You can lead an occult detective to water…

Posted in Magick on July 1, 2022 by Occult Detective

Occult Detective Bob Freeman is creating a watering hole for paranormal adventures.

Well, I went and done it. I created a patreon. My ultimate aim is to wear my Occult Detective hat full time. If you’d like to help me achieve that goal, any assistance would be appreciated.

There are $1, $3, and $5 tiers for those of you on a budget, and trust me, there will be plenty of content at those levels. There are also $10, $20, and $40 tiers for those looking for a deeper dive.

Let’s make some magick together.

My Thoughts on Twist Your Fate by Theresa Reed

Posted in Book Review, Tarot on August 1, 2022 by Occult Detective

Available today, the 1st of August, from Weiser Books — Twist Your Fate: Manifest Success with Astrology and Tarot by Theresa Reed. Before I get into my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the book, let’s take a look at that all-important backcover copy:


Use astrology and tarot to discover your unique challenges,
talents, and to set yourself up for success.

Are you running your own show or is your life running you? Wondering how some folks seem to reach the top with ease while you’re struggling to figure out where to even begin? Some people are born (financially, socially) into good “fate,” but most of us need to twist fate to achieve our best lives.

The best way to twist fate to your advantage is to know your strengths, pay attention to what’s happening around you, and trust your instincts. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your natal chart, being attuned to the insights that Tarot can provide, and trusting your intuition are the tools you need to master any situation and create success on your terms.

Twist Your Fate will show you how to find your best path and maximize your talents. You’ll learn how to use Tarot to brainstorm new creative ideas, compare career options, and make intelligent decisions. You’ll also learn how astrology can help you find divine timing for every situation.

THE GOOD

Twist Your Fate is full of solid, practical insight into utilizing tarot and astrology — together — to navigate your life. I have always turned to the tarot for guidance through turbulent situations, but the author does an excellent job of shaping narrative and exploring creative storytelling to become your best self. It’s simply put for beginners, which is impressive considering the depths she traverses.

The section on tarot is exceptional, and I really liked the various spreads shared. Her analysis was spot on here and the high point of the book for me.

THE BAD (?)

For some, it’s going to come off a little “new agey”, and other times it reads a little colloquial. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…Or is it? I guess you’ll have to decide that for yourself. The author is undoubtedly an authority, especially in regard to tarot. It feels like, at times, there’s a drift in tone. I found it fine, but thought you should be aware.

THE UGLY

Alright, let’s get this out of the way — I love the cover — but the interior design, I feel, leaves a lot to be desired. On twitter, I posted the following gut reaction:

Spending time with Twist Your Fate: Manifest Success with Astrology & Tarot by Teresa Reed. Lovely book, but goodness, the font choice —Roboto is nearly unreadable. Too thin & light. Hard on the eyes. Cream pages accentuate the font’s shortcomings. Too bad. Great subject matter.

It’s not really cream paged, more like newsprint. Better lighting helps somewhat, but I showed the book to a dear friend who spent seventy-five years working in letterpress. “That font needs to be left on a backlit computer screen where it belongs.

Overall, I like the book a lot and I recommend it. It’s a great (although difficult) read. Twist Your Fate deserves a place on your bookshelf. Just make sure you’ve got good lighting (and maybe a pair of cheaters) when you read it.

Twist Your Fate: Manifest Success with Astrology and Tarot by Theresa Reed is available wherever books are sold. The AMAZON link is just a CLICK away.

Lonely House by Michelle Belanger

Posted in Book Review, Horror, Paranormal on July 28, 2022 by Occult Detective

Bordermen Games

Michelle Belanger is an occult expert and author of more than thirty books on paranormal topics. You probably know Michelle best from appearances on A&E’s Paranormal State and the Travel Channel’s Portals to Hell. In addition, Michelle also creates tabletop games.

Michelle’s Ouila Board Scramble is a lot of fun (and a great tool for any horror themed rpg), Midnight’s Kiss is a solid gothic rpg, and I also have read Michelle’s work on World of Darkness: Ghost Hunters. All to say, Michelle does solid work in the gaming community, in case you weren’t aware.

Michelle’s latest is an immersive storytelling rpg, billed as “a solo game of collaborative fiction”, called Lonely House. It is a storytelling game, which tend to be really hit or miss with me (usually miss), but right out of the proverbial gate I could tell Lonely House was something special.

