Archive for the Magick by Trial & Error Category

My thoughts on Lost Teachings of the Runes: Northern Mysteries & the Wheel of Life by Ingrid Kincaid

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , , , on October 17, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

I have had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) of reading Ingrid Kincaid’s Lost Teachings of the Runes. Before I delve into my thoughts on the book, here is Weiser Books description:

Lost Teachings of the Runes is an unexpected adventure into the hidden meanings and profound lessons held in these simple markings that are the signatures of ancient beings.

kincaid runesLost Teachings of the Runes invites the reader to journey to the realms of past and future that exist hidden beyond the horizon and beneath our feet. Using an engaging blend of stories, meditations, and ancestral knowing, author Ingrid Kincaid explores Northern Mysteries from the center of the Wheel of Life. Kincaid demonstrates ways the Wheel can be used to connect ancient wisdom with modern life, and offers tools and teachings that may be used on a daily basis to enable readers to reclaim their personal power. Lost Teachings of the Runes presents a life-affirming, death-honoring approach that returns the runes to a place of balance, to light and dark, to order and chaos, and to the roots and branches of the world tree.

kincaidKnown as the Rune Woman, Ingrid Kincaid is an author, educator and workshop facilitator with over 45 years of experience. She is a staff-carrying wise woman in the Old Norse tradition and her connection with the runes is ancestral. Ingrid teaches throughout the United States and Europe. Visit her at


I was quite surprised by Lost Teachings. I was expecting this to be another modern examination of the runes with that New Age slant you so often get these days, but instead a discovered a very vibrant and thoughtful poetic journey that mirrored for me how the runes are alive and a visceral part of religious experience.

I felt very connected to the author’s word, in a way that’s difficult to explain, and I think it’s because they speak on many levels, the most important being to that deeper, primordial essence that connects us to our Northern European forebearers.

There is true magic of the north within these pages. You will feel them echo in your bones. She writes, as the book closes, “Sometimes all that needs to change are the meanings we attach to the stories we tell.” Very insightful and true.

Lost Teachings of the Runes is a journey. I am reminded of the guided meditations I used to take part in back in the late 80s, when the world was still fresh to me and I had so many questions (and yet thought I had all the answers). Lost Teachings led me to that long ago place and connected it with an even greater expanse, back to my ancestors, and made me feel at peace.

These words came to me just as I needed them.

I obviously recommend this book to all seekers of knowledge and understanding. One need not be a practitioner of a northern faith to gain insight and benefit from the lessons here.

You can find Lost Teachings of the Runes: Northern Mysteries and the Wheel of Life by Ingrid Kincaid wherever books are sold, though I recommend one purchase directly from Weiser Books. The more money that finds its way into the publisher’s pocket ensures many more books from them in the future.


wolfecroweMy next book, Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum, will be available in trade paperback and ebook in just two weeks, dropping Hallowe’en, October 31, but you can preorder the kindle version right now via

Ghosts and Gunpowder

Posted in Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error on October 14, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

I was largely away from the internet over the weekend, so let’s catch up.

SATURDAY, Oct 12: The Nativity of the Beast

Spent the morning and early afternoon with Kim & Conn, then set out to set up for the Converse Historical Society’s Haunted History event.

ghosttourThere was a decent turnout for our second annual gathering, and the film, being a collection of historical footage from 1937-1985 on loan from the Converse Public Library, was a huge success.

Of course, the highlight for me is always the “ghost tour” of the old building…

I hosted four outings, with the first two being completely uneventful, although the third showed a spattering of activity including two doors being opened by unseen spirits and an obvious presence that seemed to follow the group around, even lingering with us on the ground floor.

bobtourThe fourth was filled with all manner of proverbial ‘bumps in the night‘. The most inexplicable phenomena related to mimicry. Members of ISPI who were visiting reported they stopped attempting to collect EVP because other guests (including myself) were being too loud speaking downstairs. The thing is, we attempted to recreate the experience, and despite raising their voices, no one could be heard from the floors above.

Just prior to them reporting this incident, those downstairs had clearly heard the group upstairs descending and paused their conversation anticipating their arrival. However, they never materialized, at least not until several minutes later. They assured the downstairs group that no aborted attempt to come down was attempted.

All in all, the entire event was an amazing success and CHS looks forward to hosting it again next year.

SUNDAY, Oct 13: Gunpowder and Fry Bread

Kim, Connor, and I spent the morning along the banks of the Mississinewa River for Mississinewa 1812,  the largest War of 1812 living history museum in the US. Sponsored by the Mississinewa Battlefield Society, it is a historical commemoration of the Battle of Mississinewa fought on December 17-18, 1812.

