Sunday, February 28, 2010 Names

So, why did you pick the name "Jack Faust"? What purpose does it serve? In your opinion, what are the do's and don't's of choosing an alias/magical name?

When I was 16 or 17, I was convinced to pick up a copy of Faust: Love of the Damned, a comic from the '80s. It was the first 'adult' oriented material I'd come across in a format like the comic book (which began a love-affair with other writers, like Alan Moore, in its own time). Anyway, I refused to stop bringing them to class and secretly reading them when I ought to have been learning my “Maths.” As a consequence of this, and the fact that were I discovered with such material I'd likely be expelled, my friends began calling me “Faust.” (I hope my little sister never reads this. Dear god. That's a valid worry these days. She's 18. And smart. I'm doomed!) One went so far as to try and convince me that I ought to change my last name to “Faust” or “Von Faustus.”

Now keep in mind that this was the year before I bought Liber Null and figured out how to meditate at last. So the best thing I had at hand was a copy of Crowley's Book Four. And by this I don't mean the entire corpus of volumes that compose Book 4. Oh, no. I mean Weiser's slim edition, which only includes some of Crowley's thoughts on the superman and the transcendental experience and the information that to achieve enlightened Magus-hood, one ought to spend eight ours a day in a position that is in no way comfortable. And yes, I did to try to do just that. I stopped sleeping regularly for nearly four-months while attempted to put myself in an asana and meditate my happy ass into Magus-hood. Ever since I've had this love-hate relationship with anything Crowley wrote. On the one hand, it's provided a good wealth of information to me that's been worthwhile. On the other hand, and I say that as the man that was once a 16-year old would-be Magus, Crowley is a complete asshole.

Anyway: Faust stuck. I rather liked him in both Goethe and Marlowe. I couldn't pronounce the word correctly, but I knew it was totally cool. In the way only a 16 year old can understand. I tagged a “St.” on it, eventually, to show my elite status and demonstrate the fact I could, in fact, use sigils. And then, coincidentally, I was made a Discordian Saint. Right after the Discordians demonstrated that I was a Saint by punching me in the shoulder, they immediately Sainted the tin can (of Pepsi) next to me. I was dubiously elated. I had clearly been chosen, I was told, to sin until death.

The 'Jack' part is more recent. I actually tried to get away from Faust after a while. I thought that maybe it was haunting me. I mean one day you wake up and realize: “My screen name is Saint Faust. I am a pretentious asshole. They're all right about me!”

So I did some silly ritual to 'pry' it off me like a mask and then stuck a mask in the closet and decided, “that was Faust.”

Except that wasn't Faust. And I'd actually chosen that pseudonym for a reason. The problem was that I wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with that reason.

Why Jack?

“This is the taper that lights the way; this is the cloak that covers the stone.
That sharpens the knife; that cuts the cord, that binds the staff.
That is owned by the Maid; that tends the fire, that boils the pot, that scalds the sword.
That fashions the bridge; that crosses the ditch, that compasses the hand, that knocks the door.
That fetches the watch; that releases the man, that turns the mill, that grinds the corn.
That makes the cake; that feeds the hound, that guards the gate.
That hides the maze, that is worth a light...
… And into the house that Jack built.
Roy Bowers (Robert Cochrane)

“Jack” is one of the more common names amongst the lower classes, and so it shows up in a variety of fairy-tales. Jack the Giant Killer. Jack and the Bean Stalk. How about that guy, the elemental manifestation of Pan? Isn't his name Jack? Yeah. Jack-in-the-Green. Or how about the little child's rhyme that explains most of Cochrane's views on witchcraft when analyzed? Jack seemed as apt a name as any. He's the hero, he's the villain, and he's also the rawest expression of boy-hood that exists insofar as my mind is concerned. When I was a child, it was Jack the Giant Killer that I wanted to be. The boy that steals the magic sword, and then upends tyrany. And who doesn't want to be that kid?

On the other hand, Faust is always old. And he's not always someone you can quite agree with. Crotchety old fuck sold his soul, didn't he? And when he finally gets love, Mephistopheles convinces him to bail on it and instead head off to a wild Sabbatic romp. Which, while fun, is never half as cool as sex. Faust is smart, but he isn't wise.

Come to think of it, neither is Jack. But I also expect that it explains a bit about me. If everything is about combinations of opposites, then Jack still counter-balances Faust well enough that I'm not worried about selling my soul. (As a matter of fact: most malevolent spirits do not want your soul. And if you offer it to them, at say, 19... they will laugh at you. And promptly leave. Because you're an idiot.)

What are the consequences of choosing a pseudonym? A few are pretty obvious. The first is that it may not convey a message which others agree with. For example: someone emailed me asking if I was still writing recently. When I looked at the emailer's name was “Kigger Niller.” Rearrange the first two letters and you will see what it means. I smiled faintly, highlighted it in my mailbox, and clicked delete. That is not someone I plan to have anything to do with. I am quite sure some people have seen “Jack Faust,” “Faust,” or “St. Faust” show up as an email header and clicked the delete key in the same way. Because Faust has sold his soul for the devil (note: according to most Christians, I have too. And in a sense they are quite correct). And people that sell their souls are not someone you might necessarily want emailing you. Which aids me in a few ways: first, if that sets them off then we probably won't get along. Second, it shows that they are at least capable of reading Wikipedia if they comment on it. Which is a plus.

There are more subtle ways, such as the fact that names mean things and we symbolically internalize them. Which is perhaps why it is a Boy-King gazing out from behind my eyes. A Little King of No-Thing, who owns the world but owns it not. Yes, I think the symbols we choose matter. I like to think that Faust found me in his own way. Even when I asked people to stop calling me it, they wouldn't stop anyway. So I stopped asking that, stuck a Jack in front of it, and contented myself.

If I'm to be a Faust, then it will at least be on my terms.

Ask me anything Gayest Video Game EVAR!!!111

What is the gayest video game in history?

"It's pretty much the gayest thing ever, but you can take comfort in the fact that there are robots and explosions if you start to feel threatened."
- The Escapist

Yeah. That pretty much sums up Robot Unicorn Attack in a nutshell. But it's also awesome at 3 AM, when you really ought to be sleeping...

EDIT: Oh, god. Playing this game kills me. Oh my god. I just. Oh my god. I cannot describe this to you. I merely say that... Every twelve year old girl (or boy, or creepy 30 year old Poke-mon fan) should be proud.

EDIT #2: It is nearly 4 AM. I have not stopped laughing at this insane game. Sometimes, when you begin a level, you get this cutesy shit: "Robot Unicorns Unite!" and "Shoot for the Stars!" Sometimes, you get other messages: "A Fiery Death Awaits You!" and "Persistence is futile!" This is true genius. Nothing I ever do in life will compare to a flash game. It almost humbles me. Almost.

Ahem. More testifying:

Ask me anything

Saturday, February 27, 2010 Clove Ban?! What Clove Ban?!

How've you been managing since the clove ban?

A magician is unaffected by such trivial things as "Law" (nomos) and knows how to get what he wants. Thankfully, this Magician's cigarette brand understood the same thing. And thus I am still, very slowly, killing myself every day. I'd like to think my angry death sigils sent forth to destroy Congress and the fools that passed the law which nearly made me live longer did their job! HAIL SANTA!

Ask me anything Baron's Course!

Hmm, I'm sorry, it seems like the first half of my question got cut off somehow. I was referring to your mention of the Baron's Astrology course on your blog.

The Baron's course? I recommend taking The Baron's course even before I've sent the man money and begun taking it myself. As a matter of fact: I'm a big fan of The Baron. I plan to visit Ryan Valentine sooner rather than later at his new place here in California, and hopefully I can also have a few beers with the whole lot of that crew.

