Monday, June 30, 2008


I'm serious. You just have to read it.

I suppose one could call this the lighter side of African witchcraft persecutions. At least nobody died this time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Casting a Healing or Learning Spell

Seeing as I haven't posted any new spells lately, I thought I would go ahead and add another that I have found useful over the years. You evoke the intelligence and spirit of Venus to cast a love spell, Saturn or Mars to cast a curse, Jupiter or the Sun for wealth and prosperity, and then there's Mercury.

The magical powers associated with Mercury are Miracles of Healing, the Gift of Tongues, and the Knowledge of Sciences, so it can be used for both healing and accelerated learning, especially in the areas of language and technology. Please review the other spells I have already posted for information about the temple openings and other aspects of the general Golden Dawn magical forms. The new ritual form you will be using for this spell is the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram for Mercury. The hexagram is traced clockwise from the lower left point in yellow as you vibrate ARARITA, and the symbol of Mercury is traced in the center of the figure in purple as you vibrate the appropriate name of God, Elohim Tzabaoth.

00. Preparing the Temple

If you wish to heal yourself or increase your own learning ability you do not need a containment structure so the circle alone will suffice. It should be orange, and you can also trace an eight-pointed star within it in yellow. If you are attempting to heal another person use a containment structure because it will amplify the effect. You can either place a magical link like a photograph in the containment structure or build one large enough for a person to sit within.

I. Opening and II. The Preliminary Invocation

These are the same as in my other rituals.

III. The Conjuration

Perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram for Mercury. As you conclude with "Let the divine light descend!", visualize a column of yello light descending into the circle and enveloping you. You then begin to conjure the Spirit of Mercury. Vibrate the capitalized words. Eight is the number of Mercury, so the names are vibrated eight times.

ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH, ELOHIM TZABAOTH (el-oh-HEEM tzah-bah-OTH). Come unto me, God in HOD (HOHD), the sphere of KOKAB (koh-KAHB). Send unto me MICHAEL (mee-kai-EL), that great Archangel of thine, that he may answer my behest.

Pause until the presence of Elohim Tzabaoth is perceived. If you don’t feel anything or see anything, wait three minutes or so before continuing.

MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL (mee-kai-EL). Come unto me, great and mighty Archangel of HOD (HOHD), the sphere of KOKAB (koh-KAHB), by the name of the great god ELOHIM TZABAOTH (el-oh-HEEM tzah-bah-OTH). Send unto me TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL), that great intelligence of thine, that he may answer my behest.

Pause until the presence of Michael is perceived. If you don’t feel anything or see anything, wait three minutes or so before continuing.

TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL). Come unto me, thou bright intelligence of KOKAB (koh-KAHB), and answer my behest. In the name of MICHAEL (mee-kai-EL) thy lord, compel the spirit TAPHTHARTHARATH (taf-thar-thar-AHTH) who is under thy dominion to manifest within this Circle of Art (or "within this Triangle of Art" if you are using a containment structure).

Pause until the presence of Tiriel is perceived. If you don’t feel anything or see anything, wait three minutes or so before continuing.

TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH (taf-thar-thar-AHTH). Come unto me, mighty spirit of KOKAB (koh-KAHB), and make manifest my behest. In the name of TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL) thy lord, come forth within this Circle of Art (or "within this Triangle of Art" if you are using a containment structure) that thou mayst wield the powers of the path of BETH (like it looks), the path of the planet Mercury.

Pause until the presence of Taphthartharath is perceived. If you don’t feel anything or see anything, wait three minutes or so before continuing.

At this point you deliver the charge to the spirit. Address it to Taphthartharath. This is what you want the spirit to do. You need to write this part yourself, because it’s very personal. You should state what you want simply so that the spirit can’t twist your words around. Bear in mind that this is not because the spirit is deceptive like some authors contend, but because magick is more like operating a machine than it is like conversing with a fully sentient individual. The intelligence and spirit are literal-minded and the magick will always follow the path of least resistance that matches the letter of the charge.

After the charge, pause for a moment before closing the temple.

IV. Closing

The License to Depart should be revised as follows.

O thou ELOHIM TZABAOTH (el-oh-HEEM tzah-bah-OTH) and thy ministers MICHAEL (mee-kai-EL), TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL), and TAPHTHARTHARATH (taf-thar-thar-AHTH), because thou hast diligently answered unto my demands, and hast been very ready and willing to come at my call, I do here license thee to depart unto thy proper place; without causing harm or danger unto man or beast. I charge thee to withdraw peaceably and quietly, and peace be ever continued between us. So mote it be!

Pause for a moment to give the spirits time to depart. Visualize the yellow light being absorbed into yourself.

