Archive for the Current Events Category

Weiser Books Responds to the Strange Case of Georgina Rose

Posted in Current Events, Magick on May 5, 2022 by Occult Detective

The Georgina Rose Affair has had the online occult community in a fervor, and understandably so. I will not go into the sordid details. They have been hashed and rehashed multiple times. The best source, should you wish to refresh yourself on the particulars, can be found on the Codex Astarte Substack.

All caught up? Good.

I discovered Georgina Rose, aka da’atdarling quite some time ago when one of her videos was promoted to me via the youtube algorithm gods. While I wasn’t overly impressed with her content, I did follow her channel, and did the same on other social media outlets, such as twitter and instagram.

For all the negatives I could address, as an occult influencer, she did get people talking, about Thelema, Ceremonial Magick, Witchcraft… Her obvious naivete in relation to the subjects she was professed to be a “leading voice” in smacked of the sort of social media popularity contest that is part and parcel of the whole online experience.

I did watch her videos, and listened to the podcast she shared with author Temperance Alden and Nike. This content was the topic of much conversation in the circles I traveled in. As I’ve stated previously, “I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

There was a time when, if one spoke negatively of Ms. Rose’s content, you were labeled as misogynist, which is unfortunate. The issue was never with gender, but with her obvious naivete and misappropriation of other people’s work.

When she announced she had written a book on Thelema, set to be published by one of my favorite occult disseminators, Weiser Books, I was as surprised as anyone. Of course once the allegations of, well, that whole sorted affair, were leveled, many in the esoteric community questioned Weiser Books’ role in this, which I personally found rather unfair.

Weiser Books has always published what I feel is a balanced collection of traditional and historical magical content alongside fresh and ofttimes innovative voices. I reached out to Red Wheel/Weiser for comment, and Associate Publisher Peter Turner was kind enough to respond.

How did Georgina come to Weiser’s attention? Was she recruited, or did she approach the publisher?

Georgina was someone we were aware of as an influencer on social media on Crowley, Thelema, and the occult. She was then doing a podcast with Temperance Alden, one of our authors. (Temperance stopped doing this podcast some time in 2021 I believe.) Georgina did several podcasts on Weiser related topics and seemed genuinely well informed and a respected online source. I actually don’t recall if I reached out to her to do a book or if she submitted one to us first. I think I reached out to her.

Could you share some insights into the internal discussion and decision to pull “Begin With True Will”?

We became aware of the situation over the weekend of April 23rd-24th. On the following Monday and Tuesday senior staff meet to discuss the options. We had hoped that Georgina would address the statements made about her in a way that might make it possible for us to continue to publish the book as planned. That wasn’t forthcoming. So we arranged to have the book description and cover removed from online retailers websites. Shortly after we formerly arranged for the book to no longer be available for preorders. Online retailers can take a few days to update their metadata and affect these sort of changes to a book’s listing so there was a bit of a lag.

In light of this controversy, what is Weiser’s stance on other “problematic” authors, particularly in your back catalog? I’m thinking here of Edred Thorsson, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, etc. Will future editions come with disclaimers (I personally hope not)?

Weiser’s backlist includes books that were first published well over 100 years ago when what was viewed as “problematic” was very different. As a general policy we don’t remove books from our deep backlist. However, if they are reissued the books are closely read for material that may be offensive to our readers. In these instances we either provide a new foreword by a contemporary author reintroducing the book, warn the readers of any such content, and put the author’s views in historical context, or we include an “Editor’s Note” on the pages where this material is printed.

I should say this is a common problem in publishing. Rudyard Kipling, for example, was famously a racist, even using the “N” word in one of his novels. Whitewashing the past isn’t helpful.

How does this affect bringing in new authors for future publication?

