Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Blessed Solstice & Rosa Mundi ♥

It is the full Strawberry Moon tonight. It looks lovely, I am sure. It is cloudy here so I can't get a look at it right now. I wish I could say that I had an extravagant and luxurious ritual for this holy day. I wish I could say that I had all kinds of decadent things to give in offering and delight in. For, if there was a time that was ripe for luxury, summer solstice is probably it. It is sultry but the real heat of the summer hasn't arrived yet. The flowers are still in full flourish because the oppressive heat of late summer has not dried everything out (ideally). The ideal, however, is not in effect right now at my house.

It is a night of restless children, muggy and sluggish air, and temperatures that are still over 80 deg F inside the apartment at the moment. I am not complaining, though. I look around my home and I see it is littered with signs of how good my life is right now. My children are healthy. My husband is well employed (and currently enjoying time out with someone quite dear to him) and we are secure in our home. We have not only the things that we need but a little bit extra to both put by until it is needed and to indulge ourselves a little here and there. I even have the indulgence of a nice cool beverage and some ice cream in the freezer if I wanted it. I am profoundly grateful.

Some say that the fairies are out and at play right now. I think that they are out and about all the time. I do think, however, that they are most likely enjoying the weather and the abundance in the world right now here. Last week, horrible things happened. Right now, somewhere in the world, something horrific is happening as I type this and as you read what I have written. I do not seek to deny that these things happen. I am sorrowed by this truth, but I accept it as part of the world we live in.

At the same time, however, I am choosing to focus upon the good in my life. I am turning my attention towards the blessings that are given to myself and the world at large from the gods right now. I am bending my mind towards the graces that are given to us from the spirits of the world. For how much is wrong in the world, let us remember that there is also great good. And let our hearts be open to that joy which comes from such good in our lives.

A spiritual mentor of mine once said that gratitude is the antidote to grief. I am not sure if that is completely accurate. It does, however, make it easier to bear and helps us realize that we have the capacity to make something holy, beautiful, and wonderful despite (or perhaps because) of all the horror that is in life. Embrace the ones you love. Drink wine and share the sweets you have hidden away for that special 'someday'. Because 'someday' is today, and it can be everyday.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Discretion in Practice.

Over the years, I've seen many people stumble over the question as to what is psychic information and what is the product of their own psyche. It is a hard skill to learn on your own. Attempting to tell if that twinge in the pit of your stomach is actual premonition of doom regarding the Big Thing you are attempting to do or if it is a case of digestive discomfort due to anxiety is not easy. You can spot the people who are early on the road of practicing divination because they'll attribute pretty much everything to psychic causes. They're so excitedly looking for signs that they'll declare 95% of the things they stumble over to be just that.

When I was starting out in doing intentional divination, I had some days like that. (Alright, more than 'some' but I was a kid and I have a highly active imagination. I self sniped on this one many times.) It took some time but I learned to recognize the difference between anxiety and premonition, most of the time. And I also learned how to filter out what was the product of my over thinking everything and what was psychic input. Some people would say this is a skill that can only be learned over a long period of study and practice. I don't agree with it. I think that given six months of focused effort, a beginner psychic can learn to pick up on these differences.

There is no big book of techniques I can point you to. (Though I have started work on writing a handbook that covers general information about psychic stuff. It is going to take me a while to get the first draft written. It is hard because I have a LOT of information to sort through.) There are two reasons why there is no standard set of techniques. First, there is as many different ways to experience psychic phenomena as there are people. At best, you can get some guidelines for different processes that can invoke the phenomena and some general information about the most common, publicly discussed variants. All of our brains are wired differently and we're going to see everything from slightly different perspectives. These differences are significant when you start looking at the architecture of one's inner self.

