Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Thoughts On Paranoia

Based on something tonight, I felt I wanted to discuss this a bit.

In many cases, magick aids and abets paranoia. The magician having created a fully functional microcosm, and adjusted to trance - especially by its very nature oracular trance - will often find that significance and meaning are picked up by cues in his surrounding. These are often in relation to his or her own life, but the more adept (and note that the term is in lower case in this choice of words) can do the same for the world around them. The danger lies in applying significance to fears or desires, rather than coming possibilities. In other words: the shuffle of tarot cards reveals a set of symbols relating to patterns which surround one - which can be complex or simplistic - and can reveal things of which we are consciously unaware. Those particularly skilled, can glean this information without a set oracle. (Yes, I am implying that I can detect patterns of meaning from wandering down the street and letting my eyes drift over license plates until the "shock" of a coming or going occurance - be it microcosmic or macrocosmic occurs. In fact, I've done it with news reports to aptly predict future patterns a few times while quite stoned and scared my less magically inclined compatriots shitless.)

However: this form of trance, and communication with the oracle, becomes dangerous when unfulfilled desires or previously dwelling issues take hold and pervert the meaning. The burdgeoning magician easily becomes convinced s/he's special; and they are quite right. And wrong. By participating in this form of communication with the universe they are special. However they are hardly of significance on a grand scale in many cases. The crux of the problem comes in two forms early on:

1. Convinced that they are "special," they believe they enter communication with an entity and it feeds them lies. They then conclude that they are in some way macrocosmically important. This ideation often involves belief that one is an Avatar, the right hand of God, or something similar. They immediately seek to bring this message of their living embodiment of whatever to the wide world. The response of the world, normally bitchy and snarky, often hits them not unlike a large truck driving down the road at sixty miles an hour and breeds a martyr complex. (They become convinced that agents of a hostile universe to their message of love are everywhere.) The good news here is that they rarely get enough followers to make a religion and at best have a handful of people that listen to them.

2. Convinced that they are "special," they enter communication with some of their inner (unconscious) drives and desires, and similarly become convinced that they've achieved a pinnacle of experience before they have, in fact, reached the necessary point. This is the face of the Uber-Adept. The 18 year old Magister Templi. The would-be badass. The wanna-Blessed Be. The good news here is that few pack a punch.

Now, those are just two examples and the list is endless. The big thing to remember is that paranoia on its own isn't dangerous - in fact attempting to completely remove it from one's self can be even more so to you - but that when it's fueled by delusions of grandeur or fear it becomes something quite different. Magickal paranoia is typically really just a type of oracular trance which allows you to detect patterns within information structures and derive personal or otherwise meaning from. But if fear, a deep seated need to be something more on a grand scale (delusion), or hate fuels it then it becomes the sword that cuts into one and severs the actual meaning of data.

The basic mechanisms for destroying problems of these sorts are skepticism - in fact a personal skepticism that can occasionally borderline on cynicism and focused on the self - and grounding. The act of returning to the earth, like a tribal shaman gathering food for the village, is particularly important because if delusions get too out of hand they can truly destroy one's capacity to grow magically. On the other hand, since the above examples are quite common, they are occasionally simply stumbling blocks to step over. (Just hope people don't remember when you were an idiot or, better yet, remember when they were also idiots.)

Our fears personified by trance and technique can become demons which haunt us when these situations are reversed into the negative. Likewise paranoia becomes fuel for a repeating pattern in which the affirmation that "something is going on" even if the fact is that we are causing it all own our own.

The best curses are always self-induced. Who knows what we fear - about ourselves and the world around us - better? Not a single soul. That is the hidden power found in flashing the "Evil Eye" at a superstitious individual. Often the threat is more than enough for the sorcerer or witch to aid them in destroy themselves.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or (as it ended yesterday) Saturnalia...

Seasons Greetings and much love. One thing to remember is regardless of what we celebrate, the season is all about who you love, when you love, and how you love. Family and friends.

I, personally, celebrate the rising of the Great Old Ones who will devour all of humanity once the stars align correctly, bringing forth destruction and despair. But I make sure to love everyone before they get eaten (whether first or last)!

Ahem, ignore the above. What I mean to say is that it isn't the name - Hell, you can worship consumerism for all I care - but the idea. That we all huddle together as the cold bears down on us, and grin at one another despite the shivers.

The name is immaterial. It's all about the feeling the possibility of the Holiday season can provide. And in America, a lot of pretty lights. Which, I have to admit, aren't all that bad either.

Whether it's the manifestation of the Logos in human form, the redemption of humanity through the birth of a deified savior, the birth of a God (Dionysos, Mithras, whoever else), a reversal of conditions; or a celebration of how much cash we can throw at one another, I think the point is looking across the field at those that surround you and relaxing for ten seconds to celebrate the fact that we're all more or less still here.

So leave a plate of food out for the ancestors that brought you about, and love the people still with you. Today or tomorrow could always be their last. So love them right now, without exception or expectation, and enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Post Yule Tidings for a Very Scary Cthulhumas.

You all rock. I'll see you after the stars stop being right for my evil, Qliphotic, Lovecraftian rituals of doom.



Not that I'm actually conducting any. But you have to keep up the ill-repute after so many years.

And lastly, I bring you a dose of Church inspired Fail via Failblog:



Be seeing you.
Jack Faust

Monday, December 8, 2008

Woah.

Today I was sent a publishing contract for stuff written four years ago or so.

Color me stupid, but I didn't see that coming. This, plus Bluebird, and everything else...

Now... to get ready to visit Sacramento. Be writing again when I get back.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Unexpected Inspiration.

"But even the Germanic gods and heroes are surrounded by this rebuffing immensity and enigmatic gloom. They are steeped in music and in night, for daylight gives visual bounds and therefore shapes bodily things. Night eliminates body; day, soul. Apollo and Athene have no souls. On Olympus rests the eternal light of the transparent southern day, and Apollo's hour is high noon, when the great Pan sleeps. But Valhalla is lightless, and even in the Eddas we can race that deep midnight of Faust's study-broodings, the midnight that is caught by Rembrandt's etchings and absorbs Beethoven's tone-colours. No Wotan or Baldur or Freya has 'Euclidean' form. Of them, as of the Vedic gods of India, it can be said that they suffer not 'any graven image or likeness whatsoever'; and this impossibility carries an implicit recognition that eternal space, and not the corporeal copy - which levels them down, desecrates them, denies them - is the supreme symbol. This is the deep-felt motive that underlies the iconoclastic storms in Islam and Byzantium (both, be it noted, of the seventh century), and the closely similar movement in our Protestant North. Was not Descartes' creation of the Anti-Euclidean analysis of space an iconoclasm?"
- Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West.


Expect to see this quote in an upcoming piece, from one Joshua Carfax and myself exploring two of Spare's techniques (The Death Posture and Atavistic Resurgence), of which at least the introduction will be posted here. (It is highly likely that it will be published in a currently forth-coming 'zine, hence I'm not willing to put the whole thing online.) Ramblings on something that's important to me for mostly ego-based things also forthcoming.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Invisible College.

"Our job is to inspire freedom, and that includes cognitive freedom. For every mind we free, twelve others will prefer to remain as part of the sheep-herd and within the taxonomies and categorizations that our predecessors inspired. This is not our fault, nor the problem. Twelve more still will decide they've become prematurely enlightened because they found Hot Topic and crap music. This, too, does not mean they are our enemy. We have no enemies. Our goal is to reach one person, for one second and give them a glimpse of the possibilities. Words are weapons: though it is a slow-moving war, it is still a war. Not between the dichotomies and twin dualisms of "us and them," but towards a moment where we can all appear equal on the field and let history - rather than the machinery of society - sort the two out. Should we fail, so be it. Better still than the possibility of never trying. Our writings may be forgotten, and fade with time, but there still exists the possibility that they will remain and inspire others. This is not a chore. It is a labor of love. It is the Game and the only game worth playing.

We cannot yet say, as the Ranters did, that Empire nor the machinery of the State-Church apparatus is undone. We cannot yet say we have come nearly far enough. Bruno burned; as did so many others of our heroes. Our blessing alone is to burn brighter while still standing. This is not revolution; this is just one more task.
Still.. It is the only task worth pursuing."
- The Travelogue of Jack Faust. January 3rd, 2006.

