Friday, January 19, 2018

Canada to Legalize Witchcraft

After a long process of legal review, Canada is moving towards eliminating many outdated laws. One of those laws is the prohibition on pretending to "exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration." This is an old law that was probably originally put in place to target fraud involving claims of paranormal powers, but the law is so vaguely written that it can be applied to cases where no scamming is involved. It could, for example, render any performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest illegal - because after all, any actor playing Prospero is pretending to use magick.

“One of the provisions that’s being removed in this bill is pretending to practise witchcraft,”Steve Coughlan, a professor at Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, told the House of Commons committee that studied the bill. “It probably hadn’t been prosecuted for 30 or 40 years, and about six months ago, some police officer in Toronto laid that charge. At some level, there’s an element of randomness as to when the lesser-known offences come up,” Prof. Coughlan added. “It’s somebody looking at the index, doing a search online, and trying to find it. It’s possible that the crown can then look at it and say, ‘You know what? That’s the wrong one.’”

The plan to repeal archaic laws from the criminal code was well received in Parliament. “One must wonder about the existing laws regarding the practice of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration” Wayne Stetski Kootenay, the NDP MP for Columbia, BC, told parliament. “In addition to the fact that it impinges on the rights of some religions, and would confuse the U.S. President who is certain that he is the target of a witch hunt, this might also hurt Harry Potter cosplayers; Dungeons and Dragons “larpers”, which I do not know much about but which my staff assure me is a thing; and others for whom sorcery is an entertainment. This is a good law to be rid of.”

But some opposition Conservative Party members were not thrilled with the idea. “We all chuckle and laugh, but I can understand why the party of Mackenzie King would want to make legal the practice of witchcraft, sorcery, and talking with people who have passed from this world, as Mackenzie King enjoyed doing,” Peter Van Loan, the Conservative MP for York, Simcoe, Ontario, said. “The concern is, and we have all heard stories like this, that people use these kinds of fraudulent witchcraft powers to persuade people that, for example, if they put $10,000 in an envelope, which they say will be burned but they slide it under the table instead, he or she will be saved from whatever curse they say the person is under.”

The thing is, I'm well aware that there are scammers who claim paranormal powers in order to hoodwink their targets. But shouldn't the example cited just be charged as fraud? There's no reason for Canada to have a special law for "fraud involving witchcraft" when fraud in general is already illegal, any more than there would be a reason to have a special law for "fraud involving envelopes." It's not like once this is repealed, there will be nothing left to charge these scammers with.

Furthermore, the idea that laws like this do no harm is just not true. Keeping them on the books means that law enforcement can go after Wiccan, Pagans, and anyone else who practices magick as a spiritual discipline any time they want. Canada is not necessarily as progressive as a lot of Americans think, especially with regard to religion. Wicca, Paganism, and even larger polytheistic traditions like Hinduism are not considered "real religions," and therefore have no legal protections.

A while back I covered the case of Dominique Smith, a Winnipeg woman who runs a metaphysical shop. Her shop was repeatedly vandalized by Christians, but the police were slow to take action. Technically, a police force more willing to persecute Smith could easily claim that her entire business is illegal under this law, and even though that hasn't happened, the fact that it could should be extremely troubling. Canada needs to step up and start protecting members of minority religions, and repealing this law will be a good start.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Via Solis Capricorn Elixir Rite

Today's Magick Monday post is a full script for the Capricorn Elixir Rite that we will be performing tomorrow, Tuesday Januray 16th, at Leaping Laughter Oasis, our local Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Going forward, we will be performing one of these per month, once for each of the twelve signs, in a ritual series called Via Solis (the way or path of the Sun). I will be posting the full scripts here on the preceding Mondays so people can take a look at them if they want to attend. Also, if you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) and would like to attend, let me or someone at the lodge know. This is a public ritual and all are welcome.

0. The Temple

The ritual space is set up with an altar table in the center. The bell chime, banishing dagger, and invoking wand are placed on the altar. In the center of the altar is placed a cup of wine for creating the elixir, within the Table of Art corresponding to Capricorn.

The sign Capricorn is attributed to the powers of "The Witches' Sabbath so-called, the Evil Eye." The latter is a general form of cursing cast by line of sight, but keep in mind that as Capricorn rules the Evil Eye, this sign can be employed both to cast such curses and protect you from them. Seeing as the "Witches' Sabbath" is not a real magical operation, but rather an invention of Medieval witch hunters (as the "so-called" likely acknowledges) the latter requires some explanation.

According to the imagination of witch hunters, the Witches' Sabbath was a ritual in which witches copulated with the Devil in order to obtain magical powers. So in the context of real magical operations we are talking about sex magick in various forms, whether symbolic or actual. Liber A'ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici, for example, is attributed to this sign and describes in (only slightly) veiled symbolic language a sex magick technique similar to Spare's well-known sigilization method. The Great Rite in the Wiccan tradition would be another example.