Second, the different systems for analyzing psychic phenomena are all highly varied. Attempting to create a uniform system that covers everything is a fool's errand because no matter how much you think you have covered, there is going to be things that you didn't include because you weren't aware of them. There simply is too much going on to turn it into a single structure. It is only marginally less complex than the natural systems that have given rise to human thought. It is best to keep an open mind and be willing to learn as much as you can while you go forward.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to psychic stuff is the fact that there is going to be a significant percentage of the time where you are just going to have it wrong. There is going to be a time where you are going to misread the portents. There is going to be a time where you are going to fail to recognize the signs before you. And there are going to be times where the information you see just does not fit anything you understand. Any psychic who claims their success rate is in the range of 80+ % of the time, you should view them with suspicion.

The really good, really experienced psychics that I know hit a positive result on their efforts somewhere between 2/3rds of the time and 3/4ths of the time. These are people who have been engaged in the exercise of psychic skills and gifts since they were very small. They work on their skills daily and have a great deal of study into their work as well. Accepting that you will get it wrong is a mark of maturity and it also allows you the room to continue to grow in your skills. On the whole, when you are at work with psychic skills, take the time to stop and assess what information you discover. Keep in mind that sometimes that random sign you see has no meaning beyond the fact that it is just what it presents itself as.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Endurance in Faith.

It is hard to remain faithful when all the world seems to cry out that your faith is foolishness. When examples of the seeming futility of faith are piled high to either side of you, it becomes very difficult to hold on to it. Such is the life of they who live in the world where the rites of worship for your faith are outlawed, where the public expression of your faith is met with sharp reprisals and condemnation, and where you are viewed with suspicion if your faith deviates from what is accepted as 'normal' by the predomiant overculture of the region. It is exhausting to keep hold of your faith when it seems that everyone and everything around you is working to rip it from your hands and shatter it on the ground.

It is easier for some because they can hide the signs of their faith within the niches that are parallel in the overculture's expressions. The loop of prayer beads with their terminal as a plain bead hides the believer in the mix of others whose prayer beads are counted as acceptable, so long as the believer is quiet in their prayers. When you can stealthily mask all signs of your deviance from the 'norm' you acquire the illusion of freedom. But you are simply carrying your light within a shuttered lantern, quite possibly struggling with the fear that your light will be identified as different from that which shines from the lanterns of those around you. You are stifled because you must remain circumspect and cautious in your expression in almost all ways.

The ones who must fully subsume their practices and worship in complete secret are forced not to merely shutter but completely conceal their light. They suffer countless indignations. And yet, they must present the image that they are untroubled by such slights, lest the illusion of indifference is broken and those hostile might see the vulnerability beneath. They are exhausted as well, perhaps even in despair.

With such opposition arrayed against them, these people continue on with heroism that none truly recognize. Faith moves from an emotion to a deliberate act. They step forward with the conscious decision to keep their light within their heart when all about them seeks to blow it out. Fortitude beyond what is measured in one's physical prowess is demonstrated here. Sincerity that is measured in quiet courage demonstrates the faithful's most ardent desire for the Beloved, thought that beloved may not be known in human words or has had names lost to time.

They who continue to keep their faith despite opposition walk with courage forward into the arms of the Beloved. And they are loved, even when their faith wavers and they question themselves with utter savagery, because they continued to seek the Beloved.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Atrocity, Evil, and the Gods.

It is easy to believe in the goodness of the Gods when you are safe, comfortable, and operating under the assumption that you are secure in your position. When all is well, it is very, very easy to believe that humanity in inherently good and that all the spirits of the worlds are benevolent. It is a pleasant deception. For many, it is a deception that they operate under for a very long time. It is a kind of ignorance that people mistakenly believe is innocence. Thus, when they talk about a loss of innocence, they are talking about when this state of ignorance is rather abruptly ended.

Sometimes, it ends with a death of a beloved pet. Sometimes, it is the experience of having a taste of the exquisite cruelty that humanity can muster in your life. Or, perhaps, it is witnessing an atrocity of some sort. Humans are very good at tricking themselves into believing that the horrors that happen in the world are all things that can not happen to them because they happen 'far away' or to 'other people.' We can muddle along with that false assumption for a while but something will invariably come along and rip that blindfold off and force us to look at the uglier side of existence.