(Written for the adherents of the Black Sun, the HedKult, and the Diamond Dogs of Kwan-Lyl prior to the Splintering of the Nomads.)

Dogma, Dictation, & Relevence.

Yesterday I made a (livejournal) post about how horrid S. Meyer's "Twilight" books are, and waves of people clashed in my comments. Some comments, including my own, were more abusive than others. I will not justify myself nor anyone else. Insofar as my journal goes: you are free to duke it out. I encourage it. Which is not to say that I encourage flame wars. I simply think that conflict is a necessity of the human condition and can lead to far different outlooks on all parts of those involved if given its place. No one will be asked to come to this journal with fluffy Neo-Pagan "perfect love and perfect trust" hogwash that doesn't exist. "As brothers (and sisters), fight ye!"

But there's one thing that bothers me. It's something that I didn't detect until I woke up this morning... and sat on my glasses. I was literally thinking about it at the moment I sat on my glasses, no less. (Which I took as an omen.) Which led to two startling conclusions:
1. I should probably not toss my glasses on my chair when crashing because I'm lazy. Because I will inevitably sit on them upon waking up.
2. We have a funny idea of what kids should be exposed to in this country.

The idea that books written for "young adults" should or can fall to lower standards than those written for adults is atrocious and completely insulting. But considering how "educated" Americans are right now it really isn't very surprising.

Every child that isn't mentally retarded should be able to, or at least encouraged, to read Shakespeare at age twelve. This is not to put Shakespeare on a pedestal the way many middle school and high school (and I refuse to capitalize the terms on principle) teachers do so. There is no reason a child needs to be expected to understand all of the content involved... But I'll bet that most, if not all, children can manage the task given the appropriate time-frame and people willing to explain what's going on.

During the Dubya years, which is not to suggest politics but general mentality, we've seen a significant factor of intellectual crippling in American society - ranging from television to literature - that is astonishing. From a President who's speeches were worse than many given by second language citizens to the rise of "Reality Television" we've continually crippled the benchmark for learning, understanding, and content.

Saying things like, "if you want adult stories, don't visit the young adult section of the bookstore" is fucking terrifying. Saying things like, "kids read it," is fucking terrifying. These are inapt justifications for shoving (as Samuel /Sammaelhain 23 commented) junk food down our kids' throats and then not understanding why they'd bypass the four-course meal for fucking cheetohs.

If our standards have become so low that white-washed teen-MTV bullshit with veiled propaganda is the best we can hand out then we're in bad shape. And if the inability to recognize that is part of the problem, then someone needs to point it out. I may not be the best individual (between Shakespeare - because I was told his works were "far too hard" for me to read - and classics I also read pure Cheesy-puff delicious content too: the Forgotten Realms novels are hardly amazing literature. They still have more to offer than the Twilight books, however).

Stop stunting children and let them amaze you. Lowering the benchmark because the back of the book states "Young Adult" as the targeted readers is fucking atrocious. And some people should still be ashamed of themselves. The bias inherent in it is that "children can't understand" - and the fact of the matter is that we aren't giving them things to understand. Especially things like relevance. Questions revolving around sexuality, politics, ideology, and divergence in opinions and belief are all the more important to expose kids to. Because these are things that as they become adults will become further ingrained in them unless they're given the options to play with before they're adults.

If there's one thing I admitted about the Twilight books then it's that sex wasn't taken for granted. That doesn't make the novels any better, however. That just shows a need for better novels with the same content. Of which there certainly is: a vast majority of Victorian novels played with similar themes not relegated to children. Instead of forcing twaddle down kids' throats, why not expose them to The Portrait of Dorian Gray and then ask them questions like: "what do you think?"

They're "young adults." As the label implies, they can more than hack it. If we let them. Stop forcing children and "young adults" to deal with Spongebob-esque novelizations and open the fucking doors to both their imaginations and capacity to reason. They can, and will, surprise us all.

A quote to end this commentary:
'Repeated exposure to myths – or merely mythic motifs – rather than conscious learning is responsible for embedding myths into the structure of our consciousnesses. Such 'deep structures' manifest in the modern world not so much as fully-formed mythical narratives but rather as 'fragmentary references, indirect allusions, watchwords, slogans, visual symbols, echoes in literature, film, songs, public ceremonies, and other forms of everyday situations, often highly condensed and emotionally charged.' (Flood 1996: 84)

If this seems rather abstract, consider this Jewish proverb:

We do not see things the way they are but as we are.

- Foamy Custard, Cosmologies as Deep Structures.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Solus Negris

The Nomads or Black Popes of the Wastes
(By: Jay LeRoy.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

From the Mouth of Scholars.

An Academic (P)Review of Akins' Lebor Feasa Runda.

An epic throw-down of actual academia versus blatant fraud. Or what looks to be blatant fraud (and probably is).

A bit of background on the author can humorously be found here.

For those interested in Celtic traditionalism they both seem a must read to me. It's not really my forte but it is a fascinating thing to see happening!

My applause goes to LJ-user Alfrecht for taking a stand.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tonight's Considerations.

I find myself increasingly uncomfortable, or at least doubtful, in regards to people who believe in "The Truth" or even "a Truth" with respect to their spirituality. As to the latter, I can see some justice there; but it still seems to me that it's bred on faith rather than belief, and that faith is a subject matter which doesn't lend itself fully to magical exploration. While I can fully understand and appreciate Fr. RO, for example, for his beliefs and capacity as a magician and a Christian... Most others seem to end up rabid idiots who try to shove their "Truths" down the throats of others. And that's where my problems begin.

The second comments about "the right way to do things," or "the Truth underlying all things" comes up I find myself shutting them out as morons, which is no less dogmatic in a sense. At the same time, it always flies out of the mouths of fundamentalists and zealots and they ping my "crazy fuckers" meter.

The assumption that there is one, true way or one, true path seems to me limited. Even in a personal sense. While being connected to strands or ideas of fate can be comforting, they seem no less dangerous to me.

Especially when rival ideas or thought patterns enter the picture. It seems to me that Truth in a spiritual sense is a very pernicious thought pattern indeed, and I police myself to avoid it as best I can. Those that don't... well, they bother me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dionysian Atavisms

Now without adult content warnings!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Magick & Karma

“This idea of Karma has been confused by many who ought to have known better...

Karma does not work in this way at all. In any case moral fables have to be very carefully constructed, or they may prove dangerous to those who used them...

Karma does not act in this tit-for-tat way. An eye for an eye is a savage justice, and the idea of justice in our human sense is quite foreign to the constitution of the universe.

Karma is the law of cause and effect. There is no proportion in its operations. Once an accident occurs it is impossible to say what may happen; and the Universe is a stupendous accident.

We go out to tea one-thousand times without mishap, and on the thousand-and-first we meet someone who radically changes our lives forever.

There is a sort of sense in which every impression that is made upon our minds is the resultant of all the forces of the past; no incident is so trifling that is has not in some way shaped one's disposition. But there is none of this crude retribution about it. One may kill a hundred thousand lice in one brief hour at the foot of Baltoro Glacier, as Fr. P. once did. It would be stupid to suppose, as the Theosophist inclines to suppose, that this action involves one in the doom of being killed by a louse a hundred thousand times.

The ledger of karma is kept separate from the petty cash account; and in respect of bulk this petty cash account is very much bigger than the ledger.

If we eat too much salmon we get indigestion and perhaps a nightmare. It is silly to suppose that a time will come when a salmon will eat us, and find us disagreeable. On the other hand we are always being terribly punished for actions that are not faults at all. Even our virtues rouse insulted nature to revenge. Karma only grows by what it feeds on; and if karma is to be properly brought up it requires a very careful diet. With the majority of people their actions cancel each other out; no sooner is effort made than it is counter-balanced by idleness. Eros gives place to Anteros. Not one man in a thousand makes even an apparent escape from the commonplace of animal life.”

- Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory & Practice.

“It's about time that we as magicians finally de-demonize this concept of karma and free it from this childish burden. If you punch some guy in the nose, the only "karma" involved is that the person's nose will hurt and that's all! The fact that he might punch you back is a secondary result of your victim's pain, or his anger about his own inability to recognize your aggressive intentions and move his head in time.