EDIT: I had sent him an email about the subject of his astrology course when I realized I'd need to learn astrology to get further with Geomancy. Since I'm doing Geomancy on my own (VVF has her runes and has no need of crazy Latin binary symbols and ranting about "Houses"), I figured I'd ask the man who could best make use of my money.

The Baron is the man I know that to be. The Baron replied saying the next course would be in about three weeks; (The Baron) he'd get me further details, later. When I get those, I'll shove them here for everyone to see. (As long as it's not something I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut about. In which case, I've said nothing. You've seen nothing. This blog entry does not exist.)

EDIT#2: the person that can guess what my intent is gets a cookie.

Ask me anything Favorite Food

What is your absolute favourite food?

A sorcerer does not believe in absolutes! (And our interpretation of taste evolves and changes as one ages.) However: it is presently happens to be shrimp salad. I prefer it on a hot California summer afternoon, with the shrimp pre-cooked and chilled. With Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, and Catalina dressing.

Ask me anything Course

Do you have any information on this course? I can't seem to find anything about it and I think it would be quite interesting.

I'm not sure what you mean by course? Do you mean 'path'? I do want to answer this question, but its unfortunately a bit too open-ended at the moment!

EDIT: Actually. I think I know what the author means, now. I'll explain how I formed this conclusion and re-answer this question shortly.


Err. I talked to myself, and got the answer wrong. Blast.

Ask me anything

Friday, February 26, 2010

Right. So.

This is the 22nd location I've found so far. It's less than a street away from me. I'd never noticed it before earlier today. Interestingly enough, it's about two lots away from a giant Virgin of Guadeloupe shrine...

The Mail-man was delivering mail as I stood and gazed at it, trying to figure out why I hadn't seen it before. I asked him, "Does anyone live there?"

He told me: "I've delivered mail in this area for 10 years. I've never delivered a single letter to that house..."

He seemed to get creeped out by the idea and immediately mumbled, "I'm sure they have a PO Box or something, though!"

Believe me. Where we live and what lives within it has much more influence on us than we ever realize. It's something I never quite get over. GD Oath of Silence

Do you think the GD oath of silence still applies in this day and age?

I'm going to answer this question by deliberately not answering it. So make of it what you will.

Instead I'm going to try and talk about the difference between Blogspot and Livejournal. What I've noticed is that LiveJournal users tend to post larger entries, and have more dedicated followings, than Blogspot seems to. It's always a relatively small group of people, but many of whom decide they really like what you have to say and mostly seem to enjoy getting more. Blogspot, on the other hand, seems to inspire shorter entries but with more detailed information in other ways. If I was to try and describe it Qabalistically, and I'll try, I'd say that LJ was more in tune with Yesod and Blogspot was more in tune with Hod. But maybe I'm just projecting because I've written more of one thing in one area, and more of another in another. And I think that's part of it.

But I also think that the format boils down to this... LJ has 'chunks' of areas, even with LJ cuts, and expands across a full format of the page for the most part. The basic Blogspot layouts, on the other hand, are more tightly pushed together. Rather than "lines," you have columns. This is closer to the columns of a newspaper, than it is the page of a journal. This means that more information is pressed together and the entry looks longer. As such there's a huge case of "Too Long; Didn't Read" on Blogspot that doesn't occur as frequently on LiveJournal.

This means people ignore more entries. This means they actually read entries a bit less. Perhaps I'm wrong, but this tells me that BlogSpot is an idea place to conceal certain bits of information. Like Handbooks of Lost Dreams, buried in a labrynth of otherwise obnoxious noise.

Even in plain sight, things hide themselves.* One of the things that Israel Regardie harped on was that one should be at least somewhat in tune with their surroundings.** If you're setting off everyone's alarms, then you're going to have conflict. Neighbors might break into your house looking for a stash of sacrificed babies, for example; this despite the fact that such things rarely, if ever, happen beyond the domain of the psychotically dangerous. Trying to stay in tune with your surroundings at least to a partial degree is absolutely necessary.

I've finally managed to be able to sit through an entire Church service without having to walk out. I figure in a few more months I'll be able to tune into their channel a bit better. And then I'll just move amongst the world like a silent shadow.

Back in the day I had a friend that insisted I did just that. By being obnoxious and loud and noisy, I was hiding most of my thoughts. People might like me, but most weren't going to hear what I had to say. Later, when I started doing odd bits in public like hunting for Genius Loci, I found it helped just to try and fade myself out of focus a bit. Mostly the homeless notice me. No being missed by them. They make it their business to see the movement of the streets better than most Suburbanites. You just drift. Aimlessly. Really. At least, that's what works for me. Right now. It'll hopefully change when I figure out how to make it always work.

*EDIT: And to demonstrate my example a bit better, Formspring users cannot see this edit. And many people have stopped reading by now. Therefore it is a convenient time for me to reveal the following information: Fire and Ice by Stephen Flowers is, in fact, still in print. If you happen to know what its subject matter was about, you may want to visit his personal printing press' website and buy a book about that exact same subject matter. Which may or may not be almost exactly the same book as Fire and Ice with perhaps a few added details. Don't let Llewellyn lie to you. This book is still out there. And it's very much worth the read. The letter, by the way, was attached to a lovely bit of Lovecraftian erotic art. I was given it when I was like, 23, by a friend. Hee.

**EDIT #2: Some of the most powerful magicians you will ever meet, some of the very best at what they do, are occasionally living just down the street. And you don't even know it right now. I don't just mean Santeros, either. I used to rave at my friends, “I know there's a powerful magician near by! I can feel it!”

They insisted I was crazy. One day he began emailing me. And then I met him. He lived just down the street.

Ask me anything Sanity and Insanity

You seem to be relatively sane for a magician who has experimented with what seems to be a wide variety of systems, and who continues magical work regularly. Have you ever slipped into insanity? If so, did you fear you'd not return?

We like security. It's why we live the way we do. We like feeling safe. We don't like to be vulnerable. It could lead to pain.

And most people don't like to talk about the relative sanity of magick. This subject is the big taboo. When you hear first big “pop” of the Golden Dawn, you can see insanity in the wake of all that nonsense. But, really, who can have expected anything else?

Crowley was too busy getting laid and trying to prove how brilliant he was to consider the waves he was making. A. E. Waite was probably as boring in person as his books are to read. (Dull. Boring. One is unable to keep awake when reading Waite's prose. Even when he's discussing things like pacts with the Devil, he's fucking horridly boring. Just. Plain. Boring.) Moina Mathers? Dude, she refused to consumate her marriage with loopy Mcgregor because she wanted to bone angels. (I really need to talk about that sometime. Because good Lord is it hysterical.) Yeats? Well... Some day someone needs to "rediscover" his trance techniques. Because he went from nothing to one of the Greatest Irish Poets quite... fast...

But there was no way any of them were ever going to get along. And you can easily imagine when the egregore went haywire. I mean, read "John St. John" by Crowley if you want a good look at what NOT to do.

I've felt like I was going crazy plenty of times. I wandered over to other, live, real people and grounded myself out by hanging out, laughing, being amongst those that aren't lost in their thoughts and trying to figure out what's what.

A few years ago, I asked another friend with more experience than I: “I mean, what if we don't cross the Abyss?! What if Choronzon eats us?!” He just shrugged. Which freaked me out more. “Well, man?!”

There wasn't an answer. Just a long stare. At least in my memory. These days I get it. If you ever go off the deep end, to the point of not coming back, chances are you won't really know it anyway. It just happens and that's that. If you come back it will be with more experience, and the wariness you lacked before.

