Monday, March 3, 2014
"Occasionally, if you want to call yourself a sorcerer and not a ‘student of magic’ you have to let it all hang out there. And I don’t mean endless cascades of words you found in books and your opinions on them, though that certainly isn’t the worst thing you could do. I mean you have to give up the safety of convention and see how far your juju can carry you. You have to test the model of the world you have unconsciously constructed in that meat machine against the chaos of the world as it is. I miss the heady days of dangerous magic and dangerous magicians."
- Ryan Valentine, "A Brief and Terrible Intermission"
I read that the other day as I was making some final preliminary decisions. Twenty-fourteen has been dubbed quite often by me as "The Year of the Chaote (2014)." Don't tell R.O., but it was somewhat inspired by his own metamorphosis. This isn't necessarily the same thing, of course, but that's the magic of the phrase "inspired by" (what's not magical are those shit "inspired by such and such" music albums - they fucking suck.).
|It's really good. Really.|
Now, I'm getting a raise next week, steady employment (about as "steady" as you can count in this current economy), 401k, health benefits, I can pay all my bills, and save some money, too. Other than some body modification (which is going quite well, thank you; while I'm by no means a cow these days, I am 5 pounds lighter, a 3 inches trimmer around the waist), most of my 2014 plans were largely based around researching esoteric stuff, doing esoteric stuff, and ruffling some feathers with the Black Dog Arts crew.
But to be honest, a lot of it was academic in scope, which I do love, and it was a way tide me over until I went back to school for graduate studies. What the fuck? That's it? No risk? No danger? Well, that won't do.
"Year of the Chaote" isn't going to work while always being behind a book and/or closed doors. I WANT ADVENTURE.
So it's time (more concretely this time than the last) to do rock music again. There's a name, but I want to get a blessing first. I've already ordered the equipment to update pieces of my recording rig, and I've found myself some remixing opportunities for possible future release (because my focus is industrial rock after all). I'm going to attempt to do more with it than write a few songs of my own and call it a day. I have to throw myself into this. My library/ritual room now doubles as my writing/recording room. Some magicians will probably argue against this, but I think this is a good thing since I'm going to be fueling this endeavor with magic anyhow, including tapping into couple of excellent chaote musicians, and maybe a few other mystic musicians among the dead (not to write the music, silly - okay, maybe to take part in sometimes as well). I mean, that's what sorcery's for, right?
My type of Fairy Godfathers.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
|Mr. Kenny Klein|
On the very first page of his chapter on "Spirituality," Mr. Klein references a YouTube video from 2009 showing two white Christian teen girls trying to convert their equally young Hindu friend to Christianity in order to illustrate the behaviors of the "unspiritual." Undeniably, the stratagem of these girls was obnoxious and immature, but was this video an appropriate example to use? (A recent response from Kenny says that he did not mean the work to "bash" Christianity, and that he respects heartfelt Christians. However, that does not exempt him from being held accountable for the other reasons why this was a bad choice.)
As unpopular as my thoughts were in that group, I had some reservations for his choice and here’s why: Mr. Klein could have easily replaced this Christian imagery with the RavenWolfian fluffy bunny Wiccan stereotype and its nauseating promotion of “Love and Light™” and its absolute condemnation of BLACK MAGIC and Rede violations. However, I'll admit that such a caricature is less noticeable in our culture’s psyche, and it probably just wouldn't work depending on the audience. My bigger beef is that mentioning any of those or similar imagery so early on in a discussion about spirituality runs counter to the basic premise of the book as it may cause drama where there doesn't need to be drama. It's just careless.
I’m not even entirely against the inclusion of proselytizing behavior in the discussion (later in the book); however, I think it would have been wiser to use examples of adults rather than kids, despite this book being geared towards the teenager. My reasoning is simple and based on a basic understanding of childhood development; teens are still developing cognitively, and they do, think, and say a lot of fucking stupid things during this time. They think primarily in in-group versus out-group dichotomies, and one notices this in the video as one friend is labeled “normal” and the other labeled by her ethnicity. This goes way beyond religious issues, and so using children as a representation of a religion’s behavior is a bit inaccurate. You could just as easily replace “Jesus” with the Biebs and the level of fanaticism would have most likely been the same, or maybe even more so in Justin’s favor. It has very little to do with Christianity and more to do with the hierarchical power struggles of white middle school teenagers who are unaware of the world outside of their own backyard. This doesn’t make these behaviors acceptable, but I feel that the situation is more understandable when one frames it in terms of the typical teenage behavior of developing adolescents, but it makes for a poor example in Mr. Klein's case.
|Fact check, motherfucker, do you do that?|
Enjoy! And remember to do your research.
To be continued..