But better than the naive, ill-considered burden of the old guilt and repentance complex would be the psychological approach that propagates avoiding any kind of karma at all, otherwise it might lead to a moral conflict that could even go as far as to cause psychosomatic illnesses. In this sense, it would be psychologically a good idea to only do what you really believe in with your whole heart.”

- Fr. UD, High Magick: Theory & Practice.

Theosophical discourses on magick and karma are bogus, and always have been. Right/Left, Black/White worries for wankers who need the universe to love them because they did "the right thing."

Morals matter in magick because we make our own decisions, right or wrong, thus defining ourselves. But it's still a choice on the part of the practitioner; not some universe-instilled dogma dictated by higher sources. The wheel of Karma simply is. To Hell with the rest of the worries. This would is our playground; perceptual reality our tool. We do not desire to be free from the constraints of it's pains or horrors because they shape us, as we too can shape the world.

Love is the goddamn Law. Love under fucking Will.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

From the "Exile II" Pieces.

***

“The end of sorrow is come; I will ravish you away into mine unutterable joy.
I will kiss you, and bring you to the bridal: I will spread a feast before you in the house of happiness.
I am not come to rebuke you, or to enslave you.
I bid you not turn from your voluptuous ways, from your idleness, from your follies.
But I bring you joy to your pleasure, peace to your languor, wisdom to your folly.
All that ye do is right, if so be that ye enjoy it.
I am come against sorrow, against weariness, against them that seek to enslave you…
I have hidden myself beneath a mask: I am a black and terrible God.
- Aleister Crowley, Liber Tzaddi

“Abaoth! Abraxas! Pur! Put! Aeou! Thoth! Ee! Oo! Uu! Iao Sabaoth! Dogs of Hell! Mumble spell! Up! Up! Up! Sup! Sup! Sup! U! Aoth! Abaoth! Abraoth! Sabaoth! Livid, loath, Obey the oath! Ah!”
- Hermes, Liber CCCXXXV

“Professor Upham especially liked his demonstration of the kinship of higher mathematics to certain phases of magical lore transmitted down the ages from an ineffable antiquity - human or pre-human - whose knowledge of the cosmos and its laws was greater than ours.”
- H. P. Lovecraft, Dreams in the Witch-House

***

IAO! AIO! IAO!

Thou do I call upon, Akakêsios, divine harbinger, free from harm.
Thou do I call upon, Promakhos, mask of the victor unto whom enemies cannot overcome.
Thou do I call upon, Arkas, messenger and chief Daemon of all Daemons.
I invoke thee, Hermes Propylaeus, messenger of messengers!
Thou do I invoke, God of the Golden Sword, slayer of Gigante, swift-footed thief of the night and divine wanderer.


OIOSENDMIGADON ORTHO BAUBO NIOERE KODERETH DOSERE SYRE SUROE SANKISTE DODEKAKISTE AKOUROBORE KODERE RINOTON KOUMETANA ROUBITHA NOUMILA PERPHEROU AROUORER AROUER!

Thou do I call upon, Hermes Kyllenios! IAO! Divine child, descend!
Thou do I call upon, Hermes Polytropus, who art THOOUTH!
I know thy secret names and signs; descend upon me!

OIOSENDMIGADON ORTHO BAUBO NIOERE KODERETH DOSERE SYRE SUROE SANKISTE DODEKAKISTE AKOUROBORE KODERE RINOTON KOUMETANA ROUBITHA NOUMILA PERPHEROU AROUORER AROUER!

AIO! IAO! AIO!

I am thee, vessel and avatar; my feet swifter than the winds; before me upon the Gates of the Pit; for even Hecate kneels at my feet—I am thee, helper, hinderer; rogue and messenger of the Gods!

I am Hermanubis—the fox-face before the black courts of judgment and bringer of strange dreams, connection of the divine! I AM! I AM! IAO! I AM I AM! AIO! I AM! FOR BEHOLD: I OPEN THE PIT WITH THE KEY TO THE LOCK OF AGES!


***

From the Journal of “St.” Jack Faust: June 23rd, 2007. “Shadow.” wrote;


From the Papyri of Abaris (PGM III.502-536; 612-632, circa 350 CE):
1. Perform the rite of purification as seen fit.

2. Lay on your stomach and stretch your hands recite:

“Cause now my shadow to serve me, because I know thy sacred names and thy signs and symbols, and who thou art at each hour, and what thy name is.”

3. Stand and recite:

“In the first hour thou hast the form and character of a young monkey, the tree thou dost produce is the silver fir, the stone the aphanos, the bird the owl; on land, the ram—thy name is PHROUER.

In the second hour thou hast the form of a unicorn, the tree thou dost produce is the persea, the stone the pottery stone; the bird the halouchakon; on land the ichneumon—thy name is BAZETOPHOTH.

In the third hour thou hast the form of a cat, the tree thou dost produce is the fig tree, the stone is the samouchos; the bird, the parrot, on land, the frog—thy name is AKRAMMACHAMMAREI.

In the fourth hour thou hast the form of a bull, the tree thou dost produce is the olive, the stone is the amethyst; the bird the turtle-dove; on land, the bull—thy name is DAMNAMENEUS.

In the firth hour thou hast the form of a lion, the tree thou dost produce is the prickly shrub, the stone is the loadstone; the bird is the hawk; on land the crocodile—thy name is PHOKENGEPSEUARETATHOUMISONKTAIKT.

In the sixth hour thou hast the form of a donkey, the tree thou dost produce is the thorn tree, the stone the lapis lazuli; in the sea, the jellyfish; on land the white-faced cow—thy name is EIAU AKRI LYX IAO.

In the seventh hour thou hast the form of a crayfish; the tree thou dost produce is the popular, the stone is the sun opal; the bird the eagle; on land the cat—thy name is MAUIUEOR.

In the eighth hour thou hast the form of an elephant, the tree thou dost produce is the aloe, the stone is the emerald; the bird the great sparrow; on land the hippopotamus—thy name is APETEPA.

In the ninth hour thou hast the form of an ibis, the plant thou dost produce is the lotus, the stone is aquamarine; the bird is the eagle; on land the chameleon—thy name is THECHOMACHEI.

In the tenth hour thou hast the form of a scorpion, the tree thou dost produce is the acacia, the stone is the snakestone; the bird is the phoenix; on land the beetle—thy name is SERKACHEPHAREUS.

In the eleventh hour thou hast the form of a jackal, the plant thou dost produce is the papyrus, the stone is granite; the bird is the vulture; on land the Ibis—thy name is ANAPTHEOUTA.

In the twelfth hour thou hast the form of a dog, the tree thou dost produce is the palm; the stone is the crystal; the bird is the little swallow; on land the bull—thy name is OUCHERACHEPHES.

I have uttered thy sacred names and thy signs and thy symbols, wherefore, O Lord, cause my shadow to serve me!”

4. In the seventh hour thy shadow will visit you; speak unto it: FOLLOW ME EVERYWHERE AND SERVE ME.

5. Close as you see fit.

***

“O Thou wild daughter of Chaos, that art ravished by the strong son of law! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!
O Thou ghostly night of terror, that art slaughtered in the blood of the dawn! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!
O Thou poppied nectar of sleep, that art curled in the still womb of slumber! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!
O Thou burning rapture of girls, that disport in the sunset of passion! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!
O Thou molten ocean of stars, that art a crown for the forehead of day! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!
O Thou little brook in the hills, like an asp betwixt the breasts of a girl! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!
O Thou mighty oak of magic, that art rooted in the mountain of life! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!”
- Liber 963; III 23-29.


“Wherefore I charge you that ye come unto me in the Beginning; for if ye take but one step in this Path, ye must arrive inevitably at the end thereof.
This Path is beyond Life and Death; it is also beyond Love; but that ye know not, for ye know not Love.
And the end thereof is known not even unto Our Lady or to the Beast whereon She rideth; nor unto the Virgin her daughter nor unto Chaos her lawful Lord; but unto the Crowned Child is it known? It is not known if it be known.”
- Crowley, Liber Cheth

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Woods & Its Daemonaic Reality

Or A charming tale of three witches and a girl with an axe to grind.

