a book on one of these subjects, one tends to only focus on the few pages of unique material that the writer includes (because the base-line is almost always the same--as in if you have read one book on the subject, you have read them all).

Pagan Portals--Runes by Kylie Holmes is your typical book on runes--containing historical information on the runes, runic divinatory spreads, how to make your own rune set, basic meanings of the runes, and suggestions of how to use the runes in magic.

So ignoring the standard stuff that finds its way into every book on the runes, what sticks out?

The book is written in a conversational tone, which is common with all the books that I have read so far from this particular publisher--Moon Books. I will admit that I spent too much time in academia to be completely comfortable with the style when it comes to regular books, despite the fact that I spend a lot of my time in the blogosphere (both as a reader and a lunatic with a soapbox). Think of the style as a conversation or a letter to a friend--some people will like the tone; others won't.

In the historical section, the author includes a diagram that shows the graphic difference between the Long Branch (Danish) and Short Twig (Swedish-Norwegian) Younger Futhark runes. That is a plus. And she mentions a few historical figures who studied and kept the lore of the runes alive--figures in rune history that I was not aware of. That is also a plus.

But she also mentions the myth of Odin as if it is historical and not mythical--which touches upon a bugbear that I wish authors would not do, and that is the mixing of mythology with historical fact. And in the section where she talks about the basic meanings of the runes, she mentions on more than one occasion what the Norse ("our ancestors") believed about the runes...without ever stating her source. I suspect that her source is intuition and not a document (because I have never heard of a document covering this information--the field of runelogy is made up of best guesses)--if it is an actual document, I wish that she would have came out and cited it by name and number. The fact that I think that she is playing fast and mixing her opinions with the historical facts is a negative. (Remember that I suffered though a Bachelors in both literature and history--it tends to make me frown at the mixing of personal belief and historical facts without the writer coming straight out and stating which is which.)

Holmes also includes the Anglo-Saxon, Norwegian and Icelandic rune poems (both in their original language and their English translation) in the historical section (this is important and/or nice if you are just want to read a single book on the runes, and not have to collect rune books like I do). And I will admit that she is the first writer on the subject of runes that I can remember coming out and stating that we do not have a poem for the Elder Futhark itself (the aforementioned poems deal with the Anglo-Saxon and Younger Futharks.

Overall, if you are after one book on the subject of the runes, this book is a four out of five stars. If you are like me and own two boxes of books on the subject, it will depend upon on how important the unique bits are in filling holes in your knowledge base.

[This review was based on a pre-publication e-file copy given to me by the publisher for review purposes.]

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hearthstone Open Full Moon ritual dates 2014

Hearthstone Community Church Open Full Moon rituals 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).

Suggested donation--five dollars (to help cover operating costs and room rental).

Remaining 2013 Open Full Moons

December 13

Open Full Moon ritual dates for 2014

January 10
February 14
March 14
April 11
May 9
June 13
July 11
August 8
September 5
October 3
October 31
December 5

Hearthstone Community Church has a free monthly newsletter for Colorado residents, and Facebook page.

The Church also has a webpage with archives of the newsletters from January 1997 to present.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Occasionally, I see people ask what Macgregor Mathers did to initiate the leaders of his American lodges--believing that he performed some form of astral initiation or required them to travel to Europe to recieve their initiations. Both ideas are false, overlooking the state of esoteric lodges in that time period. All Mathers required was the signing of an oath swearing to keep the secrets of the Order and proper alliegance to him as its sumpreme leader and source of all wisdom, plus a small sum of money, and you were a properly initiated member of the Order in his eyes. Sad, but true.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Goetia Workbook by S. Connolly (Book Review)

One of the customs that most working magicians have been taught is the keeping of a magical journal, a record of one's magical experiments and experience. The custom goes back to Dee and Kelley--or at least, that is the point in history that the custom seems to originate from.
Most of us, including myself, just buy a blank composition book or a blank journal and proceed from there. A few suggestions on what to record have been published over the years. In my case, I was using a template that Donald Michael Kraig published in his Modern Magick book for a long time. (My template has moved away from his example, and now looks more like Dee's and Crowley's style than it does Kraig's example.)
Parts of the magical journals of Dee and Crowley have been published. In the case of Dee, there are large sections that are missing because Dee destroyed a lot of his journals to keep them out of the wrong hands (fortunately, some of the sections that he attempted to destroy survived, including a large hunk of the Enochian sessions). I have watched a couple of other working magicians destroy parts of their own magical journals; and over the years, some of my own records have been lost in various moves from residence to residence (it is what happens you do not move everything personally all by yourself).
Given the examples available to us and the cheap option of blank journal books, I never thought that I would ever give a shout-out to any blank magical journal--even a pre-formatted one, considering that the only viable publishing option is the print-on-demand route. (While a traditional publisher could print a pre-formatted blank magical journal cheaper, the truth is that a large part of the print-run would just sit in a warehouse, due to the extremely low demand for such an item...seriously, are there more than a thousand working magicians in the world at any given time?)
The Goetia Workbook by S. Connolly is a pre-formatted blank magical journal for those magicians working their way though the contact process with the Four Kings and the seventy-two Goetic Demons (or Daemons as Connolly prefers to call them--yes, they are a demonolator [daemonolator], one of those magicians who view the traditional spirits contained in the grimoires more as helper spirits than evil gone amok).
The pre-format is nice, simply for making sure that you remember to include all the important bits in your notes. And I like the fact that it has pages for each of the Four Kings and the seventy-two Goetic spirits (yes, I prefer the term "spirits"...which makes me a ?!?!). There is a space provided for any additional sigils that the spirit gives the magician, and a space to note if blood was offered (I personally use milk mixed with certain herbs as a substitute), et cetera. There is also a brief description of the powers and precautions for each spirit--my favorite being "Sitri is a lust demon and causes men and women to be passionate and get naked around one another."
But let's be honest the pre-formatting alone is not enough to justify a shout-out, so why am I suggesting that a working magician might want to consider shelling out money for something that they could do cheaper? The simple fact that you can get it as a paperback from Amazon and a hardcover from Lulu--the latter being what I would prefer. And why would that be important?
Quite simply because it has been my experience that the most important and significant encounter that one has with any given spirit is the initial contact. The basis of your entire relationship with a spirit can often be determined (typically with a lot of hindsight) from that first initial working. Therefore, with something like a run though the seventy-two Goetic spirits, one wants to make sure that the record of your working is going to be as permanent as you can get it.  
Yes, this shout-out is based simply upon the fact that I think that a working magician needs to ensure that their notes with certain operations, such as the initial contact with the Goetia, is set in as permanent form as one can accomplish. Did you really expect more from me? After all, I am a blogger who uses other people's work as an excuse to talk about things that I consider important (if you did not catch what this review is really about, re-read it again looking for the sole sentence that the entry is built around).
[This review is based on a preview file that the author lent to me.]