Now Available — Weiser Classics Editions of Liber Null & Psychonaut, Predictive Astrology, and Alchemist’s Handbook

Posted in Book Review, Magick on June 2, 2022 by Occult Detective

Three new Weiser Classics editions became available on Wednesday, June 1 and these are essential reading for those looking for a well-rounded occult education. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Let me begin with the book I am least familiar with — Predictive Astrology: Tools to Forecast Your Life & Create Your Brightest Future by Bernadette Brady.

Predictive Astrology shows the reader how to use Time Maps to approach to the fate of the transits, and includes new methods for calibrating and filtering progressions, returns of all kinds, eclipses, and planetary areas. By combining these techniques, you can reveal the future and put various aspects of your life into perspective.

Offering many new techniques and concepts, this classic groundbreaking work (first published in 1976) is finding a new and growing audience. The book brings predictive astrology into a world of its own.

This new Weiser Classics edition includes a new foreword by Theresa Reed, author of Astrology for Real Life.

I am not much of an astrologer. Oh, sure, I can weasel my way around a chart and wrap my head around the basics. Reading this book for the first time was a real eye opener as it introduced new concepts to me that helped rearrange my thought processes around the map of the heavens and how they relate to your birth chart and portent analysis.

Definitely a must-read if you haven’t before and this edition is lovingly produced. You want charts and diagrams? This one delivers. You can buy Predictive Astrology HERE. At $26.96, this feels like a bargain.

Alchemist’s Handbook by Frater Albertus is the very definition of classic. I first read this in the mid-1980s, discovered in the occult stacks in the Ball State Library. I quickly devoured it. The subject matter was more in line with my roommate’s fascinations, he was well suited to the practice of chemistry, excelling in the sciences, so we studied it together. I was more at home with the philosophical side of the work. In this, my roommate and I made a great team, and Frater Albertus’ work was instrumental in both our developments.

The Alchemist’s Handbook has long been considered a modern-day classic on the actual practice of alchemy since its first publication in 1960. The book still stands as a groundbreaking work presenting in clear, concise language a practical manual of working knowledge that was formerly handed down only under oath of secrecy.

The scope of alchemical work is to provide both a means to synthesize all the other sciences and the necessary training of the intellectual and spiritual faculties. “Hermetic philosophy, with its practical arcanum,” writes Frater Albertus, “repeats itself over and over again in the ancient axiom ‘As above, so below. As below, so above.’”

The Alchemist’s Handbook discusses in detail:

  • The basic fundamental principles of alchemy.
  • A guide to the formation of an inexpensive home laboratory with illustrations of the necessary equipment.
  • Step-by-step instructions for the work of the Lesser Circulation, the alchemical transformation within the plant kingdom.

“The teachings of Frater Albertus are part of a lineage that traces back to Rosicrucian sources and much earlier and The Alchemist’s Handbook is still the best introduction to that lineage. If you feel the call of Alchemy and want real information on the subject, this is definitely the book you will want to read, reread, and read again. It may just turn out to be the book that changes your life.”—From the foreword by Robert Allen Bartlett, author of Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy

First published by Weiser Books in 1974, this new Weiser Classics edition includes a new foreword by Robert Allen Bartlett, author of Real Alchemy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bartlett’s Foreword, and was not surprised that his early experiments were with damiana, as were my own. I was only moderately successful with it, but it was a start. Alchemist’s Handbook is a treasure. If you don’t have this in your collection, you need to rectify that post haste. You can get a copy HERE for only $18.95. Well worth every penny.

Finally, we have a personal favorite — Liber Null and Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll. On the “Mount Rushmore of Chaos Magick you’ll find Carroll there, alongside Austin Osman Spare, Phil Hine, and Ramsey Dukes.

Peter Carroll’s classic work has been profound influence on the Western magical world and on the practice of chaos magick in particular. In Liber Null and Psychonaut, Carroll presents an approach to the practice of magic that draws on the foundations of shamanism and animism, as well as that found in the Greek magical papyri, the occult works of Eliphas Levi and Aleister Crowley, and the esoteric meditative practices of classical India and China. Also very much at work in the text are 20th century scientific ideas of quantum physics and chaos theory.