"How many football players put it in you before your mom got sick of having another tramp around the house?"
- Heather Fasulo, The Woods (2006)

"Destroy what destroys you."
- KMFDM, DIY

It's rare that I enjoy a fairly recent horror movie these days. It takes a certain type of person, I rather suspect, to enjoy the genre. That's why horror fans always seem to recognize one another and have a strange, grudging respect for a fellow aficionado. For the last decade or two Hollywood has cranked out innumerable re-makes or at least pillaged the same plot repeatedly beyond the point of cliche and to such a degree that I rarely bother.

Case in point, the last three semi-recent horror flicks I enjoyed were all Lovecraftian in nature and all were B-rated films. (Dagon, The Call of Cthulhu, and The Attic Explorations. I almost enjoyed Beyond the Wall of Sleep... But it was complete crap. Mostly I liked the crazily evil children chanting eerie nursery rhymes with Sumerian glyphs flashing in the background as they danced.)

The Woods was an odd exception. And I almost passed it by until I read a review by a fellow horror lover. The mainstream reviews are all complete crap. I want to preface this with an explaination. When I was twelve or thirteen, I was firmly banned from reading horror novels. Especially novels containing the following: witches, demons, familiars, curses, or anything vaguely magically related. The reasons were two-fold: at some point my mother re-coverted to her Southern Baptist lineage and decided to take after her parents in ways and methods related to retardation revolving around fiction and Bible thumping. The second reason was that when I was six or seven, a friend read me a story (I could not actually read more than "Bearenstein Bears" prior to being eight; yes, I know. It's shocking--I jumped from "The Bears" to Tolkien and within a year or two, Shakespeare's Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream) from Scariest Stories to Read in the Dark involving a madman who thought he was a vampire. What ensued were months, if not a year or two, of nightmares and fears involving all things spooky as fuck. I recall fleeing to my parents' bedroom through the hall I thought was filled with werewolves. This was, of course, to get away from the vampire-madman leering through the window obscenely with a lust for my virgin boy's bloooood. And I recall this with a slight grin, because in a way, it was fun. I rather suspect my parents felt otherwise.

It was thus with a certain taboo pleasure that I discovered Alfred Hitchcock's compendiums of short horror stories in my middle school library. I devoured them in 7th grade. Within a year, and with the aid of a used book seller, my mother finally relented and let me read Stephen King. King, paradoxically, led to Lovecraft. Then Stoker. I've never been quite the same since. (And I am the better - or at least more macabre - for it! Bwahahahahaha.)

The movie was directed by Lucky McKee (who also filmed the amazingly macabre May). It stars Agnes Bruckner (Heather Fasulo), Emma Campbell (Heather's mother--and a wonderfully repulsive mother in the film), Bruce Campbell (Heather's father--he has less than 20 minutes of screen time but is fairly pivotal to the plot), Patricia Clarkson (yes, that Patricia Clarkson... and she's the Headmistress), and Lauren Birkell (Heater's best friend).

The movie was shelved for about three years, during which M. Night Shyamalan threw a veritable hissy-fit because he had to change the title of the movie that would become The Village. (Which, by the way, I loathed. I wanted a goddamn were-wolf flick and he gave me complete crap with his desire for a "twist ending". Fuck you, Shyamalan.)

Synopsis & Review Warning: Contains Spoilers.

The movie starts out fairly normally.

The year is 1965 and Heather Fasulo is a rebellious teenager who nearly burned down her house after setting fire to a tree out back following a fight with her rather repulsive mother. For her "crimes" she's shipped to an all girls' school in the woodlands of New England, a school which hosts a fairly academic program of progress and is considered "one of the best schools in the country for girls." Heather's father is "not as well-off as he presents himself," so upon arriving she's given an aptitude test to find out if she's "special." Upon passing (for untold - but later revealed - reasons) she's admitted with a scholarship.

Her first day doesn't go well. She sits next to Marcy Turner, who's a complete reject, for lunch. In doing so she inspires the spite of the blonde Samantha, a proto-typical "rich-girl" type bully. (There's some stiff acting from Samantha's character in the first thirty to forty minutes or so). On her first night, she either dreams or attempts to run away from the school and into the woods surrounding it... Only to be plagued by "voices" and images and return to find the school-teachers are all outside. She then heads into the dorms to sleep and has a fitfull night's sleep including omenic nightmares involving a smaller blonde girl with slit wrists and blood dripping onto the floor. Upon approaching the girl in the nightmare, the girl turns and glares at her and says in a demonically male voice, "this bed is mine." There are then flashes of girl's with axes, and Heather awakens to the dawn's light.

Heather moves towards integrating to the school with the aid of Marcy as the section progresses, which is something special to see in and of itself.

A week or so later the girls warn Heather about going into the woods with a tale from a century ago involving three orphans that showed up who turned out to be witches. Having been shunned when they were discovered to be "odd" the girls were sent forth into the woods where they reaped horrible vengeance upon their persecutors. In making a pact with the spirits of the woods, the girls then returned to control the school and its inhabitants...

"If you go out in the woods, they might find you," she's told. One of the girls asks Heather about the fact she'd fled into them and Heather smirks (in an incredibly hot and foxy red-head manner) and asks the girl if she's ever been into them. The challenge thus issued, the girls all set out to watch to see if the challenged girl will go into the woods. But before she can, the teachers arrive and break up the conflagration.

This is what I consider phase one which takes place mostly in consensus reality. Thus does phase two begin.

Heather's scholarship is dependent on "special courses" which she must attend if she wishes to keep it. These courses can be demanded of her at any time. She's taken to a garden room to meet with the Head-mistress who begins to question her relationship with her mother. "Being cut off from one's child is like losing a limb," she's told by the up-right (but slightly odd) Patricia Clarkson. "Why did she send you here... Are you... 'different'?"

Heather freaks out and begins rocking in her chair, muttering denials until Clarkson asks: "do you hear voices?"

Heather stops rocking and her chair suddenly balances on its two back legs as she stares in shock. Clarkson mumbles: "I'm sorry if I upset you," as Heather flees the room.

Phase two of the film, I would say, involves "assessment of reality". Heather believes she's going insane and eventually alienates even Marcy.

One climactic and cool scene here involves Heather telekinetically causing a pencil to stand on its own while a class goes on. It ends with the alienation of Marcy, and a scene where Heather smashes the small radio Marcy owns... And as she collapses on a hurt ankle, all the pieces stand straight up. This section - though dull at times - is quite cool.

Phase three begins when Samantha warns Heather that she's been trying to get rid of her to save everyone. "It's all true," she tells her after pinning her down. Rather than before - when she was filmed looking glamorous and rich - she looks disheveled and somewhat mad. She tells Heather that she's called her father and convinced him to come and get her. Samantha then hangs herself. The Head-mistress, upon finding out, asks Heather what Samantha discussed with her. Heather hits her with the truth. "You're special," the Head-mistress says... Right before Bruce Campbell walks back into the film to save her.

...

Heather is returned to school because that night the stars are right and the ritual is about to begin. Trees burst through the windows and control the students, attempt to drain them of their precious life-force. ... And Heather is a "blossoming" witch of a sort. They need her to help them re-enter the world and break the binding to the spirits and school that they've used for centuries.

Her father arrives wielding an axe to save her... The climax involves Heather picking up the axe and deciding to stop it all. Hello gore! It's well done, and I loved it.

Conclusion:

Over all, I loved the movie. Only one review did the movie justice; likely because the concepts involved stumped most reviewers. These same reviewers obviously lacked my childhood and fondness for folklore involving witches (thank you, Mr. Hitchcock!) and fondness for occult subjects. One such reviewer (Christopher Null) stated: "When Heather's dad (Bruce Campbell, who has about five minutes of screen time) appears to rescue his daughter, the film turns psycho-bizarre, as we realize the school is not at all what we thought it was. You see, we thought it was just a school run by a bunch of loonies, but it's really a school run by killer trees. To try to explain what happens next (which involves Heather balancing things like pencils on their ends and people coughing up twigs and leaves) would not only "spoil" what's left of the picture, but you probably wouldn't believe me. The Woods is complete nonsense for the latter half of the film, which is a nice change only because it's so boring before then."

