Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A burning question has ignited in my mind- on the topic of discussing the contents of a spell during their manifestation period; intuitively I feel as if that's generally a bad idea and can damage the integrity of a spell. What have you to say on this?

I think this subject is more dependent on what you're doing than on the ritual, spell, or desire. For the most part my answer would be: “yes.”

In many cases you want to, as the Chaotes used to babble about, “fire and forget.” In short, the act of simply not thinking about what you're doing is meant to shut the sigilized desire, spell, or ritual back into your unconscious mind – which then spits it out into reality in one way or another. In this instance the mind is a bit like a pressure cooker: the faster the pressure/heat (the desire being forced into the deeps of the mind if you will) builds, the faster you'll get your result.

If you discuss or constantly think about the desire, you're about to get an apt lesson in what Aleister Crowley calls Lust of Result. This lust essentially pulls the desire back into your conscious mind and holds it prisoner there. You've just grounded your desire and now it has no impetus by which the event may happen.

On the other hand: sometimes you might want to play with how the interplay and exchange of words and thoughts with others impacts the desire itself, and the result. You might, for example, hide your “magickal work” inside a piece of art that you throw on the internet, or place it for all to see in a text-based discourse on your blog. My experiences with the latter is that it can only be problematic in that others are involved and you may be creating “psychic links” as they do your work for you. Whether or not this is relevant is something I'm still figuring out. However, my various experiments with doing such things caused a number of responses:

  1. A certain minority of “Internet Magicians” have, at various times, caught my empowerment going on and promptly Freaked Out on me complete with accusations that I was BEING EVIL. Most of them were stupid or paranoid and I didn't want their empowerment anyway. But their accusations certainly helped me get a little bit better at revealing the nature of what I was doing (“This blog entry is charged. Enjoy at your own risk.”) while keeping the desire itself masked, which meant that the desire was empowered and less accusations of “Mind Control Magicks” occurred.

  2. The majority of blog readers themselves won't even notice. It slips in under the radar no matter how openly you make the nature of your work known simply because they have absolutely no idea that it could be done.

  3. Results can be... explosive. Every once in a while folks will super-charge the intent so much that just about anyone with the proper “eye” can notice it, and right about then you get struck by the manifestation as if blind-sided. Often long before it's expected. To counter-balance this, I try to anchor my manifestation point with either an Emotional State or Time itself. That is, I choose an exact momentary feeling in which I wish to experience to trigger the Work, and then wait to see what pops.

Psychic links aside: art, blogs, etc., all can be used as “Engines of Desire” whereby the trade of Information or Art for the Desire is the unstated element. In this case, anyone reading your blog is also engaging in an act of magick (whether or not they're aware). There's certain moral qualms on this level, and I leave it to practitioners themselves to decide how to use this information. But I've found that if you begin using these techniques, you find yourself losing the desire to do it constantly since you only want specific things at specific times. For me, I like charging up entries to meet another individual or individuals; or to find a specific book (and I make sure to visit the bookstore within three days), etc. I would not necessarily recommend it for entity work at all, as it might unknowingly introduce your readers to something that they may react negatively to. (Thus depriving you of blog readers.)

In this case, however, it's all about presentation and reaction rather than the spell. So even by focusing on those earlier two points, you're dismissing the desire itself. And, sometimes, defeating lust of result. Remember that narrative is one of the most powerful things you can make use of in the latter instances.

Toxicity & Invalidation

“Hoping for something that tastes of deliverance,
Waiting for answers to fall from the sky.”
- Assemblage 23, Ghosts

Plenty of talk about Toxicity seems to be running in waves across the Inter-Webz these days. And, given that I happen to find toxicity interesting, I thought I'd take a few moments to point at a few things I like.

First: Samm posted Bertrand Russell's Ten Commandments on Facebook not long ago. I like them. In fact: I like them in a way I never really anticipated. While hunting about for the link, I also came across this secondary version. I like it, too.

Second: Miss Sugar's post today about toxicity in relationships. I want to take a moment to point out that her use of rubber band therapy is... actually, well, a well known and quite deceased occultist has discussed something similar before. In Liber III vel Jugorum (Magick in Theory and Practice, p. 427), Aleister Crowley advocates something that has been treated with abhorrence by a lot of neo-Pagans who probably annoy me. He basically advocates that any student of magick ought to make oaths againsts certain arbitrary actions they make use of without thinking (such as touching one's face when nervous, chewing on one's nails, etc.) and cutting one's self if the oath is strayed from.

Not unexpectedly: tons of people freak out when you tell them this. I suspect that it's because they think cutting is the only way; the secondary reason is that most neo-Pagans I know have very little thought control or mental discipline. Which is hardly my problem. (My problem happens to begin when I, myself, lack said discipline. And pop right into your dreams. Which I endeavor to do far less these days now that it's no longer novel.) They, however, miss the point which is the discipline; not the cutting. As Stephen Mace notes in Stealing the Fire from Heaven:

Crowley recommended the use of a straight razor on the forearm, but that's overkill... It's also an example of Crowley's sense of humor and may have been intended as a blind, an absurdity meant to scare away those aspirants not gifted with common sense...

It is important that we stress that the acts you forbid yourself must be arbitrary. If they had any moral or emotional value, for instance if you forbade yourself between-meal snacks or thinking about your ex-husband, you would be corrupting your will with your desire and also risking mental sickness that can come when dark nasties are repressed. It is better to strengthen your will first on denials that are entirely innocuous.”

Sound a lot like Rubber Band Therapy? Well, Mace even recommends getting a thick rubber band and using it.

