Archive for the Magick Category

I Watched the Fire That Grew So Low

Posted in Magick on March 23, 2020 by Occult Detective

He not busy being born is busy dying.” — Bob Dylan

All things must pass away.” — George Harrison

Upon us all, upon us all a little rain must fall.” — Robert Plant

“Even at the time that the pebbles are being counted out, be not frightened; tell no lies; and fear not the Lord of Death.” — Tibetan Book of the Dead

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I spoke with an old friend this past weekend, our conversation primarily focused on how our respective families were dealing with the social and economic upheaval that the novel-coronavirus (COVID-19) has wrought.

I mean, what else are we going to talk about in times like these, no?

But, as we hadn’t had a chance to talk in a while, other matters crept into the conversation, music and magic in particular.

Brian mentioned he was reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a book that I was intimately aware of in the days of my youth, when I lived in a haunted little place on Martin Street, just off campus at Ball State University, a short walk from Papa Lou’s Chug-A-Mug.

This set off a flood of memories, mostly good, but some sad and others, well, frightening.

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The picture above was taken in 2006. When I lived there, twenty years earlier, from late Fall of 1986 until Spring the following year, it had a comfortable brick porch, where we lulled away the hours, stretched out on the broad walls, sipping Budweiser or Rolling Rock, and deciphering the mysteries of the universe.

In ’86 I was twenty years old and at the height of my fascination with the works of Aleister Crowley. I had recently been sitting in with a local Alexandrian Coven led by a University Philosophy professor, and my longtime chum and roommate, Brent, and I entertained a small group of magically-minded folk (primarily chaos magicians) on a regular basis.

The TibetanI had purchased a copy of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, secondhand, after reading The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert. Both books had a huge impact on me during that time.

After my talk with Brian this weekend, a lot of those old thought patterns began to resurface.

For those unfamiliar, the Tibetan Book of the Dead is a sort of guide through the journey of consciousness after death, and of that space between death and rebirth. It also has a number of rituals for those dying and for those who have already passed.

There is a beauty in passing when faced without cowardice or fear. But, I feel, the Lord of Death should not be welcomed until the very end, in those final moments when fate’s hand is played.

As I’ve said, time and time again, life in this material plane is to be cherished. Every moment should be savored. Our time here is painfully short. One should not hasten its ending, but neither should it be feared.

“All things must pass away.” But, to borrow from George R.R. Martin, what do we say to the Lord of Death? “Not today.”

Far too many people are being callous with their lives and the lives of others during this pandemic. Modern society, it seems, cannot be inconvenienced, even if it means preserving the lives of those medically challenged or long of tooth.

Too many lack the capacity to care for anyone beyond themselves.

Too many cannot handle being alone with themselves, because it is in those quiet moments that we see ourselves for who and what we truly are. Few can handle revelations such as these.

It was a pleasant stroll through my memories of immersion in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and of that period of self-discovery. Those studious days of my youth, magically alight on a journey of expanded consciousness, are paying dividends in the here and now.

If you get a chance to read it, you really should.

And while you’re out there on the perimeter, remember to take care of yourself and those around you. Don’t be the cause for another’s illness. Be diligent. Be smart. Be safe.

 

 

 

Magick in the Time of COVID-19, Cheap Day Return

Posted in Magick on March 16, 2020 by Occult Detective
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“The condition of the people was pitiable to behold. They sickened by the thousands daily, and died unattended and without help. Many died in the open street, others dying in their houses, made it known by the stench of their rotting bodies. Consecrated churchyards did not suffice for the burial of the vast multitude of bodies, which were heaped by the hundreds in vast trenches, like goods in a ship’s hold and covered with a little earth.”
— Giovanni Boccaccio
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COVID-19 is not the Black Death. COVID-19 is, however, the first real pandemic that I have experienced in my 50+ years. It is, in a word, surreal. The panic is perhaps more infectious than the corona virus itself. The anxiety is palpable, and yet, too, there is a segment of the population that is utterly unmoved or concerned by the virus threat to the point of malaise.

There needs to be a balance between these two reactions.

Which brings me to magick.

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In addition to our social distancing, self-quarantining, hand-washing, disinfecting, and short/mid-term prepping, we should not lose focus on our spirituality. As I have truly believed for as long as I can remember, we are spirits that have chosen to descend into matter to experience material existence. We are made of stardust and magick is our birthright.

Through all of this chaos that the world is choking on, we must not lose sight of the positive energy that flows through us, and we must channel that energy, that positivity, and give it back to our communities.

Our families, friends, and neighbors need us, and we need them.

