Roll of Thoth

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

Liber 777 Online – http://thelemistas.org/en/Tools/Liber777   Crowley’s 777 online in database format. No more flipping pages to find your correspondences.

Magicka School – http://www.magickaschool.com/   An online school teaching free courses in tarot, wicca, herbalism, and more.

Magical Probability Calculator – http://hyperritual.com/portfolio/magical-probability-calculator/    Using the formula presented by Peter J. Carroll in Liber Kaos, this site can calculate the likelihood of your magic succeeding.

The Baptist Head – http://www.thebaptistshead.co.uk/   A unique take on modern western magick. You can see elements of chaos magick, Thelemic magick, and some of its own unique paradigm

Kia Illuminated Adapts – http://kiamagic.com/   A chaos magick order with resources on magick and culture.

Ár nDraíocht Féin – http://www.adf.org/core/   One of the main sects of modern druidism

Grimoar.cz – http://english.grimoar.cz/?Loc=idx&Lng=2    A repository of occult texts.

Rage

 

I have anger issues.

As an occultist I read a lot of eastern mysticism and progressive spiritualists. All of them promote kindness and understanding whenever dealing with your fellow humans. There’s great wisdom in this. When you attack, ears and minds close. You seldom get your point across. But sometimes, that’s not the goal.

In our polarized society, there are people who have embedded beliefs as part of their identity. They are in no way open to convincing with honey or vinegar. In those instances, anger can be the right tool.

I get pissed at my fellow liberals more than anyone for their lack of rage. Did you know we are bombing women and children all the time in Pakistan and Yemen? Why are you not pissed about this? I like protest, I think protest is important. But sometimes you need to go beyond potlucks and waving signs. NO I am not talking about violence. Let’s all go down to the office of the local insurance company and hang out in their lobby until they explain why they habitually deny coverage.

This week someone on tumblr sent me a message saying they were going to unfollow me because I’m an “anti-white Marxist.” Forget for a second how fucking ridiculous it is to call someone a Marxist. They included with this a link to a horribly racist website http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/.*

Normally I ignore crap like this, until you add the racism. That is shit I won’t tolerate from my family much less total strangers. This is when anger comes in handy. I believe it is our duty to tell people like this that they will not be tolerated in our society. They will be ostracized. We will not take away their right to speak, but we can make it painfully clear no one is listening. I told him as much, and told everyone who follows me as well.

We have a false notion that people like Gandhi and MLK just marched and gave speeches in order to bring about change. These were angry men! Gandhi considered himself a general leading a campaign. He shut down the transportation system, the communications, and put himself in harm’s way to get his way.

When will you get angry enough to get yours?

 

* Feel free to report this site to blogger/blogspot TOS 

Roll of Thoth – Call Forth the Gods Edition

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis. This week, websites to help you brush up on your mythology.

As Pope Pete says, “It is easier to call down lightening, or quell a sea storm, via one’s concept of Thor or Poseidon, than it is by direct will alone.” Help yourself by building up an arsenal of mythological symbols, ready-made to interact with your subconscious and firmly entrenched in the collective.

I picked websites that are well-organized in order to facilitate research. In the future, I’ll probably pick some websites from a more devotee point of view. If you feel like some major religion was overlooked, tough titties, I’m just giving seven links.

Norse Mythology – http://www.viking-mythology.com/

Greek Mythology – http://www.theoi.com/

Egyptian Mythology – http://www.egyptianmyths.net/

Irish/Celtic Mythology – http://www.luminarium.org/mythology/ireland/

Japanese/Shinto Mythology – http://www.japanesemythology.jp/

Indian/Hindu Mythology – http://indianmythology.com/finish/

The Whole Lot Put Together – http://pantheon.org/  A website covering a multitude of mythology and folklore.

Write

I have a new tag-line. Writers and magicians do essentially the same thing. They create worlds with words and will. Some of you may know that I also write fiction. This blog has some crossover with my “name” blog jamelwilber.com I use to promote my writing, and my tumblr blog I use as a catch-all for shit I find cool. All three of them contain at least some elements of both magick and writing, with good reason.

All of the great magicians created worlds and got others to believe in them. That’s why magick has always been so closely tied to religion. Whether you believe the gods came and visited them, or the shamans themselves invented manifestations of our basic urges, it doesn’t matter. At one point, they went to the people and told them the story. Those stories told people how the world works. That changes reality.

I’m sorry if I offend all you hard-core science fans out there, but your beliefs are based on stories too. What you claim is the empirical truth about how the universe functions is simply how you perceive the universe to function. No matter how hard you try, you will never take yourself out of your observations. It will always be the human story of the universe. From a social-psychological perspective it doesn’t even matter. If you make the earth-shaking discovery, you still need to get people to believe it before it impacts their behavior. Don’t get me wrong, I love science, we need to keep using it because the language of science is something everyone can understand. But while it does a great job of describing outer space, it is somewhat lacking when it comes to inner space.

Every truly great magician has invented a worldview/religion and made people believe it. As much as I bash on him and his followers, the creation of Thelema was Crowley’s greatest accomplishment, a monumental feat to create a religion in the modern age.

I have taken a different route. Lately, I have been a bit of a slacker. Holidays and illness have kept me away from my regular magickal practice. I find, however, I don’t feel all that guilty about it, because I have kept up with my writing. For me, every story is an extended ritual. I am pouring on to the page my gnosis in hopes of changing the world.

Who knows how myths truly get started. Maybe the shamans came to the people and said, “The gods told me this.” Or maybe, they just told a damn good story that got repeated so much people wanted it to be true. Modern story telling is complex in the way it uses language and other mediums to get its point across. So many stories have been told, we now concentrate on the subtle differences between them, but they still teach the same things. They still have impact. I have no problem with cosplayers and geeks acting like they are characters from Harry Potter. They are internalizing a system that’s real for them, at least for a time. That’s the essence of chaos magick.

My greatest hope is that people will read my books and internalize what I have said. They’re not so conducive to roleplaying, but I want people to learn from my characters, both their triumphs and failures, and make the same discoveries and conclusions. If I can do that, I will take my place among the great magicians. I will have created a new world.

Roll of Thoth – Magick Tools How To

Every week I share with you seven websites with great resources or fantastic art to raise your knowledge and your gnosis. This week, a how to edition. Do as I say and not as I do, seriously. Magickal tools are always better when you spend the time and energy to make your own.

How to make a Tau Style Robe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5oyVZHyGj8&feature=youtube_gdata_player   Good basic instructions that seem easy. I took the lazy way out and bought my robes off a nice seamstress on eBay, but I may use this if I want to make robes specific to a ritual.

How to Make A Knife From an Old File: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/907667-How-to-Make-a-Knife-From-a-File   Peter J. Carroll provided similar instructions in one of his books but this has better explanation from someone who actually makes knives as a hobby. I have yet to try this because I lack access to a grinder, though I have heard you can grind by hand with a second file, oh so slowly.

How to Make a Book: http://michaelshannon.us/makeabook/   I keep my journal electronically, but this may be of interest to purists with an artistic bent.

How to Make Candles: http://www.candletech.com/    The next project on my bucket list, for no other reason than it’s relatively simple.

How to Make Incense: http://www.scents-of-earth.com/makyourownna.html   I burn through a lot of incense. The only problem I see is that making it looks just as expensive as buying.

How to Paint a Carpet: http://www.ehow.com/how_5059319_paint-carpet.html and http://www.curbly.com/users/diy-maven/posts/1654-how-to-paint-an-indoor-outdoor-rug    This may seem an odd addition but it has the virtue of something I’ve actually done. I used advice from both sites. A permanent circle painted on a handy movable rug comes in damn handy. I have pictures to prove it.

Enochian/Goetic Supplies: http://www.enochian.org/   Sometimes what you need is beyond your ability. We all can’t be metal smiths. We all can’t etch glass. But apparently these folks can. I have never seen so many hard to find items collected in one place. Also, they sell kits, giving you the hard to obtain parts but letting you invest your own energy into it.

Currents

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.

Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

– Dwight D Eisenhower

This is where I probably lose you.

As promised, this blog is about magick and change. Here comes the change part, and by change I mean social and political change. Even worse, I am going to put my two cents in on horrific recent events. Don’t worry I’ll tie it into magick as well.

I believe in the idea of currents, themes that run through our society that influence everything. It’s hard to deny that violence is a current that flows strongly through our culture here in the US. Obviously, other people are violent, but it’s hard to deny that the US goes off the scale. We kill ourselves and other people far more often than other first-world countries, and most second and third as well.

Where does it come from? You can’t say it’s just human nature, otherwise everyone would be like us. My pagan friends tell me I shouldn’t attack Christianity, that they are just on a different spiritual path. This is true, to an extent, but an examination of their doctrine gives me cause for concern. If the creator God, the ultimate good-guy (from modern Christian perspective), has no problem slaughtering all the first born of Egypt, committing genocide, killing infants, what does that say about your religion? Christianity without a doubt has been one of the strongest currents in Western society, and in the US we find a higher percentage of people still believing than anywhere else in the West.

But that can’t be the whole picture. Our propensity for violence, our willingness to slaughter innocents goes deeper than that. Let’s examine the history of warfare from a perspective you don’t usually get.

In ancient times, armies battled and took cities, usually killing half the inhabitants and hauling off others as slaves. The ratio of civilian deaths to soldiers was about even, with perhaps more civilian causalities depending on the war.

Then, in the Middle Ages, something strange happened, at least in Europe. That ratio changed dramatically, where it was almost entirely combatants that died in war. This went all the way up to World War II.

A lot of people still look at WW II as the “good” war. While our enemies did perpetrate crimes of the highest magnitude, does that justify using such tactics against them? Aerial bombing increased civilian deaths to a ratio of 2:1.

Every war since then has only gotten worse, with some current estimates at 10:1. This is completely intentional. The US decided after WW II that the strength of our army comes from air superiority. We designed an army that would kill even more civilians.

Second rule of morality: You are responsible for not only the intended consequences of your actions, but also the inevitable consequences. Whenever the US decides to go to war with the army we have, we decide to kill that country’s innocent civilians. When President Obama asked for ideas on how to reduce violence in our society, perhaps the first thing he can do is stop bombing children in Pakistan and Yemen. Like it or not, we are a warlike society. What does it say about our national character that we spend more on killing people than all the other nations combined?

There is good news. We created this, and we can unmake it. We can change the currents in our society. As magi, we have a duty to use everything at our disposal, physical and mystical, to change things for the better.

 

Addendum 12/23/12

Once again, Noam Chomsky can make half my point more elegantly and succinctly.

”One of the questions asked in that study was, How many Vietnamese casualties would you estimate that there were during the Vietnam war? The average response on the part of Americans today is about 100,000. The official figure is about two million. The actual figure is probably three to four million. The people who conducted the study raised an appropriate question: What would we think about German political culture if, when you asked people today how many Jews died in the Holocaust, they estimated about 300,000? What would that tell us about German political culture?”

The Roll of Thoth

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

Carl Jung Resources: http://www.carl-jung.net/  Information on Carl Jung’s theories and how to apply them to your own self-explorations.

The Gnosis Archive: http://gnosis.org/welcome.html   All about Gnosticism, the backbone of Western magick.

US Grand Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis: http://oto-usa.org/   Leading Thelemite organization in the US.

The Nachtkabarett: http://www.nachtkabarett.com/theOccult    The occult symbolism in the works of Marilyn Manson.

Witch’s Voice: http://www.witchvox.com/xmap.html   Before social networks there was the Witch’s Voice. A lot of great resources here to connect with pagans.

The Website of Rodney Orpheus: http://rodneyorpheus.com/    Musician and magician, a worthy successor to Lon Milo DuQuette?

Open Source Golden Dawn: http://www.osogd.org/    These guys get it. The information is free, let’s bring on the eschaton.

Voodoo

“That’s why I think Africans say that white people or Europeans go to church and speak about God, we dance in the temple and become God.” 

       — Wade Davis

Thank the gods for vodou! (1)

I admit that I don’t know exactly when it happened, or who started it, but the introduction of vodou to modern paganism has been a true gift from the gods. You’ve got vodou in my paganism? You’ve got paganism in my vodou? Yes we do, and they go great together.

In the West, we have a long tradition of the priestly caste attempting to take the people out of religious experience. Talking directly to the god(s) was deemed just too dangerous for the common people. What if the god(s) told you that your leaders were full of shit? That would not do.

Many religious scholars believe that the miracles Jesus performed in the bible–turning water into wine, walking on water–were actually parables for taking away the power of the priests. What do you mean you don’t need to be a rabbi to bless the sacramental wine or baptize someone? We better have the Romans nail that guy up.

Perhaps the ultimate manifestation of this philosophy is Catholicism, where the parishioner is assigned the role of audience, with some kneeling or standing and the occasional droning of a hymn, while the priest goes through the motions of a prescribed ritual. Everyone’s been well cordoned off from god lest they get the wrong message.

Sadly, it was medieval churchmen that laid the foundation for ceremonial magick. While the magicians themselves tried to capture some degree of Gnosticism, they had little to work with in their own experience. So when Gerald Gardner took those forms from the Golden Dawn to establish Wicca, he inadvertently imported a hands-off approach to deity.

Lucky for us, when the Wiccan umbrella opened to a wide range of paganism, including those who wanted to re-create ancient practices, important questions were asked. If we know that Gardner wasn’t giving us the revitalization of ancient ways, what were they?

Historians didn’t have an answer. So much was lost, and so many of those pagans came from non-literate societies. The archeological evidence could only provide so many answers. We knew what their temples looked like and we knew what instruments they used, but it never gave us the whole picture of how they actually felt about their gods.

Well before Gardener, modern esotericists looked towards the East. But while Eastern religions often contained multiple gods, they usually included overarching monotheistic principles(2). They also suffered the same dumbing down that religions in the West went through, with the priests and monks guarding the doorways to the divine.

I credit anthropologists, especially guys like my hero, Wade Davis, for showing us the way. If you wanted a living and breathing example of how ancient pagans may have interacted with their gods, you need look no further than right next door, to Haiti. Vodou mambos and houngan have given us tools for experiencing the divine in the most direct ways.

What started as a few pagans bringing Vodou gods (lwa) into their practice has morphed into using Vodou practices to contact traditional pagan deities like Hekate and Odin. Devotees of particular gods now know their patrons in intimate ways. To be ridden goes beyond the warm fuzzy feelings of asking the divine to join our ceremonies. It’s a direct hotline.

When working magick, we now have better tools for reaching a deep and powerful current in the collective unconscious. It’s like grabbing a power line with your bare hands. Dangerous to be sure, but there’s few better ways to get a well needed jolt.

I recommend that any magician used to invoking their deities the old fashioned Golden Dawn way should get some drums, move their feet, and speak out in the voice of the gods. I know from my own work that abandoning myself fully to the divine presence has been a source of the most profound teachings I’ve ever experienced.

(1) I use the traditional spelling of voodoo to get people’s attention, but prefer the newer spelling used by scholars.

(2) Vodou has this as well, but not as strong.

Secrets

While writing a chapter for my new novel yesterday, I came to a scene where the main character attends an OTO initiation. Part of my shtick for this new book is that it’s an urban fantasy, but it uses real world occult practices as a basis for the magick, so I wanted it to be relatively accurate. No problamo I thought. I know Crowley’s works. I should be able to find an initiation ceremony somewhere. Lo and behold, it’s a secret.

It made me double-take. Someone in this day and age honestly thinks they can keep something a secret? Coming from the OTO makes it even more comical. Crowley made a name for himself by revealing the secrets of the Golden Dawn. My respect for him comes from that act, as the rebel, breaking down the temple doors. Yet it seems he honestly expected his acolytes to do as he said and not as he did.

I understand their reasoning. Initiations are designed to break down an applicant’s preconceptions about themselves. Fear is a way to do this. To make them react to a real threat. Engendering a fear of the unknown, of what’s about to happen, is a tried and true method. But it seems the OTO has a misunderstanding of where that fear comes from. The rituals themselves are designed to provoke the necessary response. I guarantee, if you strip someone naked, blindfold them, bind their hands, and put a dagger to their throat, you will get a fear response. No matter how much the initiate trusts you or how far ahead they knew this was coming.

One the supposed admonishments to magicians from the Emerald Tablet of Thoth is, “to keep silent.” I admit I have a hard time doing this. Blog case in point. But what does it really mean? At one time, I’m sure it was meant to protect magi from persecution. But now I only see it used as an excuse to withhold knowledge so the teacher can fleece the student.

It took me only a few minutes of Googling to find accounts of OTO initiations. I describe what I learned in my book. Much of it probably inaccurate, but I’m sure some of it is truth. You just can’t keep secrets in the information age. And it seems silly to try when what’s important is not the secrets but the mystery. You can never understand the experience until you have the experience.

Perhaps what Thoth really meant is that you should not try to describe too much what magical processes should feel like. Each magus comes to magick on their own, and it is impossible to impart that knowledge. Perhaps it was Thoth’s way of saying, “Do not make thine students and colleagues into armchair magicians. Lead them to the well, but do not describe the water.”

At least this is what makes sense to me in out times. Tell me your opinion.