In theology and metaphysics, the question as to what is the nature of the world brings us to a place where we must define what is 'good' and what is 'evil.' The most basic definition of evil that can be found is suffering. Some may add modifiers to that definition and say that it is conditional suffering wherein it serves no purpose for the person suffering and can not be avoided. Others may add the modifier that it is suffering that is inflicted upon another person for no purpose. The additional things that get defined as 'evil' all are attached somehow to this root concept that it is unwanted, purposeless suffering that we can not avoid.

When we consider things like the causal cruelty of bigotry, it is quite possible to declare it is a form of evil. Looking at that which deprives others of life and well being, it is almost universally agreed that it is a form of evil. Great tragedy that brings grief, pain, and deprivation into the lives of they who are afflicted can be called evil in many cases. The question arises, however, what of those events that are not enacted by human hands? We can look at mass murder and most any person you would discuss this with would agree it is evil. When a large body of people die from disease, malnutrition due to famine, or some form of natural disaster, we find ourselves confronted with the question of "Are the Gods evil for allowing this to happen?" It is a question that comes up even when we consider the acts of atrocity committed by humanity.

The question of 'Why did the Gods allow this to happen?' is not an easy one to answer. I don't pretend to have the answers, only theories. And I acknowledge that my theories are incomplete and lack a great deal of information. To explore this question, though, we need to take a step back and look at what we are questioning. The assumption that is made when we ask why the Gods allowed something to happen is that the Gods have an influence over the event. From this belief, we find ourselves faced with a question: are the Gods omnipotent and do they have the ability to prevent these events from happening? If the answer is yes, the question arises as to why they allowed it. If the answer is no, then we are left to question what the extent of their ability to influence events may be.

These two positions are mutually exclusive, in some respects. Marcus Aurelius wrestles with this problem in his writings. So too did Buddha and many, many other ancient philosophers and spiritual teachers. Judeo-Christian thought argues that God is omnipotent, omniscent, and benevolent. From this argument, the question of evil demands that there is some sort of anti-God being that is the source of these deeds, hence the rise of the figure of the Devil.[1] Alternatively, it is possible to argue that the Gods are not omnipotent, omniscent, and/or benevolent. Many polytheist faiths present the Gods as having some sort of 'flaw' that limits their abilities in some fashion. From their limitations, the existence of evil arises as a confluence of failures, limitations, and deliberate choices by the Gods.

All of this is before you factor in the question of human free will. And this does not even begin to touch the question of predetermination, which is a rather squirrely subset to the free will question. For example, is the rise and fall of nations due to the will of the Gods or the ultimately chaotic, self-centered will of humanity.[2] Much of these questions are going to form the core of any religious worldview. It is good to examine them and consider them. I am beginning to wander away from the general purpose of this discussion, so I'm going to let that bit lie as it is.

No matter where you look, atrocity happens in the world. No matter where you look, there are tragedies unfolding that are both the fruit of human hands and natural forces. In some cases, the tragedies are especially horrific because it is a confluence of both factors. (Starvation in Latin America and the Caribbean is a good example of this, in my opinion. The problems with Zika and Malaria in South America are also good examples of how this comes together.) It is tempting to cast all of the responsibility for these things at the feet of the Gods or spirits of the worlds. Many people do, after all there is a reason why the Devil is a reviled figure. There is a problem with this approach, in my opinion, and that is we can not wash the blood off of our own hands in that fashion.

Far more evil is done by human hands than by the Gods or spirits in my opinion. The man who walked in to the Pulse in Orlando, FL and opened fire committed an act of evil. It is possible that this was done due to factors that he had no control over, I will allow for that. I suspect, however, the likelihood is far higher that he deliberately chose this deed. A person who kills because of a deliberate decision to do so that is made while of relatively sound mind is, in my opinion, far more morally culpable than the one who does so whilst laboring under some form of delusion.

When people ask 'where were the Gods?' and 'why didn't the Gods do anything?' it is my opinion that the Gods witnessed the act of mass murder and aided the people who kept a cool head and did what they could to keep others safe. It is my belief that the Gods enabled people to do the best they could in that situation. It is also my belief that the Gods are not responsible for resolving human cruelty and human evil. Nor are the spirits of the world. It is something that rests entirely within human hands and responsibility. It is easy to blame the Gods for evil deeds done by humanity. No one wants to admit that humans have the capacity for this monstrous behavior.