The result is a profoundly original work of magical studies that also includes a selection of extremely powerful rituals and exercises for committed occultists with instructions that lead the reader through new concepts and practices to achieve Carroll’s definition of magic itself: the raising of the whole individual in perfect balance to the power of infinity.

This Weiser Classics edition is a thoroughly revised republication of Liber Null and Psychonaut, first published by Weiser in 1987, and includes a new foreword by Ronald Hutton, a leading authority on modern witchcraft and paganism.

I discussed Liber Null & Psychonaut, in general, and Chaos Magick, in particular, with my friend, Freeman Presson, and Weiser Books’ Lisa Trudeau (aka Ahnkie) back in March of 2011, when Red Wheel/Weiser last released this book. It’s worth a read, I think. And I made a short post about Chaos Magick in reference to Magical (Dis)Orders back in 2015 that is somewhat apropos, especially considering the release of Stranger Things’ season four, and the synchronicity of 1986.

All this to say that, Liber Null and Psychonaut are hugely influential books on me. As they are both now bound together, I impress upon you the necessity for you making these a part of your library. I don’t see anything dramatically different from the previous 2011 release, other than the new foreword by Hutton, which is quite nice, but perhaps, like me, you already own several copies and differing editions? What’s one more? This one’s lovely and priced to sell at $18.95. Click HERE to bring it home.

There you have it, Three for Thursday, I suppose. I cannot recommend these Weiser Classics highly enough. They are quality editions, lovingly reproduced, and in all cases, the new forewords add to the experience.

We are living in dark times. Treat yourself to a bit of the light. That’s what these books, and others like them, represent. Portable light to drive back the shadow.

Buy now. Thank me later.

My thoughts on Joan Rose Staffen’s The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit

Posted in Book Review on May 25, 2022 by Occult Detective

I was pleased to receive Joan Rose Staffen’s The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit and, while it is not ncessarily in my wheelhouse, I was surprised to find it very insightful and an inviting testimony and instructive manual aimed at creators of all stripes, those just beginning their journey and those well into it.

I’ll share further thoughts below, after we have a look at the publisher’s copy:

Awaken your own innate creative potential by using pendulum work to clear energetic blocks.

The Creative Pendulum demonstrates how to use the pendulum to unlock your inner artist, allowing you to discover or expand your creative potential.

Dowsing with a pendulum is a quick, direct path to the sub-and super-conscious levels, to higher forces, and to the Muse herself. Thirty pendulum creativity charts are offered that help clear, center, unblock, and guide a person forward, so that anyone may more easily enter the creative space to play and work.

Staffen offers practical information and tips so that anyone can learn to dowse, but even experienced practitioners will find exciting new ways of using a pendulum.

The book includes Joan’s own story of how the pendulum helped her transition from businesswoman to author and visual artist, bringing the power of the pendulum to real life.

I tend to overlook books like The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit. I lump them into the New Age/Self-Help category and, not that I have an issue with them, they seldom fall into my area of interest.

As I read Ms, Staffen’s work, I was taken by her warm spirit. It really comes through in her narrative. It’s very personal, and you can sense her desire to share her knowledge with you, not for gain, but through a genuine inclination to help others.

Her vehicle for such is a fascinating dissection, extrapolation, and innovative use of dowsing, via pendulums, in unlocking untapped potential. Beginning with a basic approach, the author leads the reader into expanding uses of the pendulum, including advanced techniques that are really inspiring.

Everything you could ever want to know about pendulum use is all here… and more.

Appendixes introduce dozens of charts that compliment the intense make-up of the book at large. Clocking in at just shy of 300 pages, the meat of the book is comprised of various charts, practices, and a wealth of intuitive exercises that make this an ideal guide into the creative process.

And let’s not shy away from this — this book is for artists. The author presents a plausible instruction in the use of the pendulum to communicate between the lower and higher self for a myriad of situations and roadblocks that lead and enhance the creative spark.

