Archive for the Magick by Trial & Error Category

My thoughts on The Lunar Gospel by Cal Garrison

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on April 18, 2018 by Occult Detective

I’ve been insanely busy working on Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game. Thankfully, book reviews often do double duty as research. The following book came along at just the right time.

lunarThe Lunar Gospel by Cal Garrison touches on something that I have held to be true for nearly forty years, that one’s moon sign has more or, at the very least, equal prominence in your astrological make-up than one’s sun sign. Garrison presents a rich and fascinating glimpse into our relationship with the lunar aspects of our personalities. I found the book well researched and wrapped up in an enjoyable package.

The Lunar Gospel is such a pleasant read and insightful, able to walk that fine line between erudite, analytical discourse and intuitive, emotional revelation.

It’s a great addition to my library and I recommend it to all those with a healthy interest in the heavens and their influence upon us.

The Lunar Gospel by Cal Garrison is published by Weiser Books and can be purchased directly from their website, or via either your local brick & mortar or favorite online retail outlet.



A Tumultuous Tarot Tuesday

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Writing in Theory & Practice on April 3, 2018 by Occult Detective

On the last day of March I commented that it was “going out like a lamb to slaughter. Kicking and screaming a little bit, but of little consequence.” April has been a different matter altogether, with unexpected snowfall to the tune of a couple of billowy inches that blanketed my corner of the world on April Fool’s Day and into Monday morning, followed by today’s rather blustery cacophony of thunderous discourse in the heavens above.

I am quite partial to thunderstorms. While my seasonal preference leans toward Autumn, followed closely by Winter, Spring’s storms excite me. I revel in their majesty and marvel at the power that courses across the sky and tasks those of us below.

So, here I sit, in the haunted Hoosier heartland, while the wind howls and moans without, the driving rain pelting out pagan rhythms on the metal awning outside my office door… it seems the perfect atmosphere to do a little soul searching, occult detective-style.


Using the Major Arcana from my Occult Detective deck, I draw six cards.

  1. How I feel about myself: Death. Nice. It does mirror my inner thoughts — self-doubt, fear, feeling the weight of health concerns for myself and those closest to me. These thoughts are buried deep, but in quiet moments, they are there, like earthworms rising up in the lawn after a heavy rain.
  2. What I most want right now: The High Priestess. I’m looking for a secret to be revealed. No mystery there. Why else turn to the cards?
  3. My fears? Temperance. Ah, blissful harmony. How much longer can it possibly last? Deep down, it’s a fear many of us possess. Life is good, but financially it’s precarious at best. I have always tended to live on the edge.
  4. In my favor: The Chariot. Drive and ambition. Creativity is my strong suit. Ideas are in no short supply. Implementing them and staying focused on a single task, however…
  5. My opposition: Justice. Fate itself is against me? Not so, but close. Still, I am being warned against accepting bad advice and self-serving actions. Now that’s some advice I can take to heart.
  6. So, what lies in store for me? The Devil. Ah, a sinister warning to not over-indulge in my addictions. To succumb to such temptations is a danger to the world I’ve created for myself, but there is also the encouragement here to be bold, wild, and free, to cast aside all self-doubt and forge a path anew.

Were my questions answered? In part, and with further reflection, perhaps even more so. That’s the thing about a reading, it sparks self-reflection. I have a number of projects I’m working on at the moment.. well, that’s not really true. I have a number of projects I’m thinking about, all in various stages of development. I suppose it’s time to get down to the doing, to the completing of them.

Words seldom write themselves and pictures cannot be drawn until the pencil is in hand.

All acts of creation require magick to implement them. The artist must understand themselves, their purpose, their motivation clearly and succinctly before they can put their art into action, to bring it from the ethereal and into the world.

It is so easy to be lead astray, to lose focus. Life is so painfully short. There is no excuse not to live life to its fullest, to embrace with fervor that which makes you whole and complete. Live a life of adventure, but make it your own. It’s your story. You control your narrative. Be you, writ large on the page. Bask in the majesty and wonder of the world around you and celebrate your place within it.


