Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mesmerists, Spiritualists, & Occultists [For Anon]

“It's been so long since I've been out of my body with you...” - Deadmau5.

On a recent entry, Anon asks:
“For those who are curious, or more than curious and what to look into more about this “mostly forgotten school”. Can you give some names of other "Greats" that are relevant or any schools/circles/orders that to your mind would be the best place to start besides Randolph?”
The first thing to be clear about is that Randolph created a Rosicrucian Order in the US during the late 19th century. In this case, one person and his practices ARE quite literally a school because he was actively training others. This information is easily born out simply by visiting Randolph's wikipedia page, or reading a general essay on the man will bring this factor up.

There is also Emma Britten. Her two main works worth looking at in this line of thought are “Art Magic” (1876), and “Ghost Land” (also 1876; reprinted 1879, which is when my – digital – copy is from). She ran several spiritualist journals. “Art Magic” lists a number of Mesmeric, spiritualist, and occult practitioners - but doesn't always sort between them very well. “Ghost Land” is fictional, along the lines of Dion Fortune's “Doctor Travener” stories. One element that is intriguing, however, is the references to the “Orphic Circle” which may or may not have been a “social network” of magicians who shared notes. How many of them were or were not involved in Mesmerism and Spiritualism is beyond me at the moment. After I finish following Randolph around and figuring out what he was up to, I may begin dragging my way through looking into it. Marc Demarest has an interesting piece on the Orphic Circle up here. It is intriguing and looks fairly well researched. His blog is also a marvel of research on Spiritualism and Ms. Britten. I plan to dig into that matter given time.

The third we can certifiably place as being both an operator within Mesmeric and “Great Work” type circles is Johann Baptist Malfatti von Monteregio (June 12, 1775 in Lucca – September 12, 1859). He was a medicinal practitioner, an alchemist, and a Mesmerist. Around 1838 he published a book entitled “Mathesis: The Anarchy and Hierarchy of Knowledge.” There are several variants on this title, however. The second hand sources I have seen indicate that this may have been one of the first volumes to posit a Subtle Body in the West, based between the poles of the microcosmic Sun, Moon, and the planets. He seems to have extrapolated this information based on 19th century sources on Vedic religion/Hinduism. Unfortunately, I have only seen versions of the book in German and French. I can read neither language, and so it remains a stumbling block for me. I'm fairly sure he would be a very fascinating person to know more about. He was the physician to Beethoven, and two members of the Napoleon family. He may or may not have also been an Assassin in the employ of the State of Vienna (at least, one book released in the last thirty years on him suggests it: although, he may not realized the danger of Heavy Metal poisoning from lead, leading to Beethoven's death).

After that the territory becomes tricky. Following the declaration of Mesmer's practices to be nothing but “suggestion” in 1784, and Puysegur demonstrating “Somnambulisme” (Somnambulic Sleep) in the same year, the practice was taken up by an apparently fairly large body of individuals across the continent. A number of sources on the matter indicate that circles of Martinists, for example, were using his techniques. What they were doing, why, and whether it involves the Great Work is a giant question mark for me. No names or circles of individuals have been mentioned in any of the material I've consulted so far. This is clearly a matter to look into, but where to begin is something I'm still working out.

William Gregory's “Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism and its Phenomena” is a compilation of reports from the practices of Mesmerists for the Spiritualists. My version is from 1888, but is probably a reprint. Sections by William Gregory that appear to correspond to the book are quoted by Randolph in his“The Unveiling, or My Thoughts on Spiritualism.” The latter work is from 1862, but I'm unsure if Randolph is quoting the volume I have on hand or papers that lead to it in magazines and journals I'm unaware of. I'll probably look into that at some point. It's still a question mark in my book. Regardless, starting on page 98 of the work Gregory begins discussing German Mesmerists who termed “Animal Magnetism” as “Od” or “Odylic force.” These are probably some of the individuals that Malfatti was involved with (like von Baader, another Theosophist, though more decidely Christian than Malfatti), but it's hard to be sure. Reichenbach is one of those, but he may not have been an occult practitioner. He may have simply been a Mesmerist, and was definitely part of the Od-force club.

Mesmerist circles were split as early as the 1820s and 1830s between three schools of thought:
  1. Spiritual reasons are why Mesmerism works. Mesmerism is god's gift of how to maintain the cosmic vital force and heal others.
  2. A hither-to-unknown “fluid” is the reason that Mesmerism works. We might as well call this fluid “Aethyrium,” although the Mesmerists never do.
  3. Suggestion is the reason that it works. The latter aspect will become the school of Hypnotism, and dissect itself from Mesmerism by the late 19th century.

Some schools of thought, like the “purely spiritual” one, end up involving occultists. Others do not. It makes matters significantly messy, to say the least. The reason I keep focusing on Randolph is because he and Emma Britten allow one to start to make in-roads on how far the practices went and where they showed up. Unfortunately, they both occasionally reference individuals who are just Spiritualists or Mesmerists as if they're doing the Great Work and one has to be careful before drawing conclusions.

One example of this is Joseph Francois Deleuze (1735-1835) who began practicing Mesmerism in the late 18th (post-1784, at least, I think) century and wrote the standard “how to” manual on Mesmerism in 1828 entitled “Practical Instruction on Animal Magnetism.” He's referenced by both Randolph and Britten, but never appears to have interacted in occult circles to the best of my knowledge. He also wrote a critical history on Mesmerism sometime around the turn of the century (somewhere between 1790 and 1820, I'd guess?). Had his Practical Instruction... been written in another century, we would probably call it a text on Shamanic healing as its similarities to such systems are very significant. His focus on the hands and eyes of the Mesmerist to heal the patient are very cool, and similar to practices we find amongst traditional healers in the Caribbean that we see today (such as the Spiritist Healers). Still, he isn't an occultist and firmly in the “Fluid” camp for transmission of the Mesmeric passes. Nonetheless, he has a few reports laced into the book like this one:
“Soon after, an intimate friend of mine (Mr. D.) magnetized a young girl of sixteen, who became a somnambulist. She was the daughter of very respectable parents. I assisted in the treatment of this patient, and I have never known a more perfect somnambulist. She dictated remedies for other sick persons as well as for herself. She presented most of the phenomena observed by M. de Puysegur, M. Tardy and the members of the society at Strasburg. Among these were phenomena I could not have imagined or explained. I can only affirm that I saw them, and after this it is impossible for me to suppose the least illusion, or the possibility of deception.” (p. xv, from the introduction to the aforementioned work.)
This phenomena shows up during the Mesmeric/Spiritualist hybrid period, and is different, to say the least. Its almost mediumship, and that's what people will call the ability to drop into trance and diagnose others in the latter half of the century. Still, Deleuze indicates that it appeared at the onset of Mesmerist experimenters and was happening without the Great Work being directly involved.

