Wednesday Webshare: Smashing the Wall of Jericho, History, and Buddhist Humour

2016/04/27

We have found a large underground city, perhaps the largest ever recovered. I love hearing about these discoveries for multiple reasons, and a big part is it helps unsettle our historical narrative. Also I’m of the camp that believes our estimates for these cities are far too conservative. I might sound a bit like dear Gordon (but I’m in good company if I do) but our history is more complex than we realize, and when you look at the mythologies of this area, the idea of ancient people living underground opens up some fascinating possibilities.

Humanity was more advanced in a lot of our early received history than most people realize. Just recently it came to light that Babylonian astronomers had developed a pre-cursor to calculus. Their spiritual pursuit of their gods led them to understand the sky and chart the world in ways most modern historians don’t realize. Part out of a notion of prestige and lineage, we like to trace great accomplishments to people “like us” so the Western view of world history often ignores how often our great ideas and accomplishments were done somewhere else first. Another part of it is it’s comforting to assume we’re much more advanced than those who came before us, but in reality we don’t want to see where we came from.

There is also a huge Judeo-Christinizing influence on history. I’ve seen it colourfully referred to as the Wall of Jericho. (I should pause here to remind readers, or inform newer readers, that I’m not just a person babbling about history, I have an Honours Bachelor degree in history from one of the best history departments in North America, and part of my early degree focused on Ancient Near East History. So I’m a slightly qualified person babbling about history) Basically there is a lot of pushback against historically dating things outside of the Biblical time line. Even though most people think Creationism is a joke, it’s hard academically to get consensus that something involving human civilization happened before the year 4000 BCE. Slowly we’re pushing that line, but each time we do, the Biblical timeline shifts too. Most notably our dating of the walls of Jericho. Despite the fact that we can disprove essentially every part of the history in the Bible before King David, not that we lack proof, we have proof its wrong.

That’s part of a bigger rant, but it’s why I love Gobekli Tepe, it’s undeniably the oldest monument we’ve discovered, and due to evidence around it, it’s impossible to shortchange its 12,000 year history. We’re still studying, but we’re restoring it too. I sincerely hope as we study it we’ll really break the Wall of Jericho and realize humanity’s history is longer and more interesting that people generally think.

Another step in uncovering our histories is the discovery of a large body of text written in the Etruscan language. As we work through it we may begin to learn more about this surprisingly powerful culture that we actually know little about, and since the inscription is from a temple we might learn more about their gods.

In more recent times regarding recovering lost history, the occult books of Heinrich Himmler have been found. Apparently 13,000 books. While I’m sure many of them are run of the mill, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nazis found some more unique books in their rampage, and I can’t wait to hear more about what was uncovered.

Switching gears:

There is a new blog, that I cannot recommend enough, but I suggest folks head over to The Perfumed Skull. It’s a blog on anthropology, esotericism, and a large dose of Tibetan Buddhism. It’s not a casual read, the entries are long, dense, and academic, but if you’re looking for a more critical historical/anthropological take, this is definitely worth following.

I first “met” the author when he linked to my post on tulpas in his great piece (on another site) analyzing the role and change of the tulpa idea in Western thought. And was polite enough to call my tone merely exasperated.

Following Buddhism in an irreverent way, facebook memories reminded me of my Buddha Name Shindan Maker I made a few years back, thanks to Polyphanes pushing me. At the time I was reading the Avatamsaka Sutra, which is not a Buddhist text I suggest anyone read unless it’s a really important part of your path. Part of the book is essentially a catalogue of all the Buddhas across different “world oceans.” They all have fantastic and bizarre names, that follow a simple pattern, so I put in the common words, and let this program spit out names that are hilariously close to the original. I, in case you were wondering, will be the Buddha Adamantine Light of Razorlike Compassion. As someone who repeatedly says “I will shank you with loving-kindness” razorlike compassion is very suiting.

Speaking of irreverent Buddhism, spirit houses are a common fixture in Thai Buddhist cultures. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) many cats assume any boxlike structure is for them. So here is an adorable collection of cats cramming themselves in spirit houses

Lastly, after the big Japanese tsunami lots of taxi drivers reported giving rides to ghosts. While it’s hard to trace the validity of these stories, it’s interesting to me that it happened en masse. If it was just a single driver, it would be easy to say it’s made up or imagined, but a bit harder with several reporting similar events.