As such, I cannot help but recommend this to those who utilize their creativity in absolutely any fashion, be they musicians, writers, poets, painters… no matter the medium… you will find useful tools here.

The Creative Pendulum: Keys to Unlock Your Innovative Spirit by Joan Rose Staffen will be available, as of the 1st of June, wherever books are sold. Here’s a helpful link to Amazon.

“…in Heaven & Earth…”

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on May 24, 2022 by Occult Detective

I shared this story with friends last night, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t shared it here, or, at least, I don’t recall doing so. Proceed with caution and with an open mind. I will do my best to maintain the confidentiality of the owners and location.

A few decades back, give or take, I was asked to investigate a business property. It was housed in an old building, constructed in 1912. This building saw a lot of traffic in its heyday, but fell into disrepair and was little more than a derelict structure for many moons until the current owners revitalized it in the late twentieth century.

The owners reached out because they were having inexplicable fires occurring in one of the upstairs rooms. Electricians were baffled. As they were also experiencing other paranormal phenomena, calling me in seemed apropos.

I was able to identify much of the phenomena as residual, such as the sounds of pre-War radio, though I was pretty sure there was an intelligent spirit on the ground floor, and something a little darker in the basement. My main concern lay with the electrical fires however.

After several visits, I became confident the culprits were what some call land wights or the fey, but most simply refer to them as fairy folk. Precocious and alien, wights are preternatural spirits, sometimes malicious, but then, their thinking is different than our own. They frequent abandoned places, woodlands, groves, streams, and yes, neglected buildings.

I set a trap for the creatures, honey and polished stones, and I sang to them while I strummed a tune on my guitar. Gathered into water collected from the most sacred local spot I knew, I took them to that place and released them, unto Seven Pillars, the Gateway Between Worlds, where they could make a new home for themselves.

When I speak with those who have become weekend hobbyists, often because they enjoy the Discovery Channel’s slate of ghostly programming, predominately I see they’re of a mind that there are two, maybe three types of spirits — intelligent ghosts of the deceased, residual spirits, and demons. That kind of thinking is not healthy. This is a lesson every occult detective or paranormal investigator needs to take to heart.

Become acquainted with the history and folklore of the area you frequently investigate. What’s that oft (read: over-) used line from Hamlet? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

We have to recognize that existence is much more expansive than that which is at our fingertips. We move through a reality that encompasses various planes and dimensions and divergences, and it is all populated by a myriad of preternatural intelligences.

The sooner would be “ghost hunters” wrap their heads around that, the better.

Chaos Magick for the Clueless (which would be me) – a conversation with Bob Freeman & Freeman Presson

Posted in Magick on May 20, 2022 by Occult Detective

Hard to believe it’s been over 11 years since Freeman Presson and I sat down for a chat with Ankie (Lisa Trudeau). A lovely conversation with lovely people.

Today we celebrate the Laughing Magician’s Lesser Feast.

Posted in Occult Detectives on May 10, 2022 by Occult Detective

This “nasty piece of work” is celebrating a birthday today, his 69th if you can believe that. John Constantine was born on the 10th of May, 1953 in Liverpool, Lancashire.

If you’re of a mind to embrace the strange (and I obviously am), then the old ConJob is real in the sense that many of his creators have spotted the Laughing Magician out and about in our very own prime material.

Now, I’ve never seen him myself, but I am willing to concede the notion that a figure such as he is ornery enough to will himself into existence, for good or bad. Just the same, whichever way that ill wind blows, I’d have a drink with him, but I sure as hell wouldn’t turn my back on him.

Happy Birthday, John Constantine, you right old bastard. Cheers.

“It’s just the way of it, son. We all sell our souls sooner or later.”

The Converse UFO Club

Posted in Investigations, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on May 9, 2022 by Occult Detective

I had a dream last night, of being upstairs in the old Converse High School. I was looking for something, and found myself inside one of the abandoned classrooms on the top floor, in the very room that was home to the Converse UFO Club I founded back in 1976. On the chalkboard was scrawled a number of arcane sigils. That’s when I woke up, at 3:15am.