So, like I've been saying: sorting between phenomena, practitioners, and how many are involved in the occult is fairly hard. Mesmerism was fairly wide-spread, but its circles ranged from secretive to fairly open. Britten has references to “German occultists” in “Ghost Land” using it – but who knows how many there were, or even if they really existed beyond individuals such as Malfatti? It's a very tricky issue for me, and one that leaves me unhappy. I'm fairly certain that some caches existed, in fact it may have been practically mainstream throughout the 19th century, but without more research one cannot be sure.

Regardless: we have solid evidence from Britten, Randolph, and some of their circles of interaction that the school of thought existed and was being used. The question(s) I have are: how widespread is this? How often did Mesmerism influence occultists? How many were there and how often did they begin teaching circles of other individuals? Randolph clearly did; someone, though who it was is something I'm not particularly sure of, trained Britten in Mesmeric mirror work and I don't think it was Randolph. She seems to suggest there were several circles of practitioners doing so, but it's hard to be sure if she's just using motifs for her fiction or being more honest than one realizes. Then there's the question of how many Mesmerists and Occultists joined the Spirituaist movement. Some clearly did; Gregory is one, Randolph is another, Britten is one, and Blavatsky began her career as someone trying to re-add the occult to Spiritualist circles. After that, the matter becomes very unclear because Spiritualism was a very large movement with equal parts sincere believers and charlatans.

I would love to see more research be done on all aspects of what I've brought up. In particular, it would be very nice to see Malfatti's work translated and make its way to the English speaking world. His interactions with the German theosophists of the 1830s/1840s and use of Mesmerism are both very intriguing; that he studied Alchemy is an added bonus. He later exerted some influence on the philosopher Gilles Deleuze (18 January 1925 – 4 November 1995), but how much is still not understood and very much unclear. The term “Mathesis” is one that appears in a few of his later work, beginning with “Difference and Repetition.” Rene Guenon seems to have written on Malfatti, but his work is again in French and I have no idea what he has to say on the matter of the alternative practitioner of medicine.

I hope the above helps, and I apologize for anything that is left murky. Insofar as I'm concerned, Randolph remains the best lead to follow around at the moment: he has a well-written and well-researched biography by Deveney, his works are easily found within digital archives if one takes the time to hunt for them, and he references other practitioners at the time. He is, ironically enough, the least enigmatic of the all those I've brought up, and since he set up an Order of Rosicrucians (in 1858), the one we can be certain was training others.

Almost all of the works I've listed can be found in Google books archives, on Archive.org, or elsewhere on the 'net. One needs but drift a bit and put some effort into looking. For those wishing to look into the works I cannot read, feel free to ask and I'll provide links. At some point - probably following writing more on these matters - I'll probably also draw up an extensive entry on sources. It just happens to be time consuming, and most of my time is currently being spent digesting what I'm hunting down, and then returning to already read material to see where the pieces match up... Or don't match up, as is just as often the case.

Finally, Anon, I am sorry for not being sure whether or not you were trolling me.

With that, I'm off to visit the foothills and recharge my batteries by engaging in actual human company and not spending my nights reading texts all goddamn night for weeks on end. I wish all my readers a Happy Halloween, and a safe one at that.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Saturn + Scorpio

This has been an interesting week. On Wednesday, the Sun and Saturn got together in Scorpio. Then, about a day and a half ago, Mercury and the moon's north node (Caput Draconis) got together in Scorpio.

Now, my feeling has often been that when the nodes and Saturn get together in the same house, it's the (for lack of a better word) time of dragons. I don't mean the Eastern, could be good, could be bad dragons but the even more ambivalent and dangerous Western view of them.

So, today to do a bit of cleanup, I've been hopping some of the planetary spheres in meditation and then straight up killing myself (meditatively, at least) in those spheres. It seems to make the feeling much better, and wipe out, at least, my negative responses to the malefics.

But Saturn seems to like amplifying the other malefics in Scorpio, and it makes me interested. Does Saturn always do that?

I'm really not sure. But. Whatever.

Jack.

What? Where? Why?


Nothing to see here.

Move along.






Thursday, October 25, 2012

From Mageia Sexualis

Abbe Faria.
“Do miracles exist?

Do souls that leave the world return?

What is the possibility?

Can we know the future?

From whence comes the fear of the marvelous, which reigns in humanity?

Why are there always some persons who are persuaded of the existence of phantoms?

Why does history, science and reason, not being in league together, discourage spiritualistic beliefs, erasing them in order to take a definitive place in the reality of the positivists?

Humanity, can it not rid itself, once and for all, of these illusory monsters? Can it not refuse fear and, courageously, confront the posthumous beings who present themselves under the form of impalpable visions?

Nothing serious can be accomplished by man in this domain, as long as the Light shines only in darkness. Man is not at home on this earth when the unknown is treated this way. He does not pursue the unknown and he is not a peaceful guest so long as he wrestles with the fear of this unknown. For when it is placed before him, the gate remains bared.

Then, I repeat, it is Fear of the supernatural that prevents our heroism from blossoming so that we may move honestly into the mystery. Fear is a heavy cloud that we willfully attract for our security. But, in turn, the fright that we assume, and is such that we wish that our life was a dream, is reality.

We ask ourselves: where are our dead? Where are we ourselves? The departed beings, are they always around us? Shall we honor them one day?

I respond Yes to these questions and I attest that the beginning of this knowledge breaks, as an unexpected tide, on the shores of the body and soul.

But men, instead of welcoming this knowledge, to deepen and develop it, see Fear and, seeing it, responds with the obstinate mask of a skeptical smile.”
- Randolph, Mageia Sexualis. (P. 89 – 90. Chapter 14: “Magic Mirrors.”)

[EDIT: Next I'll try and grab Emma Britten's comments on the elemental/life hierarchies and reincarnation, as it plays along side some other  comments he makes in the above-quoted chapter.

