Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More Bees!


No, it probably didn't look anything like this. But it's funny to imagine that it did.

I just can't get enough of this African spell that sends swarms of bees after your enemies. As I've mentioned previously, bees aren't just regular vengeance, they're also amusing vengeance. On Monday, a car thief was apprehended in Kenya with the help of the spell.

A suspected car thief on Monday ran into a police station and surrendered himself after he was attacked by a swarm of bees, which only left him after a witchdoctor performed a ritual.

Mr Francis Sikadigu had allegedly drugged the car owner before driving off to an unknown destination. When the Nation caught up with him at the police station, Mr. Sikadigu, a middle-aged Ugandan, was groaning in pain and moving in circles as the bees stung him.

He had abandoned the car at the gate to the Bungoma County Assembly. Bungoma OCPD David Kirui said the suspect was in custody and would be charged in court once investigations are complete.

The bees continued to accost the thief until he could be taken to another witchdoctor who lifted the spell. I totally need to learn this one, because there are a few people out there that I think deserve some bees. As I think I also have mentioned previously, summoning bees probably falls under Leo, "The Power of Taming Wild Beasts," in Liber 777.

I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet, but rest assured that it's on my list.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"Man-Sheep" Born in South Africa

Here's one more case showing that the paranormal should never be regarded as the default explanation. A "man-sheep" - a lamb that looks like it could be part human - was recently stillborn in South Africa. As usually happens with weird events like these, many fear that bestiality and witchcraft played a role in the conception of the bizarre-looking creature. But veterinarians who examined the body have a different, more prosaic explanation.

The panic got so great that the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development sent out experts to carry out tests after pictures of it spread through the community. Chief Director of Veterinary Services Dr Lubabalo Mrwebi admitted that at first glance the lamb which was born dead did resemble a human being but was not part human.

Dr Mrwebi said: “We can confirm this not a hoax photo but that the severely deformed lamb was born by a sheep in Lady Frere this week which at a glance resembles a human form. “It is not however human but a deformed stillborn lamb sired by a sheep and was subsequently infected by a Rift Valley Fever at an early stage of its pregnancy.

“It is worth noting that a sheep has 28 pairs of chromosomes while humans have 23 pairs which is important in dispelling the myth that a union of a sheep ovum and a human sperm can lead to a development of a viable life form. “The deformed lamb exhibits signs that are consistent with an early foetal development that went wrong as a result of a viral infection and nothing more” he said.

So it's not the result of a spell or animal husbandry gone wrong. It's the result of a viral infection. I suppose somebody could cast a spell that made it more likely for a particular sheep or flock of sheep to catch an infection, but that's about all you could do along these lines with magick. Biological explanations are a lot more compelling.

This isn't the first case of a "man-sheep," so apparently sheep fetuses do go through a stage where they look more human than you might expect. Mostly it's the lack of wool, which is unsurprising for a fetus, and the flattened face, which is a mutation that is bred for and viable in some breeds of dog like pugs.

That raises the possibility of breeding a viable flat-faced sheep. Maybe the result would be too disturbing, but maybe that would be the whole reason to do it in the first place.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Path of Initiation - Netzach

This article is Part Eight of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, Part Six can be found here, and Part Seven can be found here.

Working with sephira Netzach is the eighth step on the path of initiation into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the seventh sephira is attributed to Venus, and the corresponding vision is "The Vision of Beauty Triumphant." The word Netzach means victory, and in working with this sephira we develop the ability to overcome obstacles by both skillful and aesthetic means. Initiation into Netzach completes the "first triad" of Yesod, Hod, and Netzach, which correspond to the conditioning, thinking, and feeling systems.

The sephira have both microcosmic (psychological) and macrocosmic (physical) components, and as with practical magick, aligning those components is the key to experiencing effective illumination and visionary work. Hence, I use the operant field in these rites just like I do for practical workings. This allows you to integrate magical principles and forces into your life more quickly and effectively.

