Monday, October 31, 2016

Talking with the Honored Dead

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This season's Tarot Blog Hop is about seeking advice from our honored ancestors. 

For this one, I decided merely to do a simple Tarot reading. Now one of the tricks I learned when consulting the Tarot for a specific matter, is that you can remove the significator from the deck, decide what card represents the issue, shuffle, turn over cards until you find that card, and the next cards in the deck are the ones that you are reading.  

In this case, I chose the Magician card to represent myself (as a writer), and the Death card to represent advice from the honored dead (the crossing card).

Dead and beyond the veil.
Reading the next three cards, I assigned them to the three pillars of Kabbalah, and to specific people in my ancestry.

Pillar of Mercy (and my father): Page of Wands--Pages are students, and I always associate wands with pens, so I am reading this as "Practice makes perfect, or at least, better." And that is something that I occasionally forget as a writer--basically, I always feel like my first draft should be perfect, and that is not actually the way it works.

Pillar of Severity (and my mother): Two of Wands--One of the meanings of this card, according to Tarot For Writers (Corrine Kenner) is the will and power to move beyond the initial stages of creation. In other words, finish the work. One of the problems that I have struggled with as a writer is actually finishing projects; I am ok with smaller projects, but I tend to abandon larger projects because I feel like I should be working on "money projects"---unfortunately, I keep changing targets because I doubt that my current work-in-progress is going to make money. Basically, I need to learn to actually finish things. (I am getting better at this, thanks to the yummy bipolar meds.)

[The reason that Tarot For Writers was consulted was it was the only Tarot book near me, and there is a cat asleep on my lap. The reason for it being close is that tomorrow is the start of National Novel Writing Month, that delightful time when some writers try to hack out fifty thousand words (the amount of words in a novel) in thirty days.]

Pillar of Mercy (and my witchy aunt): Three of Pentacles--This is a card that shows both spiritual support as well as blueprinting it out. Think of an artist being influenced by the rules of their craft (the themes that you see in certain types of works, for instance, detective stories), as well as the muse (who is not even sure that an outline is a good thing). This actually seems to indicate that the project that enjoys such an interaction is the next one that I should be working on...and I think I know what one it is (the taxi driving troll that becomes a private detective--Harmic Burrows). 

So that was my advice from the honored dead....unless it was for one of my readers. And a example of a quick way to do a reading using the idea of significators and crossing cards.  

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Standing Rock check in

Hello, from Standing Rock. *waves hello to law enforcement*

Oh dear, the bison forgot their protest signs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why Trump is going to win (be happy)

As we approach the end of the longest election cycle in human history, people are slowly losing their minds that the best person for the job of President of the United States, and the inspiration for all the bad things that happen in the world, might not be won by the best person for the job.

But never fear, the best person for the job will win, and America will finally have the President that it deserves in this day and age. Yes, that is right--Donald Trump is going to win.

And how do we know this? Though the sacred art of Evil Writer Fortune Telling (totally trademarked, I tell you). The basic principle of Evil Writer Fortune Telling is to go with the most interesting option. And in this election, there is only one interesting option, and that is Donald Trump.

For instance, who is the only candidate who will gladly, and without warning, nuke an entire Middle Eastern city off the face of the Earth to cripple the leadership of ISIL? That's right, Donald Trump. Unlike those whiny "humans have the right not to glow in the dark" liberals and peaceniks, Trump knows that the entire world will sit up and take notice when a giant radioactive crater is created in the Middle East. Think of the viewers; think of the commercial possibilities (Get your Lead Radiation Screen right here, a steal for a mere thousand dollars a tube! New from a company proudly owned by the President.); think of how you, the humble audience member will eagerly follow the news, and bet on what the next city that will be nuked into extinction. (Detroit looks like a good one; Flint is definitely a possibility; any city in China or Mexico---Vegas will love Trump as a President.) And can you get this level of interest with any of the other possibilities? No, only Trump will provide this level of entertainment for the world.

And just look at the exciting possibilities of using the Constitution as toilet paper. With a stroke of a pen, Trump will cross out that annoying bit in the Constitution about birth-right citizenship. Suddenly everyone is eligible for deportation, baths at the end of a fire hose, the forced watching of people melting from radiation exposure. It does not matter if your parents are illegal immigrants and you being an anchor baby, or if your ancestors fought in the good war against that evil English king, everyone loses their citizenship. What country are you going to be deported to? Who knows--but it will be interesting, you will pay attention to the news and fear those interesting SWAT and Department of Cool Deportation trucks rolling down the street.

