Mudras As Triggers, Not Sources

2015/11/17

Several weeks back I was demonstrating some work for someone. Part way through I quickly generated the eight offerings. It’s a Buddhist thing, and while not strictly necessary it’s such a part of so many workings that it pretty much slips out of me at appropriate spots. Through different mudras, coupled with visualizations, mantras, and some energy work you create eight classes of offerings, the same set I described when explaining water bowls, but a different methodology.

Anyways, after the person asked about the hand gestures I made because, according to them, when I did them I was just radiating energy out, that for those few seconds it just exploded out of me, so they asked to learn the gestures. I taught them, but they quickly complained that the gestures did nothing.

This is something I see all the time and it really boggles me. Not to get into a magick model discussion, but so often people expect that knowing the words, or actions, or visualizations, or having the materia will make every work. All you need to call this spirit is their mantra, or a quick prayer. All you need to get this spell to function is knowing the words, or the gestures. At times like this I want to grab some people and shake them (especially those who should know better).

Do not mistake me; words, and gestures, and materia can be extremely important in a lot of these matters, but I’d argue often they’re the secondary vehicle of the work. That’s why when I teach someone the offering mudras they don’t start suddenly pouring forth energy in the appropriate forms, because there is more to it than just the gestures.

I do find though that mudras (hand gestures) are an important part of a lot of Buddhist ritual, but I would say they are triggers, not important in and of themselves, with a few exceptions. I say the latter point because if they were important and powerful on their own they’d probably be the same across the board, but they aren’t. Different sects of Buddhism have slightly different mudras, some change from time to time, some are done way one in person and another way in art (because fingers and bodies don’t always bend right), and even within the same sect offerings are different between different “levels.” When I do a lower tantra I’m to do one mudra to represent candles/fire, but in higher tantra it’s another. The non-standard meaning/application says they’re not inherently powered. Much like many stones and herbs mean different things in different systems, but that’s another topic.

Mudras are triggers though. When I did the ritual above and I tossed in the offerings I did it without thinking and fairly fast. When I’m not focusing on them and just quickly generating I can go through all eight mudras in under three seconds, but that hasn’t always been the case. It used to take me a fair bit longer than three seconds for any individual mudra offering, let alone the set. It’s only after doing them literally hundreds of times that I can toss them so quickly without thought, because it’s become a trigger. I used to carefully put my hands in the right position, draw the energy into them, say the appropriate mantra for the offering, visualize the energy taking the shape of the offering, say another mantra to multiple the offering, and then sending out the offering. After dozens, and hundreds of times though all of these actions became a fast continuous stream, so that with little to no thought as soon as my hands started the motion my body pumps out the energy, my mind says the mantras and shapes things, and then sends it out. Eventually it becomes an unconscious process, I put my hands into motion, the trigger, and my mind/body does the rest, even when I’m not focusing on it.

Though I repeat, it’s not the gestures that have power, it’s the fact that I’ve made that gesture so many times with the accompanying energy/mantras/visualization, that it has its power and meaning. It’s magickal Pavlovian conditioning. Anyone who has done any ritual daily for months probably has an experience of something similar. How many people can just touch their crown saying “Ateh” and have the full cross form before they finish the first word? Because we’ve trained ourselves through these gestures and words and visualizations and whatnot that our mind links them all and follows through we don’t need to run through it all. (Now admittedly this nonconscious process is rarely as powerful as a slower conscious one, but both have their place.)

It seems like such a beginner statement to have to talk about, but I’m boggled by how many occultists I meet and when we talk and I’ll show them something, they expect that just following my movements and mantras will make everything work. Just because a gesture is used magickally doesn’t make the gesture magick.

