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: 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 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: Resurrection, Happiness, Biases, and Witch Wars

2015/10/28

After a retreat, and a wild ride of training with Rinpoche, I’ve reopened my etsy store including options with the tarot, which also include my Triforce spread which I discussed when I reviewed a Legend of Zelda tarot deck a while back.

Magic needs a curious mind. Such a brilliant and simple true statement. There is a problem, in general, but especially in magick, when we stop questioning, and stop being curious. Yet, it’s hard to teach and instill curiousity. What recourse is there?

Cultural appropriation is a touchy and tricky subject. Some people do it without question, some of us really think about it a lot. Even being ordained I worry where that line might be. Not because there is a clear line, and a right or wrong, but more than anything, because there are consequences to appropriation, and we’ll have to pay some day.

Our culture devalues the unseen and spiritual, and slowly a materialistic scientific perspective is winning…but magick is making a comeback, people see there is more to the world.

On the other side here is a beautiful piece on the idea that magick is threatened, and someone’s experience of being drawn back in by the Guardian of Magick. Not only is the experience compelling, something about the writing really draws me.

It’s come up before here that I’m something of a gender queer creature, so it’s nice to see a (small) list of various deities from various cultures who blend and cross the dichotomy of gender

An illustration of why Majora’s Mask is one of my favourite Zelda games, it appeals to my magickal experiences (And if you can’t believe I’m posting about Zelda again, wait until next week.)

I repeatedly say that being a competent sorcerer involves being content with your life. So here are four things that help make you a happier person, according to neuroscience

Part of being happier is non-attachment, and that includes to the notion of a concrete self. Well neuroscience is hinting at the fact that Buddhist ideas of a lack of inherent self might be true

I also talk about how sorcerers need to be cautious of letting their mind run away with them, question reality and your perception. Here are 20 cognitive biases that shape the way we view the world. These are exactly the types of traps our mind gets us with while we’re unaware.

I’ve said this before with (no) apologies to modern (neo)Wicca, but it used to be a subversive faith. Now in order to make itself palatable to the public, both to non-practitioners and new practitioners, it has lost its edge

This is old (both the link and the subject), but listen to recordings of part of the Epic of Gilgamesh in as close of an approximation of ancient Sumerian as we can construct.

io9 gives a list of 10 historical people who were sorcerers.

I’ve noticed this on my own, but this is the first time I’ve seen an article on it, but do you realize how many porn stars are into magick? It’s a surprising amount.

So a certain warlock, who should remain nameless, is taken to court for harassing a 75 year old witch

On the plus side the witch won Also, notice how similar the articles are in their descriptions of Salem and the people involved? I looked for articles that sounded different, but they all seem to be lifted from an original source. Nothing magickal there, just annoyed with journalistic laziness.

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Wednesday Webshare: Crowley, Curses, Charms, and Coincidences

2014/09/17

Mercury WebRecently the earliest known Crowley document has been found. It’s his broken-heart love poetry after breaking up with Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt. As much as I really like Crowley, his poetry has never been his strong suit, and his earlier stuff even more so. Though the phrase “fiercer form than thirsty stallions amorous” will be hard to forget. (Also, I’ll make the totally false claim that Crowley thus led to the modern usage of thirsty to mean horny)

10 of history’s most fascinating sorcerers, including some I haven’t heard of, though there were a few I would have rathered be on the list. (Like me, do you know how fascinating I am? Wait, did I say fascinating? I meant egotistical and slightly deluded)

Old women in Hong Kong, will curse for money. What I found interesting in the article was the fact that it’s clear these women don’t believe in their magick, and it doesn’t sound like their customers do either, and yet they’re still popular. (Whereas some sorcerers for hire like me don’t get nearly that business, and I tend to expect results when I work :-p)

Ananael Qaa tackles the invocation/evocation battle which is popping up again. I agree with his point, the terms are largely synonymous historically, so I don’t see why making a slight distinction between them for different aspects of the same concept is such a huge deal.

An artist prints a selfie with his own blood. That sounds like it would be a fantastic magickal proxy for him.

Why is the ALS challenge so popular? Mainly because Satan is behind it. (Apparently this means Satan wants to cure ALS, and YHWH wants people to suffer from it and die)

Many great scientists have no issue with the potential of paranormal phenomena. I was glad to read this, because too often people assume scientists or scientifically literate people are anti-woogity shit, and they’re not. Some are, some aren’t, it’s almost like scientists are people too, and different from each other.

A 1,500 year old Christian amulet has been uncovered.

On the other side of the cursing question the Prime Minister of Thailand says he’s been targeted by the black magick of his opponents. Unfortunately my HGA told me explicitly that I can’t curse Canada’s Prime Minister. Plus, cursing a robot would get tricky I think.

What would happen if Lovecraft wrote the blurbs for porn movies? Wonder no more!

More on cursing, a church in Washington D.C. holds late night services were people come to battle demons, and black magick, and witches. Well, at least it’s refreshing to see Christians who still believe in demons and magick…

How well do you know your Bible? A simple 20 question quiz will let you know (only two options per question, so good odds)

Monks used to mummify themselves alive. Suddenly my practice no longer seems hardcore.

How to Make Magic, a write up on an amazing children’s book on magick from the 70s. Why don’t they write like this anymore. Maybe I’ll patch stuff together as my niblings get older.

Michael, from VSauce talks about “Spooky Coincidences” and how our brain filters and (mis)interprets(?) data to link things. It’s always important to think about these things as occultists, lest we see magick in delusion everywhere. As a friend of mine recently said “Not every dog fart is a ghost.” Selection bias, pareidolia, confirmation bias, and the link.

We used to think we were in the Virgo Supercluster. Turns out we’re actually part of another even larger supercluster, the Laniakea supercluster, it’s 500,000,000 light years across, contains 100,000 galaxies. I know not everyone thinks this is occult or magicky, but as someone who calls the ultimate divinity Cosmos and whose Abramelin was largely focused on how utterly awesome (in the literal and true meaning of the word) our Universe is, I thought I should share it.


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