Review: Sumerian Exorcism, by M. Belanger


sembSumerian Exorcism: Magick, Demons, and the Lost Art of Marduk – M. Belanger
Dark Moon, 2013, 9781482521733, 180 pp.

Disclaimer: Michelle is my friend, so while I try to remain unbiased I acknowledge the potential for such is present.

Mesopotamian culture set the foundation for many elements of the modern Western world, and that includes the influence on magick. While the magick of the ancient Near East is often a feature in pop culture and obliquely referenced in paganism and magick generally in terms of Inanna it is rarely more than loosely based in actual beliefs and practices.

This book is a step towards helping shed some light on the actual practices of the time by sharing translations of the original source documents of various magickal tablets, most notably the Maklu Texts made famous by their reference in Simon’s Necronomicon.

The book is a collection of various texts, translated by academics, not by practitioners, and presented with some interpretation and explanation. The fact that the texts are academic translations is important to me, because while academics still have their own bias, when a text is translated by a practitioner they often translate to support their belief which may or may not be factually correct.

Michelle provides the necessary background material, when possible, to help the reader contextualize the spell. Whenever a god or demon or class of spirit is mentioned Michelle gives a brief introduction to them, knowing that the average reader, even of a text as focused as this, might not know whom they are discussing or praising. Sometimes there is a clear parallel between an ancient practice and a modern one, and when noted Michelle will often draw the link out for the reader. Also whenever something is suggested or implied in the text, but not stated probably due to being “common knowledge” to the priests at the time, Michelle fills in the gap or at least makes educated guesses. For instance a few spells reference the way a demon or influence might “melt away” and be burnt, so it’s suggested (and I’ll agree) that it probably referred to making a wax figurine or tablet to be destroyed.

The spells included cover what one would expect in general from a magick sampler text, there are curses, praises, exorcisms (imagine that), protection spells, blessings and more. This text is more for the academically inclined. If you’re looking for a how-to guide to ancient Mesopotamian magick and religion, this won’t be it, it might fill in the gaps and inspire, but won’t give you the foundation you need. The bibliography would also be a great starting point for a more involved study. For students of the western traditions of magick it will be interesting to see the origin (or at least oldest recorded description) of various ideas and both see where some practices came from, and perhaps rekindle part of them in your modern work.


Numbers, Galvanic Skin Response, and Sacred Space


Or “I’ve experiments to run. There is research to be done.”

I like experimenting with the occult; experimenting for results, and experimenting for knowledge’s sake. Sometimes the experiments are purely using human technology, using people to sense the results, sometimes the experiments use a physical device, can this candle, pinwheel, or even EEG pick anything up. There is a friend of mine who is a lot like me, in many ways a clone at times, but sadly I only see him once a year at Gather, which was last weekend, and he had a new toy.

Enter my friend who brought with him a galvanic skin response monitor, a true random number generator, and a desire to do science. We started off with various different experiments, using the galvanic skin response monitor (GSRM for short) we would watch how the body reacted to different experiences. It was experimenting for experimentation’s sake initially, we weren’t being rigorous, and we were learning the tweaks of the device and eliminating variables that we could as we figured them out.

It was neat using the GSRM and watching how the body responded in different meditations and energetic interactions including having psychic vampires feed from the test subject (me). Of course it can’t really be separated or said that the results show something energetic/magickal is happening, only that the mental actions required were causing the body to respond in different ways, though the feeding was blind, so my mental actions shouldn’t have matched up to what I didn’t know was going on.

