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 also for those looking for a deeper dive.

Let’s make some magick together.

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.

My thoughts on Joan Rose Staffen’s The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit

Posted in Book Review on May 25, 2022 by Occult Detective

I was pleased to receive Joan Rose Staffen’s The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit and, while it is not ncessarily in my wheelhouse, I was surprised to find it very insightful and an inviting testimony and instructive manual aimed at creators of all stripes, those just beginning their journey and those well into it.

I’ll share further thoughts below, after we have a look at the publisher’s copy:

Awaken your own innate creative potential by using pendulum work to clear energetic blocks.

The Creative Pendulum demonstrates how to use the pendulum to unlock your inner artist, allowing you to discover or expand your creative potential.

Dowsing with a pendulum is a quick, direct path to the sub-and super-conscious levels, to higher forces, and to the Muse herself. Thirty pendulum creativity charts are offered that help clear, center, unblock, and guide a person forward, so that anyone may more easily enter the creative space to play and work.

Staffen offers practical information and tips so that anyone can learn to dowse, but even experienced practitioners will find exciting new ways of using a pendulum.

The book includes Joan’s own story of how the pendulum helped her transition from businesswoman to author and visual artist, bringing the power of the pendulum to real life.

I tend to overlook books like The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit. I lump them into the New Age/Self-Help category and, not that I have an issue with them, they seldom fall into my area of interest.

As I read Ms, Staffen’s work, I was taken by her warm spirit. It really comes through in her narrative. It’s very personal, and you can sense her desire to share her knowledge with you, not for gain, but through a genuine inclination to help others.

Her vehicle for such is a fascinating dissection, extrapolation, and innovative use of dowsing, via pendulums, in unlocking untapped potential. Beginning with a basic approach, the author leads the reader into expanding uses of the pendulum, including advanced techniques that are really inspiring.

Everything you could ever want to know about pendulum use is all here… and more.

Appendixes introduce dozens of charts that compliment the intense make-up of the book at large. Clocking in at just shy of 300 pages, the meat of the book is comprised of various charts, practices, and a wealth of intuitive exercises that make this an ideal guide into the creative process.

And let’s not shy away from this — this book is for artists. The author presents a plausible instruction in the use of the pendulum to communicate between the lower and higher self for a myriad of situations and roadblocks that lead and enhance the creative spark.

As such, I cannot help but recommend this to those who utilize their creativity in absolutely any fashion, be they musicians, writers, poets, painters… no matter the medium… you will find useful tools here.

The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit by Joan Rose Staffen will be available, as of the 1st of June, wherever books are sold. Here’s a helpful link to Amazon.

“…in Heaven & Earth…”

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on May 24, 2022 by Occult Detective

I shared this story with friends last night, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t shared it here, or, at least, I don’t recall doing so. Proceed with caution and with an open mind. I will do my best to maintain the confidentiality of the owners and location.

A few decades back, give or take, I was asked to investigate a business property. It was housed in an old building, constructed in 1912. This building saw a lot of traffic in its heyday, but fell into disrepair and was little more than a derelict structure for many moons until the current owners revitalized it in the late twentieth century.

The owners reached out because they were having inexplicable fires occurring in one of the upstairs rooms. Electricians were baffled. As they were also experiencing other paranormal phenomena, calling me in seemed apropos.

I was able to identify much of the phenomena as residual, such as the sounds of pre-War radio, though I was pretty sure there was an intelligent spirit on the ground floor, and something a little darker in the basement. My main concern lay with the electrical fires however.

After several visits, I became confident the culprits were what some call land wights or the fey, but most simply refer to them as fairy folk. Precocious and alien, wights are preternatural spirits, sometimes malicious, but then, their thinking is different than our own. They frequent abandoned places, woodlands, groves, streams, and yes, neglected buildings.

I set a trap for the creatures, honey and polished stones, and I sang to them while I strummed a tune on my guitar. Gathered into water collected from the most sacred local spot I knew, I took them to that place and released them, unto Seven Pillars, the Gateway Between Worlds, where they could make a new home for themselves.

When I speak with those who have become weekend hobbyists, often because they enjoy the Discovery Channel’s slate of ghostly programming, predominately I see they’re of a mind that there are two, maybe three types of spirits — intelligent ghosts of the deceased, residual spirits, and demons. That kind of thinking is not healthy. This is a lesson every occult detective or paranormal investigator needs to take to heart.

Become acquainted with the history and folklore of the area you frequently investigate. What’s that oft (read: over-) used line from Hamlet? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

We have to recognize that existence is much more expansive than that which is at our fingertips. We move through a reality that encompasses various planes and dimensions and divergences, and it is all populated by a myriad of preternatural intelligences.

The sooner would be “ghost hunters” wrap their heads around that, the better.

Chaos Magick for the Clueless (which would be me) – a conversation with Bob Freeman & Freeman Presson

Posted in Magick on May 20, 2022 by Occult Detective

Hard to believe it’s been over 11 years since Freeman Presson and I sat down for a chat with Ankie (Lisa Trudeau). A lovely conversation with lovely people.

As we prepare to read the Chaos Magick classics Liber Null and Psychonaut for our next 2 Weiser Book Club meetings, it occurs to me that I’m probably not alone in my confusion over what, exactly CM is …or isn’t. Wouldn’t it be great to have a little bit of a primer?

With this in mind, I asked Bob Freeman (@OccultDetective) and Freeman Presson (@LilithsPriest) to give me a lesson on  Chaos Magick 101.

Here is (verbatim) our enlightening email exhange:

Ankhie:

I don’t know if you two have e-met yet, but in case you have not let me do the honors:

Bob Freeman (@OccultDetective) – meet Freeman Presson (@LilithsPriest) Freeman – meet Bob!

What I’d like to do today  is talk a little about the basics of Chaos Magick before we have our first #WBC7 session on Liber Null next week.

Full disclosure – Chaos…

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Today we celebrate the Laughing Magician’s Lesser Feast.

Posted in Occult Detectives on May 10, 2022 by Occult Detective

This “nasty piece of work” is celebrating a birthday today, his 69th if you can believe that. John Constantine was born on the 10th of May, 1953 in Liverpool, Lancashire.

If you’re of a mind to embrace the strange (and I obviously am), then the old ConJob is real in the sense that many of his creators have spotted the Laughing Magician out and about in our very own prime material.

Now, I’ve never seen him myself, but I am willing to concede the notion that a figure such as he is ornery enough to will himself into existence, for good or bad. Just the same, whichever way that ill wind blows, I’d have a drink with him, but I sure as hell wouldn’t turn my back on him.

Happy Birthday, John Constantine, you right old bastard. Cheers.

“It’s just the way of it, son. We all sell our souls sooner or later.”

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