Jack.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Excerpts from "Seership! The Magnetic Mirror!" (1874)

“For I have known a sweet miss only six years old, to thoroughly and effectively mesmerize her great burly uncle, – a man capable of knocking a bull down with one stroke of his ponderous fist, and who was one of the roughest sea-tyrants that ever trod a quarter deck, and yet the little lady rendered him not only helpless, but clairvoyant, by repeatedly manipulating his head while he held her on his lap in his daily calls. She had witnessed a few experiments, believed she could do the same, tried it on four times, and accomplished it in great lee on the fifth attempt. But the greatest miracle of all was, that the captain's nature became entirely changed, and to-day a better or gentler man does not sail out of New York harbor!”
P. 10-11

“Virtue is not a myth; Death is; but by clairvoyance the bars of Death are beaten down, and it opens the gates of Glory, to show all doubting souls the light and life beyond. And why die till one's work is done? Is yours? If not, this divine thing will enable you to more effectually accomplish it.

Possession ordereth use. True clairvoyants do not count themselves as altogether of this world, for they are in connection with, and do the work below of the ethereal peoples of the starry skies. By means of this royal road, the true seer or seeress is enabled to read the varied scrolls of human life...”
P. 23-24.


But what is true clairvoyance? I reply, it is the ability, by self-effort or otherwise, to drop beneath the floors of the outer world, and come up, as it were, upon the other side. We often see what we take to be sparks or flashes of light before us in the night; but they are not really what they seem, but are instantaneous penetrations of the veil that, pall-like, hangs between this outer world of the Dark and Cold, and the inner realm of Light and Fire, in the midst of which it is embosomed, or, as it were, enshrouded; and true clairvoyance is the lengthened uplifting of that heavy pall. It is not the insane raving of obsession, possession, of a puling sickly somnambule! ...”
P. 28

If we would be strong, clear-seeing, powerful, the rules thereof must be observed; and the adept and acolyte alike be ever conscious that no earthly fame gained, or place reached, or wealth accumulated, will, or probably can, avail them or any human being, when, passed over the river of death, we take our places in the ranks of the vast armies of the dead, as they file by the Halls of Destiny, past the gates of God. What, then, is clairvoyance? I reply: it is the LIGHT which the seer reaches sometimes through years of agony; by wading through oceans, as it were, of tears and blood; it is an interior unfoldment of native powers, culminating in somnambulic vision through the mesmeric processes, and the comprehension and application of the principles that underlie and overflow human nature and the physical universe, together with a knowledge of the principia of the vast spirit-sea whereon the worlds of space are cushioned. Thus true clairvoyance is generally the knowledge resulting from experiment, born of agony, and purified by the baptism of fire.”
P. 28

If one wants to be able to peruse the life-scroll of others, the first thing learned must be the steady fixing of mind and purpose, aim and intent upon a single point, wholly void of other thought or object. The second requirement is, Think the thing closely; and third, Will steadily, firmly, to know the correct solution of the problem in hand, and then the probabilities are a hundred to ten that the vision thereof, or the PHANTORAMA of it, will pass before you like a vivid dream; or it will flash across your mind with resistless conviction of truth.”
- Randolph, Seership! The Magnetic Mirror. P. 29

[I'll probably add a couple more pages of excerpts this week. To make up for slacking on the other post while I work my way through, you guessed it, more Mesmerism texts.

Jack.

EDIT: I will also, I think, quote Emma Britten. For more excerpts regarding Mesmerism, see this entry.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[From] THE OPINIONS OF THE KABALISTS.

[...] Apollonius (Epp., xvi. 390) says that the 'followers of Orpheus should be called magicians.'
[…] First, then, let us summon Picus Mirandulanus into court (Opp., p. 206, Ed.Basil): 
Although it is not permitted us to publicly explain the secrets of magic, which we in the first place extracted from the Hymns of Orpheus, nevertheless it will be of advantage to indicate their nature by hints drawn from the leading ideas of his aphorisms, in order to engage the attention of contemplative minds. The names of the gods, of whom Orpheus sings, are not the titles of deceiving demons but the designation of divine virtues. Just as the Psalms of David are admirably designed for the 'work' of Kabalah, so are the Hymns of Orpheus for natural magic. The number of the Hymns of Orpheus is the same as the number by which the three-fold deity created the aeon, numerated under the form of the Pythagorean quaternary.... The Curetes of Orpheus are the same as the powers of Dionysius. The Orphic Typhon is the same as Zamael of he Kabalah. The Night of Orpheus is the En Suph [Ain Soph?] of the Kabalah,” etc.”
- GRS Mead, Orpheus P. 59-60

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Cleansing Ritual


This is a ritual/cleansing spell I've seen my Mother-In-Law do a couple of times, but earlier tonight V.V.F. and I realized that it involves Aeneas being called on (under the more Italian name Enea; please correct me if that sounds wrong!) as well as Hekate and Diana.

Quoting my Mother-In-Law:
“1) Mix water and sea salt in a big bowl
2) Sage (mixed with lavender or eucalyptus is ok), or incense will work as well.

Begin with the sage outside around the house and inside the home, also the family there. The car too. Surround each family member from head to toes with the sage smoke, behind and front and around their bodies, every one including visitors, and sprinkle them with the water and sea salt mix, repeating the same procedure done with the sage. Remember to say the prayer or chant over and over for the family member when you are cleaning them as well. You must clean the whole family living in the house. That step is what makes this ritual so powerful. If you don't clean the people, it would be similar as if you brushed your teeth and forgot to brush your tongue Now begin the ritual outside the house, pay attention to dark and isolated corners. While you are doing this, remember that you must say this chant over and over as you go around the house:

1) With the Sage say: Con Aire y Fuego te conjuro, que en ti no quede nada oscuro, por Enea, por Hecacte y por Diana.
2) With the water and sea salt mix, say and sprinkle: Con Agua y Tierra te conjuro, que en ti no quede nada oscuro, por Enea, por Hecacte y por Diana.
This is a Spaniard Ritual I learned 25 years ago. This Witch wrote for a news magazine that had a section called Cartas a la Bruja (Letters to the Witch).

It never fails.”
I really, really like it.You've got all four elements in the incense (fire + air), and the water and sea salt (earth + water).

Very cool. I'm really glad she shared it with me and allowed me to put it up!

Jack.

