Archive for the Magick by Trial & Error Category

My review of Old Style Conjure by Starr Casas

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , , on August 17, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Though I was born and raised in the wilds of northern Indiana, my roots run deep into the soil of the South. My parents were both born in Arkansas and my family traces our lineage, on both sides, throughout the “Land of Opportunity”.

My maternal and paternal grandparents migrated to the rural Hoosier community I call home in the 1950s, an area where dozens upon dozens of other Arkansas expatriate families decided to hang their hats.

I was surrounded by family and friends who all hailed from those southern climes and they brought with them rich and colorful folk stories and traditions handed down for generations. Coupled with that, my nearest neighbors as a child were Mexican migrants, who had their own flavor of folklore from the southwest. It was a heady influence of cultures that fueled my own interests in the paranormal and the occult.

Immersing myself in Mama Starr’s Old Style Conjure: Hoodoo, Rootwork, & Folk Magic felt very much like a homecoming of sorts.

The author, well-versed in the tradition, has a distinctive writing style the evokes the spirit of the South, comfortable and relaxed, but not without a bit of spit and fire.

The historical context of the craft is well-represented and woven throughout giving the work that sense of it being passed down from an elder rootworker to a novice conjurer, which is just the case.

With minor exceptions, the spellwork here is fully developed and practical, hammering again and again the connections between ones ancestors, the Bible as source, purity of intent, and justification for taking action.

In many ways, I am reminded of the pow-wow magic of the Pennsylvania Dutch (of which I’m more intimately familiar), but while the roots of pow-wow run back to Europe, conjure is firmly grounded in African-American slave culture.

The magic presented here is powerful stuff. It’s not the sort of mojo I keep in my bag of tricks, but I am fascinated by its deep, colorful history and its continued presence in the modern world.

Conjure is the magic of the people and it works. If you’ve an interest in pursuing these works, I can recommend no better place to begin.

Old Style Conjure: Hoodoo, Rootwork, & Folk Magic by Mama Starr Casas is available wherever books are sold or you can weave your own brand of magic and purchase it directly from the publisher by the simple manipulation of the keyboard at your fingertips. Just click HERE to begin your adventure into the magic of the folk.

12 Movies to Inspire Your Magic(k)

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Media Macabre on August 7, 2017 by Occult Detective

Yesterday, druid author John Beckett published a blog entitled 12 Movies to inspire your Magic. In the post he states “if you’re feeling a bit too mundane and you need some magical motivation, give one of these a try“.

While there are several fine movies on his list of inspirational works, I would only include two from his article in a list of my own. One would come from his initial 12 and one from his “not for this” section.

So let’s have a go, shall we, and in no particular order:

Excalibur: A brilliant choice by John. He’s spot on about the brilliant performance by Nicol Williamson as Merlin. And Helen Mirren’s Morgan La Fey is equal to the task.

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The Wicker Man: John finds the depiction of paganism off-putting here, despite being a fan of the movie, but I beg to differ. What you see is living, breathing paganism at its most human. No, I’m not suggesting we return to sacrificing our fellow man to the gods, but the moral of the story is clear and compelling.

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Now for 10 that didn’t make Mr. Beckett’s list but make mine —

The Devil Rides Out: This brilliant adaptation of the Dennis Wheatley classic stars Christopher Lee in his finest performance.

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The Ninth Gate: A lot of people were turned off by this Johnny Depp thriller, but I found it engaging.

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Night of the Demon: An often overlooked masterpiece adapting M.R. James’ Casting of the Runes.

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A Dark Song: This recent film blew me away. Yes, the ritual’s a bit dodgy but the spirit and intent are masterfully done.

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Simon, King of the Witches: Seldom seen by most people I talk to, but this one blew me away at the drive-in in the 70s. Definitely a cult classic.

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The Love Witch: Anna Biller pulled out all the stops for this 70s horror movie homage.

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Necromancy: Orson Welles, just before the end, drunkenly chews the scenery in this low budget thriller. Hard to find, but worth a look.

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Lucifer Rising: Kenneth Anger’s powerful ritual trapped in celluloid, evocative and transformative. For the record, I prefer Jimmy Page’s soundtrack.

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The Song Remains the Same: Speaking of Page, this film, while far from perfect, captures real magic at work.

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And now for something completely different:

Ghoulies: Yes, Ghoulies. I know it’s a Gremlins rip-off, but the ritual scenes and Detective’s Michael Des Barres was really quite something.

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The Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot Deck

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , on August 2, 2017 by Occult Detective

Before the embers of Lùnastal have even grown cold, I am pleased to offer the latest addition to my growing Tarot enterprise —  The Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot Deck.

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Taking a cue from my short-lived Weirder Tales online serial and even shorter-lived Occult Detective Illustrated comic magazine, I tapped into those past resources and conjured some additional art to create my latest deck experience.