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Happy New Year, You.
|The Fool, Frieda Harris|
The article I linked to gives the top ten resolutions made for 2012. They're not necessarily bad goals to have, but a lot of them feel like they would just fall flat on their faces. If you're not accustomed to the changes you would have to make in order to obtain any of your goals, you're probably going to have a rough time with accomplishing them. Another problem is that people seem to have a tendency to try to jump straight to the goal rather than take a look at all of the little steps it might take to get to that goal. Furthermore, people have a tendency to condition themselves into such mindset that even a relatively simple thing to accomplish is jinxed right out of the gate. They're so used to this one mode of existence that everything else is a pipe dream whether they actually realize it or not. And after writing all of that, Forbes beat me to it last year, but hey, at least I'm on the right track, no?
What I plan to do for the new year is simply this: continue building upon the framework I've been diligently working on for the last few years. Continue breaking down things that no longer serve me. Continue being patient concerning things that are way far off on the horizon until I can be sure about them (because I just may be right).
Specifically, here are some things going on for 2013 already and likely to persist indefinitely as I choose to stay in the Yo until further notice (graduation had better happen, dammit):
- graduating with a BA in Psychology and Religious Studies
- putting together Youngstown's first Gnostic and occult arts collective, and keeping it real as fuck
- maybe begin my search for a Dharma teacher. Maybe.
- continue my research with YSU and/or the psychiatrists
- continue working on my juju skills.
All of this in hopes that the fruits of these labors overflow into others areas that I am sucking in (and would likely make horribly misguided resolutions about): like not being so chickenshit in certain social situations (which I'm better about, but not god enough), creating an abundant livelihood, improve my community some, maybe even get married one day, and so on and so forth. The five items mentioned that I'm working on now also had their own set of mini-steps that I had to take control of and master a bit, both exo- and esoterically (for example: I dress a hell of a lot better and I can get things to manifest in the oddest of ways). It's about building blocks and wrecking balls.
So maybe my keeping on keeping on is a New Years resolution of sorts, but it's also one that I think makes all the more sense.
RO's Shit Works Out.And here's the other part of this: Shit Works Out. It does. It really does. 2012 (including the tail-end of 2011) was pretty much a shit storm for me, but everything worked out. True story; they really did all work out, and in ways that sometimes I couldn't even imagine possible. There were times where I'd be standing there, jaw dropped, and eyes bugged because things snapped into place when I thought that I had pretty much screwed myself. Other times, just the mere mention of "nice to haves" got results. Granted, that's a little frightening sometimes.
As R.O explains:
"The results we think we want scare the shit out of us when they show up and explain that, oh yeah, everything in your world is going to change now, and you don't know how it all ends for sure. It might all end badly! But it might all end awesomely too! Especially when you have invisible friends who help, secret occult practices that give you an advantage, and ready access to several kinds of alcohol."Like I said, it's frightening, but in the way that you're getting what you asked for, it's kicking holes in our conditioned perceptions of reality, and it means that the things you're used to (even if they suck) are going to change; your life is changing. Getting the results I want: it all freaks me the hell out sometimes. I'm still getting used to it. Sometimes I think, "Is that really possible?" Sure it is, and I wouldn't want any of that kind of weirdness to stop. Ever. And I'm going to enjoy it. And let me assure you, it's not like I've lived a crummy life, and things are picking up now; things have been working out for me since day one, but I'm just much more cognizant of it now. Sometimes, I look back at certain points in time and think, "Oh.. damn!"
Everything ends in fits of laughter with me anymore. Some friends have seen me hootin' and hollerin' out in public because the results I was looking for manifested within a couple of hours. I'm sure people think I've lost it.
But really, I'm just enjoying it all. Full immersion, and rolling with it.
And now I leave you with this (because I like it):
"And finally this question, the mystery of who's story it will be. Of who draws the curtain. Who is it that chooses our steps in the dance? Who drives us mad? Lashes us with whips and crowns us with victory when we survive the impossible? Who is it that does all of these things? Who honors those we love for the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us, and at the same time, sings that we will never die? Who teaches us what's real and how to laugh at lies? Who decides why we live and what we'll die to defend? Who chains us? And Who holds the key that can set us free? It's You. You have all the weapons you need."
- Sweet Pea, Sucker Punch
Monday, December 3, 2012
The point is that I've been fighting against just accepting this, not because it seems highly pre-deterministic to do so - I know that I can get off this train at any time (right?) - but because it's exciting, and scary all at the same time. And probably requires some amount of patience on my part. Rather than worry about the supposed insanity of my experiences, I'm just going to run with them all. I'm going to own this weirdness. There's the big things, but I'd even embrace the little things:
- Like those instances where I think "I certainly don't want to have that meeting today" only to find out an hour later that the meeting was canceled. Happened twice.