Agathos-Daimon

“Thee, mighty-ruling, Dæmon dread, I call, mild Jove [Zeus], life-giving, and the source of all: Great Jove [Zeus], much-wand'ring, terrible and strong, to whom revenge and tortures dire belong. Mankind from thee, in plenteous wealth abound, when in their dwellings joyful thou art found;  Or pass thro' life afflicted and distress'd, the needful means of bliss by thee supprest. 'Tis thine alone endu'd with boundless might, to keep the keys of sorrow and delight. O holy, blessed father, hear my pray'r, disperse the seeds of life-consuming care; With fav'ring mind the sacred rites attend, and grant my days a glorious, blessed end.”
 - Orphic Hymn #72, To The Daimon.
“Give me every grace, all accomplishment, for with thee is the bringer of good, the angel standing by the side for Tyche. Therefore give thou means and accomplishment to this house, thou who rulest over hope, wealth-giving Aion, holy good Daimon. Bring to accomplishment and incline to me all the graces and divine utterances.”
- PGM IV. 3125-71 (taken from Themis, p. 296; miscited as being attributed to Aeschylus.)
Alternative section from Betz's Greek Magical Papyri in Translation:
“Give me all favor, all success, for the angel bringing good, who stands beside [the goddess] Tyche, is with you. Accordingly, give profit [and] success to this house. Please, Aion, ruler of hope, giver of wealth, O holy Agathos Daimon, bring to fulfillmeant of all favors and / your divine oracles.”
(As above, except specifically lines: 3165-3170.)

EDIT: Note to self: rain during the hour of the Moon, final hours of day of the Sun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"He chooses to be poor."




Do I need to say anything?

Back to work while listening.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hekate's Supper & Odd Responses

Some time ago I wondered, to myself, if I would notice a difference if I switched from just giving offerings to Hekate and similar spirits at any time, to their more traditional times of offering. As such, I'd asked on this blog where I could find a calendar that Hellenic Reconstructionists use to chart their offerings and festivals. A couple kindly blog readers pointed me to the Hellenion calendar, which I occasionally check to see when dates for offerings are coming up.

Lo and behold! Upon having written on Hekate's supper and checking the calendar, it appeared that the date for the diepnon was precisely within 24 hours. Thus, rather than using the triplicity involved and offering the supper to Hekate on the thirtieth, I instead went to the store and picked up a few items so that my offering would be something that wasn't just slapped together.

Thus I ended up with a plate with three pieces of bread, three pieces of cheese, and a helping of three figs (I will make kokkora next month), and along with a few other fruits and nuts slathered in honey. I figured that even if the fruits and nuts were not traditional offerings, covering them in honey would most likely keep the offering on a fairly acceptable level. Then, along with cool water, I set off in the middle of the night.

I selected a trivium within the vicinity of Old Town because, while it was no longer at the direct edge of town it appears to have been around 100 years ago. I say this because it marks one of the border roads on maps from 1870 that I conveniently downloaded and compared to Google Maps. The city now extends beyond those former borders considerably, however the areas easily seen beyond it are mostly grassy hills with a single hotel sitting at the center.

Initially, since I always do things like this on foot, one of the cats began following me. This is not entirely unusual, as they've been following me during my late-night walks off and on for a while. What was unusual was that around the half-way point some large gusts of wind kicked up, and the cat stopped and waited for me as I continued on.

After passing through Old Town, I reached my destination and situated myself in the Western quarter. I unpackaged the meal, and placed it on a large rock facing the west. I then made the offering, pouring between 1/3rd and 2/3rds of water upon the ground as a libation. I then offered my prayer. As I was finishing my prayer (I had not actually finished yet), I looked up and for a moment all I saw were rolling green hills. The hotel had vanished! This was so startling I stumbled upon what I was saying, and blinked. The hotel immediately returned to sight (which was, after all, fairly reassuring), and so I finished my prayer, pulled the hood of my hoodie over my head, and turned and left without looking back.

It was about the time I was leaving that the sense of direction I'd formerly had was lost. I became convinced that despite having situated myself in the West, I had been actually facing North. I was almost tempted to turn back and offer apologies to Hekate, but knew immediately that I shouldn't and kept moving. It was only until I was halfway home that my sense of direction returned and I realized I had, in fact, been facing west. This sense of direction or “spaciality” being lost or warped is something I have actually felt before during major Sabbats or witch-work, particularly those in which the ancestors or former members of the coven and tradition's lineage are being worked with. That is, unfortunately, the most I can say on that matter and I hope you'll forgive me for that. That being said, it was precisely the same feeling or sense as what happens then. What was different was that beyond the offering and a water cleansing being performed before, I did not do any heavy ritual work. I did not feel endangered or anything. Just that it was time to leave and head home.

Upon getting home, as before I left, I did a water cleansing based on the recommendations of Bardon in Initiation to Hermetics and felt more “spiritually clean” than I have in quite a while.

Overall: this offering felt both better received and seemed to work out better than when, in the past, I've flaked on ingredients or timing and been lazy. It's pretty much sealed my commitment to giving Hekate her due offerings along traditional time-frames and with as many traditional ingredients as I can get my hands on during that time. If you're interested in working with the Goddess? I heartily recommend checking out the Hellenion calendar, and using the Darkest Night of the month, over the thirtieth of the month.

Anyway, that's my report.  If you're not convinced? That's totally fair.

Jack.

PS. I've also become convinced I need to spend some time hunting down some traditional prayers to the Goddess and not just wing it. Because my prayers? They really could be better. LOL.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Poke Runyon on Paschal Beverly Randolph

Actually, I dig this. A lot.

Poke, you're cool in my book.

This link came via St. Justin.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Excerpts from Franz Anton Mesmer's Dissertation on Animal Magnetism (1779)

