Friday, January 13, 2017


A friend asked me to do a divination for him. It's been ages since I pulled out the runes or shuffled a deck, so I was a little rusty. I managed what I think was an adequate reading.

I rarely do divinations. It's not that I have an objection to them, it's simply that I don't really find I get a lot of benefit out of them. As I was doing this one, I was enjoying the various connections that were being made between disparate objects and their meanings, and trying to weave a coherent narrative out of the randomness provided by the runes/cards.

The ability to conceive of a coherent narrative out of randomness is at the heart of sortilege. I am not sure it's about telling the future so much as trying to correlate the contents of your subconscious.. Certain symbols and meanings will stand out to you as significant, while others will not resonate in the moment, but will do so in another moment, or when next to another randomly chosen object.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Magical Lodges

I've been reading "The Place of Mingled Powers: Spiritual Beings in the Magical Lodge" by John Michael Greer, and one of the parts that stood out to me was an offhand comment that the lodge system developed because Western Occultists, by and large, don't have dedicated spaces.

This strikes me as a significant lack. If you look at the history of modern occultism (starting probably with the Renaissance, because earlier it would have been called something different), we see that it generally did not favor large groups, large workings, or have any societal support whatsoever. Those three facts alone sort of necessitate against having a large or permanent space.

Mr. Greer also notes Occultism is, by and large, a part-time activity for most occultists. This is starting to change a bit, but for the most part, occultists have another profession or vocation, and occultism is sort of a side interest. This also does not lead one to having a permanent space.

I know there are older spiritual traditions that have large magical sites, especially where magic and religion blur: Tibetan Monasteries, Shinto shrines, Hindu temples. In the West, we've drawn a fairly stark line between magic and religion, and our closest would probably be the theurgic churches and monasteries of the older branches of Christianity: Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Coptic. Those sites can be useful to western occultists, but are far more geared toward religion than magic. Examples abound: Ladakh for instance, or Meteora.

Also in the past, we have the famous example of an attempt at an occult monastery is, of course, the Abbey of Thelema. Aleister Crowley famously envisioned a world-wide focus for magical practice and devotion in Cefalù, Sicily, Italy. It lasted only three years.

I've heard of at least two permanent spaces for occultists cropping up. One is the New Alexandrian Library, which I'm assuming may have already outgrown it's space, and its only been open this year. The other is the Pittsburgh Witch House, which I'm given to understand will have both study and ritual space, and act as sort of a 'monastery' for occultists. From their site: "Part art collective, part temple, and part clubhouse."

Do you know of any permanent magical spaces or monasteries cropping up around full-time occultists or magicians?


I cannot recommend Liber Spirituum enough. It's written by many people who are my friends and who are occultists of major import. The book is of high quality and a pleasure to read. Amazing stuff.

Friday, June 17, 2016


It has now been over a year since we've been in our new home.

I could not have done it without the people who helped us with our donations for the downpayment. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

I'm not going to acknowledge you all by name in public, but we will be having thank you notes coming out over the next few weeks. Thank you all.

Owning a home comes with it's own challenges that you don't have when you rent. The appliances are yours. So are the gutters. The walls. The carpets. If something goes wrong, you have to handle it. You can't leave it to the landlord. Pests on the property are all yours too, from noxious weeds to vermin.

I love that.

It has it's own wonderousness, too. It has beauty, and the ability to change the land and the structure as you like (within limits). You don't have to ask anyone to paint, or to put in new flooring, or redo all the plants.

It's all yours, with all the rights and attendant responsibilities. In my case, it's beautiful. I'll take it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Most Intolerant, Wins.

N. N. Taleb likes outliers and minorities. He wrote an interesting book called 'Black Swan: The impact of the highly improbable', which was a fascinating read that I highly recommend.

Recently, I read an article by him called "The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dominance of the Stubborn Minority". It's a fascinating study of the counterpoint to the majority rules rule, and shows how minority populations end up making decisions for the vast majority of the population, even changing the majority population's makeup.  Mr. Taleb gives the example of the Muslims and Christians, the examples of Rome and the Christians, the example of Kosher everything, the removal of peanuts from public life, and a current event in the general acceptance or rejection of GMO foods. I won't go into the details, the article is linked above, give it a look.

But it does provide an interesting formula: The population which requires x, will inevitably overcome the population that can accept x.

Think about that: The population which REQUIRES x will inevitably overcome the population that can accept x.

So, the population that REQUIRES gay marriage (gay folks) will inevitably overcome the population that can accept x (the majority of americans), because the activists will accept nothing less than total legal gay marriage, and the majority doesn't care that much.

The population that says #BlackLivesMatter will inevitably overcome the populations that says #alllivesmatter. For black populations, it's a matter of survival. For the rest of the population, it's an internet meme.

The population that says #gamergate is about corruption in journalism will inevitably overcome the population that doesn't care. For the gamergaters, it's a matter of journalistic integrity. For everyone else, it's a sideshow.

The apathetic majority always loses to the committed minority. It's how the bolsheviks and the Nazis took over. It's how we have codes of conduct, we have lax gun laws, it's how we have environmental controls, how we have kosher food. The one who doesn't give up, doesn't turn back, who cannot accept another outcome, who doesn't compromise: wins.