We’re currently talking about making our editorial process and editorial policy more broadly known. Many people really don’t know how small publishers do what they do but in the case of Weiser’s readers we think they may appreciate a bit more transparency. In the past, we’ve tended to just want to let the books and their authors speak for themselves; that may not be sufficient these days. In terms of bringing in new authors, we’ve been talking for a while now about how best to properly research an author’s credentials and if they have expressed views that are at odds with Weiser’s publishing mission. We are now doing that research more vigorously. This would not have helped in the case of Begin with True Will (as the book was signed, edited, and already typeset before we became aware of the issues that came to light).

I want to thank Peter for addressing these concerns.

The Strange Case of Georgina Rose is an awakening moment for many of us. The company we keep reflects on us as individuals. That is not to say we should not rub shoulders with those with differing views than us. No, quite the contrary, but we need to be bold in our stance of what each of us holds true, so that there is no question as to where our allegiance lies.

I am religiously heathen, philosophically animistic, and politically Libertarian. I am, in a word, complicated. I am pro-choice, pro-gun, and an ally in trans and women’s rights. I believe in true equality between all races and genders. I always side with freedom of speech, bodily autonomy, and personal liberty.

I also believe in forgiveness, because life is too damned short to believe otherwise.

St. George’s Eve

Posted in Current Events, Writing on May 4, 2022 by Occult Detective

Wednesday, the fourth of May. Star Wars Day for most of nerd culture, but also St. George’s Eve, if you follow the old Eastern Orthodox calendar and want to get really nerdy.

“Do you know what day it is?” I answered that it was the fourth of May. She shook her head as she said again: “Oh, yes! I know that! I know that, but do you know what day it is?” On my saying that I did not understand, she went on: “It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?” — Bram Stoker, Dracula

I have had vampires on the brain (werewolves, witches, and liches too) of late.

Dragonslaying. That’s what St. George was on about, and in a sense, Van Helsing and company as well. We all have our dragons to slay. Some great. Some small. But slay them we must, or die in the attempt.

Of course, the great dragon, it seems, as always, is that of government and their perchance to overreach. They’re looking to strike down Roe v Wade and thus spark a cavalcade of abortion bans in Republican strongholds.

Rights do not emanate from government, but belong inherently to each of us. We are not government property. We need to demand that our Personal Liberty not be infringed upon. What represents freedom more than having Bodily Autonomy? No government is valid if those tenets are not met. Government should serve the people, not lord over them.

Government should have no right to tell anyone what they must or must not do with their bodies. This is true of a woman seeking an abortion, of Man refusing a vaccination, or the willful choice to ingest substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, or other naturally occurring medicinals.

Government, it seems, has assumed the role of the Dragon. It need be tamed or slain.

Yes, we all have our dragons to slay. Big and small.

That said, I wish you luck in the slaying of yours.

I have many adventures ahead, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

May the Fourth Be With You…Always.

Currently writing: Unnamed Comic Project, Unnamed Board Game Project, Unnamed Folk Horror short story, Unnamed Non-Fiction Occult article

Currently watching: Parks and Rec and Northern Exposure with Kim & Conn, Hannibal with Conn, Travel the Dead and Portals to Hell on my own.

Currently playing: D&D 5e, Wordle, Quordle, Classic Words (Scrabble), Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, and Elder Sign

Currently reading: 666, Sex, & the New Aeon of Horus by Richard Cole

Currently spinning: Kansas — Masque

Holiday Horrors

Posted in Current Events, Horror on December 28, 2021 by Occult Detective

I quite liked the image above. So much promise contained within its simplicity. And the idea started out well enough, with the serialization of “Dreams of Winter”, a Landon Connors tale that was fresh to most eyes, buried as it was in an anthology that, while it had a slate of solid authors, didn’t sell exceptionally well. This, you’ll find, is the general case with most anthologies that do not include authors like King, Gaiman, Martin, and the like. But I digress.

I had intended to spend December sharing ghost stories with you, my friends, in that most time honored tradition. I have my fair share of those both real and imagined, but I ended up involved in a different sort of holiday horror story. I caught the dreaded COVID, and shortly after a protracted ear infection that laid me quite low.