The rest of the Closing is the same. You're done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mixing Magick and Politics

A number of legislators in Tanzania are threatening to boycott the upcoming session of Parliament. Why? Well, it seems that one of the MP's is a magician. Not only that, but he snuck into Parliament and cast some sort of spell involving a powdery substance placed on the seats. Security swept through the building and could find nothing dangerous, so the powder was clearly something magical rather than a poison or hazardous material that would be apparent to a normal security check.

Lots of spells work this way, as you can see at just about any occult shop. Anna Riva has an entire line of magical powders and other substances that are used to cast specific spells. Those of us who are interested in experimental ritual should keep an eye on Tanzanian politics to see if anything particularly unlikely happens at the beginning of the next session. If so, maybe this magician really knew what he was doing.

Hey, does Anna Riva ship to Tanzania?

Monday, June 16, 2008

No, this is not "Magick"

As I've posted in the past, the proper use of "magick" as a specific term for the spirtual arts makes Google searches a whole lot easier. When I'm interested in searching for information on ritual techniques I'm really not interested in getting back pages describing the cups and balls trick or how to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Similarly, if I'm looking for good card tricks I would rather not be pulling back pages on reading Tarot. Using "magic" for stage magic and "magick" for ceremonial and ritual techniques really works - or at least it would if people would follow the convention.

This brings me to a recent article referencing "magick" that completely misuses the term. This weekend in Tacoma, Washington a self-described "magickian" named Geoff Kanick put on a performance. From the article:

Kanick spells magick with a “k” to distinguish his art. Magick with a “k” is a linguistic signal pioneered by Victorian bad boy, mountain climber and legendary mystic Aleister Crowley, who used the word magick, with a “K,” to distinguish his explorations of consciousness and other psychonautic systems from the stage work of everyday magicians. Kanick, like Crowley, is no everyday magician, and says his goal is to take people out of their comfort zones to a place where magick is more than an act.

I'm sure Kanick is quite good at what he does, but if he's comparing himself to Crowley on the grounds that he does innovative illusions all I can really do here is call bullshit. Aleister Crowley spent his entire life developing an innovative spiritual system for personal development and beyond. Anybody who would compare that level of work to putting together a compelling stage performance doesn't really know anything about Crowley and shouldn't be appropriating his terminology incorrectly.

Let's face it. This:

A master of many arts, Kanick’s talents will be offered as part of Hypothesis, a synthesis of illusion, comedy, sideshow feats, juggling and vaudeville variety.

has absolutely nothing to do with ritual or ceremonial magick, or with Crowley's work, and it is exactly the "counterfeit" from which the science of the Magi needs to be distinguished.

For what it's worth, though, I'm happy to see that the article describes Crowley as a "legendary mystic" rather than as a baby-sacrificing Satanist. Maybe after more than fifty years some of the media nonsense surrounding his life is starting to die down.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Indian "Witchcraft" Killings

Remember how impressed I was that Kenyan law enforcement stepped up and arrested 120 suspects in response to the lynching of 15 people accused of witchcraft? Let's hope that India takes a lesson from the Kenyan authorities.

Earlier this week a family in northeastern India was accused of witchcraft and murdered by a mob of local villagers. The case is similar to what happened in Kenya, except that no arrests have been made in the case and no official statements from law enforcement regarding prosecutions have been forthcoming.

I'm not that familiar with Indian police procedures, but let's hope that no statements have been made because they are out there building a case against the perpetrators. Nobody should be able to get away with a crime like this.

UPDATE: Police have made three arrests in the case. That's just pitiful considering that the entire village was involved. Not only that, but this latest article includes a number of quotes from people justifying the killings. See, these "witches" were herbalists. Somebody brought in a (likely very) sick person for treatment and they died anyway, so obviously the patient was murdered by witchcraft! I would say this level of ignorance was unbelievable except that I've seen way too much of it to be surprised any more.

The authorities are really sending the wrong message here. This was a mob killing and everyone involved - most of the village - was responsible. Storming in and arresting them all would have at least shown they were serious about prosecuting similar future crimes. I'm guessing that Kenya is going to be seeing a lot fewer witchcraft killings than India will in the near future (per capita, of course).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Devil Baby?

Belinda Neal, an Australian politician, was rebuked today by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for claiming that pregnant rival Sophie Mirabella could give birth to a demon. This could prove costly for Rudd if Neal turns out to have inside information. After all, maybe she's just trying warn us of the impending Apocalypse.

If Mirabella gives birth to a son and decides to name him Damien she'll have my vote forever - because it would be really, really funny. Of course, my vote doesn't help her much seeing as I'm not Australian.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monkey God Named Chairman of Indian College

Say all you want about Indian colleges and universities, but apparently researchers at this business and engineering school have mastered the necessary spiritual technology to summon Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, to tangible appearance - or at least appearance tangible enough to serve as chairman of the college. We American magicians had better get busy unless we want to have our evocatory work outsourced to the subcontinent.