On the plus side though we can train ourselves with lots of these things, outside of classical mudras. Over a decade ago my mental boundaries weren’t as clear as they are now, if my energy started running high I would switch into a highly empathic/projective mode and all the sudden I’m feeling/hearing so much around me, and often sending some of it back out. In the worst cases my perceptions would bleed into other people’s and I’d lose spatial awareness of my body cause I was running through three other heads at the time. If you’ve ever had something like that (or more mundanely an anxiety attack, or a panic episode, or something like that) you know that even if you could normally handle the situation you’re in, once you’ve gotten that far it’s beyond your ability. Usually you’re great at grounding/shielding, or focusing your thoughts, but in the midst of the episode you can’t find that place in yourself. This is where triggers are amazing. So way back then I conditioned myself to shield with a gesture, again it isn’t as powerful/effective as one that I consciously build and set up, but since I couldn’t focus in that too-empathic state it was good enough to block out the majority of what was coming in. It was simple to program, it was just repetition. I’d put my fingers by my ear and make the movement, then I’d shield myself. Then later in the day I’d do it again, and I did this for a few weeks. Finally it reached the point that if my hands made the movement my mind made the shield. This let me function better in crowds until I learned to deal with them and myself in a manner that prevented my early overloads.

This condition triggering is what mudras are, at least the majority. Learn the traditional ones if that’s your path, because they’re connected to the current, but more than anything it’s through your work with the mudras that the gestures become magickal.

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S.M.A.R.T. Sorcery

2015/05/23

The following is based on the opening spiel to a class I just taught addressing a lot of the pitfalls of sorcery (those I’ve encountered and see others encounter).

One of the most obvious pitfalls I see with sorcererous folks is the lack of clear and reasonable goals. I have actually seen people on forums asking for spells to simply “make my life better” and in the process of writing this post I just saw a forum post “Best money spells, go!” But even when people focus on something specific it can be too vague, or too big. Wealth and love magick are probably the two biggest offenders here. People want spells to attract money or love, and leave it at that, as if wealth and money were as simple as a yes or no option.

I’m amused by how many people know of SMART goals from their work, but don’t apply it to magick. If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, it’s an acronym, a few different versions float around, but I use it standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

When you’re setting a magickal goal, ask the question: is it SMART? Let’s use getting a new job as an example.
I’m doing magick to get a job…is that specific? No. That goal needs more details, if that’s all you have then even if you succeed, who knows where you’ll end up. Flesh that out. What type of job? What field? What pay range? What work environment.

I’m doing magick to get a job as an accountant with a stable tech firm making enough money to be comfortable paying my rent and my bills. Is that specific? That’s a hell of a lot better, and if you just shore up your magick from job-in-general to that job, you’re already way ahead of the game.

Be careful though, there is a difference between tightening your magickal goals, and strangling them. Sometimes people can be so specific that there is only one avenue for something to occur (if that). If your job spell is so descriptive and demanding that there is only one possible job for you, then your chances will be exceedingly slim. (Note: This is different than enchanting for a specific job you know of)

Is it measurable? Yes, you have a success/failure criteria. If you end up working at a Starbucks that’s a failure. But it doesn’t have to be binary, you could end up as an accountant with a large retail company, but everything else is what you asked for, it’s not a complete success, but you can measure where you failed and where you succeeded.

Is it attainable? Hopefully, do you have a back ground in accounting, or a degree? That would help. If you just got out of high school it might be unattainable for you. Or if you’re applying for a job way above your qualifications that’s an issue. Attainable is something a lot of magick folk want to argue with me about, saying if it’s attainable why use magick, or if magick makes things happen why not use it for harder to obtain things?

Magick, in this way, I think is like exercise, you should always push yourself a bit farther than where you are. If you can jog for 15 minutes, then try upping yourself to 17, then 20 minutes. But if you can jog 15 minutes, don’t try for a 45 minute run. Don’t use magick to stay where you are, but there is a difference in the attainability and probability of going from desk clerk to accountant, than from desk clerk to Assistant Vice President. You can work your way all the way up the career magickally if you want to take the time, but you can rarely make the jump. Magick can nudge things in your favour, but only so far.

Another way to look at it is how my one teacher explained it. Magick makes things happen, things that are unlikely become more likely, but only to an extent. If something has a 1% change of happening, with magick we might bump it up to 10, 15, or 20%, imagine making something 20 times more likely to happen. Now look at the lottery, you have a 1 in 7,000,000 chance to win, but magick even if you increase your odds 20 times over, that’s still 20 out of 7 million, or one out of 350,000. So it doesn’t help that much, you’re still unlikely to ever win. Magick for what is attainable, and realistic, but don’t settle for a status quo.