Third: Everyone should read this. It's a list of phrases used to invalidate one's feelings or thoughts. Now, sometimes such things are necessary. However, in most cases using many of these invalidating comments can be... A pain. I've done it without thinking, so I assume others have, too. But every once in a while you'll meet a Master of Invalidating Your Thoughts. If you catch someone doing nothing but constantly undermining your feelings, opinions, or thoughts with invalidation statements: use them back. Either for equilibration of the discussion, or to shock them out of their pattern of speech as it's direct toward you.

Fourth: If you're attached to an egregore in which the group situation has become toxic... Disconnect immediately. Step back, buy some popcorn, and watch the show. But do not, and I mean this seriously, do not assume you can “change” the situation or “make it better.” All that may end up doing is making things far, far worse. I have, over the years, screamed the words “pull out” at more people than I probably ought have. I think I'm pretty much done with that.

And now. To try and coherently answer a great formspring question.

[EDIT]: I found Mace's Stealing the Fire from Heaven on Scribd. Yes, you're welcome and you may worship me if you feel that's necessary. See the hyperlink if you're interested. The essay on Elementals and Power Spots was also my starting point for Genius Loci work. And before you think the man mad: Spare himself backs Mace up on a number of occasions. He once even crazily discussed trying to avoid an elemental with a journalist.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daleks Do Not Accept Apologies

What a weird weekend... Before I get to some promised material: on Thursday, I had another omen. This bit was on the “high end” of the “Weird-O-Meter,” however I was immediately convinced it related to my surroundings rather than to myself.

As it turned out, both my analysis and the way the events played out matched pretty evenly with what happened. I was only wrong on two items. I'd talk about I more, but I don't really want to violate anyone else's privacy, and so...

***


Okay. So. Remember that wand idea? Here are some of the core components at least for a personal, customizable LED system.

First, you'll need an Arduino. I will most likely be getting the Arduino Pro Mini or the Arduino Nano Board. This is what will store the information for coloring an LED, algorithmic flicker patterns, etc. If you're like me and this will be your first time playing with lighting systems, then you'll probably want to consider just shelling out for a package with all the components to make the Arduino work. I may get this package instead, once I'm sure I can afford to. The big thing to remember at this point is that you want your Arduino board to be as small as possible as it'll be placed inside the rod, and if it doesn't fit? Well... That's an unwieldy wand, isn't it?

Next you'll need an LED, as this is going to backlight the quartz crystal put at the end of the blasting rod. Since the Arduino allows you custom program color, pattern, and even variances (I believe some boards can save up to 49 settings), this makes a lot of the work beyond these base components quite easy. And I imagine just getting the color and patterns right will take me a month alone of playing off and on while I ought to be doing Other Things. The LED package I'm looking at is this. But if you're starting to go: “dude, this is becoming pricey...”

Well. 12 bucks. There ya go. Still need an Arduino with USB connectivity and the package to make it work, but... you know.

Now. I'm told I'll also need to make a rig for a 9-volt battery, and I have some other ideas. But there you go. Phase one!

[EDIT]: As RO has pointed out in comments below, you can do the same thing just by buying battery casings, two wires (hopefully you'll make sure to insulate them), and an LED. That'd cost you around $18 total at most.

It'd also be super-lame and I'd make fun of you. ALL THE WAY OR NOT AT ALL, I SAY!

... Or not. You know. Whatever works for you, blog readers. ;)

[EDIT x2]: Fr. AIT continues to dazzle. He may have become nicer as he's aged (by his own accounts), but he's still got excellent taste in... technomantic shizzle! Very, very nice, Brother.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Fortunes of Faust

“The remark was made: If I... had given him [Faust] even my hand, he would have destroyed me...

- Martin Luther, The Tischreden (1566)

What wonders is the notorious sorcerer Faust said to have done in our times.”

- Ludwig Lavater, The Von Gespansten (1569)

Not long ago I was asked as to why I decided to use the pseudonym “Jack Faust” to refer to myself. I discussed it a bit, but I didn't discuss the historical or legendary character of Faust very much. Since I came into possession of a few books that detailed both the legendary Faust (1540 onward), and the historical Faust (1507-1530 or so) I figured... Why not discuss some of the details?
One of the first things I was warned about when people discovered that I referred to my “magickal self” (I'm not a big believer in the divergence of the two, honestly) as “Faust” was that it would have certain... real-time ramifications and that such iconic names have a tendency to influence one's life. I responded jovially, saying something along the lines of: “Well, I've already sold my soul... What else could possibly happen?”
Quite a lot, actually. And none of it actually... bad. Really! And maybe I'll talk about that more in... another entry or entries...
The Historical Faust
Knowledge is the Enemy of Faith.”
- Martin Luther.

Historians seem to disagree about the historical personage of Faust. For example, there may have been as many as two or three individuals operating under the psuedonym of Faust between 1507 and 1540 when the historical character himself drops out of history and the legendary character emerges. The first mention of Faust comes from letters from Johannes Trithemius (1507) in which he discusses listening to a man named George Sabellicus who claimed to be:
The younger Faust, the chief of necromancers, astrologer, the second Magus, palmist, diviner with earth and fire, second in the art of divination with water.”
- Letter to Johannes Virdung (August 20th, 1507.)
After this first letter more and more of the followers of Martin Luther began discussing the fellow, and the correspondence traces Faust's ascent from obscurity into one of the most legendary figures of the 16th century. We can be sure that such a fellow (if not fellows) did exist, however, as extant records show such: A 'Johannes Faust ex Simern' gained a degree in Philosophy by the University of Hiedelberge. The records are unfortunately in German in my copy of The Sources of the Faust Tradition (highly recommended for interested readers) by Philip Mason Palmer and Robert More, and as such I can't do much more than decipher them hap-hazardly. All of the letters, on the other hand, are conveniently translated from Latin.
The same book contains a few other contemporary records such as this:
On Wednesday after St. Vitus' Day, 1528, a certain man who called himself Dr. George Faust of Heidelberg was told to spend his penny elsewhere and he pledged himself not to take vengeance on or make fools of the authorities of this order.”
- Records of the City of Ingolstadt.