This got me thinking about the origins of that club and how much fun we had. It was my 5th grade year. Mr. Piper’s class. Several kids were falling behind in math, so Piper, in a stroke of genius, decided to give everyone a test. If you scored perfect, then you didn’t have math the rest of the semester. So what did I do? I cheated off of Mick Miller. There were about a dozen of us who were excused from math class, but we weren’t left to our own devices. We were charged to present a lecture to the school, on any subject we chose. I coerced my classmates into forming the Converse UFO Club and we spent the next six weeks studying unidentified flying objects.

We were given one of the unused classrooms on the third floor. It was full of ancient desks, chairs, old flags with fewer than 50 stars, chalkboards, bulletin boards, and old US maps. We put all of it to use and put together a cool little clubhouse, far from the prying eyes of teachers and other students. I crated in my collection of UFO books, newspaper clippings, magazines, and comics, and we got to work.

Needless to say, we had the time of our lives… and we came up with a pretty good theory, for a bunch of ten year olds. The thesis we presented posited that these alien spacecraft were powering their vehicles with hydro-power, based on the amazingly high number of sightings that occurred in and around water. Never mind that with two-thirds of the planet being covered with water increased the potential for sightings near such to be more likely than not. Well… we tried.

We presented our findings before the school. We were given As for our effort. And, ultimately I made a little comic book seed money from it all by narrating UFO articles onto cassette tapes and selling them to my classmates.

Hard to believe that by ten years old, I had already formed two clubs, The Monster Club in 1974, (in which we made encyclopedic entries in a journal concerning all manner of paranormal/supernatural beasties and chased ghosts in every derelict and abandoned house or barn and throughout the Hoosier hinterlands in a ten mile radius), and the UFO Club. Harder still to believe that in a few short years, by 1983, it would all take a far more serious turn.

Weiser Books Responds to the Strange Case of Georgina Rose

Posted in Current Events, Magick on May 5, 2022 by Occult Detective

The Georgina Rose Affair has had the online occult community in a fervor, and understandably so. I will not go into the sordid details. They have been hashed and rehashed multiple times. The best source, should you wish to refresh yourself on the particulars, can be found on the Codex Astarte Substack.

All caught up? Good.

I discovered Georgina Rose, aka da’atdarling quite some time ago when one of her videos was promoted to me via the youtube algorithm gods. While I wasn’t overly impressed with her content, I did follow her channel, and did the same on other social media outlets, such as twitter and instagram.

For all the negatives I could address, as an occult influencer, she did get people talking, about Thelema, Ceremonial Magick, Witchcraft… Her obvious naivete in relation to the subjects she was professed to be a “leading voice” in smacked of the sort of social media popularity contest that is part and parcel of the whole online experience.

I did watch her videos, and listened to the podcast she shared with author Temperance Alden and Nike. This content was the topic of much conversation in the circles I traveled in. As I’ve stated previously, “I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

There was a time when, if one spoke negatively of Ms. Rose’s content, you were labeled as misogynist, which is unfortunate. The issue was never with gender, but with her obvious naivete and misappropriation of other people’s work.

When she announced she had written a book on Thelema, set to be published by one of my favorite occult disseminators, Weiser Books, I was as surprised as anyone. Of course once the allegations of, well, that whole sorted affair, were leveled, many in the esoteric community questioned Weiser Books’ role in this, which I personally found rather unfair.

Weiser Books has always published what I feel is a balanced collection of traditional and historical magical content alongside fresh and ofttimes innovative voices. I reached out to Red Wheel/Weiser for comment, and Associate Publisher Peter Turner was kind enough to respond.

How did Georgina come to Weiser’s attention? Was she recruited, or did she approach the publisher?