Wednesday Webshare: Online Tarot, Buddhism, and Corpses

2015/11/25

If you do divination online, or are considering it, Donyae Coles on Spiral Nature talks about the pros and cons. I agree with most of them. If I were to add anything, it’s that online readings are sometimes harder to make boundaries for. In person when a client leaves my space, it’s over essentially. Online the client can email me weeks or months later to ask more questions about the reading (not get a new reading, but ask so many questions it takes up more time than the initial reading). Even though face-to-face clients could contact me again for such things, they never do, they always book a full session.

Though there are concerns about whether or not a tarot reader is fraudulent or not, and Fiona gives a good voice to the concerns, and problems with them. She brings up something I struggle with; within the dice mo system I practice it’s not uncommon for the result to give some ritual that is to be performed. Usually I explain to the client how to do a simplified non-Buddhist version of such a ritual. Sometimes they can’t, or don’t want to, and I feel weird saying “Yeah, the divination says you need this tantric ritual performed, if you don’t know anyone who can do it, I can.”

Have a beautiful, and non-traditional rendition of the Seven Line Prayer of Guru Rinpoche.

Speaking of non-traditional things in Buddhism. For the first time Buddhist Nuns in the Vajrayana tradition are becoming Geshes. (Which is a higher degree essentially a doctorate/phd) This is a big step for the tradition. I can only say so much as a Western feminist, but there have been historical power imbalances in the tradition that this will help address. (Also, ignore the fact the article calls Kundun a living god.)

As my primary practice is chöd I have to be very familiar with the process of decay and the details of the body. I know this isn’t the only tradition that benefits from understanding different ways the body is broken down after death (hell, it’s not even the only tradition I’m a part of that requires that), so here is a video of some flesh eating beetles stripping down a snake corpse. Beautiful and fascinating.

We all know Christianity was figuratively built on paganism, but also literally. A 2000 year old pagan basilica under Rome has just been opened to the public. I would love to spend time there, it’s been undisturbed for much of its history, I wonder what the walls would say…and as a sorcerer that’s not necessarily a figure of speech.

Whether you’re new to the game, or old crown when it comes to magick, there are common mistakes we all can make, or have made. Here is a list of seven of the biggest. (I’ve made four of them, and am still dealing with one of them)

Sorry for the shorter share list than usual, it’s not lack of interesting posts, but a very busy month has led me to reading less online.


Wednesday Webshare: Rationality, TGFKAI, Scale and Probability, and Cursing Fucktwads

2015/06/24

Mercury WebMany folks know that Carl Sagan is an important figure to me, who shaped a lot of my world view. One of the foremost science popularizers of our generation, and he shapes a sorcerer? Indeed. I have a fairly rigorous practice of verifying experiences, at least until enough evidence is collected, and I think rational thinking and even elements of the scientific method are crucial to being a competent sorcerer (and person). So here are Carl’s rules for critical thinking and nonsense detection, they are completely compatible with magick, if the sorcerer is willing to be honest with themselves and their practice.

A bracelet found from 40,000 years ago, created by an extinct human species that we never believed had the capacity. As someone with a history degree, I love seeing stuff that challenges our stories, even if this is before an era more historians would (or could) touch.

Due to recent issues with Western media and Daish, and the acronym of Isis, the goddess is changing her name

My First Ars Goetia colouring book. I have a copy already, and have another set aside for my niblings.

I’ve talked about grave dirt before, but here is another perspective on it that I enjoyed.

Having trouble understanding the Book of Revelations? How about reading the first part of it as a manga/graphic novel, Apocamon.

During my Abramelin retreat one thing my HGA focused on was showing me how impossible my existence was. Ey showed me about the chances of me being born, and how easily that could have not happened, and then replayed that back generations until the conclusion was drawn that my existence was next to impossible. Here is a great image showing that.
(Ey also showed me that it was impossible for me not to exist when you take those odds and play them out over the universe)

I’ve ranted on the issues with the newage mindset, especially when delivered in inspirationally small snippets, here is a look at 5 of the most dangerous newage myths.

