Friday, September 30, 2011

Bibliophile Porn

For me, as an admitted bibliophile and collector of beautiful tomes, today was a beautiful day. With today's mail I received not one, not two, but THREE new books which I've been eagerly awaiting. Oh, and with them came my author's copy of the Fine Edition of Crossed Keys. 

Today's treasure trove included two titles from my fellow Scarlet Imprint Alumnus, Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold, Pomba Gira and Palo Mayombe, as well as The Complete Picatrix, Liber Atratus Edition by Christopher Warnock and John Michael Greer.

And did I mention the Fine Edition of Crossed Keys? When I first saw the photos Scarlet Imprint posted of this museum-grade tome I commented that it was by far the most beautiful book I had ever seen. Well, I am sorry to have to retract that initial assumption, but it was incorrect. The truth is it is far more amazing than that. And I'm not just saying that because I wrote it. This, however, will not be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with Peter and Alkistis' work, and I am proud to congratulate them on having been recognized not only by the occult community, but by the British Book Design and Production community as a whole.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jupiter's Day, Once Again Observed

Kept it rather simple this evening; Storax incense, blue jumbo candles, orphic hymn and my usual adoration to Marduk as well as Aset, Asar, Anpu and Heru giving thanks and offerings for the blessings of the week before

Yet Another Clarification

Sometimes when I am particularly passionate abut something (or have a particularly big bug up my ass as was the case here) I tend to make broad and sweeping statements that I DO mean, but which also require further explication on my part. 

Twice now Jason Miller has alerted me to such mishaps, and I am very grateful for this as if he hadnt and no one else bothered, I might look somewhat prick-ish to readers who interpreted my post earlier today as he did. 

So, here we go again. Earlier I posted with regard to the many facets of occult authorship and publishing in the modern day, and when I did I let certain contemptuous feelings bleed through the keyboard onto the blog, which now require a brief qualification. 

I mentioned the tremendous amount of rubbish being brought forth by the You-Write-It-We'll-Publish-It internet based outfits like lulu and createspace. I didn't say all or even most of these books were of no value, what I said was these types of outfits "can and frequently do contain horseshit". As mentioned at various times, I am a big believer in Sturgeons Law which states that 90 of anything on any given subject is crap, and with sites like lulu its even more true. I provided links to one example of these in the original post. 

However, as my post indicates, while we do frequently find such crap on these sites, this isnt ALWAYS the case. I recently ordered Chris Warnock's Picatrix Liber Rubeus edition, literally 4 days ago. Anyone whos on my facebook would have seen that just yesterday, a full day before this post, my facebook status was:

So clearly when I said lulu and such sites frequently contain the aforementioned horseshit, what I meant was indeed frequently and not always, and I apologize to those authors such as Chris Warnock and those who publish there. I have bought both of your books there and recommend them to all.

As for my comment on llewellyn, I did say that what they publish is usually suspect until proven otherwise, and yetI have to admit there are some which HAVE proven as valuable as anything any other publisher releases; Examples being Aaron Leitch's "Secrets...", as well as his Angelical Language set, their original editions of Denning and Phillips' series, those they release for Golden Hoard and DMK's Modern Magick. Despite these excellent contributions to the corpus of the Western Tradition, the vast majority of their books dont make the grade and they DO publish a lot of fluff. Therefore I do agree with the selfsame author mentioned above in his having labeled them "ll EWE llyn", and place the same emphasis as he, on the "Ewe"

Occult Authorship and Publishing in The Digital Millenium

An ongoing discussion (perhaps better termed debacle) with regard to electronic piracy of books and the impact it has on the authors and publishers thereof has provoked significant and emotional debate among the online occultism community this past week. 

While I am not going to move that discussion into the blogosphere or open that can of worms here at The Lions Den, I'll give a very brief summary of the viewpoints expressed, only because it pertains to the subject of today's blog post. 

First, we have those who are vehemently opposed to the sharing of books online on torrent sites etc... on the grounds that it does irreparable damage to the author and publisher both, by significantly hurting their sales. Next, we have some, chief of which is RO, who believe that while unpleasant, any loss in sales due to piracy is negligible and in fact the widespread distribution of their books in such a way can be good for business, being tantamount to free advertising and generating a ton of word of mouth, resulting in increased sales of larger ticket items such as courses, services, etc...