The risk of insanity was there from the onset. The first time I bought Liber Null, at 17, I felt I was buying a forbidden text. I was sure that there were thumps on the walls of the house that night in the darkness, I'd spent so much time worrying over it. Sometimes you actually need that to make it work. You can't sit 'outside' the system or what you're doing. You have to be inside. Inside the messy, gory core. Where there's no doubt that it's real. Where it works. And then you shamble back inside you house, having taken a long walk through empty lots and past darkened houses where others are asleep, in from the deep labrynth of the city. You take your coat off, fetch a cup of coffee. Write it all down. Banish before bed, maybe, or however you want. And you fall asleep near those you love, and what you call family. Even utterly alone, you're amongst family.

There's no fear here, sometimes. And those are some of the best times. If you can't get to that place... shut it all down and just meditate until you figure out what's missing. Relax, man. It's all good. That fear is to be used later, for other things...

Ask me anything

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yes, you may see the proof.

There you go. And yes, Rose and anyone else. You may play/laugh at/with it. I know. I just. I know. I'll be taking The Baron's course this spring, I do hope. Austin Spare

What attracted you to, than held you to, the works of Austin Spare?

And it was in London, and not in Istanbul, that I met my best black magician. People had told me about him. They said: “He’s an old man now, but his hair is still dark and wild. He lives in a tenement. You’d never dream what a lot of magic is still practised there. Why! He can remember when there was a cage of skinned live cats on exhibition in the street, and there was a boy who bit the heads of live rats for a sixpence. It’s atmosphere, isn’t it?”
Well, there was a strange little card on his mantelpiece. I asked him about it. “That!” he shrugged his shoulders. “That’s nothing much. Just a sigil to make it hail tomorrow.”
(…) “Is he your familiar?” I suggested.
“He is,” the black magician boasted, “the most amazing mouse in London.”
We sat watching the hole. I didn’t know whether I was expected to will anything, so I tried to fill my mind with cheese.
Presently a mouse peered, sniffed, darted forward, gobbled the cheese, retreated...

- Oswell Blakeston, Magicians in London: A Recollection.

It's hard not to like Austin Spare, at least from my point of view. So what drew me to him? He drew cool pictures, man. And he had neat Alphabet things that made shit happen. I figured, what the Hell is more magickal than that? Seriously?

Anyway: I realized immediately that Spare was spitting out his unconscious mind pure and wholesale to the world, for it to see. And I realized how courageous that had to be. I've envied artists ever since I learned that art was awesome, which took quite a while. I have pictures in my head, and I wish I could put them on paper. So I really envied that talent and the fact that it was the arte part of magick. It's something that's occasionally distinctly missing, or worse, completely dismissed. Then I read what he had to say and realized I was being confronted with a slew of archaic words, and that I didn't understand half of what he was saying! Which meant I'd have to sit my happy ass down and just pore over every goddamn sentence with a dictionary just to get anywhere. (This, by the way, is the reason he is nigh universally loathed. I'm convinced of it.) What's worse? He used some of those words the wrong way! Except, I think he was coding shit into his texts. And someday I'll figure out what. Maybe. That takes a level of obsession that even I presently lack.

So I just kept re-reading them. Every time I made some new trick work, I went back to Spare's work. And then I turned to Alan Moore. See, Spare shows up in Promethea right before the Abyss. He's standing beside the Black Tower, above which wheel the heavens, and he's peering forward into the Abyss. The Abyss is the fountain of all knowledge, it's the Death's Head. It's all the shit in the world, but in a way every fucking Alchemist loathes. Because it's hard to work with. Spare explains the Tower to Promethea, and then wanders off to hang out with the Black Adepts who have stopped at the Tower to acquire knowledge from its storehouse of the hidden wisdom of the past and the self. But it doesn't end there! Spare shows up again, after the Abyss as an old man. He doesn't remember meeting Promethea. But he has indeed crossed the Abyss.

What the devil is Alan Moore getting at? Well, he's explaining a discrepancy in Spare's texts. The early works are works that drip with vitriol and anger. They show how Spare is doing the exact same thing that most practitioners of the occult do, but almost in reverse. (I can explain this later.) But his later texts have softened. He's become the bearded, grumpy and poor artist-man-witch-sorcerer of London. The same guy who refused to leave his house during World War II because he loved it so much, and it had his cats. In fact, as Kenneth Grant tells it, a bomb fell into Spare's house. Spare scrawled sigils all over it and sat in his house, willing it not to explode until the cleanup and recovery folks showed up in the morning. Why's he so soft? He Neither-Neither'd his happy ass out of the Abyss! It doesn't mean it happened, but its certainly one way of looking at the subject.

Spare does change, though. And I guess that made me grin a bit. It was a clear sign that whatever we are when we start, we will not be that in the end. And so I mostly stick with Spare whenever I can. But I also turn to Crowley, and a slew of recent (and recently deceased, unfortunately) authors for whom I have a good deal of respect.

Also: Spare had a white-fro. It made mine less horrid to think about. And he liked cats! Beards!

Did you consider that by growing a beard, you are playing to mrvi's beard and it's quest for world domination?

Mr. VI does not control my destiny. Only I control my destiny. However, as a brother in arms, I am down to have our bearded ways result in World Domination. It would be the Empire of Faust and VI. They who cannot agree on anything, and scream at one another over the phone (across an ocean no less) over trivial shit until realizing: they are both right, and discussing the same damn thing.

Were we to rule, unfortunately, absolutely nothing would change. Because that's what we spend our time doing. The Path of the Beard hath failed.

Ask me anything Who asks the questions?!

Do you have any idea of who asks the questions on formspring?

Most of the time I do not. However, sometimes people give themselves away.

For example: I have been asked twice, and twice deleted, questions regarding why I am a Black Magician. I know who you are. I know where you live. I know your name, and social security number. I know where your wife goes to work. I know your deepest, darkest secrets. And one of them is: I'm inside you. Deep, deep down inside you. And you'll never be rid of me. Because I'm everywhere. And I'm you, watching right out through your eyes. You should be careful when dealing with Black Magicians. We're notorious liars, and we're only in it for the kicks. You are crunchy, and taste great witch ketchup. See the wide jawed, shark like grin I'm flashing at you from a thousand miles away? Bwahahahahahahaha!

But seriously. You. Cut that shit out. Its freaking annoying.

Ask me anything

Questions and Answers

“So, knowing that people will still find flaws with it, why do you insist on presenting Left Handed material?”

Because I see nothing wrong with it. The fact of the matter is: I have and had “Christian baggage” from my childhood and teens. I mean, I don't really feel bad about that. There's a certain aspect of Oppositional Gnosis to what I do, in that it directly contradicts what most people that/feel/believe. And I think it's just fine to do that. I don't think you have to run around raving about the “Lord of Dorkness” and the “Powers of Dorkness” or how “Evil” you are to get something out of the mindset of Opposition. It has its place, and then you discard.

“How do you find all this material?”

I make it my business to be in touch with as many entities I can that give access to storehouses of knowledge. I consider them, like, my best spiritual buddies in some cases. They're fonts of knowledge and as long as an exchange is made (such as, say, dedicating an essay to one of them when it's asked to be done) then there's nothing wrong with it. Classical grimoires were often dedicated to such entities for just such a reason (and also so it might 'shield' the hidden knowledge. Which may or may not be a purpose I also employ). Make some friends with the Meta-Librarians of the Universe. They're good guys, half the time. The other half the time you find yourself staring into glazed, darkened Goat Eyes and thinking: “Hey man, this is more than a bit creepy. Can we speed this up?”

“Isn't what you're saying now in direct opposition to things you've said in the past?”

