Archive for the Magick Category

Farewell 2019

Posted in Magick on December 31, 2019 by Occult Detective

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Today is the last day of 2019. Tomorrow morning we will wake to a new year, the last year of the decade, and we will take our first steps into the 21st Century’s Roaring 20s.

I have high hopes and aspirations for 2020. I trust this new cycle will bring with it a clarity of vision, if we might strain the obvious metaphor. I can hear the distant call of the Old Ways, from both ancient times and from my own storied past.

In 2020, I will have stories to tell, lessons to learn and hopefully to teach. 2020 promises the beginning of a new journey that parallels an old one. It is a journey I have been craving for a while now. It feels like it is time to begin the third act.

It is time for us all to become self-realized, to embrace our true will, and make manifest the very best of what can and should be.

It’s time to plant a little magick and see what grows.

Thoughts on A Modern Guide to Heathenry: Lore, Celebrations, and Mysteries of the Northern Traditions by Galina Krasskova

Posted in Book Review, Magick on December 16, 2019 by Occult Detective

I received a complimentary copy of A Modern Guide to Heathenry: Lore, Celebrations, and Mysteries of the Northern Traditions by Galina Krasskova from publisher Weiser Books.

Here’s how it’s described online, none of which I take issue with:

heathenryAn accessible yet in-depth guide to this increasingly popular pre-Christian religious tradition of Northern Europe

Heathenry, is one of the fastest growing polytheistic religious movements in the United States today. This book explores the cosmology, values, ethics, and rituals practiced by modern heathens.

In A Modern Guide to Heathenry readers will have the opportunity to explore the sacred stories of the various heathen gods like Odin, Frigga, Freya, and Thor and will be granted a look into the devotional practices of modern votaries. Blóts, the most common devotional rites, are examined in rich detail with examples given for personal use. Additionally, readers are introduced to the concept of wyrd, or fate, so integral to the heathen worldview.

Unlike many books on heathenry, this one is not denomination-specific, nor does it seek to overwhelm the reader with unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon or Norse terminology. For Pagans who wish to learn more about the Norse deities or those who are new to heathenry or who are simply interested in learning about this unique religion, A Modern Guide to Heathenry is the perfect introduction. Those who wish to deepen their own devotional practice will find this book helpful in their own work as well.

Now my thoughts:

I reviewed this book when it was originally published as Exploring the Northern Tradition back nearly a decade ago. I did not give it very high marks. Including UPG material in what I felt should have hewn to a more scholarly approach was one of my perceived transgressions, and I was not (and am not) overly fond of the author’s personal brand of heathenry. This colored my views, to be sure.

That said, giving it a fresh read, in a slightly revised edition, I am more accepting of the material, less protective, I suppose you could say.

The fact is, heathenry continues to evolve and grow. I accept that my own heathen beliefs are in the minority and I’m okay with that. All I can do is live my life and speak my words. Each man and woman will find their own path and the gods can take take care of themselves.

The simple truth is, there is value in this book, if you are new to heathenry. It is a fine introduction to modern perspectives on an ancient faith that is still clawing its way back to relevancy.

I can see in this book shadows of my faith, like reflections on a pool of water at night. I trust that those shadows are enough to call people to the gods, if their hearts and minds are open.

A great emphasis on ancestral worship is greatly appreciated as I see it as the most important aspect of the faith.

If you are unfamiliar with heathenry, then I recommend this book to you. Here, the door is opened, just a crack, for you to glimpse the faith in all its glory. This book can be a stepping stone for you, out an across still, moonlit waters, where the gods lurk in the shadowy recesses, calling you home.

Barbarism

Posted in Magick on December 9, 2019 by Occult Detective

“Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind.
Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance.
And barbarianism must ultimately triumph”
― Robert E. Howard

DisembobiedI’ve been thinking a lot about ‘civilization’ lately, the pros and cons of society writ large. I have, for the vast majority of my more than fifty years on this rock, lived in the country, or at the very least, country adjacent.

I am no fan of cities. and if I’m being perfectly honest, I can barely tolerate small towns. I am, however, a very social person. I like people. I like intellectual discourse. I enjoy the camaraderie of friends and colleagues. I thrive on the social interactions found in games and sport and ritual.

The thing is, a society breaks down the minute the collective grows too large, when it grows beyond the hunter/gather social construct. We grow and prosper best when we are sheltered in a tribal modality, when the collective is small and sustainable.

