Roll of Thoth – Non-Magick Magick Books

In which I share with you seven things to expand your art and raise your gnosis.

This time, books that have deeply influenced my magick, but are not about magick.

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick – As a devotee of Thoth, this book is almost a sacred text to me. It explains so well how we communicate, and how everything is comprised of information. Where Peter J. Carroll uses the word mana or kia to describe the essence of the universe, I use information.

The Wayfinders by Wade Davis – Wade taught me why knowing magick may not only be personally empowering, but perhaps vital to our survival. Nothing can sum it up better that this quote:

“We have this extraordinary conceit in the West that while we’ve been hard at work in the creation of technological wizardry and innovation, somehow the other cultures of the world have been intellectually idle. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nor is this difference due to some sort of inherent Western superiority. We now know to be true biologically what we’ve always dreamed to be true philosophically, and that is that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all, by definition, cut from the same genetic cloth. That means every single human society and culture, by definition, shares the same raw mental activity, the same intellectual capacity. And whether that raw genius is placed in service of technological wizardry or unraveling the complex thread of memory inherent in a myth is simply a matter of choice and cultural orientation.”

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha – This one sums up my reasons for being a follower of Babalon. It asks the question, are humans more like chimps or bonobos? My answer – we decide.

Nueromancer by William Gibson – One of the first cyberpunk novels, in it the main character exposes a philosophy that “the body is just meat.” I used to believe that’s true, but I still believe in the message that we create our own worlds.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – A wonderful retelling of the King Arthur story which includes the clash between the old Celtic religion and Christianity. The best part is how some of the characters realize that both can be right.

The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft – There are things that humankind will never comprehend, Lovecraft makes you confront that horrible truth head-on. Word to the Lovecraft aficionado: there are plenty of cheap editions out there because Lovecraft’s work is in the public domain, but if you want insight and the texts in their purest form look for anything edited by S.T. Joshi.

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers – I don’t think anything I can say will add to the well deserved accolades of Joseph Campbell, so once again, I will let the quote do the work.

“Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”

Roll of Thoth – Fuck Yeah Chaos Magick

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

This week, my own personal brand of poison, chaos magick. Chaos magicians concentrate on fundamentals and theory, that’s why I love them.

Chaos Matrix– I know, not fair, I’ve listed this before. But it truly is a great repository of chaos magick. When was it last updated? Will it ever be updated? Who know?

The Temple of Psychick Youth – Another great collection of theory and practice. And once again, a mostly defunct organization. Maybe I should start something….

Autonomous Individuals Network – What TOPY has morphed into. Not all magick, but all related to chaos magick. It looks pretty dead too. We are sensing a pattern.

Internet Sacred Texts/chaos magick – This website should be one of your first stops when looking for anything on magick. Their chaos magick archives include a good collection of musings from Pope Pete.

Strategic Sorcery – Here’s a dedicated magus, hurray! A blog on all types of magick going since January 2011.

Fuck Yeah Chaos Magick – The original tumblr blog. More fun than informative. And alas, probably dead.

Illuminates of Thanateros North America – THE original chaos magic club. Are they alive or dead? I hear people saying the are members. Are they the guerrillas of chaos magick? They hit and slink back into the night? Try to contact them and find out.

Here’s a question, and you can answer by calling into the podcast at 317-296-3247, email james (a) or comment on this post. Does the world need a new chaos magick organization? Why or why not?





Roll of Thoth – Witchcrafts

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

This is tied to my previous post, Paganus. It may surprise people to know that there are many types or flavors of Wicca/Witchcraft in current practice. All of them borrow at least some elements from Gerald Gardner’s Wicca. And he nicked it from Crowley, and he nicked it from the Golden Dawn, who stole it from the Rosicrucians, etc, etc. It makes you wonder if there is some credence to it being an “ancient practice.” Perhaps, but if there is, it’s kind of like a game of telephone, what you get in the end may have no resemblance to what started it. For that, you’d have to look into the reconstructionist paths. Maybe I’ll do something about them in the future.

These first few take specific pantheons or gods and use Wicca as a basis for their practices.

The Temple of Kemetic Wicca – Wicca that uses the ancient Egyptian gods.

The Asatru Alliance – Wicca that uses the old Norse gods. They’re slowly filtering out the Wiccan influences to the point where they could be considered reconstructionist.

Temple of Diana – Feminist Wicca that focuses on the Goddess, specifically Diana.

I would feel like I cheated if I counted all these old school Wiccas as their own thing. The differences between them don’t really matter that much outside of the UK. The original is Gardnerian Wicca. His disciple developed Alexandrian Wicca, and the guy who got sick of the drama made Seax Wicca. It’s kind of like the difference between Lutherans and Methodists if you ask me.

Raven Star Coven: Blue Star Wicca – It’s kind of the standard Wicca practiced in the US. They’ve seeded a lot of covens.

Progressive Witchcraft – The founders of this movement, Stewart and Janet Farrar, and Gavin Bone, wouldn’t call it a branch of Witchcraft at all. But they have been mighty inspirational to many covens. Including my own, Novices of the Old Ways Midwest. You may be thinking, “but James, you’re not a Wiccan.” True, but I’m a chaos magician, so I can shift my beliefs. I just happen to find the Novices to be the most open and accepting group in my area.

Stregheria – I include this due to the love/hate surrounding its founder, Raven Grimassi. He’s written a shit-ton of accessible books on Wicca, popular with younger practitioners. Which to a lot of people means he’s pushing watered-down shite. I’ve never read a book by him, so I don’t know the answer. I do know that he goes to great lengths to call his Italian based Witchcraft “authentic.” Obviously, there’s a lot of Wiccan influence in it, so I don’t know how he can make those claims with a straight face. Good to know about because it/he is influential.

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Roll of Thoth – Banishing

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

Banishing, you should be doing it. What the fuck is it? A basic meditative ritual to clear your mind and your space. I will let others convince you of its importance.

I personally do not like the standard Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, but you should know it before you build your own. Some time this week, I’ll share mine with you.

Phil Hine: An Introduction to Banishing Ritual –   Because he’s an awesome chaos magician, Mr, Hine is going to tell you why and how before you  get started.

Open Source Gold Dawn: Meditations –   The Golden Dawn created the standard Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Here’s how they do it.

WikiHow –    Yes, the ritual is that basic it’s on fucking WikiHow. They actually do a good job explaining it.

Youtube –   Now sit back and watch it being done.

Star Ruby –   Some people say the Star Ruby is an advanced banishing ritual. Since it starts with, “Away from here evil spirits,” I but it.

Star Ruby Video –

Chaos Magick Banishings (PDF) –   A whole slew of crazy chaos magick variations to get you creative juices going.

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 –    The new art and image tumblr blog from the Hermetic Library. How can you go wrong.

The Genius of Zos –    The art of Austin Osman Spare. Check the links for scans of his entire books.

Sigil –   A Polish language website with much art and crafty things. Google will translate it well enough.

Art Magick –   Not necessarily occult images, but 19th century paintings, many with occult themes.

LAShTAL –    The home of Aleister Crowley Society. It does much to promote the Beast’s artwork and other artists influenced by Thelema

Harold Arthur McNeil –   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 –

John Coulthart –   Great art both commercial and fine (if there is a difference). I am for some reason drawn to his basic iconographic Major Arcana.



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 –

Norse Mythology: Odin-


Freya Asywnn –    One of the most respected sources for Asatru/Heathens. Odin’s bride.

Odin’s Gift –   Songs and poems in the tradition of the skalds.

Gangleri’s Grove –    Veneration of Odin.

The Norse Mythology Blog –   Norse myth in-depth.


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 –    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 –   After you watch it, read a detailed analysis, and marvel at all the intricate layered meanings, intended or discovered.

The Babalon Working –   A good summary of Uncle Al and Jack Parson’s obsessions.

Rodney Orpheus – 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 –   An incredibly detailed, annotated pdf describing the central religious ritual of the OTO.

Assumption of the Godforms –     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 –   Perhaps Crowley’s most famous ritual, presented from a chaos magick perspective. How did that get in there?


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 –   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 –   Another publisher with outstanding writers.

Salamander and Sons –   Some of the best writing on modern and ancient alchemy.

Anathema Books –   A re-seller with a huge collection of not only occult books but esoteric counter-culture of all types.

Weiser Antiquarian Books –   The most respected name in rare and out-of-print editions.

Ouroboros Press –   Like Scarlet Imprint, their books are amazing works of art.

The Original Falcon Press –   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.