Unfortunately, yes. I'm contradicting myself. I chanted the words: “You can't get a free lunch from the Universe!” for a nigh a decade before realizing that it was inescapable. It really pisses me off, too. Because it probably means I can never snap my fingers and start tossing fireballs at shit unless I'm the astral, in a virtual world. It also means entity work, for me at least, is also inescapable.

“What traditional systems work best?”

As far as I can tell, most work. Pick whichever one you grok the hardest.

“This blog is huge! What should I be looking at?”
I dunno. I stick everything from book reviews to thoughts on magick and criticisms in here. I also like to use entries to link to other entries I like. (Cut-ups?! Never!) Err. I guess I'll work on added tags over the next two weeks to separate things into better categories so it can be browsed more easily.

“If you're so good at magick, why aren't you rich?”
The goal isn't to get rich. The goal is to ensure you have the minimum requirements necessary to living at all times, so that you can then redirect your personal efforts to where they matter most. That's why when witches were approached by entities (sometimes even the Devil!) in past mythological and societal belief, they were offered the bare minimum along with a friend that knew how they could better do things. Furthermore: my personal goal isn't to be rich. Money is nice, but it just isn't everything. I'm an Aries. Not a Taurus. I proclaim: “I am!” not “I have!”

“You're not an Adept... isn't handing out this information, like, dangerous?”
If you're not ready to use it, it probably won't work. I'm rendering things down as simplistically as I can. I used to say: “Your mileage may vary!” Unfortunately, that's still true. Furthermore, I hadn't realized that only Adepts and people that think they're Adepts could discuss magick. But I suppose, sure, anything I say could be dangerous. In the right or wrong hands. On the other hand, I don't stop myself from discussing, say, Philosophy. And that can be dangerous, too.

“What should I not do?”
Don't laugh at oaths against evil when doing magickal rituals. You'll unnerve some of your partners, and that's just... not fun.

And don't be the magickal equivalent of a bully. The last part is the only thing I'm absolutely concerned with when it comes to myself. Being an asshole is one thing. Deliberately harming someone for no better than because you can is another. And there's better ways to spend your time.

And one last thing, just to prove I'm an asshole. Don't invoke an ancient Hag deity and then force her to clean toilets. She'll snap your brain right in half, and she has every right to. If you do silly things like that because you think you can, you deserve any punch in the face that said deity sends your way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Sorcerer, Witch, Magician.

Sorcerer, Magician, Witch. Explain the differences, in your opinion.

Man. I'm going to agonize over this because they all have similar aspects (as long as they include magick and not purely theistic theory) toward the top and bottom. So instead I'm going to give examples of how I think it might be helpful to try any of the three.

A) Magician: walk around connecting yourself to the concept of Deity, and how it is reflected in yourself and others. How are you reflected in the world and the eyes of God? How do you step into the shadow of God? What is God? I'm not talking about "The Christian God," either. I'm talking about "the all." The "universe." The eyes of every living creature focusing on their surroundings all at once, and the position of the stars, and crazy shit like that. The biggest lie that most High Magicians I've known have bought is the lie of duality. And it's logic is cyclical. You can't argue with it. Anyway, the High Magician? He wants to step into the shadow of God, and eventually, into the nearest aspect of God he can find: his Higher Self. Or just "Self."

B) Witch: nature. Cycles. Life. Death. The way they intersect and what they have to do with you. The Natura Natura and the Natura Naturans. The Great Mother and the Sky Father. I'm still not sure I ever completely can sync with that, either. Its an honest statement for me to make. But it's the five fingers and life. Which makes death just as important. And that's something a lot of people can leave out. Like you can worship life without worshiping death or somesuch. Which is a notion that bothers me. I thought we were supposed to cross Nepenthe?

C) Sorcery: technique. Fuck all that other shit, man. Pure, plain, technique. And do you know what else we do that bothers the shit out of High Magicians and freaks them out? We make pacts with spirits. Alliances. Sure, witches might do that if they know how. But we're all about that shit. We're out to figure out every little bit of technique we can steal, and utilize until we finally *understand* what we're dealing with. We like puzzles. And we like games. And we like doing things with our brains that others typically refuse to condone... But then, how many High Magicians do you know with useful familiars, and crazed Alphabets who are willing to walk out of their goddamn apartments with their temples and actually LOOK at nature on the Equinoxes? But we do, all the while hunting for the black man at the crossroads. I hear he gives access to that crazy witch shit... The next best thing.

But seriously. I'm being a bit of a romantic here because I think *aesthetics* matter! Get completely and utterly into the things you want to try and *do them*. Because you can! Because it's fun! Because it's also work! (And, also, because I think pointy hats are awesome. Except when worn by Oberon Zell. Look, guys. I know he's a giant teddybear or something. But every Pantheacon I've gone to, I've been stuck in an elevator with him. And I always want to start laughing and say: "Dude, you are NOT Dumbledore.")

We need more of this! Not that!

Ask me anything

A Brief Interlude (or: try Neither-Neither!)

A Brief Interlude
Now, I think, is the absolute best time to test out Spare's Dual Theory and try and make use of it. What Spare asserts, as said before, is that every idea is unified in the mind with its opposite. If we assert one thing must be true, then its opposite becomes equally true. If we assert that there is a divine, benificient deity that rules in Heaven, then it becomes absolutely necessary to have its opposite in an unholy, malevolent entity (or deity). Being that magick is entirely dependent on perception, the only real question we must ask is: “how do I use this?”

So I'm going to ask you to do something very simple: think about one thing you assume or know is “True.” I want you to meditate on, to steal a line from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, (the) One Thing: one idea. It doesn't matter what it is (gravity, the nature of women, the sun's rising). Now focus your attention on its opposite. Now: think of how the two function in unison.

If you do this in trance (but it can work outside of trance, and can even cause it), then you annihilate your emotional bondage to the idea of truth insofar as the pair you've created is concerned, and free up your belief to be used elsewhere. This creates what Spare says is “free energy,” which is the freeing up of perspective from something that restricted it beforehand.

It is helpful for examples, and so I will give two. One was used in ritual, and one was used just three days ago.

For the first I shall turn to my sixteen year old self and pry something out of it: I was once absolutely convinced that women were evil. This was a bit of a problem, as I was also (being a hot-blooded Aries male) extremely attracted to women and their lovely bodies. As such, being in a relationship was more than a mite-bit troublesome. This silly notion was probably caused by my string of humiliating rejections as a pre-teen, as well as the fact that the first girl I ever fell in love with died an untimely death. In any event, it caused all manner of issues for a while until I entered a series of relationships with were at least somewhat mature, and led me to the understanding that women weren't “Evil,” they were human.

Unfortunately, however, in times of stress the notion would occur with such extreme power that I'd rave about how I'd been slighted, throw tantrums like a three year old, and walk around like a raging beast. This isn't exactly productive to anyone. I was aware of the problem but had neither the drive nor the awareness of how to fix it until I was twenty-two. I'd entered a relationship with a red haired vixen, and it was everything (at least for a time) that a youthful love affair should be: loving, hedonistic, constructive, and positive.

Of course, and like so many stories, it didn't last. The demonic notion that women were evil returned and I fell off the wagon of rational thought. She went through her own Hells during this time, and the dalliance would occasionally return. I found myself with a troublesome realization: either I had to end it, for good and within myself, or I would never leave her alone. And she, having entirely different desires in life, would hate me. So I needed a solution after the last time I'd become a booty call (which was, well, different to say the least).

I grabbed all the clothes she'd given me and put them on. I burned her favorite incense. I initiated trance, and then invoked Medusa. Because I figured that if there was someone that could give me a needed handle on perspective, and help me finish the task I'd begun, it was a mythological female that had been pretty much mired. She probably saw exactly what I wasn't, from the female perspective. (A bit of divination had allowed me to make this decision, by the way.)