"Effective" is harder to define with rites of illumination than it is with practical magick. Practical magick is relatively simple to assess - you perform an operation with a specific objective, and then record whether it succeeds or fails. Effective visionary work should obtain information from the exterior world that you could not possible know by any other means, and effective illumination work should transform you in a positive way, increasing your degree of realization and in some real sense making you a "better person."

This process can be highly subjective, and failed initiatory operations often go unrecognized. I am of the opinion that a lot of the nonsense out there from certain allegedly "advanced" magical practitioners can be traced back to these sorts of initiatory failures, and this is a problem that has been acknowledged for a long time in the tradition. To avoid this, you always need to be skeptical about any apparent attainment.

Always test spirits. Always keep track of any changes you observe following illuminating and visionary experiences, and do your best to see if the changes you are seeing from your work are going in a positive direction. Stories of magicians "going insane" from failed operations are highly exaggerated - most often, nothing happens, and the danger lies in being convinced that something did happen and then acting from that perspective.

Friday, June 23, 2017

"Satanic Panic" Victims Exonerated

Back in 2013, I covered the case of Dan and Fran Keller, who were finally released after 21 years in prison. The couple ran a daycare center and were accused of "Satanic Ritual Abuse" during the "Satanic Panic" of the early 1990's. That is, the crimes they were convicted of were entirely imaginary, the product of what some therapists now call "false memory syndrome." Four years later, the Kellers have finally been exonerated of the lurid and bizarre crimes for which they were convicted all those years ago. After 25 years, it's been a long time coming.

“I still can’t believe it’s happening,” Fran, now 67, said on Tuesday morning while driving with her husband to sign the legal paperwork. She’s still wary; they’ve been waiting for this day for so long she isn’t yet sure it is real. “I guess I’m just tired of having to hang on for so long.”

Dan, 75, is slightly more upbeat — he always thought this day would come. He recalled a sleepless night in prison in 1995 when he said he heard God. “He said, ‘You’re going home, but I have some things to sort through first.’” Dan said he slept soundly that night. “We have to try to not have doubt in our life.”

The exoneration is the first for the nascent conviction integrity unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office under the new DA, Margaret Moore. Court documents filed Tuesday announced that there is “no credible evidence” against the Kellers. Moore said she personally reviewed the case and believes exoneration “to be a just outcome.”

Fran and Dan Keller were each sentenced to 48 years in prison for the alleged sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl who was an occasional drop-in at their home daycare center on the rural outskirts of Austin. The child initially accused Dan of spanking her “like daddy” used to, but under intense and repeated questioning by her mother and a therapist, the story morphed to include claims of rape and orgies involving children.

From there, the number of children alleging abuse increased and the accusations grew even more lurid and confounding: The Kellers had sacrificed babies; they held ceremonies in a local graveyard; they put blood in the children’s Kool-Aid; Fran cut off the arm of a gorilla in a local park; they flew the children to Mexico to be sexually assaulted by military officials.

As a point, there's no "Satanic" or even magical reason for anyone to do most of those things. You might hold a ceremony in a graveyard to communicate with spirits of the dead buried there, but that's about it. Most of the "Satanism" in these cases has to do with "evil for evil's sake," a concept that really only makes sense according to the inaccurate Manichean view of the spirit world found in Christianity. If God is good and Satan is evil, and those are the only two options, Satan might want you to be "more evil" - but seriously, that's not how any of it works.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

4 Years for "Pizzagate" Gunman

North Carolina man Edgar Welch has been sentenced to four years in prison for storming into the Coment Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C. Welch was armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, and claimed he was there "to investigate" the so-called "Pizzagate conspiracy." According to the conspiracy popularized on conservative talk radio, Bill and Hillary Clinton were running a pedophile ring out of the imaginary basement of the restaurant (which doesn't have a real one). And yeah, the whole thing is just as stupid and ridiculous as it sounds. It apparently fooled Welch, though.

