Posted in Liber et Auda on November 25, 2015 by cairnwood

The internet ate yesterday’s blog post so here we go again.

I had a good long chat with my pal Clarence Ragan. Clarence is 85 years old, a letterpress hobbyist who has been involved in the trade for 70 years. His knowledge of printing and typography is about as deep as one could hope to mine.

Our talks usually revolve around printing, because we’re both enamored with the nuts and bolts of it,  but art, history, religion and politics come up more than a little.

I enjoy our conversations and I hope he sticks with me for a good long while.

As to our most recent conversation, genealogy was the topic of the day.

Looking over a branch of the Shirley Family Tree (of which we’re both connected), he commented on what a shame it was that we knew nothing about the majority of the people on the page other than the day they were born and died.

It’s true for most.

They are born and they die and the part in between is forgotten, unheralded for all but the most notable and infamous.

The only chance at prime material immortality lies in our offspring. We give birth to tiny people and we do our level best to put the best parts of ourselves into them and shield them from the bad stuff.


This got me thinking about Brent of course, about his kids and his first grandchild whom he never got to meet in person.

I don’t know his children as well as I would like. They’ve lost a father who had so much more to give them. I hope that what time they did have with him has left an enduring impression, because Brent deserves immortality in the here and now and not just in the hereafter.

Brent had a big heart and a lust for living. He was a voracious reader, a talented carpenter, and a deeply spiritual man. He loved music and beer and campfires and the ocean, and knives and guns and walking sticks, and slinging dice.

He was a damn good friend and loyal to a fault.

And not a day goes by that I wish I’d have been as good a friend to him as he was to me.


Dormeo Numen

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on November 20, 2015 by cairnwood

“Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” — Duke Leto Atreides (Dune)


November has all but got away from me. Apologies, but I’ve had a lot on my mind. A lot.

I am luckier than most, I’ll grant you that. Despite nagging health issues, my son is a bloody weed and as smart as smart gets; my wife is a tiny slice of divinity that keeps me honest and true, and as pretty as autumn personified; and I’ve got good mates, a decent job, and all I could ever hope for really.

I’ve been given the opportunity to indulge my creative fantasies and grow a small, but loyal fan base. And I have been working toward branching out and expanding that creativity, exploring new and exciting ventures.

All these things are fulfilling and wondrous, but I fear I have been neglecting my metaphysical leanings. I have allowed the spiritual side of my being to drift off to sleep.

The sleeper must awaken.

Those who have known me longest know full well that spiritual matters have always been at the fore of my pursuits. Is it a coincidence that as my esoteric studies and aspirations decline, my health begins to suffer?

Believe me, I’m reading the signs.

I have sought out the proper oracles, casting stones and calling in markers.

I have slowly begun to exercise my body, taking tranquil walks in the hinterlands, allowing my mind to soar into places that I have allowed to become overgrown. That’s alright. I feel right at home in the wild.

I am climbing up and out of this well of sorrow and embracing the pathways that I once strode with confidence. I do so now with a twisted cane, but the swagger remains.


Posted in Liber et Auda on November 17, 2015 by cairnwood

I have been meaning to blog for days now… I’ve been more than a little under the weather unfortunately.

Still, I need to muster a few words.

We’ve all had a lot on our minds these past few days. The tragedy in Paris has weighed heavily on us all.

The damage is done. How we approach the wreckage afterward is telling.

We are guaranteed but one thing on the day we are born and that is, that at some point in the future, we will die.

Life is what happens between those two moments.

We must brush ourselves off and get to the business of living. Because each moment we do not is a wasted moment and we have far too few of them…

More when I’m better.

Much more…

ut essent liberi et avis

Posted in Liber et Auda on November 10, 2015 by cairnwood

Got the news that Steven Ashe passed away this morning.

Steve was a soulful, passionate musician and esotericist. While we never met in person, I had known him for more than a dozen years and despite being separated by an ocean, I considered him a friend.

I met Steve via a rather combative thread on an internet messageboard devoted to Thelema. We came to one another’s defense, fending off trolls as they attempted to mangle the Prophet’s message and make asinine leaps in logic.

Steve was a sharp one, with a rapier wit and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of obscure arcana. I will cherish the many conversations we shared and bid him Godspeed as he follows his Will into Realms beyond our Knowledge to become a Free-man of the City of the Stars.

Last night, I had a short chat with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Brian. We are making tentative plans for a Greater Feast celebration for Brent in December, to be held in the eleventh hour of his passing, in a sacred place in the wilds of the Mississinewa.

It looks like we will be gathering on Tuesday, December 29. The exact location has not been decided on. There are so many to choose from, after all. Personally, I’m leaning toward Goose Creek, mainly because the shelter house and circle of stone are gone… Goose Creek’s not going anywhere. But, we’ll suss it out beforehand.

It is the Feast of Friends that matters.

Hard to believe that as that date rolls up on us, it will have been 48 weeks since his death. One week for every year he lived.

And now, today, I bid another friend a fond farewell, he too gone far too soon.

