Game

A few weeks ago,The Snows of Summer, by Paizo Publishing came out. It contains what will probably be the last piece work I’ll do for the RPG industry for quite a while. It makes me sad, but I need to concentrate on my novels. Writing without direction, doing what you really want to do, is the only path to true satisfaction for a writer.

This post, once again, comes from a tumblr ask. A follower asked me, “What has been the most useful book in your magical learning? What has been the most useful book in your life?”

I’m going to surprise you a little here. To find my answer about a useful magical book, you’ll have to follow my tumbr. I’m going to answer the other question here. It requires a lot more explanation.

Laugh if you want, the most useful book in my life has been, The Player’s Handbook by Gary Gygax . For you uninitiated, that’s the first rule book for the game Dungeons & Dragons.

Through the game, I’ve met the most important people in my life. I’ve met my closest friends through the game. Those who I met outside the game, I taught the game and made them better friends. The game is always the excuse to gather, laugh, tell stories. It brings us together in ways modern media fails. We aren’t just passive spectators. We do it together, for each other. We create.

My wife, my entire marriage, the greatest thing that I have ever done. I owe it to the game.

People who play RPGs can be defensive, for good reason. They are often maligned as a starter drug for magick, devil worship, and other unsavory practices. Most players try to distance themselves from such claims, and for most of them, it’s true. They don’t feel a need to explore alternative spiritual paths.

But if you say there’s no connection, you’re a liar. Mr. Gygax presents a wealth of information on mythology, correspondences, and magical practices, wrapped up in the game. It’s not the point of the game. It certainly wasn’t his intention to turn players into pagans. But it’s there for any who want to see. I didn’t learn magick from Dungeon’s & Dragons, but I learned a lot about what’s in magick.

It’s fair to say, I learned some skills for magick from the game. Math, note taking, construction of dramatic storytelling, things that serve a magician well. When you’re doing it right, you seem to channel the personas that you’re portraying.

Of course, it’s in how you approach it. If you come to a gaming table looking to roll dice and add levels, game the system, that’s what you’ll get out of it. I think, however, like many things in life, you only discover the true value when start asking why? Why do I play this game? What do I enjoy about it? Why does it change how I feel about myself and others? Where does the background information in the game come from? When you look deeper, you find the connections, to magick, to the Great Work, to everything. The microcosm of the game, can reflect the macrocosm of your psyche. As above, so below.

I’m not ashamed to be a gamer geek. In fact, I have a podcast about that too. I’m not ashamed to say it influences my magick, even though my magick is not a game.

 

Roll of Thoth – Blogs

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

Technical difficulties with the podcast have kept me occupied, so once again, no long form blog this week. Instead, how about a list of other great blogs you can read instead?

The Blog of Baphomet –  http://theblogofbaphomet.com/   From the people who brought you the Book of Baphomet. Serious chaos magicians.

About.com Paganism & Wicca – http://paganwiccan.about.com/   I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned to this blog as a resources. There’s a lot of great material here.

Rune Soup – http://runesoup.com/   A great mix of technology, esotericism, and opinion from a chaos magick perspective.

Occult Sentinel – http://occultsentinel.com/blog/    Reviews and opinions on new occult related media and news

Technoccult – http://technoccult.net/#archive    Psyco-social commentary for culture jammers.

The Wild Hunt – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/    The best source for current events that involve paganism.

IAO131 – http://iao131.com/    A blog on all things Thelema. Io Pan!

Episode 1: Peter J. Carroll

2778_html_m6d9cfb4fIn this first episode, your hosts, James L. Wilber, and Colleen Kelly discuss The Philosophy & Practice of Magic, a lecture given by Peter J. Carroll, founder of chaos magick. The lecture is part of the Chaos Magick Audio Vol. 1, produced by the Original Falcon Press. Original Falcon has graciously allowed us to play it for you in its entirety.

You can listen by clicking the link below, download by right-clicking, subscribe to our RSS feed View RSS XML  in your favorite pod-catcher, or find us on iTunes.

01 SoT Ep1 Peter J. Carroll

 People and things mentioned in the show:

You can find out more about Peter J. Carroll’s current projects at his blog, Specularium.org. Also, see his course offerings at Arcanorium College.

We also mentioned Andrieh Vitimus, and his podcast, Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole.

And don’t forget to check out all the great books and other media at Originalfalcon.com.

Roll of Thoth – Artwork

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

I’ve been promising you art from the beginning  time to deliver. While I am a man of words, it is hard to deny that the realm of the subconscious the realm of magick, is a visual realm.

Iconomancy – http://iconomancy.hrmtc.com/    The new art and image tumblr blog from the Hermetic Library. How can you go wrong.

The Genius of Zos – http://www.banger.com/spare/    The art of Austin Osman Spare. Check the links for scans of his entire books.