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The Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot is a 78 card Tarot Deck featuring characters and themes from my the supernatural fiction.

Utilizing lessons learned creating the Skrá Tarot, the Illustrated Deck is an evocative and creative divination tool.

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The 22 cards of the Major Arcana follow the structure of the classic Tarot, with illustrations carefully constructed to not only represent characters and locations from my Liber Monstrorum and Cairnwood Manor book series, but to tap into the recurrent themes and archetypes inherent in the mystical journey of the reader.

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The suits of the Minor Arcana are reinterpretations of their classic identifications and feature the same artwork (with slight framing differences) as found in the Skrá Deck. The Court cards, however, are more inline with the Major Arcana, with each card representing an appropriate character from my published works.

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All my Tarot Decks are available for purchase through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

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My occult detective collection, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum , and both novels in the Cairnwood Manor series — Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead — are available via Amazon and other online retail outlets in both ebook and trade paperback.

Sneak Peek: The Court of Swords

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives with tags on July 28, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Here’s a quick look at the Court of Swords from the forthcoming Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot.

A reminder that all my Tarot Decks are available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

And my occult detective collection — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum — is available via Amazon and other online retail outlets in both ebook and trade paperback.

 

My future’s in the cards. So is yours… #Tarot

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , on July 27, 2017 by Occult Detective

Here’s a sneak peek at the Tarot Deck I’m in the throes of designing.

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Taking a cue from my short-lived Weirder Tales online serial and even shorter-lived Occult Detective Illustrated comic magazine, I tapped into those past resources and conjured some additional art to create my latest deck experience.

Pictured above (from left to right, naturally) are The Magician (Landon Connors with Boo), the Queen of Pentacles (Sarah Jones), The Hierophant (Guy Starbiter, co-created with Freeman Presson), The Star, and The Devil

The Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot will be available soon, as will a deck of Rune Cards.

In the meantime, you might like to check out the other Tarot Decks I have available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

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And don’t forget my occult detective collection — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum — is available via Amazon and other online retail outlets.

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.:.

The Occult Detective is open for business

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game, Occult Detectives with tags , , , on July 5, 2017 by Occult Detective

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On Tuesday, whilst America was celebrating its Independence, I was busy launching an etsy store. That’s right, The Occult Detective is open for business.

The first item being offered is The Landon Connors: Occult Detective Tarot. Originally designed for use in Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game, I quickly developed a deep connection with the cards and felt that they had a greater purpose beyond the game itself.

I wanted to make the deck available to those who would have little to no interest in an RPG, but would understand and intuit the value of these cards as a divination tool. I think you’ll agree, they are brimming with potential.

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In the coming weeks I’ll be adding The Occult Detective Skrá Tarot to the store.

Skrá is an old Norse word. As a noun, it meant “skin” as in parchment, but as a verb its meaning is “to write”.

The Skrá Tarot was my first attempt at a personalized deck, where the symbolism was mine and mine alone.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Ever since I first started revealing images from this deck back in 2012, the response has been overwhelming.

For whatever reason, a lot of people have felt a real connection to these images. So, after a wee bit of soul-searching, I decided to release them. I have had to reformat them somewhat to accommodate the print shop doing the work, but I think in the end, this will make the cards even better.

As for what else I might be offering, I foresee signed books, perhaps more Tarot Decks, maybe even some readings.

I’m also offering up my services to create custom cards or full decks for those interested.

As you can see, there’s lots going on at my new storefront. Come on by and check out The Occult Detective and browse around. I’ve a feeling something might grab you…

Three for the Third

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on July 3, 2017 by Occult Detective

I had far different plans for today, but as I’ve taken ill, I will temper my usually more cryptic temperament and unveil the following revelations three:

  • In 11 days, July 14th, First Born, a collection of Occult Detective tales and the first installment in my Liber Monstrorum Chronicles, will be available in trade paperback and ebook formats from Seventh Star Press. Of course, the pre-order for the kindle version is available now.

    The stories in this collection are:

    Mourn Not the Sleepless Children
    The Devil’s in the Details
    The Soul Cages
    Ashes to Ashes
    Nos Galan Gaeaf
    Familiar Territory
    Observance

    Ghost of a Chance
    The Cabin in the Woods
    Wyrdtails
    Strange Magick
    The Grim Beast of Iaeger
    The Hour of the Wolf
    A Murder of Crows
    A Gathering of Shadows 

  • In advance of First Born’s launch, I will be sharing a serial short story in six installments, beginning later this week and culminating in the finale on July 13th.

    This story will take place during the third act of Shadows Over Somerset and feature occult detectives Landon Connors and Sam Hill, as well as Cassidy Martin, the wee little girl fans of my Cairnwood Manor series are sure to remember.

  • And finally, this very month, the following will be made available for purchase via various online outlets —

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Looks like this July will be one for the ages.

.:.

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