The most fascinating experiments came from the true random number generator (TRNG), if you’re unfamiliar with the device this one uses something about a semi-conductor and a whitenoise and stuff I don’t grok yet to produce thousands of numbers a second, either a 1 or a 0. When the chances are 50/50 statistically in any given second the TRNG would produce roughly as many 0s as 1s. Of course, just by chance anomalies will occur, using the threshold of 0.05 (I believe), which is a standard for statistic results and once every 20 seconds such an anomaly would occur by chance, the value used (whatever it was) is used a lot in paranormal/psychic research because it’s a bit more strict so plays into the extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence idea. If you’ve not followed any of the paranormal research around the TRNG they seem to be triggered in odd ways, by odd things. My friend was describing it as a spiritual accelerometer, it’s not that it will continually beep when weird shit is happening, but if weird shit happens fast it seems to go off. The human body doesn’t have a mechanism that lets us experience speed, we think we do, but what we’re feeling is things like the air moving against us, or the vibration of the vehicles we’re in. Humans don’t feel speed, but we experience acceleration, so in a perfect vehicle that produced no vibrations we couldn’t feel going 60 km/h, but if we went from 0 to 60 km/h in 5 seconds we would, yet if we went from 0 to 60 km/h in 5 minutes we might not be able to feel it because the sensation of acceleration is too slow. We have no idea why, paranormal researchers who do cool things with TRNGs have no idea why, but it seems the respond in the same way on some energetic level. It doesn’t register that woogity is happening, that 60 km/h, but it registers the quick acceleration to it.

I repeated created “sacred space” around the TRNG in several different methods, and as if to prove the point the method that “snaps” sacred space into place in a second at the end of the work would set the device off, but the one that took about three minutes showed no statistical abnormalities. Now for what we were doing, which was more proof of concept, our results showed enough to think there is something at play, though we don’t know what, how, or why. Three out of four times when I would make the space in the fast way, each step was noted by the machine: going up to the space, pulling the space down, and releasing it. Three statistically significant results the second I said the step was happening, three out of four times. The game was afoot. Apparently this is par for the course with my friend, enough statistically unusual results exactly at the right moment, not 100% but with enough consistencies to show something seems to be happening.

We got the idea to test moving the TRNG in and out of sacred space. Having to create space quickly enough to register limited the type, “depth,” and range of sacred space, but if we spent a lot of time making the space as best we could, perhaps moving the device over the boundary would show up. To stack the experiment in our favour (as we were just looking for proof this would register) I asked my friend Michelle to help me make the space as Michelle is talented and we work well together.

We stood aside from the group, joined hands, synced energy, and then reached out creating sacred space in a manner we’re both familiar with. Resonating, reverberating, Forcing the world out with our Will we made the space as best we could. Once it was established I drew back one edge using a line on the carpet pattern as the boundary of the space, both for a physical/visual reference, and for the sake of an objective line. So rather than saying it was “roughly 45 centimeters to my left” it was that line on the carpet, right there, with that star. A hard and fast border.

I pulled my mind back as best I could (the syncing makes it odd) and told my friend, and another friend who was watching from several feet away to walk toward us, until the device was between Michelle and me, and then walk back and see what they could find. I kept my eyes closed to make sure I couldn’t influence the experiment in that way somehow, and to help keep the space strong.

After a minute or two I realize I can hear my friends giggling under their breaths, and a minute or so after they tell us they’re done, they have enough data. We closed the space and came back to our selves. They tell us that the device was going off repeatedly, every time they got close they would get a result, and while it was still not at 100% it was more consistent than my friend had ever seen, and with such perfect regularity that after a while they couldn’t stop themselves from giggling at the astounding results. While I was impressed, that was that, until one showed that it was happening with such consistency that over such a precise spot that they were able to discover the edge of the space by how consistent the results were, and they pointed down exactly at the line of carpet that was where I anchored the space. To the centimeter the TRNG was able to find the boundary of the sacred space.

I find this utterly fascinating and exciting (my apologies to those who follow Michelle and me on twitter as we apparently were tweeting a lot about it), again no ideas about the mechanisms, the how, or why, no claim that this was a rigorous lab experiment proving this beyond a shadow of a doubt. None the less, the results were nothing less than amazing to us, and warrant more research and experimenting, and we have no shortage of experiments that we want to run…once I buy my own devices by the end of the summer.