My own opinion was that if my own work were to be uploaded somewhere I would definitely be, for lack of a better term, pissed off. Not because of lost sales or revenue, but because to upload my work without the courtesy of an email to me saying "Hey, we'd really like to share some of your work, do you have anything you wouldnt mind contributing?" is pretty fucking rude. 

From there the conversation evolved into a discussion on the fact that authors in our field dont make a living off their writing, and indeed profits are pretty small. RO mentioned that DMK only sees about .25 cents per copy of Modern Magick sold, which is just a goddamned shame. Self published authors, such as those who use lulu, create a less expensive product and see more profit from each copy sold, but they have to market their work on their own or, literally, sell none. Also, the target audience already knows that any book published with, say, Scarlet Imprint or Hadean is going to be of excellent content and contain wisdom from one of the brightest minds in the field, simply because they know that Peter & Alkistis at SI or Erze and Dis at Hadean know their stuff and live the life, and thus only publish what they believe in, whereas self published books can and frequently do contain horseshit

On the other side of the coin, true occult publishers like the aforementioned Scarlet Imprint and Hadean Press put out only quality material from those who, for lack of a better term, know their shit, and they make both beautiful talismanic books and inexpensive paperbacks, and they have an automatic, well deserved credibility so any author whose work is published by them benefits from their good names before the work is even released. (As opposed to, say, a llewellyn author whose book is automatically suspected of major suckage until proven otherwise just because it is being released by a publisher who is about as occult as Pokemon)

The intent of today's post, then, is to take this portion of the debate "to the streets". I'd like to see what YOU, the readers and buyers of our works prefer. Do you prefer for authors to release their material in eBooks for Kindl*/PDF, for Talismanic Hardcover & Inexpensive Paperback combo, Lulu self published & less expensive but also mass-market no visual appeal, or do you prefer courses and lessons such as RO's Red Work Series or Jason Miller's Strategic Sorcery Course? 

During all this debate on what mode of release is most favorable and desired by the readership, I thought it most prudent to, you know, ASK the readership. So, Im creating a poll for you all to vote and share your opinion, and you can also comment to share other options and/or ideas. Check them out, get your vote in and let an author know how you prefer books.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking For Forum Administrators

Looking for volunteers to help set up and moderate the forums. It is a very simple interface and very straightforward PhpBB installation. If you're not sure what that means, its the same style of board as In a nutshell, its going to have threads for each of the multitudinous Grimoires and related texts, each thread containing multiple sub threads for discussion, study resource lists, listing of MSS of the work, practical work section, etc... Also plan to set up virtual classrooms for online learning & lectures. All of this is simple to do, but given the sheer amount of threads, sub-threads, data etc... I simply dont have enough time to do it all myself. 

Anyone interested in helping out with this project, shoot me an email, a comment or message on facebook. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fine Edition of Crossed Keys

Just taking a moment to admire the absolutely amazing design of the Fine Edition of Crossed Keys. I have to extend deep appreciation to Peter and Alkistis over at Scarlet Imprint for their having conceived of a book as beautiful as this; It really is beyond anything I've ever seen and I am sure all those who managed to pick up a copy before it sold out (Within a few hours) will be as astounded as am I.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chasing The Dragon

For those who've recently emailed me asking when the supplemental material to Crossed Keys was coming out, the answer is 21 Sept. 2011

Hadean Press released Chasing The Dragon as the latest in their series of Guides to the Underworld, offering in significant detail the modified rites of evocation I used when performing the rite of The Black Dragon. Included are the ritual framework, preparation, conjurations and further details of which you can avail yourself. IF, that is, you are one of the precious few who are daring enough to step momentarily into the realm of "demonic" Magick.

*If you haven't yet picked up a copy of Crossed Keys, it behooves you to do so now, as I have just been informed that the beautiful standard hardcover editions are about 2/3 sold out.