Have a list of five extreme places to meditate. I’ve done all but number 5, which is ironic, because that’s where I’m sitting writing this post right now (go Tim Horton’s!). Meditation should be taken out into your world to receive the full benefit.

Want to curse your way to a better world? Join with my friend Rachel as she starts off with a horribly transphobic preacher. I especially value her point, that he is essentially working death magick, which is, I would say, a good reason to counter.


Wednesday Webshare: Shidak, Ecosystems, Gods, and Giants

2015/05/06

Mercury WebAfter my series on Local Spirits I was sent a few other articles on the same thing, which I was really glad to see.

First off is a largely personal account about meeting and living with a local spirit, and more advice on how to get to know them.

There is an entire blog devoted to locally focused spirituality, which they’re terming Bioregional Animism, and I’m really enjoying the take on it as a whole, as well as some of the little instances and ideas. I look forward to reading more when I have time.

In a step beyond just local spirits, The Professor talks about Spirit Ecosystems, in the sense of the atmosphere and ecosystem and culture we develop in an area through our work. I really liked her cast of characters she sees in her area, and I have to agree with the attitude about creating a space with entities in it, rather than always banishing.

If you enjoy her writing there, she also talks about some work she did in a cemetery, with the spirits of the place, and the Lord of the Graveyard. (I admit a minor influence in what she did) The idea of caring for the unknown dead of an area is something that has always been close to me, and it’s nice to see someone else moved to help.

Speaking of the dead, if you know anything about Tibetan Buddhism, it probably is the awesome, surreal, and complex “Book of the Dead.” The text (more properly known as The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo) is a description of what happens when you die, what you experience, and how to navigate it to the best incarnation possible, if not enlightenment. It’s really dense and culturally coded, so most people will find this introduction to it through a comic far more accessible.

I guess that’s the type of thing that happens as Eastern and Western thought continue to mingle. It’s a shame hearing about young Tibetan’s who are getting into Western philosophy though.

The question of who and what are the gods is something that gets tossed around, and more often tossed aside, but how about an interesting discussion on what it means to have the potential for apotheosis?

Or how about the idea that perhaps God in a supreme creator sense, isn’t something that existed before and beyond the universe, but potentially could be a part of the universe none-the-less?

I guess the best answer to who/what god/s are is to ask the creator themself, here in an exclusive interview.
(And this, dear readers, is why Metatron is important)

Now for something completely awesome. Fuck Yeah Altars on tumblr. Just pictures of epic altars. I really love this. Sometimes altars are decorations, sometimes they’re more, but they’re great insight into the people’s practice and focus.

Speaking of awesome. We’ve uncovered another underground city, and this is the largest one found so far. Aside from just being amazing these cities open up some potentially interesting religious questions, and if you don’t know how, reread Genesis.


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.


Wednesday Webshare: Spirit Communication, Christian Archaeology, and Meditation

2015/02/25

If you happen to be in Prague check out The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians.

Read the comic book intro to Chaos Magick. It’s pretty cool. I’m glad to see the focus on meditation and discipline, that often gets dropped in more pop forms of chaos magick

As the world changes, so does our relationship with the divine, so have a look at The Twelve Gods of the Internet.

10 Signs your boyfriend is a bad ass wizard. Pretty much speaks for itself.

Even as someone who deals heavily with spirits, and has an asshole in my head an HGA who occasionally kicks me around I find a lot of the time people use their “spirits” and intuition as excuses. So here is a list of thirteen ridiculous woo-woo excuses people make. I’ve heard a lot of these, and it’s amazing how often your “spirit” tells you to do what you want, or not do what you didn’t want to…why it’s as if you just happened to pick the perfect path without any effort, good for you!

Following up with that, here is a list on helping sort out if what you receive is divine guidance or not. While I disagree with large chunks of this list, it’s better than most of the ones like this I’ve seen. I think their signs that it is a false message are more spot on than their true messages, in my experience at least.