First, yes, the first two phases of the movie are slow. But they actually build story nicely. Second, he obviously paid no attention to the dream sequences or the ten-to-fifteen minutes of the film dedicated to discussing the witch-folklore in the beginning. It's obvious what happened. (See above.) If he had any inkling what-so-ever, he wouldn't be confused. Mr. Null, at least pretend you paid attention before heaping derision. Oh, and your review sucks.

In the end I loved the movie because it's so blatant with its symbolism (a second watch shows elements of the end through-out the movie--from a girl mumbling "why do I have twigs in my hair" on Heather's second morning at the school to the pervasive blood magick of the witches - check out the cut hand of the woman serving milk at lunch through-out the movie and the scene involving the Head-mistress and the hospitalized Bruce Campbell). Some of the acting is stiff at first, but it fluffs out. The dialogue isn't perfect. But concerning its contents, the movie is fantastic. I plan to buy it as soon as I have the cash.

The movie isn't out and out horror. But the nightmare scenes have the creep factor. The spookiness of the aesthetic is pleasing. And the end is pure horror with a bit of well-done gore--something that's rare these days. I especially love the foxy red-haired Heather facing down the witches at the end. It was pure "Babalon" if you ask me. "Before she was the woman with a girt sword, she was a girl with an axe." That's just cool. And, y'know, hot.

The trailer can be viewed here. The movie can be streamed online here (in semi-decent quality). And bought here.

(Typos to be blamed on whiskey and sleep deprivation.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Black Dogs and Cash




So, while employing the familiar spirit I less than charming call "the Black Dog" so I can be cryptic and not reveal it's name (even though you'd need the seal) to do some work for some other people an idea sparks. And I say, "hey, how about you get me 3.5 million dollars."

What does the insolent fucking shit say back?

"You don't have enough steak in the world for that."

Okay, fine, I tell him. You get me that money, I'll have someone sculpt you a statue out of steak. It'll be messy, but I'm sure it can be done.

"Only if it's a Catholic virgin."

So... If you happen to know a Catholic virgin who sculpts using meat let me know. We can be rich together. 'Cuz I'll share if that happens. I mean, I knew he'd say no. But it was worth a shot, right?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Art of Memetics

In the event you didn't know, Edward Wilson (Fenris 23) & Wes Unrah's The Art of Memetics is up for free here.

If you like it, you can buy it here.

I happen to like these guys. And I like the book. So I'm totally putting it out there for others who might be interested.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Boy Prince (Crazy-Talk.)












“Early on I realized there was a young boy in the depths of my dreams. Wild-eyed, singing, with a blond bowl cut and heterochromatic eyes. A little Machiavellian terror in the depths of my unconscious mind. The Boy-Prince.

King of All He Sees.

Later on I realized it was a bit more polarized. Far, far more polarized. Because there was another boy, one who wasn't a Prince. The one who'd always been poor and still remembered the feeling that he might not have a meal at the end of the night. The liar. The fox. The peasant boy.

The first one we named Golden Boy. The second one I called Jack. And as Valentine had said, I was working one. But the Jack, he always works you. He's that bad or good game of poker. That card that tips the scales or causes things to boil over.

In those depths, with all the threads surrounding me, I could see my possible futures and my probable past. I could feel a thousand lives inside moving around me. There was the current—the flow. And what perplexed me the most? They didn't ever see the Jack. They just felt him. And all they ever wanted was that Golden Haired boy who owned all he saw, he smiled at the dying sun and knew that when tomorrow came it was still his kingdom.

It was as if there was a rift between myself and those I'd chosen in the end. It was as if the struggle was between which would have to become the Walker on their dreams and which they would want wandering through their lives. And I knew then that people don't quite know what to expect when you're constantly up to no good. Whether it's a kingdom that needs saving or just a pawn to overthrow there's always something to do. Something to see.

But that little kid? Well, they think they chose him. They just don't know that in the end I'm the Dead one. That I've always been Dead. And that these lands are the Deadlands. We've never fully escaped into that haunted future everyone dreams. A portion of it in every moment. How much can you pay for the chromatic future-dreams of Yesterday?

Me, I got a thousand yesterdays to visit. It's a trip down memory-fucking-lane, girlfriend. Don't you fucking doubt it. Because in the end all we have is the futurepast to revisit and reinvent. And this line of reasoning sounds absurd, but it works. I glance back to decide where to step in the perpetual moment of the coming-storm-going-storm.

There's always a burning city to visit. Right before critical mass. Right before Ground Zero. And I plan to see 'em all. It's why I always wandered away. That little rogue-voice inside that says if you stick to the shadows, haunt the edges, then you have all the power. Because you're constantly desperate. And like the Hagakure says... If you want to survive, become desperate. But really, you always have to remember: no one makes it out alive.

That's why you enjoy being perpetually dead. It could always be worse. If this is a Hell, burning cities and love and joy and all, well... It's a damned fun Hell.

They might not see it, but they still have to deal with it. Because it's all there is. You can't always be a blond boy claiming the world for himself. Sometimes you gotta just play. It's all a game, whether you believe it or not. And like I said, no one makes it out alive.”

- Unsent Letter. 2008.

(Image from A Softer World Dot Com.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The majority is still just the majority.

An African American was voted in last night. Words fail me as to how tremendous that is.

On the other hand, California also voted in Prop. 8, thereby stripping another minority of that so-called American dream of "the pursuit of happiness."

In the end, the majority is still just the majority.

Three steps backward for every step forward. But at least a step was taken forward.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cultivating Madness: 02


“The single supreme ritual is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. It is the raising of the complete man in a vertical straight line. Any deviation from this line tends to become black magic. Any other operation is black magick.”

- Aleister Crowley, Book Four, Part III, Chapter 21.


Magick is a street thing. Magicians must be seen and heard. Crowley’s trickster persona exemplified this, following in the zig-zag path of Cagliostro, Simon Magus and innumerable Shamans and Witches world-wide. A good magician plays to his audience, be it a tribal shaman doing Ifa or a street-corner sorceror [sic] making anti-cop talismans out of tin can lids... If you’re really going to become a jumped-up little megalomaniac you might as well get a few laughs while you’re about it.

- LOON, Apikorsus


The Criminal Roots


The traditional distinction in magick is between thaumaturgy (Greek for “miracle work”) and theurgy (Greek for “Divine work”). While theurgy is seen as more traditionally spiritual, thaumaturgy in it's various forms has been more or less been considered illegal due to the ends the practitioners sought to create.


Between 529 CE and 534 CE, Emperor Justinian I had the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) written down, which lists amongst it's lengthy sins witchcraft. The passage in question lists “witchcraft,” and notes that it's similar in prior Greek (not Roman) law. This is one of the first formal annotations against magick in the books of law and is especially important because the Greek term for “witch” also could be translated as poisoner. Prior to Justinian's Digests, only malificia and nigromancy were listed as explicitly illegal. Greek law held to proceedings for any magical working against an Emperor or member of the elite and aristocratic community. Included in charges against this form of magick was poisoning.


This was because, in myth and folk lore, poisoning was amongst the arsenal of practical skills of both the witch and street-scum sorcerer. Greek law holds no formal forbidding of the witch in it's right namesake; that's because to the Greeks the witch (not to be conflated, as has been recently, with a simple Priestess) was a mostly mythological being. That's why most witches in Greek literature are of divine descent in some manner. Taking the threat of witchcraft seriously was a bit like saying dogs could talk.


As I've discussed before, the earliest Church recording of stipulations against witchcraft include condemnation for those who believed in it. The Canon Episcopi makes that quite clear:

It is therefore to be publically proclaimed to all that whoever believes in such things, or similar things, loses the Faith, and he who has not the right faith of God is not of God, but of him in whom he believes, that is the devil. For of our Lord it is written, “All things were made by Him.” Whoever therefore believes that anything can be made, or that any creature can be changed to better or worse, or transformed into another species or likeness, except by God Himself who made everything and through whom all things were made, is beyond a doubt an infidel.