If you're still unsure, check out these reviews:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More Magick With Marduk

While I fully intend to pick up where I left off in my series explaining my definitions of varying spirits and the natures Ive found them to have, I'm going to segue a bit to share some unrelated work I'm enthusiastic about and a few other updates. 
Those who have been following this blog for a bit or who have been part of the discussions at Gentlemen For Jupiter know that in the early weeks of my participation with that group, I began working with the God Marduk, as he is traditionally associated with Jupiter, and one to whom I am inexplicably drawn. Well, perhaps not so inexplicably if you know me at all. Anyway, throughout my work with Marduk, he's been remarkably benevolent and generous towards me and those I've been working for and with. In my earliest work with him Marduk made it clear that he yearns to once again be seen as a loving, paternal and protective God, as he was unto those of Babylon. Following the Chrislemews demonization of any God, Goddess or Spirit who committed the unforgivable crime of not being YHWH, Jesus or Allah, he was cast in an unfavorable light as were all his contemporaries, and seen as a pretender to the throne of the "One True God", despite having been known and beloved to his people long before the aforementioned came into the picture, and having been the model of a benevolent and kind father figure to all who sought him. 

Forgoing further detail, I'll sum up by saying that I brought Marduk into the lives of a handful who have all reported changes in their lives and remarkably clear visions from him during their adorations and incantations to him, as well as many boons received which they attributed to his intervention on their behalf.

Given the benevolence shown by the God and how helpful hes been towards those who've worked with him, I thought I'd share a method with which the reader can do so. 

The rite of offering provided here is drawn from Enuma Elish and our own Western Tradition, combining time honored adorations from the former with modern magickal formulae used in the latter.

In the simple altar seen in the photo above you see the following:

  • Blue 7 day candle onto which is placed the traditional depiction of Marduk standing atop the slain Tiamat
  • Blue 7 day candle onto which is painted the name of Marduk, in this case in Greek. (Each week I use a different name, Hebrew/Aramaic, Akkadian, English, Greek, and will continue until I've exhausted all of the 50 names of the God)
  • Small incense burner w/ charcoal and incense in resin form
  • Sand from Iraq (Site of Babylon/Mesapotamia)
  • Bowl of offerings and herbs
  • Suspended above is my own Jupiter talisman which I energize in this way weekly
  • 2 handmade daggers, one plated in gold and the other in black
On Thursday, in the hour of Jupiter,  purify your temple, robe up according to your Will, and enter your temple. Light the candles and incense, and meditate briefly on the image of Marduk, while contemplating his victory over the dragon Tiamat, then begin

  • Gazing above to the heavens -  In the name ZULUMMAR, secure for me the peak of this temple of Amar.Utu
  • Facing East - In the name MARUKKA, secure for me the Easternmost Point of this temple of Amar.Utu
  • Facing South - In the name ASARULUDU, secure for me the Southernmost Point of this temple of Amar.UTU
  • Facing West - In the name MUMMU, secure for me the Westernmost Point of this temple of Amar.Utu!
  • Facing North -In the name EPADUN, secure for me the Northernmost Point of this temple of Amar.Utu
  • Gazing below to the depths -  In the name TUTU, secure for me the foundation of this temple of Amar.Utu
Incant the specific name of Marduk with which you are working, and which has been painted on the candle as shown above, 50x.

Carry out the adoration/ evocation as follows:

"You are the most honored of the great gods,
Your decree is unrivaled, your command is Anu.
You, Marduk, are the most honored of the great gods,
Your decree is unrivaled, your word is Anu.
From this day your pronouncement shall be unchangeable.
To raise or bring low--these shall be in your hand.
Your utterance shall be true, your command shall be unimpeachable.
No one among the gods shall transgress your bounds!

Adornment being wanted for the seats of the gods,
Let the place of their shrines ever be in your place.
O Marduk, you are indeed our avenger.
We have granted you kingship over the universe entire.
When you sit in Assembly your word shall be supreme.
Your weapons shall not fail; they shall smash your foes!
O lord, spare the life of him who trusts you,
But pour out the life of the god who seized evil."

