Archive for the Archive Category
Through the darkness of future past
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds
Fire walk with me.
“My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature reside.”
“There is also a legend of a place called the Black Lodge. The shadow-self of the White Lodge. The legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it ‘The Dweller on the Threshold’… But it is said, if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.”
—Deputy Hawk, Twin Peaks
Order and chaos, in a perpetual dance; it is all light and shadow, black and white, good and evil, life and death. One cannot exist without the other. Its counterpart completes the circuit, the sum of two parts…
Magick is where dualities inmix, sending a ripple through the multiverse, a whisper of esoteric potential. Between stasis and change, we look within and without, folding time and space, in conformity with will and mystic intuition.
A beacon of light in malevolent darkness; a spark of the sacred fire in a sea of infinite night.
I am reading: Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane, Adventures in Middle-Earth: Loremaster’s Guide by Cubicle 7, Conan: Jeweled Thrones of the Earth by Modiphius, Magick in Theory and Practice by Aleister Crowley, Three Essays on Freedom by John Whiteside Parsons
I am watching: Deep Space Nine, Timeless, Critical Role
I am playing: Dungeons and Dragons, Skyrim
I am writing: Inferoscrypta (a Howard-inspired Sword & Sorcery novella which serves as a prequel to Enochia, a Sword & Sorcery/Occult Detective novel)
Spent a terrific evening with one of my oldest and dearest friends last night. He and his wife were visiting from North Carolina and we met up for some deep conversation in a couple of local haunts. We discussed and dissected magick, religion, and politics over the sound of a jukebox meandering between gods awful rap music and new Metallica (with some old school Suicidal Tendencies mixed in for good measure).
Needless to say, I’m snookered right now. I had trouble getting to sleep and had to get up bright and early. The brisk, pre-dawn air helped somewhat, but not enough. It’s times like these I wish I hadn’t sworn off alchemical stimulants.
But I digress… The reason I found sleep difficult to come by was because my brain was picking at a thread from our earlier conversations. My friend has always been more group oriented than myself. He’s spent far more time in Buddhist Retreats and Shamanistic Circle than I ever have. Not to say I never have or am even opposed to such, but it’s a reality. I am, by nature, a solitary practitioner and seeker. Whether that’s because of location or volition, I can’t say.
A synthesis of our discussions centered on group-think, of human spiritual evolution, of magick and religion’s role in societal change.
What I dwelt on before sleep took me was my belief that individuals are the true agents of vicissitude, not factions of supposed like-minded esotericists. There is an internal struggle born of the friction caused by too much contact.
The ideal, I think, is to make that connection with the divine on a personal level. That does not mean to eschew group work altogether, but that, such gatherings should be a supplement, a support structure used in small doses.
This is your journey, not our journey. We help each other until we hinder each other, spiritually. Finding that sweet spot in the middle is tricky business, but worthy of the effort.
Grounding relationships are far more important. To paraphrase Stan Lee, it’s all well and good to have these cosmic and magical adventures, but you still have to come down to earth occasionally and deal with the material realm.
We cannot solely focus on the spirit. We’re in these bodies for a reason. I think we lose sight of that sometimes.
A new year dawns. I am resolving to be a better husband, a better father, a better friend, and to spend equal time in the heavens and on earth.
What I’m writing: An Occult Detective Sword & Sorcery tale.
What I’m reading: King Arthur & the Holy Grail by Richard Cavendish
What I’m studying: Adventures in Middle-Earth Player’s Guide 5E
What I’m drawing: Charles Parnell for Backburner Press.
What I’m watching: Vikings, Deep Space Nine, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Music I’m listening to: Son Volt, Wilco, and Waylon Speed via youtube, and Led Zeppelin during my commute.