Welch said court to U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, “I wish there were a way that I could offer something other than an apology... I realize mere words can’t undo what happened...but I am sorry,” said Welch, wearing an orange prison suit and standing with his hands clasped behind his back. “I am sorry for anything I have caused,” Welch said.

In imposing the sentence, the judge said she was handing down a penalty she said was needed to uphold the rule of law against vigilante justice. “I hope you understand and see how much people have suffered because of what you did,” Jackson said going on to say “I am truly sorry you find yourself in the position you are in, because you do seem like a nice person who on your own mind was trying to do the right thing. But that does not excuse reckless conduct and the real damage that it caused.”

In a previous letter filed in court, Welch said he had not intended to “harm or frighten innocent lives, but I realize now just how foolish and reckless my decision was.” His attorney, assistant federal defender Dani Jahn, had said in court records that Welch “does not seek to minimize the impact his reckless and frightening actions had on those who encountered him. . . . Rather, Mr. Welch is hopeful that those victimized by his actions can forgive him.”

While I'm a parent and I can understand getting worked up about an alleged pedophile ring, I also have critical thinking skills. Point number one is that the physical details of the conspiracy don't make any sense. The building has no basement, and it would have to in order to accommodate the space required. There were also no suspicious people coming and going to and from the restaurant. Conspiracy supporters said they used secret tunnels to connect with the imaginary basement. You see where this is going.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Creationist Fan Fiction

Creationists don't spend all their time arguing with scientists about how the existence of the banana proves that God created the world in seven literal days. Lately some of them have been writing what can only be called Creationist fan fiction. A new novelization of the life of Noah is set in the bizarro world of Answers in Genesis, in which giants and dinosaurs roamed the Earth alongside humans a mere five thousand or so years ago.

The biblical Noah faces off against a giant and a dinosaur in a gladiator-like setting in a new novel that a creationist group is promoting.

Noah: Man of Resolve is the second book in a promised trilogy by Tim Chaffey and K. Marie Adams, and it’s available for sale from Answers in Genesis, which runs the Noah’s Ark attraction in Kentucky.

The group has claimed that Noah not only survived a global flood in his ark some 4,300 years ago, but did so with two of every creature aboard including at least some dinosaurs (which in reality died out some 65 million years ago).

The attraction shows dinosaurs living in cages aboard the ark, and features a diorama that shows a gladiator-style fight involving giants and dinosaurs.

The new book is a novelization of Noah’s life, and includes a scene where a giant holds him captive and in an arena, where he faces a dino-like “grendec.”

I'm all for creativity, and who knows? Maybe Noah: Man of Resolve is actually a well-written, compelling story that's fun to read. The point is that it's a story. It's not real history. Every piece of scientific evidence we have says that the strict Ussher Chronology favored by Answers in Genesis can't possibly be correct. In fact, it's not even scripturally accurate without a bunch of the same goofy interpretations that the Creationists accuse modern Christians of relying upon.

And you know, there's probably even a movie in the works, and that movie might turn out to be fun. It probably will be awful from a technical perspective. But as a big B-movie fan, I can tell you that sometimes movies like that are the most fun. That's especially true when the awfulness is made with the kind of earnestness I see from the Answers in Genesis crowd, who I imagine would be utterly convinced they were doing God's work by filming a guy in a tunic fighting an obviously fake CGI dinosaur.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Path of Initiation - Hod

This article is Part Seven of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, and Part Six can be found here.

Working with sephira Hod is the seventh step on the path of initiation into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the eighth sephira is attributed to Mercury, and the corresponding vision is "The Vision of Splendour." This corresponds to the vision of Ezekiel found in the Bible. The word Hod means splendor or majesty, and in working with this sephira we expand upon the material foundation developed in our work with Malkuth, the Kingdom, and Yesod, the Foundation, further into the magical universe.