And this:
Safe conduct to Doctor Faust, the great sodomite and necromancer, at Furth refused.”
- Entry in the Records of the City Council of Nuremberg.
May 10th, 1532.

The letters between the Lutherans tend to indicate that Faust studied Philosophy at Hiedelberg, and then moved on to Cracow where he studied Hermetic magic and possibly even alchemy. He seems to have been accused of sodomy between 1507 and 1530, but was not convicted; he had a generally 'evil' reputation, in that he claimed to understand and practice Nigromancy (literally: “black magick” in Latin), and seems to have impressed those who weren't detractors with his wit and intellect.
Martin Luther himself is part of the reason that Faust became entrenched in the public record and mind; for Luther sought to link Hermetic magic with witchcraft, and made an icon out of Faust. For the Lutherans, Faust stood for everything they did not: humanism, diabolism, practicing magic, chicanery, and a few good con-jobs.
After the 1530s, what emerges from the letters between the Lutherans is the face of the legendary Faust. They wedded him to both the ancient image of Simon Magus, and to that of Don Juan, not to mention a number of other sources.

The Faust Books
In 1587 Johannes Spiess wrote the first of what came to be called The Faust Books or Faustbuch. It was heavily pirated and by 1588/9 had spread across Europe; the basic premise involves the first step in the emergence of the character known as Faust. Interestingly, this first Faust Book also closely ties Faust with the practice of witchcraft. Historian Jeffrey Burton Russel writes:
The Faustbook tells how Faustus, abandoning Philosophy, turns to magic. Given the antischolastic bias of the Protestant Reformation, it was natural that the Faustbook should make the figure of the man who sells his soul to Satan a scholar: Faust desires to obtain knowledge by his own efforts rather than receive it by grace. This individualistic rebellion ties Faust's sin to the original sin of humanity (Adam and Eve's theft of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge) and to pride (the original sin of Lucifer himself)...
In order to master magical lore, Faustus determines to call up the Devil. Going to the crossroads at night, he inscribes magical circles and characters upon the ground and invokes a spirit (Gaist) by the name of Beelzebub. Here the author deliberately mixes magic and witchcraft, the traditional signs and symbols of hermetic magic with the witch-like invocation of an evil spirit.”
- Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern Age (P. 60-61; italics mine)

The spirit which appears first takes the form of a dragon, then turns into a fiery globe, and finally into a greyfriar. It gives it's name to Faust as “Mephistophiles,” a combination of Greek, Latin, and possibly even Hebrew elements. Russel breaks the name down as such: “Greek mē, not”; phōs, photos, “light”; and philos, lover” – yielding “he who is not a lover of the light,” an ironic parody of Lucifer, light-bearer.”
It was the Faust Books, and there were many to follow Spiess first, that led to Christopher Marlowe writing The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, and later to Goethe's Faust.
Further reading:
And a fascinating little piece titled: “Did Coleridge translate Goethe's Faust?
[EDIT] 11/6/12: Pacts with the Devil: Faust and his Precursors by Ingrid Shafer has vanished off the 'net, in that way Ephemera often does. I'll re-add it if I ever see it again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sigilomania

(From Andy Diggle's Hellblazer run.)

Okay. I want you to do two things before anything else. Then you're going to give me a moment to gloat. And then I'll ask a question. Simple and straightforward. (Multiple sigils, indeed.)

First: Read Gordon's last post.

Second: Read Jhonn's first post.

Third: Gloat. Gloat. Gloat. Megalomaniac laughter! Etc.

Now (if you're a lazy ass who can't be bothered to do these simple things! … I understand entirely), Gordon's last post is about a sigil firing itself off. And Jhonn writes: “I loved sigilizing. It even got to the point that things I would sigilize the night before would manifest exactly as intended the next day before I even got around to launching them.”

Ladies and gentlemen, what happens when you have fully internalized the process of sigilization? Do you know what you learn to do after that little basic step?

I'm sure you can take a guess. And I'd never, ever lie about these things. Welcome to the Weird.

EDIT: Due to VI, I found this bit of information very... crunchy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

God, and his Plan... Which, of course, YOU Know.

Okay. So, whoever emailed me that silly “Call to Christ” on Facebook....

... while I found it funny, I also considered the thoughts involved to be convoluted on the level of the fanatic. And I'm not a “Spiritual Leader.” If I led anything, it'd be a Conflagration of - err...

Anyway. Not a “Spiritual Leader.” Not interested in the position, power, or glory. And if “God” has a plan, it's definitely way too subtle for you fucking monkeys to get.

The world has had enough of Mankind trying to Guide It In The Name of God. Let's let God do what God Does (“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh,” anyone?) and stop stuffing our words in the mouths of deities.

And finally: Mithras was still cooler than Christ. And Dionysos was cooler than both of those lot. And I have a very soft spot for Hermes in his Psychopomp aspect. You people are the reason I'm so critical of Theosophy. You give Esoteric Christians a Bad Name. Tsk.

Now then. Video games and slaughtering things. ... Sometimes, when I want to creep myself out, I imagine the characters exist in some world where I'm a terrible deity imposing my Plan on them. And it's about then that I stop thinking about that thought, and go back to Beating Up Darkspawn. With an elven, female rogue. Because I tend think women and swords go together...

