Archive for the Liber et Audax Category

Men of Ash

Posted in Liber et Audax on May 14, 2019 by Occult Detective

Aescling, Men of Ash.

I grew up on a small farm northwest of Converse surrounded by ash trees. They’re all dead now.

The trails we hike through the Mississinewa are littered with fallen ash.


In Norse culture, the world tree was a mighty ash. Odin and Thor both wielded spears of ash, and it is said the first man of the north was born of ash, while the first woman was born of elm.

Ash wood is very strong, tough and elastic, and a joint of ash will bear more weight than any other wood.

It is the best firewood, burning the hottest for the longest, whether seasoned or green.


Here in Indiana and across the Midwest, the ash has been ravaged. Then I look across social media and the cultural shift globally and the symbolism does not escape me.

We face two fronts.

We are at war with the extreme left who would demonize men, particularly what they refer to as “white men”, brandishing terms against us such as “toxic masculinity”, “patriarchy”, “misogyny”, and “racist”.

And we are at war with the extreme right who misappropriate our cultural heritage and the symbols of our faith to further their fascist ambitions.

How do we combat these extremes?


We hold true to our faith. We stand proud as Men of the North, as Men of Ash. We become shining examples of what men should be — protectors, providers, self-reliant, and strong. We bolster our communities and lift up the weak. We cast down our enemies and give comfort and aide to those in need.


I am reminded of Aragorn’s speech from Return of the King in which he called:

My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand!

The ash has fallen. We need to plant them anew and root out the pests that brought them down.

Paranormal Retroactivity

Posted in Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error on March 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

Magick, in all its forms and practices, is our attempt to kindle that spark of divinity that is our birthright. We are the children of the gods and we are meant to stride amongst the infinite…

merc retro

Each of us has a number, special to us. Mine is 8, though I generally write it ∞. It seems like this year should be my year. It’s my 53rd, after all. 5 and 3 make 8.

Astrologically speaking, Mercury retrogrades in Pisces today. It’s a time to look inward, to reflect, to consider my path forward, and the legacy I hope to leave behind. Jupiter factors into this accord as well. Everything’s lining up.

Tomorrow, Uranus moves into Taurus for the next seven years which should inspire an insane amount of creativity. And with the New Moon, well, this synchronicity of events couldn’t be more timely.

It is a time to become wild and free, to plunge myself into the wilderness, to stalk my muse and harvest it.

In seven years I’ll be sixty. Now’s the time to plot my course.

I have several projects I would like to see completed by year’s end:

  1. Occult Detective RPG for Bordermen Games
  2. No Quarter, a 5th Edition Campaign Setting for Bordermen Games
  3. An anthology of Occult Fiction by Practicing Occultists
  4. Widow-maker’s Apprentice,  a collaboration with Steven Shrewsbury
  5. The sequel to Hallowe’en House, a collaboration with Greg Mitchell
  6. Born Again, the final book in the Liber Monstrorum and Cairnwood Manor series

I also have a couple of other projects I’d like to get off the ground, including an occult detective/sword and sorcery series and what could very well be my final horror novel.

The biggest thing itching at me though is a non-fiction handbook — sort of an occult detective’s grimoire, a grim-noir, if you will.

Time will tell. I’ve a lot of things that need to find their proper alignment, but my goal is to see all these projects, and others unnamed, through by 2026.

I’m not really a planner. I like to spread the seed and let things grow organically, wildly even.

Fingers (and swords) crossed.

Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard

Posted in Liber et Audax on January 22, 2019 by Occult Detective

Robert E HowardToday marks the 113th anniversary of the nativity of my favorite author — Robert E. Howard.

In, what is arguably his finest work, Beyond the Black River, he wrote, “Barbarism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.”

In a letter to his friend, Tevis Clyde Smith, he asked, “When a nation forgets her skill in war, when her religion becomes a mockery, when the whole nation becomes a nation of money-grabbers, then the wild tribes, the barbarians drive in… Who will our invaders be? From whence will they come?”

I wonder what Howard would think of what we have become? I suppose he would consider us soft and ripe to be overrun. A society built on keyboard posturing, where extremists on both sides of the fence froth at the mouth — close-minded, insecure — desperate to curry the favor of their peers by spewing as much hated as they can muster, the glow of their computer monitors and cell phone screens illuminating the enraged faces of unrecognizable monstrosities.

Howard saw the truth of it.

Robert E. Howard wrote with a fiery imagination, thundering out kinetic and visceral prose that spoke to the human condition, that evoked raw, unbridled emotion.

He left us far too soon, but on his own terms, I suppose.

Regardless, today we raise a horn in his honor.

Happy Birthday, Two-Gun.

Cabbage on the morrow

Posted in Liber et Audax on December 31, 2018 by Occult Detective


Let’s cut to the chase — The defining moment of 2018 was the death of my father near the end of July after a horrific battle with cancer. It was an exhausting ordeal, for everyone, and I’m still feeling the weight of it these many months later. My father had a lot of faults, but I loved him despite each and every one of them and I miss him, foibles and all.

There was some good, to be sure, spread out across the mantle of the past year. While my father’s passing was a grim shadow that hung over it, we still managed to find some light.

One of the highlights was seeing Connor meet one of his favorite authors, Margaret Weiss, at Gen Con. My son has been reading through all of the Dragonlance books, and recounting them, chapter by chapter, to me has been such a joy. His enthusiasm is contagious and I revel in his love for these books, much as how I did when they first hit the scene in the late 80s.