Georgina was someone we were aware of as an influencer on social media on Crowley, Thelema, and the occult. She was then doing a podcast with Temperance Alden, one of our authors. (Temperance stopped doing this podcast some time in 2021 I believe.) Georgina did several podcasts on Weiser related topics and seemed genuinely well informed and a respected online source. I actually don’t recall if I reached out to her to do a book or if she submitted one to us first. I think I reached out to her.

Could you share some insights into the internal discussion and decision to pull “Begin With True Will”?

We became aware of the situation over the weekend of April 23rd-24th. On the following Monday and Tuesday senior staff meet to discuss the options. We had hoped that Georgina would address the statements made about her in a way that might make it possible for us to continue to publish the book as planned. That wasn’t forthcoming. So we arranged to have the book description and cover removed from online retailers websites. Shortly after we formerly arranged for the book to no longer be available for preorders. Online retailers can take a few days to update their metadata and affect these sort of changes to a book’s listing so there was a bit of a lag.

In light of this controversy, what is Weiser’s stance on other “problematic” authors, particularly in your back catalog? I’m thinking here of Edred Thorsson, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, etc. Will future editions come with disclaimers (I personally hope not)?

Weiser’s backlist includes books that were first published well over 100 years ago when what was viewed as “problematic” was very different. As a general policy we don’t remove books from our deep backlist. However, if they are reissued the books are closely read for material that may be offensive to our readers. In these instances we either provide a new foreword by a contemporary author reintroducing the book, warn the readers of any such content, and put the author’s views in historical context, or we include an “Editor’s Note” on the pages where this material is printed.

I should say this is a common problem in publishing. Rudyard Kipling, for example, was famously a racist, even using the “N” word in one of his novels. Whitewashing the past isn’t helpful.

How does this affect bringing in new authors for future publication?

We’re currently talking about making our editorial process and editorial policy more broadly known. Many people really don’t know how small publishers do what they do but in the case of Weiser’s readers we think they may appreciate a bit more transparency. In the past, we’ve tended to just want to let the books and their authors speak for themselves; that may not be sufficient these days. In terms of bringing in new authors, we’ve been talking for a while now about how best to properly research an author’s credentials and if they have expressed views that are at odds with Weiser’s publishing mission. We are now doing that research more vigorously. This would not have helped in the case of Begin with True Will (as the book was signed, edited, and already typeset before we became aware of the issues that came to light).

I want to thank Peter for addressing these concerns.

The Strange Case of Georgina Rose is an awakening moment for many of us. The company we keep reflects on us as individuals. That is not to say we should not rub shoulders with those with differing views than us. No, quite the contrary, but we need to be bold in our stance of what each of us holds true, so that there is no question as to where our allegiance lies.

I am religiously heathen, philosophically animistic, and politically Libertarian. I am, in a word, complicated. I am pro-choice, pro-gun, and an ally in trans and women’s rights. I believe in true equality between all races and genders. I always side with freedom of speech, bodily autonomy, and personal liberty.

I also believe in forgiveness, because life is too damned short to believe otherwise.

St. George’s Eve

Posted in Current Events, Writing on May 4, 2022 by Occult Detective

Wednesday, the fourth of May. Star Wars Day for most of nerd culture, but also St. George’s Eve, if you follow the old Eastern Orthodox calendar and want to get really nerdy.

“Do you know what day it is?” I answered that it was the fourth of May. She shook her head as she said again: “Oh, yes! I know that! I know that, but do you know what day it is?” On my saying that I did not understand, she went on: “It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?” — Bram Stoker, Dracula

I have had vampires on the brain (werewolves, witches, and liches too) of late.

Dragonslaying. That’s what St. George was on about, and in a sense, Van Helsing and company as well. We all have our dragons to slay. Some great. Some small. But slay them we must, or die in the attempt.

Of course, the great dragon, it seems, as always, is that of government and their perchance to overreach. They’re looking to strike down Roe v Wade and thus spark a cavalcade of abortion bans in Republican strongholds.

Rights do not emanate from government, but belong inherently to each of us. We are not government property. We need to demand that our Personal Liberty not be infringed upon. What represents freedom more than having Bodily Autonomy? No government is valid if those tenets are not met. Government should serve the people, not lord over them.