Until we can acknowledge this capacity for monstrosity, we will continue to blind ourselves to the stressors that create situations that encourage these behaviors. We will deny that the murderer did not act in a vacuum, because it is painful and distressing to see how one person's act of evil can arise within the supposedly civilized context of our own culture (in the case of what happened in Orlando). We will deny that such things are happening about us on a regular basis because we feel safer when we think it can not happen to us. The slaughter in Orlando is the responsibility of the man who pulled the trigger. He did commit an egregious act of evil. The Gods did not push him into this, though.

Is it possible that he was mislead by an 'evil God'? All things are possible, thus I must confess it may be the case. I do not think, however, that is the case. The accounts from those who knew this man all point to him having a history of violence and animosity towards the people he killed. It presents a picture of someone who decided to act on these feelings and in accordance with previous behaviors. It is my belief that most cases of evil deeds are done for this sort of reason.

It leads us to honestly question if humanity is indeed good at the root of their being or not. In watching children and learning something of how they think between my formal education and just observing them, I think that humanity is, at their core, morally neutral. I think we are socialized to behaviors that are considered good and civilized. I think we are taught how to do these things and behave in this fashion. It is my belief that the Gods are our teachers in as many respects as they are ones whom we depend on for the existence of reality, for our very selves. I think that civilization and the concept of 'good' is something they taught us. I also think that they are continuing to refine these concepts and helping us to hone our understanding of them.


1. The concept of an anti-deity figure can be tracked through the history of monotheism to Zoroastrianism.

2. Humans are, from what I have noticed, generally self-centered, except for when they're not. They're chaotic and hard to predict, often choosing to act in a manner that, from a third party perspective, goes against their apparent well being and long term goals, except for when they're not. Human morality is hard to pin down and is influenced by such a vast number of factors, I honestly can not do the discussion any justice.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Serious Magic is Srs Bsns.

A quick romp through the plethora of pages out on the interwebz focusing on magic[1] will show you that there is a lot of people who take their magical efforts very seriously. They do their best to portray it through the use of serious tone and a much gravitas as they can muster in their posts. I'll be honest, I have done this as well.  Now, it is pretty easy to get caught up in this thought that all magic is serious business and should not be done unless with proper decorum and such. A large number of the reasons why people perform magic are pretty serious. When you've hit the point that you're using heavy hitting magic to take care of problems like a lack of employment, you're getting down to brass tacks and there is not much room to be cavalier in your approach, or is there?

Chaos magic[2] has people from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds involved in it. Some of these magicians are the image of serious scholars and dedicants to their art. There are also people who are utterly irreverent and don't appear to take much of anything seriously. Contrary to what may be expected, this latter group are equally as successful as the former. In some cases, they are actually more successful because they have greater flexibility when they encounter hiccups in the process.

Do these freewheeling magicians treat everything as lightly as they seem to, achieving success despite their absurdity? Not exactly. They are sometimes described as the scavengers of the occult community. They have this talent for picking up parts and pieces of diverse magical systems and marrying them together in a fashion that seems to work just as effectively despite of the apparent contradictions (and in some cases it seems to be because of it). This does not mean that they don't take their work seriously. It is more a case that they have internalized their concept of the seriousness and made peace with it in such a fashion that they move on to embracing the absurdity inherent in all of the systems, that not many are willing to admit.

What is the secret to their success? How does a person manage to successfully cast a spell or perform divination with a pack of blank cards and a live frog? Some of this is having a broad interdisciplinary understanding of magical systems (in some cases) and some of their success comes from the fact that they are creating a system as they are going along based off of their experimentation with all available factors. In many ways, I am inclined to argue that chaos magicians are the scientists of the occult community. Where others have their fixed systems, chaos magicians are regularly experimenting with how those systems work when pushed to their limits and developing their own variants of the systems around them. A brief review of the information available about chaos magic on the internet shows that there are people who are making hybrid magical systems and people who are generating their own entirely new magical systems through a process of trial and error. As one chaos magician said to me their practice is based in 'throw it at the wall and see what sticks.'