Now is the time to lift one another up; to embrace this experience; to bend it and shape it to our will that it might feed our spirit and move us onward and upward in service to the divine path each of us walk.

Now is the time to make magick, like we never have before.

Magick is not some impenetrable shield to protect us from the virus, but it is a powerful tool of healing and comfort, and it can be an undeniable influencer, making subtle shifts that create ripple effects through reality.

Whatever flavor you prefer, make magick a part of you. Make the world around you better by force of will.

We can, collectively, make a difference, even in quarantine.

If you need supplies, might I suggest Lailokens Awen, the finest purveyor of occult wares you’re likely to find in the Western Hemisphere. You’ll not find more magically charged and potent candles short of making them yourself.

It’s Friday the 13th (As We Know It) & I Feel Fine

Posted in Magick on March 13, 2020 by Occult Detective

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

— William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206
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Welcome to a world in chaos. In the grip of a global pandemic — a global panic — we watch as civilization slowly crumbles beneath the weight of denial, slow and inept response, out and out deception and criminal malfeasance, and herd mentality. Economies are collapsing, the contagion is spreading, and the political machine is failing.

I have preached since the first strains of this reached our ears through social media that there is no need for panic. And I still believe this. Panic is wasted energy. It literally serves no purpose other than to cause you to make errors in judgement. In situations such as these, a calmness of spirit and careful evaluation of events as they transpire will greatly aid in your navigating these turbulent waters.

Let’s look to the cards, shall we?

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The Past – Ace of Cups: Reversed — disharmony, being out of balance

The Present – Two of Wands — a time for planning, difficult decisions

The Future – Death — transition, an end and new beginning

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This whole coronavirus scare just seems so… strange to me. Something doesn’t ring true about it. It presents, essentially, as the flu. It is treated, again, like the flu. It is, for all intents and purposes, the flu. Like the flu, it can be terminal for the elderly and those with respiratory and auto-immune issues.

So why the panic?

For one, news organizations are really stoking the fires, and social media is feeding it gasoline. Look at the inane hoarding of toilet paper going on. All of this stems from a shortage in a small part of China. As this went viral, the masses mistook China’s relatively minor issue and conflated it with an international crisis. The fact is, here in the US, there is no shortage. We manufacture more than 90% of the toilet paper we use right here at home. Toilet paper is the least of our worries.

This is the power of social media. This is the power of panic.

Herd mentality is dangerous. It’s what drives the stock market collapse.

Panic.

I’m not saying this is an orchestrated event, but when the dust settles, pay close attention to the changes that will have been wrought as a result. The world, post-coronavirus, will be very different, I suspect.

This is my mantra:

Relax. Be calm. Be smart. Be safe.

As I stated on twitter, “We will adapt and overcome, because we are resilient. Read. Play games. Make magick. There’s absolutely no need to panic.”

I believe this with every fiber of my being. We will get through this and be stronger for it.

Over Under Sideways Down

Posted in Magick on March 5, 2020 by Occult Detective

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Stan Lee said something to the effect of, “Thor can have all the adventures he wants in Asgard, but every once in awhile he has to return to Earth to take a trouncing from the Absorbing Man.”

I don’t believe there’s ever been a better metaphor to explain the life of a magician than this. For all the wondrous explorations into the multiverse, all the magic and fellowship, and esoteric shenanigans one is a part of, the “real world” comes a-calling.

We are spirits, to be sure, but we have chosen to wear these uncomfortable and poorly engineered meat-suits, as we wallow in the material plane as beings of matter. For all the weighty, philosophical, and metaphysical gymnastics we perform in the imaginative spaces of other planes, we are still beholden to this one.

And when we delve into the mysteries, peeling that esoteric onion — when we engage in unseen forces — we do so in frail physical forms that are emotionally connected to others of our ilk, and sometimes we falter.

Such is the marriage of spirit and flesh, of being a slave to the biological processes that govern our physical forms. But, I have long held that one should deny neither, for spirit and flesh are in a symbiotic relationship.

We have to remember, we chose to descend into this plane for a reason, perhaps many times over, because for all the wonders of the heavens, it is this world of matter where we can interact with creation in ways unimaginable to those solely spirit.

Or so I tell myself, when the body fails, or the weight of financial concerns rear their heads. It’s all part of the process, part of the dues for being able to be a part of something instead of above it and transcendent.

We’re here for a bloody reason, to express our True Will, and to embrace life in all its peaks and valleys.

Will Wright’s Yggdrasil — “Everything is alive.”