Podcasts I’m listening to: Gordon White’s Rune Soup, Gamerstable, The Horror Show with Brian Keene, Occult of Personality
What I’m playing: Dungeons & Dragons 5E (live & on roll20), Skyrim
What I’m anticipating: New Years and a tooth extraction, plus my Top 10 Movies of 2016 list and the forthcoming Occult Detective and Dice Upon A Time Awards
What I’m obsessing over: Astral Workings
What’s next on The Occult Detective: The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Brian Keene
In 1985, my best friend, Brent Smith, and I went to Indianapolis for a Gun & Knife Show. A dealer there, a local Silversmith, had an impressive display of handcrafted jewelry, a couple of Norse Hammers among them. I talked to him about commissioning a Mjolnir necklace. He agreed and I took his card. A week later I mailed off a photocopy of a Hammer found near Romersdal, on the island of Bornholm.
In 1986, Brent and I returned to the Gun & Knife Show and the dealer had my necklace. He charged me less than $200 for the silver work and even incorporated an ouroboros Jormundgandr as the ring.
I’ve been wearing this necklace for just over thirty years now. If the gods are willing I will wear it for 30 or 40 more.
It is a symbol of my faith, of my reverence for my cultural heritage. It represents protection, strength, and power.
It is NOT a symbol of white supremacy, racism, or hate, as so many SJWs would have you believe. I have no room in my heart for intolerance of any stripe.
The Thunder God wields Mjolnir as a protector of all the people of Midgard.
While I revere my Northern European ancestors, particularly the Norse, Celts, Anglo Saxons, and Germanic tribes, it is not at the exclusion of other cultures.
We all share the same rock.
I will raise a horn to you and yours and ask that you do the same for me and mine.
What I’m writing: Catching up on some Nightstalkers/C.O.D.A. case files.
What I’m reading: Robert E. Howard’s Conan RPG Corebook by Modiphius
What I’m studying: The Book of Lies by Aleister Crowley
What I’m drawing: Encounter maps.
What I’m watching: Deep Space Nine and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Music I’m listening to: Listening to classic Heart via Youtube; Badlands and Led Zeppelin during my commute.
Podcasts I’m listening to: Gordon White’s Rune Soup, Gamerstable, The Horror Show with Brian Keene, Buttercup of Doom with Kelli Owen
What I’m playing: Dungeons & Dragons 5E (live & on roll20), Star Trek RPG, Skyrim
What I’m anticipating: Kim’s Birthday, the Walkway of
FrLights, Christmas, and Blessed Yuletide
What I’m obsessing over: Old Ghosts and Haunts
What’s next on The Occult Detective: The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Maurice Broaddus
Welcome to the seventh installment of LAST WRITES.
The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.
Today’s guest is Michael M. Hughes, a writer of fiction and nonfiction. His debut novel, Blackwater Lights, was released by Hydra (Random House) in 2013, and the sequel, Witch Lights, was released in 2014. Demon Lights, the concluding book in the trilogy, is scheduled for spring 2017. When he’s not writing, Hughes speaks on forteana, the paranormal, psychedelia, pop culture, and other topics, and he teaches regular workshops on the Tarot.
Michael lives in Baltimore with his wife and two daughters.
Maryland-style steamed crabs
Tibetan Book of the Dead (which I would ask friends to read aloud after I was executed to guide me through the Bardo realms)
Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life
Let the Mystery Be — Iris Dement
FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE
My father, who died when I was 18. We have a lot of catching up to do.
Yes, I know, you were expecting the launch of a new blog feature chronicling my magical mystery tour through life today. Instead, I’m blogging politics…again. Sorry, but I need to get this off my chest.
These United States of America have grown complacent, resting on past glories and laurels. We have grown soft and weak. Don’t believe the ‘numbers’. The economy is a mess, job prospects are next to non-existent, we are in the midst of an opiate dependency nightmare, and there are micro-culture wars being waged in communities all across this country.
President-Elect Donald Trump is endemic of the entitlement mentality that has America in its grip. We live beneath the perpetual weight of soul sucking debt, as a nation and as individuals. But, hey, The Donald is the self-proclaimed “King of Debt”, who better to ascend the throne of this bastion of faux-freedom?