Relevant can mean a lot of things. Basically it is useful or practical. Think about how many sorcerers brag about talking to gods and ghosts, or how psychic they are, or how often they do magick to “raise their vibrations” or “ascend the spheres” or all the past lives they remember. Now how many of them are actually getting anywhere? (Don’t get me wrong, I talk to gods and ghosts daily, would argue I’m psychic, and I love going up the spheres, but I know I need to handle shit in the real world too)

What about the goals you’re picking, are they useful? Are they relevant? Think about how this goal will or won’t help you get where you want. Then decide if it is worth the effort. I’m not saying everything needs a profound purpose in your magick, but know why you’re doing it. I’m the sovereign of doing useless shit with magick when I learn a new system, just to prove results. When I teach sigils I often get people to pick clear, minor, and useless goals, just to see their success. Things like “I’ll see a woman in a red dress before lunch.” “I will get a piece of cake.” It proves it works. Just know why you’re doing it, and ask if it will be useful.

Lastly time-bound. Especially if you’re working with spirits. Conjuring up a spirit that’s been working with your magickal tradition for centuries, you and they might see time a bit different so even if you ask for a job with all the specifics…when will it provide it? Give an end time to the working, so you know if you’ve succeeded, or if you fail and it’s time to move on and try something else. Even if you don’t use an external entity, being time-bound in your goal is a way to focus and contain the working.

I know this seems unmagickal to a lot of people, but you have to remember, magick is a tool like any other, it’s not just about using it, but knowing how to use it the most effective ways possible, and a surprisingly large chunk of that can just be targeting your magick. Even if you change nothing else in how you perform your magick, just having a clear goal will help you be more effective.

Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. If you can actually ensure that your magickal goals are hitting those five things you’re on the right track.


Shapeshifting Saviours, Meditation, and Logic

2015/03/25

Mercury WebDue to the convergence of newage and Buddhism I’ve seen the so-called “non-violent” communication for a while. I’m fed up with it, and I’m not the only one. Here is a look at how non-violent communication is just as violent, if not more so, than normal communication.

Why is rape such a central element in many religious myths? This came up at dinner this week actually, it’s more than a bit unsettling to modern sensibilities how the mothers of Zoroaster, Jesus, and Buddha never gave consent to become pregnant, it was just placed upon them.

Speaking of that Jesus fellow, the first written description of him calls him a magician. Not surprising to most occultists, but still neat. Also not surprising if you’ve read Jesus the Magician by Morton Smith.

A later text about Jesus calls him a shapeshifter. While I would never have labelled him such, it’s an interesting reason and covers a small hole in the Gospels. (And I don’t mean the ones through Jesus’ palms…too soon?)

Want some great life advice from five awesome female mystics? You got it.

Like a lot of sorcerers I collect tools, but I like to know the whys and hows, and histories of the items. Here is the start of a great in depth look at magickal blades, which helps fill in some of that.

I’ve wanted to talk about ancestor work for a while, because I keep getting more questions about it, and why I do it, and how do I make peace with the idea. Brother Moloch addresses the common question of why to work with ancestors, especially if your family was less than stellar.

Believe it or not the Onion wrote an article about me. Or at least it sounds like how many of my friends talk about me.

Speaking of meditation, TUM talked briefly about a short meditation retreat he did and how it’s not all fun, games, and stress relief. Let me say to those curious about his experience, that’s just the tip of the rabbit hole.

Continuing on meditation, I know I always complain about those scientific studies explaining the benefits of meditation…we get it, it’s good for you…the American Psychological Association says it helps fight depression. It’s also good seeing it from a serious source, not just random blogs or papers pulling info together.

On the flipside here is a list of 10 things science will make you happy. Bacon must have been 11th on the list. It might seem initially odd that I’d share this, but remember I think a sorcerer is judged not achievements, titles, tools, or training, but by the life they live and if they’re content and productive.