Deep in trance, I let the thoughts of how wonderful my ex-girlfriend had been begin. I then deliberately brought out their opposites by remembering all the horrible things she'd said to me, all the times we'd fought, what it had felt like to be dumped on New Years Eve. (How's that for an omen, my friends?)

The two collided and for a brief moment my mind was filled with union. I suddenly wasn't focused on my pain. I could see her own pain, and how our pain had mingled together to become a situation that was so toxic that I'd been worried it might never end. That I'd endlessly return to be pummeled. And that she would, as long as she was in pain, return because she didn't realize just how special she really was. I then used the auto-erotic method of sex magick to aid in the charge of what I wanted, and give my vacuity the “quickening jolt” it needed.

Suddenly unified, I focused myself on the Sacred Letter of 'creativity' I'd constructed and let it fill my vacuous mind, burning will power I'd rendered out of my own personal associations. Since the operation, she has entered into a healthier relationship with her current partner. They've had their first child together. And his last name, by the way, is “Fausto.” On my own end it meant staying single for a bit longer and being crafty with thought-forms to eventually meet my wife. And my real last name, which I'm not going to tell you, is very similar to her ex's last name. The only difference? My last name has an “h” in it. Does that really mean anything? No, it's just one of the more curious results from the process. But in any event, I know for absolute certainty that women aren't evil. Even the ones that hurt you. Really. You can trust me on this.

The second example occurred over the weekend: I have long been resistant to Celtic mythology and prone to bitching about “Celtic shit.” This is because I'm a ginger, and I have more than a bit of Scott-Irish heritage, which means everyone assumes you must absolutely love Celtic mythology. And it drove me insane and pushed me further away from it than you can imagine. My spouse, on the other hand, loves all things Celtic. And Celtic things, fortunately or unfortunately for my previous self, occur in the shit I'm studying. Which means they're kind've important to at least have a small grasp on it.

So I again used Neither-Neither. Why am I discussing this? That night I told VVF: “Hey, if you want to tell Lugh we can chat, go ahead.” She did. And then Lugh wouldn't go away. I mean, really. I was well aware of the super-masculine presence that flooded the house. It made my head spin. It began to bother us both. Finally, before bed, I found myself sighing and glancing at the ceiling and mutter: “Okay. Look. I feel you. I notice you. We understand, you're here. But we need to sleep. Could you please, like, return to your home for at least a bit?”

I felt the presence recede and finally passed out. She's still trying to figure out what the hell she's living with, because I was in opposition of exactly this kind've exchange less than four days ago. There are a few reasons for the open-mindedness, but the primary one is I haven't stopped using Neither-Neither once in nearly five days. (For reasons of my own, which varied for each use.) But here's the thing you need to understand: the why and how of your emotional resistance or force being pressed into those associations just goes poof. It's gone. You've eaten it, consumed them. Like food. To provide the power of synthesis that you need for your operations, and really, for your own personal well being.

The answer to every emotional assertion that something is true or necessary has but one answer according to Austin Spare: “Does not matter, need not be!

And that's all there is, period, to the entire process. Anyone can do it. And everyone can benefit from it. See, even those scary Black Brothers have some really great ideas, don't they?

Oh, and on last thing I always forget about: this process can produce a feeling akin to being manic. It's totally normal. Spare funneled this excess energy into his art, writing, and sex. It works great for creative synthesis. Since he used trance, sleep (he could draw while 'largely unconscious' according to Kenneth Grant and would awaken to art he hadn't realized he'd made), and a number of other things for his art. Don't overdo it if you have to be to work in the morning. Just take my advice on this, as I actually feel it's prudent. 1734

Could you please explain a document called the "1734 Foundations" and whether or not it is worth my time to read it as a magician (or witch, if you see those terms as interchangeable)?
Well, the document itself has a bit of an awkward story from what I know. What I've read is this: some people have complained that the "1734 Foundations" has misinformation, or altered information that is at variance with the original Robert Cochrane letters. I don't know if that's been fixed, or if it's true. I'd have to study and compare the two to come to a conclusion.

That said: anything Cochrane wrote, with the exception of his refusal to stop bitching about Gerald Gardner, is pretty much a good read. It's fun, at least, and has quite a few useful bits of information. Favorite Rituals

Of all your rituals, which is your all time favorite, and why?
Rituals I own, or rituals that I've written?

Rituals I've written: Daemon of Protection. It was a pretty big stepping stone for me to make something that worked (for me, at least).

Rituals I own: Headless Ritual. Or the Daemon Attraction rituals at the opening of Betz's tome of awesome, and ancient, doom. Christianity, and the Bible

Are Christianity and the Bible the same thing, or are their fundamental differences?

Christianity and Bible are two different things. The Bible is a book, with stories illustrating things that people that came before us thought we ought to know. They often couched it in terms of worship - but for the most part it's "good things to think about." Being kind to your neighbor is a good idea most of the time. This seems like good information. Some of the other information, such as the idea that a man has the right to smack his wife because she's property, or that we should slaughter our neighbors if our offerings to Deity offend them: well, those are clearly not very useful stories, and for the most part I ignore them. They're blatant contradictions of the Useful Information that the book provides. That probably means they're projections by the authors, which honestly pretty much mars it more than a bit. But it's also a pretty big book. And the Bible is one of the books that impacts other literature in Western culture the most.

Christianity, on the other hand, is a group of people's interpretations of the Bible. I don't really want to just lump them into one category, either. Some are interesting to know and enjoyable to be around; others can be obnoxious and insist their Book is 100% true and factual and that anything which contradicts this is a sign of the devil, and evil. Based on their rather limited viewpoint, I choose to avoid these people much as I might, say, avoid men known to brandish guns when drunk.

Which, I think, is a pretty common-sense and grounded answer, right?

Anyway, why is this relevant to magick? I think one little factor illustrates a possible example, and I'll explain why. It revolves around a complaint from Bishops for nearly four hundred years in the middle ages. (Check out "Magic in the Middle Ages" if you want to backcheck this). The problem was this: those goddamn commoners kept stealing the host! The lower class farmers would take the host back to their homes, inscribe runes or talismantic sigils on it, and then bury it in their fields to cause the crops to grow, stick it in the barn so the horses got stronger, near the cows to get them fat. The host was the representation of the living/resurrected body of Christ. This absolutely horrified the Catholic clergy, who realized the Body of Christ was being defiled for personal ends! (Which, by the way, would be a sin.) None the less it illustrates that no matter how hard you stamp down on something, when you claim an idea has power people will try to bend it to their own ends. The human mind was designed to play with things like ideas and try to puzzle out questions. "How do I play with the Universe?" is one of those questions. The person that asks that is the sorcerer/magician/witch/shaman/wtfever. It's what we do. It's what we were made to do, along with asking every other question in the universe. And that makes it and all other questions relevant regardless of what time, age, or quality you live with.

Ask me anything What advice to come back to?

Let's say I've been an on-again off-again aspiring magician for years, but never quite make it past the 'read a lot of different things about a lot of different approaches' phase. What advice would you give me to help me dive into to actually practicing?

Divination. Find a tarot deck that has the exact kind've symbolism you feel works best for you. Consult it about what you've read so far. While doing so, also keep in mind what you like and don't like. Sometimes you'll look at something and dismiss it while liking an element, and then return to it later. And I mean, you can really do this with any oracle (I, Ching; Obi, Geomancy) if cards don't work for you. The first question I ever asked was: "what model of magick works best for me?" I had no idea, since I hadn't tried any. Over the course of a year I came away with an idea of what seemed to be working and what wasn't. And the entire process really is a bit like that.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Triangular and Circular Patterning (essay portion).