The greatest crime of growing older is saying goodbye to people along the way. I remind myself that death is not an ending, but in truth, a graduation, from material to ethereal form. Unfettered from the earth, we are released into the heavens, more free than any bird, for there are no limits to the heights that we might climb.

“Listen, for thine ears become dulled to the mean noises of the earth; the infinite silence of the Stars woos thee with subtile musick..” — Aleister Crowley, Liber CVI: Concerning Death

Occult Detectives in the News

Posted in Horror, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2015 by cairnwood

golemLet’s start in the world of four colors — Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden team up with artist Patric Reynolds and colorist Dave Stewart to bring Joe Golem to life once more. I didn’t read Drowning City, so this was my introduction to the character. I love the idea of it, having dabbled in similar detectives of my own. Joe’s sort of a cross between Golem-esque FBI Special Agent Martin Crowe (Descendant) and the Demon Private Eye Sam Hill (reoccurring most often in various Landon Connors tales). The pictures are pretty, but there are a few issues I had with the flow of the story, more from an artistic standpoint than anything the writer hiccuped on. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend. It’s the first of three issues, so I imagine most will wait for the trade. That’s bad for business, overall, but hey, the comic industry of my childhood’s been under sod for better than two decades now. No point in bellyaching.

simoniffOn Wednesday we took Connor down for a doctor’s appointment at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. My faith in doctors (or rather, my lack thereof) was unshaken. As long as they remain slaves to pharmaceutical companies and close-minded to anything other than their narrow world view, their usefulness is virtually nonexistent.

On the way home, however, we did swing by Half-Price Books and I managed to procure The Simon Iff Stories & Other Works and The Drug & Other Works, both by famed esotericist Aleister Crowley. Iff, who appears in Crowley’s novel Moonchild, is one of my favorite occult detectives, so finding these collections, for a grand total of just under ten dollars, was a score and a half.

A shame that Crowley is not more well known for his fiction. He had a real knack for it. A shame too that he didn’t pursue it more vigorously.

ConstantineI guess the big kicker in occult detective news yesterday was Matt Ryan slipping into John Constantine’s trenchcoat again for a guest-stint on Arrow. ‘Haunted‘ was a decent outing and Matt Ryan did old Conjob honorably enough. His accent was slipping here and there, but given his tight schedule, it can be forgiven.

Some of the special effects were a little underwhelming and that Horus Grimoire prop was pretty damn cheap looking, but I was just thrilled to see Ryan as Constantine again.

I really wish the series would have made it, and I wish the Arrow showrunners could have brought John in for a season long arc, but we get what we get…

There’s still a slim chance Matt’ll get a run at Constantine again on the big screen as a part of Justice League Dark (which is still in development). Time will tell…

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Destination America has a new paraentertainment series out — The Demon Files featuring ‘demonologist’ Ralph Sarchie. My advice? Skip it. It’s what we in the business like to call ‘first rate buffoonery’. This joker wouldn’t know a demon if it bit him on the arse. He and Zak Bagans should be pen pals.

Finis est , ubi nos illinc profectos

Posted in Liber et Auda, Magick by Trial & Error on November 3, 2015 by cairnwood

Every Tuesday now for forty weeks I have shared my memories of my friend, Brent Smith, who passed away on January 27. This Hallowe’en I created a new one. I took a little time to build a fire, despite the rain, and say a prayer for my departed brother-in-arms. Taking a small portion of his cremains, I spread them widdershins around our ring of stones and I bid his soul to continue to find peace in the hereafter. I told him that I missed him and that I loved him and would continue to do so.


This winter, I will join some of Brent’s closest friends out at the Mississinewa and we’ll do the same with the remainder of the cremains his parents gave to us and that will be another memory too.

Even in death, our ancestors and loved ones are still a vital and important part of our lives. There is no end. There is only a transition from material form to incorporeal. While the spirit returns to the great well of oneness with the multiverse, the soul ventures on, exploring the rich fabric of realities we can scarcely imagine.

The end is just the beginning…

“What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.” — T. S. Eliot

Steven Shrewsbury’s Born of Swords Blog Tour stops by Dice Upon A Time

Posted in Archive on November 1, 2015 by cairnwood

Originally posted on Dice Upon A Time:


I am proud to host Steven Shrewsbury’s final stop on his Born of Swords Blog Tour. I’ve known Shrews about a dozen or so years now and I’ve been honored to call him a friend. Our mutual love for the writings of Robert E. Howard is what brings him here today as he shares his Top Ten Tales hammered from Howard’s Underwood No. 5…

Take it away, Steven.

When asked to talk some Robert E. Howard, or submit a list of my top ten favorite tales of him, I jumped at the chance. Funny thing, though, is picking just ten. My adoration of Howard goes deep into my youth, before I discovered more wicked things like Ellison, King or Barker. It touches in a time of my life when all I had knew for storytelling ran from audio recordings of TARZAN and THE BIBLE. I hadn’t yet pondered Wagner’s Kane…

View original 1,203 more words


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