EDIT: Case in point... Somehow God's Plan always involves things like this. It is precisely such things I've declared anathema to my daily life, and thought patterns. I wouldn't fucking truck with that lot even if they begged. Which they wouldn't. Since I clearly, like, worship The Devil or some shit.

Surviving What You Conjure (Probably NSFW)

(Azazel. Credit here.)

Preforatory Notes.”

Before I even say anything else... I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Fr. POS for reasons he's well aware of, but hasn't said anything about. Grats, dude. (And that's all I can really say about that; and no, this part has nothing to do with his HD.)

Also, I promised some people Talismans because I was handed a novel way of giving them to others without incurring a direct link. … Being that when they choose to activate the talismans, they break the link. Jesus, that technique is useful! Mmm. Stolen goods just taste better. Ahem. I mean...

Well, I picked up two $1 “gold” U.S. Coins that I will quite literally deface this weekend and get those first two out asap. Most likely on Sunday. Because Saturday is not so good for the luck charm, at least. Moving along...

(Von Stuck's Sensuality.)

The landscapes you work also work you.

Before you go about plunging into the Astral depths, keep this in mind at all times. When you start doing “astral workings” and what not, what you need to remain aware of at all times is that the symbolic contents they entail are going to be boiling in your mind. It's becoming a cauldron, really, and if you aren't very careful then you're going to begin taking on some of these attributes.

This is the blessing and the curse of working with entities attached to specific landscapes, symbols, and patterns. If you can influence them, then they can influence you. Control – as in the idea that you have any at all – is a bit of a misconception. You have very little control, but you might have a lot of influence. These are two very different factors. If you try to control what's going on, you're in for a lot of problems. Because this is home turf for the entities you're going to be dealing with, and some of them might decide to teach you some manners. How would I be aware of this? Gee. I can't frickin' imagine.

One last thing: the more you are at home with certain [EDIT: I'd written city which... actually gives away a bit of where my thoughts come from] entities, the more you work with them... Well, the more they mark you. There really are people that can pick up on such information unless you learn to hide it. On the other hand: most magicians I know are easily blinded by glamors. Which I find very, very funny.

(Von Stuck's Judith. I quite like this fellow's art...)

Don't break the guidelines unless you know why they've been presented to you.”

I have talked a bit about bad information, specifically from fellows Gordon might say “don't know what they don't know,” but sometimes you're told something by someone in the know and you should take it seriously. There are a lot of “guidelines” (not so much rules; but then they can be inflexible, too) to the science side of the occult. The art/e side is a bit different and the real question is how far you can stretch your imagination, keep your relative sanity intact, and achieve results. As long as these three criteria are accomplished, I see no reason to question most magicians or witches playing hard with the arte. If anything we as practitioners benefit greatly from these experiments as they can open us up to ideas we might never have even fathomed before. The face of thaumaturgy is that of awe or wonder. One might even literally translate it as “miracle work.

On the other hand, some ideas are just plain stupid all the time. No matter how much of a badass you are, regardless of whether or not you can pull it off: why? I mean, really. Why? I've seen Chaotes on bulletin boards spout bullshit about if nothing's real, then they might as well just walk out in front of a car and test the theory. Good luck with that. Let me know how this little endeavor turns out for you. And I may just say: “I fucking told you so.”

I mock reality all the time. But I don't question things as solid as I. It keeps them from hitting me at 50 or 60 MPH and turning me into a jelly-and-bone roadstain. I consider this a blessing, as I'd like to stick around for at least a bit longer. I figure most other people want to, too.

(Von Stuck's Lucifer. No, seriously...)

Information and filters.”

So, here's my conclusions as they stand (and I'm sure they'll be reformed or discarded in favor of a better general theory in time):

  • The astral is “virtual space” which we tend to be able to mentally “access” as it were. Within this space are all kinds of weird shit, and the more you get crazy with it, the more fun it tends to get. Err, I mean. It's all very serious and stuffy. You'd never want to astral project into a quasi-demonic Steampunk version of London in 1880, right? Who in their right mind would want that? Anyway. You could call this “mythspace,” or what-have-you but that's really just convolution things. The major reason that mystical systems focus on specific areas is because the practice of these systems is to involve oneself in that space. And it helps to narrow your focus to what helps or hinders, and how to deal with that. But it's pretty much infinite. There's no crisis in this, either. Ahem.

  • Evocation is the act of aligning sections of that space, or entities therein, with the macrocosmic world. It helps to be blown out of your mind on drugs, have mastered trance techniques, or have some fumes or a black mirror. Each of these helps for various reasons. But the drugs should just help you access this space and nothing more. I'll... talk about the drug part more in another blog entry or later. I can't decide which. And, um, I'm sorry, sis. I may have left a few helpful details out that you lacked. Eek. I hate saying that.

  • Invocation is the conjuration of a spirit directly into the magician or witches own microcosm. All manner of horrid taboos are made about what is and is not appropriate by people with nigh Victorian minds and manners. I tend to treat these individuals as inherently toxic, and avoid them regularly. Because slapping them around verbally is pointless.

  • I tend to distinguish between 'entities', 'egregores', and 'deities'. And I tend to see Deities that have evolved beyond the status of egregores. There's also a few things that... blur the lines. But each of these tend to have aspects which 'extend' into the given landscapes. Tendrils of force or space or some such. It's kind've hard to explain my thoughts here, because the subject matter is pretty convoluted. But entities have the least amount of force or strength, egregores/angels/what-have-you tend to have between double and quadruple that, and deities are mind-blowingly huge. Huge in the way their corpus of myths is huge. Each of these tend to be able to influence us and the world around us as well, as I take it a given that we influence them, too. Some form of exchange, even if it's just discourse, is being done.