I also think a sorcerer should be firmly grounded in reality, which is why I advocate for more scientific rigour in practices, and scientific literacy. So, to kill a favourite pet I see among pagans, an analysis of 240 different studies shows that there is no notable health benefit from organic food.

Keeping with reality, here are eight common mistakes in how we think, and how we can avoid them. Some of these are even more an issue to those who follow magickal forms of thought.

Another problem with how we think is how often we ignore omens, and how the majority of deaths are caused by such ignorance. Totally true fact.


Round Pegs and Round Holes

2015/03/09

Or Shut Up and Stick It In

square_peg_round_hole[1]Sometimes magickians go out of their way to make things more complicated than they need to be. That in and of itself could be a series of rants, but instead I want to focus on something that happened to me recently. I performed a mo dice reading from a friend, and got Ra-Na, The Dried Up Tree, it’s not a good answer, but the piece of advice was to perform rituals of offering for deceased family and ancestors.

So I explained that things didn’t look good, but he should give offerings to his dead family and ancestors, not to get them to fix it, but to make sure they’re maintained. Hungry ghosts are disruptive ghosts. So we talked a bit and he said something that gave me pause, so I asked and found out he thought I meant family/ancestors as in his past lives. Admittedly sometimes the tradition we work with uses that language-coding, but I had to clarify this time I meant blood family, and actual ancestors, not ancestors as code for past-lives.

“I don’t have any dead family, none of them stuck around.” So I explained one of the models of the soul in several parts which says that the “soul proper” reincarnates, but leaves a shade or remnant behind, an echo that can be animated. My Grandmother died seven years ago, and her soul has moved on, but she still visits me, and I have good conversations at her grave. “I don’t have any connection to my family that is dead.” I explained that it’s not about a connection like that, that’s why some systems of ancestor work uses people who died long before you were born or even parents or grandparents were born, it’s not about a standard idea of familial love, but this idea of supporting your legacy. So even if you didn’t connect in life, or weren’t alive at the same time doesn’t mean you can’t give them offerings, and that they won’t help out. I also explained that offerings to dead family can be made to their current lives, whoever/wherever Grandma is, I can offer her my merit to help out, in the belief that it will benefit her current life.

After a while he responded “So I guess I’m screwed and there is nothing I can do.”

This baffled me. He spent a large portion of our conversation transforming the round peg I offered him into a square peg that no longer fit. I wasn’t asking for a huge change in beliefs, I wasn’t railing against his ideas, I didn’t suggest anything drastic. All I said was to perform an offering to dead family and ancestors, tea and bread by the pictures I know he has up of them. Instead he complicated the issue by trying to force it to match his beliefs “So by family you mean past lives?” “I don’t have any dead family.” “I don’t have any connection to my family that is dead.” “There is nothing I can do.”

Now granted, I hate people who pull, twist, and mixmatch traditions improperly, and appreciate synthesizing beliefs intelligently. On the other hand when you ask for advice, and get clear advice (mo is straightforward there, which is part of why I love it), and you’d rather mangle the advice until it can’t fit or work in your world, then you’re doing something wrong.

Yes I’m picking on a friend a bit here, but I see this a lot. Sometimes life gives you a round peg and a round hole, so shut up and stick it in. Occultists seem to like complicating matters, yes, synthesis is brilliant, but sometimes your attempt at synthesis is more akin to blindfolded jigsaw puzzles.


Magickal Diaries: Truth-speakers, Old Friends, Wise Teachers

2014/08/18

Hello, I want my book. Bonjour, je veux mon livre.

If I have one regret about my magickal career: I didn’t start journaling sooner, and didn’t really know what I was doing with my journal for the first few years. The earliest magickal diary of mine that I can find is from 2006. I’m sure I kept records earlier than that, but maybe not. If not it boggles me that I waited so long to start. I know I recorded individual events from earlier on, but nothing complete.