America just took a sucker punch to its soul, but you could see it coming from the cheap seats. Dog-eat-dog primaries left America with two choices, neither of which looked very appealing.
In one corner, a seething, misogynistic capitalist who fed into the worst fears of his constituents, promising fair trade agreements, border security, and a return of rust belt values.
In the opposing corner, a career politician who came across as smug, arrogant, and campaigned with an air of entitlement, as if she had paid her dues and was now being ‘rewarded’.
I joked that Donald Trump was the President that America deserved. And I was right, but I really wish I wasn’t.
Why is a Donald Trump Presidency the best thing that could have happened to America? Because this is your wake up call, America, and it’s a call that needs to be heard not just by its citizens, but by its leaders as well.
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and become truly active in our communities. We need to break down barriers and really listen to the voices on both sides of the argument, to compromise when compromises are called for, and to stand our ground when we have something truly worth fighting for.
Donald Trump is our 45th President. That is a reality that we must accept. Say what you will, but there are plenty of positives to be found in Trump’s First 100 Days. There’s some scary things in there too, but we can be thankful he’s President and not Dictator.
There is absolutely NO ROOM for this notion that it’s now acceptable to attack people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. It isn’t.
And hey, Left. You have a responsibility too. You do not have the right to riot, to destroy public property, or to attack the police during ‘peaceful’ demonstrations.
The ball is in our court now.
I voted against Bush in 1988, Clinton in 1996, W in 2000 and 2004, and Obama in 2008 and 2012. In every instance, despite my candidate being on the losing side of the equation, I encouraged those around me that we needed to work with the President in Office to enact positive change.
And that’s what Trump is. Change. If nothing else, he is that.
I voted against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Neither candidate spoke to me and my concerns. Trump was too brash, too crude, too disrespectful. Clinton was too two-faced and dishonest.
I felt neither deserved the big chair, but knew that one of them would sit in it. America is a lot of things, but ready to elect a third party candidate is not one of them.
Donald Trump is our President, ladies and gentlemen. Most of us may not like it, but there it is.
Trump as President is not an endorsement to hate, and that goes for both sides.
We must not suffer bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, racism, antisemitism, or any other heartless, incorrigible, or deplorable act. Why? Because those things no longer have a place in this country.
We must respect the men and women who take on the thankless job of protecting our streets and our loved ones, but they must be held to the highest standards because of that responsibility we have given them.
We have to rebuild our trust in one another. We have to stand up for our neighbors. If we have each others back we’ll get through this. To love and respect one another, is that really so much to ask?
We are all Americans. It’s time we act like it.
October’s gone, the celebration passed, another for the annals of history… The vibrant leaves are now beginning to dull, littering the ground as thousands of cast-off corpses. All that remains is winter’s promise, the cold kiss of frost…
This is, traditionally, my most productive season. The words tend to flow incessantly, with more purposeful intent. My over-active imagination at the worst of times becomes a creature unto itself, like a rough beast, its hour come round at last, conjuring malefic creations in the shadowed recesses of my little corner of Converse.
I have several projects in the works and a retooling, or rather a refocusing here at occultdetective.com.
Already announced: Last Writes, of course, which will be a wonderful insightful window in to the minds of a number of creative individuals. These will appear on Mondays.
I also brought up that I will be discussing OCCULT DETECTIVE: The Roleplaying Game more frequently here on these pages. No set schedule for these updates.
Wednesdays, at the behest of a dear friend, for the immediate future, will showcase a series of missives regarding my magical journey, while Fridays will become a sort of ‘works in progress’ update, just to let you know what’s stumbling and fumbling about in my gargantuan head.
So, breathe deep. Winter is coming and soon our world will be buried beneath a thick blanket of snow. The magic of October gives way to November’s chill… Here, we shall keep the fires lit till autumn’s return.