Triangular and Circular Patterning

Having discussed Spare's Dual Theory and the Neither-Neither Principle, it's time to return to discussing the symbol of the circle briefly, and begin discussing the symbolism of the triangle again. I would like to take a moment to point out while the following pattern can be discerned across a wide range of magickal models and in many systems spanning across the world and back in time, it still isn't a “Truth.” This is a symbolic method of arranging things and looking at them and nothing more.

The circle represents the world, as I've said before. But it also represents the principle of fluid exchange. The circle is also generated by the triangle, and the triangle symbolically also generates the circle. Let us assume, at least for a moment, that the flow of magickal power is dictated by something akin to Isaac Newton's Third Law, which largely governs the material objects that exist within space. Let us assume that it is unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) inescapable. The triangle is a combination sequenced like this: Thesis (a) + Antithesis (b) = Synthesis (c). Synthesis, furthermore, generates the circle. And so we have points A, B, and C connected to a circle. From their combination comes the fluid flow. From simplicity gives rise to complexity and vice versa.

The triangle describes how to dissolve and coagulate the four elements and render them into the magickal quintessence which we may then use. This is symbolized on the body as well, and will be discussed shortly (along with the subtle body). The right hand is the binding hand of the sorcerer. It is the active, crafting hand. It is also empowered by right eye (binding eye). The King with a Binding Eye is a mythology we find occurring in more than a few places. It's best told in the tale of Odin giving his left eye at Mimir's Well, in exchange for the power of the runes. Runes a fairly potent symbol set to inscribe with this hand, but other symbol sets may be chosen. The left hand is the unbinding hand. It is passive, and the principle of dissolution. It is further empowered by the left eye (blasting eye). This is the eye spoken of in the mythology of eye-biting witches. The left hand works very well with my personal Alphabet of Desire, especially for those Holy Letters that concern destruction. If you part your hands equal length, left pointed down and right pointed up and focus on the feel of power coursing through your hands and up to your crown (creating a triangle, and generating a circle) you can begin to feel them. And making this further interesting: your position also is assuming a triangle. The hands leading across the eyes, focusing around the so-called third eye (used for analyzing power for what it is) and forming it's point at either your crown. It helps to also spread your legs, which means you'll be making a pentagram with your body. Try it for yourself and concentrate on the spots.

It is also helpful to look for these symbols as they occur in occulted mythology and lore: Alchemy (solve et coagula), Ceremonial Magick (circle and triangle), witchcraft and sorcery (left hand, right hand; left eye, right eye). Now, before any moralizing can occur in your mind: the left hand and right hand have a function. Do not start valuing one over the other or you're undercutting the entire power of these operations and thought-processes. If an Incubus is harassing your sister, stuff your left hand into his chest while focusing power through your left eye and dissolve him back into the all for being a disruptive asshole. If you wish you inscribe a talisman to help a friend get over a sickness, use your right hand. And furthermore: these sides can be reversed (as long as synthesis occurs at the top or bottom points). Either way they end up making the triangle and generating the sequence necessary to render results into being. The new man is a generation of Nomos and Antinomos, creating the being that is the Nietszchian ubermensch. That is the man (or woman) which is a law until themSel[f](ves). It is the Divine Sovereign I have mentioned, The Crowned and Conquering Child, and the union of atavism with Self. Its most potent symbol is the Baphomet, which displays the attributes of: male, female, animal, human, atavism, Self, and has written on its arms Solve and Coagula.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Daemons of Space (Version two; pages 1-3)

The Daemons of Space

“The clan definition of a true witch is someone driven by a thirst for knowledge. That knowledge is the forerunner of wisdom, the state all organic life possesses be it the most basic and instinctive or highly advanced.”
- Evan John Jones, “The People of the Goda.”

Solistes: “The Mother of Darkness hath blinded him with her hair.”
Dadouchos: “The Father of Darkness hath hidden him under his wings.”
Hierophant: “His limbs are still weary from the wars which were in Heaven...”
- Israel Regardie, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magick. ('Neophyte Initiation.')

This essay is dedicated to the entity known to some as “The Baphomet,” and could not have been attempted without its direct assistance at many points. My thanks are thus due to it, without any reserve.


When I was a child, I lived for a time in a lonely town situated near the California coastline. Templeton, California is just outside Paso Robles and about an hour away from San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. Situated at the center of town was a fair-sized park, the entrance of which was flanked with an old Civil War era cannon. Near the south-west side was a hardened dirt lot with equipment for the kids to play on. Just beyond this area and across the street loomed a Victorian house that had fallen into massive disrepair. I am not being overly poetic when (to steal a phrase from Stephen King) I say that it: “Loomed over the town like a black idol.”

Though once it had been white and pristine – as the picture next to the this section suggests – it had become something else. Around it swirled a maelstrom of rumors whispered from child to child: it was haunted, a psychotic homeless man lived within it, the devil had once made it his home, a white woman would be seen outside of it with the Devil's Mark on her left arm, and she'd call you out... Small towns have a long memory, maybe, or maybe it was just the state of the house. But it had a distinct presence. We all felt it. As you whirled around on the semi-ferris wheel or slid down the long metal side, one would find oneself looking up and dreading the place. It seemed to cast strange shadows. (Or perhaps that's just in my own memories...)

By the time I left for Fresno, California, I was nine. I had just barely figured out how to read. Being poor, as my parents were just trying to edge their way out of college and into the workforce, I'd been shifted from school district to school district. Each had a different way to teach one to read (it seems even in the early nineties the ascendency of teaching phonix had not been complete), and switching from whole word learning to phonix had been more than taxing and confusing. Right before I turned nine, something clicked and suddenly I could, as if by magic, read. The same would later happen with mathematics. Things would lock into place, and I'd just know. I went from reading – in the course of two weeks – books that kindergarteners read to reading Tolkien. It perplexed everyone that taught me. (I'd learned something else, too. How to lie and that adults were gullible. This would later haunt me in ways one can easily imagine.) I was, for the most part, shy. As such what few friends I had outside school were older kids that lived on the same block as myself. They were all two, if not three to four years older than I. We ran around the creeks that surrounded housing developments with fake guns; went on odd quests all over to hunt for new or interesting things.

Just before I left, the two eldest kids decided that it was time for me to become more than a mere boy: part of the pack. There are some that believe 'childhood' initiations, facing fears and such, don't occur. In fact, sometimes – maybe if you're lucky or just a group of crazed boys – it's enforced as part of the decorum of a becoming. I was dared to enter the house in the middle of the night. The eldest told me, with a grin: “No one has ever done it... But if you can spend the entire night in it, you will be a God among boys.”

I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to spend an entire night in that goddamn house. I wanted to be a God among boys. A walking, talking fearless demigod who was revered by all. Arrangements were made. I snuck out of the house that night through the well-oiled garage door, so as not to arouse suspicion (or notice). The fear crept in rapidly. I hopped the back fence into my friend's yard. We then headed down the street, and stuck to the path straight there. In my memory, it felt as if every dog that could have barked to announce my transgression did so. Finally, those last steps filled with spectral dread and trepidation.

I entered the house alone. The stairs that had once existed were fallen in; streetlight streaked in, filling the place with shadows. Mouldering old magazines from some bygone age lay stacked together. A single table remained near a rotting fireplace. It only had three legs slanted upward. The air was oppressive and filled with decay, the walls covered in graffiti of who knows how many generations of young boys and girls that had ventured into it before me. I sat next to the table and tried to calm myself. I was beyond jittery; I fell over and scraped my knee at least once.