You see many of them going through the process of formulating a hypothesis, testing said hypothesis, and assessing the results in their magical work. They retain the things that are effective and refine that which does not work. Their execution of the scientific process may not resemble what we expect. There are very rarely lab coats, work benches, and exhaustive notation. It still happens though. The best part, in my opinion, is that they are enjoying their work as they do it. The general attitude of irreverence and good humor takes some of the pressure off of the chaos magician, even when they are dealing with very serious situations.

Not everyone is suited to practicing chaos magic. Humans are creatures of habit. Some require more fixed habits than others. This doesn't mean that the more fixed habits of practice are better than the more fluid ones. It only means that one person is more effective in that system compared to the other. I have found that when I am in a position where I find my work getting difficult because I am taking everything so seriously and getting anxious over how I will execute the spell, I need to do something to relieve the tension that arises. In that sort of situation, I tend to get in my own way with all of my anxiety. Thus, I jump to doing things from a different perspective.

For example, sometimes a person is laboring under the effects of a curse and their anxiety that they won't get the counterspell right will negate their efforts because they are too caught up in their worry about the curse to focus on their spell. So, rather than breaking out a plethora of candles fragranced with rare herbs and oils, costly ink, special paper, and a hand cut quill pen to cast the 'perfect' counterspell, they will be better off doing something that jars them out of that serious and anxious mindset. One of the best counterspells that I have encountered for when cursed is incredibly simple and, honestly, entirely ridiculous. It is simply to urinate on a brick. It is hard to take yourself seriously when you are in the midst of pissing on a brick, believe me, I tried and I have the habit of taking everything way too seriously.

That counterspell of questionable hygiene works because it breaks the caster out of the mindset where they are focused on the curse itself. It reduces the curse in the caster's mind to something as ridiculous as the counterspell, thereby rendering the curse impotent. The sheer absurdity of the counterspell breaks through the web of anxiety and unhelpful thoughts that arise from the curse and frees the caster. If the tension between the ridiculous and the seriousness of the situation is strong enough, sometimes, that will make the counterspell even stronger as it is powered by the apparent paradox. I don't claim to understand why this works, only that I have seen it in action and it is shockingly effective.

Serious magic can be done in a fashion that is silly. It is simply a matter of channeling one's focus and directing the spiritual energy towards their target. Sometimes silly is the best way to approach the problem. Even the absurd has magical potential. There is a reason why the Fool is the first and the last trump of the Major Arcana, even before the Magician. All discussion of the spiritual and religious is nonsensical talk. Philosophy in all its manifestations (including theology, metaphysics, and occultism) is a discussion of things that will look absurd when viewed from a very 'grounded' perspective that focuses upon the physical world. Embrace that absurdity, for there is power in it.

1. I refuse to spell the term 'magic' in the popular alternate spelling of 'magick'. I refuse for two reasons. First, the pseudo-archaic spelling annoys me. It is an adaptation that arose when people from the modern era attempted to generate the appearance of historical legitimacy through their games with semantics. I find it intellectually dishonest. Second, I see no division between the sleight of hand tricks of entertainers and the work of occultists. The games of illusions are as much of a route to alter mental states and engage in manipulation of the spiritual elements of the world as the 'high magic' of secret societies.

2. There is an overwhelming amount of information about chaos magic on the internet. I simply can not give enough links to do justice to the topic. I can, however, give you my favorites.

The entries on Chaos Magic at Sacred Texts.Com are a great place to look for historical and practical information.

This site has a wonderful set of information. They do a good job of incorporating some 'hard' science into their material as well. Their discussion of the role of probability in magical work is excellent.

Chaos Matrix has some of the most complete information about chaos magic I have found on the internet. I also think that their work is well written and highly accessible to the average reader.


Note: Yes, I am a Lokean. No, I didn't start using chaos magic because of Loki. It was something I simply fell into because I am rather ... mercenary in my approach to magic. If it works, I want to know why, how, and see if I can make it work for me. Loki, however, strongly supports my efforts and encourages them. It is a win-win situation, I suppose.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Flux Tides.