The…

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My Thoughts on The Knights Templar Tarot, now available from @llewellynbooks

Posted in Book Review, Tarot on July 7, 2022 by Occult Detective

Now Available from Llewellyn Worldwide

The Knights Templar Tarot
by Floreana Nativo & Franco Rivolli

With breathtaking religious imagery and spiritual energy, this tarot deck uses the power of the Knights Templar to invigorate your readings. The Templars set forth on their crusade with conviction and grace, and they encourage you to do the same as you work toward your goals. This captivating, Rider-Waite-based deck is bursting with strength, faith, and wisdom–a worthy addition to your collection.

Why look, two of my obsessions have collided! I’ve been reading tarot since I was a teen, but I’ve had an interest in The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, more commonly known as The Knights Templar, since long before that.

The Templars are everywhere — as historical icons, conspiracy theory boogeymen, pop culture fodder for comics, video games, novels, and more. They have been depicted in tarot imagery before, but never in such an artistically satisfying way.

Franco Rivolli’s artwork is sublime, capturing the fantastical essence of these Crusader Knights, both from a spiritual and martial sense. The design redresses the classic Waite/Colman Smith tarot in the Templar image, and it really works effortlessly. Floreana Nativo has written a compelling and whimsical guide to the cards, invoking the historical and mythical Templars, while marrying the images to the most common interpretations.

I took the deck for a spin, of course, utilizing 4, 5, and 8 card spreads, as well as the traditional Celtic Cross method. I found them quite intuitive, especially if you’re a student of Pixie’s illustrated deck. No surprises. I wouldn’t hesitate to use these in a professional setting, and I may do so with my more Christian-aligned clientele.

It is a fine deck, ideal for the collector. Made of sturdy stock and elegantly printed. I recommend them highly. The Knights Templar Tarot was released in May of 2022 and thus available widely, without question. Priced at less than $25 US, these are a bargain. They are really quite lovely. You can order this deck of 78 lavishly illustrated cards from Amazon. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.


My thoughts on @WeiserBooks’ The Big Book of Candle Magic by Jacki Smith

Posted in Book Review, Magick on July 6, 2022 by Occult Detective

Sorry I’m a little late on this. Less than a week ago, Weiser Books dropped something special — Jacki Smith’s The Big Book of Candle Magic. I’ve read a lot of books on candle magic, I suspect you have too. It’s a subject that seems very simple on the surface. It is part and parcel of a lot of our practices. Trust me when I say, this is the definitive book on the subject.

Here’s the publisher’s copy:

The definitive guide to candle magic, written by a leading authority with over 30 years of experience making magical candles and creating candle spells.

Author Jacki Smith, founder of Coventry Creations (currently among the largest and most successful magical supply companies), shares her magical secrets with readers, enabling them to empower themselves through successful spell casting. Her book explains the nature of magic spells and provides examples for a wide variety of purposes including love, money, healing, and protection, liberally punctuated with tips from “Aunt Jacki,” deriving from her many years of experience.

The Big Book of Candle Magic shows:

  • How to create your own candles
  • The basics of crafting your own spells
  • How to use basic supplies for everyday magic

If you don’t know Jacki, you know of her. Her Coventry Creations has left a massive footprint on the magical community. She is sort of the “queen bee” of candle magic and has spent the past couple of decades building her brand as they say, and it shows.

The author has a big personality. She writes with authority. She is straightforward. Direct. She’s not here to put on airs, as my grandma used to say. The Big Book of Candle Magic is instantly accessible, with no ostentation.

If you’ve been looking for a book on candle magic, look no further.

Clocking in at over 300 pages, “Aunt Jacki” has delivered on the book’s subtitle — a comprehensive, in-depth guide including instructions for casting your own spells. Hel, more than a hundred pages are easy to navigate indexes. And that’s the best part. The Big Book of Candle Magic is useful. Everything is well organized, lovingly typeset, and augmented with pictures and diagrams that make all the sage advice all the more potent.

I could go on with lavish praise, but that only distracts you from doing what must be done — ordering the damn book. So, ignore any further yammering and click on the following link so that you can add The Big Book of Candle Magic by Jacki Smith to your library as soon as possible.

You can always drop back by here later and thank me.

My Thoughts on @LlewellynBooks’ Ozark Mountain Spell Book by Brandon Weston

Posted in Book Review on June 27, 2022 by Occult Detective

As you’re probably aware, my family is largely from Arkansas. I know the Ozarks well. I’ve camped there. Investigated there. I may have been born North of the Mason-Dixon, but there is no denying my Southern roots. The small town in Indiana I lived closest to as a child was seemingly comprised of folk just like my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles — they were transplanted Arkansawyers.

A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure to read and review Brandon Weston’s Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers & Healing, and was thrilled to receive Weston’s follow-up, Ozark Mountain Spell Book: Folk Magic & Healing from the publisher, Llewellyn.