King who gathers up the divine powers of heaven and earth, foremost son of Enki, Marduk, mighty lord, perfect hero, foremost of the Great Princes, strong one of the Anuna, the great gods who have given him justice and judgment! Great prince, descendant of holy An, lord who decides destinies, who has everything in his grasp, wise, august knower of hearts, whose divinity is manifest, who shows concern for all that he looks upon! Your ancestor An, king of the gods, has made your lordship effective against the armies of heaven and earth.
Hear me, King Marduk, and accept these offerings made unto thee by a soul stretched out unto thee! By my Will may they take form of that which is most desirable unto you and which provides nourishment to your immortal soul! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jupiter Talismans, Botanicas and A Really Great Book

At the request of another reader, I'm at Botanica 7 Potencia picking up another Jupiter Talisman which I'll consecrate Thursday. Thus far I'm receiving excellent reports from the first few, so I figured I'd pick up a couple extra while I'm here. If anyone else is interested, shoot me an email or leave a comment here with your email address and I will write you. (Wont publish the comment w/ your email)

On a side note, the owner has invited me to come back this evening and sit in on a junta with he and his circle, which I have graciously accepted. (Its not a class and he doesnt take students, just him and some he apparently works with in the field.) 

Also appears that insurance was good to him after the tornado as his stock has almost tripled since he reopened. He actually has a nice selection of rare books, including the original French edition of Treasure of the Old Man of The Pyramids, which I have unceremoniously snatched from the shelf. I have a feeling Im going to be here for most of the day. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More (Yes, MORE) On The HGA

After having read Jason Miller's thoughts on the topic of the day, to wit the ongoing debate with regard to the HGA and its nature, I wanted to clarify a couple points from my original post which I now understand may have been misinterpreted. 

First is my statement that obtaining contact with the HGA is not simple. I stand by the intent of this, although as Jason point's out, the word I should have used is "Easy", not "Simple". He, along with everyone else who's chimed in, agree with my contention that the method by which we attain success can be something as "Simple" as a heartfelt prayer. That was, originally, the entirety of what I intended to express in my post - That its the preparedness, the intent and such that count, NOT the words or rites you use. THAT part of the operation IS simple. The methods you use to obtained communication can be as complex OR simple as you like, if you are ready you will succeed. 

Instead of saying "Its not a simple process", I should have said "Its not an EASY process". Because, whatever it IS, its definitely not easy. It may indeed culminate in something as simple as a prayer, but the road you travel to reach that prayer is NOT easy. It takes work. I agree with Jason and the GBG in that you SHOULD begin working towards it immediately, but you need to understand that its not going to HAPPEN immediately. It takes work. For some, like Jason, it may come in as few as 8 months. For others it takes longer. 

My point is this; Dont expect to succeed the first time you use Samekh or any other rite. It will come when you're ready. If your heart isnt in it and you are half assing the work, just going through the motions, it wont come at all. If you are going in it full force, sincerely intent on accomplishing thee great work, you'll get there sooner. But whatever the case, its going to take work, and thus it is not going to be EASY. You're not going to embark on a magickal path today, do Samekh or anything else and meet your Angel tomorrow. Not going to happen, because youre not ready. When you ARE ready, you can do Samekh, Jason's Tibetan Magick or just turn your head toward the heavens and say "Hey, I think Im ready".

The end result IS simple, the work it takes to get there is NOT easy. 

Hope that clarifies my own beliefs.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Other Spirits, and Their Relationships With The Magus

Having now discussed the natures of the Holy Guardian Angel and the Supernatural Assistant, I thought it appropriate to touch briefly on the some of the other sorts of spirits with which the Magus can establish relationships. While there are more such classes than anyone knows for sure, this series of posts will focus on a handful of those with which I the most experience and leave many others for my forthcoming book, Advanced Evocation. 

The first concept I'll touch on is that of Patrons. While many different traditions believe in some form of patron or personal spirits, the definitions and natures vary from one to the next and I will be speaking only from my own experience. While I have a number of spirits I work with regularly, through spirit houses, offerings, evocation and even invocation, the first patron I ever had and to whom I am most fervently devoted to this day is Aset, or as she is more commonly known, Isis. So strong is my relationship with the Goddess that Asar and Heru have also become extremely close to me and are two I will at times refer to as offering me patronage as well, simply because the level at which they make themselves available to me is so remarkable. Besides Aset, Anpu is my second, for he has been more involved with me than any other, and was the first to manifest visibly for me during evocation. 