Sigil – http://sigil.pl/?lang=en   A Polish language website with much art and crafty things. Google will translate it well enough.

Art Magick – http://www.artmagick.com/   Not necessarily occult images, but 19th century paintings, many with occult themes.

LAShTAL – http://www.lashtal.com/portal/    The home of Aleister Crowley Society. It does much to promote the Beast’s artwork and other artists influenced by Thelema

Harold Arthur McNeil – http://haroldarthurmcneill.wordpress.com/   One of my favorite occult artists, also a musician but I am not familiar with his music. It’s hard to find one website with a breadth of his works. Also see – http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/09/the-paintings-of-harold-arthur-mcneill/

John Coulthart – http://www.johncoulthart.com/index.html   Great art both commercial and fine (if there is a difference). I am for some reason drawn to his basic iconographic Major Arcana.

 

Gallows

It seems like months have gone by since my last post. It’s been a long week.

Last Thursday, at the hotel where I work, at 7:30 AM, a man checked-in. The person who took his money had no idea that six hours earlier, the man had shot another person dead only a few miles away.

At 7:30, I was finishing up my morning writing and getting into the shower. While the water poured down on me, a strange question came. Why, as a pacifist, do I venerate gods of war? I often berate Christians for holding dear a genocidal deity. Did calling on the All-Father make me a hypocrite? I wasn’t sure. But I did reason that I don’t believe my gods are omnipotent. They can be wrong. When Odin chants in my ear, calling to me to take up arms, I can tell him no. I can remind him that times have changed. That winning by force of arms is only beating a man’s body, not their mind. Not the true source of their will. “It’s not only generals that plan battles.”(1) That usually calms him down.

At 11 AM, my work day well underway, and I was already planning how I can sneak in some extra writing on the clock. The same woman that checked the man in was looking out the window.

She’s way more observant than I am. “There’s a cop out here running license plates.” She said.

I got up to see what she was talking about. Sure enough, a police cruiser prowled the parking lot.

My maintenance man chimed in. “He’s scanning bar codes on the license plates.”

The officer seemed to finish what he was doing, whipped around, and gunned it, flying down the street.

Huh, I thought, and went back to my desk. I’m not the type to jump to conclusions.

Twenty minutes later, an officer came in. He shoved a sheet of paper towards me. “Is this man staying here?”

Less than impressed with the cop’s urgency, I took my time and looked it up on the computer. “Yeah, he’s here.” I let the man in black into the building and gave him the room number. The most I expected was to see him again fifteen minutes later, perp in handcuffs in tow. I was terribly wrong. My day, and my worldview was about to change.

Fifteen minutes after, two more officers arrived. One wore a brown tactical vest, hugging an M-16 against his chest. The seriousness of the situation came crashing down. They asked their questions. “Have you seen him? Was he carrying anything? How did he act?” They dropped the bomb. They had reason to believe the man had shot another.

I made the phone calls. I brought the employees under my direction into the office for safety, and any guests who happened to be out in the hall at the time. The parking lot was sealed. An armored car arrived. More cops. The detectives in suits. The SWAT team. My area manager.

The cops asked me, and the person who checked him in, the same questions over and over. They gave us information in dribs and drabs. They had a negotiator. They had called the room. He had made threats. We had a standoff.

We waited. For six hours we waited. No one in, no one out. The TV cameras arrived. Endless phone calls from those concerned. Half the hotel was evacuated. And we waited and waited.

I realized another reason why I would want to follow warrior gods. Because as much as I wish otherwise, we still have warriors in this world. I prayed to the All-Father to give these warriors the wisdom not to fight. There was no answer.

A half-hour before the end, exhausted by stress, I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes and meditated. On the tiny speakers of my phone I played Corona Radiata, a song I use to help me enter trance states. Works like a charm.

I saw him. I swear to you I saw him. Not as Glad-of-War, and certainly not as Father Yule. He was dressed in black, hat pulled down over his one eye, a single raven on his shoulder, Thought or Memory I knew not which, a spear in his hand. He came as the Gallows God. He came to collect.

I got out of my chair and paced. Up until then I was calm, without real fear. I believed it would all turn out in the end. I stopped believing that when I saw him.

I went to my camera monitor, and looked down the hall by the room where the fugitive made his stand. I saw Odin again. He came out the stairwell, and walked on down the hall.

Five minutes later we heard three bangs. The door being bashed in. Two soft pops, the tear gas being shot into the room to drive him out. Then the loud one. The report of a forty-five pistol.

The old officer, the one they had put at the door to help people by, a friendly guy. He came up to the counter, solemn in countenance. “He shot himself.”

A few minutes later, my maintenance man, still young and eager to see blood, came running in. “He shot himself in the eye.”

The Gallows God got his man.

I know now, the next time I call a god, by prayer or invocation, it will be with more respect, and a little fear. Our gods are not perfect. Our gods may not be what we want. But they come, bidden or unbidden, to do what they were meant to do.

(1)    M. K. Gandhi

Roll of Thoth – Gallows God

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

This week’s Roll of Thoth is for reasons.

I told you I would tell you my names. This is what they call me. I’m called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider, and Third. I am One-Eyed. I am called Highest, and True-Guesser. I am Grimnir, and I am the Hooded One. I am All-Father, and I am Gondlir Wand-Bearer. I have as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. My ravens are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory; my wolves are Freki and Geri; my horse is the gallows.

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods

The Basics

Myths Encyclopedia: Odin – http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ni-Pa/Odin.html#b

Norse Mythology: Odin- http://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-aesir-gods-and-goddesses/odin/

Veneration

Freya Asywnn – http://www.aswynn.com/    One of the most respected sources for Asatru/Heathens. Odin’s bride.

Odin’s Gift – http://www.odins-gift.com/index.html   Songs and poems in the tradition of the skalds.

Gangleri’s Grove – http://krasskova.weebly.com/index.html    Veneration of Odin.

The Norse Mythology Blog – http://www.norsemyth.org/   Norse myth in-depth.

Contact

Special thanks to Arnaut Rosseau for once again asking the question that inspired a blog post. Please check-out his/her awesome blog. I guess all I need to do is keep my tumblr “ask” box open and I’ll never run out of ideas.

Arnaut Rosseau asked, “How do you know when a god is present with you and what they are feeling?”

Anyone giving advice about religion or magick should always start out with, “In my experience.” The difference between magick and science is that magick recognizes personal phenomena. What happens to you is important, even if it can’t be measured by outside means. Some call this UPG or unverified personal gnosis.

I have had two experiences recently that I’ll recount. Maybe you will get the same results, maybe you won’t.

The first happened to me during simple meditation. I was musing on what material I should make a wand out of, when I had a vision of myself sitting around a campfire. Across the fire from me sat Baphomet.

One of my greatest faults as a magician is I have a busy mind. Meditation is hard for me. I’m always thinking. A benefit of this, however, is that I know intimately how my thoughts tend to progress. When forming a mental image, it shifts and changes quickly, morphing into the picture I’m looking for. Seldom do they come to me unbidden, and almost never fully formed.

I wasn’t even thinking about Baphomet at the time. Though to be honest, I have a picture of him in my temple. In the vision he reached out to me, and a book appeared in my hand. Upon opening the book, it changed into a yellow flower.

I never did figure out why it was a yellow flower, but somehow, the message came through. He was telling me to learn more about the natural world. While I believe my knowledge of history and religion is up to par, I know shit about biology and nature skills in general. After this visitation I at least learned to identify trees by their leaves (thus harvesting wand material), and develop a greater appreciation for growing things.

My second recent divine visitation came upon request, while I performed the Invocation of Thoth. This one surprised me because Thoth came looming over my shoulder, some ten-feet tall. I always envisioned him as a scholar, but the Thoth behind me was a physically impressive being, muscled. You could feel the strength in him. He may have been trying to tell me that intellectual and physical strength are not mutually exclusive, and that I should get off my ass every once in a while.

You may say with both of these instances, you could say that all I was doing was tapping into my subconscious. You may be right. But if you’re a chaos magician it doesn’t matter. Just shift your perspective to the psychological model of magick. Then all the gods live in your subconscious anyway.

I wish I could truly tell you what the gods are feeling. I can only guess myself. I can only say they are not human, and they don’t communicate like we do. I do believe that the goetic beings I have summoned are similar to gods, but less are-inspiring.

If you get a message, tell me what you think.

Roll of Thoth – Magick of the OTO

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

I dog on the OTO a lot, but you have to give them some credit. These guys actually practice magick. They’re not just a bunch of armchair magicians (like my lazy ass can be sometimes). They are also dedicated to teaching it to others. Though it does come with a helping of Crowley worship.

Anabasis Encampment OTO – http://www.anabasis-oto.org/    A shout out to my local OTO tribe. They are currently going through what’s called MANVS ET SAGITTAE, a series of classes covering all the bases for aspiring magicians. Also check out their Youtube channel, where they perform the solitary rituals for your edification.

An Analysis of the Star Ruby – http://lionserpent.com/xxvanalysis.html   After you watch it, read a detailed analysis, and marvel at all the intricate layered meanings, intended or discovered.

The Babalon Working – http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/bb/babalon000.htm   A good summary of Uncle Al and Jack Parson’s obsessions.

Rodney Orpheus – http://rodneyorpheus.com/ The celebrated author of The Grimoire of Aleister Crowley gives us two of his own rituals on his website, the Nu-Sphere Ritual, and Rite of the Infinite Stars.

The Gnostic Mass – http://www.sof-oto.org/XVSabazius.pdf   An incredibly detailed, annotated pdf describing the central religious ritual of the OTO.

Assumption of the Godforms – http://www.hermetics.org/stavish/Godforms.html     Sure, Crowley stole some of the godforms from the Golden Dawn, but he took them to new levels. Basic magical tools every magician should have in their arsenal.

The Rite of Pan – http://ritualchaosmagic.blogspot.com/2009/03/invocation-of-pan.html   Perhaps Crowley’s most famous ritual, presented from a chaos magick perspective. How did that get in there?

 

Goddess

Who is Babalon? That’s the most common question I get on Tumblr. (You’re not following my Tumblr? You really should.) Wikipedia covers the basics, so if you’re just curious about a deity you’ve never heard of, head over there. But I think the real question people are asking is, “Why are you obsessed with her? What is she to you?” In the end, all gods are personal gods. The gods influence everyone differently, that’s why the best gods are complex in their symbolism. Like Babalon.

Remember, although she is a Thelemic deity, and I steal much from Uncle Al here, I am not a Thelemite, and my views are not necessarily the views of the OTO.

Foremost to me she is the goddess of the Eschaton. She brings sweeping change as she comes forth, astride the beast, Holy Grail in hand. She is the opposing force to The Host, the army of angelic automatons that demand obedience. I see a distinct difference between Eschaton—a universal change in consciousness, bound to cause upheaval, but inherently peaceful in nature—and Apocalypse—a battle to take people’s will by force. She is the embodiment of the Love Revolution, but she recognizes that love is not always pretty and pure. It can be carnal and overwhelming.

For me, Babalon is Ishtar reincarnate for the New Age. Reborn, she strips away the trappings of state and the lays down her sword. She’s a lover, not a fighter, but no less dangerous. She still goes forth with war banners, but she’s smart enough to fuck her way to victory. She is the Divine Whore, and the Earth Mother, all in one. Her priestesses and priests wait outside the temple for anyone with coin. The act a sacrament to her, for both john and prostitute.

The tarot card associated with Babalon, Strength, tells us she does not do this as a servant, but as she desires. She’s a whore, and opens her legs for all comers, but where and when she wants. She is not weak Christianized feminism that denies the power of womanhood. She revels in it, and equals any man in power and lust.

I was also recently asked a slightly different question, “What do people get out of worshiping Babalon?” Fair enough, if you’re pagan, you look to each divinity for something unique. Babalon delivers.

She inspires you to change, and be the instrument of change. If the Goddess of Chaos is on your side, you quickly lose your fear of what’s to come.

She helps you to love all people. She understands that unless people accept change on their own terms, it’s not real. You can’t force people to believe the way you believe, nor should you want to. I need her to smack me down on this point every damn day.

She helps you understand that you are both a spiritual and physical being, and that those aspects cannot be separated. You need your body, and you should fucking enjoy it, and enjoy having it fucked. If sexual energy inspires you, she will be your muse. You might even write a book about her.

She is a goddess of passion. Whoa be to you who fall under her spell. While I love Babalon, I am not a devotee for several reasons. One, because I’m married, and I don’t think I could give Her and my wife proper attention at the same time. Two, because she will consume you if you let her, and you’ll love her while she does. So while I may stick my hand in the fire and get burned, I will run back to the protection of Thoth and his books before I jump in.

Roll of Thoth – Books

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis.

What occultist doesn’t appreciate books? This week’s collection of links is a list of purveyors of fine tomes. It skews towards publishers, as it’s not that difficult to find new books on Amazon, but I included a couple of re-sellers for their breadth of product and specialty in rare and out-of-print.

Scarlet Imprint – http://www.scarletimprint.com   I may have mentioned Scarlet Imprint in a previous post, but they kick so much ass. Truly the cutting edge of modern magick. They produce everything from magnificent talismanic hardcovers to pdf editions.

Avalonia Books – http://avaloniabooks.co.uk   Another publisher with outstanding writers.

Salamander and Sons – http://www.salamanderandsons.com   Some of the best writing on modern and ancient alchemy.

Anathema Books – http://www.anathemabooks.com   A re-seller with a huge collection of not only occult books but esoteric counter-culture of all types.

Weiser Antiquarian Books – http://www.weiserantiquarian.com   The most respected name in rare and out-of-print editions.

Ouroboros Press – http://www.bookarts.org   Like Scarlet Imprint, their books are amazing works of art.

The Original Falcon Press – http://www.originalfalcon.com   Have to give a nod to the folks who have kindly let us use Peter J. Carroll’s recording for our first podcast coming in March. A great selection of well known greats in the field.