Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Statement of Support

Those of you that look over at the side bar may have noticed my link to friends and aquantances. You may have seen a link to Houngan Hector over there, South Jersey's own Vodou Priest.

I met Hector at Crucible several years ago and though I havent had the time to hang out much, since I was duly impressed not only by his knowlege of his craft and personal power, but his level of spiritual realization and compassion.

If you check out this article here, you will see that Hector has had a little trouble dropped on his doorstep.

I wanted to make this post here for two reasons:

First, I wanted to just offer some support in what must be a difficult time. The death has not been ruled suspicious, but that will not stop people from thinking the worst.

Second, I wanted to point out an example of exactly how to handle this kind of press problem. You did it beautifully dude. Called 911 right away. Answered all reasonable questions of from the press. Protected the identity of others at the ritual. Were caring and concerned rather than defensive. Most important, you did not blame the police. They took your skull and computer, but rather than go on a rant about it, you just noted that "they are just doing their job", which they were.

Be well, and may the Loa see you through this difficulty.

Monday, July 27, 2009


THE SORCERER'S SECRETS went to print today.

To celebrate this important and final step in the publishing process, here is an excerpt from the chapter on Divination and Intelligence Gathering:


We live in the age of information. Some of the most successful businesses on the planet are concerned not with providing material goods and services to their customer, but information. Not only is the presentation of information big business, so too is the storing, sorting, converting, protecting, processing, transmitting and retrieving of information. The most advanced machines on the planet are dedicated to nothing more than the processing of information. Today’s armies are increasingly interested in the evolving field of Information Operations, which are dedicated to the methods of disabling or corrupting their enemies’ information systems. Given the overwhelming importance of information in the modern world, it only makes sense to begin our strategies with a discussion of the mantic arts: the magick of information.

Divination is the most commonly performed type of magick on the planet, and any of us who have ever read our horoscope in the newspaper, shaken a Magic 8 Ball, or predicted bad luck when a black cat crossed our path has engaged in it on one level or another. Thousands of psychics and readers are consulted every day, all over the world, by people from all walks of life, on topics ranging from lost loves to matters of state. It has been so since the beginning of human history. The Chinese have been using I-Ching since 1000 BC; making it one of the oldest types of divination on the planet. Babylonian Kings, Roman Generals and even a Pope have relied upon haruspices to read the livers of sacrificed animals before battle. The Bible mentions several examples of casting lots for readings that would indicate the will of God. Of course the Bible itself is a common tool for divination, as are the holy books of many other religions.

Ancient Greeks relied upon oracle priestesses, who would become mouthpieces for the Gods. Tibetans rely upon such oracles even today; without them the Dalai Lama may never have made it to India. Harriett Tubman, the hero of the Undergroud Railroad attributed her success to messages and visions from God as to what roads to take when leading slaves to freedom. [1]

Of course, occultists don’t only rely on divination for their information. Cunning sorcerers are adept at keeping their ears to the ground and gathering information in less magickal ways, as well. Marie Laveau, The Queen of New Orleans Voodoo, used information she overheard in her role as a hairdresser, to help her gain access and leverage in New Orleans society. The French sorceress and midwife, La Voisin, used information she gathered from her clients, to influence events in the court of Louis the XIV. Count Cagliostro did the same in the court of Louis the XVI, many years later. Reading body language, engaging in skilled eavesdropping, cold reading, and gathering information from well placed informants, may not be thought of as magick, but as you will see in the chapters ahead, success is made by the interaction of magickal and mundane methods, not magickal methods alone.

Before we can plan any of type magick to influence events, be it for money, love, power, or peace, we need to gain as much information as possible about the people and places involved, so that we can attempt to find the best ways to apply our art. Whether your information is gathered by mundane or magickal means doesn’t really matter, unless you are trying to impress a skeptic or appear on a television show. Most successful divioners take mundane information and use that to flesh out their divinations, which in turn are used to flesh out mundane knowledge. The less you separate your magickal activities from the rest of your actions, the more success you will have overall.

The exception to this rule is when you are giving a reading to client, especially professionally. Cold reading masquerading as divination is prestidigitation not sorcery. If someone is paying you for a psychic reading, make sure that you are giving them the real thing, not a cold reading or an educated guess. When reading for yourself however, information is information, whatever its source.


There is more to intelligence gathering than just gathering the information. Information must be evaluated properly, within the context of a given situation. Intelligence agencies, for instance, differentiate between Intel and Data. Intel is information that has been evaluated more for its relevancy to active situations than its accuracy. Data, on the other hand, is seen as particular units of verifiable information, regardless of its current application. Whenever we receive information from any source, be it rumors at work or a tarot reading, it is vital to evaluate it for its relevancy and accuracy. In serious situations several types of divination from different sources should be consulted in order to get a full picture. If an effort can be made to verify the information by non-magickal methods, than all the better.