So, based on the above, your job is narrow the framework down. What is a ritual doing? Where does it tie into “virtual space,” and what is it meant to bring into your sphere. If you're not asking these questions, you're setting yourself up for a fall later when you get something other than what you intend, and you're not sure why. RO pointed out that even Agrippa was aware of this tendency to me a year or two ago and I was delighted.

The more “open-ended” something you do is, the more open-ended the result will be. The trade-off – if you're doing it right – is that you always get something. But, on the other hand, if all you've said is: “I'd like me an entity,” then all you have is an entity. And if you've deluded yourself into believing “an entity” is always “The Arch-Angel Michael,” then the Ravens of Dispersion shall feast upon your soul while we eat popcorn and laugh. Cruelly.

So. General? Not always good. Specific? Well. What if the entity doesn't respond? What if you don't have the power or symbols to drag it into your desired area of affect? Then you go by 'class'. “This does (insert desire), and so I want something that can help me find or understand (insert desire).”

If you've done this, you have to make a few tests. Most spirits and deities I've worked with have always been willing to Show Off. When I met Hermes at nineteen I asked: “How do I know you are what you say you are?”

I was given two items within four days, each bearing a trade-mark of Wisdom and Trickery. I concluded that I could not be sure it was Hermes, but it seemed to have some of the influential areas that Hermes had. Good enough for me. These are direct omens, and unless things go horridly wrong there's no need to question them. If things do? Well, that's when we go back over things.

Or you may ask for three statements that will verify an entity. You then break these, and the entities name, down into Gematria (I have worked with traditional methods as well as the late Infek BinLaden's Gematria of Nothing) and compare the two. If you can begin finding correspondences between what it does, or it's name, and the statements then you've got a very big clue that what you've done is working.

Consulting an external source that might not be tapping the right 'facet' of a deity, or given entity, is not a very good option. It's better to consult them about what errors you might have made. The validity of the contact, however, can never be rightly made by another. There is always a bit of a leap of faith involved. This is the choice between wielding a sword as the weapon of intellect, or a dagger. I believe Aleister Crowley discussed the issue a bit...

(Von Stuck's Medusa. Same source as above.)

Synchronization Errors.”

DeusExMachina visited over the weekend and discussed a ritual he'd done only a little bit. One of things we discussed was that he'd juggled no less than five god-forms (I would not try that, but then I'm not an Adept) and it'd left him feeling a bit wrecked physically.

He dropped by again today and discussed what he'd decided with me. The basic issue was a synchronization error. At one point he had to decide whether to break the theatrical aesthetic of the ritual by keeping the godforms anchored to their specific tools and actually swapping them, or to just blaze through it and take a bit of a hit. The choice was to take the hit; this meant that he had to crank up the “microcosmic juice” if you will, and the effort of stabilizing those entities was a bit harder. The residual effect was that of physical tiring and a bit of pain. It was still, however, the best option available at the time.

If you're mixing up the symbols, it's that much harder to keep the virtual space, shell, or entity aligned and you're going to take a bit of a hit. I like to do the Death Posture before such rituals so that I've already taken the hit, and I'm all kinds of ready to rock. Like a dead man. Sometimes this isn't an option, and you'll have to make a choice like the above.

It was a nice way of verifying some of my Operative Theory of Weird Shit, however, and I was delighted to hear about it.

Next: A Beginner's Guide to Backing Your Threats Up. Or something.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arg. Um. Shit.


So...

... Today I was gonna release my new Wordpress blog. But since some other folks were going to be getting blogs too, and Wordpress announced that Wordpress 3.0 now came with Multisite integration, I upgraded.

And of course switched to multisite.

And then promptly realized I was in over my head. So you probably won't see the blog today. Today, I'll probably watch a couple movies about beating rather than beat my head against a technological wall and try and pretend I have any clue as to what I'm doing.

Tomorrow I'll start fresh.

Also: Jack Parsons died 58 years ago today when he dropped a vial of fulminate of mercury in his house in LA, and Babalon's prophesy toward him came true: “Thou shalt become a living flame before she incarnates.”

Which is a pity. Because he really was the only good thing Thelema had to offer at the time. (I mean, at least he later didn't write a book titled The Slaves Shall Serve... Instead he wrote one titled Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword. It's been out of print for a long, long time. And most of his writings are heading into the public domain twilight zone shortly. You might, like, see them pop up on the new blog. Just sayin'.)

EDIT: Ahem. Jack died 58 years ago, too. Eep. Fixed.

EDIT #2: The extremely awesome faoladh brought to my attention the fact that Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword is still in print. That's awesome!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Admitting when you're wrong!


If you're doing this, the responsibility for both your actions and your words fall squarely on your shoulders. You can't duck that.

As such it's now my duty to make a comment that VI pointed out last night:

I was wrong about Peter Carroll. Man. That was harder to write than I thought. When I read "Psybermagick" years ago, the truth was I felt betrayed by someone who's writing I'd placed some silly blind faith in. Given my near constant comments on various matters, I should have noticed. But because I was busy giving in to opiatic vitriol (ALMOST DONE!!!! ALMOST FREE OF THE HAZE!!!!) I didn't. Thankfully, I place real and actual trust in my friends. And VI, living up to his reputation, promptly deconstructed my comments and pointed out the flaw in my thinking.

So. When Pete's new book comes out, I'll buy it and the latest to read back to back and review my thoughts as they stand. And then I'll discuss them here or on the up-coming site.

You may point and laugh at me now. In fact, I do encourage it. Really! You'll feel great! Stick it to the stuck up Black Magician!

Self-Love and Desire

Ha, ha, Universe!”

So, I recently talked about the significance of omens. And tonight, after a long discussion with Mr. VI, I solved the little riddle. And then Z.E. Accordino, proving she's awsome, confirmed my suspicions and made me commit to writing this entry.