 “In accordance with my ideas on this subject, I published in Vienna 1766 a thesis on the influence of the planets on the human body. I asserted, according to the familiar principles of universal attraction, verified by observations which teach us how the planets mutually affect one another in their orbits, how the sun and moon cause and control the ocean tides on our globe and in the atmosphere I asserted that these spheres also exert a direct action on all the parts that constitute animate bodies, particularly the nervous system, by means of an all penetrating fluid. I denoted this action as the Intensification and the Remission of the properties of matter and organic bodies – such as gravity, cohesion, elasticity, irritability, electricity.
I maintained that just as the alternate effects, in respect of gravity, produce in the sea the appreciable phenomenon we term ebb and flow, so the intensification and remission of the said properties, being subject to the action of the same principle, cause in animate bodies alternate effects similar to those sustained by the sea. By these considerations I established that the animal body, being subjected to the same action, likewise underwent a kind of ebb and flow. I supported this theory with different examples of periodic revolutions. I named the property of the animal body that renders it sensitive to the action of heavenly bodies and of the earth Animal Magnetism...”
PROPOSITIONS:
  1. There exists a mutual influence between the Heavenly bodies, the Earth and Animate Bodies.
  2. A universally distributed and continuous fluid, which is quite without vacuum and of an incomparably rarefied nature, and which by its nature is capable of receiving, propagating and communicating all the impressions of movement, is the means of this influence.
  3. That this reciprocal action is subordinated to mechanical laws that are hitherto unknown.
  4. This action results in alternate effects which may be regarded as Ebb and Flow.
  5. This ebb and flow is more or less general, more or less particular, more or less composite according to the nature of the causes determining it.
  6. It is by means of this operation (which is the most universal of those presented by Nature) that the connective activities are exercised between heavenly bodies, the earth and its component parts.
  7. The properties of Matter and the Organic Body depend on this operation.
  8. The animal body sustains the alternate effects of this agent, which by insinuating itself into the substance of the nerves, effects them at once.
  9. It is particularly evident in the human body that the agent has properties similar to those of the magnet; different and opposite poles may likewise be distinguished, which can be changed, communicated, destroyed and strengthened; even the phenomenon of dipping is observed.
  10. The property of the animal body which brings it under the influence of the heavenly bodies, and the reciprocal action occurring among those who are surrounded by it, shown by its analogy with the Magnet, induced me to term it Animal Magnetism.
  11. The action and properties of Animal Magnetism, thus defined, can be communicated to other animate and inanimate bodies. Both are more or less susceptible to it.
  12. This action and this quality can be strengthened and propagated by those same bodies.
  13. Experiments show the passage of a substance whose rarefied nature enables it to penetrate all bodies without appreciable loss of activity.
  14. Its action is exerted at a distance, without the aid of any immediate body.
  15. It is intensified by mirrors, just like light.
  16. It is communicated, propagated and intensified by sound.
  17. - Franz Anton Mesmer, Dissertation on Animal Magnetism. 1779 CE.
Coming shortly (timeline presently unknown): Paschal Beverly Randolph, Magnetism/Animal Magnetism/Mesmerism, and Spiritualism.

[This entry is going to form a series of links to avoid writing 500 billion pages that no one will read.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Re: Santa Muerte, and Folk Saints

I recently came across a blog entry written by another magician written in response to a practitioner of the Cult of Santa Muerte. Unfortunately, he mistook the “Saint” part as being part of Santeria. I suppose it's easy to do; I've read reports by journalists reporting on her where they scoff at “those Catholics and their Saints” in which the same issue occurs, but for different reasons. Most notably, the magician responding wasn't an asshole.

“Saint Death” (Santa Muerte) is not a Catholic saint, nor a part of Santeria. She's an indigenous Folk Saint. Along with Jesus Malverde, she's got one of the fastest growing cults in North America and Central America primarily because they both respond to requests made by individuals regardless of their social status or the status of their soul.

You'll find both of them in botanicas all across America, and these days it sounds like some botanicas sell nothing but Santa Muerte related items. I've yet to come across one doing so, but I recall Jason Miller stumbling on to one.

There are a number of small paperback “spellbooks” to her, in particular, being sold in many botanicas in both English and Spanish. They're all pretty interesting in my opinion, even the ones that I suspect were written largely for the author to make a quick buck.

Incidentally, both Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde have both become “Narco Cultura” icons. The whole “Narco Cultura” shtick seems to be the Mexican equivalent of gangster rap, and having a dead latino Robin Hood or a skeletal woman looks totally hardcore, so you'll see folks wearing t-shirts with Santa Muerte or Jesus Malverde or jewelry all across the West Coast and maybe even in the East Coast.

Icons of both Santa Muerte, along with the other aforementioned Folk Saint, can be found all across the back roads of Ca, largely due to the use of the disenfranchised by the drug trade. Cops call the disenfranchised folks I'm referring “Mopes,” and they're normally individuals who had initially come to Ca to find work in our fields picking fruit and veggies. As the Federal Government has amped up its fight on illegal immigration, they found themselves out of a job and were either threatened into helping drug traffickers with “super-meth labs” or simply had no where else to turn. The icons themselves often have prayers in them like this one:
“You that dwell in heaven near God, hear the sufferings of this humble sinner. Oh Miraculous Malverde, Oh Malverde my Savior, grant me this favor and fill my heart with joy. Grant me good health, Lord, give me peace, give me comfort, and I will rejoice.”
I imagine that the prayers to Santa Muerte are roughly the same, and they lay across the backroads of California, Oregon, Washington and beyond, whispering of silent and secret prayers written by those who have had most of their hope smashed right out of their lives. It was those very same “mopes” that brought both Folk Saints into the US, following a path from the Golden Triangle of Mexico to Mexico City, then in through Tijuana, through Washington and Oregon and up into the Midwest and on to the East Coast.

The inability of traditional religion to help those without hope has lead to new cults emerging all across the Americas, complete with spirits willing to listen to or hear anyone who is willing to smoke a cigarette in their name and pray. I consider this a truly astonishing fact.

So astonishing, I may sit down and write some more about it when I have more time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cakes & Dread Goddesses & The Dead

Hekate, Hermes, Heracles & Cerberus. Stolen from Theoi.

 I caught a link to Manx Wytch's Shrines and Cakes and Silence post (via Rachel) and it is a damn fine post. I always enjoy seeing appropriate references to the Mighty Dead, and I know very little about practices that come off the Isle of Mann. Thus it's always an enjoyable experience for me to read about such customs.

In fact, that's a part of the post I wanted to highlight:
On Mann, a custom for communing with the Ancestors was the consuming of Soddag Valloo (Dumb Cakes). The general custom took place during Hop Tu Naa (November 11th but now celebrated on October 31st) however the rite itself was performed at any point the Witch desired. The cakes were made during the day with a base mixture of flour, eggs complete with ground shell, salt and ashes and could be considered a form of bannock. Other ingredients were often added by the Witch to give further potency to the cake, mindful that the cakes were actually consumed.

What I'm about to say is mostly due to the differences in the use of cakes in certain ritual formats in some of the practices out of Greece and the classical era. I am unaware of cakes being consumed as a means of communion, however two variants I'm aware of are used as gifts to Daimons associated with them.

In the first volume of the Geosophia, JSK mentions Cakes being made as an offering to Cerberus (p. 110) which he discusses showing up later in rituals involving the Oracle of Trophonios. One of the items he discusses being carried is two “cakes of barley mixed with honey of the type offered to Cerberus in similar rituals elsewhere.” (P. 159) In the Volume II, he mentions a cake given to Hecate in PGM LXX. 4–25 made from the best quality Bran (P. 57). He follows this up, in his Offerings to Cerberus section (p. 145) by again restating that cakes are to made of barley mixed with honey. He makes a very interesting comment following that: “Such a cake was also buried with the dead to appease Cerberus, and perhaps elicit his aid in reaching the Underworld, rather than wander as a lost soul.”