A handful of my diaries

A handful of my diaries

Recently I’ve been rereading my magickal diaries as part of climbing trees for apples instead of grabbing fallen ones from about the field (Dear HGA: Be a grown-up spirit and use your words). What I have found has been so very insightful, and surprising, and it reminds me, this is one of the many reasons to keep journals.

I found conversations with gods and spirits I had forgotten, sometimes their lessons had been integrated into my life and my Work, other times I reread what they told me, and realize eight years later I’m still making the same mistakes because I forgot and moved on.

Some things surprise me, like dreams of Tubal-Qayin eight years ago, when I wasn’t even working on that Path yet, or patterns/symbols/figures showing up long before they became consciously part of my life. (Oh ye gods, so many peacocks…) Or a Vision of Mother giving me Kalagni, years before I picked it up as a pseudonym, and I had forgotten.

I found techniques I’ve forgotten, but records show were effective.

Perhaps more importantly I’ve found things that were ineffective, or areas I’ve always had difficulty with. Money magick, I’ve had a knack for shifting things to get what I need when needed. Sex and romance magick, excellent results. Job magick on the other has routinely been hit-or-miss, with more on the miss side. I find that interesting, and while I don’t know the reason (bad strategies, money is more open-ended, there just aren’t enough jobs and magick only does so much, whatever) it’s something for me to consider. It’s also something I can take solace in as I’m job hunting right now, and even with magick my results have been less than encouraging.

This is something I talked to a friend about recently though. He’s more of the fly by the seat of his pants energy focused magickian, so journal keeping seems alien to him. In the time I’ve known him I’ve seen him pull a few rabbits out of his hat, I’ve also seen a few situations that have me feeling like Rocky the Squirrel. The thing is, his opinion is “I don’t need to record my stuff, I want, I work, I get what I want.” He completely glazes over his failures. He might not be doing it on purpose or in an ingenuous way. Think of intuition, if you suddenly think of someone, and run into them, why that’s something you’ll note and remember, but if you think of them and don’t run into them, then you forget the next day. You’re not trying to be dishonest about your intuition, it’s just you’re not going to remember a non-event generally.

Still looking for this book

Still looking for this book

Magickal failures, unless they’re spectacular blow outs (like frying your first laptop, flooding your basement…twice), are not going to be remembered as easily as the successes. Not because we try to forget, but when cause doesn’t have an effect our mind doesn’t link the event (magick working) and the non-event (failure) and so we forget all about it. Obviously we shouldn’t dwell on our failures, but we really should be aware of them. It teaches us where our magick is weakest, be it a realm of magick (like Martial magick or job work or healing) or if it is a specific technique (scrying or invocation) and this opens up two options. It lets us see where we need to improve or perhaps shift things around to get them to work, or maybe it tells us not to focus somewhere and that be the area we ask for help in. It’s come up before, but not every occultist can or will be good at everything, and while I think we should work on some degree of proficiency, we should also know when it’s better to turn to someone more skilled than we are.

Your journal doesn’t have to be supercomplicated, I had a period of six months were mine was, it wasn’t worth it, but make sure it’s complete. Record your dreams, record your practice, record anything out of the ordinary, if a ritual feels weak or weird or powerful, record your visions. More importantly though, don’t record and forget the magickal diary, come back to it. I reread my Abramelin journals every year just before my anniversary, and I love it, and now that I’ve reread all my journals for the last 8 years I have a lot to think on, and arguably I learned more from rereading them, then I’d learn from any other magickal text you’d give me.


Your Tradition Can’t Beat Mine

2014/08/03

“It is folly to suppose that the Black or the White Mass is of greater importance, it is but the Power enslaved in them that must be freed –the Power of their Belief that must be utilized and aligned unto Our Path.” ~Chumbley

Came across this quote again, and it resonated with something I’ve been thinking about off and on lately. Another potentially controversial statement: Your tradition isn’t better than mine.

Okay, not too controversial depending on how you read it. By which I mean to say what I feel is fairly obvious, and mostly true; that magickal systems in and of themselves aren’t superior to one another. Most of the time it’s the person working the system that makes the difference, not the system itself.

TLDR: Good sorcerers, not traditions.