I've discussed Austin Spare's thoughts and theories many times before, but tonight I'm going to try and fit them together for people so they can see the picture that emerges from the Sacred Letter if they so desire. Now, you don't have to agree with me. And your mileage may vary. But try and hear me out!

Self-Love”

While Aleister Crowley may have dabbled in drugs, a rock-star lifestyle (and well before it was trendy, no less! And yes, I'm understating things), all that sex and so forth, he was presented with his antithesis just prior to the 1920s by a fellow named Austin Spare. His practices, ranging from extreme to benign, evoked a curious sense of horror in Crowley. He lamented, in letters to Kenneth Grant, that Spare had become “a black brother,” and that he had sealed himself up in a Black Tower before the abyss.

He was, however, quite wrong. I have often suspected that the men were simply too similar (in both defect and imagination) to actually get along. Others have wondered if Crowley might have made a pass at the young Spare. In any case Spare noted in The Book of Pleasure that Ceremonial Magicians seem to be play-acting “charlatans” just to show his displeasure with Crowley. Both, however, were Dionysian to a certain degree.

The Book of Pleasure discusses quite a few things, but one of the primary elements remains what Spare called Self-love. This is solipsism, but what needs to be kept in mind at all times is that this form of solipsism is fueled by sorcery, or magick. And as such what's been doing – both theurgical and thaumaturgical – is being fueled by the sorcerer himself. By reifying his or her own self-worth, they are also asserting that other people matter. And that the world around them and the world inside them both matter.

The exchange between individual and others is constant, but not always positive. Spare best illustrated the pitfalls of this method of operation in 1927 when he published Anathema of Zos: or, Sermon to the Hypocrites. While many people, including myself, have loved the text I suspect very few people realizing what they're looking at. The entire text is one, giant curse. And who's it aimed at? The people that paid his salary as an artist. The people he unfortunately needed to get by. This was, one realizes, a very huge mistake to make. Austin Spare bit the Hand that Feeds. He even admitted, later in life, that it might have been an error to make.

However, Spare's basic points also illustrate why his doing so doesn't really matter in the context of the man himself. It was a mistake Austin Spare, the fire-thief of the 20th century, was nigh literally doomed to make.

And we all have these blindspots. We read about the pitfalls of magick and we forget this factor. We forget that hearing something and doing something are two different things. It's easy. I do it all the time. The way of propping yourself up when you grope about like this is with self-love.

The endless backturning, the desire to “do over,” is antithetical to the path. You are meant to learn. Things get messy. You're a thing of disorder. Despite the lack of rationality, you – the thing that moves forward while facing backward – have emerged. Just to spite the rationalists. Just to dance and make a show of it. Just to worship for worship's sake, and bluff for the joy of the game. Part lie and part horrible truth, you are here.

And you are worthy of reverence. You. Because of this Spare recommends of a healthy dose of what he calls the Neither-Neither. The answer to duality is: “does not matter, need not be.”

Duality is a lie. It is you – the sorcerer – that reconciles opposites. It is you who resolves the riddle. Who learns, and who experiences. Therefore all you can ever know is what's within you, and what very few things can be confirmed by another. There's a wide margin of error. Get over it. Don't unnecessarily limit yourself with “I can't” responses. Seriously consider what you can do instead, and find a way of implementing it so that you've focused your intent down a specific path. This works for both theurgy and thaumaturgy. But it takes a degree of foresight, and we sometimes lack that. Which is okay. That just means we have more things to learn and more things to do.

The reason I admire Spare is not because he rejected those who kept him going... But because he did it, and he survived. And he left us a record of his path and passing, to encourage those few in the future who would follow in his footsteps. And he didn't need tons of money to do that, just love of his craft and his art.

I don't think, however, you should curse the people that buy your art if you're an artist. Learn from the man's mistakes; taking strength in adversity, however, is what I'm actually talking about.


“Traps

  • I can't do that.

Really? You can't? Why not. Okay, okay. You probably can't conjure fireballs or walk through walls without taking a trip to the astral plane. But the fact of the matter is, you can learn to lucid dream or astral project and try it out. Why not? Many magicians lack imagination. They push themselves into believing only way to “use power” or “manifest desire” is by theft or harm. This seems pretty, uh, dour to me. Don't get me wrong, sometimes theft is the only way. Sometimes it's not. But many times, there are other ways to get what you want without taking from someone's pocket or at their expense. If you can design or devise it, and have the skill to manifest it: the door is wide open.

  • I was told not to.

By who, and why? Is it because doing so will harm someone else? Does this person have any practical experience with what they're discussing? Don't go to a Ceremonial Magician who's only spent twenty years practicing Theurgy and sneering down his nose at others and ask him for advise on harmonious or even practical thaumaturgy. He's going to repeat the lie he's told himself (that everyone not on his spiritual path, with his inclinations is evil) to you. Likewise, other people will steer you about for ego. “I can teach you so much!” Don't be a doormat and let someone use you for their ego purposes. Be aware it happens everywhere and don't buy into some ideal where people would never, ever take advantage of you (and the ego-teaching-shit is exactly that) because they're “spiritually advanced.” They're still human, no matter how advanced. Humans make mistakes. It's how we learn what not to do. And most of them just think they've attained some weird-ass Karmic Awesome Rank. I believe the Hindu religion addresses the desire for enlightenment also being a type of attachment for precisely this reason.

  • Lust of Result

The joy isn't really getting what you want. It's the game of figuring out how. Playing with this. Throwing yourself occasionally off the beaten path. Testing yourself. Seeing what pops up, and why. Bringing about events. Heightening experiences, for yourself and possibly even others. And you really can do this endlessly. At this point lust of result is negated because most of the time the result doesn't even matter. It's the joy of seeing what works, what doesn't, and how to refine one's practice over time.