Plus mass shooting and terrorism will become more interesting, and we all know that the problem with mass shootings and terrorism is that it is so boring. But not anymore, for Trump will issue everyone, including my dear grandmother, a gun and send them out into the streets to hunt down the next terrorist and mass shooter. You will have a personal interest, and you can't get any more interesting than a personal interest, in finding that killer before they find you. Just remember that there are three terrorists living in your neighborhood, and they could be anyone (lesbians, Mexicans, blacks, Muslims, witches, the neighbor with the barking dogs), so make sure that you shoot them before they blow you up using bombs disguised as cupcakes.

Trump can even make economics interesting. The newest game show will be Who Will Be Replaced By a Robot today?! Yes, that is right, Trump will close the borders, forcing employers to create jobs for super-cheap working robots. There will be none of this nonsense with unemployment figures because everyone will be unemployed. Plus Trump will fix all the budget problems by eliminating all government welfare and health programs. You will thrill to the possibilities of starving to death, or being eaten by unemployed cannibals. And what could be more interesting than unemployed cannibals? I don't know; but Trump is sure to think of it, and you know that you are so interested in knowing the answer that you are going to vote for Trump.

You are going to vote for Trump! And you are going to vote for Trump! And you are going to vote for Trump! Everyone is going to vote for Trump! That's right, no one else is going to vote for anyone else because to do so would be voter fraud; and let's be honest, voter fraud is so boring. And it would be so boring to vote for Hillary or Jill or that crazy guy with the boot on his head--none of them will do the interesting things that Trump will do.

Remember as an American voter, you have the right to vote for the candidate that will make your life the most interesting, and that is Trump!

[And if you don't think that "interesting" is a good measure of who is going to win, just look at the other candidates that Trump was chosen over, including boring Jeb Bush and the other thirty-eight boring candidates. And who do you talk about the most---yeah, you are most interested in talking about Trump---so go for the hat trick, and just vote for him. You know that you do not want to be bored, so go for the most interesting and entertaining candidate available.]

Trulhu 2016! The last President you will ever need.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jill Stein ballot map

Where you can vote for Jill Stein (if you feel like doing so)
Remember that as a voter, you have the right to vote for whoever you feel like voting for. You also have the right not to tell anyone about how you are using your vote. And if your heart tells you to vote for a third party candidate, let's say Jill Stein, that's your right. And yes, you are going to be told that you are wasting your vote, or endangering the country for voting for the wrong person, but we are told every election that it is the wrong time to vote for a third party, so there is nothing new there. The important part is to vote, and then to put a bag over your head because the world is coming to an end for the billionth time.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Wait—slavery is still legal?

The other day, I received the voter’s blue book, that delightful document that informs a voter of the items that will be on the state ballot, or as my wife calls it, “something terribly boring that Morgan should read instead of me.” The voter’s blue book is not necessarily coma-inducing, but it is definitely a sleep aid. And there always seems to be at least one measure on the ballot, that even after reading the blue book, one is not sure how to vote on, leading one to debate whether flipping a coin is the best way to determine one’s vote (it is not—one should use the Morgan Law of Voter Guidance instead in such cases: When in doubt, vote No). 

One of the joys of reading the voter’s blue book is the discovery of things that are laws that one had no clue were laws. And I say, “joys” because I have no proper term for “gee, the laws are even more messed up than I thought they were” which the Germans or the Japanese probably have a word for; but given the fact that I only speak two languages (English and Bad English), I will never know if someone does not angrily email me proof of my total ignorance. 

(It should be noted that after several years of studying French that I remember all of nothing of that language, and the little bit of Hebrew and Yiddish I know is merely some technical terms for a system of mysticism that makes Zen look simple—one should not issue the advice that I should learn a foreign language because I have ready proven that I am a complete dunderhead in that department…well, unless you consider Cat to be a language, I am pretty fluent in that. But I digress…)

This election cycle, the surprise discovery was that slavery and involuntary servitude was still legal in the state of Colorado. Well, not for everyone. Just those duly convicted of a crime. It is not really surprising from an historical sense, but a modern person still half-looks-around and says, “Are we in Ancient Rome?” 