We can come together with our neighbors, to feast and celebrate, to test our physical and intellectual mettle, to share ideas, but in the end, we must return to our tribal roots.

That’s where the real magic flourishes, in the tight knit communities, tied by blood and ancestry. Never do I feel more at ease than when I am out in the wilderness, breathing the country air, deep in a secluded wood. That is when I feel connected to the earth, when I feel the magic coursing beneath my feet and up into my body.

No, these cities, with their corrupt and twisted towers, their wasteland of concrete and steel, are not meant for us. And all the voices I hear cry out on social media, why, they’re all city-folk, wanting their cake to devour and choke on. They are a part of the machine, and it’s a machine I am growing more than weary of.

Everyone speaks of tribalism as if it’s a dirty word, especially in magic circles. It pains me to see them so proven wrong. They can’t see the forest for all the trees.

“The more I see of what you call civilization,
the more highly I think of what you call savagery!”
― Robert E. Howard

 

Myth-conceptions

Posted in Magick on December 6, 2019 by Occult Detective

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I read a post today by John Beckett over on Patheos. It was titled “An Authentic Foundation for Modern Paganism”, which you can read for yourself here.

I don’t necessarily disagree with anything Mr. Beckett said, but as a storyteller, I must admit, I enjoy a good yarn, especially when its connected to magic.

Does it truly matter whether or not Gerald Gardner was initiated by Old Dorothy Clutterbuck, or Alex Sanders by Mary Bibby? Would we better off knowing the truth of the events in Cairo during Crowley’s reception of the Book of the Law? What of various proclamations regarding Secret Chiefs or divine visitations? For the Christians in the room, what of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus?

The Eddas and Sagas are filled with livid boasts, proclaiming larger than life exploits, all intent on building a vibrant mythology that passes from tongue to tongue, becoming a part of the very fabric that makes up the celestial tapestry of our mundane human existence.

I’m not calling for lies to be the order of the day. We get enough of that from the news media and politicians (and their social media cohorts and sycophants). But don’t be so quick to snuff out the magic. A poetic origin story or fanciful recounting of a ritual might be stretching things a bit, but when one paints a picture, do we favor dull and neutral, or do we look to the bold and vivacious?

Let magic breathe a little. By the gods, let magic be magic.

My thoughts on Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New and Expanded Edition)

Posted in Book Review, Magick on December 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

ualevendaIn June of 1979, Peter Levenda flew to Chile―then under martial law―to investigate claims that a mysterious colony and torture center in the Andes Mountains held a key to the relationship between Nazi ideology and its post-war survival on the one hand, and occult ideas and practices on the other. He was detained there briefly and released with a warning: “You are not welcome in this country.” The people who warned him were not Chileans but Germans, not government officials but agents of the assassination network Operation Condor. They were also Nazis, providing a sanctuary for men like Josef Mengele, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, and Otto Skorzeny. In other words: ODESSA.

Published in 1995, Unholy Alliance was the first book in English on the subject of Nazi occultism to be based on the captured Nazi archives themselves, as well as on the author’s personal investigations and interviews, often conducted under dangerous conditions. The book attracted the attention of historians and journalists the world over and has been translated into six languages. A later edition boasts the famous foreword by Norman Mailer.

How did occultism come to play such an important role in the development of Nazi political ideology? What influence did such German and Austrian occult leaders as Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List have over the fledgling Nazi party? What was the Thule Gesellschaft, and who was its creator, Baron von Sebottendorf? Did the Nazi high command really believe in occultism? In astrology? In magic and reincarnation?

This is a new and expanded edition of the original text, with much additional information on the rise of extremist groups in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States and the esoteric beliefs that are at their foundations. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Ratline and The Hitler Legacy. This is where it all began.

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I remember picking this book up in the mid-90s shortly after it was released. I was working at Waldenbooks at the time, seasonal help at Christmas. I’d been tasked with opening boxes in the back storeroom and as soon as I laid eyes on the Avon cover it went straight to the stock shelves where employees kept the stack of things they wanted to buy with their company discount. I took it home with me after my shift and read it straight through the night.

So, here we are, nearly twenty five years later, and I’ve just read the “New and Expanded Edition”. Firstly, Ibis Press continues to impress with their production and design skills. They put together beautiful books and Unholy Alliance is no exception.

As for the book itself, I’m not sure any of the added material is overly warranted, but it doesn’t detract from the original text. It is still a fascinating deep-dive into occult conspiracies and the Reich’s maddening obsessions.