Here’s a video from 2014 to give you an idea —

The food was great, we had an interesting conversation with one of reenactors, and it’s always a thrill to explore all the wares being peddled by the vendors.


Afterward, we came home and finally decorated the house for Hallowe’en, then Connor and I swung an axe for a couple of hours to remove large portions of our ailing willow tree before finally calling it a day. Kim had made lasagna, and after a terrific meal, we collapsed in front of the television and continued our binge watching of Medium on Prime.

Monday, Oct 14: Footsteps and Hammerfalls?

So, what’s on the agenda today? I’ve the day job to address and some review reading to get in (once I get my paperwork squared), then, if the gods are willing and the creek don’t rise, the family and I will take a short hike through a local forest and then get some much needed work done on the pallet shack, which is dangerously close to being finished.

What’s coming up on our 31 Day Challenge?

Book reviews of Kincaid’s Lost Teachings of the Runes, Weber’s The Morrigan, and Casas’ Divination Conjure Style; a report on the Logansport Civic Players’ performance of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow; recaps of our Occult Detective RPG playtesting; lots on the release of my novel Descendant; some exciting news regarding the First Born audiobook release; and much more.

17 days till All Hallow’s Eve!

In the days ahead…

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on October 10, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

Almost a third of the way into October — a mere 21 days until All Hallow’s Eve strikes. Of course the day itself is magical, but the full moon on the 14th through the new moon on the 28th and the subsequent full moon on November 12th has got all kinds of exciting stuff going on behind the veil.

Looking at the Tarot, this is what the period suggests:

Perseverance and foresight lead to skillful and calculated results.

There is magic in the air. Always is. But the energies at play in the coming weeks are the very building blocks of creativity and exceptional productivity.

tarot spread 101019

The rune drawn for the season in question is Perthro.

perthroThis is the rune of the unknown and unknowable, of fate and that which is unmanifest. It is the sign of probability, of luck (both good and bad). The symbol has always looked like an overturned cup to me, spilling its contents across the multiverse…

What does this mean for us as the Samhain moons beckon and the veil between worlds becomes as thin as gossamer?

Relax. Trust in the skills at your command. Be at peace, for your instincts will guide you as surely as the knowledge you’ve acquired.

Luck can be fickle, but if you’re prepared for what is to come, then the fates will have no recourse but to bow to your whim.

‘Tis the season to honor those who have traveled into the esoteric mists of the hereafter before us. As they linger close to us in this time, their whispers become a chorus, a song both dark and wonderful. Their words, just beyond the realm of understanding, will guide us to a better understanding and comfort as we embrace our true purpose.


Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Hallowe’en, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via

93rd & Blackstone? An excerpt from Descendant, for your reading pleasure.

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 8, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

As the release of Descendant is fast approaching, just 23 days out, I thought another glimpse inside its pages was due:

frraineyRainey stepped out of the Yellow Cab on the corner of 93rd and Blackstone in front of the dark Victorian that set nestled in a copse of ancient ash and oak. Time had taken its toll on the Star & Garter, but its reputation alone drew the knowledgeably curious, as well as the serious student of the esoteric. The priest knew that if he were to unravel the mystery that was born this night, born upon a bloody Catholic altar, the road to understanding would begin here. He made his way across the uneven walk, climbed the porch stair and knocked upon the faded door.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” a frail man, bent and twisted, welcomed.

“Love is the law,” Rainey responded, finding the discourse distasteful. “Love under will.” The traditional Thelemic greeting was required to gain entry and each time he was forced to say it, he felt that a little piece of his soul were dragged into Hell.

The attendant took the priest’s hat and coat and hung them within the coatroom, just off the small foyer. The priest waited impatiently for the old retainer, eager to put this night’s dark work behind him. With a wave of a withered hand the old one directed Rainey toward the Drawing Room where the sounds of animated discussion emanated.

The room was filled with a magical blend of exotic aromas. Three men sat in Elizabethan chairs drawn together in a semi-circle about the fireplace. The stream of smoke from their pipes mingling with the cedar logs in the hearth; it was a scene that could have been cut from the eighteenth century. Their period dress was perfect in every detail, as were their accessories. A fourth gentleman, the proprietor of the Star & Garter, stood above the others, a cryptic tome held in his well-manicured hands.

middle pillar“Rubbish,” the largest of the three seated gentlemen bellowed, “there has never been an exact Thelemic equivalent to the Middle Pillar Rite as conducted by the Golden Dawn.”

“Surely you’d agree, Kline,” another responded indignantly, “that the vertical and horizontal enchantments of Reguli seem to be a form of it.”

