Wednesday Webshare: Sigils, Star.Ships, and Skulls

2016/01/20

The last few Buddhism posts are still coming, but I’ve had a few health issues in the last two weeks, so for now enjoy some of the stuff I’ve come across online.

I just stumbled over a three year old paper in The Journal of Neuroscience titled “Purging of Memories from Conscious Awareness Tracked in the Human Brain” Now it was a very limited study with 18 people, so don’t draw too strong of conclusions from it, but basically it demonstrated the potential for people to consciously forget information. This also only applied to simple information, a sequence of words, you might not be successful forgetting your fashion choices from the eleventh grade with this. But, not only is this perfect for sigil magick when using the banishing/forgetting method…it’s pretty much what we’ve been saying all along. The method of forgetting was interrupting the thoughts. So if you’re trying to forget a word or image (like a sigil) every time it came up you immediately distracted yourself with another topic. Reminds me of my early training, where it was also said if the sigil comes back just laugh, laugh loud and hard until it goes away, and eventually it stops coming back. Interesting to see some research saying that method might actually work.

Now to counter this, Balthazar wrote a great piece on sigils from a more spirit based paradigm, having dropped Spare’s psychological theories, and how it works for him.

I have not been sharing my excitement about this enough, for which I apologize, but there is still time for you to get autographed copies of Star.Ships by Gordon White

I know when I get my copy, I’ll make sure to put a good curse on it, as was a tradition back in the middle ages. And you can find more examples in the book Anathema! by Marc Drogin

While not as exciting as Star.Ships, following in the trend of adult colouring books is the Occult Colouring book. With images like Lucifer’s Fall and Ishtar to colour in

A John Dee painting is shown now to have originally had him standing in a ring of skulls Personally I’d prefer it with the skulls. I agree with the article though, it shows the “confusion” on how to depict and relate to the man. Brilliant budding scientist…but also man who devoted years chatting with angels, and sadly our current culture has trouble holding both of those images at once, so something has to get covered up.

While I can’t vouch for the accuracy, and I’ve only watched the first part there is a compelling documentary on magick in Iceland.

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Wednesday Webshare: Cutup Corpses, Memories, and History

2013/02/20

Mercury Web I received a lot of interest in the earlier photoset of the sky burial I posted a while back. I recently came across another one, this one is done in a different more hands on style. There is a lot more work with the caretaker really dismembering the body. Still fascinating to take a look, but of course be warned that it is graphic.

Shivian talks about when it’s time to really ditch a spell. It’s worth a read. Two common mistakes I see with people are those who continue to do the same spell/ritual repeatedly when getting no results, and those who assume that one fail means it’s time to drop it and move on. So here is a small checklist of things to run over before you decide to drop it.

Have a tough choice? Let your subconscious make it. Here is an interesting article about letting your brain work subconsciously to make decisions, and how that tends to work out better. I’ve often recommended anapana as a decision making tool, it focuses the conscious mind and leaves the background clear to process everything else.

Want to give your friends fake memories? Here is the basic how to. (By the way, you owe me $200 for the time I bailed you out of jail) I bring this up for two reasons. First, as someone with past life memories, I continually stress to others that memory isn’t solid and unchanging, that’s why it needs to be recorded and why it can’t necessarily be trusted. Secondly though not explicitiely said here, we can rewrite memories, which is why magickal journals are important, for you would be amazed how even the best of us can trick ourselves into remembering something working out differently than it did.

Another fantabulous Whisky Rant over on Rune Soup. As someone with past life memories of forgotten civilizations…no kidding, as someone who is working on a history degree this is part of the stuff I have to battle with. History doesn’t always make sense the way we want it to, and while I’m not saying what’s right and what’s wrong we have to question history. Who benefits from what survives, and who benefits from how history is constructed. Also as someone how has been suspicious (to be polite) of the Egyptian Indiana Jones it’s nice to see some more criticism against him.

There is more to magick than just memorization, check out a matching of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning/Knowledge (a theory I love and is a big part of one of my degrees) and magick. Then ask, are you doing it right?

Lastly I have one quartz mala left in my store, so I decided to mark it down and try to move it. Last one, so get it while you can, I probably won’t make more outside of custom orders for a while.


Wednesday Webshares: Grant, Visualization, Manifestation, and Moon Glyphs

2011/02/02

Today Toronto is in the grip of Snowmageddon! Actually it isn’t, we were expecting a major snowstorm, we only got about 15cm overnight, but still much of the city is taking the day to hibernate, my university included. Not to sound stupid, but the term Snowmageddon, does that make sense? Does Mount Megiddo even get much snow?

The first news of the day is from LAShTal. Kenneth Grant passed away on the 15th of January, 2011 after a period of illness. He was a student and friend of both Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare. Author of over a dozen occult texts and various collections of poetry and novels he will be missed. Many occult bloggers are writing great tributes and biographies of him, so I’ll avoid the duplication of effort and leave it at that.

My next point of interest is a recent article on Rune Soup called The Limits of Visualisation: Why You Still Need Magic. It is an examination of the over-emphasis on positive thinking and visualization, à la The Secret. While Gordon makes a lot of magickal sense, he also managed to dig up some enlightening psychology studies about the problems of positive visualization that confirm several of my issues with the system.