Hecate has also been mentioned as per the cakes given to her in the PGM by JSK. I think it's appropriate as such to talk about K.F. Smith's comments on Hecate's Supper (deipna Hekates, Hekataia) in Stephen Ronan's The Goddes Hekate (Cthonios Books, 1992; P. 57 – 61). He writes that they were: 
... [T]he offerings laid at the crossroads every month for Hekate. Their purpose was to placate not only this dread goddess of the underworld, but also we learn from Plutarch (Moralia, 709 A), the Atropopaioi, i.e. the ghosts of those who for some reason cannot rest easy in their graves, and come back to earth in search of vengeance. An army of these invisible and maleficent beings follows in the wake of its leader as she roams at large through the midnight world.”
The Atropopaioi are, like the Biaiothanatoi, one of the classes of restless dead, although admittedly larger and more general. The violent deaths (Biaiothanatos Daimons) remain unable to rest because they died violently before their time and are one of the earlier category (Atropopaioi). This larger class of the dead (Atropopaioi, again) could also include children, unmarried women, and executed criminals. When they wander together with Triformis of the crossways, they become “Hecate's Horde.” Included in this horde are Hecuba in her transformed aspect as the “Black Dog with Fiery Eyes” and all other manner of specters, spooks, and what we would probably rightly call monsters.

But let's keep this simple, shall we? The cakes (along with a supper) are used to both appease classes of the Restless Dead and their Dread Goddess herself. What might they include? Smith gives the following:
As is usually the case with offerings to the dead, the regular Hekates diepnon on the thirtieth of the month consisted of food. The specific articles, so far as they are mentioned, were magides, a kind of loaf or cake, the shape and ingredients are not clear, the mainis, or sprat, skoroda, or garlic, the trigle, or mullet, a sacrificial cake described by Harpocration as “somewhat like the psaista,” eggs, cheese, possibly the basunias a kind of cake, for which Semus, in Athenaeus, xiv. 545 B, gives the recipe.”

Quoting from Banquet of the Learned (linked above): 
“Semus says in Book II of the History of Delos: The Delians sacrifice what are known as basuniai to Iris on Hecate's island – a basunias is a wheat-dumpling made of dough mixed with honey – along with what are known as kokkora, a dried fig, and three nuts.”
If you still are left wanting a better recipe, this one looks pretty good. [Edited because the earlier link was actually not as good.]

Actually, I'm putting off stuff that needs doing. I'll return at some later point to make comments on wine and psychoactives. Thus, you're safe from me and my insanity for a few days, at least.

EDIT: Please remember, should you leave a supper at the crossroads, to walk away without looking back. I think I've discussed that before, but it will keep you out of a lot of trouble
X2:  Image replaced because I suddenly had late night doubts that it was actually of Hecate. I can't remember where I even came across the other one.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pherecydes of Leros [Pherecydes of Athens]

Dionysus leading the Horae.
[Day of Saturn + Hour of Mercury]

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell
O Bacchic [Bakkheios] Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius [Dionysos], parent of the vine,
And of celestial Venus [Aphrodite] Paphian queen, dark eye-lash'd Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand'rest thro' the sacred feats
where hell's dread empress, Proserpine [Persephone], retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb'rous rest the weary eye;
For Proserpine [Persephone's] thro' Tart'rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow'r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.
- Orphic Hymn to Hermes Kthonios.
 The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, by David Adams Leeming tells us that: “When we speak of Greek mythology, we generally refer to the accumulated body of material that would have been known, for instance, to Aristotle and Alexander the Great at the beginning of the so-called Hellenistic Age in the fourth century BCE, with some augmentation from the later works of such literary figures as Apollonius of Rhodes and Apollodoros, whose works owe much to the stories told by the early-fifth-century B.C.E. Writer Pherecydes of Leros.”

Pherecydes of Leros, was a Historian and Logographer of the Heroic 5th Age of Greece.* He spent the bulk of his time writing from Athens, causing some scholars to mistake “Pherecydes of Leros” and “Pherecydes of Athens” as different people. He was principally known for having written a history of his home island of Leros, on Iphegenia, and On the Festivals of Dionysus, none of which survive except in fragments – which are numerous. He is one of the sources for Homer's Iliad, and provided the account of Thersites and the boar. It is believed that when Apollodorus relied on his (Pherecydes) now-lost mythology to flesh out the genealogy of the Sphinx. Not only that, but he appears to have been one of the first to write a version of the Argonautica: “In the 5th century BCE the mythographer Pherecydes of Athens recorded a full account of the Argonautic tale; details from his version are preserved in the Scholia to Apollonius Rhodius.”

In his Myth and History in Ancient Greece: The Symbolic Creation of a Colony, Claude Calame (translator: Daniel Berman) writes: 
“On the other hand, the heroic genealogy of Pherecydes of Athens, the first writer of a treatise in prose, was called by the ancients Historíai or Theogonía. The interest of Asclepiades of Tragilos in the stories dramatized in tragedy in comparison with more ancient versions determined the title of his work in six books, the Tragoidoúmena. And Andron of Halicarnassus was able to call the work in which he placed in parallel the genealogies of the great families of Greek cities Suggeniká or, more widely still, Historíai. These are indeed the first writings of history, but their design and function remain near to the poetic forms that precede them and that continue to be practiced simultaneously.”

 He was known for having changed the ancient legends, and updated them so that they would be better adjusted to the popular beliefs of his day.

While Pherecydes of Athens and of Leros are indeed the same individual, he should not be confused with Pherecydes of Syros – who was a different individual altogether.

I'm more than proud to give due homage and a hat tip to the long-dead Logographer/Mythographer. I have little doubt that the man knew and forgot, over the course of his life, more about Dionysus and his rituals than I will ever know. Insofar as I'm concerned, he remains a Sainted figure to some of us.
 * The word Historian is technically incorrect, as Pherecydes of Leros preceded Herodotus (the father of History), and is considered the last of the Logographers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Butthenagain...

A Brief Set of Comments

Yesterday, I was going to sit down and write a thumb's up for Bro. B. and his latest entry on “magical machines.” I wish he'd covered more of the history of them, but that's only a slight concern. About the time I'd decided I had nothing of value to say except “read Techgnosis by Erik Davis” everything went, strictly speaking, pear-shaped.

My father-in-law somehow managed to dehydrate himself and forget to eat, which caused him to pass out and hit his head. The resulting concussion and shock from the fall caused a rather great uproar, 911-call by his very brave daughter (who witnessed the whole thing and managed to keep it together until the EMTs arrived), and all that. About the time I heard my name being shouted, I was bolting up stairs to the sounds of prayers to Jesus and Mary in Spanish.