In addition, one of the magical weapons attributed to Capricorn is "the secret force" which is a reference to internal energies such as kundalini, whether employed in sex magick operations or otherwise. So another application for Capricorn would be to develop and/or strengthen those energies by magical means.

This ritual may be performed with one, two, or three officers, who may alternate taking the Officiant role and divide up the reading from Liber 963.

I. Opening

All stand surrounding the altar. Officiant inhales fully, placing the banishing dagger at his or her lips. The air is then expelled as the dagger is swept backwards.

Officiant: Bahlasti! Ompehda!

Officiant then performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. All rotate accordingly.

Officiant: We take refuge in Nuit, the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky, as we issue the call to the awakened nature of all beings, for every man and every woman is a star.


Officiant: We take refuge in Hadit, the secret flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star, as we issue the call to our own awakened natures, arousing the coiled serpent about to spring.


Officiant: We take refuge in Heru-Ra-Ha, who wields the wand of double power, the wand of the force of Coph Nia, but whose left hand is empty for he has crushed an universe and naught remains, as we unite our awakened natures with those of all beings everywhere and everywhen, dissolving all obstacles and healing all suffering.


Officiant: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.

All: All is pure and present are and has always been so, for existence is pure joy; all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and done; but there is that which remains. To this realization we commit ourselves – pure and total presence. So mote it be.

Bell chime.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Paula White Wants Your Money

Prosperity Gospel preacher Paula White is alleged to be one of President Donald Trump's spiritual advisors. It's really no surprise that they get along. She's pretty and blond - exactly his type - and just like him she seems to have a real talent for relieving people of their money. This month, White explained to her followers that they should donate their first month's salary of the new year to her, because otherwise they would face "consequences" from God.

Each January, I put God first and honor Him with the first of our substance by sowing a first fruits offering of one month’s pay,” White writes. “That is a big sacrifice, but it is a seed for the harvest I am believing for in the coming year. And God always provides! Every year many others join us and sow a month’s pay, a week’s pay, others give a day’s pay, but everyone gives their best- The results are miraculous!”

White explains that it’s important to donate money to her at the start of every new year because it helps you get off on the right foot with the Lord. “All Firsts belong to God,” she says. “When you honor this principle it provides the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life, it unlocks deep dimensions of spiritual truths that literally transform your life! When you apply this everything comes in divine alignment for His plan and promises for you.”

However, White also warns that bad things could happen to followers who don’t send her money this month because to not do so would contradict God’s word. “When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience there are consequences,” she writes.

Now the thing about this, though, is that if you follow this advice your first month's salary won't belong to God. It will belong to Paula White. The whole Prosperity Gospel thing is basically a scam, and it's a scam that exists only to enrich Prosperity Gospel pastors like White. She's probably just mad because Creflo Dollar has a nicer airplane than she does or something. It should be absolutely obvious to anybody who has read Jesus' teachings in the Bible that there's no way God would want anybody to enrich these charlatans.

It may be a good spiritual practice to donate significant amounts of money to the needy at the beginning of each year. That, at least, would be in line with Jesus' teachings, and if done right it can legitimately make the world a better place. But donating to a pastor who is already rich, just to help them sustain an extravagant lifestyle, is an entirely different thing that no sincere Christian should take seriously.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Enochian and Goetic Online Master Classes!

A while back Jason Newcomb approached me and a number of other magical practitioners with the idea of crowdsourcing online classes for Enochian and Goetic magick. It sounded like a good idea to me, so I signed on with the project. And now, the Indiegogo campaign is live if you would like to back the project. There are a lot of cool perks available, so check it out.

I'll be teaching on the Enochian side since my experience with the Lemegeton is pretty limited. But expect the same level of clarity and transparency that you can already find in my books on the Enochian system. In addition, I expect that my third book, Mastering the Thirty Aires, won't be available before we do the classes. So assuming the project gets funded, this will be the first time my work on the Aires will be presented publicly and in detail.

So these classes should be a lot of fun, and I think you'll get a lot out of them. Everybody on the list here has been practicing for a long time, and while we have our disagreements, exploring a variety of perspectives is always the best way to learn any subject.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Template Works for Everything

I got a question a couple weeks back about working with the pentacles from the Key of Solomon using my ritual techniques. Back in October, I published my latest ritual template, which I will be referring back to in this post. Next week I should be back on track with the magick posts on Mondays, with the script for the Capricorn Elixir that we will be doing on January 16th.

One of the best things about modular ritual templates is how versatile and effective they are for all different kinds of workings. If there's a "magical secret" out there, how to put the various rituals and forms together into a coherent operation is probably it. Many published books on magick include instructions on how to do the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. Some include the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Some include the Middle Pillar. And so forth. But there's little instruction on what to do with them aside from recommendations that you practice them daily.

