Saturday, February 28, 2009

Post Deleted

I just deleted my post "Tibet Again" for two reasons:

1. I misunderstood what the poster was actually trying to say. Whether this was due to the reading, the writingm or both we will just leave be. 

2. Even if I was correct, it was an arrogant and self-important post to make. The point about Tibetan magick being misrepresented still stands, but someone being wrong on the internet is hardly a reason to generate such posts. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen? I dunno, but I suspect that those that do will be disappointed.

I just saw a bunch of clips from the Watchmen. I was awed by the previews, but when you take away the cool music and zipply cuts and actually watch even a minute or two of this movie, its pretty clear its gonna be a flop. The acting is TERRIBLE. I mean, worse than a USA or Lifetime show. Really bad. 

I hope I am wrong, and that the clips were just bad examples, but this feels like a whole lotta suck is gonna be coming around. 

Sorry for the off-topic post BTW.  

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Boogiemen of the Occult

Van Faustus made an excellent post about Occult Boogiemen: specifically the Process Chruch of the Final Judgement, and the Order of the Nine Angles. 

As someone that wrote a book about Protection and Reversal Magick (as well as a secret un-published chapter that makes it a complete treatise called "Magickal Combat") I look into these types of groups a bit. The Process was relativly harmless, the ONA less so. 

Here are a few more for your research:

Fraternal Order of the Golden Centurion: German Order founded in in 1840. Went underground in 1933. Still some rumors of their existence. Also known as the 99 Lodge because there were only 99 members at a time. Each year there would be a new member initiated, and if no one had died of natural causes that year, there would be a lottery for a sacrifice that was killed. Allegedly by Tepaphone. 

The Sampwel, the Zobop, Bizango, and other Haitian Secret Societies: These are the folks that issue the passports, make the zombies and otherwise enforce Vodou law. Some see them as necessary in a lawless land. Some as thugs not much better than Ton Ton Macout, who were themselves a Secret Society.

The Dugma's: Not to be confused with Dugpas, who Blavatski claimed were the masters of all evil in Tibet, but are actually a major lineage within the Kagyu School. The Dugmas are a Tibetan cult of mostly women near the Tsangpo Gorge who feed poison to righ travelers. The travelers die days later and the Dugma believe that when they do, they steal their "merit". How's that for your overly simplistic view of the peaceful and enlightened Tibet? 

Palero's:  All the Palo's that I know are really quite nice and upstanding people. However, they are tapped into some forceful shit and tend to be, IMO, overly concerned with attacks and such. Because of their Ngangas and their work with human remains, in some cases fresh human remains, they often fall afoul of the law and thanks to Carlos Montenegro's rather sensationalistic book, they are get a worse reputation among occultsts than they deserve. 

The Solar Lodge: Everyone in the OTO knows about Jean Brayton and the Solar Lodge. They know about the alleged connections to the Manson Family, and the infamous "Boy in the box" incident. Grady Mc Murtry wrote an article for an old OTO Newsletter claiming (let me see if I can remember this clearly) that members of the Solar Lodge were responsible for breaking to Sasha Germers house and among the items stolen was one of Crowley's books that conatined metal squares from Abramelin written in Enochian. He though perhaps this might have fallen into the hands of Manson. I will have to go to Thelesis and dig up the issue for the exact story, but they certainly are a boogieman. 

I am sure I could think of more, but these come to mind. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Aww crap

I am now drawing up plans for a steampunk looking Radionics box that is attached to a Concave scrying mirror, and possibly an ekg meter, just to detect any fluctuations when the box is used. 

Is this the kind of thing that a 36 year old expectant father should be thinking about? 

I am such a geek. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Astrological timing vs Astrological by-passing

I was chatting with someone this weekend that asked me a fairly detailed astrological question. I admitted to him that Astrology is actually something that I have not studied extensivly. I know a good bit, but nothing beyond that. I use planetary forces in magick all the time, but I do not get much into the details of timing and horary astrology and such. He seemed a bit shocked by this admission, and I dont really blame him. It is certainly one of the pillars of, if not the cornerstone of, the western magickal tradition. 

What can I say? I just never got around to it. When I was first starting out, I was keeping track of what astrological effects were having on my magick and my life. However, when I started doing the BRH every day (this was 20 years ago keep in mind) I noted that the effect of astrological influences was greatly diminished. 

Than about ten years ago or so, taking a cue from the PGM, I started developing my own method of balancing these forces within my sphere using the Greek Vowels. Through this process I sort of "discovered" the receptors within the body of light for the planetary forces. Think of these as microcosmic mirrors of the macrocosmic planets. By attuning their vibrations and moving their location within the body of light, you can effectivly negate or accentuate astrological influences to suit the situation. Thats why you never hear me complain about Mercury retrograde.

Just as the GD threw out some important aspects of Renaissance magick when they came up with their system, I think sometimes that modern Renaissancers are tossing some important aspects of modern magick out the door. Its crap to forget, misunderstand, and disregard history, but it's also crap to value something just because its old. This isnt the SCA. 

Some view the emphasis on astrological timing in Renaissance magick as a strong feature of the system. I actually view it as a bit of a flaw. I stand with most of the ATR practitioners in basically doing magick whenever the need arises. I usually do try to work with the waxing and waning of the moon m especially if its at night. I also do some special stuff of eclipses, which are quite powerful. If I have time, I work with the planetary days. If I am working with specifically planetary forces, I will probably wait for that planet to be physically overhead. I usually do not bother with planetary hours, finding it a bit of a contrived system. Overall, I think that there are some forces a bit more local that get ignored in favor of planetary allignments. That said, I think its important to know how to do Astrology proper. Its on my list...  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wicked Faire

I am super lame. I had an emergency at work that prevented me from speaking at the panel at Wicked Faire that I was going to be on entitled: "The Arcane Arts in Defense of Earth". I actually thought I just made it in time, but realized after getting there that I was wrong about the time. 

I thow myself upon the mercy of Jeff. 

I had a great time though. I never really appreciated the whole "Steampunk" aesthetic until last night. Since I was already going to build myself a nifty Hieronymus Device, I am now thinking I may have to trip it out steampunk style. My Concave scrying mirror too, 

The bondage class I went to was very cool. Nice of them to have models on hand to work on. I was really pleased to see that the folks I met at the Crucible finally put out thier first issue and are already done with their second. The magazine is called Thorn, and you should check it out if you are looking for a dose of Pagany Goodness. 

Lastly I wanted to say what a good time I had at Dinner with Arthur, Alyssa, Liz, Tali, Heidi and the rest. So nice to chat with likeminded folks. I am getting a room next year and doing the whole weekend. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finance Hands

Finance hands are all being mailed out this week. Sorry for the delay. Last week was consumed with my Anniversary, Valentines Day, aand Wife's Birthday (also known as Febmegaday) as wel as some other family issues. 

Thank you for your patience. I think that you will all find them worth the wait. 

Apart from the various projects I have going on for custom clients, the next "general offering" will be 6 "Jericho Bowls". This is a special sigil-carved bowl, cystal, and Rose of Jericho that will be consecrated to absorb hostile forces and emanate prosperity and well being. The bowl is filled with water, and the Jericho rose opens up. Every week change the water to get rid of the negativity. If you dont want to have it out, simply empty the water, let the rose dry up and go dormant. When you put it in water again, it will open up just as before. I scryed the sigils of the genii of the plant and will carve them into the bowl and consecrate the whole. I have had one on my altar for years and wanted to make some for others. Just add water...

More information on that in a couple weeks or so. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Meeting of Magi

It has finally happened. After several years of online interaction, Frater RO traveled great distances deep into the Pine Barrens to my secret location so that we could break bread together in person. 

It's always strange meeting someone that you are "online friends" with in person. The first person I ever did that with was Al Billings when he came to Tsegyalgar, where we were driven from our campsite to a redroof inn by hoards of demons, or at least mosquitoes. 

I am happy to report that this was a similarly successful, ableit brief, meeting. We discussed our evil plans and than dissapeared under cover of darkness. Nice to meet you in person Frater. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Inominandum's Advice For Studying And Applying Magick From Multiple Systems Without Being A Dilettante Or Disrespectful Twit.

Inominandum's Advice For Studying And Applying Magick From Multiple Systems Without Being A Dilettante Or Disrespectful Twit. 


I respect fully, those people who stick with the system that they were born into, or that culture and geography throws them in with. However, since the advent of jet travel the world is a bit smaller than it used to be, so while it is perfectly natural for someone who is for example raised a strong Roman Catholic in a heavily Catholic community to remain so for life, it was equally natural for someone like me who was not raised with any strong religious convictions, and who encountered a Rosicrucian, a Rootrworker, a Santera, several Witches of various stripes, and a Ngakpa all within 10 miles of where he grew up in New Jersey, to draw from all of these traditions. Indeed I consider the interface of the various paths to be one of the greatest spiritual developments of the 20th century.


That said, modern eclecticism can get a bit crazy. Primarily you have people substituting superficial knowledge of a lot of things for deep knowledge of a few, which leads to what I call “cram the quarters” paganism. It usually goes something like this “in the north I call Selene, Artemis, Kali, Kwan Yin, Astarte, Diana, Demeter, Oya, Erzuli, etc, etc…”


Also, you have those with poor motivation. Rather than actually wanting to learn the methods of another tradition, these folks really just want to hang an exotic symbol set on what they already do. Use the same GD/Wicca rule book, but switch out the gods for Tibetan Yidams or Orishas or whatever strikes your fancy that week. This is what Chogyam Trungpa refered to as decorating the cage. Rather than using your magick to free yourself from ignorance, you simply dress it up in exotic terms.


In some cases the temptation to engage in exotic symbol sets turns into an almost crazed zeal to make everything the same. This manifests by either homogenizing it in a bland stew so that you can spout hippie crap like “it all leads to the same place, man”, or by branding everything with your special brand. Thelema is a big offender here and can act almost like the borg in its zeal to make everything “new aeon”. There are systems of Thelemic Buddhism, Thelemic Shintoism, Thelemic Taoism, Thelemic Palo, Thelemic Christianity, and so on.


So, here than are my simple rules for interfacing with unfamiliar systems of magick and applying them to your own practice in a way that is smart, respectful, and safe.


  1. Ask yourself: Is the tradition/religion/system I am studying a living cultural tradition or a dead one? This is an important distinction to make at the outset. By using the terms living and dead I do not mean to imply a value judgment, only a description of its current state. Living systems are systems that are practiced or at least acknowledged widely by the culture and area that it originates from. Dead systems are not practiced widely by the culture and area they originate from.

    For instance: Vodou, Tibetan Buddhism, Catholicism, Sufism, Santeria are examples of living systems. Celtic Magick, Hellenic Paganism, Gnosticism, Aztec religion are examples of dead ones. You might have trouble classifying these. Hoodoo for instance is not quite practiced as widely in a particular culture as the examples of living systems that I give above, yet it also maintains direct links of practice since its inception, and therefore is not in need of reconstruction in the way that say a cult of Hecate or Gnosticism are. It could be argued either way, but I would classify it as living.

    Again, please do not read ideas like “better” or “more potent” into the distinction between living and dead.
      Decide on the answer to the question and proceed to the next appropriate step.


DEAD TRADITIONS: If the tradition is dead and in need of revival or reconstruction than your work is a bit simpler than if it is living.


  1. First ask yourself if there are any living representatives of genuine traditions dating back to when the tradition was living? If so than find them and learn from them. Proceed as you would with a living tradition. NOTE: I am not talking about other reconstructions. For instance, as good as they are, modern Gnostic groups would not qualify as living representatives of the tradition from when it was alive.
  2. In all likely hood the answer to question above is NO. That’s ok. The next step however is NOT to contact other groups doing reconstruction. The next step is to read. To start out you should read at least five good books, but no more than seven on the subject. No more than two of these books should come from the New Age or Occult section of the bookstore. Look at history, folklore, religion, etc. Most importantly, look at the bibliographies of these books and hunt down the articles and academic books which have a density of information in them that you just don’t find in popular books. For example, I paid 50 bucks for my copy of “The Goddess Hekate: by Stephen Ronan, which is only 166 pages, yet I would trade every other book I own on the subject for just that one because it is so good.
  3. After you have read at least five books, but no more than seven books on the subject, you are ready to branch out from scholarly exploration into psychic exploration. Why at least five but no more than seven? You need at least fuve good books to balance your understanding and prevent you from being an IRABE (I Read A Book Expert). The limit of seven to start is so that you avoid the “analysis paralysis” which occurs when you become obsessed the idea of knowing absolutely everything before taking any magickal action. When you do take your first magickal steps, I recommend undertaking a traditional ritual or spell as close to its original form as you can, than branching out from there as research and spiritual guidance allow. To the best of your ability, try not to interpret what you have read in the light of modern systems until you are further along. For instance, I began my Hekate work by using a traditional orphic hymn and a Papyri Spell. Eventually I started receiving and writing a whole arcana, of new work, but which is rooted in the older tradition, at least psychically.
  4. Only after you have a firm grasp of your scholarly material, and a psychic connection to the fountainhead of the current/tradition should you contact and work with other reconstructionist groups working along similar lines. Without both of these firmly in place, you will not be equipped to evaluate their work, much of which might be mis-represented or just plain shoddy. However, when it is good stuff, you will have something to offer in return through your own work.
  5. Establish a regular interchange of scholarly, psychic, and social exploration. Never allow one to completely overshadow the other.
  6. Always be clear about what you are representing when you present your work to others. Claiming that your order/coven/group represents a several thousand year unbroken secret tradition seemed to fly 100 years ago, (I’m looking at you Reuss…) but it doesn’t anymore. Never confuse psychic information with scholarly information. Keeping with examples from my own Hekate work: Hekate revealed to me a vision of what the Strophalos is and how its used, but I would never claim that this is for sure the same as the historical item and usage.
  7. Lastly, take it somewhere new. Don’t dwell on getting it exactly as it was in the past. This is modern vital magick, not an SCA project.


LIVING TRADITIONS: Unless you just plan on converting completely to whatever it is you are studying these waters can be a bit trickier to navigate. Here are my recommendations:


  1. Forget what you already know from other systems! This is crucial at the beginning. You may be a master of one system, but that does not necessarily mean that your knowledge is applicable in all systems. Until you have attained a good degree of understanding of a system from its own base and path you should avoid the temptation to compare and contrast at all costs. This is particularly true of Cabbalistic correspondences. The zeal and speed at which I have seen folks dump the gods, symbols, and ideas of other cultures into a “777 chart” is disturbing and causes more misunderstanding than it does insight. Papa Legba might fit in Tiphareth, but he also fits in Hod and Daath, and Yesod in many ways so it’s better to just not dump him into a little box at all.
  2. Similar to the above, do not use your magickal and psychic senses to determine the use or secret behind a practice. This is ok, even necessary with dead traditions, where the secrets have been lost, but is NOT OK with living one. Like the guy I roasted a few posts ago who suggested that breathing heavy, dropping acid, and staring at a picture of a Mandala was accomplishing the same thing as working it in the real sense, you will just make an ass out of yourself. A friend of mine once bought a phurba from Garland of letters in Philadelphia and asked me how to use it. I told him that he first needed to get the empowerment, and than I would help him go over the sadhana. Instead he decided he would “psychically figure it out”. What he came up with was indeed magick, but not in any way related to the traditional use of a Phurba. I don’t care if you shove vajra’s up your ass to activate your muladhara charka; if you get something out of it, than great, but don’t confuse that with the tradition.
  3. Go the genuine representatives of the tradition for study. This should be obvious but isn’t to many. There are actually Theosophists living in Nepal, surrounded by Tibetans that hold Blavatski as the ultimate authority on what Tibetans actually do. There are Thelemites who still reference Crowley for Taoism or Yoga. In today’s world, almost anything is accessible. Go to the source!
  4. Take a certain amount of time and become a zealot. Jump into it with full faith that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. This will provide you with the energy and motivation to learn as much as possible in as short a time as possible.
  5. Join a group, but do not get sucked into the politics of it. Most importantly do not allow the group to regulate your access to the teachers. This was one of the most valuable things that Reynolds taught me when I first got into Tibetan Buddhism. Most traditions have teachers that are surrounded by a cabal of close students, most of whom spend much more time acting like guards for that teacher than they do actually studying what is taught. Set things up directly with the teacher, so that you can ask exactly what you are interested in. For example, Lobsang Samten in Philadelphia is surrounded by a group of well meaning people who have absolutely no interest in Tantric practice, and even less in the Sorcery aspects of it. However, by talking to Lobsang directly I was able to get a series of one on one classes in Kilaya that were extremely detailed in the razor mantra and the use of the physical phurba. Not something you normally get.
  6. When you can get a teacher to chat one on one, be sure to take full advantage of the situation. A few techniques that I rely on are:
    1. When asking questions directly I make sure to ask for detailed information on a specific point, and to use technical terms in the question to establish that I probably know enough to receive the answer. A bad question would be “Can you tell me everything you know about Tantric Sex practices”.  A good question would be “In the Ghuyasamaja system, the Thap-Lam instructions seem to indicate that a release of fluid is ok, whereas in other systems like Chakrasamvara it is considered a breakage of vow, why is this?” (Answer BTW is that the latter focuses on inner heat yogas and the former on illusory body yogas…)
    2. Whenever possible, introduce alcohol. Hey, it really does get people talking loosely about the good stuff. Just be sure to remain lucid enough to steer the conversation towards something that you are interested in. Because of booze Tenzin Wangyal spilled beans on Ma-gyud inner yogas, Frater Lee revealed some secrets of the Temple of Set, Bill Farrel taught me absolutely perverse things to do with crystals and ley lines, and a Babalo who shall remain nameless taught me about 50 spells using Cascarilla that I have never seen in print. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
    3. Use information from other traditions to trade. I know I said forget other traditions for the time being, but this is different. There is a good chance that your informant is just as interested in other traditions of magick as you are. When I was a teenager I used to talk about western ceremonial stuff to the guy at the Globe, which in turn would get him talking about Rootwork. If I mentioned that I wanted Dittany for making spirits manifest, he would tell me that he uses it for love and uses Mullein for manifesting spirits. The conversation would go on from there. This can extend to documents as well. I once traded a photocopy of the Grimoire of the Golden Toad for a photocopy of my friends hand written instructions on making a Nganga.
  7. After you have spent a while as a zealot and have learned the ropes, find the most disenfranchised and cynical fuck you can who is still in the tradition, and talk to them. This will give you a realistic view of the downside. Note that I said “are still in the tradition”. People that have left entirely are often overly jaded. Peter Koenig, for instance is someone that I wouldn’t recommend to people studying the OTO until they really had an expert grasp of what it’s all about and could sift through the hate and vitriol for themselves.
  8. The amount of time you spend learning the tradition in a vacuum, without viewing through the lens of other traditions, will be directly related to the foreignness and complexity of the tradition. Its foreignness is determined not only by geography and culture, but time. Modern Congolese magick is quite foreign culturally and geographically from me being a person of European descent in the burbs of Jersey, but may not be as alien as Greek magick from 1800 years ago. I spent about 5 years learning Buddhism in a vacuum, but only 2 looking at Hoodoo in a vacuum. Other systems like GD and Wicca that are heavily synchretic by nature need even less time viewed solely on their own terms.
  9. As you delve deeper into the tradition, begin to think about things in terms of symbol set and tech. As you begin to widen your focus again and
  10.  After a certain amount of time you will again widen your view and start integrating what you have learned into your other practices. This is fine and normal as long as you keep a few things in mind:
    1. Respect what a title in a tradition implies. For instance, I have studied Vodou to a certain extent that I use some of its tech in my work. I would not however call myself a Houngan, as this has a certain definite meaning. I also incorporate some Tibetan tech in my work, and have even been given permission to teach certain things by Lamas, I do not however call myself a Lama. Think of it this way: you may learn lots of medical techniques. You may even learn as much or more than your local doctor. If however you call yourself an MD but haven’t receieved that certification you would be committing fraud, regardless of your knowledge level.
    2. Respect the integrity of the tradition, and do not claim to represent it with your own synchretism. In my spirit feast rite I took a lot of Tibetan style offering tech from various Sang Cho’s and Bumipati pujas and applied it to my own ritual. I would not however present that rite as a “western Bumipati puja”. I grab a lot of stuff that I learned from Namkhai Norbu and Lopon Tenzin Namdak about Dzogchen and teach it when I talk about meditation. Tech is tech after all. I do not however present it as Dzogchen. Dzogchen has specific meanings beyond that. You can take sex practices from Tantra and Taoist inner alchemy and use them in your Thelemic practice, but that does not make them Tantra or Taoist alchemy. Respect the tradition that you are drawing from and do not try to represent it with your own idiosyncratic teachings.


That’s basically it. Be smart, be respectful, and be sane,




Wednesday, February 11, 2009

East is not Alien

In his post HERE. Frater RO writes:

"And every time someone from the West goes into the East, they are taking with them a cultural resonance that will have to be overcome to get the most out of the Eastern traditions. People like Jason can manage it to some degree, but even he returns to the traditions of the West. I propose that the systems of magic of the West are superior to the systems of the East for Western Magicians. We are extensions of the philosophies of our culture, and they are less alien to us, I think, than the Eastern concepts. I aim to prove it."

I have to reject this thesis. 

First of all I want to make something clear: when I took up the study of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, I did not leave western magick. I shifted emphasis because it was where my HGA (and Papa Legba finny enough) told me to go. However, I did not leave anything behind. I still participated in the OTO, did western magickal workings, and all kinds of sorcery. 

Furthermore in 2001, I did not "return to the traditions of the west". Every single morning I wake up and do Padmasambhava Guru Yoga, followed by Red Jambhala mantras, and Osel Chenma Mantras and 20 minutes of Threkchod contemplation. Every afternoon I perform several semzins throughout the day and recite various mantras as I am inspired to do. I often have time to do another 20 minute session in the afternoon. Every evening I do a quick Anutara stype Kila practice followed by offering and prayer to Dharmapalas, followed by yet more meditation unless I have a big ritual to perform. 

Now, I will grant you that my focus has again widened so that I am no longer focused primarily on Buddhism and Bon. I will get into my reasons for that in a minute. I also will grant that the practices I do are very short, some taking only minutes to accomplish. I have no love or need of hours of recitation. Never did. Thats for monks. I am a Ngakpa. but I wanted to point out that there was never a leaving and returning from west to east to west for me. Just a several year period of focused study that was needed, not because of the alien-ness of Tibetan magick, but just because it is so complex and multi-faceted. I suppose the language is a barrier, but honestly, the cultural issues were nearly non-existant. 

Lets not forget that Time, as well as Distance has an effect on how alien a system may seem. To me modern Tibetan Buddhism is significantly less alien than Medeival european magick, and certainly less so than Egyptian and Greek magick from 2-4000 years ago. 

So, as I said, in 2001 I widened my focus to look at magick as a whole again, rather than be so focused on Tibetan magick, but my reasons hd nothing to do with it being alien

Reason number one is that while many people only want to take the medicine of dharma, I feel an urge to play doctor. Its difficult to do that it Tibetan Buddhism without spending way more time in retreat than I was willing to devote. There are also aspects of the Gure tradition that I am deeply uncomfortable with. You could argue that these are the very cultural differences RO is pointing to except that you encounter them inthe west as well. I might be a Catholic Priest except there are aspects of the religion that I have deep issues with. I might have stayed in the OTO system and worked my way to 9th degree, but instead I found a shortcut to the stuff I wanted to get, than ditched the rest. So its really not the cultural difference. 

My own magick today is no more "western" than it is "eastern". I have brought together methods from Tibetan Buddhism, Ceremonial Magick, Hermeticism, Hoodoo, Afro-Carribean magick, and most importantly my own direct ifluence, to create the Sorcery that I use and teach. 

My Spirit Feast ritual for instance, is being used by dozens of people in the west, and is in total accord with western magick, but is actually based on eastern rites. I use Tibetan methods of Blood Red Tormas to make offerings to spirits that would otherwise require blood, and I use Hoodoo powders and candles in conjunction with Tantric Sadhanas. One of my pet side projects with John Reynolds is a growing grimoire of Neo-Tantrc Hoodoo that blends African and Tibetan magick. It is not that I love blending systems for the sake of blending them: it is that through understanding the meta-magick behind it all - the quintessence of the art - you can do amazing things. 

Next post will be on Inominandum's advice for studying and applying magick from multiple systems without being a dilletant or disrespectful twit. 

East vs West: false dichotomy

Ok, so this I think is going to be the blog topic for the week. 

If you wanna get background on all this, see the comments to this post here between Jow, Frater RO and myself. That led to a series of IM's between RO and I which led me to post this. And which in turn led Frater RO to post THIS today. 

Now his post has sparked a series of posts in my mind. 

If you don't want to read all that, than don't bother. I will make the posts as self complete as I can. 

The first topic I want to deal with here is the illusion of Eastern and Western magick. These terms get thrown about a lot in the occult world. I have even been known to throw them about myself for conveniences sake, but at the point where you are matching them up against one another like competing self-contained systems, it is no longer useful. 

So to those that divide the world into eastern and western magick and religion I would simply ask: where is the dividing line? Is Sufism eastern or western? It clearly was deeply effected by eastern religion, yet its also part of the Monotheistic Big Three. So is it eastern or western? 

Just as an aside, the "big three" religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism  arent really. Judaism falls to number 16 just under Sikhism, if we look at numbers of adherants worldwide.

Where does Zoroastarianism lie? East or West? Howabout Sikhism? 

Even if you manage to come up with an eastern western line, what about Africa? Its magickal systems are not really akin to either. What about Native Amercican spirituality? Its firmly in the west, yet bears a close resemblance in many aspects to Tibetan Bon, which is why the Buddhists and the Hopi have these secret pow-wows that get whispered about. 

I would say that there is just as much difference between Hinduism and Zen as there is between Hinduism and Christianity, yet the first two can be lumped together as "eastern". 

Bottom line is this: there is no real East/West division. Just people doing magick and religion in different ways in different places. They all effect one another. Its pretty clear that Buddhism effected many traditions of early Christianity. Its also clear that Pure Land Buddhism and fogures like Matreya were influenced by Christianity and other western Messianic cults. Note that Matreya sits on a chair, not with his legs folded...

Just as the industrial age magicians like Mathers, Crowley, Randolf, and so on threw a lot of babies out with the bathwater when they were putting together their systems of magick, I hope that the current people doing "old system magick" don't throw more babies out by disregarding everything that was done over the last 150 years in favor of some idea of pure Renaissance or Hermetic magick. One of the best things to happen to western magick has been the breaking down of the eastern/western wall, and the inclusion of meditative and spiritual practices from "eastern" traditions that did'nt suffer under quite the same lineage break up and limited practice that "western" traditions did. 

Growing up in central NJ, I collected teachings from a Rosicrucian, an African Root Doctor, a Santera, and a Ngakpa. All before I was 21 years old, and all within 10 miles of my home. Isn't it time we ditched the western vs eastern thing?


Monday, February 9, 2009

It's gonna be a matched set

For those that don'y know already, my wife and I are expecting twins this summer. 

Today I found out the genders. It's gonna be a boy and a girl. 

And no, we are not naming them Luke and Leia. I am not that big of a dork, and besides, that would make me Darth Vader. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Of Systems and Supremacy

Conversation this weekend between Frater R.O. and I spawned by the comments section of THIS post, has focused on the worth of various syetms eastern and western and what can be accessed by what. I could go on about the virtues of the completeness of the eastern systems. I think that those who have been involved seriously in eastern systems like Taoism, Vajrayana and so on have to admit that the west has nothing quite on par with them, outside of perhaps the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. I could also talk about the freedom and creativity that has its own worth in Western Magick, as well as the benfits of working with your own Geo-graphical and cultural framework. 

All that aside though there are really only two "systems" that I even remotely care about:

The first is the system that is the quintessence of magick, mystecism, and reality itself. It is beyond any culture and symbol set. It is reality itself in all of its fullness and layers of density from the most material and illusory appearance to the most sublime and ultimate akashic height. 

The second system in the one that the individual uses to eastablish connection with the first, and than uses to express it outwards to others as teachings and works. Make no mistake everyone has their own system. Even two people initiated into the same cult on the same day and do everythng the same have thier own system in the end. 

These are the only two real systems of magick. 

The others, be they GD, Vajrayana, Solomonic Magick, Hermetics, Chaos Magick, Toaism, Vodou, Voodoo, Thelema, Temple of Set, or even my own emerging system of Sorcery are all just convenient classifications. They are important distinctions for establishing the esoteric language that you are going to speak in and perhaps even the powers, principalities, and entities that you aree going to deal with primarily.  But choosing one over another or being concerned with whether one does the same as the other is just as pointless as worrying about whether Mississippi has as good Pizza as New York does or whether New York has ribs to rival Mississippi. 

These sub-systems that exist between the ultimate and individual expresessions of magick have different methods and in some cases different goals. It is up to the individual to decide which goals are important and than attain that Great Work. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

FAQ Finding Mission

Ok y'all. I know that you all wake up every day and think "how can I help Jason out?"

Well, here is your chance. 

Those that have visited will have noticed a FAQ page indicated. I have a few questions that I want answered, but I was wondering what you would like to see answered in a FAQ about me and my work. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I purchased the domain and hosting space on Candlemas. 

My friend Don is working on a professional looking site that will be up sometime in the future. 

I have tacked up something fast, and incomplete using the hosts site builder.


If you don't know squat about Tibet, than STFU about it.

One of the things that really sticks in my craw is when western magicians make absolutely rediculous claims about how magick works in another system based on, well, nothing really. It's bad enough when the system they are referring to has'nt been worked on a large cultural basis for hundreds of years like many western Pagan systems, but it really pisses me off when they are talking about systems that are still "living" and easily accessed. 

No system has been more abused in this way than the Tibetan systems. I realize that Tibetan magick stimulates the imagination. They have spent as much time in the last 1000 years working on magick and meditation that we have on science and industry. All the cool superheroes like Mandrake the Magician, The Shadow, and even Dr Strange get their powers through Tibetans. 

It was bad enough before Tibet opened up and people like Blavatski and even my hero Franz Bardon, would write absolute false crap about Tibetan Magick. But today, there is no excuse. NO EXCUSE! You don't need to base you knowlege of what Tibetan magick is like off people that wrote in the early 1900's and had the barest of exposure to it. You don't even need to travel there youself to find out: They come here every summer. Some even live and teach here year round.

Yet I still real the same crap about Tulpas, Chod, and Kyil-Khors that Alexandrea David Neel misunderstood being bandied about like its news. May as well just pretend that Blavatski was right and that the Dugpas (Drukpa Kagyu) are the source of all evil in the world. 

What brings up this rant you ask. 

The author of la Croix petite claims:

"The monks apparently have a system they use to access this technology which as far as I can tell is based on years and years of meditation. But I have discovered a short cut: hallucinogens and pranayama. My favored cocktail is lsd + mj. For pranayama simply the 'little pranayama' (hum-sah) is all that is needed."

He has dscovered a short cut ladies and gentlemen! Get the Fucking Dalai Lama on the phone! Tell all the monks to just drop some acid and do a lame pranayama meditation picked up from Modern Magick. Thats really all there is to it!

Speaking as someone who has worked this system AND someone who has worked with psychedelics and pranayama I can assure you that its not even remotely the same thing. The two dimensional sand-mandala that he points to is not even meant to be meditated on directly. Its a map for a three dimensional space generated through meditation, entered through initiation, and actualized through various completion stage practices. 

I have no doubt that he gets something from doing what he does, but to confuse it with what the monks or yogis do is just criminal. Its like discovering that if you take acid, do pranayama and look at a car, its a short cut to driving. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Speaking of magick from the 70's, I found this in a book bin today. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Great Work

I trun your attention to two posts. 

The first here, where Frater RO argues: 
"K&CHGA is the means to attain the authority to conjure and command the demons. The point is not to attain spiritual enlightenment. It is to attain the power to control the world by gaining authority over the spirits that manage it.That, brothers and sisters, is the Great Work."

The Second is here, where Frater BH argues:
"Doing the Work is about manifesting as much of human version of 'God' here as possible. It is about controlling your evil daimon for your own purposes and letting your 'good' daimon reign."

For myself, I truly do not understand the need to forsake one for the other. RO seems to think that the infiltration of Theosophy and eastern mystecism into ritual magick is a bad thing. I completely disagree. I think Theosophy is crap of course, but if you take a look at genuine Eastern Magickal systems they have a lot to offer a more broken and diluted western magick. If you don't think its more broken and diluted, than you are just kidding yourself. 

BH seems to emphasise the "your demon" part as opposed to "demons". The "spiritual" work over the "material" work. This is a dichotomy that is completely false. Indeed, nothing is quite so un-spiritual in my book, as the person who is feeding his ego by worrying about destroying it, or causing further dis-union with teh divine, by worrying about uniting with God. We are here for a reason. There is an upward flow and a downward flow. Matter ever strives towards spirit while spirit ever strives towards manifestation. 

The important point that I want to make here is that both seem to be confusing K&C of the HGA with THE GREAT WORK. Truth be told, I don't really even like the term "Great Work". It means something specific in Alchemy but has been so overused over the centuries that it essentially means nothing anymore because it can mean anything to anyone. Its crap. It also indicates a final enlightenment outcome, which I just don't believe in. 

However, if we want to play with this term, than attaining K&C of the HGA is a step on the attaining of the Great Work, not the great work itself. In fact, I would argue that it is not even a necessary step. There are other ways to go about doing things. 

RO is right that Abramelin is a book primarily about Demonology. Its a book. Thats what its about. He than takes the statement a bit more broadly, and I can't quite follow him there. 

For me, the great work is about awakening. It is about Realization. Transformation possibly. The term comes from Alchemy after all. I think to say that The Great work is about controling the evil little bastards that run things is a bit narrow. I could point to a dozen people that I would say have "attained the great work" that had no interest in such things. But again I point out that to be a mystic or even an alchemist, one need not be a magician. In fact, as I have said before, if you want union, and realization of God than magick is a bit of an ass-backwards and inefficient way to attain it. But make no mistake: the mystic, the alchemist, the magician, the witch, the yogi, the priest, the monk.... they are all concerned with the great work. 

But again, I pretty much find that term useless.

Dear Occult/New Age Shop Owners

This is an open letter to all owners and would-be owners of Occult, New Age, Witchcraft, and other types of shops that cater to the magickal set. 

First, thank you. You are doing thankless work and probably going broke in the process. People won't even realize what they had until you are gone, which is actually why I am writing this letter. I don't want you to go. 

The problem is that many of you have already gone, most of you that are still around are on your way out, and those of you thinking about opening new don't stand a snowballs chance in the Watchtower of Fire unless you get smart. 

The first thing I want to tell you is, it may say "shop", or god forbid "shoppe" on the sign, but you had better not plan on being just a shop or you will fail. If you are planning on just kicking back in your store and being a clerk you will fail. You need to do more than just sell stuff if you want to survive. I can get stuff cheaper and faster than I can get it from you. You need to be a community center and a service provider first, than a shop. 

Lets take each of these in turn. 

COMMUNITY CENTER: I was talking today to my friend Howard who is a PR guy for some major acts, and a lover of record stores. He noted that people don't really go to really good record stores for records and never did. They go because they want to learn about the music they dont know about. The owner of the store knows more about whats cool, and is cooler, than you are at 16. You go to soak up his wisdom on music, and hopefully be recognised by this older, cooler, more knowlegeble guy. In the process you will buy stuff, but the buying is a by-product of just being there. If you havent ever been to a good record store, than I pity you. Watch High Fidelity to see what I am talking about. 

Occult stores are the same way. The first guy I ever picked uyp Hoodoo tricks from was a Conjure shop owner. I learned all about Santeria and Palo primarily from shop owners. I met John Reynolds, my most primary spiritual and magickal teacher in an occult shop. Now a days people turn up in occult stores to meet me. In the process, they buy things. Often just because they feel akward hanging out so much in a store without buying anything. 

Build a community around your store. Most of you have events and such, but do more than that. Introduce people. See what customers are interested in and hook people up with those of like mind. You may not make a buck off it directly, but it will come back. 

SERVICE: This is really the big one that I want to stress. Provide services for customers. You will probably make more money off this than you do from the stuff you sell. Sure, most of you have readers available, but go the extra step. When talking to customers about their problems, suggest a spell. Put it together out of stuff in your store. Most of you have herb cabinets, learn how to use them. Crack open a few books and know how to put things together on the fly. I sat in a struggling store one afternoon a couple weeks ago and convinced the owner to let me run her store for 2 hours while she watched. I spoke with customers that came in, suggested magick that would be applicable to their situations, taught them how to do it and sold them the stuff. I made more in those two hours than she made in the last two days. Its not enough to know your stock, know how to use it. If you arent charging customers unfair prices or making up fake curses that need lifting than you are providing a service that they will respect and come back for again and again. This is also how you get non-occultists in. 

If you are brave and want to go a step further, you can set up altars in the shop, set lights for clients, and do rituals for them, not just tell them how to do it themselves. Some won't want to go there, and I understand fully. There are plenty of reasons for and against this route for a store, but its worth considering. 

SHOP: Lastly, you are a shop. Unfortunately you have some pretty steep competition. B&N, Borders, and Amazon are gonna kick your ass in Books, so carry what you need to but don't go overboard. You need to fill your shop with stuff that your clients did'nt even know to look for. Stuff that will catch their imagination and make them ask questions. When they do, make sure you are ready with answers. Remember, you don't want to just be a shop keep. You want to be a Priest, a Scholar, and a Worker. Something that the Internet and Barnes and Noble will not provide. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Necronomicon 31st Anniversary Edition Review

The following review will appear in the Spring Issue of Behutet. Readers of this Blog get to see it first.

Necronomicon 31st Anniversary Edition Review

In 2003 I made it a project to track down Simon, the famous Priest/Occultist behind the Necronomicon, and score an interview for Behutet Magazine. Finding him in Malaysia, he agreed to grant an interview, the first the occult world had heard from him in almost 20 years. Little did I know that just three years later he would again explode onto book shelves with “Dead Names, The Dark History of the Necronomicon”, soon to be followed by “The Gates of the Necronomicon”. Together with “The Necronomicon Spellbook” and of course “The Necronomicon” itself, Avon press now provides a detailed and workable system of magick complete with history and commentary. The only problem was that all the books are mass-market paperbacks.

It sounds silly but this has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Necronomicon ever since Avon took it over; that the “the most feared, reviled, and desired occult book” on the planet was a cheap paperback just seemed to cause cognitive dissonance in many people. Other than the few of us lucky enough to possess one of the first editions or second editions, both impressive leather bound volumes, people were forced to work from small cheap editions. Critics have used this as fodder against the magick in the book itself, as if the price actually affected the magick. Fans of the tome have gone so far as to have their mass market copy re-bound as a hard cover, or written the whole thing out by hand in a blank hardcover book. It just seemed to critics and fans alike that the infamous Necronomicon of legend should look the part.

Well ladies and gentlemen, problem solved!

Ibis Press, who has been putting out some amazing texts lately, has worked with Simon and the designer of the original 1977 edition to once again offer a respectable medium for the dreaded black tome. And none too soon! My old leather bound 2nd edition is falling apart from use!

As with the first edition, there are two options for purchase. The first is a deluxe leatherbound edition,with three-sided silver-gilding, ribbon marker, deluxe endpapers & special binding boards. Each of the 220 copies of this edition is signed by Simon and sells for $275. Expensive, but no where near what you would pay for even a beat up first or second edition hard cover.

The less expensive option is a quality hardcover, printed on acid-free paper and bound in high quality cloth, with a ribbon marker. It sells for $125. It is this edition that Weiser sent me a copy of for review.

Even at the lower price point, this is a quality tome. The black cloth looks like it will hold up well over time the silver lettering, boundary, and famous sigil shimmer brightly against the black. For as nice as the cover is, especially for those getting by with the Avon paperback, the place where this new edition really shines is the paper. The Gates and Seals look even better on this pure white slick stock than they did on the original leatherbound editions. Having walked the gates myself, I can tell you that just looking at the Nergal Gate on this bright white background was enough to draw me psychically in to the mars-space that that gate links to.

Other than a short two page preface to the new edition where Simon muses on the Gematria of 555, and reminisces about some of the lives that have been touched by the Necronomicon, the text is exactly the same as it was in older editions.

Though only released a few months ago, it has already made quite splash with a whopping 218 reviews on Amazon as of this writing. Most of these reviews are focused on the pedigree of the text either dismissing it as a bad fraud and hoax, or defending it as a good fraud and hoax whose magick is still valid. A very few defend it as THE Necronomicon – the ancient text of the Mad Arab who Lovecraft borrowed for his stories.

Let me end this review with a few of my own thoughts on this subject.

I have written back and forth with Simon privately and he has never wavered from the history that he relates in Dead Names. That’s his story and he is sticking to it. Without a manuscript however, it is a hard story for people to swallow, and I think he knows and accepts that as well. This however is all beside the point.

Whether ancient or modern, the magick works as well as any other magick. It is based on Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian religion, and much of it correlates nicely with the Ennuma Elish, Hymn to Gilgamesh and other source materials. If it is modern, which I am inclined to believe until a manuscript surfaces, than it is not much of a different case than the Key of Solomon which was in its time a “modern” magickal take on ancient tradition attributed to a famous figure that did not actually write it.

Unlike the keys of Solomon however, the Necronomicon is not Christian, and thus makes it perfect for Pagans, Thelemites, and others that do not jive with Jesus to use. Those like me, who have set aside academic critique and actually walked the gates and called the names can attest that the magick in the book taps into the oldest mythos that we have record of, and channels it effectively into the modern world.

Harry Smith famously commented on the Necronomicon that it is “the type of thing that you would love if you loved that kind of thing”. It definitely is. Is the book real? Don’t be daft! Of course it’s real; you can buy it right now and hold it in your hands. In fact I recommend you do just that.

Jason Miller

Candlemas 2009


If you are looking for some blogs to follow, I have recently added a few to my list over on the right side of this page. 

So if you are looking for a good read check out: 

SUBJECT TO CHANGE: This is the blog of my oldest magickal compatriot. When I was cobbling together a practice at the age of 15 from photocopied Tarot cards, a used copy of The Magus, trips to the Conjure Shop in Lakewood, and advice from a certain school teacher who knew a lot more than she was letting on at the time; he was right there at my side. I am happy to be back in touch with him both virtually and in meatspace. 

GOING QBALLISTIC: A brand new blog but a bloke that has sent me some insightful e-mails over the past few weeks. He seems a bit shy, and I hope he doesnt mind me posting a link here. He is thinking about making his blog private, which would be a shame. Go show him some love. He gets points for the title of his blog alone. 

AUGOEIDES: He is a Thelemite and his page is bright pink, but I won't hold either of those against him. He is making a lot of good posts sparked by news events and has offered some good comments here at Strategic Sorcery. 

GIVING NOTICE NOW: Not about Magick, this a blog about mindfulness and using Sutric Buddhist principals for better living. Jenn is a close friend of mine and I am delighted by her efforts. She is a total non-magician/occultist so don't comment with any magick jargon or she won't know what the heck you are talking about.