Archive for the Magick Category

Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana and Beyond: Tradition

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Paranormal on June 18, 2021 by Occult Detective

Not really an investigation post today, but without the subject of said post, I may never have embarked on a lifetime of investigating the paranormal, through science, faith, and magic.

I’ve talked many times about my introduction into the worlds of magic and the preternatural. That origin story explained how I had rooted around inside my great-grandmother’s belongings, after she had passed, and, along with things related to astrology, I discovered a pamphlet by Manly Palmer Hall. Unseen Forces was a huge influence on me. As I’ve told that story many times, I thought I should put a face on the woman who, inadvertently, led me down the path I’ve been on for nearly fifty years.

Pictured above, with my Great-Grandfather Jesse, who passed four years before I was born, is Eliza Jane (Williams) Arnold. This was taken in 1962. Grandma Arnold passed in 1973 at the age of 91. In ’73, I was seven. I dreamed about her often, seeing her standing in my bedroom, looking down on me.

My memories of her in life are sad ones. I have no remembrance of her ever speaking. We visited her every Sunday in the nursing home and brought her graham crackers. She would just lie there, never smiling. She sometimes squeeze your hand. My Grandma Freeman would sit and talk to her, telling her of the week’s events and the lives of characters on soap operas. I don’t recall any recognition or acknowledgement. I kissed her cheek or forehead and held her hand at the end of every visit.

I did not know her, but I wish I had. There was a wisdom etched into her withered face and hands. She was frail, trapped inside a body that would not give up the ghost. My heart ached for her.

I sometimes wonder if she is somehow cognizant of the gift she gave me, the gift of Unseen Forces. I would have loved to talk to her, to find out what she thought of Hall’s writings and philosophies. And then I remember those dreams as a child, of how she would stand over me and smile, and I think it may have been that she was communicating with me from that summerland that she had gone to.

Monday Magick: My thoughts on THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF THE WISE by Ivo Dominguez Jr

Posted in Book Review, Magick on June 7, 2021 by Occult Detective

My thoughts on
Working with the Magickal Powers of
Earth, Air, Water, Fire
by Ivo Dominguez Jr

Ivo Dominguez Jr is an author I always look forward to reading, primarily because he is a teacher, first and foremost. He has a unique voice that conveys an understanding of what he is presenting, but more importantly, projects his desire to pass that knowledge along. He does not write from a place of arrogance or superiority. He does not talk down to his audience.

He also tends to tackle subjects that most authors of the occult take for granted. Prior to his latest work, I have read Casting Sacred Space, Keys to Perception, and Spirit Speak. All were insightful, delved deeply into their subject matter, and were gracefully penned. The Four Elements of the Wise is no different.

As the cornerstones of magickal practice, exploring the elements of Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water seems a logical examination. My first introduction to the occult, Manly Palmer Hall’s Unseen Forces, certainly addressed this, as have every major esoteric book come to market, but whereas most authors add the elements as a part of the process, Ivo uses this as a teaching moment, unwilling to allow this to be rushed through on the way toward other things.

The foundation is the key, something I appreciated about Casting Sacred Space and find so prevalent here.

While your particular tradition or practice may disagree with some of what the author shares here, you will come away with food for thought that will enhance your personal beliefs. The author takes you on a tour of the elements, addressing those entities that interact and are sometimes comprised of the elements in question, and delves into the transitions between these spheres.

I assure you, this is a book you’ll want to spend time with.

Published by the brilliant folks at Weiser Books, it includes a wonderful foreword by the luminous Courtney Weber and a pleasant cover by Kasandra Cook. The paper is a step above newsprint with no gloss which makes for easier reading I find. While I did notice several typos throughout, none were grievous enough to distract from my enjoyment of the book. I do generally prefer elaborate illustrations in my esoterica, but their lack here in no way sours me on the overall package.

THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF THE WISE : Working with the Magickal Powers of Earth, Air, Water, Fire by Ivo Dominguez Jr is simply a wonderful book that deserves a place on your shelf, sitting right beside the rest of the author’s catalog. You can purchase your copy wherever books are sold, like, for instance, Amazon, or, better yet, directly from the publisher.

Three for Thursday: Occult Comics

Posted in Magick, Media on May 20, 2021 by Occult Detective

As promised, to avoid the confusion of last week’s Occult/Horror Comics List (emphasis on Horror), this week I’m sharing my favorite Occult Comics. I’m tossing up 10 and I’m not putting them in any semblance of order…


Magick By Trial & Error: Godless Heathens

Posted in Magick on May 17, 2021 by Occult Detective

I spent the morning listening to Shawn Hebert’s reading of The Battle of Blythe Road so have Frater Perdurabo on my mind. As has been repeated relentlessly, Alesiter Crowley defined magick as”the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will“. Thus any act, be it ritual or mundane, is magick. He added that “it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature“.

These are very serviceable definitions of magick. It allows for every flavor under the sun and moon to be a viable exercise. It also removes the stigma of the “supernatural” from the equation, after all, what is more “natural” than magick?