Still, everything got sorted and he was checked out. He's now resting and everything has settled down. Which compared to ten minutes of sheer chaos that seemed to last forever is very, very nice.

I will say: I'm convinced I was only able to help with what little I did (moving the fellow about as the emergency operator directed), because of all the years I've spent meditating. Over the last three years, retaining a large degree of peace of mind while things go haywire has been a real blessing.

I'm still working on not getting the adrenaline rush afterward, though. That shit is seriously annoying.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The SECRETS, Man, The Secrets!

Over on his blog, Harold Roth has a post up about Secrets in Magic and Secrets in Gardening. It's quite good. He also highlights something I run into a lot and worry over, because it occasionally leads to silly flame-wars:
With magic, you can put all kinds of knowledge out there pretty much without fear of some newbie successfully cursing someone to death (this was one justification the unhappy little shit had about why magic should be kept secret–to preserve us from the depredations of newbies). The thing is that magic, like gardening, takes not only knowledge but practice. If you get a book about magic, and you read it, it does not mean that when you go to carry out the rituals described that they will work. We all know this because we’ve all experienced it. It has nothing to do with blinds or stuff being left out of a book. It has to do with skill, [which] is acquired through practice. I think that if anything, magic requires more practice than gardening does, and gardening requires quite a bit. Along these lines, years ago I read some military bigwig responding to a question about why the presence online of directions for how to build a nuclear bomb was tolerated. He said it didn’t matter if such information was openly available and that it didn’t have to be censored because it takes great skill to build a nuclear bomb. I would venture to say that the same is true for a curse. There are the directions, and then there is the skill that comes from practice. You don’t need to keep secrets in magic, because practice is the greatest fence against the stupid there is. By the time you have practiced enough to be able to cast a curse, for instance, you will have gained sufficient experience to determine whether it is appropriate to curse someone or not. That’s my way of thinking, at any rate. Likewise, I do not see the percentage in keeping your magic a secret. Practice makes perfect, not secrets, in magic as in the garden.
 Occasionally, I worry about posting things because I know there is someone out there who will ignore the frankly stupid amount of warnings I put on things, or run around being an idiot. It is only the stupid I worry about: not other magicians, who know and understand the risks implied when someone gives them some piece of magickal tech and says: go forth and blow thyself up, sir!

Over the years I've seen folks make statements about how no one reads the Grimoires that you can find in open source or  Public Domain. It's a bit like being told that you don't exist, since I spend plenty of time hunting down older Public Domain magical materials, Grimoires, etc., and use the internet as one of many places to find information. It follows, according to how I think, that such would mean other people do it, too, and that giving them these materials is great because all the actual work that goes into making them work is on the head of a given person.

The truth is that secrets, whether found in Ceremonial or Witch circles, often are oral because if they were written down in full, they would no longer be secret. This means that anything you can get your hands on, whether a curse or the recipe for a flying potion, is not a secret. But just having such a thing on hand will certainly not allow you to use it. I could totally tell you about this one time I had an 'Angel' show up and then refuse to get into a magick mirror. Except that's horribly depressing, so I'm not going to. On the other hand, I've done plenty of other rituals I count as a success, like Harold says, because I obtained the knowledge or item (in a few cases) I was seeking. I do not consider simply getting a spirit to show up an automatic 'sucess,' that only occurs when the desire expressed in the contact for an agreed to reason (favors, pacts, cleaning up your life, etc.) both come into fruition.

On the other hand, I'm still a bit leery to talk about how compulsive love rituals in the PGM that I'm aware of work because I've never done any of it. I've just read and considered a lot of them. I'm also leery about how easy or not it is to make them work. Those are things I'm just not sure about, and I'm not really sure I should provide easy to find examples unless I have a solid basis of knowledge on that matter. The most I can do is compare texts and quote some Historians...

Anyway: stop being assholes about the Secrets. If you got 'em? Power of the Sphinx and all that. If they're in a goddamn book and you're using it for the purposes of a discussion? Not. Really. A. Secret.

Also: the magickal journal fucking works. So does keeping a dream journal and working toward an understanding and ability with Lucid Dreaming.

Jack.

PS. I'm still not an expert, goddamn it.
PPS. Another way magicians used to get information was by sharing with each other, apparently. Who knew?

“What the Fuck is a Fluid Condenser?!”

Seriously, though, what is it?
When I first began threatening (e.g. I promised some folks an essay on the subject) to write on Fluid Condensers, I received several emails requesting more information from folks I know. My favorite email was the one-line title for this blog entry. Since I promised some of you a basic explanation prior to finishing my essay on the subject, this blog (although admittedly late) is that response.

So, what the fuck is a Fluid Condenser, anyway? The Fluid Condenser is a body of water and other materia which the magician prepares at an appropriate time to hold or maintain “Vital Forces” or to serve as an anchor for a spirit.

The technique, which is based on the principles of “Natural Magick,” appears to have been developed by Paschal Beverly Randolph during the middle of the 19th century. I am not sure when precisely he developed the method, but I think it is very likely around the time he had an Alchemy lab in New York City which later burnt down. It first appears in his Mageia Sexualis (Sexual Magic; P. 79). He explains:
“To operate with these forces, according to the laws which regulate them, it is necessary, first of all, to concentrate them in a point or on a given surface. One can, then, guide and channel them at will. These operations, which are very important and which offer the possibility of many varied realizations can be made in four different fashions:
  1. The operator can make use of his own energy proper.
  2. He can act with the outer forces by means of induction and of the correspondences.
  3. He can bind the outer force to an individual object which has been chosen for this.
  4. He in bind these forces to an object that, in general, is of the material of his choice.
This last procedure has been known for thousands of years as talismanic magic...”
- Randolph, Sexual Magic (P. 80).
Thus, the Fluid Condenser finds its basis in Talismanic Magic, and functions as a type of storage vehicle or fluid object which is manipulated by the given magician. While I state that it appears that Randolph himself produced the first series of Fluid Condensers, it is very, very likely that his study of the works of Franz Anton Mesmer and alchemy both in turn helped combine into the method used today and continuing to be put to use by the students of Franz Bardon. In fact, Bardon offers his own Fluid Condenser variants in Initiation to Hermetics, which will be discussed more in depth in my essay on the subject for the When Kingdoms Come anthology.

But Where Can We Find the Guiding Principle?

Despite being a fairly recent development, the guiding principle of the Fluid Condenser can be found (along with a great many other things, only some of which I think I understand) in John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica, which is a treatise on symbolic language and Alchemy. I want to take a moment to assert that creating a Fluid Condenser is not the same as producing a form of Spagyric medicine. You might go so far as to call it “the cheater's method”!