But the shocking part was the argument that the clause should remain in Colorado’s constitution—“Amendment T may result in uncertainty around current offender work practices in the state.” Yeah, just like the confusion, its exclusion creates in the twenty-five states which constitutions that this clause is absent from. After all, everyday some while in the news, there are reports of prisons, both governmental and private company-ran, suffering from the inability to force inmates to work. Oh wait, no, there is not (well, to the best of my knowledge, I am sure an angry reader will email me tons of links to such news reports to prove that not only am I a complete and total dunderhead, but that I am an ignorant liberal hippie who does not understand the economies of the modern prison system). Isn’t prison bad enough without having to resort to slavery? 

(By the way, for those who are curious, slavery “is a situation in which one person has absolute power over the life, fortune, and liberty of another person,” and involuntary servitude is “a condition of servitude in which one is forced to work for another person by the use or threat of physical restraint or physical injury, or by the use or threat of coercion through the law of the legal process.” Or as I like to call it, “my childhood, living with my mom, from ages twelve to eighteen.” [Yes, I know that I should not compare life-threatening child abuse with slavery and involuntary servitude, but I did—remember I read all the angry letters, so keep sending them.])

But then again, some people probably believe that slavery is too good for some criminals. I know a few people who think death is the only proper punishment for liberal, wise-cracking witches—slavery is too good for that sort of crime. Come to think of it, I am quite sure that some of those films I saw about the violent crime caused by marijuana use, were secretly arguing slavery as a punishment for getting caught with a joint. (As it is, getting caught with a joint can get you more prison time than being convicted of rape, and carries a lifelong sentence of being ineligible to vote [in most states], and requires you to admit to every potential employer for the rest of your life that you were as bad of a human being as murderers, thieves, and terrorists. From where I sit, the entire war on drugs is nothing more than a thinly veiled political maneuver designed to eliminate the voting powers of minorities and those dirty filthy hippies who believe wars and corporate greed is bad.)

Of course, the saddest part is that the law books are full of laws designed to punish certain types of people. A lot of them probably made sense at one time, well, provided that the sense was to punish certain types of people for being “not white” and “not rich.” For instance, there are anti-gypsy laws in almost every state. ” One particular one that I, a poor white boy, ran afoul of, was a Denver law requiring fortune tellers to pay a fifty dollar a day licensing fee. That’s not a typo—it was literally fifty dollars a day for the privilege of reading someone’s Tarot cards. A few years, the Denver Police decided to try to enforce it. And in the same mode that smoking marijuana makes you a murderous terrorist, fortune telling was called a “gateway crime” that leads to even worse crimes. Ok, maybe some con-men, or is it con-women, do use fortune telling as the opening bid to the “you are cursed—for a thousand dollars, I can un-hex you,” but one hopes that type of con-game has its own separate law forbidding it. (And yes, send me all the news reports of crooked psychics and fortune tellers to prove that we need to stop this stuff at its source because obviously, not only am I a liberal dunderhead, I am also completely ignorant of how often it actually happens.)  

[After I wrote this column for the Hearthstone Community Church's newsletter just last week, I have learned that fortune telling is illegal in Las Vegas...]

And there are sillier laws out there, if one bothers to look. One of my jokes this election season, typically after someone tells me that making jokes will not make America great again, has been to point out that the next President will make it against the law to make jokes about the President on the first day that they are in office. (If you think I am truly making a joke, just remember that one of the campaign promises that has been made is to make it easier to sue journalists for reporting the truth—as in reporting the actual words said by a person will be an offense worthy of big dollar judgements against journalists. One imagines that comedians are not far behind in being outlawed.) And if you don’t think that it could happen, consider this: The leader of North Korea, who is admired for being a strong man and a winner by one of the Presidential candidates, outlawed sarcasm last month. Hell, sarcasm is most of my writing style—if the next American President takes their cue from strong-arm countries—I will soon be arrested, convicted, and jailed, with a judge exclaiming that slavery is too good for me. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pre-release sale Denver Witch Quarterly Samhain-Yule 2016 issue

Denver Witch Quarterly Samhain/Yule 2016 issue

Denver Witch Quarterly is a magazine devoted to paganism, Wicca, witchcraft, magick, and the occult.

Get it now at the pre-release price.

In this issue, we explore the techniques and ethics of cursing and hexing. From the mass hexing of convicted rapist, swimmer Brock Turner, to the global bindings of ISIL, to revenge spells, cursing, hexing, and binding is part of the toolbox of magicians and witches worldwide.