Speaking of which, here’s their back cover copy:

Explore Ozark Folk Magic for Love, Luck & Health

Apply traditional Ozark workings to your craft and enjoy a stronger connection to the everyday magic all around you. Brandon Weston weaves fascinating historical details and stories from his own practice alongside step-by-step instructions for authentic remedies, rituals, and spells collected from other regional witches and healers.

A companion to Ozark Folk Magic, this book compiles more than fifty recipes that utilize ingredients commonly found in the household or in nature. You will learn how to grow luck at the base of a tree, bring lovers closer together with string, and reverse a hex using a black candle. Weston also covers cleansing rituals, protection charms, dream work, divination tools, and more. With advice for modernizing these techniques, this spell book captures Ozark folk magic as both a deep and evolving tradition for practitioners to enjoy.

Well, first, this is definitely a companion to Ozark Folk Magic, in so much that you really should read it first before diving into the spell-work Weston has collected and crafted here. To go further, due to the brevity of both titles, I would have loved to see them combined into a single edition. But, that’s not the case. We are still in the possession of a solid rural grimoire, full of folk wisdom and recipes for nearly all occasions.

Ozark Mountain Spell Book is a solid entry. It’s simple and direct. You will have no issues following along and working the magic as presented. In fact, for new practitioners, I can see how this book would be a perfect start for you.

If there’s a drawback, it is that, like its predecessor, it does lean into the modern era a bit much for my personal tastes, but then, magic should evolve, I suppose.

Weston keeps it folksy, while giving things a modern spin. I imagine that will please many.

The book is well put together. Clean editing, nice production values. And it’s got the scent of the intangible about it — it’s got soul. And that’s hard to come by.

I happily recommend Ozark Mountain Spell Book, and its predecessor, Ozark Folk Magic. Weston has a calming narrative voice. You can learn a lot from these books. You’ll find them vailable wherever books are sold, and at a more than fair price considering the content. Here’s a link to Barnes & Noble for a change. Don’t worry. You can find it easily enough on Amazon. One must feed our oppressors ;)

My thoughts on @LlewellynBooks’ The Shamanic Soul by Daniel Moler

Posted in Book Review on June 24, 2022 by Occult Detective

Earlier this month, Llewellyn dropped a terrific primer for those interested in the shamanic tradition with the aptly titled The Shamanic Soul: A Guidebook for Self-Exploration, Healing, and Mysticism by Daniel Moler. Let’s take a look at the publisher’s blurb before I add my thoughts —

A One-Stop Training Course in the Shamanic Arts

Written by an authentic practitioner of Peruvian shamanism, this beginner-friendly book shows you how the shamanic arts can completely change your life. Daniel Moler teaches you through non-appropriative methods, such as healing exercises, spellwork, and divination techniques. Using his stories and experiences, Daniel helps you discover your soul path and write your own destiny.

This book introduces you to many aspects of shamanism, including the seen and unseen realms, spiritual tools such as mesas and campos, and the three pachas (worlds) of the shamanic cosmos. You’ll explore vision quests, limpias, rituals, and other techniques that help unlock your spiritual potential. Through hands-on activities and meaningful insights into shamanic theory and teachings, The Shamanic Soul helps you awaken your True Self.

My personal leanings are toward the shamanism of Northern Europe, so you may be surprised to find me endorsing Daniel Moler’s The Shamanic Soul. Fact is, this is exactly the sort of book I’m always looking for. While you will find it extremely instructive, The Shamanic Soul is not a dry treatise on the subject. Instead, it comes across as very personal, with Moler unfolding his journey from Christianity into the Peruvian Shamanism throughout. Moler is careful here to step outside of cultural bounds to try and present the divine root at the center of the spiritual journey of individualized connection to the universe. And with abounding pop culture references, Moler’s narrative voice and personal anecdotes make this voyage very comfortable.

The book was a joy to read, and evocative of others I’ve had the pleasure to experience, works by the likes of Terence McKenna, Graham Hancock, Ram Dass, Dennis McKenna, Michael Harner, and Tom Cowan, to name a few.

I was pleased to find the book heavily illustrated, and filled with practical exercises that addresses fully the person beginning their journey. There is plenty here for more seasoned practitioners, but The Shamanic Soul has become my number one recommendation to folks who ask me where to start on the shaman path.

I think what makes this book so special is the “storyteller” aspect of Moler’s narrative. This is how one teaches. Not by a laundry list of practices, but by weaving the instruction into a yarn, and by connecting with the student in an intimate way. Moler does a terrific job at this and feel like he is on the right path toward evolving his practice, finding that elusive synthesis of spiritual awakening by way of creative and imaginative raconteuring.