The sephira have both microcosmic (psychological) and macrocosmic (physical) components, and as with practical magick, aligning those components is the key to experiencing effective illumination and visionary work. Hence, I use the operant field in these rites just like I do for practical workings. This allows you to integrate magical principles and forces into your life more quickly and effectively.

"Effective" is harder to define with rites of illumination than it is with practical magick. Practical magick is relatively simple to assess - you perform an operation with a specific objective, and then record whether it succeeds or fails. Effective visionary work should obtain information from the exterior world that you could not possible know by any other means, and effective illumination work should transform you in a positive way, increasing your degree of realization and in some real sense making you a "better person."

This process can be highly subjective, and failed initiatory operations often go unrecognized. I am of the opinion that a lot of the nonsense out there from certain allegedly "advanced" magical practitioners can be traced back to these sorts of initiatory failures, and this is a problem that has been acknowledged for a long time in the tradition. To avoid this, you always need to be skeptical about any apparent attainment.

Always test spirits. Always keep track of any changes you observe following illuminating and visionary experiences, and do your best to see if the changes you are seeing from your work are going in a positive direction. Stories of magicians "going insane" from failed operations are highly exaggerated - most often, nothing happens, and the danger lies in being convinced that something did happen and then acting from that perspective.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mass of Nuit and Babalon


"Babalon" by the amazing Kat Lunoe. Check out this and other works by her here.

So it's not Monday, but this is a magick post anyway. This is the full script for the Mass of Nuit and Babalon which we will be performing tomorrow at Leaping Laughter Oasis in Minneapolis. The ritual is scheduled for 3 PM. This is a public ritual, so if you live in the Twin Cities area and would like to attend you are welcome to do so.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with the Holy Table and Sigillum Dei Aemeth in the center. The banishing dagger, invoking wand, and bell chime are arranged on the Table. The chalice containing the Eucharist is placed in the center of the Sigillum. Holy images of Our Lady Nuit and Our Lady Babalon, including the Star of Babalon, may be prominently displayed. The Lust card from the Crowley/Harris Tarot can be used as a meditation focus, if desired.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Those Meddling Atheists!

Creationist Ken Ham recently put up a blog posts blaming atheists for the failure of his Ark Encounter attraction. More specifically, his Noah's Ark replica theme park has attracted a lot of visitors, but they don't appear to be spending any money in the surrounding area. Instead, it's all going to Ham and his organization.

In a recent blog post to his Answers in Genesis website, leading creationist Ken Ham laments the supposed power of atheists and the “secularist media,” complaining that they are damaging the reputation of his Ark Encounter, and the economy of the surrounding local businesses, writing:

"Recently, a number of articles in the mainstream media, on blogs, and on well-known secularist group websites have attempted to spread propaganda to brainwash the public into thinking our Ark Encounter attraction is a dismal failure.

Sadly, they (atheists and the secular media) are influencing business investors and others in such a negative way that they may prevent Grant County, Kentucky, from achieving the economic recovery that its officials and residents have been seeking."

In other words, Ken Ham blames atheists for his trouble. Ham is refusing to take responsibility for his own failure, and refusing to take responsibility for his broken promises to the citizens and business community of Grant County, Kentucky.

Ham is desperate to counter the narrative that his Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are not delivering on the promises he made. He is particularly upset with a recent article from The Lexington Herald Leader that explores Ham’s failure to deliver on financial promises made to community members and local businesses.

In reality, this should have all been obvious from the start, atheists or no atheists. The tax incentive deal that Ark Encounter got was basically the same thing as the deals sports stadiums get from cities - and those are almost always a bad deal for everybody else in the community. The supposed "economic activity" never shows up, or when it does it's far less than initially promised.

I can only think of a handful of times in the last century where one of these deals has actually produced wealth for the local community. My home city of Minneapolis got reamed on one of these a few years back for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, which is costing taxpayers a fortune to subsidize. My point is that this is a much bigger problem than the media making fun of Ham's Ark, and it has nothing to do with religion.