I got thinking about this for a few reasons, but most evidently when watching a friend, who recently converted magickal traditions, talking about how amazing their new system was, that it was far superior than the last one they were a part of (or the one before that, as the middle tradition was superior to the first) and just worked so much better. She might be right, but to an outsider it doesn’t look like it. Why? She’s always been good at what she does, and even if the first two traditions she studied in were shitty, she made them work for her. I say in this case it isn’t so much her new tradition or initiation did anything, it’s the fact that she is a wise person (with her blind spots like us all) with great focus and discipline. It wouldn’t matter if she was studying Neo-Wicca, Khemetic Reconstructionism, Santeria, Buddhism, or whatever. As long as she is in a system that has room for magick and flexing willpower, I think she would be a good sorcerer.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some traditions have different advantages and niches. Want to evocate a spirit, I think Ceremonialism is the route, want to invocate a spirit, I think Buddhism has that down, want to be ridden by a spirit, get thee to a Santero’s house. The thing is these advantages are only there for people who have the capacity to use them, some hypothetical good sorcerer. Just because you work with the grimoires doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get spirits appearing, just because you have an empowerment doesn’t mean Vajrayogini is going to come dance in your mind, just cause you made Ocha doesn’t mean Oya is going to take your body for a spin. All systems have the potential for training and growth and magick, but it’s the person that does the work, not the system. Though again caveated some systems are better suited for different people and bringing out the desired traits.

The second thing that got me thinking about this was seeing someone automatically assuming that someone from a certain tradition couldn’t hurt them magickally because it was an inferior system. Two things can happen here, either your disbelief works wonders on your personal magick and deflects stuff, or more likely, you’ll leave yourself open because you assume that Goetic spirits or animal fetchs have nothing on your protective angel/spirit/Chihuahua and get your etheric ass handed to you. Again, some traditions have different advantages, some might have better offence, others better defence, but that is no reason to discount them. As much disdain as I might drip on the newage movement, if think a whitelight newager can’t curse you, you haven’t crossed many of them, cause some of them wield the most potent hateful energy you’ll ever encounter. I see with pagans a lot of disregarding Christians and their prayer/magick, but I know a Catholic priest who works as an exorcist. He’s the sweetest man, but magickally he is a force to be reckoned with. He’s nearly thrown a friend of mine out of body (and said friend is well trained and not exactly “fragile”) and I had him bless an object for me so I’d remember this lesson, and when he blessed it I felt like someone was crushing my heart in a vice, just from the pressure and type of force/energy he called upon.

Granted most of the time this isn’t an issue in the occult community, we get along for the most part. I’m a Buddhist ceremonialist and my closest friends and my magickal allies are everything from newage neo-Native shamans, to vampires, to strict Solomonic practicitioners, to Santeros, to atheists (they can do magick too), Cambodian shamans, witches, and whatever else I’m not thinking of. We learn to talk across the differences, and learn from each other, but the thing is, the traditions we follow, the techniques we learn, they’re not what make us good sorcerers. It’s the fact that we’re people of devotion, intelligence, focus, and drive.

The flip side of this is look at yourself and your practice. Is your magick not what it should be, do you not get the results you need or want? Is the problem the system you’re studying, does it lack the technology for the result you want? Or could it be the fact that you don’t have the Strength/Wisdom/Compassion to wield it? You might be better off working on your discipline and focus, redoubling your effort than adding in another tradition or technique. Crowley said “About 90 % of Thelema, at a guess, is nothing but self-discipline” (Magick without Tears, Chapter 70) but I think much the same applies for all magick. Magick, techniques, spells, and visualizations, they’re tools, and can be phenomenal, but if you don’t have the skill to wield them, then the world’s best written conjuration won’t really change that.

I’m not saying don’t try new things, I’m not sayin learning techniques from other traditions is useless or bad. I’m just saying that no matter how many spells you know, no matter how many meditations you’ve been taught, how many magickal techniques you have, or how many initiations you’ve taken, you’re the sorcerer not these tools. If you don’t have the focus, discipline, and drive, if you don’t have the Strength, Wisdom, Compassion to utilize these tools, then they’ll never be truly effective.