COVID has been everything I feared it might be. And I say “has been” because I am still snookered by it. More than 20 days of it, and each moment I think I’ve turned the corner, I find myself hit with another debilitating bout of coughing that leaves me exhausted beyond all measure.

It’s been a struggle, for me and my family. My son, thankfully recovered fairly quickly. My wife has not been as lucky, I’m afraid. As for me, I did receive a monoclonal infusion, but it didn’t seem to take.

I am better today than yesterday. At this point, that’s good enough.

So, apologies for Yuletide Spirits to largely be a bust this year. I had such hopes, but we look now to a brighter year ahead. Next week I plan to post my annual Occult Detective Awards, and I will follow that with some smashing reviews, then it will be time to hunker down and figure out a way to navigate these pandemic waters.

I fear this is the world we shall be living in now and as such we will all need to make more permanent adjustments.

Cheers, dear sleuths. Pray these dark gods notice us less as we roll into 2022: Electric Boogaloo

A Man Grown

Posted in Current Events, Writing on October 9, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today, my son Connor celebrates his 18th Birthday. I am staggered by this. The boy becomes a man…

The truth is, he’s been a man for some time. Mature beyond his years, he has always possessed a rapier sharp intellect and an understanding of human behavior.

As a writer, he has grown immeasurably, producing wonderful, fantastical tales prolifically. He has a bright future ahead of him.

As a father, I couldn’t be more proud of him. I will miss the boy he was, but I embrace and cherish the man he is.

Happy Birthday, Connor. I love you beyond words.

Happy Friday the 13th

Posted in Current Events on August 13, 2021 by Occult Detective

I love Friday the 13th. It’s generally my second favorite holiday.

Three guesses what my favorite is.

Anyway, I wanted to, first, wish you all the best on this positively delicious day of supposed bad luck and menace. Of course, we all know where Friday the 13th derives its ill-nature from. Those poor Templars…

Secondly, I hope to get up to a little more tomfoolery this weekend, with visits to more local boneyards and a delightfully infested location nearby. I have been working diligently on [secret project name redacted] and I need a wee bit of a break to recharge. I’ll be sure to post a few pictures as time allows.

If you’re not following my instagram, you probably should. It’s easier to drop pics there on the fly.

So, cheers, all. Enjoy the day. Remember to be kind to black cats (but it’s perfectly ok to avoid walking under ladders).

Only time will tell…

Posted in Current Events on June 4, 2021 by Occult Detective

This whole week sort of blew by, like a mystic’s fevered dream.

Truth be told, that old dark cloud’s not done with us yet, and I find myself hooded, awaiting sentence.

Maybe I can get back on track the week after next, when these deadlines and commitments can be abated.

I enjoy the creative rush, but the red tape and bureaucracy of publishing (and printing) can take on near mythic levels at times, like a seething necrotic spirit that feeds on art and magical intent.

What spells or steel are mustered in defense of such adversaries are rarely adequate to the task, but we press on, for Gods and Country, and Kings and Fallen Idols, and that cruel beast that hides in the recesses of the shady bower, a muse neglected and all its servility has been crushed by earthly abuse…

So, I will blog again when I’ve a spare moment, and maybe in theme.

Maybe.

Only time will tell.

Nóttveiða

Posted in Current Events on April 2, 2021 by Occult Detective

It’s well past time I got back to some semblance of bloggery, so I’ve set up some themes for myself and a loose itinerary. Do not take any of this as gospel, meaning I will not, necessarily, post every day of every week, but I will be more present and I hope that the path laid out below is of interest to you and hopefully will spark some engagement.

So, what’s all this then?

Mondays I will be posting about magick in all its various guises and predominately from my own perspective, though I’m sure philosophical ponderings will rear their ugly head now and then. I imagine I’ll ruffle some feathers here and there, but that’s the nature of the beast in the current climate we find ourselves in. You can expect book reviews to be posted here as well.