Are public hexings merely exercising one's First Amendment rights? Or are curses effective enough to limit the actions of individuals and organizations?

Plus Samhain and Yule stuff!!!

DWQ Samhain/Yule 2016 issue includes:

Editorials about whether or not, it is ethical to hex a rapist; Black Lives Matter (BHC); gun violence and gun control.

Fiction: Short stories by A. J. Hallows (The Nightlight) and B. H. Crowley (Basil Unsealed). Plus a poem, Living Art by B. H. Crowley.

Rituals: A fairy ritual in poetic form (MDE); An Anubis Samhain ritual and Honoring Horus on the Winter Solstice (Moongazer).

Instructional article: Heavenly Watchers—Using the Four Royal Stars (Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares, Fomahault) and Sirius in astrology and magic (MDE).

Interview with Gaius Corbin—The Voice of the Necronomicon Translation Project.

Also included: Profit and Occult Writers—is it ethical for occult writers to make money? (Morgan Drake Eckstein)

And remember that the Denver Witch Quarterly is always seeking submissions for upcoming issues: editorials and non-fiction articles on paganism, occultism, magic, witchcraft, and Wicca; fiction and poetry; humor and cartoons; artwork and photographs.

The holidays for next issue are Imbolc and Ostara, and the special focus of the issue is on wealth, luck, and prosperity.

DWQ Samhain/Yule 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Should we pick the lesser of two evils for President? (August OFM column)

 [The following was written for the August Hearthstone Community Church newsletter...and for some reason, I didn't share it on the blog here...but given that I am pissing people off today:]

[A month] from now, the American people will elect the worst President ever. This will continue a trend that has been going on for the entirety of American history. And it does not matter who you vote for, half of the country will think that you wasted your vote on a meat popsicle without a brain or ethics. But on a bright note, the longest election cycle ever will finally come to a close. 

Our current election cycle started nine years ago when one political party nominated and then elected the worst person for the job. The only proper response to this was for the other political party to do everything that they could to prevent the President from doing anything while in office. And that is the plan for this election too. 

(Pardon the lack of proper names in this article; I plan on recycling this article eight years from now because history is going to repeat itself. And I don’t want to go to the effort to having to Mad-Lib the names out.)

After all, we have Lex Luthor running against the Joker…though I am little confused about which one is which. Somehow, the two main political parties in this country have managed to find the two biggest villains in America, deciding that the greater evil is somehow the solution, and we are going to be stuck with one of these villains. Both are brain dead; both are crooks; and both are completely wrong for America. 

Or so, I have been told numerous times. 

Exactly whose fault this is, depends upon who you ask. But it is someone’s fault, just not yours. And just remember that we could be living at the dawn of a new golden age, if only people would be sensible, and vote for the right person…except that half the country already believes that the right person is the biggest disaster to happen to the United States in its entire history. 

I must admit that it worries me that half the country already believes that whoever gets elected is a bigger menace to the United States than anyone who has served before them. “They are not my President” will be uttered by half the population while encouraging their chosen political party to do everything in their power to stop the President from accomplishing anything. 

And so the slow descent into madness will continue in this country. And there is really nothing that we can do about it because enough people have accepted this reality to make it true. 

Among the ideas that are always trotted out at this point is the idea of not voting. Sorry, just because you did not vote, it does not make you innocent in the fact that American politics are a complete mess. You want to know how politicians treat those who do not vote? They ignore non-voters—your concerns do not matter. Yes, it gives you the moral high ground, but at the price of not mattering at all. 

Another idea is to vote for a third party. I will admit that part of the problem with this country is that we have fallen into a two party system that exists more to serve the needs of politicians and special interests than it does to serve the American people. But having more than two political parties is not a magical bullet—just look at some of the nonsense that happens in countries that have more than two political parties—it looks much the same, except that it is harder to put all the blame on a single political party for screwing everything up. Yes, we need more options, but is this really the time to try creating a viable third option?

Yes, that is right—I don’t consider any of the existing third party options to be viable. In fact, I would actually argue that at least one of the existing third parties is a vanity party; it is nice for stroking one’s ego while saying that you are not part of the problem—but let’s be honest, if the third party candidate is not on the ballot in all fifty states, then that political party is not actually serious about challenging the status quo. 