Review: Watcher Angel Tarot and Guidebook – Michelle Belanger and Jackie Williams


Watcher Angel Tarot Guidebook: Myth, Meaning, and Creation – Michelle Belanger and Jackie Williams
Emerald Tablet Press. 2011. 312pp. 9780983816911.

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:1-2

Such a little innocuous line, often overlooked and forgotten, yet containing the seeds of a beautifully deep myth expounded upon in the Book of Enoch. Watcher Angels, the sons of God(s), fell to the Earth and took up human mates, and taught the secrets of heaven. That is the theme of this deck. I’ve talked about this deck before but it is time for a proper review.

In the introduction Michelle says “I didn’t want simply to design another Tarot built on the bones of the Rider-Waite-Smith. I wanted to revision the Tarot entirely, allowing the symbols to speak through me and to find expression in some vital and personal myth.” (12) And that is what you find with this deck. It isn’t a Rider-Waite-Smith clone with angel wings drawn on it, it isn’t a clone with some of the images and settings shifted around, it is a fairly different beast altogether.

The deck was designed from the ground up. Looking at the overarching traits of the Major Arcana a parallel from the Enochic myth was chosen, for the most part one of the Watcher Angels themselves represents the Majors, each assigned according to what they did, and what they taught. For instance you have Kasdeya who taught “all the wicked smitings of spirits and demons, and the smitings of the embryo in the womb” as Death, and Shemyaza the leader of the Angels in the Fall as The Fool.

Seven of Pentacles. RWS: A man leaning on his hoe. Watcher Angel: A man leaning on his...

The Minor Arcana form an entire story of their own; from Ace to Ten, Pentacles, to Cups, to Wands, to Swords, they lay out the entire tale. Pentacles are just after the Fall, the struggle to learn and build a world. In Cups they have established themselves and enjoy the world. With Wands they show their children the mysteries of heaven and magick. Finally with Swords their children turn upon each other. Since each suit contains its own story arch it is a remarkably easy deck to learn, though initially I was wary of the differences, because even if you have a moment of uncertainty when you place the card in the story it becomes clear what it represents. The meanings, the keywords of the cards are standard, but they way they play out in the Enochic myth is quite different.My only complaint with this system is it falls into an earlier interpretation of the Tarot, since the Swords are about the war among the children, the majority of the Swords are negative and challenging cards. Something many decks do but I dislike.

The artwork in this deck is phenomenal. The images are deep and complex, without being cluttered, in a lifelike and detailed painting style you’re not likely to see in a Tarot deck. Colours are rich and vibrant, and thematically carry between the suits. Jackie has a wonderful talent and her skill really brings the images to life. For me it is the settings, wings, and faces that really get me. The backgrounds are evocative, be they a shifting patch of colour or an elegant city vista. The wings just look better than most angel depictions –it’s a personal gripe of mine. Lastly the faces are very engaging, haunting, and real. The entire deck is viewable here on Jackie’s site and will show far better than I can describe.

The companion book was refreshingly honest. “I won’t lie and say that this deck was merely the product of detached academic research. There is a great deal of vision and inspiration, myth, dream, and magick woven into this work.” (19) Or as Jackie says it is “a deck designed by two psychics with input from the universe.” (29) All things considered it’s something I’ve found odd that so many deck creators shy away from discussing. In fact the companion book is remarkably complete, perhaps too much for some cases, but as it says you can skip the sections that don’t interest you. The book contains Jackie and Michelle’s stories for making the Tarot, the years of planning and research for Michelle, the years of painting and living the cards for Jackie. Michelle leads you into the research and struggles, Jackie even gives interesting advice on paper and paint types. Their stories are followed by the myth of the Watchers, how it relates to Campbell’s Monomyth as well as to the Book of Enoch and related texts. It moves into tarot history, where it came from, how it became part of the Western Mystery Tradition, beliefs about the tarot, and then finally the interpretations of the cards. If you’ve never dealt with the tarot before this book covers pretty much all the basics you’ll need, and if you’re familiar with the tarot and don’t care about personal stories you can skip to the back where you can learn about the cards and understand why Michelle and Jackie made the choices they did in illustrating the deck.