  • There's always a price.

    We like to think we can get shit for free. But even on the most basic level, we can't. If you want to be really, really good at what you're doing then it's going to come at the expense of other things. There's only so much time in the day. Many magicians, myself included, consciously deny themselves other things so that they can continue their experiments and practices longer. Others choose not to, and then wonder why they're not getting the same results. I don't have the greatest social life. And I honestly could make more money. The trade off with this is I have more time to pursue things like wandering around my city hoping to find a building I can talk to. And I'm not doing that that on the days I work on wand designs or some-such. So... If you want “more time,” then you have to find a way to make more time. There are other meanings for this, too. But this is the most basic illustration of the concept that I can think of.

  • Others Will Make Me Better

    Why, exactly, are you doing this? And why do you desire what you desire? I know some young hot-shots that want nothing more than a book deal. This normally comes with the illusive idea it will make them famous, rich, or get them laid. People complain about it all the time. And it's pretty much normal. We all have fantasies or desires we cling to. That's not a problem. The question is why? I write what I write – including a hefty dose of crazy anecdotes that might or might not always be true – because I consider that in and of itself a “magickal act.” Look: if you suspend your disbelief for me, you're doing me a favor. Empowering me. As such when I do tell a fib, it's normally for a purpose. I have a specific experience I want. The trade-off is that I try and give you something worth reading. In return, when you so choose, you can suspend your disbelief and maybe we'll take a little ride together. If you choose not to? That's okay, too. Telling me your objections helps me refine the art. On the other hand, I try to provide anecdotes that include what tidbits I tried to glean from them and I try to keep myself from making too many errors. In this way, others make me better. But they don't make me rich, super-cool, or worthy of praise. Praise isn't what I'm after, in all actuality.

  • I'm sure there's more, but I've written three pages already!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't Be THIS Guy

You can:

  • Practice all the “black magick” you want.

  • Dance like a monkey

  • Make use of taboos to fuel ritual (as long as they aren't illegal, and your partners don't get squicked out)

  • Etc.

But. Whatever you do. Don't be this guy:



Bonus comments:

  • It's really fucking creepy when you discuss wanting to pass on your “dark seed,” dude. I'm pretty sure that involves sodomy, too. But I'm not gonna ask and find out.

  • “The Wiccas” “The Magicks” “The Divinations.” Only use these three terms as plural when you want to be silly and sound stupid. Not if you're serious.

  • That dude is totally probably piggybacked by somethin' dirty. And slimy. And it's probably not that smart, either.

Credit goes to Jhonn for bringing this to my attention. And scarring my life forever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Private Questions and Answers: Round Two.


Michael Ford.”

I was recently asked in a private email, due to referring to myself as a “Luciferian,” if I endorsed the work of Michael W. Ford. To which I must respond: no, never. Not ever.

There are several reasons for this, but the primary one is: Michael Ford is a plagiarist. He's openly been cribbing material from Andrew Chumbley and Kenneth Grant for years. While he occasionally mixes in thoughts unique to himself... These thoughts are normally flawed at best. There's nothing wrong with remixing someone else's materials with your own style, or trying to shed light on what they're saying in a new way. There's also nothing wrong with quoting another writer, but you really ought to make citations.

Ford often fails at even these, the most simple tasks of writing. His theories on what the “witch-blood” is... are at best haphazard bullshit, and at worst a flagrant misunderstanding made by an individual who's been trying to cover up his ineptitude at research by selectively plugging in someone else's thoughts without such much as a warning to the reader. This has won him a ton of teenage “Satanist” adherents who are willing to buy his Lulu press books. It's also made the rest of us turn our eyes towards the man with more than a tiny bit of rage. In fact, I've actually discussed Ford before. My opinion on the man, assuredly, has not changed.

Peter J. Carroll.”

This one is all my own... I love Gordon and his blog. Really, really. While we disagree about Lovecraft, I can accept that. What I found odd was that while Lovecraft got the shaft, however, Crowley was still cool... (Does Gordon realize the extent of Crowley's antisemitism? Possibly not. And where's the hatred of Yeat's fascism?! Ah, well. All the old school had issues, guys. Let's not kick them too hard. They were flawed and human, like the rest of us. And yes, I include Lovecraft in this sentiment) … And so was Pete. [Edit: Gordon is still really cool, and I was wrong. I'm leaving this paragraph up to remind myself not to be a dumbass again.)

Wait, wait. Peter Carroll?! The guy that threw together a bunch of letters from the English alphabet in Liber KAOS and called it “a mathematical equation representing magick”? (It's not. It's an anology. Those variables are neither constants, nor can they be mathematically defined. As a “scientist,” Peter Carroll really ought to know this...) The guy that wrote Psybermagick?!

I recall buying that book. I also recall throwing it in the trash and wanting to demand my 17 dollars plus shipping back from the IOT's “High Magus” founder. And then, when he introduced Michael Ford's Luciferian Witchcraft, I wrote Pete off. Forever. [Edit: Jason brought it to my attention that it was Nathan who wrote the introduction to Luciferian Witchcraft. I know that Carroll wrote the introduction to one of Ford's books that I purchased, but it seems to escape me at the moment. Gah.]

He can write whatever he wants. I won't buy it. He's dicked over his former lodge mates in the IOT. He's the continuing factor in the “those Chaotes and their Ice Magick Wars” B.S. that some magicians toss our way. He's written crap books filled with nothing but his personal nonsense. I assure you, you can't change my opinion on this:

Pete... Thanks for Liber Null, and now get the fuck out. We got one really good book out of you. It's all the credit I'll give you.