However, in his Tenth Theorem, Dee writes the singular line which permits the creation of the Fluid Condenser. (Note: it's the part that is in bold-text.):
“The following figure of the zodiacal sign Aries (see the link for the symbol of Aries, which you ought to already know...), in use amongst the astronomers, is the same for all the world (a sort of erection both cutting and pointed), and it is understood that it indicates the origin of the fiery triplicity in that part of the sky.

Therefore, we have added the astronomical sign Aries to signify that in the practice of this Monad the use of fire is required.

We finish the brief hieroglyphic consideration of our Monad, which we would sum up in one only hieroglyphic context:

The Sun and the Moon of this Monad desire that the Elements in which the tenth proportion will flower, shall be separated, and this is done by the application of Fire.
The biggest difference between the creation of Bardon's Condensers and Randolph's is that Randolph's require permeating the plant matter in a solution of alcohol and sealing them up – a process which appears to be based on practical Alchemy. Bardon (Initiation into Hermetics, P. 244 - 252), on the other hand, has his liquid Fluid Condensers (he also has Solid and Gaseus Fluid Condensers in that marvelous book; Randolph has solid condensers as well) subjected his Condensers directly to flame as well as including alcohol, which is very helpful for the preparation. This subjection of the material and fluid components of his Condensers follows along the lines of the Dee quote above, allowing the extraneous elements of the material to be separated (by the process of boiling and evaporation) and then “filled” with the appropriate element, planetary essence, etc. I do not consider either of these methods of significant difference as I consider alcohol to be the “Fire of Water” in a sense. I do recommend you take a look at both versions before creating your own, but if you can't be bothered with doing that, you can wait for my essay. Heh!

There is one additional note about these differences to make before I stop this discourse and say everything before the time is right: Bardon's variants require less toxic, 'magical', and dangerous plants to create! Two of Randolph's Condensers require extract of Mandrake and one requires extract of Atropa Belladonna! Also, don't bother buying anyone else's condensers. I am well aware some “Adepts” occasionally sell them, complete with their own blood and semen (a method that Bardon explicitly states should be kept for one's own ends), but it will do you far more good to make your own.

Incidentally, I do not recall Bardon or Randolph stating this, but I have found it very useful to prepare my Condensers during appropriate planetary hours for elemental or planetary based “Fluid Talismans”!

Be seeing you,
Jack.

P.S. If none of this makes sense, please feel free to bother me privately or here. I'll do my best to respond in a timely manner.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oh, Very Well.



I was asked to post something non-depressing, non-antagonistic, and not involving the dead, fascists, or fairies today. So, here you go... What's that? Still involves the Good Neighbors in a way? Oh, well. Tried my best.

This image came my way via Sef Salem and others earlier today. I totally support this.

Jack.


Friday, October 5, 2012

No End in Sight

Black. Iron. Prison.

Via Melitta.
Yesterday, Greek dockworkers stormed the Defense Ministry. As a result their Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, spoke out:
Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge,” Samaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published hours before the announcement in Berlin that Angela Merkel will fly to Athens next week for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis.
Resorting to highly unusual language for a man who weighs his words carefully, the 61-year-old politician evoked the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to highlight the threat that Greece faces, explaining that society “is threatened by growing unemployment, as happened to Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic.”
“Citizens know that this government is Greece's last chance,” said Samaras, who has repeatedly appealed for international lenders at the EU and IMF to relax the onerous conditions of the bailout accords propping up the Greek economy.
[…]
The government is waging a battle on all fronts for the nation's credibility and its future so that the sacrifices made by Greeks aren't lost,” he said, referring to the spending cuts and tax increases that have sparked record levels of poverty and unemployment. “I will not allow the country to become a free-for-all.”
With all due respect, Mr. Samaras, the country is already in a free-for-all state. Fascists are killing immigrants in broad daylight.

Viewed from afar, one fails to detect the hand that the Eurozone crisis has been dealt from almost all sides. What began in 2008 with the economic collapse that appeared to be due to American regulatory failures has quickly turned out to be a world-wide problem, involving banks, an endless array of scandals, and corruption.

Gordon covers quite a bit of it with his last post. But most interesting, he hits on some of his comments on the rise of fascism across the continent (another friend of mine, who just returned home from schooling in Amsterdam, confirmed that this rise extends well beyond Greece):
“This was a day or so after Jason and I had had an email discussion about these spectral Nazis I keep seeing whenever I go to the Continent of late. Some of it is down to the research I’m doing for an upcoming post series, but there are enough syncs with my personal and professional life (in ways I can’t currently go into) to make me take notice.

For instance, last week in Spain, while waiting for the taxi out the front of the hotel, I saw two spectral SS officers rattle past on a Mercedes bike and sidecar.

Thing of it is… those roads would have been built in the fifties at the earliest. They weren’t ghosts. It feels like… you know that theory about how a living person’s human energies can ‘activate’ a spirit playback of certain events in a haunted location? It feels like that. There is an inevitability to the unfolding events without any particular agency causing them. Since then, there have been a few posts and discussions about a creepy WWII feeling to the world, so I’m assuming it’s not exclusively a personal experience.

Just before they collapse, some old worldviews have a tendency to spawn cancerous versions of themselves. It is possible our apocalypse has taken a turn for the Dark.”
I more or less agree with Gordon. While America hasn't seen a rise in Fascism, per se, other toxic elements of our culture have emerged. The culture war on women being waged by the GOP and Tea Party enthusiasts are a reflection of the same habit: the belief, much like that held by the fascists of the past, that we have simply not been hard enough on everyone, and the only way to save ourselves is to begin forcing everyone to abide a small minority's set of insane beliefs. In America, we've also turned on immigrants (see: Arizona and SB1070, and other places where “immigration reform” became toxic), and even the movements sparked by our own dissatisfied youth. Consider the rioting in Oakland during the Occupy protests and the response: it's all part of the same side of the coin.

Whether or not we realize it, these events overlap in both the mindset they display, the responses our society has had to the corruption festering within it, and our inability to change our course as a culture. Start watching the patterns as they emerge and you can see where we're headed...

And I hate every single, toxic, stinking moment of it.

Whether the end blows come from Peak Oil, another war in Europe due to the rise of fascism, or environmental damage... Don't expect the end to come quickly. That is highly unlikely.

The next ten years will probably suck the world over. I've decided to follow Phil Dick's lead and stick to the fringes. Moving outside that element right now is pure insanity and just asking to become a target.

[EDIT:] For more, see Bro. Valentine's latest Doom Fairy installment. Also edited for added links at the top.