So no, Ken, it's not the atheist meanies keeping the "economic activity" away. It was never going to show up regardless.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Wow!" Signal a Comet?

It's one of the most famous stories in the search for extraterrestrial life. In 1977, astronomers working with a large radio telescope in Ohio recorded a mysterious signal from space. It fit all the criteria for a likely alien communication, and while it was brief, the transmission was extremely strong. It was dubbed the "Wow!" signal, after a notation on the data printout made by one of the astronomers. But over the years, the signal became less of a "Wow!" and more of a mystery.

Radio telescopes have scanned the same area of the sky for decades and recorded nothing even remotely similar, which doesn't exactly shout "aliens." At the same time, astronomers had yet to work out any natural phenomenon that could have produced the signal. So it became a staple of extraterrestrial conspiracy books and the like. But now, a Russian astronomy professor may finally have worked it out. According to a recent paper, the signal was generated by a particular comet.

The signal was so strong and focused that the professor on duty during its discovery, Jerry Ehman, saw the monster signal on the printout, circled it and wrote “Wow!”— thus bestowing upon the signal a name which has stuck. Since then, however, telescopes have aimed themselves at the Wow! signal’s origin and turned up nothing. But now a new scientific paper from St. Petersburg College astronomy professor Antonio Paris may have solved the four-decade mystery once and for all.

So what’s the likely culprit of the Wow! Signal? A comet.

The Center for Planetary Science, which Paris helps run, previously put forth the notion that a passing comet and its tailing cloud could be the possible source for the Wow! signal. Indeed, comet 266/P Christensen —which was not yet known to astronomers at the time that the Wow! signal was recorded— is predicted to have been in the same region in the sky in 1977 where the Wow! signal was recorded.

To test this hypothesis, the Center pointed a 10-meter radio telescope at comet 266/P Christensen and recorded the signal. Over 200 observations, they saw a signal appear at precisely the same frequency as the Wow! signal, which disappeared when moved even 1° away from the comet.The resulting paper, recently published in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, provides a compelling answer to the mystery of the Wow! signal.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Path of Initiation - Yesod

This article is Part Six of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, and Part Five can be found here.

Working with sephira Yesod is the sixth step on the path of initiation into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the ninth sephira is attributed to the Moon, and the corresponding vision is "The Vision of the Machinery of the Universe." The word Yesod means Foundation, and in working with this sephira we expand upon the material foundation developed in our work with Malkuth, the Kingdom, further into the magical universe.

The sephira have both microcosmic (psychological) and macrocosmic (physical) components, and as with practical magick, aligning those components is the key to experiencing effective illumination and visionary work. Hence, I use the operant field in these rites just like I do for practical workings. This allows you to integrate magical principles and forces into your life more quickly and effectively.

"Effective" is harder to define with rites of illumination than it is with practical magick. Practical magick is relatively simple to assess - you perform an operation with a specific objective, and then record whether it succeeds or fails. Effective visionary work should obtain information from the exterior world that you could not possible know by any other means, and effective illumination work should transform you in a positive way, increasing your degree of realization and in some real sense making you a "better person."

This process can be highly subjective, and failed initiatory operations often go unrecognized. I am of the opinion that a lot of the nonsense out there from certain allegedly "advanced" magical practitioners can be traced back to these sorts of initiatory failures, and this is a problem that has been acknowledged for a long time in the tradition. To avoid this, you always need to be skeptical about any apparent attainment.

Always test spirits. Always keep track of any changes you observe following illuminating and visionary experiences, and do your best to see if the changes you are seeing from your work are going in a positive direction. Stories of magicians "going insane" from failed operations are highly exaggerated - most often, nothing happens, and the danger lies in being convinced that something did happen and then acting from that perspective.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Canada to Kill "Zombie Laws"

Just like the United States, Canada has some weird laws that are profoundly out of date. Canadian legislators are planning to do something about that, with a push to kill so-called "zombie laws." One of these is a law against "pretending to practice witchcraft." Back in 2009, I covered a case in which the law was used to prosecute a confidence artist running a scam. Also to be repealed are laws against dueling and publishing crime comics.