This post is going to come off a bit queer. I am not generally one to blame the odd bit of strangeness on the psychic 'weather' that happens. Right now, however, I really can not avoid saying it is a big factor in how things have been unfurling here. A wave of upheaval is moving through the world(s) right now and I'm feeling the effects. Some would point at planetary positions and others would point at additional environmental factors (like the fact that we are marching towards the Solstice right now) as being the source of this wave. Honestly, I am not going to say it is the result of individual things. Some planet going retrograde or something is only a partial source of this wave of upheaval.

It has become apparent to me over the last several months, however, that some of the reasoning to the requests in written material that have been made of me by the gods is based in more than what would help me build confidence in myself as an author. Don't worry, folks, I am still being guided to continue my efforts in all arenas. I'm just having difficulty either getting it to paper because of how I am doing wellness wise or it is stuff that I don't quite know how to make it presentable for public reading. I am, however, still working and thinking about a wide range of topics.

As I was considering a trend I've seen in blog postings by a number of individuals I follow, I noticed a trend that was happening across a fairly wide spectrum. The first thing that was apparent was that these folks were all hitting points where some kind of crisis has arisen that brought their spirituality into a place where deep contemplation was necessary. At first, I thought it was just a thing happening for a few people. I saw signs of this happening about this time last year and I just shrugged it off as they hit their own 'Dark Night of the Soul' times. And then I saw this happening for more and more people. It really surprised me.

The second thing that appears to have turned into some kind of trend (note - I'm not saying this is a trend in the sense of something fashionable, just as an apparent theme) was many spiritual and religious bloggers I read were finding themselves in situations where crisis was stretching into areas outside of what people typically think of when they think of a spiritual crisis. I am mildly disturbed by witnessing how the spiritual confusion that arose with the initial crisis seemed to act as a pre-shock to the 'mundane' crisis that came later. In almost all of these cases, the following 'mundane' crisis has been something profound and severe. It ranges, from what I have seen, from severe health problems to severe financial problems (up to and including the loss of one's livelihood).

The other theme that seems to be running as part of this wave of upheaval is strife. I am not talking about the positive form of strife that encourages the people experiencing it to be heroic and display the better traits of their humanity. No, the strife I am witnessing is the kind that can break social bonds of faith and friendship. Some of this does appear to be due in part to the general bastardry of the internet. Accounting for this, though, there seems to be a rise of internecine conflicts in communities that were previously presenting as well knit and given to withstand the occasional infighting and disagreements. It is possible that some of these fights are simply the result of long standing tensions reaching a breaking point. The timing of it all, however, is quite curious.

All of this has me thinking that my decision to forego any readings to assess what was awaiting over the course of this calendar year may have been ill advised. There is change blowing in the wind. It is more than the changes that come with an election year here in the USA. I haven't done any big readings or scrying to see what is coming. Honestly, I don't want to, because what I've seen thus far is fundamentally disturbing and it appears to only be getting worse. All I know is that this 'season of change' is getting progressively more challenging as it presses on.

Back to what I was saying about topics that have been requested of me by the gods and the dead, with all of this flux, there have been holes that are opening up in the material covered by the blogosphere. The topics that I am being encouraged to write on are appearing to align with some of those holes. I will do my best to fill the needs that arise and I can address. At the same time, however, I am cautious about this all because those same hole are the centers of significant conflict right now. I do not enjoy writing material that is contentious and encourages conflict. It is stressful for me, to be perfectly honest. At the same time, however, it looks like my time of silence on many issues must come to a close.

There will be some changes to this blog in the near to immediate future. I ask for your patience and forbearance. If you are in the middle of dealing with chaos right now, don't hesitate to ask your friends and the people who love you for help. They are your tribe and they will help you as best they can, you need only ask. If you are not in the middle of dealing with chaos right now and someone you know and care for comes to you seeking help with their chaos, extend kindness to them and help as best you can. There's a storm brewing, folks, and we're all going to need to work together to get through it.