Moving, then, to the nature of a patron, whether it be a God or Goddess, Angel or Demon. What separates them from any other spirit with whom you work? What makes them your patron as opposed to another spirit whose qualities and known attributes more closely fit your own desires? First thing to know is that you dont choose your patron. There may be spirits, gods, goddesses etc... who you find absolutely intriguing, and who you sincerely wish were your benefactors, to whom you make offerings and whom you attempt to seduce into becoming such, but that doesnt make it so. The fact is, from my experience, that your patrons choose you, and in every case I'm aware of, you dont have to try overmuch to know it because they make it obvious. In my case, all throughout my life "Isis" was present. My first real girlfriend at the age of 13 was named Isis Maria Irrizarry. The first piece of jewelry I was ever given, long before I had any idea who she was, was a figaro gold chain with a medallion of enthroned Isis. Literally dozens and dozens of times throughout my life, long before I began my Magickal quest, she appeared in such ways. I used to have vivid dreams of her holding a snake, which I didnt understand until years later I learned the legend of how she obtained the secret name of Ra.

Later in life when I began the study and practice of Magick, training under an old Golden Dawn adept, one of the first things I came in contact with was the pantheon on Egypt, in the form of the Sign of the mourning of Isis, the formula IAO, etc... I mentioned to my teacher how she had been a recurring figure in my life, and he explained that she had an interest in me that I needed to delve into. At the time, I was unfamiliar with concepts such as Evocation, at least in the form I NOW know it, and knew only the GD ways. I began scrying, using her symbol of the throne, seeking during astral travel, seeking during lucid dreaming and other means. In every method I attempted to contact her, I was far more successful than I ever was using the same method to contact others. While I may have been getting decent mileage with Lucid Dreaming when trying to contact Belial, when I attempted the same methods to reach her, she was just instantly there. It was like I never had to try very hard to contact her. As soon as a little step in her direction was taken, she would come the rest of the distance to me.

When in her presence, whether its during a lucid dream or astral travel, during a full evocation or even just lighting incense and candles on her altar, its as if I am in her embrace, and the knowledge that I am loved by her is utterly overwhelming. There has never once been a time that I've called on her when she hasnt responded, and has come even in times when I needed her but didnt know it.

I would be lying if I claimed to understand why a God or Goddess chooses any individual among us as their ward as opposed to any other, but I find that incomprehensibility applies to most of what goes on in the divine minds they possess. It is possible for us to know WHAT they do and HOW they act, but WHY they do these things is beyond me.Nonetheless, it is an honor to have such an entity take such a remarkable interest in you, and you must at all times afford them the appropriate love and respect in return. I make constant offerings of incense, candles, food and wine to Isis as well as to Anpu. (and Asar & Heru, although I do ascribe their availability to me more to Aset being my benefactor than their own interest in me) I carry out full evocation and full invocation at least once per year, and wherever possible I try to reintroduce my patrons to others (such as in this post, for example).

A patron spirit, whether it be a God, a Goddess, Angel, Demon or something in between, can be one of your most powerful allies and is in some ways more reliable than even your HGA, simply because its love for you and protective nature where you are concerned are of its own will, whereas the HGA is merely keeping with its divine mandate to serve as your guardian and does so without being obligated to. It does so out of genuine love for you, and because it WANTS to.

Some Clarifications on Previous Post

Following my previous post with regard to the natures of the Holy Guardian Angel, the Supernatural Assistant and other helpful spirits I received a small amount of criticism and a large amount of praise. By in large, the response I received most often is "Great post, my sentiments exactly, very true but damn dont you think you're going to piss a lot of people off?" to which I reply simply, yep. For further explication, please divert your gaze to the immediate right of this post, to the "About Me" section, where I forewarn every reader that the content of this blog will be informative and of value to him, but may also piss him off. 

There are, however, a few valid points received from people I respect which I'll address here for clarification's sake. 

First, the following received in comments from a fellow blogger:

If you honestly believe you can pick out everyone who knows and works with their HGA regularly, who is consistently hard-driving and pounding away at their Great Work with the assistance of their HGA, then more power to you, Brother.

But honestly, I think you missed at least one; and if you missed one, you've perhaps, missed more.