The Greater Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram are much more elusive in print. I met Donald Michael Kraig on his book tour for the second edition of Modern Magick, and told him that the biggest problem with his book is that he did not include how to do those rituals and he really needed to include them. But back then I wasn't a published author, just some random guy, and he obviously didn't take me very seriously. In the third edition, he devotes a whole (oversized) page to slamming Poke Runyon when he could have at least outlined the Greater rituals in that same space. Seriously, nobody ever really cared about Kraig's personal feuds, but adding even a page on the Greater rituals would have made Modern Magick a far better and more useful book.

At any rate, what I found when I published Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy is that nobody else publishes that stuff, either. I was told time and again how useful my book was because it laid out the whole structure of a ceremonial operation including the basic components that go into actually getting stuff done. I've gone ahead and published the whole magical and mystical series here on Augoiedes for precisely that reason. We really don't need any more occult books that teach the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and then don't really even tell you what it's for or what it's supposed to do.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thoughts on Sigil Magick

So this is a "Magick Wednesday" post. Monday was New Years Day and stuff has been kind of crazy around here over the long weekend. One of the things I did get around to, though, is starting to read through Gordon White's latest book, The Chaos Protocols. For anybody who doesn't know, Gordon is the guy who runs the excellent chaos magick blog Rune Soup, which I have been following for many years.

The Chaos Protocols basically represents what I consider the cutting edge of chaos magick techniques, and as Gordon quips in the book, people who pick it up off the shelf will probably flip right to the chapter on sigil magick. For better or worse, sigil magick has become the defining technique that most people think of when you mention chaos magick. It has the "bang for buck" advantage over a number of other techniques, it that it may not be quite as effective as a full ceremonial operation, but it is far simpler to perform.

Gordon writes that this is akin to the work done by pioneers of human-powered flight who finally solved the problem by designing a flying machine that could quickly be reassembled and reconfigured every time it failed a flight test. Since their machine could be rapidly modified every time it failed, they were able to go through far more iterations in less time than other engineers working on the same problem who put a lot of time and effort into designing and building what they considered the perfect flying machine, only to have to start again from scratch when the machine failed.

At any rate, Gordon mentions several points that I find highly useful for understanding sigil magick and how it works. Unlike a lot of chaos magicians whose work I have read, he points out that the whole psychic censor/forget your operation idea is based on an outdated model of psychology and should be abandoned. The psychoanalytic schools have this idea of an "unconscious mind" that is akin to a sort of "separate mind" from what you experience as your conscious awareness. That is, it has goals and purposes, and in some meaningful way "thinks."

But this just isn't true, and I've been teaching my students accordingly for years. Neuroscience has shown that conscious thinking processes already consume the vast majority of the brain's resources. There is an "unconscious" in humans akin to what is found in other animals, but it is essentially just the conditioning system that runs on something like four rules. It prompts you to repeat behavior for which you have been conditioned in the past, and that's it. That's all it does. It has no goal, no awareness, and no capacity for "thought" as we generally mean it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Spells Versus Prayers

This is not going to be a political post, but I absolutely love the graphic there from Comedy Central that they included in their piece on witches casting spells to bind Donald Trump and Christians trying to protect him with prayers. It highlights something that I think should be obvious, but which many people apparently fail to understand. The point is this - when performed in order to accomplish specific objectives, spells and prayers are exactly the same thing.

Now technically I would point out that the diagram mentions "supernatural forces," and I prefer the term "paranormal forces," because as I see it everything that exists is a part of nature. I understand that's a bit of a quibble, but I do think it's an important one. I do not believe that there's anything about magick that renders it fundamentally beyond the scope of the scientific method aside from the primitive state of our measuring instruments with respect to consciousness. I see spirits as natural, psychic abilities as natural, and so forth. So to me, "paranormal" is a better term than "supernatural."

At any rate, I think some of the confusion regarding spells and prayers comes from the fact that there are prayers that don't fall into the same category as spells, such as contemplative or devotional prayer. These practices are more similar to meditation than they are to spells, in that they are performed to uplift and expand consciousness rather than to accomplish any task in particular. The difference between this and goal-directed prayer is essentially the difference between mysticism and magick. One is performed to facilitate spiritual growth and understanding, and the other is performed to get things done.

Aleister Crowley defined magick as "the science and art of causing change in conformity with will." So for anything to be magick, it must be performed with a specific intent. So even an occult ritual performed without an intent is not magick. Celebratory rituals that are simply performed to mark seasons or whatnot? Those aren't magick. Some groups refer to them as magick, or as magical rituals, but really all they are is rituals. A ritual, in and of itself, is not inherently magical.

Now to be clear, it's not that difficult to turn a celebratory ritual into a magical one if you know even a little about what you are doing. Add on a statement of intent that, say, the ritual is being performed to increase the prosperity of your community throughout the upcoming season, and you're done. But I find that many ritualists and supposedly magical groups out there don't do that, and some don't even see the point of it. To me it seems pointless to raise a bunch of spiritual energy and then do nothing with it.