- Or Saturday afternoon when I went downstairs to the store to check my mail only to find The Sugarcubes' "Birthday" playing on the store TV? You see, that was clearly for me.
- The part where Warren Ellis posted a new SPEKTRMODULE podcast? Well, I'm just going to pretend that was for me..
But why accept all of these things, both the significant and the seemingly insignificant? Because this world's a rough place, but it can also be a fun place, and I want to live in it. And all the while this stuff percolating.. brewing, it's all an exercise in equanimity.
And that reminds me: the peculiarity about how things come together. Before the semester began, I had one of my friends read for me about the the lay of the land, and there was something about taking on new occult practices or something like that. It was pretty important thing to do, but the specifics as to what that practice would be wasn't in the cards. We threw some ideas around. I knew I was interested in acquiring the Supernatural Assistant, and we pretty much settled on that definitely being the task; however, I wasn't really sure how I was going to take that on and my final year of undergrad all at once.
I don't think that was the right practice. Don't get me wrong; I think it's something that I'm going to do, but not just yet. As the the semester began, this become much more apparent. What initially began as enrolling in a few classes because they fulfilled certain graduation requirements in both of my degree tracks, turned into something a bit more. For Psychology, I still needed one more lab, and so I enrolled in the Abnormal Psych lab. The lab was based off of Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction meditation techniques. For Religious Studies, I needed to take a seminar course, and the one offered was on Western Buddhism.
|Geshe Thubten Soepa (with kitty!)|
I was also very fortunate enough to meet Geshe Thubten Soepa, spending a few day with him, chatting with him, and soaking in his teachings. His Holiness had the most profound effect on me, and it's the kind of the thing that rarely ever happens to me anymore. One of those things is working towards a vegetarian diet, which I'm mostly successful at, but meat still happens on occasion. The booze, on the other hand, stays. I remember him looking at me during one of the sessions, and he said (paraphrased), "Beware of demons in your dreams. They give you bad vision." A couple days beforehand, I had a dream or two that were really upsetting since they coincided with elements in my waking world, and I remember thinking that I wished I could just ask him about those dreams when I saw him. I wasn't ever going to bother him about those dreams. But he bothered. A while later, I had a couple more dreams involving those types of demons; this time, I called those bastards out.
That's been the ride so far to 33.
October 12, 1875 - December 1, 1947
P.S. I was going to write about tarot. Didn't happen. Doing that later.
Friday, November 23, 2012
On Facebook, Austin Coppock left some interesting notes in regards to my previous post about Mercury Retrograde, and I thought I'd share them here. If you haven't followed his astrology material, you really should if you're into this kind of stuff (the man will also be holding the pre-order for his 2013 Astrological Almanac soon).
Anyway, The Baron says:
|Hans Thoma, Mercury|
"Note: Merc retros are broken down into phases. The week leading up to the retro station and the point from the retro station to the inferior conjunction with the Sun are reliably the worst. The week leading up to the direct station is considerably better, as the material that emerged somewhat chaotically begins to gel and pattern.
Also- your experience of a given retro is highly dependent upon not only the sign but also the phase that Mercury was in when you were spat out into this strange, foul smelling land."So there's some food for thought. I'm familiar with the first bit, and somewhat familiar with the second bit, at least in terms of people born during a Mercury retrograde period (more or less). As for myself, I was born on December 1st (which is coming up people so hint hint hint..), and right before I bursted onto the scene, Mercury was in retrograde starting in Sagittarius on November 9th and stationing direct on the 29th in Scorpio. At this point, I really don't know what role that plays, if any at all, with my Merc retro experiences. Maybe I'll figure it out, or maybe someone will be cool about pointing me in the right direction..
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
It seriously has. Now, typically, people get all out of sorts during this particular retrograde. Mercury is the sign of the messenger, so all sorts of communication and travel-related things go belly up. I mean, I've had my share of the typical shenanigans. My school's Internal Review Board overstepped their boundaries and rejected an updated research proposal of mine, a decision which was not based on the ethics of the study, but on whether or or not we could merge data. Not their jurisdiction. Once my advisor caught wind, she got on the horn, and everything was taken care of. However, I won't be starting my testing until next week because of this. My attitude? Oh well (because I needed the time to get caught up on other things anyway). I've also been late to pretty much everything even when I try really hard to be early. There's been more dropped phone calls than usual. Some of my burning questions have gone unanswered. Comes with the environment.
So, I laugh about it.