Forms of magick, however, that were used by the lower classes in Greece were often strictly outlawed due to their very nature—malificia being chief amongst them. Even simple divination used to discover the date of an Emperor's death could lead to criminal proceedings—as it did in 184 CE when a diviner was caught and charged with treason for just that reason.i


In 850 CE, when the Inquisition first turned it's burning eyes towards the magickal world, they were seeking: “magic mirrors, rings, and phials” which were made to be used in Necromantic or Nigromantic rituals.ii These aren't things that folk practitioners in the hills generally used; they were the markings of the magick of the Grimoires, and the Inquisition knew full well they weren't after hill-billy sorcerers. They were seeking other Clerics, who had formed what at least one author has called a Necromantic Underground.iii

iMorton Smirth, Jesus the Magician

iiMichael D. Baily, From Sorcery to Witchcraft

iiiRichard Kieckhefer, Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer's Manual of the 15th Century

(*sigh* And then I got lost trying to discuss the Daemon in relation to the sorcerer. I'll finish this when I get home. Here's the weekend's tease. I'm off with the girlfriend for the weekend.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What?!

Chaoism is has been having a discussion amongst it's members for the last month or two about the HGA. Recently a "Mr. Epoch Bell" contributed a fairly interesting post. It wasn't very bad overall, and had details I'd personally neglected (including creating the 'magical persona'). That said, this one sentence made me near livid: "Having said all this do know that the HGA is not always benevolent. Despite it's Christo-gnostic title of AgathaDaemon."

The Agathos-Daemon is always, and I can't stress it enough, 100% benevolent. It is always on your side. That's why the term literally means good spirit. Daemon attraction works, in the PGM and elsewhere (you can check Morton Smith's Jesus the Magician and The Demons of Magic if you don't trust me and want a Historian who will back me up) in such a way that any spirit, in theory, could be bound to one's self. Typically, the class of spirit attracted and bound so that the magician could become "as a demigod" or "the son of (a) god" was the Agathos-Daemon.

And it is always a benevolent daemon. Now, in theory, you could argue that "good" could mean anything. Or that "good" only applies to the practitioner; after all, having become one with it (essentially similar to K&C) he could use it to learn how to utterly destroy his enemies. Sure, that's true. He could even - if he wanted to find out what would happen - try and use it to assault his enemies. Greek and Roman magick include such procedures.

But to the practitioner the Agathos-Daemon is utterly benevolent. That doesn't mean it's agreeable at all times. If you don't listen to it, it could decide not to help you. Or it could tell you to get your head checked. But it won't harm you, etc.

Otherwise you just have a daemon you've become bound to.

And if it's malevolent, then you've become bound to a Caco-Daemon. This may sound dogmatic, but there are no ifs, ands, or buts here with the exception of the above. I love my fellow Chaos Magicians, but sometimes they piss me off.

Artists, Familiars, and Helping Hands.


The picture above has nothing and everything to do with the following commentary. :) Banish if it bothers you.

It is, in fact, super-rare that I do this. However, the person in questions beyond cool and could use the exposure. Not that I can generate a lot of exposure. But can I try my damnedest? Yes, yes I can.

Kirsten Brown is an artist and occultist who's works I've appreciated for a long time. In the event anyone out there reading this can afford it, or has a desire for art of a "certain" nature, I can't recommend anyone more highly than I recommend her.

Current works up for grabs:


"Inspirare." 200$ or best offer, 11x14in. stretched canvas, again, UV-sprayed.



"Black Goat of the Woods." 8x16in. stretched canvas, marker and ink, UV-protectant sprayed.

She does do commissions. If you're looking for someone talented and with that certain type of artistic "sight," feel free to drop her a line at "snowandlightning@gmail.com". She also maintains a page on Etsy, and will throw in shipping for things purchased and listed there that are bought directly through her instead.

If you find yourself digging this feel free to pass the information along.

And check out her new blogspot, too!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The occasional irritant.



I've been having this occasional problem. Now, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the idiot I'm about to discuss doesn't read this journal, since it takes a certain type of moron to irritate me this much. What I'm about to discuss is not a psychic attack. Nor is it a spirit manifestation; I made certain before asking a friend what he thinks. Over the course of the last six weeks I've occasionally had this "weird shit" go down. You see, they seem to be astrally trying to communicate with me. As a retard. On about four occasions, maybe three, I've had my "magical name" (Jack Faust) shoved into my head. Now the first time I assumed someone was in trouble or something and went out of my way to jump astral. I finally get there, and I catch a sight of a fleeing "feminine feeling" form that vanishes. Okay, whatever. Second time, I get "omens" from a certain type of heresy I may be connected to or may not be connected to. Images of the Basalt Tower, black widows everywhere. The second time I'm getting bombarded at a coffee shop. And I thought, until I asked someone else, that I was going nuts. You know. This isn't paranoia-meter, malevolent shit. Just "creepy" or "slightly sinister." A black window crawled across my shoe (it didn't attack me, just crawled over my shoe and kept moving while I watched, then I found four on the porch, then I found one in the garage when I got home and ran the sprinklers). The entire time I'm getting "Jack Faust" repeated infinitely in my head. This time I banish and do a quick, laid back exorcism. Standard shit. It ends. Third time, I get irritated and drop into trance and shout "WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!" at the voice. It shuts up. So, if it happens again, I'm banishing with the intent "email me." If they don't get the hint, I'm taking my mentor's suggestion. I swear to god, I'm going to make a talisman, wait till they do it one time after the next (where upon I'll return "Email me" in a rather irritated manner), and I'm going to trap the astral body in said talisman and black box it. I have no idea what that will do to someone, but if they keep up being an idiot they fucking deserve it.

I say this in all seriousness: this shit is annoying. It feels like someone is using certain works I made and thinking about me constantly or obsessively as they do it. Or they're chanting my name before they fall asleep. Or something. It's straight up retarded. And I seriously want to believe anyone that could do it would have the foresight or intelligence to use regular channels for contact. Because there's nothing quite like it that I've ever felt. It isn't an attack. It isn't sinister. It doesn't make me paranoid. It makes me wonder about the intelligence of the individual. Whoever it is, is a genuine, Grade A moron that's either somewhat talented and untrained, or just plain fucking stupid. If I'm somehow wrong and you're the person and reading this and feeling stupid, just fucking email me. I seriously doubt that person is here, though. Something tells me some idiot read shit I wrote for the Sutras or my personal essays back in the day and is being just plain stupid. But holy god is it the most irritating thing I've ever encountered in all my time. I've been pissed at people before, but I've never assumed they were idiots like this before. It's the only thing on this occasion I can assume.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cultivating Madness Redux: 01



Introduction

Some years ago, I wrote a short essay (actually, a series of short to mid-length essays) on the basics of magick that was actually, in retrospect, quite fucking terrible. But people liked it to the degree that to this day I can't pull it off the internet; I still get occasional emails about what I wrote back then, and still marvel at how it seems to have encouraged some people.

Being that I can now express the ideas behind some of the subjects better, and have even more experience in the matters, I've decided to begin the entire process again.

These essays won't make you a magician; but they hopefully will give a series of ideas on the employ of magick, how to “make it work,” and a few tricks to even the odds in the game of life. Being that we mostly begin the game blind-folded and groping, having only the ideas of our peers behind which to try and glimpse the “rules” (which are, as certain Pirates might tell you, more like guide-lines) it seems to me that magick can be like learning to peak out from under the blindfold occasionally to glimpse the rolls of those around you and perhaps find a better handle for the game you're playing.

These essays will cover discussions on the astral plane, spirits and their employ, sigilization techniques and free-form sorcerous technique. Very little, as before, will be said on morals and moral dilemmas stemming from the “karma crisis” that inhabits Neo-Paganism except in the later section on “chains of consequence.”

That said, I might as well address why I don't have much to say about “Karma” and “magick.” The current status of the Neo-Pagan community and it's means to impart (or really, force) moral reflection on beginners to the path is a disservice to most beginners. Worrying about “Karmic feedback” unduly has caused all manner of ridiculousness, and along with it a belief that the universe will “reward” us if we are “good” boys and girls.

“Good,” in this case, implying that we never desire anything for ourselves, never question boundaries or Elders (even if, perhaps, we should) and never take steps to fight for the things we love. This has led to what I call the Karma Crisis, whereupon the Three-Fold Law is assumed to govern all spiritual experience or the Gods sit up in the sky acting a bit like Santa Claus and making detailed notes about the current state of our lives. The magician is traditionally, and especially under the guise of the sorcerer, a dubious being who can either solve problems and cause all manner of wonder and miracles; or he can blight crops, kill with a look, turn friends into enemies and enemies into lovers. Into this domain in the realm of myth do we walk and it is up to every individual to make their own decisions and consider the ramifications of their actions—if any.