Intelligence agencies classify their sources into different categories: human intelligence, open source intelligence, technical intelligence, signal intelligence, measurement and signature intelligence, financial intelligence, and so on. In the pages ahead, we will be learning how to classily the different methods of intelligence gathering available to sorcerers, and how each can support the other. It is a good idea to do this with all the sources of information in your life. What television shows do you watch? What newspapers do you read? What books? How are they slanted? Is there counter balance? It is all too easy to accept information that confirms your desires and beliefs, rather than challenges them, be it a good card reading or a partisan talk-radio show. We all gather information all the time; it’s how we assess it and use it that’s important.

The skilled sorcerer has the capacity to be a one-man intelligence agency. Obviously, many sources of information used by the CIA or NSA are not available to most of us reading this. Few of us have access to spy satellites and wire taps, but as practitioners of the occult we do have access to divination, which thankfully comes in many different packages. Just as the intelligence agencies use different types of intel to put together a clear picture, we must learn to use different types of divination to compliment and enhance each other.

The noted psychologist Julian Jaynes, in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, categorized divination into four categories: omens, augury, sortilege, and spontaneous divination. Sortilege is the kind most commonly used when offering readings. It includes: Tarot Cards, Playing Cards, Ifa, Runes, I-Ching, Mo Dice, Geomancy and any type of reading that involves the casting of any kinds of lots. Though most books focus on mastering one or more systems of sortilege, the successful Sorcerer will rely, not just on sortilege, but will incorporate all four types of divination into his or her intelligence gathering activities.

Let’s take a look at these four categories of divination, as well as two more advanced methods of magickal information gathering, in an attempt to put together a well rounded strategy that can be molded to fit any situation.

[1] She gained her psychic gifts after being hit on the head by a brick as a child.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tools of the trade.

Frater RO, recently packed up a lot of his own tools and wrote about how dusty they had become. He viewed the construction of his tools at the main point, and now that their meaning has been internalized, their use is not necessary.

Dohmnaill, my first magical partner, recently made a post about divination and the lack of tools. He commented that I started making the by the book tools (GD tools) back in high school. Looking around my temple now, I am literally surrounded by so much magickal claptrap that it takes up the whole room, not including the stuff in the garage that is packed up.

I did not ever view my tools as initiatory. Even after making the first set of GD tools (4 elemental weapons, Lotus Wand, Tablet of Union, Rose cross etc) I really didnt feel the construction was all that important. Their consecration and use was. If I could have purchased them for a reasonable price rather than make them, I would have.

After I "got Thelemic" I re-did most of my ceremonial tools in a more personalized, less primary color, fashion. I performed the exercises with the tools that Peter Carroll recomends (which I still like BTW). I dumped a lot of energy into those tools, and truly the wand was linked to my will, the chalice to my wisdom and vision, the dagger to my analysis, and the pentacle to my synthesis. They became extensions of the self, which is what most people I was learning from at the time recomended.

Big mistake.

When my chalice fell off my shelf at my apartment at 6th and Pine, I was on 4 blocks away at 4th and South eating lunch at Hot Tomales. I felt it drop. I felt broken for some time afterwards. I started to question the wisom of using the tools in that fashion.

Today, as I said, I have ooldes of tools. I still make my own wands for different purposes, not because I think that its an initiation to make them, I just like to do it, and think most store bought wands suck. The rest of my tools were mostly either purchased or given to me as gifts. Some have accumulated a lot of mojo, some I just like cuz I like them, but none are linked to my soul in any way and I can do what I do for myself without any of them at all.

I used to say tools are like cars, you can walk to Ohio from Jersey but its more effecient with a car. I don't really buy that argument anymore though. I can do just as well without them as I can with them. There are two exceptions however:

Working with others is made easier with tools. It brings the whole show together and keeps everyone on the same page. The tools become amulets of the groups egregore and the tradition that they represent. When I do sadhana at home I usually dont use many tools. but when I gather together with the rest of the Ngakpa Sangha we dress in full gear, bring out the big drums, dorje's, drilbu's, kapala's and kangling's.

Working for others is also easier with tools. Astral magick gets astral results. I would wager that if RO asks Gabriel to perform a task in the material realm, and does it with full regalia, he gets better results than if he does it in the spirit. Just the way it seems to work. Material magick yields material results. When I work for clients I always try to set up a full altar with candles and such so that there is no mistake that the work I am being paid to do is getting done. I also usually try to have something physical to give to the client. Physical objects can carry power easier than just sending it through the lines.

Some tools are challenging to work with and yield their fruit only when I work for it. My favorite tarot deck as far as symbolism and beauty is the Medieval Scapini Tarot. Perfect combination of Khabalistic and Cartomantic symbolism tied up with first rate art. It is on par with the Thoth tarot as far as its complexity, but not effected by the silly Thelemic changes to the tarot. To me its the perfect deck. Problem was that it wouldnt speak to me, until about three weeks ago. I dunno if it was waiting for me to have kids or what, but something told me that it had a message for me, I did a reading and a meditation on the fool and it has been yielding the most amazing and accurate readings ever since.

Go figure.

The picture above is of my client altar from about a year ago.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Interview with Yours Truly

Sandi over at SoulJournings has interviewed yours truly.