My Thoughts on The Bardic Book of Becoming

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on March 30, 2018 by Occult Detective

IvanIvan McBeth was one of those people — you know, a character. He had a big personality and was enthusiastic and infectious. The world needs more people like him in it. While his particular flavor of paganism was a wee bit estranged from my own worldview, his heart was always in the right place.

I did not know him well at all, but I was on friendly terms with people who moved in his circles, and he was a constant subject among them. We had a mutual fascination with standing stones and circles, of the power that coursed through the very earth, and of telluric currents and ley lines and the like.

I had not read any of his works before The Bardic Book of Becoming: an introduction to Modern Druidry, recently published by Weiser Books. His personality is on display throughout and as an initiation into the practices of the pagan folk who are trying to keep the fires of druidism alive in the 21st century, you’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring book. How much is Ivan, and how much Fearn Lickfield, his co-author and partner, I cannot say. But what I can say, with confidence, is “buy this book”.

fearnThere is a simplicity to the writing, not that it is dumbed down or lacking in skillful acumen, but it speaks to the core of self. It is a testament to McBeth’s life’s work. There is a beauty in his dissertation, a joyful reverence for the sacred and of the sacred spaces, both natural and of those we construct.

While druidry is not my path, I was swept up in McBeth and Lickfield’s fervor and thus inspired to rethink, to reevaluate some of my own beliefs and theories about the nature of awareness and existence.

There are bold thoughts and erudite scholarship throughout. And if you’re not careful, like me, you’ll be swept away by the promised majesty and the kindling of boundless creativity that such mindfulness embraces.

druidryI loved this book. It made me want to lose myself in the woods and reconnect with the beings that call it home still.

I recommend The Bardic Book of Becoming wholeheartedly and doubly so the feelings that it inspired within me.

The Bardic Book of Becoming: an Introduction to Modern Druidry by Ivan McBeth and Fearn Lickfield is available wherever books are sold, including

My Review of The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on March 21, 2018 by Occult Detective

My friend Jill Pingleton reached out to me last night to share the new iOS app she and her husband Roger have developed to aid in categorizing paranormal phenomenon. — The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements.

I have known Jill and Roger for a number of years and have had the pleasure to investigate with both on several occasions. I found them to be studious and dedicated researchers and got to see firsthand a number of innovative experiments conducted using equipment designed by Roger and his colleagues. One in particular that stood out involved dry ice and lasers that was absolutely brilliant.

They’ve always had an eye for utilizing technology to enhance one’s paranormal investigations and experience, and I find their latest project — The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements — to be their best foot forward to date.

It’s innovative, useful as hell, and really does a thorough job of classifying the various types of phenomena one might experience.


The Table Layout

The table is divided into five distinct categories of anomalous phenomenon, each represented by a color.

paranormal elements

Visual Elements are red. Auditory Elements are orange. Physiological Elements are yellow. Environmental Elements are green. Super Patterns are purple.

It’s all there. I picked my brain to come up with something not covered, but you can find them all there in these 103 classifications. Each element is clickable, with a useful explanation of what the phenomena is and with examples of types of phenomena reported.

Admittedly, some of these definitions could be refined and expanded upon, but it’s a work in progress and a terrific start.

Based on their categorization, in my 35 years as a paranormal adventurer (44 if you want to go all the way back to my first encounter), I have experienced 54 elements of paranormal phenomena, though I am tempted to say 55. Here’s my score card —

my paranormal elements

You’ll see 54 white circles representing those things I’ve experienced. The one in yellow, Wn, represents Portal/Window and is defined as “An opening or view into what appears to be a parallel universe, time or dimension. Can be visible or invisible (only known to intuitive individuals). Often a place where paranormal phenomena occur is attributed to portal activity. Portals have been seen as physical doors, near or touching the ground. Sometimes visible in the sky, during which time a different sky can be seen through the portal. May be related to Divergent Reality or Glitch In The Matrix.

I would add preternatural vortices and  temporal nexuses to this description. I have been investigating one particular location for twelve years now, and while I have long suspected it to be one or the other, the proof of such has alluded me. I know it to be true, deep down in my gut, but I have yet to see beyond the veil and glimpse the other side.