Over on Head For the Red, Frater R.O. writes about Manifestation Magic in which he puts down a reasonable equation about using magick to actually get results. With him it’s about strategic planning, effort/work, and creating opportunities. After reading it I forwarded it right away to a friend who has been having troubles with a specific magickal goal and R.O. eloquently puts what I had been trying to explain.


Spare, Plans, and Sagan.

2010/11/06

BBC Culture Show included a piece last week on Austin Osman Spare, with Alan Moore and others discussing Spare as a person, artist, and magickian.

Found through lashtal.com

The day after I posted Magick: Means, Ends, and Manifestation there was a good post on RuneSoup about Your One Perfect Day. I’m bringing it up because I thought the timing was good, the last bit of my post was about using your magick toward the small steps along your path, and Gordon’s post discusses this. He gives a good structure to evaluate where you are, figure out your ends and your means, and advises enchanting in small chunks. I figured since there was a connection there, I’d pass people the link for those interested.

To those who celebrate, Happy Carl Sagan Day. It’s held on the Saturday before his birthday, though I prefer to celebrate it actually on the day (which is Tuesday). I mention it because Sagan is an awesome person, and I half-jokingly consider his birthday one of my holy days, as I half-jokingly consider Sagan a “Saint” in my tradition. Hopefully I’ll manage to write more about that later.

The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. (Sagan, Cosmos 4).


Non-Attentive Sigils

2010/09/28

Gordon over at Rune Soup recently made an interesting entry regarding sigils, their methodology and the usefulness of forgetting and destroying them; it brought up some new thoughts with me and reaffirmed some old ones.

He touches on an idea for sigils that I’ve used for quite a while and support. I’ve called them non-attentive sigils. The premise is still based on the Spare model of a sigil having two “halves” the symbol and the meaning, and when a symbol and a meaning fall in love and meet in the unconscious fun things happen. Instead of forcibly repressing the sigil, brute forcing it into the unconscious, I sometimes sneak it in by not paying attention to it. I have Crayola Window Writers (which are a very handy magickal tool) they’re colourful markers that write on glass and wash off easily. My bedroom mirror is often home to a few sigils. My mirror is behind my computer so I see the sigils out of the corner of my eye when I’m working, when I brush my hair, do my makeup, check my outfit, or just catch my reflection as I move around. I don’t pay attention to them though; they are simply there, and by constantly being there they slip into my unconscious. Once they are in the mind they function in the same way the forcibly repressed sigils do. Over on Rune Soup this is explained as “low attention processing” as it is used in advertising -which I won’t rehash here, so migrate there if interested- and it was nice to see that this process is something that is observed and used even though it was for none magickal purposes.

I like the repression theory, have had great successes, and I actually enjoy the death posture (the shavasana with your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth blocked version, not tiptoe) but I find they definitely have different applications. With the forcible repression methodology you have strict and quick control over the sigil. Get called for a job interview tomorrow? You don’t have time to hope the sigil will low-attention itself in time, so control the process. Or atavistic magick, you don’t want to use a low attention model there, while I don’t speak from experience I doubt shifting into your reptile brain in public is the best way to impress your date. (Unless that is their thing, and I wouldn’t judge.) It’s better to control the how and when of that atavistic activation, rather than leaving it to a more gradual process. On the other hand effects that need to be sustained I find work great with the non-attentive sigils. If you have a rough relationship with a coworker, a sigil to smooth that over would work well in this way, or for an intense healing purpose, or potentially for some forms of psychological reprogramming. Anything that isn’t a one off “I want cake” potentially works well as a non-attentive sigil, obviously there are exceptions, but that is where the fun of experimenting comes into play.

The new thoughts were encouraged from his open-ended conclusion, and aren’t as expansive.

“On a final note; consider the implications of low attention processing if you surround yourself with imagery and colours you don’t like -be they photos of yourself that you can’t stand, images from previous troubled relationships, even medication you no longer need.” (Rune Soup)

Reading that line had me curiously looking about my room picking out some of the big things in my mind and pondered what symbol-logical information I’m feeding into my brain without realizing it. I think it is interesting to consider that space-as-sigil, that in the repression model, even my surroundings influence my reality. Definitely a “Duh” moment. Psychologically I get space reflecting and influencing moods, but perhaps there is a more subtle effect. For the first time I really grokked the idea that magickians should be clean and organized. A room constantly a mess and in chaos feeds that pattern into the mind, perpetrating it as the normal state, not the control I associate with being a magickian. A room organized, everything in the right place, on the other hand is just like an altar, or universe, and perhaps a mind more conducive to magick. This gives me another model to consider how my life picked up and got organized as I cleaned out my metaphorical and literal closets over the summer and got rid of old stuff that was no longer of use to me, though that process also left the survivors of my culling disorganized about my space. For the last six years my closet door was decorated with trophies from a sport I no longer have interest in (and had given up six years prior), and contained remnants from that time and even earlier. As I cleared them out, things in my life fell into order and some lingering stumbling blocks disappears. I don’t want to confuse cause and effect, as I already have other causes to draw on, but find it is an interesting view to consider and maybe bring into a conscious working.

Perhaps this weekend I should schedule some fall cleaning. Pluto helped me clear out a lot of crude, now I just need to organize what remains.


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