I’ve always been rather fond of Levenda’s writing. For one, he’s a smart guy and one helluva researcher, and it often seems like there’s so much information bouncing around inside his head he has a hard time staying focused. It reminds me of nearly every occult study group I’ve belonged to. There’s always that one guy, too smart for his own good, talking a mile a minute, trying to get all of his thoughts out there.

You’re also never really sure when he’s pulling your leg a bit.

I used to recommend Unholy Alliance unconditionally and I am more than happy to do so again. It’s a subject entirely engrossing and Levenda leaves no stone unturned. I’ve read his complete trilogy now and they are all compelling reads that I endorse fully.

Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New and Expanded Edition) by Peter Levenda is available wherever books are sold. Here’s the link to the evil empire wherein it can be purchased with grace and ease, and possibly delivered from the sky by drones.

Who’s afraid of the dark?

Posted in Magick on November 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

dark

When I’m out traipsing through dark cemeteries in the black of the night, I won’t be caught dead without a Bordermen Games Apparel Tee for protection.

Check out their products on Amazon.

“…there do I see the line of my people…”

Posted in Magick on October 29, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

Dangerously close to Hallowe’en and Seventh Star’s release of the audiobook of First Born and trade paperback of Descendant. Thursday’s going to be something else…

I plan to spend the day promoting the releases, then, in the quiet of the evening, as the season’s first flurries fall, spending some time in the small woodland shack my son and I built.

Behind the commercial trappings, Hallowe’en is first and foremost a time to honor those we have lost, who crossed over from this world to the next. Once of the curses of growing older is the lengthening list of loved ones who are no longer with us.

Since 2003 we have said goodbye to Kim’s mother, father, and grandmother; my father and grandfather, my friends Brent and John. My friends and colleagues are losing their parents and significant others. Respected peers are falling to the scythe. I have attended more funerals in the past 16 years than in the previous 37 years combined.

This is the part of growing older that is hardest to bear.

As a man of faith, I know that death is not the end for us. As a paranormal investigator, I have communed with spirits that have not crossed over. I know that the part of us that matters — our souls — are eternal.

In Risala, Ibn Fadlan recounted the following prayer, which was reproduced faithfully in the film, the 13th Warrior:

Lo there do I see my father; Lo there do I see my mother, my sisters and my brothers; Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call me, they bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever.

Our ancestors are all there on the other side of the veil, waiting for us to join them in the hereafter. At Hallowe’en, we relish in the horror of death, in cheap scares, and spooky stories, and believe me, I am a fan of all of the trappings of the holiday, but there is always a place of reverence for our family, friends, and heroes that no longer share this physical plane…

So, remember to take a moment to acknowledge those who await us. Raise a toast in their honor. They are as close to us now, in this witching season, as they can possibly be, until we join them on the other side…

My thoughts on The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber

Posted in Book Review, Magick on October 21, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

weberIn what is Courtney Weber’s best book to date, we are taken on a fascinating journey into the realm of the Mare Queen, the Morrigan.

Celtic Mythology is a tangled web, and no holy power more so than she who is sometimes called the Phantom Queen. Oft misunderstood, and the subject of much debate among scholars, linguists, and esotericists, the Morrigan is largely a mystery.

Was she a single goddess, or three sisters? The Morrigan is the foreteller of death, who watches over the battlefield with foresight, often inciting bloodlust in warriors and aiding them in victory. The Morrigan encourages bravery, preys on the fears of her champions’ enemies, and is said to wash the bloodstained clothes of those whose death is fated.

The Morrigan bears many names and wears as many faces. She is a harbinger of death and a protector of life.

In Weber’s latest work, The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might, the author mirrors the complexities of the Goddess by delivering a book difficult to pin down. It is equal parts academic and practical, as Weber combines historical research with her personal gnosis and the application of both research and discovery into practice.

I found the book to be thought-provoking and insightful. Weber weaves gracefully between foundational research and speculative conflation to produce a work that is alternatively prose, poetry, and pedantic.

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There is depth to the narrative within these pages that will inspire you to greater study and to seek a personal connection with the goddess herself in all her many guises.

Weber brings them all to life, drawing the reader along and making them a part of the journey.

This is a book perfect for beginners, but there are plenty of insights for those of us longer of tooth.

The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber is highly recommended and available wherever books are sold. And at just over $12 on Amazon, an absolute steal.

 

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

Posted in Book Review, Magick 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 http://www.ingridkincaid.com.

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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.

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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 amazon.com.

Ghosts and Gunpowder

Posted in Magick 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.

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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!

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