The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements is an invaluable tool and I look forward to seeing how it evolves in the coming months and years. For one, I’d really like to see them add a “realtime” investigation log feature, allowing the user to be able to click and add each element as they occur, noting time, place, temp, etc.

The app is only .99¢ via the Apple App Store. It is a dollar well spent, believe me.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with BethSheba Ashe

Posted in Last Writes with..., Magick by Trial & Error on March 19, 2018 by Occult Detective


sasheI was lucky enough to have cultivated an online friendship with Steven Ashe, a prolific author of the occult and a consummate musician. I found Steven’s scholarship brilliant and he was, point of fact, a talented and charming fellow whom I feel blessed to have had the pleasure to know, even if we were separated by an ocean and some change.

Sadly, he crossed over far too young, but thankfully he left behind a wealth of books on all manner of esoterica. He is greatly missed.

bsasheThrough Steven, I was introduced to his wife’s scholarship.

BethSheba Ashe is every bit her late husband’s equal. I have found her musings on facebook and twitter to be erudite and insightful, and I have marveled over some of her research in dissertations. She has a great instinct for spiritual and magical matters with an ability to connect dots and unknot some rather intricate meanderings in the occult sphere.

I reached out to BethSheba some time ago, inviting her to take part in my little Last Writes experiment. Blissfully, she has joined us now…

Not familiar with 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.

What would be your last meal? I don’t really care, but I’d like to share it with friends and perhaps share a joint with them too.

 What would be the last book you’d like to read and last movie you’d like to watch? …something inspiring, but again – its not something that I really care about. Same with the last movie, although I’m looking forward to seeing Sherlock Holmes meet Doctor Who.

What is the last song you’d like to hear? … bird song.

Who is the first person you’d like to meet on the other side? …the same person I always meet when I’m on the other side. It would be very weird if they weren’t there. I enjoy the continuity of seeing them when I die.

My review of the Lunar Nomad Oracle

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , on March 9, 2018 by Occult Detective

I fell in love with Shaheen Miro’s Lunar Nomad Oracle as soon as I opened the mailing envelope it arrived in. Within an attractive and sturdy slipcase you’ll find a comprehensive guidebook and a deck of 43 cards that promise to “unlock your creativity and awaken your intuition”. I am here to attest that they will do just that and so much more.


The artwork is stunning, with each card representing a little window into the imagination. There is a surreal, dream-like quality to the art that taps into your subconscious and ignites that sense of wonder and excitement that lurks inside us.

The guidebook does a superb job of leading the reader on a journey of discovery, of introducing them to their “lunar self”. I can’t imagine anyone not coming away from this without a better sense of themselves, of feeling whole and complete.

Miro is a natural storyteller, with a real gift for tapping into the mystical imagery that speaks to the reader on an inner level.

This is the place of etherealness and boundless reverie.

This is a deck that I would highly recommend, not just to tarot enthusiasts and the magically inclined, but to all creatives and would-be artisans. This is a trip into otherworldly realms, into the dreamland, that place where we visit when we lay ourselves down to sleep. The Lunar Nomad Oracle allows that door to be opened whilst you’re wide awake, inviting your full potential for imaginative thinking to be unfettered and free.

In case I’m being unclear: I loved this deck and think you will too.

Shaheen Miro’s Lunar Nomad Oracle is available in bookstores and online marketplaces throughout the prime material plane. Visit your favorite scriptum emporium and bring this one home. But prepare yourself to dream while you’re awake…

TAC Presents The Study Havamal

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , on March 7, 2018 by Occult Detective

The Asatru Community is a non-profit organization whose aim is to be the central hub of a network that links individuals and kindreds around the world. It is a noble cause. TAC  is looking to provide a safe place for heathens to connect with one another, to share their knowledge and ideas, and to promote fellowship among all the various factions that make up the greater Asatru community.

I have been honored to have my artwork, “Midwinter”, selected to grace the cover of The Asatru Community’s Study Havamal. This edition will be sent, free of charge, to service men and women stationed around the globe.

BobFreeman, TAC Havamal Cover w

For more information, visit

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