Tuesdays I’ve set aside for Tarot. I plan to do readings on various subjects and discuss my interpretations of the cards. I also hope to showcase and review various decks. I will dabble, from time to time, in other divinatory methods, especially runes.

On Wednesdays I will delve into all sorts of interests, predominately related to my faith. Here I will discuss my work with the ancestors, with the gods and vættir, but also about art, writing, bushcraft, hiking, woodcarving, and the like, because I find these things intricately linked to my spirituality.

Thursday is probably the day I will be most consistent in my blogging. Each week I will post a Top 3 list in all manner of areas of interest. This is where the real fights will be sparked.

And finally, Friday. I’ve reserved the final day of the week for sharing stories from my fascination with urban legends and folk tales related to my neck of the woods. Here I’ll spin old yarns and present new investigations as they come up.

While a lot of my peers have turned to releasing content like this through patreon, I’m just not comfortable holding my hat out. I’d rather see how things play out here. So, let’s set this little experiment to light.

See you on Monday.

Haunted Heathenry

Posted in Current Events, Writing on March 19, 2021 by Occult Detective

I imagine the majority of people who follow this blog know me primarily as a writer of novels and short stories, particularly in the horror genre, or more specifically the occult detective sub-genre. It was a pursuit I took on in October of 2000. I published several short stories quickly and my first novel, Shadows Over Somerset, was released in 2004 by a small press publisher, Black Death Books.

It was a whirlwind of excitement, with book signings and convention appearances, but it was also filled with stress and disillusionment. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say, I became disenchanted with the writing community, by and large. It’s a cutthroat business, and deceitful peers and bad publishing experiences turned me off of the industry, but I am now and always have been a storyteller.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my storytelling journey of late. I suppose it started when I was a child and, along with my little brother, I created elaborate productions with action figures and set pieces. It was also when I began to write comics, often rewriting captions and dialogue from books like The Mighty Thor and Doctor Strange to tell new tales, even using a cut and paste method of redirecting scenes. Later I was given the opportunity to write plays that my sixth grade class performed for our elementary school, my favorite being a battle between the Greek and Roman Gods that was ultimately settled once the Norse Pantheon took the field.

Of course, a large part of my talents for telling stories were honed through adjudicating roleplaying games. It scratched that itch for genre yarn spinning that was cultivated from reading Howard, Lovecraft, Wellman, Burroughs, and Wheatley as a boy, but it soon became music and magic that fueled my artistic endeavors.

As I said, I started writing horror in 2000, at the age of 34, prior to that I was writing (mostly) super hero comics (something I pulled the plug on in 2006), but my primary focus, particularly from age 16 – 30, was writing songs and poetry. That was where I felt most fulfilled, where I explored my thoughts on religion, philosophy, spirituality, and the paranormal.

Of late, as I became more and more frustrated and dissatisfied with the writing industry, from stem to stern, I found myself picking up the guitar more and songs began to fall out of it again. As I continued to explore my heathen faith, which has been a cornerstone of my beliefs for more than four decades, I found I was writing poetry and verse that expressed those themes more than ever before, that the old voice I had shelved was hungry and eager to assert itself.

This is not to say that I am done with writing horror and occult detective fiction, but just that a large part of my creative self has been neglected for far too long, that the storyteller I imagined myself becoming got distracted along the way. I guess this is a roundabout way of saying you will see a bit more of me moving forward.

I hope to reawaken that part of me that embarked on a shamanic journey long ago but lost the path somewhere along the way. I am eager to explore a hybrid of horror and heathenry, if you will, to realign myself to where I was in the beginning, coupled with the years of wisdom acquired along the way, and to become a more expressive voice in the communities in which I am active.