I don't know how long I sat in the darkness for. But as I did thoughts began to dawn on me; I was still a 'good Christian boy', or so I thought. Guilt of the transgression hit me. This was wrong, I knew. My parents would approve. And... Disobeying one's parents is a sin. Then a thought finally dawned on me: but the devil likes it, like... a lot, when we sin. It was followed by another: he'd help me!

And so at nine years old, I found myself saying for the first time (but not for the last) in a shriveled voice: “Oh, devil. You like it when I sin. I'm sinning now. If you make it so I don't get caught, I'll sin again!

I don't know how loud my voice was. But at that very moment laughter errupted from the area just beyond the stairwell, upstairs. Oh god, I thought, he's coming to get me and drag me to Hell! Like an child afraid for their soul, I finally gave in to pure fear. And as so many stories end: I fled into the night.

I very much doubt I'd actually encountered the devil that night. San Luis Obispo is a place where a huge population of homeless individuals found shelter at that time, and it remains so today. It is most likely that the laughing individual was one of those. Perhaps someone migrating towards San Luis Obispo and its homeless shelters, or perhaps a staggler who had stopped along the way and set up shop in that broken down Victorian home. But at nine years old, I was quite sure: it was the devil. And I was marked. I refused to tell my friends what had happened, and instead insisted the house was evil. Pure evil. They were quite surprised to hear this, after all: they'd stayed there for a time once, too. Just passing the boundary and remaining for more than ten minutes was proof enough that one could join the boy's club. (We even had a tree-house, man.)

I moved away. I got older. The house loomed behind me, a distant memory. I still get chills thinking about it. And when I later read Stephen King's Black House and 'Salem's Lot I got chills. It seems I'm not entirely alone in my childhood silliness. Still: it makes a good story.

Furthermore: I'm pretty sure I know why the house had such a presence to me as a child, now. It was filled with something, with an awareness, generated by it's long life. In fact: almost all domiciles and most areas have such things.


It has been a few years now since I decided to psychically castrate myself for no better reason than because I could. Over the last two years I began systematically stamping down on the notion of 'magical energy' as a concept, and instead began employing other ideas. The problem with this was readily, if not rapidly, discovered: half the things I could previously do were somehow just gone.

As such a new approach was needed, and a new openness to things I'd previously dismissed. Being a dismissive Chaos Magician was easy as a teen; I could cull techniques and thoughts I liked, and dismiss those I didn't feel appealed. Despite having changed directions a slight bit since then (including finding some odd romance as well as a new novelty to the concept of tradition), some awareness of other ideas still intrudes. In any event, new strategies were needed.

Despite floundering about, watching my life which I had so precariously brought into being before with magick and other things fall apart before my eyes, I wasn't as alone as I first thought. The first few weeks were hell. I stupidly quit my job, thinking it'd be easy to get a new one. And then the new bare market intruded into our society. I found myself, for almost a year, surviving on twenty dollars a week as my savings were annihilated. I'd managed to fully bring into manifestation one of my old dreams, too. It was living in a house with my friends and building a new home for myself as well as my friends. As I lost confidence in myself and my abilities, I found myself plagued with inner-demons I thought I'd put down scores of years before. The fact that multiple things were happening at once, a path emerging I hadn't seen at the time, I still resisted. I restricted myself more and more. Finally, gaining back the power I'd thought I lost, things clicked back together. Something a bit more refined than what I now consider my rather grotesque former viewpoint on both life and magick. None the less: don't expect much moralizing. I still expect adults to come up with their own ethical stances on things. It isn't my place to tell you what to think.

One other thing that I feel is important to stress will be said up front, without any obfuscation: some of the ideas in this essay will be based on a worldview that has diminished over time. That does not, however, make this essay based on “ancient principles” or “ancient Truths.” It is an insult to one's intelligence to find such things being harped on by those that should really know better. This essay is an eclectic (though I will try to try it together syncretically) attempt to approach concepts of (magical) power, entities, and space. References have been culled from places as diverse as the essays and letters of Robert Cochrane to the Golden Dawn System of Magick; nor should I forget to mention the works of Austin Spare. Indeed: without his techniques and half-mad witchery, all of my research would have come to nothing. It was Spare that finally allowed me access to the domain of space as a thing to work with. There are some who frown at such things, and a few problems with attempting it, but none the less: the sum is greater than the parts. Furthermore: you need not believe as I believe. Try it out. Think about. If it's useful? Keep it. If it isn't? Drop it. There is no truth here (unless one chooses to see it as such). Only technique, thought, and synthesis. References will be provided where-ever possible so that any interested can begin their own process of digging.

One last note: some of this material is distinctly Left Handed and I won't apologize for it! (Non serviam! I will not serve!) If you feel bothered by any of it, don't use such materials. The reason for this should be made shortly apparent, as any discussion of power follows the swing of the pendulum. Due to this, one should hazard to note that this essay isn't exactly for beginners to magick. If you feel up to trying any of the techniques? Feel free to do so! If you don't? There's not harm in stuffing it away until later, or burning it for heat in the middle of winter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"But we have an entire section on Goddess Spirituality!"

So, I'm working on something. It's a bit stalled because something I think is necessary is missing at present. In any event, it'll be on this blog within the week.

To gain some information, I sent off an email to Michael Howard. He was kind enough to respond within a couple hours. Based on what he mentioned, I set off to finally buy a copy of Robert Graves' The White Goddess. I've avoided the title for a long time for various reasons, but I was finally presented with reason enough to want it.

Where do I head? Well, I normally believe in supporting the local occult/new age stores as long as they keep titles worth buying. The one near by does, but I've always been a bit iffy about it. Today just sealed the deal.

I wander up to the counter carrying Greer's new book on Geomancy and ask about The White Goddess. The woman behind the counter gives me a weird look and says, "Um... I don't think we carry that... But, you know, we have an entire section on Goddess Spirituality!" (Said section is stuffed full of books with titles like Finding Your Inner Goddess! and Saving the World with the Help of your Inner Goddess!.)

I'm not sure what face I made (it either went cold or ashen before I could fake a polite smile), but she paused for a second and then said softly: "It has nothing to do with that subject, does it?"

Look. If you work in an occult store, know your fucking subject. If you own an occult store, hire people that know the fucking subjects. The White Goddess is a staple of Neo-Paganism. Even I know about it. I mean, Christ.

I'm going to open my own shop here eventually. I've just... decided. I'm going to call it The Eldritch Influence. It may take a while, but I'm doing it. Because frankly, I like books. No, really. I love books. I like reading. I like sorting information. I like back-checking sources. I like playing with ideas.

And when I open the goddamn shop? I'm going to invite every motherfucking cool dude I know to come lecture on topics they feel like. I'll even pay them.

But I won't ever step inside that goddamn other store again. The people at Beer's Bookstore are more helpful, and it's a generic used bookstore.

Anyway. I'm done ranting now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eroclis; February 15th, 2010.

First: thank my spouse for the drawing. I produced a scribble that looked almost nothing like this, but she thought was silly and cute. (Specifically, I found I couldn't draw legs and so there were just some darkened lines to denote them. The face looked a bit like a cat's, and about all you could tell is that it had eight eyes.) He's not being added to my google Genius Loci map because I found him at my residence.