This has interesting implications. When two minority populations are equally committed and in conflict, what's the outcome?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rain Magic

Here in the west, it's quite dry. There are a lot of fires. The drought in California has been going on for some time, and even in rainy Oregon we've had unseasonably early dry weather and low snow pack. Most of Oregon's water needs are met by snow melt water, so having a low snow pack is not a good situation.

I am a magician. I have had great success with individual and group workings combined with real world efforts to change my circumstances. However, I am a skeptic, and always approach new workings with a healthy dose of 'can this work?'

Which brings us to Rain Magic.

Meterology is a relatively new science.  People have been making observations of the weather since before there was writing, and we know Aristotle wrote on it in 350 BC.  However, most of the work before the 18th century was done via observation. As the scientific era dawned, new measuring tools brought that observation into the realm of measurable and predictable science.

Certain things are quite easy to predict, and a lot of weather forecasting focuses on probability. If X and Y conditions exist, then the chance of phenomenon Z happening is so much.  That's why sometimes you'll see a high probability of rain, and end up with a dry sky. The fact that you can see the conditions yet not predict with certainty what will happen is an outcome of living on a rapidly rotating ball of mud, water, and gas.

Probability is where magic has its wheelhouse. Anything that has a chance can have the odds tipped with a magical working. The tip may not be much, but it may be enough to move it from 'won't happen' to 'happening right now'.  The more chaos in a system, and the more definite a desired outcome, the harder it is (see: winning the lottery). But a big, non-localized effect with a decent chance of happening can be tipped quite easily.

So, if the choice is 'might rain' vs. 'might not rain', why can't magic tip us into the 'raining' column?

Joseph Wolf, who is writing the wonderful Illuminated Circle series, has decided to take on the task, and is developing a meditation series culminating on Wednesday, July 15th in an appeal to the Angel Chavuyah, the Shem Ha Mephoresh angel of 5-10 degrees of Cancer.  Here's what he says about it:

She rules 5-10 degrees of Cancer ( cardinal water). When we start at 7 we will be in the hour Jupiter. Jupiter is said to be exalted in Cancer. The New Moon will just have been a few minutes before and also in Cancer. Cancer is the sign of the Great Mother and support for manifesting life.

He'll be doing a ritual in his temple on Wednesday, July 15th at 7 pm to focus the energy and hopefully call for rain here in the far west. If you're interested in lending your energy to this endeavor, please send an email to, and we'll get the meditation material to you. You do not have to be local to the Portland area to take part, but you do have to be willing to undertake meditations from Sun-Tuesday, and have some time Wednesday evening at 7pm PDT to focus your energies into producing this effect.

Let's see if we can make it rain!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Persons vs. Concepts

Gnosticism has several different ways to approach our mythological figures. The Son of God can be approached as a preacher in Galilee, or a cosmic principle of The Word (Logos). Mary can be the mother of Jesus or the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Sophia, or even an embodiment of the Divine Feminine Principle.

What's interesting to me is that neither of these approaches is wrong, or even mutually exclusive. The personhood of Jesus makes him approachable, understandable, and valuable in a moment of crises. The transcendence of the Logos provides a way to work with timeless concepts, timeless forces, and to move beyond the crises into the realm of the eternal.

Where many people fall down with teaching gnosticism, is they try to jump right to the concept. We place more emphasis on the concepts rather than the people. This works for a subset of people, people we gnostics can talk to on this conceptual level: Occultists, Freemasons, other Johannites, etc.  To the vast majority of humanity, these concepts are opaque, foreign, or an obstacle to understanding.

That's where the personification of these concepts comes in. The Logos as the person of Jesus is easier for people to conceptualize. Jesus was there at the beginning, creating the universe, with God, and God. Mary gave birth to Jesus, as the Divine Feminine brings divinity into matter. Analogy works where simple explanation or exegesis cannot.

There is a danger here, as we can abandon the concepts thus embodied, and create cults of personality. If the personalities point towards concepts which we also can embody, I think the technique works well. If the personalities become end goals in and of themselves, I think there needs to be more examination of the teaching being done.

Monday, July 06, 2015


I've now officially met more neighbors in my country house than I ever did living in the city.

There's the YardGuy* and his lovely wife, the Conversationalist. They live up the hill from us, and are delightful people. The Conversationalist gave Paddy a number of lovely plants, which are now merrily growing in our cottage garden.

There's the Mule Guy. He is what we call around these parts, a character. He goes to the local fairs with his mules, and has a mustache that simply will not quit. He's got that way of speaking that is at once incredibly odd and endlessly fascinating.  There's a bit of curmudgeon in there as well.

There's Elk Jewelry Girl and her German Beau. Interesting folks who are renting the property that simply has a great big garage/workshop on it, and living out of their RV.

Yesterday, we met Terminal Preacher and her husband. She runs a home church for terminally ill people, and has cancer herself. We had a fascinating conversation, about the similarities between Pentacostalism and Johannite Gnosticism. There are more than one would think initially: The personal nature of the relationship to divinity (in their form symbolized as Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit), the nature of the gnostic experience ("slain in the spirit"), and the primacy of the individual relationship to the divine over doctrine.

There are differences, of course. Their approach is more emotion based, ours is more intellectual and we have a ton more ritual, but we came to that common ground of helping those who are seeking find the Divine. It was a lovely conversation, and I can't wait to take in a service of theirs.

*All names are changed to protect the innocent.