I leave you with a couple of verses from the first “real” song I wrote, back in 1986 or so…

Shadows are reality
Creeping through my sanity
Everything in darkness
Everything in black
I was born with vision
Mystic intuition
Trip my way through daylight
And never coming back

Flowing through the motions
Drinking magick potions
My mind is now electric
Everything surreal
Trading all my sanity
For a little sanctity
I’m living just for dying
But dying isn’t real

Ol’ 55

Posted in Current Events on March 1, 2021 by Occult Detective

Birthdays become less enamoring when they begin to pile up like cord wood, but as my old pal Clarence always says, “Getting older sure beats the alternative.” I’m luckier than most. I’ve got an amazing wife and son, and a nice piece of property with a flowing stream and a bit of woods out back. I’ve got my health, for the most part. And I’ve never lost my hunger for life, nor that burning desire to create and to explore both the inner and outer worlds, as far as the gods will allow.

So, what does 55 feel like? Much the same as 25 did, just with a few more aches and pains, and a lot less angst. Marriage and children will do that for you, if you’re wired right. I’ve acquired a number of skills and a wealth of knowledge along the way. Never quite got hold of the wisdom I expected to come with age, but I’ve still got a bit of road left ahead of me. Who knows, I just might surprise myself and a few of you before the final cut.

I’m spending the day at work, squeezing in a bit of guitar in between calls. I’ve already written snatches of two new songs. Life doesn’t get much better than that. After work, I’ll get to wrap myself around the two things that matter most to me… What does 55 feel like? It feels like love on the best of days. And on the bad days? Well, they’re alright too. If you’re wired right.

My faith carries me through. My faith in the gods. My faith in my family. And, ultimately, my faith in myself. My birthday wish is that you all feel the same…

Godspeed, 2020

Posted in Current Events on December 31, 2020 by Occult Detective

As I write this, 2020 has thirteen more hours left to wreak its havoc upon us. Not that I believe a magic wand will be waved and 2021 will be any better. At this point, I’m just hoping it’s not going to get worse. But it’s possible. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the X-Files was right all along — Trust No One — be it doctors, politicians, activists, or especially the overlords of social media.

I thought about writing a review of 2020, to highlight the good — and there were some real blessings this year, despite the carnage — but ultimately, putting this year behind us and moving forward is best for all involved.

So instead, I want to look ahead at what is on the calendar and what I hope to achieve, COVID willing, in the coming year.

First of all, I’ll be posting my 11th Annual Occult Detective Award Winners on Monday, January 4th. There were some decent reads this year and while it’s not the strongest field since its inception, there are some real gems that came our way in 2020.

On January 7th I’ll be a guest on The Parafactor, chatting with my old friend Ash Hamilton and his merry bad of cohorts. I was last on their show back in September of 2009, so I’m really looking forward to discussing the paranormal with the guys and catching up.

On the gaming front, Bordermen Games is working to finalize the editing and graphic design on RPGPundit’s The Invisible College: An Authentic Magick OSR RPG we’ve been tapped to publish. Things are progressing nicely and we hope to release sometime in late March, give or take.

Another gaming project, that we are writing and designing for an established IP is well underway and we’re hoping to see it launch on Kickstarter in the fourth quarter of this year. This one’s a dream come true (or on the verge of coming true) and will be something really special… trust me.

Those two gaming projects are going to consume the majority of my creative juices, but I hope to make progress on some other projects, such as publishing an anthology of occultists writing occult fiction, getting all my ducks in a row on a non-fiction paranormal casebook, getting my fiction republished and completing my Cairnwood Manor and Liber Monstrorum series, writing more sword and sorcery, and increasing my online presence through youtube and other avenues.

Of course, I hope to be able to attend events later in the year, if COVID can be brought under control, and there are a number of paranormal investigations that are begging for attention. And I have a pallet shack encampment that could use some of that attention as well.

At the very top of my list is to spend as much time with my family as is humanly possible, and if our health allows, for much of that time to be spent in the woods…

Let’s face it, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all I want to do, but Time is the enemy and always wins in the end. But I will do what I can for as long as I can.

My only resolution for 2021 and all the years to come after is to live until I die. You’d be surprised just how rare that really is.

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