Sympathy and a Magician's Defenses.

Fr. POS noted, in a discussion with me, that my Bat Omen might have been from a magician's defenses deflecting my anger.

This is, actually, quite possible. And so I took a few days to think it over. My final conclusions are thus: No matter how badass I am, I should not be entirely able to put myself into enough sympathy with another magician just by reading three or four blog entries they've written (and inspired me to irritation), especially if there isn't some other form of personal link between myself and the other individual. I mean, it's possible. But it's giving myself and my temper a lot more credit than I'd be willing to do.

The above point is shaped by a vast amount of Incubatic Dreaming experiments which were conducted from my late teens on toward my mid-20s. Included in this was building narratives that would allow for both myself and the other individual to plug into just prior to dreaming. The next step would be endeavor to see your hands in your dreams (as they're the symbol of Will), which could pop you right into a lucid state. Those wishing their own experiments with these methods are urged to take a good look at Peter Lamborn Wilson's Shower of Stars and a few of the rituals in Betz's The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation.

(Just prior to my beginning to date V.V.F. she had one of the first incubatic dream experiences with myself appearing. In the course of the dream, I took her to a passage beneath an overpass and into an area just beneath said overpass. Toward the middle of the dream recollection she wrote: “As we approached that area, we passed by a hill where a giantess of a woman was sleeping on her back upon a black platform. She had long, red hair. “That's Lilith,” you said, and I recognized her. But though you referred to her as a person, she seemed to me like a megalith - a living feature of the landscape. We tried to steer clear of her...” It'd blown me away because that – my affection for Lilith and her kin – was something I kept very, very private at the time due to previous issues. And guess what's weirder? I didn't freak her the fuck out!)

However, as you'll note above, I also discussed building the link between you and your partner. No such thing exists between myself and the blogger I disliked, and so I find it unlikely his defenses kicked in and sent me the omen to knock me out of my mood. It's more likely one of the deities presently influencing my, my daemon, or even my familiar sent it. It's also possible that the universe is sentient and did that shit all on it's own. I don't hypothesize overmuch over how omens occur, so much as what they're telling you. This is largely because you can make yourself quite paranoid doing such things in the beginning.

However: had I built a link, and then initiated negative contact, I'd be far more willing to consider such a thing.


Podcasts!”

Those blog readers who endured Mr. VI and I having a brief podcast show – Cultivating Madness – may be interested to know we've both been recently harassed about whether or not we wish to return to doing it.

I, personally, can't decide since I'm either extremely busy or extremely bored (depending on the day)... However, I figured I'd toss it out for blog readers to vote “yay” or “nay” on if they so wished. I would like to take a moment to say: Google Buzz Votes Do Not Count. I'm looking at you: Rose, Jez, and St. Justin.

Anyway: briefly, during 2006 or 2007 or somesuch, VI and I worked together on a three or four show podcast series. We freaked out a number of people in our first episode together when we both advocated heading out to the crossroads and waiting for the Devil... If you're afraid of him, that is. (Similar horror was inspired by the release of Sutra II) These days that advocation has changed a bit: I think you should head to the crossroads, adopt the Heron Pose, say the Lord's Prayer backwards... And then wait for the Man-In-Black. [Edit: The actual pose is the “Crane Pose.” I'd actually been right on my first impulse. But Google rejected this as irrelevant. I'm going to go out on a limb and blame all these mistakes on the painkillers. And once again lament that I have a few days yet to shed this ridiculous haze. Right, then. Thanks faoladh!]

Ahem. Anyway: we've been asked to do it again, it seems. And we both are like: “really? We're like, nuts.”


But maybe that's a good thing?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Luciferian Confession #23

Yesterday I commented on Jason's post about the following statement:

“I actually have converted two Dr. Who Sonic Srew-driver replicas into psionic wands.” [Edited a bit. Neurotically.]

I noted that this was similar to a desire of mine, and asked if he had more information (which he's offered to post about tomorrow!) … But, I wasn't telling the whole truth about the matter. And so I have a confession to make. The “sonic screw-driver wand” is roughly analogous to what I plan to make. But my idea came from somewhere else entirely.

Not very long ago two local pagans loaned me Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell, a marvelous re-interpretation of the mythos of the revolt in Heaven. He makes some amendments of his own, however, such as making Lucifer and Satan two different characters. And honestly, I loved his characterization of Lucifer. It was absolutely fantastic; on par with a certain comic book character I know of, a certain set of game novelizations I know of (the wikipedia list is sadly incomplete and missing a pretty fun, if pulpy, trilogy), and a few brief appearances in Sandman.

He introduces Lucifer as follows:

The Youth with the Golden Locks looked to the west. He rested his left hand upon the golden hilt of the shaft of scarlet that hung from his waist and reached down to his knees. He was dressed in a tunic of light brown that called attention to his remote blue eyes...”
- P. 17

The rod? It's a sorcerer's wand, which he uses with deadly efficiency. And so, as I read the novel, I found the nerd-urge rising. I desired a golden hilted “DOOM ROD” that shed purple rays of power... Yes, I plan to have a purple (or Mauve...) tipped wand! What of it?! So I chatted with DeusExMachina about it, and we discussed the various ways one could be made. With one added little benefit: I'm going to see if I can add a little taser element to shock anyone that dares to say that's what she said in my presence.

We're going to work out the components tomorrow when I visit to work on the Black Mirror, and I'll be sure to post them here. But... I'm not making a Sonic Screw-driver... Oh, it may function a bit like one. But I intend to make something that will fit in well with my personality.

That said: ever notice how downright Promethean the Doctor's motives are in Dr. Who?

Also: Check out Fr. AIT's wand!