The book also sports a nice foreword by author Jason Mankey. An odd choice, as he has little connection to shamanic practices, but Mankey is forthright in this and mirrors my own thoughts on the book.

There is wisdom to be found in these pages, wisdom that can be integrated into your personal practice, and that is at the very heart of shamanism, the building of a personal relationship with the universe.

Reading Daniel Moler’s The Shamanic Soul will serve you well, whatever flavor of spirituality you are navigating. You can find the book wherever such are sold. Here’s a link to the somewhat apropos Amazon.

PERSONAL NOTE: I will be somewhat scarce Saturday, June 25, as I will be visiting friends at the Pride event in Matter Park (Marion, Indiana) during the afternoon (come by and see us at the Willow Products booth) and I have a residential investigation that evening. A reminder, we are a week away from the launch of my Occult Detective patreon. Keep an eye out for more book reviews next week, pre-launch.

The Longest Day

Posted in Magick on June 21, 2022 by Occult Detective

Hard to believe we’ve arrived at Midsummer already.

Time, that perverse construct of our material realm, continues to be in a state of flux. If this universe were a writer, I would swear they had absolutely no sense of pacing.

None whatsoever.

But we persevere, no? Through pandemics and recessions and civil unrest and a climate system that has decided we’re due for another global upheaval. Hot. Cold. Flood. Drought.

Make up your bloody mind already.

Regardless, I am writing here in hopes that you are well, in mind, body, and soul. We need each other more than ever I think. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a social creature, so long as the gatherings are small and intimate, and if a bit of nature’s about.

Absolutely no interest in hordes of folk milling about. I am, however, interested in conversations. It’s always been part and parcel of my investigations into the strange and unusual and of my magical practices as well. Connecting with outside intelligences. That’s what sings to me, be it a circle of close friends about a campfire or consorting with spirits, if you will.

Anyway, I’m happy to be consorting with you right now.

In that regard, I’ve got a lot of exciting things in the works. For one, I’ll be launching a patreon soon. The idea of which is to allow me to connect with folk, you know, as in people like you, in a more intimate manner. It will afford me the ability to share things that I otherwise don’t get the opportunity to do.

There will still be free content here, of course. All of this will just show up there first. And, sure, there will be more over there, but then, I guess, that’s the point, right?

Anyway, I thought this magically charged day would be a good day to announce it coming… the patreon I mean. I’m looking to open the door on my “watering hole for paranormal adventurers” on the first of July. I hope you’ll swing by and have a look around and maybe sit for a spell.

Watch for my review of The Shamanic Soul: A Guidebook for Self-Exploration, Healing, and Mysticism by Daniel Moler later this week.

Magick Without Fears Hermetic Podcast

Posted in Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on June 9, 2022 by Occult Detective

I was thrilled to finally be a guest of Frater R:.C:. on his Magick Without Fears podcast. While I wasn’t at my best (thanks a lot, opioid analgesics), it was an absolute honor to chat for a couple of hours (three if you’re a patron) with one of my favorite people.

We were all over the place, talking about everything from occult detectives and paranormal investigation, the Satanic Panic, music, psychedelics, cancel culture, Dungeons & Dragons, and a host of other things I can’t remember right now.

Pain medication is rarely conducive to cognizance.

To be honest, I could have talked for hours more.

A huge thanks to Frater R:.C:. for having me on. If you don’t already, be sure to put Magick Without Fears in your podcast queue.

Now Available — Weiser Classics Editions of Liber Null & Psychonaut, Predictive Astrology, and Alchemist’s Handbook

Posted in Book Review, Magick on June 2, 2022 by Occult Detective

Three new Weiser Classics editions became available on Wednesday, June 1 and these are essential reading for those looking for a well-rounded occult education. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Let me begin with the book I am least familiar with — Predictive Astrology: Tools to Forecast Your Life & Create Your Brightest Future by Bernadette Brady.

Predictive Astrology shows the reader how to use Time Maps to approach to the fate of the transits, and includes new methods for calibrating and filtering progressions, returns of all kinds, eclipses, and planetary areas. By combining these techniques, you can reveal the future and put various aspects of your life into perspective.

Offering many new techniques and concepts, this classic groundbreaking work (first published in 1976) is finding a new and growing audience. The book brings predictive astrology into a world of its own.

This new Weiser Classics edition includes a new foreword by Theresa Reed, author of Astrology for Real Life.

I am not much of an astrologer. Oh, sure, I can weasel my way around a chart and wrap my head around the basics. Reading this book for the first time was a real eye opener as it introduced new concepts to me that helped rearrange my thought processes around the map of the heavens and how they relate to your birth chart and portent analysis.