Go and read.

Discuss with friends.

If you live in the area, some see me at her store in September.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bune Bottle

Making a Bune Bottle this week for a client. Am scheduling special time away from the kids to consecrate it on Friday.

Wanted to send a thanks to R.O. for all the work he has done with Bune. My methods of course will diverge, but are still influenced by his.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An answer to an interesting question

A friend noticing my sudden increase in interest in Chinese Qigung asked a good question: "You already know and are working the Tibetan energy body systems as well as your own system that you are putting together, why Qigung now?"

Though he didnt say it, his facial expression added "you are already involved in too many things and people already don't know what to make of you, why jump into something else?".

Excellent question with more than one answer. As I think that my approach to such matters is relevant to more than just me, I thought I would share.

First, Qigung isnt really a new interest. I took some workshops in Philly back in the day and found the 8 pieces of brocade set pretty useful over the years. I particulartly took interest in it now that I am a parent of new borns and would not be able to regulate sleep normally*.

Second, and more important the Chinese Taoist and Tibetan Buddhist systems of subtle body anatomy are extremely similar, yet the goal and what gets worked is very different. Buddhism in general is not very pre-occupied with the current life and material goings on. Tibetan Tsa-lung practices mostly gather all the energy at the central channel and than do some pretty radical things that really rock your world. They rock it so much that it is not easy to finction normally. Two years ago while doing Tummo practice in VT, everything turned white and I couldnt see for almost 30 minutes. The goal of these practices are to create as intense an experience of bliss and emptiness as possible, they are usually done on retreat where the only concern in life is the work at hand. These experiences literally make samsara fall away, revealing the underlying reality.

Taoist practice however are much more concerned with health and longevity, immortality actually, in this incarnation. They circulate energy around the outer orbits more than they gather it all into the central channel. One is not really better than the other, and they are not incompatible. In fact I think that they compliment each other nicely, though obviously one has to focus on one at a time.

In the past I have always been less concerned with the matters of this incarnation than most. My inner life has always been more real to me than the outer one. Just how I am wired. Now that I am a parent however, I am taking a bit more interest in the mortal coil, and its reflecting in the signs and omens that giude my practice. When I got the spontanous dreams about Mantak Chia, it became pretty clear that there was a lot to investigate.

Am I going to become a Taoist? No. Just working the Qigung energy system. I do not need a statue of general quan for that any more than someone needs a statue of Padamsambhava to use some Tantric sex yogas. One of the reasons that I am working with Mantak Chia's stuff is that he presents it in straightforward non-religious ways. Am I missing out on some of the subtleties and beauty of the Taoist system - bet your ass I am. There is however only so much time in a day.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Thanks

I wanted to make a post here to thank Matthew Brownlee; best friend, kung fu master, and illustrator of the new book; for his wonderful gifts this weekend.

Not only did he go over some Qigung and Tai Chi with me, but he gifted me with a 1941 edition of DeLaurences Master Key, and the three volumes of Agrippas Occult Philosophy that Chthonos Books put out as hard covers in 1986. While Tysons translation is probably superior to this one, the bibiophile in me loves having such a seminal work in hardcover.

So thank you Mr Brownlee for all you do and have done.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Three Levels

Any time that I finish writing anything, I always run accross facts, rituals, quotes or ideas that I wish I could go back and include. After I finished Protection and Reversal Magick, my friend Nemesius taught me about the "Beating of the Bounds" tradition, which I spoke about in this new book. This time right after I turned in the final manuscript, a psychologist friend of mine came back with a dozen suggestions for how to make that influencing chapter better. I will have to include that stuff in the online class, once that launches.

Today, while reading "The Way of Qigong" by Kenneth S Cohen, I came accross a great footnote that illustrates my point about the Three Levels perfectly. In the old days Chinese priests used to not only do Qigung excercises and related energy work to heal, but also danced, drummed, and prayed. These days while most Chinese embrace Chi healing, they consider prayer to be un-scientific. In the book Cohen muses that Chinese healers will soon be shocked as the western research into the effectiveness of prayer in healing slowly gets translated into Chinese.

While Qigung itself works on all three levels within the body, indeed Jing, Qi, and Shen are an excellent example of the levels themselves, the technique largely rests upon the energetic practices of level 2 supported by the material breathing and excercise of level 3. While meditation, certainly a practive belonging to level 1, is used, it is not as stressed. Prayer gets largely marginalized not because it doesnt work, but because it doesnt fit the model easily. Thus the danger of models.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Twins are born. Boy is home and healthy. Girl is in hospital recovering from pneumonia. Prognosis is really good though, so I am not too worried.

Lots to update, here, but time is short tonight.

I did however manage a monday update of Take Back Your Mind.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mantak Chia

For some strange reason I have been having dreams and meditational impulses to read some Mantak Chia. This is similar to what happens when I get an impulse during meditation or period of silence to do a reading with a specific deck or tool.

Here is an interesting interview with Chia where he absolutely declairs Taoist practices to be magic.