“Feh,” the large man huffed, “then why is Nuit attributed to Kether in the vertical enchantment? I know, I know “lady of the stars”, etc., but in the Star Ruby, Nuit is used in the North and attributed to Earth. In Reguli, Nuit is again found in the North but attributed to Air, while Kether is traditionally associated with the fifth element of Spirit.”

“That would lead one to believe,” the third man, a bookish twenty-something who had probably not grown his first beard, sat forward and stated, “that the vertical enchantment component is to be conceptualized from a solar perspective.”

Rainey shook his head. “Excuse me, gentlemen,” he interrupted, “but who says that Nuit is equivalent to Earth in the Star Ruby? In the original version of the ritual, as found in The Book of Lies, the direction of North is attributed to Water.”

“Father Rainey,” the proprietor said, turning to greet the priest, “welcome to the Star & Garter. It has been too long.”

“Indeed, Mr. Buckland,” Rainey responded, accepting the hand offered, “it has been far too long.”

“What is this about the original version of the Star Ruby?” Kline demanded.

“Oh, Father Rainey is quite correct,” Buckland replied to the larger man’s query, “Around the same time that Crowley wrote Reguli he edited the Star Ruby. It makes sense that the elemental directions follow the same scheme.”

starruby“It’s interesting to note that in both versions of the Star Ruby,” Rainey added, “the position of the guardians stays the same.”

“But that would mean,” the young scholar mused, “that they are not elemental.”

“Precisely,” the priest quipped, impressed by the young man’s deduction.

“As always, Father Rainey,” Buckland said, placing a hand on the priest’s shoulder, “you are a fount of wisdom. Come… let us talk. These gentlemen can continue their discourse without further interruption by us. We have some catching up to do.”

The youngest of the three men rose and offered a hand to the priest.

“My thanks to you Father,” he said with a soft boyish voice, “it is rare to be in the company of one so well versed in the esoteric. I am in your debt. You have given me much to think about.”

“I am glad that I could shed some light on your discussion, Mister…?”

“J’Adoube… Andre J’Adoube, Father. And it my pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“The pleasure is mine,” the priest responded. “God be with you.”


There are a lot of Easter Eggs to unpack in this excerpt, many that will be revealed later in the text, but I thought I should clarify that there is a corner of 93rd and Blackstone in Chicago, but you’re not likely to find the Star & Garter there, any more than Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum is to be addressed at the actual 177A Bleecker Street.

Or is it?

To be honest, when I wrote the address for the Star & Garter I had no idea these two streets existed within the confines of the Windy City. let alone actually converged.

The 93, as reference to Crowley, was obvious enough, while Blackstone was an allusion to one of my favorite Robert E. Howard stories, The Black Stone.

It was only mush later that google maps showed me that such a place existed, albeit in a far different form from that found in my imagination.

93rd and Blackstone


Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Hallowe’en, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via


Scripturam Inspiravit

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 19, 2019 by Occult Detective

It’s weird how bursts of creative energy sort of wrap their dark wings around you and carry you off to distant and forgotten shores. Wolfe and Crowe was like that, meaning Descendant, the novel that will once again find itself available for public consumption once the bells of All Hallow’s Eve begin to chime.


It began as a short story about totally unrelated characters, or so I thought. The story, called Queen’s Gambit, was very well received, and when it came time to expand upon it, well, Selina and Martin showed up instead.

No rhyme nor reason. It’s just how the words fell out of my keyboard.

signI have long been a proponent of the subconscious process of creativity, the “divine spark”, if you will. As a guy who writes from the seat of his pants, without outline, or, to be perfectly honest, a single clue as to what is going to be written: characters, plot, structure — I come to the story with little to no idea what I’m doing.

Someone or something, perhaps my HGA, is telling the story to me. I’m my own first reader. A watered down version of Crowley and Aiwass, I suppose, minus the religious trappings. The writing all feels dictated to me, like it’s coming from somewhere else altogether. And that’s true for every single thing I write.

Even this blog.

When I opened up the file to write a blog today, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I just started typing and this is what’s spilling out.

lucifer-sigilWriting reviews is only marginally different. At least then I’ve read or watched what I’m about to expound upon, but the meat of the review is all fresh, bled onto the illuminated page.

So, to bring this back to the novel that is preparing to darken your door. It meant a lot to me when I wrote it, and it’s certainly the best novel I’ve “written” so far. It feels real to me in ways that other things I’ve written do not.

I happen to think you’d like it, if you’re interested in supernatural mysteries and occult thrillers and the like. If you’re not, I still think there’s something in there for you.

It explores some interesting territory and it offers a glimpse into the haunted Hoosier heartland, a glimpse that few people get to see, where magic is at one’s fingertips and the monsters are very real.


summoningDescendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Samhain, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via

For more information on me and my work you can listen to my interview on The Star Chamber. I had a great time chatting with Stephen, Holly, and Daniel. Not only did we cover my fiction writing, including Descendant, but we also spent a fair amount of time delving into the paranormal.