However, a troubling trend for me is the atheism I find so prevalent amongst practitioners in recent years. Oh, it’s always been around, but I find the godless ranks swelling throughout the greater magickal community. Even amongst Heathens there is an undercurrent of irreligion. The gods are seen as a metaphor, as symbols of aspects of nature… I find this disturbing.

Granted, I hold firmly that it is your right as a free man or woman to disavow the Holy Powers, but, for me, I cannot see denying the existence of entities beyond the scope of our understanding when the evidence of their presence within the rites we perform is undeniable.

Crowley, regarding his writings in Liber O, said “it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.

I’m a simple man. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… Well, you get my meaning.

I am not interested in convincing anyone that the gods are as real as you or I, no more than I spend my time as a paranormal investigator seeking to prove the existence of spirits. No matter the evidence, believers will believe and non-believers will not.

Each of us have our own journey. I respect yours so long as you respect mine.

That magick works, so long as we adhere to its laws, is enough.

Magick By Trial & Error: Dust My Broom

Posted in Magick on May 10, 2021 by Occult Detective

I had a great chat this weekend about the origins of my occult practices and it really set off a flood of old memories, so many things that while not altogether forgotten, were certainly resting beneath a thick coating of dust. I suppose that’s a byproduct of being a bit longer in the tooth. When one can trace their roots in craftwork back nearly fifty years then I suppose more than a few things slip by the wayside, unpracticed… no longer an integral part of one’s repertoire and routine.

There’s a danger in that, I think. We need ritual in our lives.

While I maintain a daily prayer each morning to Óðinn, the vættir, and folk, and I normally settle in at work and perform a quick Tarot reading to start my day with some foresight into what’s to come, there was a long period when I devoted far more time to my magical and spiritual well-being. I was actively engaged.

I suppose these daily blog sessions have been a way to return to that state of mind where magick and purpose are ever-present.

I find myself to be less experimental than in my youth, which is something that occurred to me as we talked this past weekend. I have become complacent, sort of set in my ways. The thing is, I don’t think it’s a matter of learning new things per se, but rather dusting off some of the old bag of tricks and taking them for a spin now and then.

Magick is a living and breathing art, and if we allow ourselves to become stale, then the art suffers.

Too much theory and not enough practice may be good for the mind, but not the soul. As the title of this blog suggests, we, meaning I, need more trial and error…

Magick By Trial & Error: The LVX Files

Posted in Magick, Media on May 3, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today, I direct you to The LVX Files, a new podcast from my good friend Shawn Hebert of Lailokens Awen fame. Billed as “A Podcast for Occultists about Occultists”, Shawn expands on Gordon White’s “were you a weird kid?” opener to delve into the origin stories of today’s most prominent occult voices.

In the debut, we are treated to a fascinating introduction to Frater R.C., host of the Magick Without Fears podcast. I believe you’ll find Shawn a personable and erudite host, and if his discussion with Frater RC is any indication, we’re in for a spectacular season of in-depth analysis of the evolution of occultists from a very personal level.

Be sure to like, subscribe, & ring that bell.

And if you want to know a little more about what makes Shawn tick beforehand, you can check out his Last Rites from last September.

Magick By Trial & Error: Talking Boards

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Paranormal on April 26, 2021 by Occult Detective

You may have noticed I did not post an installment of Ghost Hunting Tales on Friday. It was bound to happen. I have been working on a couple of huge projects (and neglecting a few more) and to be perfectly honest, I am behind schedule on everything. Deadlines are cruel mistresses…

As such, I desperately need to remain focused on one project in particular. I am working on the art and graphic design for a soon-to-be-released OSR Magick Authentic RPG. Of course, the project cannot be released until I wrap up my chores, so I’m off to it.

But not before I leave you with this.

One of the most versatile tools for both an occultist and paranormal investigator is the Talking Board, aka Spirit or Witch Board, or simply Ouija. It has certainly fallen in and out of favor over the years, but I stand by its capacity to both unlock the inner workings of the subconscious mind and operate as a device through which we can communicate with the spirits of the departed and preternatural intelligences.

I keep on hand both a Ouija Board and Psychic Circle, tucked neatly into my investigation bag. I highly recommend you employ one as well. I have been enamored with them since my teen years, and hold that particularly unsettling occurrences with their use in the 1980s cemented for me not only their validity but their potential.

As such, the boards can be fraught with danger, as once a link with an entity is established you cannot be sure what or who you have made contact with.

“There is, however, a good way of using
this instrument to get what you want,
and that is to perform the whole
operation in a consecrated circle,
so that undesirable aliens cannot
interfere with it. You should then
employ the proper magical
invocation in order to get into your
circle just the one spirit you want.
It is comparatively easy to do this.
A few simple instructions are all
that is necessary, and I shall be
pleased to give these, free of charge,
to any one who cares to apply.”