I will fully own up to a triple bias with this deck, Michelle and Jackie are friends, and personally I love the Enochic mythology. That being said, I don’t believe it is my bias speaking when I say this has quickly become one of my favourite decks; the beautiful art, the compelling myth, it just makes this a wonderful and unique deck.

Webshare Wait-It’s-Monday: Enochic and Enochian Galore


Baraquiel- The Hanged Man

Baraquiel- The Hanged Man

Sorry for the lack of posting recently, I decided to run for an unplanned holiday on the family farm. I was going to share these links/stories later, but as one of them is time sensitive I’ll do so a little early and with that said it might as well be the link I start with.

My friends Michelle and Jackie have been working on a tarot deck. Michelle’s been scheming it for about a decade and if I remember my timelines right Jackie’s been painting for about five years. The Watcher Angel Tarot is a reinterpretation of the themes of the tarot through the legend of the Watcher Angels as told in the Book of Enoch. The deck is finally done and presales start this Tuesday (June 21st). Currently you can pre-order the deck as collector and supporter decks on Jackie’s art site to help foot the start-up cost, and the deck will be released October 21st, just in time for the end of the world, and that’s not a coincidence. On Monday and Tuesday at 1830 (EST) Michelle and Jackie will be doing a twitter to youtube question answer session about the deck, so if you’re interesting and/or want to learn more go to Jackie’s site or participate in the chat to hear about the deck from the people driving it.

Damon Albarn (Gorillaz) has written an opera ‘Doctor Dee’ on the life of the historic occultist John Dee, founder of Enochian magick. I’m actually really amused and intrigued with the idea. He says he will focus on the occult practices of the good doctor, as he feels that part of his life has been hidden from history. No mention if wife-swapping for YHWH will be in the opera as of yet.

While totally different, this just couldn’t help but remind me of The Enochian Keys Opera by Valentin Dubovskoy from several years back, which I had interesting results with.

Next month sees the release of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, a video game loosely based on the Book of Enoch (I’m seeing a theme in my links, this wasn’t planned). The game has you taking the role of Enoch the Prophet trying to stop seven fallen angels and the flood that will destroy mankind if they are not stopped. I have neither of the platforms it is on (PS3 or 360) but I’ve been debating a PS3 for a while (I don’t really play video games) and I think this might be a good inspiration. A PS3 for my spiritual research, that’s reasonable, right?

Edit: I just found a video trailer of the game. It looks good to me, and has an interesting artistic style.

An Orthodox Jewish Court has condemned a dog to death by stoning. The belief is the dog that invaded the court room was the reincarnation of a secular lawyer the judges had previously cursed to be reborn as a dog for insulting them. What I found most interesting is that it is a public admission of the belief in reincarnation (which while it has some historical basis in Judaism is a fringe belief currently) but also the belief that the judges have the capacity to use a curse to direct someone’s next incarnation and that it could include animals such a dogs. I was under the impression that Jewish beliefs in reincarnation was limited to humans, but animals and cursing incarnations, both are new tricks to me.

Lastly, and really really not least is Rob’s Basic Laws, Rules, and Rights of Magic an absolutely brilliant article on…well just that, the laws, rules, and rights of magick. It’s a long read, and you definitely need to take some time to work through it but it is worth it. I probably only disagreed with one or two points, and not in horribly strong ways, I really recommend you give it a read if you haven’t seen it yet. It matched up with some of my own conceptions on the laws/rules and made me question and debate others.

That being said I leave these links with you, and hopefully return to blogging proper soon.

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