Second: this spirit was a pain in the ass. He had the attention span that his general form denotes, and I actually had more trouble holding his attention than anything else. He was otherwise fairly easy to deal with and provided details as to what he was readily. One of his claims was perhaps the most funny: that he was King of his kind. I have no idea what that means. Does it mean he's king of the Field Mice? Or king of the eight-eyed freaks that look like him? I attempted to find out but couldn't hold his attention long enough to distinguish just what he meant by that. After snapping a few times (with my phantom astral fingers) and explaining where he was repeatedly ("you're in my astral temple." "How did I get here?" "I called you here." "How did you do that?" "With your sigil." "Oh. My name. Okay! Yes."). He then proceeded to give me his other name (Eroclis). He seemed generally benevolent and eager to do work, but couldn't tell me what he was good at. I asked what he thought he could do, and he said he could "find things." And "maybe repair relations." I had no relations to repair, so there wasn't much to try. Ironically, while drawing his picture Nicole dropped a pencil and lost it. I could've probably tested him then. (I might do so later. I'm kind've afraid he'll forget what he's doing half-way through any given task, though. And I'm not sure a pencil merits a full Red Meal.) He also noted that we "had" met, in a way, before. Specifically, he was the one that sent an older African American woman with peppery hair to me, to explain the house's history. I recall that when I met her, she'd been extremely fidgity as well (which had made the entire encounter more than a bit surreal). I asked him if he could do that again in the future and he said he'd try.

Last: After drawing him last night, without the sigil, Nicole had nightmares. It might be totally unrelated, however who knows? It could be he was kind to me because I knew his "name" and could thus admonish him. He seemed pretty benign to me, attention span aside, anyway.

So there you go. A Mutant King of the Field Mice. At least he was... cute?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Daemons of Space, Page One.

This essay is by no means even close to being finished. In fact, I'm putting it here so that people can tell me what it's missing (because I know it's not right somehow). That said, it should be finished and handed over to my friend Jay by mid-to-late April. (I'm hoping to grab two sigils/names from locations in England. Hopefully, I'll at least have one for the Tower of London. If we're lucky, I'll also have one for Glastonbury Tor.) As such, it'll probably be 'signed' and 'finished' there. 'Cuz, it looks a lot cooler to sign off, "Jack Faust. London, England. Beltaine, 2010." than to sign off: "Jack Faust. Sacramento, USA." Y'know.

Anyhow. Ahem. Here w go.

The Daemons of Space

The American and European Dreamtime

Writing in 410 CE or so, the Roman historian Macrobius was one of the last of his kind: an openly pagan author dedicated to writing about Rome's glorious past. One imagines that had they lived in the same era, Julian the Apostate would have appreciated him. Macrobius dedicates the third book of his Saturnalia to the methods and tactics of the formerly pagan Roman armies. In it he records a curious thing: when the armies of Rome marched upon foreign enemies, they did so with the belief that each city had a life-force of its own, an elemental or godlike reality. As such when they put a city under siege, they would have warrior-priests evoke the spirit and bid it to betray those inside its domain.i As Stephen Mace notes on this factor: “It is the last sentence of the conjuration – 'if ye shall so have done, I vow to you temples and solemn games' (p. 218) – that seems especially pertinent to combat magick, and even to elemental magick in general. The crux is that you're conjuring the spirit to take your part in a dispute with one of the other humans who inhabits its physical location. Helping you doesn't do it any good, and the strife may ultimately be to its detriment. So it seems reasonable to reward its favor with sacrifice. For the Romans this was a pact in the form of temples and solemn games. A modern magician may find that merely burning incense during a simple rite will be adequate.”ii

To further explain this it seems appropriate to begin discussion the linkages between thinking spatially about spirits, and how they seem to have existed in the Greek and Roman worlds. In general this essay is meant to be about a specific class of spirits that were thought to exist in the classical world called the “Genius Loci,” or quite literally the spirit of a place. Generally speaking this means that a geo-spatial dimension exists within the realm of spirit that coincides or sits directly next to our own dimension. While this thought pattern generally disappeared during Western Occultism's march forward (due to the transcendental bias that both the Christian and Neo-Platonic schools of thought offered, which was the dominant transcendental worldview in the west of the last two-thousand years), it still reoccurs in popular culture and is in fact a central facet in some avenues of witchcraft.

In his Supernatural Horror in Literature, H.P. Lovecraft notices the notion of the “shunned location” occurring at what he calls the Apex of the Gothic Romance.iii This motif reoccurs across the spectrum of American and European (especially the British and Welsh) literature. The haunted house, and popular interest in it, is a good example of this. By being the principle force on the location of a house, the spirit (or Lurker on the Threshold) is most assuredly also considered to be one of the Genius Loci. Likewise of significance in our communities are the places we choose to bury our dead; often places that seem holy, or “hollow:” filled with nothing but spirit (hallowed).

My comments here should not be seen as a condemnation, however. The Genius Loci are mentioned in many classic texts; Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1531-1533)iv discusses them, however I believe the works of Giordano Bruno (1584)v are lacking in the description and discourse on such a matter. Both are late authors, and both produced works which detailed the prevailing astrological model, not to mention discussed the Neo-Hermetic and Neo-Platonic schools of thought. Even in Agrippa, the Genius Loci play a low-key role, being mentioned here and there but never discussed fully in regard to the full extent of their magical purposes and utilities. Why is this?

There are several reasons for why the daemons (or Genius/Djinn) of Space play a minor role in the Renaissance and Medieval texts which come to mind. The first is that while the Greco-Roman world held that space might itself be sacred, Christian held a transcendental model of spiritual reality to be far more important and this became incorporated into society by replacing pagan temples, often believed to occupy “holy space,” with churches and consecrating the area in the name of Christ. (Thus to wash off the taint of the evil religions that came before them.) Places that might have once been deemed holy of their own accord came to be seen as only being holy because an angel visited there, or a Saint manifested one of their miracles at that location. The strangehold that Neo-Platonism placed on the occult arts (largely due to its utility) also encouraged this tendency; especially due to Neo-Platonic doctrines that insisted that matter itself was corrupt, whereas thought and mind (not to mention spirit) were pure. The last aspect to take into consideration is that around the 12th century Arabian magical texts were imported into Europe's occult underground,vi further bolstering the use of astrological sequences for magical operations. This last factor is perhaps one of the most pervasive elements in why the use of the Genius Loci in the west has been largely limited. By sequencing the entities one might conjure based on astrological bodies and sequential time, the text could be made use of just about anywhere. This utility should not be forgotten; a spirit who's principle power springs from its location is thus only effective in the direct area of that location and the places near to it. On the other had an entity who's power is manifest at specific points of time can be conjured and worked with anywhere. The primary reason for using the Gammars of Magick, rather than one's surrounding locales, is that where one uses the Grammar is largely immaterial.

Despite the above, it is nonetheless easy to also see the utility of working with the Genius Loci. Turning the space of one's house, for example, into a territory-protecting guardian seems more than worthwhile. Furthermore, the use of spirits that exist as manifestations of space did not entirely end as I seem to be implying. The pervasive folklore of a witch having contact with beings that existed just outside the borderland of mundane space (particularly fairies), not to mention the recurrent popular culture motifs of haunted houses, shunned locales, and other such structures shows that there have always been those who are aware that they share the space they inhabit with something else.

A good example of this is the tradition of refusing to have both one's front door and back door directly lead to one another in European folklore. This was caused by the belief that the hordes of the Good Folk were barred by walls, but could make use of doors directly linked in such a manner. Rather than having those damned fairies parading around their houses in the middle of the night, the British instead seem to have decided to simply stop putting doors facing one another in their homes. Incidentally, there seems to be a link here to the Roman god Janus, who was the Lord of Doorways. Specifically, his temple spaces were always designated by having one door facing the other, so that his presence could be fully manifested within the temple structure (in the case of his primary temple, his idol sat directly between the two primary gates).

i Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, The Saturnalia (trans. By Percival Vaughan Davies), Columbia University Press, New York & London, 1969.

ii Stephen Mace, Taking Power, New Falcon Publications, 2005.

vi Richard Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages, Cambridge Medieval Textbooks, Cambridge University Press, 1989.