— Aleister Crowley

Crowley’s advice, quoted above, is recommended, although his involvement, “free of charge” is sadly unavailable.

Or is it? We have the board, after all…

Chances are, you’ve got one in the back of a closet or in the game room buried beneath Candy Land, Clue, and Monopoly. Dust it off. Give it a spin. Become attuned to it and make it a part of your repertoire.

I look forward to hearing your results…

Magick By Trial & Error: Doll Parts

Posted in Magick on April 19, 2021 by Occult Detective

“You see a small doll with a big red nose. For some reason,
you don’t trust this seemingly-innocent child’s toy.”

I don’t have a lot of time today. I just completed a snazzy banner for an upcoming “magick/paranormal” podcast from one of my favorite sorcerer supremes and now need to dive into some RPG work for the soon-to-be-released Invisible College.

I thought I’d share with you my favorite poppet — Bozo the Clown. Now, traditionally, poppets are dolls made, specifically, to represent a person, through which one casts spells for or against. Most probably think of them as “voodoo dolls”.

Well, Bozo’s more like a familiar in many regards. Like a trickster in others.

He’s been with me for a long time. My maternal grandparents bought it the day I was born. He has been my near constant companion ever since. Much to the chagrin of more than one flatmate.

Today, I want you to think about psychically charged items in your own care. Think of, if you don’t already, how you might integrate them into your ritual work.

Bozo’s been a dear friend for many decades. In fact, he’s going ghost hunting with me this coming weekend.

“We had fun today. But now, It’s time for the Grand March! So, Audience, Follow Me!”

Magick By Trial & Error: Jack-of-All-Trades

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Paranormal on April 12, 2021 by Occult Detective

Really crunched for time today, so I’ll be brief, offering up a little food for thought.

As an extension of last week’s piece on the mutability of magick, I thought I should briefly explain how I have approached things in the past.

In my field, you have to be a sort of jack-of-all-trades. It pays to be knowledgeable in a wide variety of traditions. You have to be able to differentiate Santeria from Voudon from Hoodoo and the like. You need to be able to discern from ceremonial magic to all the varying degrees of left-hand pathwork, from all sides of the magical coin, and as many religions as you can squeeze into the gray matter between your ears. And once you muddy the waters with all the self-styled combinations that solitaries or isolated groups might cook up and cobble together, well, an investigators work is, at the very least, never boring.

Paranormal investigators often enter into situations that they’re ill-equipped to handle. They may be atheist, agnostic, Christian, Pagan, or what have you, but the crux of the situation is, if you go into an investigation close-minded, you’re libel to set yourself up for a world of hurt.

It really does pay to do your homework. You can have the sanctity of your own faith or magical practice, but you need to be open to the many and varied paths that are out there. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. — Sun Tzu

I’ll revisit this when I have more than a ten minute window…

Magick by Trial and Error

Posted in Magick with tags on April 5, 2021 by Occult Detective

We in the occult community all have origin stories. Mine is no stranger than most, though I did get an early start thanks to a steady diet of comic books, horror movies, and ghost stories around countless campfires, both real and proverbial. My foray into magical practice came after a thirst for hunting monsters, boogeymen, spirits, and the fae. It was initiated by my belief that those things were real and that if I was going to interact with them, I needed the sort of protection that only magick could afford.

My first book on the magical world was Unseen Forces by Manly Palmer Hall. It had been my great-grandmother’s. Through it, I learned that magick was real, as were all manner of elemental creatures and spirits and the like. I was eight years old. I had never been beholden to my Christian upbringing, and it was shortly after reading this book that I began exploring the gods of Germanic Heathenry. It seemed natural to me that the gods of my ancestors were more salient to my ambitions, especially if I were to pursue the esoteric as a matter of course.

When you’re young, especially in the rural Indiana of the early 1970s, a magical education was not easy to come by. But I managed, thanks to the sparse collection of books in the Public Library, such as the works of Sybil Leek, Richard Cavendish, and Arthur Edward Waite, but it was Francis King’s Techniques of High Magic that really opened a few doors for me.

It was a struggle though, which brings me, finally, to the subject of today’s missive. One of my biggest struggles for years was the very nature of the magical workings I was able to get my hands on. Most of it, variations on ceremonial magic, was so rigid, never mind overwhelmingly influenced by Christianity. Though I did the work, it felt wrong, and if there is a lesson I might impart, after more than forty years of this it is that magick is real and it is personal.

All of those books. All of that study. The lesson that came the slowest to me was that magick was not the rituals in these tomes. Magick is not a set of formulas and equations to be memorized and recreated verbatim. Oh, it works quite well if you do so, but you don’t have to adhere to any of it. While it’s true that there are some laws and protocols required to interact with preternatural intelligences, the actual art of magick is just that — an art. Yes, it can be approached like science, and with incredible results, but magick can be so much more, through embracing your own creativity.

Do the work. Learn the etiquette. But, by all that’s holy and unholy alike, once you’ve got a handle on it, make your own rules. Make your own magick, by trial and error.

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