Posted in Magick on February 21, 2020 by Occult Detective

“I like this poetic way of seeing the similarity and connectivity of everything, through the rune shapes, as a simple description of animism. Everything is alive.”
— Will Wright

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My friend, artist and filmmaker Will Wright, has been blogging about the Northern Mysteries, with three posts in the past week. Will is a rare breed. His art is inspiring and evocative. It is contemporary, yet evokes ancient wisdom. His insights are enlivening, heartfelt, and a welcome respite from the inflammatory rhetoric that seems to make up so much of fringe thinking these days, from both liberal and conservative voices.

Will is honest and fearless. He’s exactly the sort of wizard we should all aspire to be.

I highly recommend these short essays on Yggdrasil, and the accompanying art he has created.

He begins with The Universe Inside, exploring his artistic examination of the inner journey and the World Tree as a portal between worlds.

The second, Symbolism, sees Will dissect his art, breaking down the symbolism of the piece and displaying systemically his thought process and the myriad influences that shaped the design.

His most recent post, Runes, delves into the interconnections between us and our ancestors, the symbolism of the runes and how they are ever-present, visible in a myriad of natural habitats.

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Will’s thought-processes mirror my own. His journey has been my journey, and I hope to find my way back there again.

 

Paragnosis

Posted in Investigations, Magick on February 17, 2020 by Occult Detective

 

DisembobiedThere are a number of things that hang around the neck of paranormal research and investigation like a proverbial albatross, not the least of which is the veritable legion of amateur thrill-seekers that muddy up the field.  That the majority consider themselves “professionals” and “science-based” investigators only adds salt to the wound, especially when you consider their educations to have largely come from watching every episode of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, or some equally loathsome para-entertainment programing.

But I don’t want to paint them all with the same wide brush. I have met a number of investigators who are diligent and thoughtful, adverse to parroting the techniques displayed on late night Travel Channel mockumentaries.

Bob Pastorella, co-host and columnist for the This is Horror podcast, tweeted:

Paranormal is not the same as supernatural. The former suggests phenomena science hasn’t explained yet, while the later are things which cannot be explained by any means. There’s overlap, of course, but researchers using objective scientific methods to contact ghosts is silly.

Using sensors to determine the smallest variations in light and sound yield few results other than those shifts in light and sound that could possibly be anything, really.

I’m really enjoying Hellier on Amazon, because they tend to use subjective methods to test phenomenons based on eye-witness testimony. The real drive of the series for me is the continuous synchronicities they uncover, which is also very fascinating.

While I don’t believe in the supernatural, I do think that a way to access that reality is through subjective means, which also means kicking science to the curb for a bit.

There is a lot of truth in Bob’s stance, in my opinion. Far too many “investigators” approach the so-called paranormal as a “science experiment” that they are recreating based on what they’ve seen on television. K2 Meters, Thermal Cams, REM Pods, and the like are fun toys, but not really very useful in the field, at least not as they are typically used.

The very best tool you have is your own senses. All those fancy gadgets do is put up a barrier between you and the phenomena you’re hoping to connect with. And that is what we’re doing out there — trying to connect with and understand these unseen spirits. In our most gracious moments, we may even be there to help them understand themselves, or to provide solace and understanding for the people who live amongst these entities.

At the end of the day, we look to define ourselves and our place in the multiverse. By interacting with paranormal phenomena we learn more about the worlds we are a part of and the worlds outside ourselves to which we will one day cloak ourselves in. We commune with these intelligences in a hope for mutual understanding and a lifting of the veil.

We seek gnosis.

So, if I were to offer a single piece of advice to paranormal adventurers, it would be this — think outside the box. Be silent. Be still. Be open… And be prepared.

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Monday Morning Tarot Reading

Posted in Magick on February 10, 2020 by Occult Detective

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I usually start my work week by looking to the cards for guidance and thought I would share this morning’s reading. Usually I just do a quick three card draw, but I’ve got some weightier decisions to make this week so drew six instead.

The first thing I took note of was having drawn all major arcana. This tends to mean the universe is trying to hit you over the head with its biggest stick, so I’m taking this reading to heart.

Without going into detail, the general gist of what I was asking is business-related, but from a creative framework, not necessarily financial.

How I feel about myself: THE FOOL (discontent and uneasiness)

What I want most right now: STRENGTH (strength and willpower)

My fears: THE EMPEROR (elusive success, lack of support from an important male figure)

What is in my favor: TEMPERANCE (calm confidence)

What is holding me back: THE MAGICIAN (someone is being deceptive)

What is to come: THE HERMIT (a warning to not make hasty decisions)

I used my oldest deck for this reading, the Pixie/Rider-Waite deck I purchased when I was in junior high school (back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth). They’re bent, chipped, beat up, and worn, but for a forty year old deck, they’re still pretty spry.

 

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