In the end, it's every man and woman for themselves. The universe is not going to be any more “kind” to us if we eat only organic foods, become Vegans, move into the wildnerness without power and running water and dismiss civilization altogether; that's a fairy-tale religious myth more in common with the traditionally Patriachal, dogmatic, and tyranical elements of Judeo-Christianity (whereupon God, rather than the universe, decides to give us a “paradise” if we do everything he says regardless of how ridiculous it may sound). It is more honest to make our own decisions and consider the consequences seriously while also noting that in the end no one will be handing out Good-Guy badges to those who do. If you choose to help don't expect anyone to salute you for it. In fact, don't bother to brag about it. If you choose to hinder—well, perhaps there are some consequences there, too. And perhaps you'll find them out when you least expect it.

But magick is not catagorized into 'color' spectrums where the holier you are, the more the universe loves you and decides to have your back. The question of morality is a personal one; not to be enforced by the books one reads, nor should it have a place in a new type of Neo-Pagan dogmatism.

If one chooses to live their life with a Christian, or Islamic or more “Pagan” (authentic or more or less new) moral outlook then so be it and more power to them! It is enforcing our own beliefs on those around us that is a violation of their will, and we should be well aware that the solution is to distance ourselves from those who step beyond boundaries we hold sacred; not to force our thoughts upon them. Very few, indeed, seriously consider violating the most basic rights of man—and those that do... Well, institutions such as the police force exist to govern them. Not the communities we live in.

Aside from that later section, which will hopefully try to decipher some of the reasons certain types of “spells” and “workings” are more prone to backfiring than others, that is all I really have to say on the matter.

Getting Started

All one needs to begin practicing magick is an open mind, a desire to test their spiritual and metaphysical limits, and a spiral-bound notebook or at least a few sheets of paper. Some books and tutorials on 'how to practice' are better than others. They are not, however, strictly necessary. Some of the best magicians of all time started off with nothing more than the pure desire to go forth and find out what was beyond the mindscape of civilization, or rather, what lingered behind it.

The notebook is to chart results. Details matter: the more details, the more you can see what you did wrong and more importantly what you did right later on.

The other “necessary” elements can be learned with time.

Models of Magick

Being that the most common stumbling block, both online and offline, between conversation within the magical and Neo-Pagan communities is simple language it seems fitting to begin by explaining the basic models and outlooks which surround magical practice. What is 'normal' and 'capable' practice in one model might not necessarily exist in another model. As such, one commonly finds comments about what can and can't be done that aren't entirely correct.

Each model holds a distinct set of beliefs about the world within it and holds it to be “true.” This is not, however, a form of “Truth”. It is simply a truism to the model—and the model is a best a rough outline or map. Some diverge heavily from their counter-parts whereas others are extremely similar. The problem, however, isn't the models but discourse between practitioners. The more time and experience one has in a particular model the harder it is to understand the others; especially if their premise seems to invalidate that of one's own model.

The following are the basics of the models of magick, and anecdotes on those I've used. A more detailed description of them can be found here.

The Spirit Model

Quite possibly one of the earliest models of magick out there, this model postulates a seperate and distinct spirit world or Otherworld wherein spirits literally exist with their own lives. Certain individuals, through freak error or genuine trial, can contact and ally these beings.

Typically, ecstatic and controlled (and occasionally uncontrolled) trance, drugs and other such methods are used to aid in facilitating contact.

Commentary:

This is the big part of the meta-model I began practicing with. It's also the reason I had some ill-considered judgments on the Lemegeton that I wrote down, much to Fr. RO's shock, in my “artificial elemental” essay.

The reason being that when I was first beginning, I had an experience with what one might call ignoring the basic rules of thumb. At either 17 or 18 years old I conjured a spirit in a fairly hap-hazard manner. After a friend had asked me to deal with a problem they were having with what was percieved to be a malevolent spirit, I decided to conjure it. So with the ritual aids of incense and trance, I called it up. I used an object it appeared to be bound to, and eschewed the traditional circle... I banished, but only used the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (hereafter LBRP) so astral space wasn't cleared with the Greater Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram (hereafter GBRH). Lacking any protections whatsoever, and considering myself a teenage badass, I about shat my pants when it showed up and scared me shitless. I rapidly warded off space outside where it'd been conjured, and then hid under the sheets of my bed until I finally dealt with it a few days later.

During the process of dealing with said spirit, it demanded a home. So, being a rebellious and anti-Christian teen, I told it it could live at a near-by church. The church in question rapidly vacated and until recently sat empty. Until it was reoccupied and the spirit seems to have fled (or been exorcised), I'd go and visit it sporadically for a chat or two. It actually became a fairly amiable ally after I got over my gut-wrenching fear that this thing is real! The experience, however, also taught me about why certain procedures are used in the West (the circle of art, for example) and to go out and actually investigate what other cultures used when dealing with unknown, possibly malevolent spirits. It certainly impressed the phrase don't call up what you can't put down on me. In retrospect it was less malevolent and more ambiguous. When it had the upper hand, it liked scaring me shitless for trying to play with it. When I enforced my will on it and threatened to exorcise it permanently, it decided to strike a deal. I even got a name and sigil (now lost) to conjure it into my astral temple from it.

The Psychological Model

That magical and mystical experience are filtered through the psyche is occasionally a sore spot for some would-be magicians and mystics; the obvious question of which is which reoccurs all too often, however some practitioners have developed purely psychological foci in regards to their practice and beliefs over the course of the last century. It was not Freud, who's theories hit the world like bombshells, that ripped open the possibility of psychological explanations in magick but Carl Gustav Jung. When Young identified archetypal symbols and the collective storehouse of humanity he more or less threw wide waiting gates through which the mystic and the magician can walk.

The drawback to the psychological model—more than any other model—is that it can't explain why magick works; however, it offers extremely adequate explanations of how it works.

This model postulates that we are all connected through our unconscious to an even greater Collective Unconscious, and that the most potent symbols that can be reached there are often mistaken for gods. (Archetypes aren't the same as gods and it's a subject I plan to come back to later.)

It furthermore addresses a lot of microcosmic, or inner-self, oriented issues. Bad habits can be treated like personal demons and so on.

Here, more than anywhere else, the map is not the territory. Sometimes it isn't even a map.

Commentary

At the onset of the year 2005, I went through a particularly nasty breakup with a girl I'd been very much in love with. Being that I couldn't stand to even talk to women more than platonically for an irrationally long period of time, I decided to investigate the power-base of my aversion and systematically deal with it. Using my astral temple, I jumped into my imagination and began charting dreams for about three weeks, using trance techniques and anchors from Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques to trigger lucid dreamstates. Eventually I came across an “entity” that looked and acted like Medusa, and which disliked me quite a bit. I immediately realized that it was an in infernalized, enshadowed version of how I'd begun viewing women—a problem I hadn't really encountered at all since those first few rejections during my early teens. It hasn't bothered again me since it was dealt with.

The Energy Model

In the East, and even some aspects of it in the west, this model is just as old as the spirit model. Whether you call it magickal energy prana, chi, magis or just 'energy' it's all roughly the same idea to some degree. This model postulates that the human life-force (or the life-force that surrounds the human being) can be manipulated in such a way that 'events' and 'changes' can be made to occur.

In the West the twin forces that brought belief in it back were Mesmer's theories of animal magnetism and the late 18th century belief in ether which became conflated with electricity. In fact the word “energy” itself sings of the body electric and makes one think of all sorts of things. Within this model the subtle-body and it's power-spots, often called chakras, are utilized to aid in the changes in both consciousness and the world around them. While the original Vedic discourses on chakras describe them as states of consciousness, the conflation between chakras and energy centers in the body remains strong in Neo-Pagan and western mystical beliefs.

Any interesting side note is the breathing techniques used in many Eastern programs of learning and the latin word for spirit—spiritus—which means “breath”. I won't say much more here, but I suspect that the spirit model and the energy model are not quite (or weren't quite) as dissimilar as some magicians make them out to be initially in both the Occident and the Orient.