Ok, but I didnt say I could recognize everyone who has reached this point. What I said was "In the majority of cases". Definitely didnt say I have never missed one, or many.  Clarifying further, the intent of that statement was to express that in the majority of cases, not all, but most, one who has reached this level can listen to someone talk about their own experiences with their HGA, their means of communication with him (or her, lest I be thought gender-biased) we have a pretty good idea of who is relating genuine experiences and who's full of shit. Put simply, we have a much better inherent "bullshit detector" with regard to this subject than those who haven't been there and done that. We've HAD the experience, so we usually recognize when someone is speaking FROM experience as opposed to speaking on things they've heard from others or read in books. 

Second point, 

The HGA isn't available only to magicians who perform a certain type of magic in the West. K&C of one's HGA is available to anyone able to perform the work required.

Again, never said it was limited in availability to those who perform a specific type of magick in the west or anywhere else. In fact what I said is quite the contrary - that the rites you use and words involved really dont mean anything at all and you can succeed with Samekh, a song from sesame street or a simple prayer. 

All I know is that there isn't one "right" way to gain K&C of one's HGA and anytime this is suggested, I'll confront it.

Once again, I never said anything of the sort. Didnt say anything even remotely close. In fact what I said is the precise opposite of this, so really, what is it you're confronting?  You seem to be echoing exactly what I said here

Next point is that when I said achieving contact with your Angel is "NOT fucking simple". Well, yes I did say that. And I was 100% correct in that. The rite you use that finally brings you in contact with this being may be as simple as a prayer, but if you think thats all there is to it you havent done it. Its what leads up to the rite that is "NOT fucking simple", to wit, the years of work, study and practice of magick which prepare you FOR the simple rite with which you succeed. THATS whats difficult folks, not the hour long rite whereupon your angel finally manifests to you. Thats the culmination of years of work, not just something you decide to do on a whim. I'll go one step further by saying that anyone who implies they've actually MADE conscious contact with their Angel in such a way, picking up a copy of Samekh or another such shortly after beginning to practice magick, and succeeded, is indeed full of shit. Maybe not intentionally, hell maybe they have reached out and touched another helpful spirit or maybe theyve picked up a trickster type, but they damned sure havent met their HGA. 

Next point, as to the percentages I used, (i.e. 70% are lying, 5% have succeeded, etc...) There was no scientific data behind those numbers and they may well be inaccurate. It was an educated guess intended to illustrate the point that the majority of those who claim to have done this are lying, the minority actually have, and somewhere in the middle are those who havent but for one reason or another truly think they have.

Another question thats arisen, this time from one of my G4J brethren, and one for whom I have a lot of respect, is that of Free Will vs Fate/ Destiny and the reconciliation thereof. My answer to this is simply that I have never bought into fate or destiny, except that destiny which we make for ourselves. I do think there are events in our lives which are fated to happen for some cosmic reason beyond our scope of comprehension, but by in large it is our Free Will that dictates how we handle them and thus what the outcome will be. In that way, we do determine our own destiny. I also think that it is in our power to change any circumstance within our lives and any direction they seem to be heading. I dont believe there is anything about our lives or the course they will take that is written in stone, and every action we take is what determines what comes next. I went from the Cellhouse of USP Lewisburg to the Penthouse of the Nashville Hilton in 26 months, NOT because thats what was cosmologically planned for me, but because I sat, evaluated the directions in which I could proceed and decided the business world was the most prudent and then went at it full steam like a fucking locomotive. I incorporated willingness to work 16 hour days 7 days a week with techniques of Magick, and just about 2 years later I am in a better position than people who've been in this company for over a decade. Fate didnt do that, I did. 

On another, lesser, point, it was noted by 2 that throughout the whole of my post I referred to both the Magus and the HGA as HE or HIM, and not as She, or Her. Well, I am a man, not a woman, and while Angels dont seem to have genders as such they do have decidedly masculine or feminine traits and personalities, and mine is about as masculine as anybody Ive ever met, and since Im talking about me and him, Im using masculine forms of these words, not feminine. Thats not to say a female cant be a magus or that there are no female Angels. Hell Ive worked with an angel who was as feminine as any lady I know.