Definitely a must-read if you haven’t before and this edition is lovingly produced. You want charts and diagrams? This one delivers. You can buy Predictive Astrology HERE. At $26.96, this feels like a bargain.

Alchemist’s Handbook by Frater Albertus is the very definition of classic. I first read this in the mid-1980s, discovered in the occult stacks in the Ball State Library. I quickly devoured it. The subject matter was more in line with my roommate’s fascinations, he was well suited to the practice of chemistry, excelling in the sciences, so we studied it together. I was more at home with the philosophical side of the work. In this, my roommate and I made a great team, and Frater Albertus’ work was instrumental in both our developments.

The Alchemist’s Handbook has long been considered a modern-day classic on the actual practice of alchemy since its first publication in 1960. The book still stands as a groundbreaking work presenting in clear, concise language a practical manual of working knowledge that was formerly handed down only under oath of secrecy.

The scope of alchemical work is to provide both a means to synthesize all the other sciences and the necessary training of the intellectual and spiritual faculties. “Hermetic philosophy, with its practical arcanum,” writes Frater Albertus, “repeats itself over and over again in the ancient axiom ‘As above, so below. As below, so above.’”

The Alchemist’s Handbook discusses in detail:

  • The basic fundamental principles of alchemy.
  • A guide to the formation of an inexpensive home laboratory with illustrations of the necessary equipment.
  • Step-by-step instructions for the work of the Lesser Circulation, the alchemical transformation within the plant kingdom.

“The teachings of Frater Albertus are part of a lineage that traces back to Rosicrucian sources and much earlier and The Alchemist’s Handbook is still the best introduction to that lineage. If you feel the call of Alchemy and want real information on the subject, this is definitely the book you will want to read, reread, and read again. It may just turn out to be the book that changes your life.”—From the foreword by Robert Allen Bartlett, author of Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy

First published by Weiser Books in 1974, this new Weiser Classics edition includes a new foreword by Robert Allen Bartlett, author of Real Alchemy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bartlett’s Foreword, and was not surprised that his early experiments were with damiana, as were my own. I was only moderately successful with it, but it was a start. Alchemist’s Handbook is a treasure. If you don’t have this in your collection, you need to rectify that post haste. You can get a copy HERE for only $18.95. Well worth every penny.

Finally, we have a personal favorite — Liber Null and Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll. On the “Mount Rushmore of Chaos Magick you’ll find Carroll there, alongside Austin Osman Spare, Phil Hine, and Ramsey Dukes.

Peter Carroll’s classic work has been profound influence on the Western magical world and on the practice of chaos magick in particular. In Liber Null and Psychonaut, Carroll presents an approach to the practice of magic that draws on the foundations of shamanism and animism, as well as that found in the Greek magical papyri, the occult works of Eliphas Levi and Aleister Crowley, and the esoteric meditative practices of classical India and China. Also very much at work in the text are 20th century scientific ideas of quantum physics and chaos theory.

The result is a profoundly original work of magical studies that also includes a selection of extremely powerful rituals and exercises for committed occultists with instructions that lead the reader through new concepts and practices to achieve Carroll’s definition of magic itself: the raising of the whole individual in perfect balance to the power of infinity.

This Weiser Classics edition is a thoroughly revised republication of Liber Null and Psychonaut, first published by Weiser in 1987, and includes a new foreword by Ronald Hutton, a leading authority on modern witchcraft and paganism.

I discussed Liber Null & Psychonaut, in general, and Chaos Magick, in particular, with my friend, Freeman Presson, and Weiser Books’ Lisa Trudeau (aka Ahnkie) back in March of 2011, when Red Wheel/Weiser last released this book. It’s worth a read, I think. And I made a short post about Chaos Magick in reference to Magical (Dis)Orders back in 2015 that is somewhat apropos, especially considering the release of Stranger Things’ season four, and the synchronicity of 1986.

All this to say that, Liber Null and Psychonaut are hugely influential books on me. As they are both now bound together, I impress upon you the necessity for you making these a part of your library. I don’t see anything dramatically different from the previous 2011 release, other than the new foreword by Hutton, which is quite nice, but perhaps, like me, you already own several copies and differing editions? What’s one more? This one’s lovely and priced to sell at $18.95. Click HERE to bring it home.

There you have it, Three for Thursday, I suppose. I cannot recommend these Weiser Classics highly enough. They are quality editions, lovingly reproduced, and in all cases, the new forewords add to the experience.

We are living in dark times. Treat yourself to a bit of the light. That’s what these books, and others like them, represent. Portable light to drive back the shadow.

Buy now. Thank me later.

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