Commentary

While experimenting with this model with a female partner, of whom I was romantically engaged with, I became quite adept at activating the root chakra of others remotely and stimulating intense sexual arousal. Unfortunately, a few of my friends were told about it and it became a rather annoying party trick request. While being “the magician” is occasionally cool as a role to play, representing “the guy that can make girls horny” was far more irritating. I never performed the tactic on an unwilling participant, however, on at least one occasion I cranked one of my friends up to the point that they spent the night in a bathroom doing who knows what.

After I stopped using the model regularly in the traditional way that I'd built up I rapidly found that my capacity to influence others with it also diminished, which suggests to me that some of the Chaos Magick staples about belief being critical to magick (and Austin Spare himself agrees in The Logomachy of Zos) is at least more than a little bit correct.

The Meta-Model

Here is where I begin diverging with Fr. UD. The Meta-Model is actually a means of combining the above models so that they “mesh” more or less organically. Sometimes the result is less rather than more, however. Chaos Magick was one of the first systems to suggest that one could use all three models—since the denigration of Truth was largely a result of the 20th century and to some the idea of secret keys to occult Truth was more than a little bit absurd—so long as they were convenient.

The drawback to learning with a meta-model, rather than a strict model, is that the general guidelines of a model are learned over time as one advances. Constantly switching models means that no matter how convenient one needs to be at least somewhat versed in the myths, lore, language and belief of each model. Shoddy research can mean shoddy results, or worse, blatant misfires and wastes of time.

Most Neo-pagans, if not most magicians, use a meta-model and don't quite realize it. But in attempting to fit diverse pieces of technique and theory together the common mistake is that they all work seamlessly together—they don't. You can make them fit, but it means extra research on the part of the practitioner and sometimes a lot of extra practice.

Commentary

I use a meta-model that I'm going to discuss shortly. However, this seems like a good place to quote UD a bit...

“Self evident as the meta-model may seem, in practice many people seem to feel somewhat uncomfortable with its inherent relativism. This is very much the case with beginners in magic. A typical dialogue on the subject might run on the following lines:

“Are there spirits?”
“In the spirit model, yes.”
“And in the energy model?”
“In the energy model there are subtle energy forms.”
“And what about the psychological model?”
“Well, in the psychological model we are dealing with projections of the subconscious.”
“What happens in the information model, then?”
“In the information model there are information clusters.”
“Yes, but are there spirits now or not?”
“In the spirit model, yes.”

This logical loop is, of course, usually experienced as a pretty frustrating exercise; but while the asker claims that the magician is trying to avoid the issue he is at the same time overlooking the fact that he himself is basically only restating the old yen for absolute, "objective" truths - not really a quantum magical approach, to say the least. However, the aspiring cyberpunk magician of today cannot expect to be spared the pains of coming to terms with the notion that freedom and dogma are mutually exclusive.” (Fr. D, Models of Magick.)

The Information Model

When the information model was crafted in the late 1980s, it was largely based on rapid developments in technology, quantum theory, and especially information theory. While Fr. UD treats it as a model in it's own right, I personally do not. When the “memetic” movement burst upon the magical subcultures—especially those versed in Chaos Magick and other forms of experimental magick—it brought with it rapid changes to the treatment of information. To suggest there's an underlying belief that all Information model practitioners utilize beyond the fact that information can be manipulated to facilitate results is sadly incorrect. Some practitioners are Cyber-magicians, who see the world as akin to a hard-drive. Others of us, myself included, make heavy use of the holographic universe theory and David Bohm's theories of Quantum Mechanics. When Bohm postulated non-locality (that one event occuring in the world can simultaneously—faster than the speed of light no less—influence another) he was describing, to me, the magical process. “Spooky action at a distance” in the lab is no different than spooky at a distance when performed by a magician.

Commentary

The information model can and does utilize all of the primary three models, varying in degree of each due to the practitioner's taste. I've known Cyber-magicians who were also so well versed in the energy model that they claimed to be “energetic healers” (a title I personally view with distaste; but to each their own), whereas I probably couldn't “energically heal” my way out of a wet paper sack. I will allow, however, that the term “energy” is one of the most potent symbolically active terms in Neo-Paganism today and that alone holds almost as much value as some elements of the spirit model; the difference is that it laid dormant for so long in practice that we've only seen heavy use of it for the last two-hundred years or so. Prior to that almost all magical systems were based on the spirit model, at least in continental Europe.

Memetic engineers, on the other, focus more heavily on psychological theorems and manipulation of information given to others to cause results. This is a far more recent model that's still building it's way towards having a standardized theory behind it. However, it's hardly unheard of. There's more than a few of us out there.

Given that I'll be discussing manipulation of memes next, I have no further examples.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Know Thy Enemy."



Actual discourse on magick to come.

At the moment I'm filled with loathing for some of my fellow Americans.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Myth of Guilt

There are no innocent bystanders... What the hell were they doing there in the first place?

- William S. Burroughs, The Soft Machine.

To say that guilt is a “myth” seems an outlandish thing, however true it might be to the constituency of modern occultism. Guilt is not, as yet, a myth. However it probably ought to be. Though Crowley wrote the lines years ago, I still reflect on them sporadically: “The only sin is restriction.”

That seems like a dangerous line, at least for many in the Neo-Pagan community. Life without restraints? It could easily lead to the Ghost Busters scenario, right? You know, this scenario:

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Okay, probably not. We've had sociopaths living in society for quite a while and they don't seem to have caused dogs and cats to live together, there's been minimal human sacrifice (aside from mankind's perpetual need to wage war, often in the name of a “just” cause that's made unjust by it being a lie) and I've yet to see forty years of darkness. I hold my breathe on the last one: I'd be okay with forty years of darkness. I call lack of a sunburn for forty years a win. Sure, we'd stop being able to grow food, starve, and there'd be rampant depression as melatonin and serotonin levels dropped in the brain. But would I endure it for a few years without a sunburn? You can bet your ass I would. But I digress...

Crowley also said a few handy lines that went something like, “thou hast no right but to do thy will,” and “love is the law.”

Anarchy is averted. Worry not, we aren't here to burn down the church and state. At least not physically.

Guilt is a reaction to perceived wrong actions. It's that thing we call a conscience whispering, “I knew better...”

I'm rarely guilty; even if I feel I did something wrong. There's a reason for that on my end. The first being that if I did something genuinely wrong, I either correct it... Or I face up to the fact I'm likely to do it again and reorient how I view my morals and what's more important. I have a relatively flexible code of ethics that I stick to. “Situational ethics.” I don't lie: unless I have to. I don't steal, because I haven't had to yet.

I will fuck over people that piss me off; because they had to work hard to get me into that state and to be quite honest... If they've worked hard enough to make the short list of enemies I have, then they should see my scathing comments and Machievellian tactics as I try to destroy them (“I may not be able to destroy you, but I will be poking you in the eye... Constantly.”) coming.

When I have felt guilty, in the past, it was because things beyond my control happened. All too often I'd try to shoulder the weight of someone else's fuckup. In “magical” situations, this typically meant over-estimating partners and watching them get swept into the tide of the then-madness we were playing with. In some cases, I felt I hadn't explained that what we were doing was, well, dangerous. And so the guilt lingered.

At least until I got older and watched them do the same shit, and make the same mistakes again and again. Then I didn't feel guilty. I just felt pity towards them.

Guilt holds you back: the free walk openly, casting their eyes where they will. We will make mistakes, magically or otherwise, and there's no helping that. You fall down as you learn to walk. So, again, “the only sin is restriction.”

Restricting one to the past mistakes, and letting the guilt control us. Restricting one's self from growth and refusing to take the next step. Restricting one's self to guilt and not fixing the problem or at least being honest about the fact you'll likely repeat the mistake and ceasing to worry over it.

I may be a Discordian Saint, but I'm surely not a Catholic one. And it bothers me not one bit.

(This post was initially going to be filled with psychological and philosophical thoughts: it was scrapped. I'll save a followup for later. And for the record, I used the Burroughs quote because it once aided a girl I'd ceased to be dating loathe me to the core of her being. It was my response to "I'm sorry." I'd meant it as in, "it had been my choice, too." She took it altogether differently.)