Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Preponderance of the Dead

It's been a dark week and I feel drawn to offer some minor reflections on death. The horrors of three mass shootings in one day certainly makes its contribution to the darkness, but even before that there was a weight and shadow to this week that left me consistently a little breathless and disturbed. Teaching was difficult, I was distracted, there were voices on the wind. Then, this morning, I awoke to find this truly breathtaking piece by Rhyd Wildermuth over at the Wild Hunt: Gates of the Abyss:
"But under this all is Death, the pale voiceless corpse, our lost stories, our tales tapering off into silence not for lack of words but absence of tongue. What meaning can we derive from death, when it is itself the Abyss into which all meaning leaks out?" 
Historical image, Brown Lady Ghost photo. Originally taken in 1936 by Captain Hubert C. Provand (Indre Shire Inc.), and published in the magazine 'Countrylife' in the same year.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Post at Gods and Radicals

I have a new post up over at Gods and Radicals and am super excited that the Gods and Radicals journal, A Beautiful Resistance, is spreading its way through the world even as we speak including a piece by yours truly! I do hope you will consider checking the journal out.

My piece today in Gods and Radicals is entitled "Magic is the Revolution" and is a rumination on the revolutionary potential and essence of magical practice.

I am also cooking up some new ideas for some posts here, keep your eye open for them, as well as writing some material for another project I may be updating you about soon. Exciting things on the horizon.

Hekate, William Blake1795 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Samhain!

Here's to wishing a very happy Samhain to you all! May you bring something of the unexpected and impossible into the world. May the dead walk with you. Joy to they who came before, they from whence we came.
"Reconciliation" A soul painting by Duncan Crystal

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Beautiful Resistance forthcoming

In a bit over a week the first issue of the journal of the Gods and Radicals website, A Beautiful Resistance, will be released. This issue is entitled Everything We Already Are and has many exciting contributions including an excellent forward by Peter Grey. You can read Rhyd Wildermuth's Introduction here to get a sense of what is in store for you as you dig into the text. I should confess that I also have a piece in it. You can order a copy or subscribe to the journal here. I do hope you will check it out. I have a bit of other news in the works, but will have to wait before I have more to share about that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Speculations of Kadmus: Escaping the Two Great Deceptions

0. The following is an experiment. It began as an attempt to construct a coherent metaphysics simply, directly, and briefly working from experience alone and using as few assumptions as possible. This view was then applied to key elements in the history of religion and philosophy. Having done this the basic ideas developed were used to reconstruct elements of occult philosophy, practice, and several forms of mysticism.
Nude Descending a Staircase #2 by Marcel Duchamp

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review of the "Encyclopedia Goetica" at Gods and Radicals

I just published a review of the full Encyclopedia Goetica by Jake Stratton-Kent over at Gods and Radicals. Check it out if you are interested, here is the first paragraph of my review:
Jake Stratton-Kent’s Encyclopedia Goetica is a monumental achievement, but more than that it is of vital importance for practicing occultists, pagans, and all those who fall into both categories. A work spanning three official volumes stretched across five actual books, it is an invaluable addition to occult history, theory, and practice. I intend to offer, in this review, an extensive and careful consideration of the full sweep of the project but if you are waiting for the bottom line allow me to say at the beginning that anyone interested in western occultism and paganism must read these books. They are probably the most impressive occult works to be written in my lifetime.
I will likely have a bit more to add here on this blog as I see what other folks have to say in response to my review and mull over the issues and questions raised (some interesting ones have been raised in the comments already).

I do, however, want to stress how one can pick up the books if one wishes to. Do not try to buy them on Amazon, rather go directly through the publisher Scarlet Imprint. If you are looking for the affordable versions you want the Rouge edition, which comes as well with an e-book version.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Linda Falorio's "Shadow Tarot" and some Reflections on the Nature of the Tarot Itself

Linda Falorio took a difficult task upon her shoulders when she decided to attempt to create a Qliphothic Tarot deck, the Shadow Tarot. I have had the deck for a few weeks now and would like to share some thoughts about it along with some general reflections on the nature of the Tarot. Let me start my reflections by stating what I take to be the near unassailable challenge this task faced. Falorio's Tarot drew its original inspiration from the Qliphothic correspondences of the 22 paths of the Tree of Life as derived from Aleister Crowley's Liber CCXXXI and further investigated in Kenneth Grant's The Nightside of Eden. In other words, it started from a clearly defined system for presenting the Major Arcana of the Tarot, the most famous 22 cards frequently understood to correspond to the 22 paths of the Tree of Life and 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It was this portion of the Shadow Tarot which has been floating around the internet for years. The challenge is figuring out how, having started with a clear Major Arcana, was the deck to present the Minor Archana - the 56 cards from which our standard 52 card deck is derived? For this purpose Falorio drew on two sources, stars of Qliphothic importance and the spirits of the Lesser Key of Solomon or Goetia. I believe this to be, for various reasons I will explain, an inadequate solution to a very difficult problem.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