From the article:

The position comes with an incense-filled office, a desk and a laptop computer. Four chairs will be placed facing the empty seat reserved for the chairman and all visitors must enter the office barefoot, said Vivek Kangdi, the school's vice chairman.

One wonders what a meeting with the chairman would be like. Does he appear in the empty chair as a shimmering field of energy that radiates luck and power? Or maybe something more like a translucent guy in a high school mascot uniform? Indian magicians have remained closed-lipped for now, presumably to keep their summoning techniques from being duplicated elsewhere in the world. After all, imagine what could go wrong if everyone knew how to summon their deities to tangible appearance. There would probably be more than a few lightning bolts called down from Heaven upon the unwary.

The nature of Hanuman's appearance would of course offer valuable clues upon which a rival conjurer could base his or her own research. The incense, for example, probably is required so that Hanuman can form a body from the smoke as in Western evocations, but the proper type is cleverly not mentioned. Five chairs, one reserved for Hanuman and the other four for visitors, could allude to the pentagram representing spirit descending into matter, but without the exact office configuration it's hard to be sure.

Let's just hope that Hanuman doesn't sit at his desk all day playing Minesweeper. That could be a disaster for everyone involved.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Lake Pepin Monster

Normally I try to stick to spiritual topics and this one falls more along the lines of Fortean weirdness, but seeing as I have a personal connection I'm going to cover it anyway. I came across an article in today's issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about "Pepie," a monster that supposedly lives in Lake Pepin. The lake is a widening of the Mississippi River just south of the city of Red Wing, Minnesota, and also happens to be the lake on which my grandparents lived when I was growing up. My family would spend every other weekend visiting them so at least to some degree I grew up around the lake. It's quite a beautiful place, but as far as I can recall I never saw any sign of a monster. I would have noticed, too - for a number of years in elementary school I was fascinated by the Loch Ness monster and other similar creatures.

Lake City resident Larry Nielson has started up a website devoted to the mysterious creature. Lake City is located further south along the lake than Wacouta Beach, where my grandparents used to live, and also happens to be where waterskiing was invented. Nielson operates a tour boat and claims to have seen the creature, and hopes that his website will become a clearinghouse for sightings. The site is also offering a $50,000 reward for proof of the monster's existence. Knowing the area, though, I don't expect that anyone will actually collect.

From the website:

The native Dakota people that lived in the area refused to travel on Lake Pepin in bark canoes because of the large "creatures" that would rise from the depths of the Lake and puncture the thin bark skin of those canoes. They would only travel on Lake Pepin in more stout dugout canoes that were made by hollowing out a large log.

The Dakota likely used heavier canoes on Lake Pepin because of the shape of the lake rather than any actual monster. The lake is shaped sort of like a reversed "L" and as a result about half the lake is usually facing the proper direction to generate large waves. The valley around the lake also tends to increase the speed of winds - nice on a hot summer day, but murder on small boats. To this day you don't want to be out on the lake in a tri-hull powerboat because they are less stable than the deep-V hulls that most boaters and anglers recommend. Tri-hulls are really only comfortable and safe on calm days.

On April 28, 1871 "a lake monster is seen swimming in Lake Pepin" (Minnesota Almanac, published by the MN Historical Society). Since then, many people have reported sightings of an unidentified creature surfacing from the depths of Lake Pepin. The locals have given this shy and elusive creature a name; Pepie.

There actually is a perfect culprit that's already known to live in the lake - the sturgeon. These primitive fish can grow to 18 feet in length and look pretty darn weird when they swim near the surface. My father caught a six-footer on the lake when he was a boy and there's no reason to think that more aren't out there, maybe even a few really huge ones. They were probably even more common in the lake in 1871 with less fishing and commercial boat traffic.

Over the years the question persist, what is Pepie? Because Lake Pepin is almost identical in size and geography to Scotland's Loch Ness (which is 23 miles long and 1.5 miles wide), many people feel that Pepie is a relative of the famous Loch Ness creature dubbed Nessie.

Finally, I should point out that the geography of Lake Pepin is almost nothing like Loch Ness aside from the surface area. Lake Pepin is about 30 feet deep in the center with a few areas 50 or so feet deep, whereas Loch Ness is over 700 feet deep. Loch Ness has relatively few fish, but its narrowness and depth creates an interesting underwater effect that works kind of like weather systems in the atmosphere. These systems can even produce "storms" that send single rogue waves to the surface, and these waves probably explain a lot of the Loch Ness sightings. A full sonar scan of the loch done a few years back found little evidence of large creatures or even large fish.

Lake Pepin does have a lot more fish and is connected to a major waterway, so the idea that some sort of large creature could live there is in some ways less farfetched than the idea that a monster could be living in Loch Ness. Even a giant sturgeon would be pretty interesting, and maybe someday I'll actually see one.