But once the Liberal government’s updates and changes to the code pass through Parliament, Canadians across the land will be free to challenge whomever they wish to a duel, pretend to practise witchcraft — or even publish crime comics (the legacy of a moral panic in the 1950s).

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday announced some “obsolete” and “redundant” Criminal Code provisions the Liberals intend to remove.

This is part of a broader suite of amendments to the code Wilson-Raybould said will strengthen sexual assault provisions and ensure every new government bill tabled in the House of Commons is accompanied by a “Charter statement” laying out effects the new bill could have on Charter rights.

Canada’s Criminal Code – the law setting out most of the country’s criminal offences – was first enacted in 1892, when the country, its citizens and their customs were, well, really different than now.

To be clear, fraud will still be illegal in Canada. There just won't be a separate witchcraft-specific law against it. Likewise, it will still be illegal to shoot at someone or kill them in a duel. The point is that these old statutes are weird special cases that are already covered under existing, functional laws. As for the prohibition on crime comics, that one is just pointless censorship and its repeal won't hurt anyone one way or another. I'm not sure that it's even enforced - you can get comics in Canada, right?

Simplifying the penal code helps everybody here, except maybe prosecutors who rely on its complexity to get more convictions. Repealing the "pretending to practice witchcraft" law also closes the door to possible religious persecution. Defrauding someone is defrauding them, full stop. There's nothing about magick or witchcraft that warrants special treatment.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Brain Heist

Normally when you think of a heist, you think of conventionally valuable targets like money or jewels. But a thief in Italy recently made off with a far more unusual item - the remains of a Roman Catholic saint's brain. A glass case containing fragments of the brain of Saint John Bosco was recently stolen from a church near Turin that houses his relics.

Police set up roadblocks in northern Italy after a thief posing as a pilgrim stole tiny fragments of the brain of John Bosco, one of the country’s most revered saints.

The thief entered the church, named after the 19th century saint in Castelnuovo, near Turin, last Friday (June 2), and left with a glass case containing the relic of the saint, who is also known as Don Bosco.

Devotees often visit the church to pray before the relic kept behind the altar. On Sunday, pilgrims gathered at the Don Bosco Basilica to pray for its return.

“I invite whoever took it to give it back immediately, without any conditions so we can close this painful page and continue to honor the memory of Don Bosco worthily in his birthplace,” said Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin.

While relics like this are unique, it seems to me that they would be hard to sell. For one thing, they're instantly recognizable. A collector might be interested, at least in theory, but it would have to be the kind of collector who's fine with never actually displaying their relics to anyone. So the ransom angle probably makes the most sense. It's a way to make some money from the theft that doesn't require the thief to find a buyer.

There's also an outside possibility that the relic might have been stolen for some sort of magical purpose. Personally I'm not sure what I would do with part of a saint's brain preserved since the late 1800's, but someone particularly devout might consider it powerful. I suppose someone could use it to connect with the spirit of the saint, but if said saint doesn't approve of theft (which is likely) they may not be able to do much besides make him angry.

Catholics around the world are praying for the relic's safe return. It should go without saying that if you do somehow happen to come across it, notify the church immediately so it can be returned to its proper place.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Robopriest

When people talk about robots stealing jobs, they usually are talking about factory jobs that are being automated. But in Wittenberg, Germany a church is experimenting with a new robot priest. The somewhat goofy-looking robot named "BlessU-2" can move its arms around and recite blessings based on Bible verses in seven languages.

BlessU-2 is a robot priest that can lift its arms, wiggle its eyebrows, flash light from its hands and deliver blessings in seven languages ― including German, English, French, Spanish, Polish and a local German dialect.

The project, spearheaded by the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, is meant to be a provocative way to ring in the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which was sparked by Luther in 1517.