How to Enter the Tunnels of Set

The Dog Days are upon us (depending on how you choose to time them) which has frequently corresponded with some of my most intense and often unusual occult experiments and experiences. Several years ago I began a complete path-working of the Qlippoth and Tunnels of Set starting during the Dog Days and stretching across a year to end at the completion of the next Dog Day period. Over the past few days a friend and occult colleague of mine began a new exploration of the Tunnels so I thought it might be useful to share some further details and concrete examples of the methods I used in my own work.
Painting by A.O. Spare

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Paganism and Politics Trilogy
 I have just published a new piece over at Gods and Radicals entitled "Nature's Rights". In it I attempt to craft a pagan view of natural rights and address several deep problems and failings that the history of rights theory has faced and, mostly, failed to solve. I've now published three pieces with them on, generally, the implications of pagan metaphysics for politics and one book review (another is on its way soon and I am very excited for it).

What I realize in retrospect, though it wasn't planned, is that my first three pieces form a sort of natural trilogy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gods and Radicals: Towards a Pagan Politics

I recently published an essay entitled "Towards a Pagan Politics" over at the excellent new pagan website Gods and Radicals. You should consider checking out both the site and the essay if you are interested. I will be publishing pieces with them consistently, probably one about every month or so.

I do hope you will read the full essay, which includes reflections on Ancient Greece and Rome as well as aspects of Akan culture amongst many other elements, but I will include the concluding segment here. It attempts to sketch the basic elements of a pagan politics and I would be interested in discussing any or all of it:

A Pagan Metaphysics might Assert that:

1. Reality is irreducibly multiple, made up of numerous different forces. In other words, truth and reality are always plural.
2. Insofar as these truths are irreducible there is no one final truth or god and conflict (whether constructive or destructive, whether play or war) is an unavoidable aspect of reality.
3. There is no one right way to live, best culture, highest value or single purpose.
4. Wisdom consists in a gathering of diverse truths beyond that attainable by any one individual, “Wisdom does not reside in one head.”

A Pagan Politics might be Committed to:

1. The rejection of all totalizing claims and authorities.
2. The promotion of productive rather than negative conflict (play over war) and an increase in different ways of life.
3. The commitment to creating an environment where each way of life can reach its fullest most creative form as far as is possible, thus rejecting the Roman model of one type of power ruling over all others.
4. The insistence that no one standard of evaluation can be applied to all things.
5. The recognition that most things should not be characterized in terms of monetary value and so the resistance to the reduction of all values to market values.
6. In a World Without Council, i.e. one already under the domination of one reductive way of life, pagan politics would be committed to the pursuit of the actions necessary to make pluralism possible.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Wars of the Gods: Four, Fomorians and Faeries

They were there first, waiting as the newcomers tried their hand at taking the land from them. Massive, monstrous, having come from beneath the sea or beyond it, the Fomorians waited and held the land for their own. They were the old ones, the ancient, and all the younger gods who came after had to contend with them. Time and again they came and failed, slaughtered or shattered by disease. The invaders left or died, one after another, but always the Fomorians remained and waited. Giants, some called them, with limbs and heads of beasts. Others say they had one eye, one leg and one arm. But we know, for sure, that some were beautiful and all were mighty. They wielded terrible magics and mysterious skills, and from them came the greatest treasure of all the British Isles, the Cauldron of Rebirth - the Grail. 

The Gundestrup Cauldron

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Wars of the Gods: Three, The Disruptive Divinities of Magic

The War Between the Vanir and Aesir
Listen and hear of the first war in the nine worlds. When the realms of the tree were but newly formed from the flesh of the giant Ymir, then a goddess came from Vanaheim to the halls of Aesir in Asgard. She was Gullveig, the Golden Power, and she brought with her the strange new arts by which the future could be foreseen and, at times, rewritten. The Aesir gods, amazed at her power, sought to end the might of Gullveig. They pierced her with their mighty spears, then set her flesh to flame. Thrice they burnt her, and thrice they failed and she rose forth yet alive. The Aesir gods called this goddess of the Vanir Heidi. As Heidi she went about the land and, magic knowing, magic worked. Wolf-tamer, prophetess, a wonder onto the Aesir she was and they feared the aid and power she granted to the women who learned the magical arts from her. So they tried to destroy her and failed. 

The War Between the Vanir and Aesir

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Wars of the Gods: Two, Aeons and Sexes

The prehistory of the gods is shot through with primordial conflicts, the echoes of ancient wars. But who or what are these wars truly between? 

Continuing in the path I set out upon a few days ago, I would like to discuss one of the classic examples of a conflict between the gods and a lesser known example from the same cultural context. These examples are the war between the Titans and Olympians, and Apollo's stealing of the Oracle of Delphi from a female earth goddess through the slaying of the Pythian serpent.

Apollo Slaying the Pythian Serpent

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Wars of the Gods: One, The Friction of Finitude

There are a number of seriously vexing problems with which monotheism must contend that are avoided by polytheism. In fact, attempting to answer these problems constitutes almost the entirety of the history of Judaic, Christian and Muslim theology.