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.


Wednesday Webshares: Crowley, Spare, Potlatchs and More

2011/08/17

Let’s start off this webshare with more Crowley because despite being dead you can’t keep a wicked man down, in fact I’m pretty sure that’s part of what got him in trouble much of the time…

If you have a few hundred pounds to spare Treadwell’s books currently has a collection of early edition Crowley texts for sales. Aside from going to collectors this shows again that there is a demand for Crowley books that isn’t being met.

Continuing with Crowley a new biography is being released in September claiming to be “the first complete” and “definitive biography” of Crowley. It is a large claim to fill, but we shall see in time if there is much new to say about the Beast from this book.

And the last bit of Crowley for the week: Abrahadabra is releasing the Grimoire of Aleister Crowley. A collection of the rituals along with deeper exploration into their purposes and explanations on their meanings and structure.

Following the book pattern Jerusalem Press is rereleasing The Book of Pleasure by A.O.Spare. In general I think it’s great that Spare’s working is getting some fresh print time, but especially as in this edition they’ve gone to great lengths to get new or high-quality versions of the images from the original and includes an intro by Alan Moore. Now this may not be news to some, it’s from a few months back, but apparently I either missed this or it slipped my mind.

If you’re more in the mood to receive random possibly magickal knickknacks, tchotchkes, and more the good folks at The Hermetic Library have suggested an “eclectic, esoteric postal potlatch.” You either send in something, or donate, and they’ll send you something back. I think this is a neat idea and I’m curious to see what I’ll get and to hear what other sorts of things get sent through this.

While I hate to jump on any finding and claim “this proves magick!” I recently came across an article that mentions “slogans trigger resistance while logos slip through.” Their wording caught my eye especially as when I describe to people why sigils are effective it’s in part due to their ability to “slip through” our filters into some abstract depth of our mind. This article is somewhat reinforcing this idea, our mind rejects slogans (verbal) but accepts logos (visual). While obvious more to it than just a good parallel to sigils I found it interesting that theory is reflected in this study.

A while back I linked to a new computer program/algorithm being used to help sort out the various authors of the Old Testament (hint: it wasn’t Moses) and now it seems that the same technology may be useful in helping us date the Gospels. Interesting, though I admit the dates tossed around in the article have me looking askance at it, for their initial dating (which they believe may be even earlier) is far earlier than I usually see stated for the dates of the Gospels, outside of heavily Christian biased and unresearched sources of course. If they manage to prove the Gospels date to within a decade of Jesus’s apparently life I wonder what that would mean to people?

Another necropost link (I forgot I had many of these put aside) that was of personal interest to me was from The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn blog spot where Tabatha shows several examples of common errors or “corruptions” of Divine and Angelic names. Of course of interest to me considering this has been part of my language posting recently, that names become altered, corrupted, and yet they still work. It was good to see the research and actually watch the progression of a name changing.

Another month late posting but Egypt’s own Indiana Jones wannabe Zahi Hawass has finally been fired. This man was essentially the face of Egyptian archaeology, when there was a discovery to be announced he was there. There have been rumours (as there always will be, especially about anything Egyptian) that part of this was to establish an “official story” that Hawass took the releases so information that conflicted with his views and theories didn’t make it to the light. I’ve heard it go so far as he rabidly suppressed findings, but as always such claims never had much evidence. I don’t know if it is rumours or not, but as much as I liked the man’s personality it will be nice to read about or watch a new Egyptian discovery and have someone else discuss it.

Finally one last book because it’s me. It’s not out, but I just received the announcement for Arguing with Angels: Enochian Magic and Modern Occulture set to come out in May. A quote from the publisher about it:

Examining this magical system from its Renaissance origins to present day occultism, Egil Asprem shows how the reception of Dee’s magic is replete with struggles to construct and negotiate authoritative interpretational frameworks for doing magic. Arguing with Angels offers a novel, nuanced approach to questions about how ritual magic has survived the advent of modernity and demonstrates the ways in which modern culture has recreated magical discourse.

So sounds good to me. Hope everyone is surviving this Wednesday in Mercury Retrograde


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.


%d bloggers like this: