SoT Ep5 Magical Influences

“Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”.  I believe this is completely literal.  I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic.  Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness.  The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events.”

–Alan Moore

In this episode James and Colleen and their guest Shade OfRoses talk about magical influences, the books, movies, music, art and other media that shaped their magical practice.

Our new music is graciously provided by Shoeboxx Recordings. Check out their music on Soundcloud and like them on Facebook. The intro is a selection from Journey

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.

 

 

People and things mentioned in the show:

Colleen Mentions

Music

The Beatles – Abbey RoadSgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Moody Blues – Days of Future PassedTo Our Children’s Children

Books

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings

Carlos Castaneda – The Teachings of Don JuanJourney to Ixtlan

Frank Herbert – Dune

Jan Longwell-Smiley – Master of Disaster: A Tale of Manifestation, Mayhem, and Magic

Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements

TV Shows & Movies

The Prisoner

Star Wars

Colleen & James

Joseph Campbell – The Power of MythThe Hero with a Thousand Faces

 Shade OfRoses Mentions:

Artists

Alphonse Mucha

Maxfield Parrish

Books

Charles Yu – How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Marion Zimmer Bradley – The Mists of Avalon

Jean Auel – Clan of the Cave Bear

Neil Gaiman – SandmanAmerican GodsAnansi Boys

Mary Crow Dog – Lakota Woman

Charles DeLint

James Mentions

Wade Davis – The Serpent and the RainbowLight at the Edge of the World

James Gleick – The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood

Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha – Sex At Dawn

The Works of HP Lovecraft

James L. Wilber – My Babylon 

Announcements

My Babylon by James L. Wilber A serial novel about the paranormal and dark desires. The story of a cursed young man who has an intimate view of the Apocalypse. My Babylon weaves elements of urban fantasy, erotic horror, and real-world occult practices, to form a unique personal tale that thrills, terrifies, and even enlightens.

My Babylon Complete is now available at Amazon as a Kindle ebook and in print.

Connect with James at, jameslwilber.comFacebookTwitter, and tumblr, and scrollofthoth.tumblr.com.

Connect with Colleen on facebook.

The ending music is Hair Dye the WTCHDCTR remix by Eest Coast.

 

Story

In the last podcast, I mentioned a short story that I wrote about Odin returning to Earth. I think it will be of interest to those who wonder if the gods have changed along with our culture. To give you a sample of my fiction, I’m offering it as a free download to everyone on Kobo, and through the Scroll of Thoth mailing list.

Of Little Faith

The old gods are returning, or have they always been here?

Odin wakes to the call of a dying warrior, crying out to be taken to Valhalla. Roused from his centuries of slumber, he wanders the Earth until he finds gods old and new. Do they have the answers he seeks? How does an ancient god of war find his place in the modern world?

A musing on the nature of religion and spirituality. We may no longer need a patriarch, but do we need to rediscover our divinities?

SoT Ep4 Invocation

In this episode James and Colleen talk about invocation, what it is, how it’s practiced, the spirits involved, and adding it to your practice.

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.

People and things mentioned in the show:

Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler

Good old Gerald Gardner, you should know who he is, and the Golden Dawn

Our friends at Anabasis Encampment OTO, and Frater Appollon GauVion’s excellent Youtube channel demonstrating many of the OTO rituals.

Janet & Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone are leading the charge in spiritual witchcraft

Loki’s Song,” by Mikal Hrafspa

Muse, on the Scroll of Thoth website

Suggested Reading

Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler

Divine Horsemen, by Mara Deren

The Inner Mysteries: Progressive Witchcraft and Connection to the Divine, by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone

Devoted, various contributors, by Scarlet Imprint

Colleen’s notes for the show

Announcements

My Babylon by James L. Wilber A serial novel about the paranormal and dark desires. The story of a cursed young man who has an intimate view of the Apocalypse. My Babylon weaves elements of urban fantasy, erotic horror, and real-world occult practices, to form a unique personal tale that thrills, terrifies, and even enlightens.

My Babylon is told in a series of novellas. Books 1-4 are now available in the Kindle store.

The final chapter, Book Five: Beast, is coming June 25th.

Connect with James at, jameslwilber.comFacebookTwitter, and tumblr, and scrollofthoth.tumblr.com.

Connect with Colleen on facebook.

Magic-K

The following is an excerpt from My Babylon – Book Six: Commentary, something I am putting together to explain the esoteric content to the uninitiated readers. You may have heard some of this griping from me before. Book Six will also contain some of my posts from Scroll of Thoth. So in fairness, if you are a reader of this blog, just sign up for the mailing list and I will send you a free copy of Book Six when it comes out.

1        5         6

I have a love-hate relationship with Aleister Crowley. I even resent the fact you can’t even talk about magick without talking about Uncle Al. He’s just that influential, and a force in modern culture too, but most people don’t realize it. It’s safe to say that the New Age movement wouldn’t look anything like it does now without Uncle Al. He’s the evil, spooky, boogie-man, hiding under your nice safe bed of astrology, crystals, and Angelology. No, I did not make that word up.

You know the cover to the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album? The one with all the famous people on the cover? Top row, second one in from the left, the creepy looking bald guy, that’s Uncle Al. He’s known as a drinking, fornicating, ego-monster of mythical proportions. He referred to himself as Therion, which in Greek means, “beast,” meaning The Beast, the one from Revelations with the triple sixes. He created a religion called Thelema, in which one of the major deities is Babalon. Getting the picture? In essence, My Babylon, is a Thelemic fairy tale. A fantasy built on Uncle Al’s worldview.

I still hate the fucker most days.

I have a love-hate relationship with his followers too. Does that come through with Ezra? They are some of the most intelligent, articulate, fun-to-be-around people I’ve ever met. Until they start talking about Master Therion. Then it’s all, “Aleister Crowely” this, and “Crowley” that, and “He was such a genius,” and on and on until you want to slap them and scream, “The religion is supposed to me about individualism you fucking sheep!” But I still love hanging out with them.

Was Crowley a genius? That’s the question that turns me into a dog chasing his own tail. On one hand, he said some massively stupid shit, even for a man of his era (1875-1947). Like how the word yoga has Latin roots. Or using human sacrifice as a euphemism for masturbation. In fact, a lot of his failings in scholarship and logic come from his intense need to see everything as interconnected, even when it’s not. He also stole a lot of his material, much it of it from the Golden Dawn, a somewhat infamous magical order during the Victorian Age.

On the other hand, the way he mixed Western magical systems with Eastern ones was astounding. Magick had been derided in the West, driven underground. With the link between teacher and student often lost, much of the ancient wisdom and work of later alchemists was misunderstood. By drawing the parallels between Eastern mysticism and Western occultism, he reestablished the meanings of the rituals.

But I still find it hard not to hate him. His ego got in the way of everything, especially later in life. The ritual that Ezra does in Book One, The Star Ruby, originally instructed the magician to face East, pretty standard procedure when it comes to magick rituals, the directions have meaning. When he re-wrote the ritual years later, the instructions changed, telling the practitioner to face towards Crowley’s house in Scotland, like it was some kind of fucking Mecca. How’s that for being full of yourself?

In some ways, Mike is my rebellion against Crowley. He’s still the Beast, still an asshole, but lacking in the kind of ego Crowley had. Mike has no desire to insert himself into anyone else’s magick. He has no need to be adored by the masses. Just a desperate need to be adored on a personal level.

It was Uncle Al who started spelling magick with a K on the end. He did this to differentiate it from the stage magic of the illusionists. Important if you notice that Crowley was a contemporary of Harry Houdini. Also infuriatingly far-sighted, practically prophetic, as you yield very different results if you search Google with magic rather than magick.

Crowley also provides what has come to be the universally accepted definition of magick. “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Different magical styles have developed since Crowley’s time that tweak that definition a bit, but no one can deny his influence.

Like the author, Mike is a practitioner of chaos magick. This does not mean I use deterministic or random mathematics in practices, though some chaos magicians do. This does not mean I am a Discordian, though many of my fellows are, and I respect them. You could probably get as many different definitions of chaos magick as there are chaos magicians. Kind of the point really. Some would even tell you that chaos magick as a “tradition” no longer exists, because all modern magicians have become chaos magicians to a certain extent. It’s hard to argue with that.

In my view, the core of chaos magick is the ability to use belief as a tool. A chaos magician can shift from one paradigm to another without pause, using whichever worldview currently suits their needs. Legio may be the best example of this. While he at times seems to totally buy the Christian perspective, as an antagonist, yet at the same time worships pagan gods. For a chaos magician, there need be no conflict. There can be a one-and-only-all-powerful GOD, and at the same time, gods, who are no less important. He recognizes that the culture he participates in is dominated by Christian beliefs, and that if he wants to influence that culture on a magical level, he must believe in that mythology.

One of the founder’s of chaos magick, quoted often in My Babylon, is Peter J. Carroll. The saying often used by Carroll as the chaos magician’s creed: “nothing is true, everything is permitted,” comes from Nietzche, who attributed it to the original Ḥashshāshīns of Middle East, active during the time of the Crusades. If taken as truth, it’s meant to liberate the magus and open their mind to all possibilities. It is not an excuse for licentiousness, as it is often portrayed. Though deviancy is sometimes encouraged as a means to break down one’s reservations.

Crowley’s supporters claim he was the first chaos magician, the first to start combining traditions as he saw fit. That’s not entirely true, but he did make combining traditions fashionable. There have been reactions against it, specifically from the re-constructionist movements in modern paganism. Those people want to bring back that really old time religion. I don’t see it happening. It will never be popular because we have moved so far past the culture that created those religions. We are too global now. The Crowley/chaos magicians rule the day now. Even the established religions are borrowing from each other. No one blinks an eye when a white guy in America calls himself a Buddhist or a Muslim. Some call this “cultural appropriation” as if it’s some kind of theft. That’s a subject for another book (hint).

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.”

SoT Ep3 – Pagan Sexuality

In this episode James and Colleen invites erotica writer Shade OfRoses to talk about pagan morality and sexuality. We cover pagan traditions, goddess worship, the Great Rite, and sex magick.

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.

 

 

People and things mentioned in the show:

The Witches Bible by Janet & Stewart Farrar

Raymond (Uncle Bucky) Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

The quote I screwed up by Lon Milo DuQuette from The Key to Solomon’s Key

“In a world that’s gone hellishly mad we’ve always taken comfort in the fact that the faith of our fathers is the one thing that remains solid and unchanging. It occurs to very few of us that perhaps for the last 2,500 years the faith of our fathers has been one of the main reasons why our world has gone hellishly mad.”

Also see, Good News! A video made from quotes in the book My Life With the Spirits.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Greyl

Suggested Reading

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone

The Red Goddess by Peter Grey

Us

James has released part two of this serialized novel about the occult and dark desires. You can get Book One: Body, and Book Two: Rose in the Amazon Kindle store.

Connect with Shade OfRoses at shadeofroses.tumblr.com and geeksoutafterdark.com.

Connect with James at, jameslwilber.comFacebookTwitter, and tumblr, and scrollofthoth.tumblr.com.

Connect with Colleen on facebook.

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) scrollofthoth.com or comment on this post. Does the world need a new chaos magick organization? Why or why not?

 

 

 

 

Demons

The Lemegeton, also known as the Lesser Key of Solomon, has been the most popular book on goetic magick for a few centuries now. It gives specific instructions on how to summon demons, sometimes translated daemons, and bend them to your will. It claims to be the ritual used by King Solomon, though no historical evidence can be found of the book before the 16th century.

On the list of seventy-demons are: Bael, obviously the Cannite deity Baal, who gave ancient Isrealites much consternation. Astaroth, believed to be taken from the goddess Astarte. The Phenex, sometimes translated Phoenix, yes the mythical bird, not the town in Arizona.

It would seem in their rush to portray the old pagan competition as the enemy, many entities that others would consider gods made the list. Hence the term, to demonize. So when a magician works with the entities in the Ars Goetia, what are they summoning? If you ask me, it’s all about point of view.

It’s obvious that the writer or writers of the Lemegeton meant to portray them as evil, nasty, infernal beings. Some wonder why churchmen, who were the ones who disseminated and used the book, would summon their enemies. The idea was, if you could put them to work for you, you could make them do God’s work.

Many modern magicians work with the goetia. Some are iconoclasts looking for a thrill. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good for people to be breaking down the cultural barriers in their minds, letting go of what they believe is possible and impossible. But more serious magicians work with it too, and they make no bones about it, what they are summoning are demons.

What is a demon? For me, a demon is an entity that appeals to the base side of my nature. They encourage me to be slothful, to rage when I should be calm, to pontificate when I should keep silent. They can be useful if done in moderation, but can easily take over your life and distract you from doing the things you should be doing. In the psychological model of magick, they are your shadow, a primitive ego monster, but also the drive for all creativity. Sounds pretty useful, aye?

There’s, of course, a reason why such magick is labeled handle with care. One of these creatures running amok in your life can cause serious damage. Oh yeah, it has happened to me. Some magicians say you should successfully perform the Abramelin operation, the quest to gain your Holy Guardian Angel, before you even think about using goetia. I’m not so cautious, but knowing what these things could do, wouldn’t it be wise to develop some self-defense? I recommend knowing and practicing a solid banishing ritual. You can read mine by signing up for the mailing list. But I’m not going to give you a big list of preparation you MUST do before summoning. I’m leaving that up to you.

I’m not going to tell you how to treat these enteties. I have had success treating them with a respectful firmness. But you can follow the Lemegeton, and act like they’re your bitch if you want.

You’re a big-person now. You can handle it.

Or maybe you can’t. One thing I have found most useful about goetia is that it’s going to teach you exactly how far you have come as a magician. In my experience, you will get some great results, or you will fuck-up spectacularly, or both. I have yet to see someone using it fall somewhere in between. In some ways, goetia is a magician’s license to make mistakes. The only way we learn.

Peter Grey, author of The Red Goddess says, “Real magick has no safety net.” So go ahead, step out on the wire. Falling is just like flying, at least for a couple of seconds.

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.

Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to get more Scroll of Thoth in your inbox, including my own banishing ritual. Also, help out the blog by checking out our Amazon recommendations  and using the Amazon search window whenever you make a purchase.

Paganus

Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus, meaning country dweller or rustic. It was meant to be a slur. To call someone a pagan approximates to calling them a redneck. I’m all for embracing the things that cause you pain. As Tyrion says, “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” That being said, I ain’t country folk.

I’ve lived in the country. Rode an hour on a bus to get to the nearest school. I like the country. Enjoy being there, and the people that live in the country. But it’s just not me. I’m a city dweller. My greatest lament in being a pagan is that it seems every large event requires camping. I do not camp. Why can’t they hold those things in nice hotels?

I was recently asked, what religion do I follow? My answer was a mix of neo-paganism and Thelema. But even my paganism is a different shade than most. The gods I revere, Thoth, and Babalon, are not nature gods. They are city gods. One is an intellectual deity, the other, a prostitute. While sex for money came along well before cities, institutionalized prostitution came with the throwing together of the masses.

A look at the ancient near east deities, of which I include Babalon as a modern incarnation of Inanna, shows a group of gods much different in character than the Celtic and northern European pantheons favored by most neo-pagans. They come from cultures that were creating civilizations based on the city. It makes them no better or worse than gods coming from cultures without major settlements or written language, but it does make them, in my opinion, better suited to modern life.

This does leave me with me with some sticky problems. Kind of like how Thelema takes everything and smashes it into Kabbalah, neo-paganism takes a pantheon and then smashes it into the Wheel of the Year. It doesn’t always fit. Why would someone who worships the Kemetic deities use holidays based on a European agricultural cycle? Wouldn’t they celebrate the flooding of the Nile? And how does the flooding of the Nile matter to them now?

One answer could be that no matter what, those cycles do affect us, living in country or city. Also, those cycles exist in the microcosm, reflected in the life-cycle of human beings. But that only goes so far. I personally celebrate the Festival of Thoth on August 6th. But the rising of the Dog Star doesn’t mean much me either, not being an astronomer.

How do we adapt our practices to the life we’re living today? Do we throw a party when they switch over from the summer to the winter mix of gasoline and the prices go down? That’s a shitty idea. But I do think it’s important to reflect on the passing phases. It gives us mindfulness and perspective.
For now I guess, the Wheel of the Year will have to do. I believe living in cities is important. Despite the pollution they create, they really are the way for masses of people to live with a minimal footprint. A city built right is the natural environment for humans. Or at least some of us. Who can deny how the mix of cultures in our urban areas have created art and innovation? We can do better though. Just like morality, environmentalism doesn’t have to be a part of your religion in order to practice it.

Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to get more Scroll of Thoth in your inbox, including my own banishing ritual. Also, help out the blog by checking out our Amazon recommendations  and using the Amazon search window whenever you make a purchase.