The only real solution is a hard ugly one—years and years of people voting in every election, so that we have better politicians in play. That means we have to pay attention to politics in every election, not just every four years. That means voting for people running for dog catcher and whatnot. And that includes those who want to see a viable third party. A viable third party needs to have voters that turn out for it in every election, year in, year out. 

And yes, I know that sounds like a lot of hard work. But the alternative is having to pick between the lesser of two evils. Remember that correcting the political system is a marathon, not a sprint. We should not have to choose between Lex Luthor and the Joker….but seriously, it will probably remain that way forever because too few voters want to do the work (aka knowing the issues and voting every election) to fix the system. So please welcome the arrival of the worst President in history—at least until we nominate and elect someone even worse which is sure to happen in the next Presidential election cycle.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rich people are good (apologies to rich people for saying otherwise)

Earlier today, I shared a political cartoon of Trump standing on a pillar and pissing on a person of the middle class. And I said, that...

Having worked for people with money, and having seen first-hand how they treat their employees, I can firmly state that giving the rich more money does not create jobs for anyone else.

To which, someone pointed out that this is an unfair generalization, and that I should be ashamed of myself for implying that rich people make bad employers and that giving more money to the rich will not create any more wealth, or jobs, or happiness for the middle class.

So in the way of an apology, here is a long-ass philosophical argument that proves that you should not listen to me, and should always assume that the rich are great and wonderful people who are much better than you are because they have more money than you do---and that is the only sign that you need to gauge someone's goodness is plain simple money stacked up to the ceiling.

Let's begin...

So basically, we should assume that only the best rich people are getting the tax breaks, and continue doing as we have been doing because any evidence to the contrary is an insult to the occasional good rich person. We should also assume that the only bad rich people are the ones that I have personally encountered, and that none of the rest of them are bad at all, despite any mathematical based economic data that indicates that there has to be far more bad ones than just the ones that I can personally account for, and which seems to indicate that on the average, rich people must be a bunch of greedy bastards, because well, we don't want to create an unfair socialist law that will hurt the good rich people who are less able to survive the additional financial burden than the poor people that the few bad rich people do abuse, all of which are accounted for by my own personal experience. And with this much better generalization, one that says that the only bad rich people are the ones that come in contract with me and me alone, we can safely vote for SOMERICHGUYORLADY 2016 who will wisely have me shot at dawn because it will remove the bad rich person curse from the world, and everyone, other than me, who should be dead because I keep encountering bad rich people, will be much better off and live happily ever after using the economic principle that only rich people create jobs.

And that is why I hate economic philosophy and Republican Jesus---because the equations and assumptions that people are generally good, and all the bad ones somehow the result of my presence in the universe, always end up with me having to die to make the universe an economically fair place.

 Of course, I am one of those evil people who believe that the health of our economy actually requires average (not rich) people having more money to spend, which creates a demand for new jobs to fill the need to make products and provide services, which in turn...well, let's just say that my theory says that it is better for your average person to have more money than a rich person being able to afford a bigger yacht.
But then again, we do know for a fact, because we have been told by good rich people, that the only reason that poor people are poor is that they are simply just too damn lazy and are not willing to work for less money. Of course, I am making the assumption here that Trump is actually a good rich person and that the slim economic data that we have on him is completely misleading. But given that I am poor and he is rich, we know that I must be wrong about him, and therefore, he is completely right in saying that the minimum wage is too high already, and that it needs to be dialed back in order for the true job creators, the filthy rich, can create more jobs.

One should also ignore any evidence that seems to indicate that rich people like to hoard money and hide it offshore because in truth, it is unfair to expect rich people to pay their fair share of taxes, leaving the entire tax burden on those who are not wholesome enough to move their money out of the United States. After all, poor people are used to being poor, and if they were better at working harder than they too would have the money, and the moral obligation to hide their money offshore. We should not punish good rich people, just because the evidence says that the average rich person has less morals than Scrooge McDuck.

And reading this, I realize that it is really sad that I chose to be a literary critic and historian, with only a minor interest in protecting rich people, because based on what I just wrote, I would be brilliant at proving that rich people are good, and that all the evil people in the world are poor.

 Hell, I would have made a great spokesperson for Trump.

So dear rich people, I am so sorry that I have accused you of being evil, just because I have had the misfortune in running into the only evil/bad rich people in America. But I am still going to do my best to avoid the righteous firing squad because I am an evil poor person who does not care about how unfortunate it is for you to be rich, and the fact that I keep creating anomalies that indicate that rich people are selfish bastards.