And, sure, it's annoying, but so are the people who blame every total fuck-up over Merc's backward march. Jason M. already made his complaint this blame game last night (and in total Mercury Retrograde flair, typo'd that the planet went direct.. I laughed, and you should too. It's amusing! I did a similar blunder in my first paragraph). Besides that, he makes some good points about people's reactions. People do need to chill.
You see, lots of people seem to forget that weird things also spring up during this time: weird, interesting, fun(ny) things! Personally, I've had a really unexpected run in with a particular friend from school last weekend, met some of her friends, and had a really great time. I've also gotten welcomed information in ways I didn't necessarily expect during this Merc Retro. On an international level, Anonymous totally put the spank on Israel for putting the spank on Palestinians.
See? Fun(ny), strange, interesting things abound!
And you know what? Just because it's Mercury Retrograde doesn't mean you should just let everything go to hell, either:
Since communication is a big part of things, be clearer when you talk with others (and I should probably take my own advice on that one), but also be mindful that other people are probably not going to be so hot with on this area at the moment. Things might appear to be confusing. Keep all this in mind. Take home message: try to be clear, and try to be understanding.
Travel's another thing, so be mindful about your modes of transportation. For example, in September, certain things like two balding tires, a soon-to-be jacked serpentine belt, and a couple sway bar links were pointed out to me during a routine oil change. I had time to put off getting them done so I did. Because I'm a busy guy and waiting at the repair shop for a few hours sucks, I was hoping that I could squeak by until the semester was over in mid-December. However, since classes of mine started getting cancelled left and right leaving me a free day yesterday, I took the car in to get the work done. Because when's a better time for that belt to crap out than this week? Take home message: take care of business when you can.
If one method isn't working, find another way to do things. For example, I went to the BMV today to renew my registration and get a NEW license. The ID machine was broken, so I was told to check back every 15 minutes. I killed some time at the mall, and after an hour or so, the machine was still down. I ran an errand, and even killed some time by talking to a friend at Target. Was the machine up and running after that? Hell no! But I wanted it done today. Fortunately, there's a license bureau near where I had to go next. Guess what? Their machine was working. Take home message: try other options.
Remember: It doesn't have to suck so bad.
Remember: It doesn't have to suck so bad.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Know we need it, soul power
We got to have it, soul power
Know we want it, soul power
Got to have it, soul power
Give it to me, soul power
We need it, soul power, we need it, soul power
We got to have it, soul power
- James Brown
Yesterday, my professor pulled a deck of cards out in our American Buddhism seminar, handed them to the person on her left, and instructed each of us to pull a card and pass it on. While they weren't inherently Buddhist objects, they were supposedly relevant to the direction the class was heading (apparently, she also purchased them at a Buddhist workshop or something). My first thought before seeing them was, "PLEASE DON'T BE DOREEN VIRTUE ANYTHING."
When the deck came to me, I made sure to keep them all face down (no cheating, you know), and I did my usual "shuffle shuffle shuffle until something pops out"; a technique which shouldn't be confused with wonton sloppiness. What initially came out (that I could see) was the card on the right with the golden winged thing emanating from the head of the female thing (side note: what a surprise.. I get female cards). We were instructed to keep this card for a few days to see what messages resonated from it.
As I sat there listening to the doctor continue on with her show 'n' tell presentation, I continued to inspect my card. Cool lookin' thing, but it just seemed to be strangely thick, and "what's this weird dark line going along the edge?" What's a magician to do? Pry that shit apart. The gloomy card on the left is what appeared. I was feeling especially inquisitive (i.e. nosy) at the moment and looked to my friend sitting to my left and her card. It's thick too.. it's hiding something! Pry that shit apart! She ended up having two cards stuck together as well.
At first, we considered keeping the whole second card thing a secret, and resolved to just wait and shove them back into the deck once it made its rounds back to us. The deck never made it back our way. After a short game of You Ask / No, You Ask, we asked the professor about what happens when you get more than one card. "Oh? Keep them both then. It means something."
It means something. Damn it; we're stuck with them.
I've given this something a lot of consideration, especially in light of the awfully (awesomely?) strange week it's been, as well as all that's gone on over the past year. I see a commentary on progression on many levels (especially considering how 2011/2012's been all clusterfucky), but mum's the word on the details for now. But, you my esoteric friends: what do you get when you see these cards?
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Jack Parson is one of my favorite Libras (this coming from a guy whose life has been over-run by that particular sun sign), and quite an accomplished character in both science and religion. If you don't know much about him, I made a brief mention about him back in June, and you can certainly benefit from checking out the Wikipedia entry on him. Happy Birthday, champ!
You can also head over to Head for the Red, for a little bit more on October 2nd, The Feastday of the Unnamed Angels, and it's benefits. I can attest that it's been a great day (which may or may not be in part to these particulars).