In case you’re one of the three people who didn’t see the video, Cthulhu inspired fauxga yoga. Yoga Fhtagn.

As an introvert, and a dark sorcerer, I can confirm this list of dealing with introverts it completely factual.

The earliest known version of the Gospel of Mark has been discovered in the mask of an Egyptian mummy. I figure my burial mask will be made from unreleased copies of my novel “The Cheesegrater walks at Midnight.”

Another Christian discovery, archaeologists may have uncovered the site of Jesus’s trial. I assume the give away was the skeletal remain of disco dancers at the bottom of the swimming pool. (JC Superstar reference if you managed to miss it)

In more tragic news Guards gun down four angels trying to escape Heaven, though I admit I’m fine knowing Shamsiel is out of the picture. As someone who was terrified with the standard depiction of Heaven when I was five, this amused me and I could imagine wanting to break out of the place.

And with a serious flip again, Sixteen things mentally ill pagans have to put up with. These are sadly things I’ve seen happen to a lot of people. Mental illnesses and conditions are a fact of life, being sorcerous folks doesn’t make us immune, and doesn’t mean they can be whisked away with magick. So if you know a pagan with a mental health problem keep this list in mind before you (in a well meaning way) try to engage them about their practice and their condition.

Because I believe to be a competent occultist of any stripe you have to be at least familiar with scientific process, and because I see way to many magickal folks buggering up scientific data in support of their ideas here are 10 mistakes we all make when interpreting research.

Also, does anyone else remember when the internet wasn’t just numbered lists?

Pepperidge Farm Remembers.

The Dalai Lama talking about what to do if we meet extraterrestrials. Basically respect and compassion. Gotta love that man. (Also, the transcribing is obviously not a Buddhist, for they got confused when Kundun said “Mother sentient being.”

The shape of the singing bowl inspires a new more efficient solar panel.

An interview with the founds of Trans*Buddhists which is a great site (found here) about making meditation centres and retreat centres more inclusive. As someone who fits under various understandings of gender variance it’s great to see this, Buddhism is by it’s nature an open and loving faith, but admittedly the sanghas and structures sometimes need some work in that regard, so hopefully this can help get some conversations started.

As great and essential as meditation is, it’s not without problems, as discussed here before. Here is another take on the problem of mindfulness meditation, specifically how it is presented and used in the West.

Aztec Death Whistles. Need I say more? If you love me you’ll get me one.


Wednesday Webshare: Shamans, Doctors, and Mind-to-Mind Communication

2014/08/27

Mercury Web

Jason from Strategic Sorcery did an Ask Me Anything on reddit. It’s a disjointed read (it is reddit), but interesting, and funny. Personally I think the grimoire I’m working on will need some unicorn scrotum now…

Remember that Shaman gathering I mentioned? Here is a fascinating interview with a Russian shaman who was part of the events.

Here is a collection of 21 cool videos of sacred sites around the world filmed by drone. I love the view of Ankor Wat. Which is your favourite?

Alex Sumner reveals who the Secret Chief of the Golden Dawn really is. My response was to ask Who?

Help sponsor Chris Wilkinson translate a vast collection of Buddhist texts through gofundme (More crowdsourcing spirituality, the wave of the future)

I know I harp on articles about the brain and meditation…but a new study shows that Vajrayana meditation produce different responses in the body/mind than Theravadan meditations. Simplified for those less knowledge about Buddhism is shows that “Tibetan Buddhism” is doing something different than Buddhism that mindfulness meditation. Other than tummo isn’t not often studies focus on Vajrayana, so I’d be curious to see more on this.

Mummification starts nearly 1500 years earlier than previously believed.


Are blue eyes going endangered? (No) But some interesting information about where/when we think blue eyes arose. (And if you don’t know why this is relevant on this blog, get back to your Apocrypha)

First mysterious holes appear in Russia and now a huge crack appears in Mexico I think it’s safe to assume this is a sign of various Old Ones shifting in their sleep.

Scientists have found a way to email brainwaves. After a successful test sending “hola” and “ciao” the system was bought by a wealth prince from Nigeria who wants to help spread his fortune to the world.


%d bloggers like this: