Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Power of Christ Compels You!

I wanted to bring some attention to a post made by Balthazar today. It is extremely well written, and oh so true.

It is great to work with the Saints, and great to work with Mary, but if you are going that far and still hesitant about jumping with Jesus, than perhaps its time you gave him a spin. I was one of those people that Balthazar talks about, able to relate to the extraneous saints and such but not to Jesus himself because of all the baggage. Still though, something was pushing me forward. As early as Jan 2001 I was having visions of Jesus here and there when I meditated. With some work I began to relate to the Logos and the Gnostic Christ, but still had an issue with "Jesus". It was only through the several years of work with Tau Nemesius that I have been able to really work with Jesus, but man, when I do there is always a ton of juice.

You can attribute this to the Power of Christ as a Christian would. You can attribute this to the power of belief generated by over half the people on the planet. You can attribute it to my own deep psyche. Maybe it is all three, but if you want somnething done, even if you use another Saint for intercession, don't skimp on the Jesus!

When I finish the Strategic Sorcery course I am planning on offering a short course dedicated to specifically Christian Magic, and eventually want to gather a circle of Christian Mages tentatively named "The Circle of Cyprian"  to do charitable magic.

That is all in the future though. For right now let me share with you my favorite all purpose short Christian incantation for spellwork. It can be used in conjunction with a larger spell or spoken alone. Its called the

"Novena of Confidence to the Sacred Heart".

O Lord Jesus Christ,
To your most Sacred Heart,
I confide this/these intention:

(mention your intention )

Only look upon me, And then do
What your Sacred Heart inspires.

Let your Sacred Heart decide
I count on it, I trust in it
I throw myself on Your mercy,
Lord Jesus!
You will not fail me.

Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I trust in You.
Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I believe in Your love for me.
Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Your Kingdom come.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I have asked you for many favors,
But I earnestly implore this one.
Take it.

Place it in Your open, broken Heart;
And, when the Eternal Father looks upon It,
Covered with Your Precious Blood,
He will not refuse it.

It will be no longer my prayer,
But Yours, O Jesus.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I place all my trust in You.

Let me not be disappointed.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Doctors Without Borders Promotion.

I just logged in student 200 into the Strategic Sorcery course!

To celebrate, from now till All Saints Day I will donate half the tuition of everyone that joins to Doctors Without Borders.

I did this after the Haitian Earthquake and with the current Cholera epidemic only days away from hitting Port Au Prince it seems like a good time. If you have ever thought about joining the Strategic Sorcery Training class, now is the time!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An Interview with Dugpanath

I spent the last week up in North Vermont, and while I was there I ran into Frater Dugpanath of the EOD. Being October and all, I always feel a buzz in that part of the brain that is tuned to the 23 current, but since I am so swamped with productive work on Strategic Sorcery, Financial Magic, etc I have no time to devote to dancing with AzagThoth and other madness. So instead I offer up this interview with Frater Dugpanath and his work on restoring the Chod of the Old Ones.

INOMINANDUM: So what have you been doing since the EOD has entered its most recent period of silence?

DUGPANATH: I have been continuing my main work for the Dugpa Order, which is recovering the eldritch keys of the magic of the Old Ones that have been hidden amidst the occult teachings of the world. Hidden Keys amongst Hidden keys if you will.

As a Dugpa my work focuses on Buddhism and Himalayan Shamanism, though I have followed leads all over the world. For example the Tibetan/Hopi Indian connection, The Zurvan cult of Iran, and the lost culture of the Abinaki here in VT.

INOMINANDUM: Wow, well I hardly know where to start. Can you elaborate on what you see as the connection between Buddhism and the Old Ones? Is this Buddhism at large, or just Tibetan Buddhism?

DUGPANATH: Oh definitely Buddhism at large. Buddha and Avalokiteshvara were the Abdul Alhazzred's of their age. I mean if you read the Heart Sutra like its being read by a crazed street-corner priest rather than some sedated boob with a bump on his head, you get a much clearer picture of what I am talking about:

" Form is emptiness and emptiness is form! Emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness! Whatever is form, that is emptiness! Whatever is emptiness, that is form!"

Could these words not have been spoken by a priest of Azathoth in reference to what Lovecraft called " that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity?"

"In emptiness there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness! No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind!
No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind!
No mind-consciousness element!
There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance!
There is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death!
There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path!
There is no cognition, no attainment and non-attainment!

Clearly the supposed Bodhisattva of Compassion here is showing the illusory nature of our daylight world and pointing the way to the unlighted chambers beyond Space and Time.

Buddhism stands against the worship of the New Gods and calling them what they are: simply powerful beings that present themselves as dieties. Buddha pointed out that they, like all things will die, and that the only true reality is beyond all rational concept. The so called Divine Madness and Crazy Wisdom of the Mahasiddhas like Drukpa Kunlegs is the very same madness expressed in the beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous while of the accursed flutes of the Old Ones . One must, in the words of the heart sutra "Go beyond, go very beyond, go completely beyond" reason to grasp the truth. This is the truth of the old ones!


INOMINANDUM: I think you added those IA's in there...

DUGPANATH: I prefer to say that I have restored them.

INOMINANDUM: So how about the Tantric Tradition?

DUGPANATH: In the Tantric tradition, the Old Ones are reflected even more directly in the Yidams and Guardians. The Rinpoche's have used the Old Ones very images to keep them trapped behind the Star Gates, but the day is coming when the great RAHULA will blot out the sun and the call will be sounded by the 11 Dugpas in 23 tones! ZHAMBHALA/RYLYEH will rise! The Old Ones will once again manifest into the physical world and mankind will truly all know what ANATMAN - the lack of inherent self truly MEANS!!!!!

INOMINANDUM: So you are saying that the Tantric imagery is based on the Old Ones, but that the Lamas are using it to keep the Old Ones at bay? I am not sure I follow.

DUGPANATH: Clearly the Tantric Imagery of sex and death is very rooted in the old ones. Not everything related to the Old Ones has to be expressed as tentacle porn you know - that is only a particular facet or cult within the span of what the great old ones are. In some cases the Mahasiddhas adopted their Buddha forms to take the form of a specific type of old one so that they could control and exorcise that influence. Ekajati for instance is sometimes explained as having one eye and tooth because of single pointed concentration etc, but the real reason is simpler than that: that is what Mamo's look like! Same with Rahula, which is not only a guardian but an Evil Planet.... At any rate it is only the Dugpas that seek the real Dharma and hope to unleash the old ones.

INOMINANDUM: Ok, now I am interested in your take on this: who are the Dugpas?

DUGPANATH: Blavatski actually got something mostly right. We are the underground of Himalayan Magic that stand opposed to the type of day-side nicety that passes for religion and morality. We throw ourselves headlong into the true Tantra of Sex and Death. There are very few of us physically on the planet at any one time, but artists that have transcended reason have always known of us, which is why the legend lives on in the art of people like David Lynch and Talbot Mundy.

The Buddhists would have you believe that Blavatski confused us with the Drukpa Kagyu, but that is not the case. Our headquarters are in the Pemako region of Tibet. The Dugmas - female Dugpas that are known as "Poison Witches" guard the gate on this side of the Pure Land, and feed us with the merit that they steal from travelers.

INOMINANDUM: So what specifically are you working on now?

DUGPANATH: I just finished my work restoring the Chod ritual to its original Dugpa form. You see, the Tibetans have many kinds of very elaborate visualized offerings of the body listed in the of the Chod rite. Some where the skull cap is chopped off and used as a pot to cook the rest of the body in. Others where dakinis pour liquor and urine and acid into the central channel until the body is bursting like a baloon, at which point the belly is sliced open spilling the insides out accross the entire world. Still others where the four limbs are used as table legs and your skin as a table where the rest of the body is chopped up and served as is. All of these and more were once used on actual humans when the Old Ones still walked the earth. As such, if done with the proper instruments, to the proper tune, and in the proper state of ecstatic trance - the visualized offering of your own body attracts the attention of the old ones from, behind the gate. Machig Labdron was one of ours and knew this well, which is why she worked to spread the chod so widely that it would spill over from the controling grasp of the High Rinpoche's and Monastaries and into the streets where it could be practiced by the wandering bandits, homeless madmen, and long haired Ngakpas alike.

The white, red, and black feasts of Chod to be performed in the day, evening, and mid-night are well known, but only a true Dugpa will grasp the importance of the Green feast, which is performed outside the cycle of day and night entirely and which has the capacity to bridge the gap between the strange angles of space. I hope to make the Sadhana available online soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Advice for those looking to open Occult/Magic/New Age stores

A few months back there was an article in Witchvox containing advice about running an occult store. I read it and thought to myself: Wow, that is almost all incredibly bad advice!

I have a background in retail: not only have I worked it but my father and grandfather both owned a hardware store. I got to be involved in the running, expansion, decline, and eventual rescue and sale of that business. As a lecturer and friend of some shop owners I have also gotten a good glimpse of struggle and often closing of magic businesses. Just to be sure that my opinion wasn't off though I asked three owners of occult stores to read it, and they found the advice so bad that they did not believe the author had any experience other than as a customer.

Many students and friends of mine have told me that they had aspirations to open an occult store. At one time, I myself had this aspiration. Since people are still losing their jobs regularly, and since I am always suggesting people start their own businesses, I thought I might share some of my thoughts on the subject.

I want to clarify that the following advice applied to brick and mortar stores only. This is not about web-based business.

So here than is Jason's advice for those hoping to open an Occult/Magic/NewAge store:

1. Get a lot of input on this before you invest a dime. I am not just talking divination here. Talk to people that owned stores that failed, which is almost every store that has opened in the last 10 years. Talk to people that own stores that are still in business. Don't just ask if its worth it or not - ask about how much a case of merch in the store is worth, ask about how much they started with, etc.

2. You need to LOVE retail. I do not mean the merchandise, but actual process of retail sales. After the novelty of the occult stuff wears off, its just stuff that you have to sell. In the end the merchandise doesnt matter. You have to love selling stuff, if you don't than don't do it.

3. Be prepared to work long hours 6-7 days a week.

4. Be prepared for worrying about things even when you are not at the store. When you own a business you never really clock out at the end of the day. When that business is almost guaranteed to be struggling through its whole existence than you need to be prepared for the psychic weight of that.

5. You need to know that you will probably not make enough to support yourself in a middle class lifestyle, much less retire, unless you have other means of income. Some people get the idea in their head that if you own a business that automatically makes you rich. It doesn't and in the case of an occult store it probably makes you the opposite.

6. You need to be prepared to lose every penny you put into it AND have serious debt if it fails - again just about ALL of them fail regardless of magic.

7. You are running a store NOT a community center. You are in business to make money. Lots of people will use your store as a community center, which is good, but they will often not contribute funds or worry much about you making money. If the people that hang around the store are blocking sales, than you need to be tough. If they are not paying for merch you need to be tough. The community itself can bleed you dry.

8. Do not pay for empty floorspace just for classes and rituals. If the store you are looking at has a big backroom and there is not a smaller cheaper place that you could rent, than great, I love giving talks in nice spaces. If there is a cheaper space though, save the money. Move bookshelves before classes, you will be amazed at how many people will pack into a small space.

9. Fill the space you have. This is a must and another reason for a smaller space. A full store looks successful, an empty one does not. People will talk about how they want to support the failing store, but in reality they go to and spend money in the successful store. If you have a big store, either figure a way to fill it, like with altars and such, or put up a wall to make the front smaller.

10. You need more money than you think you do. Number one reason that new stores of any kind fail is that they are under-capitalized at the beginning. You need to fill the store AND have money to fill it again. If you do not rotate merch, people will stop coming in to see what is new. You cannot just rely upon the initial sales to re-stock the store.

11. Have an angle. What makes you special? The only time that I considered opening a store of my own was going to be a small shop on the boardwalk in Atlantic City that specialized in Gambling Charms. If I felt like dealing with all the graft and possible legal hassels involved in such a venture, I would do it. Bottom line is what makes you special? Are you in a town known for that kind of thing like Salem, New Orleans, or New Hope? Are you servicing a specific community like an ATR or very New Age area? Just wanting a store near where you live is not enough.

12. Do not be afraid of competition. Sometimes its better to move into a town that has another store like yours than it is to go to a town that doesn't. Ever walk around a city? Notice how there is a district for jewlers, a district for Indian restaurants, a district for Punk shops? Your store alone may not be enough to get me to drive an hour. If you are in a town where there are three other shops that are similar but just different enough to make it interesting, I will drive that hour over and over again. What you loose to a competitor will often be more than made up for in increased overall volume.

13. Understand that from a financial standpoint this is a BAD investment. Even done as well as can possibly be done it is still a BAD investment. The ONLY reason to do it is that you are willing to deal with all of the above because somewhere deep down you want to be a magical retailer. ANY other reason and you should bail.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Title vs Ability

Over on the Evocational Magic list they are having a discussion about ATR's (African Traditional Religions) and specifically the tendency for initiates to complain loudly about DIY'ers working with the Orisha, Loa, etc. I wanted to write about it here because it is an important issue in todays eclectic world. The same issues exist in almost every system to one degree or another. Certainly the issue comes up in Tantra a lot, as well as in the magic of various Orders. Why, I had one friend who still kind if insists that anyone who uses the term Witch should be a Gardnerian or they have no right to the term!

When these issues pop up in public forums things can get ugly fast. On the one hand you have overzealous trad-fascists insisting that you need to be an initiate to work with the spirits, methods, or rites in any way shape or form. On the other hand you have people approaching without any traditional initiation calling themselves Santero's, Houngan's, Tantrikas, after reading a couple books and doing a few workings of their own invention. This can be rather upsetting to those who spend years earning those titles and going through the traditional initiations.

After years of navigating this issue I have come to understand it in terms of Title and Ability. The problems usually spring up when someone is equating one with the other.

For example. I work regularly with certain Loa. I do so based on my readings, instructions from initiated friends, and finally instructions from the Loa themselves. It was in fact Papa Legba who steered me away from pursuing initiation as a Houngan. He steered me directly into the arms of the Buddha - go figure. Still I serve him, Ezili, Dambhalla, Simbi Makaya, and others. At this point my methods for doing so are different than you would see in a traditional house, but they are terms that I cam to with the Loa directly. There is no problem because my relationship is based on my ability. If I was to suddenly decide that I should call myself a Houngan Asogwe and set up shop as such without ever receiving that initiation in a traditional way THAT would be a big problem because I would be claiming a title. Get it? At very least I  need to make it very clear that I am claiming the title based on my own spiritual contacts and not through traditional means.

When I meet people who describe themselves as Tantrikas, yet they have no Guru or Abhisheka, I have to object. There is no Tantra without a Guru or Abhisheka. Even Siddhas that are supposedly born fully enlightened like Padmasambhava and Dattareya seek out human Guru's to call teachers so that they can show others how important the Guru is. Now, that does not mean that these folks cannot study the texts and get tips from contacts that they can incorporate into their practice. In fact I would strongly encourage people like Thelemites to study modern translations of Tantric texts for a deeper look at Sex Magic than what E&MOU gives. Your use of the tech is based on ability so there is no problem, your claim to the title however is bogus.

Think of it in terms of a medical doctor. You can study medical texts at home and even apprentice under someone personally to learn all you want to know. You may practice medicine BETTER than 99% of actual doctors, but you cannot call yourself an MD because you did not go through the proper steps. The work is based on ability, the Title is based on certain protocols being followed. They are not the same.

Now, there are very different considerations of how they overlap. There are certain pieces of tech that will only be available to those with the initiation. They may even be dependent upon the initiation itself. Certainly this is the view in Tantra, and in Christian Apostolic tradition. In fact, one Priest I know insists that to work most of the Grimoires were mostly designed to be worked by those who have Holy Orders, in much the same way that Tantras are made to be worked by those with empowerment.

If you are doing your own thing, than you have to be happy with that to some extent and not confuse your own findings and experiments with the tradition that you are borrowing from. When someone tells me that they "do Phurba practice" and than use it to cast circle like an Athame, it takes a good effort not to laugh in their face.

While you shouldn't mistake your own work for the tradition, you also should not discount it. I know a two different cases of REALLY powerful people, one a healer and one a more general Sorcerer, who lost their abilities when they traded in their own work for that of the tradition. What you are doing based on your own work may be BETTER than what you would get in the tradition. Some traditions get stale over time. Some teachers within traditions suck. I know more than a couple Lamas who are legitimate in terms of being recognized Tulkus and such, but who know less about the Dharma than many students do, and who practice even less.

In some cases, though not as many as initiates like to pretend, there are spirits, practices, and energies that CAN be dangerous when worked outside of the tradition. Again, it is all about ability vs title. Your title may enable you to work with those forces safely right off the bat, but that doesn't mean that no one can learn to work with them outside of the tradition. They just need to be warry of the danger.

Basically, what I want to say boils down to two things. If you are an initiate, be a little more respectful of those working outside the tradition, if they can do the work than that may be all that matters. If you are not an initiate, be respectful of those that are by not laying claim to a title that you do not have. If people can follow these two guidelines, than there is no problem

Christine O'Donnel Ad

Monday, October 4, 2010

Similarities between Tibetan Buddhist and Eastern Orthodox Art

Great piece here on the similarities between Tibetan Buddhist and Eastern Orthodox Art. Of course there are manby areas where these two religious systems come into contact with one another, so it is not entirely surprising.


This years Crucible was better than ever. Better yet, we had a small meeting of the NJ based members of the Blog Community.

Going from left to right you have Deb from Charmed I'm Sure. Jow from A Mages Blog, me from right here at Strategic Sorcery, and Kenaz Filan from his excellent eponymous titled blog. 

For those that do not know Crucible is a convention of mages and mystics, and witches etc usually held in October. It is put on by the Omnimancers, If you are into non-ritual based magic that tries to take as scientific an approach as possible and you do not know Arthur and the Omnimancers, than you should definitely check them out.

Not only are the Omni's unique, but they tend to seek out unique topics for the festival, stuff that you just do not hear about elsewhere. In the past there have been workshops on Uncle Chuckies Psionic Devices, Black Magic, Astral Biology, etc.

This year I was on both Panels: Pop Magic  along with Kenaz, Rich, and Heather Freeman discussed the ways in which magic, paganism and pop culture overlap and effect one another for good and for ill. Magical Screw Ups and Oh Shit Moments which also featured Andrei Freeman, Deb, Alex, and Arthur.  If you dont know who these folks are , check out the Line up page.

Unfortunately being on the panels means that I missed a class in Psionic constructs and a workshop on Wyrd.

After the panels I was again torn: do I see Kenaz on Vodou or Jow on Alchemy? I planned to hop back and forth but when Kenaz and Kathy started going on Vodou Money Magic, I just couldn't pull myself away. Thankfully I will be able to catch up on it all on DVD.

After a very nice dinner, where the photo above was shot, I listend to Cliff Low - the proprietor of a site that has been a favorite from almost the very first day I got on-line Cliff spoke about his work with the Grimoire "Hermes Trismegistus on the Fifteen Fixed Stars" which is focused on making special rings that channel the powers of each of the stars. He spoke in detail about the Persian Roots of the text, the astrological theory behind it, as well as the current research being done by himself and his mentors Christopher Warnock and John Michael Greer. Better yet, he brought a large selection of rings that he made using the text and shared some stories from his own life that illustrate the powers he is talking about. This lecture was of particular interest to me as I had a vision of four of the symbols of the fixed stars and was told to work them into a spirit trap design. They in turn made their way onto the covers of both my books as well as the logo from this blog.

After that I attended Arthurs talk "Through the Magical Wormhole", which was on the Omnimancy view of realms and dimensions and how they get used in magic. While most magicians access various astral realms, Arthur is one of the few people besides myself that work magic that exploits extra dimensions of space, time, and probability in his magical system.  His powerpoint video helped clearly illustrate a difficult subject and also present the Omni view of topics like the role of deities which differ from most magical trads. It was a great follow up to last years Astral Biology lecture and I look forward to the next in the series.

After that came my spiel on the 10 Principals of Strategic Sorcery. Readers here already know the 9 and I will be writing about the 10th one soon enough. Because I was speaking at the same time, I missed Simon Zelots lecture on "The Magic of the Angelic Wars" which present magic from The Malakim Society. I know absolutely nothing about them and I look forward to seeing that one on DVD as well as the others I missed.