Volker Rahn, a press officer for the church, told HuffPost that BlessU-2 is meant to challenge people to think about what a blessing is, and whether it can be delivered by a machine. “The idea is to stimulate debate and thinking about the future of the church in a world full of electronic devices – all that with a twinkle in our eye,” he told HuffPost in an email.

The church turned to Alexander Wiedekind-Klein, the founder of a German robotics magazine, for help creating BlessU-2. Users can choose what type of blessing they wish to receive and whether to hear from a male or female voice. The robot then chooses a special blessing for the user, based on more than 40 Bible verses. BlessU-2 can even print the blessing out for users to keep.

From a spiritual technology perspective, a real blessing requires the activity of consciousness to be effective - basically, it's a very simple spell. So there's obviously no way a robot like this could do it. While I'm not willing to rule out the possibility of creating a self-aware, conscious robot - a true artificial intelligence - our technology is nowhere near that point yet.

Still, as conversation piece the robot is attracting attention, which is what its creators were looking for. I would also point out that if any priests out there think that a blessing just consists of reciting some words without any real intent behind them, they should probably watch out for robots. That part of the job can easily be performed by a machine.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Via Solis Gemini Elixir Rite

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Gemini Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday June 6th, at Leaping Laughter Lodge, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. This is similar to the Libra Elixir Rite I posted here back in 2014, but it includes some additional elements inspired by research that went into the Zodiacal Work posts. Going forward, we will be performing one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the lodge know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Gemini. The sign Gemini is attributed to "The power of being in two or more places at the same time, and of Prophecy." As I interpret it, the former is related to astral work and the latter is related to precognition in all its forms, the ability to see into the future. Therefore, these sorts of intents are most appropriate. This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963.

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.

All: MAKAShANaH

Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.

All: ABRAHADABRA

Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.

All: AUMGN

Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present are and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence. So mote it be.


Bell chime.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Another Bad Psychic

In Monday's post I commented that using magick to make a living was pretty difficult. Magick can certainly help you do better and make more money at whatever you do, but it's no substitute for regular work. Now there is one exception to that rule of thumb, but I don't recommend it. You can become a fraudulent psychic. Fraudulent psychics can make big money, at least until they get caught by the authorities.

Detectives say their investigation began in November of 2016, when the first victim, a 33-year-old a military veteran, approached detectives during a fraud awareness seminar hosted by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The man reported he had been scammed by 31-year-old Gina Wilson. He began seeing her in 2015 to help with “emotional distress.” According to the sheriff’s office, Wilson told the man to stop taking his prescribed medications, alter his bank accounts and to stop seeing his therapist and doctor. The victim says he paid Wilson approximately $92,000 before he realized he was being scammed.

During the investigation detectives, learned of a second alleged victim, a 61-year-old Palm Harbor woman, who began seeing Wilson for help with her grief after her husband passed away. PCSO says Wilson assured the woman that she could help her late husband “pass over to the other side.”

The victim says when Wilson asked for a large sum of money to perform a ceremony at the grave site, she realized she was being scammed and contacted authorities.

No legitimate alternative healer, let alone a legitimate psychic, is ever going to tell you to stop taking medication or ceasing conventional medical treatment. If they do, they're probably fraudulent. This applies to faith healers and the like as well. Since magick manipulates probability, it's going to work better along with mundane steps such as conventional medication. With any sort of spell, you want more avenues of probability open for it to work, not less.

Also, money has no special magical significance besides simply being money. So even for a ritual that requires cash, the amount is never magically significant. From a ritual perspective, you can do the exact same thing with ten dollars as you can with thousands. One of the classic fake psychic scams is have a client bring some large sum of money for a ritual and make a show of burning it. The psychic uses some sort of stage magic trick so that the money is not actually burned, and then pockets it after the "ritual."

For the most part I find the capital-S Skeptics annoying, but this is one area in which they do good work - exposing frauds who are exploiting belief in magick and psychic powers to scam clients. Criminals like Wilson give both psychics and magicians a bad name.