“Sorcery uses Will, Desire and Belief with such precision as is permitted by the talents of the Individual Practitioner.” -Chumbley


Wednesday Webshare: Dragons, Dracula, and Meditation: Sex, Breath, and Darkness

2014/07/02

Mercury Web
Interestingly enough a study says that sex and meditation do many of the same things to our brain. Of course I’d wager that lasting effects are more likely to show up with meditation. Maybe I’m biased, but I know a lot more calm, compassionate monks than calm, compassionate people who just get laid a lot. (But as always I take the middle road)

Mike Sententia makes a good, short, post about foundational understanding. I’ve ranted about this for a long time, but he puts it in a short and simple package. We wouldn’t learn science the way a lot of people want to learn magick.

Everyone’s favourite Chick Track combining Dungeons and Dragons, and the occult is being made into a movie. So excited.

A study suggests that non-directive meditation is the most effective form. Despite all the more complex forms I’ve learned over the years, I still return to anapana/vipassana more than anything else, maybe this explains why.

Researchers think they found Dracula’s grave and want to open it…because that never turns out bad in the movies…

Slyphs, and Gnomes, and Undines too…but there are a lot more unusual creatures from medieval manuscripts. Lots of these weird creatures from medieval bestiaries get used in magick, but many have been forgotten, so who wants to figure out magickal uses for the bonnacon?

My friend Psyche discusses the issues around gender essentialism in their time with the OTO, and why they left. As many people know, I recently was part of a panel on queer and gender queer magick, so I’ve found Psyche’s experience with the OTO interesting and relatable to a lot of my issues around rigid binaries. It’s not without hope though, a few commenters said that not all OTO bodies hold to rigid physical sex and gender prescriptions with the roles in ritual, and allow people to move between them based on what the identify with or feel at that time, which is great to read.

Arkansas bans the creation of a pagan temple when they realized pagans aren’t Christian. I wish I could be surprised.

I ❤ Dave, and he recently did a Lyric or Satiric game, using the Bible. Basically he and friend take turns either reading Bible verses or fake Bible verses, and guess if it is real or fake.

Buffersafe has a comic on Ghost Stories…and frankly this is far closer to the ghost stories I live.

Back to Spiral Nature, Psyche addresses a question from someone who isn’t sure if they’re ready to begin spellwork. My favourite part is the advice includes something I see way too many occultists forgetting, and that’s SMART goals (or worse…any goals…).

Frankly I’m more likely to blame moldy chip dip than the Ouija board. Hell, I was at a party last weekend where drunk people made a Ouija board, used it while drunk, with a My Little Pony planchette, and no one got possessed.

The world’s first affordable sensory deprivation tank, only $1,700. Okay, that’s still a fair sum, but a lot cheaper than most. As someone who has had great results with the Ganzfeld procedure magickally, I have to say I’ve always wanted a full-blown sensory deprivation tank, and this is just one step closer.

The dark side of meditation. People in the West forget meditation isn’t about relaxation, it can help, but that’s not the point. It loosens the ego, deals with sankara (impurities of the mind), and that isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience. I feel this person needed more help processing his experience and he didn’t get it, but it’s not an unheard of, or even uncommon response. The times I live in temple or meditation retreat contain some of the more horrible and terrifying thought-experiences of my life, all while on a cushion. Meditation can bring you to some really “dark” places, but it can also take you beyond them, just return your focus to your breath.

A distant dharma sibling is crowdfunding to support her work on an elaborate thangka depicting the chöd practice and it looks amazing.

What a Shaman sees in a mental hospital. Interesting reframing of mental conditions through a spiritual lens. (Though I’m not a fan of people who say all mental/cognitive conditions and illnesses are spiritual awakenings.)

A piece on why the tarot has/needs structure. A bit controversial to some, but I wouldn’t say it’s wrong. It’s not a judgment about tarot v oracle decks, but just clarifying that they’re different things, and there is only so much you can change in the tarot until it becomes something else.


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