If you’d like to catch me in person, I’ll be a guest at ParaUnity — a paranormal convention being held at the Riverview Event Center (421 W Canal St in Peru, IN) on Saturday, October 19 from 5– 8pm.

A Sneak Peek at Descendant, available Oct 31

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 16, 2019 by Occult Detective

Descendant , my occult thriller from Seventh Star Press, will be available on Hallowe’en. Here’s a sneak peek —

D03“I think we know where this is going,” Selina said, while finalizing her test of the demon blood. “It’s clear that the creature we faced in the I.O.O.F. Lodge was no ordinary denizen of the Underworld.”

“Yeah, I was thinking a Ring Spawn initially, but now I’m not so sure. They don’t normally go for the human disguise angle.”

“Well, we’ll know in a minute,” she said, jotting down some figures onto a notepad. “Let me at the laptop.”

“Sure,” he said, moving to opposite bed. He watched her type in the information from the blood sample. It was all over his head. Proteins, serum albumin, thrombocytes, and a bunch of other shit he didn’t really understand. He was good in a fight, but science? Not his cup of tea. He knew that blood meant life, and that if you lost enough of it you were done, no matter what kind of creature you were.

“This can’t be right,” Selina said. She rechecked her notepad then reentered the chicken scratches. “Damn,” she muttered.


“That fucking thing was an egrigori,” she said, sitting back.

“One of the Banished?” Crowe said, lighting another cigarette. He rose and crossed the room, opening up a Styrofoam cooler and drawing a beer from the iced water. “What the hell would a fallen angel be doing mixed up in this shit?”

“There’s more,” Selina said, returning to the Monster Manual. “Central decoded the EVP from my cell last night.” She called up the media player and turned up the volume. “Listen to this.”

The sound of white noise played over the speakers. There was an indistinguishable hiss that had the cadence of language, but it was too far buried underneath the static resonance. Selina closed that file and opened another.

“Here it is cleaned up,” she said.

The hiss was there, but muted, farther back and conjoined with a garbled menagerie of chaotic sounds, and then… something… clearer than before. It almost sounded like… Crowe flashed her a quizzical look.

“One more time,” she said, “but with additional filters.”

Crowe sat down and listened. The white noise was almost gone now. The chaotic noise within it now taking the shape of mournful cries. Then the words came… clear now. He strained to perceive them, to wrap his head around the voice.

It was David Greene.

“The demon… his name… it is Amaros. The demon’s name is Amaros.”



DescendantCoverDescendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Samhain, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via

For more information on me and my work you can listen to my interview on The Star Chamber. I had a great time chatting with Stephen, Holly, and Daniel. Not only did we cover my fiction writing, including Descendant, but we also spent a fair amount of time delving into the paranormal.

If you’d like to catch me in person, I’ll be a guest at ParaUnity — a paranormal convention being held at the Riverview Event Center (421 W Canal St in Peru, IN) on Saturday, October 19 from 5– 8pm.


Happy Friday the 13th!

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on September 13, 2019 by Occult Detective

harvest moon

I have for years, unabashedly, proclaimed Friday the 13th as my second favorite holiday (after Halloween naturally), and, tonight’s Full Harvest Moon makes the date all the more special.

Let’s be honest — all full moons are special, but one falling on Friday the 13th is such a rare occurrence we’ll not see another until August 2049. I’ll be 83…

13That got me thinking about what 83 will be like, thirty years from now. So much change has occurred in the past thirty years, it’s hard to imagine what the decades ahead will bring.

Climate change, social and political unrest, a reliance on digital technologies… This is our world today. When I’m 83, I don’t suppose I’ll be too enamored with any of that sort of nonsense. I’ll be staring at the end of the road, surrounded by a grandchild or three perhaps, still spinning yarns and weaving magic.

I’m going to go out under the stars tonight, dragging Kim and Connor with me, and I am going to bind them to the promise that we will stand beneath that summer moon in that not so distant future, together, connected across time…

Be safe out there tonight, my friends. Sometimes there’s more than magic in the air, especially on a night like tonight…


DescendantCoverHere’s a friendly reminder for you: Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum, my latest occult detective release, will be available on October 31st, but you can pre-order the kindle version by clicking the following link. Trade paperback and other ebook versions will be available on Samhain.

If you like a twisting and turning occult thriller, then I think you’ll find this one to be right up your alley.

Descendant is up there at the top my favourite paranormal investigation novels… the depth of occult knowledge that has been intertwined into the story is vast.”

— Jim McLeod, Ginger Nuts of Horror

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