Government should have no right to tell anyone what they must or must not do with their bodies. This is true of a woman seeking an abortion, of Man refusing a vaccination, or the willful choice to ingest substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, or other naturally occurring medicinals.

Government, it seems, has assumed the role of the Dragon. It need be tamed or slain.

Yes, we all have our dragons to slay. Big and small.

That said, I wish you luck in the slaying of yours.

I have many adventures ahead, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

May the Fourth Be With You…Always.

Currently writing: Unnamed Comic Project, Unnamed Board Game Project, Unnamed Folk Horror short story, Unnamed Non-Fiction Occult article

Currently watching: Parks and Rec and Northern Exposure with Kim & Conn, Hannibal with Conn, Travel the Dead and Portals to Hell on my own.

Currently playing: D&D 5e, Wordle, Quordle, Classic Words (Scrabble), Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, and Elder Sign

Currently reading: 666, Sex, & the New Aeon of Horus by Richard Cole

Currently spinning: Kansas — Masque

Happy National Paranormal Day

Posted in Investigations, Paranormal on May 3, 2022 by Occult Detective

For some inexplicable reason, since 2013, May 3 has been christened National Paranormal Day. Well, every day is “Paranormal Day” in my nape of the woods, but if this once great nation wants to set aside a day other than Halloween for talking about all those things that go bump in the night, then I’m here for it.

So, as we’re supposed to share a “paranormal” story, why don’t I share one from this past weekend?

I played host to Indiana Ghost Trackers on Saturday night, April 30th, known to those more magically inclined as Walpurgisnacht. We descended on an undisclosed location, a former fraternal lodge in the north-central part of the Hoosier State, during a violent thunderstorm and beneath a New Moon, the second of the month, called a Black Moon.

Everything was aligned for an eventful investigation. The spirits of Beacon Lodge did not disappoint.

On a night filled with inexplicable knocks, disembodied footfalls, spiraling light fixtures, and the presence of shadow figures, for me, the most unnerving experience came as I sat in the darkness of the great ritual hall, illuminated by punctuations of forked lightning and the accompanying rolls of cacophonous thunder.

There, in silence, we sat beneath an ancient gaslit candelabra. As I meditated, reaching out to connect with the spirits I have grown accustomed to in that neglected space, a female voice spoke, as clear as if you and I were in conversation. She said, “Best stay awake.”

Many times over the years we’ve encountered such voices, distinct and clear on rare occasions, but audible to the naked ear nonetheless. Despite these many occurrences, it is always a preternatural treat to the senses when these unseen forces reach out.

I’ve been blessed to have experienced innumerable paranormal experiences.

Tell me, what are some of yours?

So, what are your plans for Walpurgisnacht?

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on April 28, 2022 by Occult Detective

My “May Day” Weekend is sorted. Saturday afternoon you can find me at Viking Fest in Whitestown, then, that evening, I have the pleasure of hosting my friends with Indiana Ghost Trackers for a “ghost hunt”.

Let’s see: New Moon? Check. Walpurgisnacht? Check. Chance of rain? Check. Should make for a spectacular night.

Beltane will be a fine day for rest, recovery, writing, and reflection.

The occult community is awash in finger pointing, “told you so” proclamations, and a whole lot of track covering. I’m referring of course to the Georgina Rose fiasco. I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

Then the receipts came in. Frater Pena on his Codex Astarte substack led the charge, bolstered by Marco Visconti, commentary by Temperance Alden and Nike (former podcast co-hosts), and a veritable host of others.

The thing is, it’s kind of ugly out there, and a lot of buzz words are getting tossed around that make me uncomfortable. It’s sort of a microcosm of all the BLM/Insurrection/Pandemic rhetoric that has exploded the past couple of years.

Something’s got to give.

So, Sunday…Beltane… I’m going to light a fire and visit with my cats, spend real quality time with my family, and think…a lot. Then, when the dust settles, I’m going to share those thoughts.

You have been warned.

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