Another of the things I cherish about 2018 was our continued commitment to our health and well being. Yoga, meditation, and hiking have become such an integral part of our lives, with Kim being the driving force behind it. We eat healthy. We exercise. And we’re loving every bit of it.

We also took in several plays and concerts, and man, was that a lot of fun. To soak up a bit of culture like that, and being able to share it with Kim and Connor, was such an uplifting experience. I am so looking forward to expanding those horizons even more in 2019.

There were also a lot of things that took a backseat this past year, unfortunately.

My explorations into the paranormal were few and far between for the better part of 2018. A lot of that was due to my father’s illness, to be sure, but I also have been noticing an ongoing trend in the field, some things that I have complained about for years, that are becoming more and more prevalent. I hope to work toward changing some of that as the new year rolls out.


I didn’t get much writing done this year either, but I did manage to see a novella published — Hallowe’en House, co-written with my friend Greg Mitchell; and there was the introduction I wrote for a kickstarter project that reprinted the earliest tales of Kull written by my favorite author, Robert E. Howard.

Along with writing less, I also read less this year. Our Water Street Book Club petered out after two books (Sleeping Beauties was a real slog) and I managed only about 60 titles for the year, many of which were review copies that came my way. That will be one my New Year’s Resolutions, to see the Book Club revitalized and to get more reading (and writing) in over the course of 2019.

rpgAnother high point of 2018 was seeing the Oak Hill RPG Club grow. We picked up new members and played twice weekly for the better part of it. While we lost steam on developing our own RPG (due to various copyright issues), we really have seen gaming become more firmly entrenched into our regimen.

So, we say fare thee well to 2018. I’ve a fair number of resolutions for the new year, not the least of which is to be more mindful of content for this blog. I hope to have some exciting announcements in the coming months and hope you’ll stay tuned to hear them.

Till then, I wish each and every one of you all the best and may 2019 find you at peace.

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!

Death is not the end of the story

Posted in Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error on August 2, 2018 by Occult Detective

I’ve a lot on my plate, with several projects in various stages of completion, but my father’s illness and subsequent passing put a lot of things on hold. I’ve also had a lot on my mind, so turning to the cards is a great way to see where my head is really at and what multiversal forces are helping or hindering my path.

I decided to use my own Occult Detective Tarot.

Let’s have a look —


The first card drawn is The Hanged Man, a spectre from my recent past. The card typically represents sacrifice and I see no need to argue that point. We all make sacrifices. Some large, some small. The key is to make sure they matter, that the blood on the altar is delivering sustenance to the appropriate godform.

Drawing the second card, I reveal my present mood or situation. Here we find the Ace of Earth (also called Diamonds or Pentacles). Denoting intuitiveness and success, this card can also signify groundedness and improving ones physical well-being.

As to what the future holds, Death seems to make a not unexpected appearance. Change. Transition. Transformation. Read as a whole, these three cards tell a story, from sacrifice to self-improvement to successful transformation.

The cards are a window, but they don’t tell the whole story, nor is the story they tell writ in stone. This was a much needed, encouraging reading. Death is not the end of the story. It is the beginning. Everything before it is just prologue.


Posted in Archive, Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error on August 1, 2018 by Occult Detective

I’ve had a song running through my head the past couple of days. To be honest, it’s usually a soft parade of Led Zeppelin up there, but the earworm that’s caught me is a variant on that theme, more feminized, but no less majestic in its grandeur. The song in question?

I’ve had a lot on my mind the past month or more, especially in the last two weeks. My father’s long illness, that culminated in his passing from this world to the next in the last minutes of Friday, July 20th, has introduced a new thread of introspection.

I am no stranger to loss. I’ve said farewell to family and too many friends. But this was a bit different than those that came before, because when I stared down at my father, when I held his hand, it was me that I saw there, or rather a future shadow of me.

There were moments when I saw myself mirrored there and it made me pause in each instance. I am reminded of that famous Irish epitaph —

Remember Man as you go by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so shall you be,
Prepare yourself to follow me

So here we are then, with Lùnastal upon us. That which has been sown, it is now time to reap. We’ll be saying our public farewell to my father tomorrow and with it my disquiet will be lifted. It will be time to return to the business at hand.

I’ve been tinkering with a number of things, but it feels time to see some things finished, to be taken to their end and cast like runes upon the wind.

Magic, like the soul, is eternal, but life is a fleeting thing. On Yeats grave, it reads —

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death
Horseman Pass by!

There is magic adrift, enveloping the living and the dead alike. Entwined, it is, this mystic rapture, with all that was, is, and will be. Something wondrous is on the horizon, beyond space and time itself. Magic abounds. While there is still breath to be drawn, live. Embrace your True Will and be that what you were meant to be, free and unfettered. Love and be loved. Live, and let live.

Someday… #RobertEHoward

Posted in Liber et Audax with tags on May 5, 2018 by Occult Detective

howard days

Unless I happen to win the lottery in the next couple of weeks this will be yet another year I won’t be attending Howard Days in Cross Plains.

I keep telling myself that I’ll make it “someday”, but we all know that someday never comes. So I’m making myself this promise, if not before, then I will attend Solomon Kane’s 100th Birthday Event. That will be 2028. I’ll be 62. Absolutely. But I’m hoping for before…

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